Here are Dr. Sara's favorite recipes, and several variations on traditional Thanksgiving and Hanukah recipes that will leave you feeling festive and well fed!
1. Start with the Bird.
Gratify your family with an organic, free-range turkey. Conventionally raised poultry is contributing to an alarming increase in antibiotic resistant microbes, since these animals are fed large doses of antibiotics regularly to fend off diseases that would otherwise disallow birds to live in cramped, overcrowded conditions. It might be more expensive, but you will feel truly thankful with a happy, healthy bird on your table .
2. Pile on the Veggies.
Treat yourself and your family to good health as well as good flavors by serving the freshest, most fragrant, organic vegetables you can find. If you live in an area where there are farmer’s markets this time of year, visiting the open-air market is a fun family activity and a great way to help you feel connected to your food. You might try using rare or heirloom varieties that you would not usually buy to make your meal feel special. They don’t just need to be green – rock some celeriac (celery root), parsnips, cauliflower (mashed cauliflower tastes remarkably similar to mashed potatoes). Aim to fill 80% of your holiday plate with vegetables.
3. Schedule an Oil Change.
Cook with coconut oil for everyday purposes, but on special occasions you can splurge on duck fat. The rich savory flavor associated with French cooking adds a gourmet flavor to your holiday dishes.
4. Don’t Be Salt Phobic.
One method I use to keep my holiday eating mindful is to qualify my food with little extravagances such as truffle salt. Truffle salt is expensive, (you can spend over $700 on a small jar, although the brand I enjoy is about $20), and it serves as a reminder not to over-salt my food and to help me to think of salt as a luxury. Not to mention, the flavor is exquisite! But almost any sea salt is good, and most people can enjoy 1 teaspoon without a problem (unless you have salt-sensitive hypertension).
5. Pass the Pâté.
For hors d’oeuvre and appetizers, I love to serve artisanal pâtés and salamis. Like duck fat, these indulgences are delectable and extremely satisfying. I recommend treating yourself to fats instead of sugar, because unlike sweets, whole food fat leaves you feeling satiated instead of triggering a response to keep eating– when was the last time you ate an entire log of hard salami versus a third piece of cake? Whole food fat also has some health benefits as opposed to sugar. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble nutrients, and must be consumed with a certain amount of fat in order for the body to absorb them. Think of fat as the little bit of lubricant your body needs in order to make use of the vegetables and meats you consume   .
A big thank you to Dr. Sara for sharing her top 5 Holiday Indulgences!
If you splurge a bit more than intended, don’t fret. Keep the holiday in perspective. This is one day and each day is a new beginning!
In the meantime, consider adding this recipe!
Turkey with Gluten-Free Stuffing
For the Turkey:
One 12-14 pound organic, free-range turkey
¼ cup Himalayan pink salt or sea salt (for dry brine)
¼ cup rendered duck fat (available at Whole Foods)
¼ cup coconut oil
3 teaspoons truffle salt
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
For the Stuffing:
½ cup coconut oil or ghee
6 egg whites
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup almond flour
3 tablespoons ground white chia seeds
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup rendered duck fat
One yellow onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped Swiss chard
1 cup chicken broth
Handful of fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh chopped marjoram
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Sea salt or truffle salt and black pepper to taste
1. Up to 2 days before cooking, rinse your turkey, pat it dry, and rub the bird inside and out with the Himalayan or sea salt. Place turkey in a dry brining bag, (available at most grocery stores) and place in refrigerator. After a day, massage the juices and salt that has collected in the bottom of the bag back into the bird, and rotate turkey upside down. Return to refrigerator.
2. You can prepare your grain-free bread for the stuffing a few days ahead of time, while your turkey is brining. Preheat oven to 350. Bring ghee or coconut oil to room temperature and beat together with egg whites, coconut flour, almond flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bake this mixture in a greased bread pan for 20-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Set aside.
3. After two days, remove turkey from brine bag and pat dry. Preheat oven to 350.
4. While turkey is coming to room temperature, prepare stuffing. Cut your wheat-free bread into one-inch cubes. Arrange cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in oven until slightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
5. Heat remaining duck fat in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, chard, herbs and spices in fat. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large bowl, stir in bread cubes and chicken broth.
6. When you are ready to cook your turkey, preheat oven to 375. Mix ¼ cup rendered duck fat, ¼ cup coconut oil, 3 teaspoons truffle salt, and 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl. Carefully separate the skin of your turkey from the flesh and work the fat mixture between the skin and flesh using your hands to massage the mixture as far up on the breast and thigh meat as you can without tearing the skin. Rub remaining mixture on the outside of the skin and inside the cavity.
7. Pack stuffing tightly into turkey cavity and bake at 375 until a thermometer inserted in the tight reads 155 degrees, approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the size of your bird.
For more healthy holiday recipes, including Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Dairy-Free Green Bean Casserole, click here.