Giving thanks for a day off

I could have gone three hours north or three hours south today to spend Thanksgiving with my extended family, but with a full day of work yesterday and hosting a basketball classic tomorrow and Saturday, my wife and I decided to stay in Topeka for the second straight year and have dinner together. This year, we added our 10-month-old son to the guest list.

We decided that eating healthy can have very few exceptions, and we weren’t going to make one for Thanksgiving. There are plenty of ways to make traditional Thanksgiving items without meat or dairy and without adding salt, sugar or oil. You can have a completely plant-based Thanksgiving dinner that will please the entire table, including our little son.

Cooking is my duty in our house and I really enjoy it. It’s a stress-reliever for me and I try and do it every day, whether for dinner that night or for something for us to take to lunch the next day. Leftovers are an important part of eating healthy when hosting games can keep me in the office for 14 hours or more.

I planned our dinner to give me a few of my favorites while trying a few things I’d never tried before. Here’s a look at what we enjoyed with plenty of leftovers for the next few days…

Wednesday night I started our dinner preparation by making a peach pie and it turned out pretty darn good. You will find no recipe for this, so here’s the basics: Whole grain graham crackers crumbled and added to two blended bananas with baking soda and apple cidar vinegar as the crust. Frozen peach slices and milk with molasses, cinnamon, vanilla and corn starch boiled on the stove top as the filling. I filled the slightly pre-baked crust with the cooled filling and topped it with strips of the dough to make a lattice crust top. Bake and enjoy…

For dinner, I started cooking around noon. Time management skills came fully into play as I tried to get everything finished at once. It worked for the most part and we were eating by 4:30.

The main course was roasted veggies (potatoes, rutabagas, onion, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini squash, spinach and garlic) coated with low sodium veggie broth and flavored with about any herb and spice you would think would go well on veggies. This all got cooked in a large covered pot in the oven until about the last hour when it got moved to the stove top due to space constraints.

I also made this stuffing and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. Recipes for those are pretty simple. Just don’t add any dairy or white sugar. The sweet potatoes, if you really want them sweeter, can be sweetened with honey or agave nectar. I chose not to this time around, though maybe when our son is old enough for honey, we’ll try it.

Thanksgiving was a great day off for me and a great kick off to the holiday season that will end with our extra-long Christmas break that starts less than a month from today!

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