Monday, November 22, 2010

Whole Food Thanksgiving Pitfalls

As a girl who appreciates food Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  There is something about is, family oriented, wholesome, delicious, and yet some of the foods that we think of as wholesome are not only calorie laden but are far from whole food.  Here are some of the most common Thanksgiving Pitfalls.

Pumpkin Pie:  I bought pie pumpkins this year and thought I was so ahead of the game.  Then I threw a can of of evaporated milk into my cart.  Ingredients: Milk, dipotassium phosphate, carrageenan, Vitamin D3.  It isn't a ton of stuff but I really just wanted milk.  Want to add Ready Whip to the top: Cream, milk, corn syrup, sugar, mono-and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, nitrous oxide.  A frozen pie crust: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Water, Dough Conditioner (Dextrose, Wheat Starch, Salt, Baking Soda, Calcium Propionate [A Preservative], Vegetable Shortening [May Contain Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/Or Cottonseed Oil], Sodium Bisulfite), Salt. Contains: Wheat, Soybean.

OK, NO THANKS!!!  I found this recipe on a whole foods site by Rachel Wood and this is what I'm going to make...although I'm going to try coconut oil instead of butter.  I'm going to top it with cream I whip myself.  Make sure yours is just straight cream, some have weird preservatives in them.

Pumpkin Pie
Accompanying article: Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
Makes one 9-inch single-crust pie
For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted, cultured organic butter, well chilled
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
1 sugar pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups organic cream
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and add them to the flour mixture. With your fingertips, quickly and deftly rub the butter into the flour to make a dry, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the mixture. Using a fork, rapidly stir the dough until it gathers into clumps. If the mixture seems dry, add more water to hold the dough together. Gently form the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator to rest and chill for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, shell side up, and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender and exudes liquid and the shell starts to sag. Scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a fork or potato masher or in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the purée and set it aside. Reserve any additional pumpkin for another use.
Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan. Loosen the pastry, fold it in half, lift it and unfold it into the pan. Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.
Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F.
In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the puree and the remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Stuffing: A typical bag: Enriched flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, whole wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, contains 2% or less of each of the following: yeast, spices, dehydrated onion, salt, wheat gluten, ascorbic acid, dehydrate parsley, autoyzed yeast extract, distilled vinegar, TBHQ, soy protein.

Great, yuck.  Instead for stuffing I like to just chop up bread and toast it in the oven (it can be homemade bread if you like).  Chop up half an onion, half a thing of celery, add parsley, and a little onion salt.  Meanwhile I boil the giblets on the stove.  I add the chopped up giblets and then shove a bunch of it i the turkey.  I know they say you shouldn't but I still love it that way.  The rest goes in a cake pan and I add a little giblet water.  Then I bake it in the oven with foil over the top.

Cranberry Sauce: Wow who doesn't want to say yes to that can gross.  If you want to make your own.

12 ounce of cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice

1) In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice.  Stir in the cranberries and cook unit the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl.  Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.  Wow so easy!

Gravy: Canned gravy: Wheat Starch, Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid), Lactose (Milk), Salt, Monosodium Glutamate (Flavor Enhancer), Chicken Fat, Turkey Meat, Silicon Dioxide (Added to Make Free Flowing), Onion, Torula Yeast, Caramel Color, Spice, Natural and Artificial Flavors and Sulfiting Agents.

Wow.  Tons of stuff in a little can.  My gravy is so easy.  I melt butter in a sauce pan and add flour until it has balled up.  Then I just use my turkey baster to suck out turkey juice from the bag.  I always cook my turkey in a bag.  It keeps it nice and moist while you are waiting for the dark meat to cook all the way.  I use a whisk to whisk butter, flour, and turkey juice and watch it thicken on low heat.  Super easy, super delicious.


  1. yum! not...those ingredients are so gross! i'm making my own stuffing, bread, cranberry sauce, and turkey this year to take to the family dinner in hopes that there will be some real food there. i'm brining my turkey, i hear it's the way to go and then you don't have to worry about cooking it in plastic. kara from taste is trump said it is the fail-proof way to have an awesome turkey. alton brown's recipe is good...? my MIL swears by cooking it in a bag but i can't bring myself to do it when i avoid cooking in plastic at all other times.

  2. I understand! I still use plastic though...I can't help it :)



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