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Time for a Paradigm Shift?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner!  Are you ready?


What will be on your Thanksgiving menu this year?


Of course, turkey is a staple in most homes and there are many favorite ways to prepare it – roasted, smoked and even deep fried.  While the turkey can be an important part of Thanksgiving dinner, when it comes time to gather around the table, the sides often end up stealing the show!

It’s a given that some Thanksgiving sides will be on the table — it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without them.  They are tradition.  They are our mainstays year after year (even though some of them may not be the most flavorful dishes in the world), and they are in our comfort zone.  They are also “safe” for those preparing the dishes – we have prepared them so many times, it can be done with our eyes closed and we know from experience our family and friends will like them.  Ever since I was a child, we have certainly had these traditional staples at our Thanksgiving meals – oyster dressing, egg noodles, and a smorgasbord of casseroles (broccoli cheese, hash brown and sweet potato)…just to name a few.


But, why do we have the same things over and over?

And why do we prepare these dishes the way we do...the same way, year after year?  Why is it that sweet potatoes must be served with marshmallows and brown sugar?  And why do green beans have to be served as a casserole using cream of mushroom soup and those store-bought crispy fried onions?  Could it be our paradigms, or set of ideas, controlling our thinking?  Or is it we just don't like change?


Check out this video from Zonya (with her entertaining perspective) on how we can shift our paradigms!

So, how could we apply this to Thanksgiving?

What if we prepared sides using only fresh, in-season ingredients?  Unfortunately, these probably don’t show up as often as our "traditional" dishes at the Thanksgiving table. However, when they do, they tend to get the best reaction from family and friends, especially the ones simply prepared and full of flavor.  Not only do they taste fantastic, but these dishes are typically much healthier too!  It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh in-season ingredients such as winter squash, apples, beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, parsnips, pears, pomegranates, sweet potatoes and many others.  Using these ingredients, you can create some simple, flavor-popping dishes guaranteed to impress your guests!


Here are some side dishes using fresh, in-season ingredients that have been a hit at our Thanksgiving dinners:



So, where is the best place to get these fresh ingredients?

Your local stores are probably the "go-to" for most people and can offer a good variety of in-season ingredients; however, don’t overlook the farmers’ market.  We often only think of the farmers’ market in the summer…you know, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, okra and all of the summer produce.  But there are some incredible, locally-grown, in-season ingredients available right up through Thanksgiving...and even throughout the winter!  Many of these markets provide access to recently-harvested produce as well as a variety of locally-produced breads, jams, eggs and meats.  You may even be able to get your Thanksgiving turkey from one of the local farmers…and these are different from the industrially produced turkeys…which is a good thing!


It doesn’t have to stop with Thanksgiving!

There are some incredibly delicious and creative ways to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers so you don’t have to hear the roars of “no more turkey sandwiches” from your family:

  • Try the Turkey and Kale Soup, which simply includes leftover turkey, butternut squash, kale, yellow onion and red bell pepper, combined with broth and seasonings.
  • Or, transform your leftovers into a variety of different ethnic cuisines.  For a Korean spin, create a Turkey Banh Mi sandwich, using fresh, local ingredients for the toppings.
  • For some Indian inspiration, whip up a flavorful Turkey and Spinach Curry — ready in less than 20 minutes!
  • For some Spanish flair, try a Spanish Turkey Stew with tomatoes, golden raisins, onions and seasonings like chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, served along with brown rice or your favorite grain.
  • Save that turkey broth and use it for the Turkey Pho...leftover broth and turkey transform into one incredible pho soup!
  • The Turkey Bolognese is a great way to enjoy a flavorful pasta dish with simple ingredients like your favorite marinara sauce, carrots, onions and celery.
  • Hawaiian BBQ Turkey Pizza - sweet and savory pizza will definitely add some creativity to your leftover turkey!


This Thanksgiving, embrace those traditional dishes, but try to introduce some new dishes using fresh, in-season (even local) ingredients!

You may even find yourself feeling less guilty when it comes time to indulge in your favorite dessert!


Leave A Comment

2 Responses to Time for a Paradigm Shift?

  1. Thank you Krista and Zonya for a terrific post and great ideas/recipes for the holidays. We’re slowly replacing many of our traditional dishes with healthier versions, and we’ll be incorporating some of these this year!!

    • Thank you Jennifer! So glad you enjoyed this one, and great to hear from you! We have even gotten some of our family members to request roasted Brussels sprouts at our holiday table! Now, that is progress!

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