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The Sides Can Steal the Show!

Have you started your Thanksgiving menu planning?


If so, have you given any thought to how colorful your holiday table will be this year?


Last week during a cooking demo I was demonstrating one of our all-time favorite holiday recipes, the Christmas Quinoa Salad, which is loaded with a variety of excellent colors, flavors, and textures.  I was sharing how, when I was growing up, our Thanksgiving table did not include a lot of color...there were various shades or brown and beige.  The turkey, the mashed potatoes (and gravy of course), the stuffing, the noodles, and the rolls, just to name a few.  Everyone in the room started grinning and could clearly relate.  Does this sound familiar to you too?

We all know there are certain traditional dishes that just magically show up every year...because it just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without them.  A few years ago, I asked my mom why we have that canned cranberry thing every year (you know...the jiggly one with the ridges from the can and often served up on a fancy dish).  She said, "That's a really good question; I think because your Dad likes it and we have always had it!"

Several years ago, we started introducing some new side dishes to our Thanksgiving dinner.  It's so nice to have some color and variety, along with different textures and flavors to complement the turkey and the other mainstay dishes.  Not only did these sides bring some new life to our table, but we heard everyone say things like, "Wow, this is really good.  How did you make it?"  My brother has even been known to say, "If there are any leftovers of that, I would be happy to take some home."  We will count that as a win!


Savoring the Season!

The best and most memorable dishes we have had in the past few years have used fresh, in-season produce.  These ingredients, which we prefer to get from our local farmers' markets, allow us to use fairly simple preparations and are 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 that have been a hit at our Thanksgiving dinners:


Spectacular Salads


Kale Waldorf Salad - a great creamy dressing (no mayo required)!

Pear and Butternut Squash Salad - flavors of fall with a delicious maple balsamic vinaigrette!

Acorn Squash and Apple Salad - amazing salad with roasted acorn squash and a sweet-spicy vinaigrette!

Pomegranate Pear Salad - pomegranates, pears, walnuts and blue cheese...this one gets rave reviews!

Kale Chopped Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette - brussels sprouts, kale, crispy shallots, and a maple almond vinaigrette!

Cabbage Apple and Pear Salad - your family will love this, and it is super-easy to prepare!


Mashed Veggies and Delicious Dressing


Creamy Mashed Cauliflower - we made this again recently and were blown away how good it is!

Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Sautéed Leeks - fantastic flavor and the sauteed leeks send it over the top!

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Mash - the flavors work excellent together and it's easy to prepare!

Cranberry Apple Sausage Dressing - with apples, cranberries, and walnuts, it's loaded with flavor - and nutrition!


Green Bean Goodness


Roasted Balsamic Green Beans & Mushrooms - a simple and flavorful way to enjoy fresh green beans and mushrooms!

Slow Cooker Green Bean Goodness - a healthy and delicious spin on the classic green bean casserole!

Green Beans with Pecans and Cranberries - green beans, pecans and cranberries provide a taste of autumn!

Simple Roasted Carrots and Green Beans - simple and easy - a perfect example of why we fell in love with roasting vegetables!


Flavor Bursting Brussels Sprouts


Seasoned Roasted Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts - the "GO-TO" seasoning is perfect for this delicious side dish!

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onion - not your ordinary brussels sprouts - with a maple and balsamic glaze!

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts - if someone thinks they don't like brussels sprouts, this may change their mind!

Pear and Brussels Sprouts Salad - yes, you can even eat brussels sprouts without cooking them!


Even More Deliciousness


Montana Inspired Beet Salad - this will be the talk of the table - absolutely delicious!

Honey Dijon Roasted Carrots and Parsnips - when parsnips are cut into strips and roasted, they may be mistaken for french fries!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Garlic and Pine Nuts - not only does it taste great, but it makes your kitchen smell amazing!

Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce - a perfect accompaniment to your feast, and so much you can do with the leftovers!


Don't Forget the Sweet Treats


Harvest Pumpkin Bars - AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! CRAZY GOOD!  This is how people describe them, plus they are gluten-free!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - so easy to prepare, and who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter?

Snickers Inspired Stuffed Dates - yes, it tastes like a Snickers bar, and it only requires four REAL ingredients!

Rustic Roasted Pears - another example of how a few simple ingredients can produce something fantastic!

Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie - with its REAL ingredients and pecan crumble crust, pumpkin pie can be healthy and delicious too!


So, as you are planning your Thanksgiving meal, we encourage you mix it up and incorporate something new among your traditional sides — you just might find a new favorite Thanksgiving staple!

And if you need another bit of inspiration, watch this entertaining video from Zonya on how we can shift our paradigms!


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2 Responses to The Sides Can Steal the Show!

  1. Krista! I just love your Coaching Tips each week!! and WOW is this one ever packed with soooo many goodies! I’m going to my Brother’s for Thanksgiving … I think I will be trying some new recipes!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to You and Scott … so appreciate all you do in providing tips – making it easier to Eat REAL with such delicious recipes!! 💖

    • Brenda – Thank you so much for your kind words, we are so thankful for you! Your success is what keeps us inspired and motivated! Thank you for inspiring your family and we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thank you!!

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