Your Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is just around the corner (and this year it falls on Channukah! Even more holiday fun), so it’s time to start planning your menu or thinking about what show stopping dish you’ll be bringing to your pot luck feast.

To help make this year’s holiday cooking as simple and FUN as possible, we are providing a completely comprehensive, tried and true recipe guide.

Firstly, when it comes to the bird this is all you need to know.

thanksgiving sides

For side dishes & dessert (which are the best parts anyway), follow this fool proof menu…

Gluten Free Quinoa Stuffing

Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cauliflower Parsnip & Apple Puree

Cranberry Citrus (Awesome) Sauce

Gluten Free Apple & Pear Crumble

Spiced Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes


In our Healthy Basics Cookbook you can find other perfect recipes (for the Holidays or any time) like…

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Balsamic Collards with Pine Nuts

Roasted Veggies topped with Vanilla Roasted Nuts (uh-mazing)

We’d love to see what you make!  Inspire us, and the rest of the Cooking Camp Crew by posting your pics on our Facebook page.  

turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gluten Free Orange & Sage Quinoa Stuffing

This recipe has all the flavor a classic Thanksgiving stuffing…but won’t leave you with a raging gluten hangover.

Because so many of our Campers avoid “the glu” (our sometimes code-name for gluten) we wanted to give you a Thanksgiving option that has all the flavors and fixins’ you’ll  find in a traditional stuffing but give it a totally whole-grain, healthified makeover.

Preeeetty sure we nailed it with this one.  What do you think?

quinoa stuffing

Gluten Free Orange Quinoa and Sage Stuffing
Servings: 6-8
Time: 40 minutes

  • 2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp dried sage OR 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp dried parsley OR ¼ cup chopped fresh
  • ½ cup of walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped (can use white button, baby bellas or any kind)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for cooking plus more quinoa
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: save a little parsley, zest and walnuts for garnishing at the end

Directions

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot.  Then add your quinoa, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, then cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed (quinoa will continue to bake in oven so it’s okay if it’s a little wetter than usual).

In a separate pan heat extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat.  Sauté onions with garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.

Add celery, mushrooms and herbs and season generously with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook an additional 5-6 minutes (until mushrooms begin to brown).

Toss cooked veggies and herbs into a baking dish with quinoa, orange zest and walnuts and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Garnish with an additional sprinkle of parsley, zest and walnuts and serve.

Mercury Levels in Fish

By now you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t eat too much fish because it’s high in mercury.  But like many people, you might also be wondering, what does mercury do to me and why is it found in fish?

Here’s the deal:

Mercury is a metal that exists naturally in the environment.  But we humans do things that negatively impact the environment, such as factory farming, burning coal, and using mercury in manufacturing.  This increases the amount mercury that flows through the air, water, and soil.

When in water, mercury changes its form and becomes methylmercury. Fishies absorb this mercury just like we often inhale bad chemicals when we breath in oxygen.

All fish and shellfish have some level of mercury, but it’s typically not a huge deal because fish also have so many health benefits.   However, if you eat fish ALL the time, or choose varieties that are higher in mercury (see chart below) it can be potentially harmful.

The good news is, mercury will leave the body over time in the urine, feces, and breast milk.  The bad news is if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding that mercury could have detrimental effects on your little one.

Mercury can also have nevetive effects on us grown ups.  Remember when Jeremy Piven had to drop out of a Broadway show?  Yeah, mercury poisoning is a real thing so read up below and be in the know…

fish_mercury

Chart from Canton Becker

NOTE: Mercury is only an issue with wild caught fish even so, this option is WAY better than farm raised fish.  Fish that are farmed are fed a completely unnatural diet, including dyes to make their flesh appear more vibrant and they are kept in confined spaces where they can’t get enough exercise.

Always, always, always avoid farm raised fish!!!

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass

By Quinn

I’ve found that some of the most delicious food is often the simplest.  This easy and elegant fish recipe hardly has anything to it – the only thing you need is some super fresh wild caught fish.  From there, it’s about observing your each filet as it cooks in order to bring it to prepare it perfectly.

If time is your issue, put your excuses away sister because this whole meal takes no more than 10-minutes of preparation and it tastes like a $30 dish from a fancy NYC restaurant.  

Don’t sweat if your fish is slightly over or under cooked the first time you make it. It will be better the second time.  Promise.  That’s how you learn to cook.  It’s all about trial and error.

Just making the effort to put a homemade meal on the table is an incredible act of self care.

And love, well, that’s always delicious.

chilean sea bass 2

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Servings: 2
Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 filets of Wild Caught Chilean Sea Bass
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 a lemon or lime (optional)

 Directions

Take your fish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, even if it’s just out for a few minutes, that’s great.

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat with 1-2 tablespoons on extra virgin olive oil.  The amount that you use depends on the size of your skillet since the oil will spread out.  If you’re using a smaller pan, you can use less oil.  Larger pan, more oil.

Generously salt the fish on both sides, but of course you want more on the non-skin side.

When the oil is hot, but not smoking put in the fish, skin side up.  Allow it to cook for about 3-6 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish.

Just be very aware.  Watch as the color changes.  It will go from cloudy to solid. When it is 90% cooked through, flip it over and cook the skin side for 1-2 minutes.

I love the skin, there are so many good fats in there but if it’s soggy, it doesn’t takes so good, so you want to cook it just a bit.

At the end, squeeze 1/2 a lemon or lime over both filets.  Best served immediately.

We recommend pairing this with a simple salad like THIS ONE or a great veggie dish like THESE.

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The Rules of (Green) Thumb For Shopping at your Farmer’s Market

We get a lot of questions about what to eat during different times of the year and how to keep produce fresher for longer.

The answer to both of those things: Eat Seasonally.  

The easiest way to do that is to make a point of getting to your locals Farmer’s Market as often as possible so you can pick up the freshest produce and eat exactly as nature intended.

We know Farmer’s Markets can be overwhelming so we wanted to break it down and make the experience a little simpler.  Even if you aren’t getting to the farmers market these tips can apply to shopping at your local grocery store too.

Firstly, it’s important to go with some reusable shopping bags.  They make it easier to shlep your bounty and are good for the environment.

Next, put your brave face on because it’s really, really important to talk to your farmers.  Engage them, ask them questions, find out where your food came from!  

Quinn wrote and incredibly comprehensive guide HERE.  She gives you all the questions you can/should ask and tells you exactly how to engage your farmer in an easy, breezy convo.

Finally, here is what you should pick up…

  • 1 Leafy green: Because you should always, always have leafy greens in your diet.  The more the merrier/healthier.
  • 1 Veggie that seems to be abundant: You know, that thing that seems to be at every stand.  Get some!  Veggies that are in season always taste best and when something is abundant it is also very affordable.
  • 1 In-season fruit: Satisfy your sweet tooth with some seasonal fruits.  This time of year it’s all about apples pears or if you can find ‘em, persimmons and pawpaws.
  • 1 Frivolous item that you’ve never cooked with before: This is how you learn!  Be brave, be bold.  And then get to googling…
  • Raw Honey: This is nectar of the gods!  Raw honey has tons of medicinal properties.  Its like a low grade antobiotic so it’s amazing for immunity and will help you build up a tolerence to seasonal allergies in your area.
  • Pasture Raised Eggs: You haven’t eaten eggs until you’ve eaten pasture raised eggs.  They just taste better, richer and have way more flavor.  Crack these babies open and prepare to be amazed at the vibrance of the orange yolk.

looks-like-fall

If you’re in the North East, here’s what’s in season right now

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens)
  • Onion
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash (Butternut, Kabocha, Pumpkins…)

What are your favorite seasonal foods and recipes?  We want to know!  Tell us in the comments below!