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2014 Thanksgiving Food Trends

Everyone loves Thanksgiving. It’s non-denominational, totally appropriate to have friends at the table, and it’s focused around FOOD! What could be better? How about a Thanksgiving that doesn’t also require a gallon of Pepto Bismol and a Coscto-sized tub of antacids. This years trends are centered around flavor, adding new unexpected spices and more fresh organic ingredients. Take a look at the trends that pay homage to the past with a modern, tasty, and wholesome twist.


Organic Turkey

You guessed it, the trend continues to center around organic, free range, Heritage turkey.  Not only does free range/organic turkey taste better but its healthier. Who needs more hormones, chemicals and antibiotics in their body? Turkey is high in protein and low in fat. Even the dark meat isn’t too bad for you as long as you don’t eat the skin. It may come as a surprise but turkey meat is actually the healthier option when compared to chicken. Dark turkey meat is comparable in nutrients and calories to white chicken breast, but it’s tastier. However, chicken thighs have 3 times the fat as a turkey drumstick.

I have 30 people coming to my house for thanksgiving this year, no pressure but my bird has to be perfect!  Thank goodness for this blogger who outlines the process from brining  to roasting. Don’t forget the v-rack, this is paramount to the perfect bird!

Brined Turkey

http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/brined-roast-turkey/


Gravy

Honestly, gravy is always trendy. Everyone loves creamy, savory gravy, but no one needs the boatloads of extra calories, For a low fat option, I use a cheese cloth to catch extra fat when you strain the dripping from the bottom of the pan. This year, I am making 2 different types of gravy’s: traditional with the dripping and a healthier vegan mushroom option. Adding mushrooms and shallots to gravy this holiday season is a great way to decrease fat, add flavor and increase the nutrients. As you know, I am always on a mission to add extra nutrients to every dish. Mushrooms are  high in vitamins, minerals and a good source of potassium, selenium, copper, three B-complex vitamins and vitamin D. The good news continues! Mushrooms are one of the vegetables that actually release more nutrients when cooked rather then raw, so don’t be shy to sauté, grill or stir-fry your mushrooms to bring out that irresistible meaty flavor most people love.  Check out this yummy recipe: http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-shallot-shiitake-gravy/


Salad

My second favorite trend this year is to add a crunchy fresh salad as a first course. It’s unexpected and can be prepared in advance.  We choose to highlight Crystal’s  brussels sprout recipe. She combines unique flavors, nutritious veggie while keeping it holiday “festive.”

Brussels Sprout Salad

http://www.applesandsparkle.com/2014/11/brussels-sprout-salad-2-ways.html


Stuffing

People are on a mission to reinvent the stuffing experience this year with exotic Moroccan spices, oyster mushrooms, wild rice, quinoa, corn bread mixtures and lots of veggies. Let’s face it, no one is skipping the stuffing – doused with gravy, it’s the next day sandwich moist-maker!  If you are feeling adventurous try this recipe: http://healthyaperture.com/blog/post/make-ahead-meals-vegetarian-cauliflower-cornbread-dressing-with-mushrooms


 Sweet potatoes

Another hot trend is coconut oil and cinnamon which helps highlight the sweet potatoes brilliance. Coconut oil is a great addition to sweet potatoes because its sweet flavor, in addition to cinnamon, negates the need for sugar that the classic American sweet potato recipe calls for. Coconut oil is also high medium-chain fatty acids which allows it to withstand high heat cooking temperatures and preserves the nutrients and health benefits (make sure to buy virgin coconut oil to receive the full benefits). Coconut oil is good for your skin, hair, heart, immune system and it reminds you of sitting on a sun drenched beach. If the taste of coconuts doesn’t send you swooning then try this classic recipe with a healthy twist.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

http://www.reciperighter.com/thanksgiving-day-mashed-sweet-potatoes-recipe/


Dessert

My favorite trend this year is savory desserts and whole fruit desserts.  The pie is here to stay but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some drama and flair on your dessert table. I love the taste and health benefits of this whole poached pear in a sweet tea brew created by an engineering professor / photographer / foodie.Seckel Pears

http://www.theotium.com/?p=858


Happy Thanksgiving everyone – may you be surrounded by family, friends and yummy food.  And super big thanks to my Wild Skillet team and talented foodie bloggers everywhere.

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