Thanksgiving Sides
You Won’t Push To The Side

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Somewhat magically, it has not become so commercial and I love that. And it is a holiday and celebration where we can all come together no matter what our views – what is better than spending time in gratitude with family and/or friends? And then there is the FOOD!!!
In my experience, side dishes have been just that – dishes that often get pushed to the “side.” Well, no more! Whether you eat a traditional dinner with turkey, stuffing, and mashed tators or you are a little out there like ME and see the sides as a main part of the meal, I think you will enjoy these additions. So “spice it up” and try something new!

[Foodie Tip: “Purple [blue] potatoes contain 4 times as much antioxidants as Russet potatoes.” http:/ AND 1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary contains 11 milligrams of Potassium – try growing it in a pot near your kitchen door.]

One of my favorites this time of year is the blue potato. I’ve used them at 4th of July picnics as part of my grilled Red, White and Blue potato dish. Today I’m adding a little spice.

Purple (blue) potatoes are popular in South America, originating in Peru and Bolivia. These potatoes have many uses, a beautiful purple color, and the flavor is wonderful. In addition to adding color and flavor to your meal, they can be beneficial for your health due to their abundance of antioxidants.

When my children were young, we always, always had green-bean casserole at Thanksgiving. It was made with canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup and canned onion rings! Oh my, traditional or not, I can no longer make it using canned foods. Over the years I have tried several times to recreate the recipe with healthier, fresh ingredients, and it never seems to fly with my family! Do you have a recipe for green-bean casserole made with fresh ingredients that you can share with me?

[Foodie Tip: Slice a number of cherry tomatoes in half all at once by placing tomatoes closely and side by side on a plastic lid (from quart of yogurt). Put another plastic lid of the same size on top. Hold the top lid down and use a serrated knife to slice through the middle of all the cherry tomatoes at once.]

I rarely get on the bandwagon for crazes like Pumpkin Pie Spice (everything!), but this one tastes great. This year I am making Sweet Potato Leaf Chips sprinkled with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Watch for the recipe!

Did you know that “the changing leaves may remind you of pumpkins, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and baking pies? Behind the feelings brought about by what you see, hear, feel and smell, are the release of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that increase your levels of contentment, pleasure and alertness. The release of these chemicals brings you into a heightened state of awareness, developing a feeling you associate with the events and foods you relate to fall weather.”

I truly hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday! Share food and gratitude regularly!

[Foodie Tip: Anti-inflammatory Turmeric: “… researchers from Japan compared the effects of about a teaspoon of curcumin [turmeric] per day to 30 to 60 minutes of exercise.]

Smashed Blue Tators with Fresh Rosemary

1 lb blue (purple) potatoes
2 T Butter
1/4 C coconut milk or heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 T chopped fresh rosemary

Peel potatoes, chop, and cover with salted water. Simmer until tender and drain. Add butter and cream and beat with a mixer or immersion blender. Add more butter and cream as needed to make your smashed potatoes creamy. Sprinkle potatoes with fresh rosemary and serve. *Leftover potatoes make great breakfast potato cakes.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower & Butternut with Creamy Sauce

1 small-med cauliflower
1 small-med butternut squash
3 T coconut oil
1/4-1/2 t ground chipotle (do you like it spicy or a little milder?)
Salt and Pepper

1/2 c coconut milk
1/2 c broth (veggie or chicken)
1 T arrowroot powder
*2-3 cloves fresh garlic with small amount of oil for roasting
1/16-1/8 t ground Turmeric
1/16-1/8 t ground Coriander
1/16-1/8 t ground Cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 slice bacon (chicken or other)
1 t coconut oil for browning
3-5 Scallions/Green onions

Preheat oven to 400°
Remove outer cloves from a whole head of garlic leaving 2 or 3 cloves in the center depending on sizes. (The easiest way is to roast entire head and keep some for another use.) Cut the top off the garlic cloves and drizzle lightly with olive or coconut oil and a little salt. Wrap garlic in parchment paper or foil and roast until tender – 10-15 minutes. Cool.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Break cauliflower into small floretes while removing thick stems. Peel and de-seed butternut squash and chop into pieces. Place squash and cauliflower pieces on the baking sheet. Melt coconut oil and add ground chipotle pepper. Stir and drizzle over veggies. Mix with your hands to coat all pieces. Place garlic and veggies in oven and roast garlic until tender, about 10-15 minutes (set aside to cool,) and continue to roast veggies until they are crisp-tender, about 20-30 minutes total.
While veggies are roasting, make sauce. Put coconut milk in saucepan over low heat. Stir and dissolve arrowroot powder into broth and add it to the coconut milk. Stir frequently. Squeeze cooked garlic onto a plate discarding papery parts and mince or smash garlic into small pieces. Add garlic to sauce. Cook on low to medium heat until sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper.
*Add 1/16th teaspoon of each spice for a less spicy flavor, and more as desired for spicier.

Garnish: Chop bacon into small pieces and brown in coconut oil. Clean and chop scallions including some greens.

To serve, drizzle sauce over veggies, or serve separately. Add garnishes on top and serve.

Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community. Check out her Blog on Facebook: Sandy’s Food for Thought. You can contact her at or call 828.273.9755

Sandy McCall
Written by Sandy McCall