Tasty, terrific turkey day part 1! How to eat healthy on Thanksgiving.

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Most of my clan at Thanksgiving last year!

Most of my clan at Thanksgiving last year!

Wow that time is already here, isn’t it? Now I don’t know about you but in the past I’ve had a difficult time sticking to my healthy eating plan on Thanksgiving. It’s so easy to eat a lot and all the wrong things too. It’s like carb fest day! I’ll tell ya what I’m going to do! The goal of this post is to give you my healthy eating tips and recipes so that you can eat and enjoy, but not gain 5 pounds in the process. Stick with me, and I’ll get you through it!

1. Be miserly with the unhealthy stuff- That includes stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroley type dishes, creamy dishes, desserts, etc. Make sure you eat these types of dishes very sparingly, but do have a taste of the ones you like because I don’t believe in deprivation.

2. Eat lots of vegetables- Unless the vegetables are covered in cream, make your plate mostly veggies and you’ll be full and satisfied, because they have lots of fiber. I have a great recipe for Brussels sprouts that even a veggie hater will love. I will include that in part 2 coming later this week.

3. Watch the salt- I’m a big believer in salt so some of you who know me may be shocked to hear me say this, but here’s why. Salt helps to retain water and makes you feel bloated. Some of the dishes you’re eating may already have a lot of salt added, so skip the salt shaker at Thanksgiving and you won’t bloat up that night or the next day.

4. Bring your own dessert- If you’re going somewhere for Thanksgiving bring a fruit based dessert like a cobbler or a crisp because they’re lower calorie than something like pecan pie. I will show you a healthy way to make berry cobbler in part 2 of my post.

5. Take a walk or do something exerting after your meal- Even a ten minute walk will help you work off some of your meal and aid in digesting your food faster. Take your dog with you because dogs tend to get overwhelmed with all the guests, and said guests might have slipped them a bit of turkey too!

Ok, but what if you’re the one hosting the meal? That’s kind of awesome because you can control what you serve and which ingredients you use, thus ensuring you’ll be eating healthy food. I’m going to show you how to make my really easy, delicious and healthy turkey and gravy today. Later in the week I will share my easy, delicious and healthy side dishes and cobbler so you can host the perfect Thanksgiving. And even if you’re not hosting I’ll give you recipes so you can take a healthy dish, thus ensuring you’ll at least eat one healthy thing on the big day!

Love me some turkey!

Love me some turkey!

Easy and Delicious Turkey and Gravy

  • 1 organic, fresh 15 lb turkey (feeds 8-10)
  • 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, rosemary and sage chopped (In a pinch you can use dried herbs de Provence)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper each
  • 6 cups organic, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup gluten free rice flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position the rack to the lowest position in the oven. Rinse the turkey, pat it dry, and place it in the baking pan after removing the giblets from inside the turkey (funny story about that between my sister and I, remind me and I’ll tell you about it later). Take the oranges, lemons and onion and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle a bit of the fresh herbs, EVOO, salt and pepper, stir them a bit, and then stuff them into the main turkey cavity. Cover the entire turkey with EVOO, the rest of the fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

Cover the turkey breast with foil and roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits. Roast the turkey for 40 more minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, remove the foil from the breast, add another cup of broth to the pan,, and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserting in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165-175 degrees, or about 1 1/2 hours longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent with foil and let stand for 30 minutes while making the gravy.

Glorious gravy!

Glorious gravy!

For those of you who’ve read my past blog on roasted chicken, “The Easiest Roasted Chicken, I Promise!”, I shared my gravy recipe and if you haven’t read it, you should! But, I’ll share it again for you now because it’s essentially the same for turkey as it is for chicken. Take the 5 tablespoons of butter and melt it in a large pan, then add the 1/3 cup of gluten free rice flour and stir until combined. the reason I use rice flour is partly because Danielle can’t eat gluten, but what I’ve discovered is that I prefer using it over regular flour because it’s very fine and doesn’t clump up so makes for a nicely textured gravy. And it tastes better too! Stir for another minute to cook the flour.

Next, strain the pan drippings through a sieve to get rid of the chunks and pour it into a large measuring cup or something with a spout so the drippings won’t spill all over your stove. Add 1/3 of the drippings, stir, stir, stir until combined, and continue until all the pan drippings have been incorporated into the gravy. If you run out of pan drippings and the gravy still has a thick consistency you can add chicken broth, if it’s not thick enough, add more flour but don’t add it straight into the gravy or it will clump. In that case, combine 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/4 cup chicken broth in a lidded Tupperware container, shake the heck out of it until combined, then add it to the gravy. Finish the gravy with a little salt and pepper to taste, and continue to let it cook on the stove until thickened and bubbly. Pour it into a gravy boat and it’s good to go!

In my next post I will share my favorite side dishes and my go to dessert. I hope you enjoy my turkey and gravy if you try it, and let me know if you do! Let me know if you have any healthy go-to Thanksgiving dishes. A healthy Thanksgiving will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!

 

 

 

 

My favorite pork tenderloin meal in 45 minutes or less!

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My favorite pork tenderloin meal!

My favorite pork tenderloin meal!

 

Now you may think that pork is difficult to cook and not a healthy option but I’m here to tell you that neither is true! Pork is very good for you, it’s a rich source of protein as well as vitamins and minerals including thiamin, niacin, selenium, zinc and phosphorus. Pork tenderloin, in particular, is leaner than a chicken breast, and is juicier and tastier too. It’s also versatile, you can grill it, braise it, roast it, pretty much do anything to it and it tastes delicious. Pork has a nice, delicate flavor so you can spice it up for Mexican dishes, Italian, Chinese, Thai, etc., and it will always taste great. I love all types of pork- chops, roast, ribs, loin, bacon (!), ham, etc, etc, etc… As always, I make sure that I buy my pork from a reputable local provider, or I will purchase it from my health food grocery store in a pinch. The quinoa is healthy too. It has protein in it which makes it a much healthier side dish, it’s got fiber and only 160 calories per cup of cooked makes it relatively lo-cal. It certainly beats mashed potatoes or pasta as a side dish.

As you can probably tell, pork is my personal favorite meat! With that in mind I created an easy, delicious and nutritious meal consisting of oven roasted pork tenderloin with basil pesto sauce, quinoa with onions and peppers, and tomatoes in basil and extra virgin olive oil, and I’d like to share it with you right now. Please enjoy!

Oven Roasted Pork tenderloin with basil pesto sauce

 

Pork tenderloin, garlic, herbs de province, EVOO, and basil pesto ready to go!

Pork tenderloin, garlic, herbs de province, salt, pepper,EVOO, and basil pesto ready to go!

 

So the first thing you do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then prepare the 1 lb. tenderloin for the oven. I rubbed it all over with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), minced garlic, Herbs de Province, salt and pepper. I then threw it in the oven for a half hour or until it reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

Happily roasting in my oven!

Happily roasting in my oven!

I use an old school meat thermometer but if you have one of those new fangled instant read ones, by all means use whatever works for you. This is what the meat looks like when it’s midway through the roasting process.

 

Quinoa with onions and peppers

 

Everything is ready to make Quinoa!

Everything is ready to make Quinoa!

So while the tenderloin is roasting, I begin the quinoa. Don’t get intimidated, quinoa is simple dimple to make. First, you give one cup of quinoa a quick rinse under water, put a teaspoon of EVOO in a pan and sauté the quinoa in it for 2 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped green pepper to the rice and sauté it for another 2 minutes. After that, add 2 cups of chicken broth to the rice, onions and peppers and bring to a boil. Most quinoa cooking instructions call for water, but I think utilizing chicken broth gives it so much more flavor.

I think rainbow quinoa is so visually beautiful, and it tastes good too!

I think rainbow quinoa is so visually beautiful, and it tastes good too!

After the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce it to a simmer for 20 minutes or until the moisture is absorbed.

 

One minute tomatoes with basil and Olive Oil

Not only delicious but beautiful home-grown tomatoes with my home grown basil, EVOO, salt and pepper!

Not only delicious but beautiful home-grown tomatoes with my home grown basil, EVOO, salt and pepper!

I still have plenty of tomatoes from my garden so I sliced some tomatoes, added torn fresh basil from my garden, poured a bit of EVOO on the top, salt and pepper. That was my other side dish and it took virtually seconds to make, how great is that?!!!

When the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees, take it out of the oven, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, use a quality jarred basil pesto and rub it on the tenderloin. I added a bit more EVOO, salt and pepper on the top and sliced it.

Voila! The finished meal!

Voila! The finished meal!

And that’s it! You just assemble the tenderloin, quinoa and sliced tomatoes, pour the wine, and you’re ready to eat! The pork was perfectly cooked, and the basil pesto makes a warm, flavorful sauce for the top. The quinoa is a delicious side for the pork, and the tomatoes add a brightness to the meal. All in all a very memorable dinner. I hope you try this very easy and yummy recipe. Let me know how you like it! Eating meals like this will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!