Do you smell that? It smells like… blood, sweat, tears and regret. Oh, wait, no–that’s the smell of some delicious pumpkin pie wafting out of my proverbial grandmother’s kitchen window, and it’s calling my name! Oh, the humanity! How am I supposed to stay true to my ways when there are bread rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauces and sugar-filled pies around every corner?
Fear not, paleo and keto friends. While it may not be possible to completely and totally avoid the starchy, sugary goodness (read: evil) of the holidays coming up, there are a few food items you can quickly and easily add to your menu or swap out for the traditional items in order to create a more waistline-friendly meal. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Cauliflower mashed potatoes: Seriously, have you not tried these yet? These bad boys are easy to make, and even easier to eat. Keep in mind that one large cauliflower head will feed approximately 3-4 people. Cut off the thick stalk of the cauliflower and separate the florets from the smaller stalks. Put the florets into a steamer and steam them with 5-6 peeled and chopped garlic cloves. They should be slightly mushy when they’re done, and break apart easily if you stick them with a fork. Put the steamed florets into a large mixing bowl, add 3 Tbsp. butter for each head of cauliflower you used (or as much as you like, really) and 2 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream for each head used. Mix in salt to taste and whip those bad boys up. Serve hot with a side of sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bacon fat deviled eggs: These are a crowd pleaser every time. Boil a dozen eggs in saltwater and set them aside. If you need full directions on how to hard boil eggs, check here. While those are cooking/cooling, fry up 4-5 slices of bacon to a nice crisp and SAVE THE GREASE. After the eggs have cooled, peel them, rinse them off, slice them in half and set the fully-cooked yolks into a mixing bowl. Add ¼ C. mayo and all of the bacon grease into the yolk mixture. Then add 2-3 Tbsp. of yellow mustard. Mash up the yolks, then whip them with the other ingredients. Add a pinch of salt to taste and whip them further until the yolk mixture is slightly fluffy. Add a dollop of the mixture to each halved egg white, then sprinkle with paprika. Lastly, crumble the bacon bits and place the crumbles on top the eggs. Magnifico!
- Orange-Cran sauce: Cranberries are naturally awesome for you, but this side dish is typically served with boatloads of sugar to ease the faint-of-tongue into the tartness of the berries. Instead of doing that, you can make a simple cranberry sauce using only fresh cranberries and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Combine a pound of cranberries with one cup of fresh-pressed orange juice (this will take approx 4-5 oranges, depending on their size). Boil them together until all of the cranberries have popped and formed a nice mush in the pot. Chill and serve when the time is right. Recipe pulled from Paleodietlifestyle.com.
- Almond meal pie crust: This is a great alternative to the typical white-flour and crisco pie crust you’re used to making. Preheat your oven to 350. Combine ⅔ C. almond meal (buy in bulk from Whole Foods if you need to make several pie crusts!), ⅓ C. real lard or virgin coconut oil and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Add in 2 Tbsp of ice-cold water gradually until the dough is thick in consistency. Cook the dough in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s got a light brown color. For fillings, try adding real fruit and stevia (instead of sugar), or whip up some heavy whipping cream with stevia, cinnamon and pure coco powder to make a whipped “chocolate” cake.
- Walnut-apple stuffing: I’m not even going to pretend like I made this one up. Check out this recipe for a beef, celery, walnut and apple stuffing made with NO BREAD! Hooray!
Got any favorite recipes that make good stand-ins for traditional holiday fare? Let me know in the comments below!