Enjoying the Holidays: 3 Must Try Thanksgiving Recipes

Today's guest post comes a good friend of mine Kelsie Ross.  Kelsie is a working professional, figure competitor, and one of the best cooks I know.  I can't wait to give these recipes a try, and hopefully you can't either.  Enjoy!

HOLIDAYS!!! The most glorious time of year – fun, family, friends and FOOD!

If you’re like me, this time of year brings so many great warm and fuzzy feelings and also a little anxiety. When I first started my healthy lifestyle, I never knew how to approach the holidays. Do I throw my hands up and say “YOLO,” or do I stick to the plan and avoid all the foods that bring so many great memories and food coma feels to my heart.

The answer – neither. The beautiful thing about our bodies is if we treat them right 90% of the time, the other 10% we can indulge a little. Am I giving you license to eat the entire pumpkin pie? No, but I am saying a slice won’t hurt!

Growing up, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. My extended family lives in Georgia, so it was always a time for the New England Ross clan to get together and reconnect from the craziness that is our lives; ham for Haley, macaroni pie for Bethany, green bean casserole for Dad, pumpkin pie for Mom and stuffing for me.

We all have something about the traditional meal that makes us look forward to getting together and chowing down. Throughout the years we’ve all become a little more conscious of our decisions, and have found ways to make our favorite dishes healthier without sacrificing the taste. For my family, Thanksgiving is a full day affair. Big breakfast in our PJ’s, Disney movies and football all throughout the day, playing with the dogs in the yard and then we all chip in to get dinner ready.

Below you’ll find three of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that you can use to bring a warm feel to your home this season without the guilt!

Butternut Squash Protein Pancakes

TRUST ME – One of my old coaches taught me to substitute flours in pancakes for either butternut squash or sweet potato and it completely changed my breakfast making abilities (thanks Elle!). Try it! It doesn’t give the pancakes an overwhelming flavor and keeps them nice and moist. I promise it’s worth it. Macros will depend on the type of protein powder you use. I use a 100% whey isolate protein powder in this recipe.

Serves 1 – includes NO toppings; 266 calories; 1.6g fat, 38.9 protein; 26.8 carbs

125g Roasted/boiled butternut squash

½ cup liquid egg whites

2 tbsp oat flour

1 scoop vanilla or cinnamon protein powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking powder

Sprinkle of salt

2 tbsp of almond milk (Only if needed! Mix the batter first)

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or mini blender. If you don’t have a food processor, I recommend you boil your butternut squash so you can easily mash it then whisk in the other ingredients.

Spray a medium skillet with coconut oil or pam and warm over medium heat. Make as many pancakes as you’d like – big, small, Mickey shaped, one gigantic pancake pie. Add any additional toppings (I recommend raspberries or mini chocolate chips) and wait for them to start to bubble before you flip them. Enjoy!

Try your favorite nut butter between pancake layers – you won’t be sorry. 

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Biscuits

I created this recipe based off of PaleOMG savory biscuit version (which I HIGHLY recommend as well).

Serves 6; 108 calories; 5g fat; 4g protein; 9g carbs

1 ½ cup mashed sweet potato (Roast whole potatoes in the oven at 425 for 45-60 minutes or until you can easily run a knife into the center. Make sure you poke holes into the side of the potato before roasting.)

½ cup pumpkin puree

4 tbsp coconut flour

3 eggs

1 tbsp coconut oil melted

2 tbsp stevia/xylitol

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin spice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 375

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another. Slowly combine them until you begin to get a doughy consistency.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and drop 1/3 cup of the mixture onto the pan.

Bake for 22-27 minutes and let them rest (very important as there isn’t much flour to bind these).

Smother in butter, gravy, mashed potatoes or whatever makes your heart happiest.

Note: Store these in the refrigerator if there are leftovers. They’ll keep longer!

Rosemary Roasted Vegetable Medley

Say that five times fast! A lot of people underestimate the delicious simplicity that vegetables can bring to Thanksgiving. Hearty vegetables prepared in the right way can completely transform a meal. Not to mention mixing in cruciferous vegetables that are high in fiber can really help you digest all of that pie I mentioned earlier.

Serves 4; 151 calories; 5.1g fat; 5.5g protein; 23.3g carbs

5 red potatoes (you can substitute any potato of your choice)

1 bunch of brussel sprouts (the ones I get come in a pre-cleaned bag; but shoot for about 2 cups once they are cleaned and halved)

3 large carrots

2 medium zuchinni

1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

2 minced cloves of garlic

3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Dice your potatoes, half your brussel sprouts, slice your carrots and zucchini on an angle.

Put potatoes and carrots in one bowl and brussel sprouts and zucchini in another. In each bowl add ½-1 tbsp. of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and one minced garlic clove.

Pull the rosemary needles off the sprig onto a cutting board and run your knife through them to really open the flavor. Add half to each bowl and toss the vegetables.

Put each bowl of vegetables on separate baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The potatoes and carrots may need a little longer to cook then the zucchini and brussel sprouts depending on how large they are. Bake to the consistency that you and your family like! Ross clan goes real crispy on the brussel sprouts and zucchini – if you’ve never had a crispy brussel sprout leaf you are missing out.

Toss all the vegetables in a dish and sprinkle a few extra rosemary springs over the top to make it pretty. I personally also like to drizzle flavored balsamic vinegar over these as well to give them a little extra something. My favorite is apricot balsamic!

Happy holidays!

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