Not Your Typical Thanksgiving

thankful, thanksgiving dinner, thanksgiving table

At gaan + co we count our blessings every day, but November is a standout month in the US where we show a little extra gratitude. We also may invest in a pair of extra stretchy pants (raise that turkey leg if you're with us) to account for all the relaxation and mashed potatoes coming our way. Thanksgiving is a tradition that looks a little different in every household and there’s no wrong way to acknowledge the things and people you appreciate most in life. We’re tossing out some not so typical ways to transform your Turkey Day this year, and hopefully for years to come!

 

Mix up the Menu

Warning: If you’re a Thanksgiving purist, this not so typical suggestion may make you cringe. However, if you’re up for introducing some adventurous flavors and creativity into your T-day menu, read on. Thanksgiving staples have been around for decades: the oven-baked turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and let’s not forget the pumpkin pie. With no disrespect to these American classics, they can feel tedious to those in charge of the cooking, and perhaps repetitive to those around the table. So if you feel ready to veer from the path of holidays past, here are some ideas that bring big global flavors and twists on old traditions. Let’s start with a drink, shall we? We adore this Mexican Spiced Cider recipe. It’s easy to make, cozy and prime for mixing in a dash of rum, whiskey or even wine to make that prep time in the kitchen a little more enjoyable.

 

Next up, it’s all about the sides. Skip the mashed potatoes and gravy this year and opt for sweet and savory twice-baked sweet potatoes topped with purple roasted grapes, goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. Trust us, you’ll see potatoes in a whole new light! We’re also huge fans of this Persian-influenced Cauliflower Rice recipe as a filling and nutritious side. Flip the script on creamed spinach and serve Saag Paneer: a super creamy spinach dish with Indian cheese best served with homemade naan bread (far more versatile than heavy dinner rolls, if you ask us!). And now, our feature presentation: the Turkey. Introduce a Chinese-flavor palette with this recipe for Slow Cooked Turkey with Honey-Soy Glaze and Garlic. Be prepared to dish out leftovers because everyone will want a doggy bag for this bird! And just in case you’re tired of pumpkin pie, or in our case, if you’re looking for a second, third, or 10th dessert option, we’re all about the single-serving sweets. Skip the pie-making and try these individual Mason Jar Fruit Crisps and cozy up on the couch by the fire. The perfect last bite of the night! 

family, yard, thanksgiving

Time to Trot

We’re all about the activity, and Thanksgiving Day is no exception!  The American Council on Fitness estimates that the average person consumes around 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving and 229 grams of fat. In other words, you better move your butt before this meal. Fortunately, Thanksgiving morning races, known as Turkey Trots, have caught on all over the country. It’s a great way to start your day with family, friends (or a great way to get a solo break from a crowded house of visitors if you need it). Plus, you’ll get out in the crisp air for a 1-mile, 5k or 10k race before what will likely be an overindulgent meal. These fun runs are everywhere. We’d bet there’s one within a short distance from where you live (give it a Google). In fact, in 2018, there were more than 1 million finishers at over 1,000 Turkey Trot race events, and that trend is expected to grow this Thanksgiving. If you can’t locate an organized race, email your family & friends, pick a spot to meet and poof! You’ve got your own Turkey Trot and none of the crowds. No excuses to grab your body cleansing & personal use wipes, lace-up and burn some calories before the dinner bell rings. 

running, turkey trot

An Attitude of Gratitude

 

In its origin, the word Thanksgiving means “the expression of gratitude” – a desire to show appreciation for and return kindness. This Thanksgiving season, embody an attitude of gratitude and give back to others. There are so many ways to spread the love. You can organize a drive for a local homeless shelter in need of non-perishable food & supplies for the holiday season. Something as simple as leaving cardboard boxes & signs for donations in local businesses, schools, and public facilities can amount to so much for those less fortunate. Or, if you opt to Turkey Trot, use it to raise money for a local charity and deliver your earnings in person to express your appreciation serving the community. Volunteer to spend time with older adults on Thanksgiving (as well as other holidays). Many are alone, or unable to travel to family. Deliver them a meal, help them cook a family recipe, or if possible, invite them to join you wherever you plan to celebrate. Lastly, when you’re doing your grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, consider the “grab two” method. Two turkeys, two sets of vegetables, baking ingredients, and so on. As you make your meal, make a meal for a family in need. Local food banks have meal donation programs, so a simple phone call and a little extra time in the kitchen can create a magical holiday for a family unable to create one on their own. The feel-good vibes will last far beyond the feel-full stomach pains you’re having post-meal, we promise!

 

- Written by Rachel Levy