'Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving


‘Twas the week before Thanksgiving and all through the house the poor cook was searching for a recipe for Diabetes-Compatible mouse (mousse). Well, maybe.

Whether you are the person hosting this year’s gathering, or you have a loved one (or two) with Diabetes, or you are invited to a gathering where you have to bring a dish…no need to stress.

Even if you do not have Diabetes, this holiday eating can pose some strange challenges. There was one year when I invited some of my friends and their kids to dinner. A week before the youngest girl announced to the world that effective immediately she was a vegetarian. Another year my niece and her husband were coming and he is Muslim. I use pork sausage in the dressing I have made for eons. I never seem to learn that the easiest thing is to eat out. It is the call of the roasted leftover turkey that causes me to give up my resolve and make the dinner.

So, you have Diabetes and you invited the strange folks that you call family to dinner. What can you make that will work for everyone?

The turkey part is easy and works for everybody except those who simply don’t like turkey. It is the rest of the meal, the sides that are the challenge. You can make a set of sides for everybody else and some diabetic sides for yourself, but aren’t you making enough dishes already? It is Thanksgiving and you want to keep it as traditional as you can. Traditional? Does that include: brining the turkey, kettle frying the turkey, spatchcocking the turkey? Great aunt Marion is rolling in her grave.

Even the stuffing can be accomplished to please everyone. Instead of using a high carbohydrate bread as the base for your stuffing/dressing, try using a lower carbohydrate bread or English muffins and “stuff” your stuffing with all kinds of good flavors. Try using turkey sausage, nuts, artichokes, along with less bread or just stuff your turkey with fresh lemons to brighten up the flavor of that long suffering bird. Bonus too that is you don’t have to worry about undercooked stuffing.

Use fresh beans to replace the “traditional” green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce to replace the can or that gelatin mold.
Mashed potatoes can be replaced with mashed cauliflower or better yet a (make ahead) cauliflower gratin. A little crumbled bacon on top and who will remember the potatoes?

If your family loves sweet potatoes, make sweet potatoes. Bake the potatoes to increase the flavor and serve it with some very, I mean very, simple ginger butter. Just add ½ tsp of ground ginger and ½ tsp to a ¼ pound of softened butter and refrigerate the mixture in a pretty bowl or roll the mixture in plastic wrap, freeze and slice like cookies. The taste is amazing and the carbohydrate count is far lower than that sweet potato with marshmallow casserole.

Now that handles it for the meal, but what about dessert? Truth is that no matter how good the meal might be, everybody remembers dessert. If you are the guest for the holiday and have to bring a “dish,” offer to bring dessert.

Once your hosts have regained regular breathing and can mutter out something like, “oh no, that is not necessary, you are our guests” insist on bringing dessert and knock their socks off with a very “traditional” and old time Cranberry and Apple Upside Down Cake. Once great aunt Marion sees this from her place in heaven, she will rest easier. Oh yes, the other guests at the table will be shocked by how good a Diabetes-Compatible dessert can taste to everybody.

Once the turkey day is done there is still more to come in this holiday season. That is great because there are so many Diabetes-Compatible dinners to please everyone or you can just rinse the dishes and repeat your triumph.

Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic

Photo credit: icoNYCa on Flickr