Thanksgiving 2012

It’s that time of year again in the U.S.! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and everyone is gearing up for a BIG day of food, friends, football, shopping anticipation, and gratitude.

Most people throw healthy living to the wind for this one day of the year (or on every holiday), but I want to share how simple it is to make healthier versions of your favorites – without sacrificing taste or satisfaction factor! 🙂

Then, I’ll share my fave recipes that are always a hit in any audience. Let’s dig in!

#1: Swap This for That

If you’re looking for low calorie, low fat, high fiber, pseudo substitutions and sweeteners, you are in the WRONG place!

Instead, let’s use our noggin’s to apply basic science to our food.

It’s not fat, or carbohydrates, or protein that causes health issues like diabetes and other western disease, obesity, or low energy. It’s deeper. 

It’s the kind of fat, carbohydrate, or protein & their constituents that cause poor health. 

For your recipes this holiday season, swap:

• Vegetable oil, Crisco, margarine, canola oil for real butter, coconut oil, tallow, ghee, or pastured lard.

If you’re curious as to why these saturated fats are much healthier for you and will help you live longer and free of disease, click here for a great starting point.

Substitutions are cup for cup. PLUS, everything tastes better with butter! Promise!

• White sugar for honey, maple syrup, or dates.

White sugar depletes nutrients without replacing them. While all recipes don’t work with substitutions, most do, especially sweet potato casseroles, cookies, and most pies.

If a recipe should be thicker, use honey, if it is okay runnier, use maple syrup.

• All flour for almond flour, almond meal, and/or coconut flour.

Gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley (and most grains because of modern food processing), is known to disrupt your immune system… the last thing you need while stuffing yourself silly on Thanksgiving! The body can only do a few things well at a time, ya know.

All pie crusts, cakes, cookies, thickening agents, soaking agents, and toppings are just as tasty with almond flour. True story!

Check out for the amazing recipes that make this possible! (Note: I never eat gluten-free stuff and pretend like it tastes good if it doesn’t!)

Substituting almond meal/flour cup for cup is great too.

#2: Your Pie Doesn’t Need 2 Cups of Sugar to Taste Good…

The second tip is… cut the sugar in 1/2 or at least by 1/3. I PROMISE no one will notice (including you) and your body will thank you big time!

No pie needs 2 cups of sugar to taste right. How about actually tasting a pecan? Or a sweet potato? Why is this a foreign concept???

1/2 cup of sugar, honey, or maple syrup is PLENTY for desserts to taste sweet but not sickeningly so. 

If it helps, I use 1/4 cup of sweetener at home and 1/4-1/2 cup for public events. No one knows. Everyone raves. You can do this too.

That’s it folks! Two simple steps that will totally transform your health this Thanksgiving. True story! NOW… onto my favorite recipes!

1. The Turkey 

Made this turkey last year and it was FABULOUS! I highly recommend this tasty recipe for a smash at your party this year.

The recipe is from

12 lb turkey

Day before brine your turkey in:

2 cup water

2 cups kosher salt,

2 cups good whisky (optional)

Âľ cup organic raw honey

Mix all the ingredients together. Make sure your turkey it defrosted and that you remove the giblets and rinse your bird. Put the turkey in a large pot and pour your brine over your turkey. Put a lid on it and keep refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Making sure to take your bird out of the refrigerator at least an hour before the cooking process so it is at room temperature when you cook it the next day.

Prep your turkey:

4 tbls grass fed butter at room temp

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and Thyme (I personally used dried thyme because I couldn’t find fresh thyme)

Juice from 1 orange

Mix all the ingredients together.

Preheat oven to 400.  Wash and dry the turkey with paper towels.  Place the turkey in your roaster breast side up.  Pull back the skin from the breast and in between the skin and the meat, place the butter, rosemary, thyme and orange juice mixture. Save some of the butter mixture to rub on the top of the bird too. Sprinkle the entire bird with sea salt and pepper.  Cover and roast for 20 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 and cook for an additional 20 minutes per pound, uncovering the bird for the last 30 minutes to brown the turkey.  Remove and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.  Make sure you use a meat thermometer to ensure that your turkey is done!


1. The Sauce 

Another favorite from last year. AND this was the first time I’d made cranberry sauce! Loved it! 🙂

Note: if you want less tangy and sour, I’d go ahead and double the honey. I thought it was perfect, but Clint wasn’t crazy about the tangy-ness!

Cranberry Sauce-Sarah’s Everyday Paleo Recipe with a few twists, made by Evan Garfeild

1 lb Cranberries (about 4 cups)

1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

½ tbls cinnamon

1 tsp fresh ginger

2 tbls organic raw honey (if you like your sauce tangy and a little sour leave out, it is just as delicious!)

In a large soup pot add the cranberries, orange juice, cinnamon, and ginger and bring to a slow boil.  Once all the cranberries have popped add in honey and simmer, stirring often until the sauce becomes thick, about 10-15 minutes. Pour your sauce into serving bowl, cover and refrigerate. (you can either serve warm or cold)


3. The Sweet Potatoes

Simply smashed sweet potatoes are delicious! If you’re short on time, simply bake a few pounds of sweet potatoes, scoop out the mixture into the blender, add a stick of butter, a pinch of sea salt and some cinnamon, and blend.



Add a few tablespoons of maple syrup for a touch of sweet!


4. The only way my husband will eat Brussels Sprouts!

True story. Clint won’t touch a brussels sprout with a ten foot pole… but he likes this dish!

This recipe was inspired by this recipe from BTB Fitness, with some substitutions for our tastes.

– 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, and shredded
– 4 pieces bacon
– 1/2 – 1 Tablespoons dijon mustard (OPTIONAL, we leave it out)
– Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
– 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
– 2 Tablespoons olive oil
– 1 cup toasted pecans

Fry bacon in large skillet until crispy. Drain on paper towels and crumble, reserving some of the bacon grease in the pan. If using mushrooms, add first, and sauté until slightly softened, then add Brussels sprouts and sauté until golden brown and softened.

Meanwhile, combine the mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice, then whisk in olive oil. Toss dressing into sprouts, and stir in pecans and bacon. Salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is also tasty with some chopped up Granny smith apples, some dried cranberries, etc.


5. Pumpkin Pie Cake Balls

A fun spin on pumpkin pie, try these instead. YUM!

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg, ground

1/8 tsp. allspice, ground

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

2 eggs

1/2 c. honey

1 can pumpkin (no sugar) OR 1 small baked pie pumkin, blended

1 box cream cheese

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. maple syrup

2 bags 65% bittersweet chocolate chips

Lollypop sticks (optional)

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, honey, & pumpkin and add to dry mix. Mix well, add to prepared cake pan and bake at 350ÂĽ F for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out of middle of cake clean.

While cake is baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting by mixing together the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup until smooth & thick. Set aside.

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool. Then, crumble cake in a bowl with half of the cream cheese frosting. Mix together with the back of a large spoon or spatula until consistent.

Make 1 inch balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet & put in the freezer for 1 hour. Then, melt chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat or in a double broiler. Dip pumpkin balls into chocolate and return to parchment paper and freezer for another hour.



What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes? And what will you be making? Leave a comment below sharing your best recipe or tip! Can’t wait to hear from you!

Know someone this could help? I thought so! Go ahead and use the social buttons below and to the right to like this post AND share it with your friends! Spreading the love transforms lives. Really.

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to see your photos and hear about your holiday! Talk soon!


Gerilyn helps people all over the world improve their lives & experience more energy, more weight loss, and more vibrant health through real food nutrition, fitness, and healthy living so that they savor life again and BE a blessing! Her experience in nutrition, strength & conditioning, personal growth, love of cooking, and passion for transformation make her uniquely suited for this mission. She has a knack for creating contagious healthy experiences and providing the needed support and accountability that turn diets into lifestyles and dreams into realities.

Learn Gerilyn’s Signature Jump-Start Formula – free. It’s a simple nutrition formula to infuse you with more energy, more freedom, and more vitality! Click here to access it now! 

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