Shopping, cooking, or just showing up for Thanksgiving this year?
Whether you are making a Norman Rockwell-style feast or just showing up to a chill, catered get-together, I wanted to arm you early with Thanksgiving recipes, a shopping guide, host gift guide, and even a holiday helpline.
What to make?
If you are looking to modernize or simplify your holiday table (or just bring along a dish that you can eat), I did a round-up of a few appropriate recipes on my site for the occasion, and a few taken from my sold-out Healthy at the Holidays classes. Most are easy enough to pack up with you. Here are a few that might meet your needs:
- a plant-based entree that's easy and freezable if you need to make ahead: Quinoa, Cranberry, and Squash Bake
- everyone's favorite crispy side dish: Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
- a pre-dinner party snack: Indian Hot and Sour Cashews
- a clever sub for a starchy side: Mashed Cauliflower
- a non-wimpy salad: Kale Salad with Asian Pears and Pine Nuts
- a soup first-course that you can make this week and freeze: Butternut Apple Soup
Where to grocery shop?
Locally-grown, seasonal produce like brussels sprouts and kabocha squash are extra special this time of year at farmers' markets. Green City Market (the biggest farmers' market in Chicago) will be open the Saturday before Thanksgiving--most fall produce should last fine until Thursday.
Also check out Local Foods, a small grocery store, butcher shop, and cafe dedicated to locally-grown and -made foods right here in Chicago. It's essentially a year-round indoor farmers market and gourmet shop. They are friends of mine and sent me a discount code for you all for their heritage, pastured-raised turkeys, which are a world apart from the factory-farmed birds you'll find at most grocery stores. Use code AliaTurkey (haha!) to get 10% off and order by November 17. They also have tons of fresh seasonal produce, as well as ready-to-go traditional sides like stuffing, squash soup, and cheese boards available for pick up.
Need a host(ess) gift?
If you aren't making the big meal, lucky you! But it's always nice to not show up empty handed even if you haven't been assigned a dish to bring. Sometimes I like to skip the traditional bottle of wine and go with one of these options. They are good for local food lovers and small business supporters too:
- A fancy pie from Bang! Bang! in Logan Square
- A boxed set of spices from The Spice House in Old Town
- Pretty kitchen towels, an apron, or candles from The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square or Merchandise Mart
- A potted herb plant from Modern Sprout or Sprout Home in West Town
- A trio of mini whiskey bottles from Koval Distillery in Ravenswood
- Natural, unscented, luxury hand cream (a chef's winter must!!) from Merz Apothecary in Lincoln Square
Didn't cover your needs?
Any last-minute Thanksgiving questions? Give me a shoutout in the comment section by 11/17 or leave a question on my Facebook page and I'll respond there and help you out in time for Thanksgiving.
Happy cooking and here's to the start of a season of gratitude!