If you’re like me, and plan to host Thanksgiving or a Christmas dinner this year, you may find yourself thinking about it mid-October! Even more so, I don’t have a health food store nearby, and the last drop before Thanksgiving from my organic co-op this year is November 6th. Which leaves 17 days before the actual meal. And that means, planning ahead. Truly, I’d be planning ahead either way, because I don’t like chaos, I don’t like stress, and I don’t like last minute grocery runs.
I like to have what I need on hand for preparing a delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, or in the event of a small kitchen, disaster, impromptu Christmas baking, and any other possible need that could come up! Although I am an absolute believer in living life to the full, enjoying the seasons, and indulging, it doesn’t mean we have to throw healthy living out the window! For me personally, refined sugar gives me a bad headache, and I am currently battling sensitivities to gluten and cow’s dairy (and so is my daughter). But, this doesn’t mean we don’t get to enjoy all the holiday goodness that there is to be enjoyed! It just means we find a way to do it better, like many others have as well!
Here’s what I’m stocking in my pantry this year to be prepared on all fronts for a happy, healthy, and delicious holiday season.
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- Coconut Sugar–My go-to sweetener and sugar alternative. It’s rich, it’s delicious, and it’s full of flavor.
- Pure Maple Syrup–Go-to sweetener number two because maple = thanksgiving. Just remember to buy the good stuff–100% pure!
- Raw Honey–Again, natural sweetener.
- Dates–Another necessary, versatile natural sweetener for baking and pies (or snacking!)
- Dairy and Soy Free Chocolate Chips–For baking and snacking of course!
- Real Stevia–In the event you’d like to reduce the sugar content!
- Pecans, Walnuts, and Almonds, Other Nuts (Buy Raw, Soak, and Roast) — Especially pecans! Don’t forget those, because they are crucial for that pecan pie. But, the other nuts are important too for snacking and appetizer trays.
- Raw Cashews–Raw cashews are incredibly versatile for subbing into recipes such as this vegan pumpkin pie, making dairy free parmesan cheese, icing for cupcakes, or any other baking needs!
- Frozen Cranberries–Well, of course we need these. For the cranberry sauce. Make your own-trust me–totally worth it! Plus, use them for decorations!
- No Added Sugar Dried Fruit–Again, good to have on hand for adding to recipes, snacking, or appetizer trays.
- Quinoa–For the same reasons as the rice
- Brown Rice–In case you want to thrown in a wild rice dish or some sort of baked “bake”
- Whole Wheat or Gluten Free Crackers–For your cheese tray of course!
Flavorings, Liquids, Oils
- Macadamia Milk –The best non-dairy milk for substituting cream and whole milk. It’s rich and creamy all on it’s own.
- Full Fat BPA Free Canned Coconut Milk–Another rich, non-dairy substitute for whole milk with a natural sweetness.
- Pure Vanilla–To be added to pies, sweet potato casseroles, any baked goodness. Pure vanilla is 100 times better than the extract!
- Bone Broth–Because you can add it to pretty much everything ever and it will fix all your problems. Soups, stews, rice, quinoa, appetizers, endless possibilities.
- Avocado Oil–High heat sauteeing and baking.
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil–Need I explain?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil–Dipping, dressing, being beautiful.
- Coconut Aminos–A soy sauce alternative for any dishes that need some flava! It’s naturally sweet on it’s own so it can replace both salt and sugar in some recipes.
- Coconut Butter–Another great addition to baked goods as a substitute for icing, as well as a topping for pancakes, oatmeal, you name it. It’s natural sweetness takes away the need for added sugar.
- Grass Fed Butter and Ghee–If you do dairy, these are important for…well everything. Especially mashed potatoes.
- Peppermint Extract–Because, peppermint.
Flours, Spices, and Herbs
- Coconut Flour–A great thickening agent, just use a little! It’s a powerful thickener. Also for baking.
- Tapioca Flour or Arrowroot Starch–Combines lovely with coconut flour for any baking needs to take away a little bit of coconut flour’s dryness as well as replacing any corn starch.
- Whole Wheat or Gluten Free Bread Mix–To whip up for some stuffing or fresh baked bread. Chose a mix with as few ingredients as possible. Or start from scratch, if you’re hardcore! But it’s nice to have on hand just in case, and is much better than pre-baked grocery bread.
- Bulk Herbs–(My holiday favorites–Rosemary, Thyme, Herbes de Provence, Sage, Tarragon, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, Turmeric) Just make sure you check your spice rack and make sure everybody is full and happy.
- Raw Cacao Powder–For your chocolate flavoring needs, fudge making, homemade hot cacao, all of the above.
- Sea Salt–Salt. You cannot run out of salt!
- Peppercorns–Freshly cracked the day of for maximum flavor, plus use them to brine the turkey.
- Cinnamon Sticks–For addition to apple cider, hot cacao, punch, to make your house smell nice, or decorations.
- Baking Soda–Baking, deodorizing, cleaning.
- Non-Aluminum Baking Powder-Baking needs!
- Carbonated Water–In case you decide to be fancy and make a cranberry punch.
- BPA-Free Canned Pumpkin–You can never have enough pumpkin this time of year.
- Stevia Sweetened Ginger Ale
- Nut Butter of Choice or Sunflower Seed Butter–This will come in handy for baking, appetizers, and toppings
Fresh and Frozen
Get these guys the last week or two before your big day
- Antibiotic and Hormone Free Meat of Choice–Of course. Just let it thaw (in the fridge) for a few days before. Do this. We didn’t once.
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes*–For all your potato needs!
- Vegetables and Starches*—some fresh, some frozen. I have frozen green beans and corn. I have fresh carrots, brussel sprouts, greens, asparagus, and any other veggie I decide to go with.
- Fruits*–Good choices to have include apples, oranges, lemons, and limes.
- Fresh Herbs*–I always pick up fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme to be used in marinating, sauces, and decor!
- Onions*–To put in everything. Also to fry up in some coconut flour and throw on your green bean casserole.
- Mushrooms–I think they’re horrible, but you should probably have them.
- Hummus–Because you can always sneak it in somewhere!
- Pastured Eggs–Always have eggs! You always need them. Don’t forget to have a fresh dozen the day of the cooking.
- Cheeses from Hormone and Antibiotic Free Cows or Goats–Again, for your cheese tray. Because you classy.
Recipes for You:
- Allergen Free Thanksgiving
- Herbed Quinoa
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cauliflower Stuffing
- Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Cranberry Sauce
What about you? What do you stock up on during this time of year?