Holidays in the Army and a Real Food Thanksgiving Round Up

A round up of all the best dishes for your real food Thanksgiving dinner | #glutenfree #paleo

Besides Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Growing up we always had Thanksgiving at my house and I loved being in the kitchen helping my mom make the most delicious meal. I don’t know why but we would always bust out the fancy Christmas dishes for Thanksgiving dinner which made setting the table that much more fun. When I was in college I was fortunate enough to get a week off for Thanksgiving so I was always able to go home to spend the week with my family. Once I married my husband who had just joined the army, however, things changed.

Two years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, we PCS’d (permanent change of station, aka moved) from Fort Benning, GA to Fort Hood, TX where we are still living. This meant having all our stuff packed up the week prior to Thanksgiving and being on the road over the holiday. We actually arrived at Fort Hood the afternoon of Thanksgiving. We didn’t know anyone, didn’t know where anything was, and didn’t even have a home yet. This was really hard for me because I was so used to spending the holidays with my family. But after a minor breakdown in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel, we went inside and had a delicious Thanksgiving meal. After dinner we went to our hotel room and watched movies in bed while eating pumpkin pie. Although I wasn’t thrilled about the circumstances at the time, we made the best of it and now we have this great memory about our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple.

This year I am very excited that not only do we get to have Thanksgiving in our home, but we have family coming in to town to celebrate with us. I can’t wait to make tons of delicious food to share with my family. In case you don’t already have your Thanksgiving menu planned and set, here are a bunch of delicious real food recipes that won’t leave you needing a nap after dinner…


Pumpkin EggNOs, delicious and crispy waffles are possible on the autoimmune protocol | Vibrant Life Army Wife #paleo #AIP #nutfree #glutenfree

Pumpkin EggNOs

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from the Spunky Coconut

Apple Pecan and Bacon Butternut Squash Hash from the Urban Poser

Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Breakfast Casserole, the perfect paleo make-ahead breakfast for busy weeks or Christmas morning | Vibrant Life Army Wife

Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes from Primal Palate

Holiday Hash from the Paleo Parents


Delicious meatballs infused with the flavors of Thanksgiving dinner | #paleo #glutenfree

Thanksgiving Meatballs

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates from The Healthy Foodie

Smoky and Spicy Candied Cashews from PaleOMG

Pumpkin Pear Soup, a simple and delicious recipe perfect for those cool fall nights | #paleo #vegan #glutenfree

Pumpkin and Pear Soup

Stuffed Mushrooms from Elana’s Pantry

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup from Movement Menu

Side Dishes

Classic Cranberry Sauce recipe sweetened with orange juice and maple syrup | #paleo #glutenfree #thanksgiving

Cranberry Sauce

Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Dried Cranberry Vinaigrette from Tasty Yummies

Bacon Pecan Brussel Sprouts from PaleOMG

Green Bean Casserole from Fed & Fit

Best Ever Paleo Stuffing from Zenbelly 

Autoimmune Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing that mimics the flavor and texture of traditional bread stuffing without the bread | #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #plantains

Autoimmune Paleo Stuffing

Pear and Walnut Salad from Primal Palate

Naturally Sweetened Orange Apple Cranberry Sauce from the Healthy Foodie

Classic Mashed Potatoes from Hold the Grain

Slow Cooker Stuffing from Rubies and Radishes

Lemon Garlic Green Beans | Vibrant Life Army Wife

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

The best ever Real Food Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe from Purely Twins

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce from Nom Nom Paleo

Nut Free Drop Biscuits from Living Loving Paleo

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole from Hold the Grain

Herb Gravy from Elana’s Pantry


Crockpot Chicken

Crock Pot Chicken

Dry Brined Turkey from Food52

Smoked Turkey from the Domestic Man

Thanksgiving Turkey and Brine from Multiply Delicious


A delicious pumpkin pie with a buttery, flaky crust just the way you remember it but without the gluten, grains, eggs, or nuts | #AIP #paleo #glutenfree #eggfree #nutfree

Pumpkin Pie {paleo & AIP}

Paleo Pecan Pie from The Paleo Mom

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark from Taylor Made it Paleo

Pumpkin Pie Macaroons | Vibrant Life Army Wife

Pumpkin Pie Macaroons

Paleo Pear Berry Hazelnut Crisp

Chocolate Pie from Healy Eats Real

Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Vibrant Life Army Wife

Dairy Free Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Grain Free Apple Pie from Life Made Full


Homemade Coconut Milk

Homemade Coconut Milk

Spiced Pumpkin Cider from Plaid and Paleo

Egg Nog from the Paleo Parents

If you’re looking for even more Holiday Recipes including full on menus check out my friend Cassy of Fed and Fit’s new Holiday Feast eBook! She has over 45 delicious recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? No matter whether you are hosting dinner or attending someone else’s I hope your day is filled with love and laughter and lots of delicious food!

In vibrant health,


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7 thoughts on “Holidays in the Army and a Real Food Thanksgiving Round Up

  1. Kristen Boehmer

    All of these recipes sound amazing, Kiersten! I’m so happy you’re able to look back on that first Thanksgiving with a smile now, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to pick up everything and move to a new location. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! xoxo <3

  2. Jennifer

    just stumbled across your blog via FB. It’s nice to know there are others in killeen trying to cook healthy for their families. I lived in Houston prior to coming here and I had all the natural grocers, etc. So it’s been a bit challenging finding all my products and foods. Thanks for taking the time to post your recipes and thoughts.

    1. Kiersten Post author

      I’m so glad you found my site! You’re right, Killeen is not the easiest place to find things, especially compared to Houston I’m sure. Have you gone to Natural Grocers in Temple? It’s a bit of a drive but that’s where I always go when I can’t find something at HEB. Also, the HEB in Copperas Cove tends to have more options than the one in Killeen or Harker Heights!

      1. Jennifer

        Yes. I found that little gem (natural’s grocer). I teach at Univ Mary Hardin Baylor and one day had to hop to temple and by chance saw it. My kiddos have varying food allergies. And as much as I didn’t want to go into austin I was prepared. But this little store saved me the trip. (:

  3. Jennifer

    Me too! (:

    Thank you again for what you do. I think I’ll have fun perusing your site for some great new meal and food ideas. Always looking for something to get out of a food rut!

    Have a super day.


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