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Thanksgiving is in less than a week and since I am hosting dinner at my house this year (for the first time in many!) I am busying myself with my Thanksgiving menu.

Our guests will include some of my husband’s family who have recently moved to the area, so as part of my planning I am finding out what dishes everyone can’t live without and if anyone has special dietary needs.

I am also looking in the goodie bag that I received at the Whole Foods Market special blogger preview of their Taste of Thanksgiving event for inspiration. Here are the items that have my attention:

Turkey, of course, will make the menu, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls.

If I have anyone who happens to be gluten-free at my table, I will definitely be including these rolls! My kids ate them up and raved – I didn’t tell them they were GF!

But my “can’t live without” is stuffing!

I make a savory sausage and mushroom stuffing with fresh herbs and almonds  – my dad’s old recipe that I have tweaked over the years to make it mine. No sweet stuff in this savory-lovin’ girl’s stuffing!

Never say never though – this Bacon, Cranberry and Mushroom Rice Stuffing is a different take that could put to good use the wonderful cranberries in my bag. Or this Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds as a side dish also has my interest peaked! For gluten-free guests, vegans or vegetarians!

I normally never prepare anything that resembles yams or sweet potatoes (no-one in our house will eat these) and cranberry sauce rarely makes an appearance because I am the only one who likes it – only at Thanksgiving – and since a tablespoon or so will satisfy me for the entire year it’s really not even worth the effort.

But I got to thinking that since I am hosting people who I have never (or rarely) hosted before, that maybe others have a love for different flavors or foods.

Maybe I will have some cranberry loving folks here and I can use this fabulous Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Cinnamon recipe to be enjoyed by more than just me!

For snacks – I can’t wait to try this Homemade Hummus recipe with the best hummus beans on the planet!

And these delicious organic pumpkin seeds from CB’s Nuts, in Kingston, seasoned with a bit of sea salt, seem a perfect fit in little bowls around the house for pre-appetizer noshing!

What are your “can’t live without” items for Thanksgiving?

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