When I was in Chicago two weeks ago for BlogHer Food ’15, I heard a busker playing a soulful, saxophone rendition of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Too soon, was my first thought, until I realized that Thanksgiving was right around the corner. So here we are: Thanksgiving’s only a week away and I don’t even know what we’re cooking. Fortunately, Whole Foods has me covered with its extensive 2015 Holiday Menu.
Disclosure: Whole Foods Market compensated me for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
I visited Whole Foods Market in Omaha’s Regency Court last week to get a sneak peek of the 2015 holiday offerings—and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. This is the one year when no one in my family has any time to cook. M is working 60+ hours per week chairing his department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My sister, Zoe, launched her own salon, Liquid Diamonds: A Color Chamber, and had her second child. My other sister, Bri, is busy melding young minds as an award-winning English and ESL educator in Houston. And my parents are in the middle of retirement AND a big move. And even food bloggers like me sometimes need a break from the kitchen—which is why Whole Foods 2015 Holiday Menu is so perfect.
This year’s Holiday Menu features eight heat and serve holiday meal packages, as well as a comprehensive menu of appetizer, soups, salads, all types of platters—from the classic crudité to the exotic charcuterie and cheese spread, and enough side dishes and desserts to impress the most discerning dinner guest.
Gruyere and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms, Petite Crab Cakes and Mini Kale Cakes with Sriracha Aioli are classy additions to any holiday party. For something unique, try Whole Foods’ vegan Pumpkin Almond Wontons, a sweet and savory appetizer featuring pumpkin and vegan almond ricotta.
We enjoyed our appetizers with the GastroNom’s Holiday Honey Punch by Omaha’s own ‘Noms: Jay and Leah Hall, or, as I like to refer to them, my new best friends. Punch is back in a big way and the Noms’ punch was awesome, featuring local Brickway Distillery whisky, holiday-spiced honey syrup, blood orange bitters and freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice.
Next we sampled Whole Foods’ Harvest Salad and Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Soup. The Harvest Salad featured field greens studded with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, blue cheese and a tangy, irresistible pomegranate molasses vinaigrette. The Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, with its silky, creamy texture and bits of forest mushrooms, chestnuts, onions and celery, was a hit across the board.
After another cocktail by the Noms, Rosemary’s Pear, this one with gin, pear nectar and ginger beer, it was full-on Thanksgiving. We sampled Whole Foods’ heat and serve Whole Roasted Turkey, Classic Mashed Potatoes with Organic Turkey Gravy and Traditional Herb Stuffing. We also sampled the Vegan Roast En Croute and Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy. There were a number of stunning side dishes that would appeal to vegans or meat eaters alike: Roasted Root Vegetables, Green Beans with Toasted Garlic and Leeks and Organic Cranberry Relish.
The Roast Turkey was deliciously flavorful and moist, while the Classic Mashed Potatoes were loaded with the familiar, comforting flavors of butter and cream. The vegan Roast En Croute was satisfying (even for this meat eater) with an earthy apple, cranberry, hazelnut and kale stuffing layered with autumn flavors of sage and thyme. I was blown away by the Organic Fresh Cranberry Relish, with its slow-cooked flavors of ginger, sugar and orange.
We finished the night with a sampling of Whole Foods’ Mini Pastries, including chocolate tarts, cupcakes, mini key lime pie and cannoli. If you want something a little larger, the 2015 Holiday Menu also offers a Buche de Noel (Yule Log) and a selection of 8- and 10-inch pies.
If you have vegetarians, vegans or anyone with dietary restrictions joining you for your holiday dinner, Whole Foods has something to offer. All menu items are carefully labeled, so there’s no second guessing, and all its menu items adhere to the company’s high quality standards. Animal products meet 100+ animal welfare standards, are fed a vegetarian diet and are antibiotic free. Whole Foods baked goods feature no hydrogenated oils, no added trans fats, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and are only made with unbleached flour. The 2015 Holiday Menu also features a full Hanukkah menu of traditional favorites such as Matzoh Ball Soup, Brisket with Mushrooms & Onions, Latkes and Apple Noodle Kugel.
The store also offers a unique selection of holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, from organic skincare products to socially conscious knitwear. Three of my favorite gifts included a scratch and sniff book for whiskey lovers, a special barrel bottling of Eagle Rare Bourbon and a bottle of authentic French champagne decked out in a holiday gift bag.
The entire evening was one fabulous food blogger Friendsgiving, and the best part was sharing it with new friends: Janelle of BakesInSlippers, Jay and Leah of The GastroNom, Erin of Her Heartland Soul, and Trish of Eat Your Beets, as well as Cass and the entire staff of Whole Foods Omaha.
Order your Whole Foods holiday meal for Thanksgiving now through Monday, November 23 at your local store or online at Shop.WFM.com. At Lincoln’s Whole Foods, they may be able to assist you for last minute orders, but be sure to call first. Hanukkah orders should be made 48 hours before desired pickup, while Christmas orders are accepted through Tuesday, December 22. New Year’s orders should be placed 48 hours before desired pickup.
A big thank you to Cass and the Whole Foods Omaha chef and team for a very memorable Friendsgiving.