Hi, Friends! It has been quite the year for our family – August saw our lives turned upside down with an unexpected, severe and current health crisis for my oldest daughter, which I will talk about at some point, around the time that I finish processing all that has happened – i.e., a long time from now! In the meantime, here we are on the doorstep of Thanksgiving!
To make things more interesting – because really, how could we be anything but bored? – My doctor made the challenging and strong recommendation this year that I follow a mostly Paleo diet. The restrictive nature doesn’t entirely work for me year round, especially around this time of year. So, I’ve opted to follow a mostly Paleo diet 80% of the time and Gluten-free/Dairy-free, with a touch of Vegan the rest of the time. Believe me, my family loves me a whole lot better this way – what I eat they eat!
Cue Thanksgiving. 100% Gluten Free/Dairy Free and mostly Egg Free as well.
Let me give you an idea of what Thanksgiving usually looks like for us.
And, with all of the new restrictions, here was my idea of what we were going to be eating this year.
I perused the likes of The Pioneer Woman, Alton Brown, Hello Gluten Free, The Gluten Free Goddess, Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Back to Her Roots, and, of course, my favorites recipe book. Guess what? Thanksgiving was an HIT! I believe I got the “this is the BEST Thanksgiving food EVER!” compliment. Doesn’t get better than that!
So, grab a seat and a coffee – or your pre-Thanksgiving cocktail. It’s going to be a long ride.
Here is what I served:
|The Pioneer Woman Roasted Turkey|
Turkey and gravy – Literally, hands-down, the BEST turkey I’ve ever had, Ree Drummond’s, (the Pioneer Woman) recipe for citrus brined, roasted turkey. Seriously, the gravy off this bird is AMAZING. If you’ve never brined before, try it this year, and make sure to start 24 hours before! The bird was tender and crispy and just.. Well, the BEST turkey I’ve ever had!
|Best Vegan Mashed Potatoes – The Minimalist Baker|
Mashed Potatoes – Mashed potatoes are pretty easy to swap. I swapped out the milk for homemade turkey stock and added non-dairy butter (I like Smart Balance). Easy peasy. But it was the addition of roasted garlic from Dana at the Minimalist Baker that knocked these out of the park. I roasted the garlic early in the morning, and it was ready when it was time to mash. Just squeeze the garlic in and you are good to go. I think I would add an extra head of garlic next time, but they were great as is.
|Favorite Family Recipes|
Cranberry Orange Sauce – Already gluten free/dairy free. This recipe at Favorite Family Recipes is along the lines of my go-to recipe. I like to add a half an apple for texture, and a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger in addition to the cinnamon. I also split the cup of sugar into half white and half dark brown sugars. Use fresh cranberries, make sure to make it a few days in advance to give the flavors time to marry and don’t even think of reducing the sugar.
|Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Apples – Back to Her Roots|
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Apples – A family favorite that is already Gluten Free/Dairy Free, I swapped out the balsamic for a splash of sriracha. It’s the perfect blend of heat and sweet and takes the rustic brussel sprout to new heights. Try it! Thanks to Back to Her Roots for the base recipe!
|Best-Ever Green Bean Casserole – Alton Brown|
Green Bean Casserole with Panko Breaded Onions – There are all kinds of things wrong with the traditional Green Bean Casserole for me, starting with the cream of mushroom soup (dairy) and ending with the crispy onion topping (wheat). Alton Brown, that amazing kitchen scientist, has this recipe for Best-ever Green Bean Casserole. I traded corn starch for the flour in the base and swapped in GF Panko for the topping. The topping is still crispy two days later. Awesome.
|Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing – Num’s the Word|
Apple Sausage Stuffing – Another family favorite, I skipped the cranberries and swapped out the bread crumbs for GF corn bread and GF bread crumbs made from Udi’s whole grain bread. Magical. Fresh herbs do make ALL the difference.
|Watergate Salad – Spicy Southern Kitchen|
Watergate Salad – Pineapple Pecan Salad or the green stuff. Bekah LOVES it, and it’s my Sister-in-Law, Shannon’s, signature dish. Made with Cool Whip, which, by the way, does contain milk, this salad is a no-no for me. At least until I found So Delicious Dairy Free Coco-Whip. The hint of coconut adds to the flavor. Win!
|Gluten Free Dinner Rolls – Hello Gluten Free|
Gluten Free Dinner Rolls – As anyone eating Gluten-free knows, bread is the one thing that is hardest to replicate. These rolls from Hello Gluten Free! are the closest I’ve ever come. I swapped out the egg for Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with rice milk and brushed them with dairy-free butter.
Kucha – Pronounced Coo-Ka. It’s an old family recipe that most closely resembles the German dessert kuchen (link is in German). It’s a sweet dough filled with custard, then baked with a dense layer of cinnamon and sugar. For our family, we eat as you would eat a roll – with your dinner. It is tasty with turkey or ham. It is a part of every family dinner memory I have. It IS Thanksgiving for me. And, of course, it’s loaded with wheat and dairy. Luckily, I managed to find subs that were just as amazing! I traded the standard heavy cream for full-fat coconut milk in the custard and used the sweet bread recipe from Recreating Happiness. Score!
|Pumpkin Pie with Praline Topping – The Gluten Free Goddess|
Pumpkin Pie – The Gluten Free Goddess does it again! I followed this lovely lady long before my doctor crashed my sugar-loving’ party. This pie is gluten free, dairy free and egg free. And, it has a taste to die for. I ran out of time, skipping the praline topping. It was just as lovely with a dollop of So Delicious Dairy Free Coco-Whip.
After all of my fears, I have to say we produced a pretty great looking spread this year.
If you are facing a change in diet, don’t give up hope! You can still enjoy many of your favorite
dishes with a few tweaks.
We are thankful to have enjoyed our favorite dishes in a much more belly pleasing way this year. But most of all, we’re thankful for each other. We’re thankful we’re all together, to have one another to lean on during difficult times and thankful that we’re all, mostly at least, in one piece. However difficult this past few months has been, we’re blessed beyond belief.
Family Photo – circa 2012 – time for an update!
May you and yours be just as blessed! Happy Thanksgiving!
For more ideas check out my Thanksgiving 2015 Pinterest Board or these links!