A GLUTEN FREE THANKSGIVING

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As the holiday time approaches, I start to think of all of the wonderful dishes that I can make that are gluten free. I’m sure people think it’s near to impossible to eat gluten free during the holidays, but it is not that hard to set a completely gluten-free table!
MAIN COURSE

Starting with the turkey, the important thing to remember is no flour! The turkey itself is gluten free as long as there are no flavorings on it. I make the turkey either in a roaster in the oven or in my electric roaster oven. I don’t add anything to it like a browning agent. I also buy an organic, free-range turkey. There are many good brands of gluten free stuffing. I purchased one this year at Whole Foods. There was a choice of a corn stuffing or a rice bread stuffing. I opted for the rice bread stuffing mix. I will stuff my turkey with that one. Most of the gluten-free bread with spices, like the stuffing or croutons, tastes pretty much like regular bread so it is easy to use and serve to a large group of people. They won’t know the difference!

Gravy is a necessary staple on my Thanksgiving table. For the gravy broth, it is possible to use the leavenings from the turkey, but I think this is a little greasy so I usually make my gravy using bouillon. It is important to check whatever soup stock you use for gravy to make sure it’s gluten free. Many of them are not. I like the Herb Ox brand. Even though it has too many ingredients, it is one that is gluten free. This year, I purchased a soup stock at Whole Foods that is gluten free and from free-range, organic chicken. It has fewer ingredients and preservatives than the Herb Ox bouillon. I will try it this year. I boil the soup base in a stock pot and then add cold water with brown rice flour mixed well in it to the boiling soup base. This makes nice gravy. It can be thickened to taste. It’s important part to make sure the brown rice flour is mixed well into a cup of cold water before pouring it into the soup base. Then, it needs to be stirred well until it boils again. I have served this gravy at many family functions and again, no one notices that it is gluten free.

Potatoes are easy. If they are baked or mashed, they are gluten free as long as they are cooked away from any other items that contain gluten. I make both types on Thanksgiving and enjoy them immensely! Luckily, I can top the potatoes with butter since that is also gluten free.

Vegetables are easy to make and if they do not have added croutons or coated onions, they are also gluten free. Cook plain vegetables like peas, corn, string beans and more. Just make sure that not to add any sauces or other ingredients that might not be gluten free. I did buy gluten free mushroom soup this year and I’m going to make a string bean casserole. That is one of my Thanksgiving favorites! It will be minus the coated, crispy onions on the top, but that’s okay. As I keep looking, I’m sure I’ll find a substitute for them!

BREAD
So, at this point, my plate has turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, and gravy. I’m almost ready to start eating! I’ll add farm fresh butter made with sea salt. Yum! I would also like a slice of bread. My favorite bread right now it Rudy’s Multigrain bread. This is so good when toasted. I’ll add a piece to my plate.
Most cranberry sauce is gluten free as well. It’s always a good idea to check the can or package if using whole cranberries. Personally, I don’t like cranberry sauce but I’m sure it can be added to the meal without much hardship.
DESSERT
After the meal, it’s important to have good gluten free desserts. This year, we are having a gluten free pumpkin pie, a gluten free apple crumb pie, and gluten free brownies. The pumpkin pie is easy to make. I buy organic canned pumpkin to begin with. The instructions for making the pie filling are on the back of the can. Be careful not to add any flour to thicken the mixture. There is an option of flour or cornstarch. I use gluten free cornstarch. The filling mix also calls for spices. It’s important to buy organic spices so that they are assuredly gluten free. Many spices are sprayed with preservatives; they are not always okay for the gluten-free eater. For crust, I used Perfect Pie Crust mix from Gluten Free Pantry. This is an easy to make pie crust that is not rolled but is pressed into the pie plate. It makes a delicious pumpkin pie. Last year, I used this recipe and, according to my husband, the gluten free pie was better than the regular pumpkin pie. The gluten free crust did not absorb the moisture from the pie filling as quickly; the pie lasted longer. We enjoyed a piece each night for several days after Thanksgiving since I made two pies.

The apple crumb pie uses the same pie crust as the pumpkin pie. I make the crust and press it into a pie plate. Then, I fill the crust with apples, a ¼ cup of water, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a little sugar if desired. The topping is made using brown rice flour, unsalted butter, a few gluten free oats, a little tapioca starch and a little white rice flour, and some organic sugar. I make enough to top the pie and then cook it for about an hour. It is yummy served with So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!

To top this all off, we also make Betty Crocker’s gluten free brownies and a fruit salad. The brownies are available at many grocery stores. Just follow the recipe on the back for a half pan of brownies. Use two mixes if a whole pan of brownies is desired. The fruit salad is a mixture of canned fruit cocktail, pineapple chunks, sliced bananas, grapes, cherries, and is mixed with real cream. Check to make sure that any canned fruit is gluten free. This is a delectable addition to the main course and then again later for dessert.

As you can see, I will not suffer at Thanksgiving while eating gluten free. It is easy to set a whole table that is safe for everyone in my family to eat. It has taken some thinking and some practice to make this possible but it’s now routine for us.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday , Monday Mania , and Real Food Wednesday .

Shirley Wright, LMT, RMT

Shirley Wright, LMT, RMT

Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master Trainer at Healing Center of Maine
My mission is to help people manage pain and injury, reduce stress, and promote healing.

Contact me today!
Shirley Wright, LMT, RMT

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