My First Dairy-free Thanksgiving

Gluten-free, dairy-free apple pie

I had my first gluten-free Thanksgiving last year.   This year was my first dairy-free Thanksgiving.  A challenge?  A little, yes.  But I think I did a pretty good job.  The menu was similar to last year.  The exceptions were really the pies.  I managed to have 2 days off in a row.  That rarely happens unless I request it.  I used those two days to start my prep for Thanksgiving.

Once I saw Carol’s post on the Perfect Gluten-free Pie CrustI knew I had to go for it finally.  I took my pie crust recipe that I used for years and simply substituted the flours.  I used my food processor to mix it like Carol suggested.  However, I over mixed it so the crust turned out crumbly during the baking process.  Lesson learned.  Do it by hand like I’ve always done next time.  Despite the little crust issue, the pie was just like I remember it.  I wound up eating the whole pie by myself since Chaz hasn’t had a sweet tooth lately.  Good thing I don’t use refined sugar and I used bean flour.

Crustless gluten-free, dairy-free Pumpkin Pie

The night before Thanksgiving, I quickly whipped up Shirley’s Crustless Gluten-free Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie.  Did I mention how easy it was?  I had it ready before the oven was even preheated.  Chaz still didn’t have a sweet tooth so the pie was all mine again.  I used real pumpkin and bean flour.  More vitamins and protein, the better!  The coconut milk helps in that area, too.  I did not puree the pumpkin.  The recipe doesn’t say to if using real pumpkin.  The thought did come to me after I poured the batter in the pie dish.  It always happens after, right?  I was staring at some chunks of pumpkin wondering if I should have used the immersion blender to mix it all together.  I figured if it didn’t turn out, I still had enough pumpkin to whip up another one.  I have to tell you, it was good with the pumpkin chunks.  The spices seeped into them so it wasn’t like a void in the pie.  It just gave the pie more texture.

Dairy-free Party Potatoes

I made sour cream and cashew cream cheese from Go Dairy Free’s book to make my potatoes.  This is where I really missed dairy.  While the sour cream was even better than real sour cream to me and the cream cheese gave me the idea to use port wine for port wine cheese, they did not bind the potatoes well.  The potatoes were still good, but no matter what I did to help the binding process, I didn’t get the creamy texture I’m used to.  I will definitely use the sour cream and cream cheese for other things.  I’ve already made the cream cheese with port wine, and it was as good as I imagined it.

Gluten-free, dairy-free stuffing

I made the same gluten-free stuffing that I created on the spot last year and used Earth Balance soy-free butter to cook the celery and onions.  Not one bit of difference at all.  It was the side that I had most of and it disappeared from the fridge first.  Last year, I used Whole Foods’ gluten-free sandwich bread.  This year, I used a mix of Katz Gluten-free Wholesome bread (my favorite gluten-free bread) and Rudi-s Whole Grain gluten-free bread (my second favorite).

Pan roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon

Last year, I made pan roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon and did so again this year, using my new favorite bacon, Applegate Farms.  They make my favorite hot dogs, too.  It was easy to do some prep on the veggie dishes while this dish cooked.  I never get tired of this dish.  Bacon just makes everything better.

Roasted golden beets and Roasted sliced eggplant

I went simple on the other two veggies.  Roasted sliced eggplant and roasted golden beets.  I was trying to make sure there was a lot of color in the veggies since the rest of the sides and the turkey are the same color.  I used my toaster oven and roasted the golden beets earlier in the day after putting the turkey in the oven so they would have time to cool off enough for me to handle when I trimmed them up and peeled the skin off to slice.  So thankful for toaster ovens!  The eggplant, I simply sliced and drizzled with oil and salt.  Then I put it in the oven after taking the turkey out.

Cranberry Compote

I love making fresh cranberry sauce during the holidays.  I love that I can make it ahead of time, too.  Which is what I always do.  However, this year I changed it up a little.  I used less water and less pure maple syrup.  The result was more of a compote than a sauce.  I’m so glad I bought extra cranberries so I can perfect this before sharing it with you.  I’ve already used the leftovers to make a “milk” shake and to top gluten-free blueberry waffles.

The finicky bird

The one thing that gave me trouble this year was the turkey.  I had it in the oven longer than recommended and the temperatures all checked out when I took it out of the oven.  Once I started to carve into it after letting it rest, I saw the dark meat was still pink and so were the juices.  I was not happy.  Okay, I was starving.  So the idea of having to put it back in made me not happy because I was ready to eat.  I turned up the temp on the oven and put it back in.  Once it was done, it was perfect.

I enjoyed a full plate while Chaz had 2 plates.  We were happily stuffed.

Soup’s On!

Turkey Soup

It’s the time of year when I make a lot of soups and stews to keep me warm.  Making my own broth makes it simple and easy to do.  Especially when you have leftovers to play with.  If you think about it and you tend to stock your fridge with veggies like I do, you can always make some kind of soup.  Anyone want to try making an Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup?

I still have turkey broth in the freezer I made after Thanksgiving that I’m using up.  Chicken broth is called for in the recipe?  No problem.  Turkey broth to the rescue!  I have a big container of beef broth in the freezer, too.  That comes in real handy since there is a lot of gluten laden beef broths on the market and I can easily use it for stew or gravy.

I actually made this soup Christmas Eve.  My husband helped out and prepped the veggies for me while I was at work. All I had to do when I got home from work was throw everything in the pot.

Turkey Soup

6 cups turkey broth

2 cups chopped turkey

1 onion chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

salt

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Add all ingredients except salt and peas to a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for an hour or until the carrots are tender.  Add salt to taste.  Add peas.  If using fresh, simmer for 15 minutes more.  If using frozen peas, simmer for only 5 minutes.  This will help keep the peas from overcooking.

My First Gluten-free Thanksgiving

 

Turkey stuffed with orange, apple, onion, sage, savory, thyme, & rosemary

 

This year was my first gluten-free Thanksgiving.  We were expecting our friend, Caity, to join us for the weekend.  She has Celiac and I was looking forward to sharing being gluten-free for that holiday with her, as well as giving her some cooking lessons again.  Alas, due to my new job in retail with wild hours and her change in jobs without being able to visit for the entire week like originally planned, she decided she would postpone a trip to see us.  That left me with dropping the ball on planning what I would fix.  I had no idea and little energy to sit down and figure it out.

I knew I would make turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.  Beyond that, I was clueless.

Candy Carrot Coins

I finally sat down one day and was perusing through Shirley Braden’s recipes at gfe – gluten-free easily.  I printed off several recipes and whittled those down to two.  Candy Carrot Coins and Super-Charged Garlic Lemon Broccoli.  I really wanted to try her Fried Calamari, but it was too ambitious for what little time I had to prep for Thanksgiving with my work schedule.

Then I got it into my head that I needed to make gluten-free stuffing.  Don’t ask me where or why.  I just decided I had to have gluten-free stuffing.  First off, I’ve never made stuffing before.  Granny always made it.  When I was living in Hawai`i, I did without stuffing.  When I moved to Kentucky, my mother-in-law made it.  Maybe it was just that need to have that experience of having gluten-free stuffing at least once in my life.

 

Gluten-free stuffing

 

I did it though.  I bought some of Whole Foods’ gluten-free bread.  Risky since I had no idea what it tasted like.  But, it was the only gluten-free bread they had that would give me the most for what I was paying for.  I used an entire loaf for my stuffing.  I even diced it up and dried it two days ahead of time.  It was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be, too.  On Thanksgiving day, I sautéed the onions and celery my husband prepped for me.  Then I tossed it together with the bread cubes, chopped apple, and chopped sage, thyme, and savory.  Threw in some of my homemade chicken broth and mixed it well.  I put it in a baking dish and cooked it at 350 after I took the turkey out.  As with many first time dishes, I had no idea what to expect from this.  My final result was heaven.  At least for me.  I just wanted to eat the whole baking dish full and forget the rest of the food.  It did need more broth for more stickiness, but it was still moist and flavorful.

Cranberry sauce

I made my cranberry sauce ahead of time.  The same day I dried the bread cubes.   I always make cranberry sauce from scratch.  I can’t even remember the last time I had it from a can.  Since I was making mashed potatoes and gluten-free stuffing, I wanted to make sure that the cranberry sauce was whole foods friendly.  This year, I used maple syrup instead of sugar.  I always add orange zest and the juice of an orange to the water.  I’ve also started to add a cinnamon stick in recent years.  It just gives the flavor more depth.  I let the sauce simmer a long time to let it reduce.  After sitting for 2 days in the fridge, it was just as thick as when I make it with sugar.  It wasn’t overly sweet either.  The bonus is that my husband doesn’t like cranberries, so the sauce was all mine.  Instead of gravy on my turkey, I use cranberry sauce.

 

Mashed Potatoes

 

Calling my mashed potatoes “mashed potatoes” doesn’t really do them justice.  The recipe was given to our family by a friend and the name is really “Party Potatoes.”  But, that just doesn’t fit to me either.  While the potatoes are boiling, I whip together some cream cheese and sour cream.  I use more sour cream than the recipe calls for.  I leave the mixture in the mixing bowl and add the potatoes to the mixer little by little with a stick of butter.  So, they get whipped in the mixer.  There are some chunks at the end, but no one ever seems to mind.  I spoon the potatoes into a deep casserole dish that is greased with butter, then top it with a few slices of butter before it goes in the oven.  Yes, this baby is whipped then baked.  The beauty of the potatoes is you can prepare them ahead of time (minus the baking) and freeze them.  I usually bake the potatoes for 30 minutes at 350.

 

Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

 

When I did the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving my eye caught some Brussel Sprouts on sale.  I couldn’t pass them up.  I had some bacon at home and I figured I’d try make the Brussel sprouts with the bacon since we liked the version at Eddie Merlot’s so much.  I kept it simple.  I cooked 4 pieces of bacon in a pan and set the bacon aside.  I added quartered Brussel sprouts to the bacon fat with some salt and pepper, covered and let it roast in the pan while stirring occasionally.  I crumbled the bacon and added it to the pan with about 5 minutes left to cook.  It wasn’t quite like Eddie Merlot’s, but it was still wonderful.

 

Super-Charged Garlic Lemon Broccoli

 

I have to give thanks to my extraordinary husband.  I couldn’t have made everything without his help.  Yes, I did prepare some things ahead of time.  But, he agreed to do all the prep work for me on Thanksgiving day for the veggies and herbs.  That gave me time to sit and enjoy time off my feet.  He even carved the turkey for me while I made the gluten-free gravy.

 

Lots of food!

It was a spectacular first gluten-free Thanksgiving.  Now that I’ve navigated one holiday gluten-free, I look forward to Christmas.  Don’t ask me about plans though.  I’m still trying to get through the Christmas rush both at work and trying to get the last of the presents ready and mailed off.