And first in line ----- Thanksgiving.
I love all the smells and I love having my family around the dinner table. And I love tradition.
Its "tradition" that is the issue that grabs most of us when we first transition from our regular diet to gluten free. We want aunt Sally's pumpkin pie and grandma's stuffing. We want our mom's dinner rolls and green bean casserole. And we want to pour gravy all over everything. It can be extremely depressing ----- literally. The holidays are often difficult enough, but throw in a medically required special diet? We have to re-train our thinking and we need to make a plan.
Thanks - Giving. Giving Thanks. We sometimes lose the meaning of the holiday when we focus on the "can't haves." (understandably) Let yourself mourn a bit, its normal. But then work really hard at finding a way to make it OK.
I was diagnosed in September of 2000 and I was determined to make Thanksgiving the holiday we were used to. I was now "the" Thanksgiving cook for my family--just my family--and I wanted my kids to have the Thanksgiving they were used to.
Just four years earlier was the last time I experienced Thanksgiving as I always knew it. My (now ex) husband and I generally took turns visiting our families, traveling to one house one year, the other the next. But in 1996, we went to both. I don't know why. (Well, I kinda do, as I believe in angels who whisper in our ears to guide us.) It was odd in one way, but very beautiful in another. It was a complete blessing that left warm, wonderful memories. Family memories. We had no idea that we would lose both our moms that following year.
Make a Plan
This plate is from a turkey I recently roasted. For Thanksgiving, the sweet potatoes are dressed up with melted and golden marshmallows, the green beans are turned into some sort of casserole --- and there are a few other sides crammed onto the plate.
Next, make a list of the foods that are important to you. Keep it simple; three to five items at the most. Maybe just one or two (I mean---most items are naturally gluten free; its just about avoiding cross contamination.)
What do you want on your plate?
Now write them down---and figure out how you can have them in front of you on the table for your Thanksgiving. Google recipes. Experiment.
Is someone else doing all the cooking? Plan ahead. Roast your own turkey (or chicken) earlier in the month and put together a plate (or two) for the freezer to have ready to heat up.
Are you doing the cooking? Of course, this is the easiest --- to have all the control. And let me tell you, the stuffing I make (which is important to me) tastes just the way I remember it when my mom was the one stuffing the turkey, and it was my siblings who sat around the table enjoying all the smells and tastes of my mom's hard work.
Gluten Free Stuffing is a Must for a Gluten Free Turkey
(and gluten free gravy if you use the turkey drippings!)
the turkey and gravy cannot be eaten by those at the table
with celiac or nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
I have never actually measured ingredients for stuffing and gravy before, so know that these can all be easily adjusted to your own tastes. Just be sure that, when adding liquid to your dried bread, before stuffing it into the bird, that you don't over saturate it. You want it moist, but not soggy!
Gluten Free Gravy
Slowly add to gently boiling broth/drippings mixture, not all at once. Keep blending and adding until the right consistency. It'll thicken as it boils. If its still not thick enough after all flour mixture is added, make another 1/2 cup of flour mixture and slowly add to pot while stirring continuously until the perfect gravy thickness.
Now that you have safe gluten free turkey, stuffing and gravy, what else are you going to add?