Thanksgiving Dinner

I am guest-posting at Itchy Little World about Thanksgiving dinner- the post can be found below or here Living with food allergies & intolerances is certainly challenging at times. Food is such a central part of our social activities (not ours specifically, but people in general), that no matter how prepared you are for something, there are times when you're still caught off guard. If we're going somewhere for dinner, a birthday party or holidays, I always try my hardest to make sure Ry has meals that are similar to what will be there. For the most part, it works pretty well. Thanksgiving is honestly one of my favorites. It's a relatively easy one to make gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free & more. It's been about 4-1/2 years since we first learned of his allergies & intolerances, so I've had some time to find or create many useable recipes. I've compiled a list of recipes here that are hopefully helpful for you this holiday season. This idea dinner list includes: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, broccoli salad, green bean casserole, rolls, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin pie, whipped cream & a few other appetizer ideas .

1. Turkey: Of course, the most important part. Itchy Little World has an excellent post on hidden ingredients in turkey here. We've always used free range or organic turkey because, thankfully, the ones we've found are purely turkey. The past couple years, I've used Safeway 'O' Organics brand & our local Safeway stocks them. They are about double the price as non-organic turkeys, but it's worth it because Ry can eat it. It also tastes significantly better- much moister & tender. I know there are other brands out there, as well, Shelton's is one. If you live near a Whole Foods or a food co-op, I'd think you'd be able to find one there, as well. Just remember to always double check ingredients; it can be surprising what people manage to put in their food, when you think it should be as simple as just being turkey! 2. Mashed Potatoes: My favorite! Ry actually didn't tolerate potatoes for a couple years, but now has them back. Here's my recipe for them. They are so simple & so, so good. If you don't tolerate potatoes, we used to mash sweet potatoes or taro root for him.

3. Gravy: I don't usually make the gravy in our house- it's usually my dad. So I don't have an exact recipe, as he mixes, dashes, pours & stirs it a little different each time. It really is a 'to taste' kind of thing, so here's a general idea to get you started: Using the stock from the turkey, pour into a medium saucepan, reserving a 1/2 cup of the liquid. You'll want to add water, depending on how much stock there is & depending on how many people you are feeding, but about 4 cups should work well. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to a slight boil. While it heats, mix about a 1/8 cup starch (potato, tapioca, arrowroot or sweet rice) with the 1/2 cup liquid. This will be thick, but you want to make sure it becomes smooth, without clumps. When at a slight boil, add the paste to the liquid. Whisk constantly, as it will thicken quickly. Add salt & pepper & other seasonings, to taste. If you want it thicker, add your starch one teaspoon at a time, whisking constantly. It's also important to note that it will continue to thicken while it's over heat, so if you like how it looks, remove immediately.

4. Cranberry Sauce: I typically use the recipe on the bag, you can find it here.  If you need one that is sugar-free, this one is really tasty, from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

5. Stuffing: This year I plan to use a variation of this recipe for our stuffing. Ry is actually no longer gluten-free, but he is yeast-free. I found this recipe for yeast-free bread that is delicious, so I plan to use that. As for sausage, we've been able to get Aidells, Open Nature & Applegate at our local grocery store. They're all dairy-free, gluten-free & egg-free. As usual, though, always check ingredients. They do have some that work for us, & some that don't.

6. Broccoli Salad: I came up with this recipe recently & it's really, really tasty. I use soy-free vegenaisse, but you could certainly adapt it to work for your dietary needs (if a different mayonnaise or vegenaisse works for you). Also, bacon could easily be exchanged for the prosciutto & the nuts could be omitted, for nut-free.

7. Green Bean Casserole: This was always our big treat at Thanksgiving. My mom is not a fan of mixing together cream of mushroom soup & green beans, but we'd get it once a year- when my dad would make it on Thanksgiving. I have to admit, I very much like it. Last year, I was determined to come up with a recipe for Ry. I had made this recipe for Turkey Devan, I omitted the turkey & broccoli & replaced it with green beans. I also didn't do the french fried onions. Honestly, they're pretty rich & we preferred it without them. I won't be using hemp milk this year either (our grocery store no longer stocks it), but plan to use plain Coconut milk. It usually doesn't add too much of a coconut flavor & also helps makes things creamy!

8. Rolls or Biscuits: These are a tasty roll to accompany your dinner- Pumpkin Rolls. I also found this recipe when looking to make strawberry shortcake last summer, but found the biscuit recipe to work really well on its own, or have strawberry shortcakes for dessert!

9. Pumpkin Spice Cake: I always have my Pumpkin Spice Cake at Thanksgiving dinner...actually at any dinner that involves a dessert. It's so tasty & easy. You can also make it the day before; I actually think it's better after a day, as it just gets moister. I used to always glaze it, but I must admit I prefer it covered in a white frosting. I don't really measure anymore, but basically do a variation of this one. Sometimes I'll add a splash of dairy-free milk or flavoring, like peppermint. Okay, no peppermint for this cake, but if it's going on a chocolate cake, that's a tasty combo!

10. Pie Crust: There are many variations of fillings to use on Thanksgiving, so I thought I'd start by sharing a pie crust recipe. I really, really enjoy this one.  

11. Whipped Cream: Whipped Cream is surprisingly easy to make. Just chill a couple cans of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge, at least overnight but a few days is even better. Remove from fridge, without shaking. Pour off liquid (reserve for smoothies or cooking). Scoop out the firm milk into a metal mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix until it becomes whipped cream. You can also add a tablespoon of sugar & a dash of vanilla, if you'd like to sweeten it up just a bit. I also found this recipe for Pumpkin Whipped Cream. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds delicious. Lexie's Kitchen also has a recipe for Whipped Cream, using an Isis Whipped Cream bottle. It looks tasty, too! & you could omit the almond extract, if you're nut-free.

12. Pumpkin Pie: Because if you have a pie crust recipe & whipped cream recipe, of course you need a pumpkin pie filling recipe! I use this one & it's delicious! It's taken me a few years to finally find one that Ry can have & actually tastes good. This one is a real winner; I didn't use the pie crusts recipes that go along with it, but I used the one listed above (which is gluten-free).  13. Butter Alternatives: We use either Coconut oil, Palm Shortening or Earth Balance- they have different dairy-free options, but also a soy-free option that we use.

14. Side Dish & Appetizer ideas: Vegetable tray with ranch dressing (this one is delicious & dairy-, egg-, & gluten-free); crackers with hummus (we like Edward & Sons rice snax); & a variation of these fruit turkeys would be really cute.

Want more allergy-friendly food ideas? Check out my Pinterest boards. I'm always looking for inspiration, so check it out if you're looking for holiday ideas or food ideas for any time of the year! There's Allergy-friendly sweet treats, Allergy-friendly dinner, Allergy-friendly snacks/lunch, among others.