Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Gluten-Free Southern Thanksgiving Feast and Lesson

The anxiety of being at the precipice of the Holiday season with Thanksgiving right around the corner is stewing below the surface for most of our followers. This anxiety is due to family reunions and pot luck dinners with questionable preparation and ingredients. We used to be right there among those with anxieties, until just a couple years ago when we moved to the mountains of North Carolina.

For 4 years after Doodle's diagnosis, I prepared and carted a separate meal to each of our Holiday get-togethers. It was doable with a lot of planning and extra work. When we made the move, it finally gave me the chance to use distance as an excuse to not have to pack up a full meal. Understanding the meaning of having a Holiday meal without stress and worry of cross contamination is truly wonderful.

The move also allowed for me to focus on not only eating gluten-free, but eating organic and clean. No longer did I have to worry if the turkey that was chosen was a mass produced fattened up bird or the cranberry sauce was out of a can. No longer did I have to upset anyone with my annoying requirements of eating closer to the vine and making things homemade, as well as with dietary restrictions. And now, I could surround myself and my daughter with people on the same mission who appreciated real food.

I got to know a butcher who could provide me with a pasture raised turkey at Rose Mountain Butcher Shoppe in West Jefferson. We now buy all of our meats, eggs, and some local produce there. I picked up some homemade canned organic cranberry sauce at my best friend's farm. While in Connecticut doing our event in October, we purchased our favorite Stuffing Mix from Aleia's Gluten Free Foods. So with a little planning, our cleaner meal has formed without the usual last minute stress.

Remember: Pinterest is a wonderful place to find recipes for your favorite oldies done with your dietary needs in place but we thought we'd share some of our Southern favorites with you here.

Southern Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing

1 Medium pan of gluten free cornbread (not sweet) crumbled

1 box of gluten free stuffing mix from Aleia's

Toss together

Add 1 Tsp. of poultry seasoning and 1 Tbsp. of sage, salt & pepper

(Once completely mixed, taste and adjust seasoning to your liking)

4 Stalks of celery chopped

1 large onion chopped

Saute celery and onion in 1 Tbsp. of butter or oil and add to bread mixture

Add gluten free Chicken Broth to make a very wet mixture. (Depending on the amount of bread crumbs – You will need 3-4 cans of chicken broth or 1 large carton)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt 1 stick of butter in a casserole dish.

Add stuffing mixture on top of melted butter

Bake for 1 hour.

Holiday Gluten-Free Pie Crust

(Good for sweet potato and pumpkin pies)

2 1/2 cups ground pecans in food processor

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Stir together ground nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in melted butter.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch, deep-dish style, pie pan. Chill the unbaked crust in the refrigerator for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Fill with your pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie mixture and bake.

If pre-baking nut crust for a custard pie (like key lime or lemon):

Place pie crust on a cookie sheet, and position on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. WATCH it carefully, as nut crusts burn easily; they DON'T have to turn black to taste burnt!

Cool completely before filling.

You may use almonds to make this crust as well. You can also add about 1/2 cup of gluten free flour such as rice flour to the nut mix if you are making a potato or pumpkin pie for a more flour like texture

Sweet Potato Souffle

4 medium sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of raw sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup of condensed milk

1/2 cup of fresh butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup of chopped pecans

1/2 cup of fresh butter

1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

Boil potatoes with skin on until tender. Peel and mash. Add sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 cup butter and milk. Beat eggs well and add to mixture. Add vanilla. Pour into buttered 8x8' Pyrex dish.

Mix up topping and spread mixture over top. Bake at 350 for 30 - 45 minutes.

Some people use marshmallows on top instead of topping in which case you add them when the souffle is almost done and brown the marshmallows slightly on top.