A G-Free Thanksgiving 2011

It takes a little planning ahead to guarantee a great Thanksgiving. In many ways, it’s easier if you’re hosting, because you know what you can and can’t have. Most people hate to impose on their hosts, but it’s easier on you AND your host to ask beforehand than sit through a four-hour meal and watch others eat. Remember, nothing is more important that staying safe!

Though it’s always good to check, the good news is that all plain fresh turkey is naturally gluten free. However, self-basting turkeys usually contain gluten. Most gravy packets are a problem, too.  Check out my gluten-free turkey list for 2011

If you’re not hosting Thanksgiving at your house, talk to your host as soon as you can. If they haven’t already bought a turkey, they may be open to buying a different brand. In addition to the brand of turkey, you’ll need to talk about:
* Broth used for basting
* Seasonings
* Stuffing in the turkey
* Cross contamination

This is obviously more of a challenge. You can go the nontraditional route and do a wild rice, buckwheat or quinoa stuffing. You could use a GF cornbread or pre-made bread crumbs.


Almost all canned gravy and gravy packets are not GF.  Trader Joe’s sells some now.   Also, it’s pretty easy to make a simple gravy with GF broth and cornstarch instead of wheat (and if corn is a problem for you, arrowroot can be substituted 1:1 instead). See this link for recipes

Stop the presses! SOME Butterball gravy packets are now GF.  Read labels carefully!

Side dishes

There are lots of good options here. Green bean casserole, baked yams, cranberry relish, gelatin salads, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, applesauce…all of these things are easy to adapt to food restrictions, and they’re healthy and delicious to boot.


For many people (myself included!) dessert is the highlight of the Thanksgiving route.  If you’d like to use your standard recipes, you can easily make a crustless pumpkin or sweet potato pie or check out Whole Foods’ crusts.  Or, you can easily make a crust from crushed up cookies, shredded coconut or almond meal. Apple crisps are also simple, too. And, of course, now with the new GF Betty Crocker mixes, a cake or brownies are pretty simple, even if they’re not traditional.

T Day Recipes:
It’s dangerous when someone asks about food while I’m hungry.  When I was asked for Thanksgiving favorites, of course I started thinking (and drooling) about all the wonderful things that would make for an absolutely amazing gluten-free feast!  Here are a bunch from some of my favorite GF bloggers.

Main Dish/stuffing
Balsamic Roasted Turkey from Elana's Pantry
The WHOLE Gang's recipe for Spatchcocked turkey
Cornbread stuffing with roasted acorn squash from the Gluten-Free Goddess
Tortiere (Vegan faux Meat Pie) from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Sweet potato cornbread from the Gluten-Free Goddess

Herb Gravy From Elana's Pantry
Gravy using Cornstarch from Simply Recipes

Crockpot Applesauce by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
My Cranberry Fresh Fruit Relish
Green Bean Casserole from Ginger Lemon Girl
Simply Tasty Asparagus from Celiac Family
Roasted butternut squash soup from Jules Gluten-Free
My hot mulled cider
The Best Pecan Pie (one of my very favorites)
Easy, Crustless Apple Pie from Gluten Free Easily
Ginger Lemon Girl's Pecan Pumpkin Pie bars

Here are round ups for gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes from around the web.  There are more and more sites with great tips, too.

Looking ahead…it’s almost cookie season!  (I know, I know, maybe not what a nutritionist is supposed to say, but baking can be a beautiful and fun holiday tradition–it’s all about finding balance).  Jules Shepherd is hosting a GF Cookie Swap Contest, and I’m sure that will be a great place for inspiration.

Local Events:
DC Celiacs
Next Meeting Date: Saturday, November 12, 2011, 2:00–4:00 pm
Speaker: Erin Hartigan, DC editor for the Tasting Table
Speaker: Stephen Minton, MD, Principal Investigator and Gigi Guerrero Willis, CCRP, Clinical Research Coordinator, Alexandria Clinical Research, LLC. They are working with Alba Therapeutics which has successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial for celiac disease and Phase II has already begun.

Location: Bethesda Central Library 7400 Arlington Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814

The Enchanted Forest 2011– Westin Tysons Corner November 19 – 20 is the 11th anniversary of Junior League of Northern Virginia’s (JLNV) largest fund-raising event! The Enchanted Forest 2011 will be held November 19 – 20 at the Westin Tysons Corner. There will be GF options. More information regarding JLNV and The Enchanted Forest, including ticket sales, can be found at www.jlnv.org.


As always, wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful and yummy holiday season.

Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and classes in Fairfax and Alexandria, VA to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with Celiac Disease, food allergies, picky eaters, chronic illness, or if you just want to improve your diet, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, click here or call 571-271-8742.

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