gf-thanksgivingThe holiday season can be an issue, year in and year out, after you go gluten free.  You want to get together with family and enjoy all of the family traditions you used to love.  But things change a little when you can’t eat the same foods you used to.

Here are 7 gluten free Thanksgiving obstacles that my family overcame over the last 15 years of having a gluten-free eater in the family (one of them doesn’t involve my family, but is an obstacle for many).

Obstacle #1: Who will host Thanksgiving dinner?
This one is easy to overcome– and may force you out of your comfort zone a little.  The family who has the gluten-free eater should host the party.  This may not sound appealing to you at all because maybe you don’t like to cook or just haven’t had to learn how to make a Thanksgiving meal.

Here’s the deal.  I am not a great cook.  There is a REASON you don’t see a ton of recipes on this website (and when you do, you know they’re simple).  But it has been easier for me to create Thanksgiving dinner than it is to sit and worry about the food that’s being cooked up in the kitchen.  Are they sharing utensils?  Did they used contaminated ingredients?  Does the host really know what gluten free is?  These are questions that rattle on in my mind.

I am free of the the worry, when the meal is at home.

Obstacle #2:  Managing people who still want a gluten-filled dinner.

My mom's wild rice stuffing

My mom’s wild rice stuffing

Well that will happen.  For the first few years, before I mastered my mom’s wild rice stuffing (<–yup! an actual recipe), I just simply made quick Stove Top Stuffing (and of course did not stuff the turkey with it).  I did it because it made everyone happy.  However, it didn’t make me happy.  It would be one of the only things with gluten on the table.  Inevitably, when I explained that we need to pour the gluten free gravy onto the food instead of touching all the food with the ladle and creating a well for the gravy, someone always did it anyway and right into the gluteny stuffing; thus, contaminating the gravy.

After this happened I vowed to learn how to make the wild rice stuffing on my own– everyone loves it and it is gluten free! (Plus, did you know there are super yummy things you can do with stuffing leftovers?  Click here to see…).  There are other quick gluten-free stuffings out there now too.  Click here to find out more. 

Obstacle #3:  What about bread?

Corn bread

Corn bread is a great alternative to regular bread

Of course families want bread with their massive Thanksgiving meal.  This was another cause of concern with cross contamination.  Eventually I started to make gluten-free corn bread.  There is no longer the worry about having a bread fix when that is on the table.  I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Bread mix.

Obstacle #4:  Oh, and the GRAVY!

I have never had problems thickening my turkey drippings with gluten-free flour.  It thickens nicely, looks good and has great flavor.  I usually use the Bette Hagman mix of rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch that I make at home.  No one knows the difference.  If you don’t have gf flour handy, corn starch works well, but leaves the gravy transparent in color.

Obstacle #5:  What to do when others insist on bringing something to share

Have them bring things like wine, soda, veggies, or a fruit plate.  These are all things that are gluten free and don’t require any extra gluten-free knowledge.

And, if someone inevitably brings a gluten-filled pie to share, you could politely set it aside away from the GF pies in the kitchen (so no one confuses them), and just hold onto it and send it back with them.  Or, if that person has his/her heart set on eating a piece of that particular pie, cut a slice just for them.

Obstacle #6:  Green Bean Casserole (or hotdish in Minnesota)

I don’t make this or eat it.  I am not a green bean kind of gal.  But many people love them– and a green bean casserole is a huge tradition.  Good news is you can find some cream of mushroom soups out there… from brands like Progresso and Gluten Free Cafe that are safe to use.  Plus, earlier this week, Gluten-Free Living reported Aldi is selling gluten-free french fried onions to top it off!

Obstacle #7:  Pie

Dessert is a big part of the holiday.  Are you up for making your own pie crust?  In the last few years several mixes for pie crust have become available, including one from Glutino and another from Bob’s Red Mill.  Pillsbury has a ready-made pie crust dough in the refrigerator section.  Don’t want to make your own crust? MiDel has a graham style crust and Wholly Wholesome has a traditional gluten free crust in a pie pan ready for you!

If you have had a gluten free Thanksgiving obstacle that you’ve overcome, offer your quick tip in the comments below!  Happy Thanksgiving!



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