I’ve been gluten free for 5 years now. And no, I’m not Paleo, Keto, Whole 30, or any other popular eating plan right now…I’m Celiac. That’s just a fancy way of saying that I can’t eat gluten without my body hating me for about 24 hours. Both my mom and my oldest daughter are too. (If you think you are Celiac or gluten intolerant see your doctor as soon as you can.) And on top of that, my oldest daughter can’t have dairy either.
So the holidays the past few years have been a little different than they were growing up.
We don’t get to indulge in the same Southern traditions that we used to (I miss you biscuits and gravy!!!) but we are strong Texas women so we put on our big girl pants and do what we Southern women do – we come up with a new plan 🙂
After a few years my mom and I have come up with some yummy but still fun holiday food that we can eat and enjoy! Yes, we still offer a few things that are full of gluten for the rest of the family, but I’d say about 75% of what is offered at our Thanksgiving table is now gluten free!
A common misconception about gluten free is that you have to find an exact gluten free substitution for your recipes. The problem with that is that it gets…expensive. Also it’s extremely time consuming.
I’m so grateful that gluten free/dairy free/allergy friendly products are so abundant these days! But they are also costly if you buy them frequently. So, we just started to slowly change the way we thought about Thanksgiving meals. Rather than trying to substitute our favorites, we started making up NEW favorites! Best of all, they are EASY PEASY and little kid friendly 🙂
Here’s some go-to Thanksgiving Day food ideas:
Toss the pre-packed junk that comes with it and use REAL brown sugar and a little honey and just pour it all over. If you look at the ingredients on that package it’s ridiculous…and unpronounceable. So we just throw in some brown sugar and honey and a little bit of water (heat it up in a sauce pan to make pourable) and it’s super yummy! Go on Pinterest if you are fancy and want some more ingredients.
Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows
This is a little kid favorite for SURE! Rather than sweet potato pie, which takes a while, usually uses flour, and my kids think it looks gross (#toddlers) we just made some sweet potatoes and let the kids add marshmallows to it! New holiday favorite!
If you buy a can of creamed corn, look at the back of that label…gluten added to it. So we dump a few cans of regular corn and cream cheese in a pot and let it warm up. It’s SOOOO good! It’s not dairy free, so I make some regular corn on the cob for my GF DF daughter.
DIY Green Bean Casserole
We actually really like Green bean casserole and I go ahead and splurge on the GF stuff here. If we didn’t love it, I’d just fry up some bacon, tear it into pieces, add water and green beans on warm. BUT we do. So I make my own cream of mushroom.
The easiest way is to make it old school style – chop up some mushrooms and brown them up in some butter, salt and pepper. Then add GF flour and milk to make a gravy. Add to your cans of green beans in your casserole dish and finish making them like your family recipe calls for. If you like the French onions on top, the ONLY place here in East Texas we have found them GF is at ALDI!
We have never been stuffing people. Even before I went GF I didn’t really like stuffing. So instead of buying up a package of Stouffers best, we just substituted this tradition with cornbread! The one we really like is Pamela’s. You can find it at Drug Emporium in Tyler! Even our family members who swear that ‘gluten free is disgusting’ like it. Because it’s just made with corn ingredients, no added wheat like Jiffy and others.
Here’s where you can decide what you want to do. You can’t run to the store and buy a pie. And most family members (even if they make it homemade) are not going to make a GF version for you. So what we did was buy a gluten free pie crust (Drug Emporium has them!) and tried a recipe from Pinterest. However, it really didn’t taste as good.
So what we might do this year is just get something that is already gluten free like (most) ice cream and make sundaes! What I like about that option is that I can get dairy free ice cream as well and my daughter can take part. If someone brings brownies, pie, cookies, etc then everyone can still add ice cream to that dessert ‘a la mode’ style.
I hope this gives you some great ideas on things you can make gluten (and dairy) free. We realize that not everyone WANTS to eat gluten free with us, and that’s OK. There’s a big misconception that gluten free food is disgusting or doesn’t taste good. And there are times that I make things gluten free and NO ONE NOTICES (like my GF green bean casserole!).
There’s also another side to it – people who have food allergies want to be included in the family meal. We don’t want to feel like we have to eat the “other” food. It’s crazy how emotional food can be. It can bring a family together around the dinner table to make amazing memories, and it can also make someone feel different and isolated.
These ideas above are all great options that everyone at the table can enjoy together without anyone feeling left out.