24 Gluten-free Holiday Recipes (and more)
to be Thankful for
As many of us begin to busily prepare an amazing feast fit for an army, or begin to stress about eating at friends' and relatives' who may not understand our special dietary needs, let's not forget what this upcoming holiday is all about. This is the month we remember all the things we are thankful for. I actually try to make a habit of giving thanks every day, especially when we see tragedies like super-storm Sandy unfold, crises in the middle east, and hunger and poverty in countries around the world, including our own. Taking a bigger perspective on things always makes me appreciate what might seem like the littlest of things: warm, dry socks on a cold, rainy day. A house and yard to come home to, where my children can safely play. Access to fresh vegetables. Support from friends who don't always expect something in return. And of course, the words "I love you, Mommy!" complete with dance and song, many times a day.
Still, life seems to move so quickly between the beginning of September until the end of the year. Which is why November is a perfect time to get together with family and friends, and remember what you are grateful for. Yes, big family meals can be stressful. Look how many movies are made about family fueds occuring over Thanksgiving or Christmas! Add to that, the fact that people are putting a lot of work into making a grand feast, and as the guest you don't want to have them alter every dish for your diet. Nor do you want to worry if there is anything you will be able to safely eat.
This is why I usually prefer to host. No one has to be put out by my dietary needs, which are admittedly difficult for the uninitiated. Besides, I make a pretty mean holiday meal. This year though, I happen not to be hosting; instead, we're taking a mini-vacation to Austin, to meet up with some very dear gluten-free friends. There's two more things I'm grateful for!
If hosting isn't an option for you this year, think about it for next year. Its actually not as stressful as it might seem if you plan enough in advance and start cooking a few days ahead of time (e.g. cranberry sauce, desserts, breads). Doing it with a friend or spouse is obviously helpful and more fun. Here's a secret: you never have to tell your guests that everything is gluten-free (and soy-free, dairy-free, in my case) until after they tell you how amazing the meal was.
In the meantime, if you are a guest next week, have an honest discussion with your host/hostess ahead of time about your dietary needs. Let them know what you can't eat, that you don't expect them to make every dish gluten-free (allergen-free) for you, and that you just wanted to be sure they won't be offended when you don't eat everything that's passed your way. Also, offer to bring a dish or, better yet, help out in their kitchen cooking one of their dishes in a gluten-free/allergen-free version. Any host of a big feast would be grateful for a little help, and cooking together is a great way to bond and create memories.
If you're hosting and don't have all your dishes figured out yet, we've got you covered. Our recipes below will help you assemble a complete Thanksgiving meal. And if you're a guest and want to bring a dish, there's plenty of inspiration!
There is one more thing that I'm thankful for… You! I have met so many amazing people in the gluten-free community, who work tirelessly to help each other. Whether through recipe creation, health-related advice, or just being a friend through blog posts, Tweets, and the like, there's nothing like the comraderie of knowing there are friends out there experiencing the same thing. That's a lot to be grateful for.
So get ready to enjoy your Thanksgiving this year. Here's where you can start: