My son has intestinal allergies which changed our way of life. We no longer stop at a fast food restaurant, or eat traditional holiday baked goods. We eat and celebrate in a new way.
The change leads me on a frequent journey to find nutritious food that is gluten free, dairy free, and enjoyable to the palate. What I have discovered is that we can make breads with a variety of different ingredients, using nut and seed flours, as well as fruits and vegetables. It opens up a completely new culinary world.
As we approach the holidays, with the usual food preparations and treats. The gluten free mom in me looks for new and unique ideas on how to prepare an heirloom Thanksgiving. This is what I have learned.
1) Look for a natural turkey. Many food packagers use gluten in the seasonings of prepared foods, which includes pre-seasoned turkeys. Although pre-seasoned turkeys are cheaper, there are some bargain natural turkeys if you shop early. Adding your own natural seasonings, such as fresh herbs with sea salt and pepper, makes the turkey delicious and no one will miss the old bird-eating traditions.
2) Choose from a variety of fruits and vegetables to serve.
Fresh green beans or asparagus broiled with olive oil fits the adult taste buds. Baking acorn, or other squash, mashing it with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and agave syrup entices the children, and some adults, to eat their vegetables.
Another favorite in our household is grated sweet potato and carrots, sautéed in coconut oil with sea salt and pepper. You can also grate a few red potatoes and add them in for extra flavor.
Another healthy gluten free, dairy free option is to make a fruit salad, or cranberry sauce. You can make homemade cranberry sauce by cooking fresh cranberries with chopped apples, spices and agave syrup until they are soft. This is one of my family’s favorite treats.
3) Separate gluten free flours when combined, make tasty gluten free breads, rolls and other baked goods. Unless you buy a gluten free mix, such as Bisquick, you will need to find some recipes that will help you mix a variety of flours together. You can make a cornucopia of breads, muffins, biscuits or cookies. Finding the right mixture that matches your family’s allergy symptoms, while maintaining a glutinous texture, will require some research. Read some of the recipes at http://www.celiac.com.
4) Finally, gluten and dairy free desserts can be tasty too. You can substitute a variety of other nondairy milks, such as coconut or almond milks to create exotic twists to treats such as pumpkin pie. Another easy way to make a piecrust is to mix almond meal with a little bit of agave syrup, and spices, then pressed into a pie plate.
If pecan pie is your family’s favorite, and they can tolerate the pecans, you can also make a healthy pecan pie. Simply use the almond meal crust, and then substitute agave syrup for corn syrup. Check for gluten free recipes on sites such as http://www.deliciouslivingmag.com, or for this and other recipes.
Most of all, do not give up on making a tasty Thanksgiving meal that is gluten and dairy free. There are many choices that will just require a little bit of planning.
Although it seems easier to give in to traditional foods outside of our family diet just for one day, the consequences can last long after Thanksgiving if we do. Be ready to add a twist to some of those favorite heirloom recipes, and you will bless your family with good health.