Tips for Preparing a Delicious Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

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Gluten Free ThanksgivingThanksgiving is one particular holiday where there is always plenty of food on the table.  However, hosts may find themselves stumped when preparing a “gluten-free” Thanksgiving dinner.  What should be avoided?  How can families create a meal that everyone will be able to enjoy?  Dr. Kristen Bobik, founder of Balance Chiropractic and Wellness Practitioners, has the following tips and recipes on identifying small changes that can be made to ensure Thanksgiving staples remain delicious and most importantly, safe.

THE TURKEY- Turkeys don't have any bread or pasta in them but not all turkeys are created equal. Some turkeys are injected with flavorings/preservatives containing gluten so make sure to read the label or contact the company in advance.

Butternut Squash -  Ingredients: 1 butternut squash, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 2 tbsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. raw honey. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place one half face down in a small glass baking dish with 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for about 6 minutes, to slightly soften the squash. Remove and cool. Remove outer skin of squash, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add coconut oil to a pan, heat on medium. Add squash, cinnamon, honey. Cook until mostly soft and serve. 

THE GRAVY- Make the gravy from turkey drippings using corn starch or gluten-free flour as the thickener.

THE STUFFING - The core ingredient in stuffing is dried bread, so this will need some gluten free modifications. Purchase a gluten-free mix from a local gluten free bakery such as Apple Gluten Free Kitchen.  Check for gluten in the stuffing's sausage and get gluten-free turkey stock: Kitchen Basic Gluten Free Turkey Stock is available at Jewel stores.

Gluten Free Kale and Cranberries - Ingredients: 2 large bunches of kale, 1/4 c. pine nuts, 1/4 c. dried cranberries, 3 tbsp. olive oil. Steam kale until bright green. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts until golden brown. Allow both to cool, then mix together in a large serving bowl. Add cranberries and olive oil, serve. 

THE CRANBERRY SAUCE - Instead of using a sugar-filled, preservative-full fruit sauce that comes from a can, make homemade raw cranberry sauce to ensure no contaminants!

Homemade Raw Cranberry Sauce - In a food processor, add 1 orange (remove peel and seeds), 1 lemon (remove peel and seeds), 4 dates (pitted and chopped). Slowly add 2 cups fresh cranberries and process until coarsely chopped.  To make less tart, add more dates! 

THE SIDES - The more fresh, colorful veggies the better! A green bean casserole contains soup (not gluten-free) and onion toppings. To make gluten-free, substitute crumbled "funions" for the onion topping, and purchase a gluten-free soup from a local food store. In the Chicago-land area, Fruitful Yield stores will have a complete green bean casserole mix! If serving bread/rolls, gluten-free options are available at practically any store.

Thanksgiving Green Beans - Steam 1 lb. fresh green beans for about 8 minutes (about half-done). Meanwhile, prepare ingredients for your skillet: 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 cup hazelnuts (finely chopped), zest of one lemon, 2 tbsp. chopped rosemary. Add those ingredients to the skillet, on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add green beans, coat, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve and enjoy! 

THE PUMPKIN PIE - Pie crust is not gluten-free, so modifications are necessary. Use crumbled gluten-free graham crackers (or gluten-free gingerbread cookies) as a substitute in a pie crust recipe. Or, pre-made gluten-free pie crusts are available at Whole Foods.

Pumpkin Pie - Filling Ingredients: 1 can pumpkin puree (or 1  3/4  c. fresh home made pumpkin puree), 2 eggs, 1/2 c. raw honey, 1/2 c. coconut milk, 2 tbsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. fresh grated ginger. Crust Ingredients: 1 c. pecans, 1/2 c. hazelnuts, 4 tbsp. coconut oil, pinch of sea salt. Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Process nuts in food processor until flour like consistency. In a bowl, mix nuts, salt, and coconut oil - then spread the crust mixture into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl. Fill evenly into the baked crust and bake additional 45 minutes. 

Look out for ingredients that could have been processed in a plant containing wheat and remember to read all labels carefully!

I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa
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