Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Wow, I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost here!  Is this your first gluten free Thanksgiving?  Are you a little nervous?  We'll, don't be!  This is an easy holiday to be gluten free!  Below is the menu that I'm making on Thanksgiving.  Also, be sure to check out all the other gluten free blogs.  There are so many creative gluten free cooks out there willing to share with others.  

The most important thing is, don't stress about it.  My first gluten free Thanksgiving I tried to do it all!  I planned too many things to make and thought I had to make everything homemade.  Bad idea.  If you can find pre-made gluten free pie crusts in your area, don't look at the price, just buy them.  Whole Foods makes some great ones.  That might not work if you are dairy free though and you will have to make them.  If you have to make pie crust from scratch, I would make it this week and freeze it in a pan ready to go.  It will cut down on work next week.  

To make stuffing, you really don't need homemade bread for it to be great.  I am using frozen pre-made from Whole Foods.  Their gluten free Oat bread is also dairy free.  Another bread that makes great stuffing is Ener-g brand.   It is a shelf stable bread that you usually see in health food stores.  It makes great stuffing!  Make sure you use enough liquid so your stuffing is moist.  Gluten free bread dries out easily!  

If dairy is a problem and you are making pumpkin pie, try coconut milk.  That's what I'm planning on!    I'm also not attempting rolls.  I gave up on gluten free rolls a long time ago.  I'm making cornbread.  I'm going to add a hand full of dried cranberries to it just because it sounds yummy and will look festive!  

I have a recipe given to me by my sister in law for sweet potatoes.  They are fabulous.  She uses cashews, peaches and ginger in the potatoes!  So be sure to check out that recipe!

Most importantly, enjoy the day.  Enjoy your family.  Be thankful for the food you can eat.  This is a time it's really easy to feel sorry for yourself because there are so many things around that you can't eat.  Don't let that ruin your day! Really try to enjoy and savor what you can eat.   

On another note, I received and email from the folks over at Triumph Dining.  They were letting people know that Butterball Turkeys are gluten free.  Some, even have gluten free gravy packets!  If you buy one, please read your packet before using it.  Some of the stores may still have the packets with the gravy that contains gluten.  If so, just throw the gravy out.  The turkey itself is gluten free!  

Also, Triumph Dining is getting ready to put their grocery guide in an iphone app!  I am so excited about this!  I love Triumph's grocery guide and will love having it on my phone where I can access it whenever I need it!  Thanks Triumph!

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Turkey with mushroom gravy 

Dressing (print recipe)

Mashed Potatoes 

Sweet Potatoes (print recipe)

Green Bean Casserole

Cranberries (print recipe)

Corn bread with cranberries (print recipe)

Jamaican Spiced Pumpkin Pie (this is dairy free!)

Coffee Toffee Pecan Pie 

Apple Pie (I am using this recipe from fine cooking, but using apples instead of pears.  Just use an all purpose gluten free flour as your flour)

Have a happy thankful day!!

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Minestrone Soup

The weather is getting colder and that means it's time for soup!  I think most of you know by now that on Sundays, I scrapbook with my mom and a couple of friends.  Most Sundays, the friends go home at dinner time, but once a month we have a pitch in.  The husbands come and eat with us too!  

Luckily, my mother and my friend Jennifer, is gluten free.  My other friend, Denise,  is very good about bringing something that is gluten free so the meal stays safe to eat.  We really have a lot of fun doing this and it's something I look forward to each month.  Luckily, I have a huge dining room table that can seat at least 10 without the extra leaf and more with it!  I love filling that table with people and feeding them.  

Coming up with a gluten free main dish to feed that many people can be tricky at times, but can be managed.  I love to make soup.  A couple weeks ago when we had this dinner, it was a little chilly out.  Right now the weather in Indianapolis is beautiful.  It's been in the low 70's.  I know winter is just waiting to rear it's ugly head.  So, this soup recipe will be perfect on those cold winter days.  

This recipe makes a ton of soup.  You can easily cut it in half for less people.  And, it gets better each day it's leftover!  

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Minestrone Soup (print recipe)

2 pounds ground sirloin

6 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

1/2 cabbage, chopped

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes 

2-15 oz. canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2-32 oz box beef stock plus 3 cups

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

2 zucchini, shredded (I use a cheese grater)

2 cups uncooked gluten free elbow pasta


1. In your largest soup pot, brown ground beef and drain off the fat.  


2. Add the carrots, celery, and onions.  Cook until they are tender.  


3. Next, add the cabbage, tomatoes, beans, the two boxes of beef stock and spices.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer and cook for about and hour.


4. After and hour, add the zucchini and the pasta.  Cook until the pasta is tender, about 30 minutes.  This is where you might want to add the extra broth.  I like my soup with more broth, you might like yours with less.  It's up to you!  You can also add less pasta if you like it that way.  


This makes a huge pot of soup!  It will serve at least 16 people.  


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Jennifer brought corn bread.  She has a secret gluten free cornbread recipe.  But, it's not dairy free.  So, just for me she made some dairy free corn muffins.  They were so yummy!  I can't share the recipe since she's taking it to the State Fair competition this summer.  I think she's going to give them a run for the money!  You can see Denise's veggie tray in the background.  That's a perfect thing to bring for a gluten free dinner!  

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Cashew Cheese

I'm about as excited as a dairy free girl can get!  I've discovered cashew cheese!  I whipped up my first batch last night after receiving a comment from Cinnamon Quill about making cashew cheese.  If you've never been to her blog before, please go check it out.  She has beautiful photography and is always making something yummy!  

The recipe I used was from Choosing Raw.  You have to soak your cashews for an hour of two, then give them a whorl in a food processor with lemon juice, garlic, water and salt.  Her recipe call for miso which I did not have, so I left that out.  I did use sun dried tomatoes and some dried basil in mine.  Oh my is it good.  It has the consistency and flavor of ricotta cheese.  I think it would be a very good in lasagna or on pizza!  Last night,  I liked it mighty fine on crackers and a glass of wine to go with 🙂

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For lunch today, after an early morning shopping trip to Sam's club, I was starving.  I had purchased some roast beef and made a sandwich with cashew cheese and roast beef.  Our local Sam's club has really good deli meat and it says gluten free right on the label! 

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I also found out that Whole Food Bakehouse does have a dairy free bread.  It's Gluten Free Oatmeal Bread.  They use soy milk powder and of course gluten free oats.  This is a lifesaver because there are weeks I just don't have time to make bread! 

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I encourage you to try this "cheese".  It's really easy to make if you have a food processor and really good!

Next time I think I'll make mexican flavor! 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe has taken a lot of trial and error to get it just right!  I have used the same chocolate chip cookie recipe since I was in high school!  I got the recipe from my friend Mona.  I think it was from a children's cookbook. I can't remember for sure now as I think I might be getting old 🙂  Converting it has been quite a challenge.  

I have several attempts here on the blog that were okay (Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies II).  I kept needing to tweak it.  I have been trying to get a soft, chewy cookie that doesn't dry out in couple of days.  Also, I wanted a cookie batter that did not need refrigeration before baking and I did not want to have to use parchment paper.  These cookies do not spread and only need an un-greased cookie sheet.  They bake just like their gluten filled counterparts and your friends might not notice the difference!

I have been using this recipe for several months now and it is my favorite.  No more tweaking!  This is my official Gluti Girl Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  This recipe is easily made casein free by using Earth Balance instead of butter and using gluten free/casein free chocolate chips.  I use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips.  If you tolerate butter, it works great in this recipe.  For shortening, I use Specturm non-hydrogenated shortening.  


Gluti Girls Chocolate Chip Cookies (print recipe)


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2/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened

2/3 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup sweet rice flour

1/4 cup teff flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups chocolate chips 



1. With a mixer, cream together the butter and shortening.  


2. Add the brown and white sugar and beat until well mixed.  


3. Continue mixing and add the
eggs and vanilla.  


4. Add all dry ingredients and mix well.  


5. With a spoon, mix in the chocolate chips.  


6.Drop by tablespoons full on to an un-greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Do not over bake!  Makes about 6 dozen.


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Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding.  I mean L-O-V-E bread pudding.  Before I had to give up gluten, if it was on the menu, I would save room for it!  I think it's the ultimate comfort dessert.  I've tried making it before and it was pretty good for gluten free.  But, I didn't think it would hold up against a fully glutened bread pudding.  

A couple weekends ago, Kati had a friend spend the night.  Knowing the girls would be hungry in the morning, I decided to make muffins for breakfast.  I had a bag of Namaste muffin mix that I'd not tried yet.  On the bag, was a recipe for lemon poppyseed bread.  That sounded really good, but I didn't have poppy seeds and I wanted muffins, so I figured I would follow the recipe and make muffins with it.  

For some reason, the recipe calls for adding extra baking soda when there is already baking soda in the mix.  You know what happens when there's a lot of baking soda in a recipe?  Bubbles.  Not knowing how much was already in the mix, I thought maybe it's would'nt rise too high.  Wrong!

The the batter climbed right up the side of the muffin tin and on top of the tin until the entire top was covered in batter.  Then the muffins sunk in the middle!  They tasted pretty good and we ate a couple of them even though we had to peel parts off the tin to get only bites, not a whole muffin.  

As I was standing in the kitchen thinking of a way to salvage them, an idea came to mind.  Bread pudding!  I quickly found my bread pudding recipe and got to work.  Success!  This bread pudding, I believe, would stand up to a fully gluten filled bread pudding any day.  To make sure it wasn't a fluke, I made the bread and bread pudding again this weekend, just to make sure it would turn out a second time.  This time, I used bread pans.  Make sure you don't over fill the bread pans though, because this batter really rises!  

This recipe is both gluten and casein free.  If you can tolerate dairy, by all means go for it.  I think a splash of cream in the sauce would be quite good.  If you eat gluten, I think you could make this recipe with any lemon flavored muffin mix.  But it's so good gluten free, you won't miss the gluten if you make the recipe as is!  This recipe was originally inspired by a recipe I found in Bon Appetit Magazine.  

Lemon Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce (print recipe)

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(For the bread, you will need two bags of Namaste muffin mix using the recipe for lemon bread on the side of the bag.)  

13 cups of bread, cut into cubes  

1 cup chopped pecans 

4 cups almond milk (unsweetened) or favorite milk substitute

3/4 cup sugar 

6 large eggs 

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted 

1 teaspoon vanilla (the recipe didn't call for this but I added it) 


Spray the bottom of a 9X13 pan with a no stick spray. Layer the cubed bread with the pecans in the pan. In a bowl, whisk eggs.  Add the milk, sugar, butter and vanilla to the eggs. Mix well. Pour over bread. Let this mixture sit at room temperature in the pan for about and hour until the liquid is absorbed. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. While still warm, serve with Lemon Rum Sauce.   


Lemon Rum Sauce 


1/2 cup brown sugar 

1/4 cup light corn syrup 

2 tablespoons butter 

2 tablespoon rum 

2 teaspoons lemon extract 


Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until brown sugar dissolves. Boil 1 minute. Mix in rum and lemon extract. Spoon over hot bread pudding. Enjoy!

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Chicken Rice Casserole gluten free/casein free

Whew!  I've made it almost 3 weeks dairy free!  This is something I never thought I could do.  And you know what?  It's not so bad really.  I'm surviving!

I've been starting to not only convert my favorite recipes but I'm trying some new ones as well.  Today I have a recipe that I've posted before, but I'm converting it.  This recipe freezes really well and is the ultimate in comfort food!  

Last week I did some cooking for a sick friend and a pregnant friend.  This was what came to mind to make mainly because of the comfort factor.  What's better on a cold day but chicken and rice!  The original recipe called for using cream of chicken soup which of course has wheat in it. That's how I made it for my friends.  I made one for my family gluten and dairy free.  Last year, I converted the recipe to gluten free.  You can find that recipe here.   

When I converted it to gluten free, I used a homemade white sauce, plus some greek yogurt.  If you can eat dairy you will love that recipe.  But, if you can't, my new dairy free conversion is equally as good and comforting. 

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Chicken Broccoli Casserole (print recipe)

3 cups cooked rice 

6 cups cooked diced chicken  

1 cup mayonnaise 

3 cups white sauce (recipe below)

1/8 cup lemon juice 

1 -14 oz. bags of broccoli (thawed) 

1 cup bread crumbs or casein free non-dairy cheese

Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, white sauce and lemon juice.   Add rice to the bottom of the pan and spread out evenly.  Next add a layer of broccoli over the top of the rice.  Spread half of the sauce over the broccoli, then the chicken and the other half of the sauce.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs or dairy free cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.  

This casserole freezes really well.  Take it out the day before so it will be thawed for cooking, otherwise you will need to bake it considerably longer.  

White sauce

1 half onion, chopped

3 tablespoon earth balance or olive oil

3 tablespoons sweet rice flour

2 cups gf chicken broth

1 cup plain flavored almond, rice, hemp or soy milk

Saute the chopped onion it the oil until tender.  Add the sweet rice flour and cook for about a minute letting it bubble.  Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring constantly.  Add almond milk.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Adding a clove of garlic with the onions gives the sauce a nice flavor too.  


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Gluten Free/Casein Free and Allergy testing

These are the words that have set fear in my heart for almost 3 years! I have dreaded this day.  I have not had a smooth gluten free road.  For many who are diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance, the minute they stop eating gluten they are miraculously well!  But for some, the road is a bit more bumpy.  I am one of those.  

I personally hear this from people who are older and have had symptoms for a long time before being diagnosed.  I think when your body is under attack for so long, it has a hard time becoming normal again.  Think of a soldier that's been in battle and comes back to a normal life.  Every loud noise they hear is still a battle noise.  Somehow they just can't leave it behind.  I think when the body has perceived things entering your body as an enemy, it has a hard time letting go of that.  

When I was first diagnosed, I was told to give up dairy along with gluten.  Well, that made my head spin.  I just couldn't handle it.  I didn't have any proof I needed to give up dairy anyway accept for the fact that a large percent of those who are Celiac or gluten intolerant can not handle casein either because the protein is very similar in structure to gluten.  

So, I set off on a gluten free only journey.  I felt so good for a while as all the symptoms of illness just melted away.  But, slowly, other problems crept back in.  I was sure I wasn't getting any gluten in my diet.  That's when I went for the allergy testing and found 15 foods I was allergic to.  Cutting those things out made me mostly well again, but there were still some issues.  Now, deep down I knew.  I even tried a two week stint on casein free and knew I felt a bit better.  At that time, I didn't get have allergy testing for milk/casein so I still didn't feel any need to avoid it, and with having to avoid 15 foods plus gluten, trying to avoid cheese was enough to send me over the edge.  

To be honest, I really didn't want to know.  I love cheese.  If I didn't know it's bad for my body, I didn't have to face it right?  Well, that caught up with me.  I finally got allergy tested for milk.  I know I will get email asking what type of test so, it was an ImmunoCAP Allergy testing.  I had the food allergy panel.  This test is for some of the major food allergens.  This is a traditional allergy test.  On most allergy tests, you are only allergic if you are 3 and above.  The higher the number gets, the more likely it is that you are very allergic to that food.  I my milk score was 32.  Blah.  

Food allergy symptoms can be as serious as anaphylactic shock, or less serious would be nausea, diarrhea, rash, itchy eyes, runny nose or achy joints.  I fall in the really, really achy joint category.  

What you have to remember about allergy tests is that they are really a guide.  There can be a lot of false positives.  It's not an exact science.  If you have had either the skin prick test or blood test for allergens, most doctors will recommend you to avoid the foods on your allergic list for a period of time to see if you get better.  If you are not having a severe reaction (anaphylaxis) to the food, your doctor will have you challenge each of your allergens to see if that food is really making you sick.  Doctors do NOT recommend a food challenge with someone who has life threatening symptoms from their allergies.  Do not attempt this!  But for those who don't, there might be some things on your list that you are not reacting to and the only way to know that is to challenge that food.  

Also, with foods that you are not having severe reactions to, after avoiding that food for a period of time, you can usually add that food back in your diet as long as you're not eating too it often.  You might find there are some things you just can't add back no matter how long you go without eating them.  

Food allergies can be a very frustrating thing because of the fact the testing is just not always clear.  For some, a food elimination diet can be helpful.  If you are in this type of situation right now, I feel you pain!  As hard as going gluten free was, for me, after having these allergies, gluten free seems so easy now!  

What does it mean to be allergic to milk?  That means avoiding all dairy products.  That means looking for the milk protein casein.  It can hide in many, many things!  Thus, my new challenge.  I am a cheese head.  I lourve cheese!  I know so many of you who are gluten free are also casein free and feel my pain.  

Right now, I'm not trying many of the fake cheeses.  I think they are gross!  I have purchased a book called "Go Dairy Free".  It's been very helpful and I've tried some of the cheese sauce recipes which so far have been fairly yummy.  Especially the nacho sauce.  

Luckily, I have already experimented a little bit with dairy free because my son and mother are both allergic to dairy.  My son has totally fallen off the wagon and is ignoring the fact that he has a dairy allergy.  My mom has the philosophy of just cutting back.  I tested way more allergic to it than they did, so I am on total avoidance for now.  

Over the weekend I made the family pizza.  Instead of adding fake cheese to mine, I just made it cheese free.  I put a bunch of my favorite stuff on it to make it more appetizing.  I used Carol Fenster's crust, which is good all by itself.  Yes, those are almonds.  Yum. 

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Another recipe I've been experimenting with is a family favorite bread recipe.  I posted not too long ago about these weird little things we love so much.  The recipe calls for two cups of Parmesan!  That's what gives it the flavor!  One my first attempt at this conversion I added almond flour to replace the Parmesan.  Really, it gives the little breads a great texture.  I'll continue to experiment and when I come up with something good, I'll be sure to post the recipe.  This had really become my go to recipe for a while because it was good, quick, and easy.  

So, until further notice, all recipes here will be not only gluten free but casein free as well.  I know it's going to take a lot of experimenting so
I hope I will have some good recipes to post.  I'm also just now getting around to a blog make over.  How do you like my new banner?

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