Category: Family

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

So we’re giving this a whirl this year – Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Because so many people are struggling with food sensitivities nowadays, I thought that I’d share our menu and maybe help someone out that’s looking for options at the last minute. I’ve included online links, but you may be able to find many of these alternatives at your local stores. The links are mainly to show the item, because I’m a visual learner.

This is NOT our feast! lol!

Our Menu:

  • Fried Chicken and Gravy (just me and the kids doing this, so I went with something I knew they’d love!)
  • Green Beans (see below)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

How does that strike your fancy? We are super excited!! Now… how to make this gluten free???

Fried Chicken

My Grandmama made the best fried chicken ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. And I watched her do it a few times, but I was little, so I don’t know if this is how she did it, but I’d venture to say it’s pretty close! I’m also attempting her macaroni & cheese recipe for the first time this year. Usually my brother makes it.

I’ll be using chicken tenderloin, since that’s what is easiest to fry and all my kids like them. I set up two bowls. One has about 3 eggs and a splash of milk whisked together. (I have used dairy free, unsweetened, plain almond milk to do this and it works just fine.) The other bowl gets my dry ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, salt & pepper to taste, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Dip in the wet bowl, then into the dry bowl. If you’ve got time to kill and want to make it extra crusty special, repeat the dippings. I fry in refined organic coconut oil until done. Refined is important if you don’t want your chicken to take like coconut! I cook an entire two pound bag of tenderloins and we won’t have any leftovers! If you’re cooking for a smaller family, you’ll use less ingredients.

Green Beans

The green beans are just basic beans from a can. I do prefer DelMonte brand to others. Then I add a couple tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, for dairy free), and some spices. I like to use Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, and if I’m feeling extra saucy, just a touch of cayenne pepper! One of my children appreciates the spice, but the rest won’t eat these anyway, so I make them my way!

Cranberry Sauce

We found an easy Cranberry Sauce recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations cookbook. I couldn’t find the same recipe online, but this one is close: Cranberry Sauce by Ree Drummond on Food Network. The recipe in the cookbook has only 3 ingredients: cranberries, oranges, maple syrup.

Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese has been a challenge, but our diet has re-introduced dairy now, so I’m more comfortable trying this. Honestly, if we were still dairy free, I’d probably just skip the mac & cheese. My Grandmama made a baked mac & cheese and this is what my son has requested. She cooked the macaroni noodles per the package instructions, then in a 9×9 glass baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, she layered slices of cheese (cut from a block, not sliced cheese like for sandwiches) with the noodles. When I was young, it must have been cheddar that she used, but I’m told later in life she used colby jack. The noodles were salted & peppered, a splash of milk added so it doesn’t dry out (almond milk ok), then topped with another layer of cheese. This will be my first attempt at this style of mac & cheese. Fingers crossed… For the noodles, I’m using Skinner Gluten Free Elbows, found at my local HEB grocery store. I haven’t tried these yet, either, but based on the mix used in the ingredients, I think they were a good option.

Mashed Potatoes

This is pretty standard. To make dairy free, use the dairy free butter linked above and almond milk and nobody will know the difference!

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs! I just might have to do a separate post about the eggs sometime! We raise chickens, so fresh eggs are killer to peel. This is the whole reason I got an Instant Pot! And it works! (works great for store bought eggs, too) Put a cup of water in the pot, then the trivet, then layer in the eggs. I’ve loaded my pot with up to two and a half dozen eggs before. It’s a beautiful sight. 6 minutes at high pressure, 6 minutes natural release then open the valve, 6 minutes in an ice bath. Cool completely, then peel.

Slice in half. Any whites that are not pretty go into the mash. There should be at least 3 whole eggs in the mash. Mash the yolks and the whites that didn’t make the cut. Add Kraft Sandwich Spread until moist. Salt & pepper to taste. If you’re not dairy free, drizzle in a little homemade ranch dressing. Skip that if you’re dairy free, no biggie. Spoon the mash into the eggs, then come back and add more. If you have any left over, enjoy your egg salad.

Rolls

Once again, we’re entering new territory. I’m going to be taking my husband’s grandpa’s wife’s roll recipe (haha) and trying it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This is a yeast roll recipe, and I’ve had excellent results with this flour so far, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will do a half recipe, however, since this is a test. If it’s a flying success, I expect to hear lots of complaining from the children that I didn’t make more!

Dessert

Again, I’m just altering standard recipes. And we’re going crustless. That’s a disappointment, I know, but it is what it is. I didn’t have time to perfect a gluten free pie crust this year, nor do I have time to make gluten free graham crackers. If you have a local store with GF graham crackers, you could probably make a graham crust pretty easily.

Using my husband’s uncle’s chocolate pie recipe, will really be more like a thick pudding without the crust. And that’s perfectly ok. It’s chocolate. This recipe is not dairy free. It uses whole milk, sugar, flour, etc. Again, we’re no longer DF, so I’m not altering the dairy in this recipe at this time. If I attempt a DF version in the future, I’ll let you know. For now, I’m switching out the flour and just dealing with the sugar. After all, Thanksgiving is a special occassion, they’re only getting one slice of pie and it’s not going to last long! Possibly whole fat coconut milk would work to make a homemade chocolate pie.

There’s so many recipes for pumpkin desserts on pinterest, and lots of them are gluten and dairy free! Thank you, internet! I’ll be using a Pioneer Woman (can you tell I love her??) recipe that was found on Walmart’s website! Pumpkin Pie by the Pioneer Woman. Alterations I’ll be making: No crust. That’s it! You could use sweetened condensed coconut milk, if you’re dairy free, but keep in mind that these cans are not exactly the same size as a standard can of Eagle Brand! Just be prepared.

Fruit can also be transformed into a delicious gf/df dessert! This fun turkey would be great for the kids!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a recipe blog, and I’ll have to go back at a later date and add pictures. Because I’ve never thought to photograph each item of food. Hopefully this may help someone that’s trying to figure out how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions. This was my son’s biggest concern. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the holiday with your family. Let the kids help in the kitchen, even though it’s messy. Let them help with the meal planning. Nobody ever said it had to be turkey.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

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Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

GF DF Buttermilk Pancakes

We’ve completed 4 months at the Brain Balance Center and I’ve learned how to follow the Balance360 plan pretty well – gluten free, dairy free, and minimal added sugar. While this is not a blog that’s focused on recipes, it is focused on how our family and life are growing. These last few months have definitely been a time of growth! I’m going to be sharing a few of our most loved recipes, to help and encourage other families on their special diet journey.

My family loves pancakes, so I had to convert our beloved recipe. Also, I’d like to note that I’m a little lazy in the kitchen and prefer to use as few dishes as possible, so I sometimes mix my ingredients in a different order than traditional. I have included (affiliate links) in this post so that you can see exactly which products are 360 approved. And maybe someday I’ll get better pictures on this post. lol

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Gluten-free, Dairy-free Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, add the lemon juice, then pour in the almond milk up to the 2 cup line. This makes your “buttermilk,” and yes, it will begin to look like it’s going bad.

Crack the eggs into the bowl of your mixer and begin whisking. Continue mixing as you add the remaining wet ingredients, ending with the almond buttermilk you made. Note that the coconut oil may re-harden if your other ingredients are straight from the fridge cold. That’s ok.

While the mixer is still running, add the powder, soda and salt. Finally, mix in the flour.

Heat griddle to 350° and spray with coconut oil spray. Ladle, spoon or pour batter into the desired size and shape. Cook until the top is bubbly and dry. Flip and cook the other side until done.

Top hot pancakes with Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, fresh fruit or berries, a small amount of real maple syrup or honey, or Polander All Fruit Spread… Or enjoy them straight from the griddle because they’re already lightly sweet from the honey.

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Above, this is what a pancake looks like that’s ready to flip!

I hope this recipe is helpful and that your family enjoys it as much as mine does! We eat this at least once a week for breakfast or dinner. Goes well with eggs, sausage or bacon, and fruit.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and this post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any more when you use these links, but I will earn a small commission on any purchases you make after clicking. Thanks for helping support our little blog!!!

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Great Gifts for Mom

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My mom with me and my daughter at the Women of Faith conference in 2009.

Let’s face it.  Moms rock.  But even with all that awesomeness, sometimes we’re at a loss when it’s time to give them gifts.  Here’s a few ideas for gifts for Mom, whether it’s Mother’s Day, her birthday, Christmas or other special time.  If you’ve got some great ideas, leave them in the comments! 

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Mothering is hard work and often comes with little down time!  Pick a pretty container and make a Pampering Basket for her!  Include things like Rosewater or Sea Salt Spray, spa socks, relaxing lavender lotion, massage certificate, a Large Upin or XS Flexi, or a Sleep mask.  (Pictured at right are the boar bristle brush and rattail comb, Rosewater hydrosol mist and Bamboo Hair Towel.)

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When I was young, I did the pampering gift, even simpler, and got my mom some Calgon Bath Beads!  Easy for a kid with limited funds, and still appreciated by my Momma that enjoyed reading in the tub.  I was surprised to see you can still get Calgon Bath Beads –   and now even gift sets are available online and probably in stores, too.  She also enjoyed gift cards to bookstores along with her bath beads!

Blue Flowers

You can never go wrong with flowers!  Almost universally, moms enjoy getting flowers.  Whether a bouquet, a hanging basket, a corsage, or a perennial for her garden, flowers always tell mom she’s loved!  Make sure to include her favorite color either in the blooms or in ribbon accents.  (Never Lose Faith Arrangement by Twinbrook Floral Design. My mom would have loved this with the blue carnations, keepsake vase, and scripture reference.)

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For the holidays, my mom would have loved this wreath with blue accents, too!  To this day, I still always add blue flowers to her arrangements.

Of course, I must add my favorite accessories to the list, too.  Most moms deal with hair a lot, whether their own or that of their daughters.  And even though the “mom bun” is trending nowadays, moms do like to be noticed and look pretty.

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Enter Lilla Rose.  As you can see from this collage above (click to enlarge), there’s a pretty good variety of styles to meet the needs of most moms.  Of course, I went with the blue theme again.  My kids know to pick purple for me. (wink, wink)  If you’re shopping for a gift for yourself (because I’m a mom, too, I know how Mom’s stocking gets filled…) or for your mom, sister, aunt, or BFF, check out my sizing video or contact me to get you in the right size.  Excuse me?  Size???  Yes!  That’s one of the great things about Flexi-Clips – they are not a one-size-fits-all item.

One of my favorite gifts that I gave to my mom was a new Bible cover similar to this one. She was with me when we were shopping that day. I told her I was looking for a gift for someone that really loves blue, and since she really loves blue, too, maybe she could help me pick out something? I showed her several Bible covers and she picked one with a beautiful tapestry of flowers on the cover. Of course, the background was blue and it included little blue flowers in the design. I told her that would be perfect, and I bought the gift for my “friend.” When Christmas rolled around and she unwrapped the gift, it was quite memorable! I’m smiling now just remembering the time.

So what else should I add as great gifts for Moms? What gift have you given, or received, that were extra memorable?

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Direct links to the hair accessories in the collage (left to right):