So, it’s nearly Turkey Time again, and shoppers everywhere are scouring the stores — or on-line — for ingredients and supplies. If you or a guest needs a gluten free Thanksgiving, your to-do list is a bit more extensive. But nothing that can’t be handled!
This year’s Thanksgiving will undoubtably look different, since everything in 2020 looks quite a bit different. But there are ways to embrace these differences for a gluten free Thanksgiving and make it work to your advantage. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
Nothing about this year is normal. We can all agree on that.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t still have things to be thankful for, and that we shouldn’t still be finding a way to celebrate Thanksgiving. In fact, I think we could also all agree we could use something to look forward to!
But … since we’re not gathering in large numbers or at all this year, Thanksgiving will look very different for many of us.
I know that automatically sounds like a bad thing, but let’s look at this half full glass together and find some ways to enjoy Thanksgiving 2020 in a new way.
Admit it, sometimes Thanksgiving can be stressful. No matter how hard we try, there can be some moments when we’re sweating it out towards the end:
What if this recipe doesn’t work? What if I don’t have enough oven space? What if I didn’t buy a big enough turkey? Why didn’t I try baking a gluten free pie crust in advance (and watch the video?)? Why didn’t I watch Jules’ video showing how to make the gluten free pull apart dinner rolls before Thanksgiving Day?? 😉
So without all those family and friends coming over, there’s no need for stress, right?
You can try lots of new gluten free recipes without fear of failure and without worry that you won’t make the time crunch. Eat when it’s ready, I say! And … perhaps the best part … you don’t have to share all your successful recipe leftovers with as many people!
Why Bother When It’s Just Me Eating Gluten Free?
Why bother? Because it’s YOU, and you’re important! Whether it’s only you eating gluten free or it’s only you eating, you’re worth it!
There are lots of ways to bake smaller amounts or to freeze or re-purpose leftovers. Just don’t use “it’s only me” as an excuse not to bake or miss out on Thanksgiving because that’s just depressing, and if there’s one thing 2020 doesn’t need, it’s more depressing news.
If there aren’t any others in your bubble who need gluten free, I say what I always say: our gluten free food is so good that they’ll want to eat it with you, and everyone at the table should be eating the same meal for so many reasons anyway.
If there aren’t so many others around to cook for, that’s ok too, because lots of Thanksgiving recipes are easily halved or quartered or are great to make as whole recipes and then repurposed as leftovers or even frozen for meals to come.
Here are some ideas:
- Baguettes – Use ½ can of gfJules Gluten Free Bread Mix to make only 1 baguette
- gfJules Gluten Free Cornbread Mix makes great waffles AND cornbread stuffing (mix a can and only bake out half as cornbread for stuffing; bake the rest as waffles for the next day’s breakfast!)
- Bake a batch of gluten-free Pull Apart Dinner Rolls a day ahead of time and use some for gluten free stuffing, some for dinner rolls for Thanksgiving and some the day after as French Toast!
- Bake half of a gluten free pumpkin pie (use a mini 5- or 6- inch pie plate or tart pan) and use the other half of the can of pumpkin purée to bake a gluten free Maple Pumpkin Cobbler as a side dish and the rest of the gluten free pie crust for Gluten Free Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls!
- You can also bake full recipes of just about anything and freeze them for delicious leftover meals, breads, sides and desserts to save time later. Even unbaked gluten free pie crusts can be frozen for quick pie cravings on other days. Smart thinking!
Bake Together on Zoom or Facetime.
Even if you can’t be with your friends and family in person, schedule some time to bake together, virtually! Learn from each other or just visit while you’re baking at the same time and make it a social occasion!
Share Your Goodies and Make New Friends Nearby!
Contact your church, synagogue, mosque, school, community center, neighborhood organization or even on-line through apps like NextDoor to connect with others who might want to share gluten free meals like Thanksgiving – you make part of the meal and they make other parts, or maybe someone needs your leftovers more than you do. There are still plenty of opportunities to connect through food and to help others.
Bake and Mail Treats to Friends and Family.
Care packages are always a welcome treat, but especially for those of us living gluten free. There’s just nothing like opening a box of homemade gluten free goodies!
There are all kinds of treats that ship well, like Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies. You can even mail Gluten Free Pull Apart Rolls – see my directions for reheating them at the end of the recipe. Recipes made with my gfJules Flour stay fresh longer than typical gluten free recipes, so mailing becomes an option, but this year shipping is a little more uncertain, so opt for overnight or two day shipping if you can, as shippers aren’t even guaranteeing those right now.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Gluten Free Thanksgiving!
There are so many more reasons to embrace this year’s gluten free Thanksgiving and be thankful … I cover lots of reasons why and ways how in my updated 2020 Gluten Free Thanksgiving ebook. There are 80+ pages of recipes, planning checklists, nutritional information and much more.
It’s a resource everyone should have and frankly share with friends and family, whether you’ll be able to be together this year or not. Get creative, think of things a little differently, and just know that this too, shall pass.
Even if you don’t already have a menu planned and haven’t had time to practice recipes yet, don’t worry! This Crash Course for a Gluten Free Thanksgiving will get you ready for T-day!
The first thing to remember is that Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family and friends — in person or virtually — and to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for … not for stressing out about whether your pie crust will be perfect (but it will be, with my recipe, videos and gfJules Flour!!).
With that in mind, review my cheat sheets for last minute to-dos and check out some of these recipes to get ready for a very happy gluten free Thanksgiving!
Consult my Thanksgiving Checklists reprinted at the end of this article (excerpted from my 82-page updated 2020 gfJules Thanksgiving e-book). You’ll find that there are plenty of things to do in order to be prepared — many of them unique to living gluten free.
Don’t let the lists overwhelm you; it’s designed to break things into manageable chunks so that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll be stress-free!
Here are some of the things you’ll want to be sure to do in planning for your gluten free Thanksgiving feast.
If you are dining at another’s house for Thanksgiving:
- call the host and check the menu now
- if there are any dishes that might already be gluten-free, confirm that they will not be adding or contaminating the dish with any gluten ingredients
- ask if they are stuffing the turkey or if the stuffing is on the side (encourage the latter!)
- check whether their turkey brand is gluten-free so you know in advance
- if they haven’t bought their turkey yet, suggest some gluten-free brands (see list below)
- coordinate with the host about what dishes you should bring (suggest that you bring the menu items you most want to be able to enjoy so you are sure to have a gluten-free option)
- bring your own serving ware — gluten free serving spoons are so helpful! — and gluten free food markers are tasteful, eye-catching and a great way to alert others that they need to keep their spoons to themselves!
If you are hosting Thanksgiving:
- check with your guests to see if there are any other dietary restrictions to take into account
- arrange for guests to bring dishes that will complement your menu and are already gluten-free, if possible (e.g. cranberry sauce; salad; fruit; green beans; ice cream or whipped topping for pies; wine or sparkling apple cider ….)
- order or buy your turkey early so you are sure to get a gluten-free bird (see list below for gluten-free brands)
- make your shopping list and shop ASAP (try not to shop the day before Thanksgiving for anything but fresh fruit or vegetables)
- bake casseroles and pumpkin pies 1-2 days before Thanksgiving
- bake gluten-free bread now if you don’t have bread already made for stuffing – dry the bread in cubes in the oven the day before Thanksgiving
Some brands which offer Gluten Free Turkeys:
(but always check the labels!)
- Aaron’s Gourmet
- Empire Kosher
- Honeysuckle White
- Organic Prairie
- Pilgrim’s Pride
- Shady Brook Farms
Essential Gluten Free Thanksgiving Recipes:
Gluten Free Thanksgiving Sweets
Upside-Down Apple Pie (vegan)
Pumpkin Cheesecake (vegan)
Maple-Pumpkin Cobbler (vegan)
Pecan Pie (vegan)
Bread Mix (for bread or rolls)
Gluten Free Casseroles and Sides
Many more recipes for casseroles, side dishes, gravy and desserts, as well as recommendations for planning the meal can be found in my 2020 updated 42-recipe Thanksgiving e-book and in my newest cookbook, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, thankful holiday!