Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your loved ones, keep in mind that it's not about the food--its about the family and feelings of love!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry Sauce Without Added Sugar

I really like this cranberry sauce, because it gets its sweetness from the fresh oranges and pomegranate seeds, which means that I don't have to add any sugar to the sauce. Plus, its the easiest thing to make for Thanksgiving: you put three things in a pot and put a lid on it.

Step 1: Remove the seeds from your pomegranate and juice your oranges
Step 2: Put the cranberries, orange juice, and pomegranate seeds into a pot
Step 3: Put the lid on it (and cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally)

Literally. That's it.  Isn't this amazing?  Just taste it and be amazed.

Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes

One of the best things about family dinners is the mashed potatoes!  After becoming dairy free, I lost all hope of the delicious, fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes that I know and love.  After exploring different types of milks and butter substitutes, I have found a winning combination that fools all my friends.

Can I get a drum roll, please?!


So here's the steps to making mashed potatoes for everyone who is not exactly kitchen inclined:

Step 1: Wash and peel your potatoes.
Step 2: OPTIONAL: If you are short on time, you can cut your potatoes into equal cubes to boil them faster.
Step 3: Place the potato (cubes) in a pot of water with a (TINY) bit of salt and bring it to a boil
Step 4: Boil until fork tender
Step 5: Drain and mash the potatoes
Step 6: Place 1 cup of almond milk with 3 TBSP of buttery sticks in microwave for 30 seconds
Step 7: Slowly add the milk/butter mixture while mixing to ensure you don't over saturate your potatoes. (No one likes water logged mashed potatoes)

EAT PAPA, EAT! (Still not Christmas...)

The Best Dam* Dressing. Ever.

The Best Dam* Dressing.  Ever.

Why is this the best dressing ever?  Because the mix of sweet, savory, and insane textures creates a palate experience that is out of this world.  Plus it's ridiculously simple, but looks very impressive :)

So this dressing is created in two major steps:

Step 1: Create the "wet" ingredients that will be the source of liquids for the bread to soak up.
Step 2: Fold the "wet" ingredients into the bread cubes and cover for 30 minutes.


Here's what you're going to need:

  • 1 lb of Italian Sausage
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Bread cubes (I make mine from Gluten Free Cornbread and Gluten Free Sourdough)
"Wet" Ingredients:
Step 1: Brown the sausage
Step 2: Add in carrots, celery, and onion.  Sauté until soft
Step 3: Add in the sage, rosemary, and thyme
Step 4: Add in the apples
Step 5: Cover and remove from heat
Step 6: Allow to cool and then place in the fridge until Thanksgiving Day!

"Dry" Ingredients (AKA Bread cubes)
Step 1: Cube your bread, during this time of year I like to use the pre made breads (or bread boxes) so I'm not attempting to bake everything all at once.
Step 2: Season bread cubes with sage, rosemary, thyme and allow to dry
Step 3: If not stale enough by Wednesday, place cubes in the oven at 350F and shake every 5-10 minutes until stale

On Thanksgiving Day:
Step 1: Reheat "wet" ingredients and add about two cups of chicken stock
Step 2: Mix "wet" and "dry" be careful to fold the bread cubes, rather than stir.  You want the dressing to have unique textures and not just a pre-made box kit.
Step 3: Cover for a minimum of 30 minutes for the liquid to get absorbed and then transfer to serving dishes and keep warm in oven, covered loosely with foil

  • If your dressing seems to be really dry, add some more chicken stock.
  • If you are worried about your dressing becoming too wet with the two cups of chicken stock, then add in the solids and scoop the liquids of the "wet" ingredients in until desired dampness occurs.
  • I like to keep the bread cubes and diced veggies chunky so that you can see what you are eating.

Enjoy the delicious-ness!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tasty Turkey

The turkey is Thanksgiving's Santa.  The holiday just isn't complete without the bird.  While some people love to be applauded while bringing out the bird and finish the moment with the act of carving the bird at the table.  Impressive, no?  That sounds fun, but also like a whole mess.  My family partakes in the tradition of carving the bird in the kitchen and leaving the...less than impressive...carcass behind where people aren't staring at it.  Which turned out to be a good thing, because last Thanksgiving my turkey carcass was an angry Pterodactyl.  Don't believe me??

Anyway, no matter how you slice it, the turkey should be moist and delicious, with a great skin crust. Here's how you do it:

Step 0: Take out your turkey neck and giblets
Step 1: Rinse off your turkey
Step 2: Pat your turkey dry
Step 3: Place turkey in roaster
Step 4: Rub turkey down with coconut oil
Step 5: Optional: Take sage, rosemary, and thyme and fill it in between the skin and the meat.
Step 6: Optional: Fill the cavity of the turkey with 2 quartered apples, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, and ½ onion.
Step 7: Form a "turkey breast plate" from foil to protect your turkey breast from overcooking.
Step 8: Place your turkey in a preheated 500F for 30 minutes
Step 9: Drop the temperature down to 350F and immediately (and quickly, don't want that oven door open too long!) place the breast plate on the turkey's breast.
Step 10: Cook until the turkey thigh reaches 161F

Make sure that you allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the bird, otherwise you get super dry meat and a whole lot of juices.


Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole.  It's a classic.  Like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Here's the issue with green bean casserole and being GF and DF.  Cream of mushroom soup, slight issue with that creamy bit.  My solution?  Create my own "cream" of mushroom soup by using chicken stock.

Step 1/3: Cook your green beans by snapping off the ends and boiling them in water (or chicken stock for extra flavor!)

Step 2/3: Create your "cream" of mushroom soup:

What you will need:

  • Fresh Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 Sweet onion, chopped
  • Butter substitute (I prefer the Earth Balance Sticks)
  • AP Gluten free flour or brown rice flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ms. Dash Table Blend (Dark green lid)
  • Chicken stock
Step 1: Sauté mushrooms and chopped onion in the butter substitute, with seasonings until soft
Step 2: Scoop out mushrooms and add a more butter to create a rue
Step 3: Add enough flour to make a paste with the butter
Step 4: Cook the rue until slightly browned (to get rid of flour taste, or get rid of the grittiness associated with brown rice flour)
Step 5: Add the chicken stock in small amounts, making sure to eliminate all the lumps before adding more stock
Step 6: Add your mushrooms and onions back in
Step 7: You should have a liquid-y but slightly thick sauce to coat your beans in! (I definitely wouldn't eat this just as soup.

Step 3/3:  Place your drained green beans into the pot with sauce and stir until coated and put your green bean casserole in your serving dishes

Some people just HAVE to have toppings that aren't available to some of us.  All you have to do is have two different serving dishes and top one with fried onions/cheddar cheese and leave one alone for the rest of us ;)

I had this casserole sit in my fridge from Monday to Thursday last year, and all I had to do on the day was put it in the oven to reheat it!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Master Schedule

Thanksgiving Week Master Schedule


  • Print any new recipes
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Wash and prep fruits and veggies
  • Begin to Thaw Turkey
  • Roast Squash in oven
  • Check bread crumbs.  If not stale enough, bake on pan sheet in oven at 350F shaking every 5 minutes until stale.
  • Set Table
Thursday: BIG DAY

1000 AM: Prep turkey and place in oven
1015 AM: Cranberry Sauce
1100 AM: Complete the final discount double check
1115 AM: Clean up around house and kitchen
1130 AM: Start reheating all the pre made sides
1200 PM: Assemble the fruit and veggie trays
1215 PM: Reheat Stuffing Step 1
1230 PM: Mix in Stuffing Step 1 to Stuffing Step 2
1230 PM: Begin to boil potatoes
1245 PM ISH: Take the turkey from the oven to rest for 30 minutes
1245 PM: Make Gravy / Reheat Other sides
0100 PM: Make Mashed Potatoes
0115 PM: Carve turkey

I know that seeing Thursday might seem like a lot to do on one day, but it doesn't take 15 minutes to start the cranberry sauce or boil water, its just that 15 minute increments are easier for everyone.  Also, most of your work is done on the other days, so you are really only reheating and dishing out your sides. Hope your Thanksgiving goes smoothly!  Recipes are coming tomorrow ; )

Thanksgiving Shopping List Surprise!

Moms fighting over carts, kids are screaming, aisles are crowded, food off the shelf, there are no thawed turkeys to be found, and too many cranberries to count.  These horrors are typical sights I have experienced while doing my Thanksgiving shopping the day before, or even worse, when I've forgotten something and have to brave the stores the day of.

This year I've dedicated myself to creating plan.  This plan is going to ensure that I have the least stressful Thanksgiving. Ever.  The first step is writing down all the ingredients of my dishes and completing the shopping.  On Monday.  (Because I don't personally feel like waiting hours in line because I forgot oranges)

Without further a duo, my I present, a Thanksgiving day list. Be our guest, be our guest.

  • Turkey (I like to buy 2 pounds per person, because who doesn't like leftovers?)
  • Cranberry Sauce
    • 1 bag of Cranberries
    • 3 oranges
    • 1 pomegranate
  • `Dressing
    • 1 lb Italian Sausage
    • 4 granny smith apples
    • 1 bag of celery
    • 1 bag of carrots
    • 2 Large Sweet Onions
    • Gluten Free Cornbread
    • Gluten Free Sourdough
    • 2 cartons of chicken stock (I like low sodium and MSG free)
  • Mashed Potatoes
    • Potatoes
    • Original, Unsweetened Almond Milk
    • Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Brown Rice Flour

If you'd prefer to shop like a normal person (You don't like to walk multiple circles around the store?!) here's the list in geographical order:

Fruits and Veggies:
  • 1 Bag of Cranberries
  • 3 Oranges
  • 1 Pomegranate
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Bag of Celery
  • 1 Bag of Carrots
  • 2 Large Sweet Onions
  • Potatoes (red or russet, I like red potatoes)
  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Butter Nut Squash
  • Gluten Free Cornbread
  • Gluten Free Sourdough bread
  • 2 cartons of chicken stock
Baking goods:
  • Brown Rice Flour / AP Gluten Free Flour
  • Earth Balance Sticks
  • Original, Unsweetened Almond Milk
Optional: (These are foods that I already have on hand at any given time)
  • Frozen (Sweet) Corn
  • Frozen Pumpkin Puree
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coconut Oil

Okay, there you go.  What are you waiting for? Get to the store!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Plans

Thanksgiving Week Specials!

We've made it! The turkeys are gobbling, the cranberries are sparkling, and the pumpkins are roasting... Ah, let's take a moment to smell and listen to wonders of the holidays! I will be sharing some of my favorite Gluten Free, Dairy Free recipes in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I will kick off the week by sharing my Thanksgiving shopping lists and cooking schedule. I also hope to add a daily post of something that I'm grateful for. Keep a look out!