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20 November 2008

is this your first gluten-free Thanksgiving?

chocolate cupcakes with coffee ganache

The other day, the Chef and I were standing in the baking section of the PCC in Issaquah. I was about to teach a holiday baking class, and I needed lots of little bags of gluten-free flours. The Chef held Little Bean -- the two of them had tagged along for the afternoon.

As we talked, I noticed a young woman standing on the other side of the aisle, chewing on the side of her mouth, standing still. She picked up a box of baking powder, studied it, and put it down. And then she picked it back up again, her eyes wide with fear. I glanced over at her cart. Two gluten-free bread mixes, a box of chocolate cake mix, a few vegetables, and some bags of various flours.

I knew it right away. A newbie.

Her face was a scrim of frozen choices. She studied every box, but she didn't look as though she knew what she was seeing. There might have been tears in her eyes.

I leaned toward her, gently. "New to gluten-free?" I asked her.

She laughed, but not with joy. "That obvious?"

I remember my first foray into the grocery store after realizing I had to eat gluten-free. Every box of food required reading. I lingered in every aisle. After three hours, I left with a cart three-quarters filled and more questions. It felt as though every shopping trip would last that long.

I rarely think about it anymore. Within a few months, shopping for food became a joy again, instead of a harrowing thrashing through rocks and cold water. It has been a long time since I have felt afraid.

But I know the look. I gave her a few tips. So did the Chef. We wished her well and walked away.

However, I have been thinking about her ever since.

Next week is Thanksgiving. No other holiday is so focused on food in this country, and such glutenous food at that. Starches, breads, stuffings, and sauces — we believe that it just won't feel like the third Thursday in November unless we're eating gluten.

If this is your first Thanksgiving gluten-free, we'd like to make you feel better. It's much easier than you might fear.

Here are a few hints the Chef and I would like to share.

Focus on the foods you can eat.

Ideally, you would cook the meal yourself. That way, you can be in control of all the cooking surfaces and cross-contamination issues. But you might be feeling overwhelmed. Cooking the meal might feel more daunting than picking food you can eat from the platters on the table. Fair enough.

Next best? Your family understands all this and advocates for you. They want you well. They have figured out how to make every family favorite gluten-free, and good. (Check out my recent round-up of recipes for a gluten-free Thanksgiving to nudge them in that direction.) Or they have decided that feeding you and making you feel included is more important than the traditional dishes you have eaten for 30 years. Maybe you could all bring your absolute favorite food in the world. Wake up from the sleepiness that has brought Aunt Edna's green cabbage jello salad to the table, even though no one eats it. Open your eyes, together, and simply eat well.

If none of these options is available? Find the gluten-free food on the table for which you feel grateful. Scoop up the cranberry compote with orange zest. Pop green olives onto every finger and eat them off, one by one. Compliment your mother on the juicy turkey. Say a little grateful prayer that mashed potatoes don't ever need flour.

Hey, everyone reading. What is the one dish at Thanksgiving that you simply must have, the one that's naturally gluten-free. Make us hungry with your choices.

Read labels.

Perhaps you agree to bring one gluten-free dish to the family feast. You decide you'll make your grandmother's cornbread dressing. Dutifully, you buy everything gluten-free. And cornmeal. That's always gluten-free, right?

You eat only what you know is safe. It's not much. But you feel grateful for that cornbread dressing. Except, just after the meal, you feel bloated and beleaguered with a headache. Soon, you have to lie down on the couch.

What happened? How did you get gluten?

Perhaps you bought Bob's Red Mill cornmeal. The folks at Bob's are so wonderful. How would you live without them and all their little bags of flour? What could be wrong with the cornmeal?

Well, Bob's has two parts of their factories — one where they produce exclusively gluten-free flours and the other one. Corn is gluten-free. However, due to lack of space (I believe), the cornmeal, masa harina, and corn flour are processed in the other factory. The cross-contamination made you sick on Thanksgiving Day.

Remember to remind your family about cross-contamination.

If they are cooking for you, they have to be careful.

Stick the stuffing someplace away from your plate. Use cornstarch or arrowroot powder to make the gravy instead of white enriched flour. Clean off every surface. And make sure they don't use any wooden spoons, wooden rolling pins, or wooden cutting boards.

You could grow sick from the flour left in that cutting board.

Seriously, it's probably easier to make your own dinner.

Go ahead and use mixes. There are some good ones.

In the coming years, you will have cooking and baking gluten-free so fully a part of your body memory that you really won't think about this much. But if this is your first gluten-free Thanksgiving, make it easy on yourself. Use some mixes.

Find a bread mix you like to make the stuffing. I like the Whole Foods sandwich bread. I know that the Chef's mom has bought a few bags of the Bob's Red Mill bread mix for me in Tucson next week, so I can have sandwiches with everyone else.

There are pumpkin pies you can buy online, gluten-free gravy mixes (but please make the gravy from scratch; it's so easy), and scones you can have for Thanksgiving morning with your in-laws. If you just need to fill in the glutenous spaces, and you're feeling overwhelmed, there are solutions.

(For anyone who has been at this for awhile, what mixes would you recommend?)

We're a cook-everything-from-scratch family around here. But on my first Thanksgiving, I used a lot of mixes to help me through. There's nothing wrong with that.

And if you're really feeling deprived, there are fabulous gluten-free cupcakes for the holiday weekend. (see below)

Feel grateful.

I know it's hard, at first. Maybe your family just doesn't get it, and they frown when you turn down the pie. Hold your head up high. You're going to feel better than you ever have before. Within a few weeks, or months, you'll lost most of the cravings for those glutenous treats. You'll raise your hands to the sky and feel energy in your bones, perhaps for the first time.

Your health — both physical and mental — is worth so much more than the dream of a Thanksgiving dinner.

And if we're honest, most of the time it's a disappointment. All those expectations, all those hours of cooking, and then everyone is done eating in 45 minutes. Some of the family repairs to the den to watch football, the rest are sprawled out on the couch in exhaustion. No one wants to eat turkey again for a year.

We can do better. You can lead the way. Eat up. Enjoy your gluten-free dinner. Have a cupcake.

And Happy Thanksgiving. It's really about the giving of thanks, not the pumpkin pie.

Hey, all you readers who have been at this for awhile. If you have any suggestions, I'm sure that all the newbies would be grateful.

Thank you for reading. We would gladly have you all over for Thanksgiving dinner, if we could.

chocolate cupcakes with coffee ganache II


My friend Becky Selengut is incredible. She's a brilliant chef, runs one of our favorite food websites (Seasonal Cornucopia), and is a whiz-bang Scrabble player. Seriously, we're lucky to have her in our lives.

This year, however, Becky faced a real challenge as a chef. She found out she's allergic to garlic. Can you imagine? Well, the reaction was so intense that she sought out the help of a doctor, who put her on an elimination diet, to clean out her body so garlic could come back in. Believe me, Becky's about the last person I would have expected to do this. But for three months, she left over 20 ingredients out of her diet, including gluten, to heal herself.

It wasn't all bad. At least she started writing again because of this. You can read all about it at her new blog, Chef Reinvented. Becky's a hell of a writer. I'm glad to see her back.

The other day, Becky exclaimed to me, "I made the best cupcakes I've ever eaten." What? Where?
"Take the Bob's Red Mill chocolate cake mix, and add applesauce in place of some of the milk. Seriously, I'll never make another cupcake with regular flour again."

That's a recommendation I take seriously. What else could I do but make cupcakes?

The Chef and I had to resist eating three cupcakes each for breakfast this morning, if only to have some left over to take these photographs.

I ate cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan long before I had to go gluten-free. In Seattle, I ate at Cupcake Royale and Macrina, regularly, before April 2005. These cupcakes are better than any of those. Seriously.

Dark as lava, as moist as the ground in Seattle in November, and rich in chocolate goodness, these cupcakes are addictive. Add some coffee ganache frosting, and you're pretty much in heaven.

Who needs to feel deprived this holiday?

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 package Bob's Red Mill gluten-free chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup applesauce (you can make you own, if you wish)
1/3 cup milk (this works with soy or rice milk too)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (however, we were out, and used apple cider vinegar)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup hot water (110°)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preparing for baking. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

Making the batter. In the bowl of the stand mixer, start beating the butter until it is creamy. Add the cake mix, the applesauce, the milk, the lemon juice, and the eggs. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides when necessary. Raise the speed to low-medium and let it run for another moment. Add the hot water and the vanilla extract. Run the mixer for one more minute, scraping down the sides.

Baking the cupcakes. Carefully spoon the cupcake batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cupcakes. (In our oven, the regular-sized cupcakes took 17 minutes, the jumbo ones 20 minutes.) Allow them to cool in the cupcake tin for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them sit for another 20 minutes before eating. (I know. That's hard. But trust me.)

Frosting the cupcakes.

coffee chocolate ganache

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon strong coffee grounds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces good dark chocolate

Bring the cream, coffee grounds, and vanilla extract to a boil. Take them off the heat as soon as they boil. Allow them to steep for half an hour. Strain.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a bowl. Bring the cream back to a boil. Pour over the chocolate pieces. This will melt the chocolate. Stir until it is smooth.

Lavish the cupcake as fully as you wish with the ganache.

Oh darn, you'll have some ganache left over. You'll have to figure out something to do with that.

Makes 16 cupcakes.


At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Nina. This will be our first gluten-free Thanksgiving. No it's not AA. But sometimes it feels that way. But since we found out that Booth has celiac- the week AFTER Thanksgiving last year, this will be the FINAL EXAM for me...

I've spent almost a year re-tooling my cooking/baking repertoire and now it's time for the big show. The sticky issue was really the stuffing, but one trip to Whole Foods solved that. They sell their already staled, cubed GF sandwich bread in plastic containers. Add onions, leeks, apple, herbs, salt and pepper and voila, GF stuffing! The gravy will be thickened with rice flour- my preference. I'm baking a GF pecan pie, and a GF sweet potato cheesecake. There was no wheat in the rest of our usual suspects: butternut squash soup, garlic-sage mashers, cranberry-mandarin sauce, salad, nuts, cheeses, pickled things, ice cream, wine... (I'm sure I'm forgetting something...)

We will be nine for dinner- and two have celiac. The rest of us won't miss a thing.

And I will wrap the turkey in bacon. No gluten, and no guilt!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Danny & Miss Lucy!

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few of our Thanksgiving must-haves:
-GF DF Pumpkin Pie--skip the crust and the whipped cream; they used to be my favorite, but with this mixture, you don't miss 'em. Trust me. Just sub a can of coconut milk in for your usual can of condensed milk, and use your usual spice favorites (for me, nothing does it quite like the recipe on a can of Libby's--even though I use my own freshly roasted pumpkin). Bake it in a pie pan, sans crust, until it's just wiggly in the middle, as pumpkin pie should be.

-Bob's Red Mill GF Cornbread. Really, so good--with melted butter (in our book, that constitutes dairy free) instead of the oil, and hazelnut milk instead of the milk. Serve with vanilla cinnamon honey butter.

-Roasted brussel sprouts, reheated through by mixing with just-sauteed mushrooms, and sprinkled with fried onions ala grandma's old green bean casserole.

Oh, I cannot wait for Thursday. We're been planning for it since June!

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Crystal said...

This is our third GF Thanksgiving, and we're finally getting used to it.... His mother's sage cornbread stuffing is amazing (with Alber's cornmeal, always), and my great-aunt makes a seperate dish of HER stuffing GF, just for me. She's even started making her (OMG, better than ANYTHING) gravy with GF thickeners.
(She comes from a time when no one worried about this stuff... my mother has high blood pressure and diabetes, and then there's me... so salt, sugar and flour are off the list, not to mention butter and cream. She's frustrated, bless her. She's also almost 90, so we cut her some slack.)

This year, great-aunt is making the turkey. The rest, she says, is up to us. We're inviting a couple strays, which gives our tiny family a perfect excuse to make an extra pie and way more sides than we actually need.

Mom's cinnamon-apple Jello salad will forever be my favorite naturally GF part of our holidays... It's like a waldorf salad in cinnamon-cherry jello..with a big dolop om mayo on top...we eat the leftovers for desert sometimes. And it's prety too!

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One question. I am not gluten-free myself, but there will be at least one person at Thanksgiving with a gluten intolerance (and based on the myriad of other food issues within the family we work to be respectful of the issues and work around them all as best as we are able) - what is the problem with wooden spoons and cutting boards? Is it simply a cross-contamination issue, or are there larger evils at work?

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My Thanksgiving menu is Chicken and Cornbread Dressing with giblet gravy (made using cornstarch), steamed green beans with basil and butter, squash casserole (made using Whole Foods Gluten free bread), Sweet potato souffle, and deviled eggs. yeah, full of fat, full of flavor, but not a crumb of gluten in there. There will only be four of us, me, my hubby, and our friends Lynda and Charlie, but it will be devine.

One thing I have to say is that this is my second gluten free Thanksgiving. The first one was not so good, mainly because other people did the cooking, and they were the kind of people who pressured me to eat, saying "one helping won't kill you". These were people who claim to love me but who aren't willing to acknowledge what gluten does to me.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will be our second gluten free Thanksgiving. Last year we made the trek out to my parents, who do not need to be, nor ever want to be gluten-free. However, they were awesome. They made gluten free sausage stuffing and on my way home during the drive I would get phone calls about once an hour--"Did you know that chicken broth has wheat in it!! Why would anyone do that??!" It was amazing--she had to run repeatedly to the store to get safe foods, as she for the first time, read the labels on the foods in her pantry.

We made an apple pie, we've always had cornstarch gravy, and nothing else needed flour. The only thing she didn't venture into was gluten free bread.

This year they're trekking out to us, and we're treating them to the feast. I'm going to try making bread...we'll see how it goes. We're also trying your pie crust, and I bought Mi-Del gluten free ginger snaps so I can make Ina Garten's Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart.

Sadly his family is not participating in Thanksgiving with us, partly most of them don't believe in celiacs and partly changing their routine's is too hard. His Father and Step-Mother are coming around, but as this is a once or twice a year occurrence for them...ah well they're missing out on some killer food.

We want for nothing, and are happy that Pete is gluten free now, rather than even 10 years ago (although he should have been).


At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yummy! I can't wait to try these...thank you so much and a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to everyone!

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna - this is great advice for anyone with a food allergy experiencing their first holiday. Great post - Happy Thanksgiving!

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for adding your precious positive energy to the world! And have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna:

Love your blog. I have been GF for about 4 years now. Yes, I will miss being able to eat the stuffing and pumpkin pie but I can eat plenty of turkey which I love and I am bringing some gravy which is GF. I can have cranberry sauce and candied yams and veggies and I'm bringing dessert, my creme brulee ,which is outstanding if I may say so myself. So I definitely will not be feeling sorry for myself.

I know it's hard for people first diagnosed but it gets easier, believe me.

And those cupcakes look amazing. I will have to try them.

Hope you and your family and everyone here has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Shauna,
I have been here many times because your photos are beautiful and your writing is wonderful. Today I found out that our little Leah (2 years old) must follow a permanent gluten free diet. It seems overwhelming and I must have the same look as the woman you recently met. We have been working at this for the past several weeks and already she is rash free and seems to be digesting her food more easily. I felt sad that she could not freely eat birthday cake but now that I see those cupcakes, wa-hoo! We can work at this and with all the help from this site, the task seems less daunting.
So---this Thanksgiving, along with the many things for which I feel gratitude, I must include your web site and your beautiful spirit. Thank you so much for all that you are doing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all those you love so much!

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Sally Anderson said...

Our family has always (for generations) had creamed onions (pearl onions) at Thanksgiving. Before going gf and in the interest of lowing fat, I would make a roux w/ flour. Now, I'm back to the heavy cream and its natural thickening. OMG, these could be dessert they are so rich and creamy and delicious. No gluten!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

My mouth is watering...those cupcakes look delicious. A really great post. Thank you!

At 3:55 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

This will be my third, and probably my most difficult gluten free Thanksgiving, which is my most favorite holiday in the world. And yes, it is so focused on food that sometimes I forget the thankful part. We are traveling to Naples, Florida and will have Thanksgiving at my partner's mother home. I agreed to this plan, with understanding that I would be cooking at least two side dishes, including a gluten free version of that church basement green bean casserole that shows up every year. I also asked her to review the GF issues with her mom. Thursday morning my partner told me that her mom wanted to do all the cooking herself, and that they were going to stuff the turkey and that the green bean casserole would be made with canned soup, the gravy would have flour and that her mom offered to make me a chicken breast. WOW, I dug deep and just couldn't find it in me to be grateful about the chicken breast. I went out to the living-room by myself and had my first cry since being diagnosed, my first full blown episode of feeling sorry for myself. In fact, when I was first diagnosed, my partner and decided to celebrate Thanksgiving every month. We were so thankful I did not have something serious. My little melt down this past Thursday, it actually wasn't even about the food, it was more about the inconsiderateness, the lack of care or concern about including me and doing something for me. I simply don't go to that place of feeling deprived in this journey, I make all kinds of accommodations, cheerfully and without complaint. I go out of my way to make sure I am not the focus for restaurant choices . . . you get the idea. We treat my partners mother to season tickets at the Phil in Napes every year, take them to a number of holiday events at the Ritz, the list of generosity goes on and on. I am going to need a little help to find my way to place of being thankful this Thanksgiving. And when we get home - we will have Thanksgiving, like we do every month. It will be good, it will be safe for me to eat, and it will include my GF bean casserole!

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Elle said...

If you can conquer gluten-free Thanksgiving, then you can do celiac disease. That's what I learned last autumn during my first year going gluten-free.

I was diagnosed in August, two weeks before starting my junior year of college. I was terrified - I come from a family that thinks a "home cooked meal" comes from any restaurant within a five minute drive from home - and suddenly I had to give up bread, the greatest staple of my diet. I was happy to feel better, but I didn't have a lot of support. My brother, usually my biggest fan, had a friend in town the night I found out and went on making chocolate chip cookies right under my nose.

But I went to school and I adapted. I found stores with gluten-free products, and I had my own, new, clean kitchen, so at least I didn't have to worry about anyone getting bread crumbs in my butter. I started playing with gluten-free mixes and trolled the internet for information on flour blends after my first attempt to make my grandma's chocolate chip cookies resulted in one great big runny mess (yes, I tried a straight rice flour substitution). But I began to figure it out. And in October, I announced I would cook a completely gluten-free Thanksgiving for my family. We hadn't had a proper meal for years, not since my grandma had passed, and I doubted there would be any resistance. I was wrong.

My mother (she cried when I was diagnosed, not because she was sad I couldn't eat wheat or gluten anymore, but because she FINALLY knew why I was so sick for the first two decades of my life) was supportive and took diligent notes on what ingredients she needed to have waiting when I returned home. She would call me from the grocery store and ask about different products and brands and to triple check an ingredient she worried might make me sick. The rest of the family was a different story. My sister turned her nose up at my suggestion that I make homemade stuffing using cornbread and a friend's seasoning recipe. She wanted Stove Top. She complained to mom that it wasn't fair I got to ruin Thanksgiving for everyone else.

I spent weeks agonizing over the pie dilemma. I was known for my pies pre-diagnosis, and at the start of November, I hadn't found a ready-made mix I liked. So I turned my kitchen into a laboratory and tried a new concoction every weekend, stuffing my poor boyfriend with pumpkin and apples and everything under the sun. The night I was about to drive home, I knew I'd found the right crust recipe when he told me my blackberry pie was better than his mothers.

I did all of the cooking in our downstairs kitchen. I made an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. I basted the bird. I made cornstarch dressing. I seasoned the cornbread with sausage, not giblets, since my mom dislikes turkey. I made my own honey and brown sugar glaze for the ham. I glared daggers at my sister as she made her beloved Stove Top upstairs. I positioned the table so everyone's rolls would be far, far away from my plate. And then I help my breath and waited. I knew I'd "won" when Lauren's stuffing went untouched, and mine was gobbled down. Best of all, I didn't end the evening in pain.

This year, my family is lamenting the loss of my Thanksgiving dinner - I'm studying abroad half a world away - but my peers welcome a home cooked meal in Great Britain, where they couldn't really care less about our American festivities. They know I don't eat gluten, and they don't really care if that means they have to bring their own rolls to the table.

It's still hard to explain my condition to my family, even post gluten-free Thanksgiving miracle. Since I've been in college since the diagnosis, they don't know the day-to-day of living with celiac. That's better left to the boyfriend and the roommates, all of whom have been incredible as I've adapted to my new life. This is long, I know, but... I guess what I'm trying to say is I felt pretty bleak there for awhile, and one of the things that encouraged me to take charge was your blog. So many thanks, and happy basting.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


Do you think a butter substitute will work? I am gluten free and dairy free (soy free, too). In other recipes I have experimented with coconut oil and palm oil. But I suspect the liquid ratio might need to be adjusted.

Also, what about rice milk in the ganache?

I about fell off my chair when I saw your photos of the cupcakes.

By the way, I just returned from a trip to LA. I highly recommend the Sensitive Baker, a gluten-free and casein-free bakery, I accidentally ate the mini lemon bundt cake (serving size: 2) in one sitting.

Thanks for all you do.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger jbeach said...

Beautiful post. I love the story, all of the suggestions and encouragement...thank you.
Here's a to-die-for Thanksgiving side dish recipe (courtesy of Orangette):
Cream-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1 ¼ lb. Brussels sprouts
3 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Trim and quarter the Brussels sprouts. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are nicely browned in spots, about 5 minutes or so. Pour in the cream, stir to mix, and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low or medium low: you want to keep the pan at a slow simmer. Braise until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-35 minutes. The cream will have reduced some and will have taken on a creamy tan color. Remove the lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Let the pan simmer, uncovered, for a minute or two to thicken the cream to a glaze that loosely coats the sprouts. Serve immediately.
It's amaaaaazing.

Thank you for the cupcake recipe!! My good friend is gluten-free, but also egg-free so I confront some challenges when baking for her...although of course I still love to. Do you think egg replacer would be OK in this recipe?? Thank you!

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will be my first gluten-free Thanksgiving. I am lucky because my family always focuses on turkey and vegetables. The only gluten-containing dishes they have to have are green bean casserole and Stove Top stuffing (both made in the microwave, so it's easy to avoid contamination) and rolls from a local bakery. We usually have cheesecake for dessert, so this year I'm making that with a gluten-free crust. I am hopeful that all will go well!

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for the beautiful post. I'm dairy free, so the part of family not "getting" it really spoke to me. DH's family (and even my dad on occasions), while I know they mean well, are always saying "but why won't you have just a little X?" or "A bit of Y won't hurt you!" Yes, it will! Days of illness and agony are not worth a taste of whatever it is. Speaking from experience of cross contamination, it doesn't taste so good coming back up.

For the newbies to food intolerance out there, don't be afraid to affirm and assert your own needs. It will get easier, I promise! YOu are worth it.


At 7:53 AM, Blogger Wide Lawns said...

Thank you so so so so much for this post. Just yesterday I stood in the grocery store, like the girl you saw, just about in tears over Thanksgiving. This is my first gluten free TG too and I've been freaking out a little about it, trying to decide what I should bring that I can eat. I also can't eat corn, so that leaves out even more things. I'm also having a problem telling people that I can't eat their food because I feel like they'll think I'm high maintenance or making this up or that I'm a hypochondriac or something. I also don't want to hurt people's feelings when I can't eat what they bring, and I know that's ridiculous, but I still feel badly about it.

So I'm going to try some of the mixes from Whole Foods, be happy about mashed potatoes, cranberries and sweet potatoes.

But thank you again. This post was such a comfort and I almost felt like it was written as a sign for me to not be sad and feel sorry for myself about all the things I can't eat. Instead, I'll be thankful for the many more (and better) things I can eat.

Could you also post a tip or answer me here in the comments about how to make gravy out of arrow root? How much do you use? I'd like to have some gravy on my turkey and refuse to use a mix.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is, gosh, my third gluten free thanksgiving. And this year, everything except the turkey will be made by my celiac - vegetarian hand.

It's pretty exciting.

My favorite naturally gluten free addition to the thankgiving menu is acorn squash. Stuffed or roasted, sweet or savory, it's always great. I have a recipe for a version of it with apples on my site, but any recipe will do - squashes at that good.

Happy early Thanksgiving, all!

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first gluten free Thanksgiving. I will be eating with about friends, and everyone is trying to be accommodating. Since there will be vegetarians and vegans there, one more dietary consideration didn't seem so hard. The gravy will be made with arrowroot. The Alton Brown ham will be made with GF ginger snaps.
I am so thankful for this blog. I am so thankful for my wonderful friends. Have a lovely holiday, everyone!

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Chef said...

I made these cupcakes egg-free and dairy-free as well as gluten-free and they work great... I used Ener-g egg replacer for the eggs and soy milk for the milk.

Great photos Shauna... I licked my computer screen.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger MJ said...

This is my first gluten-free/dairy-free Thanksgiving, though I started my diet in January of this year. I'm not Celiac, but I am gluten-intolerant. I'm feeling pretty confident about this Thankgiving because DBF and I are doing most of the cooking at our place. My mom is coming into town and we've already figured out how to make her stuffing GF.

But, I think we'll have to add these cupcakes to the menu - they look amazing! And thanks for all of your tips!

Be well,

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Happy Turkey Day! I've been GF for almost three years now, so I don't really think about it much anymore - it's a natural thing for me to make pie crust from rice flour. The first year I went GF I wanted to make stuffing that I could eat, so I made a batch of Shauna's cornbread (with my own modifications since I don't do dairy) and turned it into stuffing. Not only was it delicious, but it's become a tradition. The entire family asks for this stuffing for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.

Try not to be afraid - you'll definitely have some flops as you learn to cook this way, but the successes are that much sweeter because they've been hard won.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Stephanie in Idaho said...

About my 14th GF Thanksgiving. I am 'old hat' at this, sugar. My advice? CELEBRATE YOUR INDIVIDUALITY. We all have our 'idiosyncracies', and being GF is ours...

I always make a dish (such as sweet potatoes, jello, whatever) as well as bring my 'own' stuffing. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE stuffing and I have absolutely no problem making my 'own'. Usually I have no problem with the gravy, because every time that someone else makes the gravy, I just ask if we can make it with cornstarch instead of flour - I have never had someone 'balk' at that request... I personally think it tastes great with cornstarch anyway.

Sometimes I will make a dessert, too (not much, because there are always other desserts, there too!) so I can partake of something yummy after the meal. This year just might be chocolate cupcakes, I will make them this weekend as a 'trial run' (he he, I trust that they're as good as you say they are), just in case...

Thank you Shauna, I LOVE your blog, you have such a way of writing that makes me want to be your friend!

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Czarnecki Family said...

My sister was just diagnosed as gluten-intolerant (but not celiac) a week ago. We have about 21 people coming to Thanksgiving and everyone is making different stuff so instead of having long conversations with each person explaining how to cook GF, we're just making a GF version of everything for her at my house (my mom is hosting). I'm making her a GF pumpkin pie (she's not big on the other kinds anyway), GF stuffing, GF pumpkin muffins instead of rolls and I think everything else we're having is naturally GF. I'm thinking that since she is just gluten-intolerant it won't be as big a deal if there is a little cross-contamination from other people's kitchens . . . is that true?

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Becky's recipe - it looks wonderful and is a definite keeper. And, what a gorgeous picture, Shauna. Becky is one of my favorite people - my friend Lynn and I have taken several of her classes at PCC Issaquah and Culinary Communion. She's a fabulous instructor and I look forward to learning more from her soon.

We're having Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house this year. I'm planning to bring the plum crumble from the 9/28/05 post. I made it earlier this week and it looked EXACTLY like the picture on the website. And it tasted wonderful!! A great gluten free dessert.

We all have so much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Liz said...

I don't have anyone in my family who has to be gluten-free, but I have two really wonderful vegetable dishes that I am addicted to and have served for many holiday meals.

The first is roasted brussels sprouts mixed with toasted walnuts and tossed with a bit of honey and really great olive oil right before serving.

The other is just roasted seasonal squashes: sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squash, red onions, and fennel. Toss in a dressing made of balsamic vinegar and olive oil before roasting and after you take it out of the oven toss again with another dressing of ginger, garlic, tamari (I believe that is the gluten free one but correct me if I am wrong), and a dash of sugar thinned with a bit of water. Delicious and goes well with ham or turkey!

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first Thanksgiving eating gluten-free. I tested negative for celiac, but had a positive response to the dietary challenge. Gluten makes me mentally foggy, tired, and bloated. My kids and husband are not gluten free, so we have a mixed kitchen.

We will be making turkey, of course, and I'll be making our traditional stuffing for the guys. I'll be making (for myself) brussels sprouts with mushrooms, and corn, and the pumpkin pie will be made with no crust.

We keep a simple Thanksgiving table; since this is also a fasting season for us (we're Eastern Catholics and fast from animal products during the pre-Christmas season, but have a special dispensation from our bishop for Thanksgiving day), we try to not have too many leftovers.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those cupcakes are making me salivate!!! Yum.

I used to get so sick after Thanksgiving dinner (potlucks and other parties as well!) It took years to figure it out. Now I am finally getting over my fear and trying to feed myself and my children safe and tasty foods.

Our favorite Thanksgiving dish is a sweet squash and carrot bake.

Remember good ole' acord squash cooked with butter and brown sugar? Yum.

We take that a step further by scooping the squash out with a melon baller, slicing zucchini and carrots, topping it all with butter and brown sugar (real maple syrup sometimes too!) and finishing it off with pecans or walnuts. Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.

Oh, my. The kids gobble it up as well.

And guess what? No gluten. Naturally.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Pearl said...

that looks wonderful. and thank you for being so sweet and reaching out to her. it must be so confusing and quite scary to have to prepare for a first thanksgiving like that.

hope to keep in touch :)
i started following your blog after your "converting him to oatmeal" entry; my guy hates oatmeal, too, but he has high cholesterol, so...

thank you again :)

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Nova said...

My favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving dish is the cornbread stuffing from "The Joy of Cooking". It is naturally gluten-free when paired with their southern cornbread recipe. I like it with pecans. This year I am going to try my first ever green bean casserole. I have never had it before since I have been gluten-free as long as I can remember. I will of course be using fresh green beans, my own cream of portabella mushroom soup and my own fried onions. We'll see how it turns out. I can't wait!

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for validating the use of mixes for those of us new to the whole GF thing. I have felt soooo guilty, even though our local health food spot carries very regular and quite good sales on Bob's Red Mill stuff.

As far as mix recommendations? I'm a sucker for Gluten Free Pantry's Muffin and Scone Mix. They are perfection. And Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix is always a hit. I have had so many ladies rave over them and then I have to admit it's a mix, and it's gluten free to boot. They pause, their eyes widen and they grab for another, all the while exclaming they can't believe it's gluten free.

I'm going to be tackling more from scratch baking in the coming months, but I'm going to try to get Thanksgiving and Christmas under my belt before going "solo".

Thanks for all the great stuff here, Shauna. I appreciate it so much. And, you too, Chef. And Little Bean. All of you, Happy Thanksgiving.:)

At 9:17 PM, Blogger jill elise said...

The one thing I can't live without at Thanksgiving is stuffing. Luckily stuffing tastes fine with that gross, gluten-free grocery store bread:
I'm so glad I'm past the point of being horrified by Thanksgiving! Your cookies look delicious.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Patricia said...

Hi, I'm Patricia. I guess this will be Thanksgiving #16 for me. Until reading this post, I hadn't realized just how vivid my memory of my first Thanksgiving as a ten year-old was, but now it's coming back to me. My mom was so lost trying to feed me. (I don't want to trivialize how hard it is being newly diagnosed at any time, but imagine the G-free mix selection, or even GF flours, on the shelves back then!) Of course, that year at Grandma's, there was no question that the turkey would still be stuffed and the usual pies made. But mom got me a cornish hen, my own little "turkey," that wouldn't be stuffed, and wouldn't be contaminated. As much as I just wanted to be "normal" at that age, and even though it wasn't turkey, there was something about that cute little thing that made me feel special. (Per Shauna's request for suggestions, maybe some of you can consider cooking your own "mini turkey" if you're attending a dinner where the cooking/stuffing of the turkey is out of your hands.) But dessert. I vividly remember sitting (in my mind, i was off to the side, not even at the table perhaps, isn't it funny how our emotions affect our memory of things?) eating a bowl of cool-whip, practically crying as I watched everyone else gobbling up their pie. Alas, I didn't go hungry, which in itself is a lot to be thankful for. And here I am, 17 years later, healthy and grateful for more options!

I must share a recipe I just made, that is divine, and in my opinion BETTER than pumpkin pie, and you don’t have to mess with trying to get a GF pie crust to turn out right (after all these years, I still have trouble). Believe it or not: Pumpkin bread pudding. My friend found it on Epicurious: . I think it was my first time, EVER, eating bread pudding, at least in my memory. I was afraid that the gf bread would be too mushy or would affect the taste, but apparently making bread pudding is the perfect thing to do, especially with a loaf that doesn’t turn out perfect. I used a bread mix I had never tried before (it happened to be Namaste Foods), and the taste and texture wasn’t perfect, I’d say I even undercooked it a tad, because it stuck to the knife and got extra crumbly as I was cutting it. No matter! The recipe turned out AMAZING anyway. We even used fresh roasted and pureed pumpkin from my friend’s home grown patch (although, the can will work just fine!). And don’t even think about skipping the caramel sauce. Make it from scratch just as the recipe calls for, it’s easy, and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything this Thanksgiving!

As for my favorite naturally gluten-free thanksgiving foods, I’ve gotta admit being a sucker for the jellied cranberry sauce in a can. I know, I know, all the corn syrup, and what about fresh, local, organic, etc? But somehow, even if you put some delicious fresh cranberry concoction in front of me, i still want a can-shaped slice of that jellied stuff next to it.

P.S. I think I remember from her book that Shauna also learned the hard way, but don’t forget to remind any turkey chefs not to dust that roasting bag with wheat flour! Even people that have known about my diet for years and avoided the stuffing contamination, almost threw that flour in there, just out of habit and because the directions said to.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Shayla said...

A very comforting post and those cupcakes look scrumptious!

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Dawn in CA said...

Hi Shauna - recently found your lovely site. I am not gluten-free, but I must be dairy-free to avoid feeling very ill, which has challenges of its own. One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes is a new one that I made last year. It is a Cornmeal Prosciutto Stuffing I found in the New Basics cookbook, and it's the most delicious compbination of polenta squares, prosciutto, onion, and herbs. It also calls for white bread cubes, but I imagine you could make those from a mix (or omit entirely) and still have a superb, gluten-free stuffing!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all your wonderful posts!

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness Gracious!

I will always love this blog!

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your recipes as well as your inspiration to overcome the challenges of living gluten-free. One issue you may/may not be aware of is fava bean sensitivity. A friend's husband nearly died, had to have a transfusion because of ingesting fava bean from they do-not-know-where. I told her that some gluten-free mixes contain fava bean flour and to be wary of baked goods. Bob's Red Mill chocolate cake mix while safe for me would be devastating to friend's husband. See Pharmacology:Medicine:Favism.

And thanks for your continueing inspiration - even with a baby in the house!

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

I just found your blog a few weeks ago and have found it tremendously helpful and encouraging! Our oldest son is sensitive to gluten and casein, so our whole family of 5 eats GF/CF....just didn't seem fair to sit and eat a big hunk of cheese and slice of bread in front of an 8 year old and say, "Sorry can't have it" We know we will all be healthier for it anyway!
We just started on this journey at the beginning of October, so we are newbies. I think we are doing pretty well so far. I spend several evenings a week trying different breads, cookies, and other goodies...some with great success, others....not so much. My biggest fear for our first Thanksgiving is not having the pumpkin pie that we all love so much! I have tried two different recipes in the past week, looking for a great one without the condensed milk and haven't been happy with either. I do LOVE the pie crust recipe I found here on your site, but the fillings I made just were not the same. I tried it with rice milk once, and with coconut milk once.....does anyone else have any suggestions?
I suppose I would be just as happy with an apple pie this year and work on the pumpkin for next year....I have to cut myself some slack since I've only been doing this for a month and a half.
Thank you for all of your tips, recipes and encouragement!
(We are just over the hill in E. WA...I hope to visit your husbands restaurant the next time we are in Seattle)
Happy Thanksgiving!

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will be my first GFCF Thanksgiving. When I first challenged myself with a GF diet a few months ago, despite testing negative for Celiac, the results were enough to convince me. I added CF when not all my symptoms resolved. I have to say, that is even harder for me than GF. Mom always said there was a mouse in our family tree, the way we went through cheese as kids. I'm optimistic that I will be able to have some dairy in the future but time will tell.

I'm incredibly thankful this year for my family and fiance, who have made this crash-course in food sensitivities and diet modifications bearable. Nothing quite picks me up like David munching happily on a GFCF cookie while I scrutinize the consistency. I'm going to visit my sister over the weekend and she proudly proclaimed over the phone today how she spent hours in Kroger reading ingredient labels so that we can make "safe" enchiladas, cinnamon rolls, hot and sour soup, and other favorites she knows I have been missing. My mother has called a handful of times as Thanksgiving approaches to make sure her stuffing (my favorite of all time) will comply with my stomach. I smiled at the "Herumph, well that's not so hard now is it?" over the line.

Even at work, co-workers have been keeping my diet in mind at potlucks and carry-ins. They are my test audience for baked goods and are always surprised when I remind them the recipes are GFCF. One woman now suspects her daughter has food allergies based on my anecdotes. I'm amazed at the open-mindedness that surrounds me. Even the lady at the roasted nut kiosk at the mall knows what Celiac is... "Why put wheat on nuts?" she asks. "Sugar and spice is what's nice!" And I'll tell you, those were some of the best candied almonds I've ever had.

More time, more tests, and I hope to have solid answers in the future. For now, I will enjoy the holidays with food and family, and that's not so different than any other year!

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

I am so thankful for the community here on this blog - reading all the comments here just reinforces all of the things I love about Thanksgiving - food and family. It is wonderful to have this site to swap ideas in.

This is my 8th GF T-day, and it definitely feels pretty old-hat now - I spend the day before thanksgiving cooking all of my food for the weekend, before we make the long drive to our families, and I revel in making the foods I love, that will feed me safely. And I always make enough to share, and often my dishes are gobbled up before the glutenous ones!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and enjoy all the GF goodies!

At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my first gf Thanksgiving... at my friend's parents in Long Island. They were so kind to make sure that I could eat most of the meal, turkey, potatoes, yams, green beans. We are all cooks, so I knew if I had questions that they could answer quickly and accurately.

Dessert was a pumpkin tart, and so I declined of course, not bothered. But the hosts were so worried that I couldn't eat dessert! They asked if I could take some of the tart and just eat the filling out of it. I was trying to explain how this wouldn't do without going into a whole lecture about microscopic amounts when the host came out with an enormous crystal bowl of "schlag." He came right over to me and crowed, "This is gluten-free" and plopped a huge dollop of whipped cream onto my empty dessert plate.

Whipped cream: it's gluten free, and the only excuse for eating straight cream I've ever had!!

At 10:03 AM, Blogger madeleine said...

Hi there,

I am writing here in your comments section because I can't figure out how to set up my email on my new computer, and I have a question regarding the glycemic (sp) index of non-wheat flours.

My father and uncle are both Type 2 diabetics and this year, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner--I want to have some baked treats, but I try to be very concious of their dietary needs (the apps read like something out of the backwoods guide to protein-focused eating). So, thence my question.

Thank you for al that you do, and I hope your family continues to be blessed.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Cakespy said...

These. Look. Amazing. And your description:

Dark as lava, as moist as the ground in Seattle in November, and rich in chocolate goodness, these cupcakes are addictive. Add some coffee ganache frosting, and you're pretty much in heaven.

--oh my! I needed to write it again, myself, because it was so deliciously written.

Happy Thanksgiving to you (though it's not your first gluten free one, there are still plenty of happy firsts to this one I think!!).

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Hey! I'm an almost eighteen year old who was diagnosed with celiac at twenty two months old. My thanksgivings have been interesting. Lots of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and almost never turkey. I really like the Pamela's mixes for everything. I'm not the best cook but those always come out fine for me. Families are the hardest part, I think. As a kid it's pretty hard to say make me something different and somewhat difficult but it tends to end up okay. I always try to just be thankful that the food has gotten so much better than it was when I was younger- trying to find good gf cake in the 90s was terrible. I've never had a thanksgiving that wasn't gluten free, and for that I'm also thankful. I can't imagine having to adjust to gluten free! If anybody's in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area you should look up our local group. We've got a great Christmas pot luck that's taught me and my mother a lot about how to cook gluten free things I never imagined I could eat.

Thanks for all the gf advice!

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Katie and although I am not GF I am a wheat and yeast-free girl. This will be my first thanksgiving (although I have known for well over two years..I was working the past two turkey days...) The thing that makes Thanksgiving for me is the stuffing. I have thought and thought and thought of how to make it and am stuck. How do you make wheat-free, yeast-free stuffing?

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Littles said...

Hey! This is one of my favorite dishes from Food and Wine mag. It will be at our thanksgiving dinner. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Hash
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 pound sweet onions such as Vidalia or Texas sweets, finely chopped
1 small Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
10 sage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup apple cider

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts and squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the apple and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Gently stir in the roasted brussels sprouts, squash and sage, then pour in the cider. Simmer over moderately high heat until the cider has almost evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and serve.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband is gluten free and has been for some time. I can't remember exactly when the transition happened. I think it more gradual than anything. We are lucky though because his mother also suffers from the same affliction. She can't eat anything with gluten either. I do not quite think "lucky" was the right word for that. It is just easier when you have someone else who understands and knows some of what you are going through. I am completely understanding as far as my husband's gluten intolerance is concerened, but my father in law, on the other hand is not understanding with my mother in law. That makes it very hard for her. He is always complaining about the food he misses.... but she can't see making a big batch of lasagna that only he can eat.... instead she will make one they both can eat.
My biggest complaint with the gluten free foods you can buy is I want to be able to buy more of a selection of white rice pastas. I live in Maine and they only carry White Rice spaghetti noodles at the nearest health food stores.... I want elbows...shells.... and such. I know they make white rice elbows because I can buy them in the package of Annie's Mac N Cheese....

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Stephanie in Idaho said...

Katie! Try a GF cornbread stuffing this year! Read Nova's (previous commenter), she mentions a Joy of Cooking Cornbread recipe, that you can make into stuffing! Oh, honey... I can't imagine doing without yeast, BUT, I have done without gluten for 10+ years, so it can be done... Good luck

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup. First time but I've been gluten-free a year and I'm a pro now. Also, my mother in law is an excellent cook and Thanksgiving is a group activity so I will have a little control.
REALLY want to make those cupcakes.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have found out that I have CD only a few days ago. I am nervous about Thanksgiving because not only do I have to figure out what foods I can eat, but it will be my first Thanksgiving with my new in-laws. Nobody will really be cooking anything GF for me, because I am not sure what to even tell them at this point. Any advice would be wonderful! Thanks!

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

This is my 2nd GF Thanksgiving and I am still very nervous as I do not have much control over the food preparation. I am going to two Thanksgiving celebrations and am planning to stick to what I know is safe - mashed potatos, cranberries, jello, and salad. I am so thankful that mashed potatos are GF - they are my favorite!

For one event, I am planning to make a pecan pie with a gluten free crust, so I can make sure there is some dessert I can eat. One bit of advice for buffet style Thanksgivings - try to go first through the line. Being the first one to serve yourself minimizes cross contamination from spoons that may have touched gluten containing items. I hope everyone has a Happy (and GF) Thanksgiving!

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed this post. I've been having trouble not constantly thinking about food and fear. I do know that eventually it won't be so hard. I'm going to cook a traditional meal at my home. I don't think I could handle being worried about cross-contamination.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just found out less than a week ago that I have CD, and Thanksgiving is at my in-laws (which is the first time I have been there for Thanksgiving because we got married this fall). I am a little overwhelmed right now because I am struggling with what I need to eat let alone for Thanksgiving. I plan on bringing something that I can eat because it will probably be the only thing that I will be able to eat. Any advice would greatly be appreciated!!!

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna asked us to note our best mixes--here are my faves:
1. Gluten-Free Pantry cornbread mix
2. Bob's Red Mill Wonderful Bread mix
3. Bob's Red Mill GF pizza crust (not really Thanksgiving, but it's new and it's really yummy)
4. Bob's Red Mill brownie mix (add your own choc or butterscotch chips!!)
5. Pamela's Products baking mix and vanilla cake mix

I've never tried the GF pantry pie crust mix but have been dying to... Shauna's own pie crust is so good (and so easy) that I've just been using her recipe!

Good luck to all newbies...It *will* get better!!!

At 11:18 AM, Blogger none said...

I am making my first Thanksgiving meal alone this year (can't afford the flight home to mom's) and on top of that, I've invited a very dear friend to the meal and she has Celiac disease. I am trying to adopt my recipes last-minute to make them GF, and it's really a challenge.

I am planning to have 1 dish (traditional family eggplant parmesan), 1 dessert (cookies), and rolls that contain gluten, but everything else will be GF (roasted chicken, stuffing with GF bread cubes, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes). I'm really worried about cross-contamination making her sick... any pointers? Is it going to be a major problem to have a few foods with gluten, as long as I keep them on a separate table and wipe down my counters?

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Kristen said...

This is my first gluten free Thanksgiving, and I don't really feel like I am missing out. It is really great to see all of my family planning out the meal around me- cornstarch instead of flour and GF croutons to make the stuffing.

However, the best part about Thanksgiving for me is a gluten free item I have been eating for years, long before knowing about Celiac. My great aunt has had celiac disease for over 30 years now, and for as long as I can remember, my mom has made her pies every Thanksgiving with a nut crust. It is so good! It is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook and is simply 1.5 cups of crushed nuts (I like pecan the best) 2 tbs of butter and 3 tbs of sugar. You make it just like a graham cracker crust. We either cook it first and fill it with a cream pie filling, or we do a pecan pie- yes, pecan pie in a pecan crust, and no, it is not overkill on the pecans, it is delicious. The options are endless really, this year I am doing an apple cobbler and crumbling the same mixture on top of the pie. I recommend this crust to anyone, not just for a gluten free solution.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't have Thanksgiving without a portobello mushroom lasagna, made instantly and indistinguishably GF by switching to a corn-rice blend pasta. It's even "fooled" family from the Old Country!

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Have a great Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Is it possible to have a chocolate orgasm? After trying these cupcakes, I say YES!

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heidi - you asked for ideas of dairy substitutes for pumpkin pie. Can your son tolerate goat milk, which has only trace amounts of casein? I have found it to be a delicious sub for cow milk in many recipes. I can get it boxed fresh in the cooler section (natural foods) or evaporated canned. Meyenberg makes both varieties.

Or you could try using silken tofu pureed with the pumpkin. I'm not sure how this compares to what you're looking for, but I've tasted some delicious pumpkin tarts made with tofu.

Kris in Virginia

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

Yay! Ohhh I so love you for posting this! I tried it yesterday, and you are right, they are amazing!!!!
It is my first gluten free thanksgiving. My mother is cooking, but she has been very very careful and my family and I are going over early to help. It is still intimidating, but feeling healthy is worth it:-) Thanks for the inspiration!

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were so kind to offer advice to the newbie - I wish you had been around when I was learning...
Well, you kinda were with the blog. Thank you....

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Wanderlusting said...

Oh crap - I have to make these now. Hopefully I can tweak them to make them a little more low-cal too? Either way, I'm timid when it comes to baking but you have inspired me to start and with this recipe too! THANK YOU and HAPPY THANKSGIVING :)

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

@Karis (comment #2) - WOW! I made your GF/DF crustless pie (I'm calling it "pumpkin custard"), and I poured a little of the batter into a ramekin, and ate it warm out of the oven - WOW!

You are right - I didn't miss the crust at all, and the coconut milk adds a lovely subtle dimension...I will be topping it with fresh whipped cream tomorrow, though!

At 3:20 PM, Blogger MJ said...

Shauna, we just made these cupcakes last night, though we used 2 teaspoons (not tablespoons) of vanilla extract in the cupcake batter. We also modified the recipe to be dairy-free. These are amazing, especially made a day ahead of time. I never would have guessed these were GF!

Be well,

At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing some delicious recipes here. I really love eating sweets especially Chocolates!
For me, sugar is the best source of energy for the brain that is why I love sugar!

At 1:51 PM, Blogger S.C. said...

Thank you Shauna for your blog and words of encouragement! I am 3 months gluten-free and have been dreading Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays. Your blog and book helped me realize that I can enjoy the holidays and in fact use them as an opportunity to create new traditions! Things do not have to be the same as the always were, and (you were right) in some ways it was even better. My husband and I made everything ourselves yesterday, for the first time ever and then brought our gluten-free foods to my parents' house to eat with them. It turned out far better than I ever imagined. I tried to remember to use the best ingredients whenever possible, just as you recommend and it really did make a difference. We tried some new dishes and found it a refreshing change from what my family makes every year. Thank you for encouraging us "newbies" in our journey. It really does help me see the positive side of things as I learn to live gluten-free.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is gorgeous, Shauna.

I am thinking of you so much these days baking in a new country. Wheat free seems to be all the rage here in London but I fear it is not directed at people with Celiac and many bakeries and food establishments are spreading mass mis-information.

I was told once, years and years ago that "wheat spores fly," and so no one can claim wheat/gluten free unless they're making product NO WHERE near wheat/gluten product.

If I were a gluten free person I might carry around a wallet sized list of all the not-sure danger products I couldn't have the way sustainable fish concerned folks carry around the Seafood Watch List.

Might your site be working on such a imbedded PDF or some such thing?

Remember: Food businesses are not the last word on your health/allergies, you are.

I can't change everyone in London but I am soon to be re-deucating the owners of my business-- a major bakery for all of London and the UK.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have an awesome recipe for Christmas fruit mince pies?
Thanks for all the inspiration!

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This was my first GF Thanksgiving and it went perfectly! I hope you all had great success!

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Jina said...

this was my first GF thanksgiving - I went GF nearly a year ago -and everything went great. I baked GF cornbread for an amazing stuffing (I also made my own bread cubes from frozen GF bread to mix in), plus made a GF ginger snap crust so my brother could bake his traditional pumpkin cheesecake. Also made gravy from the drippings using one of my GF flour mixes instead of wheat flour. My parents and brother joined my husband and I for a delicious feast - one which no one could tell there was no gluten to be found. I am thankful to your site for helping me gain the confidence in my GF cooking to make this a reality. I was at a party last night and when people asked me about being GF and what I missed, I could honestly tell them I miss nothing - sure it would be nice to be able to eat anything at a restaurant or party, but I know I can recreate any food I want only GF and it will taste just as good or better than the gluten version I was used to. Honestly - I would have never been able to say that until after about 6 months of building up my experience cooking GF, many thanks to you Shauna!

happy thanksgiving! now, bring on Christmas! I've got to add the Bob's mix to my next web order so I can try making those cupcakes. I hope they freeze well :-).

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Zoe. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac after suffering terribly since I was a very young child, I will be 49 soon. The boils on my skin were quite bad for years, the hives, face, eye and extremity swellings, and the horror of the gastrointestinal issues. Not to mention fatigue so severe, breathing was difficult. I hated doctors and never went, until recently, the fatigue was indescribable. My doctor did a few blood tests, it showed malnutrition in addtion to severe anemia. She thought I had cancer and was bleeding internally, she sent me to a gastrointerologist for biopsies, after the Dr. took my history, she called for more blood tests and a genetic test for Celiac. Finally, now I know why I have been so sick my entire life. I immediately went on the gluten free diet, and after a short time came to feel like I had never felt my entire life. I had energy for the first time, I never knew what that felt like. I am still in shock.

This was my first gluten free Thanksgiving, all could not have gone more perfect. Because of this site I was able to research, plan, and implement the best Thanksgiving my family has ever experienced. All the food came out perfect.

However, I am a little of kilter today because I just realized I accidentally got gluten last Monday evening. I feel fine now, but last Tuesday I was very sicked, fatigue extreme, and gastro problems, and rash on my upper extremeties. I did not know why I felt that way, and just brushed it off. Well, I found out today, what happened last Monday. I purchased a bag of organic cookies from the health food store instead of gluten free cookies, they were My Del, and right next to the gluten free ones. Well, I did not know, until today, when I pulled out that bag to have a snack of three cookies, and did not see the gluten free on it, only organic, and then I read the ingredients, WHEAT was the main ingredient, I panicked...I thought, OH did I do this...then I flashed back to last Tuesday and remembered how sick I had been, even my co-worker made a comment about how great I had been looking and feeling, but that day, I told her I was wiped out, but did not know why, and I joked and said, wow, what a differnec a day makes. Only, I was yet to discover that it had been GLUTEN.

Gee, this really concerns me that I can do this without even knowing.

Shauna, I cannot say enough about how you have helped me in my new life with Celiac. I honestly do not know how I would have done it without you.

I am just very grateful I was diagnosed and I have this opportunity to have good health in my life that I never had before. I geel like I won the lottery.

I feel as you do, this is such a positive discovery, and I have always loved to cook.

God bless you, you are my angel.

Best wishes to you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your passion for food, and helping others with in our journey too.

Zoe from North Carolina

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

I love reading this blog, but in my opinion these cupcakes were nasty. They had a bean-y smell and aftertaste. And I'm a good baker. I know the negativity doesn't fit in well here, but I didn't want someone else to make these, not like them but wonder if they were doing something wrong.

Maybe if you're gluten-free your taste evolves and they taste really good. Who knows.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Shauna - I just bought your book and I am crying with joy as I read it - the joy of knowing that it all makes sense now. I made a GF Thanksgiving - with GF stuffing and 2 GF pies. I used pre-made pie crusts from Gluten Free Pantry, but I found all the different flours you listed on your blog and I am eager to try and start baking from scratch. When I finally understood that gluten was hurting my body, I was able to get through by realizing that feeling good was so much better than feeling horrible no matter how delicious a fresh crosissant tasted. I no longer crave those foods. I also no longer feel like I have arthritis in my fingers, have a brick weight on my chest, can't take deep breaths and want to sleep all the time. I eat home more than I eat out because I enjoy being able to control my meals and when I eat out, I go to restaurants that I know have GF menus. There is even an Italian Rest. here in Orlando that buys GF pasta and will make anything on the menu in a separated pan just for GF customers and his list of customers is growing rapidly! Thank you so much for your blog and for sharing yourself with the rest of us. Hugs to you and The Chef - Barbara

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time this year and I tried your recipe for gluten-free stuffing. Phenomenal! My future mother-in-law, who is not very tolerant of dietary restrictions, could not believe it wasn't made with "real" bread. Mu ha ha ha ha!

Delurking to say thank you!

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom and I, both recenty diagnosed with celiac made our first guten free thanksgiving this week. It was daunting but, no one missed the gluten! I couldn't help but comment because the description of the fir in the beginning of your post was totally me 3 months ago. I was lost! If only there had been someone to tell me it's okay and that I would feel better. Recently my mom and I encountered a mother and daughter in our local trader joes, using their GF list to shop, we could help but talk with them and give the teenage girl some advice. Even there was no one there when I was about in tears in the store, I'm glad that I could help someone feel a little bit better about their new lifestyle!

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Deanna said...

Hi Shauna,

Thank you for posting this recipe! I made the cupcakes for my first gluten-free Thanksgiving feast, substituting a homemade Nutella frosting for the chocolate ganache (which sounds incredible but I wasn't brave enough to test it). Delicious!

Kudos on having a beautiful, wonderfully written, successful blog, and I'm super excited for the release of your cookbook. Happy holidays to you and your family!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Wendie said...

I wish I knew about your blog a week ago. I am just a couple weeks GF. I have been feeling so great but since Thanksgiving I'm feeling horrible again, my intestines are screwed up, and my skin has blistered out like crazy. I feel like I've been so careful but I did have the Bob's Red Mill cornbread mix. This GF living has been lousy for me so far but I feel a little hope reading you...

At 2:38 PM, Blogger PCC Natural Markets said...

Great post! And by the way, I think your gluten-free readers will be thrilled to know that we now have a search feature for gluten-free products on the PCC website in the grocery section of products that we just release today!

You can search by category, brand name and product name as well as chose "organic" so only organic products will show in your search. You an choose multiple product categories or choose to view all GF products and sort your lists by any of the fields and print your lists too.

Check it out:

And feedback is much appreciated. Please – let us know what you think.

Keep up the GREAT posts!

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mmmmmm...those cupcakes look delicious

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Fran said...

Just recommended your blog to a friend who needs to be GF. Thank you for the wonderful reading and the recipes.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Shauna, my body seems to like wheat just fine, but I wanted to dive right into those cupcakes! Thank you for creating a place that celebrates fabulous food _ and love!

Holly from and

At 4:51 AM, Blogger lexi said...

Thanks for this excellent recipe! We don't do Thanksgiving down here in Australia, but these will be great to take along for Christmas to the houses of my gluten-free friends.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Miss Voodoo said...

you know since getting celiac & multiple food allergies I have not been a fan of the holidays - my family never in 7 years tried to make it so that i could eat or even attend a holiday gathering safely. This Thanksgiving I was alone, but I made it really special for myself by focusing on making something really yummy and special that i could eat that I would not normally do for a regular meal. Staying focused on treating ourselves special can really help take out the frustration when dealing with family & holidays, and my meal was sooooo good my cat wanted some too.

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It was my first gluten free thanksgiving too. Lucky for me, the only stomach cramps I had were from eating too much! Last year I had my official diagnosis ON chrstmas even (I must have been naughty last year).... so it was like my "last supper" last year.. but this year was just as tasty without the nasty side effects :)

Can I also say that I really enjoy reading your blog. Both for the gluten free goodness, but also because you found your 'match' in a way that I hope works for me. I just had another birthday, and while I'm still considered "a baby" by most (26), I don't feel that way sometimes. So anyway thanks for the hope, in more than one way!

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Bowl of Soul Gal said...

Happy Belated Gluten-Free Thanksgiving! Thanks for the great post - and the

This year I was so excited to find a decent GF frozen pie crust at Whole Foods and there's a wonderful Austrian bakery near my house, so I gave them the crust and they created a delcious GF pumpkin pie for me...fabulous!

It's true though - eating GF for this holiday is much easier than people think and thank God for mashed potatoes. My one tip for newbies (especially when someone else is preparing the turkey) is to NOT eat turkey that was baked with the stuffing inside. I've heard people say it doesn't matter, but I don't agree. An easy tip is to bake your own small turkey breast, baste is with herbs and butter and viola!...a safe turkey of your own that was not contaminated in any way!

Enjoy and now onto Christmas baking!

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Catherine Illian said...

made the cupcakes-- they were a HUGE hit-- my sister who lives in NYC and is a huge cupcake fan said they were her favorite-- the best she's ever had!! that is saying a lot..

I also made the stuffing and gravy-- yummy-- and had a fabulous gf thanksgiving..

I also made blondies-- which are yummy too..

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is totally unrelated to this post, but I just wanted to say: I am a pastry chef, and don't have celiac. I made your brownie recipe the other day. Those brownies were so freaking good, my husband and I ate them all by ourselves! I'm excited that I can make a delicious sweet for my one friend who can't eat gluten now, thank you!

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year was my first GF Thanksgiving and thanks to my wonderful mother I didn't miss a thing! We had GF stuffing and apple pie thanks to an INCERDIBLE Gf bakery in Royal Oak, MI Their bread is almost too good to be true! We used GF cream of chicken soup for the cheesy potatoes, and had a pumkin custard instead of pie. Overall it took a little extra work ahead of time but was very worth it in the end.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Traca Savadogo said...

Hey Shauna girl. Sounds like an awesome trip! While you were gone, I made an awesome gluten-free appetizer. I can't **wait** to bring it to your next shindig!

Check it out:


At 2:21 PM, Blogger Julie said...

That woman in PCC could have been me. I've spent alot of time on the west side of the mountains shopping at PCC and Whole Foods since my 17 year old was diagnosed 6 months ago with gluten/casein intolerance and a yeast allergy.

Every time I look at her healthy smling makes everything worthwhile. We had a great Thanksgiving with tons of foods and desserts. Will try those cupcakes.

I'm thankful for our local health food store in Union Gap...and for your book which I read at a time of serious OH CRAP - how do I do this...

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your Thanksgiving recipes and for the Choc Cupcake recipe. I made the cupcakes and stuffing for Thanksgiving and they were both amazing. The cupcakes are beyond awesome and I always get excited when I see a new recipe or product that I can eat. I know the thanks come a little late, but I had to comment on how it affected my a great way.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not GF but have 2 friends who need to eat that way. So I made these cupcakes to take to a potluck that we all went to. They turned out very well. I do agree with one commenter who noticed a "bean-y" smell to them, but I only noticed this garbazo-like odor in the batter, not in the finished product. I used unsweetened soy milk in the batter and in the ganache, although I think if I were to make them again, I would use sweetened vanilla soy milk instead and maybe even add a tablespoon or two of butter to the ganache to replicate the mouthfeel that you get with a ganache made with cream. The one friend is lactose intolerant as well, so this was a necessity. I noticed that it is sometimes not the food itself that the GF person appreciates, but that you took the time to show you care by making something safe for them to eat. Full disclosure, I have already eaten 3 of these cupcakes. Yum!

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Nancy about the bean flour taste and smell. We didn't like these cupcakes at all.

I recommend the chocolate cake recipe in Karen Robertson's cookbook, Cooking Gluten-Free, for making cupcakes (bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes). I like her Wendy Wark gf flour mixture, which I make with all brown rice flour and not with part white rice flour. I use Authentic Foods finely ground brown rice flour.

An hour has passed since I baked the cupcakes and the kitchen still smells terrible.

I love your writing and your Web site; I bought your book; I just don't like beans or bean flour in any form.

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Jes said...

Hello Shauna,

(It's Christmas morning that I'm writing this to you). I wanted to let you know that I have made this recipe twice now. The first time I made the cupcakes without the ganache, and they were amazing all on their own. The second time I made this recipe as a cake with my mom, just yesterday. We used the gluten free pantry's decadent chocolate cake since all of the Bob's Red Mill mixes were out of stock at our little natural foods store. It turned out fabulous! (I had to adjust the liquid to the new mix, but still ended up using the applesauce and cider vinegar). We made just plain ol' ganache to top it off.
Oh my heavens! it was fantastic!! My parents are totally supportive of my gluten free needs, and are often pleasantly surprised with how good everything turns out.
Thank you so much for this blog, and your book. I have been dedicated to reading your site for years.

Happy Christmas to you, the chef, and little bean.

At 6:36 AM, Blogger Swiss said...

I am a step further as a food addict and do not eat wheat or flours. Stuffing was always my very favorite part of the meal at Thanksgiving and I was wondering what I would do. I invented the best brown rice stuffing recipe and it is just as satisfying. To get the squishy feel I used some cubes of eggplant. Since I made it up as I went along I will have to redo it so I can post it but even non wheat flour avoiders loved it.

I cooked the rice in my steamer first, then recooked it in broth and little white wine the same way you would cook a risotto- so it got juicy and plump. Once I added the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, the onions and eggplant it was superb.

PS -
I had to sing the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme part- always do!


At 7:03 PM, Blogger The Gluten-Free Radical said...

I just want to thank you for posting this! I myself am not GF, but I recently made this recipe to take to a history final (exams are better with chocolate), and wanted to be able to include my professor, who has Celiacs.

I made just a couple changes which I wrote about here, if you're interested.

I have to say that I have never baked gluten-free before, and it was really different, but it was a fun challenge.

Thanks a lot for your posts, they are really enjoyable and also useful!

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We made these cupcakes for my brother's birthday. He was amazed that we could make GF cup cakes taste this good especially after a year of being deprived of chocolate cake. We also made some whip cream and put it on top of delicious cup cakes and it was marvelous.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Rachele said...

The two tablespoons of vanilla extract should be two teaspoons of vanilla extract. This is very nearly the exact recipe that is printed on the bob's red mill package (just a minor sub of applesauce for some of the milk).

At 3:02 PM, Blogger Dixie said...

What a great idea, and SO TASTY! This is one of those recipes that easily "passes" with non-gluten-free folks. I threw in a little strawberry extract (jam works even better) to enhance the chocolate taste, and frosted them with strawberry-flavored old-fashioned boiled icing, which tastes like marshmallows. Oh boy...

Thanks for this wonderful site!

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recipe!! I am going to try this recipe 2morrow for sure!! Can't wait!! I have only just recently found out that i need to go GF. I have been looking everywhere for delish recipes and now i found some! Thanks again!!

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I first want to say thank you so much, this website is amazing. I recently was told to start a Gluten free diet because of severe heartburn following every meal. This on top of my Lactose Intolerance has made my life, as a chocolate and cookies loving girl, quite hard. This website has helped me out so much.

These cupcakes look absolutely delicious, but I was wondering if you know of any dairy free options that will actually take the place of the Heavy Cream for the Ganache?

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Justin said...

What if you don't have a stand mixer? Would a simple immersion wand work? Thanks.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger GlutenFreePress said...

Last year was our first GF Thanksgiving. I took basic recipes for stuffing, mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole, etc and just substituted GF bread, pasta, whatever. It was great! The kids didn't even notice.

People get so caught up in finding specific GF recipes, but really most traditional recipes can be modified easily. Don't stress over it. Cornstarch and arrowroot work as better thickeners for sauces and gravies than wheat flour.

And I do have one tip for super yummy chocolate cake too. We love the Betty Crocker GF mixes, but they are a little dry. I add 1/3 of a package of instant pudding mix to each batch of batter. My husband was floored at the difference in moistness.

Happy cooking everyone!


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