Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu Making, what to do with those gluten free and paleo people.

Weather your Thanksgiving celebration is large or small, it is likley you will be facing guests with a handful of special diets. I was thinking of this while planning the menu for our upcoming thanksgiving dinner where we will host 18 people. We will be having 3 pescetarians (who eat fish but not other animals), 2 people who avoid gluten, 4 lactose intolerant folks, and two quasi Paleo people. True, some of these people, are the same, I count up 6 guests who have restricted diets. So what is a host to do?

Some people stand by their view that people should simply eat what they are served. That goes something like, "I am the cook, I'll make what I like!" Fine, but have you been on the side saying "no thank you" and facing the dismay on your host's face that is screaming "why are you not eating my manicotti?" I stand by the viewpoint that it is thoughtful to consider the happiness of your guests when inviting people to your home to eat.

That is why, this Thanksgiving I took into consideration all of this while planning the menu. Thanksgiving is great because there are so many options, and so many vegetables. The key is to keep them varied, chose to put milk and butter in the mashed potatoes but make a sweet potato dish which is lactose free. And plenty of people love and crave the buttery, bready, and meaty, so we keep them happy too!

Here is a sneak peak of my Thanksgiving menu, with links to some recipes of my inspiration. I would be happy if you take any ideas from this. It is Tuesday, you are still ahead of the game!

Turkey, Stuffing and Cranberry:
  • Turkey (organic and local) 
  • Gravy (made from the turkey, old fashioned way with flour)
  • Veggie Gravy (vegetarian, lactose and dairy free)
  • Mom's Stuffing (aka Pepperidge Farms stuffing with celery and onions, recipe from the back of the bag. I know...but she loves it, what can you do?)
  • Cornbread Stuffing with leeks, mushrooms and shallots (I am really excited about this! GF, vegetarian and dairy free.)
  • Cranberry Sauce with orange, apple and spices (super healthy and low in sugar)
  • 1 can of cranberry sauce (because some people just need cranberry jelly.)
Starchy things:
  • Mashed Potatoes (with butter, Lactaid milk, salt and pepper, so they are not really lactose free, but are less dairy-ful for those of us who want to take a bite but shouldn't.)
  • Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Streusel (I have adapted this kind of thing, I make the topping with pecans, coconut oil, and a little maple syrup to glaze the pecans, when it bakes they get crunchy! No flour needed.)
  • Cornbread vs Biscuits. The jury is still out on this one. Cornbread can be gluten free, so we might do that. Ill let you know what wins out.
Green sides:
Wait - Dessert!, we like to go overboard with pie:
  • Apple Pie
  • Mince Pie
  • Chocolate Pudding Pie (made with Lactaid milk, so mostly lactose free.)
  • Pumpkin pie (regular, my Nana's recipe)
  • Alternative Pumpkin Pie (with a gluten free crust, and lactose free custard. Don't fret, ill post it Wednesday!)

So that wraps it up. I am off to the grocery to hunt down chestnuts and more brussels sprouts. Happy cooking. Leave a comment if you have questions.

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