Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Allergy Free Thanksgiving

Yes! It IS possible.

This year I made my very first Thanksgiving meal. This is the only time in my life that I have not celebrated the holiday with extended family. It was a marvelous day, hanging at home with my boys. It did feel a little odd to not have more loved ones milling about the place, though.

It is a blessing that I had never made an entire Thanksgiving spread on my own before. I didn't have to re-learn how to make everything this year. I'm hoping that T will outgrow his allergies in about six years. Thanksgiving 2018 may be problematic, as I suddenly figure out how to do everything with allergens. The challenge to make a holiday meal that was dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and soy-free was no different than making dinner any other day of the year. It just took longer.

Now for a review and recipes!

The turkey.

Ugh. I have such a love-hate relationship with turkey. White meat is icky. Dark meat is yummy. If only a turkey could be entirely dark meat.  I would be deeply satisfied to have no turkey at Thanksgiving lunch. I do so love a turkey sandwich for dinner Thanksgiving night, though.

My angst was compounded by trying to find a turkey that didn't have a bunch of chemicals injected in it. I found some {happy dance} but they were whole, 20lb turkeys {despairing sigh.} I refused to buy a turkey that would feed us for six months. I went to a local health food store and found turkey breasts {yes!} that didn't have anything injected in them {yes! yes!} but did have a wee bit of dark meat still attached {yes! yes! yes!} I then went to the check out with my little 9lb turkey. {dark clouds roll in} I placed it on the conveyor belt. {cue the scary music} Blissfully ignorant of my impending doom, I  happily congratulated myself for both hunting and gathering a worthy bird for our meal. It cost $55. {gasp. heart flip-flop. blink. look around in a daze. drop head in defeat.} I still bought the thing, though. It was either that or eat lunch meat. I had already looked in every other grocery store. I simply resolved to cook it up right and then eat rice & beans for a month.

Cook it up right, I did. My brilliant sister recommended I brine the turkey. She said I should find Alton Brown's brine. I asked who he was. She was horrified that I had never heard of dear Alton. And not eye-rolling, you're-so-dumb-horrified. It was a deep sigh, I'm-so-sad-for-you-horrified. I actually just had to google his name again to remember it. I did find the brine, though. And it is FABULOUS! Not only is it delicious, it is already allergy-friendly.  I didn't have to adapt a single thing. Click here to find it. Always cook your turkey with this recipe. If you have extra brine, like I did, you can use it in your mashed potatoes, or as the broth in soup. I actually used the left overs for both of those things.

That turkey was the gift that kept on giving. I still have half of it frozen in the freezer and we have had four meals with the other half. So if I divide the chest-pain inducing total of fifty-five dollars by eight meals, I only spent $7 per meal. Not bad, after all.

I cooked it in the crock pot in an effort to make it more juicy. It was okay.  I still don't like white meat. Unless it is smothered in veganaise and squished between two pieces of bread.  The crock pot also gave me room in the oven to make the other dishes. For crock pot cooking recommendations, click here.

Wow, I've been wordy. I have even been going back and deleting myself, but still this is a long post. I will try to double-time it through the rest of the dishes.

The mashed potatoes.

(I couldn't figure out how to make the white blob of potatoes look pretty, so here it is with some friends)
I discovered how to make delicious dairy-free mashed potatoes last year when T was first born. We were following a dairy-free diet at the time for abdominal comfort reasons. One of the women from our church brought us a delicious dinner that included mashed potatoes. She said she used chicken broth instead of butter and milk. Oh my! They were so much better than my own. I have been using broth ever since then. But since I had extra brine and it was so yummy, I used it and our version of butter.

The stuffing/dressing.

Hit it out of the park! I had never made stuffing before and I was thrilled with the results. I was particularly happy it turned out so well, because it took such effort to make.  I made my own bread a few days beforehand. I have not been able to find allergy-free bread, so I make my own. And I don't have a bread machine. My bread recipe is a combination of this one and this one. And since I love combining recipes, I did the same thing for the dressing itsself. I combined this with the traditional family one my mom handed down to me. The recipe isn't a secret, it just isn't typed up anywhere. Hopefully I'll remember exactly what I did and duplicate it again sometime soon.

The sweet potato souffle.

Meh. It was so-so. Egg replacer can only do so much. Also, I opted not to put the coconut & sugar on top. I didn't think it would be the same without the nuts. And it really isn't supposed to be a dessert. My boys liked it, but they never had the original, so they don't know any better. I'll probably try to do something different next year.

The pumpkin pie.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! This turned out so well. I found an incredible vegan pie crust recipe. Click here to get the recipe. So yummy! My husband fell in love all over again. Adapting the traditional recipe you find on the side of the can was otherwise easy with coconut milk & egg replacer. And the whipped cream on top? That would be the thick stuff that floats to the top of the cans of coconut milk, whipped with sugar.

If I can pull together a Thanksgiving dinner that doesn't kill anyone, you can too!

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments. If comments are snarky, I'll publish them, but not respond. If the comments are hateful, they will not be published. If they're nice, I'll pray a blessing over you as I publish your comment. And maybe even blow a kiss!