Thanksgiving Tips 2 (Re-post)

Here are a few things we do as a family when substituting for allergies.

  • Turkey: one of my commenters said that they use butter on top of the turkey. I have never done this, I usually baste a turkey in it’s own juices. Maybe this is a practice in different parts of the country?
  • Gravy: if you are headed out somewhere, WATCH out! Most gravies use flour to thicken. If you are making your own it is easy to substitute with rice flour or corn starch.
  • Stuffing: this is one of the hardest substitutions. I have not found a gluten free stuffing available on the market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We either go without or I have taken gluten free bread and made croutons ahead and carefully cook them with water and spices to make a type of stuffing. It’s not the same, but still works well.
  • Mashed potatoes: (one of the easiest things to make allergy free unless you are allergic to potatoes) use rice milk, less than normal to keep the potatoes from feeling “watery”. Dairy-free butter of choice. Or baked red potatoes with herbs, spices and olive oil are a nice change.
  • Sweet potatoes: watch the marshmallows (check ingredients) or leave them off. Substitute dairy for dairy free depending on what your recipe calls for. One thing we like to do is eat sweet potatoes plain or I chop them into pieces and add brown sugar with melted dairy free butter over top with pecans mixed in. YUM!
  • Green Bean Casserole: I mentioned this one in the previous post. Again, it is possible to substitute just know it won’t be exact, but it still will taste fabulous.
  • Bread: you can either bake or buy some gluten free bread or even better how about some cornbread instead? There’s a great recipe I have changed to make allergy free over here.
  • Pumpkin pie: this one gets a little harder, but you can replace the crust with gluten free crust and then for the pie filling instead of starting with a pie filling, you can start with pureed pumpkin adding in dairy free milk and spices.
  • Apple pie: use a gluten free pie crust or an easier and quicker idea is to make an apple crisp instead. Using rice flour or a combination of gluten free flours you can make the crumble quite easily. This is one thing we like to make all the time for dessert and even our guests that don’t have food allergies really enjoy it.

Reality is you can have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal without “traditional” foods. Years past I have tried out all kinds of different recipes that are not considered traditional and each one has gone over well.

I hope that you have a great day tomorrow whatever you are eating. Enjoy the gathering.

Until next time,


Thanksgiving Tips (Re-post)

Ah…can’t wait for the big day!

Lots of yummy foods, friends and family gathered round enjoying a day of fellowship and giving thanks for the many blessings we have.

Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, famous green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie a la mode, sweet potato casserole…can you picture it all laid out on a buffet or in the center of the table?

Wonderful food and other than the cranberry sauce and turkey, each one of those “traditional” Thanksgiving treats has at least one major allergen in it’s recipe.

What is a person to do?

You could host the meal yourself. That is a lot of work, but can be done.

There are a lot of recipes out there that can help you maneuver through some of those tough ones. Or you can see the substitution list for some ideas of how to take the traditional recipes and make them allergy free.

For example, green bean casserole, while you can’t put the gluten laden fried onions on top, you could toss some of your own in a rice flour and quick fry them on the stove. They won’t be exact, but still will be quite tasty and that’s the point. The recipe could be made without the cream soup versions if you can’t have dairy.

If your family is like ours, and does potluck style, you can create some special sides for the allergy needs and let the rest bring what they will. Another option is to ask them to be sensitive to your family’s needs and help them with ideas of what to bring that everyone can eat.

What do you do if you are headed out to another home for the day, as our family will be doing this year?

It is difficult to ask a hostess to cater to your allergy needs, but at the same time hostesses usually feel bad that they didn’t make anything you can eat. Making a hostess aware that you don’t expect her to cater to your needs is important, but making the need known gives her the ability to decide how she wants to handle it. You might be surprised at how sensitive she may be.

If it is not possible for her to make something for you then by all means bring some of your own special food, making sure to have several small dishes to fill in where needed. Also, it is best to ask ahead, what she will be serving, so that you can provide substitutions as necessary.

Can you bring something? If that’s the case, you know you can make an allergy free dish that will please everyone and you can pile that on your plate during the day.

Thanksgiving is only a day away, so these tips may be a little late, but I hope they help.

For the Christmas holidays, I will be compiling a list of great cookie, cakes, and dessert recipes. Drop a note in the box if you have one you’d like to share with us. We’d love to hear what you are doing.

Until next time,

Traveling Tips

Now that you have a handle on your allergies at home you are faced with a new situation: traveling. This will undoubtedly cause a little fear and trembling. Maybe you have not already figured out how to handle food allergies at home and have not braved a few restaurants, so heading out of town, state or the country could be really scary.

Here are a few tips to help you:

  1. Kitchen in a suitcase: everyone makes fun of me about this one, but that’s okay. When we travel by air we have quite a bit of luggage. It’s a very sad state to find oneself in, especially when you are typically one of those people that can travel for a week-10 days with only a carry-on. What’s in all this extra luggage? Well, with children you know there is already an extra suitcase for all the things they need. When you have food allergies and are going some where that doesn’t have a specialty food easily available you need a suitcase for food. When traveling with Little Miss we get two carry-ons; one is filled with food and the other has our camera and all her medications, nebulizer and other medical supplies! It is part of traveling.

    We typically head to see family that live in a small community where we don’t have a lot of allergy-free food options. What makes it a bit worse is when her cousins are around too, because I need to be ready to come up with something similar to what they are eating sometimes at a moment’s notice. Since I can’t just pick up allergy-free pizzas, I need to bring all the flours and baking supplies to make the pizza. Cookies and snacks? Again, I need to have some with us that she can eat.¬† Oh, and on that note, depending upon where and how long you are going: it could be a good idea to bring a few utensils and at least pot to cook with.

  2. If you will be staying in a hotel try and find one with a kitchenette. If you can not do that at least ask for a refrigerator.
  3. Check a list of local restaurants and call ahead before going, asking the same questions you would ask ahead in your own local restaurant.
  4. If you are headed overseas to a foreign country try to figure out language for your allergy needs before you go. Even better still would be to ask someone  fluent in the language to translate a restaurant card for you to take. Keep in mind that if you will be traveling in areas where few people read, it would be a good idea to have a picture on your card of the allergy with a slash through it. Ie. peanut with slash.
  5. Traveling by air? It is best to plan on bringing your own snack, but it is possible to call ahead and figure out a snack or meal.

These are just a few tips that I hope will help you. The more you plan ahead for traveling the easier it will be when the time comes.

Bringing your own food is easy and generally a good idea no matter when you are away from home. It isn’t hard to put snack-packs together and stuff them in suitcases to take overseas either, just in case you might have to miss a meal or two while out and about.

Until next time,