Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Ideal Gluten-free, egg free Thanksgiving....

Preparing for (and eating!) a Thanksgiving meal should be fun, but when you have to ditch most of your favorite recipes and use ingredients you have never heard of it can become downright maddening.  If you have multiple food allergies/sensitivities, your list of acceptable recipes gets even smaller.  This Thanksgiving, I am needing to be gluten free, egg free, and sugars free (only Xylitol or Stevia are okay).  It seemed like stuffing and pumpkin pie were completely out for me, but it can be done!  If I had the time and the money (and/or my own personal chef), this is what my Thanksgiving Day menu would look like:

Roast Turkey with Herby Gravy
Serves 12
4 organic carrots, scrubbed, cut crosswise and then into thirds
4 ribs celery with leafy tops, cut crosswise and then into thirds
2 onions, peeled and quartered
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh sage
1 apple, quartered and cored
1 cinnamon stick
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup pomegranate juice, red wine or additional chicken stock
10-14 lb free range or organic turkey, defrosted and brought to room temperature
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
4 tbsp water
spicy and smoky turkey spice rub
Preheat oven to 500˚.
Place 3 carrots, 3 ribs celery, 1 onion, 5 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary and 2 sprigs sage in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Cover with stock. If possible, place the rack on top of the vegetables, arranging them so the rack is stable.
Remove and discard turkey beck and giblets. Rinse turkey with cold water and pat dry. Place on rack in roasting pan breast side up. See the video below on prepping your bird.
Gently lift up skin on breast and thighs, if possible. Rub meat, under skin, with half of the spicy and smoky spice rub. Pull back skin into place. Drizzle skin with olive oil and rub skin with remaining spice rub. Fill cavity with remaining vegetables and spices.
Firmly turn wings under the breast of the turkey to stabilize on rack.
Create a turkey triangle. See the video below for a tutorial. Fold a large piece of foil into a triangle the size of the breast of your turkey. Lightly mist with cooking spray. Gently mold the foil to the shape of your turkey breast. Set aside.
Place turkey into oven and bake at 500˚ for 30 minutes. Remove turkey from oven. Reset oven to 350˚.
Place a temperature probe into the breast and set to 161, make sure the alert is turned on. Place turkey triangle over turkey breast and return turkey to the oven until breast reaches 161, about 1-2 hours (dependent upon the size of your bird); most of my birds only take an additional 45-60 minutes of baking. For some reason, free range and organic birds take less time to cook than conventional turkeys.
Remove turkey from oven and cover with two thick towels (I use bath towels). Allow the turkey to rest on the countertop for 30 minutes before carving.
with Gluten Free Herb Gravy
Pour pan drippings through a mesh sieve into a large saucepan. Add ½ cup pomegranate juice, wine or stock. Heat drippings over medium high heat. In a small bowl combine arrowroot and water with fork until no clumps remain. Pour into drippings. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and summer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Or... Herb Gravy 
1 quart chicken stock
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
pan drippings (from roasted chicken or turkey)
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock, onions and garlic to a boil
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until onions and garlic are soft, about 30 minutes
  3. Pour pan drippings into saucepan
  4. Blend stock-onion-drippings mixture in a Vitamix until smooth
  5. Place mixture back in saucepan and reheat, then season with salt and thyme
  6. Serve over turkey, mashed cauliflower, or anything else

Chorizo and Corn Bread Stuffing
1 pound hard chorizo diced
1 white onion diced 
1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 large carrot)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups crumbled corn bread
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Cook the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat until the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the onion, carrotscelery, and garlic to the chorizo and cook until the vegetables have carmelized, about 10 minutes.
Add the crumbled corn bread, chicken stock, and cilantro. Make sure that the stuffing itself is not to dry but at the same time not to wet.
Place the stuffing into a buttered casserole and bake in the oven until heated through and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Gluten Free Corn Bread
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbs ground flax, 6 Tbs water)
  • 1/2 C. Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C. Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 1 C. Finely Ground Cornmeal
  • 1 Tbs. Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Tsp. Xanthan Gum
  • 3/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C. Organic Sugar or Xylitol
  • 1 C. Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 C. Coconut Oil, Melted
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch-square baking dish.
  3. Combine the ground flax seeds and water to make ‘flax eggs’. Stir and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free all-purpose flour, garbanzo bean flour, cornmeal, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt.
  5. Add the ‘flax eggs’, sugar, non-dairy milk, and coconut oil to the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined (do not over-mix).
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool slightly, cut into pieces, and serve!
Ginger-Lime Cranberry Sauce (Sugar-Free)

1 12 oz. package fresh cranberries (4 cups)
heaping 1/2 cup xylitol
1 heaping Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
6 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1/2 lime

In a sauce pot on medium heat, add all ingredients and stir, cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until desired thickness is reached, stirring occasionally. Serve hot or cold.

Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" (aka. Faux-Tatoes or No-Tatoes)
modified from:

1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon organic, unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
freshly ground black pepper
snipped chives

1. Separate the cauliflower into florets and chop the core finely.
2. Bring about 1 cup of water to a simmer in a pot, then add the cauliflower. Cover and turn the heat to medium. Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender.
3. Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with a masher until it looks like "mashed potatoes." Top with chives.

Cinnamon Apple Tart with Pecan Crust

  • 4-5 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced ⅛-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon Xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pecan Tart Crust
  1. In a large bowl, toss apple slices, lemon juice, arrowroot, honey and cinnamon
  2. Fan apples out on top of uncooked crust, forming a circle
  3. Layer more apples over circle and in its center
  4. Cover tart with foil, and bake at 350° for 45 to 70 minutes, or until juices are bubbling
  5. Remove foil and cook uncovered for 5-10 more minutes
Serves 6

Paleo Pecan Tart Crust
  1. Place pecans in food processor and pulse until the texture of coarse gravel
  2. Pulse in egg, coconut flour and salt until mixture forms a ball
  3. Grease a 9-inch tart pan
  4. Using your hands, press crust onto bottom and up sides of tart pan
  5. Top off crust with your favorite filling
  6. Bake until filling is done (length of time dependent upon filling recipe)
  7. Serve


3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1 tsp stevia glycerite (omit if using Swerve)
1 egg (omit if egg allergy... it will still work!)
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c powdered Swerve (or powdered erythritol and 1/4 tsp stevia glycerite)
8 oz cream cheese OR mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (or coconut cream for dairy allergy)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup Swerve (or erythritol and 1 tsp stevia glycerite)
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

CRUST LAYER: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, Just Like Brown Sugar and stevia. Cream for a few minutes until very fluffy. In a separate bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth. Add egg and mix well. Roll 2 TBS of dough into a ball in your hands (for uniform shape) onto a cookie sheet. Place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Crumble and use as cookie crust.

CREAM LAYER: Mix the almond milk, cream cheese, powdered swerve and vanilla until well combined. 

PUMPKIN LAYER: Pour the almond milk into a large bowl. Add the pumpkin, sweetener, and spices. Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes, or until very well blended. The mixture should be quite thick.

TO LAYER INTO THE JARS: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip (or a large Ziplock with an end cut) with the whippy cream cheese mixture. Pipe a layer of this mixture onto the bottom of an 8-ounce Mason jar or cute jar like the ones I used (click HERE to find), starting at the edge of the jar and working to the center. Repeat this step with the rest of the jars.

That would be my ideal Thanksgiving dinner for this year, but this stuff is expensive and I don't have the time to do it all.  I'm guessing you don't either, so the best advice I can give us is pick which dishes are most important to you and focus on those.  (For me, nothing says Thanksgiving dinner like savory stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.)  As always, plan ahead! If you are able, try recipes before the actual day.  That way if they don't work or need to be modified you are able to do so and you don't end up having to go without your favorite dish.  Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Basic Chicken Noodle Soup

Basic Chicken Noodle Soup
This recipe is my starting point for all my other variations.

4 c. chicken broth or stock
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 c. diced cooked chicken (I use left over rotisserie chicken.)
1 package cooked noodles (I use Kelp Noodles, but you can use which ever kind of noodles fit your diet.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth, celery, and onion to a rolling boil.  Boil for about 5 minutes or until celery and onion are soft (but not mushy).  Add chicken and noodles and cook for another half hour on low heat.  Makes 5-6 servings.


  • Before adding the celery and onion to the broth, boil the leaves from the celery stalk and 2-3 bay leaves for ten minutes.  Remove celery leaves and bay leaves and continue recipe as above.
  • Try different spices (such as Herbs de Provence) or make the soup a little more spicy by adding a little bit of powdered ginger. 
  • Add other veggies such as carrots, zucchini, or even kale leaves.  Boil carrots & zucchini with the celery and onions in the broth.
  • Make it vegetarian by using Vegetable Stock and omitting the chicken, then adding lots of other veggies.

Thankfulness and Vitamin D

As promised, I am back to share something positive and hopeful.  Clearly yesterday was a rough day for me.  I'm thinking I might be low on Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, so I'm going to work on that.  A friend shared that possibility (being low on Vitamin D) with me on facebook and it got me thinking about how blessed I am to have the people in my life that God has blessed me with.  This lead to my realization of how fully blessed I am simply because God is walking this journey with me.  

Last night my husband played a song for me.  It was one that I had already heard and it speaks right to the heart of where I am at right now, but it was also affirming that he recognized on his own where I was at and wanted to share that song with me.  The song is "Need You Now (How Many Times)" by Plumb and the chorus goes like this:

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this"?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Today in my daily devotional Beth Moore had this to say:  "If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction (Psalm 119:92).  Teach me your Word during this season of my life like I have never known it before, and make this verse my testimony when I emerge from this place."  My desire should be to know God more through the struggles of this time, until the time "when I emerge from this place."  He is my strength, my hope, my rock, and my Truth.  He alone can heal my body, my mind, and my spirit.  Doctors and chiropractors can only do so much- ultimately healing comes from the One who created me.  

Thank you, Lord, for speaking to me through your living Word and through the people that you have placed in my life.  To you, oh Lord, I life up my soul; in you I trust, oh God (Psalm 25:1).  Amen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 60 of the Candida Diet- How am I doing today?

 People often ask me how I am doing on this diet, and most of the time I just don't even want to answer because to give a truly honest answer wouldn't be very uplifting.  Today is day 60 of the strict phase of the candida diet and it finds me cranky and melancholy.  Two months down, how many more to go?  I am craving "normal" foods and I am sad over the loss of many of my favorite foods and restaurants.  I'm tired of having to make all of my food from scratch using very limited ingredients and I am so very tempted to chuck it all and have a nice, tasty gluten free pizza.  (Unfortunately the eggs in the crust, tomatoes, and dairy make that not the best option for me right now.)  I have come to the realization that the things I really crave when it comes to food are balance, convenience, and variety.

I crave balance.  If I eat something sweet, I crave something salty to balance it out.  If all I eat are vegetables, I crave fruit to balance it out.  Since nothing that I can eat has any real crunch to it, I crave tortilla chips and crackers.  Balance and variety go hand in hand.  It is hard to achieve balance when your options are so limited.  I also crave convenience.  It is very stressful knowing that if I forget my homemade lunch on the kitchen table when I go to work, my options for going out to "grab a bite to eat" are severely limited.  I crave the convenience of being able to look up a recipe and not have to wondering if my egg replacer will work or how much agar flakes cost.  I crave "normal."

I am worried about the upcoming holidays.  Potlucks, holiday parties, and family gatherings are a minefield of danger and deprivation.  Or at least that's how it looks from here.  I'm so new at this and I don't have a lot of time on my hands to try out these recipes that I find.  I know that a gluten-free, Candida Diet approved Thanksgiving dinner is possible, I just don't have the time to figure out how to do it.  I'm tired and I'm frustrated and I just want to be done with this diet.   I look at all the other bloggers and they are so upbeat and optimistic.  Am I the only one who really struggles with this?  I guess one difference is I am not trying to sell anything with this blog, so  I can afford to be real with how I am feeling and not sugar coat it.  I couldn't use sugar anyway, I would have to use Xylitol.

So, in a nut shell, that is how I am doing today.  I promise to come back and post something more optimistic and hopeful soon. Reminder to myself:  THIS TOO SHALL PASS.