Thanksgiving Report 1: Allergen-Free Edition


For our 2012 Thanksgiving celebration, I cooked much of the meal for my relatives.  It was fun, and apparently successful, as I received some requests for recipes.  The only problem is that I don’t always cook with recipes.  Often, I will peruse the internet or the Wegmans magazine, and then rely on some mysterious kitchen alchemy when I actually make the dish.

This Thanksgiving, I was not cooking for a crowd.  Dinner was just the four of us at home.  With the luxury of time and some ambient lighting for pictures, I decided that today I would try to pay attention to what I was putting in the pot.  The following is our 2013 Thanksgiving menu.  It is almost all allergen free (if your allergies are the same as Jack’s).  You’ll notice that allergen-free pumpkin pie didn’t make the cut, but we did have a yummy chocolate pie in its place.

Thanksgiving 2013

Turkey:  Sometimes we go all out with a locally raised fresh turkey and the larded turkey recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  This year we had a small 48 cents/ pound grocery store turkey.  I just salted the inside, stuffed it with apples and onions, and roasted it at 325 degrees until it was done.  (I covered it with foil for the last hour of roasting.)

Mashed Potatoes:  I use soy milk and Earth Balance spread.  I also use a little bit of tarragon.

Fancy Gravy:  See recipe below.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts:  See recipe below.

Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce:  Jack has inherited his grandfather’s taste for cranberry sauce.   Grandpa G. would serve it at every meal if he could, but we only indulge in “cranberries from a can” occasionally.

A Pomegranate:  I took David with me shopping late on Monday night . . . and we came home with a pomegranate.  This was a last minute addition, and we just ate it plain.  It lent a nice contrast to the turkey and gravy.


Brown and Serve Rolls:  Jack could not eat these.  I offered to make him cornbread, but he said it was not necessary.  (I’m glad, because I didn’t really want to make cornbread.)

Lemon Meringue Pie:  This was Tom’s request.  I have never made a lemon meringue pie, allergen-free or otherwise.  (Is it even possible to make an egg-free meringue?)  We bought this in the freezer section, and Thomas seemed to enjoy it.

Chocolate Pie:  Wheat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, but still really good!  I also made coconut whipped cream for the topping.  I am still relying on a cornflake or Corn Chex crust for this.  Once I figure out a good gluten-free crust, I think the recipe will be blog-worthy.


It was a good dinner, and we were reminded to be thankful for the bounty in our pantry, in our freezer, and on our table.  We also paused to thank God for freedom, especially  our freedom to worship Him without persecution.

Now, without further ado, here are two of the recipes my relatives requested:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1-2 pounds Brussels sprouts

(Last year, I made 2 batches of 2 pounds.  This year, I just made one batch with 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, and 2 carrots.)

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil (About 1/4 cup, enough to coat the vegetables.)

Salt and Pepper

2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine  (I use Earth Balance.  If it weren’t for Jack, I would probably use real butter.)

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar  (You don’t need really good balsamic vinegar for this.  We keep two jars.  The “good” jar is for fresh salads.  The grocery store brand is for cooking.)

Wash the Brussels sprouts and pat dry.  Peel off any outside leaves that don’t look good.  Cut the smaller sprouts in half.  Cut larger sprouts in thirds or quarters.  Peel and slice carrots if you are using them.  Peel and mince garlic.  Toss vegetables and garlic in a bowl with olive oil.  Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Stir about halfway through.

While the vegetables are roasting, measure butter or margarine and honey in a microwave-safe bowl.  Melt in the microwave and stir.  Then stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.

After the 20 minutes, take the vegetables out of the oven.  Stir the vegetables.  Pour the butter/honey/vinegar mixture over all.  Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

You can also try this recipe with other vegetables.  The roasting time will vary depending on the vegetables you use.


Fancy Gravy

1 small onion

2 small to medium apples

About 1 dozen baby portabella mushrooms

Olive oil

3-4 tablespoons cornstarch  (I did not get the cornstarch right the first time.  I only used 2 tablespoons, and that was not enough.  I think I would recommend starting with 3.  If you have to use more, mix it with some cold water or broth before adding it to your gravy.)

Salt and pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Balti Seasoning to taste  (This is a sweet curry spice blend.)

About 3 cups turkey or chicken broth  (Last year, I used homemade turkey broth.  This year, I only had homemade chicken broth so that is what I used.)

Slice the onion.  Peel and slice the apples.  Wash and slice the mushrooms.  Place all three ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, salt and pepper, and sweet curry spice, and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a saucepan generously with olive oil.  Heat on medium high.  Add the onions, apples, and mushrooms, and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the cornstarch and spice mixture, and stir to coat the onions, mushrooms and apples.  Add the broth, and turn heat up to high.  Stir until mixture comes to a boil, and then stir for one minute more.  Ideally, the gravy will be the desired consistency, and you can turn the heat to low until you are ready to serve.

If the gravy is not thick enough, you can add more cornstarch.  Just be sure to mix the cornstarch with a little cold water or broth before adding to your hot gravy.  Otherwise you will get lumps.  Add the cornstarch and cold liquid to your gravy and bring to a boil again, boiling for about one minute before checking for the desired consistency.

We serve this gravy over the turkey and mashed potatoes.  It is also good with leftover turkey and rice.  The gravy can be used with chicken, although I prefer it with turkey.


We are indeed blessed.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving weekend!





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