November arrived and suddenly I am in a mad rush to prepare for Thanksgiving and the holidays! Anyone else? Let me clarify… Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday but we are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time! I host almost all the other holidays and birthdays and big events… but Thanksgiving has always been my Mom’s holiday to host. So we are in full on planning mode over here and I’ve decided to share the controlled chaos with you! I’m starting with week one and our preliminary menu and will update each week as we go along.
I said this before but it bears repeating… Thanksgiving is my mom’s holiday.
With the exception of a few years when my brother and I spent the Thanksgiving at our in-laws, we’ve always been at my parents. It’s all my kids and their cousins know for Thanksgiving. So there is a lot of emotion for a lot of people attached to the location.
Over the years, we have taken over hosting Christmas, Easter and most other big family events. Each year we offer to host Thanksgiving and we knew one day it would be ours but it’s still a shocker when it suddenly is!
And I love Thanksgiving!
It is always a been a super fun holiday in our family.
There is a core group that includes my parents, my brother’s family, my aunt, uncle and cousins plus a fun and revolving cast of characters… once my mother in law joined us, sometimes my brother’s mother-in-law joins us, other aunts and uncles and it used to include my grandparents. Plus, my mom always opened the door to any friends (especially when we were in college) that weren’t going home for the holidays.
To make each new person to the table feel welcome, my mom would ask there favorite dish and add it to the table.
Over time, we’ve even adopted these dishes as our own. (Hello pecan pie!)
And it’s always been a super relaxed day with lots of food!
Some of the food is prepared ahead of time and everyone brings dishes.
Other dishes are prepared the day of.
Many people have to drive an hour or two so they arrive in the morning and there are always lots appetizers to snack on while the kitchen was in fully swing with many many chefs, all working together to prepare an amazing feast!
Thanksgiving 2019 3 Weeks and Counting
It was only last Friday, November 1 that we fully acknowledged and embraced that we are hosting Thanksgiving.
We dealt with our own emotions about not having Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and we are 100% in and deep into planning!
First, I have to admit, one of the reasons we were a little reticent, is that hosting always means cleaning…
You know all those random piles that build up over time? We weren’t ready. But last weekend we started doing things around the house and now we are on a mission!
And we mapped out our preliminary menu.
We will continue to adjust and finalize over the next few weeks.
We wrote out everything that has always been included at my mom’s house and omg, there is A LOT!
It includes everyone’s favorites, even people who are no longer at our Thanksgiving, lol. So don’t judge as you read on.
It’s also why there are always so many cooks in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day!
The kitchen always has my mom, myself, my aunt, my cousin and several others working all day cooking while others are cleaning up…
But it’s one of the things I love so much about Thanksgiving… It is a ton of fun to prepare a meal together!
And it’s 99% gluten-free!
And… it’s 99% gluten-free!
Over the years, each family member has adjusted recipes and used gluten-free flour as needed so that nearly the entire table is gluten-free!
My mom has historically stuffed the turkey with stuffing so it’s not gluten-free which is why we make a roast chicken as well.
But this year we are frying a turkey and it will be gluten-free!
My mom is making stuffing separately and bringing it to be heated up.
Preliminary Menu (updated Week 2)
So here it is:
Cheeseboard (I will make)
Shrimp cocktail platter (my mother brings)
Some kind of dip or Hummus and Veggies (my aunt will bring)
Gluten-Free Crab quiche (my mother makes — for some reason this is a tradition for us)
Smoked Blue fish (my aunt brings from a local fish shop in Rhode Island)
New to the menu: Spinach Artichoke Dip!
Fried turkey (new this year! The frying kit arrived today!)
Bean casserole (my SIL brings, recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
Mashed potatoes (we will make day of)
Sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble (my SIL brings)
The BEST gluten-free stuffing (made ahead, heated up day of)
Regular Stuffing (my mom is bringing. will be heated up but not in the turkey)
Cranberry sauce (my mom will make ahead)
Creamed Onions (my aunt brings)
Roasted veggies (made ahead and heated up day of – post on tips coming soon!)
Salad (maybe this Radicchio & Arugula Salad with Dried Figs and Walnuts )
Fruit and Nuts (always put out before dessert)
Pies — Still TBD but probably
- pumpkin (or pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting)
- pecan pie has been replaced by pecan bars!
- Chocolate cream pie
And this week/ weekend we talk with everyone about what they plan to bring and update the menu as needed.
More Tips on Enjoying the Holidays Gluten-Free
And for tips on Enjoying the Holidays Gluten-Free this blog post from several years ago. I’ve recently changed the title from “Surviving the Holidays Gluten-Free” to “Enjoying the Holidays Gluten-Free” because my message has shifted.
I’ve always felt that living a gluten-free life shouldn’t be about “surviving” (though admittedly, there are times when safe choices are limited).
It should be about living your best life gluten-free!
And that includes at holiday times.
Food is something that can and should be enjoyed and shared. And there is no reason why that shouldn’t hold true just because you follow a gluten-free diet.
So if you’re interested in more tips, you can read the post here.
Stay tuned for next week’s update and lots of recipes!
And leave a comment below and tell me about your Thanksgiving… Are you hosting? Bringing food to a celebration? Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? How do you stay gluten-free? How is your planning going?