A Gluten Free and Lactose Free Holiday Dinner: Part One

My name is Elisa and I have Celiac Disease.

Like many celiacs out there, I also cannot properly digest lactose, which, as I’ve learned, is a very difficult diet combo to live with and for good reason. The fact is, a lot of the foods that are dairy free still have some form of  lactose in them. Unless you’ve truly done your research, you can easily miss it.

And then there’s gluten AKA wheat AKA Satan, I mean, Seitan (SAY-tan) which is a meat substitute. It goes by many names: wheat gluten, wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply, gluten. Seitan is the main protein of wheat. It is also found in many dairy-free and even supposed gluten-free products via either cross contamination or lack of care by the companies who produce them.

Are you ready for this bombshell? Seitan is used in many tofu products.

Let that sink in for a minute or two.

Navigating through all of this on a day-to-day basis is hard enough as it is, but now we’re attempting to take on a traditional meal with all the holiday trimmings. We’ve got this!

Allow me to paint the picture for you…

It’s nearly time for what I call The Big Feast and you’ve got about three weeks or less than a week to shop, prep, and cook. But one of your guests cannot have lactose and the other cannot have gluten. What do you do? Make two separate dishes of each item on your menu? Tell them to bring their own mini-feast? Give up and order in? None of that will do, but do not fret for I bring good news. I’ve done 99 percent of the time-consuming research for you and pulled it all together here. Simply click on what it is you want to make, buy your goods, and if you’re truly feeling lost, use the timeline provided at the bottom of this page to both make your yummies and even prep your home for guests; just as an added bonus. Now, I wasn’t able to find a recipe for dinner rolls that I felt was both safe and delicious beyond all imagination. But if you know of one, please… send it my way!

The Separatists List

Here are items separate from the recipes below that we bought to compliment our menu for the evening. Really, they’d compliment any menu:
• Cider for the little ones who want to feel fancy
• Sparkling cider
• Cranberry juice
• Egg Nog: I love Lactaid’s version of this, but I highly recommend you start sampling what’s out there the second they hit the shelves. This way, you’ll have the one you loved most for your special dinner.

Now, without further ado…

The List

Let’s start with what we made the Monday before Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce. A trusted friend suggested I make it four days ahead of time because she likes her sauce chill. This also means we eliminate the chaos the day of and don’t need to buy more cookware.

Next, we have corn. You can make your corn the day of, but corn tastes just as delicious days later, so I vote to save a little bit of sanity and knock that baby out a day early.

Pumpkin pies and whipped cream were tough ones. We ultimately decided to buy pre-made crusts from Sprouts (love their combo of great selection and more affordable prices than their competitors) and their organic pumpkin puree (remember to always rinse off and rub down your cans.) Quick story on this pumpkin pie recipe. I found, used, and loved it back in 2017, but I failed to save the recipe. My husband and I spent over an hour searching online, sifting through photos, social media history, and our email accounts in a desperate attempt to find it.

Yes, it is THAT good.

He finally found a snapshot of it that I must have sent him while he was overseas. He simply Googled the text as he saw it, and voila! We had our beloved recipe. This will be his first time partaking of this greatness.

Now let’s jump on the gravy train. This has to be the one that makes me want to pat myself on the back the most. If you have ever even once in your life tried to find a way to thicken gravy whilst avoiding what your body maybe cannot have, then you’ll understand why this recipe is such a gem. You can make it same day or freeze it in covered ice cube trays and thaw it the day of. Either way, enjoy!

Your taste buds will thank you for this green beans and bacon (yummmmmmm!) recipe.
Your body will thank you and your guests will LOVE you. The holiday menu tends to be starchy pretty much across the board, but this combo will help balance that out and probably even become something you do for a regular night in. We will be making ours in one of our slow cookers, because I like to keep it simple.

Stuffing!? Why, yes please! We’re such big fans that we’re making two completely different versions of it! Yup. One for inside the turkey and one for outside the turkey. This way we get the traditional taste of the more bread-like stuffing that will be mixed in with the savory turkey juices and we also get a heartier vegetable stuffing that offers way more nutrition. Your choice mamas. I’ve got you covered either way.

Deviled Eggs? Sure! Why not? As you may already know, I grew up in a traditional Mexican household. So it wasn’t until I was an adult that I had my very first deviled egg (thank goodness for baby showers) and fell madly in love with those little rays of sunshine staring back at me.

May I just add that you never ever want to go broke over any single-day event? If canned corn and green beans, skipping the bacon, and brine in a box is how you need to pull it all together this season, do as Nike says—”Just Do It.” No holiday is worth compromising your family’s monthly cash flow.

Brine? What’s that? Once you click on the link below for the turkey, these separate recipes for brine and poultry seasoning (low carb, gluten free: 1 tbsp dried thyme, 1 tbsp sage, 1 tbsp dried onion flakes, 1 ½ tsp sea salt, 1 ½ tsp garlic powder, ¾ tsp black pepper) will make more sense. Also, the main stuffing recipe is found within the turkey link itself.

Turkey or ham? We couldn’t decide, so we’re doing both. We live in on-post housing with a tiny fridge and a tiny stove. Since the turkey will be in the oven while the green beans and stuffing #2 will be occupying both of our slow cookers, we’ll be making our ham the day before. Thank goodness for microwaves and a recipe that will leave our ham juicy. (Note: you can buy a traditional looking ham instead.) As far as the turkey goes… This one will be taking the most of our time, energy, and efforts, but oh so worth it.

Stay tuned for Part Two, the timeline leading from prep to table!



About Elisa

Elisa is the first granddaughter in her family to be born here in the U.S. and is the first from her family to be affiliated with the military. While her soldier's story is much the same, he is actually a 2nd generation soldier because his father served with an Airborne team in the U.S. Army. She has four kiddos, ranging in age from 4 to 19. About a year ago Elisa finished school to become a certified makeup artist, but it is only one of her many certificates as she's still trying to figure out what it is she wants to do in life. So far, being a mostly full time mom is her biggest joy, passion, and motivator. She loves to volunteer, advocate, and coordinate big events. Her passion lies in the world of dance, poetry, writing and a touch of playing photographer.

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