Winging it-or a gluten free Thanksgiving on the fly…


We finally arrived at our new home in White House on the 23rd of November.  We had an extremely stressful two day drive with our two cats.  I really wasn’t ready to even think about Thanksgiving dinner.  Having only one frying pan, one pot and one knife would make it an exercise in culinary skills that would make Gordon Ramsey proud.

I had looked into dining out in the area but there really were no viable options.  Cracker Barrel-my favorite go to restaurant-was serving dinner but since I would not be able to eat a traditional dinner, I decided to go ahead and plan to cook.

I had packed as much kitchen stuff-mostly food- as I could in our limited space in the car.  Add to that the fact I was in a new town and didn’t know the stores or what I might find or not find.

I had to pare down my usual groaning table of food and came up with this basic feast:

Turkey and gravy -I brought gluten free gravy mix with me-I wasn’t sure I would find it, and what’s Thanksgiving without gravy?

Cornbread stuffing-Would I be able to find gluten free Bisquick?

Mashed potatoes-Potato buds are my friend

Green beans-alas, not green bean casserole.  I attempted that last year-too much work to make gluten and dairy free if you ask me, plus it’s not the same without durkee fried onions

I also had to deal with a much smaller kitchen, an unfamiliar oven and stove, and the stress of moving.

We made our first trip to the local Walmart the day we arrived, utterly exhausted, on Monday morning.  I can’t tell you how much fun that was!  I figured I’d better grab a turkey while I could.  I had decided to make a turkey breast-until I saw that the smallest one I could find was seven pounds! Whoa!  My husband spotted turkey tenderloins.  After a quick look at the ingredients, I thanked him profusely for his  keen eye.  Need for roasting pan avoided, I searched for gluten free Bisquick.  Woohoo!, they had it.  I had brought cornmeal with me.   Stuffing-check!

Potato buds and green beans were the easy part.  I had everything I needed….or so I thought.

We tested the oven out on Tuesday-we tried to bake a pizza that the staff at our new place had given us as a welcome gift-I figured it was a good test if it didn’t turn out, no harm, no foul.  Well, we got confused by the oven (it’s all electronic) and the pizza didn’t bake.  Oops….well, I baked my cornbread the next day it it turned out fine.  I hit a bit of glitch when I remembered I didn’t have a mixing bowl-double oops….I mixed the cornbread right in the disposable cake pan.  Talk about your McGyver move……also didn’t have a rack to put the hot pan on when it came out of the oven.  I made one with tin foil.  We have granite countertops and a glass top stove so can’t lay a hot pan on either.  Thank goodness for the internet and Pinterest!

I did buy a new cookie sheet to make the turkey on.  The day of, I brushed the turkey tenderloins with oil and herbs, and baked them for about an hour.  They turned out great, as did the stuffing.  Considering the circumstances, dinner was excellent.

It wasn’t the Thanksgiving I would have liked to have had-with no furniture….we had lawn chairs and no table….but it was important to me to keep some sort of normalcy and tradition.

Eight days later, we finally got our furniture and the rest of our stuff.  My kitchen is now back to it’s original, if smaller self.   It was rough going for the 2 weeks we had no furniture and no sense of our surroundings.  We are still finding our way around the local Walmart and Kroger.  There are things I can’t get here, but there are things I can, and I try to concentrate on that.

My husband was very impressed and delighted with our little Thanksgiving feast, and I am very proud that I pulled it off under such adversity.  It just goes to show what you can do with so little if you are determined to stick to your guns.  Being gluten and dairy intolerant doesn’t mean you need to forego your dietary needs even if you don’t have your usual tools at your fingertips.  Use your ingenuity and what resources you have, and don’t give up.  If I can pull it off, so can you!



3 Comments Add yours

    1. thecatspajamas1963 says:

      It was a definite challenge. Just goes to show what can be accomplished. Thanks for commenting.


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