Fabulously Free: Happy Thanksgiving!
Today is a national holiday back where I come from, and it’s easily my favourite as it combines food, family and friends – Thanksgiving!
A day-long celebration of loved ones with amazing food to tuck into, it’s a truly wonderful holiday. And topping it all off, over dinner, we all give thanks during the day for what we have, and for the goodness and joy in our lives.
No gimmicks, no (not much!) commercialisation and lots of delicious food. What more could you ask for?
This year, however, I’ll be celebrating slightly differently – turkey, tick; green beans and brussel sprouts, tick; mashed potatoes, tick… sugar-candied yams and bread stuffing? No ma’am!
Eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free has made me not only healthier and happier, but also more creative in the kitchen. So throwing a fabulously free Thanksgiving was less of a challenge and more of an opportunity for creating new mouthwatering recipes.
First the turkey: the secret to a perfectly cooked turkey in my opinion is roasting it in a low-heat oven protected by foil for most of the time and basting it with its juices every hour. Yes this will take all day… but it is so worth it.
Before going dairy-free I used to also swear by roasting it with butter spread underneath the skin, but while it does keep it slightly more moist, I just don’t miss the extra calories, fat or milk.
In terms of stuffing, this year I made an absolutely delicious cornbread stuffing made gluten-free and entirely vegan using a flax ‘egg’ to bind it together. Crumbled up with olive-oil, mushrooms, celery, grated carrot and raisins to keep it sweet and moist, it’s delicious and goes perfectly well with the turkey!
One of the staple side dishes for an American Thanksgiving are candied yams which are made typically with sugar (white or brown) AND marshmallows (which disappear into the yams during the baking so you don’t realise they’re there). But yams (and sweet potatoes) are so naturally sweet you don’t need all that added sugar.
This year I opted instead for organic maple syrup drizzled on top and cinnamon to boost the autumn flavours, and the yams were amazing.
There are myriad websites and blogs out there right now with loads of fantastic gluten-free and sugar-free recipes to try out – so when you’re planning your next holiday, why not try one of them and see how it tastes (and how you feel afterwards)!
Vegan Cornbread Stuffing
250g cornmeal or maize meal
2 eggs (or 1 large flax or chia ‘egg’-water mixed with 2TB of either to create an egg-like goo)
250ml soy milk (could use nut milk too)
2TB raw honey
2TB maple syrup
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
Optional: chopped dates, raisins, pecans, walnuts and chia seeds (plus a TB chopped garlic for added flavour and to balance out the sweetness)
I poured that into a square baking pan (I used a nonstick silicone one) and baked it on 160 for about 25 mins.
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