a gluten-free Thanksgiving

It’s November. The big day is coming.

(No, I’m not talking about the election. I do not want to talk about the election. Just vote.)

If you’re gluten-free, you know the day I mean. It’s almost Thanksgiving.

In this house, it has been Thanksgiving since July. I’m not kidding. Since the dog days of summer, we have been baking, tweaking recipes, filming, writing, making pie, and taking photographs of it. For you.

For you.

Thanksgiving is the only national holiday that revolves entirely around food. We bake and cook and prep for days, to sit at a table laden with food, our family and friends surrounding us. Whether or not your meal echoes that famous Norman Rockwell painting, that time around the table together is important.

How are you going to do this gluten-free? You might be panicking. Will I be able to eat anything? Will anyone in my family help me? What will it feel like to sit at the dinner table and not be able to share the meal? Is it all plain turkey and cranberry sauce from now on?

Never fear. We’re here to help.

Let us show you how warm and wonderful a gluten-free Thanksgiving can be.

So you see? It can be an incredible day.

We want to finally let you in on what we have been planning for months.

Thanksgiving Baking with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

We have been working for months with Pableaux Johnson, at Blue Crab Labs, to bring you our first iPad app.

People, Pableaux is something else. He’s the best, fastest-talking iPad app developer out there. He’s family around here now. And he has imagined and designed one of the most beautiful iPad apps I’ve ever seen.

In our Thanksgiving Baking iPad app, we show you the ingredients you’ll need in your pantry, the equipment you’ll need for baking, and some tips for how to survive the holiday, no matter how your family reacts to the news that you need to be gluten-free. The essays are lavishly illustrated with photographs that are intended to make you hungry.

But the heart of the app are the baking recipes you need to make this a great Thanksgiving, gluten-free. Here’s what we show you how to make in the app:

° a soft gluten-free sandwich bread
° white-bread stuffing
° cornbread
° cornbread dressing
° dinner rolls
° pie dough
° pie fillings to make apple pie, pumpkin pie, cranberry-ginger pie, and dairy-free coconut-banana cream pie)
° apple-walnut cake
° pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger crust

Each recipe is presented in easy-to-understand format, with plenty of interactive features including video illustrations of everything you need to see. Tap the screen and let us walk you through each recipe’s technique and texture.

We want you to have a successful Thanksgiving, gluten-free.

(p.s. This is only the first in a series of iPad apps we are doing. Next month, the holiday baking app!)

The Thanksgiving Baking app is done. We’re just waiting for Apple to approve it. Come on over to the launch page for the Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking app and put down your email address. As soon as it’s in the App Store, you’ll be notified so you can download it and start baking.

But this is only a temporary glitch. We’re so excited about this I can barely type these words. We just can’t wait to share this Thanksgiving Baking iPad app with you.


Before the opportunity to create the iPad app arose, we could think of nothing more joyful than to create Thanksgiving videos with Debra and Rod Smith of Smith Bites Photography.

We love these two people. They have become family to us as well. (We feel pretty lucky that, in creating material for you for Thanksgiving, we found new people we’d love to have sitting at our table.) They get us. They’re kind, sharp, funny, and just good folks.

So, for two weeks in August, Debra and Rod stayed with us, here on Vashon Island. Whenever Lucy was at school, we shot videos in our kitchen. We made roasted turkey in 90-degree weather. We made roasted cauliflower three ways, made cranberry chutney with orange zest, mashed potatoes, stirred up gravy, whisked up a butternut squash soup, and dressed up store-bought hummus to make a quick appetizer to serve before the big meal. We made cornbread and cornbread dressing, sandwich bread and white-bread stuffing, and pie. Lots of pie. We made turkey cottage pie with the leftover turkey, plus turkey hash and turkey in lettuce cups. There were quarts of homemade turkey stock in our refrigerator.

(One of my favorite memories of being with these wonderful people was the afternoon we broke for lunch after making mashed potatoes and gravy. We four sat down at the table outside, poured gravy into the bowl of potatoes, and dug in with four spoons.)

We even went to our local grocery store and, with the store’s permission, walked up and down each aisle and talked about how to shop for a gluten-free Thanksgiving.

And Debra and Rod filmed everything, then edited the videos, for you.

They made the beautiful video you see above, shot at our good friend Gypsy and Stephen’s house. (Thank you, Gypsy and Stephen!) Our friends Ashley and Gabe came over with their wonderful kids, and our dear friends Anita and Cameron were in town from San Francisco so they came by too, and we all had a feast. The full feast, after making three or four dishes a day. In 90-degree heat, in August. (If you see us wiping sweat off our faces, you’ll know why.)

We really wanted you to know: a gluten-free Thanksgiving could be the best holiday you’ve ever celebrated.

So, starting today, there will be a video on this site every day leading up to Thanksgiving, and even some in the days after. (What do you do with all those leftovers?) We want to show you how to make the entire meal, laughing, and confident in the kitchen.

We’re also going to give you the recipes for nearly every dish. The baked goods? Well, you’ll have to buy the iPad app for those, of course!

So get ready for gluten-free grocery shopping, cauliflower, and cranberry chutney in the next few days!

sit back and enjoy the recipes. 

We have so much to share with you in the next few weeks.

Welcome to our Thanksgiving table.

36 comments on “a gluten-free Thanksgiving

  1. ellen

    I have no room on my shelves for another cookbook, but I have room on my ipad for videos so I will gladly pay for them! Donation made. I CAN NOT wait until tomorrow and I can download the app. Congratulations and bless your generous spirits.

  2. Carlin

    I just want to say how amazing and inspirational you two are. In an online world increasingly full of often over-the-top self promotion, e-books, and the like, I think it is amazing that you are taking the attitude you are and simply asking for donations, half of which will go to charity. Thank you for being you, and I”m sending you and your family many blessings!

    1. shauna

      Amanda, I’m sorry to say there is not. It’s iPad specific. However, we have been doing plenty of recipes for Thanksgiving in past seven years on the site. Although we think the latest recipes on the app are the best, we still love the old ones too. So we’ll be sure to point them out for folks who don’t have an iPad.

      1. Katy

        Just what I was wondering, too! Thank you for the response. Disappointing, of course, but you have provided us with many alternatives here on the web. (Not to mention the real-live-paper-book coming out in April! So excited.) Thanks.

  3. Steph

    Was so excited about the app that I didn’t even finish reading the whole post…and then I couldn’t find the app in the App Store. 🙂 Can’t wait until you are approved so I can download the app!! And you read my mind — this is my first Thanksgiving without gluten and I am so anxious!!

  4. Michelle

    This is all very exciting!! So much progress has been made since my first boring, stressful GF Thanksgiving 8 years ago! However….my technology has not progressed that much….I don’t have an iPad, or an iPhone or any kind of smart stuff. Is there any other way to get the baked goods recipes?? Pleeeease? (yes, I’m begging!!)

    Thank you so much!!

  5. Llysa

    You are such a surprise and a delight.
    I love the fact it is not only honor-based, but so generously shared.

    Just like a good meal would be.

    THANKS! Sending this to my newbie family and friends!

  6. Constance

    Best wishes on your App.
    I don’t yet have an iPad, or a smart phone, so cannot access Apps, but I’ll be watching for more special items from your site, or just enjoy the fact that others have access to all your knowledge and talent.

  7. Gwyneth

    I don’t have an i Pad but I’d be happy to make a donation if you could email me your sof sandwich bread recipe

  8. Ashley

    I LOVE seeing my little kidlets on your site. What an incredible project, Shauna. I can’t wait to follow along! You guys are amazing.

  9. Ruth

    I so appreciate your integrity in how you work and how you offer service. I am vegan and try to avoid gluten wherever possible, and for me many of your recipes are unsuitable because of the use of dairy and eggs. But I love reading your posts, and I enjoy your grounded perspective on food, family and sharing. I will make a donation because I believe you should be paid for the good work you do.

  10. Droid User

    Sounds greaat! But for those of us who are not Apple users, when can we look forward to seeing this as a DROID app we can buy (Nook color perhaps?).

  11. Liza

    Omg ty so much this is my first Thanksgiving going gf . I just became gf October 9 2012 . I was in a panic! Again ty.

  12. Sona Pyle

    new to this gluten free and (for me) yeast free thing due to severe food allergy, I am desperate for anything you all have. I will sort thru what has yeast (am aware this is a gluten free sight), but please email me when the app is ready!

  13. Anna S

    Since this is my first big Holiday being GF, I’ve been doing research about what recipes i’m going to bring to the get togethers. I want to show my friends and family that you can eat healthy and delicious food… that you’ll be satisfied by as well 🙂

    I have a number of quinoa based side dishes I will be making, and a sweet potato casserole as well. In particular, I wanted to share a wonderful recipe I came across this weekend- “Light Crustless Pumpkin Pie”

    These taste JUST like pumpkin pie. I will most definitely be making these for Thanksgiving and Christmas!! Here is the original source: http://www.food.com/recipe/light-crustless-pumpkin-pie-149363

    For recipe substitutions, I used stevia for the sugar subsitute, 1/2 cup almond milk in place of milk and “all whites: real egg whites” for the egg whites. I baked these in cupcake form and followed the same cooking time/temp change as the recipe called for. Turned out perfectly! I let mine cool completely (I like cold pumpkin pie) and topped it with a light whipped topping (had to take a dairy pill, of course). *Recipe made 8 mini cupcake shaped pies; with my substitutions they equate to 30 calories (35 with topping… but in all honestly they are just as delicious without the topping!)

    I highly recommend trying these out! An indulgent treat around the holidays that we can enjoy, and know is healthy AND gluten free… its a ‘win-win’. Ps. Shauna, I did not feel any bit of sickness after eat these, but if you are aware of any item(s) in the recipe that is not GF, please let me know!

    Enjoy!! — & feel free to check on my additional pictures, tips & tricks page at http://www.facebook.com/healthylivingmaintenance 🙂

  14. Dee

    I am unspeakably grateful for you. Do you know that? It was reading your “about me” section when I was in bed, in pain, thinking I was going die that made me ask my doctor for a little test. And now here you are teaching me to feed myself delicious Thanksgiving foods. I could totally kiss you. God love you, Miss Shauna.

  15. Jo

    Bless you all for this great work you have done! An iPad app? Perfect! I cook with a 3 year old helper, my celiac son, standing at the counter and I read my recipes off the iPad now. I’ve been gluten-free for years, and we just learned recently my husband is also celiac. I’m so excited to download an app that will feed us well!

  16. LindaS

    Thanks for this timely information. I have a sister-in-law that, because of health reasons, must eat gluten-free. This will help me more effectively shop for her and I’ll be prepared for her visit this Thanksgiving.

  17. Dianna Payne

    Wow! This sounds so exciting!!!!!
    I only have androids. Will you at some point make this an ebook or make an android app down the road?
    Thanks I love your recipes!

  18. Angie W

    So bummed– I don’t have and ipad or iphone so I can’t get that app. If you make the recipes available in some other way that’s not quite as fancy, I would love to pay for them!

  19. Frances

    your gluten free thanksgiving and christmas recipes have helped me get through the last 5 thankgiving and christmas celebrations still able to eat and enjoy food like everyone else. my food is usually even better than “normal” food…he he he. thanks for all of the help over the last few years, especially at the beginning of my journey in 2007 when it was all a little overwhelming. by the way, i made your gingerbread men last year and they are absolutely amazing. if anyone is considering making them, i definitely recommend the recipe! i put orange icing on them, and people freaked out…in a good way. those will be a christmas regular in my house from now on!

  20. js

    I would like to add my voice to those who do not have any Apple products. Why can’t the recipes be posted on this site? Why this platform specific restriction?

  21. Maynard

    Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures
    aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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