Gluten Free for the Holidays: A Blogging Event!

(A word of warning…make sure the person packing your groceries puts your fresh cranberries ON TOP of your 4 pounds of oranges. Especially if you may be taking pictures of them. )

My first Gluten-free Holiday was Thanksgiving… and my wedding. We were married the Friday after Thanksgiving and had a two day wedding/celebration. For Thanksgiving, my good friend/practical sister Alice, made my first ever gluten-free Thanksgiving meal for not just me – but my entire family. She cooked gluten-free for 20 people when I could barely muster gluten-free for just me and my love. Some people are blessing beyond what they will ever know. Alice is exactly that – a woman I adore and appreciate beyond what she probably knows. She made our first GF Thanksgiving to be a dream (I still crave her Jambalaya!) and with ease. That was what the whole weekend was all about – Family and Love. Alice is amazing.

I know not everyone has an “Alice” in their corners come Holiday time. There are many approaches to staying gluten-free during the Holidays. It depends on your situation. There are three basic approaches from what I’ve seen/experienced:

  1. Make food for yourself either to bring or eat before you go if the celebration isn’t at your own home.
  2. Bring part of the meal (with serving utensils) and set it up away from the gluten-laden foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  3. Host the celebration and make it gluten-free all the way.

The first option (eating for one) has never appealed to me. I know it works for others, but food is such an integral, social part of the Holidays. It’s what makes being gluten-free this time of year difficult – you WANT to blend in and partake equally. I have only chosen this option when I’m eating with colleagues or people that I don’t know well (like work parties at the office/school, etc).

The second option is one I’ve chosen more frequently with friends. It makes sense for all of our budgets, actually, that everyone would bring a dish to share. I make a huge pot/dish of something I’m craving and bring plenty to share. Most everyone wants to dig in – they don’t care nor are they even aware 99% of the time that it is gluten-free. Those friends who are aware want to try it to see “what gluten-free tastes like”. Let’s just say, I try to make these the tasty dishes and don’t guinea pig my new gluten-free baking on my unsuspecting friends. LOL. Nah. That’s an honor I reserve for my family. 🙂

The last option is what we like the best. I say “we” here, because my love has expressed how much he prefers it too. Not because he gets to cook/clean with me (even more so because he’s the amazing chef of the house!), but because he *hates* how sick, crabby, unfocused, and altered I become after ingesting gluten. It’s true. While my body pays the price for any cross-contamination, he pays for it too with a wacky-spouse for several hours – even a couple days – after these incidents.

We keep a journal of our favorite recipes and ideas for the following Holidays/years to come. A few of the dishes we love making are:

  • Triple Cranberry & Ginger Dressing
  • Cornbread and Sausage stuffing
  • Wild Rice Salads
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Cocoa-roasted Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin Brulee.
  • Garlic Scalloped Potatoes
  • Yin & Yang Sesame Shrimp
  • “Uncle Fallen’s Chicken Lollies”
  • Black bean & Corn salsa
  • Homemade Naan
  • Lobster & Watermelon Salad

Ok. I could go on and on. But that’s not the point here. The point is, the longer we work with gluten-free foods and become familiar with what we can/cannot eat, life is easier. Holidays are easier. Now it’s time to share out and be the virtual “Alice” for someone else.

While I’d love to invite you all over for Thanksgiving, I’m fairly certain that we won’t all fit in my house. And I’m positive that my love would … well.. freak out. LOL. So instead, let’s have a virtual Holiday Blogging Event!

Here’s the image to use:

Gluten-Free Holiday Baking Event

  • Who?
    • Anyone who would like to participate – blogger or non-blogger alike!
  • What?
    • Share recipes/photos for any Holiday dishes that you and your family love.
    • All dishes/recipes must be Gluten-free to be included.
      • Dishes may also be free of other allergens, but Gluten-Free is the goal of this blogging event.
    • Maximum of 3 recipes with photos per entrant, please. Choose your most delicious dishes. 🙂
  • Where?
    • Any blog can post their images/recipes and then link back to this post. A summary of the recipes/posts will be created at the end of the event.
    • Please include the logo above in the post(s) as well.
    • It would be a great idea to share the images with the two Flickr Gluten-free Groups. (Coeliac Living and Gluten-Free Goodness)
    • Non-bloggers are welcome to submit recipes/photos via email to Cheekalina AT gmail DOT com.
  • When & to Whom?
    • Well, this was the tricky part. The “Holidays” means many things to many people – and many Holidays! For the purpose of this event, I ask that submissions be submitted over three deadlines as follows:
  • How?

    • Link backs and emails please. That way I can figure out which event you are submitting for.

If you have any ideas or an offer to help, I’m all ears! Maybe we should divide the Holiday Events to different hosts? I’m all ears! (Or eyeballs in the case of email. 😉 Just let me know! If you would like to host one of these, please HOLLER via email!)

Happy Holidays & GF Eating all!


  1. Kate, that’s a great idea and I can’t wait to see the recipes for some of your holiday dishes. They look great! And I like the new WordPress them and head picture too =)

    Mary Frances – I hope you will have a recipe to share. I’m gonna have time on my hands in December to bake some of these delights I see on your site too! -Kate

  2. hi kate! i love the idea! i had been thinking of doing an event too! I like your idea though! Wow, you’ll have your hands full doing three events! That should be fun!

    Hey Carrie – Want to host one part? LOL I’m SO willing to have help and share here! 🙂 -Kate

  3. Ooh, what a great idea! I love it! If you decide to do hosts, I’d be happy to host one of the segments in December.

    Fabulous! Which one would you like? -Kate

  4. This is such a great idea! this is my first holiday season gluten free. My sister has been emailing me daily about what I can and can’t eat for Thanksgiving. She’s so sweet! I’m in charge of at least one dessert, the gravy and just generally helping out to make sure we avoid any contamination of the turkey.

    Can I submit something I’ve already posted? (I was thinking of my pumpkin cheesecake)

    Absolutely, Karen – Post and link away! =) And yes, the turkey CC issue took me quite a while to get under control. Now we order a fresh (or wild!) turkey from a local butcher and they even brine it for us in kosher salt/water. – Kate

  5. estherreeves says:

    We don’t do Thanksgiving over here as it s a specifically American celebration but I might do you something traditional for Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes night) as we celebrate that on the 5th of November. Yes i know it was yesterday but hey.

    Diwali is celebrated a lot in all the main cities around here and is just coming up, though it isn’t one I actively join in on normally it is a great festival. Both that and Guy Fawkes include fireworks so we get them going off most nights for about two weeks around here!

    OH! I love Diwali! Great idea, Esther! -Kate

  6. Kate – You So Rock this community!I am thinking I need to go gluten free just to capture some of the abundant energy you have! Hey readers, I am novice at this blogging stuff, but it seems to me Kate you should be finding some sponsors for your blog. 🙂

    Cheers! You Go Girlfriend! And Alice, if you are reading this, you did such a great job of hosting all of us on Thanksgiving! How blessed we all felt and remember with joy our time at your lovely home!

  7. I just love this idea! Way to go!
    Can my pear-cranberry tart with almond paste participate even though I posted it before 11/1?
    Thanks for doing this and I can’t wait to see what recipes people create.
    Jean Layton

    Absolutely, Jean! Link away! – Kate

  8. I love the idea. But I don’t know how in the heck to link back. I just posted a pumpkin mousse, and I’ve recently done cornbread dressing. I’ll do one more in a couple of days.

    Used the logo. Thanks, it’s brill.

    P.S. went back to work today. ACK! I am so sore. I can hardly move.

    Oh babe! I hope the soreness goes away QUICKLY and that you are NOT carrying around bags ‘o’ teacher-crap. Really now.

    And link away, Ging! I’m excited about this Baking/Blogging event!

  9. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a little while (I came here from GroupRecipes), and this event is really great I think! Thanks!

    This is my first holiday season knowing about most of my food allergies (there are a few), so hopefully many of the recipes will be helpful that come here. I would love to contribute too.

    I’m a little confused however about what linking to and from is. Do I just link to this page from my personal post, and then post a link here?

    Thanks again,

    Hi Beth! Welcome! I’m glad you are going to join in for the Holiday Baking Event. 🙂 And yes, the links are just a matter of posting a link from your recipe post back to here and then letting me know (email or another comment here work great). That way when I pull all the recipes together for a summary, I will have yours on the list too. -Kate

  10. Sounds fun! My attempt to adapt the gingerbread recipe my mom and I always made at Christmas completely flopped last year (no xanthum gum + Bob’s Red Mill GF all-purp flour = crumbly, beany cookies). But this year I have a plan. I’ll work on it and post!

  11. I made a big long thanksgiving post with a bunch of recipes, can that be included? I posted all my thanksgiving stuff at once. Let me know and I’ll add the image!

    Absolutely! – Kate

  12. Hey Kate!

    Can you post the email for the other hosts? Or do we send all submissions to you? Can’t wait to see the Thanksgiving roundup. Sorry I didn’t get a recipe in for that one. I really wanted to but I ran out of time! To make up for that I posted on the first eligible day this time 🙂

  13. People can email me submissions at 🙂

  14. I would love to know how to blog. My son has celiac and I am reading all these comments and wondering about them all. I read something about a cc with a turkey. How does that happen? Isn’t it just fresh meat? I really don’t know much about this all yet but I want to learn so he will not continue to suffer. Email me if you could. Thanks.

    -I’m sending an email off to you about this too – but When people talk about CC issues with meats/turkeys, it’s more about the brining. seasoning, cooking, etc. MANY meats have things added to them that may/may not include things like barley malt, wheat, wheat starch, etc and they may even be disguised as “natural flavorings”. While the longer I am GF, the more I start to see wheat as UNnatural – at least for MY body…LOL – , it is still a natural ingredient.

    My parents (who are in town for the Holidays with me) also struggle with these ideas when they are out shopping for me. My mom and dad have seen me reach for my cell phone to inquire about a product – but more often than not – I have begun to rely on the labeling/packaging declarations of “gluten free” as well. These little label inclusions make my life MUCH easier and shorten my lengthy shopping trips – or food odysseys, as I’ve called them before. Especially when shopping for things that I don’t always buy for just the two of us, like 10 pound bone-in hams. (BTW, Thank you Martha Stewart Ham for being labeled as GF at CostCo this Holiday season.)

    There are a few product lists – Clan Thompson being the most noted – that are available as well. These lists are very helpful when beginning the trek into the land of GF eating. I will tell you that it gets MUCH easier as you get familiar with the key phrases and things that should get your attention. You will begin to shop along the “edges” of the grocery store – dairy, produce, meats – and much less in the center (processed/canned/etc) as well.

    I hope this helps, Sara. PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask around for help with it all. The GF community is a GREAT one with wide, open supportive arms. After all, we’ve all been there. In fact, we still are!



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