Allergy Friendly Holiday Meal

A simple table setting

Last night, our oldest daughter, Abbie and her husband, Keith, and Maddie and Carter came over for dinner.  We had a very nice time visiting, and eating together.  The visiting part is easy.  We could chat for hours!  The eating part is a little more challenging.  I cannot eat gluten at all, not even one crumb, or I get very sick.  Abbie can eat gluten, but cannot eat eggs, dairy, beef, watermelon, blackberries and more.   She will break into hives if she does and get migraines.  So, between both of our needs, it takes a little planning to get a meal we can all enjoy.

We started by thawing one of the chickens Rob raised.  He also got out a package of steak, because Keith loves steak and we love Keith.  (Seriously we do–he’s a great son-in-law–nice to our daughter, good sense of humor, etc.)  He doesn’t get it much because Abbie can’t have beef.  Rob barbecued the meat with Lowrie’s Seasoning Salt, because we can eat it, and put nothing else on it.  He also baked plain potatoes on the grill as well, wrapped in foil.

I boiled home-canned green beans and home-canned corn, with salt and pepper only.  I put home-made dill pickles and bread and butter pickles into a divided glass dish.  We put out little dishes of butter, sour cream, cottage cheese (for the potatoes), barbecue sauce, other sauces we had on hand, and just let everyone fix up their exceedingly plain food the way they wanted it and could have it.  It was a simple, plain dinner served on china and fancy glass dishes.

I wanted something a little fancier for dessert, but not too fancy.


I decided to make chocolate cupcakes that were gluten-free, dairy-free, soy free, and egg free.  I used a recipe I found in a free Kindle cookbook.  I had to change quite a few things to make it work, so I won’t be posting it unless I have a chance to re-work it a little more.  Sometimes I think the different flour mixtures work differently and recipes have to be fussed with.  I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free flour mix.  It’s my favorite one for most things and includes xanthum gum in the mix.  I used a combination of coconut milk and almond milk and it called for a little cider vinegar, so I put it in.  I made chocolate frosting with Earth Balance dairy-free spread, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, almond milk and vanilla.  Then I topped them with some decorations that looked  “safe” but left a few undecorated just in case she didn’t want to take the chance.  I was pleased with the results and the whole evening.  We exchanged gifts, except for the turkey we gave them as their gift.  Rob had delivered it the day it was butchered and they have already cooked it.  They have other plans on Christmas Day, so we were glad to spend some time last evening.




8 thoughts on “Allergy Friendly Holiday Meal”

  1. My that does sound like a challenge. Can gluten-free folks eat potatoes? I’m afraid I’m awfully uninformed when it comes to this.

    1. Yes, potatoes are gluten free. So is rice. Wheat products have gluten, as do some other grains like barley. The problem with serving baked potatoes to my Abbie is that she can’t have anything dairy on top! So, we served sour cream, etc., separate for those who can have the toppings, and she used the dairy-free Earth Balance (soy free kind–there are several varieties). It is $5.49 a carton, tastes good, and is worth every penny to a mama who just wants to feed her daughter a pre-Christmas meal. Sometimes we mash potatoes with that “butter” spread and almond or coconut milk and make gravy from home-made broth thickened with cornstarch.

      When she was a girl, we did not know she had these allergies, and she would drink 1/2 gallon of milk per day at times in her teens. (This is my barely over 5 ft. tall, tiny-framed daughter) What a change for her when she figured it out as an adult, but she feels so much better now that she has cut these foods out.

  2. Sometimes a simple meal is just perfect for the occasion. It all sounded delicious to me! I’m glad you were able to spend time together for the holidays, even if it wasn’t on Christmas day.

    1. Thank you. It did taste great! I think we will be able to see 7 out of 8 of the kids this Christmas, so that will be great! When you have 3 still at home, it gives you a head start:)

  3. I too am a celiac and cannot eat gluten and cannot have lactose so I have a bit of a challenge but not as drastic as yours since no one else in the family has food allergies so I just cook to suit me and everyone eats what I fix 🙂 Sometimes my daughter in law will bring some dessert or side dish that I can’t have but everyone else appreciates the dish. We eat pretty plain too. I find my biggest challenge is when we go elsewhere to eat and then I just bring things I know I can eat and stick with that. Your gathering sounds delightful.

    1. Nannie,
      It sounds like you have your work cut out for you, too. Since I did not find out about my gluten issues until about 4-5 years ago, and my daughter did not find out about her allergies until she was moved out and married, we did not have to do this for her whole childhood. I just always was sick. Now, my sister has discovered she has the same issues, only worse than mine, so large family events are getting easier and easier. Our mom, aunt and other sister have learned to cook many things gluten-free and we clearly let anyone know when an item is not. We have certain plain foods that we cook when Abbie can make it to the larger-group events and she, also, brings things she can eat. No one goes hungry, for sure. Have a wonderful, gluten-free, stomach-ache free Christmas!

    1. We did have fun. I have to tell you, it’s been a lot of trial and error to learn how to bake this way. Since many foods like chicken, etc. are already gluten-free, the main dishes are easier for me. I was greatly helped because I have a friend who is so, so allergic to basically everything, and she had already done the hard recipe testing on quite a few basic foods, like bread, etc., and she shared her recipes. Then, another thing that helps is that they keep inventing more flour mixtures that are gluten-free, but work more like wheat in baking. I now can take a recipe from a regular cookbook and “fix” it into gluten-free, but it sometimes takes quite a few tries to get it to taste good. Sometimes, at first, it was better to just buy a mix for $5 and make “it” then to waste 5 kinds of gluten-free flour testing things. The consistency is hard to get right, as well, but after a while, I got the hang of it, and so could you, if you had to do it! Because I get very sick if I eat wheat it keeps me on the straight and narrow:) I wish I had such swift consequences for other foods like sugar!

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