Month: November 2014

Leftovers – Gluten-free Dairy Free Turkey Pot Pie

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free *


I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  I know I don’t usually post recipes on Fridays, but this is the day after Thanksgiving and it would be cruel not to give you at least one recipe for that mound of turkey currently in your refrigerator.  Here are two ideas – Turkey Hash (which I published right after I started this blog), and today’s recipe:  Turkey Pot Pie.



Let’s start with “Before There Were Leftovers”.  Here’s what I served (there are links to the recipes that are already on this blog):


Turkey and Gravy

Turkey and Gravy

Paula's Stuffing

Paula’s Stuffing

Vegetable Medley with Fresh Herbs

Vegetable Medley with Fresh Herbs

Maple Glazed Butternut Squash with Pears and Cranberries

Maple Glazed Butternut Squash with Pears and Cranberries

Pene's Cranberry Sauce

Pene’s Cranberry Sauce

Everyone at my table had a great time and it was completely gluten and dairy free!  Hope yours went well too and here’s the Turkey Pot Pie recipe:

Maple Pumpkin Pie in Pecan Crust

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Parve * Paleo *


And now for dessert:  Pumpkin Pie!  Okay, let’s be honest here.  My original intention was to make pumpkin pie mini-tarts.  They baked well, however, they refused to come out of the muffin tins.  Happily I only made a test batch so I could make a quick about face and bake the rest as a traditional pie.  On the other hand…I forgot to take photos of the pie crust and filling the pie crust – so the photos are of the mini-tarts; so just imagine doing the same thing in a 9-inch pie pan (but you’ll be bringing the crust up the sides of the pan).  Now back to the stove for me.

I hope the rest of your Thanksgiving preparations are going well and that you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

Thanksgiving Guests with Allergies

I had the honor of writing a guest post on my friend Carol’s blog:  Buttercup Counts Her Blessings (which is being posted today and you might want to check out).  So welcome to anyone who has read that post and is now visiting my blog.

As you can imagine from the title of my blog, I am gluten-free and dairy-free.  In fact, I’m Paleo which means no grains at all (not even gluten-free products), no dairy, no beans, no white sugar, and ideally no processed foods.   This makes me a nightmare of a guest, especially when you add in the fact that I’m known as a great cook and am an award-winning cookbook author.  Only my closest friends and family are comfortable inviting me to their tables.

I clearly sympathize with anyone who has to cook for someone like me.  Generally it takes at least 4 phone calls or emails checking to see


if there are any ingredients I can’t eat in the recipes they are planning.


Or worse for me, is when hosts don’t do any special cooking leaving me to try to find something they are serving that I can eat.  To be fair, I usually tell hosts not to worry about me because I can always find something to eat – so I create my own dilemma.  So what’s a person to do?

As a Host:

1.  Ask guests if they have any food allergies or restrictions.  It’s also important to know the extent of the problem.  A guest with celiac disease needs more than just gluten-free food, the gluten-free food must be cooked in a gluten-free environment to avoid cross-contamination.  That means you can’t reuse the knife or cutting board you just sliced bread on to the chop vegetables for a gluten-free dish.   Everything must be freshly washed and dried with a clean towel (there might be a gluten crumb lurking in a used towel) .  I usually line my counters with foil and do all my gluten-free cooking before I start my non-gluten free dishes.


Other guests with sensitivities may just need to avoid certain foods but do not need special preparations.  If your guest is a vegetarian or vegan, plan for one of the side dishes to be substantial enough to be an entree for the vegetarian or vegan – like the Fruited Quinoa Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing with added beans or chickpeas for extra protein.

2.  Ask the guest to bring a dish for the whole group, thereby ensuring they have something to eat.



3.  Read labels carefully.  Did you know there is wheat (a product with gluten) in soy sauce?  Allergens can be found in the most unexpected places.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise, for example.


When you read the ingredients it’s clearly stated that it is a gluten-free product.  But it will be a problem for guests with soy or egg allergies.


If you see the word “parve” on a label that means the product is dairy-free.  Not all dairy-free products have that word in which case you still have to read the ingredients.


Even after reading the labels you may want to…

4.  Ask.  Call your guest – they will know or you can google the product in question.  There are also sites/blogs that will list foods that are allergen free

DAIRY ALLERGY SAFE FOODS LIST – jennifermendelsohn

Though this all sounds complicated, it’s not as hard as it seems; it’s an act of love for someone you care about.

For Guests:

If you have a food allergy you have probably been coping with this for many years and know the routine.  Your best bets are:  bring a dish for everyone, bring your own food, or eat before you go to the event.

It’s not just about the food.  Enjoy the company and the event – you can always snack when you get home. 





Homemade Coconut Milk

CIMG0603  CIMG0589

Why make your own coconut milk when it’s so easy to buy  canned or in boxes?  I have several reasons…first of which is I’m trying to avoid cans.  I guess if you read enough stuff on the internet you can find that anything you use is harmful to your health, but I’ve decided to buy into the “bad stuff from cans leach into the food” theory.  The coconut milk in boxes have ingredients other than coconut and water; like gums and most importantly carrageenan – I have no idea what that is, but I’ve read it’s not good for you.

Now I understand that the idea of making coconut milk at home may be daunting.  All you need is the shredded unsweetened coconut,

CIMG7815  CIMG7816

water, a blender, a strainer, a spoon or soft spatula, and a container to store the coconut milk.  The fact is, it takes less than 10 minutes to make; you know what’s in it; and it’s much less expensive than canned or boxed.  To me this is a no brainer.  I do admit the down side is that you have to wash the blender and strainer and measuring cup and spoon/spatula – buy hey, I have a dishwasher – so it’s not soooo difficult and the fringe benefit is:  I make coconut flour out of the used coconut – but that’s for another post.

What about the flavor?  Although it’s coconutty (duh), it’s less intense than the canned kind, but more flavorful than the boxed ones.  If you want more intense coconut flavor from homemade, double the amount of coconut in this recipe.

Where do I get my coconut?  This is very important…I do NOT use the shredded coconut you find in the supermarket because that stuff is sweetened.  You have to use unsweetened shredded (or flaked) dried coconut.  You can find it in health food stores or ethnic markets that sell Indian or Asian ingredients…or online, of course.  Speaking of not using sweetened coconut, if you are buying canned coconut milk be sure you’re not buying the sweetened one which is like sweetened condensed milk.


The Asian brands are generally unsweetened as is the Goya pictured at the top of the post.  Just check the label the only ingredients should be coconut and water.

When you’ve made the coconut milk you will see that it separates after it stands for a bit  with the cream rising to the top (just like real milk).


You can remove the cream with a spoon and that will leave you with “light” coconut milk.  The cream can be whipped to make a non-dairy topping (also for a future post).  I used the full fat coconut milk in the recipe I posted last week for the Butternut Apple Soup and I will be using it in my Pumkin Pie Tartlets coming in the next week or two.

I feel like a real pioneer when I make my own ingredients from scratch.  Try it, it’s fun.