Friday, December 05, 2008



I have been so busy the last few weeks. My darling husband's birthday. My first gluten-free Thanksgiving. A dental appointment, followed by another dental appointment (which was the last one, thankfully - at least till next time). A bunch of family birthdays. All of the things that make life good (minus the dentist).

So, let's see: Thanksgiving was wonderful. One of the nicest things about Thanksgiving, in fact one of the nicest things, period, ever, was that we went to dinner at the home of some dear friends and almost everything was GF. How awesome is that? The gravy was made with corn starch, the meats were GF, the salad was GF, the green pistachio fluffy stuff was GF (how I love that stuff), and they even purchased crackers that were gluten free! And, added bonus: I'd never had or even seen the brand before, but they were so good I went out the weekend after Thanksgiving and purchased two huge boxes.

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers(^). Smoky, crunchy, really rich whole-grain taste. OMG-they-were-awesome.

But back to dinner: I was deeply touched that our friends went to so much trouble on my account, and I will never forget their kindness.

I wish I had photos to share, but we had such a good time talking and eating and having fun that my camera stayed in my handbag.

I brought my own stuffing, which my husband made, using home-baked GF bread. It was (at best) only meh; he followed the recipe I'd found, but it was too... something. The spices were wrong, I found it too sage-y. He did an excellent job, so no complaints there. I chose the wrong recipe, which I won't mention here because it came from another blogger's site. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it - I am just not a sage person, and haven't been since I participated in sausage making when I was a kid. Yuck. Phooey. We will try again, of course. We both love stuffing, and it was really, really close.

I happily ate it anyway, of course, because the gravy was soooo perfect. Even a sage overdose couldn't subtract from the joy of eating such wonderful holiday food with friends and loved ones. The ham and turkey were incredible. The candied sweet potatoes were sublime, baked in brown sugar syrup and then topped with marshmallows in the last few minutes to give them a soft/crunchy/toasted top.

I didn't have pie, because I forgot to bring any. I said I would bring some. I planned on it, but promptly forgot it in the do-you-have-the-diaper-bag-have-you-walked-the-dog-where-are-my-shoes frenzy to get out the door and to their house on time. I actually baked a really nice pumpkin pie, and left it at home.

When I baked my first post-gluten pumpkin pie, I experimented with a cookie crumb crust using Mi-Del gluten-free ginger snaps(^). Substituting the ginger snaps for the graham cracker-based recipe really wasn't right, though and the crust turned out ok, but a bit too buttery. I'll do it again, but with less butter.

The pie was awesome, though, because the filling was incredible. Here is my recipe:

Pumpkin Pie

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I use fat-free)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt (half the time I forget the salt, and it's fine).

1). Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2). Mix everything together
3). Pour it into the crust
4). Bake for 15 minutes.
5). Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F
6). Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
7) Cool.
8). Serve with whipped cream.
9). Refrigerate leftovers.
So basically your back-of-the-can/box/jar pumpkin pie recipe, right?

Not really. That's the recipe I start with, but it is never the one I end up making. I added 1/4 cup of finely chopped candied ginger (shades of James Beard's famous recipe). And I double all of the spices (at least) and add ground cloves (about 1/2 teaspoon).

It was delicious. It was spicy. It was forgotten. But I happily "made-do" with Watergate Salad.

Watergate Salad reminds me of family reunions and potlucks. Easter at my grandmother's house. According to Wikipedia(^), it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the famous Watergate complex of Nixon fame, so that's a puzzler. Here's a pretty standard recipe. If it's important to you, it's easy to find pudding mix, marshmallows and whipped topping that are gluten-free.

Watergate Salad
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1). Mix everything except the whipped topping together in a bowl. The pudding mix will make everything else a creepy green color. Ignore this.
2). Once everything is well-mixed, gently fold in the whipped topping.
3). Refrigerate.
4). Use sugar-free pudding mix and reduced-sugar whipped topping if you'd like.
5). Serve and hear everyone happily exclaim, "Oooooh! The green stuff!"

So, that's what I've been up to. That and making tutus, sewing dolls, working on various other craft projects, making an advent calendar, getting my Christmas tree up, and so on.

Until later.


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