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1St Holiday Season After Dx - How Did You Feel/do/cope?
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This is my 1st holiday season with my celiac diagnoses. I have family that lives about 45 minutes away that I spend at least Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with. They always do all the cooking (my house is too small to host, and at least one family member is allergic to cats, of which I have many) and I bring their favorite and most requested appetizers.

 

These get togethers are all about FOOD!! Although they celebrate Christmas, they have a very "New York Jew" approach to food. This is by all means NOT an insult or a racial slur - it's simply how they view the importance of food at family get togethers. Some of them who moved from the east coast about 7 years ago are thinking of moving back. Why? No good delis out here - see what I mean?

 

They know I'm now gluten free, and they said they have no problem adjusting things to accomodate me. They are being very sweet and supportive, but I also get the feeling that they haven't comprehended just what an enormous change it will be, how it affects almost everything. My 2nd mom's answer when I told her I couldn't have anything with gluten anymore was "OK, no problem. Just give me a list." Like it's that simple! I wish!

 

Normally, I approach the holiday season eagerly and with enthusiasm and anticipation. This year however, I feel more trepadation and dread than anything else. I'm so afraid of being "glutened" (although I still don't feel any different than before going gluten-free and I'm not sure how sensitive I've become yet). I will of course bring gluten-free appetizers, but I can't bring my own meal to Thanksgiving, they would be insulted (like I said, they haven't comprehended how big this really is), especially after adjusting their ingredient list to accomodate me. I know I'll get used to asking in time, but right now I feel like a high maintenance jerk for asking about every ingredient in every dish. These people go all out for the holidays, spare no expense and feed at least 10 people, of which I am the only gluten-free person.

 

My 2nd dad has had diabetes for many years, so they are used to making low sugar versions, and I'm sure in time they'll do the same with gluten-free options.

 

I'm still depressed about and adjusting to my diagnoses, and I'm going to feel like a ungrateful snob by refusing certain things that are tradition every year. No Almond Roca this year, thanks, but I'm also allergic to almonds now. Please don't fill my stocking with the generic candy or fun size kit kats, I can't eat them. I feel like I'm going to cause more hassle than it's worth, and to be honest, I'd just rather not go. Staying home is not an option, however. To not show up would be the worst insult I could give them.

 

How did you all deal with your first holiday after diagnoses, especially if you weren't in charge of the food? I know some of you did your own cooking, so that made it easier. But what about those of you who didn't or couldn't? What about getting food or another gluten item as a gift? Maybe something they had no idea had gluten or didn't know what to look for? Did you tell them?

 

I have never wanted to skip the holidays like I do this year.

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They are your family. Explain to them that you're too new to this to take chances, and that you'd feel more comfortable bringing your own food. Tell them how easy it is to cross-contaminate stuff.Explain that even YOU mess up on occasion and you don't expect them to learn in a couple of weeks what YOU haven't even learned yet. Tell them if you bring your own it'll make it easier on everybody - they won't have to be so careful. Tell them that the IMPORTANT thing to you is to spend time with them. Then go and have a good time.

 

As for food gifts that you can't eat, say thank you, and then donate them to a food bank or give them to a friend. It IS the thught that counts, (even if it SEEMS like something you can't eat is a thoughless gift). Just a gracious thank you, put it away, and then give it away later.

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Hey,

 

My first Christmas coming up after diagnosis too and I'm also feeling mixed about it. I can't wait to get home and see my family, but we are a big foodie fam too, of which I'm the only vegetarian and the only coeliac, and Christmas gets stressful enough on the food front without another thing to watch out for.

Luckily we're cooking at my Mum's (my auntie once forgot she shouldn't give a vegetarian roast potatoes done in goose fat so god knows what she'd forget had gluten in it! Bless her). I'm keeping a list as I think of it of things I usually eat which need to be gluten free (my mum also asked for a list... Not helpful!) So far I have gravy, soup, stuffing, all the sweet stuff like mince pies, Yorkshire puddings. It would probably be longer if I ate meat. Luckily I'll be home a few days before the day so I'm going to go through all Mum's sauces, condiments etc etc and sort/label/replace them as needed. Bit hard to do at someone else's though, maybe you could take your own? 

On the 'social' side, I've kind of sacrificed this Christmas to being a pain in the ass about what I can and can't have and hovering annoyingly in the kitchen keeping a hawk eye out for cross contamination. Even if this Christmas ends up with my Mum chucking roast potatoes at me hopefully we can get the ground rules laid out this year and for the years to come. 

Your family do sound open to adapting their menus for you, as they've done with the diabetic diet. Hopefully you can help them to get it right and your appreciation of that will be a big compliment to them. With the gifts, if I do get something containing gluten I will definitely be telling them as politely as I can, because I hope to receiving edible gifts from them for years to come so I'd like to be able to eat them :D 

Good luck!!

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Both of you need to remember, if you're going to let someone cook for you, that if they use any scratched plastic, wooden spoons, cast iron, teflon, pot holders, strainers, or turkey basters that have been exposed to gluten in the past, you WILL get sick. If any of YOUR food is on the countertop when they decide to bake, the flour dust will settle on it and you WILL get sick. If someone absentmindedly stirs a gluten food and then stirs yours with the same spoon, you WILL get sick.

 

Think about the learning curve and how impossible it all seemed to you at first. There's just too much chance that a well-meaning person will make a mistake, and just one mistake will ruin the holidays for you and for them. Imagine how bad they would feel if you end up spending the rest of the holiday in the bathroom.

 

It's your call, but you need to think about it hard. I'd be willing to bet most of us "old-timers" who did our first Thanksgiving allowing someone else to cook for us ended up getting sick.

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Thanks Bartfull and JustCricket. I actually just texted one of my family members about her signature dish - her yams. This is holiday lore in our family - I adore her yams so much (and we joke that she cancels out any nutrients with all the butter and sugar) that she actually makes me my OWN pan of yams. I asked what was in them, saying I was just checking for gluten. Her response was "not in my yams." I mentioned gluten is in tons of things that you'd never suspect, and again her response was "I know, but not in my yams."

 

Like I mentioned, bringing all my own food really isn't an option because 1. They're already trying to accommodate me and would see it as insulting, 2. I'm terrible at any time of confrontation and shy away from rocking the boat. I realize I'll have to get more vocal and braver about pointing out gluten, but I can't be expected to learn that skill overnight. I've always been the type to make people happy, not call negative attention to myself and that's it. If I get an answer like the one above, I drop it. I don't have it in me to push the subject.

 

I will take your advice about donating to a food bank - that's a great idea. Thanks!

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Amen Barty.  You WILL get sick.  Take your own food. 

 

Colleen

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Both of you need to remember, if you're going to let someone cook for you, that if they use any scratched plastic, wooden spoons, cast iron, teflon, pot holders, strainers, or turkey basters that have been exposed to gluten in the past, you WILL get sick. If any of YOUR food is on the countertop when they decide to bake, the flour dust will settle on it and you WILL get sick. If someone absentmindedly stirs a gluten food and then stirs yours with the same spoon, you WILL get sick.

 

Think about the learning curve and how impossible it all seemed to you at first. There's just too much chance that a well-meaning person will make a mistake, and just one mistake will ruin the holidays for you and for them. Imagine how bad they would feel if you end up spending the rest of the holiday in the bathroom.

 

It's your call, but you need to think about it hard. I'd be willing to bet most of us "old-timers" who did our first Thanksgiving allowing someone else to cook for us ended up getting sick.

 

Bartfull, you make an excellent point and you're 1,000% right. And I feel more than ever that I don't want to go. :-(

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Take your own food and GO! I bet no one will be insulted. There will probably be a little bit of conversation about it and that will be a perfect time for you to educate them a little bit about the pans and scratched plastic and all the rest. You could even tell them you have been advised to only eat things you have cooked yourself. Tell a "funny" story about your old wooden spoons and how you didn't realize even THEY could make you sick.

 

Then change the subject. Say something like, "Speaking of being sick, I heard ______ has been dealing with the flu. How's he doing?" Or, "I had to buy a new toaster and they were on sale. While I was there I also bought a new sweater. I love that store..."

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You just sparked another question - does this mean I have to replace all my pots, pans, utensils and everything that may have touched gluten? Even if they've gone through the dishwasher or I've thoroughly washed them by hand?

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You just sparked another question - does this mean I have to replace all my pots, pans, utensils and everything that may have touched gluten? Even if they've gone through the dishwasher or I've thoroughly washed them by hand?

 

Tonalynn,  Have you read the Newbie 101 thread.  There are a lot of things you need to do to be safe.  Plastics or Teflon that is scratched needs to be replaced, anything wood like spoons or cutting board need to be replaced.  All jars of food that have been dipped in need to be replaced.  A new toaster.  Vacuum the entire kitchen, drawers and cupboards and wipe them out.  If you are sharing a kitchen there are many more things you need to do.  We can help you through all of this and it is a huge transition. 

 

Colleen

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Have you read the newbie 101 thread? If not, you need to. And if you have, go back an read it again. Make sure you click on all the links provided too.

 

If you have stainless steel, all you have to do is clean them well. Scratched plastic, teflon or any other thing that has tiny crevases where gluten can hide (such as strainers) needs to go. Wooden spoons need to go. Cutting boards need to go - even if they're not wood, they probably have cuts in them and you can't get the gluten out.

 

I was thinking - about the holidays - this isn't a one-shot deal. This is for the rest of your life. You need to get used to it, and you need to get THEM used to it. As time goes on it will become easier and easier for you. You will be buying and eating gluten-free without giving it a second thought. THEY will get used to it too. My Mom had celiac and no one in the family thought it was a big deal that SHE brought her own food to family gatherings. It didn't take long for the whole family to get used to it.

 

I don't have any family left at all anymore, but all of my friends are used to me either bringing my own food, or eating before I go somewhere. I still hang out with them, I just don't eat the stuff they eat. ;)

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Great. Thanks. I'll re-read the newbie thread.

 

Can you please post a link to the newbie thread?

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The first time I went to a family holiday, I brought my own food, along with a dish to share.  The 2nd and 3rd times, I ate food I thought would be safe because everyone was pretty tuned into the program.  I was horridly sick for a week after the 2nd and 3rd holiday family events. 

 

I thought my family would be appalled by my bringing my own food, but even though they teased me a little bit on the first holiday event, I'd take getting teased over getting gluttened any day of the year. 

 

It's about you being there, not about the food.  It really is, no matter what.

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Well, my link didn't paste.  Go to Forum Topic Dealing with Celiac.  It's the first post. 

 

There are other links in that post.  Hope that helps.

 

And by the way, I'll be toting my own food for the holidays this year. 

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Just returned from my grandson's baptism.  There wasn't a thing at the party I could eat.  :-(    This will be my first Holidays post-diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  My husband and I will do the cooking.  I told our adult children it will be a gluten-free Thanksgiving and it will be delicious.  I HOPE so.  It took being diagnosed with Celiac to realize how every single event whether daily or family Holidays revolve around eating.  This is life changing. 

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This is also my 1st Holiday Gluten free, and I totally get how you are feeling. We go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. So I had to call my Father in law twice to make sure he was getting a turkey that was Gluten free and then to find out if he was going to stuff it or not. It causes so much anxiety. I hate feeling like a burden. I am just bringing my own sides.

It sorta sucks 1st holiday, I am sure it gets easier as you adjust to the new lifestyle. But i understand about the depression. I wish I could hibernate for the next 5-6 weeks.

Hope you have good holiday and all goes smoothly.

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Just returned from my grandson's baptism.  There wasn't a thing at the party I could eat.  :-(    This will be my first Holidays post-diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  My husband and I will do the cooking.  I told our adult children it will be a gluten-free Thanksgiving and it will be delicious.  I HOPE so.  It took being diagnosed with Celiac to realize how every single event whether daily or family Holidays revolve around eating.  This is life changing. 

 

I promise you it will be delicious. When you think about it, most of the Thanksgiving meal is easily gluten-free. Yes, there is stuffing/dressing and rolls, but just about everything else (including gravy) can be gluten-free without making any sacrifice in flavor. Though I'd advise avoiding pre-brined/basted turkeys. One of my book club friends made a great gluten-free stuffing for a pumpkin dish she made for our November meeting (she's vegetarian and was experimenting...oddly, everyone at that meeting did a gluten-free thing, which was incredibly cool). Last year, I made non-gluten-free stuffing for the rest of the family, and may do that this year because my brother loves my sourdough stuffing. I can do that for him without compromising anything, and I'm at the point in my gluten-free life where I can appreciate someone else's enjoyment of something I can no longer eat.

 

I don't crave it at all.

 

I was a bit disheartened by this thread because, yes, there are challenges when it comes to eating out/at the homes of others, but when it comes to certain meals there are also opportunities. It's hard adjusting to this lifestyle, and we all make mistakes. But approaching these situations with a negative perspective makes it hard to see how we can make this work for us in the long run.

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http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/91878-newbie-info-101/#entry896943

OK, ALL of you who are considering eating someone else's cookin, read this. Click on and read all the links too. And if you think you STILL want to eat something a relative who doesn't have any experience with celiac made, remember, post-glutening you need to take extra probiotics, drink lits of water, and get lots of rest. You WILL need it.

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Super-Sensitive- and otherwise very strange view, but it is MINE.  Nobody else I know is like this.  My point is family time is more important then food: Not that you should do what I do. (okay?)

 

Last year I warned the hostess and my siblings that I would need to bring my own food.   I carefully covered my own Thanksgiving Dinner  and had it heated it in the oven.  I ate my food at the table.  Everyone (But one) knew in advance, so I didn't surprise most and I tried to hide it from the one.  I almost did, but when the subject came up, I looked toward what the kids were doing, and didn't respond.  It worked!    However, The next day I had signs of a gluten reaction.  After that and a couple of other experiences, the doctor told me I needed to eat at home.  So this year I can't eat with  the family, but I can't stay away.

 

I am planning to eat my meal in the car either on the way or on the way home.  I still plan to go and to keep company with the family all the while my immediate family can enjoy the gluteney things they commonly don't get.  I am planning to ask to be seated at the small table around a corner so as not to be an offense to a particular person.  I am pretty sure I can enlist the cooperation of my sister, the host, and other family members to do this.

 

I think if you must be different it is proper to warn at least the hostess and possibly others in advance.  I presented to my siblings that I desired to eat with them (last year) but because I had celiac disease, I would only be able to eat what I cooked.  I offered to make any and all with celiac disease (diagnosed by then or who wanted it) a gluten free dinner like mine!  It was a joke, since nobody had any inclination to get tested.  This year I already talked to my sister the hostess, and am bringing sweet potatoes, and plan to tell my brother and spouse also that I will not be able to eat there.  My parents already know about the situation.  My sister thought I would not be coming because of the situation, but I explained that if I didn't come, I quite possibly would never be able to do anything with the extended family again. 

 

For next year, I have to come up with how to be hostess.  We generally share in the cooking and bringing.  I may be having them to cook here with my ingredients, or doing it all myself.  Hmm the prospect of having them cook here sounds intriguing.  In the meanwhile, I am going to have to work on having food that tastes good.  My theory the first 18 months of gluten free has been EAT IT, it will fill your tummy!  I didn't always have the energy to search out new recipes or experiment.  Hopefully, I can be really good at it by next year.

 

 

Oh,  by the way, my sisters table is full, so someone has to sit around the corner!

 

D.

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All right, everyone.....I may have written that Newbie 101 thread and I stand by all the info in it, but I never wrote a single sentence proclaiming: you can't eat at someone's house.

Because I do not believe that.

 

This is how you survive Thanksgiving at someone's house:

 

(1)My friend is making an unstuffed turkey in a silver foil pan I gave her ($2.50)with a new baster. ($1.29)

I insist on new basters because I was "glutened by baster" my first THX (long story about two turkeys--1 stuffed, 1 not and a sister who thought it was ok to baste them both with 1 baster)

and I have "issues" with those damn things. :D

Anyway, no gluten involved in turkey. I still have NEVER seen a turkey with gluten in it, despite what some people have posted here in the past.

(2) She makes the roasted root veggies, but we slice and dice together while we chatter away drinking champagne.

We cut them on flexible cutting boards I bring her . they can be found in a variety of places, and they look like this:

 

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/3205911/?catalogId=60&bnrid=3120901&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Cutlery&cm_pla=Cutting_Boards&cm_ite=Dexas_Flexi_Cutting_Boards%2C_Set_of_4_%7C_Williams-Sonoma&srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=26-224069460-2

 

(3) I make the gravy with some G F flour I bring using the pan drippings that have never been near any gluten..

(4) I bring G F stuffing made in a crockpot that everyone loves.  No gluten.

 

recipe here: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/11/perfect-homemade-stuffing-crockpot.html

 

(5) We make a cheese, pate and veggie platter with Crunchmaster crackers for appetizers. No gluten.

(6) we have a shrimp cocktail platter. No gluten.

(7) she makes her family recipe of cranberry-orange relish. No gluten involved. I have watched her make it a dozen times.

(8) She makes a green bean casserole the day before Thanksgiving. I can't eat it and I do not care anyway. Never liked it. Even if it is passed around the table,

it's not going to miraculously gluten me.

(9) I bring the desserts because I am the one who makes them the best  :lol:

 

Flourless chocolate cake with ganache

 

recipe here:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

 

and 

Pumpkin cheesecake with pecan/gingersnap crust

 

recipe here

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/pumpkin-cheesecake-gingersnap-pecan-crust.aspx

 

(10) select a nice wine for dinner and one for dessert.

 

This does not have to be the end of the world. It just takes common sense, planning and it requires some assistance and understanding from the hostess,. But unless you are going to be cooking (which I normally do), you need to do a bit of advanced prep, but you can dine at someone's home and be perfectly fine. I have done it many times.

 

I am very sensitive to trace gluten, but I can assure you, I will not be dining outside or in another room. I eat at the table with everyone else. There's no reason celiacs can't enjoy dinner with friends and family. It just takes a few steps of precaution and an understanding hostess. 

 

If you do not feel up to this task just yet, and that is understandable when you are newly diagnosed, then just bring your own dinner and go and enjoy your relatives. If they keep pestering you about why, just say this:

 

MY DOCTOR SAID I HAVE TO EAT THIS WAY RIGHT NOW SO I CAN GET WELL.

leave it at that. All older relatives will get "MY DOCTOR SAID" ;)

 

Don't spend your time defending, explaining or being upset. Later, you can mail them all an explanation of celiac and what it takes

to be truly gluten-free and they can read it and learn about it and maybe talk with you about it..

 

Don't avoid seeing family members --they love you and you love them!-- and you can use their loving support right now.

 

Cheers, IH

 

PS>>and now, I am going to make this post its own thread so I do not have to write this mother of a post all over again.  :D

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I just thought I'd give an update about how my 1st gluten free Thanksgiving at my family's went. Remember I was so stressed out? Turns out they had a better handle on things than I thought. They did an absolutely FANTASTIC job. Everything was gluten free. They were very careful about making sure they had gluten free stuffing (really good) made a batch of gluten free gravy before their own gravy, even bought Udi's frozen French baguettes for the rolls (really dry and hard. Come on Udi's you can do better than that!). My sister always makes the pies from scratch, and with fruit from her own garden. She said she experimented with the gluten free flour, and had to add lard to the crusts to make them hold together. They turned out delicious! They even made pecan sandies (cookies) and an entire gluten free batch, just for me. I brought my deviled eggs they ask for every year, and a large veggie tray for the appetizers.

 

I'm so glad I had nothing to worry about. I had no idea they had researched celiac and put in so much work, I'm very thankful. And told them so!!

 

It just further illustrated that my anti-depressants aren't working (they haven't been since before I went gluten-free) and I need to have them adjusted. I'm just not coping well with anything, not just the celiac. So that's the next order of business.

 

Just wanted to update so everything from me is not doom and gloom! :-)

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To the "big family Christmas," I'm bringing my own two dishes. I did the same on Thanksgiving.

 

For the "little family Christmas" (us, the in-laws and BIL and family), I am hosting it. :) I will be making gluten-free stuffing without telling anybody (have done this a bajillion times with my own family and they still have no clue), turkey, gravy which I'll be making in a non-dedicated pan, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and white mashed potatoes and probably green beans with bacon. I will be making candy cane fudge (naturally gluten-free, no problems there, and obviously in a dedicated pan) for dessert. If I have the energy to add pumpkin pie with a gluten-free crust (this crust is amazing), I'll make that too. Again, my family has eaten this with zero clue...trust me, they'd ask, they're not shy about that sort of thing! I'll be handing out little goody bags of candy at the end of the festivities.

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I think that if you take your own food and someone expresses to you that they are disappointed or insulted, you look them in the eyes and very firmly, but kindly say, "I'm very sorry, but my body is very sick right now. I NEED to eat only foods that I've prepared." Don't make a scene, don't be angry or cruel about it…just be firm. I know it sucks, and I get you--I'm a "people pleaser" too. But it is your physical health. You have to be your own advocate. Like the other ladies have said, you will get sick if you eat their food. It stinks, but it's true. Hell, I cooked my own food for Thanksgiving this year and I STILL managed to gluten myself with contaminated rice. If they absolutely want to make food for you, why not give them some good gluten-free brands for desserts? They could buy a couple of pre-made cakes or cupcakes (I'm thinking Glutino or Kinnikinnick, not something made in a bakery of course) to accommodate you. 

 

Good luck with this. I'm really sorry you have to deal with this right now, at this time of year, but it's really, really important for you to keep yourself healthy and safe.

 

(Now that I've written this, I have seen that your Thanksgiving went well. I'm glad!) 

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Ok, need to add my assorted two cents in here.... :)

 

Udi's baguettes are dry (!!! and their dinner rolls were really bad) but try it with butter and topped with fresh parmesan  cheese under the broiler.....yum!!!  

 

To onedesperateladysaved, I am not trying to be rude just to understand, why are you unable to eat at the same table?  If you have your own spot at the end of the table, own food, etc. would you not be safe?   

 

I made stuffing that was the best we have ever had!  I buttered and toasted under the broiler two loaves of Udi white bread, added fresh herbs from my garden, eggs, chicken stock, onions, celery..... omgosh it was sooo good.  :P

 

And for pumpkin pie.... followed the recipe on the Libby's can using half 7 half instead of the condenced milk & used the new g.f. pie crust by Pillsbury.  Another yummer. 

 

And here's to hoping that we all have a safe and yummy Christmas!

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Hooray for lard pie crusts! They are the best, IMO.

 

So glad that it went well for you, tonalynn. Isn't it wonderful when your family steps up and supports you? This was my first Thanksgiving, post-dx and it went swimmingly (to be fair, parts of my family have been gluten-free for a few years, so we've had some practice). I come from a food-centric family too. We are not New York Jewish nor Italian, but we might as well be the way we deal with food :lol:

 

As far as how you are coping - shoot, it's hard! This is no small thing you are doing - a complete food overhaul! Of course it's going to cause you some angst! It's freaking hard to redesign your relationship with food, most especially when you are not feeling that well. I'm just saying, absolutely get your meds checked out, but also just recognize that you are going through a major life transition. One of the wise, long time posters here told me "You're just going to be unbalanced for a while" and for some reason that helped. Try to be gentle with yourself, ok?

 

Oh and these rolls: http://food52.com/recipes/24791-gluten-free-dinner-rolls%C2'> I know, I know - you don't like to cook, but give them a try, maybe for Christmas dinner. They are really quite simple, though you do need to plan ahead to let the dough rise. And do make sure you let them cool before eating them. The texture is not so great when they are hot from the oven but gets nice a buttery-chewy when they cool off.

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