I'm having one of those moments right now, where I want caffeine... more caffeine... but I know better than to give in.
One of those times where I've had enough, but somehow I'm still tired, and somehow I still think caffeine is the answer. Unfortunately, that would be the opposite of the answer - if I want this vicious cycle to end, that is.
You have one rough night of sleep, over-caffeinate the next day, and you're toast for the rest of the week. Or maybe that's just me and my low tolerance?
Anyway someone help me out, here. Poke me or something. Get me a giant green tea with soy. Wait, scratch that - I just said no caffeine right?
You know what, I can get through this. It's almost Thanksgiving week, and for me this means traveling to Pittsburgh to see my husband's family. Which means vacation. Which, of course, means lots of sleep. This is very exciting.
I am also excited to see the whole family, as well as the newest addition, my baby nephew! I have to tell you: He has the second fattest baby cheeks I've ever seen. (Which is a true sign of a photogenic baby.) My sister, Brooke, once held the title of fattest-cheeked baby ever. And yes, to this day, her baby photos still make people coo over them.
I'm wondering how he will enjoy his first Thanksgiving. What do 9-month-old babies eat? I'm pretty sure he's been fed all manner of blended food by now. Stuffing-smoothie, baby?
Never mind, let's forget the stuffing-smoothie. I certainly am excited about real, non-blended, delicious stuffing covered in gravy, though. Even though it is absolutely not a ruined holiday if certain foods are not there - c'mon now, I could still call it Thanksgiving without the Turkey as long as I'm thankful! - stuffing is one of those foods we've come to expect at the table.
Right? I'll bet even the pilgrims had stuffing when they feasted.
And just to be sure everyone in your family can have stuffing, too, I thought I'd bring some of THIS to the party. Oh, and this is no box-mix-gluten-free shenaniganery. This business is made with real, delicious ingredients, that even non-gluten-free people eat regularly.
It starts with a soft and delicious bread called Rosemary Everything Quick Bread, developed by Ashley from Edible Perspective. Somewhat like cornbread in texture, but like the essence of Thanksgiving in flavor. Then we put some of THE. BEST. fall veggies to roast (carrots + parsnips), in with the sauteed essentials, like celery + onion, and aaaall the tastiest herbs, + finally kept moist in the oven with a simple, healthy, little gravy.
So it tastes like AMAZING. As opposed to tasting like bitter-gluten-free-from-a-box-wtfisthis. Sorry... I got angry at one of those mixes, once.
I think since everyone will be stuffed on Thanksgiving... ha... instead of getting angry at disappointing commercial products this year, we should make the after-dinner coffee decaf. You know, because we're all going to want a nap!
Gluten-Free Herbed Stuffing
I used Ashley's Rosemary Everything Quick Bread recipe from edibleperspective.com - she is such a good GF baker! I knew I'd find a great bread recipe already well developed and tested.
The only things I did differently were use egg whites instead of eggs (I had just run out of whole eggs!) and I actually put garlic and onion powder - rather than flakes - inside the bread instead of on top so that it wouldn't all crumble off the bread when it became stuffing. I also made it using a muffin tin to bake the bread faster. This took about 25 minutes. It turned out wonderfully!
1 recipe Rosemary Everything Quick Bread
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
4 large celery ribs, ends removed and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 1 1/2 - 2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. each: salt, pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. dried herbed poultry seasoning (typically includes parsley, sage, rosemary, marjoram) OR if you have fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and/or marjoram, include about 1 T. of each, finely chopped
1 c. low-sodium vegetarian "chicken" stock (or chicken stock)
2 T. cornstarch or tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
1 T. butter
You can make the bread ahead of time a day or two (store, covered in the refrigerator) or right before you want to make the stuffing.
If you want to make it all on the same day, while the bread is baking, chop the carrots and parsnips and placed on a cooking-sprayed baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F. for about 45-50 minutes. When they are almost completely done, remove from the oven and set aside while you finish the prep.
Allow the bread to cool completely so it doesn't fall apart when cutting into cubes. This is a somewhat crumbly bread, but totally worth the extra care to turn it into a chunky stuffing!
Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray and carefully transfer the bread cubes to the pans. Spread the cubes out evenly so they can each receive even heat.
Place the sheets under the broiler, on the second rack space down from the top, and bake 60 - 90 seconds, until lightly browned and toasty. Watch - don't walk away! Flip the cubes over (carefully) and broil again for the same amount of time on the other side.
Saute chopped celery, garlic, and onion together over medium heat using an even coat of cooking spray. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes, until lightly softened. While they cook, add the seasonings. When done, transfer to a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Because this bread can be crumbly, we won't mix everything together with a spoon - we'll do this casserole-style and layer the ingredients! Lay down half the toasted bread cubes in the bottom of a large, buttered, casserole dish. Next, layer the roasted carrots and parsnips + the sauteed veggies. Repeat to finish off all the ingredients.
Start the gravy by whisking the cornstarch into the cold or room temperature broth. I recommend adding some more of the seasonings to this, as well. Melt the butter in the pan you just used over medium-low heat. Once it is melted, whisk in the broth mixture and heat just until slightly thickened.
Pour the gravy as evenly as you can over the top of the casserole. We want to make the stuffing moist but not soggy in any one spot.
Bake the stuffing, uncovered, about 30 minutes.
Serve with additional gravy, if you like!
PS. I would definitely use the butter in the gravy for the baked stuffing, to keep it moist, but if you want to make a lighter gravy to go on top, try substituting the butter with a vegetable puree like pumpkin! (I've done this and was a fan!)
Makes 12 servings (approximately 1 cup each)
Nutrition per 1/12th batch serving: 192 calories; 9.2 g fat (1.7 g saturated); 22.8 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 6.3 g protein (Bonus: 132% DV vitamin A; 10% DV vitamin c; 7% DV calcium; 7% DV iron)