We Have Some Very VERY Brave Friends

November 25th ~ Southern California

Michael and Laura with Joanne and Tim

Michael and Laura with Joanne and Tim

OK – Thanksgiving menu. What to fix???

I’m guessing that few of you had as many challenges to handle as our dear friends did in planning yesterdays meal for our family. 

Michael and Laura have known us for many years. You may remember me blogging about the time they surprised us by cleaning our cabin before we returned home after our around-the-world trek. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Even knowing about Tim’s food allergies, they were willing to host us for a special holiday meal. Then things got complicated…

Tim and Joanne with Dane and NaReena

Tim and Joanne with Dane and NaReena

Our son and his girlfriend were also invited. Now don’t get me wrong – I was DELIGHTED for them to be included, and it was icing on the cake for Tim and me having them with us.

But… or maybe I should say BUT…

The menu options got even more restricted. Both Tim and our son, Dane are highly allergic to anything artificial, or sometimes ingredients that are produced using high heat which releases free glutamic acids. That means EVERYTHING has to be made with fresh whole ingredients. Almost nothing packaged or canned or from a jar can be used.

Now lets add in the other factor – both our son and his girlfriend are VEGAN, plant-based eaters. That means no animal products, no dairy ingredients, no cheese, no honey, no eggs, no butter. Just for good measure add gluten intolerant.

And then to keep it interesting, we had some food likes and dislikes such as some don’t like nuts, onions, celery, or sour cream.

Don’t we sound like a FUN bunch to invite to a holiday meal???

Well Michael and Laura were up for the challenge and we managed to still have a fantastic, and (almost) traditional Thanksgiving dinner together. It was a bit of divide and conquer, but here is what we came up with:

Michael did the turkey on the BBQ. They roasted some garlic in the oven, and mixed it with butter and a pile of fresh herbs. The bird was prepared the evening before with the butter mixture spread between the skin and breast. This of course was for all of us carnivores.

Laura fixed organic green beans with just salt and pepper. She made a cranberry relish that had been her mom’s favorite recipe, and baked some rolls. A real treat for Tim was her homemade dressing which was made with whole grain bread, mushrooms, onion and again, a healthy dose of fresh herbs.

Tim did a gorgeous fruit salad made with a variety of ripe berries (blackberry, strawberry, raspberry and blue berries), kiwi, grapes and banana.

Dane made a big bowl of yummy guacamole and brought gluten-free, organic crackers for dipping.

NaReena (our son’s girlfriend), did a gorgeous vegetable platter with a Vegan dip on the side.

Healthy and yummy veggie platter

Healthy and yummy veggie platter

I made a big green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh mushrooms over mixed greens. Then on the side I had the options to add gorgonzola cheese, chopped pecans, celery, raisins and/or pomegranate seeds. It was almost a salad bar in bowls. Several different salad dressings were also on hand.

Additionally I brought a mashed sweet potato and white potato dish that was vegan. Just a little evoo, salt and pepper. I thought it turned out quite bland, but both Dane and Tim loved it. Go figure.

Dessert for those who wanted it was a fresh-baked pumpkin pie. The vegans had the fresh fruit option.

The GREAT news is that it was the first time in a long time that I can remember that my sweet hubby was able to eat anything on the holiday table and ended up with NO allergic reaction.

It was one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember, and we got to share it with our wonderful, dear, brave, probably scratching-their-heads, friends. I think they deserve a bravery medal for taking on this challenge!

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this special holiday with family and friends. I may be in trouble for Christmas now. My family has high expectations of another great meal. Michael and Laura have already advised us they will be OUT OF TOWN… 🙂

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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31 Responses to We Have Some Very VERY Brave Friends

  1. Laura says:

    We love you guys and we were so happy to share Thanksgiving with you,Tim, Dane and Nareena. I loved cooking with everything fresh, I learned a few things along the way and it’s so much healthier If we were going to be home for Christmas, I would gladly do it all over again!


  2. mike alesko says:

    I’m so very impressed by Michael and Laura’s loving and accommodating hosting and the way you all worked to make it a healthy and workable table. The essence of love, friendship, and the real Thanksgiving spirit. It makes me smile. And don’t take it for granted. I was once in a similar situation where even a simple accommodation regarding the main item was rejected even after being requested well ahead of time, and where the nice alternate item we brought was made fun of sarcastically and left unsampled by everyone. So, hurray for you, Michael and Laura….Bon Appétit…..And Bon homie!


    • Believe me that we do not take it for granted. Having to be a scrupulous label reader for many years now, I find it much easier to simply pick up fresh organic produce and work from there in creating a menu or dish. Sometimes successful, sometimes a failure in the taste department 😔 but I remain ever hopeful of improving. Incredibly grateful for all the hard work and extra efforts that they went through for our family. That makes me sad that your experience was not a happy one.


  3. starmanjones says:

    Sweet Vegan Pig-Outs! that sound festive despite the challenge. I’m happiest of all to read this NOT seeing talk of show cased vegan centerpieces yet a fine abundance for any and all. I find gauc making appearing as if it were traditional all along. I would be a tad sad if Mashed potatoes took a tumble from tradition – such is my favorite one!


  4. starmanjones says:

    Reblogged this on almondcoffeed and commented:
    I may not adore every situation nor every food, however, i hope i don’t grow so crusty and or selfish to not wish joy is there for more than just myself. I like this challenge stepped to.


  5. corkscot says:

    Sounds like my holiday meal. My daughter is gluten free and a non meat or poultry eater. My son made a turkey breast. We had potatoes, beets, spinach pie without the pie, eggplant, salad, cranberries,and Brussels sprouts. It was a great meal.


  6. Sounds fantastic. Sometimes the constraints get us to be more creative — and fresh is always good!


  7. Our family has different restrictions/preferences so it feels great when we have a spread that everyone can eat. It also looks as if that kind of eating works towards a longer, healthier life. Bravo.


  8. Anabel Marsh says:

    I don’t eat meat myself, but everything else sounds absolutely delicious!


  9. tippysmom2 says:

    Wow! That was a challenge and your friends were great for taking it on and getting everyone together. It sounds wonderful!


  10. 2ndhalfolife says:

    Having been a vegan/vegetarian for 40 years I understand your plight. I always hated going to people for the holidays as I felt I put them out. I was pretty easy actually…I would eat a salad and be happy and found others would be made more uncomfortable than I would be. It’s gotten easier over the years of course (although I’m not gluten free too). Usually I keep my crowd small and folks that really like and understand me and my preferences! 🙂


    • We too are hesitant to eat out at friends homes, but are extremely grateful that we have several good friends who have made extraordinary efforts to accommodate Tim’s needs over the years. It is not easy, and I still manage to miss something and give him a nasty reaction on occasion, even after all these years. This was certainly more challenging than most meals when combining so many different dietary and moral choices. Thankful to know it is possible to have a delicious and healthy holiday meal together, especially when everyone pitches in to help and brings a dish to share.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Anna Cottage says:

    Great post and yummy food

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kim Gorman says:

    Wow, everything sounds delicious, especially that barbecued turkey and the salads.


  13. WOW!! What amazing friends they are to have really gone out of there way to include everyone. The food all sounds wonderful and healthy!!!


  14. karen says:

    That all sounds delicious! How lovely to have friends that are prepared to make that effort. I would love the recipe for the cranberry relish, if you can share it sometime. All the best. Karen x


  15. neha98blog says:

    I should have find you earlier..your posts are so good and worthy of my time.


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