Non GMO Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov 25, 2013 by

dinner plate

Green beans, gluten free garlic toast, turkey with Pacific Foods organic cranberries, rutabagas, and yummy quinoa stuffing


Naturally Kristi is back for a day here and there. Today I am so excited to share my Non GMO Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner.

Since we enjoy Thanksgiving with our respective families, away from our home, I like to prepare an early Thanksgiving meal. This gets us into the spirit and it gives me food to bring with us to supplement our dietary needs.

Our meal was fabulous and we were able to share with impromptu family guests. It was perfect.

I apologize for my lousy photos. First of all, I am not much of a photographer and I also had guests in the kitchen as I was preparing the meal, so I couldn’t focus on photos. You get the point and the food was delicious!





Several months ago, I was lucky enough to win a medium size Big Green Egg ceramic grill. We never took the time to put it together, so it was finally the time on Sunday.

I purchased a fresh organic turkey from Costco. In my area, the price was $2.79/pound. This was half the price I paid last year for a fresh turkey from the farmer’s market. I felt a little guilty not supporting my local farmers for my holiday turkey, but it was wonderful to not have to pay the high price from last year.

My husband put the grill together, while my son picked up some apple and cherry smoking chips.

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I washed and dried my 14# turkey. I would have loved to brine the bird, but didn’t plan ahead.

I applied the following rub from the How Sweet It Is blog:


3 TB organic brown sugar
1 1/2 TB smoked paprika
1 1/2 TSP chili powder
1 1/2 TSP garlic powder
1 1/2 TSP sea salt
1 1/2 TSP black pepper
1 TSP onion powder
1/2 TSP ground cumin
6 TB organic butter, melted

Combine all ingredients, except butter.Rub all the butter, covering entire turkey and under skin if you are savvy enough to separate it (I have trouble with that step!)
Spread the rub all over the bird (and under the skin, if you are able)
Put in disposable pan, with 2 cups organic chicken broth and some chunks of celery and onion.
If you have a rack, it might be good to put it on the rack. I cooked breast side down. It worked OK,
but seemed to get the breast meat a bit charred, so maybe next time I will do it the other way.
You can also roast your turkey in the oven.

Since this was our first time smoking with our Big Green Egg, I am not going to offer any direction, as we are still learning. We used 2 cups of a combination of apple and cherry chips for smoking (soaked for one hour)

We smoked the turkey for 2 1/2 hours keeping the temp between 250-300 degrees.
Since the turkey was organic, we were shooting for removing when internal temp was around 155 but it ended up being closer to 165 degrees. Still learning!

The turkey was AMAZING!!


Before smoking; rubbed and ready to go


Smoked and ready to enjoy


I made a Cider Bourbon gravy from How Sweet It is blog. It was OK, but not my favorite. Check it out and give it a try. I may have made a mistake while making it as I was chatting on the phone 🙂


Cider bourbon gravy

I also make mashed rutabagas (love them) and steamed green beans. But, my favorite thing I tried was Quinoa Stuffing. Yum, Yum! I am planning to make it again on Thanksgiving! Thank you to my friend Mary for sharing the recipe.


Quinoa stuffing; terrible picture, I know, but delicious

Quinoa Stuffing

1 cup organic celery, finely chopped1 cup organic onion, finely chopped
1 cup organic carrots, finely chopped
2 TB organic butter
1 cup organic quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups organic chicken broth (can also use vegetable broth)
1 cup cooked organic pork sausage (optional, but it really enhanced the dish)
1 1/2 TSP dried thyme (to taste)
1 1/2 TSP dried sage (to taste)
1/2 TSP black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Saute celery, onions, and carrots in melted butter until tender. Add cooked sausage and spices and mix well for a 1-2 minutes. Add broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once all broth is absorbed, fluff with fork. Makes about 8 one cup servings.
I put the finished stuffing in the oven on 275 degrees to keep warm while the rest of the meal finished, it worked well. You could definitely make this ahead and keep warm in a crock pot or low temp oven. So good!








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Meal Monday: Stir Fry

Jul 29, 2013 by

Meal Monday’s recipe is for a quick stir fry; it is a delicious quick, healthy meal and the perfect way to use your readily available garden veggies.

stir fry

Last week while my family was away, I prepared quick meals for myself. One of my favorites was a stir fry using the organic vegetables from my garden. Since my garden is small and things are coming available at different times and there isn’t enough to feed my whole family, it worked perfect to use my little harvests every couple of days.


I don’t have an exact recipe; that is a the beauty of a stir fry, you can use whatever you have on hand.

First, chop up your veggies and get everything ready…stir fry moves fast and you need to be prepared. If you are using meat, either cook it quick in the pan before stir frying or use leftovers from the fridge/freezer.

stir fry veggies

Next, I like to get my skillet or wok nice an hot with either olive or grapeseed oil. Saute the onions and carrots; I like to throw in some chopped garlic towards the end. When those veggies are getting softer, throw in the rest of the veggies that don’t take as long to cook. I like to add some chicken broth or even water to the pan to get a little steam going. Keep the veggies moving to cook evenly. When they are getting close to being to your liking; throw in the meat and add whatever sauce you like. I used San-J Teriyaki…it is gluten free and non-gmo. Keep stir frying until everything is hot and cooked to your desired tenderness. Enjoy by itself or over cooked rice or quinoa. Delicious and nutritious!

stir fry


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Meal Monday: BLT Quinoa Salad

Jul 22, 2013 by

BLT quinoa salad

For Meal Monday, I am so excited to share a new recipe with you; BLT Quinoa Salad…it is delicious!

What a gorgeous weekend we had here! Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a delicious salad. I am always on the lookout for a new salad to bring to a gathering or enjoy for dinner at home. When I opened an email recently from one of the blogs I follow, Peas & Crayons, I was so excited to try this salad. The photos looked enticing.

A weekly family BBQ was the perfect occasion to give the recipe a try. I am always safe trying new recipes on my husband’s family; they eat whatever I make and never complain. I knew I had hit a home run when I received an email the next day from my wonderful mother-in-law telling me that they were enjoying the leftovers the next day and she wanted the recipe for bringing to an upcoming gathering. Win!

For me, this recipe is still in progress…not 100% sure on the amounts, as I made the original recipe x5, as you can see the Peas & Crayons recipe, BLT Salad with Toasted Quinoa is written for two servings. Making 5x the recipe gave me more quinoa that I used and some extra dressing. Maybe next time I will do quinoa x3 or x4 and the dressing x4. It was wonderful to have the leftover quinoa, as I used it to whip up another wonderful Peas & Crayons recipe Quinoa Fried Rice.

quinoa for salad

The quinoa all cooked up and ready to eat

onions for BLT salad

Caramelized onions in bacon grease…they smelled amazing, it was hard not to just eat them right up!

BLT quinoa salad

The salad ready to go to the party

I will provide the recipe as I made it for the party; for a large group. Check out the original recipe to get the measurements for two servings.

Trust me, make this salad soon, it was delicious!

BLT Quinoa Salad

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 10-15

BLT Quinoa Salad


  • Salad:
  • 2 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 3/4 cup water or veggie broth
  • 1- 1.5# organic/nitrate free bacon (you will love the bacon in this salad, don't skimp on it)
  • 5 heads organic romaine lettuce (add as much or as little as you want, torn in bite size pieces)
  • organic tomatoes; cherry tomatoes or diced, as much as you want
  • Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing:
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup organic mayo
  • 2/3 cup diced/minced Vidalia/sweet yellow onion, caramelized
  • 3 TB vinegar
  • 10 tsp organic honey
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa in mesh strainer
  2. Shake out any excess water from quinoa and allow to dry for a bit
  3. While quinoa is drying. get bacon cooking
  4. I like to cook bacon in the oven on parchment lined trays; put bacon in cold oven, turn on 350 degrees and cook until crispy; about 20-25 minutes (when bacon is done, remove to pat off grease, but save that bacon grease in the pan, you will use it!)
  5. Back to the quinoa...add dry quinoa to medium pan and turn heat to medium and toast your quinoa to remove any leftover moisture
  6. While toasting, continue to move the quinoa around frequently so it doesn't burn
  7. After 1-2 minutes, add in your water or broth and increase heat to high
  8. When the quinoa reaches a boil, reduce to simmer and cover, allowing some steam to escape
  9. Cook for 12-15 minutes; until all liquid has been absorbed
  10. In skillet, use a small amount of bacon grease to caramelize your onion. Saute on medium low heat, stirring frequently until golden brown
  11. When quinoa is done cooking, you can toast it in a large skilled with more of the leftover bacon grease...this is optional, but adds some additional great flavor...season quinoa with salt & pepper to taste
  12. Combine dressing ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  13. Depending on where you are serving the salad, you can pile lettuce, quinoa, bacon, and tomato in bowl until ready to serve then add dressing and toss before serving.
  14. Or, pile on plates for individual servings.
  15. Enjoy; it is a delicious salad!








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Meal Monday: Homemade Basil Pesto

Jul 8, 2013 by

For Meal Monday, I am excited to share with you a delicious homemade basil pesto!

flag fruit kebobs

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day holiday. We had a wonderful long weekend and my garden is soaking up the warm weather; finally hot & sticky in Minnesota.

My family plays softball on summer holidays. This year we ended up playing kickball to include the younger ones. I also had a chance to snuggle the day away with my 5 month old niece, whom I adore.We also celebrated my Dad’s birthday; all in all, a wonderful day!


I made a few new things for the family meal. Everyone loved the fruit kebobs I made. My son is anaphylactic to bananas, so I substituted the bananas on the kebobs with Hail Merry Blonde (vanilla) Macaroons; delicious! I might try doing them with pineapple sometime too. I also tried making “Special K” bars gluten free, non-gmo and peanut free. I have been missing them! My first try garnered a “good” bar, not spectacular. I will keep working on it and post the recipe when it is perfected. I also need to come up with a name for the bars…any ideas? I can’t exactly call them Special K, when I don’t use that cereal, right?

Now, on to the homemade pesto. I know pesto is pretty easy to make, but I was excited to try this recipe when a friend shared that she uses this recipe with sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. It turned out great. I was so excited to use the basil from my garden. Now, I am impatiently waiting for my plant to grow again, so I can make more pesto. I think I need a few more basil plants! My son INHALED the pesto, finishing up the double recipe I made by the next morning. I have mentioned the quinoa noodles before, but I can’t say enough how wonderful they are. Hard to find though; I have only found to buy them on Amazon. Worth the price, I promise!

basil pesto

Fresh basil from my garden


basil pesto ingredients

Basil pesto ingredients


Basil pesto pasta dinner

Basil pesto over Nature’s Earthly Choice quinoa noodles with some organic chicken. Schar multi grain ciabatta rolls, sliced thin and broiled with butter and garlic salt and a delicious organic salad. Yum!



Homemade Basil Pesto

Homemade Basil Pesto


  • 2/3 cup packed basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt. Pulse it in the food processor.


  1. Pulse in the food processor.
  2. Enjoy!


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Meal Monday: Quinoa Fried Rice

Jul 1, 2013 by


The start of a broccoli head…can you see it?




As promised, here is the recipe for Quinoa Fried Rice for Meal Monday! I absolutely loved this recipe. It is quick, easy, healthy, and delicious! It is also an excellent opportunity to use treasures from my garden. The best part is that you should be able to make the meal in about 30 minutes…awesome for a busy summer evening!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We are finally getting amazing summer weather in Minnesota and it is about time! My garden is growing by leaps and bounds…even in the last few days since my last Garden Update. I predict with the amazing weather we are expected to have that I might need to do another update sooner rather than later. One little sneak peak…I have a small broccoli head started; I am so excited!



Well, enough garden talk…on to a Meal Monday recipe, right?

I found this recipe last week on the blog Peas & Crayons. This one is new for me and I just love it. I am so appreciative of the great photography and clever dialogue of many of the blogs I follow. I wish I had the knack for either of those things. Oh well, I make up for it in passion!

I have used quinoa in the last six months, but never really got what all the excitement was for this food. After reading the blog post on Peas & Crayons on how to properly cook quinoa, I found it is much tastier when I don’t make the same as rice (which is how I had been making it.) So, not only will you learn to cook quinoa properly, you will have a recipe for a quick, nutritious dinner your family is sure to love.

peas and carrots

The first pea pods and carrots from my garden were my inspiration for this meal.


quinoa fried rice

Starting with the onions and garlic, then adding some veggies.


quinoa fried rice

Next, I added the pea pods and some left over chicken.


quinoa fried rice

Finally, the hot quinoa, eggs, and soy sauce and dinner is looking good!


Recipe and quinoa cooking instructions adapted from Peas & Crayons.

Her directions and accompanying photos are so good, just look at them!


Quinoa Fried Rice

Rating: 51

Yield: 2-3

Serving Size: hearty dinner portion servings

Quinoa Fried Rice


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water or organic broth (I used water)
  • 2-4 tsp gluten-free sauce (I use San-J Organic)
  • 1-2 cloves organic garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups of organic fresh or frozen veggies such as peas, carrots, and onion
  • 1/2-1 cup diced meat (leftover chicken, pork or steak work great)
  • 1-2 organic eggs
  • olive or coconut oil for stir frying
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. The great thing about this dish is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. You can add in or eliminate what works for you. Enjoy!
  2. Rinse quinoa in water, drain and allow to dry a bit.
  3. Toss the quinoa straight into pan and allow to toast on medium heat for a minute or two; make sure to stir to prevent burning. Your goal is to remove as much moisture as possible.
  4. Add water, boil, then reduce heat and cook for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and fluff with fork.
  6. While quinoa is cooking, prep the veggies and meat (if using.)
  7. **If you are using meat and it needs to cook, stir fry it first before veggies. This is a perfect recipe to use up leftover chicken, pork or steak. A little will go a long way**
  8. Soft scramble your eggs in the stir fry pan and remove or in cook in another small pan ahead of time.
  9. Stir fry goes quick, so make sure to have all your ingredients ready to go!
  10. In stir fry pan or heavy skillet, add oil and get hot.
  11. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  12. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Add remaining veggies and stir fry until tender.
  14. **Use judgment on which veggies to add when. Pea pods don’t take much time, so they can be added later so they don’t get soggy**
  15. Add quinoa and meat (if using)
  16. While mixing, start adding soy sauce to taste.
  17. When everything is warm, you are ready to enjoy!
  18. Makes 2+ hearty dinner portions, 3 medium portions. Make extra, it warms up wonderfully the next day!





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