Cheese Cookies & Green Beans of Death: Our first gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner

Be Inspired, Family November 27, 2011

I have to be totally honest and up front about this post. I hesitated sharing our entire Thanksgiving menu with you because my favorite part of dinner was the “green beans of death”. Should I really admit to not only eating them, but making them myself? Would this result in a Shake Shack moment? Or would the fact that I ate (and enjoyed) this dish make me more relatable in that I can allow myself to savor something seriously unhealthy on occasion?  I ended up realizing that the last thing I want to convey is that I am perfect in any way, including my eating.  Whew!  Ok, now that my “confessions of a dietitian” moment is over, let’s get on to talking about the weekend.


We had a wonderful gluten-free Thanksgiving.  My mom ordered a fresh turkey from Sunflower Market so that we knew it would be gluten-free.  The kids had a fun time getting it all buttered up before my dad threw it on the grill.

He also made some mashed potatoes with cauliflower which has become one of our favorite holiday side dishes.

Jeff was in charge of the cranberries.  He simmered them with some orange juice and sugar, and they turned out perfectly.

PhotobucketUnfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about my rosemary-asiago rolls.  I had a little trouble getting the dough to stick, so I added more milk and water.  Then the dough was too runny, so my mom added more flour.  When I finally got them in the oven, they came out looking like cookies.  They didn’t rise at all!  The flavor was still pretty good though, so we each had a “cheese cookie” with our dinner.  Apparently my gluten-free baking needs some work.

And now, for the green beans of death…


Hello!  How good do those look?  I found the recipe in Delight Gluten Free Magazine and knew I wanted it to be my indulgence for Thanksgiving.  The green beans are blanched then rolled in little bundles with bacon (I used Applegate Farms antibiotic-free, hormone-free, artificial nitrate-free bacon).  But that’s not all.  Melted butter, brown sugar and garlic are poured over the top, then the entire dish is sprinkled with crushed almonds.  Bake it all for 15-20 minutes and you have green beans to die for.

I mean really, is there anything healthy about this dish?  No way.  The nutrition from the green beans is drowned out with bacon, butter and sugar.  But man, oh man, these were good.  And you know what?  I’m glad I made them.  This isn’t something I will make on a regular basis, which makes it perfect to look forward to on a holiday.  And that’s what I love about a holiday meal.  Enjoying the foods that you only eat once a year.  And when it was all said and done, I didn’t feel overstuffed because I took moderate amounts of everything and didn’t go back for seconds (okay, maybe I had one more roll of green beans).  Then it was done!  Thanksgiving was over.  Back to healthy eating.  In fact, we made some turkey stock to freeze, and a pot of Southwestern turkey soup that is packed full of nutrition (look for that post tomorrow).


So there you have it, my first gluten-free Thanksgiving, and another confession.


See my holiday “splurge” tip on


What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving?  Do you try to stick to healthy foods during holiday meals?  



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  • Reply Leah @ Kids Kitchen November 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Right there with you Alysa. I have made a version of those green bean bundles (minus the crushed almonds – btw…nice touch!) And, it will be a dish I might make again – but not often. I too, ate some things that have a total negative nutrition value. My in-laws make sweet potatoes taste like an icecream topping rather than a vegetable with sugar and butter. But, hey, its once a year! Your menu looked great!
    PS. Did your Dad “grill” or smoke your turkey? and…how long did it take?


    • Reply inspiredrd November 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Hey Leah, my dad said that he smoked the turkey over indirect heat on a Weber grill for 2.5-3 hours.

  • Reply RunEatRepeat November 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I unapologetic-ally eat like it’s my last day on earth on Thanksgiving. Then, I start again healthy the next day :)

    • Reply inspiredrd November 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      I love it! And I know that you are an intuitive eater too, so this is great. Thanks Monica!

  • Reply Katie November 28, 2011 at 8:15 am

    When you name them “Green beans of Death” it sounds like you didn’t let go of the guilt of enjoying an unhealthy food. Since you say you really did, how about calling them “Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans” or “Green Bean Bundles”? That takes the self-judgment out of a fantastic sounding dish. Sure, it’s not an everyday food – you wouldn’t even want one after two meals in a row. Food isn’t inherently “good” or “bad” in the moral sense (unless the choice concerns the humane treatment of animals), it simply gives us energy and nutrition. If we pick the optimal blend of nutritious input – we feel good. Healthy eating is not a religion. And no one is keeping score!

    • Reply inspiredrd November 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Katie, the reason I keep calling them “green beans of death” is because that is what the magazine that I got the recipe from kept calling them. I do think you are right though, there is some guilt that is going along with it. For me, the guilt isn’t that I ate them, but that I am trying to lead people to healthy lifestyles and I want to make sure I don’t trip them up. Of course that is also my perfectionism speaking, isn’t it? :)

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