I don’t know about you guys, but for me the holidays are like a vacation–when they’re over, I need a vacation! This year I had great fun with my nieces and nephews (and my siblings and parents, of course, but it’s really about the kids. It’s amazing to me how much they change from year to year. I have three nieces and three nephews ranging in age from about 5 to 13. They are each immensely different from one another and each wonderful in his or her own right, but keeping up with them is quite a lot for these old bones.

As is feeding them. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that I am allergic to gluten. My niece is a vegetarian. But we do the whole turkey-n-trimmings thing for Christmas, so that’s a bit of a problem. Here are some things we found this year as accommodations:

Martha Stewart RecipeWilliams-Sonoma’s turkey gravy base has no gluten. It’s thickened with cornstarch and it’s pretty tasty. Add drippings from your own turkey.

If you’re making string beans amandine, try sauteing the almonds with finely diced shallots. Makes them extra delicious.

Super easy and delicious if you’re trying to add a few more veggies to the menu: Martha Stewart’s Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Shallots. Conveniently, this cooks on a baking pan at 450°, so it can go into the oven while you’re making your turkey, most likely. It calls for olive oil, but we prefer to use Rick Bayless’s Garlic Mojo. We always keep it in the house. There is no substitute.

On the gluten free front, let me just mention that there is only one really, really good gluten-free cornbread mix on the market: Jules Gluten Free. I used it to make cornbread dressing this year and it was awesome!

I hope your winter holidays, if you celebrate any, have been fabulous, and that 2014 brings all good things!