Thanksgiving Reflections + Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola

Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday for me. I love the gatherings of friends and loved ones, but I am not always full of thanks, especially these past few years. My husband and I have had a really rough time trying to figure out our careers, our faith, where to live, family life, and a lot more stuff–which can be pretty common to all of us!


The hardest part is that I am not with my family for the holiday. Ever since I got married, my husband and I have spent Thanksgiving with our friends in California. There are a lot of reasons for this decision, but the main one is that I didn’t have a place to go to for Thanksgiving after my husband and I got married.

My maternal grandmother hosted thanksgiving for as long as I could remember, and she passed away just a few months before the first thanksgiving I would have with my husband. We had family traditions, like running in a 5k Turkey trot, eating cinnamon coffee cake, watching christmas movies with my cousins, and taking afternoon naps. In the evening we would gather to play cards and games around the dining room table, after it was cleared from the huge amount of food.

But, four years ago, that stability disappeared.


It wasn’t until after my grandmother died that I realized how meaningful this holiday was for me and how much stability it gave my life. I always felt that if I had one constant in my life, then everything else would be okay.

It was then that I learned I had to create my own constant, and try to decide what I wanted. It has been four years since my grandmother has died, and every Thanksgiving since, I’ve gone for a 5k run (usually by myself), eaten delicious food with friends, and laughed until tears roll down my cheeks.


This year has been difficult. There is not a constant for a lot of  us to hold onto, but I know we will be able to figure it out in due time. This year like every year, in spite of everything else going on in our world, I will still go on my run, make food, and break bread with those who I consider my community. I invite you to do the same.


One last thing I will leave you with: my mother is known for baking her cinnamon coffee cake for Thanksgiving morning, but it is no longer a part of my life because of my Celiac disease, So, I have created a pumpkin granola for you to have on Thanksgiving morning instead!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 3 C gluten-free oats
  • ¼ C organic molasses
  • ½ C packed brown sugar
  • ¼ C coconut oil
  • ¼ C crushed pecans
  • ½ C slivered almonds
  • ½ C coconut flakes
  • ½ C pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 300℉
  2. Melt the coconut oil, then add the molasses and the brown sugar.
  3. Combine.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the oats, pecans, almonds, coconut, pumpkin, and spices. Stir.
  5. Add the coconut oil mixture.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Spread on a jelly roll pan.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
  9. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy with yogurt, milk, or on top of ice cream!


About the Author:

A native Texan who, after being diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac Disease in her mid-twenties, wanted to help others who drastically had to change their diets later in life. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, where she operates Mary Lee Kitchen.

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