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Shauna James Ahern, a.k.a Gluten-Free Girl (plus a Giveaway!)

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We're sitting down with our favorite writers and cooks to talk about their upcoming cookbooks, their best food memories, and just about anything else.

Today: Shauna James Ahern on her new gluten-free Thanksgiving iPad app, the ultimate go-to guide for a deliciously wheat-free Thanksgiving -- plus, a giveaway!

If you're cooking up a gluten-free Thanksgiving meal or making dishes for gluten-free guests for the big holiday, we have the perfect iPad app for you: Shauna James Ahern, otherwise known as Gluten-Free Girl, has made our jobs easy with Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking. Ahern has been blogging about wheat-free treats and meals since 2005 on this lovely site, telling heartwarming stories and offering scrumptious recipes. In her new app, you can peruse all of your adapted Thanksgiving favorites, and watch video demonstrations of the key techniques to a seamless gluten-free Thanksgiving. 

We spoke with Shauna about her favorite Thanksgiving meal, her new iPad app, and her upcoming projects:

1. Describe your all-time favorite Thanksgiving meal.
They all sort of blur, don't they? Thanksgiving is so much about tradition, the emotional connection we have to the stuffing with celery and onions, and slightly too-dry turkey. Like most of us, my family doesn't want many new dishes on Thanksgiving. This isn't the time for curried brussels sprouts salad or pickled cherry compote. We want the same dishes pretty much the same way we have eaten them for decades.

But I have to say that my favorite Thanksgiving was the first one with my husband, Danny. It was fun to watch him roast the turkey, golden and juicy, in a only a couple of hours. We all thought it had to be started early in the morning and cook all day. Since he's a restaurant chef, Danny didn't think the pile of dishes to be made was intimidating. He just set to work and made us food. My mother said at the end of the meal, "Well, that's certainly the best Thanksgiving dinner we've ever had. I don't have to cook it ever again."

2. What inspired you to make an iPad app?
I really love the interactivity of the iPad. I love the way you can toggle back and forth between a recipe for sandwich bread, a video of what that bread's dough looks like, and a photograph of the stuffing you can make with that toasted bread. Cooking with an iPad makes cooking with a cookbook feel a little antiquated, and a little frustrating.

Danny and I also love the fact that we could be in charge of the design decisions, the content, and the photographs. It feels very different than doing a cookbook. Faster, too! Also, we're really lucky to be working with our friend, Pableaux Johnson. He feels like family now. And he's ridiculously talented. We can't wait to make more with him.

3. Who is the target audience for this app -- GF eaters? Their friends and family?
We hope that anyone who has a gluten-free person in his or her life finds this app useful. And that's plenty of people now. There are thousands upon thousands of people in this country who have realized they need to be gluten-free, whether because of celiac, gluten intolerance, or other reasons. As more people realize that we truly do need to avoid gluten for our health -- and we're not doing it for attention or following a trend -- more people will want to feed their family and friends safely.

So, if you're gluten-free, this app will help you make great baked goods for Thanksgiving Day. If you have a gluten-free kid, or uncle, or good friend coming to dinner, this app will help you make a great dinner everyone can enjoy together.

4. What is the one recipe in the app that you're really proud of, and why?
I have to say that we worked on a light, fluffy sandwich bread for years. It's sort of the holy grail of gluten-free, really. This one is like a white country bread, soft and sliceable. We make sandwiches for our daughter all the time now. And the stuffing this bread makes is deeply comforting.

Also, pie. Pumpkin pie, apple pie, coconut-banana cream pie, and cranberry-ginger pie. I always love pie.

5. What are you working on now?
We're just finishing the final edits for our next cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, which comes out in April. We're developing recipes for a number of publications. And we're madly baking sugar cookies, rugelach, and cinnamon rolls for our holiday baking iPad app, which should be out in December.

I can't wait for Thanksgiving Day, when all I have to do is sit down to eat the meal.

The Giveaway!

Want to win a free download of Thanksgiving Baking: Gluten-Free Girl & The Chef? Answer the question below in the comments section of this post by Tuesday at noon. (We're doing this one rapid-fire so you can cook with the app in time for Thanksgiving!)

What's your favorite gluten-free recipe of all time? 

We'll pick 5 random winners and contact you by email -- best of luck!

Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!
Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!

Tags: Thanksgiving, Holiday, Gluten-Free, Lists, Holiday Entertaining, 5 Questions