Posts Tagged gluten free holiday

Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy – Episode 76 Hold the Gluten

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 76 “Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy” Features:

  • Hanukkah gluten-free – latkes & brisket!
  • Cheers to gluten-free alcoholic bevs
  • Wholesome Chow‘s Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Mix
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade now gluten-free
  • Maureen’s gluten-free holiday frustrations & pie crust debacle
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

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Gluten-Free News, Gifts & Grub – Episode 75 Hold the Gluten

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 75 “Gluten-Free News, Gifts & Grub” Features:

  • Maureen’s 2013 1/2 marathon – whoo hoo!   
  • Holiday gift baskets – gluten-free options
  • GlutenFreely HUGE website sale
  • Maureen’s new fav pizza crust – Udi’s thin & crispy pizza crusts
  • Jennifer Espisoto of Blood Bloods
  • Dr. Drew video with Jennifer Esposito
  • Listener Renee writes in about her husband and his gluten-eating habits
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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And here is the direct download

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Gluten-Free Leftovers – Episode 74 Hold the Gluten Podcast

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 74 “Gluten-Free Leftovers” Features:

  • Gluten-Free Turkey Day!  
  • Leftovers – what to do with them?
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://holdthegluten.libsyn.com/rss

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Your Family Can Have a Spooktacular Gluten-Free Halloween!

I remember “Trick or Treating” as a child.  We ran house to house visiting neighbors who filled our pillowcases with Halloween treats.  When our pillowcases were too heavy to carry, we knew it was time to head back home and assess our loot.  Truth be told, I usually snuck a candy bar (or several) along the way.  

Since my daughter Emma’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease this year, we’ve worked to keep special events and holidays as “normal” as possible.  A little pre-All Hollows’ Eve planning and communication with your child is all you need!

I Want Candy!

Who doesn’t want candy?  If I could eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I certainly would!  Halloween is a free for all of sugary goodness; some safe, some off-limits.  Most importantly, you need to sit down with your child a few days before Halloween to talk about your Halloween game plan:

  • Arm yourself with a 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy list.  This can be found online as is an immense resource.
  • Reinforce the fact that absolutely no candy can be eaten until an adults checks the ingredients to make sure they are safe.  This means no sneaking treats like I did in the “old days”.
  • Talk with your child about how they will get some unsafe treats while Trick or Treating.
  • Get your kids involved in baking Halloween treats – do they want cupcakes with icing spiderwebs or spooky brownies for their class party?

Trick or Trade:  Out with the Gluten – In with the Fun!

It’s inevitable that your child is going to get treats that are not gluten-free in their bag and you’ll need to remove them.   One way to help kids from feeling upset or deprived is what we like to call “Trick or Trade”.   Prior to Halloween night, buy a bag of gluten-free candy that your child likes.  Keep it on hand to trade out the gluten-filled candy.  Another option that your dentist will surely love is to have inexpensive items to trade (think of things that you would put into a birthday “goodie bag”).

Halloween Class Parties – Gluten-Free Style

Schools LOVE to have Halloween parties – especially in elementary and middle school.  Baking up some ghoulishly delicious treats for the entire class is oh-so-easy!  GlutenFreely’s Recipe Section is full of  fun Halloween-themed treats including Creepy Mini Eyeballs cupcakes,  Halloween Buddies aka Halloween Chex mix,  Marshmallow Mummies  made from Fruit Roll-ups and marshmallows.  Other kid-approved options are Meringue GhostsPeanut Butter Pumpkins (adorable pumpkin shaped candies made using peanut butter chips, pretzel twists and vanilla frosting),  Scary Spiderweb  Cupcakes or Spooky Brownies!  Check out the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo’s Halloween Pinterest page for more ideas – totally inspiring!

One word of advice, be sure to check with the teachers and room parents on the party activities and if the day will contain any gluten-filled games.  One popular class activity is a “No Hands Donut Eating Contest”.  Picture glutinous donuts tied to strings and the student attempting to eat said donuts with their arms behind their backs.  Yes, gluten will be flying everywhere….  So stay in touch with the school so that you (or your child) don’t encounter a unpleasant party surprise.

Halloween is a fun, creative, and tasty time of the year!  Equipped with these gluten-free tips, you can make this Halloween memorable!

Happy Gluten-Free Halloween from my family to yours!

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Get hopping! Easter’s on its way!

Get hopping!  Easter’s on its way!

Looking for an egg-cellent (and tasty) activity to make with young ones?  I bake this adorable Easter bunny cake each year with my kiddos.  What a perfect finale to your egg hunt party or holiday meal!

Easter Bunny Cake with Cream Cheese & Coconut Icing

2 (15-ounce) boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix
2 sticks (1 cup) butter (softened)
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
3 containers of Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
3 (14-ounce) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
Pink food coloring
Blue food coloring
Gluten-free jelly beans
Gluten-free gumdrops

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with butter or olive oil spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mixes, butter, vanilla, eggs, and water with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour evenly into pans.
  3. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Place one cake in center of large platter for bunny’s head. Place other cake on cutting surface; cut two football-shaped pieces from each side of cake to use for ears. Place ears on top of bunny’s head. Place remaining piece under bunny’s head for bow tie.
  5. Reserve 3 tablespoons frosting. Frost entire cake–except insides of ears–with remaining frosting. To reserved frosting, stir in 1 drop pink food color; frost insides of ears with pink frosting.
  6. In a small food-storage plastic bag, shake 1/2 cup of the coconut with 1 drop blue food color. Carefully sprinkle blue coconut over bunny’s bow tie.
  7. Sprinkle remaining (un-dyed) coconut all over bunny’s head and edges of ears, leaving centers of ears pink.
  8. Make whiskers, eyes and mouth with jelly beans.  Use gumdrops for the nose and bow tie buttons.

Baskets filled with (gluten-free) Easter joy!

Unsure what candy is safe and what is gluten-filled?  Never fear!  Before you fill those baskets with sweets, stop by MyGlutenFacts.com for an amazing listing of gluten-free holiday candy.  Their comprehensive directory is even broken down into two categories – jelly beans and candy.

From the Hold The Gluten family to yours, enjoy your Easter holiday!

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GFreek Gluten Free Awards & Delight Magazine Giveaway – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 42

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 42 “GFreek Gluten Free Awards & Delight Magazine Giveaway ” Features:

delight gluten-free magazineGiveaway!  Enter to win one FREE download of the Winter/Holiday 2011 digital issue of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine.  Delight Gluten-Free Magazine is a quarterly international food and lifestyle publication for people living with food allergies and sensitivities.  This issue is full of tips for a perfect gluten-free holiday season.  Deadline to enter is December 21st .  Winner will be chosen on December 22nd, just in time for a holiday download!

Here’s how to enter:
1. Leave a comment here with your favorite gluten-free cookie for the holidays.
2. Include your email address and whether you want the Apple or Android download.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Click the player below to listen to the show! Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/htgpodcast

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Holiday Peppermint Bark Trees, Stockings, and Gingerbread Men

peppermint bark

I’ve been racking my tinsel-filled brain trying to come up some little holiday gifts for teachers, friends, and that random aunt who only likes cats and QVC.  Since I didn’t want to give my gluten-free cookies away, the kids and I decided to make peppermint bark.  Traditional peppermint bark is made in sheets and broken up to resemble bark (clever, huh?).  However, being the crazy family that we are, we decided to go off the grid.  I have a slight addiction to Michael’s Craft Store, Joann Fabrics, and AC Moore (I’m like the Norm of Cheers but with a glue gun).  I found these cute silicone molds that we could use for our peppermint bark.  Truth be told, I’d never used silicone baking stuff before as it sort of creeped me out.  But I have to tell you, these molds worked perfectly.  The peppermint bark popped right out (and into our mouths).  One tip – you need helpers to successfully make this recipe.  I made a batch by myself (kids were bored at that point) and the chocolate hardened before I could sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top.

Happy Holidays to my Hold The Gluten family!

Holiday Peppermint Bark

1 bag of Wilton’s white chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1 bag of Wilton’s dark chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 teaspoons canola oil
crushed candy canes

Place molds on a cutting board or cookie tray (since they are rubbery, it will be tough to pick them up on their own).  Lightly mist the silicone molds with canola or olive oil spray.  Put the dark chocolate melts, 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and 1 teaspoon canola oil in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 45 second intervals at 50 percent.  Stir and continue microwaving until the chocolate is melted.  Evenly distribute melted dark chocolate in molds – filling approximately 1/3 of the way.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let harden for 30 minutes.  While the molds are chilling in the refrigerator, begin crushing the candy canes.  Put candy canes in a large  zip top bag and seal.  Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently break the candy canes in to small/medium pieces.  Don’t let your frustrations out on the candy canes or you’ll end up with candy cane powder.  Put crushed candy canes in a bowl and set aside.  Once the dark chocolate has chilled for 30 minutes, melt the white chocolate using the above directions and begin filling molds 1/3 of the way.  Immediately top with crushed candy cane pieces and return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  One chilled, remove from refrigerator and pop the bark out of the molds.  Refrigerate in a container.  Makes approximately 40 small molds or 24 large molds.

These sweet treats would be perfect in a candy gift bag, tin, or holiday themed “take out” box.

 

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Gluten Free Holiday Party Tips

nutcrackersI’ve been gluten free for over five years. Most of the time I think I have this lifestyle down pat. I can easily name 20 gluten free flours, describe the inner workings of xanthan gum, and recite how to make fab waffles using Gluten Free Bisquick. Then the month of December arrives with a slew of gluten-filled holiday party invites. Fear sets in. How can I avoid glutening myself? Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I’m picturing accidentally eating gluten and spending an embarrassingly excessive amount of time in my host’s restroom. Then I remind myself that there’s no need to panic; with some pre-party planning, we can successfully navigate through the holidays gluten-free!

1. Let your host know that you are gluten-intolerant and offer to bring a gluten-free dish. This guarantees that you will be able to safely eat at least one dish at the event.

2. Don’t go to the party on an empty stomach. Before you head out the door, eat something. You’ll be less likely to drool over those off-limit pastries if you’re not famished. Enjoy a safe and tasty gluten-free meal at home beforehand.

3. Pack an emergency stash. Bring along some gluten-free crackers or a snack bar. If the worst-case scenario happens and there is not one thing you can eat, you’ll have your emergency stash to dip into.

4. When in doubt, don’t chance it. Your host’s intentions most certainly are good, but unless you are 100% sure that a dish is gluten-free, don’t eat it. It’s absolutely okay to ask to see the packaging and check the ingredient list.

5. It may be gluten-free, but someone might have glutened it. Be aware that cross-contamination can easily happen at the buffet table. An unknowing guest could have scooped up the gluten-free dip with a pretzel or cheese curl.

6. Host your own party and make it gluten-free. Have peace of mind that all party foods are safe by hosting your very own holiday party.

7. Focus on your friends and family, not the food. Try not to dwell on what you can’t eat at the party. Focus on the fun you’re having with your family and friends. Have a healthy, happy and gluten-free holiday

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

Turkey lurkey doo and
Turkey lurkey dap
I eat that turkey
Then I take a nap

Adam Sandler, The Thanksgiving Song

As I feverishly type this post, we are but four short days away from Thanksgiving.  Families across America will be celebrating this wondrous holiday.  Aunt Gertrude will speak in great detail of her bunions and proctologist appointment.  Cousin Stevey will poke you in the side and ask how much weight you’ve gained.  Grandpop will guzzle Rob Roys while Grandmom tries to pimp out her Jell-o mold.

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without family or stuffing.  Here’s my second recipe for gluten free stuffing (sans roasted chestnuts).

gluten free stuffing

Like your stuffing with gravy?  You can make a mouthwatering gluten free country-style gravy with Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick Mix as a base.  Or check out these gluten free gravy mixes:  Road’s End Organic Savory Herb Gravy, OrgraN Vegetarian Gravy, or Maxwell’s Kitchen Brown Gravy.

Gluten Free Stuffing

6 cups of gluten free bread cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup diced carrots (1 carrot)
3/4 cup diced celery (2 celery ribs)
1/2 cup diced shallots (2 medium shallots)
3/4 cup diced onion (1/2 large onion)
2 1/2 cups (4 ounces) roughly cut shitake, baby bella, & oyster mushroom mix
2 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
16 sage leaves (fresh)
3 sprigs marjoram (fresh)
1 sprig rosemary (fresh)
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast bread cubes in oven for 20 minutes or until dried. Set aside.

Add diced carrots, celery, shallots, & onion to food processor. Pulse approximately 20 times to chop finely (but not to the point of “puree”). In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute carrots, celery, shallots, & onion mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add mushrooms. Saute for 2-3 additional minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and add fresh sage, marjoram, rosemary, sea salt, & pepper. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.

In a baking dish, add toasted bread cubes. In a mixing bowl, whisk vegetable stock, egg, egg yolk, and heavy cream. Pour wet mixture over toasted bread cubes.  Then thoroughly fold in sauteed vegetable mixture.

Bake for 25 – 35 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Be sure to stir stuffing halfway through the cook time.

carrots celery onionmushroomsherbsgluten free bread cubes

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A Gluten Free Thanksgiving IS Possible!

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Thanksgiving was a holiday that came with much trepidation.  Truth be told, Aunt Edna’s gelatin mold was indeed a bit scary, but my big fear was how to survive Thanksgiving gluten-free.  Our dinner table was traditionally laden with gluten-filled fare such as stuffing, rolls, gravy, and pies.  As a “newbie”, I envisioned myself munching on a piece of cardboard in the corner (most likely at the kid’s table).  Fear not!  Thanksgiving (and any other holiday) can be deliciously gluten-free.  A little research, planning, and flexibility will help you to have a Thanksgiving that rivals years past.

Bird is the Word: Did you know that some brands of turkey contain gluten as an additive?  To make sure you select a gluten free turkey, always check the ingredient list.  Gluten free turkey brands include Empire Kosher, Honeysuckle White, Jennie-O, Perdue, Sheltons, & Shadybrook Farms.

Break Some Gluten Free Bread: Serve up a batch of gluten free biscuits in no time by using Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick Mix.

Get Stuffed: Check out my post for some savory Gluten Free Stuffing.  Want to try something different?  How about a rice-based stuffing?

Hop on the Gravy Train: Sure, “traditional” gravy is made from a flour base.  However, you can make a mouthwatering gluten free country-style gravy with Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick Mix as a base.  Or check out these gluten free gravy mixes:  Road’s End Organic Savory Herb Gravy, OrgraN Vegetarian Gravy, Maxwell’s Kitchen Brown Gravy.

Don’t Forget the Sides: Homemade cranberry sauce, fruit salad, candied yams, and mashed potatoes all make fabulous sides.

Time for Dessert! The possibilities are endless.  Since pumpkin is so often featured as the star of the show at Thanksgiving, pumpkin ice cream would be a delicious gluten free option.  A decadent (but easy) option is my Pumpkin Cheesecake with Rice Chex crust:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Be sure to have cream cheese & eggs at room temperature.

Gluten Free Crust:

1/2 cup pecans
2 cups Rice Chex Gluten Free Cereal
8 gluten free Ginger Snap cookies
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)
In a food processor grind pecans, cookies, & Rice Chex cereal until crushed & crumbly in texture (resembling ground almond meal). Add brown & white sugar and butter. Mix thoroughly. Press crumbs against the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Cheesecake Filling:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine pumpkin, 3/4 cup of white sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, mace, and 3 egg yolks. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set pumpkin mixture aside.

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly incorporate 3/8 cup (=1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) of white sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, whipping cream, cornstarch, orange and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add pumpkin mixture and combine thoroughly. Add batter to springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. I placed a pan filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for at least 1/2 hour before removing from pan.  Refrigerate prior to serving.

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