For some of us the thought of holiday foods brings more than memories of the joy of gathering and baking alongside family. It brings thoughts of fear and pain for us or our children, beyond a temporary indigestion or weight gain.
Every year I tell myself I need to post holiday recipes in October and every year, my life gets chaotic and I fail! This year is even more challenging as I now have a day job at an office so I do not have as much flexibility. Luckily, I work from home on Fridays, so before I “clock in,” I am putting up this post, hopefully in enough time to give you some ideas for your Christmas, or other winter holiday meal.
Though the causes of our digestive issues are very different from those facing Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance, we must also avoid all foods containing gluten due to their high starch content. However, most of the pre-packaged gluten-free foods are still off our list due to the higher starch content of alternative flours. As a result, our digestive-friendly flour of choice is almond flour, which also provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than other gluten-free flours.
I am privileged to share just a few of the digestive-friendly versions of the holiday recipes I grew up with. Keep in mind, these recipes are holiday treats and aside from being easy on the tummy, they are by no means low in calories!
First, here are the links to the holiday recipes I have managed to post in recent years. Following will be a few more recipes I have had, but due to not having a great picture, have not posted. However, I assume you would prefer a recipe without a photo in lieu of no recipe at all! In addition, if you have your own holiday recipes, please share them with me and any photos you have! I will gladly post them here as well as give you FULL credit for the recipe! I only ask that the ingredients contain no artificial sweeteners and that starch content is minimal (almonds or coconut preferred) to avoid conflicting with my suggested food lists.
Almond Bread Stuffing
Just as with traditional stuffing, baking separately from the turkey will result in a slightly-drier result. I use all the ingredients from my mother’s recipes aside from replacing dried bread crumbs with my homemade almond-bread variety.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (Sucraid required for CSID)
4 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 medium apples (Granny Smith are best), peeled and chopped
3 cups crumbled and dried Plain almond bread (recipe below)
2 TBS dried parsley flakes
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix together all ingredients and stuff into turkey cavity. Bake turkey as directed.
2. OR grease an 8×8 glass dish with butter and bake stuffing separately at 300◦F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Plain Almond Bread
Make this bread a day in advance and air-dry crumbs for best results.
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 eggs, separated
2 TBS melted butter
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp sea salt
1. Whip eggs whites until stiff. Set aside.
2. Blend remaining wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and then combine well in a large bowl.
3. Fold in egg whites until mixed thoroughly.
4. Bake at 350˚F for 50 minutes, covering with foil the last ten minutes to prevent excess browning.
5. Cool, and slice into 1-inch cubes. Spread onto a cookie sheet, cover with a paper towel and air dry overnight. OR place in oven heated at 200˚F for 20 to 30 minutes or until crumbs begin to brown slightly.
Making gingerbread men was one of my favorite holiday activities! This recipe brings back memories in this almond-flour-based variation. The dough can also be refrigerated, rolled out between layers of parchment paper and cut into gingerbread men if you so desire. Just keep in mind to bake evenly and slowly to prevent burning.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup honey
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
¼ cup gluten-free molasses (Sucraid required)
1 large egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F and brush cookie sheet with a thin layer of grapeseed oil.
2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, baking powder, and cloves.
3. In a medium bowl, mix grapeseed oil, honey, vanilla, molasses, egg and lemon zest well with a wire whisk.
4. Stir together wet and dry ingredients until well blended.
5. Scoop tablespoon-size portions onto cookie sheet one inch apart.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer cookies
from baking sheet to a cooling rack immediately.
Gingerbread Ornaments/Cookie Variation: Add a tablespoon of coconut flour to dough, and roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper. Lift the top sheet and cut out gingerbread men, stars, angels, snowmen, etc. Using a straw, create a hole at the top of each cookie. Using currants, raisins, or glucose-based candies, add eyes, buttons, etc. Remove excess dough and carefully place cookies and bottom sheet of parchment paper on a high-quality cookie sheet (I use stoneware for even baking) Bake at 300˚F until hard, but not burnt. Cool completely. String ribbon through the hole for gingerbread ornaments!
Green Beans in Mushroom Sauce
I made this recipe for my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this in 2011. All of the adults, including my daughter with CSID, absolutely loved them! They will be on our list of traditional Holiday recipes from now on.
(S)= Sucraid required
Yield: 8 servings
3 cups fresh green beans, steamed until bright green
1/4 cup butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (S)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional) (S)
2 tsp sea salt
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1. Sauté onion in on medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to brown.
2. Add wine and salt. Cook for five minutes and reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Add whipping cream, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a large casserole dish generously with remaining butter.
5. Place steamed green beans into casserole dish. Pour mushroom cream sauce over green beans.
6. Bake until bubbly. Top with sliced almond and grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve.
Mashed Cauliflower (Fake Potatoes!)
For best results, serve this in a bowl, as it tends to turn out a bit runnier than traditional potatoes. However, the taste of these fake potatoes trumps consistency any day. This side dish goes well with pork chops, turkey meat loaf, or grilled chicken breasts.
Yield: 8 servings
2 fresh cauliflower crowns
2-4 TBS butter (to taste)
1/4 cup (more or less) heavy whipping cream or cream cheese
Real Salt or sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Add a slice or two of Havarti cheese or hard grated cheese
1. Boil cauliflower in a large pot until you can easily slice a fork through the crowns. Drain.
2. Combine butter, whipping cream and cauliflower in mixing bowl. Using electric beaters, mix on medium speed until creamy.
4. Add salt, pepper, and serve warm with additional butter, or gravy (recipe on next page).
Yield: about 6 ounces
2 TBS meat drippings
1/2 cup water
1 TBS wheat free tamari sauce
Real Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBS Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small pan on medium-low heat.
2. Stir constantly until thick and smooth. Serve immediately or batch and freeze for later use.