Holiday Recipes for CSIDers

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. 

Holiday Swedish Cardamom Mini-Loaves

Apple Pie with Almond Flour Crust

CSID Recipe Substitutes for Holiday Foods

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. 

Ginger Snaps
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
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.


Low-Starch, Low-Sugar Holiday Recipes

I will be publishing a post very soon that links to all of my own holiday recipes. For now, Whole Foods has several gluten-free recipes that may work for many CSID families. Remember to calculate total starch by subtracting fiber and sugar amounts from total carbs. As always, Sucraid, Isogest and/or Food Enzymes are recommended with all meals to ensure maximum absorption and minimum work from the body’s digestive system:

(Note: Individual tolerance levels of starch vary per case, please make sure you understand starch limitations before trying these recipes)

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears
{Estimated 14 grams starch, 12 grams sugar (mostly fructose) per serving}

{Estimated 0 grams starch, 7 grams sugar (fructose/sucrose in apples) per serving}
{Estimated 13 grams starch, 1 gram sugar per serving}

Cranberry Orange Chicken with Dill

This is yet again, another recipe I made out of necessity with what I already had in my refrigerator. You never know what new creation is waiting when all you have is fresh ingredients and a few minutes in the morning to throw together that night’s dinner. This recipe can still be enjoyed without including orange juice if Sucraid is not available.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings 

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (I usually buy extra bags during the holidays and freeze them for later use, as cranberries are only available seasonally)
Juice of one freshly squeezed orange (S)
1 cup crystalline fructose (or ½ cup honey)
2 pounds of chicken leg quarters, thawed OR 8-10 individually frozen chicken tenders
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
Sea salt and Pepper to taste 

1. Place cranberries, water, orange juice and sweetener in medium sauce pan on medium/high heat until boiling.
2. Simmer about 30 minutes or until cranberries are soft and smash down easily.
3. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
4. Place chicken in a large Crockpot and rub skin with salt and pepper.
5. Pour cranberry/orange mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with dill.
6. Cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours. 

STOVE-TOP Alternative

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
2. Cook leg quarters or chicken tenders until golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Set aside on a large serving platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Add cranberries, water, orange juice and honey to frying pan used for chicken. Bring to boil, stirring often.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until cranberries pop and liquid begins to thicken.
5. Pour cranberry mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with dill and serve.

Sugar-Less Easter Treats, Egg Decorating Ideas and Crafts

I found these great spring-themed muffin cups at IKEA a few weeks ago. The apple almond flour muffins I baked above, slid right out too! No losing half the batter because it stuck to the cup! Since I also discovered a way to bake cookie squares with the left over batter. After filling the muffin cups 2/3 of the way, I greased a square baking dish with butter and spread out the remaining batter along the bottom. You can bake both together, but the cookies will be finished in about 20 minutes compared to the 35-40 minutes for the muffins.

Here are some additional ideas and links that will hopefully make the spring and Easter season fun and tasty, even without the option of indulging in chocolate or candy. The key is to focus on the fun and variety celebrating the Easter season can offer, and to avoid drawing attention to what your child cannot do or eat:

  • Fill plastic eggs with “coupons” or “Easter Bucks” good for a trip to the Dollar Store, a no-chore day, Red Box movie pick, or another inexpensive, sugar-less reward
  • Decorate Eggs traditionally or use stickers, crayons or glitter for more variety.
  • For older children, blow-out eggs prior to decorating. This can be a wonderful family tradition where children can add eggs to a collection over many years. Once eggs are decorated and dried (many possibilities including using egg dyes, water-color or acrylic paints, stickers, glitter and more), carefully thread string, yarn or ribbon through the hole. Hang blown, decorated eggs from an assortment of spring blossom branches placed in a vase as a beautiful center piece. Carefully wrap eggs in tissue paper and store in a plastic tub until next year!
  • Scavenger Hunt. Make clues and hide them in plastic eggs around the house or yard. Each clue should take children to the next clue until the final prize is discovered.
  • Use these Easter Jokes by placing the question in one plastic egg and the answer in another egg of the same color. Hide the eggs and then have children gather together and tell each other the riddles and answers.
  • Fill Easter baskets with bunny chalk, Easter activity books, crayons, gift cards, stuffed bunnies and a few muffins baked in the spring cups shown above.

For dozens of Easter egg decorating ideas click here to view Family Fun Hunt for Easter Egg Decorating Ideas.

Easter Dinner Alternative (No-Sugar, No-Starch)

Baked Salmon
Flaked Steamed Cauliflower (instead of rice)
Fresh salad
Green beans sautéed in butter.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

(Please note this recipe is for Group C, or those who are able to have some starch. Check with your doctor to determine if Sucraid should be taken with this recipe)

Yield: 12-15 muffins

4 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons Ener-G Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup honey or 3/4 cup crystalline fructose
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with lightly oiled paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger with a wooden spoon.
3. In electric mixing bowl, beat eggs whites until soft peaks form.
4. Using electric beaters, or mixer, combine eggs yolks, butter, pumpkin, vanilla and honey until well blended.
5. Add almond flour mixture until moist. Add optional walnuts and raisins.
6. Gently fold in egg whites.
7. Scoop into prepared muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center muffin comes out clean. You may need to loosely cover tops of muffins toward the end of baking to prevent over-browning.
8. Serve with melted butter or cream cheese if desired.

Apple Pie with Almond Flour Crust

My daughter adored me for making her this special separate apple pie for Thanksgiving. The almond flour crust is easier than handmade traditional crust in my opinion. Whipped cream topping is optional.

Yield: 4 Servings

For Crust
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Granny Smith work best)
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup crystalline fructose

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
2. Mix together almond flour and butter and press evenly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie dish (or 2 4-inch ramekins as shown in picture).
3. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until light brown. Place on cooling rack, leaving oven on.
4. Mix filling ingredients in a large bowl. Pour mixture into pie dish or ramekins.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve warm or cool with homemade whipping cream sweetened with fructose.

Holiday Recipe Ideas

Here is a list of food substitutes for typical Holiday meals– I know this is late notice, but if you want the complete recipe or have any questions, please post a comment and I will try to get back to you.

Cook Turkey or Ham from unseasoned meat and use honey and individual spices to season.

Stuffing– Use celery, Granny Smith apples and onions, and dried almond flour bread crust.

Mashed Potatoes– use steamed cauliflower and add garlic, butter, and heavy whipping cream (use homemade plain yogurt for a lactose-free version)

Steam Green beans and add almond slices for garnish.

Mini-loaves of almond flour or coconut flour bread with added spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, or mashed apples.

Use fresh cranberries and boil with crystalline fructose or honey. Add a bit of fresh squeezed orange juice.

Apple pie (will need Sucraid for CSID)– using almond flour crust, fructose and coconut flour.

If anyone else wants to add a comment with their own holiday substitutes, and you want me to use your recipe in my book, please let me know!