Monday, December 12, 2011

Gluten and Dairy-Free Holiday Treats & How to Upcycle Your Christmas Cards

Happy Holidays from The Seasonal Plate

For the first time (maybe since I was a kid), I'm actually feeling pretty calm this holiday season. We've shopped locally for our gifts and we're almost finished wrapping our gifts. Our tree and decorations are up and Clay has been busy running his trains under the tree. We've done our best to not overschedule ourselves and set aside time to concentrate on what matters most; watching the excitement of our 4 year old at this magical time, reconnecting with family, friends and neighbors and giving back to our community. 

As you buzz around town checking things off your to do list, here are a few ideas to make your next holiday get together easier. Or, make it really easy and order some allergen free treats from Better Bites Bakery to bring along so that you can indulge without worry or time spent in the kitchen.

1. Raw Cranberry Pie from the Alkaline Sisters - Can't wait to serve these for Christmas Brunch! Be sure to use local and organic Texas oranges. 

2. Gluten-Free Gingerbread from Cake and Commerce (for houses or cookies!) 

I used this recipe recently when our son attended a birthday party where they were making gingerbread houses. I used guar gum instead of agar powder because it's what we had on hand. You may want to dust the rolling pin with mesquite or teff flour so that it doesn't stick when you roll out the gingerbread.

I measured the pieces using a pint-sized creamer container as a guide and cut the gingerbread before baking with a pizza cutter (or use the pre-made cutouts if you're making a larger one). Apparently I would not make a good carpenter as I didn't allow for overlap, so learn from my mistake :) Let the gingerbread sit out uncovered for a few hours to let it cool and harden a bit if you're using it for gingerbread houses. 

Making gingerbread houses with kids usually means that they will just eat the ingredients, so we used this gingerbread recipe and offered healthier and allergen free options for decorations such as:  slivered almonds, vegan marshmallows, fruit juice sweetened candies and gluten-free pretzels, ice cream cones and cookies. 

3. Gluten-Free Egg Nog Cupcakes from a girl Defloured or Vegan Egg Nog  from Elana's Pantry

An Upcycled Christmas Tip: KEEP your Christmas cards this year to use as gift cards for next year. Cut out the greetings and decorations then paste, punch a hole in the corner and use ribbon to attach them to your present. How easy and green is that? 

Don't forget to visit your local farmers' market to pick up local holiday gifts and ingredients for your holiday spread. 

Have a wonderful holiday season and I'll be back in January with some great ways to prepare your winter veggies like a recipe for beet chili (trust me on this one), gluten-free pot pie, roasted cauliflower and more!

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