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Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns and Syrup: 5 Gluten Free Holiday Goodies

20 J00000012UTC 2011

Are you putting all your allergens and digestive issues on hold from now till New Year’s? It’s okay. So what if you get bubble gut and run to the toilet every ten minutes. So what if your joints ache and you can’t build your kid’s new bike. So what if the twinkle lights set off another migraine. So what if you have eggnog snot. So what if you are bloated and fat. It’s all part of the holiday magic– right?

Nope. It’s neither normal nor magical.

What is magical is that you get to take your health into your own hands, even during the holidays. There is no need to suspend well-being simply because Santa Claus is coming to town or because Little Baby Jesus was born.

As you know, parties and gatherings will be flooded with everyone’s favorite protein, gluten. This little guy (found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt) is so pervasive in our diets (think bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, crackers, cake, bagels, muffins, scones, pie, cous cous, pitas, tortillas) that most of us no longer know how to identify or handle it correctly.

Gluten confounds the body, often tagged by our immune systems as an “antigen” (foreign, hostile substance). This mounts an immune defense. While the attack is on, the immune system amps up to address unnecessary business. This can exacerbate seasonal allergies, rhumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, inflammatory bowel diseases, neurological issues, pain syndromes, digestive disturbances or just give an overall sense of fatigue, fogginess and feeling ‘off’ or depressed, possibly after a high. It leaves many people feeling lousy, bloated, slow and tired– with additional cravings for carbohydrates, especially gluten.

Keep it clean this Christmas. Here’s a few recipes that are safe, more nutrient dense than the old faithfuls and so tasty you’ll never look back. * Keep in mind that though these recipes are gluten free, you or someone you love might be allergic or sensitive to dairy, corn, soy, eggs, nuts, chocolate or others. Most of these are either free of these items or can be easily altered. * These are not sugar free! The goal is to use clean, varied sources of sweeteners and never fake ones like Splenda, Nutrasweet or Equal. * I believe in fat (!) so long as the sources are good. Focus on whole, real fat such as nuts, seeds, organic butter, ghee and coconut oil, steering clear of broken, manmade fats like shortening, “vegetable oil”, margarine or anything hydrogenated.

Holiday Mint Fudge by krisliane, adapted from Deb Chance

1 15 oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup unsweetened 100% cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp peppermint oil (I use Frontier brand)

¼ cup agave nectar

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process till smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. // Press into a small square glass pan or pie plate. // Refrigerate. // Cut into squares and serve.

Ginger Molasses Cookies by krisliane + husband

1 3/4 cups gluten free flour (use Bob’s Red Mill or see formula at bottom)

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/3 cup organic brown or granulated sugar + some granulated for rolling

5 Tbsp unsulphured or blackstrap molasses

3 Tbsp raw honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 Tbsp organic butter or virgin coconut oil, softened but not melted

1/3 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350. // In large bowl sift dry ingredients together and stir to combine well. // Add molasses, honey and vanilla and mix. This will be lumpy. // Add butter or coconut oil and mix. This will be even lumpier. // Add water and mix until smooth. Place in freezer for 10 minutes until slightly firm. // Roll into 1 inch balls, then lightly in sugar (if desired) and place on a coconut-oiled cookie sheet. //Bake 8-10 minutes, till edges are crispy and centers are soft. Cool on wire rack. Eat warm.

Fruity Cocoa Balls by Better Nutrition (Vitamin Cottage)

1/2 cup pitted prunes, quartered

4 Tbsp dried unsweetened Bing cherries OR cranberries

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

3 Tbsp creamy almond butter

3 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp chopped pecans OR walnuts

2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut

Mix prunes, cherries OR cranberries and 1 Tbsp cocoa together and chop mixture till minced. Place in a bowl and mix in remaining cocoa, almond butter, vanilla and cinnamon. // Knead mixture till well-combined, adding pecans OR walnuts just before kneading is complete. // Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and coat each in coconut. // Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Return to room temperature before serving.

Coconut Macaroon Snowballs adapted by krisliane from Elana’s Pantry

6 egg whites
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups unsweetened, finely shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cookie sheets with coconut oil or prep with parchment paper. // In a mixing bowl beat egg whites and salt with a hand mixer until very stiff. //  Gently fold in agave, vanilla and coconut and stir gently with wooden spoon till coconut is covered. // Drop batter onto a parchment lined or greased baking sheet, one rounded tablespoonful at a time. // Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. // Remove from cookie sheet immediately and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Sand Tarts from http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com

I have not tried this recipe yet, but Sand Tarts are my favorite Christmas cookie. My grandpa Wilbur and my mom make the very best– so here’s to trying a GF version.

3/4 cup butter, softened (organic, pastured is best)
3 Tbsp sugar (sucanat, rapadura, palm sugar, or even maple syrup)
1 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (not artificial)
1 Tbsp organic almond extract (not artificial)
2 cups gluten free flour of choice (I use 1 c. almond meal, ½ c. sprouted brown rice and ½ c. coconut flour)
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
2 cup finely chopped pecans (preferably soaked/dehydrated)
organic powdered/confectioners’ sugar for rolling, maybe 1/4c. total- it’s just a dusting

Preheat oven to 350. // Cream butter, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. // Add extracts, mix well. // Slowly add flour and salt to creamed mixture. // Fold in pecans. // Using your hands, shape into crescent moons and round balls. // Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet or baking stone. // Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned. // Let cookies cool on baking sheet- they will be crumbly while hot. // When almost completely cooled, roll lightly in powdered sugar. Be careful not to crumble/break them, though when cool they aren’t as fast to break as while hot.

Cheers to you brave souls who will stand up for your health this holiday season– or even simply try one new recipe, just to see. Remember, all you have to lose is bubble gut, swollen joints, migraines, eggnog snot and extra weight.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    20 J00000012UTC 2011 6:27 pm

    I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

    • 20 J00000012UTC 2011 6:30 pm

      Yay! I know you’ll find something you’ll love. I’m about to make the ginger molasses cookies again!

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