Friday, November 19, 2010

Don’t Let Gluten Get Ya During the Holidays

Maintaining healthy eating habits during the holiday season is a challenge to just about everyone and a particular challenge to those following a gluten-free diet. After all, more parties, more baked goods, more recipes and more desserts invariably amount to more exposure to gluten-filled ingredients that are much easier to avoid the rest of the year.

Here, then, are a few tips to help ensure you have a holiday full of cheer but free of gluten:

  • Obvious advice that’s worth mentioning anyway: Bring your own GF dish (and offer to bring extra for anyone else following a GF diet). Throwing a party is difficult enough, so it’s not fair to ask your host to prepare special dishes for you – especially if he or she isn’t familiar with your requirements and could inadvertently add gluten to the equation.

  • Be especially wary of cross-contamination at a holiday party (or, of course, any social gathering). Unless the host is also maintaining a strict GF diet, it’s more than possible that a GF food will be exposed to gluten – especially if the same utensils are being used to prepare several dishes.

  • While it's a bit drastic, you may have a better time and feel more comfortable eating before partying – particularly if it’s a party being hosted by someone you don’t know all that well such as a spouse’s employer or a new neighbor. To avoid any social awkwardness, simply explain your situation to the host in advance or once you arrive so they don’t think you’re dissing their cooking.

  • If you’re going to a restaurant, see if they’ve posted their menu online and then call the manager to ask if the chef can prepare any GF food for you.  Always reinforce the need for gluten free with your server once you are at the restaurant.

  • And then there’s the most secure option of all: host your own party!

At Kinnikinnick, we’re all about making GF foods that are not only safe to eat, but delicious as well. Here, then, are a couple of our favorite holiday recipes we know you’ll enjoy: (and don't forget you can see all of these recipes being made on our free online recipe show Great Food, Gluten Free!)

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

2 eggs
398ml pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup milk replacement (rice milk, soy milk, potato milk or almond milk)
1 prepared 9 inch deep dish crust (use Kinnikinnick Pastry and Pie Mix)

Beat eggs lightly in bowl. Add pumpkin puree, spices, and brown sugar: mix until well combined. Add milk replacement and blend till combined. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake at 350*F for 30-40 minutes or until pie is done. If you do not require a dairy free pie you can substitute 1 cup whipping cream (unwhipped) for the milk replacement and follow the above directions. 

Sausage Stuffing
24 breakfast sausages (pork, beef, turkey)
1 loaf each of Kinnikinnick White & Brown Sandwich Bread
3 stalks celery
1 med onion
1/4 c fresh rosemary removed from stem
1/4 c fresh sage chopped
1/4 c fresh thyme removed from stem
2 tsp dried poulty seasoning
1tsp dried sage
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Remove sausage casings & mash. Fry in large pan until no longer pink. Add celery, onion and seasoning to meat. Toss and cook for 5 minutes.
Cut bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes. Save 1 end crust (heel)  Place in large bowl. Add meat & toss.
2. Stuff turkey cavity and neck area (if there is room) with stuffing. Cover cavity with heel of bread. Tie legs with butchers twine.
3. Place any remaining stuffing in a baking dish. Place in refrigerator until 1 hour before serving. Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes until golden brown on top. For moister stuffing pour 1/2-3/4 cup water or chicken broth over stuffing in dish before baking.

Cranberry Sauce
2c cranberries fresh
1 med apple peeled/cored and diced
3/4c water
1c orange juice
3/4c granulated sugar
Grated peel of 1 med orange
1 pkg gelatin
1/4c water
Optional: 2-3 tbsp of your favorite citrus flavoured vodka

Bring above 6 ingredients to a boil (add vodka if using), reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl prepare gelatin as per directions of package. Add to cranberry mixture during the last 5 minutes of the simmer. 

Cool and refrigerate to set up. This can be stored in fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate KinniTOOS Cheesecake
For best results, prepare the night before!


1pkg. Kinnikinnick chocolate cookie crumbs or crushed Kinnikinnick Chocolate KinniTOOS
1/4 cup margarine or butter

4-8oz. pkgs. cream cheese                                
1/2 cup Kinnikinnick All Purpose Celiac Flour
1 cups granulated sugar                                     
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream                                                 
1 pkg KinniToos Chocolate Sandwich Creme Cookies   
1 tsp pure vanilla

1. In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter; mix until combined. Press into a 10” spring form pan and place in fridge to set.
2. In a large bowl mix cream cheese until smooth. Slowly beat in granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Mix in flour slowly. Add 1 egg at a time until fully incorporated. Fold in 1/2 pkg crushed KinniToos and pour into prepared cheesecake pan.
3. Bake at 325° F for 1 1/2 hours, Remove from oven and cool in pan for 20 minutes at room temperature. Remove outer ring from pan and cool for an additional 4 hours in the fridge.
4. Top with whipping cream and the remainder of the KinniToos. Enjoy!