A Gluten, Dairy, Grain and Nut Free Christmas
October - December is my absolute FAVORITE time of year! The baking the crafts, the movies, the family time feels so awesome! We spent Christmas in the country, which was very relaxing.
One of the most awesome things about spending Christmas in the country, is the quite. Everyone slept so peacfylly. One of the neighbors brought two large beautiful bags of oranges over...they smell and taste like gluten & dairy free heaven. We had so many in fact that we decided to make some fresh pot pourrie in the slow cooker!
To do this, I lined the slow cooker with a "slow cooker liner" to make clean up a breeze. Next we filled the pot with fresh apple slices, orange peek, a few whole oranges, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, nutmeg and whole cloves. This concoction is literally holiday in a pot! The spells of Christmas and Autumn and wafting throughout the house.
For dessert, I decided to make Juli Bauer's Paleo Magic Brownie Bars
. I have been having serious trouble with nuts and grains lately, and I have been a bit down about celebrating the holidays without my normal grain laden fare. However, Juli's site: paleomg.com never disappoints. She makes amazing recipes and this recipe in particular does not disappoint. My parents were my test tasters. They NEVER lie if they do not like something. They loved these. My dad actually had a few! Sometimes you need a treat that does not make you feel as if you are under any dietary restrictions. The only change I made was adding enjoylife chocolate chips ontop of the brownie layer. The recipe can be found here
We made quite a few fun treats. My mom made rub balls (not gluten, grain, nut or dairy free). I made gluten & dairy free rice treats for some of the neighbors kids. I used envirokidz cereal and Christmas cookie cutters to shape them. I had fun making these and personally think they are adorable!
We also made a gluten, grain nut and partially dairy free chocolate house. I have never made a gingerbread house and although I would love to make one, I was a bit intimidated by making a gluten free one. Next year, I will be up for the challenge. Fortunately, I do not react if food touches dairy, so we were able to use enjoy life chips for the chocolate parts, and white candy melts for the top. We had such a blast making these!
I pray that God blesses you all with a fabulous 2014!
Gluten Free Tea
Did you know that not all tea is gluten free? When I first learn that after going GF I was in disbelief. Although many teas are naturally GF, if they are not process on lines that are dedicated GF they run the risk of cross contamination. Additionally many fiber or tummy teas include gluten in their formulas. However, there are a number of gluten free teas out there and here are some of my favorites.
I have recently moved and when I was in the process of packing my tea, I realized that I may be a little tea obsessed. You see, I have ALWAYS loved tea. I was totally the tea party with my grandmother kinda girl. When I got older though, I wouldn't buy it as often because lets face it, some teas can be a bit pricey. Fortunately, I have found so many on sale, which has fueled my addition.
I enjoy tea for a variety of reasons. Since I do not really drink sodas or sugary drinks apart from the occasional iced tea or GF DF hot cocoa, tea is my go to comfort drink. I also like more holistic approaches and think that tea has great properties for various ailments. Its great hot, cold, sweetened or unsweetened (which iw mainly how I roll). I usually only purchase tea that is clearly labeled gluten free, but I have a few that are not labeled but found out they were gf after calling the companies. So lets look at my tea shall we? Oh and don't judge me. I know I have a problem :).
Traditional Medicinals has awesome natural, herbal teas. Many are organic and I really like the flavor combinations. As I said before, I like to try holistic methods. I was sick earlier this year and I purchased a cold care sample pack. I fell in love with the teas and began purchasing them as there were on sale. The Throat Coat & Breath Easy teas are truly soothing. The Cold Care P.M. is very relaxing and helped me rest. For stomach upsets, the Gas Relief tea is very helpful. I must admit that I find the Roasted Dandelion Root to be quite strong and rather disgusting. I still take it however because it is good for digestion. This is one of the few teas that I own in which I feel that I HAVE to sweeten it in order to drink it. The Echinacea Plus has a nice flavor and the Easy Now tea is amazingly comforting. My husband actually combined it with peppermint to make ice tea and it was fabulous! The GF statement here: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/faqs
Most of the Celestial Seasonings teas are gluten free. There are a few however that you need to watch out for. I LOVE the sleepytime teas. My grandmother would make it for me before every time I spent the night at her house. I have the regular, but forgot to take a picture. Again, I use these when I am feeling under the weather. After moving to Louisiana, I get the most horrific sinus infections that eventually lead to a sore throat and other symptoms. I find these both helpful and affordable. I always find them on sale and use coupons for additional savings.
Peppermint is nice and refreshing whether it is served hot or cold. It is great for indigestion as well as stomach or menstrual cramps.
Okay, so I have tons of stomach issues apart from gluten problems. I use these teas to help and sooth. Spearmint Lemon-balm is less harsh than peppermint. The Lavender Chamomile is good for stomach cramps and gas, and the Ginger Probiotic tea is helpful for digetion
Ok, these are tasty. All of them make terrific iced tea and they are awesome when combined. The Honey Vanilla Chamomile has a lovely mild flavor and the other teas are fruity. The Raspberry Zinger is a bit tart, but I do not mind too much.
These are samples that I received in the mail. I have not tried them yet, but I will let you know how they are. Twinings never disappoints. They are not labeled GF on the package, but I always call.
Calming, and mild, Chamomile tea has many uses: Relaxation, stomach upsets, menstrual cramps and a great tea to combine with others.
Oh Em GEE! This has to be one of the best tools for those times when a person just can't go. Many teas of this nature cause cramping and discomfort, but not this one. It has a lovely sweet flavor and helps things move along gently. May be TMI, but it really works much better than many other over the counter laxatives. Whenever I accidentally ingest gluten, I get severely constipated. Although there isn't much that I can do, this helps more than anything else.
Green teas are great for detoxing properties. I have the regular old green tea and the Antioxidant Max. I had to get used to green tea. It has a stronger flavor, but many decaffeinated tea seem to be milder. Many believe it helps regulare up the metabolism. No harm in that.
Seasonal Teas are fun. The Gingerbread
Spice is really strong though. I add almond milk and prepare it like a chai tea to make it fit my taste. Candy Cane Lane is a long time favorite of mine. I try to stock up on it while it is in stores for the holidays. Although it is not a "Holiday Tea." The Cinnamon Apple Spice is nice for the fall. This tea is also strong, so you may not want to steep it too long.
I realize that I actually have a few teas that I forgot to photograph. I will try to add those in soon. I hope this helps you get some ideas about some fun and useful gluten free teas to check out. Have a lovely and TEA-RRIFIC Gluten and or Dairy Free Day!
I am an overgrown child during the holidays! Okay, there! I said it! I love Christmas treats, Just use cookie cutters and your favorite gluten and dairy free rice cereal treat recipe. I made these with Envirokids cereal.
Paleo Pumpkin Waffles
Paleo recipes can come in really handy for those of us who are gluten and dairy free. Since gluten and dairy are avoided when living the paleo lifestyle, I find that it makes it easier to discover delicious things that are Jaye Tee friendly. One of my favorite paleo sites is http://paleomg.com/
. Juli Bauer is a amazing gal who knows how to make food taste very good! She makes food that people actually want to eat. In the fall she posted this lovely recipe
and I thought it was amazing! Try it out and let me know what you think!
Gluten & Dairy Free Pound Cake
Pound cake is a fun summer treat! It is dense and great paired with summer fruit! This recipe
was on the back of Bob's Redmill sweet rice flour bag and it is actually very good! It totally hit the spot for my pound cake craving. I used Earth Balance buttery spread, but I think I may try it with coconut oil next time to see how that works. It would be a great addition to any summer celebration or get together. Grilling the pound cake is another way to add more depth to the flavor. If you try this recipe let me know what you think!
Make Ahead Meals
If there was one thing that I miss about being able to have gluten it would be the convenience of going out to eat or being able to pick up a quick meal. It was easier for me when just dairy was out of the picture, but the absence of gluten makes things a bit more difficult. Not that I went out to eat alot, but there are those days (you know those days), when the day has been hard, you have no idea what to eat, and your stomach is constantly reminding you that its dinner time.... I loathe those days. I am a huge supporter of meal planning, but even a well thought out and detailed plan can not always prevent the days where you do not feel like cooking!
To remedy this in our house, I started making meals ahead of time.
Between work, school and daily obstacles, this makes it much harder to get dinner on the table than when I was simply doing one or the other.
Reasons for making meals ahead of time:
- When you are in jam there is something on hand. (Rhyme not intended...well maybe a bit)
- Prevents your family from ordering takeout or getting fast food. ( In my case this applies to my husband).
- Saves money because you can plan meals around what is on sale and you are not spending extra money on expensive convenience food.
- Healthier than many gluten & dairy free freezer meals.
- Can help with your waistline because you have something nutritious on hand.
Last year when I started a new job, I literally realized three days after working, I completely failed to eat lunch and dinner because I was so busy. I just felt as if I did not have time to eat and my husband was forced to visit a few fast food and take out places for about a week. I find it a bit difficult to make dinner now that I am GF and DF because I make almost two of everything. I refuse to deprive my husband of certain things because lets just be honest folks, sometimes cheese just tastes better!
Six months after my Celiac diagnosis I began to see many blogs that discussed once a week, once a month, or freezer cooking. I was very intrigued and a bit skeptical, but decided to give it a try. Once I did, I honestly became hooked. It worked so well for us, that my husband always suggests that we do it.
The first time, I made three weeks worth of food. Not only was the food very delicious, but we saved soooooo much money on our monthly budget because we were not shopping every week or picking up quick meals because we already had some ready to go.
Unfortunately, there tends to be a stigma about cooking food ahead of time. Many people believe it will taste disgusting or they simply feel weird about it. Whenever I encounter people who feel this way, I ask them if they eat anything from the frozen food section. When they say yes...and they always do...I remind them that there truly is no difference. Whenever something tastes "off," it is usually because it was incorrectly handled or stored improperly. One of the first things that you learn in culinary school is about food storage, and freezing meals is not as horrible of a thing as many people think. I also read about people who say that they do not have the time or the room to do this, but as cliche as it sounds: "where there is a will, there is a way". Foods that freeze beautifully are:
- Taco Meat
- Marinated meat (chicken, pork, beef roast etc) to throw in the oven or slow cooker or bake
- Bean dishes such as chili, or red beans and rice
- Pasta sauces
- GF Pizza Dough
- Healthy protein treats
I try to keep these meals healthy. Sometimes you find recipes that are loaded in calories and sugar. Try to come up with tasty and healthy recipes. I always pair many of these dishes with salad or some type of vegetable. It does not take very long to prepare.
I will provide a more detailed post about my healthy e but if you are interested, simply google freezer cooking or make ahead meals and tons of tips, tricks and recipes will pop up.Hopefully this will help you have an easier gluten and/or dairy free evening!
Some people seriously detest Valentine's Day. They think it is mushy, stupid and pointless, but I beg to differ. I find that many of our likes, dislikes and opinions stem from our positive and negative experiences. Early on, I have had some pretty nifty Valentine's Days. My parents made Valentine's Day a family event. I do not remember them going out and leaving us kids at home, or ever being made to feel that the day had to be about romance. My dad left for work in the wee hours of the morning. Every Valentine's Day, my brother, sister and I would find presents from my dad on our pillows, somewhere in our rooms or on the dining room table. You NEVER knew what he was going to have for you. My sister used to be in LOVE with Kern's Apricot juice. So for Valentine's Day one year, he got her a flat of it! My mom would also get us cards and gifts just from her. She would get our favorite candy and write love notes for us. When we would get home from school, she would make steak and lobster for dinner with some type of fabulous dessert. Even when my husband and I were dating, we would still have our family Valentine's Day dinners. I love wrapping things up and giving things to show people how much I care. I do not think that there needs to be a day just for this. This should happen all of the time, but sometimes its fun to do this with a theme, Here are a few last minute gift ideas that I have given in the past. I even have some great and inexpensive Valentine's Day baking tool ideas below to make things easier.
Last year, I made brownies for my co-workers. I baked them in cute liners and place them in these little containers. I used foam heart stickers to decorate them. You can make regular, gluten/dairy free or paleo brownies. I have also made heart shaped cookies. Whatever works best for you!
Even thought this is Christmas themed, I have made these for Valentines day. Soda drinkers love these. All I did was place sodas on a square shaped paper plate. The flower, is actually a pen I made using a silk flower and green floral tape. Quick, easy and fun to give.
I purchased these heart shaped bags from Dollar Tree last year. Forty of them for $1. You just can't beat that. I placed cookies in them for my students.
Cooking for a loved one is also a great treat. For breakfast you may want to try making these little crust-less spinach, sausage egg muffins. These a terrific served with fruit and placing it on something heart shaped can make someone feel even more special. I placed these berries in a heart shaped ramekin that I got from target for $1. This also can be a little appetizer/
Heart shaped things really make things festive. You can really clean up at Target and dollar stores. Have a fantastic, relaxing day! I'm off to watch some 80's movies :).
A Gluten & Dairy Free Paleo-ish Superbowl
Last year, I put together a few gluten and dairy free menu ideas. You can see that post here
. But what if you are avoiding gluten, dairy, legumes, grains, nuts and refined sugar? Hmmm, sounds kind of tricky, but here are few suggestions:
A very fun appetizer, is tuna stuffed deviled eggs. I used the recipe from the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, but added more garlic and onion powder and smoked paprika and chipotle powder. These are a big hit. Regular deviled eggs are also a crowd pleaser as long as no one is allergic to eggs.
These little bacon meatloaf muffins from Paleo Girls Kitchen
are delish! I like this recipe because it is great as is, or with a few changes.This time, I did everything the recipe calls for, but I also added 4 cloves of minced garlic, 10 sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic and onion powder. The ones pictured are made with ground turkey and turkey bacon. These are not only easy to make, but they move quickly because they are tasty and easy to eat!
Pulled pork is a great football food. If you are keeping it paleo though, ditch the bun even if it is gluten free and use homemade BBQ sauce. There are tons of recipes on line. These were served with some very tasty kale collard greens.
These Lemon Blueberry Muffins from Diane Sanfillipo's Practical Paleo are really good. I mean, really, really, good. I really like that they are made with coconut flour instead of almond meal. I call these paleo-ish since they are a treat that shouldn't be consumed all of the time. I like having fun treats from time to time.
As always, it is a great idea to have plenty for fruits and veggies on hand. Kale chips
, sweet potato chips or fries, zucchini fries are some great game day snack foods. I hope these few suggestions help you. Tomorrow we will be having some chicken wings! Have a fantastic day!
Seasonal Pot Potpouri
Citrus is in season and even thought the holidays are over, I am still loving the rich and fragrant smells of apple and citrus. One of my favorite things to do is make potpourri in my slow cooker. This is a batch that I made during the holidays. It is a terrific way to neutralize cooking odors as well as natural air freshening. I am pretty sure that there are a number of different ways to do this, but here is what I like to do. My measurements are not exact because I tend to use what is on hand. This is especially good for times when you may have an abundance of produce that you may not get to eat.
Jaye Tee's Potpourri
- Allspice berries (You can omitt if you do not have any)
- 1-2 Cinnamon sticks
- Apple slices from 1-2 apples
- Citrus Peel. We had a ton of mandarin oranges from our neighbor, so that is what we used. (I also threw in a couple whole oranges.
- Ground nutmeg
- Bay leaf
- Water to cover the contents of the slow-cooker.
Place everything in your slow-cooker and cook on low. You may start this on high and then reduce to low if you are in a rush to smell the fragrance. I found that using the slow-cooker liners makes things super easy to clean up afterwards.
Oranges from the neighbor. This is just a fraction of what we were given. Fresh organic deliciousness picked just for us! Do you make any type of air freshener? I would love to hear what others do.
Throwing a Gluten and Dairy Free Fall or Halloween Party
Fall is a fabulous time of year! I love throwing a party in October because it is the perfect time of year to throw get together before the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Fall or Halloween parties can be a lot of fun, however food allergies and intolerance can make things a bit tricky. If you have the time, space and the means, I suggest you host a party at your own home, especially if you or one of your family members is new to being gluten or dairy free. The truth is, although people want to be supportive and understanding, it takes quite a bit of time, patience and information before they can truly grasp how involved avoiding gluten and dairy can be. When things are on your own turf, you have more control over them. I am not in any way saying that it is impossible to attend a party! However, sometimes, I just don't have the energy to worrying about cross contamination or explaining why I can't eat such and such to a new crop of people. That may be selfish of me, but I value my health and peace of mind.
If you decide to throw a party, there are a few things that you MUST consider:
- Is your party going to be strictly gluten and dairy free? If you or one of your family members is like me, you may be the only person in the house who must avoid certain foods. It is up to you if you plan to include gluten and dairy filled foods for your guests. When I first went gluten free, I made things for other people and had my foods elsewhere. One of the reasons I would do this is because it can be cheaper when I do not have to buy a larger quantity of gluten and dairy free ingredients, and at the time, I was worried that people were not going to like GF & DF food (which I do not worry about as much anymore because most of the foods I choose to make for company is so tasty that they can't tell the difference). I rarely ever do this now because I try to avoid getting glutened at all costs. If you have children on a special diet, whether your entire house eats gluten and dairy free or not, I definitely think your party should be strictly gluten and dairy free, so that they do not accidentally ingest something that they shouldn't. Many, but not all smaller kids (example 2 year olds) do not always understand why they can not have something.
- Note: If you choose to include gluten and dairy, be mindful that you need to have a special place for the foods that you do not contaminated. You can also make cute little signs labeling your food gluten & dairy free and attach it to your safe foods. Personally, I designate a place in the kitchen that is completely separate from the rest of the food. I cover everything that I am eating with foil, saran wrap or a lid, just in case a crumb makes its way towards my food.
- What type of party do you want to throw? You should consider the type of party that you want to throw and plan accordingly. Some Party Ideas: * Fall or Halloween Open House, a dinner party,
- How far in advance can you start preparing? The earlier you plan a party, the easier your life will be. I literally have a party planning notebook where I write the type of party, menu items, decorations and daily plan of what I need to buy or prepare before the party. If you are like me and live in a town where you can not go to a gluten free bakery or specialty store, you may be preparing most of your menu from scratch, so plan what you need to do. My sister always teases me, but sometimes I start party planning months and months in advance.
- What foods are you going to be serving? Here is the fun part! Think about fun dishes that you can make in advance so that you can enjoy your party! One of my favorite things to utilize for my fall parties are my slow cookers! Just place everything inside and let it do the work for you. Chili is another fun dish, you can check out my Halloween menu idea from last year here. The earlier you plan you menu, the less stressful things will be.
Check back because I will have a few Halloween desserts that you may want to include at your party! Have an wonderful gl