Let me introduce you all to our newest Gluten Free Frenzy contributor, Brigette. She is an amazing advocate for the gluten-free and celiac communities who is currently serving as the Vice-President of the Arizona East Valley Celiac Disease Foundation Chapter. She is a phenomenal baker who can literally create anything in her kitchen gluten/egg and dairy-free and her pineapple upside down cake is to die for! I will introduce her more in depth in January but for now, she has a great holiday article to get you excited for the new year when she will be joining us more regularly.
Hello! The thing I am excited to bring to the bigger Gluten free community is my experience. We happen to have not 1, or 2 but THREE gf children and myself. Two of them have wheat allergies and one we believe has celiac disease, which we are actively trying to figure out what is going on with his little body. My whole angle is that I have the “gf motherload” of situations going on here. So I get to share what we have been through and what we go through as our journey keeps moving forward as well has offer reviews, tips and ideas for those new and old to the diet. Fun Times. So until then I wanted to give a teaser by sharing my tips for holiday cooking right here. =)
Brigette’s GF Holiday tips:
Growing up the holidays were magical! The lights, smells and sounds of the holiday let my imagination fly and I ( maybe more then most) believed that anything was possible during the holiday season. But when you first go gluten free the holidays can be one emotional nightmare and… not so magical. They are overwhelmingly expensive and the traditional foods you grew up with just never taste quite the same gluten free. After almost 7 years of trying to “fix the holidays”, I realized I have learned a few things. I have the power to stop making the holidays all about food and begin to recreate the magic for my children and myself with out having an emotional meltdown every season.
Buy extra! Seems simple right? But you would be surprised at how many years it took me to figure this out. Starting in September, when you buy a box of cake mix, buy two. When you buy flour, buy two. Now As some one who comes from a home with three children and a VERY strict budget, I am not saying buy it all in one trip, I am saying once a week, when you buy your stuff, buy TWO of it if you know that product will come in handy during the holiday season. When you get home put your ” extra” items in a separate location in your cupboard so that they don’t end up getting used before you need them. ( my kids think if there are two cake mixes in the cupboard that making cupcakes is a given, I have had to teach them to think a bit differently about it.
Make the freezer your very best friend! When you make those sugar cookies in October for the class Halloween party or your coworkers, or whom ever- make double or even triple the dough! Freeze and label it and BAM your cut-out Christmas cookie decoration night just got a lot cheaper in December and less stressful during a very busy time. Freeze “extra” cupcakes, doughnuts and muffins instead of enjoying the WHOLE box like normal. My kids keep asking why we have so many cupcakes in the freezer- I keep telling them with a smile ” its for the holidays”, they get excited to eat it and I feel like a rock star for thinking ahead and saving money!
ASK, ASK, ASK, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Ask your co-workers, teachers, church leaders, friends and neighbors about holiday the plans. Food is important to almost everyone during the holiday season. If you know ” the plan” for parties, dinners and activities, you can use what you have in your freezer, or make ahead what you need. Put an end the the last minute rush to the store for sub-par food!! It will probably still happen- you know what I mean, the stressful run- to pay to much for something that MAY be a substitute for what every one else is happily enjoying. Lets face it, people don’t like to be grilled on what they will be eating at all points during their holiday season, ( most spend January trying to forget it!) but asking and asking again can help you avoid at least half of that stress, if not all of it.
REMEMBER and forgive! Remember that time when you ate wheat filled products all the time?? I know it’s painful, but try to remember with me for JUST a second. You would go to the fancy Christmas party just to eat cheap, big box store cookies that you almost broke your teeth on. Sure, some of those treats were amazing and full of fluffy goodness, but REMEMBER the bad ones? Because there were a lot of bad ones. Cheap chocolate, hard, too crispy or flat, so well preserved they would outlast Twinkies at the end of the world, kind of bad. Now, Forgive yourself for all those times you beat your self up for your cookies tasting differently then anyone else in the room, or those brownies that their only offense was ” they are gluten free”. Because in the end GF products have come so far that I have found, if I don’t mention they are gluten free, no one even questions it. Are they always the best ones in the room?? Some times yes- and sometimes no, but that just makes me like every other person in the room that isn’t gf and who brought a variety of good and bad products to the party.
FORGET THE FOOD. In the end, I have learned the best memories are actually the ones without the food. The smiles, the laughter, the games played and songs sung stay much longer then the pounds lost or gained by what we put in our mouth. Just try to forget the food. Teach your co-workers, teachers, friends and neighbors that activities are much more rewarding and much better then standing around a table piled with junk. Find ways to add excitement to your holidays with minimal food involved, who says you HAVE to have hot chocolate while looking at lights? or eat Doughnuts after that turkey bowl game? Not that we don’t enjoy them, but looking for activities where the food intake is minimized can alleviate a lot of stress for those with food issues and help us all be a lot healthier. So, ONCE IN A WHILE, during the holiday season, try to forget the food and create a memory.
I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday season! May your GF memories be every bit as wonderful as the ones you remember growing up!