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Any Tips On Handling The Holidays?
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I am a little over a year post-diagnosis. Last year at this time I was too sick to care about the holidays. The tempting food wasn't remotely tempting...I wasn't attending parties...I was surviving on scrambled eggs, bananas & homeade chicken soup.

This year I am trying to keep a thankful heart because I AM so thankful to be feeling better...not back to 100%, but better. However, I go through these periods of feeling overwhelmed by the fact that this is FOREVER!! I am reminded of that every time I go to a bridal shower, holiday gathering, out for dinner, etc. When I listen to everyone ooh & ahh over the food (that I can't eat),I have to check my own attitude. Somebody tell me it gets easier to have a good attitude!

So, some of you that have lived with Celiac or gluten-intolerance, could you give some ideas on handling holiday & party issues. What are some things you do when you are staying with relatives? Any fun ideas to make Christmas parties fun even though you can't eat 90% of what is served. I always offer to bring g.free goodies to share, but just wondering what some of you do to keep a positive attitude in the midst of such a lifestyle change?

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Holidays are always a rough road being that our world revolves around food.I know many state its about the company & not the food. Sometimes we can convince ourselves that is it & be okay, other times it hits us like a big hit in the head....

Some eat before attending events but I can say for me that doesn't work.. I see friends/family stuffing their pie holes with yummy smelling & looking food!!! I want to do the same. A natural human response....

So for me, I always call the chef if it happens to be a catered event to see if I can eat any thing. Now days it has gotten so much better that many chefs already make a few dishes gluten-free . Or else they will prepare it upon request....

If its a home type party I always take gluten-free food to share with everyone.I try to keep the gluten-free food within the theme of the gluten food....Then I always take a gluten-free dessert. A gluten-free cupcake for a birthday party,gluten-free cookies for a holiday party....

When the work place has parties/luncheons I I do the same, take my gluten-free food, match whatever the gluten eaters are having & eat & enjoy the event....

Being gluten-free is not always easy or convienient but your health is what is important....

I always have cupcakes, cake, ice cream sandwiches, snacks & cookies ready when an event pops up...I'm prepared & ready....

I also carry a goody bag in my car, a protein bar in my purse or a small amount of pretzels...When I go out to eat & the place doesn't have a gluten-free bun available I heat one up wrap in foil , put it in my purse & take it into the restaurant...breakfast I take a gluten-free english muffin or breadsticks for Italian supper....

If you are going to stay at a motel they usually have a breakfast for free. Take a toasta bag & bread, gluten-free cereal with you. They usually have fruit & yougurt you can have to complete your meal....

Staying with relatives, do the same , take what you can eat , even a pot or pan if you are worried about their kitchen.......

hth mamaw

celiac for ten years & counting......

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Oh there are soooo many yummy gluten free foods! And gluten-free baked goods can be especially yummy. I highly recommend getting the book "The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten Free." It has lots of easy and delicious recipes. My son's classmates BEG me to make things from this book - and none of them have celiac! Then make a couple of the recipes and freeze them. Then you'll have easy access to delicious and safe goodies to take with you. Sure you can take a gluten-free dish or two to events, but don't limit yourself to that. Take a whole plate of yummy food for yourself and warm it at the party. Unlike the previous poster, we actually don't worry about matching the menu so much. We usually take what WE like or what we can make easily and still enjoy.

We do entire holiday dinners gluten-free, so if you need any recipes or suggestions, please do not hesitate to message me.

If you're looking for a fantastic appetizer to take that you can fill up on and your guests will rave about, do a search on here for Green Goddess veggie dip. My son made this last week for his 8th grade class demonstation project. When he started out with "If you're looking for a healthy snack alternative..." he said the kids actually groaned! At the end when the got samples the kids were going nuts about how good it was. The teacher even emailed all the other teachers about it and his samples disappeared!! He even got called to the office at the end of the day (which freaked him out :) ) and the school secretary asked him for the recipe!

Let me know if I can help with menus or plans. I truly believe celiac should not make your sad!!

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This year I'm super lucky because I'm spending Christmas with my parents, who are now on a gluten-free paleo diet to treat my step-mom's neuropathy. So we're all eating together, yay!

But, a couple years ago I went to Ohio to spend the holidays with my husband's parents. It was actually the second time I'd visited since going gluten-free, and the first time I got soooo sick from cross contamination the whole freakin' time. So the second time I visited, I came prepared! I actually packed my own pans, plates, and silverware in my suitcase. For dinner I made my own cornish game hen and mashed sweet potatoes. I didn't touch anything they made on their pans. So for the whole trip, I was cooking my own food, and felt great! Yeah, I was sad not to eat some of the yummy food they made, but who cares when you feel healthy! :)

As for holiday parties, I bring a food item or two that I can eat and share. Before anyone else touches it, I grab a large portion for myself. I don't eat anything anyone else brings (unless they are also totally gluten-free.) It works great. I haven't been glutened at a party in forever.

Happy Holidays!

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Thanks all for the great ideas & encouraging respones!! That's what I need...motivation to keep moving forward with this life change. I am anxious to try the green goddess veggie dip & look for that cookbook. My daughter (in 8th grade also) eats g.free & is always up for new recipes...we had all 4 of our kids tested for Celiac when I was diagnosed.

I know I will get more motivated as I get back to full health...just have had a few issues tagging along with Celiac that have slowed me down. Yes, I would love to share recipe ideas, CeliacMom2008...how long have you been doing the g.free lifestyle?

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Thanks all for the great ideas & encouraging respones!! That's what I need...motivation to keep moving forward with this life change. I am anxious to try the green goddess veggie dip & look for that cookbook. My daughter (in 8th grade also) eats g.free & is always up for new recipes...we had all 4 of our kids tested for Celiac when I was diagnosed.

I know I will get more motivated as I get back to full health...just have had a few issues tagging along with Celiac that have slowed me down. Yes, I would love to share recipe ideas, CeliacMom2008...how long have you been doing the g.free lifestyle?

Five years ago this Christmas. Thankfully, I work from home, so I have a lot of flexibility. That flexibility has enabled me to have the time to make breads, baked treats, from scratch dinners, etc. I used to hate cooking and didn't know a thing about my kitchen. Now it's my favorite place to be! I love experimenting and making gluten-free work. This weekend I made the Italian cookies called pizzelles. They were really terrific! My hubby who doesn't care for baked goodies (what's up with that anyway!) loved them and ended up taking them to work Monday for a holiday food event. He put a sign on them to show they were gluten-free and when his team's admin asst. came in she got all excited because she has celiac! He had no idea. She loved them, so he pulled several out and had her take them home. He said co-workers were coming by his desk to get them when they heard from others how good they were! LOVE IT!!

We do weekly pizza and movie nights with homemade pizza. We make donuts a few times a year - we'd do it more if they weren't so bad for my high cholestrol and low will power! I recently did a baking demonstration with out local celiac support group on how to make cinnamon rolls. Those are a holiday tradition for us. I make them the day before and put them in the fridge. Then on Christmas or Easter morning I just set them out on the counter while the oven warms up and then bake. I have even been known to make them the day before Mother's Day...Moms need spoiling, too! :)

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Would you share your cinnamon roll recipe? Not sure if we should e-mail...this is the only "forum" I have ever gone on? My "specialty" before g.free with my family was caramel rolls...I've tried making them g.free but cannot seem to get that fluffy texture. I use Jules Flour for a lot of my baking, but I have quite a few other g.free flours sitting around.

I've always baked quite a bit...family of 6. :) I kind of lost my motivation this past year with how sick & worn out I was...I look forward to some new motivation this coming year!

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While I usually find gluten-free substitutes harder to work with and not quite as tasty, there are some exceptions to this. This Thanksgiving I talked my mom into making her potato kugel with gluten free flour and it came out better than usual. We've done the recipe a second time and it still came out better-- so it wasn't a fluke. I also made two Tyrolean Cakes for a party for a friend. One was not gluten free (original recipe for his birthday) and one was Gluten free so I could enjoy it. Everyone at the party preferred the gluten free version. I guess with alot of trail and error and some suggestions from friends we can do this. I have been managing to supply one or more gluten-free dishes at alot of holiday events, whatever is needed to cover my own tastes and needs.

I am lucky to have a family that is supportive, so this Christmas we are trying out a rice stuffing even though the bread stuffing has been a family favorite for years. (We tried gluten free bread for the stuffing last year and that was a dismal failure). There are so many dishes at most of the family meals I can usually still find myself overeating. But cross-contamination is an issue that needs to be watched for.

If you talk with people ahead of time, sometimes they can plan a few items gluten-free or at least be ready for you to bring your own food/utensils. No need to have to make a big deal of it when everyone is ready to sit down, if people are prepared in advance. (And it might help to remind them you DON"T want to make a big deal of it.....)

Alot of people have no idea about cross contamination. I've been eating gluten-free for several years and only recently have been watching for stuff like butter knives, toasters and toaster ovens, etc. I unfortunately don't have symptoms that I can spot easily if I have been glutened-- so you have to know your own body. And educate your family and friends.

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Here you go...

Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 8 rolls

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter (or shortening)

¼ cup sugar

2/3 cup of warm milk

1 tablespoon yeast

1 egg

¼ cup canola oil

1 ¾ cup Bette Hagman gluten-free flour blend or other flour blend of your choice

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 - 2 tablespoons sugar (to sprinkle on wrap when rolling out dough)

FILLING

3 tablespoon melted butter (optional)

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix warm milk and yeast. Stir well to fully dissolve. Allow to proof for approximately 5 minutes.

In mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add milk/yeast to sugar mixture. Add oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix.

Combine dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Mix very well, being sure to remove all lumps. Dough will be soft and sticky.

Gently flour Ziploc bad (see note below on how to prepare bag). Sprinkle with 1-2 Tbs sugar.

Place dough on center of one half of the Ziploc bag and roll out dough into 13” x 13” square.

Peel back top piece of bag.

Spread melted butter over entire square of dough.

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and spread evenly across dough's surface. Leave about a 1" sugar free edge, because when you roll the dough all the sugar shifts and fills this in; otherwise all the sugar spills out. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Use the bottom piece of bag to lift the edge of the dough and start to roll it up forming a long cylinder. Start with the sugary edge, which will be the center of your roll and roll toward the sugarless edge. Cut into 8 slices of similar size, about 1½” wide.

Place rolls into a greased round glass pie pan or greased round cake pan.

At this point you may cover and put in the fridge, if making them the night before. Remove from fridge and allow to warm to room temperature while you preheat oven if making night before.

If making them immediately, let rise 20-30 minutes in warm, draft free place until the puff up and touch each other and reach top of pan.

Bake approximately 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

2 cups powdered sugar

2 oz. cream cheese

¼ stick butter (room temp)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla extract. Slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.

Notes:

Ziploc Bag Preparation: Use 2 gallon size Ziploc. Cut the side seams (leave the bottom intact) so you get a large rectangle. These are really useful for all sorts of rolled dough recipes since gluten-free can be very sticky.

You can also use a starch mixture instead of a flour blend. Use 1 cup cornstarch and ¾ cup potato starch instead of the 1 ¾ cup gluten-free flour blend.

Bette Hagman gluten-free Flour Blend:

2 parts brown rice flour

2/3 parts potato starch

1/3 parts tapioca starch

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I'm going home to visit my family for Christmas- it's my second Christmas gluten free. My father and sister are both apparently gluten-sensitive although they won't completely switch over. So we're obviously doing a full gluten-free-only holidays. I am a good baker and a competent cook, perhaps that's why I never found being gluten free terribly daunting.

I can share a few recipes, maybe that would help.

-This is the stuffing I made for thanksgiving. I made gluten-free Girl's stuffing last year and I liked Udi's better.

http://udisglutenfree.com/recipes/udi-s-gluten-free-stuffing-recipe/

It was also easier (though more expensive) for me to use the pre-made udi's bread rather than baking a loaf since I worked Thanksgiving morning. Here, Udi's bread is $7 a loaf, but I halved the recipe.

-Here's the gravy I like to use: http://glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-gravy/.

-I like this cinnamon roll recipe: http://www.thebakingbeauties.com/2011/05/gluten-free-cream-cheese-cinnamon-buns.html

-Instead of pumpkin pie, maybe try a decadent pumpkin cheesecake? I find pie crust is an unecessary hassle and prefer to use cookie or crumb crusts where possible. I've used Mi Del gingersnaps for this recipe successfully: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/philadelphia-spiced-pumpkin-cheesecake/detail.aspx

-I picked up a new cookbook a few weeks ago that I really love and I think you would probably appreciate too: Gluten Free Holiday Baking. I was amazed how well the biscotti I made turned out. Who would have guessed, biscotti!?

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Thanks for the recipe & the various links! I haven't been on here for a few days...it's that busy time of year. I love this forum...no one understands some of the challenges of Celiac Disease (& gluten sensitivity) & the lifestyle change it involves better than people on this forum. I am excited to try a few new baked treats for the holidays.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

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