Our Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Holidays

From an outside view, feeding our extended family looks fairly complicated. More than half of the family can’t eat gluten, and only slightly fewer can’t eat dairy, either. Add in a vegetarian, a vegan, and several folks who loosely follow the blood-type diet, and it starts to seem like the list of things we can’t eat is longer than the list of things we can.

Fortunately, we’ve had many years to figure out how to meet everyone’s needs, and I can say confidently that we do a smashing job of feeding everyone very very well, particularly on holidays. The vegetarians take care of their own meat replacement dishes, but everything else is designed to meet everyone’s needs. 
Here’s a picture of my Thanksgiving plate. 100% gluten-free and dairy free. Super yummy.
Our Christmas dinner was pretty much the same. Not a single droplet of taste sacrificed. We really have the gluten-free dairy-free thing down.
For Thanksgiving, my friend P-Diddles made a gluten-free vegan chocolate peanut butter pie that I dare anyone to challenge. You’d never know it was anything other than traditionally decadent. It was so rich and creamy, I told her she should enter it in some kind of contest. Havarti is a bit of a dessert connoisseur, and he can’t get enough of this pie. You can find the recipe here.
My nieces are in a culinary institute in San Francisco studying pastry making. This week, they’ve been taking what they’ve learned and altering recipes to make them gluten-free. Last night, they made these eclairs. Gluten-free, dairy-free eclairs! ECLAIRS, PEOPLE! (Sorry for the enthusiasm, but if you’re familiar with GF/DF fare, eclairs are generally found in the “Ha! You wish!” category.)

Seriously to DIE FOR. You’d never guess in a million years that they were gluten-free and dairy-free. Someday my nieces are going to open their own gluten-free bakery and make a bajillion dollars. Just you wait.
For me, personally, gluten-free baking has become second nature. I don’t even keep regular flour in the house anymore (The Muse and Havarti are both gluten-free, and it’s become easier to just make everything at home gluten-free). At first, we used the gluten-free baking mixes from the store, but a couple of years ago we got the bookGluten-Free Baking Classics” by Annalise Roberts, and it quickly became our go-to book for baking.

This recipe book is FANTASTIC. She gives you a basic mix of rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch that you use as a flour mix, and everything we’ve made in this book has turned out wonderfully. The eclairs above came from this recipe book. If you or your loved ones are gluten-free, I can’t recommend it highly enough. (And no, I’m not getting paid to endorse it in any way, shape, or form.)

The one thing I think is hardest about going gluten-free (other than the cost – yeesh) is trying to find a good substitute for french or italian bread. Those rustic loaves are hard to replicate gluten-free. But just in the past two years, gluten-free breads have come a LONG way, so I’m still holding out hope.

Feel free to share any favorite gluten-free cooking or baking resources. Always on the lookout for great recipes.

And speaking of great recipes, I’m off to eat another eclair. You only live once. 🙂

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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