This is my first Christmas as a Gluten Free individual. For those of you that don’t know what being gluten-free really means, it means no wheat, no flour, and many other grains are out of the question. It’s not easy, let me tell you, especially around the holidays. The parties, the snacks at work, and the Christmas cookies all get adoring glances but no nibbles. Not only is it hard on me, it’s hard for my friends who try to figure out food that I can eat.
So if you have friends or relatives that are Gluten Free, what kind of gifts can you give them? Here are some wonderful but safe gluten free gifts.
Nuts are a great snack, appetizer, or ingredient to use in recipes, which are nice presents to give too. I love shelled pecans, pistachios in their shell, and walnuts; all of these are great for you too. Is your recipient a sports fan? Peanuts in their shell make a fun gift. For an extra nice presentation, place them in a beautiful dish or bag, or in a basket with a holiday nutcracker.
Spiced mixed nuts are great for parties. Here’s a wonderful spiced nut recipe, made with almonds, pecans, and walnuts. It fills your home with a wonderful spicy Christmas smell that will bring back warm memories for years to come.
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups walnut halves
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 cup whole unblanched almonds
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and water until frothy. Add nuts; stir gently to coat. Combine the remaining ingredients. Add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat. Spread into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.
2. Any Gluten Free Dessert
Since there are so many desserts that we can’t eat, I know I’d appreciate a dessert that I know I can safely eat. Betty Crocker just came out with a series of Gluten Free cake and brownie mixes. And they’re really good too! The Betty Crocker website has a lot of recipes to use with the gluten-free mixes. I tried the carrot cake recipe with the yellow cake mix and it was GREAT.
Carrot Cake – Gluten free
1 box (15 oz) Betty Crocker® Gluten Free yellow cake mix
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup finely shredded carrots (2 medium)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
4 oz (half of 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons milk
1/4 cup coconut, if desired
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 8- or 9-inch square pan with shortening, or spray with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, 1/2 cup butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons vanilla and eggs on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. With spoon, stir in carrots and pecans. Spread in pan.
3. Bake 36 to 41 minutes for 8-inch pan or 33 to 38 minutes for 9-inch pan or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. Stir in coconut. Spread frosting over cake.
3. A Restaurant Gift Certificate
There are more and more restaurants getting on the bandwagon and offering delicious gluten free meals. I’ve dined on savory pasta dishes and luscious pizza, and hamburgers and hotdogs with gluten free buns. For links to gluten free restaurants in your area, visit glutenfreerestaurants.org.
4. A Gluten Free Book
I’m new at this gluten free business. Like many of you, it took me years to figure out my malady, and I still slip up (and suffer the consequences!) A gluten-free diet book or cookbook is a thoughtful gift, especially for us newbies. A lovely gift basket with one of these books, along with gluten-free snacks or baking supplies would be very appreciated.
Dried or fresh, and especially chocolate covered, fruit always makes a nice gluten free gift. Florists can make beautiful arrangements if your recipient is out of town, but you can easily make your own. Try variety for color like oranges, pears, apples, bananas, and kiwi. Sprinkle in some nuts in their shell, or colorful gluten free candy, and you’re ready for gifting.
Also, Edible Arrangements offers really pretty fruit arrangements, some even dipped in chocolate! Be sure to ask if the chocolate is gluten free before purchasing.