Ideas for Hosting a Gluten-Free Christmas Party (And Tips For Turkey Dinner)

gluten free christmas party
gluten free christmas party
gluten free christmas party
gluten free christmas party
gluten free christmas party


I apologize in advance for the quality of photos in this post. I took them once the party had started and they turned out a bit blurry. I’ll blame the wine.
This past weekend we hosted a Christmas/Housewarming party. With our renovation completed we wanted to combine showing off the house with a Christmas celebration.
As with anyone who hosts a party, the week before was filled with planning, shopping, baking, cleaning, organizing and more baking. With a new kitchen, my stress level for hosting was very low prior to years before. It was interesting how much easier it is to host a party when your kitchen and dining room are well organized.
Through the years, I’ve tried to include as many gluten free treats being served as possible. Now that I am much more comfortable with my baking and cooking as well as being gluten free, I decided that this whole party would be gluten free.
I wanted to show that you can have great tasting food at a party and if you didn’t say anything no one would know it was all gluten free.
Just to be normal as much as possible.
Isn’t that what we all want?
With Christmas right around the corner, I thought I would also share what I do when I’m cooking turkey dinner.
My kids love my turkey stuffing so usually I cooked the turkey the same as every year. For me, I would take a few slices off the breast and that would be mine.
This past Thanksgiving I decided to do two smaller turkeys. One regular for my gang that loves stuffing, and one for Cam and I that would be totally gluten free.
For the gravy I use cornstarch to thicken.
Really, other than the turkey, I find the meal is almost entirely gluten free.
It does not stress me at all.
My daughter usually bakes homemade buns full of “gluten” for most of the gang, but again, they are of no concern for me.
I wish for all the newly diagnosed gluten free folks that you feel empowered to host a Christmas dinner without feeling like you might get sick.
Making the food yourself does help to keep you safe and free from cross contamination too.
Here are photos from the Christmas party we had and I’ve listed all the appetizers as well as baked goods I served at the end.



Gluten-Free Appetizers Served:

  • Smoked Salmon on Toasted Gluten-Free Baguette Slices.
  • Garlic Shrimp. (Similar Recipe)
  • Various Cheeses.
  • Gluten-Free Deli Meats and Sausages.
  • Warmed Feta with Marinated Lemons.
  • Gluten-Free Quinoa Cranberry Nut Salad. (Similar Salad)
  • Gluten-Free Chickpea Salad. (Similar Quinoa Salad)
  • Warm Gluten-Free Focaccia. (Similar Recipe)
  • Warm Gluten-Free Baguette.
  • Goat Cheese Dip.
  • Gluten-Free Cheddar Cheese Ball.(Similar Recipe)
  • Snow Crab and Shrimp Dip.
  • Variety of Veggies.
  • 3 Different Olives.
  • Gluten-Free Crackers.
  • Individual Jars of White Bean Hummus with Sriracha. (Similar Recipe for Gluten-Free Hummus)
  • Warm Brie Wrapped in a Puff Pastry.

Gluten-Free Desserts Served:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Bark

One of the easiest candies to make is chocolate bark. Last Christmas I posted a recipe for pretzel bark and this Christmas I thought I’d ramp up the recipe. In fact, this has two different barks featured.
This bark was inspired by my many trips to Soma Chocolates in Toronto, Canada. Soma uses high quality chocolate from around the world and puts their own unique spin on the chocolate sold.
One of my favourite things to purchase is their round bars with apricots, hazelnuts and other fruits and nuts on top.
I thought with having Bernard Callebaut Chocolates here in Calgary, and access to their large bars of bittersweet, semi-sweet, milk and white chocolate I’d make some large slabs of bark myself to have on hand this Christmas season.

I made a large slab of dark chocolate bark (for the dairy free folks) and a 2 layer white chocolate-milk chocolate bark.
Both had various nuts and seeds on top.
It is a simple, yet elegant gift to make as well as shows greatly when presented on a platter for your guests to enjoy.

gluten free chocolate bark
Bernard Callebaut



Recipe: 2 Layer White and Milk Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz large bar (16 oz) Bernard Callebaut white chocolate
  • 16 oz 1 large bar (16 oz) Bernard Callebaut milk chocolate
  • cranberries, dried blueberries, raisins, other dried fruit Variety of nuts (toasted hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios)Gluten free pretzels

Instructions
 

  • In a double boiler on low-medium heat, melt broken up milk chocolate bar.
  • Stir occasionally. Once melted, take off heat, stir really well until smooth.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pour melted milk chocolate onto parchment paper and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened.
  • Once hardened, you can then start the 2nd layer.
  • In double boiler, on low-medium heat, melt broken up white chocolate bar.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Once melted, take off heat and stir until chocolate is very smooth.
  • Remove hardened chocolate from fridge and pour melted white chocolate over top.
  • Work quickly for you do not want the milk chocolate to start melting.
  • Spatter various nuts and fruit on the melted white chocolate.
  • Have fun with patterns.
  • Return chocolate to refrigerator to harden again.
  • Once hardened, I store my bark in a sealed container in the fridge until I’m ready to serve it.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Dark Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark (Dairy-Free)

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz 1 large (16 oz) Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate bar
  • Various nuts as stated in above recipe
  • Various dried fruits as above recipe

Instructions
 

  • In double boiler, melt broken up dark chocolate bar.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Once melted, stir really well until very smooth.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pour melted chocolate onto the paper.
  • Scatter various nuts and fruit on the melted chocolate.
  • Harden in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
gluten free chocolate bark
gluten free chocolate bark
gluten free chocolate bark

gluten free chocolate bark


Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Fudge

As promised here is the 2nd of the sinfully rich, gluten free holiday treat recipes for you to make and share with family and friends.
This is a traditional fudge recipe in that you need to cook it for awhile. This is not a recipe that you can start on the stove, walk away and check on periodically. You need to constantly stir and watch this mixture as it cooks. You are dealing with butter, cream and sugar.
Do not be afraid though. The fudge is easy to make as long as you have a good candy thermometer. You want your sugar/cream mixture to set once cooled, this is not a sauce recipe. This caramel needs to get to the soft ball stage in temperature and then it is clear sailing to a great fudge.
One more piece of advice is to line your pan with parchment. I did not in my first batch and the fudge is much harder to slice and serve.

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe
candy thermometer
candy thermometer
Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe
Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe


Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Pinch of salt optional: use 1/2 tsp of maldon sea salt to batch, that’s what I did
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 8 oz dark Chocolate squares
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla
  • 1/2-1 cup nuts optional

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan add the 2 sugars, butter, whipping cream, corn syrup and salt
  • .Heat on medium heat, stirring while bring mixture to a boil.
  • Make sure you have your candy thermometer in saucepan.
  • Lower heat to low-medium and stir continuously while mixture cooks.
  • Cook fudge until temperature reaches soft ball stage (235-238 degrees) this takes about 20 minutes.
  • When it reaches soft ball stage, remove saucepan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.
  • Add chocolate squares and vanilla.
  • Stir until chocolate melts.
  • Add nuts and then pour mixture into a lined large square pan.
  • Cool fudge in refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Gluten-Free Homemade Chai Concentrate

Gluten Free Homemade Chai Concentrate



“Venti 1/2 sweet Chai tea latte with Lactaid.”

That’s my favorite drink from Starbucks during the winter season. These days that drink costs me around $5.00 which is crazy. I love Starbucks but I’m finding the increased prices a bit much.
So what to do?
Well in the fall I made homemade pumpkin spice syrup so that I could make my own pumpkin spice tea lattes. Now I can make my own 1/2 sweet chai lattes in the comfort of my own home, and so can you! ????
This concentrate has very little brown sugar in it but feel free to increase the amount if you have a real sweet tooth.This concentrate makes an excellent Christmas gift as well. Store it in a decorative glass jar.

Gluten Free Homemade Chai Concentrate
Gluten Free Homemade Chai Concentrate

Gluten Free Homemade Chai Concentrate

Gluten Free Homemade Chai Concentrate
Yum! ????

Gluten-Free Homemade Chai Concentrate

Ingredients
  

  • 5 cups water
  • 10 bags of black tea (earl grey, orange pekoe, or english breakfast)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 9 cardamon pods
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 8 corriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
  • Add tea bags, spices, zest and ginger.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in honey and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain concentrate.
  • Discard the spices.
  • Then pour concentrate into glass jars and keep in refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  • Use 1/4 cup of concentrate per large mug.
  • I use a combination of milk, water and concentrate for my chai latte.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Liquer

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer


 
You may be thinking… “Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer? Why would you post a recipe for that?”
A lot of alcohol out there has gluten in it. Did you know vodka has gluten in it? Information varies on how much gluten is in alcohol because of distilling,  without knowing 100%, I personally stay away from the unknowns.
I was introduced to Limocello while we were on a holiday in Sorrento, Italy. It was pre-celiac days so I haven’t had it since. I love lemons as I am sure you have all noticed by now, so I thought I would try making a lemon liquer. Especially with all the Meyer lemons I have on hand.
I purchased some potato vodka and the alcohol adventure began.

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer
Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer
Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer

This made 8 jars of liquer for me. Lots to give out as Christmas cheer!

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Liquer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 litre Chopin potato vodka
  • 15 Meyer lemon peels
  • 2 Orange peels
  • 2 litres 2 % or whole milk
  • 1 tsp good vanilla
  • 8-10 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)*
  • *I used a combination of 2 cups sucanat sugar, 5 cups organic sugar and 3 cups white sugar.Using all white sugar gives lemon liquer a lighter color)

Instructions
 

  • In a large glass bowl, place meyer lemon peels and orange peels.
  • Pour 1 liter of potato vodka over the peels.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Soak for a minimum of 2 days, I did 7.
  • Strain lemon and orange peels, discarding peels and pouring alcohol into a large saucepan/stockpot.
  • Add milk, sugar and vanilla.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  • Watch closely for mixture can boil over quickly.
  • Adjust heat if necessary.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Let lemon liquer cool completely before pouring into bottles.
  • Once cooled pour into 500 ml glass canning jars.
  • Put lids on and store liquer in the freezer.
  • Keep in freezer until ready to use.
  • This made 8 jars of liquer for me.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Gluten-Free Peppermint White Chocolate Bark

Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark


Last week I was in Amaranth Foods here in Calgary and came across a display of Candy canes with a gluten free sign.
Aren’t all candy canes gluten free?
Actually- most are not.
Unfortunately everything you buy that is processed has to have its ingredient label read carefully.
I took home a couple of boxes to try and was very impressed. Not only are these candy canes gluten free, they are vegan and organic.
Tru Sweets Organic Candy Canes are worth checking out.

I went back to Amaranth a couple of days later and picked up 7 boxes. I always try to get extra seasonal ingredients that are gluten free.
So what do you do with 7 boxes of candy canes? Make Peppermint White Chocolate Bark of course!
 

Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark


Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

 

Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Gluten Free Peppermint White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups E. Guittard White Chocolate Wafers (I purchase mine at Williams Sonoma here in Calgary)
  • 7 Tru Sweets Candy Canes

Instructions
 

  • Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small glass bowl over a simmering saucepan, melt white chocolate.
  • Chop candy canes in a nut grinder.
  • Spread melted chocolate evenly paper lined baking pan.
  • Sprinkle ground candy canes evenly over melted white chocolate.
  • Lightly press candy canes into chocolate.
  • Allow peppermint chocolate to set for a couple of hours.
  • Once set cut bark into squares.
  • Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Gluten Free White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd


If you hadn’t realized it yet- I love my Meyer lemons! They are sweet and fabulous.
I could eat this curd straight out of the jar. It’s even better when it is freshly made and is warm and sweetly tart. Top waffles with lemon curd, or use it in my gluten free english scones. I like to slice fresh gluten free pound cake and top with it off with lemon curd.
Many, many possibilities.
 

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd
Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd


Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd

Ingredients
  

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup juice from meyer lemons
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Zest from the Meyer lemons

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
  • Add the lemon juice and switch to using a wooden spoon to stir.
  • Stir continually for 8-12 minutes on low: making sure mixture does not boil.
  • Your curd is done when it thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
  • Next: add butter and stir until butter is melted.
  • Add lemon zest and remove from heat.
  • Store in a jar then place in refrigerator
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten-Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball


With all the entertaining that goes on during the holidays, this is an excellent appetizer that is super easy to make and can be saved in the fridge for later.
It makes a large cheese ball perfect for feeding a large family gathering or used as an appetizer for a party buffet.

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Ingredients
  

  • 2 250g pkg cream cheese
  • 1 container Imperial Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 tbsp gf taco seasoning from Silk Road Merchant
  • 4-5 stalks green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 cups sliced almonds

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor, mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and taco seasoning.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Remove from food processor and in a small bowl- add chopped green onions and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
  • Mix well.
  • Line a small bowl with plastic wrap, allowing extra to spill over the sides.
  • Put cheese mixture into lined bowl and then top off with more plastic wrap.
  • Place bowl into fridge for at least an hour to set.
  • To serve, loosen plastic wrap and flip bowl over onto a plate or platter.
  • Remove bowl.
  • Cover cheese ball with sliced almonds.
  • Then, serve cheese ball with gluten free crackers.
  • I like to use Glutino’s Vegetable crackers as well as their table crackers.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Gluten Free Cheese Ball

Whipped Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies


 
Only 11 more day’s till Christmas, so I’m going to try and get everyone another 12 new recipes. Because of the sudden crunch-time for the next few blogs, I’ve decided to write very little for each blog entry. For those that know me- this is bit of a challange as I can be really long winded. Plus I have to to get majority of my blogs in before the 19th of December for Jamie, who does the editing for my blog, as she is heading off to Hawaii for Christmas with her family. I have to thank her for all that she has done for me so far, I know she panics when I text her and say 22 photos are heading her way. Editing takes a lot of time, and 22 photos just adds to the mix of things.
My son Cam used to edit my blogs, but his business is keeping him very busy. If anyone out there needs a dating coach or is interested in expanding their social network, check out his site.
So lets get started. I want to get you as many gluten free recipes as I can, so other than a “hello” and a quick intro- I will go straight to the recipe!
Who doesn’t love shortbread? It’s part of those childhood memories that we all have and I’m happy to share a gluten free melt-in-your-mouth cookie.

Gluten-Free Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp good vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • (Optional: I added Williams Sonoma Meyer Lemon Peel, Tahitian Vanilla Bean Powder and Rose/Vanilla sugar to some of my cookies.)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • In a stand mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg white.
  • Mix until nice and creamy.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, icing sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum.
  • Make sure it is fully mixed.
  • Then, add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, until it looks like a thick whipped cream.
  • Next, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out dough balls and place on the cookie sheet.
  • Sprinkle some cookies with Meyer lemon peel.
  • Mix in a little vanilla powder into some of the dough and bake in the oven.
  • Sprinkle some cookies with Rose/Vanilla Sugar.
  • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.
  • I keep my shortbread in the refrigerator and find that a cold shortbread cookie tastes the best! 
  • The cold really brings out the buttery smooth flavour and tends to taste less dry like most shortbread recipes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies

Gluten Free Whipped Short Bread Cookies
Enjoy! ????

Christmas Party Baking and Popcorn Recipe!

popcorn

We were heading to Kananaskis country this weekend for my husband’s Christmas party. The last couple of years we drive 1 ½ hour into the mountains and stay the weekend at the Delta Kananaskis Lodge.
It is a great weekend of catching up with my husband’s co-workers and their families, and of course, partying a lot. We always have a great time and this would be my second year going as a gluten-free gal.
On a Friday night, all the families gather in Bowie’s room to eat, drink and chat all night long. And as usual, I wanted to bring something to munch on.
This year I decided on caramel popcorn but with a twist. I was going to add Maldon salt and dark chocolate to the popcorn.
I also decided to make cookies-gluten-free of course, and Bob Mill’s recently came out with a shortbread cookie mix that I decided to try.


xmas


The results for all were amazing, and both I will make again and again.
Here is the recipe for caramel popcorn.

popcorn

Air-Popped Popcorn

My original recipe says 24cups. I normally do not measure the popped popcorn. I have a very large roasting pan, that I fill with the popped corn-and that is my guide.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cup butter
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Maldon sea salt(I get this salt at Williams Sonoma in Calgary)
  • Dark chocolate flakes

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, add the butter, br. sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  • Once it all melts, give a quick stir and then just leave it until it boils. Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and add the baking soda and vanilla. Stir.
  • The mixture will start to double in size so watch closely and pour mixture over the popped corn. Stir the mixture thoroughly.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 250 degrees. Stirring it every 15 minutes.
  • Once out of the oven-continue to stir for it hardens quite easily.
  • I then sprinkle the sea salt over the popcorn and also sprinkled the dark chocolate flakes. Let cool.
  • You can store in whatever container you have. This is a very large recipe so I usually give some away as gifts-thus using small Christmas cellophane bags.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

xmas2


I also made shortbread cookies for the party.
I highly recommend this gluten-free mix-they turned out great and I received many compliments on the taste and texture of these cookies.