The holiday season is in full swing and a large part of that holiday joy is sharing meals with loved ones. For those of us creating the healthiest life possible, the holidays can take a little negotiating to make sure family, food, and finances don’t cause undo stress. I’m not the expert on family matters or finances, but when it comes to food, here are a few easy strategies to help you continue to flourish, especially on Thanksgiving.
One of the biggest food challenges of the modern day is the gluten free diet. Those little malicious molecules seem to be lurking in all our holiday favorites, but we know the profound benefits we experience when we are diligent in our avoidance. Luckily, we can have it all. No need to compromise on your nourishment or your deliciousness. As “Gluten-Free” has mashed its way into the mainstream, it’s easier than ever to find substitutes for your old favorites or relish in new recipes to please the palates of the amateur and aficionado alike.
Attending a party or event?
- Communicate your needs to the host: This could simply be giving your host a heads up that you will be bringing your own food, or bringing a dish to share. You host may be open to manipulating their menu as well. Communication is key to creating healthy options for yourself.
- BYOA: bring your own anything. Make a delicious healthy recipe to bring with you to a party, even if it’s not a potluck. Sharing homemade food promotes both health and happiness as we all know the secret ingredient is love.
- Host: Throw your own soirée or intimate dinner party and show your loved ones how delicious “healthy” really is. Create your own menu or ask your guests to follow gluten-free guidelines that you can send them in advance.
It may seem redundant, but remembering that you have a choice in any of the above scenarios gives you back your power to stay on track. Gluten-Free awareness is so prevalent these days even Food & Wine magazine has a gluten-free Thanksgiving menu. Check it out here for fantastic recipes (warning: mouth watering ahead): http://www.foodandwine.com/ultimate-thanksgiving/gluten-free-thanksgiving
Don’t feel like cooking?
La Farfalla Café in Escondido will be featuring traditional Thanksgiving fare without the gluten on Thanksgiving Day. Reservations are required. http://www.lafarfallacafe.com/
Looking for an in-between option? Grab ‘n go: Whole Foods has ample options in the prepared foods section and gluten-free packaged options to grab on your way to your next holiday party.
My Favorite Holiday Recipe:
It’s a dessert of course!
Chilled Double Chocolate Torte: The No-Bake Version
Crust from Healthy Hoggin. Chocolate avocado mousse from my Chilled Double Chocolate Torte.
No Bake Chocolate Crust:
- 2 cups pecans
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (other light taste oil may work)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Chocolate Avocado Mousse:
- 2 cups avocado flesh (approx 3 small avocados), pitted and scooped out
- 1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or other nut or sunflower seed butter)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp chocolate chips, melted
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
- Crust: Oil a 7-10 inch springform pan and line it with a circle of parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until crumbly. Be careful not to over process them as you still want them a bit chunky. Now add in the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse until just mixed. Scoop mixture onto prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly with slightly wet fingers or a spatula. Pop into freezer to set while making the mousse.
- Chocolate mousse: Place all mousse ingredients (except chocolate chips) into food processor. Process until smooth. In a small bowl, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave and scoop melted chocolate into food processor mixture. Process until smooth.
- Remove crust from freezer and scoop this mousse on top of crust. Smooth out as much as possible and then place in the freezer for 2 hours to firm.
- Once firm, remove from freezer and allow to sit on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before serving chilled.
- Place leftover torte in the freezer wrapped and placed in a seal container.
Note that this torte should be served chilled as it gets soft at room temperature.