Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Allergies and Holidays? It's All Gravy, Baby!

With a little tweaking and creativity, holidays dinners are not quite as stressful as we first anticipated.  It gets easier every year! 

My boys have anaphylatic egg allergies so obviously egg nog is not a holiday favorite in our home .(Well, at least not until they are safely tucked in bed for the night- shhh.  I knew my parents must have had fun desserts and played once I went to bed as a kid!)  But, I noticed my oldest felt excluded when we went to parties and his friends would talk about how yummy it tastes.  It completely breaks my heart when they feel they are not able to participate equally, so I went on a quest to find an allergy free holiday drink that would be a treat for them as well.  I found Rice Nog.  It cannot really be compared to Egg Nog in my opinion, but it is a holiday inspired cinnamon/nutmeg flavored yummy treat that my boys look forward to every year now.  I tell them it is "Reindeer Milk" and they love it!  I have even been known to wrap the box and add a picture of reindeer clip art to the front to make it an extra special treat that is just for them!

Dairy allergy?  Let's start with the mashed potatoes!  We have learned to boil our potatoes in beef broth.  If you have wheat allergies, be sure to read the ingredients carefully as many brands of beef broth contain gluten.  Boiling the potatoes in beef broth allows you to add flavor where the creamy milk and sour cream have been eliminated.  (If you are vegetarians or vegans I am confident that vegetable broth would be great too).  After boiling the potatoes we drain most of the broth and set it aside.  We add plain (not vanilla) hemp milk and a dairy free butter and mix with a mixer to thin it out a little more we will add a little of the beef broth we originally boiled it in.  We also have learned to not be shy with spices.  Add onion powder,a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper.  Delicious!

Wheat/ Gluten free?  Gravies are so very easy to make safe!!!  Our favorite thing to use as a thickening agent is tapioca starch.  Tapioca starch is very thin and blends into the gravy easily.  This is also a great agent for soups and stew thickening too.

Craving Stuffing?  I have a recipe for you!  It is so good it deserves its own post, so I will keep you waiting and wanting for more!

Need to replace eggs in a recipe?  My all time favorite egg replacer is ground flax seeds.  I use 1Tbsp of ground flax seed plus 3 Tbsps of warm water to equal 1 egg.  I usually will mix it and set it to the side for 15 minutes to be a thick goo. It adds a little nutty flavor to most recipes.

Our family has been pretty accommodating and understanding about us not having deviled eggs, pecan pies, and other anaphylatic Thanksgiving favorites at the table.  We have been quite blessed with our families' understanding and support.  It required a lot of education and a few times I needed to stomp my feet and be demanding to get some attention- but the end result is everyone understands we want this to be a relaxing environment where we want to know the children are safe and we do not need to be on hypervigilent alert at all times. 

Do you have any wonderful holiday traditions?

Any recipe questions?

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