Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce

Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce

 

I hope everyone had a relaxing and grateful Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving has been a very special one for my family and I. Last year, my aunt and uncle were in a life-threatening car accident caused by a truck running a red light. We spent the holidays in the hospital not knowing if they would make it to next year. They are both doing much better and are both home now. They will continue to make strides towards reclaiming their lives back and starting with having a traditional holiday season will help.

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My Aunt and Uncle at the Turkey Trot this year!

We take the holidays VERY seriously in our house. There is no Christmas music until desert time on Thanksgiving. Everyone has their specific dishes that they have to make. (One year my mom put snow peas in the green bean casserole.  We won’t let her live that one down) My cousin and I make ridiculous turkey hands for placemats. There is a lot of yelling (We’re Italian and we talk really loud) but most of all; it’s enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food.

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This was the nicest and most appropriate one that was made

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My cousins and brothers 🙂 

I made a yummy Apple and Pear Cranberry Sauce this year (someone accidently forgot the regular cranberry sauce at home). My aunt only had one bag of cranberries so I searched in the refrigerator and found a pear and some apples. I thought, why not?  It ended up being amazing and I will continue to use this recipe from now on!

Cranberry Sauce

What you need:

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 pear, peeled and chopped

1 bag of whole cranberries

1/2 cup of fresh apple cider

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup of water

1 1/2 cups of sugar

What to do:

In a saucepan, sauté the apple and pear with a splash of apple cider. In a separate saucepan, add the apple cider, orange juice, water, and sugar. On low heat, bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. (You don’t want the sugar to burn). Once the apple and pear mixture is soft, add the cranberries and your liquid mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool before putting it in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

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My mom, aunt, grandma, and cousin 

We should not wait one day a year to express our gratitude and thankfulness for the wonderful things we have in our lives. We should start everyday by counting our blessings and expressing gratitude in everything we do. Xoxo

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Holiday Tips and Hints

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These cute salt and pepper shakers are our favorite Thanksgiving “friends”.  It isn’t Thanksgiving until they are on the table!

The Holidays can be a hard time for someone when they have food allergies, Celiacs, or food intolerances. Going to parties or having Holiday dinner can be a scary experience. These are my tips to surviving the Holidays (from my own crazy experiences).

  1. If you know the host of the party, ask what kinds of foods are being brought or made.

This way, you can check to see what ingredients the dish is being made with.

  1. If you are really close to the person, they can make sure there are foods that are safe for you to eat.

My friends and family are pretty great at making sure there is something I can eat when I go over. It might not be the same delicious food they are eating, but I know I won’t get sick eating it. If they aren’t sure, they will ask if it is okay or give me the ingredients.

  1. Bring your own food.

I constantly bring my own food to places or have snacks in my bag. I like to go out after work with friends which results in staying out later (like past dinner). So I typically do not eat when I go out with friends (although I have been getting better) but I will always try to have some sort of snack in my bag that I can eat. I also always arrive to my friends or family with a bag full of safe foods.

  1. When you make food at someone else’s home, make sure you bring your own containers and cooking utensils.

Gluten is not easily washed away from surfaces, pans, bowls, utensils (especially wooden ones) and cutting boards. If you share a kitchen with someone who does not have food allergies or Celiacs, you should probably have two sets of everything. If you can’t, line items with parchment paper or foil, stir with metal spoons not wooden, and rewash anything before you use it. You can never be too safe with cross-contamination.

  1. When in doubt, don’t eat it, no matter how good it looks!

Is it worth it? Probably not, so just don’t do it.

  1. Try some of my recipes for your next party or celebration!

I have my amazing Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread and Mini Apple Pies.  Tomorrow I will post my delicious roasted seasonal vegetables! Perfect for any occasion!

 

This Thanksgiving I will be going to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I will have a separate turkey breast (the big one gets stuffed), gluten free stuffing (I will share the results/recipe in a later post), a veggie, and I will be making some sort of gluten free pie which I will post later on.

 

Stay tuned for my Traditional Italian Christmas Gluten Free Posting!

Mini Gluten Free Vegan Apple Pies

Mini Gluten Free Vegan Apple Pies

Apple Pie 5

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and all I can think about is the delicious food I can’t eat… until now. I have been testing recipes nonstop to try and come up with gluten free alternatives to my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. So over the next few days, I will continue to post my favorites. Yesterday, I posted my amazing Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread and today I have my Gluten Free Vegan Mini Apple Pies. Hmmm, I wonder what I might post tomorrow? Anyway, these mini pies pack huge amount of flavor. I am definitely not missing anything in these pies.

 

What You Need (Pie Crust):

1 1/4 Cups of gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)

6 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, chopped into cubes

4-6 Tablespoons Ice Cold Water

pinch of salt

 

What To Do:

Pie Crust 1

In a food processor, add the flour and the butter. Pulse for a couple of seconds and slowly add the water, going 1 tablespoon at a time. You want the mixture to look like little piles of dough (check out the picture). If it becomes too watery, add some more flour. You do not need to use all 6 tablespoons of water!!

Pie Crust 2

 

Sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and put the dough on top. Quickly knead a few times and put into a ball. You do not want the butter to start melting.

Pie Crust 3

On a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, place the dough in the center. Start rolling out the dough until it is thin (about 1/4 to 1/8 inch). Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Pie Crust 4

You can either use this dough as a regular pie or continue on to my mini pie recipe…

 

After the dough it chilled, cut the dough into 8 equalish pieces. It doesn’t have to look perfect here! Take cupcake tins and spray coconut oil so the crust doesn’t stick. Take a piece of dough and put it into the tin. Now the fun part! Use your fingers to press the dough all around so it covers the whole cup. Fold over to make a mini crust around the top.

What You Need (Apple Pie):

I large Apple, peeled and diced into small pieces

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon White Sugar

1/2 Tablespoon Gluten Free Flour (Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)

2 Teaspoons Cinnamon (I love cinnamon but you can do 1 Teaspoon if you like)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/2 Tablespoon Vegan Butter

Crumb Mixture:

1/2 Tablespoon Vegan Butter, melted

1/4 Cup Certified Gluten Free Oats

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Gluten Free Flour

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

What To Do:

Mix all the ingredients for the apple pie filling except the butter.

Apple Pie 2

In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the crumb mixture.

Fill your premade dough cups with the apple pie filling. Fill them to about the top of the crust. Take the vegan butter that you had from the pie mixture and cut off a piece and place on top of each apple cup.

Take a large spoonful of the crumb mixture and sprinkle on top. Try to cover the whole top as you would a pie crust.

Apple Pie 3

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown and the apples are soft.

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Try to let it cool before you dig in. It was really hard to resist between the delicious smells of the apples and cinnamon or how yummy these looked.

Apple Pie 7

Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread

Gluten Free, Vegan, Dairy Free Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread 1

I love anything with pumpkin! It reminds me of the Fall season and the crisp, colorful leaves falling down.   Pumpkin has a lot of surprising health benefits. It helps protects our eye sight with more than 200% of your daily intake of Vitamin A and is rich in beta-carotene. The same carotenoids that protect our eyes also protect our skin. It fights against those free-radicals and puts up an invisible shield to prevent them. The most surprising fact about pumpkins is that it contains more potassium than a banana.  I am extremely allergic to bananas and they were one of my favorite fruits. Knowing that if I eat more pumpkin, I can get enough potassium into my lifestyle is a win for me! You can substitute bananas into almost any recipe (baking wise) and I think I will start experimenting more with pumpkin!

Pumpkin Bread 3

What you need:

2 cups gluten free flour (I like using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (I like to get a BPA free can)

1/4 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup fresh apple cider

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, and oats to sprinkle on top

Pumpkin Bread 4

What to do:

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and the spices.

In a separate bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, and apple cider. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Pumpkin Bread 5

Pour batter into a loaf pan (9×5 works) sprayed with coconut oil. Add a thin layer of brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, and oats. Bake at 350 degrees 45-55 minutes. (I checked mine at 40 and 45 minutes and it was still a little gooey).

Pumpkin Bread 6

Can I just say that this Pumpkin Bread was amazing and it might be the best pumpkin bread that I have ever had! I can’t wait to make this for the holidays and share with my family and friends.

Pumpkin Bread 2

Asparagus

asparagus

I love asparagus. Yes, I know, I do love a lot of things. With all my food allergies, it is often hard to eat so when I find foods I can eat, I tend to love all (well most) of them. One of my favorite ways to make asparagus is to quickly sauté it with some olive oil, garlic, and horseradish.

Asparagus is extremely healthy for us. It doesn’t take a doctor to tell us that but it has a lot of important properties that aid in fighting free radicals and breaking down carcinogens. Asparagus can help in the prevention of certain cancers, which is a powerful statement.   That is why food is the best preventative medicine we have. I know as you are reading this, your eyes might be rolling. I understand that eating just asparagus is not going to keep you healthy but it is about a lifestyle that you follow. Adding this veggie in your lifestyle is important for people who struggle with autoimmune diseases such as Celiacs or Inflammatory Disease. Eating asparagus helps our brains fight cognitive decline. It is full folate that works with vitamin B-12 to help prevent cognitive weakening. I know that I occasionally (more often recently) have a lot of brain fog. It is a side effect of the Celiacs and it goes beyond forgetting where you put your keys. You forget people’s names while talking to them or stopping mid-sentence forgetting what you were talking about and becoming disoriented. A lot of times, people will experience more brain fog when they have been exposed to gluten. For some of us, it is a daily occurrence even when gluten has been completely eliminated.   It is scary. It is not fun. So if eating asparagus can help my brain function better, I will eat it. I will try anything to get better and function like a “normal” person. (I use the term normal loosely because realistically who is normal? )

What you need:

A bunch of asparagus

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 Tablespoon fresh, minced horseradish (I found this at my local farm)

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

What to do:

Heat a skillet on medium heat and drizzle the bottom with olive oil.

While the pan is heating, cut the bottoms of the asparagus off.

Add them to the pan with the garlic and horseradish.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like to cook them quickly, turning a couple of times so the asparagus maintains a crunchy bite. You can cook them longer, it depends on your preference.