Holidays can be a challenge when you have diet restrictions. There are lots of get togethers that you don’t want to miss but being there and eating there can be two completely different things. People who don’t live with diet restrictions may have good intentions, but don’t understand how easy it is for food to get contaminated with gluten or dairy due to their lack of familiarity with all the ingredients that can contain the offending proteins. They usually don’t consider the issues of cross contamination that can occur in a kitchen where gluten or dairy containing ingredients are frequently used. Substituting a gluten free or dairy free ingredient may cause unexpected and undesirable results in a recipe for someone unfamiliar with it. More than once I have had a well meaning person tell me, “There’s no wheat in it. It’s made from flour.”
Trying to cook a traditional holiday meal for a large crowd with Grandma’s dressing recipe and Aunt Minnie’s green bean casserole is an exercise in frustration for a “normal” holiday meal. Throw in the added complexity of gluten and dairy free and it can become a kerfluffle really fast. When people go out of their way to try to cook for my diet, I feel duty bound to eat what they cooked. So I end up eating one tiny spoonful of something they labored over for hours. Feelings get hurt and I may or may not get really sick. If I do get sick, then every one feels bad for that. If I cook something huge, like the gluten free version of my Grandma’s orange date cake, some people won’t eat it because it’s not the real thing or they think they have to leave it all for me. Even for my get togethers with my family, who have dealt with my gluten free diet many times over the years, I finally just said, “Don’t try to cook for me. I will bring my own.” I did this at work too. It just made life easier for everyone.
For our next holiday meal, I will bring something from home that is holiday worthy and join in the festivities without worrying about what I am eating and if I will be sick the rest of the holiday. I keep a supply of cooked meats and broth in my freezer and my husband always smokes a turkey right before Thanksgiving. Add a baked sweet potato and a veggie or two with a salad and I am happy. Attitude is important here too. I could stir up a fuss about not being able to eat what everyone else does but I choose not too. The holidays, for me, are about being with family I only get to see once or twice a year. I choose to focus on those relationships and make the most of the time I have with them. I choose not to create a ruckus over what is on the menu. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor detail.
This recipe is for a quick and simple snack sized cake (8” by 8”) that has only 8 ingredients, most of which you probably have in your cabinet if you do much gluten and dairy free cooking. Full of cranberries and pecans, it has the flavor of the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday and will definitely be something I take with me to the next holiday meal. I have one in the oven as I write this and am taking it to my sister’s for Christmas. It is moist and tasty and one of my husband’s and my favorites. He does not have to stay gluten free, though he benefits from dairy free, and it’s still one of his favorite cakes. The small size means I don’t have a whole huge cake to eat, which is good if you have problems, like we do, with everything settling to the bottom. It’s great with coffee and you can dress it up a little with a coconut milk whipped topping if you want something a little fancier. We aren’t big fans of icing, just more sugar we don’t need and messier if you like to eat your cake off a napkin, so I rarely put icing on anything. I like it because it gives me one more recipe for fresh cranberries, which I love, or I can buy a few extra bags of cranberries, throw them in the freezer and have cake throughout the year. It works just as well with whole, frozen cranberries as it does with fresh. I have not yet tried dried cranberries, but I will.
Below are a few things you will need that may not be in your pantry. Click on the link to order on Amazon. The brands listed are ones I have used without problems, but when it comes to food sensitivities, everyone is different, so be careful if you are trying something for the first time.:
Hi there! I am Jeannine.
I believe that a holistic and balanced approach to life is a must when living with an autoimmune disease. I share gluten and dairy free recipes and all the other things I do here. I just like doing stuff and making stuff.
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