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Gluten Free Holiday Favorites (Quick and Easy, Too!)

Wow...I didn't realize it had been a month since I penned my last Blog post. November flew by, and with the Holidays already in full swing, I know things won't slow down anytime soon!

Picking up on those particular themes of the Holidays -- and being starved for time -- I wanted to share a few easy seasonal favorites, both new and old. These are tried-and-true things you can serve up without spending hours in the kitchen.

CornbreadOver Thanksgiving, I used two gluten free products I'd tried before....Wegmans own gluten free Honey Cornbread Mix and Aleia's Savory Stuffing Mix. I love these two products -- for both their ease of preparation and for their delicious taste. This time, I cooked the cornbread a bit too long (set the timer, wanted to cook it for just an additional 30 seconds, and then forgot about it in the oven for several more minutes!). Fortunately, it was still decent, just a bit dry and crumbly. But providing you set your timer properly and follow the package directions, it turns out great (as it has for me in the past)...nice and moist. You'd never know it was gluten free.

If you're looking for a great "homemade" gluten free cornbread, I've followed this recipe from Paula Deen, just substituting gluten free flour cup-for-cup for regular flour. It's wonderfully easy and wonderfully tasty...although for some reason my kids prefer the Wegmans mix! Hey...makes it easy for me!

Same goes for my favorite stuffing mix. I've made "homemade" versions of gluten free stuffing in the past, most notably one in which you make cornbread, dry it out and cut it into cubes, and add seasonings, broth, carrots, celery, onions, and sausage. I've always liked it, but it's a bit time consuming. At some point in the past couple years I had tried and liked Aleia's Savory Stuffing Mix, so I was thrilled when I spotted an end-cap display at my local Giant grocery store in early November. I decided to make it for Thanksgiving, and, once again, it turned out great. My GF mother-in-law liked it so much she picked up a box at our Giant to take home with her. I like my stuffing dry, not soggy, so I bake it a bit longer than called for in the directions, and I remove the tin foil, as instructed, for the last phase of baking. Cooking it is really simple. You just sauté diced onions, carrots, and celery in butter, add GF chicken broth, and pour over the stuffing mix. Put the mixture into a greased casserole, and viola!...it's ready for the oven. The stuffing makes a great companion for any type of poultry dish at any time of the year. (I'm hoping they might still have a box or two left at my Giant so I can stock up!)

Favorite GF holiday thingsI'm not sure whether these are NEW gluten free products, but I just discovered them this year...Mi-Del's Candy Cane Cremes, a gluten-free version of peppermint "Oreos" that brought a welcome smile to my Celiac son's face. And I have yet to unveil the other gluten free treat I picked up for him...Glutino's peppermint yogurt covered pretzels, another holiday favorite that is typically only found in full-gluten versions! I also love the fact that both of these peppermint products are free of artificial colors and flavors

Both of these snacks are sure to be hits with your gluten free kids and are easy treats to put out at a holiday gathering. If you're looking for a fun gluten free treat to make with your kids, I'd suggest the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe found in the Simply Gluten Free Holiday Favorites magazine available on newsstands nationwide and online (and the recipe in its entirety can be found here).

CookiesMy son and I made these a few weeks ago, and they were a cinch to make and absolutely delish! They're not too sweet (and I'd even recommend coating the cookies in powdered sugar alone, as opposed to the sugar/powdered sugar blend called for in the recipe).  These cookies make a really cute holiday hostess gift if  boxed up with a pretty bow. The recipe makes 36 small cookies. We ate some and exercised discipline by freezing the rest for later in the Holiday season!

I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite gluten free holiday treats, whether store-bought/ready to eat, reliable mixes, or made-from-scratch recipes. Bring 'em on!