Friday, November 25, 2011

Chips and Dip

Since yesterday was Thanksgiving and since mostly there's not a whole lot of people benefiting from my no recipes SFGF blog...then I didn't post anything yesterday but I came away with quite a bit of insight and some topics for today.

First of all, Thanksgiving is about the worst forms of selfishness and gluttony. Hee hee. Ok so that was a harsh start. Secondly, there is very few "traditional" foods for Americans to enjoy if they are SFGF. Lastly, I am going to post a recipe which was a huge hit but I'm still working out conversion kinks.

Let's start with the first topic. Thanksgiving was traditionally a time that we would recognize our good fortune (specifically as it had to do with coming to the 'new world' and shaking the cloak of tyranny off our backs. I wasn't there when this happened but I'm told that's the basic principle. Current day we have an abundance of everything - and it's great we have all we need but at some point it becomes a bit ridiculous. Especially when the papers and news and neighbors can complain and whine about how things are tight and money is inflated and doesn't buy what it used to - but you'll still see them watch their fancy 55 inch LED TV and buy an over priced Christmas tree with all the lights and trimmings. Holidays are supposed to be for bringing family and friends together over a special meal they all share or contribute to while spending time in a relaxed setting and enjoying each other's company. If there is ONE single person ever in the history of the world that would describe the holidays as "relaxing, enjoying family, and sharing" I'd like to meet them. Most people are hurried, rushed, panicked, stressed, taking on too much at a time all while muttering about "what is mother going to say this year in front of the kids?" It's anything but relaxing. Then you either show up at someone's house for dinner, or you throw a dinner yourself and there's two or three days worth of prep, cleaning, cooking, and work. Everyone leaves and you collapse, spent and exhausted. Another proof of gluttony - and a focus on the overabundance and excess. Like being mowed down in Walmart for today's hottest deal, or two people fighting over the last turkey at the grocery store. Don't we have something better to focus on than hullabaloo? This isn't typical for everyone - in my house there tends to be a lot of company in the kitchen - but good luck getting a decent comment or kind word. It's like a bevy of maids all bustling to do their chores. I have enough work for me, get out of my way so I can be done.

Here is a list of this year's T-day meal (I had the opportunity to go elsewhere and decided that was for the best for everyone involved)

white dinner rolls
white mashed potatoes
green bean casserole (with the fried onions on top)
cranberry sauce (canned)
pumpkin pie
sweet potato pie
ice cream
whipped cream

I'm fairly sure I heard a collective groan from all the people I can imagine reading this blog who are GFSF and read that menu.
Basically, it's starch, gluten and sugar. In a nutshell. At first I was thinking, ok I can work with that, I can have turkey (if it's not stuffed) and maybe umm ... water? There was a ton of food; an overabundance if you will. There was enough for about five families and there were three present. People eat until they are sick and can't eat anymore. There's relatively little self control and even more complaints (yep yours truly) about how things were not what they wanted. Well... something had to give. Complaining doesn't change anything and being upset about it isn't exactly going to contribute to the family get together atmosphere we all crave from holiday artwork.

The day before, I decided what I wanted to eat which equaled what I would cook and bring with me. And I know you're thinking, "WTF, they invited you, can't they provide a decent meal? HOSPITALITY AND ALL!!" Oh, well, yes of course! I would think a caring or thoughtful person would definitely take some considerations and do their best to be helpful or provide something for you. But not everyone can be that way, or thinks that way and especially not everyone is as well informed of your condition as you are, so there has to be some leeway. It may very well be a learning experience for people around you or even a conversation starter - nothing brings people together like a meal, and being creative with your meals can really be a positive thing.

After brainstorming, the menu then included:

Spinach artichoke dip
deviled eggs
sauteed green beans
upside down sweet potato pie
pumpkin pie

And the panic again! Wait! Lots of those things are loaded with sugar! Nope. I found some spectacular sugar free recipes and definitely, they not only came out delicious, but no crash at the end! I was the only one awake after dinner!

The pies were to die for, and sugar free to boot. The sweet potato, I made one for me and one for everyone else with regular sugar and it was phenomenal. No more worries about what to eat at a family meal, you have ideas above! Keep that in mind for upcoming Christmas festivities. None of these are very difficult and I'll include their recipes as we go.

Here's the first! (bear with me while I try to deal with conversions, I am still relying on my cup for the most part!)

Upside down sweet potato pie

1-2 large (cooked, peel removed) sweet potatoes - mashed
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
3 oz. sugar free maple syrup (plus a little extra if needed)
1/4 oz ground nutmeg
1/4 oz ground cloves
1/2 oz ground cinnamon
1/4 oz ground ginger (powder form works best)
1/3 oz vanilla
10 oz crushed/chopped walnuts OR pecans
2 oz butter - melted
3 oz dried cranberries (OPTIONAL! these typically have sugar added to them)

In a bowl mix sweet potatoes, cream, 1 oz syrup, all the spices (reserve 1/2 oz of cinnamon aside) vanilla and mix well. I used a mixer for this but hand mixing works fine. Pour into a well buttered baking dish. In another bowl, mix nuts, rest of cinnamon and the rest of the syrup, (cranberries if you like) and butter until it will form a ball. If you find it's not sticky enough, add a little more syrup. Your nut mixture should be able to be formed, but somewhat sticky. Crumble this evenly over the top of your sweet potato mixture and bake until brown and crispy on top, 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

This is an original recipe which I came up with at 9pm the night before Thanksgiving. That's not to say it doesn't exist elsewhere or someone else made it first. I just didn't do any kind of internet searches so I have no reference for my idea other than I wanted sweet potato pie, LOL.


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Did you enjoy one of the recipes or just killing time at work on a Friday? Let everyone know! Also, if you modified a recipe with great success - post it! We love new ideas and delicious foods! Keep it clean and family friendly!