Friday, November 23, 2012

Welcome to the Holidays!

Well, it's begun.  The insanity everyone calls the "holiday season".   We celebrate Christmas around here, and typically Christmas BEGINS on the 24th and goes until January 8.   It's not unusual for our tree to go up around the 20th and just when the radio quits playing carols, that's when our festivities begin with big meals, presents, visitors and the festive mood of family and celebration.  Unfortunately for us, the rest of the world goes back to reality on Jan. 2 (sometimes on Dec. 26) and then we look crazy still wearing our red and green and singing "Silent Night."   This makes for a strenuous relationship with the outside world.  So, more and more every year our little Christmas only lasts a few days.  Some people really get into it and do gifts every day, some celebrate on the day then again on the 8th.  I think a lot of people just wish it would go away by the time the 25th rolls around.   We used to do the grandparents one night, other grand parents another night, our family another night, friends another night, you get the idea.  Nowadays, it kinda fades into the past once we hit Dec. 25 at 1:00 p.m.

One big tradition that I've always had is Monkey Bread for Christmas morning breakfast.   I've been making Monkey Bread for about 15 years.   Imagine my absolute crushing disappointment to not be able to eat it.  The first year I couldn't have it, I refused to cook anyway, because I was so emo about not being able to eat anything I loved.  Well, that did NOT fly with the kids.  They wanted their classic Christmas breakfast.  The next year I broke down and made the whole thing (thinking, falsely that now I had things in my arsenal and I'd be fine with it.)  Wrong.  I ate quite a few bites of it.  And then got sick.  However, it was really good!  While it lasted.....

Do I have a great gluten free alternative to Monkey Bread?  Not yet.  You just cannot replicate the chewy, gooey, smooth texture of wheat and sugar in a sugar free, wheat free dish.  It just (mostly) doesn't happen.
However.  I do have something that IS delicious, sweet, gluten and added sugar free that perhaps may become a NEW Christmas tradition breakfast!  This dish does have fruit in it, and if you're avoiding that because of natural sugars then, I'll have more coming up that you can try.  So, don't panic yet.  But for  now, we're going to be using pears.

I LOVE pears.  I made pear everything one year, pear lemon, pear ginger, pear chocolate (YUM), pear orange, pear cinnamon, pear apple cranberry.  You name it, I made it.  This particular recipe I did come up with on my own however, if you find that your Aunt Martha made this in 1967, please don't call me and say I must have broken into her house and stole the family recipe.  I wish I was that good.  No, this came to me in a pear craving.  That's it.  Unless Aunt Martha answered my telepathic cravings with her recipe in my head... well then I got it from her.

Ginger Pear Cobbler

5-6  ripe pears chopped (not brown though)
28g (1oz) grated fresh ginger **NOTE
pinch salt
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
4g (1/8 oz) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp NuNaturals Stevia or 10-14 drops liquid (or NONE at all if your pears are sweet!)
2 tBsp lemon juice
26g (1oz) chopped almonds
26g (1oz) craisins (optional - remember regular grocery store adds sugar, Wholefoods has a kind with no added sugar)

(yes I see the disparity of the 28g/1oz of ginger and 26g/1oz almonds - this kinda gets my argument of we need to go back to metric but what do I know.  I like ginger, I eeked a bit more into the mix.)   =)

56g (2oz) crushed almonds
1tsp salt
56g (2oz) sugar free maple syrup
56g (2oz) room temp or softened butter (or coconut oil)

**Note:  something I learned the hard way.  Fresh ginger is kinda solid feeling, like a carrot.  Older... aging ginger can get soft.  I have nothing G rated to compare that too... OH like a twizzler!  For a bunch of people who are eating sugar free, I'll be really impressed if you remember what twizzlers feel like.  LET'S just say, more like the texture of an aging tomato?  I'm not doing any better huh?  Either way... OLD ginger is HOT, and very juicy, it tastes great, however, fresh works better here.  It's sweeter, easier to grate and has very good flavor without being overpowering.

***Note:  Some people find they react to oats.  If you make sure you are using gluten free oats, sometimes you will find you can tolerate them... sometimes not.   Either way, if you are able to tolerate oats, make sure you get gluten free.  They are farmed and processed differently as to avoid wheat cross contamination.  I ALWAYS advocate for GMO free and organic.


First, chop your pears into 1/2 to 1" cubes into a bowl and pour the lemon juice over them, fold gently.  Add everything else (not topping,) fold that in as well.

Now.  Here is where you have a VERY, VERY difficult choice.  IF you are a raw foodie and you want to eat this can.... follow the directions for raw.  If you want this warm and bubbly and crispy on top out of the oven... follow the regular directions.  Really, it depends on if you can wait and let it set all night and risk waking up to find an empty pan in your fridge, or if you want to pull it out of the oven and turn around to get a plate and find the pan empty and still piping hot.  Your call.

Preheat your oven to 425f.  Butter a glass 8x8 pan and pour in your pear mixture.  In separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients for topping, then add in the wet ingredients, mixing with a fork until crumbly (I recommend using butter here.)  Crumble the mixture over your pears.  Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.  Try to let it cool at least 5 minutes, serve with heavy cream poured over the top.

Pour your pear mixture into a glass 8x8 pan.  In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients for topping, then add wet ingredients (coconut oil works here but not quite as flavorful as butter.)   Mix with a fork till crumbly.  Pour over the pear mixture and PRESS together (not too much, don't squish the pears.)  However, you do want to create kind of a cookie 'cover' for the pears.   Place in refrigerator covered to let flavors meld!  Chill overnight or until you can't stand it any longer.  Eat from pan.  I mean... serves about 8 - if you're super generous....
(you can still pour cream over it, it's delicious!)

Here's the real problem.  Because the cobbler was hot out of the oven... I got pictures of it.  The other one.. well, it didn't last long enough to get a picture.  In fact... the topping never met the pears - or the refrigerator for that matter.  We just ate it from the bowl with a spoon and then a spoonful of pears,  spoonful of topping, spoonful of pears, spoonful of topping.... well, you get the idea.  It didn't last.

So, here's hoping you can blow the kids out of the water with this healthy and delicious breakfast!  Or just hide in your room with 2 bowls and a spoon and lock the door.


Here's all the stages!  I was able to chase my kids away long enough to get decent pics!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS and enjoy!

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