How we survived Chanukah – gluten free
I had meant to post this around Chanukah time and I know it was over a month ago. I was just going to file this post away and move on to the next topic, when I realized something. Yes, Chanukah is way behind us, the menorahs have been cleaned, dreidels put away and recipes are back in their place. But, if you are anything like me, you know that life happens, kids need to be cared for and that reality often does not reflect the image portrayed by a blog or a photo. I realized that this information is going to be useful for anyone dealing with family members who are gluten free; the recipes could be used for other holidays or family gatherings; the cookies could even be made for pesach, since they are grain free! Also, if you are anything like me, with a busy bustling family, you just might find yourself scrambling the day before chanukah next year, looking for last minute recipes and ideas and then you will remember that I did do a chanukah post!
In all honesty, we didn’t just survive chanukah but actually ate very well. Yes, we did eat latkes, homemade, gluten free and über yum. I used my mother in law’s original recipe; grated potatoes, grated onions, eggs, salt , pepper and fried in coconut oil ( OK , she didn’t use coconut oil). No added flour or starch and they were crispy too. We also made latkes from purple potatoes for those who are trying to avoid white potatoes, but still love the taste, or just for a burst of color. Another hit with some of the family, were latkes made from combinations of potato, sweet potato, apples and ginger. For those that love the savory and spicy, you can always add some garlic or a little sriracha.
Latkes, are easy enough to make gluten free, but what about doughnuts? Well, yes, we did eat gluten free doughnuts too. Scrumptious, delicious “babycakes” doughnuts. If you didn’t already know, babycakes are gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free, best of all they really do taste good. We have made our own from scratch, doughnuts before, but this was well worth the expense for a special occasion. Even I had one, ok maybe two. Thankfully, we don’t get babycakes that often, although I am sure my kids would be saying “unfortuantely” we don’t get them often enough! They also freeze well in case you have leftovers or in case you want a few leftovers – no-one needs to know. To top it off, since you know, latkes and doughnuts were just not enough for us my daughter baked these awesome grain free and refined sugar free, chanukah shaped linzer cookies. What a treat! She got the recipe from the blog http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2012/06/raspberry-linzer-cookies-vegan-grain-free/
So, in the end we ate all the traditional food and then some. The kids loved chanukah, of course they lit their own menorahs, sang songs (well some did) and played dreidel. But mostly they didn’t feel like they missed out on anything due to being gluten free . They have great memories of family fun and food – mission accomplished!
The truth is, it did take some effort and planning, but frying latkes or even just feeding a family our size takes effort, whether we are gluten free or not. Holidays can be very stressful times for families with food allergies. Even though we adults want to impress upon our kids the spiritual side of our traditions, we want them to have warm, happy, meaningful memories to draw on as they grow up. Somehow, food always plays a major role, no matter what we are celebrating. For a child who has food allergies and has the everyday experience of not being able to eat this and that and only these etc; putting in the effort to make their holiday special has a huge impact. A positive one at that. Iam still hearing from the kids about those amazing doughnuts and cookies and I should probably be planning for Purim already, but as you already guessed, I will probably be scrambling the week before too!!!! What special foods have you made for family members with food allergies? I only addressed gluten free here but would love to hear about other allergy free foods your kids love.