Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Whining and Wishes

*Warning: Some whining may occur in the following passages.  This author apologizes that you have to listen to it, but would like to point out that it is Christmas and she feels like maybe, just this once, she is justified- but it gets better in the end, she promises!*

Christmas is going to be rough this year, but not for the reasons one normally considers.  Sure, the economy is in the tank and no one has any money.  Yes, it is impossible to plan everything so you can fit it all in.  Those two thing are frustrating, true.  However, the thing that is really bringing me down this year is the fact that I can’t eat hardly any of my favorite holiday treats.   Aunt Shirley’s fudge?  Nope.  Hot chocolate by the tree with my boys?  Nu-uh.  Egg Nog?  Not the real stuff- just that soy crap that I pretend is almost as good as the real thing (but I know better.  Just don’t tell the Ranger…)  Aunt Helen’s pineapple upside down cake?  *sigh* No.  Any of the ridiculously good treats for the Tumilty Christmas Eve smorgasboard?  No… 

The thing that is really, really getting me down this year is my inability to eat my in-law’s Christmas Eve dinner.  It used to be my favorite meal of the entire year.  A while back, they decided that the old tradition of having Beef Heart for Christmas wasn’t really working for the younger generation anymore, so we updated it.  Now it is an amalgamation of all of my favorite foods.  It starts with a huge bowl of shrimp cocktail- did you know that commercially purchased cocktail sauce often has wheat in it?  Me either until I ate some one day.  Grr.  Then we move on to the Caesar Salad, made by secret family recipe.  I dream of that salad.  I think it is/was my favorite food on this entire planet.  However, with eggs, bready croutons and parmesan cheese taken out of the picture, I am left with lettuce.  Then we move onto the main course- steaks!  Thank goodness for good, old-fashioned plain beef!  And potatoes- with butter and cheese and sour cream!  Oh, well… um…. So we move onto asparagus wrapped in swiss cheese and bacon (hey, I said it was a tradition.  I didn’t say it was healthy!  ;)  And then my second favorite food in the world- Spinach ala Lloyd.  It is spinach and cracker and cheesy goodness that my father in law invented.  Now I can have… spinach.  And then we move onto dessert.  My father in law makes the absolute best candy in this world.  Fudge, caramels, Sugar Roll (it may put you into a sugar coma, but it’s soooo worth it!) and homemade turtles.  I’m drooling just thinking about it!  Now I can have…. Um... well… the pecans if they aren’t put in the turtles.  Seriously?  My life sucks sometimes!

Tired of my whining yet?  Yeah, me too.  Some things are just gone and there is nothing I can do about it.  Others take some finagling, but I can get them back if I really try.  The family secret Caesar salad?  That’s in the gone forever pile.  But, last year they did find a dressing recipe that was Val-friendly and it was good- really good!  I do miss the croutons and cheese, but at least I get a salad.  The shrimp cocktail?  Easy enough to make my own cocktail sauce so that’s a go!  Steaks?  No change needed there.  Thank goodness I never became a vegetarian!  Potatoes?  If I bring my sour cream and use the vegan butter I’m still good there.  Asparagus?  Gotta lay off the cheese, but bacon is delicious.  Spinach ala Lloyd?  Nope.  Gone forever.  The crackers that I can have just don’t do it, and it just isn’t the same without the cheese.  I do miss that…. 

And the candy.  Oh, the candy.  No more candy.  Even if it could be made with dairy-free milk and vegan butter it just wouldn’t be the same.  The vegan butter just doesn’t have the creaminess that real butter has.  And vegan evaporated milk is essentially non-existent.  Bye-bye candy. 

But- BUT!  Yes!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.  And someone invented a DF/GF Toffee recipe that soothes my candy-starved soul.  And one of my favorite scouts introduced me to the best allergen-friendly chocolate I’ve ever had.  I won’t admit to eating the chocolate chips by the handful- because you can’t prove it!  Enjoy Life chocolate chips are the absolute bomb- and they have them at Meijer and Target.  Normal places!  And when you use them to make this recipe for Gluten and Dairy Free Toffee…. You feel normal again. 
A little piece of heaven on a plate...
So, I guess these are my Christmas wishes for you all.  If you can eat everything you want, enjoy it!  Savor it!  Appreciate it!  You never know when that might change.  And if you fall into the same category as me, embrace it!  Accept it!  Get over it!  Moping about it does nothing but make you feel bad.  And who wants to feel bad at Christmas?  It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.  Work until you find something you like.  If you need help, email me at and I will see what I can do to help you make your old recipes fit into your new life.  Everyone deserves to be happy, and if a little food will help you find that happiness- let’s go find a kitchen! 

Thanks for sticking with me through the beginning whiny session.  And thanks for sticking with me as I take this journey.  The love and support (and occasional GF/EF/DF treats!) that I have received from my friends and family and readers have really helped to make this a great year.  Love to you all!  And Merry Christmas!


  1. I so feel your pain! I'm only gluten-free. My sister-in-law makes the best lasagna and garlic bread and cookies every year and I look forward to it every year. This is my first Christmas season without it and I'm bummed. I can have dairy so I'm not totally in your shoes, but I'm close. Good luck and I'm glad you found the candy! I've found the GF substitutes for noodles and some cake and cookie recipes just don't satisfy the craving.

  2. Keaton Family,

    I hope Christmas treated you well! I do feel your pain about the pasta. The best one that I have found is in a turquoise box and made with corn and quinoa. Of course, I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head, but if you can't find it email me and I figure it out. It is good enough that I can eat it with just tomato juice (which is how my grandma used to make pasta for me when I was sick...) The secret is a little salt in the water... Garlic bread though... I miss that, too! Our "bread" just doesn't do things like that justice. Maybe if you smothered it with cheese... mmmm, cheese... :)

    I'm glad you found me- welcome!