Christmas Crack

A few weeks ago I was dreading the Holiday season as it applies to being gluten-free. Inevitably I would receive invitations to parties with tables filled with baked goods. (Cake, why must you tempt me so?) I’ve been on the prowl for a good gluten-free recipe to use as my go to this season. I’ve tried cookie and cupcake recipes, but I’ve been hard pressed to find one I really like and that I’d be willing to share with others.

This weekend we hosted a game night. This is a somewhat new thing in our family, but we are hoping to form a habit with some of our friends where we get together and play games once a month.

I spent days trying to find a recipe for a Christmas snack to offer at game night. Then, my sister solved my problem when she offered, “Why not make Christmas Crack?” I felt so silly. I was trying to think of some elaborate, brand new recipe when Christmas Crack has been a favorite for years. I love to make and eat this treat every year and all it needed was a small tweak to make it gf friendly.

It was a huge hit at the party by the way. Luckily, I saved back a bag for my family to munch on throughout the week, because my festive Christmas tin was empty by the final hand of Dutch Blitz.

Below is the recipe for gluten free Christmas Crack. Feel free to add pretzels if you are not confined to a gf diet.

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Ingredients: 

-1/2 box of Rice Chex cereal

-1/2 box of Cheerios

-2 bags of Nestle white chocolate chips

-1 bag of M&Ms

-Wax paper

 

Directions: 

  1. Lay two long sheets of wax paper across a table
  2. Dump bags of white chocolate chips into a large bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second increments being sure to stir after each set of 20 seconds and DO NOT LET THEM BURN.)
  3. Once the chocolate is smooth and completed melted through, quickly add both cereals and the candy to the bowl. Mix to cover all evenly.
  4. Pour the contents of the bowl onto the wax paper. Spread the contents into a thin layer.
  5. Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
  6. Break the mixture into small, bite sized pieces and place into a festive Christmas tin or large Ziplock bag.

This stuff is called Christmas Crack for a reason, people–it’s pretty addictive. Eat at your own risk and enjoy!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the past three weeks I’ve been trying to eat a Gluten-Free/Paleo diet. It’s been nice as I’ve been able to notice a difference in aches and pains. I’ve also been working hard to kick processed foods out of my digestive system.

One thing I’ve missed in my journey to Gluten-Free eating is baked goods. I’m a huge fan of bread, cookies, cake, and basically anything you can make with flour. Bread is difficult, but I’ve been able to abstain. My biggest issue (especially as we approach the holiday season) is desserts. I have been trying to minimize my sugar intake and even when I do eat sweets I’ve tried to make sure that the source of sugar is natural and not artificial.

This weekend I completed my first baking project with almond flour and it was a success! Being gluten-free/Paleo doesn’t mean that you have to forego delicious food. It just takes a little more effort and intentionality, but you can still enjoy your food.

Thanks to Elana Amsterdam at Elana’s Pantry I was able to remake a favorite. I followed the recipe below from her website and poured a glass of almond milk to drink along with my cookie. My whole family enjoyed the cookies.

**One note on the recipe, I would recommend using the EXACT ingredients that Elana uses to create the recipe. You can click on the links below for more information on those ingredients. I was unable to find her exact almond flour and so mine had a slightly different texture. It didn’t change the taste, but I would still recommend for you to use the EXACT ingredients.

Ingredients: 

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda
  2. Pulse in butter, vanilla, and maple syrup until dough forms
  3. Remove blade from processor and stir in chocolate chips by hand
  4. Scoop dough one level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Press balls of dough down gently
  6. Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes
  7. Cool for 15 minutes (do not handle prior or cookies will break)
  8. Serve

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Gluten-Free/Paleo Resources

Many of you have been following my journey to eat healthier in order to feel better. I’ve been battling digestive and health issues for a while and after some research and conversations with people who have already taken the plunge, I’ve decided to go gluten-free/paleo.

What is a gluten-free diet? It is a diet free of gluten, which is a protein mixture most often found in wheat and soy products. Many people who follow a gluten-free diet do so because of an allergy to products containing gluten (celiacs disease). I am not allergic to gluten, but I have been tracking my reactions to removing it from my diet and only a month in I’m noticing major differences for the better. I feel less bloated, less side pain, and my skin is clearing.

What is a paleo diet? The paleo diet gets its name from the paleolithic era of history. This is the period where cavemen walked the earth and without modern preservatives and food processing. They were confined to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and diet. The paleo diet mimics the diet of those early cavemen. The focus is to eat things that come naturally from the Earth such as meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. (It is important to note that eating gluten-free is also part of the paleo diet as grains and gluten didn’t enter the human diet until after the birth of agriculture, thousands of years after the paleolithic era.)

At first glance, it may seem like a highly restrictive diet, however, I have been successfully tracking what I eat and I’ve still been able to keep up a lifestyle where I go out to eat once a week or so with my family. I’ve also been cooking meals compliant with the diets that my four year old daughter is eating up as well. It’s not been impossible, the biggest difference is the aisles of the grocery store that I now avoid.

Being new to this process, I’ve been depending a lot on the wisdom and recipes of others. I’ve been gathering some of my go-to resources and I wanted to share those with you. Whether you are gluten-free, paleo, or just on the road to finding healthier recipes, I hope you will check out these resources!

1. Pinterest

Follow my new Pinterest board Gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30. I’ve been pinning and trying recipes I’ve found on here like crazy. Most recently, I have made the Sausage Pizza Egg Muffins. They were absolutely delicious and my hubby and daughter have helped me eat them. I baked them on a Sunday and froze them for the week ahead. Each morning I grab one and reheat it for 1 minute. They are delicious!

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2. Elana’s Pantry

Elana’s Pantry is a blog written by a woman who is using her diet to manage celiacs disease and MS. Elana shows how you can still enjoy confectionery delights with the use of products like almond flour despite a gluten-free diet. She is a New York Times bestseller with several published cookbooks as well.

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3. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is a more extreme version of the paleo diet. The Whole30 is a program written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig which is centered on the principles of cutting irritants out of your diet through a 30 day cleanse. During the 30 days you are to cut out things like dairy, fats, grains, and nuts. After the 30 days you reintroduce foods slowly and track your reaction. I read their book It All Starts with Food and now know that this diet is very scientific. I’m not sure that I will ever do an official Whole30 because it seems a bit extreme and hard to implement with a family, but I like the concept of the program, I learned a lot from their research, and I’ve used several recipes from their book.

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4. Gluten Free Girl

The website, Gluten Free Girl, is written by Shauna James Ahern and her husband, Daniel. Shauna is a diagnosed celiacs sufferer and her husband is a chef. Over the years they have worked together to create recipes healthy for Shauna and others who experience the extreme allergy to gluten. I have loved their tips for those new to gluten-free. They also offer an extensive list of gluten-free recipes that range from entrees to baked desserts. You can even purchase their own brand of gluten-free all purpose flour.

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5. Gluten Free Blogger

The Gluten Free Blogger is another go-to for me as the author, Sarah, is a British blogger from North Devon, UK. On her site she not only gives recipes (in UK measurements it’s important to note), but she also provides resources on places to eat out, product reviews from British supermarkets, and discusses her healthy appetite for exercise. Although I don’t live in England, I spend a considerable amount of time in England every year visiting my husband’s family and friends. This site not only helps me while in the US, but gives me hope that while I’m overseas I will still be able to eat according to my health plan.

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If you have your own resources for maintaining a healthy diet plan I would love for you to share them. I’m a big blog reader and I appreciate cookbooks. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms I had prior to changing my diet I hope you will consider returning to the foods that are proven to curb those ailments. I’ve been enjoying this education process and the results of cutting gluten from my diet entirely. Please feel free to respond with questions or tips for a newbie to the world of gluten-free/paleo!

The Ameri Brit Mom

*all links on this page are non-affiliate and based only on my positive experiences with these resources. 

 

Five Minute Friday: Eat

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Eat. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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I’m new to this gluten-free thing.

After months of struggling with weight and digestive issues I’ve decided to give gluten-free eating a try. Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed some changes to my metabolism and eating habits and I’ve been unhappy with the way my body has been reacting to the food I’ve been putting into it. Auto-immune disorders that run in my family also factored into this decision.

Several people I know have been eating gluten-free for a wide range of reasons and it’s been recommended by so many of them that I give it a shot. I was reluctant at first because one of my favorite foods is bread. My second favorite food is cake. I put off trying a gluten-free diet out of convenience. However, after a weekend of feeling pretty crummy I decided to try gluten-free for one month and see if I notice any difference to the way I feel.

My mom and best friend have both experimented with gluten-free diets and have been successful. I’ve turned to them for advice on where to find food and meals. Since I launched this new diet on Monday I’ve realized that eating gluten-free isn’t as big of a hassle as I had thought. Sure, there are some sacrifices to be made, but gluten-free has become so mainstream that many restaurants and grocers offer items tailored for such diets.

I know that cutting gluten is a newer approach to treating digestive tract disorders, auto-immune disorders and other health conditions. Many of you have years of experience under your belt. Today I would love to hear from you. I’m seeking advice on where to shop, what to buy, and what to eat. I covet recipes and any information those of you knowledgeable in the gluten-free world.

The Ameri Brit Mom