What Would I Do Without my Gluten Free Angels?

Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Throughout the year, it is challenging to live with a food allergy or intolerance, but the holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas are extremely difficult.  Every party I visit is a potential health risk.  Over the last two years, I’ve developed a strategy for keeping myself as safe as possible.  For each party I attend, I bring something savory and something sweet (if I’m in the mood for a dessert).  I can promise you that with gluten and dairy intolerances, I can’t eat any dessert except fruit at a friend’s house.   I take that back, my BFF, Aimee, makes some sweet and spicy pecans similar to these which I can eat.  Thanks Aimee.

However, my strategy wouldn’t work, if I didn’t have Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess’s, recipes.  For me, Karina is more angel than goddess.  I’ve read her blog and used her recipes for over two years.  This winter, she put together a Tastebook.  I’ve asked for it for Christmas.  I hope HH got the link and the hint.

I gather inspiration from several gluten free bloggers, like Shauna, the Gluten Free Girl and Jamie, the Gluten Free Mom, but about a year ago, Karina was feeling ill.  She went to her doctor and discovered she was now intolerant to many, many foods.  As you can imagine, she was disheartened by the news.  Gluten free bloggers like Gluten Free Bay, and even some foodies who don’t normally cook gluten free participated in Cooking for Karina, where they created recipes for her which incorporated only those foods she could eat.  Great imaginations were tested, and wonderful results ensued.  At the time, I was so new to the game, that I was too overwhelmed to contribute.  Armed with all that love, Karina was blogging again, and I was ever so grateful.  She could no longer eat dairy, and she revamped many of her recipes.

Coconut Chocolate Nirvana Bars
Coconut Chocolate Nirvana Bars

So far this season, I’ve made two of her fab gf/cf/egg free/soy free, etc. recipes and took them to two of my parties.  I want Karina to see how both recipes turned out and to thank her for all the times she’s helped me during the year.  For example, without her blog, I wouldn’t have learned how to condense and sweeten coconut milk, or how good hemp milk tastes on cereal and in pie.

Yes, hemp milk.

This vegan pumpkin pie, filled with all kinds of healthy ingredients like buckwheat flour and hemp milk, was amazing.  Imagine my joy when two of my friends asked me for the recipe.   When you can’t eat what everyone else does, you don’t expect to ever be asked for a recipe again.

At my second party, I brought these bars which are a variation on Hello Dollies.  Everyone at the party ate these, and many had seconds.  They are not quite as sweet as I remember Hello Dollies to be (which is fine with me), and they would be good with hot tea or coffee.  I brought only a few home, and there were dozens of wheat and dairy laden desserts lining the countertop.

Now, I wonder, could I make Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy gf/cf?  I think I’ll try, and I’ve gained the confidence from all of my gluten free blogging angels, like Karina, Shauna and Jamie.

Oh, and they all write beautifully too.

Thanks to everyone who helps me eat happy.  I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season.  Merry Christmas.


  1. CurtissAnn says:

    I remain in awe of all the cooking you do.


    CurtissAnn´s last blog post..Merry Christmas to All!

  2. Kate says:

    Parties are a pain! Two quick and easy desserts though: Anything based on a chocolate torte: basically whisk the egg yolks and white seperately and sugar and cocoa , mix and bake. I use a flat pan and roll it, then fill with melted dark gf chocolate and double cream = a choc log. I also do some meringues as standbys – pipe into individual cases or do one big one, fill with fresh fruit mixed with thick whipped cream – the large one is called a Pavlova cake. And wine is always gf anyway!
    I have done vanilla/white tortes with gf flour as well, and cut the pan of baked cake into three to make a cake layered with fresh fruit and cream and you don’t really notice that it is not as light as regular ones!

  3. Scott says:

    Thank you for this list of wonderful recipes. I am always on the look out for alternative recipes for friends and this is a great assortment. Diabetic friendly, as well as gluten and dairy free, are great for community events as well. You never know what dietary issues someone could have and I love to include everyone.

    Scott´s last blog post..My Prayers Were Answered: 60 Degrees and Overcast

    Hi Scott, glad I could help. It’s kind of you to try to cook for those with dietary problems.~~Dee

  4. My sister has a gluten intolerance, and it is indeed a challenge to eat happy. She comes up with some wonderful recipes, though. And more and more restaurants seemed tuned into the problem. Here’s wishing you a joyful, and gluten free, holiday of feasting!

    Susan Tomlinson´s last blog post..Taking some time to reflect on a fellow gardener

    Yes, free market enterprise has been working hard to make it easier for us to eat.~~Dee

  5. Carla says:

    How wonderful to find others who can share your love of food (and the recipes:) And how smart to ‘take your own’ when going out:)

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas:)

    Carla´s last blog post..Merry Christmas to ME!

    Carla, I did have a wonderful Christmas, and I didn’t get sick once. Hope yours was beautiful too.~~Dee

  6. Pam/Digging says:

    Stay healthy and happy, Dee. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Pam/Digging´s last blog post..Christmas magic on 37th Street

    Merry Christmas to you and your family too, Pam. Sorry your husband had to have surgery. Hope he’s feeling better.~~Dee

  7. OMG, I made the exact same pie for Thanksgiving dinner! I hadn’t tried it before and I was really amazed. I’m going to have to try those bars, too, they look fantastic. I love her site and use it all the time. I even have her first book (Vegetarian Goddess). I didn’t know you were GF, we’ll have to chat more about that! We are GF and also dairy free and I can only do soy in moderation, so Karinna’s site is a godsend.

    Anyway, I just stopped by to say Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!
    ~Angela 🙂

    Angela (Cottage Magpie)´s last blog post..Happy Holidays!

    Merry Christmas, Angela! I didn’t know you eat GF/CF and nearly SF. It is a small world isn’t it? I love her recipes most of all because they look good and taste good & I can eat them with no fear. I hope your holidays are full of joy.~~Dee

  8. Sue says:

    Hi Dee,
    I’m glad you left a comment on my blog using this link. I’m confused, though, because I thought it was your daughter who was at this site.

    My 26 year old daughter has had severe eczema for a number of years, and recently was tested for allergies. (She did get allergy shots when she was a girl, but didn’t need to keep going.) Well, she found out she is severely allergic to wheat, soy, and peanuts. They couldn’t test her for everything they wanted to, because her skin was too broken out.

    She doesn’t cook much, and is having trouble adjusting to a change in diet. Recently, she ate some pasta, and ended up with hives all over, as well as the eczema. I found a chocolate mouse pie recipe that I made without a crust for Thanksgiving, and will make again tomorrow. I want to check out your recipes and the links you have here.

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas,

    Sue´s last blog post..My Husband’s Website

    Hi Sue, I’m sorry for your daughter. The first year is the hardest with wondering if you’re really “that” sick, and trying to follow the diet. After a year though, you get into a routine, and you feel so much better. I still get hits sometimes, but less and less. I’m sorry about the confusion. Your site only allows a couple of choices through Google & my daughter has a blogger account which is mixed up with mine. There is an option you can change to allow name and url for those of us who have accounts other than Google (like WordPress and Typepad).~~Dee

  9. joey says:

    Love cookin’ for my sweet ‘gluten free angels’, Dee, and one goodie in particular, my flourless chocolate cakes (posted). Life is filled with many loved ones with diet restrictions, in one way or another. The past 2 years have been focused on diabetic food for my sister … I’m simply happy to cook, whatever! Life is about people we love. Happy ‘healthful filled’ holidays!


    Hi Joey, I’ll come over and look up your flourless cake recipe. Thanks. You’re so right. It’s all about loving those who are still with us. I got to do that last night.~~Dee

  10. Gail says:

    Dear Dee,

    Happiest of Holidays…and you can have them much easier now! Isn’t the internet a lifesaver and now there are good cook books. More then anything…people are listening to those with food allergies and sensitive to their needs! Have a wonderful Christmas!


    Hi Gail, Merry Christmas! Yes, I love the internet for so many reasons, one of which is I get to talk to wonderful people like you.~~Dee

    Gail´s last blog post..Look What I Won!

  11. Brenda Kula says:

    Well, that sure puts a crimp in the holidays. If it isn’t hectic enough, you have to worry about ingredients that may make you sick! I feel for you, Dee. But you are your usual optimistic self, and seem to have dealt with the challenges well. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Marley Ross Arrives!

    Brenda, I’m just glad I feel so much better. I see from CommenLuv that the baby has arrived. I’m headed over to your site to take a gander.~~Dee

  12. Frances says:

    Hi Dee, what a challenge that must be! If you ever come to Asheville, our ice cream shop, The Hop offers ice cream for vegan and other dietary requirements. I squealed with delight at the mention of Aunt Bill’s brown candy, aka pralines. I still have the very old newspaper clipping recipe that belonged to my grandmother who lived in Norman for it. I had never heard it called that before. Have a safe and healthy Christmas!

    Frances´s last blog post..Angel Cloud Of Dreams

    Yes, it’s an Aunt Susan recipe. As Frances knows, she was a cooking and household hint columnist in The Daily Oklahoman newspaper years ago. For those of you wondering what we’re talking about, here is the recipe
    (with dairy). I’ll be substituting hemp milk and Earth’s Balance Buttery Sticks for the dairy. Merry Christmas Frances. If I ever get to Asheville, I can’t wait to go eat ice cream with you. Merry Christmas!~~Dee

  13. tina says:

    Thanks Dee, you too!

    tina´s last blog post..White vs Colored

    Merry Christmas, Tina.~~Dee

  14. Lola says:

    May you & yours have the merriest.

    Hi Lola and right back atcha. Merry Christmas.~~Dee

  15. Martha says:

    My favorite dessert is a vegan chocolate cake recipe. It is spectacular.

    I often prepare vegetarian, if not vegan, meals for book club, dinners with friends. They usually love the food and do not miss the “missing” things.

    Martha´s last blog post..My Cold Stratification Seed Starting

    Martha, I think I need that vegan chocolate cake, my friend. I’ll be emailing for it. 🙂 ~~Dee

  16. Les says:

    My son’s godmother’s new significant other is gluten intolerant and we sure have had to change what we fix when they come over. Thank God for the local health food store. Two weeks ago my wife’s cousin came for dinner which I had pre-agreed to cook, but after-the-fact found out our guest was gluten intolerant, could not eat red meat, fried food or sugar. So the menu was tossed salad with pecans, oranges and grapefruit, shrimp scampi with brown rice and for dessert almonds and Fuyu persimmons. There were no leftovers.

    Les´s last blog post..When Fish Fly

    Les, that sounds fabulous. Wish I’d been there. Unfortunately, food allergies and intolerances are on the rise, and no one is sure why. I’m guessing chemicals have something to do with it.~~Dee

  17. I’ve got to try the vegan pumpkin pie. While I’m not full-blown gluten intolerant, I do have allergies to dairy & wheat. My problem with holiday food is the hidden citrus. It seems like everything from the cranberry relish to the wine has orange or lemon in it. I feel your pain (or stomach cramps).

    Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..The Truth About Black Jack

    MMD, I think you’d like it. I’m sorry you can’t have citrus. I think we’re going to get to the point at holiday gatherings where we have to list ingredients on the a card next to the dish. That way, all allergy sufferers will know for sure if a dish is relatively safe. However, there is still chance for cross-contamination.~~Dee

  18. Last year, I made a broccoli cheese casserole for my work holiday potluck, and I was feeling great about myself because I’d replaced the Cheez Whiz with actual food. Then I found out that the host’s wife can’t eat gluten, which, unfortunately, existed in the cream of mushroom soup. Doh! Such a minor ingredient, too. So this year, I challenged myself to come up with a gluten-free casserole. I figured out how to do it, and everyone, celiac and non-, raved about my casserole. So I’m kind of proud of myself, but spending so much time thinking about gluten this holiday season makes me realize how hard it would be to avoid it! I think it must be challenging to maintain that diet, so I can imagine how glad you are for your gluten-free angels. 🙂

    I’ll gladly share my gluten-free broccoli cheese casserole recipe with you, if you’re interested, but it does have milk and lots of cheese in it.

    Rachel, it sounds delish, but all that dairy makes me shudder. 🙂 I’ll have to pass, I’m afraid.~~Dee

    Rachel @ in bloom´s last blog post..Bloom Day – December 2008

  19. Racquel says:

    I’m sure that makes eating out a nightmare Dee. I can’t even imagine, it’s good they have gluten free recipes so that you can still indulge your sweet tooth during the holiday season.

    Racquel´s last blog post..Peek-a-boo, we see you!

    I eat at a few carefully chosen restaurants, Racquel, and most of the people who own them know me now. That helps.~~Dee

  20. Marnie says:

    How wonderful that your friend Karina not only spends her time developing and testing recipes but makes them available to others with the same food issues.

    I know many people suffer from gluten intolerance. I wonder why food suppliers don’t make more choices available?

    Yes, and she is so creative. We also both like southwestern food, which makes me love her recipes. As to food suppliers, a lot of it has to do with cost and with the varieties of allergies. Much of our country’s food supply is based upon mass production in order to make the greatest profit. There are some niche companies like Pamela’s, Glutino, Gluten Free Pantry and Namaste, to name a few, who make gluten and dairy friendly products, but sadly the store bought cookies taste a little like sawdust. I’d rather make my own.~~Dee

  21. Karina says:

    Hi Dee! Thank you for your lovely post and kind words about my recipes. It means so much to me. Sending you warm wishes for a healthy, bright holiday season and a beautiful New Year!

    Karina´s last blog post..Winter Holidays – The Menu

    Karina, I meant every word of it. Happy holidays to you too.~~Dee

  22. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I admire that you pursue such good replacement foods for the food you are intolerant of. I would find it difficult to have to deal with such issues. Heck I can’t even lose the poundage that I should knowing I would feel better. Let alone change my diet totally.

    Lisa, frankly, I like eating, so it wasn’t that difficult. 🙂 ~~Dee

  23. Barbee' says:

    Thank you so much for all this information. Some of my family members are beginning to suspect they need to change their diet, and are going to be tested for Celiac Disease. If they test positive it will be such a challenge. Your post will be a source of information.

    Barbee’´s last blog post..Wintertime Wish

    Hi Barbee, I would suggest all of these ladies for great gluten free fare. Shauna has a new recipe up that I will try tonight for banana cream pie. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out. One note, you can be gluten intolerant and not have full blown Celiac disease. That’s what I have, and actually, my dairy issues are much worse.~~Dee

  24. nola says:

    It’s a challenge for sure! I didn’t realize how many foods contain gluten until I tried to fix a meal for a cousin who must eat gluten-free foods! For pete’s sake, gluten was popping up in the most unsuspecting foods ~ ketchup!!! My meal was pretty hilarious, as I was also feeding a vegetarian and a diabetic! I had something for each person, but some of the foods couldn’t be eaten by all of them. I made a recipe for Orange Almond Poundcake from Curtiss Ann that was a hit! What would I have done without the internet and my blogging buddies???

    nola´s last blog post..Taking a Break

    Hi Nola, yes ketchup and soy sauce are two great masked gluten bandits. I think everyone who commented and tried to create a gluten free meal should be commended. It’s difficult at first, but then, it gets easier. Curtiss Ann’s poundcake recipe is wonderful.~~Dee

  25. Hi, Dee, my daughter is about to arrive for Christmas and while she has different food considerations, her diet has brought her back from the edge of death (no exaggeration). She is totally medicine-free, relying strictly on a very rigid diet, and she does it beautifully. So cooking for her is not what one would expect at Christmastime! “Please, Mom, don’t be attached to what I put in my body at Christmas.” She’s eating at the moment basmati rice, zucchini, corn tortillas, bok choy, red, yellow and orange peppers, and oh, yes, she can eat persimmon and avocado. We might have sole for Christmas dinner. Maybe. I am so grateful for the results of her good health I’m happy to do whatever it takes for her to maintain that. Even cook just the above. The body knows! Good for you for finding what works for yours, and sticking with it! It’s a yoga, for sure!

    Amen to all of that Kathryn. In the beginning, I had to get over viewing food as something more than fuel. Now, I can have fun with it and enjoy the season. I hope you and your daughter have a wonderful time together. Blessings.~~Dee

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