Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Gluten-Free Holiday: All I Want for Christmas is...Perky Villi

Two front teeth?  I'm okay there. Whiskers on kittens? Well, that would be great, but my husband would have a fit if we brought any more pets home. Bright copper kettles?  Well, maybe...

If you're in the market for thoughtful gift ideas for someone who has Celiac disease (or who must eat gluten-free) look no further. I've compiled a wish-list. And since I actually have Celiac, I should know, right?

In the Kitchen
For the newly diagnosed, it is imperative that they do a kitchen make-over. Most of their pots and pans, bowls and tools have been contaminated with gluten.  Yes, contaminated.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it's accurate.  Even long-time Celiacs, like myself, can use new stuff. Case in point: I was diagnosed with CD over 11 years ago, but recently I noticed that some of my symptoms were reappearing. I couldn't imagine what was going on: I'm always super-careful cooking at home, I constantly checked and re-checked ingredient lists and I was mindful of cross-contamination (and of course, I have a dedicated toaster.) It wasn't until I read Gluten-Free Cookware and Kitchen Utensils by Jane Anderson that I realized I needed to go shopping for some new kitchen items.  Many of these same items make very appreciated gifts.

Cutting Board
Since it's the scratches in cookware and surfaces that hide microscopic particles of gluten, it's only natural that their cutting board is likely harboring tons of the little buggers. And there's no real way to get rid of them. Be safe; get your GF loved-one a dedicated GF cutting board like this one.

Dedicated Gluten-Free Cutting Board
Rolling Pin

If their rolling pin was ever used to make non-GF pastry or cookies, it's time for a new rolling pin. Nothing says Happy Holidays like a fresh new rolling pin. 

Cooking Tools

New cooking tools make great stocking stuffers, like this GF bamboo set

Bread Machine 

If your GF loved one is tired of paying upwards of $5.00 for a loaf of mediocre gluten-free bread, it could be time for a bread machine. There are many out there, but the Zojirushi consistently wins raves among the GF community. It has a gluten-free cycle and great GF recipes in the included cookbook.

Books and Magazines
Great gluten-free recipes can be found everywhere - cookbooks, magazines and all over the internet. There are so many great gluten-free cookbooks on the market, here are a few fan favorites:
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love--Fast! by Nicole Hunn

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes by Daniel Ahern and Shauna James Ahern

Unbelievably Gluten-Free: 128 Delicious Recipes: Dinner Dishes You Never Thought You'd Be Able to Eat Again by Anne Byrn
And these magazines offer the very latest health reporting, along with delicious recipes and great tips. A subscription is truly the gift that keeps on giving.


Clothes and Accessories
 Do your friends have a "Gluten for Punishment" apron? Does your baby have a "Please don't feed me gluten" onesie?

Food and Drink
You can never go wrong with an edible present. If you eat gluten-free yourself and are confident in your skills, by all means, prepare your famous GF casserole or cookies and give that as a gift, along with a recipe card. If, however, you're afraid of "glutening" your friend or loved one, there are alternatives.  Many large grocery stores and health food stores have excellent gluten-free food selections. Gift baskets are always appreciated. Some suggestions:

A snack attack bowl - fill a bright plastic bowl with a variety of GF chips, cookies, candies and fun flavored sodas.

A tour of Italy - pile packages of GF pasta, olive oil, grated cheese and a jar of pasta sauce in a shiny new (read: uncontaminated) colander. 

If you don't think your gift basket skills are up to par, there are certainly companies that would be happy to make them and send them for you. I Can Have That! and Gourmet Gift Baskets are just two.
I Can Have That! The Nosh basket

Finally, if your gluten-free friends were beer drinkers once upon a time, I have a great gift idea for you. And believe me, I don't think anyone else is going to come up with this one. Present your GF pal with a 6-pack of flavorful GF beer and you'll have a BFF for life.
This is a list of the best gluten-free beers on the market, according to Bon Appetit  and Men's Fitness magazines.
  • The Alchemist: Celia Saison
  • Bard's
  • Green's Endeavor Dubbel Ale
  • Estrella Damm: Daura
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales: Tweason'ale
  • Omission Beer: Lager
  • Harvester Fresh Hop IPA
  • New Planet Pale Ale
  • Lakefront Brewery New Grist
 So there you have it - KindaReal's holiday gift idea list. I hope you find something for all the Celiacs on your list. I mean, we deserve it, don't you think? 
Happy shopping! :)

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