Dipping into the new year
A new year is approaching and I'm excited for it. New days await us, and it's a good time to reflect on what we are leaving behind and plan for better times ahead. And what better way to do that then with your closest friends and family?
Hopefully, the company you keep on New Year's Eve is aware of special diets. And the good news is, it's not difficult to snack gluten-free. Volunteer to bring a dip or munchie or, if you're hosting friends, know that it's easy to create a cost-effective, healthy, gluten-free spread.
Here are some suggestions:
Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Spread (adapted from Weight Watchers)
1 jar roasted red peppers in water, drained
4-5 ounces feta cheese
2 bricks cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat Philly)
3 sprigs fresh dill
1 clove garlic
fresh ground pepper
Put all ingredients into food processor and blend. Store in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Crunchmaster's multi-seed crackers go really well with this dip. I found them at Westborn in Berkley and Kroger. Just a great cracker and looks just like the "wheat" variety. Your guests won't miss a thing.
Guacamole (photo at top)
3 semi-ripe avocados
1/4 sweet onion, diced small
1/2 beefsteak tomato, diced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
Cut avocados in half and remove the seed (with spoon or by stabbing with blade of a large knife, twisting and pulling out seed). Spoon out avocado flesh and place on cutting board. Cut into medium sized chunks and scrape into large bowl. Use board to cut onions and tomatoes and add to bowl. Squeeze lime over guac mixture and add garlic and salt. Depending on the texture, either mix with a spoon, or mash with a fork. I like a chunky guac, so I don't mash it.
Tip> Make sure avocados are not too mushy. Look for ones that still have some green on the skin, but have give when you squeeze it gently so they are good enough to stay in small chunks but not too hard so they are not creamy.
I prefer Garden Fresh Gourmet tortilla chips. They can be found almost anywhere in the metro Detroit area, as they are made in Ferndale. Also good are Tostito's Scoops, especially for a chunky dip.
I like Sabra the best. I can not make one as good as that because I just have not mastered the art. And another note on this brand, I have not received confirmation that it is gluten-free. I got the "we can not guarantee that this product is gluten-free, but it is made from gluten-free ingredients." My son is very sensitive and he has never had a problem, so I can just tell you that from our experience it has been a safe snack. For those of you who would like to take a stab at hummus-making, here is a recipe:
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Hands down the best thing to dip into hummus are cucumber slices. Simply wash and cut 2 cucumbers into "chips" for a healthy and crunchy dipper. My son's favorite, though, are Glutino crackers. He likes to take little spreaders and put them on the round crackers all by himself.
Layer beans mixed with Penzy's Taco (or recipe here) seasoning (go with chicken taco seasoning for dairy-free), tomatoes, sour cream (Tofutti for dairy free) and black olives in a 9-by-11 dish for a festive dip. Another good tex-mex dip is a can of black beans, a cup of corn and a 1/2 cup of salsa. Don't forget a veggie tray and a fruit salad make nice munchies everyone can eat.
Remember, most distilled liquor is gluten-free, so drink responsibly. Revisit my post on the topic here. Also, many local stores (Hiller's, Mug and Jug, some Krogers and Whole Foods) carry gluten-free beer. Revisit my beer review here.
So, cheers to you 2010. And may the New Year be full of food, friends and fortune.