Give the gift of delicious, safe food
Mother’s Day is the time to honor your mom and celebrate all she’s done for you. And if she’s given up gluten, one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give her is a gluten-free meal, dessert, or day full of tasty food. When you take the time to plan ahead and serve your mom delicious, gluten-free food, it gives her a healthy boost for her body and a much-appreciated respite from the burden of making sure that all of the food she eats is gluten free.
The kinds of gluten-free food gifts you can give can be simple or elaborate. Here are some ideas:
Have a tea party. Brew your mother’s favorite tea, and give her an aesthetic Victorian experience by using a pretty china tea set and lace tablecloth. Serve with homemade or store-bought gluten-free muffins or scones.
Make mom a special dessert. This is a gift that’s always appreciated by people who are gluten sensitive. It’s even more special if your mother has other food sensitivities in addition to gluten and you make a tasty dessert that works around all her problem foods. For example, to avoid milk products, use coconut butter in place of butter, and use light coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk in place of milk. To avoid refined white sugar, try unrefined coconut sugar. As an especially healthful choice for a treat, prepare a dessert that emphasizes in-season organic fresh fruits—berries, cherries, or peaches—such as in a gluten-free fruit cobbler, crisp, or crumble. If you’re not much of a baker, make a foolproof, simple-to-prepare fruit parfait with layers of fresh fruit and non-dairy frozen dessert. Even if you decide to take your mother out to dinner at one of the growing number of restaurants that have gluten-free options, it’s a nice touch to serve her a dessert you made yourself.
Prepare breakfast or brunch. Start the day off on an especially caring note by giving your mother a top-of-the-morning treat. A few ideas: organic hazelnut coffee with coconut milk and a gluten-free blueberry muffin or banana bread; gluten-free sausage and gluten-free crepes; an omelet with assorted colorful vegetables and a fresh fruit salad; wild rice pancakes; or organic buffalo burgers with sautéed mushrooms and roasted asparagus spears.
Pack a picnic. Pack a nice spread to go, and give your mom a pleasurable outdoor eating experience. Think tabouli made from quinoa, green salad topped with grilled chicken, or assorted finger food such as grilled garlic shrimp, olives, almonds, hummus or Brie with gluten-free crackers, and grapes.
Make her favorite meal. This could be something simple that she often makes for the family—gluten-free fajitas, broiled lamb chops and a salad, or roasted rosemary chicken and baked yams. Or it might be a meal that she loves but doesn’t have very often because it’s pricey, such as halibut or a grass-fed sirloin steak. Or even something unusual that she’s wanted to try, such as a salad topped with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, or an açai smoothie. Either way, if you put in the extra effort to give Mom something from the heart that caters to her preferences, you’ll give her an extra-special Mother’s Day.
Enjoy a cup of safe restaurant soup. In response to consumer demand, both independent and chain restaurants have begun offering gluten-free soups on their menus. A few examples: Tuscan Tomato Bisque, now offered at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse locations; Lobster Bisque soup at Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar; and traditional Egg-Drop soup at P. F. Chang’s China Bistro.
Blueberry Cobbler* Serves 6
A perfect Mother’s Day treat, this easy-to-make, antioxidant-rich dessert features low-glycemic coconut sugar. Serve it à la mode with a scoop of organic coconut-milk-based, vanilla frozen dessert and a few fresh blueberries for garnish.
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 Tbs. organic unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla flavoring or vanilla extract
3 Tbs. unrefined coconut sugar
1 Tbs. arrowroot powder
4 large, organic eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup organic coconut flour
1/3 cup finely ground almond flour
1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt
1/2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1 Tbs. unrefined coconut sugar
- Place blueberries in 9-inch glass pie plate or baking dish. Add applesauce, vanilla, and coconut sugar, and mix carefully to coat blueberries. Let stand a few minutes, then mix in arrowroot.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together eggs and coconut oil in large bowl. Combine coconut flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder, and coconut sugar in separate bowl, then stir into egg-oil mixture.
- Pour batter over blueberry mixture, spreading to edges of pan if necessary. Bake 25—30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool 10—20 minutes, and serve warm. Or for a sweeter cobbler, allow to cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and serve cold.
PER SERVING: 271 CAL; 7 G PROT; 16 G TOTAL FAT (10 G SAT FAT); 27 G CARB; 124 MG CHOL; 138 MG SOD; 5 G FIBER; 17 G SUGARS
*Reprinted from the Going Against the Grain Group, 2011, by Melissa Diane Smith