Well it is a countdown to Christmas now and I am busy with my holiday menu planning and baking. Gluten free cranberry bread is on my menu since some of my family members are consuming a gluten free, dairy free Paleo friendly diet for health reasons. My niece Maria and her family are and she prepares some delicious gluten free recipes in her kitchen. I talked with my sister Tricia on the phone tonight and she and Maria are baking some gluten free Christmas cut out cookies this weekend. I sampled some last year and they were so good!
Cranberry orange walnut bread is an old family favorite at our house and I remember my sister and I helping my mother prepare this as well as Christmas cut out cookies in the shape of santa, reindeer, snowmen and stars when I was growing up. It is great how family traditions are passed down to the next generation. I was searching for a good gluten free cranberry bread recipe and came upon one by Ocean Spray and I modified the recipe slightly by reducing the sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, reduced the salt from 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp and substituted 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in place of the shortening. Butter or coconut oil could also replace the shortening in the recipe. I prepared the recipe and my husband and I were pleased how it turned out when we taste tested it and then froze the remainder of the loaf for Christmas. I also tried a recipe using almond flour, coconut oil and agave nectar but I was not very impressed with the taste so I will go back to my test kitchen again to find a recipe for cranberry bread using almond flour. If you have a good one, please forward it to me!
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 TB grated orange peel
- 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
- ¾ cup sugar, regular or organic cane sugar
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 TB canola or olive oil (or butter or coconut oil)
- ¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed or other version
- 1 egg, well beaten or 2 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a loaf pan. Combine cranberries, nuts and orange peel in a bowl and set aside. Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine egg, juice and vegetable oil and mix with a spoon or use an electric beater. Add dry ingredients to juice mixture and stir or beat until combined. Fold in the nut, orange peel and cranberry mixture. Place in prepared loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. You can make muffins from the recipe as well. Oil muffin tins well and will make 12 muffins. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes.
If you would prefer to, you can substitute honey or agave nectar in place of the sugar. Use 50% less honey or agave nectar than sugar in your recipe.
Cool down the bread completely and let sit on thecounter for 1-2 hours before slicing to prevent crumbling.
Food is an important part of our holiday festivities. The last thing most of us want however is to get on the scale January 2 and see the scale go up five pounds or for our jeans to be so tight we can’t squeeze into them! Maintaining your weight over the season is a good goal to shoot for. Practice moderation in your eating over the holiday season. These suggestions will help. Use a smaller plate and eat slowly. Fill your plate with 50% fruits and vegetables, 25 % lean protein and 25% whole grain or gluten free grain. Try to limit yourself to one small portion of dessert ( or two half pieces) after your meal. You can always sample more later. I find taking half a piece helps. Bring a raw vegetable platter with a lower fat sour cream and non-fat greek yogurt dip or hummus if you are on a dairy free and gluten free diet. Fresh sliced seasonal fruit such as grapes, apples, clementines and pears are also a favorite and go fast at a party. Fresh shrimp with a low fat or fat free sauce is also a low calorie, high protein food you can bring to a holiday party. It also helps to take a small plate of food and don’t stand right by the food or buffet table and mingle. Walk across the room or take a seat elsewhere. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea as well. If you are drinking wine, add 50% seltzer or mineral water to reduce your alcohol and calorie intake. Keep up your regular exercise routine and all that mall walking while you shop helps too. Have yourself a very Merry Christmas or Hannukkah this year and a very prosperous and Happy New Year!