How on earth will you be able to cook healthy for the holidays??!! Maybe we can help!

Well, you may have noticed that we’ve been gone for a while. A scary health episode in the family, preparing to travel, actual travel…all these life things and more took us away from being able to write about a healthy life, which we love. Anyway, we’re back, by golly, with plenty of ideas and recipes to share. Some of my family and I are in spectacular Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the fall and we are learning about cooking healthy and/or gluten free when the available grocery options are…shall we say…different. Puerto Vallarta is a relatively cosmopolitan city with a surprising variety of organic and even gluten free grocery options available, if you know where to look. These options are not inexpensive, however, and sometimes require some sleuthing to discover. So for the most part, one has to adapt to what is fresh and readily available. Tortillas are obviously everywhere, sometimes fresh off the press and made with non GMO corn flour. As an aside, that may be changing, sadly, as legislation has supposedly been approved to allow GMO corn in Mexico. The very thought of that makes me disconsolate and furious at the same time. Onions, a great variety of peppers, squash, and the occasional thin skinned white potato are also easy to obtain, and avocados are everywhere. Citrus fruits are common, apples and pears can be seen, but never really look good to me here. So, off we go on the adventure of trying to eat right in a foreign environment. We’ll keep you updated on our progress, and we promise to admit when we don’t quite succeed. We’ll be back home for the holidays and I’m already teetering on the precipice between cooking the same old unhealthy stuff or trying to clean it up a bit. Not sure which way I’ll fall, but at least for starters, here is a gluten free option for the cut out cookies you will want to make that are GF!! It’s a start, right? A tiny start, admittedly, but a start none the less…  I can’t help you yet with all the other dietary cliffs you’ll face with your holiday menu, but give us time. We’re working on it!

ginger bread stars

8cm star cutter and 5cm star cutter
Ingredients
80g butter, chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup treacle
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups brown rice flour (see Notes)
1/2 cup gluten-free cornflour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (see Notes)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Extra brown rice flour, for dusting 

Royal icing
2 egg whites
3 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place butter, sugar and treacle in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Cool for 20 minutes. Whisk in egg.
Step 2
Sift flour, cornflour, ginger, nutmeg, xanthan gum and bicarb into a medium bowl. Add fl our mixture to treacle mixture. Stir until mixture is combined. Turn out onto a surface lightly dusted with extra flour. Knead for 10 seconds or until smooth. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour 30 minutes or until fi rm.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Line 4 large baking trays with baking paper. Roll out 1 dough disc between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using an 8cm star cutter, cut stars from dough, re-rolling and cutting dough scraps. Place, Gluten-free gingerbread stars 2cm apart, on 2 prepared trays. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until just fi rm. Cool completely on trays. Repeat, using a 5cm star cutter, with remaining dough disc and prepared baking trays. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 4
Make Royal icing; Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Gradually add icing sugar, whisking until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Spoon into a snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner. Using picture as a guide, pipe onto stars to form a decorative pattern. Stand for 15 minutes or until icing is set. Serve.

Gluten Free recipes
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