Happy 2014: A Holiday Recap

Is it already January?  Time has flown by lately especially since I’ve been so busy with a big project at work.  I realized I haven’t posted about my holidays yet.  Better late than never right?

Toronto got hit by a big ice storm a few days before Christmas and my parent’s neighbourhood got hit hard losing power for over 110 consecutive hours.  Needless to say, they couldn’t host and the decision was made to move our celebrations up to Barrie.  So we piled into the car, trunk and laps full of presents, stockings, groceries, pots and pans and of course the requisite turkey and ham.  We literally brought Christmas to my Grandpa’s – everything but the tree went with us.

This year my brother engaged my aunt in a discussion about how Christmas dinner is boring because so called typical “white people” food is boring.  Granted Thai, Italian and Indian food (to name a few) are all much more flavourful… but I wonder what he’d say if he weren’t a vegetarian.  Me on the other hand, I wish if turkey was eaten more than a couple times a year.  I love the staples that Thanksgiving and Christmas bring: turkey and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, ham and carrots. This year our family’s Christmas dinner was almost entirely gluten free except for the impromptu stuffing my brother made last minute (to critical acclaim).  I am so grateful at how incredible my family is, they always ensure I can eat safely and deliciously!!  The meal was so good and like normal I ate way too much.  For dessert there was my aunt’s gluten free pumpkin cheesecake with a healthy helping of caramel sauce and whip cream.  Plus, she made melt-in-your-mouth gluten free shortbread cookies. They were unbelievable, I never thought I would eat shortbread like that again.  I’ve asked for the recipe and I can’t wait to test it out.

The holidays always bring many family dinners, each with a different menu.  On our Finnish side of the family, dinner is a pot luck where everyone knows their classic dishes to bring.  If you don’t bring what you’ve been bringing for the past ‘x’ number of years, you’ll never live it down.  In fact I got in trouble for not bringing porkkanalaatikko (carrot casserole) which for the record I had actually only brought once, two years ago.  Since becoming gluten free I have been lucky that I can still eat most classic dishes, thanks to a couple key substitutions.  One gluten free product I am grateful for is Pacific Natural Foods, thanks to their organic mushroom condensed soup I can still eat potato heaven…the potatoes of my childhood.  Amazing!

Christmas pot luck at the "kid's table"

Christmas pot luck at the “kid’s table”

Thanks to Pacific Natural Foods I can still eat potato heaven!

Thanks to Pacific Natural Foods I can still eat potato heaven!

One of the best things under my tree was a box full of goodies from Bunner’s Bakeshop.  I’m in love with their cinnamon buns!  I got a bit too excited at their bakery and ended up buying a lot just to try some of everything.  Shh… don’t judge, like you wouldn’t have done the same!  Some notable favourites were the Santa Babies, which had a perfect combo of chewy chocolate cookie and mint cream, and the pumpkin scones.

Delicious treats from Bunner's Bakeshop!

Delicious treats from Bunner’s Bakeshop!

While in the Junction, I also got a lot of gluten free, soy free chocolate from Delight.  It’s always a treat being able to eat their milk and white chocolate.  Plus, I splurged on a tub of their homemade eggnog ice cream.  My family lucked out when I shared it with them when they were escaping their freezing cold house by warming up at our place; everyone agreed it had such a delicious, vivid eggnog taste.

Christmas themed chocolates from Delight

Christmas themed chocolates from Delight

Delight's delicious eggnog ice cream with a Bix gluten free pizzelle

Delight’s delicious eggnog ice cream with a Bix gluten free pizzelle

Wishing everyone the best for 2014!