Celebrating a gluten-free Valentine’s Day with a loved one? Instead of purchasing treats or dining out, why not make your own treats and dine in? After all, homemade is best made! You just need a little gluten-free knowledge and know-how. Here are some tips and an easy-peasy truffle recipe to show your sweetie how much you care.
1. Learn about gluten’s hiding spots and cross contamination
If you are preparing a meal or treats for your sweetheart, it is important for you to verify that the ingredients you use are truly gluten free and free of any cross contamination. Ingredients derived from wheat, barley, rye, triticale (a cross breed of wheat and rye) and contaminated oats, all of which contain gluten, can hide in packaged and processed foods, sauces and dressings. Beware of dextrin, modified food starch and malt (malt, malt extract, malt syrup and malt flavouring all typically contain gluten and are added to many foods for flavour). If those ingredients are made from gluten, the manufacturer should specify on the ingredient list. Also, beware of “may contain” statements on ingredient labels. You can find a comprehensive list of ingredients that contain gluten from the Canadian Celiac Association’s website.
Learn how to prevent cross contamination in your kitchen, for example:
- Ensure your counters are clean before chopping and prepping food,
- You may need to wrap food in foil before cooking it in the oven or toaster oven.
- Make sure your cutting boards and pots & pans are safe.
- Don’t boil gluten-free noodles in the same pot as regular noodles,
- When using your toaster, do not to put your gluten-free bread in a toaster filled with wheat crumbs.
If you plan to serve bread with your meal, consider Queen Street Bakery’s delicious line of artisan gluten-free loaves.
2. Make a divine dinner for your Valentine
This is always a loving gesture, regardless of the occasion. Choose healthy protein, fat and vegetable sources based on foods your partner is allowed and go from there. Don’t assume anything, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Cooking gluten free comes with a learning curve. Ask your loved one lots of questions before and during the meal. Find out what foods and beverages your sweetheart loves. If you plan to serve dinner rolls with your meal, consider Queen Street Bakery’s delicious artisan round buns.
3. Make your own sweet treats for your honey
Don’t forget dessert! There are many healthy gluten-free dessert recipes out there, so choose wisely! From chocolate to cookies and biscotti, homemade treats genuinely show you care as you need to take the time to craft them. Here is a recipe I created for Easy Hazelnut Butter Truffles that you can whip up in no time. Place your truffles in a small decorative box with a colourful ribbon to impress.
This truffle recipe is simple and decadent. It is easy to make and there is no cooking or baking involved to boot!
Easy Hazelnut Butter Truffles
- 1/2 cup Hazelnut Butter, unsweetened
- 3 tablespoons Honey, pure
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 cup Walnuts or Pecans, chopped
- Pinch of Salt
- Combine the nut butter, honey, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.
- Stir the mixture with a spoon until well combined and you have a soft “dough.”
- Refrigerate the “dough” for 3-4 hours.
- Form small 1 inch round balls with your hands and roll in chopped nuts until completely covered.
Yield: Makes 1 dozen truffles
Store in fridge or freezer (but trust me, you won’t have leftovers!)
About the Author: Living with celiac disease, Lisa Cantkier is a writer and educator focused on nutrition and health.