Wow. Week 4 of the Gluten-Free Holiday Event, hosted by Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, is already here. How can that be?
In case you missed the first 3 Weeks of this event, here is a little recap:
Week 1 – Amy shared her tips for Healthy Holiday Baking
Week 3 – Alta shared her Edible Gifts of Good Taste with her Gluten-Free Chipotle Maple Mixed Nuts.
And now for Week 4…
Hallie, over at Daily Bites, is focusing on Holiday Entrees and Sides with her beautiful Butternut Squash and Cabbage Salad. Make sure to go and link up a favorite savory holiday dish, either in the linky or in the comments. This will enter you to win a copy of Hallie’s amazing cookbook, The Pure Kitchen. It is one of my favorites and it soon could earn a spot on your counter.
Now, is it just me or do you too feel like time is passing by so quickly these days? I am really focusing on staying in the moment and enjoying each memory we are creating this season.
We have already decked the halls…
and hung the stockings by the chimney with care…
My husband and the boys have already donned the outside of our home in so many lights that Clark Griswold would be jealous (after all, ours are set to music 😉 ).
We are taking part in all of our favorite family holiday traditions: hot cocoa and cider by the fire, a different Christmas story book each night, Christmas music playing all afternoon, and the mad dash each morning to find where our special little Elf (on the Shelf) is hiding.
We named our Elf Canyon years ago and he never disappoints in reappearing each year. He is certainly a mischievous and antics-filled little fellow. And last night he made a dashing debut into our home… and then somehow got stuck in the air vent uptake.
Hopefully he will manage to get himself out of this pickle tonight as he has an important job to do.
He has to get back to the North Pole to report to Santa on who has been naughty or nice in our home.
I know one thing for sure. Mom has been nothing but nice this year.
It is great that December marks the month that my boys are sweet little angels, not wanting to upset Santa in any way. It is just too bad they do not have elves for every other month of the year. How about a Valentine Elf? Or a St. Patty’s Day Elf? Perhaps a Patriotic Elf for the 4th of July? Ooh. And what about a Birthday Elf, for the month before their birthday?
Okay, enough dreaming. I want to share a recipe that I love making during this time of year. The boys in this house, old and young alike, love them. These Savory Baked Apples are Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, and easily Vegan. They are a huge hit around here and are packed with healthy ingredients that no one even notices.
You can play around with the ingredients in the stuffing. Omit the Italian sausage for a Vegan version. Play with the herbs. Kick it up with some spice. Anything goes really. But below is our favorite combination of goodies.
Allergy-Friendly Savory Baked Apples
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Easily Vegan
- 1 Acorn Squash, halved (save one half for another use), seeded, peeled, and finely diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 Yellow Onion, finely diced
- 4 Large Apples, preferably organic (such as Fuji)
- 1 Lemon, halved
- 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage, crumbled (omit for a Vegan Version and instead double or triple your vegetables and seasonings)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Herbs (such as Thyme, Basil, Oregano, or Sweet Marjoram), finely diced
- 1 cup Chopped Leafy Greens (such as Swiss Chard, Collards, or Kale )
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cracked Fresh Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Apple Juice, preferably organic
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut apples in half. Then, using a spoon, carefully scoop out center core and discard. Then scoop flesh from inside of apple skin leaving a 1/4 inch shell around the edge to keep the shape. Reserve the apple flesh. Rub edges of apple with the halved lemon to prevent too much browning.
2. Finely dice reserved apple flesh. Toss apple pieces with about 2 tsp of lemon juice to prevent too much browning.
3. Sautee sausage over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add in diced onion and squash pieces and cook for 3 – 5 minutes more. Add in apples and herbs and cook for 1 minute more.
4. Remove pan from heat and add in greens, salt, and pepper.
5. Place prepared apple halves in 8 x 8 baking dish. Fill each apple half with about 1/4 cup of the sausage mixture. Add apple juice to the bottom of the pan, around the apples. Place pan in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired.
Do You Have An Elf? What is his or her name? Canyon would love to get to know some of his friends! 😉