Sunday, December 9, 2007

Cranberry-Pumpkin-Flaxmeal Tea Bread

Due to my dietary restrictions, when I'm invited to someone's home for a meal or an event where there will be snacks served, I often prepare myself so that I'll be a welcome guest. After all, no one wants a guest who makes them feel bad about not thinking about or knowing your food issues, and refusing too many items or not eating at all is a sure way to do just that.

So how do you become a welcome guest without offending your hosts?

Here's what I do:

- If they inquire about dietary restrictions, I tell them. But I don't make it so difficult that they wish they'd never asked. For example, recently I was invited for a casual pizza night, and they planned to order pizza, wings and antipasto. I told them it would be fine--I ate salad and wings, and avoided the pizza. Simple.

But if they don't ask, then...

- I make sure I'm not really hungry when I go to their home. No, I don't eat a full meal beforehand, but I might have a later lunch, or eat a safe food before I leave home, like a salad or a cup of soup. That way, I can eat what I can at their home without going hungry.

- I offer to bring/just bring something to contribute that is a safe food for me. (This works best in casual situations with your more intimate friends.) Especially in buffet-style service, no one will actually notice that you're mostly just eating what you brought!

However sometimes you just can't prepare. I was once at an office retreat and they provided lunch each day. Sandwiches, pizza, chinese food--all of which have bread and/or sugar in most cases. I always came prepared with some quick go-to food in my purse: fruit, string cheese, a salad. You can always take the meat off a sandwich if it has not been already dressed with some sweetened dressing or spread. I've also scraped the cheese and toppings from a pizza. At an office function I think that's okay, but I wouldn't do that in front of a host in their home.

Friday was another movie night with our friends, and I really wanted to bring something different. Full of good-for-me foods and no wheat or sugar (though you could make it with sugar), this Cranberry-Pumpkin-Flaxmeal Tea Bread has a wonderful crumb and texture and a light sweetness. No need to feel guilty about having another slice, either--it's chock full of healthy ingredients! My sugar-eating friends didn't even know this was sugar-free. This batter would be great made into pancakes or muffins, too.

Cranberry-Pumpkin-Flaxmeal Tea Bread
(Wheat-Free, Sugar Free)
adapted from Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins published in Eating Stella Style by George Stella

1/2 cup soy flour
1 cup flax meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
The equivalent of 3/4 cup brown sugar (I used 3/4 teaspoon stevia powder)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree or other winter squash puree (I used hubbard squash puree)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (edited note: you can double the cranberries for extra zing--delicious)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts, but pepitas or sunflower seeds would be equally delicious; optional)
Honey or agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a loaf pan.

Combine first nine ingredients in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla and gently mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in cranberries and nuts.

Spread into prepared loaf pan. Drizzle top with honey and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing cake from pan to wire rack. Cool, slice and serve.

I also find that if I make sure to invite my friends to my house, I serve foods that I would and can eat--always to rave reviews. They learn about what I can eat that way.

If you have the right attitude about your dietary restrictions, you need not be one of "those" guests that make it impossible your host. Be gracious, be casual about it all, and when all else fails, pick around what is served and make it look like you ate most of it, and eat when you get home.


Mrs Mecomber said...

mmmm. I love cranberry bread and flax.

How do you get the watermark on your photos?

Mrs. W said...

I just baked a new loaf using double the cranberries--I'll let you know how that turned out!

I put a watermark using a program that I have called Firefox by Macromedia (that has now been bought out by Adobe). You could also do it with Photoshop, but I don't know how to use that software.

Mrs. W said...

Double the cranberries works great--much more cranberry zing!

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