Ring in 2013 with a Family Friendly New Year's Fondue

The close of 2012 is upon us, and we've decided to ring in the New Year with the little ones tonight.  How fitting is it that as I'm writing this, my iTunes has randomly selected Jellyfish's "I Wanna Stay Home"? Yes, call me lame but I am looking forward to spending New Year's Eve at home this year. Being very pregnant and having done the dressed up,  downtown scene in years past, I am looking forward to pocketing the money normally spent on a sitter and donning yoga pants to ring in 2013. Our bubbly this year? Welch's sparkling cranberry cocktail. All Welch's drinks are gluten free, as are Martinelli's sparkling ciders.

So, how to make the evening unique and family friendly? We are doing a gluten free, family friendly fondue. The Melting Pot restaurant has locations all throughout the country and offers gluten free fondue options. We took our inspiration from them in our menu for tonight, along with dusting off our 1971 edition of the "Fondue on the Menu" cookbook. That's an indication of how infrequently we fondue around here. My sister (fellow ChicagoNow blogger of SchoolZone) and I decided to combine our individual fondue sets (wedding gifts) into one mega-fondue set that we share. In addition to gluten free offerings, I am also making some dairy free modifications.

A few other ways to help kids involved in the New Year's festivities:

  • Hang the decorations: Our dinner table is my daughter's very own creation. Gold glitter balls leftover from Christmas, sparkly strands of pearls and gold, and the glitter glue "2013" all get us in the spirit.
  • Prep the food: Washing and arranging the fruit, measuring out the ingredients for our gluten free pound cake, and setting out our "fancy dishes" are just a few ways to get the little ones involved in the meal.
  • Make some resolutions: I am using my massive roll of butcher paper once again. We decoratively "tore" the edges and are using it as our tablecloth. Before we dig in to the fondue feast, we will use Sharpie pens to each write a goal/resolution/aspiration for 2013 on the butcher paper tablecloth. Then, we can all share before the dipping begins!

Family Friendly Fondue

Cheddar-Beer Fondue (Gluten Free)

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lb. sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 tbsp tapioca/potato flour
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin's is gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups gluten free beer (Redbridge or your favorite brand)
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Serve with cubes of gluten free artisan/French bread

Rub inside of fondue pot with garlic and discard garlic. Heat beer in pot until almost boiling. Add the cheese (dredged in flour) by handfuls, ensuring all cheese has been melted before adding more. When cheese is completely smooth, stir in Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard. Garnish with chives. Serve with bread cubes for dipping.

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • 10 ounces spinach, chopped (if frozen, thaw)
  • 1 14 ounce can of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2/3 cup dairy free cream cheese (Tofutti, Galaxy brands are gluten free as well)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's is gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper

Serve with gluten free artisan bread or pita wedges, thick tortilla chips, and fresh vegetables (red, yellow pepper wedges)

Add garlic an oil to pot until browned. Add chopped artichokes, spinach, and spices. Stir. Add the dairy free cream cheese and mayonnaise. Stir and keep over low heat until mixture is melted.

Mixed Greens with Vinaigrette (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • 1 bag of mixed greens (butter lettuce, spinach, romaine lettuce, radicchio)
  • Dried sweetened cranberries
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Green apples slices

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

I have to say, I really don't like store bought salad dressing anymore. I prefer to mix up a batch of my own. I know what's in it, and I can switch up herbs and spices as I like. Here's a good, everyday dressing I keep in a big mason jar in the fridge.

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tbsp onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey

Combine all salad ingredients into a large bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients into a mason jar. Cover and shake vigorously. Keep in refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before serving over salad.

Sliced tenderloin, Chicken skewers, and Shrimp with Various Dipping Sauces

Being pregnant and having little ones, I don't want to mess with potentially undercooked meats and hot oil. I am cooking all of the meat ahead of time, so we can used the various warmed sauces for dipping. Here are a few to try.

Sesame Dipping Sauce (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp green onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp water

Brown sesame seeds in a skillet. Add browned sesame seeds and a few drops of soy sauce in food processor. Process on high. Add remaining ingredients and mix. Transfer to fondue dipping bowl.

Peanut Dipping Sauce (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • 3/4 cup Peanut Butter (creamy - Jif)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce(Taste of Thai is gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients into medium bowl and mix well. Transfer to fondue dipping bowl to serve.

Dark Chocolate Dessert (my favorite part - Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  •  1 (6 ounce) package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Guittard, Morkes also makes a non-dairy chocolate chip)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (Karo is gluten free)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brandy or rum (optional)
  • Dash of cinnamon

Combine corn syrup and chocolate chips into microwave safe bowl. Microwave until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well blended, and transfer to fondue pot to keep warm over low flame. Dip whatever you like. Some of our favorites are sliced bananas, pineapple, strawberries, gluten free marshmallows, and  gluten free pound cake.




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  • Terrific! Have a happy new year celebration.

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