Gluten Free Appetizers

by Maureen on December 18, 2013

It’s that time of year when our community has its annual Christmas Boat Parade and I needed some gluten free appetizers for the rabble rousers to eat while drinking and yelling Merry Christmas to the revelers on all the boats.  Sometimes the people on the boats toss candy to the kids standing on the pontoons and that brings shrieks of excitement as they try to catch the lollies without falling into the water.

There was a parade trial run at about 5:30 and I looked across the canal and there was this woman on a paddle board with TWO dachshunds wearing life jackets paddling by.  Only in Queensland.doxies on a paddle board

Then the boats started coming down the canal.  In the daylight they looked like ordinary boats  unless you looked closely to see the lights strung everywhere.

boat parade test run

Then we started eating.  I’d skewered some watermelon, feta and basil and drizzled a little caramelized balsamic vinegar on them and the plate.  John and I loved this.  So simple,  yet delicious.

Watermelon and Feta Appetizer

When you’re drinking you also need something with a bit of protein, so I made some little spinach, mushroom and onion frittatas and as I had some feta, I popped some of that in too.  It was important that everyone could eat everything.  I hate it when I have to say, “No, you can’t eat that.”   I do it but every time I swear I’m never going to do it again.

Spinach and Mushroom Mini Frittatas

These looked a lot better plated up ready to serve but I forgot to take the photo.  It was a busy day.

It was finally dark and the boats began passing by in front of us.  This is a sailboat and Santa sends the flame up a wire to the top of the candle.  It’s a very clever display.

Christmas Boat Parade

This was a really cute reindeer and he turned his head back and forth.  The kids next door really liked this one.

Christmas Boat Parade

There were about 45 boats in the parade and my favorite was a big sailboat that had Blinky Bill the koala at the top of the mast (well secured) who waved to everyone.  His hat kept falling over his nose but he was still cute.

Then because it’s nearly Christmas when fresh cherries are in all the shops, I made this nifty recipe I found on Pinterest.

Roasted Fresh Cherries and Baked Brie

After pitting the cherries, you add a little salt and chopped basil and let them sit together and make friends for a couple of hours.  Then just before serving, take the rind off a wedge of brie and sit it on top of the cherries and bake until the cheese melts over the cherries.  I served them over gluten free toast that I made from some gf sandwich rolls.  Again, I took the before but not the after photo.  Next year I’ll do better!  That green is the basil.  I looked at that photo for the longest while and thought, “were those cherries bad?”  I’m also an idiot sometimes.

baked potatoes

Finally, I baked some small potatoes and when they were cool enough to touch, I cut them in half and scooped out all but 1/4 inch of each potato then cut them in half again.  I brushed them with oil on both sides and put them back into a hot oven to crisp.  When that was done I added the cheese and baked til melty and then sprinkled bacon when they were done.  Next time I’d put the bacon with the cheese.

potato skins appetizers

I served them with sour cream and the green bits of spring onions, shallots or scallions – depending upon where you are in the world.  Everyone said how American my potato skins were – and they were powerful memory food for me.

The weather tonight was perfect – only a light breeze and it was warm.  After the parade was over the serious food began with prawns, ham, turkey, potato salad and then dessert.  Nobody went to bed hungry!

Do you have local Christmas traditions that you look forward to?

 

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

ela@GrayApron December 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Lovely appetizers! I like everything there, baked brie, baked potatoes and all those additional things :) ela

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:54 am

There wasn’t anything that got left behind!

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Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com December 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Wow – love ALL your appetizers Maureen – the spinach, mushroom, onion fritattas oh yum!
Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted..WIAW For Dessert: Apple & Pumpkin Crumble!

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

Everyone enjoyed them!

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Trisha December 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

This sounds like so much fun! One of my best friends is gluten-free, so I will definitely be making some of these! I think my favorite one is the cherries with the brie. YUM.

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:53 am

That was really good. The finely chopped basil marinating the cherries for a few hours was really good.

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Adri December 19, 2013 at 2:26 am

What fun! A nighttime boat parade and great food! This sounds like a wonderful holiday tradition. In our neighborhood we have some families who go ALL OUT with decorations, and it is great fun to go and see their homes! Merry Christmas to you!

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:52 am

It was a lot of fun and heaps of people decorate the backs of their houses because there’s so much boat traffic on the canal. From the front you have no clue it’s Christmas. :)

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John@Kitchen Riffs December 19, 2013 at 3:16 am

Great assortment of appetizers! And it must be so much fun to watch the boat parade. After we sold our house in Tampa a few years ago, we rented in a 55+ community in Ocala for a year before deciding to move to St.Louis. We were always curious about those 55+ communities and wanted to see what they were actually like – quite enjoyable, we found out. This is one of those places where loads of people own golf carts even if they don’t golf – there are so many places they can drive them to. One of the highlights of our year there was shortly before Christmas they had the annual golf cart parade. People decked their golf carts out in Christmas lights and drove through all the various neighborhoods of the community (it was a huge place, so they actually had a schedule and did it over several days). Tons of fun! As was this post – thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs recently posted..The Kir Royale Cocktail

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:51 am

Isn’t that a fun idea. I love the decorated golf carts! I really like being around children so I’d miss that in a 55+ I think.

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Glamorous Glutton December 19, 2013 at 3:49 am

This looks like such a fun event. It’s so strange to see such good weather so close to Christmas. I love your selection of canapes, really tasty ideas, thank you. GG

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:50 am

I’ve been here nearly 20 years and I still don’t *feel* Christmas. :)

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yummychunklet December 19, 2013 at 3:55 am

Tasty ideas!

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thanks!

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Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg December 19, 2013 at 3:59 am

Nice appetizer. I would make these for sure.

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:49 am

Hi Norma, so nice of you to visit. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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Ash-foodfashionparty December 19, 2013 at 4:09 am

The parade sounds and looks wonderful. I’ve never seen one, thanks for sharing the pictures.
Gluten free options are always a good thing.

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

Come to visit next year! :)

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Lizzy (Good Things) December 19, 2013 at 4:37 am

One of each please, ma’am… actually, no, make it two. And do you deliver!?

Beautiful light in those first couple of photos, Maureen, I like your part of the world xo

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:49 am

We are blessed to live here, Liz. We have everything close by and it still feels like small town. We can go to Mooloolaba and sit on the esplanade for coffee and feel like we’re on holiday but it’s only 5 minutes from home.

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Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen December 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

Maureen, you are a godsend. I was looking for some GF food for Christmas canapés and here they are, and delicious they are too!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas. Thanks for all the smiles and recipes throughout the year. Hoping 2014 is a wonderful one for you.

Hester x

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hester, I hope you like them. I didn’t look for gluten free as a make-do. I wanted normal things that didn’t have gluten. Very well received. :)

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Hotly Spiced December 19, 2013 at 6:38 am

What a lovely tradition and how exciting for the children (not to mention the adults!) I bet Rob loved it. And that woman on the paddle board with her two dachshunds – how gorgeous and I do fear that is the sort of thing I would do. I love your appetisers and you made so many! I think I would have eaten so many potato skins I wouldn’t have been able to fit in the main course! I love to see communities coming together like this xx

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 7:47 am

Because we’re on a canal, it’s not a through street so there’s a cul-de-sac just outside and everyone is really friendly. We’ve got new neighbours nearby with children and we haven’t had that since we moved here. It’s such a joy to hear the kids splashing in the water and laughing and dogs barking at them to get out of the water.

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A_Boleyn December 19, 2013 at 8:16 am

I don’t have any gf restrictions but I’d eat all of your lovely apps. What a treat while watching the sailboats go by.
A_Boleyn recently posted..G is for Garbanzo

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Maureen December 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

That’s exactly what I wanted it to be.. ordinary food that everyone could eat without having to label this food as okay and that food as not okay.

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Roberta December 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

Can I hire you for my next party? Loved each appetizer. Loved the potatoes best though.

What a cool boat parade. Loved the Christmas lights after dark best. Santa won’t miss Australia fer sure!

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Claire @ Claire K Creations December 19, 2013 at 10:15 am

What a lovely tradition. I love how much effort some people went to. I’m saving those potatoes for later Maureen they look fantastic!
Claire @ Claire K Creations recently posted..An extra special Christmas with Woolworths Gold

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BIG CHEF ONLINE December 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

WOW love the way the food is showcased.
After all, visual appeal is just as important as taste – especially when it comes to appetizers.

Thanks for the healthy holiday appetizers!

Regards,

Rosana Santos Calambichis, CEO
BIG Chef Online

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wok with ray December 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm

What a nice place and it’s so festive. I love those appetizers and my favorite would be the potato wedges topped with bacon. :)
wok with ray recently posted..Tokwa’t Baboy (Fried Tofu and Pork)

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Abbe@This is How I Cook December 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

What a great place to live! How thoughtful you are to think of all your guests. They all looked fabulous and stress free! Have a great Christmas!
Abbe@This is How I Cook recently posted..Saigon Crunch #Chex Mix or I Did What?

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Sugar et al December 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I love the sound of this boat parade…so much fun! Hard to pick and choose from the appetizers. They all look amazing. I could kill for the cherry and brie!

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Raymund December 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Love those small potatoes, Yum!

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Catherine December 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Dear Maureen, It looks like such a nice day, very festive. The snacks looks real good. I would love snacking on everything!!
Blessings dear and hope you are feeling good. Catherine xo

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm

My favourite Christmas tradition is opening up gifts on December 24th! Somehow I managed to convince my parents that opening them up then was normal :P And apparently it is in some cultures like hubby’s Finnish culture so we always do it then. BTW the food looks delicious, you did a great job catering!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Road Trip USA: LA to Phoenix

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

The boat parade looks like so much fun and what tasty appetizers!

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nancy@jamjnr.com December 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

How much fun it must have been to watch the boat parade – something I’ve never heard of before but such a QLD thing to do. These GF appetisers are great – I’m currently trying to appease a family member who will only eat organic/ activated/ unrefined ingredients. I’m going to do the watermelon & feta sticks for Christmas Eve it will make my life a little bit easier!

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Joanne T Ferguson December 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

G’day and what fun Maureen, true!
I get that “American thing” when it comes to potato skins and making them, enjoying them and seeing your post today made me smile, thank you!
I love preserving traditions as they create the best memories!
Cheers! Joanne

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts December 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I’m giggling at the daschunds. Definitely a Queensland sight! I wish you could have snapped a photo, but in the absence of that, these appetizers are great to have tucked away should I need some GF options :)
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts recently posted..Vegan strawberry layer cake

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Ramona December 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I would love to eat all your appetizers… and enjoy this boat parade. What a fun event with all the boats decorated. I have never seen anything like this… thanks for sharing this. :)

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Lisa the Gourmet Wog December 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

You live in such a beautiful part of Australia Maureen! How lucky to be able to sit on your veranda and just enjoy the Christmas boat parade while eating delish food.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog recently posted..Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

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Judy @Savoring Today December 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm

What a beautiful evening with satisfying appetizers it must have been ~ your potato skins are just perfect. We are planning on appetizers for our traditional Christmas gathering with friends this year, it just feels easier yet still delicious. The baking and chocolate making will be done today, I always buddy up with a friend to make it more fun. :)
Judy @Savoring Today recently posted..Peppermint Chip Chocolate Cookies [Gluten-Free]

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Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking December 20, 2013 at 1:41 am

The boat parade looks like it was such fun! What a great tradition, and a delicious roundup of GF appetizers for the holidays. Thanks for sharing, Maureen.

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Denise Browning@From Brazil To You December 20, 2013 at 1:49 am

What a great list of gluten-free appetizers, Maureen! Both the small potatoes and the watermelon skewers made me wish to have them near enough to be reached. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!!!
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..Camaféu de Nozes (Walnut Cameos) And A $100 Holiday Giveaway

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Ayesha December 20, 2013 at 5:53 am

Wow! a boat parade! :) And the food looks delish!

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Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures December 20, 2013 at 6:11 am

This is a wonderful tradition. I would love this weather for the holidays! These appetizers look tasty! Especially the savorey watermelon appetizer.

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Liz December 20, 2013 at 11:53 am

I think I could grow to love a Southern hemisphere Christmas! And I know I’d love attending this festive boat parade…especially if you provided the appetizers!!!
Liz recently posted..Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallots and Garlic

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InTolerant Chef December 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm

What a nice community event Maureen! Your nibbles look delicious, and it’s very thoughtful of you to consider us InTolerant’s as well. Wish I was there :)

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Brook December 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

lovely

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Marie @citronlimette December 21, 2013 at 4:04 am

What a fun night! We also have a boat parade every year here in Sarasota Florida. Love the appetizers Maureen. Happy Holidays.

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Maureen December 21, 2013 at 10:24 am

It IS fun, isn’t it? It’s a great opportunity to have a party and the kids love it. The hours of work people put in to their boats is amazing.

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Emma @ Bake Then Eat December 21, 2013 at 6:53 am

I love the sound of the cherries and brie and I am going to give this one a go. All your appetisers look lovely and I love the fact they are gluten free, I don’t need to eat gluten free but I have friends that do and being a vegetarian I know how difficult it can be sometimes to cater for a different diet. I love that you have showed with a little imagination dietary requirements don’t need to be a problem. Merry Christmas and I hope 2014 is a good one :D
Emma @ Bake Then Eat recently posted..Christmas Sweet Rolls

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suzanne Perazzini December 21, 2013 at 8:33 am

Those potatoes look divine! I can almost smell them.
How lucky you are to live on the water and see a display like that. I bet the kids absolutely loved it.
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Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice December 22, 2013 at 2:49 am

These appetizers look delicious! The frittata muffins are very creative, and those skewers with mozzarella, basil, and watermelon sound so fresh. (I’ll be trying that combo this summer!) I was the cherry app on Pinterest and wondered how it would turn out. You can never go wrong with any form of potato making an appetizer appearance! It sounds like a fun night. I am out in California with the family for Christmas, and there is a street known as “Candy Cane Lane” where people REALLY get into lights and Christmas decorations. We’ve been taking a drive down it every year since I’ve been 8 years old!

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mjskit December 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Just got back from vacation and now I want to head down your way! Hopefully you have some of these appetizers leftover. :) I bet there were a lot of MMMMMMs from your family and guests. I love ALL of these and wouldn’t know which ones to start with. Wish we had cherries right now, but it’s the wrong time of the year. However, we have plenty of potatoes!
mjskit recently posted..25 Recipes to Spice up the Holidays

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Maureen December 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

We’ve got a guest room!

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