I am from Oklahoma. In the 22 years I lived there, I spent my share of time taking cover in the designated room in our house or hallway at school as big storms rolled through. I don't know if I ever saw a tornado really in all that time. Tornadoes are capricious. They take funny twists and turns. And after living through a few dozen of them when nothing bad happens to your own little piece of the world, you get a little immune to the worry of it. I did, anyway.
And then tornadoes tore through Moore again a couple of weeks ago. That's pretty close to where my brother Glen and sister-in-law Kim and nieces Patricia and Alyssa live. But they were fine. And then last Friday I got a push notification on my iPhone from CNN that a tornado emergency (a designation that didn't even exist when I lived there, which means "Holy crap, there is a tornado right on top of you and you are in grave danger") was issued for El Reno, where Kim and Glen live.
In previous storms, Kim has posted regular updates on Facebook during storms from the storm cellar. (They built their house maybe 12 years ago and had a storm cellar installed. Most people don't have them. It's very difficult and expensive to dig down in Oklahoma.) During this storm, Kim was not on-line. Thankfully, Kim had gotten word out to my niece Alyssa who was out of town, that she, Glen, and Patricia were safely in the cellar, drinking wine, eating gluten-free snacks, and riding out the storm.
That is their house. Behind the house is a humongous freaking tornado. This picture was captured from video taken from a storm chaser news team immediately before their back window was broken out by flying debris. Amazingly, the house and barn survived though they did suffer some significant damage. The cows and horse survived. Two dogs were missing. One has found his way home. Everyone still holds out hope for pup #2, a friendly canine named Cinco. If you are in or near El Reno and see this dog, let me know.
I am grateful that my family is safe. I am grateful they have a storm cellar. I am grateful that Alyssa kept us up-to-date. I'm even grateful for this visual proof of how close a call they had. Please hold a thought for those that were not so lucky. Send love and light and prayers to their families and to the survivors of the storms that lost everything. Try to remember to work some gratitude into your everyday routine. Everything can change in an instant.
As of June 3, Cinco is still missing.
These are definitely treats for a long holiday weekend. They violate my usual code of fast, easy, and few dishes. They were none of the above. But because Jenn specifically asked for a coffee cake-like treat, how could I say, "Nah. Too much of a bother."? She makes very few culinary requests. Luckily they turned out great and thus, blog-worthy on the first try.
They are very moist, probably because I went ahead and used a full stick of butter rather than cutting it in half and adding applesauce. The butter was probably also the reason they didn't stick to the muffin papers. So, once in awhile, maybe it's okay to stress the "happy" and "gluten-free" part of Happy Healthy Gluten-free and know that "healthy" is found both in eating these in moderation and at your next meal in the form of a nice salad or plate of greens.
These muffins DO have two advantages: 1) because they are muffins, the portion control is built right in, and 2) they have the benefit of Xocai healthy dark chocolate which boosts your antioxidant intake and adds a nice sophistication, making them a little less than over-the-top sweet.
The creation of these muffins has a number of steps, and my younger son Scott had a great time helping out. He measured, mixed, scooped batter into the muffin tins, unwrapped and inserted the chocolate squares, spread and patted down the topping, and more. So though they weren't particularly fast to make, it was good quality time in the kitchen.
For the cake part:
1 3/4 gluten-free flour blend (I used Arrowhead Mills, which has xanthan gum built in. If your favorite gf flour blend does not, add 1 ¼ teaspoons of it for this recipe.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or the milk-like product of your choice)
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick of melted butter
12 Xocai Power Squares or other dark chocolate squares
For the topping:
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Combine the milk, sugar, butter and eggs in a big bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the milk-sugar-eggs and mix well. Spoon the rather sticky batter into a lined muffin tin. Worry that it may be too dry. Insert the chocolate squares upright in the middle of the muffin batter.
For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and combine it with the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers (I used my fingers) to mix until course and crumbly. Spread it evenly over the muffins and pat them down a little. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted (but not in the middle of the chocolate stripe) comes out clean. Eat them warm! Though room temperature was good too. We froze some of them to keep us from devouring the whole pan in one day. Keep your face over your plate. Oh wait, that's what I say to Scott.
I'm posing with my delicious gluten-free pizza at Helmut Newcake in Paris.
I hope you are going to go someplace AMAZING this summer! I went to Paris
in October 2012 and I am so glad that I didn't let worry about finding good gluten-free food stop me. While it wasn't always smooth sailing, it was definitely worth it!
A fellow gluten-free traveler (who also has asthma and lactose intolerance) has recently had the following text translated by American Translation Partners
into German, Russian, Estonian, Swedish, Thai, Danish, and Finnish. She picked ATP because of their medical translation services. I share her learnings here in case it is useful to you. I speak none of these languages and cannot vouch, so I offer them unto you in the spirit of adventurous travels.
I have celiac & asthma. Very Allergic. PLEASE: For food: NO gluten, dairy, msg, nitrates, food color, wheat. NO cross contamination/ no contaminated oils/ please use clean pans. Thank you. I look forward to enjoying your restaurant.
Ich leide an Zöliakie (Glutenunverträglichkeit) & Asthma. Ich bin Sehr allergisch.
BITTE: In Bezug auf Nahrungsmittel: KEINE Gluten, KEINE Milchprodukte, KEIN Mononatriumglutamat (MNG), KEINE Nitrate, KEINE Lebensmittelfarbe oder Weizen.
KEINE Kreuz-Kontamination / KEINE kontaminierten Öle / Bitte benutzen Sie sauberes Kochgeschirr.
Ich freue mich darauf, die Speisen Ihres Restaurants zu genießen!
Vielen Dank! Russian
У меня астма и глютеиновая болезнь. Сильная аллергия.
Нельзя употреблять: глютен, молочные продукты, глутамат натрия, нитраты, пищевые красители, пшеницу.
НЕЛЬЗЯ контаминировать продукты / НЕЛЬЗЯ контаминировать масло / готовить только в чистой посуде
Жду с нетерпением возможности пообедать вашем ресторане!
Minul on tsöliaakia ja astma. Olen äärmiselt allergiline.
Toidud: EI TOHI SISALDADA gluteeni, piimasaadusi, naatriumglutamaati (MSG), nitraate, toiduvärve ega nisu.
EI TOHI OLLA ristsaastumist / EI TOHI OLLA allergeeniga saastunud õlisid / Palun kasutage puhtaid toiduvalmistamise nõusid
Ootan nauditavat elamust teie restoranis!
Jag har glutenintolerans och astma. Väldigt allergisk.
För mat: INGET gluten, INGA mejeriprodukter, INGET natriumglutamat, nitrat, INGAfärgämnen, INGET vete.
INGEN direkt eller indirekt kontaminering / INGA kontaminerade oljor / Vänligen använd rena pannor
Jag ser fram emot att njuta av maten i din restaurang!
ฉันเป็นโรคแพ้อาหาร Celiac Disease และโรคหืด มีอาการแพ้อย่างรุนแรง
คาแนะนาต้องปฏิบัติตาม ผลิตภัณฑ์อาหาร:จะต้องไม่มีส่วนประกอบของกลูเตน ผลิตภัณฑ์จากนม ไนเตรต สีผสมอาหารหรือข้าวสาลี
Jeg har cøliaki (glutenallergi) og astma. Jeg er meget allergisk.
Fødevarer: UNDGÅ gluten, mælkeprodukter, MSG (det tredje krydderi), nitrit, levnedsmiddelfarver og hvedeprodukter.
UNDGÅ krydskontaminering / UNDGÅ kontaminerede olier / Brug venligst rene gryder og pander.
På forhånd tak. Jeg glæder mig til at nyde besøget på jeres restaurant!
Med venlig hilsenFinnish
Minulla on keliakia ja astma. Minulla on useita allergioita.
OLE HYVÄ JA OTA HUOMIOON SEURAAVAT:
Ruoka: Ei gluteenia, maitotuotteita, MSG:ää (natriumglutamaatti), nitraatteja, elintarvikevärejä tai vehnää.
EI ristikontaminaatiota / EI kontaminoituja öljyjä / Käytä puhtaita keittoastioita.
Olen iloinen voidessani ruokailla tässä ravintolassa.
Mixed Vegetable Panang Curry with Tofu from Bangkok Cuisine
I recently attended a four-day Xocai Healthy Dark Chocolate
convention at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno, NV. Before heading there, I introduced myself over the phone to chefs Bob and Dennis, who gave me tips in navigating the conference culinary offerings, and where I would have the best chance for success in the half dozen or so restaurants that are part of the casino. They were both very nice, and I did enjoy a nice conference salad one day. However, I mostly relied on provisions of apples, oranges, bananas and raisins as well as carrots and hummus from the grocery store across the street, and the powdered peanut butter and gf amaranth rolls I brought from home. And let's not forget the Xocai protein shake! One of my roommates brought her bullet blender, so breakfast was a snap.But of course there were opportunities to eat out. One evening we wanted to eat al fresco -- a natural result of having been inside a casino meeting room all day when the weather outside was sunny and 80. We lucked into the Great Basin Brewing Company, having picked it on the basis that they had outdoor seating. It was a short cab ride from the resort and they had a fairly well-endowed gluten-free menu (though I thought it strange that they didn't appear to carry any gf beers.) I enjoyed the La Flaca Rice Bowl sans chips, which was essentially rice and beans with a spicy salsa, topped with avocado. It was just what I needed and it really hit the spot! The service was a bit on the slow side, but we WERE a party of eight, so I will not judge them on their usual service time based on our experience. Our server was delightful, attentive and very helpful. Sadly, I've forgotten her name.The next night we decided to eat out again, and so I set out to find something interesting that could meet the needs of our group. Usiing UrbanSpoon.com, I spotted Bangkok Cuisine, which was also a short cab ride from the Atlantis. I called in advance and learned that they didn't have a gluten-free menu but that they could easily and safely accommodate me.
When we arrived, Veronica our server was super helpful and guided me through their extensive menu. Our group of eight decided to do a family-style meal sharing, but I kept mine separate until I'd filled my plate then put it on the go-around with the other dishes. I had the mixed vegetable coconut soup -- spicy, light and refreshing -- and the mixed vegetable panang curry over rice. No problem with the service here -- the food came out quite fast. There is nothing like fresh and authentic Thai food to really buoy my spirits, not that they were low, but I just hadn't had Thai food other than Pei Wei (a chain restaurant that is owned by the same people who run PF Chang's) since my celiac diagnosis. Who knew Reno would be the place for reintroducing me to excellent Thai food?I do want to note that before I went I identified a couple of places to eat that were an easy walk from the casino that looked promising. Zpizza offers a gluten-free crust and delivery, so I would probably have ordered in if I hadn't been traveling with a posse
. The Aroma Club
also had some possibilities, though their hours didn't match well with my free time from the conference.All in all, I had a great trip and was really pleased with my dining out experiences. Thanks, Reno!
La Flaca from Great Basin Brewing Co.
I meant to shout about these from the mountaintops before now! I no longer need to schlep my tasty treats with self-conscious gluten-free designation done with blue painters tape and sharpie marker. Cute tooth picks and pan tags bring my gluten-free fare out of the closet for potlucks and block parties. I especially love that the pan tags are oven-safe, microwave-safe and dishwasher safe. Check out the whole line at www.glutenfreelabels.com.
I tend to do variations on my culinary creations, so if this looks kinda familiar, it's because I'm borrowing and altering from my own recipes. These bars have no added sugar, and I reduced the fat by using powdered peanut butter and some actual chopped peanuts, rather than getting out the jar of Jif. I hid some Xocai healthy dark chocolate power squares within for an added boost. You could use other chocolate squares, but you owe it to yourself to try Xocai
!) Banana Peanut Chocolate Oat Bars
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (I use Trader Joes)2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter (I like a brand called JustGreatStuff and I found it recently at my local supermarket in the health food section. There's another brand out there that's good too, called PB2)
2 tablespoons chopped roasted lightly salted peanuts
9 Xocai Power Squares
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 6" X 9" baking pan with non-stick parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate and mix well. Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Arrange the 9 chocolate squares so that you'll get one square per serving. Spread the remaining oat mixture over the top.
Bake for 22 - 27 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool and cut into 9 bars. Great for a quick pre-fab breakfast or on-the-go snack!
Here's the middle layer with the chocolate squares before the top layer was added
This recipe is featured in the current So What CAN You Eat newsletter
. Sign up here
to be sure to get future issues delivered right to your e-mailbox!
We had such great success at our holiday gf meetup cookie swap that we thought we attempt a springtime reprise with a baked goods potluck brunch. I had a hankering for strawberries, and I’m very into dark chocolate, so I created some muffins to share with the group. The ones I shared with my friends were pretty mild-mannered, but two muffins that didn’t make the lineup for the potluck were my (very successful) trial of adding A LOT of chocolate to them. I call them Strawberry Chocolate Bomb Muffins. My partner Jenn reports that eating them is like having fudge without having to go to one of those touristy places that make you watch them spread it on a slab of marble. If you wanted to make these muffins and were stranded on a desert island and had to forego the chocolate, you could, but you’d be sad and you’d have to change the name. Strawberry Chocolate Bomb Muffins
1 ¾ cups all purpose gluten-free baking mix (I used Arrowhead Mills, which contains xanthan gum. If you use a blend that doesn’t include xanthan gum, I’d advise 1 ¼ teaspoons of it for this recipe.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or the milk-like product of your choice)
½ cup sugar
½ stick of melted butter
¼ cup vanilla yogurt (if you don’t have this, you can double the butter and add an additional ¼ cup sugar)
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, cut into smallish chunks
18 Xocai Dark Chocolate Nuggets (or do a mix of some with chocolate, some without)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside. In a bowl, mix together the milk, sugar, butter, yogurt and eggs. Fold in the strawberries. Add the flour blend a bit at a time and stir until moistened. Pour batter into lined muffin tins 2/3rds full. Push an unwrapped nugget into the middle of the chosen muffins. It’s okay if it
doesn’t get completely covered with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean. Let cool enough for the molten lava chocolate to not scald you – maybe ½ an hour or more. Makes 18 muffins.
For you Philadelphians interested in learning more about the gluten-free diet, register for the Mt Airy Learning Tree Class Why and How to Go Gluten-Free
. I am leading the workshop, which will be held at Food For All Market and Café
, and in addition to some delicious samples of their gluten-free fare, I'm including my ebooks Gluten Free: Practical Advice for a Happy, Healthy Gluten-Free Life
and So What CAN You Eat? Gluten-Free Paleo Vegan (mostly) Recipes for Health and Weight Loss
(which I will have printed out for your benefit, of course!)
Here's the course description:
Do you feel lousy and don't know why? Have doctors not been able to figure out what's wrong? Have you recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Do you wonder if going gluten-free can help you lose weight? Do you want to know what all the buzz is about? During this fun and interactive hour and a half session, you'll get facts and practical tips for eating gluten-free safely and well.
Tuesday, May 7th, 6:30 - 8 pm
Food For All, 7127 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19119
$20 for the class, $5 Materials fee REGISTRATION THROUGH MT. AIRY LEARNING TREE IS REQUIRED
I hope to see you there!
I have become a healthy dark chocolate cheerleader. You can read all about why it's a great fit for a healthy lifestyle here
. I am so impressed with my brand of dark chocolate (Xocai, pronounced show-sigh) that I want to everyone to know about it. So, for a limited time, if you sign up for my mailing list and provide me with your address in the contact form
, I'll send you a sample. No pressure, no hype, just a chance to try this high-quality chocolate. Sweet!
My sister-in-law Kim told me about cauliflower crust pizza awhile ago, but I just hadn't gotten around to trying it. I did look it up on the internet, and I noticed that a number of examples shown in photos had quite crispy edges. I must confess that I've had one too many gluten-free pizza crusts that were a bit burned around the outside, and I don't particularly like the carbonara flavor. I decided to try something crazy and make little tartlets in a muffin tin using foil liners so that they could be a bit better contained and maybe reduce the likelihood of becoming too crispy. I'm also in the middle of reading Joel Fuhrman's book Super Immunity
, in which seeds get lifted up as a must-have in any super-high nutrient diet. I had picked up some roasted pepitas earlier in the day, and I decided that grinding
them and adding them to the crust would provide some healthy fat and let me reduce the amount of cheese in the crust.
Success! These little babies are delicious! I could even have used less cheese, and they would have been fine. The crust was a little puffy and nicely crustly, with no burnt edges. I had several for dinner, but these would be pretty fun as a party food too. You can't really tell from the picture because of the cheese, but two of them have mushrooms, one of them has mushrooms and tomatoes, and two are just plain cheese. I liked every combination.
Ingredients:1 cup grated cauliflower
(I used a cheese grater, and it went pretty fast)1 egg2 tablespoons roasted salted pepitas
, ground (I ground them in my coffee grinder. If you don't have this around, double the cheese in the crust to 1/2 cup)1/4 cup cheese for crust, plus ~1/4 more for topping1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
(I used this because we were out of dried basil and the oregano was at the back of the cabinet, but you should use whatever pizza seasoning you like)~1/4 cup pizza sauce
(I used jarred sauce from the pantry)Pizza toppings
(I had fresh mushrooms and some grape tomatoes on hand, and Joel Fuhrman likes them too)Directions:Preheat oven to 450. Line a muffin tin with 6 foil muffin cups and spray them with non-stick cooking spray. Grate enough cauliflower to have a cup of it (around half a head). Put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 4 minutes. (Almost everyone else on the interwebs says to nuke it for 8, but that's WAY TOO LONG in our microwave. I also saw a recipe that didn't microwave the cauliflower at all, so I split the difference and went with 4 minutes.) Let it cool for a couple of minutes so that when you add the cheese and egg it doesn't get weird. Stir in the ground
pepitas, cheese, herbs, and egg and combine thoroughly. Divide evenly among the 6 muffin cups until it's evenly divided.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the crusts are a little puffy and starting to brown on the edges (but not too brown!). Remove from the oven, turn the oven up to broil, and while it's heating, top your crusts with a spoonful of sauce, toppings and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.Remove. Let cool for a couple minutes to let the cheese set up, then pop the tarts out of the foil cups. Enjoy!