As you’ve probably already noted, I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan. I bought my tickets and I was ready to go to the Cubs/Rockies game in Denver, all that was left was to start singing “take me out to … Continue reading
For those that don’t know it, Pampered Chef makes a pizza crust. Yes, that is correct, a pizza crust. They have a limited pantry in the catalog of items you can purchase like spices, etc. Now they have a couple … Continue reading
For those of you who aren’t Celiac, gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy, you are probably saying “what is glutened”?
It’s a term that means that we were, essentially, poisoned. We accidently ingested something with gluten and have exited the building. If you are anything like me, it leaves you curled up in a ball with pain like someone has taken your intestines and just yanked on them. A lot. Hard. You can’t stand up straight and it’s PAINFUL.
I hadn’t been glutened, at least to this degree, for a long time but it happened on New Year’s Eve. Yup, way to bring in the new year. Glutened. Anyway, before I went to the party where I was to spend the rest of the evening, I stopped to have a beer with two of my friends: Don and Craig.
Now, I hang out with those two guys a lot. We talk politics, sports and anything else. So, when I walked in, Craig orders himself a Bud Light and me an Angry Orchard. Gotta love friends who know what you drink! The server brings the beer and typically I take a sniff because Angry Orchard has a sweet smell to it. This was the one time I didn’t do that. I was deep in conversation or distracted or something but all I know is that I took a sip. ONE sip. It wasn’t Angry Orchard. It was Bud Light.
Two thoughts ran through my head: 1. Oh crap. 2. How did I used to drink this stuff?
I put the beer down, said “This is NOT Angry Orchard”. Craig got a hold of the server, told her that it wasn’t the drink I ordered and she brought me my correct drink. Don recognized that it was an issue and I was grateful for an opportunity to tell him what happens when I’m glutened. I should have spoken to the server and/or manager but it was so busy and…I missed an opportunity. An opportunity to educate, to help someone realize that it wasn’t just a simple mistake.
I got sick. It was more gradual than it had been in the past. Usually it takes about 15 minutes to an hour and then, BAM!, you won’t see me for a while. This time it took a few hours, I kept getting more and more bloated and ended up going home late that night. I slept all night but the next day I just sat on the couch. I was tired, lethargic and didn’t want to do anything.
I guess the moral of the story is that when things like this happen, when I KNOW that a mistake has been made, to educate. To use the opportunity.
Last year was a wild and crazy ride. What a year! I started a new job with a new company…kind of. As my office was absorbed by another company, I learned a new role with my promotion. This meant that … Continue reading
When it comes to holidays, we don’t do much tradition for meals. Yes, for Thanksgiving we have turkey and stuffing but then it kind of varies. For Christmas we don’t do ham or turkey (or rarely do turkey), we do things like shrimp scampi or steak or something like that. For Christmas Eve this year we ordered in pizza from Chicago’s Pizza in, where else, Chicago. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about that!
So when it comes to dessert, I usually take it on. I LOVE baking and for a holiday is no different. I want to do something that is unusual, last year for Thanksgiving I did tiramisu. This year I found a recipe that will remain close to my heart: Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake. Anytime you have whiskey in the title, you have my attention. The only issue was that this wasn’t a gluten free recipe and, if you have tried converting recipes in the past, sometimes you have luck and sometimes you just throw it away. This one turned out SO good! I have to share and, maybe for Christmas, this will be your dessert. Also, I found this recipe at www.loveandoil.com, I want to give credit where it’s due!
Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
Yield: 12 servings
Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups gluten free flour
- 3/4 cup dark or dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup decent quality Tennessee whiskey or bourbon (I used Pendleton)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (I ended up using light cream, that’s what I get for shopping the night before Thanksgiving)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a standard (12-cup) bundt pan. Dust with 1 tablespoon each flour and cocoa powder, and tap and turn until pan is completely coated. Dump out excess.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, whisking until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until dry ingredients are almost incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add warm water and whiskey and mix until just combined and no dry ingredients remain (do not overmix). Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the deepest part of the pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then gently invert onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
- To prepare caramel, place sugar and cream of tartar in a medium, high-sided saucepan set over medium-high heat. Pour water around edges. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 2 minutes (the steam buildup will help dissolve any stray sugar crystals on the sides). Remove cover and continue to boil, without stirring, until sugar caramelizes to a light amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch it carefully, as it can go from golden brown to burnt in no time if left unattended.
- Remove from heat and quickly whisk in cream and butter (mixture bubbles a lot, this is normal), then return to low heat and whisk until completely smooth. It may seem like it is seizing, but keep whisking and most of the hard caramel chunks should dissolve. I had a few left and strained them out. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes, then stir in whiskey. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour, or until thickened yet still pourable.
- Pour about half of the caramel over the top of cake, letting it drip down the edges and pool at the base. Slice and serve and drizzle with additional caramel as desired. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
When I meet someone else who has Celiac Disease, I feel an instant connection. I instantly feel less alone and feel free to talk about my life with my autoimmune disease.
It’s similar when I meet someone else with an autoimmune disease of any type. You can talk about struggles and get to know what other people struggle with, help educate others about their disease and spread the word for awareness.
One such person is the daughter of my best friend, Shawna. Her name is Courtney and Courtney has cystic fibrosis or CF. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system…But in people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.” In short, this disease makes it hard to breathe, breathing is necessary for life so this is a disease that can be life threatening, if not handled correctly.
Ever since I’ve known Courtney, she has tackled this disease head on. She’s always had a smile on her face and had been an advocate for those that have CF and has been vocal about what the disease is and is always educating people. Yes, she’s been in the hospital a few times in the past year and a half for “tune ups”, to get her lung function back where it needs to be. She plays guitar and sings and doesn’t let this disease stop her from doing things she loves.
Courtney turns 16 tomorrow. This is key because there are several people with CF that don’t make it into their 20’s. Even less into their 30’s and, well, you get the picture. Yes, treatments and, now, experimental drugs are helping life expectancy but with CF, the simplest things can trigger shortness of breath. As a teenager, Courtney loves going to haunted houses. This year I went with her and Shawna and the fog machines started affecting her ability to breathe. Things that I wouldn’t think about if it wasn’t for Courtney. And, as an advocate, she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself in cases like the haunted house or to make sure that a restaurant doesn’t allow smoking, and many other instances that I wouldn’t think about.
Speaking of experimental drugs, Courtney was one of the fortunate ones to be able to take this drug that is meant to keep her lung function where it’s at, giving her a longer life with the lungs she has and, hopefully, to not have to have a lung transplant for a long time or ever.
Why am I writing about another disease? Because Courtney and I not only have autoimmune diseases (and both agree that they suck) but we also share a birthmonth. Poor Shawna, having to deal with both of us and our birthday talk all December.
Two things as I end: 1) The more we understand about other autoimmune diseases (Shawna and Courtney, please forgive me if I got info wrong!), the more we can help others and they can help us educate and advocate for Celiac Disease. 2) I want to wish Courtney a very happy Sweet 16th birthday! Here’s to many more, dear!
Today is Thanksgiving. For some people it means a days of stuffing your face full of food or prepping for Black Friday (which has turned into Black Thanksgiving Day but I digress), but for me it means what I think it should mean: a day with family and friends.
You see, I’ve always thought “what if you take away the food, football, shopping, etc…what do you have?” It’s the people around you! As a Celiac, so much emphasis is put on food. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuffing as much (or more) than the next person but if I couldn’t have it but was surrounded by people I love…Thanksgiving is perfect.
I’m so incredibly thankful for so many people in my life. My parents are amazing people who jump in to whatever adventure I start on. My brother and sister in law support me from afar and my niece and nephew are amazing little wide eyed children. I have a fantastic group of friends who make me laugh and have hearts of gold and a bestie who is always there for me. What more could I need?
This Thanksgiving, count your blessings. I bet the list is longer than you think.
There’s so much fun in traveling. I love going to a place and seeing what that place has to offer. I just arrived home to Grand Junction from visiting my brother and sister in law, and their kiddos, north of Seattle.
When you are flying people ask “where are you going?” “What is your final destination?” On the way to Seattle I love the question. On the way home it’s a different story. I love visiting my family up north. I see them about every year to year and a half, depending on how my money flow is. And going home gets harder as the kids get older. My niece is 4 1/2 and my nephew 2. My niece is starting to get that auntie comes…and leaves. It’s starting to get harder as we play harder and I find out things like my niece loves running and photography, two passions of mine.
And I sit on the Tarmac in Salt Lake City watching videos she and I made and pictures we took and the tears roll down my cheek. I’m sure I look a little crazy: yoga pants, ball cap and tears but going home is the hardest right now.
Miss these two munchkins, and their parents, a lot right now…and always…
Lately there have been a lot of articles written that are anti gluten free or anti any “free”: dairy free, etc. People saying that it’s all in our heads and that the incidences of these conditions aren’t real.
A New York Times author, I won’t say his name because he doesn’t deserve the recognition, just wrote an article on how a restaurant overseas blatantly said on its menu that it doesn’t have anything gluten free and then the writer went on his “everyone is faking it” rant.
First, I’m glad that the owner put that on his menu. It makes it easier for me to not go to that restaurant. I don’t waste my time or waste the owner/manager/server’s time by asking questions.
Second, it’s his prerogative to not serve anything gluten free. It’s what he wants to do and I will NEVER piss and moan because someone makes that their choice. I know it’s gotta be a pain to stock foods that you aren’t sure if you will ever use and to try to keep cross contamination to a minimum.
Third, if you don’t get it, don’t talk about it. This writer has never eaten something and then been cramping for days on end, lived in the bathroom, couldn’t think clearly, etc. because the smallest particle of gluten affected him. He thinks it’s all in my head and, this is evil, but I wish people who write about things like this could live in my shoes for a month.
I bet he wouldn’t be poking fun.
So until you get it, don’t write about it. Knowledge is power, don’t be a jerk because you don’t get it.
I admitted in an earlier blog that I’m not a big pumpkin fan but I am up to try new things. A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes (by Gluten Free Mama) and, since I’m a sucker for baking, thought I’d try them out! Fall means baking in my world so break out the mixer!
1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) 2 tsp. vanilla 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I use Jules) 1 tsp. xanthan gum (if your flour doesn’t have it mixed in) 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. ginger 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 1 cup chocolate chips or walnuts, if desired (I used chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix together the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a mixing bowl cream butter with brown sugar, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add pumpkin and mix well. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in flour mixture until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds until well combined. If desired, add in chocolate chips, walnuts or other desired filling.
Using a two inch scoop, fill cupcake liners with batter. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched. Place on cooling sheet and cool completely. Frost with frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup shortening 4 oz cream cheese 1/2 tsp. vanilla 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Cream the shortening and cream cheese until soft. Add vanilla, mix well. Add cinnamon and slowly add powdered sugar. Mix on high speed until smooth. If needed add 1-2 tsp. milk to achieve desired texture.
These cupcakes smelled and tasted amazing. They were very moist, flavorful and the chocolate chips added that “sweet treat” feel. The cinnamon cream cheese frosting finished the cupcakes off perfectly. I had my best friend, Shawna, taste them. Shawna LOVES pumpkin and has a “30 days of pumpkin” challenge where she eats something with pumpkin every day for 30 days. I call her the “Pumpkin Queen”. She thought they were delish and gave them her stamp of approval! My co workers also loved them and they stayed moist for a few days, which is unlike most gluten free baked goods. My parents also gave their stamp of approval…three groups approved!
The other thing I loved about this recipe is that it is so easy to whip together. If you need something quick, this is the recipe!