Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NYC Snow Day 2015

From the snow piled on the stone wall outside my window, it looks like about 10 inches--enough to make NYC a winter wonderland for sledding but not enough to be the blizzard that was predicted. Bill DeBlassio’s canceling school and imposing a 11 pm curfew of non emergency vehicles was absolutely brilliant as it allowed them to plow the streets so things are manageable today. I was laughing out loud when the mayor responded to a reporter asking “what about food delivery bikes?’ at a press conference last night on the curfew.  "a food delivery bike is not an emergency vehicle,” said the mayor.

I love snow days as much, if not more, than my kids. Not having to wake up at 6:15 to schlep around the city in the dirty, gray snow getting kids to school is a real  treat for me. It gives me time to make coffee in my one cup press, fry hash browns in the waffle maker and make a bacon/tomato omelet for breakfast without feeling like I am going to snap from the stress of having to be out the door at 7:15 am. 


My son is sick with a cough and a fever under several fuzzy  blankets on the couch in the living room watching TV wearing his  Knick's snow hat. A sick kid is always is always a perfect excuse to do absolutely nothing. I am still hoping for another snow day when we can enjoy the snow and sledding. Fingers crossed for a real blizzard or at least another 10 manageable inches and another snow day. 




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cupcakes and Gluten Free Baking Blunder























Well, you can see my New Year's resolution to give up sugar is going very well. My last three posts have all been sugary treats! Maybe I should rebrand my blog to be "Gluten Free Desserts That I Really Shouldn't Eat."

Feeling very deprived when his class had brownies today, my son requested that I make cupcakes. I rallied to make these vanilla cupcakes with a Martha Stewart Italian Meringue Buttercream. My son ate a total of one unfrosted cupcake then ran away to play basketball--so I am left with 23 mini cupcakes. 

Some of the cupcakes are filled with dairy free "nutella"--which I had in my fridge from the last time he asked me to make something that he was missing out on only to decide he didn't really want it anyway. The creamy, chocolate filling inside the vanilla cupcake with sprinkles are a great combination and a nice surprise. 

The truth is as tasty as these cupcakes look, I made a mistake when I was baking. Instead of using my regular flour blend, I used a premixed gluten free flour blend and I did not notice that the blend had xanthan gum in it until the batter was completely mixed and I noticed it was stickier than usual. So, the recipe had twice as much xanthan gum as it needed.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU USE TOO MUCH XANTHAN GUM?

If you use too much xanthan gum in a cake or cupcake recipe, often the final baked item will deflate as soon as it cools. You will get a crater like shape in the middle. Instead of a lofty cake it will look like someone dropped it on the floor and it fell. The texture will also be affected. These cupcakes taste chewy--kind of like a vegan cupcake. Since xanthan gum is very gummy, they don't have that light and airy feel of a cupcake but a chewy texture. 

I am sure the extra xanthan gum is the reason I am left with 23 cupcakes to eat! At least I got a photo.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts in NYC!



After one bite of the gluten free cinnamon sugar donut from Bluestone Lane Coffee, I quickly stopped eating it and put it back in the parchment paper bag. I really didn't believe the not too sweet but very moist and tender donut was gluten free. On my way home, I went back to ask the manager about the ingredients to double check. Yes. This cinnamon sugar donut is, in fact, gluten free! 

The donuts are made by Sans Bakery and you can find them at Bluestone Lane Coffee  at the retail locations listed below. Interesting to see that Bluestone Lane does not have any signs on the gluten free items--but they keep all the gluten free items on the top shelf separate from the gluten containing pastries--so they obviously know what they are doing in terms of cross contamination. Although they physically separate the items from items that contain gluten, the lack of signage is actually quite nice. It slows the line down the little because you have to ask what everything is but it adds to the old fashioned personal experience. And for those who want to see the ingredient list and verify the gluten free status of the items there is a nice binder available which lists all the products and ingredients. 

Bluestone Lane Coffee also serves an avocado mash sandwich and they have Sans Bakery gluten free bread (that is also dairy free!) that is available by request. I didn't get a chance to try the avocado mash sandwich but nice to know that they have gf bread--and they look fabulous. WOW, IS THE COFFEE AT BLUESTONE LANE GOOD and they have almond milk and soy milk available for vegan and dairy-free coffee drinkers. 

Bluestone Lane Coffee caters to everyone in a subtle and sophisticated way that feels ahead of it's time and very classic at the same time. 

BLUESTONE LANE COFFEE LOCATIONS in NYC...

Bryant Park
Corner of W 43rd & 6th Ave


Midtown East
805 3rd Avenue (bet. 49th and 50th St)
New York, NY 10022
Located in the Atrium of the Meredith Building 

Financial District
30 Broad St.
New York, NY 10004
Enter via back of building on New Street (corner Exchange Plc)

West Village
55 Greenwich Ave.
New York NY 10014

(corner of Perry Street)


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

No No's Chocolate Candy-- Gluten Free Vegan M&Ms?!?













I always say "I can make anything gluten-free, dairy-free except M&M's and croissants." So I was thrilled to see an ad for these No No's chocolate candies which looked similar to M&M's on my Facebook page.

The chocolate candies are made with nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free ingredients so they are safe for everyone. In addition they are made with all-natural flavors and colors. 

Looking up the product online--I could see that I wasn't the only one who missed m&m's! 1,155 people donated to the kickstarter campaign and pledged $47,895 to help Premium Chocolatiers to  market. Which is a real testament to how many people on restricted diets miss M&M's.

After 7 years of being gluten free and dairy free I don't even remember what M&M's taste like--but I still miss them which prompted me to order No-No's immediately.

There are two versions--Chocolate No No's and Peanut Butter No No's.  Here are the reviews...

First, my daughter was disappointed with the overall look of the candy. "I knew this candy was too good to be true. No artificial colors? That's hilarious." she said eyeing the slightly off color of the candy which looked more muted than the photo on the label.

My kids, who prefer mainstream candy that is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, wouldn't touch them because of the slightly off beat look. But perhaps my kids who can eat skittles and starbursts and tic tacs aren't the market for candy with out artificial color. No No's would be perfect for kids on special diets who can't have artificial colors. And amazing for younger kids who haven't developed a taste for brightly colored mainstream candy.

"They are pretty good." said my friend Jill Hopler, who is a chef. "They look like beads. They aren't that sweet--which I like. They don't taste like an M&M's--but they are good."

I really enjoyed the Chocolate No No's and the Peanut Butter No-No's. In fact, I really had to make myself take these photos before I finished them.

Premium Chocolatiers also make a No Whey Candy bar which is a vegan, nut free candy bar. No Whey bars would be a great candy bar for halloween for kids with allergies to trade in their Milky Way bars! TheNo Whey mini bars which are available on Amazon here.

THANK YOU to Premium Chocolates for bringing No-No's and No Whey bars to the gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan community. And another big thank you to all the people who donated the money to help get No-No's off the ground. It's an impressive effort by so many people. 






Friday, January 9, 2015

28 Day Body Reboot with Laura Bonarrigo!






















My friend Laura Bonarrigo is an amazing wellness coach and she is launching a 28 day Body Reboot program starting January 19th which includes daily coaching, accountability and support plus meal plans, grocery shopping lists and recipes--INCLUDING THE RECIPE FOR THESE AMAZING PROTEIN POWDER COOKIES!!! Yes--the recipe for these  AMAZING and DELICIOUS cookies are part of her 28 day Body Reboot! (It is a great program for people who want a reboot who love to bake!)

I was lucky enough to sample these crispy and satisfying cookies at a January Planning Retreat coaching program Laura did today. The surprisingly delicious cookies are packed full of  Arbonne's vegan, gluten free protein powder and almond butter so they are both sweet and satisfying.

Check out Laura Bonarrigo's Facebook page HERE to find out more about  her 28 day Body Reboot program or to find out more about Arbonne essentials vegan and gluten free vanilla protein shake mix!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

My typical New Year's resolution is to lose weight and to be in better shape--which usually doesn't work. Although I l feel like the "lose weight" resolution is lurking in the back of my mind--I have tried very hard to take a different approach this year.

Hoping to set myself up for success rather than failure my 2015 resolutions are more achievable.

Instead of an unrealistic resolution to go to a yoga class everyday I decided doing 15 MINUTES OF YOGA a day using the Yoga Studio app on my iPhone was a more realistic goal. Even on a morning like today when I woke up achy from the flu with a cough the fifteen minute morning strength class seemed not just do able--but fun. (Of course, I hope to work in some actual yoga classes here and there too.)

When I downloaded the yoga app I also downloaded a 40 minute Wake up with Motivation -Hypnosis and Meditation app and was inspired to add MEDITATE to my resolutions. Using an iPhone app which guides you through mediation is surprisingly effective (and affordable) way to reduce stress.  It can be done in the morning or at the end of the day before sleep--or anytime when you feel stressed and need a break.

And, another exciting resolution I have for this year is to TAG MY PHOTOS when I import them into Lightroom--which is a workflow routine I really need to incorporate into my routine. 

What are your resolutions for 2015?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe
























Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Our Christmas morning was spent trying to hail a cab in the rain with a large suitcase full of stocking stuffers and a silver tree. It was the complete opposite of a white Christmas as it was also pitch dark-but I'm not complaining as we are headed to Mexico. We did have some tasty crepes before heading out the door at 6:15 am.

I had my crepe with melted fudge from a recipe from the January/February issue of Gluten Free and More which arrived in the mail yesterday. The "healthier for you" fudge tastes like Nutella and added a little joy to my too early and too harried Christmas morning. Unfortunately, our early departure didn't leave any time for photos of the crepes so I am posting a Christmas photo.

The crepe batter was made yesterday which meant I only had to pour the batter into a hot pan. Making the batter in advance and having a hot pan are the secret to perfect crepes. Here is the recipe--which was sent to me by my sister who says that King Arthur Flour makes the best crepes!

Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe (gf/cf)
  • 1 cup gluten free King Arthur flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup Silk almond milk or milk
  • 2 Tablespoons melted oil or butter***
Whisk all ingredients together or blend in a blender on low speed. Ideally, let crepe batter sit overnight in the fridge or for a few minutes/hours to allow ingredients to blend together.

Melt 1 tablespoons additional butter or oil in a 9 or 10 inch sauté pan or crepe pan for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Quickly pour crepe batter into the pan while swirling the pan so that the batter coats the bottom of the pan evenly. Cook 1-2 minutes per side until lightly brown. 

Serve crepes with jam or Nutella or Enjoy Life chocolate chips inside and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

•••I suggest using 1 tablespoon spectrum shortening and 1 tablespoon earth balance buttery spread for a slight "buttery" flavor if you are dairy free.

Related posts:
GFCF Crepes Recipe (a low carb crepe recipe)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Living Without's Gluten-Free Holidays 2014



















Living Without's Gluten Free Holidays 2014 is a special holiday issue full of delicious recipes and menus which are free of most allergens. As soon as my issue arrived, I was inspired to make cream puffs which certainly put everyone in the holiday spirit. There are over 75 great holiday recipes and a Christmas buffet menu, recipes for traditional favorites like chocolate crackled cookies as well as fun new ideas like minty pea hummus.

All the recipes in  Gluten Free Holiday 2014 are all well tested by the Gluten Free and More testers so you can depend on them for your holiday meal. 

You can hang on to  this issue for years to come--or order it as a gift for someone with food allergies in their family as a guide. Keep the magazine with your holiday recipes and cookbooks or pack it up with your holiday decorations! It's a great resource for anyone on a restricted diet!

To purchase a print copy or the e-book go to Gluten Free and More Subscriptions and Specials.








Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Foster Farms GF Corn Dogs Review and GIVE AWAY!!!

















Foster Farm Corn Dogs got very favorable reviews from our gluten free family. "They taste like corn dogs—well, I don't really remember what regular corn dogs taste like--but they are pretty good.”

The fact that my daughter would even try them was a pretty good sign. She usually rejects most processed food that is sent to me for a review. So her asking later "Can I have a corn dog for breakfast?” was a sign she really did like them. “Of course!” I replied.  (We are big fans of dinner for breakfast.)  The corn dog batter is sweet so the corn dogs actually remind me of a cross between a donut and a corn dog—which is actually perfect for breakfast. 

The smoky hot dog flavor of the sausage doesn’t taste like chicken—which to me is a good thing as it takes more like a corn dog. The corn crust is not too grainy either and it stays together which makes it possible to serve them cut up as an appetizer.

I have to admit, I usually don’t review non-organic processed foods—but Foster Farm was so nice about contacting me that I agreed—and I am happy I did because they are a great product and I am happy to have them as an additional option or a treat for my kids. 

To win a voucher for a FREE box of Foster Farm's Corn dogs, please “like” the Foster Farms Facebook page to enter and leave a comment here that you liked their facebook page to be entered to win! 


FIVE Winners will be selected on Friday, December 12th at 11:59 pm E.S.T! See below for more details.

PROS:
  • Kids like them!
  • They look and taste like regular corn dogs.
  • You could serve them to anyone and they never would know they are gluten free.
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 6 grams of sugar
  • Frank is made with 100% chicken not beef.
  • Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs are certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group!
CONS:
  • Not organic 
  • Processed
  • Not GMO free corn
  • Lots of ingredients

1) Please "Like" the Foster Farms Facebook page and  leave your comment on THIS post! (click on "comments" below) with your email or twitter handle!
2) Post your comment by 11:59pm EST on  Friday, December 12th.
4) One winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) and announced on Saturday morning, December 13th.
5) NOTE: If you wish to be contacted by e-mail if you win, please include your e-mail address or twitter handle in your comment. Otherwise you must check back on Saturday, December 13th at 12 pm. If the prize is NOT claimed within 72 hours, the next random winner (using Random.org) will be contacted.



For additional information about the product, check out the website here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Belated "I'm Thankful For" List 2014
















This is a belated list of all the things I am thankful for this year. Many of these are foods I love--or foods that have made my life as a parent easier. It's hard to express how grateful I am for all the blessings I have in my life today--and there are certainly are many things I have left off, I am sure. Also, it's a stream of consciousness list of things as they popped into my mind so don't pay too much attention to the order. 

What big and little things in your life do you feel thankful for this year?

1- Health
2- Happiness
3- Family
4- Massel Gluten Free Chicken Bouillon Cubes (and Celiac and the Beast who told me about them!)
5- Cocomel Caramels
6- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
7- Udi's Bread
8- Brussel Sprouts
9- Potatoes
10- Kale
11- Mushrooms
12- Starbuck's Flourless Chocolate Cookies
13- Schar Vanilla Wafers*
14- Dana's Bakery Macarons*
15- The Little Cakes Cake Pops*
16- Tate's gluten free chocolate chip cookies*
17- serial podcast
18-books
19-the beach
20-the sun
21-hemp seeds--it's the little things 
22-Jill Hopler, Your Personal Foodie, making Thanksgiving dinner!
23- friends
24- 24 yrs of being a friend of Bill W.
25- hard sauce!!!
26- my camera

*I can't eat these but my daughter loves them! Making her happy makes me happy!