GF Coffee Cake Cupcakes

One of the things that I’ve been hungry for recently has been a coffee cake, not exactly on my gluten-free safe eating list. There is nothing quite like having a moist coffee cake with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. I can remember when I was younger and spending a lot of time on the road it was easy to stop by a convenience store and buy a Tastykake Coffee Cake Junior and a cup of coffee for that mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy on the go. My pre-celiac days.

I chose Martha Stewart’s mini coffee cake muffin recipe because I generally have success with her research and experience. Often if I bake something in a square pan it dries out before I’ve eaten it all. Others in my family prefer gluten in their baked goods.

GF Mini Coffee Cake Muffin

Delightful moist coffee cake

This recipe was pretty straightforward, brown sugar and flour for the topping, a little bit of salt, cinnamon, a little butter. And the batter itself was as you probably anticipate some baking powder and baking soda, salt and butter, sour cream, a little buttermilk and of course all-purpose flour. I substituted the all-purpose flour in the topping and in the batter with King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. I wish that I would’ve doubled the recipe because my Kitchen Aid mixer doesn’t do very well with small quantities. I would have liked to had a lighter fluffier batter to start with when you mix the sugar and the butter together. Perhaps next time I’ll substitute coconut for the butter for the plant fat content. I used a silicone muffin pan that doesn’t need cupcake wrappers.

Results were amazingly good and every bit of delicious as what I remember from Tastykake’s Coffee Cake Juniors. Allot of sugar but delicious. Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for 24 mini muffins. I got 11 regular cupcake size muffins out of it.


You Look Like You Eat Allot of Cereal

I’ll have to admit when my chiropractor said to me “you look like you eat allot of cereal” I was totally in the dark, not sure what he would know about my nutritional habits from a cursory view.

For the last twenty-years or so I’ve always had an annual physical and in the last ten -years I’ve seen my chiropractor routinely for wellness adjustments. In recent years he would say I’m not sure what else I can do for you. I also avoided gluten since being diagnosed with celiac disease over twenty years ago. If I didn’t my stomach would bloat and I’d loose my energy. I baked my own gluten-free bread and cakes, make my own yogurt, focused on being gluten-free.

When the chiropractor made the “cereal” statement to me I was thinking breakfast but I was not eating allot of cereal in my view. I was alternating between 2-eggs and a banana, cooked old-fashioned or steel cut Irish Oatmeal, and rice squares. When eating cereal I added whole milk since I didn’t want to use milk that had been “processed and reformulated into 2-percent or skim etc.” feeling like that may be some folks issues with allergic reactions to milk and dairy products. I would often add a spoonful of sugar or honey and a sliced banana. I rarely had toast for breakfast. So my reaction to him was No, I eat allot of eggs and rotate my cereals for breakfast. His response to me was “you need to see my father.”

His father was a nutritionist who had experienced allot of success with his patients following a heritage diet. That is, if your ancestors were middle-European, or from southern-Africa, or Asia etc. hundreds of years ago what did they eat, and that is what your body genetically required. Probably allot of roots and greens. He also prescribed a blood test (that the insurance company would not pay for) that supported his view and confirmed that my diet was mostly on track when it came to basic nutrition. Some added nano-greens, vitamins and minerals were recommended as well as a membership to a local gym. For breakfast I reduced the cereal consumption and went to eating mostly eggs, a banana and a cup of coffee for breakfast. But my “cereal body” with the tummy fat and about twenty-pounds of excess weight did not melt away.

During this experience with the nutritionist the company I worked for had a wellness program that had health requirements that had to be met to get the best rate for health benefits. My burgeoning BMI (body mass index) finally became an issue. After hitting the gym three days a week and reducing my calories I was able to reduce the weight but I didn’t loose the “cereal body” my doctor referenced. I  had gained weight attempting to eat gluten-free, a frustration when I was hearing about others who lost weight when changing to a gluten free diet.

About 4-months ago I came across some references to Dr Stephen Gundry’s work and IMG_7083[1]lectins and decided to read his book The Plant Paradox where he takes a broader view on “cereal” than what we eat for breakfast, meaning the grain category including wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice etc.. I admit I’m not with him in his view of the origin of man but it makes sense if we create vaccines from the disease we’re trying to cure why wouldn’t we do the same with fat? My changes included eating 4-eggs (1 white with 4 yolks) and a banana for breakfast, some of his favorite coconut flour muffins and including hi-plant fat avocados which Dr. Gundry claims is the only food we can’t eat too much of and changing jobs to an active work instead of a desk job resulting in a loss of over 20-pounds and most of my “cereal body.”

I know life is a journey, so is it the higher-fat diet and less cereal grains or the less sedentary work and more active lifestyle or perhaps a combination of both? What I’ve learned is that I still have allot to learn. Starting this journey with a high-probiotic diet to reducing my cereal grain consumption took me back to a weight I had over 40-years ago when I felt my best. I have not adopted a Vegan or Vegetarian diet but today thankfully, I can physically out-work most 20-year-olds.

I’d love to know your story as well especially when it comes to the reduction of cereal grains in your diet.


Gluten Free Coconut flour

Using coconut flour is becoming popular and is a great choice with allot of healthy plant based fats, fiber and protein. It’s great for diabetics and is gluten and grain free. If you’re following a gluten free, low glycemic, nut-free or Paleo diet this is a good alternative. Volume substitution is often 25 to 33 percent of wheat or other grain flours in a recipe. It is a stand alone flour and does not require other flours in the recipe. It’s often recommended to increase the eggs in the recipe when substituting.

There are many recipes for using coconut flour including, breads, cake, pie crust, cookies, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, pizza crust, and brownies. It can be substituted for almond flour. Erica Kerwien has over 100 amazing recipes in The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook. You may also want to try some of Johanna  Davidson’s recipes in Coconut Flour Recipes: The Ultimate Guide.

You can make your own Coconut Flour: or use a commercially available product from Bob’s Red Mill, Pillsbury, Arrowhead Mills, and Viva Naturals found at many grocery stores buy it bulk at Amazon or shop online.

*Banner Photo by Nipanan Lifestyle on Unsplash

Chickpea Flour is Gluten Free

Chickpea’s in the legume family can also be called Chick pea, Egyptian pea, garbanzo, garbanzo bean, Bengal gram or just gram. It’s used to make farinatas , pancakes, bread, Halwa, cookies, Besan Laddu, cheese crackers and more when ground into a flour. It is often used in soups and stews as well as salads. There are over fifty-recipes on All Recipes for chickpea or garbanzo bean flour many in combination with potato or oat flour, and cornmeal for entree’s, soups, and deserts.

There are six USDA developed varieties of Chickpea plants released beginning with  Sarah in 1990, chickpeas-1882839_1920Myles, Sanford and Dwelley in 1994, Evens in 1997 and Sierra in 2003 for growing areas in United States and Canada. Chickpeas and gluten fall in the lectin category, called the offending protein’s according to Dr. Guntry in The Plant Paradox.

Barilla makes a chickpea rotini. You can make your own gluten free chickpea pasta as shown by Osteria La Buca’a chef Jason Neroni, and Claire Thomas. Michelle and Tony do a nice comparison on store bought gluten free pasta’s including Banza a chickpea pasta. You can buy chickpea flour from Bob’s Red Mill. Perhaps you want to make your own chickpea flour at home.

Lake Isle Press has a nice Chickpea Cookbook. The Chickpea Revolution cookbook has 85-plant based recipes for Chickpea flour.

Gluten Free Black Rice Flour contains Anthocyanins

Before we talk about black rice flour lets talk about the kernels it comes from. Black rice sometimes called Purple Rice is often labeled forbidden. Forbidden in the sense that it is reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure a long life. Coming from the same plant family as Tai jasmine and Indonesian black rice with a similar nutty flavor profile and nutrient load. Black rice is the only rice with anthocyanins shown by the color.  Also used as natural dyes these purple colored pigments have also shown to improve vision and mental health, act as an antioxidant and protects against several diseases, a similar action in other fruits and leafy vegetables with the same color. Protect your clothing from potential stains while cooking.

A study by Rarastoeti Pratiwi at Gadjah Mada University describes about 24-varieties of black rice grown in Indonesia and their potential for cancer prevention, lowering the risk of an excess of glucose in the bloodstream often associated with diabetes and lowering high concentrations of fats or lipids in the blood. Exceptional health benefits as well as the risks. Rice supplies for the king were grown in central Java and Gunung Raung and Gunung Ijen.

Rebirth Rice from Thailand sells a Heirloom, Jasmine, and starchy but gluten free black rice they call Glutinous Black Rice you can buy through Simple to cook, and you can make rice flour with a blender, coffee grinder, or grain mill. In the United States Publix sells Natures Earthly Choice black rice. Kroger carries Village Harvest Black Rice from China.  and from Alibaba of course. You can buy black rice flour from Italy, Australia, and importers in the United States.

Recipes using black rice flour include, Artisan bread, brownies, delicious dredging for fish, porridge.


Gluten Free at Home Depot

Perhaps you found yourself at one of your favorite Home and Hardware stores low on energy or needing to quench your thirst and wondering if there may be a solution to either or both for those who are gluten free or even a confirmed Celiac. You know they have appliances, kitchens, nuts, bolts, and screws, living plants, wheelbarrows and barbecue grills but do they have a pick me up snack and thirst quencher?

It turns out that Home Depot has chosen Frito-Lay as their vendor for snack solutions including snacks made with gluten-free ingredients. It may be different at a store in your location however here were some of the options I found on a rack shouting “ANSWER THE GROWL” by the main checkout.

If you’re like me I’m always looking for that Gluten Free logo on the front of the bag but as of this writing Santitas corn chips didn’t have the gluten free logo but they do make Frito-Lay’s gluten free list for schools. A simple ingredient list always helps. No MSG or yeast hiding MSG. Simply stone-ground corn, vegetable oil, and salt. Pretty simple. Perhaps the process described by the Science Channel is close to the way they are made.

Cheetos, those crunchy snacks that are so hard to say ENOUGH make Frito-Lay’s gluten free list too. TasteMade says “it takes 5,000 cows to make a year’s supply of Cheetos, about ten million pounds of cheese according to Kimberly Scott at PepsiCo.” Cheetos’ ingredient list shows Vegetable oil, cheese seasoning including whey, cheddar cheese, some corn maltodextrin, salt, MSG, flavors, lactic and citric acids, yellow 6 color and salt. Chester Cheetah replaced the original mouse that promoted Cheetos and has some pretty funny commercials you may remember. Gluten Free flavors include Cheese Puffs, Crunchy Flamin’ Hot, Limon Cheese Flavor Snacks, Crunch Cheddar Jalapeno, and Crunchy Salsa Con Queso. One taste and you get that “anyone looking … I need to lick my fingers feeling.”

Cracker Jacks is on the gluten-free list. The ingredients on the box show sugar, corn syrup, popcorn, peanuts, molasses, corn or soybean oil, and soy lecithin. Cracker Jack’s originated in the late 1800’s and includes that inquisitive search for the prize in the box.

BAKEN-ETS® pork skins are a spicy hot and crispy snack that have been a favorite of many. In fact ABC News notes generally pork rinds are carbohydrate free and have seventy percent protein, perfect for someone on the Atkins Diet but this snack makes Frito-Lay’s gluten free but caution list. The caution reflects that it is made in a facility that also manufactures foods containing gluten.

Frito Lay Munchies include Rold Gold pretzel twists so they wouldn’t qualify for a gluten free snack and Grandma’s cookies are also on IMG_6482[1]the do not eat list of course because of wheat flour used in the baked snack.

Frito-Lay Original Sunflower Kernels contain sunflower seeds, sunflower or cottonseed oil, and salt a pretty safe bet and would meet most “good Mom lists”. However, the Ranch Flavored Sunflower Kernels has a long list of ingredients if you’re unsure of what the “flavors and spices” profiles may include. Ingredients include sunflower seeds of course, buttermilk, salt, sunflower oil, cheddar cheese, tomato powder, onion powder, cornstarch, MSG, sugar, spices, natural and artificial flavors, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.

Frito Lay Funyons are not onion rings with onions although they may look and taste like it. Gluten free ingredients include corn meal, vegetable oil, salt, corn starch, sugar, corn flour, buttermilk powder, maltodextrin, onion powder, MSG, hydrolyzed corn protein, dextrose, garlic powder, natural flavors, gum Arabic and milk ingredients.

The year 1966 marked the introduction nationwide for Doritos made from ground corn, vegetable oil, and salt. Gluten Free flavors include Blaze Flavored, Cool Ranch, Dinamita Chile Limon, Jacked Ranch, nacho Cheese, Salsa Verde, Simply Organic Spicy White Cheddar, Spicy nacho, Taco Flavored, and Tapatio Flavored tortilla chips.

Many people’s favorite in the Frito Lay family would have to include Fritos.  Ingredients include corn, corn oil, and salt. You may have seen ingredients posted elsewhere that include wheat flour but check the label – no wheat flour listed. It’s such an American Favorite that recipes to include them as an ingredient have been created for like Galya Thomason’s Fritos Cook Booklet.

More than seventy-five years ago Lay’s Potato Chips were born. They were the first company to promote chips on television and today have almost sixty-percent of the potato chip market. Pretty amazing since there are more potato chip companies in Pennsylvania than any other state. Born in Ohio their “betcha you can’t just eat one” TV campaign was a major hit. Simple ingredients include potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt.

It may not have been Home Depot’s intention to choose a vendor that would support their primary “customer first” focus to include gluten free but their choice of Frito-Lay appears to be valued by many worldwide. Frito-Lay has over fifteen billion dollars of annual sales. Sister PepsiCo companies include Gatorade, Tropicana, and Quaker Foods. You may not choose to eat some of their snacks because of their ingredients but the choice is yours, even at Home Depot.

Saquella and Prosecco Cafe

I was reminded today that I hadn’t mentioned the amazing hamburgers at the Saquella Café in Boca Raton and Prosecco’s Café in Palm Beach Gardens Forida both owed by the same folks. Their “Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shops” fit right into today’s FRESH and Healthy gluten-free lifestyle. Whether or not you choose to eat gluten free or are a celiac who needs to be purposeful about your eating habits these restaurants can be a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They opened initially as a way to get a good cup of Cappuccino using the coffee from Saquella Coffee Roasters in Italy who boast a 19 percent market share in Canada and the United States. Saquella Caffe

The Cafés have a Day menu filled with healthy alternatives including Buffalo burgers, chicken, turkey, and fish focused on grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free sources. They have amazing bakeries and gluten-free bread for any meal. Another customer raved that their Creekstone Farms blended beef hamburger had the best flavor of any they remember. Creekstone Farms provides  natural Black Angus beef that has never been given hormones or antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet, raised and grazed in the United States.  Perhaps your preference is Quiche or a Soup and Goat Cheese Salad, or an amazing Salmon Burger. The Dinner menu has some nice entrees including Scottish sourced Salmon, Risotto, Fork-tender Short Ribs, Chicken, and an Asian Stir Fry. Obviously, they serve gluten products so there is always a chance of contamination, but they do their best at preventing any cross contamination if you’re concerned about an allergic reaction.  This is a good choice for any meal and has a pleasant atmosphere as well.

If you’re curious about the history of coffee and it’s place in making history read The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee, learn or brush up on your coffee brewing techniques with Coffee Obsession.                                                   – Photos courtesy of Google Maps

Let’s Eat Donuts

Once you get the urge for a donut it’s always – where is a donut shop or place near me and who makes gluten-free donuts. Dunkin Donuts with over 11,000 independently owned franchises now has a individually wrapped gluten-free brownie but no donuts to date.

There are of course more donut shops that do not have gluten free options than do. Krispy Kreme only produces donuts with wheat – no gluten free options at the moment. Nothing on the visible gluten-free horizon at California Donuts.  In the Amish community Long Johns  is a special treat. Around the holidays in Holland it was a tradition to make fried cakes called Yum Yum’s rolled in sugar like the  Finsbury Foods Group makes in the UK. There is also a Yum Yums Donuts based in California with 71 locations but without a gluten-free option.

You’ll have to look for those local specialty shops. If you’re in Boynton Beach Florida stop by Joey Weiss’s Bakery where they have Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo as well as gluten free options. You can stop by Funky Town Donuts in Dallas Fort Worth on Wednesdays and Sundays for gluten-free donuts in the Medical District and Sundance Square.

No gluten-free donut shops close by? Then it’s bake your own or buy it from your grocer’s freezer. In the bake your own group would be:

  • King Arthur’s Donut Mix a cake like old fashioned donut. Just add the eggs, mile, oil, and butter. Available online or at your local grocer.
  • Stonewall Kitchen has a cinnamon sugar cake donut mix.
  • Pillsbury uses their Funfetti Gluten Free Cake Mix as the base for their donut recipe. Use their icing to glaze your gluten-free donut as well.

Already baked and ready to eat from your grocer’s freezer would have to include:

  • Katz donuts and donut holes. Katz is a gluten free bakery with many tempting products.
  • Kinnikinnick has soft donuts, pumpkin spice, maple or vanilla glazed cake donuts, cinnamon sugar and chocolate dipped.

There are a lot of recipes for homemade gluten-free donuts from some of your favorite sources, AllrecipesAmerica’s Test Kitchen, Bon Appetit, Dina Sheppards GF Donuts, to name a few. So what’s it going to be? Let’s have a donut.

Gluten-Free Cereals

Whatever your age the search for a gluten-free cereal may not be as daunting as it first appears. If you’re looking for something basic without allot of ingredients you can’t get more basic than Quaker Oats, Bob’s Red Mill, or McCann’s rolled and steel-cut oatmeal products. The common perception is that if oats is separated from wheat, barley, and rye grains so that it will not contaminate the oats it should be gluten free. That would make sense if you are sensitive to the wheat protein gliadin, barley protein hordein, or secalin in rye. However, if you experience bloating, headaches, and stomach discomfort it may be from avenin, a gluten protein found in oats. One in 165 persons was discovered to have avenin-sensitive enteropathy in controlled studies. Cheerios is also made from oats.

Some of the most popular rice cereals are Kellogg’s Special K, and the Chex brand from General Mills with flavors like Honey Nut, Blueberry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Corn, and Vanilla. Don’t forget Corn Flakes from Nestlé and EnviroKidz, Erewhon, Nature’s Path, and General Mills as well as the more sugar laden Lucky Charms, and Van’s Blissfully Berry, Cocoa Sensation, and Cinnamon Heaven Cereals. Cream of Rice is that perfect hot cereal for babies to the elderly.

You can make your own gluten-oat-free granola as well. Perhaps a granola from the folk from Bare Naked who make Cacao & Cashew Butter Granola, as well as Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt, Peanut Butter and Honey, Coconut and Cashew, Trail Mix and Dark Chocolate snack flavors.

Barbara’s Puffins has two cereals with gluten free ingredients multigrain and honey rice, although they are made in a factory that also produces products containing gluten.

Allot of choices from manufacturers and do it at home recipes. Many grocery stores have their own generic brands to choose from as well.

Is America’s Diner Gluten-Free

From Danny’s to Denny’s and donuts to an amazing menu that includes clearly identified Gluten-Free options, today after 60 years Denny’s is proving they are still America’s Diner.  Along the way they’ve had tributes to Hank Aaron’s Grand Slam, kids eat free promotions, been the largest corporate sponsor of Save the Children campaigns, No Kid Hungry, numerous diversity awards, and now in over 1,700 locations.

What does that mean for us today? You can go to almost any diner and get hash browns and eggs, perhaps cooked or instant oatmeal gluten-free. Although Denny’s restaurants are not setup as gluten-free they have health-conscious gluten-free meals like Fit Slam made with egg whites scrambled together with fresh spinach and grape tomatoes, plus two turkey bacon strips, a gluten-free English muffin and seasonal fruit. If you’re not fond of turkey bacon, ham and bacon are still on the menu. Omelet’s like Philly Cheesesteak, Ham and Cheese, Loaded Veggie, and the Ultimate Omelet can make breakfast an event not just a meal. Adding a gluten-free English muffin completes the desire for bread.

I wish I could say they mastered the gluten-free pancake or waffle but not yet. They do have five-skillets that are gluten-free, and their Zesty Nacho appetizer is a great starter. Their menu is up to date with Build-Your-Own Burgers, Salads, Steaks, Fish, and Chicken.  The Milk Shakes remind me of Howard Johnson Days. Even a menu catering to the over 55 crowd. Do you like food character episodes? Denny’s has those too. You can order online and even ask Alexa to remember and order your favorite take outs. Rewards? Of course.