Monday, August 18, 2014

Bring the GFAF EXPO to Your Doorstep With Send Me Gluten-Free

The Gluten Free Marketing Group (the folks who bring us the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expos) has done it again. This time they are bringing products right to your home with a new offering called Send Me Gluten Free. I was lucky enough to receive a free sample to find out what it's all about (and you can get lucky too -- see coupon below).

If you've ever been to a GFAF Expo, you know what I mean when I say that it's a ton of fun to walk around and find new and exciting products (as well as your current faves) to try. That's the same feeling I got when this box arrived at my front door:

The box I received was exactly the same as what they sent to the Send Me Gluten Free subscribers. Everything inside is gluten-free, and most were also free of other top allergens, varying by product. Depending on your specific food allergies, some products may be more or less suitable for you.

This is what I found inside:

Black Bean Spaghetti from Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine contains only black beans and water. I have tried this one before and it wasn't a hit. I may have to try it again.

TeeChia sustained energy cereal is made with gluten-free oats and a variety of fruits and seeds (made in a facility that also processes tree nuts -- otherwise top-8 free according to the ingredients label).

This Sevierly Good organic traditional bread mix is the product I am most wanting to try. The mix is top-8 free (using a standard rice/potato/tapioca flour blend). The add-ins call for eggs or egg replacer (I'd choose Ener-G egg replacer for this one).

I don't usually think of hot beverages as an issue for those with food allergies, but single-serving samples of coffee and tea were included.

A couple of small snacks and a lipstick sample from Red Apple were also included. The Raw Rev bar contains tree nuts.

I also found a sample of gluten-free soy sauce. Yes, it contains soy. (I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a soy-free soy sauce.)

There were also a handful of coupons (some for products in the box and others for other deals to explore -- including a free issue of Delight Gluten Free magazine).

All in all there were a variety of products. If you want to try them yourself, check out the various subscription plans for Send Me Gluten Free and use code: BLOG20 to receive 20% off of your order.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blueberry Syrup

I continue to have a strong supply of just-picked blueberries that I simply must create something delicious with. Today's recipe is Blueberry Syrup, made with Wholesome Sweeteners Light Corn Syrup (which I received a complimentary sample of).

Blueberry Syrup reminds me of a lazy summer day with salt water breezes.

When my family visited Cape Cod for summer vacations, we would make at least one breakfast outing to The Pancake House. Long before the days of iHOP, The Pancake House served dozens of different flavors of syrups. (I'm pretty sure I would appalled by the ingredients in those syrups today.)

It's hard to claim that my version of Blueberry Syrup is healthy -- it is pretty much all sugar -- but at least I used fresh blueberries and kept the added sugar low.

Blueberry Syrup

1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, crushed
2 tablespoons Wholesome Sweeteners organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons Wholesome Sweeteners organic light corn syrup
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small non-reactive saucepan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the sugar is melted.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and boil until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain the sauce from the skins. My favorite trick for straining skins and seeds is to place a double mesh strainer directly over a bowl:

Let the sauce cool, then transfer it to a jar and refrigerate. Drizzle it over ice cream, pancakes, or chocolate cake! This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of syrup. Scale up if you need more or if you have lots of blueberries!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Here, There, and Everywhere - Where I Will Be Appearing This Fall

I have a number of events lined up for this fall, to coincide with the early September release of The Allergy-Free Pantry.If you are able to join me at one of these events you can be among the first to get a signed copy of the new book, or just stop by and say hi!

There are two Gluten-Free and Allergen-Expo’s in the Northeast where I will be at the author table. On Saturday, September 6th I’ll be at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ and on Saturday, Oct 25th and Sunday, October 26th I’ll be at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. The events run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. This is a great event to find and sample new gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods.

On Sunday September 7th from 10:00 am to1:00 pm) I’ll be signing books at the Kids with Food Allergies Strides for Safe Kids mall walk and fundraiser in Plymouth Meeting, PA. This is Kids with Food Allergies primary fundraiser for the year; even if you can’t make the event, I’d love for you to join my virtual walk team.

On Sunday September 14th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm I’ll be signing books at the North Jersey Food Allergy Conference, at the Saddle Brook Marriott in Saddle Brook, NJ. This is the first year for this event that should prove to be very beneficial to the community.

I’ll be at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday Sept 27th and Sunday Sept 28th. This is the second year this event is being held, and it would be an understatement to say that I am truly looking forward to it. On Saturday morning I’ll be joined by Selena Bluntzer to host a hand-on photography session we are calling “Put Your Best Food Photo Forward”. Saturday night I’ll be signing books at the Wine and Sign Party, and on Sunday, I’ll be sharing the stage with Debbie Adler (of Sweet Debbie’s Org….) and Charissa Luke (Zest Bakery) to talk about Recipe Substitutions.

If you are in New York State, I have two library events scheduled; I’ll be at the East Fishkill Library on Thursday, October 9th at 7:00 pm and at the Guilderland Library in Albany, NY on Saturday, November 8th at 1:00 pm. Both appearances will feature a demo and book signing.

The Allergy Eats Conference for Restaurateurs and Food Service Professionals moves to New York this year, and I am honored to be speaking alongside Lori Sandler (from Divvies Bakery) and Beth Hillson (from Gluten-Free and More Magazine) at the Radisson Martinique on Tuesday October 21st. The event starts at 8:00 am.

Whew! By the time Thanksgiving rolls around I think I’ll be ready for a vacation!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Second Book is a Little Bit Like A Second Child

Look what arrived!!

I am so excited, over-whelmed, grateful, and proud! A lot like I felt when I had my second child, but the similarities don’t end there.

Whereas my first book was later than expected (due to production issues), this book arrived early. My first son arrived a week later than his due date and my second was two weeks early.

I know it may not be fair to tempt you like this, because you won’t get your pre-orders for a few weeks, but I can tell you that the book is beautiful!! Of course, both of my babies were beautiful too!

The Allergy-Free Pantry is slightly smaller than Learning to Bake Allergen-Free (and my second child was slightly smaller than my first) but you can definitely tell they are family. And, of course, I love them both equally.

But, my mind set is different with this book, as well.

When I had my first child it took me months to venture out of the house. I didn’t know how to change a diaper and worried about what to do when he cried. Similarly, my first book signing was three months after the release of Learning to Bake Allergen-Free, every time I held the pen to sign a book it felt strange, and I worried about negative reviews.

With baby number two I was out of the house right away, I was a pro at changing diapers, and I didn’t worry about him crying because I knew he would. (In fact, if you’ve read the preface to Learning to Bake Allergen-Free you know that he cried a lot.)

With the release of Allergy-Free Pantry I’ll be at signing events even before the release date, I’ve got my pens ready, and I’m not worried about negative reviews because they will happen (although not from any of you, of course).

While my first book was dedicated to my younger son (he being the one with food allergies), The Allergy-Free Pantry is dedicated to this handsome dude (my older son) who brings sunshine with him wherever he goes, and is one of my biggest fans!

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Keep Blueberries From Sinking in Muffins

It is blueberry season! Stock up on those delicious gems now, while they are inexpensive and plentiful! I am so lucky to be able to pick blueberries at my CSA. This year, I also have the opportunity to picks lots of blueberries from a friend's bushes:

Lucky me!!

One of my favorite things to do with blueberries is preserve them. You will find my recipe for Blueberry Honey Jam in The Allergy-Free Pantry. In the meantime, I've made some blueberry muffins with the recipe from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free.

One common complaint about muffins is that the blueberries sink to the bottom creating a gooey mess and sticking to the pan. Today, I am sharing two tricks to avoid that mishap.

Solution #1: Coat the blueberries with flour before stirring them into the batter. Use any gluten-free flour to coat them, preferably whatever blend you use for the batter. Use only a tiny amount (about one teaspoon will coat 3/4 cup of blueberries). Extra flour could throw the recipe out of whack.

Solution #2: Place some of the blueberries by hand. Gently press them into the batter after you have distributed it in the cups of the muffin tin.

This is highly recommended if you plan to photograph the muffins after they have baked; you will be able to see blueberries oozing on top!

The same tricks apply to any fruit added to batter!