Monday, September 29, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Made with Burgundy Sorghum Flour

It’s been a while since I posted a new recipe. For most of the summer I have taken a vacation from baking – let’s call it post-book recovery. But I woke up one morning and felt inspired to make banana muffins with some burgundy sorghum flour that I’ve been meaning to try.

To use the burgundy sorghum, I adapted my basic flour blend from The Allergy-Free Pantry for a 256 gram (2-cup) blend that included:

102 grams brown rice flour
51 grams white sorghum flour
51 grams burgundy sorghum flour
52 grams arrowroot starch

I should note that the NuLife Market burgundy sorghum flour I used has the same amount of protein as the white (3 grams per serving), but more fiber and fewer carbs.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

256 grams basic flour blend (see above)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ cup Sucanat
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 flaxseed egg
¼ cup sunflower oil
¾ cup hemp milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup mashed banana (2 medium)
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Combine the dry ingredients and set them aside. Combine the flaxseed egg, oil, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients and mix for another 2 minutes.

Add the mashed banana and mix for another minute or two. I like to use bananas that have been frozen in their skins, thawed, and sliced open.

Of course, I added a handful of mini-chocolate chips, and stirred them in by hand.

Bake the muffins at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes.

The addition of the burgundy sorghum flour didn’t change the flavor profile, but it did provide more of a traditional wheat/whole grain look to the muffins.

I love that there are so many non-wheat flours for us to use. What’s your favorite?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pamela’s Figgies and Jammies – Product Review

When we first learned of my son’s food allergies (more than a decade ago) I went in search of baking mixes that would be safe for him. One of my favorites – to this day – is Pamela’s Brownie Mix (click here to check out one of my earliest blog posts with the add-ins adapted to be allergen-free). Pamela’s also now makes delicious off-the-shelf products such as Whenever Bars (which really do work for whenever and one of my staples for a travel snack). But the great gluten-free and allergy friendly food vendors never stop innovating, do they?

Pamela’s recently sent me a complimentary goodie bag with some of my faves and these new Figgies and Jammies cookies:

I must note upfront that these contain milk (sweet whey powder to be exact) and processed on equipment that also processes a variety of tree nuts and peanuts – therefore not for everyone.

For all my gluten-free followers, they are processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

There are 10 extra-large cookies in each package. Note that one cookie is one serving (90 to 100 calories depending on the flavor), but it is indeed an extra-large cookie. They look very much like the fig-filled cookies you may remember, but each Pamela’s cookie is double the size of the traditional brand.

Having developed my own fig-filled cookie (the recipe is in The Allergy-Free Pantry), I can appreciate the concept of making these double size – in fact, I wish I had thought of it as it would make the rolling much easier!

Pamela’s Figgies and Jammies come in four flavors: Mission Fig (the most traditional), Blueberry and Fig, Raspberry and Fig, and Strawberry and Fig. They are all delicious!!

I tried blueberry and fig first and was delighted! I ate one, and when I went back later for another, they were gone. Go figure!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten Freedom – a Book Review

I received a complimentary preview copy of Gluten Freedom: The Nation's Leading Expert Offers the Essential Guide to a Healthy, Gluten-Free Lifestyle,by Dr. Alessio Fasano, in March (just prior to the book's release date). That makes me quite delinquent in providing this review, but better late than never, right?

In this book you will find a little bit of everything – the history of celiac disease, medical progress, personal stories, a discussion of lifestyle issues, and some basic recipes. Readers here will especially appreciate the explanation of the difference between wheat allergy, celiac disease, and gluten intolerance.

While I think this might be an intimidating book for someone new to celiac disease (it goes deep), it does have some very useful information for those new to either celiac disease or wheat allergy, including comprehensive lists of foods to avoid.

I wouldn’t suggest the book for the recipes (especially if you also have other food allergies), but there are some great ideas for food solutions that may inspire you to create your own recipes.

Overall, this is an upbeat book – nothing to drag you down. I applaud Dr. Fasano for sharing his detailed knowledge in the book and for donating his proceeds from the book to the Center for Celiac Research.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Food Should Taste Good Brown Rice Crackers - Product Review

If it seems like I have been doing a lot of product reviews lately, it's because I am finally catching up on all of the blog posts for products cluttering up my dining room table. I love trying new products and sharing them with you. My goal is to give you the straight scoop so you can decide if you want to buy them.

Today I am focused on brown rice crackers from Food Should Taste Good. I received free samples to review. I have been a fan of the Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips for some time (olive is my favorite!) so I had high hopes for the crackers.

I must note that all of the crackers contain sesame ingredients and the sea salt crackers contain soy. Otherwise, the boxes I received were gluten-free and top-8 allergen-free. They have unique flavors -- tomato and basil, peppercorn (peppercorn seems to be popular in lots of new products lately), roasted red pepper, and the soy-containing sea salt (unfortunately I could not sample that one).

I brought the box of tomato and basil crackers to the beach along with some Applegate Farms salami for lunch, in lieu of traditional sandwiches, for me and my son.

The first thing I noticed about the crackers is the sweet taste. Checking the box, sure enough, brown sugar is the third ingredient. While each serving (10 crackers) contains only 4 grams of sugar, that sweet taste was unexpected in a savory flavor.  Perhaps if wasn't the best choice to pair with salami

On the plus side, the crackers are baked and hence low in fat. In addition to rice, they contain a host of whole grains and all natural ingredients.

If you like a sweet cracker these may be for you, but I'll stick to the tortilla chips.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Enjoy Life Foods Introduces New Packaging

I am very honored and grateful that manufacturers of food allergy products ask me to try their products. This week I received this complimentary package from one of my all-time favorite food allergy companies -- Enjoy Life Foods:

It's the same great crunchy cookie formula. It's made in the same dedicated nut and gluten-free bakery. The ingredients include none of the top 8 food allergens (wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish). The cookies are in a newly designed box, but still very recognizable:

Note that the boxes sport a prominent "gluten-free" badge on the front of the box, conforming with the new gluten-free labeling laws (although not required). 

The cookies come in the same four flavors we already love. I'm a Double Chocolate girl. My son opts for the Sugar Crisps first. Which is your favorite?