Monday, February 29, 2016

Any Day Pancakes – Enjoy Life Product Review

Sometimes life gets in the way. Just before Valentine’s Day I received a goodie box from Enjoy Life Foods (complimentary) to do a product review of their new off-the-shelf Pancake and Waffle Mix.

But due to a family emergency (caused by a blizzard and a fall and surgery for my 81-year-old Mom) I got very distracted from pancakes. My Mom is now recovering and will eventually be walking again, thank-you.

So back to pancakes. Obviously, I missed Valentine’s Day pancakes, but since pancakes are indeed my favorite “special day” breakfast, I decided to post these for Leap Day. What could be more special than a day that only comes once every four years? Well, maybe these pancakes…

One of the things I love about the Enjoy Life baking mixes is that you only need to add water and oil. That’s right, no need to try to figure out the best substitute for eggs or which non-dairy milk to use. There is no need to use any refrigerated ingredients (hence making these perfect for college students or young adults with tiny apartments). And, of course there are no top allergens used in the mix.

The ingredients list is a bit longer and more varied than most off-the-shelf mixes. The Pancake and Waffle mix contains buckwheat, teff, rice, millet, and tapioca flours, along with leavening ingredients and probiotics.

Like the other Enjoy Life Foods mixes, this one boasts 5 grams of protein per serving, but I have to admit I am baffled about what a serving size is. The box says a serving is one pancake, with 11 servings per box. I made eighteen 4-inch (about) pancakes with one box, so I figure one serving is 1 ½ pancakes. Honestly, 3 pancakes is what I think most of us would consider a normal serving.

I found that I needed to add considerably more water than suggested. The instructions call for 1 ½ cups water, I used 2 full cups and the mix was still very thick. I might add even more water next time.

The pancakes fluffed up nicely and browned nicely (something that is not always true of allergen-free pancakes). They were a bit dry (even with the extra water), but nothing lots of maple syrup won’t solve.

Try them yourself, or make them for someone you love!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Warm Breakfast for a Cold Morning: Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake from Learning to Bake Allergen-Freewill definitely hit the spot on a cold winter morning. I am sharing this again for all of you in search of an allergy-friendly breakfast that doubles as a tea-time snack or dessert.

This yummy Coffee Cake from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free is made without gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, or nuts!

Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Did you know that most coffee cakes don’t contain coffee? They get their name because they are intended to be served with coffee, which makes them the perfect treat for breakfast. My favorite part of a coffee cake is always the streusel topping—just enough sugar to wake you up.

The technique used here to create the streusel topping is one that will be used frequently when making cookie dough and pie crusts.

Makes 12 to 16 Servings

For the cake:

2 cups (256 grams) of your favorite gluten-free flour blend
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (leave out if your flour blend contains xanthan gum)
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) Earth Balance Natural Shortening, softened (see tip)
½ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water (equal to 2 eggs)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup coconut milk beverage (see tip)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel topping:

2/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Shortening, cold

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking oil.

Prepare the Cake Batter:

2. Mix together the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set it aside.

3. Cream together the shortening and granulated sugar in a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, for about 5 minutes, until a textured paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed.

4. Add the egg replacer mixture, applesauce, coconut milk, and vanilla to the creamed sugar. Blend with a mixer on medium-low speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Gradually add the flour mixture and blend on medium speed, about 2 minutes.

6. Pour the batter into the baking dish, spreading it to the sides of the pan.

Prepare the Streusel Topping:

7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour and brown sugar, using a pastry cutter or pastry fork.

8. Cut the shortening into tablespoon-sized pieces. Use the pastry cutter to work the shortening into the flour.

9. Crumble the streusel topping over the batter.

10. Bake at 350°F for 32 to 36 minutes.

One of my favorites from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free - easy to make and satisfying to enjoy. Gluten-free, top-8 allergen-free, and vegan.

• Note that the shortening for the cake is used at room temperature, whereas the shortening for the topping is used cold. Plan to let just the 4 tablespoons sit out to soften and leave the remainder in the fridge until you need it for the streusel.
• If you need to avoid coconut due to an allergy, substitute hemp milk or rice milk for the coconut milk.

Credit line
: Recipe from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts, copyright © Colette Martin, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

AAFA Announcement

Thank you to all who have sent me congratulations on joining the Board of Directors of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

As you have noticed, our friend Ritesh Patel also joined the board. But here's what you may not know...

Kids with Food Allergies (founded by Lynda Mitchell) merged with AAFA in 2013, and is now fully integrated as a division of AAFA. AAFA has more than 50 years of experience serving those with asthma and allergic diseases. The two organizations prior to the merger had similar values and goals, to improve the quality of life for those dealing with these diseases and still do today:

AAFA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergic diseases through education, advocacy, and research.

As I join the board, I am honored to be joining others in the food allergy community who you may know as well, including Heidi Bayer (board chair), Paul Antico (we all know him from Allergy Eats), and Dr. Dave Stukus. You can find the entire board leadership here.

And... I hope you are as thrilled as I am to see that Lynda Mitchell has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of AAFA and Melanie Carver has been promoted to VP of Community Services. So please congratulate them as well!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chocolate Truffles and a Big Valentine's Day Giveaway

Who needs chocolates in a heart-shaped box when you can make your own (without milk, gluten, or nuts) at home?  I've never been a fan of those chocolates in the heart boxes anyway. I admit, I like my chocolate dark and plain.

Today I am sharing my favorite chocolate truffle recipe... AND... I have teamed up with some fabulous gluten-free bloggers to bring you an awesome giveaway.

Allergy-friendly Chocolate Truffles

¼ cup So Delicious coconut creamer
1 ½ tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Shortening (or another shortening)
1 cup allergen-free chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa (I prefer natural unsweetened) and/or candy sprinkles

The coconut creamer is the perfect replacement for traditional cream in these truffles because it contains thickeners. Use your favorite allergen-free chocolate chips with this recipe. Pascha, Enjoy Life, and Divvies chocolate chips all work beautifully, and any size chocolate chip will work.

Let's get started making truffles, shall we?

Melt the coconut creamer and shortening together over medium heat. Slowly bring it to a boil. When boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla (if desired). Mix vigorously until you have a creamy ganache:

Refrigerate for an hour. Before refrigerating, I transferred the ganache to a mixing bowl to prepare for the next step -- soften the ganache with a mixer (use the paddle blade for about 30 seconds). It should look like this:

Scoop out truffle-sized balls of chocolate using a small spoon, and place them on a lined cookie sheet. Don't worry about how they look at this point.

Use your hands to gently roll the chocolate into smooth balls. (This works best with gentle pressure and cool hands.) Place them back on the cookie sheet. If you want Classic Chocolate Truffles, place the cocoa in a shallow bowl and gently roll each truffle into the chocolate until just coated:

Or, to make the wonderful Valentine's Chocolate Truffles you see below, roll the truffles in the candy sprinkles to coat them on all sides.

Refrigerate the truffles for an hour before sharing them with someone you love! 

Now for the BIG giveaway.

More than a dozen bloggers have teamed up to bring you Sweets for Your Sweeties and a fabulous giveaway, a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (in choice of color) and the accessory stainless steel bowl. (I love having two bowls for my stand mixer!) The contest is open to U.S. residents only,18 and older and ends Wednesday, 2/10 at 11:59 pm Mountain Time. To enter, please leave a comment here, and then maximize your chances to win with all of the entry methods allowed:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, be sure to visit all of the participating blogs and check out the goodies:

Happy Valentine's Day!!