Recipe of the Month: Allergy Free Chocolate Cake Mix
A Tough Lesson to Learn
I wanted to share an experience that I had last month that served as a lesson to me and I hope it will to you, too. If you can see the picture below, you'll see two packages of tortillas. One is "gluten free" and one is "low carb" but they are both made by the same company and both have similar packaging. If you look at them for just a second or two, you'll discover quickly those differences. Unfortunately, I assumed that all of the tortillas in our freezer by this particular company were gluten free. In fact, days earlier I had looked for the "low carb" variety couldn't find them so I concluded that all tortillas in the freezer were gluten free.
One night, while I hastily threw together dinner, I grabbed those "low carb" tortillas (that I assumed were gluten free) and made my wheat allergic son,Gavin, a BLT. Unfortunately, he did have a reaction but we were very lucky that it wasn't worse. I beat myself up about it for days but after I could feel guilty no more, I found a silver lining to the whole thing.
It turns out that, while the experience was difficult for me (and him!), we learned some valuable lessons. First, no assumptions can be made about "safe" foods. Labels look the same, labels change, ingredients change. No matter how many times I've read "read every label every time", I still get complacent. This experience taught me that I can't be.
Second, it taught Gavin to watch out for himself. The first couple of weeks after this happened, Gavin wouldn't eat anything without double checking. "Did you read the label, Mommy?" While that was sort of heartbreaking for me, I've realized that it is a good thing. At 4 years old (almost 5), he has already learned to take charge and look after himself. While I wouldn't have chosen this as a method to teach him that lesson, that seems to be one of the outcomes.
So, even though this was a tough lesson for me to learn, I wanted to share the story with you so that you can learn from my mistake. Don't take labels for granted - read every label every time and don't take anything for granted!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
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Toast-It bags are designed to go right into the toaster, toaster oven or indoor electric grill. The heat gets in the bag to toast your gluten free bread but crumbs stay out. These are great for traveling when you don't have a dedicated wheat/gluten free toaster available.
To learn more about Toast-It Bags and the other gluten free offerings by Celinal Foods, visit www.celinalfoods.com.
Betty Crocker Goes Gluten Free
Good news for those of us who are avoiding wheat/gluten - Betty Crocker (General Mills) has entered the gluten free marketplace and developed some baking mixes that are gluten free! Sure, there are some great "allergy free" cake mixes already available(Cherrybrook Kitchen, Miss Roben's, Namaste just to name a few) but, with a restricted diet, more choices are always welcome!
I was pleased to find the Devil's Food mix at my regular grocery store and for a pretty good value at $3.85/mix. The instructions for preparing the mix requires 1 cup water, 1 stick of butter and 3 eggs (like regular Betty Crocker mixes). I ran into this with regular cake mixes when I wanted to prepare regular cupcakes but had no eggs in the house. I came across numerous sources that suggested adding one can of diet soda to the mix (that's it!) So, to avoid using eggs and butter, that is how I prepared this mix (one mix plus one can diet Coke). I made cupcakes which turned out great and couldn't have been easier to prepare. For those of you that are still trying to comprehend that a cake mix plus a can of diet soda would yield something edible (I did the same thing when I heard about it) just trust me...it works! (If you still don't believe me, check out the discussion about it on our Facebook page.)
So, all in all, I would give these mixes a good review. The end product is tasty, has good texture and the mix itself is widely available and can be had at a good value.
The Recipe of the Month: Allergy Free Chocolate Cake Mix
Even though there are a lot of great "allergy free" cake mixes available, I often like to make mine from scratch because 1) I don't always have one on hand and 2) they can be somewhat expensive. I decided to come up with a cake mix recipe so that I could have the convenience of a cake mix but without the high cost.
I tested this recipe using the soda pop preparation method (one can diet soda or 1-1/2 cups carbonated water plus one cake mix). This is something that I learned about when searching for ways to prepare regular cake mixes without eggs. This method is widely known among a certain diet program as it yields low fat, low calorie cupcakes. And yes, it really works!
Make this cake mix and store it in an airtight container or bag until you're ready to use. This would be great to prepare and bring to Grandma's house so she can make her food allergic grandchild's favorite cupcakes without needing special ingredients (just a can of soda or carbonated water!)
1) Combine the flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, sugar and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the canola oil and vanilla and mix well. Mixture should slightly moist.
2) Store cake mix in a zip lock bag until ready to use.
Add 1 can diet cola or 1-1/2 cups carbonated water and mix until combined. Beat mixture for an additional 2 minutes. Pour batter into muffin tins that are lined with paper liners or that have been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack until cooled. Store in airtight container and/or freeze.
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