I Really Wanted Cupcakes

Cupcakes, you say?

It’s Celiac Awareness Month.  Domino’s and the NFCA already pissed me off earlier this month.  Then Daphne Oz pissed me off on The Chew last week while Michael Symon was making polenta.  I’m probably taking it completely the wrong way, but she inferred that people who are gluten-free are picky eaters.  She was probably going back to Michael’s original statement at the beginning of the segment that his dish was good for when picky eaters are around because there were 3 different polenta toppings.  However, she asked about it being gluten-free and then launched into her picky eater comment.  Chaz said the look on my face was priceless.  He called it the look of rage.  I’ll let you see for yourself.  The comment is at 3:40 in the video clip. Michael Symon’s Polenta Party

Tuesday was mine and Chaz’s 14th wedding anniversary.  If you know me personally or are friends with me on Facebook, you’ll know we spent it apart.  Thanks to my thinking that since I never get scheduled for weekday closing shifts anymore, why bother making sure I have it off and to Chaz’s client sending him down to Lexington the day before.  I was thinking before work that I wanted cupcakes.  This is new.  I don’t normally want cupcakes.  Except for when I look that the yummy artisan cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam, Carol Kicinski, and Peter and Kelli Bronski.  I can’t seem to motivate myself to make their cupcakes though and I have the appropriate cookbooks by them to do so.  But Tuesday, I really wanted cupcakes.

Then I remembered the American Celiac Disease Association’s month-long Cupcakes For A Cause event and a box of Gluten-Free Pantry cake mix that was sitting in my pantry.  It’s been in there for a while.  I got it for free and just haven’t used it because I don’t normally use baking mixes.  I took it out and set it on the counter to use Wednesday since I had the day off and we were celebrating our anniversary.  What better way than making a dessert both of us might like.  Besides, I’m getting tired of not having a dessert option period since going dairy-free.  I may not eat a lot of dessert, but sometimes I want that option.  Yanno?

2 cupcakes for 2 years gluten-free. 😀

I survived the night at work and came home to some interesting responses in the Hypothyroidism group on Facebook.  I don’t go there often anymore because of things like what happened that night.  I had seen someone ask about migraines/headaches and wanted to know if anyone else had them.  Well, yes, a lot did and were responding to her.  I wasn’t going to say anything, but I saw someone mentioning gluten-free to her and they were commenting about it.  I decided to add my 2 cents with my experience having migraines for as long as I can remember, not being able to go a month without at least 2, and that gluten caused my Hypothyroidism.  So what I came back to was comments like:

 I really doubt gluten causes thyroid problems or autoimmune diseases. It may aggravate them though. If cutting it out helps, go for it. If it doesn’t bother, then there’s no need. It’s more of personal decision I think.

There’s no way gluten causes hyper, hypo or hashi’s… it’s a basic protein that occurs naturally. people who have issues with gluten are either sensitive, or have full blown celiac’s disease. Celiac’s is to gluten, what lactose intolerance is to diary. sure some people say they feel better w/o it & I see a lot of people jumping on that band wagon. But think about this… the healthiest people don’t exclude anything in particular, they just consume everything in moderation. Too much of anything is never good for you.

…interestingly, being gluten-free does not cause you to live any longer. I think it is the fad of 2012. My daughter is doing it.

I definitely think it’s the new fad, and I never said it makes you live longer…

I’ve never heard that gluten causes hypothyroidism .. Are u sure ? Mine is an autoimmune disease hashi summet.. I’m sure that gluten particles look like something that the immune system attacks .. If u have hash ur immune system attacks ur thyroid coz gluten things look like summet ur body should attack.. But I thought that was mutually exclusive to auto immune hash.. I have hashi Wat Eva and I eat anything and everything.. Nout wrong wiv me.. Live a life not having to worry.I don’t . Think too much stuff about things linked wiv one thing n another giving u anxiety about ways wrong wiv ya.. So for me I ignore all the diseases n stuff related .. Take my thyroxine.. N am fine .. Coz people can be fine with it.. Just a bit of vertigo when I’m not fine.. It wud kill me going gluten free lol.. I like eating crap too much !!! Lol xxxxx

All of these comments came from 3 people.  The woman who already mentioned that she was gluten-free was already on the defensive and another guy jumped in and was posting YouTube videos from a doctor about the subject.  Since I was on my nook, it was taking a long time to type up my response so one of the people got annoyed with me because I didn’t see her comment in between typing up mine.  (rme, right? riiiiight)

So here was my first response:

Gluten-free is only a fad for those who think they can lose weight by doing a gf diet. For me, gluten makes me physically sick and did cause my hypo. I do not have Hashimoto’s but I do have Celiac and Sjogren’s. There are many books written about how gluten negatively affects the health of many and has caused and/or co-occurs with other chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders. The media and people who do not know and do not understand Celiac and non-Celiac gluten intolerance persist in calling this medically necessary diet a fad and those of us who NEED it suffer because of the “fad” perception. GF diet is the ONLY treatment for us and is not to be taken lightly. Just a fraction of a crumb can send me and my friends like me into a health tailspin that is neither pleasant nor fun. I am healthier than I have ever been WITHOUT gluten in over 2 years and I know a lot more people who feel the same.

Then my second, an addendum if you will:

And just so those of you who don’t believe, I did two months of research on the connection between gluten and chronic illnesses like Hypothyroidism before I did anything. I don’t walk into anything blind or unarmed. And before going gf, I had 3 friends diagnosed with Celiac and now I have a lot more thanks to the blogosphere. I also hope if anyone you love gets a diagnosis of a food allergy or intolerance, that you’ll be a bit more supportive and understanding than you have been here.

Then Testy Woman came back with:

Debi Smith, I already said that if you have Celiac Disease, you need to be gluten-free. I do not belive there is such a thing as non-Celiac gluten intolerance though.

REALLY?  I think I had full-blown rage face again.   So, of course I’m also updating my status on Facebook and my Facebook blog page about telling me that gluten-free is just a fad being a surefire way to piss me off and get me to give you a piece of my mind.

I answered her with:

[Testy Woman], there most definitely is and I have friends and doctors that would argue that with you.

And that was my last comment on the thread.  It is still going.  I look, but I refrain from commenting.  The last time I stopped checking that group was after something like this happened.  Close-minded people with a chronic illness not bothering to educate themselves about what it is that is afflicting them.  Mindlessly taking their medication their doctor tells them to take and complaining about not feeling better.  Ever notice how a lot of people like to complain about not feeling better or situations in their life not getting better but they’re not doing a damn thing to make change in order for it to get better?  Yeah.  Even Dr. Cuz commented on Facebook tonight: “srsly, i MEAN srsly!?!”

I have a low tolerance for ignorance.  I’ll blame Kentucky for that one.  Or maybe just my former career.  People don’t just say crap like that to me and get just a smile in return.  Unless we’re in a very public place for some kind of function, like say a wedding.  It’s the advocate in me.  And the desire to see less ignorance in this world.

After all that…I really wanted a cupcake.

Cupcakes galore

I’ve been trying to come up with a cake recipe using coconut flour that I can use to make haupia cake.  My last attempt was about a month ago.  I’m getting closer!

Haupia is a Hawaiian dessert that is naturally gluten-free.  I’ve made it for many parties and for a “luau” that a client of Chaz’s did at their office several years back.  It is primarily coconut milk.  When people ask what it is like, I say, “Pudding with the firmness of Jello.”  It is set in a pan and cut into squares for serving.  Good haupia can and should be eaten with your hands.  It is also used for filling and topping in haupia cake.  I like it because it isn’t super sweet and when used on cake cuts down the sweetness factor because there is only frosting on the sides of the cake.  Who are we kidding?  I like it because it’s coconut, too.  That’s the main reason to like haupia.  Unless you don’t like coconut.  If you don’t like it, I’m eating your share.

I finally made them after my dentist appointment.  For the cupcake, I followed the directions on the box subbing coconut oil for butter and full fat coconut milk for milk.  I then baked them for 20 minutes at 350.  The box suggested 28 minutes for a cake at 350.  I felt like The Cake Doctor!

This recipe is one I’ve used for the last couple of years for fillings.  It will not set up in the fridge to be like regular haupia.  Any liquid or granulated sugar would work.  Except maybe molasses.  I wouldn’t suggest that one.  I’m not sure about stevia.  I don’t use it so you would have to play around with it.

Haupia Cake (grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free)

Haupia Filling/Topping

2 3/4 cups (or close to it) full fat coconut milk  – this is about 1 1/2 cans

3/4 cup raw local honey

7 tablespoons arrowroot powder (you can also use cornstarch)

Whisk together ingredients in a large saucepan until well combined.  Then, turn stove on to medium heat and stir frequently to keep the haupia from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Remove the pan from heat once the haupia is thick.  Allow it to cool before using.  If you are using this for cupcakes, you will only need about 1/4 of this for a dozen cupcakes. If you are using this for cake, use it as a filling for a double layer cake, frost the outsides with a white frosting and sprinkle frosting with shredded coconut, then top with more of the haupia filling. If using for cupcakes spread over the tops, careful not to use too much or it will drip down.  Once they are all topped, sprinkle with shredded coconut.  I use Tropical Traditions.


Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream

Me & Andrea

We had some special guests Monday night.  Andrea of Rockin’ Gluten-free and her son, whom I shall dub Darth Serious, came through town for the night.  I got to cook for them and hang out with them for several hours.  Darth Serious, if you haven’t guessed already, is also a big Star Wars fan.  He even asked me if we could play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  I happily said, “Yes.”  I got that game for Christmas yearsago but no one would play with me.  Even my board game loving friends wouldn’t play.  No surprise since they wouldn’t play regular Trivial Pursuit with me anymore, either.

Ready to play?

Darth Serious is very expressive.  I absolutely loved the faces he was making.  Especially when I answered a question correctly.  Andrea and I decided after he got about 4 questions in a row in which the answer was C-3PO  to tell him when he’s not sure, just answer C-3PO.  Just like in school on multiple choice tests when you guess C.  Right?  What?  You didn’t do that?  You haven’t lived.

I spent the day doing prep work little by little so I wasn’t doing everything at the last-minute and feeling rushed.  This was after revamping the menu a few times a few days before.  If you think your food allergies/intolerances are bad, Andrea has a host of them, which I knew I could handle easily, but Darth Serious is also pretty picky on top of being gluten-free and dairy-free himself.  His favorite food?  Hamburgers.

I wound up making chicken burgers since Andrea can’t have beef and used my usual recipe for beef burgers, but added a little grapeseed oil to keep the burgers from drying

Foods By George gf, df, sf, cf English Muffins. Very light and fluffy.

out while I grilled them.  I was prepared to go bunless since all the burger buns I was finding had corn in them and Andrea can’t have corn.  But, tucked away almost out of sight in the freezer at Whole Foods was some gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free English Muffins by Foods by George.  I was a bit worried about how thick they are, but once they are thawed out and warmed up in the oven, they are light and fluffy.  Darth Serious wasn’t too sure about the chicken burgers, but he ate it anyway and called it, “spicy.”  He also gobbled up a lot of carrot sticks on the raw veggie plate I made.  I tried to get him to try my sweet potato fries, but he kept eating up the carrots.  He finally tried one when I mentioned ice cream.  You know a kid really wants something when they’ll try something they really don’t want to try in order to get what they want.

Now, the day before, I told Andrea I was going to make Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream.  She wasn’t sure Darth Serious

Darth Serious likes the ice cream!

would like it, but I figured what we didn’t tell him wouldn’t hurt him.  Right?  I even kept it light on the cinnamon so you get just a hint of it.  He was halfway through his bowl when I asked him how it was.  He looked up and said dryly, “What do you think?”  He is something else!  So then I mentioned cinnamon being in it.  Bad move, Debi.  He wanted

Andrea tries some Creamy Walnut Milk

nothing to do with it after that.  He ate a few more bites and went back into the living room.  Oh well.  Andrea finished it for him!

Later on, I gave Andrea a little cordial glass of some Creamy Walnut Milk, made just like I made my Creamy Cashew Milk.  She had commented when I posted the recipe that she wanted to try it.  I happened to have more walnuts on hand so I made it with those and got the same results.  Good stuff.  Used it in my smoothie this afternoon, too.

Back to the ice cream.  My inspiration for it was the Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream from Bubbies back home.  They make their own ice cream and is a popular spot for the college kids and after-movie crowd.  It’s fairly close to University of Hawai`i at Manoa and next to Varsity Theater.  For several years, I lived just a block away.  One day, I was babysitting one of my cousins, Surfer Cuz.  My Uncle dropped him since it was during the day, as opposed to picking me up to babysit at their place at night.  Surfer Cuz was about 4 at the time.  It was a beautiful day and thought a nice walk down the block for ice cream would be a good idea.  We weren’t even halfway to the intersection before he was complaining about being tired.  Guess who had to carry him the rest of the way.  He’s lucky I love him.

Anyway, once we walked in the door, I could smell cinnamon.  I was so intrigued, I bypassed my usual Strawberry Cheesecake or Banana

Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream

Royale ice cream and asked to taste the Chocolate Cinnamon.  I was in love at first taste.  I tried making a dairy version of it years ago when I first bought my ice cream maker and failed miserably.   I kept meaning to try it again, but other things took priority.  Now, with not being able to do dairy, I would like to have ice cream again, but a bit healthier than the dairy-free ones at the grocery.  Not to mention, cheaper.

Darth Serious may not have liked that there is cinnamon in it, but I’m in love once again.

Dairy-free Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream – makes approximately 1 quart

2 cans full-fat coconut milk (I used 365 Organic Coconut Milk)

6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Chill your coconut milk in the can for at least 6 hours.  Prepare your ice cream maker according to your manufacturer’s directions.  Add all ingredients in a blender and blend well.  At least 3 minutes.  Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and run your ice cream maker at least 2o minutes before covering and transferring to the freezer.   Allow to freeze about 6 hours.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Raw Banana Pudding

Raw Banana Pudding with Whipped Coconut Cream and cookies

I discovered the art of making cafeteria food more palatable back in college.  Two desserts of things I like?  Combine them into one.  Banana cream pie and chocolate pudding.  I just like bananas and chocolate together.  So, seeing both desserts on the line one night I picked up both and then dumped the pudding onto the pie.  One of my bosses affectionately started calling it “Moo pie.”

When I moved to the South/Mid-West.  Depending on who you talk to, Kentucky is the South.  Others insist it’s Mid-West.  Whatever.  The point is, the food was vastly different when I moved to Kentucky.  Banana cream pie?  Forget that.  Have some banana pudding loaded with Nilla Wafers and topped with tons of whipped cream.  Okay.

A couple of months ago, Chaz was wanting banana pudding.  I starting thinking.  Yes, I can do it gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and dairy-free.   I CAN DO IT RAW!

I did a few attempts of this before I got it to the point that I liked it.  I was so excited with my final recipe that I was trying to get Chaz to taste it as soon as he woke up.  He  declined.  *sigh*

When he finally tried it, he liked it, but to him it wasn’t enough like “pudding” to him.   It was a few hours after chilling and it actually was set better the next day.

Raw Banana Pudding with Whipped Coconut Cream

3 slightly overripe bananas (the pudding tastes better if they are overripe and not ripe)

1 pint So Delicious Coconut Creamer

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons agar agar flakes

1 can full fat coconut milk

Optional: Enjoy Life Vanilla Honey Graham Cookies (not refined sugar-free)

Place your full fat coconut milk, mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer while preparing the pudding.  Pour 1/3 of your coconut creamer into your blender and add the agar agar flakes.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  Blend the creamer and the flakes together until smooth.  Add the rest of the coconut creamer, the bananas and maple syrup to the blender and blend again until smooth.  Pour into a 9×9 pan or other serving dish of similar or slightly larger size.  If you choose to use the cookies, layer them at the bottom of the pan/dish and along the sides.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  It gets thicker the longer it sets in the fridge.   For the whipped coconut cream, take all the items out of the freezer.  If you are using a stand mixer, put the bowl and the whisk back on the stand.   Open the coconut milk and pour into the mixing bowl.  Whisk on high until the milk is thick and creamy.  Refrigerate.  The whipped coconut cream will thicken up more in the refrigerator, too.