Make Mom Happy: Gluten-Free Chocolate Bread French Toast With Caramelized Honeyed Bananas

I’m writing a really short post, so that I can get this chocolate bread French toast recipe IMG_3441posted in time for Mother’s Day. In the midst of changing my WordPress.com website to WordPress.org, I’m finding out that teaching myself website technology is more difficult and time consuming than I imagined it would be (and I imagined it would be fairly difficult). As a result of my learning curve, I decided a shorter Mother’s Day post would be better than none at all. When you taste this chocolate bread French toast, you will surely agree that the recipe needs to be made available to people everywhere who love their mothers (or the mothers of their children) who eat gluten-free, and who would love to be served a very special breakfast on a day set aside to honor mothers. I have to make two important points, however, about this recipe. The first is that it is not a recipe for those who suffer from fear of cholesterol, fat, sugar, and rich foods in general. Trust me. Unless you have a true allergy to one or more of the ingredients, use full fat milk, real eggs, and true butter. You will be a joyful person if you do, which leads me to the second point; prepared with the suggested ingredients, this delectably rich, chocolatey, dripping with caramelized honey gluten-free French toast is a perfect diet food. Yes, I’m serious. Once you eat this for breakfast or brunch, you will easily pass the rest of the day without wanting to eat again! See? One meal in the morning, and you are set for the day! The best part of preparing this gluten-free French toast for your mom is that she will feel indulged and special, for sure. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Maple Muffins (Made With Apple Flour)

A few months ago, I wrote a post about having impulsively purchased apple flour. I maple muffins1actually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using this flour in baked goods, as a substitute for gums. I quit using xanthan and guar gums quite a while ago, without much problem. I find alternatives to the gums that work quite well. I bought the apple flour, which is nothing but dried, ground apples, thinking that the natural pectin in the apple flour would work well to support the structure of baked goods, and to help keep them moist. The apple flour works to do just that. It’s a little pricey, but people I know keep suggesting that I dehydrate apples and grind my own apple flour. The problem with that suggestion is that I have about a billion of those proverbial irons in the fire, and the thought of taking those two extra steps to make my own apple flour is too overwhelming at this time. The good news is that I found out through experimentation that less is more, and since so little of it works wonders, the expense may not be that prohibitive. Continue reading

Open For Business: ATX Ultra Eats Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Muffin Mixes

We’re finally ready to sell our delicious muffin mixes! We’ve been working toward this goal for a long time, but we have cacao orange spicefinally arrived. Please visit the ATX Ultra Eats website and see what we have to offer!

For those of you who follow this blog, to whom I am so grateful, please keep visiting this blog site. I will keep this blog going as a separate interest of mine. It will remain a blog devoted to the gluten-free lifestyle. It will not turn into a vehicle for ATX Ultra Eats business. Our business website has its own blog, and its own Facebook page, for such purpose. Now that we have our business started, I hope to return to a more normal routine in which I can get back into the kitchen to cook dishes for which I can share the recipes on this blog. I do miss being in my kitchen!

Autumn Arrives At Trader Joe’s: Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Flavored Fare

A couple of weeks ago, when we were up in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee, I had a twinge of guilt for kentucky treethinking for a second – if only a split second – that living in a geographical area with actual changes of seasons and their accompanying colors and flavors might be nice. We were mostly in rural areas, and we passed little houses and little stores that were decked out with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, and all the trimmings associated with autumn and Halloween. What’s more, these dwellings and businesses were surrounded with actual trees, the leaves of which were festively and appropriately colored for the season: golds, reds, and bronzes splashed across the land.

For a nano-second I wondered whether I might not appreciate living somewhere other than South Texas, where we have but two seasons: hot and hotter. A Texas girl at heart I am, though, and a Texas girl I’ll always be, so I immediately chided myself for such heretical thoughts and counted all the blessings Texas offers, other than chilly, picture-postcard colored autumn days.

trader joe gluten-free pumpkinEven though the weather may not indicate as much in our proverbial neck of the woods, the calendar tells us that we are well into autumn. The appropriately flavored seasonal foods are showing up in the grocery stores, Trader Joe’s is encouraging festive dining by offering just about everything pumpkin (even pumpkin body butter, of which the store I shopped this morning was sadly sold out!). I did come away with three gluten-free pumpkin flavored items: gluten-free pumpkin soup, gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, and pumpkin macarons (macarons are, of course, traditionally gluten-free)! I have yet to try the pumpkin soup and gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, but I ate a couple macarons on the way home from the store (well, the drive home was taking quite a long time and I got hungry . . . . ). The macarons are to die for! The cookie part is tender and the filling is flavorful without being too sweet. I can’t wait to go back for more! After tomorrow morning’s run: gluten-free pumpkin pancakes! Can’t wait! If the pancakes taste delicious, I’ll update this post with the news.

ATX Ultra Eats: Gluten-Free, Grain Free Muffins Almost Here!

I am so very excited to announce that the packaging for my new muffin mix is completed. It’s a lovely design, and I am thrilled with the way it turned out.

atx packaging 3

I have found a kitchen in a gluten-free bakery in which I will be hand-packing my muffin mixes in small batches. My website is in the process of being designed and will be ready as soon as I can get all the content ready for the wonderful, talented people at Envision-Creative Group who have helped me with my logo and my packaging. Very soon, my muffin mixes will be available online and in a few small independent retail stores in the Austin / San Antonio area.

I have so much to be thankful for as I near the launch of my muffin mix, and so many people for whom to be thankful. I could not have gotten this business this far by myself. First, I thank my God, from all blessings flow, and my Savior Lord Jesus Christ, from whom my life flows. I thank my husband Phillip, whose constant love and encouragement gives me the courage to keep going, even when I’m mired in that swamp of despondency that threatens to paralyze me when I hit those inevitable roadblocks that halt the progress of any new endeavor. He has willingly, without complaint, made sacrifices to help me achieve my dream; a more supportive husband cannot be found. I thank my children Jacob, Christopher, and Elizabeth, as well as my daughter-in-law Cynthia and my son-in-law Michael, who give me unending support and invaluable feedback as I work toward making my business a reality. I thank my mother, whose belief in me gives me energy, and who will be giving her time to help me carefully hand-package and label each bag of ATX Ultra Eats gluten-free, grain-free muffin mix. I thank my sister Karen, whose naturally optimistic character brightens my spirit when the details of starting a business dampen it. My dearest of friends Lisa and Gwen deserve special thanks for putting up with my brainstorming, my angst, my highs, and my lows while on long runs, through emails, and through text messages; they constantly express their confidence that my dream of offering delicious, healthy muffin mixes to people who desire them will become a reality. Lisa, especially, encourages me by envisioning my business as a success already, even though it has yet to make its appearance on the market.

I am grateful to all the people who know business who continue to help me navigate through this world of business to which I am so unfamiliar. I thank Margo Fuentes with ACCION, who has sweetly and patiently helped me with the nitty-gritty numbers and details that go into managing the financial end of a business, as well as the details of marketing and other such elements of business. I offer many thanks to Margie Cabello-Roller of Gaia’s Light S A, for taking time to direct me to resources so helpful toward starting my business: especially for directing me toward Margo. I am grateful to Deke Foxhoven, my attorney, who helped me to officially form my business, and has patiently answered my legal questions. The ladies at Sweeten CPA have been wonderfully responsive and kind in helping me to understand and handle the book-keeping and tax matters with which business owners must deal even before a business begins selling its product, and I am especially grateful to Christiana who encourages me as well as reconciles my accounts every month. Finally, I give thanks for Sarah, Kyle, and Stephanie at Envision-Creative Group, who have patiently, kindly, and enthusiastically guided me through this world of branding that is so very new to me. I know the qualities for which I want my business to stand, but I had no image in mind by which to express those qualities when I formed ATX Ultra Eats. Sarah, Kyle, and Stephanie completely understood what I tried to convey to them in words  – my mission in offering my muffin mix, the quality for which my business stands, and the sense of place I want my business to exude – and created images for my logo and packaging that accurately capture the essence of my business. Sarah, the creative energy behind my logo and packaging, deserves special thanks for her excellent and powerful creations.

I want everyone to have easy access to healthy grain-free alternatives to muffins made with the common rice flour / starch mixes on the grocery shelves. I have also developed recipes for use with my muffin mix other than just muffins (such as gluten-free, grain-free pancakes and cookies) and these recipes will be on the ATX Ultra Eats website as soon as my website is up and running. I am looking forward to introducing three delicious, healthy, and unique gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes very soon!

Serving Up Breakfast: Gluten-Free Almond Coconut Granola Quick Bread

I’m becoming obsessed with Costco. I find grass fed beef there, as well as extra virgin coconut oil, avocado oil, Himalayan pink salt, granola quick bread 3Manchego cheese, and all sorts of inexpensive but high quality food items. Costco now sells Honeyville blanched, super fine grind almond flour, in 3lb bags, for about $18. For about $6 a pound, one can get some pretty nice quality almond flour. I honestly, truly love Costco. I love almond flour, too. It’s so nice to use for baking. Blanched almond flour is made from almonds, the skins of which have been removed by quick immersion in boiling water. The skins of almonds taste bitter; almond flour made with blanched almonds has a milder, sweeter flavor than flour made from almonds with the skins intact. Finely ground blanched almonds make the best quality almond flour one can find. Baked items made with finely ground, blanched almond flour are tender and rich in texture. What’s more is that almond flour is a healthy flour, high in protein. I use almond flour as the main flour in just about everything I bake these days – which brings me to the point of this blog post. I have a new bag of Honeyville blanched, finely ground almond flour (purchased from Costco, naturally) just begging to be opened and used. This past week I tasted some Gaia’s Light S A original flavor gluten-free granola for the first time. The granola packaging doesn’t mention what specific spices are in the granola, but whatever they are, they taste like Christmas. As I was eating the granola, I thought that mixed into almond flour, it would make a delicious, warmly spiced flavored breakfast quickbread. Continue reading

Deglutenized, Delicious, and Definitely Healthy Slow Cooker Meals

The Healthy Slow Cooker 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, Second Edition (Robert Rose Inc, 2014)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Judith Finlayson
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0479-6
352 pages, 135 recipes

Recently I read about the possibility of cartilage regeneration in a column by Mark Sisson, on his website Mark’s Daily Apple. In this particular article, Sisson recommends drinking home-made bone broth as a possible aid to the regeneration of cartilage. This information was still fresh in my mind when I first explored the pages of the second edition of The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness (Judith Finlayson, 2014), I happened upon a recipe for slow cooker hearty beef stock; in a box entitled Natural Wonders (115), opposite the hearty beef stock recipe (114), author Judith Finlayson has written detailed information about the health properties of home-made beef broth. She mentions the nutrients and the healing properties of gelatin, the beneficial ingredient in well-made bone broth. The recipe for beef stock sounds delicious; its presence in a cookbook is, though, unsurprising. The nutritional information about bone broth that appears on the opposing page is, however, an unexpected find in a book devoted to slow cooker recipes. Many such nuggets of nutritional information appear throughout this book, all under the headings of either Natural Wonders or Mindful Morsels. One Natural Wonder’s note even explains the dangers of hidden gluten to people with Celiac and details ways to identify and avoid these hidden dangers. This type of information is an exciting addition to a cookbook; with it, one can easily relate the nutritional value of the ingredients she uses to the healthy meal she serves her family when she prepares slow cooker recipes from this cookbook. Continue reading