While walking down the rice and bean aisle in HEB recently, I spotted product I had never noticed before: Del Destino Ready to Eat Quinoa Salad. On the off-chance that it might be gluten-free, I picked up a package and read the label: Quinoa, Hearts of Palm, Artichoke, Water, Sunflower Oil, Piquillo Pepper, Onion, Basil, Jalapeño Pepper, Sugar Cane Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Ginger, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid. So far, so good. No gluten. Then I read the allergy warning: Produced in a facility that also uses milk, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts, nuts, mustard, sulphates, and lysozyme. (I actually had to look up lysozyme, which is Continue readingenzyme found in tears, leukocytes, mucus, egg albumin, and certain plants. It
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Severin states in his grand work The Physiology of Taste (a delightful book which I recently began reading, and that I recommend to everyone whose love for food leans as much toward the philosophical as to the epicurean side) that “good living is an act of intelligence, by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not.” This aphorism, I believe, probably resonates strongly with people who must eat gluten-free and are always searching for the most agreeable gluten-free version of a gluten-containing food. Individuals may disagree with each other in their judgments concerning which foods taste agreeable and which do not; however, most people do have preference for food they find pleasant in flavor and texture. Usually, one has a standard by which he judges the quality in each category of foods he prefers, and he measures all food in that class by that standard. For this reason, a person who would never refuse a slice of pizza from such places as Mello Mushroom or Via 313 will often forego having pizza if her only choice is a piece of much less quality grocery-store frozen pizza. Continue reading
Mexican Chocolate Filled Vanilla Bean Mesquite Ravioli With Caramel Sauce
I recently taught a gluten-free pasta-making class , in which one of the attendees recounted her growing up years, when she and her siblings gathered fallen mesquite pods from the ground to be given to a Hill Country rancher who used them to feed his livestock. For most of its existence in Texas, however, the tenacious mesquite tree has been the bane of Texas ranchers and farmers. The mesquite tree spreads like a weed, absorbs much of the water from the ground in which it grows, and causes other vegetation to die. Long before this hearty tree gained its bad reputation, the mesquite tree was valued as a important food source among ancient peoples in South America, Mexico, and the Southwestern region of the United States. As I explained in past post about mesquite flour, these people used the dried, ground mesquite pods and beans for drinks, as well as for breads, tortillas, and porridge. Continue reading
Starting today, to make room for the new size muffin mixes, all current ATX Ultra Eats gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes are 50% off, with free shipping. See the individual muffin mix flavors at atxultraeats.com for details. What can be better than a sale, unless it’s a sell on delicious, minimally-processed gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes??
August in Texas is hot. Just plain hot. At times when I run and see the
brown, dead or dying grass, parched plants, and cracked earth, I think of the words the narrator in Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Comes” imagines spoken by Nature:
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In the strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
’T is the Last Judgment’s fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”
Without trying to minimize the tone of despair expressed by the unnamed narrator in Browning’s poem, I do feel a sort of despair at the over-whelming energy, life-sapping heat of August. To get ourselves through the often steamy, always sweltering days of August, Phillip and I plan an October race somewhere in a cooler region outside of Texas. We plan this yearly October trip for two reasons: October is our anniversary month, so our fall race in a less taxing climate doubles as our anniversary celebration, and planning for the autumn trip and race throughout the summer adds purpose to the miserable runs we must endure throughout the scorching summer months. This year, on October 18th, Phillip and I will be in Bar Harbor, ME, running the Mount Desert Island Marathon. Whoo-hoo! The date is quickly approaching! Relief from the heat is in sight! We will feel very sad for our friends and family in Texas, who will still be suffering temperatures in the 90s as we are enjoying a much cooler climate in beautifulMaine!
In the meantime, Phillip and I are ramping up our miles and the distance of our runs. Continue reading
Today I went on my usual replenishing-the-cupboard trek: Trader Joe’s for the things I can’t get at Whole Foods, then on to Whole Foods for the things I can’t get at HEB, etc, etc, etc. On my list to replenish (because I’m down to 1.5 lbs in inventory) was Trader Joe’s Just Cashew Meal. I love cashew meal. It tastes sweet and flavorful. It’s full of healthy oil and nutrients. And at Trader Joe’s, it’s a veritable steal (or at least it was . . . . ) at $4.99 per pound. On the shelf where the tag read Cashew Meal were packages of gluten-free flour. The packages of almond meal were right next to that spot, right where it was supposed to be, in plentiful number. No cashew meal, though. I looked behind the gluten-free baking mix. No straggler packages of cashew meal. Thinking I might find it in another spot in the store, I strolled over to the shelves that hold all the packages of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and what have you. No cashew meal. I was dismayed, but continued my shopping. As the cashier rang up my purchases, I asked him about the cashew meal. I could not believe my ears, nor contain my emotion, when he explained to me that Trader Joe’s has discontinued carrying cashew meal. While I cried out my fervent devotion to the product, he further explained that the cashew meal didn’t sell well and the shelf space was needed for products that would sell better. Having trouble processing the information that few people desire the product, for just about every cooking / baking resource I read includes recipes in which cashew flour is used, I asked whether it is discontinued at this one particular Trader Joe’s, or at all Trader Joe’s location. He affirmed my worst fear. Cashew meal has been discontinued at all Trader Joe’s, everywhere. Continue reading
This past weekend, my son gifted me with some Japanese matcha that he bought on a recent business trip to Japan. I’ve long been interested in using matcha in smoothies, cooking, and baking; with this gift I have no more reason to put off experimenting with it. Matcha, green tea leaves that have been ground into a fine powder, is a popular superfood. Although it has ceremonial, religious value in Japan, people in general value it because it is an antioxidant that also contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. Additionally, matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that naturally occurs in tea plants. This amino acid has a dual calming and energizing effect on people who ingest the tea.
Matcha differs from conventional green tea in that farmers deprive the tea plants of light by covering them the last three weeks or so before the leaves are harvested. The light deprivation causes the plants to grow larger, thinner, more flavorful leaves. At harvest time, the leaves of the tea plants are hand-picked; only the youngest leaves are chosen to be dried and ground into matcha. The care taken to grow and harvest the best quality matcha is reflected in this product’s high price. Continue reading
We’re finally ready to sell our delicious muffin mixes! We’ve been working toward this goal for a long time, but we have finally 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!
We’re getting closer to having our delicious, healthy gluten-free, grain-free muffin mix available for sale! The packaging for all three flavors of our mixes is finally complete and ready to send off to the printer! I had to put the process on hold for a little while so that I could concentrate on training for and running the Cloudsplitter 50k, which was held October 4th in Elkhorn City, KY. What a wonderful experience that race turned out to be! Susan Howard, the race director, did a wonderful job organizing the event (which also included distances of 100 miles, 100k, and 25k). The volunteers were awesome! Although the course was extremely challenging, it was beautiful and the weather was perfect. I would definitely run it again! Finding gluten-free options for meals on this particular trip, however, was very difficult, but that’s fodder for another post.
For this post, I want to present the beautiful packaging for ATX Ultra Eats Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix:
And for our Cacao Orange Spice Muffin Mix:
Work on the official ATX Ultra Eats website is currently underway, and soon we will be up and running. Our muffins are SO delicious; I can’t wait to make them available for everyone to try!
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.
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!