Moroccan Chicken (gluten & allergen free)

As a result of being gluten-free and having more than my share of food allergies, I tend to eat a lot of chicken and rice, so finding a new way to serve it is a plus.  I’ve now made this recipe twice, and it’s a keeper!  It was even a success when I served it to several wheat-eating friends who don’t have food allergies, which seems a good sign.


Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil (a couple tablespoons; depends on how much sauce you’d like to have)
  • 1/2 a small zucchini, chopped (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning (I used the McCormick© blend, but you can also find tons of recipes for Moroccan seasoning mixes online)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon honey (or 1.5 tablespoons Wax Orchards’ Fruit Sweet©; a sweetener made out of fruit juice that’s supposed to be diabetic friendly)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (however much you like)

Directions:

  1. Slice chicken (both horizontally and vertically) into small strips.  Add olive oil, chicken, zucchini, and onions to pan.  Cook on a medium to high heat until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are soft.
  2. Mix Moroccan seasoning, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl.  Then, add to the chicken and stir.  If the seasoning is sticking to the bottom of the pan or there doesn’t seem to be enough sauce, add more olive oil.
  3. Stir in honey/Fruit Sweet©.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a little water.
  4. Stir in golden raisins.
  5. Top with fresh cilantro, then serve warm over rice (I recommend basmati).  And enjoy!

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Peanut Anaphylaxis: The Most Frequently Asked Questions

peanut butter sandwichMost people aren’t regularly questioned about their diet, but when you live with anaphylaxis it’s just part of life.  People have a lot of questions because, unless someone has a family member or close friend who lives with anaphylaxis, the whole concept of a life-threatening allergy to some sort of food is pretty foreign.  And understandably so.  Anaphylaxis means so much more than just a limited diet—it means a limited life and a completely different style of living.

This doesn’t mean that I’m unable to have a full, satisfying life, though, but it does takes more planning and flexibility.

One thing that helps make living with anaphylaxis easier is when people take the time to understand, so I’ve compiled a list of the most common questions I’m asked:

1. Do you react to the smell of peanuts?

Nope.  Part of the general confusion about airborne anaphylaxis comes from when folks use the word “smell.”  People assume that when I say I have an airborne anaphylactic reaction it means I’m either reacting to, afraid of, or don’t like the smell of peanuts.  It really is impossible to react to just the smell itself, though, but that doesn’t mean airborne reactions to even trace amounts of the proteins in peanuts (what people are actually reacting to) aren’t real.

2. What is anaphylaxis?

Let’s look at a quick definition of anaphylaxis:

“Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. It can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to, such as a peanut or the venom from a bee sting.

“The flood of chemicals released by your immune system during anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock; your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking normal breathing … Anaphylaxis requires an immediate trip to the emergency department and an injection of epinephrine [Epi-Pen].  If anaphylaxis isn’t treated right away, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death.”  From the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Basically, anaphylaxis means someone could die, not just feel discomfort, if they’re exposed to their allergen.  It’s also so extreme that it’s considered a recognized ADA disability because it impairs breathing (which is why it can cause death).

I’m allergic to a bunch of trees and flowers, cows, tomatoes, soy, dairy, and the list goes on, but none of them besides peanuts and mushrooms—even though some of them are extremely unpleasant to have reactions to and could even result in me missing work—are anaphylactic reactions.  This doesn’t mean my other reactions aren’t a big deal, it just means they’re not life-threatening or a ADA recognized disability.

A lot of times there’ll be confusion when someone is talking about an anaphylaxis reaction and using the word “allergy” because everyone imagines the person is just breaking into hives or sneezing.  It’s really unfortunate that people too often imagine sneezing when an anaphylactic reaction to something like peanuts or a bee sting is actually closer to someone eating a deadly poison—death is a very realistic concern.

3.  Are you sure it’s anaphylaxis and not a panic attack?

Well, I didn’t self-diagnose myself as having anaphylaxis.  I told several doctors and allergists what was happening when I was exposed to peanuts, and they told me I’d learned the hard way that I have an airborne anaphylactic reaction to a protein in peanuts.

Also, important to note: some of my very worst anaphylaxis reactions have happened when someone was eating something peanut-y near me and I had no idea I was near peanuts until I started to choke.  My throat begins to close up and I’ll stop breathing if immediate action isn’t taken.  I’d look around quickly while reaching for my emergency Benadryl and Epi-Pens, knowing that I was reacting to something because I couldn’t breathe.  And then I’ll spot a peanut butter cookie or PB and J near me that I hadn’t seen or even smelled previously.

This has happened countless times—on the train, in a college classroom, at the ballet (the person behind me snuck a peanut butter sandwich in, and nobody knew), standing in line at Disneyland, and all kinds of other places.  I’ll tell whoever is with me, “I’m having trouble breathing!”  And we’ll both look around while getting me to an easily-accessible location in case the paramedics have to come and, oftentimes fairly quickly, we identify some peanut product that had previously escaped our notice.

I don’t have to smell the peanuts or even be aware that they’re in the same vicinity as me to react.  And, unfortunately, I’m so sensitive to the peanut protein I’m allergic to that it doesn’t require much exposure at all to send me into anaphylactic shock.  This is why whenever I go to my regular doctor or allergist I’m given the “you-could-die-if-you-didn’t-have-your-Epi-Pen” lecture (they’re always glad to see that it’s on my person).

4. Have you experienced an anaphylactic reaction before?

Yup, I sure have.  A number of times, unfortunately.  One of the most memorable was when I was in Disneyland with my fiancé and our families in September 2012.  A woman in front of us in line for a ride opened a treat with peanuts.  My throat began to close up, I took instant Benadryl but it didn’t work.  My fiancé, Mr. M, had to give me my Epi-Pen and call 911, and we spent about 10 hours in the ER room.  It was a terrifying start to our Disneyland vacation.

Usually my reactions don’t end up with me in the ER, but every single one of them has the possibility to become that serious.  And if I didn’t immediately take Benadryl every time, my peanut reactions would always lead to the ER because unfortunately the reactions don’t just wear off if I get fresh air or go away after a while—they get worse.

5.  Can’t you just leave the room when you’re having a reaction?

There’s sometimes the misunderstanding that because I’m so extremely sensitive to peanuts it’ll act as some kind of sixth sense—alerting me to the dangers before I start to have a major reaction.  Or that if I see peanut-y products, like candies or a PB and J, that I just need to get out of the area.

Unfortunately, by the time that I see something peanut-y that’s unwrapped or start to have a reaction (my throat starts closing up), it’s too late.  I always leave the room quickly, but at that point I’m already having a reaction.

By the time I notice unwrapped peanuts in an area, I’m smack-dab in the middle of a life-threatening medical emergency.  As a result, the only way to avoid anaphylactic reactions is by not being exposed to the allergen (in my case, peanuts) in the first place.

6.  Have you tried masking?

This is a very common suggestion that people make, and something I actually talked with my doctor about a while back.  It really does seem like a great idea at first, which I completely get because I’d wondered if it’d work, too.

My doctor said that the mask itself likely wouldn’t protect me from having anaphylactic reactions.  But the trouble is that even if I had a good enough mask that it did help while I wore it, if I were exposed to peanuts while wearing a mask I’d have a reaction as soon as I took the mask off.  For example, I’ve reacted to my clothing after having been exposed to peanuts.

It’s like if someone encountered a toxic spill; wearing a mask wouldn’t help because it would be on their clothing and everywhere.  As a result, once I get home from having a major reaction I have to shower and wash my clothes to make sure the particles are completely off of everything (after I have an anaphylactic reaction I’m much, much more sensitive even than normal so it’s very important to get everything as clean and peanut-free as possible).

7. Will you outgrow it?  

Sometimes—but not always—people who have food allergies as children will outgrow their allergies as they get older.  Not something to bank on, though and, if you’re talking to the parent of a child with food allergies, don’t tell them it’ll all be a-okay in a couple of years, because there’s no way of knowing if that particular child will be one of the lucky ones.  And they likely won’t be.

That said, I don’t even have the chance of being one of the lucky kiddos to outgrow my food allergies because my peanut allergy started when I was 21 (I’m 26 now for reference).  Those of us who develop food allergies as adults are more apt (I honestly don’t know why) do be anaphylactic.  And we also don’t outgrow our food foes.   

8. Can’t you just use your Epi-Pen?

A lot of people think that as long as I have my magical Epi-Pen on me that I’ll be fine, but all Epi-Pens truly do is override the anaphylactic reaction temporarily.  If I had to use my Epi-Pen it wouldn’t fix things; it’d mean I’d have to be rushed to the ER in an ambulance before the reaction returned with full force.  Basically, it just buys me a little more time (I’ve been told about twenty minutes, but I think it’d depend on the severity of the allergy).

It’s not a solution; it just provides me with enough time to hopefully get to the ER before going unconscious or dying.

Epi-Pens even say on the directions to call 911 immediately after using.  And, believe me, paramedics take it very seriously when you tell them you just had to use your Epi-Pen.

9. Can you take medication or get allergy shots?  

There’s no magic pill that will allow me to eat or be in the same room as peanuts.  Boy, it would be nice if there was, though.  And allergies shots are for your hay-fever variety of allergies, not food-induced anaphylaxis.

10. Do you miss peanuts?

I used to adore peanuts.  I’d even made up my own peanut-butter based mythology (whoever gets to eat the swirl at the top of a freshly opened jar of peanut butter got a wish).  And the summer of 2005, right after I graduated from high school, I lived in Hungary for about four months.  A land that was virtually void of my favorite snack, so my mom mailed me a jar of creamy Skippy every month.

That was then.  Now peanuts and peanut butter are no longer a homey treat when I’m far away—they’re something I have to spend my entire life avoiding.  So even though I was extra fond of peanut butter originally, I don’t miss eating the sticky, gooey product out of the jar.  What I truly miss is the convenience of not having to live a peanut-focused life thanks to anaphylaxis.

Check out my article on how my peanut reaction truly impacts life on a daily basis: Life in a Nutshell: How Anaphylaxis Impacts My Life


More Crunchy Posts:

Debi’s Confetti Salad (gluten & allergen free)

101_1075I’ve shared this recipe before, but I had to post it on The Crunchy Cook again when I realized yesterday that it’s one of the few recipes previously posted on my blog that I can still eat.  I can eat something!

Due to my extreme peanut allergy, I can’t even walk through the food area at my university around lunch time because someone might be eating something peanut-y.  And that would be bad.  Really bad.  This means that the one and only microwave on campus is completely off limits to me (who had the grand idea to only put one microwave in at a college?), so foods that don’t have to be reheated are the best options for lunches.  And I can still have one of my favorites!

This recipe, Debi’s Confetti Salad, is something my mom came up with.  And it’s a dish my family tends to eat a lot.  You can find her original post about this recipe on her food blog, Cheap Eats.


Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked rice, cooled (I usually use brown rice but you can also use white or basmati)
  • 1 can (16-oz) red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can (16-oz) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can (16-oz) corn (drained)
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 1 small green or red pepper (finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar if you can eat apples)
  • 1 tablespoon Spenda/sucralose (or sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in another bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, mix together.  And you’re done!  It’s that easy.

Disney: Cruising with Food Allergies & Celiac (Part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, my future in-laws took Mr. Munger, my mom, my sister, and I all on a Disney Cruise in September.  And it was amazing because I was actually able to eat.  Not to mention, it was also just a lot of fun.

We left from Vancouver, B.C. and went down to L.A. with a two-day stop in San Francisco to see the sights.

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Because it was a Disney Cruise, there are Mickey Mouse heads tactfully and tastefully hidden everywhere.  This Mickey head is much more blatantly obvious than most.

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Our ship!  This is in Vancouver.

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While you’re not bombarded with Disney Characters, they do make guest appearances    sometimes.  This was during the “Sailing Away” party.

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My sister, Shannon, in the hot tub.  This was before we figured out how to turn it on.

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The closest thing to a ball on the ship is Pirate Night.  Everyone dresses up, and we were extra dressed up because De, my future mother-in-law, has mad skills when it comes to costumes.  Shannon and I picked out the fabric we wanted, explained how we wanted it to look, and De did the rest.

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Mr. Munger and I on deck during the pirate party.  We were dressed as pirates on a ship as it was in the ocean and there were even fireworks; it was awesome!

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Lovely San Francisco.  Mom took this nice picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Food!  I ate so much wonderful, gluten-free, allergy-free food while on the ship.  After having a waitstaff who truly acted like they enjoyed taking care of me and helping me to have a great trip (rather than acting like I was an inconvenience!), I think I’m spoiled.  Very spoiled.

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Shannon eating gluten-free fries and a burger on deck.  It was beautiful but pretty windy!

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Mickey Mouse!  Such a good trip.


Other Articles of Interest:

Huntin’ for Pumpkins: An Allergen-Free Adventure

Friday was interesting to say the least.  I had food allergies testing, found out I have ten (10!) new not-so-lovely food allergies, and then I had a bad reaction to the testing, itself and consequently felt pretty crummy afterwards.  I also just felt pretty darn overwhelmed.   But, luckily, it’s fall and I’m not allergic to pumpkins.

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Pumpkins!  So pretty, colorful, and not one of my allergens.  The perfect cheer-Kelsey-up-by-focusing-on-things-that-she-is-not-allergic-to outing.

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Despite the relatively clear skies, the ground was extremely muddy. My boots still bear the scars (err … mud).  Made it even more authentically fall-like for the greater Seattle area though.

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It was a good day to break out the gloves and a scarf.

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Mr. Munger getting ready to haul the pumpkins.

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Our lovely little pumpkin pals.  We ended up with four total.

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Now that we have the pumpkins, the next step is to finish carving them (one left to go!) and post pictures.  Prepare for more pumpkins.

Baked Apple Ice Cream Bowl (gluten & sugar free)

2012-10-06 18.35.31[Update: I’m now allergic to apples and dairy, which makes this a no go for me.  But it’s good.  You should try it!]

Desserts have got to be one of the trickiest things, at least for me, to find yummy, naturally gluten-free recipes of.  It doesn’t help that I’m also sugar-free and have a whole litany of food allergies.  Makes desserts, well, challenging to find.

When I was a kid my grandma made the best apple dumplings every year during the holidays, and I’ve been wanting something similar that’d be gluten-free, sugar-free, and hopefully less labor intensive.  A pretty high order.

Pinterest provided a good starting point though when I stumbled across an apple recipe.  I altered it a bit–the apples are baked, mine’s sugar-free, along with a couple other alterations.  So Mr. Munger, the fiancé, and I tried it out when he was in the area this last weekend.  And it was a huge hit, even with the wheat-eaters.  Its picture really doesn’t do it justice.


Ingredients:

  • 6 large apples (personally, I like red apples)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon Splenda® (or sugar)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Vanilla ice cream (make sure it’s gluten-free!)
  • Caramel topping (be sure that this one’s gluten-free too, and if you want it to be sugar-free buy the kind sweetened with Spenda®)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tops of apples the way you would a pumpkin (enough so that the hole is big enough to allow you to hollow out the insides but still leaving the majority of the apple intact).
  2. Slowly, carefully hollow out each apple using a metal tablespoon or melon baller.  Unlike a pumpkin, the skin on the apples is fragile so don’t go too quickly or you might end up with a hole. (Don’t worry if it looks uneven on the inside because no one will see it anyway.)
  3. Mix the Spenda®/sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.  And then rub mixture on the inside of all of the apples so that they all have a coating.
  4. Set the oven for 350 degrees F.  And bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  (The trick is to have your apples soft enough to easily eat while also being stable enough to hold together.)
  5. Once baked, immediately fill with the vanilla ice cream of your choosing (vanilla bean or French vanilla are my favorites) and top with warm caramel.
  6. Serve immediate.  And enjoy.

Debi’s Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas

Sour cream and cheese enchiladas[Update: As a result of tomato and dairy allergies, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But it’s good!  Give it a try]

Whenever I tell anyone that I’m gluten-free the first thing they usually do is list off all of their favorite bready foods—breadsticks, sourdough, donuts, fried chicken, waffles—and lament my inability to eat them.  They imagine my regular diet being completely void of flavor and tasting like a second-rate imitation.  But what they don’t realize is that there are countless delicious, healthy foods and recipes that are naturally gluten-free.  No modification required.

Mexican food (both the authentic and Americanized variety) is an especially good source of naturally gluten-free meal ideas because a lot of the dishes tend to focus on rice or corn rather than wheat.  And this Sour Cream and Cheese Enchilada recipe, shared by Debi at The Original Simple Mom, is the perfect example.

Special thanks to Debi for being willing to be The Crunchy Cook’s very first guest post. The following is copyrighted to Deborah Taylor-Hough. And used with permission.


I usually serve these with something simple like refried beans and rice as a side dish with a tossed green salad.  And don’t forget the mandatory basket of chips and salsa.  I personally feel that these taste the best when the tortillas are fried first to soften, but when I’m pressed for time or want to cut down on the amount of oil used, I simply place the stack of tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 1 minute to soften.

Sour Cream and Cheese Enchiladas
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pour enchilada sauce into a flat pan or pie plate (you’ll be dipping freshly softened tortillas in the sauce).
  3. In small frying pan, heat salad oil over medium-high heat. Fry the tortillas–one at a time–turning once, just to soften (won’t take more than about 10 to 15 seconds). Remove from oil.
  4. Dip softened tortilla on both sides into the enchilada sauce. Stack dipped tortillas in an empty pan or pie plate.
  5. Repeat the softening/dipping process for each tortilla. Add more oil to the frying pan, if needed.
  6. Don’t forget to turn off the oil when you’re done softening the tortillas!
  7. In a large mixing bowl, blend 2 cups of the sour cream, 1 cup of the green onions, the cumin, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. (Remaining sour cream, onions and cheese will be used later.)
  8. In a 9×13-inch casserole or baking dish, carefully roll each tortilla around about 3 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture. Work gently because the tortillas will want to rip.
  9. Repeat with all tortillas, placing them side-by-side and covering the bottom of the baking dish. If it’s tight, just squeeze them in as best you can.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining 3 cups of cheese evenly over the top.
  11. Bake uncovered at 375 F degrees for 20 minutes.
  12. Garnish with more sour cream spooned down the center and sprinkle with chopped green onions.

MAKE-AHEAD NOTE: This can be covered and frozen (or stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours) before baking. Save garnishes for serving day. If frozen, thaw completely and then bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Optional Ingredients: Depending on what I have on hand, these can morph into all sorts of things with just a few changes or simple additions:  Shredded leftover chicken, fresh cilantro, jalapeno slices, diced chilis, freshly diced tomatoes, Jack cheese instead of Cheddar.  Don’t be afraid to play with these a bit.  But be sure to try the recipe “as is” first … it’s SUPER good!

Enjoy!  And don’t forget to check out Debi’s website, The Original Simple Mom.

Ratatouille (gluten & allergen free)

DSCN1461Ratatouille is wonderful because not only is it tasty, it’s also one of the few foods my entire family can actually all eat.   And it’s naturally gluten-free.

Often times when people first go gluten-free they focus on breads and pastas almost exclusively, but I think that one of the simplest, healthiest ways to handle a gluten-free diet is eat naturally gluten-free foods.  Something like Ratatouille is a great option because you don’t have to mess with funky gluten-free flours or substitute anything.  And, hey, it’s good for you.

This recipe is my mom’s.  She originally posted on her blog, but she gave me permission to share it with all of you.  For the original post or to try out some of her other recipes, check out her blog!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less)
  • 2 large onions, sliced (or one gigantic one like I used)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4-6 medium sized zucchini (or one humungous one from the garden), thickly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and cut into chunks (I used 1 green pepper and 1/2 each of a red pepper and yellow pepper … makes it more colorful)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley (I was out of parsley so didn’t use it … didn’t miss it, either)
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut in chunks (Because I can no longer eat tomatoes, I now leave this step off.  Using red peppers is a nice way to still get red in there)

Directions:

  1. Over high heat, heat olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened but not brown.
  2. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, peppers, salt, basil and parsley.  Add a little more oil if needed to keep the veggies from sticking.
  3. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir gently and carefully to retain shape of veggies as they soften.
  4. Add tomatoes.  Stir gently.  Add more oil if sticking.
  5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is best if served a day or more after preparation.  It can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature.

Blueberry Cheesecake (gluten & sugar-free)

Cream cheese cupcakes[Update: Due to my dairy allergy, this isn’t something I can eat anymore.  But give it a try!  It’s tasty]

Mr. M’s just celebrated his 28th rotation around the sun.  Since our very first date to Seattle almost two years ago he’s been wanting to tour Seattle in the most culturally sophisticated way possible—The Duck.  When Mr. M first pointed out the super touristy, tacky duck-shaped boats and announced that he wanted to ride one I just laughed.

In honor of his birthday though I’m going to treat him to a tour via The Duck once spring quarter is over and he’s back for a week over break.  And I also made him mini blueberry cheesecakes to celebrate (note the lovely lit candles below).  And he seemed to really enjoy them.

I highly modified Suzanne Somers’ New York Cheesecake recipe from her book Somersize Desserts.  While it isn’t specifically gluten-free, a lot of the recipes in the book tend to be naturally gluten-free.


Yields: About 18 cupcakes.

Ingredients for Cupcakes :

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Splenda/sucralose
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Splenda/sucralose

Directions:

  1. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins and set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese and Spenda together in a large bowl (it will turn out better if you wait until the cream cheese is at room temperature).
  3. Add eggs, beating after each addition.  Then add sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.  After mixing, carefully add blueberries.  Don’t kill it, just mix until it’s smooth.
  4. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to divvy up the cream cheese mixture evenly into the cupcake liners.  Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes (0r until a toothpick comes out clean).
  6. In a smaller bowl, mix together sour cream and Splenda for the topping.  Once the cupcakes have cooled completely the in the refrigerator, spread sour cream frosting on top of them.

Cream Cheese cupcakes 3

Pumpkin Cupcakes (gluten-free & sugar-free)

Main picture[Update: Due to my dairy allergy, frosting these little guys is sadly no longer an option.  They’re pretty darn amazing frosted.  And I haven’t tried them out with egg-free egg substitute yet but I’m hopeful that’ll work]

I don’t really believe in “seasonal food.”  Some foods are definitely fresher (and cheaper) if you buy them when they’re in season, but something like canned pumpkin doesn’t really matter.  It’s just generally considered a fall/holiday food.

But I love pumpkin, so despite the fact that it’s late spring I’ve made a couple batches of my new favorite gluten-free cupcakes lately.  And they’ve been quite a hit.  They might not look like anything special, but the multiple requests for me to make them again makes me feel like I’m finally starting to figure this whole gluten-free but still delicious thing out.

You can eat these like muffins, but they taste fantastic if you also frost them with homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.


Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/3 cups Splenda/sucralose (or 3 cups sugar)
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 and 1/3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin

Directions:

  1. Set the oven for 400 degrees.  And put about 24 cupcake liners into muffin tins (greasing might also work but because gluten-free baked goods tends to be so fragile, I’d be afraid it’d fall apart when it’s taken out of the pan).  Set it aside for later.
  2. Beat Splenda, eggs, and oil together in a bowl.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
  4. Once mixed, alternately add flour mixture and water to Splenda mixture.  Use the electric beaters on low after each addition.  Now, beat in pumpkin until just combined.
  5. Use a spoon to carefully place the batter into the cupcake liners filling them about 2/3 of the way full.
  6. Bake cupcakes at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.  Then, put them in the refrigerator so they can cool completely.  (While they taste good right after they’re made, they’ll taste the best after cooling all night in the refrigerator)
  8. Either eat them like muffins (they taste great with butter) or, better yet, frost them after they have cooled for at least a couple of hours.  Follow the Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, but add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to give it more of a pumpkin-y flavor.
  9. Once you’ve frosted the cupcakes, let them cool for at least a couple of hours.  The cupcakes will taste better and be less fragile and the frosting will have time to set.  Once they’re done cooling, enjoy.

Finished