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Tonight, I was hungry. For chocolate. I really wanted to make my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcakes, but I was out of mayonnaise, so that was out. I wanted something more than “just” a chocolate cupcake. Looking through my cupboard, I found a can of black beans. Hmmmmm. Added protein, adds moisture, keeps the brownies dense. I can hide the black beans and not tell my grandkids their chocolate brownies are (sort of) good for them. Let’s give it a try.

After they came out of the oven, I told my 18 year old granddaughter I just made Brownie Bites. “Yum!” Then I told her they were really “Black Bean Brownie Bites”. . . . I got a “Yuck!!” So, no I won’t tell the younger grandkids there are black beans in their brownies!

Black Bean Brownie Bites

3 eggs

1-1/2 cup powdered sugar (I was out of granulated sugar)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup orange juice (I tried something different for the liquid)

1/2 cup water

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 – 15 oz can drained black beans

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until well blended. Add sugar and beat on high until light yellow, about 2 minutes. Add oil, orange juice and water. Beat on low until blended. Add brown rice flour and beat on low until blended. Add black beans and beat on high until beans are pretty much mashed (about 2 minutes). Don’t worry if the batter looks lumpy. Add cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Beat on low until blended, then beat on high for 1 minute. Add xanthan gum and beat on high for 1 minute, until batter thickens slightly.

Grease mini cupcake pans or line with paper liners. (You can also bake them in regular size cupcake pans.) Fill 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until top springs back when pressed lightly. Remove from pan and glaze with chocolate glaze (recipe follows). They can be glazed while still hot (let brownies cool enough that you don’t burn your fingers.)

Cocolate Glaze

1 cup GF chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)

2 Tbl margarine (or butter if you can eat dairy)

1/4 cup white corn syrup

In top of double boiler, melt chocolate chips. Add margarine and corn syrup. Stir until combined and smooth. Hold brownie bites on sides and dip tops into chocolate glaze, twirling brownie bites to reach edges. Allow glaze to set and cover to store.

 

On the Wings of Hope, LLC Announces Newest Book

 

St. Paul, MN – January 1, 2012

On the Wings of Hope, LLC is proud to announce their newest book, “A Guide to Living Gluten-free”, has been published and is available at numerous outlets including OnTheWingsOfHope.com, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The digital version is currently available at SmashWords.com. This book is ideal for any “newbie” to the gluten-free lifestyle, but has useful information for those who have been living gluten-free for some time.

It covers the various emotions that can be experienced when switching to a gluten-free lifestyle – relief, fear, panic, denial, self-pity, anger and acceptance, to name a few. The book discusses brain fog and bodily functions. Yes, bodily functions, which can be such a large part of the Celiac lifestyle! Also covered are the challenges faced by different age groups. Each age group experiences a unique set of challenges with a gluten-free lifestyle. The book includes a two week sample menu and gluten-free recipes to help people who are just beginning their journey on a gluten-free lifestyle.

1 in 130 people have Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, which causes damage to the small intestine. The symptoms of Celiac disease can mirror symptoms of other illnesses,  and many times is misdiagnosed. Undiagnosed Celiac disease can lead to other health conditions such as arthritis, malnutrition, migraines, internal hemorrhaging and cancer.

Previous books from On the Wings of Hope include a cookbook “Don’t Feed Me – Gluten-free, Dairy-free Cooking” and a children’s book, “I Can’t Eat Your Treats – a kid’s guide to gluten-free, casein-free eating”. On the Wings of Hope, LLC is dedicated to helping children with Celiac disease and food allergies by providing needed information at www.onthewingsofhope.com. On the Wings of Hope, LLC’s owner and president, Joyce Nielsen, has over 30 years of experience in researching and dealing with food -related health issues. She has four grandchildren with Celiac disease and Ms. Nielsen was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2009. She believes in a holistic approach to health that deals with the whole person, rather than treating individual symptoms.

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Hooray! Our third book made it to the publisher! This book is perfect for a “newbie” to the gluten-free lifestyle, but has useful information for those who have been living gluten-free for some time.

We cover the various emotions that can be experienced once you switch to a gluten-free lifestyle – relief, fear, panic, denial, self-pity, anger and acceptance to name a few. These emotions are normal and you may experience them more than once – I know I have during the past 2 years of gluten-free living.

We talk about brain fog and bodily functions. Yes, bodily functions. I have learned, from personal experience, if you have Celiac disease you need to be able to discuss “bodily functions” with others. It can be such a big part of the Celiac lifestyle!

We discuss the challenges faced by different age groups – infants, children, teenagers and adults. Each age level has their own unique set of challenges with the gluten-free lifestyle.

Also covered in this book is the 504 Plan for school-aged children and the steps you need to take to start a 504 Plan with your child’s school.

Our book has a retail price of $18.95, but you can order our book – at a discounted introductory price of $15.00 – at https://www.createspace.com/3700105 with delivery expected between Dec 22 and New Years (sorry, holiday shipping is slower than normal).

We are also offering a bundle package of our new book, along with our two previous books for the low price of $35.00 if ordered through our website. This is a great deal – $51.00 in books for $35.00!

“Don’t Feed Me – Gluten-free, dairy-free Cooking” (regular $16.95)

“I Can’t Eat Your Treats – a kid’s guide to gluten-free, casein-free eating” (regular $14.95)

To order the bundle package, visit our website order page at:

I wanted bread. Freshly baked, soft on the inside, crusty on the outside – bread. I always seem to want baked goods in the evenings. Late enough that I just don’t want to drive all the way to the store for ingredients. (“All the way” is about 4 blocks.) The weather is getting colder here in Minnesota and tonight I just didn’t want to have to put on a coat, warm up the car and drive to the store. So, I decided to see if I had enough ingredients to make gluten-free bread. I knew I had used the last of my rice flour earlier this week, when I made my Very Vanilla Cupcakes.

I normally use a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch. I knew I had corn starch. The grocery store had a sale on it about a month ago and I really stocked up! I had picked up more tapioca flour when I made the cupcakes, so I knew I had enough of that. I’ve never made any baked good with just cornstarch and tapioca flour.  (I’ll have to try that sometime, just to see what happens.) Corn starch is light and tapioca flour is very fine and very light. I like to use a third flour that has a little substance to it when I bake bread. I keep all my gluten-free baking items in a separate cupboard, away from anything that could contaminate them. I live in a “mixed household” – one gluten-free eater and one who eats gluten. I also have a separate area in the refrigerator for my gluten-free foods, to avoid cross-contamination.

Back to the cupboard. I had about 3 tablespoons of soy flour left, so that wouldn’t be much help in making a loaf of bread. I’m not too fond of soy flour, anyway. Soy flour is a very heavy flour and gives baked goods a definite SOY flavor and aftertaste. If I use it in something that requires a lot of spices or a lot of chocolate, I can usually mask the soy flavor.   But bread is just . . . well, bread. Aha! In the back of the cupboard I had half a bag of buckwheat flour! The name buckWHEAT sounds like it should contain gluten, but it doesn’t. Buckwheat isn’t a cereal grain. It’s a fruit seed, related to rhubarb. It is high in manganese and magnesium and is a good source of fiber. I’ve used buckwheat in small quantities before, and was happy with the results. But my bread recipe calls for 1 cup of each – rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch. Buckwheat flour has a distinctive flavor – would my bread have a strong flavor? Buckwheat flour is also a light brown – I knew I wouldn’t end up with white bread. I’m always ready to try something new, so I decided to use it and see what happened.

What happened is a perfect loaf of bread – soft and springy on the inside and and nice crunchy crust! The color is like a light rye bread, without the strong rye flavor. The taste is similar to a very light whole wheat bread. I like it! If you try this recipe, let me know how yours turns out and if you like it.

Light Buckwheat Bread (GF)

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup tapioca floour

1 cup corn starch

1 pkg dry yeast (not rapid rise)

1/4 finely ground golden flax seed

1 cup warm water

1 tsp granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil non-stick loaf pan.

In large bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir to mix and let sit until top of water is covered with foamy bubbles. Add eggs and oil and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add buckwheat flour and mix on low for 1 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl, add tapioca flour and mix on low for 1 minute. Add cornstarch and flax seed and mix on low until blended. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes. Add xanthan gum and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes to be sure xanthan gum is well distributed.

Scrape bread batter into loaf pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. (The batter will not smooth out when it rises. If you have spikes in your batter, you bread will bake with the same spikes. Not a bad thing, just different.) Place in warm, draft-free area and let rise for 1/2 hour. Bread should be about 1″ above top of pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, until crust is browned and hard and crunchy. Turn oven off, leaving loaf in oven. Let bread cool in oven for 1/2 hour. Remove bread from oven and remove from loaf pan. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap or large zip top bag. (Or cut into it as soon as it comes out of the oven like I did and enjoy!)

Vanilla Cupcakes (with VERY Chocolate Frosting, of course) Gluten-free

I’ve been craving cupcakes, again. Soft, moist, flavorful, springy cupcakes. With a frosting that’s smooth, not too thick and not too sweet. I’m not a fan of thick, overly sweet frosting. I want to taste something besides SUGAR when I eat a cupcake.

My favorite cupcake is my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcake. It’s spring, moist and full of chocolate flavor. Don’t be alarmed by the “mayonnaise” in the cupcake! Mayonnaise is basically eggs and oil. What do you put in cupcake batter? Eggs and oil. The mayonnaise helps to keep it moist and not dry and crumbly like so many glutenf-free cupcakes. But, I make those all the time and I wanted something different! Something new!

I decided to make my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcake into a Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcake. I bought vanilla powder and was anxious to try it to see how it compared to liquid vanilla. However, my chocolate cupcake calls for 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. If I eliminate the cocoa, I’ll have to adjust the liquids and perhaps adjust the amount of gluten-free flours I use. Well, it was worth a try.

The Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcake is moist and springy. I’m not real excited about the vanilla powder, though. I think next time I’ll go back to using liquid vanilla. I would love to use real vanilla bean, but haven’t found the courage to try it. If anyone has suggestions on the best way to use vanilla beans in baking, I would appreciate any suggestions.

Once the cupcakes were out of the oven and I had taste tested one (or two) I decided vanilla goes best with chocolate. (I think almost EVERYTHING goes best with chocolate – except maybe dill pickles.) I wanted a very smooth, very soft, VERY chocolate frosting. I’m happy to report I was able to come up with a wonderful frosting! This one is the best chocolate frosting recipe I’ve created, yet. It is now the day after, and the frosting is still soft and smooth and silky and not dried out crunchy!

I hope you enjoy the recipes!

Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcakes   (makes 18 cupcakes)

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 rice flour

1 – 1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4 cup corn starch

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

2-1/2 tsp vanilla powder (if you choose to use liquid vanilla I would suggest 1-1/2 tsp liquid vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. (or oil individual cupcake pans and coat with granulated sugar to keep cupcakes from sticking)

In large bowl mix eggs on high speed until light and pale yellow. With mixer running, slowly add sugar and mix for 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer off and add water and oil. Mix on low speed until blended. Add rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix on low until blended, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add cornstarch, vanilla (powder or liquid), baking powder and baking soda. Mix on low until blended. Add xanthan gum and mix on medium speed until batter thickens – 2-3 minutes.

Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes until slightly brown on top and top springs back when lightly pressed. (If you bake them until they are brown on top, they will dry out quickly – I speak from experience, here.) Allow to cool completely.

Best Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup margarine (or butter)

1/3 cup Hershey’s Dark cocoa

4 tbl hot water

1  cup powdered sugar

In small saucepan melt margarine and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. When the chocolate chips are all ALMOST melted, turn of heat. The heat from the liquid will melt the remaining chocolate chips. (You can heat this in a double boiler to avoid burning the chocolate.) Whisk mixture until smooth and shiny.

In small bowl, combine cocoa and water. Stir, or whisk, until you have a smooth mixture. Add cocoa mixture to melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until mixture thickens. This will NOT be as thick as “regular” frosting because it’s still warm from the melted chocolate chips.

At this point, if you want a thin layer of chocolate frosting on your cupcakes, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the frosting and twirl to cover.

If you prefer thicker frosting, put frosting in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to cool. Stir again when you removed it from the refrigerator. Spread to desired thickness on cupcakes.

(Leftover frosting – if you have any – is great between gluten-free graham crackers. Or warm up and drizzle over ice cream, or strawberries, or cookie pieces, or peanut butter bread, or . . . . . um, dill pickles???

My oldest daughter called from California a few weeks ago and told me, “Mom, I just made the BEST coconut cupcakes! You have to try them. I’m sure you can figure out how to convert them to gluten-free.” She emailed the recipe to me and of course, Queen of procrastination that I am, I put off printing it out. I read the recipe and told myself as soon as I have a minute, I’ll print it out. Over the past two weeks, I’ve read the recipe five or six times but, of course, just couldn’t find the time to print it out.

The recipe calls for two 13-oz cans of coconut milk.. I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand, so of course I couldn’t make the cupcakes. There was no point in printing out the recipe if I didn’t have all the ingredients. I’d print it as soon as I bought coconut milk.  This past week I decided that I really needed to make these cupcakes, so I picked the coconut milk up at the local grocery store These cupcakes had been in the back of my mind for over two weeks. My daughter had called twice to ask me how they were and I had to tell her I was still procrastinating. I had the coconut milk, but realized I didn’t have any GF vanilla. I would need to go to the store to buy vanilla – as soon as I had time. Two days ago, I stopped to buy vanilla on my way home from work. Ok, now I had the coconut milk and the vanilla. I needed to bake the cupcakes!

I decided, last night, I had procrastinated long enough. I needed to bake these cupcakes. I printed out the recipe and read the ingredients to determine what I needed to do to convert them to gluten-free. The recipe called for 2 cups all purpose flour. I’ve discovered, through much trial and error, that I can replace 1 cup of all purpose (wheat) flour with 1/2 cup rice flour (white or brown), 1/4 cup tapioca flour and 1/4 cup corn starch. That replaces the flour, but does not replace the gluten that holds it all together. What I’m baking determines the amount of xanthan gum I need to use. If I’m baking cookies, I generally use 1/2 tsp per cup of “flour”. Cakes and cupcakes use a little more and bread uses the most. I generally start with 1/2 tsp and add 1/2 tsp at a time until it just looks like the right consistency. If I measure 1/2 tsp at a time, I know exactly how much to write down on my recipe for the next time.

I was finally at the point where I could mix up the cupcake batter! By the time I had takent them out of the oven and cooled one just long enough to try one . . . . . . .  I was sorry I had procrastinated so long! They were wonderful! Soft, moist, springy – with just a slight coconut flavor. The recipe calls for 2 cans of coconut milk – this is added to the cupcake batter and the frosting, and then they’re topped with shredded coconut. I was sure the coconut would be overpowering! Surprisingly, it’s not. I’m not a huge coconut fan, but these cupcakes are great! You really need to try them!

Divine GF Coconut Cupcakes (makes 18 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

2  13 – 14 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup corn starch

2-1/2  tsp baking powder

3/4 cup margarine (or butter)

1-1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp GF vanilla

1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup reduced coconut milk (see below)

Reduced coconut milk:

Pour both cans of coconut milk into deep saucepan. Coconut milk should only fill the pan half way. Heat coconut milk on medium high heat until it boils. (Coconut milk will boil up high in pan, which is why you need a deep saucepan.) Reduce heat to low and gently boil until it is reduced to 1 – 1/2 cups – about 25 – 35 minutes. Stir occassionaly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Once reduced, the coconut milk with be thick and creamy. Place in refrigerator and cool completely. (You can reduce the coconut milk days ahead and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.)

Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine margarine (or butter) and granulated sugar. Beat on high until smooth and light yellow. Add eggs and beat on high until well blended, about 2 minutes. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides and add rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix on low until well blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk (reserve remaining 1/2 cup for frosting) and vanilla and mix on low until blended. Add cornstarch, baking poweder and baking soda and mix until blended.

Line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. Fill each until 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes until slightly brown. Top should spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from pans and cool completely before frosting. (Warm cupcakes will melt your frosting.)

Frosting:

1 cup margarine (or butter)

2-1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup reduced coconut milk

1/2 tsp GF vanilla

In large mixing bowl, beat margarine until soft and smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape sides of bowl and add 1 additional cup of powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add reduced coconut milk and vanilla and mix until well blended. Scrape sides of bowl and add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Frost cupcakes with 2 tsp frosting for each cupcake. Sprinkle top of cupcake with sweetened flaked coconut. (If frosting is too thin add a little more powdered sugar or refrigerate before using. Frosting will become firmer if cold. If your kitchen is too hot, the frosting won’t set up well.)

Enjoy!

We were a vendor at the Iowa Celiac Conference in Okoboji, IA yesterday (10/1/11). We had beautiful weather for our 4 hour drive from St. Paul, MN. I took two excellent helpers with me to the Conference – Carter, my 10-year old grandson and Josaphine – my 6-year old granddaughter. Both are Celiacs. Josaphine also has a casein allergy.  They were both diagnosed 2 months ago, so living the Celiac lifestyle is still new to them. They are old enough to realize there are foods they will never be able to eat again. But they are also old enough to see that there are gluten-free alternatives for all of these favorite foods. Their little sister, Aivah, was diagnosed with Celiac disease and a casein allergy three years ago, so the gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle isn’t new to them. They have lived WITH IT for three years. Now, they LIVE IT for themselves (well, Carter only lives the gluten-free lifestyle because dairy doesn’t bother him.) However, it’s one thing if you need to be careful about what you little sister eats so she doesn’t get sick. It’s quite another thing when YOU are the one who gets sick from eating the wrong foods.

I thought it would be a good experiece for both of them to meet other people who live with Celiac disease and to realize that Celiac disease isn’t something only our family has. There are many, many people who need to eat the same foods they do. There were quite a few adults at the Conference, but there were also children and a few babies. In addition to meeting other Celiacs, my grandchildren were also able to listen to the speakers. They listened to Dr. Joseph Murray, MD who specializes in researching celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and enteropathy (diseases of the intestinal tract) in Rochester, MN. Dr. Murray specializes in researching celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and enteropathy (diseases of the intestinal tract). His studies intersect with programs in the Mayo Comprehensive Clinical Cancer Center and the Clinical Research Unit.

They also listened to Amber Kastler, RE, LD. Ms. Kastler graduated from Iowa State University and joined the Hy-Vee in Fort Dodge, IA as a Dietitian in 2010.  She is a resource to newly diagnosed people, helping them understand the disease and how to manage it. She had a very informative presentation about gluten-free foods. If you live near a Hy-Vee grocery store, you may want to check with the store dietician. Hy-Vee seems to be very involved and informed with the gluten-free lifestyle.

One of the break-out sessions was lead by Betty Bast. She was the co-leader of the Waverly Area Celiac Group for more than 20 years and today remains active as the state coordinator Her daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease at the age of 6-weeks. That was 46 years ago. Betty is very familiar with the gluten-free lifestyle – most of those years during the time when gluten-free options were few and far between. Betty invited On the Wings of Hope to be part of her break-out session and introduce our book “I Can’t Eat Your Treats” (our children’s book to help children explain Celiac disease to others in a language that children can understand). Our own personal “Food Fairy” (Josaphine) and Carter learned that there are other children who need to eat the way they, and their two sisters, eat. Our thanks to Betty!

There were many vendors at the Conference – some we were familiar with such as Udi’s (we LOVE Udi’s) and Chebe, and a few that were new to us – Midwest Health Foods in Spencer, IA, Gluten-Free Made Simple and Fahlstrom Farms. (Check out Fahlstrom Farms at http://www.fahlstromfarms.com/ – their products taste great!)

 

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