Mango Avocado Salsa

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One of the foods that my Quack suggested that I incorporate into my diet was avocados. “Great”, I thought sarcastically, “I don’t particularly enjoy guacamole”.

So when I discovered this Mango Avocado Salsa recipe in Free For All Cooking (check out an overview of the cookbook in this post), I thought it was a great way to incorporate avocados because I hadn’t yet had a chance to do any searching for recipes using avocados, and I have loved mangoes ever since my first Mango Daiquiri at the Mexican resort that our good friends got married at, in back in 2011.

Mango Avocado Salsa

(from Free For All Cooking)

Serves 4

1 large mango, peeled and diced

1 large ripe Haas avocado, peeled and diced

1 cup black beans, rinsed

1/2 ear cooked corn, cut off of the cob

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Approximately 3/4 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss together to combine. Taste to determine if you like more spice.
  2. Serve with corn tortilla chips, Golden Potato Latkes, Fish Tacos, or over grilled white fish like tilapia, orange roughy, or flounder.

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I didn’t have Tabasco on hand so I decided to throw on a dash of Tex-Mex spice and topped it with a dab of sour cream. It was delicious and a great option for anyone with an tomato allergy/intolerance who miss the ability to enjoy salsa (I’d caution to check any spice mixes that you might use to ensure that they are free of tomato).

What types of recipes do you like for incorporating avocados?

50% Off: Allergic Solutions Mixes – This Weekend Only!

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Although I’ve only been a member of the CCA-NL since June of 2012, at every meeting that I’ve attended thus far, there’s been freebies to take home. At our meeting this past week, Allergic Solution had sent the Chapter samples of their various mixes, and there were enough packages for each member who attended to bring home multiple packs.

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

According to their website, they claim that having food allergies doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a delicious treat. They say that many people possess multiple allergies or sensitivities and that their mixes were created with this in mind. Allergic Solution mixes are free of: corn, dairy/casein, eggs, gluten/wheat, peanuts, tree-nuts and soy.

This morning we decided to make the Pancake & Waffle Mix. I topped my pancakes with  some vanilla greek yogurt, our Aunt M’s homemade raspberry jam, and a little drizzle of maple syrup. Because the toppings were so flavourful, it was hard to judge on the taste of the pancake itself,  but it seemed like a good pancake to me. They appeared to be slightly denser than non-GF pancakes but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They reminded me of a crepe consistency which I enjoyed because I’ve yet to have a crepe since going gluten-free. When it comes to pancakes, for me personally, it’s the toppings that make the pancake. So, if you share in my philosophy in pancakes, have one or more dietary restrictions, and are looking to try out a new pancake mix, you’ll likely find that you enjoy Allergic Solution’s Waffle & Pancake Mix as well.

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Best of all, for this weekend only, Allergic Solution’s mixes are 50% off, or 2 for 1 (however you wish to look at it). You can find the mixes at various stores as listed here on their website, however, I think the deal applies only to their online store. They also sell their mixes in bulk, and also sell several gift baskets which include various pans, waffle iron, or additional ingredients (depending on the particular type of basket chosen) which I thought would make a nice gift for someone who is a multiple food allergy sufferer. Keep in mind though, if you are buying online that you also have to consider shipping costs as well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this mix, considering that they are egg-free, but I have to say that I enjoyed the crepe-like texture of this mix! I also like that they vegan-friendly and diabetic-friendly. Due to the fact that there is no sugar added, are dairy-free and gluten-free, the mixes would be a great option for those with strict dietary restrictions as a means to control disruptive digestion issues (much like my aunt who has to be gluten-free, dairy-free and consume minimum amounts of sugar in order to keep her collagenous colitis symptoms under control).

They also have a Facebook Page if you want to stay in the loop on similar deals.

Have you tried this mix? If so, what did you think?

Free For All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes

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I ordered this cookbook quite some time ago with the intention of trying out some new recipes. It only took about a year later and one “snowpocalypse” to attempt my first recipe from it. The result? Deliciousness! … But I’ve saved the details for a separate post 🙂

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I discovered this cookbook, along with several others that I have yet to try out, from the Living Without Website. A list of all their cookbooks that are available for sale are found here: http://www.livingwithout.com/products/ … The magazine is a US publication and there is usually a link for Canadian purchases, which can mean higher prices but most always means higher shipping costs. I’d recommend checking out Chapters.ca or Amazon.ca to see if you can find a better deal, as you can combine with other products and receive free shipping if you cart total is usually above $25 (or some other determined amount).

What I like about this cookbook is that it is broken into two parts:

Part I: Essentials for Gluten-Free Baking

Part II: The Recipes

The majority of Part I is dedicated to ingredients and substitutions. Jules starts out by giving an overview of the items that one might find in their pantry which are basic/naturally gluten-free. She then gives a list of safe, gluten-free ingredients (such as grains, pseudocereals, beans, etc.) and then follows up with a list of evil non-gluten-free grains and other ingredients to avoid.

One of the most useful parts of the book is the Handy Substitution Guide. The guide starts out talking about Flour and how Jules devised her Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Blend. It then discusses other premixed blends, as well as making your own gluten-free blend.

She then lists other gluten-free ingredients that you should keep on hand, such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, sugar and sweeteners, gluten-free oats/cereals/chips,  as well as flax seeds. She gives an overview of each one, lists several brands that she has used, and also makes some references to use in recipes found throughout the book.

Egg substitutes are the next topic and one that I thought was presented very well. She briefly discusses store-bought egg replacers but goes into great detail about homemade egg replacers. She gives a recipe for 12 different egg replacer recipes and groups them according to what they are best suited for:

  • Quick-breads
  • Yeast breads
  • Batters
  • Pancakes
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Savory Dishes
  • Replacing Egg Yolks
  • Frying foods or browning crusts

Dairy and soy substitutes are also presented. Substitutes for milk, buttermilk, Half-and-Half/heavy cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, yogurt/sour cream, butter/shortening, cheese/cream cheese, ice-cream/whipped cream are explained with recipes for non-dairy evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk given.

Nut substitutes are explained and are broken out according to whether you are looking for the nutty texture, or the nutty taste.

Jules then discusses alcohols in baking. She notes that although distilled alcohols are gluten-free, you need to be weary of added flavourings. She also discusses use of gluten-free beers in her recipes, as well as flavour extracts.

My favourite part of the book is that there are food restriction icons for each recipe which include: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free or Vegetarian. Many of the recipes are possible this way because Jules highlights the option for substitution. For example, for many of the egg replacements she suggests which Egg Replacer recipe to use which will save you time when executing the recipe! 🙂

Part I is then capped off with some baking notes … which I thought came in handy. For example, I had no idea that kneading gluten-free doughs actually do more harm than good (…. Good tip, Jules! Thanks)

Once you’ve digested (figuratively, of course) all of this info, it’s time to jump into the next stage of actual digestion – the recipe execution!! Part II is broken out into:

  • Breakfast Foods
  • Appetizers & Side Dishes
  • Breads & Rolls
  • Soups
  • Main Events; and last but not least
  • Desserts (the largest section! Jules, you know the way to a girl’s heart!)

This cookbook looks fantastic and should give those with food allergies and food intolerances the ability to enjoy fantastic meals and treats without having to worry about their safety or digestion woes!!

As I try out recipes from this cookbook, I’ll update with links below!

If you are currently using this cookbook, please share what your favourite recipes are! 

Happy Baking/Cooking & Eating!!

Krista.

Recipe: Boston Cream Muffins

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The hardest part when I go to Tim Horton’s for a tea is not having the option to indulge in a Boston Cream Doughnut anymore since going gluten-free.

My sister decided earlier this year to implement “Muffin Mondays” where she tries to bake muffins and cupcakes to bring in to her office. Some weeks she said that she wasn’t able to get a batch ready in time for Muffin Monday but on those particular weeks it just so happened that someone else (i.e. Donna) had happened to bring in muffins that day. One day my sister mentioned that Donna had brought in Boston Cream Muffins…. and suggested that it was likely possible to make a gluten-free version. My jaw dropped to the floor at the idea of Boston Cream gluten-free anything and I demanded that she get this recipe from Donna. My sister immediately whipped out her blackberry and emailed Donna for the recipe.

I’ll include both the glutenous and gluten-free versions of the recipe below.

Gluten-Free Version:

Ingredients:

For Cream Filling:

1 cup of milk
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used Nourish‘s blend of GF flour)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Muffins:

2 packages of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix (yields 12 cupcakes per package) or any other GF cupcake mix
6 Eggs (or as per other Gluten-Free cake mix directions)
1 1/3 Cup Water (or as per other Gluten-Free cake mix directions)
1 Cup butter, softened (or as per other Gluten-Free cake mix directions)
4 tsp pure vanilla extract (or as per other Gluten-Free cake mix directions)

For Ganache Frosting:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used Enjoy Life‘s chocolate chips to make it peanut/tree nut free as well)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, boiling

Directions:

Make the cream filling FIRST!

Cream Filling:

1.Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until completely combined
2. Add gluten-free flour, whisk very well and set aside while heating the milk
3. Heat milk, heavy cream, butter and salt until simmering
4. Slowly add the heated milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture stirring constantly. Whisk well slowly
5. Return the mixture into the pot and bring to simmer stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken within 30-45 seconds. Take off heat.
6. Whisk in the vanilla, set aside to cool to room temperature

Muffins:

Prepare as per package directions

Gluten-Free Muffins just warm out of the oven

Fill a melting/decorating squeeze bottle (such as this Wiltonone) or an icing decorating bag (with a long thin decorating tip) with the cream filling. Insert the tip into several points on the top of the baked muffins while they are still hot and squeeze until you see the filling start to ooze out.

Boston Cream Filling

Boston Cream Inserted

Ganache Frosting:

1. Bring the heavy cream to boil, be careful not to let it actually boil or it will raise
2. Pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Cool to a little warmer then room temperature

When the muffins are completely cooled, remove the excess filling that might have expanded from the top of the muffins and dip the top of the muffins into the ganache frosting. Hold the muffins horizontal so that the excess chocolate drips free. You may want to turn the muffins to allow the chocolate to drip from various points. Once it seems like all the excess chocolate has dripped free, lay the muffins down so that the chocolate can properly set.

Completed Boston Cream Muffins!

Once set, ENJOY!! 🙂

For Donna’s regular (non-Gluten-Free) Version:

Cream Filling:

Same as above except she uses regular flour.

Muffins:

3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
Note: the cupcake recipe didn’t call for oil but she would add 1/3 cup of oil (she usually uses olive oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 375, place the cupcake liners into the 12 cup muffin pan
2. Beat the butter is a large mixing bowl for 1 minute
3. Add sugar and beat for another minute
4. Add one egg at the time, beating after each addition (if you’re going to add the oil I’d add it here)
5. Beat in vanilla
6. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt
7. Add milk, beat well for about a minute
8. Pour into the muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean

Ganache Frosting:

Donna didn’t follow the above method for the ganache. She always put water in a dipper (about 2/3) and bring to a boil. She puts the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and place over the boiling dipper (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once the chocolate is melted she takes it off the dipper and mixes in the cold cream.

I also doubled Donna’s Ganache recipe for the dipping method, so if following the non-gluten-free recipe version, half the amounts listed above.

Thanks to Donna for letting me indulge in Boston Cream again!! 🙂