Monday, May 10, 2010

Celiac Awareness Month is May!

Many of you have picked up on the fact that I need to eat gluten-free. Let's hear it for cheese, most of which is gluten-free.


Anyway, I haven't always been a celiac. I found out ten years ago. I thought I was sick with something much, much worse! Over the years, I'd been diagnosed with IBS and other things. One doctor actually said to me that "sensitive little girls" like you get things like this. Can you believe it!!! Little? Okay, I'm small, but that's not the little he meant. {Grumble, grumble.} I fired him and tried to talk myself into being less sensitive. Ha, that didn't work!

So when I moved to Charlotte and got seriously ill, I went through a six-month battery of tests and was finally diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. I was relieved, to say the least, but I was also stupefied by what I would be able to eat. Wheat (gluten) is in a lot of things. Just so you know, I have sympathy for people who are corn-intolerant, lactose-intolerant, or anything-intolerant. It's not easy. However, please be advised that there are tons of Internet sites, with a wealth of information that can help each and every one of you. They helped me put together my new "diet" and I'm thrilled.

Because of what I go through, I decided to include a character in my Cheese Shop Mystery series that is celiac. One of Charlotte's twin nieces is gluten-intolerant.

It's not a difficult diet, once you understand what you can't eat, and I try to make that clear in the novels. What is wonderful is that most recipes taste exactly the same if made with gluten-free products. {Note: I can't seem to duplicate sourdough bread, and that really stinks because I adore sourdough bread. I think the bread doesn't rise in the right way because of the chemical process between gluten and yeast. I've tasted some gluten-free sourdoughs that come close, but it's still not San Francisco Sourdough...yum!!!}

Anyway, since May is now officially declared Celiac Awareness Month - announced by Senator Parker of NY, and reported on, today, I'm going to share a fabulous
gluten-free cake recipe altered from the original version handed down to me by my mother.

She called it Carmelita's Dump Cake. Now, I never met a friend of my mother's named Carmelita, but knowing my mother {who was quite colorful}, she might have created the recipe in Carmel while drinking margaritas (that recipe will be shared in a future post - it's to die for)!

Carmelita's Dump Cake is a moist, yummy cake that can be made in a number of flavors, thanks to Pamela's Baking Products. Of course, I've redubbed it "Avery's Dump Cake." Why not?

Avery's Gluten-free Dump Cake

1 pkg. Pamela’s gluten-free chocolate cake mix

1 pkg. (small 3 oz.) vanilla instant pudding [I used Shaw’s brand, it’s made with vanillin and corn starch; Kroger's is also gluten-free.]

3 eggs

2 egg whites

1 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 c. Wesson oil

3/4 c. rum [yep, rum! So maybe my mother created while drinking a Mai Tai] [milk may be substituted for alcohol]

1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla

Dump --that's right dump -- together.

Pour into a Bundt pan [or an angel food cake pan]

Bake 325 degrees for 45 minutes - 1 hour, depending on your oven temps - check with toothpick.

For fun: dust with powdered sugar and dot with chocolate chips. get a cheese into the recipe, this cake would taste fabulous with cream cheese frosting. It's a recipe I shared in an earlier blog. Click on the link in the right-hand column marked "cream cheese" to see it.

And now a bit of Contest News...

Congratulations to Stacy from Louisville!
You've won Riley's Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate
Grilling Rub Collection!!! Way to go!!!!!!


Here's your chance to enter
Julie Hyzy's May Contest!

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure, debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started: Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - The Poisoned Pen (my local mystery bookstore) - Barnes & Noble -

By the way...I read the sneak preview chapter of
Julie's new series and it's fabulous!!!!!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: I (Avery) am offering FREE BOOKMARKS on my website. Click this FREE BOOKMARK link to send me your information.

I also have a "fan club" contest (separate from Julie's) that is running until this FRIDAY. Click this CONTEST link to see how to enter. Hint: the instructions are in the last paragraph of the newsletter.

Say Cheese!


  1. Oooh...I bet that doctor's comment infuriated you!

    I can only imagine how worried you were, imagining the worst. Thank goodness it was gluten intolerance...and that there's the wonderful world of the internet now to help us figure out how to approach problems like this.

    I *love* your dump cake! If it was Margarita-induced, it was a brainstorm!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Hey Avery, it's great the way you're bringing celiac disease into your posts. I was completely unaware of it, but now I'm seeing how important a gluten-free diet can be. In fact, one of my favorite local restaurants just introduced a gluten-free menu. The first time I saw it, I thought of you!

    This dump cake sounds great! I love recipes where everything gets dumped, mixed, and then magically becomes a wonderful dessert. Thanks!


  3. I love books that educate as well as entertain, Avery. And your dump cake sounds scrumptious. In honor of my daughter's coming home this week for a visit, I may just try it. Question: You mention Wesson Oil. Might I substitute olive oil? Thank you!

  4. It's amazing how many people are celiacs. I must say that Avery lives with it very well. And by total not-coincidence since it's Celiac Awareness Month, Mambo Sprouts is having a contest in which you can win gluten-free foods!

    ~ Krista

  5. Avery-

    Wonderful post. I have noticed more and more
    products that are gluten free, which is wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I have friends that are celiacs, so it'll be nice to bake then a yummy cake!

  6. Hi Avery-
    Great post! The cake sounds delicious - am I imagining it or are more people becoming gluten-intolerant? Clever you to introduce this into your series!

  7. Donnell , Don't use olive oil in the cake. Olive oil has a very distinctive taste. Try corn oil or safflower oil or whatever other light oil with little flavor. I love olive oil in salads and in grilling, but not baking. Best, ~Avery

  8. Wonderful post, Avery. Kudos to you for giving readers (here and in your mysteries) a better understanding of gluten-free eating. Like Jenn, I've noticed many more gluten-free products on my grocery store shelves. That cake looks amazing -- with or without gluten!

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. Thanks, Avery, for the clarification!


  10. Wow! You sounds so encouraging and uplifting :) Our son has food intolerances too and they have always caused severe Eczema for him. We have been to many docs and given him meds that I hated to give. Nothing really helped him though until we put him on the Vidazorb chewable probiotics! They have changed his life and allowed for him to eat so many more foods and his skin has never looked better. It is a miracle for us :) He does still have some actual allergies though and we will always avoid those things. I know though how you feel as it can be very mystifying - even for doctors! Thanks for sharing your insight :)