Showing posts with label celiac. Show all posts
Showing posts with label celiac. Show all posts

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome Jessica Faust!

A very special welcome to Jessica Faust!

Those of you who are not writers probably don't know that Jessica is a highly sought-after literary agent. Her agency represents a number of us who blog at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. She is the owner of BookEnds Literary Agency where she represents a number of award-winning and bestselling authors in the areas of romance, mystery, women’s fiction, fantasy and nonfiction.

She has been a regular columnist with Romantic Times magazine, taught at New York University's Continuing Education Program, been recognized as Agent of the Year by the NYC Romance Writers of America chapter, and is asked regularly to speak at writers' conferences throughout the world. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives.

In addition to her work as an agent, Jessica maintains daily blog posts on the BookEnds Lit Agency blog where she regularly dispenses advice on publishing and can be followed on Twitter at

We are honored to have Jessica here today!

When Krista Davis asked if I’d write a post and include a recipe in this blog I actually jumped up and down in my chair (and realized that I should probably cut down on the cookies when screws started falling). I always say that the best part of my job is that I get to do what I love every single day. I’m passionate about books and can’t say enough how I really believe I have the greatest job in the world. What few know however is that my second great love is cooking. It’s probably why I insist that all of my cozy authors include lots of recipes in their books. It’s the best of both of my worlds.

This summer I was dealt a cooking blow when my 4-year-old was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those who don’t know, Celiac is an auto-immune disorder in which gluten, found in wheat barley and rye, attacks the small intestine preventing nutrients from properly absorbing into the body. Ultimately the disease can be managed very effectively through diet so in the grand scheme of what life can hand you, this really isn’t that big of a deal. Unless you spend all of your spare time in the kitchen, cooking with your children, and making things like cookies, waffles, pancakes, and any other flour (gluten)-filled item you can think of.

Once we had confirmed the diagnosis I immediately got to work to create the best gluten-free chocolate chip recipe I could make. I’ll be honest, I think it still needs a bit of work, but here’s what I’ve come up with and so far, if the contents of the cookie jar are any indication, I think I’m pretty successful.

Brown Rice Flour Mix

I haven’t had the guts yet to fiddle with the flour part of a gluten free recipe. This comes from Annalise G. Roberts author of Gluten Free Classics.
2 cups extra fine brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour

Mix all of the ingredients together very well. I either use a whisk or mix it in a stand mixture.

Okay, now on to the cookies...

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 ounces unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp brown rice flour mix
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Brown 8 ounces butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook until butter is browned and smells nutty, but not burnt. Stir often.

Pour butter into mixing bowl with remaining 2 ounces butter and stir until all butter is melted. Add both sugars. Stir briskly until mixed well and there are no lumps. Let set for three minutes, stir again for 30 seconds. Continue this two more times. When the sugar mixture is ready add eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix well. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.

Chill the dough until firm, about 1 hour. Using your hands and/or a cookie scoop, form dough into 2-ounch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 14 minutes.

**Note: without gluten you’ll probably find the dough is much more crumbly then what you’ve cooked with before. Just use your hands to mash it back together. In this case a tight ball is okay.

Pour up a glass of milk and enjoy.

Thanks for letting me be a part of the blog for a day.

Thanks so much for joining us, Jessica!

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!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gluten-Free Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I don't know about you, but I adore coffee cake. But being gluten-free, I wasn't sure I could come up with one that reminded me of a recipe I remember as a kid from Bisquick.

So I picked up a bag of Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix and there was a coffee cake recipe on the back. Yeah! Being into CHEESE as I am these days, I swapped out the sour cream in her recipe for cream cheese and milk and, wow! The cake aspect turned out great. Moist. Yummy. Then I looked at the filling. She had included nuts (which I'm allergy-sensitive to) and raisins (which I don't care for in my breads). So I swapped that out for what I remembered being the most important part of the Bisquick coffee cake, brown sugar. I added chocolate chips and cinnamon, and what turned out is mouth-watering GREAT, in my humble opinion. For those of you who don't want or like chocolate, you could swap the chocolate out with a half a cup of lightly boiled tart green apple slices, which of course, I'll be trying this week!

Below is my tweaked coffee cake recipe. Please note, I have to keep myself from eating the entire batch in one sitting. And I've got my dog Max keeping eyes on my husband to make sure he doesn't do the same. Good doggie.



2 cups Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking and Pancake Mix
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. Gluten-free vanilla
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, large
3/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. cinnamon


Brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the filling ingredients and set aside.

For the batter: Mix melted butter and sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat on low. Still beating on low, add cream cheese and milk. Then add Pamela’s mix until thoroughly mixed.

Spoon half of the batter into a greased 9” square pan. Sprinkle all of the filling on top of that and smooth out. Spread the rest of the batter over the filling.

Take a knife and cut through the batter to swirl the flavors together.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, when inserted a toothpick comes out clean. TIP!!! While the cake is still warm, run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan. When cool, remove the cake from the pan and sprinkle with a generous amount of brown sugar.

By the way, if anyone absolutely MUST eat gluten, give this recipe a try swapping out 2 cups of Bisquick for the Pamela's mix and let me know how it turns out. I'll bet it tastes great.

Also, when you get the chance, take a look at my website: Avery Aames. The Cheese Shop Mysteries won't be coming out until next July, but there are lots of ways to get to know my characters and find some recipes and tips!!! Enjoy.

Monday, August 10, 2009


We have a Contest Winner! But I don't get to announce the name! Another of our fine bloggers has the honor! So continue to tune in to find out who is the winner of the Williams Sonoma gift certificate contest!!! Ah, the suspense...


Lots of my friends, knowing that I’m writing The Cheese Shop Mysteries, are sending me cheese recommendations, recipes, and cheese store recommendations. My stepmother sent me a yummy little book dedicated to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Now, I love to change up recipes, sort of like what they do on the Food Network Challenge. And this recipe book had a summer pasta salad that sounded great. I happen to be gluten-free, as is one of the young twins in my new series, so I wanted to change up this particular recipe to suit my tastes and needs, and wow! If I do say so myself, I did a GOOD job!

[For those of you who don’t know, gluten-free means eating products that have no wheat or gluten products in them. I can eat rice, potato, corn and other things that are made into “flour,” just not wheat flour. Using Bionaturae Pasta -- the absolutely best product on the market, in my humble opinion -- makes all the difference. The texture and taste is as close to regular pasta that I have found and it cooks al dente.]

The basis for the Summer Heirloom Tomato Basil Salad is vegetables. In my switch-up, I used Parmesan (the American version of Parmigiano-Reggiano) and swapped out spinach and shallots for arugula and garlic. Before I dumped in the pasta, my husband tasted the vegetables that were going into the salad and said that it, by itself, made a fabulous appetizer. So, voilá, we have a couple of choices today. Summer Heirloom Tomato Basil Salad or Summer Heirloom Tomato Basil Fusilli Salad. A great way to get kids to eat their vegetables!



1 heirloom tomato (skinned and de-seeded – see below), diced
2 oz. Parmesan cheese grated (1/4 cup)
2 oz. fresh spinach, diced (1/4 cup)
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. chopped shallots
8 leaves basil, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. (approximately 1 cup uncooked) gluten-free fusilli (Bionaturae Organic Gluten-free)


Boil 8 cups water
Blanch tomato in the water for about 45 seconds. Remove and peel. Dice and take out the seeds. Set the tomatoes in a salad bowl.
Add grated cheese, spinach, oil, shallots, basil, salt, vinegar.
Toss together.

Add 1 MORE tsp. Kosher salt to the boiling water. Add your favorite gluten-free pasta. Cook according to directions, usually 9-10 minutes. Drain in colander.

Toss pasta in with vegetables. If desired, shower with more Parmesan.

Serve immediately.

Note * This tastes fabulous with regular pasta, too!!! But you probably won’t notice the difference! Bionaturae products are that good.

Note * Parmigiano-Reggiano is the world’s finest parmesan, made from unique ingredients found only in northern Italy. It is rich with nutty flavor and has a slightly grainy texture. What makes Parmigiano-Reggiano so fabulous is the long aging process, on average 24 months, the longest of any hard cheese. You can certainly use “the real thing” for this recipe as well (shaved with a potato peeler instead of grated). I just didn’t have it on hand when I wanted to make the recipe!

Enjoy. And by the way, if you have suggestions for Cheese Shops I should visit, please let me know. Also, visit my website at: and check out the Cheese of the Month.
Last but not least: Don't forget to enter this week's Mystery Lovers' Kitchen contest. The prize is a $25 gift certificate to the Williams-Sonoma kitchenware and gourmet food store. Just sign in to this blog and leave a comment or send an "Enter me!" e-mail with your first name and state to We announce the winners right here week.
Best to all!