A few years ago I was misdiagnosed with celiac disease. I was having some digestive issues at the time, and the doctor had run a gamut of tests. When I went back for my results, I saw the office’s physician assistant who said the blood test showed celiac. Blood tests aren’t always accurate, so she said I needed to go gluten-free and make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Feeling depressed, I made the appointment, but I was able to get in to see the GI for about a month. I had posted about my newly diagnosed disease on Facebook, and while most of my friends offered condolences and left comments about how they themselves could never give up bread, Allyson Kramer left a comment saying that she knew I would be okay.
Once the initial shock wore off, I realized that Allyson was right. I had already recipe tested for her first book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats, and I had signed on to test for her second one – Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World. As a health coach, I already knew what gluten can do to the body, and I wasn’t eating much of it anyway. The recipes I picked up from Allyson were extra support on my new gluten-free journey.
When I finally did see the gastroenterologist, I wrote in “recently diagnosed with celiac” on the intake form to explain why I was there. I handed over my test results with the new patient forms, and when I saw the doctor, she asked why I thought I had celiac disease. “My blood test”, I answered. She said the blood test’s numbers were as far away from a celiac diagnosis as they could be. Huh? Turns out the physician assistant read the results backwards.
While going gluten-free didn’t fix my digestive problems, in that month that I was off of it, I did feel better overall – I had more energy, slept better, and my complexion looked great. While I haven’t remained 100% gluten-free I’m know aware of the affects it has on me, and I don’t eat it very often.
While gluten-free cooking can be pretty easy, baking without gluten or wheat is really tricky. I went through a phase where I tried to create my own recipes for baked goods wheat flour, but most of them failed miserably, so I gave up. When Allyson asked if I wanted to test recipes for her once again, this time for a dessert cookbook, I leapt at the opportunity to learn how to bake from the gluten-free master herself. I’ve made quite a lot of the recipes that are in her new book Sweet Eats for All, and I’ve loved every one!
In Sweet Eats for All, Allyson Kramer takes the mystery of out gluten-free baking. She shares all of her secrets, from stocking the pantry, to what flours to have on hand. She gives tips on what tools to have on hand, and even shares recipes for basic ingredients, such as date syrup, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.
The recipes will satisfy any sweet tooth, with everything from cakes, cookies and pies, to frozen treats, puddings and candies – and there’s even a chapter full of sugar-free treats. The book contains recipes for classic baked goods such as Sugar Cookies, Buttery Shortbread, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Banana Bread, Devil’s Food Cake, and Apple Pie, but there are also recipes for such creative creations as Cream “Eggs” (something I’ve really missed in my vegan years), Blackberry Cheesecake Gelato, Garam Masala Cookies, Cranberry White Chocolate Orange Clusters, and even Chocolate Soup! Instructions are easy to follow, and there are some recipes that only take a few minutes to make. Oh – and I should mention that the book is packed with Allyson’s drool-worthy photos.
I made Caramel Chai Cheesecake for a potluck, and everyone asked for the recipe (which is a problem with recipe testing – you can’t share the recipe!). The Cherry Pie Bars only took about 5 minutes to make, and they were better than any Lara bar I’ve had. Apple Nachos make for a delicious and healthy dessert, and are so easy to make even a child could put them together. Pumpkin and Apple Pies were both perfect for last year’s Thanksgiving dessert.
Sweet Eats for All is perfect for holiday baking, and it makes a great gift as well! These Gingerbread Squares are perfect Christmas treats! (I have the gift of a copy of Sweet Eats for All for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions after the recipe.)
- 1 ripe banana mashed
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap or regular molasses
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons ground chia seed
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 ⁄3 cup teff flour
Preheat your oven to 350 ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the banana, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and agave until smooth. Fold in the chia seed, almond meal, and teff flour. Lightly grease a 4 x 8-inch loaf pan and spread the mixture into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely and then slice into squares. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Recipe and photographs from Sweet Eats for All by Allyson Kramer. Reprinted by permission from DeCapo Lifelong Books.
I have a copy of Sweet Eats for All by Allyson Kramer for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. U.S and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight EST on Sunday, December 21st. Good luck!