Friday, May 22, 2009

Betty Crocker Cake Mix Update

A couple months ago I posted about a rumor that Betty Crocker was coming out with gluten free cake mixes. Well, good news for us gluten-freenatics, it's true! Right from the horse's mouth, Betty Crocker has added a gluten free product page to their site!

In June, gluten free mixes for brownies, chocolate chip cookies, devils food cake and yellow cake will be available in most grocery stores. Not only that, but they'll offer gluten free frostings this fall as well! (In the meantime, try my semi-sweet chocolate hazelnut buttercream frosting recipe).

Are you as excited as I am? Have you managed to snag a preview? If so, please tell us all about it!

Want to stay even more connected? Become a fan of Kats GF Kitchen on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I finally jumped on the Social Networking bandwagon!

I finally joined the social networking craze and created accounts for Kat's GF Kitchen.

If you're interested in following me, you have two options:
  1. I have embedded the feed on the right sidebar of my blog
  2. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow my posting at:
  3. If you have a Facebook account, become a fan of "Kat's GF Kitchen."
Thanks for your interest and I hope to see you online!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Massachusetts Question

My husband and I are planning to take a couple of trips to Massachusetts this summer. Specifically, to Cape Cod, Boston and Six Flags New England.

While between a list of safe options on the road and a car packed with goodies, we're good for trips. However, I'm looking for some really good restaurant options in those areas - it seems to be a shame to visit the shore and eat at chain restaurants. As I Google I figured I'd pose the question - does anyone recommend specific Massachusetts restaurants that not only make accommodations for the gluten free diet but are worth visiting? I'd appreciate it, thanks in advance. :-)

Six Flags New England is a little harder - I would love to find an option but so far have been unsuccessful contacting their food management staff regarding my questions. It looks like we might be forced to eat a huge breakfast and/or brown-bag a lunch at this point. :-(

Hannaford Healthy Living Classes

The Clifton Park Hannaford is hosting a Healthy Living Class called "Gluten Free Diet: Importance of Whole Grains!"

The first class is tomorrow, Wednesday May 13th from 10:00 - 11:30 AM, and the second class (it's the same class, not a part II) is Monday May 18th from 6:00 - 7:00 PM. Both classes are at the Clifton Park Hannaford at 9 Clifton Country Road.

If you're interested in attending, you can register at (518) 383-4136.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

Lisa recently nominated my blog for an "Attitude of Gratitude" award. Thank you so much, it makes my day when I find out someone not only actually reads the stuff I write about, but enjoys it and/or finds it useful!

As most of my readers know, I do not have to follow a gluten free diet. However, in January 2008 my then-fiance was diagnosed with celiac disease. We had just finalized the menu for our wonderful wedding at Glen Sanders and went to our cake tasting at Villa Italia when he found out that flour - among other ingredients - was off the menu for good. My Italian fiance was crushed - his favorite foods were (and still are) pasta, pizza, pasta, cookies, pasta, Italian bread... I could go on and on.

Now, any of my family, friends, or co-workers will tell you that I tend to get a little, ah, immersed in new projects. I spent hours if not days Googling. I purchased a handful of books - both general books about celiac disease and the gluten free lifestyle and recipe books. I started e-mailing and calling restaurants and food companies obsessively. I memorized all sorts of intimidating ingredients to look for in labels, conversion measurements for different types of flours, etc. I purchased a boat load of gluten free goods to try - and even more tools like hot dog bun pans, hamburger bun pans, Italian bread pans, and the like.

After our first gluten free shopping trip, spending about $300 on a whole bunch of staples and new gluten free products, I took on his diagnosis as a challenge. We spent so much money on sub-par food it wasn't even funny - I would find or learn how to make substitutes for all of his favorite foods. I started this blog that winter in order to not only keep track of my thoughts and learning process but also share my hard-earned knowledge.

As fortune would have it (quite literally!) we received a lot of great gifts for my bridal shower - new non-stick pans (because I had read that gluten can reside in the scratches), a new toaster (designated gluten free), a bread machine, loaf pans, utensils, airtight flour containers, and countless other items that I was unbelievably grateful for! Still, it was a learning experience - I experimented with different bread/cookie/cake recipes for weeks before finally finding the recipes that I wanted to use. Not all of my concoctions turned out good - some of them were downright awful and others turned out amazing. I haven't blogged about all of them (I don't know if I can be sued for posting about reverse engineering famous restaurants' recipes) but I have shared some.

Then, I started grad school on top of a full time job. Posting became sporadic (especially when working on large projects and papers) and I noticed a shift from mostly recipes to mostly restaurants and products. It is what it is, I suppose, though I keep meaning to do more with this blog "when I get a spare second or two."

So.... here goes. My list of nominees for "An attitude of gratitude."

I would love to list all of my friends here - I have a great, supportive group of friends who have made an effort to learn what my husband can and cannot have so they can invite him into their home and serve him food that he can have without fear. And they don't own blogs that I know of but I'm also grateful for Glen Sanders and Villa Italia for being so accomodating at our wedding and making it truly special - and gluten free.

Now, here are the blogs.

First I'd like to thank Lisa. I know it's a boomerang nomination, but I'd like to thank her for two reasons. First, she's the first "online" person who's reached out and contacted me after I started my blog and that encouraged me to keep at it! Secondly, she has some pretty great information, most recently about where to find gluten free Corn Chex and Bell and Evans chicken (incidentally, which I also just found back in Latham Price Chopper, yay!)

Second, I'd like to nominate A Gluten Free Guide. This is a great blog for "gluten free scoops." I found out about gluten free Betty Crocker mixes first from the Guide!

Third, I'd like to also nominate Elizabeth Barbone from Easy Gluten Free Baking. Her recipes and tricks are so useful and I love reading her blog.

Fourth I'd like to nominate Rachel from the Crispy Cook. She has great meatless or seafood recipes, and has so many ideas for veggies and herbs that I would never think of!

That's about all I can think of right now - but these are great blogs and well worth reading. Thank you for all you've done for the gluten free community!

For those of you who have been nominated, your instructions are:

* put the logo on your blog or post

* nominate at least 10 blogs that show an an attitude of gratitude (*note* I was only able to come up with four, but they are a fantastic four...don't you think?)

* link to your nominees within your post

* comment on their blogs to let them know they’ve received this award

* share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award

* tell us how you’ve come to have an attitude of gratitude

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemonade!

Thank you again!!!!!!

Review: Starbucks Gluten Free Orange Valencia Cake!

Happy Cinqo de Mayo - or, in the gluten free universe, Happy Gluten Free Starbucks Day! For today Starbucks started carrying their gluten free Orange Valencia cake. It's an almond cake with the following ingredients: Whole Eggs, Valencia Orange Pulp, Almonds, Sugar, Orange Peel, Gluten Free Baking Powder, and Orange Oil. I'll admit that I swung through the Starbucks' drive-thru on my way home from work today and didn't step inside (yes, I'm part of the problem, but I was in a hurry!) but apparently there is a single, unwrapped cake in the display cake. The cakes that are actually sold, though, are individually wrapped "for gluten free goodness."

The barista who served me at the drive-thru made a comment that "Finally! We have some gluten free products!" So I am sure I'm not the only anxious customer who requested the orange valencia cake at that particular Starbucks today. I ordered two cakes and the total came to just under $4. I brought the cakes home and my husband and I had a taste test - first we smelled the cake, which had a delightful almond-orange-y smell. (Go figure, with the ingredients, right?) I then broke apart the cake and saw a very soft, moist cake - it looked absolutely delicious.

Their cake didn't disappoint. It was wonderfully rich, moist and chewy. My husband thought it needed a little something - he finally decided that more of a glaze on top would make it 100% perfect, but I thought it was great as is - anything more and it would have been too rich. It's a great pastry choice to go with a cup of afternoon coffee - gluten free or not.

Finally, the orange valencia cake rolls in at 290 calories. Considering the size of the cake, it's surprising at first until you consider the fact that it's mostly almond flour - which isn't necessarily bad for you but certainly packs a caloric punch. Our final verdict: Starbucks Orange Valencia Cake is definitely a winner, and quite possibly a regular monthly indulgence. We definitely recommend trying it! (The puggle was not allowed to partake in the taste test, as she's still on her diet - but I'm sure she would have loved it).

I only hope that Starbucks comes out with more gluten free bakery items soon too!