Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster, Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

Carol Fenster began cooking gluten-free meals over 25 years ago. Back then, learning that she had to avoid wheat was quite a blow to her lifestyle and she didn’t know anyone else who avoided wheat. Her family didn’t understand how anyone could avoid wheat since her father raised wheat on their family farm in Nebraska and she married into a wheat-farming family. 

Gluten-Free-101But she found solace in sweets, so one of the first recipes she converted to gluten-free was her mother’s chocolate cake that Carol ate throughout her childhood. Not surprisingly, that recipe found its way into Carol’s original Gluten-Free 101 cookbook. Now she could eat chocolate cake, just like everyone else.

A few years ago Carol noticed that Red Velvet cupcakes were everywhere and, given her penchant for sweets, she vowed to develop her own gluten-free version. So, when Gluten-Free 101 was revised and expanded into the new Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), she included it so everyone—especially beginners who want to eat the same foods as everyone else—could easily make it. So, here is the recipe.It makes a gorgeous little cupcake, dainty and flat—perfect for lots of icing on top. Enjoy!


gluten free 101 Red Velvet Cupcake

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

Now you can enjoy this wildly popular treat, just like everybody else. This recipe makes dainty little cupcakes with flat tops (easier to frost), and their brilliant red color is so inviting. Arrange them on a pedestal cake stand for maximum effect when serving your guests.  

Makes 12 cupcakes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes

1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
[3/4] teaspoon xanthan gum
[1/4] teaspoon baking soda
[1/4] teaspoon salt
[3/4] cup sugar
[1/2] cup butter or buttery spread, melted and cooled slightly
2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
[1/2] cup water, at room temperature
1 batch Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

[1] Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard nonstick (gray, not black) muffin with paper liners

[2] In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour blend, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt until well blended.

[3] In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add the vanilla and food coloring to the water. With the mixer on low speed, beat in one-third of the flour mixture at a time alternating with the water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon [1/4] cup of the batter into each liner.

[4] Bake until the cupcakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely. Frost and serve.

Per frosted cupcake: 325 calories; 3g protein; 16g total fat; 1g fiber; 43g carbohydrates; 37mg cholesterol; 135mg sodium

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed, beat 3 ounces softened, reduced-fat cream cheese or cream cheese alternative, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk or water, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract together until well blended and smooth.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry, place.

Posted in Desserts, Reviews | Leave a comment

10-Minute Pizza

We make tortilla pizzas often around here, but I’ve never thought to put steak on them before.  Enjoy this guest post/recipe from cibo verde.

LA-based Paolo Mascitti, celebrity trainer, lifestyle expert and founder of cibo verde, a meal delivery system that caters to customers’ body calculations to help them reach their weight goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s great for the parents and kids love it!

                                                      Gluten-Free Meat and Veggie Pizza Gluten Free Pizza

Gluten-free tortilla

1 oz cooked steak (diced)

 1 oz yellow onions

 2 oz red and green peppers (julienne cut )

 2 oz pizza sauce

3 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese


 Place the gluten-free tortilla on a baking sheet/pan, add marinara making sure to spread evenly on crust, followed by cheese, onions, peppers and steak.

 Place baking pan with the tortilla pizza in the oven for 5 minutes just to allow the cheese to melt.

The entire process will take no more than 10 minutes and you’re ready to eat! BON APPETIT!

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Smart Soup

Raise your hand if you love soup!

Raise your hand if you’ve hand a cold for three weeks and soup helps you feel better!  Honestly, is it ever going to warm up outside?  (Okay, I guess I can’t complain too much since it almost hit 70 the other day, but I’ve never seen so much cold in one winter in Texas before – and it’s not even February yet.  Brrr!)

But, soup, ah, soup.

I received some samples from Smart Soup awhile back and have been making my way through their awesome flavors.  Smart Soups are frozen gluten-free meals that are full of flavor.  They taste fresh, unlike your typical prepared soups.

Smart Soups are:

-Low sodium
-Low fat and low in cholesterol
-All-natural, with no preservatives
-American Heart Association Certified as a Heart Healthy food (Heart-Check mark)
-Good source of fiber
-Made only from REAL ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce
-Meet many special dietary requirements (e.g. celiac, diabetes) and are a healthy, convenient meal option.


The Thai Coconut Curry is packed with spicy, bold flavors with lots of chunks of vegetables and coconut.  It is definitely a real pick-me-up, wake-me-up soup.  You can see the herbs – I love that!

Smart Soup

Vietnamese Carrot Lemongrass is spicy and sweet, a curry-based soup.  Chunks of carrots, coconut, and some beans help give substance to this great mix of flavors.  It is definitely different for me, but I really like it!

Santa Fe Corn ChowderThe Santa Fe Corn Chowder is tomato-based and full of corn, black beans, and chunks of potato and red bell pepper.  It has just a hint of spice and is perfect for a cold day when you have a cold (my life in January, in a nutshell).  It certainly helped me breathe better.

The French Lentil, another tomato-based soup, was a “sharesies” with Carter.  While I was warming it up (you know, those long two minutes), he said “I bet that soup is really healthy” while reading the box.  Carter loved the chunks of carrots and red bell pepper, its “very good” flavor.  It has a slight hint of sweetness and of spice to it.  My little man said it is “easier to drink it” (my husband hates soup, so I usually make mine really thick).  I, however, am quite composed and can accurately and purposefully wield my spoon in a proper manner.  :P

If you like fresh-tasting soups without all the hassle of making it yourself, give Smart Soup a try.  And if you’ve got any connection to the north winds, please tell them to leave Texas alone.

Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

Malt Vinegar Chips – Not GF

There was a mistake made in packaging:

Jan 24, 2014

“Product Pull Back Notice —Action Required”

Boulder Canyon (Natural Foods) Malt Vinegar and Sea Salt, Wavy Potato Chips, Kettle Cooked in 100% Avocado Oil

The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) has issued an immediate product pull-back notice to Boulder Canyon (Natural Foods) Malt Vinegar and Sea Salt, Wavy Potato Chips, Kettle Cooked in 100% Avocado Oil chips. These chips are not certified by GFCO.

Boulder Canyon is committed to working with the GFCO to proactively rectify the labeling issue on our Malt Vinegar chips.

If you have questions about this product, contact Boulder Canyon at (866) 890-1004

GFCO logoAbout GFCO – GFCO is a voluntary 3rd party gluten-free certification organization whose standard is 10 ppm gluten or less. GFCO requires compliance with the FDA definition of gluten-free that products not contain wheat, rye, barley and hybrids of these grains. GFCO requires compliance with strict manufacturing, testing and inspection procedures. For more information visit:

Posted in Awareness Campaigns, Celiac/GF News, GF Education | Leave a comment

CraveRight Cookies and Giveaway

Admit it.  You want to eat cookies for a meal.  In fact, you’ve probably eaten cookies for a meal before.  I know I have.  Somebody else had the same idea.

Enter Roya’s CraveRight Cookies.

Certified gluten-free, vegan, and no dairy, soy, egg, nuts, or corn, these cookies are made with sesame meal as the “flour.”  Two cookies contain 4-7 grams of protein, 3-4 grams of fiber, 6-10 grams of sugar, and 11-15 grams of fat.  They even contain 15% of your daily value of iron.  In. A. Cookie!

CraveRight Cookies

Sesame cookies…who knew?  I’ve never had a sesame cookie before.  These cookies are firm and a little soft, with a very interesting flavor.  There is a LOT of sesame flavor, surrounded by sweet, buttery goodness (but there’s no dairy!).  Corice gives it a thumbs up, but Carter isn’t quite sure about all the sesame seeds.  I like it, but it is probably something that I’d be more likely to have once in awhile (though if I eat it once in awhile, I may like it even more).

The Chocolate Chip cookies are very akin to a shortbread cookie, in that it has that dry, crumbly texture.  It has some crispy puffed rice in it (I had to look at the ingredients to figure it out), that break it away from a typical shortbread, though.  You can’t tell it is made with sesame meal.  Carter and Corice both think it is the best of the cookies.

Firm, but not crunchy, the Brownie Chocolate Chip cookies are just a bit soft.  big chunks of chocolate, and even more chocolate flavor in the “brownie” cookie.  The best of both worlds: cookies and brownies!  As with the chocolate chip cookie, you can’t taste that this one is made with sesame meal.  Corice and Carter both give this one two thumbs up.  It’s definitely a go-back-for-seconds kind of cookie.  For me, it was the best one.  In fact, now that I’m alone again, I’ll eat another one.  :)

CraveRight would like you to try their cookies, too!  They’ve got a set of three bags (one of each kind) for TWO lucky winners!

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment about your favorite time to eat cookies (you know mine’s breakfast, lol).  This giveaway will close at 9pm central on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.


Don’t forget to enter the Ian’s giveaway and the ThinkThin giveaway.

Posted in Giveaway, Reviews | 12 Comments