Welcome!

by Jeanne on December 11, 2013

author photo Jeanne SauvageWelcome to my blog! I’m so happy you’re here!  I’m in the middle of writing my second gluten-free baking book, and wanted to give you some tips for how to find help if I can’t answer your questions right away.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I try to help folks as much as I can. And I answer a lot of questions. But before you ask a question, it’s helpful for me (and you) for you to browse through my list of BAKING TIPS/FAQS. Please check out these before you ask me a question in the comments or via email.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with gluten intolerance (or your doc told you to lay off of the gluten for other reasons) check out my Gluten-Intolerance Initial Diagnosis Survival Sheet.  Believe me, I know how hard and confusing everything seems at the beginning–but this sheet should help you navigate the early days.  Also, if you’re brand new to gluten-free, you might want to watch my Google talk–in which I explain gluten, gluten intolerance, gluten-free baking, and my own journey from being diagnosed gluten-free to developing gluten-free recipes (and writing 2 books).

My first book, Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats (Chronicle Books), came out in October 2012 and has many recipes for the winter holidays and beyond.  Check it out!

Please note that I am happy to answer questions and help folks–but I do get a bit overwhelmed when I have to answer the same question over and over–hence the Tips/FAQs.

Happy baking!

–Jeanne

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst, I want to let you know that dAhub finally got a job! Hooray! His new company is wonderful and seems like a perfect fit. He really enjoys his work there and they seem like a dynamic and fun company. Phew. This is such a load off of our minds, I can’t even tell you. We are settling into our new routine (which is like our old routine except for the fact that I now have the house to myself during most of the day. This is very helpful when you’re writing a book!)

The other big thing that happened to us is that one of our chickens, Lulu, developed a life-threatening respiratory infection a couple of a weeks ago. We have been pretty lucky with our chickens–mostly they are fine and healthy and if they do get sick, I haven’t noticed. (Except for the chicken in our old flock who had avian malaria–that was weird). Anyway, one day I kept hearing a sound like a child’s squeaky toy in the back yard. I went out to see what was going on and I noticed that Lulu was sneezing. If you have never heard a chicken sneeze, you are missing out–it’s actually quite cute. The cute part got lost on me when I realized that I could hear her wheezing. It was so loud that it sounded like she was moaning. And she was just kind of standing in one part of the yard, sneezing and wheezing.

I quickly did a search on the various chicken sites to see if there was any useful info. When I couldn’t find anything, I called the vet. We have a wonderful vet in town who only works with birds and reptiles. We don’t need to call her very often, but when we do, we know our girls are in good hands. So, I called the vet office, explained the situation, and let them listen to Lulu’s wheezing. They said to bring her in ASAP and they would check her between appointments. So, I dug out the cat carrier we use for the chickens, lined it with a towel, and went out to get Lulu. Lulu, even though she was sick, was not keen on being caught (none of them are–they hate being held even though they will put up with it if we insist). As I chased her, she ran and wheezed. It broke my heart. I finally got her, put her in the carrier and took her to the vet.

As soon as we got there, the vet came and got Lulu and said she were going to give her oxygen while they checked her out. Poor thing. And, in case you’re wondering, no–they didn’t put an oxygen mask on her beak. They put her into a box that had oxygen pumped in–like an oxygen tent. Then vet came out and said that they’d like to do a series of tests, and keep her overnight. And by keeping her overnight, it meant that the vet was going to take her home to keep her under observation. Now, that’s service! I OK’d everything and went to the front counter to handle the paperwork.

One of the many wonderful things about this vet office is that they have a small bird (a cockatiel, I think) named Billy who hangs out around the front counter and is the office mascot. He’s very pretty and isn’t afraid of people. He just kind of hops around the desk and does his own thing. I reached over to grab a business card from the card holder and Billy raised his plumage and made a motion like he was going to go over and get one for me. I then looked and saw that he had nibbled around the edges of all of the cards. Of course. He considered those *his* cards. He wasn’t that keen that I took one. That totally cracked me up. Anyway, I got a card, took care of business, and left.

The next day, they called to say that Lulu was much better but that she had a respiratory infection and was on antibiotics. They said that they were pleased and surprised because they thought she wouldn’t live through the night. I was so relieved to hear she was better. They asked me to come in and get a lesson from the vet on how to give antibiotic shots. Ack. Usually, I am not a good person around this. I am fine with getting a shot if I need one, but giving one?  Nope. In fact, when I was in high school, our biology teacher had an experiment where we were all assigned a baby chick and we had to inject them with hormones to change the sex of the chick. I begged to get a control chick so I didn’t have to inject it. And fast forward to now, where the Universe apparently decided that I needed to learn how to give a shot to a chicken.

As it turned out, the shots weren’t that bad. The shots were injected into Lulu’s breast muscle, which apparently has very few nerve endings. I had to give three shots a day (antibiotics plus pain relievers) and she didn’t even flinch–thank goodness. dAhub was impressed the first time he saw me give a shot–Lulu didn’t do anything. She just stood there as if nothing had happened. The vet also showed me how to give a chicken massage if I wanted to treat Lulu. Apparently, they love to be massaged up under the wings, where the wing meets the body. I did that each day after her shot. I also gave her grapes–she loves grapes and so those were her after-shot-treats (kind of like a lollipop that a kids gets after the doctor).

The other thing we had to do was to keep her inside for a few days–we were going through a cold snap and it was too cold for a sick chicken to be outside. She needed to be inside to not aggravate the infection. So, on the way home from the vet, I stopped at the nearest PetCo and got a large dog kennel. We set that up in the living room, lined with a towel and containing her water and food.  We called it Lulu’s Chicken Recovery Unit. I think at first she was confused at what was going on and why she was in the weird kennel, but after a day or two she seemed to like it. We chatted with her while she was in there and I covered the holes with a sheet at night so the lights wouldn’t bother her (chickens are used to going to sleep when it’s dark and waking up when it’s light). She only bawked one morning (which was really weird–having chicken bawking inside of the house).

During the day, I put her in the Exercise Room (the bathroom) so she could walk around without making a huge mess all over the house. (Chickens are birds–they poop often and anywhere. It’s crazy) After about three days in the kennel, I then put her outside to be with the other chickens during the day. The vet warned us that there might be some pecking order issues. As you probably know, chickens have an actual pecking order.  The top chicken pecks all of the other chickens to keep them in line.  And the last chicken in the order can even get pecked to death if they are too weak.  So, when I took Lulu out the first day, I stuck around to see what would happen.  Billina came over and tried to peck Lulu–but Lulu was having none of it and pecked back.  Then Rosie (our oldest and most cranky chicken) chased Lulu and gave her a nip on the tail feathers.  And that was it.  I brought Lulu in each evening for the duration of the her shots to sleep in her Recovery Unit.  It was very sweet–she got used to coming in each night, so when the other chickens went into the coop, Lulu came to the back door to wait for me to let her in.

(Healthy Lulu) (Healthy Lulu)

After seven days, she recovered completely and has returned to her chicken life in the back yard.  I think she was a bit confused for a couple of days–she would come to the back door at night to be let in–and couldn’t figure out why Girlfriend would chase her into the coop.  I think she liked the warm house and the nice treats in the Recovery Unit. :)  But, now that is a distant memory and she is back with her chicken flock (as opposed to her human flock).

In the midst of all of this, I got the hankering to make a coffee cake.  I think I was more stressed out than I realized.  As you know, I am a huge fan of coffee cakes.  During the Lulu process,  a pal of mine wrote on Facebook that she had made a bourbon buttermilk coffee cake that she said “was out of this world.” My interest was immediately piqued. Bourbon? Awesome. I had that.  Buttermilk? Check. I also have tons of that because of book recipe testing.   I did a bit of research and found out that the recipe she used is from one of my favorite books, Vintage Cakes, by Julie Richardson.

I looked it up and the recipe is the Kentucky Bourbon Cake. It’s a simple-to-make cake that is quite boozy. It turns out that it is probably most suited to adults (at least in my household). I adapted it, baked it, and I served it for dessert.   Girlfriend took one bite, spit it out, and said it tasted “gross” because of the alcohol (I love that she thinks this way, ;) ). Most of the alcohol in the cake burns off during the baking and cooking process, but the glaze contains bourbon and the bourbon taste is very strong. Needless to say, dAhub loves it–he is a whiskey fan! Delish! One thing to note: distilled alcohol, no matter what grain it’s made from, is gluten-free.  The gluten protein is too big to get through the distillation process.  The one caveat: be sure that there is no “mash” added back in after the distillation process.  The mash does contain gluten.

I’ve discovered that this cake is great sliced, slightly toasted, and then slathered with butter. Extremely decadent, but we treated ourselves after the time we had with Lulu.

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My Big Fat Google Talk Adventure

by Jeanne on January 29, 2014

In November I had the honor of giving a talk on gluten-free baking and my book at Google headquarters (aka, the Googleplex) in Mountain View, CA.   Wowee!  Being asked to do a Google talk is something of a holy grail for an author.  I’ve watched many videos of the talks, but never dared to imagine that I would get a chance to do one!  I still can’t quite believe it happened, but it did–and the video above is proof!

I was told that my topic should center around my book.  I decided to do a talk that I called “The Road to Deliciousness” that chronicled how I became gluten-free, how I learned to bake again after my diagnosis, what gluten intolerance is and who has it, my philosophies around baking, my love of teaching baking, and the principles of community and tradition that I wanted to infuse into my book.  I even included slides!

I was met and taken care of by two awesome folks at Google, Jacky Hayward and Nick Miranda.  After my talk, Jacky and Nick took me to one of the cafes on the Google “campus” called Root that is gluten-free.  The chef at Root is herself gluten-free and she said that she was thrilled that the powers-that-be at Google allowed her to make the cafe gluten-free.  The food was excellent–I was quite pleased and impressed.  Each dish was flavorful, interesting, delicious, and exciting and there were so many options–I kind of wanted to go back again and again to get everything (I restrained myself).  For dessert there were individual gluten-free cakes topped with specialized chocolate bars.  Yum!

Thank you, Google!

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I’m Writing Another Cookbook!

by Jeanne on January 6, 2014

fireworks-clip-art-9Yes, yes I am! I can’t quite believe it! Yes, it is another gluten-free baking book.  The new book will be more general than my first cookbook, which is terrific. The working title is: Gluten-Free Wishlist: Sweet and Savory Treats You Miss the Most. How awesome is that? I am so excited about this book–it will contain all of the things that you have been asking for over the years: croissants, naan, pita bread, ramen noodles, dumplings, pantry essentials, etc. It will be bigger that my last cookbook and contain more recipes and more baking tips. I am so excited I am about to burst!

This new book will again be with Chronicle Books–I feel so fortunate to be able to work with them again. They are an awesome publishing house and love working with everyone there. Each time I visit their offices, it’s like visiting home. I am a lucky, lucky woman to have yet another chance to write a cookbook and to be with such a wonderful publisher–squeeeee!!

The projected release date is Fall 2015.

I will put out a call for recipe testers, soon. Keep your eye out for a post on that, soon! Yay!

(clip art from: http://bestclipartblog.com/24-fireworks-clip-art.html)

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Merry Christmas!

by Jeanne on December 25, 2013

ACHR1054b-happy-christmas-girl_800

I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas from me and D’Ahub and Girlfriend and the Chickens! Thank you so much for being such terrific readers and for your kindnesses throughout the year. And thank you for your questions that keep me on my toes and help me learn more and more! Thank you!

(Clip art from: http://www.tssphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ACHR1054b-happy-christmas-girl_800.jpg)

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Cookbook Recommendations for 2013

by Jeanne on December 22, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know, I know: everyone is doing an end-of-year book recommendations list.  So, I thought I would jump on board.  This has been a fabulous year for cookbooks and I thought I’d let you know of a few that have I have particularly liked.

This list is eclectic and personal.  I could have gone on and on and on, but in order to have a manageable list, I tried to limit it to a few categories: gluten-free, baking, canning and preserving, and crafts.  These are my top interests, so I figured it was good to corral it that way.

So, without further ado, here are my recommendations, in no particular order:

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gluten-free-gift-guide-primary
Just a quick post to let you know that my book made the Serious Eats “Gift Guide: For the Gluten-Free Home Cook!” Yay!  How awesome is that?  I’m just thrilled!  Check it out.

(photo from Serious Eats)

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eat boutique holiday market
Greetings all!  I just wanted to let you know that I will be in Boston, MA this upcoming Saturday, December 7th for the Eat Boutique Holiday Market!  I will be signing books from 2-3 pm.

Please join me! I would love to see you there!

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Hey all!  I hope my American readers had a happy Thanksgiving!  We had a lovely day with friends who are like family to us.

I just wanted to alert you to some events I’m doing this weekend.  Tomorrow, Saturday Nov. 30th, I am participating in the “Guest Bookseller” day at independent bookstores with other authors around the area.  The details:

“In response to a call from Sherman Alexie, writers around the country are taking turns as booksellers in independent bookstores everywhere as part of the national Small Business Saturday, traditionally observed as part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The writers will be on hand to both help sell and sign their own books, as well as recommend some key, feature titles of their choosing.”

I will be at 2 different bookstores to sign books and help you find other books for your shopping cart.

Book Larder    12:15-1 pm
Elliott Bay Book Company   3-4 pm

Please join me and other authors at your favorite local bookstore!

And then on Sunday, I will be teaching the last in my autumn series of  Gluten-Free Baking classes at the Intentional Table on Bainbridge Island: Holiday Cookies!  Details:

Sunday, December 1, 2013
2-5 pm
$65
Intentional Table

Have a lovely weekend!

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Thanksgiving Preparation, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on November 24, 2013

Welcome Thanksgiving Free-Vintage-Thanksgiving-Clip-Art-GraphicsFairyIt’s that time of year–when we in the U.S. are preparing for Thanksgiving.  Girlfriend has declared Thanksgiving to be one of her favorite holidays.  She likes it because it’s about getting together with friends and family and enjoying the company with the added bonus of good food.    She loves the fact that there is no obligation to get or give gifts or to dress up.  I agree with her–it’s a holiday about community and food.  Two of my very favorite things!

Over the years, I’ve identified that I love the holiday season–but that I tend of put too much stress on myself.  Therefore, each year, I try to make things as less stressful as possible–but it’s challenging.  I have a dual nature: I love the bigness and fuss and festive nature of Thanksgiving.  But I get overwhelmed.  Therefore, I find that it’s good for me to have a list and a plan for the big day.  And I do a little bit of prep each day leading up to Thanksgiving–which makes the actual day fairly stress-free and enjoyable.  I get to hang out all day in the kitchen, doing the last few things while drinking some wine, versus freaking out and doing everything that day.

Below are some resources that I’ve developed to help you navigate this most festive (albeit time-intensive) meal of the year:

1) Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup (from the blog)

2) Recipes in my book (This is why I wrote this book!  To help folks with this season :) ):
-Stuffing Like Mama Made (this recipe got rave reviews last year when I offered it as a sample at book signings)
-Soft Sandwich Bread
-Dinner Rolls
-Featherlight Buttermilk Biscuits (easiest way to make biscuits, ever)
-Skillet Cornbread
-Flaky Pie Crust
-Pumpkin doughnuts
-Maple Pecan Pie (with adaptation to add chocolate if you like)
-Apple Cinnamon Pie
-Chocolate-Sunflower Butter (or Peanut Butter) Pie (just about the most decadent thing you will ever eat in your life)
-Date Nut Bread
-Toasted Pecan Snack Cake
-Cinnamon Rolls
-Simple Scones
-Applesauce Spice Muffins
-Sufganiot–Jelly Doughnuts (since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are at the same time this year)
-Rugelach (since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are at the same time this year)

3) Thanksgiving Preparation Guide

 

(clip art from: http://thegraphicsfairy.com/free-vintage-thanksgiving-clip-art/)

 

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