Pumpkin Muffin Love

I learned a few things about gluten free baking Saturday night.

1) If you're going on a gluten free baking adventure, put away the clean dishes first...or you may have to end up washing them again.

2) Use a batter bowl whenever possible, or be prepared for the consequences.

3) Flour can go EVERYWHERE...which shows that celiacs are not being picky when we question cross-contamination.

4) Tea balls make a great small sifter for flouring muffin cups. (See picture below)

5) Baking for others, regardless of the food allergy, is a fun adventure and a way to show love!

I had one of those experiences today that gives every blogger goosebumps....someone recognized my blog name and was surprised that I lived so close.

Here is how it went down- We have representatives from the Church Health team at our local congregation this weekend, giving us insight as to what is working well in our church and what we can do to better reach the vision we feel God is calling us towards.

Our pastor recently asked me if I would help supply lunch for Saturday, which I said I would, but I would need my husband's assistance because I was working at a health event today. I was asked if we would pick up pizzas from a neighborhood establishment, as we are trying to support local businesses. I was also asked to drop them off at the church. No problem. In all honesty, I had thought about asking him if there were any food allergies, but I failed to follow through. This is weird for me, as I always ask. (Another lesson- always trust your gut.)

After working and coming home, my husband told me a story that was relayed to him through our board chairman, Pete. He learned that one of the consultants was gluten intolerant, and Pete mentioned my blog to her. She already had heard of my writings, and said "She goes to THIS church?!?!"

I had a mixture of excitement....and heartbreak.

I know what it is like to travel and not have gluten free food. A small sense of panic can set in, although like most celiacs, I know to bring my own food along. I've also learned the art (or at least am trying) to enjoy the people present and not worry too much if there is nothing I can eat. More than likely I can find a Wendy's in a pinch if necessary.

And today I served a fellow gluten inolerant person regular pizza.

So I gathered up my resources and made gluten free pumpkin muffins (with cranberries) instead. My grandmother has started a Christmas tradition of giving me gluten free mixes for Christmas, which I love and hope she never stops doing. It's a great way to try new products without shelling out the cash. I had a package of the 1-2-3 Gluten Free Meredith's Marvelous Muffin/Quickbread Mix in the cupboard, and at first I thought I would do blueberry. Then I opened the box and noticed the recipe for pumpkin muffins, and new instantaneously this is what I wanted to do. (Udi's recently debuted pumpkin muffins at Natural Expo East, and I have had pumpkin muffins on my mind ever since!)

The batter was thicker than I anticipated, but I had also made a few changes. Instead of the 8 tablespoons of butter, I used 6 and 2 tablespooons of applesauce. I also replaced the 1 tablespoon of oil with applesauce. Other than that, everything stayed the same, recipe wise. I made 12 muffins instead of 15, so they were bigger and required a little more cooking time. But I buttered and dusted the muffin tins well with GF flour, so the muffins popped out easily so I could check the bottoms and put them back in longer. They were really tasty and were thoroughly enjoyed by Pete as well, who stated that if I need to find a place for them, they can come to his home!

Prior to baking...

Some people may think I'm silly for going to all this trouble, but it really isn't any trouble at all. It's an honor. I think back on all of the friends and family who have taken extra care due to my celiac disease. My husband was the first- bringing me gluten free flours (and flowers) while we were dating. My friend Becky was one of the first people I knew who purposely stocked gluten free salad dressings and other condiments, on the off chance that we may come over for dinner. I can't even begin to tell you how loved that made me feel, and I'm not sure I've ever told her as much. My sister-in-law made me a gluten free egg casserole with Schar bread one year for breakfast, something I had not had in years. My mother-in-law now has a separate shelf for me that has gluten free crackers and other snacks, so that I have a safe place to grab food anytime I am over. My neighbor brought me a tub of the new Pillsbury gluten free cookie dough for my birthday- not an expensive present, but she has an understanding of what it means to live gluten free. And Gail, another church member who always makes sure that there is gluten free macaroni and cheese at every potluck, along with a DEDICATED spoon so that people don't cross contaminate her dish. And there are countless more in my life that would take forever to name. I truly have been blessed in my life.


Becky (and Matthew) 


Or people like Marie Catrib, sadly departed, who started baking gluten free at her restaurant simply because she had patrons who asked. She didn't have any background in gluten free baking, but she did not want her customers to be left out. She was a great lady, someone you wish was your grandmother, who would feed you samples while you waited in line, and would check on your table to see if everything was okay. (If you have never been there and are going to Grand Rapids, please go. They are a great place to eat and more importantly, are great people.)

Or churches like Anchor Baptist in the Grand Rapids area, who started to realize that there were famlies in their congregation who could not freely take part in communion or potlucks due to their gluten free needs. So they asked to be educated, to understand how they could change their recipes so that everyone can be invited to the table. And now they have a gluten free fair in May that ministers to THOUSANDS of gluten free eaters.

These things aren't hard per se, but they require living intentionally, and they show LOVE.

And so many times, we as celiacs and those who are gluten intolerant say nothing, as they don't want to be a bother. I know, sometimes we've been burned and don't want to go through the pain again. But sometimes when we don't speak up, we take away the joy from someone else who wants to make us feel loved.

So I'm glad I have this chance to show this young lady that someone cares about her diet, doesn't think it's a bother, and I have a chance to return the love that so many have shown to me over the years. I want to go to a church and live in a world where we don't get bent out of shape if someone asks questions, needs to eat differently, and where we want everyone to be able to eat at the same table, like family. Because according to God, you are my brother and my sister, so therefore you are my family.

And Jesus says that you will know my disciples by the way you LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

So here's to pumpkin muffins and love. Bon appetit.