Coconut Cake for Mother’s Day

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I have been craving a coconut cake since I ripped out a recipe for an angle flake coconut cake from a magazine right before Easter.  I had planned to make a cupcake version to bring for dessert to our family party, but arrived home from vacation late the night before and just wasn’t feeling it!

Since I had already purchased all of the ingredients, my daughter decided to bake it yesterday as a Mother’s Day dessert.  Half of the family doesn’t like coconut so while the cake had coconut pudding mix and a bit of coconut flakes in the batter, half the cake had plain vanilla icing.

We have had some spectacular cake flops on my celebrations.  There was the time that this same daughter some how launched one layer of the cake off the plate and onto the floor.  Someone else has tripped and splatted a store bought cake on the floor…but we managed to enjoy our half coconut and half vanilla cake without any part of the cake falling on to the floor!

I worked out this morning extra hard and for a bit longer than usual so I could enjoy another piece today without guilt!

Kendall Egan

The Verboten Crouton

Here is a real world dilemma for a celiac.  I know it is real because it happened to me last week!

One of my absolute favorite lunches is a chopped salad.  Several restaurants have chopped salad bars near me and, while the toppings amp up the calorie count, I love them.  It is great to climb out from my work cave and seek a healthy lunch with company.

salad ingredients

Last week I chose the leafy greens, garbanzo beans, beets, tomatoes and tofu for my chopped salad.  I watched all of these gluten-free ingredients go into the bowl and observed the “chef” with the mezzaluna chopping everything up to create a finely mixed salad.  The salad guy tossed it with a balsamic dressing and put it into my container.  As far as my watchful eye could see, I had a gluten-free lunch!

salad mezzaluna

I was thoroughly enjoying my lunch and conversation with my lunch buddy when I crunched down on something that had no business being in a gluten-free salad…a crouton.  I could tell immediately what it was and was so incredibly bummed.

salad crouton

What would you have done with a mouthful of crouton?  I should have spit it out into my napkin.  I was eating lunch with a friend, a really old, “knew-me-when” friend who watched me suffer difficult pregnancies and waste away during my sickest point…she would have understood.  It wasn’t a job interview and it wasn’t someone I was trying to impress.  I should have spit it out.

But I did not spit it out, I ate it.  In that “blink” decision, I calculated that I had probably already eaten the other half of the crouton or at least most of it since it was all chopped up in my salad.   I regretted it.  My intestinal track gurgled all afternoon and into the evening.

I consider myself fortunate that I do not get violently ill with accidental gluten, but I still did not feel well and that crouton damaged my intestine.   It just knocks you back a little bit when you are careful and watchful over food that is made outside of your control and it is not enough oversight.  All I can think of is that there was a crouton in my portion of mixed greens that I did not see as it was placed into the mixing bowl.

Would I have felt better if I had spit it out? Who knows how much gluten I had already eaten by the time I crunched down on the crouton.  Next time, I will make sure the greens are free from croutons prior to selecting other ingredients.  And if I ever crunch down on a verboten crouton again, I will spit out the mouthful into my napkin!

Kendall Egan