Sunday, December 19, 2010

Product Review: King Arthur Brownie Mix

I had a brownie craving the other day and found a Brownie Mix by King Arthur at the grocery store. (Give me a break, I'm 8 months pregnant!) I have been really pleased with the King Arthur chocolate cake mix so I decided to try the brownies. I had some guests over for dinner who were not gluten intolerant when I made this mix.

The good:
  • tasted really good--especially with ice cream on top!
  • very fast and easy to make
  • King Arthur produces their products in a facility free of the top 8 allergens--that means no soy or dairy so my son can eat them!
  • our guests never gave an inkling that they suspected I was feeding them gluten-free food. The subject would never have even come up if they hadn't asked about my son's milk allergy.
The not-so-good:
  • They totally fell apart. They might work better if you let them cool completely, but then you lose the sensation of warm, fresh-baked brownies.
  • They were really good, but not quite as good as the "gluten" brownies I used to crave.
  • The mix only makes an 8x8 pan--hardly enough for a pregnant woman and her dinner guests. :)
  • It's over $4 for one box
I think the brownies would be improved by the addition of chocolate chips. Especially if you like a sweeter flavor, adding milk chocolate chips would sweeten them up a little.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Orange Rolls

I tried to make orange syrup to put on my pancakes the other day. It didn't really work at all. But I couldn't let it go to waste so I decided to make it into a glaze and put it on some orange rolls. I found a recipe that looked promising at I tried it and it tasted really good. I'll post what I did below. BUT WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE BREAD RISE?!? I always end up with dense lumps instead of bread or rolls.

Despite the density though, these do taste pretty darn good.


1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 c GF flour (I used 1 cup oat, 1 cup brown rice, and 1/2 cup sweet rice flour)
3/4 c potato starch
3/4 c tapioca starch
4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
grated rind of 1 orange (I would actually recommend using 2 oranges because 1 didn't seem like enough to me)
3 eggs, room temperature

1/4 c orange juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp softened soy/dairy free margarine or butter
1 1/2 c confectioners sugar
grated orange rind (optional)

Directions for dough:
Set eggs out in a bowl of warm water until they are room temperature. Scald the milk (heat until just before boiling point), then remove from heat and add oil. Let cool until it is lukewarm.

Mix sugar, flour, starches, xanthan gum, and salt, in a bowl. (I use a Bosch mixer with a bread arm, but you can also mix and knead by hand if you don't have a Bosch or Kitchen-Aid type contraption). Pour yeast evenly on top of flour mixture. When milk is lukewarm, pour it over the yeast. Crack the eggs over the top of the whole mixture and sprinkle in orange rind. Mix with the bread arm for 10 minutes or until flour is fully mixed in (or knead until flour is mixed in).

Put oil on your hands and seperate the dough into two balls. Rub outside with bowl or pour oil in the bottom of your bowl and roll the balls in the oil until it is completely covered. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise.

The original recipe said to let it rise until double, but mine had not doubled after two hours so I gave up and moved on to the next step:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x12 pans and separate and roll out dough into about 24 balls and lay them in the pans. Let rolls rise until they have doubled again. (Mine did rise more, but not double and I was starving so I just cooked them after about 30-40 minutes). Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Directions for glaze:
Mix softened margarine with almond extract and orange rind and slowly blend in orange juice. Slowly blend in the sugar until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a stronger orange flavor you can use a more concentrated orange juice. When rolls are cooled, drizzle glaze over the top of all of them.

*You can also include something like dried cranberries or blueberries in the bread dough, or fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries in the glaze.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gluten/Soy/Milk Free Gingerbread House

I used to love making graham cracker houses with my family when I was a kid. I made my husband and foreign exchange student make them a few years ago even though none of us were kids because I love doing it so much. I was sad when I realized that I couldn't do that anymore.

But this year I learned that I actually had two choices. I could uses Kinikinnik Smoreables to build houses with, or I could try to make my own gingerbread. Since it would take a whole lot of Smoreables to build a house I opted to try to make my own gingerbread for the first time ever! I searched the internet and found this recipe and was going to try it because the almond meal sounded good. However, a friend of mine posted a different recipe and I had both up at the same time. I accidentally started following my friend's recipe instead so I just went with that one, with a few adaptations. I'll try the other one next year. ;) The recipe as I used it is posted below.

For candy we used various gluten-free cereals, cashews, Glutino pretzels (they contain soy lecithin but my son never reacts to the lecithin so we still use them), spice drops, Nerds, Skittles, M&M's (for my dairy-eating daughter), and gummy bears.

I'm not sure why Blogger keeps inserting this picture upside down but I'm tired of trying to fix it so you'll just have to use your imagination.

2/3 c sweet rice flour*
2/3 + 1/4 c gluten free oat flour (I use a grinder to grind up Bob's GF oats)
2/3 + 1/4 c almond meal
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca starch
*If you grind your own flour you may want to add just a touch of extra liquid to the recipe and let the dough sit for a little while to soak up the moisture.

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c palm oil shortening
1 egg, beaten (I haven't tried it with egg replacer but I might next time because it turns out that my son is still having problems with egg).

In a saucepan, mix sugar, molasses, ginger, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, mix flour mixture together in a mixing bowl. Once sugar mixture is boiling, remove it from heat and stir in soda (it will foam up). Melt in shortening. Slowly stir in flour mixture. Knead dough until fully mixed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lay out plastic wrap or parchment paper on rolling surface. (Some recommend to use a floured surface but for me it worked better to just use plastic wrap.) Divid the dough into two equal portions. Set one aside with a wet towel over it to keep it from drying up. Smash the other flat and lay it on rolling surface. Place plastic wrap over the top and roll it until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Create pattern pieces using wax paper (don't use mailing envelopes like I tried, because you won't be able to peel the paper off the dough). You can draw your own or look one up on the internet. Place the pattern over your dough, cut it out, and move it to a greased cookie sheet. They shift a bit when you move them so you may have to trim them later.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Let them cool for just a minute and then move them to a cooling rack. (Don't wait too long or you will regret it, they harden pretty fast and it is difficult to get them off without breaking them).

For me, this recipe made two houses with pieces about 4x6 inches, and four gingerbread men. Except that I was short one piece on one of my houses so it probably would not have made any gingerbread men if I had remembered the last piece.

Next you need to make frosting to put the house together. I used Royal Frosting this time, but it's not going to cut it next year because like I said earlier, I found out my son still doesn't handle eggs well. The egg-white in the frosting was just too much for him. But for it is:

2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
3 c powdered sugar
Put egg whites and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Beat until the mixture is frothy.

Add the powdered sugar and beat in. Once the sugar is mixed in well enough that it doesn't fly all over the place, beat on high until the frosting is shiny and it peaks.

Spoon it into a frosting bag and cover what you do not use with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out.

Now you are ready to put your house together. Do this the day before you plan to decorate it so it has time to dry up and gather strength.

I had a really hard time putting mine together because I didn't trim the pieces and they weren't stable enough to stay up. Finally I gave up and trimmed all the edges straight with a serrated knife. I had my son hold up one wall while I attached others to it for stability. I made the base and left the roof for later because I didn't want to take any chances.

In the picture at the top you will also notice that one roof is different from the other. That is because I forgot to make one piece and so I used Kinikinnik Smoreables to finish it off. I thought they made a pretty cute roof so maybe next year I will make the house out of gingerbread and use crackers for the top. That way there will be enough dough leftover to make a few more gingerbread men.

Also, after I discovered my son got sick off of royal frosting, I made a new kind to attach the candy with. It didn't really work all that well but it was enough to get a 4 and 2 year old through the process. I just mixed powdered sugar with rice milk and made it really thick. I left out the shortening/butter because those don't really dry out. I also added blue food coloring so my son could tell the difference between "safe" and "not safe" frosting.

I found a recipe that supposedly worked really well but I didn't try it. It called for glycerine and I was hesitant to put something that is commonly used in soaps and lotions in my frosting. Maybe next year though. ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie 2010 (soy/milk free version)

Last year I posted egg-free recipes, but my kids tolerate eggs now--at least in baking--so this year I am going with the Libby's world-famous pumpkin pie recipe from the back of the can of Libby's pumpkin. The recipe is on the back of the can but I'll type it up here so you will have it handy. You can use any pumpkin you want, but I have to say that I have never been satisfied with any other brand (or even fresh pumpkin) other than Libby's.

This recipe makes two pies. All I had to do to make it soy/dairy free is to substitute the evaporated milk with evaporated rice milk. The instructions below are how to make a soy/dairy/gluten free pie:

Step 1: evaporated milk
Pour about 64oz plain rice milk(2 boxes) or SoDelicious Coconut Milk into a large pan (at least twice as high as your liquid so your milk doesn't boil over). Simmer on med-high heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn to the bottom of the pan. Boil it down until it reaches 12 oz--less than half of what you started with. This will take at least as long as it takes to prepare everything else.

(You can also do this with soy milk, but you will probably not need as much because soy milk is typically thicker than rice milk).

Step 2: pie crust
recipe adapted from the Gluten-Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman

1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c corn starch
1/4 c potato starch
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp imitation butter flavoring (optional)
1 egg, cold
1 tbsp GF vinegar
4 tbsp ice water (if you use only 3 tbsp you don't need to chill the dough)
sweet rice flour for rolling

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in margarine and shortening until the mixture pieces are about the size of lima beans. With a fork, beat the egg, vinegar, and ice water together and stir into the batter. It will slowly get thicker as you stir. form it into a ball (or as close as you can get) and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Refrigerate for at least 30 min, while you prepare the rest of the pies.

After the dough is chilled, reform it into a "brick" and divide it into how many pieces you need. (It makes three thin crusts or two thick ones). Lay out two pieces of saran wrap (connected at the edge to give you a large rolling surface) on your table or counter top and sprinkle rice flour or tapioca starch on top to prevent dough from sticking. Spread out dough as much as you can with your hands and lay it on the saran wrap. (You can also use parchment or wax paper but saran wrap is the easiest for getting the crust into the pan). Place another piece of saran wrap over the crust and roll until the size of your pie tin. Slowly peel off the saran wrap and lay a thinly greased pie tin upside-down over the crust. Carefully place your hand underneath and flip the pan and crust right-side-up. Peel off saran wrap and shape crust onto pan. With a fork, poke holes all over the crust to prevent it from bubbling up.

Step 3: pie filling

1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 large eggs
1 29 oz can pumpkin puree
24 oz evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix powder ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Beat eggs into pumpkin a little at a time. Slowly beat in the powder mixture. Set aside until your evaporated rice milk has finished boiling and has cooled a little bit. Once milk is ready, slowly mix into the pumpkin mixture and then pour into pie crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 40-50 more minutes (I usually have to do it 55-60 minutes--not sure if that's because of the rice milk or the high altitude where I live) or until a knife comes out clean.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gluten-Free Fruit Cobbler

I combined two different recipes for this cobbler. The filling comes from and the breading comes from

4 cups chopped fruit
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup water or juice from canned fruit
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup GF flour (I used 1/2 cup GF oat, 1/4 c rice, 1/4 c potato starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 c rice/soy/cow milk or buttermilk
Abt 2 tbsp butter, margarine, or soy/dairy-free buttery spread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x9 baking pan and place the fruit in the bottom of the pan. In a saucepan, sift sugar, corn starch and cinnamon. Add lemon juice and water or juice from can and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil at medium-hi heat until thick and bubbly. Pour over or mix with the fruit in the baking pan. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. Slowly mix in milk with a whisk. Pour over fruit/filling mixture and dollop with butter or butter substitute. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. (Only insert the toothpick as far as the batter goes. Do not push it all the way down to the fruit).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scallop Squash

I grew this in my garden just for fun and I have finally figured out what to do with it. This recipe turned out really good--and it is wide open for variation! I didn't actually measure any of it, so my ingredient list is a ball-park guess. Really you just put in what you like, and how much you like of it.

4 white bush squash (you could probably use butternut or acorn squash as well)
8 slices of bacon (or 10 if you peel off the fat).
1/2 onion, diced
1 c bread crumbs or crushed cereal or chips(I used rice and corn Chex)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp marjoram or rosemary
1 egg (optional, or you could use two eggs if you want the filling to be more firm)
1/2 c Parmesan cheese (optional)
10 cherry tomatoes cut in half (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut open the top of the squash and scrape out the innards like you would when carving a pumpkin and set aside. (If you want to speed up cooking you can cook them for a few minutes in the microwave while you prepare the filling). Cook the bacon and chop it up (I used pre-cooked). Add onions, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and marjoram or rosemary and mix together. Mix in egg and cheese. Stir in tomatoes if desired. Scoop into squash and place the lid back on top. Fill a baking dish or pan with a small amount of water on bottom and place squash in the pan. Bake for 45 min to an hour, until the inside of the squash is tender.

Variations: try mixing in cottage cheese or softened cream cheese. Experiment with different herbs such as lemon and dill, Italian herbs etc. Use rice or quinoa instead of bread crumbs. The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tips for Testing the Diet Change

If you suspect you or your child has gluten-intolerance here are a few tips:

  • The gluten protein is very similar to casein in milk and soy protein. It is often wise to avoid those as well too--at least at first.
  • You can try a few approaches, depending on what sounds most overwhelming to you:
  • 1. Eliminate just gluten, and if there is still a problem eliminate other potential irritants one at a time. This can take a long time and patience, but for some people gradual is easier.
  • 2. Eliminate one or more of the main potential irritants and gradually reintroduce them, watching for reactions. (i.e., milk and gluten; milk, soy and gluten; etc). Don't introduce new foods for at least a month--three months is better. It can be overwhelming to try to figure out how to feed you or your child like this, but it is a more certain approach than #1.
  • 3. Go to a very basic diet of rice, rice milk, fruits and vegetables, and basic meats with no add-ins (like avoid sausage and watch out for tuna because it sometimes has soybean oil). Introduce foods one at a time and watch for reactions. Don't introduce new foods for at least a month--three months is better. This can also be overwhelming for the same reasons as #2. But then there is no question as to what caused the reaction.
  • Be very careful of cross-contamination. Gluten is sticky and even the smallest trace can cause a reaction in some people.
  • It might get better before it gets worse. There may be withdrawal symptoms, similar to that of a drug. The body will not be used to it. (That never happened to us but I have seen it happen to others).
  • Don't give up! Once you get a system down and get your house stocked with "strange" ingredients it will be relatively easy to make substitutions and get by.
  • Keep a food/symptom journal to make sure you get accurate information. It can help a doctor with diagnosis as well.
  • Just because medical tests come up negative doesn't mean there isn't a gluten problem. If you feel better--that's a pretty good indication that the diet is working, regardless of the diagnosis. Gluten-intolerance is hard to pick up by tests.

Tips for Moms of GF Children

Today a friend told me that her son has been having digestive problems and she was going to try a gluten-free diet to see if that helped him. She asked me for any tips or help I could give her. I figured I'd post it here because I'm sure she isn't the only one who could benefit from the information.

It can be really challenging to have little kids with gluten-intolerance, especially if you have to send them to school, daycare, birthday parties, and even just planning a picnic in a park or a trip to a restaurant. Things are getting better as more food producers become aware of the problem, but when I started there was really no help so here is what I learned to do:

  • Make muffins in large batches and freeze them. They are great to send to school and for taking them to picnics and restaurants. Those that have worked best for me are banana bread, applesauce bread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread--anything moist. (My recipes are without eggs but you can use egg instead of my replacer and take out 1/4 c of some other liquid item to make up the difference). If you are worried about sugar it is okay to reduce the amount of sugar you use in them.
  • Make things like chicken nuggets and chicken tenders and freeze them. It is easy to make them gluten-free and I've never seen anywhere you can buy them. You can substitute any flour you like in the breading mix and it doesn't really affect how it turns out. If the flour taste is too strong just make sure to put a lot of flavorings in your breading.
  • Depending on your child, baby food can be a godsend. They typically make baby foods with rice flour unless it is a pasta dish. I keep on hand Gerber turkey and rice, chicken and vegetables, and vegetable beef. I bring the jars to the park or when I travel and know there won't be anywhere handy to prepare food. Even my 4-year old still eats it. And my kids will eat it cold so it works really well for me.
  • You can now buy several types of GF crackers. My favorites are Glutino (their pretzels are good too), Kinnikinnik animal cookies, and Kinikinnik Smorables.
  • You can also make and freeze various types of cookies. One of my favorites are peanut butter cookies.
  • Corn tortillas are a great substitute for many things. I get a little tired of them sometimes, but I have found that the Banderita brand are the softest and easiest to use.
  • For birthday parties you can bring your own cupcakes for your child to eat. Betty Crocker makes some pretty good cake mixes. King Arthur makes the best one I have tasted (their bread mix is pretty decent too). I also like the Blue Chip brand because it comes in a resealable package. You can divide the recipe and make just a few cupcakes so one bag can last you for several birthday parties.
  • If you take your child to a daycare or nursery, talk to the providers and make sure they will accommodate your child. I take my kids to a church nursery every Sunday. I gave the nursery leaders a large bag of GF snacks to keep in their closet. They have my daughter sit in the same place every time so they can make sure she doesn't try and eat the other kids' snacks. It's hard for the kids at first--but typically not for yours. The other kids in the nursery get jealous of your kid's "special" snack. After awhile my daughter caught on to the routine and has quit trying to sneak the other kids' snacks as well.
  • It can be easy to worry about your child feeling left out because they can't have what everyone else has. Trust me, it's worse for you than it is for your child. You will have some sad moments with your child, but the kids really are quite resilient. Especially if they get used to it while they are young. My kids have learned to regulate themselves very well and even at age 3 they would refuse food unless it was given the okay by Mom. There have been very few times where they actually felt left out and when they did they got over it very quickly.
  • Be wary of strangers who try to feed your children. They think they are just being nice, but it can be disastrous. Be vigilant at parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, church parties, and even grocery stores. Other kids will try to share with yours too so it is important to teach your child to politely refuse.
  • For Halloween, pinata parties, and other holidays, I keep a stash of substitute items to replace any items my kids get that they cannot eat so they don't feel bad. (I mostly have to do this because of the soy/milk intolerance but it applies to gluten too). Sometimes I trade them their Kit-Kats and other such items for safe candy, other times I get small dollar store toys like dinosaurs, pencils or army men and trade for those. Honestly my kids like the toys better than the candy anyway.
  • If you go to a restaurant and order french fries, make sure to ask if the fries are cooked separately, or if they are cooked with fried chicken and other breaded items. The gluten WILL stick to the fries if they are cooked in the same oil.
  • Oats have gluten. Unless you find specially marked gluten-free oats, they will very likely contain gluten. Oats are nearly always grown near, stored with, transported with, and processed with wheat and the gluten sticks right to them. (But gluten-free oat flour is one of my favorites, just FYI).
  • If you are just testing the waters with a GF diet, buy things in small quantities or go in on it with someone and share mixes. Try the instant mixes and see which ones you like. But if you decide to stick with the diet long term, it's good to plan to make more from scratch and buy in bulk. I can buy oats and rice in bulk and store them as whole grains. I grind them every once-in awhile and use them for flour, but they store much better whole. You can also buy things like tapioca starch (a must-have for GF cooking) in bulk.
  • You can pre-make your own flour blends and store them ready-to go. The typical recipe for 3 cups flour is 2 cups flour of your choice, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca starch. I use about 1 tsp xanthan gum for moist breads, and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour for things like pizza dough, biscuits, and breads.
  • Conventional cereals that are gluten free (some won't guarantee it because they don't test, but they don't use or cross-contaminate and we've never had a problem): Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, Cupcake pebbles, most generic versions of both of those, Trix, Kix, Chex cereals, Cookie Crisp with Sprinkles (not the chocolate chip ones--those have wheat). I usually buy organic rice crispies and organic corn flakes because they don't put the barley malt in most of those. BUT ALWAYS READ THE LABEL BECAUSE THEY MIGHT CHANGE THEIR RECIPE. WATCH OUT FOR BARLEY MALT.

I'm sure I'll think of more later, but this should be enough to digest for awhile.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My New Favorite GF Pizza Recipe

The pepperoni-only portion of this pizza has soy-free rice cheese on it. Apparently my son does not like the rice cheese baked so I would recommend leaving it off and just putting sauce and other toppings.

I have been very unimpressed with most GF pizza recipes I have tried. Last night I searched for a new one and found one that I really liked. It actually would have made a fabulous dessert pizza (with cinnamon and glaze...mmmm!) as well. (If you want this one less sweet then leave out the sugar and use the original recommendation of millet and rice flour instead of oat and sorghum like I used).

I adapted this recipe from GlutenFreeMommy.

2 Tablespoons almond meal
2 eggs (I used 1 egg and 1 egg's worth of egg replacer because I ran out of eggs)
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup oat flour (I actually used 1/2 c oat and 1/2 cub Bob's all purpose flour, just to get rid of the extra Bob's I had)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon sugar for proofing yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water

1/2 cup warm water

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix liquid ingredients together and set aside until room temperature. Do not mix it in with dry ingredients cold.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients and sift together in a bowl.
  4. In a separate small bowl, place your yeast and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix with about 1/4 cup of the heated water, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once you know the yeast is active, proceed with the recipe. At this point, you want to double check and make sure all your ingredients have come to room temperature.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix.
  6. Add the yeast mixture.
  7. You want the dough to look like stiff cake batter. The dough should hold the swirls of the mixer, but it should be shiny and not dull. Add the rest of the water slowly until the right consistency is achieved.
  8. Grease pan or grease parchment paper and place on a pan. With a cake scraper, slowly spread the pizza dough batter in a 12-13 inch circle. You want the batter to be evenly distributed. Cover your hands in olive oil and shape the edges like you want them. If you find your hands getting too sticky get a little more olive oil on your hands. You don’t want your dough to be too wet, so be careful.
  9. You can either let the dough rise and then cook it, or bake the crust as is. I baked mine at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  10. Then add toppings and place back in the oven until toppings are heated and/or melted

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gluten-Free Bread Experiments

For a long time I had given up on the bread idea altogether. I couldn't find anything that tasted good enough to make me want to spend the money on it. I couldn't really use any of it for sandwiches because it wouldn't stay together, and never tasted very good after the first day it was opened/made. But I have been CRAVING bread lately (probably because I am pregnant now :) ). A friend of mine told me she found a recipe that made delicious, chewy bread that stays together. I was skeptical but desperate so I tried it.

She was RIGHT! I smelled good, tasted good for multiple days, and stayed together!

I will credit the author of the book the recipe came from just as soon as I can find out. I'm hoping to buy a copy and try some other recipes from it as well.

Stir together:
¾ C brown rice flour (I used GF oat flour, my friend uses a mix of rice and oat).
2/3 C potato starch
2/3 C tapioca flour
2 tsp potato flour
2 ½ xanthan gum
2 tsp egg replacer
1 tsp salt
2 tsp (1 pck) unflavored gelatin
1/3 C almond meal (or grind up some almonds)
1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp yeast
Put yeast on top of powder mixture

Stir together in separate bowl:
1 ¼ C warm water
1 tsp vinegar
1 ½ tsp olive oil

Pour on top of yeast and let it sit for three minutes.
Mix everything together on low speed.

Add two egg whites
Mix until combined and beat on high speed for five minutes.

Grease a loaf pan
Spoon into pan and let rise for 20 min. (texture is really sticky, thick)
Smooth it out with wet fingers or greased spatula
As bread is rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees
Bake for about an hour, covering with aluminum foil after first 10 minutes.*

*I didn't have very good success with the foil thing. Next time I am going to cook it uncovered and put foil on for the last 10 minutes. If you don't do it right the crust is way too hard and the middle is doughy. (Still tastes good though).

King Arthur's Bread Mix--Product Review

This tasted pretty good, but it was not as "normal" as the bread recipe above. It almost has the texture of angel food cake, but it stays together better than most GF bread mixes. It also stayed soft after several days. I know mine doesn't look very professional, but that's because I wasn't very careful about smoothing it out in the pan. It made decent toast. It still probably wouldn't work very well for sandwitches because it is still pretty dense and falls apart under pressure. I didn't try doing it though so I could be wrong.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Superb Sweet and Sour Chicken: gluten-free

Sweet 'n' Sour chicken from the Chinese restaurants is one of the things I missed the most after going gluten-free. I've spent a lot of time, with the help of my wonderful husband, trying to perfect this recipe. I admit it is not a replica of what's in the restaurants, but in my opinion it tastes much better--and I know it's good for me!


3/4 c rice flour
3/4 c potato flour
1/4 c paprika
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp dried oregano

Shake ingredients together in a plastic bag until well mixed. Pour about 1/3 of the mix on a clean plate and leave the rest in the bag.

Egg Mixture--Standard
3 eggs
1/3 c milk

Egg Mixture--Dairy Free
3 eggs
1/3 c water

Egg/Dairy-free Version
4 tbsp milled flax seed
4tbsp water (or according to directions with your seed for replacement of 4 eggs)

Add water until it has the consistency of slightly watered down eggs. The flax doesn't work quite as well as real eggs but I've had pretty good success with it.

Chicken Cots

2 chicken breasts or the equivalent of meat
breading mix
egg/flax mixture
1/2 inch oil heated in a wok or pan*
Clean plate lined with clean paper towels.

Rinse chicken and cut into bite size pieces and pat dry. I usually put the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels as I cut so excess water gets absorbed quickly. Once pieces have excess water removed, put them in the bag of breading mix. Seal the bag tight and shake it vigorously until all the chicken pieces are coated. Dip chicken pieces in egg/flax mixture and set on plate with flour mixture. (You can dump the rest of the mixture from the bag onto the plate. Make sure cots are completely covered with flour mixture and drop into heated oil. Cook until breading is golden brown and the meat on top starts to turn white. Flip the pieces over and repeat until chicken is cooked all the way through. (Make sure the oil does not get too hot or you will get burnt breading with raw chicken in the middle. Always cut a piece or two in half to make sure they are cooked all the way through). Place cooked cots on the paper towel-lined plate.

*oil is ready for cooking when you toss a pinch of flour in the pan and the oil sizzles vigorously.

Sweet 'N' Sour Sauce

1/2 c white vinegar
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks with juice
1/3 c ketchup
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp cold water
1 large bell pepper
1 garlic clove
1 onion

Chop onion and pepper into bite size pieces and sauté in leftover oil from chicken with pressed garlic clove. Cook until tender. Meanwhile. Put ketchup and ginger in sauce pan and slowly stir in vinegar. Heat with sugar and pineapple until it gently boils. Mix corn starch and water in a cup and when sauce is hot, slowly pour into sauce pan. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Add peppers and onions. Serve with rice and chicken cots.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Almond Milk Recipe

A friend of mine gave me this recipe saying it was far better than any store bought milk you can buy. He was absolutely right! I adapted the recipe to have more calories for my calorie-deprived son.

1 cup unsalted, uncooked almonds
6-8 dates
6 cups water


Blend almonds and 3 cups water. Add remaining ingredients. Then add three more cups water. Strain through cheesecloth.

And it's that simple! One small problem is that most blenders can't handle these proportions. I usually cut the recipe in half and do it twice to get the requisite amount of almondmilk.

My adaptation:
1 cup unsalted, uncooked almonds
6-8 dates
5 cups water
1/4 c sugar

Next time I think I will add 1/2 tsp vanilla and perhaps a tough of oil to increase the calories.


Blend almonds and 1 cups water. Add dates and 1/2 cup water. Blend. Add dates, sugar, and vanilla and add liquid a little at a time. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. The milk is very foamy so I actually poured it into one of those gravy separators first:

That helped keep the foam from blocking the strainer completely.

Product Review: Lindsay's Lipsmakin' Sugar Cookies

These cookies were surprisingly good! They don't look that great in the picture but that's because I let my son paint some with food coloring and frost the others.

There are a few things you need to do though, to make them work:

  • The first batch I followed the instructions on the box and the cookies were nearly impossible to roll out and then when I cooked them they "melted". After that I kneaded a little bit of extra flour into the dough (I used gluten-free oat flour) they worked perfectly.
  • Roll the dough out directly onto the pan and peel away the extra dough because it is incredibly difficult to transfer the cookies.
  • Take the cookies off the pan before they have cooled off completely or they will break into pieces when you move them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Here is my new favorite gluten-free crust recipe: The recipe does have yeast, however.

I apologize that you have to scroll through a section about beer before getting to it. I do not advocate the drinking of beer, or of any alcohol for that matter.

And for a soy-free pizza sauce, here is my recipe:

1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gluten Free Oats--My Newfound Love

Do you see those divine-looking chocolate chip cookies above? Well they taste divine too. And they are totally gluten/soy/milk free (I admit I splurged and used eggs on this one instead of egg replacer--my kids are getting so they tolerate a little egg better).

Do you want to know my secret? I suppose the title give is away, but the secret is a bag of gluten-free oats and a grain grinder. I grind up my oats and keep the flour in a container that holds about 8 cups. (You don't want to grind too much at once because the nutrients deplete over too much time after the oats are ground). Oat flour makes wonderful Snickerdoodles too!

Gluten/Soy/Milk Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
2 c gluten free oat flour
1 c your favorite flour blend*

*I used Grandpa's Kitchen Baking Flour Blend with a shot of Bob's Gluten Free baking mix. You can also use the typical baking flour ration of 2 parts rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch

Baking directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 2. blend together sugar, vanilla, eggs, and shortening 3. add salt baking soda, guar gum 4. add flour by degrees. (dough should be firm and should not stick to your fingers if you touch it 5. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet 6. Bake for 8 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges


1 1/2 c white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 c flour

Cinnamon/Sugar Ratio:
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Baking directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 2. blend sugar, margarine, shortening, and eggs. 3. add dry ingredients by degrees. 4. roll dough in cinnamon/sugar blend and place on cookie sheets. 4. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Product Review: Enjoy Life double chocolate brownie cookies

I give these two stars. They don't taste bad but they have that chalky/sandy texture of many gluten free foods. Not worth the calories. My children, however, seem to like them and since they are free of all of the foods Barrett cannot have, I guess they are okay to have around on occasion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Product Review: Enjoy Life Snickerdoodles

I admit I had low expectations for these cookies. My experiences with the Enjoy Life cereal bars and granola cereal were not very good. I only bought these cookies because I knew they would be safe for Barrett.

However, I was pleasantly surprised! I expected hard-as-rock cookies that taste like sand. What I got was the deliciously chewey-soft flavor of cinnamon and cream of tartar that is so familiar to me. They really do taste like a REAL snickerdoodle! These will make great home and travel snacks for my children. Delicious "duckies" (as Abbie calls them) that I can send with my kids to parties and events on holidays and birthdays so they will not feel left out.

I highly recommend this product.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Banana Bread--gluten/soy/egg/milk free

I just tried the most delicious banana bread recipe, compliments of the Gluten Free Goddess. The recipe is quoted below but with my own adaptations. The original recipe can be found a the above link.

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine in a bowl:
2 mashed bananas (medium size)*
1/2 c applesauce (or 2 more bananas)
1/3 c canola oil
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Stir together in seperate bowl:
1 1/2 c gluten free flour (I used 2/3 c gluten free oat flour, 1/3c brown rice flour, 1/4 +1/8c
potato starch, 1/8 c tapioca starch)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Ener-g egg replacer
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/4 tsp salt

Optional: chocolate chips

*you can subtitute 1/2 cup applesauce or crushed pineapple per banana

Slowly beat dry ingredients into liquid mixture.

Spoon batter into lined or greased/floured muffin tins (or bread pan) and bake for 20 min. (If you use a bread pan you will probably have to bake longer than 20 min but I don't know how long because I always use muffin tins).
I believe the oat flour played a big part in making these taste so good. I finally got a grain grinder and was able to grind my gluten-free oats into a fine flour and it tastes so much better than rice flour! It's nice to have a little variety in our grain consumption as well.

You can also get a small coffee grinder to grind small amounts of oats, millet, or other grain.

[ETA 3/16/12]: A version of this recipe is included in my book Barrett's Unusual Ice Cream Party.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Product Review: Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies

I was hoping these cookies would make a good travel snack or a snack to send to nursery/preschool with the kids. No good. They are way too hard and the kids can't really eat them without milk. (My kids can't anyway--older kids should be fine). They taste pretty good and stay together well though. My only real criticism is the hardness. Buy them for your 6 year old but not your 3 year old. They also have soy lecithin so be cautious of that if your children have problems withs soy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Have a Gluten-Free Big Mac in the United States

Lately I have been craving the taste of a McDonald's Big Mac. Strange, I know. You'd be amazed at the kinds of things you crave after living your whole life eating whatever you want and then suddenly having to restrict your diet significantly. So I finally broke down and found a way to satisfy my craving. (It was expensive and probably a one-time deal, but I thought I'd share it anyway).

First, I found some Schar Classic White Rolls in my local Wal-Mart (only one of our two Wal-Marts have a gluten-free section). I took them to the McDonald's across the street and asked them to make me a Big Mac using my own bread. The manager was happy to comply and used three rolls to make 2 burgers.

Here is my suggestion--because gluten-free breads are more dry and fall apart more easily than regular breads, use less bread. It was better when I just used one roll and left out the middle portion of the bun. Also, ask them for extra sauce to offset the dryness of the roll. With those small suggestions it made a perfect Big Mac! I was quite pleased with the result.

As for my review of the rolls, I would say if you are craving the rolls you used to eat at your favorite restaurant--these will not satisfy. They are too dry and too thick for that. However, if you are craving a burger, chicken salad sandwich, or other item that you typically put condiments on it is an excellent choice. It stays together well enough and tastes pretty good.

Ingredients: water, corn starch, rice flour, palm oil, sugar, guar gum, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lupine protein, yeast, salt, psyllium seed husk (vegetable fiber), diacetyltartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of edible fats

(May contain egg and soy)

Schar Pizza Crusts

This was $8 for two pizza crusts. It's a little pricey, but not nearly as pricey as paying $15 for the same size of pizza (but only one) at Pier 49. I crave pizza on a regular basis and this is a quick and tasty alternative to eating out. I have really been impressed with the quality of gluten-free products that are becoming available! Bon Apetite!

(Unfortunately it does have milk so my son can't eat it--but my daughter and I can).

Ingredients: water, corn starch, rice flour, potato starch, glucose syrup, yeast, guar gum, mono- and diglycerides of edible fats, potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, glucose, whey protein, salt, tartaric acid, citric acid

Kinnikinnick S'moreables Graham Style Crackers

These crackers get five stars in my book! They are a pretty good imitation of what graham crackers really taste like--and they actually taste really good. There is no strange texture or chalky rice-flour taste in them. They are sweet and tasty and were a big hit with my kids! I am so excited to be able to bring these along on our family camping trips so Barrett (and I) will no longer be left out of the Smore tradition. Another bonus is I now have the means to make my own "graham cracker" pie crust!

Ingredients: Pea starch, non hydrogenated shortening(palm fruit and/or canola), potato starch, brown rice flour, brown sugar,sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, water, rice bran, sugar, blackstrap molasses, honey, glucose,vanilla, salt, sodium bicarbonate, pea protein, pea fibre,guar gum, inulin, soy lecithin, mono calcium phosphate(May contain traces of eggs and tree nuts).