Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bob's Red Mill Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I got this mix as a Christmas gift.

I tried it in my breadmaker, using the mixing setting and everything. Just plopped the stuff in there and waited 3 hours for bread. I looked through the window as it mixed, wondering how on earth it could all get mixed properly.

I have to admit I was skeptical, but it mixed, rose, and baked without falling, unlike any other bread I've tried.

The loaf of bread itself is heavy, and seems dense. But, when it's sliced, toasted, smeared with butter and topped with cinnamon sugar, it's pretty good. Although at that point anything would be.

A tad dry, mild cinnamon flavor. With pesky raisins.
It's actually very comparable to the normal cinnamon bread from the store. Unlike many GF breads, it doesn't have that strange starchy texture and it's not too dense. It's not overly grainy or crumbly either. I have to say everything is pretty well-balanced. I'm impressed.

Overall, I might buy this bread mix again. But I'd strain the raisins out first. I'm not a fan.

Gluten Free Waffles!

gluten free wafflesI know, this is yet another crappy picture. But I was hungry and didn't feel like switching angles or messing with lighting. I need a tripod. I think that's what some of this Christmas money will be going towards.

ANyway. Did you ever see such a plate of messy deliciousness? I finally busted out with the waffle maker. The best way to eat waffles, in my opinion, is with strawberries and whipped cream. Simple maple syrup is fine for store-bought, but does not do homemade waffles justice. Something about the combination of warm, sweet, juicy strawberries and cool whipped cream on top of a soft waffle. Almost like strawberry shortcake, but better.

To make the waffle batter:

1 c. GF flour (try 3/4 c. rice flour and 1/4 c. potato starch)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 T. agave nectar (or 1 t. sugar)
3/4 c. milk
1 egg
2 T. oil

Mix the dry ingredients, then mix the wet ingredients, then mix the two together, trying to get all lumps out without over-mixing.

Pour some batter onto the preheated waffle iron, depending on how big it is, and cook them according to the directions.

To make the strawberry stuff:

Throw a handful of thawed or fresh cut up strawberries into a small pot. Sprinkle some sugar over the top to make it sweet. How much depends on how sweet the strawberries were to begin with. (I've also been experimenting with agave nectar, but didn't use it for the sauce)
When it's heated, the juices will make a nice syrup.

When the waffles are done, I like to toast them for extra texture.

Top them with the strawberry goodness and whipped cream, and we're in breakfast business.

*If you have any extra strawberry stuff, keep it and serve it over vanilla ice cream later.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Potato Soup

gluten free potato soupApologies for the crappy picture.

After peanut butter cookies for breakfast, I scrapped the waffle idea for today. I couldn't take that much sugar at one time.

My mom had boiled too many potatoes for potato salad, so I took them and this morning decided that potato soup would be the best use for them.

Potato Soup

4 T. butter
3 T. cornstarch
1 T. sweet rice flour
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
3 c. milk
1 t. parsley
1 t. GF chicken bouillon (I used Orrington Farms)
leftover cut up boiled potatoes

Melt the butter, then add the flours to make a smooth paste. Stir in the milk, add the cheese, bouillon & parsley, then plop in the potatoes. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so, until it's hot and creamy.

Top with crumbled bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese, chives, or whatever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and I'm chowing down on my most favorite cookie ever. Seriously, I'd be embarassed to tell you how many I've eaten. That's okay, my personal trainer kicked my ass today.

I'm super, SUPER excited. The Man and I did Christmas early this year, and he got me a waffle maker. It's one of those gadgets/ appliances that I've always wanted but could never justify buying one for myself. Kind of like that ice cream maker I finally broke down and bought, then used once.

This will be different though. I can not WAIT to start making waffles.

And, AND, my mom bought me some Kinnicknick CHOCOLATE DONUTS for breakfast tomorrow. I haven't even seen them in the stores, she just magically found them. Awesome. I hope they're as good as they look.

Well, I'm done talking about stuffing my face. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Cheese Spread

You know how I said that the Glutino Vegetable Crackers would be fab with some sort of cheese spread? I was right.

gluten free crackers and cheese
Here is the delightfully simple, very delicious cheese ball recipe we bust out every holiday.

10 oz grated white american cheese
1 block of cream cheese
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper

When the cheeses are at room temperature and soft, blend with a hand mixer. Add in the spices and blend some more. Roll it into a ball or log and sprinkle paprika on the outside, or roll it in some paprika. Let it cool in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to meld, then serve it with crackers.

Sometimes I mix in some slivered almonds, or garnish it with green olives.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hot Cocoa Mix

This mix blows all of the store-bought mixes out of the water. I've never liked the packets of hot cocoa mix because they don't have that rich, chocolatey flavor.

I've also never liked milk in my hot cocoa. I have always abhorred the taste of milk, and never EVER drink it straight, or even as chocolate milk. My mom used to make hot cocoa using milk and ovaltine when we were kids and I could never drink it because I could taste the milk. I use milk to make this hot cocoa, and I can't taste it at all.

It's just a delicious, creamy, flavorful hot cocoa to drink when it's cold.

To make the mix:

1/2 c. cocoa
1 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. corn starch

Place that all in an airtight container and shake it up to evenly distribute the ingredients. The corn starch really does help to make it creamy and thick, and not so watery like store-bought brands.

To make a cup of cocoa:
Mix 3 T. of the mix with 2 T. hot water. Then add ~1 c. milk and heat it up.

Of course, it's not hot cocoa without a dollup of whipped cream, marshmallows, or a candy cane.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enjoy Life Very Berry Snack Bars

I picked these up in the store the other day because

1. they were on sale and
2. I thought they'd be different than what they were.

They were next to the bars that had a granola/ cakey outside and a fruity filling (think Nutrigrain Bars), and for some reason I thought these were the same, except with raspberry filling.

Quite the contrary, these are solid bars. They are indeed soft, like the box says, but not exactly chewy.

The texture leaves something to be desired. It's a tad grainy at the end of the mouthful, and there are unexpected crunches throughout the softness of the bar that interrupt chewing and leave you wondering what that was. In my opinion they should either be more crunchy or not crunchy at all.

The taste itself is not bad, and they small and sturdy enough to carry around for emergency carbs.

Will I throw them out? No, I'll probably finish the box.

Would I buy them again? Probably not.

There you have it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Glutino Vegetable and EngerG Crackers

My 100th post (woo!) will be about crackers.

There has been a cracker drought at my house lately because I'm too lazy to go to the store. My awesome sister got me a Whole Foods gift card for my birthday, so I figured it was time to stock up a little. I got some Vans blueberry waffles, some Glutino sesame bagels, and these crackers. It will be my first time to try all of these products, and I'm excited!

The Glutino Vegetable Crackers were 4.99, but are 3.99 on this website.
The EngerG crackers were 3.99 but are 4.65 on the website.
The Vans Blueberry waffles were 3.19 but are 3.59 on this website.
And the Glutino Sesame Bagels were 5.69 but are 6.99 on this website. I plan to use these for sandwiches.

I tore into the Glutino crackers as soon as I got into the car. I was expecting them to be a tad buttery, but they aren't. You can really taste the spices in the cracker. It tastes almost like a pizza flavor, but without that tangy tomato. They are flaky and have the same texture as the original flavor. These crackers would be FAB with a cream cheese spread or even tuna salad. I will definitely be buying them again.

The EngerG crackers come in a flat square. The picture's a little fuzzy but I needed to hurry because my camera batteries were dying. The texture of these crackers is a little more dense and less flaky. They're thinner, and have kind of a crunchy texture. They almost taste like sesame, but there isn't any mentioned in the ingredients. They are kinda blah, which makes them a good cracker to pair with cheese. I don't know if I'll buy these again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I ~have~ been cooking. The semester is winding down and I've got a more relaxed schedule. But the darn internet has been fritzy. I've got teff muffins, cornbread muffins and hot cocoa on the back burner, soon to be posted.

This is the scene that has been happening a lot lately: My mom is making a large salad in the kitchen. I head straight for the cookies. It's that time of year. (Who am I kidding? It's that time of year all year long)

It's tradition for me to make sugar cookies every year for Christmas. They're time-consuming, but they're my absolute favorite, and I get them only once a year. I eat until I'm just Sick, then wait for next year.

gluten free sugar cookies icedHere's how you make these:

1 c. softened butter
a little more than 1/3 c. powdered sugar
a little more than 1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour mix (with xanthan gum)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Cream the butter & sugar, then mix in the egg & vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients separately, then add them to the wet ingredients. Refrigerate the dough for a while. I put mine in small batches in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.

Roll the dough on a GF floured surface. I prefer sweet rice flour. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake them for ~10 minutes, or until the edges are just barely turning brown.

Let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool before icing.

To make the icing, I use:

4 T. crisco
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. water
few shakes of salt to cut down on the sweetness
~4 c. powdered sugar

Mix that up until it's creamy and ice away!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Cheesecake

gluten free graham cracker crust cheesecakeI'm 24, you guys. A whole entire box of birthday candles.

Sorry for the crappy picture. The cheesecake got a little mangled coming out of the pan.

What a better birthday dinner than GF pizza and cheesecake? (and wine...)

We ordered pizza and bought some frozen cheesecake for my GLUTEN-EATING guests, but I got many compliments on the GF fare.

The pizza got rave reviews. My mom used my grandma's sauce recipe. Yum.

Everyone liked the GF cheesecake, and hardly touched the other ones. In fact, Missy said she doesn't normally like crusts, but loved this one.

Why is that?

Because I made a graham cracker crust. Oh man. It was good.

I made an extra large batch of graham crackers last time, and I had some to make this crust.

Take about 1 1/2 cups of them crushed, added 1 T sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix that up and press it with your hands into the bottom of a pie pan. Place it in the fridge while you mix up the filling, then bake away.

I had a can of cherry pie filling to spoon on top, but to be honest, I think I liked it better plain.
It's just that good.