Monday, December 21, 2009
I was looking through some old cookbooks of my mom's and I found this recipe written on a piece of paper. It looked very simple, so I tried it out. It reminds me of a dutch baby, and has a flavor that is reminiscent of french toast. I really like it, and I'll probably be making it again.
1/3 c. flour (a mixture of corn starch, sorghum, and brown rice flour, a little of each just kinda spooned into the measuring cup)
pinch of xanthan gum
1/3 c. milk
1/2 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
Whisk the eggs, sugar, salt, and milk together, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Pour it into a greased 8-inch pan and bake it at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until it's slightly brown on the edges and done all the way through.
Top it with powdered sugar. (I used syrup as well)
Makes 1 big pancake, enough for 1 person if that's all you're eating, or 2 people if you're eating other stuff with it.
I think it might be neat to try making it savory, with cheese or something.
P.S. Make sure you grease the pan really well because mine stuck.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Hey, I'm alive! It's been a while since I've posted. Semester 1 of CLS school is DONE! I gotta say, it was a lot harder than I thought it'd be, but I did it. (As a matter of fact, I did quite well.) Now that we get a break, I get to get back into the kitchen (and catch up on sleep). Hopefully I come out with something tasty.
Since I -am- a student and therefore broke, I plan on charming my friends with delicious baked GF goods and a few other homemade items that I can't post yet- otherwhise they'll know what they're getting for Christmas... if anyone reads this blog anymore, haha.
I really wanted cinnamon rolls this morning but I was too lazy to make them. They are a little bit of extra work, but when I actually get to doing it, it's not that bad. It's the getting started part that's always hard.
Muffins seemed easier, but my sweet tooth was aching. Easy solution? Throw in some chocolate chips. I figured I'd go easy on the chocolate, but if you're feeling it, add as much as you want. They're pretty yummy.
Chocolate Chip Muffins
1/4 c. milk, non-dairy milk, or water
2 T. oil (or applesauce)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. corn starch
1/3 c. sorghum flour
1/4 t. xanthan gum
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1/4- 1/3 c. chocolate chips
Beat the egg in a bowl, and mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix them into the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean, they're done.
Makes 5-6 muffins.
-Really good with a cup of coffee, a purring kitten, and a magazine that has nothing to do with hematology or chemistry :o)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Surprisingly, I like them. They aren't as dry as their regular waffles and they toast up perfectly. I will probably get these again.
I also picked up a couple packets of Road's End Organic Vegan Golden Gravy mix.
I know, I know. Gravy from a mix. I was a big "gravy from a mix" kind of girl before Celiac, so I was really interested and excited because it's hard to find any that are gluten free.
It mixed up pretty simple and quick. I don't think I liked it very much, though. It was very heavy on the garlic. I think I might use this to thicken sauces or add flavor, but I won't make it as straight gravy; it was just a little too much.
I also found instant oatmeal from Gluten Freeda. Instant oatmeal! Two years ago I never would have thought that instant oatmeal would be a novelty. I tried the variety pack.
I like this stuff a lot, especially because it's quick and nutritious in the morning. I added extra flaxseed meal and almonds to get a little extra out of it. I wasn't a huge fan of the banana flavor, but I have an idea to add it to banana nut muffins that I think will work really well.
The man insisted that I get Gillian's Garlic Croutons.
I have to say, it's been a long time since I've eaten a crouton. I think they're pretty tasty and it was a nice treat. Since croutons are only easy to make if I've made bread and I've kinda given up on that for a while, these were very convenient and I might actually buy them again.
So, I had a very fun time trying out all these new-to-me products.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This is what I chose for my birthday cake this year. 25, you guys! Ack! I feel like I should "feel" like more of a grown up than I do. I don't feel like an adult at all... except when I pay bills but that's no fun.
Anyway, I was browsing through blogs and I came across this cake at Gluten Free is Life and I HAD to make it.
I'm so, SO glad I did. We used the recipe here, but substituted Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate cake mix and Kinni-toos. My mom was amazing and went to 4 different stores to find the mixes. This is the first time I've tried the chocolate cake mix, and I really like it. I will definitely be buying it again.
The cake didn't look exactly like the one on Kraft's website, but it tasted freaking awesome. Not even gluten free at ALL. People were asking for the recipe, and today I was craving it all day through class.
A crowd-pleaser and a must-make.
P.S. Over Thanksgiving I went to this store in College Station that had a bunch of neat GF items, and I've been dying to do reviews but I'm so busy with the end of the semester. Gah! Soon.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
This was my first time making a pumpkin pie, and it was suprisingly simple. The recipe is from the back of the can and it comes out perfect. I had it for a midnight snack last night, and breakfast this morning. It's just soooo good.
As far as pies go, it's one of the better ones for you. Pumpkin by itself is low in calories, high in fiber, and high in Vitamin A. I used evaporated filled milk, which adds a little extra vitamins. If you used a sugar substitute, it would make it even better for you. Oh, the possibilities.
If it would only stay cold here, I would be totally into the fall experience. Seriously, it needs to get cold.
I used Libby's canned pumpkin, and like I said the pie recipe is from the can.
Preheat your oven to 425.
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/8 t. xanthan gum
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. melted butter (I used smart balance)
Mix everything up and press it into a 9-inch pie pan. I don't have one so I used an 8-inch round cake pan with great results. Stick it in the preheating oven while you mix up the filling; about 5 minutes.
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves (I used 1/8)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed!)
Beat the eggs. Stir in the sugars, spices, and the pumpkin. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust, and bake it at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 and bake it for 40-50 minutes or until a kife inserted near center is clean. Cool to room temperature and then stick it in the fridge.
Waiting for this to cool down was torture, but I did it. When I served a bite to The Man, he said, "Oh, you're taking this to Thanksgiving." Was I beaming? You bet I was. So anyway, here's a classic pumpkin pie recipe, made gluten free and good enough to serve to gluten-eating guests.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
In anticipation of the cool air coming tonight, I decided to make something cozy. A quick trip to the pantry revealed some garlic cloves and a lonely potato. 30 minutes later, potato soup was simmering on the stove and smelling very, very good. And cozy.
It's quick, cheap, and it's a one-pot meal so that means less dishes for me. Yay!
1 potato, cut into cubes. Peeled or not is your choice. I go 50/50.
1 T. butter
1 c. milk (cream works too if you like it extra rich)
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 t. ground pepper
1/4 t. salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 t. chicken bouillon (gluten free)
1 T. parsley
1/2 T. potato flour (not starch)
Boil the potato pieces in water until they're soft but not quite falling apart. Pour as much water off as you can. Place the pot back on the burner to boil the rest of the water off.
Turn the heat to low-med. Stir in the butter until it's melted, mashing the potatoes a little bit. Leave them as chunky as you like.
Stir in the milk, cheese, pepper, garlic, bouillon, and parsley. Once it's heated, stir in the potato flour bit-by-bit to thicken it up. Don't stir it in too fast or it will clump. Just sprinkle the top, stir it in, and repeat.
Serve it with cheese, parsley, chives, and sour cream.
Friday, October 30, 2009
It's been a long, tiring... month. I needed to bake something, STAT. I thought sugar cookies would be a great thing to make for the pumpkin carving party I'm throwing tomorrow.
I borrowed this recipe from my man Alton Brown, sort of.
These cookies are not too sweet. They're made to be paired with icing to get that right amount of sweetness. Everyone said these tasted like the soft iced sugar cookies you get at Walmart, if that means anything to you. Bottom line, they're pretty good.
1 c. white rice flour
1 c. millet flour (or more white rice flour, sorghum, etc.)
1/2 c. corn starch
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. butter, softened (I used Smart Balance 50/50)
1/3 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Mix the flours, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum in a bowl. In a separate bowl cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. It should be creamy and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients until it forms a soft dough. If you want to roll these out, you will need to refrigerate the dough for a few hours. It rolls out well on a powdered sugar surface to keep it from sticking.
I didn't have cookie cutters and it got really old trying to carve pumpkins freehand with a knife, so I rolled them into balls and made them old school. If they're chilled, they won't spread much at all, and if they're room temp they only spread a little.
Bake them at 375 for about 5 minutes, or until the middles look set.
I'm thinking the rest of the snack-y menu will include spiced (and spiked!) apple cider, a ham & cheese tray with crackers (and bread for everyone else), and chex mix. And as soon as we have carved pumpkins, I'm thinking toasted pumpkin seeds. Mmm.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Everyone loves puppy chow, aka: the Chex Muddy Buddies. Seriously, I've never had anyone turn it down.
It's fast and easy. The hard part is not eating the entire batch all at once. Around the holidays, package some up real cute and it makes a great little gift or party favor.
The link above is to the recipe, and you can find it on the box of Rice Chex, but I'll re-post it here:
Chex Muddy Buddies
9 c. rice chex
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
|Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.|
|In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla.|
Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
|Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.|
That's all it takes!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thanks to my "little" brother Luke for picking the name. I say "little" because even though he's 8 years younger than me, he's much, much taller than me. And you can see he's eating some gluten free Fritos as a snack. :o)
I had hoped to include a new recipe with this post, but I am feeling a tad under the weather today. Gluten? Probably, but I'm not 100% sure.
All I know is, I'm glad white rice, applesauce, and rice cakes are GF.
What else do ya'll eat when you're feeling icky?
Monday, October 5, 2009
I was kinda tired and grouchy this morning, but then I was pretty darn excited to receive this Simple Joys prizepack from MyBlogSpark. (Seriously, go join!)
The first thing I noticed was the packages of fruit snacks had 'Gluten Free' right on the package. Horray for no guesswork! The treats included Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll Ups, and these neat "Build a Bug" fruit snacks. TOO cute.
I loved the gushers. They remind me of when I was a kid and mom would bring them home as a special treat. Of course we'd gobble them up in 5 minutes.
I remember everyone would also have a fruit roll up packed in their lunches at the lunch table, and we'd always wrap them around our fingers and suck on them until they were just slobbery disgusting messes. But when you're a kid, that doesn't matter.
So yeah, these packages totally brought me back.
It also came with some toys: a yo yo, a pickup stick game, and a frisbee. I immediately tried the yo yo, and to my surprise I didn't suck too bad- I could actually bring it all the way back up!
I've never tried pick up stick; thank goodness that comes with instructions. And right now I'm wishing I had someone around to play frisbee with.
This package was too much fun.
Also, one person will get a prize pack!! Yay!
It includes 2 packages of Betty Crocker fruit-flavored snacks, a retro Pick 'em up Sticks game, a light up yo yo, and a classic frisbee. This fall weather is perfect for tossing a frisbee around. When's the last time you played with a yo-yo? I'm telling you, it just takes a few minutes and you're instantly in a better mood.
To enter to win, just leave a comment with your favorite Simple Joys. I really want to hear them! You have until Friday to enter. Good luck!
Friday, September 25, 2009
I haven't been posting much lately. To quote my friend and classmate, the CLS program is "mental boot camp." I've been getting used to a new schedule, and I've been studying constantly. It's utterly exhausting, but I'm loving it. It seems like a lot of the regular blogs I read have been posting less often, too. I guess it's a busy time!
I have been feeding myself, but it's been super-quick standbys and I haven't created anything new.
Tonight, I don't really have a breather, but I decided to make one. With that, came tapioca pudding. This is the recipe on the box, but modified a bit. I like that you don't have to temper the egg, and it gives me a reason to stand still without doing anything. Did I pull up a stool to the stove and zone out for a few minutes while stirring? Yes. :o) Then I enjoyed some pudding.
3 1/2 T. Minute Tapioca (I used Kraft)
1/4 c. sugar (The recipe called for 1/3, but I'm slowly trying to cut sugar and get used to eating less-sweet treats.)
dash of salt
2 1/2 c. milk (I used regular milk, because I'm out of dairy-free stuff. If you try it dairy free, let me know how it works out.)
1 egg, beaten well.
1 t. vanilla
Combine the milk, tapioca, sugar, salt, and egg in a pan. Let it sit for 5 minutes on low heat. Then, heat it up on medium heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, until it boils steadily. Take it off of the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let it cool. Stir in a dash of cinnamon. It will thicken as it cools, and you can eat it warm or cold.
Back to the books. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I love the weekends. It means I get to wake up late, lounge around in my pjs, and have time to fix a decent breakfast that can be savored. Big contrast from a weekday, which consists of too many pushes of the snooze button, dragging myself out of bed, and grabbing something quick to eat on my way out the door. Eating dry cereal from a baggie and drinking coffee while driving is not exactly the breakfast of champions, but it works. I need to become a morning person...
Anyway. Back to this delicious breakfast. Baked oatmeal is like regular microwave oatmeal's fun older sister. It's got a little more to it, both taste and texture-wise. The form is different. When you take it out of the pan, it's got some shape, but you couldn't just grab it and eat it like a granola bar. (Can you tell the gears are already turning to try and make it happen?)
Serve it topped with warm milk, fresh berries & cream, straight up, or however else you like it. You can also add fruit & nuts to the batter if it floats your boat. I'm thinking slivered almonds would be awesome.
1 c. GF oats
1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
cinnamon (to taste)
3/4 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
1/3 c. water (or milk)
2 T. oil (or melted butter)
1/2 t. vanilla
ground flaxseeds (optional)
Beat the egg, then stir in the water, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Mix the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the oats mixture to the egg mixture, and stir it all together. Sprinkle flaxseed meal over the top, if desired. Pour it into a 6 to 8-inch pan or individual ramekins. Bake at 350 until the edges start to brown and the middle is set. This is 10-15 minutes for the pan, 5-10 for the ramekins.
Makes 1-2 servings.
Hope ya'll have a good weekend!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I felt like I needed something a little indulgent this evening after a long day in the lab. It's fun and exactly what I want to be doing, but learning this much so quickly is a tad exhausting.
These really hit the spot.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Someone came home with McDonald's and the smell of greasy french fried potato goodness was mouthwatering. I had to have french fries.
I personally love the thick-cut steak fries with the skins still on. Oh, yum.
Of course, they're easy to make. Just clean a potato, then cut it into strips. (If I'm in a hurry I like to stick them in the microwave for a minute so they'll cook quicker.)
Then, line a cookie sheet with tin foil for easy cleanup. Spray cooking spray liberally on the pan, place the fries on the sheet, and spray a little more. They will stick badly without some kind of lubrication.
Put them into a hot oven, about 400-450 degrees, for about 10-15 minutes or until they're... well, french fries. Sprinkle them with salt, let them cool, and don't feel bad for a minute that you don't get to eat McDonald's fries.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This post is brought to you by 123 Gluten Free: Meredith's Marvelous muffin/ quickbread mix. Chris was buying some of those manly protein powder things online, and the website he was using carried these. Being awesome, he added this to his order. Then, for weeks he teased me by saying he had a surprise for me but he didn't have it yet. Gah the suspense!
When it finally arrived, it was in the middle of a very busy week so the package sat on my counter. This morning was very un-busy and there just happened to be a huge thing of blueberries in the fridge, so I decided to try it.
There are directions for both banana bread and blueberry muffins on the package, with online instructions for pumpkin, carrot, or zucchini bread.
I deviated from the directions a bit. I didn't have 1/2 c. butter, so I used about 1/4 c. butter, and filled in the rest with sunflower oil and applesauce. I also didn't use milk. I used water instead.
The package directions say to bake for 2o minutes, but mine got a little brown. If you make these, check them at around 15.
How was the muffin? Good texture and overall flavor, but I felt it was missing something. They tasted just a tad bland. I think using orange juice in place of the milk would yield more flavor, and I think the recipe could have used a tad more blueberries than the 1 1/4 c. called for.
Would I finish the batch? Definitely, and I'd even share them with company. That's the real test of a recipe, you know.
Would I purchase the mix again? Probably not, but only because it's so easy to make muffins from scratch.
It's a good quality product, and I'd recommend it to beginners or people who don't like making muffins from scratch.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I don't always like to post recipes. Some times I post what I'm snacking on. We tend to eat the same old things, and I love when I see these types of things on other blogs. Gives me inspiration.
Back to studying!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
For years, my favorite thing at Panera was their pumpkin "muffies." It's a cross between a muffin and a cookie. Genuis. It's like they took a muffin and lopped off the top.
I was recently at Panera (by the way their classic salad is awesome) and I saw them in the case staring at me. Of course, when I start craving something like that, it's off to the kitchen to recreate it. These were soo easy and smell so wonderful- like fall. Using honey for some of the sugar would probably give them a more complex flavor (I know, I'm talking about complex flavor in muffins...) and make them a little moister. These were by no means dry, unless you get distracted and let them bake too long. They're still yummy if that happens.
1/3 c. millet flour
1/3 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. corn starch
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. applesauce
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
1/8 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
dash of ginger
Mix the dry ingredients together well. In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients to a slightly beaten egg and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix them up well. Let the batter sit there a minute before you start spooning it onto a greased cookie sheet. It will be like making really wet cookies. They will spread out on the sheet, but they won't spread much in the oven. Bake them at 350 for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, and try not to eat them all at once. It makes about a dozen muffies, or probably about 6 muffins.
*As you can see by the picture, my muffies are not as puffy as the ones at Panera. I think the only way to achieve that is to bake them in rings, but if you're going through that much trouble you might as well make muffins. Either way, we get a tasty treat so we win. :o)
**Note: Check the comments for a different version that might be a little better.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
When I want something hearty and healthy in a hurry, I make vegetable soup. It freezes well, so it's easy to make a big batch and freeze individual portions for instant meals.
This isn't really a recipe, but more of a guide:
-Start with the tomato base: Mix equal parts broth with tomato juice.
Of course, this is flexible. Whether using chicken broth or vegetable broth: Make sure it's GF. Sneaky source of hidden gluten. Tomato paste or sauce may also be used. Or, leftover spaghetti sauce.
-Add in leftover, cooked, canned, or frozen veggies.
Beans and cooked rice or quinoa can also be thrown in. This is a great time to clean out the fridge!
-Season with salt, pepper, oregano, fresh minced garlic, and parsley
That's it. Suddenly you have soup. I like to pair it with cornbread, crackers, or grilled cheese.
So, freeze a big batch and cross your fingers another Hurricane Ike doesn't happen and ruin the freezer full of food!
Friday, August 14, 2009
It's really good though!
Iced coffee is super easy to make. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than getting one at a coffee shop, and it tastes just as good.
Start with a glass of ice and your favorite creamer or milk, soymilk, rice milk, whatever. I like to use the flavored ones.
Brew a pot of coffee 1 1/2 to 2 times normal strength.
Pour it over ice, add cream and sugar to taste, and stir.
See? Easy! And I didn't pay three bucks for it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I got home, settled into my couch, and pulled out the cookies. I read the box first: America's First Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies, 55 calories per cookie, dairy free, 11 grams of whole grains per serving. Not bad.
They come 10 soft cookies to a box. They taste great, and I promplty downed 165 calories. There is something about these cookies. They taste and smell like some treat I used to eat when I was a kid, but I can't quite place it. It's gunna drive me nuts trying to figure it out.
Would I finish the box? Yes
Would I buy them again? Maybe. They were tasty, but because GF oats are expensive, the box was $5. I could make my own for less money.
Glenny's also makes gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
It was so nice and cold, with chewy noodles, tender tuna, crisp peas, and just enough mayo to bring it all together. It was perfect with some green iced tea.
And also, since my mind is gearing in that direction, it would be a great take-to-school lunch.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The start of another semester is approaching very quickly. I'm getting emails about orientations and tb tests, parking, and library orientation. I'm calling the financial aid office trying not to sound panicked, like every year. Ah, the sounds of late summer. I'm excited about the new surroundings, the new people, and the new routine.
With the start of another semester comes the challenge of feeding myself. These past *cough* six *cough* or so years of undergrad have started no earlier than 10am if I could help it, but I will be expected to be downtown, parked, and in class or lab ready to go at 7 or 8am. I am going to do my best, but I have a feeling there will be many snooze buttons and many rushed mornings for this confirmed non-morning-person.
I absolutely can not go without breakfast, so I'm focusing on portable options to eat quickly, or while sitting in traffic (if need be).
One of these creations has been greatly aided by my recent discovery that Whole Foods carries gluten free oats again. Oh, happy day! I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast every day since, and it has been wonderful. Oh, and for the record I prefer the Gluten Free Oats brand over Bob's Red Mill. They have a much better texture.
This morning I created these breakfasty cookies. They're hearty, versatile, healthy, and very portable. I like to leave mine in the oven a little longer at a little lower heat so that the edges get crispy and carmelized. Try them!
Healthy Breakfast Cookies
2 T. unsweetened applesauce
1 T. molasses
1 1/2 T. agave
1/2 t. xanthan gum
3/4 t. cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
heaping 3/4 c. gluten free oats
1/4 c. flaxseed meal
Preheat the oven to 350. Wisk everything but the oats and flax in a bowl. Stir in the oats and flax, and spoon the dough onto a greased cookie sheet. They don't really spread, so make them as big or as small as you want, and flatten them down a little. Bake them for 8-10 minutes, or longer if you like them firmer.
Makes about 8 cookies, depending on how big you make them.
I'm happy with the basic recipe. I'm going to try adding nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, dried fruit, and different flavorings like cardamom, vanilla, cocoa, peanut butter, banana, and pumpkin.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I feel lame posting a "recipe" for tea, but it's sooo good and refreshing, and good for you with all the antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin c. It's naturally sweet, and the tea gives it a slight bite.
To make it, boil 4 cups of water, and add it to a pitcher that contains 4 or 5 green tea bags. Let it steep for a while, so the tea brews good and strong. Add 2 cups of 100% juice (I used Juicy Juice Berry). Let it cool and stir before you serve it over ice.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I've said it here before, but I am the weird girl who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies. Strange, though, that I've been craving them for a few weeks.
I used a little less sugar than I normally would, because I used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. They turned out better than I expected. The first batch out of the oven were scarfed down before the second batch could be put in. Thankfully, I did not do the scarfing by myself. I had some help from my mom, brother, and sister, who gave them the thumbs up and keep coming back for more.
You can just barely taste the vanilla in the cookie, and the chocolate taste is there but not overwhelming. By using less sugar, the individual flavors are much more detectable. I think these are the best chocolate chip cookies I've made. If they were made with butter, I'd imagine the flavor would be enhanced even more, but I decided to stick with shortening this time.
They are actually better the next day- if any last that long!
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. sorghum flour
scant 1/4 c. sweet rice flour
1/4 c. corn starch
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. baking soda
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 t. vanilla
2/3 c. chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350.
Using a hand mixer, mix the shortening and brown sugar until all the sugar is moistened and the lumps of shortening are gone. It won't cream like normal, because there is less shortening in these cookies.
Add the egg and vanilla, and mix it well until the mixture looks uniform.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix them together, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Place balls of dough on a greased cookie sheet. These cookies do not spread at all. They will pretty much come out exactly how they were placed on the sheet, so flatten them down a little before baking. Bake them for 8-10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and the tops are set.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.
Oh, check out the cute platter I painted at the Mad Potter. I didn't create the goofy cupcake; my sister Suzy did. I just took her drawing with me and copied it. She also drew the "Evil Wheat" over on the sidebar. She's got more talent than I do when it comes to drawing random things!
Monday, August 3, 2009
First, I found gluten free oats! Yay, they're back! It has been a very long time since I've had any, because our local distributor stopped shipping them or something. I am very glad they're back. I am eager to try this new brand, because all I've tried are Bob's Red Mill, and they sometimes had random hard pieces throughout the soft oatmeal. I guess they were part of the oat plant or something, but it was very disturbing getting something hard in your oatmeal. In my head I was paranoid they were bugs or something, and it kinda ruined it for me.
Second, they were out of potato starch. What a strange thing to run out of.
Third, I got some of that Key Lime Purely Decadent dairy free ice cream. For some reason they've been out every time I've gone looking. But today, the dairy free ice cream gods were on my side. They were on sale. Plus, I had a coupon.
So how was this long-awaited ice cream? Disappointing.
After my first bite, I noticed that it had that same, too-sweet taste to it that the cookie dough flavor had. There are brown sugar/ cinnamonish swirls that are good, but are a bit overkill in some bites, and non-existent in other bites. There are also random huge balls of 'graham cracker.' Can't decide if those were good or bad.
That all would have been forgiveable if the key lime flavor was pronounced at all. I was hoping for a great, tart lime flavor, but I could barely taste the lime part! It seemed like the sweetness completely overpowered the individual flavors and all you could taste was sweet.
I could have gone with a sherbert or sorbet, sprinkled some graham cracker crumbs in it, and gotten a way better key lime pie flavor.
This is not to say that overall, the ice cream doesn't have a pleasant taste and texture. I am just very disappointed with the execution and was expecting something very different. I will probably finish the rest of it here and there, but won't buy it again.
Man, I hate to end on a bad note here.
I think I'm going to have chips & salsa for dinner. :o)
*A quick word about Kolaches. The traditional description for a kolache is fruit-or-seed-filled sweet pastry. The technical word for this meat-filled kind of kolache is klobasnek, according to Wikipedia. However, I've never heard of it and the popular word around here is kolache. Also, kolaches aren't sold everywhere. On last year's trip to California, we asked for kolaches at a donut shop and the lady looked at us funny. They're pretty ubiquitous in Houston.
If you've never heard of it, it's pretty much a dinner roll filled with meat and/or cheese. They're sold in the donut shop and we normally eat them for breakfast.
This morning my Tony mentioned how he wanted kolaches for breakfast, and I felt ambitious enough to make them.
Ideally, the bread surrounding the filling should be very soft. Mine didn't turn out quite right. They were much closer to the texture of a hot pocket. I think next time I'll try using more starch and less brown rice flour. Regardless, they turned out very tasty.
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
1/2 c. potato starch/ corn starch
1 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 T. yeast
a little more than 1/2 c. rice milk
1 T. oil (I used sunflower)
1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 375. Proof the yeast while you mix the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the oil & egg, and add the yeast mixture. Mix it all up into a dough.
Using floured hands, create balls of dough and flatten them down. Place your choice of meat (I used ham and cheese, but sausage is very popular) in the middle, and fold the dough around it. Make sure it's all covered, or the cheese will melt out while they're baking. Place the kolache folded side down in a greased pan. A 9 inch round worked well for me.
Once they're all filled, let them rise, then bake them for 15 minutes.
Best enjoyed with coffee and orange juice. :o)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
There was a time when America loved its staple crops. We once stood proud among the amber waves of grain. Now we're running from them.
The case against corn—and corn-based sweeteners—has been made with such vigor that some sensitive souls won't even buy fresh ears at the farmers market. These days, health-conscious consumers are just as wary of gluten—a dietary bogeyman found in wheat (as well as barley and rye) that turns up in a startling array of foodstuffs. According to a report from the market-research group Packaged Facts, sales of gluten-free products in the United States have grown by an average of 28 percent over the past five years and will soon be worth $2.6 billion. In May, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC's The View, went on a bread-bashing publicity blitz for her best-selling new book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide. Even America's pastime has turned its back on wheat: Last week, Coors Field introduced the first gluten-free concession stand in Major League Baseball.
The lavishing of attention on wheat alternatives is wonderful news to the sufferers of celiac disease, for whom any amount of dietary gluten can inflame and destroy the lining of the small intestine. (The human gut can't fully process gluten. At best, it's converted into a set of indigestible protein fragments that pass uneventfully through the gastrointestinal tract. If you've got celiac disease, these fragments set off a damaging immune response.) This can show up as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rash, anemia, fatigue, or osteoporosis—and the long-term prognosis isn't so good, either: Celiac patients have almost twice the normal risk of cancer, and one-third of them suffer from another autoimmune disease, like Type 1 diabetes, lupus, or multiple sclerosis. (They may also be susceptible to schizophrenia.) As far as we know, the only way for people with celiac to stave off these dangers is to eliminate gluten from their diets—entirely and without exception—for the rest of their lives.
But diagnosed celiacs only account for a small fraction of the bloated and still-expanding market for gluten-free products. (In total, the disease affects just 0.75 percent of the population.) The remainder are those consumers who believe, for one reason or another, that gluten is hurting them, too. According to Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland and a leading expert on the disease, almost half the people who show up at his clinic are on the gluten-free diet before they've even been tested for celiac. For every patient whose intestinal biopsy turns up positive, he says, nine or 10 more test clean but commit to going G-free all the same.These patients are described as having "gluten intolerance," a nebulous condition that amounts to something like celiac-lite: They feel pain or discomfort after eating wheat, rye, or barley but lack the hallmark signs of intestinal deterioration. The notion that you can have the symptoms of celiac but not the full-blown disorder is based on the idea, first proposed in 1992, that a person's reaction to gluten can be plotted along a sensitivity spectrum—with celiac patients falling at the most vulnerable extreme. Since there's no way to "prove" a case of gluten-intolerance in the lab, the diagnostic criteria are rather lax. To qualify for the condition, you need only discover (with or without medical supervision) that going "G-free" makes you feel better—in body or mind or spirit.
I'm all for people eating what they want, but lately I've started to wonder how gluten intolerance might relate to a more general anxiety about food. The mere fact that someone who cuts out gluten feels better doesn't mean that he has an autoimmune disease or a wheat allergy or some other medical condition. Any kind of restrictive diet can help alleviate gastrointestinal distress. If you're paying more attention to what you eat, there's a good chance your symptoms will lessen. That's not because gluten or red meat or another food is damaging your small intestine; it's because eating less makes it easier for your gut to recover. Then there's the placebo effect of starting any treatment, which might well address some of the more abstract symptoms of gluten intolerance, like fatigue, mood swings, and depression.
The health benefits of a gluten-free diet might also be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. It's well-known that our digestive system adapts its secretions (rather quickly) to whatever we're eating. A prolonged stint on the Atkins diet, for example, can make it harder to digest starchy foods. According to a 2006 study in Journal of the Pancreas, a colony of lab rats subsisting on low-carb, high-fat food pellets ended up with less pancreatic α-amylase, an enzyme that helps break down complex carbohydrates. Now imagine that you've cut out gluten from your diet completely—that means no bread, no cereal, no wheat whatsoever. Chances are you'll have reduced your total intake of carbs, and thus the amount of α-amylase in your gut. In other words, the mere fact of being on a gluten-free diet could make you more sensitive to grains and cereals—which would only reinforce your conviction that you're gluten-intolerant. Slip up for even one meal, and you'll pay the price with indigestion. (Same goes for people who don't eat meat or dairy: A momentary lapse can yield a nasty stomachache.)
The fact that "going G-free" means eating fewer cupcakes and less pasta suggests another source of relief. It is, after all, an elaborate diet—and so delivers all the psychological benefits of controlled eating and self-denial. "Once G-free, you are no longer simply robot-eating bag after bag of pretzels," writes Hasselbeck, in a chapter of her book titled "G-Free and Slim as Can Be!" Gluten intolerance may be a medical condition, but according to Hasselbeck, it's also an approach to eating—like South Beach or Skinny Bitch—that's supposed to make you lose weight and feel good about your body.Is it a coincidence that the specter of gluten intolerance only emerged in the midst of the low-carb bonanza? In the accompanying graph, I've charted the rate at which major newspapers mentioned "gluten intolerance" or "gluten sensitivity" over the past two decades and compared it with the rate at which they mentioned the "Atkins diet."
Both pop-culture trends began to surface about 10 years ago; the Atkins diet peaked in 2004, and gluten intolerance followed a year or two later.
The concurrent rise of the low-carb craze and the anti-gluten movement merely reflects the latest nutritional wisdom. A similar pattern emerged back in the 1990s, when the main dietary villains were saturated fat and cholesterol. The dietary fad of that era was the olive-oil-soaked "Mediterranean diet" and a reduced intake of meat and dairy. As doctors and dieticians urged us away from butter and ice cream, we started to become more aware of how hard it was to digest these unhealthy foods—nutritional advice became a medical problem. The second graph shows how newspaper mentions of "lactose intolerance" and "lactose sensitivity" track mentions of the "Mediterranean diet," with interest in both phenomena peaking around 1995.
I'm not suggesting that anyone who avoids gluten is secretly trying to lose weight. The purpose of a gluten-free diet is, naturally, to feel better. But there's a complicated relationship between feeling good and eating less. When a restrictive diet becomes an end in itself, we call it an eating disorder; when it's motivated by health concerns, we call it a lifestyle. That's why Hasselbeck says going G-free will make you slim (a sign of wellness) rather than skinny (a symptom of anorexia). It might also explain the relationship between food sensitivities and fad diets: People who are intolerant of gluten or lactose get a free pass for self-denial.
All this raises an important question: So what? Why is it anyone's business if some fraction of the market for gluten-free products has no particular sensitivity to wheat, barley or rye? Can't they just enjoy being G-free? I asked Alessio Fasano whether there would be any downside to jumping on the no-gluten bandwagon. "Gluten is useless," he said. "It's an intervention with no side effects, no complications. The most dangerous consequence of a gluten-free diet is the expense." (As an erstwhile Neapolitan, he did seem disturbed that people might be giving up pizza without legitimate medical reasons. "It's their fault," he said after thinking it over. "They can do what they want.")
Not every doctor agrees with Fasano. While it's certainly true we don't need gluten to thrive, the G-free lifestyle does introduce its own problems. A June advisory from the Harvard Medical School warns that packaged, gluten-free products may provide less fiber and fewer nutrients than standard supermarket options. And a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that gluten-free diets could hamper the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
More worrisome is the fact that adhering to a gluten-free diet creates its own set of anxieties. To eliminate all wheat products from your diet is an incredibly ambitious endeavor. Web sites devoted to the topic are choked with warnings: Steer clear of oats, which might contain traces of wheat gluten; only buy pre-packaged meat, so as to avoid the contaminated deli-slicer; don't trust the "gluten-free" labels at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods; and so on. These are burden enough for adult celiac patients, but imagine the stakes for all those worried parents who have come to believe (without good scientific evidence) that dietary gluten has something to do with autism.
Then there are the more abstract costs of an unnecessary gluten-free diet. I won't dwell on the idea that eliminating wheat deprives you or your children of certain culinary pleasures. (Who isn't exquisitely sensitive to the delicious gluten in fresh-baked bread?) Still, it's worth pointing out that the G-free lifestyle can be very annoying—to friends, lovers, work-buddies, and anyone else who might have you over for dinner. For more on this, see Chapter 9 of Hasselbeck's book—"How Not To Be a Party-Pooper." Here's one way to refuse a gluten-laden treat without offending your host: "The drop: If all else fails, you take the cookie and oopsie! You are just so clumsy, it's unforgivable! No, no, you couldn't possibly have another …"
Ironically, the people who may benefit most from the current vogue are those who have been G-free all along. The proliferation of gluten-free products has made life for a full-blown celiac easier than it's ever been, and a greater awareness of gluten-related disorders has more celiac patients getting diagnosed than ever before. (There are still thought to be millions of undiagnosed cases in the United States.) Let's hope those gains aren't erased when the conventional wisdom shifts again and we leave this diet craze behind us.
I could say a lot about this article. Overall, I like it and the message it's sending.
I know that Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book has gotten a lot of scrutiny from the Celiac community, and it seems like people are just jumping on the gluten free bandwagon. To be fair, I haven't read it and don't know if the criticism is justified.
I don't know exactly why, but it bugs me. I think it's because I'm forced to do it, while other people are doing it because it's trendy. Call me bitter, but it's not fair that they can make a big deal out of eating gluten free, then choose to start eating gluten again whenever they get tired of it. [I know, I know. Life's not fair. Bite me.]
I'm not trying to be a Celiac snob- everyone has their reasons for doing what they do. However, I think that gluten free diets have become glorified. It is not easy to follow a gluten free diet while keeping it balanced and healthy. I think that is a common misconception. Honestly, if I wasn't obligated to eat gluten free, I don't see why I'd choose to do it.
One good thing that's coming from the gluten free popularity is all of the new products. Can't complain about that!
My motto: everything in moderation.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
We asked about the gluten free menu, and there were no problems with the waiter knowing what we were talking about. I love that.
Okay, a quick word about the pictures. The restaurant was dark, except for annoying lights right above our heads that were a little too bright for how close they were.
It led to a discussion of why a lot of restaurants are dimly lit. I personally enjoy well-lit rooms and open windows, not just in restaurants but overall. It has always annoyed me and made me feel a little claustrophobic to walk into a dimly lit restaurant. We went through all the restaurants we could think of that are dimly lit, and came up with a lot. Someone must have done a study that shows people order less food in brightly lit restaurants or something. It's ridiculous.
Anyway, so the pictures were taken in horrible lighting, and I had to lighten them up a lot with my very limited photo editing skills. As a result, they are not great pictures. You can click on them for a larger image.
Our waiter was great. When he offered us bread, he acknowledged that it would only be suitable for Chris to eat. I thought it was funny and was delighted to get a waiter who knew what he was talking about. I ordered some kind of steak (I don't remember what kind), the garlic mashed potatoes, and some steamed veggies. It was all very good. I had a taste of the sweet potato side that Chris had, and that was tasty too; they sweetened it a little much for me, given that it's a side dish for a steak, but in a different context it would be perfect.
It was so good, in fact, that when the waiter came to take dessert orders, I was debating whether I had room to eat the Thunder from Down Under Chocolate Cake. He said that they have a small-sized portion, so then I said yes.
It tasted delicious, and I felt so strange eating a piece of chocolate cake in a restaurant. Usually that is forbidden.
Overall, it was a great experience. I didn't have to worry about my food for one second, AND I got dessert. I'd definitely recommend it, and I'd go there again.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Personally, I like to add something sweet, like apple or grapes, and I always add water chestnuts. They add such a nice, different crunch.
This time I added thyme and sunflower seeds, placed a bunch on a bed of spinach, and topped it with cherry tomatoes. Fantastic lunch.
Is there something unexpected or special that you add to your chicken salad?
Friday, July 24, 2009
I've been making these pancakes for years. Developing this recipe took time, and it's so worth it.
When I was 8 or 9 years old, my mom taught me how to make pancakes. It was one of the first things I learned how to cook. The first few came out a little rough, but I soon got the hang of it. I learned to tell that the griddle was ready when a few drops of water danced and sizzled around the pan. I learned the perfect moment to flip them, when the edges were set and little bubbles made their way through and popped in the middle.
So, I've been making pancakes for roughly 15 years. With that many years of pancake-making experience, why did it take me over a year to make a really good gluten free pancake?
Because. Gluten free pancakes are fickle. If you use too much starch, they come out sticky and gummy. If you use too little starch, they come out dense and grainy. If the batter is too thick, they won't cook in the middle. Too thin and you won't be able to flip them without them folding onto themselves. They need the right combination of structure and softness. After many tries, I finally came up with this recipe, and it's solid. They come out right every time.
This recipe yields a fluffy pancake cake with a good depth of flavor. If that sounds strange, just remember I've made a lot of bland gluten free pancake rejects. These kinda remind me of the ones I used to get at IHOP or Denny's, but not so heavy.
1/3 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. sorghum flour
1/3 c. potato starch
1/8 t. xanthan gum
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1 T. oil (I use extra light olive oil)
1 T. honey
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 c. milk
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well with a whisk. You can mix the heck out of these; no worries about tough pancakes because there is no gluten! (Looking on the bright side here)
Preheat a griddle/ pan until water droplets dance around a few seconds before disappearing. (I use a nonstick pan on medium-low)
Ladle in about 1/3 cup of the batter and let it cook until you start seeing bubbles in the middle and the sides are set. Flip, and cook for a few minutes until the center is done.
Yields ~6 pancakes.
P.S. Once you've made them plain, try them with strawberries.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
My sister Suzy just had her gall bladder removed, so she is on a low-fat diet for a while. It also happened to be my other sister Ashley's birthday this weekend. Both Suzy and I eyed the german chocolate birthday cake on the table, unable to take a bite. I found a vegan chocolate recipe here that I've been wanting to try. I've also been trying to cut down on my sugar intake, and decided to go wild and modify it to be low-fat, sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. That's a lot of "frees."
It went okay, I just didn't use enough agave syrup so it was just not sweet enough. It was close, so I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. It helped a little, and turned it into an almost sugar-free cake. The amount of agave I'm putting here is pretty close to what it should be. The cake was very moist, thanks to the applesauce and agave syrup. I'm probably going to make it again.
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/4 c. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. agave nectar
5-6 T. unsweetened applesauce
1 T. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. water
Mix up the dry ingredients, then just plop the wet ingredients in and whisk it all together. Pour it into a 9x9 pan and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until it's done.
I'm trying to figure out an acceptable sugar, dairy, and fat-free frosting, but I'm pretty much getting nowhere with the ingredients I have. I can make it low-fat so Suzy can have some, but I guess frosting is just going to be sugary. It's not really something you eat every day, so that's okay. I did see a neat recipe that uses tofu, but I don't have any and I'm not that concerned about it. If you have any other suggestions, let me know!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Look! We have nooks. We even have crannies!
Gluten free english muffins have arrived! Good ones! Rejoice!
Please forgive the wonky pictures. I am not used to cooking and taking pictures at the same time
I initially was going to use Alton Brown's recipe, because he is just all kinds of awesome. However, I decided to change it up a little.
First thing's first. You don't need fancy pants english muffin rings, or even tuna or pineapple cans. Aluminum foil and paper clips do just fine. Observe:
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
1 1/3 c. water, warmed
1 envelope yeast
1/4 t. sugar
2/3 c. brown rice flour
2/3 c. sorghum flour
2/3 c. potato starch
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. baking powder
Comine the sugar, salt, and oil in a big bowl. Proof the yeast while mixing the rest of the ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour the yeasty water into the big bowl, then mix in the dry ingredients. Stir well to remove lumps. I use a whisk.
This is more like a batter than a dough. Think of it as if you're making a really thick pancake. Same concept.
Let the batter rise for 30 minutes for regular yeast, 10 for rapid-rise. While it's rising, preheat a griddle to 300 degrees, or put a pan on medium low heat.
To make these babies:
Spray cooking spray inside the ring, including the ring itself. You don't want the muffin sticking. It's a pain in the ass to try and remove it if it's not greased. Sprinkle some corn meal inside. It will be bubbling and will smell awesome.
Use a ladle to pour in some batter. Use your discretion for how much, but remember they rise quite a bit. Sprinkle corn meal on top, too. Cover the pan and let them cook for 5-6 minutes. Here's how they look before cooking:
The only thing about english muffins, is they are time-consuming. I have started putting a movie on to watch while I'm waiting. You can also play with your [apparently] attention-starved cat, brush your teeth, change out the laundry, update your facebook status, do the dishes, etc. Just make sure you have a timer going.
Another thing: In-between batches, cover the bowl full of batter. The yeast will continue to rise, and the muffins will get more nookier and crannier. Yum.
Once one side is cooked, flip them. I use a spatula and kinda tilt the pan towards the muffin while I flip. You get the hang of it. They will look kinda like this.
Cover and cook them on the other side for 5-6 minutes. When they're done, remove them from the pan to a cooling rack. The ring should come off easily, ready to use again. Here is the finished product. They look like real english muffins!! The taste and texture are spot-on. So. Good.
I had to make these one-by-one, but if you have the means, go ahead and do it up in bigger batches.
Once they're cool, split them with a fork, not a knife, and enjoy them immensely. This recipe makes about 6 muffins.
Oh, I also found another praise-worthy recipe here at I Am Gluten Free, but have yet to try it.
Regardless of which recipe you use, you HAVE to make these. It's been way too long since you've enjoyed a good english muffin.
See, being gluten free isn't so bad. :o)