Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade BROWNIES!

*warning: this is NOT healthy, but man alive is it delicious! Non-GF'ers I've experimented on have had no idea this is gluten free!!!*


Brownies
Yield: 20 brownies

Dry Ingredients:

1 C white rice flour (or GF All-Purpose flour)
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:
1 C (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 C sugar
4 large eggs
2 t vanilla
(chocolate chips to put on top!)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x13" baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until combined. Add dry ingredients until batter forms. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 min. Remove and allow to cool.

Thank you, Elizabeth Barbone from Easy Gluten-Free Baking!!!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes
Yields: 12-14 pancakes
*doubles well*
2 C. gluten free oats, blended in a blender until flour-like
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 T sugar
2 eggs
1 C. milk (or buttermilk)
1/2 t vanilla
(1/2 C yogurt- OPTIONAL)
Mix all ingredients well. Cook at low heat on skillet.

Thank you, Sarah L.!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Breadsticks

For homemade GF Breadsticks, I use the same Pizza Mix/Dough recipe, enough for (1) "pizza".

1- after pressing into the pan, spray dough with PAM.
2- add preferred seasonings: garlic salt/powder, onion salt/powder, Italian seasonings, etc. At ALDI, they have have a grinder of "Pizza & Pasta Seasoning" that is superb!
3- top with cheese: Mozzerella, Parmesan, Romano, etc.
4- bake at 350F for approx 15 min, or until cheese is melted and browning nicely.

PIZZA!!!

Now here's a subject I am really passionate about!!!

Upon finding out that I was gluten intolerant, this was by far the biggest blow to accept: NO MORE PIZZA!

Or so I thought!

Here's a SUPER EASY recipe for Pizza Dough!

First of all, you start with a mix. This mix is enough dry ingredients for (4) 12" pizzas.

Pizza Mix
2-2/3 C brown rice flour
2 C tapioca flour (or starch)
1/2 C dry milk powder (non-dairy milk powder works fine, too)
4 t xanthan gum
2 t salt
4 t unflavored gelatin powder (just check Jell-0 section at grocer; everyone has it; 1 pkt= 2 t)
4 t Italian seasoning
Mix all together and store in air tight container.

Pizza Crust
*Makes (1) 12" pizza
1-1/3 C pizza mix
1 T dry yeast
2/3 C warm water
1/4 t honey
1 t olive oil
1 t lemon juice
Mix with electric mixer on high speed. Press into a 12" pizza pan (or a 9x13" baking dish).
For thin crust, immediately place dough in 350F preheated oven for approx 5-8 min. Remove, add toppings, and place back in oven for 15-20 min, or until cheese is starting to brown nicely.
For a thicker crust, allow the dough to rise in a warm/non-drafty place for 30-40 min. Then prebake in 350F oven for 5-8 min, remove, add toppings, and bake for 15-20 mins.
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Now, there is definitely a SCIENCE to "pressing the dough into a pizza pan". GF dough almost always is sticky! But I've finally figured out how to beat it into submission!

1- spray pizza pan with non-stick spray, like PAM. If using a pizza pan with the itty bitty holes: spread out aluminum foil on pan and then spray that with PAM.
2- spray the hand you plan on using to "press the dough" with PAM. You may have to do this several times until the dough stops sticking to your hand. Since I'm right handed, I press with my right and have the PAM spray in my left at all times, so I can spray as needed without making a greasy mess.
3- press all the way to the edge and then some so the dough curls up and over the edge of the pie pan. I then curl the dough back onto itself to make a rounded crust (see picture above).

ENJOY!!!

*Note: if wanting to freeze dough for easy pizza making later, let dough thoroughly cool after pre-bake, wrap well in plastic wrap/aluminum foil or large freezer bag, and freeze. When ready to prepare, allow to thaw completely, add toppings, and bake in preheated 350F oven for 15-18 min, or until cheese starts to brown.

**I'd also like to give credit where credit is due for the origin of this recipe, but I do not know the title or the author of the cookbook this was printed from. What I am using is a photocopy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I don't care WHAT time of year it is. Having one of these muffins is an absolute treat! And the hallmark of this recipe is that it is MOIST, and it stays moist. (Well, we haven't let it go for too long, as they don't last much more than a few days at my house!)

You'll need an all-purpose flour for this recipe. I really like King Arthur's all-purpose blend!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
yields: 12 muffins

3 large eggs
2 T molasses
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1-3/4 C GF all-purpose flour
1 C sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 C soft butter
1/3 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line the pan with papers, and grease the papers.
Whisk together the eggs, molasses, and pumpkin puree. Set aside.
Whisk together the GF all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add soft butter, mixing with an electric mixer until evenly crumbly. The mixture will look coarse like sand. Add the egg mixture a bit at a time, beating well with an electric mixer after each addition. Beat for 1-2 min.s, until the mixture is fluffy. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, mounding the cups full. The batter will rise above the level of each cup; that's fine. Let muffins rest for 10 min.s.
Bake muffins for 22-25 min.s, until the middle springs back when lightly touched (or toothpick comes out clean). Remove from the oven and let rest 5 mins.s before removing from pan. Best served warm.

Thank you, King Arthur Flours!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Favorite Noodles!

We use these noodles for EVERYTHING! Beef & noodles, spaghetti noodles, "egg" noodles, etc. They cook up fast, have a fantastic texture (which is a big deal for me), and one box makes quite a bit. They can be found in either the Asian section or the health food section of many typical grocers.

A Taste of Thai, Rice Noodles, Straight Cut

Let's talk about: GF flours

As far as GF all-purpose flours go, I haven't done a whole lot of experimenting. I was quite lucky in that I found what I like and what works for us rather quickly.

My first trial was with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour. After reading several reviews, blogs, and word of mouth testimonials, a LOT of people like it and have had a considerable amount of success with it.

So I tried it. And didn't like it.

For (2) reasons:
1- it gets expensive, especially if you like to bake a lot (like we do); a 6 lb bag of it costs $15!
2- it has a funky taste... and I know what it is... the garbanzo bean flour... which is one of it's main ingredients. Some people are not turned off by it's smell or taste at all, but neither my husband or I care for it. It's funky!
So then I tried King Arthur Flour's version of GF all-purpose flour. My sister and I have had a LOT of success with their flours and recipes just in general. DELISH! Actually, I'm not sure I've EVER made one of their recipes that was even just so-so. At King Arthur Flours, everything runs through their extensive test kitchen. Only the best gets promoted.

I LOVE their flour!!! No garbanzo bean flour funkiness! No grittiness! YUM!

But once again, I LOVE to bake. And it was just totally impractical for me to be purchasing so many of their boxes of flour.

If you visit King Arthur Flour's website, there is an entire GF recipe section! Cookies, sandwich bread, pancakes, muffins, etc. And I discovered that you can prepare your VERY OWN FLOUR MIX. Flours you can buy in bulk cheaply and combine to make your own all-purpose flour! Score! I'm in!

At the bottom of every recipe that uses this all-purpose blend, it says this:

*Make your own blend

Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.

The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.

Whisk together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour*; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it'll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).
*I've had good luck with just plain brown rice flour
-------------------------------------------------------
Some other bulk flours that are nice to have on hand, that are pretty commonly used in baked GF goods are:
-white rice flour
-sweet rice flour
-sorghum flour
-sweet dairy whey powder

If you're lucky to live near a bulk food store, most will have these differing flours in bulk. If not, they can be found pretty easily and inexpensively online.

Another necessity for baking is xanthan gum, which works as the "gluten" in GF recipes. Also easily found at grocers, bulk food stores, and online.

HAPPY BAKING!!!

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Drizzle:
4 C (1 qt) strawberries, sliced
1/3 C sugar (more or less, to taste)
Stir and set aside.

Shortcakes:
2-1/3 C Bisquick Gluten Free Mix
1/4 C sugar
1/3 C (6-1/2 T) softened butter
3/4 C milk
3 eggs
1/2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl combine Bisquick mix and sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork. Stir in milk, eggs, and vanilla. Drop by 10 spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 mins or until light golden brown. Cool 5 mins before serving.
Top with ice cream, whipped cream, and/or chocolate syrup!

Thank you, Bisquick Gluten Free!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grain Free Muffins

Ingredients:
1 C nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
2 eggs
1/3 C honey
1/2 t baking soda
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease mini muffin tin (24 muffins). Mix all ingredients with hand-held or stand mixer. Spoon into tins. Bake for approx. 18-20 minutes. As soon as you can smell it strongly in the air, take it out- it's done!

A quick and easy breakfast idea!

THANK YOU, EMILY!!! From Joyful Abode!

Ham, Potatoes, and Green Beans

Nothing speaks simple comfort foods like this! My mother made this when I was growing up and it's always been a favorite! So simple. So down-home gluten-free good!

Ingredients:
4-5 potatoes, cubed
(1 small onion, chopped)
olive oil
seasonings to flavor (salt & pepper; garlic & onion powder; or my personal favorite: Tastefully Simple's Seasoning Salt!)
(2) cans green beans (only drain 1 can)
1 lb cooked ham, cubed

Fry potatoes (and onion) in approx. 3 Tbl of olive oil until golden brown. Add green beans (and liquid from one can) and ham. Heat through. Season to taste.

Also quite yummy with bacon crumbles.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hachis Parmentier

This will DEFINITELY be a regular attender at our meals from now on! It's really quite a simple but incredibly TASTY meal.

Our church's small group meets weekly and we always come together for a meal. Our particular group is always branching out and trying all kinds of interesting non-traditional meal ideas. This past week, our theme was French food.

At first I was slightly nervous as I've never even attempted preparing anything French. (Does French fries and French toast count? :-D) Thoughts from the movie Julie and Julia kept coming to mind and I would quickly think "Oh... that sounds too fancy. And fancy always means complicated." I stand mistaken.

A quick Google search for "easy French recipes" led me immediately to the website called easy-french-food.com. As I was scanning across the many many yummy looking meals, I came across Hachis Parmentier. To American's, it can be entitled Mashed Potato Casserole. (I much prefer the French name!)

Super simple. Complex flavors. Absolutely YUMMY! My hubby and ALL FOUR KIDS devoured it! Here's the recipe: http://www.easy-french-food.com/mashed-potato-casserole.html

Hachis Parmentier
Mashed Potato Casserole
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (*leftover shredded beef from a roast!!)
  • 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence or other herbs (common at most grocers)
  • salt and pepper (to your taste)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 4 - 5 cups mashed potatoes (instant is fine)
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese (gruy√®re, emmental, or similar) (we used Jarlsberg; it was cheaper but still high quality~ these are all Swiss-style cheeses)
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the onions and garlic in the butter and olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, ground beef, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned thoroughly. Turn off heat and add egg yolk and Parmesan cheese, stirring to mix completely.
  2. Spread the meat in the bottom of an lightly oiled oven proof dish (a 13 X 9 inch Pyrex dish would be perfect for the amount given in this recipe). Spread the potatoes on top of this and finish by sprinkling grated cheese on top.
  3. Brown in 400° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 8 servings (actually 12)

(*I would SERIOUSLY use meat from a roast for this dish rather than ground beef!)

THANK YOU, LA MARMITE!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why I started this blog...

A little history about my GF journey...

I rather sort of stumbled upon the realization of it in the summer of 2010. To jump start some weight loss, both my sister and I took a personal 30-day challenge to remove ALL grains from our diet and eat what the nutrition world has entitled a Paleo Diet: nuts & berries, fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, and healthy oils. If it wasn't real, natural, or straight from the ground/animal, it wasn't consumed. No processed foods, no grains. After muscling through a few days of some pretty decent withdrawal symptoms, both of us felt better than we had EVER felt before. Night and day difference! We had energy and normal digestion... No more backaches, cramps, gas, bloating, indigestion, or heartburn. It was amazing!

After our 30 days were up, we slowly started reincorporating grains back into our diet. Corn was fine. Rice was fine.

Then... we reintroduced our bodies to wheat...

I'll spare you the details. But anyone who's walked the road of gluten intolerance knows what symptoms I'm talking about. It was not pretty.

We both backed off the wheat and within 3 days returned to our "digestive zen" so to speak. Every once in a while we'd try wheat again and the not-so-fun list of symptoms reared their ugly heads again.

What was going on?!!! Why was our beloved breads, grains, and pastas raging a digestive war within?! It never bothered us like this BEFORE! At least not this bad!

Then I remember a long-ago conversation I had had with a girlfriend, Amanda R., about a thing she struggled with called "gluten intolerance". I had never heard of it before until our conversation. I remember hearing what all she could and could not eat, how it totally affected her daily diet, but how much better she felt now that gluten had been removed from her diet. Praise God our conversation had been stored in my memory bank for fast retrieval!

I then started devouring (no pun intended) all the resources I could find concerning gluten intolerance and celiac disease. I read symptoms lists, "eat this" & "don't eat this" lists, celiac forums, recipe blogs and websites... I researched topics such as "what will happen to the body if GF intolerance is never addressed", "what does gluten do to the body/intestines", "why do our bodies crave that which it shouldn't eat", etc.

After a LOT of research (and personal experience) I accepted the fact that I do, indeed, suffer from a gluten intolerance and I must make some changes to my diet. Drastic changes. MUCH of my diet consisted of grains... healthy grains, WHOLE grains... but grains nonetheless. Whole wheat. Oats. Barley. I loved them all. I craved them! It was a VERY difficult change to come to terms with. I remember researching "can I ever eat grains again?" and being terribly disappointed when EVERYTHING read said "no".

What was I going to eat?!

All I could seem to focus on at the get-go was what all I COULDN'T eat. I was discouraged. What was even more discouraging was the price tag on all the gluten free items in the health food section! $6+ for a small bag of brownie mix?!!! You've GOT to be kidding.

For a long while I clung closely to the Paleo diet, not knowing how to cook gluten freely... and being scared to eat out at a restaurant... Everyone else was eating normally, but me. So I also had to deal with the constant "it's right here in your face" torment. I knew if I ate it it'd make me sick. Sometimes I'd cave and eat something anyway... and would pay for it miserably for the next 3 days.

And what was I going to do with all these old recipes and cookbooks now?! Of what use were they?! Will I ever be able to eat normally?! Do I have to say good-bye to my favorite foods forever?!

In desperation, I started reading blogs and recipe sites coined Gluten Free. My favorite was General Mills' liveglutenfreely.com site, which actually posted NORMAL meals and dessert options. That's where I was first introduced to GF Bisquick. Albeit costly, it was quite thrilling to eat pancakes, fried chicken, and strawberry shortcakes once again.

To sum it all up, it took BABY STEPS! I was SO incompetent in the kitchen at first. Which was a hard blow because I was all about eating healthy, consuming whole grains, soaking grains, etc. I felt like an amateur in the kitchen once again.

But with time, PRAYER, and research I began taking these baby steps. And now, I daresay, after 8 months of trial and error, persistence, and determination, I've mastered the basics and am now quite comfortable in the kitchen.

My goal for this blog is the following:

to provide NORMAL, healthy, easy recipes for others who are walking the same GF path- so they, too, can cook and eat fully & freely in the gluten free lifestyle!

I'm also going to be going through my seemingly endless list of recipes and cookbooks and modifying my favorites to make them GF-friendly (if possible).

Pics will also be provided of each food item/recipe here on this site. I am by no means a seasoned photographer, but I'd at least like to provide a little something visually to my readers.

So... I hope you all like my site. And I TRULY hope and pray that this blog is a benefit to you as you provide yummy meals for yourself and/or your loved ones who are gluten intolerant.