Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Something I consumed over the weekend did not agree with me, and today I am paying the price. I feel as if I've been poisoned! Fuzzy brain, burning itchy eyes, tummy troubles. Bleeccchhhh!
Wine - sulfites
Ham & salami - nitrites
lemonade - artificial color and flaver

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Kinnikinnic bread is very tasty. Toasted with Sun butter... Yum. Today toasted, mayo & chicken - made a great sandwich.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Corn & Quinoa pastas?

Grocery Shopping today. I didn't need anything at Aldi, so I stopped at Meijer, Super Wally, Trader Joe's & Woodmans. At Meijer, there is virtually no Gluten free stuff except the usual suspects (General Mills mixes and a few crackers). They are, however, supposed to carry Udi's bread so I stopped & asked about it. The lady in the bakery dept told me that they used to carry it, but it's been removed from their order list. So may only be available at some stores - but not that one. So I got my produce & kept going

Super Wally seems to have lost their GF section. I walked every single aisle and never did find it. I did find the GF Bisquick next to the regular kind, at $3.98/ a 12oz box - and I bought the Friskies canned food my kitties like (40 cents), and went on my way. Next to TJ's for the brown coffee filters and frozen Ahi Tuna.

Woodmans: More Friskies (45 cents) and several trial things. Pasta made from Quinoa and pasta made from corn. Quinoa flakes (hot cereal - but can be added to baked goods also), rice bran (19gm fiber/1/2 cup to add to baked goods) xanthan gum, guar gum, rice flour & potato starch. Ultimately I will bake most of my own breads, etc. But I want to try some commercially available Mixes & baked items to see what works when I don't have time to make my own. I did find Udi products there, but they were out of the bread. I bought a pkg of Udi pizza rounds (2 in pkg) and a loaf of Kinnikinnik White bread which the mgr said was a good seller. I also bought Sun butter.

I found that the people at the Culver's in Carpentersville were VERY willing to work with me to make sure I had a nice meal with no gluten. They even checked ingredients in the salad dressing to make sure it was ok. I had a Cashew Chicken salad which was very good. They use a nice blend of greens with no iceberg lettuce.

When I got home I pried the end off the frozen bread; toasted it a few minute & spread a little sun butter on it. It tastes fine, and the bread texture seemed good too. Sun butter, like natural peanut and almond butters is not as stiff as the commercial peanut butter; and needs to be refrigerated.

So the adventure continues. Next: Find Soy sauce without wheat and gluten free vanilla. Although I would think that pure vanilla extract should be gluten free. Nothing about what on the label....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Betty Crocker Gluten free Choc Chip Cookies

General Mills has a few GF mixes out, and I made the cookies last night, just to see how they'd come out...and I had a taste for cookies. They aren't bad! A bit too sweet for my taste, but I have an idea that mixes add more sweeteners to cover the difference in taste and texture of the originals. It's the same with artificially sweetened stuff (which I DO NOT eat!) Much too much sweetener. I'll end up finding a recipe and baking my own next time, but for now I have 3 doz cookies to keep me going. I left a few out in a baggie & froze the rest. I can go into the freezer & take out a couple at a time when I want them.

I doubt that I will buy the General Mills mixes again, but at least they were there to get me started until I build up my pantry of flours and starches.

Oh, and I finished my little loaf of bread at breakfast this morning, so I need to make another. This time I'll add a little oil, but I think I'll make the same size. It's a convenient size for one person, if a bit small for a sandwich.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Peanut butter - I miss peanut butter....

Judy said that she has experienced problems with Peanuts and Almonds, so I decided to avoid them as well. I can do without almonds - even though I really like them; but I miss peanut butter! Not that I ate it a lot, but it's one of those things I get a 'taste' for now & then. And if there's nothing else to eat for lunch, there's always PB&J.

I know you can buy Cashew Butter and Sun Butter, but I can't buy it here in town, and I don't plan to go up the road shopping until next Thursday. So, what the heck. I tried making pecan butter.

It all started when I pulled a bag of pecans out of the freezer downstairs and brought them up here figuring I'd toast them so that they taste better than raw. That way I can add a few to Granola, or muffins or whatever. I did that (15 minute in a 325* oven - until they smell good & brown a little). As I was putting the cooled nuts into a Tupperware container for storage, I decided that I ought to be able to make some pecan butter to go with my nice bread. But in what? Well, we have 2 coffee grinders, so I put a small handful of nuts in the grinder & ran it. It started to bog down, so I drizzled in a little honey and some dark sesame oil. Continued running the coffee grinder. I had to add a bit more liquid, but ended up with a rather coarse butter.

It tastes a bit too much like sesame, and it's a bit too sweet to suit me; so if I do this again, I'll probably use olive oil in place of the sesame oil and not as much honey. Maybe add a bit of salt too. But I put it in a little container (there's only about a half cup total) in the refrigerator, and tomorrow I'll try it on my bread. It ought to be good on rice cakes too.

Bread Success!

With heartfelt thanks to the HerbWife (as linked earlier in relation to my Banana flax muffins; I, today, made a loaf of GOOD bread!

I used her basic recipe:
3 eggs mixed with
1/2 c milk
1/2 c flax meal
rounded 1/2 tsp yeast
about 3/4 tsp salt
Whip well and let sit while you grind
1/2 c millet and add it
Whip that all very thoroughly and let sit for a few minutes more until it's slightly thick and slimy.
Add 1 c Bob's Red Mill All purpose Baking Mix, mix well, and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.
Pour into a small loaf pan and let rise about 30 minutes
Bake at about 450* for about 20 - 30 minutes. Watch it so it doesn't get to dark. Mine did get a bit dark.

I only used 1/2 tsp salt and it needed more; but I ate a slice with butter and it was good. The slice with preserves was yummy! It's a rather heavy bread, but the texture is good and the flavor is good. I call it a success!

Added later: I will add some oil next time. Maybe 1/2T or a hair more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Exploration into finding a GOOD Gluten Free bread - or Bread recipe.

My Exploration into finding a GOOD Gluten Free bread - or Bread recipe.

by Marta Winans Soucek Vincent on Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 9:03am
So I ate a slice of the GF bread yesterday and it was...ok. This morning I toasted a slice to go with my eggs, and it's ...ok, I guess. It's drier, even though it's been in a plastic bag, and it didn't really toast. It just got warm.

I got a recommendation for a good GF bread from Udi's, but that came from CT, so don't know if it's available here anywhere. But my cousin gave me the link, and there is a recipe book I can get fairly inexpensively on called "Gluten Free Every Day" by Robert Landolphi. I think I may try it.

My sister said she made a loaf of GF bread in her son's bread machine from a book he had purchased, and that it came out good, so i asked for the recipe. I have the bread machine.

So, onward and upward...
Well, this morning I threw away the GF bread I'd baked a few days ago. The mix brand is Schar, and the 1st ingredient was Cornstarch. I probably really did know that I should refrigerate it, but I also was not really interested in eating more of it, so this morning it was moldy and I could justify throwing it away. So that's the 2nd loaf of GF bread thrown away because it was basically inedible.

Next week I will go up to Woodmans and buy the other ingredients I need to bake my own. I have a couple of promising sounding recipes to try - just need all of the ingredients. I'll have to break down and buy Xanthan gum...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just a bit of a note of explanation here. I live in a small town about 55 miles WNW of Chicago, and about 35 miles ESE of Rockford, IL. One would think that things around here would be really convenient. On the contrary, though we have a Certified in town - which is actually pretty nice - the closest Jewel, for instance, is 9 miles (Huntley). The closest Super Walmart (I HATE shopping at Walmart!) is 10 miles (also Huntley). The closest Aldi is 14 miles (Elgin).

So about once a month - six weeks I do a circuit up Randall Rd to Algonquin (about a 60 mile circuit). I can find, in order going north: Dominick's, Aldi. Jewel. Across the road there is a Caputo's & Meijer. Heading back south: Super Target, Super Walmart, Trader Joes's and Woodman's. My faves are Aldi, Meijer, TJ's and Woodmans. Mixed in amongst them are also a JoAnne Etc., a TJ Maxx, and a variety of other places to stop and shop for other things.

Also along the way I can have lunch at Panera and shop at the French Nun's bakery (probably not anymore).

Woodmans has the biggest Gluten Free section I've seen anywhere! They have one whole aisle (and this is a warehouse store with 25- 30' aisles) and there are more in the International/Organic sections. Jewel's section is about 6'X2 shelves. Super Wally has a decent section - maybe 12-15', but only at the one on Randall - not the one in Huntley. T'J's and Aldi don't specialize, but Trader Joe's did hand me a list of items they carry that are GF. I didn't look at Dominick's or Caputos.

...and so I travel on...
When I first heard from my sister that she had a problem with gluten and I decided to find out if it was what was affecting me too, I started looking for a good GF muffin recipe that used only things I had in my pantry. I did an internet search for Gluten Free and came up with a number of blogs of women who are in the same boat I aam; whether for their own diets, or for someone for whom they cook. I like to have good healthy muffins in my freezer. They, and a carton of yogurt, are a pleasant change from cereal, so I tend to keep a supply around.

On my last grocery shopping trip (a half day 60 mile round trip), I'd picked up a Bob's Red Mill GF Baking Mix and a couple of other GF items including a bread mix (which is another story...) a General Mills cake mix, and a few other odds & ends. But I balked at Xanthan Gum at $11+ for 6oz. In my refrigerator I had 1 2 egg container of egg sub, 1 odd egg yolk and 1 whole egg and 3 small, very ripe bananas put there before we left for Franklin, TN for a long weekend.

So, in looking for something I could do without having to go shopping again, stumbled across this page: Aha! I can do this! So, the recipe I came up with is this:

Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins
Baked at 400*

1/2c flaxseed meal
the eggs (see above)
That I let sit for a while to become slimy.
1c 1% milk
The bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
2/3c brown sugar
1 1/4 c Bob's baking mix
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

It made 12 muffins and 1 small loaf. They don't rise much, so I probably could have gotten all of the batter into the 12 muffin cups, or maybe 14 muffins. test for doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, they are done.

The muffins took 20-25 minutes and the don't brown. The bread I had to leave in longer. If I make them again, I think I'll add a bit of cinnamon.

They are very moist and tasty and have fiber (which so many gluten free things do not) and I have been enjoying them since. I figured that there is approximately 2167 calorie in the batch.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I've decided to change direction slightly. So I won't necessarily be blogging about physical travel - although that may show up here too; but I'll be blogging about another kind of journey. I'v recently found out, though a conversation with my sister Judy, that she is sensitive to something that loosely translate to gluten. While we both test negative for Gluten sensitivity, we both are reacting to things that are made with gluten flours.

For years, we have both known about sensitivites to other things in food. We both react to many of the chemical food additives, artificial colors and flavors. Both of us react to sulfites in alcoholic beverages; nitrates in preserved meat and sausages, etc. In addition, I am very allergic to msg, artificial sweeteners make me nauseous, and Judy is lactose intolerant. I also am mildly allergic to corn and peaches. So now Gluten? And Judy has noticed a reaction to Almonds and Peanuts, so I now am avoiding them too...just to be safe.

So the journey, if you will, is to find good gluten free products that are satisfying, tasty, have good texture, and contain some fiber. Fortunately I really like vegetables and fruits, or otherwise I'd have nothing to eat that has any fiber to speak of!

Commercially available, and inexpensive, cereals like Rice Chex and Corn Chex have virtually no fiber. Oatmeal isn't bad, but I really am not interested in eating hot cereal in the summer. Many of the granolas have Almonds in them, or contain wheat. There are some Gluten free cereals - besides the Chex, but they are quite pricey and seem very high in calories, so I ultimately will probably make my own basic granola, and add things to it according to my taste - like raisins, dry cranberries or blueberries, roasted pecans, etc. That way I can control the sugar content, as well as the grains & other added ingredients.

I've found some good websites just by googling Gluten Free, and Judy and friends have given me some others. I have so far bought one loaf of commerically available GF bread for IIRC $6. It tasted very much like a cross between wallpaper past (dry) and cornstarch (also dry). I tried 2 slices and threw it away. And I've made one loaf of bread from a mix which I will not buy again. The primary ingredient was cornstarch. It did rise, and it smells good, but it is very heavy and not terribly tasty, I'll look up the brand and post it later so no one else buys it either.

I have gotten a recommendation from my cousin at this link: and I logged onto Udi's here:!/udisglutenfree and . I did find that Udi's products are available locally at a big chain - Meijer, and a local chain - Woodmans, so I'll go looking next week. Their bread is supposed to look and taste like actual bread. Of course, it'll be about $6 a loaf.

That's another thing I've noticed in just the last month of GF living... everything GF is EXPENSIVE! General Mills has GF products. Yellow and chocolate cake mixes, brownie mix and Chocolate chip coolie mix. I bought & made a yellow cake. Standard yellow cake mix costs about $1.50 and makes a 13X9" cake. The GF yellow cake makes an 8 or 9" square cake and costs $4.99. It also is sweeter and higher in calories that the standard cake. Each GF cake states it serves 10 and each piece is 220 calories. Do you know how big 1/10 of a 9X9" cake is? General Mills is now supposedly selling a GF Bisquick. I have not found it yet, but I've asked 2 local chains to order it for me - a Jewel and a Super Walmart. We'll see if I get a call.

That's all for today, but stop back in when you have a chance to follow my exciting journey to Gluten Free living...