Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New muffins add-on

So I ate another once they were cold, and I believe they may be better now than when warm. Next time I will add some nuts, but I had thought I'd share them with my sister and she can't eat nuts. But then I went and added Almond milk so she can't eat them anyway. Nuts would have been the perfect addition though. Either almonds or pecans. Or chocolate chips... ;-)

Are you tired of Gluten free Muffins that are too sweet, too soft - all Airy-Fairy?

I think I may have made a small discovery - and, for me, a major accomplishment. I made muffins today that SEEM to be firm and chewy with solid substance to them! Not from a mix!

So here is what I did: I remember the first loaf of Gluten Free bread I made was from a recipe on a blog that used no Xanthan gum or Guar gum at all. It used Flaxseed meal and eggs as the binding material. So... I decided to try that method, combined with a small amount of Xanthan gum and a bunch of other fiber-ful flours as well.

Turned the oven on to 350* and put liners into muffin tin.

Started with 1/3c flax meal mixed with 2 eggs and let sit.

In a big bowl, I put
1 c Better Batter GF All purpose baking mix (has Xantum Gum in it)
1/2 c Sweet Sorghum flour
1/4 c ground toasted Millet

I cut in 6T butter
Then added:
1/3 + brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 rounded tsp ground ginger
And mixed it all together.

I mixed 1 very ripe banana and about 3/4 c pumpkinn left in my freezer & crying out to be used up into the flax mixture and then added that to the dry ingredients. And then added about 1/2 tsp vanilla.

I began beating it with my hand mixer, but the batter was quite dry so I added about 1/4 - 1/3 c Almond milk (could use any kind). It was still a bit too dry so I added about 1/4c maple syrup (because that's all that was left in the jug and the batter was not quite sweet enough. You could use honey or any other liquid sweetener.

I Beat it for about a total of 3 minutes or so and then folded in about 1 1/2 c dry mixed berries. I suppose you can use fresh or frozen, but they will ad moisture.

I piled it all into 12 muffin cups and baked for about 20-22 minutes until they were nice and brown and a toothpick came out clean. I probably could have made 14 or 15 muffins, but I ended up with 12 really high ones.

I left them in the tin for a few minutes and then turned them out onto a cooling rack.

I ate one warm, and it was nice and solid and tasty. I'm going to go back and take some pics and eat another now that they are cold... We'll see how they stand up to time and the freezer!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Success at last!

Not once, but twice I have had success baking! I few days back I made a carrot cake from a Namaste spice cake mix. There are several variations listed on the package besides carrot, but carrot cake is among my faves, so I did that one. Then I made some cream cheese frosting to go on it.

The package makes a 13X9 or two 9" layers. I made in in a 13X9 and cut it in half, packaged and froze one half. The other half I cut in half again and made a layer cake out of it slathered with the frosting. I've been sharing with my spouse & it has been yummy!!!

Last night I made Pumpkin nut muffins again. The first batch I'd made form the recipe was way back in October, and they tasted wonderful, but got more moist as they aged. This batch I made using fresh pumpkin left over (frozen) from Thanksgiving. Because it's more liquid than canned pumpkin, I decided to add extra flour. I used the recipe in Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook: More than 100 Easy and Delicious Recipes from the Gluten-Free Chef by Robert Landolphi, but added 1/4cup flaxseed meal for extra fiber and 1/23 cup more of the Sorghum flour to take up the liquid. They came out wonderful, but a hair dry. So I guess I should have put only 1/4cup extra flour. We'll see how they hold up after freezing!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Been experimenting again (with some success) but keep forgetting to take oics or add to the blog. :-( Sometime back I made Any Berry Scones, which came out really well, and since then a loaf of White Sandwich Bread - also good except the center sank a bit. I'm not sure why that happened unless it was because I substituted 1/2 cup of Almond flour for 1/2 cup of the all purpose. Either that or the liquid amound was off a bit. Whatever, it tastes pretty yummy.

I made rice Krispie treats with GF brown rice cereal that I can't chew because of my implant uncovering a week ago Friday (mouth is still too sore to bite down hard), so my hubby is enjoying those. I also made no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars with coconut instead of part of the oats. They are good.

Last night I made a strawberry rhubarb cobbler. I'd cut the rhubarb to take to Kay, but we had to cancel the trip to Kay's, so I needed to do something with the rhubarb. I used Pamelas pancake & muffin mix and made biscuits witt a little added sugar and vanilla. Dropped by Tbsp on the boiling fruit (sweetened & with some instant tapioca added to thicken it), baked at 400* until golden brown. No Vanilla ice cream or whipped dream on hand, so we topped it with butter pecan ice cream. Yummy!!!

The middle dumpling was still raw underneath (I have that problem with stews too :-( ), so I scooped that one off & dumped it. The extra dough that didn't fit in the casserole I'd baked in a muffin baker, so probably should have done the same with the dough for that center spot. Oh well, next time!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gluten & Allergy Free Expo

Today was fun!!!! I attended the GF AF Expo in Lisle, IL today. It opened at 10:00, but I didn't get there until about 11. Mostly because I missed a turn & ended up going the long way around... And when I arrived, the place was jammed!!!!! I was amazed at how many people were there. And not just form the Chicago area either. There were visitors from TX, Canada, and several other states. There were reps from various Celiac support groups around the country, people who have stores and were scouting out products to carry, and lots of people like me, just looking for new products to try.

I bought a few books, subscribed to a magazine and came home with two bags (not full) of samples and literature. I'm still not hungry!

After leaving the Expo at around 1:30, I stopped at two stores who are supposd to carry a good selection of GF items. Caputos Market in S Elgin. There I got mostly just yummy deli stuff, but wanted to check out what they carry. And Fruitful Yield - a Health food store (chain) also in S. Elgin. Thay are maybe a mile apart, and about 2 miles south of the Meijer in S. Elgin - so I stopped there too. The Fruitful Yield carries an interesting assortment - but not cheap! I was able to get Bob's Red Mill GF Quick cooking oats there, and have not seen them at Woodmans. So that I did buy + some Xtra virgin Coconut oil for baking.

The Meijer in S Elgin has a much better selection of GF things than the one in Algonquin, which is good to know if I need regular groceries and a couple of GF things. Saves a trip all the way to the Meijer in Algonquin (a 26 mile round trip).

But the end result is I didn't get home until 5:30 and I'm pooped! So good night all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Yesterday my dear spouse ate my last two flourless peanut butter cookies. Not that I would normally complain - and I have offered them to him in the past, BUT! He has 3 boxes of Girl Scout peanut butter cookies in the pantry. So he gave up GS cookies for Lent - and had the nerve to eat mine because he gave up his! Hypocrisy at its finest, I say! To say I was annoyed is putting it mildly! His excuse - my name wasn't on them. :-P

So today I mixed up another new King Arthur offering: Cookie Mix. It's a basic vanilla cookie and you can add chips, or dry fruit or nuts. It also suggests that you can freeze balls of the dough and bake whenever you want. So I made it up and put chocolate chips in half and Reeses peanut butter chips in half & baked a dozen. The rest are in the freezer on a pizza pan freezing for later.

These are way better than the Betty Crocker cookie mix I tried awhile ago. Not gritty, and not so excruciatingly sweet. Not so soft they fall apart. Quite good. We'll see how well they keep.

And you better believe my name will be on the container THIS time!!!!!

Let's change the subject, shall we?

Last night I fried wild caught Alaskan Pollock for dinner. I'd lucked out on a 1/2 price coupon for Better Batter products, and among other things I bought a 20oz box of seasoned flour. When I opened the pkg, the nicest aroma jumped out and tickled my nose! Lovely fresh herb smell...

So following the directions, I coated my fish in the flour, let it set 5 minutes. Moistened it with Rice Milk & dredged in more of the flour mix. Directions said to let it set another 5 minutes - or up to 24 hours, so I let it be until everything else was done. Fried in olive oil for about 3 minutes on a side. Oh My was it good!! My spouse doesn't much care for fish of any kind and he ate the two biggest pieces. The coating stayed on, and was nice & crisp and golden brown.

Next time I'll make chicken & bake it.

But wait! There's more! There was one smallish piece left, so for lunch today I cut an Udi's GF bagel in half & toasted it. Warmed up the fish in the microwave for 30 seconds; put a little real mayo on the bagel and had myself a really yummy fish sandwich for lunch! Just as tasty - not as crisp of course, but very good!

Muffins... again. Are you getting tired of this yet?

I tried a new mix out from King Arthur flour. It supposedly make 1 batch od 12 muffins, but I measured the mix & used half at a time.

The first half I made according to the instructions on the box. They were ok... again, not much substance. I put dried cranberries & date in them. the flavor was fine, but, again, the texyure was iffy. They were very airy. No weight or substance to them, and they didn't hold up well being frozen - but I eventually ate them all.

So the second batch I made last week. I added some quinua flakes - hoping for a heartier muffin. I uded a few frozen berries in each muffin. These looked gorgeous just out of the oven, but wel absolutely flat when they cooled. They were actually wet. I tried them a day later, and they were pretty disgusting.

So that is one mix I will not use again.
April 12th, my slow cooker fragrantly cooked 10 cups of gluten free Cream of Mushroom soup. Last evening, I added the milk & pureed it. This noon I bagged it in 1 cup portions to freeze.

Now it's ready to use in those recipes that call for '1 can of condensed cream of something soup'. Those canned ones mostly contain gluten.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chicken broth

My crock pot stewed a chicken carcass, a bunch of veggies and water all day, and I just now de-boned it and blended the soup into a broth. Five 2 cup containers of home made chicken broth chilling in the fridge. It'll go into the freezer tomorrow. Pretty yummy stuff!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Altar bread

For some months now I have been making Altar bread for my church with varying results... Early on I had problems with the buns burning on the bottom. I bought parchment paper, but it didn't help. I finally bought new, shiny baking sheets and no more burning. Then they tended to raise too high, so I tried to flatten them more. Then they were still too high and not big enough around, so I made them smaller and flattened them more.

Today I tried again - and now I think they will be too small! Oh well... baking bread is an imperfect science. It is impossible to forecast how a given batch of yeast dough will behave until the baking is done! It depends on the flour, the yeast, the humitiy - or lack of it, the time allowed for raising, the temperature of the room, etc. But here are the ones I made today!


I have decided to try peanuts again to see if I'm ok with them. So I made the flourless peanut butter cookies with peanut butter this time.
1 C creamy peanut butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1 egg

Mix together, form 24 balls, flatten with a fork & bake at 350* for 10 - 12 minutes.

Then I decided to add chocolate. The recipe says to use melted choc chips, but I'm out, so I melted 2 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate and used it.

Baking! Muffins again. Variations on a theme....

I tried making muffins from a Gluten Free Muffin mix from Arrowhead mills. Something new on the market. It's a plain mix - no additions included, but you can add up to 1 1/2 Cups of dry fruit, fresh berries, chocolate chips, etc.

So I measured the mix & used half of it to make 6 muffins, and added dry cranberries, some chopped dates and zested the last poor orange that's been hanging out in the refrigerator for a couple/three months. I ended up with 9 muffins....

They are pretty "Airy". Not much substance - lots of air. There's definitely white rice flour; I can feel the grit. The box only says 'rice flour', but I find that white rice flour is grittier than brown rice flour. Not sure why that's so. The flavor is ok, not too sweet. So I ate two, and Vince ate one. We'll see how well they keep.

This week has been a bit of a Trial....

On April 4th, 2004, my middle child, Karl was hit by a car when the driver made an illegal left turn. The left turn arrow had gone to red, and the green light was on when the man turned and T-boned Karl who was riding his Harley. Now Karl was no angel in life by any stretch of the imagination... He'd had his moments of anger and aggressive behavior. He drank too much, and had other faults; he sported many tattoos and wore his hair long. So anyone seeing him on his Harley, with the black leather jacket, long hair and tats, would immediately label him as "biker" - and he was.

He also was an excellent machinist who was very good at his job. He was a loving father to his son Jonathan who had just turned 10. He was a good provider for his family of 4: His fiancee, her daughter and his son. He had sole custody of his son - something not lightly given by Cook County IL courts.

He'd just finished rebuilding the bike, and had called the insurance company to get insurance on it. He gave Jonathan a call - Jonathan was at my house for the weekend. And then he took the bike out for a ride. And that night he died.

In 2004, April 4th was Palm Sunday. By the time his brother made it in from CA, and his step sister from TX and all of the arrangements were made, the Funeral was finally held on Saturday April 9th. And the next day was Easter.

So last Monday was the 7th anniversary of his death, but my memories forever link Palm Sunday with my son's death, and so this time - around Easter, is a time when I think about Karl a lot, and miss him. And then, of course, Karl's birthday is May 10th. So no matter when Palm Sunday falls - whether March or April - that time surrounding his death, Palm Sunday Easter and his birthday becomes a period of time when I find it difficult to do much of anything.

So last Monday was actually ok. Tuesday I spent the day running around. Wednesday I was away doing a friend's taxes, and yesterday I went to pick up my sewing machine. Today I baked. Do I see a pattern here???

So from 4/4 until 5/10, Karl's photo will be my profile picture. And every time I log onto Facebook, I will see him.

Tonight I am picking Jonathan up, and he'll be here for the weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Muffins Take 3

Those blueberry muffins I made some time back... well, ate one tonight & threw the last one away. How disappointing. I made 6 muffins, and by the time I got to the last two, they were basically inedible, and I only made them on the 1st of April!

Ok, somebody find me a GF muffin recipe that holds it's shape, kepps a good texture and tastes like, well... like a REAL muffin!

BTW, making a loaf of quick bread is even worse!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Muffins. I keep trying!

Another batch of muffins. I used the GF Brown rice mix from Annalise Roberts book GF Baking Classics, and frozen blueberries. Half a batch this time, since these things do NOT improve over time in the freezer. The =recipe calls for nutmeg, but I replaced that with cinnamon because I prefer the flavor but I must not have added enough 'cause I can't taste it at all.

The muffins aren't bad. Just boring! They look very pretty. The blueberries sank, but I figured that would happen because they were frozen. But I chose not to use my fresh ones because, well, because I wanted to eat the fresh ones fresh.

Bread - again! 2

I think that I'd have been better off to make the bread the regular old fashioned way instead of using the bread maker, but was trying to save time. The flavor is ok - a bit sweet - and the texture, aside from being a bit holey, is moist and rather dense. It made a nice egg sandwich yesterday for lunch, and will be fine until the next time.

I want to find a bread recipe that create a loaf that is crisp and crusty on the outside and light on the inside - like a good baguette or French bread. One that can be used to swab up the olive oil & parmano cheese!

...and don't even get me started on rice pasta!!!! THAT will be the subject of another post!

Bread - again!

I tried a bread recipe forund on the back of a Bob's Red Mill GF Brown rice flour package, and made in my bread machine. Here are the pics:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I made a GF pizza crust from the Bob's Red Mill Pizza Mix. I divided it into tw - baked one & refrigerated the dough of the rest. I cooked the toppings & then loaded them on top of the sauce & topped with cheese & baked. It came out very good. Not too thick, crisp & tasty. It's a brown rice crust & I didn't notice the grittiness so prevalent with white rice flour.

We'll see how the other lump of dough turns out in s couple of days....

muffins again, reprise...

I tried one of the muffins yesterday (30 sec in the microwave) & found it to be still quite tasty and less dry than the last time. Not bad!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Re: Muffins...again

Well, I had 2 of my banana prune muffins for breakfast with yogurt & blueberries. They are a bit drier now than when they were first baked, and a little crumbly when I tried to butter them, but the taste is ok. Into the freezer with the last 6, and I'll report in a week or so.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mufins... Again!

One of the most frustrating things I have run into in baking is that, while things may taste good, and have fairly decent texture when newly baked, one they are a couple of days old, or after storing in refrigerator or (especially ) freezer, the texture begins to deteriorate.

Muffins that have been frozen become soft, crumbly and even mushy. They don't continue to hold together well. Breads tend to do the same.

So, I bake a batch of a dozen muffins, and because I don't scarf them all down, or feed them to my spouse, the become pretty gross in fairly short order. And my purpose for making muffins is the have a ready supply so that I can warm a couple in the microwave for breakfast when I am in the mood to eat muffins for breakfast! That dozen muffins might be in the freezer for up to 3 or 4 months! I just don't eat that much sweet bread! Variety is much more to my liking- so I eat cereal, or eggs, or muffins & yogurt; oatmeal, pancakes... you get the picture. I cannot eat the same thing day after day for breakfast! It's boring!!!

So, today I made some muffins. Started with a mix: Namaste Biscuit, etc. mix. 2 c of that (what was left in the bag + 1/2 c sugar. Snipped up the last few prunes (3/4 c ?) into the dry stuff & mixed it all up. I had one old banana, to which I added 1 egg, 1/4 c oil and 1/4 c milk. I poured the liquid into the dry stuff, mixed and decided I needed a bit more liquid, so I put in about 1/8 c more milk. Filled 9 muffin cups (paper liners) and baked 20 minutes. lightly browned & tested done with a toothpick. Turned them out onto a rack to cool. They are firmer (dryer) than the usual GF muffins. I took some pics....

After they cooled, I cut one in half, buttered one side (picture taken) & took a bite. So I could have added more sugar, but they really are sweet enough. Vanilla or maybe cinnamon probably would have jazzed up the flavor, but they are not bad. A bit dryer than most GF baked goods, but actually more texturally like wheat based muffins. One of the things I dislike about many of the GF things is that they are SO moist that they are almost gummy. So we'll see how they are after an overnight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

G F Recipe Books

I scored some new cookbooks at the Borders in DeKalb at 25% off. Specifically 2 new ones by Roben Ryberg: "The Gluten Free Kitchen", and "You Won't Believe it's Gluten Free". Plus a Slow Cooker Book called "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea. I was looking for a Slow Cooker book as I just bought myself a new slow cooker with 3 crocks: 2, 4 & 6 quart. The bonus is: everything in the book is Gluten Free!!! I really lucked out on that one.

So now I have a good range of basic GF recipe books with a broad range of pretty simple recipes. Easy to make as is, and pretty easy to embellish or make changes to. The only one I'm not particularly crazy about is the first one I bought: "Gluten Free Everyday" by Robert M. Landolphi. And the only reason I'm not fond of it, is that to make the stuff in this book, I'd need a dozen different flours. All of the others seem to use the KISS principal, and use bsically white rice, brown rice & garbanzo bean flours with Tapioca, corn and/or potato starch. The flours tend to be pretty perishable, so having to keep several specialty ones on hand clutters up the refrigerator and tends to get expensive.

So, besides the ones listed here, and the Cookie book mentioned before, I have "Gluten-Free Baking Classics" by Annalise Roberts. This one uses 1 of 3 flour blends, all of which are based on Brown Rice Flour. The yeast bread blends include Millet and Sorghum flours, both of which add flavor and fiber.

So from this small library, I should be able to keep myself in Breads, cookies and meals without having to add any more books. All I need now is time and my own imagination.

Friday, March 4, 2011

G F Chocolate Crinkles

I was VERY disappointed with these. They looked SO good when baked, but there was virtually no chocolate taste to them. The texture was soft and crumbly. By the time they'd sat a day or so, they became softer yet, and fell apart when picked up. I ended up throwing away more than half the batch. Ugh!!!!!

The Borders in a nearby town is one that is closing, so I stopped in to see what I could get in Gluten Free cookbooks. One was The Gluten Free Bible - more about that another time... but what got my juices flowing is the Gluten free Cookie Book by Roben Ryberg!

So tonight I tried one of the recipes - Chocolate Crinkles. They are made with Garbanzo Bean flour & unsweetened cocoa. Easy!!!!
A while ago, I made Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies again, but this time I jazzed them up a bit. Whe I was younger, with young kids, I used to make mint brownies all the time. Easy! Make a brownie mix, add nuts & bake as usual. When they are cool, make (or buy) butter cream frosting, tint it pale green & add mint flavoring. Spread on the cooled brownies. Then - for a 13X9 pan, melt 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate with 2 T of butter or margerine and drizzle it over the top. Tilt the pan to make it flow so it covers most of the frosting. Keep in the fridge.

You know? It works just fine on Gluten Free brownies! I only used 1 square of chocolate, & 1 T of butter, but it came out perfect. A gluten free total YUM!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A week or so ago, I baked a loaf of bread from Bob's Red Mill bread mix. I'm very pleased! It was an easy recipe and came out much lighter and more ''airy' that most of the loaves I've made before, whether from a mix or recipe. I took a couple of photos too and will upload those when I'm finished with this post. I am also very pleased with the flavor and texture of this loaf. A lot more like regular bread. I think this is a mix I will user again!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gluten Free Peanut Butter cookies without the Peanut Butter.

Judy Cameron, bless her heart, brought GF Peanut butter cookies to Kay's Christmas tea. They were to die for! And Major and Vince agreed. But, since peanuts are a bit iffy for me, I decided to try making them with Sun Butter instead. He recipe is dead easy! 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix it up, drop on the cookie sheet (I did spray mine), press down slightly with a fork and bake ca 20 minutes at 350*

So I didn't have all that much Sun Butter left, so I made a half batch using egg substitute. Ok, the texture is a bit different. But Sun Butter has a grainier texture than peanut butter. I think I might cut back on the sugar next time, and maybe use brown sugar instead of white, but I'd say they are pretty much a success. These are a bit drier than Judy's; not as chewy; but my oven tends to be wierd even tho the temp tests as correct at 350*. So next time I might try 325*.

I bet it would work with Cashew Butter too, but cashews don't have as much oil, so I might have to add 1/4 tsp of say, sesame oil.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How to make GF food I don't have to actually chew.

On 12/29, I topped off 2010 by having some pretty major oral surgery to place 8 dental implants in my upper jaw. This is in anticipation of having permanent bridgework added in about 4 months. The reason I needed the implants is because 1 1/2 years ago, while looking at a house in Ft Wayne that Kay's daughter was interested in renting; I caught my toe on worn carpet on the stairs, and fell. When I landed, my upper teeth collided with the absolutely gorgeous oak surround of the living room entry in this nice little 1930's Craftsman. The result was to snap off 4 of my front teeth at the root, necessitating their removal. If that had been all, there would have been a fairly simple addition of a couple of implants and a bridge. But: One of those teeth was the only thing on that side of my mouth supporting a partial denture. Without that tooth, I could no longer wear a partial - so they all came out.

So far, the owner's insurance company refuses to admit any fault; even though within a couple of days, the owner had a handyman over there nailing down the carpeting on the stair where I'd caught my toe. So I am pursuing the case to recoup at least some of the cost of replacing my front teeth.

And so, to my dilemma. I'm now trying to make tasty, nourishing meals that I don't necessarily have to chew. I have Kefir and yogurt, plus I'd made Vegetable soup in advance. I have eggs, and more soups, but I find myself wandering around my kitchen, opening the refrigerator, scanning the pantry shelf; and everything that looks appealing has to be chewed, or has nuts in it, or dry fruit. Something is definitely missing, but I can't figure it out. I've eaten icecream, but vanilla is not my fave, and the Butter pecan is out, and the mint choc chip has hard chunks of chocolate that I can't bite. Chocolate is pretty much out too, unless I let it dissolve in my mouth

Yesterday morning I made myself a smoothie with a banana, yogurt, pomegranate/blueberry juice & frozen blueberries. But that much cold that early in the morning tends to upset my stomach. Veggie soup for lunch, and for supper last night we had bratwurst that I simmered so they were tender, cottage cheese, and I had some Roasted red pepper & tomato soup as my vegetable. I made succotash for Vince. This morning I made Oatbran cereal with brown sugar & a little milk. More veggie soup for lunch and then tonight we had Turkey vegetable soup with fresh corn muffins. I'm pretty sick of soup!

Does it sound like I'm whining? Well, yes, I am. But it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine if I want to, whine if I want to...You would whine too, if it happened to you... LOL

More another day.