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: