Monday, August 31, 2009

Pancake Update

Recently, I found the cause for a recurring stomach pain. It was my brand of soy milk, Soy Dream. If it doesn't say gluten-free on it and there isn't a gluten item in the ingredients list, check one or more of the gluten-free lists available online (this isn't always trust worthy), consider the company, call the company, call a friend, but whatever you do, don't assume it's completely gluten-free safe.

Because of this sudden revelation I have more than a case of Soy Dream to sell somewhere, also I was suddenly having to make my pancakes without the protein the soy milk provided. This leaves the pancakes mushy.

I have said it before, fat has a way of making rice flour recipes mushy. One day I just stopped adding fat to my pancake recipe. As long as my griddle has a good non-stick surface properly seasoned, I don't have any problems.

One of the problems with gluten-free cooking is it just doesn't have as much flavor as wheat. I have noticed a new trend in online gluten-free recipes baking recipes. The changing of white sugar to brown sugar so,

Here is my emergency alternative recipe:
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
¼ cup Millet flour
¼ cup brown sugar ( I have found agave to work well)
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
½ tsp slightly rounded, guar gum/or xanthan gum
1 egg
1 cup of water.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add in the wet ingredients and stir until moist. Pour ¼ cup amounts on a hot griddle. Cook first side until bubbles appear in the surface. Flip and cook until golden brown on the second side.

If you can't have bean flour or milk try almond meal. Almond meal is expensive, but doesn't have a strong flavor. I'm just starting to work with almond meal so I don't have any tips for you, just yet.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I have new information on some of my previous posts. I will be posting several of them, so check back each Monday.

I'll start with my goals, directly after publishing my plans I became sick with one illness after another. I had to quit my exercise program for 2 months. I'm finally back on track. I'm sure the goals I have set are too high, but I am going to accomplish as much of it as I can.

When my daughter gets frustrated and overwhelmed by a situation, such getting behind in her chores or her school work, I tell her let's just see what you can do. Well, in this case, what's good for the gosling is good for the goose. Let's just see what I can do.

I'm excited about this. Apple cider vinegar is used as a dough conditioner in bread making and in many other recipes. It also relieves pain in the gall bladder caused by an irritated polyp. I was disappointed when I read that apple cider vinegar is not gluten-free. It has better flavor and nutrients than white vinegar. White vinegar is good for cleaning. As always, while shopping I stopped to read labels. After reading a few on vinegar bottles. I found Fleischmann's Organic apple Cider Vinegar with gluten-free written on the label. It's has a milder flavor compared to Bragg's, my previously preferred brand.

Hot Candy canes
I love my hot candy canes milk, but it turns out that my body can't handle corn, either. That pretty much leaves off most candy. So instead of Spangler's candy canes I use Simply Organics Peppermint oil flavoring. This allows me to make this a cold drink perfect for hot summer evenings. While Simply Organics doesn't tout gluten-free, it's labels are clear and simple. What's more their Vanilla doesn't have corn syrup added. I have not experienced a gluten problem with their products.
I've, also, turned this into two different types of pudding. Here are the recipes:

Candy Cane Milk
2 cups your choice of milk type
¼ cup of sweetener (sugar, agave, maple syrup...)
1 tsp Simply Organic Vanilla Extract
¼ tsp Simply Organic Peppermint oil
½ tsp guar gum
1.If you are making this a hot drink warm your milk first.
2.Pour milk into the blender.
3.Turn blender on low and remove the center of the cover.
4.Add the sweetener, vanilla, and peppermint.
5.Finally add the guar gum and blend for 5 more seconds.

Candy Cane Tofu Pudding
1 pound cake of silken tofu
¾ cup sweetener (best flavor to least, sugar, agave, maple syrup, honey)
½ tsp Simply Organic Peppermint oil
2 tsp Simply Organic Vanilla Extract
¼ cup oil (*optional)
Place all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
This recipe is adapted from Tofu Cookery by Louse Hagler. Her pudding recipes call for oil, but I make them without the oil. The oil does make the pudding feel better in the mouth. Another choice I have used is ½ tsp guar gum/xanthan gum.

Pudding Mix
¼ cup your choice of dry milk
¼ cup of Arrowroot starch
¼ cup sugar
Place mix in a sauce pan with 2 cups of liquid milk. Cook over low heat until thickened and comes to a boil. Cook for one more minute before removing from heat.

For Candy Cane Pudding
Mix in:
1 tsp Simply Organic Vanilla Extract
¼ tsp Simply Organic Peppermint oil
Pour into individual serving dishes
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to avoid a skin.
Place in the refrigerator to cool before serving (unless you like it hot. :O)
This recipe was adapted from Cheaper & Better by Nancy Birnes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pasta Salad

I'm a member of a new social network for those with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Gluten-free Faces was started by Chad Hines known as Glutenfreedude on Twitter. On Gluten-free Faces, I am a member of the recipe exchange group. The recipe group was started by Cain Credicott the blog author of The Celiac Maniac.

His post, Citrus chicken pasta salad looked so good I had to try it, that night. I had a few problems making it. I didn't have any chicken, walnuts, green onions, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, nor a can of whole black olives. It was time to do some free styling.

I started by cooking a can of garbanzo beans for 20 minutes. This was added to my serving of the salad. Ken and Lisa were eating grilled steak so, they didn't need the beans, besides Ken doesn't like garbanzo beans.

Cain's salad called for chopped red onions and green onions. I simply ignored the lack of green onions. I don't care much for raw onions-unless they're green. I lightly sautéed the red onions in 2 tsp of olive oil.

His dressing seemed too spicy for my taste, although not for Ken's, who said I should have followed the recipe. If he knew chicken was in the salad, he wouldn't have said that. I cut the amount of pepper in half. Instead of Dijon mustard I used a teaspoon of dry mustard powder. The one thing I would change about the dressing for next time is to homogenize it for a creamier dressing.

I was going to use pecans instead of the walnuts, but decided on almonds in the end. The problem I had with this choice was Cain roasted the walnuts in the oven. I'm not complaining. It's nice to finally have some warmth this summer, it's just that, it's too warm to want the oven on. I had this other problem; the almonds were whole. So I ran the almonds in a mini chopper. I had a bad mix of almond powder and big chucks.

Then, I made the mistake of trying to dry roast them in the pan I sautéed the onions in. The powdered part of the almonds stuck to the bottom of the pan and burned. Through a little bit a shaking and stirring I got most of the big chucks to one side and the powdered part to the other, allowing me to scoop out the burned part. For next time, I'm keeping slivered almonds on hand.

Finally, while putting this together I was sure this salad was begging for a chopped up apple. So I gave it one, skin and all.

Introducing the pasta salad inspired by Cain Credicott's salad.

Tossed Citrus Pasta salad

Start with what can be made the day before if desired.


Place in blender and turn on the lowest setting.

1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Fleischman's apple cider vinegar

Open the top of the blender and pour 4 Tbs of olive oil in a thin slow steady stream. Place dressing in a jar and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Now, cook 1 15oz can of Garbanzo beans for twenty minutes, then drain.

For those with a stronger stomach than mine the cooking may not be necessary. Either place beans in a jar and store in the fridge until ready.

½ cup of slivered almonds, dry roasted.

To dry roast any nut simply place in a frying pan on medium heat and stir constantly. Slivered almonds will burn quickly, keep a close eye on them. Roast until desired brownness. If using an iron frying pan don't leave the nuts in the pan when you remove it from the heat, it will keep cooking.

For best taste and nutrition the rest of the ingredients should be prepared at the same time you put the salad together.

1 10 oz. box of Glutino rice penne noodles cooked according to the package directions. Rinse in cold water.

1 cup finely chopped red onions slightly sautéed

3/4 cup chopped celery

3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1 2.25 0z. can of sliced black olives

1 small, diced, red apple

Although we ate the salad right away, I think one hour chilling time in the refrigerator would improve it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Real Grandma, Real Cookies

My grandma was short and plump, and wore glasses. When she put together a holiday feast you better come hungry and in loose clothes. Two kinds of meat,potatoes, gravy, and stuffing, two kind of vegetables and a salad, cranberry sauce, nuts, two kinds of olives, cream cheese stuffed celery, three kinds - no four kinds of pie, a cake, cookies and homemade rolls, I don't know how she did it all. Despite, after having been sent to help her, I was made to sit on a kitchen stool and watch.

She told these wonderful little tales while I watched her clean and cook. When she spoke some were told in a whisper. Her eyes filled with mischief, as if she was telling you a great secret. She had a small toy box of things to play with and there were always cookies in Grandma's cookie jar.

This is my grandma. This is the perfection my sons believe I should fulfill. When Jared and Melissa had Gordon, I was told I have to keep cookies in the cookie jar because I was now a grandma. I had been busy trying to make gluten-free family meals. At the same time I was fighting the debilitating symptoms of accidental gluten contaminations. I just haven't been able to take the time for cookies.

However, cookies have turned out to be easy. As always for rice I cut the fat and I add guar gum. The two recipes I have included here is for peanutbutter and cinnamon sugar cookies. This weekend I'm hoping to turn those sugar cookie into chocolate ship cookies.

Peanutbutter cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix together:
1 cup Almond meal
½ cup rice flour
½ millet flour
1 cup Brown sugar
2 tsp guar gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt

Using a whip blend
2 Tbs ground flax seed
6 Tbs boiling water
in a separate small dish. Set aside to thicken.

Add and blend in the first bowl:
3 Tbs shortening
1 cup peanutbutter
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the flax seed and water one more time before adding it to the mix.
Mix well.
Place well rounded tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet, then press out onto cookie sheet using a fork.
Bake 12 minutes.

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix together:
¾ cup rice flour
½ cup millet flour
¾ cup almond meal
2 tsp guar gum
½ tsp baking power
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar

Cut in:
3 tbs shortening
2 tbs smart balance light
Whip up and then add
2 egg amount of flax seed
2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Roll small balls of dough in cinnamon and sugar.
Place on a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches a part.
Using your palm, press down to flatten into cookie shapes.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Final note on sugar cookies: I've had these come out cake like and I have had them come out chewy. If you add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder you get the cake-like cookie. If you decrease the millet flour and increase the rice flour you get a chewy cookie.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What I Did for My Summer Vacation

We did what most families do on the fourth. We started with grilled burgers-all the fixing's included, potato chips, strawberry gelatin, and watermelon. After dinner Jared,my middle born (24,) and Lisa, my last (nearly 13,) had a marble fight with my decorative marbles.

Then we played a baseball game. Home base was a faded Frisbee. First base was a park bench tucked way over there in the corner, under the maple tree. Second base doubled as the pitchers mound. Shortstop was a large pine trees with a screen of branches hanging down. Third base was on the other side of the bushes at the antennae pole. And catcher, K. C. my first born (29,) slipped on the abundance of mulberries under the mulberry tree.

After our game we eat mulberry pie. My eldest son told me that my gluten-free Mulberry Pie jaded him. Each year our three Mulberry trees is full of mulberries ripe, just in time, for the Fourth of July. Every year my husband, Ken, asks for mulberry pie and each time I made one, it would come out runny, which would then turn the gluten-licious crust to mush. Yet, it was this year's gluten-free pie that jaded my son and lead him to claim that I should share my failures, too.

This year's pie had a double whammy. First, hoping to avoid the runny filling I added some arrowroot starch to the Minute Tapioca. The filling came out like gum. I could claim that I have solved the runny problem. Second, gluten-free crust just isn't your old favorite wheat and dairy pie crust. I've tried at least three different gluten-free pie crust recipes . I don't want to try any of them, again. The one, I used for this mulberry pie, came the closest to real pie crust.

It was a beautiful looking pie and we did eat it. The dough had been difficult to handle. It kept falling apart. The finished crust crumbled at a touch and was gritty in the mouth. This was the pie that jaded K.C.

I rarely find gluten-free recipes, created by others, that work for me. I have more success studying my old recipes and applying some of the science I've learned about gluten-free cooking. This was the case with my tortilla recipe, it's the tortilla recipe my husband and I decided I should turn into pie crust. It didn't work either. The dough handled better, but the finished crust was hard and slightly gritty.

The new mulberry pie was, sort of, a hit. Melissa said, “It's 100% better.”

K.C. Said, “It's 1000% better. I'm more allergic to the stems then the berries. Can't you do something about the stems?”

Jared couldn't finish it. He decided he only likes fresh mulberries. He didn't like the stems. He didn't like the crust either. It's not the same as real pie crust.

Lisa, my gluten-free gal, said, “It's perfect. Accept, I don't like the stems either.”

Ken said, “It's good. Can't you do something about the stems.”

Since, I'm not going to sit down and pick the tiny stems off of 6 cups of mulberries, I made an apple pie next. I thought if I add just a little more water the dough might handle better. The handling was only slightly better. However, the crust was tough.

I'm not sure it was the water that caused the toughness. It is possible the longer time needed for cooking the apples caused the problem. I will try again, but for now here is

My present version of a not perfect pie crust

Mix the following dry ingredients:
¼ cup Arrowroot starch
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
¼ Millet flour
2 tsp guar gum
1tsp sea salt
1 tsp Cream of tartar
2 tsp sugar
Cut the following in with a pastry blend, until it looks like cornmeal size grain:
4 Tbs Spectrum Palm shortening
3 Tabs Smart balance, light
1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
½ cup hot water
Mix the vinegar with the water before pouring it into the mixture. Roll out half the dough on a floured sheet of wax paper. Place crust in greased and floured pie plate. Pour in the filling, place and then pinch top crust. Bake for no more than 30 - 40 minutes. I believe that over cooking is a part of what can make this crust hard. If your filling needs more cooking time then consider using precooked filling.
* I have recently learned apple cider vinegar is not gluten-free. I see it's use in many gluten-free recipes. There is many conflicting facts about what you can and cannot eat on a gluten-free diet. It is best to do your own label reading and not rely on anyone's word, not even what Celiac associations have said.