Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weighing flours

When it comes to working with Gluten-free flours, I really believe weighing them is best. I first learned about weighing vs measuring from The Gluten-free girl.  One cup of Sorghum flour is not equal to one cup of Potato starch. I really don't even think you can compare Gluten-free to traditional flour when it comes to measuring in a recipe, they are totally different creatures. I know that some  GF cookbooks still advocate measuring with a cup, but I think that is best left to the professionals.

So, what do you do if you want to try substituting in GF flours for traditional? My All-Purpose flour mix is a good place to start. You can sub in the same weight of other flours as long as you trade a flour for a flour and a starch for a starch. But what if you want to experiment and make a different mix? Or use all of one or two flours?

A great place to start is this blog. If you scroll down a bit on the page, you will see a PDF file that contains the weights of 1 "cup" worth of all the different GF flours. So, for instance, if you wanted to try a recipe with only Brown rice flour you would need to use 158 grams to equal 1 cup of traditional flour.

As with using Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum, I think a mix is best. You get different textures and subtle taste differences with mixes. I have tried recipes that use all Almond flour and (to me) they have an odd, greasy aftertaste because of all the oil in the nuts. But if you mix a bit of Almond flour in with other flours, you get a subtle nutty taste that is great. Same goes for Coconut flour.

Don't be afraid to experiment. It wasn't until I was motivated financially to play around with flours that I came up with my all-purpose mix.

So...Where have I been?

OK, so I sort of slacked off again on bogging. Sorry! Have you ever had a school assignment that just hung over your head? You know you should just tackle it and be done but you wait and wait? That's how the What do we like Wednesdays was starting to feel. Sorry, but it's true. I guess I don't do well with deadlines, even self-imposed ones.

I am going to continue to blog (I still have a lot to share with you!) but I may not stick
with the Wednesdays. Please be patient with me, I am not a born blogger :)

So, I want to share something that happened yesterday. It made my day, my week, my month....

My son is attending a day camp this week and as a special treat I made a large batch of cookies for his lunches. Each day I have been sending 3 cookies with him. It turns out that several of the boys in class have been asking him to share! One of the boys has even asked for the recipe. These boys are not gluten/dairy free and they LOVE my cookies!!!

Should I tell them that it's just the Betty Crocker recipe done up GF/DF style? I have been sneaking in a bit of coconut oil, so far my son hasn't noticed! I have though, the cookies have a very subtle coconut flavor that goes great with the chocolate chips.

If you would like to try, here is the recipe. This is adapted from the Basic Betty Crocker cookbook.

Gluten-free/Dairy-free Chocolate chip cookies.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter spread (I use the original in the tub)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 large egg
315g All-purpose flour mix
1/2 teaspoon Guar gum
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 bag chocolate chips (I have been using Trader Joes brand)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat sugars, butter spread, coconut oil, vanilla and egg in a mixer on medium speed, or with a spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. On an un-greased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoon (I use a Cookie dough scoop)
about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (try not to over bake or the cookies will be hard) or until light brown, the centers will be soft. Allow to cool for 1 to 2 minutes before you try to transfer them to a cooling rack.

I usually use a Mini chocolate chip for my cookies but I am finding that the larger ones have done just fine. I was careful to let the cookies firm up some before I transfer them off the the cookie sheet.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday's "What do we like?"

This week's "What do we like?" features

Schar Brand Cibatta Rolls

These rolls received mixed reviews in my house.
I gave these and A+ . They come partially baked. You finish them in the oven for about 10 minutes.
I thought they were soft, fluffy and yummy.
My kids didn't like them though. They have a dusting of flour on them that makes them feel a bit gritty to the touch (they don't taste gritty though). My son is super sensitive to things like that and he just couldn't get past it. He thought they were tasteless as well. My daughter didn't like the texture of the crust.
So, we leave you with making up your own mind on this one. I received a free sample from Schar that I had requested. It was not given for the purpose of a review though, it was just an offer on-line that I took advantage of.
Many Albertsons and Super Wal-Mart stores carry Schar products but I have only seen the Cibatta rolls on-line.
The best price on  was $5.62 a pack when you buy a box of 6 packs ($33.60 + free shipping). Very pricey. I will be looking for a less expensive way to purchase these and when I do, I will definitely be purchasing them for myself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Toss it

I was so very dissapointed in a new product we tried that I felt I should post about it. I hope I convince you to save your money. Of course, tastes very, so you should make up your own mind.

In my quest to find a picture to post with this, I found a favorable review for this product. In the review it said that these were only available from the manufacturer and not sold in stores. I am wondering if they tasted better then? Maybe the review was paid for?

My son LOVES pound cake. So, I was super excited to find these little mini pound cakes (marble flavor) at Fred Meyer. I opened the box to find 5 cute little cakes, all individually wrapped.
So far, so good.
I opened one and smelled it, hmm, a little "off" but not offensive. We all took a bite. My daughter spit hers out right away. My son tried to chew his but had to spit it out. I got my bite down but that was as far as it went.
Dry, grainy and weird. Those were the words used by all three of us. Gross. From my daughter. I am not sure why they were so bad. The only ingredient I was not familiar with is "Dehydrated apple powder" but that seems innocent enough. They kind of reminded me of a piece of gluten free cake that has gone stale.
Maybe when they were available from the manufacturer directly, they were more fresh? I bought these on July 2nd, the expiration date on the box is September15th, 2012.  They won't be in our house long enough to see how stale they would be by September!
At almost $6.00 a box, I would recommend skipping these! Ours went in the trash.

4th of July Menu

What are you eating for the 4th of July? There are many of us who will be spending the day with others who eat gluten & dairy. How will you handle potluck meals?
For my family, we will be going to my mom's for the entire day. Some of my siblings avoid gluten/dairy and one can't tolerate corn. We will have an interesting mix of foods.

I for one, am going to bring what would be considered an entire meal. That way, if there aren't other choices, we aren't stuck with one dish.

Here is my menu for the 4th.

Pre-cooked chicken legs w/home-made BBQ sauce. I am trying a new recipe for the BBQ sauce. If it turns out well, I will post it later this week. I bake these up the night before and we eat them at room temp the day of.
Corn on the cob (to roast on the BBQ)
Veggie tray- celery, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrot & cucumber
Jalapeno poppers (contains dairy)- My extended family is addicted to these! I make them even though they contain dairy because my kids don't like them.  Simply take a fresh jalapeno pepper and slice it in half lengthwise. Strip the seeds out and discard them. stuff the shell with a teaspoon of cream cheese. Wrap the pepper with 1/2 strip of bacon (secure with a toothpick). Bake at 350 degrees until the bacon is done. YUM!!!!
Gluten free/ dairy free angel food cupcakes (again, a new recipe. I will post it if it turns out good)
Hot dogs w/Udi's Gf/Df buns- For my extremely selective son who won't eat any of the above foods.

I would love to hear what everyone else is eating!

Have a Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday's "What do we like?"

My son chose todays featured item.

So Delicious brand  Purely Decadent Dairy Free

Peanut Butter Zig Zag ice cream!

This is a soy-based ice cream, so those of you with soy and or peanut allergies, this won't work. But, if you can eat it, I highly recommend doing so! Before we found the less expensive choices at Trader Joes, this was our go to ice cream. This one can break the bank at about $5 though, so it's probably not a daily indulgence.
Great taste, great texture, enough said!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday's "What do we like?"

So once again, I planned to post this last week and just didn't get around to it. I promise I have more on my mind to share soon! For now I leave you with this.

What do we like this week????

Red Robin Restaurants!

My kids and I went to Red Robin this last weekend. This was by no means our first time.  I love that Red Robin understands Gluten-free dining. They now offer Udi's GF/DF buns as a regular menu item. No more lettuce wraps!! My son was able to enjoy a kids burger with bun and fries for lunch. They even grilled the bun for us.
Some of the Red Robin servers still aren't quite there with really "getting it" with gluten-free (some are) but we have eaten at 3 different locations and at each,  the managers knew exactly what was going on and were very competent in helping the servers.
I always start by asking for a GF menu, even though I already know what I want. I feel this gets the server thinking GF from the get-go.
Only once my son's order was mixed up, but it was super easy to spot. The reason was that if your kids order is GF, it should be served in a yellow basket rather than red. I knew right away when they brought the red basket that something was wrong. They quickly fixed the issue.
I will say that when you order GF fries, they do take longer to arrive. But that's a GOOD thing! That lets you know that they are being fresh cooked separately.

I am so thankful that there is a family restaurant that we can enjoy! I am hopeful that they will continue to expand their GF offerings.

Disclaimer: As always, I am in no way affiliated with Red Robin (or any product I have reviewed). I am simply offering my opinion. I paid for the meals I have eaten there and was in no other way compensated for this review.
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