Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

My version was actually Green Eggs and Sausage, but that doesn’t have the same snazzy ring to it as Green Eggs and Ham!  The only reason I even used sausage is because that is what I had on hand for this final attempt at making a quiche (more of a breakfast casserole) for The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Quiche Challenge.  I have made many a quiche these last few weeks, but they were not well received by my clan.  I think I was getting a little too fancy for them.  The Goat Cheese and Leek quiche I made, received the lowest fanfare (although I liked it!), so an idea came to me to revise the popular school snack my boys have made at their preschool each year during Dr. Seuss week.  I wanted to make a naturally green egg dish to hopefully inspire their teachers that you can make better green eggs, without the synthetic food dye and some added nutrients! 😉

*At the end of this post is a video clip of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity that you might be interested in watching.

Goat Cheese and Leek Quiche with a Pie Crust Made from Garbanzo Beans! 😀

I wish I had more pictures to share of the steps I went through, but Sam decided to play with my camera and accidentally erased everything, including all the photos of my first experiments with my new BFF, Ms. Vitamix!  Yes, I have made a very large “Note to Self: Dump your camera after each photo session!”

Onward and upward as they say…  I found this recipe and used it as my inspiration for this naturally gluten-free version of Green Eggs and Ham Sausage Quiche!  I omitted the pie crust and went with a hash brown crust, simply because it was easier. 😉

For the crust:

4 cups of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns, thawed

1 Tbs. Oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, but Olive, Canola, etc. would work fine)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Toss together the thawed hash browns, oil and seasonings.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 pan.

For the filling:

8 oz. of fresh spinach (I believe I used more, quite possibly double this amount, but I forgot to to weigh it beforehand.  The fresh spinach came in my CSA box, but it wasn’t labeled with the amount, so I just used it all!)

1 cup Smoked Ham (I used lowfat breakfast sausage)

1 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded

10 Eggs (I used fresh, local free-range eggs that I get in my weekly CSA box, it may be in my head, but they taste so much better!)

2 2/3 cups of Milk (I used Skim)

1 cup Heavy Cream (I used Half and Half to lighten it up a bit)

Salt and Pepper to taste (the recipe I used for inspiration called for nutmeg too, but I tend save my nutmeg for pumpkin pie.  Not very evolved of me, I know!)

To make the filling:

  • Add fresh spinach (I did not blanch it, as called for in Nick’s recipe) and eggs to a blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix).  Puree until smooth.
  • Add milk and cream (or substitute) to the spinach/egg mixture and puree until combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

To assemble the Quiche:

  • In the shredded hash brown lined pan, sprinkle with ham (or sausage) and cheese.
  • Pour the spinach/egg custard over the hash brown, ham and cheese layer.
  • Bake at 325º F. for about 55 minutes, then check for doneness.  A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Note: Once the initial quiche was done, there was a Pronounced spinach flavor (remember, I didn’t measure how much spinach I used!).  Once it was done baking, I had to add more cheese, salt and pepper, in order for it to be more palatable for my kiddos.  All I had was sharp cheddar, but it did the trick!!  I added about 1 1/2 cups more of shredded cheese (so much for lightening it up!). 🙂

The boys really liked it and they have been eating a square of it for breakfast each morning this week.  It reheats very well in the microwave.  I will definitely make this again, but I will just be sure to measure out the spinach next time. 😉

Linda is doing a Gluten-Free Cake Challenge for this month and that is more up my alley!  Be sure to check it out for what I am sure will be some very amazing recipes!

Speaking of gluten-free cakes, did you see Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens?  Yummy.

In the spirit of gluten-free awareness month, I want to share a video clip with you of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity.  I posted a little bit about eczema and artificial colorings the other day on my “Funny Oranges” post.  Ron Hoggan, Ed.D., co-author of Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health, left a very informative comment to that post last night (thank you, Ron!), that I encourage you to read.  I have solely focused on reading about celiac disease over the past few years, but am starting to read more on the entire spectrum of gluten-sensitivity, and what I have been learning is mind boggling.  For further reading, check out The Gluten Syndrome.net

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

So have you heard the news yet?

General Mills will be debuting Gluten-Free Bisquick (and a few other items 😉 ) at the Celiac Disease Foundation’s Annual Education Conference and Food Faire in Los Angeles, on May 15, 2010!

I am still speechless (shocking, eh? Don’t worry, it won’t last for long. 😀 ) that this is actually happening so I will direct you over to Anne Steib’s article on Celiac-Disease.com so you can read it in more detail.  Anne is another one of my favorite bloggers, check her out at Gluten-Free Musings, I love her honesty, her spirit and her courage, and I think you will too.

The famous yellow box. I wonder what the gluten-free package will look like??

I grew up on Bisquick.

Bisquick Pancakes, Bisquick Biscuits, Bisquick Strawberry Shortcakes, Bisquick Impossible Pie Casseroles; you name it, my mom made it.  It was one of the products I missed most after my diagnosis 5 years ago (my 5 year diagnosis anniversary is actually this Thursday, April 29, 2010…woo-hoo! 😉 ), as that neon yellow box was an integral part of growing up for me.

Being diagnosed with celiac disease at age 31 meant I would never again eat the foods of my past… mainly, my mom’s “home cooking.”  That actually had a lot to do with my 3 years of “cheating,” before I finally sought help to come to terms with my diagnosis; but I will save that for my “About Me” page I will finally have up next month (it’s been difficult to write because I have evolved so much over the past 10 months that I have been blogging. What I write today, may not be entirely accurate tomorrow!).

I have long since moved beyond the “need” for food nostalgia (note that I didn’t say “want”), but the very idea that the day has come where Bisquick will again be an option (albeit, a GF option), almost moves me to tears.

That being said, I have made many homemade gluten-free versions of Bisquick over the years but the product that I think has come closest, at least in my memory, is Better Batter’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix (I hadn’t been to the Better Batter website in a while, since I buy it in bulk (and am well stocked)… have you seen their new site? Very cool Naomi, I love it!!).

I have been using the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix for a few months now in those old Bisquick recipes from my youth.  One of my all-time favorite Bisquick recipes is the Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake, and the following is the original recipe that my mom always used to make, with my tweaks in red.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Streusel Topping

1/3 cup Original Bisquick Mix (I used the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix)

1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Tbs. firm Butter or Margarine (I used 1 Tbs. Earth Balance)

Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick Mix (again, I used the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix)

2/3 cup Milk or Water (I used Skim Milk)

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Egg

  • Heat oven to 375° F.
  • Grease 9-inch round pan.
  • In a small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly, set aside.
  • In a medium Bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until blended.
  • Spread in Pan then sprinkle with streusel topping.
  • Bake 18 – 22 minutes or until golden brown.

I can imagine my mom enjoying this with me, in another life perhaps. 😉

I’ve also decided to launch a new campaign…

My all-time favorite cereal (I am not sure that anyone will even remember this cereal from the 70’s/early 80’s), was actually a cereal made by General Mills, called “Buc-Wheats.”

Now that the 1980’s seemed to have regurgitated all over the department stores and General Mills is a gluten-free super hero… maybe, just maybe, a reincarnated “Buc-Wheats” (that is gluten-free, of course… hey, I am not launching a cereal campaign that I cannot benefit from!).  Just replace the wheat with something else (corn or rice will work fine), replace the malt flavoring with molasses and manufacture in one of their dedicated facilities and we will be good to go! 😀

Oh Lordy Pete…I love those old commercials! 🙂

Two quick things I want mention; if you haven’t heard about the “30 Days to a Food Revolution” being hosted by Diane over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, it began today with a great post by Shirley Braden of GFE – Gluten Free Easily. Check it out and get involved for a chance to win some great prizes and learn some healthy new recipes! You can also “Like” The W.H.O.L.E. Gang on Facebook (is it just me or does that not roll as well as “become a fan?” 😀

Also, there is something really cool about to start… The Gluten-Free Challenge. If you have a friend or loved one with Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE), why not spend a couple of days walking in their shoes?

I did an EE (Eosinophillic Espophagitis) challenge a few years ago in support of one of Sam’s old playmates who had the disease. I ate nothing but chicken, sweet potatoes and grapes for an entire weekend. It was such an enlightening experience for me to better understand what someone else has to go through each and every day for the rest of their lives… 2 days was nothing in comparison. It really changed my life in the sense that it brought me greater awareness of the challenges other people face and instilled a level of compassion I had never known before. I am now thoughtful about making sure all children that come into my home for a birthday party, play date, etc. are made to feel like a regular kid by being able to eat what everyone else is eating. This is how I really became aware that young kids don’t care about the food itself… they really just want to play and eat what their friends are eating, Sam ate raw sweet potatoes sticks (to mimic carrot sticks) for years, just because his little friend did! 🙂

I am working hard at getting Sam to understand that he is different, but you know what? We all are, and that is what makes life interesting and fun. There are times though, when it feels good to sit at the table with our loved ones and be able to fully enjoy a celebratory meal (like the holidays) without having to watch with an eagle eye for a rogue bread crumb that may land on your plate. When I sit down with my parents, sisters and their families for a meal, I am not fully engaged in them because I can’t be while I am watching to make sure my son and I stay safe.

Of the roughly 1,095 meals a year we all consume, would 6 gluten-free meals be that big of a sacrifice? You might just find a few great new recipes that are naturally gluten-free to add to your mealtime! 🙂

I want to leave you with an excerpt from the Gluten-Free Challenge website that I think sums it quite perfectly:

Why have a Gluten-Free Challenge?

Living gluten-free can feel isolating, but it shouldn’t. We believe that if we invite our gluten-consuming friends and family to join us at the table, we can all enjoy a delicious meal together. Our goal is not to change everyone to a gluten-free diet, but to simply show our gluten-consuming friends and family that they can enjoy our food with us. We believe that everyone who to takes this challenge for their gluten-free loved one, will find that eating together is more enjoyable, easier and less stressful.

Glazed Doughnuts

I made these doughnuts a few weeks ago for Sam’s Flag Ceremony at school. His class was in charge of the ceremony and his teacher was going to buy doughnuts for the class to have as a treat afterward. Mind you, this was during the same period of time as the “Magic Wand” Friday Fun Snack and my fall from grace as I found myself squeezing pretzel dough out of a play dough toy. It was a rough week so I set aside a doughnut for me to have with a cup of coffee and a splash of Bailey’s… okay, my Bailey’s with a splash of coffee. Fine, my mug of Bailey’s! 😉

I got the recipe off of the Williams Sonoma website and subbed the flour with Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour.

Glazed Doughnuts

3/4 cup Warm Milk (about 110ºF) (or Non-Dairy Substitute)

1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

1 packet Active Dry Yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp. Bulk Yeast)

2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (I used Better Batter GF Flour)

1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt

2 Tbs. Unsalted Butter, at room temperature (I used Smart Balance, Earth Balance would also work)

2 Egg Yolks

Nonstick Cooking Spray

Vegetable Oil for Frying

For the chocolate glaze:

5 Tbs. Unsalted Butter (I used Smart Balance, Earth Balance would also work)

4 oz. Semisweet Chocolate Chips (You could also use Vegan Chocolate Chips, or Carob Chips)

2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar (I used 365 Organic Powdered Sugar, which is corn-free)

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (Make sure it is GF)

1/4 cup Hot Water

Vanilla Glaze Variation:

To make a vanilla glaze, follow the instructions for preparing the chocolate glaze, omitting the chocolate chips and decreasing the hot water to 3 Tbs.

  • Pour the warm milk into a small bowl. Stir in the granulated sugar and yeast until dissolved. Let stand until the yeast activates and thick foam appears, about 10 minutes. (I started the yeast process before assembling all my other ingredients. I turned my oven on to 200° F. and allowed the oven to come to temperature, then I turned off the oven. After incorporating the yeast mixture, I opened the oven door and placed the bowl of yeast on the door of the oven to proof. This gave the yeast the necessary warmth to help it activate, without overheating the yeast and consequently “killing” it).
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and put the butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture in the well. Using a hand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat the dough on medium speed until it comes together and forms a ball, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour. (I used my stand mixer, but you could also do it by hand, and build some muscle while you’re at it!…Build some for me too, will ya!)
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out 3/8 inch thick. Using a doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Transfer the doughnuts and doughnut holes to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Re-roll the dough and cut out more doughnuts. Spray the tops of the doughnuts and holes with nonstick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the doughnuts and holes have almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350ºF according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack.
  • Working in batches of about 6, fry the doughnuts and doughnut holes until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to the wire rack-lined baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes before glazing.
  • To make the chocolate glaze, fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the top pan of the double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips. Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and hot water until combined. Set the top pan over the simmering water and keep the glaze warm until ready to use.
  • Dip the doughnuts, one at a time, into the warm glaze, covering the top half of each doughnut with glaze. Place the doughnuts, glazed side up, on the wire rack and let the glaze set for 10 minutes. Repeat to glaze the doughnut holes. Serve immediately. Makes about 14 doughnuts and doughnut holes.

Not 110° F., but close enough

Add warm milk to the sugar,

add yeast,

stir to incorporate.

This is what the yeast mixture looks like after setting for 10 minutes in a warm place.

See how “poofy” the yeast mixture is? If your yeast does not look similar, throw it out and start over! It doesn’t “hurt” as much to throw out a few cents worth of yeast and sugar as it dos to throw out a few bucks worth of GF flour!!

A tip with eggs (in case you are like me and when you crack an egg on the side of a bowl, the shell goes right in your mixture!), use a knife and give the egg a good “whack,”

Nice, clean crack.

Is it just me, or does my thumb look like a chicken leg?? 😀

opening the egg is a breeze,

Let the egg white slide off into a bowl, while keeping the yolk in the shell. Did you know that you can freeze eggs?

1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt,

2 1/4 cups GF Flour (Better Batter for me),

add salt to the flour

Whisk to incorporate the GF flour and salt,

I also like to add another step, by sifting the flour /salt mixture. Personally, I think a flour sifter is a waste of money, a fine strainer works just as well plus it is faster and cheaper!

After adding the flour to the strainer, I use the handle of a wooden spoon to “stir” the mixture through.

add the butter,

and the egg yolks,

then mix to mix to combine. I used the dough hook on my stand mixer.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm place (I used the oven) to rise for 1 hour.

Risen dough.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface,

With Better Batter, you can pick it up! Sorry, I am still amazed at this! 😀

Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, etc.,

cut out the doughnuts. Don’t forget to cut out the centers too!

Place cut doughnuts on a cookie sheet,

I like to cover mine with a damp towel then place in a slightly warm oven (make sure the oven is turned off!).

“Risen” doughnuts,

Place doughnuts in hot oil (350° F.), and allow to cook for about one minute per side.

After allowing the doughnuts to cool for a short time, dip one side in glaze (chocolate or vanilla). Top with sprinkles if desired.

The boys loved these… fresh. The next morning (when Sam needed to take one for school), the doughnuts were a lead balloon. Keep that in mind before making these! (In case you are wondering, Sam and Luke are helping Mike get our grapes planted).

I think Sam was in shock…

this reminds me of the “Crave Cheesecake Incident”

I mean nothing by this… but only a child with a dietary restriction can understand the look on Sam’s face at this moment!

This look, makes every backbreaking moment…worth it.. 😉

Gluten-Free Powdered Donuts/Doughnuts

These taste just like the "Powdered Donut Gems" I remember from my gluten days!

Whether you spell it Donut or Doughnut, they both represent the same thing. Whether you are a Dunkin’ Donuts type of donut person or a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts type of doughnut person, it doesn’t matter because if you are gluten-free like me, you cannot have either! 😀

Back in December, I had to figure how to make powdered donuts for one of Sam’s Friday Fun Snacks, they were making snowmen from them. I needed 2 standard looking powdered donuts (with the hole in the middle) and one powdered donut hole. I had never made donuts before so I took a crash course on YouTube! Seriously, YouTube has some great videos of people doing just about any kind of cooking. Most videos are made using gluten ingredients, but you can pick up tips on how to do certain things (I have recently been watching some videos on how to makel egg rolls!) Anyhoo, before I could start cutting the donuts and frying them, I needed a good gluten-free recipe!

I hit the ball out of the park on my first try when I struck gold by finding this recipe on the Four Chickens blog, (although Jeanne, the author, has 5 chicken now!). I love Jeanne’s blog, she has some really great recipes! I know she is working on a raised donut recipe, so I am not even going to try, I will just wait for hers! A little info on Jeanne before the recipe/photo tutorial. The following is an excerpt from the Four Chickens website, in the “about me” section:

I have 1 daughter, 1 husband, 5 chickens, 1 organic garden in a constant state of disrepair, 100 million books, 10 million skeins of yarn, 5 million cookbooks, 2 million projects in progress rolling around the house, and 1 PhD in theatre history/theory.

I am gluten-intolerant. I also have a life-threatening allergy to wheat. My daughter has a life-threatening peanut allergy. This combo platter keeps life interesting, to say the least.

I make fabulous gluten-free baked goods and it’s my goal to help others do the same.

The reason I had to post this is because the first paragraph is SO me (without the PhD), which is probably why I like Jeanne so much! 🙂 I was just reading this post of Jeanne’s, and I thought it was great. The second paragraph is hysterical, because it is so true. I annoy the heck out of people when they go out to eat with me, because I show up with my camera! I am like Jeanne though, I fall into the “others” category too in regards to having beautiful food pictures that are like pieces of fine art (like Karina’s!). I do not even know how to use my camera, the pics from my Better Batter review were a fluke of nature! 😉 In the post, Jeanne links to a great video on a food photography workshop she attended (see the end of the post), and I highly recommend viewing it, if for no other reason than to see what goes on behind the scenes!

One last thing on Jeanne that I want to share, Jeanne has a recipe on the National Museum of American History’s blog, in the “Julia Child Recipe of the Week” section for Chantilly Meringuée or Elegant Ice Cream. I love Julia Child, she was a wonderful teacher who always seemed genuinely humble as evidenced by her willingness to show her many mistakes as well as many successes with her audience. She was real and made me feel as though I could cook that way too. Check out Jeanne’s blog, I am sure you will love it as much as I do!

Anyway, on to the Powdered Donuts. I used a different blend of flour than the one Jeanne has posted on her blog because I already had some made up from the Christmas Eve Fritters I had been experimenting on. I used this flour blend that I found on Recipezaar. I will re-post it here too with the changes I made.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gluten! Gluten-Free Cake Flour Mix

3 cups Brown Rice Flour (fine ground) (I used Authentic Foods Superfine White Rice Flour, since I was out of the Superfine Brown Rice Flour. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference the superfine grain makes over the standard rice flour, no grittiness!)

1 cup Potato Starch (not potato flour)

1/2 cup Tapioca Flour (I used Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch. The word “flour” is used interchangeably with the word “Starch” when referring to Tapioca, this is NOT the case with Potato Starch and Potato Flour, they are two VERY different things).

1 1/4 teaspoons Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum (I used Xanthan Gum)

  • Sift ingredients together, combining thoroughly. Use in place of flour in cakes and other baked goods.
  • Store in airtight container or Ziploc bag in refrigerator.

Gluten-Free Powdered Donuts (Gluten-Free Doughnuts recipe reprinted courtesy of Jeanne Sauvage, author of Four Chickens. My changes/suggestions are in red.)

1 Egg, lightly beaten (I have also tried these with Ener-G Egg Replacer and they work fine, just a little more dense)

1/2 cup Milk (or dairy-free substitute)

1/2 cup Sugar

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 Tbs. Butter (I used Smart Balance, but Earth Balance (dairy-free) would also work fine)

1 3/4 – 2 cups Gluten free Flour Blend (Jeanne uses 1 3/4 cup of her flour blend, I used 2 cups of the flour blend posted above. Start with 1 3/4 cups, then add more if needed. You can always add, but you cannot take away. 😉 )

Oil for frying (I used Sunflower Oil)

For powdered donuts, you will need confectioner’s sugar. Whole Foods’ 365 brand of Organic Powdered Sugar uses Tapioca Starch instead of Cornstarch, if you avoid corn. You can see a photo of it here.

Or, you could roll the donuts in Granulated Sugar or a Cinnamon/Sugar mixture.

  • Mix together egg, milk, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and butter in a medium bowl.
  • Add flour (you may need incorporate it with your hands at end of mixing). Cover and refrigerate for about an hour (to firm up dough).
  • Prepare to roll out the doughnuts. I (Jeanne) used a Silpat mat to roll out the dough. You can also dust your cutting board with flour and cut out there. (I would use tapioca flour for this–it won’t add graininess to the dough). You may need to use a little flour for the biscuit cutters so they don’t stick to the dough. (I used the Tapioca Flour/Starch as Jeanne recommended and I also floured the biscuit cutters).
  • Roll out the dough to 1/2″ thickness (be sure it’s not too thin)
  • Cut out doughnuts with bigger biscuit cutter and doughnut holes with smaller biscuit cutter. Or you can just use the smaller one and cut out a bunch of doughnut holes (because they are fun and easy to eat!).
  • While you are cutting out the doughnuts, have the pan of oil on medium-high heat. I use a small saucepan and I do several batches. This is so I don’t have to use a ton of oil. You need to have the oil deep enough that the doughnuts can cook be completely submerged and have oil all the way around them. Oil should be around 360 degrees.
  • Once doughnuts are cut out, test the oil. Drop a bit of extra dough into the oil to see if it fries. If it starts frying immediately, then the oil is ready.
  • Carefully drop doughnuts and holes into oil. They should drop into the oil and start frying. After a couple of minutes, they will rise to the surface.
  • Turn them in the oil to make sure they are being cooked evenly. Cook until they are golden brown.
  • When they are golden brown, carefully take doughnuts out of oil and drain on a plate covered w/paper towels. The doughnuts won’t have absorbed that much oil.
  • Repeat the frying procedure until all the dough is used.
  • We like them as-is, but you can dust them with powdered sugar or granulated sugar, if you want. You can add a little cinnamon to the granulated sugar if you want cinnamon doughnuts.
  • Visit Jeanne’s post for a printer-friendly version of her recipe. She also has a recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Doughnuts that sound delicious!

The following is my photo tutorial for the Powdered donuts. I decided to add more step by step pictures after one of my best friends from back home in Ohio sent me this photo on my cell phone of her Better Batter GF Bagels:

A closer look (I’m sorry Mary, but this is just too good to pass up!):

I laughed so hard, I cried! I thought Mary’s bagel looked like a pretty flower but my husband kept calling it a “Pattypan Squash from Farmville.” Oh, Lordy Pete, this still reduces me to tears, LOL! Just so you know, I have been there too, believe you me! Just look at my pretzel rods! 😉 So Mary, this photo tutorial is dedicated to you, my dear friend!

1 Tbs. Butter (I used Original Smart Balance in the tub, and this may make my outcome different from a batch made with real butter).

Level it off with a knife.

Heat the butter in the microwave until melted. If you cover it with a paper towel, it wont blow up all over the place. 😉

Melted Smart Balance, set aside to cool for a minute before adding to the egg (so you don’t scramble the egg).

In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg,

When measuring liquids, use a measuring cup meant for liquids. After pouring in the liquid, set the measuring cup on the counter then read for the correct amount (once it stops moving).

Add milk to beaten egg,

Use this type of measuring cup for dry ingredients. This is 1/2 cup of sugar,

Add the sugar to the egg and milk mixture,

When I measure salt, I also level it with a knife:

Baking (even frying donuts) is a precise science, don’t “eyeball” the ingredients.

Add salt to the egg, milk and sugar mixture.

Do the same with the nutmeg, level it with a knife (too much nutmeg can be overpowering).

Add the nutmeg to the wet mixture,

Add the leveled off baking powder to the egg, milk, sugar, salt and nutmeg mixture,

then add the cooled melted butter/Smart Balance, whisk together until well incorporated.

Not quite done,

Now add the flour!

This is some mix that I had stored in my freezer,

Level off 2 cups of the flour mix,

Add the flour to the wet mixture,

Stir to combine.

This is where you will want to use your hands,

And there you have it!

I cover my dough with a slightly damp towel (to keep the dough from drying out), then put in the fridge for about an hour. In the meantime, heat the oil.

Oops, too hot! Reduce heat and allow the temperature to come down to 360° – 365° F.

Flour your work surface,

Pat out the dough to approximately 1/2″ thickness (this is not a sticky, batter type dough, it is easy to handle).

You can use biscuit cutters,

Or a glass, basically anything that is the desired shape and size you want!

Then you need something with a smaller circle to cut out the hole. This is a large pastry tip,

this is an apple corer with a plunger attachment,

which makes it easy to pop out the dough!

Close enough…

I did a test piece with one of the donut holes,

When you first drop in the dough, it will sink to the bottom. When it is close to done, the donut will “float” to the top. At this point, it is essentially trial and error, I have had many donuts that I thought were done, only to see them split as they were cooling with uncooked batter seeping through. If this happens, just put back in the hot oil to cook some more, they won’t be pretty, but they will still taste good!

Remove donut from hot oil with a skimmer, place on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Finish cooking off your donuts, then allow the donuts to drain and cool completely (if you don’t want the powdered sugar to melt into the donut).

These will keep a few days if stored in an air-tight container.

I definitely think Mary and I hit the “gluten-free ugly jackpot” this week! The icing wasn’t cooperating very well, and you have to be careful not to handle the donut too much or the powdered sugar comes off! The “O” cereal eyes you see are Nature’s Path Whole O’s, which are gluten-free. The chocolate chips are Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels and the hat is a Hershey’s Kiss.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Banana Bread

This is the recipe my mom always used when I was growing up and I still use it today (not sure the original source), with my gluten-free “tweaks”.  I decided to make some the other night using a few other alternative ingredients just to see how it would turn out, and boy am I glad I did!  I think it is actually better than the original recipe, even in gluten-form!

I have been reading a great series of posts on sweeteners, both natural and artificial, on a fabulous blog called A Life of Sugar and Spice.  Jen has Crohn’s Disease and is chronicling her journey of healing herself through diet, including the elimination of gluten.  Jen also avoids dairy and keeps sugar to a minimum.  I like Jen’s blog because of her spunk. She says everything I want to say but thus far have been too chicken! 😉  She does a lot of research and writes great articles on topics that I am just recently becoming very interested in (after watching Food, Inc.).  Check out Jen’s thoughts on the film Food, Inc. and another great post on the difference between grass-fed and corn-fed beef.   Anyway, the sweetener series is called “Know the Facts,” and so far, Jen has posted on Agave Nectar (WOW!) and Honey.

I went with the honey for my banana bread.

I also bought some Soy-Free Earth Balance the other day to see if it worked just as well as Smart Balance (dairy) and Earth Balance (dairy-free) in baking.  I’m happy to say, so far, so good!.  I used the Soy-Free Earth Balance in this recipe as well.

I kept the eggs this time around because I do not like to change too many ingredients at once.  I am going to try this recipe again today using flax gel to replace the eggs, I’ll keep you posted on the results!

The original recipe is in black, my tweaks are in red.

Banana Bread (with my tweaks, this banana bread is gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free)

3/4 cup Sugar (I used 3/4 cup Honey. I referred to this article when figuring out how to replace sugar with honey)

1/3 cup Margarine (I used Soy-Free Earth Balance, which is also dairy-free, and gluten-free)

2 Eggs

1 cup Mashed Ripe Bananas

1/3 cup Water

1 2/3 Cup Flour (I used Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour. You can read the ingredients of Better Batter GF Flour here and more on their product info page here.)

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a bowl, combine: margarine (or healthier substitute 🙂 ), sugar (in my case, honey), and eggs (or egg substitute). Mix well.
  • Add mashed bananas and water to the margarine, sugar and egg mixture.  Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine: flour (**Better Batter has the Xanthan Gum already added so if you are not using a gluten-free all-purpose flour with Xanthan Gum, be sure to add the appropriate amount of Xanthan or Guar Gum to your flour blend), baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Whisk to combine the dry ingredients (I also sift mine to make sure everything is well dispersed).
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are moist.
  • Pour banana bread batter into prepared bread pan and bake 55 – 60 minutes at 350° F.  I do the prick test to make sure the bread is done.

I’ve been looking for more breakfast ideas that include protein, so I tried spreading some peanut butter on the banana bread and it totally ROCKED!  Think banana bread with an “Elvis” twist! 😉

Take 2 – 3 RIPE bananas and smash with a fork until it is almost a liquid consistency  (more like a pudding).

I only had 2 bananas and it came to just under a cup, which didn’t affect the final outcome.

Local Honey

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and GMO-Free! 😀

Honey, Water, Eggs and Soy-Free Earth Balance

Combine dry ingredients and whisk/sift before adding to the liquid mixture.

You do not need a mixer, I was being lazy!

Pour batter into prepared pan, then pop in the oven!

Homemade Gluten Free Bagels

Gluten Free bagels that are naturally dairy-free and can easily be made egg-free! 🙂

This is one of those things that most people probably don’t think they will ever have to make in their lives, and why would you?  Bagels are are very easy to obtain.  Well, unless you are gluten-free or suffer from food allergies.

Joan’s Great Bakes makes a really good gluten-free bagel, but they are expensive because of shipping costs (if you live in the mountain time zone like I do, shipping is about $45).  A local Albuquerque store used to carry them but they were $14.99 for a 5-pack of bagels.  That can be a hard price to swallow, regardless of your financial situation.  We would buy them as a special treat but they were never a staple simply because of the price.

A few weeks ago, Sam’s Friday Fun Snack at school was making “Bear Bagels.”  The kiddos were using 2 bagels of different sizes, a large bagel and a mini bagel, to assemble a bear face.  I got the recipe with only a 3 day notice, so I did not have time to order any more bagels from Joan’s Great Bakes without paying an overnight shipping charge, and even I have to draw the line somewhere! 😀  So, I had 2 whole days to figure out how to make homemade GF bagels and GF “Nilla” wafers!

Here is the recipe for Bear Bagels (in case you are interested):

I lucked out and happened to have one Joan’s Great Bakes bagel left in my freezer (from who knows when), but I was desperate, so I used it anyway!  I don’t know if you have ever had one, but they are not all that big. They fall somewhere between a gluten-containing “mini” bagel and a gluten-containing “regular” bagel (but no where near the size of a gluten-containing “large” bagel). Which is totally fine by me, because I am very big on “true” portion sizes in our house. It only poses a problem when making said “Bear Bagels!” 😉 I thought about using a cookie cutter to cut out a smaller sized bagel from one of the halves, but that was clearly not going to work.  I tried making a batch of bagels from a recipe I found online, but they tasted horrible and looked even worse, so they promptly went into the trash.  I did learn one thing from that experiment though, how to shape a bagel the easy way (I’ll show you that in a minute)!

After my first batch of homemade bagels were a bust, I realized I had to admit defeat and figure something else out to replace the mini bagel, I just didn’t have enough time.  You have no idea how difficult giving up was for me (even if it was only temporary).  Right or wrong, I still feel very guilty for having passed on the celiac gene to my son.  Because of this, I am admittedly OCD about making Sam’s “public” GF foods look the same as his friends, although I have never actually hit the mark for one reason or another!

Anyway, I had made some Better Batter biscuits for dinner that evening and had a few left over, so I went with a mini biscuit “bagel” instead for Sam to use as the bear nose.  Needing to make the biscuit smaller than the Joan’s Great Bakes Bagel, meant I also had to cut down the GF “Nilla” Wafers I had made.  Here is the bear we ultimately ended up with:

It worked, but had much room for improvement! 😉

I have since been researching different homemade bagel recipes to try and I made a second attempt yesterday using this recipe from the Baking Bites website (with gluten-free substitutions of course). Baking Bites is a great website, and once one feels comfortable making gluten-free substitutions, an entire world of possibilities opens up!  Check out Nicole’s recipe for homemade Girl Scout Samoas (always and forever Caramel Delites in my book 🙂 ).  I cannot wait to experiment with that recipe!

Homemade Gluten-Free Bagels

(Nicole Weston’s original recipe is in black, my additions/changes are in red).

1 Tbs. Active Dried Yeast (I used Red Star Yeast which is gluten-free)

1 Tbs. Sugar

1 3/4 cup Warm Water (110° – 115° F. is the optimal temperature to activate the yeast, according to the Red Star website.  Although, I have also read that 100° – 110° F. is the optimal range, so I guess anywhere from 100° – 115° F. is the area to shoot for. 😉  If the water is too hot, you will kill the yeast.  I like to use a thermometer to make sure the water is “in the proper zone”).

4 cups Bread Flour (for this recipe I just used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour.  I am trying to figure out a good gluten-free substitute for bread flour to see if that changes the outcome of the final product, I will keep you posted).

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Egg for Egg Wash (not sure if this is necessary, but I have always added 1 Tbs. of water to each egg in my egg wash. If you cannot have egg, this step can just be omitted.)

  • First, you want to “proof” your yeast.  I ALWAYS proof my yeast (to make sure the yeast is “active”) in my gluten-free baked goods, because not only do I want to save time and frustration from a potential flop, but gluten-free ingredients are too expensive to risk throwing it all away because of something as inexpensive as yeast!  So:
  • In a bowl, add the yeast, sugar and warm water (100° – 115° F).  Stir to incorporate the ingredients, then set the yeast aside to do it’s work, about 10 minutes. (Click here for more information on the different types of yeast and the best way to use them for optimal results.  If you are interested, see below for a video I found on YouTube on “How to proof yeast”).
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) add the flour and salt.
  • Once the yeast has “proofed,” add it to the flour/salt mixture.
  • Mix dough thoroughly until it comes together in a large ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Add an additional tablespoon of flour or water, if needed.  If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  If using a stand mixer, knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed (this is what I did).  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  (Make sure you put the dough in a warm place. click here for some rising tips from baking911.com, I reference this website all the time, because I have zero formal training in baking! 😀 I highly recommend bookmarking it for future use).
  • Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil (I used a roasting pan over two burners), and preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (first quarters, then thirds).  Shape each piece into a tight ball as illustrated below (click here to see Nicole’s illustrations), pinching the corners together at the bottom of the piece of dough (I didn’t really do this step as written, I just rolled out a ball).  When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.
  • Once dough balls have rested, the bagel shape can be formed.  Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball (I cheated and used my apple corer to make the hole).  Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers and be sure to make the hole a little larger than you want the finished bagel to have, as it will shrink slightly while the bagel is expanding during the baking process.  Let bagels rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Working four at a time (I put all of mine in at the same time since I was using a pan with a large surface area), drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip and boil for an additional minute (I used chop sticks for this).  Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to a clean towel to drain for a moment, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat process with remaining bagels.
  • Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg (I added 1 tbs. of water to my beaten egg) (a pastry or bbq brush is a good tool for this) and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.

YouTube video on “proofing” yeast:

The temperature of my water was 113° F. :

My “proofed” yeast:

I mixed all the ingredients using my dough hook attachment, on low for 8 minutes.

This is what the dough looked like after rising for 1 hour.  It does not look exactly like a risen gluten-dough.

Instead of using the method in the Baking Bites recipe, I just rolled the dough pieces around on the counter (to make it smooth).

Final bagel dough ball.

Using my apple corer to make the hole in the bagel.

My apple corer has a plunger on it which made extracting the dough uber simple.

I then stretched the hole out a little bit.

Tip: Keep your bagels covered with a damp cloth while you are shaping your bagels, so the dough is less likely to dry out and crack.

Pre-boiled bagels of various sizes (this is what is so cool about making your own bagels).

Some of my bagels were lumpy and bumpy, so using warm water, I tried to smooth them out before adding them to the boiling water.

Boiling water in a roasting pan over 2 stove top burners.

Boiling the bagels.

I used chop sticks to flip the bagels.

Even after smoothing them out, some of the bagels looked like this.  I wonder what causes this?

One bagel that stayed relatively smooth. 😀

Remove the bagels and let drain on a towel for a minute.

Brush with egg wash.

Fresh from the oven, GF bagels: Crunchy on the outside with a chewy inside, just like “real” bagels!  Without cream cheese, there is a slight “sourdough” taste to these.

This is one of the bagels the day after I made them.

I stored them unsliced, in an airtight container. They did need to be softened up a bit, so before slicing, I nuked them in the microwave for 20 seconds and it was as if they were fresh!

We even made some Gluten-Free “Bagel Bites,” yummy!

Mike and I tried to cost these out, using the Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour. After shipping, a 25-lb. bag of Better Batter is $86.00. There is roughly 3 cups in 1-lb. of Better Better, so a 25-lb bag is roughly 75 cups of flour. That comes to roughly $1.15/cup. This recipe uses 4 cups of flour, so that’s about $4.60. The other ingredients are too inexpensive to worry about, but for argument’s sake, let’s round it up to $5.00.

$5.00 for 10 homemade GF bagels versus roughly $30.00 for 10 store-bought GF bagels.

Now that my friends, is some food for thought! 😉

Better Batter Gluten-Free Biscuits

I did not set out after college with the intent of settling down into my own version of “Betty Crocker.”  I cooked some, but we ate out more. When I did cook, it pretty much consisted of opening a package of a pre-made mix, following the directions on the package and wa-la! Dinner served.

Celiac Disease threw a major wrench into my lifestyle. I spent the first 6 months of my diagnosis kinda dazed and confused. I was actually “excited” to go gluten-free in the beginning because I thought it was going to be some kind of life transforming event. Like some “gluten-free fairy godmother” would raise her wand and I would suddenly lose all that the weight I had gained after my thyroid was ablated due to Graves Disease (but because that sneaky celiac disease was lurking around in there, my body could not absorb my thyroid hormone, which is definitely NOT a good thing!).

After many ups, downs and every-which-ways, this is where I am today. I like to cook, especially when I feel that what I can create at home, far surpasses the quality of most gluten-free processed convenience foods. The gluten-free diet can get very expensive if you do not change they way you look at meal-time. I think this can be one of the most difficult transitions to going gluten-free; learning to “not eat out of a box.” 🙂

Our meals are 90% naturally gluten-free. Lean meats, and fresh or frozen organic fruits and vegetables. Naturally gluten-free foods cost significantly less than the typical $14.oo gluten-free frozen mini pizza that still tastes like cardboard; (which only makes you feel worse for spending so much money!). That same $14.00 can buy me almost 3 pounds of organic, grass-fed beef that I can use in 3 separate meals that feed 4 people each, with leftovers for lunch. The money for one yucky gluten-free pizza, that barely feeds 2 people can translate into 12+ meals using higher quality ingredients that actually taste good.

I do however, VERY MUCH appreciate when a company discovers a revolutionary new way of making a GF product that not only makes my life easier in the kitchen, but brings super excited faces to my kitchen table! I would rather eat mostly naturally gluten-free foods that I cook so I can afford to spend more money on products of exceptional quality (and I STILL save money!). One of those products, I believe, is Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour (which I am currently out of and my new shipment has yet to arrive… I think I am in a baking “depression” without my Better Batter, which is why I have gone on a baking strike and have not been posting many new recipes! 😉 ) Baked goods are what I think a lot of us miss most from our gluten days, which brings me to the point of this post!

I don’t know about you, but I grew up on Bisquick Biscuits. My mom is from Alabama so you would think homemade Southern style biscuits would have been more up her alley but because she grew up during a time when everything was homemade, the idea of going through all that work was just NOT that appealing to her! 🙂 I don’t blame her, I probably would have done the same! Especially considering the fact that today’s “common” kitchen gadgets weren’t so common back in the 70’s and 80’s, when my sisters and I were growing up. Without my kitchen gadgets, I would probably be on a rice and banana diet! 😉

Because I grew up on Bisquick Biscuits, that is what I like, and I really miss having them!!

So I pulled out my Better Batter GF Pancake/Baking Mix the other night and used it to make some biscuits.

As I sunk my teeth into that first flaky, buttery bite; all I could think of (as my eyes were filling with tears!), was my mom’s Bisquick Biscuits.

Better Batter Gluten-Free Biscuits (recipe is from the package of Better Batter gluten-free Pancake and Biscuit Mix)

2 1/4 cup Better Batter Pancake and Biscuit Mix

2/3 – 1 cup Milk, Buttermilk OR Water (I used Skim Milk)

Preheat oven to 450° F. (I baked mine at 425° F. in a convection oven).

Lightly grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Stir together milk (or liquid of your choice) and mix, adding more milk if necessary to form a soft, sticky dough.

Drop by 1/2 cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet (I did not do drop biscuits. I used a heavily floured surface (Better Batter) to pat out the dough to a 3/4″ – 1″ thickness. Using biscuit and cookie cutters, I cut out my biscuits).

Bake 8 – 10 minutes.

I did the standard circle shape and tried out some hearts too...

And since the Super Bowl was coming up, we experimented with a football cookie cutter!

Sam was so happy with his football biscuit! Should have made some goldfish biscuits! 🙂

As soon as my Better Batter arrives, we are going to try out this recipe from Better Batter to make our own “Beef Sausage Patties” using grass-fed beef! My boys are carb junkies and I need to get more healthy proteins into their breakfast in order to help keep them alert at school and not dealing with a sugar crash from having had just a bowl of cereal!

I am starting my new cake decorating class tonight so you will be seeing more cake posts over the coming weeks! Speaking of which, I wanted to share with you a new product coming out soon. If you are into scrapbooking or other paper arts, you have probably already heard of the Cricut personal cutting machine. Well, Cricut is getting ready to launch their newest product, Cricut Cake! WOO-HOO!! I am so excited!! 😀

I am off to make heart shaped cut-out sugar cookies for Sam and Luke’s Valentine’s Day parties at school tomorrow. If you are looking for a good cut-out sugar cookie dough recipe, check out this one. I posted it back in December and it is AWESOME! 😉

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to enter my current giveaway for a 4-pack of Cerealvit Gluten-Free Cereal!

Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas

I’ve already posted a recipe (from Living Without Magazine) on gluten-free flour tortillas that are really good… but the day after they are made. Fresh off the griddle, they are not all that bendable; but after storing them in a Ziploc bag overnight they soften right up and work really well.

But then I met my new BFF, Better Batter Gluten Free Flour!

I have been experimenting like a mad woman with my new BFF that I got last week, which is one of the reasons I have been slacking on my blog, I can’t stop cooking (or obsessing over corn-fed beef and petri dish pork…yuck. Did you hear about the newest beef recall due to E.coli 0157:H7? Sorry, ADD check.)!

Anyhoo, I am 3/4 of the way through a 25 lb. bag of flour.

In a week.

I am very thankful for Sam and Luke’s teachers and Mike’s co-workers for being my taste test subjects, because otherwise, I would be up to my ears in baked goods and it is only January 18th. Too soon into the new year to start gaining weight! 😀

The Batter Batter tortillas are simply AWESOME!! Right off the griddle. In fact, they are best if you eat them right away. But if you make too many like I did, don’t worry. Just store the extras in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and give them a quick zap in the microwave before eating.

All I can think of is…

Huevos Rancheros, Enchiladas, and OMG! I have to make a BURRITO! A breakfast burrito. Holy #&%@!! I get to have a Red Chile (or maybe Green Chile…the point is I get a choice! 😉 ) breakfast burrito at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this year! I think I am gonna faint. WOO-HOO! (Breakfast Burritos are THE thing to eat at the Balloon Fiesta, and they simply do not work with a corn tortilla). The following recipe is from the Better Batter Website and republished with their permission. Thanks, Naomi!

Better Batter Flour Tortillas

3 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

4-6 Tbs. Shortening (I used 6 Tbs. Spectrum Shortening, which is organic and non-hydrogenated)

About 1 1/2 c warm water

  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Divide into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a little ball and dust with more flour.
  • Heat up a skillet or iron to 350 degrees.
  • Working quickly, roll each ball out into a circle, about 6-8 inches wide. (I used the same method I did on the other tortilla recipe I posted. I rolled out the dough then used a saucepan lid to make a perfect circle).
  • Fry for about 15-30 seconds, flip and cook for about 10 seconds more. (I cooked mine on a griddle, like you would a pancake. I put about 1/2 tsp. Spectrum shortening on the hot griddle first so the tortillas wouldn’t stick)
  • Use immediately.

Nice little air bubbles...

So cool!

I wonder if this is how they make Pita Bread? Better Batter has a recipe for pita that I must try!

Flatten out the air pockets

Not a great photo, it's hard to take a pic while holding a tortilla in one hand!

I see soft tacos in my future!

Here is a video clip on how to make homemade flour tortillas. I wanted to post this to show you the air pockets/bubbles that occur when making gluten flour tortillas. The Better Batter tortillas got the same HUGE air pockets! 🙂

Shortening comparisons:

Spectrum:

One ingredient. I like that!

Crisco:

Do you think it is GMO Soy? I don’t know, it is not labeled. Fully and Partially Hydrogenated oils! And what is TBHQ? It “enhances” storage life. So if I eat it, will it “enhance” or preserve my stomach too? It might not be a bad thing to eat if you want to be a mummy. 😉

Flourless Flax Seed Pancakes

My buddy Mary W. did it again! Mary emailed me a link to a recipe she found on Recipezaar for Flourless Flax Seed Pancakes, very intriguing as they are naturally gluten-free and super healthy (with the heavy cream substitution)!

So, in order to make these, I needed a few ingredients. I went to my local Whole Foods (remember, Mike does most of the grocery shopping in our house because I will literally spend hours at the store reading labels, looking for new GF food finds and I inevitably always run into some lost looking and bewildered soul in the gluten-free section, which gets me all excited, like a kid in the toy store!).  Heidi gets to talk gluten-free! I have actually made some great new friends this way! 🙂

Anyhoo, this trip to Whole Foods was really no different (3 hours!) with the exception that I found myself in a little bit of trouble with management. Apparently, they frown upon someone going into the store taking photos of all their products! Okay, I understand that. It actually ended up being a really great experience though after I made my purpose clear (I was not taking photos for the competitors). The manager was actually intrigued and thought it was a good idea to share what I was learning about foods, etc., (and not just gluten-free foods) with others that want to make changes in their diets but really aren’t sure what or how to do it (like me!). Then she gave me permission to keep taking pictures (I would love to buy everything I find and take my photos at home, but I have a grocery budget too!) 🙂

The recipe calls for heavy cream and Mary needed a dairy-free version of that for her family. After experimenting at home last week, trying to make a homemade version of heavy cream out of rice milk (which is what Luke drinks) and Earth Balance. I quickly realized that was NOT going to work, so I went looking for something else that would be suitable. Since the heavy cream in the recipe wasn’t going to be whipped, I thought, “why do I need heavy cream anyway?” Wouldn’t that just pretty much cancel out the healthy attributes of the flax seed pancakes?

So, I bought some So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer (very good by the way). I could barely detect the flavor of coconut, which is a good thing for me. I can only take so much coconut flavor, and even then, it is usually accompanied with chocolate and caramel. (I am referring specifically to the vintage Girl Scouts “Caramel deLites” cookies of my Brownie days back in the early 80’s. What are they called now? “Samoas?”  Seeing that I have not been able to buy or eat them in 5 years, I am a bit out of the loop!).

Next up, the recipe calls for protein powder. I go through phases with protein powder and I have been out of it for quite some time now. The last time I was using protein powder was when Luke was about 14 months old, and he was drinking Hemp Milk (long story). I was impressed with what I learned about Hemp, so I started to use it too, by putting Hemp protein powder in my smoothies. So I thought I would use Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein Powder by Living Harvest in the pancakes.

The Vanilla Spice is AWESOME!

After the recipe I will go into these products a little bit more.

Flourless Flax Seed Pancakes

1/8 cup Whole Flax Seed or 1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed (If you buy the whole flax seed, you will need to grind it in a coffee grinder first. If you buy the ground flax seed, (which is what I used), just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the freezer).

1/4 cup Protein Powder, any flavor (I used Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein Powder)

3 Eggs (I am sure Egg Replacer would work fine as a substitute)

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 cup Overflowing Heavy Cream (I used So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer, which saves on a ton of bad fat!)

1 dash Vanilla (I used 1/8 tsp. Vanilla)

1 pinch Salt (I literally did a pinch)

1/2 tsp. Sugar Substitute (I used 1 tsp. Agave Nectar)

  • Grind the flax seeds in a coffee grinder, making approximately 1/4 cup of meal.
  • Add baking powder, protein powder, salt and sweetener to the flax meal.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla and the heavy cream (or creamer). Pour into the meal mixture and blend thoroughly with a fork or whisk.
  • Heat griddle to medium heat; melt butter or coconut oil (I used Spectrum shortening, which is non-hydrogenated), and drop batter by 1/4 cups full.
  • Turn when bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, cooking for just a minute more.
  • Serve with your favorite syrup. (I made my own syrup, see below)

Absolutely DELICIOUS! Sam and Luke ate 3 each and could not tell they were any different from our standard GF pancakes using Pamela's Baking & Pancake mix. This mom is feeling s.m.a.r.t.

Agave Nectar “Maple” Syrup

Agave Nectar

Maple Extract (I used Mapleine Imitation Maple Flavor because I tried this on a whim and it was at the grocery store. I am trying to get off all the imitation stuff, so I am going to order some organic Pure Maple Extract from Nature’s Flavors).

  • This is not really a “recipe” so I am just going to tell you what I did. I did this by taste alone so I have no measurements for you.
  • I simply poured some Agave Nectar in a bowl and added the Maple Extract until it tasted like maple syrup. Since I had finished the bottle of Agave Nectar, I just poured my “syrup” back in the bottle for storage. While pure maple syrup is probably the way to go since it is all natural (no extract), I am always trying to watch my sugar intake. I have been using the Sugar-Free Maple Flavored Syrup by Maple Grove Farms, but now that I am looking at those ingredients through a different lens, I want to find a better alternative.

Just some food for thought…

Oye! What IS all that stuff??

This is where Agave Nectar began to enter the picture for me. I still do not know a great deal about it but I have totally bought into the hype of it being a Low-Glycemic natural sweetener. I have just been cooking with it thus far but now I want to know more. Maybe I will work on that this week. Anyway, back in December I found a 2-pack of Agave Nectar for about $7.00 (can’t remember exactly), but I was really excited because Agave Nectar at other stores can be a bit pricey if you are really cooking with it and not just using it to sweeten up a beverage.

TWO (23.5-oz.) bottle of Agave Nectar at Costco for under $8.00

ONE (23.5-oz) bottle of Agave Nectar at Sunflower Market for about $7.00

Does anyone else use Agave Nectar? If so, what do you think about it?

Some more “stuff:”

What is a Medium Chain Fatty Acid? Very interesting about:

“Patients that have malnutrition or malabsorption syndromes are treated with MCTs because they do not require energy for absorption, utilization, or storage.”

Useful information for a newly diagnosed Celiac!

1 Tbs. of Coconut Creamer is 10 calories and 0 grams of fat.

Here is a fun comparison!

1 Tbs. Heavy Cream is 60 calories and 6 grams of fat (with 3.5 grams being saturate fat)! Gross.

I think the So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer will be a new staple in our house! 🙂

Some more info on the Hemp Protein Powder:

Just in case you are wondering if this is why I am so goofy at times:

NO, I am not "stoned!" 😀 I am just a natural goofball.

What is Maca? Very interesting about the possible benefits for men (especially if you are dealing with an infertility issue due to celiac! I am not implying anything here…I know nothing about Maca or infertility issues due to celiac disease. I just used this as a reason to bring up the infertility issues that can be related to undiagnosed/untreated celiac disease. As with all things, talk to your doctor.)

Great source of fiber for those of us on a gluten-free diet!

Check out the Magnesium!

Lots of Amino Acids, Not sure what they do exactly but I can see this as an upcoming project of mine!

When Luke was drinking Hemp milk, I go really into it, using hemp milk, hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp butter, you name it. When the economy tanked last year, we had to find a more affordable alternative because Luke drinks A LOT of “milk”! I remember hearing from other parents of children with food allergies, that hemp is a great “allergy-friendly” alternative. I am not sure of the accuracy of that information, but it might be worth looking into if you are dealing with numerous food allergies. I found this blog with a post on hemp: Funky Food — Feeding Kids Allergic To Food.

Didn’t realize you would be getting such a mouth full by clicking on a recipe link, eh? Yeah, I didn’t realize I would spend 6 hours trying to write a recipe blog post either. 😉

I am off to see Avatar in XD for the second time (such a GREAT movie!) then to PF Changs for some gluten-free Lettuce Wraps, yummy. Breaking my own “rule” to not eat out for 2 consecutive days in a row… but the movie is not over until 6pm. Sometimes it happens.

Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket

This is so cool. Personally, I was most amazed with the “Super Versatile Bread Dough” from a recipe I made with my new BFF, Better Batter Gluten Free Flour! This is the first time in years that I have felt “real” dough in my hands. I could not stop playing with it!

Super Versatile Bread Dough

1 1/2 cup Milk (I used Skim Milk, but I am sure a dairy-free substitute would work just as well)

1/3 cup Sugar

2 tsp. Salt

4 Tbs. Butter (I used Earth Balance, which is dairy free and made my the same company as Smart Balance, which is not dairy-free)

1 package Active Dry Yeast (I used 2 1/2 tsp. bulk packaged Yeast, which is VERY INEXPENSIVE at Sam’s Club and Costco)

1 Egg

3-4 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour

  • Heat the milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a sauce pan until warmed (not too hot).
  • In a large bowl mix together, yeast and egg. Slowly add the warm liquid and whisk together.
  • Add enough Better Batter Gluten Free Flour to be like play dough and beat together well for 3 minutes.
  • Divide dough into two parts. Roll out each part of dough using flour for a heavy floured surface.

For the “Pigs in a Blanket” Portion:

  • Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/8″ thick.
  • Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut it like you would a pizza or pie. The size of the triangles will depend on the size of the frank you are going to roll up.
  • Take your cocktail frank (do your homework to make sure it is gluten-free) or take your favorite hot dog/hot dog substitute/breakfast sausage link and cut into smaller pieces, and starting at the outside (widest end), lay the frank on top of the dough and roll it up!
  • Once you are finished, you can either bake right away or freeze to use later! Your very own GF homemade quick freezer food! 🙂
  • I have baked these right away and have baked them from the frozen state and both ways work great.
  • Before baking, I brushed mine with an egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs. water.
  • I baked mine at 350° F. for 15 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven and the type of frank you use. I would recommend to set the timer for 10 minutes, then keep checking every few minutes thereafter.

3 Little Pigs: Mike, Sam and Luke! I got one out of the whole batch! 😉

First up: I added the Better Batter GF Flour to the bowl of my KitchenAid

Yeast Mixture

Add yeast mixture to the flour

I do not use a dough hook in most of my GF "dough's" since they are really more of a batter, but this is "Better Batter" check out what happens...

You can pick it up and your fingers won't turn into a sticky glob of goo! 🙂

Still can't get over it.

Roll the dough around in the flour then press it into a flattened disc; then roll out with a pin into a large circle approximately 1/8" thick.

Roll up your franks...

You can either freeze at this point or brush with an egg wash and bake!

Mike said these tasted just like the "Pigs in a Blanket" that his late grandmother used to make, that gave me goosebumps!