Monday, January 9, 2012

Gluten-Free Raisin Pancakes

This recipe has become a new favorite around here.  It's one of the few recipes that EVERY family member loves.  I'm not a huge fan of making pancakes (I don't enjoy standing over a hot stove), but once in awhile we'll have "breakfast for dinner" and enjoy these pancakes with eggs (scrambled in coconut oil) and some totally un-breakfasty vegetable like collard greens.  They may not go with pancakes, but hey, we need to get our green veggies in every day, so sometimes this results in some odd meal combinations.

4 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
4 beaten eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch (or 50:50 mix)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup millet or quinoa flour
1 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to remove any lumps.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto a skillet and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Enjoy with maple syrup, honey, or even just plain...these are delicious!

Gluten Free Bread Machine Bread

Gluten Free Bread Machine Bread

Let me just start off by saying that you DO NOT need a bread machine to make gluten-free bread.  In fact, gluten-free bread is pretty darn easy to make without it.  Since there is no gluten, there is no need to knead (in "regular" bread, kneading activated the gluten). 

That said, using a bread machine can save at least 1 bowl and having to mix ingredients, and well..I'm all about doing as little work as possible.  So, if you are in a major rush, or just majorly lazy (like I am) and have a bread machine...give this recipe a try.  It's well worth it!

I was recently given an old bread machine by a neighbor, so I've been experimenting with it and come up with a pretty darn good recipe that is super easy.  It makes a FABULOUS sandwich bread..doesn't fall apart and pretty tasty. 

1 3/4 cup HOT water
1 package or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup millet or quinoa flour (I prefer millet because it is cheaper)
2 teaspoons xanthum gum
1 teaspoon salt.

Combine hot water, yeast and 1 teaspoon salt in bottom of bread machine loaf pan.  Let sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is very frothy.    Add rest of ingredients in the order listed, and proceed as if you were baking a regular loaf of wheat bread (the actual settings you will use will depend on your individual machine.)

Enjoy your gluten free bread machine bread!  I LOVE this bread.  It is so easy to make, slices well and thinly and makes great sandwiches.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grain Free, Gluten Free Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cookies

Yikes!  It's been an entire MONTH since I've blogged or posted a recipe.  My apologies.  Things have gotten extremely hectic.

I did however come up with an absolutely AMAZING recipe for gluten-free, grain-free cookies.  This recipe is so versatile.  You can take out the cocoa to just make peanut butter cookies or add oats to make oatmeal, peanut butter cookies.  You can also add nuts, dried fruit or whatever you like.

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, peanut butter butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dry ingredients.

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees or until done.

Enjoy these delicious gluten free, grain free, chocolate, peanut butter cookies!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Decadent Gluten Free Brownies

Normally, I'm not a huge brownie person, but these were super good.  Very chocolatey, very moist, light and delicious.  You basically couldn't even tell they were gluten-free. 

They were so good I just had to share.  If you are craving chocolate, a batch of these is sure to satisfy.

They aren't healthy really...they DO have sugar in them..but for those times you just want or need a gluten-free chocolate treat..these are IT.  And, fairly inexpensive to make too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pasta Brocolli Alfredo

I'm half Italian, which means I grew up on pasta and absolutely love it.  I mean, LOVE it.  It is total comfort food to me and the one food I always fall back on when I don't know what to make for dinner. 

 I really, really, really love pasta.  So, when we went gluten-free, giving up pasta seemed like a tragedy.  Thankfully, there are many, many gluten-free pastas on the market.  Unfortunately, they aren't inexpensive, especially compared to regular pasta.   Although, it's still much cheaper than eating steak..or a lot of other foods, which is why pasta has remained a part of our diet, even after going gluten-free. 

A few months back I got an awesome deal on Sam Mills Gluten Free Pasta.   I was able to find it for only 1.79/bag and I stocked up on 36 bags worth.  Yes...36!  It's a pretty good pasta...a bit on the thick side and it does better in baked dishes (like macaroni and cheese) than just cooked, but it can be pretty good cooked too, with the right sauce. I don't like it so much with a tomato-based sauce, but it's really good with a cream or cheese based sauce (but then what isn't good with cream or cheese??).

Tonight I came up with this recipe, and it was so good, I just had to share.  It's pretty inexpensive, very filling and definitely delicious!  

Pasta Broccoli Alfredo

1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz. package frozen broccoli, thawed
1 16 oz. package gluten-free pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add onions and garlic and saute until tender.  Stir in broccoli, arrowroot starch, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.  Stir in milk and heat until sauce is thickened and starts to boil.  Add in cheese and mix until melted. 

Mix sauce with pasta and enjoy!   Bon Appettit.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sticking to a Gluten-Free Budget

For the last several weeks, I've been working really hard to lower our food budget even more.  Actually, this is the first time I've actually had a real food budget.  In the past, I had a general idea, but when I'm at the grocery store just throwing things into your cart, it's easy to get to the cashier and be a bit shocked at the total!!

Well, no more of that for me!  I've found that the only way I can really keep our food spending in check is to really watch how much I spend at the grocery store.  When I mean watch, I mean watch.  As in, I take along a pencil and paper and write down the price of every single thing I throw into the cart.  This includes weighing produce and figuring out how much that bag of broccoli or those ten apples really cost.

Then, I take my handy, dandy little cell phone and use the calculator to add everything up and figure out my total.  If it's too much, I start reconsidering what I REALLY need and what I we can do without.   It really helps a ton and helps keep us in budget.

I also try to keep a "weekly" budget of certain items in mind... basics like cheese, eggs, milk and meat and stick within the budget for those items.  Then I allot a certain amount per week for produce and a certain amount for other items which are bought less regularly (like oil, flours, etc).  I also allot a certain extra for stocking up on sale items.

Do you have food budget?  What measures have you taken to cut costs?  Strict budget?  Sales?  Coupons? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A "Cure" for Celiac?

The only treatment for celiac disease, at this time, is a strict, life-long gluten-free diet. But, we're working on a cure!
The above statement is a facebook status update from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center facebook page.  I'm afraid, I just don'   What type of cure are they looking for...something that allows one to eat gluten I suppose.   But, avoiding gluten isn't all that bad.  Sure, it would be nice to indulge in pizza and cookies and bakery cakes but really none of that stuff is good for ANYONE.  Plus, it can all be made gluten-free.   In fact, I tend to believe that just about everyone would be better off without gluten.  Sure, not everyone has celiac or an obvious intolerance, but I do think many, many, many (if not most) people are negatively affected by gluten in insidious ways.

Here is a very informative page on The Dark Side of Wheat.  It's definitely worth a perusal.

My family doesn't have celiac, but we do have gluten intolerances, and in many, many ways I feel it is a blessing in disguise.   Being gluten free has forced us into healthier eating.  We have basically given up anything even remotely processed, or anything that comes in a box or has more than 5 ingredients.   We make everything from scratch.  I have discovered new foods and new ways of baking.  Coming up with gluten free meals, snacks and treats has expanded my mind and challenged me in exciting ways.  I love spending time in the kitchen whipping up new recipes.  Currently, I am enamored with coconut flour (for all baking and treats) and amaranth flour for bread.  I love coming up with new recipes and trying new things. 

Being a gluten-free household has led me to strive towards becoming a sugar-free (ok..sugar-lite) household.   I'm learning how to do more baking with honey and other substitutes, and am excited to try my hand at using stevia.

But, back to the original question of a cure for celiac.  What type of cure would that be?  A surgery to remove something?  A small intestine transplant?  Or perhaps a pharmaceutical drug that has a list of side effects a million miles long.  No thank you!   I think I'd rather stick with a gluten free diet.  Seems a lot safer than any "cure" they might develop.