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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's not December yet!

Last week was Thanksgiving and to be honest, I was dreading it a bit. I can somewhat control what goes on in my kitchen and I can limit my outside exposures.

But for Thanksgiving we were going to stay with family for a week. A week where I had very little control.

It went well, I did end up with some cross contamination but nothing very severe. I read that it isn't uncommon for the body to react strongly to a tiny bit of gluten to remove the gluten but for the body to sort-of shutdown in response to larger doses.

I don't know. I just know I reacted strongly to a Sonic Blast that I suspect either had some pie crust or sugar cookie pieces but there was a ton of cross contamination at Thanksgiving. It is things I didn't want to mention because I hated to make things more difficult than they were already; things like the cast iron shouldn't be used, foil that covered the gluten-rolls shouldn't be used to cover the gluten free cheese bread, and I didn't bring a supply of wooden spoons and spatulas.

My sister made Daisy a pumpkin pie because I mentioned that she had really been wanting one but I hadn't gotten around to making it. She also made Junior a pecan pie when she found out that it is his favorite. Her son is also gluten-free but he is still young enough that he only likes a small handful of foods and doesn't want anything else. My grandmother got into an argument with me about the pecan pie, insisting it was the gluten one because the crust was so good. Hehehe.

I made a Clark Kent fudge pie this is wonderful and is the pie that the kids loved (although when the pecan and pumpkin pie came they went for those. My grandmother wanted the recipe. I also made a Almond Joy Impossible Pie and I have to be honest, my kids didn't like it as much because they think they don't like coconut. However that just means there is more for me. Mwahahaha. If you like Almond Joy candy, you will lurve this pie. I used coconut flour as my "flour of choice" to increase the coconut-ie-ness.

The big debate in our family is not the "Stuffing vs Dressing" debate I hear so much about. It is "marshmallow vs no-marshmallow". Some delusional people insist that sweet potatoes taste better with marshmallows. Gag. I didn't know that sweet potatoes could taste good until I tried them as an adult without marshmallows. I love sweet potatoes. Fortunately there were both kinds so people could choose.

And now I need to get geared up to do Christmas baking. We are going to be doing gingerbread house decorating with our homeschool co-op and I need to make the gingerbread for my kids. The other kids are doing graham crackers and some will possibly eat theirs that night and I could tell the kids they can make one and not eat it but that just isn't as much fun.

I also am going to start tying to convert some recipes. It should be interesting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food and Nutrition 4-H style

We just participated in our county's 4-H Food and Nutrition contest. Again. This was Daisy's 4th year and Juniors 3rd and I honestly just wasn't into it this year.

It just felt rushed and we weren't able to participate as well as we would have liked. Plus some things I just didn't feel like messing with or forgot to put down. Anyway, although Daisy did well (from comments made by the judges and overheard by a friend) she didn't do well enough to win. I didn't really think she would when I saw who she was competing against.

Junior on the other hand TOTALLY would have won if his age group got any sort of prize that was based on performance. Seriously, at that age a kid could say "I don't know anything about it, my mother made it, I don't even like to eat it" and still win a ribbon.

Junior LOVED his dish though - since it was hummus I think a lot of the people were leery of it - this is East Texas. But Junior loves it. When he was asked what his favorite part of making it was his response was an enthusiastic "Eating it!"

One thing that struck us funny though, we get the judges score cards (with the actual numbers cut off) and one of the comments on Daisy's was "Good Job on reducing your sugar intake." It took me awhile but I finally figured out that they thought we are reducing glucose and not gluten.

She is already planning on doing some kind of bread next year and educating the judges.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Baking is fun for me. I was 13 when I made my first loaf of bread, Mom was gone and Dad had no idea how much mess it could make.

I enjoyed working with the dough, stretching and activating the gluten.

It is rather ironic, isn't it.

I didn't mind too much the thought of gluten-free baking. I mean how different can it be? Extremely different.

Then my Dad died. And then 31 days later my husband's mother passed away. And I stopped cooking and I especially stopped baking.

 I had no desire to experiment in the kitchen. At this point in our gluten-free journey, almost everything is an experiment.

But finally, I am wanting to play in the kitchen. I am looking for things to surprise my family with. I am having fun in the kitchen again.

I made Jowar Roti just to see how it turned out. Junior was ecstatic because they made great bean burritos.

I made pumpkin hummus because Hummus is yummy and so is pumpkin. Junior made it for 4-H food competition because he liked it that much. 

Daisy had a birthday party to go to and I suggested that we make cupcakes so she could have one to eat while everyone else was eating cake. I even made buttercream frosting with real butter.

And I made up a dessert. Made it up as in created it, came up with an idea and wanted to see how it would play out. And it was good. Really good. More on that later.

I am finally having fun in the kitchen again. There are so many things to try and do and taste.

I also plan on blogging what we try and what I invent. For now I have some pumpkins to scrape.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

A bit of background:
Two years ago my sister mentioned that she was cutting the gluten out of her diet and had noticed that her headaches went away. I had looked years earlier at possibly removing wheat from my diet and there was almost nothing available (I also didn't know what I was doing and didn't really know how to cook).

I thought my sister was crazy.

But I had chronic headaches too. So I googled gluten-free to see what would come up and the first thing was Gluten-Free Girl's blog and after reading it a bit, I decided that maybe it wouldn't be that bad. After all, there were better options and if it would get rid of my headaches . . . .

That time I wasn't able to stay gluten-free. This time I will and again Shauna James Ahern has a new cookbook out (my previous gluten-free episode was about the time her first book came out).

Mikki over at Not the Perfect Housewife was having a giveaway of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef and I won. Wow. I won.

So I looked forward to it's arrival and immediately started reading it. I love cookbooks. They always offer the hope that I will actually cook.

Like with all cookbooks, there are some recipes that make me want to start cooking and some that make me lose my appetite (bacon wrapped pork belly. The thought of pork belly makes me feel ill but then adding more fat in the form of bacon. . . . Gag.)

I didn't want to say what I thought of the cookbook until I had tried at least one of the recipes. (If it didn't turn out, I would have tried another).

We needed some sandwich bread so I made "Crusty Bread that Even Those Who Eat Gluten Might Like."

I have one word to say : YUM!

Look at this:

Clearly I need to get a cutting board for bread as I am currently using a plate to slice the bread and that is why there are so many crumbs. But seriously, that looks like real bread, doesn't it. It tasted like real bread.

It smelled like real bread.

If for no other reason, this book is worth it for the bread.

The other thing that was interesting is that the other gluten-free cookbooks give some variation of "you must do the baked recipes exactly as written or the bread won't turn out, your children will hate you and the world will end." This one requested that you make the recipe as written the first time, after that feel free to try other flours by weight not volume.

And it gives the measurements by weight as well as by volume so that the measuring goes faster. I prefer to measure by weight only none of my other cookbooks do so.

In warning, the F word is used 5 or 6 times and a few other swear words. Some may find that offensive, I prefer my daughter not see those words. I just marked it out with a pen because my 11 year old may decide to read through it (she likes to read cookbooks).

Other than that and the bacon wrapped pork belly, I do recommend this book.