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Friday, September 28, 2012

Second 'Bread" try...

Good afternoon all. Today is definitely a Autumn kind of day and I could not think of a better way to spend it than inside baking bread. This is my first attempt of the day and as soon as I get the results, whether good or bad, I will be starting experimenting on my second loaf. If this loaf turns out to be what I have been hopefully tweaking it to be, I will make a second loaf of  which I promise to take pictures of and post, along with the recipe for you all to try and enjoy.

I have no idea why I am so obsessed with baking bread lately but I know that I am on a path that will have no end until I find the recipe that will produce the perfect loaf that I have been craving. There are weeds in my flower garden that need pulled, wall painting to finish, and even clothes to wash, but I find myself drawn to the kitchen more and more.

If the truth be told I only have one load of clothes to wash, and the wall painting is not at the top of the list of things to do because we very seldom have visitors as we do most of the traveling when we want to see family. So I guess I have no rhyme or reason to my baking madness other than I want a great loaf of bread!

This is now my husbands fifth week of going gluten free and I have to say I am very proud of him. He actually seems to be enjoying it and keeps looking for new things to try. Not bad for a Italian man who was raised on pasta and bread!

Well the timer is going off so its back to the kitchen. I will let you know later how the recipe turned out. Until then have a great wheat free day, and take time to enjoy the crisp Autumn air...

        Sharon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ramblings of a bread making maniac...CONTEST.

This post is just ramblings of the past few days and the "bread' attempts that have mostly gone into the trash. I wonder if my Garbage Collector thinks a new family has moved in with all the extra trash he has had to collect lately...chuckle...chuckle...

All I can say is that I am determined to develop that PERFECT loaf of soft, moist, tender, bendable substance, that one calls bread! I think my legs are about to buckle from all the extra time I have spent in my kitchen these past few days and my back is locked into a upright position, but  I press on. I am obsessed it seem! I have reached the point where I am tired of spending upwards of $6.00 or more for what resembles more of  a glued together lump of sawdust, or having to purchase expensive mixes that have tasted pretty good for the most part, but are "not quite there".

My husband is about to question my sanity to say the least at this point! I guess as long as I feed him he will be okay. So on I press. Not only have I become obsessed with bread but also a great cupcake recipe (future contest). I love using rice flours and so my search continues.

If you have a bread recipe you would love to share I hope you will enter the contest. Email me at wheatfreelivingandme@ymail.com with your recipe which must include brown rice flour as one of the ingredients to qualify.The chosen winner will win a  $25 Visa card. ( All recipes submitted must have been personally baked and tested by you) All entries will be tested for taste, texture and moistness, and a the winner's recipe and name will be posted on the blog. Have friends that are gluten free??? Invite them to enter, the more the merrier. The contest ends on October 30th and winner will be announced on or around November 30th depending on the number of entries received.

Good luck and let the baking begin!
 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rice & Raisins...and my new Bread Recipe...

Okay...go ahead and laugh if you must, but I love cooked rice with raisins while still warm from the pan , smothered in milk and sugar. This was a treat my mom use to cook up for my sister and I when it was close to grocery day. It is a comfort food for me when I am feeling down. It seems to put me in a melancholy state, and relax my mind.

Today was one of those days where I needed a lift so off to the store I went to buy my much needed raisins for this dish, as there was none in the house. I also decided to purchase my gluten free flours as I was down to zilch and only have four slices of bread left in the freezer.

Having what I thought was everything on my grocery list I returned home only to find that I had forgotten to purchase eggs, so the bread making is on hold until tomorrow as I have no ambition to leave my house for the rest of the day.

Since I like rice so much I guess that is why I really like the Bread Recipe that follows. It is made with rice flour mainly, has a nice texture, taste, and toasts great. It toasts up crisp with a slight crunch, and I love it slathered with butter and jam! It also makes great sandwiches as it is tender, moist, and does not fall apart. The rise of the dough is one of the best I have seen from previous recipes I have made in the past ....it even has a DOUBLE rise...Because it browns almost immediately I suggest you let it brown for about 10 minutes them cover with foil for the remaining baking time. It makes a huge loaf and I like the fact that this is as fresh as it gets!

I can't remember where I saw the recipe but I do know that the baking time and temperature at which to bake the bread was missing from the recipe! I used the temperature and times that I have used for previous recipes and it came out perfect. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do. Drop me a comment if you try the recipe, as I would love to hear your tips and suggestions!!

Have a great wheat free day!

 Rice Yeast Bread

2 Cups Brown rice flour
2/3 Cup Potato starch (not flour)
1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 Cup sugar
3 1/2 teas. Xanthan gum
2/3 Cup dry milk powder
1 1/2 teas Salt
Mix all well in a large bowl and set aside.

1/2 Cup warm water
2 Teas sugar
1 1/2 T yeast
Mix water and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Add yeast and let set until yeast causes mixture to rise and foam.

1 1/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
Put in pan and heat on low until butter melts.

3 Eggs
1 Teas vinegar
Beat eggs until foamy then add vinegar and mix well.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Grease bottom and sides of a 9x5 loaf pan.

In large bowl blend the dry ingredients. Slowly add the butter and water mixture on low speed of mixer. Blend in the egg mixture, mixture should feel warm. Pour the yeast mixture into the ingredients and beat on high speed for two minutes until dough is climbing up beaters.

Place mixing bowl in a warm place covered with plastic wrap and a towel on top for approximately 1- 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Return to the mixer and beat dough down on high speed  for 3 full minutes.

Spoon the dough into a 9x5 greased loaf pan smoothing top with a wet spoon, cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise once again until double in size. Bake uncovered for 10 -15 minutes then cover with foil and bake for remaining baking time of 50-55 minutes.( I baked my loaf a total of 65 minutes from start to finish)

When loaf has finished baking turn out of pan onto a cooling rack. Wait at least 1 hour before slicing.

* I used all Bob's Red Mill flower and Xanthan gum products, Red Star active dry yeast, Carnation instant nonfat dry milk, and Country Crock margarine for this recipe.

This is one of the best home made recipes I have found to date and is really quite easy to make!




 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dad's Gluten free Pizza crust..

Dad's gluten free pizza crust is one of those staples that is great to have in your freezer for quick supper ideas. It is not only wheat and gluten free, but also soy free, casein free, egg free, corn free, and has no preservatives. They are made in a gluten-free kitchen so that they can guarantee you a gluten-free product. They use only dedicated equipment to make their crusts, allow only gluten-free products in their kitchen, and gluten-free companies supply all of the ingredients.

The 10" crusts are Par-baked, vacuum sealed,  and ready to add your favorite sauce and toppings to and then bake. They freeze well also. Keep frozen and thaw before using, or keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days before using.

I found that to get the best results it is best to pre-bake the crust for 5-7 minutes, let cool, then add your favorite sauce and toppings and  finish baking. This crust was firm, chewy, and had a great taste. If you are new to gluten free you will find that most products have a different texture than their gluten laden competitors, but do not be discouraged, it just takes a little while to get use to the difference.

I served this with a salad for dinner and everyone enjoyed. I like having items like this on hand as it makes my life allot easier on those days when I am rushed for dinner ideas.

Ingredients:
White rice flour, water, potato starch, potato flour, tapioca flour, sugar, canola oil, xanthan gum, salt and yeast.

Dad's Gluten Free specializes in pizza crusts and offers first time customers free shipping on their first pizza crust order. Just type in "Try One" in the code bar when placing a first order to try one of their crusts. They accept Pay Pal, MC, Amex, Discover and EChecks as payments making placing a order easy. You will find their product and information at Dad's Gluten Free Pizza Crusts

Rating 4 1/4 Stars






 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Product review...Sheffa Foods Mediterrianean Salad Sprinkles

Hi all. First I must apologize to Sheffa Foods for taking so long to review this fantastic product, and to myself, as it a phenomenal product, and it is I who really was missing out!!! I received this product a while back and it seemed to have gotten pushed to the back of my cupboard and forgotten until today when it resurfaced as I was cleaning my cupboards.

I had some errands to run and on my way home decided to grab a side salad to go with my left over pasta from yesterday and also to try this product for review. All I have to say is... Oh My Goodness ...this salad topping was absolutely delicious. Now I have had almonds, and even walnuts or sunflower seeds on my salads in the past, but the blend of this mix leaves me at a loss for words, which is almost impossible to do! :) It added that extra little kick to my salad, and I felt good knowing I was getting added nutrients along with my fresh greens. I really enjoyed the crunch and flavor it added.

It is a whole natural mix which is Vegan, wheat free, gluten free, contains no MSG's, no Trans fats and no cholesterol. Nuts are loaded with nutrients, contain protein and fiber so they are a good food choice to add to your diet.

The Mediterranean Salad sprinkles contain:
Sunflower seeds, soybeans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, spices and sea salt. Each nut and seed had its own unique flavor that lends to the mix.

The larger bags come in 7oz sizes and sell for $4.49 each on their . The company now offers a pre-measured 1 oz traveling size that sells for just $.99 that you can carry with you making for a quick healthy snack on its own, or for your own salad toppings.

Sheffa Foods also offers Snack mixes in four flavors, and four varieties of  Savory bars.  Although all Sheffa's products are gluten free they are produced in a facility that handles peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, corn, soybeans and oats, so if you have these allergies beware.

You can sprinkle these on your salads. Top your steamed or sauteed veggies, rice or other grains and pasta's with them. Sprinkle on baked or mashed potatoes, add to plain yogurt, or eat straight from the bag as a healthy snack. This is a definite must have for nut and seed lovers alike!

The company offers free shipping on orders of $65.00 or more in the US. There is also only a standard flat rate of $7.00 per order under that amount. Visa, MasterCard and pay pal are accepted forms of payment for orders from their site.

Rating 5 Stars

You can purchase the Mediterranean Salad Sprinkles and other products from their site at Sheffa Foods

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

XO Baking Co. Chocolate Buttercream Frosting...

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Mix – NEW!

Good morning all. Today my review is about a rich, creamy, chocolate buttercream icing from XO Baking Company. This is one of the best icings that I have sampled and reviewed to date, and it got great rave from family members.

It has a creamy, almost pudding like consistency, and excellent  taste. The flavor was not a overwhelming deep chocolate, but more of a milk chocolate flavor,  and iced well. Although I did not find it firm enough to make flower decorations on my cupcakes it did indeed spread well and maintain its shape.

The directions are quite simple using just  butter (or margarine) and hot water. The directions state using 2-3 Tablespoons of hot water but I suggest starting at just 1 Tablespoon and then adding 1/2 teaspoon increments until you reach your desired consistency, as once it becomes to creamy there is no turning back...The taste was excellent and the icing had a smooth silky texture. I would definitely purchase this icing again but would definitely add less water, as I personally prefer my icing slightly firmer.

The mix will yield about 2 cups of frosting which is enough to frost a one - 9" round layer cake or 20 cupcakes. I actually stretched mine to frost 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients:
Confectioners sugar (sugar, cornstarch), Cocoa powder, Sea salt, Organic vanilla flavor. This product is manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility that also uses soy and milk. The nice thing about XO products is that they contain no trans fats, are wheat free, gluten free and soy free. I also like the fact that the company offers FREE shipping on orders over $45.00 or more....With the price of gas these days I am all about saving!!!

You can find this icing and their other products on their site at XO Baking Co.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next post....Have a great wheat free day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Product review...Namaste Chocolate Fudge Frosting mix

Hi all. I hope you are all enjoying the weather as the last weeks of Summer linger on. I had plans to work in my garden today and weed, but my plans changed as they seem to do quite frequently lately. It seems that this past month I have been away from the computer more than usual with all the family planned trips and I do apologize for not posting as frequent as I would have liked.

Today I would like to review a product from Namaste foods, their Chocolate Fudge frosting mix. I have reviewed several of Namaste's products and was excited to once again sample one of their products.

This mix calls for just 6 Tablespoons of margarine or butter and 3-4 Tablespoons of BOILING water....this is an important key factor. After initially  mixing these ingredients you MUST let the icing rest for 15 minutes to allow the high quality sugar to dissolve, then beat at high speed until smooth and creamy, or you will get a gritty tasting icing. The taste was deep chocolate and the icing decorated my cupcakes nicely. The only draw back is having to wait 15 minutes to "finish" the icing if you are in a hurry.

The icing bag also has a recipe for a Cherry Vanilla Cake on it which I hope to try at a future date around the holidays, along with a recipe for Choconut Cake and Coconut Fudge frosting using their products. The company has many other baking mixes along with Pasta dishes that all are made in a dedicated facility free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, potato, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and casein's.

Ingredients:
Brown sugar, Dutch cocoa, rice milk powder, silicon dioxide (added to prevent caking) and salt.

You can purchase their line and view numerous recipes using their products at Namaste Foods. You can also find many of their products at your local grocery store.

Rating 4 1/2 Stars

As always...Have a great wheat free day!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Product review...Better Batter yellow cake mix

Hi all. It is good to finally be back home from all the family activities this past week and catch up on some much needed rest. It was so good to see family and celebrate my grandson's and great grand daughters birthdays but I must admit I felt as if I was the energizer bunny....constantly on the move.

Before I went to visit I had made cupcakes from a yellow cake mix that Better batter was kind enough to supply me with. I have to save they were truly a saving grace for me during my visit when all others were indulging in birthday cake. They were soft, moist and delicious. My grandson who just turned 8 even ate one after indulging in a slice of wheat laden birthday cake and didn't seem to notice the difference, as he ate every crumb!

This mix calls for water OR milk, oil, and eggs. The directions are as simple as can be and for all those at the party who ate one (yes, I shared), they were pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients:
Sugar, rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, potato starch, potato flour, natural vanilla flavor, xanthan gum, pectin, sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, salt, turmeric, monocalcium phosphate monohydrate.

Rating: 5 Stars (You can't argue with a 8 year old)

All in all I would say that these cupcakes are very close to the cupcakes of my yesteryear's. You can even make a lower fat Vegan version. ( directions on the box) You can purchase this cake mix along with their chocolate cake mix for $6.99 at the Allergy Free Kosher button to the right. Or you can visit their home site to order at Better Batter  for recipes and to check out their gluten free community. The mixes both sell for $7.50 on their site but if you wish to order the mixes from their "short date" list you can save even more...Decisions....decisions....

I have to say that since I have been so determined to not put one grain of gluten in my mouth anymore that my husband is now on board the gluten free train!!! He has been gluten free for two weeks now and he is really liking the changes in his body. No more stomachaches, and he has even lost some weight.

I hope you are all doing well on your journey also. Until next time....Have a great wheat free day!!!

 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gluten-Free Shopping guide...

Hi all. Well we are back from our trip to visit my husbands family and we had a great time. It is always hard to see all the family in such a short visit but we managed. Tomorrow I will be off on a week long trip to now visit my family. My grandson will be turning 8 and we will be celebrating on Saturday. Then it is off to a second birthday celebration Sunday as my oldest great grand child will be turning 4, where has all the time gone?

Oh....my husband bought me a Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide by Madison & Madison when we were away...it is the next best thing to sliced bread!!! I don't know how I have managed without it up until now. It definitely has made my life allot easier this past week. You can purchase the guide at http://www.CeceliasMarketplace.com With this book, you’ll get information about all of your favorite brands and gluten-free foods. The guide contains a list of over 45,000 food and drink items. Major food manufacturers like Heinz, Kraft, Del Monte and Frito Lay are all included. Also, the items from your favorite supermarket chains, like Albertsons, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Winn Dixie, Wegmans and more are listed. You’ll be able to quickly look up the information you need within seconds, all with this one handy, compact guide. I love it, and it has made my shopping so much easier as I am sure it will for you. If you are new to the world of eating wheat/gluten free this guide is a must have!

I have several more products that I will be reviewing when I get back from my trip but I wanted to let you know I will be away from the blog for a few days. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend with family and friends also. So until I return and post again....Have a great wheat free week!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Product review...Annies mac & cheese...

Hello once again. I hope you all had a great holiday weekend with friends and family. I had a blast! It was so comforting to be around those I love and catch up on new stories as well as old.

One of the things that also comforts me is a nice warm dish of mac & cheese. I remember growing up on the stuff, it was always a quick, easy, inexpensive meal. It has also always been a staple in my kitchen when my children were growing up, and even now.

Since going wheat/gluten free I have tried many gluten free varieties and have finally found one that meets my taste needs and it is microwavable to boot!!! Annie's Homegrown microwavable mac & cheese. I found mine at our local Meijers store and it cost a little over $5.00 for five single serving packets.

After my first attempt I found that adding a little more water than the directions called for was a quick fix for the dryness and clumping of the noodles . After my second attempt I found that by adding butter to the already cooked noodles before adding the cheese packet, not only made the finished product cheesy and delightfully pleasing, but also kept the cheese from clumping.

I have to admit that this is a great substitute for the microwavable mac & cheese cups I ate before becoming wheat/gluten free. If you do the division it is actually not anymore expensive either, considering it is a gluten free product.

I love the fact that I can still enjoy a comfort food which is tasty and quick for those days when I am frazzled or just to wore out to cook.

Ingredients:
Rice pasta, (rice flour), Cheddar cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, non-animal enzymes) whey, buttermilk, butter, non-GMO corn starch, sodium phosphate, annetto extract for color.
*Contains milk ingredients

Rating: 5 Stars