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Monday, April 29, 2013

Wholesome Chow gluten free at it's best...

Today is another rainy day in Ohio and as usual instead of turning up the heat I turned on my oven. I love to hear the sound the raindrops make on the roof and it puts me in a melancholy mood, but it also adds a chill to the air. I guess now is a perfect time to bake and catch up on my product reviews.

Wholesome Chow sent me several products to sample and review, so today I decided to make their Chocolate Lavender Cake...Yes I said Lavender. I have never eaten a real live flower before, although I know there are several that are reported to be very tasty, so this was a adventure in itself.

As I mentioned, this was a first for me, and  I honestly have to admit that the house didn't smell like a lavender bouquet while baking, but I can say there is a slight hint of lavender taste in the finished cupcakes, which was quite refreshing...

I was also pleasantly surprised that out of all the cake mixes and cake recipes I have tried over the past year, that this has the best texture and consistency  I have tried so far. In comparison to a "regular" wheat laden cake mix I would not have known it to be gluten free, if indeed I had not made it myself. This is a great compliment in itself for this company.

Wholesome Chow's  baking mixes are made without and never require: Eggs, Dairy & Casein, Peanuts & Nuts, Cholesterol, or Animal Products. They are always vegan, gluten free, and  delicious!

The mix made 12 cupcakes, or will make 1 - 9" cake. It was about easy to make as opening up the bag, as you only need to mix it by hand for approximately 10 seconds. No need to bring out the mixer for this cake! I used my pastry blender for this step, how easy was that?

This mix is wheat, egg, dairy, casein, and nut free. You don't even have to add eggs. All it calls for is milk and oil in the directions...Their products are certified Gluten free and are also Non-GMO. They are also certified Organic.

I finished off the cupcakes with their Organic Vanilla Frosting mix which was as delicious as the cupcakes. Of course I had to bake them in Lavender colored cupcake liners, just for fun...

This is a mix I am sure you will enjoy. I can't wait to try the PLAIN chocolate cake version of their mix, for as we all know, I am addicted to plain old chocolate in any form.    :-) Either way I definitely give this company, and mix, a thumbs up!

Have a great wheat free week.
Sharon
 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Balsamic Roast Chicken...

Hi all. I seem to be at a loss lately as to what to serve for dinner. I have just returned from visiting family in PA. and the cupboards are bare and in much need of replenishing. So once again I have been web searching for ideas and fell upon this tasty looking recipe from the Mayo Clinic. The ingredients are few, and the picture looks so delicious I will have to give it a try for dinner tonight.

You can visit the Mayo Clinic  website for extra recipes, and tips, about living gluten free. Just go to their home page and type in the words.. gluten free diet, then click the search button. There are several other recipes there that I plan to try as well.  Well I am off to shop with my list in tow....so...Have a Great wheat free Sunday!

Sharon

 

Ingredients

    1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
    1 garlic clove
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    8 sprigs fresh rosemary
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mince together the rosemary and garlic. Loosen the chicken skin from the flesh, and rub the flesh with olive oil and then the herb mixture. Sprinkle with black pepper. Put 2 rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken.
Place the chicken into a roasting pan and roast for 20 to 25 minutes per pound, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Whole chicken should cook to an internal temperature of 180 F. Baste frequently with pan juices. When browned and juices run clear, transfer the chicken to a serving platter.
In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Heat until warmed but don't boil.
Carve the chicken and remove the skin. Top the pieces with the vinegar mixture. Garnish with the remaining rosemary sprigs and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Basic Fluffy Pancakes...with Bisquick replacement...

Hi all. Today I found a flour mixture that is so close to GF Bisquick that I almost did a double take. I love Bisquick...always have. Their pancakes have always been a favorite in my house, but I have found that their GF mix is a little costly.

I came upon this flour mixture by accident in a magazine and decided to give it a try with a "Basic Fluffy Pancake" recipe my mom had given me several years ago. The pancakes turned out so good that I plan on mixing several batches of the flour to have on hand for future use. Then all I will have to do is add the wet ingredients when I want to made them again.

You could make buttermilk pancakes with this mix, or blueberry. I opted for chocolate chip pancakes, and as you can see by the picture I like to make smiley faces just for fun right before flipping...My grandsons love these!

I hope your family likes them as much as mine did. I especially liked the savings! I used Bob's Mills flours which were all less than $3.00 a bag and I have loads of extra flour left over to make many more batches of pancakes.

Enjoy, and have a great wheat free day!
Sharon

 (Gluten Free flour mixture)

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
* Use this flour mixture for the 1 cup needed in the recipe below

Basic Fluffy Pancakes Recipe:

1 cup of the above gluten free flour mixture
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, melted butter or margarine
2 large eggs

Mix the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum together in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Stir together the milk, oil, and eggs, whipping lightly.

Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture slowly until no lumps are visible. Do not over beat.

Bake on a heated griddle or frying pan until bubbles form and the under surface is nicely browned.

Lift the pancake with a turner and brown other side.

Serve immediately with butter and warm syrup, honey, or your favorite topping.

*To make Buttermilk pancakes: Use buttermilk in place of milk and replace the baking powder with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

* For Blueberry pancakes: Add 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, or 1/2 cup drained canned blueberries to batter just before baking on griddle.

Serves 4





 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mothers Day...

Hi all. Spring has finally sprung here in Ohio, and the realization that Mothers Day is around the corner just hit me...

My mother is my greatest role model, and when it comes time to buy her a special gift I am actually  at a loss for ideas.  Flowers only last for a week or so, and I really want to give her something that will give her lasting memories.

I decided to search the web for ideas and accidentally came upon a great site called At Home which has everything you can think of in the gift line, as well as home decor. I found these great gift ideas on the site with several of them on sale. I can actually give her not only flowers, but a beautiful vase that she will always have to remember her special day.


I was so impressed with the site that I actually joined as a consultant! I know....this is a gluten free site you are probably thinking....I ask you though, what could be more gluten free than Home Decor??????? :-)

Anyway I just wanted to let you know about the site, as Mothers Day will be here before you know it. I hope you will stop by. Well I am off to bake my favorite....GF BROWNIES...Yum,!

Have a great wheat free day!
Sharon

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pamela's Bread Mix...

Yesterday it was off to the store for some of my "back up" bread from Udi's in the freezer section with no luck. My favorite store was all sold out, so out of necessity I was going to have to bake a loaf on my own.

I have tried several of Pamela's products  with good results, so their bread mix being one of the least expensive on the shelf of the limited few to choose from, was my choice of the day...

I wish I had read the directions on the back of the bag however as this calls for a heavy duty mixer when making the OVEN version, but I decided to give it a try anyway. On any other day I wouldn't have minded using my trusty 5 Speed hand mixer. It has worked well with other bread mixes I have made, but today I was having a little trouble working with the mixer because of a gardening injury to my hand from yesterday. Still however, even though the consistency of the dough is quite dense, I made it through...I did however add a extra minute of mixing the batter than called for,  and definitely used the highest speed on the mixer.

 Here is a picture of the bread before rising:


I covered the pan with parchment paper and set the timer for 60 minutes. The dough rose beautifully and after placing in the oven, rose slightly more.The thing I liked most about this mix from Pamela's is that it has added Millet and Sorghum flours for slightly more fiber content. There are several recipes on the bag for a chewy pizza crust, bagels, pie crust, sweet bread, and even a egg or yeast free version. Wow! You can even use this mix in your gravies and sauces.

The directions say to bake for 60-70 minutes so I set my timer for 60 minutes and tested with a thermometer inserted in the center to see if it was done. I added just another 5 minutes to the baking time, and got a beautiful, delicious, moist loaf of bread as the results. It is a hearty tasting bread I am sure you will enjoy. Delish.

Happy wheat free day!!!
Sharon
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Gluten Free Ice cream list...

I scream...you scream...we all scream for Ice Cream!!!

Ice Cream
Butter Pecan
Cherry Garcia
Chocolate Fair Trade-Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl
Chocolate Macadamia
Chunky Monkey
Coconut Almond Fudge Chip
Coffee Fair Trade
Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz
Crème Brulee
Mint Chocolate Chunk
New York Super Fudge Chunk
Orange and Cream
Phish Food
Strawberry
Triple Caramel Chunk
Vanilla Fair Trade
Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch

Yogurt
Black Raspberry Swirl LF Yogurt
Vanilla LF Yogurt

Sorbet
Berry Berry Extraordinary
Jamaican Me Crazy
Lemonade
Mango Mango
Strawberry Kiwi

No Sugar Added
NSA Vanilla Fudge Chip

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weight loss??? ...Scrambled eggs and Cottage cheese...


If you are like me you are always looking for new breakfast ideas. I love quick and easy in the mornings. I also like to start the day off with fewer calories knowing that my sweet tooth is going to eventually take over..I found this recipe for scrambled eggs & cottage cheese while searching the web.

I made the scramble this morning and it really hit the spot. I love both eggs (on occasion), and cottage cheese, but had never thought of paring the two before. The taste was great, and I really like the fact that I was consuming fewer breakfast calories than I normally do.

The full recipe actually serves two, so don't be alarmed if you are on Weight Watchers,  as the points are actually only 3-4 per serving. Serve with a small piece of fruit for a great start to your day.

Feeling adventurous? Try adding a few of your favorite spices such as dill, or Italian blend seasoning while cooking. I topped mine off with some chopped tomato for a little extra taste and vitamins. If you need to cut down on your cholesterol try using egg beaters. 1 egg is equivalent to 2 oz of the liquid, so you would use 6 oz total egg beaters for this recipe.  Experiment and have fun :-)

I hope you enjoy!!!
Sharon


Ingredients:

3 eggs (or 6 oz of egg beaters)
1/4 cup cottage cheese
butter
salt and pepper, to taste


Directions:

Mix the eggs, cottage cheese, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth.
* I used my small Hamilton Beach blender for this step. It is great for small jobs like this, and so much easier to clean afterwards. It sells for about $15, and is a time saver in my kitchen.

In a small frying pan, melt a little butter (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan).

Pour the eggs mixture into the frying pan. Without stirring, gently push the cooked portion to the center, continue until all the eggs are fully cooked (but not dry). I use my spatula for this step as it gets the egg mixture off the sides beautifully.

Serves 2

Calories: 137
Calories from fat: 77
Total fat: 8.6g
Cholesterol: 321mg
Total carbs: 1.3g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 12.7g
WW points: 3

** To maintain a creamy consistency to your cottage cheese, smooth the remaining cottage cheese flat before closing the container.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

GF Penne with Chicken & Asparagus

INGREDIENTS:
 
1  box GF (Schar brand)  penne pasta
5 tablespoons light olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
(cut into cubes) 
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch slender asparagus spears
(trim & cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
 
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook to desired texture as called for on the box. Drain, toss lightly with some olive oil so as not to stick together, and set aside.
Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken onto paper towels.
Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then add asparagus, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
Stir chicken mixture into the pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

This dish is delish, and serves about 8, unless you are a pasta lover like me!!! I love using Schar GF pastas as they remind me of the pastas from days gone by...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Astoria Mills Chococolate Chip Cake...

Wow, the weekend is here again and it actually seems fairly nice outside, too bad I am not in a energetic mood to work in the garden... though I did however get a few things done in the house, as we are once again getting company this weekend.

Baking and I seem to go hand in hand, and since I am now taking a Cake Decorating class for the second time in my life, I decided to bake a cake. Gluten Free of course! Chocolate is a all time favorite, well mine anyway, so I pulled out my #2 Pastry Flour mix from Astoria Mills.

There are four recipes on the back of this bag of mix and they all look delicious, but I needed a dessert for this evening. This particular mix is great for pies, pastries, cookies, pasta, biscuits, scones, cakes and pudding to name a few.

I have to admit that Trina Astor-Stewart has out done herself this time. The cake rose like a "regular" cake,  and baked evenly throughout. I used two 9" pans as opposed to the 9x12 cake pan in the directions, as I  wanted a nice tall two layer cake to decorate, and to show off my newly acquired decorating skills.....well that is if I have time :-)

I am really impressed that Astoria Mills  product line is not only wheat & gluten free, but their mixes are also free of milk, lactose, cassein, soy, bean/pea, sesame, tree nuts, peanuts and sulphates.

The only thing I would do differently with this recipe is to not only grease the cake pans, but to also line the bottoms with parchment paper as I had a little trouble getting one of the cakes out of the pan. It did however come out intact and in one piece! I would definitely give this cake recipe using Mix # 2 a HUGE thumbs up. The next time I will try leaving out  the chocolate chips for a more "real" cake feel. I might also try swapping out the applesauce with plain yogurt.This is a picture of the bottom layer of cake before icing...

I baked the batter for 25 minutes but next time will test after 20 minutes for a moister crust feel...my bad! The icing helped moisten the top however, so all is good. Everyone I am sure will love this cake. It is chocolaty, moist and delicious. Sorry, I had to do a taste test before hand as you can see from the finished photo! Mmmmmm.... No time to use my decorating skills as you can see but I am sure no one will even notice after their first bite :-)

Astoria Mills has 7 different mixes to use, with the freedom to pretty much bake anything you wish. You can visit their web site to view their hundreds of recipes at  Astoria Mills .While you are there if  you have any questions just drop Trina a line, and be sure to tell her Sharon from Wheat Free Living & Me sent ya.

Have a great wheat free day.
Sharon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Konjac Glucomannan Flour

 

If you have been eating gluten free for awhile now, you know that unless you are using  gluten free flour mixtures, or gluten free boxed mixes that contain flours that have "some" fiber content to them, that you are lacking in this much needed nutrient.

As Americans we are fiber deficient. Fast foods, unhealthy eating habits, even living gluten free, can all be contributors to this deficiency. Adding healthy fiber to your diet is important.

Miracle Noodle offers a Konjac Glucomannan flour that is filled with soluble fiber.  Although it's cost is a little higher than cornstarch don't let the price fool you, as a little goes a long way. You can use it as a thickener as you would corn starch, just one teaspoon acts more like 10 teaspoons of corn starch!

It can be added to make gravies, or soup, or cooking sauces, as a thickening agent without added calories, and without carbs. It just simply provides the soluble fiber which your body needs. Why would you ever use corn starch again when you can use Konjac Glucomannan flour and get added fiber without any carb addition.

When baking bread or cookies, add one teaspoon of Konjac Glucomannan flour to 2 cups of your gluten free flour mixture to get added fiber. Or dissolve in water to use as a fiber supplement.

Konjac Glucomannan flour  is pure soluble fiber. It contains no fat, no sugar, no starch, it is also gluten free and wheat free. Just dissolve a teaspoon in water for 5 grams of fiber, or use it as a thickening agent like you would use cornstarch! It is the perfect fiber addition, in a imperfect world!!

You can find this and other great gluten free, carb free products to the right of this post at Miracle Noodle. After entering their site just click on the tab Konjac Flour to the left of their site for more information, and to order.

The company is now offering free shipping on all orders. Be sure to pick up their 87 page Cookbook & Diet Plan while you are on the site. It is valued at $29.99 and is yours FREE with all purchases! Looking to loose weight??? They have the products you need...visit the site and you are well on your way to a healthier, thinner life.

As always, have a great wheat free day!
Sharon

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

XO Baking Co. Banana Bread Mix...

This weekend I made a Banana bread with X O Baking Co.'s banana bread mix. I have tried several of their mixes before and have enjoyed them all, and this mix was no exception.

The mix makes a 9x5 loaf of bread and it was delicious and moist. I chose not to add the optional nuts or chocolate chips for my husbands sake, but I am sure it would have been even more enjoyable if I had.

The mix contains coconut flour, which impresses this baker, as it adds a little dietary fiber to the bread. You will find no rice or soy in this mix, and it is all natural. The mix also contains 0g fat or cholesterol, and only 6g of sugar per serving. It  comes in a thick foil package to preserve freshness, which is also self sealing. Their mixes are certified  gluten free, and are Kosher as well.

The Banana Bread was moist and had great bendability, no crumbling here...The light taste of the bananas was the highlight of the bread, with not even a hint of the coconut flour. This is a mix well worth writing home about! It was great smothered in butter, or without. A real go to treat in this taste testers opinion. You can visit their site at XO Baking Co. for their other great gluten free mixes as well. They have added 4 new mixes to their line: Oatmeal Cookie , Vanilla Cupcakes with Frosting, Chocolate Cupcake Mix with Frosting, and Pound Cake. I can't wait to try them all! I hope you enjoy.

Have a great wheat free day today.
Sharon