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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Next On the List Is - Blueberry Quenchin Bliss!

I am definitely not a big water drinker, and with the hottest days of summer upon us I needed to find a way to keep myself  hydrated...I find water tasteless, so it does nothing to satisfy my taste buds, or quench my "mental" thirst. I do however realize it is something my body needs to survive. So when I came across this delicious recipe for a blueberry soda I decided to give it a try.

Everyone knows blueberries are not only an excellent source of fiber, but they also contain vitamin C, as well as manganese, potassium, and vitamin K. I figured this way I would be getting the much needed water which I seem to avoid to keep my body healthy, along with quite a few added benefits. I found it was not only refreshing, but quite delicious, and satisfied both needs. With blueberries at the peak of their season it is a drink that is not only good for you, but also cost efficient.

As "Mikey" use to say in the cereal commercial from years ago..."Try it, you'll like it". Oops...did I just give away my age????? The directions are quite easy, and it is well worth the few minutes it takes to prepare. I hope you enjoy...

1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
9 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
Directions for making Syrup:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Slowly bringing to a simmer over medium heat, stir constantly until all the berries have popped, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from the  heat and let cool.
  2. Pour syrup into an airtight container, like a mason jar, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To use, take out of the refrigerator and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (in the refrigerator)
To make the drink you will need ice; blueberry syrup from the above recipe; and sparkling mineral water.

1.  For one drink, fill a tall glass with ice. Add 3 Tbsp. of the Blueberry Syrup and then top with seltzer water. Top glass with a lemon slice for that extra zing a ling, toss in a few fresh blueberries just for the heck of it,  then stir gently.  It is so refreshing, and great for hot summer days! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cherrybrook Kitchen Pancake & Waffle Mix review...

Hi all. As you well know there have been several things going on in my life lately and the blog has taken a backseat to all my life's crisis so to speak...

My mom is still in rehab after breaking her hip and having surgery three weeks ago, and it seems she fell again last night while trying to get up by herself. They say she is okay, so I guess I' ll  know more when I visit this afternoon. I would like to thank all my friends and followers out there for your prayers.

So needing a break from my continual "THINKING" this morning about what else could go wrong in my life,  I decided to try a pancake & waffle mix that Cherrybrook  Kitchen was so kind to send me to sample and review.

This product is all natural, peanut free, dairy free, nut free, and egg free, for those of you who might have allergies to any of these things.  Looking at the ingredients list on the box I find that the main ingredients are white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Basic enough. Maybe a little too basic as it comes down to being basically starch, starch, starch...I personally like a little protein added for bulk and substance. Although if you read the labels on most of their competitors products you might just find the same ingredient list or pretty darn close with a few exceptions along the way.

The directions on the box calls for the mix, rice milk and vegetable oil. It notes that you can switch out the rice milk for soy or regular milk if you prefer.  I thought I would use buttermilk instead, just for the added extra Vitamins A, D, and also calcium.  I then ended up adding about 1/4 cup more regular milk to thin it out as the batter was way to thick at this point. A miscall on my part...

The pancakes browned and rose perfectly. The taste was a little sweet, (the mix includes cane sugar) but all in all had a very good flavor. I must admit with all honesty though that they seemed a little dense and doughy.

To be fair I  decided to remake another batch of pancakes and follow the directions on the box to a T... The pancakes once again browned beautifully and rose to perfection. I used regular milk as I had no rice milk on hand, and personally felt like there were enough rice ingredients in the mix itself as it was.

The pancakes still seemed a little dense and doughy for my liking, but once again had a good taste. I guess I like my pancakes a little dryer in texture so that once I smother them with butter and syrup and they will still hold up.

Since the company was kind enough to send me the samples to review and I have no idea what this product cost in the stores so I checked the Internet to get a pricing of several different products similar to this one. With the ingredients list in mind I feel the pricing to be much in the same range as similar products.

If you have followed the blog and tried any of my recipes  you know I love using sorghum and a few others in my home made flour mixes in addition to rice flour. I guess in my own personal opinion the only thing this mix might be needing is a little protein...


Browning  5
Rising  5
Texture  3+
Taste  4
Cost  4

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trader Joes gluten free chocolate chip brownie mix...

On our days off my husband and I like to stop in various stores that are either new to us or we haven't been in for awhile. On a recent trip we stopped into a brand new Trader Joe's that had just recently opened. While there I like to scour the isles for new and interesting items that are gluten free. I am always up for new challenges when it comes to gluten free baking even though I like to use my own blends of flours. However,  I am always open to trying prepackaged mixes for convenience at times.

While recently visiting the new store I came upon their "Baker Josef's" Gluten free Chocolate chip brownie mix. As you all know by now I could probably live on all things chocolate if no other food groups existed, so I decided to buy a box and give them a try.

Although I don't remember the cost, and have actually thrown away the receipt by now, I do believe they were between $3.99- $4.99 for the box....The mix will make a 8x8 inch pan and the chocolate chips in the mix are a pretty good size.

One egg, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil, are all that is needed to assemble. I actually used a large slotted spoon to mix all the ingredients together so it couldn't get any simpler.

I used a glass baking dish, well greased and baked for 35 minutes, checking to see if they were done with a toothpick at that time and they were baked to perfection. The directions say to bake 35 minutes to 42 minutes and since my oven seems to be pretty spot on, It only took 35 minutes total.

I must warn you though that these brownies can become pretty addictive. I knew this even after my very first bite. They were moist, held together nicely, even while warm....YES I couldn't wait!!! The top was that crispy layer that you get on  wheat laden brownies, although not as shiny of a texture. I only had one problem....the fact that I actually had no milk in the house, but a little thing like that wasn't going to stop me from enjoying.

I must say that I was pretty darn impressed with this mix, and would definitely have to rate it 5stars. I have no idea when I will be going back that direction to pick up a few more boxes, but I hope its soon, as this will definitely be a must have staple in my cupboard for emergencies.

If you live local to a Trader Joe's stop by and pick up a box or two, and enjoy!!!



Everyday living...

Hi all. As you have noticed there haven't been many posts as of recent...As it goes everyday living has caught up with our family.

My mother fell several weeks back and broke her hip, for which she had to have surgery, so life as I know it has taken a detour. Trying to maintain a regular work schedule, long drives and visits to the hospital, have all taken a great deal of my time. Therefore the blog has taken a back seat, along with my baking, as it should.

Trying to take a few minutes to relax this morning I sat watching the sparrows who have nested in the birdhouse outside my kitchen window. It amazes me how they work, and work, just to feed their young. One leaves the nest as the other returns with food for the babies. I see the baby birds tiny beaks rising up into the small opening with the expectation of the food that their parents have worked so tirelessly to bring each time one of the parents return to the nest.

My mother has always been that way with me. Working tirelessly to put food on the table as I was growing up. Taking me to doctor's appointments, and functions, until I was old enough to drive on my own. Teaching me the love of baking and cooking.

I don't know how much longer the baby birds will stay in the nest before they are ready to learn how to fly. Nor do I know if their parents will miss them when they fly away on their own. I know I will be sad to see them go as it has been an adventure watching the magic of it all through my kitchen window each day.

So please bear with me if the posts are sparse in the next few weeks because my role in life seems to have been reversed for a little while. The mother who has always been my leader in life at the present needs a little leadership from me, and hopefully I can do as good of a job as she did!

So until next post...have a great Gluten free week.