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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gluten Free in South Carolina...

Well here I am in sunny South Carolina.  We are getting a new RV and will be homeless for a few days, so I have to use my notepad and the hotel Internet....bummer! With that said, I don't have much to write about since I have no oven to bake, nor stove to cook. Eating out each and every meal is something I'm not use to, and even though the hotel does have GF buns and bagels individually wrapped at the breakfast buffet, something made me ill the first two days here. So today I decided to avoid the free breakfast, and surprisingly I don't have a stomachache. Go figure... I guess when you have your own kitchen, and don't eat out a lot, there are not so many things to watch, or check for.

I shared with you in one of my last posts a low carb banana nut bread recipe which was a big hit with my husband. He really liked it so much that it will be added to my recipe collection. Since I am limited on what to eat until we are in the new RV, I am really going to have to read, and read, and read labels... I guess I will close this post and surf the web for a few new low carb, gluten free recipes to try in our new RV oven, when we finally DO get the new RV. So until next time, enjoy the nice weather of summer, wherever you are!

Sharon Lee

Friday, June 2, 2017

Home made Bisquick Mix...

                                                                                     

Today was one of those rainy days where I didn't feel much like doing anything, except sit and listen to the rain hit the roof. I love those days. They relax me, help me think more clearly. They also remind me of my childhood where everything was so easy. Today takes me back to the tree house I built out of scrap lumber my dad no longer needed. It was in a tree close to our house, nestled in the woods between ours and the neighbors. I use to love laying on the rough wooden floor as the rain fell, protected from its drops from the leaves above. Oh the memories. Memories of fresh made bread on Fridays, homemade meatballs, pancakes, and strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries from the farm down the road...

My mom used bisquick quite a lot when we were growing up. Something that was taboo when I first started on my gluten free adventure. Now you can buy a gluten free version in the store, but I find it just a little staggering in cost, so I don't buy it often. So what if I make my own??????? I told you that rainy days help me think clearly....or maybe they just give me to much time to think...well either way it got me up and moving!

I started browsing the web and found several recipes to make a homemade bisquick mix. Mostly with regular flour, but I was now in a experimenting stage, so out came the pans, and my basic gluten free flour mix. I have to say I was a bit skeptical. I mean bisquick mix has been around for generations, but what the heck...

After blending the mix I had to give it a test run. After all, why make it if I am not going to use it. My first choice was strawberry short cakes. My son in law had mentioned them just a few days prior and had planted the seed in my mind. I didn't have a bisquick box to follow the recipe, so I went to the Betty Crocker web page. I must admit that these turned out pretty close to the real deal. The recipe said to bake for 10 to 12 minutes, and although I left them in for the full 12, and they were just a smidgen over browned on the bottom, they still tasted great!

OK...So how would pancakes hold up to the "mock bisquick" test? I had to know being the inquisitive person that I am. Delish!!!!!  I devoured them all before I ever thought to take a picture, sorry! I probably would have kept going, as there are a few other recipes I want to try,  but I had used up all the mock bisquick mix I had made, so I will have to share other recipes in the future. Until then, please enjoy these two.
                                                                               
The mix is soooooo easy to make. Keep a empty bisquick box around to keep your mix in it. When company comes you can make pancakes and I bet you they won't even know its not the real deal!

Enjoy,
Sharon Lee

Homemade GF Bisquick Mix:

384 g Basic GF Multi Purpose Flour Blend  (posted 4-11-17)
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 T salt
1/2 c "cold" vegetable shortening, coconut oil, or butter (I used vegetable shortening)

Place dry ingredients in a food processor. Drop cold pieces of shortening, coconut oil, or butter on top of flour mixture. Process until the consistency of a dry crumbly mixture.
Use this as a cup for cup replacement in all recipes that call for a bisquick mix!


Pancake Recipe:

128 g mock bisquick mix
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Stir mixture with a whisk until thoroughly blended.
Cook over a med high heat. I waited until the tops were very bubbly to flip, which worked best for me, however, check the underside often to see if they are browned enough before flipping according to your heat temperature setting. The first few always seem to take longer than the others.

The strawberry shortcake recipe can be found at https://www.bettycrocker.com along with some other recipes you might like to try with this mock blend.
 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Low- Carb Banana bread....



Lately my husband has been on a sort of a food adventure, wanting to try new, and healthier foods. He even went so far as to purchase a 10 quart pressure cooker, of which  I am totally at a loss of what to make in it, as there are just the two of us...LOL Although the pressure cooker really has nothing to do with the bread recipe I am going to share, his venture of finding healthier eating alternatives does. As I have previously mentioned, he has type 2 diabetes. I hope you like the picture of the bread, I couldn't wait to show off the beautiful plate I got at a garage sale....LOVE it!

Although he has sampled my dessert creations from time to time, usually the ones in which I have used coconut sugar, as it doesn't raise his blood sugar as rapidly, I have yet to made a recipe just for his diabetic needs, basically because he is not a sweet eater in general. Well today was the day that changed! I chose a recipe of something I know he will enjoy on occasion, and that everyone else will like as well, banana bread. It not only helped me use the leftover bananas sitting on my counter, but come up with a delicious treat of which he can indulge in, without guilt.

This bread originally calls for almond meal, but I switched it out for almond flour, as this is what I had on hand. There is virtually NO added sweeteners of any kind in this recipe, so the flavor and sweetness in the bread comes from the bananas. Now, I personally like sweetness in my desserts and quick breads, but I must say that this loaf did not disappoint. The recipe says to bake it 45 - 55 minutes so I set my timer to the 45 mark and it was done. Actually, it was slightly browner than I would like, so I will test at the 40 minute mark next go around.  Although it definitely does not have the sweetness I personally am use to, remember, it has NO sugar,  I would still give it a 4 1/2 stars. I might try adding a drop of banana flavoring next time around also.

This is really one of the easiest quick breads I have made. It is moist, light, and definitely not overly sweet. It also doesn't have that gooey heavy texture most banana breads have when using traditional wheat flours. I believe this recipe could even be considered KETO, correct me if I'm wrong....

It is soooooo good lathered with some butter! I must admit I had to have a slice before the hubby got home. I had to make sure it is good enough for my knight in shining armor, didn't I ? The recipe nutritional info only stated that there were 12 slices - 131 calories The slices also didn't disappoint as they were a very nice size as you can see from the picture above.

Please let me know if you try the recipe and drop me a line.

Enjoy,
Sharon Lee

Low- Carb Banana Bread Recipe

3 medium bananas, very ripe  ( should measure at 1 c )
3 eggs
2 T oil
224 gr almond flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 teas salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with coconut oil, or spray and set aside
In a 2 c measuring cup,  mash the bananas, should measure 1 cup total.
Add the eggs and oil to the cup. Blend. Now add water until it comes to the 2 cup line.
In a medium bowl whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt until blended with a whisk.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend with the whisk until thoroughly incorporated, do not over mix. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 40-55 minutes depending on your oven and pan size. ( next time I plan on trying a 7.5 x 3.5 pan found to the right of this blog at Amazon, to give the bread a little more height)
Test with a toothpick which should come out clean if done. Check at the 40 minute mark, then every few minutes until done.
Remove from the oven and set pan on a rack to cool.
After 10-15 minutes run a knife around edges of pan to loosen and turn loaf out on the rack to finish cooling.

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pie Crust for a Apple pie to brag about!


                                                                                  

So last post I mentioned that I had a pie crust recipe my friend Helen had given me that I really wanted to try. It was a regular crust recipe that I needed to convert to gluten free. Well today I think I got it on the first try...I did have to adjust  the amount of  water that went into it, and add some xanthan gum, but other than that it was pretty straight forward.

The picture of the pie does not do it justice. Although the pie is still to hot to taste, as it just came out of the oven, I can assure you it is going to be a winner! How can I tell, you ask? Well I cheated and broke off a piece of the crust to sample. It was tender, and flaky, and I honestly don't think my family is going to know the difference. Here is the reason why....I made chocolate cupcakes the other day when converting a regular cake recipe to gluten free. (still working on it) The cupcakes turned out a little more dense than I personally care for, but my daughter and her family ranted, and raved about them....asking what kind of cupcakes they were. Well in my opinion they pretty much had the taste of a German chocolate cake, not the regular chocolate cake I was going for. OH!, was the response, well they were really good! So therefore I really believe the pie is going to be a big hit!

Before I start, please know I am a big fan of the old wooded rolling pins, and I still use my mothers, making sure it is well floured before I start to roll out the dough. They have worked the best for me when having to roll anything out in my recipes. I might also try chilling the dough first for about one hour the next time before rolling it out. I usually do, but I was in a hurry this morning and wanted to speed things up a little. It definitely would be a little firmer to handle if chilled. I also put the shortening in the freezer for about one hour before starting the crust, as this makes a HUGE difference in the taste and texture.

So at this point the pie has now cooled enough to sample and I have to admit I am pretty excited. The other night my oldest daughter Dana and I had gone out for pie to a local restaurant in the area, and I must admit that although their pie was delicious, I believe this crust would win hands up. I don't know if its because the shortening was chilled or not, but the crust is so light and fluffy, that I wish there was more....The cinnamon did not over power, and the sugar was just enough as to not take away the sweetness of the apples.  But the CRUST......Delish!

It has a buttery taste even though there was no butter used, and stayed flaky even with the juice of the apples, which there was a whole three pounds of. I am sure my family will ask why there is a piece missing, but I guess that's just one of the benefits of being the baker. LOL

So after telling my friend thanks for the great recipe, it seems only right to share a piece or two with her. So I am off for a visit, but not before I share the recipe with you.
Enjoy, and have a apple kind of day!
Sharon Lee

Double Pie Crust:

250 gr  Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Blend (recipe shown below post)
1 teas salt
3/4 c well chilled vegetable shortening (Put in freezer 1/2 to 1 hour before preparing)
1 large egg, PLUS (additional egg yoke to brush top crust if desired)
3-4 T ice cold water  ( I used 4)
1/4 teas xanthan gum

Apple filling:

3 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 T lemon juice (keeps apples from browning in color)
1 teas cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Measure out shortening and put in freezer.
Put ice in measuring cup with water.
Place egg in separate bowl.
Measure out salt, xanthan gum, and flour into large bowl.

Take the shortening from freezer and using a pastry cutter blend into flour mixture until crumbly and uniform. Next add the whole egg, and cut in until completely blended, about 1 minute.
Add 1 T ice cold water at a time until the mixture forms a soft uniform ball. Split ball in two and wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until cool. This helps the dough roll better without sticking. After rolling  you could return to refrigerator to "solid" up making it easier to place in pie plate without tearing. Place the sliced apple mixture in the pie pan and place the rolled top pastry on top. Crimp pie edges. I brushed the top of pie with 1 egg yoke mixed with about 1 T water and then sprinkled the top of pie with granulated sugar. Bake in oven on 375* for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* and bake for additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
Makes 1 pie.


*NOTE....I found the dough so tender that I had several tears in the pastry which I had to PATCH, but the flavor and texture were worth it. I might try to cut the water down to 3T next time and see if that helps if the chilling process doesn't..

Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Flour Blend

452 gr Superfine brown rice flour
226 gr Potato STARCH
76 gr Tapioca starch/flour

Mix and keep in refrigerator or freezer 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lemon Cupcakes made gluten free...



Another few days have passed and as usual I have been in the kitchen whipping up some delicious treats to share even though I haven't been feeling up to par. I should have known not to rake the pine cones and needles up from the yard before Easter, but being the perfectionist I am I wanted everything to look nice for our family gathering.

Still  I wasn't going to let a little spell of allergies keep me down, so out came the pans, flour, and ingredients, to make some delicious lemon cupcakes. Yum. These were a big hit even though everyone was so full from all the ham and Easter dinner trimmings. They were light, and delicious, and not a one was left.....That's the biggest compliment I could have gotten!

These would also make a nice light dessert for a Spring brunch or any get together. I used the same flour blend that I shared in my last post which is very versatile. The lemon flavor is delicate, not overpowering, and the cakes are moist and fluffy. A little lemon flavoring and just a drop of yellow food coloring in the icing, made them Easter worthy.

I am impressed with the texture and moistness this flour blend lends to the cakes I have baked recently. Its a keeper for sure. So as I write this post I have visions of Apple Pie flying through mind....I have a pie crust recipe my friend shared with me recently that I need to try....

So until next post​, give the cupcakes a try and drop me a comment as to how it worked for you.
As always, Enjoy!
Sharon Lee



                                                                                                                            


Lemon Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
156 gr basic gluten free flour blend         (the recipe for basic flour mix was posted in last post)
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1/2 teas xanthan gum
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c minus 2 teaspoons milk
2 teas lemon juice
the grated peel of 1 medium lemon

Preheat oven to 350* Place 14-15 cupcake liners in cupcake baking pans. NOTE *This makes more than 12 cupcakes after filling only 2/3 full.

Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy in a large bowl on medium speed with a electric mixer, for 1 minute.

Add the dry ingredients and liquids,  beat about 1 minute more until thoroughly blended.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Place in center of oven and bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until center springs back or tooth pick comes out clean, and cupcakes are a light golden brown.

Cool pans on rack about 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from cupcake pans, letting rest on rack until completely cool before icing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Flour Blend

                                                                               


 Have you ever had one of those days where everything went as planned, and then the next everything that could go wrong does so? Well today is seems to be the latter of the two. I had my post already to share with just a few minor tweaks to be made, I was just about ready to hit the share button, then all of a sudden the whole post disappeared!!!! I guess its back to square one, as this is a post you are going to want to read....

As you well know I was away for five weeks in sunny South Carolina. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I didn't in the least feel sorry for my family left behind in snowy Pennsylvania, even though I tried. Well I kinda tried :-)

While away I had a lot  of time to search the web for flour mixes that I thought would be the best combination for a Basic GF All purpose flour blend. Now you all know I  have been living a GF lifestyle for many years now, so I have just about tried every gluten free flour mix out there. I have numerous gluten free cookbooks in my cupboard, and I have tried hundreds upon hundreds of recipes from them, some of which have been pretty good, some not so much! Alas, none have given me the texture or consistency I have been truly hunting for. Some came close, but didn't quite reach the mark I have set for myself.

I got on the bandwagon with so many others awhile back believing that rice flour is "UNHEALTHY", so I  basically used as little of it as possible, which really changed the taste drastically of my baked goods. With that said, here is my conclusion....You can eat all the veggies, low fat meats, and fruits you want, for the HEALTHY part of your diet. Yet when it comes to the sweets and flour laden desserts that I eat, I want them to taste like the ones I grew up with as a child. Just saying...

So after returning from my much needed vacation I have been trying this new flour combination, and it seems to be the closest mix I have used to date when it comes to the texture, taste, and moistness of all those treats that I can remember as a child. I think the pancakes made with this mix are what really sealed the deal!

So get out your pans, utensils, and flours, and be prepared to mix away. I will give you directions for a basic 6 cup mixture for you to experiment with in a few recipes I will be sharing in the future. I have also included a chocolate cake recipe for you to try that will knock your socks off....It was converted from a regular "WHEAT" recipe with nothing changed except the flour mix in place of the wheat flour, and the addition of xanthan gum. My family did NOT know this was gluten free and the whole cake was devoured!!!! So enjoy.

PS: This mixture is not for use in bread recipes, as they must contain more proteins.

Until next post,
Sharon Lee



Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Blend        6 cups @ 125 gr per cup measurement

452 gr Superfine brown rice flour
226 gr Potato STARCH
76 gr Tapioca starch/flour

Mix and keep in refrigerator or freezer


Fudge Cake recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup hot water
2 cups Basic GF Multi purpose blend ( 250 gr )
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/2 cup buttermilk        ( I use the powdered form, mixed with water )
2 large eggs
1 teas pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 cake pan.
In a medium bowl in the microwave melt the butter. Stir in the cocoa and hot water.
In a separate large bowl combine the measured flour, sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.
Pour the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing on low to blend.
Beat in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla on low until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, and top of cake is set.
Wait until completely cool to frost.

Note: Buttermilk must be used in this recipe to activate the low amount of baking soda used.









 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Falling off the Gluten Free band wagon...

Where has all the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday it was  Christmas...Yes, I do admit it takes me awhile to take down all my Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree itself, but I guess this year I have just been in limbo, with no energy or ambition.

So much has happened this past year in my life as some of you already know. Loosing my feline friend and companion of 20 years, my little Angel, really knocked the wind out of my sales. Its been hard adjusting to her loss, and it seems along the way I seem to have thrown my gluten free lifestyle off balance as well. I can't recall having one full gluten free day these past months, let alone a full week. To be honest I must admit that it has really taken a toll on my health! Big time!!!!!!!

Now its time to get back on track...I have gone through anxiety attacks, crying spells, a UTI, and mood swings too numerous to count. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! If you have ever fallen off the GF wagon, so to speak, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Well its a new year, and back to new beginnings. I don't like the way I feel physically, nor mentally lately, so I am going to pull up my big girl bootstraps and get back on track. I do apologize for leaving the blog in limbo as well, no excuse, I guess its just brain fog from all the gluten I have been ingesting...

So as I scour my recipe log, clean out my cupboards, and get back on board my gluten free lifestyle, I hope you will bear with me. If you yourself have had problems maintaining your GF lifestyle over the holidays I would love to hear from you. Drop a comment in the comment box below and I will get back to you...

So until next post, have a blessed GF day!
Sharon

PS: I did make a delicious GF chocolate cake with fudge icing over the holidays that my whole family loved and devoured! Will share the recipe in the next post..