Monthly Archives: September 2008

Let them eat cake. Update.

The Let them eat cake entry from before didn’t include the frosting option … silly me.

Frosting at my house used to have powdered sugar as an ingredient… but for the reason known only to those who manufacture powdered sugar they add corn starch to it, (actually they add it in to keep it from clumping and to keep it free-flowing). I have also seen wheat starch instead of corn starch. They just add whatever gets the product to the consumer as cheaply as possible I am sure. And most consumers don’t care what’s in it as long as it acts like powdered sugar. Come to think of it… most people probably just buy the ready made frosting in a can. That’s even worse. I figure if I can’t pronounce the ingredient or don’t know how it’s arrived at, then I shouldn’t eat it. Like, what is BHT and why is it in my food? For an entertaining afternoon sometime, take your favorite “off the shelf” food item, like canned frosting, and do a google search on some of the listed “ingredients”. Then decide if you want to continue to eat them. Just saying.

The only option I know of at this point is to replace powdered sugar with super fine “baker’s sugar”. It’s pure sugar, no corn.  It is not powered, but you could whirl it in a coffee grinder and pulverize it I suppose. I don’t. 

The recipe is more of a ratio than amounts, because it all depends on how much you need to make. A couple of muffins doesn’t require as much frosting as a double layer cake.

The newest version replaces rice milk with chilled coconut milk. It’s yummy. Putting the mixture in the fridge overnight does tend to “even out” the texture a little. It’s good, but the unitiated family members thought it was gritty. It’s not gritty- it’s sugar.  Some people like to taste their food… some people apparently are more about the texture. Whatever.

Frosting

  • 3 parts Baker’s sugar
  • 1 part spectrum shortening (palm oil shortening)
  • 1 part cocoa powder (or more depending on how chocolatey you want it)
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of GF vanilla
  • + chilled coconut milk or rice milk added to the consistency of frosting that you want. It was close to 1 part for my frosting.

The bottom line is that if you want cake, you should have cake. Cake with frosting? Even better.

Let them eat cake.

Knitting for babies

She’s cute. She’s little. And now she has a new sweater. ! Yay.

Chicken soup

Lunch out + wheat noodles = sick child. Hmmmmm.

Yeah. Well, so… after a nap she was “sort of” hungry again. I was skeptical but I made Gluten free chicken soup. I was going to put rice noodles into it, but decided to use pre-cooked rice instead.

  • 2 C organic vegetable broth
  • 1 C peeled and minced zucchini
  • 1 slice of onion – minced

Cook the onion and zucchini in the broth- then blenderize it all to make it disappear. Then add:

  • precooked rice about 3/4 to 1 C or so
  • precooked chicken bits – leftovers work great

and simmer awhile. I suppose you could add even more veggies and blenderize them too, but that’s what I had on hand. Broccoli is good, lentils would be good too, but the clear soup then would be thicker…. hmmm…”Sneaky veggies”? or just “cooking” you decide what’s best in your kitchen with your kids.

I also added a bit of salt, and white pepper and some poultry seasoning to taste, with a dash of safflower oil.

She said it was tasty. That’s good. Eat your soup.

ChocoKrispee bars

I love Rice Krispie bars with their marshmallow-buttery goodness. But those are out now. I need a replacement. These are good. Certainly not sugar free.. but better than nothing, and they are: Egg-Free, gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, treenut-free, and corn-free yay!

ChocoKrispee Bars

  • 1/2 C tapioca syrup
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C Enjoy Life Chocolate chips (dairy free, gluten-free, egg-free soy-free)
  • 1/2 C MaraNatha Organic Peanut butter (soy free!)
  • 1 tsp GF vanilla
  • 2 1/2 – 3 C Koala Krisp cereal (chocolate GF rice Krispie)

Combine the syrup and brown sugar and heat until it boils. Add everything else. Stir well and spread in a pan. Easy. Peasy. Yummy.

Talk about tortillas : update

Today I made another batch of these. I doubled the basic recipe but because I didn’t really like how pale the first batches turned out… I switched out some of the sugar measurement for molasses in the hope that they would be more “grain colored”. That didn’t exactly give me the results I wanted.. but I am on the right track. I will probably switch out some of the rice flour for sorghum flour next time.  I also lowered the xanthan gum  level and it worked fine.

The thing that DID actually work out the way I envisioned it, was to add 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal to the flour mixture.  The flecks of meal look just like whole wheat flecked tortillas. hmmmmm…. omegas anyone?

I heart rollwiches

Anytime we go out to lunch with the girls… I am faced with about 15 wrap sandwich choices or maybe a deli sandwich that I can deconstruct, sometimes soup.. or a bowl of fruit. Bleah. Expensive food I can’t eat anyway.. so why try?

Who needs to *eat out* when *eating in* is tastier? Well.. I do like to get out, but *eating out* is not really an option anymore. I guess I could take my lunch and just order for the wheat eaters…. hmmm… I should try that.

Anyway. I heart rollwiches. Sometimes known as “wraps”- they always come with a wheat tortilla. Now they don’t have to!! (see my previous post on tortillas).  I love my new food.

  • 1 GF tortilla
  • 4 thin slices Boar’s Head Hard Salami
  • 4 slices Boar’s Head Pepperoni
  • handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • bits of butter lettuce to taste

Assemble everthing except the lettuce and zap it in the microwave until the cheese is slightly melty. Place lettuce on top, and roll as tightly as possible. Let cool a little.

Eat.

It can’t be easier. It can’t be tastier. I just hope it’s portable for roadtrips.

Talk about tortillas

Tortillas are very useful when you want tacos. Also, making a wrap sandwich recipe usually requires tortillas. Well– when you can’t have wheat tortillas anymore.. what can you do?  There are apparently other grain tortillas on the market somewhere on the planet. None of the seven stores that I shop for groceries at carry anything even remotely close to a wheat-free tortilla. What about corn tortillas? Those are great for tacos, not so much for wrap sandwiches, and besides that – I can’t eat those either.

So back to the wonder of the internet search engines. … and we found a version of wheat-free tortillas listed at: http://www.wheat-free.org/wheat-gluten-free-tortilla-recipe-2.html 

They are big on metric measuring over there at “wheat-free.org” and I don’t have a metric scale in my kitchen so here’s what I measured into the mixing bowl.

  • 1 C rice flour
  • 1/2 C potato starch
  • 1/4 C tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 – 1 C warm water

Mixed all the dry ingredients together and added the water until it looked right. This batch took 3/4 C water… but it may need more depending on the humidity at your house. Divide dough into 8 balls. Roll out as thinly as possible. Fry lightly in a dry fry pan or on an iron skillet, over medium heat on both sides until they are the desired doneness.

They were awesome as tacos (my first taco in over a year!). They were equally useful as wrap sandwich outer coverings. Even good as a Peanut butter and jelly roll up. They freeze and reheat just fine. Yay tortillas!

Travelling *without* gluten

Yeah… “good luck with that”, you say. Impossible? Well, almost. I was on the road last week. We travelled more than 1900 miles and really only had a couple of “gluten incidents” but…

I went prepared with my own food in coolers, which helped out a lot, but having to chose what to eat out on the way to our destination and back was really the biggest challenge. I did have access to grocery stores, and a kitchen (sort of) while we were there, so I was prepared, but I was winging it mostly to see what would happen. I will be even more prepared next time. I am building a travel kit of “portable kitchen” to take with me next time. Think camping. Think long-term camping.

Things to remember:

  • Gluten free is only as good as you can make it…. meaning if that if the kitchen you have is also used by wheat users, then don’t use the counter. For anything. Put down a paper towel to prepare your food on. And prepare your food as seperately as possible.
  • Don’t trust a cutting board that you can’t swear to it’s last use or when it was put through the dishwasher last. Take your own.
  • Fresh fruit can be had at the store.
  • Collenders are impossible to clean… meaning that if you rinse your newly purchased fresh fruit in a collender that was rinsed out after draining wheat pasta… you now have wheat on your fruit. Trust me on that one.
  • Other hidden dangers: Handwashed dishes, cups, and bowls in the cupboard that are seemingly “clean”…  also handwashed or just rinsed off knives used to prepare another food are not as clean as you might think. I just am so picky about a knife being used to cut up an apple that was only rinsed off after cutting up raw chicken. I am so picky.

Fixing meals in wasn’t difficult, I do that all the time, and actually -eating out wasn’t that hard- if I just stuck to “plain anything” and not on a bun, and asked for their allergen chart ahead of time. Several restaurant chains have these online, which is nice. So look at that before you leave home, so that when faced with the dilema of where to eat, you at least have a fighting chance of having anything to eat.

I ate way too much salad as a result of my “winging it plan” , and even though I like salad, I would have really preferred my lasagna that I had brought with me in the first place. My travelling kitchen is my next project.

Peanut butter and jelly bagels were my favorite thing last week (see post on bagels). Premixed and portioned out trail mix was also a lifesaver on the trip.