King Arthur Cookie Mix

IMG_8041I love chocolate chip cookies.

No, really, I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate chip cookies. You get the point.

Cookies are my weakness….and brownies too, but that’s for another experiment.

It’s a real bummer that I’ve taken it on myself to try all the different cookie mixes and review them. Oh darn…. πŸ˜‰

Today, I decided to try the King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Cookie Mix. It’s base is rice flour blend, which I’m learning is my favorite gluten-free blend.

The was as easy as any other mix…pour in a bowl and add a bunch of stuff to it. The recipe called for 1/2. butter/oil, which I substituted 1/4 c. applesauce for half of the oil. The mix is a cookie mix, so you can technically add up to 3 cups of your favorite mix-ins. I was thinking this recipe would be great with walnuts, cranberries, and white chunks. But I didn’t have all that and was in the mood for chocolate.

So, chocolate chip cookies was the final out come. I used the Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chunks.

Final verdict on the cookies: PURE AWESOMENESS! Excellent fluffy cookies without the “gluten-free” flavor. Basically, it tastes like the ‘real thing.’

These are not sugar-free, but they taste great for the occasional gluten-free treat. I do NOT however, like the price for the mix. Ugh! I think its was over $4.50! Ah, all for the sake of the blog… πŸ˜‰Β  Back to my quest for the perfect homemade flour blend!!! πŸ™‚

Kelly

Step by step: How to make homemade Rice and Oat Flour

Making homemade Oat and Rice Flour….let my mistakes be to your benefit! No, honestly, it wasn’t that bad. Here are some step-by-step directions, with pictures, to show you how easy it really is.

IMG_8026Step 1: Gather all your supplies. Food processor or blender, rice and oats. I used jasmine rice but I think next time I’m just going to use regular ol’white rice. Let’s start with Oats. Pour in Gluten-free Oats into processor and hit “on” button.

 

 

 

IMG_8028Step 2: Pour ground oats into a container, label, seal, and store in a cool, dry place. I put mine in the freezer.

 

 

 

IMG_8029Step 3: Pour rice into food processor and hit “on” button.

 

 

IMG_8030Step 4: Realize that the food processor really isn’t the right tool to grind up the rice. Not sure why…..Anyways, stand back and scratch your head and look around the kitchen for another tool. I used my hand wand mixer. I think the Nutribullet would’ve handled it too.

 

 

IMG_8031Step 5: Take the hand wand mixer out while still running and spray rice all over the kitchen. (note: you are welcome to make this step optional. It’s only recommended for the die-hard kitchen cleaner types.)

 

 

IMG_8035Step 6: Finish grinding rice and pour it into a container, label, and store in cool, dry place. Again, I store my in the freezer. This helps it from becoming rancid.

 

 

 

IMG_8037Step 7: Enlist a munchkin to help clean up from problem on Step 5. Thankfully, (or weirdly) he loves the taste of raw rice and was happy to help.

 

 

 

*Update since trying this: I found that my Nutribullet, using the grinder, worked AWESOME on the rice

Happy Baking!!
Kelly

Making homemade flours

Another wonderful gift I received for Christmas was a food processor. I got this from my 4 wonderful children and husband. (LOVE! XOXO!)

Since we are a family of six, on a budget, I like to keep our food costs down. I’ve mentioned before that buying pre-made mixes and flour is expensive, but it is still cheaper than buying a pre-made gluten-free product. So I justify it, to a certain extent.

My quest has been to start making my own flours. Before I got my fancy new tool, I was limited on the flours I could make. Oat Flour was super easy and my blender could handle grinding it up small enough to bake with. But I was limited on the other flours I could make.

….until now….

I’ve been researching making how to make my own rice (brown and white rice!) flour, bean flour, almond flour, etc…. and what exactly to do with it all to make a product that my family and I would want to eat. (More to come on all that…)

So, I’ve made oat flour —EASY!

And now, thanks to my new food processor, I’ve moved up to making my own rice flour! I’m off to Sprouts to buy some bulk rice, and from everything I’ve read, making the flour is as easy as: pouring the product in, hitting “on,” and storing in the cool place until used.

Anyone else experimenting with homemade flours?

Experimenting the gluten-free way

Baked goods in my house go way too quickly. I don’t make them all the time, but when I pull out a batch of chocolate chip cookies…forget it…it’s gone by that night. Yes, six people really can eat 24 cookies in a day! So, I save the baked things for special times, or when I’m feeling in a “sweet kind of mood.” (um, yes, women, you understand!)

Since September of 2011, I’ve been experimenting with various different gluten-free flours and baking mixing. I shared with you about Pamela’s, which is my first go-to choice for mixes. But I try to have an open mind.

When we started our adventure, I baked solely with coconut flour. I liked the flavor and texture of the finished product, but hated the fact that coconut flour required so much liquid and eggs!

So, I slowly started moving to almond flour. My husband loved my baked goods with almond flour, but he’s a “fat lover”…and I’m a “carb lover.” So whenever I ate an almond flour cookie, I was left unsatisfied.

After almond flour, I was discouraged and just started following other peoples ideas from their recipe books. I also discovered the line of Bob’s Red Mill products. I realized very quickly that I hated the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free products. I couldn’t figure out why. Then recently, I realized, it was the sorghum flour that I dislike….VERY MUCH SO! *bleh!* Apparently, I’m the only one in the family that can taste the sorghum flour.

Anyways, I have gotten away from Bob’s Red Mill and started experimenting with Pamela’s, King Arthur, and also Betty Crockers Gluten-Free line. I have learned the flavors that bake up nicely, have a great texture, and also have a wonderfully great taste! I noticed my top picks for all my pre-made mixes all have “rice-flour blend” for the base. I think I need to readjust my thinking on flours!

Whenever I try out a new mix, these thoughts go through my mind:

  1. Does it taste like the wheat-flour alternative?
  2. Does it bake nicely?
  3. Is it easy to make?
  4. Does the smell in my kitchen make me want to devour every last bit of it?

If I answer “yes,” to all the above, it get the “Kelly Seal of Approval.”

From trying the pre-made mixes, I have learned what I like to bake (and EAT!). The pre-made mixes can be expensive, especially for a family of six. I feel like all of our experimenting has helped me learn the World of Gluten-free….so maybe my next mission will be to make my OWN gluten-free flour blend!!

But everyone has different taste buds and cravings.

Would love to hear your favorites!!

Kelly

(picture from: whats4dinnertonight.wordpress.com)

Emergency Turkey Day Kitchen Substitutions

This handy chart came across my email from WearEver. I thought it was helpful and useful, and wanted to pass it along.

Enjoy!
Kelly

Cooking Emergency 411:

1 cup honey = 1 1/4 cups sugar + 1/4 cup liquid

1 cup whole milk = 1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water

1 tsp. lemon juice = 1/2 tsp. vinegar

1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine or 7/8 cup vegetable oil

1 cup yogurt = 1 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. flour (for thickening) = 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch or 2 tsps. quick-cooking tapioca

1 cup buttermilk = 1 or 2 Tbsps. lemon juice or or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

1 Tbsp. fresh herbs = 1 tsp. dried herbs

1 square unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. shortening

1 tsp. baking powder = 1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup white sugar plus 2 Tbsp. molasses

1 egg = 1 heaping Tbsp. soy flour plus 1 Tbsp. water

1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon of dried minced onion = 1/4 cup raw minced onion

Applesauce Cake

I was craving something sweet, so I decided to try a new recipe from the book I got on our trip called “Wow, this is Sugar Free!” When I picked the book up and opened it, I was really expecting a book full of fake-sugar (a.k.a Splenda) recipes. I was surprised to find that all the sweeteners used in this book are things like applesauce, raisins, apple juice, Stevia, and barley malt….which I have to admit, I have NO idea what barley malt is….

The other attraction to this book was that all the recipes are wheat-free. All of the recipes use “whole-grain flour.” However, she is not very clear on what that means for us standing in the grocery store baking aisle. I am still not quite sure what “whole-grain flour” means. (Wow, this post is making me sound clueless….) πŸ˜‰

“Whole-grain flours contain the entire grain kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm)… [The difference is important to the body because] by consuming these types of grains verses refined grains (white flours), whole-grain-flours slow down the rate at which sugars enter the bloodstream.” (taken from pg 192 “Wow, this is Sugar-free.”)

Even after reading this, I was still a little clueless as to what this means in baking terms. All I knew is that wheat is a no-no in our house, and I wanted to use my new book to make a cake!

So, I did what any lazy baker does…start throwing things in the mixer! πŸ˜‰

I decided to go with spelt flour, since that seemed to be the closest to a “whole-grain flour” and doesn’t make my family react. Throw it into the mixer… (perfect!)

Next, comes the almost 2 cups of applesauce, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, and Stevia….(almost there…)

(oops, forgot the first step! GO BACK!) Yes, this lazy baker got ahead of herself and forgot the first step: “Combine in a large saucepan raisins and water and cook until soft.” says the recipe on page 91. I had never done this before….cooking raisins…..but it made for a great soft texture in the cake! I’m very glad I didn’t skip over this part!

Finally, finished the cake and popped it in the oven.

Yum, applesauce cake!!

Kelly

Idea! Mix Bags!

First of all, I have to thank my dear sister-in-law (Lynn) for this idea. She graciously came down for 10 days after my twins were born to help out. She originally gave me this idea, but I think in my “baby-brain-fog” it didn’t really sink in, until now. Thank you, Lynn!

I know this idea isn’t new. In fact, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury have been making a living off of this idea. So, I’m just coping it. I know there are pre-made boxed mixes that could fit our dietary needs. But to be honest, they are incredibly expensive for a family of 6, and well, honestly, they just taste plain tasty….at least all the ones I’ve tried. I love to bake and experiment in the kitchen, so I haven’t really minded making homemade muffins, breads, and cookies for my family. It has never been a chore to me. Most of the time, my four kids line up at the counter to help out.

The other day, I was making granola bars for like the 100th time. Every time I make them, I have to unload about 15 different ingredients from the pantry. As I was tossing the ingredients into my mixer, the wise words from my sister-in-law came into my head (mind you, she suggested this 3 years ago…) “why don’t you make mix bags of the dry ingredients for future use, and then all you have to do is just mix in the wet ingredients when you go to make them.”

Duh! Why haven’t I been following her advice?!?

I could completely simplify my baking by making up mix bags of certain recipes I know I’m going to make, store them in ziplock bags, and then mix in the wet ingredients when I want to make them.

Anyways, I have followed her advice now and made up some bags for later use! (Hannah wrote the wet ingredients on a sticky note, to be added later.)

Wow, now I just feel so smart! πŸ˜‰

Kelly

Quinoa Recipes

For some reason, I have been bombarded with quinoa recipes. I love it! A few friends have sent me some new recipes to try and also a fellow blogger, Gazing In, had an entire post review on a book entitled: “500 Best Quinoa Recipes.”

In case you are “late to the party,” you can read my previous post on what quinoa is.

Here is a brownie recipe made from quinoa. WHAT? CRAZY!! …..which makes it completely grain-free. (It does contain butter and sugar…but that could be tweaked in my kitchen!)

This recipe is taken from “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” (Thanks Jeri for forwarding it!)

Dorothy’s Quinoa Brownie RecipeΒ 

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 min. Β Turn off heat and leave on burner for 10 min. more. Fluff with a fork and cool.
  2. Combine liquids, add quinoa and butter and blend till smooth in blender .
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients and add to blender and mix well.
  4. Pour into 2 greased round pans or 1 larger one.
  5. Bake at 350 F. for 40-45 min.
  6. Cool completely .
  7. Serve as is , iced or as a base for a fruit-topped dessert.
  8. You’ll never guess that these have no flour!

More Quinoa Recipes! Shape Magazine did a “Ten Ways to eat Quinoa” article (Thank you, Marloes!) In this article they give a recipe for some Vegan Chocolate Protein Bars that look AWESOME! πŸ™‚

Anyways, some fun ways to eat the superfood: QUINOA!

Happy Baking!

Kelly

What’s in my pantry?: Baking Edition

As promised from my “What’s in my Pantry” post, I am showing you my baking shelf. Yes, I apologize, this is not the most organized shelf in my pantry. It is constantly being unloaded and shuffled around, because well, I love to bake. A lot! πŸ™‚ But, I’m being honest here on my blog, and so here’s the lovely picture of it’s contents.

Wow, I feel kind of exposed now.

Here is the list on contents in my baking collection:

  • Honey
  • Coconut sugar
  • Evaporated cane sugar
  • Dates
  • Agave nectar
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Vanilla
  • Stevia
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Bobs Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
  • Xanthan gum
  • Flaxseed meal

Changing over to more healthful baking products did not happen in one trip to the store. Slowly, as I tried new recipes I would add products and eventually came up with these as my “staples.” I buy most of my flours in bulk from Sprouts, to keep cost down. But, I have also found most of the flours at many of the grocery stores I have visited. I keep all my flours in the freezer to maintain freshness.

Also, I want you to meet my very best friend in my baking kitchen (well, it’s my only kitchen in my house…), my Kitchenaid Mixer. Love this thing. It has made me the laziest, fastest baker in town. πŸ˜‰ I gather all my ingredients, completely ignore the recipe directions about using 2-4 different bowls to mix dry/wet ingredients, pour everything in the mixer, turn it on, pour mixture into the pan or whatever I’m using, bake, and *Presto!* DONE!

Thanks to my wonderful husband who surprised me with this gift a few years ago for Christmas.

Anyways, don’t judge my messy pantry. πŸ™‚

Kelly

New Recipe: COMING SOON!

I am so excited to be able to share my very first recipe! I’m sure there will be many more, but this is my first!

Anyways, I will be sharing the recipe for Nutbutter Bars on Wednesday, July 25th! They are sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and grain-free….and SUPER TASTY! Be sure to check back to be the first to grab my new recipe! πŸ™‚

Kelly