Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gluten Free Arrowhead Mills Disappoints

Been awhile and I've really missed it!  Yes, I'm still a believer that gluten-free is cause to Celebrate and the celebrating just keeps getting easier and easier. Gluten free products are becoming more main stream with some grocery stores devoting almost an entire aisle to GF foods. Of course, we now are going to have to weed through the choices and determine which ones are worth the ease and cost!  I am not nor will I be complaining about that little chore.

Today I tried a couple of products from Arrowhead Mills - the GF Bake with Me chocolate cupcake mix and the GF chocolate chip cookie mix. Unfortunately neither is going to become a pantry staple at this house.  The cupcakes were better than the cookies although that's not saying much.  They had a texture similar to a heavy, cake brownie and lack luster flavor. This was the second and last time I will make the chocolate chip cookies unless the company comes out with a "new and much improved". The first time I made them exactly by the instructions on the box and they were inedible. This time I thought - maybe - they would benefit from being mixed in the bowl with the leftover cake batter. Wrong. They baked perfectly, looked delicious, the chocolate chips are full sized and have just the right melt factor but I couldn't find anyone (no one human anyway) who was able to finish even one cookie.  The cookies and the cupcakes bake up pretty but they both are lacking in sweetness and both had a long lasting after taste. I hate to be so detrimental about a gluten-free product especially when they have been so long in coming but even more I hate spending money on food that I can't eat. These are two products that I suggest you pass over on next trip down the gluten-free aisle.

My doctor recently told that the medical community estimates that 1 in 5 people suffer from gluten intolerance.  With consumer numbers growing many companies, new and old, will be trying to take a piece of this pie and that means we'll be seeing more and more wonderful products and unfortunately more and more less than perfect ones.  As always, our best ally will be the powerful Word of Mouth! It is obviously time to CELEBRATE being gluten-free!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Katz Gluten Free Bakery Delivering Holiday Magic and Giveaways

The HOLIDAYS, forget all those IT items on most wish lists, all I want for Christmas is my very own elf!  and this year I've got one.  He arrived in the form of Katz Gluten-Free Bakery.  Sound familiar - yep - I wrote about this magical place a few weeks ago.  Since that first post I've had the opportunity to do a little more "research" and let me tell you everything is delectable!

Katz Bakery can be your Santa's Helper as well...  top off an afternoon of ice skating with hot cocoa and cookies, they offer a festive sprinkled sugar cookie or reward yourself after one of those last minute shopping sprees with an elegant chocolate dipped vanilla cookie and of course you can now prepare a gorgeous tray for the neighborhood cookie swap.  Need something quick and special for a get-together or office party the chocolate rugelech, add a side of whipped cream and chocolate shavings for flair or the cinnamon rugelech with a smidgen of cream cheese icing.  Brunch the honey muffins with or without marmalade.  For the main event serve a basket of Challah dinner rolls and no one will ever give you the pitying "oh, you can't have bread" look again.  You get the idea, Katz is taking some of the stress of the holidays off everyone.

These are just a few of the delicious items available from this wonderful bakery - visit their website and grab some of the magic for yourself - I promise you won't be disappointed.  You can give it a test run with their free, yes I said FREE, sample pack!  They are also doing a $25.00 giveaway if you will follow them on Facebook and Twitter and if you use this special code sam100 you get $4.00 off shipping or if you purchase $30.00 or more (so easy to do!) you get your shipping FREE!.  And, and  a stupendous raffle for a box of every product they've got - WOW! Told you - magic!!!!!

To start you off...

Happy, Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day - A Traditional Gluten-free Thanksgiving

The Country Home 1931

The first Thanksgiving was not a one day event - the Pilgrims had faced adversity, barely surviving the previous winter and finished reaping a very successful harvest sure to get them through another winter - CELEBRATE and celebrate they did!  The four men sent out for a day of "fowling" by the governor of the colony returned with enough for almost a week  - not including the venison provided by the Native Americans. Although the "big bird" is not specifically mentioned in the one existing letter providing our historical record of the event, turkey (along with eel and mackerel) was a staple of the times so it's probably a safe bet that it was included in the feast. 

Turkey is not a favorite of mine, that said, my husband prepares the bird in a manner that I just ----- wait for it ----- gobble up.  He first soaks it in an awesome brine that makes the end result so much more moist and it retains that moist goodness even as a leftover! 


Brad's Brine Bucket

You'll need a BIG container to hold the brine and the bird.  We've found that a new 5 gallon paint bucket with a lid from our local home improvement store is perfect for the size turkey we tend to buy - 14 to 25 pounders.  Of course, we sanitize it before use!

Brine the turkey for 8 to 24 hours before roasting.

1/2 C         Kosher Salt per 1 gallon of water
1/2 C         Brown Sugar per 1 gallon of water
3               Oranges, halved and squeezed
3               Lemons, halved and squeezed
10 Springs  Thyme, fresh
8 Springs    Rosemary, fresh
2 T            Peppercorns
1 Quart      Kitchen Basics Vegetable Stock
2 Gallons    Water
  • Remove giblet package from turkey - save for gravy
  • Place turkey in the brine - covering completely, if needed add more water keeping the salt and brown sugar ratio
  • Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours
  • Remove from brine and rinse thoroughly
  • Pat dry inside and out (paper towels most sanitary)
Your turkey is now ready to dress for the oven.  This brine will work equally well if cooking only the turkey breast.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1                Turkey
1                Orange, quartered
1                Onion, quartered
1                Apple, quartered
1 Stalk        Celery, sliced
1                Carrot, sliced
1/3 C          Italian Parsley, fresh and chopped
2                Bay Leaves
1 Stick        Cinnamon
3 Springs    Rosemary, fresh
4 Leaves     Sage, fresh
Enough       Salt
Enough       Pepper
  • Place turkey on rack in roasting pan breast side up
  • Rub a little salt and pepper inside the bird
  • Stuff all ingredients into the turkey cavity
1 Stick    Butter
1 Quart   Chicken Broth
Enough   Kosher Salt
Enough   Pepper
  • Rub butter all over the turkey stuffing pieces randomly under the skin wherever you can
  • Season outside with salt and pepper
  • Baste with chicken broth every 45 minutes
  • Cook until internal temperature reaches 161 to 165 degrees
  • Before serving remove aromatics from inside and discard

I prefer to use my larger roasting pan for better browning

tip ~ for a Norman Rockwell looking turkey tie the legs together with kitchen string before cooking

The Centerpiece

worth the money ~ invest in a "leave in" thermometer - only one puncture, preserving the juices for a more juicy finished product.

Guess what?  The Pilgrims dressing was most likely gluten-free!  There was a scarcity of wheat flour while maize was in abundance...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3/4 C        Onions
1/3 C        Celery
1/4 C        Poultry Blend (Rosemary, Sage and Thyme)
1 T           Butter, to saute
2 T           Butter, melted
2              Eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 t         Pepper
1/2 t         Kosher Salt
2 C           Broth
3/4 C        Apples, chopped
3 3/4 C     Cornbread, crumbled
3/4 C        Bread Crumbs

  • Saute onions and celery in 1 tablespoon of butter until transparent 
  • Add poultry blend and cook another minute

  • In a medium size bowl mix together melted butter, the onion mixture, melted butter, eggs, salt, pepper and broth
  • In a large bowl put the breads and make a center well
  • Add the contents of the other bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Pour into a 9x9 baking dish
  • Bake 25 minutes - should be moist

Thanksgiving - family, friends, food and fellowship...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Katz Gluten, Dairy and Nut Free Bakery Goods ~~~ Their Challah Bread Heaven in a Bite

I really, really, love discovering new foods that make my taste buds sing!  Last month Anne Luther (fearless leader of the Central Arkansas GIG) offered a few items from Katz Gluten Free Bake Shop.  One sample and it was love at first bite!

Challah bread has always been a favorite of mine.  It was also one of the foods that went on my "nevermore" list after diagnosis.  In the words of James Bond - never say never. Katz Challah Rolls are award winning and it is a justifiable honor.  If you've been craving a really good bread to accompany one of those spectacular new gluten-free meals you've been serving up toss these in the bread basket next time you set the table.  They come in a small, dinner size - 4 for $3.99 and a large, sandwich size - 3 for $4.39.

And... if a little taste of sweet is what floats your boat give the Katz Cinnamon Rugelech a whirl.  Each crusty layer is filled with a mouth watering cinnamon goodness then rolled into the traditional pin wheel shape.  There is even a chocolate rugelech for all you chocoholics. These are a great, healthy dessert or snack and as a bonus they are also soy and corn free.  A 7 ounce container is about $5.00 but so worth the splurge.

These wonderful products are made in a dedicated bakery that is gluten, wheat, nut, dairy and casein free.  There are several products that are additionally soy, corn and egg free.  Oh, and did I mention that all the products are certified Kosher. Amazingly with all that "free" action going on the flavor is not even minutely compromised!  This company was founded in 2006 by a mother with two gluten intolerant children and like all us she wanted her kids to have the best. I believe she has succeeded.  Katz offers a wide selection of baked goods - breads, cupcakes, muffins, even bread crumbs and pizza crust.  At the time of this post I have only tried the challah rolls and the cinnamon rugelech - if one you have tried some of the other delectable items I would love to hear about it.

If you would like to try these for yourself orders can be placed at their online store located at www.katzglutenfree or use their store locator and find a retail outlet near you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Autumn Apple Cake ~~~ Gluten-free Like Sandra Lee

It wasn't that long ago that anything gluten-free had to be baked from scratch.  Not anymore, these times they are a changing! GF can now do the "Semi-Homemade" dance just like Food Network star Sandra Lee!  Today there are so many companies with gluten-free products and mixes that the ease of getting great tasting treats out of our own kitchen has become a snap.  One such product that is new to my pantry is Namaste Spice Cake Mix.  It is delicious when prepared according to the package instructions but tweak it just a little and OMG - a flavor filled explosion takes place inside your mouth! In celebration of Fall here is my favorite upgrade (thus far) for this mix -

Autumn Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For best results start with all the ingredients at room temperature.

1 Package (26 oz)      Namaste Spice Cake Mix
3                              Eggs - lightly beaten
1/4 C                        Water
1/4 C                        Oil
1 C                           Applesauce
2 C                           Apples - peeled and chopped
1/4 C                        Pecans (optional)

             * Place mix in large bowl and make a well in the center
             * In a smaller bowl blend together eggs, water and oil
             * Combine the egg mixture and applesauce with the dry mix
             * Gently fold the apples (and pecans) into the batter
             * Ladle or pour into lightly greased pans or cupcake liners
             * Bake according to package instruction based on pan size
             * Cool completely before icing


2 Pkg (3 oz)              Philadelphia Cream Cheese - softened
2 C                           Powdered Sugar
1/4 t                         Maple Flavoring
1/4 t                         Maple Syrup
1/2 C                        Pecan Pieces

               * Beat cream cheese until very smooth and soft
               * Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time
               * Blend in maple flavoring and syrup
               * Spread over the cake and sprinkle with pecans

These are great made into mini loafs - I especially like the fact that I can eat just one or even a half of one and stop whereas with a cupcake or a slice of cake...  I know, I know - it's a psychological thing but hey!


     apple   appleapple      apple     appleappleapple      appleapple    apple  apple      apple      appleappleapple    
I have found this product at Drug Emporium, Whole Foods and occasionally at my local grocery.  If it is not available in you area and you want to give a whirl, it can be ordered through Amazon Foods.  I have provided the link to help you get started!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds - A Tasty Gluten-Free Halloween Treat!

Happy PumpkinHappy PumpkinHappy Pumpkin

Halloween is the perfect time to get creative with GUTS - Jack O'Lantern guts of course! Kids delight in the thought of anything called guts especially during the spooky days preceding All Frights Night. So as you prep you pumpkin for carving save those seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a  fun, healthy, easy to prepare and a great break from all the candy.  They can be seasoned with just about any combination of flavors you and yours prefer.  After all the sweets I generally want something savory and salty so this recipe is just the ticket.

Savory Pumpkin Seeds

3/4 C      Pumpkin Seeds (or the seeds from one Jack-O-Lantern)
1 T         Butter
1/2 t       Worcestershire Sauce Lea and Perrins
1/4 t       Garlic Powder
1/2 t       Kosher Salt
1/8 t       Cayenne Pepper (optional)

  • Wash and dry the seeds (if you are the super industrious type you can even peel them; I'm not, so I don't)
  • In a medium size container with a tight lid - blend the butter and Worcestershire sauce, set aside
  • In a small dish combine the spices and add the spice mixture to the butter mixture, thoroughly blend
  • Add the pumpkin seeds, cover and shake to coat
  • Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes
In a tightly sealed container or Ziploc these will keep for... well, almost forever.  They're a great, quick fix when you just need a little something to keep you going.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Gluten Free Halloween with Ghoulishly Good Adult Only Beverages

animated full moon with clouds and bats

This is the time of year when witches, wizards, ghosts and super heroes are the norm.  And those little goblins don't just appear out of the machine made fog - you've found the costumes, bought the candy (gluten-free of course) and helped plan the school's Fall Festival. It is time for you to put your feet up and enjoy a devilishly delicious treat for "groan ups" only!

Wild Thing - 1 1/2 oz Tequila, 1 oz Cranberry Juice, 1 oz Club Soda, 1/2 oz Lime Juice ~~~~ Pour over ice and garnish with lime

Green Demon - 1/2 oz Vodka, 1/2 oz Rum, 1/2 oz Melon Liqueur, 1/2 oz Lemonade ~~~~ Shake with ice and strain

green frankenstien head  Frankenjack - 1 oz Gin, 1/4 oz Dry Vermouth, 1/2 oz Apricot Brandy, 1 t Triple Sec ~~~ Stir with ice and strain, serve with a blood red cherry

1 oz         Pineapple Juice    
1              Lime - juiced
1              Orange - juiced
1 t            Powdered Sugar
1/2 oz      Apricot Brandy
2 1/2 oz   Light Rum
1 oz         Jamaica Rum
1/2 oz      151 Proof Rum
1/2 C       Ice - crushed

Put all the ingredients except 151 Rum into blender.  Blend on low for 1 minute.
Strain into tall glass and garnish with pineapples and cherries. Float 151 rum on top with mint spring.

Stinger - 1/2 oz Creme de Menthe,  1 1/2 oz Brandy ~~~~ Shake with ice and strain into large shot glass
Witch dressed in a pink outfit

The Frisky Witch

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Sambuca

Pour over ice and stir
Garnish with a licorice stick

Nightmare - 1 1/2 oz Gin, 1/2 oz Madeira, 1/2 oz Cherry Brandy, 1 t Orange Juice ~~~~ shake with ice and pour into cocktail glass

We will end this Monster Bash with a non-alcoholic treat for the Designated Driver of your bat mobile called ~ what else...

The Batman Cocktail
6 oz Orange Juice, 1/2 t Grenadine, Club Soda ~~~~ pour OJ and Grenadine into a tall, ice filled glass, top off with the club soda and garnish with an orange wedge.

When my (sophomore in college) daughter was in kindergarten her teacher's favorite saying was - YOU are responsible for YOU!  This is a truism that is even more important to remember when we are imbibing! 

Happy Halloween