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Monday, September 30, 2013

A great tribute to those AWESOME Home-Based Business Women

Just wanted to share this wonderful tribute to the Home Based Business Women! Are you fortunate enough to have one in YOUR life????

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Recipe!

Update:  Caboose has put his official seal of approval on the bread! I also used the same flour mix to bake him a batch of his favorite peanut butter cookies. I really think the tip about refrigerating the cookie dough before baking was a huge success! I simply rolled out the balls of dough, put them on the cookie sheet and stuck them in the refrigerator for a couple hours, then criss-crossed them with the tines of a fork and baked, as usual.  The GF cookies looked and tasted exactly like their original wheat counterparts!I believe the "thumbs up" Caboose gave me while stuffing them into his grinning mouth was a good sign! Now, Mom, what about your Black Bear Brownies, hint hint.  I may have created a monster!
This is the link to the original flour recipe I found: <>

    My notes are printed in red:
    Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: none       Yield: 580 grams (4 cups + 20 grams) all-purpose GF flour blend

    80 grams finely ground nonfat dry milk
    180 grams superfine white rice flour
    105 grams cornstarch
    100 grams superfine brown rice flour (I substituted oat flour, which is simply rolled GF oats 
    ground fine in my blender)
    85 grams tapioca starch/flour
    20 grams potato starch 
    10 grams xanthan gum

  1. In a blender or food processor, grind the nonfat dry milk into a fine powder. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use. (I keep mine in a gallon sized zip bag in the refrigerator)
  2. The recipe can be halved or used in multiples easily. Just be sure to whisk fully in a large enough container. It makes a total of 580 grams, which is 20 grams more than 4 cups.

 Weighing the flours when creating this mix is non-negotiable, in my opinion.  It gets the proportions right.  I bought a kitchen scale for less than $10.00 at Wally World and use that.
When using this mix, you can SPOON the mixture into a measuring cup and lightly level it off with a knife, but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you use the cup to scoop it out! Packs the flour down too much and you will end up with a paperweight!
For anyone traveling down the GF path, I wish you much success! Let me know how this recipe works for you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Journey into the World of Gluten Free Baking

I've been dabbling in Gluten Free for a while, now. At first, it was just a lark, to vary our diets by using some of the healthier, ancient grains like Teff, Millet and Quinoa. Avoid notorious "manufactured and altered franken-food". Not a fad, I've been cooking from scratch for a VERY long time, now. Just learning more as I go along.
 My first attempts using alternate grains produced some tasty, if crumbly,Teff  peanut butter cookies.  Quinoa Pudding was a hit, made like a rice pudding. Next, I produced some pretty tasty millet waffles! And almond flour pancakes, too! Yeah, that's right, I ground the flours myself in my trusty coffee bean grinder!  The Pilot loved them, as did the Monkey. (truthfully, she sweetly says "Mmmm"-even if she grimaces- no matter what we stick in her mouth.) But, they were moist, crispy on the outsides and sweetened with real maple syrup, and they were Mmmmmm. I froze waffles and Caboose would enjoy them for a hurry up breakfast, as well.

 Now, anyone who knows me knows I like to bake, especially bread, Our favorite family recipe is a "Sourdough" bread, made with yogurt! I make quite a few variations of it: plain, savory, cheesey and whatever the variation, it doesn't last long around here! But horror stories of GF bread disasters kept me from even attempting them. So, I didn't.

Then, the unthinkable happened! Caboose, after suffering for quite some time, was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance! We immediately told him to go with grilled meats and fish, (no breaded anything and yes, that includes those potato crusted fishsticks!) fruits and veggies, until we could figure something out.

Yeah, right. This is a full time, working, college kid, who lives on sandwiches, pastas, cereal, and burritos and whatever healthy frozen meals I would send home with him. Occasionally, he would cook, but 60 plus hour weeks often precluded such frivolity.

Since gluten is snuck into almost everything, it is very frustrating for him to try grab something on his 30 minute lunch break.What was he supposed to do, ask for a burger without the bun? No spaghetti?????? But he's ITALIAN!!  Meatballs without the pasta is almost heresy! Wait, meatballs have breadcrumbs in them??? Say it isn't so!!! Salads without the croutons or crackers??? Check the salad dressings for included flours??? HUH??? I ask you, how long can a young man live on rabbit foods?
But, remember,I said this guy can cook! In fact, he's a GREAT cook, when time permits. He just needs to learn to do it a different way, now. He needs to heal and he's willing to try whatever.
The question was  asked: Can I help him?

So, my lark has now become a journey in earnest to figure out how to really do this thing right! Foods he likes, created from scratch, that will heal and nuture him now, and in the future. Things he can make ahead, eat on the run, etc. I accepted the challenge.

Brave Caboose is my guinea pig. He tries everything I  attempt. He loves the GF version I created of our families homemade granola. That was easy.  He happily microwaves my instant cinnamon/apple "GF oatmeal packets", which I have been making him for years. Just make it with certified GF oats, now. Uh, huh, some oats are NOT certified gluten free. Ok, that fixed the cereals issue.

Homemade GF Chex mix was a hit with him, especially when I sprinkled on cheesy nutritional yeast! (I didn't tell him what it was until AFTER he tried it). That replaces the croutons and crackers for salads. And makes a nice crunchy snack as well.  Heh-heh. This isn't so hard, now, is it?

I made a GF batch of my famous Gringa Green chili and he snarfed that as well.  Then, the GF tortillas recipe I found  resembled pancakes, haha, but he ate them. Dipped them in the green chili. Kinda chewy, but,  Ok, so now I'm getting sassy!

What the heck! Let's try bread, I mean, really, how bad can it be? Famous last words. Full of myself, I made my very first GF whole grain loaf of bread (ok, so what if it resembled a brick, it smelled good). Caboose, always the polite one, tried it, then gently pushed aside  the brick, er bread, and said it was a "bit dry". I tried a bite and, Oh my, the horror stories were true!  It was bad, with a CAPITOL B. Crumbly, dry, bland and heavy! The wind was sucked right out of my sails!

So, Caboose continues munching on waffles,and pancake-y tortillas, desperately using them like slices of bread for his packed lunch sandwiches, but, the poor guy misses bread, real bread, and he especially misses MY sourdough bread!

Then, I had an Epiphany!  I decided to try something different. Instead of going with  GF Bread/doorstop recipes I found online, I would attempt to modify my own recipes!  Everything else I had previously modified came out WAY better! Duh!  I researched the chemistry of these flours, their properties,which ones retained moisture, which ones sucked it out, who crumbles, etc. etc. Finally, I found this amazing  all- purpose GF flour recipe, plus TIPS on working with yeast breads, on  And I only modified one ingredient! Remembering the flour properties and using the provided yeast bread tips, I am proud to say:
Today, I created a GF version of my "Sourdough" Bread!!! AND IT WAS A SUCCESS! Moist, good crumb, tangy, sliced well, freezes well and best of all, it's Mmmmm!!!  Caboose will be pleased!