Test Kitchen

Here is one of the blogs thats been in my head and I should have written it long ago.  Just a reminder, I did get free samples from Bob’s Red Mill, but I was not asked to blog about it, nor am I being paid (besides the no-strings samples), I just want to share our GF/wheat free diet adventures.

Back in June when we were at my parents’ house for a week, I did some baking.  Once before I used the Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix to make cupcakes.  They were only mildly successful, as I burned the bottoms.  J still eats them though. 

So back to “Grandma and Grandpa’s” house.  J wanted to do some cooking so I promised he could help me bake a cake.  We got out the brownie mix and copied the recipefrom Bob’s Red Mill site for modifying it and got to work.  We realized though that we didn’t have the bundt pan it called for so we decided on 4-5 mini foil loaf pans left over from Christmas pumpkin bread baking.  In the end it took 5 pans.  We made it too late to taste it that night, but they smelled wonderful.  Unlike the cupcakes, which I made in paper cups, I sprayed the pans withcooking spray and then dusted with plain rice flour.  My mom has been very sensitive to and supportive of the boys’ new diet, but when it came time to grease the pans, she suggested Baker’s Joy.  Yeah we laughed about it.

 

Next morning was moving day for my sister and BIL.  I subscribe to the Bill Cosby philosophy so the boys had Chocolate Cake for breakfast.  The wife of the couple that were helping move (out of my parent’s house and into an apartment) is also wheat free so we sent a loaf with her.  Later that weekend, she said she shared it on a camping trip and no one knew the difference.  This cake is GOOD!  We finished the first pan and took one home with us.  We left the other two wrapped in foil in the freezer. 

4th of July weekend was another family BBQ/birthday party.  When we bought the family b-day cake we also bought some frosting.  Side note:  Read the ingredients on store bought icing.  I thought it was all the same sugar and milk.  NOPE.  Betty Crocker puts wheat in all of their icings.  So we went with Pilsbury.  The thawed cake was still moist and yummy.  The boys even asked for seconds.  We took the last cake loaf to a BBQ at a friend’s house on the 5th, didn’t want to deprive the boys of sweets.  🙂

 

I will be making this again, especially in the loaf pans to freeze and save for events when thee will be cake that the boys can not eat.

 

I tested a new pizza theory this past week too.  I made the usual  GF Pizza crust and then topped it with sauce and cheese.  they ate some and I froze the rest.  We get 2 pizzas out of one package of crust though.  The directions say you can store it in the fridge for a few days, but last time I did that, I couldn’t get it unstuck and spread out and it didn’t rise right.  So this time I did the pre-baking and then sliced it and froze it untopped.  Here’s the thing.  J doesn’t like it when the cheese melts into the red sauce and turns brown.  He thinks I put some kind of topping on his pizza and has a hard time believing it is just cheese and sauce.  By freezing the crust first, I can now add cool sauce and cheese to a cool crust and microwave.  The cheese stays white and he was very happy with the results last night.

This morning I made a double batch of Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix to celebrate the 1st day of school.  When they cool I will freeze the rest.  I also promised J that I would make Hot Dogs on a Stick (corn dogs) while he is in school so that he can have one when he gets home.

 Today or tomorrow I will also be trying a new bread recipe “Our Favorite White Bread“.  I found it on the back of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch package  (I ended up putting the package back though because another brand was on sale for about 1/3 of the cost but looked it up online. )  As a rule, I usually bought the kids and family, whole grain breads, but I am getting desperate.  J wants to eat sandwiches again, but our last few attempts at the Homemade Wonderful Breadhave been less than stellar.  I turned the last batch (baked in the crock-pot) into French toast and they have tolerated it, but that’s probably due to the syrup. 🙂

 

Some of you have asked if we are noticing behavior changes in the boys being on the diet.  NOPE.  But digestively, things are more on track.  I have noticed that on 2 occasions when someone gave J wheat snacks unknowingly, he had a headache and tummy ache the next day.

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Cooking up a storm

Yesterday I got up early so that I could get the door when Baby A arrived.  I waited for 30 minutes and she never showed, so I called her mom.  Baby A was sick and staying home.  Well geez, what am I suppose to do now?

 

Well you would cook too wouldn’t you?  I finally got brave enough to cook up the Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake mix that I have had in my cupboard and taken to my parents’ house and back for a couple of months now.  I am terrible at making pancake mixes.  The only pancakes that ever turn out is the recipe I got from my mom.  (If you aren’t GF/CF and want an awesome and easy recipe, let me know).  I always start by following the directions explicitly and then modify as necessary.  Well the test pancake was way too thick andjust sat like a blob in the pan so I added more milk.  The secondpancake was better, but it tasted bland.  In an effort not to add more sugar, I added a teaspoon of vanilla.  PERFECTION!  Well as perfect as a GF pancake can be 😉  I doubled the recipe so I could have plenty for the freezer.  They were a hit definitely and a dearly missed treat.

 

So while the pan was preheating and the mix was resting I took out Bob’s Red Mill GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread and dumped the necessary ingredients into the bread machine and pressed start.  4 hours later the boys were enjoying some fabulous toast.  It was the 1st thing J asked for this morning.  Raisin toast with butter was a favorite breakfast around here before the wheat free diet.  I sliced the loaf and stored all but a few slices in the freezer.  Sorry no pictures, but trust me, it looked great and the raisins that I never even saw in the mix appeared magically and plump.

 

Then because I really didn’t have much to do, I took out the 2nd half of the pizza dough I made on Friday.  What I didn’t tell you I made GF pizzas on Friday and GF Corn dogs on Sunday?  The Bob’s Red Mill Pizza crust has directions for dividing the dough in half and making two 12″ pizzas.  The babysitter made it for the kids a few weeks ago and she only made one pizza from the dough…it was fine but a little dense.  So I divided and pressed it thin into a pampered chef bar pan.  Directions say to use wet fingers, this is definitely key, andyou must keep them wet.  So the second set of dough was a challenge to remove from the plastic that I was instructed to wrap it in but I was able to pull it off by sprinkling it with rice flour to make it a little stiffer.  Pizza was great except for a few crispy cheese spots, which J refuses to eat because he thinks it is some kind of mystery topping.  It wouldn’t have gotten crispy except I got an important phone call at the same time I was suppose to take it out of the oven.  The kids ate it after J got home from school.  then I wrapped the rest in foil.  Can you guess where it went?  You are getting so good at this…  I really should try Once a Month Cooking for more than just the kids’ GF foods.

 

The Pizza Crust and Raisin Bread mixes from Bob’s Red Mill were sent with the samples I received last month.  They were easy to make, take very few ingredients, and the kid’s love them.  I guess when my pantry and freezer run out I will be buying these products.  I’ll be taking the easy way out for a while.  I am just not confident in buying all the separate flours needed to make stuff, yet.

I know several of you are curious (and possibly a little jealous) about our future school district.  I only know what I’ve heard 2nd hand, so I’ll keep you updated when we know more from personal experiences.  I can tell you this though:  This school district was one of the main reasons we decided to move off base after only being here a year.

Stinky Bread Machine!

No really.

I was about to put the kids to bed when I realized it smelled like a fire in the kitchen.  Sort of like the smell we once had when something plastic fell through the silverware basket and touched the dishwasher coils.  That really icky burning smell.  Turns out the dough rose too high and spilled over, on the coils and was burning.  I opened a window and turned on the vent hood and let it keep baking.

It came out looking prettier than when I baked in the oven, it also has a better texture.  Hopefully the boys won’t notice the slightly burny taste on the outside.  I tried a slice.  Its pretty good, but I am so sensitive to burn taste/smell.  I can’t even eat a hot dog from the grill if it has back on it.  I always tell the grill master to “just warm it up.”  Good thing the boys aren’t so picky.  I guess we’ll go for a grilled cheese sandwhich that J has been begging for lately.  Mommy tip:  Cut the sandwhich into 4 triangles, line up 2 quarters with points touching and flat edges out.  Give it 2 baby carrot sticks in the middle and call it a Butterfly Sandwhich.  One sandwhich makes two small butterflies or one big one.  (can’t take credit for it, my mom did it with her home day care kids and it caught on with my own.)  J doesn’t even know that the rest of the world calls it “grilled cheese.” 

Oh forgot to tell you that J will be starting OT next week.  I think he is going to like it a lot.