Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Posts tagged ‘GF Bread’

The Best Gluten-free Shortcake

The nice thing about a light spring dinner is that it leaves plenty of room for a light spring dessert.  After seeing the fresh juicy strawberries my friend brought over the other night, I couldn’t get my mind off of strawberry shortcake.  A quick Google search led me to a recipe that required only ingredients I already had in my house.  30 minutes later I was looking at my beautiful little cupcake-shaped shortcakes, ready to devour them.

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What you’ll need:

-1/2 cup butter

-1 cup confectioner’s sugar

-4 eggs

-1 tsp. vanilla

-1 cup cornstarch

-1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

-1 pint fresh strawberries, slice and marinated in sugar (optional)

-store bought or fresh made whipped cream

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin pan.

-In a large bowl cream butter and sugar, using electric mixer.

-Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

-In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and baking powder together and add slowly to the creamed mixture. (If added too quickly, it will fly about the kitchen.).

-Mix until well blended.

-Fill the greased muffin tins half full.

-Bake for 15 minutes. (Test with a toothpick, after 15 minutes, even if the top looks shiny).

-Remove from the pan while still warm. (They will look like little cupcakes.But trust me they will taste just like little shortcakes).

-Serve topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

It makes 12 mini-cakes and we ate four, so I’m looking forward to shortcake for the rest of the week.  Enjoy!


I think I just had my Julie and Julia meltdown moment.

I came home excited to combine the three different flours and other essentials I’d bought during a shopping spree with a sweet Groupon coupon for Mother Earth (now Earth Origins) here in Gainesville.  I even bought a set of canisters to put the combined flour and separate flours in where they’d be air-sealed and readily available.

So I came home and set to work, but it went downhill quickly.

While I was getting the bags of flour ready to be combined, removing the canisters from packaging, etc. my two kittens were hovering around, curious.  This is something I should have dealt with immediately.

I opened a bag of brown rice flour and carefully measured three cups into a bowl.  I began to do the same with corn meal, following the directions of the Gluten Free Cooking School GF flour recipe.  Except I didn’t realize I was supposed to be using corn STARCH until it was two cups too late.  Disheartened, I decided to go ahead and empty my bag of Xanthan gum into canisters before heading to the store to get more brown rice flour and corn starch.  It’s expensive, and I didn’t want it going bad.

But, of course, some of it spilled and I grabbed a wet paper towel to clean it off the counter.  Mistake #2.  As soon as water hit the Xanthan gum I realized why it’s called gum.  The sticky, slippery mess is finally off the counter, but not my hands or my memory.

But what really took me over the edge was that while I was scraping the gooey mess off the counter, my boy-kitten sneakily jumped into the unattended bowl of flour mix behind me, marveling at the way it felt on his paws.

It got everywhere.

So somewhere between washing the cat from head to toe with damp rag to prevent the flour disaster from spreading through the house and answering the door covered in flour to a man selling meat door-to-door (who does that?), I decided I needed to take a break from the kitchen.

I’ll pick up tomorrow.


Mary Frances of Gluten-free Cooking School talks blogging, baking, bargaining

Mary Frances Pickett, creator of Gluten Free Cooking School makes me feel lazy.

She’s been blogging about gluten-free cooking since ’06 and has been quite successful at it, financially and flavorfully.  She chatted on the phone with me for a bit to give a new blogger some tips on all things gluten-free, from bread machine mishaps to saving money at the store.

When Pickett was first introduced to the gluten-free diet, it wasn’t even out of necessity.

“My husband found out in college that he had Celiac and needed to avoid wheat.  But the doctor didn’t tell him implications so he didn’t start eating gluten-free until senior year of college.  After my first son was born, I really started noticing more digestive problems and got tested; found out I didn’t have Celiac, but I did have a wheat allergy.  So I don’t have a problem as long as I stay away from wheat.”

Pickett started blogging back in 2006 sort of on a whim, having read some vegan and gluten-free blogs, and was hoping to make a little extra cash.  She blogged often for several years, but with three kids and a full-time job as a CPA, it became less and less of a priority.

When her husband began taking classes on search engine optimization, Pickett picked it up again.

“(My husband) built traffic to site way up as well as the (Google) Adsense earnings and I thought, ‘Maybe we can really make money at this.’”

In addition to their blog earnings, the couple wrote an e-book last summer that has sold about 700 copies to date.  Even with a 4-year-old, a 21-month-old and a 9-month old, Pickett still felt secure enough to quit her job in November and revamped their online cooking school.

One thing I found surprising when talking to Pickett is the fact that she has no cooking or nutrition background other than her husband’s illness and the lessons her mother and grandmother taught her growing up in Alabama.

She attributes much of her gluten-free success to that characteristic of many southern women: tenacity.

“I started out trying some (already made) gluten-free recipes.  They were alright but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results.  I’m stubborn.  I’m gonna find a way to make it good.  We’ve stopped using all mixes unless we really need it. None of the ones I’ve tried are just great. They need to taste a whole lot better.”

She doesn’t remember her very first homemade recipe, just that she made a lot of pancakes and waffles and bread early on, and has this to say to those starting out on their own homemade gluten-free baking adventures:

“Learn as much as you can about why a recipe works with wheat flour.  The flour change is not that huge of a deal if you get the other parts of it right. If you can understand what makes a bread recipe and how that’s different from a pancake recipe and when should you use baking soda – and read other recipes.  They help a lot in figuring out why a recipe works and why it’s not working.

“If testing, always follow exactly to see how it’ll turn out; then change one variable at a time.”

It took her 4 years to perfect her sandwich bread , and knew it was ready when it finally stopped falling – had some height to it – and she could eat one sandwich and be full instead of two or three.

Having gone from two major incomes to one supplemented by the blog, Pickett also had some money-saving tips to offer up.  This grad student listened carefully.

“We used to be very busy so we just bought groceries and could easily spend $1000 to $1,200 a month on groceries, and that’s with me cooking 5-6 breads a week.  I had lunch with Jenny of Gluten Free Birmingham and she said the rule of thumb is to not pay more than 99 cents per pound for produce.  If there’s not much there, you end up using vegetables you might not normally use because they’re on sale and it’s like, ‘Oh I do like rutabagas.’”

Pickett also uses Southern Savers to print out Publix coupons and never buys what’s not on sale.  She’s managed to only spend about $100-$150 in a week on groceries.

Not bad for a family of five!


Japanese Bread Machine Offers Gluten-free Setting

A few days after I posted my top ten gifts for the gluten-free lifestyle, a friend linked me to an article about a new bread maker that turns uncooked rice into a loaf of bread.


If you’re confused about the logistics, think of all the other awesome crap the Japanese have provided us with over the years (Nintendo, Toyotas, etc.) and stop asking questions.  No word yet on cost or availability (unless you happen to read Japanese) but still an awesome concept for those with wheat allergies.

Then, earlier this week I was doubly impressed with Japanese inventiveness when I read about the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Maker.  On the surface it just seems like a fancy bread machine outside of a grad student’s price range at $281.

But the machine is unique in that it offers a gluten-free bread setting, ensuring that your alternative flours, whichever you choose to use, are kneaded to perfection.


Even more exciting, Celiac Chicks has been given the opportunity by Zojirushi to give away one of the machines.  All you have to do is leave a comment about bread in the comments section of the corresponding post.  The drawing takes place Dec. 14.

Fingers Crossed!


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