Disheartening news.

Over on Gluten Dude's blog today it says that a lot of our oats that are labeled as gluten free may not be gluten free?   I made oatmeal cookies for my family yesterday and today I got up feeling very bad.  Is it a coincidence?  I don't know.    I am getting ready to go see a nutritionist to get a food sensitivity test and do an elimination diet to see what other foods I am reacting to, but if there is gluten in my oats, then maybe I'm just reacting to the same old thing?  Again and again.  :-(


A few years ago I bought a trifle dish at Walmart for 6 dollars.  I had in mind to make something that we called punch bowl cake.  It was angel food cake layered with vanilla pudding, whipped cream, strawberries, bananas and pineapple.  My husband and I really like this but it turns out, my daughter doesn't like vanilla pudding.  So I started to think of different things that we could put in the trifle bowl, looking at Pinterest and recipe sites and we've gotten to the point where we take a trifle to nearly every holiday event.  Several of our family members are gluten free and so this will probably be the only dessert that they get at the party, so we want to make it a good one.  Traditional trifles contain alcohol, but we want ours to be okay for everyone to eat and Baptist friendly, so ours do not.  Just desserts.  In layers.  Of yumminess.

 These are particularly well-suited to gluten free cake mixes from the salvage grocery store that sometimes bake up dry.  The layers of fruit, pudding, custard, etc. help it moisten up.

I'll share a couple of our favorites, but when you make this, be creative.  I'll put a list at the bottom of the post of possible ingredients, but really, the possibilities are endless.

We like to make a black forest trifle which consists of chocolate cake cut in cubes, Pillsbury cheesecake filling (this comes in a tub but I haven't been able to find it lately) and cherry pie filling.  We get the most compliments on this one.  Last time I couldn't find the cheesecake filling I mixed up a combination of cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk like you would find in a cherry cheese pie.   

Sometimes we do vanilla/yellow cake, whipped cream and strawberries and sugar.  This is also very popular.

For Easter this year, we used a yellow cake mix, added lemon pudding and Country Time Lemonade  to make a lemon cake, then added a can of lemon pie filling and whipped cream and just for fun, some strawberries.   We barely made it home with any of this.

So anyway, get creative add whipped cream, any flavor of cake, any kind of fruit, any type of pudding, custard, pie filling, candy, brownies, sprinkles ... you get the idea.

These make special occasions really special.  :-)

Chocolate Chip Cookies Revisited.

We had a good recipe but then we lost it.  :-(  I have no idea how.  I keep my printed out recipes in a binder.  Oh well.  We've recovered.

Now we use this recipe:  Land O Lakes 

and either Bloomfield Farms gluten free baking mix or Simple Truth Organic baking mix.

Both are good.  I think with the Simple Truth, the cookies are flatter.  We'd like something that makes them a little puffy, but not too puffy.  We need to do some more research.  



Hamburger buns!

I didn't make these from scratch.  I used the Glutino bread mix that I have been getting at the salvage grocery for 50 cents a box.  I add things to the mix to make it taste better to us.  Sometimes I add pineapple juice instead of some of the water.  Today, I was out of pineapple juice so I used a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of ginger.  I was using half of the box of bread since I'd used the other half last week to make Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger pie.  That's easier, but this is better in my opinion.  Both are very good ways to have a cheeseburger.  These buns held together well and tasted good.  Very, very good.


Special Events - Gluten Free.

Right now I'm doing some planning for a couple of events.  My oldest son is getting married in July.  Both he and fiance are gluten free.  (She went gluten free after meeting him and got her Grave's disease to go into remission!)  So now I am excitedly planning both a shower menu and a rehearsal dinner cookout menu.  The wedding it out of state and the shower is local.  Both the rehearsal dinner and the shower will probably be upwards of 50 people in attendance.  I'm serving a full meal, of course, at the rehearsal dinner but for the shower, I'm going to go with finger foods and snacks.  Being gluten free makes everything a bit more complicated, especially if you are trying to stay on a budget.

For the shower, I'm going with a theme of dip, apparently, I'm doing fruit and dip, veggies and dip, gluten free crackers with a cheese ball, punch and other drinks and cake; which my cousin is going to make from gluten free mixes that I purchased at the salvage grocery store.  We eat these all the time and they are yummy, no concerns about quality.  They are King Arthur brand.  By buying these at the salvage store, I've saved about 4 dollars a box on them.  My cousin will do the icing.  She is good at this and she actually did my wedding cakes 28 years ago.

For the rehearsal dinner, it's more complicated.  We'll be 4 hours away from home in a state park and outside in a pavilion.  We couldn't afford to get a room in the lodge because we'd have to pay for catering.  Fortunately, the bride and groom are very easy going and even suggested a cookout.  So we're going to order these hamburger buns Rotella  and grill out burgers.  For side dishes I was kind of stumped.  I'm going to be staying in a cabin with a kitchen, but I don't know how much cooking I can do there.  It looks small on the web site and besides, I don't want to spend the entire day cooking.  I want to do vacation-y things.  Also, I am afraid that things like potato salad will get too warm and be dangerous.  So I called and asked and the pavilion does have electricity so that I can plug in crock pots.  I'm going to have crock pots full of baked beans, green beans and corn on the cob with watermelon slices and some of my special oatmeal cookies that I'm famous for, for dessert.  To feed a crowd like this, I'll probably have to borrow crock pots from several of my friends.  :-)

I'll probably bring potato chips to both, just in case we need to stretch the food a bit.  I need to find amounts of food to make for each and will utilize web sites like this one:  Cook Like a Caterer  and this one:  Chef Menus Quantity Chart

I think it's going to be fun!


My Saturday morning coffee companion.

She didn't get any coffee so she kept falling back to sleep.   :-)  I have discovered that I have some kind of gluten -like reaction to coffee and so now I only have 1 cup of decaf once a week.   If I have it more often I feel bad.


Some notes on gluten free flour.

Certain flours are better for certain things.  I have found this week that King Arthur gluten free flour * is the best, the absolute best for pancakes.  So.  Good.  I got a bag of the Pillsbury baking mix and it's not as good.  It does fine with other things though and it's cheaper, so there's that.  Pillsbury may have taken the lead for our family in cake mixes though.  We do love King Arthur's cake mixes, both the vanilla and chocolate, very much, but this week we made a Pillsbury Funfetti cake and my daughter's comment was that this was not just good gluten free cake, it was good cake, period.  A high compliment.  :-)

I also enjoy Glutino bread mix, but the last time I got a box of it, I didn't use it to make a loaf of bread, I used it to make hamburger pie and pigs in a blanket.  Yum.   The hamburger pie was served at an extended family gathering and many people ate it without realizing it was gluten free.  Success.
I should also note that Bloomfield Farms and Pamela's also make very good, solid performing, good tasting flours and Pamela's is definitely my choice for cornbread.

* Edited to note that the second box of King Arthur flour that we bought did not do well for pancakes and so now we've officially switched our favorite for pancakes to Simple Truth Organic.  The pancakes are fluffy and absorb the syrup in a way that is really, really good.