Posts tagged ‘baking’

You probably should NOT try this at home!

I’ve not been feeling well the past week or so (we’ve got a bug in our midst) so food has been low on my priority list but with the potential for visitors and my husband firing up the BBQ yesterday I got a great  idea!  How bout I try baking potato chips!

Can’t be too hard right?  I’ll just do what I do for oven french fries only leave them longer like I have done for crackers.  Fries/crackers. What could go wrong?  This was my thinking at least.  Make sense?  No I didn’t think so either but I just went with it. 

I used my slice and grate to cut the thinnest rounds I could manage out of 4 large yellow russets then I put them in a bowl of cold water to soak off the starch for about 10min.

Next I dried them off one by one… dry potatoes








We had three different cookie sheets going so we could determine which one yielded the best results.  It was fun to get creative with the seasonings.

First though, we coated each cookie sheet with vegetable oil.  Next we sprinkled the sheet with salt and pepper (with a little red pepper flake if you like a bit of zip) for the first, salt and onion powder for the second and for the third we dipped the potatoes in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.  I placed the potatoes on the seasoned pan and then sprinkled more over the top.

Heat the oven to a whopping 475 degrees!

Here they are before going into the oven.season potatoes

I covered each sheet with tin foil and baked with the tin foil on for 20 min.

I removed them from the oven (it’s REALLY hot!) and took off the foil to investigate the progress.

Next I returned them to the oven (without the cover) and baked another 20min at 425 degrees.

At this point what I needed to do was remove any that were done (mainly the potatoes around the edge of each cookie sheet and flip the others, returning them to bake only 5-8min at a time.  Instead I was over confident since they appeared to be going so well. What potato chip couldn’t benefit from a little extra crunch right?  After all, I wasn’t going for french fries! 

I flipped them all over, removing one or two of the crunchiest one’s to “test”.  MMMm! Then returning the whole lot of them to the oven I put another 20min on the timer and went outside to water my veggies.

Twenty minutes later….oops potatoes



open the windows…

open the doors…

SHUT the oven!

Well, I do have to tell you the couple that I tried were delicious but I believe I will leave potato chip making to the professionals!

June 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm 9 comments

Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger

pizzaI have big plans for my “debut” at the Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger Event hosted by the Book of Yum.  Pizza is the recipe for me!

I picked a blogger who I’ve enjoyed getting to know during What’s for Dinner Wednesday’s and with whom I’ve had a couple laughs over the difficulties of trying to feed kids. If you ask my husband though, it’s harder to feed me. I’m sure Brian at Fire and Salt has a few tales of his own and can understand my husbands lament since he blogs about his gluten free journey on behalf of his wife’s celiac.

I did manage to make Brian’s pizza crust but right off the bat I broke the “cardinal” rule and made a change to the recipe. Hopefully Sea will forgive me since I’ve got three growing boys and one who is not supposed to be growing! I doubled the batch!  That’s a heck of a lot of egg whites, whew and fishing all those shells out, I’m a terrible egg cracker.eggs

Anyway I’m a rule breaker.  There I’ve said it I broke the rules and I’m begging forgiveness.

yeast proofingJPGBrian’s post for the crust/bread is very detailed and full of pictures I like that because I’m a visual learner.  Look Brian, we properly proofed the yeast!

As you can see, I enlisted some help.  Thing 1 thoroughly enjoyed  his supervisory roll and even got to help with the crust.

Brian’s recipe intrigued me because he had a solution for making the pizza crust look like it’s wheat counterpart with a nice rolled edge and all. Why didn’t I think of that? All this time I’ve been rolling and squashing, flattening and fluffing like crazy trying to get something with an edge that wouldn’t let all the goodies spill off in the oven. Brian solved it for me with a recipe to boot! assembly

I will be in touch with the Firefigher Blogger to see if he has suggestions for adjusting the recipe for my dry dry climateready for toppings but other than being a tad dry (I’m sure due to the vast difference between Seattle by the sea vs. arid intermountian Idaho) I was very pleased with the outcome and despite my hopes of having extra pizza for lunch on day two, the boys and I polished two pizza’s off in one night.

Thanks Brian and thank you Sea for allowing me to participate in all my rule breaking glory!

pizza done

Ta da!  She’s a beauty!


May 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm 12 comments

Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum

Updates 2012:

Here are some knowledgeable women on this same topic whose advice I respect and trust. I hope you find these sources helpful in this ongoing debate.

Gluten Free Girl said in this great and informative post: Read the whole thing, it’s great! Thanks for alerting me to this post, Stephanie

So far, Danny and I have found that most recipes don’t need any replacements or gums or additives. Cookies, muffins, quick breads, cakes, biscuits, flour for dredging fish or batter for fried chicken? Don’t worry about the gums. Just make sure you are working with the right ratio of flours to fats to eggs to liquid in your batter or dough. So far, everything gluten-free that I have baked uses the same ratio as the gluten recipes.

Karen from Only Sometimes Clever said in the comments below:

Just thought I’d update a little: I’m trying to get away from all xanthan gum. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with it not being a real, whole food. Guar gum is a ground up seed, and is totally natural.

It is a lot more difficult to work with — it can clump in wet goods, and it doesn’t “glue” things together as well as xanthan. But, when well-combined with dry goods first, there’s no problem. I have also found that guar gum gives better “loft” to the batter, before it is even baked. I haven’t re-tried it in yeast bread yet, but I’ve had good success with using guar in muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, and cookies. :)

There were many other thoughts and experiences expressed in the comments below. Feel free to read through and happy gluten free baking!

**** My original experience below. Was it the weather? You decide.****

I’ve been told that xanthan gum and guar gum are interchangeable in gluten free baking so I bought guar gum last time because the store was out of xanthan gum.  Below are the results…

Guar Gum Loaf

Guar Gum Loaf

I couldn’t even get the bread out of the pan without it falling apart, we made this loaf into french toasts since the egg helped keep it together.  I couldn’t bear to give it to the chickens.
Below is the exact same recipe a week later using xanthan gum…

April 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm 38 comments

What, it’s Wednesday? My Baked Potatoes-woes!

img_1965smCan I just say my dinner this week is somewhat disappointing?  I hope I have not failed to mention that I am not the most talented cook on the block and sometime (lots of times) with four hungry boys, if you count my husband, and a precious but needy infant I get completely behind and dinner sneaks suddenly upon us.  This blog is my way of coping with those crazy gluten free goof ups that happen everyday.  My kids get nutty around meal times and I often feel completely overwhelmed by needing to eat healthy, well rounded, allergen free, yet decent food!

My Darlings try to be helpful but a seven, five and almost 2 yr olds antics around dinner are well, can we say, disastrous?  Thing 2 thought it would be good fun to start off his meal with a nice green – glass of water?!  How did he do it, you ask?  By climbing onto the counter and getting food coloring out of the baking cupboard.  Not too shabby of an idea until he left it all out on the floor and the Bubba (not yet 2) discovered how fun it is to “decorate” the floor, his belly, his hands….  Now that’s helpful!  Meanwhile Thing 1 (my responsible 7yr old) decides to start out with milk and chocolate sauce, helping himself to a wholesome “dinner” as well.  Little Pee Wee is crying her eyes out and Bubba is covered in food coloring while I am frantically attacking the stain on the floor hoping that the new blue will come off! Is it really dinner time?  Don’t tell me it’s What’s for Dinner Wednesday.


“I can pull this off,” the pep talk begins, “just get Mr Frosted Belly into the tub and start some dinner!” 

Fine and dandy I can do this!  But…I also found out this week that Polident makes a pretty aggressive laxative when ingested in large quantities by busy toddlers who have surprisingly nimble fingers and an equally surprising ability to climb.  Bath time was quite an adventure.  Bubba goes into the tub… then out onto the potty for a false alarm, back in… and out onto the potty…in… but before he is clean he doesn’t make it back onto the potty and I have yet another disaster!  Finally after a SHOWER, Bubba is clean and dinner…. OH NO!  DINNER! 

Don’t even ask WHY I had polident in the house, I seriously do not know and no, neither my husband or I wear dentures but I’m sure getting old fast!

My What’s for Dinner Wednesday, sadly is another Un-Recipe.  But, seriously, one of the most valuable things to remember when on a gluten free diet is there are many, more naturally gluten free foods than we first let ourselves believe.  Potatoe’s are one of those wonderfull, natrually gluten free foods and they are really quite inexpensive.

Baked Potatoes Un-Recipe:

Wash please and poke some holes in a couple large potatoes.  Potatoes are grown underground in fertilizer.  We all know what makes great fertilizer!  Always scrub potatoes, they can be a culprit for icky illnesses if you don’t!  I personally like the Yukon Gold and Large Reds, but Russets work just fine.  You can start by baking your potatoes in the microwave.  NO FOIL!  After the magically appearing Polident incident no one can be too careful!  Bake approx. 10min (for large potatoes) while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees and then finish them in the oven for another 15min.   This gives you the best of both worlds; faster baking but not all dried out and shriveled. 

There are so many things you can top a baked potato with:

Good ol’ stand by’s like sour cream, and chives or butter and cracked pepper

Or get a little more creative with salsa, cottage cheese, chili, ground beef or turkey, white sauce with broccoli….

If you don’t prefer regular potatoes there are delicious recipes for sweet potatoes (which also cook up quick with help from a little microwaving) and I’ve heard from a little birdie that sweet potatoes mixed half and half with regular potatoes make a great mashed version.

Leave me a comment including your favorite baked potato topping!

March 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm 12 comments

More about Sourdough

img_1975smOur whole family has been pretty sick for weeks and I completely neglected the sourdough starter on the counter.  The smell is now pretty strong and the “hooch” on the top (mixture of alcohol and water produced by the starter) is quite dark so I thought about throwing it out.   I decided to research a little more before I got crazy.  After all, sourdough has been resting on counters for much longer than mine in much hotter climates and I’m sure when that was the only way to make bread you didn’t just toss it if you missed a couple days.  I found a discussion about how to tell if your starter is bad and got some pointers there.  I still think my starter is on the verge of too stinky but am “washing” it like one of the writers suggested. 

Mid-week last week I ran out of milled flour and being sick I didn’t have the energy to drag everything out so I just dumped in some sorghum flour I had. That turned the starter a brownish orange color and the hooch produced the next morning was much darker and has been since, I wish I would not have done that.  If I “wash” my sourdough I’m planning to go with half brown rice and half white rice this time and am considering using starch as well.  I think the mixture has been too heavy to produce a good loaf of bread.  I am also very determined not to let it hibernate in the refrigerator until I have come up with a good recipe for bread because I don’t want to spend the time getting it going again.  In my reading I noticed that even with a suspected “bad” starter you can pull a tiny amount out and feed that to keep the same starter going.  Maybe after a bit I will have enough to dry some and we can try sharing it to see if that will work.

A couple of notes:

As I get familiar with my starter I can tell how she is “behaving” and realized that in my climate I needed to switch from using more flour than water back to simply 1:1.  I actually quit measuring and if it looks too thick (lumpy, hard to stir) I add more water if it is too thin I use more flour.  It really is quite friendly and forgiving.  You may have to experiment to get a good “pancake” like consistency but if it doesn’t seem right just try, don’t fret.

I also read that unless you leave it in over 100 degree temps. almost nothing else will outright kill the starter although metal utinsels and container will inhibit yeast growth.

One lady even mentioned putting oatmeal in her starter in a pinch.  I am not suggesting it (also be aware that you must buy certified gluten free oats) but what I’m saying is experimenting can’t hurt.  I just tried using corn starch since I still have not milled flour. 

When in doubt give her a new home.  I was not sure about the strange img_1973smcolor and smell to the liquid so I poured it off this time.  I read that some people always pour it off.  I was in the habit of stirring mine back in and will do so again unless I experience this problem again.  I found a “clean” edge of the bowl to pour the whole thing into a new container.  After removing the hooch I could tell that my starter was not bad, the mixture underneath did not smell as strong and had that yeasty bread smell.  I have high hopes for my “washed” starter now.

A starter kept in the refrigerator is said to only need once a week feeding or even less.  A glass mason jar would be a good container for this kind of storage and then you can pull the starter out the night before you want to use it, immediately feed it and then use it the next day.

For more info here is a Q & A on Sourdough that I found very helpful.

Happy fermenting and keep checking back, I am feeling much better and with the fresh snow outside it’s still baking weather up here in the North!

March 8, 2009 at 1:07 pm 3 comments

Meat Loaf Wednesday

img_1943smBoy is it hard to make meat loaf look sexy and I apologize in advance if you are on a vegan diet.  Avert your eyes! Get out, get out! 

Okay – for those of you who can and will eat meat, this is a quick and hearty meal.  Thanks Callie (little sis) for bringing it to my attention, she gets the credit for the major part of this recipe. 

 No offense Mom but the mention of meat loaf brings a shudder of distaste.  I hated meat loaf as a kid, those chunks of onion and the celery and salty cold ketchup.  My mom is going to say I’m exaggerating and being a drama queen but seriously it didn’t sound appealing.  Little Sis convinced me mainly on the easiness factor! And no, that isn’t plain ol’ cold ketchup! By the way, be sure your ketchup IS gluten free, not all of them are.

If you are wondering spell check doesn’t like catsup or ketchup so call it what you like – you say tomAto, I say tomOto.

Do I really have to go there? (Shopping List)

  • hamburger 1 1/2lb (give or take, I actually did measure so you could see how much the recipe makes.) Also, I read a helpful magazine article recently that recommends using half ground pork.  Because I really did not want to go there (shopping) I sent the hubby after work and told him ground turkey by mistake. I ended up just using the beef.
  • rice crackers like these.  I got mine at Costco


  • 1 egg
  • onion soup base; just add extra onion powder to the soup base (or store bought if you can find a gluten free version)
  • catsup/ketchup (gf of course)
  • evaporated milk, fresh milk, goat milk, or rice milk… you pick!

If I can do it you can do it! (The Recipe)

  • 1 1/2 lb hambuger or 3/4 lb ground beef and 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2  cup crushed rice crackers (the boys loved helping me smash them with a cup in a plastic bag-good fun until the bag broke)
  • 1/2 Cup milk (if you use evaporated milk you can use up to 1/4 cup more)
  • 2 Tbsp soup base or an onion soup packet
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (better yet saute’ some onion with veggies in cooking oil-I like Coconut oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup catsup

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Gently whip the egg, add the rice crackers and the milk, stir in soup base or packet and extra onion powder if you are using the base.  Next mix in the remaining  ingredients.  Your clean hands work best but a wooden spoon can be used as well.

img_1942smPainstakingly mold the meat loaf mass into a pan that is slightly oversized or you can use an actual loaf pan. Scott Peacock says an oversized pan helps the fat to escape.

Bake for 45min.  You can bake with or without the glaze below…


  • 1/4 Cup catsup/ketchup
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar (or to taste)

This has been another recipe for the “What’s for Dinner Wednesday Blog Carnival” hosted by The Gluten Free Homemaker.

March 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm 7 comments

Crusty Popovers – Delight Gluten-Free Recipe

All that is left of my brand new “Delight Gluten Free” magazine is a few shreds of soggy paper.

Continue Reading February 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm 3 comments

Soup Base & Casserole Un-Recipe

You don’t really want to know what was on the menu for dinner this evening. It was the dreaded “housewife casserole”.

Continue Reading February 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm 5 comments


img_1833It occurred to me this morning as I trudged through the mud and the snow to throw hay (deliriously expensive dry blades of grass in a big heavy block) to my three horses, that I really need to dig deeper into the basics of life.  I love my horses and whenever my husband and I begin to have that talk about budget I always find a way to “justify” keeping them.  Lately it’s more about the inability to sell them to some other poor soul who can’t afford thosebig heavy blocks of grass called hay, than it is unwillingness.  I don’t want to put my family in jeopardy for a hobby no matter how dear the horses are to me.

I tossed them their hay and feeling a bit chilled I climbed onto Oliver’s neck (my big black “tractor” of a draft horse) letting him lift me onto his back then I turned around and lay sprawled out on his wide back to keep warm and to think.  What a dilemma it is feeding a family let alone the animals we need and love.  Horses, as you probably know, are one of the least productive animals on most US family farms. We don’t eat them, we rarely reproduce them and if you make money with them it is by running them silly till they make lots of money for you, or showing them in the big circuits while you spend lots of money on them.

Oliver’s thick neck twitched as he munched and my mind continued to re-play my years of owning and caring for these friendly beasts.  My thoughts came one after the other none of them staying long enough to dwell on but all of them leaving an impression:

Horses… hay…the economy… sweat… mud…$$ dilemma… a harness… a chicken coop on wooden runners I saw in a book…hens…farm eggs…$$-in the black or in the red… HEY!!!  I’ve got it!oliver

Oliver IS a tractor. While listening to his breathing, steady, strong, faithful I realized, “this has potential, he already knows how to pull, I already know how to drive I can put most anything on runners and he can work too.”  I’ve got plowing to do, leveling, ditching, firewood to move, rocks to move, I’m going to get back to the basics and scratch “tractor” off the list of things we are saving $$ for.

Speaking of basics, my  next attempt at the gluten free sourdough is about to go into the oven, stay tuned for results and hopefully I can post a successful recipe!

February 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm 4 comments

A Gluten Free Valentine

Dinner's On!

Dinner's On!

Mary Jane’s Farm is fast becoming my favorite magazine. I made this decadent dinner from a recipe in her magazine (Vol. 8 #2 – simply bee issue) called Caribbean Honey-Spiced Chicken with Mango. This would be a nice Valentine’s Day dinner guys - Hint hint! You can subscribe to the magazine at for this and other delicious recipes.

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 t. freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (I left it out, they are hard to come by in these parts!)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded (again, mine were, well, relatively fresh-ok maybe not they were canned!)
  • 2 t. paprika
  • 2 t vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 t garlic salt  (mmm, I love garlic I used 2 t. minced garlic)
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 T. vegetable oil

In a small bowl, combine honey, lemon juice and lemon peel: whisk until well blended. Remove 1/4 cup of mixture to food processor container (magic bullet); set aside.  Add mango to honey-lemon mixture in (original small)bowl; toss to coat.  Store in refrigerator.  Add onion, jalapenos, paprika, oil, garlic salt, cinnamon, pepper, and allspice to honey-lemon mixture in the food processor container (my magic bullet waiting on the counter). Process until very finely chopped, scrape down sides when necessary.  Spread mixture evenly over both sides of chicken breasts.  Spread oil in a 9×13 inch baking pan.  Arrange chicken breasts in pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove chicken to serving platter; top with reserved mango mixture.

Ha ha, I made a funny mistake that turned out beautifully.  I left out the mango’s and forgot the honey lemon mixture in the frig until the last minute. I was doing the no milk thing – to see if it helped the baby – so I didn’t have a dressing for the salad and instead of topping the chicken with the lemon mixture I drizzled it on the salad (you can see some lemon zest on one of the cucumbers) I think I will use that dressing all the time, it was incredible and no great idea of mine just a plain ol’ mistake. What a Goof!  I also tossed on a few gf croutons I made from one of my failed bread attempts (cube gf bread and toss in a ziploc-olive oil/garlic/Italian seasoning-bake @ 200 degrees for a long long time!) and a batch of my favorite gf bread sticks – I used a recipe from

Enjoy and happy baking

February 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm 1 comment

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MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Food Fun

Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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