Friday, March 26, 2010

Yummy Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Texture. That is one thing that can be difficult in gluten free baking, getting the right texture. I have experimented with this cookie recipe for a while and have come up with one that makes awesome cookies that are just soft and chewy enough in the middle, with that little bit of crispness on the outside.

To make these cookies you need one of my favorite staples, Pamela's Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix and some gluten free oatmeal (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

2 cups Pamela's Baking Mix
2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup natural, unrefined cane sugar (or you can use half regular white sugar and half brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 cups dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and stir. Next add all of the dry ingredients and mix. Finally add the chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon fulls onto an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

These are "hearty" cookies with not too much sugar. I often snack on them, take them on trips etc. to eat like I would a granola bar.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A springtime hike along the trails and through the trees!

What a beautiful day to get out for a Spring hike! We had a nice trek along the trails and through the trees. All of our little tadpoles love to be outside and are always ready for adventure. Today we took Papa to Cougar Rock for the first time.

The little Peanut loves being outside and is thrilled to ride in the back pack!

A short break near the beginning of the hike.

If there is mud, Scootch will find it, and get covered in it, or in this case, get stuck in it.

Scootch climbs on Cougar Rock.

Curly enjoys the view at the summit.

Mommy and Peanut take a little snack break at the top.

Papa and Peanut enjoy the hike and the view at the top!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brown Bread

As I have said before, I love the Gluten Free Pantry's Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix, and use it to make lots of things. The one thing I don't like about gluten free foods is you often either get something with little nutritional value (mostly starch, refined flours) or something healthy that tastes like dirt. When I make a loaf of bread with this mix I often throw in a few things to make it a tiny bit healthier, more fiber etc.

To make this "brown" bread I prepare a loaf according to the directions on the box and add:

2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon of molasses
and sometimes I also add 1 tablespoon of millet

Throw it all in the bread machine and you are good to go!

It makes a nice soft sandwich bread with just a little more substance to it, and the picky kids will still eat it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Every Saturday night at our house is "Pizza Night". Let's face it, kids love pizza, and moms love an easy-to-make dinner. Since ordering pizza take out is not an option for us, I've come up with the next best plan.

To make pizza at our house I use one of my favorite gluten free staples: The Gluten Free Pantry's Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix. First I have the bread maker make up the dough (my bread maker has a "pizza dough" setting that takes 50 minutes). I use one box of mix to make 5 personal size pizzas (about 8-9 inches round).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

I prepare the pans by spraying them with oil and dusting them with corn meal (optional). I use Bob's Red Mill gluten free Corn Meal. Divide the dough evenly among the 5 pans.

The tricky part its rolling out the sticky dough. I spray both the roller and the dough with oil. Don't be afraid to use plenty of oil. Once you get a bit of dough sticking to the roller you will need to wash the roller and start over as it will just stick more and more. So, it is better to use plenty of oil.

Once you have the dough all rolled out you have two options:

Option 1: Get out your favorite toppings, put them on your prepared dough, bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Option 2: Bake the crust alone for 10 minutes. Put cooled crusts in a zip lock bag in the freezer. Any time you want a quick pizza you can pull a crust out of the freezer, top and bake. I like to keep a few of these on hand in the freezer for when I need a quick easy meal for the kids.

Like I said, kids love pizza!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back to Basics: Staples for a GF Kitchen

When you go gluten free you don't "need" to buy any "special" gluten free foods. You can just shop the outer aisles of the supermarket, and as long as you avoid the bread section, it is almost all gluten free. You can eat all of the fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, milk, and yogurt as your little gluten free heart desires.

But what if you want the occasional muffin, some pancakes, or maybe even some pizza or a slice of bread? After several years of living gluten free I have decided which 2 specialty items would be at the top of my list to keep in the pantry: Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix, and The Gluten Free Pantry's Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix. With these two staples in stock you can make just about anything you can dream up: Scones, cookies, cake, pancakes, waffles, pizza, hamburger buns, garlic rolls, sandwich bread, to name a few. I get these through the "Subscribe and Save" option on for the lowest price.

I have tried making my own blend of "all purpose flour". For a while I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose gluten free flour. While I still keep some of that on hand, I have found that the Pamela's is much more convenient, and usually makes baked goods with a better texture as well. It is handy because it already contains the xanthan gum that you need in your baked goods, as well as the baking soda, so most recipes don't need any additional leavening.

The Pamela's package has lots of great recipes on the back. Yesterday I used the scones recipe (with some slight modifications, I used 1 cup mini chocolate chips instead of 1/2 cup of currants and dropped the extra baking powder as they seemed the same with and without it):

Chocolate Chip Scones:

2 1/4 cups Pamela's Baking Mix
4 TBSP butter
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Makes 8-10 scones
Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter. Add milk and eggs, combining all together with a fork. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick. Drop large, tall dollops onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Box of Bread Mix, Three Meals!

I buy The Gluten Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix by the case on because I use it for so many different things. My kids love it to use for sandwiches. I also use it to make pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, hamburger buns, and dinner rolls to name a few.

Here is an example of how I use one box of mix to make bread for three meals: Hamburger buns, garlic cheese rolls, and cinnamon pull-apart rolls:

First, mix the dough according to the box. I use half milk and half water, and oil instead of butter. I like to have the breadmachine mix up the dough. It only takes 50 minutes on the shortest dough cycle (on my machine that is the pizza dough setting). Remember, gluten free dough does not need to be kneaded.

I prepare 3 pans by coating them with spray oil. 8X8 inch glass pans work well.

Next I use about one third of the dough to make the hamburger buns. I use a big spoon (the dough is very gooey) to scoop out 4 globs of dough and put them in the first pan.

The hamburger buns are ready to rise! Next for the garlic cheese rolls and cinnamon pull-apart rolls. I fill the next two pans with teaspoon sized "globs" of dough.

Now make the topping for the garlic cheese rolls: Melt 1/2 of a stick of butter (1/4 cup). Add two crushed garlic cloves (or use some garlic powder, use more if you like!) and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese. Poor the garlic-butter-cheese mixture over the rolls. Now they are ready to rise.
Next make the topping for the cinnamon pull apart rolls: Melt 1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 cup), stir in 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Poor this over the top. These I will cover and put in the fridge, to be taken out in the morning to rise and bake.

To rise, warm the oven to about 80-90 degrees by turning it on for just a couple of minutes. Cover the burger buns and garlic cheese rolls and let rise in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until about doubled in size.

Remove to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then back for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Here are the buns and rolls when they come out of the oven:

Eat the garlic-cheese rolls hot from the oven, and save the hamburger buns for tomorrow (they also freeze well).

In the morning take the cinnamon rolls out. They will take longer to rise since they have been in the fridge. These were eaten too quickly, so I didn't get a picture.

My Tadpoles

My three little tadpoles who keep me busy on the trails and through the trees!