Brownies and Cake, how in the world?

How in the world do I forget the 2 most important desserts on earth? Seriously. I must have had some serious brain freeze or something to forget my 2 most favorite things in the world (besides my husband and children, of course).

Cakes:
Kim & Jon ~ Once again, Pamela’s, hands down. Love, love, love the chocolate cake mix. There is a modified version on the side of the package that uses sour cream and it is the most heavenly thing since GF sliced bread (haha…..we all know that GF sliced bread is anything but heavenly). No, seriously, this cake is so moist and yummy….you just want to cry! I frost it with chocolate frosting made from butter or shortening, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla.

Brownies:
Kim & Jon ~ There are several very good mixes out there. My Mom has also made them from a gluten-free flour mix made from rice flour, potato starch (not potato flour) and tapioca starch flour (adding xanthan gum, of course). Again, after discussing this with Jon, we vote Pamela’s. I don’t work for Pamela’s or have any interest in the company other than the fact that I love their products and want them to stay in business. ;)

Ice Cream:
Kim ~ Edy’s (this company, also called Dreyer’s, will not hide gluten on their labels). I like the Slow-Churned (lower in fat & calories, still super yummy) Cappucino Chip, Raspberry Chip, Coffee the best.

Jon ~ Edy’s Vanilla Bean, Mint Chocolate Chip, Take the Cake (yes, I am sure there is no gluten), Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cup. If we are going out for ice cream, we love Cold Stone. They are very good about food allergies there and will mix the ice cream in a bowl rather than on the marble stone.

Now, of course, I must make some sweet treats.

So, here I go!

So this is my first post on my new blog!  How fun!  I posted info about me in my profile, which leads me to what I am doing here.  I am blogging about navigating through a gluten-filled world on a gluten-free diet.  Both my son and I must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.  I find it easier than him, as I had years and years of Pop-Tarts before I found out that gluten was like poison to my body.  He isn’t convinced yet that Pop-Tarts are gross and frequently boo hoos because his little sister can eat them and he can’t.   Of course there is plenty of delicious, gluten-free food to be had, but sometimes it just isn’t the same.  I would love to say that I create all of my gluten-free recipes myself, but a chef I am not.  I do a lot of searching online, using various GF blogs and recipe sites.  I frequent a couple of different Celiac forums for reviews, recommendations and must avoid foods or eateries.  I do my best to try to offer a variety of healthy food, while indulging some too.  One can’t live without chocolate and there is no gluten in it!!  I use pre-made mixes for some of my treats, but also have experimented from scratch.  I have found that I can make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies that taste really no different from the Tollhouse cookies I made in the past.  They don’t last long when I make them, that is for sure. 

Okay.  There it is.  My first post.  I hope to be back later with some favorites of mine & Jon’s.

Let’s Talk Favorites

Now that I am 2.5 years into the gluten-free diet, I don’t see my diet as limited at all.  When I first started it was as if the world had ended.  I worshipped bagels, pan pizza, flour tortillas, hot soft pretzels and basically anything made with bread.  It quickly became clear that I was going to have to make some changes and very quickly.  I was going to have to quit eating fast food as much as I was and eat at home and actually cook.  I went to some of the local specialty health food stores and bought breads, cereals, pizza doughs, bagels, etc.  I even found GF donuts!  I have my favorites though.  I will list them below.  Then, I will do Jon’s list.  His is going to differ from mine a bit, but his priorities are also different. 

Bread:

Kim ~ Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread

Jon ~ He is with me on this one. It also makes wonderful pizza that we tend to have every Friday night. I top mine with veggies, he prefers plain cheese or pepperoni (Hormel says GF right on the package). I use Prego 3 Cheese spaghetti sauce for the sauce.

Bagels:
Kim ~ Kinnikinnick Plain Tapioca Bagels. There is a recipe on the Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread for bagels that I have been meaning to try. I guess I’ll give it a go when I get some spare time next year. ;)

Jon ~ He isn’t really a bagel kid. He never had the chance to get hooked on them. Good for him!

Crackers:
Kim ~ I like the Blue Diamond Pecan Nut Thins They are great with Harvarti Cheese or any cheese spread. Reasonably priced at local mainstream grocery stores.

Jon ~ He likes these, but prefers the Glutino Crackers These are not cheap and I find they fall apart easily. The taste is close to a Townhouse or Ritz cracker.

Doughnuts:
Kim ~ Now DH makes a mean doughnut hole out of Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix , but as far as ready made, Kinnikinnick is the only way to go. They come frozen and in many flavors. I personally love the chocolate covered chocolate doughnut.

Jon ~ He feels much like I do here. He likes the cinnamon sugar that comes frosted. I don’t know where to buy these online. I am fortunate enough to find them at our local health food store, one of the largest Gluten-free food sources in the state and those surrounding us.

Rolls, Foccacia, Buns:
Kim & Jon ~ Chebe mixes by a mile. We love the foccacia mix. I use the roll mix for rolls, hamburger and hot dog buns. Even our non-gluten-free family members like these mixes. They are very nicely priced right at $3/each or under. It looks as if these are about to be sold on Amazon (nice for the subscription service and buying in bulk). I tried to find them there a few months back and they weren’t even listed.

Flour Mixes:
Kim ~ I use Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix cup for cup in my recipes now. It is easy and I can get the mix in bulk and with the subscription service on Amazon (free shipping and less per case). I use this mix for pancakes, cakes, muffins, cookies, quick breads, you name it. **There is already guar gum (like Xanthan Gum) in this mix, so you don’t need to add Xanthan gum. There is also some baking soda, baking powder & salt in the mix. Pamela’s website says “The leavening in Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix is equal to approximately 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup.”.

Jon ~ He doesn’t really care as long as he gets his goodies. He really likes his pancakes for breakfast, and I use the Pamela’s Baking Mix for those. I do sub buttermilk for the water and he seems to like those better.

Pie Crust:
Kim ~ Whole Foods Bakehouse Frozen, hands down. If you have a Whole Foods close, or heck, take a road trip, this pie crust is so good. I have served it to many finicky relatives over the past 2 years with no complaints and tons of compliments. I even passed off some leftover Banana Cream Pie to my neighbors last week and they were amazed when I told them it was GF!

Jon ~ Once again, he is on board. There is sugar and whip cream and more sugar. That is all he cares about here.

Pasta:
Kim ~ Tinkyada or Trader Joe’s. I like them both. Tinkyada does seem to fair better when re-heating a meal. I have used Debole’s for Lasagna before and it worked well too.

Jon ~ I happened to buy Bi-Aglut one time from the health food store ($8 for a tiny pkg). He loved it and begged for it. No chance. It was good, but so is Tinkyada or TJ’s. Not worth the extra $5/pkg.

Hot Soft Pretzels:
Kim & Jon ~ I have not been brave enough to try to make these from scratch yet. I have not heard of a decent recipe to even try. I really, really miss these. Funny thing is I never ate them that often when I could. I think the idea that I CAN’T have them is making my craving worse. If anyone knows a good recipe, I am game.

Cereal:
Kim ~ Rice Chex! Woohoo!!! It is about time! They even have recipes on their website for GF treats! **If you buy these, make sure the box says “Gluten-Free” on it. There are still some older boxes in circulation.

Jon ~ The boy loves his Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles. He will eat Amazon Flakes (Envirokidz) and Peanut Butter Panda Puffs. He likes the Rice Chex, but wants to pour sugar on them!

I think that is it for now. If I come up with any more favorites, I will make sure to add them or post a new list.

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