I won!!!! WOOHOOO!!!

Let me start by saying that I don’t ever win anything. The other night I was surfing the net and reading food blogs, mostly gluten-free, for new recipes and inspriration, when I came across Celiac Chicks running a contest or 2. I entered both of the. One was for free GF Cookies (YUM), the other was for a gift basket from Joan’s GF Great Bakes for bagels, cookies, pizza and rolls. Well, guess what???? I won one of the 5 prizes in the 2nd contest!!! WOOHOOO!!! My GF goodies arrived today. I baked some of the ready-bake cookies right away, but only got a bite as Jon got to them before I did. I didn’t even get a picture of the finished baked cookie! LOL! They were amazing!! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, buttery…..ooooh….I need to go throw a couple more in the oven before Jon comes back in from playing outside and eat them quickly! ;) Here are some pics of my loot:

I plan on making some bagels and maybe a sandwich roll tomorrow. I will make sure to take pictures and share once I do. I received 5 bagels, a pack of ready-bake cookies, a sicilian pizza and 6 sandwich rolls. What a great prize! Thank you Celiac Chicks and Joan. You guys ROCK!!!!

Gluten-Free Heaven

If you ask someone who follows a gluten-free diet what their definition of gluten-free heaven is, you are likely to get a response that involves a bread/bakery product of some sort. My idea of gluten-free heaven is a bagel like the ones I remember from my pre-gluten-free days. Like the ones you get from Panera Bread…the harder outside “skin” and soft, chewy inside. If you have ever eaten a gluten-free bagel, you know that they are no where close to the “real” thing. I though I had found a pretty good bagel in the Kinnikinnick frozen bagels. They weren’t the “real” thing, but they passed b/c I didn’t really have much other choice. I used them mostly for tuna melts, open-faced. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t find them anymore and I had heard there were production issues. When they reappeared in stores, they had changed…the taste & texture was different and it wasn’t for the better. I was very disappointed. So, I remembered seeing a recipe for bagels on my trusty Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix bag. It didn’t look too difficult, so I decided to give it a try. I made a few modifications, added brushed egg white to the tops of the bagels after boiling and before baking and I sprinkled sea salt on a few after the egg whites. I was hoping for a hot soft pretzel effect. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic these turned out. My bagel was like a big, round hot soft pretzel bagel. I had tears in my eyes. OMG…..BAGELS!!!!! This is what has been missing since I went GF. The taste, the texture. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe that I only ate one. I let the rest cool and then I froze them so that all of their yumminess would be preserved. Now, the dough is a little sticky. I had to oil my hands to shape the dough, but a few minutes of messy hands is SO worth it for the end result.

Before boiling/baking:

After coming out of the oven:

Made into a sandwich with turkey, swiss, dijon mustard & lettuce:


Bagels
*Recipe courtesy of Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix Bag

1 bag Pamela’s Bread Mix
1 yeast packet (enclosed)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil

Yield: Approximately 7 bagels

1. Combine dry mix, yeast packet, oil & water. (no eggs are used).
2. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.
3. Use 1/2 cup dough for each bagel. Oil hands and place on a greased baking sheet in the form of a bagel (don’t worry about the hole now, we will get to that later).
4. Let dough rise for 1 hour, then poke hole in the center of each bagel. (I took a wooden spoon and sprayed the handle with Pam and then used that to poke my holes).
5. In boiling water, boil bagels for 25 seconds.
6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with egg whites and top with sea salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc if you choose.
7. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes. (I baked for 23 minutes).

ENJOY!!!! Truly, gluten-free heaven.

Oh, and another bonus recipe. The dish pictured with my sandwich is an eggplant parmesan of sorts. I had some tomatoes that I needed to use, so I made a simple marinara and then made this recipe:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Mozzerella Cheese
Paremsan Cheese
Marinara Sauce (I used homemade today, but have used Prego 3 Cheese in the past)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Slice eggplant & zuccini.
3. Spread sauce in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish. Start to layer eggplant & zucchini and cheeses with sauce. Repeat until ingredients are gone.
4. Bake at least 30 minutes. Test the eggplant with a fork, it should be soft. Broil for a couple minutes to brown up the top.

**I have seen a variation of this recipe with ricotta cheese too. That would make it more a meal, suitable for vegetarians.

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers