Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sweet Gluten-Free Goodness!

My first Gluten-Free Cupcake!

These are not as decorative as some of my past cupcakes - but I was concentrating on creating a good tasting cupcake first. And I am pleased at the outcome! They are just as moist and delicious as my regular ones.

Here's my recipe:
Gluten-Free Moist & Yummy Carrot Cupcakes

2 eggs
1 1/8 cups white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups freshly shredded carrots
½ cup crushed pineapple (squeeze excess juice out)
1 ½ cups King Arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped walnuts

+ Your favorite cream cheese frosting (one of my favs – beat together 1 block of cream cheese with ½ stick butter softened, t vanilla. Stir in 3 cups or so of powdered sugar, and a bit of heavy cream added beat to desired consistency)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.
2. Beat together eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar in bowl, mix in oil and vanilla. Fold in carrots and crushed pineapple. In separate bowl mix together the GF flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. On low setting mix flour mixture into the carrot mixture until evenly moist. Fold in ½ cup of the walnuts. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
3. Bake 20-22 minutes in preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
4. Using your favorite cream cheese frosting, top with frosting and sprinkle with remaining walnuts.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Yesterday Chuck and I went and picked up a bread machine. There was a particular one that I had stumbled upon when researching gluten-free recipes. I had read that the Breadman bread machine had a setting that was just for gluten-free bread. The absolute hardest part of going GF is missing being able to have a sandwich or a slice of bread. We stopped by HyVee and picked up some ingredients and headed home to try out the new Breadman.

I spent the next hour getting very frustrated as I tried to find the recipe that I was looking for. For the past several days much of my free time had been spent looking at GF recipes. Exchanging wheat flour for a GF substitute isn't as easy as you might think. There are so many different flours and starches that are usually combined to replace the wheat flour. Every recipe I came across listed a different type of flour. When I finally found the one I had spotted a couple days ago, I first bookmarked it for future reference, then realized I was missing an important ingredient. So...back to the HyVee!

It was late afternoon by the time I had the Breadman whirling for the first time. Just before dinner I pulled the loaf out and was pleased at what I saw. It looked like bread and smelled like bread. It was too hot to cut into for dinner so the taste test would have to wait a while.

A few hours later, I was very pleased as I sliced into the bread. The texture looked great! And tasted just as good as it looked!

Success! And better yet - Both Chuck and I enjoyed the best tasting peanut butter sandwich for lunch today!

So here's the recipe that I used:

Place ingredients in bread pan in order (wet on bottom, then dry, & yeast on top)
* 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
* 3 eggs, room temperature (beaten slightly)
* 4 tablespoons butter, melted (I use Smartbalance blend)
* 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
** I Sift together the flours, starch, xantham gum, & salt before putting them in
* 2 cups rice flour
* 1/2 cup potato starch
* 1/2 cup tapioca flour
* 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 2/3 cup powdered milk
* 3 tablespoons sugar
** Create an indentation in the dry ingredients to put the yeast into (but not deep enough to touch wet ingredients)
* 1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast, granules
Turn on the Breadman and set to Gluten-free program.
Take bread out as soon as it is done to prevent the bread from becoming soggy from the steam as the machine cools down.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A new way of life...I have a lot to learn

After a very long time of just not feeling well with a lot of different symptoms over the years - I think that I finally have found the answer. I believe that I have Celiac disease or at the least I high intolerance to gluten.

I've suspected for a long time that something I was putting into my body was making me sick...not "Oh - I'm going to throw up" sick...but a whole hosts of symptoms that led me to just not feel good. Months ago when I brought my suspicions of my possible gluten intolerance to the attention of my doctor, who was treating me for a Vitamin D and recently a Vitamin B12 deficiency after my complaints of how I was feeling, she shrugged me off with "if you don't have diarrhea - you don't have Celiac Disease." She's the doctor - so I shrugged my shoulders and let it go.

But many times as I was online (and anyone who knows me even a little knows if I'm not working - I'm online doing something) I would find myself googling the disease. A nagging voice just kept putting it back into my mind. I tried to talk myself out of it...but then would think of all the times I just felt horribly bloated after eating - especially wheat products. After eating even a slice or two of bread at a restaurant I felt as if I had already consumed a Thanksgiving meal - yet with the hunger still there. I couldn't ever understand how Chuck or the kids could eat multiple rolls or a stack of cookies. I just figured that full uncomfortable feeling was normal - since I always felt it. I continued to eat the things that made me feel bad telling myself "well I already feel bad -so I might as well have more and enjoy the taste."

Friday night after a day of food full of gluten rich food, I opened my laptop before going to bed and again went to search gluten sensitivity or intolerance. The list of symptoms stared my in the face and it just hit me - "I think this is it and I can't let it go." So as Chuck settled into bed I told him that I think I have this problem and I should go gluten free. Well...once my wonderful husband hears of some issue he will attack it...researching to find out all he can. By Saturday he had done some digging on is own and agreed that this seemed to answer so many of my problems. As I type this right now - he is reading a book on the subject we picked up today.

However...this is not going to be quite as easy as just not eating wheat, barley, and rye. Unfortunately the more we research it...the more we find that gluten is hidden in so many things. And cross-contamination from things can cause a problem. So we have begun to read, research, and prepare ourselves to go gluten free. Tonight I made a yummy pasta dish made with a corn and quinoa pasta. Tasted we know that there are alternatives out there. Chuck is going to join my on this life-style changing journey. At first I thought that I would continue to cook and bake like normal for others and just make sure I wasn't eating any of it - yet I know that this will just not work for me. So I've decided that anything that I cook or bake will be gluten free. This a bit of a bummer for me since I love to bake...but I will learn to create yummy gluten free goodies. My three teenagers may cry out a big "OH NO!" at this...but I must do what is best for myself. They can bake their own goodies if they don't like what I come up with - but it must not contaminate my food and supplies.

It's going to be a bit of a challenge and we have a lot to learn but hopefully this will be the answer to living a better feeling life.