Friday, May 25, 2012

Making Memories and Traditions ( gluten free)

When your newly gluten free it can seem like nothing will be the same. Not the expected pizza place you went to hang out at on Friday nights after soccer games, or grandma's famous cake recipe or your mother in law's amazing biscuits that go so well with the fantastic chicken pot pie you make! How about the holidays? How will they change this year?  The best piece of advice I can offer anyone who is newly gluten free is don't through out everything. Well, through out all the gluten, but not the traditions and memories...those things are permanent! It's hard enough to be taking out gluten, don't try to go without those special foods that you and your family look forward to.  If  you can spend some time retrying those recipes with the gluten free substitutions, you may find that it will be even better then the original! After all, things are always  better with age! Even recipes.

Also, don't forget to start new traditions! Maybe it's not going to be the same pizza place you went to for years, but there are lots of new places now that do offer gluten free pizza. Or  make grandma's cake recipe but just alter the gluten flour? There are a lot of ways to substitute the gluten flour in your mixes. Stores and online outlets are offering many ready made flours or you may even have a go to all purpose mix that you  personally created! What you may find though is there needs to be less or more liquid or more baking soda or baking powder to get a better " rise".   It may need one more egg or more time in the oven, but a lower heat. And it helps to recreate the recipe a week or so before you actually need to " reproduce" it,  just so you can try it out and make sure you've fixed any kinks!

 One mix that I have found that works really well for most flour exchanges is made by Arrowhead Mills. It's their all purpose flour. It's cheap and the ingredients are good quality, low allergen (contain no yeast, corn or soy ) and most of the ingredients are also organic! They recently altered the recipe a bit for a better mix but I have found the new boxes already at my Whole Foods. I am not a fan of the blends that contain mostly tapioca or potato starch ( this one only contains the tapioca but it's not the main ingredient and it's also organic). I am not making any money to " sell" this to you , but just want you to know from years of experience that there are lots of ready made options to help you transfer your recipes without the need to buy more gluten free recipe books or expensive flour blends. Also remember you can find tons of recipes that are gluten free online for FREE too ! You can find this Arrowhead Mills all purpose gluten free mix online if it's not sold at your grocery store. I have been buying it from Whole Foods for years but my neighborhood Walmart just started to sell it  (and for about $2.00 less then Whole Foods) recently! Or maybe they sold it for a while but I try my hardest to steer clear of  Walmart....just don't like the big crowds and lack of customer service, so it was " new" to me. Though I will be checking back with Walmart from time to time. They are offering way more gluten free options and a few other  flour mix's such as Bob's Red Mill . Another flour mix brand that I personally like that also sells cookie, brownie, cake and bread mix's is sold by Hodgson Mill. These mixes are way less expensive then the Betty Crocker and the other brands that sell the same kind of kit's by nearly 55%! So if you haven't found your own secret mix yet, you can still make amazing products with these flour mixes!

Some of our family traditions have to do with breakfasts! We love pancake Saturdays! This has long been a tradition in our home.  My youngest two children get their step stools and  their aprons on. My daughter recently even got her own set of kitchen utensils to use, pink of course! We mix in blueberries or some pecans & cinnamon for a different taste and serve them with either bacon or sausage! And of course with real maple syrup! Our middle son will make homemade orange juice even though we no longer get the freshest oranges being that we don't live in Florida anymore, it's still part of the tradition! I hope you'll continue your traditions as well and not let that ugly " gluten" hold you back this year!

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