Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bakery on Main Product Review

I have just about broken my habit of eating unsubstantial cereal in the mornings since I started eating granola and oatmeal again. YEAH! But today I tried another version of granola, the Baker on Main's gluten free Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola. I'm not quite sure why they call it granola because it is more like a mixed muesli type of a cereal. I enjoyed the taste as did my two year old however it did not sustain me today like a bowl of good old fashioned oatmeal or oat based granola does. Only a couple of hours passed when my hunger kicked in and I just felt tired and wanting to eat more. I ended up having a very unproductive day. It is so important to start the day off right with wholesome foods after a good night of sleep... that is if you are a lucky mom and don't have kids that wake you up multiple times. If it is not one it is the other. Sorry I digress.

Ok so looking at the ingredients now. The first ingredient is corn flour which I know does not do much for me as far as nutritional value goes and I normally don't eat it. It has a food variety of nuts and seeds and naturally the cranberries so again it has a great taste. Go ahead and give it a try and see if you feel fulfilled to start your day right.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes

There are quite a few pancake mixes on the market and today we have just sampled three; Bob's Red Mill, King Arthur and Maple Grove Farms. For the past seven years or so I have only used Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake mix which our entire family, gluten free, or not loves. We never had the desire to switch but since I haven't tried these others that so many are raving about I thought it was time to do so. I put my brother-in-law on a mission to test the King Arthur mix as he is one of the most critical members of our family when it comes to gluten free products and loves to give me a hard time about my diet, all in good fun naturally. He rates Pamela's at the top of his list even over non gluten free mixes so that is saying a lot. I'm anxiously awaiting his critique on the King Arthur mix.

Comparing the ingredients on these three mixes... Bob's Red Mill is heavy on the potato starch and corn flour which you will notice in the taste. If I wanted a corn bread I would have made cornbread but I wanted a pancake so Bob's is out. Maple Grove Farms is heavy on rice flour and soy flour and I try to avoid soy flour as much as possible in my baking. King Arthur is heavy on the whole grain brown rice flour, is soy and nut free but has added sugar. Pamela's is a mix of brown rice flour, rice flour and almond meal that can be used for much more than just pancakes. It really is an all purpose gluten free flour mix.

If you are looking for the best taste closest to what you get at the local IHOP then King Arthur's mix should be your first choice but if you are comparing ingredients and want a mix that is a little more substantial then Pamela's is your healthy choice.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


One of the best German traditions is the local Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) which exists in just about every town during the holiday season. Mainly these are just collections of trinkets and food. But they are fun. And the food is the best part!

Note that this isn't exactly GF-specific because regular gluehwein is already GF. The problem with the local gluehwein is the amount of sugar that is added to the wine. It tastes great but leaves you with the worst headache the next morning, not to mention the extra calories. My mission was to make it with organic wine to eliminate the added sulfites and also to remove the refined sugar. We (my husband and I) decided to substitute the cup of sugar with 8 tablespoons of agave syrup and see if it passed the test. Two of our closest German friends came over tonight to try our hausgemacht (homemade) gluehwein and they loved it. I have to say it passed the test!

  • 750ml - 1L red wine (a bottle) - something inexpensive, full-bodied and fruity - we used Burgundy
  • 2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 orange cut into slices
  • 8 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup water

Pour everything into a large pot and simmer on medium heat for 30 mins. Do NOT boil. Then drink! For some additional goodness, put a shot of Amaretto in each glass. Mmmmm... Enjoy during this wonderful Holiday Season!

Print Recipe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Family Traditions Gone Gluten Free--Chex Mix

My husband's family has a few holiday traditions and Chex mix at the Irwin's was a must the night before Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved to watch my father-in-law throw the mix together and then anxiously await the final product. Once complete he guarded it from his boys so that Thanksgiving day or Christmas day he would have a full bowl to accompany him while watching football. One year a fight even broke out between my father-in-law and brother-in-law about how much he was eating the night before. They took their Chex mix sooooo seriously! He would never adjust the recipe because like everything he did, it had to be perfect! And gluten free was not so perfect to him.

When I joined the family over nine years ago they made every attempt to accommodate my crazy diet but I don't think they really believed that it was necessary. I never asked them to change the famous Chex mix recipe because I didn't want to upset the family or be that way so I would just eat around the wheat Chex and pretzels and hope that the cross contamination affects would be minimal.

Tonight I watched my husband as he mixed the special mix with gluten free Worchestershire Sauce and pretzels and had to smile! What a great man! He is so dedicated to keeping my diet clean and so supportive. It just came out of the oven. Test taste to follow...

Ok so the results... OMG it is GREAT! Let me share this recipe with you all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mommy Gets a Break!

For the first time in over two and a half years I was actually able to take my time reading ingredients and exploring the local German health food store, Klett Naturmarkt, located in Boeblingen.  I didn't have to fight for space to push my double Phil & Ted stroller through the skinny aisles or listen to my boys screaming they want to go see the ducks NOW.  Why do health food stores always have to be so small and cramped?  Ever wonder?  You moms have all been there, I know.  There are already many difficulties, besides dragging two boys with you under the age of three, like understanding the language well enough to know what the product labels say.  Ugh... This took some time to get used to.

I finally had my moment of walking slowly down each aisle and taking it all in.  They have always had a great section of gluten free stuff but that day I found much more than just the crackers, breads and cookies.  I found pre-made falafel patties original and paprika (which is red pepper) both gluten free.  So tonight we will have a taste and see if they compare to the ones I normally make with the Orgran Gluten Free falafel mix, which is awesome by the way.

Oh and did I mention that they have gluten free beer??  Beer competition coming soon.  Stayed tuned.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pasta Thoughts

Pasta is one of those things that didn't really bother me to cut out of my diet. It was cutting out beer that was sooooo difficult. In 2001 there really wasn't any GF pasta worth eating. I tried a few and most were corn based, poor texture and just plain gross. If you're going to eat pasta and splurge on having those complex carbs in your meal then it has got to be GOOD! A few years later more products started to hit the market and I came across the Tinkyada brown rice pasta products and loved all the ones that I tried. The only bad thing about this company is that it is hard to remember their name (and pronounce for that matter.) It was the only pasta I would buy when I lived in the States but when we moved to Germany my selection changed drastically and I really had no desire to eat pasta again.

But the other day I was walking through the commissary doing my normal scanning of the aisles to find new gluten free products and there it was, a new pasta product. Ooooo I had to try it and I'm glad I did because it was fantastic. The consistency was no different from regular pasta and my husband loved it!

The Patch Commissary now carries 3 different products: Bionature, Ancient Harvest Quinoa and the new one, La Veneziane Fettucini. The best out of these 3 as far as taste goes is the La Veneziane but the Quinoa pasta is the healthier choice.

My husband and I picked up a chive pesto from the local Christmas Market in Sindelfingen last weekend and all I did was throw a few tablespoons of that pesto into our pasta, mixed it up and then placed sautéed chicken, zucchini and a little bit of parmesan cheese for me, and a lot of cheese for my husband. He is the cheese lover. Super simple, super good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gluten Free Organic Apfel Kuchen (German Apple Cake)

OMG... I just baked the most awesome cake ever! My son's former Au Pair (who is German) used to make this cake for us, non-gluten free, 3 years ago when she lived with us in the States and I would cheat just to have a slice. Today she is visiting us and I asked her if we could attempt to convert her mom's recipe into a gluten free recipe. So we did and WOW we cannot tell the difference one bit. This is a fantastic cake to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or just for fun anytime. The Germans are known for their amazing apple strudels and cakes so give this one a try. Everyone will love it!!!

  • 3 3/4 Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 cup organic coconut crystals (sweetener)
  • 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons of organic unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder, Bob's Red Mill aluminum free
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 1/2 large red apples of choice (we used pink lady apples) sliced & peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups of organic apple sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix flour, coconut crystals, butter, baking powder, and almond extract together with hand mixer until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Prepare 8 or 9 inch spring form cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the sides.
  4. Place 1/2 of flour mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Layer the apples on top of the flour layer and the apple sauce on top of the apples.
  6. Place remaining flour mixture on top and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile mix the cream and egg with a fork and set aside until the cake is done then pour the cream mixture on top and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Soup (Kuerbiscremesuppe)

Since we moved to Germany we have enjoyed much of the winter months in the Austrian Alps snowboarding, drinking gluehwein and eating delicious Kuerbis (pumpkin) soup. There is one little hut in particular, right up the hill from the Hotel Bellevue in Lech, that has the most amazing pumpkin soup. Ever since we came across that soup I have tried to replicate it and I think I have finally come close. I did numerous searches online to find a recipe that worked but all of the ones I found were REALLY BORING so I hope that you find this recipe exciting. I've also had numerous other pumpkin soups that were pretty bland so I think that spicing things up a bit really makes the soup stand out. Nothing better than a hot bowl of Kuerbissuppe apres ski! So yummy, or as my son said to me the other day, "Das schmeckt lecker momma!"

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 to 4 small potatoes (red or white) diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1/2 cup cream (organic half and half)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pumpkin oil

1. Saute onions in olive oil until soft then add the crushed garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2. Stir in all spices
3. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, wine and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium high heat until potatoes are soft, approximately 30 minutes.
4. Allow to cool slightly and then blend in batches in a blender.
5. Return to soup to pan, stir in cream and reheat gently.
6. Sprinkle each serving with pumpkin seeds and a small swirl of pumpkin oil.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gluten Free Hearty Cornbread

I think I finally found what I was looking for in a cornbread that is perfect with soups and stews. I have taken the same recipe out of my very first GF cookbook, Cooking Gluten-Free! by Karen Robinson, and altered it now four times since 2003 to come up with this one and I believe it is a keeper. My magic ingredient is the GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal by Bob's Red Mill which is a blend of whole grain brown rice, corn, sorghum and buckwheat.

  • 1/3 cup organic agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill GF All purpose baking flour
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons of organic butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of Almond milk, vanilla (or any milk of choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or oil an 8 inch baking dish.
  2. Combine baking soda, salt, zanthan gum, flour mix, and Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, flaxseed meal in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine butter, egg, agave and milk in small bowl.
  4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture until blended.
  5. Poor batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick tests clean.
  6. Serve for breakfast or with your favorite stew or soup.
We served our cornbread with my Beef Green Chili Stew. Stayed tuned for future post.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

Compliments of Namaste Foods, Biscuit, Piecrust & More! This amazing recipe is on the package and is a must to make for breakfast, brunch, when you have the girls over for coffee or if your man is sleeping in and you want to make the house smell great when he wakes... that is the case today.

All of the Namaste products I have tried have always been great, simple to make and everyone loves them. This particular product is a blend of brown rice flour, tapioca four, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour, rice milk powder, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. Pretty simple.

The only thing I did differently on this recipe was taking out the sugar. I replaced the 1/2 cup of sugar with a 1/3 cup of agave syrup. If you want to make this completely sugar free then you will have to find a substitute for the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar that you put in the crumble topping. It is possible to just mix the finely chopped walnuts with cinnamon and leave it at that, but I haven't tired it yet.

Serve with your favorite cup of joe and enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gluten Free Oatmeal Buckwheat Hot Cereal

Did I mention that I am a cereal freak? Well one of the hardest things for me to give up when I had to stop eating gluten was all those great cereals on the market. Thankfully now there are plenty of gluten free cereals however I still find that it is not the most beneficial breakfast for me to eat especially before my workout. Doing CrossFit in the morning requires a little more substance and protein to start the day. I am thrilled to have another option for hot cereals, and couldn't wait to create a yummy breakfast this morning.

This recipe was inspired by my old College buddy from Haiti. She used to make her mom's special cream of wheat for me and it was delicious but loaded with sugar and gluten. It was necessary for me to adapt this one. I hope you enjoy it too!

  • 1 cup of almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lime (peel about 4 slices off the lime)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of gluten free oats
  • 1/8 cup of Pocono Cream of Buckwheat
  • Favorite fruit of choice (applesauce, blueberry sauce, blueberries, or dried cranberries)

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and lime peels and once the milk starts to simmer add the buckwheat then the oats. Simmer for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Servings: 1

Bacon in a Blanket

I was walking through REAL the other day (the German's version of Walmart but much better quality thank goodness) and I came across a whole section of frozen GF products. That just made my day and everything that I have tried so far from this company ds is awesome. I found a box of pre-made puff pastry and thought it would come in handy and sure enough it gave me an idea... my version of "pigs in a blanket" that is super simple and quick to throw together when you need an appetizer for a party. Using only nitrate free bacon will alleviate the problem of not knowing if your sausages have gluten in them or not, most of them do. You can also add your mustard dip of choice. A sweet honey mustard makes these little treats melt in your mouth. Mmmmm good!!

  • 1 package of pre-made puff pastry
  • 1 package of nitrate free bacon, cooked until crispy and broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small chunk of cheddar cheese sliced into small chunks

Cook the bacon until crisp. Meanwhile slice the cheddar cheese and prepare the puff pastry by rolling it out on parchment paper. Cut into long strips about 5 to 6 inches long and about 1 inch thick. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Take one strip of puff pastry, one piece of bacon and one chunk of cheese and roll it up. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with your favorite GF honey mustard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

You gotta love a reason... Kindergarten Laterne Laufen ist heute abend! Tonight we take a lantern walk through the village with our kids, sing songs, drink kinder punch and attempt to speak German with the other parents. They ask all parents to bring something so I quickly threw together my kids favorite muffins. This is a must during the holidays. These are probably the most moist muffins I have made and very flavorful. If you have time to make your own pumpkin puree it is worth it and will guarantee no additives.

Recipe is from my favorite baking cookbook with some minor changes: Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly

  • 1 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour or Pamelas Baking mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 teaspoon zanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten free baking powder (used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup agave syrup (if you want it sweeter try 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk (used Almond milk)
  • Optional: Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Mix together the gluten-free flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
Cream the butter until white. Add the agave syrup and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in pumkin puree. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, alternating with the milk.
Option: add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or fruit.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar if desired.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Montana Monster Munchies Granola...

...has ARRIVED!! Oh so excited when my husband came home with packages in hand. Since we live overseas it takes a significant amount of time to receive mail, sometimes up to 4 weeks. But luckily my order to Monster Munchies arrived rather quickly. I was so happy to see the 5 different types of granola and couldn't wait for the morning to enjoy such a luxury!!! Mmmmm my cereal, a cup of coffee and a little morning silence before the kids wake up is heaven. I have tried 3 out of the 5 so far and they are definitely good but there is not much of a difference between the Cut Bank Cranberry, Chinook Chocolate and Mariah's Gold and all of them have peanuts. I'm not too fond of peanuts in my cereal so I end up picking them out. We shall see how the other two compare but I'm thinking the Cut Bank Cranberry will be my top pick from this brand.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's Play-Doh Time! ...or Maybe Not

Just recently my boys began playing with a Play-Doh kit.  Everyday they come home from kindergarten and say, "it's Play-Doh time momma!"  They sit quietly for a good amount of time creating things and having a blast.  I was thrilled and thought, "what a great invention!"  Until I realized just today that what my boys are playing with is made of WHEAT!  Yikes!  Both of them have had rashes on their cheeks for days now and all along I've been thinking it was something they ate.  I then tried everything to clear it up with no luck.  Now that I know, Play-Doh time is over until I can find a good substitue.  I found a recipe that I will try and will let you know how it goes.  But if you are as busy as most moms are check out Aroma Dough online for some already made GF "play dough."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken Tenderloins

My husband was on his own for dinner the other night and his first choice was the GF chicken tenderloins by Allergy Free Foods company.  You know it has got to be good for a GF product to be on the top his list.  I always keep at least one package of the chicken and one package of the country fried beef steaks in the freezer for those days when you just don't have enough time to prepare anything.  Not only are these the quickest to make, they are delicious.  You almost have to wonder... how is it possible for something to taste so good?  I always think if is that good it must have gluten in it.  But not this product.  It is gluten, soy, peanut, tree nuts, egg and milk free.  Seems to be good for everyone and my youngest, our red meat eater, can't get enough of the beef steaks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gluten Free Crackers

Always in search of a good GF cracker… I’ve tried them all with high hopes followed by disappointment, until now!  The Germans have figured out a way to make some of the best products I have tried.  Glutano’s Kric Kroc Salzcrackers are now my older son's favorite snack and let me tell you, he is the toughest critic.  He is now 3 and 1/2 and the pickiest eater on the planet.  And for some strange reason has taken it upon himself to be a vegetarian.  His blood type is A+ and I swear he eats straight out of The Blood Type Diet.  But more on that later...  We just had him tested for Celiac Disease yesterday and will know in 2 weeks if he inherited my gene.  I really hope he didn’t.  He has been on a GF diet since he was a small baby and started having horrible skin rashes.  Once I removed wheat from his diet, the rashes went away.  The only time he went off a GF diet drastically was during our transition and move to Germany.  His skin, digestion, and diaper rashes were uncontrollable.  After trying steroid creams, special lotions, special bath soaps, less baths, and different detergents I finally just put him back on his GF diet and within days all his rash problems vanished.  I was told to wait until he turned 3 to have him tested, so we shall see.

Anyway, for my son to try something new and different from his routine of eating peanut butter sandwiches, pears, peas, sometimes sweet potatoes, and corn chips, is a dream come true.  When I can find a snack that he likes I know it has to be good.  Glutano has many products and, with the exception of the Knusperspass, which is a chocolate balls cereal, they are all outstanding.  The problem once again is they distribute only in Germany and I don’t see any option to order online.  This is becoming frustrating because I don’t want to live in Germany for the rest of our lives.