Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mimi's Play Dough

I came across a large canister filled with flour, and me being me struggled to just throw it out. Why throw it out you ask? Well, if I had to take a guess the flour in this canister was at least 6 years old and it was just plain ol’ all-purpose white flour which I don’t use anymore anyway, so…throwing it seemed to be the right option.  Well I sat staring at the flour thinking of all the things I could use it for (I even sent texts my friends to see if they could use it for anything), since it was too old to use for food my mind was instantly thinking crafts.  I thought of homemade modge podge, paper mache, salt dough…then I looked over at my son, sitting at the kitchen table sifting through his poor selection of play dough. My mind was made up…PLAY DOUGH! And of course my little helper was eager to help.

Now you can go on Pinterest and find oodles of different play dough recipes, but I am sticking with my mom’s recipe that she used when I was a kid. (I posted something a few years ago, you can see it here.) I am Gluten-Free, my son is not, and so making the dough using regular flour wasn't a concern for me. BUT, if you child is Gluten-Free then I would substitute the flour; use rice or even GF oat flour. I personally haven’t tried it using other flours but I would assume it would work fine.  (Here is a site called Creative with Kids that shares her gluten free play dough recipe.)

Mimi’s Play Dough

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. oil
2 cups water
Food coloring*

Mix all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the mix pulls away from the sides. Constantly stir! This is an arm workout.  (*If you want to have all one color, add the food coloring to the water and mix in while heating.  If you want multiple colors, once you take the dough out of the pot, divide the dough and knead the food coloring in.)

Once the dough is formed, put on wax paper and knead until smooth.  Store in an airtight container (nothing metal), you could even use old empty play dough containers.

He wanted multiple colors, and we were short on food coloring so the only color he wanted that he wasn't able to get was purple; maybe next time.  We added the food coloring in at the kneading stage, and I let him do the kneading.  You may need to add more coloring as you go if you want a more vibrant color.  

Now go play!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Creamed Chipped Beef and Biscuits {Gluten Free}

I have been craving this...we would always buy the frozen prepackaged versions and those aren't gluten free (go figure).

Growing up creamed chipped beef was always something we had for dinner, over toast and sometimes biscuits, it was never something we had for breakfast.  It wasn't until my family and I went to visit my father-in-law and he made it for us for breakfast that it really sunk in how easy it is to make.  So...I went out and bought some dried beef.  Yup, the stuff in the jar. {Side note: the jars are really nice and can be used for drinking, and the lid just snaps back so good for trips. Less plastic!} 

Since I have been with my husband we have served chipped beef over biscuits more than over toast.  Which personally I prefer, so now I need to make a gluten free creamed chipped beef and gluten free biscuits.  The chipped beef is super simple, I just replaced regular flour with rice flour. 

Creamed Chipped Beef

2-4 oz. package of dried beef* (I used Hormel)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. brown rice flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
pepper to taste

*dried beef is salty, so I would recommend rinsing the beef slightly to remove some of the salt.

Prepare beef, slice into bite size pieces and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet, once melted whisk in the flour to make a rue.  Slowly add the milk, continuously whisking to keep from getting any lumps. Continue to whisk the mixture until it thicken to your desired consistency. Add the beef and seasonings, once the beef is heated. Spoon over biscuits.

{Cheater} Gluten Free Biscuits

2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick 
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk or buttermilk
3 eggs

In a large bowl, cut the shortening into the Bisquick.  Mix in the milk and eggs.  Mix well, drop on an ungreased baking sheet. (The size of the drop will depend on how big you want your biscuits, they don't spread much) Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bread. Gluten Free, Homemade and Delish

Since being Gluten Free (GF) I don’t eat a lot of bread, I never really have, but occasionally I do crave a sandwich or just a good buttered piece of toast.  A lot of GF breads are dry, dense and expensive.  My personal favorite is Udi’s, it seems a little lighter and has a good flavor, but it still needs to be toasted.  Eating it out of the bag is just too dry for me.  As with a lot of GF breads, I also keep it in the freezer and only remove what I need because at 5-6 dollars a loaf I try to stretch it out as long as possible.  Well this past weekend I decided that I wasn’t going to buy another loaf, I was going to make it. 

The perks of making your own bread it that it tends to be cheaper, makes your house smell good and you know exactly what is in it.  The bad thing, it tends to go bad much quicker, but I slice and freeze it so I don’t have to worry about it going bad before I eat it all. Now…I don’t bake much bread, it is one of those things that I always want to do, but just doesn’t happen much. So I did some searching for GF bread recipes that seem to have good reviews or that just sounded good.  Now that I have a kitchen scale, I am hoping that I will be able to do more experimenting with my own bread recipes, it’s all about ratios.

The recipe I ended up trying was from The Gluten Free Cooking School, I don't have a bread machine so I made it the conventional way and used regular yeast (opposed to bread machine yeast in the recipe).  It turned out great! It had a nice crusty outside and was soft and moist inside.  Even the next day it still wasn't dry or crumbly.  I would highly recommend trying it out, I will definitely be making it again!

For the recipe click here

Links to other blogs that had/have some great information on GF bread making....

*My camera batteries died so I don't have many pictures...and the one shown is from my husbands phone :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Product Review: The Gluten Free Bar

I tend to usually make my own gluten-free snacks, but occasionally I like to have something I can grab on my way out the door or to have just in case I go somewhere with out any GF options. In the past I have had various fruit and nut based bars, and when given the opportunity to try a new one I jumped at the chance. Plus, I love getting free samples of products to try and share!

A little background information on the Gluten Free Bars (GFB), well first and foremost they are gluten free, made with all natural ingredients and are vegan. These bars are high in protein and would be great as a before or after workout snack. You should really check out their website for more useful information and details HERE

I tried the bars, they have four different flavors of bars (they also offer bites). Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter and Cranberry Toasted Almond. All of the bars were really good. I liked that I knew all the ingredients and could see them in the bar, they had a slight crunch from the seeds that was pleasant. I highly recommend them!

I only had one negative and that is that there are currently no stores around where I live to buy them. I can however, order them online by the case of 12 for $28. If they were available at a local store I would probably buy them on a regular basis, but personally am less likely to order them online.

I personally like the GFB better then some of the more popular brands out there. Because of that I really wish they had them locally, hopefully as the company grows they will expand into more stores around the country.

If you are GF I recommend checking them out! You can even order a sampler pack so you can see what flavors you like best. Mine? Chocolate Peanut Butter, I'm a sucker for the chocolate and peanut butter combo!