Life: Somewhere between The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Little Red Hen

I think that sometimes we are the strangest people on the face of the earth. No, really. Our family has a myriad of food allergies and then to top it off we are trying a gluten free diet for a variety of reasons. Now my wheat bread/pasta/cookie/pizza loving teens and husband are missing bread. After weeks of denial and struggling and paying a ton of $$ for gluten free mixes I got with the program today and did a little experimenting.

We have some very discriminating (picky) people in our house. We are also cooking huge quantities of food because there are three teens and two parents sitting down to  nearly every meal every night. We are also on a limited budget and I am not Julia Childs. After messing around with GF cup for cup equivalences at a cost of $6-$12 a 4 lb bag or GF mixes from Betty Crocker and King Arthur flour at the cost of $4.50 to around $7 a box, I decided that there had to be a better way. Pricing out our budget and then forecasting what our food budget would be if we continued GF eating I knew that we would never be able to continue.

I did a little research on the internet and found that I could grind my own flour in my coffee grinder. That is why I feel a little like Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Long Winter. They ground their flour in the coffee grinder as well. Mine is electric and ground the brown and white rice pretty quickly in small batches. Then I sifted it to get rid of any un-ground bits. Then I put together my own GF flour mix using white rice flour and brown rice flour and cornstarch and mixed it well in my stand mixer and put it in a canister. Whew that step was done.

Then I was ready to make King Arthur Flours awesome GF pumpkin muffins. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-pumpkin-muffins-recipe

I have to admit that they do taste better if you do include the sugar and salt, which I left out of the first batch. They are light and fluffy and the closest muffin to gluten muffins that I have eaten since we have been on the GF diet. I added 1/2 tsp of Xanthan gum and just followed the recipe slightly. I think the secret of light and fluffy Gluten Free muffins is to whip air into them with a mixer. I did everything but grow the rice which made me feel like the Little Red Hen!

While I was on this round of cooking, I also mixed up some GF brownies in a jar and Cream Soup anytime  mix. Here is my variation of the the cream soup mix which I use in place of canned of soup.

 

4 cups of powdered milk (dry)

1 1/2 cups of cornstarch

4 tsp of dried onion flakes or onion powder

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp of basil

1 tsp of pepper.

Mix it all up and store it in a cool dry place.

I then add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to reconstitute it and cook it just a bit. After it boils it will thicken up and be just like the soup out of a can. Be sure to stir constantly because it will burn. Then you can use this as a soup base or white sauce/gravy base. Just add as much liquid as you want to get it to the right consistency. You can also add any vegetable you want to get cream of ____________- soup, or you can use as a base for chowder.

Our kids like to cook and mixes make it fast and easy for us to eat healthier without spending a bundle.

Talk to you later,

Karen