Sunday, September 1, 2013

Still Gluten-Free 5 Months In...

To my gluten-free readers, I'd like to give you an update.  As of mid-March of this year, I have been working towards going gluten-free (GF).  I 'thought' I was GF the following week.  I was eating everything GF.  I ate at only the delicatessens that did not use Pam Cooking Spray (which has flour in it) [yeah, uh-huh; which deli doesn't use Pam??].  I read labels and made sure there was not flour, barley, wheat, rye or triticale in it.  And, I ate very carefully at the Chinese restaurants (except for that time when I had Terriyaki sauce...]

All of you GF heads already know I was eating tons of gluten.  In fact, you could say I was hogging down every drop of gluten I could put my snout to...Dunkin' Donuts was my favorite morning spot.  I told them to leave out the bread -- yeah, right!  DD is a gluten haven.

Even if there was no gluten inherently in the foods I ordered the process of preparing and cooking the foods contaminated whatever I was eating that was supposedly gluten-free.  It took months of reacting negatively to the gluten before I realized I had to pretty much give up eating out at regular restaurants and delis.  If I was to feel better I had to become focused and serious about what I put in my mouth.  I couldn't eat to 'enjoy' food anymore.  I needed to eat to nourish myself and to minimize the reaction of my body.

So, about late June/early July I buckled down and researched gluten-free foods, malls and health food stores.  I found Orgran pastas, Thai Rice Noodles, I joined one of the oldest and largest food coops in the US and I began cooking 95% of my own meals.  The other 5% consisted of very limited eating out and purchasing ready-to-eat GF foods.

I quickly learned that the GF diet is a costly diet and that I needed to learn fairly quickly how to make my own, well everything.

I've tried to make from scratch macaroni and cheese with the veggie and corn pasta -- grainy!!

I've tried sugar butterscotch cookies made from packaged all-purpose GF flour -- too sweet & tasteless.

After these two failures and the costs involved I slowed down on the recipe testing and decided to focus on eating foods that are inherently GF -- potatoes, rice, vegetables, ground foods (pink batata, yellow yams, white yams, yucca, etc.), meats not pre-seasoned from the grocery store, fish, chicken, beef -- well you get the point.  I ate the foods that would sustain me.  I stayed away from the sweet carbohydrate things that I LOVE because I can't eat them without major consequences and I can't make them to suit my tastebuds -- yet.

But, I've been craving blueberry muffins for weeks now.  I purchased 2 pints of blueberries in the past few weeks and have been so timid at trying my GF baking skills that my kids ate all of the berries before I could make them.

I bought more day  before yesterday and finally made a batch.

 They didn't come out too bad looking.  However, they did not have that lovely mound and did not rise the way I am used to muffins rising.  I let them cool a bit and tried one.  A bit sweet, but not too bad and a bit dense but not horrible.  I think I can eat these!!

Next time I will add baking soda to the mixture and add a bit more baking powder.  Some Xanthan Gum may help the structure as well. brain is buzzing away.

The recipe I used was from Vegetarian Times.  The flour mixture I used was from the Living Without website and I used Mary Capone's recipe -- with a substitution.  I ran out of Potato Starch and subbed pretty much the whole recipe with King Arthur Flour's GF Bread Flour mix.

Mary Capone's GF Cookbook

So, here's Mary's GF Flour Blend:

2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
1 1/3 cups potato start (NOT potato flour)
2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour

Mix Mary's GF flour ingredients together.  Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used. 

One could argue that the substitution for the bread flour is what made my muffin heavier than it should be.  Probably but it also have it body for all of the blueberries called for in the recipes (1 cup per batch).  So, I could also reduce the amount of blueberries and use the potato starch and see if that will give me a nice light muffin base.

We'll see, but in the meantime, I'm taking it one day at a time with this GF life.

Ta-ta for now,
The NoteBook Blogairy

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