Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Posted by Thomas Dzomba
I discovered a great new snack a few weeks ago - perhaps you have already tried them. They are Plentils, made by Enjoy Life. Gluten free, dairy (and casein) free, soy free, and free of 6 other common allergens, they are light, crispy, and delicious.
Pictures from www.plentils.com
The base for these chips is lentil powder. Enjoy Life touts Plentils as "Chips with Benefits", and it's easy to see why. Lentils are a food high in protein, dietary fiber, and folate while low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. They are also a good source of essential minerals such as iron and manganese. A single serving of Plentils is a whopping 31 pieces (28 g), with an estimated four servings per bag, and only 130 calories per serving, and 6g of fat with no saturated fat. By comparison, a single 28 g serving of Lay's original potato chips (about 14 pieces) is 160 calories, with 10 g of fat with 1.5 g of saturated fat.
As you can see there are four varieties I have only tried two - the margherita pizza and the dill and sour cream. While I enjoyed the margherita pizza (a favorite of three of the kids) I (and my 3rd child) absolutely loved the dill and sour cream chips. In both cases the flavors meld together nicely - there is nothing really overpowering. And as I mentioned the chips are light and crispy.
If you find these in your local grocery or natural foods store, please give them a try. They are really good. I hope I get a chance to try the other two varieties soon.
For more information go to www.plentils.com or www.enjoylifefoods.com.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The GFCF Experience Cookbook Review - The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook by Carrie S. Forbes
Posted by Thomas Dzomba
How about a loaf of fresh bread. Or a cheesecake. Or a latte. All gluten free, and all made in your slow cooker. You can find recipes for these and more in the recently published Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook by Carrie S. Forbes, published by Adams Media.
Ginger Lemon Girl. I am honored to have gotten to know Carrie over the past five years and more honored to call her a good friend. And as a person who loves to use his slow cooker, I have been anticipating the release of this cookbook ever since I preordered it back in March.
Carrie does a nice job explaining the facts behind gluten sensitivity and celiac disease and also how to start and maintain a gluten free lifestyle. She also provides information on using the slow cooker - how should you choose a slow cooker? Should you cook on high or low? How should you plan your mealks around using the slow cooker? And lots more useful information.
But what really impresses me about this cookbook is how Carrie shows off the versatility of the slow cooker. There are over 300 recipes in this book. Yes, Carrie does have a section on soups and stews and chilis, which to me are the slow cooker staples. But there is so much more, ranging from breakfasts you can start the night before and have hot and ready and waiting for you when you wake up in the morning, to appetizers like pineapple teriyaki drumsticks, to nutty snack mixes, to casseroles, to meat and poultry dishes, like this simple chicken and dumpling recipe I made this past weekend.
Finally, in the appendices Carrie provides information on gluten free resources and resources for slow cooker equipment.
One thing to mention is that while many of the recipes in this book are GFCF, this is not a casein free cookbook. Carrie does mention on some recipes how to substitute to make it dairy free but make sure to use the appropriate CF substitutes you like when making a recipe that calls for dairy.
All in all, this is a wonderful cookbook to add to your collection. I know I never realized that I could do so much with my slow cooker - and it's so simple! I highly recommend this cookbook.
Now I can't wait to make some slow cooker bread this weekend!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Posted by Thomas Dzomba
I am so ready for Fall.
I has been a long Summer here in Montana, or at least it seems that way. Normally by now we would have had some rain and some cooler temperatures, but we really haven't had any measurable precipitation in several weeks, and temperatures, while in the 70s and low 80s, are still several degrees above normal. Our summer fire season rages on as well. This past weekend smoke in Missoula made for unhealthy air quality that cancelled the kids soccer games and generally made it a necessity to stay indoors. And it doesn't look like it will let up for at least a couple of weeks.
While we don't have Fall-like conditions outdoors, it doesn't mean I can't dream about Fall. Recently I made two of my favorite Fall recipes - Ginger Lemon Girl's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and GFCF Mommy's Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake. But Fall is also the season for apples. And as much as I love my Mom's Jewish Apple Cake, I wanted to try something different. And this was about as different as you can get.
This is based off of this Mocha Apple Cake recipe that was published in Southern Living. The Southern Living picture looked fabulous, and the mix of ingredients was interesting. But the recipe reviews were not very kind - many people complained about the thickness of the dough and the dryness of the cake. I tried to mitigate these issues by cutting back on the amount of flour used by half a cup, and also by adding 1/4 cup of apple sauce. I also used CF semisweet chocolate chips instead of the milk chocolate candy bars as suggested by the recipe.
In the end, the batter still was thick, almost a cookie dough consistency. But the cake came out moist, with a fantastic blend of flavors.
Please give it a try. I think you will find it well worth your time.
GFCF MOCHA APPLE CAKE
Adapted from a recipe found in Southern Living
1 cup chipped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules (I used decaf)
1 tsp GF vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup GF all purpose flour* (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup brown rice flour*
3/4 cup tapioca flour*
*You can substitute 2 1/2 cups of your favorite GF flour blend.
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups peeld and diced Granny Smith apples (4 medium apples)
5 oz. CF chocolate (I used CF semisweet chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven 6 - 8 minutes until golden brown.
Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and applesauce together in a stand mixer on high speed for 5 minutes. Combine the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, combining until just blended. Add the apples, pecans, and chocolate, beating until just blended.
Spoon the batter equally into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans and spread evenly in the pans. Bake at 350° for 30 - 35 minutes or untila toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cook the cake in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and allow the cakes to cool completely on wire racks.
When cool spread the Buttercream Frosting (recipe below) in between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake.
I made this frosting similar to the Browned Butter Frosting called for in the Souther Living recipe. Quite frankly, I am not sure how much of a difference the browning makes using CF butter but it does make it easier to combine with the powdered sugar and milk. And it did turn out delicious.
1 cup CF butter (I used Earthbalance Buttery Sticks)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup CF milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I actually ran out of vanilla and used almond extract which worked well too)
Place the butter in a saucepan over medium to medium high heat and cook, stirring frequently, 6 - 8 minutes. Pour the butter into a bowl and chill for 1 hour until it solidifies.
Beat the butter and milk at medium speed in an electric mixer. Reduce speed to low; gradually add the sugar. When the sugar is just combined increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 5 minutes or until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla or almond extract.
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