Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gluten Free Food of the...Week? Maybe Month!

Well, I've been absolutely awful at keeping up with this blog, and I apologize about that...summer just seems to get busier and busier every year (and we don't even have kids yet!)!! So, one of my favorite camping treats this summer is chocolate chip cookie s'mores. Instead of graham crackers and hershey's bars, I've started using Pamela's Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies - and they're delicious! Unfortunately, I've been out camping, and around a fire each time I've used these fabulous cookies to make my new GF version of s'mores, so I don't have a picture of them for you, but I do have a picture of the cookie packaging so you can find them at your local grocery store - and if they don't carry them, I would recommend asking them to get them (they're the best "boxed" gf chocolate chip cookies I've tried so far)!

Mind you, I don't get anything for suggesting these foods you all of you, I am just trying to share with you the brands that I've found to be the best GF version of the "original"! Try them and Enjoy! you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gluten Free Strawberry Lemonade Bars

We're heading out tomorrow to a 4th of July celebration and there seem to be so many yummy desserts, but, none of them are gluten free and since my nephew who is also gluten free (to ease symptoms of autism) will be there too, I decided to pull out the shortbread cookie mix that's been sitting in the cubboard and make some bars. But, not just any bars, I've been craving lemon bars so I found a fantastic sounding recipe and decided to attempt making it Gluten Free! So here goes...

I've been craving lemon bars for the past few weeks, but have kept myself from making them because I didn't want the whole pan sitting at home staring at me shouting "EAT ME! EAT ME!" So, I waited patiently until I had a gathering to go to where I would need to bring something to share...and that gathering has finally come - I can't wait to try them!!

 I gathered my ingredients, and got ready to start baking!

I started off with the fruit - I needed a couple teaspoons of lemon zest, so I got started...

Next, I juiced 1 cup of fresh lemon juice (6 lemons), I did include some of the pulp for added flavor!

Next comes the strawberries, the recipe I found calls for 1/2 cup pureed strawberries, since I'm not real good at follow recipes to a T, I used about 3/4 - 1 cup of pureed strawberries.

My fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and pureed strawberries :)

And now to get going on the crust!

I followed the directions on the packaging and started out by beating the butter, then adding the egg yolk and water.

The packaging says to slowly add in the mix, so I started out slow...

And kept going until it was all mixed in and looked crumbly like the package said it would (I love it when things go like the packaging says it should)!

I've had bad experiences in the past with gluten free mixes sticking to the pan (or paper liners) so, I wanted to be sure it wasn't going to come out messy at the gathering tomorrow, so I prepared my pan with some vegetable shortening. The mix went in easy, I pressed it down into the pan until it was in an even layer. NOW, it needs to go into the oven for a little baking time before we add the strawberry lemon mixture.

Mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, pureed strawberries, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth.

...then add the all purpose gluten free flour mixture, baking powder and salt.

Yum! Looks ready to add to the crust...is it ready yet!?

It is! And as with so many other gluten free things (find that you have to toast GF bread much longer for it to "look" toasted than "normal" bread), it doesn't look much different when when I put it in the oven! But, the house is smelling wonderful, so I know it was baking in there :)

Pour the strawberry lemon mixture over the crust and put it in the oven to bake...

YUMMY!! So close to being ready to eat...let it cool now before sprinkling with powdered sugar.


Gluten Free Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Shortbread Crust
1 whole package Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix
1 1/2 sticks of butter (I use "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter")
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbsp water

Strawberry Lemonade Topping
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh pureed strawberries (about 1 cup whole)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour mix (see below)**
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree oven and grease 9 x 13 in. pan with vegetable shortening (to prevent sticking).

2. Prepare Shortbread Crust according to package. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 17 minutes until the edges are set.

3. Filling: Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and mix until well combined.

4. Pour filling over hot crust. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the filling is set.

5. Cool completely before dusting with powerdered sugar - then ENJOY! Keep refridgerated.

**Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mixture
1/2 cup Rice Flour
1/4 cup Corn Starch
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour 

Food of the Week

A couple months ago I happened to find a LARGE variety of Gluten Free Bob's Red Mill flours and mixes, so, I picked up some pizza crust mix, cornbread mix and shortbread cookie mix. Since I haven't ever really been a huge fan of plain shortbread cookies, and I've been craving lemon bars, I searched out a recipe and found a fantastic Strawberry Lemon bar recipe that uses a shortbread cookie crust on the bottom. So, I'm sharing this wonderful mix with all of you (I'll be posting the outcome of the Strawberry Lemon bars soon)!

I've been so impressed lately at the quality of the gluten free products available now. It was only a couple short years ago that I decided to go gluten free after reading on some FB group posts that it helped some people with their symptoms. At that time there were only people here and there that had taken the plunge to manage their Fibro symptoms, but today, there are a lot of group conversations as well as blogs and articles that discuss how effective it can be for some people. It's not known why exactly gluten affects the symptoms of Fibro, much like they don't know what causes the the symptoms to begin with, BUT, what we do know is that for some reason it helps. And really, if something so simple and natural helps, I don't need an explaination of why it helps. I just need to remain committed and LIVE my life!