We have a guest writer who has just been through a month-long exercise in avoiding gluten. She was generous enough to supply us with some recipe and product reviews, as well as shopping tips for the Mystic area (I will research the Newport options for our next issue).
A great website for substitutions: http://www.livingwithout.com/resources/substitutions.html
Paleo Recipes: http://www.thepaleomom.com/recipes
Healthy Food (many gluten/dairy free): http://wellnessmama.com/recipe-index/
Gluten Free on a Shoe String: http://wellnessmama.com/recipe-index/
Gluten Free Goddess: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/
Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies Mix (www.cherrybrookkitchen.com): My previous experience with gluten free cookies had been a cookie that would better serve as a building material rather than a reward for getting through a hard day. I purchased Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix with high hopes and low expectations. Along came a day that needed the sweetness of a cookie so my husband and I broke out the mix and warmed the oven. As we are not vegan, I opted to add an egg into the mix. For margarine, we used Earth Balance. The batter was a little wetter than my usual homemade version, but it still tasted pretty good. We put the first sheet in and waited 10 minutes for golden cookies. First bit… WOW! Easily one of the best cookies I have had and I say this as a long standing Tollhouse girl. Moist, light, and tasty. Admittedly the chocolate chips are a little less rich than my usual ones, but they do fit the qualification of also being dairy free. I shared them with friends who had no idea they were gluten and dairy free and they were surprised when I did the grand reveal. Overall I give the cookies a 9/10 for taste, texture, and yum factor. This brand has other sweetie mixes for both cookies, cakes, pancakes, and frostings. For those in the Mystic area, I purchased my mix at McQuade’s.
Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix (www.pamelasproducts.com): This came as a recommendation from a friend when I put out a plea for help finding good substitutes for my normal flour. I freely admit to being a compulsive baker and the thought of going a whole month without baking was more than I could bear. I was prepared to continue baking for my family and friends and living vicariously through them. Fortunately, I shall not suffer such a fate thanks to this mix. I first used it to make banana muffins (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/). As part of my current detox, I opted not to include any sugar and instead substituted chopped pecans and shredded coconut. I also added in some cinnamon and nutmeg since I have a particular fondness for the spices and feel like no banana bread is complete without their inclusion. The resulting muffins were fantastic! Moist, fluffy, but still dense. My husband who usually nibbles a few muffins kept going back for more and we both have decided we prefer these modifications.
My husband using his bread maker made me bread using the exact directions on the packet. To make things even easier Pamela’s includes a packet of yeast in the bag. While it was baking, our house smelled heavenly and the first slice was not disappointing in the least. We have since discussed switching over to Pamela’s for all future bread making as it so very tasty. I have found that it moister than our previous breads and have plans of doing an herb and garlic bread since it is a very basic bread.
I can recommend their website as it not only contains information on their products and allergies, but has a huge number of recipes specifically for those on a gluten free diet.
Again, I purchased my Pamela’s from the gluten free section of McQuade’s, but I also did a quick search and a number of their products can also be purchased a ShopRite.
Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour (http://www.bobsredmill.com/Gluten-Free): As if one flour were not enough, I also purchased a number of Bob’s Red Mill flours including their almond, bread mix, and coconut flour. I also purchased Xantham Gum so that I could make fluffy baked goods. To date, I have tested the almond flour when I made Easy Almond Flour Pancakes (http://wellnessmama.com/7924/easy-almond-flour-pancakes/). As a food fiddler, I added a banana into the mix because I find that the addition of a banana to any pancake recipe makes a fluffier moister pancake. Rather than use milk or water, I used unsweetened almond milk in the batter. The batter was a little thinner than I am used to, but they baked nicely. A quick note, due to the courser nature of the almond flour, the pancakes are a bit crumbly so be careful when flipping them. Blue berries were added too and overall it was a decent breakfast option, but I think I am going to continue trying additional pancake mixes including a paleo version using no flour at all. Bob’s Red Mill has one of the most extensive selections of gluten free substitutes of any business and they can be found at many grocery stores including McQuade’s, ShopRite, and Fiddleheads. Ed. Note: Try Ocean State Job Lot!
Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas (http://www.foodforlife.com/products): Wheat/Gluten Free: A little drier than a normal tortilla which can make it tricky for rolling, but very tasty all the same. They are good enough that my gluten loving husband had a couple and enjoyed them greatly. I have used them for breakfast and dinner burritos. My recommendation is so good that I have already gone and purchased a second batch. Food for Life’s website is excellent and they have a number products for anyone who is on a gluten free diet, but not all their products are gluten free. Once again, McQuade’s for the win.
Food For Life Gluten Free Brown Rice English Muffins (http://www.foodforlife.com/products): I LOVE these English Muffins! I have been eating these for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have had them both with sweet and savory toppings and can say that they work nicely with both. One word of caution, they will not toast like normal English muffins and are a little less strongly flavored, but definitely a worthy substitute to the standard English muffin. Food for Life’s website is excellent and they have a number products for anyone who is on a gluten free diet, but not all their products are gluten free. Also McQuade’s.