Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gluten Free Reviews #1

Now I'm very aware that for families that have been gluten free for awhile these things may be a "no duh." But having now tired a few packaged/store bought gluten free (GF) products, I thought I would share our reviews. There are surprisingly many more options out there. And I'm sure I'll attempt to try some of the others available to us here in Goshen. But for today here are four product reviews. Extra bonus reviews on few online recipes :)

Homemade Bread-
There are several recipes I've found for bread online. And while I have not tried them all, or any but one. I was pleased with the result of the one I tried. No Gluten, No Problem has both a recipe for a GF flour blend, as well as a bread recipe using their flour blend. I had attempted the use the recipe but substitute their flour blend with a GF flour blend I found at our local food Coop Maple City Market. While the bread baked beautifully, neither Mark nor I enjoyed the flavor. I think it's due to the garbanzo bean flour, it over took the flavor of the flour blend thus making my bread taste like garbanzo beans (which I like, just not in my bread). When I then made a batch of the Artisan GF Flour Blend, the sandwich bread recipe was much more enjoyable. In fact we all really liked it. On top of a good flavor, it has a good constancy and texture. Plus it was pretty simple to make. I plan on experimenting with other recipes, but it's nice to have a good backup. :)

Having used the Artisan GF Flour Blend in Alton Brown's GF chocolate chip recipe (and them turning our great), I thought I would try to substitute this flour in my normal pancake recipe. It did not turn out great. Cai ate them up no problem. Me, the grainy texture was alittle much. I ate them. They were OK. But not great.
This pancake fail happened in Kansas, as I had taken many of the flours/blends with me for just these types of things. I then forgot to grab them and let everything at my mother's. So while I have brown rice flour and potato starch, I do not have xanthan gum or any other binder. Thus until I get to the store am limited in want I can make that requires flour. Last Saturday our church had a pancake feed. I wanted to make pancakes for Cai so that we could attend. However I did not have the energy to shop for ingredients, search for a recipe. Thus I broke down and bought a box of pancake mix.
We were very pleased with the purchase. Gluten Free Pantry's pancake and waffle mix turned out to be really good. The pancakes were fluffy, yummy and the texture was not too grainy. So while I still want to find a good recipe, in a bind or when life is too crazy these are a great, convenient alternative.

The boys' birthdays were earlier this month. We celebrated with my mom and stepdad while in Kansas. But didn't get to celebrate with Mark. So Sunday afternoon we had a mini-party at the park for Cai, Ian and Oliver (their cousin). I really wanted to make a cake. In Kansas it was just easier to have ice cream sundays. And really that worked great. But I wanted cake. So while purchasing the above pancake mix we bought a cake mix as well.
Sorry no picture of the finished cupcakes (they were easier to eat at the park). Cherrybrooks Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams Chocolate Cake Mix turned out wonderful. The cake was moist. The top was sweet, even without frosting. And everyone enjoyed them. Mark and I were very pleased. Two success with store bought produces makes us hopeful for our future eating. :) Although we are bracing ourselves for the many failures that are sure to happen as I try my hand at making things myself. 

We love pasta at our house. So I knew right off that we needed to find a good GF option. Thus far I have found one brand I like, and one I don't. 
Tinkyada Pasta Joy has worked well for us. We have enjoyed both the  brown rice spaghetti and the brown rice elbow pasta. It has good texture, good taste, and the claim to withstand over-cooking is very true. I'm mean come on, I have 3 little ones 5 yrs and under. Our pasta sometimes gets neglected. But this brand has yet to disappoint us. 
DeBoles Rice pasta did not turn out so well. It was chewy, grainy, and just left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. In fact after draining and tasting this pasta last night, I tossed it and made the Elbow from Tinkyada Pasta Joy. I have one more box of DeBoles (Rice Spirals). I'll give it one more try. But to tell the truth I'm not holding my breath. I don't think we'll be buying this brand again. 

Well there it is. Several review for you. I'm sure more will come. In fact I plan on sharing alot about our journey in Gluten Free eating. If you have suggestions, recipes, links and such you want to share, we would be very grateful. Cause really, while there is a plethora of information out there, it can be overwhelming to sift through.  Help is always welcome. 

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