Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Passover means some yummy gluten free goodies for us.

I found a wonderful section of the grocery store in New York when we were on vacation.  The PASSOVER section.  There were many gluten free goodies available at prices that were much more affordable than those in the gluten free section.  So far we have tasted the Rocky Road Macaroons and some cookies.  Very good!  Also bought cakes but, I am torn between letting the kids eat the pound cake and keeping it in the freezer until June when we can pick strawberries.  I think the pound cake would be good with those.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


It seems like if you are a "true" yooper, you should know how to make pasty.  The Cornish introduced the pasty to the UP and the Finns perfected it. 
My mom is a great pasty maker.  When John and the kids were first on a gluten free diet, it bugged her to not be able make them pasties.  We would make crustless pasties which were very boring. 
I have finally figured out a recipe for gluten free crust.  The problem with it is that the dough is not very forgiving.  It does not stretch and tears easily.  The first times I made gluten free pasties, they were the ugliest pasties I had ever seen with a lot of patches over the tears.  I have now learned to use parchment paper to roll the crust and to put the top over. 
Yesterday, my mom and dad prepared the pasty filling and I made dough for crust.  John is the official roller of the crust in our house.  He is able to roll perfect circles.  His pasties are beautiful compared to what mine were in the past.  We made 18 regular sized pasties, 4 large ones and one pasty pie.
The real test happened later in the evening.  We brought a pasty to John's mom who also has celiac disease.  She has hated everything gluten free since she was diagnosed and had to go on the diet.  We very seldom hear from her that something tastes good.  We stopped at her house after snowshoeing at the Porkies.  She actually liked the crust! 

Recipe for Gluten Free Pasty Crust
Mix in bowl: (I use my Kitchenaid mixer with the regular beaters.)
1 cup white rice flour ( or 1/2 cup sorghum flour and 1/2 cup amaranth flour)
1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Rub into the above:
1/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter

Mix together the following in measuring cup and then add to above and mix:
1/4 cup cold water
3 Tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vinegar

Roll this out with parchment paper. I put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and a piece on the top. When the dough is the size you want it, add the inside mix on one side. Use the parchment paper to get the dough over the top. Then put your sides together.
Rolling it out is the worst part because it does not give very much. Be careful that the parchment paper does not get wrinkled. Wrinkles will cause the dough to tear.
The above batch makes about 3 pasties so double or triple if needed.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Bread is probably the hardest gluten free food to get use to.  Before having a gluten free house, I loved to bake bread.  I baked bread a couple times a week during the winter.  My favorites were:  whole wheat bread, graham bread and nisu, which is a Finnish sweet bread flavored with cardamom.  Little did I know that those were slowly killing my family. 
I no longer bake bread.  I tried at first, sure that I would eventually find a recipe that would work.  Gluten is what binds the bread so gluten free bread is difficult to make.  So many batches of bread went into the garbage or if it was edible it was not meant to be sliced.  If the humidity in the house is up, the bread flops,  if is down the bread flops.  I just finally got tired of wasting time.
I buy bread in bulk.   Usually our freezer has a variety of bread in it.  Noah is allergic to rice so he eats a different kind of bread than the others.  The others like raisin bread for morning and whole grain for sandwiches.   Last week the freezer ran out of bread.  The order for more won't be delivered until Thursday.  Aliina and I went to the grocery store in Rhinelander on Saturday to get bread.  It is shocking to see the price of gluten free bread in the store.  We paid $6.59 for one loaf of bread.  Now it is a very small loaf.  Not nice and fluffy like Brownberry.   We picked up three different types of bread and a bag of bagels.  I should appreciate being able to buy one loaf at a time because before I order in bulk I like to have an idea for whether it is something my family will eat.  The cost at a store like Trig's in Rhinelander is outrageous though.  May have to drive to Madison next time we run out of bread.  Now Woodman's grocery store impressed me!  I will post about them someday.
I have been searching for a gluten free nisu recipe.  If I ever find one, my family will be pleased.

Monday, January 31, 2011


One of the hardest foods to give up for us was pizza.  At first, my husband had a really hard time with the thought of never again having pizza from the Bell Chalet in Hurley.  Even now I sometimes really wish I could throw a frozen pizza in the oven and have an "easy" meal.  Those days of Dina Mia pizzas for lunch are over. 
Yesterday, we made three homemade pizzas.  We baked two for supper and put one in the freezer. 

It took many tries before we were able to find a recipe for an edible pizza crust.   We can't use rice because that is one of the allergies for our oldest son.  So many gluten free recipes use rice. 

This recipe makes a crispy crust.  This version makes enough dough for three 12 to 14 inch crusts.
To save time the next times that I will make the crust I put the dry ingredients into Ziploc freezer bags to make my own mixes.

2 T. dry yeast
1 1/3 bean flour
1 cup tapioca flour
4 T. dry milk powder
4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
I use a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  Using regular beater(not dough hook), blend the dry ingredients on low speed.  Add warm water, honey, olive oil, and vinegar.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
Cover 3 pizza pans with foil (or not), spray with cooking spray and then dust with corn meal(or rice flour).  Separate dough onto the three pans.  Liberally sprinkle the dough with corn meal(or rice flour), press dough into pan, continuing to sprinkle dough with corn meal to prevent dough sticking to your hands.
Bake the pizza for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Spread pizza crust with sauce and toppings.  Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until top is nicely browned.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I am the mother in a gluten free family from the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Three of us have celiac disease; one is allergic to wheat,gluten,and so many other things; and I am the cook for everyone. 
When my husband was diagnosed in December of 2005, I started reading all I could on celiac disease.  After reading that it is an inherited disease, we were sure that our youngest son also had it.  We had been told that he had failure to thrive for almost a year.  In February of 2006, our baby was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 18 months.  It seemed like a miracle to see how quickly he started gaining weight after going on a gluten free diet. 
During the summer of 2006, our daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and our other son was diagnosed with many food allergies including wheat and gluten.
With four out of five of us having to be gluten free it was decided that our household should be gluten free.  I cleaned the pantry, cupboards, and freezer out and gave away all the gluten laden food.  I think for the year of 2006, the only reading I did was about how to feed my family.