Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trial and Error

GF cooking/baking is sort of a challenge, no matter if you have been doing it for 5 days or 5 yrs.

You are never sure how a recipe will turn out, even if you have made that recipe a time or two before. And trying a new recipe is like an adventure , where you have a limited "road map" to help guide you to the end.


The mixing, weighing ( yes, weighing) of the dry ingredients, making sure that your milk and eggs are at the right "room temp" before you add them to the dry mix.

Making sure that you mix the batter long enough to activate the xanthun gum to insure proper binding.

Gabriel helping make the pancakes
And that everything mixes together nicely, but that you don't over mix either.

So when Gabriel asked me to make pancakes, which I had not done in over a month, I decided I wanted to make buttermilk pancakes.

No, problem I thought, I have made buttermilk pancakes a time or two before and since I am pretty comfortable with taking a gluten filled recipe and converting it in to a GF recipe I felt I was more than up for the challenge of making GF buttermilk pancakes for my son.

G.I. Joe cooking the pancakes
After I had weighed, measured and mixed all the ingredients G.I.Joe decided that he wanted to cook the pancakes, which was more than okay with me :)

nice and golden brown
But, what should have been a simple task turned out to be a BIG PAIN!!

G.I.Joe made two separate attempts before he just trashed the batter and the 8 pancakes he had "cooked".

in they trash they went

The first set cooked up really nice on the outside, but did not want to cook on the inside and after almost 10m of cooking them he took them off the griddle and turned up the heat to 400F then set about making another batch.

The second batch cooked faster on the outside, but we had the same problem on the inside, nothing but raw dough. G.I.Joe cooked these for about the same length of time and ended up pretty much burning them  then gave up and tossed them into the trash, also, and the unused batter into the sink.

unused batter
Needless to say we did not have pancakes that morning.

I often hear that baking is a science and cooking is an art form and well I have to say that NOW I finally understand what that means.

And even though I did not get the end results I was wanting I did learn that the way I had combined the ingredients was not the proper way and so next time I will know what NOT to do.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quick sandwich bread and NOT so quick repairs

Sometimes living a GF life is not as easy as it would be to live a "normal' life. A life where I could eat all the pasta, bread, cereal, Chinese, Mexican and any of  the other foods in life that I adore.

 Or where I could just go to the store and pick up a loaf of sandwich bread, or any bread for that matter, and be on my merry way home to sit down to a sandwich of my choosing with pretzels and a not so small glass of home made iced tea.

But, I can't or more like I shouldn't and so I make the breads that my family and I eat from scratch . Which takes time, time that I don't always have nor time that I don't always want to give up to stand in the kitchen, where it gets really, really HOT no matter if I bring in a fan when I bake ANOTHER loaf of bread or a dozen muffins or what ever my family happens to be out of or will be needing.

But, if we want bread , well if I want bread :), then I have no choice and time is just one of the many things that you learn to give up when you do your best to lead a GF life.

So Wednesday after I dropped  my van off at the dealer FOR. THE. THIRD. TIME. , in hopes that it would FINALLY get fixed, and after the internet tech came and fixed our internet, which we had been with out for 5 days, for the second time. I sat down at my computer to see if I could find a few recipes for GF sandwich bread that I could bake in no time flat.

One that I would not have to spend a good 30 min. mixing all the ingredients together, then wait 45m-1hr. for it to rise AND then bake for 1hr. before we had hot, steaming, fresh bread that we could make chicken salad sandwiches or even pb&j sandwiches.

AND I FOUND ONE!! Well a few to be exact.

I chose to give this one a try, it is by Nicole from gluten free on a shoestring.com.

all my ingredients

I actually use her recipes a good deal, to either bake or to even get ideas on how to alter gluten filled recipes so that I can enjoy the things that I like to eat again  I like how she gives really good step by step instructions with her recipes.

my pretty egg whites
I also enjoy her sense of humor :0). Or how she will take the time to help a person find ways to "tweak" her recipes to meet their health needs or even just a personal baking preference.

ready for the oven

 And how she connects with the people who read her blog on a personal level, taking the time to answer questions or even to reply to some off the wall comment. :0)

almost forgot my tent
my finished product :)

 Over all I liked this bread. It had good texture and taste and it held up well to my chicken salad and when I used it for sub night and the process was just like the name says, quick, but it was missing something.
I can not explain what, but something.
I will make this again, but it will be more of my go to bread when I am needing to make a loaf a bread in a short time frame.

As I was making this loaf and helping the kids with there school work and all the other things that I had to do,  I was waiting for the dealer to call me about my van, which they had had since 8am, and I finally received "the call" at 4pm saying that they had to order another part for it, which would not be in till Monday, and that they would be sending their driver to pick me up so I could come get my van.

The driver FINALLY showed up at 5:15pm and I still have a broke van, but I have a go to bread when I am in a time crunch.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Staycation, Part 1, Sciport

Happy 4th of July!!

 GI Joe is on his way to the Air Force base in San Antonio , he has some medboard doctor appts at the hospital there, and wont be back till late on Friday evening.
So it is just the kids and me for the next 3 days.

GI Joe is actually on summer block leave, but because of his medboard status,(GI Joe was wounded during his deployment to Afghanistan and is now being medically discharged , aka medboard, from the Army :(, he is not allowed to go within a certain mileage radius from Fort Polk unless he gets an approval from his case manager because of doctor appts that can pop up at the last minute that he needs to be available for.

Which made it very difficult to plan any sort of "normal" vacation this year that was inside the radius.
But, we still wanted to have some sort of time as a family getting away from military life and enjoying our summer in the process.

So we decided to take mini staycations during the next two weeks. Something that we would all enjoy, but would keep us in the radius and allow us to leave Polk in the morning and be home in time for bed.

Our first stay-cation was to the Sciport in Shreveport, about 130 miles, or a little over 2 hours, from Fort Polk.

 The first part of the drive there is a long winding road in the middle of no where. With nothing but trees and more trees.

trees in front
more trees :)
It takes an hour or so to go down this road before we hit La10, sometimes it flies by other times I want to leave the kids on the side of the road ;)
Which is why we have a dvd player in the van, to help past the time and to save my nerves :)

don't they all look so thrilled
After about 30 min I turned on the dvd player.



Sasha still playing on my phone

me and GI Joe ( and yes he is driving;)

Once you hit La10 the speed limit is 75 and so the time and miles just whiz by and you are in Shreveport before you know it.

chicken statue
I forgot to bring diapers and wipes for Ian, so we actually ended up taking a detour to the nearest store to buy some when we saw the chicken. Not sure why it is there ??

Once we finally got to the Sciport , we spent the first hour in the lobby, the kids did not want to leave the piano and there is a Tornado wind machine that they had to do a few times along with some other cool stuff.

playing on the piano

An hour is all GI Joe could handle before he told us all we either move on or we will go home, because he did not drive 2 hours to stay in a lobby. ( got to love his direct approach )

learning how to sail by the stars

trying to land an airplane
getting carried by Daddy
being silly
always time for a nursing "break"
working on a human body part puzzle
and the last stop of the day, the mud

 By the time we were ready to leave all 3 of them were pretty exhausted and it made for a very peaceful ride home.

I would not say this is one of the best sciports I have been to, but it was nice and for the price you can't really beat what they have to offer.

But the important part was that everyone had a great time and we got to spend some family time away from Fort Polk, while enjoying our summer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Phone calls, hair cuts and GF Moneky Bread Saturday

It was a very rough start to my Saturday morning. GI Joe received a phone call from one of his soldiers, at 0630, needing him to come "rescue" him from the side of the road, somewhere between here and I10.

It aggravated the heck out of me and so I was not so "nice" to GI Joe as he was getting dressed and he left without saying goodbye :(.

About 30m later I sent him a text apologizing to him for being a "not so nice" wife.
( one of the things I love about GI Joe is that he is always there for you and would give you his last dollar and the shirt off his back even if it left him hungry and cold. and I lost site of that at 0630)

After I sent the text to GI Joe I tried to go back to sleep, but just ended up laying there for another 20m, so I decided I would take full advantage of the fact that all 3 of the kids were still asleep and get my work out in for the day.

Gabriel woke up about 10 min into my 45m Turbo Fire workout and then Ian when I had 20m left.
Which made the last 20 very interesting and take a little longer than 20m :o)

During this past week Gabriel had been asking for monkey bread, one of his favs, and I had been having a hard time during the week blocking of time to make it for him, so after my workout I set about doing just that.
Using this  recipe for  Gf monkey bread

the ingredients
Both the kids and myself used to eat monkey bread, store bought kind, at least once a week,
before I found out that I had gluten sensitivity. We have not had it in some time.

(This morning no one was "eager" to help Mom out in the kitchen, so it was all up to me :).

Gabriel playing on my Nook
Sasha sleeping
and Ian was alternating between watching baby first tv


and playing in the kitchen.
I had never made monkey bread from scratch before, so I was very worried about how the taste and texture would "measure up" to gluten filled monkey bread, which in turn made my progress v e r y s l o w.

the batter
After the batter was finished, I got to make 36 dough balls, ALONE!! ( yay! me !)

and yes, there are 36
After I was done rolling all the dough balls, they had to sit for an hour, so I choose this time to do other things around the house and get myself some breakfast.

after the rise
Then came the drudging part: first in melted butter, then the topping mixture and lastly into the pan

the assembly line
all ready for the oven
By the time I was ready to put the monkey bread into the oven, GI Joe was already home and so we decided it would be a good time to cut Gabriel's hair. So I watched and he cut :)

Ian watched too
a closer shot
GI Joe actually learned to cut hair while he was deployed to Afghanistan, for a year, on his men , since they were no where near a barber.
my "beast", he is so hairy
He, I mean we :), actually finished cutting Gabriel's hair right when the monkey bread was finished baking.

right out of the oven
Talk about your perfect timing.
my clean cut little boy
( he humors me with the taking of pictures, as you can see)

and onto the plate
I must say this was really, really good. We ate a little over half of the ring and probably would have eaten it all if I had not reminded the kids and myself that we would not have any for tomorrow if we eat it all today.

Next time, and there will be a next time I am sure, I will definitely be using Sasha and Gabriel "power" to make the 36 dough balls, while I sit and drink my coffee :)