Level 1, Levels 2 And Above, Product Review

Gluten Free Baking Mixes are NOT Low Carb

O.k. I’ve been seeing more and more “low carb” recipes that call for the use of gluten-free baking mixes. I would like everyone to know that you MUST read the labels! Just because it’s gluten-free does NOT mean it’s low carb!
Here are some examples, just so you know I’m not blowing smoke:
King Arthur Gluten Free Baking Mix Label (.pdf)
In 1/3 cup, there are 30 grams of total carbs with 4 grams of fiber.
Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Mix
In 1/4 cup, there are 31 grams of total carbs with 3 grams of fiber.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
In 1/4 cup, there are 22 grams of total carbs with 4 grams of fiber.
And this, which I have seen added to a “Gluten Free Baking Mix” used in “Low Carb Recipes”: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour
In 1/3 cup, there are 26 grams of total carbs with 4 grams of fiber.
Now, I know there are many out there who either are intolerant or downright allergic to gluten and these mixes are wonderful substitutes as long as you are not on a low carb/keto diet (well, that is, unless you want to eat those gluten free treats and no other carbs for the day). Please, do not just blindly follow a recipe that’s posted here or anywhere else. Investigate to determine if that recipe really is low carb or not.

Desserts, Journal, Levels 2 And Above, Recipe

"Raspberry" Thumbprint Cookies

Well, these just came out of the oven and, so far, the consensus is, “Yum”! Now, I don’t have any no-sugar, low-carb jelly or jam (doesn’t that sound gross?) so I put a dark chocolate chip in the top. I also only substituted 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of Splenda. They don’t crumble as bad as the last time I made sugar/gluten free cookies (they were peanut and crumbled if you looked at them funny). I also only got 18 cookies out of it (not sure if it’s due to my homemade almond flour or my inconsistent “tablespoons”). I will definitely make these again!


http://www.elanaspantry.com/raspberry-thumbprint-cookies/

2 cups blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup raspberry jam

Appetizers, Dinner, Levels 2 And Above, Recipe, Snacks

First Update: Crackers Plus An Awesome Paleo Recipe Page

Well, some nights, you just don’t really want to cook anything.  So, our dinner was a little carnitas with salsa and cheese, chicken salad, and salami with cheese, all on a plate.  Hubby went searching for crackers but since I have to consciously think of him in order to put them on the shopping list, we didn’t have any.  I could have sworn I posted some of the wonderful-looking nut recipes I’ve seen online but I hadn’t on either blog.  Here’s the post I just made about how to make your own flours: How to Make Flour Substitutes
So, here are some I’ve found.  I’ll be trying some of these out tomorrow and will update this post with my thoughts.
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http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/gluten-free-nut-crackers/
2 cups (300 g) of mixed nuts (we used cashew, almonds, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds)
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sea salt
Top with: sea salt, anise seeds, nigella seeds or some other seeds of your choice.
UPDATE: 12-19-2013: O.k.  I made this today.  I used
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup each of walnuts, sesame seeds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds (which I made into flour using my Magic Bullet)
I don’t have parchment paper, so I buttered an insulated cookie sheet and had to keep adding water to my rolling pin because these sure were sticky. I also don’t have sea salt so used kosher salt instead. They ended up with too much salt, so I think next time I will use 1/2 teaspoon in the dough and 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling on top.
To me, with this mixture of nuts/seeds, these taste a lot like Ok Mok crackers. The sesame was surprisingly strong but you could almost make the mistake that there is whole wheat in this recipe. I like them but the final verdict will be when hubby tries them when he gets home from work. And they feel like they need oil, so I can’t wait to try the next recipe.

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http://www.lifeasaplate.com/2012/01/04/paleo-onion-sesame-crackers/

Recipe: Paleo Onion Sesame Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 c. nut meal (any kind will work – I used 1 c. almond & 1 c. walnut)
  • 3 tbsp. dried flaked onion
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp. olive/grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together.
  2. Add in oil and egg and mix until moist.
  3. Form into large ball and place in the middle of a large piece of parchment.
  4. Place another piece of parchment on top.
  5. Roll from the center out with a rolling pin until around 1/10th of an inch thick (see photos of crackers to gauge).
  6. Remove top parchment.
  7. Using a pizza cutter, make a grid. You don’t need to separate them now; after they bake, they will break right along this edge, like perforation.
  8. Remove any pieces from the edge that are too thin – they will burn.
  9. Bake at 250 for around 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven until no longer soft.

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http://fastpaleo.com/recipe/savory-dilled-crackers/

Savory Dilled Crackers

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 egg white
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and dill.
2. Add the egg white and 2 tablespoons water and mix well with a fork.
3. Generously flour the counter and the dough with coconut flour and roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thick. You can either cut then with cute little cookie cutters or score them into squares with a knife. Transfer the crackers to 2 greased baking sheets.
(Note: if you are using cookie cutters, the dough will begin to dry out as you repeatedly roll out and flour it. Add a bit more water to the dough when/if needed)
4. Bake the crackers at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

Note: The crackers tend to absorb a little moisture as they sit out on the counter. So either consume within a couple hours, (which isn\’t really that hard) or pop them back in the oven for a couple minutes before serving to get maximum crispiness.

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And this is one giant page of paleo recipes!
http://www.paleofood.com/baked.htm#supercrackers

Appetizers, Desserts, Journal, Levels 2 And Above, Lunch, Recipe, Snacks

How To Make Flour Substitutes

Boy, I’ve been slacking.  I haven’t posted about how to make nut/seed flours!  I don’t make them very often but with the next post I’m going to make, knowing how to do this will save you TONS of money.  A while ago, I posted a recipe that called for almond flour on Facebook.  One of the responses I got was, “Do you know how expensive that is?”  Well, no.  I had never bought any.  So, I looked the next time I went to the store.  Dear Lord!  $9 for a bag that would be used with just two of the recipes I have collected over the years!  Just buy the nuts and make your own!


This one focuses on nuts and seeds (and she talks about using chia as an egg substitute):
Wayback Link for how to make nut and seed flours


How to make coconut flour:
https://dontmesswithmama.com/how-to-make-coconut-flour-recipe/


And this one discusses gluten-free flour substitutes (not just low carb):
http://www.attunefoods.com/blog/2013/04/how-to-make-your-own-gluten-free-flours-in-3-minutes-or-less/ Defunct link. Here’s the information that was originally in the post:

How to Make Your Own Gluten-Free Flour in 3 Minutes or Less

It’s hard to deny the convenience of wheat flour. One bag and you’ve got a million recipes at your fingertips. Venture even slightly into gluten-free recipes, and your grocery shopping list could double in length with various flours and starches. It gets especially frustrating when a recipe calls for just 1/4 cup of two or three different flours. Suddenly you’re investing in a $5 to $10 bag of millet flour or gluten-free oat flour that will sit, virtually untouched, for months and months. To avoid this issue, and to simplify my pantry, I learned how to make gluten-free flours at home in a pinch.

Make your own almond flour

The Equipment
Yes, a flour mill will give you the most powdery result, and allow you to pulverize even the toughest grains and legumes, but that requires an investment of kitchen space and money. Instead, you can use a spice / coffee grinder, the grinder attachment with a personal-size blender (just $20 to $30 if you don’t have one!), a food processor, or even a high power blender. I find that the grinder route actually works best, but ideally you want to use one that has at least 200 watts of power. Some are on the wimpier side at just 150 watts – they will grind the “easiest” options below, but may struggle beyond that.
Best “Grains” for the At-Home Job
You might notice from my pantry picture (below) that I do still stock some pre-ground flours and starches. Not all grains and legumes are easy to “flour” at home. For that reason, I have this little guide of easiest, pretty easy, definitely doable, for convenience and too tricky as categories.

how to make your own gluten free flour- oat flour- before

Oats Before

 

how to make your own gluten free flour- oat flour- after

Flour After

how to make your own gluten free flour - millet

EASIEST
These can be made with even the wimpiest of spice grinders; I always recommend making them at home.

Oat Flour – Whole or quick gluten-free oats can be pulverized in just 30 to 60 seconds into very powdery flour.
Cashew Flour – You may not hear of this one much in gluten-free recipes, though it is a staple for dairy-free recipes, but cashews are a beautifully soft nut that grinds up nicely. It doesn’t work as well in baking as almond flour, but still has its place. You may need to sift out some little nut butts, but typically 60 seconds of grinding does the job.
Sun-Flour – Sunflower seeds also grind seamlessly. Like cashews, they work well in recipes but shouldn’t be relied upon when baking. I use them more for coatings or things like hearty cookies with other grain flours. Again, 60 seconds in the grinder usually gives you a slightly coarse but lightly ground seed flour.
 
PRETTY EASY
The following can turn into nut or seed butter if you grind them for too long (stick to just 1 to 2 minutes, giving them a stir or shake 30 seconds in to avoid clumping on the sides. Grind just until they turn into coarse flour and not a second longer. To give you a few second window of opportunity, freeze the nuts before grinding.
Almond Flour – You can go for fancier nut flour by using blanched almonds, but everyone here voted for the muffins made with unblanched, home-ground almonds over the store-bought blanched stuff – no joke!
Hazelnut Flour – Hazelnuts offer a different flavor profile, but with similar results to almond flour.
 
DEFINITELY DOABLE 
You’ll definitely need those 200 or 250 watts plus for these coarse grains, but even my little spice grinder was able to tackle millet and quinoa. I sometimes buy buckwheat flour still, but most of my friends grind it at home. You may need those full 3 minutes of high power grinding to get a fine result. Keep in mind that millet, quinoa, and rice flours can all be slightly sandy, even when store-bought.

Millet to flour after 2 minutes in my little $10 spice grinder

Millet Flour – The little grains actually pulverize well, and as a flour is a great ingredient for whole grain breads – though you only need a little.
Buckwheat Flour – Nutty, awesome, a must try.
Quinoa Flour – Similar to millet, but slightly bitter.
Rice Flour (White or Brown) – I’ve found this to be the toughest of grains, and have to let my little grinder rest a little, but it still works.
 
FOR CONVENIENCE
For toastier or crunchier needs, I grind grainy cereals and skip the flours altogether! You can even crush them in a baggie with a meat mallet if you don’t feel like cleaning an appliance.
Whole Grain Cereal – As you’ll notice, I always stock a whole grain gluten-free cereal (Buckwheat & Hemp Erewhon Cereal is my latest kick). It is versatile for grinding to make an easy coating, no other flours required!
Corn Flakes or Crispy Rice Cereal – Another great one for coatings, but can also be ground for using as some of the flour in recipes like muffins.
 
TOO TRICKY
Some flours and starches are simply too hard to tackle or require extra processing that isn’t easy to do at home.
Chickpea Flour – Nearly broke our grinder trying to do this one. A flour mill should be able to tackle it though.
Coconut flour – Coconut requires de-fatting to turn into flour.
Starches – These are a different animal, but also fairly inexpensive to purchase. This includes corn, potato, arrowroot (pricier), and tapioca starches.
 
Why Grind your own Gluten-Free Flours?

  • Buying the whole grains and nuts is much less expensive.
  • Whole grains and nuts won’t go rancid as quickly as their flours.
  • Whole grains and nuts are much more versatile – you can cook them as a side dish, use them whole in recipes, or grind them into flour.
  • It helps to simplify your pantry! You will have one item instead of two in your cupboard and on your shopping list.
how to make your own gluten free flour pantry
Recipe

Fish-Free Worcestershire Sauce

Here’s my recipe for Fish-Free Worcestershire Sauce. I found the tamarind paste at an Indian (Asia) grocery store locally. I had eaten some Mexican tamarind candy before, looked at many Mexican grocers and no one knew what I was talking about. I walk into the Indian grocer, ask for tamarind paste, he says, “Sure! Right over here.” I could have hugged him! The amount of ingredients can be played with but the most important are the tamarind and vinegar. Tamarind is what gives Worcestershire sauce it’s unique flavor and color.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

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To make about 2 cups:

  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/4-in thick slice Ginger
  • 3 T. Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 t. Black Peppercorns
  • 2 t. Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 1-in. Cinnamon stick
  • 1 t. Cloves, whole
  • 1/2 t. Cardamom Pods
  • 2 c. Vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Molasses
  • 1/2 c. Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 c. Tamarind Pulp
  • 2 T. Salt
  • 1/2 t. Curry Powder
  • 10 Kalamata Olives, pitted and crushed
  • 1/2 c. Water

Place the onion, the garlic, the mustard seeds, the red pepper flakes, the peppercorns, the ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves and the cardamom on a large piece of cheesecloth and tie in a little bag.

In a large saucepan, combine the spice bag with the vinegar, the molasses, the soy sauce and the tamarind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Mix together the salt, the curry powder, the kalamata olives with the water. Add to the liquid in the saucepan. Remove from heat. Pour the contents of the saucepan (including the spice bag) into a quart jar. Cover with plastic wrap (to prevent the vinegar from degrading the lid), lid and ring. Place in the refrigerator for two months, shaking occasionally. Place a small holed strainer over a bowl and strain the liquid. Squeeze the spice bag over the strainer and discard. Bottle the sauce. Keep in the refrigerator and shake well before use.