Category Archives: *Other GF Blogs

Gluten Free Pizza – Oh, so good!

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Gluten Free ‘Za, Photo by Kate Chan

Annual holiday cookie swap?  CHECK
Christmas cards mailed?  CHECK
Everything wrapped and shipped?  Almost a check there… two more to go. :)
Kiddos in bed?  CHECK! CHECK!
Adults in need of  heading off to bed too?  Oh, YES!  CHECK!

But what am I doing?  Making pizza, of course.

The word exhaustion means oh-so-much-more to me this year.  I thought since we were equally numbered 2 kids:  2 adults, that our ratio of 1:1 would save us.  Who was I kidding!!  The other night we ALL went to be at 7:15pm and didn’t wake up until the morning.  Oh yea.  We are T-I-R-E-D!  But life is fabulous.

There is nothing like laying on the living floor at night with just the Christmas tree lights on with a toddler wiggling about and a baby snoring in someone’s arms.  The Chicklet is loving the “scavenger hunt” for ornaments that she and her Baba playing while they lie there.  He asks her to find an ornament, she finds it.  And then she challenges him to find the one she is looking at too.  It’s quite cute.  And very calming.  Thank goodness, too, as life is everyone-on-the-run from before sunup until the typical 8:00PM bedtime.

Elfie is visiting

Elfie visits.  Photo by Kate Chan

Now that there are presents under the tree, our poor little Chica is tempted beyond all reason to open boxes.  (And it doesn’t help that some of the gifts have come wrapped in Buzz Lightyear paper.  She is a Buzz/Woody SUPER fan!)  So, I got a little creative.  You see, I know this elf (ahem) who has come to live with us until Christmas.  He is a buddy of Santa’s.  And he is just like a Toy Story toy in so much that he is inanimate during the day, but when we aren’t looking, he can scoot off and get messages to Santa.  Even better, he is stationed by the gifts to remind the Chica that she is not to open them *just yet*.  Since Elfie’s arrival, Z has taken to laying at his feet and contemplating life upon occasion and when she is most tempted to open gifts.  Poor little thing.  The next five days are going to be hard on her!

Despite the fact that I have TWO HUGE bags of papers to grade, lessons to write, laundry, dusting, wrapping, etc hanging overhead, I am here.  I would rather be cooking, writing or playing with the kidlets than doing any of the aforementioned fabulous household and work duties.  And since there are several other pressing things to be done, I’m off testing pizza crust recipes.

And as I was mixing and chatting with my Love, I remember the King Arthur Flour company and I wanted to order some goodies for a friend.  Little did I know, however, that King Arthur had recently entered in the gluten-free mix line.  (In fact, just the day after discovering this, I found their mixes at a local market.  But they are SPENDY!  ($12/box of muffin mix?  YIKES!)  And as most of you know, I really do prefer to make my own.  It is so much cheaper.

Since I found their GF items, I began to read a little more.  They have plenty of recipes on their site that use a basic mix that they prepare.  Their GF Flour Mix is: 6 cups brown rice flour, 3 cup potato starch (not flour) and 1 cup tapioca flour.  They “stabilize” their brown rice flour so their mix is definitely spendier, but maybe that works for someone who needs the basic mix to last longer than I do.  Anyway, since they had their mix posted and a pizza crust recipe, I thought I would try it.  (PS.  I have NO affiliation with King Arthur, have received no goods/monies, etc to post this and YES, I have their permission to post this recipe and links.)

This pizza crust is tasty. Very tasty.  The texture is great – the crunchy bottom of the crust mimics pizza-joint crusts and that is something we’ve missed.  (Thus the cast iron pizza recipe.) But this crust has depth to it as well – and it is easy to adapt/add different flavors, etc if you wish.  There are, however, a few things you should not mess with.  They are as follows:

  • You really do need to grease your pan well before baking.
  • You really do need the extra olive oil on the pan before flattening out your crust.  That is what made the crust texture sooooo much better!  You could bake it on parchment with olive oil (we’ve done that too), but directly on the pan makes for a better crunch and texture.

Beyond that, we did away with the wait time for the sponge.  (I’m impatient like that.) In order to get the yeast to rise, we added the sugar to the yeast mixture and not to the flour mix.  Other than those changes, we followed their recipe more closely but not exactly.  After all, recipes are like guideposts sometimes – you just gotta do your own thing.  Although I always recommend following the recipe the first time through and THEN making changes on subsequent batches.  You will know what you are working with better.

I’m posting the recipe as we made it.  You can find the original recipe here on the King Arthur site.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Very slightly modified from the King Arthur Flour recipe (linked above)
Makes:  1 medium-thin crust pizza

You can find a PRINTABLE copy of this recipe here.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups GF flour mix

  • (1st time:  We used:  3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon brown rice flour, 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon potato starch (not flour), 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour)
  • (2nd time:  We used our regular GF Flour mix.)

2 Tablespoons powdered milk or buttermilk powder
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon yeast (they use 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for pan)
Optional:  1 teaspoons each:  granulated garlic, fennel and dried basil.

Directions:

  1. Sift together remaining dry ingredients:  GF flour mix, powdered milk, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum and your seasonings of choice.  (We use granulated garlic, fennel and dried basil.  Sometimes cumin, garlic and sesame if we are making a non-traditional pizza too.And then we use some sesame oil at the end too.)
  2. Bring water to 110º-115ºF.  Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, the sugar and yeast.  Add 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients to your proofing yeast.  Stir together and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients to your mixing bowl.  (You need a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this pizza crust to mix it well.)
  4. Wait about 5-10 minutes or until your yeast mixture has risen nicely.
  5. Add the wet to the dry and mix together on medium speed for 4-6 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
  7. Generously grease your pizza pan.  Then drizzle 2 Tablespoons+ of olive oil into the center of the pan.
  8. Scrap the pizza dough onto the olive oil pool on the pan.  With wet hands, squish the dough out evenly onto the surface of the pizza pan.
  9. Bake the crust for 8 – 10 minutes or until the top is no longer shiny but opaque.
  10. Top with your favorite pizza toppings.  (The Chicklet loves mushrooms and black olives on her pizza.  What do you like?)
  11. Return to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes until your toppings are done/cheese is melted.

Enjoy!
After all, it might be the Holiday season…. but sometimes you just have to eat comfort food too!
Happy GF Eating!
~Kate

Gluten Free Bean Burgers

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GF Chickpea Burgers

Gluten Free Chickpea Burgers, Photo by Kate Chan

The beauty of maternity leave, as I am discovering, is being able to spend time with my girls as our own pace.  On the weekends, rather than running every errand imaginable, we can have little adventures with the girls as a family.  (Although, I do reserve plenty of errand running to be down with My Love’s help as an active toddler and a newborn can make “quick trips” into afternoon outings.)

This weekend, we were lucky enough to meet with a family who is also in the adoption process – waiting for their child to be ready to travel.  We drove up to Seattle to a public park where we visited as best anyone can with a toddler itching to ride down the slide MORE MORE MORE or swing MORE MORE MORE.  Poor little thing thought that the random soccer balls or bicycles were part of the “community playground” as well as she was quite disappointed to learn that they weren’t.  Her disappointment was brief, however.  As soon as she had turned her head away from the longed-for-object, she spotted yet another delight that made her squeal and off she went with one of us close on her heels.  (And yes, the Peanut/baby was with us… just snuggled up and completely asleep.  She’s very accommodating like that.  My life is going to be much more challenging as soon as the little one is mobile, that’s for sure!)

 

Z's first ferry ride

We decided to continue our adventure and bring Z on her first ferry ride, too.  She was delighted to have Daddy “drive the car on the boat, Momma!” (repeat statement 1,000 times for full toddler-loving-joy effect).  Even more exciting to her was learning that we could all get out of the car and go upstairs for the brief ride across to the island. Oh, she was in heaven.  And I was trying to balance a camera along with a loosely wrapped baby in order to get some pictures to document her joy.  Only…. the Chicklet didn’t want to do anything but rush to the side to see the water and life passing by.

"Oh, Daddy! FUN!"
(And no, he isn’t scowling. Between the wind and the Chicklet leaning, I think he thought she might just go over. LOL)

We were lucky enough to head over to The Hardware Store where Daniel Ahern (aka “The Chef” of “Gluten Free Girl and the Chef“) works.  I knew he would be cooking that night so the chances of my getting a delectable gluten free meal were spot-on.   And I was SO RIGHT.  The food was great!  I dreamt of that fabulous gluten-free buckle all the way home and wondered why I hadn’t bothered to just buy some more for the drive home!  OMG.  SO freakin’ delicious.  (Even better, Shauna has the recipe on her blog. So now I can make it any time I want and not have to pay the ferry fee!  Who knew!  I always thought a “buckle” was something related to Texas and belts!  LOL)

Another thing I didn’t know (among many), is that we would also be lucky enough to have Shauna (Gluten Free Girl) and her little Lu join us as well.  It was great as I hadn’t really planned anything, but as soon as I knew we were heading to Vashon Island, I might as well try to see if she was available to meet up.  LUCKY US!  And really – lucky Zoe!

Zoe and Lucy are a few months apart in age.  It was fun to watch the girls twirling about and toasting each other with apple slices.  (Seriously, each spontaneously hold up their apple slice and tapping the other’s while saying “Cheers” quietly.  I hope I remember that cuteness for quite a long time!)  Zoe apparently has a little Mother Hen in her (I am avoiding the control freaky term I really want to use).  When Lucy will skidoodle off to greet and play with a restaurant patron or employee that she knew (obviously, Dad works there…), Zoe would rush to her and say “Lucy-ah!  Oh, no!” and then put her arm around her to herd her back toward her Momma.  (Ay ay ay…) But hang on, it gets even more 2-year-old.  Lucy is getting her molars (poor babe), so just as Zoe did, she is eating ice.  Unlike Zoe, however, Lucy can reach in to a water glass to get her ice cubes without having a conniption that her hands or clothing are wet…. requiring (in Z’s mind) a wardrobe change. Since Zoe loathes wet clothing, we just instilled the rule “No hands” if it was going to lead to a mess.  So as soon as Z saw Little Lu reaching in for her ice cubes, the tattle-tale came out full force “Oh, oh, oh!  No hands, Lucy-ah! No hands”.  She was fixated.  And we talked briefly about different strokes/rules for different folks.  Thankfully, the apple slices appeared then and the two-year-olds did their thing:  off dancing and twirling and saying cheers…. and dreaming of Buzz and Elmo.  Cuties.  I hope they can play together again some day.  It was hard for Zoe to leave her new found friend.

Shauna and I got a chance to talk about food.  We both thought about the good things that our kiddos are eating.  And how they eat things just because we do.  I know this is true from a cultural standpoint as well.  Zoe will eat things that I never even knew existed when I was growing up:  tofu? chicken feet?  sushi? roe?  Yeah… these items were not on your standard Minnesota menu in the 1970s, that’s for sure.  I actually think that learning about food because of my diagnosis in 2000, made me more aware of the huge variety of foods.  Living in a city (Chicago) made access to all of those things SO much easier too.  It was an easier transition from gluten to gluten-free than it could have been considering in 2000 there were not the plethora of blogs or internet resources that exist today… let alone the variety of foods in the grocery stores that are clearly targeting the gluten-free group.

More importantly, I was able to put those middle school cooking classes to work for more than just soups and cookies.  I could easily follow instructions to make new things and I wasn’t afraid to try something different (although it did take me another year or two before I would try to recreate any of my childhood favorites).  Mostly, I wanted to keep learning about fresh food and keep trying new things to eat healthier.  Now that there are kids in the house, this is more important than ever.

It blows my mind when I learned via Jamie Oliver/Food Revolution that this generation of Americans has a lower life-expectancy than do we due to their poor health. And poor nutrition is certainly a major contributor to that.  And while my Love and I are not the fit-King/Queen that we want to be, we have vowed to work to get there for our kids and to continue to eat whole, healthy foods as a family.

It’s not gourmet.  It’s natural, whole foods.  And cheaper too.

On the ride home, I was thinking about the different things we had discussed and laughed about together.  Mostly, I was thinking about her upcoming book tour (NY in just a few days, people!  Go see her!) as well.  I was wishing that more people could meet her and see that she really knows how to grab the bull by the horns well, okay…. I think she could probably grab a little lower… and call it like she sees it.  The food that is in her latest book Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef is GORGEOUS and will make you do two things (1) go buy a kitchen scale, if you haven’t done so already) and (2) make you dream of licking the photos like I was doing the first night I got the book home.  When you read it, you will see that she isn’t cooking to be pretentious.  She is cooking what they love.  What they “play with”.  What makes them “dance” in the kitchen.  She writes short vignettes of life that make reading the book a delight.  (Especially for those of us with little ones around!)  I can’t wait to cook my way through the recipes…let alone read the snippets too.

Making it for yourself.

Today, I was craving buckle (again) but the Chicklet asked for Chickpea burgers for lunch.  It surprised me a bit because she really likes these when I make them with mung beans or black beans.  I thought about her request in relation to Jamie Oliver and Shauna.  How many other kids are asking their parents to make bean burgers for lunch? I know quite a few, actually. And I’m hoping with books like Shauna’s, programs like his, and efforts like all of us gluten-free folks to make whole, natural foods for our families is taking hold.  Maybe we can reverse that prediction for our kids.  Now wouldn’t that be worth it?  (PS. Shauna!  Good luck with the book!)

Try it.  Try out these easy-to-adapt bean burgers.  In lieu of chickpeas, use black beans or pinto beans or mung beans (cooked, of course).  Use the flavors and seasonings/herbs that make your tongue and tummy happy.  You can’t go wrong.

Gluten Free Chickpea Burgers
Makes 4 large burgers or 16 “sliders”

Ingredients:
1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas (or other bean) (if not using canned, than 16 ounces cooked beans), drained/rinsed
1 cup leftover or cooked brown rice
1 egg
1/2 cup grated (or shredded, if you prefer) carrot
1/2 cup finely diced apple
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) chili powder
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro (or basil or dill or other fresh herb)
3 green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
salt/pepper for seasoning

Directions:

  1. In a small processor (or with a fork), mash the chickpeas into a medium bowl. (I prefer to use a mini-food processor when using chickpeas)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Form into 4 large patties or sixteen small patties.  Set aside.  (Some people cover and refrigerate their patties for 1 – 2 hours at this stage to help them stick together and bind better.  I don’t mind if my burgers aren’t completely patty-set when I cook/eat them, so I skip this step for convenience too.)
  4. There are two ways to prepare the burgers:  with or without oil for frying.  Either way, heat your pan up over medium-heat for a couple minutes. If using oil, add a swirl of olive oil (not the sesame oil – that should be in the bean burger mixture) to the pan.  When the oil (or just the pan, if not using oil) is hot, add the patty (or patties).  Cook on each side 3 – 4 minutes or until browned.  Flip gently with a spatula.
  5. Serve with gluten free buns or lavash bread or without.  Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, feta cheese, tomato relish, salsa, greek yogurt, cucumber raita or tzatziki or whatever you enjoy.  (Z always votes for barbeque sauce!)

Enjoy!
~Kate

 

The Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bon

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Feast your eyes on these nutritional details:

Sugar Free.
Casein Free.
Transfat, Saturated Fat Free.
(Possibly nut-free, if you so wish.)

A fudgey, delicious bon-bon.
Oh, your taste buds will thank you.

So, my friend Ginger has been on my mind. (And a little sweet birdie named Steve reminded me that tomorrow (2/11) is her birthday!).

I was thinking of all of the dietary challenges people face and how they are (or are not) accommodated by loved ones, friends or even the service industry. I started to think about Ginger and my wishes for her success as she follows her new diet.

And then I started thinking about MY diet. No, not the gluten-free version, but the healthy-living, gluten-free lifestyle. We’ve done a lot of changing in my house since the beginning of the school year in order to get our lives more organized and healthy. We’ve given up soda, drink more water, eat more fresh, raw veggies and fruit – OH! Fruit! I eat much more fruit. I think I used to be a bit of a fruit snob. Really. If I had one bad, untasty bite of fruit, I was unmotivated to eat the rest of it. Now I let my love pick out the fruit we eat. It’s genius. He picks out the fruit. I pick out the veggies.

But for sweet things?
Well, this is where the large bowl of fruit satisfies my Love usually. Sometimes it works for me too. But there are a few occasions when I really have to have some chocolate. Like *now* when I want it, not tomorrow when I can “get” it. (Okay, not really this moment because I had a wonderful fruit/yogurt/granola parfait for lunch and I am feeling quite satisfied, thankyouverymuch. LOL)

This weekend while thinking about Ginger and my cravings for sweets, I decided to make something she and I could both enjoy. It’s easy to make – and healthy too!

Those little bonbons you see? They are fudgy, delicious and unbelievably satisfying. And what makes it even more satisfying for me? It’s 3 ingredients and together they blissfully lack (1) sugar; (2) saturated fat and (3) sodium.

Go with me, now, those of you who are ready to bail. Trust me. You have to try these treats at home. I served them to two students who had no idea what was in them (they have no food allerigies/issues). They were convinced that they were eating fudge balls. Oh yea. They were shocked when I told them that they were eating dates. :D

I hope you give these bonbons a whirl.
And if you get the chance, swing on over to wish Ginger a Happy Birthday.
Her little package of bonbons should be arriving about now too.

Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bons
Recipe makes 36 teaspoon sized bon-bons
Ingredients:

1 pound, super moist medjool dates
3/4 cup walnut halves (optional, but they add great Omega 3s!)
1/2 cup unsweetened, dark cocoa powder (+1/3 cup for rolling)

Directions:
1. Cut the dates in half and remove the seed.
2. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and process until it comes together in a large ball. (This takes a little while (3-5 minutes), but be patient – it works.)
3. Scrap the dough ball in to a bowl. Using your hands, squish it together into one large ball (if necessary).
4. Form teaspoon size balls of dough and roll them in more dark cocoa powder (to prevent them from sticking to each other) OR roll them in pulverized dark chocolate – but NOTE: this adds sugar to your recipe!). Go easy on the cocoa powder that you roll them in – you just want a light dusting or it can taste a bit dry/bitter at first bite.
5. Store in a cool, dry, airtight container until consumed (or about a week – 10 days.)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:  (Per bonbon with walnuts)
Calories:  46
Total Fat:  2g (from walnuts)  0 Saturated Fat; 0 Transfat
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates:  9g
Dietary Fiber:  1g
Sugars:  7g
Protein:  1g

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ginger!
Happy Fudgey-bonbons, All!
-Kate

PS.  If your dates are not moist, try adding a squeeze of fresh OJ to the mix.  It might make it a tad sticky for forming the balls, but the flavor will be great!