Gluten free baking

Will I ever get better at this? Is there some secret to GF baking that no one has shared with me yet?

the Husband is trying with all of his might to master it (I think it frustrates him more than me frankly). The muffins he made were really quite grainy but with a bit of butter and warmed up I don’t mind them. He also made some butterscotch bars which I think were amazing, but again, the base was a bit drier than the chewy bottom layer he expected.

I think part of my issue is the flour blend I’m using. I’m going to change it up for next time based on other people’s successes that I’ve met but alas, let’s hope that it helps.

Any tips?

The blanket

For Christmas I wanted a heating blanket. Ever since the Girl was about 9 months, I no longer have my internal furnace that always kept me toasty warm for the last 3 years (from pregnancy with the Boy onwards). the Husband couldn’t find one he liked so instead he bought me the squishiest soft chocolate brown blanket he could find. the second I opened it I wanted to curl into bed with it. It’s been on my bed since christmas other than laundry days, and I can’t tell you how much I adore this blanket.

I sit here typing in bed while under the blanket and I feel peaceful. Wednesdays are tough days for me as I work at a dayhome next door with 8 kids including my own 2. By the time I get home I’m spent, so even though it’s 8:14pm, I’m in bed and quite content here. This blanket is pure bliss.

My poor girl is sick. I could hear the Husband bringing her up the stairs she was snoring so loudly. Please pray or wish or whatever it is that your family does that my Girl gets better soon. She’s on her 5th round of antibiotics in 3 months.

Countdown

The kids are getting tested on Thursday. I keep speculating as to what the results will be, but I have to wait and see I think. I just keep searching for answers as to why my children are so sick right now. It all started in november with strep for the Boy and a ruptured ear drum for the Girl. Multiple rounds of antibiotics later, they were “better”. Then Christmas came and so did the colds.. then the stomach flu, then more ruptured ear drums (on both parts) and a throat infection for the Boy. Rounds of antibiotics later and we’re on to the next illness, barely a week after the meds ended. I’m certain that there’s still something up with the Boy’s tonsils.. they’re frankly quite repulsive. And the girl? She woke with a fever last night and was lethargic and pitiful all day. What is going on??

The Husband made such a wonderful dinner tonight. I don’t even know what was in it to be honest, but whatever it was, he tossed some into a seperate pot, added some broth and blended that baby up into a lovely soup for the kids – jam packed with veggies and even some chicken (typically the Boy won’t eat meat). The Boy downed the whole bowl and I’m hoping to get some into the Girl tomorrow. I think soup might be on the menu for the rest of this week.. these kids need some serious immune boosters.

Food Reviews so far

I’ve been trying everything and anything I can get my hands on just to try things out. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

Glutino Bagels
Holy man these things are good. They taste like the real thing to me. So far I’ve tried poppy seed and sesame seed and they are both fantastic! Highly recommend these babies.

Enjoy Life Bars
I cannot stand the Cocoa ones.. they’re so gritty. But I really have grown quite fond of the Apple Caramel and the Sunbutter ones. They are great to keep in my purse or pocket for when I desperately need something but can’t just stop and grab anymore. Their cookies leave something to be desired. I’d rather make my own.

KinnickKinnick White Cake Mix
Holy man. This cake was out of this world. I couldn’t taste any difference from gluten-filled cake at all! Oh wow it was good. We threw in a cup of coconut for kicks and that was awesome too. What I personally liked about this mix was that The Boy could do most of it himself – something he’s big on as he approaches 3.

As for breads, let’s just say we’ve had a couple of failures and a few so-sos but really, I’m not going for much bread these days..

In our life, things are as usual. I have to go for a Bone Density scan to get a baseline given the higher risk of osteoperosis when you’re celiac.. I go for my 3 month blood work in March so I’ve still got some time before that but I’m anxious to see those levels of antibodies going down and the levels of nutrients going up.

The Boy had croup this week – my least favourite illness of his since it creates such a difficult breathing time for him. His inhalers have been getting a workout these last few days but I’m hoping we’re over the worst of it.

Beauty in Sleep

I adore my kids. Without sounding like a bad mom – I love them when they’re sleeping. (I love them loads when they’re awake but..) There’s something so peaceful and beautiful about a sleeping child that you just don’t get until they’re asleep. Their lips, their cheeks, their hair all over the place.. I could sit and watch my children sleep for hours (and sometimes I do).

The Boy last night had a hard time going to sleep. Something is going on with him and I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure if he’s cognitively growing given he’ll be 3 in 2 months, or if physically something is off. He’s battled strep throat and a throat infection and an ear infection all in the last 2 months, so I’m sure there’s some healing going on. But anyway, I went up to check on him as I told him he would and I asked him why he was still awake. His response? “I don’t understand why I’m not aslsep mom. I think it’s because I’m still little sometimes.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The Boy IS still little and I forget that sometimes. It’s nice to be reminded.

I held him in my arms and cuddled him, rocking back and forth shushing as I did for so many hours when he was an infant. I nearly started weeping as all of the memories came rushing back. My boy still loves a good cuddle and for that, I am so thankful. The Husband went in and read him some stories and the Boy fell asleep promptly (isn’t that always the way..). I went in and watched him for a couple of moments before bed (and listened to the sound of the motors coming out of my child’s mouth.. the snore is a pretty good indicator that something’s up I think). Smiling, I headed off to sleep myself.

As an aside – the cake was amazing. I added some coconut to it. The Husband wasn’t sure he liked the coconut in it, but the rest of us loved it!

And, the kids are being tested next week for celiac. We get the req on tuesday so it’ll be off for the blood test shortly after that.

Oy Gravy

So I definitely discovered that gravy is not so easy to make without gluten. I made gravy at Christmas and it was pretty good, but the gravy I made last night was awful. I ended up throwing it out so we wouldn’t have to eat it.

I’m not sure if I didn’t have enough drippings, or if I used rice flour instead of GF all-purpose flour.. but it was gross. It had no taste and well, I’ll have to figure out how to make it better. Any tips?

It’s been beautiful here for the last while (finally, after a month of -30C temperature) and we got to spend some glorious time outside today. The kids had a blast and I only wish it woudl last, but alas, it’s dropping back down this week. It’ll give us a chance to start some of our crafts that we’ve been wanting to work on. The kids need to make some new paintings, and we’d like to try some new felting techniques too!

We made our first gluten free cake today. The Boy helped to ice the cake – he requested purple icing. It looks beautiful. I added some coconut to it (at the request of The Boy – he loves coconut) so I can’t wait to taste how good it is after dinner. It was the KinnickKinnick cake mix so we’ll see how it turns out!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

I’m a month in…

Tomorrow marks a month from when I was diagnosed and I think I’m doing pretty well. Other than New Year’s Eve’s mix-up, I’ve managed, I think, to avoid gluten. I’ve learned these few things in my short month:

1 – I’m still paranoid about cross-contamination, but I’m managing. And, it’s okay to be paranoid about it.

2 – I really need to learn how to do GF baking better.

3 – Meals are actually pretty easy for the most part. GF cereal is growing on me. Dinners are really good and I can’t tell the difference when something is coated in GF flour as opposed to wheat flour.

4 – Lunches are still sucking. Unless it’s leftovers, I’m still feeling at a loss.

5 – Bread is not the same.

6 – I’m getting there and I should be proud of my progress so far.

Hopefully in the next month I’ll get even better at things. Already it’s seeming to be a routine and not something I am forcing myself to remember.

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