When I first started this blog in 2012, I had no idea what “gluten free” was. I was only trying to post family recipes. But as I got more and more into the blogging world, I discovered there is a niche area for healthier food options such as vegan, paleo, gluten free, and clean eating recipes. More and more, I found that I wanted to change my own personal eating habits to become healthier and more wholesome. That didn’t mean that I discontinued blogging about all the desserts I grew up with, but it did mean that everything had to be consumed with more moderation than to which I was accustomed.
One of the reasons I started eating gluten free was because flour spikes my blood sugar. No kidding. It causes me to get really fatigued so that I want to go to sleep immediately! This seems to happen with wheat-based flour and cornmeal–even more than sugar! Probably because of the GMO modification since the 1970s. One study I read noted that an enzyme is now released in flour that causes your appetite to increase and desire more flour as a result of this. Yikes. That’s why flour is such an addiction in this country! It’s really hard to get good flour these days unless you buy it from organic wholesalers. All the other stuff is GMO. (Genetically Modified Organisms).
I have a mixture of clean eating, vegan, paleo, and gluten free recipes in my healthier section. I have many gluten free recipes that could never be considered healthy because they use sugar or other products that aren’t healthy. The same happens with some of my vegan recipes. But, by-and-large, most of my gluten free or vegan recipes are really healthy. My goal is really more toward clean eating than anything else. That means I stay away from overly processed foods in cans, packages, boxes, etc., and try to get down to the basics of real food. Sometimes that means I have to make my own products, like my Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup recipe. Other times, it means I’ve learned to improvise and substitute cleaner options, like real shredded cheese instead of cheese food or Velveeta which is processed. And sometimes it means staying away from certain products entirely. Not always easy, I know.
One of the things I’ve tried to do with my gluten free section is begin to make a lot recipes with gluten free pastas, gluten free flours for the sauces and gravies, and use gluten free products where possible for pancakes and baked goods. I’ve used Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix a lot in making baked goods. But I usually have to use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of GF flour to be comparable with 1 cup regular all-purpose flour.
I’ve tried all kinds of combinations but this one has the best consistency for baked goods that I’ve found. I’ve promised a guy at John’s office who has grandkids that have gluten, red dye, and preservative issues that I was going to make a concerted effort to trying more of my recipes with gluten free flour. Specifically, my Homemade Chicken and Dumplings, Homemade Pie Crust, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Those are the first ones on my list.
While I’ve made lots of soups, casseroles, and side dishes that are gluten free, it’s time to get to baking gluten free!
So here are a few tips about Gluten Free Living:
1) When baking breads, cookies, cakes, or pies, I highly recommend that you DO NOT use coconut flour. It causes an awful consistency to the bread. I look for gluten free flours that claim you can use one cup of gluten free flour for every cup of all-purpose flour in a recipe. And then I still add any leavening agents even though Pamela’s baking mix has it included.
2) I don’t like using Xantham Gum in recipes. I thought it made recipes tough, not spongy like it’s supposed too. Instead, I use regular baking powder and baking soda.
3) Any time for a recipe calls for flour as a thickening agent for soups, sauces, casseroles, etc., use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour. It works fine for those kinds of things, although I don’t like it in baking.
4) Don’t overcook pasta when using gluten free noodles. Boil 2 minutes at a rapid boil. Turn off heat. Allow pasta to soak in hot water about 12-15 more minutes. It will be done by then and ready to use just like regular pasta.
5) Don’t waste your money on corn pasta. After it cooks it becomes gummy and chewy. Brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta are better options.
Here are a few of my gluten free recipes:
This is one of my FAVORITE dips. We eat it all the time. I love the avocado in this recipe.
This wonderful recipe uses homemade roasted red peppers.
This is one of those recipes that can never be considered healthy, but it’s a great option for Birthday Breakfasts for anyone who has gluten intolerance.
This recipe has strawberries and bananas in the batter as well as on the side.
This recipe is actually vegan as well. I got rave reviews when I served this at a party. No one could believe it was either gluten free or vegan. The taste is incredible. You can certainly make wonderful dishes that are gluten free if you desire.
This recipe is amazing! I used a boxed gluten free cake mix. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s a great option for those who can’t do gluten at all.
Tasty main dish that uses corn starch and rice rather than wheat.
This recipe uses oatmeal and veggies for stuffing the meatloaf rather than bread crumbs made from flour and high fructose corn syrup.
This is one of those delicious salad recipes that would be gluten free regardless, but it shows you that eating great doesn’t have to be yucky!
This is an amazing salad that you will love.
Instead of pasta I used spaghetti squash. Instead of flour I used gluten free flour. One of the best recipes I’ve ever eaten!
This is another fabulous side dish that’s great for holiday baking.
Thicken soups and chowders with gluten free flour rather than all-purpose flour.
Some recipes don’t require thickening at all.
So check out my Gluten Free archives and find some tasty recipes that you are your family can enjoy. You may also want to check out the section that’s for healthy-low calorie. Some of those may be excellent choices as well.