Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gluten-Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving

When our family had to go gluten-free this year, there was a lot of sadness over the fact we would never eat this and that again. EVER. Like Pizza Hut pizza or Applebee's boneless chicken wings. And then other things begin to set in like realizing, wait, stuffing for Thanksgiving!

I usually tear up fresh hamburger buns for my stuffing, but this year that was not an option. Because there was so much going on at the time, I have to admit I almost just didn’t attempt it. But it was important to my boys.

So, without having any idea what in the world I was going to do, I made up two loaves of gluten free sandwich bread, and cut them into slices. I cut those into strips and then half inch cubes. I dried the cubes in the oven for a few hours, probably longer than I needed to because they came out pretty set. But, maybe that helped keep them from getting mushy in the end which is what I envisioned gluten-free bread doing. Here is what they looked liked before I mixed in the liquids.

gluten-free stuffing cubes

Jack sautéed onions and I readied chicken broth and melted butter. I mixed all of it together, the bread cubes with salt and poultry seasoning, the onions and the liquids, and baked it up and it was so tasty! A lot like really good Stove Top Stuffing. Actually, they all liked it better than what I’d made before and they loved that. Even Molly who never eats stuffing loved it. So I was pretty darn pleased. Smile Here it is before it was baked.

gluten-free stuffing

Just a side note. I used Sweet White Rice flour to thicken my turkey gravy and it was wonderful. Who needs real flour?! Winking smile

Little Gluten-Free Baking Victories

I have had lots of little victories lately in the realm of gluten-free baking which is good because I was feeling kind of defeated. Let’s hope I can remember what they were! Open-mouthed smile

cavedbread

This picture is a partial victory. Winking smile I mentioned a gluten-free sandwich bread awhile back, the one with flax seed, and I have made it numerous times since. After trying lots of gluten-free bread recipes, it is the most like regular bread that I have ever baked and even toasts up great! It really is just wonderful though the Golden Flaxseed Meal taste is strong to me and sometimes I halve that ingredient with something else like Whole Grain Rolled Oats. I think it will be one of my main recipes, but I’m still having trouble with it. For some reason, after baking, it caves in to the point the bread has an hour-glass figure. It really cuts into the bread content then, especially when it sucks in on the bottom too as you can possibly see above. So odd and frustrating. Time after time, loaf after loaf, no matter how I adjust baking time hoping to make it firm up enough to hold. I’ve read some comments on the recipe page though, and I’ll do some more experimenting. Hopefully it might be as easy as finding I might be raising it too long.

I made Gluten Free Waffles into pancakes while Jacob was still home, and he loved them! Next time I’ll make them as waffles. It is a fantastic recipe.

I tried Gluten Free French Bread, only once and can’t remember details to tell, but I was pretty impressed. Enough to promptly order a French Bread Pan and the crust was crusty!! If you are gluten-free, you know how much we miss crusty. Winking smile

There were other victories, but perhaps this was the most satisfying. When Jacob came home for his surgery and Thanksgiving, stuffing was at the top of his wish-list. It is one of the things my boys have always loved about our Thanksgiving dinner, so it was important to me to try and re-create it this year when so many things have been changing. It was a huge success, and I’ll write about it in a separate post. Smile

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Feeling So Thankful

Before I get down to some practical posts regarding some gluten-free cooking and baking I’ve done recently, I wanted to write about two things that have made my heart lighter and for which I am so thankful. My son, Jacob, had a tumor removed from his shoulder blade and his follow-up appointment confirmed the tumor was benign. I can heartily say, “…good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30 I was so relieved as the whole process from initial doctor visit and CT scan to surgery took so long to coordinate because Jacob is away at school. It really took a toll on my nerves, but you know how “all things work together for good,” Romans 8:28, and it took me through a journey I’d not been on before and I learned through it. Further, Jacob is recovering well, and in the end, we were terribly blessed by having him home for a long visit, two and a half weeks. We hadn’t seen him since August so it was a wonderful time. We capped the visit off by seeing Red Dawn and spending our last day quietly at home drinking hot drinks and decorating the Christmas tree, Jacob reading for class, baking, and watching Everybody Loves Raymond.

My other stupendous news is that my dog, Barley, does not have cancer! I was so shocked by the news, I cried. We took him to the vet the very day we discovered he had a sizable lump low on his side, and what she saw on the slide led her to believe it was an aggressive cancer. We opted to send the sample for testing and found out it was instead Blastomycosis, a horrible and often fatal infection with symptoms like sudden & permanent blindness. Early detection is crucial, and we realize now how small our window of detection really was. Barley’s lump began to go away within a day or two, and if we had never noticed it initially, we would never have known. By the time we did, it would likely have been too late. He is on medication for three months. When we thought he had cancer we decided to switch him over to a completely raw diet. Let me tell you he is loving that! He suffered badly from allergies, and I think this is helping him with that and also he is losing weight that he needed to lose. Win, win! Smile