Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Ultimate Guide for Making Super-Soft Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns

Super-Soft Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns
Super-Soft GFCF Hamburger Buns
I've been working on the recipe for these hamburger buns for several years now.

Although, you can buy gluten-free hamburger buns in the freezer section at Walmart, Winco, Kroger, and other grocery stores, the buns aren't always as soft and tender as a hamburger bun should be.

Plus, the cost is outrageous.

Those stale gluten-free buns will set you back about 4 to 6 dollars for a pack of 4, depending on the brand available in your area. Even for just the two of us, that's quite expensive, so I've been working and reworking this hamburger bun recipe to make it more affordable.

It all started with a gluten-free oatmeal bread I had created for the Making the Gluten-Free Diet Journey blog. That recipe didn't make very good hamburger rolls, though. I had to do a lot of fiddling with the recipe to get an acceptable bun.

Eventually, I came up with something suitable enough to post, but my efforts didn't stop there.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Affordable Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Gluten-Free Flour Mix Spilled Out of a Glass Container
Have you seen the price of ready-made gluten-free flour mixes? They can be shockingly expensive. Popular name brands will set you back a good 5 bucks a pound, or more.

While cheaper brands, such as VitaCost, can be purchased online for as little as $2.50 a pound, if you go with the flour mixes that contain modified ingredients and specialty conditioners to make them act more like all-purpose flour, the price will be quite a bit more.

Ready mixes contain an undisclosed amount of Xanthan gum. Very few come with only gluten-free flours and starches, so they are difficult to bake with. You don't know how much vegetable gum is in there. Correcting the problem isn't as simple as tossing in a little more. In my own experience, mixes have too much Xanthan gum to make them very useful.

The point to affordable gluten-free cooking is to make your meals and snacks as inexpensive as possible, so it doesn't make sense to use an expensive, pre-packaged gluten-free flour blend when it's so simple to make it yourself at home.

Yes, a packaged flour is easy to use and convenient, but if you have a stand mixer or you only use a small amount of gluten-free flour per month, it's more affordable – and just as convenient – to make up your own blend.

If you store your gluten-free flour blend in an air-tight container on the kitchen counter, it will always be available whenever you have the urge to bake something that's gluten free.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

How to Make the Best Bean and Vegetable Salad for Summer Meals (Gluten-Free Recipe)

When I was young, mom and grandma used to make a popular dish called "Three-Bean Salad."

Three-Bean Salad was a sweet, but tangy, summer salad that was made with well-marinated canned green beans, yellow wax beans, and garbanzo beans. For those who didn't like garbanzo beans, you could simply substitute them with canned kidney beans instead.

That's what mom and grandma did.

But that was about as creative as a Three-Bean Salad ever got back then. The dressing was a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing spiked with sugar. Nothing fancy.

Some folks were braver than the others and tossed in a little sliced sweet onion and maybe a pungent clove of minced garlic, or two, but that was it.

Dancing Black Bean Character


When it comes to making great gluten-free food, especially when it's too hot to cook, I've never wanted to settle for anything that is "just okay." I have always played around with a recipe, until I've made it the best it can be.

And this tasty, gluten-free bean and vegetable salad is no exception.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Is Affordable Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking Even Possible?

Shredded Beef Enchiladas with Toppings

If you listen to all of the articles on the internet that talk about the cost of gluten-free food these days, you may wonder if affordable gluten-free cooking and baking is even possible.

From the way the media paints gluten-free eating, maybe it's not.

The media loves to exaggerate how many gluten-free foods are available at your local grocery store and just assume that all celiacs are loading up their grocery cart with mountains of processed foods.

Gluten-free meals do not have to be expensive. Spending money on what's in those tiny gluten-free sections of the store isn't necessary to eat well. In fact, you'll heal faster if you stay away from most gluten-free products for several months and just get back to basics.

Plus, most of those products don't taste as good as what you can make at home yourself.

It didn't take me very long to learn that lesson.

Although forum members at Delphi's celiac support group kept telling newbies to just keep trying different gluten-free products until you discover what you like, all that advice got me was an empty pocket book and an overflowing trash can.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Secret to Eating Well on a Budget

Tea Cup with Clouds and Sun inside - Enlightenment

Our lives have gone through several transformations over the past year.

Due to financial issues that arose from receiving Workman's Comp payments that the state of Utah (after the fact) decided we didn't qualify for, we ended up selling one of our cars and moving out of the house into a tiny basement apartment. That way, we could afford the mandatory repayment plan without being stuck here in Utah for the rest of our lives.

In addition, hubby went through another layoff from work, so things have been rough.

I did manage to pick up a small freezer for our new apartment, making it easier to buy meats and frozen vegetables in bulk, but with everything going on, trying to hunt down something that was glutening me, and wanting to move to Texas to be closer to most of my kids and the new grand baby, eating cheaply got lost in the shuffle.

At one point, I even began wondering if living on a budget was even possible. It seems like the more you plan, the more life rises up to oppose whatever you're trying to do. However, I did finally come to an epiphany, and when I did, I finally realized the secret to making a gluten-free diet affordable.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gluten-Free Chicken and Veggie Alfredo

Pot of Gluten-Free Chicken Alfredo with Vegetables
How to Make Gluten-Free Chicken Alfredo with Vegetables

Before going gluten free, Chicken Alfredo was one of our favorite recipes. We had it at least twice a month. Pasta dishes are always easy on the budget and Alfredo lets you stretch a single chicken breast to feed 3 people. After giving up the gluten, we didn't have it nearly as often since gluten-free pasta costs a lot more than pasta made with semolina flour.

Ever since the new gluten-free labeling law went into effect last summer, major food companies have been coming out with their own gluten-free pasta varieties. Costs have been less than traditional gluten-free brands, and they are easily available at most major grocery stores. Out of the several brands we've tried over the past year, Barilla gluten-free pasta had the best taste and texture.

Due to its availability and affordable price, Barilla was the brand I used to recommend but keep in mind that . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Does Growing Your Own Veggies Save Money?

Pepper Plants Growing in Rows
Weighing Out the Cost of Growing Your Own Vegetables?

My oldest son lives in Texas. He recently moved from a very small apartment into a house and wanted to get an early jump-start on gardening. He was so excited to finally be able to grow his own veggies. One of his passions is cooking. He was really looking forward to having all of those freshly grown vegetables for his summertime masterpieces.

Unfortunately:

This has been a bad year for early spring gardens in Texas. Although he doesn't live in the Houston area, they are still getting pounded with storms. It has rained every single day for the past month.
  • Most of his garden is flooded.
  • His backyard is a swamp.
  • His potatoes died.

The corn?

Now living in those swamp-like conditions, the corn is barely holding onto life. His cucumbers and tomatoes are doing beautifully, though. They love the excess water. However, yesterday, he said that he pulled up some of the plants that have survived and placed them in pots and planter boxes in hopes of saving them. He's really worried about the onions.

Granted, this isn't typical.

Texas has been dry for the past several years, so there was no way to know that the garden was going to get pounded when my son planted it a few weeks ago, but it does raise some questions about just how economical growing a garden actually is:

Does growing your own veggies save money?
Or is it actually more expensive?