Is Affordable Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking Even Possible?

Affordable Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking is Easy
Affordable Gluten Free
is Certainly Possible!
If you listen to all 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. When we were in Walmart this past Saturday, I noticed that their entire gluten-free food aisle was now missing.

Where are all of these gluten-free groceries the media keeps talking about?

Gluten-free meals do not have to be as expensive as those news articles claim. Spending money on what's in the tiny gluten-free sections of the store, if you can even have one, 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. Most of those fancy products don't taste as good as what you can make at home yourself, anyway.

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 ever got me was an empty pocket book and an overflowing trash can.

This was almost a decade ago, back when you could bounce the most popular gluten-free bread off the floor and didn't dare eat any for fear you'd choke. I've heard it makes a really good Thanksgiving turkey dressing, though.

Don't Accept Gluten-Free Foods that are Just Okay

As of today, there is still no substitute for wheat, so gluten-free baked goods are not going to taste exactly like what you ate before. Donuts won't be light and fluffy. Crackers will be a bit crumbly or hard. Flour tortillas will be chewy and grainy. 

Mission does make a white-rice flour tortilla now. They cost about 5.99 for a pack of 8 tortillas at Smith's Marketplace, what's called Kroger in other states. Walmart used to sell them here, but I don't know if they still do. They are only available in the western part of the U.S.

Hubby loves them, but I react to them. My guess is that they use a wheat-based Xanthan gum, but I don't know for sure.

If you accept the fact that you can't replace the wheat flavor going into your new culinary adventure, stop chasing after gluten-free products that are just like their counterpart, rise up to the challenge, and make the best of it, things will go a lot smoother.

Not easier, just smoother. The easiness of this path depends on your individual sensitivity to gluten. The more sensitive you are, the rougher the path.

And that's fine.

Life isn't suppose to be pleasant and pain-free all the time. The purpose for living isn't to eliminate all the opposition you face every day. It takes resistance to grow, which is why the nature of life on this planet is challenge.

However, what you don't have to do is accept gluten-free food that's just okay. You don't have to eat what you don't like just because it's cheap and gluten free.

I see too many people doing that these days.

When I asked them why they are eating things that don't really taste good, they say, “Well, it's better than nothing,” or “It's the best we've got.

No it's not.

YOU are the best you've got.

Eating inexpensively requires a little extra time in the kitchen and a bit of education as to how to make the necessary changes required to make gluten-free flour behave like gluten does.

Once you learn how to make your own gluten-free flour mix and where to get the best price for gluten-free supplies, you'll never be tempted to buy another expensive gluten-free mix.

Accept the Challenge to Make it Yourself

Whether you're a gluten-free beginner or you have been traveling this path for several years now, there is always something yummy and affordable to eat when you take the time to make it yourself. It might not be exactly the same as you ate before, but it will be something you can find pleasure in serving to family and friends.

For example, we eat homemade french bread that's slightly larger than a baguette instead of a normal-looking loaf of sandwich bread because it's as close to real french bread as I've been able to make it – and my loaf bread still sucks. We eat soft and fluffy gluten-free hamburger rolls for sandwiches, as well as burgers, and I also cut them in half for toast.

We have chocolate chip cookies flavored with butterscotch pudding mix that are BETTER than the chocolate chip cookies they replace, and gluten-free chocolate cake that's so rich and moist that our non gluten-free friends can't tell the difference between the gluten-free version and the real thing.

We eat lots of rice flavored with a sweet Thai chili sauce, simple-but-filling baked potatoes, hearty salads, and ice cream topped with fresh berries in season.

We eat Mexican and Oriental cuisine quite often.

We almost always skip the expensive gluten-free products at our local Winco and opt for a flat-iron steak from Smith's seared in a cast-iron skillet with a side of Bush's baked beans instead.

WHAT you eat might change, as it did for us, but cooking and serving affordable gluten-free food doesn't have to be just okay. I realized that over the holidays a couple of years ago when I stopped and asked myself why I was only making sugar-cookie cut-outs or spicy gingerbread cookies for Christmas.

Why wasn't I making and eating our favorite foods every day?

That's when my gluten-free cooking and baking really began to evolve into something that we could eat and enjoy all the time, not just for special occasions.

If you're looking for a way to make your gluten-free meals yummy, as well as inexpensive, bookmark this blog, so you can remember how to get back here, or sign up for my email updates. That way you can stop chasing after gluten-free products that always fall short of your expectations and learn how to make them for yourself.


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