This week I have been feeling rather defeated in the cooking areas. I normally am cooking and baking all kinds of wonderful treats and earning my praise. This week has sucked. Let’s face it since we went Gluten Free over 2 months ago I’ve really put baking on hold. I only do what I need, muffins for Dave and Diana’s lunch, granola bars that are GF for everyone (and better than store bought!) and rice krispie squares. Baking GF is an art and something I’ve not really touched only the few things we wanted to try to keep in our monthly meal rotation, pancakes and pizza dough. Pancakes are not too hard, we’ve had a few drier recipes and a few great ones. We loved the Pumpkin Pancakes in Easy Gluten Free Baking Cook book. Pizza dough is another story. I’ve tried bulk barn mixes and using my recipe and just replacing the flour with and All Purpose GF one. Both sucked.
This week I wanted to try a few new ideas. Gluten Free living isn’t hard, we love meat and potatoes in this house and rice pasta is great (a little pricier though). I just wanted a few easy ideas for when the kids and I are just at home and Dave is working. So the first experiment was taking my homemade Mac n Cheese and making the sauce GF. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard because for gravy I just used cornstarch. Some people might already be feeling that this meal is beyond and easy meal, but I’ve been making this since I was about 12 and have it perfected just a quick as Kraft Dinner. Anyways so I started my water and then went to work on my sauce. As I said I would simply replace the flour for corn starch. That worked well at the start but then as I was adding milk to the rue it started to go south. I was getting a really watery sauce. OK so to thicken it back up I was going to try to add a little GF All purpose flour. The problem with this is, the GF Flour has a particular taste to it. So I thought I could remedy that with more cheese. Again this didn’t help either. I was getting a thick awful mess going on. The more I tried to add milk as I heated it and it went super thick and lumpy. You know the science experiment with corn starch and water, when you leave it you have a runny substance, if you hit it or move it you get a solid. Anyways picture that in a cheese mess. To top it off the boys were going crazy because I was cooking and they wanted food now, and the girls were fighting over silly things. Needless to say it was an awful night. We finally sat down to eat this stuff and the kids ate a few bites but then slowly stopped and the complaining started. Usually I try to keep the left overs of the meals and I’ll tough it out myself so that I don’t see food go to waste. I just threw out the sauce and bowl left overs. Luckily I didn’t mix all the noodles and sauce so I just put the noodles in the fridge.
The next night I had hoped for a better turnout. I was simply taking a favorite of mine, Mandu and instead of wanton wrappers I was using rice paper. Then I figured I’d just bake it rather than boil it. Mandu is simply ground pork, cabbage, carrot, a little green onion, soya sauce and sesame oil. It is wanton soup without the soup. This all seemed simple enough to me and it was even quicker to put together than Mandu. I figured I would bake it slowly to make sure the meat cooked and the wrapper didn’t over cook. After a bit I turned the heat up. When I figured it was all done I pulled it out hoping to get a spring roll type treat. Yah not to much. They had oozed soya sauce I’m guessing and the wrappers were either hard or too chewy. The kids didn’t like them, and usually like Mandu. I found I couldn’t eat that many or I was going to end up with a jaw cramp. Sigh another failure! The boys ate cereal and the cucumbers I put out with dinner. The girls just ate cucumbers and yogurt.
I was feeling pretty beat at this point. I haven’t tried much yet and I understand why you just go slow with this food lifestyle. It is hard when the kids are turning their noses up at my hard work and even Dave isn’t too helpful in that area. He usually either avoids what I have made and then eats a PB sandwich when the kids are in bed or he can complain as much as the little ones. I know this stuff isn’t as good as their gluten filled counter parts but I am really trying to make it feel like a new yummy normal. The boys are the only ones who I have removed it completely. The others are allowed things every now and then. White bread is still in the house and cereal. I have a few baked goodies in the freezer for them also. Ugh it is really hard right now baking was the one thing I loved and also loved all the yummy praise I got.
I made waffles last night with a GF mix and they were great! Better that way then as pancakes which you can do too with the mix. But today for lunch I made a GF pizza for the kids with the dough I had in the freezer. I got bad reviews on it again too, just hoping to use up what I had around before making new stuff. I’m sensing that I’m better off just pitching any and all leftovers that don’t get good reviews. I’m tired of eating the cardboard tasting leftovers on my own. I guess this blog is more of a what not to do. At least others will see that it isn’t easy and may avoid the mistakes I’ve already made, as I try to do the same and avoid recipes others have had trouble with.
Well as I’m typing this I am bringing some butter to room temperature to make up a chocolate chip cookie mix my mom picked up for me to try. I’m really glad that my mom never does stuff from scratch and so when she was here she bought me a few mixes to try. She’d rather spend the extra money and just add a thing or two and have it done and over with. Actually she would buy the mix and wait until I got to her house to make it for her. She doesn’t like cooking or baking at all.
The only plus side to this is that until Easter hit I was actually losing weight again from not baking anymore, without even trying. Then Easter came and I could have chocolate again since I gave it up for lent and my kids had gotten quite a bit from various bunny visits.
I’m hoping to have a positive baking experience soon. It is snowing again today also and that is bumming everyone out too. We have had a terrible winter here, we get a snow storm and then have several inches of snow again, it melts and we start to think spring is here and another snow storm comes through again.