Category Archives: Gluten Free

Egg Substitutes

People avoid eggs for many different reasons. These may include food allergies, needing to cut down on cholesterol, being vegan and not eating animal products as well as concerns about salmonella. If you avoid eggs for any reason, there are alternatives available.

First you need to know what you want the egg to do.  Eggs serve various purposes in cooking. To be able to choose the right substitute you first need to know what purpose the egg serves in a particular recipe. The following are some of the ways eggs are used in cooking.

Eggs as a binder.  When an egg is used as a binder it becomes the “glue” that holds other ingredients together. An example of this is adding eggs to meatloaf. Eggs may also be used as a glue to make bread crumbs or flour stick to other foods as a coating for frying.

Eggs as a leavening agent. They help baked goods rise. If there is little or no other leavening such as baking powder or baking soda in a recipe then you know the eggs are being used for leavening.

Eggs for moisture. If a cake recipe calls for eggs, but little or no liquid such as water or milk the eggs are being used to provide moisture.

Eggs as the main ingredient. This is when eggs are the recipe, such as an omelet, Quiche or frittata.

Once you know what job you want the eggs to do in a recipe it is time to start thinking about substitutes.

Tofu is probably your best option if you want to make a dish where eggs are the main feature. To make Tofu Scramble used crumbled firm tofu. Remember tofu takes on other flavors so don’t be afraid of adding veggies and spices. Add a little turmeric or nutritional yeast for the yellow color of scrambled eggs. You may also use tofu to make an eggless egg salad, but I like to use chick peas for mine.

Ener-G Egg Replacer TM is a commercial product and is a powder that may be mixed with water or used dry depending on the recipe. It is used mostly for baking, but may be combined with buttermilk and cheese to make an omelet. Read the back of the package for directions and ideas for using this product.

Commercial egg substitute made from egg whites such as Egg Beaters® .  There are other brands on the market as well. These are made from eggs (usually egg whites) so are not suitable if you are allergic to eggs or are vegan. They may also be used for most of the things you would expect an egg to do in any recipe. I use them to make egg dishes, such as omelets, quiches and frittatas, but I use egg substitutes to lower fat and cholesterol content in my recipes, not because I am allergic.

Fruit Puree including applesauce, mashed bananas, pureed pumpkin or prunes may be used to replace eggs. Use 1/3 cup to replace each egg in recipes that use eggs primarily to add moisture.  If the eggs are used as leavening try ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder for each egg to give your baked goods a little more lift.

Flax seed meal makes a great egg substitute for baking.   Mix 1 Tablespoon flax seed meal which is ground flax seed, with 3 Tablespoons hot water for each egg you are substituting. You can buy flax seed meal or grind flax seed in a spice grinder. After adding the water let it sit until it becomes thick and about the consistency of egg whites. Most resources say to only use this for up to two eggs, but I have used it to replace up to four in my carrot cake with no problem. I use this to replace eggs in most of my baking without increasing the leaving and it works fine. Flax seed is also high in fiber and essential fatty acids giving baked goods a little nutritional boost as well. Don’t ask me how this works as an egg substitute. It took me a long time to even try this because I could not see how it could possibly work. You may also use chia seeds, but they are more expensive than flax.

Vinegar, yes plain old apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 Tablespoon with 1 teaspoon baking soda. If you have ever made a volcano for a science project you know it will foam up, so be prepared. This is what I use in my Easy Egg Free Chocolate Cake.

Cooking without eggs is not as scary of difficult as it may sound. It does require a little experimentation so don’t count on getting it right the first time. Remember one substitute will not necessarily work for all recipes. Give yourself time and permission to play and you will find the egg substitutes that work for you.

If you use egg substitutes, what is your favorite?

Tommorrow:  My Eggless Egg Salad Recipe


 

 

Did you miss the cooking video?

In case you missed it this is the video of me cooking sweet and sour chicken in my kitchen here at home.  If you see this on Sunday 1/21/2018 there is still time to get a free copy of The Gluten Free Good Life from the Kindle Store.

 

This was shared at the Sugar and Spice Link Party.  Check it out!

The Secret to Cooking Good Healthy Food

Last year a culinary instructor named Todd Mohr gave a free webinar on how to cook like a chef.  It was not what I expected.  Instead of talking about all the “secrets” and difficult recipes we think professional chefs know he talked about how home cooks make things too difficult.  The focus of his webinar was learning basic techniques, cooking methods and spices then using your own fresh ingredients to create original dishes.

My Rocky Beginnings

When Bob and I first started living gluten free I was scared to death.  There were already a number of foods we didn’t eat for health reasons and I was sure there would be nothing left to eat…  So I started with stir fry and kept working on figuring out all those difficult gluten free recipes and exotic ingredients.   I eventually began to convert my own recipes and realized it really wasn’t that difficult, but I kept collecting recipes trying to find new, different and perfect recipes that met our needs.

Already Heading in the Right Direction

When I heard what Chef Todd had to say I realized I was already heading in that direction.  I was already putting together my own ingredients to create new soups and salads. I rotisserie whole chickens and use the meat for various dishes and boil the bones to make stock. Then I realized I had my “magic mixture” which was usually black beans, onion, corn, salsa or canned tomatoes and chili spices and sometimes chicken.  This ends up on baked potatoes, gluten free pasta, spaghetti squash, salad greens and most recently with rice rolled into a gluten free wrap for burritos. Sometimes I add rice for the closest thing to a casserole I do now.  I like to make a big batch to have on hand.

The Gluten Free Wraps and a Discovery

The gluten free wraps were part of a prize package from Toufayan Bakeries which I won through a drawing at the Gluten Away Online Expo.  The first couple of days after the package arrived we enjoyed some wonderful deli style sandwich wraps.  I even made a special trip into town for good deli meat, goat cheese and condiments.

Then I started looking for different ideas and went to the Toufayan website where I found the recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Freezer Burritos. When I realized I already had the basics down all I needed to do was think a little outside the box and wrap the stuff up in a tortilla or other flat bread, I felt a little embarrassed. But this was an excellent illustration of Chef Todd’s point just a few days after listening to him.

When I made these I cut eat one in half and wrapped them in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag.  I ended up with two bags of these. Quite a bit of work, but good to have on hand for a snack or meal emergency.

Burrito wrap w/ filling.
Copyright 2017

 

Burritos ready for freezer.
Copyright 2017

Do you Make Things too Difficult?

Home cooks do make things way too difficult. We try to impress people with our skills or some sort of secret recipe or knowledge that only we have. Add food restrictions such as wheat or dairy to the mix and things can really get crazy. It is easy to panic and wonder what on earth you are going to eat.

My suggestion.  

  • Focus on techniques. Review or learn basic cooking methods such as baking, roasting, steaming, sauteing, braising, grilling, stir frying, etc.  These I have mentioned can all be done gluten free and dairy free.
  •  Then bring in your own fresh ingredients and seasonings and mix and match to your hearts content.  You might also want to play around with sauces and toppings.

The benefit of cooking this way is that you get to choose your own ingredients.  I think this is the easiest way to cook for special diets.

All you have to do is get started. It is a different way of thinking about food and cooking than many of us are used to. Take that first step and get started. Don’t be afraid to play a little and get creative.  Things will get easier as you go along and you will eventually find yourself thinking, I really made this?  This is so good!

What is your secret to cooking good, healthy food?

It’s Pumpkin Day

 

Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Pasta in Pumpkin Sauce

This time of year I know when most people think of pumpkins they think of Jack o Lanterns. Me? I think of soup, pasta sauce, cake, cookies, pie. I do love my pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes.

If you have never tired fresh pumpkin consider buying a pie pumpkin (they are smaller) and give it a try.
Never cleaned and cooked a pumpkin? Check out Time to Kill the Fatted Pumpkin for step by step instructions.

Have you ever used pumpkin in a savory dish?  Here are a few of my favorites:

Rotini in Pumpkin Sauce

Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon

Pumpkin is a wonderful healthy ingredient that can give a nutrition and flavor to many different types of dishes.  Of course pumpkin pie is good, but maybe this year you could branch out a bit?

This post is part of the Sugar and Spice Link Party.

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Looking for more of my recipes?  Need a holiday gift?  Check out my e-books.

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday

The Gluten Free Good Life

Frozen Fun:  25 Dairy and Dairy Free Ice Cream Recipes

 

 

 

 

The Secret to Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

With Independence Day coming up on Tuesday many of us in the U.S. are thinking about food, planning what we are going to serve.  Summer always makes me think of picnics and when I think of picnics I think of fried chicken.  Not just any fried chicken, my mom’s fried chicken.  She made the best.  I have many of her recipes including fried chicken.  This is one of those recipes I thought was out-of-bounds for me when I started living gluten-free for health reasons.  When I realized how simple the answer was I was embarrassed that I couldn’t see it sooner.

You see, there really is no secret to making gluten-free fried chicken.  Unless there are other problem ingredients, you can still use you favorite recipe, with one small change.  You use gluten-free flour.  Now you will get different results with different flours, so you will want to experiment a bit.  The first time I tried this I made two batches of chicken nuggets, one with brown rice flour and one with sorghum flour.  You can also use a blend if you wish.  You do not need xanthan gum for this.  I have since fried actual pieces of chicken and it works great as well.

Fried chicken nuggets made with brown rice flour.

 

Fried chicken nuggets made with sorghum flour

If you don’t have a favorite fried chicken recipe you are welcome to try mine.  My mom’s recipes were just lists of ingredients, often without measurements so I usually just guess at how much I need of each ingredient.  Feel free to adjust my measurements below for how much chicken you have.  This recipe may also be used with basically anything you want to bread and fry.

Mom’s Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into tenders or nuggets (You may also use bone-in chicken pieces or a cut up whole chicken).

1 t. Mrs. Dash

1 t. paprika (this helps with browning)

1/4 c. milk

1 eggs beaten or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl or flat baking dish.
  2. Combine flour and spices in another bowl or baking dish.  Mix well.
  3. Dip chicken pieces in milk/egg mixture, then in flour.  Repeat.
  4. Pour oil about 1″ deep in a skillet.  Heat oil till a small drop of water dropped in pan sizzles.
  5. Carefully add chicken pieces to hot oil.  You do not want to splatter hot oil or your skill or for it to run over the edges of the skillet.
  6. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
  7. Reduce heat and cover skillet with lid.
  8. Continue to cook, turning a couple of times till the thickest pieces are done.
  9. Take cover off and cook for about 5 minutes more to crisp things up.

Genie’s Note:

  • For fried chicken, I think brown rice flour makes a very nice thick, crispy crust.  Bob thinks sorghum flour has more flavor.  Experiment with your favorite gluten-free  flours until you find the one you like best.
  • You may adjust the seasoning in your flour to meet your family’s taste.  If you prefer spice, add cumin or chili powder, for Italian flavor add rosemary, oregano and basil.  You may also add garlic powder if you wish.  Experiment to find what you like best.
  • If you run out of flour or egg wash, just mix a bit more up.  You don’t want to have a lot of leftover flour or egg wash.  Do not reuse you flour of milk/egg about it has had raw chicken in it — just throw it out.
  • Fried foods are not something we eat regularly now.  I might make fried chicken once a year for Bob’s birthday.  But my mom’s fried chicken still holds a special place in my memory and I wanted to use this as an example of how easy it can sometimes be to make those old favorites gluten free.

Approach those old favorite recipes with an open mind and there’s no telling where they might take you.


This recipe has been shared at the Sugar, Spice and Family Life Link Party.

A Holiday Recipe

Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie?  I know I do, but I also enjoy savory pumpkin dishes, like my Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon.  This recipe and more are available in Have Yourself a Healthy LIttle Holiday.

Copyright 2013 by RA Robbins
Copyright 2013 by RA Robbins

 

Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon

Ingredients:

6 strips turkey bacon diced check the label for gf turkey bacon — I use Jennie-O

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 cups pumpkin puree

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Brown turkey bacon.

2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. Reserve for later.

3. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until lightly browned.

4. Add water and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until just a little liquid is left on the quinoa.

6. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.

7. Reserving 1 Tablespoon of bacon for garnish add rest of bacon to quinoa. Stir.

8. Return pan to stove, cover and allow remaining liquid to be absorbed.

9. Pour pilaf into serving dish and garnish with remaining bacon.

Serves 6.

Like this recipe?  Find more of my holiday recipes in Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday available at Espirational Books.


This recipe was shared with:

http://sugarspiceandfamilylife.com/2016/12/sugar-spice-link-party-136.html

Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookies

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

Who doesn’t love cookies?  Cookies turn even an ordinary day into a celebration.  This is my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe jazzed up a bit.  Just in time for holiday cookie exchanges, this recipe is gluten free, egg free and reduced fat.  Don’t be fooled by the ingredients in this recipe.  These taste so good, if you don’t tell them, people without food restrictions will never guess anything is missing.

 

Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookies

2 Tablespoons flax seed meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons hot water (this will replace the eggs)

1 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of butter)

3/4 cup agave nectar (instead of white and brown sugar)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup buckwheat flour (don’t worry buckwheat isn’t even a distant relative of wheat)

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup cranberry almond trail mix

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.

  1.  Combine flax seed meal and hot water.  Stir and let sit until thick (consistency of egg whites).
  2.  Combine flax seed mixture, applesauce, agave and vanilla in large bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Add flours and baking soda.  Stir to blend in flours.
  4. Add chocolate chips, trail mix and coconut.  Stir till well mixed.
  5. Spoon by tablespoons onto baking sheet.  Press out a little with back of spoon dipped in water if you want a flatter cookie (these won’t spread out like cookies with butter and sugar.)
  6. Bake in 350 degree over until bottoms of cookies are browned.
  7. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.

Foe more recipes, including this one check out:

Sugar and Spice Link Party

Is Spelt Gluten Free?

I have recently been seeing more and more “gluten free” recipes calling for spelt  flour.  With the holidays approaching when people will be doing more baking I decided to tackle this issue.

The short answer to the question “Is spelt gluten free?” is no.  The FDA in Questions and Answers on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule explains the use of the word gluten in relation to Celiac Disease in this way:

“In the context of celiac disease, the term “gluten” is used to collectively refer to gluten in wheat, and to the proteins in other grains that have been demonstrated to cause harmful health effects in individuals who have celiac disease. These grains are wheat (including different varieties such as spelt and kamut), rye, barley, cross-bred hybrids (e.g., triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye), and possibly oats.” 

The FDA has declared that spelt must be labeled on products as wheat since it and wheat come from the same genus, Triticum.  The Mayo Clinic, The Celiac Disease Foundation and a White Paper on the Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods are just a few of the sources that corroborate this definition of spelt as a cross-bred hybrid of wheat which contains gluten.

So if you live with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance stop before grabbing the spelt flour for your holiday baking.  No, spelt is NOT gluten free.

Also keep in mind that this is not just a problem with spelt.  The list below from 12 Tips for Gluten Free Living #5: Learn Other Names and Forms of Wheat includes varieties and hybrids of wheat, trademarked names for wheat and wheat products, flours and products or ingredients made from wheat.  This list is just intended to get you started, there are more.

  • Kamut®
  • Triticale 
  • Spelt
  • Semolina
  • Graham Flour
  • Bulgur
  • Farina®
  • Couscous
  • Seitan 

But don’t worry there are other grains that are gluten free including but not limited to this list from 12 Tips for Gluten Free Living #6: Get to Know your Gluten Free Grains

  • Rice (Check out the many different varieties)
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Teff
  • Buckwheat (Don’t worry about the name, it is from the rhubarb family, not wheat)
  • Sorghum

For my baking I most often use a blend of brown rice flour and Bob’s Red Mill Baking flour with a little buckwheat flour.  Try experimenting with different blends or commercial blends and you will find your favorites.

For more information check out The Spin on Spelt from Shirley at Gluten Free Easily.

Rogene Robbins has been living gluten free for over 10 years for health reasons.  For her thoughts on gluten free living as well as more gluten free recipes check out The Gluten Free Good Life and Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday, both available at Espirational Books.

Cool Smoothies for a Hot Summer: The Blueberry Breeze

We are having an extremely hot summer here in Oklahoma. Spending as much time as possible trying to stay in and stay cool. I will be making these for us tonight. Thought the recipe was worth a reblog. Enjoy!

This recipe is being shared at:

Sugar and Spice Link Party

Gluten Free Recipe Fix on Gluten Free Easily

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma