We’re excited to welcome our very first guest blogger to My Own Ideas! Teresa Beyer, lives here in Portland, Oregon. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from the University of Portland. She now works as a registered nurse and has plans to enter the US Army as a trauma nurse later this year. In the mean time, she is cooking, crafting, volunteering at the Red Cross and other various activities that she missed out on during nursing school. She also writes her own blog called Sweetpea where she records her latest cooking and crafting adventures.
Today she is going to share her story in creating a gluten-free pantry! I hope you enjoy her post and be sure to leave her a comment and check out her blog: http://sw88tpea.blogspot.com
My gluten free adventure began in January 2010 when I was tested for food allergies. I reacted to several things including eggs, milk and glutinous grains: wheat, spelt, and whole wheat. This was a huge blow to my cooking and eating world. No cheddar cheese? No French bread? No fried eggs? I felt like I had no options. I attempted to transition to just meats and produce but was quickly missing the carbohydrates. I began to do some research on my dietary options and ended up finding a wealth of resources. Discovering new books, blogs, and recipes for allergy-free cooking started a wave of exploratory and creative cooking for me. I started looking at dairy free, egg free, and gluten free cooking/baking options for bread, bagels, biscuits, muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. I was quickly introduced to the vast varieties of gluten free options especially those offered by Bob’s Red Mill © (BRM). BRM is the nation’s leader in stone milling and offers the widest diversity of whole grains found anywhere. They have lots of gluten free products which quickly became the foundation for my allergy-free baking journey.
Replacing wheat in a recipe is not as easy as 1-2-3. The work it takes to replace the gluten requires a mix of various flours to replicate the texture. Recipes often call for 3-6 different flours. I keep a gluten free all purpose flour on hand at all times.
Gluten Free All Purpose Flour:
• 2 cups sorghum flour
• 2 cups brown rice flour
• 1/2 cup corn starch
• 1/2 cup white rice flour
• 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
• 1/2 cup tapioca flour
• 1/2 cup amaranth flour
• 1/2 cup potato flour
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or cool dark pantry. I use this mixture to bread meats and veggies, to make some quick biscuits, to add a roux to a soup, or anything else that calls for flour. Having this on hand makes cooking much easier.
Other things that should be in an ‘allergy-free’ pantry include some dairy substitutes like soy milk or rice milk and faux eggs. There are a few options for eggs, one being Ener-G Egg Replacer that includes 1½ teaspoons of white powder combined with 1 tablespoon of water. Another option is ‘flax eggs’ which includes 1 tablespoon of BRM flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water. Both of these should be mixed separately and allowed to sit and gel for a couple minutes. I have both in stock and use Ener-G for things like cakes and flax eggs for breads and waffles.
My cousin has similar allergies to me (yes it is familial). She recently was married and as a wedding gift I put together an allergy-free pantry basket for her. I put jars of different gluten-free flours together each with custom labels from My Own Labels. I chose the style “Metropolitan,” making sure to leave blank space on the label to write the names of all the different flours. I also provided some of the most important necessities: flaxmeal, xanthum gum (an expensive binding agent), some allergy-free cooking magazines and my favorite gluten-free and vegan baking cookbook, Flying Apron by Jennifer Katzinger.
At this point, I feel I have come far in my exploratory cooking. Things that once seemed insurmountable are now a fun challenge. I also started my own blog called, Sweetpea, where I record my latest fails and successes in allergy-free cooking. Some of my most recent cooking adventures include homemade macaroni and cheese and deep dish pizza.