From My Kitchen

Culinary and pastry adventures shared from my kitchen to yours. There is an emphasis on including Gluten Free options in my recipes.

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

Posted in From My Kitchen | 4 comments

 

After my first trip to the store when SuperDad committed to a gluten free diet I quickly realized that among other things, I would need to learn how to bake gluten free bread.  Gluten free sandwich bread, to be more precise.  While some of the brands available now are pretty good….they are very expensive.

After several failed attempts (did you know that failed bread attempts can be revived as bread crumbs?) I found this recipe and it is the one we have stuck with.  Not only is it simple (it uses only brown rice flour instead of a combination of small portions of sixty different types of unique flours and meals), but it is quick and most importantly, SuperDad likes it! I’m still messing with the rising time (I think I’m leaving it too long and the top of my loaf keeps falling), but the recipe is so simple that I don’t feel like I’m investing a ton of time.

 

gluten free bread

 

Ingredients for Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

 

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

  • Warm Water
  • Active Dry Yeast
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Large Eggs (or Ener-G Egg Replacer)

 

You can get the full recipe and step by step instructions on how to make gluten free sandwich bread at Serious Eats, but I thought I’d share a few tips that you might find helpful:

  • I make this recipe in our KitchenAid stand mixer and it mixes up in about 10 minutes, but it does take a couple of hours to get a finished product. The dough needs to rise for an hour followed by one hour of bake time.
  • Make sure that the warm water used to proof your yeast is between 112º – 115° F when you add the yeast.  Use a thermometer to obtain an accurate temperature.  The reason for this is that if your water is too cool, the yeast will not grow and if your water is too hot, the yeast will burn or “die”.  Either way the end result is that your bread will not rise.  Not sure if your thermometer is accurate?  Read this article on how to calibrate your thermometer.
  • If you are new to gluten free baking you should know that the dough has a very different consistency than “traditional” bread dough.  This dough will be more of a paste, or like a very thick cake batter.  There will be no kneading and you will use a spatula to scrape the dough into the bread pan.  I tell you this so that you don’t continue to add flour in hopes that the dough will “ball up”.  It won’t.
  • If your recipe calls for you to loosely cover your dough with plastic wrap while it rises, and to leave that plastic on until the end of the rising period and the oven is at full baking temperature…..like this one does….and you use your oven to proof your dough …. like I do…. you will want to be sure to remove the loaf of bread from the oven during the pre-heating phase.  I’ve heard that if you leave it in the oven as it warms up, the plastic will melt, giving your bread a shiny, shellacked surface.

Of course,  I would never let that happen in my kitchen.

  • The instructions call for you to take an internal temperature of your loaf at the end of its bake time to ensure that it is done.  This is an important step, eyeballing it could lead to a very moist dough ball masquerading as a loaf of bread.
  • This bread will go south very quickly.  Storing it in the refrigerator will leave your bread cake-y.  This gluten free sandwich bread does freeze well however.  You will need to slice it and then freeze the individual slices.  Tip: Flash freeze the individual slices by laying them on a cooling rack and setting it in your deep freeze for roughly an hour and then place the pieces into a freezer bag or other storage container.

 

Gluten free sandwich bread makes an excellent addition to SuperDad’s gluten free diet.  He uses it for sandwiches and toast and we have successfully substituted it in various recipes that call for traditional or french breads.

Eliminating gluten from your diet doesn’t have to be as difficult as it often sounds, half of the battle is just finding the right recipes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Triple Chocolate Kiss Meringues

Posted in From My Kitchen | 1 comment

I could sit in my kitchen and bake all day, every day in December and still not have time to make every delectable treat whose recipe has crossed my path. This year I have the additional challenge of creating gluten free treats so that SuperDad isn’t left in the proverbial Christmas dust …

I had these meringues on my list last year and never got around to them so I made it a point to give them a run this time around.  This is such a simple recipe and it whips up very quickly…add to that the fact that it is a little different than the standard holiday treat and has that unique meringue texture…. I was sure it would be a winner. I was right!

The original recipe for these treats comes from the 2010 Holiday magazine.  I made this recipe two times before I got it to turn out the way I wanted it to.  While I love the recipe collections that Taste of Home puts out during the holidays, they often don’t come with good instructions (or I’ve just become way too spoiled by my food blogger friends who lay out wonderful details on how to make their creations!).  A little trial and error and I’m excited about the results.

 

Triple Chocolate Kiss Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 oz. semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 24 milk chocolate kisses

Directions:

  • In a small bowl ( I used my KitchenAid) beat egg whites, cream of tartar and extract on medium speed until soft peaks form. (Tip: soft peaks are distinguished by seeing the peaks gently fold over when you lift the beater out of the bowl)
  • Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating on high speed  until stiff, glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. (Tip: stiff peaks are distinguished by peaks that do not move when the beater is removed from the bowl or when the bowl is gently shaken.)  Do not overbeat.
  • Fold in grated chocolate.
  • Using a Wilton 1M star tip  in the base of a disposable pastry bag, fill the bag half way with meringue mixture.
  • Pipe 24 1 – 1½in circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Make sure that there is a nice pillow of meringue to create the bottom of your kisses.
  • Place a chocolate kiss on each circle.
  • Starting at the bottom of each kiss, pipe a continuous circle until the chocolate kisses are completely covered; about 2 ½ turns.

 

  • Dust with baking cocoa.
  • Bake at 325° for 15-18 minutes of until the edges are lightly browned.  Immediately remove to wire rack.

Tip:  Don’t overcook these, it will make the meringues difficult to lift off of the baking sheet.  I used a metal bar server and a butter knife to lift the meringues and get them onto the cooling racks.  If your base was not full enough, you may find the chocolate kiss has become the bottom of the treat and the top lifts off.  This is okay…they still taste magnificent :)

 

 

These meringues have an amazing chocolate flavor, they are slightly crunchy and the chocolate in the middle stays soft and gooey long after the meringue has cooled.

The original recipe calls for a “medium star tip” and has a batch count of 48.  I tried this and frankly, they looked like little piles of poo…the tip was too thin!  The 1M makes a nice full shape but it greatly decreases your batch size.  Have no fear, they are still small enough to fit in a 6 year old’s mouth in one giant bite :)

Rumor has it you can freeze meringues and pull them out when you are ready to serve them…. if I can ever keep these in my house long enough to get them frozen, I’ll let you know.

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Snap.Crackle.Poppers; a Rice Krispies New Year’s Eve Treat and a $100 Giveaway!

Posted in Blog, From My Kitchen | 86 comments

 

As my kids get older I’m finding more and more joy in celebrating with them.  With each New Year we find ways to have fun and relish our time together…to celebrate the smallest moments…and the big ones.

This year I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve so that we can talk about our goals…what we loved about this year and what we look forward to in 2012.

I’m a champagne kinda girl myself…but I suppose we need something a little more “kid friendly” on hand.  Enter Team Kansas City and our awesome take on the British tradition of New Year’s Eve Poppers…. “Snap.Crackle.Poppers Rice Krispies® New Year’s Eve Treats”!

 

 

Snap. Crackle. Poppers Rice Krispies® Treats

  • 3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter + extra butter for “greasing”
  • 4oz.  marshmallows (1/2 bag) – make sure bag is left open overnight (this will make the poppers crunchier when they are finished).
  • 2 c. Traditional Rice Krispies®
  • Candy of choice to fill
  • Decorating Supplies (frosting, glitter, stickers – pretty much anything you want to use to make it unique.)

Melt 3Tbsp. Butter in a heavy saucepan over med-high heat.

Add marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted and mixture is smooth.

Add RiceKrispies® to hot mixture in saucepan (this keeps them warm, and thus easier to manipulate, longer)

Mix thoroughly.

Butter plastic cutting board.

Place half of marshmallow mixture on cutting board and make into a small loaf. (Around 5″ by 3″.) Try to compact the mixture as much as possible.

Once you have a compact loaf, take a small pastry roller  (or other small rolling pin) and roll out the mixture to a 1/4 inch thickness – trying to keep the shape of a rectangle. (You will need to work quickly.  The cooler the mixture gets, the more difficult it is to shape.)

Take small fondant roller and “roll” mixture into a cylinder with a 1 1/2″ circumference.

Remove fondant roller and pinch one end to desired look. If going for a tapered end, start about 1 inch in, pinch and crimp the end.

Tilt and fill with candy of choice.

Pinch other end.

Set aside and let harden for 24 hours.

Repeat with other half of RiceKrispies® mixture.

Decorate once hard with fondant, icing, stickers, glitter, etc. It’s all about being fun!

Note: You can make these ahead of time and freeze. Another idea is to put a small fortune, saying, or inspirational quote inside the crackers.

Place these Snap. Crackle. Poppers on each child’s plate on New Years and let them “crack” them open and see their New Year’s Surprises.

 

 

Now the part I KNOW you are waiting for….. the $100 Visa Card Giveaway!!

 

Here’s How To Enter The Giveaway

(Remember, each comment is considered a entry – so leave a separate comment each time.)

  • Leave me a comment and tell me if you make New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Additional entry: Become a SuperJenn subscriber.  (I promise, I won’t spam you….when I DO post its generally at least a LITTLE interesting.) And then leave a comment and let me know.
  • Additional entry: Post the following on your Facebook page, “Want a to win a $100 Visa Gift Card? Check out this great giveaway from SuperJenn http://bit.ly/vHl3Xc” And then leave a comment and let me know.

Contest will be open until 11:59 pm CST December 11, 2011. Winner will be notified by email and has 48-hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Good Luck!

Abbreviated Rules:  No Purchase Necessary.  Begins no earlier than 12:00AM (ET) on 11/14/11 and ends no later than 11:59:59PM (CST) 12/11/11.  For complete Official Rules, go to http://web.mediacdt.com/docs/RKBloggerHolidayRules.pdf   Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United STates and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry.  Subject to complete Official Rules.  Void where prohibited.  Sponsor: The Motherhood.

 

 

 

 

Guess what?  All three of my teammates, Kelly from Kansas City Mamas, Kristen from Dine and Dish and Julie from My Kansas City Mommy are each giving away their own $100 Visa Gift Card, too.  Visit them for an even better chance of getting some “Happy Holidays to ME” cash!

Finally…Want to see the amazing competition we are up against?  You can see all of the entries on TheMotherhood.com Making Memories Circle. The pictures above were taken by the lovely and talented Kristen Doyle from Dine and Dish. (Someday I might MAYBE be able to take pictures as beautiful as she does…until then…. I’ll drool over hers.) But, these pictures are her property. Don’t steal them.

Full disclosure: This is the final competition in a series of four that I am being compensated for.  The Motherhood and Rice Krispies compensate me for my time and I stand to win a prize if they decide Team Kansas City is cool.  All of the words and ideas in this post are mine (or collaboratively mine/Team Kansas City’s) …the point is… I don’t post anything here that I don’t think up all on my own….the kind of companies that supply you with content don’t visit here…. they seem to know better by now.

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Holiday Baking: Cranberry-Orange Bread and a P&G Giveaway!

Posted in Blog, From My Kitchen | 60 comments

I’ll be the first to admit that I go waaaay overboard when it comes to baking during the Holidays. I’m willing to bet that every other recipe that I see is one that I want to try to make….and I really, truly believe I can make them all.

One way that I can simplify this baking extravaganza you mere mortals call “December” is by making double batches of goodies and freezing as we go through the month. I usually start around Thanksgiving and mix up batches of my favorite cookies. I roll/cut/shape them out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet as if I was going to bake them, then set them in the freezer for about a couple of hours. When they are set I can pop them off the cookie sheet and put them in a labeled bag and stick them back in the freezer. Now they are ready to go when I’m actually ready to bake them. I have prepared….and I don’t miss out on that yummy baking smell filling up the house later.

I also like to have quick breads and muffins in the freezer. I often double up on these recipes so I have one for now, and one for later. These make for great snacks and breakfasts when company starts to arrive. Made in mini-loaves they also make great gifts for teachers or neighbors.

My favorite bread is Cranberry-Orange. I could make this all throughout the year but it is much better with a little anticipation, so I break out this recipe only during the winter months.

Cranberry-Orange Bread

Ingredients

  • 3c. Flour
  • 1c. Sugar
  • 1Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • ½tsp. salt
  • ¼tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 1 ²⁄3c. Milk
  • ¼c. Oil
  • ¾c. Chopped Nuts
  • 2tsp. Finely Shredded Orange Peel
  • 1c. Coarsely Chopped Cranberries

Directions

  • Stir together dry ingredients with orange peel.
  • In a separate bowl mix together wet ingredients (except cranberries)
  • Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Add the cranberries and nuts.

Bake at 350° according to the following time schedule:

  • 1 – 9 x 5 x 3″ Bread Pan 1 – 1¼ Hrs.
  • 2 – 7 ½ x 3½ x 2″ Pans 40 – 45 Mins.
  • 6 – 4½ x 2½ x 1½” Pans 30 – 35 Mins.

Cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn onto a wire cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Wrap tightly overnight.

P&G Beauty is also helping to simplify your holiday season. Instead of buying friends and family another gift card, surprise them with P&G Beauty gift sets! These gift sets feature items from Olay, Pantene, Secret, Venus and CoverGirl…all fun gifts to keep them feeling pampered and ready for those holiday parties well into the New Year. These gift sets are available almost any place you normally buy P&G products and start as low as $9.99 so they are not only a great way to pamper someone, they aren’t going to break your budget, either!

You can find out more about these and other great P&G Beauty products and gift by visiting their Facebook Page. You can also read what the Wall Street Journal had to say about the holiday gift sets HERE.

Now the really good part? You can win a P&G Gift Basket with over $90 of excellent P&G products! Keep them to pamper yourself or share them as gifts and stocking stuffers.

How To Win:

To enter you just need to leave a comment here with your favorite tip for keeping the holidays simple!

Want an extra entry? Tweet this phrase: “Enter to #win a P&G Gift Basket with $90 of pampering fun from @SuperJennBlogs #giveaway http://bit.ly/vF6nwO

Then leave me an additional comment with a link to your tweet.

Official Business:

This giveaway is open until 11:59pm CST Sunday December 4, 2011. Open to residents of the United States age 18 or older. I will draw a winner using random.org and notify the winner via email. Winner will have 24 hrs to respond before a new winner is drawn. SuperJenn, The Motherhood and P&G Beauty are not responsible for lost or undelivered emails.

I received a P&G gift basket and compensation for writing this post. The recipe is mine (okay..my mom’s) and the thoughts expressed in the post are mine.

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Baking Gluten Free: Basic Flour Substitutes

Posted in From My Kitchen | 4 comments

 

Throughout the month of October SuperDad and I have been conducting a little experiment:  eliminating gluten from his diet to see if it helped with some major pain and discomfort that he has been  increasingly suffering over the past year.

The result?  He lost more than 15lbs and, without going into way too many personal details, he feels 100x  better.

So now that he sees the proof in the gluten free pudding, the challenge is for me to provide him a healthy gluten free diet, rather than him simply excluding foods that he normally eats.

I’m not much of a “buy it pre-packaged” kinda gal…so I’ve been reading up on how to incorporate this style of eating into our life without buying lots of “substitutes”.  Among the myriad of new recipes I’ve found to incorporate into our meal planning, I’ve also been thinking about the many, many things I cook and bake that he loves that have flour in them…and wondering how I can tweak them.

I’m so lucky to be part of a great group of Kansas City area bloggers that gets together to enjoy each other’s company and benefit from each of our individual areas of expertise.  One such blogger is Johnna Perry from In Johnna’s Kitchen (Side note: You absolutely MUST go read her “About Me” page because I think it is one of the coolest becoming-a-blog stories…as well as an amazing ongoing project).  Johnna is a vegetarian baker who also eats, and bakes, gluten free.  So who do YOU think I went to for advice??

Tonight I put together Johnna’s “Go To” flour substitute:  a combination of White Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch.  This is similar to several other suggestions I’ve read around the web but, well, I know Johnna so I’m going to trust her recipe above all else.  The idea is that this combination will substitute out cup for cup with all purpose flour in most recipes (the general rule of thumb being that it works best in recipes consisting of 2c or less of flour).

Visit 52 Sweets to get the actual layout for this gluten free flour substitute and give it a shot.  Let me know what works for you!

It is a very busy week here…but I’m hoping to give this a roll with some amazing pumpkin pancakes I made for the kids and some jalapeno cheddar corn bread that he has been craving when we eat chili later this week… I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

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Weekly Menu: November 6 – 12

Posted in From My Kitchen | 2 comments

This week has a lot in store: Volunteering at both Kindergarten and Preschool, a half day blogger event in Kansas City, Parent-Teacher conferences, Photography Class, SuperGirl’s gymnastics, a retirement party for one of the partners at SuperDad’s firm and all while preparing for a working weekend getaway with 3 of my blogging buddies.

I figured if there was ever a time to get back on the wagon with menu planning … this would be the week to do it. Today I planned out my menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner), grocery shopped and prepared the majority of the week’s meals along with a few extras for a friend in need of some freezer love.

It has also occurred to me that I need to get on the stick and post a bunch of these recipes….there are a lot of good ol’ standbys here this week … ridiculous that I don’t have them posted somewhere …

Weekly Menu

Sunday

  • Breakfast:  Cereal
  • Lunch: Chicken Nuggets, carrots, grapes
  • Dinner: Homemade pizza (pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives)

Monday

  • Breakfast:  Pumpkin Pancakes/ Cinnamon Syrup
  • Lunch:  Left over Pizza, applesauce, raw green beans (my kids are weird)
  • Dinner: Out!  Bowling/Burgers

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Sausage/Egg Casserole, Raspberry muffins
  • Lunch: Taquitos (Refried beans, taco meat, goat cheese, corn tortillas), grapes, corn
  • Dinner: Vegetarian Chili, Cornbread Muffins

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Quesadillas (Turkey, ham, cheese), apple slices,
  • Dinner: Chicken and Rice Casserole (New recipe Dairy/GF)

Thursday

  • Breakast: Sausage/Egg casserole, toast
  • Lunch: Mini Muffin Corndogs, leftover veggies, pineapple chunks
  • Dinner: Pasta Yum, Broccoli

Friday

  • Breakfast: Baked peanut butter oatmeal
  • Lunch: Dirty Beans and Rice, Carrots/Ranch, pear slices
  • Dinner: Shepherd’s Pie, green beans, homemade biscuits (reg and GF)

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Cereal/leftover baked oatmeal
  • Lunch: Grilled Turkey/Cheese, celery/peanut butter, grapes
  • Dinner: Leftovers or grilled venison (Dad’s in charge)

 

 

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