Saturday, January 12, 2013

X is for Xantham Gum?

I won my husband through pie. Buttery crust stuffed with thickly sliced apples, cinnamon warmth and a touch of nutmeg.  I suppose the pork roasts, mustard chicken, and meatloaves played some roll in all this, too, but I'm certain it was the pie that finally won him over.  Even now, I can win him over with some culinary delight- handbreaded fried chicken, the perfect taco seasoning, a winning rib rub, a steak sandwich with goat cheese, a pecan pie. 

I'm not about to claim I'm the next Iron Chef, or Pioneer Woman, or Martha Stewart, (though I have been called two of those on several occasions).   I just like to cook.  I know enough about the ingredients that I rarely follow a recipe as it's printed, but subsititute and modify with abandon, even creating new dishes according to my whims.  I've subscribed to a magazine simply for the five or six new recipes I would get each month, and stuffed a binder full of my favorites.

However, I've recently been paralyzed when dinner rolls around.  I find myself longing for a muffin, but too nervous to mix anything up.  Suddenly, everything I knew about baking has become null and void.  Things that would have been simple- casseroles, meatloaf, cookies- are suddenly overwhelming.  I'm scared to make a pie. 

I found out I have a gluten intolerance.  No wheat, no barley, no rye.  No breadcrumbs, no croutons, no pizza crust, no cans of cream soup, no spaghetti, no tortillas, no pie crust.  While I'm usually up for a good challenge, in many ways I feel like someone has handed a cookbook written in ÆngliscI'm suddenly looking for products whose names I've only seen on the ingredient list of dressings or packages of birdseed, and following directions that feel so backwards and wrong.  So flop after flop (think cranberry-orange muffins with an uncooked garbanzo bean aftertaste, and cookies gritty enough to have come out of the Dust Bowl), I'm slowly figuring it out.  I think.  I'm nowhere ready for pie crust.

Why must you be so disagreeable?


  1. I feel for you, having to find alternate ingredients for foods. My family's been lucky, I guess.

  2. Girl, if anybody could figure out how to make a pie with only unpie ingredients, it's you.

  3. Cathy- thank you. It's been a challenge, for sure.

    Rebekah- ha! Unpie ingredients, indeed.

  4. I think there's a pie crust recipe on one of the "Pamela's" brand gluten free flour mix (or there use to be). The Bob's Red Mill gf flour mixes do indeed have a garbanzo bean aftertaste. (Yuck!) But the Pamela's has more of an almond background flavor. I've made both the cookies and the muffins off the back of the Pamela's bag and both were pretty good, considering. :)

    Or maybe it was the Pamelas' gf pancake mix that had the cookies and muffins recipes. Can't remember which. There's a flour replacement mix and then there's a pancake/baking mix, both different. Both are pretty good alternatives if you're experimenting with gluten free mixes.

    Hope that helps.

    Also, has some great almond flour. I've taken the Quaker oats oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and just replaced the flour with almond flour and those cookies are delicious! (I hope you can have oats?)

  5. Ah! Leah! I wish I had seen this sooner!!! We are all on the same diet here due to one of my sons and I have a recipe for almost anything that is SO good!

    My most favorite website of all times is

    I too am a big time modifier and proud of it and the same is for her website. Whenever she says agave I use maple syrup. I also do not care for coconut flour so I use only almond flour.

    I buy almond flour in bulk on amazon from Bob's red mill: a 25 lb bag that I put into a large bucket with a lid.

    Here is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I knew I had a winner when my husband devoured a batch and told me he liked them better than regular cookies!

    3 cups blanched almond flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    mix dry

    2 eggs
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1 tsp of vanilla (I'm a little more liberal with the vanilla :)
    1/2 cup melted coconut oil (I use evoo)
    mix wet

    Stir wet into dry then add chocolate chips...more the better imo :)

    I drop the dough with a melon baller onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 min. The trick is, take them out just as they are STARTING to brown...if you get them still slightly gooey they are so amazing you won't be able to stop yourself from eating them ALL. :)

    I have so many more recipes I could give you...and believe me, they came after months of trial and error, many failed horribly recipes that made me cry, and tons of money wasted. But I now have biscuit recipes, pie crust recipes, noodle (!!) recipes, brownie (ooooo) recipes, (cinnamon bun!) muffin recipes, and even amazing cake recipes. So email me any time or get my phone number from your mom and I can hand it all over if you haven't already found all of your new favorite recipes. And everything you said? You are so not alone. I felt the EXACT same way and pretty much cried for 3 months straight because I missed baking so much and cooking with NORMAL ingredients.