Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adventures in Sourdough

I discovered fermentation this last year and enjoying it. My husband wasn't too thrilled about my kitchen pets like I was and the children love to see what our kitchen pets are doing when I care for them. The kefir has lots of uses. Both the kefir and Kombucha have been working well for our health and getting probiotics. Do to finances and the cost of our gluten free bread, I just haven't bought any. We have been craving it and so it opened my eyes to ways I can make bread in our RV without heating it up with the oven. I one day made Gluten Free Fry Bread. It was good and so I continued to search for recipes. And then I found sites about Gluten Free Sourdough. I was thrilled, because four years ago, gluten free sourdough starter had little or no information about it.

Gluten free sourdough is easy to start, just make sure that you will be home and that your distractions are limited. You have to remember to feed it once a day and stir it 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days. After that you can refrigerate it and feed it as you use it. I suggest you read about how to care for it, because I am still experimenting with mine and don't have the answers yet. I am starting out with easy recipes first.

The one thing I noticed is that there are different consistencies with sourdough starters. Some make it up to have more water contents and it is like a pancake batter consistency and some have less water consistency and is like a sponge. During the Alaskan goldmine days, the miners would keep their sourdough starter thick enough to store next to their bodies day and night. I started with a wet consistency and am now thickening it up a little to see where I like it, so I am not sure what ratio to feed mine daily yet. I am on day 4 and thinking that it will be time to refrigerate it now. It is smelling a little drunk now.

The sites that I found to be the most helpful are

Thinner and wetter consistency

Thicker consistency

Sourdough for beginners

A good wedsite about sourdough

The recipe that I stared with was the wetter one from the Yukon River Lodge site. I liked the easy to remember ratio.

What I did:
1 package of active yeast to 2 cups of warm water (the temperature that yeast like). Stir and add 2 cups of rice flour and 2 Tblsp of sugar. Stir again. I started mine in a half gallon size jar with a plastic canning lid placed on top. Don't screw the lid down. You want the gases to escape, but to keep bugs and contamination out. (don't let it come in contact of metal). Store on the kitchen counter top. The first day I stired with a spoon 3 times a day. I made pancakes the next morning, but they were too thin. They were good with lots of holes, so there was still hope. I then moved it into a quart jar and fed it 1 cup of water, 1 cup of rice flour and 1 Tblsp sugar. Stir (or shake) 3 times a day. The third day the consistency was watery so I changed my pancake recipe. I used the starter in place of the liquid portion of the pancake batter. Then it was too thick and so I had to add liquid (milk, water, yogurt, kefir) until I had a pourable thick consistency of the pancake batter. They turned out wonderful and thick. We ate them with and without syrup. Now that it is day 4, the girls want me to make muffins.

I would love to hear about your adventures and recipes you used with your starter. There are other ways to ferment without the bakers yeast using kefir and kombucha, but I was not that adventurous yet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gluten Free Navajo Fry Bread

Last night I had a craving for bread to go with dinner. My bread machine is in storage along with my nice mixer. I do have the hand held mixer that likes gluten free globs of dough to climb up the beaters and into the holes of the mixer. But that is too much work. I really need to think of a guard for that area. (think, think, think!) Instead of fussing with all of that, I searched the web for Indian Fry Bread and converted it. Now this hit the spot and was yummy. It was quick and easy.

After eating this with dinner, I started thinking of other wonderful bread stuff. I always wanted to make a sourdough starter. After being diagnosed with Celiac, I thought that would never happen. There was nothing out on the web about it then. Now there is! I am looking forward to doing more research and seeing if I have the room right now to take care of a sourdough starter. I may have to wait for now.

Here is the link that I converted the recipe from

If the link didn't work, here is the address:

Gluten Free version of Navajo Fry Bread
(originally written by Cynthia Detterick-Pineda)

1 cup GF flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Blend)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp ground flax seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup water

oil for frying

Sift together the flour, xanthum gum, flax seed, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.

Flour your hands. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. NOTE: You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. NOTE: Don’t worry about it being round.

Heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. NOTE: You can check by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large fryer. (I only added about a large spoon full of shortening)

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

(Thank you Cynthia for your easy to follow directions.) =)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saving Money When You Have To

The economy has hit our family hard. We adapted for the most part, but are struggling in a lot of ways. Here are some of the ways we adapted.

* We learned how easy it was to eat naturally gluten free.

* We gave up buying mixes and have made our own baking mix, cake mixes, cookies, brownies.

* We started using corn tortilla's instead of gluten free bread for sandwiches.

* We gave up buying organics, in order to survive. To be honest with you, my health has improved quite a bit in the last year since I gave up organics. Makes me wonder if organics are worth my money. I do like the taste of organic sugar and organic celery better.

* I cook at home all the time now. My husband likes to eat out, but now that isn't an option.

* I started using my microwave and Tupperware microwave cookware for the convenience when I am too tired to cook. Again, my health has improved. I really think that the convenient, processed microwave food is the problem, not the microwave. Tupperware cookware is made from a pexiglass and has been tested for health. It has tested to be safe.

* We are eating more raw veggies and fruits.

* We started eating fermented veggies and making kefir at home. My friend started making kefir at home to save money on probiotics. She shared some with me and I am able to digest it, because the casein in the milk has been broken down.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Camping Menu for July 2009

I thought I would share my last camping menu. We were dry camping and using a stove.

Day 1 - leaving
- Lunch - Rice salad (rice, chopped onions, celery, other veggies, cut (turkey) ham and Italian dressing). I pre-made this before leaving house.
- Dinner - Store bought Rotisserie Chicken (Fred Meyers), BBQ Beans, and fresh cut up veggies.

Day 2
- Breakfast- French Toast with Trader Joe's Rice Bread.
- Lunch - GF Sandwiches and fruit.
- Dinner - Tuna Mac (rice noodles, tuna, mayo, and (soy) grated cheese), fresh cut up veggies.

Day 3
- Breakfast - Boiled Eggs and Hot Cereal (Boil extra and boil potato's for Potato Salad).
- Lunch - Taco Salad.
- Dinner - Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, and cut up veggies.

Day 4
- Breakfast - Chorizo Egg Scramble, corn tortillas, can fruit.
- Lunch - Chili, Chips and (soy) grated cheese.
- Dinner - Boy Scout Meal in aluminum foil pouch cooked in fire. (Potatoes, ground meat, frozen veggies, and Catchup).

Day 5
- Breakfast - Egg hash and Kinnickinick donuts.
- Lunch - Sandwiches and leftovers.
Go home.

Snacks - GF cookies, chips, marshmallows, chocolate, fruit, and fruit roll-ups. (I save some of these special treats just for camping.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Glutenized - Always learning

A Silly Yak doesn't like to be glutenized. And when it happens we have options. We can hate our situation and whine about it. Or we can learn from mistakes and improve our chances of being contaminated.

For our family I don't notice reactions much. Now it seems to be when we have company that stays multiple days. I forget the usual things until it is too late. And then I find crumbs in the butter and mayonnaise and the usual carelessness of crumbs where they are not suppose to be. I forget that others have habits that are normally not a problem. They don't realize that they are causing us harm. And we are hesitant to complain about contamination issues with those we love.

I wish I had answers to solve these out of the normal situations. I could store small jars perfect for camping on the shelf for company use and remember to put out another butter or buy margarine just for company use. But like anyone, I forget until it is too late. Maybe I will enlist my children to help me remember next time. After all 3 heads are better then one.

My best advice about situations like this, is to look over everything and try to learn from the mistakes that were made along the way. Educate others when you can. Try to remember to protect your food. And then say prayers that your food is safe. After all, our visitors are learning and bound to make mistakes.

Today, I am thankful for the Aloe drink that I buy at Trader Joe's. At least it helps heal things quicker.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Crock Pot Sheppard Pie

My crock pot is a great tool for dinner without heating up the house. My family loved this one. It is all gone. :)

Sheri's Crock Pot Sheppard Pie

Step 1
2 lbs of ground meat thawed ~I used ground turkey
3 cups water
3 cups of mixed frozen veggies
1 onion chopped
1 pkg of Lipton Onion Soup

-Mix together in a crock pot until blended. Cook on high for 3 or 4 hours or until meat is done.

Step 2
Add in making for making 3 cups of mashed potatoes minus the water as indicated on the instant mashed potatoes packaging. (milk, butter and instant potatoes)~I used soy milk instead.

- add in butter and milk and stir until butter is melted.
- Sprinkle on instant potatoes.
- Cook until potatoes are done. (if too watery after 15 minutes, sprinkle with more instant potatoes)
- With a fork, fluff potatoes and serve.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Search for easy recipes and LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN recipe

Every Summer I struggle to stay within the food budget. "It's too hot to cook!" or we get too busy to cook. We end up eating out where we don't have to heat up the kitchen. This year that is not an option. We just can't go over budget.

I am on a search this year to find recipes that are super easy and don't heat up the kitchen. I have been loving Tupperware, because they have products that are made just for this kind of thinking. And there are some great Tupperware recipes for quick and easy and without a box

I know that I have friends who feel that the microwave is evil, but I think you can adapt the recipes easily to an oven or your cooking choice. With food allergies and Celiac a concern with our family, I look for the best solution for the situation. I don't think anyone will argue with me about the microwave being a better choice then eating out, where you have no control of contamination or quality.

This is my latest recipe find that my family really enjoyed last night. I don't know what I would call it, because I think you can change the flavor by the seasoning you use. I just so happen to have all of the ingredients for it and so I will call it what it is.


Boneless, skinless Chicken breast (I cut mine up in chunks)
Miracle Whip (I used plain old mayonnaise and just plopped 3 unmeasured spoonfuls in)
Lemon Pepper Seasoning (Next time I plan on using taco seasoning)

1. Coat the chicken breast with mayo and sprinkle with seasoning.
2. Place the chicken in a microwave Tupperware container. Place lid on container. (I used my "Heat N'Serve") Microwave for 8 to 9 minutes on high setting.
3. Let stand, covered, for 2 more minutes to finish cooking. (If chicken is not fully cooked, place back in microwave and finish cooking it.

Note: Mine was creamy enough to add mixed veggies and serve over noodles. I thought about serving it over potatoes, rice or even gluten free toast.