Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gluten-free baking and some book reviews

Instead of crafts over the past couple of weeks, we've been doing some experimental gluten-free baking. For those who don't know, the bookworm can't eat wheat, nuts, egg, or dairy at the moment (along with apple, sesame, and chick pea). Because he's still nursing, I can't eat those things either. Before becoming a mom, I lived on carbs. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, pasta, pasta, more pasta, flaky pastry twists, cereal, etc. So this diet has taken some getting used to. Anyway, I'll save you all from that saga, but I did want to share a couple of baking successes we had this week, because they relate to our book reviews.

We discovered a way to make pancakes last week, and they're good...really, really good.* (*Caveat: I haven't eaten pancakes in a year. It doesn't take much for me to think a pancake is "really, really good," so I make no promises about the impression on your palate). We ate them every day. For a week. I just kept making a fresh batch for an afternoon snack. The bookworm helped to stir, and to dump the contents of measuring cups and spoons into the mixing bowl. But mostly he took the roll of taskmaster/drill sergeant, pointing at the spatula and the pan to tell me when to flip. And of course, taste-testing each pancake. Sometimes I used rice milk, sometimes soy milk, sometimes added in peach baby food, sometimes blueberries, once I messed up and used a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon thus using all of the wrong measurements...and every single batch has been like a little piece of heaven. Before limiting my diet, I might have laughed at "recipes" that include mixes, but now I know different.

Recipe: Gluten-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free (optionally blueberry) pancakes!

1 cup of Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free Pancake & Baking Mix
EnerG egg replacer (1 1/2 teaspoons of replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water)
1 tablespoon of canola oil (& a little in the frying pan if it isn't nonstick)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup of vanilla rice or soy milk, depending on how thick you like your batter
shake of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat pan on medium heat. Mix all ingredients (add the replacer last, after mixing the replacer and warm water in a separate bowl). Drop spoonfuls of batter into frying pan. Cook one side until surface starts to bubble (or, like me, just check the underside frequently to see if it has started to brown), flip and repeat until a golden brown. The recipe doesn't make all that many -- about 7 small pancakes. It's enough for my toddler and I, but you probably want to double it if feeding any more than 1 or 2 people. Apologies for the lack of a photo. We just kept eating them too quickly.

1/4 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries, or
1/2 container peach baby food (note: this much really doesn't alter the taste at all, so use more if you want a peachy pancake and this much if you just want to hide some healthiness in there).
We've even started adding Whole Foods bacon bits to them for a little protein boost.

Related Book Reviews

If You Give a Pig a Pancake (Hardcover), by Laura Numeroff. This delightful book follows the pattern of best-sellers "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and "If You Give a Moose a Muffin." In a journey that may seem familiar to all parents, an accommodating little girl finds herself racing around the house after a pig to satisfy his whims.


"If you give a pig a pancake,/she'll want some syrup to go with it."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: Unfortunately I haven't been able to get him to sit still for it yet, but the recommended age is 3-7, so we have some time. The illustrations are nicely detailed, so I think we'll be able to hook him in by pointing out objects to identify.

Yesterday we added the blueberries to our pancakes, which reminded me of this book.

Jamberry (Board book), by Bruce Degen. We discovered this board book at the doctor's office, and I (mom) thought the silly berry-centric rhyming was fun. Our little bookworm hasn't matched my enthusiasm for it yet, unfortunately.


"Raspberry/Jazzberry/Razzamatazzberry/Berryband/Merryband/Jamming in Berryland."

Bookworm's interest at 12 months: Pointing out the blueberries now and then.

Want to read about more book inspired projects? Visit Teachingtinytots for a weekly reading theme challenge (this week was If You Give a Pig a Pancake) and Just For Fun for links to other book-inspired projects.

One more recipe

While I'm on the subject of baking, here is my favorite cookie recipe that conforms to our dietary requirements. It was modified from the recipe on the mix package to be dairy- and egg-free. (Photo at the top of this post).

Recipe: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free Snickerdoodles

1 box of Gluten Free Pantry Old Fashioned Cookie and Cake Mix
7 tablespoons spectrum shortening
4 tablespoons of vanilla rice or soy milk
EnerG egg replacer: 3 teaspoons of replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons of warm water
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (make sure it is gluten free if this is a concern)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (in mix)
(separate bowl: 3 tablespoons of sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for rolling the cookies in).

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease cookie sheet with spectrum shortening or just line with foil.
Mix all ingredients (mix the egg replacer and water separately to make sure the replacer is dissolved completely before adding to the rest of the mix; let this be the last thing you add to the mix before baking). Form dough into balls; roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mix. Place on greased tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes approximately 16 cookies (more according to box, so I must make them big).



Dee Light said...

I love both books, so many activities to be done with both. Jamberry has to be one of my favorites!

sandy said...

Jamberry is the book I planned to use this past week, but with everyone sick, I had to postpone it. We will get to it sometime, the girls love it!
Thanks for linking:0)

Julie P. said...

It's so exciting when I discover something new that my son will eat. He doesn't have an allergy to gluten so that makes things a lot easier.

Infant Bibliophile said...

Wheat allergies are hard because wheat is in so many products, but the good thing about it is that so many people are aware of celiac's (not that we have that, but avoiding gluten also avoids all wheat), so there are many gluten-free products out there now. They're not cheap, though!