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Tuesday Tips – Gluten-Free, Gum-Free Flour Mix

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So if you’ve read the Tuesday Tip about mixing your own gluten-free flour, you’ll already know that in order to make gluten-free baking work, you need to have a mixture of flours. Most gluten-free bread products also contain xanthan or guar gums to help replace the gluten found in wheat flour, so I usually throw that in the mix as I’m baking, especially as I can’t use eggs. It was all going fine until one day when I ran out of guar gum.

The health food store in our rural community is the only place to buy a specialty item like guar gum. Naturally, it’s actually over in the next town, and a 30 minute drive. Each way. No way am I dragging my two little guys out and doing an hour’s worth of driving just to pick up one thing at a store where everything costs too much to begin with. Nope. I Googled instead to see if anyone out there on the internet could help me bake without the guar gum, as I’d heard a rumor of a blogger doing just such a thing.

I found her. Shauna over at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef can’t tolerate the gums, and has figured out a way around them. The biggest innovation she’s made is to measure her flours by weight rather than volume. Turns out that a cup of tapioca starch weighs a lot less than a cup of garfava flour, so substituting flours using volume measures doesn’t really work. I’ve started experimenting with her ideas, and I’m thrilled to say that I can now make gluten-free, egg-free bread products without that pricey gum. Hooray! One less ingredient to have to stock in my kitchen, one less ingredient to measure and add to my batter.

Here is my current all-purpose gluten-free flour mix: 300 grams tapioca starch plus 700 grams high-protein flours such as yellow pea flour, green pea flour, buckwheat flour, garfava flour, sorghum flour, or amaranth flour. I’ve been splitting it between several bean and grain flours, just to keep it from tasting too much like any one flour. I just noticed that Gluten-Free Girl’s latest recommendation is to do 40% whole grain flours and 60% starches. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m guessing that my mix is close to that since I typically include some bean flours which are more starchy than a whole grain flour.

(You’ll notice that there isn’t any rice flour in my mix, despite Gluten-Free Girl’s recommendations. Rice does bad things to my insides, so I have to avoid it. If you can tolerate rice flour, it’s a far cheaper ingredient for your mix.)

Please note, when using your own flour mix, you’ll have to adjust the liquid in your recipe. Certain flours such as garfava bean or coconut flour are dryer and need extra liquid to come out right. Try adding half the liquid, stirring and adding more liquid as needed to reach the right consistency for your batter. The weather affects how much liquid you need as well, so pay attention as you mix.

If you’ve got a successful all-purpose, gluten-free flour mix, please let us know in the comments section!

Summer Vacation

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Food Allergies on Ice is taking a brief summer vacation while Becki’s family is traveling. Traveling while accommodating complicated food allergies is always a challenge, but I’ve figured out a few things that make life easier. Zippie bags take up far less room in a cooler than plastic containers, for example. Don’t forget to bring a sharp knife with your picnic supplies – there’s always something that needs cutting. Oh, and keep baby wipes on hand at all times. Even if you don’t have a baby in diapers – it’s still a good idea.

Here is the menu for while we’re away:

Breakfasts: *Pancakes and maple syrup or sunbutter, crispy cereal with hemp milk, *muffins, *yogurt with jelly, *sausage

Lunches: Sunbutter and jelly *sandwiches with carrots and celery, turkey *lunchmeat roll-ups and avocado, tuna salad with pickle, turkey *hot dogs and potato chips

Dinners: *pizza with salad, *baked chicken with *mashed potatoes, *chicken nuggets with broccoli

Snacks: Homemade trail mix, potato chips and salsa, *orange-cinnamon bread, *muffins, rice cakes, hummus and crackers, “squeezy” applesauce, whole fruit

* Items marked with an asterisk were packed frozen

Yes, I’m traveling with small children, as you can see by my menu choices. Yes, we’re eating far too many potato chips instead of all those nice fruits and veggies I mentioned. But here’s the point: Most of this food I was able to make ahead of time and freeze. Everything got flash frozen and packed into resealable bags so I could layer the food into a cooler. This way I was able to pack enough food in our undersized cooler for 4 to 5 days. We tend to stay in the sort of hotel where we can get a refrigerator and microwave in the room, and reheating the food isn’t difficult.

Here are some other meal ideas we’ve used in the past:

Pasta with *Red Sauce (rice and pasta can be cooked in a microwave just fine)

*Soups (freezes well as long as there is no rice, pasta or potato in the soup)

*Curried Lentils/Dahl

*Chicken Stir-fry

*Meatballs

*Chicken Patties

Your turn – what are your favorite meals for on the road?

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