Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Secrets to Success Revealed!

Well, at least this is what worked for us! Here is the secret to GFCF cooking for kids and not going crazy in our house: keep it simple-- less is more.

Rather than buying a lot of costly ready-made GFCF products that tasted like cardboard (not the ones in my kid-friendly list, however!), or spending hours trying to re-create a reasonable facsimile of mac-n-cheese that the Prince wouldn’t eat anyway, I learned the cold, hard truth: the easiest, cheapest, safest thing to do, after lots of experimentation, was to just eat less baked, breaded items and less dairy substitutes. Stick to fresh fruits and veggies, meat and fish, rice and potatoes, plus a few convenience items that your family enjoys.

I plan to write a separate post on bread, but we really don’t eat it that much anymore. We mostly use tortilla wraps, either corn or GF for sandwiches. The South Beach Diet, Phase I is actually gluten and casein free, though the intention is to cut calories and carbs. That’s pretty much how we eat. I don’t make anything resembling mac-n-cheese, and the Prince doesn’t even miss it now!

Another secret was revealed to me when I discovered the website of Karina Allrich aka “The Gluten-Free Goddess” (go to and check out her posts “Cooking & Baking Gluten-Free: Tips from Karina” and “The Morning After the Diagnosis”). When I first started GFCF, I didn’t have much trouble eliminating dairy and finding substitutes. But baking was a new challenge in cooking for me, yet I embraced the challenge! I had 6 expensive bags of different GF flours in the fridge, xanthan-gum and a ton of GF cookbooks and recipes.

Some worked, some didn’t, but it was too time intensive for a busy GFCF Mommy like me. Another dirty little secret: GFCF baked goods and ingredients go bad in a hurry if they are not used right away or frozen. Wish I had known that before buying six bags of flour! You are forewarned!

The Goddess had apparently discovered the same thing and had a solution. Use an all-purpose GF flour, or even better, a GF bread/baking mix which will already have xanthan gum included (a necessary ingredient for GF cooking). My two favorites are Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour and Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix. Karina “the Goddess” has lots of good recipes, especially using Pamela’s and the websites for these two companies are good sources for recipes too. One bag of sure beats six!

(A note: if you use Bob’s All-Purpose GF-Flour, you still will need the xanthan gum. Bob’s Red Mill also has a “Wonderful Bread Mix” which you could use instead and not need the xanthan gum. If you use Pamela’s, you don’t need the gum either.)


Bliss said...

I love this blog! We are just getting started down the GFCF road. A question about Pamela's - doesn't it have buttermilk powder in it? Is that not a problem?

GFCF Mommy said...

Hi Bliss, and welcome.

Yes, some of Pamela's products do have buttermilk and that is a problem. The baking mix does, I believe, but the bread mix doesn't. You have to check the labels carefully.

If you are just starting, I would use Bob's Red Mill. We have been doing this for awhile and found my son can now handle trace amounts of casein (but not gluten) if we give him digestive enzymes along with a meal that might include Pamela's or something else that might have a cross-contamination risk.

Glad to see you here!