Tag Archives: review

Instant Mix, Instant Success

17 Oct

My family celebrated a couple of birthday’s this weekend. We were invited to Mantou’s cousin’s 2nd birthday. It was our first birthday event with many toddlers. Mantou seemed to enjoy himself and play with all the toys that the birthday boy shared. There was a bbq lunch so we ate some lettuce wrapped burgers and a few hot links. We stayed long enough to sing to the birthday boy but didn’t stick around for the Toy Story themed cake, though it did look amazing. At this point in time, Mantou really doesn’t know the concept of birthdays or birthday cakes so he didn’t know the difference.

We left the birthday party early so that Mantou could take his nap. We wanted him refreshed so that he could celebrate Papa’s birthday dinner. During his nap, I went shopping to find a instant cake mix that was gluten-free. I would substitute the butter, milk, or eggs that the mix called for. I had no luck finding a gluten-free mix at Safeway so I had to go to another store. I could have sworn Safeway sold gluten-free mixes but I just did not see any. So I went to Lucky’s and found Ms. Better Crocker’s chocolate cake gluten-free mix. It wasn’t on sale like the other Better Crocker mixes on the shelf so I had to shell out $4.99 a box. I was going to make my own frosting but after reading all the frosting ingredients found one from Pillsbury that did not have wheat or dairy.

I made two boxes worth but thinking about it, should have just stuck with one box. We didn’t need 24+ cupcakes, we were only 11 people! I substituted Earth Balance spread for the butter and applesauce for the eggs. Since I had to substitute for 6 eggs, that called for a lot of applesauce which increased the volume of the batter. Next time I’m going to use EngerG Replacer. I put the cupcakes in the oven and put the timer on for the appropriate time written on the box. Because I was making two batches in the oven, the cupcakes did not bake completely so I added another 7 minutes.

I let the cupcakes cool completely and then “tested” one out. The cupcakes were heavy, the inside of the cupcake was a bit “mushy”, but in general it tasted pretty good. I covered the cupcakes with chocolate frosting, added a little raspberry on top, and sprinkled some colorful sugar confetti on top of them. It looked pretty darn yummy. I would definitely make cake from Betty Crocker again. It was a hit with everyone. Mantou even enjoyed it!

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Asian Cooking

12 Oct

Even though I have the Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen cookbook checked-out from the library, I had yet to make anything from it. It’s not that I didn’t find any good recipes, it’s just that I have been so LAZY. To tell you the truth, I liked the recipes in the book so much that I actually bought it too. I really do want to make the dumplings that the author, Laura B. Russell, has shared in her cookbook, but I never seem to have enough time to get it started.

I did eventually get to make the Teriyaki Sauce based on her recipe using wheat-free tamari, honey, ginger, garlic, and mirin. I baked some skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the oven and then coated them with the sauce. I thought the sauce was a little thin though. I was expecting the mix to thicken but it never did so not sure what I did wrong. I’ll have to try it again since it was pretty easy to do. Plus the amount was just right, however if there was any left over, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

I don’t want to share the recipe since I think everyone should really go check out the cookbook. Laura does a really good job at listing out what specific brands and ingredients that she uses. I know this will help because I know how it is to go through all the aisles in a grocery store (non-Asian and Asian) reading the ingredients over and over again just to make sure that there aren’t specific allergens. One thing I wish that the cookbook has was more pictures of the recipes. Since I do know most of the dishes, I guess going on my own memory could work, but a gentle reminder would definitely make it easier for me to know what I am cooking… of course just looking it up on the internet would probably work too.

Nice Try Brownie Mix

26 Sep

I was so looking forward to making gluten-free brownies after finding a pre-mix from Trader Joe’s. I figured I could just substitute the eggs by using the Ener-G egg replacer and follow the rest of the ingredients as the package mentioned. Ugh, this was one of the worst experiences I have ever had with a gluten-free pre-made mix. The ingredient list calls for a lot of oil. The package does mention that a “healthier version” would be to replace all the oil with applesauce – which when I think back, should have- but was mentioned as an after thought. When I first mixed it up I should have known that something was not right. The dough was very not cake-like and consistency was very solid. After baking for the recommended time I peaked in and the mix was bubbling but not in a good way. I added 10 minutes to the cooking time because I figured it was not ready. I was trying to find a short-cut and this was not it. Back to the drawing board on brownie mixes. Either that, use apple sauce instead of all that oil or find a home-made brownie recipe.

Leggo My Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free Waffle

9 Sep

A few posts back I had asked if anyone had suggestions on getting us out of our breakfast rut. Mantou did not seem interested in his oatmeal anymore. So I followed your advice. 1) I added yogurt to his oatmeal. I bought unsweetened soy yogurt; alone Mantou didn’t like the tartness so I had to add a teaspoon of sugar. He took a few spoonfuls of this and that was good enough for me. 2) I found Trader Joe’s wheat-free frozen waffles which are also dairy-free and egg-free. I gave Mantou a toasted waffle for breakfast the next day. He looked like he was into it but after a few bites he started pulling it apart instead of eating much of it. 3) Safeway had a sale on Van’s Natural Foods gluten-free and wheat-free blueberry waffles this past week. I bought them since it had his favorite fruit, blueberries. Again he preferred to pull it apart than eat it.

I think Mantou may have been teething so he was just unhappy with food in general. A few nights ago he kept waking up in the middle of the night. When we went in to check on him he was sitting in his crib with his finger in his mouth.  I think the brunt of his teething pain has subsided so he is his happy self again and is fine with eating his oatmeal again. But I will continue with alternating breakfast items and figure out what other things I can give him.

Making It Wok

18 Jul

The one ingredient that saved me! Yes, that’s a big statement but as a Chinese woman it’s one of those ingredients that just cannot be left out of the pantry. Can you believe regular soy sauce has wheat in it? When I read the ingredients on the soy sauce label, I just stared in disbelief. What am I going to do? I stir-fry everything with a bit of soy and and dash of sesame oil. I am lucky that Mantou isn’t allergic to sesame, phew!

I learned about Tamari very quickly and went to the nearest Asian market near me to find some. I spent a good 20 minutes in the soy sauce aisle reading all the ingredient labels on the soy sauce jars. It was a good day that day when I bought the Wan Ja Shan brand of wheat-free Tamari soy sauce, but when I went back to get another bottle after my first was almost depleted, I was met with a bottle 1/3 of the size that I previously bought! That would be used up in a few days! I could not believe they didn’t carry the large bottle anymore. Now I’m using San-J Gluten-Free Tamari which I buy from Whole Foods.

I make a lot of fried rice at home – minus eggs, and no matter what other ingredients I put in the wok, Mantou is there with his mouth wide open waiting to gobble it up. YUM!