Four gluten free pancakes on a white plate with syrup and fresh blueberries.

Gluten Free Pancake Mix Review

This week I’m reviewing two gluten-free pancake mixes that contain sorghum flour. Both of them were very good, and they each had a unique flavor and appeal.

Hodgson Mills Gluten Free Pancake Mix is a whole grain, hearty mix with flax seeds.

Front of Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix box.

Hodgson Mill has a nice traditional design on their box with all the pertinent information.

Side of Hodgson Mill pancake mix box showing the ingredients.

Hodgson Mill has less sugar and additives in their mix and more whole grains.

I added fresh Texas blueberries to make these pancakes extra healthy and just plain yummy.

Washed blueberries on a paper towel.

Fresh Texas blueberries.

I used buttermilk and the batter came out very thick. I had to use a spoon to spread the batter out on the grill so they would be thin enough to cook completely inside. I think I would have liked them better if I had added a bit more milk to the thin out the batter.

Metal mixing bowl containing pancake batter with blueberries stirred into it.

The Hodgson Mill batter was a bit thick – I should have added a little more milk.

Four blutberry pancakes cooking on a griddle.

If the batter is thick, be sure to spread it out with a spoon on the griddle so the pancakes will not be to tall and cook well in the middle.

Stack of gluten free blueberry pancakes on a white plate.

Finished stack of Hodgson Mill Gluten Free blueberry pancakes.

 

The other day I found this new gluten-free pancake mix I had never seen before – Kerbey Lane Cafe Gingerbread Pancake Mix.

Front of box of Kerbey Lane Gingerbread Pancake Mix. It has cartoon image of a gingerbread man flipping pancakes.

Kerbey Lane Cafe has several locations in the Austin, TX area. I think they’re packaging has a fun design.

The package was really cute and when I turned it over to read the ingredients I was amazed to see sorghum flour was the first ingredient!

Side of Kerbey Lane pancake mix box showing ingredient list.

Sorghum flour is listed as the first ingredient.

They also had a fun slogan on the side:

The side of the Kerbey pancake mix box has the slogan Peace Through Pancakes and graphic of flying pancakes above their allergen information.

Peace Through Pancakes – I’m all for that! Love those flying pancakes.

So, I HAD to try this, right?

Kerbey Lane Cafe is actually a small restaurant chain in Austin, TX that also produces packaged products for retail. I found this mix at Drug Emporium. You can buy them online, too. They have regular and gluten-free mixes. The gluten-free ones are manufactured in a dedicated facility, according to the package, so that made me feel safe trying the product.

The Kerbey Lane mix has everything in it, so all you have to add are eggs and water.

White mixing bowl containing Kerbey gingerbread pancake batter.

Kerbey Lane Gingerbread pancake batter.

The pancakes looked and smelled like soft gingerbread cookies while they were cooking.

Four gingerbread pancakes cooking on a griddle.

The Kerbey Lane pancakes look like big fluffy gingerbread cookies when they are cooking.

And they tasted as good as they smelled!

Four gingerbread pancakes stacked on a plate.

Kerbey Lane Cafe gluten free gingerbread pancakes.

I added a small amount of butter and maple syrup, but these might also be good with fruit and whipped cream. The texture was just like I remember real pancakes being.

I would definitely recommend either one of these mixes to my celiac friends.

Remember: Peace Through Pancakes!

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What’s for breakfast?”

 

 

Close up of gluten-free chocolate muffin on a dessert plate with white chocolate drizzeled over the top.

Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Muffins

Here is an amazing chocolate muffin recipe from Carol Fenster’s book “100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes”.  It’s a chocolate muffin with chocolate chips and white chocolate drizzled over the top. I could hardly believe these muffins were gluten-free!

In the book, it says this recipe makes 12 muffins, but I got 19.

Be careful eating these – they are very addictive!

Ingredients

Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup chopped gluten-free white chocolate, melted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk of choice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Grease muffin pan cups or line with paper liners.

To make the muffins: Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Add milk, oil, and vanilla and continue beating on low speed until just blended.

Eggs, milk and vanilla mixed together.

Eggs, milk, oil and vanilla mixed together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sorghum blend, sugar, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

Dry ingredients mixed together in metal mixing bowl.

Dry ingredients mixed together.

Gradually beat the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until the batter is smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Gluten-free chocolate muffin batter in a mixing bowl.

The batter is smooth and creamy.

Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds.

Gluten-free chocolate muffin batter with chocolate chips and almonds stirred in.

The nuts and chocolate chips added to the batter.

Divide the batter evenly in the muffin pan.

Two muffin pans containing chocolate batter.

I got 19 muffins out of this recipe.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes on a rack in the middle of the oven until the muffin tops are firm, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then take them out to cool another 5 minutes.

Close up of baked chocolate muffin - the top goes about an inch above the edge of the muffin pan.

The muffins rose quite a bit during baking.

Close up of baked chocolate muffin in muffin pan.

Chocolatey goodness!

To make the drizzle: Combine melted white chocolate and 1 tablespoon of milk to make a thin smooth frosting. Add more milk a little at a time if needed. Drizzle the white chocolate mixture over the tops of the muffins.

Close up from above of several gluten-free chocolate muffins on a plate with white chocolate drizzeled over the tops.

White chocolate drizzled over the tops – yum!

Close up from above of several gluten-free chocolate muffins on a plate with white chocolate drizzeled over the tops.

 

Close up from above of one gluten-free chocolate muffin on a plate with white chocolate drizzeled over the top.

You can’t go wrong with triple the chocolate!

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

A stranger is just a friend waiting to be sniffed!

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Cereals Review

I generally try to limit my consumption of processed foods in my quest to get proper nutrition while sticking to a gluten-free diet, but I do enjoy having a plain old bowl of cereal for breakfast every now and then. I admit that most gluten-free cereals aren’t very good, especially for the price, and many of them have a lot of added sugar to help them taste better.

I like to add walnuts and fruit to my cereal to increase the nutritional content. Gluten-free cereals tend to be low on certain nutrients, especially B vitamins, unless they are enriched or fortified.

One of my favorite gluten-free cereals is Perky’s Crunchy Flax with Chia by Enjoy Life. What I like about this cereal is that it’s slightly sweet without being too sweet and it sticks with me throughout the morning. I believe it’s staying power comes from my favorite ingredient – whole grain sorghum flour!

Perky's Crunchy Flax with Chia box front

Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, which, combined with protein and starch in the sorghum endosperm, makes it more slowly digested than other cereals. The slower rate of digestibility of sorghum products makes them more filling and may be beneficial to diabetics. Enjoy Life is one of the first companies in the U.S. that has used sorghum as a main ingredient.

Side of the Crunchy Flax box showing ingredients and some nutritional information

Sorghum flour is the first ingredient.

 

Another gluten-free cereal I tried recently is Ancient Grain Flakes by Freedom Foods, an Australian company.

Ancient Grain Flakes box front.

Although the flavor of the cereal was ok for a gluten-free cereal, I was disappointed by the misleading description of the cereal on the front of the box. It says the cereal is “made from buckwheat and sorghum”, but when you look at the ingredient list on the side of the box, it has rice and corn listed as the first two ingredients, then sorghum and buckwheat.

Ancient Grain Flakes - side of box showing ingredients and some of the nutrition information.

Sorghum is the third ingredient.

It’s funny to me that the Freedom Foods logo at the top of the box has the words “honest, nutritious & free” underneath. It’s seems like a more honest statement would be “contains buckwheat and sorghum.”

One thing I did like about the Freedom Foods cereals was the allergen symbols at the bottom. This makes it easier to see which common allergens have been eliminated from the product.

Close up of the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box showing FREE FROM and seven icons for various allergens, gluten being the first.

The allergen icons at the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box are a nice idea.

The flakes have a definite corn flavor when you first bite into them. I found that I was hungry again about two hours after I ate this cereal. I probably won’t be getting this one again.

Update: Here is a pdf from the Enjoy Life that has all the nutrition information for Crunchy Flax with Chia cereal. 100 gm breakdown Cereal Crunchy Flax with Chia

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Happiness is LICKING the cereal bowl when Maizy is finished with it!

About a dozen bowls from above, each containing a different healthy food like beans, brocolli, blueberries, walnuts, etc.

Healthy Eating Tips for Celiacs

It is important to get enough B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), iron, and fiber if you are eating a gluten-free diet. Here are some tips to help you get enough good nutrition.

  • Choose whole grain, gluten-free products whenever possible. Look for products containing whole grain sorghum, whole grain rice, millet, teff, or corn.
  • Choose enriched, gluten-free products instead of refined, unenriched products whenever possible. Here are a few companies providing enriched, gluten-free products:
    Ener-G Foods: Manufactures enriched ready-to-eat, glutenfree bread products
    Glutino: Manufactures enriched ready-to-eat, gluten-free bread products and enriched baking mixes
    Maplegrove Food and Beverage: Manufactures enriched, gluten-free pasta
    Enjoy Life Foods: Manufactures enriched, glutenfree breads, bagels, snack bars, and granola
    Kinnikinnick Foods: Manufactures enriched, glutenfree bread products
    Gluten Free Cafe: Manufactures enriched soups and entrees
  • Eat more foods made with alternative plant foods, such as amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat. These plant foods are good sources of fiber and iron as well as some B-vitamins.
  • Eat other enriched, gluten-free foods such as enriched rice.
  • Make sure to eat plenty of non-grain sources of the nutrients your body needs. For example:
    – Lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes (dry beans, peas, lentils), nuts, and fish are good sources of thiamin.
    – Dairy products, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and mushrooms are good for riboflavin.
    – Eat poultry, fish, lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes, and seeds for niacin.
    – Choose legumes, green leafy vegetables, and fruit juices for folate.
    – You can get iron from lean cuts of beef, poultry, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
    – All plant foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts—are good sources of fiber.
  • Consider taking a gluten-free multivitamin and mineral supplement

Source: The University of North Dakota Dining Services

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy told me she needs more exercise so I have to take her for a walk EVERY DAY. We have fun walking together, so I don’t mind doing this to take care of her.

Close-up of zucchini fritter in frying pan after flipping over.

Zucchini Fritters with Sorghum Flour

I like to grow zucchini in my garden every summer and it grows well here in west Texas. But I always have the problem using up all of that zucchini. When I found this recipe I was really excited about having something new to make with zucchini!

One medium zucchini on the counter next to a 1/4-cup measuring cup.

I used three zucchini about this size but I forgot to measure how many cups it made.

Of course, I altered the recipe by adding onions, garlic powder, and a little more flour. It was a little too runny (probably because I forgot to add the cheese!), so I had to use a slotted spoon to scoop it into the ¼-cup measuring cup. I added the extra rice flour because it tends to make fried foods a little crispier. Even without the cheese, these fritters were amazing. My friend Gregg said I could make these every weekend if I wanted to. We were thinking about trying them using eggplant instead of zucchini.

The cayenne pepper gives these fritters a bit of a kick. I actually reduced the black pepper amount to ¼ teaspoon. You could even leave out the pepper if you like and they would be just as good. These make a great side dish with some burgers or chicken cooked on the grill!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium zucchini, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup white rice flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ shredded parmesan cheese
  • small amount of oil for frying (I used olive oil)

Directions

Shred the zucchini using a box grater, food processor or juicer. I used a food processor for the zucchini and chopped the onions by hand. If you use the grater or food processor, you will need to squeeze out all the moisture from the zucchini before you add the rest of the ingredients. I just patted it with a paper towel to get out the moisture, but it was still pretty juicy after I added the eggs and tomatoes. If you use a juicer, you can skip the moisture-draining step.

Chopped up zucchini and onions mixed together.

I chopped the zucchini in a food processor.

Sprinkle with the salt and toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Add flour, egg and pepper. Stir to combine.

Flours and spices mixed up in a bowl.

Flours and spices.

An opened bag of Bob's Red Mill Sweet White Sorghum Flour

This is the sorghum flour I used.

Once mixed, gently fold in tomato and cheese.

All ingredients mixed up in a white bowl.

All ingredients mixed together – the tomatoes made it a little soupier than I thought it would be.

Heat a large skillet (or griddle if you’re looking for a less greasy option) with a small amount of oil on medium-low heat.

Pack a 1/4 cup measuring cup with the fritter mixture, pressing it down inside the cup. Turn the cup out onto the pan and flatten the zucchini until you get a patty.

Four zucchini fritters cooking in frying pan.

First batch of fritters cooking.

Close-up of zucchini fritter frying in the frying pan

Frying Fritter!

Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned.

Four zucchini fritters cooking in frying pan flipped over with crispy side up.

Here’s what they looked like when I flipped them over.

This recipe made 14 fritters.

Zucchini fritters piled up on a plate.

This recipe made 14 fritters about the size of small pancakes.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

The BEST thing happened today! Maizy dropped an egg on the floor and I ATE IT! She said I was her little helper. Being a helper TASTES GOOD!

 

Cooking with Sorghum

Types of Sorghum Ingredients

NuLife Market Whole Grain Sorghum in plastic package

NuLife Market Whole Grain Sorghum

Whole grain sorghum – Use sorghum in its whole grain form for great tasting and healthful dishes just like you would use rice. Whole grain sorghum can be used as an addition to vegetable salads or in cooked dishes like tabbouleh. It resembles bulgar or wheat berries and is a hearty, chewy solution to meeting the daily goal of 2 to 3 servings of whole grain.

Bob's Red Mill Sorghum Flour

White sorghum flourWhite sorghum flour is made from white food grade sorghum that has the hull removed and milled like traditional flours. This flour can be used in a variety of baking applications in conjunction with other flours.

Package photo of whole grain sorghum flour from NuLife Market

Whole grain sorghum flour from NuLife Market

Whole grain sorghum flourWhole grain flour is milled with the entire grain without the hull removed. Whole grain flours contain all of the nutrition found in the outer casing of the grain.

Jar of Golden Barrel Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum syrup from Golden Barrel

Sorghum syrupSorghum syrup is a natural sweetener that comes from juice squeezed from the stalks of certain sorghum varieties. It has a rich, dark color and consistency similar to molasses but with a milder taste.

Using Sorghum Flour

MuffinsMadeWithSorghum

Whole grain sorghum flour is a wholesome, hearty grain that possesses a mild flavor that won’t compete with the delicate flavors in other food ingredients. Sorghum improves the texture of recipes and digests more slowly with a lower glycemic index, so it sticks with you a bit longer than other flour or flour substitutes. This makes it a great healthy substitution for more traditional flours. Check out these great recipes for sorghum flour mixes.

Binders and Sorghum

Package of Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum from Bob’s Red Mill

Because sorghum does not contain gluten, a “binder” such as xanthan gum, must be added when gluten is used to create a successful product. Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of sorghum flour for cookies and cakes or 1 teaspoon per cup of flour for breads. Other ingredients used as binders in some recipes include egg whites, unflavored gelatin, cornstarch and guar gum.

Getting Started with Sorghum

For baking – if you are ready to try some recipes, start with recipes that use relatively small amounts of wheat flour like brownies or pancakes. Substituting sorghum takes some experimenting and patience, but the results can be very delicious.

For snacking – purchase whole grain sorghum that you can pop as a nutritious, whole grain snack. A little oil in a heavy pan along with whole grain sorghum makes a healthy popped snack.

For entrees – sorghum can also be used as a grain (like rice or barley) and boiled or toasted as a crunchy addition to a tossed salad.

Storing Sorghum Flour

Store sorghum flour in moisture- and vapor-proof, air-tight glass or metal containers or plastic freezer bags. Keep in a cool, dry, dark place if it will be used within a few months; keep in a refrigerator or freezer for longer storage.

All information provided courtesy of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

I just found out cats have NINE LIVES. I’m not jealous, though, because cats have nine CRUMMY lives; DOGS have one BIG life full of AWESOMENESS!

Sun Flour Mills Pumpkin Muffins on a plate

On the Road Gluten-free!

Sunflower Mills Pumpkin Muffins

Before I went on my trip to Seattle, I baked these pumpkin muffins to take with me. I made them from Sun Flour Mills Pumpkin Cake mix. I wanted to try this mix because it contains sorghum flour and because I LOVE pumpkin cake! I added walnuts to the mix to make them more wholesome. I used a whole can of pureed pumpkin, which may have been a tad too much. The mix made about two dozen regular sized muffins.

Sunflower Mills Pumpkin Cake Mix front of boxSunflower Mills Pumpkin Cake Mix side of box showing ingredient list

The muffins turned out very moist and soft – very light. I decided to take about a dozen on my trip with me and put the rest in the freezer. I thought they would be ok to carry in the car in a plastic food storage bag. Big mistake! I should have used a sturdier container because the muffins fell apart the second day and I had a bag full of mushy crumbles. It’s not easy to eat those while you’re driving . . . kind of sticky.

So, although the muffins were quite yummy, they probably weren’t the best choice to take on the road. I would definitely make these again if I needed something quick to take to a party. Hmmm, maybe a Fourth of July picnic?

Celiac-Friendly Restaurants

On my vacation I visited two restaurants where the staff seemed very knowledgeable about preparing gluten free meals.

Front of Fisherman's Market and Grill in Coure d'Alene, ID

The first one was in Coure d’Alene, Idaho, a very pretty little mountain town on Interstate 90. The restaurant was called Fisherman’s Market and Grill. They make fish and chips with all kinds of fish, which didn’t really sound very safe for me, but I decided to just go in and ask if they made any meals that were grilled and explained why. The woman at the counter knew all about gluten-free and assured me that the fish could be safely grilled and that the French fries were cooked in their own oil. They had eight kinds of homemade tarter sauce and she made sure I knew which one was not gluten free. I had grilled salmon with my chips and it was heavenly!

Basket of fish and chips

Grilled Salmon and chips with homemade tartar sauce

 

Island Soul logo

My son took me to this Caribbean restaurant called Island Soul, located in the Columbia City section of Seattle. We found it by searching online for gluten-free restaurants in the area. Their gluten-free dishes are marked with an asterisk on the menu and the staff was very friendly and helpful. I tried the Jamaican Rundown with snapper and prawns, and my sides were collard greens and yams (yeah, I’m from the south kinda.) It was an amazing meal, which I couldn’t finish, and the atmosphere was very nice, as well.

Photo of the food I ordered at Island Soul restaurant

Jamaican Rundown has snapper and prawns cooked with vegetables, garlic and coconut milk; sides of yams and collard greens.

I ate out at other restaurants while I was traveling, but these two were outstanding in their assistance with choosing safe, gluten-free meals and were great dining experiences, as well.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy took me for a walk and I sniffed EVERYTHING! It was the BEST walk ever! Then Maizy gave me a new BONE! Life is good when Maizy is here.