Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Product Review: Gluten Free Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix

Bisquick, the pre-mix packaged product for baking, was introduced by General Mills in 1931. Now, in 2010, General Mills offers Gluten Free Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix, and I decided to test it against my own pancake mix.

Gluten Free Bisquick is available in a 16 oz package, and the cost at my local supermarket was $5.99. On the back of the package, the pancake recipe calls for 1 cup of the mix, 1 cup of milk, 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 egg. That recipe yields 10 pancakes.

I made up a batch of Bisquick pancakes and served them to my son, asking him first if they tasted good, and then if they were better than mine.

Now, he may be biased because I am, after all, his mother, but he said the Bisquick pancakes were good -he gave them an exuberant thumbs up- but he claimed mine were better.

I had tasted the pancakes on trial here and found them to be quite tasty. They were a little denser than those from my own mix and so had a little more texture. But the taste was spot on, equal to that of any pancake house.

The most attractive feature of this mix is the convenience factor. Though I make up my own mixes and store them for use, there are times when I'm caught short. Having a mix on hand, ready to use, that tastes good and isn't expensive is a real boon for those who cook gluten free.

Disclaimer: I did not receive this product as a promotional item or for review from the producing company. I paid for it myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Product Review: Pamela's Products Gluten-Free Bread Mix

Each week I make at least one loaf of gluten-free bread from scratch for my son. This week, though, I made bread using Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix. It's a yeast bread, and a packet of yeast is included. All I needed was 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of oil and about 1 3/4 cups of water. Into the stand mixer it goes and then into a prepared 8x4 loaf pan. Let it rest for an hour and then into the oven for 70 minutes.

I was skeptical. I've been disappointed before by bread mixes: the taste is bland, the texture crumbly or the middle collapses during the baking process. But I hadn't tried Pamela's bread mix yet, so I purchased a 19 ounce package for $5.99 and made a loaf of bread.

The final product tastes good, isn't crumbly and rose just like yeast bread should rise, with a nicely browned dome shape. Now, $6 is a bit high for a loaf of bread, plus the cost of additional ingredients, but contemporary cooking is sometimes a bit more costly.

Pamela's Products Gluten-Free Bread Mix, though, is available in bulk through Amazon.com, and it brings the cost down a bit. And you can store the packaged mix in the freezer, so the investment is well worth it.

Considering that I often pay as much as $4.50 for a loaf of whole grain, trans-fat free bread in the supermarket, the cost of Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix isn't too bad.
 I did not receive this product as a promotional item. I paid for it myself.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Every once in a while my husband and I indulge ourselves. We enjoy a rich-tasting meal that has just a little too much fat for daily fare. That's okay. It makes the meal special.

On my website, just Az.com, I offer a Featured Recipe. This week it's a tasty pasta dish called Italian Indulgence. It has sweet Italian chicken sausage, lots of pasta, cheese and marinara sauce.

This dish, though, can easily be converted to a vegetarian main dish. Use grilled zucchini in place of the sausage, or eggplant. Add sweet peppers to the dish for crunchy texture, cooking them just a little bit to bring out their sweet taste.

Use eggless pasta and vegan cheese to make this meal vegan friendly. You could even use grilled tofu in this dish to bring in a creamy texture.

Indulging yourself now and again is important. Just take a little care with the ingredients. The chicken sausage is better than the pork sausage. To reduce the fat content even more, and retain that delicious taste of naughtiness, use chicken sausage links. Boil them up for ten minutes to draw out some of the fat and then remove the sausage from the casing and fry it up.

Make this dish your own by trying different vegetables and cheeses. Just take care not to overindulge, and maybe skip dessert - or not.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Cooking in August

Obviously, I haven't posted recently. To any of you readers out there who reside in Arizona's lovely city of Phoenix, you probably understand why. When temperatures soar to 105 degrees on a daily basis, I don't do much cooking or baking.

Meals consist of summer salads and sandwiches, sliced fruits and scrambled eggs. I only turn on the oven if I absolutely, positively have to. Lordy, it is hot here.

But I have managed to accomplish a few things. I've come up with a gluten free flour mix that makes terrific, yeast free sandwich bread that will be included in my upcoming cookbook.

I'm working on a couple of cookie recipes and attempted a gluten free pound cake. Attempted is the operative word here. I felt sure the dense, fat and egg rich cake was perfect for translation to a gluten free version. Turns out the translation is trickier than I thought.

I've also been researching the connection between thyroiditis and celiac disease. My son has both and fortunately, the generic form of synthroid- levothyroxin- produced by the pharmaceutical company Mylan is gluten free. But I'm looking into dietary influences on the endocrine system, which is likely to influence upcoming recipes.

Now that September is here, and the weather is slightly less humid and the nights are almost -but not quite- cool, I'll be posting more.

Look for some vegetarian recipes in the coming months, along with some gluten free snacks. Thanks and "see" you next week.