Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 7, 2010

Product Review: Cusinart Convection Bread Machine

Mmmmmmmm…. it is really cold here and I am making bread for the first time!  I am a little nervous because I am using a new bread machine and a new bread mix.

I am using the Cusinart Convection Bread Machine and the Gluten-Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix.   And the verdict is… yum!  I used the gluten free setting and replaced the yeast that came with the Gluten-Free Pantry mix with Fleschman’s rapid rise yeast, added 2 tbl of flax meal for nutrition and I added 2 tsp of dough enhancer to the flour.  I followed the directions that came with the machine adding liquids first (all mixed together and warm), then adding flour (flax meal and dough enhancer mixed in) and then adding yeast on  top of the flour.  Worked wonderfully and had a great height and sponge to the bread!

The bread mix called for water or milk and I decided to go dairy free and use almond milk.  Oh does this bread look so good and look how big and tall the loaf is!  This mix will create a two pound loaf.  I used the white bread setting and medium crust.  I had to remove the bread about 5 minutes early because it smelled ready!  And I am glad I did… the crust was great!  I think next time I will use the light crust setting.  While the dough was mixing I did follow recommendations from other friends to use a spatula to help scrape the sides of the pan while the machine is mixing the dough.

Oh I cannot wait to see my two little bumpkins (teenagers) faces when they wake up… finally fresh fresh bread for their lunches…

Oh you have to cool the bread before slicing otherwise the bread will fall apart a bit.

The bread machine was awesome.  I literally unpacked the bread machine and washed the bread pan and paddle and literally started making bread!  The directions were easy to follow and the ingredients mixed well.  There is a neat feature on the bread machine to stop/pause and you can mix or add additional ingredients before the rising phase.  I really think I am going to enjoy this machine… so easy to use and versatile!


Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 5, 2010

Recipe: Warm and Delicious Quinoa

Well… I am going to try this recipe tomorrow… thought I would share… this is a big step for me… I am trying to put more fiber in my diet that is gluten free – I am using the book “The Full Plate Diet” to guide me a bit on the gluten free fibers I can sneak into each meal… the magic number seems to be 45 grams of Fiber a day to loose weight…

Note: A quick note: always rinse your quinoa before cooking. Most quinoa varieties are nice & clean, but there is still this residual taste that clings to anything you make w/it unless you rinse it.  (use a fine mesh sifter to rinse the quinoa in…)


  • 1 cup organic 1% low fat milk**
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup organic quinoa (rinse before using)
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries, organic preferred (or apples***/cranberries/raisins/bananas/blueberries/strawberries/ raspberries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Madagascar Vanilla – organic (I use Rondelle)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted* (or walnuts or almonds!)
  • 4 teaspoons organic agave nectar, such as Madhava brand


1. Combine milk,  water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
3. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes.
4. Stir in fruit, vanilla, butter and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans.
5. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar (to taste) over each serving.

Serves 4.

*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

** Try experimenting with a little coconut milk for dairy free

*** Try mixing the apple with the cinnamon and let the natural juices soak up the cinnamon before mixing!

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 4, 2010

Recipe: The Ultimate Brownie

Ok I am feeling really naughty today and have this terrible craving for Nutella!  and …. as a good cook, I went to the Nutella website to find out if Nutella is gluten free… and… IT IS!  and what is more fascinating is they are having a sweepstakes contest to win a case of Nutella!  Oh my word… now this is a great Sunday… so I registered for the contest and decided to make these brownies… fudgey and gluten free! (note: these do contain milk and nuts…)

Adapted from: The Nobel Pig


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
  • 2 cups granulated organic sugar
  • 2 tsp pure rodelle madagascar vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Tom Sawyer Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (or your favorite Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix)
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup Jif peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar


Note: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large  bowl sift and combine Tom Sawyer Gluten Free all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
2.  Over low heat, melt butter and stir in sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.
3. To the butter-sugar mixture add eggs, one at a time.  With a spoon vigorously mix in each egg until well-combined.
4. To the butter-egg mixture whisk in the cocoa mixture until fully combined.
5. In a microwave safe bowl add Nutella and peanut butter.  The Nutella will be a little hard to scoop out…Heat in the microwave in 20 second intervals until it reaches a runny consistency.  Gently stir this mixture into the batter.
6. Pour the batter into a glass 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (I used grape seed oil spray with a little Tom Sawyer Flour dusted in pan.) (another suggestion:
7. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.
8. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
9. Let brownies cool completely.
10. Sift powdered sugar on top of brownies.


Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 3, 2010

Think: Confidence

Confidence in the natural world is self-reliance. In the spiritual world it is God-Reliance.

– Oswald Chambers

Oh gosh… switching to gluten free cooking caused my confidence level to drop a bit…  I love baking and cooking and have been doing this for many years… this new way of cooking is so different on the baking side.

I am deciding not to mix my own flour blend for now until I gain confidence using these flours!  Tom Sawyer flour is such a God send.  It is a one for one replacement with regular gluten laden all purpose flour.  It has the xanthan gum built in!  I also want to experiment with almond flour a bit… since it is healthier and having a higher protein.

I am going to stay ultra positive here and simply convert my all time favorites using Tom Sawyer flour.  My first favorite I am trying today is my ultimate brownie recipe.  It has nutella, cocoa and peanut butter in it…

Remember confidence is built with a little bit of practice and a  lot a bit of faith!

Stay tuned for the recipe!

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 3, 2010

Review: Our First Field Trip – Rose’s Bakery

Tucked on the outskirts of Wilmette is a rare find… and a treasure!  Rose’s Bakery is a bakery to be taken seriously from a gluten-free standpoint.  Their dedication to their customers is top-notch as well as the wonderful sights, tastes and smells… we have been gluten free for about three weeks now… and I thought I would never enjoy bread again… until now!

The breads vary in terms of tastes and textures.  My favorite was the Almond French Rolls!  Delicate, soft and tasty!

The French Loaf and Seeded Sandwich Loaf were fantastic.  The French Loaf is more like a buttery white bread while the Seeded Sandwich Loaf is more like a lightly seeded wheat bread.  Both are really good!

As a treat, I got the pita bread.  They are made from rice flour and are very soft and puffy.  I plan on using them for individual pizza’s!

Another treat are their cupcakes… oh so good… chocolate with chocolate buttercream frosting, vanilla with vanilla buttercream frosting and vanilla with gingerbread frosting… oh so so yummy!

There is a little cafe restaurant on the side and for the price of a McDonald’s meal, you can get a gluten free hamburger with a french roll bun that is gluten free.  They have grilled cheeses for kids and wonderful assortment of sandwiches.  All very fun and delicious!

This Bakery takes Celiac very seriously and everything is gluten free.  The wonderful employees simply gave me so much information on gluten free and ideas on how I can keep their breads soft and yummy – the breads freeze very well as well as microwave well… really handy with teens…

The Bakery is also willing to take orders ahead of time…

This bakery gets 5 thumbs up from us!  And we will be visiting very often…!

Location: Evanston/Wilmette border

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 3, 2010

Recipe: Macaroni n’ Cheese!

Brrrrr… it ’tis a tad bit nippy in Chicago!  only 3 above right now and I can really go for my all time favorite comfort food… Macaroni and Cheese… sans no gluten!  I went to the pantry and said a silent prayer… for it is my first time cooking Macaroni and Cheese with gluten free noodles… and the topping is toasted cornflakes with Italian seasoning… it took a total of 20 minutes for me to put this together and thankfully it is really a tasty dish!  Hope you will like it too!


  • 1 bag of gluten free noodles (suggest: Bionature organic gluten free fusilli)
  • 2 cups organic milk (suggest: fair oak farms)
  • 1 – 8oz bag Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese – Colby & Monterey Jack
  • 1 – 8oz bag Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese – Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (suggest: Simply Organic Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder (to taste)
  • 2 cups gluten free crushed cornflakes or 2 cups toasted Vaans Waffle
  • 1/4 cup gluten free butter
  • 1 tbsp gluten free corn starch


1. Boil the gluten free noodles according to package directions and drain and set aside.
2. Bring 2 cups milk to a gentle boil.
3. Add both packages of cheese and stir until all cheese is melted.
4. Add garlic powder and stir until mixed.
5. Add corn starch and stir until mixed.
6. Gently fold in gluten free noodles that are drained.
7. Place in a baking dish that is 9″ x 9″
8. In another pan, gently melt the butter.
9. Pour the cornflakes into the butter and mix thoroughly.
10. Add the Italian seasoning and toast.
11. Remove from heat and pour on top of the macaroni and cheese.

It’s that easy!  I opted to toast the corn flakes instead of baking because I was not sure that the noodle would withstand the baking.  Turned out great… and it was certainly more healthy than the boxed stuff!  One thing to note:  Some celiacs are milk intolerant so I suggest you make with goats milk instead of regular milk.


Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 1, 2010

Sand Dollar Cookies

Oh to be in the Caribbean again… I miss finding the sand dollars in the ocean, the beautiful warm breezes… thinking I’ll make Sand Dollar Cookies today!


  • 3/4 cup gluten free butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup organic confectioners’ sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Rondell’s gluten free almond extract
  • 1-1/3 cups Tom Sawyer Gluten Free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Slivered almonds and cinnamon-sugar


1.In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in extract.

2. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

4. Roll dough between waxed paper to 1/8-in. thickness.

5. Cut with a 3-1/2-in. round cookie cutter dipped in flour.

6. Using a floured spatula, place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

7. Brush with egg.

8. Decorate with almonds and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

9. Bake at 325° for 12-16 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

10. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Yield: 9 cookies.

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | January 1, 2010

Homemade Pancakes

Pancakes have always been a wonderful way to start a weekend!  I took my favorite pancake recipe and converted it to gluten free.  I have also added a tab (see above) for conversions from gluten (ie flour) ingredients to gluten free ingredients.  Tom Sawyer flour is making my life so much easier to convert to gluten free!  You can simply use Tom Sawyer Gluten Free All Purpose flour instead Wheat Based All Purpose flour.  So easy… and so good…

Also, don’t skimp on vanilla – get a good one that is gluten free!  I use Rodelle Gluten Free Vanilla Extract that is sooo good!


  • 2 c. Tom Sawyer All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 8 tbsp. Saco Foods Cultured Buttermilk Blend
  • 1 tbsp. organic gluten free baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. spectrum olive oil
  • 1 tsp gluten free vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. organic sugar
  • 2 c. + 3 tbsp water
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp Madagascar Organic Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Organic cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (thawed) (optional)
1. Sift and combine dry ingredients.
2. Separate egg yolk from egg white and whip up the egg white until it is stiff and fluffy.
3. Add water, egg yolk, vanilla and olive oil. Mix until smooth but do not over mix.  Over mixing will cause a flat pancake… so let the little lumps be in the batter – you’ll thank me later!
4. Fold in egg white.
5. Add in Blueberries (optional) or your favorite gluten free chocolate chips (optional)
6. Heat non-stick pan over medium heat until water beads.
7. Pour pancake mixture in 1/4 cup amounts.
8. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.
9. Mmmmmmmmm…. and serve with your favorite gluten free syrup warmed.

For an added touch, sift a little gluten free powdered sugar on top of the pancakes and garnish with a few strawberries that are fanned and a dollup of gluten free whip cream with cinnamon sprinkled on top!

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | December 29, 2009

Linking Celiac to Learning Disorders

Brain Fog and Memory Loss occur more frequently in Celiac Patients.  Children with Celiac Disease find achievement in school to be quite a struggle.  Especially when you have to be your best every day hour after hour.  When a child who is Gluten Intolerant eats Gluten, the child suddenly struggles to stay focused.

Gluten grains have been shown to do neurological damage due to an autoimmune attack response to the neurological tissues that contain the Gluten grains.

Here’s a great article that breaks down what happens when Gluten Intolerant children digest gluten:

Posted by: twolittlebumpkins | December 27, 2009

Make Gluten Free Fun!

With Temp-tations Ovenware, I can bake and bake and bake and have super easy clean up as well as a beautiful presentation during dinner.  This ovenware is the best ovenware I have ever owned!  You can get these only at QVC ( and boy are they handy for baking breads, casseroles and muffins.  Everything comes out great and with the non-stick coating cleanup is a breeze!

I am going to try baking bread today using the Temp-tations loaf pan and the Gluten Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix… I can’t wait to see how beautiful the bread loaf looks in this pan!

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