Thursday, December 4, 2008

I ended up baking a new loaf of bread while watching Rudolph. Before Thanksgiving, I found a couple of bags of white rice flour marked down to half price. I'd been using brown rice flour for months, but I couldn't resist a gluten free deal. So I bought them and used them in place of my usual brown rice flour. After three days of eating the foods I'd made, I noticed my vision was blurry . . . again. My vision has been clear since about May. So it took a couple of days for me to realize that white rice flour was the new item in my diet. And it's puzzling that I would react to white rice flour, but not brown rice flour. But it's an easy fix.

It pains me to throw out homemade food with expensive ingredients, but I'm getting used to it. So I abandoned the pizza, bread and soup I'd made with white rice flour. My eyes seem to be back to normal today. I made a fresh loaf of bread with brown rice flour and potato flour, and I'll try the soup again, with brown rice flour. It's a great soup!

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

3/4 C wild rice
1 onion, diced
1 C celery, sliced
1 4 oz. can mushrooms
1/2 C butter
1 C rice flour (choose your own color!)
8 C chicken broth
1 C diced chicken
Salt & pepper to taste
1 C milk or half & half (I used goat milk.)
2 T sherry or white wine (I left this out.)

I started by making a big vat of chicken stock. I haven't found a store-bought version that agrees with me. I miss the convenience, so I made enough to freeze some for future soups. Since I need a "do-over," I'm glad I made extra.

Simmer the wild rice in 2 C water for about 4o minutes.

In your soup pot, saute onion, celery and mushrooms in butter until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour until mixed in. Do not brown. Heat the chicken stock and stir it in slowly until the mix is well blended. Stir in drained, cooked rice and chicken. Season. Heat thoroughly. Stir in milk or half & half. Add sherry or wine and heat gently but do not boil.

I needed some flavor for my stock, so I cut some Italian parsley and par-cel from my frozen garden. Worked just fine!

I used my adorable pastel carrots. I love them! I'm planting twice as many next year!

I started preparing Christmas treats in my work kitchen at school. The sorority girls will have their party next Monday (eeek!) so I need to make a couple of items every day. I love making the treats, but fixing their dinner feels like an inconvenience this time of year.

First I stirred up a big jar of hot cocoa mix. They'll need a comforting hot beverage for late night studying. The recipe I used included non-dairy creamer. The first ingredient listed is corn syrup solids. As soon as I opened the pack, a cloud of dust rushed up. Since I stay away from corn and corn products, I put on a mask right away and turned on the big exhaust fan. I mixed a double batch in a gallon zip lock bag, to inhibit the spread of corn dust. I had one of my house boys taste-test a cup of cocoa when the mix was done. He said it's lots better than the mix that comes in packets.

Hot Cocoa Mix

2 C powdered milk
1 C sugar
1/2 C cocoa
1/2 C non-dairy creamer
4 shakes of salt

Mix well and store in a pretty jar. To make cocoa, add 3 to 4 T mix to a mug of boiling water. Add marshmallows, whipped cream or both!

I also tried a very easy, and mostly allergen-free peanut butter fudge. My houseboy taste-testers liked it, and couldn't tell there's no cream or milk.

Peanut Butter Fudge

1 C creamy peanut butter
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1/4 t vanilla

In a pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Let boil for EXACTLY one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Have it measured out and ready. Mix well and pour into 8 x 8 greased pan. Cool and cut into squares.

My notes on this recipe say that natural peanut butters don't work well. I used Peter Pan for this batch. I'll test drive it at home with one of the brands I can eat. Smucker's Natural is the thickest of the peanut butters I eat, so I'll try that one first.

Happy holiday baking!


Carrie said...

Isn't that strange about white rice flour and how it affects you. I'm trying to pinpoint what foods (and/or outside factors) can make my blood pressure intermittently high. It's very strange. I follow a low fat, low sodium, low sugar diet but there is still something that is making my blood pressure rise. I'm glad you were able to pinpoint the rice flour!!

Vittoria said...

Wow, I have funny. blurry vision sometimes too. I have so many other food related symptoms I don't know why I haven't associated those before. Or at least not specifically, since it comes along with other things as well. Interesting. Maybe there's something used in the refining process?

Gluten free Kay said...

Carrie - I'm going to a guy who does muscle testing for allergies on Monday. I've got a whole bag full of "suspicious" ingredients I'm trying to sort out. I hope he can give me some clues. My skin tests were VERY expensive and about half the results have proven incorrect. The testing is sometimes called kinetic testing. It's done by practitioners and chiropractors. It's non-invasive, painless, and lots faster.

Vittoria - before figuring out the gluten thing, I bought glasses because my vision had been blurry (on and off) for a long time. Since going gf, I haven't needed them. I felt okay when I ate white rice flour, but the vision change was a definite reaction.

Shirley said...

Add me to the blurry vision group. I hadn't tied it to white rice flour, but that makes sense. Maybe it's related to the glucose-related vision issues as white rice flour has a much higher glycemic index. I've tended to use the white rice flour because I get the Asian white rice flour and it's so finely ground, making for much better tasting baked goods. I do plan to use a much smaller amount of white rice flour mixed with buckwheat flour for my next baking effort though. Kay--Is the brown rice flour you use finely ground?

I had that muscle testing done before, Kay. Mine was part of NAET and kinesiology. I found it fascinating and very helfpul. I've also had blood testing done. Both provided much needed answers. I've read that doctors know that skin testing is very inaccurate, but that is what insurance companies continue to pay for so they continue to do it.