Like I said in yesterday’s post, the Hergenrader eating habits have moved past Eggo waffles and  Cream of Anything casseroles to actual whole foods. In other words, after fifteen years of cooking like a bachelor (we may have stocked the freezer with Totinos pizzas. And, by the way, if you still do that, more power to you because Totino can make some delicious pizza. Invite our family over for dinner. We miss Totino.)
Back when I cooked like a bachelor people who said, “I can’t cook” puzzled me. What do you mean you can’t cook? You can’t master the two-can process of La Choy Chow Mein?
No, I now realize. Cooking whole foods is trickier. And now that I’m back in the kitchen, I remember from my childhood of cooking that baking is hard when there’s no mix involved. Meat is tricky when it’s not cooked and canned.
In the last year, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about cooking and baking. Today I’ll share the mistakes I made when trying to cook whole foods and bake gluten free. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about what I’ve stumbled on that works. It will all be so fun that you’ll want a whole blog devoted to Novice Cooks Healthy Food or something. But then you’ll miss the stories, like one about the picture above and how Catie loves to listen to an iPod shuffle with What Makes You Beautiful on repeat. Where is the shuffle in that, I ask you.
Anyway, what doesn’t work…
1. Stay away from proprietary blend gluten-free flours. Stick with almond flour or coconut flour. Those  blends and mixes sometimes add baking powder and sometimes don’t (and I have the failed recipes to prove it’s hard to tell the difference). The mixes also use a lot of hard-to-digest flours like soybean. They also use a lot of rice flour, which is really hard to bake with.
2. Don’t use rice flour. Every recipe I’ve tried with rice flour falls flat or burns too easily.
3. Stay away from cooking in cheap vegetable oil or even not-so-great olive oil. Really good oil is worth the cost. I can roast veggies as crazy as kale and the kids will (kind of) eat them if I use a good grape seed oil or coconut oil.
4. Store gluten-free baked goods in the refrigerator. If you make, say, homemade pumpkin muffins, and there’s no grain in the recipe, they’ll grow mold in a matter of hours if you leave them out.
5. Speaking of muffins, don’t use mini muffins pans. Gluten free baked goods are just too break-apart-able. Such a small amount of batter will scorch every time.
6. Kids (at least mine) don’t love fresh spinach. Ditto for cabbage or kale or collard greens. They will eat these veggies sautéed with a Paula-Deen-sized dollop of butter, but then, who wouldn’t? Maybe don’t waste your time on those kale chips.
I know I’m not really breaking any ground here. And surely someone out there is shaking her head and saying, “But I love my mini kale chip muffins that I make with that flour blend! What is she SAYING?”
Here’s what I’m saying, last year our muffins came from a bag and I believed kale was a garnish. All of you genius cooks can email your best healthy cooking secrets and wish us the best for another Totino’s free year!

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1 Response
  1. Amanda

    Instead of me actually remembering all these great tips, maybe you can just teach me little by little this fall when we have nothing better to do. Ha.

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