1

Today I was talking with someone about digestive health on a gluten free diet. Getting enough fiber, eating the right carbs, feeling good, gluten free cookies, that sort of thing.  (see gluten free chocolate chip/chunk recipe below)

The conversation came around to the usual story of digestive details best left to whispers and not in polite conversation. However, if you are someone with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity you are probably not shy of telling all about your last episode of unintentional glutening and its accompanying digestive symptoms. The hours of agony, days of fog and being unwell from a single morsel of the offending gluten.

The last time for me was in a coffee shop advertising "TRY OUR NEW GLUTEN FREE COOKIES" After being assured up an down that the cookies were indeed gluten free I  decided to go ahead and have three tiny little cookies with my coffee. I had asked about the ppm (20 parts per million is the upper limit of supposed gluten safety for those intolerant to gluten), of their gluten free flours, to which I received a sort of blank unknowing stare. This alone should have alerted me. However; the prospect of enjoying some cookies after a long walk really got the better of me.

I did enjoy the cookies, a little too sweet like many gluten free goodies I have found that rely on sugar for taste. So apart from the sugar rush, a half hour later the dreaded first symptoms started to make their appearance. It was a week before I was myself again!

This morning's conversation eventually left the gritty details and what to do about the pains of being glutened and came around to why it is important to assure the gluten free foods you are eating contribute not just to feeding yourself, but also to your ongoing digestive health.

We were talking about Astoria Mills enriched gluten free baking mixes and how the resistant starch in the form of Hi-maize  ® contained in them is a significant help for the digestive system.

One of the things that Hi-maize ® resistant starch promotes in the intestines is that it feeds the friendly bacteria so necessary to gut health. It helps produce more of a short-chain fatty acid called Butyrate which is the primary fuel source for healthy colon cells.

So what is Butyrate you ask? Butyrate is a part of the colonic mucus layer protecting the lining of the intestinal epithelium. Butyrate is produced during the fermentation of dietary fibers and plays a key role in colonic health.

So why not make even your cookies into a healthier snack with Astoria Mills enriched with vitamins, minerals and Hi-maize  ® resistant starch. Gluten Free treats can be healthier too.

Here is a recipe for some gluten free chocolate chip cookies that will make your mouth water and your taste buds do a happy dance :)

Chocolate-Chip-CookiesChocolate Chunk Gluten Free Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs
Pinch of salt

In a separate bowl mix together:

2 1/2 cups Astoria Mills All Purpose Mix #1 (for even more nutrition exchange 1/2 cup Aztec Harvest Blend - Mix #4 for whole gluten free grain/seed deliciousness)
½ scant teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 teaspoon baking powder

Turn mixer lower and blend the dry ingredients in with the butter and egg mixture. Whip well.

Now stir in by hand:
2 cups GF chocolate chips or chunks
(You can make your own with good quality, pure dark chocolate.
1 cup of chopped walnuts, optional

Spoon a heaping tablespoon full at a time onto a well greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Leave room to spread, flatten each cookie with the tines of a fork.

Bake in a 375 F oven for about 10 -12 minutes until just turning golden around the edges.  Makes a little more than  2 dozen cookies depending on the size.

If you don’t want to bake them all right away, save some dough in the fridge, or in the freezer, rolled up like an ‘ice-box cookie, ready to slice and bake.

Happy Baking, Happy Eating, Happy Feeling Good,

All the best,

Trina

Astoria 7 Set Line up

Enriched Gluten free flours available in the USA and Canada. Overseas orders by special request.

8

Sliced gluten free loaf made with Astoria Mills - Mix #6

There is nothing like having some fresh bread right out of the oven and so this morning I decided to make a loaf. It is easy with one of my favorite Astoria Mills mixes.
Brown Bread - Mix #6 (sprouted, because it contains sprouted flax, sprouted chia seeds). Often I add a little Aztec Harvest Blend - Mix #4 as it is a mixture of protein rich naturally gluten free seed grains like Teff and Quinoa. But this morning, I was in a hurry so just right out of the package it was.

For a large loaf in a tin you need a little more than the 2 cups usually called for on the package. 2 cups makes a nice artisan loaf or rolls though. And as I was planning on sliced bread, I wanted to give this just a little more oomph, so I added 4 eggs instead of the regular 2. Eggs also add lots of nutrition also.

Here is the Recipe for Gluten Free Sprouted Bread:
I placed,
4 eggs in a large bowl, added 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (no oil) and whisked them up until a little frothy about 30 seconds.

Next I added
3 cups of Astoria Mills Brown Bread - Mix #6 ( enriched with vitamins, minerals and resistant starch, as well as containing ground chia seeds, sweet potato flour and sprouted flax and sprouted chia)

Mix6 1 Dough after just mixing liquids and dry mix together.

Stirred the whole thing up and let it sit and proof for a half hour.

Shaping the dough with a little Mix #3

Next I placed a little Astoria Mills Fine Flour - Mix #3 on my counter top and scraping all the dough out onto the counter, I lightly mixed in a little of the #3 dusting mix. Just a couple of tablespoons in all I guesstimate. It doesn't need a lot of kneading, just enough to shape it and get it ready for the loaf pan. I find doing this gets more height and looks more like real bread than just scraping the dough into the loaf pan. Mix #3 helps it do its thing.

Here is the dough, rolled and shaped into a loaf ready to go into the bread pan.

Without working it too much, the dough is now nicely shaped and ready to go into the bread pan which I have coated with a little Pam gf cooking spray ( make sure you use the original that does not have added flour) You can grease the pan as you like. Usually I either pat the loaf with a little water, oil, or egg wash, but today as I was in a rush to go do other things, I just gave it a spray of Pam as well.

Gluten Free Sprouted dough in bread pan

Now to let the dough proof (or rise) for about 2 hours so that the yeast has a chance to go all through the loaf and make it rise properly. In summer, room temperature is ok. Ideal temperature for proofing is around 90 degrees F.  But it is winter and so I am making a little makeshift proofer to help things a long a little. Some cozy place is good, some people microwave a cup of water and put the loaf in there to rise. Here, I am adding boiling water to two little ramekins placed beside the dough in the pan and covering it over with a large bowl.

Boiling water in Ramekins to help proof the bread dough
Bowl inverted over dough to keep warmth in.

It is not shown here, but I also put a towel on top of the inverted bowl to help keep in the warmth. Then I went and did something else, answered emails, talked on the phone and stuff and just let it proof for two hours.

Score the top with a sharp knife.

Before placing the dough into the pre-heated to 350F oven, I took a sharp knife and scored the top of the dough. On rising, the dough will split open. I think it is prettier if you give it a place to split along one side rather than the middle. You can score it any way you like.

Voila, the fresh gluten free loaf comes out of the oven

After 40 minutes in the oven, I reached in and tapped the loaf, it sounded hollow, you get the hang of it. I let it bake another 5 minutes just to be really sure. Here is the lovely loaf, still in the pan. It is best to remove the bread from the pan right away and let it cool on a counter or rack so that the steam can escape on all sides and keep the bread from becoming soggy on the bottom.

The Loaf of Bread cooling before slicing.

Now just look at that delicious loaf of bread. You will want to slice into it right away and have a taste. But be patient if you can and let it cool some. Just to warm is all I could stand the wait for. Then I sliced it all as I planned to freeze it and use it as needed. Putting it in the freezer also keeps me from eating too much as a go. So I take a couple of slices out for toast in the mornings, if we are going out and need a lunch, I can make the sandwiches while the bread is still frozen and wrap. They keep well and will thaw by the time we eat them. You don't have to freeze this bread if you are going to eat it within a week, just keep it refrigerated. Wrap in plastic wrap or baggie. Makes awesome toast too.

The bread slices reasonably thinly without crumbling, it is soft on the inside, a little springy with a soft not too thick crust. Just right, I think. Hope you enjoy making some sprouted breads or buns using Astoria Mills Brown Bread - Mix #6

Delicious and healthy.

Sliced gluten free sandwich loaf

This loaf made 18 wonderful slices of gluten free bread counting the end slices.
This is a good value. One 2.2 lbs. bag of mix  at 14.49  makes about 3 loaves depending on size, so under $5.00 a loaf.

Fresh out of the oven, made with your own loving hands... priceless!

For more Astoria Mills enriched gluten free mixes and to find out more information
click here.

Each mix makes lots of recipes. See free e-cookbook

Additional information: The next day I removed the frozen sliced bread from the freezer and took a few slices to see how it was. It was easy to break apart pieces of bread in single slices to toast and also thaw and make a sandwich. The bread didn't crumble and it was soft and nice when made into a jelly sandwich. Here are some photographs from the next day.

Slice of frozen bread thawing on counter.
Apricot jam sandwich made on thawed slices of bread
Toast made from frozen slices of gluten free bread

The frozen slice of bread photo was taken at my kitchen window, the light is cooler there. The sandwiches and toast, I took out onto the porch, a little more light there and the walls are yellow. This accounts for the difference in the look of the breads.

This bread was yummy and nice to have in the freezer to take out a slice or two at a time. Some of the best tasting gluten free bread, if I do say so myself. You never get bored with Mix #6 as since it is a dough, not a batter, you can have any shapes you like. Add a little Aztec Harvest Blend - Mix #4 and it is different again. Hope you have fun baking and eating fresh bread from your oven.

For more Astoria Mills enriched gluten free mixes and to find out more information
click here.

4

Cupcakes are in! Luscious little morsels of wonderful creamy frosting on top of just the right amount of moist and soft mouthwatering cake. Gluten free cupcakes are no exception with tons of recipes out there for everyone's best cupcake.

So here I go with my version of a chocolate cupcake with a coffee twist. Light and airy cake, creamy frosting guaranteed to make anyone happy. Whatever your occasion, there is no need to make regular and gluten free for your party, these gluten free cupcakes will delight everyone and unless you tell them they won't believe they are gluten free.

Now, being a mom myself, I am opposed to just feeding kids (or anyone) a bunch of empty calories, so I am thrilled to say these have vitamin and mineral enrichment as well as resistant starch because of the enriched gluten free flour used to make them with.

Of course you can frost any way you like but the Mocha Frosting is so easy and makes these a little upscale tea party-ish. So without further ado... here is the recipe.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Frosting

  1. Beat wet ingredients together in bowl.

4 eggs
¾ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup milk (can be substituted with Almond or Soy milk)
2 tblsp. White vinegar

  1. In a separate bowl, blend together well

1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder (this gives extra fiber and a moist cupcake)
2 cups Astoria Mills Pastry Flour - Mix #2

(Enriched with vitamins, minerals and resistant starch)

2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ Teaspoon Baking soda
¾  cup pure cocoa

Fold/stir Dry ingredients in to wet ingredients all at once and quickly beat together until you have a smooth pourable batter.

Pour batter into cupcake liners in muffin tin. (lightly spray paper liners with gf pam) Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool and frost with Mocha Frosting.

Mocha Frosting
Whip 1/4 lb. soft butter ( or dairy free margarine) and 2 cups icing sugar together to make a frosting. Taste, add more icing sugar to achieve desired consistency.  Add 1 teaspoon strong coffee. Pipe onto cupcakes.

Now take a big bite and listen for your taste buds singing!

2

So how do you decide which gluten free flour mix is right for you? If you do a search online for gluten free flour mixes you will come up with pages and pages of different gf mix recipes. For someone just starting a gluten free diet this can be overwhelming.

Strawberry Custard Tarts made with Astoria Mills Pastry Flour - Mix #2

Recently I talked with a woman who went out and bought about 10 different gluten free flours to start baking with. Since different combinations work differently and also taste different, she very quickly got very discouraged with her new diet.

Now if this dietary change had been a choice she would not have been so devastated, but you see, for her, wheat or gluten containing flours for baking were now out of the question as eating even a crumb caused her agony.

Just as there are different grades of wheat based flours, such as all purpose, pastry and cake flours as well as hard wheat and whole wheat, you need different gluten free flour mixtures to achieve varied results.

I faced this situation about 20 years ago, trying out this combination or that one, finding that many recipes just did not turn out the way my wheat baking had done. Nor did the taste satisfy me, not to mention that there was less nutrition in many gluten free flour blends.  It was always a crap shoot mixing my own mixes due to the difference in grinds available most of the time. Sometimes I would end up with a gritty batch which was not as palatable. I wanted to be able to bake and share with guests and have them not only, not taste a lot of difference to what they were used to on a wheat diet, but want seconds!

Also even naturally gluten free whole grains are hard to source in an un-cross contaminated state at less than 20ppm. Which is said to be safe, but is not tolerated by some of us who are extra sensitive. I bought 25 lbs of buckwheat flour one time, only to discover it had been cross contaminated. The same thing happened another time with wild rice, and these had actually been marked 'gluten free'.

Grades of the same flour also differ. Brown rice and sorghum flour are only two of which that can be radically different depending on the manufacturer and lot.

Raising a family on a gluten free diet, I came up with my own blends that worked in various situations, tasted good and everyone liked. However; it would take me quite a bit of shopping around to find all the various items sometimes, too much time. Sometimes a particular ingredient would not be available. Sometimes the level of gluten free or ppm would vary. Since there are very sensitive people at our house, this meant discarding a batch every now and then due to the family member getting a slight gluten buzz.

I'm sure many people on a gluten free diet can relate. After years of juggling my gluten free flours, I came up with some pretty fool proof blends. I started writing down my recipes using my blends. I would take foods to church suppers to share, I only have a gluten free kitchen, so this arrangement made sure we had something we could eat and others could try. It is amazing that everywhere you go, you meet someone who needs to eat gluten free.

People tasted and marveled and pretty soon I was getting a lot of requests. Since me and my little kitchen couldn't produce my mixes efficiently, I decided to see about producing them in a dedicated factory. It was a dream come true and I could help feed others. I don't know why I love sharing food so much, maybe it came down from my great Aunt Sally who lived in a small town in Oklahoma during the depression. When someone came into town with nothing, they would send them to Aunt Sally's house for a good meal. Always room for one more!

I put in all my wish lists I had wanted over the years into Astoria Mills gluten free mixes. Nutrition! I had a formula of vitamins and minerals created by a food lab especially to augment a gluten free diet, awesome! I learned about the benefits of resistant starch and after experimenting for weeks, was able to figure out just the right amount to be beneficial and still make foods that rival wheat.

It was a big labor of love, a family endeavor, and investing 'the farm' to finally see the new gluten free mixes manufactured at a pharmaceutical grade gluten free facility, but well worth it I think.

Just recently I did a taste testing and brought some of my gluten free scones. One woman who tried them, closed her eyes in delight, and said, "Now that is a scone". I took some in to my hairdressers, Headliners in Niagara Falls NY, and they passed them out saying, OMG they are good! They are all wheat eaters normally. One woman took a couple home to her niece to try who is celiac.

Remembering the early stages of healing when starting a gluten free diet,  I also wanted to take into consideration making flour mixes that would be safe for anyone to begin with, yet work well enough and taste good enough so that they would be great for every stage in a gluten free diet.

Because many in the early stages of a gluten free diet can't tolerate beans that are more nutritious, or even some of the other whole grain gluten free options, I decided to create an additive system. These can be added as tolerated.

So if you are new to a gluten free diet (or not) and looking for an enriched healthy blend of gluten free flours that are lab tested below 5ppm that can make baked goods that rival wheat and taste most like the traditional foods you are used to, then you need to buy Astoria Mills gluten free baking mixes. With a set of Astoria Mills mixes in your kitchen cupboard and my free with purchase e-Cookbook containing 343 recipes, you will always be able to make something good to eat.

Astoria Mills Gluten Free Baking Mixes Recipe e-Cookbook Cover

 

Egg Salad Sandwich on White Bread - Mix #7

I have taste tested on wheat eaters for the past five years and always come out with raves. I always say, "You can get someone to take a bite out of politeness, but you can't get them to finish the whole piece or ask for another if they don't like it! "

Astoria Mills produces three flour blends plus bread, pizza and bun mixes, to make having delicious freshly baked breads and buns easy again. If you compare, pound for pound, you will find the cost of Astoria Mills is very competitive even though these mixes offer more nutrition than most.

For lots more information go to Astoria Mills website.

Astoria Mills gluten free flour mixes weigh 2.2 lbs. and are a good value since they are enriched. You can actually save money in the long run since an entire set makes so much.  The cost of raw flours for mixes are much more expensive than those containing gluten due to the fact that they must be processed to avoid cross contamination. If naturally gluten free flours were all processed to maintain their gf nature, we would see prices go down eventually, but that is in a perfect world. Here is a link to a study on gluten free flour price comparisons.

I can attest to Teff and Quinoa being more expensive at under 5ppm, it is like 10 times more! These were the hardest to source and the most expensive ingredients in Astoria Mills Aztec Harvest Blend - Mix #4 a whole grain/seed  gluten free and corn free blend.