gluten_free_baking

gluten_free_baking

The term gluten free has been thrown around quite a bit. In fact, it is one of the newest and most popular buzz words. But how many people really know what it is and what are the benefits of gluten free baking?

To understand why gluten free baking is better for us, we have to first define gluten. I had no idea what it was until I did some research on it and most of the information I found was long winded and complicated. So, for your benefit as well and mine, I am going to give it to you straight and simple. Gluten is a substance that is found in grains (it is especially high in wheat) and it the substance that gives dough it’s elastic texture. It is also a tough type of substance and makes the things it is in denser. It is a combination of two separate proteins and the main factor in causing celiac disease. Celiac disease is a chronic disorder of the digestive system that caused damage to the lining in the small intestine. This leads to nutrients and minerals being malabsorbed. This disease is directly connected and caused by gluten allergies. There is not yet a cure for this disease and the only treatment to prevent the symptoms and flare-ups is to eat a gluten free diet.

Each year hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with celiac disease. I am not sure why the numbers have grown so much. Looking back in time, for some families wheat and other grains were the only food that was available and I have not been able to find any documentation of people becoming ill with the symptoms associated with celiac disease. But no matter what the reason for its increase, the fact is that it is here and not leaving us so gluten free baking has become a very important way of life. Now the question is how do people with gluten allergies eat? It seems that there is some type of grain in most all foods aside from meat. When I did some research on gluten free baking, I was pretty surprised at the yummy things that I found!

Flour free Chocolate Cake

What you will need:

6 ounces of chopped chocolate, semisweet

1 stick of butter, unsalted

¾ cup of sugar

3 eggs, large

½ cup of cocoa

¼ tsp of salt

1 tsp of vanilla

To begin, melt the chocolate and the butter over medium/low heat. Stir until mixture is smooth. Add in the salt and the sugar and turn to low. Stir continuously until all is dissolved. Take the pan off the stove and pour the mixture into a food processor or stand up mixer. Add the cocoa powder and eggs. Process or mix until the batter is smooth and has no lumps and bake in a greased pan for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Easy Gluten Free Bread

What you will need:

2.5 cups of balanced almond flour

½ tps of Celtic sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

3 large eggs

1 tbs of agave nectar

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

To begin, combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a stand up mixer or food processer. Mix on low to get all three well combined. Next, add eggs to a separate bowl and whisk well before adding the vinegar and agave. Once all of that is mixed together, add it to the mixer/processor and blend well. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes at 300 degrees.

These are just two of the most basic gluten free baking recipes. There are so many more that you can try so go get yourself a gluten free baking cookbook and get started using that food processor or stand up mixer for something other than counter decoration!

 

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jello

jello

Desserts are wonderful treats no matter what time of year it is, but in the summer it seems that dessert ideas are at their most creative. Some of the most popular ones include jello and ice cream (separately of course!) and I will share with you some of my families favorite summertime treats that have these main ingredients in them.

When coming up with summer dessert ideas, jello is something that comes to mind first as nothing says summer like a bowl of this bright and giggly treat! You can of course simply mix it, let it gel and serve it was a dollop of whip cream, but where is the fun in that? Anyone can make one flavor of jello, but it takes some heart and creativity to make rainbow jello!

Over the Rainbow Jello Squares

What you will need:

1 box blue jello

1 box yellow jello

1 box red jello

1 box knox gelatin

To begin, mix the blue jello pack with one envelope of the knox gelatin. Add 2 cups boiling hot water and let the mixes dissolve. Now add half a cup of cubed ice and stir it with the gelatin mix until it becomes thickened. Remove any large chucks of leftover ice and stir away any bubbles that you see. Pour this mixture into a pan that measures 9 by 13 and put in the fridge. Do the same thing with the yellow and red jello. When each one is mixed pour it over the pan of blue jello. (For example, once you get the yellow jello thickened with the ice, open the fridge and pour that mixture over the blue and so on.) There may only be three colors used, but once it all gels up like jello is supposed to, there appears to be more colors then you actually used. I don’t pretend to understand why; I just accept what the dessert gods have created for me!

Next in line for great dessert ideas is ice cream. Everyone screams for ice cream in the summer months! It is sweet and delicious, plus it cools you off on a hot day. Ice cream is a simple base for fun desserts your kids will love, and the best part is, you can come up with awesome dessert ideas that are simple to put together! Here is one of my son’s favorites:

Cookies and Cream Cake:

What you will need:

I pint of ice cream, whatever flavor you want, but Neapolitan is best for a nice variety

Any kind of large, round cookie you like, our favorite is the Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip. They are super big and very tasty!

All you need to do is scoop the ice cream onto one of the cookie bottoms and put another cookie on top to make a sandwich. Put them in the freezer for about half an hour so the cookies get cold like the ice cream. That is all there is too it and your kids will love it!

As you can see, when it comes to dessert ideas you do not have to spend hours in the kitchen. The best things in life are usually the simplest and these recipes are proof of that!

To learn more about mixers Go check our mixer review.

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Fancy Cupcakes

by dina on

cupcakes

cupcakes

Cupcakes are always a welcome, but when you need something a little extra special you may want to bake some fancy cupcakes. What makes fancy cupcakes fancy is the decorations you use to make them stand out. There are many things you can do to make your cupcake decorations worthy of the word fancy. You can add candies, fruits or sprinkles. You can made the frosting is fun shapes. You can add anything you want to make those cupcakes pop! Fancy can mean anything from decadent elegance or frenzy fun for the kiddos. If you really want your cupcakes to look fancy, try making the frosting yourself. It is easy to spot homemade frosting on a cupcake. It looks lighter, fluffier and creamier. Homemade frosting for fancy cupcakes is easy to prepare if you have a food processor or a mixer!

Fancy Butter Cream Frosting

What makes it fancy?

This icing comes out so creamy and fluffy that it screams homemade. Once you top your cupcakes with it, all you have to do to make them fancy cupcakes is make slight swirls with a butter knife and sprinkle on some silver button candies.

What you will need:

5 egg whites from large eggs

1 and ¼ cups sugar

4 sticks of putter at room temp and cut into small pieces

2 tsp of pure vanilla

A stand up mixer

Begin by combining the sugar and the egg whites in the mixer bowl and put the mixing bowl over a pan of water that has been brought to a simmer. This is like a homemade double boiler. Take a whisk and mix the eggs and sugar while over heat until it is smooth and you can rub it between your fingers and feel no grain. This takes about 3 minutes. Put the bowl back on the mixing unit and hit start. Begin with a low setting and raise the power slowly, mixing for at least 10 minutes so the peaks form and are stiff. Add the butter and beat again until the mix is smooth once again and then add the vanilla. Now you want to use your paddle attachment and go for about 2 minutes on a low speed. That is all there is too it! You now have fancy cupcake frosting! Decorate as desired.

Fancy cupcake Décor:

The above frosting recipe can be used in many different ways to make any type of fancy cupcake look you want. You can put the frosting in a Ziploc bag, poke a hole in the corner and use it as an icing pipe.  Pipe on the frosting by having someone slowly spin the cupcake around. This will give it a fun design. If you love butter cream but your daughter has her heart set on pink frosting, add food coloring during the mixing process until it is the pink color you want it to be. Once you have frosted the cupcakes the way you want them, put a raspberry in the center of each and sprinkle some edible glitter over the top. Now that is what fancy cupcakes should look like! There is really no limit to what you can design, so experiment with it and have fun!

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THE JOY OF BAKING

by dina on

THE JOY OF BAKING

THE JOY OF BAKING

The joy of baking can be felt by anyone who has the desire. When it comes to baking, there is always something for everyone, from the well seasoned baker to the beginner who still has a lot to learn. Some of the best and most simple baking recipes include the use of a mixer for the preparation. You can even use a mixer in bread making!

Making bread is fairly easy and very affordable. Using a mixture makes it even easier though! The worst part of people who make homemade bread is kneading the dough. It really takes away from the joy of baking. So instead of doing it all by hand, cut out this annoying aspect of bread baking and use a mixer to do the kneading that you need! (Pun intended) If this sounds good to you, the best mixer to use for this purpose is a classic standup mixer that has a dough hook attachment included. You also want to make sure that the mixing bowl is made of 100% stainless steel for the best results and easiest cleanup. Mixers like this have motors that are super powerful so they can knead and mix even the stickiest dough. They also include several speed levels so your dough will have the perfect texture for you! The joy of baking bread has just gotten that much more joyful!

The joy of baking cakes is also enhanced by using a mixer. Everyone loves cake but not everyone loves to stir cake mix by hand for 2 to 5 minutes. With a mixer you cut down your mixing time significantly so that you can enjoy your cake ever faster. Then there is the added bonus of being able to lick the mixing attachments! The same goes for brownies! Do you also make your own cake frosting? If so, you can use a mixer for this as well! Homemade frosting is so much better than store bought and if you have a good mixer (like with the bread dough, a stand up mixer is best) then you can make frosting till all your cakes are iced. If you are like me, you will love making frosting so much that you will run out of things to put it on!

Last but not least, you can use your mixer for cookie baking. All types of cookie dough can be made using your mixer. Whatever your favorite cookie baking recipe is, the joy of baking will be tripled by using a mixer that cuts your cookie baking time in half!  So, to sum it all up, use your mixer to bake cookies, cakes, frostings and breads. In fact, use it for all your baking needs even if the recipe calls for hand mixing! Follow my advice and the joy of baking will stay in your heart (and your kitchen) forever.

For more information on using a mixer to make homemade bread, go check this review .

Homemade Frosting Recipe:

What you need-

One stick of softened butter

One pound of powdered sugar

Two teaspoons of vanilla

One teaspoon salt

Four tablespoons milk, evaporated or regular

To begin, if you have a standing mixture with a whisk attachment, attach it now. If not, you can use a traditional hand mixer with beaters. Put the butter in the mixer or bowl and beat it on medium until it is fluffy and light. Every few minutes, stop to get the butter from the sides of the mixing bowl. Beat for about five minutes. Next, mix in the vanilla and the salt in a small bowl until the salt has dissolved. Add this mix to your bowl and mix on low. The mixture should be looking pretty fluffy by now! While keeping the mixer going on low speed, slowly add the sugar until the whole pound has been mixed in well. Turn up the speed to medium and add the milk one spoonful at a time. Put mixer on high and keep going until it is the perfect texture!

*Tip- you can substitute any flavor you want in place of the vanilla!

 

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small appliance

small appliance

Memories of days when baking used to be more trouble than it was worth are still fresh in my minds. These were times when the entire process was actually tedious and time consuming. Luckily today, baking is no longer a tedious chore with the advent of small appliances I can rely cut down the time it takes to bake those delicious cookies, breads, and pastries and enjoy every moment.

These small appliances are simply wonderful to have in your kitchen. They are guaranteed to simplify your baking and food preparation tasks in multiple ways. They are designed in highly innovative ways to make food preparation and baking a joy rather than a chore. There are basically hundreds of these small appliances available in the market each designed to speed up your kitchen related duties. Here is a look at a few categories of small appliances that bring joy to your baking activities.

Mixers

Mixers are guaranteed to cut down on the time and effort invested in preparing your baking ingredients considerably. Every kitchen deserves to be equipped with one of these helpful small appliance. A good mixer will assist you mixing of different ingredients in a matter of minutes. They are available in different sizes depending on your baking demands. They are also quite affordable and will serve you for a long time provided they are well maintained.

Food processors

The food processor is a small appliance that you can use in baking to mix all the necessary ingredients in one go, cut, chop or slice. They come with various features and different sizes ranging from 2 cup to 14 cup capacity models.

The toaster oven    

This small appliance is also called a mini grill and can be relied on to take care of some of the most time consuming tasks in the kitchen. They work quite fast too. There are toaster oven models that can even bake pizza in a relatively short time. Having one in your kitchen will ensure that you eat healthy meals you have personally prepared. They come with different settings for all your baking needs.

Technology has been quite helpful in enabling us to cook and bake amazingly fast and efficiently using small appliances. Most them are portable and can simply be stored in cabinets leaving countertops free for other activities. They are also affordable and come with multiple accessories or attachments. Many will agree that they act as an extra pair of hands in the kitchen.

To learn more, go check out these reviews: small appliances reviews.

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VIKING STAND MIXER

by dina on

Viking Stand Mixer

Viking Stand Mixer

The Viking Stand Mixer is a great high quality stand mixer. This stand mixer is the kind that the top of the mixer tilts up to allow for the bowl to be removed.  Viking kitchen equipment is a very well-known name throughout professional bakeries and restaurants. The reason for this obvious, they produce extremely high quality kitchen appliances. The Viking people make a lot of things that professional chefs insist upon having in their home kitchens including the Viking Stand Mixer.

While many other companies offer several versions of the stand mixer the Viking Company only offers two they are the same mixer the only difference is in the size. They have a 5 quart and a 7 quart version of the same high quality stand mixer.  This Viking Stand Mixer really belongs in a class by itself. With the ergonomic grip on the stainless steel bowls and the power to go from making whipped cream to bread dough; this is a quality stand mixer.

The Viking stand mixer has so many extra nice touches like it has wheels to aid in moving it around the counter top. Like most stand mixers it comes with the regular beaters and the dough hook and also the whisk beater. However unlike most stand mixers this one has a pulse power button in addition to the regular speeds.

The accessories that you can purchase separately for the Viking Stand Mixer are really deluxe. There is the colander/sieve, food grinder/sausage stuffer, and the slicer/shredder. They also offer a pasta maker and even a blender pitcher for the Viking Stand Mixer. All of these accessories work by use of one of the three power outlets the Viking Stand Mixer offers. You can also get extra beaters and an additional spill shield.  It does come in three very nice colors, red, stainless steel and black. All of this makes the Viking Stand Mixer one that will be in the kitchen for years to come.  The Viking Company stands behind their stand mixer with a one year warranty. They also offer customer support on via their website and a 800 number. It is nice when a big company stands behind their products this way. Having a really well made product makes it easy to offer a good warranty. They know that you will probably never need it. If you would like to learn more about The Viking stand mixer, then please check this review

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VIKING VSM500 PROFESSIONAL

VIKING VSM500 PROFESSIONAL

When it was time to purchase a new stand mixer, I knew that I wanted something professional grade.  So after a lot of research I decided to go with the Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer. It has a tons of features and it is large enough to make even the biggest loaf of bread.

 Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer Review - What I love:

The Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer is truly a professional grade stand mixer. It has a very powerful 1000 watt motor, with a metal gear transmission. This is the ultimate stand mixer.  It even has little wheels on the back of it so you can roll it down the counter. The bowl that comes with this mixer has a great handle on the side. This is very helpful when the bowl is full of liquid or something heavy. The other thing that I love about this mixer is that even though it is professional grade it was still available in great colors. They have it in black, silver and red. I choose the red one and it really looks good in my kitchen. The controls on this mixer are nice, everything wipes clean easily and the bowl and the beaters come out with ease.

Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer Review – What I don’t like:

The beaters will still move when the head is raised. If your Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer is still plugged up and the head is lifted to remove the beater or the bowl, it is possible to accidentally hit the on button and the beaters will spin. I think that this could be a dangerous flaw. So I always make sure I unplug my Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer before I try to move it.

Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer Review - My overall impression:

Overall I love this mixer. It has a huge bowl and it really seems able to tackle whatever I throw at it. I have made bread and cookies as well as whipped cream and egg yolks. Every time I make something tasty and someone asks for the recipes I always tell them to start with the Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer.

Click here for the Viking VSM500 Professional Stand Mixer.

 

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Viking Mixer - PROFESSIONAL STAND MIXERS

Viking Mixer - PROFESSIONAL STAND MIXERS

Professional bakers use a different grade of stand mixer.  When you are cranking out hundreds of cupcakes and cookies and loaves of bread every day you need a professional stand mixer. Bakeries and restaurants and catering companies all depend upon their equipment. It does not matter how good your recipes are if you do not have the ability to carry them out.

A professional stand mixer is quite a bit more heavy duty than a stand mixer you might find in a normal household kitchen. For one thing the professional stand mixer is going to be a lot larger than one for home use. Right now cooking shows are very popular on television. There are few about bakeries. They show the kitchen in these places and the mixers are huge. The even have ones that don’t just stand on the counter they stand on the floor. While not all bakeries have this kind of equipment you can believe that they do all have at least one or two professional stand mixers on the counters back there somewhere.

The professional stand mixer is likely to have a bigger motor and a larger capacity bowl. This would enable the baker to make more dough at one time. Going into a bakery is a delight the eyes, nose and mouth. There are so many good smells and sights and tastes that it is hard to not buy more than you meant to when you came in the door. All of this is good for business. If you asked any professional baker what was the one piece of equipment that they could not live without it would be the professional stand mixer. This is the one thing that everybody who bakes for a living really depends upon.

It is with this in mind that the professional stand mixer is made. These mixers are made heavier than the regular kitchen ones so they can stand up to more mixing. The accessories of the professional standard mixer are the same as a normal stand mixer. They come with the regular beaters and the whisking beater and with the dough hook. The main difference is that these accessories are frequently made of thicker metal and are larger in size.

Using a professional stand mixer is the same as the normal kitchen kind. They have ones with timers and special scraping paddles to help remove batter and dough from the sides of the bowls. Like most professional kitchen equipment there is not that much of a difference in actual use just in the size. If you would like to learn more about professional stand mixers, then please check this reviewprofessional stand mixers

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KitchenAid-professional-600

KitchenAid-professional-600

When my old mixer finally stopped working, I knew that this was my chance to have a Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer. I had been dreaming about this mixer for quite a while. This was the stand mixer of my dreams. I had researched it and watched videos of other people using this mixer. This was the mixer that I had to have. Here is why.

KITCHEN AID PROFESSIONAL 600 SERIES Stand Mixer Review - What I love :

This Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series mixer is as close to a bakery style mixer as you can get without going up to the industrial strength kind. It has a huge motor that can mix up anything I want it to mix up. It has 10 speeds so I can really fast for whipping or nice and easy for folding. No matter what speed I put it on even the very fastest, it starts of a little slow so I don’t end up with a mess all over the kitchen. The Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer is even nice to look at. I love how shiny it is and how seeing it on my counter makes me want to make up something delicious.

KITCHEN AID PROFESSIONAL 600 SERIES Stand Mixer Review - What I do not like :

The only thing I would really change about this mixer is that all the accessories are sold separately. It would be nice if this Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer would come with one accessory. I think that you should be able to have at least one of the accessories, so you could see how the accessories and the mixer work together. The other thing I would like to be different is that this Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer uses a lot of electricity. It uses almost twice as much as my old one and I don’t really see a reason for that.

KITCHEN AID PROFESSIONAL 600 SERIES Stand Mixer Review - My overall thoughts :

I love my Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer.  Yes in the beginning when it first came out there were a few design flaws. It was getting to hot and shutting itself down. However, Kitchen Aid has fixed those and now there are no problems.  It is a great mixer. I know that when I get ready to whip something up that I can depend on my Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer to mix everything up just right.

Click here for the Kitchen Aid Professional 600 Series Stand Mixer.

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Kitchen Aid  classic

Kitchen Aid classic

The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer has been around for a long time. How long you may ask. Well the Kitchen Aid brand has been around since 1919 that is almost 100 years. The company stated with a stand mixer. Any time a company has been around for that long that really says something about their products. Most of us have grown up with Kitchen Aid appliances in our family kitchens. The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer has really stood the test of time.

Buying a new Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is a great investment. A good stand mixer should last quite a while. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers are very well made as thy always have been since 1919. The style of the of all the Kitchen Aid products has always been classic. The same is true for their stand mixer. It looks nice in any kitchen.

The Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer has several models to choose from:

There is the classic model Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, it has 10 speeds and several accessories. The Accessories include a dough hook and a whip beater as well as the standard beaters. This classic model also has a power take off that allows you to use several optional accessories. The classic model is a white mixer with stainless steel bowl standard that holds about 4 quarts.

The Pro-500 Series Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is a bowl lift stand mixer. This means that rather than the bowl fitting into the base of the stand it is lifted up to the head of the mixer.  The accessories that come standard with this mixer are the same as the classic except that this one also has a shield that fits over the bowl. This helps to prevent spills and splashes. The stainless steel bowl on this model has a nice handle to help you with pouring and holds about 5 quarts. This mixer comes in a few color choices. It comes in red, white, silver and black.

The Pro-Line Series Kitchen Aid Mixer has the option of coming in the classic head lift style. This is when the head of the mixer lifts to add ingredients or to move the bowl. Or the bowls lift style. Like the Classic and the Pro-500 series Kitchen Aid Mixers it comes with the nice dough hook beater and the whisk beater as well as the standard ones. It also has the splash guard like the Pro-500. This mixer does hold 6 quarts in its stainless steel bowl. This one would be great if you needed a nice large mixer for your kitchen. It does everything the other two do only with a larger capacity.

These are the basic models of that Kitchen Aid offers. If you would like to learn more about the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer then be sure and check out this review.

To learn more about  Kitchen Aid Professional mixers.

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