Category Archives: Product Reviews

Best Gluten Free Pancakes

We woke up to the very rare treat of seeing our world blanketed with EIGHT inches of SNOW this morning!  It was the perfect, powdery kind of snow, and due to record low temperatures, it’s not melting for a few days!

Ahhh, the coziness!  In these parts, a snow day is a special day, which is probably why seeing pristine white all over everything warms my soul into making a day full of memories.

Before the boys even woke up, I was in the kitchen beginning the celebration with a favorite breakfast…PANCAKES!

I have finally found a pancake mix, along with a little trick, that turns out as fluffy and as yummy as we all expect!

Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix makes delicious pancakes!  I follow the recipe (quadrupling it, of course, so I can have some left to put in the freezer for later), but add one little trick.  Using buttermilk (or use milk, but add a tablespoon of vinegar that you let sit in the milk for 5 minutes) creates an even lighter and fluffier feel to pancakes.  Having the mix makes it so easy to flip these out quickly, which is priceless for me as I see the sleepy-eyed sweetie pies trudging into the kitchen and then bursting into smiles!

Now, off to the snow!!!

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Gluten-Free Bisquick Mix by Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker just came out with a gluten-free Bisquick Mix, and it is YUMMY!  I tried the recipe for the biscuits, which came out light and fluffy with great taste and texture.  The recipe made 10 nice sized biscuits.  After eating our fill with butter and honey, I saved the rest to make breakfast sandwiches with fried egg and cheddar cheese.  They were delicious, even after refrigeration and re-heating.

The mix is expensive and sparse though.  There is only enough to make 10 biscuits, plus about 3/4 C. left over.  I will use that to make the Chicken Finger recipe on the box.  Given the price of the mix, I’m not sure this will be a common purchase for us, but it is really good to have it as an option.

The same morning, I also tried a homemade drop biscuit mix from Betty Hagman’s book, The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy, just to compare the two.

Here’s how those turned out:

I’m sure there was some user error on my part, but it did emphasize the convenience of having a boxed mix on hand for baking success.  I’m not afraid to keep it real in the kitchen, but these were quite the failure.  I ended up toasting them and then using them for mini pizzas for lunch.

Click HERE to find more information on the Betty Crocker Mix, including where to purchase near you.  Hope you enjoy it!

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Simply Recipes

I love the recipes at simplyrecipes.com!!!  They are simple to make, but not simple in taste.  They have their recipes broken down into standard categories such as “main dish” and “chicken”, but they also make it easy to search “budget recipes”, “quick recipes”, and my favorite…”GLUTEN-FREE”!!!  They have great variety to their style and ingredients too, and have become my top site for new recipes to try.  They also have a Mexican section with my favorite authentic dishes, such as “Enchiladas Verdes”.  I will probably work my way through every Mexican dish on the site!  They’re that good!

As a bonus, this blog has been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Weblog Awards.  I voted for her.  🙂

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Whole Foods Gluten-free Bakehouse


If you live near a Whole Foods, take advantage of their special Gluten-free Bakehouse section, which offers amazing products including breads, muffins, pie crusts (for pies or quiche!), pizza crusts (my favorite), desserts, biscuits, hamburger buns (can’t wait to try these!), and granola.  They are usually in the freezer section of the store.  They aren’t cheap, but they are delicious, and they just might save you in a pinch when you can’t or don’t want to bake your own treats.

If you go to this website, you will find a list of all their products with a link at the bottom for nutritional information for all of them.

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Pancakes

There’s just something cozy about pancakes for breakfast.  I love mixing, flipping, and stacking them on my kids’ plates.  It makes me feel very domestic, and it gives me points for “Mother of the Year”.  (I need all the points I can muster in the domestic part of the competition.)

My favorite gluten-free pancakes are from a mix by Pamela’s, appropriately called “Baking and Pancake Mix”.  They’re nice and fluffy and have great taste and texture.

If I’m going to go to the trouble of mixing, flipping, and stacking in the wee hours of the morning, I don’t just make enough for one meal either.  I make the whole darn thing.  You can put them in the freezer, pull them out one by one, and get that pancake feeling anytime you want.  And, that gives you point in the “wonderfully smart and ‘with it’ department.”  🙂

(As a side note, if you happen to need a good dairy-free pancake mix, I’ve also enjoyed Kinnikinnick’s brand.)


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My Favorite Gluten-Free Products

DSC_0852Gluten-free products are expensive, so I try to use them sparingly.  But, I do have a few favorites for special treats or recipes or substitutions.

Envirokidz Koala Crisp Cereal makes chocolate “Rice Crispy Treats”

Health Valley Rice Crackers can be used for s’mores, a graham cracker crust, or miniature gingerbread houses.

K-Toos “Oreos” are wonderful on their own or as a pie crust.

I use the Animal Crackers by K-Kritters or Envirokids as the Nilla Wafers in banana pudding.

Those pretzels are going in the classic Chex Mix I’ll be making shortly.

DSC_0849I use these soups from Health Valley to replace Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soup in recipes like Potato Casserole, Breakfast Casserole, Beef Stroganoff, or Chicken Tetrazzini.

DSC_0853My favorite brand of flours is Bob’s Red Mill.  I really like Mr. Bob.  I use these 3 flours for my baking mix.

DSC_0854See these?  They’re dangerous.  They’re my weakness.  I’m warning you not to buy them.

DSC_0864I’ve tried lots of pasta, and Tinkyada is the best.  It is just like regular pasta in taste and consistency, except that you will need to spend some of your kids’ college fund to buy it regularly.  I think it’s worth it.

DSC_0866And speaking of spending big bucks, to me sometimes my money isn’t really buying the food.  It’s buying the joy of seeing my kids delight in a donut like any other kid.  Sometimes those smiles are just worth it.

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Brownie Bake-Off

I put 3 kinds of brownies to the test in a very scientific experiment to see which would come away with the prize of “best brownie”.  To make things fair and interesting, I included 2 gluten-free brownies, 1 brownie full of gluten and sin, and 10 tasters.

DSC_0497The 3 competitors were:

red team- Betty Crocker’s GF Brownie Mix

yellow team – Betty Crocker’s regular Brownie Mix

blue team – Gluten Free Girl’s homeade recipe:  http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2007/05/brownies-gluten-free.html

DSC_0499First up – Betty Crocker’s GF Mix

They say it’s a little thick, and they aren’t kidding!

Easy to make

8×8 pan size

$4.29 a box

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This is Betty Crocker’s regular mix

13X9 pan size

$1.79

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And, this is a recipe from glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com

Really fun to make by swirling the melted chocolate into the batter

I don’t have an exact price, because I used ingredients I had on hand, but probably the cheapest option.

You get to plunge the pan in ice water after it bakes too, which I’ll bet is great fun for any brownie.

Each person got small pieces of brownies with colored toothpicks in them, then rated their favorites in order from most to least.  7 People tasted all 3 kinds, and 3 people (my 2 kids and me) just voted on the GF ones.

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………………….And, the winner is……………….!!!

Betty Crocker’s GLUTEN FREE MIX!!!!!!!

The tasters agreed that they were all good, and the scores were pretty close.  glutenfreegirl’s were a little too sweet for most people, but I want to try that one again with less sugar.  The GF mix was more fudgey, and the regular mix was more cake-like.

I still have a few tests to run before I’m settled with my favorite brownie.  I’d like to find a homeade version, mostly for a cheaper option.  But, for now, the Betty Crocker mix will be my choice for quick, easy, and yummy.  Let me know what you think too!

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