Monday, August 29, 2011

Love In a Freezer Bag

Part of living in an allergic household, is having to do a lot of your own cooking and baking. I love cooking and baking, so this really doesn't bother me too much, I just don't always have the time for the things that we don't need for dinners. Part of my "New School Year's Resolutions" is to make time to get safe breakfast foods into the freezer on a regular basis. Knowing that we were due for a hurricane on Sunday with potential power outages, I spent a good part of Saturday in the kitchen.

Years and years ago, when I still lived at home, my mother bought a cookbook for her bread machine called, The Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperber.  I enjoyed the breads from that book so much, that when I moved out and got my own bread machine, I bought the same book. I have used it so often over the years that it is tattered, stained, and the spine is broken. I have influenced others to buy it just by serving them bread that I made from the recipes. It is that good. As you know, I also have The Bread Bible cookbook, which is also by  her. All of the recipes you will see here came from those books.

I started out making rolls. These rolls are soft, chewy and delicious. They are easy to make, but you can't make them on the delay cycle of the machine, so you have to either make them the day that you need them, or make them ahead and freeze them. Once school gets started, they are great for hurried dinners before football games or jazz band rehearsal. I have made these countless times, and I still haven't nailed down how to get them all the same size. Because I do so  much roll making (we haven't found any store bought rolls that don't contain soy), I spent the money and got a burger pan. It forces the rolls to rise up and round and it was worth every penny. The only drawback, is that it only makes 6 rolls, and  my recipe calls for 8. I used to make the 2 extra round, but they always looked sad next to the others, so now I make them torpedo style and we keep a bag of those in the freezer as well.

We have a bunch of zucchini's in the fridge, and while I love eating them over rice, or sauteed as a side dish, there's just something about green bits of zucchini baked up into a nice bread. I haven't tried this recipe before, as I enjoy the recipe I've always used, which makes 2 nice loaves. This recipe appealed to me however, because it not only used less oil, it had less ingredients. I had such good luck with the banana bread recipe from The Bread Bible that I wanted to try it out. Sadly, due to my gluten intolerance, I can't try it out. You might have noticed that my Bread blog has been neglected, because I'm still trying to figure out how, and if,  to blog about the recipes I can't eat. These have gone into the freezer, and The Boy™ has promised to give me a full, honest comparison to how they measure up to our usual ones when he tries it. I left the cup of mini chocolate chips that I usually throw in out this time around, so I could hear how the recipe worked out as written. I'll let you know what he says.

Last up, I made a batch of both Buttermilk Waffles and Buttermilk Pancakes. After they are cooked, I let them cool for a bit on the plate, and then take a large cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and working in single layers separated with wax paper, stack them up and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. When they are frozen, I take them out and put them into freezer bags. This keeps them from sticking together, and allows the hungry person reaching into the bag to just grab a few and go. You can either heat them in the microwave, or pop them into the toaster oven, or a combination of both. It takes no longer than pouring a bowl of cereal and is much better than a package of Pop Tarts (my son's quick breakfast of choice), and is a much healthier option.

I will have to admit, that this is the first time I've done such a big day of baking since going gluten free, and I had a moment in the middle of it when I was feeling sorry for myself and really dwelling on how awesome my kitchen smelled and that I couldn't eat one single thing that I was making. I couldn't help but compare how fluffy and light the pancakes were compared to the flat, dense gluten free ones I made for myself earlier in the week, and I admit, I felt a little cheated and angry. In the midst of it all, however, the quiet voice of Grace reminded me of all the wonderful things that I can eat. I started to think about how grateful I am that it's not an actually life or death allergy, like my daughter has. I thought about all the wonderful foods that I've been introduced to because of it, and I was humbled. It doesn't make dealing with any of it easier, but it puts it into a bit of perspective. It allowed me to spend the day making my family foods that I can't eat, because they mean that much to me. When I was done, and my son asked why I was making stuff that I couldn't eat, I answered him simply, "Because I love you." 

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