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Fire Up the Grill, Gluten-Free Style!!

Are you doing a lot of grilling?  Do you make your burgers from plain ground beef, or the pre-made ones you can buy at the store?  We were surprised that we could not just buy any brand of the pre-made burgers without worrying about gluten.  Seems many of the brands use gluten in one form or another as a filling and binding agent.  So we can use our Hebrew National gluten-free hot dogs, but what about burgers?

Well, I always used Bubba Burgers, found at BJs and Wal-Mart among other places.  I checked out their website (http://www.bubbafoods.com/faqs.html), and sure enough:

Yes, all varieties of Bubba burgers® are gluten free.

What a relief!  And with the variety of flavors, including Original, Reduced fat, Jalapeno, and the Onion, you are sure to find one you like! Now, no worries about contaminating the grill.  Hot dogs, burgers, and lots of watermelon for a fun, summer, dinner!

Twins’ Kitchen at N. Raleigh Farmers’ Market

Our purchases from Twins' Kitchen

Our purchases from Twins' Kitchen

We love a good farmers’ market.  We visit the NC Farmers’ Market south of Downtown as much as possible, but with an average trip running 30 minutes one way from Durant Road, we do not make this trip that often.  Luckily, a group of farmers got together to establish a site for a satellite location off Durant at Falls River Town Centre.  Besides a great area for stores, including your basic Food Lion, Ace Hardware, and Dollar General, you can find China Fu (a good Chinese restaurant), a few tailors/dry cleaners, a Trek bicycle shop, The Little Gym, a NY-style deli, Andy’s Cheesesteaks, and MUCH more (including our dentists!).  With this move to develop a ‘community,’ the group of businesses lobbied for the N. Raleigh Farmers’ Market to meet within the Falls River Town Centre, which they finally decided to do.  We now can stop for fresh strawberries, tomatoes, wines, cheeses, seafood, and so much more.  We became even more excited when finding out that Twins’ Kitchen would run a booth during Wednesday evening hours.  The Market is also open on Saturdays, from 8-12pm, but with their other committments, the Twins could not make it on Saturdays.

While the Wednesday we stopped was a hot day, the Twins had all of their items in a cooler, except those on display.  Even with a sunny, humid afternoon, they looked good!  Some of the items included ‘monkey bread,’ two cookies making a sandwich around some frosting, brownies, and cupcakes.  My girls each picked out a cupcake, 2 brownies, and the monkey bread.  When we got home we sampled the cupcakes right away.  While I anticipated the usual g-f taste, these blew those expectations away.  The chocolate tasted just like a Hostess chocolate cupcake, and the vanilla tasted good as well.  The girls definitely enjoyed them!  The monkey break, a bread with cinammon mixed throughout, provided a good morning snack, and I would like to say how the brownies were, but the girls did not share them with me!  I guess shows how much they enjoyed them!

We so appreciate the Twins (http://www.twinskitchen.com/) trekking to our Farmers’ Market.  They commented that business was steady for them–a great sign that everyone out there knew about this.  I also talked with a friend who went to the Farmers’ Market, bought a cookie from Twins, thinking it was just a usual cookie, and she remarked it tasted as good as any she ever ate.  All so close to home too!

Let Them Have Cake!

Devils' Food Gluten Free Mix

Devils' Food Gluten Free Mix

On Friday, I faced the morning, alone with the girls. I wanted to make sure we enjoyed the day, so our first task involved finding the Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mixes. We would travel all over Raleigh if we needed to! Thankfully, with a 4 and 2 year old, I only needed to drive to the Lowes’ Foods on Capital at Millbrook.  We found all their gluten-free mixes on the shelves:

  • Devils’ Food
  • Yellow Cake
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Brownies

We decided to go with the Devils’ Food and make cupcakes.  In many of the gluten-free blogs we follow, the feedback was split.  Some followed the directions to a tee and liked how the products turned out.  Others adapted the directions and changed the recipe some.  Since I was baking with two children and my culinary skills would never win any awards, I played it safe and followed the directions exactly.  EXCEPT in how many cupcakes to prepare for.  In our cabinet, I found two 12-well cupcake pans.  We made what seemed like a large amount of cake batter, so we went with two pans.  Only afterward did I see the mix makes just enough for one pan of 12.  We scooped batter into each muffin paper, put them in the over, and when the toothpick came out clear, we knew we finished.

So the verdict?  While I screwed up in making small little ‘mini’ cupcakes, the taste rivaled any chocolate cake I ever tasted.  There was no gritty taste that sometimes follows a gf cake or bread.  The cupcake had a light, moist taste, without the denseness found in other gf mixes.  And the girls LOVED them!  That was the only test that matters!  We ate a couple, froze some, and plan to continue eating them this Fourth of July weekend, and we plan to try the other mixes soon!