Gluten Free Cooking Basics II: Egg, Sugar, Milk substitutes

~Oak Hill statue◊UPDATED 5/16/14

Buy the freshest organic eggs you can find. You also can use Energ-G Foods egg substitute.

There is also a fat and egg substitute called Wonderslim. It can be used for cooking, baking and making salad dressings. It is made of water, dried plum juice concentrate, oat fiber and soy lecithin (anyone with IBS needs to be careful about this product because of the plum juice).

Eggs & Egg Substitutes
AND Xanthan & Guar Gums, Vinegars, Nuts


Buy the freshest organic eggs you can find. You also can use Energ-G Foods egg substitute.

This powdered substitute for eggs in cooking contains no egg product and is also free of dairy, corn, soy, and gluten. I use a little of this for extra leavening in many recipes.

There is also a fat and egg substitute called Wonderslim & NoEgg by Orgran. It can be used for cooking, baking and making salad dressings. It is made of water, dried plum juice concentrate, oat fiber and soy lecithin (anyone with IBS needs to be careful about this product because of the plum juice).


Substitutions for eggs in a recipe:

•     2 T corn starch

•     2 T arrowroot flour

•     2 T potato starch

•     1/4 cup applesauce

•     1 T flax meal plus 3 T water (the consistency is vy similar to eggs)
The meal should gel within a minutes or two

•     2 T dried apricots (let stand in water until soft, then puree in a blender)

•     Chia Meal: adds great health to baked goods, is used just like flax meal. 1 T whisked with 3 T liquid which mimics 1 large egg. Gels within a few seconds*.

•     Moisture rich fruits and vegetables can also work: banana (1 banana = 1 egg in cake recipes, applesauce, sweet potato and pumpkin are best. There is no exact ration here, but if a recipe includes one of these fruits, usually there is no need for an egg too.


Tessa the domestic diva has a recommendation:

You’d be surprised how many baking recipes would be just fine without an egg or an egg replacer. I recommend getting hold of a good vegan baking book (like Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, or Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar) to learn your way through eggless baking.

* If you want to read about WHY you should be eating just about as many of these amazing seeds as possible, Nourishing Treasures has a great bulleted list on the benefits of this superfood.


Healthy GF Living Cookbook Tip

When creating recipes, if I have used enough baking powder for lift and am using flax meal mixed with HOT water for binding and lift, but the dough is a bit dry, simply add warm water until it’s right. Having your liquids very warm helps kick that baking powder into action.

SECRET: you don’t need egg replacer in GF baking!



NOTE: Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum & Chia Seeds

by Cassidy Stockton May 14th, 2010 (Bob’s Red Mill)


They fight together for Gluten Free-dom!

Both ingredients are frequently called for in gluten free recipes and can seem exotic at first, but they both serve the same general purpose as thickeners and emulsifiers. Quite simply, both these ingredients help keep your mixes mixed. They keep oil droplets from sticking together and separating, and solid particles from settling to the bottom. You can use just one or the other; or sometimes for the best results, you can use them in combination together.

In conventional recipes containing wheat, rye, barley or triticale flour, the protein, gluten in these fours serves the same purpose that guar gum and xanthan gum do in gluten free baking. Gluten protein is what traditional recipes rely on to thicken dough and batters, and trap air bubbles to make your baked goods light and fluffy.

Xanthan gum tends to help starches combine to trap air, while guar gum helps keep large particles suspended in the mix.

One of the differences between the two products is where they come from. Guar gum is made from a seed native to tropical Asia, while xanthan gum is made by a micro organism called Xanthomonas Campestris*.

*Regarding corn in xanthan gum: The microorganism that produces xanthan gum is actually fed a glucose solution that is derived from wheat starch. Gluten is found in the protein part of the wheat kernel and no gluten is contained in the solution of glucose. Additionally, after the bacteria eats the glucose, there is no wheat to be found in the outer coating that it produces, which is what makes up xanthan gum. The short answer here is, there is no corn used at all in the making of xanthan gum.

In the kitchen, there are also important differences in using xanthan gum vs. guar gum. In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities.
Guar gum – using too much can produce a heavy or stringy texture in baked goods, so measure carefully.

NOTE: Guar Gum has a high fiber content and is usually sold as a laxative, it should be avoided by anyone who suffer from diarrhea or stomach distress.

Xanthum gum is better for baked goods. Xanthan gum is the right choice for yeasted breads. For recipes involving citrus you will want to use xanthan gum or increase the amount of guar gum used.
Xanthum gum: Lots of people can have trouble digesting it and find it disrupts their bowels and tummy.

In general, it is best to add both xanthan and guar gum to the oil component in a recipe, making complete mix of oil and gum before adding to the rest of liquid ingredients. Using a blender or a food processor is a great way to get the gums to dissolve properly.

The final difference between the two gums is the variation in quantities you will need for different foods. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to combine the two gums together, you’ll have to experiment yourself to see what works best in your recipes.

If you decide to use just one or the other, here are some helpful measurements for popular foods:

Be sure to use an electric mixer when using these ingredients, for best results.

How much Xanthan Gum for Gluten Free Baking?

Cookies…………………………………………………………… ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour

Cakes and Pancakes…………………………………… ½ teaspoon per cup of flour

Muffins and Quick Breads………………………. ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour

Breads…………………………………………………………….. 1 to 1-½ tsp. per cup of flour

Pizza Dough………………………………………………….. 2 teaspoons per cup of flour

For Salad Dressings………………………………….. Use ½ tsp. Xanthan Gum per 8 oz. of liquid.


How much Guar Gum for Gluten Free Baking?

Cookies…………………………………………………………… ¼ to ½ tsp. per cup of flour

Cakes and Pancakes…………………………………… ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour

Muffins and Quick Breads………………………. 1 teaspoon per cup of flour

Breads…………………………………………………………….. 1-½ to 2 tsp. per cup of flour

Pizza Dough…………………………………………………. 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

For Hot Foods (gravies, stews , heated pudding)…………… use 1-3 tsp per one quart of liquid.

For Cold Foods (salad dressing, ice creams, pudding)…. use about 1-2 teaspoons per quart of liquid.


NOTE: CHIA Seeds have natural gelling properties that make them a good substitute for xanthan gum in recipes.


BAKING SODA: Author uses baking soda in conjunction with baking powder, as alone it will not cause a product to leaven. I use it quite frequently in biscuits, cookies, scones and the like.

it is best if you sift it with the flour and baking powder, as it is somewhat lumpy.


Baking Powder: If you are concerned about the health risks of aluminum, you can buy aluminum-free baking powder in health food stores. Author uses baking powder frequently in recipes, especially for cakes, cookies, bar and muffins.


Dough Enhancers: These powdered products are used in bread making to substitute for the vinegar that balances the pH in most waters. They also tend to make the bread stay fresh longer.

Dough enhancer makes for lighter, fluffier baked goods with a combination of several dough conditioners.

Always read the ingredient labels to find one that’s gluten free and doesn’t contain anything else to which you may be sensititve.

     I found L’Equip Dough Enhancer (not thru Amazon) Write up:

▪            Does not include gluten.

▪            Increases dough strength, extends shelf life and improves texture.

▪            Try it in all your baked goods.

Ingredients: Whey, Lecithin, Soy Powder, Citric Acid, Dry Yeast, Sea Salt, Corn Starch, Ascorbic Acid, Honey. Gluten Free & GMO – All Natural



White vinegar or just plain vinegar is typically distilled, and if so, are gluten-free. Distilled vinegar can be distilled from wheat, corn, potatoes, beets, wood, apples, and many other things. Most in the U.S. are not made from wheat, but are instead made from corn, potatoes or wood, which are all CGCF safe. (Heinz white vinegar is distilled from corn). Distilled vinegar made from wood is gluten-free.

Wood-based vinegar is often the vinegar used in processed foods. (Oh, wonderful–another reason to buy processed foods!)

Flavored vinegars are made with white distilled vinegar, to which favorings are then added. Some of these may also NOT be gluten-free (the cheapest vinegars are used since the flavors are masked by the herbs and flavoring).

Malted vinegars are usually not gluten-free. Red and white wine and balsamic vinegars are gluten free.

I buy Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar



Replace tree nuts or peanuts with an equal amount of one of the following:

• Toasted Coconut

• Sunflower Seeds

• Crushed crispy rice cereal

• Crushed potato chips

• Pumpkin Seeds


(roasting instructions)

It is not always necessary to toast nuts but, if time permits, it gives the nuts an earthy flavor.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in a 350F oven for 8-10 mins. Remove from the oven and cool.

Be sure to store any unused toasted nuts in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to a few months.

(toasting instructions)

put in a frying pan on medium to low heat and heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t turn your back, they’ll burn



Gluten Free Cooking Basics: Oils

oil_vinegar-lose-weightUPDATED 5/16/14

I realized when I began typing the information I compiled on GF cooking/baking, that some of this information is information intensive and wouldn’t do well on a blog. I believe blogs should be short and to-the-point — even the informational ones. So, I’m going to have to break up the information into several parts.

Get ready, this information is way more than you ever expected to know 🙂

Gluten Free Baking Substitutes

 Really like information from and

Cooking Oils


•     Margarine: 1 for 1, the BEST for flavor is Earth Balance and it has no trans fats.
It IS processed though, like all margarine.

•     Ghee: Simple to make, this is butter with all the milk solids (and therefore the casein) removed. It tolerates high heats too since there is no milk solids to burn!

•     Coconut Oil: 1 for 1 lends a great texture and a slight coconut flavor which can be delicious in baked goods. The REFINED version has less of the coconut flavor. This oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats.

•     Shortening: Several trans fats free versions out there. Try Spectrum Palm Shortening. Substitute 1 for 1.

•     Vegetable Oils (canola, safflower, grapeseed): These are lightly flavored fats perfect for baking. Most are highly refined and canola has a high risk of GMO content. Liquids would need to be reduced to compensate for the oil’s liquid state.

Grapeseed Oil

is the ideal replacement for butter in baked goods, making it optimal for those on a dairy-free diet. It is also low in cholesterol, and has a neutral flavor. Buy in glass containers, because plastic contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are exacerbated when they come into contact with oil.

Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil to lend a tropical flavor to certain baked goods. When heated, it can scorch very easily, so be sure to heat it at a very low temp.

Purchase only food-grade coconut oil in glass jars, and make sure it is unrefined and not hydrogenated. High-quality coconut oil will have a slightly sweet smell, coconut flavor and no aftertaste.

 Following Info from


Types of oils

Natural fats contain varying ratios of three types of fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and very stable. They resist oxidation, so they often can tolerate higher temperatures.

Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and generally the least stable for cooking. They oxidize easily and are found in safflower and sunflower oils, if not labeled for high heat or “high oleic.”

Monounsaturated fats also are liquid at room temperature and generally are more stable than polyunsaturates. They’re found in canola, nuts and olives.


Pressed vs. chemically extracted

Seek out culinary oils that are mechanically pressed from the seed without using chemical solvents.
These also are referred to as “expeller pressed.”

Olive, avocado and walnut oils, for example, are from soft fruit or nuts that need only expeller pressing and centrifuging. They may be labeled “cold-pressed.”

Hard oilseeds, such as soy or canola, usually require some pre-treatment such as steam before pressing.

In contrast, mass-market oils generally are extracted with toxic solvents such as hexane. These oils then undergo harsh treatment to remove the solvent. More chemicals, very high heat, and straining are used to deodorize and bleach the oils — rendering them inferior in taste, fragrance, appearance and especially nutritional quality.

Unrefined oils (Olive Oil, Sesame)

Unrefined oils are filtered only lightly to remove large particles. Some, such as sesame or olive oil, may appear cloudy or have visible sediment after sitting. This does not compromise quality.

Unrefined oils have more pronounced flavors, colors and fragrances than refined oils. Like unrefined whole grain flours, unrefined oils are more nutritious and have a shorter storage life than refined.

Unrefined oils are best used unheated in dressings or with low heat sautéing or baking. Their natural resins and other beneficial particles burn easily and develop unpleasant flavors and unhealthful properties if overheated. If you choose to bake with unrefined oils, expect the flavor to be more pronounced.

Refined oils (high oleic Safflower, Sunflower & Peanut)

Naturally refined oils are more thoroughly filtered and strained than unrefined, usually with some additional heat but without harsh or damaging chemicals. Refining reduces the nutrient level and flavor. It also removes particles and resins and makes naturally refined oils more stable for longer storage, more resistant to smoking, and a good choice for high-heat cooking and frying.

Refined oils recommended for high-heat cooking and deep-frying are “high oleic” safflower, sunflower, and peanut oil. These oils are from varieties high in monounsaturated fats, which are well-suited for high heat.


Buttery spread & Organic shortening (margarine)

There is quite a controversy about the health benefits or risks of using margarine. Two good products:
Earth Balance Natural Shortening – great for cookies, cakes and muffins. It is non-GMO, trans-fat free, dairy free, and gluten free.
Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening – it, too, is dairy free and gluten free. It has no cholesterol and works wonderfully for pie crusts, cookies, cakes, etc.

If you are using these to replace butter in a recipe, be sure to blend at room temperature with your liquid ingredients, such as fruit sweeteners or agave cactus nectar. If the sweetener and shortening are not at the same temperature, they will not combine well, and they may curdle. These products should be limited to baking.


Storing oils

Air, heat and light cause oils to oxidize and turn rancid. Natural oils should smell and taste fresh and pleasant. Can’t tell? If in doubt, throw it out! Studies indicate that rancid fats may promote cancer and heart disease.

For maintaining quality of flavor and nutrition, it is best to store oils in an airtight glass bottle in a cool, dark place. Plastic contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are exacerbated when they come into contact with oil.

For oils that will sit unused for longer than one month, storing in the refrigerator is ideal.


Cooking with oils

Avoid canola – NEVER nonGMO –too processed

Coconut oil is oil of choice

–       use refined- more neutral flavor

–       can be very light in some instances.

If need a heavier oil—add a T or two of olive oil to help with the moisture level.

Organic Palm Shortening (Spectrum)

Use instead of traditional shortenings


Cooking with oils

Oil No heat Low heat Med. heat Med. high heat High heat Characteristics and uses
Almond, refined X X X X X Clean, neutral flavor and a high-heat wonder.
Avocado, refined and unrefined X X X X X Neutral flavor, lovely texture for dressings. Wonderful for searing meat, whipped potatoes and stir-fries.
Butter X X X Flavor varies depending on origins. Best blended with other oils for a higher smoke point to prevent burning.
Canola, refined X X X X X Neutral flavor, good all-purpose oil.
Canola, unrefined X X Mild flavor, vibrant orange color.
Canola-olive oil blend X X X X X Convenient for cooks who like olive oil but want higher heat tolerance.
Coconut (virgin/extra virgin), unrefined X X * Flavors range from neutral to mild. Good in soups, stews, curries and baked goods. High heat resistant.
Ghee (clarified butter) X X X X Clarifying butter removes moisture and particles to give higher heat tolerance. Often used in Indian cooking.
Grapeseed, refined X X X X X Clean, neutral taste. Great for sauteing
Macadamia nut, unrefined X X Nutty, buttery flavor.
Olive (extra virgin) unrefined X X * Wide range of flavors, depending on origin. Ideal for cold dishes, salads, pesto and dipping bread.
Peanut, refined X X * * A classic for tempura, fish, stir-fries and Asian dishes. Potential allergen. Heat tolerance can vary greatly.
Safflower, refined X X X X X Mild flavor, good all-purpose oil.
Sesame, refined X X X X X Adds light flavor to seared meats, stir-fries.
Sesame (including toasted), unrefined X X Highly aromatic, nutty, best in dressings and sauces.
Sunflower (high oleic), refined X X X X X Neutral, all-purpose oil, good source of vitamin E.
Sunflower, unrefined X X X X X Rich flavor, best in cold dishes, good source of vitamin E.
Vegetable shortening (palm fruit), refined X X X Flavorless, good for vegan baked goods. Not hydrogenated (no trans fat).
Walnut, refined X X X X Adds a hint of walnut flavor to salads, marinades and sautés. Potential allergen.
* Heat tolerance of these oils can vary more than others, so check labels for manufacturer recommendations. If oil or fat smokes in the pan, the temperature is too high for that oil. It’s safest to discard it, clean the pan and start over at a lower temperature. This may conflict with sources that advise to heat the oil to the smoke point. The point at which oil smokes signals that the oil has been damaged and potentially cancer-causing properties have formed.

Sunflower and safflower are neutral in flavor, while peanut and sesame will impart some flavor, which could enhance or detract from the dish, depending on what we’re cooking.

Trudy Bialic, Sound Consumer editor, says she personally likes to use refined almond oil, or one of the avocado oils for when she needs a high heat oil. Unlike the modern hard-seed oils (safflower, sunflower, canola), avocado oil at least does not require heat to be extracted.

Didn’t expect choosing an oil to use was so difficult, did you? 🙂

UPDATE/NOTE/WARNING:  5 Ways Vegetable Oils are as bad for you as gluten :). good news though. At the end of the article, there is a link for downloading which oils are okay and a lot more 🙂


NEXT: eggs & egg substitutes

Mixed Bag: Update, GMOs, apps…

Tell me again, how beautiful I am :)

Tell me again, how beautiful I am 🙂

Sorry I’ve been so silent in posting. My husband lost his job and we are living with my son–Thank you, Ted & Dana!
I’ve been trying to organize recipes and GF baking substitutions which include milk, butter, eggs, sugar and GF flour mixes. There is soooo much information out there and I’ve decided to pull it all together in one wonderful place for you to use as a reference.
What’s funny, as I’ve used this blog as my own reference. Especially looking back at the apps I reviewed earlier. I have an opinion on those apps: pay as little as possible for a GMO/GF app. You won’t use it much after you have chosen your favorite products and know where to find them.

There is a new app tho. It’s SHOPNOGMO iTunes. And, here’s a shopping guide ShopNoGMO. Its a big help choosing non-GMO products. Fooducate also finds GMOs in products and that app will alert you when you walk into stores you’ve chosen. NOTE: the app has to be open to work. I wondered why it didn’t alert me the other day. That’s why!

I learned another thing the other day. ORGANIC products can be grown from GMO seeds 😦 and pesticides can be used on non-GMO products. So it seems to me, you need to find products that are organic and non-GMO to cover all your bases.

Boars Head produces turkey lunchmeat that is ALL NATURAL. I haven’t found it yet in my area. I’m thinking it’ll be at Whole Foods, but there isn’t one near me and the local FRESH MARKET doesn’t have Boars Head. I’m also afraid it will be $15-20 per pound 😦 Some day, organic/non-GMO products will be the norm instead of the exception.

Have an outrageously awesome day 🙂

The Wonders of Oil of Oregano :)

ImageI am just beginning to learn about Oil of Oregano (no this isn’t your mama’s pizza/spaghetti oregano). This is wild medicinal oregano from the Mediterranean. I first read about it in Heather VanVorous’ Book, “IBS the first year” page 169. The product I bought is from N. American Herb & Spice. I should have bought it from Amazon. I paid too much for my bottle 😦

This tiny little bottle of oil packs a major punch! It seems to be a wonder drug, you just cannot use it on an on-going basis. I’m finding information that 6 weeks may be the max before you take a break. It has healed people’s sinus infections, calmed their tummy troubles, helped with skin conditions AND they brush their teeth with it!

Here are a few places to get information:

WebMD: Oregano overview
“Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders…headaches and heart conditions. There’s a lot more, you’ll just have to read it for yourself 🙂 Read more…

WikiHow:  How to Get Health Benefits from Oregano OilThere is some scientific research that suggests anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties of oregano oil. Even though reliable human trials are still lacking, oregano oil has considerable anecdotal support for its healing properties. Read more…

Natural News: Oil of Oregano: A Powerhouse for the Alternative Medicine Cabinet
Oregano is nature’s antibiotic. It may be one reason why people who eat a Mediterranean diet tend to live longer and healthier lives. The wild oregano plant has been shown to kill unwanted bacteria, fungus, yeast, parasites and viruses. It’s a powerful antihistamine. New research is finding that oil of oregano is as effective against colitis as prescription drugs without the harmful side effects. Read more…

Amazon: N. American Herb & Spice
I chose this oreganol because this is what I bought. The man at the health food store said it is one of the best and is very pure and strong. Who am I to argue? This company even claims it on their web site – “We use only the purest, highest quality ingredients in our Oregano oil products. This is the true wild oregano P73. Oreganol P73 is a blend of edible species of wild oregano grown on natural, mineral-rich soil from the Mediterranean.” Read more…
They also have several other products using wild oregano oil 🙂
No, I do not have stock in this company. I just trust it.

Let’s hear from several Amazon reviewers about Oil of Oregano…
EVE GRANGER: I had a persistent cold and ear ache for some time, and when it got to the point that I could barely hear, I went to the Whole Body department of Whole Foods and asked them to help me. They told me to buy this Oreganol, but the .45 oz bottle cost $25, and I told them no way. Well, they gave me a free sample (always a good sign), and this stuff drained my ears and sinuses about five minutes after dosage (I did buy the product). It works fantastically. It tastes like, well, a super-concentrated dose of oregano, which is not very delicious at all.
MJP: I have spent the last 20+ years in a congested stupor. I’ve been on antibiotics, steroids, allergy meds, cold meds. I’ve used Netti pots, salene spray, and have done 5 years of allergy shots. I’ve tried everything. If anyone around me had a cold, I would catch it and then follow it up with a sinus infection. About a month ago I stumbled onto Oil of Oregano. After reading all the positive reviews I figured I had nothing to lose, so I ordered the .45 oz bottle and started taking 2 drops under my tongue each day. After about a week I was able to sleep through the night….
C ADAMS:  This product is ok…..just ok but it is not as strong as Source Naturals Oil of Oregano which I found to be much more effective in helping me fight off colds and other troublesome winter ailments. If you have never used Oil of Oregano, I don’t think you will be disappointed but I would definitely recommend the Oil of Oregano by Source Naturals over this brand.
  SEE, I’m an equal opportunity reviewer!
WATERS: This is the nuclear bomb in the natural treatment arsenal. This isn’t some kind of psychic magic crystal voodoo snake oil fairy dust junk too many “natural” people believe in thereby encouraging the equally silly wholesale rejection of real, effective natural treatment approaches.
ME: First, I’m having trouble finding reviews from people who have GI problems, so, me, myself & I have used it for GI problems. My stomach was spasming, bloating, gas, you name it…i started taking the oil of oregano; just 2 drops under my tongue once a day. I have to admit, I’m no longer having GI problems! My husband and daughter-in-law are getting sick from a cold. My husband thought the oil was “VOODOO” medicine and didn’t want to try it. He called the dr. for antibiotics. For various reasons, he couldn’t get the antibiotics so he had to rely on the oil. I heard him say yesterday when I asked him about getting the antibiotics, “I don’t need them!” I asked him to repeat that statement, just to rub it in. My bad 🙂

Certainly, don’t buy at least this brand, at the store. You’ll pay $10 more than on Amazon. As far as dosing, there are a lot of theories. I’m thinking, you just have to decide for yourself. If it’s just a nasty headache or GI problems, I believe the 2 drops under the tongue will do it. If not increase to twice a day. If you are warding off a cold or flu, maybe want to do 3x a day. If you have a BAD whatever, then use more.

DO NOT use the oil undiluted. Not in your mouth, not on your skin. I believe the oil comes in gel caps. My stomach is way too sensitive, so I’ll stick with the drops. You can find how to make it safe to use on your skin by googling. Most places say to put it in olive oil.

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