Tip Thursday: Homemade Mixes

Whether on the road, baking in foreign kitchens, or simply short on time, making your own mixes can be a great option. It allows you to use your most cherished recipes with ease and speed. If like me, you also have food allergies or intolerances, homemade mixes cut out the worry about ingredient cross-contamination in the kitchens of others. They also make great gifts for friends and family alike. We’ve given homemade mixes to newly diagnosed friends and it always gives a sense of comfort when starting a new diet such as celiac, especially when you know that it came from a kitchen that is gluten-free.

Of course, homemade mixes surely should not be limited to those of us with food sensitivities. The best part of homemade mixes is the fact that you can make it yourself with a handful of your favourite recipes. There are certain types of recipes that they work much better for than others- when all the dry ingredients are added at once, it works best. Otherwise, you need multiple bags or jars and that can become a chore, rather than a quick solution.

Start by labeling your ziptop bag with the recipe and the instructions. If using a jar, you can write an instruction card for it.

Then, gather everything you need. The dry ingredients necessary, a medium-sized bowl and measuring cups and spoons.

Folding over the edges of your ziptop bag can help to make sure everything gets in the bag rather than some powder escaping into the bowl. Having the bag in the bowl also helps to prop it up and prevent spillage.

Add all of the ingredients.

When you’re done, zip it up, shake it, and it’s ready to be stored for future use.

When it comes time to use, pour it into the bowl.

Then whisk it up and use as your recipe instructs!

For some great recipes to use as mixes, check out these links:
Gluten-Free Millet Biscuits (as pictured)
Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes
Gluten-Free Banana Bread

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Tip Thursday: Bringing Eggs to Room Temperature

Eggs

When I go into the kitchen I typically have an idea of what I want to make. Sometimes it’s quite planned – like a birthday cake, and other times it’s completely dependent on a passing thought or a feeling. More often than not, I don’t set my eggs out hours before. Butter? Usually. Eggs? Not really. Not every recipe needs room temperature eggs, but when they do, you certainly want to oblige. It helps the chemistry of the baked good to work in the desired way.

If I haven’t set out my eggs hours before, I use this simple trick.

Place your eggs – however many you need – in a dish or glass. Something that is tall enough that the eggs will be fully covered in water. If there are just one or two, I tend to use a glass.

Cover with Water

Turn on the water, and test for temperature. You want it to be warm, but not hot. If it is too hot, it will cook the eggs and then you’ll have to start all over again with fresh eggs. You don’t want that. It should be comfortable and warm to the touch.

Different Sizes

Cover your eggs with warm water.

Let Sit

Let them sit for ten minutes, or until ready to use. The eggs should be at room temperature, and not cold if you turn them in your hands.

Drain

When they’re ready, carefully drain or remove from your dish.

Finally, use as your recipe instructs! You’re good to go now.

Photos © Lauren McMillan of Celiac Teen.

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Tip Thursday: Food Photography Edition

IMG_6019

One of the easiest and cheapest ways you can improve your food shots is a simple piece of white foam board. It’s dirt cheap, a couple of dollars at the most and you can easily purchase it at a store like Target or an art supply store.

This white board bounces the light back onto your shot, filling in any harsh shadows. It’s best to place it opposite your lighting source, like in the picture above, the light is coming in from the left, so the white board is on the right.

without reflector
without (straight out of camera shot, no editing)

with reflector
with (straight out of camera also)

As you can see, the harsh shadows are gone, giving the shot an overall brighter appearance. The difference is dramatic!

Here’s the final shot, with post processing (which is another post for another day!)

5469355380_b65fc662e4_b-2

I encourage you to go try this out yourself, if you do, be sure to add your photos to The Kitchen Generation flickr group!

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