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Why I Love my Air Fryer

Another kitchen gadget I find myself using almost daily is my air fryer. Like my electric pressure cooker, my air fryer was a Christmas gift from my parents. This is the Gourmia model I own. It has a six quart basket and eight preset functions, or I can manually set the timing and temperature.

Unlike with my pressure cooker, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with the air fryer at first. I don’t fry a lot of things, mainly because it’s messy. I also have the added challenge of making gluten free breading. Even before going gluten-free, I found it hard to get the breading to stick on things like chicken and have it cook all the way through without burning the outside. After some experimenting, though, I’ve found that the air fryer makes frying easier. I’ve also found that the air fryer does so much more than frying.

Ways I use my air fryer

  • Potatoes Whether it’s fresh home fries or frozen tater tots, the air fryer browns them all nicely. My air fryer has a french fry preset, so I just add the potatoes and start it. Every once in a while during the cooking, I give the basket a shake to keep them from clumping. This is especially important if the basket is fairly full. You can cook them completely without oil, but I do like to toss them lightly with a little olive oil. This seems most important with french fries. They’re okay without it, but I like the flavor better with it.
  • Sausage and bacon Both turn out beautifully in the air fryer. All the excess grease drains under the basket, leaving the bacon crisp and the sausage not greasy. I use the bacon setting on mine for both, but I reduce the time to nine minutes for sausage.
  • Reheating leftovers We got rid of our microwave a few years ago. We really only used it to reheat leftovers, which never tasted as good as if I heated them on the stove or in the oven, and it took up a lot of counter space. While I still use our stove and oven to reheat things for the whole family, if I’m just heating a plate of food or other small amount, I’ll use the air fryer. It’s quicker than the oven, and the food heats more evenly than it did in the microwave. The texture is better, too.
  • Frying I still don’t do this much, but I finally got gluten-free fried chicken to work, so that may change. I did cheat a little by quickly frying it on the stove first, just to lightly brown and set the breading. Then I added it all into the air fryer basket and let it finish it with the chicken preset function. While it’s not as low fat that way, the chicken turned out crisp and juicy but not at all greasy. That also freed up my skillet to make gravy while the chicken finished cooking so it was all hot and perfectly done at the same time.
  • Baking It is essentially a counter top convection oven, so it bakes as well as an oven. I don’t use this function as much, because, with a family of five, the oven is usually more convenient. If I’m only making a few cookies, though, it works really well. I’ve also baked cheesecake in it using the recipe that came with my air fryer. It turned out delicious and was super easy to make.

What are your tips?

I’m still learning new things to try in my air fryer. With just those five things, I already use it almost every day. I would love to hear more creative ways to use an air fryer. If you have one, please share your favorite tips and recipes in the comments.

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Air Fryer

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Ridiculously Easy Gluten Free Tortillas

I have never been a huge fan of corn tortillas. They’re good for some things, like street tacos, but overall I love the soft, slightly chewy texture of flour tortillas. While there are flour gluten free tortillas on the market, they are pricey and hard to find. Which means that since eliminating gluten from our diets, I’ve had to stick to corn. Which is fine, because it’s better than no more tacos, but , I still miss flour.

After much searching, I finally found a recipe that mimics the soft, chewy texture of flour tortillas. They require no real prep work, so it’s easy to make them last minute, if needed. Basically, if you can make a pancake, you can make these gluten free tortillas.

You can also adjust the thickness to be more like a flatbread. I can see pairing them with curries or stews, or cut into chips , toast and serve with hummus.

Ridiculously Easy Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

Soft, chewy gluten free flour tortillas so easy you can make them last minute.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 min
Course: Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Chickpea based gluten free flour Can be straight chickpea flour, or a blend with a high amount of chickpea flour, such as Bob's Red Mill GF flour. (NOT the 1 to 1 flour)
  • 0.5 cup Tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp coconut or other oil If you use a non-stick skillet or griddle you may not need the oil.

Instructions

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the water and stir until blended.
  • Oil a skillet or griddle as needed and heat to medium high.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto your prepared skillet or griddle.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium high heat.
  • Flip like a pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat the cooking and flipping for the rest of the batter.

Notes

This recipe is very versatile. For thinner tortillas, add a little more water. For more of a flatbread, reduce the water to about 3/4 of a cup. 
Gluten Free tortillas
 

Find more of my gluten-free recipes here: https://subearthancottage.com/?s=gluten+free

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Thaddeus and an Allergy-friendly Chocolate Cake Recipe

Thaddeus, my baby, turned four today. Up until yesterday, he wanted a giant cookie cake decorated with frosting that said “Happy Birthday Thaddeus!” I planned to use my gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, make some homemade “butter” cream frosting and dream about Great American Cookies’ cookie cakes from my pre-gf days. Yesterday, though, he changed to chocolate cake decorated with Dog Man.

Luckily, I have a one bowl chocolate cake recipe that is so easy there is no reason for boxed chocolate cake mix. It’s one that my mom made, my grandma made and I don’t know how many people before her. The original recipe used regular flour, so I substitute gluten free flour. It was already dairy free, nut-free and egg-free, so, as long as you’re careful with the toppings it is a handy dessert if you have those dietary restrictions. 

Decorating the cake was another matter. If you’re not familiar with the Dog Man book series, here’s what Dog Man and his sidekick Cat Kid look like:

Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild
Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild

 

He only wanted the heads on his cake, so that made it a little easier. They have that deceptively simple look, though, so I was still nervous. The end result was recognizable, even with constant interruptions and my never having painted on frosting before. I really couldn’t have hoped for anything more.

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate cake with Dog Man and Cat Kid frosting for Thadd’s fourth birthday.

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate Cake

This is a simple chocolate cake recipe that is super easy. It is dairy-free, egg-free, and if you swap the wheat flour for a gluten-free flour blend, it's gluten-free, too! To make it gluten free, I like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free blend because it already contains xanthan gum. If you use a different gluten-free flour without xanthan gum, I would add about 1-1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum.
To top, make a simple buttercream (with shortening and non-dairy milk to keep it non-dairy) or use your favorite store bought frosting. You could also sprinkle the warm cake with dairy-free chocolate chips, let them melt a little, then spread across the top for a rich, chocolaty treat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: 9 x 13, cake, chocolate, dairy free, easy, egg free, gluten free, one bowl, simple
Servings: 29 2x2 inch servings

Equipment

  • 9 x 13 rectangle pan

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour see recipe summary for gluten-free adjustment
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil any light flavored liquid vegetable oil is fine
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grease the 9 x 13 inch pan, either with shortening, butter, or cooking spray
  • Combine the first five (dry) ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly blended. Alternatively, sift them together into the bowl.
  • Add the remaining (wet) ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. You can use a spoon or an electric mixer.
  • Pour the batter into the greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Notes

I frosted this cake with buttercream tinted blue, then used gel food coloring to paint the faces. I then piped buttercream for the eyes, facial features, outlines, writing and trim. I clearly am not a trained cake decorator, so I can't really say which tips I used or any other details.
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Cupcakes

Sometimes after binge watching baking shows, you just have to bake cupcakes.

Lots of cupcakes

I substituted a 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend for the flour in the yellow cake recipe out of my favorite Better Homes cookbook. The cupcakes turned out a little dense, but not bad. Most gluten free cakes are a little dense, so I’m not sure there’s a good solution.

My favorite part of any cake is the butter cream frosting.  A slightly dense cupcake doesn’t bother me, as long as the frosting is good. My frosting recipe also came from my Better Homes cookbook. Some of my family can’t have dairy, so I substituted shortening for the butter and almond milk for the milk.

My Sunbeam Mixmaster worked beautifully for both the cake batter and butter cream frosting. I’ve had it for over a year and a half now, and the only problem I’ve had was with the beaters.Those were cheap and easy to replace, and it’s been going strong ever since.

Frosting delivery device

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Riding the New Texrail Train

Tuesday afternoon we wanted something fun and cheap to do, so we decided to ride the new Texrail train. Instead of going to Sundance Square like usual, we decided to head east instead. The end of the line is DFW Airport. Rather than go there and have nothing to do for forty minutes except sit on the train and wait for it to head west again, we decided to get off in Grapevine.

Waiting for our train home.

The historic part of Grapevine around the train station has a blacksmith’s shop, a glassblowing shop, and some informative landmark plaques to check out. They also have a lot of boutiques and wine shops. While we were there, the blacksmith was closed. I’m not taking two of my three children into a shop filled with glass, so we mostly hearded cats walked up and down Main Street.

Skating statues in Grapevine.

We did stop in to  Kilwins for fudge and ice cream. Later down the road, we came across JudyPie, an adorable little pie shop. We were excited to see that JudyPie even has gluten-free pies. Since we had already had dessert, though, we settled for coffee and hot chocolates, one of which spilled in their lovely shop.

JudyPie

All in all, though, it was fun. Thadd has begged each day to ride the train again. Today is the last day to ride the Texrail for free, so I’m contemplating doing it again. This time, though, we might take it all the way to the airport. Sitting on a train for forty minutes doesn’t sound so bad.

Thadd on the train.