I’ve tried another blog site for this blog the last few years and decided to stick with my roots. WordPress allows me more freedom to customize my blog to fit what I want it to look like. With that being said…
Last month marked 14 years for me being gluten-free. Wow. I’ve reached the point where I’ve been gluten-free for almost half my life. That is just shocking for me. Being gluten-free is just part of my life and I still get people asking me what the gluten-free food tasted like after I first started on this way of life because that’s exactly what it is. Fourteen years ago, gluten-free food was bland, boring, and quite frankly disgusting. I still use the nickname of cardboard for my waffles even though the flavor has improved immensely. The texture still isn’t what I really want but I’m now used to it.
This past weekend was the Fair in my hometown and while I only entered two baked goods this year instead of the many I usually do, I still had fun. Not being able to enter more simply came down to cost. Money is tight right now and I needed to focus on saving. Next year I will be debt free (YEAH!!!!!) and I am planning a trip to Iceland.
In the fair this year I entered the pie contest (this year was peach) for the fifth time and sadly did not win…again.
Here are some tips when entering baking contests:
- Don’t be frustrated if you don’t win. It’s sad and I always want to get upset but really contests come down to the personal likes of the judges. You never know what they like and they might not like what you do.
- Listen to the judges critiques. Try to talk to the judges afterwards. Most Fairs hire judges that are professionals and will remember the majority of what they taste. I did this last year to see what advise they could offer. Last year my pie crust was flaky but not up to the judges standards. They suggested using lard rather than shortening. It worked. My crust this year was very flaky and tasted like a normal pie crust.
- If baking a pie, use a clear pie plate. That way the judges can see if the bottom crust is evenly browned all the way around. If it is a double-crust pie, make sure the top and bottom crusts are the same light, golden brown.
- Make sure a pie crust is perfectly even all the way around. This is why I didn’t go further this year.
- The top edge of a pie crust has to be the perfect thickness. If it’s too thick, it won’t baking properly all the way through. If it’s too thin, it will over cook.
For cookies, muffins or cupcakes, make sure you enter ones that all look the same. Eat the ones that are smaller or oddly-shaped. (Use the excuse of quality control if you must.)
- And the most important tip I can gave is – have fun. I may get frustrated and want to throw half of my stuff against the wall, but I do have fun. I learn a lot year-to-year and a lot of that comes from talking to the judges.
The other item I entered in the Fair this year were my Spice Apple Cider Muffins. I am happy to report that I got First Place!! I’m also going to give this recipe to my aunt that bakes at Black Sheep Coffee Roasters in Bishop, CA where they are trying to get more gluten-free options on their menu.
I’m hoping that I will be able to enter more.