‘Tis the Season!

Autumn has begun and so has the pumpkin-ocalypse! Everything is slowly being consumed with pumpkin spice flavor, sometimes with amazing results and sometimes with head-scratching disgust.

So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon! Heh.

20161023_132956I wanted to share a recipe with you guys for gluten free pumpkin breakfast muffins. They are really tasty! I found a recipe in a magazine for pumpkin cakes using regular flours and converted it to gluten free. These are perfect if you know you’re going to have a busy morning: you can make them the night before and take them with you to have breakfast on the go.

Don’t worry, t looks like it has a lot of ingredients, but that’s mostly because I broke up the pumpkin pie spice into separate measurements (because I don’t have the spice mix).

Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 cup flour blend
1 cup gluten free oat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Grease a muffin tin (or line with cupcake wrappers) and portion batter evenly between the cups. A cookie scoop works well for this.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Dairy Free Skillet Cornbread.

20161016_182003I apologize for the quality of this picture: I was in a hurry when I was taking it. So, while I took three separate pictures, none of them turned out very well.

Anyway, it’s getting to be a bit colder here, which is excellent chili weather. The best thing to eat with chili is cornbread (of course) so I make a lot of it. The trouble is that most recipes call for sour cream and milk, so I decided to try using some alternative ingredients.

This is the (super delicious) result. The recipe is a little bit of work, but it’s totally worth it.

Skillet Cornbread

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
11 1/4 ounces cornmeal (2 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups plain coconut milk yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

  1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and middle positions and heat oven to 450°F. Place a 10 inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) on the middle rack and heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Spread cornmeal on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on the bottom rack until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer toasted cornmeal to a large bowl and whisk in yogurt and milk. Set aside.
  4. When skillet is hot, add the avocado oil and heat for another 5 minutes.
  5. Using potholders, remove the skillet from the oven and add the coconut oil to the hot avocado oil, swirling gently to incorporate. Pour hot oil mixture into the cornmeal mixture and whisk until combined (resist the urge to scrape the extra oil out with a spatula). Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt. The batter will immediately start to rise. This is normal.
  6. Whisk in the eggs then pour the batter into the hot skillet and place on the middle rack with a clean cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips that may occur.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and crack and the sides are golden brown, rotating skillet halfway.
  8. Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes in the skillet before flipping it out onto a cooling rack.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

Notes

  • This works best with yogurt that’s past it’s date, which basically means it is more sour than fresh yogurt. I usually keep an eye on the dairy discount section of the stores I frequent and make this whenever I pick up a tub of coconut milk yogurt that’s about to “go bad.”

Super Awesome Secret #2!

Instant Oatmeal is expensive. Luckily it’s also amazingly easy to make at home from regular oats. You can use quick cooking oats if you’d like, but I just use regular rolled oats, sometimes extra thick rolled oats. Basically I use whatever I have on hand.

Put the amount of oats you want to make into a blender or food processor and pulse until your oats look like the instant oats you get in the store. It takes my Ninja 10 pulses to get the right texture.oatsI don’t make these often because I prefer to ferment my oats before I make oatmeal for better nutrient availability, but this is great for those times you just need a quick snack.

You can portion them out into bags and add sucanat, salt, dried fruit, whatever you fancy. Bonus savings if you have a food dehydrator and can dehydrate your own strawberries or apples. You could even sprinkle cinnamon on the apples before you dehydrate them to make an apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (GF).

I’m finally back! We’ve had a very eventful month. I got sick on the week I was intending to post again and then we had a death in the family, so I took that week off as well. It seems like things are finally settling down, so here I am.

While I was away I discovered an awesome IMG_0831recipe for cinnamon raisin bread. And by ‘discovered’ I mean I tweaked an existing recipe to suit my fancy. It turned out really well! I’ve made it twice now and it’s never around for more than 24 hours, so I’m pretty sure it’s a success. I’m actually thinking of making it again this week, if I can summon the energy to go to the store.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

  • Servings: 12-18
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
Filling
1/4 cup sucanat
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon potato starch

Dough
2 cups warm almond/coconut milk (110°F)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
14 ounces (3 cups and 2 tablespoons) flour blend
4 ounces (1 1/3 cups) gluten free oat flour
3 tablespoons powdered psyllium husk
2 tablespoons sucanat
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup raisins

  1. Oil a loaf pan and set aside. Combine warm milk, eggs, and melted oil. Using a stand mixer with a paddle mix all dry ingredients until combined. Slowly pour milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough begins to come together (about 1 minute), scraping the bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat until sticky and uniform (about 6 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add raisins, mixing until incorporated (30-60 seconds).
  2. While the dough is mixing combine the filling ingredients in a mortar and crush them all together. Crush until the sucanat is mostly fine (there will be some large pieces left, that’s okay)
  3. Brush oil onto a sheet of parchment paper. With wet hands, put half of the dough onto the sheet and pat into an 11×8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle half of the filling on top and use the parchment to roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam together and place in the oiled bread pan, seam side up.
  4. Repeat with second half of dough, placing the seam side down.
  5. Line the bread pan with a foil collar to prevent the dough from spilling over the edge as it rises. You should have about an inch of foil from the top of the pan.
  6. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 1 hour, or until the dough has risen 50%.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap, spray loaf with water and bake until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 1 1/2 hours, rotating pan halfway.
  8. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and let it cool for as long as you can resist eating it.

The Cost of Gluten Free Flour.

IMG_0719Over the last couple months I’ve been collecting data at the various stores I visit. It has taken me this long because I don’t regularly go to King Soopers/City Market and I try to make it a practice to avoid Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I took down prices for everything I use in my gluten free flour blend for comparison. I had made mental notes of prices before, but sometimes my memory is not the greatest, so the general idea I had that Natural Grocers was the cheapest place to buy my flour was a bit questionable.

It turns out I was right. By almost a dollar per pound compared to Whole Paycheck.

So get ready for some math!

First, you need white and brown rice flours, potato starch and tapioca starch. It turns out that Sprouts does not carry tapioca starch (at least I didn’t find it at my usual store) but King Soopers does. King Soopers, however, does not carry potato starch. The prices for the other items were the same at both grocers, so I’m going to assume that to be the case if other stores carry the missing starches and just call Sprouts/King Soopers one store for the purpose of this post. We’ll call it King Sprouts.

Sprouts does sell brown rice flour for $3.29 rather than $3.49 at King Soopers, but white rice flour is the same as King Soopers (at $3.49). When I was breaking the cost down per ounce I rounded up, so the cost per ounce ended up being $0.14 for both stores. Just keep in mind that brown rice flour is slightly cheaper at Sprouts.

Natural Grocers is my store of choice for most packaged goods. Their produce is amazingly pricey, but sometimes they have good sales. At any rate, Natural Grocers is the winner for flour because of their bulk section, but even if you can’t find white rice flour in their bulk flours (they discontinued brown rice flour, grr) they carry the Bob’s Red Mill at a lower price than the other three stores. Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour is $2.95 making it $0.12 per ounce. Brown rice flour is $3.15 making it $0.13 per ounce. Potato and tapioca starch are $3.69 and $3.45 making them $0.15 and $0.14 per ounce respectively. If you buy Bob’s Red Mill for everything the blend works out to be $2.08 per pound. Natural Grocers bulk white rice flour costs $2.65 for 32 ounces, making it $0.08 an ounce. That cuts the total flour blend cost down to $1.76 a pound!

For the purpose of this post, King Sprouts sells brown and white rice flours for $3.49 per 24 ounce package, making it $0.14 per ounce. Potato starch runs at $4.29 and tapioca starch at $3.79 making it $0.17 and $0.16 per ounce respectively. You need 24 ounces of white rice flour, 7.5 ounces of brown rice flour, 7 ounces of potato starch, and 3 ounces of tapioca starch to create the blend. This means King Sprouts comes out to $2.40 a pound for this particular flour blend. Not bad, but not the cheapest either.

Whole Paycheck (predictably) loses. I’ll spare you the cost breakdown, but the per pound cost works out to be $2.56. So, if you don’t have a Natural Grocers in your area, stick with Sprouts or King Soopers.

I didn’t check the prices for regular flours, so I’m not sure how this flour blend compares per pound to an unbleached white flour, or a whole wheat flour. But I’d say that $1.76 a pound is pretty affordable and it was really interesting to find the price differences from store to store. Maybe in a little while I’ll take down the prices for all of the pre-made flour blends and some regular flours for comparison. It’ll be a little pet project.

 

Happy Halloween!

IMG_0715

I am a fan of blackstrap molasses right now, particularly in baked goods. So when I found a recipe for ginger cookies that used molasses I was super excited. The first time I made them it occurred to me that the dough was perfect for cut cookies, so I tried it out the second time and I was very happy with the results. There was a slight bit of tweaking needed, but nothing too difficult.

I’ve made these several times now and, I have to say, they’re going on my list of favorite cookies. They’re also a big hit when I take them places to share.

Anyway, happy Halloween! I hope you all have a safe and fun time filling buckets with sugar tonight!

Molasses Ginger Snaps (GF)

  • Servings: about 12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup sucanat
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Combine with the sugar/butter mixture and mix until smooth.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and cover with another piece of parchment. Roll to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness, depending on how crispy you want your cookies to be. Chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F when the dough is finished chilling.
  4. Cut your shapes out and transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment. A metal spatula works best for this. Re-roll scraps to preferred thickness and repeat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

You can also make these as drop cookies rolled in extra sucanat. If you prefer to make them this way, be sure to use the underside of a measuring cup to squish them so that they bake evenly.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls.

IMG_0713 There are certain things I miss about wheat breads. Dinner rolls are one of them and I was excited to find a recipe for them in the Test Kitchen book. But they were disappointing when I made them, which isn’t something I say very often about the recipes in this book, so I experimented a little.

The first thing I wanted to get rid of was the powdered milk. Powdered milk is basically oxidized cholesterol which is bad news, Bill. Dietary cholesterol isn’t necessarily the villain it’s been made out to be, but oxidized cholesterol deserves all the bad rap normal cholesterol got.

IMG_0714The second thing I wanted to do was use some soured raw milk I had sitting in my fridge. So I gave it a shot. These might also be good using broth instead of the milk, but the soured milk gave it a bit of extra leavening I think, which was needed because these were super dense the first time I made them.

The third thing I did was use coconut oil instead of butter. Not for any reason other than butter disappears ridiculously fast at our house. Coconut oil makes baked goods more dense, so I was nervous about it, but I didn’t have any other options so I just went with it. These rolls (despite the coconut oil) were less dense than the last two or three times I had tried them. I count that as a success, but I bet they would be even more delicious if I had used butter.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
1 1/3 cups warm (110°F) sour raw milk (or cultured buttermilk)
2 tsp lemon juice (or lemon water kefir)
1 egg plus one yolk
15 ounces (3 1/3 cups) flour blend minus milk powder
2 Tbs powdered psyllium husk
2 Tbs sucanat
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs butter or coconut oil

  1. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Whisk the milk, lemon juice, and egg plus yolk in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle mix all the dry ingredients until combined.
  3. Slowly add the milk mixture and let the mixture come together, about 1 minute. Add butter/oil and increase the speed to medium beating until sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes.
  4. Working with a little over 1/3 cup of dough at a time, shape into rounds using wet hands. Arrange rolls in the greased pan: 1 in the middle and 7 around the edge. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a draft-free place until rolls double in size, about 1 hour. Risen rolls can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway.
  6. Let rolls cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn them out onto the rack and flip them over to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins.

IMG_0712I love banana bread. It’s even better if it’s made in an easy to grab form like a muffin. I look for overripe bananas every time I’m at the store, specifically for these muffins. They make an awesome snack to take along to parks or road trips. You can also eat them for breakfast, but be prepared to eat three or four in one go.

I’m at a point in my pregnancy where blackstrap molasses sounds incredibly good. If you’ve ever had blackstrap molasses you will know how strange that is. I haven’t grown a taste for eating it by the spoonful yet, but I want to add it to everything I can, like mashed sweet potatoes or anything I bake. So the last time I made these and I only had 2 bananas I added some blackstrap to the batter because it was too dry, and why not? They turned out really well, so I’m including the adjustments as a variation at the end of the recipe.

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 3/4 cup flour blend (I use this one sans milk powder)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1/8-1/4 cup sucanat
2 eggs
3 bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put paper muffin liners into a muffin tin.
  2. Beat sugar and oil until creamy. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mash the bananas.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the bananas to the sugar/oil mixture. Start with half the flour, mix until combined then add the bananas and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Variation:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup blackstrap molasses
2 bananas

Breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so they say. I find this is especially true when I’m pregnant. One thing about breakfast is that you can’t skip it. Even if you wait until lunch time, you are still breaking your fast when you eat whatever it is you decide to eat. Breakfast is the first meal of the day, regardless of time.

There’s a lot of advice about what is best to eat for breakfast. Out of all of it there seems to be at least one consensus: protein is important.

Having a sugar-laden breakfast cereal is a bad idea -even if it’s organic- because the processing techniques used to produce the cereals render them pretty much nutritionally deficient. Not to mention that most cereals ignore proper grain preparation (although I’m starting to see sprouted cereals in the grocery store, which makes me happy). Making your own is a good option, but it’s usually labor intensive unless you’re making granola. Homemade granola is really easy and super delicious, but should be considered a treat because there’s no way to soak or ferment the oats, that I’ve found anyway.

I’m not going to lie, I miss cereal. I do eat it occasionally and it’s one of the things that hubby really loves, so I try to keep some for him to snack on. What I really miss is cream of wheat. I love cream of wheat so much, but I can’t eat it any more. I’m on a quest to find a gluten-free substitute but I haven’t been successful (and I probably won’t be, but I can dream). Hot cereals are easier to fudge because you can ferment them and, if the grains are large enough, rinse them before cooking. This is how I prepare oats and I honestly think they taste better that way.

So here are some suggestions for breakfast:

Fried eggs and…
…sautéed squash. This is one of my very favorite breakfasts! I love a mix of zucchini and yellow squash, sometimes with onions. This is great with fried or poached eggs. One thing to note is that both zucchini and yellow crookneck are genetically engineered (virus resistant) if that’s something you prefer to avoid.
…potatoes. Whether you like country potatoes or hash browns be sure to blanch the potatoes first to prevent the production of acrylamide….bacon! This is a classic, but bacon is so expensive that we don’t enjoy it very often.

Scrambled eggs with bone broth and raw milk cheese mixed in. I add a dash of bone broth to the eggs before I cook them and toss in some cubed cheese when I put the egg mixture in the pan. Super delicious. Top them with some homemade green chili and you’re set!

Sourdough pancakes/waffles. These recipes are fantastic and very filling. I use einkorn flour for mine, but you can use any kind of wheat. I do have to add an egg to mine while I’m pregnant for the extra protein though.

Sourdough English muffin egg sandwiches. The recipe for the muffins is on the same page as the pancakes/waffles.

Banana muffins with cream cheese. Recipe to come.

Fermented oats with coconut oil, gelatin and cream. Maple syrup makes them extra tasty as well as adding some soaked almonds (or other nuts) on top. To ferment the oats, stick the desired amount in a glass jar and cover with water. Make sure the water is at least 1.5 inches above the oats. Cover with a cloth and wait about a week. You’ll know they’re ready when little bubbles start to form in the oats. I give mine a head start with either water kefir or kombucha (about a 50/50 mix with water). Rinse the oats and cook as normal, less 1/2 cup of water.

Yogurt with soaked nuts/seeds/ whatever you like.

 

So there you have it. I try to cycle through these, but I’m not terribly creative, so we end up eating the same things a lot.

Gluten Free “Graham” Crackers.

IMG_20150915_181344It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a real graham cracker, so I can’t reliably say whether these taste exactly like real graham crackers or not but I’m pretty sure they’re really close. I made them for fun after buying a bag to gluten free graham crackers from Vitamin Cottage that weren’t that great. I wanted to see if I could make a better graham cracker than the ones in the store, and I succeeded! Which is good because the ones from the store were expensive.

I made two batches of these. One just to see if they were worth making and another for a marshmallow roasting party we threw for hubby’s coworkers last Friday. So now you know why there wasn’t an entry last week: I’m a slacker and I basically just got ready for the party. Heh..

Gluten Free 'Graham' Crackers

  • Servings: about 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch (tapioca starch works for those avoiding nightshades)
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
6 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup sucanat
3 tablespoons honey

  1. Combine the sucanat and milk and set aside. This dissolves the sucanat, which is an important step for this recipe. Stir occasionally until completely dissolved, or do this the night before and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor equipped with the dough blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add in the butter and pulse until there are no more large pieces left. Add milk mixture and honey and pulse until the dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment, shaping into a rough rectangle and dusting with more flour. Cover with another sheet of parchment and roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Carefully peel off the top sheet of parchment.
  4. Slide the parchment with the dough onto a baking pan and cut into squares using a pizza cutter. Prick holes in the dough with a fork.
  5. Chill dough for 10 minutes.
  6. While dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough is a light brown. Remove the crackers from the oven and allow to cool completely on a baking rack before breaking them apart.
  8. For extra awesome crackers, place the lighter ones back on the baking sheet and toast 5 minutes more, or until they become a darker brown.