Tuna & Sauerkraut on Paleo Herb Bread

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No, I’m not pregnant.

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We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief over that one. That would be quite the surprise for my upcoming 46th birthday, wouldn’t it?

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Nope, not pregnant but I am craving some interesting things. I told you a few posts ago that I was going to be tweaking my diet some more and trying to battle the Lyme Disease symptoms with food.

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I can tell you that going off of all grains and refined sugar (except for extremely special occasions) makes you crave some interesting things. Like sauerkraut and tuna fish, for some reason.

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I started a Paleo diet last Monday. Today I had finally hit my limit of protein, vegetables, and fruit. So I grabbed my new Against All Grain cookbook and set out to see if I could find something I could sink my teeth into that didn’t crunch, moo, or cluck.

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I found a recipe for her hamburger buns. A little tweaking, and I had the perfect “bread” snack.  I made three little mini sandwich loaves. Lowered the salt, added lots of herbs, and came up with this.

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The reason I’m choosing to try the Paleo (ish) diet is because it is supposed to be very helpful in preventing inflammation, something people with Lyme Disease really struggle with. Inflammation can wreak terrible havoc on your body in so many ways.

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Fermented foods are also excellent for inflammation and the gut.

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And if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Skipjack Line Caught Tuna, you should. It’s delicious.

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Add a little olive oil mayo, a little dill, some ground pepper…yummy.

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Then slather the bread with horseradish mustard. So many bold flavors!

But not so bold they outweigh each other.

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I would say the texture is in between bread and a biscuit if that’s possible. Very tasty and stayed together quite nicely until the last couple of bites. I would say it’s probably best if you’re going to use it for a sandwich to use it the day you bake it. Otherwise, it will probably need to be toasted to stay together.

It did satisfy my grain craving. For today anyway.

I’ve already been thinking I may bake a batch in the morning without the herbs. I’m thinking it would be delicious warm with whipped coconut oil and medicinal honey.

I’ll let you know!

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Mini Herb Sandwich Loaves

1 1/2 Cups Raw Organic Cashews

3 Organic Eggs

3/4 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Cup Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/4 Cup Spectrum Shortening

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

1/3 Cup Blanched Almond Flour

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon Almond Milk – for brushing on tops of loves

Braggs Organic Sprinkle – for seasoning tops of loaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the cashews in a food processor and process until ground into course crumbs, about 20 seconds.

Add the eggs, vinegar, almond milk, and shortening. Process until smooth. Add the flours, salt, and baking soda. Process again until smooth. Spoon into three even mounds on parchment paper and smooth into loves with wet hands.

Brush tops of loaves with almond milk and sprinkle with the Bragg’s seasoning. Bake for 35 minutes. 

Settling In

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Good morning!

Have you tried Chia seeds? They’re on my list of  new favorite things. I put them in my morning smoothies or add them to dairy free yogurt. But really, you can add them to anything, even a water bottle. Just hop on to Pinterest, and you’ll find all kinds of neat uses for them.

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They have a tiny crispness. They can gel with water for an egg substitute for baking. You can make jam with them and forgo the pectin. They make an interesting pudding, and best of all, they taste good…not gross and they’re extremely good for you.

My favorite dish as of late: stir fried broccoli and cauliflower with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. SO GOOD. You won’t believe it. Light and aldente, a tiny bit spicy, and perfectly, simply, easy. I have no idea why this picture is so small, I took it with my phone…but I promise it’s delicious.

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The third thing on my new favorites list? Turmeric milk. Sounds gross, but is extremely good for the healing of your tummy and for inflammation. Super easy too. You can go here to Melissa Ramos’ website for the recipe. You’ll love her, she’s hilarious.

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We are getting settled into the house now. What a relief! Everything is unpacked, put away in an organized fashion, and the house is mostly decorated. Minus curtains, but we do have blinds installed for privacy at night and sun protection during the day. Curtains always throw me for a loop. I never know if I like them or need them, or not.

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We have beautiful molding around the windows, I’d hate to hide that. But they do seem to be missing that “something”. We’ll see.

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This house has 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms, yet is still smaller than the house we had in NH. I was hoping it would take me less time to clean it. Having construction going on around us makes for a lot of dust and it took me several hours to clean the house from top to bottom yesterday. I need to find a routine so I’m not spending one entire day of my week cleaning house. Maybe 1-800-Maids? Ha.

They installed the fence posts last week .

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The rest of the fence was supposed to go up “yesterday…maybe today”.  I say supposed to because in the construction world, I’ve noticed time is relative.

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Time for me is concrete and when someone says they’ll be here to install our fence on a certain day, shockingly, I expect them to be here on that day.  They didn’t show up yesterday of course. It’s 9:30 AM right now and supposed to be 101 degrees today. It will be interesting to see what time they do end up rolling in… If it were me, I would rather install a fence in the morning when it’s 70 degrees than in the afternoon when it’s 100 degrees. But what do I know.

We’ve gone from a HUGE backyard in NH to a more reasonable size. It’s nice and private though which makes it feel a bit bigger. All the land behind us and to the right of us has been deeded to the county for walking trails with the stipulation that no houses will be built. It’s a gorgeous, wide open view. We love it.

So far we’ve seen lots of deer including babies, hawks, doves,  and have heard coyotes close by at night. The coyotes drive the dogs crazy and have made for some restless nights for us. I’m hoping they’ll move on and get as annoyed with the dogs barking and growling as we have.

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The landscaping for the back yard and side yard will start next week. Although the quote we received was astronomical as I had guessed it would be. Still made me gasp and shake my head in disbelief. Clearly, we’re in the wrong business. We had to move to plan B and set aside a couple of our more grandiose ideas for a later date. I’ll be SO thankful to be rid of the dirt. It’s been hot here, very hot. That makes the dirt fluffy and powdery and perfect for sticking to dogs and then to floors, and then to my feet which really grosses me out.

This is the beginning of the stormy sunset off the front porch the other night. I’ve missed the Washington sunsets.

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I received my co-infections testing results the other day. Negative!  It can mean a couple of different things, but for now I’m looking at it as a major blessing. If I was infected years ago, which I believe I was around 2009, then it’s possible I was “lucky” enough to have been bitten by a tick that only had the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria and wasn’t infected with the numerous co-infection bacterias. The Borrelia is bad enough on its own, no need for extra problems. If I was infected in New Hampshire last year, then it is possible that I do have co-infections but my body has not had time to create anti-bodies and they aren’t showing up in my bloodwork yet. I choose to believe the first scenario until if and when, someone can prove me wrong.

Soon I’ll need to get down to brass tacks and seek out a Lyme Disease professional. We need to figure out why I’m still symptomatic and what to do about it. That’s where all the controversy begins of course. Should make for an interesting journey. Right now I’m able to keep my most uncomfortable symptoms at bay with the use of Vimovo. An anti-inflammatory prescription drug that is combined with something to protect the tummy and pretty close to a miracle worker. I’ve been able to drop the dose from 2 a day to 1 a day with the help of turmeric, cinnamon, chia seeds, medicinal honey, blueberries, and tart cherry juice. Sometimes I flare up and have to go back to taking 2 for a couple of days but overall, it’s being controlled to a point where I can function properly on most days.

I’m also doing a no grains trial. I hate to say Paleo, but I suppose that’s what it is in today’s language. Extremely low sugar, no grains, lots of veggies and healthy fruits. Coconut flour and almond meal in place of grain flours. It’s likely that because I’m already allergic to gluten and dairy that I have other allergens lurking that are causing joint issues along with the Lyme Disease.

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Grains and sugar are both major inflammatories, so aren’t helpful when it comes to joint pain and swelling. We’ll see. I can’t see myself ever being 100% “Paleo”. But I am going to reduce the amount of inflammatory foods in my diet. I’d say 80/20 or 90/10 seems like a reasonable ratio.

I made this paleo banana bread day before yesterday. Quite tasty and extremely moist. Fluffier than the dense banana bread I’m used to, but delicious none the less. You can find the recipe here.

Today I’m making paleo mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it turned out.

That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. My goal is to blog more often and kick this once a month posting thing to the curb. I have tons of recipes planned for you and now that things are slowing down, I should be able to get back on track.

Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon!

Blueberry Lemon Bread & An Early Morning Walk

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Good Morning!

Glazed Lemon Blueberry Bread is on the menu for breakfast this morning.

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I’m sure I’ve told you before how much my husband loves sweets. I’ve been trying to really reduce the sugar content in my diet since I’ve been having some health issues, which means he has had to suffer as well.

So this morning when Tony left to go on his morning run, I decided I would surprise him with a sweet bread.  What kind of wife would I be if I didn’t take pity on my poor, sugar loving, husband?

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For some reason on Saturday morning we were both filled with early morning energy and decided to hop out of bed and take the dogs for a walk.

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Red Winged Blackbird

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The Rindge/Jaffrey Rails to Trails trail has beauty at every turn.

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Everything was so calm the forest was a perfect mirrored reflection in one of the many ponds.

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Every time the Geese quacked, a little puff of breath floated through the air.

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Going for an early morning walk rather than an afternoon walk certainly paid off.

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For several weeks we’ve walked without my camera and every time I mentally pinched myself for not bringing it along. This time I made a point to remember, and was rewarded with the Great  Blue Heron.

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They usually fly away as soon as they see the dogs, but this one allowed me several shots before deciding he’d had enough. They’re so huge, it really is amazing to see them fly so gracefully.

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The walk was peaceful and beautiful, and the wildlife was stunning. They were extra patient with me and my camera, almost as if they knew I wanted a few last, very special, shots.

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We’ve seen almost every animal and water fowl  New Hampshire has to offer since we moved here with the exception of the Fisher Cat and Moose.

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And I can certainly live without seeing a Fisher Cat.

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I thought for sure with the presence of so many swampy areas that we would see at least one moose on our early morning trek, but no such luck. We have a couple of weeks before the moving company comes at the end of the month, maybe we’ll spot one before then.

Even the dogs were photogenic.

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The Bear made a visit the other night.

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It never crossed my mind that he would be interested in our bird feeders now that we have a fence.

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Silly me, bears aren’t worried about fences and only have one thing on their mind. Food.

There are big bear claw marks on a few of our trees along the back fence line. This one must be pretty light on his feet because he barely bent the thin wire fence as he climbed over.

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Luckily the vinyl fence was a quick fix, but we have yet to receive the bill, so it may not be a painless fix.

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Needless to say, all of the bird feeders have come down and have been packed away until we move back to an area where bears aren’t usually a worry.

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Plenty of exciting and beautiful things to miss when we leave New Hampshire, but the West also has a beauty all its own.

Getting excited to move in the direction of home!

Blueberry Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze

2 1/2 Cups of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

2 teaspoons of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Cup of Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar

1 Cup of “Buttermilk” (1 cup almond milk with juice of 1/2 lemon)

3 Organic Eggs

1/2 Cup of Avocado Oil

4 teaspoons of Lemon Zest (about 2 lemons)

1 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Frozen Blueberries

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk all of the wet ingredients together and add to dry ingredients. Fold until fully incorporated. Fold in the frozen blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. 

Lemon Glaze

1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Dairy Free Butter, melted

2 teaspoons of Freshly Grated Lemon Zest

2-3 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Whisk in bowl and drizzle over cooled bread.

Pumpkin Bread with Honey Cinnamon Butter

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Now is the time for us to start whittling down our pantry items. We’ll be heading out of New Hampshire in about 3 weeks or so if everything goes as planned.

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You may think it’s too late in the season for pumpkin bread, but once your house is bathed in the rich scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, you’ll change your mind.

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Spring has just arrived in New Hampshire. We were beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. We still have a bit of snow on the ground; this morning it’s foggy and raining. But this afternoon, we’re promised partly sunny skies and a high of 61 degrees. It’s only 44 right now and I already have the slider open in anticipation. Forty four degrees, fog, and a quiet drizzle is the perfect kind of morning to relax with a hot cup of tea and a slice (or two) of spicy pumpkin bread.

This pumpkin bread happens to be egg free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and nut free.

And it’s delicious.

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Pumpkin Bread

1/3 Cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 Cup dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons ground flax plus 6 Tablespoons water (egg replacement)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1 15oz. can organic pumpkin puree

2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place ingredients in mixer in order and mix on medium-low until fully incorporated. Spread into an oiled bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

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Honey Cinnamon Butter

The amounts will depend on how many people you are serving and your taste. I used about 6 Tablespoons of butter, about 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of honey. Just add all ingredients to a small bowl and whip with a fork until combined.

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Multi Grain Gluten Free Bread

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Today is my Blogversary. Three years ago today I started Gluten Free Zen.

What better way to celebrate than with an excellent gluten-free bread?

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Gluten free has come a long way since I kicked it out of my diet several years ago. Remember what gluten-free bread was like? Ugh. That weird slippery feel when it went down your throat…lack of taste, crumbly texture…forget making a sandwich with it unless it was toasted, and even then it wouldn’t stay together.

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Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on store bought gluten-free bread these days. They even design bread machines with gluten-free features now! In fact, a few months ago, we bought one. How wonderful it is to have the house smell like freshly baked bread again.

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You can go here to read several different bread machine reviews.

I love this particular bread machine because it has a gluten-free setting. I don’t have to guess or do a lot of work or thinking to figure out how to use it. Which is after all, the purpose of having a bread machine right? I read all kinds of reviews on other machines where you have to start it on one cycle, move to another, yadda..yadda..yadda. No thank you.

In the Breadman, I add all the liquids, add the dry ingredients, shut the lid, and push the gluten-free cycle. After it’s mixed for a few minutes I help it along with a little stir, possibly add a couple more Tablespoons of water if I think it’s looking too dry, smooth out the top, and leave it alone for three hours. Maybe 15 minutes of my time, if even that, from start to finish. Easy!

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The payoff is well worth the tiny amount of time it takes to throw everything together. I believe I paid around $175.00 for it on Amazon. Worth every penny. And quite inexpensive if you compare it to how many loaves of gluten-free bread you buy at the grocery store every year.

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We typically go through about 1 loaf of gluten-free bread a week. That’s 48 loaves of bread a year (at least), and if they’re store bought, that adds up to almost $240.00 a year. And it’s not EVEN GOOD has very little nutrition, and good luck finding organic.

An initial investment in a good bread machine, organic healthy flours, grains, etc. will seem a little pricey, but it’s well worth it in the long run both financially and for your health.

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Multi Grain Gluten Free Bread

1 1/4 Cups of Sorghum Flour

1 Cup of Amaranth Flour

1/4 Cup of Quinoa Flour

1/2 Cup of Ground Flaxseed

1/4 Cup of Whole Grain Amaranth

1/2 Cup of Tapioca Starch

1 Tablespoon of Xanthan Gum

1 1/2 teaspoons of Bread Machine Yeast or Instant Yeast

1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water (maybe a couple Tablespoons more)

1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

4 Eggs

Add all liquid ingredients to your bread machine. In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients and add to the liquid ingredients. Turn bread machine on gluten free setting. Allow it to stir for about 10 minutes, then open the lid and scrape the sides down with a spatula. At this point, I sometimes add a couple more Tablespoons of water if I think it is looking a little too dry. Close the lid and wait for the mixing cycle to finish. Smooth the top with a spatula (sometimes it forms a dome), close the lid and don’t open it again until it’s finished. 

Maple Nugget Cornbread

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Hello and Happy New Year!

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I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. As you may remember, we drove clear across the United States to visit with my mom, our son, some of Tony’s family and celebrate Christmas. We were able to stay for 11 days and even squeezed in an overnight trip to Walla Walla, WA to visit with Tony’s sister and her family.

But the time just sped by much too quickly!

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I filled my mom “bank” with lots of Brandon time and hugs and kisses and as much following him around, sitting next to him, and talking as he would tolerate. Which he did very well, by the way. He was very patient with that weird mom need to drink your child in and imprint everything about them on your brain no matter how old they are. That mom account never stays full for long though when you live 2700 miles from your child.

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The trip was certainly an adventure. The drive was actually not that terrible on the way there. Of course, you’re always excited when you’re headed toward your vacation destination.

The drive there went very smoothly, unless you count the 1500 miles it took us to figure out the heater in the rental car.

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Honestly, who makes a car heater so complicated! We didn’t notice it was necessary until we left Chicago and started heading toward North Dakota. Once the temperature dipped below 5 degrees, we were freezing!

All through North Dakota and Montana the temperatures at night were well below zero so I was so thankful when I woke from a cat nap (who knows where we were) to find I was hot. Tony had spent the quiet time figuring out how to work the heater.

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Somehow he was able to figure out that the air conditioning button needed to be on in order for the heat to work.

We drove from our home in New Hampshire to Chicago, from Chicago to Billings, Montana, and from Billings to Spokane, Washington. The roads were pretty good and the total time for the trip to Washington state…43 hours of driving.

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Now the trip home, that was a different story.

I didn’t keep track of the driving hours. We, well I say we but I mean Tony, had to drive home in a blizzard.

A blizzard that was so scary that I kept my eyes closed or had my face buried in a book and my foot on my imaginary brake for at least 2,ooo miles. We went from Spokane to Bismark (944 miles around 2:00 AM) where it started snowing heavily and continued to snow throughout the night. The next morning (still snowing and 12 below zero) we packed up at the hotel and made it through the ongoing blizzard to Toledo, Ohio (1084 miles 2:30 AM), then from Toledo to home (701 miles 12:30 AM).

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On the way, there were cars off the road, semi trucks jack knifed and off the road, a few horrible car wrecks that were cause for immediate prayer for whomever was involved, a traffic jam that lasted an hour, and lots and lots of trying to pass semis and plow/sanding trucks in big clouds of billowing snow that made it impossible to see.

The most dangerous part of the blizzard started in Wisconsin and didn’t stop until we were parked in our garage. We came home to at least a foot of snow in the driveway. Needless to say, we were quite happy to arrive home safely, eat a piece of toast, and crawl into our own bed.  

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I’m sure I will be hard pressed to get Tony to do a trip like that again any time soon.

In fact I think when we finally got home, I may have heard out of his mouth the words…never again. 

However selfish it may sound, the only thing I cared about was filling up my mom bank account.

Which I did, so it was worth it!

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Maple Nugget Cornbread with Maple Butter

1 Gluten Free Pantry Yankee Cornbread & Muffin Mix

1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup

1 1/3 Cups Almond Milk plus 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice (this makes “buttermilk”)

1 Large Egg

6 Tablespoons of Melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Maple Nuggets (You can call him here to order: 802-489-2286)

Dairy Free Butter (I use the Soy Free Earth Balance)

Extra Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Measure the almond milk in a glass measuring cup and add the lemon juice. Set aside. Pour the mix into a medium sized bowl. Add the maple syrup, egg, and melted coconut oil. Add the almond milk mixture. Pour and spread into an oiled 8×8 square baking dish. Sprinkle with the maple nuggets. I probably used about three Tablespoons.

Bake for 17-22 minutes. Do not over bake or the cornbread will be dry. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Maple Butter: For two people I fork whisked about 3 Tablespoons of dairy free butter with about 1 Tablespoon of Pure Maple Syrup until it was combined. Then I spread it in a nice dish and drizzled with more maple syrup.

Top cornbread with the Maple Butter and drizzle with Pure Maple Syrup. Serve warm.

Dizzy Dinner Rolls

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After making it through a few ugly days of the flu last week, I woke up a couple of days ago with an even uglier illness…vertigo.

If you haven’t had it, I envy you and you should probably add “not getting vertigo” to your prayer list because it’s something you never want. If you have had it, well, my heart aches for you and you know exactly where I’m coming from.

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However, I have to tell you that I’ve had it two other times in the past, and because I caught it early this time, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be. With the help of anti-dizzy drugs I managed to walk the dogs today , make home-made soup to settle my stomach, and to make these extremely easy dinner rolls. I’m not a pill popper and I don’t like to take anything that makes me feel weird in any way, but I must say, thank God for vertigo medication. Without it, I wouldn’t even be able to stand to look at my computer screen, or get out of bed for that matter, and here I am making chicken soup and rolls for myself. Meclizine gets two thumbs up.

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Don’t burn your towel while raising the rolls like I did. We’ll chalk that one up to the drugs.

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I was quite happy this afternoon when I finally felt like things were taking a turn for the better. The ground stopped moving and my brain stopped feeling like it was on fire. And I was hungry! I had been trying to gag down toast, tea, and apple slices just to get something into my stomach, which has to be one of the most unsatisfying meals on earth.

No matter what sickness I may have, absolutely nothing tastes better to me than home-made chicken soup. They’ve actually done studies on how healing it is, even just smelling it.

You can find my organic chicken soup recipe here.

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And of course, who doesn’t love a good dinner roll? Those of you who live the gluten-free life know exactly how hard it is to find a dinner roll recipe that doesn’t turn out like a hockey puck or resemble that salt dough we used to make Christmas ornaments out of in kindergarten.

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Search no more because this is by far the best one I have ever tried. I could eat them every day. They smell like a yeasty dinner roll, look like a dinner roll, and amazingly enough…taste like a dinner roll.

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Guess where I found the recipe? Pinterest. And it uses my absolute favorite gluten-free flour blend, Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend.

I’ve been told by anti-Pinterest snobby snobs that, “Pinterest is a complete waste of time.”

I think not snobby snobs.

 I. Think. Not.

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You can find the recipe for these awesome rolls right here at Mygluten-freekitchen.com.

I use bread machine yeast and allow mine to rise for 1 hour and bake them about 5 minutes longer than the time listed.

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Soda Bread ~ Two Ways

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It’s still winter here…but I’ve made a pact with myself just like Miss C. over at The Kitchen’s Garden not to complain about it anymore.

With the weather being so…delightful…I’ve had some time to go through many of my cook books and food magazines. I think I’ve probably bookmarked at least 300 recipes to experiment with.

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The Dried Cherry & Walnut soda bread (on the left) is adapted from a new cook book I found on the book store’s discount table. (Hers called for raisins, allspice,  and is not GF or DF) It’s hot pink and called, “Baking Style – Art, Craft Recipes” by Lisa Yockelson. It’s kind of Martha Stewart-esque. Cool, somewhat fancy recipes, and a lot of tasty things that go well with tea or coffee. I’ve put a little sticky note next to 34 of her recipes that I want to try to de gluten and de dairy, so you’ll no doubt be hearing her name again in the future.

The Raisin & Cinnamon Soda Bread (on the right) with Cinnamon Maple Butter is a recipe that I created. It’s similar to any basic soda bread recipe you’ll find, but of course gluten-free and dairy-free with more moisture added. I like both of the recipes, but if you forced me to choose between the two, I would have to go with the Raisin & Cinnamon. It’s more moist and probably better as a breakfast bread or snack bread and of course… spread with the heavenly Cinnamon Maple Butter. The butter is probably what tipped the scales for me.

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The Mourning Doves like to keep an eye on me when I’m in the kitchen. Right now as I type this there are six of them on the deck along with several Dark Eyed Juncos, a big Black Bird with a blue neck, a Black Capped Chickadee, and a Red Winged Black Bird. I do enjoy the   birds!

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They aren’t the least bit disturbed by Chloe, either. That probably really irks her.

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Dried Cherry and Walnut Soda Bread

2 Cups Artisanal Flour Blend

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Table Salt

3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

3 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

3/4 Cup “Buttermilk” (measure almond milk and add the juice of 1/2 lemon, let rest for 5 minutes)

1 Large Egg Yolk

1 1/4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Dried Cherries

1/2 Cup Walnuts, roughly chopped

Raw Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I use convection).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar into a food processor (or a large bowl and whisk) and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and pulse a few times to distribute. Empty the flour mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Measure the almond milk, add the lemon juice, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and stir with a fork.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (don’t stir yet!), add the dried cherries and chopped walnuts and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and all of the ingredients are wet.

Scoop out onto the parchment lined baking sheet and form lightly into a well domed shape. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar and with a sharp knife, cut a cross on the top of the bread.

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Bake for about 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

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Delicious with tea or coffee.

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Raisin & Cinnamon Soda Bread with Cinnamon Maple Butter

3 Cups Artisanal Flour Blend

1 Cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats

4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

6 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

1 3/4 Cups “Buttermilk” (Measure almond milk, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and let rest for 5 minutes)

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Zest of 2 Clementines

1 1/2 Cups Raisins

More Ground Cinnamon & Sugar For Sprinkling On Top

*Cinnamon Maple Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I use convection).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar into a food processor (or a large bowl and whisk) and pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and pulse a few times to distribute. Empty the flour mixture into a large bowl and add the Clementine zest. Set aside. Measure the almond milk, add the lemon juice, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir with a fork.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (don’t stir yet!), add the raisins and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and all of the ingredients are wet. This batter will be much wetter than the Cherry & Walnut recipe above.

Scoop out onto the parchment lined baking sheet and form lightly into a well domed shape. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon and granulated sugar. With a sharp knife, cut a cross on the top of the bread.

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Bake for 70 minutes, remove from oven and allow to rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

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Slice, and serve warm with the Cinnamon Maple butter.

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Blueberry Raspberry Corn Muffins

9 Comments

 

Good morning!

I have an incredibly easy breakfast for you today.

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Blueberry Raspberry Corn Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees/ Makes 15 Muffins

1 Package Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix

2 Eggs

1 3/4 Cups Almond Milk

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

3/4 Cup Frozen Raspberries

Raw Sugar

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Combine cornbread mix, eggs, and almond milk in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Fold in blueberries and raspberries. Line muffin tin with papers and fill to top. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes.

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Wild Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Muffins

14 Comments

IMG_0215[1]Well, it appears as if my camera issues are beyond my expertise. Really irritating. I’ve cleaned it, oiled it, and fiddled with all of the doo dads…and it still won’t take pictures. I’ve fixed it twice in the past, but I guess the inevitable has finally happened. I will have to pay someone a ridiculous amount of money to take my camera for a ridiculous period of time to get it back into shape. So until my camera is returned to me, I will have to live (and so will you) with pictures from my iPhone.

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Now that we’ve all come to grips with that…

I’ll give  you yet another reason why I love New Hampshire. It is full of quaint beautiful towns, as you’ve seen in my previous posts. And with quaint beautiful towns, come really interesting local and neighboring state goodies. The shops are full of locally made crafts, jewelry, homemade jams and jellies, maple syrup, goat’s milk caramel, local milk, eggs, cheese, and cream, furniture, hand-made soaps, lotions, candles, pottery, quilts, scarves…I could go on and on. I love that I can support my local community as well as the neighboring New England states when I shop. New England takes pride in its communities. You can see that by how beautifully the towns are maintained and decorated, by the genuine kindness of the people that inhabit them, and by the support that is given to local craftsmen, jewelers, and other crafting gurus.

While my mom and son were here visiting and we were out exploring, they wanted to check out a cheese shop in Brattleboro, Vermont. Something I don’t get all that excited about, because of course, if I ate the amount of cheese they consumed while perusing the cheese shop, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed for at least the following three days. But, as with most of the quaint shops in New England, there were plenty of other goodies for me to see.

This little 7 ounce jar of Wild Maine Blueberries (touted The Caviar of Maine), has added its delectable flavor to our  pancakes and the muffins I made this morning. It went a long way. It’s just beautiful, little blueberries in white grape juice. Nothing freaky added and no artificial sweeteners. Yum!

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I’m on a buckwheat and coconut oil kick. Have you done your research on both? The benefits of coconut oil are particularly amazing to me. If you haven’t already watched this video on the benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s disease, please do so. It will leave you in awe. Truly amazing.

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According to organicfacts.net, coconut oil has all kinds of benefits. “The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties.” Crazy, huh? And so simple to add to your diet.

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Did you know that buckwheat is a fruit seed? It’s related to rhubarb and sorrel. That of course, makes it gluten-free and a fantastic substitute if you and certain grains don’t get along. Not only can you bake with it, but you can eat it as a porridge as well. Something I wasn’t aware of until I researched the benefits.

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(buckwheat seed photo courtesy of smallbites.andybellatti.com)

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But there are also some other very interesting benefits of buckwheat. It’s high in manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. It also contains all 8 essential amino acids. It’s high in fiber and studies have shown that it slows down the rate of glucose absorption making it a healthy choice for people with diabetes and blood sugar issues. It has been shown to have significant cardiovascular benefits for post menopausal women, it helps prevent gall stones, breast cancer, and when you combine the whole “grain” benefits of buckwheat and fish oil, it’s been shown to be highly protective against childhood asthma.

When everyone decided that carbs and fats were bad for us and mass quantities of protein or even just living off of vegetables and raw foods were good, we didn’t take into consideration the benefits of certain grains and seeds and fats that would be missing from our diets. Carbs and many fats are not bad for you, in fact, according to the information above, they can be very beneficial.

Combine the benefits of buckwheat, coconut oil, a little protein, the benefits of banana (vitamin A, iron, phosphorous, potassium, high fiber), the benefits of blueberries (high in fiber, the highest in any fruit in antioxidants, and 1/4 of your daily need of vitamin C), and you have a pretty tasty and pretty healthy muffin. You could probably even replace the brown sugar with a grated apple or applesauce.

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Wild Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Muffins

Preheat convection oven to 350°

3 organic free range eggs

2 overripe organic bananas

3 Tablespoons wild blueberries

1 Cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 Cup organic coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon organic cinnamon

1 1/2 Cups Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/2 Cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Lightly mash the bananas ( I like mine chunky) in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and blueberries.

In another bowl add the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold with a spatula carefully until fully combined.

Fill muffin papers almost to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.