Vegetable Hash with Eggs

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Good morning!

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Anything exciting, or are your week day breakfasts always the same?

Or maybe you do the big no-no and skip breakfast altogether?

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I’m getting burned out on breakfast. I try to switch it up like I did today, but otherwise, I have a few things I rotate.

Saute diced sweet potato and onion, sliced mushrooms, and chopped kale in olive oil.

Saute diced sweet potato and onion, sliced mushrooms, and chopped kale in olive oil. Of course, you can add any vegetable or potato you like.

Vegetable & fruit smoothies, buckwheat & coconut flour pancakes with bacon, leftover dinner, scrambled eggs with maybe a piece of fruit or sausage, and hot buckwheat cereal with walnuts, cinnamon and chopped apple. Sometimes muffins or a sweet bread but I rarely make those. I miss the days of just peanut butter toast and tea. Simple and satisfying. I’ve been on a trial run of no grains, which has not been fun. And peanut butter is a major inflammatory so I try not to eat it very often.

Season with dried thyme and add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.

Season with dried thyme and add a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.

I need to come up with some other options because lately I’ve been walking into the kitchen completely bored with even the thought of breakfast, or any meal for that matter.

Once the spinach is wilted, season with salt, pepper, and a grated clove of garlic.

Once the spinach is wilted, season with salt, pepper, and a grated clove of garlic.

So if you have some fantastic and fresh dairy free and gluten free ideas for me, I would love to hear them!

Scoot everything to the side, drizzle the open space with olive oil and add a couple of eggs.

Scoot everything to the side, drizzle the open space with olive oil and add a couple of eggs.

If you’re a blogger, leave me the link, if you’re not a blogger, leave me your recipe in the comment section.

Swirl them around a bit.

Swirl them around a bit.

When they start to cook, slowly add in the vegetable hash.

When they start to cook, slowly add in the vegetable hash.

When I try your recipes, I’ll feature you and your recipe on the blog. That way, we can share with everyone.

Toss until the egg is cooked.

Toss until the egg is cooked.

Well, off I go to start my Monday. Cleaning and laundry are on the agenda today.

And hopefully a good bread or two. We’ll see!

Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of fresh or dried parsley.

Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of fresh or dried parsley.

Have a great week and remember to share your favorite breakfast recipes!

Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Quinoa

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Yes, I know. Quinoa is considered a grain.

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The internet says this, “Quinoa, a species of goosefoot, is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, as it is not a member of the true grass family.”  

So irritating when they fold your salmon at the store! It tears up the middle of what would have been a perfectly gorgeous filet.

So irritating when they fold your salmon at the store! It tears up the middle of what would have been a perfectly gorgeous filet.

After reading this, I have no bloody idea what quinoa is. (Read in English accent, it will make you laugh.)

Grain, seed, grass, pseudocereal?

Heat your grill to 350 degrees and season salmon with olive oil, garlic powder, dried dill, sea salt, and pepper.

Heat your grill to 350 degrees and season salmon with olive oil, garlic powder, dried dill, sea salt, and pepper. I do mine on foil because I don’t like to have a fishy grill.

Who knows.

All I know is that it made a very tasty bed to lay my salmon on, and I’m thankful for that.

Cook Quinoa according to directions. Typically, one cup of Quinoa to two cups of water or broth.

Cook Quinoa according to directions. Typically, one cup of Quinoa to two cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has been soaked up.

After being off of grains for a several weeks now, I’m not entirely convinced that grains were leading to more joint issues for me. I’ve eaten rice twice and had one adverse reaction. Both times were at two different restaurants. The first time was a small Asian restaurant near us that “swears” the dishes I order are gluten free. However, the last two times we’ve eaten there, even prior to going grain free it made me sick. Achey, major migraine headache, etc.

Saute your favorite vegetables in olive oil. I used broccoli, onion, mushrooms, and red bell pepper.

Saute your favorite vegetables in olive oil. I used broccoli, onion, mushrooms, and red bell pepper.

The second time I had grains during my grain free trial was a few days ago at PF Chang’s. We ordered off of their gluten free menu and every- single-thing, was fabulous. I wish I would have taken pictures for you!

When the veggies are aldente, add a heaping couple of handfuls of fresh spinach and grate a clove of garlic over it.

When the veggies are aldente, add a heaping couple of handfuls of fresh spinach and grate a clove of garlic over it.

But long story short, I had zero reaction to that food and ate probably a half a cup of brown rice along with gluten free condiments, seasonings, etc. So I’m guessing the restuarant near us, is not as gluten free as they claim to be.

Toss until it's all wilted.

Toss until it’s all wilted.

Add a few pinches of your favorite seasoning.

Add a few pinches of your favorite seasoning.

The possible silver lining to this food allergy cloud is that I may be able to enter grains (occasionally) back into my diet with no adverse effects.

We’ll see.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Add the quinoa to the vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the quinoa to the vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

I’ve been very truthful about how I feel about the whole grain free and Paleo “thing”. It’s annoying to say the least. And so far during this grain free trial, I notice the blanched almond flour bothers my joints more than anything. Yesterday we had paleo pasta made with almond flour (I’ll post a review soon) and paleo chocolate chip cookie dough made with almond flour. I felt terrible when I woke up this morning. Swollen, painful, hands and knees, headache, puffy. The typical allergy response to something your body doesn’t care for.

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At first when I went off of the grains I noticed a major difference in joint swelling and pain. However, the main flour I was using was Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour. There are other ingredients as well, so I just assumed it was the rice and the thought that I may possibly be bothered by almonds never even crossed my mind. I guess I’ll never know for sure until I’m tested. Another thing to go on the “to-do” list when we are properly insured.

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So I’ll start experimenting a little at a time. A healthy, happy, food balance is all I’m looking for.

Aren’t we all!

My Corner of The World ~ Labor Day Weekend

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Everyone is enjoying spending time on the patio and loving the grassy back yard.

This is our cat, Chloe. She doesn’t get much camera time because she’s kind of a snot. But loving in her own way. Basically, she loves you when she feels like it and you’re allowed to scratch the top of her head for 3.5 seconds before she gets totally annoyed with your presence.

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These two of course love to love people and typically you can hug them, kiss them, and love on them as much as you want.

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They look like they’re fighting, and sometimes sound like it too. But it’s all just fun and games; they live for fun and games.

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Even the back yard Hawk came for a visit. Someday I’m hoping he’ll land on our fence-line so I can get a proper picture.

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I love watching the dogs watch the birds. They’re so observant! Especially Abigail. Romeo is usually preoccupied with making sure the bees aren’t after him.

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Did I tell you the fence gates are finally up? Yep, but not without that irritating dance we’ve become accustomed to with that company.

Make an appointment but don’t show up…one two three…we have to track them down…and one two three four…then make excuses….and twirl your partner…two three four…and then install it like a 10 year old did it…this is the point when you hear the needle scratch the record and the dance inevitably gets ugly.

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Yes the gates are up but…this one shouldn’t have a black frame, it should be powder coated to match the rest of the fence. And what’s with the major gap between the post and gate? This company really makes us appreciate Monadnock Fence in New Hampshire. They were so professional and did such a fantastic job on the fencing with that house. Too bad they don’t travel…

So for now we’re stuck with the current fencing company which shall go unnamed because honestly, I don’t want to promote them in any way, positive or negative. There are scratches all over the fence and the big double gate in front.

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Now, some may think we’re being too picky I suppose. Maybe people like scratches and dents on their new, very expensive, fence?

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Some of the bolts are in so tight they dented the fencing…along with scratching off all the paint and scratching the surrounding area. Attention to detail is not their strong point.

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Prior to this handiwork, Tony had to listen to the installer whine about how understaffed and over worked they are. And how somehow he just never gets the emails or messages his boss leaves him that he’s supposed to be at our house working on the fence. This of course is after he didn’t show up for our appointment to hang the gates, then rescheduled for the next day. The next day rolled around…and guess who wasn’t here? So Tony called him and that’s when the missed message excuses started and finally the guy wanted to reschedule again. Well, Tony had finally had enough.

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He hung up on him.

Yep. I was surprised too. Finally, someone willing to put their foot down besides me. Of course the worker called him right back. Maybe getting the hint that we are at our wits end. You would think that’s the case. So he showed up after all and installed the gates. But later when we walked the fence and looked at everything, we noticed all of the scratches, dents, and otherwise really crappy craftsmanship.

Do all of these scratches, and scraped paint look like a new fence to you? Me either.

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Tony had to put in another call to the job foreman “discuss” all the areas of concern last week. They played phone tag a couple of times and Tony let him know he’d be here all week and wanted them to make an appointment to come out here to talk about the fence.

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We also have not paid the second half of the cost of the fence which you would think would be a motivator to get them out here. But guess what? It’s now Saturday…the call went out on Tuesday…and nothing. I can already see where this customer service road is leading us. They could care less.

This is where you have to constantly remind yourself to count to 10 and take deep breaths and all that happy inner child bull$hit.  And stop trying to mull over in your head why such a popular fence company in this area has such incredibly negligent customer service. Because really, you’ll drive yourself mad with all the thoughts of “if this were my company I would…” and “why would someone scratch that all up like that?” and “why are they not out here taking care of this?” and finally, the inevitable shaking of your head and the “what THE HELL look?”…anyway, I guess this story is to-be-continued, unfortunately.

Luckily we had other more enjoyable things to concentrate on.

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My husband is a hang glider. Have I told you that? He’s checking the wind speed.

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He talked me into going with him last week and “helping” him launch.  It’s necessary to have someone to keep your wings steady when you’re getting ready to launch, because it’s typically windy.

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Set up and safety checks are extensive and took about 35 minutes or so. Not easy on a hill like that…in strong winds.

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Now, keep in mind, I’m not the adventurous one in this relationship. I like little adventures like road trips, trying new restaurants, reading, and being a food blogger. Strapping wings to my body and running off the side of a mountain?

That will never happen.

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In fact at this point, it was so windy and just the thought of watching him run off that mountain made my stomach feel sick. Call me un-adventurous or paranoid if you like, but I know a storm when I see one coming.

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Apparently in flying there’s some kind of mathematical formula for wind and force. When it’s windy, the gusts are 4 times that speed in force….or something like that. So I kept asking…”are you sure it’s safe, it’s awfully windy?” The wind was coming in at 18 miles an hour. The gusts were extremely powerful.

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Wanting to be as positive as possible and not an un-adventurous negative nelly…I just tried my hardest to follow his directions and be of help. And I prayed. I did A LOT of praying.

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My job was to hold the hang glider down so it didn’t take off without him. That’s how windy it was. And it was not easy.  I am 5′ 4″ and although I’m not as skinny as I used to be, I am not a big person. The glider is at least 20 feet wide from tip to tip and weighs around 58 pounds. It’s awkward. Similar to holding an umbrella in a massive wind storm except bigger and heavier.

So he strapped into his flight suit and clicked into the glider and we had to wait for the perfect wind and not so many gusts. I had to stand on the bar to hold it down, because once he’s clicked in, if he gets a gust and it’s not under control…off he goes, unprepared, and it could end up with an ugly outcome.

Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it?

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We watched the weather which was getting increasingly worse and more than once, the glider tried to take off with both of us.

At the point where it lifted me completely off the ground, I finally had to tell the truth. My knees were shaking, my stomach was sick, I’d had a full body workout…and finally I admitted, “I am NOT comfortable with this.”

Luckily, we work pretty well as a team and he agreed. The weather was too crazy. So we had a few hairy moments as he clicked himself off the glider, got it turned around so it wouldn’t take off, and then began to tear it back down in the wind.

I’m not a fan of watching the people I love do dangerous things.

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There will be many more opportunities to fly in safer weather…and hopefully with a stronger helper than me. I did get some really beautiful pictures though.

We are still feeling so blessed to be back home.

We loved so much about New Hampshire, but we really missed the wide open spaces of Washing state!

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Moose like to hang out in that little area of dense trees at the bottom of the mountain.

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Farmland as far as the eye can see.

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The glider is so long the front of it rests on the dashboard.

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One last check just to see what the wind speed looks like before we head back home.

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Veggie & Chicken Goat Cheese Melt

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Last weekend at the farmer’s market just down the road from us, we stumbled upon a local goat’s milk cheesemaker.

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He had lots of samples which is always fantastic and I came away with two different types of goat cheese.

A spreadable garlic dill cheese and a goat mozzarella. We used the goat mozzarella on pizza a few days ago and it was delicious. Melted perfectly without being too moist. I think I even prefer it over buffalo mozzarella.

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I decided to use the garlic dill goat cheese and another cheese I found at our local grocery store for the melts. The garlic dill is incredibly flavorful. The dill really stands out and I love the balance of garlic and salt. The Beemster goat cheese tastes similar to a  light swiss cheese.  Alone, or together, they are fabulous.

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I sliced up an onion, pepper, a couple of mushrooms, chopped a clove of garlic, and sautéed them in olive oil.  When they were almost finished I added three chopped sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) and tossed them around until they melted nicely.

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Then I cut a piece of french bread in half and toasted it under the broiler.

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This is such an easy lunch.

I then spread the garlic dill cheese on the toasted bread, added a layer of sautéed veggies, then a few slices of left over chicken breast.

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Then, another layer of veggies, a drizzle of olive oil on each…

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and a generous amount of grated Beemster cheese.

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Popped it under a 500 degree broiler until the cheese started to bubble…

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Easy as that.

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Fabulous and full of flavor. I served mine with a side of spicy mustard.

Delicious!

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Time For Fall ~ Spicy Pumpkin Bread

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It’s getting to be THAT time of year again…

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When pumpkin everything comes onto the scene.

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There’s a hint of crisp air in the breeze, and you begin to get that little tickle for sweaters and your favorite pair of boots.

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The days are getting a tiny bit shorter, school has started, and summer is slowing down.

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And even though we’re trying to hang on to that beautiful warmth and sunlight of summer for as long as possible, we can’t deny that stir within us as the seasons change.

I’m happy we had such a hot and sunny summer here in Washington state. I like all four seasons and I like all of them to be very distinct. It’s hard to transition when they aren’t distinct and one just flows and mixes in with the other.

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We won’t have to worry about that this year. In about another 30 days we’ll picking pumpkins, decorating the porch with corn stalks and hay bales, and enjoying all things pumpkin flavored and fall scented.

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And then sweaters, scarves, and boots. Mmmmm….just cozy!

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Spicy Pumpkin Bread

* This was baked in a 5 cup bread pan which is smaller than an average bread pan

1/2 Cup of Organic Buckwheat Flour

1/2 Cup of Organic Sorghum Flour

1/4 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

1/4 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon

2 teaspoons of Ground Nutmeg

1/2 (heaping) teaspoon of Ground Cloves

1 Cup of Canned Organic Pumpkin (100% pumpkin, no sweeteners, etc.)

4 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Organic Eggs

Measure all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. In a mixer, measure all of the wet ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated, do not over mix.

Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-37 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then remove and cool completely before slicing.

Grain Free French Bread

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I was  beginning to wonder if it was possible to make grain free french bread.

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Turns out, it  is possible. I had my doubts, but here it is. In fact, when I spread the dough on the pan, I didn’t even bother taking  before pictures because it just didn’t seem possible that it was going to rise and turn into bread. Remember that tidbit if you choose to bake this bread. The small amount of batter and the moistness of it will freak you out.

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I’m not going to say that it’s perfect. The texture is fabulous, the taste is very good both warm and cooled, with or without dairy free butter, but I still think it could use just a little more tweaking to be absolutely perfect.

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When it comes to french bread, the end goal is perfection.

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It has to work well with pasta dishes, olive oil and balsamic, for bruschetta, garlic bread, and make a fantastic crouton. That’s asking a lot of a plain loaf of french bread, but what can I say?

My standards are high.

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I want it to be the recipe that is your “go to” recipe for the best grain free french bread you’ve ever had. That’s what I’m striving for. So as I experiment, I will keep you and this recipe updated. And when I finally think I have the perfect “go to” recipe, then we’ll celebrate.

For now, we’ll just be thankful for french bread that is quite tasty, but not yet perfect.

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Grain Free French Bread

1 1/2 Cups of Organic Sorghum Flour

1/4 Cup of Organic Blanched Almond Flour

3/4 Cup of Tapioca Flour

3/4 to 1 teaspoon of Iodized Sea Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk, warmed

3 Organic Eggs

1 Tablespoon of Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Organic Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Organic Raw Honey

1 1/2 Tablespoons of SAF Instant Yeast

Line a french bread loaf pan with parchment and lightly spray with coconut oil. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the almond milk, eggs, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and honey. Mix to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside.

In a medium bowl measure the flours, salt, and xanthan gum. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down sides once.

Spoon batter (it will be very wet and won’t seem like enough), on both sides of bread pan and smooth out into a baguette shape. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with coconut oil and lay over the top of the bread pan. Top with a light tea towel or light dish towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Allow to rest on top of stove for 30-35minutes.

Remove towel and plastic wrap and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it is nicely golden and hollow sounding when tapped.

Grain Free Banana Muffins

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I give these banana muffins an 8 on the 1-10 likability scale. The number one being awful and ten being perfect.

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They’re grain free, gluten free (of course), dairy free, and refined sugar free. They’re moist and fluffy. They aren’t overly sweet but they still satisfy that sweet tooth craving and the bread craving that has been dogging me since I went grain free.

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I’m going to be honest with you though.

I’m not loving this grain free adventure I’m on. I find bread items made with just coconut flour and almond flour pretty much unpleasant. Maybe the texture? And I think the fat content, even though I’m using “healthy” fats, freaks me out a little.

And the eggs….holy cow.

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Most grain free recipes call for a TON of eggs. For some reason, that grosses me out too. Every time I’m cracking all of those eggs I can’t help but wonder…”is this really necessary”?

Either my muffin tin is warped or my oven isn't leveled properly...

Either my muffin tin is warped or my oven isn’t leveled properly…

At this point I haven’t tried flax or chia eggs, but believe me, I will. Because using 4-6 organic eggs for a single recipe that turns out nothing like the cookbook picture or sometimes even inedible after I’ve paid anywhere from $3.99 to $5.99 for a dozen organic eggs,  makes me irritable and angry.

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Since I’m not doing a true Paleo diet, I’m going to do some experimenting this week with different non-grain flours such as teff and sorghum along with the almond flour and coconut flour. My goal is to come up with at least 3 different grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, breads that can be used for toast, sandwiches, and buns.

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Stay tuned, hopefully I’ll have some winners!

For the muffins I used Against All Grains recipe for banana bread. Except of course I used muffin tins, liners (make sure you spray with non-stick spray!), omitted the chocolate chips (but you don’t have to), and reduced the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

You want them a bit golden on top.

Enjoy!