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Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix (Allergy Friendly/Whole Grain)

In my quest to find a general all-purpose gluten-free flour that we liked (and agreed with out bodies, that meaning no bean flours), I had come to using Trader Joe’s premix, which was considerably cheaper than its counterpart by King Arthur, but still not exactly cheap. KA is nearly $8 for 24 ounces (33 cents an ounce!) and TJ’s is around $4 for 16 ounces. Compared to wheat flour…that is so pricey ($1 a pound is about the highest I have paid). Especially with feeding 5 people!

I got inspiration from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, which has a recipe for a Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix. It appeared to be quite similar, so I gave it a try, adapting it to my taste.

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Cybele Pascal’s recipe uses superfine rice flour, honestly I don’t mind the more rustic Bob’s Red Mill flour. If anything, to me it seems more “normal”. We used white whole wheat and pastry whole wheat flours before going gluten-free, so to me white rice and finely milled brown rice flours just seem…too processed. And as well is cost: Bob’s runs about 11 cents an ounce, Authentic Foods is closer to 26 cents per ounce. That adds up quickly. Having been to Bob’s mill and their store, their products are something I very much approve of. But I digress, the other key about making my flour mix is removing the white rice flour of it. The packaged versions contain a percentage of it, I’d prefer we not have it. So…if you like less rustic, then source out the pricier flour.

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On the left is the homemade mix, on the right is Trader Joe’s. Not a huge difference in look – or in feel. Just cheaper ūüėČ

Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Store in a glass airtight jar.

Makes about 6 cups. Use in recipes calling for a general/basic all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (use in recipes calling for xantham gum or similar).

~Sarah

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Sunballs

I was inspired by a quick recipe I saw on Keeley McQuire’s blog and made an adapted batch for Alistaire to nibble on. Turned out¬†everyone¬†else liked them just as much…..even the Teen. But first I had to lure the littlest back inside to enjoy a snack made just for him!

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Being that they didn’t need a food processor, I had them ready in under 10 minutes (most of which was Walker trying to help me….)

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One thing I changed was using 1-minute quick oats instead of rolled oats. The texture is finer and easier for Alistaire to chew.

Sunballs

Ingredients:

Sunballs3

Directions:

Mix the oats through honey together in a medium mixing bowl. Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Disher, packing tightly with hands and rolling into balls.

Add powdered sugar to a shallow bowl, roll balls in sugar. Store balls in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

Makes about 14 balls.

Notes:

You can make your own oat flour easy enough. Grind oats in a mini food chopper or blender.

Read powdered sugar labels. Some contain tapioca starch, others cornstarch. I have good luck with Wholesome Sweeteners organic.

I tried out a new-to-me honey in this recipe, Golden Blossom Honey:

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I had¬†received¬†samples of it recently, the Sunballs were its first use.¬†Taste wise? ¬†Clear, mellow, fruity. It wasn’t what I was expecting from commercial honey (I am not a fan of most honey-bear honey¬†found¬†in stores. It is often so¬†intensely¬†sweet it isn’t palatable) I would put Golden Blossom Honey in the “I’d have it in tea” category, meaning I liked it quite a bit. And to my Mother In-Law (who I know will read this!), it is sold in Florida. You need to pick me up some ūüėČ

~Sarah

Date Bars For My Youngest

Alistaire has changed, he is a big boy now. He looks at our food longingly. He wants what we have, to not be¬†segregated¬†due to his allergies. I went back into my copy of Enjoy Life’s Cookies for Everyone!: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free Treats that are Safe for Most Anyone with Food Allergies, Intolerances, an, to make a new recipe for him to enjoy. I picked the Date Bars on page 107 and adapted them to coconut oil, rather than shortening. I have really enjoyed this cookbook, I first found it long¬†before¬†allergies were even an issue in our family. Now? I have a vast array of sweet treats I¬†can¬†offer the littlest. No eggs, gluten, peanuts, nuts and so on ūüôā

CFEBook

His face was beaming happiness.
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Little man couldn’t get enough of it!

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Baking for my children makes me happy, being able to create for the baby? That is more than happiness.

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Date Bars

Cookie Base:

Filling:

  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1¬Ĺ cups water
  • ¬ľ cup granulated sugar

Date1

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350¬į, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ glass baking dish.

Place the dates, water and sugar in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until thick and mostly smooth. Set aside to cool while the crust is prepared.

Add the cookie base ingredients to a food processer, process until finely crumbed. Divide in half, spreading on half in the prepared dish, pat down firmly. Spread date filling over crust, smoothing out. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over the top evenly.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool partially on a wire rack, cut bars while still warm (but not hot).

I cut 16 bars. Wrap extras in plastic wrap, freeze on a baking sheet till hard, then package in a freezer bag.

PS:

I chilled a wrapped bar and took it on my Sunday hike. For second breakfast, it was so tasty. It fueled me on my way out! Even after I squashed it with my camera ūüėČ Oh yeah, that is Mt. Rainier.

Tolmie

 

~Sarah

Buckwheat Chippers & Roaming In The Garden

I was inspired to make these for Alistaire, so he could have a snack to enjoy with us. Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain, although it is often produced on shared lines. Having said that, Alistaire needs to avoid wheat, rather than gluten outright. So for him it works, if it comes from a slightly contaminated line, he isn’t going to have major issues (where as from a line handling peanuts and tree nuts is an real issue). If you search though, you can source GF Buckwheat Groats and grind them, which I have, but was feeling lazy ūüėČ

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I really felt guilty after taking Walker and Ford to Top Pot for donuts in Issaquah, on¬†Wednesday. Walker was in white flour heaven….

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Like total carb-fat heaven ūüėČ I was the best mom evah at that point.¬†Except¬†for poor B, who didn’t get anything, while his 2 brothers wolfed down donuts. So I knew he needed a small batch treat he could have and enjoy. Although Walker ate 1/4 of¬†the¬†batch in the end!

Thanks mama!!

Walker cracks me up, his¬†curiosity¬†is wonderful at 3. My hopes that the garden I built would¬†enthrall¬†him has payed off. He¬†loves¬†to help and more so…loves to help eat. Right out of the garden. Nothing has made it into¬†the¬†house so far, outside of a few hidden berries for Dad. And Alistaire has come to realize at 17 months that the beds are full of good things as well, and now toddles right in behind his big brother. Our routine now is after baby’s nap, we all go outside and tend to the garden. Which means I weed, water and whatnot, then I pick all the choice bits and feed it to them. Hah. You think I get any? Not likely.

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I moved my nasturtium baskets to the fence, I like them here and I think they will get more sun this way.

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Walker will go through¬†the¬†garden with me every day, helping me pick (and duh, eat) whatever is deemed ready. Even Kale. Kale? This kid can’t be mine. Cracks me up.

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Alistaire’s favorite is the tiny alpine blueberries. I save those for him.

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OK, maybe I fibbed. I don’t share my Golden Raspberries well ūüėČ

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Walker in action, plucking blueberries –

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And getting ready to enjoy….

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After the berries are stripped, the green beans gone, it is time to hit the squash plants.

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Zukes?

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He eats them raw…lol!

D3

Er, what was that about fibbing? I kind of told him that my Red Huckleberries are not good tasting ūüėČ That is MY¬†secret¬†stash of berries!

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Oh wait, you want cookies? Er, I’ll get back to that…..

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Since Alistaire can have coconut, I used coconut palm sugar and coconut oil. Due to his allergies I have had to leave almond milk behind (ugh!) and am using coconut milk or soy now in our cooking. Which feels odd, as I hadn’t bought soy milk in many years! So far Alistaire doesn’t have a soy allergy, thankfully, but neither has he had a lot of it.

Buckwheat Chippers

Ingredients:

  • ¬Ĺ cup ground buckwheat flour
  • ¬ľ cup coconut palm sugar¬†or¬†preferred¬†sweetener
  • ¬ľ tsp sea salt
  • ¬ľ cup chocolate chips (dairy and allergen free)
  • 3 Tbsp melted virgin coconut oil (or other acceptable oil)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk (used organic soy, use what you can/prefer)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350¬į, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, mix buckwheat flour, sugar and slat together, add in chocolate chips. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla, then work in milk, 1 Tablespoon at first, then remaining as needed (I needed all, it may depend on your buckwheat).

Drop into 8 balls on lined sheet with a 1 Tablespoon Disher. Gently press down with a fork to make hatch marks. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until set looking. Let cool on a cooling rack before enjoying. Best eaten same day as baking.

Makes 8 cookies.

~Sarah

Small Plates & Sweet Treats: Gluten-free Banana Carrot Pecan Muffins

Ooh-la-la…..awhile back I got a package delivered, in it was a copy of Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking, from the Creator of Cannelle et Vanille:

smallplates

I had won a giveaway that was hosted by Gluten Free Travelette on her blog, and the publisher sent me a copy of the book. I love what I see as “counter-top cookbooks”, which would be the modern version of “coffee-table books”. The ones with lush¬†photography¬†and great writing, that draw a reader in. This isn’t what I would consider every-day dining, but more special occasion. Recipes that will have the reader questioning¬†what¬†they thought gluten-free meant. The book has only one recipe¬†containing¬†xantham gum, which I found wonderful. I would agree with her stand on it, just not a big fan of it and guar gum in baking. The book is omnivore but not¬†necessarily¬†meat-centric. If anything, it is used in small amounts. The recipes are presented seasonally, showcasing fresh vegetables and fruits that are ripe during those months. Each season has a section of small plates (the¬†savory dishes) and a dessert section.

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I looked over at a pile of bananas on my counter while reading, when I had reached Spring Sweet Treats. They were at the “Use me up” stop and well, the guys rarely say no to banana bread. Or muffins for that matter.

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Gluten-free Banana Carrot Pecan Muffins (banana, carrot & quinoa bread, page 215)

Ingredients:

  • 1¬Ĺ cups ripe bananas, mashed (3 to 5, depending on size)
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • ¬ĺ cup¬†granulated¬†sugar
  • ¬ĺ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¬Ĺ cup quinoa flour
  • ¬Ĺ cup brown rice flour
  • ¬Ĺ cup almond meal (see below)
  • 3 Tbsp¬†tapioca¬†starch
  • ¬Ĺ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¬Ĺ tsp baking soda
  • ¬ľ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¬ĺ cup finely grated carrots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350¬į, line 18 muffin cups with premium liners (such as Wilton ColorCups or Reynolds StayBrite).

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the bananas through vanilla.

Add the quinoa flour through cinnamon to a large mixing bowl.

Add the wet to the dry, stir until mixed. Fold in pecans and carrots.

Divided between the papers (they will be full), bake for 15 to 21 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer to the rack. Store covered once cooled.

Makes 18 muffins.

Notes:

Why do I always¬†recommend¬†the fancy liners? They don’t stick to¬†the¬†baked goods! Ever line a muffin pan with cheap paper liners, bake low-fat muffins and half the muffin sticks to¬†the¬†paper? Not fun. So pay a bit more and never be frustrated again. No matter how special-needs your recipe is. Gluten-free recipes sometimes need a little love, so the liners are great – and hey, no cleanup after for your pans ūüėČ

OK, almond meal. You can use the dried leftovers from making almond milk or just grind almonds in your food processor. Do what is easiest!

The recipe can be prepared as a loaf, in a loaf pan. Spread in a greased loaf pan, bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until done. Let cool fully before slicing.

~Sarah

Gluten-Free and Vegan Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Last week we tested a¬†gluten-free¬†and vegan chocolate cake¬†recipe¬†for Holly, of My Plant Based Family. Well…almost. I did change a couple things. Her recipe called for rice milk. Since we don’t have allergies, I used almond milk as I prefer it. My other change was I added in a small amount of oil and reduced the applesauce accordingly. This was for my taste¬†preference. I don’t like fat free cakes with¬†their¬†texture. Just a little oil¬†though¬†and I am all into¬†the¬†cake!

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I wondered if we would like the cake, considering I was making this while my brother was down visiting. Well, maybe I shouldn’t have had fears…..as Holly heard back from me “The Teenager ate HALF the cake”. I kid not. And this was NOT a small cake either! It is two lovely (and dense) cake layers, which I slathered in a simple vanilla frosting. My brother didn’t know it was gluten-free (he figured it was vegan, since usually my baked goods are) and chowed down happily. If all gluten-free cake tasted like this, no one would miss¬†wheat. Just sayin’. This was a success indeed. Thanks, Holly!

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Oh yeah, and the next day, the Teen whined that he needed more cake. Seriously? Between him and my brother it was gone by the afternoon……

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Gluten-Free and Vegan Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Ingredients

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350¬į and lightly oil two 8″ or 9″ inch non-stick cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients (brown rice flour through sea salt).
In a small bowl, mix warm water and egg replacer with a fork till dissolved and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk sugar through milk. Add “egg” mixture, whisk in.
Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients until well incorporated.
Add chocolate chips and stir until just mixed.
Pour batter, dividing into two pans and spreading evenly. Rap pans on counter to settle.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Time will depend on your pan size.
Let cool, then turn out carefully on cooling racks.
When cool frost as desired.

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Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

Directions:
Beat the shortening with a stand mixer until light. Add in powered sugar, beating in. Add vanilla and 1 Tablespoon milk at a time, beating in, until spreading constancy is reached (mine took about 1/4 cup).
Frost as desired.

~Sarah

PS: Have a great weekend everyone! It’s my birthday, there are pink cupcakes to be had and I’ll see you all on Monday!

Pink

Gluten-Free and Vegan Banana Cranberry Bread

This recipe came out of two things – one, I had 6 small bananas that went from green to overripe overnight and I had a case of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour that was staring at me.

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I had scored a deal on it via Amazon a few weeks back, a 4-pack for $5.79 Prime! So er, maybe it was time I started thinking of things to do with it. The only warning I would give is that this mix has garbanzo/fava bean flour, so if your tummy doesn’t like that, choose another blend. While the bread was delicious, and¬†the¬†texture was right on…Kirk didn’t like the belly-of-air it led to. When he asks me to not use a an¬†ingredient, I listen. So with 3 bags left, I decided to post on the Facebook page for¬†the¬†area I live in and see if anyone wanted it. Happily one of the women said she’d love it, as she and her children are GF. After Alistaire woke up from his afternoon nap, I got them in their jogger stroller and we went for walk, and delivered it to her house. I love living in our “community” in that if one has things to share, one can move it on out. Anytime we have furniture or kid stuff no longer needed, out by the road it goes and it always gets picked up quickly. Something to be said for a private (and large) community with relaxed HOA rules ūüėČ Oh yeah, and the best part was Walker fell asleep! He rarely takes naps so I was happy. Kept walking and put in a few miles…sunny and windy ūüôā

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Anyhow, try this vegan and gluten-free banana bread out – just use your favorite gluten-free flour mix! It was moist and quite tasty. Even if it did lead to belly-full-of-air syndrome…lol.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Banana Cranberry Bread

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350¬į and lightly oil a 9×5″ glass bread pan.

Stir dry ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, set aside.

Whisk flaxseed and water together, let hydrate for 10 to 15 minutes, whisk till glossy.

Whisk together oil, sugar, flax mixture and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to wet, alternating with the bananas. Stir until smooth.

Stir in the walnuts and cranberries.

Scrape into prepared pan, bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, until golden on top and a butter knife comes out clean in the center.

Let cool, then turn out.

Makes 1 loaf, store wrapped, eat within 2 days.

~Sarah

Tropical Oats

Kirk and I have oatmeal most mornings, although in typical Sarah-fashion our oats are rarely boring. I grew up eating lumpy oats cooked in water with a ¬†pinch of salt. A few years back when I figured out the secret to good tasting oatmeal, my breakfasts changed. These are an example of how oats can shine and not taste like “old-people health food”. The secondary secret is using high quality oats! Be it old-fashioned or 1 minute oats, buy a good brand. We only use Bob’s Red Mill. When¬†compared¬†to Quaker Oats or store brands, the color and taste is so much better. The oats are fresher as well, in my experience. We buy ours in 25 pound bags (I can source them locally at Cash and Carry stores in the West), and seal them up. If ¬†We go through a lot of oats though. (Have I mentioned my current writing project? It is all on oats…more to come soon!)

QuickCooking

Quick-cooking oats are just as good for you as old-fashioned. They are simply rolled thinner and sometimes chopped up, so they quick faster. They have the same nutritional makeup Рsame calories, fat, protein and fiber! So use what you like personally. And if you have just old-fashioned on hand, use 2 cups milk and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low, after bringing to a boil.

TropicalOats

Tropical Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1¬ĺ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup 1-minute quick-cooking oats
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¬ľ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¬ľ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter, preferably smooth/raw
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut,¬†preferably¬†natural
  • 1 15.25 ounce can tropical fruit, well-drained

 

Directions:

Add the milk, sugar, cardamom and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, add in oats and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly (lowering heat as needed). Take off heat, stir in almond butter.

Divide between two bowls, top with coconut,  and fruit. If desired, sprinkle a little more coconut over the fruit.

Serves 2.

~Sarah

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