Grain Free Sandwich Bread

Update 1-26-14: I made this again, only this time omitting the applesauce. I found it to be so much better! Not nearly as sweet, moist or fruit-bread like. That’s how I’ll make it from now on, I do believe! I might also try it w/out the agave (I used honey) next time and see. 

I found another grain-free sandwich bread recipe and thought I’d try it. Eh. It was OK. Sandwich bread? No, I would not say it’s sandwich bread. It’s a bit sweet and very much the texture of banana or pumpkin bread. It was yummy toasted, and I could see making it into French toast, but I don’t think I would put salami or roast beef and cheese between 2 slices of it. However, it was a decent bread, didn’t take long to make and was rather simple so I figure, make it yourself, and you be the judge! How’s that for advertising? I don’t remember where I found the recipe so I can’t link it to the original spot…My added comments are in italics

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Sandwich Bread (term “sandwich” used loosely!):

2 c. almond flour

2 Tbsp. coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

5 eggs

1 Tbsp. agave (I used maple syrup, honey would be good too, and I think plain ol’ sugar would be fine!)

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/4 c. applesauce (I’m thinking next time I may cut this amount in 1/2 or just omit all together. I think it’s what made the bread too sweet and heavy)

1/2 tsp. salt.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl.

3. Put eggs, agave, and applesauce in small bowl and whisk together.

4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix to form dough (more like a batter).

5. Pour in greased loaf pan and bake for 35 min.

6. Cool in pan.

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Hot Cocoa

About the only hot beverage I like to drink is hot cocoa. I can’t stand coffee, hot tea is OK, but not something I get excited over. However, hot cocoa? LOVE IT! Before I had to change the way I eat every time we went out to eat between October and March (give or take…) I would order hot cocoa. I just love it.  I’ve pretty much had to stop buying the mixes from the store and have been making my own. The Hershey’s baking cocoa container will give you a good recipe. I have modified it some as the kids and I don’t do dairy any longer, and David rarely does. If you’re looking to do a non-mix hot cocoa this is a good recipe. I simply use almond milk in place of the cow’s milk. It’s just as yummy! I have made the recipe from the Against All Grain cookbook too. This is a really good recipe, but takes a long time to make, and I found it VERY rich and too much for the kids, especially. So, Monday I kinda put the 2 together and came up with my own concoction! Don’t let the recipe make you think you MUST have it that way! Shake it up and get the mix to the point that you and your family enjoy it the most (this goes for pretty much any recipe, not just hot cocoa!). Anyway, here’s what I did!

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HOT COCOA:

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/3 c sugar

1/2 c water

dash of salt

Bring to a boil and boil for 5 min, stirring pretty regularly.

Add the fat from 1 can of coconut milk and 2 1/2 c almond milk. Stir until hot. If it doesn’t taste chocolatey enough, add more cocoa powder.

Take off heat and add 1 tsp vanilla. I really think the vanilla pushes it over the edge! So yummy!!!!

ENJOY!

Grain Free Brownies

My friend, N, made some brownies for me last week when our families and another family were all together. She knows I love chocolate and also knows I can’t have grain, and I so appreciated her doing this for me! To top it all off the brownies were DELICIOUS! So, I understand I have been eating non-grain things for over 2 years now and may not be the best judge anymore if something is good or not if it is lacking grain. However, let me tell you that my husband and my friend’s husband BOTH loved them! They are moist, fudgy and full of brownie goodness! I wanted to share the recipe with you. I have shared my zucchini brownies before, but these are much better! So, without further ado, here is the recipe. I’ve linked the title to the original blog the recipe came from!

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DECADENT FUDGY BROWNIES

Ingredients:

3/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup chocolate chips (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder

3 large eggs

3/4 cup rapadura (or coconut sugar) (I used pure maple syrup. You could also just use honey or plain ol’ sugar if you wanted!)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Very lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix together the almond flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. Cut the butter into chunks. Then, place the butter chunks into a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and the cocoa powder. Stir until the chocolate chips begin to soften. Then, remove from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate chips are completely melted and the mixture is well combined. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, add the eggs, rapadura and vanilla. Whisk together until well combined. Then, slowly whisk in the cooled chocolate-butter mixture, using a rubber spatula to get all of the chocolate mixture out of the saucepan.

4. Next, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet while whisking vigorously. Continue whisking until no lumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle 1/4 cup of chocolate chips evenly across the top of the batter. Then, use a spreader to gently press the chocolate chips into the batter and smooth out the top. (Doing this, instead of mixing the chocolate chips directly into the batter, keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.)

5. Bake for approximately 26-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the baking dish before slicing and serving. For an extra special treat, top with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. YUM! (Recipe inspired by The Wannabe Chef.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, it’s been over 2 years since I’ve had a chocolate chip cookie. I’m not a huge cookie person, but I do enjoy chocolate chip, probably because of the chocolate! In my attempts to find good recipes to use that I can eat (meaning no grain in them and little to no dairy) I came across this recipe. It’s from a lady, Danielle Walker, who has a blog called “Against All Grain.” I have tried a few of her recipes and they have all been really good! These cookies are no exception! I will say this: the flavor is great! You can really taste the chocolate! The texture is a bit different. They are more spongy. However, don’t let that keep you from trying out the recipe. They are worth it. And, as I’m learning with grain-free recipes, the quantity is small–you only get about 12 cookies. I suppose if you made them really small you’d get more but that wouldn’t be much fun, huh? Here’s the recipe! The title is a link to the original.

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Real-Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1/4 cup palm shortening or grass-fed butter (I used butter)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (I used regular ol’ sugar)

2 Tbsp. honey

1 large egg, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

2 Tbsp coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

1/4 cup enjoy life chocolate chips (I used 1/2 a cup of semi sweet chips)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a food processor, cream the palm shortening, coconut sugar, honey, egg and vanilla for about 15 seconds until smooth and fluffy.

3. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt, and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed in order to incorporate all of the flour. Pulse once or twice more.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

5. Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a SilPat. (this is very important as they WILL stick otherwise! I used parchment paper.) Using another sheet of parchment on top of the dough, flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand or a spatula. The cookies don’t spread much so create the size and thickness you want prior to baking them.

6. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges.

 

Smells of Fall

I would be lying if I said summer wasn’t my most favorite season of the whole year. I love it! I like to be hot (hate being cold!), and I like all the activities of summer–being outside, swimming, getting ice cream (OK, in all reality I get ice cream even with feet of snow on the ground!), etc! However, we are currently in the season of fall. I would say I enjoy fall (and also dread it because that means winter is on the way…). I love the beauty of the trees changing colors (and haven’t the colors been stunning this year?!), the smell of leaves burning, the ability to drink hot chocolate without sweating, and a new wardrobe! One of the things I also love about fall is all of the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, etc. Those smells just go with this time of year, dontcha think?

As I’m writing this blog post, our home currently smells heavenly! I try to make applesauce every year in the fall (last year I did not as I was puking my guts out being pregnant with Rebekah!). I have not had great success with apple peelers, and so it takes me forever to peel all those apples! This year I decided I was not going to peel them, and I was going to chop the apples as I often see it being done on cooking shows–basically getting the core out with four cuts around the middle, making the core a square. I then cut the quarters into smaller chunks. It went really well, and my dutch oven filled up in no time (8 lbs of apples!!!). I added about 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg! YUM!!!!!! It smells so good. I’m just letting it sit on the stove top and do it’s thing. It’s bubbling along happily and every now and then I stir it, and then I mash it down with my potato masher. Yes, I like my applesauce chunky so I’m not going to be sending it through a sieve or anything like that! I can’t wait to eat it! I also love it best when it’s still warm. What’s your favorite smell(s) of fall? What’s your favorite thing to make this time of year?

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Taco Seasoning

With all of our changes in our health and eating I have had to become more creative about cooking. I’ve had to make pretty much everything from scratch and basically can’t do anything with packets of seasonings. This includes taco seasoning. Tacos are a huge favorite in our family. It seems to be the one meal that EVERYONE likes (Ben pretty much eats his body weight in taco meat), so we have it frequently. For a long while I was able to use McCormick’s taco seasoning packet, however, I have noticed that they’re putting corn and wheat in their packets now. So, I went to the almighty internet and started looking around. I found a recipe and have been using it for months now. To me recipes are merely a suggestion, so I have, of course, adjusted things according to our tastes. And, honestly I just dump the spices in. We really enjoy it and it’s nice to know exactly what we’re eating. Here’s the actual recipe as I found it online! 🙂

Taco Seasoning:

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of cayenne

–Brown 1 lb of ground meat; drain fat; add above seasonings and 1/4 c water. Simmer for 5 min and enjoy!

Flaky, Buttery Biscuits

Here’s another recipe for you to try! I have really been enjoying the website realsustenance.com. The woman who writes the blog does a ton of experiments with different flours, sugars, dairy/non-dairy, egg/no egg, etc to get yummy recipes that those of us with food intolerances can enjoy. Everything I have tried from her blog I have enjoyed. I find her blog easy to navigate, and she’ll tell you why you should/shouldn’t use particular ingredients. Anyway! I printed off the recipe for her biscuits. I miss bread of any kind. I was a bread-eating maniac back in the day and well, I just plain miss it. Since buying almond meal I have been trying out recipes that have almond meal in it. I made the biscuits last week, and we all enjoyed them! You can tell they’re not made with wheat flour (although the texture isn’t off-putting or anything), but David said they were still quite good, and the kids loved them, too! And, it did satisfy my craving for sinking my teeth into some bread! I’ll definitely be making these often, or whenever we need biscuits. The only drawback we saw was they were pretty dry the next day. I made mine with butter this time around, and I think next time I’ll try lard. That might help keep them from going dry so fast. Anyway! Here’s the recipe! The title is linked to the original recipe on realsustenance.com!

Flaky, Butter Biscuits

2 packed cups blanched almond flour

1/2 c starch (arrowroot, tapioca, potato or sweet potato starch)–I used potato starch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2-3/4 tsp baking soda (see note below)–I did 1/2 tsp

1/2 c butter, Earth Balance, bacon lard, or shortening

2 large eggs

3/4 tsp vinegar or lemon juice–I used vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine the almond flour, starch, salt and baking soda. (NOTE: some brands of baking soda are strong tasting, especially those that contain aluminum. So, unless you are using Bob’s Red Mill baking soda I recommend using just 1/2 tsp otherwise the flavor may overpower.)

3. To the bowl add the fat of your choice. Cut the fat into the flour until the fat is about the size of a pea.

4. In a separate small bowl whisk together the eggs and vinegar. Pour mixture in with the flour and mix just briefly and gently until the dough comes together. It may feel a little wet.

5. Dust a sheet of parchment, or your counter, with additional starch. Gently pat the dough into a round and cut into 6-8 biscuits using a biscuit cutter or the top of a round glass. Use as much starch as needed to prevent sticking. I found they stuck a lot less then biscuits I’ve made with wheat flour! I just put the starch directly on my counter.

6. Bake for 18 minutes. Yields 6-8 biscuits.

ENJOY!