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Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Wednesday
May082013

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

Seedy Granola

Seedy Granola

So many packaged or bulk granolas have glutenous ingredients, are packed full of nuts (I'm allergic to almost all of them), are waaaay too sweet for my tastes, or have more dried fruit than I like. And thus, I prefer making my own granola. Not only is it cheaper, but I can make it fit my tastes and dietary restrictions perfectly! Here's a recipe I'm making a lot lately. It boasts a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax) as well as coconut, honey, spices, vanilla, and raisins. As for the fat, I love using coconut oil in granola; it lends a wonderfully sweet flavor and fragrance. With a splash of coconut milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt, it makes a great energy-packed breakfast or snack. 

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

yield: 7-8 cups

This granola is very lightly sweetened with honey. I love the subtle sweetness in combination with the roasty toasty oats and seeds. If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to up the quantity of sweetener to 1/2 or 2/3 cup, to fit your tastes. It will still work a-okay, but based on my experiences, it will need to bake just a little longer due to the extra moisture. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut chips
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • optional: 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325º F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut chips, seeds, salt, and spices. Set aside. 

In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt together honey and coconut oil over low heat, stirring often, until liquid. Stir in vanilla extract, if using. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.

Divide granola between baking sheets and spread evently in a thin layer over surface. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven, stir granola, and place pans back in oven on opposite shelves. Bake another 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove pans from oven and let cool completely. Granola will crisp as it cools.

Once cool, store in sealed jars or containers. Will keep for 2 weeks.  

 

Substitution options:

  • Substitute raisins with any other dried fruit.
  • Substitute honey with other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup). Keep in mind each one has a different intensity of sweetness, so it may be less - or more - sweet depending on your substitution. 
  • Substitute coconut oil with another oil, such as sunflower oil
  • Substitute sunflower and pumpkin seeds with any type of nut
  • Substitute sesame seeds with hemp seeds
  • Play with other spices, such as nutmeg or ground ginger 
Saturday
May042013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (GF, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, low sugar)

So it's not *really* spring here yet. Technically it is, but the ongoing weather proves otherwise. It was snowing out this morning! For obvious reasons, "spring" food isn't really happening yet. I yearn for pea shoots, fresh lettuces, tiny radishes, and sweet crunchy kohlrabi. But given the chilly temperatures, I'm still eating root veggies, cooked greens, etc etc etc. Geez.

Since it feels like we are moving backward through the seasons instead of forward, diving headlong back into fall, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins. They are a little autumnal for this time of year, but based on the chilly temperatures, they fit right in. Aaaaand they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and cane sugar-free. I like this recipe because it makes a muffin that isn't very sweet. You can really taste the pumpkin! I mean really, if you are looking for sugarbomb baked goods, you are reading the wrong blog. They are moist and just a little sweet, with a good balance of pumpkin flavor and spice. Nice.

Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, low sugar)

yield: 10-12 regular-size muffins 

I like this recipe because it is free of xanthan gum or other binders, and is low in sugar. This yields 10 to 12 muffins, depending on how exact you are with filling the muffin tins and how large your muffin tins are. I have not tried this using a "flax" egg or another egg-substitute. If you do, please let me know how it works for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or sunflower oil (if you are a dairy-eater, this recipe is great with melted butter too)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 120 grams (1 cup) sorghum flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) oat flour
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) tapioca starch aka tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin very well or line with cute muffin papers (I like dinosaur muffin papers).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until mixture is light and well-mixed. Set aside.

In a large bowl with stand mixer or hand mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and Agave nectar. Mix until ingredients are smooth and well-combined. Then add dry ingredients gradually, scraping sides as you go, until mixture is just combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling about 3/4 of the way ( I like using a cookie scoop for this - easy peasy!) and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and allow to finish cooling on rack.

Store in a well-sealed container or wrapped tightly in foil or in a storage bag. These muffins freeze well and can be thawed at room temperature or on a defrost setting in the microwave.

Friday
Apr192013

Snow! School! Cheese! Lyme Disease!

Hello! It's been awhile. I've been busy.

 

This is what is going on outside my bedroom window right now...

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That's right! An April blizzard. Whatever, Minnesota. I'm supposed to be on spring break, enjoying robins and tulips and bike rides and picnics. Alas, instead I am shivering away, enduring the sixth month of winter we Minnesotans have had this season. I hope the weather decides to warm up before I have to go back to school at the end of this month! I want to enjoy a few free days in the sun...

 

I just finished my second trimester of classes toward a Masters of Oriental Medicine. Two trimesters down, seven to go! Since September last year, my life has been a whirlwind of large books, flashcards, Chinese words, and remembering the ins and outs of pattern diagnoses like "turbid phlegm harassing the upper body" and "wind cold with pre-existing cold rheum". 

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I feel blessed for having the opportunity to be in school. The program is challenging and exciting, and everyday is an affirmation that I am on the right path. It's exciting to make connections between my own health experiences over the last five years with what I'm learning in class. I love thinking about the type of practitioner that I want to be and working toward that goal. When school starts again in a couple weeks we start our first classes in Chinese herbs and needling techniques, and get deeper into diagnostic practices and treatment strategy. Exciting!

In addition to absolutely loving it, I am proud to say I am rocking a 4.0. And not only that, I recently received a scholarship based on my academic achievement, leadership experience as president of our campus LGBTQ organization, and my volunteer work experience with a local clinic that supports transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. 

I've found it challenging to find the balance of school, work, volunteering, self-care, relationship, and friendship. It's been harder than I thought it would be, honestly. I figured it would come naturally to me, that I would easily slide into this new lifestyle pattern and still find the time to cook and take care of myself and have a healthy social life. Wrong! It's been hard. One of those things they never tell you when you decide to go back to grad school.

Culinary endeavors have taken a particularly large hit. My income as a student is drastically reduced compared to the past (I worked for Target's advertising department for eight years). While much of my former income was spent on medical expenses, I know I was also wasteful with money and was not always aware of the privelege that income afforded me. It's been a really good reality check, honestly. Living off loans and part-time work means I no longer have room in my budget to regularly buy large amounts of food and expensive specialty items for baking and cooking experiments. I'm having to take a much different approach to preparing and sharing food, and I think it will ultimately benefit my readers and my future clients. I mean, who wants to take advice from someone who makes suggestions that you can't afford to follow? Food accessibility is a huge issue, and this is especially true for individuals who need to follow specialized diets based on health conditions. I look forward to developing and sharing new recipes that are both nourishing and more affordable than recipes from my past. For example, I was looking at a past recipe and I saw that I used over 1 cup of maple syrup. I gasped, thinking I would never consider using that much maple syrup right now, because there is no way I could afford it. Like I said, REALITY CHECK! 

 

I also have exciting news to follow about my job. I am a proud cheesemaker for Punk Rawk Labs, a Minneapolis-based company that makes organic vegan cheeses from cashews and macadamia nuts. These cheeses are fermented, live, raw wheels of whole food goodness that you will LOVE. It is creamy and buttery, ranging from a texture similar to fresh chevre or brie (cashew cheese) to something more like ricotta (macadamia cheese). It is great with crackers, and can also be used in many ways in recipes. Working for Punk Rawk Labs probably ranks in my top three job experiences in terms of overall satisfaction. We workers are treated so well by the owners, and I feel awesome about making a product that I believe in. The cashews we use are so amazing, purchased from Equal Exchange from an organic cashew farm in El Salvador called Aprainores (here's a great blog post about the farm). These are the best cashews I have ever eaten, hands down, and are even more delicious because they are sourced responsibly!

One of the perks of the job is constant snacking. We often have small, extra wheels that aren't large enough for sale or wheels that aren't quite as pretty as they should be, and these wheels are perfect for employee snackies. Here's a photo of a particularly impressive snack spread from a couple of weeks ago. 

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I definitely recommend you look up the Punk Rawk Labs website and find a place in your neck of the woods that sells our product. You will love it! The cheese is pricy, but if you have the chance to splurge on a wheel I am sure you'll be satisfied. 

 

And, as a bit of eye candy...

Here's a photo of an amazing dessert I made for my dad's birthday back in February. Flourless chocolate torte with chili-pepper infused ganache, garnished with candied chili peppers. Yeah. 

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I have been cooking and baking as often as I can, but simply haven't had the time or desire to sit down and blog about it. My brain has been so full of school stuff! But truly, I am hoping to get some of these things blogged soon, cuz they are too good not to share. Nut-free granola, fudgy chocolate browneis, tasty bean dishes, curries, and on and on. My sweetie and I have been making the best gluten-free pancakes for months now. And I've been juicing up a storm and have some delicious juicing recipes that I think you'll love. 

Soon.

Soon.

 

Healthwise, I've been doing okay. The chronic Lyme Disease I've been fighting for what feels like an eternity went into remission last summer, and I felt amazing when I started school last fall. But, as chronic Lyme Disease often does, the infection became active once again and I relapsed. In January and February, my body started being ravaged by strange symptoms I was trying to deny. Dizzness, visual disturbances, swelling hands, severe body pain, brain fog, night sweats, insomnia, waking in the middle of the night, extreme mood swings, digestive issues, sudden rashes, the list goes on. After getting blood work done, which confirmed the presence of an active Lyme infection, I finally conceded and started treating again. I am working with my naturopath and physician once again, and have started taking antibiotics (Omnicef and Zithromax) in combination with botanical medicines (teasel root tincture, Nutramedix Samento, Enula, and Banderol, and Byron White A-Bab, A-Bart, and A-L Complex). My body is capable of handling really large amount of "killer" medicines at once, so I'm hitting it hard in the hope of killing it off and getting back into a remission state once again. Fingers crossed! I already feel a lot better after the last month of treatment, and have a lot of hope. 

Eventually, I hope to write more about my Lyme protocol over the years. It is something I talk a lot about in person with people, but haven't focused on as much as I hoped on the blog. 

 

Until next time, much love.

xo

Monday
Dec102012

Gluten-Free Maple Syrup Pumpkin Pie with Flaky Gluten-Free Pie Crust (GF, cane sugar free)

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Gluten-free pie crust.

These words struck fear in my heart for years. I tried, and tried, and tried. And each time, I was like "F***!" when I had another crust that just wouldn't roll correctly, was dry and sandy, was tough and chewy, or was just plain weird.

Then back in May, something happened. I made a crust I was happy with. Then I made another. And another. It was reliable. Easy. Delicious. FLAKY. And now I will share it with you, filled with a delicious maple syrup-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. I've made this pie time after time this fall, and it is always a winner with everyone who tries it. I like it best as leftovers, pulled from the fridge and eaten for breakfast.  Continue for the recipe!

the tools to make the pie

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Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov212012

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, low sugar)

Cashew Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

I bake a lot. When I'm stressed, I bake. When I'm sad, I bake. When it's chilly outside, I bake. When I'm bored, I bake. It's a little excessive sometimes, actually, but much to the benefit of my the people in my life. The other day, sure enough, the urge struck and I needed to satisfy it. I hadn't tried my hand at a nut butter cookie for a while so gave it a go. After some research and brainstorming, I whipped together this recipe and it was a total hit! Not only is the dough totally bomb, the finished cookies are both beautiful and delicious. Crisp on the outside, soft and a little chewy on the inside, and with a nice subtle cashew butter flavor. And best yet, they stayed a little chewy and moist for three days. None of that dry, crumbly cookie business here. Instead of sweetening it with a ton of cane sugar, I used a combination of coconut sugar and maple syrup. This combination creates a great flavor that isn't too sweet and carries far less sugar and calories than a traditional recipe.

I took some of the cookies to school the other day and shared them with my fellow acupuncture students. Everyone loved them! In fact, a couple of people declared that they wouldn't have ever guessed they were gluten-free. I hope you like them as much as I did. 

Cashew Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

yield: approximately two dozen cookies

This recipe calls for a blend of four flours, which may seem like a lot, but it makes a great mix. Sorghum and brown rice flours are both easy to find and affordable. Arrowroot flour and arrowroot starch are the same thing, but just go by two different names. Same with tapioca flour and tapioca starch. Arrowroot and tapioca are interchangeable in this recipe, so feel free to use whichever you have in your pantry. There is not a substitute for sweet rice flour, so try to get your hands on some. Look in the gluten-free flour section, or for the best deal, the Asian food section of your local grocery store or better yet, an Asian grocery store. Sweet rice flour is also known as glutinous rice flour, but don't be scared - it doesn't contain gluten! Sweet rice is often called glutinous rice because it is really sticky stuff. That's why the flour is so great - it helps hold things together and keep things moist and chewy. 

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/arrowroot flour or tapioca starch/tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth roasted cashew butter (feel free to substitute equal amount of another nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (feel free to substitute an equal amount of granulated palm sugar or another variety of granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 10-ounce bag chocolate chips 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and starch, baking powder and baking soda, and salt until light and well-mixed. Set-aside

In a large bowl, cream together butter and cashew butter until smooth with a handmixer or in a standing mixer. Add coconut sugar and maple syrup and continue to mix until smooth. The coconut sugar will not dissolve the same way and get totally creamy like granulated white sugar, so don't be surprised if there are small gritty pieces of coconut sugar. That's okay! Then add eggs one at a time and vanilla. Mix until everything well-incorporated. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually, mixing on low and scraping sides as necessary, then turning up to a higher speed to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Then add chocolate chips and mix one final time.

I think the dough bakes up better after it has had the chance to rest for a few hours, or even better, a whole day or two or three, in the fridge. Something magical happens to cookie dough as it continues to sit, the flour absorbs the moisture and I think it results in a chewier cookie. So at this point, I suggest covering it with plastic wrap and putting the bowl in the fridge and letting it hang out for a bit. But if you want to bake it right away, that's fine too!

When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and scoop dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until edges are just browned and the middles are still slightly soft. Let cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Bake in batches until all the dough is gone!

Store in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag for up to 3 days.