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I wanted bread. Freshly baked, soft on the inside, crusty on the outside – bread. I always seem to want baked goods in the evenings. Late enough that I just don’t want to drive all the way to the store for ingredients. (“All the way” is about 4 blocks.) The weather is getting colder here in Minnesota and tonight I just didn’t want to have to put on a coat, warm up the car and drive to the store. So, I decided to see if I had enough ingredients to make gluten-free bread. I knew I had used the last of my rice flour earlier this week, when I made my Very Vanilla Cupcakes.

I normally use a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch. I knew I had corn starch. The grocery store had a sale on it about a month ago and I really stocked up! I had picked up more tapioca flour when I made the cupcakes, so I knew I had enough of that. I’ve never made any baked good with just cornstarch and tapioca flour.  (I’ll have to try that sometime, just to see what happens.) Corn starch is light and tapioca flour is very fine and very light. I like to use a third flour that has a little substance to it when I bake bread. I keep all my gluten-free baking items in a separate cupboard, away from anything that could contaminate them. I live in a “mixed household” – one gluten-free eater and one who eats gluten. I also have a separate area in the refrigerator for my gluten-free foods, to avoid cross-contamination.

Back to the cupboard. I had about 3 tablespoons of soy flour left, so that wouldn’t be much help in making a loaf of bread. I’m not too fond of soy flour, anyway. Soy flour is a very heavy flour and gives baked goods a definite SOY flavor and aftertaste. If I use it in something that requires a lot of spices or a lot of chocolate, I can usually mask the soy flavor.   But bread is just . . . well, bread. Aha! In the back of the cupboard I had half a bag of buckwheat flour! The name buckWHEAT sounds like it should contain gluten, but it doesn’t. Buckwheat isn’t a cereal grain. It’s a fruit seed, related to rhubarb. It is high in manganese and magnesium and is a good source of fiber. I’ve used buckwheat in small quantities before, and was happy with the results. But my bread recipe calls for 1 cup of each – rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch. Buckwheat flour has a distinctive flavor – would my bread have a strong flavor? Buckwheat flour is also a light brown – I knew I wouldn’t end up with white bread. I’m always ready to try something new, so I decided to use it and see what happened.

What happened is a perfect loaf of bread – soft and springy on the inside and and nice crunchy crust! The color is like a light rye bread, without the strong rye flavor. The taste is similar to a very light whole wheat bread. I like it! If you try this recipe, let me know how yours turns out and if you like it.

Light Buckwheat Bread (GF)

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup tapioca floour

1 cup corn starch

1 pkg dry yeast (not rapid rise)

1/4 finely ground golden flax seed

1 cup warm water

1 tsp granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil non-stick loaf pan.

In large bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir to mix and let sit until top of water is covered with foamy bubbles. Add eggs and oil and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add buckwheat flour and mix on low for 1 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl, add tapioca flour and mix on low for 1 minute. Add cornstarch and flax seed and mix on low until blended. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes. Add xanthan gum and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes to be sure xanthan gum is well distributed.

Scrape bread batter into loaf pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. (The batter will not smooth out when it rises. If you have spikes in your batter, you bread will bake with the same spikes. Not a bad thing, just different.) Place in warm, draft-free area and let rise for 1/2 hour. Bread should be about 1″ above top of pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes, until crust is browned and hard and crunchy. Turn oven off, leaving loaf in oven. Let bread cool in oven for 1/2 hour. Remove bread from oven and remove from loaf pan. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap or large zip top bag. (Or cut into it as soon as it comes out of the oven like I did and enjoy!)

My oldest daughter called from California a few weeks ago and told me, “Mom, I just made the BEST coconut cupcakes! You have to try them. I’m sure you can figure out how to convert them to gluten-free.” She emailed the recipe to me and of course, Queen of procrastination that I am, I put off printing it out. I read the recipe and told myself as soon as I have a minute, I’ll print it out. Over the past two weeks, I’ve read the recipe five or six times but, of course, just couldn’t find the time to print it out.

The recipe calls for two 13-oz cans of coconut milk.. I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand, so of course I couldn’t make the cupcakes. There was no point in printing out the recipe if I didn’t have all the ingredients. I’d print it as soon as I bought coconut milk.  This past week I decided that I really needed to make these cupcakes, so I picked the coconut milk up at the local grocery store These cupcakes had been in the back of my mind for over two weeks. My daughter had called twice to ask me how they were and I had to tell her I was still procrastinating. I had the coconut milk, but realized I didn’t have any GF vanilla. I would need to go to the store to buy vanilla – as soon as I had time. Two days ago, I stopped to buy vanilla on my way home from work. Ok, now I had the coconut milk and the vanilla. I needed to bake the cupcakes!

I decided, last night, I had procrastinated long enough. I needed to bake these cupcakes. I printed out the recipe and read the ingredients to determine what I needed to do to convert them to gluten-free. The recipe called for 2 cups all purpose flour. I’ve discovered, through much trial and error, that I can replace 1 cup of all purpose (wheat) flour with 1/2 cup rice flour (white or brown), 1/4 cup tapioca flour and 1/4 cup corn starch. That replaces the flour, but does not replace the gluten that holds it all together. What I’m baking determines the amount of xanthan gum I need to use. If I’m baking cookies, I generally use 1/2 tsp per cup of “flour”. Cakes and cupcakes use a little more and bread uses the most. I generally start with 1/2 tsp and add 1/2 tsp at a time until it just looks like the right consistency. If I measure 1/2 tsp at a time, I know exactly how much to write down on my recipe for the next time.

I was finally at the point where I could mix up the cupcake batter! By the time I had takent them out of the oven and cooled one just long enough to try one . . . . . . .  I was sorry I had procrastinated so long! They were wonderful! Soft, moist, springy – with just a slight coconut flavor. The recipe calls for 2 cans of coconut milk – this is added to the cupcake batter and the frosting, and then they’re topped with shredded coconut. I was sure the coconut would be overpowering! Surprisingly, it’s not. I’m not a huge coconut fan, but these cupcakes are great! You really need to try them!

Divine GF Coconut Cupcakes (makes 18 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

2  13 – 14 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup corn starch

2-1/2  tsp baking powder

3/4 cup margarine (or butter)

1-1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp GF vanilla

1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup reduced coconut milk (see below)

Reduced coconut milk:

Pour both cans of coconut milk into deep saucepan. Coconut milk should only fill the pan half way. Heat coconut milk on medium high heat until it boils. (Coconut milk will boil up high in pan, which is why you need a deep saucepan.) Reduce heat to low and gently boil until it is reduced to 1 – 1/2 cups – about 25 – 35 minutes. Stir occassionaly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Once reduced, the coconut milk with be thick and creamy. Place in refrigerator and cool completely. (You can reduce the coconut milk days ahead and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.)

Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine margarine (or butter) and granulated sugar. Beat on high until smooth and light yellow. Add eggs and beat on high until well blended, about 2 minutes. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides and add rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix on low until well blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk (reserve remaining 1/2 cup for frosting) and vanilla and mix on low until blended. Add cornstarch, baking poweder and baking soda and mix until blended.

Line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. Fill each until 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes until slightly brown. Top should spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from pans and cool completely before frosting. (Warm cupcakes will melt your frosting.)

Frosting:

1 cup margarine (or butter)

2-1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup reduced coconut milk

1/2 tsp GF vanilla

In large mixing bowl, beat margarine until soft and smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape sides of bowl and add 1 additional cup of powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Add reduced coconut milk and vanilla and mix until well blended. Scrape sides of bowl and add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix until blended. Frost cupcakes with 2 tsp frosting for each cupcake. Sprinkle top of cupcake with sweetened flaked coconut. (If frosting is too thin add a little more powdered sugar or refrigerate before using. Frosting will become firmer if cold. If your kitchen is too hot, the frosting won’t set up well.)

Enjoy!

APPLE GRAPEFRUIT MUFFINS – GLUTEN-FREE

I have to admit, summer is finally gone. The air is cool and there’s a crispness in the air. I put away the shorts and sandles, today and started thinking about winter coats and boots. Brrrrr! I’m not ready for the cold and snow, just yet. I’m going to enjoy the beautiful fall days as long as I can. And enjoy not having the air conditioning OR the heat on. The colder weather always puts me in the mood to bake . . . something. I made a nice big pot of homemade chicken vegetable soup last night. It warmed the insides and tasted great!

However, today I wanted something sweet. I need to keep that sweet tooth satisfied, while still trying to eat healthy. I took stock of the ingredients I had on hand – which wasn’t much in the way of variety. I always have my gluten-free flours and xanthan gum on hand, but I needed something new, something different – something I could make with the limited ingredients I had on hand. The refrigerator held a few carrots – nope, I  made carrot muffins last week. In the drawer were a few green apples and 3 grapefruit. There had to be something I could make with those. The cool, fall days remind me of apple picking. Moist, spicey apple muffins sounded good. But what about the grapefruit? A muffin recipe requires some type of liquid, right? Why not substitute grapefruit juice? Well, if I didn’t try I would never know.

I cut the two of the grapefruit in half, put a fork in the center and squeezed the juice out. I move the fork back and forth when I’m squeezing the juice out so I can get the pulp, too. Truthfully, this was kind of a “by the seat of the pants” type of recipe. Trial and error. Since grapefruits are sour, I knew I needed to add a little more sugar to the recipe. Apples go with cinnamon; oil and eggs are a must. Well . . . the recipe was a success!

If you don’t care for grapefruit, you could substitute orange juice – or cranberry juice – or lemonade (ooh, that sounds different!) – or milk, etc. etc. Let your imagination run!. I hope you enjoy your muffins.

Apple Grapefruit Muffins – Gluten-free

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

3 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup grapefruit juice

2 cup peeled, diced apples (I like mine diced large so I get an actual bite of apple)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or place muffin liners in pan.

Beat eggs on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light yellow, about 2 minutes. Add oil and grapefruit juice. Mix on low until blended. Add dry ingredients and mix on low, scraping sides of bowl, until well blended. Add xanthan gum and mix on medium until batter thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped apples. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Muffin cups should be 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until top springs back when pressed lightly. Enjoy!

!! Back to School Special !!     ~~ $22.50 ~~

 Our “Back to School Special” includes:

 1 -“I Can’t Eat Your Treats” children’s book (regularly $14.95)

 1 – Insulated Food Carrier (regularly $10.95)

 2 – Celiac Awareness Wristbands (regularly $4.00)

                   (A $29.90 Value)

Help your child explain Celiac disease to their classmates and friends. Our children’s book, “I Can’t Eat Your Treats” is the story of 4-year old Aivah, who has Celiac disease and a casein allergy.

The bright, colorful photos are combined with a story that is easy for children to understand. This book also includes 10 kid-friendly gluten-free, casein-free recipes and a “Notes for Parents” section that discusses Celiac disease, gluten, casein and possible symptoms. This is a must-have book for classrooms and daycares.

13-year old author, Morgan Paulsen, wrote this book to help her sister, and other children with Celiac disease, explain to others why she needs to eat “special” food to stay healthy. Since this book was published, Morgan and 2 more of her siblings have been diagnosed with Celiac disease. There are now 4 Celiacs in the same family.

Our “Back to School Special” includes our reusable, fully-insulated, durable  food carrier. The bright color stands out and lets others know there is something special inside. The carrier clearly states “Allergy Free” to warn others about the dangers of cross-contamination. These bags are great for children’s school lunches, traveling, sleepovers – anywhere you need
to provide safe, allergy-free food.

 

 

Our colorful silicone wristbands are fun to wear and help to raise awareness of Celiac disease.

 

Visit our webpage at  http://www.onthewingsofhope.com/BackToSchoolSpecial.htm to learn more and to place your order, today.

Karen, at “Avoiding Milk Blog” has graciously provided a guest blog for us today about food proteins that can be found in non-food products such as fabrics, clothing and yarn. Be sure to visit her blog for information about dairy and other food allergies. Karen has a very informative blog.

“With the environmental movement growing, so are the use of plants and milk proteins they are being used to make environmentally friendly goods. I am not against environmentally friendly products.  I would like to see them better labelled for both the green and allergic consumer.

The line “made with vegetable-based material that is 100% biodegradable” does not tell the allergic consumer what allergens are used to make the product, in this case most likely corn.

Making gluten free meal, and have it served on a disposable biodegradable plate, made from wheat fibre, for many can cause problems.  Reactions have also been reported from plastics made from corn.

The bio diesel industry is also growing thanks to the environmental movement, and prices of conventional fuels.  The first diesel engine was powered by peanut oil, though the main allergen in bio diesel, namely ethanol, currently is corn.  Reactions from pumping gasoline, have been reported by the corn allergic, who have had air born reactions from this product.  Much to the dismay of the nut allergic, peanut oil is being re experimented with as a fuel source.

George Washington Carver (1864-1942) invented over 300 inventions using peanuts.  Fire logs made from peanut and groundnut shells have made a comeback with companies developing long lasting burning logs made in part from nut shells an agriculture by product.

Use of food proteins in non food products are viewed as environmentally friendly, by some, but allergy hazard by others.  Ardil is wool like fibre made from peanut proteins.  Casein fibres used in milk yarns and milk fabric in products such as clothing, blankets, and yarns still carry milk proteins.  Corn fibre has also made its way to market.

More about the history of allergy, and history of allergens in products:

http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com/history.htm

Article from Karen of Avoiding Milk Blog

http://avoidingmilkprotein.blogspot.com

 

 

I’m always trying to find new ways to add protein to my diet. I’m not a big meat-eater. It’s not that I don’t like meat, and I don’t have an aversion to eating meat. Give me a nice grilled steak, or a chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing (gluten-free dressing, of course) and I’m happy. But not everyday. Most days I’m happy with fruits and vegetables – and bread. (Nowadays, I’m happy with gluten-free breads.) It’s more of a texture thing. I don’t like the way certain foods “feel” in my mouth. Meat is one of those foods I have issues with. So, I know I need protein. Actually, my body tells me when I’m low on protein. I get very tired and run-down feeling, lightheaded and nauseous.

There are many foods that are high in protein. Meat, of course, is high in protein. Beef has the highest protein content, followed by chicken then pork and fish. Dairy products follow meat on the protein ladder. However, I’m lactose intolerant so all dairy products are off my list. Eggs are a good source of protein, but I really don’t want to eat them everyday. You can get too much of a good thing. Then we have beans, and nuts & seeds.

I love black beans and refried beans. I can make a meal out of both of them! I have a great recipe for Black Bean Pumpkin Soup (I’ll add that to this blog one of these days. It’s smooth, creamy (dairy-free) and full of protein-rich black beans.) I love refried beans in my tacos and as a side dish. Black beans cooked with onions, green chilis and cumin make a nice side dish (or main meal for that matter.)

So . . .  my search for protein-rich meals combined with my love of black beans and refried beans led me to create Black Bean Dip. The beans, combined with the fresh lettuce and tomato topping make it a complete meal. If you don’t have issues with dairy, you can replace the dairy-free cheese and Tofutti sour cream with dairy products and have a meal full of protein all in one bowl. (Any meal that creates fewer dishes for me to wash is a winner!) It’s a quick-to-fix meal for those nights when you just don’t have time to cook and only requires one pan and one serving bowl. (Fewer dishes, see?)

Black Bean Dip

1 – 15 oz can plain  black beans

1 – 15 oz can gluten-free refried beans

1 cup chunky salsa (I use Pace)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tsp gluten-free ground cumin (I use McCormick)

1 tsp gluten-free seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)

1 Tbl chopped green chilis

Tofutti sour cream

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded dairy-free cheese (I use Daiya)

In medium saucepan, combine undrained black beans, refried beans, green chilis, onions and salsa. Stir to combine. Add cumin and seasoned salt. Heat on medium until heated through, about 10 minutes. Pour into large, low serving bowl (or individual serving bowls) and top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Serve with gluten-free corn tortilla chips.

You can use refried beans with green chilis and omit the separate green chilis. I never know what to do with the leftover green chilis! If I’m not serving this to my grandchildren, I add the entire can of green chilis – this works if you like spicy food. If not, I would suggest using the refried beans with green chilis in them.

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