Thursday, February 28, 2013

Soft and Chewy Baguette Bread (gluten, dairy, yeast, nut and sugar-free)

Have you noticed? I talk about the weather a lot. I did at one point want to be a weather-gal on the evening news, but as we all know that hasn't happened (yet!). I also like how people who are farmers, gardeners, and growers are close to the weather predictions and forecasts because their livelihood depends on it. I feel like because I have become a fellow gardener I understand this more than ever.  And now, I feel like my sensitive soul is just a bit more in tune on how the weather does affect our health and moods. Call my crazy, but I defiantly see differences in how people feel and act depending on the weather and what may be brewing up in the atmosphere. Or how the cycles of the moon play into and affect our sleep (and digestion) as well. It is just another example on how everything is connected and how you have to be aware of the cause and effect of our lives and what we put into them and take out.
But it turns out, I am a baker. And this just means that I like to use the excuse for bad weather to spend some time baking in the kitchen. So for the last few days with lots more snow, rain, sleet and whatever that slushy yuck stuff is... I have been enjoying some quality baking time in the kitchen. Cooking some hearty soup and of course some bread to pair. Every gluten-free soul must let go of the fact that gluten bread is the only way to really enjoy bread and you have to go out in the world and explore ideas of making bread without wheat and gluten. It can be done. It has been done and many times it surprises you how wonderful it actually can be.
I love to experiment and try new ideas in the kitchen. I have had many failures along the way, but because my mistakes often are remade into a masterpiece later I don't give up.
This recipe was purely inspired by Iris' Easy French Bread at Daily Dietribe, but with some tweaks of my own, and some experimenting with the lack of, or love of other ingredients I came up with this bread that my family loved. I have to buy some whole psyllium husks to try a more accurate version of Iris' recipe. But I was surprised how well the powder worked in this recipe. I have to admit I was a bit nervous to eat a bread based in psyllium husks because of the fear of having too much time in the bathroom (TMI) but still there was no reason for concern for anyone in my household, so be rest assured.... it will not have the same affect of drinking a fiber supplement, unless I guess if you eat the whole loaf in one sitting!

Some of my favorite yummy soups to pair with it, a favorite chicken and rice (or rice noodle) soup recipe, Red Lentil Italian Soup, or a favorite chili recipe. Really any favorite winter soup or stew you may be craving will work perfectly with this yummy bread warm from the oven. Super easy and super healthy too!
Soft and Chewy Baguette Bread Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, yeast and gum-free}
Inspired by Iris' Easy French Bread at The Daily Dietribe

1 cup coconut milk beverage (I used So Delicious)
1 cup pure water
2 TB psyllium husk powder (I used powder- not whole)
2 TB apple cider vinegar

2 TB of olive oil
2 TB honey or other liquid sweetener

1 cup of white rice flour
1 cup of white sorghum flour
1 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt

plus handful of white rice flour for dusting

First, in a small glass bowl whisk together the coconut milk,water and psyllium powder. Then add in the vinegar and honey, oil and honey. Whisk together well and let sit for a minute or two. It will become a blob-like substance. Then add all of the mixed together dry ingredients and fold the dry into the wet. It will become a weird blob-like dough and then you can pour it onto a white-rice floured counter top or space with parchment paper. Roll a long 12-15 inch loaf into existence and then fold over and place on an oiled or parchment baking cookie sheet. Dust with more flour if it is sticky and then use a serrated knife to cut some decor lines or whatever pokes you desire. 

Put in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes and let sit for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and elevation. 

Use a bread knife to slice thick chewy slices and enjoy with your favorite soup or stew or spread with your favorite butter or jam.

Much love as always, stay warm, and remember spring is really just around the corner...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grain-Free Banana Flax Bread

To be completely honest, the "grain-free" diet intimidates me a bit. Not in like a scary way, but in a way that seems more challenging to an already very difficult and specific allergy-free diet that I find myself in. You see, over the past year I have discovered that eating almonds and most other nuts really does bother my stomach and skin. It was a weird discovery, but one I was very glad to finally figure out. And I am not completely sure if it is permanent because I have been pregnant/nursing over the past 3 years and with these hormonal changes... your body and sensitivity levels change as well. So, with so much of the grain-free (or paleo, primal, GAPS) diet consisting ingredients like almond flour and so many nuts, it would be harder for me to stick to it in a healthy way. Although, it is totally possible with other foods like seeds and coconut, I also do not like to over eat eggs and meat as well. So, needless to say I find myself on a individual gluten-free diet that works best for me.
And as I counsel people after switching to the gluten-free diet, I encourage them to discover the same exact thing. No one diet is really perfect for every one, and it may take you doing some personal experimenting with a few or even specific foods to really know what makes you feel great and how to heal from years of not knowing how to deal with your body being extra sensitive or dealing with an auto immune disease. If you are on this journey as well, I am sure you have been discovering that this healing process takes time and new discoveries are always happening.
So, I would never be against the grain-free diet, but have just found that eating some whole (gluten-free) grains in balance with good sources of protein and as many vegetables I can consume works well for me. I do like consuming whole grain gluten-free grains best though because they are from a more "whole" state giving the most nutrients and benefits to give to the body.
But this bread is one way I have enjoyed a "grain-free" options over the past week. It does contain farm fresh eggs, so it is not vegan, but it does contain lots of protein, fiber and nutrients. Definitely a bread that I can feel good about eating for breakfast or a snack. Or if you are like me.... a huge slather of some butter or sunbutter. Hm delish!
I love how this bread sticks together perfectly and has so much flavor and texture with just a few simple ingredients. So this recipe at it's core is gluten and dairy free which is usually how most of my life goes. But it also may be a good option for those of you that have been pursuing how to eat more grain-free and without processed and refined foods or sweeteners in your life.
Grain-free Banana Flax Bread Recipe
{grain, gluten, dairy, nut and refined sugar-free}

4 small extra ripe bananas, mashed
4 pastured farm eggs
1/3 cup of milled flaxmeal
2/3 cup of tapioca starch or flour
2/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar (or organic honey works too)
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 TB of ground cinnamon
optional: 1 ts. of pure vanilla, or dashes of nutmeg, cloves or ginger

First, mash the ripened bananas in a large mixing bowl, then add the eggs and whip together, then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well together. Add as much or as little cinnamon that you want, and add other spices or vanilla if you prefer as well.

Mix well and then pour the batter into a well-greased coconut oil glass bread baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. This will make the crust a bit browned and crunchy, but will ensure a fully baked and firm loaf in the end.

Let cool and then pull from the pan after 20-30 minutes to continue to cool on the counter or a cooling rack. Slice thick and enjoy!

Much love to you!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Date-Sweetened Chocolate Donuts

Hello sweet delectable chocolate donuts! So good without toxic sugar and nothing fake or horrible for you in these sweeties either. Dates are the reason behind their great flavor and perfect sweetness and texture. Dates have become one of my most favorite additions to gluten-free baking. They add moisture, texture, and nutrition to your efforts to make a baked good that doesn't crumble like sand or feel like a gummy mess. 
Dates are also a little food that I have on my mind and will especially be on my plate for the next few months as well. Since I read this study about dates for the last few months of pregnancy, and have to think that it wouldn't hurt to eat more dates if it helps me try for a better delivery with baby #2. It may be just one of those "health foods" that makes you "feel" better about yourself for consuming, but I say it can't hurt to try and have less pain in childbirth, can it?!
I have been making these sweet donuts for a while now and just haven't posted the recipe. Seems about time since Valentine's Day is around the corner and finding special chocolate treats is part of the fun. I have made these donuts without the bit of coconut sugar in the past, and I have also played around with the flour combos. I will list some of the subs at the end of the recipe. Either way, these babies are so worth the time and purchase of a donut pan. Seriously. It really helps a gluten-free friend feel like missing out on trips to the bakery a thing of the past. These donuts may just help your grieving gluten heart move on....just maybe.... 
Just maybe you can let the healing of eating gluten-free sink into your whole being. You need to love your body for it to love you back. You can expect adding gluten-poison and crap to your being will allow you to just function normally. Yes, I am talking to all you Celiacs out there, but also those of you that have noticed how wheat and gluten causes you to have pain, anxiety and in general troubles. Don't let yourself justify cheats and treats. You have to make an effort and in the end I know the grieving process takes time, but you must know that there is hope in the journey as well. Let yourself be your own valentine and make it these sweet treats. You won't regret it!
Date-Sweetened Chocolate Donut Recipe
{gluten, nut, dairy and refined sugar-free, vegan options}

1 cup of packed, chopped, pitted dates
1 cup of chocolate chips (I prefer high cacao content and no dairy/ or fake stuff in them)
1 1/4 cup of boiling water

Chop the pitted dates to a packed 1 cup amount and put in a blender (or magic bullet) with 1 cup dark chocolate chips and boiling water for at least 20 minutes, or until the water is cooled. You can soak for longer, but at least soak for 20 minutes to soften the dates. Then blend mix in the blender or magic bullet until it is a liquified mixture that resembles pudding or a thick chocolate smoothie. It should add up to close to 2 cups of mixture after blended. Then add it to the rest of the better when the following is mixed well together...

1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup of chia gel  (1 TB of chia meal + 2 TB of water)
1/3 cup of melted organic coconut oil (+ more for greasing pan)
1/3 cup of coconut milk beverage (I used So Delicious)

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together first, then add the wet with the blended date mixture, chia gel and the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well  all together and then let sit for a few minutes for the batter to come together. Then use a rubber spatula to pour the batter in a gallon-sized zip lock bag. Make sure to get all of the air out and then press the bag shut and the batter to the bottom of the bag. Then use a kitchen scissors and cut a 1-2 inch slit off one of the bottom corners of the bag. Then in a non-stick donut baking pan-I have a Wilton's brand pan. (I also coat mine with some coconut oil), squeeze out the batter into the donut sized holes in the pan. Fill the batter to the tops of the holes and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes, until the donuts rise and are stiff. This recipe will make 12-15 large donuts, or 24 smaller mini-donuts. Pull donuts from the pan when they have cooled for at least 5 minutes, then pull donuts from pan and continue to let cool on a cooling rack or plate.

Baking Notes:
*I have omitted the coconut sugar before to have just dates and it turns out, just a bit less sweet. Also, if you avoiding sugars all together then you will want to stay away even from the chcolate chips because the ones I use contain a little amount of sugar.

*I like to use dark chocolate chips (70% cacao and no dairy)

*I have used a gluten-free flour blend for this recipe as well, and you can sub all the flours except the coconut flour for a mix. I would just use like 1/4 cup less to start and see how think the mix makes your batter. Just because some mixes contain a lot of starch and even gums sometimes. I like using Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour best for this recipe. Too start, I would use 1 1/4 cup of Bob's mix in place of the tapioca, millet and brown rice. And have 1/4 cup more flour on hand if it seems too sticky.

When the donuts are cooled you will want to pick a frosting or make a few of each as I did :)

Chocolate glaze:
1/3 cup of chocolate chips melted with 1 TB of coconut oil

Melt the chips in a glass boil and coconut oil over a double boiler, or for 33 seconds in the microwave. Stir til melted and a thick chocolate glaze. Then drizzle or coat the donuts how you want. If you want the glaze to harden quickly, then put the donuts on a try in the fridge or freezer and within minutes your glaze will be stiff and not wet and messy.

Sunbutter frosting:
1/4 cup of sunbutter (I used SunButter or can use other favorite nut butter)
1/4 cup of room temperature organic coconut oil
1-2 TB of raw honey (or use agave or coconut nectar for vegan option)

I especially love this frosting because I have been over-eating and craving sunflower butter this whole pregnancy. Must be all the folate and vitamins in it! You can mix almost equal parts to the honey, sunbutter and coconut oil to whisk into a thick frosting. Then I add it to a piping frosting bag with a decorative tip and put the frosting on the donuts with whatever fancy idea you got. The above amount should make enough for about 6-8 donuts depending on how much you put on. But you can easily half/double the amount to make more or less if you prefer. 

If you don't have a donut baking pan, I say this recipe is enough to go invest in one. I used Wilton's and love it. Plus, baked cakey donuts are superb and you won't be wishing for the greasy fried counterpart.

I hope you enjoy!

Much love to you and your body as always!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lemon Stortbread Cookies + doTerra oil WINNER

Tis' the month of February. The season of love. The time of year which is usually grey and cold outside and warm and cozy on the inside. Which means I will probably be enjoying baking treats, reading books, and resting up for the spring time hussle and bussle.
These cookies have been on my mind for a while, but especially after I started using doTerra's lemon essential oil in my kitchen. It is so fun to add a touch of very strong lemon flavor to your favorite muffin, cake, water or cookie. I love lemon so I go a little overboard, but truly it is a nice way to add some fresh goodness to your food.
How cute is that?! A cute little cookie shaped into a heart. I will have to make some more before the big V-day coming up. Even without the added chocolate in this recipe, these sweeties stole my heart and my morning tea time as well. Or maybe they should also be dipped in melted chocolate too? Hm... no, I like these simple and sweet just as they are!
They are extra crispy and even have a little bite to them. You can add some dried lavender or rosemary if you want to add in more flavor. Or add in some more citrus with some orange oil or zest to make it even more citrus-y and zesty. I tried this out using the simple basic flavors and it didn't disappoint.
Lemon Shortbread Cookie Recipe
{gluten-free, nut-free, vegan)

1/2 cup of sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of white rice flour
1/4 cup of powdered coconut palm sugar (grind regular coconut palm sugar in a high powered blender to make it less course)
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1-2 TB of local honey (use agave nectar for vegan)
2 TB of fresh lemon juice
4 drops of doTerra lemon essential oil (or can sub in 1 TB of lemon zest if you prefer)
1/2 cup of room temperature organic coconut oil

In a large bowl, whisk the flours and dry ingredients together first. Then add the lemon and honey, lastly use a fork or your hands to knead in the coconut oil which works best at room temperature. Roll out a small cookie dough ball ready for baking in whatever form you like...

You can roll out on a parchment paper and use a favorite small cookie cutter. As you can see I used a heart-shape for most of mine. Do not roll thinner than 1 inch for best results. Or you can roll out cookie balls and squish down with a fork or special decorative cutter to make a design. Or another option is to roll out the dough and make triangle shapes by making a 3 inch wide, 10-12 inch long slab of dough and then rotate your cuts and make triangles. You can then poke with a fork to make a decoration as well. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes depending on how large your cookies are. You are looking for a lightly toasted brown color. You can also sprinkle with some more coconut sugar or lemon zest before baking if you prefer. This recipe will make 15-20 cookies depending on how large you make them. Also, if you want to make a simple icing for after they are baked and cooled you could whisk up a 1/3-1/2 cup of powdered coconut sugar mixed with a TB of arrowroot powder or tapioca flour and then add 1 TB of lemon juice to thin it, and to add more lemon, add a few more drops of the essential oil. 

Now for those wondering who is going to receive a FREE bottle of doTerra Lemon Essential Oil from my friend Joelle....drum roll please....

Elena Vo- You are the winner!

I will forward your email on to Joelle and you can look forward to hearing from her and getting a little package in the mail.

Now, to all the rest of you, Joelle also mentioned to me that she would love to send out some samples of doTerra oils to those of you that are interested in oils and what they can do for your life. If you are interested in receiving some oil samples, please email Joelle at

Thank you all who commented!

Much love and light to you today!