Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate “Boatmeal”

I’m a huge fan of quick and easy gluten-free desserts in particular.

Quite some time ago, I came across this recipe on Green Lite Bites’ website, and I’ve been using it ever since. I only have a couple of adjustments to the original, including using unsweetened coconut milk instead of almond milk and using 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract instead of a teaspoon, but those are my own personal taste. I also put in as much chocolate as I want. 🙂 If you want the recipe to be sweeter, you can puree a few dates (I used to do 6, although I don’t use any in this video) and add those as well.

Here’s the recipe video I recently created:

Hope you enjoy! Keep on living the wheat-free life!

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Gluten Free Brown Rice Pancakes VIDEO RECIPE

RECIPE: Brown Rice Pancakes

It has taken me soooo long to come up with a really good pancake recipe with all the allergies I have.

LWF's brown rice pancakes finished

Of course I can’t use any of the mixes because they all have ingredients I can’t eat, so I was desperate to come up with my own. I refuse to use more than one type of flour for pancakes because I think they should be very simple. I haven’t found a recipe yet that met my expectations of what a pancake should be, both flavor- and texture-wise, so I had nothing to base it off of. But finally – FINALLY – I have created the perfect recipe! I hope you like it too. 🙂

LWF's brown rice pancakes recipe

1. Mix all dry ingredients with a whisk and make sure there are no clumps, especially with the sugar. Sift them if you’d like to make sure.

2. Mix well all wet ingredients in with the dry ones.

LWF's brown rice pancakes batter

3. Spray a pan with olive oil or something similar (spraying is better so you don’t fry the pancakes with too much oil) and put the heat on medium.

4. Spoon pancakes into the pan and spread them out with the spoon so they’re not too thick. I make these as silver dollar pancakes, but you can make them bigger.

LWF's brown rice pancakes batter in pan

5. Cook on each side for about 1 minute. These don’t always get bubbles in them to tell you that they should be flipped, so if you’re unsure if it’s time to flip them, check the bottom and see if they have some brown on them. If so, they’re probably ready.

LWF's brown rice pancakes cooking

6. Serve hot with maple syrup, jam, or whatever you like on your pancakes.

LWF's brown rice pancakes with syrup

Hope you enjoy! Keep on living the wheat free life!

Clean Diet New Year’s Resolutions to Keep

I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in a very long time because, as we all know, they are made to be broken. There’s one reason that happens: overpromising. When you create a goal that isn’t possible to reach, or that’s too much of a stretch to believe you can reach, you end up missing it much of the time. So I’m making some goals (and promises) to myself to improve my diet and overall health. And I’m going to be able to keep them because they’re reasonable.

Goal #1: Limit my chocolate intake. I inhale chocolate. It’s my one and only addiction, and I must break it. I’m afraid that if I eat too much of it continually, I’ll develop an intolerance, even though it would most likely be temporary, and that would devastate me. Limiting my intake would also strengthen my discipline, which can only be a good thing. I strongly feel that if I can get my chocolate indulgences under control, I will be able to better control other aspects of less disciplined parts of my life as well. So what kinds of limitations are we talking about? I think it’s reasonable to say I should have no more than the equivalent of 2 ounces of dark chocolate per day – what is recommended by many doctors and nutritionists. Once a week, I can have more. If I have 2-3 chocolate chip cookies, that means no chocolate chips/bars. Same goes for brownies and the like. I think that’s very reasonable, and I think it will make a big difference in how I physically feel on a day-to-day basis, especially in the area of my resolve.

Goal #2: Go to the gym at least 2 times per week. This is extremely reasonable as I only go on weekdays anyway, and even if I’m loaded down with work and need to work late hours, it would be best to take a break and get the stress out physically. I’m particularly looking forward to this goal because it makes me feel really good and gives me positive energy. Not to mention the health benefits!

Goal #3: Cook more gourmet dinners for myself. I end up cheating on my diet, on purpose or not, for lack of interesting food. I don’t make time for myself to make wonderful dinners that will satisfy my culinary needs, so I eat out more and more, and that’s not good for me. I want to make sure I put the time aside to make exciting dinners – old and new recipes – that rival what I see in restaurants and help me stick to homemade food. All I need to do is put the time aside. This is easiest for me on weekends, so that’s when I’ll do it. I usually end up with lots of leftovers, so that will help me out for part of the week.

Goal #4: Cook things I’ve always wanted to try. I have a list of things I’m dying to make: dinners, desserts, snacks, etc. Some are complicated, some are simple. By the end of 2014, I found myself disappointed that I had never tried making a lot of the things I wanted to. So I’m going to make a list for myself of all the things I’m really dying to make. If I hang that up, I’ll plan for those recipes and finally get them made. And then I can share them with you! This also goes along with goal #3.

Goal #5: Read 2-3 books about what poor eating habits do to your body. This will help keep my on track when I feel weak. It will be like a support system beyond my friends and family, something I can refer back to and keep forever. I’d like to share whatever books I read with you so that you too can benefit from them in the same way – or more ways! This is something I’m very excited about because it will also expand my typical reading selection. I didn’t choose 5-10  on this one

Those are my major goals for 2015. They are broad and specific at the same time. I really feel they will help me stick to the diet that makes me feel the best. My clean eating will be stronger and more consistent than ever, and my body will be in its best health, which will make me feel good both physically and emotionally.

What goals do you have for 2015? Share in the comments below! Let’s support each other. 🙂

WildFlour Bakery/Cafe: A Gluten Free Treasure

Gluten free bakeries are few and far between – and small, cozy ones where you can see the owner baking behind the counter all day long are even more rare. WildFlour Bakery/Cafe is a gem in Lawrenceville, NJ that you absolutely must visit. With gluten free sweets that are appealing not only to the tastebuds but to the eyes, plus full, creative breakfast and lunch menus AND ready-to-go sweet and savory breads, it’s worth any drive for the luxury of eating completely safe and excellent food in a serenely artistic ambiance.

Let’s take a tour through some of the baked goods and the cafe itself, shall we?

apple danish and earl gray tea

Now this is how to start a fall morning. A hot cup of tea and an apple danish.

apple danish

The gluten free apple danish is sweet, has just the right amount of crispness, and the apples aren’t overcooked. The glaze you see on top is what lends most of the sweetness.

Brazilian cheese puff

This Brazilian cheese puff was something I’d never tried before, but it proved really impressive.

Brazilian cheese puff in half

The outside is crunchy while the inside is airy and the cheese taste isn’t overwhelming, quietly balancing out the pastry and the filling.

napkin holder

The owner of WildFlour Bakery/Cafe, Marilyn Besner, is also an artist. One of the types of art she creates is pottery, and you’ll find her work around the dining room and in the windows. These lovely rustic napkin holders were made by her in her own studio. Isn’t it wonderful how an artistic person can use her talents in so many ways? Jennifer Cohan, Marilyn’s PR agent, was so right when she mentioned the incredible tactile connection between Marilyn’s baking and her pottery: both kinds of art require love, attention to detail, and serious dedication.

apricot mini pie

Isn’t this apricot mini pie adorable?

apple crumble mini  pie

This apple crumble mini pie is a perfect addition to any holiday, gluten free or not – or just because you deserve it!

pecan pie

And who can resist pecan pie? It’s one of my favorites.

tray of gluten free desserts

Look what had just come out from behind the counter while I was there. It was extremely hard to resist picking up just one of each!

madeleines

I tried one of these madeleine cookies and they were bliss. Buttery, soft with crispy edges, and sweet.

pumpkin muffin

What a creative way to make a muffin! This pumpkin muffin has pumpkin seeds on top as well as lightly sweetened ginger. The whole muffin is so moist and light, you can’t tell it’s gluten free at all.

rugalach

RUGALACH! How often do you get to eat gluten free specialty baked goods?!

rugalach inside

The rugalach I had was raspberry, perfectly balanced, and the pastry was wonderful.

glazed chocolate oat muffin

Did someone say glazed chocolate oat muffin? Yes please!

homemade granola

WildFlour even sells their own homemade granola for you to take home. Since you already know it’s made in a gluten free facility, it’s much safer than many granolas you find on the shelf.

main dining room

Look at that lovely view in the main dining room. The pottery on the window sill is Marilyn’s own work.

sitting room

Upstairs, there are two more rooms: one with a long table for larger parties, and this one with a comfortable lounge couch. Perfect for the creative mind to run free.

sitting room 2

Beautiful space in the same room. I could sit here and write all day!

chickpea burger

Back to the food. Chickpea burger anyone? Maybe this will be one of the many things you’ll learn to cook in WildFlour’s gluten free cooking classes! Keep your eyes out for them this winter.

bread pudding

This was one of the best culinary moments of my life, which you may have seen on my Instagram. Gluten free bread pudding with homemade caramel sauce and fresh strawberries. I melted into a pile of joy when I tasted this. One of my friends recently got bread pudding at a restaurant and I drooled as I watched him savor each bite. Now I could finally do the same!

chocolate chip cookie

The classic chocolate chip cookie done right. This slightly chewy chocolate chip cookie had just the right amount of vanilla, and the chocolate was quality. I haven’t had a cookie like this since I went gluten free 10 years ago!

macaroon

This is a mix between a coconut macaroon and a meringue. It’s light and fluffy with the sweet, sugary taste of meringue on the outside and the shredded coconut on the inside. Fantastic!

ginger nut cookie

I didn’t get the name of this cookie, but it’s the quintessential fall cookie. It tastes like maple and spice and nuts. This one is sure to impress at your dessert table with its slight chewiness and just the right amount of sweetness.

cream puff

And finally, a cream puff! It’s just like a regular one – I couldn’t tell the difference. The pastry tastes and feels exactly the same, the chocolate adds just a hint of sweet cocoa, and the cream inside is rich and dense but not heavy. This is another thing I haven’t had since I went gluten free, and WildFlour nailed it.

takeout box

After seeing all these goodies, I’m sure your mouth is watering! So stop in and have a cuppa with some outstanding gluten free pastries or order some in advance for your upcoming party or get-together. Wow all your gluten free friends with this well-kept secret – and wow your non-gluten free friends too! They’ll never know it was gluten free!

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Connect with WildFlour on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You’ll want to see their upcoming cooking classes and events.

What is it: Extract, Flavor, and “Type” Flavor

We commonly see extracts in baking, like vanilla extract and almond extract. I always check the label very carefully to see what exactly the extract is made of, and I’ve been extremely disappointed with some of them, especially coconut extract. I’ve found gluten free vanilla and almond extracts from McCormick and Simply Organic (respectively) with only two to three ingredients, but coconut extract still evades me because it always has at least one strange ingredient that is either a preservative or something seemingly unnecessary that I really don’t want to ingest.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot at a local grocery store when I saw this:

 

wall of flavors and extracts

 

I was sure there would be a coconut extract I could have in this large assortment. Well, I didn’t find what I wanted, but I did discover a whole new frightening distinction in baking flavorings that I never knew existed: extracts, flavors, and “type” flavors. Examples: vanilla extract, butter flavor, and açai type flavor.

butter flavor

 

So what do these distinctions mean?

Extract: Merriam-Webster defines flavor extracts like vanilla and almond as, “a product (as an essence or concentrate) prepared by extracting; especially: a solution (as in alcohol) of essential constituents of a complex material (as meat or an aromatic plant)”. In other words, you take real vanilla and take the flavor right out of it through a process. The point here is that you’re using the real thing: vanilla bean.

Flavor: This is something that needs extra help to taste like whatever flavor is chosen and cannot just be extracted, which is why most flavors have “natural flavor” as an ingredient. In other words, flavors depend heavily on additives, artificial flavors, and natural flavors (watch out, these can all have gluten) to taste like what their labels suggest. However, they do include the ingredient itself in some form most of the time. For example, butter flavor has “butter oil clarified” in it.

“Type” Flavor: This is a completely artificial substance that doesn’t include any of the ingredient itself but rather is “characteristic” of the flavor. For example, açai type flavor is a berry type of taste as opposed to something that actually tastes of açai berries themselves. “Type” flavors are more like things that are reminiscent of or similar to the flavor of something natural.

Here’s a final example to connect all these definitions. Coconut extract has actual coconut milk in it. Coconut flavor has no coconut, but it does specifically have natural flavor that includes coconut in it, meaning not any part of the physical coconut itself but flavoring of it. Coconut type flavor has no coconut and won’t taste exactly like coconut. Instead, it’s generally similar to coconut or has a coconutty sort of flavor.

Although the differences may seem negligible between these three flavorings, there is a huge difference not only in the flavor itself but in the ingredients used to produce that flavor. The most important thing to realize is the more fake something is, the more likely it is to have trace amounts of gluten, if not full on gluten (or any allergen, for that matter). This happens because the further something is processed and the fewer whole and natural ingredients there are, the easier it is for companies to not really know what exactly is in their own product. Such is the case with lactic acid. Some lactic acid has no dairy in it while some does. It completely depends on what the original bacteria feeds on to become lactic acid, but companies are just now realizing they may need to look that far into lactic acid to find out if it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to it.

Always check the ingredients, and a good rule of thumb is if you can’t identify an ingredient, don’t eat it. It could be anything and could have come from anywhere – almost literally anything from anywhere. So be careful out there. Food shopping is an art form, and if you learn and stay consistent with positive habits, your body will benefit greatly.

Keep on living the wheat free life!

Happy Sunday!

The end of the weekend is not something to mourn, it’s something to make the most of! So get your motivated self together and cook something yummy today! Your stomach and your self-esteem will thank you for putting yourself first. Your food might even thank you; mine did:

DSC01015

Noodle love

Keep on living the wheat free life! 🙂