Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blueberry Scones (gluten, dairy, and sugar free)

If you follow this blog at all, you'll have realized by now that I have this thing for scones... I love them. I adore them. I (often) dream about them... the crisp, crumbly, fall-apart-in-your-mouth feeling you get when you eat them. Scones define good coffee house atmosphere for me. Unfortunately, though, there aren't any coffee houses that I can go to to order a scone with my coffee, because coffee house scones are never gluten free (at least not the coffee houses I have been to). Hopefully this will change in the future as more and more restaurants and coffee shops are realizing the huge impact that gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivities is having on our population.

Thankfully, I love eating at home, and cooking and baking my own food. Therefore I can make gluten free scones anytime I want.

Last night the scone urge hit me again, so I started browsing the internet for a new recipe to try. I stumbled upon Jennifer Esposito's website, Jennifer's Way, where she has a host of great gluten free recipes and information in general on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. I tried out her scone recipe, making a few changes along the way. I am really happy with the results. I know I say this way too much, but these might quite possibly be my favorite scones to date. If you like rustic scones that are just a tad sweet, I think they'll become your favorite too.

Blueberry Scones (gluten, dairy, and sugar free)

Dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 coconut flour
1/2 tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
pinch salt

Wet ingredients:

1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup GF brown rice syrup
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 drops liquid stevia
1/2 cup blueberries (can be fresh or frozen; I used frozen)

1 tablespoon xylitol, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk all wet ingredients (except blueberries) in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Add blueberries and gently stir again until a dough ball forms (you may have to use your hands).

Place dough ball onto prepared baking sheet and form into a large oval, about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with xylitol. With a wet knife, score scone dough into desired shape (I cut mine crosswise four ways to make 16 scones).

Bake 18 minutes. Remove and cut all the way through the scored dough to separate the scones, so that all sides of each scone are exposed. Put back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to crisp up all sides of the scones.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gluten Free Yeast Bread

When you're craving bread, you're craving bread. I don't have this craving often, but for some reason, I've been wanting a warm, yeasty bread to use for toast in the morning, smothered with some nut butter and fruit-sweetened jam. This bread is perfect for that (and would also be perfect for sandwiches), reminding us gluten free folks that we can have our bread and eat it too.

I use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour here. I really like this stuff as the main ingredient is chickpea flour, lending this blend to it's high fiber and protein count. I have to admit, I was a little nervous that using this blend would give the bread a "bean-y" taste, but was pleasantly surprised that this taste disappears completely once the bread is baked.

I always think that baking gluten free bread is going to be a daunting task, but time and again find that it really is very simple. If you hesitate in making this bread due to the time involved, let me encourage you that it will go faster than you think, and once you smell that delicious bread baking in the oven, your woes over time spent will vanish. In fact, a great idea is to double the recipe and make two loaves at one time. You can use one loaf for your bread needs over the first few days and with the other loaf, simply cool, slice, and freeze it in a plastic bag (with all the air sucked out) for future use. This way you will have great gluten free bread anytime the craving calls.

Gluten Free Yeast Bread

1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend (Bob's Red Mill is what I use)
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup arrowroot powder
2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x4 inch baking pan with parchment paper or coat with coconut oil cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine water, yeast, and palm sugar and stir until mixture gets bubbly. Let rest for about five minutes. Then add eggs, EVOO, and ACV. Stir again.

In a separate bowl, GF flour blend, sorghum and arrowroot flours, xanthan gum, and salt. Stir. Add yeast mixture and stir until a dough forms. Place dough into prepared baking pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour (until loaf doubles in size).

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing, slicing, and eating.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brown Rice and Lentil Curry Salad

It must be the fact that I'm lactating, because never in my life have I been craving brown rice and lentils like I am right now. I created this salad a few weeks ago and have made it at least three times already, enjoying it for days on end. It just hits the spot, every time.

(My baby must like me eating it too, because he is just such a good baby.)

I think our bodies have a way of telling us what to eat by our cravings. And this particular craving is so darn healthy that I have no problem indulging (well, it feels like indulging to me) in it at each whim. Thanks to the lentils, it is full of protein, another thing that both pregnant and lactating women need in abundance in this stage of life.

Brown Rice and Lentil Curry Salad

1 cup long grain brown rice, uncooked
1 cup brown or green lentils, uncooked
4 cups water or chicken stock
1 medium or 1/2 large butternut squash
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups lightly packed spinach
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup curry vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel and cube butternut squash into bite size pieces. Place on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, until fork tender.

In two separate medium sized saucepans, heat 2 cups of water or stock in each. Add brown rice to one pan and lentils to the other. Bring both to a bowl, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook the brown rice for approximately 40 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Cook the lentils for approximately 25-30 minutes (ok if not all the liquid is absorbed).

Drain lentils and place in a large bowl. Add cooked brown rice, roasted squash, spinach, and raisins to lentils. Pour vinaigrette over brown rice mixture and stir to combine.

Enjoy right away warm or refrigerate and enjoy cold.