Sunday, March 18, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

I know, I know, it is the day after St. Patrick's day here in the US, but I finally got this recipe to where I like it and I wanted to share it before I forget to do so. I ended up combining a recipe from my old baking book from Better Homes and Gardens and the GF Irish soda bread recipe from Living Without from last year. I liked the flavor of the Living Without bread, but the loaf turned out with a really heavy consistency to it. It could have been just the fact that I don't have a food scale, but I wanted to find a flour mix that worked more with what I keep on hand at all times and not end up with such a dense bread. I also wanted it to be a more traditional style so I did bake it on the baking stone in a free-form shape.

This bread also went really well with the vegetarian Shepard's pie that I made for dinner and there was only a small piece of the loaf left after our meal was over. I got the recipe for the Shepard's pie from, so I will not share that one here, but it is a good one if you want to try it for your meal next year. Even though this bread is made by people outside Ireland only once a year, it is full of flavor and I think works well for any time of year when you want a quick loaf to go with dinner. Enjoy.


1 cup/235ml oat flour finely milled
1/2 cup/120ml brown rice flour
1/2 cup/120ml potato starch
1/4 cup/60ml oats, coarsely milled
1 tsp/5ml baking soda
1 tsp/5ml cream of tartar
1/2 tsp/2.5ml salt

2 tbsp/30ml flax seed, milled
6 tbsp/90ml hot water

1 cup/235ml non-dairy beverage of choice (I like hemp or coconut-unsweetened)
1/4tsp/1ml vinegar
2 tbsp/30ml brown sugar

Preheat the over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the water and flax seed and set aside for 10 minutes or so. Mix together the dry ingredients. Blend in the remaining ingredients and blend together until just mixed. On a preheated baking stone (or a cookie sheet that has been lightly oiled), spoon out the mixture into the center of the stone. With slightly wet hands, shape the dough into a round and pat it down a little so that it has a good loaf shape.

Cut an x shape into the top of the dough. This step is optional.

Bake for 30-35 minutes (less at lower altitudes) until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let it rest on a cooling rack for at least 1/2 an hour before cutting and serving.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scottish Oat Scones

Scones pictured with homemade orange marmalade. (The marmalade recipe is still in process as it was my first time ever making it, but the taste combination is classic.)

Slowly I am getting back into the kitchen and creating new recipes since baby has been born. It was a wonderful pregnancy and delivery and maybe someday I'll have more than a few minutes to work on the blog, but today, I chose to post a recipe for scones instead.

I got this idea after reading in Wikipedia that scones were originally from Scotland and that it was believed that they were originally made from oat flour. After a little recipe hunt, I was able to locate several recipes that used oat flour for their scones. I was unable to find one that was 100% oat flour, but after experimenting with a combination of tried and true GF scone recipes and oat scone recipes, I was able to come up with this tasty gluten free version of a Scottish style oat scone. Enjoy.


1 cup/235 ml brown rice flour
½ cup/120 ml potato starch
1 ¼ cup/235 + 60 ml oats-milled in a coffee grinder
¼ cup/60 ml brown sugar
1 tsp/5 ml baking soda
3 tsp/15 ml cream of tartar
1 tsp/5 ml guar gum
¼ tsp/1 ml salt

1 Tbsp/15 ml flax seed-milled
3 Tbsp/45 ml hot water

1/3 cup/80ml applesauce
1/3 cup/80 ml oil
1/3 cup/80 ml non-dairy beverage of choice (I like hemp milk)

(½ cup raisins are a traditional add in, but I have not tried it yet.)

Preheat an oven and baking stone at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mill the flax seed (or use flax seed meal) and mix with hot water and set aside for 10 minutes.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together.

Blend in all the remaining wet ingredients until just moist. Do not over mix or scone will become dense and the center will not be able to bake properly.

Form the dough into a ball and pat it into a round shape on the preheated stone or a greased baking sheet. Score with a knife or a pizza cutter into wedges. Makes about 12 wedges.

Bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven and altitude). Cut the wedges apart and allow them to cool on a rack or serve warm. Place in an air tight container and place in the refrigerator. These also freeze really well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

I shared this forever ago to my friends online, but had completely forgotten that I don't have it on this blog. Baby preparations have kept me super busy, so sorry for not posting much recently or getting pictures taken of these yummy cookies. This is a great recipe for any time of year as applesauce works great in place of pumpkin. My bunch loves to top these with peanut butter, but they would be really cute with black frosting in spider shapes for Halloween or pumpkin and leaf shapes for Thanksgiving. These freeze very nicely and can be stored up to a month (but are usually gone sooner than that).


1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 ½ cup homemade brown rice flour

1 cup potato starch

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

3 teaspoons Gaur gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cane sugar

1 cup pre-cooked pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (may need to add water to canned as it is thicker than homemade)

½ cup oil or spectrum shortning

1 Tablespoon flax seed meal and 3 Tablespoons hot water set aside for 10 minutes or 1 egg

2 teaspoons GF vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

potato starch, for kneading

Preheat oven to 350F. I also preheat my baking stone at this time.

Mix flax and water and set aside. Mix dry ingredients first, including brown sugar. Mix oil, pumpkin, flax mix and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Whip until too thick for beaters then knead with hands. Move to the table dusted with potato starch. Knead about 2 T to ¼ cup of potato starch into the ball of dough depending on the texture until it is workable and doesn’t stick (similar to regular sugar cookies).

Cover and store in refrigerator for at least half an hour. This helps the dough to rest and firm up, making it easier to roll out. Because of the vegan shortening/oil they just come out better if they are colder.

With some potato starch on your hands, make the dough into a ball and roll out onto a potato starched surface. If the dough is too sticky, just knead in more until you have reached a desired sugar cookie consistency (basically, you don't want it to stick to everything, but still be a big sticky to the touch). Roll to 1/4″ thickness. Cut into shapes using your favorite cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheet at bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes (my baking stone is usually about 20 minutes for a nice golden brown). Cool on rack. Decorate and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brined Zucchini Chips

It is Celiac Disease Awareness Day here in the U.S., and even though I've been thinking about posting this for a while, today seemed like a good day to share a recipe with you that I've been playing with lately.

Ever since I got my dehydrator, I have been putting it to use as often as I can. Most of the time it is drying herbs, okara (paid for itself already there), and fruit leather (OK, I really just throw a jar of apple sauce on the fruit leather tray and wa la), but I decided that I needed to try playing around with it more and making veggie chips seemed the next logical step in my dehydration learning process.

We have a neighbor that has had a bumper crop of zucchini and this has allowed me to play with my dehydrator to find my preferred method of seasoning zucchini chips. There are a lot of recipes out there for dehydrator chips (kale, zucchini, potato, etc.) but when I tried it with salt and oil, my chips were just too salty or greasy for my taste. I guess that is what happens when you haven't eaten a bag of Lays in a while.

I like to brine my cucumbers before I make pickles, so I decided to try brining with my dehydrator chips. This method allows the food to take up just the right amount of salt and the flavor is more even than when the salt is sprinkled on top. I also don't have to use any oil, which my dehydrator directions actually strongly suggested NOT using when dehydrating food. I'm planning on trying this with potatoes and kale next to see if this is something that can be used universally, but if you get to it before me, feel free to share your results in the comments. I'll warn you, this is one of those recipes that uses dump and pour versus scientific measurements. This is set to our families level of saltiness. Don't feel bad if you need to add more or less to get what you want. Think of this as a guideline instead of a recipe.

Brined Zucchini Chips

1 medium zucchini
1 palm-full of salt (I use kosher or sea salt)
enough water to cover the veggies (about 1/2 gallon or 2 liters)

Slice the zucchini about 1-2 mm thick. I used a mandolin the first time, but sometimes this makes the slices too thin and the zucchini sticks to the dehydrator trays, so thickness depends on what type of tray you have (no problem with thin slices on silicone).

Place all ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and place this in the refrigerator. I leave it in up to 24 hours or at least overnight.

Remove the zucchini slices from the liquid, rinse, and either spin dry in a salad spinner or let them drain for a few minutes over the sink in a colander.

Spread them out on the dehydrator trays. Try to lay them out in a single layer as that will affect the drying time.

I dry them for 24 hours at a 135 degree setting on my Nesco dehydrator. Our apartment stays humid for some reason, so this can be more or less depending on your local conditions. I wouldn't go any less than 12 hours.

Remove your chips and place them in a air tight storage bag or container. One zucchini can fill my entire dehydrator, but my three boys can easily eat it in one sitting. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chocolate and Black Bean Brownies

I've seen bits and pieces of black bean based brownie recipes over the internet throughout the past year, but I've only now had the chance to play with my own version of this recipe. I had one recipe that worked OK, but it was too sweet for my tastes and although I like a good sticky brownie, this one was too sticky. Since that one was made with more traditional gluten free flours, I started to wonder if all the grain free hype about the black bean brownie would live up to my expectations. After a little playing, I ended up combining a grain free recipe and the OK recipe that I already had on hand. These brownies are a lot more cake like than I thought they would be and I traditionally like the gooier variety, but these went over well with the kids so it is worth sharing with you all.

Ingredients: (by volume)

1 cup/235ml walnuts
2 cups/470ml precooked black beans, rinsed if from a can
1 cup/235ml brown rice flour (milled in coffee grinder)
1/4 cup/60ml cocoa powder
1 tsp/5ml guar gum
1 tsp/5ml salt
1 1/2 tsp/7.5ml baking soda
1 tsp/5ml cream of tartar
1 tsp/5ml cinnamon
1/2 cup/120ml brown sugar
1/4 cup/60ml corn free powdered sugar (or more brown sugar)

1 tsp/5ml vanilla
3 tablespoons/45ml light cooking oil
2/3 cup/160ml no sugar added applesauce

1 tablespoon/15ml flax seed meal plus 3 tablespoons/45ml hot water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Oil (or spray with cooking spray) sides and bottom of brownie pan (9 X9 ish).

Combine the flax meal and hot water in a small bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes while combining the other ingredients.

Chop walnuts, in a food processor, into very small pieces. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, plus beans, and blend well.

Add in all other ingredients and combine until well blended. Dough should be stiff and slightly sticky.

Spoon into prepared baking dish and spread with a spatula until the top is level and all the corners are filled.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes. Mine took about 35 minutes at high altitude.

Cool the entire pan on a baking rack. Cut and serve warm or store in the freezer for a later date. Makes about 16-24 depending on how you cut it. Enjoy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Scottish Inspired Walnut Scones

It has been months since I've had a chance to sit down and blog about food, much less life on the side. If you follow me on Facebook, you would have caught glimpses of what I've been up to in the kitchen. Unfortunately, glimpses were all I could afford with as busy as this summer ended up being. Our family didn't go anywhere, but there were classes and gardening and just me keeping the family fed in general that kept me away from my blog. Being pregnant with our third child certainly didn't help, but I must say that this pregnancy has been pretty routine and nothing major to speak of except for lack of energy. I will get to being gluten free and pregnant in another post, but for now I wanted to share a recipe I played with just the other day that turned out great.

I've been playing with adding walnuts to most anything I bake lately. Mostly for the added nutrition, but also for the taste and texture it adds to bake goods. I usually grind mine up until it is pretty well mincemeat and add this to the dry flour mixture. I like the texture that it adds to baked goods, not to mention that it is easier for my kids to get the added nutrition. When there are chunks of walnut, I can't get them to touch the cookie or muffin and I can't say that I blame them. We all have textures we shy away from and I guess this is one I'm guilty of as well.

About a year ago, I went looking for a traditional scone recipe. I had heard that scones were originally made from oat flour and I wanted to try my hand at it in a gluten free fashion. I did find one that worked really well in being converted over to gluten free and I love using that whenever I need a quick bread or snack food.

The one thing that I have been having trouble with eating this pregnancy is oats, gluten free and all. I've backed off completely for now, but I'm hoping that after baby is born that I will be able to eat oats again. So this recipe has both an oat free and an oat option. With the walnuts it ended up with a great nutty flavor that wasn't overbearing and the outer crust is just a tad crispier than usual. I love eating this with fruit spread or honey, but that is entirely up to the eater to decide. I hope you enjoy this easy recipe as much as I do, and its good for you too.

Scottish Inspired Walnut Scones

Ingredients: (by volume)

1 cup/235ml walnut pieces-ground fine in food processor
1 cup/235ml of brown rice flour-milled (in a coffee grinder)
1/2 cup/120ml potato starch (not flour)
1 cup/235ml of gluten free oats*-milled
1/4 cup/60ml brown sugar
3 tsp/15ml cream of tartar
1 tsp/5ml baking soda
1 tsp/5ml guar gum
1/4 tsp/1ml salt

1/3 cup/80ml light oil
1/3 cup/80ml applesauce
1/3 cup/80ml non-dairy beverage of choice (I use hemp milk)

1 tablespoon/15ml flax seed-milled
3 tablespoons/45ml hot water

1/2 cup/120ml raisins (optional)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix flax seed meal and hot water in a small bowl and set aside to be added with the other wet ingredients.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until small, but don't run it too long or you'll have very tasty walnut butter.

Add in all the dry ingredients into the food processor (or bowl) with the walnuts and mix well.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend until well combined. The dough will be VERY sticky.

Optional: Mix in raisins (currants or dried cherries would be great too).

Turn out onto a floured 9” pie plate and shape into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Cut into 8-10 wedges, using a pizza cutter or knife. Transfer to a greased baking sheet.

Another option if you have a baking stone: Once the stone is preheated, place all the dough in the center of the stone, wet your hands slightly before shaping the dough into a 9" round circle, being careful not to touch the stone as it is hot. Cut the dough with a pizza cutter before placing it in the preheated oven.

Bake 12 minutes or until light brown. Cut them apart on lines already defined before baking and separate the pieces. Bake for 3-5 minutes more depending on how well done the inside is. Place on a cooling rake to prevent the bottom from getting soggy.

Serve warm. They can be prepared a day or two ahead or stored in the freezer for later. Enjoy.

*For an oat free option, I used dried unsweetened okara that I had left over from making tofu. (I lightly salted it and dried it in the dehydrator for about 12-15 hours at 135 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Celebration

Today, many of you may be celebrating Cinco de Mayo and rightfully so. I would like to introduce you to the holiday that my family celebrates on the 5th day of the 5th month. Kodomo no hi, is Children's Day in Japan and it became a national holiday celebrating all children in 1948. We personally celebrate Tango no Sekku, which is Boy's Day and the original holiday celebrated by Japan on this day; which originated sometime around 593–628 A.D . The reason we celebrate the Boy's Day tradition is that we have two boys and what little kid doesn't want to have a special day?

This holiday is to celebrate the health and strength of boys, symbolized by the Kobuto or samurai helmet that you see pictured above (that is not a full sized helmet, but a model of one). It is also a day seen as an expression of gratitude for the mothers, since Mother's Day is an American idea. I usually set up the samurai helmet at least a few weeks earlier than May 5th and we hang our carp wind socks. We were lucky enough to be in Japan before Boy's Day last year and were able to find a carp for each family member. Traditionally these are put on a pole in order from the father to the youngest son, the colors corresponding to the birth order of each son (mom has the next place after dad). Ours hang on our porch and they have been waving like crazy with the amount of wind we have been experiencing this spring.

Carp wind socks before they got put up this year.

There is also a traditional sweet that is eaten on this day. It is a rice flour dumpling filled with adzuki bean paste and wrapped in an oak leaf, kashiwamochi. The oak leaf is for decoration only. Today I'm making my first attempt at the dumpling, so we'll see how that goes. It is very similar to dango, just with a different shape.

Pictured is a commercially made variety.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may have caught the hint I dropped yesterday. Next year we need to either get another carp for our new addition, or start celebrating Boy's Day as Children's Day. Apparently, all the diet and exercise has paid off and the barren body I once thought I had after my 2nd son was born is now fertile. We will be expecting our third child sometime this winter and I hope to feel well enough to share some tidbits about being pregnant and gluten free.

That is part of the reason that I haven't posted nearly as often as I would have liked in the last month. One of the bonus' about knowing all your food sensitivities is that many of the foods that they tell you not to eat during pregnancy are already removed. I have had some morning sickness, which really manifests itself as all day sickness, but I haven't had the same aversion to certain foods due to the fact most of the ones that turned my stomach before are gone from my diet. I'm hoping not to crave Taco Bell this time around (especially now that I've read the ingredients, yuck!), but only time will tell.

As for running and exercising, I plan to continue but not with P90X or any serious race training. I'm no longer planning on any races at all this year (even just for fun), but watch out for me next year. Will see if I'm brave enough to post prego pics as I'm still in shock a bit myself and haven't even filled out my jeans enough to feel the need to go shopping.

Well, that is it from the Gluten Free, It's A Lifestyle home-front. I hope that you all have a marvelous Boy's Day (or Cinco de Mayo).