Saturday Happenings

Because rainy days are for baking.

Click here for the recipe from theprettybee.com. It’s my first gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut free cake. And it’s chocolate. I’m a fan!

My recipe notes:

Apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar (keep in mind some vinegars ate NOT gluten free)

Add 2 Tbs. strong dark roast coffee and as much extra GF flour. Trust me on this. ūüėć

Grapeseed oil instead of canola oil

Coconut sugar instead of cane sugar… not sure how much difference it makes. I just didn’t have any cane sugar.

I didn’t put in chocolate chips, because I was out. I have allergen-free chocolate icing to use instead.

Suddenly Gluten-Free: understanding the feelings

I recently had a conversation with a friend who was looking at going gluten-free for her husband’s health. Our conversation took me back to when I first realized that gluten — and some of my favorite foods — were off limits. At 27-years-old, I didn’t expect that I had eaten my favorite dessert for the last time.

Enter disappointment. 

After doing some research, I discovered that gluten is not so obvious. It can go by many names. It’s in soups, seasoning mixes, tortilla chips, chocolate, ice cream, spices, supplements, french fries (!)… even makeup.¬† And don’t get me started about restaurant food.

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I accidentally ate gluten — even small amounts — with painful and scary consequences. As a result, I became even more careful. And people did not always understand. Even community meals felt ostracizing. I had become¬†that person. Ms. High-Maintenance at restaurants.

Enter frustration.

For people with gluten-sensitivity and Celiac Disease (an incureable auto immune disorder), gluten-free is the only option.  Popular opinion can see gluten-free people as high-maintenance, immature hipsters who could use the health benefits of wheat/barely/rye/spelt. People can question how gluten-free a person really needs to be.

Enter misunderstanding.

All of a sudden, two things I thought I understood — wheat and my body — were becoming more mysterious. Why did that rice mix (seasoning packet!) cause such searing pain in my abdomen?¬† Why do cookies and communion wafers make my mouth bleed? What was it doing to me? What would happen if I accidentally ate it again? If I stay away from it, could my gut start to heal again or had I caused irrevocable damage?

Enter fear.

Then I learned aboutcross-contamination.

Emotion level: overwhelmed.

I may have started crying one day at Kroger.

Still, looking back I also remembered what helped me get through that feeling of being overwhelmed. Here are 5 tips I learned about the feelings of going gluten-free.

1.) Accept the Feelings

This one has little to do with the actual gluten, but a lot to do with the mentality of changing your lifestyle so drastically.

Go ahead, feel frustrated. Feel sad, disappointed, and misunderstood. Feel uncertain. Feel scared. This is a change and it’s hard. You are probably saying farewell to a lot of things you like. It makes something difficult that used to be easy. It means that you will become¬†that¬†person at restaurants.

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Accept all those feelings, and then say, “I will not lose hope.”

As a Christian, I gained hope by remembering I was “fearfully and wonderfully made”. That God is sovereign, even thought it feels like my body is mutinying.

2.) Get support

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Explain your circumstances to a close friend. Chances are, you have a friend who has also had to go gluten-free. When I first went gluten-free, I didn’t understand how to do it. I suddenly didn’t understand my own body or how to take care of it. I needed help understanding this new lifestyle and the circumstances around it.

If you are the first of your friends to have to make this change, find a support group. Ask your doctor for recommendations. Read thesepersonal stories from the Celiac Foundation.

Know you are not alone.

3.) Change your mindset

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In the U.S. — as many other cultures in world — eating is an important part of being social. So, what happens when it’s suddenly more difficult (and hazardous) to eat out?

  • Invite your friends to explore possibilities that don’t involve eating — bowling, make art, museums, escape rooms, game nights, movies, nature walks, plays, music performances, have a photo shoot. Think about how much you would usually spend for a restaurant meal and spend it on making other types of memories.
  • Bring your own food. I’ve only ever been kicked out of one restaurant for bringing in outside food (I’m looking at you, London Pizza Hut) and that was in 2006. I bring my own food to church potlucks, out to eat, friends’ houses (or offer to cook with them), and conferences.

Think outside the box. Stay involved. You’ll find your experience getting bigger instead of smaller.

4.) Be patient

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As I mentioned before, becoming gluten-free is as sudden as the doctor’s pronouncement of a diagnosis. Becoming an expert in living gluten-free is not. So be patient with yourself. Ask for help. Keep learning.

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Be patient with others. Don’t roll your eyes when others don’t seem to understand that whole grain bread, graham crackers, and wheat germ all have gluten in them. You will need to educate those around you even as you learn about all the places gluten can hide.¬† One fun way is to invite people over for a gluten-free dessert night. Some of my friends have found they really enjoy some of my gluten-free goodies.

5.) Keep Going 

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Even when feelings of frustration and discouragement — even jealousy and anger resurface, keep going.

Remember it is not the end. Just like other changes, the gluten-free switch will allow for new experiences, new foods, new friends, and new opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.¬† So, accept the feelings. But don’t let them rule you. Remind them that you’re not saying just good-bye. You are also saying “hello”. This is not the end, it is a start of a new chapter.

It will get better.

And it will get easier.

My biggest encouragement and hope is remembering that life is not all about food. That I don’t have to worry because God still cares for me.¬† Yes, food is a blessing from God. Yes, He gives food for us to thrive and enjoy. Yes, some days I feel excluded from part of God’s blessing, but then I remember that I have an even bigger blessing — God himself. Maybe, for me at least, part of this new chapter is learning to say with the Psalmist, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their new grain and wine abounds.”

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Holiday Gingerbread Cake Recipe Additions: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free

Three and a half years ago, I had to say good-bye to eggs, milk, and wheat. As time went on, I discovered and adapted recipes for pancakes, cookies, and even mini-donuts (a girl’s gotta have her carbs ‘n’ sugar comfort food, after all). But how was I to make a cake? Without eggs?

Thankfully, I came across this wonderful-smelling, delicious recipe from The Vegan 8. I followed her advice about the substitutions and made a few of my own:

  • I used arrowroot for starch and did not reduce amount for gf baking.
  • With the oat flour, I also used about 1/4 cup general purpose gf flour
  • I used rounded measurements for the spice mix because I liked the stronger flavor
  • Use oil and gf flour on the pan instead of parchment paper
  • Make a double batch for double layer cake and use seedless blackberry jam for the filling (so good)
  • Ice with Simple Mills Organic gluten and dairy free vanilla frosting
  • Instead of frosting, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • This cake refrigerates and freezes well

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Vanilla Blueberry Scone Recipe: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free

Today is a snow day!

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In keeping with snow day tradition, I slept in and then made my way to the kitchen for coffee and morning baking.

Last snow day, I made pancakes (recipe here). Today, however, I wanted something a little lighter and not as fried.

Scones.

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These blueberry-vanilla scones are every bit as good as I remember- maybe even better! Here is my recipe modified from Wholesome Patisserie’s Blueberry Scones:

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 Tablespoon gluten free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

1/2 cup coconut cream (the thick part from the top- don’t shake the can!)

1/4-1/2 cup vanilla almond or coconut yogurt (can also use peach or strawberry)

3/4 cup coconut milk french vanilla coffee creamer

1/2 c. Frozen blueberries

Extra gf flour for rolling

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Step 1: Make a cup of coffee to drink. That’s my baking secret. Also, preheat oven to 390 degrees F. Generously spray a round cake pan or use coconut/ grapeseed oil to avoid any soy.

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Step 2: add all ingredients together, except the blueberries. If the dough is not soft, add a bit more all purpose gf flour. It should be sticky, but maleable.

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Step 3: add frozen blueberries and stir carefully.

Step 4: turn dough out on floured surface and pat/hand roll until about 1 1/2 inches think. Use floured cookie cutter or plastic cup to make 2 in. circles.

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Step 5: Place scones in baking dish. Brush with coffee creamer and sprinkle with raw sugar (if desired). Bake 25-30 minutes or until sides and tops feel firm and crunchy. (I used too much creamer and had to bake an extra 8 minutes). Let set 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Make another cup of coffee and enjoy with the scones!

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Pumpkin Scone Recipe: gluten, dairy, and egg free

Since it’s Thanksgiving break, I decided to experiment with my scone recipe. The first attempt was not a complete success, but edible. The second attempt was much more satisfactory. So, without further ado, here is the recipe:

1C. General Purpose Gluten-Free flour

1/2 c. Brown Rice flour

1/2 + c. Sweet Sorghum flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/4 tsp. Baking soda

1Tbs. Coconut flour

1 c. Coconut cream (just the thick top from a can that’s separated… don’t shake the can to mix)

1/2 c. Vanilla almond yogurt

1/4 c. French vanilla coconut coffee creamer

1/3 c. Pumpkin puree (soak up as much extra moisture with paper towels as possible… the puree should be maleable much like soft play dough.)

1/2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice (more, if desired)

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 Tbs. raw sugar

Mix ingredients. You may need to add a splash of creamer/ almond milk. Kneed on floured surface (I used brown rice flour.) Flour a small cup to cut out circles – about 2 1/2 inches. Pat dough out to 1/2-3/4 inch thick and cut out scones. Place in greased, round metal baking pans. Brush tops with coconut coffee creamer and sprinkle turbino sugar on top of scones. Bake 25-30 minutes at 390 F. Let sit 5 minutes before removing from pans.

*Tip: to make nut-free, use coconut milk yogurt instead of almond milk yogurt.

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Happy National Doughnut Day

So today is National Doughnut (Donut?) Day.  Even though I am dairy and gluten free, there is never a time a will say a don’t want a doughnut (or pizza, for that matter). Since I’m on summer vacation and had no plans, I thought it would be the perfect day to experiment.  After much perusing Pinterest, I can across this recipe from Delightful Adventures.  

Click on over for the recipe. I followed advice and used Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking Flour since my dietary restrictions are lighter.

Also, I added two Tablespoons of brewed coffee and one extra Tablespoon of flour to enhance the chocolate flavor.

These were baked with Almond Milk.

I also did not have a doughnut pan, so I piped the batter into a muffin pan, which worked pretty well.  I imagine a muffin pan for over-sized muffins would leave a small hole in the doughnuts.

Seriously, these doughnuts are g.r.e.a.t. I saved some plain, sprinkled a few with powdered sugar (which was perfect), and glazed the rest. I think I made my glaze too thin (I struggle with that sometimes), so I ended up glazing the doughnuts 2-3 times, letting the glaze harden between each one.

While you are enjoying the doughnuts, check out the history behind National Doughnut Day. Happy Eating!