Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Direction

     I haven't written for some time.  It's been crazy hectic around my home.  I am working on a new food project.  As you know from many of my posts, I don't like the conventional gluten free approach due to it's lack of nutritional value.  Many of the recipes I have on this blog have a decent nutritional value but some don't.  My hope for my family is to see food as fuel.  Many of the wonderful, gluten -free people I read about, have spoken to, etc. are just trying to NOT get sick.  I want to go further than that.  I want to heal my family.  Several months ago I began learning about natural yeast.  Most people have heard of sourdough, natural yeast is much the same but less sour.  The premise is that the wheat is very hard to digest.  Also, much of the available nutrition in wheat is unavailable read more here.  In order to break down the gluten in wheat and to make it's nutrition available, the wheat needs to go through some sort of change.  One could be to sprout the wheat, another to ferment (sourdough or natural yeast breads) the dough.  Fermenting has the benefit of adding probiotics to the system.  Those with autoimmune disorders need to strengthen the immune system in order to really heal.  Probiotics help with this healing.
     I have been experimenting with fermenting bread dough for a little bit now.  I have been letting it sit for 24 hours or nearly that.  It takes some time for the good bacteria to break down the gluten enough to be safe.  So far I only have the way my children act and feel with the baked goods I've made from the natural yeast.  I haven't seen any reaction.  My next step is to buy several gluten tests and use them to test the dough at various times of fermentation.  I have two kids with Science Fair Projects that will test the theory that fermentation makes wheat safe to eat for those who are sensitive to gluten.
     Okay, so that is all fine and good, but how does the bread taste?  I have made pancakes, pizza dough, crepes, waffles, french bread, crackers, and cinnamon rolls.  Everything was well received.  The cinnamon rolls were divine.  I haven't had such a wonderful, fluffy, yummy, cinnamon roll in SUCH a long time.  So, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Update on Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I found a recipe that added almond flour to a similar recipe to the one I posted.  I tried adding 1/2 Cup almond flour to my existing recipe.  To make the flour I just put the almonds in my Blendtec and pulsed a few times being careful not to go too far and make almond butter.  The crust held together very well and I liked the added nutty flavor.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

     Sure wish I had taken a picture of this beautiful pizza crust.  Sounds kind of strange doesn't it?  My cousins' wife told me about this and so I had to try it.  It is SO much easier to make than other GF pizza crusts.  My only complaint is that it doesn't hold together well.  I'm going to do some research and see if I can tweak this a bit to make it stay together better.  I found recipes all over the internet and most were the same.  One website said to squeeze the excess water out of the cauliflower to help the crust firm up - I will try that next time.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust                                                                 Preheat oven 450 degrees

1/2 large head cauliflower (or 2 + cups shredded)
1 large egg
1 Cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic (or fresh)
1/2 tsp. onion salt (I omitted this)

Shred cauliflower into small crumbles.  Careful not to puree - just crumble.  Place cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes.  My microwave cooks faster so I did it in 3 min.  Cool cauliflower.

In a medium bowl mix the crumbles with the remaining crust ingredients.  On a pre-greased 9-12 inch round pizza pan form a crust being careful to make it even.  If desired coat the pizza lightly with olive oil.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until crust is golden.  Remove the crust and top as desired.  Place the pizza back in the oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly (or golden if you like it like that!)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

I Did It!

 Last year I decided to continue my herbal education and get my Nutritional Herbologist certificate.  I was most interested in the auto-immune disorder portion of the class.  I got hung up on one assignment and it was months before I finished the course.  I'm happy to say that I finished the class and passed the test!!!  I have loved the Herbology courses and am trying to save up enough money to take the next step or get a certification in Aromatherapy.  Essential oil are a passion of mine and I've been using them for years.  I would love to be able to teach what I know to others!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Very Bad Sunburn

Okay, so this isn't about food.  That's okay, I originally made this blog for lots of topics.  Food just became the main one.  I recently (last week) acquired a very bad burn on my face and neck.  Although my hair is red, my skin isn't as fair as most.  I don't burn easily.  It turns out that I had unknowingly used an essential oil that causes photo sensitivity.  I have been using essential oils for years and understand that you have to use caution with them.  Unfortunately, I didn't research this particular oil very well.  Here's a list of oils that should be avoided when going in to the sun.  It's best to use them in the evening and don't go in to the sun for 12 hours after using them.  More research showed that you could go in the sun if you used the oils on areas of the skin that would not be exposed to sun.  I will be even more cautious than that because I don't remember applying the oils to my face and it was burned terribly.

     Bergamont (unless it is bergaptene free sold as Bergamot FCF
     Bitter Orange (cold pressed)
     Lime (cold pressed as well as distilled)
     Tangerine (cold pressed)

I've done quite a bit of research on how to treat a sunburn and have tried many of them.  I'm going to talk about a few that gave relief.  Drink LOTS of water to help with dehydration.  Aloe was one of the top treatments.  The aloe I had on hand was not pure aloe and it burned when I put it on.  I'm going to buy an aloe plant and use that the next time I have a burn.  The first thing to do is to cool down the burn.  A cool shower, bath, ice pack, milk, yogurt, cucumber, white vinegar, etc. will do the trick.  I added plantain powder and lavender essential oils to the bath which helps soothe the skin.  Unpasteurized honey alone or with vinegar was very nice.  Honey is a humectant and will keep the moisture in the skin.  I made a mixture of water, a drop or two of peppermint essential oil, a few drops of lavender oil and some colloidal silver and put that in a small spray bottle.  That mixture cooled and soothed my skin.  I sprayed that on whenever needed.  I also applied coconut oil as frequently as I needed to keep my face from feeling tight.  I'm still working on completely healing from this burn but have to say that these ideas have given me a lot of relief.

Yummy Quinoa Mac & Cheese

     Mac and Cheese is one dish that most children like to eat.  There are tons of recipes for homemade mac and cheese that can be substituted with gluten free noodles.  I like this version because it is good for you, tasty, and my kids will eat it!  Many additions and substitutions can be made with this basic recipe.  If you need step by step instructions (with pictures) here's a great blog.  It's the recipe I used and made changes to.
I've done this a couple different ways.  One is to omit the egg, stir everything up and there is no need to bake.  This was great when we needed a quick dinner.

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
2 1/2 Cups Water
2 Cups cheddar cheese
1 Cup milk of choice (I used almond)
3 Tbsp. Butter, Unsalted
2 Tbsp. gluten free flour
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cup Broccoli, Finely Chopped (or cauliflower, ham, peppers, etc.)

1. In a large skillet, add olive oil and onion to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add quinoa and stir to combine; let cook for 5 minutes for quinoa to become aromatic and slightly opaque. 
2. Add water, salt, and pepper to quinoa mixture; let simmer 15-20 minutes until 95% of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is softened.
3. In the meantime, melt butter and flour is saucepan over medium heat; stir to combine. Add cheddar cheese and milk; stir continuously over medium heat until all cheese is melted and fully incorporated with the milk/butter/flour mix. 
4. Combine, eggs, quinoa, chopped broccoli with the cheese blend; stir gently and well.
5. Pour into greased baking dish.
6. Bake at 400* for 30 minutes until top is slightly browned.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chia Seed Pudding?

I bought chia seeds the other day.  I don't know if you've ever seen a chia seed before but they are tiny.  A little research showed that these seeds contain tons of nutrition.  Omega 3 fatty acids are just one of the health benefits.  Some call chia a superfood.  I found that chia seeds are incorporated into food as a thickener in dips, puddings, tossed in to smoothies, etc.  There are many recipes on the net for pudding.  Today I'm going to share a Mock Tapioca Pudding.

Mock Tapioca Pudding

1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp. vanilla
10 or so drops of stevia
1/4 cup of chia seeds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir mixture.  Place in fridge for at least one hour.  It doesn't get much easier!