Tag Archives: gluten-free

Gluten Free Orange Rosemary Drop Scones

Remember that time two years ago when I started a different blog documenting our explorations into the Orthodox Church? Well, that’s still happening. It’s been a winding, up and down, stop and start journey. I’m no theologian and I’ve bumbled and fumbled quite a bit along the way, but the journey continues.

Yesterday, we spent some time picking oranges and lemons in my in-laws backyard while we were there splitting up our Abundant Harvest produce box. This picture perfectly depicts Ethan’s intensity and enthusiasm in the endeavor:

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Even though baking and I have a bad relationship (I swear, something always goes completely wrong even when I do everything completely right), I decided I wanted to try to make some yummy scones for coffee hour (the social gathering in the church hall immediately following Divine Liturgy each Sunday). We got a ton of rosemary in our box and I already had some that was used in our house blessing Thursday night. My first instinct was to make cheddar rosemary ones, but it’s a fasting season in the church right now and so that wouldn’t work. I don’t know how orange and rosemary went together in my brain, but it seemed a good combination. I Googled “orange rosemary scones” and quickly found this recipe from Food & Wine. I adapted it to be fasting friendly (vegan) and gluten-free. They were a big hit and gone in minutes.

Here is my version:

Gluten Free Orange Rosemary Drop Scones

Ingredients:
-2 cups Pamela’s biscuit and scone mix
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-pinch of salt
-zest of one softball size navel orange
-juice of one softball size navel orange
-3 Tbsp solidified coconut oil (this happens naturally in my house this time of year, you may need to refrigerate yours to get the same effect)
-2 tsp minced rosemary leaves
-1 Tbsp TJs raw organic honey (this stuff is much thicker than other honey I have purchased in the past, the consistency of butter)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest, rosemary and honey with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.

Stir in orange juice until just combined, do not over mix.

Spoon heaping tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet as you would cookies or drop biscuits/scones.

Bake for 10 minutes until just golden on the top and edges. Remove from oven and move scones to a cooling rack. Serve.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

A few weeks ago, I made up some pumpkin pancakes in my newly gluten-free state and they were so good, it was like eating pumpkin pie for breakfast.

I posted a quick picture of my accomplishment on my Instagram feed and a friend asked for the recipe. I am so glad she did and that I wrote it down in the comments because I have been referring back to that picture for the recipe on an almost weekly basis to remember what I did.

The only thing is that the recipe is getting buried in my feed by my daily postings of pictures and it is getting trickier to find it. So I decided to blog it here, purely for selfish purposes, to have it at my fingertips easily. I also realized that I really need to update my recipes page on here with several of my more recent creations so everything is organized and easy to find. My goal is to get that done sometime this week, but we will see.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
• 2 cups Pamela’s gluten free baking and pancake mix
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 1/2 cup milk (more if necessary to thin to the right consistency)
• 1 cup pumpkin purée
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together.

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Spoon out onto a warm, buttered griddle.

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When batter starts to look done at the edges, flip and cook the other side for a few minutes until golden on both sides.

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Remove to plate, top with maple syrup and enjoy.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola Muffins

It’s that time of year, time for all things pumpkin. Thanks to Pinterest I’ve been trying new things, but I really should whip out some of my tried and true favorites because there have been some seriously awful flops.

Today I was craving pumpkin muffins since I can’t enjoy the Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin anymore (sniff, sniff, tear). After a little searching on Pinterest with lots of dead-end and spam links (don’t even get me started on the problems with that site), I decided to try to adapt this recipe from The Yummy Life and it worked out pretty well. I decided to forego the granola streusel topping though and I cut back on some of her amounts for sugar and spice.

Ingredients
• 1 3/4 cup Pamela’s gluten-free baking mix
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 2 eggs from pastured chickens
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
• 1 can (minus 3 Tbsp that I used in another recipe yesterday) pumpkin purée
• 2 Tbsp butter, melted
• 1/2 cup chopped (with a hand chopper) gluten-free granola (I used TJs loaded fruit and nut kind and it had a lot of big chunks which is why I chopped it first)

Preheat oven to 400. Toss all the ingredients in your stand mixer, mix until combined. Spoon into paper lined muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or less. (I recommend less. I followed the 20 min and wound up with some extra crispy tops.)

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This face…

…is the face of my daughter this morning documenting the fact that we are allergy free.

The past couple weeks I’ve been letting the kids eat whatever, eat what we eat, sharing food with them when we go out to eat with a few more tightly controlled and closely watched experiments. The last of those experiments was this morning when I fed her French toast with real egg and bread.

We’ve had no reactions that I can tell.

I am so very happy. This makes my life so much easier. It’s one of the best days ever!

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Thinking about food allergies

I have been thinking a lot more about my kids, my family and food allergies lately.

My thoughts feel sort of jumbled and there is so much information to wade through.

I guess the beginning of this was a few months ago when I was just tired and dealing with morning sickness, not that bad mind you, but bad enough that I didn’t want to do anything.

And that despite how careful we are with our kids and their diets, they still have eczema and runny #2 diapers and poor growth on the growth charts sometimes. So not a giant difference in their supposed allergy “symptoms”.

And I have talked to other moms and read them too (Emery and Olive Oil come specifically to mind) about how they tried to make the same changes that we had, didn’t notice much in the way of symptom changes, did notice it was a lot of work and did notice that it was really hard to get their kids to eat that way.

I’ll admit that part of me got a little high and mighty. Part of me said, “Well, I am doing it and there is SOME difference and HOW can you just DO that to your child knowing what you know?” And part of me felt their pain and burden and frustration. Part of me understood the high rate of false positives in these allergy tests. Part of me saw the conflicting advice out there. Part of me heard about continual exposure eventually helping people to overcome their allergies instead of complete avoidance.

So anyway, back on track with the story. A couple months ago when I was tired and not feeling like it, I let my kids have regular old oatmeal at a bagelry. And a few other times I let them have blueberry muffins because Bean saw the muffins in the display case and really wanted one.

And nothing happened. The oatmeal was probably mostly fine. Oats can become contaminated by wheat fields and mills so that is why you have to buy the special gluten-free kind. But they are probably mostly fine, most of the time. The muffins were likely a triple threat cocktail for Bean. I am sure they had butter (dairy), wheat and eggs.

And like I said, nothing happened. I noticed no difference in skin or output. There was no throwing up, no diarrhea no rash. Just nothing.

But then I felt terrible.

Plus, Sprout’s last few appointments the doctor has been increasingly alarmist with regards to his status on the growth charts. Did those muffins and oatmeal lazy moments cause it? Was I really a terrible mother?

So then I read more stuff about allergy testing and how some fringe doctors believe the most standard blood test that Bean had is not enough and how there are other bodily reactors we can test against that can show a wider spectrum of food sensitivity and intolerance. But then how other doctors think these tests aren’t accurate either and have way too many false positives.

Then there are others who say that the best way to figure out food sensitivities is thru elimination diets or by introducing them back one at a time. Still others say this too is inaccurate because a lot of times food sensitivities and allergies don’t have super noticeable side effects like rashes, skin disorders, or gastrointestinal function problems and yet there are still insidious things going on in the body because of these foods.

And basically the medical community, as usual, can’t get their act together and agree on anything and just make things a little easier for us parents.

Fast forward to last week and I fed my kids and I a plate of vegetarian nachos from Baja Fresh because I just didn’t feel like having a bunch of leftovers from all of us to cart around and I also can’t bring myself to throw away that much food. Plus, I knew that Bean was coming up on the magic age when children for some reason outgrow their food allergies and that as an introduction to dairy, cheese was probably one of the safe bets because it is easier to digest than whole milk.

And again, nothing happened.

And again I felt huge amounts of guilt and questioning of myself.

Because really is this just me being selfish? I don’t have to tell those of you that have to deal with even one food allergy how much easier my life would be if I didn’t have to deal with food allergies. Even just eliminating one of Bean’s would be so incredibly helpful to me and a bit easier for me.

And for those of you that don’t know this life, imagine all of the typical toddler foods being eliminated. Imagine every time you eat out as a family being a big worry fest as to whether your kids will be inadvertently exposed to a poison. Imagine dinners and potlucks with friends often being incredibly awkward because you can’t find anything your child can eat. Or imagine telling that child that no, they really can’t enjoy all the other yummy foods that their friends are enjoying. Other kids’ birthday parties with no cake or treats for your kids. Having to make everything on your own from scratch all the time because usually even if you can find something that doesn’t have one of their allergens, it has one or two of the others. Having to pay so much money for alternative foods and supplements. The list could go on and on.

And then I start reading this book on the 4-A epidemic in children: autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. And once again I am freaking out and thinking that maybe there is more that my kids are up against. And I need thousands of dollars in testing to be sure. And how maybe that explains how small my kids are or any other host of little things I can pick up on in my kids.

So then the kids have a check up today and I talk to my doctor about some of it. The good news is that Sprout is growing again and Bean is doing pretty good too. We’ve avoided a trip to UCLA with “ten thousand dollars worth of testing all day long” (as he put it), for now.

He says he doesn’t put much faith in the allergy tests. Too many false positives and negatives. He did say that Bean’s original tests back when she was a year old showed only a mild allergy to wheat and dairy and a moderate allergy to egg. He said that low on the spectrum he usually sees kids grow out of and that she may have grown out of them by now. Plus, he said over half the things she was tested for were a complete waste since she hadn’t even been introduced to them and they would have had a false negative. Since he doesn’t really put much into the allergy testing he thinks we should just start trying to reintroduce stuff.

So I don’t know. I still feel confused. Like what if I reintroduce this stuff and maybe there isn’t noticeable eczema or yucky poops. Does that really mean everything is OK? Am I just being paranoid? A hypochondriac? But oh gosh would life be easier and less expensive if we could eliminate some of these things!

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Lisa’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix

When it comes to gluten-free baking everyone has an opinion about the right combination of flours because no one other grain seems to be able to mimic the elasticity, texture, flavor, etc. of wheat. The Internet is a really great resource for those with Celiac’s, wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. There are tons and tons of websites, blogs, gluten-free stores, cookbooks, and recipes to be found. And behind all of them is an opinion on this subject.

One baker will tell you that millet is a gluten-free bread baker’s dream. Another will say sorghum flour has a great texture. A lot of people are not fans of rice flour because of the grainy texture, which is funny because so many pre-made mixes are mostly made with rice flour (you’d think the makers of these mixes would listen, but I suspect it probably has more to do with the fact that rice is cheap). Certified gluten-free oat flour, I’ve heard numerous times, is the closest thing to wheat. Almond meal is perfect to bake with and produces the fluffiest baked goods. Some prefer to add things like flax seed meal or garbanzo bean flour to their mixes for extra protein and fiber (though just like eating regular garbanzo beans you might want to grab some Beano before enjoying a baked good that contains this flour). These are all things I’ve read on numerous websites and books dedicated to making the gluten-free life a little easier.

It has been nice having all these resources to go to since several family members have discovered varying levels of allergy and intolerance to wheat. Most recently my husband has gone gluten-free and about 6 weeks in now he is definitely noticing some benefits including the loss of 7lbs and a little pooch he’s never been able to get rid of (what some people refer to as “wheat belly”) no matter how hard he worked out or watched what he ate. I still have a stash of a few things I am holding onto and when we eat out I indulge, but for the most part our house is gluten-free now.

So the creative wheels have been turning. I needed a good mix of flours because one of the biggest obstacles, at least for me, to gluten-free baking is having to pull out several different bags of flours and pull a little from each bag. It takes up a lot of space on your counter and in your cupboards and it’s just annoying having to measure out that many ingredients.

The best stuff on the market that most people I know with wheat allergies use is probably Pamela’s mix. Unfortunately, it contains cultured buttermilk so Bean and Sprout can’t have anything that is made with it. I have had some seriously yummy treats baked with that stuff and so it is really a bummer that it won’t work for our family.

I decided today that I would take the opinions that I’ve read plus my own experience with gluten-free baking and try to come up with my very own all purpose mix that could be used as a cup for cup substitute in any recipe calling for flour that I tried. I am finally pretty happy with the result. No grainy textures, no bitter aftertaste, something that is somewhere between whole wheat and white in texture and taste, and a great elasticity in doughs and batter. So here it is, I am throwing my hat in the ring of gluten-free flour combo opinions:

Lisa’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix
-1 cup arrowroot starch/flour
-1 cup sorghum flour
-1 cup millet flour
-1 cup almond meal (I do like the blanched Bob’s Red Mill stuff better than the “Just Almond Meal” from TJ’s)
-1 cup oat flour
-1 cup potato starch
-1 cup sweet rice flour
-3 tbsp xanthan gum

Sift ingredients together (the almond meal and the oat flour had quite a few chunks, so this is important for a smooth end product) into a large bowl then use a wire whisk to combine thoroughly.

This made enough flour for a batch of muffins and a loaf of bread with some leftover. I made a second batch just before I put things away to keep in my big flour jar and have on hand for the next time I feel like baking. That way I can just take out the jar and measure out the amount of flour I need without a big production.


Gluten-free bread dough rising.


The finished loaf. I just found a simple bread recipe that used regular flour and substituted my flour mix.


Strawberry banana muffins using strawberries we got at the farmer’s market yesterday. Again, I just found a strawberry muffin recipe online and used my mix for the flour, a combo of hemp and coconut milk for the milk, and a banana instead of the egg it called for.

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Orange Chicken

Prior to Finding out about Bean’s food allergies and also changing our diets to have drastically less processed food, TJs orange chicken or orange chicken from a favorite Chinese restaurant was a staple in our diet. We love orange chicken, even if it isn’t “real” Chinese food.

Problem is that most recipes have wheat and egg in them for the crispy battered pieces. I have been craving this dish and decided I would attempt a version our whole family could enjoy.

I was successful. Sort of. Bean is in a really picky phase again so she didn’t eat much. Boo! Everyone else loved it though.

I will note that my orange chicken is very orange flavored. I think the TJs version has a different ratio of soy sauce to orange. So if you make this and think my version is too orange, reduce the orange and up the soy.

This is the second recipe I have mentioned gluten free flour mix. I am not using a specific brand. I just recently decided to combine all my gluten free flours because I was tired if pulling a little from each bag. If you typically use a mix like Pamela’s, I am sure that would work fine.

I looked at a few different recipes yesterday before experimenting with this one last night. Most recipes called for dipping the chicken in egg before coating it in a mixture of flour and spices. If you can have wheat and eggs, you might try that. Another trick I used to use when making fried chicken was the self rising flour which I believe has baking powder and baking soda in it. The combination of eggs and this will probably produce a more crispy chicken if that is what you are going for.

Ingredients:
• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
• zest of one orange
• 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
• crushed red pepper flakes
• Chinese five spice powder
• 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
• 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 cup gluten free flour mix
• salt and pepper
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1/4 tsp sesame oil
• oil for frying
• rice and green beans to serve with

So first thing I did last night was throw my rice with the amount of water the package said in the rice cooker. Then I trimmed up my green beans and put them in the steam pan that goes on top.

Then I made the sauce. I opened up the orange juice concentrate and scooped approximately three tablespoons into a small saucepan. Then I added the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, a couple dashes of red pepper flakes, lemon juice, a couple dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder (that’s a Jamie Oliver trick right there) and about a teaspoon of the orange zest (reserve the rest). Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally.

Note to mom: we all know how you feel about spicy food, and since you were one of the people that specifically asked for this recipe, to reduce the spice in this dish, skip or reduce the ginger, the red pepper, and the Chinese Five Spice powder. Note to everyone else: if you like your orange chicken on the spicy side, increase all those things.

While that was simmering, I cut up my two chicken breasts into bite sized cubes. Then in a ziplock bag I combined the flour, remaining orange zest, a few dashes of Chinese Five Spice powder, and a few cracks from my salt and pepper grinders.

The sauce was looking pretty good at this point so I turned off the heat and set the pan aside to cool and thicken.

I tossed the chicken in the zip lock bag, sealed it and then shook it up to coat in the flour mixture.

Then I got out my wok and put about a half inch of vegetable oil (which if you look at the label is just soy bean oil, probably not the best stuff for you) and then I also added about a quarter teaspoon of Sesame oil. I turned my heat up to medium high and when it got fragrant I added in the chicken in small batches turning each piece once until they were gold and crispy on the outside and firm. I did not cut them open to see if they were no longer still pink. I just knew, but if you are paranoid about that sort of thing or don’t just know, you may want to employ that test. You can drain the chicken on paper towels or flour sack cloths if you want.

I put all the cooked chicken in a bowl. Then I added in the green onions and the sauce. I stirred it all up until it was evenly coated.

At this point the rice and green beans were done. In another bowl I dressed the green beans with some olive oil and salt.

Then I plated everything together in one big pile. It was super yum.

This made enough for all four of us, but Stephen and I had large portions and the kids did not.

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