Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had safe travels.  Our travels took much longer than anticipated due to some nasty winter weather, but the visit was nice.  I'm very glad to be home safe and sound and enjoying the safe-food bubble that is my home.

I'll try to add some pictures that I took of Thanksgiving items whose recipes I posted earlier.

Now, time to gear up for Christmas.  What Christmas traditions do you hold dear?  I love the season of giving.  Finding that perfect gift for each person on my list is one of my favorite things.  I'm excited by the challenge this year of being more frugal and crafty in this department.  I've been like a little elf, working away at my projects.  I'd love to share, but it will have to wait until after the holiday as it's currently 'Top Secret'. 
Another big tradition for me is doing a lot of holiday baking.  I've done this for many years (giving most away to friends and family), and was quite distraught by the thought that I would not be able to continue after our diet changed.  Thankfully, with a little trial and error, I've been able to convert most of my favorites.  I'll start posting them soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cranberry Nut Bread

My absolute favorite quick bread.  My mom made this every year for Thanksgiving and I have carried on the tradition.  Now my in-laws beg me to make it (my first year gf I tried using a gf cranberry bread recipe that was met with much dismay, so I had to come back to this one and convert it).

Cranberry Nut Bread
adapted from Ocean Spray's Cranberry Nut Bread

4 c. Four Flour Bean Mix or Featherlight Mix
3 tsp. xanthan gum
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. canola oil
2 Tbsp. orange zest
2 eggs
3 c. cranberries, fresh or frozen, roughly chopped
1 c. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work well)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Mix together flour, xanthan, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, oil and eggs. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pans.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely. Wrap and store overnight. Makes 2 loaves.

Pecan Pie

Probably my favorite pie of all.  I was so tickled when I found this recipe a couple of years ago.  While I haven't entirely cut out corn syrup from our diet, I do try to avoid it so this was a great recipe.  And, not so cloyingly sweet as the traditional recipe.

Pecan Pie
adapted from 'How to Cook Everything' by Mark Bittman

1 pie crust
2 cups shelled pecans (preferably toasted first)
5 eggs
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 c. canola oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Prebake crust (bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes) and place pecans on a baking sheet and bake (you can do this before the oven reaches 450 degrees), shaking and stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the pecans are hot.  Cool the pecans; coarsely chop half of them and leave the other half intact.
Start the filling while the crust is in the oven.  When the crust is done, turn the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the eggs well, until they are foamy.  Beat in the sugars, salt, and oil.  While the crust is baking, warm this mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is hot to the touch; do not boil.  Stir in the vanilla extract and the pecans.
Place the pie plate on a baking sheet.  Pour this mixture into the still-hot crust and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture shakes like Jell-O but is still quite moist.  Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bring on the Thanksgiving feast

Alright, so I figured I should start adding some Thanksgiving-friendly recipes so you all have time to gather ingredients and make stuff before the big day.  What does your Thanksgiving feast look like?  Are you missing items from pre-gf?  I've managed to recreate all of our mainstays.  We do a pretty typical dinner, I think - turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, stuffing, rolls, veggies, cranberry sauce, cranberry bread, gravy, pies...lots of pies.

On that note, I thought I'd start off with a recipe for graham crackers in case anyone wants a graham cracker pie crust.  Remember, I've already posted the Vinegar Pastry for those regular pies.

Graham Crackers
by Raechel Medina

3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. Spectrum shortening
1/2 c. water + 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. Featherlight flour mix
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

In a medium bowl, beat honey, molasses, brown sugar, peanut butter and shortening until very smooth.
Combine water, lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.
combine dry ingredients.  Alternating, add liquids and dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, stirring well.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil a cookie sheet (or, use Silpat baking mats).
Divide dough into three or four balls.  Roll out each to about a 1/16" thickness (I like to do this between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent sticking).  Cut into squares or use cookie cutters for desired shapes and prick with a fork. Transfer carefully to cookie sheet.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn.  Cool on wire racks.  Store in airtight container or freeze.  Makes about 4 dozen, depending on size/shape.

Crazy weather

My apologies for not posting this week.  We had some crazy, wicked weather roll through Monday night - 85mph gusts of wind (class I hurricane range!), thunder, lightning, pouring rain. I woke in the middle of the night to watch and listen to it - it was something to behold!   It knocked out our power at 1:20am Tuesday.  We found out later that the highway that runs by our house was closed just north of us - they had 9 power poles topple.

So, Tuesday morning, after stumbling around in the dark I finally found the one remaining, semi-working flashlight (kids are really rough on them). My husband headed in to see if he had power at his office in town.  On his way out he found that a good-sized tree had snapped on the side of our driveway, thankfully not blocking it.  I hauled in the box of candles and a kerosene lantern so we'd have light and then went on a quest for a radio that could be battery powered to see if the boys had school.  No such luck - the two radios we have that can run on batteries require, respectively, 10 D batteries and 8 C batteries.  Had one walkman with AM/FM which would have been great, but I discovered the downfall to our switch to rechargeable batteries - we had no charged AA batteries.  How could that be?  So, feeling quite foolish, I started the car to charge my cell phone (which also died in the night) and catch the news on the radio.  Got my phone charged and touched base with my husband - spotty power in town and he didn't get power at his office until about 7:30 or 8:00am (he starts work at 6am).

Thankfully, school was canceled, so the boys and I had a long, quiet (albeit chilly) day.  We read and read and read until my voice was hoarse and throat was raw - we've been reading the Little House on the Prairie series and just started the Rose Years.  We played games.  Didn't get do much in the way of meals - thankfully I had a couple loaves of bread so we had sandwiches for lunch and dinner.  Kept hoping the power would come on before the next meal.  The boys were intrigued and a bit befuddled by the lack of power.  My youngest asked a couple times to play on the computer.  They enjoyed eating by candle/lamp light, although they kept complaining about how dim it was.  I rather enjoyed it - I grew up without electricity, so for much of my childhood we used lanterns, wood heat and hauled water.  It was nice slowing down and having a quiet day.

The only downfalls were that we don't have a non-electric source of water (I'd love to get a manual pump for our well or a rain barrel system).  And, our non-electric heat source is very limited - we have a fireplace insert that we use for most of our heat, but it uses a blower.  Without the blower working, it doesn't produce much heat since the firebox is so well insulated.  Thankfully, it wasn't any colder (it was in the 30's).

Wednesday was much the same - lots more reading, games and time hiking around our property to see if there was any damage.  One son had school, the other did not (two big trees fell at his school, blocking the road, but thankfully didn't hit the school).  We lucked out that only two trees had fallen on our property, neither of which caused any damage.  The cold weather was a bonus in one respect - the fridge and freezer were able to maintain temps okay.  I did add a couple frozen jugs of water to the fridge Tuesday morning and finally moved stuff to a cooler with ice in the garage Wednesday mid-day.  But, the big chest freezer stayed frozen.  My husband kept relaying information from the power company's website throughout the day to keep us posted of their progress.  The estimate was that we'd have power by 4pm.  Around 3pm we ran out of water from the holding tank.  Hmmph.  Of course, 4:00 came and went with no power.  Cooked dinner outside, in the dark, on the grill.  Shortly after finishing dinner, the power finally came on at 7pm.  Boy were those lights brilliant!

So, that concludes our saga.  If you followed along, I'll mention that I'll try to actually get some food posts on here over the weekend to gear up for Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving.  I was a little intimidated the first year we were gluten, dairy and soy free (and to add to it, we join our extended family for the holiday, so it's more than just our family that has to enjoy the meal.)  So far, I've had only rave reviews, though, so I think I'm onto something.  If anyone has any holiday challenges they'd like help with, please let me know!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Well, I thought I'd posted this at the beginning of the school year, but, in going back it looks like I only posted the ideas for the treat bags.  Since this topic came up the other day when talking with some other moms and, because frankly, I've been stuck in a rut with no snack ideas, here is a list of snack ideas for the kids' school days (or any time).

Snack Ideas
    *We are limited for snacks by keeping things simple and non-refrigerated/non-heated, so I only list those here.

  • apples (if cut, sprinkled with cinnamon or rubbed with lemon juice; occasionally with pb or a dip)
  • other fruits
  • fruit leather ( Stretch Island or homemade)
  • dried fruit
  • Tings
  • Ener-G Wylde pretzels
  • veggies (sometimes with peanut butter or hummus, which, by the way freezes in an ice cube tray perfectly)
  • breadsticks
  • bars: Lara, Boomi, Oskiri, Enjoy Life, Envirokids (most flavors), Trio, Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch
  • granola bites/bars (homemade)
  • popcorn (toppings here include: flaxseed oil, salt, nutritional yeast, chili powder/chipotle powder or hot sauce, lemon juice; occasionally cinnamon & sugar)
  • Clif Twisted Fruit
  • rice crackers
  • graham crackers (homemade)
  • Fritos Scoops
  • potato chips
  • Mission tortilla chips
  • jerky (homemade as I haven't found one without soy)
  • cookies
  • muffins or quick breads
  • pancake with peanut butter
  • Super Fridge Fudge
  • cereal
  • trail mix (mix of whatever is handy: peanuts, nuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, cereal, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
Other ideas
     when refrigeration or portability is not an issue-
  • canned fruit
  • applesauce (cinnamon added on top)
  • sorbet
  • Jello or homemade gelatin
  • boiled egg
  • pudding (homemade)
What are your favorites that I've missed?  I'm always looking for new ideas!


I had to catch up on some baking so I'd have snack items for the boys, so I whipped out a couple of batches of muffins last night and thought I'd share.

Apple Muffins
By Raechel Medina

1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 c. flaxmeal
1/2 c. potato starch
3/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 c. water (or milk substitute)
2 eggs
1-2 c. peeled, cored & chopped apple (I use however much I have on hand - last night was 2 medium apples)
turbinado sugar (optional, for topping)

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix to combine, then add apples.  Once well mixed, divide into greased muffin tins or cake pan (I get 18 muffins or 12 muffins and a small round cake pan.).  Sprinkle with a bit of turbinado sugar, if desired.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
To store at room temperature, don't seal up tight or they will get gooey, although you can always toss them back in the oven for a couple minutes to remedy this.  To freeze, omit the sugar topping.

Mexican Chocolate Muffins
my tweaked version of Stephanie's Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

1 c. brown rice flour
1/3 c. potato starch
2 Tbsp + 2tsp. tapioca starch
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne (a bit more if you want a kick, but this amount gives just a hint of  a tingle)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp water (or milk substitute)
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 - 3/4 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips, if using.  Divide batter into greased muffin tin.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pie crust

A friend requested a recipe for pie crust, so I thought I'd post it.  I figured that surely I would have a picture of a pie I've made to go along with the recipe, but lo and behold - nada.  Anyway, here's the recipe I use most often and I'll post an actual pie soon.

Vinegar Pastry (Revised)
by Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-free Gourmet"

1 c. white rice flour (*I use brown rice flour)
3/4 c. tapioca flour
3/4 c. corn starch
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 to 3 Tbsp ice water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cornstarch, xanthan gum, salt and sugar.  Cut in the shortening.  Blend together the beaten egg, vinegar and cold water.  Stir into the flour mixture, holding back some, until the pastry holds together and forms a ball.  (Kneading will not toughen this pastry.)

Form two balls and place in a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove and roll one ball at a time between 2 sheets of plastic wrap that have been dusted with sweet rice flour.  To place in pie tin:  Remove top sheet and, using the other for ease of handling, invert the dough and drop it into the pan.  Shape it into the curves before removing the second piece of plastic wrap.  For a crust to be used later, bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  For a filled pie, follow directions for that pie.

Makes two 9" crusts or a double-crusted pie.