Saturday, November 28, 2009

Further adventures in grain free baking: clementine-cranberry scones

I've managed to create a clementine-cranberry scone that is gluten, grain, soy, and dairy free! Well, OK.....the icing I put on top is not grain free because powdered sugar has cornstarch in it, but you can skip the icing if you desire.


4 eggs
1/4 C coconut oil, melted
3 T agave syrup
Several drops (8-10) of liquid stevia to taste
1 T clementine (or orange or tangerine) zest
Freshly squeezed juice from 2 clementines (about 3 T juice)
1 C fresh cranberries
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C coconut flour
1/3 C almond flour**
1 T flax meal
1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 C powdered sugar
orange or clementine juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, and agave syrup until well mixed; add the clementine juice and zest. Coarsely chop the cranberries in a food processor, then add them to the egg mixture. Combine the salt, coconut and almond flours, flax meal and baking powder in a separate bowl, then stir into the egg-oil mixture, blending well. Add the stevia drop by drop to taste (scones aren't supposed to be very sweet), and mix thoroughly.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 16-20 minutes (start checking them at about 16 minutes), until beginning to develop golden-brown spots on tops. Makes 8 scones.

Optional icing: Let scones cool, then make clementine (or orange) icing by stirring a couple of teaspoons of juice at a time into the powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Drizzle icing over scones; let sit long enough for icing to harden a bit, then serve.

**Note: I am following Elana Amsterdam's suggestion and using ONLY finely ground blanched almond flour. Some almond flours on the market simply are not fine enough to give a good texture to baked goods. For example, Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour just doesn't work. The flour that I'm currently using is Honeyville's Blanched Almond Flour.

P.S. This is not the typical shortbread type of scone; it's a lot moister.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day of Thanksgiving - looking back, looking ahead

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you know that I'm still having serious health problems, exactly one year after going gluten free. But (and this is an important "but"), my health is better than it was one year ago, even with my new diagnosis of rhupus and being in the midst of a rhupus "flare".

My gastric problems from celiac disease are gone (diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramps), as are the mouth sores and the daily hideous migraines! What a blessing!!

Today is the day to count our blessings (although we should be counting them every day!). So I told myself that I was going to make a list of at least a few of the things that I'm thankful for (not in any particular order, and not a complete list by any means):
  • I am still here, still breathing!
  • I am better than I was a year ago; all of my conditions may go into remission eventually.
  • I have a wonderful husband and family who love me.
  • In this terrible economy, even with my health problems, I still have both of my jobs.
  • I love Jesus, and He is my life.
Of course, I don't know what the future holds, but I will continue down the dietary path I'm on. In the beginning I was just gluten free, now I'm trying to be grain free too. There are so many testimonies out there on the Web by people who experienced miraculous recoveries from various autoimmune diseases when they went grain free....I am still very hopeful.

Are you thankful for anything today? :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Links to other Thanksgiving menus and recipes

I've been getting some comments from readers with links to more recipes....thanks for those, I always love to read other people's recipes!

Just so you know....I do actually have LOTS of recipes! :)

I used to do an incredible amount of work during the holidays, back in the days before the wheelchair. I invited everyone over, and I did all the cooking.

For Thanksgiving I usually started cooking 3 days in advance, made my own whole wheat bread and cut it into cubes and dried them for the stuffing, then made pumpkin pie, cherry pie, apple pie...well you get the idea.

On Thanksgiving day I got up at 4am and cooked all day long: turkey and stuffing and homemade gravy, broccoli-cheese casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms parmesan, homemade rolls and cranberry relish. I made everything from scratch.

Then on Christmas Day I would do Thanksgiving all over again, except that I also made homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast! I used to make Christmas gifts for all my friends: homemade stollen or cookies or gingerbread.

It's so hard for me to believe now that I was able to do all of that!

I know that my adult kids miss the big feasts, but my theme now is "simplify". Fibromyalgia and rhupus and autoimmune hepatitis and everything else make it so that I have to conserve my energy, not spend it recklessly.

I realize that my Thanksgiving recipes leave something to be desired this year....yes, they are very simple, super basic. But that's just because I need simple this year due to my health issues. For those of you who feel great and have TONS of energy and a desire to cook like maniacs, here are links to some fabulous gluten free recipes (some are even dairy free and/or grain free!):

Karina's Thanksgiving Recipes

Elana's Thanksgiving Recipes

Erica's Thanksgiving Recipes

Stephanie's Thanksgiving Recipes Recipes and Thanksgiving Menus

My Very First Gluten Free Thanksgiving (2008)
(my suggestion is to substitute arrowroot or sweet rice flour for the thickeners I used....I made this meal only 3 days after I went gluten free, so I didn't know about other flours and used regular brown rice flour for pretty much everything!)

I hope that all of you have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

P.S. Take a look at some of the blog links in my side bar for even more links to Thanksgiving recipes!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Menu - Grain Free, Sugar Free

We have decided to do Thanksgiving completely grain and sugar free this year....and due to my current state of health (in the middle of a rhupus flare), I need it to be SIMPLE.

Here is my plan:

Turkey Breast in the Crockpot (from Stephanie)

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Whole Cranberry Sauce (sweetened with Stevia)

Steamed Broccoli

Mushrooms Parmesan (old family recipe: saute 1 lb mushrooms in butter until just wilted; make a parmesan cheese sauce from butter, arrowroot, cream and milk, pepper, nutmeg, plus 1/2 C or more grated parmesan; fold mushrooms into cheese sauce and pour into baking dish. Top with crumbs - can use crumbs from a grain-free biscuit - and more parmesan and bake at 350 until bubbly and top is beginning to brown.)

Grain Free Biscuits

Pumpkin Pie (sweetened with Stevia) with Almond Flour Crust (see Elana's Cookbook)

Whipped Cream sweetened with Stevia

NOTE: Since I usually tweak recipes a little I do plan to post my own versions on my Recipe Archive blog at some point, but wanted you (the reader) to have links to the sites that are my current inspirations, just in case this helps you plan your own Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful one!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gluten Free, Grain Free Menu Plan - Week of 11/16/09

Here is an attempt at a menu....let's see if I actually get to make all of these! :)

Monday: Breakfast dinner: scrambled eggs, bacon, grain-free banana blueberry muffins, fruit

Tuesday: Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry, Cauliflower "Rice"

Wednesday: Grain-free, potato-free version of Kay's Fish Pie (use Cauliflower "mashed faux-tatoes")

Thursday: Grain-free Chicken Enchiladas (recipe coming soon!)

Friday: Grain free pizza, green salad

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: BBQ Chicken in the Crockpot, Cauliflower "Potato Salad"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

So what HAVE we been eating lately, anyway?

I didn't post a menu again, because we're still in a "flying by the seat of our pants" mode right now. We are not completely grain free but are getting closer all the time.

Recently for dinner we've had:

Crockpot Garlic Chicken, green salad, mashed potatoes
Salmon Kabayaki (from Elana, who got it from Jaden), steamed broccoli

Crockpot Chili, green salad, grain-free biscuits

Broiled steak with mushrooms and garlic in a red wine reduction, green salad

Breakfasts usually consist of eggs and fruit, or cottage cheese, or some of the grain free muffins I've been experimenting with....for lunch I've been recycling dinner leftovers a lot. For example, I used leftover Garlic Chicken to make a Clementine Chicken Salad with Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette dressing:

So we're eating healthier now....but with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up I anticipate difficulties. Wow, I need to think about the Thanksgiving menu pretty soon now, don't I?

More on a gluten free Thanksgiving soon....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Muffins: grain, gluten, dairy free!

Yes! I have actually managed to do a little more experimenting in my kitchen recently, and successfully created a gluten free, grain free, dairy free muffin which exudes essence of pumpkin and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg....yum!!

Of course, there are many other gluten free recipes for pumpkin muffins, cookies, cakes, and breads out there on the Internet (please see Elana's, Karina's and Erica's latest pumpkin postings...and there are TONS more!), but this may be the only grain-free, dairy-free recipe that uses both coconut and almond flours. I've been using this combination a lot lately because it creates a great texture, retaining the good qualities of both flours without incorporating the negative ones (such as coconut flour's notorious tendency to make baked goods very dry).

These muffins are wonderfully moist and cake-like without being overly dense or oily, and have a nice "spring" to them if pressed lightly on top. I suspect they would be fabulous with additions such as pecans, chopped cranberries, or even chocolate chips....and I may be able to make iced pumpkin quick bread or pumpkin coffee cake without having to alter the recipe too much! More on that topic soon, I hope...

In any case, here is the recipe (makes approximately 21 muffins):


1/4 C melted coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 C agave nectar
1 15-oz can pumpkin (100% pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie mix)
6 eggs
3/4 C coconut flour
1 C plus 3 T almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp (rounded) ginger
1/8 tsp cloves

NOTE: 1 15-oz can of pumpkin is approximately 1 3/4 C of pumpkin puree, at least for Libby's pumpkin!


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pans generously with shortening (I've used both Crisco and Spectrum).

In a large bowl combine the eggs, agave, oil, and canned pumpkin with a hand-held mixer until smooth and "emulsified" (meaning there should not be a skim of oil on top, but the oil should be completely incorporated). In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and all the spices. Dump the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture; mix together thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently.

Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin pans. Bake at 350 for approximately 21 - 23 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for 10 - 15 minutes, then remove them to wire racks to finish cooling.

Addendum 11/19/09:
NOTE: the muffins will be very fragile just out of the oven, and will feel overly moist, even oily on the bottoms. But as they cool, they firm up and absorb the excess moisture and oil. This is likely due to the absorbent properties of the coconut flour; it allows the muffins to stay moist and delicious for days.

As I mentioned before, I made 21 muffins by filling the muffin cups about 2/3 full. If you fill yours with more batter, you will have larger (fewer) muffins and may have to bake them a bit longer.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Slowly going grain and sugar free

Why grain free? Well, the basis of many "healing diets" out there is the premise that you must rid your diet of all sugars and everything that turns to sugar in the body....of course that includes grains, alcohol, starchy veggies like potatoes and sweet potatoes, etc. Some of the diets I refer to are the Banting Diet (the original low carb diet), the Paleo Diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the Maximized Living "Healing Diet", etc. Some of these diets allow dairy foods, others do not.

The idea sounds reasonable, and as an old hand at low carb diets, I'm willing to give it a shot. The basic gluten free diet has definitely helped me immensely, but apparently my body has sustained too much damage to heal just by going gluten free. So I'm going to be grain free and sugar free. Eventually.

I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet. :)

A very basic grain free dinner is broiled steak with sauteed garlic and mushrooms plus a green salad with a low carb gluten free dressing (preferably homemade). We've been eating a lot of meals like this lately....they're quick and easy.

I know, I didn't post a menu plan last week. I've been dealing with my newly diagnosed lupus and other issues, and simply didn't have much of a plan.

Last night we had oven "fried" chicken, which (in the grain free world) is chicken breaded with almond flour and baked in the oven.

Oven Fried Chicken:


2 C almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill because it's a bit chunky - good texture for breading)
1 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
2-3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
1 T garlic powder
2 tsp Herbes de Provence (or Italian Herb Mix)
4 eggs
3 - 3 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T each butter and olive oil for pan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and olive oil in baking pan (should be large enough to accomodate all of the chicken in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between pieces if possible), and place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven. You want the pan and oil-butter mixture to be hot when the chicken goes in.

Mix all dry ingredients in a pie pan; beat the eggs in a separate pie pan. Immerse each chicken breast in the beaten eggs, coating well. Next, dredge the chicken in the almond flour mixture, pressing it in with your fingers....make sure each piece is well covered. Remove the hot baking pan from the oven and place the chicken pieces in the olive oil-butter mixture. Try to separate the chicken pieces from each other in the pan if possible.

Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn the chicken and bake for another 20 - 25 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts.