Updated Easy Gluten-Free Peasant Bread

The most visited blog post on my site is the Easiest Gluten-Free Peasant Bread Ever post which is understandable, because it truly is easy and it’s different than anything you can buy. I’ve worked with this recipe so many times now that I finally feel I can update the recipe which is not only gluten-free, but also dairy and egg-free, and now, xanthan gum free too. Of course, feel free to use butter instead of olive oil, and if xanthan gum doesn’t bother you, go ahead and add it if you wish. I’m using ground psyllium husks instead which helps with the smoothness because I’m just not convinced xanthan gum is a good choice for our family with multiple food intolerances. Also, I make up a big batch of the flour and store it in my pantry for ease of use, and I make up extra once-risen dough to store in my fridge for a week or two. If you find you can’t digest oat flour well, or don’t have access to certified gluten-free oat flour like Bob’s Red Mill, then replace it with Teff or Millet, or a combination of both. Here’s the recipe:

Flour:

3 1/4 C Oat flour

2 C Brown Rice flour

2 C Millet Flour

2  C Sorghum Flour

1 3/4 C Tapioca flour

1 1/4 Potato Starch

1/4 C Ground Psyllium Husks

Mix all together for your flour blend.

Dough:

4 T Flax Meal + 3/4 C warm water

6 1/4 C Flour blend (This is half of the flour blend from above.)

1 T yeast

1/2 T kosher salt

2 T sugar

Put the flax meal and water in a large measuring cup b/c you’ll be adding more water to it, but first let it sit for about 10 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add enough warm water to the flax mixture to get to 3 3/4 Cups liquid. I use a glass 2 cup measuring vessel in which the flax and water set for 10 minutes, then add water up to the 2 C line which I pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, then add another 1 3/4 C of water to the mixture. If you have a 4 C measuring cup then it is even easier. Blend all together and let it rise for about 2 hours. I do this in the oven~ warm the oven up for a minute on high, then turn it off and let the dough rise with a damp towel over it. Once it has risen, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or two. This is enough dough for 3 loaves of the peasant bread baked in the pyrex glass bowls though you could also use this basic dough in another recipe if you wanted.

To bake the Peasant Bread

First oil or butter a pyrex bowl, or spray with a non-stick spray like Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray. However you choose to do this, make sure it is good and thick because the dough is sticky and I’ve ruined many loaves’ crusts by not making a good enough non-stick barrier. In other words, grease it well, then grease it again. I actually find the cooking spray works best. Take about 1/3 of the dough and plop it in the glass bowl to rise another hour or so. I do this in the oven again, which means I have to take it out of the oven when it is time to preheat.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stick a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the oven for steam. Bake the bread for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 375 degrees F for about 22-25 minutes. Take the bread out of the bowl and if you like a crustier loaf as I do, put the bread sans bowl back in the over for another 5 minutes.

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Let it cool before cutting.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Comfort Food

Today….there is not enough chocolate.

The sun still rose, but it shone on a country that has disappointed me to the core.

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I am not a political person, and I don’t care to write a political blog, but I am a person with a big heart for humans, animals, and the earth, and that heart is very, very broken today.

Tonight, I’m breaking out the boxed mac n cheese. The deluxe version. deluxe-rice-pasta-extra-cheesy-cheddar-sauce

I actually add more (jovial) noodles to Annie’s boxes b/c the cheese is more than enough for the eager mouths here. I’m roasting broccoli and serving smoked salmon too, just because comfort doesn’t have to mean lack of healthy options. We can have balance. We can have balance. And wine of course.

And dessert all around, because I swear, just like in Harry Potter books, chocolate really does make one feel better.

 

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Autumn

instagramcapture_460ae8b0-0173-4a9a-96e3-560b3d0085171This year has somehow slipped right into November while I was still adjusting to the fact summer was truly over. Although the dry, warmer months of summer are what my body most craves, the foggy, darker days of fall resonate with my spirit in ways that almost make up for the rain-soaked months ahead. instagramcapture_54b526bf-d536-47d0-a907-c56053e64d971Everyone seems a bit more introspective this time of year, right before the frenetic pace of the Holiday season really kicks into high gear. Wouldn’t it be nice to take the quiet right through the season of hubbub? Every year I try not to get caught up in all, one year I focused on only buying from local retailers or independent artists and artisans (all hail etsy!) and another year I tried to reduce the gift exchanges all together. It’s hard though~ especially with kids. If anyone has words of wisdom, please share! In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of autumn in my little corner of the world.~

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I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween without too many food intolerance issues. Relax and enjoy a week or two of quiet before planning Thanksgiving’s menu. I made this recipe last night and I still wish it could be our Thanksgiving main course, but some of the eaters here prefer the more traditional foods. It was terribly good with guacamole all over it though… I guess it’ll just have to be a normal weeknight meal forevermore.

 

 

 

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Pesto Primer

Is there anything better than Italian food? I mean think about it, how many other places in the world could you see Roman ruins, the beautiful relics of greats like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, the legendary canals of Venice and the Tuscan hills lined with vineyards and yet when people return from there all they can talk about is the food. How many times have you had this conversation: “How was your Italy trip?” “The food was amazing!” I know I’ve heard it countless times and I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying that there is something intrinsically right about how that country puts ingredients together…simply, efficiently, magically. It’s no wonder the Slow Food movement started there, or that pizza was invented there, or any number of spectacular combinations were first tried in that rich and fertile country by the sea. One combination that I can’t get enough of is pesto. I know people get all herbal-ly with nettle pesto or vegetable-y with parsley pesto but I personally like to stick to the basil kind. I add it to salads, sandwiches, pizza and a recent favorite, farinata. I always have to look up proportions though when making it, so I was thoroughly pleased to find this handy infographic by Delicious Living. I hope it makes your life a bit more bella too.

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Posted in food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, recipe, slow food, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Probiotics and 365

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See the flames of fame emanating from his gut area?

For something that lives in our gut, our intestinal bacteria are sure getting a lot of time on stage lately. It’s their time to shine I guess, now that the anti-bacterial obsession has begun to wane (thank you science) and awareness about what problems arise when we lack our good bacteria is on the rise. (Thank you once again, science.) There’s a new book about germs and bacteria and what little gems some germs actually are, and there’s never been a time riper for this information. It seems aimed at parents, in hopes of encouraging them to raise children with rich microbiomes and immune systems, but it sounds like anyone who’s ever wondered if they should wash their hands yet again, or eat that last bit of chocolate that fell on their floor, would appreciate this book. It’s called Let Them Eat Dirt and it’s by B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD and although I haven’t read it yet, I heard an interview with Dr. Finlay and am putting it on my rather long can’t-wait-to-read list. On their website, there’s a link to a scientific study of probiotics and what diseases the specific brands help. Check it out! I was surprised to see my favorite brand on there, but not surprised to see it listed as helpful in multiple disease situations. This list also serves as more evidence to support switching up your brands since you can see that not all probiotics are meant for all cases.

In other news, Whole Foods is hard at work rolling out their 365 stores and I had the opportunity to visit one today which just opened in Bellevue. When my friend told me it was already open I was quite surprised because I had only just started hearing peeps and rumors about a 365 opening in Bellevue and certainly didn’t expect to see one up and going so quickly. It’s at Bellevue Square and has a more urban feel to it than the Whole Foods Markets nearby. The selection is smaller, but the brands are mostly familiar, and there seems to be an emphasis on grab-and-go foods. The salad bar was packed with the lunch crowd, there was pizza to buy by the slice, and a multitude of other packaged items to go. I’ll be curious to see how these do.

instagramcapture_b0adaa12-da24-499b-952a-59b0822924801 I hope everyone is enjoying their fall so far.

Posted in alternative medicine, children, food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, gluten intolerance, gluten intolerant, health, kids, modern life, parenting, supplements | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Candida Patrol

Yesterday I woke up in the thick of a dream in which I was eating macaroni and cheese. It was warm and lovely in my mouth and the shock of waking up to a cold alarm and a dark 6:AM was enough to put mac n’ cheese on my day’s to do list. I hadn’t eaten that kind of thing for many months because I am trying hard to heal my digestive system, which includes beating back candida, and candida loves nothing more than gooey, cheesy, pasta. But I seldom dream of food and when I do it leaves such an enormous impression on me that I feel like I simply have to follow through with what my subconscious is craving. The only other times I remember dreaming of food have all been chocolate related. As much as I love veggies, they sadly haven’t made cameos in any of my sleep time adventures yet. Perhaps the overpopulation of candida has control of that area of my brain…hmmm…those little buggers are going down. Controlling candida is so important when battling food intolerances which I wrote about last year, and obviously the battle wages on.

The first supplement I used recently to fight excessive candida is Rainbow Light’s Candida Cleanse.

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It’s easy to take, just one pill approximately half an hour before meals. I could tell it was working and wanted to give my body another bottle of it but when I went to the store to get more they were out, so I got Renew Life’s CandiSmart instead.

renew-life

It’s a two-part system and I could feel it working right away even though it instructs customers to start with half the dosage for three days. I think Rainbow Light’s supplement is a bit milder and might be better tolerated by more sensitive folks such as kids and older adults or others with compromised health. Renew Life’s version has a two punch affect and I like the extra whooping, but I am sure it might take some people by surprise. There are other supplements that target candida overgrowth out there but these are the two I’d recommend, along with probiotics of course.

To further help heal my digestive system I’m also taking Pure Encapsulations’ G.I. Integrity.

pure-encapsulations

This is a reparative supplement that is a good option to consider when your digestive system is not in optimal condition. Give those intestines some love!

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Cultural Norms

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That two word phrase keeps popping up in my mind now that the first week of school is underway, because schools are such a great place to view a community’s cultural norms. The first thing that is blatantly apparent is the fact that walking or biking to school is not a norm in this community, or maybe this generation. I’m not sure how widespread it is but I do think this greater Seattle area in general has an overzealous relationship with cars. When I read Elizabeth Gilbert‘s book Eat, Pray, Love and she talked about how each city has one word that defines it, I thought that this area’s word would be ‘drive’. Not only for the literal drive a car meaning, although that is certainly part of it, but also the drive that means pushing people to work harder, longer hours than ever before, driving kids to start sports at an earlier age or else lose out on it as well as other extracurricular activities~ music, dance, chess, stem-activities, the list is endless. Not that being ‘driven’ as an innate trait is bad, of course it’s good to be focused and hardworking, and there’s plenty of that around here too, but mostly it seems like a rather overly driven culture here and the actual driving exemplifies the mental and emotional aspects. My older son is in middle school which does not have bus services for the kids that live within a mile or maybe a mile and a half, and they say it’s because those kids can easily walk or bike to school. OK, I absolutely agree that they can indeed walk or bike that far, my earlier posts attest to that here and here, but the thing is, no one actually lets their kid do that. Everyone drives their child to school and the traffic could rival a boy band concert at an all girls’ high school, and yet parents still prefer to put up with the frustration of sitting in traffic, and planning their mornings and afternoons around drop off and pick-up times that take a ridiculous amount of time rather than have their kid walk or bike. It just isn’t done. So, how do you turn around a cultural norm like that? Or should the school accept the fact that they could get a handle on their traffic mess, and it is a problem about which we get regular emails so it’s definitely an issue, by adding another bus or two and picking up most of the car riders? Or should they fight the cultural norm with setting up groups so kids can walk or bike together, perhaps get parent volunteers to escort the kids for the first week until they are used to it, somehow reward the students who show up on bike or by walking, or I don’t know….do something. Because the problem with just adding another bus or two is that we are branding that cultural norm into kids’ heads~ one does not walk or bike to a place that is less than a mile away. One takes a vehicle. Is that really what we want kids learning? Is that remotely healthy for any single person much less the earth as a whole? I don’t think so.

Another cultural norm on display at schools is the food. Oh dear. The cafeteria at my son’s middle school is packed with a dazzling array of junk food they can buy day in and day out~ donuts, chips as diverse as the languages spoken in the hallways, candy of all stripes, and sugar wrapped in a thousand disguises. The main offerings are mediocre at best (nutritionally, visually, taste-wise) and the salad bar offers unappetizing raw veggies which are probably as nutrient dense as the composition notebooks found in the kids’ backpacks. Again, is this how we want kids to learn to eat? What they expect from mealtimes is absolutely going to be influenced by the meals they have five days a week, even if the other mealtimes are different, they are still learning that the norm is to eat junk food. My friend from Israel was so surprised to find that here in the U.S. sandwiches routinely come with chips or fries. In her country sandwiches came with salad or a vegetable, or nothing. We don’t have to accept these norms just because they exist around us~ I often think of the Jane Austens and E.M.Forsters out there that have always written about the ridiculousness of their own cultural norms and eventually those norms did change. We can imprint our kids with healthy habits on a cultural level, or not. It just needs to be enough people’s priority I guess. It starts with recognizing the daily habits they we all partake in, sometimes mindlessly, sometimes joyfully, but all the time repetitively. oggl_00071

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