I’ve had tummy troubles since college. Nothing that needs to be discussed here – maybe if you’re lucky I’ll show some pictures of how pregnant I look (despite not being pregnant) when the battle in my tummy is waging on. Until then, just know it isn’t fun 😦 I occasionally try different diets hoping I find the solution to all of my tummy woes, but they always turn out the same – no improvement – just more time spent making special foods with ingredients that cost more and [usually] don’t taste as good. For the last 2-3 weeks I was doing gluten-free, with hopes of some improvement. Prior to starting I was only eating 1-2 servings of wheat each day, so it really wasn’t that much of a change. I did notice I was crazy hungry the first week. It was the oddest feeling – I was hungry but all of the veggies I was eating made me so full, so I was always dancing a fine line of hunger and pain. I decided I needed to make a bread substitute.
I didn’t want to buy the $6/loaf brick loaf of gluten-free bread at the store, so I set out on a search for a homemade version. I made a loaf with my banana bar recipe that was actually really good. I wanted to try a 100% grain-free recipe and stumbled on this beauty – Dark “Rye” Bread.
The recipe was simple enough and the ingredients were all things I had on-hand. The fresh product was delicious! The recipe she posted only fills the pan 1/2 way (note she used a mini pan that I don’t have), so I had to make a 2nd loaf and double the recipe. After it sat out for 3 days, I realized why she used a small loaf…this bread goes rancid quickly. It makes sense, the base is just fat (flax and almond meal). If you make this recipe, I have a few words of advice – don’t double the recipe. Make a single batch in a large pan and eat it as a snack OR invest in a mini loaf pan. A 3rd option I just thought of would be to make muffins with the dough.
Almond Flax Bread
Recipe from Elana’s Pantry
- 1 cup finely ground almonds
- 3/4 cup flax seed, ground (I bought it whole and ground what I needed)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 eggs (you could get away with less yolk – I was fine with 2 whole and 1 white)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp honey
- 1-2 tbsp seeds (I used whole flax)
- Preheat over to 350F. Generously spray or grease a baking pan (I didn’t do this enough the first time around and my loaf stuck to the bottom and broke in half)
- Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
- Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. Let stand for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour ingredients into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Cool completely before removing. The loaf is very tender. Once cool, slice thinly and store in the refrigerator.
If you notice the bread gets a funny taste and appears stringy when you break it apart, that means it has gone bad because the fats have begun to go rancid. You need to throw it out at this point…there is no hope 😦
Flourless Walnut Cake with Lemon Frosting and Fresh Berries
Adapted from Simply Recipe’s Flourless almond cake
- 4 eggs, separated into 4 yolks and 4 whites
- 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup white sugar, divided into 1/4 cup and 1/4 cup
- 1 1/2 cup ground walnut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder (freshness counts!)
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Fresh berries
- 1 8-ounce package of neufchatel cheese
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Separate the eggs directly from the refrigerator; they separate better then cold. You need the egg whites to be room temperature when you use them later, so separate them first, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a large bowl.
- Preheat over to 350F. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 9″ cake pan. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
**Using a springform pan can help make removing the cake from the pan much easier. I did not and my cake wouldn’t come out in one piece 😦
- Add lemon extract and 1/4 cup to the egg yolks. Beat well until smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, and baking powder. Add to the egg yolk bowl and beat until smooth. Your mixture will be thick (see picture).
- With clean beaters that are room temperature, begin beating the egg whites on low speed. Slowly increase the speed to medium until you see bubbles. At this point, add a pinch of salt and the vinegar. Continue to beat, but now on high. The egg whites with now appear white instead of clear and will start looking thicker. As they increase in volume, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar to help stabilize. Continue to beat until “soft peaks” form. These are when you stop the beaters and lift them out the egg white mixture will peak up and then fold back on itself. I tried to take pictures, but this is a much better resource.
- Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture, one large spoonful at a time. After a few spoonfuls you will notice the egg whites are “lifting” the dense batter you started with.
- Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool. To help remove the cake from the pan, use a knife around the edges.
- To make the frosting, beat neufchatel cheese, powdered sugar, lemon extract, and lemon juice. If the batch makes more than what you need, you can store the extra in the refrigerator.
- When the cake is cool, frost with lemon frosting and top with fresh berries.
Unfortunately, my cake crumbled to pieces when I tried to remove it. My solution? Press the nice, light cake into cupcake paper, add lemon cream, and top with berries You could eat it like this, but I wanted to see if I could get it to form together, so I baked it at 350F for 15 minutes. It worked well, but the cake is fine, so be sure to eat it with a fork, even though it is a cupcake.
Looking for some other ideas to use up your summer berries? Check these out:
White balsamic custard tart
Strawberry shortcake shooters
Roasted Summer Fruit Pizza
Summer Berry Tartlets
A few months ago I posted about the most delicious Banana Oat Muffins. Not only are they delicious, but they are probably the easiest muffins I have ever made. I think my favorite thing about these muffins is that they use those over-ripe bananas that you need to find something, anything, to do with so you don’t need to throw them in the garbage.
We started to run low on my last batch, so last weekend I decided to make some more. I tripled the recipe, so I could keep them in the freezer for whenever we need a snack. I also wanted to try to cut the sugar and egg content. Sugar is just a sweetener in this recipe, so cutting it out shouldn’t change the texture. Eggs, on the other hand are what help keep the bars together, so it is risky to cut them out without a replacement. One option is to just use egg whites instead of the whole egg. Another option. is to substitute with some flax seed or chia seeds. I had chia seeds on hand, so I opted for the later option. After I mixed everything up I realized it would take all evening to make these one muffin tray at a time. I decided to try making these into bars and they worked great.
Super Simple Banana Bars
- 7.5 cups of old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1.5 tbsp baking powder
- 1.5 tbsp baking soda
- 3 cup of fat-free plain yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp chia seed
- 9 ripe bananas
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray 2 baking pans with cooking spray.
- Place oats in a food processor and pulse until they are very fine chunks – not quite flour, but very small pieces. Pour into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Mix well.
- Place the remaining ingredients in the food processor and process until well blended.
- Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly browned (I did 25 minutes).
- Let cool for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer from the pan to a cooling rack. Cut into bars once cool.
- If you plan to freeze them, individually wrap them with plastic cling wrap and place into a freezer bag or large plastic container.
Have you recently started eating gluten-free? Finding out you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance makes many people feel completely lost. All of the foods that are ingrained (no pun intended) in our culture seem to contain gluten, so many people following a traditional American diet feel like there is nothing they can eat. This couldn’t be further from the truth! While grains can be delicious, it usually isn’t the grains themselves that are delicious but the things we put in or on them. For instance, when was the last time you ate plain pasta? Probably never. If it is the stuff that we put on top that we like so much, this new diet becomes much easier and more manageable.
I stumbled on Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh, a gluten-free, a blog about cooking gluten-free for an entire family. Check out this post on a gluten-free pantry to get you started!