Monday, October 17, 2011

Applesauce Raisin Cake/Muffins

Fall is here and the urge to bake has overcome me.  Here is a favorite recipe for the fall. I will give the recipe and talk about how I changed it from the original where necessary.

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Applesauce Cake

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish with coconut oil thoroughly.

3/4 c. tapioca flour                                      3/4 tsp organic ground cinnamon
3/4 c. sweet sorghum flour                             1/2 tsp organic cloves
1 c. almond meal/flour                                    1/2 tsp Jamaican allspice
1 c. organic raisins                                          2 c. unrefined $ unbleached sugar
1/2 tsp xanthum gum                                       1 3/4 c. organic unsweetened applesauce
1 3/4 tsp baking soda                                     1/2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt                                             1/2 c. coconut oil, melted & cooled
3/4 tsp gluten free baking powder                   3 ex-large cage free eggs

Whisk together 3 flours in a medium bowl.  Put raisins in a small bowl and add 2 T. of mixed flour to coat all raisins. I use a larger measuring cup. With remaining flour mixture, whisk in: xanthum gum, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder,and allspice. Put flour mixture in large electric mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to flour mixture except raisins.  Blend in electric mixer for 1/2 minute on low speed.  Add raisins and beat on high for 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake 55 to 50 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Cool.

Dust with organic confectioner's sugar, if desired.  Cut into squares.


Makes 24 muffins.  Line muffin cups with unbleached paper muffin liners.  Add only 1 1/2 cups of unrefined sugar to the batter.

Fill muffin cups to 3/4s full.  Bake 22 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  They freeze very well!

Changes in original recipe:

I used a combination of flours to recreate the texture of the flour in the original recipe.  Applesauce makes things moist so I used more almond meal.  I also changed the amount of baking soda and powder due to the heaviness of the flours.  For binding purposes, I added a little xanthum gum and an extra egg.  I also used organic coconut oil because it bakes well.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gluten Grief

At the same time that I was diagnosed with gluten allergies, My mother and father-in-law died.  I thought the intense grief was just related to their deaths. It wasn't. I have come to realize since that giving up the way you have eaten all your life is an experience that is full of grief.  At first, I denied the intolerance to gluten.  I couldn't deal with the dairy allergy until years later.  All my family favorite recipes were in jeopardy.  The sense of smell and taste is so closely related to our memories. I felt like I was loosing my memories and the special delicious foods I loved to eat.  It was overwhelming!  This awful grief that I experienced is one of the main reasons why I want to offer others the opportunity to alter one or two of their favorite recipes to gluten free.  Being able to still eat a family favorite makes the process much easier.
One of my first recipes that I converted was chocolate chip cookies.  How wonderful it was to be able to eat them again.  I was surprised to see how happy my family also was to have them.  Your family members also experience some grief when they think they will no longer be able to have some of their favorite recipes with gluten.
Please let me know if the service of altering one or two of your recipes would be helpful to you.  Not all recipes can be altered, but many can with several attempts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Becoming Gratefully Gluten Free

It was well over a decade when I was told by a very wise doctor who also practiced alternative medicine that I had a gluten and possibly a dairy allergy.  I was devastated.  How could this be true!  I ate well!  I cooked from scratch as my Mom had taught me.  No one else in my family has such a problem.  The doctor must be crazy.

Several months later I revisited the allergy possibility.  Suffering from much gastrointestinal distress, I needed to do something.  I slowly stopped eating all white flour and sugar.  Gradually I progressed to eating organic flours. Still not  feeling well, I stopped eating gluten.  Within a few weeks, I started to feel better.  This doctor was right.  Over the past 12 years I have also stopped eating dairy except for butter.  My health has improved with less aching, no bronchitis, and little gastrointestinal  distress.  With the help of a wise nutritionist, my body is healing with the right foods and supplements.

This road is not an easy one to follow, but there is better health and quality of living at the other end.  My faith has been greatly strengthened and challenged by these food allergies leaving me stronger and grateful that I discovered what was wrong with me.

My advice to someone who is trying to cut out gluten is to do it before your body has permanent damage the cannot be corrected.  We were made my such a wonderful Creator who gave our bodies the ability to communicate with us when something is wrong, but we overlook it.  e.g., After eating a bagel, one feels bloated all day.  You think well that filled me up. Our body is saying, "I cannot digest it.  Get it out of here!"  Diarrhea occurs.  The body is trying to void what it cannot digest.  We need to listen  to our bodies.  Begin to understand what out bodies are trying to tell us.  If you cannot figure out what your body is trying to say, you need to find a doctor or a nutritionist who does understand.  

I plan on sharing information about recipes that have been converted to gluten free.  We have wonderful memories associated with food.  The smell of chocolate chip cookies baking makes one fell warm and loved.  It reminds us of a mother or grandmother who made them for us.  Being gluten free does NOT mean giving up all our food memories, but it does mean rethinking how we cook and eat.  Not all recipes can be converted to gluten free but many can.  I hope that I can help others recreate a few family recipes that are gluten free.  I ask that you send me one or two recipes to be converted.  It may take several times before we get the correct amounts.  I will also need to know your food allergies.  I will ask in return that you allow me to use any of your recipes that I have converted in my future cookbook.