Friday, January 28, 2011

gluten-free baking

For the past several months, I've cut gluten out of my diet. It has been easier than expected to avoid the obvious sources -- traditional breads, pasta and baked goods --though it has been challenging to determine which unexpected foods contain gluten (who knew soy sauce has wheat in it? I sure didn't!). I was impressed with how little I craved sweets through the holidays, but as winter has worn on, I've been in the mood for some homemade treats. The task of mixing different flours and starches seems a bit daunting to me, so I've been experimenting with some of the mixes available at the store.

Recently we tried out a chocolate chip cookie mix.

The cookies were a little dry and crumbly, so with half the batter still in the bowl, I added in enough plain yogurt to make it more the consistency of cake batter.

The result was a tasty, moist chocolate chip cake, perfect with some ice cream on top. Sweet tooth satisfied...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

a favorite breakfast

This recipe came to me from my sister, who received it from a friend, who got it from someone else, originating who knows where. It's become a regular around here, not only for its ease and taste, but also for how healthy it is. The batter starts the night before, with whole grains that are blended with yogurt, kefir or buttermilk and left to soak overnight. Allowing the grains to soak in the cultured dairy helps to break down the phytates present in grains that can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. The room for play in this recipe keeps it at the top of our breakfast list... different combinations of grains, fruits and vegetables make it easy to come up with new, equally satisfying versions. And getting a headstart on breakfast the night before makes for an easy morning.

Soaked Grain Pancakes

Mix in blender at high speed for three minutes:

1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 cup cultured dairy (buttermilk, yogurt or kefir)
1/2 cup uncooked oats (rolled or whole)
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice (try buckwheat, millet, barley, spelt, kamut, or any other whole, raw grain)

Cover blender and leave out overnight.

Just before baking, add and reblend for 3 more minutes:

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Other add ins:

pureed pumpkin, squash or sweet potato with warming spices
ripe bananas and cinnamon

This will be a thin batter, but you can adjust the consistency as needed by adding flour or liquid.

I usually make a double batch. Our favorite version uses brown rice, cinnamon, chopped almonds and homemade applesauce. We serve it along with my simplified version of:

Cinnamon Poached Pears

Place 2 pears, peeled, sliced and cut to desired size, in a small saucepan or frying pan. Add a few tablespoons of water, a dash of salt and a generous amount of ground cinnamon. Cover and simmer for a few minutes, until the liquid reduces and becomes a syrup.

Hmm, it seems every time I tried to take a picture of this breakfast, someone kept snatching the pears!

This post is part of Pennywise Platter over at The Nourishing Gourmet, as well as on Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

just a few more minutes...

it's amazing to see what just a few more minutes of light each day can bring...

the hens are laying again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

family farmed

We've been getting our meat from Scott over at Hasselmann Family Farms. The quality is incredible. We've long been supporters of naturally raised meats, and my husband and brothers add to our table come hunting season with deer, boar, pheasant and goose. Something about the pork from Hasselmann Farms has us enthralled. Pasture raised Berkshire pork products, free of MSG, preservatives and added sodium nitrites. Yum!

glazed roast pork tenderloin with sweet and sour red cabbage

roast fresh pork belly
They also sell grass-fed beef, poultry and eggs. Scott is at various farmer's markets in the Chicago area and also delivers on larger orders. We're looking for forward to visiting their farm come spring.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Out and about, exploring winter in the woods...

testing the ice

finding the moon

climbing with papa

Monday, January 10, 2011

handmades for birth

I have a doula client due any day now, a family expecting their first babe. I've really enjoyed getting to know them and am reminded by their excitement why it is I love this work so much. I try to make a few things for the expectant mamas in my life to bring comfort to the hard work of birth and parenting that awaits them.

Sophia helped make some herbal bath tea bags.

The tea bags are filled with a blend of organic witch hazel, chamomile, comfrey root, calendula, lemon verbena and lavender -- herbs that help promote healing. Used in a sitz bath, these can soothe and comfort the body after birth.

I also made a heat pack for her, similar to these. This one has straps for tying around places that need warmth. (I should mention that the idea for these comes from a doula friend, Holly, who used to sell hers on etsy.)

Again, filled with flax, rice and lavender.

A nice little bundle to help welcome hers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

a simple dinner

This dinner meets all the marks around here - easy to prepare, delicious to eat and good for you, too.

We seasoned the salmon filets, pan seared them, then baked them until done. The fish was served alongside steamed green beans, roast potatoes, and lentils that were cooked with a few cloves of garlic and sprigs of thyme.

The time we spend together around the table each night is even more enjoyable when the food is so good. These types of meals are my favorite, nourishing in so many ways.