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How to Make your Coffee Pot Better!

Make your Coffee Pot Better!

As previously mentioned, I am a bit of a coffee snob. I love a really high quality cup of coffee, and I prefer to drink it black. One of the most important aspects of attaining a quality cup of coffee is the brew method. One of the best ways to do this, in my opinion, is with a french press. A french press is a bit limited in size, though. Sometimes you need a larger amount or you want it more automated. What I have for you today is a way to make your coffee pot better!

One of the downsides with coffee pots is that they rarely heat up the water to the correct temperature. The best temperature to brew coffee at is between 195 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to extract all of the things you want while minimizing the bitter bad flavors you don’t want. This water temperature is pretty easy to hit if you are boiling water on the stove and then adding it yourself. If we are using a machine, such as a coffee pot, that obviously makes things quite a bit more of a challenge.

Another aspect of properly brewing coffee is the amount of time the water sits on the coffee grounds. There are many fantastic brew methods that do not have the water sitting on the grounds. When we are dealing with a coffee pot that is brewing at a lower temperature than is ideal, if we can affect the amount of time the water stays on the grounds, that can improve our quality in the cup.

I originally learned about the most basic technique from my brother. Since then I have added a bit more to it.

How do I make my coffee pot better? 

So we are going to be messing with temperature of brewing and the time the water spends on the grounds. For the first technique, you will want to reduce the total amount of water added to brew your pot by about 2 cups.

Here are the basics:

Heat water on the stove to 200ish degrees.

Take the carafe out from under the brew basket.

CAREFULLY pour your hot water over the grounds in the filter basket until about a half inch below the top of the filter.

Gently stir the grounds and hot water together.

Let sit about 1 minute.

Replace your carafe and turn on the coffee maker. Voila! Amazingly better coffee out of your coffee pot for not much work.

 

Concerned about pouring the hot water? Using a hot water kettle helps a lot! You can also use a modified technique.

Instead of heating water we are just going to increase the amount of time the water spends on the grounds.

Remove your carafe.

With the lid of your coffee pot open turn on your coffee pot so the water starts flowing. Stir the water into the grounds.

Continue stirring until the water is about an inch below the top of your filter.

Close the lid and put your carafe back in.

Enjoy!

I realize this is a bit unconventional, and you can certainly buy a high quality coffee pot to brew coffee shop quality. While I am a coffee geek and love my toys, spending $250-$300 is not what I want to do right now. This enables me to spend $12 for a Mr Coffee Maker from Walmart for my occasional use and still get a good cup of coffee.

Please do be careful as this involves almost boiling water. As mentioned, using a hot water kettle of some kind would certainly make this easier and safer.

Let us know in the comments if you like these kind of tips!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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White Space : The Need to have Time to Breath

White Space

What we are talking about here is going to be the use of “white space”. How to put in blank space so that you can have the flexibility to react to whatever comes up. If you have every minute of every day scheduled, you have no room to adapt to what arises.

We all know the feeling of that moment. When you have a plan in place for the day, and something not only wrecks that plan, but punches it in the face. Maybe it’s a sick child, a phone call from your boss, or just allergy season coming on.

Many things can and will disrupt our schedule. You may say there is really nothing that can be done, people get sick, clients change their end goal, and weather will decide what it had planned was the entirely wrong decision. This is very true, there is much we truly have no control of in this life, but we can control how we react and do a few things to give us the flexibility to adapt as best possible when these things happen.

But Schedules Are Good!

Let’s say your normal Saturday looks like this: You get up at 6AM, 6-8 is filled with breakfast, and getting the family to the soccer field for games until 1pm. Finally you get home at 1:30. You don’t want to waste the afternoon, so you have dutifully scheduled in homestead projects from 2-6 pm because that chicken coop won’t build itself. Dinner is from 6-7, and tomorrow is church, so everyone needs baths, snacks, diaper bags, etc. Finally everyone is in bed and asleep by 8:30. You still need to shower and get everyone’s things together for the morning so that it’s not completely hectic trying to get out the door to church. It is now 9:30. Finally you get to go to bed with the hope that no one awakens in the middle of the night crying because they fell out of bed or want a drink of water.

Things To Do

  • It’s a really good thing to have your kids do organized sports and even more important to be there.
  • Homesteading is awesome; it helps make you more self-sufficient and provides food for your family, fantastic!
  • Projects have got to get done, that is part of the deal, and progress is good.
  • Scheduling is great! We get even less done without a schedule, and making goals and putting them on a schedule helps you move forward in life.
  • People appreciate when others bathe.
  • Planning ahead so you aren’t rushing around on the morning of an event, whether that’s a daily or weekly event like church or school or a once a year event like a conference, helps to keep you from going insane and keeps you from being late.

These are all great things, no one would argue with that. The problem is that there is no room for things to go wrong, or for you to stop and have fun, or in our verbiage, no white space.

Problems

What happens if you get a flat tire on the way home from the soccer games? Changing the tire takes 45 minutes. Now your whole schedule is off. You either do not get all the work done you wanted on the chicken coop, or you keep the time spent on each thing the same and everything gets pushed back 45 minutes. Not only that but you are extra tired from being on the side of the freeway in the August heat, and stressed from the 18 wheelers flying by you, so you move slower and take longer. Now the kids don’t get in bed until 9:30 and you don’t get in bed until 10:30, further tiring out everyone for tomorrow and making Sunday a stressful day as well.

Maybe your 4 year old wants to play a game of candy land before bed. You can’t do it because that will push everyone’s bed times back too late and ruin tomorrow. It’s just one night you say, but you schedule every day this full and never take the time to play candy land.

Maybe it’s not that, but it’s that your spouse wants to go on a date, or friends want to get dinner, or your dad needs help, or your son wants to play catch, or you sprain your ankle. If you’re a family with food allergies, needing to have dinner can be a major scheduling problem on its own. The point is that life has lots to throw at us. Sometimes its fun opportunities, other times it’s unfortunate circumstances that come up. There will always be something to get in the way of your perfect day.

What’s the answer then?

The answer is to schedule in blank time to use for whatever you need to. Most people call it white space, but you can call it whatever you like. It will look different each day – maybe its one giant 1 hour block from 1pm-2pm. Maybe it’ a block of 15 minutes after each appointment to allow them to run a few minutes late. Maybe you factor in 45 minutes between your planned stop time on building that chicken coop and dinner. It’s good to play with the kids or finish up that door you’ve been fighting with for 2 hours!

You might be looking at this and thinking that you’ll get less done.  I would argue you won’t, but even if you do, what you do get is peace of mind. It helps reduce your stress  to have flexibility! You won’t have to worry about one wrench in the plans in the morning affecting the rest of the day. It means you get to pour into your kids and have fun! We need actually see them grow up, not just wake up when they are 16 and wonder where the time went and why they won’t talk to us. Sure you might have a super successful career and an awesome homestead, but I would argue that’s all wasted if your family is in shambles.

Enjoy Your New Found Flexibility

There will, of course, still be days where it is packed full. Work on being flexible with those days, too, strive to have them be few and far between, so that you can handle the stress well, and it not affect everything else. I would encourage you to take the time to factor in white space. It will only pay you back dividends in the future.

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No Knead Bread, an easy and tasty Einkorn recipe!

Having just talked about Einkorn the other day, I wanted to give y’all an easy recipe to enjoy. This is a long ferment, no knead bread. It’s a lazy man’s sourdough per say. Fermented foods are absolutely fantastic, and I think should be a part of our daily diet. I try my best to eat something fermented everyday, though oftentimes I forget… The advantage in a bread product (gluten free or otherwise) is that the fermentation process feeds on a good portion of the carbs reducing the carb load. It also makes it much easier to digest on our bodies. So if you are thinking about trying Einkorn but aren’t sure, this would be a great place to start.

I include some options to these steps because I think it makes the overall process easier, but you can just follow the basic steps. The fermentation time can vary on this.  One week is ideal, 24 hours works, and 2-3 days is probably the sweet spot if you don’t want to wait forever but want better flavor,less carb load, and higher digestibility.

No Knead Bread

Ingredients:

6 1/2 Cups Flour (6 cups if using whole wheat)

3 Cups Warm Water

2 Packets or 1 1/2Tblsp Yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

Steps:

1. In a large container, a gallon or more in size, mix all ingredients

2. Cover loosely and let rise on the counter for 1-2 hours

3. Put in fridge for 24 hours to 1 week

4. When ready to bake: Wet or oil your hands and tear off roughly a quarter of the dough and gently shape into a loaf, smoothing the top. Place in pans or place on parchment or slide onto a pizza stone. Score the top of the loaves to release steam.

5. Let rise 40 minutes, after 30 minutes preheat the oven to 450. When preheated, bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and internal temp is 190-200.

6. I do recommend letting it cool at least a bit so you don’t burn yourself and so the texture will be better once cut.

Further Details

A long ferment bread like this recipe is also super nice as the holidays approach. It requires very little actual time involved.  It makes a hearty loaf, so baking the day before and doing a gentle reheat of it on turkey day will be perfect, and not take up much of your valuable oven space the day of. This is what is called a no knead bread. So no kneading! You literally just mix all the ingredients, let it rise, and then bake it!

I’ve used multiple versions, but I think this is one of the best for most people. I’m a big fan of true sourdough, but that’s not easy for most people, so I shelved it for this recipe. The original recipe is from Gwen’s Nest, and she has lots of low carb recipes for those who are interested.

Most no knead bread recipes do make use of dutch ovens typically to bake in. Since you don’t knead the dough, it does not have much structure to hold a great shape. This kind of thing is not the end of the world though. If you start making it a ton, I would recommend you invest in a dutch oven to bake in, or you can also go the pizza stone route for a crispy bottom. You will just end up with a flatter bread, but it’s still a lovely “artisan” loaf. You can also use a loaf pan. Just go for it the first time and adjust the specifics as you do it more. It will be delicious no matter the shape!

This recipe enables you to enjoy the fantastic, fresh bread experience with very little effort, and it’s better for you! It’s also such a basic recipe you can easily make it with your kids. I had our girls help me make the dough, and it really added only about one extra minute to a 5 minute recipe.

Mixing the no knead bread!

So recipe time! You do need a large vessel, something like a gallon or 5 qt jar or crock is perfect. Get yourself out 6 1/2 cups of flour (we use Jovial Foods Einkorn Flour), 6 cups if you want whole wheat, 3 cups warm water, 2 packets or 1 1/2 T yeast, I prefer regular though instant works too, and 1 1/2t of salt, preferably something likes Redmond’s Sea Salt.

Then dump it together and mix! Too hot of water, and salt will both kill yeast, so you have to be careful on mixing. It’s also a pain to get the very bottom mixed properly if you dump it in at once. So I put my water and salt in the jar, and dissolved the salt, then I added half the flour, mixing it in after each cup, then the yeast, and then the rest of the flour, mixing as well after each cup. It came together beautifully, and didn’t give me a single issue.

Cover it loosely and let rise on the counter for an hour or two – it’s a long rise bread, so over fermentation isn’t a big deal, just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t escape the jar.

At this point, put it in your fridge for your choice of time, the longer the better really! Even up to a couple weeks.

As I just made my batch today, I have no baking pictures… Sorry!

This does make a good amount of bread, so decide on your baking vessel of choice before getting further. 4 medium sized loaves in pans or on the stone? Sure! One big loaf in your 10 or 12 inch dutch oven? Sure!

Just a warning this dough is sticky, once again a result of not kneading, so you will want to wet, oil or flour your hands well.

If you are going to make loaves pull off about a quarter of the dough and gently shape it into a loaf shape, working to smooth the top. Place those in your parchment paper lined pans or on parchment paper on your counter to slide it onto your stone.

Let it rise for about 40 minutes, preheat your oven to 450 about 10 minutes before your rise is over.

It is wise to slash the top of your loaves with a razor blade or very sharp knife. This allows gasses to escape during baking and not crack the top of your loaf.

Bake for 25- 30 minutes until golden brown and delicious. As well look for an internal temperature of 190 or so degrees (yes i’m a food nerd).

I know, its done, so you must rip into it right away! It really is best if you wait. First off so you don’t burn the living daylights out of your mouth. Second, the longer you let the bread cool, the more the starches can set up, and not be gooey and smear.

So let it cool, at least a little, and then cut and enjoy, preferably with grass fed butter! If you’ve never tried Kerrygold, now is the time!

Pretty straight forward right? Like I said, mix it, rise it, bake it, I guess you can add eat it to the end. Let us know if you try this great no knead bread recipe!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

 

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Grain Free Cinnamon Roll

Delicious Grain Free Cinnamon Rolls!

As I mentioned in the review on the Real Bread Mix from California Country Organics, we were going to be trying their grain free cinnamon roll mix for my wife’s birthday. We did, and they are quite delicious! We even took them one step further and made them into orange rolls instead of just plain cinnamon rolls since this is a family tradition on her side for birthdays.

As with the other Real Bread mixes – is this a perfect substitute for a cinnamon roll? No, but its pretty darn good, and is one of the best grain free cinnamon roll I’ve ever had.

Much like the other mix, the taste is quite good. Due to the other flavors and sweetness from the cinnamon, orange, and sugar involved I could not taste any of the coconut flour.

The texture is a bit different than regular bread, as mentioned before, but is still quite enjoyable. I think it’s a bit more noticeable in these than in a loaf of bread, but wife says these are great.

She was quite happy with these for her birthday in spite of their small draw backs, and they satisfied our cravings for cinnamon rolls. Once again, I high recommend you check out the Real Bread mixes for yourself! We will definitely be buying more from them.

Real Bread Mix Cinnamon Rolls:

Ingredients:

1 Real Bread Cinnamon Roll Mix

1 cup of eggs whites

1 cup of water

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup butter softened (I ended up using 1/3 cupish)

1/3 cup Cinnamon

1/3 Cup sweetener of choice (we used coconut sugar)

Optional: Zest of 1 orange if you want to do Orange Rolls

Instructions

  1. Follow the instructions on the mix to make the dough
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Roll it out to a roughly 12×8 rectangle, ½ inch thick on a piece of parchment paper. You can sandwich the dough between each side of the paper to help keep your rolling pin clean.
  4. Spread with softened butter
  5. Sprinkle your cinnamon and sweetener evenly over the surface of your dough, leave about a half inch plain on one side of the 12 inch side of the dough. This allows a better seal when you roll it up and keeps filling from squishing out as much.
  6. Optional: Spread your orange zest around at this point if using
  7. Starting with the long side that has the filling all the way to the edge tightly roll the dough up. Focus on trying to keep the roll as tight as possible.
  8. Cut your roll into 12-14 sections depending on your desired size of cinnamon roll.
  9. Spray or butter your pan and place the cinnamon rolls in it, cut side down. The mix calls for a 9×13 pan, which I used but there was lots of space left. I think I would use an 8×8 next time.
  10. Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. They will rise in about the last 10 minutes of baking.
  11. Let cool, ice with the glaze of your preference, and enjoy!

Notes and Tips:

  • This size results in a fairly “bready” cinnamon roll. If you prefer it thinner just roll it out into a larger rectangle. You might need to adjust your filling measurements at that point.
  • If you want to add additional flavor feel free to add more zest to the filling or into the dough. You can also use some orange oil (or even orange extract) if you have good quality essential oils on hand.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

6 oz of cream cheese

¼ cup of butter

6 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Zest of 1 orange

6-10 Drops Orange or Tangerine Essential Oil

3 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

  1. Cream your butter, cream cheese and coconut sugar together until smooth in either a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
  2. With your mixer on low, slowly add in your maple syrup and then the orange juice until fully combined.
  3. Add your zest and citrus oil and combine.
  4. Taste and adjust sweetener level, and citrus components to your taste.
  5. Spread on either hot or cooled cinnamon rolls as your prefer. Or eat it with a spoon…

Notes:

  • This results in a fairly thin frosting, which is Katie’s preference. Somewhere between a glaze and a frosting. If you want it thicker, then reduce your liquid.
  • You can easily omit the citrus elements and make a more traditional cream cheese frosting.
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The Wheat I Can Eat – Einkorn

The Wheat I Can Eat

I had no idea that my rhyming was so good, I’m sure my wife disagrees, though. Regardless, I mentioned way back in the beginning somewhere that there is one variety of wheat that I am able to eat. Einkorn is this wheat’s name. Just as a reminder for anyone, I do have a severe reaction to gluten. Whether you want to call it a sensitivity, an allergy, whatever, it’s bad, and I have to avoid it like the plague. Einkorn has been very successful for me, though!

First off, let me say I am not a doctor, and even if I was, I’m not your doctor, or naturopath, or nutritionist or anything. I’m just your friendly neighborhood baker. I highly recommend you talk about this with whoever your healthcare professional is. After that, I recommend ordered a very small amount to try, and go from there if you it works for you.

It took me 6 months to drum up the courage to try it. I very much did not want to be curled up in bed in extreme pain. I ate one small cookie and went from there. Praise God it did not affect me, and was safe for me to eat.

What is Einkorn?

Einkorn is a variety of wheat, therefore it also contains gluten. That is the last similarity between einkorn and modern wheat. Einkorn is considered to be the original wheat that was ever domesticated (somewhere between 5,000-10,000 years ago). Since then we have hybridized various varieties of wheat to create all the varieties we have today.

Along with that hybridization came higher amounts of gluten and a different genetic structure to the gluten dna itself. This was both intentional and unintentional. As we have discussed, if you are wanting to create a great loaf of bread, gluten is wonderful and helps create that beautiful structure. Wheat farmers selected varieties over the years to increase that gluten and make it stronger so bakers can create those particular loaves of bread.

But this same hybridization has ended up helping create the problems that many of us are familiar with. While Einkorn certainly has its drawbacks due to its lower yield, weaker gluten, and increased difficulty in harvest, the weaker gluten that it contains also makes it edible for a large portion of the population! Your body may very well be able to process einkorn flour just fine even if you have a severe reaction to “regular” wheat.

Einkorn only has 2 sets of chromosomes as opposed to modern wheat which can be up in the 40s. Emmer, Kamut and Spelt are all in-between. Einkorn also does have quite a bit higher level of nutrients and protein compared to modern wheat. If you would like to learn more, here is a website all about einkorn.

Does all of this matter?

Does all of this matter for those of us who are gluten intolerant, though? Well, as I mentioned above, it all just depends. I think as a baseline rule, it does. It starts as a much healthier product to begin with compared to modern varieties. Almost all einkorn is produced organically so that can also aid in digestibility. As with all things, you need to try a little bit and see if your own body can handle it. We do know many gluten-free people who are able to eat einkorn, though! It functions basically the same as regular white flour, and it can be fermented into sourdough, so it is a wonderful thing to be able to add into your diet on occasion! Einkorn has made it much easier for our family to live with all our food allergies.

Let us know if you try einkorn and how it works out for you! Jovial Foods is where we purchase ours.

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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Easy Tiramisu

Easy Tiramisu

As in most households, birthdays are special times around here, and we have a two of them in October! The one thing that might be different for us is that instead of going out to eat, we typically make the preferred meal at home. This year my wife requested tiramisu for her birthday after seeing some yummy-looking but expensive and sugar/synthetics laden tiramisu cups at the store.

This is not technically TRUE tiramisu because it does not have lady fingers in it, and it’s the easy version. Is that a bad thing? Nope! It is super delicious and is not at all lacking for missing those elements. Check out below for links if you do want lady fingers, as they can be difficult to find at your average store. True tiramisu is also a custard based dessert, which means you need to incorporate eggs, but this dessert doesn’t miss a beat despite being made without any eggs. This is quite delicious as just a layered mousse with cocoa powder in between.

The basic recipe I found on Crazy For Crust. It is a fairly basic recipe, and I was able to directly sub the maple syrup across for powdered sugar which they used.

Easy Tiramisu

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream (Look for Kolona if you want an additive free version)

1 teaspoon instant coffee (this is a great use for the Trader Joes instant coffee)

2 Tablespoons hot water

1 8oz container Mascarpone

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup Maple Syrup

Cocoa powder

Note: I used some small stemless white wine glasses for this. You can use any container you want. Clear is great to show off the layers.

Steps:

  1. Dissolve the instant coffee in the hot water and set aside to cool.
  2. Optional: Put your lady fingers into soak in either more instant coffee or strong brewed coffee. Espresso is traditionally used.
  3. Whip the heavy cream to a stiff peak. Set that in the fridge until needed.
  4. Put the mascarpone, the maple syrup, the vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon of the coffee in a bowl. Whip that together until well combined and creamy and delicious. At this point, add more coffee or maple syrup as your taste prefers. We will be mixing it with the whipped cream, so make it a bit stronger than if you were eating it alone.
  5. Fold in the whipped cream gently. You want to cut and fold here. See below for the technique.
  6. Optional: If using lady fingers put a layer in the bottom of your glasses or serving dish.
  7. Put in a layer of your marscarpone filling. A piping bag would make this SUPER easy, I didn’t because I didn’t want to clean it, lol. I used a spoon and carefully spread it around though it was far from perfect.
  8. Dust in a little cocoa powder; cover the entire layer of filling if possible.
  9. Continue layering in each layer until your desired fullness. I did about 3 inches of filling total and that gave us 4 servings. Obviously it would do more if using lady fingers.
  10. Eat now or put in the fridge to chill
  11. Here is the original recipe if you want to see it.

Notes and Tips:

If you do want to get lady fingers, I have a few resources for you. Full disclosure – I have tried none of these products or recipes. Please let me know how they are if you try them! Schar makes a gluten free one you can get here. If you want to make lady fingers here is a gluten free version and here is a grain free version depending on which path you want to go.

If you wanted to do a variation on this you could totally take our Original Brownie and treat it just like a lady finger and soak it in the coffee and layer it in with the mascarpone mixture. That would be so good… Our blondies would also be super delicious as well… I might have to try this soon…

Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that is for once actually Italian! Unlike spaghetti and ceasar salad, which both have rather dubious roots, Tiramisu can actually be traced back to Italy. It would appear to still be a more recent creation dating back to the 60’s. Some argue it goes back further than that, but who knows. Regardless, it is very tasty 🙂

Traditionally you take lady fingers, and soak them in cognac and espresso. They get layered with mascarpone custard and then typically finished with a dusting of cocoa on top.

The most readily available brand of mascarpone is BelGioioso. Most larger grocery stores carry it. Look in the specialty cheese section.

Mascarpone

How to Cut and Fold

For anyone who has ever worked in whipped cream, whipped egg whites, or any other air filled ingredient, you know how hard it can be. You want to incorporate it fully, but you don’t want to lose all that air you worked so hard to create. Here is where the cut and fold technique comes in.

Cut and Fold

Steps:

  1. Add in the whipped cream or egg whites to the rest of your ingredients
  2. With the bowl in front of you, place your spatula in at the far side of the bowl. “Cut” down towards yourself.
  3. “Fold” with the spatula around the outside of the bowl back to the top gently incorporating some of the whipped cream.
  4. Turn the bowl a ¼ turn and repeat until everything is 95% incorporated. I say 95% because you may never feel likes it totally done and that’s ok.
  5. Proceed with your recipe.
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Crispy Gluten Free Waffles (also paleo!)

Crispy Gluten Free Waffles!

Waffles or pancakes? I feel like there is quite the divide between people on that question. That is, of course, not even talking about Belgian vs regular waffles, thin and crispy vs fluffy pancakes. Certainly the debates can go on and on. For me, it very much depends on the mood I am in as I love them both. Obviously, in our household, they always have to be gluten free waffles or pancakes, too.

Our oldest daughter requested waffles for her birthday breakfast, and with the current state of food allergies in our home, we had to go digging for a new recipe. My wife found this one and it is quite good! They are light and crispy, but also paleo, though they are not low carb due to the tapioca starch. Their only downside, I would say, is if you are making a lot and holding them in the oven they might start to soften just a bit. They are still quite good, but they don’t hold super crisp, so you might want to work in batches. They are really delicious though, and I highly recommend you try these gluten free waffles! We did use a regular waffle iron and not a Belgian waffle maker. If you make these in a belgian waffle maker, let us know how they come out!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Blanched Almond Flour

1 Cup Tapioca Flour

2 T coconut flour

2 t baking powder

¼ salt

2 eggs

¼ cup melted coconut oil (or melted butter)

1 t apple cider vinegar

1 cup almond milk (or any milk of your choice)

½ vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until all lumps have been removed
  3. Add liquid ingredients and whisk for 2 minutes or until batter has thickened. Batter will be similar to a thin pancake batter
  4. Spray or wipe on a thin layer of oil onto waffle iron (I only did this the first time, possibly even unnecessary)
  5. Cook waffles according to your waffles irons instructions (I used about a 1/3 cup for our iron)
  6. Enjoy with lots of good butter and excellent maple syrup!

This recipe is originally from Nurture My Gut.

 

These are a great quick, easy, delicious waffle that the whole family can enjoy and the kids can help make! They have really good texture that compares well with “normal” waffles! Use these waffles to make your day a tasty day and let us know if you like them 🙂

Chris

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Eat Gluten Free in Houston: Season’s Harvest Cafe

Are you looking for a restaurant that serves the freshest possible ingredients and also has great gluten free options? I think I have found your place! We had heard about Season’s Harvest Cafe in Cypress, TX several times from friends and have wanted to try it, so we decided to go celebrate our anniversary there.

They are a farm to table restaurant, and they get a significant amount of their food from local vendors in the area. What they cannot find local, they strive to at least get organic. Their menu does rotate, though I am not sure exactly when it changes. They work to make their dishes available to different eating styles as much as possible. If you eat Raw, they have that, Vegan is covered, and gluten free they can do. Their menu is full of whole foods, so it is easy to adapt any item to your diet and they are familiar with all the different allergies/diets and can work easily with you!

That is always the beauty of focusing on fresh ingredients, prepared from scratch. Things become super straight forward when you focus on basic ingredients, and it can be extremely flexible to work with different diets. Here is the one caveat: They are not a gluten free kitchen. So while they use primarily fresh ingredients, and there probably is not a ton of flour floating around, there is a risk of cross contact happening. I would characterize this as more gluten friendly than totally gluten free, but they are way beyond many other gluten friendly restaurants. They bring in all of their breads and desserts, so they don’t have flour all over the kitchen from any of their cooking.

The Environment

First off, I totally wasn’t thinking about this from a blog post perspective. I did not take anywhere enough pictures, so we will have to make do, sorry!

Season’s Harvest Cafe is set on 2-3 acres of land in North Cypress. It is in a rustic, “cabin” setting. Lots of exposed wood, log façade etc, it has a great farm feel to it which both my wife and I enjoyed immensely. It is a very peaceful environment with very little road noise.

They do have some gardens and a chicken coop, though I am unsure how much food they try to get off their own property. We sat outside for our first cool front of the year and it was quite pleasant. There’s trees, lots of birds and other small wildlife, and a little pond next to the deck we were eating on. They also bring in live music once a month which would be great fun to go for!

The Food

The main dishes were excellent! They do keep their menu small, but each item is made carefully and well. They had 6 options to choose from. Chicken salad as a sandwich or a salad, a fall garden vegetable soup (fantastic), a quinoa bowl, a humus dish (so good), a fall harvest salad (yummy!) and a raw marinated veggie plate. You can probably tell which ones we tried haha.

Katie got the jalapeno humus with a side of chicken and their vegetable soup. It came with gluten free lavash, local feta (most amazing cheese!!), soup, homemade glazed walnuts, and some fruits and veggies. I do NOT like humus, period. I don’t like the flavor, and I really despise the texture. This stuff was good, though. I would totally eat their humus any time! It was a very pleasant level of spiciness as well. Katie does not really like chili heat and said she would still not choose to have it in there but it was enjoyable and not overwhelmingly hot.

The Harvest Salad was excellent, also. It came with cranberry goat cheese, local veggies, glazed walnuts, and I added on a delicious chicken breast to it. While it was a fairly typical fall harvest salad, it was all quite tasty and satisfying other than the dressing. The dressing was fine but not amazing.

Let Them Eat Cake

Or maybe not… So here is their one downfall, though it’s fairly minor. They had 3 different gluten free desserts available. All their desserts are produced by a local bakery and brought in. Since it was our anniversary anyway, and we have to make sacrifices for all of you good people, we went ahead and tried all 3. They have a carrot cake, an espresso chocolate cookie and an almond butter bar.

They serve them warmed, if you like. We went that route and they got a bit too warm and got crunchy on the outside. They were all fairly “meh”. The cookie was probably the best, but it did not really have any espresso flavor. Both the almond butter bar and the carrot cake were fairly plain, and all the flavors ran together. I at least have to say none of their desserts were dry or crumbly. If you have been eating GF very long you know that’s a big risk you take with many gluten free baked products. Theirs were moist, but just not great.

I would not spend my money again on their desserts; I would rather go without or make something at home afterwards. Something like our brownies would be great… Had to throw in the shameless plug sorry. Frankly, this is why we have spent so long working on our recipes. We want them to be amazing, not just ok.

The Verdict

Other than the desserts, their food is quite delicious, and I highly recommend Season’s Harvest Cafe. Their menu can be easily made to work with almost any diet, and I feel like the whole family can be happy with whatever they get. They also serve breakfast, and I am excited to go back and try it out. Here is also an important part. Their silverware is not giant, it’s properly sized for a normal human. I find this to be a very important to enjoying our meal! What is up with the giant, heavy, clunky silverware that’s in style right now ?! Anyway. More on that rant later, but go check out this restaurant and make your mouths and bodies happy at the same time!

Let us know in the comments, have you ever been to Season’s Harvest Cafe and what did you think? Is there somewhere else you would like us to try?

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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Is Low Carb also Gluten Free?

Is low carb also gluten free? In a word: No.  Frankly if you are eating low carb and gluten free, you must be extremely careful. While a lot of low carb products and recipes are gluten free, many have hidden gluten that you must be careful to avoid!

Let’s go back to the basics of what gluten does. It helps our gluten-filled bread stick together, right? Well, starch helps to make that happen as well. So in many low carb products, when they remove starch filled products, they substitute in extra wheat gluten to help give structure. Obviously this is a huge problem for anyone who is sensitive to gluten and is also eating low carb.

Should we be mad?

Should we be upset at the companies using vital wheat gluten and recipe creators who use it in their recipes and products? Absolutely not! They are creating value for the many people who are not gluten free but do want to eat low carb. Just as much as we should not be upset with the people who create products or recipes using wheat flour.

What to look out for?

Certainly it’s true that, “You cannot judge a book by it’s cover”. Looking at outward appearance, in some cases, can help us, though. If you see a recipe or a product that looks too good to be gluten free, pay more attention. Take that next step and look at the ingredients. Don’t waste your time watching a 20 minute youtube video, just to check the recipe at the end and realize it has 2 cups of wheat gluten added to it. Here is a great example of something that looks a bit better looking than other gluten free recipes and low and behold, it’s not!

As always, checking ingredient labels is one of the most important things we can do as allergen sensitive people. I totally understand the excitement and the comfort we get from seeing a product mentioning it is free of “fill in the blank”. It is typically a good sign that it at least has a good chance of being safe for us to eat. We still need to carefully examine it and make sure it is safe!

So is low carb also gluten free? Maybe… It’s not a guaranteed thing, and many low carb options contain lots of extra gluten. Read the recipe or ingredients list carefully and pay attention. If it seems too good to be true, it quite possibly is. I don’t want to drag your enthusiasm down but I really don’t want people getting sick either, and we have been deceived by quite a few of these recipes recently.

Don’t forget yesterday’s post here about these new bread mixes which ARE both gluten free and low carb (and amazingly delicious, too)!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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The BEST grain free keto bread mix!

I don’t know about y’all, but I love bread! Making good bread gluten free is hard; making a really good grain free keto bread is even harder. Gluten just does certain things that makes bread do bread things. It’s extremely hard to replicate. I think I have found a great product to try that fulfills many of the desires of bread while also being gluten and grain free and keto/low carb friendly! I ran across mention of California Country Organics on Instagram and decided to check them out.

They offer 4 baking mixes along with a couple of cookbooks that are all grain and gluReal Bread Grain Free Bread Mix ten free as well as keto and low carb friendly. I ordered the rustic bread mix and the cinnamon roll mix. We have only tried the rustic bread mix so far. I got the cinnamon roll mix for my wife’s birthday and will either update this review or do another one then.

The Results

Their product pictures impressed me right off the bat. A lot can usually be judged by the pictures. Certainly, as is always true, the outward appearance does not necessarily indicate the quality of the interior. I’ve found with gluten free products, though, that how it looks is usually a decent indicator of the overall product.

The Finished Product!

Their bread turned out fantastic! My wife, whom has gotten used to GF stuff but still typically avoids it, loved it and thought it was fantastic as well. It has a nice crust to it, the texture is nice without being too spongy and it has an excellent regular bread flavor.

The Downsides

The recipe on the back is a bit confusing. It lists some of what you need at the top, but depending on the mix (cinnamon rolls for one), the rest of what you need is buried in the instructions. This is not the end of the world but it does make it a bit more confusing.

They are a little labor intensive, although it’s really not bad considering you’re making homemade bread. It is not simply, “add ingredients and stir”. You add all the wet ingredients, then add your mix, stir it together, then rest it, then you knead it for a bit, then you shape it and bake it. Compared to a typical loaf of bread this is not far off, but compared to most gluten free mixes this requires a bit more effort. It is well worth it in my opinion, but just be aware.

Is it worth it?

These bread mixes are totally worth trying!! While they do require a touch of extra work, it creates a tasty gluten and grain free and low carb bread. There is only about 2g of net carbs per slice. Each slice is nicely satisfying, too, so if you are trying to stay under 20 or 30 grams of carbs, you can have one slice and be satisfied without busting your allowance.

Head over to their website and check them out. We will let you know how the cinnamon rolls taste soon! They are available on amazon as well, but if at all possible I think it is always a good idea to support a company directly through their website. Let us know if you love these breads as much as we did!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris