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Health Benefits of Spices

Fall Spices

Can’t you just smell the crisp fall air outside? Fall is one of my favorites seasons – and for good reason! The weather is cool, but not yet cold enough to hamper our outdoor activity. The days are usually sunny, the nights cool and crisp, the evenings perfect for hotdogs over bonfires. And the other lovely part of fall? The spicy smells and tastes, of course! Who doesn’t love cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, and a little spicy clove or mace mixed in? Did you know that many of these spices have some AMAZING health benefits, also? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the very flavors we love during the beginning of flu season are also the ones that will help boost our immune system. Let’s discuss the health benefits of spices and how to use them beyond apple pie.

Which Spices?

Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, mace, and ginger are the usual players in “pumpkin pie spice” seasoning. They all have many different health benefits and can be delicious additions to many many different dishes. We’re going to add one more thing, though. Have you heard about the health benefits of turmeric? It’s becoming a big player in the natural health world. I always add it into my spice considerations, and we’re going to add it into our spice mix today. It has a very mild flavor, so you won’t even know it’s there, and it will add a lot of great health benefits and lovely golden color to your cooking.

Why Fall Spices?

Cinnamon: can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, regulate the digestive system, reduce inflammation, encourage healthy insulin levels, and contribute lots of antioxidants

Nutmeg: can help regulate sleep patterns, encourage digestive health and healthy liver function, can be used for oral issues, regulates blood pressure, and may have anti-cancer properties

Allspice: can reduce inflammation and therefore reduce pain, aid digestion, and is full of antioxidants for overall immunity

Clove: cloves are highly studied for their effects against cancer and infection as well as aiding in circulation and digestion. They are one of the most potent herbs in existence, have been traditionally used as medicine in many cultures for many generations, and are also included in Young Living’s well known “thieves” oil products

Mace: mace is actually another part of the nutmeg plant (the outer casing of the seed that we already know so well), so it shares most of the same health benefits. It is also very high in vitamin A & C, calcium, iron, copper, and manganese, making it a worthy consideration to your vitamin regime

Turmeric: turmeric is being widely studied as a cancer treatment and is even starting to be recommended by some of the big cancer treatment centers for certain types of cancer. It also helps overall circulation, reduces inflammation, and has many many other uses.

Ginger: ginger is recommended for weight loss, digestive health, and reducing inflammation which can help with joint and arthritis pain as well as headaches. It is widely known for helping with nausea and is an ingredient in many nausea medicines such as dramamine and most infant colic remedies.

As if that’s not enough, all of these contain high levels of many different vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. A mix of these spices is a supplement for almost every vitamin and mineral that you need to stay healthier this winter!

What do I use them in?

These spices are great in tea (use the whole spices in a loose leaf tea ball or bag), coffee (sprinkle them on top of your grounds before brewing), oatmeal or any breakfast porridge, muffins and breads, any fall baking, apple cider (just add spices to apple juice and heat up!), baked apples, pies, crisps, tarts, and anywhere else that you want a dash of flavor. The health benefits of spices as well as their warming and beautiful flavors make them a great addition to anything! Keep a shaker of your spice mix next to your salt shaker so you remember to use it, and you’ll be amazed at all the places you can add them in.

The essential oils of many of these plants are also great to diffuse in the fall and winter. Putting them into the air will help the atmosphere of the home as well as smelling absolutely heavenly even when you don’t have time to bake a pie!

How do I remember them all?

That’s a great question! Instead of having to add 7 bottles of spices to every dish you make, let’s make our own mix! You’ll save yourself the effort of having to find, open, measure, and put away so many different things. It will only take a minute to make, so let’s go!

Beware: stores sell things like “pumpkin pie spice”, but those only contain a few spices and have other additives. It will only take 5 minutes to mix our own and have it for the rest of the season.

Recipe:

1 cup cinnamon (we buy ours at costco)

1 Tblsp nutmeg

2 tsp clove

1 Tblsp allspice

2 tsp mace

1 Tblsp turmeric

1 Tblsp ginger

Measure all your dry ground spices into a bowl. Whisk until combined. Pour into an old spice bottle or a mason jar. You can get shaker mason jar lids here, or you can simply place a tsp in the jar of mixed spices and you’ll have your measuring device right on hand with your spices. Taste the mix and feel free to adjust flavors to your own liking 🙂

Let us know how we can help you be healthier each day in a delicious and tasty way!

The Wife

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Grow and Learn In Community

Hopefully no one noticed I was gone several days last week due to the wonders of technology and auto posting! The blog went on while I learned about how to improve some other aspects of the business. I went to a several day event and had some great breakthroughs! Today I want to focus on the importance of moving forward as we grow and learn in community.

I went to this event because many of the people who have helped me get this business started were attending. It’s a community of people who want to help others run successful small businesses and be better prepared for life no matter what happens. Admittedly, if I had implemented their advice to begin with, I probably would have gotten Off Kilter Brownies started long before I did!

Two people in particular have listened to and answered my questions for over two years now. Many times it was the same question in different ways over and over again, and I’ve never really taken action on them. None the less they have continued to engage with me until I got the courage to make it happen!

My Next Steps

Things have been going well with the business, but I have felt at a road block for the last couple months. I have not been sure if we needed to change or add things or just to continue pushing forward and be patient.

I was super excited to go to this event because I knew I would be able to get some answers from others who are running successful businesses. Ironically, the answer I received  was something I’ve been told before I needed to work on. Yet this time, in person and with these people, it finally clicked. In short, the thing I needed to work on was communicating our story to others and not focusing it so much on ourselves but how we can help others. As I got the opportunity to grow and learn in community, I got the inspiration to finally move forward.

As I said, this was not the first time I’ve heard this. Even though Nicole (from Holler Roast Coffee) has repeatedly talked with me about this, she knew that working together in person would either help move things forward in my head or show that I totally wasn’t ready. She took the time to craft sessions that everyone needed to hear, but specifically made sure I got the help I needed.

Why did it matter this time?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I finally got it through my head this time. A large part of it was that I was in person. I heard the same things again, but it also enabled me to practice them right away with others, and thus allowed me to move to the next level.

The internet is amazing; it enables us to buy and sell with people who are thousands of miles away and to have community with others who it’s possible you will never meet, but having the face to face interaction is still extremely important.

Whether it’s gardening, or painting, refurbishing cars, or just making friends, having the chance to meet people in person and talk through struggles makes things way more real. It also pushes us out of our bubble. When we are on the internet it is much easier to say “oh yea, that’s a great idea!” but never do it because there is no real accountability. When you are face to face with someone there is a certain amount of natural pressure. Positive peer pressure from a caring community is a huge aid in personal growth! Public accountability can be a highly useful tool to cause us to take action.

What does that mean for you?

Firstly, I hope this will help us build an Off Kilter Brownies that can serve your needs even better.

Secondly, I encourage you to take the time to find your community so that you can grow and learn in community, also. Online communities are a good place to start, but be sure to find time in person, also. Sometimes we can meet with online communities in person. Other times, we just need to find a physical in-person community on its own. Not just to benefit you, but for the mutual benefit of all. We should always be learning from someone and teaching someone!

Thirdly, get out of your comfort zone! If you see a great idea or hear of something that might be helpful to you – “Just Do It”! When most of our interactions are online, we can mentally agree with an idea without actually acting on it. Pick one thing this week that you want to work on and take one step toward that goal. Don’t let life pass you by because you were too lazy or scared to take action steps. One step at a time, and you will get there! And even if you never get to your original goal, you will be sure to learn, grow, and improve along the way. If you don’t ever have time for personal growth, then head back to our post on “white space” in our lives!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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Fast and Easy Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Warm cozy breakfasts are an integral part of fall and winter to me. The oven warms up the kitchen (which is nice when it’s less than 100 degrees outside!), and fills the house with delicious smells, whether it’s the smell of homemade biscuits or toasting cinnamon wafting through the house. Apples and cinnamon are, of course, one of the main scents we associate with fall. One of the best ways to enjoy both the smell and taste is with a gluten free apple crisp!

Crisps are probably one of my favorite breakfasts. They are extremely versatile and can be made with any fruit or topping depending on what’s in season and what you have on hand. They are not only limited to breakfast either – they are great for dessert or a snack, too! Got a giant box of pears? Great! Use those instead of apples! Maybe it’s summer time and you have lots of peaches available but not apples! Awesome, fresh peach crisp can’t be beat!

Do you love nuts? Throw them in the topping! Love cardamom and hate cinnamon? Change up the spices! Want to use molasses or maple syrup instead of honey? Do it! The base recipe is so easy to adapt to what you like and what’s on hand. What I have below is a great place to start but feel free to run wild with what you want!

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

4-5 Large Apples (A tart variety like honeycrisp or granny smith is best)

3 Cups of Oats

½ Cup of Butter, Melted

½ Cup Honey

2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon Nutmeg

½ teaspoon Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice your apples thin and spread them in the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Spread the mix evenly across the apples.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the oats are golden brown and crisp.
  5. Eat and enjoy this lovely fall breakfast!

Make it a tasty day!

Chris

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Grain Free Baking Powder, Let’s Make Some!

Baking powder is one of those ingredients in the kitchen that we rarely think about but is vitally important. It is also one of those things that, depending on what foods we are avoiding, can secretly be making us sick as well. Today we are going to talk about how you can make your own grain free baking powder!

The Science

Carbon dioxide is what actually causes breads or batters to rise. The gas is released, caught by the other ingredients, and held to cause “lift” in the mix. In most breads, yeast is what gives off the CO2. It is a much slower release so the dough needs to be more elastic and supple to hold that CO2 in. That is one reason bread dough is kneaded – it helps create the protein structures to help hold the rising gases in.

In quick breads, a fast acting agent is used, such as baking powder or baking soda. These release their CO2 quickly, which enables us to not need the strong protein structure of many more complex bread doughs. They can give just the right rise we need in a nice pancake or batch of biscuits to lift them without requiring several hours of rising.

What’s it made of?

Baking Powder can be a combination of several things but it is a mixture of baking soda (a base) with some sort of acidic leavener. You will see various ones listed on a commercial baking powder such as sodium aluminum phosphate or monocalcium phosphate. Some of these also offer a delayed rise that is only released when we reach a certain temperature. The easiest for us to get our hands on is Tartaric acid, or more commonly known as Cream of Tartar.

Back to why baking powder can be making us sick: There is always a starch that is mixed in, typically Corn! This isn’t some nefarious plot by Big Ag to get us down. The leavening agents are mixed with a starch for two reasons. First is that it helps to keep it from clumping and makes it easier to measure. Second is it helps regulate the moisture content which could prematurely set off the agents (though I’ve never experienced this).

Do you really need a starch most of the time? Nope! When I make a big batch to use in our Keto and Vegan Brownie Mixes, I don’t add any starch at all. However, depending on how long it stays in your cupboard, it DOES still make sense for most people to add a bit of starch to extend the shelf life and help it clump less. If you prefer no starch at all, then go ahead and try this recipe without any starch. Otherwise, I recommend you find whatever starch works best for you and go ahead and add a bit.

Rising to the Occasion

For what we are going to make you need baking soda, cream of tartar and your preferred starch – arrowroot works great for this. The ratios we are looking for are:

1 Part Baking Soda

1 Part Starch

2 Parts Cream of Tartar

So for example if you want to make a big batch, IE 1 total cup to store, use ¼ cup arrow root starch, a ¼ cup baking soda, and ½ cup cream of tartar, mix it up and that’s it! You can even make it just in the amounts you need at the time. Just apply the ratio to the total amount you need at the time.

Grain Free Baking Powder

Ingredients:

¼ Cup Baking Soda

¼ Cup Arrow Root Starch

½ Cup Cream of Tartar

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl
  2. Whisk together until combined
  3. Store in an air tight container

Notes:

-If you come back later and it’s lumpy, just run it through a sieve and you are back in business. If you are already sifting flour, then go ahead and just sift your baking powder at the same time.

-As with all leaveners, if you don’t use it all in about a years’ time toss it out and start with fresh ingredients. They will lose their “lifting oomph” over time. And yes, “lifting oomph” is a very technical term.

A lot of the science in this post is from Harold McGees “On Food and Cooking”. This book is a fantastic resource on the science and process behind our food and I highly recommend it.

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flour vs starch

Flour Vs Starch

One of the most confusing things I found when I started eating and baking gluten free was which item I needed to buy as a flour vs starch when I was baking at home. It is confusing enough when you start out trying to bake GF and all of a sudden you went from white flour to having 20 different flours to combine! You then remember you need potato something and find there is both potato starch and potato flour sitting on the grocery store shelf. What to do!?

Depending on what baking ingredient you are talking about, this can either matter a ton or not at all. Helpful, right?! The two major players here are Tapioca and Potato, which are both available as starch and flour. The short story is that tapioca flour and starch is the same thing while potato flour and starch are different.

Why does it matter?

How each of these is processed determines what each item is. Especially in gluten free baking, where we are trying to replace the unique structure of gluten, we want to be specific about finding the correct item.

Potato “Flour” is made from the whole ground up potato. This means there is additional fiber and other components included. Whereas Potato “Starch” is just the isolated starch from the potato, and is just pure starch. If you used starch in place of flour in this case you would end up with a gummy product that was never quite done.

Tapioca starch and flour is the same thing, though. Some recipes rely heavily on tapioca starch – like these waffles – because it is used more like a flour. The words are used synonymously by manufacturers. Why is this? That is a great question I don’t have a great answer to! Without knowing everything involved, my guess would be there is not much else that can be gained by processing the root in a different manner and so we have what we have. The nice thing is that now some manufacturers are starting to help us out in this regard. Bob’s Redmill now has their packages clear labeled as saying “Tapioca Flour also known as Tapioca Starch”.

To sum up:

Potato Starch and Potato Flour are different things and bake very differently. Tapioca starch/flour is the same thing and is interchangeable. If you are shopping and get overwhelmed, remember to stop and take a deep breath. Google is your friend, and even just take a look at the packaging and what the product actually looks like. Starch and flour have a tendency to look different. Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone, they can probably help.

Remember getting stressed over the wrong ingredient will do far more damage long term than having a recipe turn out poorly. Enjoy life and enjoy learning to bake gluten free!

Make it a tasty week,

Chris

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Einkorn Farls: Eat Bread Now!

Eat Bread Now!

Want to eat bread now? Like homemade bread? Here’s your answer! I love bread a lot, if you haven’t noticed. Like, really really a lot. Probably too much. I certainly prefer a long ferment sourdough, but often times let’s be honest, that’s just not practical. Even a quick yeast roll can take too long sometimes with the kneading and rising. This has been true all throughout history. I can’t be the only one who lacks patience. Hence grocery store bread being such a hit! It’s not hard to make fresh bread, but it is time consuming and it doesn’t stay fresh very long without all the preservative. Enter: rustic quick breads! Quick breads of various kinds typically using baking soda to provide lift and have been cooked for generations to solve this exact issue. India has naan, American Indians have indian flat bread, Africa has several variations, and Ireland has these lovely delicious “farls”.

Quick Bread?

These provide a yummy bread product that requires much less skill than many yeast raised bread loaves can require. Soda breads also work way better when it comes to gluten free or einkorn because they thrive on lighter flours and actually do worse when there is lots of gluten to work with. We see this technique used in biscuits, in cornbread, and many other “farm” breads. Lots of options for anyone who wants to eat bread now.

I don’t have a specific gluten free recipe for this,so I will be working on one soon as I have one that will work great. This recipe is from Elliot Homestead. I halved everything below to make one pans worth which was perfect for our family of 4 (plus the baby) to have with dinner.

Einkorn Farls

Ingredients

1 ¾ Cups all-purpose Einkorn Flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda (don’t use the stuff that’s been in your fridge for 5 years please…)

¼ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

  1. This will make enough for one 10 inch cast iron skillet. Assuming you won’t be interrupted 28 ½ times by your kids, go ahead and preheat your pan on low.
  2. In a large bowl sift together all your dry ingredients. Sifting will help to lighten everything even more.
  3. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients with your fingers.
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and let sit a couple minutes. This lets the vinegar slightly sour the milk which we want. (you can also just pour them all in the well and not dirty another bowl and let it sit)
  5. Use a spoon to combine the dough. It will be wet and soft and squishy.
  6. Transfer the dough to a heavily floured surface and knead for two minutes, until smooth. Form it into a ball.
  7. Using your fingers, squish the dough into a 10-12″ rough.
  8. Cut the rounds into quarters and gently transfer them to the preheated cast iron skillets. Reduce the heat under the skillets to low, and then allow the farls to cook until slightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Flip the farls over and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until cooked through and gently browned.

That’s it!

Ok- go eat bread now! This is the quickest of quick breads – 15 min start to finish once you get used to making them! The texture is filling yet smooth and indulgent. Smother it in some good butter, dip it in the bone broth from your meal, or even break it and smear with jelly for dessert! Let us know if you make these and how they come out for you!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

 

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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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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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Quail Jalapeno Poppers!

Quail Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno poppers – they are always a favorite dish at any event or even at home! A bit of spice, crunchy salty bacon, and smooth creamy slightly sweet cream cheese are fantastic every time. How could we make these better though? Well, wrap them in meat and turn them into all of dinner, that’s how! Quail Jalapeno Poppers!

We recently did a bit of bartering and got our hands on some quail from a local guy who raises them. We have seen others do this, and we have recently been talking about making jalapeno poppers, so we decided to make some amazing deliciousness!

You can either stuff the breast cavity or you can do these boneless. I removed the breast meat and wrapped it in order to avoid messing with bones. We also had some Anaheim chilies ready to harvest, so I used one of those instead of jalapenos. You could easily use chicken breast (cut into slices) if you don’t have quail available.

Quail Jalapeno Poppers:
Yields: 6 Stuffed Quail

  • 6 Quail breasts, deboned
  • 1 Large Anaheim or Jalapeno Chili
  • 3 OZ Cream Cheese
  • 3 Thick cut slices of bacon, cut in half
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 Tooth Picks
  1. Remove the breast meat from the quail (I just pulled it off by hand) and salt and pepper both sides
  2. Deseed and core your chili pepper, slice into ¼ inch wide strips. Adjust the length as necessary for your meat.
  3. Cut off approx. 1 Tablespoon size pieces of cream cheese in strips and set to the side.
  4. Lay out your quail breast flat on your work surface. Lay 1 strip of chili and 1 piece of cream cheese in the center. Carefully wrap the quail around the filling.
  5. Wrap a half piece of bacon around the quail and have the ends meet up where the meat comes together. Use a tooth pick to hold everything together.
  6. Cook on a sheet pan in the oven at 350F for 15-25 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the temperature of the meat comes to 165F. You can also easily cook these on the grill. I grilled them over medium high heat. Just be careful turning them to not let the cream cheese fall out.
Everything Laid Out
Ready to go!

 

Just don’t burn them! I did…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a kid friendly variation, leave out the chili pepper so even your littlest ones can enjoy a creamy crunchy high protein meal.

For a dairy free variation, try stuffing with avocado slices instead of the cream cheese.

Don’t waste those quail legs! Toss them in some buffalo sauce and cook them alongside the quail poppers – just beware – they will cook in about 2-3 minutes, so watch them closely!

The raw quail bones that are leftover from your meal prep will make the perfect snake for your doggo. You can also toss them in a pot of water with some salt and pepper for a quick cup of broth to sip after dinner. Never waste anything!

These quail poppers will make any day a tasty day! Let us know how they turn out for you!

Chris

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Pseudo Grains and Should We Eat Them?

Happy Tuesday!

Let’s get back to our discussion of eating grain free from last week. We mentioned pseudo grains as a potential option if you are trying to eat grain free. These are quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat; they have a grain like texture and flavor, but are not actually a grain. (Grains come from grass species, pseudo-grains are broadleaf plant seeds)

buckwheat flour
Buckwheat flour is a common flour for pancakes, waffles, muffins and other wheat substitutes. It has a bit of a flavor, but it is the closest in texture and flavor to a grain flour.
Quinoa
Quinoa cooks up light and fluffy like rice. It is an excellent rice substitute and packs a nutritional punch along the way

 

If you are eating grain free, should you consider eating one of the pseudo grains? Perhaps. Let’s explore below!

What are the advantages?

Pseudo grains are a great way to have a similarly performing recipe to a grain but still avoid many of the dietary issues that grains cause. Some people’s bodies do well processing pseudo grains when they cannot handle corn or rice.

All three of these pseudo grains contain much higher amounts of protein than grains, and quinoa in particular is considered one of the few plants sources of complete protein. Compared to grains, they also contain more vitamins and minerals.

Pseudo grains generally come in “whole grain” form – they are not usually processed and separated into parts like wheat or other common grains. This way, when you eat quinoa seeds or buckwheat flour, you are getting all the wonderful fiber and nutrients that God put in these foods to help keep our bodies healthy!

Pseudo grains are a really nice way to add in some extra protein and fiber while avoiding many of the pitfalls of grains. For example, buckwheat is a good flour substitute. Quinoa is frequently used as a rice or porridge substitute, and amaranth is usually more of an add-in to other flours.

What are the disadvantages?

Pseudo grains are still fairly high in carbohydrates. While they may have more things on their side outweighing those carbs, than say a bowl of white rice, they are still carb heavy. If you are eating grain free to cut down your carb intake, they may not be right for you.

Pseudo grains also contain some of the “anti-nutrients” that grains do. There is a decent amount of debate over these. Things such as lectins, saponens, and protease inhibitors are considered by some to promote leaky gut syndrome and cause other nutrient uptake and digestive issues.  There are ways to help bypass these by soaking and mildly fermenting them first, which we will cover in future blogs.

As anything alternative, they can take some getting used to. Just because they are grain-like does not mean they are going to taste the same. Amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat each have their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Should I dive in?

As anything, you need to evaluate your diet and your body. If you are just trying to get away from most grains but still want to have access to some more grain-like meals and substitutes, then pseudo grains are a great place to start. For some good recipes, check out Danielle Walker’s website here. You can search her website for quinoa or buckwheat for some great new recipes to try.

If you are looking to be much lower carb or really avoid the anti-nutrient potential issue, then they may not be best. We will be posting soon about ways to soak, ferment, and otherwise help your grains and pseudo-grains be rid of the anti-nutrients. Stay tuned for more info on this!

As with all things, try a small amount and see how your body reacts. It’s possible that your body may like quinoa but not buckwheat or vice versa. So much of our allergen free journey is trying new things and seeing what each of us thrive on in particular. Let us know in the comments if you eat pseudo grains or not, and why so!

Make it a tasty day,

Chris