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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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Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

You know when you get a craving for a chocolate chip cookie? Not a “healthy” cookie, but that one that you grew up eating? Well it happens to us quite a bit! I grew up eating the iconic Toll House chocolate chip cookie – that recipe right off the bag of the semi-sweet chocolate chips – full of brown sugar, butter, and lots of gooey chocolateyness. Well I have good news! Did you know there is a completely equal version that is grain free?! Danielle Walker, the mastermind of Against All Grain, has this grain free chocolate chip  cookie recipe on her blog, and if you haven’t found it yet, it is high time you tried it in all its magnificence!

These grain free chocolate chip cookies are great to make with kids, as the recipe is completely simple enough that even a toddler can make it with a little parental guidance!

Ingredients 

Almond Flour – we always use Costco. They have become the go-to for finely ground almond flour that best substitutes for white flour in recipes where you don’t want to feel like you’re eating ground up almonds. We use this in our blondies, and we recommend it for just about every almond flour application. Did you know that you can order Kirkland products on Amazon? I didn’t until recently, but what a great discovery!

Chocolate Chips – we use Guittard for the entire 1/2 cup of chocolate that this recipe calls for. You can use Enjoy Life, which is a great brand that doesn’t have any allergens/additives/etc, also, or whatever else your favorite brand may be. We like the dark decadent flavor of the higher quality dark chocolate Guittard chips, and we feel ever-so-slightly healthier because we’re using a darker chocolate (and we all know that dark chocolate is basically a vegetable, right?!).

Salt – as always, we recommend Real Salt. It has all the good trace minerals left in it, it tastes great, and it even looks beautiful on the table! Plus, if you use lots of good salt, you can order in bulk in these perfect little 10lb buckets with sealing lids that are the most useful size EVER!!!! Especially if you have little kiddos trying to help move animal feed, water, minerals, dirt, etc around the homestead! Or even if you just need resealable storage for dry goods, craft supplies, or anything else your heart desires 😉

Process 

I won’t try to pretend that I can write a better grain free cookie recipe blog than Danielle Walker, so head on over to her page right now and make yourself some delicious, amazing, take-you-back-to-your-childhood chocolate chip cookies!

Danielle Walker’s “Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies”

One more little tidbit – don’t miss that you can make this dough, roll it into balls, and freeze it for those cold winter nights coming up where you just need one gooey hot chocolate chip cookie to eat on the couch with your tea or coffee.

We’d love to hear about your childhood memories with chocolate chip cookies, or any other cookie for that matter! Share your story below!

The Wife 😉

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Are Oats Gluten Free, and all toddlers favorite food!

Trader Joes Gluten Free Oats

Oats: that ubiquitous, always available grain that comes in a form anywhere from glop thrown in a bowl, to a high end energy bar, to a packet that is probably more sugar than anything else. Although many people find it to be delicious, many people also despise it. The only thing more confusing than the statistical probability that your spouse will like or hate oat meal just as much as you are: are Oats Gluten Free?

Would it be a helpful answer if I said it depends? Sadly it is true, sometimes oats are safe to eat and sometimes they are not. While Oats themselves are gluten free (not grain free though)., they end up becoming contaminated in the growth and processing phases. Sometimes oats grow together with wheat, as well as being transported and processed together. Therefore, the oat itself will not cause you harm, while the cross contact that occurs that will get you into trouble.

Not sure what cross contact is? Find out here!

What am I to do!?

“I love oatmeal! What am I to do!?”  You say.  The great thing is the market has provided us an option! Certified gluten free oats are available and fairly easy to obtain. Amazon has 6 and counting different brands of certified gluten free oats available. Trader Joes has a great gluten free oat, and its one of the most inexpensive.

Gluten Free Oats come in all shapes and sizes just like regular oats. You can buy them rolled, or quick cooking, or flavored in packets, or in cups, or as steel cut or whole grouts. Whatever you preferred way to eat oats, you can do it with gluten free oats!

A Word on Trust

Once you start roaming the internet looking for gluten free related articles, you will quickly find broken trust. Someone ate a product that made them sick. Maybe it was mislabeled, or they grabbed the wrong thing, or it was contaminated, who really knows. However, their trust in that part of the system is now broken.

There is an inherent trust we have to place in the purity of our food sources. That is true for all of our food, not just gluten free products! Praise God we have a remarkably safe food system here in the United States and almost the entire 1st world. We can walk into any grocery store and not be fearful our food might be spiked with a poison or our flour is cut with talcum powder. Those are very real fears for much of the world.

Individuals with food allergies have to take on even more trust, though. When we buy a product that says Gluten Free we trust them that they are telling the truth! Third party certifications do help with that but then we are trusting the third party. While there are ways to test foods yourself, self-testing for gluten gets expensive and time consuming and is another topic on its own.

Should I just not eat anything but raw carrots then that I grew myself then? No, but we do need to pay attention and ask questions. Read labels, research companies, look for third party certifications, and understand what a company is about. In the case of oats, look for information like is included on the back of the Trader Joes GF oats bag below. Most importantly in the end after you’ve done your research, relax and enjoy life. Stressing over the food is not worth it.

Traders Joe's Gluten Free Oats Label Details

Can I eat O’s?

Cheerios, the favorite food of everyone below the age of 6, plus a lot of them above 6 too! Are the oats gluten free in cheerios? That is a fantastic question to ask, and certainly is highly relevant to our discussion of trust.

Cheerios uses oats from mixed crop fields and as such cannot be certified gluten free.  None the less, they call them gluten free, and most gluten free people can eat them. Why? The deal is they have developed a process to separate out the wheat, barley, etc that might be mixed in. Cheerios then tests their product to make sure it is below the Federal Standard of 20 ppm of gluten. To find out more information, go here.

The fact that they developed a giant sorting machine to do this is pretty cool! But, we place trust in the manufacturer here, no matter how cool the science is. Are cheerios safe to eat for gluten sensitive people? You have to find out for yourself. I and my daughters can tolerate them without any issues, but I know others who cannot. Can other people not tolerate them because of the potential for gluten cross contact in cheerios or something else entirely? It’s hard to know.

Try a few and see how you do, you might be surprised! If you find your can’t tolerate them, some toddler with gladly take them off your hands 🙂

The Conclusion

Are oats gluten free? The answer is yes, oats themselves are gluten free, but often get contaminated later. You should find a quality manufacturer that sells a certified gluten free oatmeal that makes you happy, and go enjoy it!

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Is it healthier to eat gluten free? Part 2

Welcome back! Today we are going to continue talking about whether it is healthier to eat gluten free. If you missed Part 1 of “Is it Healthier to Eat Gluten Free?” yesterday please go check it out!

Yesterday we spoke about people choosing to eat gluten free because of the perceived health benefits and the fad diet aspect. Today we will continue on our list below.

Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat

Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat is the biggest reason people eat gluten free. I feel like that is an obvious statement, but I’ll say it anyway! This is a great reason to eat gluten free and it does mean it is healthier to eat gluten free!

Typical symptoms of sensitivity to gluten are: bloating, gas, headaches or migraines, diaria, constipation, achy joints, brain fog, lethargy, plus other minor symptoms depending on who you are. The common themes you will see is most of the symptoms are inflammation and irritant related.

The biggest issue for people from wheat or gluten is inflammation. Inflammation is what causes many of the gut issues, as well. Gluten inflames the gut lining which then becomes more sensitive, and it becomes even more irritated.

If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, I highly recommend you look into whether or not a gluten free diet would be right for you. I need to say here that I am not a doctor, so you should consult your primary care physician before doing anything crazy.

Eating Low Carb

Eating a low carb diet is another reason it could be healthier to eat gluten free. Low carb diets have been around for many years – anyone remember Atkins or South Beach? Paleo and Primal are not just about being low carb, but that does factor fairly significantly in them. Keto is focused almost entirely on reducing carbs.

If you are trying to eat low carb, going gluten free will help significantly. Remember, though, just because something says gluten or grain free does not mean it is better for you than the alternative! It is always better to substitute whole foods rather than a different processed food.

Paleo and Primal foods have some great benefits to them. The avoidance of processed sugar is one of the biggest. Often times it gets replaced with coconut sugar or dates. These are way better options. Are you then eating them every day because they are “approved”, though? As we discussed yesterday, just because something is on the “safe” list does not mean it is better for you, or should be consumed all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I sell brownies for a living. I think a good dessert is amazing and a worthwhile treat! I do not recommend you eat my brownies every day, though, even though it would be great for my business 😉

Some people may have ZERO tolerance for sugar or any sweetener that moves their blood sugar at all, but that is another story for another day. As a general rule for myself and most others, I have found that our bodies allow some wiggle room on what we consume. I want to eat the best food possible when I have that treat, whatever it may be. That is why we have pursued making the BEST brownies possible. I would rather eat less or even give up a food entirely until I can find that really good recipe! If a recipe or product does not make me totally happy, you will not find it on here.

Inflammation Removal Diet

As we discussed above, gluten and wheat are a source of inflammation in many people. There are those who argue it causes inflammation in all people, even those not sensitive. That is another story for another day, though. For more information on inflammation this is a great article from Mercola.

For those who know they have issues caused by inflammation such as achy joints, gluten would be one of the things to remove from their diet. Dairy, highly processed oils, sugar, and others also fall into that list.

Other Food Sensitivities

People with gluten intolerance frequently have other food allergies as well, sadly, and that can mean it is healthier to eat totally grain free.  Other grains, even gluten free ones, dairy, sugars, eggs, food additives, these are all possibilities. If you are still experiencing negative symptoms and you have eliminated gluten or another food, you might consider eliminating more foods to see if that improves things.

It is frequently recommended when you are trying to figure out what foods are affecting your health to follow an elimination diet. The basic theory is that you remove all of the foods that are likely to be affecting you  for at least 1-6 months and then slowly add 1 food back in at a time. This allows you to help determine if it’s actually gluten, or maybe dairy, or maybe it’s both! You also may discover an allergy you didn’t even know you had. I found out through doing the GAPS diet that I was sensitive to nightshades, which I would have never figured out otherwise.

I highly recommend you read up on this if you intend to go this path. The GAPS diet is one version of an elimination diet that has other aims as well. Here is another fairly good article about elimination diets as well.

Cross Reactivity between allergens is another reason that it is healthier to eat gluten free. Cross reactivity is when the immune system of the body reacts to a different allergen protean than you are actually allergic to. This happens because the proteins are very similar so the body thinks it is the same thing.  Here is a very detailed article on it.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many reasons it can be healthier to eat gluten free. It truly does benefit many people. Understand why you would be doing it though. There is no reason just to do something just because. Look for whole foods, that have been produced well, and properly, and don’t eat a ton of junk and you will be far better off than just simply going gluten free.

Make it a tasty day,

Chris