My First Foray into Gluten-Free Baking

Okay, I promise that my blog is not going to be about the food I eat for the rest of forever... but this entry definitely is.  You see, when I first came to terms with the whole, "No more gluten" thing, my immediate response was to reach out to some of the people in my life who are already dealing with it, and get their recommendations on cookbooks, etc.  One thing that I kept hearing, over and over again, was that "Gluten-free baking is a pain in the posterior," usually followed by, "So I just don't bother."

This distressed me, Gentle Readers, because I like to bake.  Not to the extent that I want to do it for a living, or blog about it all the time, but I genuinely enjoy baking as a leisure/stress-relief activity, and I genuinely love sharing the results with others.  So "not bothering" with baking was not really an option.

Of course, my extreme dietary restrictions over the past month or so have meant that any sort of baking, gluten-free or otherwise, was off the table.  But now that I've been adding things back in (including sugars, nuts, and eggs) I'm at a point where it was feasible once more.

Enter my totally awesome mother.

She has been very supportive of my "weird new diet" (my words, not hers) and when I got her back to my house from the airport (she's visiting for a while- yay!) one of the very first things she unpacked (possibly even the first) was a handful of gluten-free baked-goods recipes.

Did I mention how totally awesome she is?
Also I totally roped her into being the photographer for my messier-hand-moments.
So this morning (with a giant mental shout-out to my pumpkin-loving-paleo-pal Lara) I tried my hand at the Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations' Pumpkin Cranberry Scones.  Except... well, no one ever spices things enough for my tastes, so I definitely modified the spices.  Behold!


Some day I will convince my photographer husband he should spend more time photographing for my blog and then you will not be forced to deal with my camera-phone images all the time...
2c almond flour
1/2c pumpkin puree (This is not the same as pumpkin in a can.  Which I did not know, so it's a good thing I saw a display of the stuff as I was walking towards the front of the store with my canned pumpkin...)
1/2c dried cranberries
1/4c shredded coconut
1/4c crushed pecans (My mom, who is visiting from the South, was mortified by how expensive these nuts are up here.  She promised to send me some from her front yard.  Score!)
1 large egg
3Tbsp raw honey (It should go without saying to use local stuff- it is so much more flavorful than Mr. Bear)
1tsp sea salt
1tsp baking powder
2.5tsp cinnamon
2tsp ginger
healthy dash of cloves
healthy dash of nutmeg (I think I did seven shakes?)


pre-heat oven to 400
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add wet ingredients and knead by hand until well-mixed

One of the afore-mentioned messier-hand-moments.
use a spoon to dollop out the dough onto the parchment paper (I made it an even dozen)
shape into tiny adorable triangles about 1/4" thick
My dread pastry fleet, just prior to deployment.
put the baking sheet (parchment paper, raw scones, and all) onto a second (preferably larger) baking sheet, to ensure the bottoms don't burn

bake in oven apx 15 minutes (I checked mine at 12, then kept them in another 4)
remove when tops starts to brown and a toothpick pushed into the center of a scone comes back clean
remove from oven, set baking pan to cool on rack.  gently loosen scones after about 2-3 min, continue to cool an additional 2-3, then enjoy!
Striking a smug baker's pose is part of my enjoyment.

We had ours with tea, because we have some British heritage in there somewhere.  (That's a lie- mine was tisane, not tea!)

On the cusp of the Moment of Truth!

Super-flattering.  Thanks Mom.




For some reason Mom didn't want photographic evidence of her chowing down on scones...


Detox: Day Twenty-One (or: Free At Last!)

Here it is, my final "detox" entry (knock on wood).  Aren't you excited?  I know I sure as heck am, as I plan on allowing myself a single piece of chocolate this evening to celebrate my return to the world of (new)normal eating.  And I'm definitely going out on some decent food:

Breakfast: four pieces of Canadian bacon (aka ham) (eaten on the go, because we had places to be)
Lunch: lots of raspberries and strawberries
Dinner: lamb burgers topped with mashed up avocados seasoned with cilantro, cumin, lime juice and bacon.  So very Mexican-y and delicious!

Just wrap and enjoy!

Now, as much as I'd like to just jump back in to all my old favorite foods at once (baked potato stuffed with butter and mushrooms and cheese and sour cream and hell some chili while we're at it?  Yesplease!) the reality of the situation is that I'm now to ease myself back into naughty foods, taking it slowly so I can process how my body... well, processes each new thing.  I debated for a long time on what to go back to first, and (as you may have guessed) sugars won out.  Hence the piece of dark chocolate this evening.  Tomorrow morning it will be a smoothie with some high-glycemic fruits (hello banana base!) and my vanilla coconut milk.  In a few days, who knows?  Maybe grains.  Maybe eggs.  We'll see how I feel...

In the meantime, expect this blog to get back to more fictional-type writings.  I figure NaNo is a great time for me to toss out some excerpts, eh?


Detox: Day Twenty (or: Nothing But Protein!)

Today was a day I needed Much Strength, and so my menu looked like this:

Breakfast: three pieces of canadian bacon, sauteed pear
Lunch: three pieces of American bacon, handful of blackberries
Dinner: Two lamb-burgers topped with avocado and (you guessed it) more bacon!  Wrapped in romaine

Why the need for so much meat, you ask?  Well, this morning I needed physical strength to help my friends move into their new apartment (Nathan did not fortify, and thus had the very unpleasant experience of bonking later in the day) and then in the evening I needed emotional strength to deal with the Alabama/LSU game.  (which did not, I might add, end well.  There is not sunshine in Timaru at the moment... mighty Bama has struck out...)

I have to admit, tho'- there came a moment during lunch in which I thought to myself the rather blasphemous thought, "Perhaps I am getting a little sick of bacon."

Good thing tomorrow is the last day, eh?


Detox: Day Nineteen (or: Let's Pretend I Have a Mail Bag!)

A friend of mine posted this in yesterday's comments:

Teacher Jamie said...
Is bacon required? I mean...there is nothing wrong with bacon. Is it just the choice you made for breakfast most days? I guess there is little else to have for breakfast when eggs and grains are out. I would be interested to read more about the specific fruits and vegetables that are not allowed. This cleanse sounds all kinds of healthy :) Good work.

And I started to answer her in the comments, but as my answer got longer and longer I realized that I should just make it my post for today.  So here we go!


Bacon is not required, but I definitely need protein in the mornings (can't make it up that hill without it!), and bacon is the most delicious/convenient option for me at the moment.  I will not try to pretend that there's not a bit of, "Well if I can't have chocolate at least I can have all the bacon I want!" going on with that decision...

Once eggs are allowed back in, I expect there will be more of that, not to mention once I can have the full range of fruits again- woo smoothies!  The truth is that as much as I love bacon, it's not exactly a quickly-made breakfast, you know?  And I do tend to, um, be a bit rushed in the mornings?  Because I am bad about getting out of bed when the first alarm goes off? (this is an entirely different Bad Habit which needs breaking... but I can only handle one or two Major Projects at a time...)

I am not allowed to have any high-glycemic fruits, which is a pretty long freaking list (including things like bananas and mangos and pineapples- oh my!)  In terms of fruit it's easier to give you the ALLOWED list:

grapefruit (not that I've taken advantage of that one)
plums (ooo, or that one-  maybe I'll remedy that this weekend...)

Aaaaand that's about it.  Grapes maybe, but it's pushing it, so I don't.

In terms of veggies, it's the NOT ALLOWED list that is shorter, because it's limited to "nightshade vegetables" (not all of which are technically vegetables, but whatever):

peppers (including sweet and cayenne)

So pretty easy to avoid, really.  I mean, don't get me wrong- I love everything on that list (except eggplants, with which I have a cordial relationship) but it's not like you're going to find any of those things ACCIDENTALLY IN YOUR FOOD.  (Well, except cayenne,  maybe, as evidenced by my "oh crap" moment with my curried squash soup a couple of weeks ago...)

And there you have it, folks!  A more in-detail breakdown of my non-meat yays-and-nays (meat is all yay).  It is very healthy, and I do feel pretty damn good, but I'm also so ready for it to be over.  It's getting harder and harder to say "no" to a piece of chocolate.  At this point I'm so exhausted with behaving myself that it just seems easier to unwrap that damn piece of candy and put it in my mouth than it does to keep up the emotional effort of being disciplined.

But I can do anything for three weeks.  And I will.

(Oh hey, speaking of yay...)

Breakfast: four slices of bacon, handful of blackberries (switchin' it up- woo!)
Lunch: leftover beef-and-onion-and-garlic bidness
Snack: two mandarin oranges, a handful of blackberies
Dinner: medium-rare steak and a generous helping of mashed cauliflower (much better texture this time, as I remembered to leave out the water)


Detox: Day Eighteen (or: What Can I Say)

I do not have clever things to say this evening, as I have poured them all into today's NaNo writing (all 4000 hand-written words of it, thankyouverymuch).  As such, I am going to go curl up and read more of The Strain, which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It creeps me out so badly, but I just can't stop reading...

Breakfast: four slices of bacon, a handful of blueberries (what can I say- I like routine)
Grazing: a gazillion carrots, two mandarin oranges (what can I say- I didn't have anything to bring for lunch other than a bag of stupid carrots)
Dinner: spaghetti squash with ground beef, onion, and garlic tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Jamaican allspice (what can I say- Nathan's been on an allspice kick)


Detox: Day Seventeen (or: Man I Write A Lot)

I just got done transcribing today's 3500 NaNo words, and I am so sorely tempted to just push through and match yesterday's count.  But the truth is I'm tired, and even more than I want to show off my ability to churn out words (no comment on quality of said words, mind you) I want to stop staring at the computer screen and go curl up with my husband on the couch.  But before I can do that I have to update the blog...

...and so here we are.

The very best thing about today is this:

What is that, you may ask?  That, my friends, is an empty jar which once held the dread substance RepaireVite.  I took my last dose ever this evening, and I am so incredibly stoked that I'm done with it.  Slightly confused, because it was supposedly a four-week supply, but what do I care?  I finished it all, it's all through my system, woo hoo no more gross powder!

Breakfast tomorrow is going to be just brilliant.

Speaking of which:

Breakfast: four slices of bacon and two handfuls of blueberries
Lunch: most of a giant granny smith apple (yes I know that's not a real lunch)
Snack: more blueberries
Dinner: grilled pork, onions, apple, and pear.  Nathan seasoned it all with salt, pepper, cumin, and allspice, and it was freaking fabulous.  The variety of textures was really nice, too.


Detox: Day Sixteen (or: NaNo Begins)

NaNoWriMo starts today.  Perhaps you remember my adventures with it last year?

I am a little concerned about the twin brain-drains of focusing on the detox and focusing on pounding out a minimum of 2000 words a day (that's my personal minimum- technically I only need to write 1667 to hit the 50,000 word goal) but hey- go big or go home, right?  And anyway I only have like five days left on this detox-wagon. And then?  Oh such mindless culinary delights that shall be mine!

The other concern I have is that this year I will not have the same all-hours access to my netbook as I did last year.  At first I was really worried about when I would find time to write- but then I suddenly remembered the advanced technology of pen and paper.

Yes, pen and paper, Gentle Readers!  So portable, so versatile!  So cutting edge!  I used these amazing tools during every slow moment I had at work today, and when I finally got around to transcribing my 27 hand-scribbled pages, it came out to about 3800 words.  So.  I think I'll be okay...

(although Nathan pointed out I'm going to need a much bigger notebook- and soon)

Breakfast: pieces of chicken breast fried in bacon fat, a handful of blueberries
Lunch: 5 oz tuna, mandarin, mackintosh
Snack: four pieces of bacon, handful of blackberries
Dinner: gyro meat with bacon and avocado, served on a bed of spinach and romaine