Gluten Free Matzo


We found a great recipe for making your own gluten free matzo and not only is it delicious, it’s also simple to make.  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup all purpose Gluten-free flour*
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (or almond meal flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-5 Tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 450.  Using a mixer, mix the flours and salt.  Slowly add in the liquid while pulsing.  If it is too dry, add water by the 1/2 teaspoonful to get it wet enough to form a ball, but not sticky.

Form a ball with the dough and pat out onto a clean counter dusted with gluten free flour.  Pat with your fingers to flatten and roll gently to make it thin like a cracker. Cut out desired shape, lift with spatula onto baking sheet or stone.  Prick each one with a fork, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds and salt on top.  Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

We tripled this recipe to make 50 crackers that are graham cracker size.  They last 3 people a full day when used for snacking and side dishes.

Here is our present Gluten Free Flour Mix, which makes very flaky crackers.

  • 150 grams oat flour
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 150 grams buckwheat flour
  • 225 grams sorghum flour
  • 250 grams sweet rice flour
  • 75 grams tapioca flour
  • 75 grams arrowroot flour

Here is the all purpose flour mix we will make after we have used up the rice, sorghum and tapioca flours:

  • 350 grams oat flour
  • 350 grams buckwheat flour
  • 300 grams arrowroot flour

Both of these mixes are based on the idea from Gluten Free Girl to use 30% starch flour and the other 70% the other types of flours.  This has worked well for us.

Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins/Cupcakes (muffcakes or cupkins)


Absolutely delectable.  That is the only way to describe these. Seriously! These are THE BEST chocolate muffcakes I have EVER had in my lifetime… And that includes gluten filled. Yum!

Gluten free chocolate muffinGluten free chocolate cupcake

Ok, so you can see how good they look, right? Sometimes with gluten free, the picture looks better than the taste. But not this time. This is the real deal. And these pictures don’t even do them justice! For one, they don’t have the frosting yet. 🙂

(later) Here’s one with the frosting! Try not to drool on your keyboard =)

IMG_3426

Here’s the recipe, shared from a very dear friend of mine and altered for our family.

Chocolate Muffcakes or Cupkins

In a medium bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1/4 cup cassava (tapioca) flour
1/4 cup sweet brown rice flour (very different than brown rice flour)
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a separate large bowl combine:

2 2/3 cup kefir milk (or buttermilk)
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the mixtures from the two bowls into one bowl. Add 1 cup chocolate chips and mix well. Scoop into greased muffin pans. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Vanilla

Blend butter and honey, beat in egg, cocoa and vanilla until fluffy. Slather this on the muffcakes/cupkins. Devour them!

I have to warn you, these should not be made very often unless you have very good self control! 🙂

Gluten Free Multi-purpose Dough


We are now 7 weeks into this Gluten Free experiment – 4 months and 1 week to go! =)  I have to say, I am amazed at the self control I have had.  It is completely unlike me. =)  I have not intentionally cheated even one time.  Not at Thanksgiving or at anyone’s house.  =)  That is so exciting!

I would say we are a long way from making delectable treats, but we have found a handful of delicious recipes.  One of them is quite versatile and that is the one I will be sharing today.

GF Roll

We use it every week for our pizza dough, but we also used it as a filled dough and as rolls and even as cinnamon rolls, which were AMAZING!

Mix together:

  • 2 cups organic rice flour (we always mix this with 1/2 Sorghum flour)
  • 2 cups organic arrowroot flour (we have substituted tapioca flour and potato starch)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons of guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Mix wet ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil mixed with 1/2 cup of boiling water

Now add 2 eggs one at a time to the wet ingredients and then add that to the dry.  Beat on high for 4 minutes.

We double this for pizza and roll them out thin.  It makes 5 pizzas using Pampered Chef stones.  Top as desired (see our pizza recipe here) Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

We also double this for cinnamon rolls.  We put it in a 13×9 pan, place slabs of butter everywhere, then sprinkle the entire top with raw sugar and organic cinnamon, then run a knife through like you would marble a cake.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until light golden brown on top.

For rolls (see photo above), we use a single recipe and shape the rolls and let them rise until double, then bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until light golden in color.

What About Gluten?


In the past few years I have met a lot of people who have to be gluten free, dairy free and/or with many food allergies. It was hard for me to understand, but didn’t seem to affect me very much personally, so I didn’t pay too much attention, except to get a yummy gluten-free recipe from time to time… and I didn’t see any reason to make changes in our family…

As time went on, I met more and more people in the gluten-free category and they would post their findings on fb… health tips, facts, etc.  I also met someone who began to share details of the health changes that took place in their family after going 0rganic and giving up gluten. We are mostly 0rganic anyway, but the more I learned about gluten, the more curious I became. Finally the day came that I decided we would do an experiment in our family. Some of us were experiencing symptoms that could be gluten related (asthma, migraines, bloating), so I asked for volunteers to give up gluten for 6 months and see if there was a difference. 3 out of 6 who are living in our house will be taking part… Makes cooking and eating out a bit tricky, but that’s ok.

It has been a little over a week and I can already tell a difference in my own digestion. Will it take some getting used to? Absolutely. Do I miss wheat? For sure. But I have been told that it will pass and soon I will no longer have cravings for wheat products. Meanwhile, it is a great opportunity to practice self control. =)

Along with giving up gluten, we are also eliminating c0rn, s0y and beet sugar in all forms. For those of you who don’t know this, presently in our country 80-95% of these three items produced is G M 0, which includes most condiments and prepared foods, and even meat and dairy, who are fed a largely c0rn and s0y diet and given h0rm0ne injections… It is affecting plants and killing wildlife, bees, insects and humans, especially harmful to babies and children… I heard that even 0rganic has been compromised. This is even more difficult than giving up gluten because these ingredients are in EVERYTHING! I have included some articles below if you want to do some research.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnlTYFKBg18 (the best one)
http://www.nutritionresearchcenter.org/healthnews/is-gluten-behind-your-health-problems

Asthma is linked to gluten, study finds (and so did I)

http://www.celiaccentral.org/research-news/migraines-linked-to-celiac-disease-and-gluten-sensitivity-7959/
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/

I have some gluten free recipes already on my Simply Delicious page and will be adding more!

Water Kefir Recipes


I finally did it!

I have heard about kefir for a few years and last year I purchased my first kefir through a local store and then compared it to the Amasai Kefir from Beyond Organic.   See my Amasai review here.

The bottom line is, Amasai beats the other brands HANDS DOWN, but I finally decided to make my own. After researching, talking to people who were making it and deciding which type of kefir grains to purchase (water or milk), I ended up ordering through Amazon from a company called Keysands. Here is a link to the Keysands kefir live cultures

Keysands Live Organic Water Kefir Grains (Crystals, Tibicos)

I highly recommend them! They have 5 stars on their reviews! That is a fantastic rating!

So back to the point. My live water kefir grains arrived in great condition – just 3 days after they were shipped and I immediately put them to work in some well water with honey, dried fruit and an egg shell. The next batch we switched to raw sugar, which the grains loved.  Now every 48 hours we have kefir to drink and I start a new batch, plus we have extra to experiment with. It is 2 weeks later and my single quart jar has now multipied times 7 and turned into this:

From left to right: cinnamon sugar kefir with raisins, milk kefir, prune juice kefir, sorghum kefir, molasses kefir, honey kefir, honey kefir

The solution that has worked the best is raw sugar kefir, but I ran out of raw sugar, so I did a temporary solution using honey. We have also done grape juice kefir.

Here are my notes on each one:
Honey Kefir is 2 tablespoons of honey in 1 quart of water with 4 tablespoons of kefir grains – this one works fairly well short-term, but the grains prefer sugar.  Since honey is antibacterial, it will break down the kefir grains over time.
Raw Sugar Kefir is 4 tablespoons of raw sugar in 1 quart of water with 4 tablespoons of kefir grains – our grains thrived on this. This is where all of the multiplication took place.
Grape Juice Kefir is 1/2 to 1 cup of grape juice(we used organic), 4 tablespoons of kefir grains and the rest of the quart jar filled up with water. This is our favorite! It tastes like grape seltzer!
Milk Kefir is 1 quart of milk (we used raw goat milk) with 4 tablespoons of water kefir grains. My grains also love this one. It turns into thick kefir in 6-12 hours. We used it this morning in our pancakes and they were delicious.
Prune Juice Kefir is 1/2 to 1 cup of prune juice (we used organic), 4 tablespoons of kefir grains and the rest of the quart jar filled up with water. This is not one of my favorites. I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and some honey and it is tolerable. I was hoping to get a Dr Pepper like flavor, but it’s needs work.

The cinnamon sugar, molasses and sorghum kefirs are not yet ready to try, so I will have to report on those another time.

The reason I started with water kefir is because first of all, if I mess up, all I am wasting is water and a little sugar.  Second of all, I wasn’t sure if I would like milk kefir.  Plus I had read that water kefir grains can be used to make milk kefir, which I have discovered to be true.

I am sooo excited about our new adventure and highly recommend that you order yours at the link above.

How to make kefir

When you order, it will come with instructions, but in a nutshell, here is how you make kefir:

First of all, always use glass jars or bottles and plastic spoons and strainers for kefir making.  You never want to use metal and I don’t recommend wood.

  • place 4 tablespoons of kefir crystals/grains in a quart jar
  • add your liquid to fill the jar 3/4 full (if this is your first time using these crystals, there are other special instructions)
  • stir and dissolve 4 tablespoons of raw sugar in 1/4 cup of water and add to the jar.  If you do not have well water or high mineral water, add an organic, clean egg shell and an organic, washed slice of lemon. Do NOT use city water that has chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals.
  • Cover with breathable cloth or the lid and ring of the mason jar, but not screwed tight.  You don’t want to allow germs or bugs in, but you do need to allow the fermenting gases to escape or the jar will explode. (ask me how I know!)
  • Let it sit for 24-48 hours.  They say it doesn’t always bubble, but mine has bubbles rising to the surface when it is happy.  You will know it’s done when most of the sweetness is gone, meaning the kefir grains have eaten the sugar.

At this point, strain the liquid to catch the kefir grains and start over with them, or leave them in the liquid and refrigerate to slow down the process.  Don’t leave them too long in the refrigerator, they like to be warm.   The strained liquid can be used immediately or you can bottle and refrigerate to get a more fizzy drink.  However, you will need to leave room in the jar and then burp the jar often to prevent the gas from building up and exploding the jar.  You can also use special jars designed for this or use a bottle with a cork or with a deflated balloon on it.  As the gases escape, they will blow up the balloon and the jar or bottle won’t explode =)

Here are the different stages we are discovering:

  1. a flat slightly sweet yeasty flavored drink
  2. a seltzer type soda or maybe like the sparkling cider or grape juice
  3. a very light version of a sweet wine or champagne, depending on your ratio of juice to water for the liquid
  4. if you let it go too long it will turn to vinegar

Why make kefir?

1. It has even more good bacteria than yogurt, which your body needs to maintain a healthy immune system.

2. If you take care of it, it will last forever, so it is just a one time investment.