Sunday, January 15, 2012
It's strange how some arbitrary things become meaningful. Birthdays that end in zero have much more importance than the rest of the decade. Anniversaries that are divisible by 5 are held in higher esteem than the others. And buying a new calendar makes us feel that somehow there's a new start; everything's new, fresh, and open to reinvention.
One of the things I've been reinventing is our diet. I'm constantly tinkering to see what will help us all be our healthiest. This past Christmas we spent passing the flu around like a White Elephant gift being regifted over and over. We were sick of being sick! So my family didn't grumble too much when I informed them that we were going to be trying something new - going grain-free and sugar-free.
Shocked? I know, me too!
How's it going? Well, it's been interesting. The refrigerator has been fairly bare as I try to figure out what we can eat in place of what we used to eat. Snacks, treats, and meals are all impacted. Empty are the bread drawer and the cookie jar. This is a hardship for the family of the Cookie Baker and former Bread Baking Babe.
My husband's standard lunch is a sandwich and some sort of chips. Well, that's not working out. Take away the bread and chips and you're left with... well ... stuff piled on a plate.
I've figured out that the job of grains is to:
1- Define portions. A taco is clearly one serving; remove the taco shells and you've just got a big taco salad.
2- Provide transportation for the meat. Ever try to eat a big double decker hamburger with all the trimmings sans buns? Sloppy mess. Speaking of which, what's a Sloppy Joe with buns? Stew!
3- Act as a filler. If you eat a bowl of rice with your stir fry, you only eat 1/4 as much of the stir fry, so it stretches further and is more economical.
Once of the hardest things to do without has been bread. No sandwiches. No toast. Nothing to sop up the egg yolk from the morning fried egg. :-(
I realized something had to give when we were at the grocery store and the bread aisle just about did us in. Rolls, loaves, wraps, pitas, and bagels. Ahhh, bagels..... So I went home and searched one of my favorite sites for special dietary needs, The Spunky Coconut. I found just what I was looking for - a bread that would be safe for out new diet. I had some pumpkin puree in the fridge leftover from a holiday flurry of pumpkin smoothies and whipped up a loaf.
I wish that I had taken a picture to share with you of my son's happy face when he saw there was bread he was allowed to have. We demolished the loaf in a day and he anxiously asked if I had any more pumpkin puree.
The Spunky Coconut
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 eggs at room temperature*
1/3 cup coconut sugar (which is low glycemic index)
3 Tbsp liquified coconut oil**
1/4 tsp vanilla creme liquid stevia
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted (don't skip the sifting!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the pan.
2- Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer. (One advantage of baking gluten-free is that you don't have to worry about over-mixing and getting a tough product.)
3- Scoop the batter into the loaf pan, smoothing it to make an even loaf.
4- Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
Serve with butter or cream cheese.
*If the eggs are cold, it will cause the coconut oil to harden. To bring refrigerated eggs to room temperature, float them in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes.
** To liquify the coconut oil, spoon it into a small, heatproof bowl and set that in a larger bowl of very warm water.