Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour… My Quest for the Holy Grail!

This post goes hand in hand with my last one, A Bakers Dilema

Since eating Paleo for quite some time, and especially since going gluten free, I miss baking for myself!!!!  I love the paleo recipes that I have found online, but sometimes I want to have a grain cheat without consuming gluten… Since I just can’t anymore.  It’s not pretty.

So I’m on the hunt for a good gluten free substitute.  But I have a list of requirements that this flour must meet.

1. Organic or pretty darn close

2. NON GMO.  This is more important to me sometimes than organic

3. Corn FREE would be nice since I seem to develop a rash now when I eat corn

4. Soy fre would also be nice, but as long as it’s non GMO soy, i’ll make an exception

5. It must taste AWESOME!!!!!  A lot of rice flour blends seem to taste a bit gritty for me.  And I don’t want any funky aftertastes either!!!!!  If i’m going to have a grain cheat, it had better be worth it!!!!

Do any of you bakers have any suggestions?  Have you found the “Holy Grail” of gluten free baking?

I’d also really like to have a gluten free option to offer my customers that is a nice, healthy alternative to the garbage in most gluten free cakes.

Do any of you make your own flour mix?  I’d be totally open to trying it out.  I would really like to have something perfected by my daughter’s birthday in July.

The Barefoot Health Coach!

I have so much to blog about, but i’ll narrow it down to just ONE topic today.  Well, maybe 2.  But mostly just one.

First…..

I AM OFFICIALLY REGISTERED FOR THE HEALTH COACHING COURSE!

I’m so excited!  Classes start on the 29th and 6 weeks from then I’ll be a certified health coach with the Dr. Sears L.E.A.N program!  I can’t wait!  I already feel like i’m making a difference in some peoples lives and I really look forward to reaching more people.

Also…. I’ve gone barefoot!

Barefoot you say?  What in the world does that mean???

So, even though I don’t run much (at all), I somehow stumbled on barefoot running and minimalist shoes.  It’s NOT just for runners.  It’s for people who have foot pain.  It’s a way to heal your body naturally by strengthening your feet.

So, why barefoot?  Well, I’ve suffered over the past 3 years with terrible foot pains, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs… etc.  In a few weeks we will be in Disney and i’m already dreading the foot pain!

Walking barefoot stretches your feet in a natural way. It strengthens your muscles and heals your feet naturally. After just 2 days i’m already noticing a difference. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever suffered from foot pain!  If you think about it, humans walked barefoot for hundreds of years.  Native Americans made soft moccasins for warmth, but the soles were made of leather.  You could still feel the earth under your feet.  Most modern day shoes disconnect us with the earth.

I’m all set for summer with my Xero Shoes, so now I’m starting to look ahead to winter and we haven’t even fully entered spring yet.  Regardless of what the calendar says… it’s NOT spring time yet!  I found these really cute leather boots, but they’re not waterproof.  I’m not sure how well they will work for a NY winter.  So i’m looking for something else with a true barefoot feel.  I’m open to any and all suggestions!  I also have a pair of Fila Skele-Toes that are OK, but i’m just not in love with them.  They start to bother my toes.

Have you gone barefoot yet?  One thing you really need to know before attempting it is that you pretty much have to re-learn how to walk and run.  With thick soled sneakers we tend to land on our heels first.  “heel, toe, heel, toe”.  You have to train yourself how to avoid heel strikes and land mid-foot.  I watch my daughter run around the house like a crazy baby and she does this naturally.  I am going to look for some minimalist shoes for her as well.  She’s still young enough to have strong, healthy feet for the rest of her life without having to deal with pain!  Her shoes are pretty soft, but still somewhat thick.  I’d get her some Xero Shoes too, but I don’t think she would like the strappy-ness of them.

Another site I found that looks pretty great is Soft Star Shoes.  They have some really cute kids styles too!

So think about it if you haven’t yet.  Give it a try!  The Xero Shoes are very affordable and super fun to work with!  I’ve had them for less than 24 hours and i’ve already tied them up at least 6 or 7 different ways.  My right and left feet have yet to match!

 

New NON TOXIC Cookware!

In an effort to be more “Paleo” i’ve given up my non-stick cookware.  They’re only 3 years old and in good condition.  Only 1 piece started to peel while the others look brand new.  Probably because they are.  We really only use the pots for sauce or pasta and just 1 or 2 of the pans.  I think it’s safe to say there are 3 pieces we’ve NEVER used.  They’ve just been taking up precious space in my cabinet.  I’m actually looking forward to having some extra space.  In a one bedroom apartment with a tiny walk-through kitchen, all my cabinet’s are completely stuffed!

Ignore the mess on my table and the really bad cell pic!  Well, they’re all pretty bad cell pics, but this one was taken when my battery was low and I really needed more light, but my flash wouldn’t fire.

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I did a lot of research on stainless steel sets and found a few really nice ones on Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond.  My mom offered to get me a set for my birthday as long as it was reasonably priced.  This is the set I decided on from Amazon.  I really wanted a set made in the US, but the cost was more than double!!!  INSANE!  The reviews were great, they are magnetic, 18/10 stainless… and I LOVE them!

Pans

As soon as the UPS guy delivered it I ripped the box open and started washing all the pieces!  Then I remembered we were having leftovers for dinner, so I was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to actually cook in them tonight, but at least I could re-heat!  I’m avoiding using my microwave, so i’m thrilled to have these!

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There was more chicken in this pan, but we ate it.  Guess I should have taken a pic before we ate, huh?

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With the very pretty lid on!

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Do you use stainless steel?  Any tips for me?  So far, I really love them!  I’ve only used these 2 pieces, but I can’t wait to try some more.  Especially the steamer insert!

A Very Paleo Birthday

Today I turned 33. Yikes! And to celebrate, I did a lot of cleaning and prepping and even some baking. Tomorrow my mom is cooking me a completely paleo dinner! I can’t wait! I found recipes for paleo coconut shrimp, paleo chicken francaise, paleo stuffed mushrooms, and even a paleo chocolate cake, which I just baked! Tomorrow morning I have to make some sort of frosting for it.

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I’ve been 33 for a whole day… not sure yet how I feel about this.  :/

Ok, a new day…. and what a day it was!!!!!  I feel old.  But here’s what was on the menu!!!!

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Everything was organic except the blue cheese!

Top left, mushrooms stuffed with spinach, bacon and blue cheese, then coconut shrimp and chicken francaise coated with millet flour (a grain cheat, but it worked well and at least it’s gluten free and organic)

Next row… roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli, and green cauliflower risotto (my favorite!)

And my paleo cake……

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It looked great.  It smelled awesome while it baked.  It didn’t rise much, but I didn’t really expect it to.  The batter was incredible too.  In really liked the cake.  It had a very fudgy texture.  Almost like a super thick pudding.  And the only sweetener in it was a cup of dates and 1/2 cup honey.  Total winner!

The frosting…. yea… not so much.

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I’m a baker.  I expect buttercream to be light and fluffy and melt on my tongue.  This had none of those qualities.  Well, it was pretty light, but not in a fluffy way.  I can’t really explain it.  I wanted to make a buttercream that I was used to, so I decided to go a little off paleo and use Swerve Sweetener powdered “sugar”.  It’s supposed to be just as sweet as sugar.  This was super sweet!  I followed my regular recipe… a cup of unsalted grass fed butter, 4 cups powdered “sugar” and a tsp. vanilla.  I tinted it with some beet juice because my daughter wanted a pink cake.

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I looked pretty… at first.

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But the frosting was just too sweet to eat.  I just kept playing with it, disappointed that I wasted so much precious butter on it.

But that’s ok… we had these to fall back on!  And a few others too, but these were the best!

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This was a breakdown of my birthday yesterday.  I woke up nice and late to find these beautiful flowers waiting for me from my babies!  Had a bit of a hectic day and then celebrated by going out to Arirangs for dinner.

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My meat eating daughter ate ALL her steak!  With her chopsticks!  Not to mention all her cucumbers, some salad, a whole shrimp, and a few raisins that we brought with us!  Not too shabby for a 2 year old!

Other than the few bites of fried rice, I think it was a pretty successful meal.  I don’t even want to know what kind of oil they use because i’m sure it was probably GMO… i’ll just take comfort in the fact that we avoided gluten and had a really great night out.

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So Happy Birthday to me!!!!!  My daughter’s birthday isn’t until July, so I have lots of time to figure out a new frosting idea.  I’ll probably do a meringue based buttercream since I’m used to making Swiss meringue.

If you’re interested in seeing some of my non-healthy cake creations… please do!

Contacts…. Day 3!

Woke up early and put my contacts in around 7:30am. It’s 2:24pm and my eyes are fine. We’re up in PA for Easter weekend, so I may have some allergy issues, but so far, so good.

I love being able to wear contacts again! I’ll update again tomorrow.

Happy Easter!

Contact Lenses… Day 2

Put contacts in at 9:15. Feeling a bit dry, and looking a little red, but not giving up!

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Not sure if you can make out the red, but it’s there. I promise.

1:58pm. Eyes look and feel fine. The red seems to be gone. I’m thinking it was just from being tired. My daughter was up a lot last night. Just didn’t really want to sleep. Still keeping an eye on the situation. Get itl eye! I crack me up!

9:23pm. Still all good! I celebrated my new eyes by buying some fresh contact solution and a new case since when I opened the one I had, I found dried up, brittle contacts. Tuck! And the bottle of solution I had expired last month.

I’m so excited to be able to wear contacts again. And believe me, I tried over and over again these past 4 years. Never made it more than a few hours. 2 days gives me real hope!

What I Ate today!

Breakfast: the usual bulletproof coffee!  Switched things up a bit by using Chimay butter instead of Kerrygold.  I truly love Chimay!  I accidentally bought unsalted Chimay last week and was very disappointed when I went to snack on some, but then I realized I could use it in my coffee!  WIN!

Lunch:

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It was awesome! I got some grain free bread today while out and came home very hungry! Decided to cook up some bacon and eggs for me and my mom.  There is no way I could eat all this by myself!

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This is the bread:

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Then I had a Larabar, a chocolate chip brownie one.  It was ok.  I prefer the cherry pie one.

Then I had some nice, hot, organic dandelion tea!

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Water all day long too.

Right now I’m deciding on what to make for dinner while doing 3 loads of laundry (with home made detergent) and my daughter is eating leftover gluten free quinoa Mac and Cheese. I need a nap.

Snack… Cheese! I had a Baby Bell cheese with my daughter. Probably not the best cheese in the world, but she was crying for “the red cheese” at the supermarket. Trying to get her to be a Kerrygold baby!

I still have laundry to do. I hate laundry so I wait till we have no clothes left to wear. I did 3 loads before, 3 loads on Tuesday, and I have about 3 more to do tonight. Maybe 4. And I still didn’t figure out dinner. I thought we had some organic grass fed ground beef in the fridge, but my husband just told me he threw it in the freezer last night. Hmmmmmmmmm
Snack time!  When I first bought this Qia stuff I hated it!  The directions say to pour milk over it and eat.  It isn’t anything like cereal.  I figured I just wasted $10 on this stuff until someone else mentioned it and said it’s awesome with yogurt.  So glad she did!  It’s awesome!!!!!  LOVE it!

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OK… Dinner worked itself out after all.  I went across the hall to my mom’s to go through her fridge before resorting to ordering food and sure enough… I found more ground beef!!!!!  I thought I bought some the other day!  So glad I looked because this came awesome!

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Organic ground beef with Trader Joes taco seasoning, organic black beans, organic tomatoes, organic lettuce and guacamole! Yum!  The black beans weren’t so Paleo, but my husband really wanted them.  I figured since they were organic and we haven’t had beans in over 2 months it wouldn’t kill us.  They were awesome!

So for a snack tonight, i’m munching on some butter.  Chimay!!!!  YUM YUM!!!!

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So that’s it for today… I hope!  Maybe a cherry pie Lara Bar later!

What did you eat today?

Contact lens test… Day one

Just popped them in for the first time in months! Why?  I’m hoping my body is healing itself and I can wear them again. What happened before? I got pregnant.

Yep, thats right. I haven’t worn contacts regularly since before my almost 3 year old was even created! I really have no idea what happened. Any time I would try to put them in, my eyes would turn red and get dry. At first I thought it was allergies that I’ve never had before, so I took them out and waited a few days. It went away almost instantly. Then I put them back in. Guess what happened?
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So now, I’m trying again. I was rummaging around for a new razor blade in the closet and came across a box of unexpired contacts. Figured I’d give it a go. Never found the blades though.

Several hours later…
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Lookin good! Scary, but good. No red at all. This natural way of eating sure seems to agree with my body. Food is medicine!

Also, I stopped at my aunts to drop something off and she told me my jeans look too big! Woohoo! Time to go shopping!

OBSESSED!!!!

I’ve been told (a lot) that i’m obsessed with food.  I love food!!!!  What’s not to love?  When I went to school for photography I focused mostly on food photography.  I think about food a lot.  And why shouldn’t I?  Why should it be a bad thing?  Without food we’d all die.

And then tonight, while ricing my cauliflower for some cauliflower risotto, I realized that if I didn’t obsess about food the way I do, I never would have learned as much as I have.  I’d still be eating grains and GMOs.  I’d probably believe all the hype about fat that’s been spoon fed to us for years.  I’d be afraid to eat good, healthy fat like eggs, meats and coconut oil.  I’d probably be even fatter, yet starving from the inside.

I feel lucky that even though I grew up on 1% milk, at least I ate REAL butter.  I thanked my mom today for butter.  At a time when people were too scared to eat butter, my mom kept the butter industry going.  I think only Paula Deen loves the creamy white stuff more than my family!  And I wish I could tell Paula that she can keep eating her butter… it’s the sugar and grains that are contributing to her diabetes   Too many uninformed people focus on the good, healthy fat and criticize her cooking when it’s really those “healthy” whole grains they need to reevaluate.  Eat the butter… skip the bread.

Anyway, I do not believe that all obsessions are a bad thing.  I am obsessed with food.  With knowing where it came from, what it does to our bodies, how our bodies heal themselves with food… why in the world is that bad?  I’m obsessed with nutrition labels.  On the rare occasions that I buy food in a box, I really study it.  I want to know what’s in it.  If there is soy, canola, corn, safflower, sunflower,or  cottonseed oil… I put it back.  If it has soy of any kind I generally put it back, especially if it’s not organic.

I get asked a lot about what I eat and how I shop.  It’s easy.  I buy fresh produce.  Organic when it’s available.  I will NOT buy anything non-organic that can be GMO like zucchini, corn, anything soy, mangoes or sprouts.  Then I head to the organic meat department and I try to only buy grass fed, but sometimes I settle for just organic.  Last stop is dairy.  I get my grass fed butter and local grass fed, minimally processed Ronnybrook milk.  Sometimes I pick up some organic whole milk yogurt for my daughter.  And that’s it!!!!  So simple.

I wake up in the morning and generally have some high fat bulletproof coffee with fatty bacon and eggs.  Then I usually don’t get hungry again until late afternoon when I have a salad smothered in healthy fat.  As a snack, I made my own raw organic nut bars that consist of no more than 3 ingredients.  Nuts, dates, and either cinnamon or coconut… depending on what nut I use.  For dinner… well, tonight my husband is cooking up some cauliflower risotto (he can’t figure out how to rice it though), chicken pieces (thighs and breasts), and maybe sweet potatoes, but I may save those for tomorrow.  As a late snack, I sometimes have butter, Chimay butter, with a spoon.  Salty and fatty and better for you than potato chips!  But lately i’ve been munching on some dehydrated orange slices.  And today I picked up some grapefruits to dehydrate.  My favorite!!!!

I only obsess one day at a time.  I don’t even think about meals until I wake up.  I have a long list of foods I’d like to try, like bone marrow and a long list of foods I’d like to try to make myself, like bacon butter and bone broth.  I used to watch a lot of Food Network, but now it just bothers me watching people eat GMOs and other garbage and fake foods.  I could never work at a grocery store because I probably wouldn’t let anyone buy anything.  It kills me when I see other people buying “health” foods.

Those are my thoughts for today.  What do you think?

 

Deodorant

Deodorant.  It’s a much talked about topic if you have adapted an all natural lifestyle and don’t want to smell like sweaty gym sox.  You are making a great decision by avoiding aluminum, artificial ingredients and chemicals, but what’s the best option?

I wish I could answer this question.  I have tried MANY of the all natural varieties out there.  The bad ones just don’t work.  Within hours of showering and applying, I stink… Bad!  Like I haven’t showered in months.  Not exactly what I’m going for when promoting myself as a health coach.  For some reason, no one trusts a health coach that smells like homeless.

I have also come across some that do work… and well.  BUT, i’m too sensitive for them.  I’ve made my own using a simple formula of baking soda, coconut oil, arrowroot powder and a few drops of tea tree essential oil.  It works great, but it literally burned my skin off.  NO BUENO!   My most recent favorite brand is Primal Pit Paste.  I used it for 2 full weeks before it started to bother me, so it’s pretty good for sensitive skin, but then it started to burn.  My husband still uses it.  I had ordered the Patchouli scent so we could both use it.  I had a hard enough time convincing him to even try it, I don’t think I would have had much success if I had ordered a “girly” scent.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.  I’ve tried everything there is out there.  Right now I have a light dusting of baking soda on, which oddly enough, works very well and doesn’t irritate me as much as using baking soda with other ingredients.

But here’s a tip: if you try an all natural variety and it irritates you, use it as a foot cream.  Especially a mixture of coconut oil / baking soda / tea tree oil.  It’s wonderful!  The coconut oil really moisturizes while the baking soda absorbs any odors.  And tea tree prevents bacteria.  It’s a win/win/win for your feet!

What do you use?  Have you tried an all natural deodorant before?  Did it work?