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.

A Bakers Dilema

A few notes before I get to what I want to talk about….

FIRST… It’s official!!!  I’m a certified Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Health Coach!!!!!  Stay tuned for a listing of local classes as well as online classes!!!  Special discounts on my first class!!!  I’m so excited!  And i’m so proud of myself.  In 3 weeks I will be certified in the L.E.A.N. Expectations course which focuses on pregnancy and newborns and 3 weeks from then I will be certified in Prime Time Health which focuses on adults.  I can’t wait to get started!!!!

Next… These past few weeks have been an incredible journey of health and self discovery.  While on a Disney vacation (which was totally awesome), I had a lot of food choices to make.  Paleo went right out the window, but I did stay gluten free.  Not even by choice, but by necessity.  About a month back (I don’t think I blogged about it because I was too damn busy with the class and my daughter and life…) I accidentally consumed gluten.  My chiropractor recommended a product to me (Greens First) and I gave it a shot.  It said “Gluten Free” right on the label, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about.  Well, within minutes of drinking it, I was sick.  I was in agony.  For 3 days this went on until I finally read the FULL ingredient list.  BARLEY!!!!!!  The product was tested for WHEAT ONLY!!!!  I called the company and they then told me that barley did NOT contain gluten.  I told them they were a lawsuit waiting to happen.  I got my money back from my doctor and that was that.  I’m officially gluten intolerant.  (I also found out the hard way that i’m corn intolerant, but i’ll save that for a rainy day).

So, while on vacation I made a lot of bad choices.  I ate gluten free bread that i’m sure was loaded with GMO corn and soy, gluten free brownies that also listed corn and soy as an ingredient, and questionable meats that i’m sure weren’t organic.  It went against soooooo much of what I believe and what I strive for in my everyday life.  It was also too easy to fall into it.  But upon returning home, my senses have thankfully returned as well.  I had my fill of garbage and i’m on the road to recovery.

And now… for my topic of the day….

A Bakers Dilema.

If you know me… you know I bake.  A lot.  For profit.  And I love it.

I took a break for a while due to a broken oven (which is still broken, but i’m using my moms temporarily).  But I had an order to fill that I booked a year ago.  ONE whole year ago.  I really didn’t want to cancel it, but the thought of using ingredients filled with GMOs like my old beloved High Ratio Shortening and cornstarch for rolling out GMO filled fondant… it just sat wrong with me.  I stive so hard to find and use the best ingredients.  The best vanilla beans, the best cocoa powder… so why would I settle for anything less.

The problem is that up until a few months ago, I knew nothing about genetically modified foods and what they could potentially do to our bodies.  I only knew that it tasted good.

Now that I am a little wiser and a little bit further along in my journey to health… I have come to a decision.  I’m going organic.  It’s a HUGE decision to make and it took a lot of thought and consideration.  By going only organic I run the risk of losing a lot of very good customers who may not be able to afford my cakes anymore.  And while that saddens me deeply since I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without them, I just can’t knowingly serve garbage.  My customers deserve the very best and I am always striving to bring it to them.

I also plan to work on some gluten free cakes as well as grain free.  All GMO free of course.

To kick it off… I will be taking part in the Relay For Life baking contest on June 22nd in Brooklyn, NY (Bay Ridge) and I will be baking up an ORGANIC chocolate cake with an ORGANIC salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.  Keeping my fingers crossed for first place!!!!  But i’ll settle for placing at all!  🙂

Until next time… Happy and healthy eating!

And if you want to check out my cakes… https://www.facebook.com/DessertsByLaurenNYC

or http://www.DessertsByLauren.com

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!

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!

All Good Things!

I have a few totally awesome things to share today!!!!  For starters, I went down a pants size!!!!  I’m so excited!  I went to Old Navy this past Monday and decided to pick up a pair of jeans in a smaller size.  I didn’t bother to try them on there, I figured that even if they didn’t fit yet, they would soon.  After I got home I tried them on and they went right on!  Not even snug!  But they have to go back because I accidentally bought long.  If you know me, you know the last thing I need is long jeans!  I’m 5’5″!  I could probably wear short since I usually have to cuff my jeans.  I don’t really consider myself short either.  So how is it that regular jeans are always short on me?  Hmmmmm…. I wonder.

The next 2 are related to something that makes me so very happy!  COFFEE!!!!!

Coffee… The elixir of life!

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This is what starts my day! It doesn’t get much better than a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

Unless you have kids and drink your coffee on the go. In which case, I very highly recommended the Hydro Flask! I wanted one so bad because every single morning I would make coffee, walk out the door, get in the car, drop my daughter off at school… And have an ice cold cup of coffee.  NOT good!

I take my coffee very seriously. I don’t just pour it into a mug and run, I take my time. I brew it fresh. I grind the beans, use an aeropress, then blend it with some grass fed butter and coconut oil so that it’s super rich and creamy. So when it’s cold 10 minutes later, it makes me sad.

My cousin first told me about the Hydro Flask. I planned on ordering something similar from another company, but he said this really works and keeps coffee hot for 12 hours! I only needed about 20 minutes, but 12 hours sounds good too!  Oh, and it keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours!!!!!!  Sign me up!!!

So my birthday is coming up. I told my husband all I want is hot coffee and a Squatty Potty. It will be a very poopy birthday! But since I forgot that our anniversary comes first, my amazing husband got me the gift of hot coffee! And let me tell you… It works! I love it!  (If you don’t know what a Squatty Potty is… check them out!  Once I get mine, I will blog all about it!)

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Now, if your wondering about the straw… Another amazing find! Hot Straws! They are made for hot beverages, won’t leach any chemicals or  toxins into your drink, won’t melt… And they’re just amazing!  They also prevent coffee stains on your teeth!  Is there nothing these things can’t do???

 

 

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?

 

What I Ate Today

When I tell people i’m Paleo, I get a lot of funny looks and questions.  Once i’m done explaining the concept of the “diet”, the next question is usually “But what do you eat?”  So, I decided to make part of this blog all about what it is that I eat.  I have a background in photography and I LOVE taking pics of food.  Most pics I take for this section will be on my cell phone though, which I think takes some pretty darn good pics.  I’m not ready to take that next step in blogging yet.  I have all the equipment  but not all the time.  I envy bloggers with foodporn photographs on every post.  Maybe someday.

So, a typical breakfast for me is bacon and eggs.  3 slices of uncured Applegate bacon and 2 pastured eggs.  I did not have that today though.  I just made myself some bulletproof coffee (coffee with butter and coconut oil) and ran out to meet my aunt.  The fat from the butter and oil keept me very satisfied, so I wasn’t all that hungry.

By the time I got home, did dishes, put away groceries… it was close to 2pm.  I was overdramatically famished!  Instead of shoveling everything I had in my fridge into my mouth I took a deep breath and reminded myself how awesome I was for buying organic broccoli sprouts.  So I made myself a nice salad with organic romaine, organic tomatoes, local organic pork tenderloin I had leftover from last night’s dinner and topped it with some walnut oil and sea salt.

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I was so hungry that this is actually my second plate.  I ate the first one too fast to remember taking a picture.

Around 5pm I realized I could use a snack since I didn’t plan an early dinner.  I had made these “Lara Bars” the other day that were just amazing, so I decided to make them again.  After overheating my Vitamix with the mixture, I threw it all in my food processer.  I’m addicted to these things.  Last time I formed bars out of them with my sushi mold.  This time I just rolled them up.

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To make these I just thew in

2 cups of organic raw chashews

2 cups dates

2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)

For dinner, my husband made almond flour crusted chicken, asparagus, and a mushroom sauce using organic chicken stock and arrowroot.  Amazing!

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And right now i’m being disgusting and sitting on the couch, blogging, and eating some butter with one of my daughters spoons.  It’s grass fed Chimay butter… THE BEST butter EVER!!!!!!

So this is a pretty standard day in my life.  I will be doing this again because I really enjoy sharing my food and photos.  Hope you enjoy!

What do you eat on a typical day?