2017-02-26

Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Warm from the oven, beautiful loaf of Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread

Gluten-Free Believer.


As Spring draws nigh (March is creeping closer- isn't it?) I thought I might celebrate with a banana bread recipe. This is a banana bread so tasty, tender and fragrant, you won't care it is gluten-free. And you might even tempt the naysayers. And the unbelievers.

You know who I'm talking about.

Out there in the cold cruel world, Darling, some folks apparently (still) view our gluten-free lifestyle through a jaded foodie lens, believing, first of all, that gluten-free anything is never going to taste anything but awful, and second, that this whole gluten-free trend (their word not mine) is a fad not worthy of serious consideration and compassion. Apart from the standard (and always brief) lip service that non-afflicted food writers, non-GF bloggers and journalists pay to celiac disease, adhering to the medical treatment that is a gluten-free diet is degraded- for that sexy topical hook- to a "bandwagon". An eating disorder.

A diet by choice.

They dub it a controversy.

As my twelfth year of living gluten-free marches on, I find myself reflecting not upon the decade plus years living gluten-free, but upon the ten long years prior to shunning gluten- the decade it took me (no thanks to the medical profession) to determine that gluten was the culprit behind my early onset autoimmune cataracts, mysterious low ferritin levels, skin rashes, migraines, fat malabsorption and impressive marathon stints in the loo- I feel the slow, sad burn of anger those of us who are dismissed experience.

Two bloggers referenced the gluten-free diet on a social networking site recently, bragging about their "iron stomachs" and their ability to chow down on everything (this implies that those of us unable to ingest gluten merely have "sensitive" digestion). I was reminded of a previous post I wrote in response to a blogger's remark that gluten-free is "too precious".

Ignorance is bliss, indeed.


2017-02-24

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookies

A stack of gluten free almond cookies

Almond Flour Cookies.

Here I am again. Baking cookies. It's one way I cope with the world. Which, in case you haven't noticed, is totally moon bat crazy. So what do you do? The older I get the more I let go. And it's not just letting go of the obvious stuff, like that box of canceled checks from your first marriage or those hideous platform shoes you bought after seeing Saturday Night Fever. I'm letting go of things I once cherished. Stuff I used to believe. Opinions. The Right Way To Do Something. Why?

Because the older I get the less convinced I am that I know what is best. Sometimes it's hard to tell. I know from experience that the best laid plans can will often fail. And that sheer dumb luck can plop in your lap and splatter you with an unbidden opportunity. I've lived long enough to see the truth in my favorite line from Little Big Man-- Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't. So I don't grasp anything too tightly anymore. 

Which brings me to Cheez Doodles and why you need to let go. 

My Polish grandmother was a saver. The type of woman who, if you gave her a pretty new night gown, she'd just stuff it in the closet and never wear it. She'd go on wearing her crusty pink K-Mart gown. The polyester one with Sanka stains down the front.

If you asked her, Why don't you wear the new nightgown we gave you? she'd swat away your question and begin rummaging around her kitchen cupboards. Rooting for food objects. To give you. A prize to take home. A dented can of Dinty Moore stew from the reduced shelf at Walgreen's. Candy canes from Christmas past. And yeah. Cheez Doodles.

One particular visit, on our way out the door, my grandmother turned in the February light that slatted through beige vinyl blinds and stared at my two sons- twelve and nine at the time. 

You hungry? she barked. The boys shrugged. Take these, she told them, thrusting a giant bag of Cheez Doodles in their direction. The youngest carried the bag to the car. It was bigger than his head. We buckled in and drove off.

Can we open the Cheez Doodles? 

Steve and I looked at each other. Well. It's risky, I warned. God only knows how long she's been hanging on to those. 

Smell it first, offered the oldest. They tore the bag open in unison. And that's when it hit us.

The SMELL.

The most duodenum wrenching rancid odor you could imagine. Filling the car's interior in an instant, thanks to the Jeep heater cranked on high. Accompanied by - of course!- Seal's Kiss From a Rose on the radio.

That is some serious heinousity, gasped my husband, rolling down the window for some air. 

I think the expiration date expired, offered one son.

Smells so funky, said the other.

Close the bag, I yelled. Have mercy on us!

After airing out the car we rolled up the windows, shivering. 

Why does she keep old stuff? my son asked. Yeah. What good are old Cheez Doodles? said his brother.

Exactly! said I.



2017-02-18

Irish Cottage Pie | Shepherd's Pie

Gluten free cottage pie and shepherds pie recipe with mashed potato topping

Old School Comfort.


I have been craving comfort food and shepherd's pie- even though it's been a warm and breezy week here by the Chama River north of Santa Fe. The promise of Spring is tugging at our sluggish winter bodies, cracking and stiff and a tad thicker than one would care to admit. We are itchy to walk- just as the junipers are shedding pollen in curtains of dirty yellow. We walked and sneezed and rubbed gritty eyes. The coyotes are laughing on the rim of the mesa. I listen and note they are closer than usual, emboldened by our wintery hibernation. The land belongs to them now. We're simply tourists. As it should be, I murmur.

Meeting your soul mate (did I just write the words soul mate?) after mid-life will humble you. An autumn meeting of kindred spirits inspires a sharp thirst for more time. More juice. Looking ahead- down the road of your life- can be alarming. It's shorter and rutted and slightly curving downhill, not so far and away anymore. Carpe diem as the wise ones say.

And though (in theory) we should all embrace each day as if it might, indeed, be our last, this effort gains a deeper poignancy at 54. My knuckles are so bumpy with arthritis now I can no longer wear my wedding ring. I twisted it off with pain and dish soap. I didn't want to have it sawed off. Just the thought of the saw buzz made me shiver with separation anxiety.

When I was lying on the gurney outside the operating room, awaiting hip surgery- after ten hours in the ER playing our Movie Game with said soul mate (to play the game you start with A and take turns naming a movie title until you run out of A's; then you move on to the B's) the pony-tailed anesthesiologist told me to remove my wedding ring.

I can't, I said. It won't come off, don't worry.

It's hospital policy, she explained. To remove jewelry before surgery.

You'll need a saw, I said. She smiled. I'll get some surgical tape- we'll tape it, she whispered.

I tilted my face toward my husband. He stood there, stoic and brave, betrayed by a gleam of wetness obscuring his usual clear and steady blue gaze. We both knew the risks of breaking a hip, and undergoing emergency hip surgery. The odds aren't kind. But my age was in my favor. I was twenty years younger than the average woman who falls and breaks a hip. You're a spring chicken, the surgeon had said.

I love you, I told my husband. Tell the boys I love them. I felt the nurse tape my wedding ring. Ready? she asked.

Yup. Carpe diem, I answered.


2017-02-15

Gluten-Free Banana Almond Bundt® Cake Recipe

Banana Bundt cake made with almond flour
Almond flour makes this banana Bundt® cake gluten-free gorgeous.

Almond Flour Cake Love


I wrote this post and shared this recipe in the Fall of 2010. But it somehow seems appropriate to bring it forward today. And here's why, Tootsie-Cake. It's been damn tough out there in the world. It's been c-r-a-z-y, actually. Head spinning, mind numbing, dumbfounding nuts. So I thought... can't we all use a fabulous gluten-free cake recipe right about now? Can't we all just take a long, deep collective breath and still believe- as I am sure, Dear Reader, you must- Good triumphs over Bad, and that Love rises higher than Fear, and that Fairness, Justice, and Truth are still values we can all believe in?

Yes?

Kisses.


2017-02-10

Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes


Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes


Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes.


Lately we've been experimenting with baking brownies in a cupcake tin. Just for a change-up. We felt like tweaking again. We're using Baker's chocolate now (semi-sweet and unsweetened). And we're favoring hazelnut flour. We boosted the baking soda a tad. When they bake they rise and fall and crack like little flourless chocolate cakes.

What's not to love?


2017-02-07

Gluten-Free Recipe Love- Be My Valentine




Celebrate love Gluten-Free Goddess style.



Be My Valentine, Sugar.


I've said it before. Chocolate is love. And any excuse to celebrate love (or chocolate) is high on my priority list. Here are some of my hand-picked favorite gluten-free chocolate recipes for Valentine's Day- or any day you feel like celebrating love.

Which, in my corner of the world, ought to be every day.


Cacao! conquers all.





Karina's gluten-free chocolate layer cake



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