Tuesday, November 23, 2010

gluten-free bread recipe

We have been a gluten-free family for eight months. In that time we have seen miraculous changes in my four-year-old's behavior. His asperger's symptoms have disappeared. It's really quite remarkable. To be fair, we also have him off of soy, dairy (casein), and a few other foods that he seems to react to. We keep a food journal and make note of foods that cause troubling behaviors. Anyway, the hardest part of the gluten-free diet is giving up good tasting bread. After awhile cravings go away, but sometimes it is nice to eat bread, no? For my birthday this year I got this cuisinart bread maker. It is available right now at Costco and has a gluten-free cycle. You can save about $10 if you buy it in-store. It has revolutionized the way we eat. I can throw in some ingredients, push a button, and have warm, delicious bread in a little over two hours. The key is finding a good recipe. Here is mine, adapted from gluten-free goddess.

Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside:

1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup millet flour
2 teaspoons zanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 package yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons

Pour wet ingredients in the bread maker:

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 tablespoons grape seed oil (or olive)
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey if you don't have an infant in the house)
1/2 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
2 egg yolks (or whole eggs, whipped egg whites make lovely bread but we are allergic)

Pour the dry ingredients on top of the liquid. Sometimes I don't even bother to whisk them together beforehand, just make sure to add the yeast last. Make a little well at the top. Set your bread machine for the 1.5 pound loaf. Bread machines with gluten-free cycles work best. Otherwise try the rapid rise selection.

The dough will be softer than regular bread dough, closer to a muffin dough. Play around with the dough consistency and flour ratios until you tweak it to your liking. Add more flour or liquid as needed. Sometimes I use teff or brown rice flour instead of millet. I grind my own flour (so cheap!), but buy the tapioca flour at an asian grocery store. They sell it for one tenth the price of health food stores. If you don't have a grain grinder, I hear that cheap coffee grinders work well too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Organic Guide

We try to buy mostly organic. When possible. Since those with compromised immune systems (food allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, autism spectrum) have a hard time flushing toxins, it only makes sense to limit exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group, we can reduce our pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. Here is the "dirty dozen" list, updated for 2010: meat (eggs), blueberries, strawberries, peaches, celery, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, potatoes, carrots, apples, lettuce, pears, tomatoes. In addition to the dirty dozen, I would recommend buying the following organic to avoid genetically modified food: soy, corn, canola, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, carrots, sugar beets, papaya, wheat, rice (notice potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots are a double threat!).

Luckily for our pocketbooks, there are "clean" foods that you don't have to buy organic: onions, avocados, pineapple, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, watermelon, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

My organic shopping tips: Plant a garden. Organic seeds are available at Home Depot and Walmart. It will save you so much money. The following stores have the best prices on organic goods: Trader Joe's, Costco, Fresh n Easy, Target, Walmart (very limited selection), and Sprouts. I also occasionally get an organic produce basket from our local co-op. Click
HERE to see if they are available where you are.

has gotten so many organic options lately: chicken, hummus, carrots, lettuce, spinach, chicken broth, rice milk, frozen peaches, brown rice, canned tomatoes, strawberry jam, apples, tortilla chips, eggs, agave syrup, and more. Things I stock up on at Trader Joe's: organic brown rice pasta, organic canned tomatoes (the price can't be beat), organic canned pumpkin, organic turbinado sugar, rice milk, and produce.

Also, I have recently discovered a company called
Azure Standard that has a lot of organic options (including bulk) for amazing prices. Oh, and the above picture is our garden. We are currently growing organic tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, cilantro, swiss chard, napa cabbage, green onions, kale, bok choy, lettuce, and beets.