Pumpkin Pancakes (Dairy and Wheat Free)

Wanna know what we had for breakfast this morning?  We’re always looking for new breakfast recipes, and this one did not disappoint us!
Wanna know how to make ’em?
Pumpkin Pancakes

Combine in a large bowl:
3 1/2 cups brown rice flour

½ c ground flax**
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 TBSP baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt

In a separate bowl, stir together with a wire whisk:
3 cups water
2 cups pumpkin (1 can)
3 eggs
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  (Not over-stirring pancake batter is the trick to fluffy pancakes!)

I did 1/3 cup at a time on my griddle preheated to 350 degrees.
This made 24 4-5 inch pancakes!  I froze half of them on a cookie sheet. Then I put them in a bag so they won’t be stuck together when I want to use them.

* Based on our egg free years, I think you could easily use 1/2 c flax mixed with 1/3c water and no eggs.

**You can omit this and use ½ c more flour if your prefer.  I find that flax just seems to really do well with brown rice flour.

This recipe is adapted from Elizabeth’s recipe over at Yes They’re All Ours. I just made it work for our allergies and it worked beautifully!

Wheat Free, Dairy Free Pancakes, Anyone?

Because starches (other than corn starch which I can’t use here) are expensive and because I’m stubborn, I’m always trying to prove that recipes can work without the typically recommended 3:1 flour: starch ratio.  And on pancakes, I’ve done it.  Thankfully so, because I make pancakes at least twice a week here!

2 eggs
Enough water to get to 2 cups after eggs are in bowl… 2 eggs + water = 2 cups.
1/3 c oil

2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c sugar (I use turbinado)
1/2 c ground flax
1 T baking powder
1 t salt

Mix wets, add dries and whisk JUST UNTIL MOISTENED!  This will be a thick batter, more like a quickbread than bisquick. (Those pancakes below are 5/8″ thick or so.) When I’m “pouring it,” I use a spatula to help it move onto the skillet in the portions I want.  Let sit for one or two minutes and pour onto skillet (350 degrees here).  Flip when bubbles are popping or bottom feels firm when tested with a spatula. 
I get 12 5″ pancakes from this batch.  If I overmix, they are rubbery and thinner (because I have to use single acting baking powder that is corn free).  But if I mix just enough and get them all on the skillet right in the first batch, they are perfect!  If you have to do two batches, just do your best to stir as little as possible in between.
Because everyone who has a food allergy kitchen likes options, here are some:
Omit flax, just cut water down by 1/2 c.
Omit eggs, just use 2 c water.
Use xanthan or guar as appropriate (I skip it and it’s fine).

Yes! Great Gluten-Free Bread!

After 2 years of trying, I finally have a recipe worth sharing!  I’ve done this three or four times now and it’s worked every time.  Best of all, Mattie likes it!

3c warm water
3 eggs
1/4c oil
6T honey (or sugar)
3 1/2c brown rice flour
1/2c ground flax
1c tapioca flour
1t guar gum
2 1/2t salt
1t baking soda
1 packet yeast

Preheat oven to 150-170 and turn off.  Grease loaf pans.  (This recipe yields 3 4×8 loaves for me.)
Combine and whisk all wet ingredients.  In small bowl, combine and stir (whisk or fork) together all dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk together quickly, stopping as soon as well mixed.  Immediately pour into loaf pans.  (It will be the consistency of a quick bread batter.)  Allow to rise in warm oven until half again as large at most.  With pans still in oven, turn oven on to 350 (mine cooks at 325 on convection) for 30 minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before cooling the rest of the way on cooling racks.

*I have also baked only one loaf and have frozen the other two until the day I was ready to bake.  In that case I took the frozen batter (frozen in the loaf pan) and set it out to thaw and rise.  Bake just as above.  This batter thaws out enough that you could freeze it in any container and pour it into the loaf pan to finish rising and baking.

*I use guar gum because it is cheaper than xanthan and easier to get my hands on.  It is also corn free, so it’s safer for use in our kitchen.  You could easily use xanthan instead.  I think it would be 2T of xanthan gum.

*When I use the dark flax seeds, it adds color to the bread.  Mattie likes that it “looks like Jacob’s bread!” so I’ll keep doing it this way.

*Even if it does rise well, it will rise some as it bakes and still be just as good.  Don’t think it’s a failure!

*This bread stays fresh at room temperature for 3 or 4 days.

Can I just say…

That I hate having to cook around food allergies???  
To cook a food that doesn’t bother anyone I have to avoid dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, corn, and sugary and tomato based sauces.  If I’m counting all of the things that bother Jacob somewhat that require rotation… well, I won’t even go there!
I’m happy to make healthy meals, but it’s so hard to make an interesting meal (meaning one we’ve not had hundreds of times before!!) without major planning!!  I know I could leave the kids out, and they’d be happy to have peanut butter toast, but I feel like they need well rounded meals for dinner.  Plus, they survive on peanut butter already.  And I’m out of Mattie’s bread.  And how do I raise kids who aren’t picky if they never eat anything besides kid-friendly because I didn’t cook two different meals each dinner??

All of those creamy casseroles and pastas look soooooooo yummy, but I know they’d be gross if I substituted all I’d need to to make them.  I’m just not good at that, though I try.  I wish cooking were my spiritual gift, but then I guess God wouldn’t be glorified in my weakness.  I must say, He’s not glorified by much of what I create anyway, weakness or otherwise.
It’s just a drag sometimes!

But I want to do it and do it well!  Because I love my kids and husband and want them to feel well and be healthy.  I just want it to taste good too.
This is when I think it really wouldn’t be bad to live in a kibbutz or some other close knit community.  I’ll clean all the bathrooms in the compound, just don’t make me cook! 

Baby steps in the kitchen.

All of a sudden over the past few days I’ve gotten this very strange wave of energy to tackle some baking challenges I’ve had since we moved into this house.  I’ve not really gotten a handle on our kitchen (meaning baking/cooking consistently) and have been feeling guilty about it.  But blissfully, a new energy and motivation to conquer a few things has replaced the guilt!  That’s always exciting, isn’t it??

I’ve spent a couple of days researching quite a bit as to the whys of gluten free baking.  I just can’t remember things if I don’t understand why they work the way they do.  If I understand why, it sticks and I remember to choose the right starch the next time the opportunity arises.

And I’ve been researching some ways to really bake safely for all 4 of us… just ONE batch of muffins, ONE batch of cupcakes, ONE cookie recipe, etc.  (If I make a wheat one and a rice one, we inevitably run out of one first… then Mattie has yummy muffins left and Jacob doesn’t, then Jacob gets pancakes and Mattie gets muffins… Why can’t I have pancakes?… Just eat what I fixed for you!  But I want pancakes like Jacob!  But you said you wanted muffins.  But I didn’t know we had pancakes!   Any mother out there hear me????)    You can appreciate why I’d like to make just one recipe.  Lol!  I can get myself all worked up just typing that out!  I need to take a deep breath and count to 10.

So today I took the kids to the health food store when we were out picking up a prescription of compounded ibuprofen for Jacob.  (They are both still nursing the flu, so we’re trying to stay away from people but are pretty sick of being house bound.)  Anyway, I got the ingredients I needed and came home to be productive.  Here’s what I made successfully today:

Almond Milk in my SoyaJoy soy milk maker.  The kids actually both asked for glasses of it plain and drank it!
Strawberry banana creamy smoothies with the almond milk.
Thickened up extra smoothie and froze it to have “ice cream” for dessert!
Wheat free flour mix that is safe for all four of us (meaning free of wheat, egg, dairy, and corn).
Yummy banana muffins with that mix!
Mattie’s bread, tweaked a bit with some of what I learned and it’s great!  She hugged me and jumped up and down when she knew I was making her bread! 🙂

They loved everything I made.  I know that sounds weird to say that, but there are MANY, many times I have stood on my head to adapt a recipe, it has turned out really well, and they complain about it (because they are so used to eating the same old kid-friendly things, which isn’t their fault).  So, I often lose my steam before I even find a recipe.

But tonight Mattie thanked Jesus for “our new almond milk that’s like Grampa Harvey drinks and our yummy smoothie ice cream.


And Jacob and I even engaged in a conversation in which he showed sympathy!!

Jacob, after tasting the almond milk: Um, I think it’s yummy.
Me: Okay.  (Thinking, better than many responses I get from him about new things!)  I’d like it if I can make it so it’s really yummy for you.  Maybe I can figure that out.
Jacob: I know you try hard and it’s hard for us to like things and be thankful for them.
Me:  I know you want to have new things like everyone else can eat, and I’m doing the best I can for you.  But when you ask for new things, I try and then you complain about things because they’re different than you’re used to, it makes me not want to try anymore. 
Jacob:  Yeah.  I can understand how you feel frustrated about it.  I would feel that way too.

I just thought that was a sweet way to end our day.  🙂

Baby steps in the kitchen.

One of the best things I could have lost

In the chaos of the move, I lost the index card that had Mattie’s (wheat-free) sandwich bread recipe on it. That first week I was frustrated as I needed to make her bread, but couldn’t find it anywhere! I finally got desperate and tried to replicate it as best I could. I knew the ingredients, but wasn’t sure about the ratios. So I based it on my wheat bread recipe. Well, I’m so glad I lost that old card! I’ve made bread three or four times since we moved in here and it’s getting better each time! Today’s batch was the best it’s ever been.

Here’s my recipe…

4c brown rice flour
1/2 c potato starch flour
1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c ground flax
1t salt
2T xanthan gum
3 packages yeast

2 1/2 c warm water
3 eggs
4T honey
4T oil
1T apple cider vinegar

I whisked the dry ingredients together, then added them to the liquids. I stirred it up by hand until it was well mixed, put 3 loaves in the warmed oven (turned off) with a few spritzes of water to let it rise. Waited till it almost doubled, then cooked for 25 min at 300 in my convection oven (cook at 325 if not convection).

It is so good! The texture is the most like wheat bread I’ve ever had. It’s always exciting to have success in a food allergy kitchen!!