Gluten Free Dairy Free Oatcake

Gluten and dairy free oatcake. Omm nom nom

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This is, hands down, our favorite easy gluten free snack. It’s a very simple oatcake, not very sweet. The kids like it with strawberry jam, I’m okay with it as is. It’s quickly assembled and then only bakes for 20 minutes! So easy and as close to instant gratification as a person can get with baked goods.

I always double my recipe and bake in a 9×13, but below are the measurements for an 8×8 pan.

Delicious Oatcake

1 1/2 cups quick oats

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk substitute of choice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup applesauce (not chunky)

1/4 cup creaming peanut butter

Combine the oats, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together the vanilla, milk and egg. Pour the liquids into the dry and mix well.

Lightly grease an 8×8 pan and pour the mixture in. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Allow the cool completely (if you can!) before cutting into squares. The cooler they get, the less fragile they become.

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Notes on substitutions:

If you don’t have quick oats, you may be able to get away with whizzing old fashioned oats in a blender for a few pulses THEN measuring.

I’ve replaced the brown sugar with coconut sugar with great success. If you want to use a sugar substitute, please use a dry ingredient instead of wet (like honey, maple syrup, etc). This batter really can’t handle much more liquid without falling apart.

Eggs are the major allergen in this cake that I can’t figure out how to replace. I’ve tried with a flax seed egg but that just hasn’t worked out well at all.

If you don’t have any applesauce, you can replace it with one mashed banana. Some members of our family have latex allergies, so bananas are a no go for us.

Peanut butter can be replaced with any nut or seed butter.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Gluten free chocolate muffins

Truly, these are delicious and you’d never know they were gluten free. I’ve made this recipe two times in the past eight days in an attempt to photograph them and they were eaten before I could snap a decent picture! They are that good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

While your oven is preheating 350, gently melt together butter and honey. Whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. Then whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. It will be the consistency of hot fudge sauce. Continue to whisk in the eggs (I beat them in a separate bowl before adding) and baking soda.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into standard sized muffin tins. This should yield exactly 12 muffins. You could just grease them, but I would encourage you to use a paper liner.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until done. It only took 18 in my temperamental oven.

I used butter and peanut butter in my recipe but I’m sure coconut oil and any sort of nut or seed butter would be delicious. I haven’t added chocolate chips, since I’m using these as an on the go breakfast for the kids (the holy horror mess chocolate chips make in a car seat is enough to push me over the edge!), but I can just imagine what a decedent addition they would be. Or what about soft dried cherries with chocolate chips? That makes me think of Valentines day.

My kids snarf these down ASAP and I found Miles actually gathering crumbs up off the floor to make sure he had every last bite.

Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Fix

As Seen On Pinterest: Cucumber Water

Source: wp.me via Dallas Ann on Pinterest

 

I had such high hopes for cucumber water. It seemed an easy way to get my water down. Almost elegant. I’m not a fan of the taste of water and I don’t like the water flavor additive packets you can get at the store.

At the first sip, I paused. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or if it tasted how slugs would feel sliding down my throat.

Second sip, I still couldn’t decide.

I drank the entire half gallon over the next 2 days (couldn’t bring myself to put it to waste) and came to the conclusion that the idea is lovely but it’s all slugs to me.

In case you’re curious, here is the recipe I tried:

Cucumber Water

2 quarts cold water
1 medium cucumber, washed and thinly sliced
3 sprigs of mint, gently crushed

Mix all ingredients together and thoroughly chill. Sip and enjoy.

Best Popcorn EVER

I'm being nice and sharing my stovetop cinnamon and sugar popcorn.

Cinnamon and Sugar Popcorn

I’ve never been a lover of popcorn. As a kid, it was fun to watch the kernels explode out of the air popper and try to anticipate the optimal bowl position to avoid any on the floor or counter top. Popcorn at the movies was always a special treat, but it was more part of the experience than something I would choose on my own.

Then I grew up, had kids who couldn’t eat gluten or dairy products, and I had to find easy snacks on a budget. Not too easy. We tried air popped a few times with the traditional salt and the kids seemed to hold the same opinion as I did. Too much butter on the top and all the salt sunk to the bottom of the bowl. A friend suggested trying the traditional stove top popping method before giving up completely. After one try, I’ve never looked back. This stuff is GOOD.

There’s no real recipe. Instead, it’s more of a method. You pour oil into a heavy bottom COLD pan. Add however many corn kernels you want. The trick is to have enough oil to puddle around your SINGLE LAYER of kernels. If you didn’t add enough to begin with, pour in a bit more.

Turn on your burner to a medium or medium low. You know your stove top the best. It really is trial and error.

Keeping the pot on the burner, shift it around a few times every minute (to allow the kernels to evenly heat) until your first kernel pops. Quickly add your seasoning of choice, evenly sprinkling over corn. Keep shaking it!

Add a lid to the pot and continue to shake it, occasionally lifting it off the burner to shake the pot up and down to get all the tasty bits evenly coating the popcorn.

As soon as you hear the last pop, pour all your fluffy bites of hot deliciousness into a large bowl to prevent burning in the pot. Wait, if you can, for it to cool enough to touch and enjoy.

So far, we’ve tried the traditional salt flavoring and also adding cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon and sugar meets my cravings for hot breakfast toast, which is nice! I wouldn’t recommend using butter as the oil but if you want the butter flavor, maybe try using imitation butter flavoring. It’s completely vegan (though it does have yellow food dye) and scarily, tastes JUST like the real thing. I wonder if that’s what the movie theaters add to their popcorn oil to create the butter flavor, since popcorn from movie theaters are dairy free.

Stovetop Popcorn from Dallas Ann Prentice on Vimeo.

This is a video of Miles experiencing stove top method for the first time. Completely hilarious.

p.s. Is there a word that just feels misspelled every time you write it, even though you KNOW it’s right? Kernel is one of those for me. My brain nearly exploded writing this.

Perspective Versus Deprivation

I use to love food and every aspect of it. Planning meaningful meals around seasonal produce. I found an almost meditative experience simmering this and that on the stove while prepping produce and herbs in between stirring pots. It was an outlet for my creative process and one I enjoyed immensely. The smells, sounds, tastes and sharing with others was always something I looked forward to.

Now?

Some days, I hate food. I hate planning it. I hate prepping. I hate cooking. I even hate eating it because I have no mental or emotional energy left to even enjoy it. Some nights, I wish we could all swallow a single pill that would meet all our nutritional needs for the day and just leave it at that.

So what changed?

Over the last five years, I have slowly and grudgingly realized that my family is healthiest when not consuming dairy or gluten. Last year, we discovered gluten makes my kids not sleep. Dairy causes a whole host of other problems (the oldest has an epi pen for her dairy allergy!). This has sucked so much joy out of cooking for me. No more cream based sauces, pastas, sandwiches, toast (mmmm hot sourdough toast with salted butter), cheesy eggs, not to mention very little eating out.

These dietary restrictions and budgetary constraints pretty much decimated my cooking repertoire. I spend a lot of time combing the internet, looking for kid friendly and husband friendly meals. It is a lot of hit or miss. A lot of discouragement. We’ve tried eating gluten free vegan, paleo (minus the dairy) and everything else in between. Nothing seems to really work well for us.

When I step into my kitchen, I feel beat down, discouraged and deflated. I can’t bake cookies with the kids on a whim. It requires forethought and careful planning. Do I have the appropriate “flours”? Can I sub what the recipe requires for what I have in my pantry? If I don’t, is it worth the time to pile all the kids into the car to go to the store and can I justify the nutso prices for a recipe we may not even like? By that point, I’m too mentally tired to even try.

Don’t even get me started on sandwich bread.

I use to hold it together by telling myself that this is only a stage and as time passes, we’ll be able to go back to a more “traditional” diet. Then as more time passes, I realize that this is truly a new lifestyle and not just a life stage.  Now, I feel like I’ve finally hit a turning point. I can’t live like this. No, I refuse to live the rest of my life with this attitude towards food. It’s not healthy.

Instead of trying to recreate former dishes or yearn for things that are now forbidden, I try to find new favorites. Trying new favorites right now is difficult because we truly are in a temporary stage. Having a tiny baby pretty much takes away any cooking options other than what’s quick and easy. In time, this will change. Hazel will grow and become more content to sit by herself and can I simmer this or that on the stove while chopping fresh produce. I won’t be so exhausted by having three young children that I will be able to take the time to make up my own flour mixes to facilitate experimenting with sandwich bread.

In the mean time, I will enjoy things like this delicious breakfast:

Breakfast was delicious.

Simple eggs, fried in coconut oil, over black beans seasoned with cumin and salt, served with garden fresh tomatoes. I liked it so much that I had it again for lunch, only adding tapenade and sweet onion mustard to top the eggs. Amazing. It was practically a food party in my mouth!

Then, I discovered these cookies on Pinterest. Gluten and dairy free and needing ZERO strange flours. Peanut butter, an egg, sugar, cocoa powder. Chocolate chips (which I ran walked to the corner store for!). That’s it. Again, amazing.

Slowly, I’m turning the corner. Some days, I do stomp my feet over meal planning or sigh in exasperation at the grocery store. Those moments are coming less frequently as time goes on. If I focus on what we can have, what we can enjoy, instead of zeroing in on what we can’t experience, it is just easier all around.

These are some places I go for gluten and dairy free inspiration. Not all recipes meet our dietary needs, but I can generally modify them with ease.

Gluten Free Girl. This is a brilliant, brilliant blog. Be sure to check out her Ratio Ralley for creating gluten free flour mixes. And please, PLEASE do yourself the favor of getting a food scale if you’re going to do GF baking from scratch. It will make your life so much simpler.

Roost: A Simple Life. I come here and take a deep, calming breath as I look at the pictures. There is something deeply calming about her writing style and images. The recipes are gloriously documented in stunning pictures and they are, for the most part, attainable by the basic cook. She bakes almost exclusively with almond flour, which makes it easy to stock the pantry. Not all of her recipes are dairy free.

Once A Month Mom. Freezer cooking at its finest! They provide a dairy and gluten free menu (for free!) once a month. I’ve found this to be a wonderful resource. Not everything has been a hit with my family but that’s to be expected. This really is gluten and dairy free cooking for the busy family. Spend one day cooking all the things and you’re set for the month.

Dallas Ann’s Pinterest Board . If you’re a Pinterest fanatic, take a look at my GF/DF pin board. I haven’t tried everything, so I can’t vouch for it, but it may trigger some inspiration for you.

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