Spicy Salmon Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Have you seen hints of its arrival? On Yahoo news? Huffington Post? Twitter? VariousIMG_4352
food-related blog and web sites? That ubiquitous (albeit lovely, warm) flavor that takes over everything, every autumn? Pumpkin spice latte, bread, beer, cookies, cake, dog treats, pumpkin spice everything! Hey, I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl, but I also love those light, fresh, cool summertime citrus-y, fruity flavors. While we’re still in grip of  August, held fast by bright sun and heat that still sing notes of high summer, we can delay the pumpkin spice extravaganza that accompanies the fall season and still enjoy light, easy, fruity, flavorful dishes such as this this salmon taco recipe, served with watermelon salsa and a light coleslaw with avocado dressing. Continue reading

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Miscellany: Coffee Flour and Gluten-Free Pastry Demo

Guess what? That fruit that’s usually discarded when coffee beans are harvested is now

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credit: coffee flour.com

available as a gluten-free flour! Dan Belliveau, one the Director of Technical Services at Starbucks, came up with the idea to salvage the wasted fruit his company calls coffee flour (it doesn’t really taste like coffee, though). It’s full of potassium, iron, protein, and fiber, so it’s a healthy addition to gluten-free baked goods. In addition to providing a unique, new healthy ingredient for people interested in healthy diets, harvesting the fruit will provide jobs and new sources of income for people in some of the most poverty-stricken places in the world. The flour is not available in brick and mortar stores, though, so I just ordered some from Nuts.com. It’s also available from Marx’s Pantry for the same price per pound, but Marx’s pantry charges $12 shipping (vs $5.99 for shipping from Nuts.com). I’m not here to sell anything to anyone; I’m just super excited about the find and want to share the info!  Continue reading

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

IMG_3981At midnight last night, June 29, 2016, gave way to June 30th, 2016. In a continuing cycle set forth from time’s beginning, one day gave way to the next. Today, like the the day before, and the day before that, and so on, is a blessing. Each day teems with life and where life exists, hope exists, and in this hope resides blessing. Always. Remembering the blessing every morning is an important way to begin the day, even during times of negative stress (as opposed to the positive stress caused by such things as getting married, having a baby, getting a promotion). I once heard a priest refer to the burden of hope. Hope contains the idea that one’s life can be better, and the improvement may require action on one’s part. Introducing a recipe for gluten-free sourdough blueberry muffins by referencing such transcendent notions as blessings and hope may seem strange; however, these things are tangentially related. Continue reading

Baking Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread, Made Easy

Something about a perfectly bubbly sourdough starter is satisfying. Just two ingredients, IMG_3958water and flour, leads to bubbles, increase of substance, and life. Then when added to a few more ingredients, it aids in the creation of a satisfying loaf of bread. Gluten-free sourdough bread is even more satisfying in that it’s not kneaded and only requires one rising. It doesn’t have to be looked after much, either. One has only to mix the ingredients and set the dough to rise. During the four or more hours the dough is rising, one has time for work, cleaning, running errands, and even a long run. Baking a nice loaf of gluten-free bread is is actually very easy.

As easy as baking gluten-free sourdough may be, just one loaf of gluten-free bread requires much more sourdough starter than a gluten-containing sourdough bread. The need for a large amount of starter means that you need to have at least two jars of active sourdough starter in order to begin baking your bread (see my post on starting and maintaining a gluten-free sourdough starter). Once your starter is lively and rearing to go, you are reading to bake a perfectly beautiful and delicious loaf of gluten-free sourdough bread, with a texture and flavor very close to that of gluten-containing sourdough bread. Continue reading

Eat Gluten-Free In Austin: A 2016 Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Restaurants

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Austin, Texas is a vibrant, beautiful city in which to live, and to visit. It’s also a wonderful place in which to find delicious food, with plentiful offerings to suit anyone’s dietary preferences. Most restaurants in the city offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, with some of the city’s restaurants catering solely to one or more of these specific preferences. Naturally, since this blog is devoted to a gluten-free lifestyle, the restaurants listed below are of interest mainly to people who have, or choose, to eat gluten-free. I’ve included fast (though not necessarily fast-food) restaurants as well as more formal restaurants, to suit the needs of those have time for only a quick meal, as well as those who have time to sit and linger over a meal. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Maple Muffins (Made With Apple Flour)

A few months ago, I wrote a post about having impulsively purchased apple flour. I maple muffins1actually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using this flour in baked goods, as a substitute for gums. I quit using xanthan and guar gums quite a while ago, without much problem. I find alternatives to the gums that work quite well. I bought the apple flour, which is nothing but dried, ground apples, thinking that the natural pectin in the apple flour would work well to support the structure of baked goods, and to help keep them moist. The apple flour works to do just that. It’s a little pricey, but people I know keep suggesting that I dehydrate apples and grind my own apple flour. The problem with that suggestion is that I have about a billion of those proverbial irons in the fire, and the thought of taking those two extra steps to make my own apple flour is too overwhelming at this time. The good news is that I found out through experimentation that less is more, and since so little of it works wonders, the expense may not be that prohibitive. Continue reading

Home-Made Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Bars

August in Texas is hot. Just plain hot. At times when I run and see the

image of Texas from wikepedia.com

image of Texas from wikepedia.com

brown, dead or dying grass, parched plants, and cracked earth, I think of the words the narrator in Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Comes” imagines spoken by Nature:

No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In the strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
’T is the Last Judgment’s fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

Without trying to minimize the tone of despair expressed by the unnamed narrator in Browning’s poem, I do feel a sort of despair at the over-whelming energy, life-sapping heat of August. To get ourselves through the often steamy, always sweltering days of August, Phillip and I plan an October race somewhere in a cooler region outside of Texas. We plan this yearly October trip for two reasons: October is our anniversary month, so our fall race in a less taxing climate doubles as our anniversary celebration, and planning for the autumn trip and race throughout the summer adds purpose to the miserable runs we must endure throughout the scorching summer months. This year, on October 18th, Phillip and I will be in Bar Harbor, ME, running the Mount Desert Island Marathon. Whoo-hoo! The date is quickly approaching! Relief from the heat is in sight! We will feel very sad for our friends and family in Texas, who will still be suffering temperatures in the 90s as we are enjoying a much cooler climate in beautifulMaine!

Image from mountdesertislandmarathon.com

Image from mountdesertislandmarathon.com

In the meantime, Phillip and I are ramping up our miles and the distance of our runs. Continue reading

Classy and Romantic: Strawberry Rosemary Balsamic Ice Cream Drizzled With Cabernet Sauvignon Syrup

Another rainy Sunday, of which we’ve had plenty this year. With the weekend chores mostly strawberry ice creamfinished yesterday, and my long run checked off the list this morning, I’m ready to sit down a while: to slow down the day’s pace a bit. The dark clouds and rain outside make staying inside rather cozy. With Frank Sinatra’s smooth, sultry voice floating through the house, Phillip relaxing in the chair next to mine, and tiny Rex curled up against me, I think the time is right for a bowl of the ice cream Phillip made yesterday. Definitely, strawberry-rosemary-balsamic ice cream with drizzled with Cabernet Sauvignon syrup and Frank Sinatra are perfect complements, just like a chocolate milk shake perfectly complements music by the early Beach Boys, and pecan pie perfectly complements music by Robert Earl Keen. Frank Sinatra’s voice and music are completely classy, a bit jazzy, and a bit romantic. As Frankie, with the help of the Count Basie Orchestra, fly me to the moon and fill my heart with song, I think about the classy flavor of strawberries, jazzed up with a hint of balsamic vinegar reduction, made somewhat romantic by the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon syrup lightly drizzled over the perfectly round, creamy delectable scoops of ice cream in the bowl. Continue reading

By Special Request: Gluten-Free Limoncello Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

My oldest son, one of our children who cannot eat gluten, chocolate limoncello cheesecake 2recently sent (via text message, naturally) a special request. He discovered Perugina Dark Chocolate Limoncello candy bars, a flavor combination he thinks sounds pretty delicious. The candy bar’s ingredients, however, are as follows: sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, natural flavors (wheat), sunflower lecithin, artificial flavor. Could I, he wondered, come up with some dark chocolate, limoncello treat that is also gluten-free? Perhaps cheesecake, he added? Those proverbial wheels started spinning in my mind and I drew from various cheesecake recipes I’ve made in the past to come up with the dark chocolate limoncello cheesecake I made for his birthday this month. Continue reading

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!!!! No More Cashew Meal @ Trader Joe’s????

Today I went on my usual replenishing-the-cupboard trek: Trader Joe’s for the things I can’t get at Whole Foods, then on trader joe'sto Whole Foods for the things I can’t get at HEB, etc, etc, etc. On my list to replenish (because I’m down to 1.5 lbs in inventory) was Trader Joe’s Just Cashew Meal. I love cashew meal. It tastes sweet and flavorful. It’s full of healthy oil and nutrients. And at Trader Joe’s, it’s a veritable steal (or at least it was . . . . ) at $4.99 per pound. On the shelf where the tag read Cashew Meal were packages of gluten-free flour. The packages of almond meal were right next to that spot, right where it was supposed to be, in plentiful number. No cashew meal, though. I looked behind the gluten-free baking mix. No straggler packages of cashew meal. Thinking I might find it in another spot in the store,  I strolled over to the shelves that hold all the packages of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and what have you. No cashew meal. I was dismayed, but continued my shopping. As the cashier rang up my purchases, I asked him about the cashew meal. I could not believe my ears, nor contain my emotion, when he explained to me that Trader Joe’s has discontinued carrying cashew meal. While I cried out my fervent devotion to the product, he further explained that the cashew meal didn’t sell well and the shelf space was needed for products that would sell better. Having trouble processing the information that few people desire the product, for just about every cooking / baking resource I read includes recipes in which cashew flour is used, I asked whether it is discontinued at this one particular Trader Joe’s, or at all Trader Joe’s location. He affirmed my worst fear. Cashew meal has been discontinued at all Trader Joe’s, everywhere. Continue reading