Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Bread (Vegan, Sugar-Free)










Bananas. Chocolate. Coconut flour. What am I doing?! This recipe is chock full of ingredients guaranteed to set my head pounding. Well, in part, it was an experiment. I've noticed that the more starches I use in a recipe, the worse I feel. So I replaced the original starches in this recipe with coconut flour and quinoa flour to see how that would work. But then the texture was absolutely perfect for a banana chocolate bread, so I had to add those! However, bananas and chocolate are both high in amines, something which I've been avoiding. So I screwed up the whole experiment by adding in ingredients I knew my body would have trouble with. 

And that was simply the result of a moment of weakness. I'm good at being gluten-free. I've got the peanut-free thing down. And nuts are definitely out. But sometimes I cave when it comes to amines. I'm not on an amine-free diet, only a low-amine diet. And many foods that are high in amines are also extremely healthy for you. Foods like bananas, spinach, avocado, and tomatoes. So while I recognize that eating a certain amount of these foods will cause problems, I try to get away with small amounts here and there. And occasionally, I try to get away with more.

Like when I made this banana chocolate bread. 

It tasted heavenly. 

But yes, I have a headache and I'm guessing it's going to take me a couple of days to recover from my moment days of weakness. 

The fact that I'm sitting here contemplating baking more of this bread tells you how good it was. 

But I've only got a week left of vacation, and I don't plan on spending it popping ibuprofen. So no more banana chocolate bread for me. But hopefully lots for you!












Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Bread Print-Me


  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening (sub: butter or Earth Balance)
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 2/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. liquid stevia + 20 drops
  • 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees. Grease bread pan.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Cut in shortening with a fork. 
  3. In a small bowl, stir flaxseed meal and water. Beat in milk, apple sauce, vanilla and 1 tsp. of stevia. 
  4. Beat the wet mix into dry. Set aside.
  5. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler or microwave. Stir in 20 drops of liquid stevia. 
  6. Stir the chocolate and mashed banana into the batter.
  7. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 45 minutes. 

This post is linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gluten-Free Pot Pie Crust

This recipe is from Thanksgiving. I made a delicious turkey pot pie, but I never posted the recipe because I hadn't written down the directions for the filling. The next time I made it, it was with a vegetarian chickpea filling. Again, I just went off the cuff without writing anything down. Eventually, it just seemed silly to be posting a turkey pot pie recipe when Thanksgiving was so far gone. But I've made this crust multiple times with different fillings, thinking every time, "I've got to come up with the perfect filling so I can post that recipe!" When my friend recently mentioned in an e-mail that she was daydreaming about the taste of the pot pie crust I had made, I knew it was time to let go of the idea of coming up with the perfect filling and just post the crust recipe. This is really the star of the show, to be quite honest. You can make whatever type of pot pie filling you want, and then top it with this, and you're sure to have a hit!

Gluten-Free Pot Pie Crust 
Print-Friendly Option

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet white rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (sub: Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening)
1/4 cup water
10 drops liquid stevia (sub: 1 Tbsp. honey)
1 Tbsp. Flax seeds plus 3 Tbsp. water

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
  3. In another mixing bowl, add the flax seeds and water. Let sit for a minute. Beat in the stevia, water, and butter. Beat the flour into the wet until a dough forms.
  4. Lightly flour a large surface and roll the dough out into a square the size of your 9 x 12 in. pan*. Layer on top of your pie filling and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
*I roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap and it rolls well that way. I've also cut the dough out with cookie cutters and topped my pie filling that way.

For some ideas on pot pie filling, check out these delicious recipes:
Gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free pot pie at The Spunky Coconut
Turkey or vegan pot pie at Gluten Free Easily
Chicken pot pie at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Easy veggie pot pie at Clean Green Simple
Slow cooker root veggie pot pie at Gluten Free Gigi

This post is linked to Sugar Free Sunday

Monday, March 21, 2011

Orange Zest Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

As far back as I can remember, birthdays meant getting a special cake, often one baked by my mom. 

Over the years, my taste in cake has changed. For a couple of years, I wanted Friendly's orange sherbet ice cream cakes. Then there was the year I asked my mom to make a rusk pie, a challenging endeavor because you can no longer buy rusks at the store and have to make them from scratch. My first year in New York, I realized that my new friends would have no clue how much a birthday cake meant to me, so I went out and bought my own cake. Word to the wise? Never buy yourself a birthday cake. It just doesn't taste special when you buy your own! 

On the other hand, baking your own cake can be wonderful. Last year, I made this cake from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. I had to fight my little cousins to frost it!

Of course, it's not really the cake that matters so much. It's the idea of cake and what it represents for me. I have so many wonderful memories of being with my family on my birthday, but now that we're scattered, with my sisters in California and my parents in Massachusetts, birthdays take on a different tone. It never feels quite right without my mom singing happy birthday and making sure she gets a "blowing out the candles" shot. Perhaps this is why it's always been so important to me that no matter where I am or who I'm with on my birthday, I have a cake. 

Maybe I can't take my mom with me everywhere I go, but at least I can have a pretty cake to remind me of all the birthday cakes she's made me. 

Now, my birthday is not until June. But once I realized there was no way anyone else was going to be able to make me a cake for my birthday (unless you know someone who can make a gluten-free, peanut and tree nut-free, egg-free, sugar-free, chocolate-free cake), I decided I was going to have to come up with the perfect cake. Something that tastes like birthday cake. Not a "I guess it's good for a  gluten and sugar free" cake, but a "savor every bite and go back for seconds" cake. So how does this benefit you? Not only do you get the final cake recipe once I come up with it, but you also get the recipes for all the cakes along the way that are tasty, but not birthday cake material. 

Case in point? This orange zest cake. This was my first attempt, and while it was more dense than I had hoped, the flavor was delicious, especially with a dollop of coconut cream. The only problem was that this was also my first go at eating eggs in months, and my body did not appreciate it. Within minutes, I had a headache the likes of which I hadn't experienced in a long time, and while my housemates thought it was cute when they found me napping on the couch in the living room, it was really just my attempt to escape feeling so uncomfortable. Now here's the proof that this cake was really good. I ate not one, but two more slices today. Even knowing how bad it was going to make me feel, I did it anyway. When my housemates all raved too, I knew I had to post the recipe. 


Now the challenge will be to replicate this cake without eggs and somehow make it fluffier. Can it be done? Well, according to Debi, who's got her own raw cake challenge going on, I'll find a way. I've already got two egg-free versions I want to attempt, one involving chocolate (which I know I'm not supposed to have), and the other a stronger orange flavor. I'll keep you posted, and any good recipes that come out of it will definitely be yours to enjoy. I wonder how many cakes I can make between now and June?  


Orange Zest Cake (Adapted from this recipe)


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour 
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 8 Tbsp. Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. liquid stevia
  • zest of 1 mandarin orange
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees. Grease an 8 in round cake pan.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with a fork. 
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg whites and mandarin zest until stiff white peaks form
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, soy milk, apple sauce, vanilla extract and stevia on low speed for one minute.
  5. Beat egg yolk mix into the dry mix. Fold in egg whites with a spatula until well combined. 
  6. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool, and frost as desired (coconut cream with vanilla stevia makes a perfect frosting for this cake). 

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Guest Post: Lunch with City|Life|Eats

    Packing your lunch for work (or school) is one of the simplest things you can do for both your health and your wallet. When you eat out, you're reliant on someone else to provide you a healthy meal, and you can't always be sure what's going into your food. But when you bring your own lunch, you know exactly what you're getting, and you can be sure to make the right choices for your body. You'll probably also save a few bucks, and that's always a good thing! 

    Of course, getting into a lunch-packing rhythm takes a little practice, and even those of us who do it regularly can get bored and find ourselves stumped for new ideas. At Bastyr, I've been lucky enough to have a cafeteria where I can regularly eat delicious gluten-free food, so I took a break from packing my lunches for a while. But eventually I decided it was time to start taking charge of all my meals again, and I found some inspiration in the lunch box series over at City|Life|Eats. Valerie posts her lunchboxes to give us all meal ideas, and when I told her how boring my lunches had been lately, she offered to "make" me a lunchbox. I'm ridiculously impressed at her ability to not only find something that falls within my guidelines, but to have it look so good that anyone would be excited to have this for lunch! Read on below for Valerie's lunchbox plan, and stop by her blog if you want more inspirational lunch ideas.

    I am so excited to be guest-blogging a lunchbox here today, especially because Iris and her Gluten-Free Fall Specials Series  inspired me in the first place to start blogging about lunchboxes on my blog.  Initially I was just going to blog about them for a week, but that turned into a month, and now it has been over six months.  I post lunchboxes I bring to work (which generally include a lunch and a couple of snacks) but also weekend lunchboxes and travel lunchboxes.  For me, packing food is a way to save money and time but also reduce stress.  As anyone with food intolerances and restrictions known, grabbing a meal outside of home, whether on-the-go or at a restaurant, generally requires asking several questions or reading labels very closely. It can get complicated, especially when short on time, so I like having the option to just pack a lunchbox.

    As you know from reading The Daily Dietribe, Iris has made several changes to her diet to target specific health problems.  In addition to eating a gluten, tree nut, peanut, and sugar-free diet, Iris avoids foods high in amines.  When Iris and I were discussing my guest blogging a lunchbox, I suggested I make a lunchbox tailored to her diet requirements.  So here is a lunchbox for Iris, based on the lists of foods Iris sent me and her kindly answering a couple of questions.  The only problem? I live in Washington, DC, so I cannot actually give Iris the packed lunchbox, but I figure she can replicate it in Seattle.

    Here are the contents of the lunchbox, with some notes as to why I chose them:
    • Red peppers and broccoli sauteed in grapeseed oil with garlic, coriander and cumin, and wrapped in half a brown rice tortilla.  Romaine lettuce is among the greens Iris can eat on her diet protocol, so she could also replicate this wrap using romaine leaves instead of tortillas.  For tips on how to soften a tortilla, click here.
    • Hummus, using my basic recipe, but swapping lemon juice for lime as Iris avoids lemons. I also added a quarter teaspoon of cumin to complement the lime and give the hummus a Southwestern flair.  Iris can add some hummus to the wrap for some protein, but there is enough hummus that she could also snack on it with the raw vegetables in the lunchbox.  
    • Pumpkin Chia Pudding, made with unsweetened soymilk. This recipe is by Gena of Choosing Raw and is sweetened only with stevia.  While the recipe does call for almond milk, unsweetened soymillk can easily be substituted to make the pudding Iris-friendly.  Since the wrap is not very high in protein, and hummus is the main source of protein in this lunchbox, I wanted to be sure to include an additional source of protein.   
    • Carrots, a slice of raw red pepper and some celery (the celery is hidden by the other vegetables).
    • Cinnamon vanilla sunbutter.  I used Organic Sunbutter as the base, as it is completely sugar- and salt-free.  I know Iris loves Sunbutter, and I also know she likes to mix sweet with savory, so I added a pinch of sea salt and a few drops of liquid vanilla stevia to the sunbutter, as well as a pinch of cinnamon.  That way it has an interesting sweet and savory feel to it, and can be paired with the carrots.  I also know Iris likes apples, so she could have this with apple slices if she wanted more of a sweet snack, but paired with the carrots it definitely is more of a sweet and savory snack.
    This is designed to be lunch and two snacks.  I know Iris is a busy graduate student, so I specifically picked two recipes (the Pumpkin Chia Pudding and Hummus) which she can make in big batches and have several days in a row.  The wrap portion of the lunchbox can be replaced with leftovers from dinner or quinoa instead of a wrap with the vegetables, which can of course be varied.  Iris could also experiment with different proteins to go with the vegetables and the wrap. I was initially going to include tofu in the wrap, but decided on hummus to make the lunchbox as varied as possible and have several different sources of protein, namely chickpeas, soy milk and various seeds.  Since Iris can eat seeds, I took advantage of that and incorporated three types of seeds: chia seeds, sunflower seeds (in the Sunbutter) and sesame seeds in the tahini. And, Iris, thank you for having me as a guest blogger on your blog. I hope you like the lunchbox! 

    Valerie blogs at  City|Life|Eats about food, life, work, and living with food allergies and a modified diet. Her lunchboxes and recipes are gluten-freedairy-free and often, but not exclusively, vegan.  You can subscribe to City|Life|Eats via RSS or email or connect with Valerie via twitter or facebook.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Pumpkin Spice Muffins: They're Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Stevia-Sweetened!

    Monday was one of those days. I was hungry, I was hormonal, and I was sitting in a doctor's office for 45 minutes with an unfriendly receptionist. By the time the assistant called me in to wait for the doctor, I was teetering on the edge. I managed to hold it together when the doctor came in (don't worry, this was just a routine visit), but by the time I got home, all it took was a gentle, "Are you okay?" from my housemates to burst into tears. Laughing at myself while crying, I sobbed, "I think I just need food." I know myself well, and I know when something is genuinely wrong, and when I just need to eat. I had a plan for dinner: tilapia and lentils with veggies. But the fish needed to be thawed and I needed to eat right away! So I did what one always does when one is too hungry to think straight. I rummaged through the fridge for a quick pick-me-up. What did I find? My pumpkin spice muffins. I made them on Thursday and have been enjoying them since, one per day. I already had one with lunch, but I grabbed the container with the thought that it would fill me up quicker. But then I paused. These were really good muffins. These muffins deserved to be savored, each bite slowly and thoroughly chewed. These were not cheap muffins to scarf down without thought. I put the muffins away and grabbed a salad I had prepared earlier. And salad it was, until my fish was ready.

    So what's that amazing about this story? I have never made a baked good and had it last more than a couple of days, maybe three at the most. But these muffins have been in my fridge for five days now. Not because they're not delicious. On the contrary, I think they're actually the best muffins I've made, even better than my "bursting with butter" corn muffins.  But frankly, it never mattered how good something I baked tasted. It was gone in days whether it was good or not! But the combination of saying goodbye to the binge monster and giving up all sweeteners but stevia has made a world of difference. Of course, I'm not saying I eat perfectly now or never overeat. But there's a line between overeating and bingeing, and I haven't crossed it. And for the first time, perhaps ever, I can bake something and know that I won't eat too much and regret it the next day.

    Pumpkin Spice Muffins
    Print-Friendly Option

    3/4 cup tapioca starch (sub: potato starch)
    3/4 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup brown rice flour (sub: white rice flour)
    1 Tbsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp. sea salt

    1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

    1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
    3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (sub: your favorite milk substitute or regular milk)
    2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp. water

    3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
    1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

    1-2 tsp. liquid stevia, depending on sweet you want them (see Malary's note below on subbing with stevia in the raw)
    1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar (sub: lemon juice)


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
    3. In a second bowl, mix the flaxseed meal and water. Set aside for a minute, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir completely.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to wet and stir with a fork until completely mixed.
    5. Grease your muffin tins and fill almost to the top with batter. If you're using muffin tin liners, you might want to spray them too. I found some of the muffins stuck to the liners a bit. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
    Makes approx. 12 muffins

    Two of my readers (thanks Julia and Malary!) volunteered to test this recipe out. I'm including their feedback because I always love to read feedback in comments before deciding whether I'm going to try a recipe out.

    Julia: I think they are YUMMY! I may have baked them a little long...? Although I did follow directions and bake at 375 for 23 mins. They came out crispy on the outside but really moist and tender in the inside. But I really like crispy outside...almost like a crust so I was VERY happy. Flavor wise I think they are great, nice and spicy. I think if people are a little more spice-phobic maybe make a note to cut a little of the pumpkin spice, but i really like it. Otherwise, no critique! Pretty easy once you have all the ingredients which I pretty much did, nice that it didn't use eggs since I can't eat yolks. Also super that it didn't use sugar since I am allergic to all sweeteners, other than stevia.

    Malary: Malary thought the texture was the best she's had out of all the gluten-free baked goods she's made. She didn't have grapeseed oil on hand, so she substituted with olive oil, and she used 1 1/3 cup of stevia in the raw and a "squirt" of agave instead of the stevia.  

    This post is linked to Sweet for a Saturday, Seasonal Sunday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    NuNaturals NuStevia Giveaway Winner

    Thank you to everyone who entered my NuNaturals NuStevia Giveaway! We have four lucky winners, plus a stevia-sweetened pumpkin spice muffin recipe coming for all of you. Two of my wonderful readers tested the recipe for me, so thank you to Malary and Julia for your help! I'm happy to say that since I've switched to using stevia in my recipes, my baked goods now last me about a week rather than the normal two days I would usually eat them in! They taste just as good, but I don't get all crazy and eat them in one sitting. So happily, I still have a few of these in the fridge to have for breakfast over the next couple of days. I'll be back in a few days with the recipe, but in the meantime, congratulations to the giveaway winners: 


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