Now I can be a purist (some might say masochist) when it comes to cooking and baking. I love cooking and baking from scratch. I love developing new recipes or adapting classics to fit the way I eat and live. When I create a new recipe that really sings, It lights me up! And I want to have everyone I know over for dinner to feed them so they can feel lit up too! I am a food geek. It is true.
When I became gluten free about 6 years ago (read my story here) I made everything from scratch. From cookies to bread to chicken parmigiana; you name it and I adapted my favorite non gluten free recipes to become gluten and refined sugar free. Now part of this was because I love to cook. I grew up cooking and it is one of my favorite things to do. But the flip side to this was at the time, there were practically no gluten free manufactures creating gluten free products that actually tasted good or were good for you. Most of what was out on the market at that point either tasted like cardboard or was filled with sugar. So the only option for me was to make it myself and that is exactly what I did.
My life revolved around cooking. I literally planned out my days and nights so I could cook and experiment with the dishes I loved and was missing. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Hours on end, every day. At the time I had a lifestyle that supported it. I was teaching yoga full time and my schedule was very flexible. I could come home in the middle of the day and prep for dinner. So basically my jobs were teaching yoga and cooking. It was amazing and I was so blessed to have that time.
These days my time is still created by me but I have much more happening in life. I am building a clinic practice, I am in a very in depth women's herbal program, I am finishing two other certifications, one in raw nutrition and the other in business. And that is just my work related commitments. Probably most of you can relate! We all have full lives (hopefully) filled with the things we love to do; be it work, raising children, or going to school. Life is full and time is speeding up.
Even though I still do a lot of scratch cooking, I am so elated when I find a product that saves me time without sacrificing my tenets of healthy eating. Enter: Pamela's Baking & Pancake mix. Now again, I am a purist so when I first bought this product, I had guilt. I seriously felt bad about not making up my own batch of a flour blend. Especially since I have a recipe for everything from bisquits to waffles that are tried and true. But on this particular Sunday morning I really wanted blueberry pancakes but was feeling lazy and did not want to mix up my pancake blend. So I sent my husband to the store for this mix. And I was not disappointed. Pamela's mix is a blend of: brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, cultured buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and xanthan gum (not from corn).
What I love about the mix is the light and flavorful texture it adds to baked goods. The almond meal gives it a great flavor and protein content. The mix of brown and white rice flour is a refreshing twist rather than just plain rice flour (which you see a lot in gluten free mixes), and they use sea salt rather than a table salt. What I wish it had to make it a 4 star experience? Organic ingredients and a different stabilizer like guar gum rather than the xanthan gum. But with the progress that has happened in the last 5 years, I know it is coming!
I will leave you with one of my first gluten free recipes. ( it has been updated over the years) But it is gluten free and refined sugar free with a raw icing! Enjoy!
Chocolate Cupcakes with raspberries
8 tablespoons organic grass fed butter (like Kerrygold)
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1 large organic farm raised egg ( or 2 small)
*1/2 cup sorghum flour
*1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao or dutch cocoa powder
3/4 cup organic raw buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla
*Substitute Pamela's baking mix here if you like!
Preheat the oven to 350º F and line a muffin tin with silicone baking cups or paper cups.
Mix together the *sorghum, *tapioca flour and cacao or dutch cocoa and set aside.
Cream together with a hand or stand mixer the butter and sugar until mixed well. Add in the baking soda, baking powder and salt. The mixture should become lighter in color.
Add in the egg and vanilla until the batter becomes very light and fluffy. Add in slowly the buttermilk.
Next add in the Pamela's baking mix or the sorghum/tapioca mix until silky, about 3 to 5 minutes. (Really depends on the use of a hand or stand mixer)
Scoop out batter into cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes are buoyant but firm.
Allow cupcakes to cool before icing.
1/3 cup semi-soft pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh (from about 1
1/3 cup cacao powder or cocoa or carob
Blend together in a food processor until smooth.
Top with fresh raspberries. And Enjoy!