Saturday, September 18, 2010

TOMATO SAUCE from my heirloom tomatoes

A backet full of tomatoes

I have a GREAT, EASY, HEALTHY way to make tomato sauce.  The skin and seeds of fruit are good for you.  It adds extra vitamins and fiber.

I clean, cut out blemishes and core my tomatoes.  It doesn't matter how many you have-do alot of a little at a time.

I cut them up in to 1/2's or 1/4's depending on how big they are.  Put them into your VITA-MIX blender and totally purify them.  Pour into a large stock pot.  Continue til you are done with your tomatoes.  You can also add peppers and onions if you like.

handi-dandi vita mix

Start cooking them down.   I like to bring to a quick boil and them turn down to a very slow simmer.  Add salt and herbs and spices if you know how you are using the sauce.
cook down to desired thickness.  For sauce about 45 minutes and for paste 2 hours.  approximaite on times depending on quantity that you have.  For paste you have to watch closely as it thickens, so it doesn't burn.
 burnt tomato sauce-ugh.

As it gets more and more thick.
You can then use right away or put in ziploc bags in the freezer or you could can the sauce.  Follow directions for canning in a hot water bath.

COOKS TIP- cooking your own sauce, you can control the amount of salt.  many sauces have sugar or high fructose corn syrup also.
You can divide your sauce up and put onions, garlic, spices and herbs if you know what your want to save if for.
EX. spaghetti sauce-onion garlic, basil, thyme, oregano...
chili- onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, peppers......


Great with my hummus from the previous post


They are cerified gluten free.

The only thing I am not crazy about, is that they contain soy-but i guess it is from the soy sauce for flavoring, and it is 8th down on the ingredient list.

15 crackers are 140 calories.

My family and I have been enjoying them lots, even though they do not have to do gluten free and I always have regular wheat crackers in the cupboard.  They seem to gravitate to these crackers.
They have a nice crunch to them and a very nice whole grain flavor to them.  They are my NEW FAVORITE over some of the "other" rice crackers".


Generally Hummus is gluten free.  I seem to have a hard time with it when it is purchased from the store.  It seems to have additives that i am sensitive to.  Homemade, of course, is the BEST.  It is so easy to make, too!

The ingredients are simple, too.
When I can, I also like to cook my own beans and peas.  It makes it very costwise and you can control the salt and any additives they might add to the can.  But, you can just open a can if you want. {~; This is 2-3 cups of chick peas(chi-chi).

I add the juice of 1-2 lemons depending on how juicy your lemon is or if you like the extra tartness from the lemon.  I use a 1/4c.natural peanut butter instead of tahini- I can also be sensitive to sesame seeds, too.  If you are not, use it instead.  It is the traditional ingredient.(you could also use almond butter)
Add salt and pepper to taste.  1/4-1/2t. of cumin(the more the spicier) and 1/8t. or more of cayenne.  Again, use less or more according to your taste.

You must have a food processor or blender,  I prefer a food processor for this.  Whirl for a  minute and scrap down sides and then drizzle 2-4T. extra virgin olive oil in while the processor is going.
Thats it!  enjoy!  The nest blog will be a product review on the crackers......


I pick my 1st muscadine grape a few weeks ago. 
We ate them for a few days and then I decided to make jelly out of them.  But, alas, there was not enough, so I decided to add a pink rose wine to it to make a large enough batch.  I used certo to jell the concoction, and followed the direction and I ended up with a syrup instead.  BUT, IT IS DELISH!! 
 So I will use it to pour on toast, pancakes or to flavor tea... It would also be good poured over cream cheese and have some wonderful crackers to put on a dollop.  I would love to try again, and will try to get some muscadine grapes this weekend.  But, I wanted to show you what i did.  My friend, Paula, says," the only way to make sure it jells is to use "sure jell"."

My beautiful grapes-4c. muscadine

I pureed them in my handi dandi vita mix, and then put them thru a sieve.  Some how "The Gadget Queen"(ME!) does not have a food mill. I will work on remedying that soon.  I add the juice to a large stock pot and added to the juice can be any wine good enough to drink.  I added a rose wine.  Then added the rest of my ingredients-juice of 1 lemon, and 11c. sugar. and 4 pkg. of liquid pectin.  Next time I will use Sure jell.

follow the directions that come with the package. As for the wine-count it as more juice to make the jelly.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gluten Free Almond Sandwich Bread

When I first found out that I had an intolerance to gluten, bread is what I missed the most. I tried many store bought breads and was never satisfied.  and it was outragously expensive!

I started baking  bread when I was a kid at home. When I moved to Montana, and lived in Bozeman, in the middle of wheat country, surrounded by mountains, I started baking my own bread. I would shop at the local 7th Day-Adventist store for my wheat and other grains, dry peas and beans to cook at home. I had friends that would let me come grind my wheat in their grinders. Nothing is more satisfying than a fresh loaf of bread. I invested (I was poor at the time-but happy)in the best bread book around at the time and maybe still “The Complete Book of Breads, by Bernard Clayton, Jr.”

This is a satisfying,  high protein loaf of bread-up to 6-7g of protein per slice depending on how thick you slice your bread. The inspiration comes from Elanaspantry. My changes are to help with the texture and the crumb of the bread. It is great for sandwiches and toast and holds together well for the 1st couple of days. Gluten free bread is always best fresh.

TIP- when the bread becomes a little stale after day 3, make it into crumbs and store and label in the freezer, so that you will always have some crumbs handy.

1 ¼ cup honeyville blanched almond flour

1 cup lynn’s gf flour mix, available soon!**

¼ cup flax meal

1 tea. Sea salt

1 tea. Baking soda

1Tbl. Volcanic nectar blue agave or honey

1 tea. Apple cider vinegar

1 tbl. Oil (canola or oil of choice)

4 eggs, organic if possible

1-2 Tbl. Almond milk or milk of choice.

In mixer bowl add 1st 3 ingredients. Give a quick mix to blend flours. Add  baking soda and salt. Give another quick mix. Add the agave, vinegar and oil and give another quick mix.

 While the mixer is slowly going, add 1 egg at a time.

 Beat till well mixed. I find that it needs to be thinned abit  then add the almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Pour into a well greased medium loaf pan. (not a large one or you will end up with a flat loaf of bread.) I like spectum's canola oil spray.

Bake-350 degrees for 35 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure it is done in the center.The toothpick should come out clean or with crumbs on it, NOT doughy.


Cool completely before putting in a bag so bread does not  sweat. The bag also prevents it from drying out to quickly.  But if you are like me, I can't wait for my 1st slice of bread out of the oven, with butter or cheese on it.
**when using GF baking mix of choice and not lynn's flour mix-add 1 t. of xanthan gum if not in the ingredients list.


It seems like I have always baked my own bread.  Well, at least since I lived in Montana from 1975, in the middle of wheat country.  I had friends who had grinders and would let me come and grind wheat fresh for my bread.  I also purchased one of the greatest bread books ever, "The Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton" and that started my adventure into the world of bread baking.  I also cooked for a sorority for the University of Montana and cooked for YWAM.  I believe the combination of a love for baking,cooking, and creating is key to my adventure into gluten free cooking.  I have always loved to just read cook books.  But, I also rarely ever follow a recipe to the letter. (is that a fault or a gift??) So I end up creating new recipes as a result.  Even if i do follow a recipe, I later go back and tweek it to my liking.
Many years and many loaves of bread later....I  discovered thru trial and error, that i had developed a severe  intolerance to gluten.  I had all sorts of symptoms-acid reflux, indigestion, bloat, to name a few.  I never got tested for celiac disease, but an intolerance and celiac are treated the same.  I tried pills that are supposed to help digest gluten, to no avail.  I would stay away from gluten for awhile and then eat something, thinking maybe it was all in my head.   After many sleepless and painfull nights, about 3 years ago I finally gave gluten up for good, and have never looked back.  Now, I seem hyper sensitive, and can't tolerate even slight cross-contamination.(future article!)
BUT, I still love to bake bread and I am on a quest for the perfect loaf of gluten free bread.  In this quest I have also developed my own  gluten free flour thru hours and hours(that add up to weeks and monthes) of reading and research.
With much encouragement from friends and family, I am starting this blog, this adventure of the best of the best in gluten free baking and cooking. We don't have to settle for second best bread, cookies, cakes.... and great meals too, that are mediocre substitutes. When I cook for others and my family, it is always gluten free. 99.9% of the time they don't even think about whether it is GF of not, just how good it is. It is always the best.

                                  GLUTEN FREE NEVER TASTED SOOO GOOD!!