Kitchen Experiments – Gluten-free Gingerbread

Is there any picky eaters in your family? Are there certain foods that your family swears that they do not like? My husband swears that he does not like buckwheat.  I posted the other day that I had made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast and my husband ate them without a complaint.  As soon as the weather turns cold and the pumpkins and squash start to become abundant at the farmers markets, something inside me screams for gingerbread.  With this in mind, I decided it was time for another buckwheat experiment.

I have been making a buckwheat applesauce cake for several months now and it is moist and delicious and my husband has no problem eating it. I thought that I could probably follow the same recipe but add molasses and spices and make a decent buckwheat gingerbread.  Here is what I did:

1 ½ c. Buckwheat Flour (ground white buckwheat)

½ c. Almond Meal

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

2 Tbs. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp.cloves

1 c. applesauce

¼ c. applebutter

½ c. molasses

1 Tbs. oil

¼ c. water

Preheat oven to 350oF.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Place wet and dry ingredients in a food processor and process until mixed.  Pour into an oiled 8”x8” square pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Now, for a first try, I must say that this was pretty tasty.  It was a little more dense than the buckwheat applesauce cake, but still not overly dense and not overly sweet.  For me, it was just the right amount of sweetness and spice.  I would have added some crystallized ginger if I would have had some, but I thought I might try that the next time.  Here is how much my husband does not like buckwheat!

gingerbread

I guess it was OK!

gb

Actually, it was a good first attempt.  I think that the next time I make it, I will try to add a little more baking powder to give it more lift. I also think that I might try making it will eggs instead of the arrowroot powder and try to get a little more fluffiness out of it.  On the whole, I would say it was a successful experiment…especially for my husband!

The Last of the Garden 2013

Here in the Poconos, the first frost arrived ending the gardening season for 2013. It was sad to pull off the last of the vegetables from the vines and plants. This was the best year for my garden to date. It is a learning experience for sure. I am pleased with the choices I made for what to grow in the garden and am saving seeds for next year. One of my favorite experiments was my legumes. I eat lots of beans in soups, stews and salads and thought it would be good to try to grow some of my own. I tried a few varieties last year and they seemed to grow pretty well. I have an issue with sun so I am always looking to find what will grow best. I bought a few more varieties this year and planted away.  Legumes/beans are fun to grow because you basically leave them on the plant until they start to dry out and then pick and shell them and viola – legumes.

Here is what I grew:

drying beans

These are the beans as I pulled off the vine.  You can see that some of them are already completely dried while others were not quite ready.

beans

Here are about 5 of the varieties that I grew.

Aren’t these Scarlet Emperors beautiful!

emperor beans

I planted the beans in June so they have been growing all summer.  I still have to separate out the different varieties but here is most of my harvest for 2013.

beans2

Hmm, I guess it is really not that many.  Maybe 2 pots of soup?  Oh well!  That’s gardening in a small space.  I am glad that I do not need to sustain myself all winter on what I harvested from my garden this year or we would certainly be starving.  There is always next year!  Happy planning!

 

Kitchen Experiments – Salsa

The cool fall weather has been calling me to the kitchen once again – it is time for canning. This post is coming a few weeks late because it is past high tomato season, but this year the tomatoes just keep coming. Who ever heard of tomatoes still on the vine in mid-October. Actually, for me, this is the first year that I actually picked tomatoes from my garden! For the past 4 years my tomatoes have gotten the blight so this was an exciting year for sure! I did not have enough tomatoes for canning, so I went to my local farm in Mt. Bethel, PA – Baarda Farms.  This is the nicest family owned farm!  They are so welcoming and love what they do.  They are a no-spray farm and are willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone willing to listen.

I made salsa last year and it was delicious.  It was so good that my niece couldn’t get enough and wanted my salsa over the store-bought brand.  I made about 18 pints last year and we finished it up in August. This year my husband thought that we needed to make a lot more salsa so he ordered us two boxes of tomatoes!  What fun we had in the kitchen.  It took us all day, but we made and canned a lot of salsa.  Here is the recipe that I used:

Annie’s Salsa Recipe

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained 2-1/2 cups onion, chopped 1-1/2 cups green pepper, chopped 3 – 5 jalapenos, chopped 6 cloves garlic 2 teaspoons cumin 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1/8 cup canning salt 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup 5% apple cider vinegar 2 cups (16 oz.) tomato sauce 2 cups (16 oz.) tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot pint jars, seal and process in a boiling water canning bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 6 pints.

I like my salsa cooked and more like a chunky tomato sauce than a fresh salsa, so I cooked mine a lot longer than 10 minutes.  I bought a pressure canner last year when I made my salsa and boy does it save time.  You don’t have to sterilize your jars, just make sure that they are clean.  I had the canner going all day!  Here is what I made by the end of the day…

salsa

42 pints!  I think that my friends will be getting salsa for Christmas this year!  There is still a lot more canning to do.  Apples are in season now so watch out!  Applesauce and apple butter are next! I may try my hand at some pumpkin butter as well.  I will keep you posted!  Happy fall!

Live Your Dreams

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

― Les Brown

photo

I was in Massachusettes last weekend taking a continuing education class on acupuncture and chinese medicine.  I love to go walking at break time just to get outside, stretch my legs and breathe the fresh air.  As I was walking along my favorite path, I came to this spot in the woods where the trees were just bursting with color.  It was so inspiring.  It made me think how lucky I was to be there taking this class. I had been thinking about taking it for the last 10 years but was too afraid to just do it.  I am glad to be out of the fear and living the dream.  It is changing the way I look at my patients and how I treat them.  The time was NOW for me.  Is it your time yet?