Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Breakfast Cereal!

Breakfast Cereal

I am stress baking. This election cycle has been very hard for me and a whole bunch of folks in my extended community. When I am anxious, I start wanting to make sure *other* people are eating, so I will be posting recipes as I have the time.

 I am proud to report, I did it! I figured out how to make breakfast cereal!  I know that may not sound like much, but I haven't been able to eat breakfast cereal in a very long time. A friend on FaceBook had talked about making her own homemade grapenuts, and I got so inspired I found a few recipes and started playing with substitutions. And wow am I glad I did! It never even occurred to me that cereal was something I could *make*. So I got to work, and I'm very pleased with my results. Crunchy, tasty, and not too sweet, I'm loving this cereal mixed into yogurt with slivered almonds and fresh fruit, or just by the handful.  And again, totally toddler approved, the Bitty probably ate half of the cereal before I had a chance to put it away for my actual breakfast tomorrow.

This one is gluten free, corn free, egg free, and rice free. It is not entirely paleo-friendly, as I used sorghum flour (not sure if that counts as a true grain or not these days according to the shifting paleo rules...). This recipe does use dairy, though substituting for it would be very easy. I used buttermilk; you could quite easily substitute coconut milk (I'd use the culinary kind, as it's a bit thicker), goat milk based kefir, soy kefir, or even a non-dairy yogurt blended up with a bit of water to thin it out to the consistency of buttermilk. This recipe also uses almond meal, so it's not ok for folks with nut reactions, though I think you could probably play with a variety of gluten free flour mixes and still make this recipe work. If you're going to substitute a pre-mixed, nut free GF flour, I would substitute all of the tapioca, almond, and sorghum listed in the recipe for an equal amount of GF flour mix (so, about 1 3/4 cups of total flour). If you try that, let me know how yours comes out!  If you wanted your cereal more like the consistency of grapenuts, you could also remove the squares at the 20-30 min mark, run them lightly through a food processor, then return the broken up bits to the oven and bake for another 20-40 min until it's a good crunchy consistency. I like squares, but play with it and see what you like.

1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup sorghum flour (teff or any other gluten free grain based flour should work just fine)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk (can substitute dairy free "milk" if it's a bit thicker, like culinary coconut milk, or kefir if it's a thick kefir as opposed to a water based one)
1/4 cup molasses or coconut nectar

Baking sheet
Silicone baking mat - helps to have 2. Parchment paper will work if you don't have silicone baking mats
Mixing bowl and spoon
Measuring cups and spoons
Oven or toaster oven (if using a large toaster oven, you will probably need to divide the dough in half and bake half a batch of cereal at a time)
Knife or pizza cutter
Rolling pin


  • Preheat oven to 300˚F
  • Mix together all dry ingredients
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in buttermilk and molasses. Mix until smooth and well combined. This will make a somewhat sticky dough.
  • Roll out fairly thin on a silicone mat or parchment paper. I find it really helpful to press the dough down on one mat, cover with a second mat, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat between the two mats. I'd aim for about 1/4" thickness or thinner. Try and aim for even thickness throughout, as thinner bits will bake faster and are more likely to burn. If you need to (and your oven has room), you can always divide the dough in half and roll out onto two baking sheets. 
  • Using a knife or pizza roller, cut your dough into tiny squares 

see how thin I got that? And there's my tiny squares!

  • Bake for 30 min at 300˚F, though start checking on it at about 20 min to make sure it's not turning too brown.
  • Take out of the oven, carefully flip the whole thing over if you can, and put it back in. Turn the oven down to about 250˚ and let bake for another 30 min. At this point, this will be entirely about the fussiness of your oven and how thin you managed to get your cereal. Check on it every 10-15 min until your cereal is slightly brown, and hard and crunchy. I found that because I'm baking in a toaster oven that doesn't heat things very evenly (my main oven is broken, I've been doing all this baking in the toaster!), I took small finished sections out and then needed to put other sections back in to bake further. My entire batch took something like an hour and a half, all things told. An oven with more even heating may not have this problem; periodically move the little squares around to keep the heating even if you need to.
  • Break the squares up and let it cool before storing in an airtight container. It should last at least a few weeks, though these are so tasty I doubt they will last that long.

Taa daaaa! A big bowl of beautiful golden cereal! And between the cinnamon, molasses and buttermilk, my house smells so good right now... 

Servings per recipe: 6 (ish... serving sizes are weird, eat as much as you want in one sittting)
Serving size:     2/3 cup (sure, I need some amount so I can do the rest of the calculations)
Calories:           188
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Fiber:                2 g
Sugar:               10 g
Fat:                    6 g
Protein:             4 g
Sodium:            81 mg
Potassium:        340m g

*** note on serving sizes: This is a guestimate, based on a very loose understanding of how much a person might possibly eat in one sitting. The servings per recipe info allows me to have enough raw data to be able to generate numbers. The numbers are useful for folks who are trying to keep track of their diets according to any of several variables, and may or may not be useful information for you. Your diet plan may vary; add any of these foods in as you see fit or according to the recommendations of your healthcare providers. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bagels! And Pretzels!

Bagels! (And Pretzels too!)

Here's the thing: I am a Jew from NY. Bagels are a way of life for me. Before a variation of this recipe came my way, I hadn't eaten a bagel in *years*. THIS IS A TRAGEDY DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT A TRAGEDY THIS IS?  But I still had to modify the recipe a bunch before I could make it safe for me to eat. This recipe is the result of my playing in the kitchen.

These bagels are chewy, dense and satisfying. Even my toddler likes them, which is high praise indeed! They are definitely not the bagels of my childhood, but they are delicious and totally work with veggie cream cheese and lox, with smoked whitefish salad and thinly sliced cucumbers, with any of the things a person would actually want to eat on a bagel. These beauties are paleo friendly, gluten-free, high fiber, and vegan, though will not work for folks with tree nut allergies. And with a very mild adjustment, this recipe magically becomes a soft pretzel recipe. Read on!

1.5 c tapioca or arrowroot starch
2/3 c almond or hazelnut flour
1/2 c coconut flour
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp coconut sugar or other granulated sweetener
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 c oil (I usually use olive but have also done this recipe with hazelnut and several others)
1/2 + 1/3 cup water (I know the amount is weird; it's because I've substituted "flax eggs" for actual eggs, but pre-mixing the flax and water to make "flax eggs" doesn't need to be done as a separate step, it just means the amounts are weird looking. I promise, it works)

Optional: sesame, poppy, or caraway seeds, garlic or onion granules or flakes, and/or Kosher salt (to sprinkle on top or mix into dough), or 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins added to the dry ingredients

Large pot with 1.5 quarts (6 cups) water, 2 tbsp coconut sugar or other granulated sweetener, 1 tsp salt

Equipment needed:

  • One good sized pot, large enough to comfortably hold 1.5 quarts of water
  • A stove top or burner to heat the pot of water
  • An oven (I frequently make these bagels in my large toaster oven, and I find it works out just fine!)
  • A baking sheet
  • A silicone baking mat or parchment paper (I like silicone baking mats best)
  • A slotted spoon
  • A bowl for flour, measuring spoons and cups, a spoon or spatula to mix the dough

  • Put the pot of water with sugar and salt on to boil while you prep other ingredients. Bring to a rolling boil
  • Preheat oven to 425˚
  • Mix all dry ingredients together
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the water and oil
  • Mix and knead well. The dough should be soft and should hold together, not too sticky and not too crumbly
  • Divide up the dough into 6-8 small balls. Shape them into bagels (flatten balls slightly and poke a hole through the center with your finger)
  • Boil the bagels in the salted, sugared water, 3-4 bagels at a time, for about 10 seconds. Gently flip and let boil another 5 seconds (don't over-boil! they'll disintegrate!)
  • Remove the bagels from the water and arrange on silicone baking mat on the baking sheet. Bagels won't rise much, so it's ok to place them fairly close together though make sure they're not touching.
  • Bake 25 min
  • Remove from oven and cool at least 10-15 min before eating
If you want to add variation to the bagels, you can add any kind of bagel-appropriate seed after the bagels have been boiled but before they're put in to bake. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, onion or garlic flakes, or coarse kosher salt are all traditional! You can also mix any of these seeds into the dough, or add about 1/2 cup raisins and a teaspoon of cinnamon for cinnamon raisin bagels! The sky is the limit! These bagels keep great for up to a week in the fridge, and taste great if you cut them in half and then toast them before serving.


- Instead of adding the salt and sugar to the 6 cups of boiling water, instead add 1/4 cup baking soda. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as above

- Shape the dough into something vaguely pretzel shaped. Long, thin cylindars work fine as well. This dough is more crumbly and way less elastic than pretzel dough, so have patience and get creative with your shapes.

- Boil the pretzels for about 30 seconds before scooping gently out of the boiling water and placing on your baking tray

- Sprinkle on kosher salt and optionally sesame seeds. Bake as above. Poof! Soft Pretzels!

Serving size:            1 bagel
Servings per recipe: 6 bagels
Calories:                  300
Fat:                          17 g
Sodium:                   160 mg
Potassium:               251 mg
Carbs:                      35 g
Fiber:                       3 g
Sugar:                      6 g
Protein:                    5 g