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Monday, February 28, 2011

Certified Gluten-free Oat Flour

Bob's Red Mill Certified Gluten-free Oat flour

Somebody told me they were having trouble sourcing it.  I don't think Netrition carries it but they do carry the coconut flour.

Oat grains in their husksImage via WikipediaOat grains in their husks--->


Here's what they say about their gluten-free oat flour:

"Our Gluten Free Oat Flour is milled from the purest gluten-free oats grown by over 200 farmers on clean, dedicated oat-growing fields. This whole grain flour is excellent for adding to gluten free baked goods to impart a true oat flavor and wholesome nutrition. The flour is milled and packaged in our 100% gluten free facility and tested for gluten to ensure purity."




Note:  The reason there is a problem with regular oat flour purchased in a grocery store is that it is milled in the same place as other wheat flours and cross-contamination can and does occur. The other reason is that farmers could be growing wheat and oats near each other and during harvest time cross-contamination can also occur.  Oat flour itself does not contain gluten which is great news as oat flour is a lovely flour, lower in carbs than white flour and much tastier - plus it produces baking with a soft, moist crumb.  People with a gluten intolerance may think they are reacting to oat flour if it produces gas, but sometimes oats can do that to a person, especially oats themselves vs oat flour.
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Mmmm Gluten-free Muffin Recipe

These are actually a photo of my muffins made with the Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix and flax option.  I  used raisins (not recommended due to carbs being too high) as I ran out of sugarless chocolate chips. 


CINNAMON CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
Lovely texture to these muffins.

Text Box: Yield:   12 servings
1 serving
223.8 calories
5.1 g protein
16.9 g fat
6.2 carbs21/4 cups Ult. GF Bake Mix, (550 mL)
  OR Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix, OR
  OR Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix
1/2 cup SPLENDA® Granular Liquid
  Sucralose equivalent (125 mL)
1/4 cup granulated erythritol (50 mL)
21/2 tsp baking powder (12 mL)
2 tsp cinnamon (10 mL)
1/2 tsp baking soda (2 mL)
1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)
1/2 cup whipping cream (125 mL)
1/2 cup water (125 mL)
1/4 cup olive oil (50 mL)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (10 mL)
2/3 cup sugarless chocolate chips (150 mL)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In food processor, combine Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix, page___, Liquid Sucralose, erythritol, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, whipping cream, water, olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Process about 1 minute, scraping the sides once.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Fill 12 greased muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before removing muffins.  Keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days, then refrigerate or freeze.

Variation:  Cinnamon Nut Muffins:  Use chopped walnuts instead of chocolate chips for a lovely breakfast muffin. (6.3 g carbs)

Put Some Full Fat Sour Cream On Your Butter!


I'm trying to catch your attention! Now that I have it, seriously, the study seems to suggest that women who love butter actually increase their risk slightly of dying from heart disease (goes up 4%), but that eating full fat yogurt or sour cream can mitigate that somewhat as the risk of dying goes down 8%.  Men don't seem to fall in the same risk category if they eat lots of butter (weird, huh - what makes them so different?).  Also, eating cheese and drinking milk doesn't seem to have any effect on longevity for men or women one way or the other.

My theory as to why women fare less well eating lots of butter is because women tend to love desserts and, therefore, consume more sugar than men.  Women are around sugar more often as well because they take care of the children's dietary needs, which often include sweet treats, and makes it almost certain that the mother will indulge as well.  Most times women do the grocery shopping and sweet treats and temptation abounds; even when grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, a sweet treat is usually involved.  Men are less likely to indulge their sweet tooth as much.

What does eating a lot of sugar and fat do?  Well, consuming sugar and fructose raise triglycerides (medical term for fat) in the blood stream which is implicated in heart disease.  A person with high triglycerides caused by eating lots of sugar has too much fat in their blood stream because they are making too much and unable to burn it efficiently.  Add eating a ton of fat as well in the form of butter and my theory is that would be overload and predispose women who love butter and sugary desserts to heart disease and a greater risk of dying from it.  Men have a lower risk when they love eating lots of butter because generally men prefer savory foods over sugary foods and, in fact, it is true that men prefer pizza and women prefer chocolate.  Just thinking this morning....

76 Reasons to Avoid Sugar



Dr. Mercola lists 76 reasons why sugar is the enemy.  He also goes into some detail about the dangers of consuming too much fructose.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mmmmm Gluten-free and Low-Carb Muffins!


UPDATE:  I no longer use the bake mixes below.  Look for my Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix.  :)

I made batch after batch of muffins and my conclusion is still the same.  I like this recipe below.  The coconut flour I used, Aloha Nu, is from a small company and is not always reliable as far as having the stock available at Netrition.  However, Bob's Red Mill Coconut flour seems to be the favored one in the low-carb community.  I personally have not tried it in this recipe yet (still have plenty of coconut flour on hand), but I'm sure it will be fine.

I made a regular banana loaf with this bake mix.  I live in the tropics and buy a crate of bananas a week to feed the beautiful, colorful birds.  They were handy and I was using my son as a taste-tester and banana loaf is his favorite (so that's my excuse).  I have to tell you Daniel is not one for muffins made with regular white flour.  He doesn't like them.  However, he really really liked this bake mix in the muffins, loaf and cookies I made.  It just so happened that a friend gave Ian some banana loaf while he was visiting their home.  Of course, it was made with white flour and sugar.  Ian brought some home and comparing the two and even after they were both refrigerated, my banana loaf was much nicer - everyone in the family agreed!  So, basically, although not perfect, this bake mix can produce muffins, loaves and cookies that are comparable or better than high-carb equivalents.  I have not tried this bake mix in cakes, but I assume it would make a dense, moist type of cake.  Cakes can also be made solely with nut flours and egg whites for leavening for fluffier textures. 

To be perfectly honest, I cannot eat more than two muffins with this bake mix a day without tummy issues.  This bake mix is self-limiting for me and perhaps that is a good thing. Baked goodies should be a treat and not something we eat every single day.  Freeze the rest or share with friends for tea.  However, I know many people enjoy recipes with much more coconut flour and other fiber in them without problems.  Certainly my sons had no problems and especially my younger son ate so much of my baking in one day, I was worried, but he was fine.

Compare the ingredients in these muffins to regular muffins with white flour and sugar and you'll notice they are healthy ingredients comparatively speaking.

Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp sifted coconut flour, OR 1/4 cup golden flax meal (with flax use 1 tsp Xanthan gum)
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 10 servings, 1/4 cup servings:
126.2 calories; 4.7 g protein; 8.0 g fat; 6.4 g carbs (5.9 g carbs with flax meal)

To see how to use this bake mix and for conclusions, click here

Re Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix with flax meal:  Keep in mind that wet/liquid ingredients may have to be decreased by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.  When replacing flour cup-for-cup in regular recipes with this gluten-free low-carb bake mix, add 1/4 cup extra bake mix.

FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE MY SPLENDID LOW-CARB BAKE MIX OR THE VITAL ULTIMATE BAKE MIXES - they may be substituted for any of the gluten-free bake mixes cup-for-cup, keeping in mind that liquid requirements may occasionally be slightly different, but not usually.

This Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix came to me after prayer as I was stumped after trying to remove the coconut flour completely from the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix.


Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix: (batter made with this mix tastes wonderful, however, I am abandoning it - too many problems with it)
1 2/3 cups ground almonds or almond flour
3/4 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 10 servings, 1/4 cup servings:
125.8 calories; 4.5 g protein; 8.5 g fat; 6.3 g carbs


Advantages of these two bake mixes:

1)  They may be used interchangeably in recipes, although I will only mention the bake mix that I use to test a particular recipe.

2)  Substitute 1/4 cup extra bake mix when substituting for white flour.  This usually means the same amount of liquid/wet ingredients in the recipe will be required or 1/4 cup less (rarely) or 1/4 cup more depending on the recipe.  Therefore, always start by withholding 1/4 cup liquid/wet ingredients and adding in as necessary.  Process the batter 1/2 min to a minute and it should thicken up. 

3)  More bake mix options so that people can pick and choose what suits their budget and lifestyles, likes and fiber sensitivities best.

4)  The baking is lovely and moist with a soft crumb.

5)  The Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix has an incredible taste - yum!  


Disadvantages:

1)  The baking rises well, but then sinks overall ever so slightly upon cooling with these two bake mixes.  This is due to the fact, in my opinion, that the bake mixes absorb plenty of moisture - too much for the actual structure of the delicate bake mixes.  The Coconut Flour Gluten-free bake mix and the Flax Gluten-free bake mix (flax option above) will not have this problem.

2) Some folks might taste the Xanthan gum a bit in the Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix (I don't) and some folks might actually react to the increased Xanthan gum or even the coconut flour with tummy issues.  There are 2 other alternatives to try - guar gum and pre-gel starch.  I'm thinking the latter sounds interesting.  This bake mix is a bit more robust than the Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix, also tastes incredible and produces lovely, moist baked goodies with a soft crumb.

3)  I wish I could have provided the absolute perfect, bullet-proof Gluten-free and low-carb bake mix, but alas I am not a miracle worker with the few ingredients I had to work with - only so many computations and configurations possible!  As it is I came by the Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix after praying about it as I was stumped before that.  I wanted to eliminate coconut flour for individuals who can't come by it easily or who are reactive to it due to the fiber content.  This bake mix uses very ordinary ingredients, except maybe for the certified gluten-free oat flour that some people may have to source on the internet.  See my post about it.

Conclusions and weight loss observation:  After all those muffins, cookies and banana loaf, I didn't gain any weight, in fact, I lost a pound.  I ate less regular food than normal but I was adding a ton of calories in baked goodies.  I did some research on Xanthan gum and found this interesting article.

This is what caught my eye under the observations in man:

"The authors concluded that Xanthan gum can affect a slow but significant weight loss in individuals with varying degrees of overweight!"

Woohoo, looks like we can have our oat flour in this bake mix and eat it too and lose weight!  Bonus!

That said, if you don't like Xanthan gum, you can try guar gum or pre-gel starch apparently; they also have gluten-like properties for gluten-free baking which prevents crumbly, dry results.  I'm not familiar with the latter suggestion.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Update to My Newest Gluten-Free Bake Mix

Even later update:  I am all over the map trying to figure out what causes the intestinal distress.  I have read that Xanthan gum can do that in excess, so thinking I might actually reduce the gum in the bake mix.  I have had a ton of my baking in the last few days and I think that is part of the problem.  My son who has had much less is fine, plus he doesn't suffer from IBS like I do.  Plus, I used some raisins instead of chocolate chips at one point and even raisins can cause a problem for me. Creating a lovely gluten-free and low-carb bake mix has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be.  Update re sore tummy issues:  It's definitely the high-fiber coconut flour (so little that I'm using and still it is a bit of a problem) causing the problem for me, but thankfully not everyone reacts this way.  The Xanthan gum doesn't cause the problem as I've made muffins using it without coconut flour and I was fine.  Turns out Xanthan gum is very beneficial in helping one to lose weight.  All my recent baking put on not one pound - in fact, I lost a pound.  That's pretty amazing!


Update 22/02/2011:  Still working on the bake mix, and so far this is what I came up with:

1 1/2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp sifted coconut flour, OR 1/4 cup golden flax meal (with flax use 1 tsp Xanthan gum)
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 1/4 cup servings: (coconut flour option)
122.8 calories; 4.7 g protein; 8.0 g fat; 6.1 g carbs

Notes:  So far, I really like it.  It's not perfect but it is the best I've come up with yet.  There's not a whole lot to work with.  The coconut flour in greater quantities than 2 tbsp is too much fiber for us.  The Xanthan gum increased slightly helps to give the properties of gluten and binds the components of the bake mix to prevent crumbly outcomes. Using 1/4 cup more bake mix than white flour makes it possible to follow the regular recipe exactly, however, there are some gotcha's.  Sometimes, depending on the recipe, more liquid may be required to get the correct batter consistency as coconut flour absorbs so much moisture.  If subbing this bake mix for my Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix, use 2 tbsp less.  The muffins I made rose and fell slightly but kept a good height.  They were beautifully browned but had irregular tops (kinda fun actually and added interest and texture compared to perfectly rounded muffins).  The muffins have a soft, moist crumb - perfect!  My banana loaf rose beautifully, was perfectly rounded and sank minimally all over.  It was dense, moist with a soft crumb.  I'm thinking I might try another version - the carbs go up 0.3 grams to see if "drying" out the bake mix a bit by mixing up some of the ingredients will help the baking to keep its rise and not fall at all.  Failing that, I'm going to stick with this bake mix as I really am not a miracle worker and have limited ingredients to work with and overall it tastes like baking made with real white flour.  My eldest son who is not one for baked goods has really enjoyed my baking experiments and cannot believe that the muffins, loaves and cookies are gluten-free and low-carb!  He said, "Nobody would guess".  High praise! :)

Phew!  I've been a busy bee!

Okay about that Flax....

 FLAX------>Flax at Oostburg, NetherlandsImage via Wikipedia

Remember my post where I was freaking out about the flax meal messing with my hormones?  Well, I'm not so sure that isn't the case, however, I 've since discovered that my longtime migraine medicine can give similar side effects (although if I ever had them before, they must have been ever so mild as I didn't notice).  So figured it was the responsible thing to mention to my readers that maybe the flax was not the problem.  Personally, after reading the things I did about flax, I won't be using it again, mainly due to its possible effect on my thyroid and hormones and the fact that my sons and husband don't want phytoestrogens. 

As my friend, Ginny, of Ginny's Low-Carb Kitchen pointed out, flax has actually been a wonderful addition to her family's diet.  Sometimes the benefits outweigh any risks.  Let's face it, that's the way I look at Splenda.  I definitely favor it over, say, sugar or aspartame or agave syrup or stevia, however, I'm looking at it like the benefits outweigh the risks for us.  Let's face it, there are risks in drinking tap water or even bottled water.  There are risks in simply being alive!


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Friday, February 18, 2011

Coconut/Flax Gluten-Free Bake Mix #1


I had a post that I did with the results Donna Hodach-Price and I came up with regarding the best gluten-free bake mix amongst the options we had and this morning it was gone! Just gone! I have no idea what happened!  That is just so uncanny.  Maybe when I was working late last night, my fingers did the walking and did something I was not aware of.  No idea!  At the same time last night I noticed I was emailed a post that I did ages ago.  Something went really screwy with Blogger.

Anyway here is the bake mix recipe again, but this time I'm giving the flax meal as an option to the coconut flour.  I personally am never going to touch flax meal again.  It interfered with my hormones and made me feel really awful.  I'm at that age where menopause is imminent.  I've always been quite sensitive to anything interfering with my hormones.  Others actually have the opposite experience, so it really is a "your mileage may vary thing."  Do research flax though and see whether you think the benefits outweigh the risks.  Looking into it, I was quite surprised by the things I read.

Update 22/02/2011:  Still working on the bake mix, and so far this is what I came up with.  Please know that if you like flax, the flax option works beautifully in recipes.  You may need up to 1/4 cup less liquid/wet ingredients when replacing white flour.  Use 1/4 cup extra bake mix with any of these gluten-free bake mixes to replace white flour.  With the coconut option below usually the same liquid/wet ingredients will be necessary, depending on the recipe.

Update: April 8th, 2011:  I abandoned this bake mix with the 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum.  It's too much - it also causes tummy upsets.  However, the Coconut/Flax Bake Mix #1 below, are a couple of good options for those of you who like a bit more fiber.  They're great bake mixes.  I wish I could have explored them a bit more.  I may just use the Coconut Bake Mix #1 for some applications.  It will be a slightly more robust bake mix to the one I'm currently using as the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix.

1 1/2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp sifted coconut flour, OR 1/4 cup golden flax meal (with flax use 1 tsp Xanthan gum)
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum


Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 1/4 cup servings: (coconut flour option)
122.8 calories; 4.7 g protein; 8.0 g fat; 6.1 g carbs (5.9 g carbs with flax)

Notes:  So far, I really like it.  It's not perfect but it is the best I've come up with yet.  There's not a whole lot to work with.  The coconut flour in greater quantities than 2 tbsp is too much fiber for us.  The Xanthan gum increased slightly helps to give the properties of gluten and binds the components of the bake mix to prevent crumbly outcomes. Using 1/4 cup more bake mix than white flour makes it possible to follow the recipe exactly, however, there are some gotcha's.  If the recipe has only one egg, then almost certainly there will be more liquid requirement.  Sometimes depending on the recipe more liquid may be required to get the correct batter consistency as coconut flour absorbs so much moisture.  The muffins I made rose and fell slightly.  They were beautifully browned but had irregular tops (kinda fun actually and added interest and texture compared to perfectly rounded muffins).  The muffins have a soft, moist crumb - perfect!  My banana loaf rose beautifully, was perfectly rounded and sank minimally all over.  It was dense, moist with a soft crumb.  I'm thinking I might try another version - the carbs go up 0.3 grams to see if "drying" out the bake mix a bit by mixing up some of the ingredients will help the baking to keep its rise and not fall at all.  Failing that, I'm going to stick with this bake mix as I really am not a miracle worker and have limited ingredients to work with and overall it tastes like baking made with real white flour.  My eldest son who is not one for baked goods has really enjoyed my baking experiments and cannot believe that the muffins, loaves and cookies are gluten-free and low-carb!  He said, "Nobody would guess".  High praise! :)

Differences in Coconut and Oat flours:

There are differences in coconut flour brands.  The one I use is from Netrition and is called Aloha Nu, however, most people use coconut flour from Bob's Red Mill, which seems to be fairly widely available in America. Xanthan gum and certified gluten-free oat flour by Bob's Red Mill (no, this one is available here) are available at Netrition.  Do not buy Legacy Valley gluten-free oat flour.  According to Donna it is so bitter-tasting that she had to throw it out.

Coconut/Flax Gluten-free Bake Mix #1
1 1/2 cups ground almonds, OR almond flour
1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour (Bob's Red Mill recommended)
1/4 cup coconut flour, OR golden flax meal
1 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 1/4 cup per serving, 1 serving:
124.9 calories; 4.5 g protein; 7.4 g fat; 6.1 g carbs 

Results:   The taste - much nicer with coconut flour than with flax in the bake mix; no aftertaste and no coconut taste either (since discovered it depends on the recipe whether the coconut flavor comes through or not). The texture - perfect - not too moist and not dry at all, soft crumb texture - just lovely!  The muffins were even lovelier later on when completely cool and sitting in my dish cupboard on a dinner plate at room temperature.  I guess because we have a humid climate, they don't dry out uncovered.  This morning they were still excellent. Again, not every recipe will be so perfect with this bake mix using coconut flour. If a recipe has only one egg and all the liquid/wet ingredients have been used and the batter is still too thick, add another egg and if it is still not the right consistency, add yet another egg (coconut flour loves eggs). I will explore this bake mix with coconut flour a little more.  :)  Personally, I'm not going to use flax again, but it is a really lovely bake mix and provides more predictably good results. 

This is the best part - substituting Gluten-free Bake Mix for white flour in regular recipes:
Add 1/4 cup extra Gluten-free Bake Mix when replacing white flour.  This makes it almost certain that the same amount of liquid/wet ingredients in the regular white flour recipe will be required, however, there are so many different recipes out there that there could be variables and definitely the flax version may need less liquid. 

Do not use this bake mix in egg-less quick bread recipes!  Coconut flour needs eggs.  Also, this bake mix will not  work in regular breads as it lacks the properties of white flour.  It should work in a sweet loaf that uses eggs, but not in a bread for a bread machine or loaves that don't require eggs that are bread-like.  You may add eggs to the recipe and then it should work as long as the batter consistency is correct.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Danger of Consuming Flax, my Gluten-Free Bake Mix and an Apology

Flax seedImage via Wikipedia
As many of you who read my blog know, Donna Hodach-Price and I worked on a gluten-free bake mix.  We were happy with the Gluten-free bake mix and it performed well, aside from the fact that some people may actually detect a "taste" from flax in baking.  To be honest, I didn't notice that at all, except perhaps in my cookie recipe, but then I used more than the suggested 1/4 cup.  My husband noticed an aftertaste and guess what, so does Donna.  So, that's not great, but I know many, many low-carbers use flax and love it for the fiber benefits and perceived health benefits such as Omega-3's.

I was in the city for a few days and had a few "funny turns".  Prior to leaving for the city, these funny turns would even sometimes visit me in the middle of the night.  The symptoms were weak, leaden-feeling legs (like walking on a bed), dizziness, balance feeling a little out of whack, sweaty palms and anxiety due to those odd symptoms, which incidentally made me feel that something was drastically wrong!  At one point when I felt at my most melodramatic, I thought for sure I must be dying!  I do have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis although I am mostly in remission.  I say mostly because I still take about 30 mg of natural thyroid hormone every morning.  There is a story as to how that outcome was achieved and anyone who is interested is welcome to enquire.  Such a simple way to get to better thyroid health and most doctors on this planet are totally unaware.  Anyway I first suspected low blood sugar and then I wondered about my thyroid, but my body temperatures soared to hyperthyroid levels the minute I increased my dosage, so it is not that.  I prayed about it and asked for revelation.  The next day I Googled my symptoms and they matched menopausal symptoms.

Later that day my longtime email buddy, Jan Ballas, made me realize that most of the symptoms were related to "hot flash" symptoms.  She sent me to a site that described the hot flash precisely and I had most of the symptoms, but my eyes alighted on the words tamoxifen (it was a breast cancer site) and that women taking tamoxifen might experience extreme hot flash symptoms.  Then I remembered immediately that flax meal is the tamoxifen of foods.  Sigh - of course, it will mess with my hormones!!  I am extremely sensitive to having anything mess with my hormones.  I tried progesterone and ended up having such a strange few turns that I had blurred vision and I mean really blurred vision.  When I was younger and on the birth control pill, I was miserable with all kinds of unwanted symptoms, such as depression, weight gain, sore breasts, moodiness and crying spells.  Those symptoms left seemingly overnight when I went off of it.  Several times during my life doctors wanted to put me back on the pill and more recently on bio identical hormones.  I always refuse.  That's ironic as here I shot myself in the foot recently by starting to include flax meal which is a phytoestrogen into my diet.

Younger people may not have this issue with flax and probably many people tolerate it just fine. My youngest son, however, who is building muscles via weight lifting was horrified that I had recently been feeding him phytoestrogens! Oh dear.  So..., back to the grindstone with the Gluten-free Bake Mix.  I'm thinking that using coconut flour in reduced amounts in the new bake mix might work, but this will need to be tested.  Meanwhile, there is a GF bake mix using coconut flour on my blog under bake mixes. 

I'm so sorry and I apologize profusely if anyone out there has suffered on account of the flax meal in my gluten-free bake mix.  I'm very grateful to have figured this out with God's help and that I can now pass on this knowledge to others.

Besides the obvious messing with one's hormones, flax meal also contains trace amounts of cyanide - a poison!  I didn't know that.  Cooking apparently destroys the cyanide compounds.  Here is an article about the side effects of flax seed meal.

I found this statement in a negative article about soy and the thyroid when I was looking into the effects of flax on the thyroid:  "Studies have shown that supplementing the diet with 1oz of ground flax seed but not with 1 oz of soy flour significantly alters the estrogen metabolism in the body. The end result is that there is a favoring of the less biologically active estrogen metabolites (2OHE1) in postmenopausal women"


Note:
This seems to indicate to me that if my body started using the less biologically active estrogen metabolites in the flax preferentially, then my body would make less real estrogen, and this would appear to my body as an estrogen withdrawal and to my body this would look like I was going through a severe menopause of sudden estrogen withdrawal each time I consumed enough flax. No wonder I was experiencing funny turns.  This conclusion  is corroborated by the next link where I found this:  microbial action of flax suppresses the effect of estrogen in mammals.

About the effect of flax on the thyroid: I'm not exactly sure, but I assume it is a goitrogen similar to soy.  Here is an interesting article on flax.  I don't think I will try chia seeds although some people can, if they like, to replace the flax meal.  These things always come back to haunt me it seems, so I'll stick with something like coconut flour that has been around for an age and is a name I recognize.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Low-Carb Scalloped Potatoes (GF)


Oops you can tell I've been so busy that my table is still decked out for Christmas!

This is my friend, Barbara Goldstein's, recipe.  She says, "All I can say is that we love this dish and had it with BBQ ribs."

Happy Birthday for the 16th Feb., dear Barbo!

ChayoteImage via WikipediaI made this dish as well and my husband could not stop raving about Barbo's recipe even a day or two later!  I bought two more chayote squash yesterday and Ian inquired, "Oh, great can you make that scalloped chayote casserole again.  I really liked that!"  I was actually planning on making Barbo's latkes next.  (smile)  Barbo has been a friend to me ever since I first started low-carbing in 1999.  We have never actually met in person, but the internet sure makes this a smaller world.
Chayote insideImage via WikipediaPotatoes Scalloped LC
Chayote

Serves 4-6

Melt butter in a 7”x11” Pyrex baking dish
2 large
chayote squash peeled, seeded
1 oz. chopped onion or shallot (optional)
Cream cheese
Thin slices of Tillamook or other cheese
1 egg beaten
½ c. LC milk
½ c. Cream
2 rounded Tbs.
CarbQuick (or use a bake mix and 1/2 tsp baking powder)
Salt and Pepper

Mandolin the
squash or slice thin as for
scalloped potatoes.
Pressure cook for 2 min.*

Layer ½ of the
chayote
in buttered pan
Dot with cream cheese
Layer with thin slices of cheese  (I used Provolone)
Salt and pepper layers
Repeat.

Beat egg with cream, milk, and CarbQuick
Pour over all.

Bake 350 for about 35-40 minutes. This should have
a custard like appearance and be slightly puffed.


*Helpful Hint:  If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can boil the sliced chayote squash until almost tender. 

Nutritional Analysis:  8 servings, 1 serving:
244.3 calories; 12.7 g protein; 19.4 g fat; 3.9 g carbs

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart!

My Valentine will forever be my darling husband, Ian.

I have a beautiful cousin.  Her name is Brenda McLachlan.  When I was growing up, I thought she was everything I was not and would have liked to have been.  Looking back at photos, I can see that I was pretty too, except I had difficulty seeing that at that age (teenager).  When I was at university in Cape Town, South Africa and getting married to my darling Ian, my cousin sent me a cookbook as a present. The inscription inside the cookery book said, "The way to a man's heart is through his tummy!"   Little did she know that I would take that advice to heart and eventually become a cookbook author.  In those days, I didn't know the first thing about cooking and baking.  I was 21 but I'd not been allowed to cook and bake, save for a couple of things (crepes and caramel pie) while growing up.  The kitchen was pretty much off limits for me.  Only one small thing indicated that I had any talent in the kitchen and that was in Home Economics Cooking Class, I received an award for the highest marks in the school in my grade.  I only took that class for one year in Standard 6 (Grade 8).

I had a tiny wedding and no family was present, except for 6 friends - 8 of us in total.  My parents were in Canada at the time and Ian felt if his family was there and mine were not, I would break down in tears.  There is a story behind that, but I don't want to go into it. I had R20.00 (rand = South African currency) to spend on my wedding dress.  I walked around Cape Town streets in tears as I was having a great deal of trouble finding something that would suffice as a wedding dress for only R20.00.  I did find a simple yellow dance dress.  I paired it with a broad-brimmed white hat and bought some yellow flowers to put on the hat. I wore high heels with my dress.  I did feel pretty in it, so that was a relief, and we had a meal and dance at Kloof Neck Restaurant after the wedding ceremony at the church.  My husband has always felt a little bitter about his wife not having had the fairy tale wedding.  I would have liked my dad, whom I adored, to be there for me and to say nice things about me, but that is water under the bridge. I don't feel bitter nor do I think about it very often.  Instead many years later Ian commissioned a now-famous artist, Jonathon Earl Bowser, to do an enormous painting of me in a dream wedding dress.  Ian ran around with this silly smile on his face for 6 months.  I knew he was up to something, but could not figure it out.  I'm sure people think I'm the one that is full of myself, but that was Ian's way of making it up to me for not having had a fabulous wedding, which many young women dream about for years before the actual event.  For the record, I really enjoyed my wedding day and have wonderful memories. 



Say, "Happy Valentine's Day" to your Sweetheart with this lovely chocolate cake.  It's a good recipe for cupcakes as well.  If you are gluten-free, use my Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix and use 1/4 cup less.  Please read the instructions for the Gluten-free bake mix.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

*Scallops in Alfredo Sauce* (GF)


SCALLOPS IN ALFREDO SAUCE

A tasty classic.  This recipe is in Splendid Low-Carbing

Text Box: Yield:  3 servings
1 serving
201.2 calories
25.5 g protein
8.8 g fat
3.6 g carbs1 lb frozen small scallops (0.454 kg)
2 tbsp Healthy Butter, page 96 (25 mL)
1/4 tsp salt (1 mL)
1/8 tsp black pepper (0.5 mL)
Alfredo Sauce, page 93 (recipe below or use commercial Alfredo Sauce)

 
Thaw frozen scallops in refrigerator overnight or in bag in cold water until they are able to separate.  In skillet, in Healthy Butter, page 96, cook scallops gently over medium-low heat about 5 minutes or until firm.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper while cooking.

Prepare Alfredo Sauce, page 93.   Pour over scallops.  

WHITE SAUCE

A versatile sauce. Serve hot on cooked vegetables, poultry, fish or seafood.

Text Box: Yield:  1 cup (250 mL)
2 tbsp (25 mL) per serving
105.9 calories
1.2 g protein
11.1 g fat
0.7 g carbs2/3 cup whipping cream (150 mL)
1/3 cup water (75 mL)
2 tbsp butter (25 mL)
3/4 tsp Thickening Agent, page 109, (3 mL)
  OR 2 tbsp soy flour (25 mL)
1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
1/8 tsp white pepper (0.5 mL)
1/8 tsp paprika (0.5 mL)
2 egg yolks, fork beaten

In small bowl, combine whipping cream and water.  Set aside. In double boiler or heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add soy flour (if using), salt,  pepper and paprika to melted butter.  Over low heat, stir together until smooth.  Gradually stir in cream and water mixture, using a whisk. Use wooden spoon to incorporate any flour mixture around sides of saucepan. Increase heat to medium. If using Thickening Agent, page 109 instead of soy flour, sprinkle over sauce gradually and whisk in. Stir constantly with whisk, heating to scalding and until thickened.

Stir some of hot liquid into beaten egg yolks.  Pour into saucepan and stir until sauce thickens.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  If sauce develops lumps, which is unlikely, pour through sieve.

Variations:  Alfredo Sauce:  Prepare as above, however, use unsalted butter (and less salt) and add 1/4 tsp (1 mL) garlic powder and 1/3 cup (75 mL) Parmesan cheese.  Yield:  1 cup (250 mL), 2 tbsp (25 mL) per serving.  (0.9 g Carbs)

Mushroom Sauce:  Add 1, 10 oz (284 mL) can sliced mushrooms, drained.
Yield: 11/2 cups (375 mL), 2 tbsp (25 mL) per serving. (0.7 g Carbs)

Bechamel Sauce:  Prepare as above, but use 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream and 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken broth. Reduce salt to taste.
Yield: 1 cup (250 mL), 2 tbsp (25 mL) per serving. (0.6 g Carbs)

Cheese Sauce:  Use 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt.  Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) grated Cheddar Cheese.  Yield: 11/2 cups (375 mL), 2 tbsp (25 mL) per serving. (0.6 g Carbs)

Helpful Hint:  Half-and-half cream may be used instead of whipping cream for negligible carbohydrate differences.  Reduce salt to 1/4 tsp (1 mL), if desired.  Add half amount of salt, taste, then add the remaining salt as desired.



Monday, February 7, 2011

*Chicken Divan* (GF)

CHICKEN DIVAN

This is an old favorite for many people.  I noticed Ginny Larsen at Ginny's Low-Carb Kitchen has a really good-looking Chicken Divan recipe.

Text Box: Yield:  4 servings
1 serving
303.8 calories
27.0 g protein
19.1 g fat
5.0 g carbs 2 cups frozen, chopped broccoli (500 mL)
3 tbsp butter (45 mL)
11/4 tsp Thickening Agent, page 109 (6 mL)
1 tsp instant chicken stock mix (5 mL)
1 tsp dried parsley (5 mL)
1/8 tsp white pepper (0.5 mL)
3/4 cup half-and-half cream (175 mL)
1/2 cup water (125 mL)
2 tbsp apple juice (25 mL)
1/2 cup shredded Swiss, OR (125 mL)
  Mozzarella cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken, OR (500 mL)
  turkey
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided (50 mL)
1/4 tsp paprika, divided (1 mL)

Steam broccoli until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes, or follow package instructions.  Layer broccoli on bottom of 10 x 6 x 2-inch (25 x 15 x 5 cm) baking dish.

In saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in Thickening Agent, page 109, instant chicken stock mix, dried parsley and white pepper.  Stir in half-and-half cream, water and apple juice.  Cook until thickened and stir in Swiss or Mozzarella cheese until it melts.  Pour half sauce over broccoli, and sprinkle with half Parmesan cheese.  Top with cubed chicken or turkey, remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with paprika. 

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 20 minutes, or until heated through.