Reaching back into the annals of the original Meditative Dishwashing site I started before I came back to Oregon, I found that I was experimenting with gluten- and refined-sugar-free recipes more than five years ago (!!), before I really had much of a need to follow such a diet. Now, it's more than a diet, it's a way of life. Following is a "classic" (??) Meditative Dishwashing post with three very favorite desserts that I would call by my standards today healthy-ish. . . enjoy!
Originally published on www.meditativedishwashing.wordpress.com:
For me, 2013 is not just a year anymore – it’s also the number of miles I moved from Minnesota to Oregon. Two months and ten days have passed since then, and just a few days more since I’ve written anything, blog or otherwise. You’d think such a big change would give me oodles of inspiration, but no. More than once I’ve had an idea, but after running to the computer, I sat in front of a blank Word doc for minutes before realizing that my mind was just as blank. How did that happen?
Doesn’t matter. I’ve done this long enough to know when the creative well is empty, and when that happens, you fill it. So in those times I do not attempt to write. Instead (and when I can’t go to the ocean), I bake.
I’ve done more than bake since I arrived – from sifting through and tossing stuff, to applying for jobs, to catching up with my old second home of Eugene and the friends and family who remained during my ten-year absence. I’ve always baked when I needed something: a gift or potluck dish, something sweet, something to do with restlessness. Now I have another reason. I am again immersed in Eugenean ways, a nature-focused, health-oriented culture. It may drive some people crazy, but I like it. In fact I cried a little when I heard my favorite kombucha drink actually flows on tap here.
In looking around at ads, in stores and restaurants, I also saw “gluten-free” everything. I guess it’s not just for celiacs. My two closest friends here are doing it, so I wanted to see if I could get the same benefits. For a baker, it is difficult, but for a lover of baked goods, it begins as hell. You say (or yell) things like, “Who cares if it might make me feel better?!” And then you hear yourself, and you take a good long look at why you wouldn’t want to feel better, and you imagine Cher in Moonstruck slapping you in the face. If I could feel more energetic, less foggy and bloated, and almost definitely lose weight, why not?
There have been failures, to be sure. More than that, I have spent way too much time looking for recipes, since I decided to combine gluten-free with refined-sugar-free baking. But the following are the three best, often repeated recipes I have been proud to make my own.
The most repeated and simple recipe is for pumpkin bundt cake, which is not necessarily gluten-free. I simply used the old South Dakota standby, the glorified cake mix recipe, and substituted a gluten-free cake mix! The recipe:
Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 box of yellow cake mix - Gluten-free
1 15-oz can of organic pumpkin
3 or 4 eggs (I have tried as few as 2, plus a “flax egg” which is 1 T. ground flax + 3 T. water, which worked great and adds omega-3s)
2-4 T. olive oil
1/2 c. sugar (a refined-free sugar to use is coconut palm sugar, or a combination of that with apple sauce)
2 t. cinnamon + 1 t. pumpkin pie spice
Mix all together. Bake it at 350 for 45 minutes. I made a glaze of: orange rind, honey, maple syrup, and 1 T. coconut oil (melted to mix). I sprinkled on unsweetened coconut and crushed roasted pecans. The glaze makes it stick to the top. It’s divine. And yes, the cake mix has some raw cane sugar.
Next best recipe I have gloriously dubbed the orange scented date bar. It makes it sound fancy, and it really does have an aroma of orange, both when you bake it and bite into it. I adapted this from myrecipes.com “Maple-Date bars,” which I originally passed up until fellow blogger at Healthy Twists referred to it.
Lisa’s Orange Scented Date Bars
scant 2 c. finely chopped pitted dates (I used medjool)
scant 1 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 t. vanilla + 1 t. lemon zest + 1 t. orange zest
Put first two (2) ingredients in a medium saucepan, let bubble on med heat 12 minutes or till it looks like a jam – zest and vanilla go in at the end. Then turn your stove on to 400, and cream together:
1/2 c. sugar (like coconut palm sugar), + 1/2 c. butter, + 2 T. apple sauce
To the sweet butter mix, add the following pre-combined dry ingredients:
1 c. oats, 1 c. flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free mix + 1 t. xanthan gum), + 1/4 t. soda, + 1/4 t. salt.
I coated a 9 x 13 pan with coconut oil, and pressed most of this batter into the bottom, then spread on the date jam. To the rest of the batter (about 1/3 cup) add:
1/2 c. chopped pecans and 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut; use fingers to make it crumbly like biscuit dough and sprinkle/press onto date layer. Bake 15-20 min. When they come out, label them, because these bars are chocolate-fakers. No chocolate lover wants to be faked out by date jam.
But if you do fake out a disappointed chocolate lover, make it up to them with tiny brownies. I do it for myself because, while I can’t always stop a sugar-binge with binge-launching chocolate-anything, I can sometimes quell the itch with cocoa. These are definitely gluten-free and vegan, if you care. This recipe is adapted from Ricki Heller. I call them:
Chocolate Fix + Healthy = Gluten-free, Refined Sugar Free Brownies
1/4 c. coconut sugar, + 1 t. powdered Stevia
3 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 T. olive oil (or other kind of oil)
Directions: Combine the above ingredients, set aside, and set oven to 350. Then combine dry ingredients, before adding to wet:
scant 1 c. almond flour
2 T. cocoa
1/4 c. hemp seeds, crushed in a food processor
1/4 t. soda + 1/4 t. powder + 1/4 t. salt
These are really cute in a mini muffin pan. I used liners, but they kind of stuck to the liners, so you could just spray the pan for a better result. Before baking, sprinkle on some unsweetened coconut. When they come out, top with a roasted & salted pecan. The inventress of the original recipe, Ricki Heller, is a pro and eats a truly monstrously specialized diet, the “anti-candida diet,” which some people do for a few months to let the body rest from sugar. Some people swear by this diet forever and are militant about it, so you can be assured that your body will think of this brownie pretty much as garden salad.
And no, hemp does not make you high, is legal in all 50 states, and is a best source of fatty acids and (vegan) protein, among many other healthy, legal, non-trippy things. And yeah, and I just conquered writer’s block. Here’s to happy baking!
This page is for some of my original or favorite recipes that I have used to promote health and healing. I assume that most people know that eating vegetables is healthy, so I focus on healthy treats and alternatives to grain, gluten, sugar, and dairy.
Brownie Batter for Moi
2-Ingredient Buckwheat Bread
Gluten-free Pumpkin Bundt, Hempseed Brownies, and Orange-scented Date Bars
Cherry Nut Granola
Blueberry Coffee Cake
Fluffy Pancakes (GF & DF)