Happy New Year

newyear2013Happy New Year!  I pray 2013 finds you well and enjoying the company of family and friends.

If you are like me this is a time to reflect on the passing year and make plans and goals for the coming year.  One of my goals in 2013 is to blog more often.  I took time off last year to focus on areas in our life that needed extra attention.  I hope to share what I have learned here on this blog.  So in the next few weeks you will see posts about the areas in my life I want to be more intentional, disciplined and focused.

The first areas is a very tasty one–menu planning.  Menu planning is not as intimidating as you may think.  Sure you may feel a little overwhelmed at first and most likely it will take you a while to put a menu together.  But believe me that it is well worth the effort.  First you will reduce stress never having to worry about what to make for breakfast, lunch, supper or even snacks.  Secondly, you will know what you buy from the grocery store.  And finally because you will have a specific shopping list to shop from you will save money at the grocery store and you will insure that what is in your pantry is what you need to make all your meals for the month.

I have included here my menu for Jan 2013 Menu.  I got this wonderful idea from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Check out her menus for more ideas and a great Italian flavor.  As you will notice my menus are a little different.  My family eats a plant-based diet.  More on that in a later post.  Finally my menu is a word document so you can edit it any way you like so that it will meet your family’s needs.  Or better still you can come up with your own menu plan featuring your families favorite recipes.

I pray you have a happy and tasty New Year.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Here is the Banana Carob Chip Bread recipe I promised to you yesterday.  Okay.  Although I made a triple batch of this recipe that made 2, 12inch loaves, I do not have a single loaf or even a slice left to take a picture to show you.  That should tell you something about how good it is.  Just click the link above or press print at the bottom of this post for your copy of this tasty treat.   Best part, it is no eggs, dairy, refined sugar or high fat.  But you will not be missing out on great taste, super moist

Banana Chocolate (Carob) Chip Bread

Combine in bowl:

4 small or 3 medium bananas

1/3 light olive oil

2/3 cup zylitol (or sugar) and 1 TBSP molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

1 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend–1/2 cup buckwheat/brown rice/tapioca (or ww flour)

1 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 /4 tsp salt

2 tbsp arrowroot starch

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until smooth.

Add in:

1/2 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for an hour, until the loaf is firm, a bit crusty and a tooth pick inserted into the center emerges clean.

Cool loaf on a wire rack.

Because this is hospitality Friday, you can guess what the kids and I are baking today to take to some friends.

Banana Carob Chip Bread

Wow! Gluten free bread that slices like regular bread!!!

Sherri Graham has done it again.  Check out her post and all her wonderful recipes at Graham Family Ministries.  I have many of her resources but in today’s post I want to share about Sherri’s GF (gluten-free) bread that I just pulled out of the oven.

Look at the great texture and nice lift
I used 12 inch pans

Looking at this bread you would never think that it is GF because it raised so nice, it is light and fluffy, slices beautifully and neither crumbly or dense.  Using ingredients you can buy at your local grocery store (with the exception of a few items) you can make this wonderful bread as well.

And because it is physically impossible for me to follow a recipe exactly as it is written I will tell you the substitutions and changes I made.  I had truly intended on following the recipe exactly but I realized that I did not have cornstarch or tapioca flour but potato starch.  As I had all the dry and liquid ingredients mixed separately I realized that I only had 3 eggs left.  I was making a double batch but as you can see from the pictures above this did not make a difference.

I am so excited that I finally have bread that I can eat and enjoy.  Give this recipe a try and you make changes that work or make it even better please let me know.

Gluten Free

I have recently discovered that my body is much happier when I do not eat gluten.  This is very difficult for me because I normally bake 6-8 (large) loaves of bread for my family.  I am still learning a lot about this new gluten free world. 

If you are noticing some frustrating things happening to you when you eat things containing gluten (especially wheat) there are several reasons for this increasing trend.  I found some wonderful insights and advise from one of my favorite bloggers Robin Sampson at Heart of Wisdom Blog.  Check out her post for additional information.

If you are like me you have no idea how to bake without using wheat.  So I have been doing research in order to find good recipes for baking gluten free.  A great site I found was Jules Gluten Free.  But the best overall mix I have found is at Gluten Free Cooking School.

This is another great site Book of Yum that will get you connected to the gluten free world.

Even my family, none of which seem to have problems with gluten have been troopers in sampling my “new” creations and my husband says that he has felt more energetic going gluten free.

Check out the links and give gluten free a try.  With a little experimenting you can start enjoying some really nice bread again.