I am excited to introduce to you my wonderful friend Tina. I have known Tina for almost 11 years now, we met each other as fellow missionaries in the West Virginia Charleston Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We actually got to serve together for awhile in Radford Virginia and we had a blast together. She truly is my sister from another mister. Tina lives in Wyoming with her husband and her sweet twins. I really admire her knowledge in what I would consider the health food world, she knows how to use gluten free, dairy free and other ingredients that you can swap for the everyday ones we all use.
Give her a big hello and enjoy!
For those of us with food allergies or food sensitivities it may seem that our options suddenly become expensive and limited. A new world of textures, tastes, smells and baking routines open up, but thankfully there are quite a few options out there.
When our family made the switch to a no corn/no soy/no wheat/no dairy lifestyle we started small but it made a huge difference. For breakfast cereals we bought oat & rice based products. Rice Chex has 4 different options, all without high fructose corn syrup! All of our milk, cheese and yogurt became either almond milk, goat/sheep cheese or goat kefir. (They also make coconut ice cream now and almond milk yogurt too!) You can experiment by adding stevia for sweetness or homemade strawberry jam to change it up. Vegetable oil was replaced by olive oil, and coconut oil, (which can be purchased with or without the coconut flavor/smell.) One month we would buy one small bag of coconut flour, then the next month it would be almond flour, oat flour, spelt flour or rice flour. (Did you know there is banana flour too?) Our rule was to buy one item and if it went well with our bodies we would keep it in our rotation. Slowly over the last 4 years we have made a small stock pile of ingredients and several go-to recipes to turn to if in a hurry.
While starting our new lifestyle change, I was very surprised to find that our healthy ingredients could be exchanged "cup for cup" for the original in many recipes. Like white spelt flour can be replaced "c4c" with all purpose white flour with only a small nutty flavor added. Xylitol, can be used "c4c" as a healthier substitute for white (table) sugar. I use Coconut (palm) sugar "c4c" to replace brown sugar in everything, as it has a much lower glycemic index than brown sugar. Baking with new ingredients is all about trial and error too so don't give up. Just try again another day.
So onto my #1 go-to cookie recipe...
Double Chocolate Chip Coconut Flour Cookies, originally from Ditch the Wheat.
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut flour, (sifted)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
¼ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt
¼-½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
I start these amazing cookies in my food processor, using the dough blade.
Melt the coconut oil and then cream the oil, vanilla & coconut palm sugar together.
Add the eggs, one at a time and cream after each addition.
Then comes the magical part... I awkwardly balance my sifter on top of my processor and add the rest of the ingredients all at once, except the chocolate chips.
Coconut flour tip: It is picky, and requires exact measurements. Even just a 1/2 teaspoon off and this recipe won't turn out right. Measure carefully! (Little hands enjoy helping during this part)
Once all of the dry ingredients are sifted in, cream again in the processor.
I then transfer the beautiful dough to a bowl & gently mix in 1/4-1/2 cup of either mini chocolate chips or your favorite soy free/dairy free chocolate chips.
Next, scoop & plop the dough onto a parchment paper covered tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. (One batch of dough equals one pan of cookies, for us.) They will go from a glossy look to a gorgeous brown color.
Remove from the oven & let them rest for a few minutes. Then transfer to your mouths, oops, wait... a cooling rack for another few minutes and then into your mouths.
Almost done, stay with me here. This is the trial & error part... ready? I live at 7000 feet in elevation. When I make these cookies they are thick, moist on the inside, crispy on the outside yummy goodness. When made at my mother's house which sits at 4100 ft. above sea level, they were flat as a pancake. Still fresh, homemade, and healthy cookies but not fluffy like at home.
So, no matter where you live or what your food allergies are, you can still eat healthy & even enjoy a cookie.
P.S. Now with all this switching foods, tweaking recipes and exchanging diets, there is one thing that I have found is an absolute MUST... Do Not Compare. Do not compare the price of 2% cows milk to the price of a smaller jug of unsweetened, original almond milk. Do not compare the texture of white, store bought tortillas with your new coconut flour tortillas. That homemade cauliflower pizza crust won't be a doughy, greasy pizza from Pizza Hut but you can guarantee that it is healthier and won't leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish. Your new foods will not taste like everything you used to make because they are completely different foods. Over time your taste buds will change and accept new textures, tastes and smells. Your sugar beast will settle, and your body will thank you in the long run.
I still often make 2 different versions of the same meal to accommodate for allergies/sensitivities but I am ok with that. It's for the health of my family, and they are my pride & joy! Having them happy, healthy, and not feeling miserable is worth every bit of the extra time, effort, & money.
We are worth it! Happy Baking!
A little about me