Cravings for Home

Happy Summer, Elevenses readers! True to form, I’m writing this post all the way from my home town here in Long Island, New York.  These past few months have brought more family-related travel my way than I could have ever anticipated.  As Elevenses was born out of the idea that a food blog could help keep a family together as they geographically scattered this way and that, I’ve chosen to share a recipe that makes me feel closer to the kids regardless of the miles that separate us.  But first, some parental reflecting….

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As I was unpacking some boxes this morning (or moving boxes from one room to another, which my mom generously considers unpacking, bless her heart, but I’m not so sure…), it struck me how, for an aging family, travel tends to occur less and less frequently with us all together. This may seem like a simple thought, but it’s affecting me in the most profound way this morning. While here, I’ve been bombarded with images of family trips; boxes upon boxes of pictures of the kids, Lewis and myself in the early days on our journeys together in Colorado, Canada, back home to NY, etc.

 

 

We were always a tight little unit, with the occasional additions of grandparents, uncles and cousins sprinkled in for good measure. Our little clan, however, was always intact. All of a sudden, even though I keep in touch with the adult kids throughout the day thanks to the magic of texting, I’m suddenly feeling as if my right arm is missing. My family has once again morphed into yet another version of itself.

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So in being “back home” (how long can I refer to this place that now looks nothing like the home I left decades ago, I’m not quite sure) and helping my parents create a new life in a downsized space, my mothering instincts have kicked into high gear. Don’t let them unpack for too many hours. Get the boxes and all signs of transition out of sight as soon as humanly possible. Keep them well nourished and hydrated, after all, culinaria is my jam… And don’t forget about their food sensitivities.

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“So, Mom, what’s the very first thing we should the bake in your new kitchen? Anything at all! I can make anything you want gluten free, just name it!”

Without hesitation, the answer came: “Banana Bread.”

Banana bread? Really? Not something more challenging or… trendy? Of course not, Mama Bear (this is my nickname, but the story of how this came about is for another post!). It took me a few minutes to understand. This request is about fulfilling a craving for something simple, familiar, and comforting. It’s what my mom made for me, many years ago and just a few miles away, when I needed to feel comfort and happiness. It’s also one of the first recipes I made with little Jacqui and Hunter; the mini project they helped me with, standing on kitchen chairs so they could reach the counter and break eggs into the cavernous glass bowl. It’s what they still request of me now when I ask what they are craving. It’s a craving for home.

I get it, Mom.  This post is for you.

The Recipe

This recipe is a loose adaptation of a simple recipe from Stephanie Jaworski’s delightful website, joyofbaking.com. I’ve turned to her site many times over the years for inspiration and have never been disappointed with her offerings.  In true Elevenses style, we’ve adapted a basic recipe by replacing wheat flour with a gluten free blend, replaced the butter with coconut oil, slightly adjusted the wet ingredients to compensate for the increased rate of liquid absorption of gf flours, and added a few goodies to pay homage to the turtle candy bar. Go hard or go home, right?  At any rate, please use the baking time as a guideline, as humidity and various home kitchen ovens can wreak havoc on prescribed cooking times.  For those of you with dairy allergies please feel free to replace the toffee and chocolate chip add-ins with those of your own choosing (enjoy life makes great dairy free options), or leave them out altogether. The bread will still be wonderful.

To ensure proper baking; use a toothpick to test for doneness (the pick should emerge from the bread clean), bread should be firm to the touch, lightly brown around the edges of the pan, and if still in doubt grab your trusty digital thermometer and temp your bread to anywhere between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. For those of you who are interested in learning more about temping your quick breads, here’s a great link to a discussion thread on that subject.  

PS- You’ll notice I have a kitchen scale in the equipment list.  Please consider using one if you don’t already, as measuring your dry ingredients by weight  instead of volume yields the most accurate results.  The hidden bonus to measuring this way is that weighing your dry ingredients is incredibly quick and easy. All you need to keep in mind is that different flours actually have different weights, so adjust your target weights accordingly. “How will I know how to do that,” you ask? Here’s a handy chart to help clear up the mystery; I use it all the time and it makes measuring a breeze.

Equipment: large loaf pan (9×5 or 8 x 4), kitchen scale, hand mixer if desired

 

 

Turtle Banana Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 15 Mins Cooking Time: 55 Mins Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (115 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) gluten free all purpose flour mix (King Arthur works beautifully here)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs,room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 ripe bananas (approximately), mashed well 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup toffee chips 
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coarse turbinado sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. 
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. (For added insurance, I place a piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan for easy unmoulding, but it’s only optional) Set aside. 
  3. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 4 to 8 minutes, until they are lightly brown and smell wonderfully toasty. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  
  4. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside. 
  5. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla with a large wire whisk or hand mixer. 
  6. Switching to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, begin combining the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients.  
  7. Once the flour is almost incorporated, add your toffee and chocolate chips. (Please don’t over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth, just give it one or two turns of your spoon after you can no longer see any ribbons of flour. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread, an absolute travesty.) 
  8. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter gently with the back of a spoon and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. And into the oven she goes!
  9. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes or until bread reads 195 to 205 on a digital read thermometer. 
  10. Unmold after ten minutes, and place on a wire rack to cool. If you can.  We always tear into it after 20 minutes or so, but perhaps you will have more reserve.  This bread can be frozen.

Happy Summer, Elevenses readers! True to form, I’m writing this post all the way from my home town here in Long Island,...

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Aspartame vs. Stevia: Is Stevia Safe?

Stevia Crops

First it was 2 litres of Coca Cola or Dr Pepper every 4 days during my school days, then, when I graduated to University it became 12 cans of diet coke every 7 days – we all have our vices. Mine, and many other people’s from what I hear, came in the form of an ice cold and beautifully bubbly substance that drew me in under the guise of “fruity beverage”. Let’s be honest, Dr Pepper doesn’t taste like any fruit I’ve ever had, how about you? Nah, didn’t think so.

Remember those stories and, with the inevitable progression of technology, videos? You know the one, where some kid puts a dull penny in a glass of Coca Cola and leaves it for a few hours. We all know what comes next, a shiny coin that makes you feel incredibly guilty about what you’ve been feeding your insides for the last quarter of your life. If the drink can strip a coin, how is your stomach fairing? *shudders*

This beverage battle is staged in such a way that you think you’ve made the healthy choice through switching from Coca Cola to Diet Coke, it did a number on me that’s for sure. Trouble is, that with this switch you go from chewing up your digestive system to chewing up your brain.

First it was 2 litres of Coca Cola or Dr Pepper every 4 days during my school days, then, when I graduated to University...

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No One is Stealing Your Bread

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Hello beautiful people – I hope all has been well! I am writing in response to the current backlash about being “gluten-free”. There are tons of articles being posted around facebook, and other social media, claiming that “gluten sensitive” people are lying to you in attempts to fit in with the “hipsters”. If you want my two cents, and I’m assuming you do since you’re reading my column – I think that is internet-fight is totally silly.

I won’t rehash everything that Jacqui went through in her column about Gluten (you can read it here www.elevenses.ca/what-is-gluten-and-why-you-should-care-about-it/), but the fact that there continues to be no conclusive evidence to support either argument about Gluten really intrigued me. Why, if this is the scientific mis-en-scene, are there so many fights breaking out about this little protein?

The Observation:

I thought about it a lot over the last month or so and eventually came to the conclusion that this is one of the times where the sad but timeless human-sensitivity-for-perceptions-of-scarcity (h.s.f.p.o.s’s as we call them) start rearing it’s ugly head – almost as if there isn’t enough “right” going around, and someone HAS to be wrong.

Let’s look at some examples where freedoms and resources are currently seen as scarce, then I’ll bring it back to eating gluten free!

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal...

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What Is Gluten & Why You Should Care About It

Fields of Wheat

It’s been a couple weeks since my last exam released me from it’s chokehold, and since then I’ve been doing a mix of panicking about what I’m going to do with my life now that I’m finished my undergrad and doing some reading that I’ve been putting off on the huge topic of gluten. It’s been a good mixture in my opinion, only made better with the company of this guy around the house:

Chase!

(By the way, if you’re not already following elevensesfood on Instagram – you’re missing out. It’s a glorious stream of delicious things we’re working on in the Elevenses test kitchen.)

Anyways, let’s get cracking on this fascinating topic!

What is Gluten?

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Slow Food in Springtime

Springtime in Edmonton

Hi everyone! It’s time for a long overdue catch up in the Sustenance department of Elevenses! I’m utterly shocked how quickly March has sped by. I recall sitting down with the adult children in October and planning out the next six months of blog topics and posting schedules. We assured each other with solemn vows that we could persevere through the coming months of holidays, the kid’s school demands, my work commitments, the general mayhem which tends to occur when busy lives collide, and STILL meet our Elevenses goals of posting at least four times per month.

BAH HAHAHAHAHA……

“A” for effort I always say☺.

Hi everyone! It’s time for a long overdue catch up in the Sustenance department of Elevenses! I’m utterly shocked how qu...

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Slow Food, the Gut Membrane, and Elevenses House Bone Broth

Slow Food

One of my absolute favourite genres of childhood memories was the smell of food cooking when coming in from a long hard day at elementary, a big soccer game, or a particularly rowdy evening at the park.

The smell of baking was of course always a treat, but as the strange child I was who honestly preferred water over other beverages, and salty over sweet, I particularly delighted in the smells of meats, herbs, and spices emanating from the magical domain that was the kitchen. Truly, there was nothing that could make little Jacqui happier than dropping my backpack and smelling chillies, stews, or roasts and my Mom telling me dinner was in a half hour.

Fast forward to today, and the only thing that’s really changed is that Hunter and I are active in the creating of beautiful new smell-memories. Well, that and I’ve become interested in the chemical/nutritive side of what happens to food when you cook it for long spans of time, and how we can think of certain long-cook time foods as medicines.

Funnily enough, what comes to mind for me when I think about “slow food” is the gut.

One of my absolute favourite genres of childhood memories was the smell of food cooking when coming in from a long hard...

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My Natural Antacid: Peppermint Tea

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Elevenses, for which I apologise! I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest post from Jacqui, ‘Resistant Starch’. If you haven’t read it already I recommend you go take a look to learn about the starch that’s good for you (I know, right?!) and how we are actually more bacteria than human. To keep up to date with the family, you can also check out our Instagram page which we update daily with pictures of the food we’re making, the local produce we’re buying and more.

In terms of what I’ve been up to over the last little while, I’d have to start with my taking of the protocol of supplements and custom creams and powders that was put together by Dr. Borkin of Sabre Sciences, to help kick my anxiety and depression but that would require a separate explanatory post (this will come soon, I promise). For now I’d like to chat about the role of peppermint in my recent experimentation with ways to relieve my pesky upset stomach. On a slightly tastier note, I’ll be letting you in on my favourite kind of peppermint tea, where you can get it from and its price.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Elevenses, for which I apologise! I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest post from...

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Gut Microbiology, Resistant Starch, and Green Plantain Chips

“You are only 10% of who you think you are.” – Richard Nikoley

“Jac, you should write a quick blog about this. Honestly, it’s awesome.” said Nat over a cloudy beverage this morning. 

“Totally!” Mom agreed, holding a similarly cloudy beverage, “I think people would find it really interesting.” 

The contents of the cloudy beverage, and the subject of this quick article, is a little something that has been taking the Paleo world by storm = resistant starch. 

Resistant starch is something of a revelation for me, rivalling the first food revelation I had about 5 years ago that low fat diets were stupid (thanks again and always Sean Croxton). I say revelation because resistant starch pretty well knocked me on my ass for two reasons:

  • It totally overthrew my belief that all carbs should be eaten in moderation, and starches most especially.
  • It immediately brought the concept of gut microbe ecology to its rightful, central place in my own understanding of health.

What’s more, it was a total “duh, why didn’t I think of that?” moment, and it has yielded some interesting new ingestibles. 

"You are only 10% of who you think you are.” - Richard Nikoley “Jac, you should write a quick blog about this. Honestly,...

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The Late Harvest

This year is a special time for all of us at the Elevenses house, and for me personally, it’s chiefly because (as I’ve mentioned excitedly before) it’s my final year of University. Suffice it to say that this year is a simultaneously wildly exciting and terrifying time, and that it really colours how I’m perceiving the current topic of interest in the family. “The Harvest” to me very much speaks to what it means to gather the fruits of my labours, and while it’s a beautiful, validating, fulfilling process – it’s also a buttload of work. 

As a consequence of this, the post I’d dreamed of putting up on our lovely blog about the changing seasons and it’s effects on our physiology (and what to do about it) remained at about 40% completion for the entirety of December. I know, you’re all disappointed and are wondering – “but Jacqui, when will we get to read this amazing, life-changing piece?” Well, dear readers, fear not because I do intend on finishing it up very soon. In the meantime however, please enjoy the following recipe for my low PUFA (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) version of the delicious Coconut Cream Larabar

This year is a special time for all of us at the Elevenses house, and for me personally, it's chiefly because (as I've m...

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The Harvest: Transition of the Seasons

Welcome to the first entry of my Elevenses column, Food for Thought. In case you missed the introduction, I’m Natalie and I’m the adopted one of the family unit behind this blog. Feel free to read a little more about me over here or about my adopted family members here, here and here.

What with Christmas approaching (or the Holiday season as you North Americans like to call it) the Elevenses crew couldn’t help but choose “The Harvest” as November’s topic.

What does the Harvest mean to me?

If you’re a traditional foodist then butternut squash, pork roasts and baked apples might spell “The Harvest” right out for you, for me however, it’s not so pumpkin spiced and delicious.

Where there once was eating breakfast out on the deck and wearing your only pair of shorts one too many times, there now comes frozen tear ducts and saving yourself from falling face first into Superstore on the way to picking up the next meal. For me, “The Harvest” means a huge transition to dark mornings, dark afternoons and a tougher time getting from the former to the latter.

Welcome to the first entry of my Elevenses column, Food for Thought. In case you missed the introduction, I’m Natalie an...

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