Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Banana Nut Bread: Soaked and Gluten-free!


If you’ve been around here for a while, you probably know that I love banana nut bread.

It was one of the first recipes I set out to perfect in  a gluten-free version.


I must say, I’m not going to miss my old recipe at all… This banana nut bread is heavenly!!! (Thank goodness!)

I adapted this recipe from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook. If you are concerned about eating in a healthy, nourishing, traditional way, you SERIOUSLY need to check out this book. It is an excellent investment. I reference my copy almost every day. Not only does this book explain why our body needs certain foods, but it contains recipes for almost every dish imaginable! (It also explains why processed food should be avoided.)

Without further adieux, here is my new recipe:

Mel’s Banana Nut Bread: Soaked and Gluten Free

1 c gluten-free rolled oats

1 c gluten-free oat flour

1/2 c millet flour

1/2 c brown rice flour

2 c buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt (if using yogurt, dilute it with water to the consistency of buttermilk – 2 c total yogurt/water mixture)

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 to 1/2 c maple syrup

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 c melted butter

2 ripe, mashed bananas

1/2 c crispy walnuts, chopped

Soak flours together in buttermilk, kefir or yogurt in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours – bread will rise better if soaked for 24 hours. (Those with milk allergies may use 2 cups filtered water plus 2 TBSP whey, lemon juice, or vinegar in place of buttermilk, kefir or yogurt.) Blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into a well-buttered and floured loaf pan (preferably stoneware). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

***Note: If you aren’t gluten-intolerant, simply substitute 3 cups of whole wheat flour for the gluten-free flours in this recipe. Soak as directed!

If you want the why’s on soaking (and a good introduction to nourishing, traditional food preparation methods), click here.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I used kefir in this recipe. A while back, my very generous (and wise) blogging friend Diane sent me some of her kefir grains. This was the first recipe I tried using homemade kefir. Success! I really believe that the kefir made my bread rise a little better and it gave the bread a nice flavor, too. I’m hooked! 


I took Diane’s advice and made kefir using raw goat’s milk. While I’m not crazy about drinking a glass of it alone, I will be adding it to all my baked goods from here on out. And I’m working toward being able to drink it. It’s a bit more sour than yogurt, but it would be great in a smoothie. As Diane has told me, “Sour is good for you!”


Kefir is so easy to make yourself. I followed these instructions.

There are also instructions for making kefir in Nourishing Traditions, but sometimes it’s nice to see pictures.


Now, what to make next?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A trip to the Smokies


This is a picture heavy post (and it will probably bore you), but I think that the Great Smoky Mountains are quite possibly the most beautiful place God created on this earth. We try to make an annual pilgrimage because it’s only a 6 hour drive for us, and it’s one of our favorite places.


This is at Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies. Absolutely breathtaking view!


And because it’s so high up, it’s cold up there year round. We’ve been before in July and had to wear our jackets. It’s quite a novelty to those of us who are steeped in humidity most days of the year.


Daniel was enamored with the ice!


Check out that beyond blue sky. Gorgeous!


This was the view from the front porch of the little cabin where we stayed. We loved it there.


There is so much history in these mountains. This is a little one-room school house tucked away high on the side of a mountain. I wouldn’t have wanted to walk to school in the winter if I had attended there. I read that some children traveled as far as 9 miles to get to this school.

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And before you freak out, let me assure you that we do not allow our children to ride in the back of the truck on an open road. This was the driveway that took us to our little cabin.


Sara Lynn was so happy when her Daddy stopped to pick her flowers. I can’t help but smile, too!


It was such a nice trip in the midst of a busy season for us. It’s essential to take a retreat every once in a while, IMHO.


This is a shot of Daniel on our cabin’s little porch – complete with rockers, a swing, and a hot tub. Sigh…


Cade’s Cove is one place you must visit if you ever make it to the Smokies. So much history!

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All of these last photos were taken in Cade’s Cove. It’s so much fun imagining what life would have been like for the people who lived there 100 years ago. I hope you get the chance to visit the Smokies at least once in your life!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Putting up peaches the easy way


This is a post I meant to write a couple of months ago. Sigh.

At the end of the summer a dear friend gifted me with a half-bushel of local peaches – talk about a good gift!


I feel so blessed to live in Alabama where we have access to a wide variety of local food year round.

I’m trying my hand at a fall/winter garden this year, and I’m longing for broccoli, turnips, and spinach!

Our weather is just now cooperating and accommodating to cool season veggies.


But, back to the peaches… these are soooo good!


I really meant to get a batch of preserves made, but it didn’t happen.

I have a feeling that my family won’t mind all the winter cobblers we’ll be having when there’s no more fresh fruit.


The freezer is stocked!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A busy season (and I’m still here!)

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I’ve had an incredibly busy season around here the past few weeks. Actually, I quite literally bitten off more than I could chew!

I’ve been teaching a bible study, attending another, substituting for Daniel’s class, planting my fall garden, learning to cook without gluten (more on that later), and trying to maintain my sanity while keeping up with all of my usual chores… WHEW! I’m still here. Tired, but here.

I must tell you that I feel incredibly blessed. I have wonderful friends and family (thank you to those who asked about me!), a little homestead in the making, and access to good nourishing food – truly a blessing.

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Last week, one of our girls laid a gigantic egg (look at the top middle photo above) that had a double yolk. It was destined to become an egg and cheese sandwich. So, so delicious. And, I’ve been absolutely delighted to find out that giving up gluten didn’t mean I had to give up bread.

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I was frightened at even the thought! We LOVE brownies, muffins, and bread. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

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I’m now soaking ALL my grains (even though they’re gluten-free) and it’s made a tremendous difference. Before, I would soak if I remembered to, but not always. (Shame.) I just didn’t understand how truly important and necessary the process was. And I’ve been sick not realizing that it could be SO EASILY remedied. Now, I’m meticulous in the kitchen. It’s made a difference in my health. You can read about preparing nourishing foods here. (Do yourself a favor and check out the link.)

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I’m making bread (I’ll be trying sourdough with gluten free grains this week) and crackers and yes, BROWNIES! All with gluten-free grains. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be, and I’ll be sharing my new favorite recipes with you soon. I’ve long loved lacto-fermented veggies such as sauerkraut, but now I’m learning to enjoy kefir (thanks Diane!) and kombucha as healthy additions to my diet. I feel better than I have in a very long time.


Here on the homestead, life is good. God has blessed us with a few fall tomatoes (with more vegetables forthcoming), fun times spent together in the great outdoors (now that it’s finally cooled off a little!), and hope for the future. Did I mention we’ll be getting goats soon? Oh, my goodness!