Grain Free Pumpkin Bread

For a while now I’ve been cooking either entirely grain free or mostly. Either way, everything we’ve been eating has been fresh and organic, purchased at either local farmer’s markets, Trader Joe’s or occasionally, ouch…”go-ahead-and-emply-my-wallet” Whole Foods.

Aren’t they so expensive? But they have good stuff. So every once in a while is okay, I guess.

Anyhow, I’ve been experimenting with lots of recipes and as I perfect them, I’ll feature them here.

So today I’m sharing a grain free pumpkin bread recipe that I think is pretty much perfection!

Grain free pumpkin bread recipe - ‎

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup Xylitol Sugar Substitute (If you prefer, you can use coconut sugar or regular cane sugar)
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Pumpkin seeds (optional)

Wet Ingredients:

1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup egg whites. room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla

Grain free pumpkin bread recipe - ‎

Grain free pumpkin bread recipe - ‎


Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with half sheet of parchment paper and press into the sides with some of it laying over the sides.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients of almond flour, Xylitol sugar substitute, flax meal, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add all the wet ingredients, egg and egg whites, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin puree and vanilla, and mix together for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and mix for an additional 45 seconds. Pour batter into prepared parchment lined pan. Sprinkle top with pumpkin seeds, if desired. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to sit in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread in the parchment from the pan to the cooling rack and cool for another 5 minutes. Serve.

Hope you enjoy!

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Grain Free Sandwich Bread

Earlier today I featured this post announcing my journey to healthier eating, and I gave you a sneak peek at this grain free sandwich bread I made over the weekend. I got the recipe from Elana’s Pantry.

I have one word for this bread…YUM!

It really is good.

Although it came out a bit on the small side because I used a slightly wider loaf pan. I think my pan is 4 inches wide as opposed to the 3.5 inches the recipe calls for. Every inch counts, right?

Anyhow, I’ll be adjusting to make this more user friendly for actual sandwich making. So stay tuned!

For now, give this recipe a try as is and let me know what you think.

Grain free bread -

2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup golden flaxmeal
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor, (I used a blender)

Pulse ingredients together

Then pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar

Transfer batter to a greased Magic Line 7.5 Inch x 3.5 Inch Medium Loaf Pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 2 hours. Serve.

And there you have it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

* This recipe is gluten and grain free.

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My Journey To Healthier Eating

The other day I was in the grocery store and I saw something I’m embarrassed to say showed a great deal of disapproval on my face.

Ugh, yeah…I’m kind of an open book.

The scene I saw was a father hurriedly walking through the frozen food section with his two kids in tow. I could tell they were on a mission because the father had that look on his face. It was the, We need to get out of here look that I’ve felt on my own face many times. Plus the kids were double stepping to catch up with him as he moved quickly down the aisle.

But the thing that immediately caught my attention was none of them had a cart. Instead each had their hands filled with boxes or bags of frozen, processed foods…not a fresh fruit or vegetable in sight.

The young girl, she was probably between eight and ten years old, was carrying a box of corn dogs on top of a few boxes of pizza. Meanwhile her bother, who appeared to be a year or two younger, hugged a large bag of frozen chicken nuggets.

To top it off, the father had several large boxes of macaroni and cheese, a couple bags of pizza rolls and some ice cream.

As my eyes scanned the scene I could feel judgement projecting out like a lighthouse beacon. And to my embarrassment, I could tell the father knew exactly what I was thinking.

My journey to healthier eating -

Image via Lisa Leake’s blog 100 Days of Real Food Purchase Book Here

As they passed and I moved on with my shopping, I kept thinking about the scene.

“Maybe something happened that required them to need all that kind of easy food? Or maybe he’s a single dad with no time to cook?”

For the rest of the day I kept thinking of excuses for them. But the truth is…all three of their bodies clearly showed that what they had in their hands is what they eat regularly.

My heart hurts for their future.

But what other people put into their bodies is none of my business. I never want to judge and never in a million years would I shame anyone for being overweight. There are countless reasons including genetics and certain diseases that can cause weight problems.

However, when the most likely cause of being over weight is bad food being eaten, I hope sooner rather than later they’ll learn a better way.

And if I can help by sharing my journey, all the better!

My journey to healthier eating -

Image via Danille Walker’s Against All Grain book can be purchased here

I am not overweight though. In fact, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum where I probably need to gain weight, especially since my appendix ruptured and I underwent extensive surgery in July.

But there’s a fine line here. I am a healthy eater, I always have been. So there’s no way I’m going to sit with a box of doughnuts everyday just to put on some pounds.

I want to do things healthily. And because I’m still experiencing so much inflammation in my abdomen post surgery, I decided to see if making changes to my eating habits would make a difference.

For several weeks I’ve been following bits of Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food recipes. And as mentioned in last week’s 52 Weeks of Happy the process has really made me feel happier. Not only because I know we are putting healthier foods into our bodies, but going from thinking I had no time to make anything to eat to now making breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners for both Kevin and I, has made this very modern woman feel almost primal – in a good way – and better as a wife and caretaker of our lives.

In addition, our food intake has gone from healthy, to super healthy. So win, win!

But, I’m still not feeling completely free of inflammation. Yuck! It’s no fun not feeling completely healthy.

So after reading about grains and how they can contribute to inflammation in the body, I’ve decided to incorporate a grain free diet to see if doing so might make a difference.

I’m really enjoying these grain free sites: Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain and Carrie Vitt’s Deliciously Organic. Check them out when you have a moment.

I know this isn’t going to be easy, it’s been hard even just these past couple of days not to grab some chips or processed bread for a sandwich. Which is why I decided to make some of my own grain free bread for sandwiches this past weekend.

Here’s my first attempt. You can see the recipe in today’s later post.

Grain free bread -

If you’re looking for a way to reduce inflammation in your body, or maybe eat less of those frozen foods mentioned above, join along on my journey to healthier eating. I’d love to have you along!

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Breaking Bread By New FYB Writer Alison H. Fleck

Do you enjoy cooking? What about cooking with your significant other?

When my husband Collin and I were dating, we’d cook together all the time. I think this was partly due to his awesome roommate who loved to cook and try new recipes. This started us off cooking small things together like pork chops and chicken and rice. Soon we were inspired to try more difficult recipes like Blue Cheese Crusted Fliet Mignon, yum!

But years later with jobs and our busy schedules, cooking seems to be more of a hassle. And sometimes it can even be a stress inducer in our marriage. Not good, right? In fact, the question of “what do you want for dinner tonight?” has become a bit of a sore spot.

Usually the situation is…no one has had time to go shopping, both of us work late, and by the end of the day we’re just flat-out hungry. And the thought creating anything other than a microwaved meal seems utterly impossible.

Does this sound familiar?

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

For us, although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, we’ve compiled a few easy go-to dinners like brats, hamburgers, pizza, and cereal to quickly make…eek, I know. In fact, the other night I actually ate half of a baguette for dinner. #carbs.


What happened to the fillet mignon and blackberry cobbler?

Now, I’m not so naive as to think those time consuming meal options of the past are possible to have every night, but we would like to start moving back in the “better eating” direction.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Collin and I aren’t ones who can just pull stuff out of our pantry or fridge and magic something together on a whim. As with most things in our lives, we aren’t so intentional. But with cooking, you sort of have to be, you know?

So when our good friend Annie Middlebrooks of The Makers Table invited us to share in an evening learning how to make fresh pasta, we were definitely all in!

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

But to be honest, the thought of making fresh pasta was never something I was interested in. I thought it was something people with real cooking skills did…not me.

Low and behold the pasta making class with Chef Elyse Fisher was incredibly inspiring and a wonderful way to get out of our cooking/eating rut. On my own, I would have thrown in the towel during various points in the process…simply because I’d be asking, “is this right?”.

It was great to have Elyse there to walk us through the surprisingly simple steps of making homemade pasta, recipe included at the bottom of the post and here as well.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Another exciting thing, besides reintroducing us to the world of cooking, we ended up meeting some genuinely wonderful people while enjoying an evening sharing stores and getting to know one another.

Collin and I worked as a team and hit it off with the people at our station who have since become good friends. We visit each other’s homes frequently cooking for and with one another.

And we’ve even had our own pasta making night while our husbands tried their hand at home brewing beer.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

The process of cooking can be time consuming, but when you share it with good people and the one you love, it’s so rewarding.

In fact, thinking back on this pasta making night, as we sat down at the table to break bread with one another, we were all in agreement that it was the best meal we’d had in a long time.

Pasta making with FYB writer Alison H. Fleck -

Author: Alison Fleck // Photography: Courtney Waugh // Pasta Class by Annie Middlebrooks with The Makers Table // Pasta Recipe by Chef Elyse Fisher // Recipes can be found Here

Slowly but surely Collin and I have started incorporating cooking back into our daily routine. Instead of coming home, flipping on the TV and asking “what’s for dinner?”, we break out the pots and pans, bust open The Pioneer Woman or look something up on All Recipes to try our hand at creating something new and delicious.

We win some, we loose some, but we never regret the adventure of cooking at home, and more importantly cooking with each other.



* * *

Homemade Pasta
Serves 8

Prep Time1 hr 25 min Cook Time5 min Total Time1 hr 30 min

1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
Water as needed

Make the Dough

Mix flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Add eggs and olive oil and turn the speed up to medium-high. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time to reach desired consistency. Mix on high until dough forms a rough ball.

Remove dough to a well floured surface and knead with hands until to incorporate any loose flour. Knead well until the dough becomes tight and smooth. Sprinkle with more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Cover dough with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.
Rolling out the Dough

Cut the dough into half, and then in thirds. Work one piece at a time and be sure to cover the other pieces. Take one piece and flatten into a rectangular shape, adding flour to both sides. Attach the pasta sheet roller to your stand mixer and set it to #1. Turn on the stand mixer to speed 2 and run the pasta dough through the pasta sheet roller. While on #1, fold the dough in half and run it through again. Do this several times until dough is smooth.
Add a little flour on each side of the dough again, change setting to #3 and pass the pasta dough through the sheet roller a few times until the dough is smooth and slightly translucent. If you want slightly thinner dough, run the dough through once or twice on setting #4.

Cut the dough into two or three pieces and change the attachment to your spaghetti or fettuccine cutter and turn on to speed 2 (I prefer the fettuccine attachment!). Run the pasta sheet through and with your left hand, hold on to the pasta as it comes through the cutter. Toss the pasta with flour and form into a nest. Allow pasta to dry for a few minutes before boiling or storing.

When boiling your pasta, it only needs about 5 minutes to boil.

Make ahead: After kneading the dough, wrap with plastic wrap tightly and let rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out.

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Foodie Sundays: A Scrumptious Buffalo Chicken Chowder

Soups are definitely a favorite of mine. Even when it’s warm out like it was today. I don’t know, there’s just something so wonderfully yummy about a good soup. And this Buffalo Chicken Chowder is most certainly what I would call yummy. Especially if you like a little spice!

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flour (rice flour for gluten free)
3 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1/4 cup Franks Red Hot sauce (taste before using the entire 1/4 cup)
1 large yukon gold or other boiling potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Step 1: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, add the chicken and saute until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Step 2: Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Step 4: Mix in the flour and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 5: Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan.

Step 6: Add the cooked chicken you set aside, the hot sauce and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: Season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream and blue cheese and remove from heat when the cheese has melted.

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Both The Hubby and I agree, this is one of our new favorite soups. Hope you enjoy!

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