Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Little Mid-Week Update, and Grain-free Pumpkin Bread

Yesterday I felt well, but so hungry! I had my little pumpkin bread* with butter and a hardboiled egg for breakfast with coffee and milk. For lunch I ate my too-small  but very nutrient-dense salad then went on about a crazy-busy day. By the end of my workday I was famished. By the time I finished my 6pm dance class I was ready to eat the house. I settled for some grain-free bouef bourguingon over cauliflower and called it a night.

Today I packed extra raw almonds and a banana to get through the day, but it brings up a useful question to me: What is the difference between buying nuts and packing them in my lunch and stopping at the store to buy a bag of nuts when I'm hungry? The answer is that I'm just not stopping in to buy anything this month. This is radical dining-in and that means If I Dont Pack It I Don't Eat It. My shopping and prep are on Sunday and that's all there is unless I realize I've run out of something crucial. So I am reminded that I need to start making kombucha again, because O! how I miss my daily fix of it from the GNC next to my office. (That commercial kombucha and two ostrich meat sticks have made a thrown-together lunch more often than I care to think about, and at $7+ for something so silly there is really no excuse for me not making my own at home. Easy-peasy. A recipe and tutorial are coming soon.)

*So. Pumpkin "Bread". . .
. . . is more like a bread-with-pie-center and maybe something that you eat if you are hankering for a baked good and unable to allow yourself one, even if it is Girl Scout cookie month and, come on, now- don't raisins and spices make everything just a teeny bit better? I make mine very loosely.  Since they're never perfect like a real baked good I feel like you can be a bit loose with the ratios and play around until you hit on something you like. The main idea is that they are heavy on the eggs so they're full of protein and a little piece can therefore function as an actual breakfast. Plus you only have to bake one once and you're set for a week. I add a tiny bit of stevia (an herbal-derived sweetener that doesn't seem to raise blood sugar levels) but you can use raw honey or maple syrup to add sunshine to the morning. Seriously, this recipe and its variations have been a work in progress I have been tinkering with for the past year. If you have a better method won't you send it my way? I will keep tinkering and post an update when I've figured it out. Here's how I did it this time.

Grain-free Pumpkin Bread
5 eggs
2/3 a cup of organic pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut flour (I also have used almond flour, which may work better for you)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses
nutmeg, cinnamon, and stevia to taste
some raisins
some almonds
I preheated the over to 350 and oiled a square Pyrex sheet (8 x 8") with coconut oil.  I mixed everything well in a large bowl, and poured it into the baking sheet. Letting it turn very nice and brown on the outside will mitigate some of the "mushy center" issues so common in grain-free baking. Adding more almond flour as you go can also help, but don't add too much or you end up with that chalky, dry texture that is also so common in grain-free baking. You're looking for a raw texture that is more like cookie dough, less like pancake batter.

Bake until brown and toast up in squares. Add butter and your morning beverage of choice and you've started the day with a powerhouse of protein, beta carotenes, and good fats.

And you've staved off the Girl Scouts for another day.

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