Life changing loaf of bread

life changing loaf of bread

life changing loaf of bread

life changing loaf of bread

I’m a fan of bread that looks and feels like a brick so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.

Will this loaf of bread change your life? I can’t say for sure but it’s a wonderful recipe to add to your repertoire for many reasons.

life changing loaf of bread

It’s chewy, dense, filling, hearty, healthy, moist. Delicious, too, especially when toasted and topped with your favourite topping. Not only does this bread seem to compliment whatever you put on top – avocado, goat cheese, peanut butter, sliced tomato or cucumber – but adding a topping transforms a single slice into a meal, too.

life changing loaf of bread

Another bonus: you mix and bake this loaf in the same pan. Basically you’re left with a dirty spoon, pan and measuring cup, making clean up easy.

life changing loaf of bread

This recipe lends itself to substitutions, too, providing you stick to the same proportions. For example, use pumpkin or sesame seeds instead of sunflower seeds or use a bit of each. Substitute rolled spelt or quinoa for rolled oats, almonds instead of hazelnuts, honey instead of maple syrup. I love when recipes are forgiving like that.

The only ingredient that must remain a constant is the psyllium seed husks, which hold all the ingredients together without using flour. Psyllium is high in fibre, helps reduce cholesterol, aids digestion and weight loss, and gets your bowels moving or slows them down depending on your situation. It’s available at health food stores but if you can’t find it where you live you can buy it on line.

life changing loaf of bread

life changing loaf of bread

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
1/2 cup / 90g flax seeds (if you use ground flax seeds add more water)
1/2 cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 1/2 cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp chia seeds
4 Tbsp psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp fine grain sea salt (add 1/2 tsp if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil. I imagine you could use other healthy oils too, although I haven’t tried.
1 1/2 cups / 350ml water. Add a little more if it doesn’t seem wet enough.

In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. A flexible, silicon loaf pan is best because you can test to see if the dough is holding together, and it’s easy to remove the loaf from the pan, but a regular pan should be fine, especially if you line it with parchment.

Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add more water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.

Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes.

Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing. Important!

Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too but slice before freezing for quick and easy toast.

 

Gluten-free breakfast bars

gluten-free breakfast bars

gluten-free breakfast bars

Have you noticed the recipes I post are often gluten-free? That’s because two family members are particularly sensitive to it.

I came across this recipe for gluten-free breakfast bars on the website of Susan Jane White.

Her food story is really interesting. Her original plan in life was to become an academic but that all changed when she became quite ill, literally on death’s door, when a university student at Oxford. No one could diagnose what ailed her.

Having no luck with conventional medicine, she eventually came to realize wheat, dairy and cane sugar might be her problem, and she was right. Thus began her return towards good health, eating and cooking without these foods, and a career as a cookbook author and food blogger. Read her story here. It’s compelling!

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

These are called breakfast bars but we eat them at any time of the day. They’re particularly great if you’re on the go and want to sink your teeth into something satisfying and nutrient dense, something to sustain you until you sit down for a proper meal. Oats, almond flour, walnuts, dates, banana, and sunflower seeds make them especially nutritious and delicious.

Gluten-free breakfast bars

140 ml melted extra virgin coconut oil

80 ml good quality honey or maple syrup

2 handfuls of regular pitted dates (100g), chopped

1 banana, mashed

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

freshly grated nutmeg

a generous pinch of sea salt

Slightly more than 2 cups (200g) regular rolled oats and not jumbo oats (certified gluten-free if that’s important to you)

Just under 1 cup (100g) of walnuts, roughly broken

1 cup (100g) ground almonds

Handful of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to no higher than 340 degrees fahrenheit or else the bars will crumble.

Line a pan no bigger than 8×10 with enough parchment so you can lift the bars out of the pan later.

Mix together oats, almond flour, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salt and spices.

Gently melt the coconut oil with honey for 2 minutes in a small pan over low heat. Chop the dates and add them to the oil and honey. Add the mashed banana. Once these ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add to your dry mixture, and combine well.

Scrape into your pan. Press down firmly with your fingers or spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

xo

 

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

Above: If gluten-free really matters to you, be sure your oats say gluten-free on the package. Also, don’t use the large rolled oats but the smaller ones. I’ve made the recipe using both types and, although they taste equally good, they hold together better using the smaller oats. If you only have the large oats, try blending them in the food processor for a minute. That did the trick for me.

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane whiteAbove: Nutmeg and cinnamon are a magical combination for these bars but you could spice them differently, too. Lemon or orange zest maybe? Dark chocolate chips? Ginger?

 

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

 

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

 

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

Above: Oats will turn bitter if you let them get too brown. Also important is to resist cutting until they have completely cooled down. Otherwise, you won’t get a nice clean cut and they will be prone to crumble. So wait a bit.

gluten-free breakfast bars, susan jane white

 

 

 

Coconut red lentil soup

coconut red lentil soup

 

coconut red lentil soup

 

I know, I know. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and instead of posting a recipe for a sweet treat project I’m encouraging you to make soup. Next year I promise I will be more timely and on point but for now, soup it is.

I do love a bowl of soup and this is hands down my favourite recipe.

It’s easy to make and ready to serve in 45 minutes. It’s the most beautiful shade of yellow-orange. Plus it’s wonderfully flavourful with a spiced coconut broth, and thickened with red lentils, which are full of fibre, protein, iron and vitamin B. So it’s nourishing, too.

Nothing says I love you like a delicious bowl of soup. That could work, right?

xo

Coconut red lentil soup

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use coconut oil)

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups water or broth (add more if you like a thinner soup)

1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (10 oz)

1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk

2 medium zucchini cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs

 

Cook onion in oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water, lentils, and coconut milk, then simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes.

Make any needed adjustments. Add more water if the consistency needs to be thinned out a bit.

Season with salt and serve with cilantro sprigs scattered on top and maybe a drizzle of coconut milk. A squirt of fresh lime juice would be nice, too. Maybe even a bit of lime zest!

 

coconut red lentil soup

 

 

Applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter

 

What’s applesauce got to do with heirloom guilt and clutter?

Inheritance and heirloom gifts are given to us and we’re expected to accept and appreciate them. Sometimes we love them and they fit into our life and support us. Sometimes they’re things we don’t like, want or need but we accept them anyway, and they become clutter. It’s in this latter case that many of us struggle with what to do.

Even today, when many of us have more than we need, more than we can sometimes take care of, and yet refusing family heirlooms or a bequeathed gifts can feel like a betrayal. We feel we couldn’t possibly get rid of them (let alone refuse them in the first place) for fear people will think us disrespectful or uncaring. So we end up living amongst inherited furniture or other things we don’t like or don’t have room for.

Maybe, too, we fear if we let these things go our memories will go.

My parents had a grandfather clock that hung on the wall. It would ring every 15 minutes, and every hour it would ding and dong the appropriate number of times.

While some people might really appreciate such a clock my memories of it aren’t great.

Whenever I visited Mom and Dad when the kids were small I was usually very sleep-deprived, and that darn clock was always waking me up, robbing me of precious much-needed rest. I would even attempt to cover it with towels to muffle the sound before bed at night. Still, it would wake me.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, among all Dad’s personal possessions, he was leaving the clock to, you guessed it, me!

I’m almost nervous to tell you I didn’t take the clock and I don’t feel bad about it. I did what one of the world’s leading authorities on space clearing, Karen Kingston, advises: I accepted the love given with the gift (he thought it would look nice in our dining room, which is very sweet) but I let it go.

I chose not to accept it even though I loved him; I already have enough clocks, it triggered bad memories (horrible sleep deprivation) and I knew I didn’t need it to remember him.

Which brings me to applesauce.

On one of my final visits to Mom and Dad’s before Mom died I felt such relief to witness how much love there was in their home despite the difficult situation. Mom had Alzheimer’s and was living at home with Dad as her caregiver. Although he initially struggled to accept what was happening to Mom, Dad had really stepped up to the plate.

I decided I could be helpful by making applesauce from a huge bunch of apples that were threatening to go bad. While I sat peeling them, my mother, who wasn’t talking much at that stage, watched me and told me what a patient person I was.

I couldn’t have felt more close to them while I peeled apples yesterday than if I had a room full of heirlooms. No need to have stuff to help us remember loved ones.

The memories are inside us all along.

xo

applesauce, heirloom guilt and clutter