Gluten Free Bread… this is important.

Summer is definitely on its way. The past few days have been very warm and I feel like my relationship with the pool is officially complicated. Part of me can’t wait for summer days of lounging by the pool and soaking up the sun, the other part of me isn’t ready to say goodbye to the coziness of winter and my boots. I know… life is hard.

Boots aside, I also have this thing with soup and I always look forward to making all the soups when the temperature drops. With soup comes something important: bread. It’s really important. Fresh bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures and you shouldn’t have to give that up over something like a gluten intolerance. For this recipe I used rice flour which resulted in a much denser bread, I think a blend of gluten-free flours could result in something fluffier, but I love a dense bread so I didn’t mind. This is a good base to work with and you can play around with the flours to see what texture you like best. It can also easily be made vegan if you use a non-dairy milk. I’m looking forward to trying it with buckwheat or quinoa flours to see how it comes out with a pseudocereal, I’ll keep you posted on the results 🙂

gluten free bread

Gluten-Free Bread

yields 1 loaf adapted from Fork & Beans

2 1/2 tsp of yeast

1 cup of warm milk (dairy or non-dairy)

2 tsp of sugar

1 cup of warm water

5 TBS of ground flaxseed

3 TBS of olive oil

2 tsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

3 cups of rice flour

1/4 cup of oats ground into a flour OR buckwheat flour

1 tsp of baking powder

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

  1. In a medium bowl combine the warmed milk with the yeast and sugar, allow to proof until frothy (approx.10 minutes). Add the water, olive oil, lemon juice, and ground flaxseeds and whisk until well-combined, then allow to sit for a few minutes while the flaxseeds thicken the mixture.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
  3. Place mixture into a greased bread pan, pressing the mixture lightly into the pan. Cover with a light towel or loosely with saran wrap, and allow the bread to rise in the pan in a warm part of the kitchen. The bread should be just above the pan before going into the oven, this will take 30-45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 190C (350F) and bake the bread for 60 minutes. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan before removing it.
  5. Enjoy! Preferably with some homemade soup, this one is always a favorite.

Enjoy your week!

xo,

Natalia

Homemade Ginger-Turmeric Beer

Hi there, long time no write 😦

2014 proved to be one of the most challenging but also exciting years of my life. There have been many changes, some wonderful, some not so much, but overall, I think 2015 has a lot of good things in-store.

Some changes:

1) I’m engaged! This was obviously super exciting and I am so happy. Exciting times ahead!

2) We moved! We are now living in the beautiful Lowveld, and I am loving the small town vibe, along with the relaxed atmosphere of country living. I think I might be a country girl at heart after all.

3) I am now, very proudly, a contributing writer on greendock.com, a green and healthy living portal that is currently focused on South Africa, but making its way into the world. It is chock-full of interesting articles and information, a calendar of events, a directory, and more. Check it out!

Another change, or rather a discovery: this Ginger-Turmeric Beer. This creation was a light-bulb moment one very hot day, when I was craving something refreshing and fizzy but not water or some sugary soda. This drink is refreshing, healthy, and the perfect thirst quencher when water just won’t do. It can also be made in a pinch!

turmeric beer

Homemade Ginger-Turmeric Beer (side note: beer=ale… this is non-alcoholic)

serves 1

  • sparkling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • pinch of ginger
  • stevia or honey (I add about 6-7 drops of stevia, but sweeten to your liking. When I tried it with honey 1TBSP was nice)

Place turmeric, ginger, juice from 1/4 of a lemon, and stevia (or honey) in a glass. Slowly add sparkling water (it will fizz up very quickly) and carefully stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Add ice and enjoy!

Some benefits of Turmeric:

  • Immunity booster
  • Can relieve Arthritis
  • Reduces Cholesterol
  • Good for weight management
  • Supports brain health
  • Improves digestion
  • Has anti-aging benefits

I’m down with all of those benefits, and at the very least, this drink is tasty and refreshing. Let me know if you give a shot!

see you soon, promise 🙂

xo,

Natalia

Winter Warmers

Cheers to Friday!

This one’s for the South Africans who, like me, have been freezing lately. Being from Illinois, I’m pretty used to the cold, in fact, I love it. I love boots (in case you hadn’t picked up on that one…), soups, tea, red wine, snow, etc. Winter is splendid. It used to be all about the holidays and Christmas for me, but since I moved to the Southern hemisphere and Christmas became a summer holiday, I think what I love the most now, are the fashion and food changes. I adore all seasonal changes, but there’s something so comforting about cold weather food, and as for fashion transitions, well I’ll take any excuse to go shopping.

Last night I made an old favorite of mine that was originally inspired by a tasty tomato lentil soup I had at Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay once upon a wintry day. This soup is delicious, healthy and even better the next day. Enjoy it with some fresh bread and red wine for comforting winter dinner or lunch.

Italian Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe

1 cup of dried brown lentils

2 TBS of cooking oil (preferably coconut oil)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of minced garlic, plus 1 clove*

1 large carrot, grated

2 ½ tsp of Oregano

1 tsp of Thyme

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp of Cayenne Pepper if you like a bit of heat

Splash of red wine

1 can of tomato puree (if you can find in a carton, that is preferred, tins aren’t great)

1 can of chopped tomatoes + their juice (again, carton is preferred)

3 tsp of sugar or sweetener of choice (just make sure it equates to the sweetness of 3 tsp of sugar)

4-5 cups of vegetable broth or stock (Kallo is my favorite) depending on how thin or chunky you want the soup

Salt and pepper

2 TBS  of chopped fresh basil and more for garnish (optional)

1)      Place 1 cup of dried brown lentils in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and soak overnight. The lentils will absorb most of the water so be sure they are submerged at least 2 inches under water.

2)      After soaking, drain and rinse the lentils very well.

3)      Heat oil in a soup pot, if using coconut oil, allow it to melt. Add onion and stir with a wooden spoon until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes, reduce heat to medium.

4)      Add the 3 cloves of garlic and grated carrot to the onions and stir for an additional 2 minutes.

5)      Add oregano, thyme, bay leaves and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly. Then add a splash of red wine (preferably from the glass you’re sipping on) to deglaze the bottom of the pot and give the mixture a stir.

6)      Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, sugar and lentils to pot, stir and bring to a simmer. Then add the stock and bring to a simmer again and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and let the soup cook for 30-40 minutes, giving it a stir every few minutes to ensure it isn’t burning on the bottom.

7)      After 30 minutes, have a little taste and adjust the flavour with salt and pepper. Then, stir in the remaining clove of garlic* and basil, and allow the soup to simmer for 2 more minutes.

8)      Garnish with basil leaf, serve and enjoy!

*note: I am a garlic fiend.  The more garlic the merrier, in my book. I like to add a bit of garlic at the end for a stronger flavor, but use your discretion when you taste the soup to see if this is necessary.

And now for the clothes…  The beauty of South African winters is that they’re cold enough to wear winter clothes, but not so cold that you have to cover up with a massive parka. Here are some winter looks I’m loving and excited to wear this winter. (side note: if I could pick one boutique to stock my closet for the rest of my life, it would be Free People . A girl can dream).

Free Bird by Steven Phoenix Boot at Free People

05242013071403

Faux fur vests and knit hats (source)

fashnchips

Boot Socks (source)

bootsocks

Floppy felt hats with knits (source). My boyfriend is not a fan of my floppy hat, but I think it looks amazing with over-sized knits and is a fun winter accessory. Psh…boys…

hatandknit

Stay warm or get a tan depending on where you are! But most importantly, enjoy your weekend!

xo,

Natalia