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

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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

Friday Delights: Summers in South Africa

Happy Friday! I trust everyone is looking forward to the weekend? Si? If you’re in Johannesburg, I hope you’re embracing this heat wave with a little love rather than allowing your body and mood to roast like I did yesterday in my un-airconditioned car….  Side story: when I first got Diego (my car) insured, the insurance lady was properly SHOCKED that I lived in Joburg without air conditioning in my car, I told her it was the only thing I didn’t like about summer. Anyway, this weekend Diego and I will give each other some space, and I will stay cool with some vino and hopefully a pool. No-air-conditioning-in-Diego aside, I love summers in South Africa and felt like they deserved their own post especially amidst the heat wave.

When I moved to South Africa 4.5 years ago, I wisely chose Cape Town as my new home. Cape Town is my favorite place in the world, it encompasses everything that I love yet never ceases to amaze me or introduce me to something new and special. I think what really did it for me, was the combination of the outdoors and nature, with also completely being a lifestyle city. I became a wino and outdoorsy all at the same time, and both have stuck with me.

The city sits against mountains but along the sea and beyond the mountains are the famous Cape Winelands, and along the sea are little seaside villages, both are truly breath taking. Imagine living in a city where no matter where you lived, you had a million-dollar view. That’s Cape Town. Some of the best parties, beaches, hikes, and restaurants that I’ve ever been to, have been in this gorgeous place. Cape Town, you will always have my heart.

V&Awaterfront

V&A Waterfront with Table Mountain (source)

Franschhoekwinelands

Franschhoek, Cape Winelands (source)

Eventually the wind took me to Johannesburg… the opposite of Cape Town in so many ways, but not without its own unique perks. Joburg is a business hub and in some ways the capital of Africa. Work-wise: awesome. People-wise: great. Very cosmopolitan. What I love about living here though, is that when summer shows up, so do the thunderstorms and the unbelievable sunsets. The thunderstorms are HECTIC but so beautiful and the sunsets are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. African skies are something else, and I’m not sure why, but in Joburg they really are out of this world.

joburgsunset

Sunset over Joburg CBD, photo by Walter Knirr

lightning sandton

Lightning over Sandton (source)

Between the lifestyle, good wine, fresh foods and weather, South African summers are delightful and very very special 🙂

Have a great weekend!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: Watermelon & Bubbles

Ok so this post is two-fold… on the one hand we have a simple delicious juice and on the other we have a naughty juice… a.k.a. a cocktail. I think this is appropriate considering it’s hump day, so we could all use a little health AND a little naughtiness to help us get to the weekend 🙂

One of my favorite things about summer is that watermelon is in season. I could subsist on watermelon. It’s versatile, delicious, and the health benefits go on and on. Here are a few:

  • Alkaline-forming
  • Low in sugar and calories
  • Natural diuretic (yay for kidney health!)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • High in antioxidants
  • Natural electrolyte (hello, post-workout food)
  • Can reduce body fat

Yum. While you can put watermelon through a juicer, it’s not really necessary. The fruit is so high in water that it’s worth keeping the pulp and just popping some chunks into the blender.

Watermelon Cooler

serves 2

1 cucumber

handful of mint

2 cups of chopped watermelon

Blend the watermelon. Juice the cucumber and mint. Mix the two. Voila!

 

Watermelon Bellinis

chopped watermelon

champagne/sparkling wine (just make sure it’s dry, the watermelon adds sweetness and you don’t want a sickly sweet cocktail)

mint to garnish (optional)

1. Blend the watermelon until smooth.

2. Fill a champagne flute 2/3 of the way with champagne, then carefully top with the watermelon juice.

3. Enjoy!

watermelonbellinis

We enjoyed a few of these over the weekend and I have to admit, they go down WAY too easy. Delicious, refreshing, simple, and screaming summer.

Cheers to hump day!

 

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights: Halloween and November

Happy Halloween/Dia de los Muertos!

dia-de-los-muertos-skulls

Yesterday was Halloween and today is technically the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos which is fun in its own way and allows us to keep celebrating this fun time of year. I’ll take it. Halloween is a fun and silly holiday that I’m glad to see getting bigger in South Africa every year, just like the pumpkin fanatics that come with it. Isn’t it funny how pumpkin love is basically an all or nothing kind of thing? People either love it or hate it. I think you know where I sit with this.

Since it’s the beginning of the month I wanted to make a list of things I’m doing/loving at the moment. I see some of my favorite bloggers occasionally doing this and I think its a great way to reflect on the present and shape how you want to approach the near future. So here it goes:

eating: apples. I can’t stop eating them… but my mind is on grapes. Unfortunately, the only available grapes at the moment are imported. I refuse.
drinking: coffee and anything sparkling.
practicing: positivity.
mastering: bikram, which in retrospect… I should have done before the hot weather hit.
learning:  better time management, especially in a way that I can blog more.
listening: Sublime has resurfaced on the ipod. It’s Sublime weather.
cooking: at the moment, its more like uncooking. Lots of salads and fresh foods up in here. But getting a grill for summer braais/bbqs is something I’m looking forward to BIG time. Apparently grilled watermelon is delicious…must try.
reading: I’ve just started The Shack out of curiosity (I’m not religious) because people rave about it and it’s been lying around my house… stay tuned.
wearing: summer dresses and knee high gladiator sandals.
starting: an organic herb garden! I was given a little pot of four herbs and while my lack of green thumb is showing… I have hope.
finishing: my blogging hiatus. I intend to do this a little more regularly going forward, so thanks for sticking around 🙂

enjoy your weekend!

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights: 6 things

friday-i-love-you1

Happy Friday, lovelies!

TGIF. Am I right? Here are a few things I am finding delightful at the moment:

1)  Sustainability Week in Johannesburg. It is Sustainability Week in Joburg and since Wednesday, there have been various green seminars and events happening at the Sandton Convention Center. These are the kind of events that inspire me and make my heart smile. We’ll be checking out the Green Home and Lifestyle Fair this weekend and I can’t wait. 

2) Paleo recipes. A friend of mine has recently gone Paleo and I am intrigued. Especially in the baked goods, these are happening soon.

3) Peruvian Independence Day. Not as random as it sounds… I am half Peruvian and my mother kindly emailed me to remind me to celebrate this weekend. Aji de Gallina… Pisco Sours… I’m coming for you.

4) Cashew Cream. It tastes so rich and decadent that it’s hard to believe it’s not dairy! This poblano version is happening tonight.

5) In 59 days I get to meet Tara Stiles and take one of her classes. She is my idol.

6) Can summer just get here already. I’d like to walk around wearing this.

 

Have a delightful and hopefully green weekend!

 

xo,

Natalia