“Free-From” Baking Blend

Living in Gluten FREEdom for 7 years now, this month, I feel very much for all the allergy families as they navigate their new lifestyles.

In my Trim Healthy Mama Lifestyle Journey, I have watched those with allergies struggle with baking blends, and I took the most consistent allergens and went to work on a replacement.

This is my gift to you, Lovely Ladies! A blend that is FREE of gluten, wheat, nuts, coconut, dairy, mammal free, nightshades, oats, grains, eggs, egg whites and corn! It will even fit into a vegetarian lifestyle.

We all deserve safe baked goods, and this is my 7 year “Celiac-Aversary” present to you from the Treehouse!

****IF you choose to purchase any of the products linked in this post, I may receive a small commission. This does not increase the price for you, but blesses my family and continues to help make it possible for me to create these recipes****

Free From Baking Blend. Life in the Treehouse.

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Ingredients:

Method:

Mix all ingredients together, and store in an airtight container.

1/4 Cup of this recipe is fuel pull, if using the exact brands that I have linked, otherwise it will fall into a light S, per serving, on the Trim Healthy Plan

***I have been able to use this blend in all Trim Healthy Plan compatible baking that calls for their branded baking blend, along with recipes from other bloggers who create recipes compatible with THM***

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about the products we use, How to build a gluten free pantry, or how to start making Gluten Free Sourdough you have come to the right place.

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Gluten Free Sourdough Tips and Tricks

I have officially joined the movement of those who discovered the joys of homemade sourdough bread during the Pandemic of 2020, but mine is special….it’s gluten free!

Our entire family eat gluten free, and you can ready why here. This has made it so that I have not baked bread, or bread-like products, in 6 years.

To say I have been excited with the results is an understatement! This momma LOVED baking bread prior to my childrens’ diagnosis.

It was literally my hobby, self-care, stress management, whatever you want to call it, when my husband was active duty military and I was a stay at home mom, for the first 5 years of our marriage.

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How to Find a Starter?

I found multiple ideas for starters, and settled on one here because I had initially gone looking for ones that would pair well with my Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle as well as our need to be completely gluten free for our kids. I also sell dried bits of my mature starter, named “Brice” (brown rice) through this link.

I liked her idea in the blog post, but It took 10 days for my starter to fully activate, and that was only after I had started making some changes to my methods.

  1. I quit using the scale.
  2. I also needed a larger amount of starter, because we are a family of 9, so I was not discarding anything to build my supply.
  3. I felt the starter was too thick based on previous experience with wheat ingredients, and I just began to eye-ball it. My preferred consistency is like pancake batter, and this proved to be optimal for my gluten free starter as well.
  4. I came across a comment on another sourdough starter recipe that mentioned feeding the starter half of the amount of its volume every day for optimal happy fermenting action, so I increased the amount or decreased it by the day. Again, eyeballing it, knowing that my vessel is 8 cups total.

All of these changes have created a bubbly counter top friend that helps me look like mother of the year to my children, who have not had this much “bread” in many years.

If you are looking to create a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter, please join the waiting list for my next workshop here!

The Perfect Gluten Free Loaf

I had also used my Pinterest account to collect ideas for my new counter top friend in anticipation of the day it was mature enough to use.

I tried this recipe that was proclaimed to be Trim Healthy Mama compatible, and we liked it, but it was very dense with a very tough crust, possibly user error but we moved on to the next recipe just in case.

The next recipe I found has become our favorite to date, and you can find it here. You can also find my Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend for this recipe, just click the linked words.

Here are some extra things I learned that helped the loaves successful.

  1. One batch of this recipe fits perfectly into two size small Silicone Challah pans. I do a lot of our breads in these pans due to their easy-release nature with gluten free ingredients.
  2. I cook it for 40 minutes inside the silicone pans, and then for another 40-45 minutes flipped right-side up on a baking sheet to evenly bake them.
  3. Let cool completely before you cut into them.

Getting My Groove

As with any new skill you want to build upon it as you become more comfortable.

By two weeks of practice, and working out my feeding schedule for my counter top friend, I had decided to branch out into Crackers, English Muffins and Banana Bread.

My feeding schedule is…..

**1 cup of brown rice flour and roughly equal parts of untreated water, mixed to a pancake batter consistency and added to my half-gallon glass mason jar twice a day. But, as mentioned above, I will eyeball the volume and vary the amounts as needed.

**If it is trying to jump out of the jar I transfer the amount I need to make my next creation into a bowl and add ingredients according to the recipe instructions and let it do its thing overnight so it is ready to bake the following day.

I am making about 3 gluten free sourdough creations every week, trying very hard to keep them as close to an E meal on the Trim Healthy Mama plan as possible.

You can find my highlights about this on Instagram too, along with any of the sourdough creations I have done recently.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, what I do as a Trim Healthy Mama Lifestyle Coach, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend

I have been dabbling in Gluten Free Sourdough for a few weeks, and the results have been pretty exciting, for a former wheat bread baker who really misses that part of our former lifestyle.

I went searching for a wild starter and loaf recipe that would work with our Trim Healthy Mama Lifestyle, but I found out quickly that some tweaks would have to be made. Many of the flours suggested we do not use due to their lack of nutritional value, or the effect they may have on blood sugar.

Also, I wanted this loaf to fall into an E meal on the THM plan…a unicorn, I know, but I won’t be pregnant or nursing forever and I miss bread!

I found this recipe and in it she describes the “bones” of what she calls a bread flour mix, without giving specific instructions…you get to build your own!

This was promising!

I picked from her suggestions, a mix of gluten free flours that I hoped would provide enough structure to maintain any sort off rise gained from fermentation, but also deliver on taste and texture. They certainly did that!

I’m going to say I was inspired by her suggestions because they were very helpful and valuable to me, and this is not wholly my own creation due to her hard work….

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Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Quinoa Flour
  • 1 Cup Oat Flour (certified GF oats ground in a blender)
  • 1 Cup Garbonzo/Besan Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Oat Fiber
  • 1 1/2 Cups Baking Blend (I use this recipe with success)
  • 1 Cup Masa Harina

Method

If you are using the baking blend recipe I linked above, make sure you have it all ready to go.

Then, Mix all the above ingredients together. In her recipe for the sourdough she states that a single batch is good for three batches of bread and I found this to be accurate.

*I have also started experimenting with this blend in some of the recipes from the Trim Healthy Future Cookbook that call for Einkorn flour.

*Because this blend of flours includes a mixture of low fat/low carb flours, and higher carb flours, it falls within E meal guidelines for the baking I do with it.

*Due to the size of my family I tripled this batch and it stores perfectly in a 1 Gallon sized container.

If you are looking to create a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter, please join the waiting list for my next workshop here!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about how I use Leftovers, building a gluten free pantry, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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How to Build a Gluten Free Pantry on a Budget

As a large family our food budget is definitely one of the areas, where we have to make our money do miraculous things every month.  Really, it’s God in action, because I don’t know how it happens most of the time.

Now, the gluten free life style may seem like just another fad, but it keeps our children healthy in the short term, and affects their future health in every way.  Two of our children have an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is not something they will ever grow out of, it is not something that they acquired from eating the wrong things as babies, i is not from me eating or drinking anything while I was pregnant with them, or coming into contact with pollution or the wrong type of non-GMO grains.  It is a true allergy at the cellular level, specifically in their intestines.

If they go on and eat gluten later in life it will damage their bodies and create a whole host of health problems that could result in a shorter life expectancy.

So, the gluten free pantry is incredibly important.

FEEDING MY CHILDREN WITH FOOD ALLERGIES (1)

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I did a video tour of our pantry, and you can see it here!

 

Start with empty shelves!

You will have to throw things out. I know, the thought made me shudder when we were starting. Find another family to bless or donate what is still usable!  We can no longer use the food bank, but they would love your items!

Get rid of your plastic storage containers and utensils. Gluten is a sticky protein, and you don’t want to cross contaminate all your new pantry items, or the food you cook in the future.

Look up the sneaky names for gluten. You may be able to save canned goods or frozen fruit and vegetables, but be sure of the ingredients, and manufacturing.

Here is what our pantry has…..

Dry goods:

Beans – we choose dried because they are very cheap and we can control cross-contamination better

Rice – We generally use brown rice to fit into the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating

Quinoa

Nutritional Yeast

Spices – you will need to make your own seasoning blends because anti-caking agents and cross contamination are very common, and buying single ingredient spices in bulk is how we do this

Nuts and seeds – these are best and cheapest raw and un-roasted because of seasonings being an issue. Also, buy the packages that say “pieces”, they are so much cheaper than the whole nuts.  I started making my own peanut butter, and my family love it!

Oatmeal – Certified Gluten Free Oats

Gluten Free Flours – You can find our list here

Canned Goods:

Check all your cans for manufacturing!  It’s not usually what’s in the can that is the problem, it’s how it was packaged.

Canned Veggies – and you can see where we use some of them in my Green Bean Goulash

Canned Coconut Products – Full fat milk, and coconut cream

Canned Beans – We do not do this much anymore, but we do keep some for emergency use, now we like to soak our beans from dry and cook them ourselves

Condiments – Thickeners, preservatives, and colorants are big here.  Stay safe!

Frozen Foods:

Again, check manufacturing!  Very few seasoned, or saucy items are clean of contamination. Stay safe!

Veggies, Fruits, Meats – no preformed patties because they usually have “modified food starch”

Refrigerated/Produce:

Milk Products – I make my own Kefir, Greek Yogurt, and Cottage Cheese.  Because we were dairy free for 7 years we do not usually use it for straight drinking or cooking.  I also can sell surplus kefir grains if you message me here

Meats

Cheeses

Eggs

Veggies

Fruits

 

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, Read about Why I believe you are a Gatekeeper, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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Jalapeno Feddar Poppers – THM S

My husband is a Jalapeno Popper connoisseur.  He doesn’t like just any popper, he wants the ones with CHEDDAR!  When we were dairy free, he was like a man on a desert island without them, and would ask very nicely for me to bring them home just for him.

Now that our children can tolerate dairy again, I like to play around with ingredients and see if I can make a good thing into something that is asked for over and over again.  This is one of those recipes.

I whipped them up for the first time last year for him and my brother-in-law and the first thing my husband said is, “I can taste the cheddar!” My response was, “What cheddar?” So, the Feddar (faux-cheddar) Popper was born!

JalapenoFeddarPoppers_thms_nicoleburch

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I made these twice in the last couple weeks for our Sabbath Rest day feast, or Shabbat, and even my spicy-food-disliking children thought they were winners.

We follow Trim Healthy Mama principles in our eating, and if you want to know why I believe it has been the single best way I know how to feed growing children with gluten allergies you can go here and read about it.  This falls into an S meal, or would work wonderfully as an appetizer.

 

Jalapeno Feddar Poppers – THM S

Servings: 6                     Print Here

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb regular ground meat or sausage

9 Jalapenos, cut in half with seeds and ribs removed (get the fattest ones you can find, at least the width of your thumb)

4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1/4-1/2 Cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons mineral salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (if using ground meat instead of sausage)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon garlic granules

1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the jalapenos and remove the white ribs and seeds.  Lay them out on a baking sheet.

Mix defrosted ground meat with room temperature cream cheese and all other ingredients very well, until you can no longer see white streaks of cream cheese in the mixture.

Grab, approximately 1 Tablespoon, meatball portions of the mixture and roll them between your hands until they are long enough for the jalapeno and then press into the half, until you fill every crevice.  Continue until all jalapeno halves are filled.  If you have extra, roll them into meatballs and cook alongside the poppers.

Bake for 25-35 minutes.

They will be very oily if using sausage, and I poured that out on the baking sheet before putting them on the plate for serving.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, How I got my Husband on board with our eating style, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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Green Bean Goulash – THM E

This recipe was something I created, and made a lot, as a tween.  I come from a family of 7, so I knew how to feed a crowd on a dime from the beginning.  In my childhood home it was made with venison burger hunted by my Dad, white Minute Rice, and Soy Sauce.  Now, I have had to change a few things to fit our current eating style.

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#1 – Make it Gluten Free!

I have to read labels to check the green beans for cross contamination.  So far, the #10 (101 ounce) cans from Walmart are our cheapest safe option.  We go through between 4 to 6 of these a month for our family of 8 for varios meals.

Then, I had to ditch the soy sauce and replace it with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  You could change this to either Coconut Aminos or Tamari.

It seriously took more time to figure all that out than it does to cook it or to eat it!

#2 – Make it work for the Trim Healthy Mama Plan

There are two different fuels in the body that are used for energy.  Fats and Carbs.  Obviously, we’re working with a Carb source here, rice!

White rice is not recommended for those looking to release weight in THM, just young children and those at goal weight, so I replaced the white minute rice with brown rice.  Yes, you could use the brown Minute rice here, but it is cheaper for my family to use the slow cooking kind.

I also subbed out the venison burger because we have not had plentiful sources yet, which could easily be used in this fuel type because of its lean properties, for either extra rinsed regular ground meat or at least 96% lean ground.  I am not picky at all about ground meats in my cooking, and so I use anything I have on hand.

There, you have it.  A recipe that is simple, frugal, gluten free, and THM compliant.  It actually fits all allergy types too because it is egg, nut, tree nut, dairy, shellfish, sugar free and gluten free! It is Soy free if you used liquid aminos!

Green Bean Goulash – THM E

Servings: 6-8          Print

Time: 1 hour (if you have to cook the rice), 20 minutes if you don’t

Ingredients:

2 Pounds extra lean ground meat

8 cups brown rice, cooked

1 – #10 Can green beans (101 ounces), drained

1/2 Cup gluten free soy sauce alternative

1/2 Cup nutritional yeast

1 large onion, diced

Pepper, garlic, Onion Powder to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there)

Directions:

Cook your rice according to package instructions.

I cook approximately 2 Cups of dry brown rice for this recipe.  In a skillet, at least 12 inches or a stock pot of some kind, brown all your ground meat.

If using at least 96% lean ground meat you do not need to rinse it, if you are not then rinse in the pan under very hot water for at least 5 minutes to release additional fat and drain off the water.  Return to the stove and set on medium-low heat.

Add diced onions, cooked rice, and green beans.  Soy sauce alternative, and other seasonings and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.

*Note: the picture has corn in my mix, I added 1 Cup of corn for the entire pan there to use some in my freezer.  I would not add more than that, or leave it out entirely to keep the Carb count within E meal territory.

For growing children: Add a fat of some kind to their meal.  I add coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or butter to my kids’ bowls. I just drizzle it on and mix it up.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, Read about Why I believe you are a Gatekeeper, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

nicoleburch_lifeinthetreehouse

How I Learned to Feed My Children With Severe Food Allergies

FEEDING MY CHILDREN WITH FOOD ALLERGIES

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Not long after our second son turned one we realized that something was wrong.  He had always been a very thin little one, and he was shorter in stature than his older brother who always maxed out every growth chart from the day he was born.

I had attributed his trailing growth to genetics, with my husband’s family having men as short at 5’5″ and as tall as 6’5″ along with the men in my family fitting in the middle of his somewhere, we knew we could have kids all over the growth chart.

The other factor was that he was severely tongue tied until he was 10 months old, when the Pediatrician finally agreed to give us the referral for a Frenectomy. He could eat much better after, but he never made the type of gains we were hoping for, even on formula.

His little belly was super distended all the time, and he was beginning to show signs that something in his diet was affecting his digestive system negatively.  This prompted us to quit cloth diapering because we could not keep his bottom from rashes and hoped that disposables would keep him dryer.  They did not.

We even ended up in the emergency room one day because what came out of him was the exact same color and consistency of the milk he had consumed less than 30 minutes earlier.

1st Diagnosis

After he was about 18 months old we began to pursue, in earnest, some sort of diagnosis or help because he was beginning to vomit every single day and still had intestinal issues that were not changing.  His Pediatrician told us to try lactose free products and that eased the symptoms for a few months, but they came back.

We decided to eliminate all dairy, including casein, and see if that brought even further relief, which it did.  We had another child, our first daughter, by this time and she began to show the same symptoms as she grew.

Our whole family went diary free to accommodate two out of our family of five having, what we believed, was an allergy to dairy protein.

2nd Diagnosis

We moved to another state, and finally got our allergy testing, which was negative for both dairy and wheat.  This stumped us because, while being completely dairy free was helping some our son still had a distended belly, intestinal upset, and our daughter was suffering from eczema.

We switched to another Pediatrician in the same town after a traumatic appointment with our oldest, on the spectrum, where we realized that the former one was not equipped to handle children with sensory processing disorder.

The new Pediatrician begrudgingly went with my request for blood work for our son to test him for Celiac Disease.  She called me back two days later, You know that blood work you asked to be done, we actually did find that he has high levels of reactivity to gluten.  I need to refer you to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist.”

This Momma felt the weight of years, four at this time, of uncertainty and struggle being lifted in that very moment. By the end of 2015, 4 years after beginning to ask questions about our son’s symptoms, both diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Now What?

You can’t eat breads.

You still can’t eat dairy.

You can’t eat things made on the same machinery as bread.

You can’t be in a room where someone has baked with gluten containing flours for at least 8-12 hours.

You have to make everything they eat, or bring it with you.

Here’s the number of a dietitian (who did not help us in any way).

How on Earth was I going to feed my kids?

I found Trim Healthy Mama looking at some Mom-blogs that I had been following since my husband was in the military.  As our family grew I was trying to glean as much as I could about how to care for our large family from these ladies.

I began to look at the program, and bought their first book The Trim Healthy Mama Plan, as an e-book, which is no longer in print.  I read the book in just a few hours and I knew that it was what I was looking for to meet my childrens’ needs.

I could combine foods, real foods, simple foods, and do it for weight gain.  I could feed myself during pregnancy, nursing and beyond.  It fit our whole family!

Over the Years we have dabbled in it for weight loss, my husband and I, and at this time we are seeing a lot of success.  You can find our progress over at Life In The Treehouse.

We love it so much that my husband buys me the yearly Trim Healthy Membership for our Anniversary.  He gets a Motor Trend subscription, so fair is fair.

We find our recipes from many places.  Cookbooks, Pinterest (We have tried over 500 THM Compliant recipes at the time this is written), The membership site, and Bloggers who make recipes for the community.

Cookbooks:

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

Trim Healthy Table

Our Favorite Trim Healthy Mama Bloggers:

Mamashire – Many of her older recipes are THM, but her newest ones are gluten free/dairy free but mostly crossovers or off plan.

Northern NesterShe is mostly No Special Ingredients

Oil of Joy – Egg free/gluten free/dairy free

Lotsa little Lambs – The best gluten free pancakes, plus lots of other recipes!

Joy Filled Eats – Some dairy free, but lots of gluten free.

Well-Planned Kitchen – Used to be “Working At Homeschool”, and at this time many recipes still say that on the web.

Brianna Thomas – The Ice Cream Queen, including dairy free ones!

My Montana Kitchen – She does a lot of gluten free, and has some great dairy free things too.

Oh Sweet mercy – Real food, with lots of E meal options.

Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved – Many gluten free/dairy free.

Darcie’s Dishes – She is the tex-mex food Queen.

Mrs. Criddle’s Kitchen – lots of down home cooking

Nana’s Little Kitchen – a little bit of everything

Raye’s Place – gluten and dairy free, with some surprising ingredients that are delicious.

Sweet E’s – Greens heavy, and lots of inventive ways.  She does not cheat on her plan, EVER!

 

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, Read about Why I believe you are a Gatekeeper, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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A Simple Guide to Going Gluten Free

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Can you Live Without Bread?  

This question has gone through the mind of every person who has been told that they cannot have gluten, til death do they part.  Not just that they cannot have wheat, but that they cannot have any gluten-containing item, at all. I don’t even want to talk about items that are cross-contamination risks…..

The answer is yes, but the process of getting there can look like a trip to the peak of Mount Everest!

….., but let me show you how I would do it over if I could.

What do I do first?

Remove any gluten-containing products from your home.  Gluten is not just isolated to food, it is found in glue and even stickers.

It becomes a part of your pots and pans, as baked-on residue, those have to be thrown out because the only way to completely remove it is to sand it off.  If it was a really expensive set, I will cry with you when you chuck it or donate it.

Then, clean….

Flour and cracker residue is going to be everywhere.  Wash all your storage containers and wipe our the cupboards. 

Clean your oven and the racks inside, making sure that you scrub it all very well to remove all baked-on residue.  No, you do not have to get a new oven, because it is not likely that you will eat anything that falls out onto the oven floor or the racks.

My vote is for the cleaning cycle of the oven, vinegar-based cleaner because natural is best to me.

Go Through your Soap!

Because people cannot possibly stick with simple ingredients like lye and oil(that’s just too basic)!  They have to add all sorts of colors, fragrances, and wheat germ oil to soap.  Check your packages, and chuck the offending soaps.

This will include hair, hand, and whole body soaps.  Initially we were told that we did not need to go that far, but kids will eat and swallow the craziest things.  So, safety first is how we roll around the Treehouse.

Body Care Products, Beware!

Make up, chap stick, lipstick, lip gloss, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotion (wheat germ oil again…I know, right?).  Check them all.

Go through Your medicines, and call your pharmacy to make sure that yours are safe.  If they give you an answer without going and looking at the insert, or calling the company….find another pharmacy.  This could be the difference between long-term glutening or remission, and you are worth the few minutes of their time it takes to be truly sure.

Craft Closet Clean-out

Yes, the craft supplies are probably the second biggest offenders in my opinion.  If it can be molded like bread dough or has “-doh” in its name it will need to find a new home unless you can get the specs from the company.

Stickers, adhesive, paint, dye….check it all!

Now, go figure out the sneaky names of gluten!  It’s time to go shopping!

If you have no idea where to find it, or want all this information in digital form.  You can find it in my book, The Easy Start Guide to Gluten FREEdom.

 

Thank you so much for stopping by!

If you want to learn more about my family, why I believe you are a Gatekeeper, or how to cut down your cooking time you have come to the right place.

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