Before anything, I want to get one thing off my chest. I have not posted on this blog in OVER A YEAR. I can’t rightly keep blogger in my bio anymore. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it, or wanting to. It just means, I am plum out of time. (Shame, embarrassment, guilt, and imposter syndrome slightly expunged). So now, onto the good stuff! The stuff that’s bringing me back to post. Bread. That’s right, BREAD! There are very few things in life that I love as much or more than bread. My kids, my husband, my dog, my cat… well, maybe not my cat. Don’t tell her. She’ll develop a bread complex.
However, finding gluten-free bread has been quite a challenge over the years, and finding allergy-friendly, gluten-free bread has been like seeking the Holy Grail. There is some good bread out there (Canyon Bakehouse), but it’s not easy to find and it’s expensive. There is a good Gluten-free bakery in LA, Rising Hearts Bakery, but I have to get in my car and drive there specifically for bread. Because the bread at my local grocery store just doesn’t cut it. You KNOW what I’m talking about. Dense, rocks, dry, too much yeast, bread that’s like foam or worse, styrofoam. Bread with too much xanthan gum or guar gum, that has a slimy gummy finish. It’s often been, well, just not worth it to bother. And I do have bread recipes of my own, (see my Pita), and I like some of the bread mixes out there (Luce’s bread is divine and crusty), but I am a very busy working mom and making bread from scratch or even from a mix is not in the cards most days of the week. Plus, I don’t own a bread machine. (First World Problems).
For many years, I thought I’d tackle this frontier. I’d launch bread products. Rolls, sandwich bread, pita, tortillas, maybe even bagels. However, my Cybele’s Free-to-Eat cookies have kept me occupied for more years than I ever anticipated and more years than I like to admit. Additionally, the challenges of bread and its short shelf life were daunting to me.
I’d all but given up on good bread and had settled on the passible gluten-free bread at Trader Joe’s.
I didn’t even know there was anything else out there. Until a pot of gold from the end of the rainbow in Ireland landed on my doorstep. Say what? A heaven-sent basket of bread. (Okay, it came in a cool shipper packed in dry ice, but to me it looked like it had angels singing and the wafting steam of fresh baked bread rising out of a homey tea towel.) I really said “Score!” as I opened it. There was sandwich bread, multigrain sandwich bread, hot dog rolls, dinner rolls, bagels, wraps in two flavors, and pita bread. To a bread starved free-from eater, this is truly manna from Heaven.
And I have eaten all of it. Yup, I ate it all. I shared a little bit with my family, but I hid some of it in the back of the freezer for myself. And by the way, the freezer is where they recommend you store their products if they aren’t being eaten immediately.
My takeaway? My favorite were the dinner rolls, crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, without any weird aftertaste or gumminess. Second favorite, the sandwich bread, both white and multigrain. And third, the Pita bread, which is the perfect size for a sandwich. Usually, one needs to cut the pita in half for the sandwich, and it breaks and splits and is hard to stuff. Not so with theirs – it’s the perfect size to begin with. Bravo, BFree!
For more info:
About BFree Foods
Based out of Dublin, Ireland and manufacturing for the U.S. market in Montebello, California, BFree Foods is an innovator in the wheat and gluten-free bread product category. Passionately dedicated to providing exceptional taste, nutrition profiles and performance, BFree’s wraps, rolls, bread loaves, bagels and pita breads maintain the texture of traditional bread products but are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, nuts and soy. All BFree products are allergen and vegan-friendly, low-fat and high- fiber, making them ideal for health-conscious consumers across the globe. For additional information, visit US.BFreeFoods.com or find the brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Today is July 1st, to me the true beginning of summer and the perfect day to share the news that Tess Masters has published a new cookbook: The Blender Girl Smoothies. 100 gluten-free, vegan, & paleo-friendly recipes, to help you “blast your way to good health and blended bliss”, all summer long. Hurray!
To those who read my blog, you probably already know, I’m huge fan of Tess Masters’ work. I was wowed by her first cookbook, the Blender Girl, and wrote about it here. Tess has taken something seemingly mundane and turned it into a high art form. She’s created levels of flavor and texture that one never could have imagined possible in a glass. Her blender sensations are truly a sensorial delight, and chock-full of nutrients for optimal health to boot.
I’m somebody who works smoothies and juicing into my diet, sometimes for a meal, sometimes for a day, and at the start of every season, for 3 days. I have gone as long as 10 days on a liquid diet, but that was before I’d discovered Tess’s recipes and at the time, it was too darn long. I was bored, and felt deprived. Well, good bye deprivation! With this book, I’d happily take a month to revel in the endlessly delicious possibilities of drinking smoothies all day! Just look at a brief snapshot of the beauties you get to choose from!
The Blender Girl Smoothies book is based on The Blender Girl Smoothies app that launched in October 2014. To celebrate the launch of the book, the app is being offered at the special rate of 99c until July 6th. Get it while it’s cool!
In addition to this, in honor of the book’s launch, Tess is hosting a huge giveaway with KitchenAid. One LUCKY winner in the U.S has a chance to win a KA Gift Pack (Torrent Blender, Pro-Line Stand Mixer, and Pro-Line food processor) valued at $2,000! The giveaway runs for the whole month of July and is open to residents of the US. To enter, here’s the link.
And for a sneak peak, read on….
pomegranate slam it!
With a complex, mind-blowing flavor that explodes like a firecracker (don’t omit the cayenne), this is a heart-healthy delight. Pomegranate lowers blood pressure, keeps arteries supple, decreases inflammation in blood vessels, and helps manage cholesterol. Its phenolic antioxidants (also in strawberries) combat oxidative stress, making this an antiaging tonic.
1 1⁄2 cups (360ml) unsweetened pomegranate juice
1 orange, peeled, seeded, and quartered
1⁄4 cup (35g) chopped red bell pepper
1⁄8 cup (3g) loosely packed arugula
1⁄2 small avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup (160g) frozen strawberries
1 cup (125g) ice cubes
1 tablespoon pomegranate powder
1⁄2 cup (15g) loosely packed chard leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy.
nutritional facts (per serving)
Calories 232 kcal | Fat 6 g | Saturated fat 0 g | Sodium 23 mg | Carbs 45 g | Fiber 6 g | Sugars 37 g Protein 2 g | Calcium 79 mg | Iron 0 mg
This is a cold-and-flu buster and potent detoxifier, all in one zesty cocktail! The bromelain in pineapple suppresses coughs and loosens mucus, while mint clears respiratory congestion, soothes sore throats, and alleviates nausea. The vitamin C in limes has antibiotic power, anti-inflammatories in kale and pineapple combat arthritis, and ginger boosts immunity, aids digestion, and adds a powerful zing.
1 cup (240ml) coconut water or water
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 limes, peeled and quartered
1 cup (25g) torn-up curly green kale leaves (1 or 2 large leaves with stalk removed)
1/2 cup (18g) firmly packed mint
2 cups (320g) frozen pineapple
5 drops alcohol-free liquid stevia, plus more to taste
Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.
1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Reprinted from THE BLENDER GIRL SMOOTHIES Copyright © 2014, 2015 by Tess Masters. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Erin Kunkel. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Copyright © 2014 Anson Smart
TESS MASTERS BIO
Australian-born Tess Masters is an actor, cook, and author of The Blender Girl cookbook, The Blender Girl Smoothies, and creator of The Blender Girl Smoothies app. She shares her enthusiasm for healthy living on theblendergirl.com.
As a presenter and recipe developer, Tess collaborates with leading food, culinary, and lifestyle brands. She has been featured in the L.A Times, Washington Post, InStyle, Real Simple, Prevention, Family Circle, Clean Eating, Vegetarian Times, Living Without, Allergic Living, Thrive, New Idea, The Age, Today.Com, Yahoo.com, Shape.Com, Glamour.Com, FootNetwork.Com, Parents.Com, Chow.Com, among other websites, blogs, and publications around the world.
Away from the blender, Tess enjoys a diverse performance career. She has toured internationally with stage productions, worked in film and television, and lent her voice to commercial campaigns, audiobooks, and popular videogame characters.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Tart
Makes 9½-inch tart
Free From gluten and all top 8 allergens
This beautiful tart disappears in only a few hours at my house; it’s that good. Nobody would ever guess it’s gluten-free and allergy-friendly. Look for small sweet fresh strawberries at your local farmers’ market and use fresh squeezed orange juice for the biggest burst of flavor. To make sure every last bit of the juicy filling makes it into your tart, I highly recommend using a rubber spatula when transferring the sauce and jam.
Shortbread Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix, or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend
¼ cup + 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
¾ tsp xanthan gum
⅛ tsp salt
10 tbsp dairy-free soy-free vegetable shortening
1-2 tbsp orange juice (see instructions)
5 cups hulled/de-stemmed strawberries, 1 cup sliced, 4 cups halved
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp orange juice
¾ tsp unflavored gelatin or vegan gel
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp strawberry jam, divided
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9½-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
2. In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, sift together flour mix, confectioners’ sugar, xanthan gum, and salt. Add shortening (be very exact about this measurement) in tablespoon-sized pieces. Mix on medium speed to create a coarse meal, about 1 minute.
3. Add orange juice (1 tablespoon if using classic vegetable shortening, 2 tablespoons with palm shortening) and mix until dough begins to ball in the center, about 20 seconds. It should be the texture of soft new play dough.
4. Turn out dough onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and form into a ball. Top with another sheet of parchment or waxed paper, flatten into a disk and roll out to make a ¼-inch thick circle, 1 inch wider than your tart pan.
5. Remove top sheet of paper, flip crust into prepared tart pan and press down with the palm of your hand. Gently peel off remaining sheet of paper and finish pressing in dough, patching the sides or any breakages as necessary. Trim by running a rolling pin over top of the tart pan. Prick dough with a fork 8 times.
6. Bake crust for 20 minutes, or until set and very lightly golden. If it puffs up while baking, prick crust a couple more times. Let cool on a wire rack.
7. While crust is cooling, make strawberry sauce for filling. Puree 1 cup sliced strawberries in a blender until liquefied. Add granulated sugar, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon orange juice, gelatin and salt, and puree until smooth.
8. Transfer strawberry sauce to a small saucepan and stir in vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low, cook and stir for 1 minute, or until thickened like pudding. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to lukewarm (not cold), stirring a few times to help the process.
9. Warm jam over low heat in a small saucepan or in the microwave, stirring vigorously to thin. Using a pastry brush spread a thin layer of the jam on crust bottom. Chill crust in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
10. Gently combine 4 cups halved strawberries with remaining strawberry jam in a large bowl. Add lukewarm strawberry sauce and lightly toss until the strawberries are well-coated. Transfer filling to the cooled tart crust, evenly distributing strawberries.
11. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving. This pie is best served the day of, but it is also excellent the next day. Optionally, top each slice with your whipped topping of choice.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Tart © 2014 by Cybele Pascal
This recipe first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Allergic Living Magazine