Tidbits

Welcome to Tidbits!

I created this page to share with you what I have learned along this journey.

Here you’ll find my baking, cooking and tweaking secrets. You’ll find out how and why I adapt recipes.

I hope everyone that visits sweetly obsessed will feel comfortable and at home with my recipes.

FYI – this page will be updated as I learn and grow in my baking adventures.

Tidbit #1

Let’s talk Flour

When I was first diagnosed with gluten intolerance or NCGS (Non-celiac gluten sensitivity) it was overwhelming.

So I started learning about all the different gluten free flours and flour combinations. Picking the right one can make all the difference on your budget. I started studying and reading to find the best combination that was simple, healthy and affordable.

I chose Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour because it came highly recommended and tested by Elana at Elana’s Pantry. The only problem was that it was very expensive. So I decided to combine it with a lesser expensive but just as healthy and successful flour… Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour.

Over the past few years Costco has started caring Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour but it’s under the brand name of Blue Ribbon. Same flour but half the price.

My success in baking has been to develop the ratio of 2 parts almond flour to 1 part brown rice flour. This ratio works in adapting any amount of flour in a recipe. If the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of flour it would be adapted to 1 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup brown rice flour. Simple, healthy and affordable!

FYI – Costco just started carrying Quinoa Flour. I bought a package in hopes to tweak some recipes and have quinoa flour take the place of brown rice flour. I’ve read that this flour can be bitter or sour to the taste, so I’m a little concerned about using it. The nutritional factors in quinoa area amazing, so I hope it works . I’ll keep you posted and share my new baking adventures.

Tidbit #2

Let’s talk Additives

I use baking soda and aluminum-free baking powder (both are always gluten-free). That’s it, pure and simple and it works every time. Fluffy and light quick breads, muffins, cakes and cookies. No other additives! Not even salt. Tried and true!

Tidbit #3

Let’s talk Freshness

Always, always, always make sure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh! I know the labels give these two additives a long shelf life, but trust me, no more than six months. Trial and error and lessons learned.

Also fresh herbs, if possible are always best. If not available choose a brand with no additives. Natural and organic whenever possible.

Fresh fruit is best. Frozen will work in recipes, but it will add liquid to your recipe. So, be sure to adjust or pat lightly after thawed to take out some of the moisture.

Tidbit #4

Let’s talk Flavorings

Yes, these can be pricey but worth every penny. I use the brand Rodelle for my flavorings. I use their Gourmet Pure Vanilla Extract. Be sure to pick one that is free of added sugar. I’ve found that Amazon has the best price and is easily available. Here are a few other brands to choose from… Flavorganics, Trader Joe’s and Simply Organic.

Tidbit #5

Let’s talk Cocoa and Chocolate

Pick one in its purest form, no additives. I use Rodelle Baking Cocoa. I can trust this brand and it’s easy to order on Amazon. Plus it’s always reliable in recipes and taste delicious.

In baking I use the brand Chocolove for chocolate chips and chocolate bars. I like to use 70% or higher, maybe 73%.

Tidbit #6

Let’s talk Sweeteners

Unprocessed and natural or at least as close to unprocessed as it can be. My favorites… Sucanat, Pure Maple Syrup, Ambrosia Honey, Agave and Turbinado.

Tidbit #7

Let’s talk Spices

I use The Spice Hunter. It was recommended by Elana at Elana’s Pantry. I use their Chef Shake in a lot of dishes and their Fajita Seasoning. They are also salt free.

Whole Foods has a market brand seasoning called Whole Foods Market Cooking Organic Seasoning. There are a lot of different flavors. Two of my favorites are Tequila Lime and Traditional Cajun Blend.

Tidbit #8

Let’s talk Dairy

Being lactose intolerant I never use anything with lactose in it… hence dairy-free always. In baking and cooking I like to use Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. It takes the place of dairy in any recipe… tried and true, works every time.

I also use Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Yogurt. It takes the place of oil in some recipes. Also, when a recipe calls for yogurt, I use their vanilla lactose free yogurt.

To take the place of butter in a recipe I use Earth Balance Buttery Spread. I would love to use Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Butter but I haven’t been able to find it at any of the grocery stores here in Boise. It seems none of the stores carry it, but hopefully it will be on their shelves soon …it’s a work in progress.

Tidbit #9

Let’s talk Oils

When I first started researching gluten free recipes, I came across Elana’s Pantry. She has a test kitchen and her recipes are tested until they reach her perfection. She suggests using grape seed oil and it works. So, I use Grape Seed Oil. It’s light and healthy. I also like to use half oil and half unsweetened applesauce. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, I will use 1/4 cup of grape seed oil and 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce. My recipes turn out light and moist. It works every time!

FYIGrape Seed Oil  is also low in saturated fat. I have been asked why I don’t use coconut oil, it’s because it’s so high in saturated fat. In my research I found that coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides, which are supposed to assimilate well in the body’s systems.  But the facts are still conflicting, so I choose not to use it. Also if you have digestive problems, coconut products can be hard to digest.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/1011320-coconut-oil-live-up-hype/

So, if you wait long enough, and most of the time that’s not very long, information will change, whether it’s pro or con on different aspects of nutrition. It can be overwhelming and exhausting. So, my motto keep it simple, fresh, natural and remember sweets are a treat and to be eaten in moderation.

FYI – I purchase my grape seed oil at Trader Joe’s. It’s a great product from Italy and low in cost. Walmart also carries a grape seed oil that’s comparable in cost.

Tidbit #10

Let’s talk Eating Habits…

Livestrong is a great site that I follow. The article on 10 Poor Eating Habits is very motivating and informative. Here’s a link to that article –

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1012910-10-poor-eating-habits-could-make-die-young/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=040417_ss%23slide=2

If you’e wanting to get more veggies into your diet, this article on 11 Sneaky Ways to Add More Veggies to Your Diet  – talks about how you can replace unhealthy fats and sugars in your recipes with veggies and how to add them to your already nutritious recipes.

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1012915-11-sneaky-ways-add-vegetables-dessert/#slide=2

Break ups can be devastating, sad and just plain exhausting,  but this article shows us how we can walk away and feel enlightened, energized and satisfied with the new choices we make in the food we eat.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/1012332-foods-should-break-up-right-now/#slide=2

Be sure to check out more healthy living info on livestrong.com

Always remember Whole, Fresh and Organic are best whenever possible and shop for food in its purest form.

Have fun and happy baking!

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