Fluffy Pancake Mix

Pancakes were one of the first things I learned to make without grains. It didn’t seem to take too much effort to come up with a good recipe that tasted and felt like “real” pancakes using peanut butter or almond flour. It wasn’t until I decided to work up a nut-free version that I ran into problems. The batter was too stiff or the cakes were too grainy or the whole thing tasted a little funny. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t seem to get the final product just right. It wasn’t until I tried a slightly different approach that I discovered pancake greatness. These pancakes are perfectly light and fluffy and taste just like pancakes should. The kids gobbled them up, then asked for more, twice!

Fluffy Pancake Mixfluffy pancakes

1⅓ c coconut flour (150 g)
¼ c maple sugar or dark brown sugar (50 g)–optional, see notes
2 T psyllium husk powder (18 g)
1 T cream of tartar
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
  1. Stir together mix ingredients
  2. Store in an airtight container

Yield: 1½ c mix (enough for 24 pancakes)

To make pancakes:

¼ c packed pancake mix (40 g)
4 large eggs
3 T olive oil–or other liquid oil, see notes
2 t vanilla extract–optional

  1. Measure pancake mix into a medium bowl
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth
  3. Pour by ¼ c onto nonstick griddle over medium heat
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until edges are set and bubbles remain in the center
  5. Flip and cook on second side for an additional minute, until browned

Yield 4 cakes

NOTES:

  1. I have made this mix without any sugar, with 2 T sugar, and as written. The batter is a bit thicker and pours a little less easily with no sugar than with sugar, but it still pours well. We don’t usually add syrup to our pancakes, so I found the sugarless version didn’t quite have enough sweetness for our family. I liked the mix with 2 T sugar, but the kids weren’t quite convinced it was so great. As written, they loved the pancakes with no additional toppings.
  2. I do not recommend making this recipe with coconut oil as it gets too thick to pour. If coconut oil must be used, I suggest either bringing eggs to room temperature before mixing in melted coconut oil or scooping the thick batter onto the griddle and spreading it out into an even round.
  3. My daughter prefers silver-dollar pancakes to standard 5- to 6-in cakes. For her, I’ll pour just 1 T batter for each cake. At this size, they cook more quickly, 1½-2 minutes on the first side.

How do you like your pancakes?

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Unsweetened Apple Butter

A good friend has invited us over several times in the last month to help her harvest apples from the tree in her yard. Each visit, she sent us home with at least 10 lbs of apples. We all love apples, but after a couple of weeks my kids got a little tired of plain apples–even organic, fresh-from-the-tree fruit! I’m not a huge fan of applesauce, but I thought I’d try my hand at apple butter. I found an online tutorial at The Art of Homemaking, but it is sadly lacking in specifics, like how many apples, how much water, and exactly how long “many, many hours” might be. So, I started playing around on my own and found a recipe that works so well, my kids go at it with a spoon. My husband says it’s “tart” and an old friend to whom I’d gifted a jar described it as “almost savory,” but I just call it “delicious.”

unsweetened apple butterUnsweetened Apple Butter

3½ qt apples, cored and chopped (1.7 kg)
1 c water
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg

  1. Cook over low heat in a covered pot, stirring occasionally until apples have begun to break down (approx. 30-45 min)
  2. Uncover and continue simmering on low, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick enough to stick to the spoon when turned upside down (approx. 1-2 hrs)
  3. Press through a sieve to remove skins
  4. Can for storage or keep in refrigerator

Yield: 3¼ c apple butter

Notes:

  • The apples weigh about 5 lbs whole
  • If you prefer your apple butter a bit sweeter, you can substitute apple juice for the water

I’ve enjoyed this on muffins and added to a ham wrap. To what would you most like to add a little apple flavor?

Coconut-Crusted Pork Chops

Growing up, my mom was a big fan of the “Shake ‘N Bake” breading method. I have always preferred using my own mixes to coat meats. Once I’d cut grains from my diet, I tried using almond flour as a breading, but only found limited success. And with the price of almond flour, I hate to waste it on recipes my family may or may not eat. One evening, inspiration struck–coconut flour to the rescue! The kids cheer when I make these for dinner, plus I’m saving about 85% compared to a coating made with almond flour.

Coconut-Crusted Pork with green beansCoconut-Crusted Pork Chops

¼ c coconut flour (28 g)
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
½ garlic powder
¼ t rubbed sage
¼ t ground thyme
¼ t crushed rosemary
⅛ t cinnamon
8 4-oz boneless pork loin chops (908 g)
3-4 T coconut oil for frying

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a shallow container
  2. Dredge medallions in coconut flour mixture
  3. Fry in coconut oil over medium-high heat 3-4 min per side, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F
  4. Allow chops to rest 3 min before serving

Yield: 8 breaded chops
coconut_pork_breading_label

You can also mix up a big batch of breading to give as a gift or to keep on hand in your own pantry for quick weeknight meals. Just use 2 t breading mix to coat each 4-oz chop.

I created a simple label you can use for your mix. Just click here or on the label image to download the PDF.

What is your favorite way to serve breaded meats?

Italian Sausage Blend

I discovered my love for Italian sausage later in life. Probably, at least in part, because my parents didn’t feed me pork as a child. Unfortunately, most commercial sausages contain one (or more) ingredients I don’t want to feed my kids, or myself. I first attempted to create my own Italian sausage following Emeril Lagasse’s instructions for Homemade Mild Italian Sausage.

Almost immediately, I ran into problems: I didn’t have ground anise or Italian parsley or red wine or a meat grinder or a day and a half to wait for supper. So I improvised. I discovered that I didn’t have to let the meat and spice mixture sit for 24 hours before grinding it, and using already-ground meat worked just fine. Lemon juice was a perfectly acceptable substitute for the acid provided by the red wine. I also found that both pork and beef make a good sausage, but the amount of spice required to flavor each pound of meat varies.

Later, when I learned I couldn’t have nightshades, I was surprised to find the recipe tasted just as good without paprika. Finally, in a light bulb moment, I realized I could mix up a big batch of the seasoning blend and just measure out what I needed for the meat I was cooking at any given time. Plus, put it in a pretty jar and you have a fabulous, homemade gift for your favorite cook!

Italian Sausage BlendItalian Sausage Blend

3 T garlic powder (24 g)
2 T dried basil leaves (3 g)
2 T salt (36 g)
1 T black pepper (6 g)
1 T whole fennel seed (6 g)
1 T dried rosemary (3 g)

  1. Stir all ingredients together
  2. (optional) Process for 30 seconds in an electric coffee grinder or small high-speed blender

Yield: ½ c seasoning

For pork sausage, add to 1 lb ground pork:
1 T seasoning mix (10 g)
1 t lemon juice

For beef sausage, add to 1 lb ground beef:
4½ t seasoning mix (15 g)
1½ t lemon juice

Label ImageI’m a big believer that herbs and spices can make, or break, a dish. For that reason, all seasoning blends need labels. You don’t want to accidentally put a spoonful of poultry seasoning into your apple pie. Apple pie spice in your chicken casserole might work slightly better, but it still wouldn’t come out quite as intended.

Whether you want to prepare a small batch of seasoning for yourself or you’ll be giving several away this holiday season, I’ve created a simple label for you to use. Click here or on the label image to download the PDF.

How do you like to use Italian sausage in your cooking?