My Oat Flour Obsession

As most of you know, I have been on a gluten free cleanse for over 30 days. I have gradually started adding it back into my diet to see how my body reacts to it. So far, it really seems to depend on what and how much of gluten I am eating, smaller portions is definitely better and most times, I prefer keeping it gluten free as it makes me feel a bit more energetic.

When I first started exploring a gluten free diet, I did as probably most people with wheat allergies start, I purchased some gluten free products from the local supermarket. I quickly realized these products are mostly made of starches and white rice flours,  which isn’t the healthiest option for your body. Potato, tapioca and corn starches are full of carbohydrates and refined ingredients which quickly turn into sugar in your body and they don’t provide as many essential vitamins and nutrients found in whole grain ingredients.

gf flour

Then, one day, I discovered a recipe for banana pancakes made with oat flour. That was the beginning of my Oat Flour Obsession! Oat flour is made from ground up rolled oats. It was so easy to make. I poured a cup of whole rolled oats into my food processor and pulsed until I got oat flour, so easy! However, if you don’t have a food processor or the time to make your own oat flour, you can certainly purchase it. My family and I loved the pancakes and I have to admit, I liked them better then wheat floured ones.

oat four

Oats are a natural gluten free, whole grain ingredient. Oats are  full of fiber and can help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease and it makes a perfect substitution for gluten flours, such as all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Plus, you don’t have to add any xanthum gum or guar gum.

oats food processor

I was so excited to find a great tasting, whole grain, gluten free option and quickly started transforming all of my muffin, bread, pancake, waffle, cookie and cake recipes using oat and almond flours.

So, now I want to share some of these delicious recipes with you so you can substitute some of your wheat baked goodies into whole grain, gluten free baked goodies. Remember, it’s a good idea to keep your metabolism going strong and a little change and balance between foods is always a good idea.

Today, I’m going to share some of my new favorite breakfast baked good recipes from Chocolate Zucchini Bread, to Banana Maple Oat Bread, Cinnamon Crumb Muffins, Morning Glory Muffins and Oatmeal Pecan Breakfast Cookies. These are truly some of the most delicious, wholesome breakfast foods and I hope you love them just as much as I do.

chocolate zucchini

oat morning glory

As always if you have any gluten free or allergen free recipes or tips that you’d like to share, please let us know. I am always excited to try new things!

Bacalhau

Did you know that Bacalhau (salted codfish) is the national dish in Portugal? This fish is so popular that there are over 365 recipes for it, one for each day of the year!

Last week was our final session in “Cooking Around the World with Food Jules” as part of Stepney Elementary’s Arts & Imagination winter session. So, we decided to visit my family in Portugal, eat some of their delicious food and experience their fun culture. Portugal was a whole new experience for all of my students, as none of them (except Lilliana) had ever eaten Portuguese food and they loved it.

We started by making a classic Bacalhau appetizer, Pasteis de Bacalhau (Codfish Fritters). At first, the kids were hesitant to try a “new” type of fish but as soon as they took a bite out of them, they were all in love. YUM!

Pasteis de Bacalhau

The Portuguese love to talk about food and eat a lot of good food, so much so that they take a two hour lunch break and eat a three course meal, starting with a soup. A classic Portuguese soup is Caldo Verde (Green Kale Soup), made with Kale Greens, Potatoes and Chorizo (Portuguese Sausage). We made a vegetarian version without the sausage. I was so proud of all my students for doing such an amazing job making this soup and for eating it. It is nutritious and delicious, loaded with vitamins!

Caldo Verde

We also made Rabanadas (Portuguese style “french” toast). Oh my goodness, the kids were all over these! They are a classic treat during the Christmas Season, so sweet with cinnamon sugar.

We, Portuguese folks, love dessert and enjoy many different types of sweet treats but my absolute favorite are these rich custard cups from a town in Portugal, named Belem. So, for our final dish, we made Pasteis de Nata, delicious pastry cups filled with a sweet custard. This was so popular in my class that we will be making them, along with other delicious cultural foods, as part of our cooking class in preparation for the International Festival on March 30th. You must try to make these at home, they will be your new favorite sweet treat!

Thank you to all my Food Jules students for another fun and successful cooking program. See you in April!