. also: muffins!

ImageSo today is a gorgeous sunny, breezy spring day in Washington, DC. So breezy that you can actually see the pollen flying through the air. It’s a little intense. I don’t normally have allergies, but today I can’t even wear my contacts. Despite the sniffling, this is what today feels like: go here, press play, come back. Spring! 

Anyway, here’s a thing that is bumming me out lately: posts from people with Celiac hating on people who are choosing a gluten-free (or gluten-reduced) lifestyle. It makes me sad because the rapid increase in gluten-free products and menus is a direct result of the so-called trendiness of eating gluten-free. I worked in Napa’s only (at that time) natural foods store in the early 2000s and the products/guidance we could offer to people trying to avoid gluten was maybe one percent of what you can find today at a mainstream store like Safeway. (Well, I wouldn’t go to Safeway for guidance. But you’ll find like five brands of gf cookies.)

And it’s not the fault of the consumer that restaurants aren’t taking adequate precautions to make their food safe…but you were probably going to have a conversation with your waiter anyway, right? 

Given that there are a lot of health reasons to reduce your gluten intake, it seems like finding someone who is trying to cut back on gluten for any reason would be an opportunity to educate more people on what it really means to go gluten-free. Obviously, I’m not a celiac or gluten-free expert, but most of the useful things I have learned about gluten-free food and managing my IBS have come from people with more experience, whether that’s on the internet or in person.

ImageGolden Quinoa Muffins

(Credit for the recipe goes to Bob’s Red Mill; I’ve noted where I made changes or substitutions. And you should make these muffins with their quinoa, because it is the best.)

1 c. quinoa

1 1/4 c. boiling water (I accidentally used 2 c. because I was trying to make oatmeal at the same time and I got distracted)

1 c. fine grain cornmeal

1/2 c. dried cranberries (original recipe calls for raisins, but I don’t really like raisins)

1/4 c. honey (sub maple syrup or agave for a vegan version)

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 lg egg, slightly beaten (I did use an egg this time, but I think a flax egg would work fine)

1 tbsp lemon zest (original recipe calls for orange, which I didn’t have)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 c. gluten-free baking mix (original recipe called for whole wheat pastry flour)

1 tsp xanthan gum (not in original recipe, added for gluten-freeness)

2 tsp baking powder

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the quinoa, cornmeal and dried cranberries. Stir to moisten, cover and led stand refrigerated for 1 hour. Can be refrigerated up to 8 hours.

Quinoa, cornmeal and dried cranberries after 1 hour refrigeration

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil muffin tin and set aside. Stir into the quinoa mixture the honey, oil, egg, lemon zest, salt, gf baking mix, xanthan gum and baking powder. Mix quickly being careful not to overmix. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake fir 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

As far as I can tell, the accidental extra 3/4 cup of water didn’t hurt the finished product, but I suppose I won’t know for sure until I try these again. 





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