I haven't been grocery shopping this week. Plenty of food in the house, and apparently I only feel a burning need to go grocery shopping when I don't have any fruit. This week I have had an absolute abundance, and have been enjoying watermelon, peaches, strawberries, and even blended some up into smoothies.
So, what have I been eating?
Well, I finished off Heather's pasta salad over two meals. I ate the last herbed tuna in tomato, and for another meal polished off the bit of tuna mixture that was left over. I discovered that the tuna mixture was actually pretty good just spread on crackers. So maybe the downfall of that dish was that I used store bought tomatoes, and since they were the vehicle, the whole thing was just underwhelming. I made a(nother) big pot of chicken and veggie soup on Friday, so I have been enjoying that. And I had a lovely green salad yesterday.
I have to admit, I am really impressed with the soup. To explain: 16 days ago I went to the doctor with a terrible case of poison ivy. Really really bad. I got a shot and some really high powered meds. The doctor warned me that the meds would upset my stomach, and since even advil upsets my stomach, I decided I better be proactive about helping my stomach with gentle foods.
So I went to the grocery store, bought a box of chicken stock and a whole heap of veggies (potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms) and made a huge pot of soup. It was fantastic. And of course, I left the grocery store having spent $30. That pot lasted about 5 days, only half the course of the meds. So I made another pot. This time I tossed in some frozen chicken that I had in the freezer (for probably way too long, so the best use for it was soup). That pot lasted another 5 days.
Unfortunately, the 10 day course of meds didn't take care of the poison ivy, and so I had to get another round. So on Friday, when I got the new bottle, I made pot of soup #3. I did have to buy another box of chicken stock, but the veggies are the same from that first shopping trip. Super cheap, super easy, super long-lasting, and nice to my stomach. What more could you want?
The poison ivy trial also explains the muffin kick I have been on. It is helpful to have something a little substantial in my belly when taking high powered meds, and bread is substantial. For gluten-free baking, I believe that muffins are the best. They are small enough to bake easily and evenly. They are small enough to not be too dense in your mouth. And they are easily frozen and stored for use over a period of time.
The reason I have been experimenting so much with muffins is that muffins usually have a lot of sugar. I have been reading about sugar substitutes, and tried a new muffin recipe last night.
Explanations first I guess. I like banana bread. So I always buy a bunch of bananas. Unfortunately, I like to eat my bananas brown. When they are at the point that most people think they are useless for anything other than banana bread, they are finally at the point that I want to eat them. Fortunately this week I have had such an abundance of fruit that I held off, and decided that I absolutely would make banana bread with these bananas.
I decided banana bread muffins would be perfect for a sugar-free recipe because bananas are sweet, and they add moisture, perfect for gluten-free baking. As I was reading about sugar substitutes, I read that raisins are also a good sugar substitute. The banana bread recipe that I found actually added raisins and nuts, so I decided combining the bananas and the raisins would be a good shot here.
To use the raisins I ground them up in my blender. I didn't really want raisins in my banana bread. I just wanted to experiment. This made a little bit of a mess, but I added the raisin paste to the muffin batter and just beat it in hard and fast, and it broke up pretty well.
The result: Really good muffins. Now, these are not muffins for the faint of heart. They are not light, fluffy, silly muffins. These are rich, decadent, solid, hardy muffins. And they taste good.
Banana Bread Muffins
This is adapted from the back of the Bob's Red Mill package
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill All-purpose GF mix, and 3/4 cup of the Life Tastes Good Again GF mix. Bob's is a combo of bean flours, which makes this a little more hardy, and the LTGA is completely white. The real reason for the blend: I ran out of Bob's)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (This took 3 bananas for me)
1/2 cup finely chopped raisins (I blended mine in a blender)
Blend the wet ingredients. Add the bananas and the raisins. Add the dry ingredients and mix. Fill muffin tin and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Yield about 15
2 days ago