Gluten Free Delicious Waffles! From scratch.

Waffles are delicious and I miss them. I miss baked goods in general. So I decided to learn how to do gluten free baking myself. This was my first experiment baking from scratch rather than using a store bought mix. I purchased Carol Fenster’s “1,000 Gluten-free Recipes” after much research on the web. I compare this book to being the gluten free equivalent of “The Joy of Cooking.” It’s an all purpose cook book covering everything including appetizers, meat, seafood, soup, veggies, sandwiches, bread, and deserts. I was a little worried that I might not like her taste in recipes as I’ve had some not so great gluten free baked goods (think dry and flavorless). Also, I like rich flavor, and a lot of spice so I am often disappointed by recipes tailored for the typical American palate. but my first experiment was a huge (although time consuming) success. It was time consuming since it was from scratch and I hadn’t mixed her base flour mix called “Carol’s Sorghum Blend” already. This is a flour mix that she uses in almost all recipes that call for flour. Recipe is below.

Carol’s sorghum blend

Makes 4 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1 1/2 cups potato starch/cornstarch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk ingredients together until well blended. Store tightly covered, in a dark, dry place. You may refrigerate or freeze the blend, but bring to room temperature.

(1,000 Gluten Free Recipes, by Carol Fenster, PhD, pg x)

I started out following her instructions to whisk the flour before I spooned it into a cup and leveled it with a a knife. Apparently, if you don’t follow the same technique the recipe maker used to measure or if you pack the flour it can change the measurements by up to 20% more flour and significantly alter a recipe. So I was diligent. What I wasn’t diligent about was making sure I had all the correct flours… Oops. So I didn’t have any tapioca flour. I could have sworn I did. Thankfully, there is almost always a viable substitute. I found a substitute at Buzzle.com of 1 part cornstarch per 2 parts tapioca flour. It worked out splendidly.

After making the flour mix I moved on to the recipe.

Spiced Applesauce Waffles

Makes 8 waffles (4 inches each) – WARNING: for those of us that have normal human sized appetites, you know, like 1 traditional sized waffle each, double or triple this recipe to feed 3 people.

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or buttery spread, such as Earth Balance, melted, or canola oil.
  • 1 container (4 oz) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Carol’s Sorghum Blend
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice (or used 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus 1/4 tsp nutmeg or allspice.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • Topping of your choice, such as warmed applesauce, syrup, or honey.

(1,000 Gluten Free Recipes, by Carol Fenster, PhD, pg 9)

I started by whisking the egg yolks, butter, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla until smooth. Unfortunately, I missed the part about the Earth Balance needing to be melted. Although it was a little chunky at first, it turned out just fine thanks to my wonderful electric mixer.

Then I sifted together the sorghum blend, sugar, baking powder, spices (Not having the fancy baking spice mixes, I used cinnamon and nutmeg), baking soda, salt and xanthan gum, and then whisked those into the liquid ingredients until the batter was smooth.

In a separate bowl, I used my electric mixer to whip the egg whites until they formed stiff peaks (about 2 minutes) and folded half of that into the batter, and then folded the remainder in.

Gluten Free Spiced Applesauce Waffles

Voila! Waffle mix! Rather thick waffle mix. I don’t know if this was due to the flour mix substitution or because I didn’t melt the butter. Either way, it didn’t pour, but required scooping onto the griddle. I used 1/3 of a cup for the first waffle and ended up with a teeny tiny waffle. It was cute. So I doubled that and got a normal sized waffle. Unfortunately, there were 3 of us and only 2 smaller waffles could be procured from the remaining batter, so next time I will double the recipe. Either way, it was delicious! The waffles were fluffy, slightly sweet, at had a really moist, good flavor. The fluffiness was likely because I may not have cooked them long enough, but I’m ok with that. We topped them with heated blueberries and savored every bite. I can’t wait to try the rest of her recipes.

 

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Heather’s Popcorn goodness

I love popcorn. Did I mention I love popcorn? Oh yeah, by the way, I LOVE popcorn. Everybody who knows me, knows this about me. I also love popcorn with delicious seasonings on it. Salt is tasty, but sometimes I want something with a little more of a kick. This recipe is my favorite concoction for popcorn. Sometimes I tweak it a little, depending on what I have in the cabinet, but this is the bare bones of it. I finally wrote it down for my roommate, Low Amine Chef (aka Michelle), and now I am slowly creating addicts out of everybody I know. Hope you enjoy it!

1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder/granules

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

dash cayenne

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Delicious drink and hippie cure to keep the sickness at bay

A couple of years ago I was getting sick all the time and finally went to Bastyr to get some help. They told me to do two things that have really been helpful when I start to feel cruddy. The first thing was to make a hot drink made with ginger, garlic, cayenne, and lemon and drink it every day for 5 days. This drink didn’t initially sound good to me as a drink, but when you aren’t feeling well it actually tastes like pure heaven and feels great on the throat. The second thing was to do what they call the “wet sock treatment” before going to bed. This treatment sounded like a weird hippie cure to me (granted, I AM a hippie) but I was still skeptical. However, I have avoided several colds by following these instructions so I hereby bequeath them unto you. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. I have included the information about an herb they also recommended, but I don’t recall using it so I can’t give my opinion about it.

Hippie cure #1 – Immune Tea

In a 1 quart jar add:

  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch minced ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon (for citrus allergies, add ascorbic acid instead)
  • Pinch of cayenne

Let this concoction steep for 20-30 minutes and sweeten with honey to taste. Drink 1 quart each day for 5 days until symptoms go away.

Hippie cure #2 – Wet sock treatment

Take a shower or bath as hot as you can stand it. Immediately dry off and dress very warmly (sweatpants and sweatshirt).

  • Take 1 pair of cotton socks and soak them completely in cold water. Wring out so they don’t drip and put them on.
  • Put on a pair of thick wool socks over the cotton socks and go directly to bed to avoid getting chilled.
  • Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the socks are dry in the morning.

The point of this treatment is to increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

Sourced from: Dr. Douglas Lewis N.D., Bastyr Center for Natural Health

Hippie Cure # 3 – Russian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

The last thing they told me to do was take the herb Russian Ginseng to support my immune system. I don’t think I ended up taking this herb, but I will list it here anyways in case I want to try it in the future. Here is a link to an article that provides some more information about this herb.

  • 1/4 tsp twice daily. Don’t take after 4pm.
  • After symptoms resolve, only take 1/4tsp once daily.
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16 Jan, 2011 – Sunday

Elephant at a temple in Pondicherry

We made it through our first week of classes and service learning!  We have now been here for just over two weeks, and it’s starting to feel like home. Even the driving doesn’t make me nervous anymore, and that is something that one really should feel nervous about. My schedule for the past week has been a little irregular compared to some other people, because I’m not working at my service learning position every day. On the days I do work there I work from 6:30-9:30 instead of 9-12 like everybody else in my group. Priya, the person running Buddha Garden, prefers to work in the morning when it is still cool outside. Additionally, the project I am doing for them is organizing and developing signs for an educational farm walk around Buddha Garden, which requires computer work, not garden work. I am working there a couple of days a week just to get familiar with the place and get my hands dirty. So week schedule:

6:15-7:45         Yoga on Monday and Wednesday

6:30-9:00        1 – 2 days a week working in the garden at Buddha Garden

8:00                  Breakfast

9:00-12:00

M – CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) through Food Link

T/W/Th – Working on Buddha Garden Signs

Sat – International Pavilion, where half of our group is staying, doing

gardening/building a shower using recycled fuel lines filled with cement  as

the building structure

12:00                Lunch at Solar Kitchen

2:00-4:00

M/W – Sustainability taught by many different people around Auroville

T/Th – Nature, Spirit and Political Theory

4:00-6:00       Work (for Yogalife) when the internet is working

6:00                 Dinner

Surfing Lessons!

In the middle of all of that we have Tamil lessons, other events like movies, outings, meditating in the Matrimandir and now on Fridays: SURFING!!!!  Wohooooo! I went surfing for the first time yesterday and it was awesome. A group of us went and had an amazing time. It’s only 650 rupees, which is like $12 or so for an hour and a half. You really can’t beat that.

Cool beetle at Pebble Garden

I suppose I should get some homework done… I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything. This last week has been a lot of planning and trying to figure out a project to do for Buddha Garden that will meet my Capstone requirements, meetings with supervisors and the group, figuring out where places are, and logistical stuff. Now that we’ve gotten a lot of that figured out its time to actually do the work. Unfortunately, we don’t really get any free days so things have to be squeezed in whenever there is time, which can be difficult. We have at least one thing planned every day that takes up several hours of the day. I thought we would have the weekends to ourselves, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, it’s almost impossible to stay awake past 9:30 here! I figured I’d just stay up late and read, but that simply doesn’t work. I can’t even manage to stay up to watch a movie and I’m certainly not alone in this. Most of the people staying in the Tibetan Pavilion are in bed by 9, and asleep by 10. I think I’ll just have to start waking up earlier since the music for Pongal goes off at 5am anyways 🙂

Next week we are taking a trip to Tiruvannamalai, which is one of the temples we will visit while here. It will be fun to get out of the city and see some real India. Auroville is pretty sheltered and westernized. Ok, now I’m off to read about Christianity and Ecology and hopefully get a good enough internet connection to put this post up!

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4 Jan, 2011 – Tuesday

This morning I woke up around 5am because of the music playing in the village. It plays every morning, loudly. It is for the festival of Pongal, in the village of Kottokari. It is supposed to be a 4 day long harvest festival, but this has been going on since we got here. We have some very enthusiastic and festive people who like to wake up very early. I was finally able to get back to sleep about 30 minutes later. We had breakfast at 8 of fresh yogurt, mixed fruit, and chai tea.

We left for the visitor center around 9:15. We met up with Shivaraj from the Healing Forest. We rode through Kottokari on our way there. It took us outside of Auroville so we got to see some of the village life. We were like a parade and people watched us and came out to either stare or say hi. At the healing forest they have built up the land, planted trees and native healing herbs. Shivaraj teaches locals about the traditional healing arts and how to cultivate the herbs. Many of us have a cold so he pointed out a leaf to brew in a tea. I just drank some as I’m writing this and it tastes pretty good J

Afterward we took a trail to Discipline Farm. Halfway there it started pouring down rain. At first we thought it was great and ran around in it, getting completely soaked. Upon arriving at Discipline we were cold and soggy. We ended up waiting for about 15 minutes until the rain calmed down. Then we went on a tour of the farm. They had cows for doing work, but also for milking. We saw 2 types of spinach, bananas, guava, beans, coconut, and some others. And then it started pouring again. The water level rose very quickly, because they have already had their rainy season here. The soil is saturated. Soon we were walking in small streams, which was a little tricky. We went back to the main building and they cut open a coconut for us that was delicious! It was crunchy, sweet and wonderful.

For lunch we went to Well Café for lunch. This was connected to a program that works with local women to provide training and give micro-loans for them to start their own business. They train the to create handicrafts, like baskets and bags, from old paper that is rolled into long thing rolls. It looks like a long straw. The food was delicious. I had hummus with egg, tomato, chickpeas, a cabbage carrot salad, beets, with pickled cauliflower and carrots. We also had a really good hot lemony tea.

Tree House @ Youth Center!

The best part of the day was the youth center. This is an area in the cultural sector, designated specifically to Auroville’s youth. The whole place is like a kids dream come true. There are tree houses where people actually live, a giant see-saw, giant structures 50 feet tall to climb on, and pathways between the trees. The area is decorated with painted cars, random artwork, and metal structures. We were obviously impressed and had to play on everything. I think we are going back on Saturday for a pizza dinner.

The red bugs below are called Lovebugs and they were EVERYwhere at the Youth Center. They were all linked up making babies. It was a little obscene. That is how they got their name.

Cool things to climb on 🙂

Afterwards we were exhausted and are now hanging out at the US Pavilion listening to music and trying to catch up on our email. Unfortunately when it rains here the power usually goes out, so our internet is down for the moment.

Love Bugs
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3 Jan 2011 – Monday

Our room in the Tibetan Pavilion

Today was the first day of yoga and also the first official day of our program. We started out by meeting with Shivaya in the Tibetan Pavilion. Shivaya is the Aurovillian who coordinates our service learning placement here. We talked about what our interests are and what we hope to do while here.

After that we went and checked out the post office, the library, and the Unity Pavilion. The library has been flooding frequently so they are building a new library fairly close to the Solar Kitchen that won’t need to be evacuated frequently. The Unity Pavilion is a building that has a hanging banner for each country represented in Auroville. The banner has information about that country and their culture and also their involvement in Auroville. Some of these countries are going to or have built a pavilion that represents their country in the International Zone.

Matrimandir

After lunch at the visitor center, we saw a movie about the Mother and the principle beliefs about Auroville. It is required viewing to get in to see the Matrimandir. This is required just to go see the outside of the structure. To get inside we had to make an appointment to go inside several days out.

After making our appointments we rode to the financial center where we met up with Gill, a French architect, who has been living in Auroville since the 80’s. He worked on the Matrimandir and was able to give us a history about the initial plans about the Matrimandir and how they evolved over time. The Matrimandir is the giant golden sphere. It was designed by the Mother to be a place to pursue intense concentration, in a quite space. If you want some very basic info, follow this link. I’ll write a whole post on this eventually.

Afterwards we went to the Solar kitchen for dinner and got into an intense discussion about how we felt about the Matrimandir and the amount of money spent on it. Additionally, it is a large gold temple and seems very much against the principles of Auroville. It was a great discussion.

Then we went back home and listened to music and talked about our ideas about how we want to make things better in the world. We were exhausted from riding around all day and passed out around 9:30pm.

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2 Jan 2011 – Sunday

Our little friend at the US Pavilion

Today was the first day we went shopping. We went to Kuilapalyam, a small village, just out side of Auroville. I got some clothes that are better suited to the weather and not quite as touristy as what I brought. I also got a scarf, which is necessary here to cover up shoulders when traveling outside of the city. It was a little scary going to the village as there was a double murder there on New Year’s Eve. It happened a couple of doors down from where some other students in our program were shopping. It was pretty disturbing, but also a good reminder to always be aware of our surroundings outside of Auroville, as well as inside. Murder is pretty unusual around here, but there is a significant amount of gang activity in the surrounding villages. We are all traveling in groups to play it extra safe.

In the afternoon we had a meeting at the US Pavilion to learn about the building. It is a really cool building. It is made of compressed earth bricks, made from local dirt. An Aurovillian invented a hand operated brick press that is now used all around Auroville to make bricks for building. There are 4 buildings that house dormitories, offices, and a bathroom. Each building is only about 15 feet wide and anywhere from 15 – 30 feet long, depending on their use. A curved roof provides shelter from rain and sun covers all of the buildings. It is about 20 feet tall at the edges and maybe 30 feet in the middle and open on the edges. Around the base edges of the foundation there is a foot wide shallow moat to keep the crawling bugs out. It is connected to a pond that has fish and plants in it. We discovered by seeing a fish with eggs in its mouth that the fish in the pond are mouth brooders. This means they carry their eggs in their mouth until they hatch rather than laying a nest or just leaving them to hatch unattended. This was exciting to those of us who just got through Marine Biology this fall!

I think the composting toilets were the most interesting thing we learned about. They are dry composting toilets, meaning they separate the urine and poop to help the decomposition process. They collect the poop in large blue barrels below the bathroom and let them sit for 6 months. Afterwards they use the compost on the banana trees in the garden. It’s pretty cool. The urine is routed to a rectangular garden plot off to the side of the bathroom where Canna plants, a tall flowering plant, are grown. The Canna flower is from Austrailia. It is used because they are able to process the nutrients in urine easily and after the water filters through it can be used in the garden. Also, they are very beautiful orangey yellow flowers that grow to about 5 feet tall. The mother (the woman who founded Auroville), believes that flowers have special properties. She has assigned properties to some of them, and the Canna Lilly (see link and scroll down to see a picture of the flower and some info. I’ll try to find a better link with more info eventually) is Connection between the Light and the physical centre touched by the light.  Awakens to the necessity of growth and blossoming.

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