The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Gluten free, Sour dough, tips.

Over the last week I have had some serious luck with finding all kinds of new tips.  Many of them are thanks to you all!
Firstly, thank you to Kallie who emailed me about a website called Cultures for Health.
They have endless sour dough recipes but also recipes, instructional videos and tips for things like fermented veggies,  yoghurt, cheese making, essential oils and more.  AND they have free ebooks including the most excellent Gluten Free Sour Dough bread making which I know several readers would love.
There is also a regular sour dough e book that I am enjoying and it has things like what to do with bread failures, how to make things like sour dough pie crust, pancakes and so much more. It is fantastic!
Just go to "free ebook library access" and you put in your email.  I have downloaded these e books and they are amazing.
I have gone from "what will I try to make next?" to a list of new things I really want to make and can't wait.  The starter is on the bench warming up as we speak!

Kallie's Marmite Sour Dough Scrolls.

Kallie also sent me this recipe Morning Glory Muffins which looks fantastic. This is a regular recipe but could be adapted to Gluten Free I think.

Cookie has also been so helpful with gluten free tips. Because I know that dietary restrictions can really mess with the budget I really hope these tips help some of you.
Over to Cookie:

Thankfully the internet is loaded with information and recipes.  I'm sending the link I've used as there's
just so much information it's easier to do that.  For the flour, I
found one on I like it because it's easy and doesn't
require a lot of exotic ingredients.  I also have used one from  Lots of input
there and many questions asked and answered by her fans.  The next one
Each and every one of these works very well.  I am blessed to have a
high speed blender and can grind my own flours with rice that I have
on hand so I don't need to purchase much.  Potato starch or cornstarch
is inexpensive as is tapioca flour that's needed.

One thing I found to cut the outrageous cost of this way of life is to
MOO. (Make Our Own) We don't buy any preprepared items ever.  

As for almond flour, this is very expensive here to buy.  The
cheapest I found it for was at Costco for $14 for 3 pounds.  On Amazon
it's $48 for $5 pounds.  The flour can be made in either the food
processor or  a blender but you must be extremely careful with the
time and speed as you could wind up with almond butter, which isn't a
bad thing, but not the goal.   I pour boiling water on the almonds to
remove the skins, but it's not necessary if you don't mind a darker
flour.   If you do the boiling water and remove skins then let these dry before the next step. 
Then I carefully grind it up in the blender.  Done.  For the
coconut flour, it can either be done by carefully grinding unsweetened
coconut flakes or by saving the residue and drying it when making
coconut milk.

As for the milks, I decided to MOO because there were so many
chemicals in the ones in the stores. Soak 1 c.up of almonds in 2 cups
for several hours or overnight.  Drain and put the soaked almonds in
the blender with 3 to 4 cups of fresh water and blend for about 4
minutes on high.  Strain through cheese cloth. It will keep in the
refrigerator for 3 days.Sweetner and vanilla can be added to it but
it's optional. It can be frozen, which is what I usually do. The
residue can be dried in the oven and used for baking.  I do the same
with unsweetened coconut flakes except they don't need the soaking
time.  I use one cup of boiling water in the blender then another cup of cold water 
is added after the first amount it blended. Of course the coconut must be gluten free.
  I also make other non-dairy milks this way using flax seeds or hemp seeds.

The quick and dirty way to make a cup of almond milk is to take a 2
teaspoons to a tablespoon of smooth almond butter and put it in the
blender and blend until smooth and strain.  Again, sweetener and
vanilla can be added but it's optional.
I even found a recipe similar to sunshine cake that completely uses
almond flour, two whole oranges and some eggs and honey.  It's
incredibly delicious.

Honestly, this is not as labor intense as it might look to some. I
would rather have the bags of rice, nuts and coconut in the freezer to
be made up as I need them than have bags and cartons on the shelf that
go out of date and become rancid.  This way my pantry is prepared.  By
keeping these supplies in the freezer I can make up whatever I want as
needed and there's no waste of not using something up.

Since almond milk and flour are expensive I hope these tips help someone a lot!

Cookie then added this recipe which she uses for sandwiches.

Flaxseed Bread

Preheat oven to 350F
Put oiled parchment paper on a 10x15 baking pan.

2 cups of flaxmeal
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp sugar
5 eggs beaten
1/2 cup water
1/3 oil
Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and beat well but do not over beat. Let sit for about 2 minutes to thicken. Pour batter and spread into a rectangle in prepared pan leaving about an inch or two from edge. Bake 24-28 minutes. Makes 12 servings. 

I added some garlic and onion powder to the recipe.

Thanks so much Cookie for all your tips. Making flour and milks are really good things to know. 

I like King Arthur Flour for recipes, ideas and they also have a Gluten free section. Some of their recipes call for sour dough plus dry yeast, which I ignore. I have never needed to add yeast to sour dough.  Otherwise their site is excellent.

Finally, Gluten Free on a Shoestring blog has a recipe index of just about anything. For some reason my link won't work but it will be easy to find.

Given the price of specialty Gluten Free products and the number of people needing or wanting them some of these recipes and tips could make wonderful gifts.  A basket of gluten free cooking goodies or a box of Gluten Free cookies could be such a hit!

I notice that Aldi have quite a range of gluten free things from flours to snacks.  By contrast once I saw 6 Gluten free biscuits for $18 in a deli near us and they were tiny!

If you have gluten free recipes, tips and ideas please share them!
We all have to manage food budgets and special dietary needs just add to the challenge so I am hoping you find the ebooks helpful and that combined we can come up with some big money savers! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    Just last week, I was looking around on the Cultures for Health website! I have Greek yogurt cultures in the freezer and I was looking for instructions on how to use them after being inspired by your post on making our own things to save money. Homemade yogurt for us would save $16 per month.
    Cookie, thank you so much for all your tips. I would like to try making my own almond milk, as I use it in my homemade smoothies. I don't like all the added ingredients in the store bought stuff either, plus it is expensive. Glad to know it freezes well. Also, I never thought about making my own almond butter. I know that is not the goal if you are trying to make flour, but is that really all you have to do? Just blend almonds? I don't know why I never thought of this as almond butter is essentially just ground almonds. Now it seems really obvious lol. Also, would you mind sharing the recipe you found that is similar to sunshine cake? Thank you so much for your help!
    I hope everyone has a good week! It is exciting to see everyone learning new skills in the kitchen.
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Well done.. the yogurt is easy to make and useful in a lot of recipes if you have left overs i.e. smoothies and my use it up cakes...
      And muffins...
      The Sunshine Cake recipe is here...
      If you have eggs and oranges this cake is wonderful!
      I used to work in a health food shop. Nut butters are just blended nuts. Thats it. Peanut butter is just blended peanuts. Some say to add oil, I don't, just keep blending until it is whatever consistency you like it.
      All your "make yourself" projects will really add up plus they are healthy! Well done Kelsey! With love,

    2. Dear Kelsey,

      Here's the link for the orange cake. orange cake. It makes a one layer 8 inch cake. Nigella Lawson also has one called a clementine cake which is similar but uses more eggs. Blessings,Cookie

  2. Annabel I downloaded those eBooks from Cultures for Health a few years ago when I first started using water kefir grains. They have such informative videos on their site too. I often refer to them when I have a question about fermentation. I have checked out King Arthur Flour in the past and it is interesting seeing the different methods used when making sourdough. It can tend to get a bit confusing for beginners though and sometimes it is better to stick with one source of information until confident with how to make something and then look at other recipes and methods. That's what I do to stop getting confused :-)

  3. Very informative, thank you! I'd love the recipe for sunshine cake, it sounds delicious!

    1. This is a very easy cake and its so cheery in winter... It is orange season right now so I am due to make this! Good luck with it! xxx

  4. This is a great post thank you for sharing!
    Good job Cookie!
    Kelsey nut butters can be made from any of them peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc. the more you blend them the oils come out and turn them into the creamy texture although dry roasted nuts don't work as well without adding a little oil.
    Annabel as usual this is an excellent topic!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thanks for helping Kelsey with the nut butters. Another easy thing to make ourselves!
      I KNOW your week is going well! Happy to say! With love

  5. Hi Annabel,
    Although not gluten intolerant myself, I'm sure the information here is invaluable to those that do have to eat gluten free. Can I just add, I've made several of the Aldi gluten free cake mixes and the brownie mix when I've had to cater for a group that had some gluten free members - they have turned out great and no one has realised that they were gluten free. I found this to be a cost effective rather than purchase all the gluten free ingredients and work from scratch.

    Have a great week,

    1. Thankyou Janine,for that idea , it will help me when I get stuck for my gf guests,Love Maria x

  6. Hi Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds!!

    What an interesting topic -- finding simple, satisfying ways to meet a gluten-free diet!
    Then, combining this with sourdough tips is quite something! You're full of surprises, Annabel! Karrie and Cookie, thank you for sharing from your experience behind your information, and your lovely photos!!

    I have known of a large family with dietary restrictions making simple buckwheat pancakes, using buckwheat flour:water (1:1).

    Mel S, I hope your knees are going well!! Patti, you are on my mind, too!!

    Warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Thank you for thinking of Patti and Mel. Me too. It is funny as I go about my day I think of different ladies, there will be something to remind me. What a little friendship group we have become!
      I have quite a few new sour dough experiments coming now that I have new recipes and ideas. Flatbreads are in the making at the moment. Have a good week Rachel! With love

    2. Annabel,Rachael and lovely Bluebirds thank you soooo much for thinking of me. The Lord really knows when we need our community of friends I can use the computer for a tiny bit now my eyes are getting a little better day by day.(They won't fully recover until the people next door move out or stop doing what they are doing.We are praying they would move. We live in a condo so we share air with them. We have been praying for Andy's job we are believing for a miracle job...I pray everyone is well and enjoying winter and summer. Cookie we have been praying for the east coast.
      With much love,

    3. Dear Patti, It is so good to hear from you and that your eyes have improved! Thank you for letting us know!
      Allergic and chemical reactions are a terrible thing. I hope those people move or are moved on. I react to cigarette smoke badly so to be surrounded by something 24 hours a day would be terrible.
      I hope your week has gone well! With lots of love

  7. Dear Annabel,gosh I use to make Morning Glory muffins years ago, had forgotten all about them !
    Thanks to Kallie for her links , marmite scrolls look yummy! and to Cookie for her input, which Im sure is helpful to many here.
    Have a good week Blue birds, Love Maria x

    1. Dear Maria, I think these muffins look really good. For breakfasts, snacks, desert, lunch boxes...
      Kallie is up and running with great sour dough cooking. We are taking Australia, NZ and US by storm! I hope you are having a good week so far! With love

  8. Thank you Annabel and Kallie. I have downloaded that ebook on Sourdough and had a quick look through it. It will be very helpful, thank you. Most of us will benefit from Cookie's advice too. Even though I am not gluten intollerent, I do have friends who are, so it will be helpful for when I have them over. Thanks again, Anne

    1. Dear Anne, Thank you! If you have GF friends you might now have lovely gifts to make also which they would love! The sour dough book has recipes I never even thought of! With love

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Thanks to Kallie for her links. I'm looking forward to downloading some of the ebooks. We're under severe thunderstorm and tornado watches here on the east coast of the US. I hope that everyone in its path stays safe. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Thanks so much for all your help in this!
      I hope there are no tornados! I hope you are all safe and sound.
      These books are excellent and extensive. Amongst the best free ebooks I have had! With love,

  10. Dear Annabel, What great ideas as there are a lot of people gluten intolerant and buying premade mixes are not cheap. I have tried a few flour mixes but weren't happy with them, I will check out Cookies links. My Grandson cant eat anything with gluten in as it gives him eczema that bad that he claws his skin to pieces. I make him a yummy chocolate cake that has no flour at all, it is made with a can of kidney beans and is a beautiful cake and no one can tell it has kidney beans in it. Just google Magic Bean Cake, there are heaps of recipes.
    Loving these posts!
    Have a great week. Debbie xx

    1. Thank you Debbie! Chloe used to get eczema and it was awful. The cake sounds the perfect recipe! I hope some of these tips will help as no doubt as your Grandson grows feeding him will become more expensive and good GF options will be really important. His parents will be so grateful to you for some of the money saving tips. Mimi tip was that most GF mixes need more moisture, I think that is true too. Many thanks Debbie, with love


    2. Thank you, Debbie, for the information on the bean cake!! I've had a look ..... and I love beans!! I'd love to try this!! I noticed, too, a recipe using avocado in the frosting/icing!!

  11. I love making things too Annabel. I’ve also been making the cleaning spray for a good ten years or so. I make three aroma’s – tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus. The making of brown sugar is so simple, I never knew. Thanks for that one! I was glad to find out how to make your own baking flour, as I had been wondering how to add the protein. I saw that was the only difference after reading the packet of bakers flour that was several dollars dearer to buy than ordinary SR flour and the place that Cath mentioned is not out of reach.

    You did well on your bathroom buys and it was great that Andy was able to do so much of the work himself, Im sorry to hear that Andy’s new job has not panned out as expected. One blessing is that he is a resourceful man and it sounds like you have a few irons in the fire including your renovating, but as you say unsettling all the same.

    Great link from Kallie and good cooking ideas from Cookie, she is a smart cookie.

    Have a great week Annabel and everyone reading. We are at a very tumultuous point in the world I feel, and coming here and reading about the very things that give us peace and freedom – homemaking – well it takes my mind off things. So thank you Annabel and all the ladies. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Thank you! I agree with your thinking... the more and more homemaking is creating a sanctuary in many ways and the importance of it.
      The adding protein into the mix in the form of powdered milk, an egg, or both... works wonderfully! Warmth, protein and humidity seem to be the magical combination.
      Thanks for your encouragement! I hope your week is going well! With lots of love,

  12. Dear Annabel, it's very thoughtful of you both to cater to we Gluten Free folk! Lots of really useful information there. I have found that ready made mixes are most useful for day to day baking, and I've been fortunate to find reasonably priced ones where I live. I do however still yearn for the perfect Gluten Free bread, (the readymade stuff is up around the $6-$9 a loaf!) and a lot of my experimentation, revolves around that. Today I am trying to make a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter using Teff flour, and it will be interesting to say the least! I've found Art of Gluten Free Baking to be a very informative blog on this topic, and she is the only one I've read that recognises that gluten free flours absorb more liquid than wheat flours, thus confirming what I have observed in my own baking, that adding 10-15% more liquid and/or an additional egg (especially if using an egg replacer like No-Egg), when converting recipes from standard to gluten free, is always a good strategy to maintain the right end result. It's been several years since my daughter was diagnosed with Gluten Intolerance, and we've never looked back as a family. It's just getting your head around the fact that you don't HAVE to replace everything in your wheat diet, with an appropriate substitute. Iceberg lettuce leaves make a great surround for roast 'sandwiches', Pad Thai noodles are great as fettucine, and gluten free crepes are an admirable replacement for lasagne sheets. Other than that, we've found that less baking is better for our waistlines, lol, and whilst we miss apple pie and apple crumble, we can still enjoy stewed fruit with chopped maple syrup walnuts, or whole baked apples stuffed with raisins and almonds, and not feel too deprived :) Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, You are very good at this! I agree on the crumbles... the topping can be easily made gluten free and just as yummy. From what I am reading it is possible to convert a sour dough starter from ordinary flour over to gluten free... or start one from scratch which would be most interesting!
      Mum is GF and so I have gradually caught on to some of the issues and costs. I think a lot of shops, businesses have cashed in big time on this but we can beat all that at home!
      Thank you so much for your tips! With love,

  13. Dear Cookie and Annabel,
    Very interesting blog post with good and useful information.
    Thanks for sharing....
    Love and hugs,

    1. Thanks Glenda. You are well ahead of me in this area. I hope some of the DIYs help some budgets. The sour dough is a process of endless learning too! xxx

  14. Mimi and Annabel, I was told by someone that the lady that is coming onto that shark tank programme, has found gluten free bread that tastes yummy. She is apparently going to be offered the biggest sum ever on that show of something like 2.5 million dollars! Maybe check that out. Fi

    1. ooh! e love Shark Tank and its on tonight! Will be watching!xxx

  15. Your posts are always so wonderful!! Full of such great info! I only wish I could be even a small bit as productive as you are but I'll keep trying! :)

    1. Dear Janet, Thank you so much! Truly, I always say it, but little bits all add up! Thank you for commenting! With love

  16. There is a family member who is gluten intolerant (not Celiac). I have successfully made cake with black beans (no flour), garbanzo beans (no flour), MOO gluten free flour (I can make a big batch for around $20). I buy gluten free wraps and pasta from Aldi. Oh, and there is a wonderful gluten free biscuit recipe on that uses cornstarch as the base. This is my favorite gluten free cookie recipe (it's an old recipe): 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg. Mix all together. Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Criss cross with a fork. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

    1. Jenn- I make that recipe too ,it's a winner all round :-) Love Maria x

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