Gluten Free Girl and the Chef http://glutenfreegirl.com Playing With Our Food Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:24:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=390 my fennel fascinationhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/fennel-fascination/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/fennel-fascination/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:24:00 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9871 My fennel fascination has begun again. The other day, our dear friends Tita and John came to the studio for lunch. We try to take the weekends away from the office, but when our office…

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fennel salad

My fennel fascination has begun again.

The other day, our dear friends Tita and John came to the studio for lunch. We try to take the weekends away from the office, but when our office includes a 24-foot-long table, a professional kitchen, and a small clutch of sheep out the window, it’s hard to stay away. Besides, it was John’s birthday celebration and the power had gone out for half the island, including our house. (It’s one of the quirks of living on a rural island during windstorms.) So, to the studio we go.

Danny had made a batch of fall-apart pork shoulder in the slow cooker. (My new three favorite words: slow cooker leftovers.) There were roasted potatoes. There were carrots roasted with cumin and honey. Lucy set the table with water bottles and napkins for everyone. It was a Sunday supper feast.

Even with all those delicious choices, the first dish I pulled toward me was this fennel salad I can’t stop eating. I joked with Tita, “As soon as it feels like winter outside, my body craves fennel.”

She said without joking, “That’s your body taking care of itself.”

She’s right. My wise soul of a friend is almost always right. I think our mouths crave starch and cookies and stuffing and bread things during the long winter months — and winter has hit here early, as it has in much of the country. (Buffalo! I salute you!) With Thanksgiving next week, we’re heading into the starchiest season.

(This is where I should remind you that we have a gluten-free Thanksgiving baking app for the iPad. And a digital download full of recipes, techniques, and formulas for flour blends you can make. If you’re having any trepidations about Thanksgiving, and you need some calm advice to help you make great and grateful food, we’re here to help. Next year, you can bake Thanksgiving with our Gluten-Free Girl flour blends in your pantry.)

But last year, I started to listening to another part of my body than my mouth. During the winter, my gut and joints and now my head want vegetables. It’s easy as pie to get starchy baked goods for the winter. Clearly, I’m a fan of baked goods, since we now run a gluten-free flour company. And I’d eat one of these grain-free ginger molasses cookies any time.

We have to work to find vegetables on our plates, sometimes, but especially in these cold months. Celebrating the funny, lumpy vegetables like fennel and celery root appeals to me more now than it did a few years ago. Danny and I have found that if we plan our meals around the vegetables first? We feel better. It’s as easy as that.

So I slide a fennel bulb over the mandolin, then chop up those curlicue white rings into slivers. I fluff them with my fingers, then add segments of clementines and lots of fresh chopped thyme. Small slices of Israeli feta. A few splashes of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, sometimes sesame oil, and some salt pinched between my fingers. That’s it. Maybe sunflower seeds if they are within reach. Just writing this, I realize some briny kalamata olives might lend another texture of taste to it all.

Seriously, though, it’s hardly a recipe. I can’t write it up as one. It’s just a winter staple, something comforting for the end of the afternoon, as the light slowly fades into dusk.

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thank you.http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/thank-thank-thank-much/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/thank-thank-thank-much/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 05:40:16 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9864   Dear Wonderful People, From the deepest part of our grateful hearts, we thank you. Thanks to the generous support of 1563 wonderful people, we not only met the goal for our Kickstarter but also exceeded…

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Kickstarter funded!_

 

Dear Wonderful People,

From the deepest part of our grateful hearts, we thank you.

Thanks to the generous support of 1563 wonderful people, we not only met the goal for our Kickstarter but also exceeded it by 17%! The Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends will be on the market soon.

And we are probably most grateful for this: with the exception of some very generous individuals who had the capacity to give more (thank you!), most of this campaign was funded by those of you who gave $10, $25, $50, and $100. This isn’t a campaign that went viral in the news or had a cute hook and garnered a lot of attention. This community of backers built slowly, one pledge at a time. It was YOU who did this.

Those of you who have been reading our website and making our recipes and buying our cookbooks? YOU made this happen. Every single pledge counted.

Thanks to your generous moral and financial support, we’ll be able to bring the All-Purpose Flour Blend to market very soon, and then the Grain-Free Flour Blend to market after that.

Since the Kickstarter was funded, we’ve been hard at work. (There will be no resting here for awhile.) We’ve been finalizing contract negotiations with the package manufacturer for the first run of boxes, having the flours analyzed for the nutrition panel on the boxes, finding out how to obtain bar codes….It’s a fascinating process.

The other day, our co-packer sent us the first batch of the all-purpose flour with the final formulation of flours from the suppliers we have chosen. It was a singular moment — I was surprisingly nervous. As soon as I felt the flour in my fingers, I felt relieved. And immediately, I made a pie dough. That’s how I would know if we had the flour we dreamed of — if it made a great pie.

It makes a great pie.

It also makes great pancakes, which four hungry children devoured in our home a couple of mornings ago. Three of them can eat gluten. They each asked for 100 more pancakes. There have been waffles, banana bread, crepes, and sandwich bread with those bags of flour from the co-packer.

We are so happy with this flour.

We can’t wait to help you bake great gluten-free food in your home with these flours.

We’ll be updating you on the progress of the flours on a regular basis. As soon as we have a date for when you can buy the flours online, we will let you know in ALL CAPS!

We’re also moving forward with fulfilling our rewards. We have our Thanksgiving baking class this weekend! We’re making pies for people, refining our recipe for grain-free gingerbread men, baking biscotti, and making plans for our recipe PDF so many of you will be receiving.

We’d love to know feedback from you: what 10 recipes would you like to have in that PDF? Some of the recipes are set in our minds, but we’re open to urgent suggestions! Let us know by emailing me at glutenfreegirl@gmail.com.

In the meantime, we’ll be going back to stories and recipes here soon. There’s plenty happening right now — and the next few weeks promise plenty more new details and new learning — but we’re still cooking in our kitchen. And we can’t wait to invite you in again.

Thank you so much for all your support and kind messages, and mostly, for your donations. We’re still in amazement. We will always be grateful.

In warm gratitude,

Shauna, Danny, and Claire

 

 

 

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Meet Our Sponsors: Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guidehttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/gf-grocery-shopping-guide/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/11/gf-grocery-shopping-guide/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 06:07:22 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9700 When I was first diagnosed with celiac, back in late April of 2005, I was exhilarated to have an answer to the question plaguing me for years: why do I feel so awful? But I…

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gluten-free shopping guide

When I was first diagnosed with celiac, back in late April of 2005, I was exhilarated to have an answer to the question plaguing me for years: why do I feel so awful? But I was also overwhelmed, especially the first time I went grocery shopping. That first trip took me 3 hours. I spent 3 hours in a small grocery store, picking up every single food item and examining the labels, wondering if I could eat it. Would there be cross-contamination? Did it have hidden gluten? Was mayonnaise safe? How about that yogurt? I persisted, and I figured it out, but those first six months or so of being gluten-free meant living in a constant state of unrest and doubt.

What I would have given to own a copy of Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide. This handy guide contains exhaustively researched lists of food items, currently on the market, that are gluten-free. It’s an excellent resource for anyone who is gluten-free but especially for those of you who are new to living gluten-free.

This is why Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide and their accompanying smartphone apps (download them today!) are our newest sponsor. We’re proud to bring them to your attention. You need this resource.

We asked Dr. Mara Matison to tell us about her company and their story.

 

What made you begin writing the Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide?

After years of mystery symptoms that my doctors could not find an answer for (heart palpitations, tingling lips, itchy bumps on my skin, sudden urgencies to run to the bathroom), I am forever grateful for the gastroenterologist that finally diagnosed me with celiac disease in 2006.

But going gluten-free was not always an easy road. I initially had a very difficult time finding gluten-free products. Not knowing a thing about “gluten-free” at the time, except for the information I researched online, the whole process was an overwhelming experience. Every day I had to question what I put in my mouth, in fear of gluten ingestion and a relapse of symptoms. It was this drastic lifestyle change, that involved a lot of reading labels, calling food manufacturers and worrying about cross-contamination, that drove me to publish our gluten-free guide. There was no “easy reference book” available and my frustration grew rapidly.

So, as my husband and I gathered all this ‘golden’ information we decided to compile it into a small guidebook. We figured other people being diagnosed must be feeling the same way as me? Lost, confused and looking for answers. Well now, 8 years later and 6 new updated editions, Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide is the nationwide best selling guide on the market, won numerous awards, has received rave reviews and has helped thousands of people safely follow a gluten-free diet! In addition, for those people that have multiple intolerances, we expanded our guide selection to include a Gluten/Casein Free and Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Grocery Shopping Guide.

 

How do you hope to help people?

I hope and truly believe that we have already helped thousands of people ease into a gluten-free diet. I remember that there were days that I had tears in my eyes that I was so frustrated and felt so isolated thinking “what can I eat”? My hope is that I have helped to eliminate that doubt and frustration from anyone looking or needing to start a gluten-free diet. For some people, including myself, this can be a life-changing experience. Going from feeling horrible with no energy, to feeling a thousand times better, energized, and able to live again!

 

Can you tell us about your smartphone apps? How do they meet a different need than the guidebook?

Ahhh…the new smartphone apps. Yes, they are wonderful! These are for all you “techies” out the there that don’t like reading books anymore. We released our updated iPhone app earlier this year and for those of you writing us and patiently waiting….you’ll be happy to know that your prayers have been answered. Our ANDROID app was just released last week!

Both apps, iPhone and Android, have the same layout. One great thing about these apps is they can search for gluten-free products by either company name or by product category. The apps have the same information as our guidebook, minus the bonus OTC pharmacy section located in the back of the book (which includes toothpastes, shampoos, lotions, etc.). The apps are comprised of strictly food and drink products. Maybe we’ll come up with an OTC pharmacy app next…who knowsJ

But in support of our guidebook, I feel it’s always nice to have both on hand, the book and the app that is. I know there have been times that my iPhone battery was dead and I luckily had a copy of our guidebook in my purse to quickly double check the gluten-free status of a product. Some people also are just more “book people”, they need to see it written out, like me. While others love all the new technology and would rather opt for the app. It’s just a personal preference.

 

Can you share a story of a customer whose life has been helped by your product?

Wow…this is a toughie. Seems like there have been hundreds of tear jerkers that we’ve either experienced personally or received via email. I will name a few. My sister…2 years of severe panic attacks (to the point where her social life was getting so compromised by these heart pounding, sweating, uncomfortable, “get me out of here” situations, that I suggested maybe she should try a gluten-free diet.) I gave her our GF guide and within 1 month, all her symptoms were gone! Totally gone! Kind of crazy if you think about it…those nasty little proteins…what they are doing to our bodies.

Another story. My girlfriend, diagnosed with Langherhans cell disease. Basically started out with small ulcerations in her skin that kept expanding and eating away at her skin. What a devastating very cruel disease. Multiple doctors ran tests, and by accident she found out she also had a high sensitivity to gluten. She went gluten-free and used our GF guide religiously and the ulcerations completely disappeared. This was such a miraculous recovery that one of her doctors proceeded to investigate the possible link. I’m not saying this is a cure for the disease, but a lot can change in your body when your immune system is no longer compromised.

Okay…one more story that sticks in my mind. A young girl came up to our booth at a book signing event we were hosting. She said, “I’d like to thank you for all the work you have done. Your book saved my life.” She proceeded to tell me that she had been misdiagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Parts of her body were shutting down. She was no longer able to move her left arm and her speech was getting slurred. Someone, somehow… recommended a gluten-free diet. She used our GF guide book, followed a strict gluten-free diet and started regaining all feeling in her body. When I met her she was a happy healthy college student, and you would have never known what she had been through.

 What do you see as the future of gluten-free? Where is your place in it?

The gluten-free market is growing at such a rapid pace, I know that some skeptics think it may crash and burn, along with other diet fads. But, I think completely the opposite. First of all, it’s not a fad. For most of us, like me, with celiac disease….it is a permanent lifestyle change. There are so many people yet to be diagnosed with celiac disease and so many others with gluten-intolerance that I only see great things for the gluten-free market in the future. Tastier breads, beer with great flavor, crispy pizza crusts, lower affordable prices, and more restaurants offering gluten-free menus.

What I feel will further this upward trend is the fantastic feeling people get from following a gluten-free diet. For instance, my husband chose to go gluten-free with me a year after I was diagnosed. His psoriasis completely cleared up, his post nasal drip cough disappeared and he’s had better nights’ sleep. He won’t even touch a piece of regular bread now. So if eliminating gluten from one’s diet helps them get rid of unwanted symptoms, I believe gluten-free is here to stay.

As long as customers are continuously looking for the most ‘up-to-date’, most reliable gluten-free product information, Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide will be here for them. The 2014/2015 edition is now available. We have re-verified all of our product information, including the new labeling laws, the latest product ingredient changes, new GF dedicated facilities, new certified gluten-free products, and added new gluten-free products. With our Gluten-Free Guide, as well as our Gluten/Casein Free and Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Guides, we have helped thousands of GF dieters nationwide find the most accurate gluten-free information possible.

For more information on all of our helpful gluten-free resources, please visit www.CeceliasMarketplace.com.

 

The Matisons would like to give away a copy of the Cecelia’s Marketplace Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide to three lucky winners here. Simply leave a comment explaining why this would be of use to you! We’ll choose three winners at random on Friday, November 7th and inform the winners by email. 

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this month, this workhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/month-work/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/month-work/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:09:34 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9842 No matter what we do, there is good food and light. It’s how we work. This past month, however, while we have been running the Kickstarter to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market, the…

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light on the desk

No matter what we do, there is good food and light. It’s how we work.

This past month, however, while we have been running the Kickstarter to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market, the emphasis has been on the word work. We’ve had the computers on, the pens uncapped, the notebooks filled with scrawled ideas and snippets of blog posts and updates for Facebook. Good food has fueled us. We’ve been lifting our heads only to look up, notice the light, and then get back to work.

Kickstarter- how many people we need

The next time you see a friend post a Kickstarter link on Facebook? Do your friend a favor and give some money. Until you have run a Kickstarter, you have no idea how anxious your friend probably is, nearly every moment of the day.

There has been little sleep the past few weeks. Every few moments, we all looked up at this piece of paper taped to the window: “We need at least $2800.37 a day to make it. That’s an average of $62 per person. We need at least 1280 people to pledge to reach our goal.” (After a couple of weeks, we looked at the total and changed the amount we needed every day to $2307.67.) Every night I woke up between 3 and 4 am, wondering how we could encourage another 45 people to pledge an average of $63 the next day. Should we offer to make them pie? Should we send cookies? How many times should I put up an update on Twitter before I annoyed thousands of people by talking about it again?

We took this on voluntarily. I’m not really complaining. If you dream bigger than you ever have in your life, and have the chutzpah to believe you can raise nearly $80,000 in 4 weeks, all on the good will of people on the internet? Well, hard work is the only way. We can sleep in November.

claire in the studio_

Before I go much further, I have to tell you about this incredible woman, the third part of the we I’m writing about here. This is our right-hand woman, partner-in-crime on the Kickstarter, and now one of our favorite people in the world, Claire Moncrief. Without her work and encouragement, we would be falling down useless in this enormous work.

Claire arrived in our lives about 18 months ago, a complete surprise, the way everything that matters in my life has arrived. Last May, when Danny and Lu and I were in New York for book tour, I put up a photo of a moment of street life on 5th Avenue on Instagram. Someone left a comment saying “I want to meet you!” Okay, that happens quite a bit. But Claire followed up with an email. She was a newly diagnosed celiac, a big fan of ours, and a producer for CBS. Sure we can meet, I wrote to her. I walked to a coffee shop to meet her and stopped to take a photograph of a quote from Katherine Anne Porter scrawled on a chalkboard out front: “Miracles are instantaneous, they cannot be summoned, but come of themselves, usually at unlikely moments and to those who least expect them.” I walked inside and met Claire. Immediately, inexplicably, she felt like a sister to me. We were connected.

(About a month ago, I stumbled on that post again, more than a year later, with Claire inextricably a part of our lives now. When I sent it to Claire, she texted me immediately. “Look at the photo of the quote again.” I looked and looked but I didn’t see anything. “Look behind the signboard,” she wrote me. And then I saw it. In the back of the photo, walking toward me, is Claire, in her green shirt and black sweater. There she was, unlikely and unexpected. Miracles are instantaneous, indeed.)

Life took its twists and turns. Danny and I promoted our book, taught in Italy, came back to Vashon to start the next cookbook. And we looked for our second kiddo. Claire stepped away from her work as a television producer, even though she loved it, because she realized she could not heal fully from her celiac in that frenetic life. We talked and talked, wrote emails, encouraged each other, and tried to figure out how we could work together someday. Danny and I made plans for possible new websites and cookbooks but mostly we coalesced our ideas for bringing our flour blends to market. Claire decided to leave New York for awhile, to heal more fully. And since her family lives in the Pacific Northwest, she decided to work here for awhile. And, to collaborate with us.

Everything, everything in our lives has changed for the better because Claire is here. She’s a fierce woman and funny as hell. I can’t imagine my work days without her throaty surprised laugh. Claire has strong ideas and she’s unafraid to act on them. Danny and I have our own talents, but we’ve needed someone to help us aim for our goals with more organized clarity. And for years we have needed a colleague who believes in our work and what we want to give to the world deeply enough to call us on our crap and suggest better ways.

Claire has accompanied us on this path we’ve been taking, trying to build a sound business and a community on Kickstarter. Her years of experience covering hurricanes, political conventions, breaking news stories, and the top stories of the day make her swift of mind and talented at saying no when it’s necessary. She’s a powerful force of a woman and colleague. And we cannot find the words to say how grateful we are to have her in our lives.

desmond jumping_

Also, this little guy has given us so much joy the last seven months that we’re happy wandering through stress-induced sleep deprivation along with his six-month sleep regression. Look at that smile while he dances to early Michael Jackson songs. Desmond, you’re one of the biggest reasons we’ve made it through this month.

wide shot of the studio_

All day long, while Lucy is at school, Claire and I have stood at the big white door we propped up on a pile of cookbooks or at the 24-foot-long douglas fir dining table we had built for the space. We pace around, talking with Danny as he cooks and cleans, the three of us working and planning new ideas and following through on details.

I’ve started calling us the tripod. Without one of us legs, the whole thing falls down.

Danny keeps us fed throughout this. He listens. And then he throws in the pithiest idea of the day as he stands at the stove and prepares another meal.

This is our kitchen studio, a 900-square foot space we rent on a 12-acre-farm on Vashon. We adore our landlords, who run a pastured pork and grass-fed beef meat company. They come in and out of the studio, asking how we’re doing, cheering us on, and wondering what is for lunch. This is our professional test kitchen, as well as my writing space, Desmond’s jumping place, and the best office I’ve ever worked in.

This isn’t a bad place to spend a stressful work month.

oven in the studio

We’re so grateful to KitchenAid, who last year asked if they could send us appliances for our new kitchen studio. We jumped at the chance, of course. But more importantly, we have been using this oven and stove for nearly a year, baking every single recipe for our new cookbook in it, sautéing salmon, simmering soup, and making sauces. This oven has seen daily hard duty, cooking and baking and making great food. And I’ve never loved an oven as much as I have loved this one. There’s a lot of good food karma in this appliance.

always dishes to do

And since we never, ever stop doing dishes at the studio, we are especially grateful for this dishwasher. It is the quietest dishwasher I’ve ever encountered, with a silverware rack on top that leaves plenty of room for the stockpots and pie pans and casserole dishes we seem to always be washing. We would never have made it through this month without this workspace.

Danny making lunch

Even though we’ve been telling you about the flour blends we’re trying to bring to market, and thus showcasing baked goods on our Instagram feed and Facebook page every day for the last month, we have been eating as many vegetables as we can this month. I love baking. I love the creative process, the feeling of pie dough on my hands, and the joy in people’s faces when they see I have made them pumpkin bread or chocolate chip cookies. But let’s be honest — vegetables and good protein should still be the majority of our diet.

Thank you, Danny, for making us such gorgeous lunches every day.

Danny eating while looking at app

Danny and I both believe that it’s vital to put down the phones, turn off the work, and eat together in companionship, free of technology. But not this past month. All of October, Danny and Claire and I have sat at the big long table, in as much light as we could find, eating something great, and working working working. (That’s the Kickstarter app on Danny’s phone.)

I’m looking forward to a quiet lunch soon.

But we have one full day left on our Kickstarter. Tomorrow, we’ll be at the studio, working working working, eating Danny’s food, and coming up with new ideas for how to remind you about what we’re doing and why we’d like your support.

I’ll never forget this month. Thank you to every one of you who have pledged so far. We can’t wait to work until the very end.

And then we’re going to celebrate by sleeping.

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baking in your home.http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/baking-home/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/baking-home/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:15:53 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9828 Thank you to everyone who has pledged to our Kickstarter campaign to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market. In the moment I am writing this, more than 1400 of you have pledged to…

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Thank you to everyone who has pledged to our Kickstarter campaign to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market. In the moment I am writing this, more than 1400 of you have pledged to make this dream a reality. We are so grateful.

Wee have 54 hours to go, folks. And the more money we raise, the more quickly we can bring the grain-free blend to market. So many of you have expressed interest in the grain-free blend that we’d love your help spreading the word on this.

And so, in that spirit, I want to share a few stories with you.

For years, we’ve had the formula for our all-purpose flour blend on this site, and in our latest cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. I’ve exhorted for years: it’s not that hard to combine the flours. You can do it today, if you want.

In fact, the other day, a woman asked me for the formula for our all-purpose flour blend on Twitter, in the midst of this Kickstarter campaign. I wrote it out for her immediately. I don’t believe in keeping this a secret. We want you to bake. She wrote back the next day to say the pumpkin muffins she made with our All-Purpose Flour Blend were the best gluten-free baked good she had ever eaten. She can’t wait to bake again.

So here are some stories sent in by readers who have made up our flour blends and used them successfully.

grain-free pancakes

“I’ve used your recipe for a gluten free all-purpose flour mix for a long time. When I first went gluten free, your site was the first that I went to. Your instructions were easy to follow and the results have been fantastic. I tend to use your whole grain mix more now, but when I want something a little more indulgent, I reach for the AP mix. I’ve never had a bad result.”

Megan M.

“Your all purpose mix is amazing. I use it all of the time to make a huge batch of pizzas… I throw half of them in the second freezer outside, just so I always have them on hand. Thank you thank you thank you for such a wonderful mix. Oh my gosh, it’s a great thing to have on hand for when company comes over —.just set up a make your own pizza buffet. I also have to say I’ve tried local gf Chicago pizza and a gf pizza in DC. None can touch how amazing yours are! Thank you!!”

Lauren S.

“I use the mix for any recipe that I’d use regular all-purpose flour for: cakes, cookies, waffles, pancakes, crepes, gravy, brownies, muffins, crisp, crumbles and cobblers, pizza dough, naan, and pie crusts…..I’ve baked for picky friends who can’t tell that my desserts are gluten-free and enjoy them just as much as my old ap-based treats. While it’s more obvious that the pizza crust is different it is so delicious no one cares.”

Kathleen C.

“Your all-purpose gluten free flour blend saved my life! I know, I know, that sounds dramatic, but before I tried making my own flour blend with your recipe, I felt deprived and would “cheat” as a result. And I don’t have to tell you how bad that is!

Always a baker, I had tried commercially available mixes but was always disappointed with something: texture, flavor, or a metallic taste. I tried making other blends at home, but never liked them much either. Plus I seemed to have a sensitivity to the gums other blends called for.

Since I started using your recipe about four years ago I haven’t cheated once! This was back when you called for seven or eight ingredients, but I now use–and love!–the newer, simplified version. At your suggestion, I started baking by weight and I can make any of my favorite family recipes–pancakes, quick breads, even cinnamon rolls! I use it to thicken soups, make roux, and bread fried foods. And the best part? No one knows that it’s gluten free until I tell them!

Thanks for developing this wonderful recipe and helping this gluten– free girl eat right!

Amy S

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So you see? You could make this flour blend today and not need to buy a box from us. Go right ahead.

However, after all these years of delighting in mixing up flours and deciding on the best formulations for blends, I understand why you might want to buy our flours already blended, in a box that can sit in your pantry, instead of having to blend them up yourself.
The other day I heard myself say to Lucy, when she wanted me to play with her: “Honey, I’d love to play with you. I just have to make up a flour blend first.” If I wished I could just grab a box of flour to bake with her immediately — and then color at the dining room table while the scones wafted their scent from the oven — then I imagine you must feel the same.

For Lucy — and soon for Desmond — baking gluten-free is no big deal. Just like I did with my mom when I was a kid, she helps me pull out the flour, the baking powder, the soda, salt, and sugar from the pantry before we begin baking. The recipe for chocolate chip cookies or apple pie is the same as the one I made with my mom. It’s just the flour that is different. That’s it. It’s just a different flour.

Yesterday, Lu called to me from the landing at the top of the stairs. “Mom! I’m having a bake sale. Would you like to come buy something?” It was imaginary, her bake sale, so I sat on a step below her and asked what she was selling.
“We have ginger-melon cream puffs, Chinese five-spice banana bread, maple-blueberry pudding, lime zest cornmeal cookies, and lemon yogurt cake with chocolate ganache,” she told me.

(I swear — she said all this.)

“Wow,” I said. “That’s a great selection. Are any of them gluten-free?”

She looked at me in surprise. “Mama, they’re all gluten-free, of course.”

For my girl — and soon my boy — there’s nothing weird or difficult about gluten-free baking. It’s just baking. And it’s magic. That’s the story in our home.

Here’s the main reason Danny and I have created these flour blends and want to make them available to you. We want these flours to be part of the story of your family’s life, the story of your kids baking cookies with you. I don’t want any kid to feel left out of the joy of standing at Mom or Dad’s knee and making magic with butter, milk, eggs, and flour.

We have only a couple of days left to get this Kickstarter funded as much as we can, to get both of these flour blends in your home.

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gluten-free baguettehttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-baguette/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-baguette/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:53:06 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9821 See that baguette? It’s gluten-free, of course. I shouldn’t say of course. You know we wouldn’t post a photo of food that contained gluten on this site. Still, you probably wouldn’t guess this is a gluten-free baguette.…

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Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetSee that baguette? It’s gluten-free, of course.

I shouldn’t say of course. You know we wouldn’t post a photo of food that contained gluten on this site. Still, you probably wouldn’t guess this is a gluten-free baguette. Look at those air holes. That crust. That bread is pliable and soft in the crumb and crisp on the outside. It’s a baguette.

And the recipe for this baguette — the recipe we have worked on for 8 years now — might be yours soon. It will be in the PDF of 10 recipes reserved exclusively for supporters of our Kickstarter. Everyone who pledges $25 or above will be receiving this PDF. How about a great gluten-free baguette for the new year?

Of course, if you’d like to learn how to make that baguette, plus sourdough bread, great pie crust, and any other gluen-free baked good of your choice, there are a few pledges that might interest you.

Tickets to the gluten-free Thanksgiving baking class ($250) we ran last week have all been snapped up. There was so much interest that we’re adding a December holiday baking class, for a pledge of $250. (That gets you two tickets!) It will be in Seattle this time, at our favorite bookstore/teaching space, Book Larder. We’ll be offering the class the evening of December 2nd, at 6:30 pm. You’ll learn how to make this baguette for holiday party appetizers, plus pie! And other delightful goods. If you pledge to Kickstarter soon, you could be part of this exclusive baking class.

If you’d like to gather a group of friends together, and come to our kitchen studio on a 12-acre farm on Vashon, then we have a $1000 pledge on the Kickstarter. That sounds like a lot, but if 10 people go in together, that’s only $100 a piece. There are only 4 of these pledges left for the in-person class. You could also do it virtually, if you live outside of Seattle.

Of course, if you want us to bake for you, there are a few options left.

We have the holiday gift basket for $250: copies of all three of our books, the 10 recipes exclusive to the Kickstarter, and a tin of gluten-free biscotti. There is only one left!

And if you are feeling concerned about a gluten-free Thanksgiving, let us make your pumpkin pie. This is a limited offer for only 10 people. We’ll make your gluten-free (and dairy-free, if you need it) pumpkin pie. Pickup will be on Vashon and in Seattle.

Folks, we’re doing all of this to help you bake. It’s our first and most important goal. Help us help you by pledging to the Kickstarter today.

p.s. Look again. That’s a gluten-free baguette. And it’s easy to make. You want this recipe.

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we think we can we think we canhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/the-gluten-free-girl-flour-blends/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/the-gluten-free-girl-flour-blends/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:53:38 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9812   For months on end, Lucy’s favorite book when she was 2 was The Little Engine That Could. Every night I would read her that story, emphasizing the chugging noises as the only kind engine of the…

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For months on end, Lucy’s favorite book when she was 2 was The Little Engine That Could. Every night I would read her that story, emphasizing the chugging noises as the only kind engine of the bunch, the tiniest engine out there, tried to pull all those train cars up the hill. I think I can I think I can I think I can. Lucy always cheered when they made it.

We’re hoping that we’ll be cheering at 6 am on October 30th, when our Kickstarter campaign to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market is successful. In the meantime, we’re just chugging and working, pulling all these train cars up the hill. We think we can we think we can we think we can.…

Tomorrow we’ll be halfway through our campaign. And if you help us push forward today, we could be more than 50% funded! We are so grateful to every one of the 643 backers so far who have pledged toward our goal. Thank you. But we still have a long way to go.

We want to give you a quick update of where we are so far and what we’re offering.

* We truly do believe these will be the best gluten-free flour blends on the market and we think you will too.

* Our All-Purpose Flour Blend is 40% whole grain and formulated to work without xanthan or guar gum. It’s the flour you want when you want to make pies, cakes, and other treats.

(See those pumpkin cupcakes with coconut sugar frosting up there? They are made with our All-Purpose Flour. They’re dairy-free, as well. Those pumpkin spice latte cupcakes are adapted from a recipe by the incredible Allison Robicelli. This adapted version could be one of the recipes we’re offering in the exclusive PDF of recipes for those who pledge to the Kickstarter at $25 or higher.)

* Our Grain-Free Flour Blend is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most flours. It’s great for everyday baking: flatbreads, sourdough bread, muffins, and quick breads. And it’s for everyone who cannot tolerate grains.

* Both our flour blends are free of any xanthan or guar gum or another additives or preservatives.

* Over time, our goal is to make both the flour blends organic and non-GMO certified. Both will require more money. If you help us fund the Kickstarter even more fully than the required goal, we can make that happen more quickly.

* We’ve been offering daily specials all week long and they have gone fast. Last week we offered a private dinner for 4 at our kitchen studio on Vashon. That sold out within a few hours! We also offered a Thanksgiving gluten-free baking class at our studio on Vashon, which went quickly too. This afternoon, there was a chance to win a ticket to an event honoring Mark Bittman’s new book, How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food and the launch of Gathered Table. (This new menu planning/grocery delivery service in Seattle is trying to make cooking easier for families. If you join, they create a custom-made weekly dinner plan for you, using your own recipes and their suggestions.) That offer was snapped up so fast from Instagram that the reward was fulfilled before I could publish this post.

Keep an eye on the Kickstarter page and act fast if you see something you like.

* We are launching a new special today, since the private dinner pledge was so popular. We’re offering a private three-course brunch or lunch for 4 at our kitchen studio, on a date that works for you. We’ll tailor it to your food allergies/intolerance and food desires. We’ll also give you 1 box of the All-Purpose Flour mix for each guest and send you home with recipes for everything you ate! This reward could be yours for a pledge of $400.

* Finally, we have more than $40,000 to raise in 2 weeks. We can do it, with a lot of work and with your help.

Could you send the Kickstarter link to 40 people today? People who bake love to share. Please share this with your friends, family, and work colleagues today, if you can. Let them know why this matters to you.

Thank you.

We think we can we think we can we think we can. 

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no gums in the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blendshttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/no-xanthan-gum-gluten-free-flour-blends/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/no-xanthan-gum-gluten-free-flour-blends/#comments Sat, 11 Oct 2014 21:40:22 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9805 We are on day 11 of our Kickstarter campaign to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market. We are excited — quite over the moon — that you have helped to fund this dream of ours…

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Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends for Kickstarter

We are on day 11 of our Kickstarter campaign to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market.

We are excited — quite over the moon — that you have helped to fund this dream of ours at 43% of its fundraising goal only 10 days into a 30-day campaign. (However, remember this: if we don’t meet our goal, we get none of the money.)

We are a little tired — all right, more than a little — because this is hard, hard work. Putting ourselves out there, asking for help, writing and asking and promoting and asking and being bold-faced quite clear we need your help. This isn’t our way. We’re much happier cooking and baking and having conversations with people instead of having all of our social media being 30 days of asking for help.

We are also more than willing to do this, to step out of our comfort zone, to jeopardize annoying some people, because we want this to work. We want this to work for us, of course. But we want this to work for you, so we can keep bringing you new recipes, better baked goods, and the ease of knowing you can cook and bake without having to do science experiments.

We are also clear about this: we know that there is no business worth it if you didn’t have to work your butt off for it. We’ve been working for two years on this, not saying anything online the entire time, because we wanted to do our research and employe consultants who could teach us how to do this well and learn the right way to do this. We’re still learning. We’ll never stop learning. But we love this hard work. As our friend Brandon told me last night, “It’s worth it. If you work it, they will come.”

We are going to be honest here. When we first dreamed up this venture, and especially when we thought about the Kickstarter campaign, we didn’t want to boast, to say ours are the best gluten-free flour blends. We thought we’d put these out there and let you decide. And of course, you will. But even a few days in, we realized we were selling ourselves short. Here’s why we are proclaiming now: we believe these are the best gluten-free blends that will be on the market. 

We are picky. We are determined to cook great food, to bake phenomenal bread. We have never settled for “good for gluten-free.” We want good. Danny can eat gluten — and he does whenever he leaves the house — so he’s our arbiter of taste. If something seems good, and he makes that face, I go back to work. He’s a trained chef, worked on the line for over 20 years at good restaurants around the country, and he thinks and dreams in food. I’m a geek, intent on figuring out protein structures and starches. We don’t settle.

If there were a gluten-free flour blend that met our needs, we would be using that blend and recommending it to you for every recipe. None of them meets our needs. That’s why we have created two blends to bring to market.

These will be the best gluten-free blends on the market.

We are proud of this fact about our flour blends: no gums. These are no xanthan gum gluten-free flour blends.  These are no guar gum flour blends. So many of you have written to say that the gums give you digestive upset. That’s true for me too. Here’s what we discovered, even more so in the last six months: gluten-free baking does not require the gums. Gluten-free baking is better without the gums. 

We are sure of this. We have played and baked and tried different ways. And in our All-Purpose Flour, we use sweet rice flour because it’s starchy enough, in a certain way, that it binds up the other flours in a baked good. You don’t need the gums if you have sweet rice flour in there. In our grain-free blend, buckwheat flour is starchy enough, in a certain way, that it acts the same way as sweet rice flour. If you are using a good recipe that has been developed well, there’s no need for gums when you use our grain-free blend.

We are bringing you two flour blends that contain nothing but flours, formulated correctly after nearly a decade of playing, that will be your family’s flour. For almost all your baking, there is no need for additives or weird ingredients you’ve never bought before or 7/8 of a teaspoon of something that costs $15 a package. With these flour blends, you just bake.

(Okay, breads are the one exception. You need a pinch of psyllium husk for breads. But that’s inexpensive. And we’ll tell you more about it next week.)

We are so proud of these flour blends. And we want you to have these flour blends. Help us fund this Kickstarter campaign and you could be baking with these flour blends soon.

We are Danny and Shauna, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. But we are also Claire, our consulting producer, and Desmond and Lucy and the legion of bakers who have tested these flours and the pastry chefs who have consulted for us and our co-packer and all its employees and our package designer and his family and our package manufacturer and all its employees and the people who grow the grains and the people who grind those grains and everyone who has worked to bring these flours blends to you.

We are you. We’re doing this for you. We want you to have these flours blends.

Help us help you.

Thank you.

 

To learn more about our All-Purpose Flour Blend, please read this. 

To learn more about our Grain-Free Blend, please read this.  

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gluten-free Thanksgiving baking classhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-thanksgiving-baking-2/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-thanksgiving-baking-2/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:08:51 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9801 We have a new, exclusive offer on the Kickstarter. Act fast! Come to a gluten-free Thanksgiving baking class, limited to 10 people, at our studio on Vashon Island. We’ll teach you how to make sandwich…

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pumpkin pie_

We have a new, exclusive offer on the Kickstarter. Act fast!

Come to a gluten-free Thanksgiving baking class, limited to 10 people, at our studio on Vashon Island. We’ll teach you how to make sandwich bread, cornbread, stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. 

We will also tailor each dish to your food allergy/intolerance needs.

This $250 pledge toward the Kickstarter will get you two tickets to the class. (That’s $125 each.) You and your spouse! You and your best friend! Or you and your son or daughter! Let’s gather together and bake.

We’ll teach you how to make these foods, give you the recipes, and send you off with the confidence to make a great Thanksgiving, gluten-free. Plus, you’ll leave with pie dough you can use to make your family’s pumpkin pie.

And you will eat well.

The class will take place on Saturday, November 15th.

Pledge now! We’d love to feed you.

 

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The Gluten-Free Girl Grain-Free Flour Blendhttp://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-girl-grain-free-flour-blend/ http://glutenfreegirl.com/2014/10/gluten-free-girl-grain-free-flour-blend/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:01:45 +0000 http://glutenfreegirl.com/?p=9778 Remember this gluten-free sourdough bread I showed you the other day? The one from our upcoming cookbook, American Classics Reinvented? If you help fully fund our Kickstarter to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market,…

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sourdough bread

Remember this gluten-free sourdough bread I showed you the other day? The one from our upcoming cookbook, American Classics Reinvented?

If you help fully fund our Kickstarter to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market, you can make this sourdough bread yourself, with our grain-free flour blend.

grain-free banana bread

We really love the grain-free flour blend we’ve developed. We think you will too.

About two years ago, I started hearing from a few readers, asking for help. More requests arrived in my inbox, then more. These gluten-free folks had discovered, through various means, that their health improved if they avoided all grains, not just gluten. Some of them did better without all those easy sources of carbohydrates. Others felt the inflammation plaguing them still remaining after giving up gluten seemed to disappear when they gave up grains. Some had started committing to the Paleo diet and saw a big shift in their health and well-being. Others suffered from Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis and found their guts just couldn’t take whole grains anymore.

And they all asked us the same question: “Can you help us come up with a grain-free flour blend for baking? We trust your recipes. I know if you make it, this flour blend would work.”

While we felt a little overwhelmed by the requests, we listened. Danny and I both do this work to help as many people as we can. How could we not want to help?

Over time, as we began playing with different nut flours and starches, we had some frustrating baking attempts. But we kept playing — and how lucky we feel that this is our job, to combine different flours and bake banana bread until we love it —we found a blend we loved.

Almond flour, buckwheat flour, and arrowroot starch. It’s a magic combination. It’s also utterly delicious.

To our surprise, the grain-free blend we developed over time has become a flour blend we love. We use this grain-free flour blend as much as we use our all-purpose blend. In fact, we use it more often.

This is our family’s flour now.

We’d like to make it your family’s flour as well.

grain-free blueberry muffins

Years ago, we developed a whole-grain flour blend we liked very much. Tired of all the white flour dominating the gluten-free food world, we wanted a more wholesome flour, something with a little heft and depth. (Before I found out I had celiac, I liked sourdough bread from bakeries I trusted and baking with whole-wheat flour.) We ended up with a blend that was almost all whole grain with some starches. (Even the more wholesome flour needs a little starch to keep from making baked goods that weigh as much as lead.)

When we started developing the grain-free blend, it took us awhile, but we realized that the grain-free blend worked best with the formula we developed for the whole-grain blend (or something close to it). When we began thinking of the grain-free blend as just another flour blend, instead of something meant to be all protein or no carbs or something “healthy,” (which is often code word for “not very good, but at least you feel virtuous when you eat it!”), we found the flour blend we loved.

It turns out that our whole-grain blend and this grain-free blend are pretty darned similar. They’re both wholesome and hearty, warm and a little nutty. They’re both great for everyday baked goods like muffins and quick breads, breakfast bars and mostly for breads. We make sandwich bread with this grain-free blend, as well as dinner rolls and bagels. With all that protein in there, this grain-free blend makes great gluten-free breads.

The only difference between our whole-grain blend and this grain-free blend is that the grain-free blend works for more people.

If you can’t or don’t want to eat grains, this is the blend for you.

grain-free dinner rolls

There are plenty of people who bake with only almond flour and I understand why. It’s high in protein and great fats. (We love Elana’s Pantry, for example. Elana always does great work.) But for me, baked goods with only almond flour sometimes left me unsatisfied. They’re a little dense, a little too filled with fats, not light or flaky. And having spent years thinking about the ratios of flours to fats to make something fluffy, I knew I wanted to bake with more than simply almond flour.

Almond flour is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and has a delicious flavor. Also, the flavor is familiar. That’s important for gluten-free baking. Since most of us have grown up with only wheat flour in our baked goods, we actually miss the taste of wheat along with the ease of it. Having a taste that’s familiar, like almonds, in a baked good, makes those baked goods more easily delicious.

Plus, almond flour has been used in baking for centuries. I love this Julia Child chocolate almond cake from Mastering the  Art of French Baking, for example. I’ve made with a blend of our All-Purpose Flour and our Grain-Free Flour, subbing them in by weight. It was wonderful.

Almond flour was in.

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And then there’s buckwheat.

Danny always teases me that I get crushes on gluten-free flours. Buckwheat is my quiet, enduring love.

Let’s start with the name, which confuses people. Buckwheat is not wheat, folks. It’s not related to wheat at all. It’s not even a member of the grasses family, like wheat, rye, corn, barley, and rice. It’s not a grain.

I’ll let Stephen Guyenet, one of my favorite food science writers (he has a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Washington) offer this explanation from his site, Whole Health Source:

“Buckwheat isn’t a grain: it’s a ‘pseudograin’ that comes from a broad-leaved plant. As such, it’s not related to wheat and contains no allergenic gluten. Like quinoa, it has some unusual properties that make it a particularly nutritious food. It’s about 16 percent protein by calories, ranking it among the highest protein grains. However, it has an advantage over grains: it contains complete protein, meaning it has a balance of essential amino acids similar to animal foods. Buckwheat is also an exceptional source of magnesium and copper, two important nutrients that may influence the risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.”

Many people have told me anecdotally that buckwheat doesn’t seem to give them sugar spikes. And I have talked to a number of naturopaths and dietitians who say that they have many gluten-free patients who don’t do well with grains, but those same patients seem to thrive on buckwheat.

These are some of the reasons we included buckwheat in our flour blend.

But here’s the real reason. Buckwheat is amazing in baked goods.

Buckwheat has some of the same properties as wheat. It’s full of protein (it’s higher in protein than wheat, actually), has a wholesome taste, and plays well with other flours. On top of that, buckwheat has this quality, this oomph, in baking. It almost melts with the other flours, cinches them in, and creates great structure in baked goods. Dare I say it? It acts a little like a gluten flour. But there’s no gluten in buckwheat.

Now, there’s one caveat. For the best grain-free baked goods, you have to use raw buckwheat flour. You might think that buckwheat is dark in color and bitter in taste. That’s toasted buckwheat flour. Almost all buckwheat flour sold in the United States is toasted buckwheat flour. The toasting makes the flour darker and the taste more intense. Raw buckwheat flour is far more neutral in taste than toasted buckwheat. It tastes a little like wheat. It’s nutty and warm and really wonderful.

I love buckwheat.

To make light buckwheat flour, you can grind raw buckwheat groats in a flour mill or a strong blender. We have for years. But we know that most folks don’t want to grind fresh flour to bake.

We’ve saved you that time by finding the best source for light buckwheat flour and putting it in our grain-free blend.

 

grain-free cornbread

We completed our grain-free blend with arrowroot starch. I love potato starch, which is in our All-Purpose Flour Blend. But we’ve heard from people who can’t tolerate potatoes or nightshade at all. So we wanted to use arrowroot, which is neutral in taste and a great thickener. It plays well with almond and buckwheat flour.

So let’s recap. This grain-free blend is meant for those of you who cannot eat grains. It’s wholesome and hearty, like a whole-grain blend. It’s delicious. And it’s also meant for those of you who cannot tolerate rice, potatoes, or corn.

(That up there? It’s a “cornbread” made with our grain-free blend. It doesn’t have the same taste as cornbread but it has the same texture. And oh is it good for sopping up beef stew or tomato soup.

Really, it’s an amazing flour blend.

grain-free sweet potato pie

And on special occasions, sometimes, you still want pie.

This is a sweet potato pie made with our grain-free blend,  coconut milk and honey. We’ll be having this pie for Thanksgiving this year. You could be having it in your home next year, if our Kickstarter is fully funded by October 30th!

 

Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends for Kickstarter

 

Please help us bring this extraordinary flour blend to the market. This is no other grain-free flour blend on the market.

Please help us. And then we’ll help you bake, grain-free.

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