“All the Healthy Things” Black Breakfast Bread (Gluten Free)


Been tweaking this for a while.  I think it’s ready to share.


6 eggs (cage free/free range)

1/4 c. cocoa powder (I’m still using up my regular store stuff but will probably upgrade to a less processed/healthier product in the future)

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (active culture/unfiltered/organic)

3/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. raw local honey

1/4 c. blackstrap molasses

2/3 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1-2 tsp cinnamon, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract, optional

1/4 c. melted coconut oil


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.  (Make sure the melted coconut oil is not so hot as to cook the other ingredients as it is stirred in.)  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Cool and serve.  Or eat it hot.  Store in the refrigerator.

My husband likes his cold, straight out of the fridge.  I like to reheat mine for a few seconds in the microwave and slather it with butter.  If I tweak this further, I will try other spices (pumpkin pie spice? ginger?) and maybe a little more sea salt.


2014-03-24 17.46.00


Random words (coffee, petals, prediction, winter, portrait), sketch on index card (rollerball pen, colored pencils), cell phone photo of the sketch loaded into GIMP and manipulated from there.

Coffee Hour Recipes

Only one for now but I’ll add more here as they accumulate.

Gluten Free Crunchy Fudge Cookies


1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix (Arrowhead Mills mix works too)

3 c. Cinnamon Chex cereal

1/3 c. water

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Combine all ingredients (Chex last would be best).   Drop dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.  Slide parchment paper onto cooling rack.  Cool for 10-12 minutes and peel cookies off parchment paper.  Makes 24 cookies.


Adapted from here:  http://www.chex.com/Recipes/RecipeView.aspx?RecipeId=45945&CategoryId=344.  I doubled this recipe and used 1 Betty Crocker mix and one Arrowhead Mills mix because that’s all I could find at the store.  The dough was VERY stiff and dry and hard to mix.  I liked the cookies very much without the glaze called for in the original recipe, so I didn’t bother with it.  Parchment paper made removing from the cookie sheet and cooling easy; these cookies are pretty sticky/gooey while they’re hot.

Masa Harina Recipes

I need to be better about taking pictures. Don’t have any (yet) for these recipes. I like to cook with (non-GMO) masa harina because it is a traditionally prepared grain and is therefore more nutritious and easier to digest than regular cornmeal, etc.

Tamale Pie

Topping Ingredients:

2 c. masa harina

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cold lard or butter, cut into small pieces

2 c. stock or water


Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cut in butter or lard.  Add water and mix until a wet dough is formed.  Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling Ingredients:

bacon grease or other cooking oil

2 large onions, chopped

1 Tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cumin

3 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp. cayenne

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 c. broth, divided

3 c. cooked meat

6 oz can tomato paste

sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.   Saute onions in 2-3 Tbsp. of bacon grease.  Add paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic, cayenne, vinegar, and 1/2 c. of broth.   Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until thick.  Transfer filling to a 13″ x 9″ pan.  Top with masa topping.  Because the topping seemed dry and like it would be hard to spread, I did this “dumpling style,” picking up pieces of the topping with my fingers and placing them on the filling, rather than trying to spread it over the filling.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and firm in the center. Serve with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Notes:  We loved this!  Adapted from here:  http://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2012/02/tamale-pie-that-tastes-like-tamales/.  That recipe called for chicken, which I thought was weird for a tamale pie.  It so happened that I had leftover breakfast sausage and leftover ground pork from a previous (unsuccessful) pizza experiment, so I used that.  I need to measure my casserole dish, because it seemed like I didn’t have enough filling or topping for the pan size.  When I make this again, I may use more filling, more topping, more of both, or a smaller casserole dish.  Not sure.

Speaking of dumplings, I could see using a sweetened version of the topping for a gluten-free cobbler sort of thing.  I could also see using this topping recipe (possibly with the addition of some herbs/spices) for a Tex-Mex-ish chicken and “dumplings.”  I could definitely play with this topping.



1 c. masa harina

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1-1/2 c. boiling water

oil for frying (I used refined coconut oil)


Mix masa harina, salt, and boiling water.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.  It will resemble play dough in consistency.  Dampen hands and roll small balls and flatten gently into discs. Heat a cast iron frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour in 1-2 Tbsp of oil.  Place arepas in the pan and fry for about 8 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Turn and fry another 4-5 minutes on the other side or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Best eaten soon after cooking.

Notes:  Made these on a munchie whim last night.  I don’t think I had the oil hot enough, as these seemed to take a long time to cook and probably soaked up a little too much oil.  Father Otwell ate some with chili and loved them.  I’m not sure what I think yet.  I made these smaller than the original recipe suggested, trying to maximize crunch.  Adapted from here:  http://gggiraffe.blogspot.com/2013/11/arepas-weekend-and-random-links.html.

Sale Meat (and Poultry and Fish)

Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I tend to go to whatever grocery store has the cheapest meat that day.  These cooking notes are primarily for my reference.  Putting them on my blog so I won’t lose them.  


Pork loin:  Brine in advance if desired.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20 minutes.  Place the pork loin in a greased baking dish.  Season as desired.  Put the loin in the oven.  After 20 minutes, turn the temperature down to 350 and roast for another 40 minutes or until internal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit.  (My last one took about 55 minutes.)  Remove from oven.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve.   (Adapted from: http://www.chow.com/food-news/54392/the-basics-how-to-make-roast-pork-loin/?page=8.)


Chicken, thighs, poached/stewed:  Instant Pot.  Thawed/refrigerator temperature, water to cover, poultry button, 18 minutes, natural release.

Chicken, whole fryer, poached/stewed:  Instant Pot. Thawed/refrigerator temperature, water nearly to cover, poultry button, 25 minutes, natural release.

A Couple of “Keeper” Recipes and a Meetup Group

Baked Beans


3 c. cooked beans (or 2 15-ounce cans of beans)

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 c. tomato sauce

1 T. prepared mustard

1 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 t. red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a 9×9 dish, combine all ingredients.  (No need to use a separate mixing bowl.)  Bake for 1 hour or until sauce is thickened.


I didn’t like the texture of the onion in this dish.  Next time, I will probably either saute the onion before combining all ingredients or substitute dried onion.  Chopping it more finely might also work.

Adapted from here.


Pressure Cooker Cheesecake

Equipment required:

7-inch springform pan

Pressure cooker big enough to hold the springform pan, with steamer insert/trivet.

Ingredients for crust:

1/2 cup crushed (gluten-free) cookies or nuts

1 T. butter

Directions for crust:

Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse until crushed and butter is well incorporated.  Press into the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan using fingers and a smooth-bottom glass.  Set aside and make filling.

Ingredients for filling:

16 ounces regular cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 t. vanilla


Puree the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Blend in the eggs and vanilla. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Put 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker and the steamer/trivet.  Set the springform pan on the trivet.  (I have seen advice to use aluminum foil to make handles to make the cheesecake easier to remove, but I found judicious use of tongs and pot-holders to be sufficient.)  Lock the lid and steam for 15 minutes.  Allow pressure to come down naturally, about 7-10 minutes.  Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool.  If there is a little water on top, blot with a paper towel.  After cooling, chill for at least 4 hours before serving.


I have made this twice, love the filling as written.  On the first occasion, I used gluten-free chocolate animal crackers for the crust, and I did not like it.  Father Otwell did, however.  On the second try, I used hazelnuts for the crust, and I loved it.  Father Otwell didn’t.  I think he’s missing the chocolate, so next time I may try a hazelnut/cocoa combination.  Recipe adapted from this one.  I haven’t yet made any toppings to put on this rather plain cheesecake.  I like it the way it is, but Father Otwell put chocolate sauce on it once, I think.

Not so successful:  I tried a recipe for Garlic Spoonbread that didn’t work out, though I like the spoonbread concept enough to want to try a different recipe.  Also Black Bean Brownies, but I made an unfortunate ingredient substitution.  I’ll be trying that again some time.

In other news:  A group called Creative Christians has been meeting at St. Luke ACC for a while now.  We’ve aimed for monthly but fallen far short of that on occasion.  Now that I live in Augusta, I should have more time to devote to it, and so I created a Meetup group to invite people outside of our little church who might be interested.  Even though cooking certainly is a creative activity, I’ve actually actively discouraged people from bringing food (because I didn’t want people’s artwork to get dirty or damaged).  Am thinking both about redirecting some of my creative energy to other activities that are more appropriate for the group and, if there is enough interest, having a special “creative cooks” subgroup/meeting separate from the main meeting.  In any event, if you live in the CSRA/Augusta area and are interested, please feel free to join us!   More info here:


Salad Dressings, Condiments, and Sauces



1 egg

5 egg yolks

2 tsp. dijon mustard

3/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. whey, optional (I pour off liquid from plain yogurt or sour cream I keep in the fridge.  I used to be much more systematic about keeping whey around but not lately.  Maybe I will again in the future.)

1/2 cup coconut oil (the refined kind that doesn’t smell/taste like coconut)

1/2 cup light tasting extra virgin olive oil


Stick blender and stick blender cup or canning jar


1.  In a jar or stick blender cup, combine egg, egg yolks, mustard, salt, lemon juice, and optional whey.  Blend until well blended.

2.  In a separate container (I use this and a few seconds in the microwave), heat the coconut oil until it melts and stir in the olive oil.

3.  Make sure the combined oil mixture is not so hot that it will cook the egg.  Let cool a bit if necessary.  With the blender running, drizzle in the oil a little bit at a time.

4.  If you have added whey, let the mayo sit at room temperature (covered) for 7 hours before refrigerating.  With whey added, mayo will keep for a long time.  Without it, it will keep for about 2 weeks.

(Adapted from the recipe in Nourishing Traditions.)

Ranch Dressing


1 cup mayonnaise (I use homemade.)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp dried chives

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried dill weed

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper


Mix all ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ranch-dressing-ii/.

02/01/2014:  I thought this was delicious when I mixed it up, but it seemed bland when I actually put it on a salad about 90 minutes later.  Really bland.  I’m considering doubling the spices next time.

Tartar Sauce


3/4 c. homemade mayonnaise

3 T. pickle relish

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 t. garlic powder



Blend all ingredients in food processor or with a stick blender and chill.

Recipe from here.

Instant Pot Notes and Cooking Times

I keep forgetting what I did, so I’ll just leave these notes here.  In the future, I will continue to add to this post, rather than adding separate posts.


I haven’t made note of the cooking times/methods, but I’ve made pinto beans and great northern beans using the times given in my Instant Pot cookbook without problem.  One thing I learned was that adding a little fat keeps the liquid from foaming and pushing through the valve, so I’ve been using a little bacon grease (about 1 tsp per batch of beans).


Steamed hard-cooked eggs are indeed easier to peel, as promised.  (Refrigerator temperature eggs, steam, 6 minutes, quick release.)

Custard:  My first custard attempt (individually wrapped ramekins, steam, 5 minutes, quick release) was apparently overcooked because it curdled.  I’ll try 4 minutes next time.  My second custard attempt was apparently undercooked because it didn’t gel.  I’d give up on the idea of custard except that my husband has eaten every single attempt and is asking for more.  I’ll keep trying.  Secret might be natural release instead of quick release.


Chicken, thighs, poached/stewed:  Thawed/refrigerator temperature, water to cover, poultry button, 18 minutes, natural release.

Chicken, whole fryer, poached/stewed:  Thawed/refrigerator temperature, water nearly to cover, poultry button, 25 minutes, natural release.  


Acorn Squash:  Steaming acorn squash (room temp, halved, deseeded) for 12 minutes was too long, even with quick release.  Try less next time.

Artichoke:  Steaming a whole artichoke (refrigerator temperature) for 15 minutes, quick release, wasn’t long enough.  The outer leaves were cooked but not the inner ones.  I overcooked a previous attempt but didn’t record the cooking time.  Guess I’ll try 20 minutes next time.  Or maybe cut it in half lengthwise before cooking.

Butternut Squash:  Room temp, quarter squash lengthwise, scoop seeds, steam 15 minutes.  Quick release.

Potatoes (“Faked” Potatoes, not baked):  Room temp, whole, steam 20 minutes, natural release.

Sweet Potatoes:  Room temp, cut in 1 inch (ish) slices.  Steaming for 5 minutes (quick release) didn’t fully cook them.  Try a little longer next time.


Brown rice:  This machine is supposed to be an excellent rice cooker, but my first attempt was disappointing (too dry).  I’ll try again.  Second attempt was using pot-in-pot method; 1 cup brown rice, 1-1/2 cups water, steam 12 minutes.   It seemed a little undercooked, so I’ll try 15 minutes next time.

Gluten Free Breakfast Bread


(The bread looks about the same, but I’ve altered the recipe; this picture was of a previous attempt.)


6 eggs

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. honey

2/3 c. coconut flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 c. melted coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Cool and serve.


This breakfast bread is tasty and filling.  It is dense, like a pound cake, rather than airy.

Adapted from the recipe for “Super Easy Lemon Bread” in Paleo Bread Recipes by Tammy Lambert.

02/25/2014:  I’m a bit slow sometimes.  Finally occurred to me to substitute apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice.  Worked great.  Flavors go together much better now.   Raised cooking temp from 350 to 375 degrees F and shortened cooking time by 5 minutes.  Time still may need tweaking.   Bread didn’t stick to the loaf pan as much, but I’m not sure if it’s due to the ingredient change or the temperature change or something else entirely.  Needs more cinnamon, I think, but mine is old and probably not very potent.   Still a bit “eggy” — more cinnamon might help with that, too.

01/21/2014:  I neglected to mention in the previous recipe that I added the melted coconut oil last.  That worked fine.  The second time I made this, I added the ingredients in order, making the melted coconut oil second.  That didn’t work — the coldness of the other ingredients solidified the coconut oil again and I wasn’t able to blend the ingredients well, even though I got out my mixer.   So, the coconut oil should be put in last.  On the second attempt, I used 1/2 cup of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Better.  But Father Otwell complained the lemon flavor was off-putting.  I wonder if he’s actually tasting the buttermilk and not the lemon juice.  Also, I am afraid that the lemon juice is chemically necessary in order for the bread to rise.   I’m sure I’ll find out on future attempts.

1/25/2014:  I updated the recipe above to reflect attempt #3.  I forgot to include 1 tsp cinnamon.  Am considering adding a bit of vanilla extract.

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