She waited for the bus. One … two … three … four … she held her breath and counted in her head—slowly, very slowly. They will pass she told herself—even as she gritted her teeth and was careful to hold perfectly still. She just had to hold on until they were gone. “They” were cramps, sharp piercing cramps … pains that cut into her stomach and made her wonder what could possibly be wrong with her. But she wouldn’t let herself think about that long and, if she just held on, she knew they would go away.
Only minutes earlier, she had finished her bowl of cereal at the kitchen table. She LOVED cereal. It was her daily breakfast before school and she loved to eat it any time. If they were out of cereal on school mornings, her mom would fix another of her favorites, cinnamon toast.
Some 30 years later on the drive home from the doctor’s office, her mind was like a computer frenetically flashing backwards and forward in time—piecing together the clues of her personal history with the information the doctor had shared. The morning ritual while waiting on the school bus was just one of many episodes in her lifetime where she’d held on … waiting for some symptom to pass. When the doctor gave her a diagnosis of gluten intolerance and stated all her lifelong issues had been caused by gluten, she couldn’t believe it. She was stunned. She had literally been going to doctors for years and years in search of answers.
Could this doctor’s conclusion really be the cause of all her issues when the possibility of a gluten issue had never come up before? It seemed too much to hope. She had been acting as her own medical/food detective for years trying to find the answer, having already eliminated caffeine and limited dairy intake in search of relief. But, GLUTEN? Wheat, rye, barley, and oats and other foods through cross contamination the doctor had said. Gluten was in her beloved cereal, in her tasty toast, in her favorite pizza and spaghetti … in fact, as her mind continued racing and processing the words “gluten intolerance,” she realized gluten was the primary ingredient of EVERY meal she consumed.
I was that young girl who grew up to be the woman who received the diagnosis of gluten intolerance in 2003. I had suffered from “stomach problems” as far back as I could remember. The school bus scenario played out day in and day out until I went off to college where a whole new series of issues began. Going gluten free brought relief from a lifetime of symptoms and illnesses. My transformation was a miracle and I will forever refer to the doctor who diagnosed me as “miracle doc.”
Eating gluten free is really so easy, compared to suffering daily with health issues. However, I love baking and for a long time after going gf, I did NO baking. I have always been a person who enjoyed “baking from scratch” and until I figured out how to do that safely and on my own terms, I just abstained from baking. Thankfully, I found my way back to baking and forged my own path for living gluten free easily (gfe). My way of being gfe is what I’ll be sharing with you here at gfe–gluten free easily.
My breakfasts these days tend to be very simple-often all or mostly protein, like some scrambled eggs; or part of a leftover chicken breast, perhaps with vegetables; or sometimes simply fruit and a few nuts. I feel better eating this way, and consuming fewer carbs. But, occasionally, I like to make breakfasts that are special treats. The Banana Maple-Nut muffin recipe is a crowd pleaser and a personal favorite of mine. I always make these muffins when we have overnight visitors. If you have holiday guests and a few browning bananas on the counter, now might be the perfect time to try this recipe.
Banana Maple-Nut Muffins
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe. )
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ cup pecans, chopped
Mix and set aside.
½ cup pecans
¼ cup maple syrup
Mix to get crumbly texture.
2 cups gluten-free flour*
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp buttermilk powder
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center; pour in wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Gently fold in filling mixture. Spoon into muffin cups until they are 2/3 full. Spoon some topping mixture onto each.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Test for doneness. Makes 15 to 20 muffins depending upon muffin size.
*I used my usual gluten-free flour mix that I make ahead and then measure out per recipe. I mix the following in a huge bowl and then divide into canisters or airtight containers: 3 lbs Asian white rice flour (Asian white rice flour is very finely ground) and 2 lbs cornstarch (Argo is gluten free). Of course, if you do not have issues with gluten, you can substitute all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.
Adapted from recipe posted on the Celiac Listserv several years ago
A gluten-free friend says these are the moistest gluten-free muffins out there. Another friend who eats gluten without issue says these are the best muffins she’s EVER eaten.
You be the judge.
Not just gf, but gfe!
Not just gf, but gfe!
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