ingredients

All these ingre­di­ents were cho­sen with health and pock­et­book in mind. When you can buy organic – do.

Almond Flour – Hon­eyville makes a great almond flour that is nice for bak­ing. Very moist and kosher, by the way, it’s a great choice, but not cheap. A 1-lb bag will run you about $10.

Agave Nec­tar – This is a really great sub­sti­tute for sugar. It is com­prised mostly of fruc­tose (92% and 8% glu­cose), which has a much lower glycemic index than table sugar. But it is still a form of sugar and should be mod­er­ated, in my opin­ion. Because it is in liq­uid form, it is a won­der­ful way to sweeten salad dress­ings and drinks.

Great for bak­ing as well – it pro­vides a sweet­ness with­out impart­ing a par­tic­u­lar fla­vor, like that of honey for exam­ple. I buy the Whole­some brand, by the case from Ama­zon because it is organic and raw. I also like Madhava’s lighter organic, raw syrup, but it’s not cur­rently avail­able in the smaller con­tain­ers. If you use the dark nec­tar, sim­ply use less.

But­ter Sub­sti­tute – Earth Bal­ance is a but­ter alter­na­tive prod­uct that offers sev­eral options: Organic Whipped But­tery Spread and the Orig­i­nal spread – both soy based, but they also have a soy-free option. My favorite but­ter sub­sti­tute is grape­seed oil (see below).

 

Bak­ing Pow­der – I use Rum­ford – it’s GFCF, alu­minum free and Kosher.

Bak­ing Soda – I use Arm & Ham­mer – always have, always will. It is syn­ony­mous with bak­ing soda and gluten-free.

Euro­pean Style Choco­late – You can buy Hershey’s – the tra­di­tional brown tin of unsweet­ened choco­late, which is a good deal dollar-wise, but if you want some­thing spe­cial, try the organic Nav­i­tas Nat­u­rals Organic Cacao Pow­der from Ama­zon. This is a treat for GFCF as well as soy-free indi­vid­u­als want­ing the choco­late fla­vor in a “milk shake” or cookie, with­out the dairy.

Block Choco­lateTrader Joe’s deliv­ers a won­der­ful prod­uct here. For GFCF, buy the semi-sweet, bit­ter­sweet or dark blocks that offer a bit over a pound for $5! They are a Ger­man com­pany and offer great qual­ity chocolate.

 

Choco­late Chips – I love the semi-sweet chips from Trader Joe’s. GFCF with a won­der­ful fla­vor and min­i­mal sta­bi­liz­ers so it melts beau­ti­fully. If you need GFCF and soy-free (GFSFSF), try Enjoy Life.

 

Grape­seed Oil – I buy from Trader Joe’s. It is lighter than the mid­dle east­ern brands and has a lovely but­tery fla­vor that lends itself well to baked goods. I also use it for salad dress­ings, when olive oil can be too heavy a flavor.

 

May­on­naise – Best Foods (known as Hellman’s east of the Rock­ies) is gluten-free. They claim to not have any free glu­tamic acid (the rebrand­ing of MSG or monosodium glu­ta­mate) in it, but it does con­tain Cal­cium Dis­odium EDTA, a preser­v­a­tive. I like to make mine home­made.

Olive Oil – Costco car­ries an organic Kirk­land brand that you can buy two at a time. The oil is derived from olives from Italy and Spain. I like to buy local when­ever pos­si­ble, and Trader Joe’s also offers a good Cal­i­for­nia olive oil as well.

 

Quinoa – Nutri­tion­ally, quinoa might be con­sid­ered a super­grain, but it’s not a grain at all. Dis­tantly related to spinach, it is the seed of a leafy plant that grows high in the Andean Mountains.

It is a an excel­lent source of pro­tein and unlike other grains, it is not miss­ing the amino acid lysine, so the pro­tein is more com­plete. Quinoa offers more iron than other grains and con­tains high lev­els of potas­sium and riboflavin, as well as other B vit­a­mins: B6, niacin, and thi­amin. It is also a good source of mag­ne­sium, zinc, cop­per, and man­ganese, and has some folate (folic acid).

Quinoa pro­vides a lovely base for tabouli, fresh roasted veg­eta­bles and herbs. You can find it occa­sion­ally in bulk at Costco, but also at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Tra­di­tional mar­kets have caught on too.

Quinoa Flour – Ground from quinoa seeds, this flour holds up really well as a coat­ing for sauteed pro­tein as well as bak­ing, but it’s not cheap for sure. A 22-oz bag will set you bag around $10. You can pur­chase at your local health food store, Whole Foods or bulk at Ama­zon.

Quinoa Flakes – flaked from the quinoa seed, this is a great warm break­fast alter­na­tive to oat­meal. Plus, the flakes add lots of pro­tein and tex­ture to bak­ing. Again, you can find this at your local health food store in a box. I like the Ancient Har­vest brand.

Rice – Bas­mati is my rice of choice and I always buy organic. Var­i­ous stud­ies note that more pes­ti­cides are found in rice than other grains – per­haps because of grow­ing con­di­tions (stand­ing water). Luck­ily, organic rice is almost as cheap as con­ven­tional. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s.

Rice Flour – I use organic brown rice flour from Bob’s Red Mill. I buy mine bulk from Ama­zon. You should be able to find this eas­ily at your local health food store and even at con­ven­tional supermarkets.

Salt - I use kosher as well as sea salt. I buy my sea salt at Trader Joe’s — it’s a total bar­gain. Sea salt is har­vested from evap­o­rated sea water and is con­sid­ered unprocessed. Kosher salt is har­vested from evap­o­rated salt bed or from the sea and con­tains no preser­v­a­tives. Both have a supe­rior fla­vor com­pared to table salt, which I avoid.

Ste­via – There is some debate about Ste­via in this coun­try and it’s about right here that I feel I need to make one of those dis­claimers about how my opin­ion is only my opin­ion, and doesn’t reflect the wis­dom of God, etc., but I really can’t fig­ure this debate out. Ste­via is a green leafed herb used for decades in Japan as a sweet­ener (it com­mands about 40% of the sweet­ener mar­ket there). It is, how­ever, only recently avail­able in this coun­try as a sup­ple­ment (go fig­ure) and not as a sweet­ener, although any­one who uses Ste­via uses it in the capac­ity of a sweet­ener. Here’s more info if you’re curious.

The bot­tom line? It’s crazy sweet! And com­pared to sugar, it takes a frac­tion of Ste­via to pro­duce the same punch. I use it because it has been used for 30 years with­out inci­dent in Japan. More­over, it has been used by South Amer­i­can natives for cen­turies with­out inci­dent. I buy mine organic, at Trader Joe’s. It’s great with a squeeze of lemon in some cool water. With any­thing sweet (even though it’s not sugar), I tend to use it in moderation.

Vanilla – I use the one from Trader Joe’s but you can buy the Sim­ply Organic brand at Whole Foods. The worry with vanilla is that alco­hol, made with a grain like wheat or bar­ley, could con­tain gluten. Typ­i­cally, the dis­til­la­tion process removes the gluten, which is the typ­i­cal ingre­di­ent of vanilla. In case of any doubts, use vanilla marked “gluten-free”, “non-alcohol”, or even “bour­bon vanilla” which is gluten-free.

Wal­nut Oil – I use Hain that I buy at my neigh­bor­hood mar­ket, or you can buy organic through Ama­zon. I use a lot of it and it’s expen­sive, so I buy organic only when I can afford it.