May I introduce… Cassava flour bread

Yes. It’s finally time.

A cassava flour bread that is… light…fluffy… crusted…moist.

Can you smell it? I can!

Unlike the paleo-cassava bread, this really is like “real” bread. I remember “real” bread. I miss real bread. I really had to get to know my ingredeints to get this to come to fruition. I had to be patient. I had to keep trying. Pretty much since COVID-19 started, I’ve been doing a loaf every 1-2 weeks. Depends on the previous loaf went as to when I did the next. I’ve tried to keep the ingredients simple, but in the end, I did indeed have to add Xantham gum. I could get it to raise without, but it wouldn’t hold form. it collapsed.

After seeing how dense cassava flour can be, I tossed every leavening agent, except egg, in there – yeast, apple cider vinegar, baking powder. And it works.

Pampered Chef measure all spoons

I tend to use bulk yeast, cuz its cost effective when you #playwithyourfood a lot, so you’ll note I used a little bit more than 1 packet (2.25 tsp) for this recipe – 2.5 teaspoons. Partly cuz my fav measuring spoon is Pampered Chef’s measure all, and I only get 1 out to make this loaf. It does 2.5 tsp, but not 2.25. Fewer dishes to clean. It’s the small things.

I started out using the water temp that most bread recipes recommend (100-110F), and then I started reading up on yeast. It actually recommends 120-130F. I started having more luck when I upped the temps of my liquids. I’ve also only used rapid rise or instant yeast. As finicky as cassava flour is, I’m not sure I’d try regular yeast. (Note: Pampered Chef doesn’t make this thermometer anymore).

Recipe starts out at 2c flour blend – and you’ll need to add more than that for sure, but I’ve found it really varies based on my accuracy of liquid measure. I prep 3 c, and end up using about 2.5. Then I’ve got flour blend for other stuff. I’ve a friend that is corn sensitive, so my blend included arrowroot flour. Feel free to experiment with others, just keep the ratio 50/50 w cassava. Take it from me that other ratios lead to sadness, madness, and the compost bin.

partially seized dough.
the way it should be

Without the xanthan gum, the dough would seize, and with too much, it clogs up the mixer. I’d have to add water (or tea, whatever was handy – and i actually really like the tea flavor – FYI). Then I’d have to go back & forth. Xanthan took away the seizing, but too much, in combination with the already doughy nature, made the loaf fit only for the compost bin. When you get it right, it pulls away from the edges. It’s smoooooooth.

The hardest part of all this was the learning that I had to leave it alone overnight. A friend commented that you’re supposed to eat bread fresh out of the oven. Not this bread. I’m serious. Leave it. Let it cool, then I put mine in the frig. I’ve got 5 cats. If you leave it on the counter, let me know if it still sets up right. This past week, I’ve made 2 loaves – the one I tormented you with on a previous blog, and then one Friday.

Loaf 3972: soooo close

What a great experiment this has been. So this loaf had the least collapse, and it was along the sides instead of the top. I count that as success unto itself!

Loaf 3973: I did it!

This loaf – exactly the same. But baked 10 min longer. No collapse at all. I almost cried. I admit, I nibbled the edge of this one to see what the inside was like – yes, it still needed to rest. It may look like that top collapsed in a little, but that was my error, not the bread. I set the loaf in the garage to rise, and had to peel the ‘cover’ off to go in the oven. It pulled a little dough off, and i tried to put it back on. Learn from my mistake. Lightly grease the top, so it comes free easily.

Oh the crust!

And this loaf has a thick, french bread type crust. This comes from 1) stone loaf pan, and 2) preheating the oven to 425, then dropping it to 375 when the bread goes in.

I’ve mentioned the inside is a moist – its on the far FAR edge of doughy, but I think that’s how its gonna be with this loaf. I’m gonna keep practicing, and if you find any useful tips, please share! I do recommend, like all good gluten free recipes, heating before eating. If you’re gonna toast – I’d actually do it 2-3 times, but I know this is totally a personal preference.

Cassava flour bread recipe

1-2/3c water, 120-130 degrees F

1.5 c each Cassava flour & arrowroot flour

1 package rapid rise or instant yeast (if using bulk, 2.5 tsp)

1T + 1.5 tsp sugar of choice

1.5 tsp salt

1 T baking powder

1 tsp Xanthan gum

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 T + 1.5 tsp shortening or butter

Blend the 2 flours thoroughly, then put 2 c of the blend in your mixing bowl. Keep the remaining amount handy. Add all other ingredients, with water being last. With mixer set on low speed, blend for 30s or until all is moist & even consistency. Gradually add in, a heaping spoon at a time, the additional flour, until it is pulling away from the sides & up the beaters a little. Mix on high for 2 minutes, scraping sides.

Scrape into loaf pan, and set aside to rise in warm, draft free place. Here in Texas summer, I put it in my garage. you can also turn your oven on to 350F for 3 min, turn off, then place loaf pan inside to rise… if it’s not Texas summer. Keep an eye on the bread, and start peeking around 30 min. When it gets to the top of the loaf pan, preheat the oven to 425 F. Note: If bread is rising in the oven, please remove it first. When oven beeps preheated, place loaf pan in, and turn temp down to 375 F. Bake for 70 min. Bread should be pulling away from the sides.

You will need to play with your baking time based on the pan you use & your oven, and I suggest you think about OVERBAKING it slightly (hence 70 vs customary 60 min), due to the nature of cassava flour.

When done, remove from loaf pan and allow to cool in its side. Rotate sides on occasion. Let bread rest overnight, and enjoy your first slice with breakfast in the morning!

This can also be made into rolls. Bake for about 40 min.

Large bar pan from Pampered Chef pictured.


The #9BananaChallenge

Back in 2005,  I was at my yoga training here in Austin Texas (I lived in Memphis at the time), I was having a meal where they had very fresh pineapple. I ate a lot of it. I ended up with a very serious inflammatory reaction. And this was the first time I really connected that I was reacting to sugar. 

I’ve been having this reaction since I was an early teen. Over the years I minimized my sugar and my fruit, although I did find berries were OK – a different type of sugar. That is, berries were ok until that subluxed rib & torn erector in 2012, and subsequent system reactions that sent me on the spiral. Gradually, even berries had to go. No more fruit in my diet. It was a very sad day when the berries finally left. I loved berries.

I challenged myself to use the bananas in creative ways

So when I started my immunoglobulin replacement therapy back in the fall of 2019, I experimented with fruit. Not a lot, again taking my time to get back to eating more than air & water. But enough to realize I liked it. I missed it. But since I had all these other amazing vegetables I was adding back in, fruits got put off. 

Until Farmhouse Delivery gave me nine bananas in my produce box. Not being a huge banana fan even when I was a youngster, I challenged myself to get them all used within 9 days (Gone in 7, thank you!). And I prefer my bananas green. Let’s say that these bananas did not stay green. They went brown fast. Not a big smoothie person either. Banana bread is “eh”. 

So I did my thing. Let’s #playwithmyfood to keep it interesting!

  • Banana 1: Banana-Chocolate Chip-homemade-Fig-jam-on-top pancakes
  • Banana 2: ate it straight out of the skin (still green, that was good!)
  • Banana 3: Banana-Canary melon-Date-canned-coconut-milk smoothie
  • Banana 4: ate it straight out of the skin (it’s not green anymore)
  • Banana 5: Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins
  • Banana 6  Banana-Date pancakes
  • Banana 7, 8 & 9: new & improved Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins

As I’m researching, playing, testing, I’m noticing that everyone wants to add sugar. You’ve got all this fruit awesomeness, why do you need sugar? I leave it out. I added a little into the muffins as Banana #5 was a little… off. It needed just a touch to smooth it out. And my little 1 tsp of agave worked.

I’ve got the muffin recipe for you! Measurements and everything! Depending on how many bananas you have, it’s easy to break the recipe in thirds: 1 banana = 6 muffins, 2 = 12, 3 = 18. New math and all (hahahaha).

Banana-Carrot-Coconut muffins

18 muffins. Preheat: 350F.

Into your food processor goes: 

  • 3 bananas
  • 1.5 c shredded carrot
  • 1 c sliced dates
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 c oil of choice

Blend thoroughly, til the dates no longer make the processor bounce around on the counter. You think I jest. Try not cutting them & see what happens.

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup Cassava flour
  • 1 cup Arrowroot flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (know your ingredients)
  • 1.5 c shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp agave (more or less to taste)

Add the food processor contents to dry ingredients, blending well. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min. Like previously mentioned in the Pizza post, let them sit til cool. Texture will be so much better. Enjoy. 

Banana #5… the precursor to 789

And now, on the my next fruit from Farmhouse Delivery…a Piel de Sapo melon. I’m gonna have to google it. No clue. Watch my journey with this melon on Facebook & Instagram, unless I come up with an interesting recipe, in which case, you’ll read about it here!

My next play thing


Everything Under the Moon, 7/22/2020

I have managed to already get Mondays completely off from seeing clients and being online, and I’m loving it. Those of you that shifted to let this happen – thank you! And on to the good stuff…

Yoga Saves Lives

Do YOU want to save lives? Do YOU like flat faced & fluffy tailed cats? Yes? Yes! Join us for a Viniyoga class benefitting South Texas Persian Rescue.

This is for the rescue where I adopted my current 5 cats. Beth & Lori are like family, and Persians, I can tell you from having been owned by 8 of them, are high maintenance. The more money they raise, they more fluffys they can help. So, Yoga Saves Lives. You save lives.

Want to see what viniyoga is, and see my fluffys? I’ve uploaded classes I’ve taught where parts of my herd showed up.

Join us Friday, 7/31, at 12n via Zoom. Registration is $20 and 100% of the profits goes to South Texas Persian Rescue.

Have YOU signed up yet? Help the fluffys! Do some Viniyoga! Share this with your friends!

Massage: The Driveway Series

If you’ve been wondering what it’s like to get a massage on the driveway… here ya go, from an client:

Last night I received my first driveway deep tissue massage and it was great! I haven’t seen Sharon since March and I was really in need of some work! She makes the driveway very comfortable by having lots of plants to help block the view from the street along with your own car parked in the driveway. She also had the fan going to keep me cool! I appreciate Sharon thinking outside of the box for her clients! Thank you!

Note: I’ve also got several mosquito repelling plants near where I set up. While this client was on the table, I didn’t get a single bite. And skeeters looooooooove me.

Ready to book yours? Options are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings; Wednesday & Thursday at 630a (1 slot). Need something outside those times? Ask 🙂

A little of everything else

I have had 2 Amber Moon Eatery, “Amber Eats” posts so far. I’m including the link I’ll be posting tomorrow – the page is already up!

I’m also about to upload these to Patreon, Facebook and Instagram. I’ve started an Athlete Education blog, and that will be uploaded to the athlete option for Patreon. Still working on getting more stuff uploaded, free content (YouTube & Patreon), so give me a little bit. My neck is still misbehaving gently and I’m still being mindful of how much computer work I do, when I’m rotating my neck in class, and when how it feels when I’m playing. 

I posted what I thought was a very interesting article on air circulation & massage on my Facebook page – a review, complete with reference links. It was interesting that they said turn ceiling fans off during massage, and open the space up for fresh air after. Yes HVAC is great if you have the right filters, but you still need tobring in fresh (outside) air after in-person sessions. 

And AMTA (American Massage Therapist Association) strongly suggests we avoid working right now, if we can. I think the Driveway series is a nice compromise.

I’m very sad I had to cancel all of my September trip – the race had been canceled previously but we had held onto hope that my immunologist would say it was okay to travel. She did not. My next big event that I have coming up is the Mesa Marathon (Arizona) in February. But with what the immunologist said, it looks like my option to travel there is not good either.

Online classes

Current schedule, as of 7/20/2020. Please register in advance.

Tuesdays

  • 11a, Pilates
  • 1215p, Viniyoga in service of Meditation (Viniyoga>>Meditation)

Wednesdays

  • 1030a, Viniyoga
  • 1145a, DIY Reformer

Thursdays

  • 11a, Pilates

Fridays

  • 1030a, Viniyoga


Homemade goodness: Chilled tomato soup & grilled cheese

Up until August 2012, I had what I assumed were the standard food allergies; gluten, soy, dairy, sugar. In August 1999, I was at my interview to be Fitness Coordinator at Ole Miss (1999-2002), had a portabella mushroom burger for dinner, and was up all night – that food was off the list. I was doing okay managing, and then 2012 happened. The Year of 5 Injuries: jammed fourth finger, my VMO acted up and I tore the Sartorius in the process, I subluxed a rib and tore an erector and…. I don’t remember the other two at this point. Anyway with the subluxed rib, which I got from a very strong allergic reaction cough, that kind of cough where you want to puke, I ended up with an undertone flush anytime I would eat things processed. This started my downward spiral with food. Over the next several years I had to take away nightshade’s (tomatoes, eggplant, all white flesh potatoes, etc), nuts, beans, peas, meat, grains, all mushrooms, leftovers, all fruits, and anything processed.

I went to a neuro-immune specialist in 2015, and was diagnosed with a high histamine response. I got put on his program, but despite spending a lot of money on supplements and prescriptions, it got no better. My food list kept shortening. I  saw a new internist early in 2019, and she ran numerous tests of all types, casting a wide net to figure out what was going on. I was finally diagnosed with immunoglobulinemia, and then sent to an immunologist who changed that diagnosis to hypogammaglobulinemia.

And the immunologist tested for food allergies. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. 

I finally got started on immunoglobulin replacement therapy in October of 2019. I got FOOD back. I can choose to be a vegetarian now. To complicate things I have also been going through peri-menopause for several years now, and with getting food back and continuing to have some reactions, I’ve read and study about both immunoglobulin replacement therapy and menopause. My reactions to grains, peas, beans, nuts, seeds is due to menopause. So I have had to keep those out, but I’ve been able to add in everything else – compared to my former list, this is nothing (it’s all relative, right?). I still have to be careful with dairy and sugar, but those are okay since they are inflammatory anyway. 

Which brings us around to chilled tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Chilled tomato soup, fresh basil, and havarti

Tomatoes, being a nightshades, is no bueno if you are high histamine. Dairy & yeast were also on that “food to avoid” list. And it has been a challenge to find a gluten free grain free bread that I can tolerate, and even preferably make. So what you see in the picture below is homemade tomato soup, you can have it either chilled or warmed. And that grilled cheese sandwich – yep that’s homemade grain free bread. I’m still working on specifics so that will be coming in the near future. But for now let’s talk about tomato soup.

Growing up, tomato soup was always one of those things that made me feel warm and cozy. Like a really good mac and cheese. And I have missed having both (note: cauliflower mac & cheese coming soon!). So I had 2 tomatoes from Farmhouse Delivery that I needed to use, and my friend Kim had mentioned her tomato plants have gone crazy and she made all this tomato-based stuff, including tomato soup. A-ha! That’s what I want to do! Once again researching a little bit, and seeing what do I have in my fridge, I came up with my own version. It’s super simple and you can add in any herbs or seasonings that you like. You can make it thin or you can make it chunky. and you can freeze the leftovers  – not that mine lasted that long.

 Chilled tomato soup

“these are not the onions I’m looking fo” –
one is just too small!
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Onion, one medium or too small
  • liquid such as water, milk, broth of choice, to cover veggies
  • Roux: 2 T ea butter & flour
  • herbs, seasonings & other veggies as you see fit (go PLAY!)

Chop up onion and tomatoes, sautee briefly in stockpot until they get fragrant, then add your liquid of choice. Allow to cook down about 10 min, then put in blender, food processor, or use your immersion blender, and zap to your desired consistency. 

Make the Roux: In saucepan or empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Note: GF flour won’t really brown, so go for a thick consistency.

GF Roux

Combine tomatoes mix & roux, blending well. Add herbs, salt and pepper as you desire, and enjoy. 

Enjoy!