Thursday, December 29, 2016

Delicious Gluten Free, Sugar Free Muffins - no Xantham Gum!


I posted a recipe for these gluten free muffins a few years ago but made a few changes today, with great success! I love these new muffins and will make them like this all the time now. They are carrot, banana, nut muffins, with no xantham gum! These muffins are not all that cheap to make. Some the flours, like almond flour, can be expensive.

I grind some of these flours myself in my little spice grinder. While the seeds are easy to find, the flours are not, i.e. sunflower meal and millet flour. It's cheaper this way, as well. You can grind your own almond flour if you find the almonds on sale to save money. You could grind all these flours yourself, even the brown rice flour. It would be a less expensive way to obtain them.

I use a small spice grinder with a single blade rather than a burr grinder. I used to have a larger burr grinder but the sunflower seeds are so oily that they plugged it and made sunflower butter instead of meal. The spice grinder will grind coffee too.

The original recipe came from the "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" blog site, where they have a large gluten free index of recipes. Its a great site!

I substituted pumpkin for half of the bananas today. I added an extra egg to counter the extra moisture in the pumpkin. I also substituted Spenda for all the sugars, but that's not a new change. I have posted the new, changed recipe below with all the substitutions.

This was an experiment. I had no idea how good they would be, but determined that I would eat them regardless. They are fantastic!  Better than the original recipe! They are light, fluffy and very moist! The pumpkin flavour adds a lot too. I plan to make them this way all the time, if I have the pumpkin. I actually used Hopi black squash from the freezer, grown two summers ago. Any winter squash or pumpkin will do.

Gluten Free Muffins - New Recipe

 Preheat oven to 400 F - Bake for 20 minutes
Sift the following very well together in bowl #1
Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Beat the following together very well in bowl #2
Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup finely grated rot
1 1/2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup mashed cooked pumpkin or winter squash
3 tablespoons veg oil
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. VERY GENTLY fold them together just until it is all mixed well with no dry powder left. Be very gently with the batter. Spoon into 12 med size muffin papers in a muffin tin.
To revert to original Recipe:
Omit pumpkin
Use 2 large and 1 small banana
Use 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup any sweetener
Use only 2 eggs
 Due to the number of dry ingredients in this recipe, I set out 3-4 bowls and make duplicates of the dry ingredients in each bowl. It's quick and easy while I'm already measuring out the flours anyway. Each of these will fit nicely into a labeled medium freezer bag for storage anywhere. When I want to make the muffins, I empty one of these bags into a bowl and "ta-da!", the dry ingredients are done! I have frozen the mashed bananas and grated carrot together for one recipe in advance, as well. Labeled of course.
These are the directions for making great muffins from any recipe, not just gluten free. All muffins must have the wet ingredients mixed in one bowl and the dry sifted together in another bowl. Then the two bowls are very gently folded together and baked. Any muffin recipe will be improved if you follow these directions. (Throwing all muffin ingredients together and beating with a mixer makes small rocks. I'm just saying...)
I would advise you to use papers with these muffins. Even with that, you won't be able to peel the papers cleanly from the muffins until they are completely cooled. It peels away from the muffin okay when cool. If you have to eat one fresh and hot, right out of the oven, you'll be scraping the muffin off the paper with a knife. When reheating, peel papers off muffin before heating. Maybe try greasing the papers, spray them? (Next time!)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Red Autumn"

My newest painting, just finished today "Red Autumn"
It's 12" x 16"
You can see all my paintings for sale here:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Becoming An Artist

This is an excerpt from my book: "Artistic Fundamentals - Your First Steps to Becoming An Artist". Also in my new book you will find chapters on perspective, composition and color theory for beginners. 

The chapters in this book are for beginners, simply described in detail with pictures and examples to follow. You can purchase the downloadable book in pdf format for $10 USD, by following the link top left or going to my book page here Books and Tutorials.

Learn To See:
Learn to draw what you actually see. Start simple. Use a photo of a single object, like a flower or shovel. Study the subject before you start. Notice every tiny detail, every line and shape. Note the shadow and light. Be prepared to draw these things. Don’t be afraid to draw and paint all the depth of shadow and intensity of light that is there. Draw that object so many times you can draw it in your sleep. 

Trees are a good practice sample. Start drawing individual trees in detail. Draw one tree over and over again, adding in every detail and shadow until it’s perfect. Then do it again, looking closely for more detail and correction to add with each drawing.

Use a photo, even if you take it yourself. Turn it upside-down to draw what you see. How close did you get to the photo? This will give you practice in drawing what is there, not what your brain thinks should be there.
Rid yourself of any pre-conceived ideas of what a flower or tree or even a shovel should look like and just draw details that are there. 

Use a grid to start with, drawing grid lines lightly with pencil on your photo and on your paper. Then slowly work your way through the basic principles in this book. Practicing each one continuously and reading through them again as you develop your next project. A good work of art is the result of much study, planning and thought. It never just “happens”. 

Slow Down:
How quickly your skill develops depends on the effort you put into it. Forget speed. That will come with practice. Let your skill take all the time it needs to develop. If it takes a month of practice for you to draw that one item in every detail perfectly or well enough to make you happy, then that’s what it takes. Do it right, not quickly. You will get faster with practice. Is your goal to become faster than anyone else, or a better artist?

And yet, another new painting!

This is my latest painting: "Snowleopard". It's 12" x 16" acrylic on a self stretched canvas.

I know my names are not very original. I think direct and simple is the best way to name a painting. After painting it, I'm too close to it to give it a thought-filled, original name.

This is a record of winter paintings for me! You probably think I do nothing but sit and paint all day, and you'd be close. Except for my walk and a few shopping hours here and there, I paint pretty much all the time.

It's not as quick a process as it may sometimes seem. I have several on the go at one time, so as not to get bored, all in various degrees of completeness.

You can buy any of my latest paintings, not already sold, here:  MY PAINTINGS FOR SALE. The prices include shipping in Canada and the continental USA and the prices are CAD. (With the exchange on the dollar, you folks in the US are getting a bargain right now! )