patty's blog

Happy Halloween y Día de Los Muertos!

Sweet hand-made treats of pepita marzipan and coconut candy from the local mercado. Wishing you all a fantastically fun Halloween and beautiful Día de Los Muertos.

rainy season: things I'm loving

local tropical summer fruit (clockwise from top): a yellow pitaya (dragon fruit), mamay (kind of tastes like baked sweet potato, and it's great pureed in muffins), limes from the yard, sapote from a tree on our street (tastes like a soft smokey caramel pear).

the coconuts from the yard: fresh coconut water, fresh coconut meat, fresh coconut milk, rustic bowls made from the shells. next to try: coconut popsicles

mirando las tormentas. watching storms come in. and checking to see what's heading our way - and loving when the big ones veer away from here

this simple and inspiring site

cuando alguien corrige mi español - when someone corrects my Spanish :)

(both photos from Crispin - gracias por compartir!)

What are you grateful for today?

Popular Healthy Baking Recipes

For anyone new to pattycake, you may be wondering which recipes to try first, so I compiled a list of some of the most popular recipes according to my stats. Delicious data. :)

Most of these recipes are gluten-free, free of refined sugar and generally lower in sugar than most baked goods. Some are dairy-free, egg-free or vegan. (And most are optionally one or more of these.) If you're on a special diet, I trust you know what you can or can't eat, and to not rely on my labeling/tags which can be open to interpretation.

If anyone has a favourite recipe that wasn't included, whether it be from this site or another, please share it in the comments - we'd all love to know!

popular cookie & bar recipes

Sweet Honey! Peanut Butter Cookies (in the top photo)

Really Awesome Black Bean Brownies

Banana Booty Bars

Awesome Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Spicy Mayan Brownies

Tahini Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Ginger Miso Peanut Butter Cookies

popular quick bread recipes

Chocolate Chip Almond Banana Bread

Quinoa Rice Bread

Healthy Banana Bread

Quick & Easy Oat Bread


Whole Almond Bread

Quinoa Cornbread

Blueberry Bran Muffins

misc popular recipes

New Cherry Clafoutis

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Patty's Pumpkin Pudding


Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups


Aluminum-free Baking Powder


Classic Baked Oatmeal


Awesome Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

enjoy :)

Hula Hulas & other things I'm Loving

homemade hula hoops (or as they call them in Mexico, hula hulas)
(photo from here)

raw almonds that haven't been irradiated or pasteurized - soaked/germinated/sprouted

hummingbirds

the peppery arugula growing in the garden

getting vitamin d from the sun

What are you grateful for today?

Makin' Dough in Mexico

For the last several months I've been busy making dough… sourdough! I love it. It's so old school, tactile, physical, chemical, biological, nutritious, delicious... I love saying "I'm makin' dough" and I love making my own culture. Sourdough culture. (And it's Mexican sourdough - which is pretty cool!) And it may seem very technical at first, but once you figure out what works for you, it can be a fun creative free-style type of baking. It requires no fancy equipment, or special ingredients - and kneading dough is a great way to relieve stress. And if you're stressed about money, then you can say sing "I'm making dough" while you're kneading it and you'll start feeling rich - haha!

For all the healthy bakers out there on special diets who are interested in knowing, I'm still avoiding commercial yeast, and generally avoiding wheat. (I'm not allergic to wheat or celiac - just sensitive.) BUT - I learned that eating a little sourdough bread made with (some) wheat flour (which becomes fermented through the process) is easier on my system than non-fermented wheat foods. (Yay!) Fermentation, and moderation are the keys. Learn more about sourdough history and health here - super-interesting stuff.

I made my first sourdough starters from scratch - and it was so satisfying in that old school DIY way. Egyptians were making sourdough bread thousands of years ago - and when I was little I was convinced that I was Cleopatra in a former life... not that she would have been baking bread. You can make your own sourdough starter from scratch too - here are some great instructions for the novice. I made a wheat starter, a rice starter and an oat starter from these general directions and they all worked fantastically. For gluten-free bakers, a rice starter is super-easy to make (as the rice flour ferments quickly) and it's possible to make some tasty gf sourdough breads - I'll share the recipe I recently came up with when I have a chance. Here's the first rice/oat loaf I made - it was dense like pumpernickel and delicious:

I also used this technique to make a great little wheat starter. Basically it's a stiffer doughier starter (as opposed to the runnier "pancake batter consistency" starters like above). I made it with water that had (organic) raisins soaking in it. If you live in a drier environment that doesn't have a lot of yeast in the air, I recommend using raisin water (as the raisins have natural yeast on them, as well as sugar to feed the yeast). You can use the raisin water in the first technique I mention too. Right now I prefer a wetter starter (like the first one I mentioned).

My very first loaf ever I freestyled, and made it with a wheat/oat stater and all freshly ground oat flour. It was very dense. Very sour. Oh well.

My second loaf I made similarly, but added a bit of "dough enhancer". It had a bit more air… but tasted horrible. I recommend keeping it natural and avoiding dough enhancer (which includes commercial yeast). The Egyptians didn't have dough enhancer. ;)

At this point I was almost ready to chuck my starters, as I wasn't having much luck, I was wasting a lot of flour, and it was already a week into the experiment. (Maybe I had to wait longer for the starters? They looked and smelled ready. Maybe my experimental oat breads weren't the right consistency to rise?…)

So for my 3rd loaf I used my stiff raisin water starter and these general directions for Berkeley sourdough bread (as well as all all-purpose wheat flour - since it's impossible to find freshly ground whole wheat flour in these parts. I'd rather used refined flour than rancid whole grain flour. I also didn't think it was going to work…). But this one rose beautifully! All that gluten sure helped. I baked it in a cast iron skillet (which made a stellar crust) and enthusiastically misted it with water to create steam (as per the directions) and THE OVEN LIGHTBULB EXPLODED IN MY FACE. I was in shock. Luckily, I came away unscathed. I was REALLY REALLY LUCKY. We pulled out the glass and enjoyed it anyways. Livin' on the edge. It was awesome! Check it out:

What did I learn? Be careful misting around oven lightbulbs for starters! Be patient. My first starters eventually did work. It was the winter, and the room temperature was pretty cool, so they took much longer than I thought they would. Also, for my first 2 loaves, I was working with hardly any wheat gluten, and that requires a much different style of bread making. When trying something new, sometimes it's a good idea to follow a recipe. ;)

More tips: here's a great resource with recipes for sourdough bakers - and check out Dan Lepard's step-by-step instructions for rye sourdough

Currently I keep about 1-1.5 cups of wheat starter, and a separate rice starter in the fridge. With each I make one loaf per week (one wheat-based loaf, mostly for my sweetie, and a wheat-free loaf) and I feed them about once a week. They are my pets - my Yeasties. :)

And that was the start of my sourdough making adventures! I now feel like a bit of a veteran as I have many loaves under my belt, made with a variety of ingredients and techniques, and even baked some in a toaster oven - like the one in the top photo which was a raisin swirl bread - yum. I'll be sharing some of my favourite recipes eventually - including my oat and rice sourdough loaf - which can be made gluten-free - woo! In the meantime, I'm still really busy making dough.

xo Patty

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

 

Happy New Year!

(Thanks for the beautiful hibiscus flower photo sweet C!) 

Sweet Winter Giveaway!

Season's greetings! Hope you're all staying warm, baking and sharing wonderful goodies with the ones you love.

I want to share something sweet and healthy that will lift your spirits, and since I can't send you all homemade cookies from Mexico, I will share the next best thing - 10 copies of my iPhone app, iBooster!

If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a simple little app that helps you be more confident and positive, so that you can accomplish your goals and have an amazing life. My sweetie and I made it - we love it, and we think you will too. :)

I'm living proof that it works. By focusing on the kinds of messages we filled the app with, I've made some MAJOR much-needed lifestyle changes, and I'm happier and healthier than I've been in a long time. I'd so love to share this with you all!

Even if you don't have an iPhone (or iPod touch, or iPad), enter anyways and gift it to someone you care about.

To enter: Simply leave a comment, saying what you're grateful for today (and I guarantee you'll feel great after leaving the comment).The first 10 people to leave a comment win!

This giveaway is open to everyone internationally. :)

♥ Patty

Classic Baked Oatmeal

This summer, we ate baked oatmeal almost every morning. It was a hot summer, really hot, (locals said the hottest summer ever) but that didn't deter us from baking this because it was soooo good. We would mix it up the night before, and bake it in a toaster-oven the next morning. Sometimes we made it fancy by adding over-ripe mashed bananas, spice, nuts, chocolate... but mostly we made it plain, then drizzled some local honey over it. Yum. :)

The soaking of the oats overnight is magical. I've read in several places that soaking oats (or any flour) in liquid helps them become easier to digest. I knew that this was true with seeds, nuts, and beans (germinating/sprouting for better nutrition) but soaking flour was news to me. (I also read that using a slightly acidic liquid for flour is even better.) I'm still exploring this whole concept - you can learn more about it here and here. With the oats, soaking definitely gives them a fantastic texture.

I was inspired by this baked oatmeal that sounds awesome. I played with the recipe, and came up with this simple baked oatmeal that's hearty, healthy, and very satisfying. 

Here is the basic recipe:

1/4 c olive oil
2 large eggs (beaten)
2 Tbsp muscovado sugar
1 2/3 c milk
3 c old fashioned rolled oats (for gluten-free use gluten-free oats)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (sifted)

Feel free to play with the ingredients and ratios - this is a rustic forgiving recipe. Use any oil you like (coconut oil is nice too) or melted butter. You can use a milk substitute to make it dairy-free, and I think any good egg substitute would work here too. Sometimes I substitute half the milk for unsweetened apple juice - or use a combination of yogurt and water. (You can also use 2 Tbsp less milk if you like it more flaky.) Use whatever sweetener you like, more if you like things sweet, or no sweetener at all. I like the bit of flavor and browning the muscovado sugar provides. Sometimes I make a half batch in a loaf pan. Since it stores and re-heats so well, we often make a big batch (this is the big batch), keep the leftovers covered in the fridge, then re-heat pieces on a frying pan with butter or coconut oil. (My sweetie loves it this way best!)

Directions:

The super-easy way (+ nice texture):
The night before, mix everything together. Spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. (I chill the pan in the freezer before greasing it with liquified coconut oil so that the oil solidifies and sticks to the pan, creating a better barrier.) Cover the pan and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Just as easy, but a bit more work in the morning:
The night before, mix everything together except the salt and the baking powder. This creates a more acidic soaking medium - especially if made with yogurt or juice. Keep the mixture in a covered container in the fridge overnight. The next day, mix the salt and baking powder in, and spread it in a greased 9"x9" pan. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Makes about 9-12 servings.

Enjoy!

Yes! We have bananas (& an awesome giveaway)

Oh yeah - this is just a fraction of the bananas we harvested at our last place - a single bunch yields a LOT of bananas. We visited friends and gave them big bags of bananas - gotta love those surplus fruit giveaways! Speaking of giveaways...

The giveaway is now over - thanks to everyone who entered!

I'm hosting an AMAZING giveaway over at Baking is Hot, for a Le Creuset Baker's Gift Pack. For the giveaway I picked a sweet array of beautiful, practical, high quality (and sexy!) goodies any foodie would love. (I'll admit, I want all of the items - I developed a crush on the brand after housesitting a home full of Le Creuset pots and pans.)

And if you already have what you need and don't need any new stuff, enter anyways and gift these fantastic heirloom goodies out to the ones you love. :)

xo Patty