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Back to School Granola Cups

These yummy balls of goodness have been adapted from an Alive magazine recipe to meet nut free school requirements.  I usually make them in mini muffin cups – but big ones work too.  They can also be adapted to be gluten free and are incredibly easy to modify to the ingredients you have on hand!  Make lots – they freeze great.

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup (125 mL)  flour  ( I use spelt but regular or a GF blend would work too.)
1/4 cup (60 mL) wheat germ or ground flax
3/4 cup (125 mL) seeds (sunflower, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, poppy or any combination up to 1 tbsp chia can also be used)
1 cup (125 mL) dried fruit pieces –  (raisins, cranberries, apples, cherries, coconut, apricots or any combination)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 large free-range egg
2/3 cup (160 mL) honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup (60 mL) melted coconut oil or other oil of ch
1 tsp (5 mL) natural vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

In large bowl stir together all dry ingredients.
In separate bowl lightly beat egg and stir in honey, oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is moist.
Divide mixture among 12 medium-sized greased or paper-lined muffin cups and pack down tightly with the back of a spoon so they stay together after baking. Bake 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cool several minutes before unmoulding.
Serves 12.
– See the original recipe with nuts

Granola Cups

Granola Cups

Tuesday’s Ten: Ten Gluten-Free Flours and Starches

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In recent years gluten-free diets have become very popular. Our shelves are full of great gluten-free products, and if you haven’t tried them you should, but don’t be afraid to bake your own gluten-free foods at home! If you’ve ever wanted to bake something but wasn’t sure what to use as a substitute for traditional wheat flours, then this post is for you. Even if you know what you’re doing when it comes to gluten-free baking, keep reading to find out more about your favourite flours.

Think that gluten-free flours are only for those with celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities? Think again. Even if you’re not gluten-free, this post is worth a read. These flours are not only high in fibre, protein and other nutrients but can give the taste of your baked goods a new twist.

1) Sorghum Flour: Sorghum is one of the most widely produced grains, and is a major food source in Africa and India. It’s higher in protein, lower in fat and is similar in nutrient-content when compared to corn. Sorghum is also high in insoluble fibre, allowing it to be digested slower keeping you full longer. The flavour is bland.

2) White or Brown Rice Flour: Although they can be used interchangeably, brown rice flour has a higher nutritional value than white rice flour. The brown rice flour is higher in fibre as well. Both flours have a grainy texture and a slightly nutty taste.

3) Tapioca Starch/Flour: Made from the root of the cassava plant, tapioca starch or flour (yes they’re the same thing!) is a light, fine, soft white flour. It is a good thickening agent in gluten-free baking and may add a chewy texture.

4) Potato Starch: Not to be confused with potato flour, potato starch is made by extracting just the starch from the potato. It is a fine white powder that has a light potato taste, undetectable when used in recipes. It is often used as a thickener.

5) Arrowroot Starch: The root of the arrowroot plant, a perennial herb, is ground into a powder to make this starch. Arrowroot starch is a tasteless, fine powder. It is high in fiber and easily digested. Typically it is used in thickening recipes. It is a useful substitute for cornstarch, if you have a corn allergy.

6) Buckwheat Flour: Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually wheat, or a grain. The flour is made by grinding the seeds that are found on the plant. This flour is a great source of fiber and other nutrients, and has a strong nutty taste.

7) Quinoa Flour: Quinoa flour is an amazing source of protein, fiber, calcium and iron. The grain is ground to make flour, which will add a nutty taste to baked goods.

8) Oat Flour: It’s important to make sure that if you’re baking with oat flour, that it’s certified gluten-free. Although oats alone do not contain gluten, cross-contamination is common. High in nutrients similar to oats, it adds a light, slightly sweet taste to your cooking.

9) Coconut Flour: This flour is made from dried, ground coconut meat. It’s high in fibre, protein and healthy fats. This flour is heavy compared to other flours and adds a light coconut flavour to your baking. It tastes great in any recipe that includes chocolate.

10) Almond Flour: Commonly called almond meal, this is simply ground almonds. You can look forward to all the benefits that you would normally get from almonds in this flour, including the high-levels of protein. It has a nutty taste and may add moisture to your baked goods.

If you’re wondering what flour to substitute in your recipes, try a blend! You can refer to these Gluten Free Flour Formulas for a bunch of recipes.

So, are you new to gluten-free flours, or are you a seasoned professional? Which flours are your favourite? Do you buy your own flour or make your own?