Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten free!)

 

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I posted a life update a couple of weeks ago yet since then, I have managed to get in ~another~ bicycle accident.  It’s been almost exactly a year since my last accident (more traumatizing–got hit by a car) so I’d finally gotten back around to happily bike commuting.  After riding the same trail over and over this summer, it took one wrong move crossing a train track for my bike to get stuck in a rut and me to keep moving over the handlebars.

Fortunately, I’m okay: dealing with a small break in my right hand (which is unfortunately my dominant hand) and some scrapes and bruises, but life will go on.  Major kudos to the firefighters and EMT who gave me some oxygen on the side of the trail and my mother-in-law for spending the afternoon in the ER with me!

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Other than that, I’ve been gearing up for school starting, going on a lot of dog walks (with them belted to my waist since my hands are all beaten up…which I’m sure is a comical sight for everyone who sees me!), and eating a lot of ramen.  Before the accident, we did have some fun trips hiking and ventured over to Hayden Lake, Idaho.  Gotta soak up the end of summer while we can, right?  (Especially since it’s been raining all afternoon in Seattle and you can really feel the fall in the air!)

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Even though I’ve been on an injury-induced protein shake and ramen diet (cooking is hard with only one hand!), I finally pulled out my Kitchen-Aid tonight.  I made time to make vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies!  I modified the recipe slightly from America’s Test Kitchen’s Vegan for Everybody and had great success.  No surprise there, though–everything I’ve made from that cookbook has been great!  If you’re vegan (or even curious about the vegan lifestyle), I’d really recommend it.  It lives up to the “Everybody” in the title and makes vegan food easy, simple, and understandable.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe!

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten free!)
makes about 30 cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free baking blend)
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (make sure they’re vegan!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the coconut oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the water and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and mix until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least one hour before baking (and up to 24, although let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping into balls).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.  Roll the dough into balls (about 1.5 tablespoons each) and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove the cookies from the oven and press the tops gently down with a fork to flatten.  Let them cool completely on the pan before transferring to a wire rack or storage container.

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Enjoy!  Eat some cookies, pet some dogs, and soak up the last bit of summer!

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Life comes at you fast

Hi, blog world!  I know it’s been a while.  Sometimes, life comes at you fast and puts you on a surprise roller coaster.  Since I last posted, I have:

  1. Gotten engaged (to Dan)
  2. Planned a wedding
  3. Gotten married (also to Dan)
  4. Dealt with hospitalization of a family member
  5. Bought a houseplant
  6. Killed the houseplant
  7. Fostered 6 dogs from the Humane Society
  8. Passed my doctoral general exam (which means I’m actually getting close to graduating)
  9. Gotten hit by a car while biking to school
  10. Gotten new teeth (as a result of the bike accident)
  11. Moved (twice!)
  12. Become a vegan
  13. Sold my old car and bought a new one
  14. Spent two nights at the emergency vet
  15. Gotten 214837283893 puppy kisses
  16. Not blogged

There have been so many other ups and downs (this is just a small list), but the past few years have put my emotional stability to the test.  Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband (!! still weird saying that) and my two beautiful dogs to get me through it.  Dog cuddles are actually the best thing to come home to after a long day.  Since they’re actually the cutest, I can’t resist sharing a few engagement photos (of course, the dogs were part of it):

Photos by: Mike Fiechtner PhotographyPhotos by: Mike Fiechtner PhotographyPhotos by: Mike Fiechtner Photography

Honestly, though, my life-bubble has been emotional enough, and coupling that with the current political climate and the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, I’ve been looking for an outlet to process my thoughts!  Enter the blog.  Get ready for some day-to-day stream-of-consciousness!  If that’s not up your alley, per item (12) above, I’ll be posting new recipes for sweets and savories of the vegan-persuasion.

Stream-of-Consciousness

It’s been a very strange day.  I couldn’t sleep last night because (a) I have watched too many British crime dramas recently (all of them are full of murders!) and (b) I can’t stop thinking about the animals trapped by Hurricane Harvey.  The internet is full of stories of rescuing animals that were left chained or crated in the rising flood waters.  I don’t understand how someone could do that!  My pets are my LIFE and I could never leave them behind if there was even the slightest chance of disaster.  There’s only so much I can do from Seattle, which is even harder to deal with.

My 2 am thoughts tell me to get on a plane and canoe around Texas, rescuing who I can, but I have neither a canoe nor any idea of how to get around in Texas.  My more rational 8 am thoughts led me to the Seattle Humane Society, with which I’ve already volunteered to take in some foster dogs.  The Seattle Humane Society has already taken in hundreds of dogs and cats from animal shelters in Texas to make room for the onslaught of rescued animals from the storm.  I’ve also been browsing their Amazon wish list to find the needed products to take care of all of these sweet animals.  It’s not a canoe in the action, but at least these are steps I can take to help in a small way.

But, back to today: after not sleeping well, Junior was still up at 6:30, whining for some exercise.  I dragged myself out of bed to take him running and, as usual, let him pick out our route.  (I usually just follow him; we run enough that he has some routes he’s used to taking.)  But, he ran a completely different way than usual so we ended up in the neighborhood nearby and there were SO. MANY. DOGS.  So many.  Naturally, Junior wanted to say hi to them, so we didn’t run as fast as usual.  Later in the run, we saw a cat sunning himself on the sidewalk and Junior lost it.  He almost dragged me down trying to chase it, but the cat seemed intelligent enough to realize the Junior was attached to me so didn’t move until the very last second when it lazily walked away.  I caught my breath, had a small talking-to with my little dog, and then kept running.  But!  A few blocks later, I realized my phone had fallen out of my pocket.  I had a hunch it happened during the cat drama, so we had to backtrack and extend our run so I could find it.  (Good news: it was right there on the ground where the cat had been.)

After I got home with Junior, it was time to take Bear out, and he wanted to run!  Lately, he has been the laziest animal in the whole world and even when I take him on walks, he’ll just stop, lay down, and give up.  But somehow, today, he wanted to run, so I went with it.  We ran about a mile, then stopped while waiting for a large moving truck to back up, and happened to glance in the car waiting in the street to see Dan’s cousin (is cousin-in-law a thing?)!  Not even bothering to pull her car over, she jumped out and said hello to us (and my 100 lb Bear jumped all over her petite frame…).  We talked briefly, but her car was running in the street, so said our goodbyes quickly.

All of that happened in the first hour and a half of being awake.  Today has had a weird vibe so far, so I’m not sure what else will happen.  It might be time for some tea and deep breathing on the deck to prepare for whatever else it’ll hold.

Also, it’s already Labor Day weekend!  How did that happen?  Where did summer go?  UW is on the quarter system, so I still have almost a month until the school year begins.  It’s a weird time for our little family — quiet and lazy for me, but busy for Dan, making it hard to plan adventures.  I think we are taking a little time to go to my family’s cabin in Idaho (#puppydreamland) but maybe I’ll take the quiet weeks to hike with the dogs and soak up the last weeks of summer.  We’re trying to plan something this weekend because it’s Junior’s adopti-versary on Tuesday (we’ll be celebrating FIVE YEARS of the little dog!) so we want to do something special for him.  Special for Junior usually means hiking, running, or chasing geese, so we’re going to try to find a place for him to do at least one of those things that’s not too crowded with Labor Day goers.  Regardless of what we do, it’ll probably be bright and early to avoid crowds.  Maybe that means it’s time for a nap.  The dogs are already asleep, so I might go join them!

Signing off for now,

Kristin & Pups

Dog Training: Progress Report

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Pupdate: Junior and Bear are doing great with their training!  Things take a bit of trial and error, but here’s what we’re doing now:

Bear

Bear’s biggest issue is fear-based reactivity.  Since it doesn’t seem like he was socialized much as a pup (and was a stray for the first few months of his life), he is especially anxious around other dogs.  But, because he’s a big shepherd mix, when he gets scared and anxious (and starts barking and lunging and growling), people get scared of him!  He also has a tendency to…”take it out” on Junior when he gets stressed, and will lunge at the poor little guy.  This is probably my biggest issue with walking the two of them (by myself, I can’t separate them!!).

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So serious!

Anyway, we’ve been working on desensitizing him to other dogs.  Translation: when he sees another dog on a walk (regardless of his behavior), he gets cookies.  Or cheese.  Or hot dogs.  Our goal is to re-wire his brain in a certain sense so that instead of having an immediate (negative) emotional reaction to other dogs on walks, he has a positive association with it.  So far, it seems to be working!  He still gets scruffy and sometimes growls, but he has started looking at me when he sees other dogs!  Now that he seems a little less reactive, we’re going to work on “touch” (he touches his nose to my palm, a command he’s already super good at) as a response to seeing other dogs.  Bear also seems to have a negative reaction to people speaking other languages (which makes me wonder what happened to him before he came to us!), so we’re employing the same desensitization techniques to deal with that.

Because Bear is so food motivated, training him has been pretty easy.  He’s picked up on “heel” already–he doesn’t always stay right by my side, but if I tell him to heel, he’ll back track and come next to me!

We have to continue working on his reactivity, but hopefully that keeps going smoothly.   He’s made a lot of progress so far, which I’m happy with!

Junior

Training Junior is proving to be a bit harder than training his brother.  He’s not nearly as food-motivated and he’s naturally a much more independent dog!  His biggest issue is over-excitement.  It manifests in many forms: pulling on the leash to get to the next exciting smell, jumping on new exciting visitors, trying to wiggle his 60 lb body onto every visitor’s lap…  He’s SO friendly and loving (and some visitors encourage him) but I would like him to maybe be a bit more polite about it and only be a lap dog if he’s asked to be!

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He really does think he’s a lap dog

The leash pulling is what we’ve been mostly working on.  I have a harness for him that has a leash clip both in the front and in the back, so I can use the front clip when we’re walking and I want him to pull less (clipping it in the front prevents him from pulling) but I can use the back clip when we’re running together.

The front-clip harness does a pretty good job of preventing him from pulling, but I want him to actually learn that he doesn’t need to yank my arm off to get where he wants to go (we’ll walk there together!).  We worked on “heel” for a while but, unlike Bear, he doesn’t seem to be picking up on it as quickly.  If I ask him for a “heel”, he’ll come back to stand by my side but won’t stay there.  If I try to “hold” him in place with a treat, he quickly loses interest in the treat and heads forward again.

I realized that this wasn’t working very well so I switched to something that will hopefully be a little easier for him.  He and Bear both know the command “look” (pausing to look at me), but Junior doesn’t do it every time.  The food reward for looking at me isn’t enough for him to turn and stop eyeing the squirrel across the street!  So, instead, I’ve been asking for “look” and then waiting (as long as it takes) for him to look at me and then I say “let’s go!” and we get to jog forward so he can investigate whatever he’s after.  The reward of getting to move forward seems to have much more value to him than the treats I carry, and he’s getting much better at checking in with me.  My hope is that I can do the same thing with “heel”–make him realize that if he walks by me for a short amount of time, then I’ll let him charge forward and check out the interesting sights and smells on his path.

Anyway, with all of this, he does seem to be getting better at walking on a leash.  He always pulls the most right when we leave the house, but a few minutes later (after he’s burned off his initial excitement!) his pulling decreases and, although he typically walks in front of me, at least he does it with a loose leash!

We’ve been working on other little things to make him a bit more polite, too: if he comes up to us when we’re sitting and watching TV, I ask him for a “sit” before petting him (he wants to be pet more than he wants a treat for sitting), and ignore him if he shoves his nose into my lap.  I’ll ask him to “sit” and then invite him to sit on the couch with me.  He does seem to understand that sitting nicely gets him more attention than him forcing his ways into our laps, but he seems to get frustrated if he isn’t pet or loved soon after sitting.  We’re working on his patience (waiting longer in a sit before he’s rewarded with pets!) and he’s doing well so far!

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Junior loves snuggles!

Finally, we come to the jumping.  Junior has been a jumper since the first day I got him.  He has a weird thing about sniffing people’s mouths…he just wants to smell your mouth, then he’ll leave you alone.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable!  He doesn’t jump on Dan or me, but he springs up on most visitors.  I know how to fix it, too: Dan ignored Junior and Bear every day while he went upstairs to change out of his work clothes, and now they both politely wait outside of the bedroom (with the door wide open!!) while they wait for Dan to hang up his dress clothes.

Similarly, if Junior ever jumps on me, I know he’ll stop jumping if I completely ignore him and walk away, but most of our visitors seem to have a hard time with that.  I’ll ask them to “completely ignore him” if he jumps up, but instead they’ll laugh or make weird noises and hand gestures or yell “down” at him, all of which IS NOT ignoring him.  It’s frustrating–training the humans is harder than training the dog!  I think I’m going to have someone I trust (and believe will actually ignore him when I ask him to) come over and enter the house over and over again.  Hopefully that will carry over to other visitors.  If not, I think I might have to leash him when people arrive, but I’m worried about doing that because he gets so frantic on a leash.  Anyway, it’s a work in progress.  Junior has made some progress on jumping and I know he can make so much more, as long as the humans actually do what they’re told.

Overall 

Overall, both pups are doing great with their training!  I’ve had to get a bit more creative with Junior, but both dogs are so smart so it’s been a lot of fun to see what they’ll do.  We will keep working on Bear’s reactivity and Junior’s pulling/jumping, and I’d like to get them out to a dog park soon to practice some off leash skills (especially for Bear).  We have a lot of fun working together, so I’m excited to see what happens in the next few weeks!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Dog Training: The Beginning

Welcome to a new mini-series: How to train your dog!  This doesn’t have much to do with baking, but I figured this was a good a place as any to detail my adventures in dog training.

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Junior and Bear both came into my life as adolescent shelter dogs.  Bear had come from a previous owner who’d clearly put some time and effort into training him–he knew how to walk nicely on a leash, was house-trained, didn’t jump on people, and didn’t counter-surf.  He also seemed to know the command “can I have it?” as a cue to drop his ball/rope/toy/etc.  However, he didn’t seem to know anything about sit, stay, or come, and it didn’t seem like he’d ever been on an off-leash adventure before.  He certainly didn’t have any socialization–he was scared of every dog that came his way!  And, of course, when a 90 lb shepherd mix gets scared, he comes off as ferocious to many other dogs and people…. No good.  Bear had (has) a lot of anxiety in general; he freaked when he saw other dogs, stepped in something soft (sand, dirt), was passed by large trucks, saw bikers, walked through tall grass, and a myriad of other seemingly innocuous things.

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As for Junior, well, he didn’t know anything.  He wasn’t house-trained, yanked my arm off every time we went outside, was incredibly mouthy (the play-biting puppies do), and jumped on every single person he saw.   In short, he was nuts.  He’s a smart guy, so easily learned to sit, shake, lay down, roll over, etc.  Because of his energy level, we spent a lot of time at dog parks, and by some miracle, he loved every other dog.  At the park, he learned pretty quickly to “come” and not to jump on other other humans.

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Today, Junior and Bear are pretty good dogs.  I wouldn’t say I know much about dog training, but I could at least teach them the basics.  However, they’re not great dogs.  Junior still jumps on some of our house-guests and still pulls my arm off on a leash and Bear still has anxiety–he is still afraid of dogs larger than him and gets pretty reactive when he sees other dogs on walks.  He’s also not very good at coming when called at parks and off-leash adventures.

Therefore, I’m starting a new mission: teaching Junior and Bear to be well-mannered in every aspect.  I want them to be able to come with me to dog-friendly bars and restaurants and I want to be able to walk them calmly on leash, even when they see distractions.  I want them to have access to as many parts of my life as possible!  So, I’ve armed myself with a clicker and a mountain of training treats and am using my free time to work on some of their skills.

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We’ve entered the world of positive reinforcement training and my goals for this include:

Junior:

  • stop pulling on leash
  • stop jumping on people
  • get better at the “leave it” command
  • be less reactive toward squirrels and cats
  • work on calming down in exciting situations
  • develop the ability to sit still or lay down for longer periods of time
  • have a rock-solid “come” so I can take him on more off leash adventures!

Bear:

  • get better at “come”
  • decrease reactivity towards other dogs
  • decrease anxiety by identifying triggers and avoiding them
  • walk next to me on leash, don’t lag behind
  • don’t beg for food in the kitchen or by the table

Ultimately, I want to teach both of them the skills they need to calm down; Junior needs those skills when he gets over-excited (it leads to pulling on walks, jumping on his favorite people, lack of ability to sit still) and Bear needs those skills when his anxiety kicks in (which leads to his reactivity).

We’ve started training already and Bear is responding wonderfully to the clicker and treats because he’s an incredibly food motivated dog.  Junior is less food motivated, so it’s proving to be a bit more challenging with him.  I hope to keep you posted through the milestones of our training adventures!

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

Gluten-free baking is a constant adventure for me.  I love finding experimenting with new recipes or modifying old recipes to make them work as gluten free!

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I was gone for two weeks at a conference in Princeton, New Jersey.  I took a ridiculous amount of silly selfies to send to Dan and my mom while I was gone, and I’ll spare you the brunt of them, but I can’t resist sharing at least one:

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Two weeks is a long time, though!  I missed my puppies SO MUCH!  Thankfully Dan took great care of them and send me about a zillion snapchats of the puppies while I was gone.

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When I got back, I wanted to do something nice for Dan and I also wanted to do something nice for one of my classmates who worked hard subbing for my class when I was gone.  In my book, something nice = cookies, so I set out to make some delicious gluten free sugar cookies!

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While they were cooking, I made some buttercream frosting, but honestly, the cookies didn’t really need it!  I frosted them anyway, but found that the frosting made them a bit too sweet for my tastes.  Regardless, the cookies have the perfect texture (amazingly chewy) and have a great flavor coming from the vanilla and brown sugar.  No one guessed they were gluten free!

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The ingredients might look a little strange to you (yogurt?!? in cookies?!?) but I promise it turns out wonderfully!

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
makes about 25-30 cookies

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup ATK gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (DO NOT OMIT)
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 heaping tablespoons Greek yogurt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla

Whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and xanthan gum, and set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix together the sugars, Greek yogurt, and melted butter until mostly combined.  Whisk in the egg and vanilla until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until well-combined and you have a soft dough. Cover the dough with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees,  Roll the dough into balls, about 1.5 – 2 tablespoons each, and roll each ball in white sugar.  Place the cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat, and gently press each cookie to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a pinch more sugar and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, frost with a simple vanilla buttercream.  Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Quick Bread

Remember a few posts ago when I said a backlog of recipes?  Well, I’m working on it, but I’m only up to Mother’s Day!

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be with my mom in person on Mother’s Day (although I did get to see her earlier in the week) but my brother was driving over to my parents’ house so I sent him with a care package, including:

  • Prosecco
  • Strawberries
  • Flowers
  • Cinnamon Quick Bread

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This bread is SO easy to make (one bowl, baby!) and is completely addicting, inspired by this recipe.  You may actually want to eat the entire thing yourself and not send it to your mom.  For my own self-control, I forced myself to NOT slice into it and send my mom the whole loaf.  I knew if I even sliced the tiniest piece off, none of it would make it home!

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Anyway, my mom is AMAZING.

She’s put up with my brother and sister and me through all of our ups and downs and crazy impulse decisions.  Case in point: this happened… “Hi Mom!  I’m starting grad school in three weeks but I just got a dog!”  And not just any dog; this particularly crazy one:

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And of course she supported me through dog number two (probably because, in the interim, I had inspired her to get a wonderful pup of her own!):

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She deserved a lot more than just a loaf of bread, but at least I was able to send her something to show her how much I love her!

Also, note that this bread is not gluten free, but I’m working on converting it to a gluten free recipe!

Cinnamon Quick Bread
makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup milk (I’ve used both skim and whole)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling (abut 2 teaspoons cinnamon mixed with about 1/3 cup sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard (9 x 5 inch) loaf pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.  Add the vanilla, egg, milk, and vegetable oil and whisk until just combined.  Pour about half of the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the cinnamon sugar.  Slowly (and evenly) pour the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon sugar.  Bake the loaf for about 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Wrap the loaf in foil and enjoy!

Homemade Gluten-Free Pizza

Brace yourselves, everyone.  I have found a gluten-free pizza that TASTES DELICIOUS.

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If you’re gluten free, and want a pizza that doesn’t taste like toppings on a piece of cardboard (Pizza Hut, I’m talking to you) make this.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be advertising it like this if I hadn’t already made it a bunch of times and gotten rave reviews from one of the pickiest eaters you’ll find (ahem Dan).  He even requested it for his birthday dinner!

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It’s a little bit of work, but no more work than homemade non-gluten free dough.  It takes some time to mix and rise and you also have to par-bake it (bake the dough alone before you top it) but I promise that it’s worth it!  It uses almond flour to add some necessary fat to the dough (to help give it some chew) and it pretty sticky (so you can’t throw it in the air like the traditional Italian pizza makers) but everything about it yields a gluten free dough that’s actually amazing.  Honestly, though, if you’re really into gluten-free baking, you probably have a pantry something like mine…

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I’ll stop touting its perfection and give you the recipe!  If you’re been in search for a gluten free pizza, hopefully your search can finally stop!

PS Obligatory dog photos:

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Gluten-Free Pizza 
makes 2 10 x 18 inch pizzas 

Ingredients:
3 1/3 + 1/4 cup ATK gluten free flour blend
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon almond flour*
4 1/2 teaspoons powdered psyllium husk**
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast***
2 1/2 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil spray, parchment paper, and plastic wrap
Pizza toppings (ideas: marinara, mozarella, parmesan, pepperoni, Italian sausage, chicken sausage, sweet peppers, olives, basil, anything your heart desires!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), mix the flour, almond flour, psyllium husk, baking powder, salt and yeast together until combined.  Slowly pour in the water and vegetable oil and increase the speed to medium.  Beat the dough until sticky and well-combined, about 6 minutes.  It will seem more like a thick batter than a pizza dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a moderately warm spot until the dough has risen a little and the inside of the dough is bubbly, about 90 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Divide the dough evenly onto each sheet and spread the dough out toward the edge of the pan using a well-greased spatula, stopping to re-grease the spatula as necessary.  Spray the top of the dough with vegetable spray and cover it with a large sheet of plastic wrap, gently pressing the dough to about 1/4 inch thick with your hands.  It should take up almost the entire pan.

Adjust the oven racks to the lower and middle position and place the baking sheets in the oven.  Turn the oven on to 325 degrees and bake the dough until firm to the touch and golden on the underside, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.

Transfer the crusts to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before topping, or cool completely and store in the freezer.  When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone or foil-covered inverted baking sheet in the oven.  Top the pizza crust with marinara sauce, cheese, meat, vegetables, or whatever your heart desires.  Place the pizza on the preheated stone and bake for 6-10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

*I’ve made this with almond meal, instead of almond flour, and it’s worked just fine.

**Do NOT omit the pysllium husk.  It’s necessary for the structural integrity of the dough!  If you’re wondering, it comes from mushrooms, and you can buy it in bulk at most organic-type grocery stores (I get mine in bulk from PCC or Whole Foods).

***I’ve used both instant and regular yeast, and both have worked out just fine.