When it comes to food, I have a couple weaknesses – baked goods, chocolate, coffee, and wine. I’ve always enjoyed the art of baking, but somewhere along the way I began to appreciate the baked goods being prepared (hence the need for gluten-free options).
Don’t even get me started on what a sucker I am for shows like The Great British Baking Show (well hello Paul Hollywood ..wink.wink), America’s Test Kitchen, & Cook’s Country. There is something about these shows that allows refuge. They solidify my dream of owning a home with a wraparound porch coupled with years of snuggling on a porch swing. I dare to believe this is possible because as a military spouse I’m constantly relocating. Maybe one day … if not now, perhaps retirement!
For spiritual reasons, I’ve recently stopped eating bread and meat. I won’t get into the details, but to every gluten-free friend I’ve ever teased, my deepest apologies! As it turns out, removing gluten from my diet (as well as meat) has made me feel pretty amazing.
Traditionally, I have a heyday at Christmas baking Nini’s infamous Christmas Bread, Great-grandmother’s homemade Sugar Cookies and my personal favorite Cinnamon Rolls. None of these are gluten-free and I’m confident I can’t keep up with this madness during the holidays (because like many Americans I have a sugar addiction). But this summer, I am making a concerted effort to enjoy life a bit more simply and that includes the food I create.
To me, food (gluten-free or otherwise) is so much more than what we put in our mouths. It’s about the gathering. It’s about what happens around the table. There is something about the willingness to invest the time to say, “You matter to me. So much so that I spent the last few hours creating a culinary masterpiece that would make you want to sit here a bit longer. Oh, and would you like some cake and coffee with that?” Speaking of cake and coffee, the World Health Organization states:
“Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Once associated with high-income countries, obesity is now also prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.
Governments, international partners, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private sector all have vital roles to play in contributing to obesity prevention.”
I honestly believe a large contributor to this crisis, is that we’ve forgotten how lovely it is to sit around a table. We live in country rooted in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and we mistake the large coke, large fry, and double cheeseburger as happiness.
It’s my hope that as you sit on your back porch swing this summer- sweating lemonade in hand, Gluten-Free Berry Muffin in the other; that you do so with someone you love. As much as I want you to enjoy the muffin, it’s so much more important to me that you enjoy togetherness and community.
Gluten-Free Berry Muffins
SERVES: 1 dozen
Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 35 to 45 minutes
- 2½ cups blanched almond flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 medium eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ almond milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup finely chopped berries (I prefer strawberry’s)
Small cartoon ready whip
¼ cup berry preserves
Mix all wet ingredients in blender on puree setting (other than berries) about 25 seconds. Add all dry ingredients and blend about 45 seconds to a minute. Take out of blender and pour into a bowl, then gently fold in strawberries.
Transfer mix into 18 ungreased muffin cups.
Cool cooked muffins for ten minutes.
Mix topping ingredients together on medium to high setting. Set a muffin on a plate with a medium dollop of topping on the side for dipping. Delish!