Posted in Monday/Friday Meals & Food, Recipes

“Just Like Real Pancakes!!” Pancakes

This morning I was expecting to fail. I have been baking and cooking since I was in grade school and there was one thing I distinctly learned: For fluffy baked goods using baking soda, baking powder, or yeast was a requirement. Without it you get nothing but a flat mess and a huge disappointment. To say the least, the discovery that I’m deathly allergic to baking soda after eating it my whole life has been far from the easiest food restriction to adapt to.

Just Like Real Pancakes, Pancakes- 1

Now that isn’t to say I’ve never had an issue with baking soda, but in fact I’ve had a mostly hate relationship with it since I could identify the taste of it in baked goods. Especially in pancakes. It took me a few years after I was married to finally find a pancake recipe that didn’t taste horrid or give me a massive stomach ache due to a heavy amount of baking soda used to make it fluffy. By contrast, I loved baking powder because it did the same thing, tasted MUCH better, and would not upset my stomach. And then there was the fact that we ate a lot of baking powder biscuits with diced up wafer lunch meat (always the super cheap and salty Carl Buddig brand), peas, and white sauce for dinner when my mom was going to college.

So lo and behold, I could not have been more shocked when half way through my 38th year when my intolerance to anything corn or corn derived finally caused me to test out homemade baking powder in gluten-free tortillas. I thought that I could learn to tolerate the severe stomach upset it always caused me because I had no idea how to cook without it. It only used a small amount so I didn’t think it would be that bad.

It was that bad, and worse.

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When I had to remove wheat and oats from our kitchen, I thought I’d never be able to have proper pancakes ever again. My mother-in-law had always made Danish Pancakes (essentially crepes eaten with different toppings) as my husband was growing up and those weren’t hard at all to convert. But this paper thin, ghostly resemblance was not and could never pretend to be a good old-fashioned pancake. Growing up in a farming community still heavily rooted in it’s pioneer heritage, I’ve always have had a love of pancakes.

Flapjacks. Griddle cakes. Hotcakes. Flatbread. Turtle blankets*. Whatever you call them they are wonderful enough to have their own holiday, and even Wikipedia entry.

I just knew it was just a good old down home cooking. Have a stack of them topped with butter and maple syrup, along side scrambled eggs and greasy meat or meat replacement and that’s a fine way to start the morning before heading out to take care of the livestock or hacking down some trees in the woods like Paul Bunyan.

Crepes/Danish pancakes are good but look more like something that would be used to drape on a cake to make it look like lacy fabric. Not really anything to go out of your way to eat. I guess they don’t do too badly as a banana wrap with creamy peanut butter and maple syrup. At least you don’t need to eat a dozen of them that way before you are full.

And waffles never even had a chance to compare in my book. I’m boggled by Belgian waffles despite that my husband adores them. They are just a very confused, yet structurally sound, strawberry shortcake. At least if it is topped in uber sugary strawberries and whipped cream. Waffles should be for cones. Seriously, I have only ever seen them as a fat edible dish to dump dessert on and somehow make it acceptable to eat for breakfast. The only difference between a raised doughnut and a waffle is that the waffle looks stomped on.

Just Like Real Pancakes, Pancakes- 3

Move over partner. This town ain’t big enough for the likes of you. Sheriff Pancake is going to ride you and all of your flippery out on the next train. This here be a one plate town, and there’s no fork for you.

Hmm? Exaggeration you say? No, as a kid I just didn’t like being told not to play with my food, so I just made up stories in my head when I ate. Nothing weird about it. ;D

So the notion that I could never have actual pancakes again was emotionally devastating. One year for my birthday all I wanted for breakfast was pancakes cooked in a cast iron skillet in a thin lake of oil (it gives the pancakes a crispy ring around the edge that I loved as a kid), sunny side up eggs, and some vegan bacon. I can live without cold cereal. Someone else can eat my cinnamon rolls. And even blueberry muffins can be left on the table. Just don’t take away my pancakes.

After a night of not sleeping well, getting frustrated over trying to figure out what food to test next only to find out I’m feeling sick yet again, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. It was nearing breakfast time and all I wanted was pancakes. Without baking soda or baking powder it would just be a rubbery round slab, but not really a pillowy pancake. The kind of pancake that a maple tree would hope it’s sap would be savored with.

Just Like Real Pancakes, Pancakes- 4

The only point of reference I had that gave me any clue on how to make salvageable pancakes was the experience I’ve had over the years of making my grandmother’s chiffon cake. But even that has baking powder. So simply by association I thought the whipped egg whites would only work because of the baking soda.

But I was mad at having to keep on telling myself that I was going to have to learn to like Danish pancakes as the ‘best’ replacement for real pancakes. (Don’t get me wrong, I really do like danish pancakes a lot. They are just two completely different things. They are as similar as lasagna and pizza. Both have cheese, tomato sauce, veggies, protein, olives, and a traditionally wheat component in it with the crust or noodles, but one is not the replacement for the other even if both are tasty.)

On this particular morning, the rationalization that I’d have to ‘make do’ was just not good enough. I felt like a cranky little kid who just wanted some darn pancakes. Being OCD it is hard to hit a point where I just don’t care if I screw up and completely fail. After having so many foods that I love taken away probably forever the last seven months, I got so mad I was about ready to start yelling at the top of my lungs as I marched into the kitchen.

Gosh darn tarnation! I was going to have something that resembled a pancake if I had to beat those egg whites within an inch of their life! I was not going to be hogtied by something so trivial. Not when the fate of pancakes was on the line!

The result was something I never expected. I was floored.

Just Like Real Pancakes, Pancakes- 5

As the first trio of cakes cooked in the skillet, and didn’t instantly deflate, I kept waiting for when they would eventually fall. I’ve baked plenty of cakes from scratch so I knew that it takes very little for it to happen sometimes. Sure they looked poofy now but once they were flipped all hope would be lost.

With a sigh the first pancake was flipped.

To say the least I was delighted to see that it looked just like these pancakes should! The moments passed and my pillowy cake didn’t deflate like some old tire. I was astounded. Especially with the whipped egg whites that they were about twice as poofy as the same recipe with baking powder and not whipping the egg whites. Still, I was waiting for the moment of the inevitable failure.

Would they even be cooked all the way through? Or would they still be gummy for some unknown reason? I have just experienced so much heartache and disappointment with foods these last few months that I continue to expect everything to be a fail unless it is eaten out of the produce department.

For many years I have had the habit of eating the first pancake either by taking a big bite out of it right away with noting added to it or ripping it in half to see what the insides look like. My hopeful little cake was so hot that I could barely hold onto it, Like a hungry animal I promptly ripped it in two, angling it so it partially ripped off the cooked surface, revealing the interior bubble structure like cut honeycomb.

It was a relief to see the guts of my pancake look just like they should. At last I took my first bite.

And it was perfect.

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Well, perfect enough to make me blissfully smile. All the important parts were just right, mainly the texture and the ‘bready’ feel. Just for me personally I think next time I will reduce the sugar to 2 tsp. because I don’t like my pancakes being sweet. I want to use the same recipe for breakfast pancakes with syrup and apple sauce as I do for dinner pancakes with veggies and peppered white sauce.

I guess I could have called these “Bare Bones Pancakes” but I didn’t. These would be dazzling if you wanted to increase the sugar and add vanilla or even some lemon zest. They should hold up just perfectly fine if you want to swap the sugar for any other powdered sugar replacement, but if you use liquid sweetener you may take the extra liquid amount out of the water measurement. Or replace the water with non-dairy milk. Or increase the liquids by 1-2 TBS. to thin the batter if you want them thinner. Another whipped egg white might add even more loft, but I’m not sure how far that boundary can be pushed without further testing.

This is the brilliance of pancakes. They are so versatile. We have often used them in the past as hamburger buns or just slices of bread. They also freeze perfectly. We have been known to eat them with pudding on top. Not sure if I can do that anymore but it was yummy!

Just make sure you don’t get too excited over these gems from the griddle that you stop paying attention and nearly burn them. Luckily the 2nd pan batch I rescued just in time. 😀

*For the record I’ve never heard anyone call them turtle blankets. But I could totally see one snuggling up under one. Gotta be prepared for when they need a midnight snack!

“Just Like Real Pancakes!!” Pancakes

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Gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, vegetarian pancakes without leavening agents. I bet those agents would be called Smith. Nothing but bad news. These pancakes however are nothing but fluffy and tasty bread-like morsels waiting to be topped with your heart’s delight.

53 g. Brown Rice AP Flour
50 g. super fine Almond Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. Psyllium Husk Powder (Now Foods)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 TBS. Sugar
1/2 c. Water
2 large Eggs, separated
1 TBS. Oil

1. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, egg yolks, and cooking oil.

3. Add liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, and whisk until well blended.

4. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form but do not overbeat. Gently fold (do NOT mix!) batter INTO egg whites 1/3 of the total batter at a time.

5. Let stand for about 10 minutes as skillet/griddle preheats.

6. Preheat ungreased, non-stick skillet to medium heat.

7. Gently scoop batter from bowl with a 1/3 c. measure, pouring onto the hot pan. You’ll need to shake the measuring cup a little to get more batter out, but don’t worry if some still stays in. Just shake it for 2-3 seconds and measure out the next pancake. (A rubber scraper/spatula will be needed to scrape out the rest of the batter from the measuring cup and the bowl.)

8. Pancakes are ready to be turned over when the edges are no longer glossy. To check the second side for doneness, you just have to lift an edge of the pancake up with a spatula and take a peek.

9. Serve with toppings and other meal additions as you desire. Share if you have to.


Separating Eggs Whites:

I use a three bowl method- One small bowl to drop the separated the egg white into, one to dump the yolk into (and other wet ingredients), and one used to whip the egg whites. This OCD approach has saved me from wasting a ton of eggs (8 to 10+) when making my grandmother’s chiffon cake. Separate the eggs one by one, and once you check that there is no yolk in with the whites, transfer it into the whipping bowl. If even the littlest bit of the yolk contaminates the whites before it is whipped, the eggs will not whip. So if you get the unruly egg that is bound to ruin your cooking efforts, just fry up that egg, was the bowl twice in hot water, dry it, and separate the next egg.

Whipping Eggs Whites:

All equipment used in whipping egg whites must be completely grease free. This includes the bowl the egg whites are separated into, the whisk, the bowl used for whipping, rubber scraper/spatula, even your hands. Do not use plastic bowls at all. Even when washed they still hold onto grease. Use only metal, ceramic, or glass. Basically anything that can be ‘squeaky clean.’

This is very easy to do if you have a dishwasher, however I’d still highly recommend washing your hands really well in hot water with plenty of soap, especially since part of the recipe contains oil. Make sure you do not touch the clean surfaces that will come in contact with the egg white with your hands.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, just make sure to wash all of your bowls and utensils with plenty of dish soap and hot water, dry them with clean paper towels, and then wash them again. This may really seem like overkill but it works.

Need some help knowing if the egg whites are stiff enough? Here is some picture illustrations. And another about folding in egg whites. And if that isn’t sufficient, there is a YouTube video perfectly illustrating the various stages of whipped egg whites, even a way to fix over whipped whites! So cool! I had always heard that once egg whites were over beaten that they were ruined.

Vegan Option:

I would really like to test this soon to see if the egg whites can be replaced with whipped aquafaba (garbanzo/chickpea water) because I have played with it before and it whips up wonderfully. Plus there is the double bonus that I tried to over whip it and it just wasn’t possible! And removing the cholesterol from anything is just a win in my book.

The only thing I’m unsure about is how the recipe would be affected by leaving the yolks out because it would change the water content, binding properties, protein content, and fat amount. I’m sure that is all replaceable but I just haven’t looked into it yet. I have use flax meal in pancakes before instead of eggs so that may be most of the solution. I would avoid using starch eggs because there are just more nutritious vegan options available.

How would avocado compare to replacing an egg yolk? would the oil need to be reduced too? Sounds like it could be worthy of investigation.

Nut Free:

I have heard that sunflower seed flour can be used as a 1:1 replacement for almond flour. If it is finely ground I think this recipe should hold up to the experimentation. Plus no baking soda means no chemical reaction making green bits in the pancakes! 😀

Nutritional Information:

One serving is a single, plain pancake.

Just Like Real Pancakes


And since it’s pictured, here is the nutritional info on the two pancakes with 1 TBS. Adams chunky Peanut Butter and 1 TBS. Pure Maple syrup:

Just Like Real Pancakes wit PB & Syrup


**The PDA% is based on my diet, weight, height, & current allotted calorie consumption. However, the calories and all of the other nutrients (measured in g., mg., etc.) are accurate to the recipe, so just ignore the PDA column.

This Nutritional data only applies to the brands I use and is only as accurate as the manufacturer’s labels provide the information. It currently is not a requirement in the USA to always list potassium amounts for foods, despite it being a nutrient that is essential to monitor along with sodium consumption. I’ve been trying to track my potassium levels for many years now and it is rare for potassium to be listed in nutritional information, even on foods that are a good source for it.

Posted in Recipes, Well-Prepared Wednesday

Flour Power

Everyone and their dog who does gluten free baking has their own flour mixes. If a dog is talented enough to bake, I would like to meet that canine. I bet he has a time keeping hair out of his food.

Well, I really wish that this food blog was different. I really wish that I could just follow someone else’s flour mixes and be okay with them. But for many reasons I can’t. The most obvious is simply because the ingredients.

The first factor is if I can eat it or not. How I desperately would love to use oat flour again but even the Bob’s Red Mill ‘Gluten Free’ makes me ill. There is one other brand of oats I hope to try at some point down the line but I’m not hopeful that it will turn out well for me. We bought a bag of gluten free buckwheat groats (again, Bob’s Red Mill) with high hopes that we could have a higher nutrition flour as well as making homemade soba noodles. Yet it was another fail. I only munched on five groats to see what it tastes like, and a few hour later I was feeling rather ill. I can test it again to double check that it wasn’t due to something else but since I never recall eating buckwheat before I’m not sure. I’m frustrated over this one because the buckwheat was pretty tasty. Sorghum flour is also an exceedingly common gluten free flour, yet both my mom and older sister cannot tolerate it in the least. I really do not know if it affects me or not but I stay away from it so I can make things that can be shared with my family. The only exception to this is Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend that I keep on hand to use for roux, gravy, white sauce, or vegan cheese sauce. This is the only commercial blend I buy. I know I should create my own replacement for it in case it eventually turns into something I can’t eat but right now there are more crucial recipes for me to figure out.

What I currently keep stalked in our large freezer is Tapioca StarchBrown Rice Flour (cannot tolerate this brand any longer), Super-Fine Almond FlourFlax Seed Meal (all of them Bob’s Red Mill), Coconut Flour & Teff Flour (both Anthony’s), Psyllium Husk Powder (NOW Foods), whole Flax Seed & Chia Seed (grocery store bulk.) This is what we use the most right now.

We also have White Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Soy Flour (all of them Bob’s Red Mill.) The rice flour I just replace with brown rice flour for the marginal nutritional improvement, the potato starch is the highest carb starch out of the options so I avoid it at all costs, and the soy flour is a total fail. It is so disgusting & bitter that it’s inedible.

I was working on compiling a Flour Protein Comparison List to analyze all sorts of flours to see if it was possible to ‘build a better flour’ mix based on the most important nutrients I’m trying to juggle right now. The common factor in the list entries is the weight, making it easy to get an accurate comparison. For my husband and I, the carbs vs. fiber is the biggest since he’s diabetic and my grandfather and great aunt had diabetes, and my dad is/was pre-diabetic. Sure you can get gluten free baked goods that have the look and texture of their traditional wheat counterparts, but what’s the point if it totally bombs nutritionally? When I could still eat wheat, whole wheat flour and oat flour where what I used the most because it was the nutritionally best option I knew of that still allowed us to have familiar foods.

I want a mix that was nutritionally better than whole wheat flour in every way possible, included binders that did the best job in replacing the gluten of wheat flour, while functioning pretty closely to wheat flour in recipes. Is that a pretty tall order? Yes, yes it is. But that has never stopped me before.

The only limitation I really see is is the foods I can eat. There are some really amazing looking gluten free recipes for baked goods that look identical to the wheat versions. But when they contain gelatin, milk powder, and ingredients that can only be produced in a lab, all that information and work the recipe creator has done is all but useless to me. Plus I want BASIC ingredients. Using as few of them as needed to make it work correctly. Each and every ingredient that needs to be tracked down and purchased runs up the overall cost.

Growing up we had very little, and often it came from the food bank. I feel like some horrid spoiled brat buying things like almond flour. It still feels like rich people food to me and I fight with that guilt everyday. “There are children starving in Africa!” so why do I have to buy these exotic ingredients? At least twice a day I have to stop and talk myself through this and say “Okay, if this is too much why not go back to wheat flour? It would simplify your life again and you can stop all this craziness.” And I seriously consider it. The only thing that stops me is the simple reminder of the all-consuming pain it leaves me in for days. Eating like this is not about privilege, it’s about survival. I have to eat if I want to live into my 90s like my grandfather.

If the big corporate food companies actually made food that was safe for me to eat I’d buy it! I don’t like having to spend most of my time and energy thinking, researching, and trying to figure out food. This blog is out of necessity, not because it is my favorite hobby in the entire world. I just need to eat and feel a bit more normal like everyone else.

I have been doing my best these last few months trying to scour the internet on any available option in gluten-free flours and binders out there. I bought a bag of Glucomannan Konjac Powder that has been sitting on the shelf waiting to test and see if it is safe for me. To say the least, I’m intrigued with what possibilities it may offer. But I can’t give my hopes up until it passes my body’s intolerance testing. Before I had to invoke a full on gluten ban in our house, we ate vegan meat replacements many times a week that contained no small amount of vital wheat gluten. In a recipe post some years ago I read someone asking the author if there was a replacement for gluten and the automatic answer was always no. It just wasn’t feasible. A pipe dream or just flat out crazy. Vital wheat gluten was ‘irreplaceable.’ Just like we were told that vegan whipped egg whites replacement was impossible. But now we have many recipes using aquafaba (garbanzo/chickpea bean water) to make things like vegan meringue cookies. It just makes me wonder, what really are the possibilities? Cooking is a science and one of the things I love about it. The kitchen is everyone’s mad scientist lab.

But also when I talk about flour, baked goods is only half of the equation. I’m really curious to see what can be done with Quinoa FlourMillet FlourRed/Brown Lentil Flour, or even Green Split Pea Flour. Could Sunflour Seed Flour be used to coat tofu with some herbs before it is baked to make a tasty crust? Sweet Rice Flour/Mochiko is used in dango and mochi. Just a few weeks ago I started hearing about Bean Flours like Garbanzo or Pinto but what about Black Beans or Blackeyed Peas? I made some really tasty gravy some time back with the cooking water from black beans. Still cannot fathom why I didn’t write it down. Cooked Azuki Beans and White/Great Northern Beans are sweetened and used in Japanese anko (bean paste) and used in sweets. Even Navy, Great Northern, Pink or Pinto Beans are used in baked beans, so why not other sweetened foods? I’m also tempted to see what Mung Bean Flour would taste like. Even if it is a total fail it would be fun to try. Kidney Bean Flour could be done as well but it would have to be cooked and dehydrated before adding it to a recipe so it doesn’t make everyone really sick.

I know that there are more starches/binders out there that should be safe for me like Arrowroot Powder, Cassava Flour and Guar Gum and most likely more, but I think I have enough to try and sort out right now. I have Agar Agar and Carrageenan in the cupboard too intending to use them for vegan cheeses that I have been procrastinating in making even though they are yummy.


With all of that out of the way, here are the recipes you were looking for! (Sorry, gluten free flours is a complex subject.)

A few brief notes about using these flours:

*Measure flours by weight! The cup measurement given in recipe and on nutritional data is just to give a visual estimate, and making it easier to use these mixes on your own custom recipes. Using cup measurements is completely inaccurate for recipes and will guarantee that they fail or have widely differing results.

*I am American and have lived my entire life in the US, and no these measurements will not be converted into ounces. I use grams because it is MUCH more accurate. I have a digital Kitchen Aid scale that easily measures in grams but displays in kilograms which is helpful but still a pain in the rear. This kitchen scale looks like what I want to replace what I have because having it automatically reading in grams is far less confusing for my dyslexic self than trying to convert it from kilograms. I know it’s just moving a decimal point but it adds an unnecessary step. (*Not a sponsored link or anything, just thought it would be helpful.)

*Learning to weigh flours makes it loads easier to get consistent results as well as it is just easier than cup measurements. I worked in a bagel shop where we made everything from scratch. All the ingredients were weighed and it severely cut back on the margin of error. Plus you don’t have to spend time finding all the right size measuring cups.

I expect that the variety of flour mixes here will expand over time but since I’m relatively new to gluten free flours and baking, the selection is a bit limited until my overall variety of recipes increases within the bigger picture of my diet.

– – Notice – –

These recipes are currently out of date since they contain ingredients I currently cannot eat. They are being left here unaltered in case I find I can use them in the future or if someone else might find them helpful.

AP Almond Four

(if you are in need of seeing a slightly yellow pile of flour…)

This so far is my favorite mix and generally what I grab when just any flour will do. It is intended to be a less starch/carb filled all-purpose type flour mix that can be used in a wide range of recipes.

132 g. (1 c.) Brown Rice Flour     (Bob’s Red Mill)
136 g. (1 c.) Tapioca Flour     (Bob’s Red Mill)
273 g (2 c.) Almond Flour, super fine*     (Bob’s Red Mill)
4 tsp. (11 g.) Psyllium Husk Powder     (Now Foods)

1. Weigh ingredients into mixing bowl, gently whisking until thoroughly combined.

2. Store in an air tight container in the freezer to maintain freshness.


*I have read that sunflower seed flour can be used as a 1:1 replacement for almond flour. I have not tested it but if you have a nut allergy it could be worth it to test a small batch. I would like to test this with sunflower seed flour at some point but have no solid plans right now of when that would be.

I think almond flour I great, but if your recipe seems more oily than it seems like it should, the almond flour could be to blame. For every 30 g. AP Almond Flour subtract up to 1.5 tsp. Oil or fat from from recipe you are attempting to adapt. This is based on comparing the fat content of the almonds against the fat content of liquid oil. By removing the added oil in the recipe, it is trying to balance the flour and fats to be more in proportion to all-purpose white (wheat) flour since wheat does not have all the additional fat that nuts have.

Since this mix has nut flour in it, I think about it being used following “gluten free bread rules” meaning that it needs additional water and to be blended in a stand mixer for a more batter type dough. Trying to use this to make a kneadable dough, it will be very, very dense.

Nutritional Information:

AP Almond Flour

The above calculation is (obviously) based on almond flour. I do not currently know what it would be if the almonds were swapped with soaked/dehydrated sunflower seed flour.

Brown Rice AP Four

(if you wish see a white pile of flour…)

I’ll be the first to admit that this is not the most remarkable flour blend out there, but it does have its place. This was designed to be used as a simple and direct wheat AP flour replacement when a ‘dry’ flour is needed. Specifically for GF white flour tortillas. I don’t use it much but I find it useful to keep handy.

132 g. (1 c.) Brown Rice Flour     (Bob’s Red Mill)
136 g. (1 c.) Tapioca Flour     (Bob’s Red Mill)
2 tsp. (5 g.) Psyllium Husk Powder     (Now Foods)

1. Weigh ingredients into mixing bowl, gently whisking until thoroughly combined.

2. Store in an air tight container in the freezer to maintain freshness.


This was the first flour mix I made at home that felt like it was worth trying to use. It is what makes GF flour tortillas near identical to their wheat counterparts. The tortillas do come out a bit dry, but I blame my lack of experience in making tortillas either from not enough liquid, rolling too thin, cooking them too long, or all of the above. I had the same problems when I was using wheat flour.

One of the reasons I don’t use this flour a lot is because the high starch content causes my knees to painfully swell as if I had eaten a large amount of sugar or a sweet potato. Strangely enough I eat red potatoes everyday and they never seem to bother my knees and rely on them for my potassium. As an occasional treat and when I’m desperately missing tortillas, this flour is not hard to work into a balanced meal plan with no painful side affects.

Nutritional Information:

Brown Rice AP Flour

**The PDA% is based on my diet, weight, height, & current allotted calorie consumption. However, the calories and all of the other nutrients (measured in g., mg., etc.) are accurate to the recipe, so just ignore the PDA column.

This Nutritional data only applies to the brands I use and is only as accurate as the manufacturer’s labels provide the information. It currently is not a requirement in the USA to always list potassium amounts for foods, despite it being a nutrient that is essential to monitor along with sodium consumption. I’ve been trying to track my potassium levels for many years now and it is rare for potassium to be listed in nutritional information, even on foods that are a good source for it.

Posted in Misc.

White Powder Of Death

I have a few true allergies: Pineapple, honey, and sunlight all give me hives. (I swear my body just hates yellow. LOL!) I have a dust allergy developed as a kid that makes me sleepy. And I don’t mean just a little tired. I mean the doctor discovered it after I almost slept an entire month away one summer. That is the only allergy that has improved over time. (My track record with any other allergy/intolerance is that it only gets worse with exposure.) Whenever I’m in contact to a lot of dust I get very, very sleepy. I’ve joked over the years that the sandman just really likes me. But none of this came even close to being life-threatening. My husband has a childhood allergy to peppers and onions that he has mostly been able to recover from, but it has taken him quite some time to get his body to adapt. Frankly I don’t know how he managed it especially when even just peppers cooking used to make his throat swell.

I you have never had an anaphylaxis attack it is really hard to understand what it is actually like. I had been with my husband for decades and even I didn’t get it. And I surely couldn’t appreciate how hard it was for him to find a way to mitigate his allergy.

Frankly the first time it happened to me I didn’t even know what was going on. Roughly a half hour after eating homemade tortillas with baking soda, the acidic baking soda taste had crept out of my stomach and up my throat, making my tongue feel strange and prickly/tingly. Then my lips started to tingle a little bit as I noticed that my tongue felt fuzzy & puffy. After that I realized that it felt like all of the oxygen was slowly being sucked out of the room and I couldn’t quite take a full breath. I was an idiot and should have been heading to the ER. But I had never had any reactions even remotely like this before and truly didn’t know what was gong on until it was getting pretty severe. I had to put my hands behind my head with my elbows up to force my lungs open more just to get close to enough breath. My husband was asleep at the time and I had initially been worried to wake him up because I knew he needed to sleep since he worked the next day. I was still scared to pieces. I was also concerned that somehow I was overreacting(?!?) for no reason and kept telling myself that if it got any worse I’d wake up my husband to take me to the ER. In retrospect we should have bolted out the door fifteen minutes previously. I was unbelievably stupidly lucky that it began to resolve itself right after that when my breathing slowly began to improve.

It wasn’t until the next morning that the reality of it sank in. Part of why I was so confused about what was going on was because at the time my throat didn’t feel any different, it was the upper half of my lungs and the airways in my nose that felt restricted. My throat felt fine. Or so I thought. The next day my throat was sore and feeling like it was stretched out.

I cannot even tell you how baffling this whole thing was. I was mostly in denial that a food I’ve eaten my whole life I was suddenly and deathly allergic to. It made no sense whatsoever. Trying to research ‘baking soda allergy’ online was near useless. I only found one site that mentioned it was a possibility (and also listed the symptoms I had) but it was so rare that it was really nothing to worry about. REALLY?? I know that’s true for almost everyone, but I’m that random freak who has to take it very seriously. Even my nurse friend up in Canada could only find one other reference to it.

For most people, baking soda is a ‘wonder’ ingredient or cleaning aid, touted as a miracle all over the internet. Please excuse me if I don’t join in the celebration.

So having the analytical mind that I do, and have used the process of elimination to pinpoint my honey & sunlight allergies in addition to figuring out all of the crazy stuff that has been making me sick these last few months, I had to do more tests to make sure it was really baking soda at the root of the problem.

You can be completely sure my husband was entirely aware of it this time and I kept him constantly updated on how I felt.

I carefully ate some homemade GF baking powder biscuits to see if I’d still react since there is a small amount of baking soda in baking powder. And right on queue my tongue and lips felt a bit funny/tingly/numb but not enough of a reaction to change my breathing at all.

In some of the research on baking soda I found that almost all baking soda was chemically produced, while there was two brands that were still naturally mined. One of which was Bob’s Red Mill brand. I’ve known for years that my body doesn’t react all that well to various lab-produced frankenfoods (they just make me feel yucky but nothing I’ve ever been able to pinpoint) so I thought that there was a chance that the natural form could be safe. My thinking was the connection between commercially produced citric acid (corn-based) and natural citric acid from fruit. When I first realized that any prepackaged food with added citric acid made me sick, I feared that I’d eventually not be able to eat anything with citric acid from any source. I assumed it could be an allergy would develop over time like my pineapple allergy did.

Knowing that essentially all baking uses baking soda/powder for anything fluffy and isn’t a hard rock, I wasn’t willing to give up just yet. So the testing process was repeated with the Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda. I cannot explain how terrified I was. Seriously, I almost cried before eating a tortilla and I had been panicking all day. But my husband had the day off and I assured him that I would not have tested it without him being there and fully awake. This time I was completely prepared to go to the ER and we would have left the moment it even remotely seemed necessary.

It seemed like some stupid nightmare as a kid, being terrified of eating a tortilla that had the potential to kill me. But I got my answer.

Within three minutes of eating 1.5 tortillas (containing less than 1/32 teaspoon baking soda) I was getting a distinct reaction. So what does this really mean?

Tama's Not Sewing

These are standard Dritz long pearlized sewing pins. The head of one of these pins is probably a smidge larger than 1/32 teaspoon. So if I eat two pin head worth of baking soda, without access to treatment, it very easily could be enough to kill me.

I am really not the type of person who enjoys being melodramatic. But this is still hard for me to wrap my mind around. Even now parts of my mind are still in a state of shock over all of this. There isn’t any logic to this allergy, making it easier to understand. And since baking soda/bicarb/bicarbonate of soda is so exceedingly common worldwide and safe for practically everyone else, I do not have resources to fall back on of lists of products that use this like even exist for uncommon corn allergies.

So I have no one else to talk to and discuss if there is even a brand of corn-free baking soda free toothpaste that won’t prevent me from breathing. How do I find a deodorant to use? I can’t use the gel kinds because they always give me severe rashes. And it looks like washing soda needs to be added to my banned list. But does that mean we will have to switch to liquid laundry soap to eliminate the worry that dry laundry soap would trigger a reaction just from the powder getting in the air close to me? Is carbonation in soda/pop produced with baking soda? Never? Sometimes? Frequently? What other food or cleaning products might contain baking soda? Does it have any ‘hidden’ names like corn? At least the brand of cat litter we use doesn’t have baking soda. I also try and eat in a way that I don’t need antacids. But there is baking soda in fire extinguishers?!?! At least I don’t have to worry about self-rising flour since I can’t eat wheat anyway.

My husband got stung by a wasp the other day and I had an instant panic attack and guilt trip all in one that nearly made me flip out. I couldn’t remember if he was allergic to them (if so, it isn’t significant according to him) but at the time I only knew that baking soda and water are most commonly used for putting on the bites. He practically never complains about pain, but his ear was hurting bad enough that he was yelling and nearly in tears. I was madly searching the net on my phone to find an alternative to baking soda while panicking so badly that I nearly started crying myself. At the time I was thinking that he may be allergic and if I didn’t find a solution fast enough that his life could be in danger because we got rid of all of the baking soda in the house. The easiest alternative we found was a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar. (Yes, it seemed to work.) In some ways it felt like this whole thing was so stupid because if it wasn’t for the baking soda allergy this would have been a calm non-issue even though my husband would have still been in pain for a while.

All because of something I would have never fathomed I could ever be allergic to, especially not even to this degree.

Most days I’m still lamenting that this, even more so than my wheat/gluten intolerance, has felt like the death knoll to my love of baking. Emotionally I feel like London after the end of WWII. I’m afraid to ask what more foods can be taken away from me because then the universe or the Fates would do just that.

If nothing else, this whole ordeal has really proven something to me that I have observed for a long time. That Americans, and especially humanity as a whole learn to adapt and continue to move forward. I just didn’t know I’d have to learn that lesson so well in my everyday life. Here and there I’ve found small sparks of hope on how baking can work without baking soda, but in this modern age it is just so counter-intuitive to the ‘baking laws of the universe.’ It really is hard trying to think about it any other way.

I’ve never been the type to give up easily. I thought I’d never be able to bake again ‘properly’ once eating wheat was out of the question. But I’ve adapted. and it’s always amazing when I find something very close to the wheat counterpart. My baking may not have the range it used to but that’s no reason to give up entirely.

Baking is an expression of love to me, one I can share with others. It simply makes me happy. And that most of all is something I will not give up on.