Recipe: DIY Starbucks Kale + Veggie Salad

*First of all, congratulations to Carolyn, winner of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird! Thank you to everyone who signed up for my newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, go now! I’m choosing winners at random from my entire email subscription list.

Next up to give away is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a clever and entertaining book filled anecdotes about his life interspersed with practical advice.

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I had it in my collection for years, but for some reason it took me almost a decade to pick it up. Big mistake. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a treat. 

The results of this random drawing will be posted here and on Writing at the Table on Tuesday, December 23rd.

Now for the post…

During the thirteen years I lived in Brooklyn, I never went to Starbucks. Why would I? I lived in the land of Quirky Cool Coffee Shops (that’s a direct quote from the linked article, by the way, I’m not trying to be a snob), and besides, the closest Starbucks was too far of a walk.

But I love writing in cafes, and the closest one to me in Brooklyn was a little sliver of a cafe called Steeplechase, which had the most delicious cinnamon chip scones (alas, not gluten free). I used to go there once a week when my son had a sitter. 

When we moved to New Hope, I knew I’d have to find a place to write. Sure, I had a whole house instead of a tiny apartment, but the thing is, I like the background noise of coffee shops. Plus, I love coffee.

I tried seeking out a cute little independent shop, but seating was a problem. The local Starbucks, however, has some rather comfy armchairs. And did you know they now offer a blonde (light) roast? It’s pretty tasty and far less intense than their dark roasts. Just my personal preference because I know plenty of people who can’t get enough of their regular sludge, I mean coffee.

Anyway, I was also pleased to see that they added some healthy and hearty food options to their menu. Including this awesome salad, which to my knowledge is gluten free (though not labeled as such):

starbucks kale salad

(Yes, it’s sitting on my dashboard because I was too hungry to take it home for a proper photo shoot.)

So, after buying it several times, I decided to make it myself. It’s a bit labor intensive, but it makes a week’s worth of lunches (unless someone in your household steals half of them…)

DIY Kale, Brown Rice + Roasted Veggie Bowl

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For the recipe, head over to Writing at the Table

DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend

Gluten free flour

If you told me a year ago I’d be dabbling in the whole DIY gluten free flour thing I’d have laughed. In disbelief. I imagine my last year’s self saying something like, “I have enough to keep me busy thank you very much,” and perhaps throwing in an eye roll for emphasis.

But time and experience have shifted my perception. Making your own GF flour blend is not hard, but you do have to feel ready. If you’re new to GF or even if you’re not new, but perfectly comfortable buying a ready-made blend, then stop reading now. Or rather, keep reading, just ignore my flour making advice.

Last summer I wrote two posts about GF flour in a critically acclaimed series called So Many Flours, So Little Time, Parts 1 and 2. In the first I talk about all the genuine fear involved (so you know that’s where I was back then) and in the second, I give some advice and offer a bunch of helpful links including those on my GF Flour page.

But check me out now! I’m all gluten free girl-ing it up around here. Those flours below, clockwise starting with the yellowish one are: millet, sweet rice (which is a starch), teff, and sorghum. All are in my GF flour blend, except for the brown teff which I added just cause it’s pretty.

Gluten free flour 2

Please don’t think I’m nuts. I may be slightly insane due to extreme sleep deprivation, but I am genuinely excited about gluten free flour. Fine, I’m crazy.

I was inspired by a great video from Gluten Free Girl about how to make an all-purpose GF flour. She recently wrote another one about making a whole grain version.

First you need a scale to weigh the flours. Don’t be scared! I love my scale. Love it. (Though if I knew it came in red I totally would have gotten that one.) Want to know the best thing about using a scale? Less dirty dishes. No joke. Instead of using a bunch of measuring cups and spoons, you weigh everything right into one bowl. If someone had told me that little secret, I might have bought a scale sooner.

Here’s how you do it, ala GF Girl’s video: 40% gluten free whole grains, 60% white flours/starches. Pick the ones you want, weigh them, shake it all up, and voila. Done.

*For a healthier/heartier version, use 60% whole grains and 40% white flours/starches. I’ve been doing this recently and it has been a big success. Or even 70-30. Experiment!

GF flour on scale

Before I shook it up so you can see all the layers of different flours.

I followed Shauna’s directions using her suggested grains (200 grams of sorghum flour, 200 grams of millet flour, 300 grams of sweet rice flour, and 300 grams of potato starch) because that’s how I roll. I’m a direction follower, can’t help myself. Switch it up if you want to do 60% whole grain 40% starches. Easy peasy.

my gluten free flours

But you can do any combo of these grains/starches:

WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS

brown rice flour
buckwheat flour
corn flour
mesquite flour
millet flour
oat flour
quinoa flour
sorghum flour
sweet potato flour
teff flour

WHITE FLOURS/STARCHES

arrowroot flour
cornstarch
potato flour
potato starch
sweet rice flour
tapioca flour
white rice flour

NUT FLOURS (these would count as whole grains)

almond flour
chestnut flour
coconut flour
hazelnut flour

Here is what I love about making my own flour blend – it’s up to ME. This is also exactly what scared me at first. Um, it’s up to me? What the heck do I know? Well, nearly two years into this whole gluten free thing and I feel like I know a decent amount. Certainly not everything, that will never happen, but more than I did before. Enough to make my own blend and use it in these delicious pumpkin pancakes.

gluten free pumpkin pancakes

The other thing I love is that it’s healthier. That’s right! Take that gluten eaters. In my family’s pre-celiac days, I used to try to bake using whole wheat flour. My husband hated when I did this. He begged me to please, pretty please, with refined sugar poured on top, use the bleached white stuff. Because often when I used whole wheat it turned everything into unappetizing leaden blobs. Now, I admit I’m not the best or most experienced baker, and that better baked goods made from whole wheat gluten flour is certainly possible, but to me it’s EASIER and HEALTHIER to use gluten free flours like teff, buckwheat, millet and sorghum (to name just a few).

I like baking even more when I can feel good about the ingredients that are going into the bellies of Bunky and Little Guy. And my picky husband who hated whole wheat flour in baked goods, loves what I make with the whole grain gluten free stuff. Like these banana chocolate chip muffins. They don’t last more than two days around here. And that’s if I hide them.

Feel like you need a bit more help or encouragement? Check out this fantastic post by my friend Kristine over at Thank Heavens. She offers her own recipe blend and gives some great descriptions of GF flours.

Go forth and experiment! If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously.

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!

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It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommyand Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.

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