Okay, okay, it’s a recycled recipe. But here’s the good news.
I shaved 11 WW points (roughly 500 calories) from the original recipe by changing one flour and eliminating the oil altogether. Thank you, applesauce, for being such a great replacement!
Using millet flour instead of rice flour not only added nutrition and cut points, it also got rid of the need for milk—another calorie savings. Millet flour, I’m learning, is less thirsty than rice flour.
Of course, the applesauce may have something to do with it, but who knows? This is the kind of mystery that makes gluten-free, low-calorie baking so intriguing…she says with a smile.
Anyway, light and delicious, this banana bread can be served as a loaf, a muffin, or a square (as shown in the photo.)
Recently, I checked The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace out of the library. It is a newly published cookbook, and the title and claim—“80 low-carb recipes that offer solutions for celiac disease, diabetes, and weight loss”—sounded as if its recipes would be perfect for me and many of the readers of this blog.
The reality, however, doesn’t live up to the hyperbole, particularly if viewed through a Weight Watchers lens. If you’re a gluten-free dieter or a person with diabetic issues who has to keep your weight down, caution is in order. Here’s why.
If you’re like me, you’re constantly on the look-out for a diet-friendly baked good. I want carbs to satisfy the Carb Monster and sweetness to satisfy the Sweet-Tooth Ogre. (Yes, I’m inhabited by a bunch of craving maniac gargoyles. Aren’t you?)
Pumpkin Currant Muffins to the rescue!
- Yummy, pumpkin-pie flavour
- Sharp sweetness and crunch of currants
- Moist and filling
- 1.5 WW points or about 75 calories
- Comes with the spouse-approved guarantee!
Okay, these muffins aren’t big, I acknowledge that, BUT there are three other important reasons they are great for dieters: no oil, no dairy, no *rice flour—all ingredients which are calorie-rich.
The result? Muffins that won’t overwhelm your daily point count or calorie intake. Enjoy!
*For the gluten-free: Dietwise, there are 4 no-no flours—almond meal, white rice flour, brown rice flour, sweet rice flour—when these flours form the basis of a baked good. For more information on flours, check out Point Values of Gluten-Free Flours, Starches, and Ground Meals.
I am truly, honestly, thrilled by these mini-loaves.
In the gluten-free, dairy-free, diet journey that is my life, I have been truly thrilled on three occasions:
- When I made my first gf baked product—cornbread. I was ecstatic at having a starch to eat that wasn’t rice, potatoes, or rice cakes.
- When I made my first successful loaf of gf bread. I was ecstatic that I had advanced beyond creating heavy door stops!
- When I discovered bean bakes. I was ecstatic that beans and eggs could provide me with low-cal, easy-to-make, and healthy alternatives to flour-based products.
Real thrills. Ordinary people would tell me to get a life, but you and I know differently, right? So I hope you’ll be thrilled along with me about these mini-loaves. They provide a yeast bread experience without the yeast! Rich, satisfying, and delicious.
Three more things:
(1) I’m not really sure whether these loaves classify as focaccia. They’re not made with yeast or are flat and dimpled, but they do have spices, including rosemary, on top. But they’re made with yogurt, not water…yada, yada, yada…but, what the hey, they need a name.
(2) This is an adaption of an already gf recipe. Many thanks to April at the Gluten Free Zen blog for a great recipe: “Italian Flatbread.” I knew her bread would be delicious but, alas, not for me. It wouldn’t fit into my diet at 22.5 points per mini-loaf. So I changed the flours, altered the ratio of flours to starches, cut the oils as far back as I could, and managed to just about halve the point value: each mini-loaf is now 12.5 points, and a ¼ portion at 3.25 points makes a fine and low-cal addition to a soup or salad.
(3) These freeze beautifully and taste just as good after defrosting.
This post replaces last year’s “Point Values of Gluten-Free Flours.” Why and what’s new?
- More flours: I’m finding new GF flours in my own small corner of the world, and you’re probably seeing them too. The main change here is the growing variety of bean flours, which is welcome to dieters because they are lower in calories and higher in proteins than other flours.
- No descriptors: I’ve dropped the brief descriptions of the flours. I was never entirely comfortable with them because I hadn’t used all the flours and was relying on other people’s information and taste buds. Moreover, as more people require GF diets, the amount of information on the Internet increases exponentially. Just google an ingredient, and you’ll find out a lot more information than I could provide in the space I had.
- Three lists instead of one list: Gluten-free bakers have to create blends of ingredients to replace wheat flour because no one flour, even with xanthan or guar gum, can work in all recipes. Essentially, we pick and choose among three types of ingredients: flours, starches, and ground meals. Having three lists reflects this reality.
- Elimination of the Points Program values: Last year, this time, Weight Watchers was just switching programs so I had both. Now I have just the point values from the PointsPlus Program.
New to GF baking? I’m sure the whole GF “scene” is just plain daunting. That’s certainly where I was a year ago.
However, once you learn the ropes, you will find yourself mixing and matching ingredients based on the type of baking you’re doing, the tastes and textures you’re looking for, the nutrients you want and, if you’re dieting, the point value of the flour. (For non-Weight Watchers: one point is roughly 50 calories.)
Some suggestions for getting started:
Snacks and dieting…dieting and snacks. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, these are two things that don’t go well together.
In my pre-diet days, I loved the oh-so-easy snacks. I’d just grab something from the fridge or cupboard that would quickly satisfy my carb or salt cravings.
Snacks on a diet don’t have that happy-go-lucky quality. For me, snacks now require careful planning from the grocery store right up to the finished product. Even a simple nosh like an apple requires making sure I always have apples in the house.
But this post isn’t about the simple snacks. I don’t know about you, but sometimes an apple, a handful of carrots, or a bowl of popcorn (how to make your own in the microwave, oil-free) just won’t cut it. I want a snack more interesting in taste and texture that is also
- Low in calories, i.e., has little or no fat. (Sugar isn’t a problem for me; I use artificial sweetener.)
- Healthful because it has nutritious ingredients.
- Filling so that I don’t get hungry again so quickly.
- 2 Weight Watcher (WW) points or less so it doesn’t overwhelm my daily count. (Roughly 100 calories.)
To that end, I am now experimenting with snack recipes, mine and others’, with the express purpose of keeping the calorie count down. As part of this effort, I decided to compile a list of all my low-calorie recipes to better understand how to replace empty calories with good ones. I thought you’d find this list helpful.
Best served warm.
Here is a delicious, light, savoury muffin that’s filled with sharp cheese, green onions, parsley, and dill.
You could eat it as you would have a slice of bread to accompany soup, a casserole, or stew. Or have it for breakfast with eggs. Or just enjoy it on its own, toasted with a bit of butter.
I can tolerate very small amounts of milk, such as a butter pat, once in a rare while. This muffin definitely deserves to be is one of those “whiles.”
This article (slightly retitled here), written by Kate Morin and on the The Greatist web site, caught my eye. While some of the tips were old hat to me, others were new and welcome. I decided to share it with you and have added my own edits, comments, and links in italics.
1. Corn tortillas for sandwich bread
Cold cuts and deli cheese just aren’t the same unless they’re sandwiched between something starchy. When gluten-free bread isn’t an option (or if trying to watch the carbs and calories), corn tortillas are a great stand-in. Corn tortilla sandwiches are great. My fave is turkey/chicken with lettuce, a dill pickle slice, a thin slice of Manchego (sheep cheese), lettuce, and a little bit of mustard. Caveat: the tortillas are best when fresh; otherwise they have a tendency to rip and crumble.
I am THRILLED beyond measure because I have finally made a lovely loaf of yeast bread. I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Lady, get a life!”
Well, bread is the staff of life, and I am delighted to welcome it back into my existence after some notable failures, including a tasteless loaf, a use-it-as-doorstop loaf, and a generally awful tasting loaf. (However, notably, all of these resulted in excellent gf bread crumbs.)
But this loaf made the grade: it rose beautifully, has a lovely mild taste, and a respectable shape. While the bread was still warm, I slathered ½ tsp. of butter on a slice and luxuriated in the rich flavour that only comes from eating a newly baked piece of bread.
FYI: Prior to making this loaf, I had been contemplating buying a bread machine because many gluten-free bread makers use them, including the author of the recipe from which I adapted Millet-Quinoa Bread. However, while discussing this potential purchase with the spouse, he pointed out, oh-so-logically, a flaw in my thinking.
He noted that the only reason we have bread machines really is because they take over the arduous task of kneading gluten dough. And since gluten-free dough doesn’t require kneading…well, I had to concede the point although I adore buying kitchen gadgetry. (Sigh.) In fact, I didn’t even need a mixer to make this bread: only a whisk and a wooden spoon—old-fashioned but still extremely effective technologies.
So…with the help of the original recipe as well as advice from gluten-free cookbook authors, Bette Hagman and Carol Fenster, I set out, sans machines, on this bread-making journey:
I wrote a version of this article for GlutenFreeWorks.com and decided to post it here as well. By “quick bread,” I mean a bread made without yeast that can be shaped into a loaf, muffins, or squares.
This information in the form of a Q&A is the result of a 10-month learning curve that started about three months after I discovered I was gluten-sensitive. By then, I’d become so screamingly bored with rice cakes, I decided I had to change my life. I bought a batch of alternative flours, starches, and gums. and began my journey into non-gluten baking.
Q: Why would I bake gluten-free when I can now buy a variety of gluten-free products at a grocery store?
A: You may enjoy baking and want to continue. Or you may want to save money and not buy packaged foods. Perhaps, you’re not happy with the quality or taste of what’s available. Continue reading