The care and feeding of your egg, lactose and gluten-intolerant, pre-diabetic husband

May 30, 2010

Which has more sugar, Classic Coke or cranberry drink?  According to my newest toy, a low-range refractometer for measuring sugar concentrations in food, they’re almost the same, both within an eyewink of 15%.  A ripe cherry also comes in between 14 and 15% sugar, though a piece of ripe watermelon measured just under 9%.  The maple sap still spewing from the old tree we cut last winter?  2%.   The big surprise was soy beverage.  The vanilla-flavoured drink I tested had 11% sugar.  No wonder I buzz after eating.

My mania for gadgets in some part has contributed to Bet’s problems feeding me.  Last winter Truman Cowan showed me his refractometer for maple syrup.  I had to have one.  eBay put me in touch with a vendor in California and along it came in the mail.  Any time we were boiling, either Martin or I had the mid-range refractometer in operation to gauge our progress to the magic 68%, at which point the sap is officially maple syrup.  This meant tasting the syrup almost constantly as the pipette still has a lot left in it after the drop for the refractometer — and the stuff tastes so goood.

I had hit upon this wonderful breakfast solution to my dietary problem:  Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pancake Mix.  Mind you, the nearest place I can buy it is a little mall just outside Philadelphia, but no matter, this was something bread-like which I could prepare for myself and eat with enjoyment.   Honest, it’s not that hard to drive through Canadian customs with several dozen 18 ounce bags of white powder in the back seat of your car.

This spring when he saw my sugar levels my doctor started with the death threats.   Ulp.  So much for Trader Joe and my year’s supply of maple syrup.

Back to the drawing board for the Fair Elizabeth.

She had done pretty well creating a menu for me after the first round of tests determined that I would remain quite healthy as long as I didn’t eat anything with spices, eggs, milk, canola oil, or wheat.  A lesser mind would have given up, but the cook in my wife rose to the challenge.

Her many attempts to bake gluten-free, egg-less bread produced spectacular results, some of which had a good flavour, but none could get much past the texture of a brick.

With enough effort and expense, you could likely build a working helicopter out of wood to fly across a body of water.  With about the same exercise of ingenuity one might very well bake a passable loaf of gluten-free bread.  But why bother when a muffin will do?  Why build the helicopter if a boat will suffice?

From the health food store Bet collected a tool kit of flour substitutes and set about to learn the art of making muffins.   The bags of white powder arrayed around her mixing bowl were a mystery to me.  Rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, zantham gum, double-acting baking powder and egg replacer combined with bananas, pineapple or pumpkin and home-grown black walnuts to produce outstanding muffins, though.

Until the death threats started and sugar was banned.  Artificial sweetener ruins a muffin.

Plan C, the breakfast bar, grew out of my need for food, particularly at breakfast.  I threatened to alternate garlic venison cutlets and smoked splake fillets for breakfast unless she provided a substitute.

When the early models weren’t sweet enough to get me through to my next meal an hour or two later, Bet added some of the infamous maple syrup to the dates she used as sweetener.  Now they’re just about right.

Who knows what will be the next thing I can no longer eat?  Hope it’s not asparagus.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars —   by  the Fair Elizabeth

These are more like a dense cake than commercial granola bars.

2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup each of the following:
unsweetened coconut, uncontaminated rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, unsalted sunflower seeds, slivered almonds
If spices are tolerated:  1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (may substitute canned pumpkin)
1/2 to 1/3 cup soy beverage

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, coconut, oats, nuts, and seeds.
In a heavy stand-mixer, cream oil, syrup, bananas, and dates.  Add dry ingredients in stages while slowly adding soy beverage to moisten batter.
(Batter will be quite stiff and sticky).  Spread into prepared pan and bake 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool, then cut into 12 generous squares.

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