I'll be honest with you, since I've moved to Parksville I've been having a lot of gluten contamination issues, which makes for a very bloated very grumpy girl who has no interest in cooking or baking at all. Not exactly the perfect match for a food blog writer! Things appear to be getting a bit better and I think (still not sure yet) that I've narrowed it down to some allergy medication that I've been taking since I moved here. It's tricky trying to find out if a drug is gluten free because the Pharmacists tend not to want to look it up for you and when you call the drug hot lines it's always after hours because their based on the east coast, so then you write them and they tell you that they make too many things, call their hot line with the serial number. It's annoying to say the least.
Amongst all this on a slightly rainy and windy day, my boyfriend and I were exploring the local bookstores in search of warm shelter and entertainment. In one of those bookstores I found this book "the Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook" by Elana Amsterdam. It's filled with yummy sounding recipes, great looking pictures and colour. I hate cookbooks that are in black and white without any photographs. Half of cooking is eating with your eyes and if you can't see what something is supposed to look like, how do you know you've done a good job? So this book, with it's very pretty cover, satisfied my visual needs, which is the first thing you need to do if I'm going to actually take the book from the shelf to the sales person.
If you want me to recommend it, well it has to be good and this is good. In her book Elana explains that Almond Flour is a super food which is high in protein but low in carbohydrates and sugar compared to regular baking and gluten free flours. It also has a lot more minerals that our bodies need too. She also uses Agave Nectar as the sweetener in all of her recipes. I tried looking it up to see how good it really is, but it seems there are some controversies around it. Some people vote it's fantastic, others say that it would be except for the way it's processed, and yet more people say the processing info that the anti-agave people are using is out of date and no longer applicable. So you can be the judge, but it does appear to be lower on the glycemic index then other options, which means it's better than just dumping in sugar. So with high protein, low sugar and carbohydrate ingredients, these recipes are all much healthier for us than our regular gluten-free foods. The biggest key if you are watching your weight is still moderation, but if have that craving for dessert I'd look for the almond flour version.
The recipes are healthy, check. Now the other part is that they are super easy to make! I've made carob chip scones, skillet apple pie, salmon dill burgers, sun dried tomato spinach tart and vegetable quiche so far, and all of those recipes took very little time and tasted fantastic. I haven't gotten to the delicious looking cakes yet, because one thing that Elana notes is that Bob's Redmill Almond Meal/Flour is too course for her recipes and it's the only stuff I can get around here. So I'm sticking with the recipes that wouldn't really need a finer flour for now. She does provide a few online places to get the ingredients you will need and I'm going to check them out. It's harder to find what I like here and more expensive. On initial search it costs $16.99 for 1lb of Almond Flour here or I can by the same size bag online for $6.99. Even with shipping and handling I'll save a buck or two.
So if you are looking for something that will satisfy your sinful cravings and be a lot healthier for you than what you'd normally eat (and take half the time to prepare), I highly recommend Elana Amsterdam's the Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook.