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Recipe: Rustic Italian Bean “Dip”

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

rustic beansMy friend and student Gwen asked me to give her this recipe today. It goes over extremely well when I bring it to gatherings.

Coarsely-blended beans, olives and Italian seasonings meld together into a wonderful mixture. Use it as a dip for pita or corn chips, pair it with eggs at breakfast or substitute for refried beans in tostadas or burritos.

I make a lot and then freeze some for later. I think it tastes better after freezing, somehow the flavors bloom with time.

There are many ingredients in this recipe, but the actual preparation takes almost no time.

Rustic Italian-Seasoned Bean “Dip”
3 (15-oz) cans Pinto beans (or one larger can, ~ 3lb)
1 (15-oz) can Black (California) Olives (optional, but it brings a lot of flavor to the mix)
1/4c to 1/3c Tomato Paste (or a small can- I buy qt jars at a Halal/Mideastern market and freeze ahead of time)
3/8 c Water
3/8 c (6 Tbsp) Juice from Olives (or more water and a few dashes of salt)
1/4 c Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
Optional: 1/2 tsp Thyme or 1/4 tsp Rosemary, crushed

rustic beansDrain and rinse beans. In a large bowl, place all ingredients. With stick blender, blend until chunky but fully blended.

Chill or heat. Serve with tortilla chips, pita bread, wrapped in any tortilla or lawash you like, or wrap in a clear rice/tapioca “spring roll wrapper” from the Asian market. OR serve with eggs and avocados for a hearty brunch!

Recipe: Pumpkin-Comfort Tapioca Pudding

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Brrr! Time to Warm Up.

Cold-Weather Comfort Food

Both pumpkin and traditional (homemade) tapioca pudding are comfort foods for me. If you have only ever had tapioca pudding from the deli case, we are not talking about the same thing – I won’t eat that gummy, gluey stuff. This simple version is more like a firm custard than the deli namesake, and it has much smaller bits of tapioca.

finished pudding cold

What’s more, this recipe has 4 ingredients in all, and those are one-ingredient ingredients (canned pumpkin contains only pumpkin, tapioca is dried cassava-root starch, sugar is sugar, and this particular soy milk is soy… and water… if you count water). No preservatives, no thickeners, flavorings or the like. Yes, it’s sweet. However, there is no junk in it… no xanthan gum, no corn syrup…! Real food.

Three is a Charm

I’ve been making tapioca puddings for a long time. When I was allergic to cow’s milk, I posted a rich recipe I developed for LynnH’s Sinful Coconut/Vanilla Tapioca Pudding here. That was in February 2003, when we thought Coconut Oil was a bad thing for hearts. A dozen years later, it’s a fad food for health. Go figure!

The First Version

I had a recipe for Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding in my holiday dessert cookbook “I Can Eat These!” a handful of years ago. I’ve been making that quite often when I feel chilled to the bone or need comfort.

Then one night I wondered if I could make it with pumpkin. Oh, my goodness!!! I may never make it without again! (If you don’t have pumpkin, you can omit it and change the sugar to only 1/2 cup, and you’ll have my original recipe.)

pudding ingredients

Above you see the only ingredients in this pudding. Regardless of what type of milk you choose, be sure to use one with no sweeteners. Mine is soy, with two ingredients: Soybeans and water. If you prefer, I have a few friends who used a box of almond milk instead of the soy and loved it. Just one box (4 cups) of some sort of milk product will do, though I am guessing that some rice milks might be a bit too thin.
pudding done boiling hard
No Corn
Dairy Optional
No Egg
No Potato
Soy Optional
No Tree Nuts
No Wheat
No Yeast

Pumpkin-Comfort Tapioca Pudding

Dry Ingredients
1/2 c Minute Tapioca (granules)
3/4 c Brown Sugar (I prefer dark)

Wet Ingredients

1 box (4 cups) unsweetened Soy Milk (or sub almond milk or other type you tolerate, but not lowfat)
1 small/ 15-oz can (1-3/4c) Pumpkin (not pie mix, just one ingredient)


Mix dry ingredients coarsely in standard-sized round crockpot/slow cooker. Add pumpkin and stir. Add milk (I add half a box at a time, stirring each time).

Crock Pot/Slow Cooker method

Turn pot on high. Set buzzer for 20 minutes.

When buzzer goes off, stir again. place clean cloth over pot to prevent spitting. Set buzzer for 30 minutes. When buzzer goes off, open the lid and look for boiling against the edges of the pot. It should boil significantly on the edges but don’t expect it in the middle (the heat is in the walls of the pot). After inspecting, stir again. It is probably not done yet… it should look like the photo above. There should be resistance against your stirring utensil as you stir, and it should be sticky with small clumps on your stirrer.

At this point, set your buzzer for every 10-15 minutes and evaluate/stir again. It will thicken after cooling, but tastes better if the pumpkin and milk meld together in the heat.

When it is clear that the mixture has boiled at the edges (the color of the mixture near the boiling edge will be darker in color, as you can see in the photo above), turn off the pot. If you can remove the crock from the heating element, do so. Leave the lid off for about 15 minutes.

At 15 minutes, if you like the cooled/thickened crust on top, skim it off and eat it! If you prefer it all to be smooth,

finished pudding hot

stir it in. Either cool it further or eat warm. The final photo shows the texture of the pudding after being partially cooled. The photo at the very top of this post shows it after being cooled overnight.

Stovetop Method

If you have no crock pot, you can cook in a 3-4 quart double boiler with the same instructions as above. If you have no double boiler, place on a stove burner at a very low setting and stir at least every 5 minutes to keep it from burning on. When it’s cooked per the description above, cool 15 minutes and stir or not, as described above.

Note: This pudding must be refrigerated if you do not eat it immediately.

Makes: Approx. 8 (eight) servings, about 1/2 cup each.

Enjoy!!! Share!!! This is yummy to anyone, not just those with food restrictions.

Recipe: Rave-Review GF Biscuit Balls

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

biscuit balls Here we are in the holidays… and there are gatherings to attend. I have a lot of food restrictions and so I often bring my own goodies. Also, I’m having a fair number of friends over just a few at a time. I love to make biscuits (and sometimes soup) to keep it simple.

I don’t like sticky hands, so I’m not into kneading dough. Also, since I’m using non-wheat ingredients things bake better in smaller portions. No monster biscuits here. Big ones just don’t cook through to the middle until the edges are too dry.

Regardless of their quirks, these get excellent reviews. If you don’t like them to be balls, just squish them a little bit on top with the back of the scoop. I sort of like them this way!

Lynn’s Rave-Review GF Biscuit Balls

scant 1c Tapioca FLOUR/starch (powder, buy at healthy grocery or Asian market)
Scant 3/4 c Sorghum flour
1/4 c Navy Bean flour or Garbanzo flour
1/8 c Flaxseed meal (golden if you don’t like flecks showing)
optional: 1/8 c Teff flour for protein and brown color
1/2 tsp each: baking soda, cream of tartar, salt
1/4 c oil: any high-heat-friendly (grapeseed, sunflower or safflower)
3/4 or just a bit more very hot water

Preheat 375F
Prepare baking pan with light misting of oil. (Though I show a muffin pan, you can use a cookie sheet just as easily.)

Blend all dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl.
Add liquid ingredients, blend with fork until fully mixed. Let sit a few minutes to saturate flours fully.
Oil a 2 Tbsp scoop or a 1/8 c measuring cup (coffee measure). Drop by slightly-rounded scoops. Should make a dozen.

Bake for 13 minutes. They won’t look baked at all, but a toothpick will pull out clean and they should smell a little dry or toasty.

Pumpkin SoupCool at least so that you don’t burn yourself before diving in… OK? I love them with real butter or homemade pumpkin butter. They make an excellent pair with my equally-highly-reviewed Pumpkin Soup.

YUMMY Pumpkin Pie for the Food-Restricted

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I am a Thanksgiving baby. I was born the day after Thanksgiving, and this year my day falls exactly on the US holiday.

I love pumpkin everything. I don’t know if that has to do with the timing of my birthday, but it may. I want pumpkin pie instead of birthday cake. Yum!

However, about 8-10 years ago I got socked with a long list of “normal” foods which typically make me feel crummy. Pumpkin was fine, but for 5 years I could not eat dairy or eggs (and a host of other things).

I got diagnosed in early spring. I knew I had to figure out how to make pumpkin pie so that in late November I could have my birthday pie.

I made some HORRIBLE pies. There was one I would not even eat, it was throw-food-away worthy, and I’m not one to waste. However, I think I’ve got it down now.

My beloved Brian loves pie. He’s tasted a lot of pumpkin pies in the last several years, and his vote is for this recipe, despite its limited ingredients.

This recipe can be used for vegans, celiacs/other gluten-free eaters, lactose-intolerant folks, and the rest of us with a lot of limitations. I use soy milk. Any milk with a lot of particulate matter should work… almond or oat milks might also substitute well. I’m a bit skeptical about rice milk here, though… it’s pretty thin.

Please: Pass this recipe around! There are SO many people who need something they can eat happily and without reaction! I want to help those who will be tempted to cheat (and feel lousy afterwards) during the holidays. If you want to print it or send to a friend, and you know how to download a document, here is a PDF Adobe Acrobat version for you:

LynnH’s No Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie Recipe in PDF format

It’s one thing to stay away from a restaurant where you can’t eat, or perhaps to choose the right thing from many choices on a cafeteria line. It’s another thing to sit in the same room with Grandma’s pie, for hours and hours while idly chatting with family members (who are eating the forbidden).

If there is no healthy choice, some of us will choose to eat food which makes us suffer in the long run. I love bringing pie to holiday gatherings, and then I can eat without pain.

Note: This is not diabetic friendly as written. It’s dessert, and it has brown sugar in it. The sugar is not required for browning, so you may be able to figure out how to adjust it for your own needs. Maybe adding some fruit juice or unsweetened applesauce and letting it cook down a little longer would work, but I have not tried that myself.

That said, please enjoy!

LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie

I was born the day after Thanksgiving. This is my “Birthday Pie” every year. Cake, I can live without. Pumpkin pie, never.

At a potluck with many pumpkin pies, my pie-afficionado husband declared that he liked this one as well or better than the others. I consider that a blue ribbon.

Makes two 9″ pies

Main Ingredients:
2 Unbaked Pie Crusts in 9″ pans (make or buy one you can tolerate, there are Gluten-free and Spelt versions in the healthy food store’s freezer department)

1-3/4 cup Soy milk (Unsweetened—I use Westsoy Organic.) If you tolerate dairy
milk, goat milk, Oat Milk or Almond milk, they should substitute well. I have not tried them.
1/2 cup Golden Flaxseed Meal (dark works, but the filling appearance is speckled)
3-1/2 cup (2 sm 15oz cans or 1 lg 30oz can) Solid Pack Pumpkin (not pie mix)
2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt (optional)

Spices, as desired (leave out some or change amounts):
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/8 tsp Cloves

  • Preheat oven to 375F / 190C.
  • If you are making your own crusts, make them now. If you purchased frozen crusts, pull them out and separate them while frozen.
  • Measure soy milk into large measuring cup or small bowl. Slowly mix in flaxseed meal (I use a wire whisk).
  • In large bowl, place all other ingredients. Add milk/flax mixture (above) and blend thoroughly with whisk.
  • Fill unbaked pie crusts with filling. Cover edges with foil (optional) for the first 45 minutes in the oven.
  • Bake. Depending on the moisture content of your ingredients, it will take no less than 50 minutes and easily an hour or more. When the very center of the pie filling is boiling energetically, it is done. Do not be too eager, it’s tastier if you let the center truly cook through. It caramelizes… yum!
  • Let the pie cool. Refrigerating overnight will help it cut perfectly.

Note: My pie pans are glass/pyrex. Your baking times may be different if your pans are metal or ceramic.

Let Us Eat Cake! (Gluten-Free/ Allergy Friendly)

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Last week, our Thursday night knit group had two members with a birthday. I figure if I don’t make the cake, I can’t eat it because of all my allergies/ sensitivities. Naturally, I volunteered.

In addition, one of the birthday girls is celiac, which means she can’t have even a speck of gluten. I can’t have xanthan gum (often made from fermented corn, which I can’t have on two counts). Most commercial gluten free baking mixes contain it.

In order to get a tasty cake which was not too fragile, I’ve had to tweak and experiment with flours and binding agents. This recipe has flaxseed meal, sweet white rice flour and oil to do the job.

This is my current rendition of chocolate cake for those with food restrictions. It has a lot of  ingredients in it, and most kitchens won’t have these flours in house (I use them often). This is the first cake I’ve made that was sturdy enough to stand up to having frosting spread upon it, and it is tasty as well. Yeah!

I put a standard old-fashioned buttercream frosting on this cake, reduced to about 1/4 of a standard frosting batch since I only needed to frost the top of one layer. The end result? This cake was fully devoured by the end of the night.

If you do want buttercream frosting, make sure to plan ahead and pull that butter out of the refrigerator so it can soften naturally to room temperature. The microwave will ruin the butter for this purpose.

Tough but Luscious Chocolate Cake for Everyone

(Make sure all flours say certified gluten free on bag, if for a Celiac person.)
Makes one 9″ layer, to be served in its baking pan.

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 c Sorghum Flour
1/4 c Baking Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3/4 c Buckwheat flour (only Arrowhead Mills is certified Gluten Free)
1/4 c Brown Rice Flour (Used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 c SWEET White Rice Flour (must say sweet or sticky)
3/4 c White Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
(can replace Soda+Tartar with 3/4 tsp of Baking Powder)
2-4 Shakes Salt

Wet Ingredients:
6 Tbsp Oil (I used Olive, you can’t taste it with the cocoa powder)
1 c Water

Preheat oven to 350F. If you will be making buttercream frosting, take butter out of refrigerator now.

Oil pan: I use a 9″ glass pie plate, or use a 9″ cake pan (if not glass it will have a different baking time).

Sift lumpy flours into baking pan: I put the sorghum, cocoa and flaxseed meal in a screen-type strainer and pressed them through with the back of a large spoon, to remove large bits & lumps (toss whole flax that won’t pass through the screen). This makes it mix more completely and eliminates dry-flour bubbles.

Add other dry ingredients to baking pan. Mix thoroughly with small wire whisk or fork.

Add wet ingredients and mix with fork in pan, checking corners for dry spots.

Shake pan *for a few seconds only* to bring larger bubbles to the top of the batter. Use dry fork tine or toothpick to break the bubbles. If you don’t do this, it will be fragile to frost.

Use paper towel to wipe up uneven splashes of batter on the edges of the pan. I just hold my right hand with the towel still, and spin the pan around with my left hand.

Bake for about 30 minutes. It is done when a toothpick at center pulls out clean. You can often smell the “toasty” baking smell when it’s done, usually just before the timer goes off.

Cool thoroughly. If it’s not room temperature when you go to frost it, you’ll have a fragile mess with crumbs in the frosting.

Serve without frosting if you wish, or add homemade buttercream frosting (not vegan because of the dairy products, but there is nothing more delicious).

Top-One-Layer Buttercream Frosting (for the corn-allergic & celiacs)

1/2 stick (1/4 c) Lightly Salted Butter, softened at room temperature – do not melt!
1 cup Corn-Free Confectioners/Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (gluten free)
appx. 1 Tbsp. Milk

Place butter in mixing bowl. Use back of large spoon to stir butter until it softens up and is more creamy than resistant. Add sugar in several small batches, mixing until smooth by pressing and smoothing with the back of the spoon. It will feel at first as though there is far too much sugar for the butter, but slowly it will incorporate if you stay with it.

Add vanilla and a teaspoon or so of milk, and mix again until smooth. At this point, determine if the frosting needs more milk to be soft enough to spread without breaking apart the top of your cake layer. Keep adding milk a small bit at a time and mixing until the frosting looks not quite wet and seems spreadable. If necessary, you can add a little more sugar to bring it back to a proper texture.

Let the frosting sit for a few minutes to let the sugar melt and mellow with the liquid. Make sure your cake is fully cooled.

Use a soft rubber spatula and a very light hand to spread the frosting on your cake. Longer strokes often are more gentle to the top of the cake (which is fragile and will want to crumble and mix into your frosting). Worst case, let the crumbs just be there and consider adding mini-chocolate chips on the top as decoration. Make sure the chips are certified gluten free and don’t have corn syrup in them, if you go that route.


If you are new to this sort of baking, many healthy-food groceries will carry all of these ingredients for you. If you have nothing like that near you, try Bob’s Red Mill online. It’s an employee-owned company with great customer service and fine quality.

Enjoy your cake! I’m sure you will.

No-Nutz Teff Cookies

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Cozy Cookies

Aaah, baking. Baked goods are comfort food, there is no way around it.

I’m still working on my Breads, Bars & Crackers recipe book. The text is almost finished, the layout very close. While doing text layout, I’ve played a bit, off-topic,  in the kitchen.

Something New for Me

There are a number of recipes on the internet for Teff chocolate chip cookies. Most of them call for almond meal, peanut butter, and/or Xanthan gum. Three strikes there, if you are me. As it is, I much prefer spice, vanilla or caramel flavored baked goods over chocolate.

After a holiday-party season where I admired the beauty of others’ cookie art, I thought it might be nice to actually eat some. I have not found a commercially-available cookie that I can eat. To the kitchen I must go…

Teff is a favorite ingredient for me (it’s a high-protein, high-fiber, gluten-free grain originally from Ethiopia). I just had to experiment with teff cookies. I had not made cookies in decades. I am glad I did it.

These were good the first time I tried! With the rich flavor of teff, brown sugar and (in my case) butter, they taste a bit like caramel.

For those of us who can’t have tree nuts or peanuts, I added some nut-like seeds. My taste testers unanimously approved.

Restrictions, Hah!

This recipe is Gluten-Free, without Wheat, Corn, Potato, Egg, Soy, Yeast, Peanuts, or Tree Nuts. It will be friendly to most folks who have food allergies.

They might be good with 1/4 cup of raisins or chopped dried apricots added. Dried fruits are not allowed for the yeast-allergic (unless we dehydrate them ourselves), so they are not on the official ingredient list.

If you substitute the butter with coconut oil or another non-dairy solid fat, you can make these tasty cookies vegan. Butter is flavorful, but then so is coconut (to which I’m allergic). Different fats will give the cookie different baked textures.

Would you like the recipe? I thought so.

No-Nutz Teff Cookies

“Wet” Ingredients
1 stick Butter – softened (or sub 1/2 cup of your favorite solid fat)
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Applesauce
1 tsp Real Vanilla (gluten free certified if needed)

Dry Ingredients
1 cup Teff Flour by Bob’s Red Mill
5 Tbsp Golden Flaxseed Meal
1/2 cup Sweet White Rice Flour (must be sweet rice, also called mochi rice)
1/4 cup Arrowroot Starch or Tapioca starch
1 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 cup Pepitas (raw, shell-free pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds, raw

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Oil one large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar. Add applesauce and vanilla, blend again. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl mix, well dry ingredients (except seeds) with wire whisk. Add to butter mixture and mix just until all ingredients are moistened. Add seeds, mix again briefly.
  • Drop from large soup spoon onto baking sheet. Makes 18 cookies which crowd together on the sheet. They do not spread out much during baking.
  • Bake for approximately 13 minutes until they smell toasty. Remove from oven, move carefully from sheet to cooling rack.

These cookies are very fragile when warm. They firm up and feel like a different cookie when cooled. They last well for several days without refrigeration, but they are likely to not last that long!

I send email notices when I post recipes or other food-related information. Would you like me to let you know when the next one comes out?


I spent a lot of time figuring this out and writing it up for you. Enjoy it, share it… and perhaps help me find folks who can benefit from my work? There are still suffering folks out there.

Share my recipe for non-commercial use, but please use the same words I did, and give me credit for being its source. If you want to use it commercially, please write me and we’ll work out something. I’m very interested.

(C) 2011 Lynn DT Hershberger -
Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported”  license-

Great Pizza – no Wheat/Yeast!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

I’ve been eating without yeast since 1991. I’ve been without wheat for maybe 5 years, maybe more. I honestly don’t feel tempted to “cheat” because I feel so crummy if I do.

You may have similar limitations. It’s becoming rather widespread right now, this food-restriction situation. We won’t get into why, but I remember how alone I felt at first.

Gourmet, thanks to Restrictions

Usually, I feel as though we eat gourmet around here… excellent food, flavors, quality, ingredients. Everything we eat is really superb.

However, there are missing pieces. Sometimes certain foods haunt my memory.

I love chewy foods, in particular. Tapioca helps sometimes. Pizza (made with both wheat and yeast) was something I didn’t miss for a long time. However, walking past a pizza restaurant brought back longings.

The Exploration Process

Once I started experimenting  in the kitchen, I started to wonder if I could make something which would satisfy my pizza cravings. Of course, the first many experiments were failures.

I ended up with fragile biscuit-like doughs which could not be picked up in the hands without self-destructing. Sometimes they got soggy, on top of the fragile texture. Those we ate with forks, and it was dinner… but not pizza.

I didn’t know how to solve the falling-apart issue. Most gluten-free/wheat-free mixes solve the stick-together issue by adding Xanthan Gum. Because it is made by fermented corn, it is a problem for me. I put pizza dough on the mental back burner and went back to simpler challenges.

Sweet Rice Flour (AKA Mochi Flour)

When I found out about sweet white rice flour (also called sticky rice, mochi, or “glutinous rice” though it has no gluten), I figured out how to make chewy brownies, which had eluded my mastery for many years.

And then I had an “Aha!” moment. Maybe sticky rice could also hold together a pizza crust? Indeed, it could. It took a good number of tweaks to get it really good, but the first one was better than all the previous tries put together.

I combine the rice with Teff flour, which is high-protein and high-fiber. Teff is tasty, a helpful attribute when used with bland rice. I also use flax seed meal which adds nutrition and has a different type of stickiness to help bind the crust.

Teff can dry out quickly. Because of that, this crust tends to get crispy/crunchy at the edges if made as illustrated here.

I sort of like that feature, but for those who prefer chewy edges, there are a few tricks which will help a lot. You get a slightly smaller pizza that way, but it is a bit more like the pizzas you remember from pre-food-restriction days.

Pizza as a Creative Art

We have become really fond of pizza with all sorts of toppings on it. I figure pizza crust just needs some sort of “sauce” under it, and some toppings on it.

I can’t have any sort of cheese, even the soy or allergy-friendly ones. They all have xanthan gum or yeast flavoring or some such thing. (Someone will ask about goat cheese… I do worse with goat milk than organic cow-dairy milk.) No cheese meant that I got more creative.

We use pizza as a feast from our leftovers about once a week now. I have used all sorts of sauces, from Eden brand Crushed Tomatoes, Tomatillo Salsa Verde (helps to strain some of the water out first), leftover Indian Eggplant (Baigan Burtha), homemade pesto, and the always spectacular black olive paste (sometimes called Tapenade).

For me, pizza really needs onions on it (I can’t have garlic). I usually saute some in a small frying pan, in olive oil, while pre-baking the crust. Other than that, we’ve put leftover collard greens on pizza, sliced home-grown tomato (really good on the olive paste base).

No Cheese?

I happen to love black olives. I find that they have the oil, the salt, and a similar-enough texture to mozzarella that I feel satisfied. There is nothing like the chewiness of pizza cheese, but a good crust and good toppings come together quite well.

Someone asked me how the pizza stayed “stuck” together without the cheese. If you have a sturdy crust, it will hold things on it just fine. I don’t think we lose more toppings while eating this than we did with standard pizza.

Are you ready for the recipe? Remember, if you can get the ingredients locally, please support your local businesses. If you can’t, then the folks at Bob’s Red Mill have a great mail-order/website sales staff. Click that link to order your flour and flax meal, and you’ll have what you need without much delay.

Lynn’s No-Junk Pizza Crust

Makes one pizza, 2 moderate adult portions.
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup Sweet White Rice Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill—
must be SWEET rice, no substitute)
1/2 cup Teff flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 Tbsp Flax meal (golden flax shows less, any type works)
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp Cream of tartar

Wet Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Oil (use any you tolerate, I often use olive)
3/4 cup Hot water

Preheat oven to 350F / 177C

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly (I use a wire whisk). Add wet ingredients, mix with fork until just mixed.

Gently press dough together with clean hands, until it makes a cohesive “blob.” Let rest at least 3 minutes.

Prepare jelly roll pan with a dusting of teff flour in the center. Sprinkle teff flour on dough ball until it feels mostly dry on the surface.

Press dough into oval shape with hands, onto pan, adding sprinkles of teff flour as it becomes sticky. Use a rolling pin or flat-sided glass to roll it thinner, from center to edge, until about 1/8 inch / 3mm thick.

If you prefer a thicker, chewier crust on the edge, turn under or over about 1/2 inch/13mm of the dough edge (something like a pie crust). Press into a thicker/smoother edge. Using a pastry brush and olive oil (or other oil you tolerate), baste around the circumference of the pizza, covering the thicker dough edges. This keeps the edges from becoming crispy, protecting its chewiness. The photos here do not show this extra step.

Pre-bake crust for 15 minutes.  (This is when I saute onions/veggies for the toppings.) As you remove crust from oven, increase heat in oven to 375F / 190C. The crust may have some cracks in it, which is not a problem.

Prepare for Toppings

Using pastry brush and olive oil, baste entire crust. This keeps it from getting soggy in the middle from toppings, and prevents the edges from becoming too crisp. Don’t fret about the oil, it’s much healthier than dairy fat in cheese, and you wouldn’t mind cheese on pizza, would you?

Spread the sauce of your choice on the oiled crust. If you are making a standard pizza, use crushed tomato plus a generous sprinkle of dried basil and oregano (or Italian Seasoning – but read ingredients first, they can change from batch to batch).

Add desired toppings. Black olives are highly recommended if you do not tolerate cheese. I usually add sauteed onions and other veggies. Very thinly sliced cauliflower or greens are pleasant changes of pace, and we’ve even put summer squash on ours.

If your toppings don’t have oil in them already, lightly trickle some olive oil over the whole assembly.

Bake again (at the higher temperature), for 12-18 minutes depending on the type and quantity of toppings you used. It should be sizzling when done, and your veggies should look a bit droopy from cooking.

Cut with scissors or pizza cutter. Enjoy!

Final photo shows black olive paste as the sauce, with orange home-grown tomatoes, onion, sauteed kale and tiny squares of extra-firm tofu.
I send email notices when I post recipes or other food-related information. Would you like me to let you know when the next one comes out?


Copyright 2011 Lynn DT Hershberger
Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported” license—    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

This means you may share my recipe for non-commercial use, but (please) use the same text I did, and give me credit for being its source. If you want to use it commercially, please write me first and we’ll work out something.

I spent a lot of time figuring this out and writing it up for you. Enjoy it, share it… and perhaps help me find folks who can benefit from my work? There are still suffering folks out there.

Gluten-Free Flours and Substitutes

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I am developing recipes right now for an anticipated breads / crackers / energy bars / pizza dough cookbook. I hope it will be out in mid-November.

The creative part of the process is my strong point. I’m playing around with different flours, seeds, and combinations of them all. Just changing the proportions of, say buckwheat to rice flours, makes a totally different cracker. I find this fascinating!

While I was surfing the internet to get more information on seeds (particularly chia seeds), I found this excellent page at the Colorado State University Extension Service (click link below):

Gluten-Free Baking

Even if you are following recipes created by others, it is a very informative document (5 pages if you print it as a PDF, which is offered by them as an option). I know a lot at this point, and there was plenty of new information for me. The document is dated 2009, but gluten free is a subject which is not hurt by a delay in reading.

I love that it includes more than just gluten-free grains. It talks about bean flours, flax seed and chia seed, tapioca starch (from a root), and even nut flours… which I can’t eat but which are tasty for those who can enjoy them.

Now I’m off to experiment one more time with cracker recipes. Even the not-so-great ones are great with a little pumpkin butter on them. Win-win.

Last night, Brian and I had my pumpkin soup for dinner, with some experimental crackers. I first published the recipe in December 2002, here on the blog. It continues to get a lot of positive comment. Maybe you’d like to try it? Go ahead, click and get the free recipe!

LynnH’s Easy Pumpkin Soup

I haven’t forgotten that I’ve promised you a pizza dough recipe. I’ve got a tester trying it out for me and then I’ll get that one up here.

Until then; happy, healthy, creative eating to you!

Speaking Tonight: Food Limitations & Baking

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Tonight I am delighted to be speaking to the Michigan Capital Celiac/DH Support Group. This group is for folks who live a totally gluten-free lifestyle for their health.

As regular readers know, I learned to bake with limited ingredients because of my own long list of food allergies and sensitivities. However, when I began to share my recipes, I realized that Celiacs and Vegans could benefit from my food as well. The Celiac community has been very interested in my work.

A lot of Gluten-Free foods which can be purchased in stores, are less than satisfying. Let’s face it, anything that needs a long shelf life will need a few compromises. There is a lot of xanthan gum (made from fermented corn, something I can’t tolerate) to hold things together.

I bake with pure food ingredients, no gums. When I need stickiness I use sticky rice flour, flax seed meal or chia seeds, all foods which come from nature.

I’ll be talking about my baking experiments… my recipes, failures and successes. I’m bringing Habibi Brownies with me. Perhaps readers in Lansing will be interested, or know someone who is. The meeting is open to the public. Please help me pass the word.


Michigan Capital Celiac/DH Support Group meeting
Community of Christ Building
1514 W. Miller Rd, Lansing (between Cedar and MLK)

Social time 6:30-7:00, meeting 7pm.

I would LOVE to see you.


About my cookbook, if you can’t make it-

I create delicious recipes which fit the following parameters:

No Corn
No Dairy
No Egg
No Peanuts
No Potato
No Soy
No Tree Nuts
No Wheat
No Xanthan Gum
No Yeast

I also have a free recipe blog archive. Most but not all of those recipes are gluten free, read ingredients carefully.

Food Demo/My Dessert Cookbook, Saturday

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Saturday/ today from 2-4pm, I will demo desserts from my cookbook. We can chat about ingredients and any other related topic, while you sample several items I bring.

Here is the location:

Foods for Living
2655 E Grand River (at Park Lake Road)
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 324-9010

  • If you know a child who has  restrictions, perhaps providing a snack they can eat safely (brownie, muffin?) will help them avoid unhealthy temptations when at school.
  • If you are one who needs to attend gatherings where you can’t eat anything on the potluck table, now you can bring something that will help you feel included.
  • If you have a friend who has limitations and doesn’t know what to eat as a treat, perhaps my recipes can help them transition to health.

This store is the only place in Greater Lansing where you can buy all of the special ingredients needed to make my desserts. It is employee owned, and local. I highly recommend getting to know this business.

My cookbook is good for us with food allergies/sensitivities, for Vegans, and Celiacs. The recipes are all Gluten Free. In addition, they don’t require wheat, corn, dairy, egg, potato, soy, nuts, or yeast.

I use a number of ingredients which are unfamiliar to many Americans. I’m delighted to discuss what I’ve learned in my own food-restricted journey!

I’ll be autographing books and answering questions. If you have food restrictions or know someone who does, this may help.

I hope that you can be there.

For those of you who are not local, you can always get the cookbook in either PDF e-book format or a spiral-bound book, through my shopping cart online.

Dessert Cookbook, My Book-Signing Night

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Pardon my digression from Sock Summit / knitting news. I assure you there is more. However, tonight I have a special event which maybe some Lansing folks would like to attend. I’m signing my cookbook tonight!

Will you join me tonight at Everybody Reads, Books and Stuff for my book signing? I’ll have sample goodies from my “I Can Eat These!” Dessert Collection. The recipes are allergy-friendly, Gluten-Free and Vegan. And really GOOD. Come and taste for yourself…

7:00 pm
Everybody Reads Books
2019 E. Michigan, Lansing, MI
(Across from Emil’s Italian Restaurant, next to Gone Wired Cafe – between Frandor and Sparrow Hospital.)

I will bring Habibi Brownies and Crusty Pumpkin Loaf tonight, Teff Spice Muffins are in the oven as I type this. I’m also bringing Eudora’s Spiced Pumpkin-Orange sauce (good on teff muffins).

Please come out, sample and spread the word! Click here to read my food-restrictions journey.

I look forward to seeing friends and meeting new folks. The goodies are excellent, I assure you…

World-Changing Dessert Recipes

Monday, December 20th, 2010

A Day when Everything Changed

In May of 2002, I found myself at a doctor’s office with a list of foods I was not to eat. I did not know for sure what I *could* eat. I felt pretty lonely.

For several years, I’d found myself weak enough to ration my trips up and down stairs. I was 44 years old, a dancer, a non-smoker/non-drinker, not overweight, in generally good health. In spite of that, my energy levels let me down. I somehow handled my work routine, but nothing extra.

A chance meeting with an artist acquaintance gave me hope. She gave me the name of a doctor who had turned her life around, and recommended I go. I was willing to do whatever it took, go to any lengths to get better.

The list of forbidden foods that day? Corn, Yeast, Milk, Egg, Potato, and any ingredients derived from those foods. Corn related foods can include the obvious corn syrup and cornstarch, but also baking powder, powdered sugar, maltodextrin, xanthan gum (in many salad dressings and frozen foods), and countless others. Yeast is grouped with fermented/aged foods such as soy sauce, vinegar, yogurt, and dried fruits such as raisins.

Giving up all of those foods? All at once? I had no other choice. Desperation made it so.

There I was, with a new way of eating in front of  me. I was willing. The possibility I could regain energy was all I needed.

It was worth it! Four days after giving up those foods, I found myself taking two steps at a time up the stairs. This, after a few years of avoiding stair climbing whenever possible! It was a miracle, worth any effort it might take. Eating right gave me my life back!

The Learning Curve

Thank goodness that my brother and I did the grocery shopping in our teens. Mother had high blood pressure. We learned to read labels for salt in those years.

In my 30’s, 1991, I’d realized that I felt much better if I eliminated mold/yeast/fermented foods. I had already learned to adjust my own food on behalf of my health. I read ingredients again.

I learned to bake with substitutions. If it called for sour cream, I sometimes could substitute applesauce (for moisture/binding). I learned the properties different ingredients contained.

The Challenge

When I got the news on May 30, 2002, I first turned to simple, plain foods: rice, beans, vegetables, stir fry, baked sweet potatoes. I like “real” food but I did not get enough variety at first.

Sometimes I craved baked goods, puddings, other treats. Sugar was not a problem for me, but most commercial baked goods (even at health food stores) contained items I could not tolerate. I was on my own.

First Priority

The first challenge was pumpkin pie. I am a “Thanksgiving Baby” and I do not want birthday cake. I want birthday pumpkin pie!

I read whatever I could find on substitutions. I made some VERY bad pies. At first, I was able to buy frozen crusts that worked for me, but the filling was challenge enough.

It took six months of bad-to-mediocre experiments. Finally I created a delicious pumpkin pie with no eggs or dairy. It used flaxseed meal and soy milk to substitute for eggs and dairy milk.

I Was on a Roll!

Since I nailed pumpkin pie, I have tackled other old favorites. I created a Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding, and this year a chewy brownie that is wonderful. Chewy textures are a challenge to create without wheat, egg and milk!

Over the years I have shared many recipes with you, here on the blog. I have a recipe category with more than two dozen recipes offered for free, and I have received very positive feedback on this. In fact, though I discuss many artforms here, my recipes seem to get the most attention.

Holiday Challenges for Those Like Me

As the holidays approached this year, I realized that I have numerous friends and family who also do not tolerate one or more foods well. I have more celiacs (gluten-intolerant) in my life than I can count. There are many more in my world who are lactose-intolerant or who have sensitivities to any number of foods. It seems I run into one more every day!

I also have a growing number of friends who choose to eat vegan (no animal products at all, not even dairy or egg). Some favorite baked treats can be a challenge to a vegan who wants to keep additives (like xanthan gum) to a minimum.

Say Yes, not No!

Some of my food-sensitive friends have a hard time resisting temptation, even knowing they will feel crummy later if they give in. It seemed to me that holidays would really make things worse for those folks.

Some of these friends have  been willing sample testers while I have experimented in my kitchen. I wondered how I could make it easier for them to have healthy choices during challenging days.

As I thought of these friends, I also remembered myself in that doctor’s office. If I had a quality collection of recipes for special treats that day, it could have eased the transition dramatically.

Could I share what I knew, and rock someone else’s world? Could I change the personal world of someone facing a scary assignment such as the one I received? Yes.

My recipes can be world-changing to someone feeling lost and alone. I can’t change the entire world, but if I can change one person’s life? I’m enough of an optimist to think it could make a real difference.

My World-Changing Solution:
” I Can Eat These!” Dessert Collection

The result of that concern? I rounded up ten dessert recipes, and formatted them as a book.

Included are are tips on how to cook with alternative flours (buckwheat, teff, brown rice, sweet white rice, tapioca flour and more). There are tips on measuring. I included information on brands of flours which work best, and where to get the ingredients if you can not find them in your area. (In Lansing, MI, Foods for Living has everything I specify.)

Is This for You?

Are you the one I imagined, needing this book? Do you know someone who is? Do you know a mother trying to help their child adjust to new foods? Are you expecting company with a variety of food restrictions? Let me make life easier for you.

I experimented. I tested. I made this with you in mind.

I made Habibi brownies for the Sunday School Christmas program. I used carob because chocolate gives my youngest hives. I marked them as allergy friendly and assumed that would make people avoid them. We only brought 1 home and had a request for the recipe.
– Sally, mother of two

My standard guidelines:

  • Celiac-friendly
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Gluten-free
  • No Corn
  • No Dairy
  • No Egg
  • No Peanuts
  • No Potato
  • No Soy
  • No Tree Nuts
  • No Wheat
  • No Xanthan Gum
  • No Yeast

Recipes included:

Eudora’s Spiced Pumpkin-Orange Sauce or Butter
Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding
Easy Cocoa Mix
Habibi Brownies
Victory Crust
LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie
Crusty Pumpkin Loaf
Light & Airy Cranberry Muffins
LynnH’s Teff Spice Muffins
Applesauce-Buckwheat Muffins

Which Serves You Best?

I offer the book in two formats.

  1. Many of us love a physical “Tree book” (paper) to hold in our hands. I offer a spiral-bound full-color print version. It includes a thick vinyl back and clear cover, on sturdy paper. The spiral binding keeps it open as you work.- This version is $11 plus $1 shipping. I send to the US and Canada via US Postal service. Priority mail to the is $3.90 extra, write me a note in your checkout process and I’ll make arrangements.
    Click this button to order:
  2. I also offer an e-book version, in Adobe PDF format.  You can save this on your computer and then print out just the page you need when it’s time to bake. Nine of the recipes fit on one printed sheet of paper. The page gets some oil on it while you bake? Print another for yourself. It’s formatted to work well on a home printer. You do need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the book, which is free.– This version is $9 as a download (from my shopping cart system, no wait for me to email it, no attachment)
    Click this button to order:

Even if this is not for you, I would really appreciate it if you could pass the word. Someone you know surely could use this collection, even if you can’t.

Applesauce Muffins- no wheat, egg or milk

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I’ve been in the kitchen again. We are cooking almost all of our meals at home now, and often I want fresh breads/baked goods rather than crackers, pasta or rice.

Lucky for me, I have learned a lot about wheat-free, gluten-free, egg/ milk/ nut/ potato/ corn/ yeast-free cooking in the last 8 years or so. When you have done something many times, it gets easier and faster to do. I’m grateful I am no longer at the beginning of the learning curve. That was a lonely place to be.

This time I wanted to make something with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce which was left over from making Pumpkin Soup. I decided that would be nice with buckwheat flour (buckwheat has no gluten and is not related to wheat – it is not even a true grain).

After a bunch of digging around, I did not find any existing recipe that would work with what I had in mind. I started from scratch.

applesauce buckwheat muffins

It makes a good muffin, which you can eat with butter for breakfast or alone with soup (ours was blackeyed peas with cabbage). It holds together very well, even packed in a lunch bag. This is good news for a non-wheat baked item.

Use all of the spices or none. I used a shake or two of nutmeg and allspice, and not as much sugar, when I wanted a cornbread substitute of sorts.  When I make these for breakfast or dessert, I use all the spices here and a full cup of sugar. It makes a better crusty texture on the top, and perhaps stands alone in flavor a bit better.

I am looking forward to breakfast. I think I will break up a few muffins in a bowl, add some fruit (peaches would be great, but I’ll go with dark cherries or strawberries) and top that with some home-whipped cream sweetened with brown sugar. YUM!

Applesauce-Buckwheat Muffins

2-1/2 c Buckwheat Flour (I used Arrowhead Mills, or try Hodgson Mills.
Bob’s Red Mill is a different texture and will not work the same.)

2/3 to 1 c Brown Sugar (1 cup makes better crust, definitely sweeter)

1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar, or Emergen-C powder, or unbuffered Vitamin C powder

Optional (more protein) 2 Tbsp Powdered Goat’s Milk
– (or powdered Cow/Dairy milk if not allergic, or use soy milk rather than water)
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Allspice

Optional Spices:
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ginger
1 small dash/shake of ground Cloves

1/4 c Oil (I use olive)
1 c Applesauce, unsweetened
1 c water

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare muffin pan (cupcake-sized, about 1/2 c each) with oil and a light dusting of buckwheat or rice flour.

Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Blend with wire whisk until mixed well (there will be brown sugar lumps, this is OK)

Add wet ingredients and mix carefully, do not mix any longer than necessary to get all ingredients wet. Let it stand for a minute or two. It will be rather sticky and not as wet as normal cake batter is, by far (more like stiff egg whites, perhaps). This is due to the flaxseed meal substituting for eggs.

Distribute batter into 12 equal portions in the pan. They will be approximately full to the brim.

Place in oven for 15-25 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes and a toothpick in the center pulled out clean but a tiny bit sticky to the touch.

Cool about 5 minutes, then turn baked items out of pan and continue to cool on wire rack.

Victory! Recipe: Chewy GF/Allergy-Free Brownies

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Eight Years, One Recipe

I am thrilled. Since I have been baking/eating without a long list of foods (due to food sensitivities/allergies), I have struggled with finding good chewy brownies. I love chewy textures and many of my old favorites are no longer on the “safe” list for me.

I don’t bake with wheat/gluten, though I do not fight celiac disease. However, many gluten-free/GF packaged mixes contain corn, potato and/or xanthan gum, all three of which I do not tolerate. Many call for egg or milk. Some call for corn syrup to hold things together. All don’t work for me. I had to start from scratch.

Mochi to the Rescue (Again)

My break-through point was trying yet a different kind of flour. I have recently found one source for gluten-free “sweet rice flour” (it’s Mochi rice but in a different form than my previous food post). The Lansing, Michigan source is Foods for Living, a wonderful, employee-owned grocery which supports local musicians as well as really being top notch in products offered and friendly service.

The product itself is produced by Bob’s Red Mill, a wonderful alternative flour source (I get teff flour from them, too… for my spice muffin recipe). If you do not live in Lansing, and your town has no source for this product, you can buy from the mill direct online. They have great service. Local first, though… if you will.

These Work for Everyone

Because of my food restrictions, these brownies also happen to be vegan. It’s a bit accidental, but I’m all for sharing with anyone who limits ingredients.

I have been baking corn-wheat-egg-potato-milk-yeast free since the end of May, 2002. It took me that long to figure these out. You can imagine how happy I am to share this recipe with you.

Warning: You must use the same ingredients, and measure very carefully. If I mention a brand name, that brand is different from others and using a substitute may turn out poorly. Guessing at what 1/4 cup is, for example, can ruin an allergy recipe. There is little room for playing in this domestic chemistry game which is called allergy baking.

Why Habibi?

Habibi means “Sweetheart” (and similar sentiments) in Arabic. I named these brownies “Habibi Brownies” because my first good batch in 8 years was made in time to share with the crowd at the Habibi Dancers‘ Annual show. Each dancer was expected to bring a dozen cookies. I made 24 brownies. I kept a dozen, and gave the troupe the expected number. I just could not bear to give up any more than required, I was so happy to have success!!!

NOTE: I like brownies with edges, so I have baked them in three bread pans for years (rather than one big pan). I do not know how this will work if you put  it in a larger 10×13″ rectangular cake pan, but I am guessing another 5-10 minutes in the oven might make that work fine. If anyone tries this, please take the time to write me with your results.

If you do not have any food restrictions, you can still enjoy these brownies. For moms tired of making two dinners or two desserts, this will be a lifesaver. Beatrice, age 5, says they are good. She has no restrictions. I’m happy with that endorsement.

If you prefer cake-like ones and have food restrictions, you may prefer my “No Nothin’ Brownies” instead. However, I think those are not equal to wheat brownies and I think my Habibi Brownies are every bit equal to any other chewy brownie.

I’ve talked too much. Here is the recipe. Please share as you wish, but I do ask you to give me credit, and not make money on my recipe. It took me 8 years to get these right! Thanks.

Habibi Brownies by Lynn DT Hershberger/ColorJoy (c) 2010
No wheat, gluten, corn, egg, soy, milk, yeast, nuts, potato, xanthan gum.

Your friends will not taste the difference.

1c Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour (do not substitute)
1/2 c Brown Rice Flour (I used Arrowhead Mills, brand less crucial here)
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (baking cocoa, not drink mix)
1 c Brown Sugar (stickier than white sugar, do not sub)
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Cream of Tartar (or sub 1tsp of baking powder for this and the soda)
1/4 c plus 1Tbsp oil (I use olive oil, can use any oil you are not allergic to)
3/4 c Water
Non-corn-oil cooking spray or 1tsp oil (celiacs, be sure it’s gluten-free)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray three glass bread pans with oil (or wipe with oil and paper napkin). Sprinkle very lightly with brown rice flour.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients with a wire whisk, wire piecrust blending tool or fork (brown sugar will not mix perfectly, do not worry about that).

Pour wet ingredients into bowl and mix with fork only until just blended. It will be a sticky, thick batter.

Divide batter between bread pans. Smooth out a bit.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. It is done when sides pull away from pan and it smells a little “toasty.” A toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly dry but a bit tacky (not wet- sticky). Cool 5 minutes before cutting, if you can stand to wait.

These last several days unrefrigerated. I expect they will freeze well, too.

Edited to add: For the record, my entire Recipe Archive has many allergy-friendly/vegan recipes to print out/use any time.

If you would like this recipe (and nine other recipes) in a format which is easier to use, I offer the “I Can Eat These! Dessert Collection.” It is available in both a spiral-bound copy which I mail to you, or a PDF download copy. The PDF is convenient because you can print just the page you want, and if it gets dirty you can just print it again- it’s set up for 8-1/2 x 11 US printer sized paper, very easy to print.

Click below to order a cookbook: