A couple of months ago one of my favorite food bloggers (Carrie Vitt from Deliciously Organic) set up a “30-day Grain Free Challenge” on her blog. At the time I was doing my low-fat diet that was, generally speaking, high in carbs and, more specifically, built on a series of low-calorie, low-fat, muffins that I was eating for breakfast. They were great and if you eat wheat and gluten then I still highly recommend them.
The result of the timing of her “challenge” was that I sort of tuned it out. I seem to remember her posting on Facebook at the end that she and her family were loving it so much that she was going to continue with grain free eating after the end of the 30 days. Again, I sort of tuned it out because I was still trying to fight the scale with the low-fat approach which was working for me. But then my son was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and suddenly wheat, barley, rye, and all that is derived from them has become off limits in my house. As my perspective on cooking and baking was being whirled through a carnival ‘tea-cups’ ride I saw Carrie post a recipe for a grain free maple almond cake. I starred that one in the Google Reader feed for later use.
Then she posted a recipe for a grain free pumpkin bread and it dawned on me that she’s blazing a trail for me that I want to follow. See, my mother in law makes a legendary pumpkin pie each year on Thanksgiving and the recipe calls for 1 pound of cooked and pureed pumpkin. That’s 16 ounces. Canned pure pumpkin comes in 15 ounce cans. Helpful, no? But she’s so meticulous about it that she buys two cans and uses only 1 ounce from the second can. So, for the past few years I’ve been swooping in and stealing that remaining 14 ounces of pumpkin to make a loaf of pumpkin bread that we eat on Friday for breakfast. This year, I jumped on Carrie’s grain free pumpkin bread recipe.
So, I’ll be honest, since The Boy got diagnosed with a gluten intolerance my weight loss diet has gone out the window. I think, as I said before, I didn’t have the brain space for both and his need took precedence over mine. But also, on a pragmatic level, I had to taste all the stuff I was making him and buying him and, let’s face it, coaxing him to try. How could I honestly tell a three year old that the gluten free crackers and cookies and cakes and pasta and pizzas and breakfast cereals I was feeding him were good enough to eat if I hadn’t tried them? I know it sounds like a rationalization. And maybe it was a little. But also, it wasn’t. It was a necessary reality. In the end, I have no idea what the scale says, and let’s face it, the week after Thanksgiving isn’t the week to find out.
Ok, so what does this all have to do with gluten free pumpkin bread? Here’s what. Carrie’s recipe is fantastic, even accounting for the fact that I used nearly double the amount of pumpkin her recipe calls for. It was moist, and pumpkiney, and really delicious. And it should be. Because the recipe includes a stick of butter, 6 eggs, and some heavy cream to boot. At 262 calories and 17.5 grams of fat per serving (1/10th of the loaf) it was enough to knock me back to reality and realize that I’ve got to put my culinary experience to work at making grain-free, gluten-free, more weight loss friendly.
So, if calorie and fat counting isn’t important to you I highly recommend Carrie’s recipe. If you’re interested in having those numbers cut and still having a great tasting bread, stick around. I’m starting to tinker and if I’m up for the challenge I’ll have an alternative recipe up before Christmas… or at least before next Thanksgiving rolls around and that 14 ounces of pumpkin is at staring me again.