Gluten Free Baking Substitutes

by Jennifer Bridgeman

Baking for people with gluten allergies or sensitivities can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start! I have been experimenting with gluten free flour for years and wanted to share some of my favorites that you can try to introduce into your kitchen!

Grain Free Flours

Some of the gluten free flours are called grain free because they are not made out of grains (grains may include rice, quinoa, millet, oats, ect). These types of flours are usually made out of nuts. People who have autoimmune diseases may try grain free diets to reduce inflammation in their bodies that may be caused by grains (even gluten free grains).

Almond flour

Almond flour has become very popular in the past several years as a paleo substitute in baked goods, pizza crusts, and breads. It is one of the more affordable gluten free flours. It is low in carbohydrates and higher in protein as compared to regular white flour. In addition to almond flour, almond butter is delicious in cookies and brownies. Some recipes also use arrowroot which given the item more “flexibility”

Use in: Cookies, cakes, biscuits, breads, pizza crust

Try It: Make Sweet Laurel’s chocolate cake by clicking here.

Coconut flour

Coconut flour is also a great substitute for gluten flour. It is often used with almond flour to add moisture to the baked item. Coconut flour is very absorbent and requires a lot of liquid (such as eggs, coconut milk, ect) in the recipes so it is not usually used on its own.

Use in: Cakes, muffins, breads (banana, zucchini)

Try It: Make Against All Grain’s coconut and cashew flour bread by clicking here.

Cassava flour

Cassava is a root vegetable that has been used in many cultures for ages. It has recently been introduced into American paleo culture. It is a great grain free and nut free alternative.

Use in: tortillas, chips, crackers, pizza crust

Try It: Make spinach tortillas with cassava flour by clicking here.

Gluten Free Flours

Most of the gluten free flours used are made from grains, including brown or white rice, sorghum, and oat, among others). These flours are also a great option for people looking to avoid gluten. Some of these gluten free flours may include soy or corn so always read ingredients to make sure you are aware of what you are putting in your body.

Gluten free flour (rice blend)

When you see the terms “gluten free” the item usually contains rice flour. For people with celiacs, this is usually a great replacement. Rice flour is a great substitutes. My favorites are: Bob’s Red Mill 1:1, and King Arthur Measure for Measure. If you can tolerate dairy, Cup for Cup has a great tasting flour as well. If you are looking to make your own, I would recommend a recipe. It will usually involve mixing rice flour with a starch (tapioca or potato), with xantham gum (a binder).

Use in: Cookies, cakes, breads, muffins, pizza crust

Try it: Check out Bob’s Red Mill’s site by clicking here.

Oat flour

Gluten free oats (gluten free because they are manufactured on gluten free factory) can be ground up to make a flour. Oat flour is not tolerated by all people avoiding gluten so make sure it is right for you before using it in your diet. Oat flour can be mixed with almond flour, sorghum, or protein powder. Oats have a great taste in baked goods.

Use in: cookies, muffins, energy bites.

Try: Oh she Glows Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins with oat flour by clicking here.

Other gluten free flours you may want to try:

  • Millet

  • Buckwheat

  • Amaranth

  • Sorghum

There are so many great recipes and resources on the web. You can google specific types of recipes on google or pinterest to find a recipe that is right for you. Comment below with your favorite flour or a flour you want to test out in your kitchen!

Happy Baking!

Intuitive Eating: How to Apply It to Your Life Today

by Kellie Mendes, future Registered Dietitian

Hello everyone! Before I get going on intuitive eating, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Kellie Mendes and I am a future Registered Dietitian. I have graduated with a BS degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. I plan to become a RD through many hours of clinical, community and food service work. I have had foundational experience in the field and am looking forward to much more. While working for Nikki Yelton RD, I met Jennifer. She is very inspiring and makes the best treats and cakes ever!! (Seriously a must try). Jennifer has so kindly asked me to share something that I am passionate about in this field. I loved taking the time to really think and personalize this post. So as I open, I hope you are inspired and enjoy reading my post!

If you have never heard of intuitive eating, no worries!

I had no idea there was such a thing until about a year or two ago. Intuitive eating is the practice of creating a healthy relationship with food. Commonly, it is taught by following ten principles. The ten principles, I will get into later are pretty simple and very positive. In fact, the principles are almost all common sense that so many of us often forget we have the power and capability to follow them. It is very common in today’s society to see a post, ad, or commercial about diets, weight loss, and looking your best. With those posts and advertisements there is often a diet food or low calorie bar on display. To me, this always seemed like a false hope to solve the problems of feeling and looking healthy. It was also very distant to how I felt about food. Everyone is happy to eat their favorite meal or dessert once in a while. Food shouldn’t be shameful or bad, instead it should help you express positive emotions. These fad diets that are often advertised promote artificial emotions. “I don’t really want to have that low calorie bar but if it will help me feel better like they say so, I guess I’ll give it a try”. That didn’t feel right. Food is natural, so our relationship with it should also be natural.

I only have one body, it helps me cook, garden, sing, dance and more! Everything I love to do, my body is there with me. So I wanted to take care of it to its fullest potential. I noticed I ate less of the foods that didn’t seem naturally good for me. And as I ate the right foods, I thought about the nutrients in them that nurtured my body. The control and power to feel healthy was in my own hands and it was awesome. Slowly, the artificial or negative emotions that were related to food went away. I also began to make healthier choices because as I listened to my body, I learned what worked and didn’t. Before I knew it, I was intuitively eating. I was thinking about nutrients, my hunger, where my food came from, how I would feel after I finished, and not feeling bad if I wanted a handful of chocolate chips because OH MAN that is the best treat ever!!

When I learned what intuitive eating was I was amazed and couldn’t agree more with its principles! I am not perfect at it, but it is constantly improving my relationship with food. Not to mention, I feel strong, healthy and confident! It is important to start this journey if you want to leave the diets behind and flourish. Diets most of the time don’t work and once off of it, the cycle of searching for a “better you” begins all over again. This causes an unhealthy and unrealistic relationship with food. Below are listed the 10 Principles and how you can tackle each one of them!! I hope you are inspired to eat intuitively!

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Reject Diet Mentality

  2. Honor Hunger

  3. Make Peace With Food

  4. Challenge Judgement

  5. Respect Your Limits

  6. Discover Satisfactory Factors

  7. Honor Emotion Without Food

  8. Respect Your Body

  9. Exercise

  10. Honor Nutrition For Your Health

  1. Rejecting the diet mentality is the first step in making the decision to commit to a healthier you. You are officially going to give up that quick fix, instant gratification connection with food and erase those diets from your mind. You are ready if your answer is yes to any of these questions. Are you tired of diets? Do diet always fail you? Do you want to take control of your body?

  2. Pay attention to when you are feeling hungry. Lots of times we eat when we are bored, anxious, or thirsty. It is important to keep hydrated and know when our body is craving nutrients. Try to keep a log of your meals, this can help you identify when you are you hungriest. Compare the timing of your largest meals to your snacks, maybe they were too many hours apart or every hour. Naturally we are eating to feed our body. Don’t ignore the signs of hunger, there is a science behind that stomach growl!

  3. Avoid thinking of certain foods as “bad” or “forbidden”. You should be able to eat what you want when it is best for your body. Make peace with your food, know what they are beneficial for and what they might cause you to feel. Often times when we are told we can’t have something, we want it more. Ever tell a child he can’t have candy? You’ll hear about it for hours.  

  4. One way you can make that change is by challenging all the “nay-sayers” around you. Ignore the calorie counters and the dieting rules. Those ads we watch everyday are full of actors, models and artificial emotions. Intuitive eating is about YOUR body and food, challenge the judgement that comes your way.

  5. Learn when you are full. Many families grew up forcing everyone to finish their plates. That is not the relationship we want to create with food. Eating food should come natural and so should knowing when to finish. When we feel full it is time to realize how much of what we ate. Being more mindful will help you reach your goals quicker. One tip to follow is to keep your prepared food in the cooking dish or pan. Start with a realistic portion, no need overfill the plate. Plus leftovers are the best when packing lunch the next day.

  6. Along with learning when you are full, identify what is satisfying about your meal. During your meal and after your meal, note how the food made you feel. If something didn’t work well with your body a few hours after, make a note of that. If opposite, you may tend to have more of that food going forward. You will feel great after appreciating the preparation that went into creating your plate and where the food came from. One of the things that makes me satisfied is consuming the produce I grew in my garden and knowing how much sun, water and care it took to grow. You are also more likely to enjoy your food and feel better when you are sitting down in a comfortable environment. Appreciation and satisfaction go hand in hand.

  7. Honoring your feelings without food. Avoid overeating throughout the day because you are feeling stressed, tired, bored or upset. Foods should be feeding more of our bodies and less of our emotions. A good way to turn away from food when these emotions come along is to find a busy hobby. Engage in exercise, yoga, reading, gardening, and more. Find something that can distract the negative feeling and turn it into something positive.

  8. Respecting your body is important when learning to eat intuitively. We must understand that our bodies are all different. Feeling confident and accepting your body will keep you away from unrealistic expectations that may arise from dieting or restrictions. It is also important to understand that in our body every cell, nerve, movement, and thought is powered by energy. That energy comes from the food we feed our bodies, respect and honor our bodies hard work to digest that food and create power.

  9. Exercise improves overall health physically and mentally. Exercise can boost your mood, improve your cardiovascular health and reduce cortisol levels. Strengthening your exercise habits will strengthen your overall health and confidence. You can weight lift at the gym, download a free workout app or join local exercise classes. If those don’t work for you, taking a walk everyday outside or on a treadmill is one of the easiest ways to up your exercise. To amp the motivation, put on a podcast or drive to your favorite park / beach to walk. If you are listening or looking at something that brings you joy, it makes it easier to exercise. Bring a friend along too!

  10. If the idea of longevity or quality of life is appealing to you, you are sure to honor nutrition for your health. Little by little, choose healthier and fresher foods. Avoiding artificial and processed foods will give your body a rest at digesting additives and processed sugars. All in all, eating healthier is the goal. Something you can do to make this journey fun and educational is consuming a new fruit or vegetable every week. Research what vitamins or health benefits make that food so special. Next time you eat it, the benefits will come to mind and you will realize how exactly that food is fueling your body.

Thank you so much Kellie for sharing your knowledge about intuitive eating with us! I know I am going to start practicing more of these principles on a daily basis. To learn more about Kellie is up to on her journey to be a registered dietician, follow her on instagram @inapinchofthyme

Tips for Visiting Farmer's Markets

Farmer’s market season is here!

Lots of towns all over New Jersey, as well as the country, are showcasing local produce and products. It is the perfect time to purchase local, organic, and wholesome products at a fraction of the cost that you would pay at a grocery store. In addition, since the items are being sourced locally, they are not contributing to the carbon footprint that often accompanies products brought in from other states. Lastly, you are supporting a local farmer or small business making a visit to the farmer’s market a win-win!

I wanted to highlight several tips that will enhance your trips to the farmer’s market. I am including a link at the bottom of this blog post of all the farmer’s markets in NJ. Find one that is close to you and visit it this summer!

1) Bring your grocery list!

Forget going to the grocery store on your Sunday afternoon- bring your grocery list and shop al fresco at the market! Many farmer’s markets have an assortment of produce, meats, cheeses, and breads, as well as baked goods! You can also get creative and challenge yourself to plan meals around what you find at the farmer’s market

2) Bring re-useable bags

Your farmer’s market is the perfect place to bring your re-useable bags. You can load them up with fresh veggies and flowers and bring them home without any extra waste. If you are planning on doing a lot of shopping, or bringing kids with you, bring a wagon!

3) Bring cash

Cash is always the best option. However, if you do not have time to run to the bank, many vendors are accepting credit cards as well.

4) Get fresh flowers or herbs

Many markets now feature fresh flower stands. Bringing fresh flowers into your home is a beautiful way to bring the outdoors inside. Plus, they smell great!

5) Get there early

Many of the popular items at markets sell out early, so get there early when you can!

6) Talk to the vendors

Many of the vendors can give you insider info about their unique products. In addition, you can also ask the farmers about cooking tips on special produce they are selling.

List of Farmer’s Markets in NJ (Please note that this list was published in 2018 so some of the starting dates may be different but majority of the markets continue to operate on the same days/times)

Resources for “Pick your Own” and Events

Find us at Asbury Fresh Farmer’s Market

When: June 9th through September 22nd

Where: Kennedy Park (Cookman & Grand Ave)

What time: 10:00 am- 3:00 pm

Garlic Cracker Recipe (grain free)

Hi all! Believe it or not, sometimes I don’t want a cookie. Sometimes I want something savory- like a cracker! I have tried many grain free crackers and I do love Simple Mills the best. Right before the super bowl I decided to make crackers at home. I went through many batches with almond flour and cassava flour. This following recipe is one of my favorites because it is simple and flavorful.

When baking, it is best to roll out the crackers to as THIN as possible. The thinner- the crunchier! I also recommend using parchment paper under the cracker and on top when you are rolling them out with the rolling pin.


Almond Flour 2 cup

Cold Water 4 tablespoons

Virgin olive oil 3 teaspoon

Sea salt 1 teaspoon

Onion Powder 2 teaspoon

Garlic (minced) 1 teaspoon


Preheat oven to 325. Blend dry ingredients in the food processor. Then add the wet and pulse. Roll out thin and bake for 10-15 minutes. You might have to flip your crackers over halfway through the baking process if they are on the thicker side.

Enjoy! Let me know if you make them or tag me on instragram @simplydelightfultreats

Happy Baking!

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This year my goal is to share more information about my favorite products, substitutions for baking, and recipes with all of you! I am working on a lot of grain free (paleo) recipes that area also nut and egg free. Basically, I want my recipe to be the perfect fit for as many people as possible!

A tahini chocolate chip cookie reminds me of a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and an almond butter cookie. Tahini is ground sesame seeds and is used in hummus to give it a distinct flavor. Tahini contains magnesium, zinc, calcium, among other minerals, which give it nutritional benefits.

For this recipe you can either use store bought chocolate chips, or you can challenge yourself to try making your own! Making your own chocolate chips only requires three ingredients and the recipe is below. I recommend making the chocolate chips first so they can chill while you make the batter for the cookies.

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe makes 9 cookies

By Jennifer Bridgeman

(Updated 4-16-19)

Coconut oil (melted) 1/4 cup

Coconut crystals 2/3 cup

Maple Syrup 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon

Vanilla extract 2 tablespoons

Tahini 1 cup (I love the Once Again Brand)

Coconut Flour 6 tablespoons

Arrowroot 2 Tablespoons

Baking Soda 2 teaspoon

Sea salt 1 teaspoon

Chocolate Chips 1 cup

Using a handheld mixer, beat together the tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, add together all the dry ingredients. Mix. Add the dry into the wet ingredients and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until mixed evenly. You can use dairy free store bought chocolate chips or you can make your own (recipe below) Prepare your cooking tray with parchment paper. This helps prevent the cookies from sticking to the tray and is easier for clean up.

Using your hands, roll cookies into 1 inch circles. Place on the tray and press down to turn the cookie from a cylinder to a flat ball. This helps give the cookie a beautiful shape while baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes prior to removing with a spatula.

Let me know if you make these cookies and your thoughts! Happy Baking

Making your own chocolate chips

Making your own chocolate chips is easy and does not take a long time! I would make these prior to making your cookies so that they can chill in the freezer while you prep the batter.

1 bar of 100% Cacoa ( you can find in baking aisle sold as a chocolate bar)

2-3 tablespoons coconut oil

3-4 tablespoons maple syrup

In a pan on the stove of a double broiler, add the cacoa bar (break into 4 pieces) and the coconut oil. Put heat on medium to medium low and stir frequently, as the mixture can burn easily. Once the ingredients are melted (should take a couple minutes), remove from heat and turn off your stove burner. prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. Let mixture sit for 7-10 minutes, then add in maple syrup and stir (if you add maple syrup while the mixture is too hot, it will get clumpy and thick). Pour mixture on to baking sheet in a medium thin layer (or how thick you want your chocolate chips). Then place tray in freezer.


Sugar Cookie Recipe

Check out my current sugar cookie recipe that is both gluten free and dairy free for baking cookies at home!

Read More

Cookie Decorating Ideas

Decorating cookies can be so much fun to do with you family and friends! I wanted to share some decorating techniques with you, starting with an easy yet impressive look.

First- outline the cookie and fill it in with your desired color (here I did red). Then immediately make horizontal lines with a different color.

First- outline the cookie and fill it in with your desired color (here I did red). Then immediately make horizontal lines with a different color.

While the icing is still wet, drag a toothpick vertically across the cookie. Work quickly! In the pattern above I alternated the direction I was dragging the toothpick. For example, the first stroke I dragged the toothpick from bottom to top. The next stroke I dragged the toothpick top to bottom, ect.

Once your cookie is dry you can add another color to the bottom of the mitten. Happy Decorating!