Gluten Free For Good


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P.S. Yes, I know the postscript normally goes at the end, but just in case you don’t make it that far, I want you to know there’s a great recipe awaiting you. Yum!

As seems to be my pattern, I’m barely getting my October post of seasonal foods in under the wire. I figured since tomorrow is Halloween, I’d start with pumpkins, which are incredibly nutritious. However, we all have our culinary limits and one of mine is that I refuse to wrestle with a pumpkin. I’m over it. I organized and managed too many pumpkin carvings when my kids were little. Now I prefer using organic canned pumpkin. It’s so much easier to open a can than it is to dig out the flesh from a whole pumpkin.

Most (99%) of pumpkins used in the US are for jack-o-lanterns. These are those big stringy-type pumpkins that work best as a launching pad for little-kid art. Or big-kid pranks. The smaller “Sugar Pumpkins” are a much better choice for cooking (if you really want to do that). I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because eating healthy gluten-free food is a priority to me, but in this case, I’m going for quick and easy, especially since many of the canned choices are so good. (Recipe for pumpkin buckwheat pancakes to follow.)

Pumpkin is rich in fiber and full of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene can be found in orange colored veggies like squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. It supports eye health and may even help protect against cancer and heart disease.

Raw pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite things to add to granola, trail mix, hot cereal, power bars, wild rice, or to toss on fresh salads. They were considered a medicinal food by Native Americans and although the Indians didn’t know the sciency details, they were right — the seeds are a rich source of zinc, which supports healthy immune function and promotes bone mineral density.

Hey guys, pumpkin seeds also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which help keep your boy parts running smoothly. Studies show this substance to be beneficial to prostate health, so keep that in mind next time you reach for a snack. And get this, pumpkin seeds are also a concentrated source of protein, so skip the high-fat, high-sugar candy bars and go for a handful of pumpkin seeds instead.

More seasonal foods for October
Apples (for more information on the health benefits of apples, check this post).
Lima beans (butter beans) are an excellent source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and promote balanced blood sugar levels. For more information on fiber and the gluten-free diet, check this post.
Onions are a staple in my kitchen. I love grilling onions, which have been a regular part of my CSA box of veggies lately. Onions are a true super food as they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, fiber and contain an important phytonutrient called allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Plus, onions add wonderful flavor to almost any dish.
Kale (for more information on the health benefits of kale, check this post).

GF/DF Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes

what you need
• 1 cup gluten-free buckwheat flour*
• 1 & 1/2 tablespoons pure maple sugar*
• 1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice*
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 &1/3 cup brown rice milk
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (no sugar added)
• small amount of coconut oil for cooking

what you do

1. Whisk together buckwheat flour, maple sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, whisk together rice milk, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Pour liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and blend until combined. Don’t overmix.
4. Gently fold in pumpkin.
5. Pour about 1/3rd cup of batter onto preheated and greased griddle. Flip when the edges of the pancakes fold in and the bubbles pop. Cook until each side is golden brown.

* Make sure your buckwheat flour is GF. Lauren (see comment below) from daringtothrive is right about Bob’s Red Mill. They don’t advertise their buckwheat flour as gluten-free because it doesn’t test out as gluten-free. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, but make sure the source you use guarantees that it has not been contaminated.

* I added the maple sugar the first time I made these simply because it was sitting on the counter and there was about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons left in the jar. I add a little to the mix when I make up my own pre-packaged hot cereal for backpacking. It’s great when you’re out in the wilderness and you want a nice sweet bowl of hot cereal before you hit the trail. Maple sugar is expensive, so don’t run out and buy some just for these pancakes. Leave it out or substitute something else.

* If you don’t have allspice, use a pinch of nutmeg.

These pancakes are so good! You can save the extras, freeze and pop in the toaster later. They also make great hiking snacks.

Happy Halloween!

In good health,

21 Responses to “seasonal foods for october, recipe included”

  1. Lauren says:

    These sound totally delicious!! I have a buckwheat question for you – I was going to pick up a package of buckwheat flour on my last shopping trip, but the bob’s red mill brand doesn’t label it “gluten free” like they do for all the other gluten free flours. Is there a “regular” buckwheat and a “gluten-free” buckwheat, similar to the oats issue?
    Thanks! I will certainly be trying these!

  2. Melissa says:

    Lauren — good for you for checking your sources! Bob’s Red Mill does NOT label their buckwheat flour as GF because it doesn’t pass the gluten test. That’s actually why I made a point in the post of stating “gluten-free buckwheat flour” in the recipe. Some aren’t GF. There are other GF buckwheat flours out there and Shiloh Farms advertises theirs as GF on the label, but you made me wonder, so I put in a call to them to make sure they have their batches regularly tested. I haven’t heard back, but I’ll keep you posted. Great comment! Thank you!

  3. Lauren says:

    Thanks! And I’m sorry this created some work for you 🙁 Buckwheat is a flour I haven’t tried yet, but took for granted it was GF based on seeing it in so many GF recipes. I’ll see what I can dig up too.

  4. Melissa says:

    Lauren — absolutely no problem! We need to stick together on this stuff and help each other figure things out. I called Arrowhead Mills, which I use, and they said they guarantee that their buckwheat flour is gluten-free. The woman I spoke with was very nice and said they would not have put that information on the front label unless it had been tested gluten-free.

    You know, the bottom line is, you have to check, check, and recheck!

    Thanks for your input!

  5. Shirley says:

    First, great discussion about GF buckwheat flour. I really enjoy basic buckwheat pancakes and waffles, plus I am a huge fan of pumpkin so I know I will love this recipe! Unfortunately I am out of buckwheat at the moment. I live in a rural area with a bare bones grocery so I can’t run out and get some unfortunately. However, I did just bake two sugar pumpkin and will be freezing what’s left after I bake some pumpkin squares today. I do bake with canned pumpkin occasionally (no organic canned pumpkin to be bought anywhere that I shop), but really prefer the fresh. It’s sort of a fall rite for me. 😉

    FYI–Cushaw squash provides a flavor very much like pumpkin. It is supposed to be a tad sweeter even. If you are not familiar with them, they are huge crookneck squash that are green with off white stripes. They will keep for the better part of the winter in a cooler (but not freezing) spot. They are nice to use IMHO because they provide so much “meat” for baking and there are less pulp/seeds in proportion to the amount of “meat.” I am headed to a farmer’s market this afternoon to hopefully snag some. 🙂


  6. Melissa says:

    Hi Shirley — it took me a second to figure out the IMHO. I’m not all that good a short-hand. I thought maybe you meant “In My House Only” but soon decided that couldn’t be right.
    I appreciate the FYI, as I’ve never used Cushaw squash. Sounds wonderful. I love learning about new foods.

    I also heard back from a woman at Shiloh Farms and they don’t test their buckwheat flour and do process it in the same facility that processes wheat, but she said they are very careful and do everything by hand when working with the buckwheat. While I got the impression they are very diligent in their processing of buckwheat, I think I’ll stick to a source that tests their products for gluten. You know, it’s just hard when you’re counting on someone else to be sure the food is not contaminated. That is why I’m so fond of using fresh foods. You don’t have to look for a label on a squash! It’s GF by default.

  7. Kay says:

    Shirley – pumpkin squares?! Would you please share that recipe? I had a favorite in my glutenous days, but I haven’t made any since going gf. Please leave the recipe in a comment on my blog

  8. Melissa says:

    Kay’s right, Shirley. You need to share that pumpkin bar recipe with us.


    In the meantime, here’s one from the Gluten Free Goddess. I’ve never made pumpking bars before, but I figured if anyone had a recipe, it would be Karina.

  9. Shirley says:

    Melissa, sorry about the IMHO confusion. 😉 I so agree about the fresh foods.

    I’ll post the recipe here and on your blog, Kay. 🙂 I got it off a few years back. It’s very simple and the bars are thin, but very tasty. My hubby calls them pumpkin squares. He takes them to handbell practice at church to entice the other members to show up! LOL, but true.

    Pumpkin Bars

    Gluten-Free Bar Ingredients:

    ¾ cup sugar
    1 egg
    ½ cup pumpkin
    ½ cup oil
    1/6 cup water
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 cup GF flour*
    ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ teaspoon each: ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon

    Gluten-Free Bar Directions:

    Beat egg. Add other wet ingredients and mix well. Add dry ingredients. Bake in a greased glass 9” x 13” pan about 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Bars will be nicely browned and very thin and moist. Let cool.

    If desired, you may frost following directions below, but these bars are great without frosting.

    Gluten-Free Frosting Ingredients:
    ¼ cup butter
    ½ cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoon milk
    up to ½ pound powdered sugar

    Gluten-Free Frosting Directions:

    Melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk. Heat to boiling and cook 1 minute. Remove from burner and add powdered sugar gradually, stirring until good frosting consistency. Spread onto bars. (The frosting hardens quickly, so mix it up and spread onto bars immediately while still warm. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time so you don’t add too much and dry out the frosting.)

    *I used my usual international white rice flour/cornstarch mix (3 parts rice flour, 2 parts Argo cornstarch), which I make ahead and use measure for measure like wheat flour in all recipes.

    Shirley’s Notes: This recipe does not require xanthan gum—that is not an omission. I use 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of the cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon usually. I haven’t used frosting because I don’t think the bars need it. (I have sifted a little powdered sugar on them to dress them up a bit when giving to others.)

  10. Megan says:

    Funny…I guess I don’t have too many pumpkin carvings under my belt yet, as I just roasted, pureed and froze my FIRST pumpkins this year. 🙂

    I’ll be making these pancakes pronto.


  11. Miles says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Great post and thanks for the info. I grew pumpkins this year and one variety in particular called ‘hundredweight’ which would have been huge were it not for my neglect through work commitments. That said they taste delicious. What the hell would I do with a big pumpkin anyway? I’m a bachelor!

  12. Lo! says:

    Now, why didn’t I think of making buckwheat pancakes with pumpkin in them? These sound positively delicious… and I’ve been meaning to make buckwheat part of my repertoire for a while now.

  13. Angela says:

    Thanks for stopping by my site! I can’t wait to explore your blog. It’s really nicely set up. I am loving the “silly yak” up top!

  14. Melissa says:

    Wow Shirley — I’ll just have you post recipes! 🙂

    Megan — I have helped carve many pumpkins, some of them rather bizarre in fact. But, I have to admit, I’m not into the roasting, pureeing and freezing thing. Maybe next year. Right now I’m happy with the good canned version.

    Hey Miles — someone needs to latch onto you!

  15. Melissa says:

    Lo! They are positively delicious. And you don’t have to fret about your buckwheat being gluten-free. Lucky duck…

    Angela — You’ve got a great blog! Lets stay in touch.

  16. Miles says:

    They’d only want me for my prize vegetables 🙂

  17. Cindy says:

    I love pumpkin, thanks Melissa! Sorry I’ve been out, I’m swamped at the moment. I will get back to blogging, once the GR and ion implanter stuff drains from my poor frizzed out brain 🙂 I miss you too, but I’ve been reading GF4Good, I promise! You have so much great info and yummy bites to offer how could I eschew you? Hehe, ttyl.

  18. Cindy says:

    Aha! Now I have you pegged…and wriggling on a wall… no, its not T. S. Eliot 🙂 I nominated you for excellent blog since you are oh so deserving!! Whew, finally. That post has been a long time coming. xoxo Cindy

  19. Melissa says:

    Miles, I won’t even go there with that comment of yours, however tempting it might be.

    Cindy, I’m just thrilled you haven’t been sucked into some intersteller galaxy or something! Welcome back. I’ve missed your celestial sense of humor. And thanks for the “excellence award.” I do appreciate it!

  20. Wow, these look wonderful – and it is so rare to find a gluten free recipe that is also dairy-free and sugar-free! Thank you for using maple syrup! I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe and I’ll let you know how they turn out when I try them! I am so enjoying this fall weather and fall fruits and veggies such as pumpkin!

  21. Melissa says:


    My response is almost a year late, but I just noticed your comment. Sorry about that. And you’re welcome!

    Now, I hope you’re enjoying this year’s fall weather!

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