Category: Food & Cooking

Sourdough returns! Today, pancakes. Tomorrow, the world!

When the kids were little, I was known for my sourdough waffles. We lived in Ellensburg, Washington, a small town about 90 minutes from Seattle. We had a nice guest room, and Seattle friends and family would drive out and stay with us, and joke that the only reason they came was for my sourdough. I loved cooking for people, I loved seeing their face when they bit down into one of my light, crunchy, waffles.

A few years later I discovered serious gluten and wheat intolerance issues (among other things, wheat causes severe inflammation and worsens my pain), and I had to stop eating it. My sourdough perished. And if  I can be so melodramatic: a little bit of my heart perished with it.

In my new favorite cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, I found a recipe for sourdough starter that was gluten-free, and began with KOMBUCHA. Brilliant! I was a little nervous about it, but it worked, perfectly! I bought some Original flavor kombucha (the slightly-alcoholic kind, I love that I need to flash my ID to buy it), and mixed it with some brown rice flour. That was it.

I fed it frequently at first, and then a bit less, and now I have this robust, bubbly starter that smells fantastic. I’ve named her Gloria, because she’s glorious.

I keep her in a jar, covered with a clean tea towel rubber banded to the rim. That keeps out the wandering fruit flies. I rarely have any issues with fruit flies in the winter, but at the height of summer in Seattle, I struggle with them a lot. Someday I’ll get a crock for her that’s glazed beautifully and decorated to properly showcase her glory.

Maybe something like this:

That’s actually a gorgeous fermenting crock from Mark Campbell Ceramics on Etsy. Go there, bask in the colors of his amazing pottery, and tell me you don’t want to ferment everything. Maybe I can ask him to make me a custom sourdough pot!

I took a little movie of Gloria bubbling, last night. I broke the cardinal rule of taking movies with the iPhone, I did it in portrait mode. Forgive me. But then I upladed it to YouTube and somehow, magically, they made it landscape.

Glorious Gloria knows how to bubble! This morning I looked up recipes for sourdough pancakes. I was disappointed at first because so many of them required that you take a bit of your starter out, do stuff to it, and then wait a night to make it. I finally found a recipe on Cultures for Health, that was easy and didn’t require a day’s prep.

Here’s their list of ingredients (check out the original recipe here!):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups discarded starter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour (optional)

I modified this a little. I only used 1 T coconut flour and I added 2t sugar. I mixed it all up, put a little coconut oil in a cast-iron pan, and fried them up.

I thought maybe there wouldn’t be enough batter for very many pancakes, but I was wrong!

This last photo doesn’t include the four pancakes that were, at that moment, in mah belly.

I’m so excited! My relationship with food over the last year has been troubled, to say the least. But I have my sourdough back! A couple weeks ago we were cleaning out our storage area downstairs, and I found my old cookbook, the one I’d made to put all my recipes from when the kids were little and I cooked all the time. It had been gone for over six years! All my sourdough recipes were in there! I was dancing around the kitchen, just freaking out.

And in the morning? I’M MAKING WAFFLES!

I like to dehydrate things. Here are some onions.

I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, that is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I dehydrated a few pounds of yellow onions last night. I like to dehydrate veggies, they’re great as soup mixes and in dips and dressings. Apple chips are fantastic, too.

This batch of onions stunk up our entire house. I knew they’d be a little smelly, but it was much worse than I expected. We were opening windows and blinking back tears all evening. Our friend Michael was staying with us for a few days, and we were laughing about it this morning. Apparently the kids were telling him how their eyes burned!

But it was worth it, scarring the corneas of my loved ones with fumes! I woke up to delicious, crispy, pink (pink?) bits of onion, that will be perfect in soups and over popcorn. It was hard not to eat them right off the tray.

I used a different method this time. Instead of making rings, or using diced onion, I used almost a slurry that came from putting onion chunks into the food processor. I spread them out directly onto the mesh sheets, and they dried beautifully. I broke them in small chunks off the sheet when dried, dropped the chunks into the jar, and whenever the level got high, I used a wooden spoon and crushed it all up. Worked great. Simple and easy! And now if a recipe calls for diced onions, I’m all set.

Black Bean Soup and Cornbread

This year I’m trying Veganuary. Tonight I made my black bean soup, an old favorite that we’ve been enjoying since the kids were toddlers. I can share that recipe, it’s très easy and works beautifully as a comfort food.

Easy Blender Black Bean Soup

3 cans (15 oz each) of black beans (I rinse mine)
1 3/4 C veggie broth
1 C fresh salsa
1/4 t ground oregano
1/4 t chili powder
1/8 t smoked chipotle powder (this stuff adds a real kick, omit it if you have kids who say, “It’s too spicy!” when faced with something that isn’t peanut butter and jelly)

Directions (here comes the hard part):

Stick everything except 1 C of the beans, into a blender. Blend until smooth. I use a Vita-Mix.

Pour into a pot on the stove, and add the beans you kept out earlier. Using a fork or a potato masher, mash up the beans in  the soup until they’re broken. Doing this adds some pleasant texture, and thickens the soup up a bit.

Simmer over medium heat until it’s hot, then serve.


My daughter and I also attempted a new cornbread recipe from Keepin’ It Kind, but we ran into some ingredient issues. We didn’t have quite enough cornmeal, we were substituting flours (and then I used too much flour), I used the wrong oil, I couldn’t find my cast iron skillet so used a glass casserole dish, etc. I thought for sure it would fail, but it ended up being delicious. Imagine how much better it will be when we actually follow the recipe!