Harvest Apple Chai Muffins

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Autumn is my season, and back home in the Wisconsin, it’s the most splendid season of all.

One of the traditions I miss most is driving north along country roads to the rolling, tree-dotted hills of The Little Farmer Orchard in Pipe. Rows and rows of apple trees as far as the eye can see. Twisted branches stretching skyward like gnarly fingers, each drooping slightly under the weight of juicy, white-fleshed Cortlands. A dazzling display of autumnal beauty.

Memories of these orchard afternoons are always on my mind come October. An apple-y sweet does nicely to satisfy some of the nostalgic longings. Traditionally this is an apple crisp with vanilla and lots of walnuts, but this year I dreamed up a spiced multi-grain apple muffin instead. (There’s still plenty of apple season to bake a tray of that crisp.)

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Rustic (Gluten-Free) Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

The rhythm and method of baking bread from scratch is hands down my favorite kitchen ritual. From start to finish it bathes me in warmth and comforting aromas. It epitomizes what the words “home” and “hospitality” mean to me, and the breaking of a fresh loaf with others is a true act of love.

Over the years a handful of family members and friends began minimizing or eliminating wheat products and/or gluten-containing foods from their diets. Some due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, or of non-celiac gluten sensitivity*. Some due to carbohydrate restrictions for regulation of blood sugar levels. Others because adhering to such a way of eating made them look and feel better. (*Read about the difference here.)

Regardless of what prompted the transitions, parting ways with fresh, bakery-quality bread is commonly an upsetting struggle. As someone who absolutely loves to share my kitchen and its creations with those I care for, these dietary changes presented a challenge for me as well. They also presented inspiration for experimentation and learning about the gluten-free (GF) bread-baking quirks and new, interesting pantry ingredients.

My attempts thus far have yielded successes and, as is the nature of trial and error, some duds. One bread closely resembled a leaden doorstop; one was a sticky, underdone mess; and then there was the loaf that seemed promising but crumbled at the mere sight of my bread knife. It’s frustrating, but I laugh, learn from my mistakes, and try, try again! (Mishaps are re-purposed one way or another into breadcrumbs, croutons… bird food.)

Curiosity and persistence are in no short supply, and today I’m sharing a winner.

GF Crusty Bread-2014

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