I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease almost three years ago. Such a diagnosis is both a blessing and a curse. I'd been pretty sick and having problems for over ten years, and I had been given blood tests to check for Celiac many times, always with a negative result. Finally, my doctor ordered an intestinal biopsy; the only way to get a definitive diagnosis. Yep, you guessed it, it was positive! Eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, causes damage to my intestines. Besides feeling sick, it is very painful at times. Going gluten free clears up the symptoms most of the time, so I feel much better now, and have more energy.
But staying gluten free is not easy! Gluten is everywhere, but it's not always called wheat, barley, or rye. Nope, that would be too simple. Textured vegetable protein, modified food starch, malt or malt flavoring, and soy sauce are just a few of the things found in foods that can mean gluten is present, and a very tiny amount can make me really sick. I once ate a Hershey's Miniature Special Dark Chocolate candy. Those minis are only one bite of chocolate, but I was sick and in a lot of pain for two days! I found out later that they have malt flavoring in them. Yikes! Some product labels will say "gluten free" on them, and some will put in the allergen information if they contain wheat. But barley and rye don't rate any special treatment yet. So I have to read labels and look for all of the sneaky code words for things that contain, or might contain, gluten.
Along the way, I have found some wonderful gluten free products. One of them is Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. This replaces Bisquick, and I've found that I can use it in many recipes as a substitute for wheat flour. I like Pamela's mix better than any others I've tried, including gluten free Bisquick (nasty stuff, in my opinion). Since wheat flour is out, rice flour is used. I find it to be gritty and it just doesn't taste very good. But Pamela's has an ingredient the others don't: almond meal, and it makes all the difference in flavor and texture! My family likes the pancakes, waffles and biscuits made with Pamela's better than the versions made from wheat flour. Just so you know, I am not receiving anything from Pamela's for telling you about it. I just use and love this product and am happy to share how wonderful it is!
So, here is my family's favorite banana bread recipe, made with Pamela's Baking Mix. I took a recipe and played with it until it reached perfection. One thing I do is substitute applesauce for butter/margarine/oil/shortening in cake and quick bread recipes. Moist and delicious, and much more healthful, and if you're wondering, you don't taste the applesauce. Anyway, here is:
Gluten Free Banana Bread
2 tablespoons water
3-4 ripe bananas
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)
1 3/4 cups Pamela's Baking Mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
If you like nuts in your banana bread, you could add 1/2 cup chopped nuts. I leave them out.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mash bananas with the water, then beat together with applesauce, sugar and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan (I just use non-stick spray) and bake for 1 hour, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.