Blueberry Bars

This recipe could be modified to use more standard ingredients, but as made, (trial one), it is gluten free, corn free, egg free, dairy free, and incorporates a number of healthy, nontypical ingredients, with some extra protein from almond meal.

Optional but healthy – fruit peel tea – could use boiling water instead.

Step one – make a batch of fruit peel tea – rough draft recipe/directions included towards the end of this document, before the reference section. (Foods & Phytonutrients that might benefit T-cells)

Dried fruit, soak in advance stage, takes the longest.

Add to one cup of the hot tea & let soak for about an hour, stirring occasionally – one cup dried blueberries, one cup almond meal.

Wet ingredients & the egg substitute

Add to one cup of the hot tea in a sauce pan & stir over low heat for a couple minutes – 3 tablespoons Gumbo File, 3 tablespoons Golden Flax meal; then add 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of Coconut oil, stir occasionally as the coconut oil melts and work it into the emulsified Gumbo File mixture; as it is mixed remove from the heat. Stir in 1 cup of coconut sugar or cane sugar, 1-2 teaspoons vanilla, 3 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

*or you could use 6 tablespoons Golden Flax meal, or 6 tablespoons Gumbo File, however they each have health benefits & slightly different emulsifying power and flavor.

Combining the wet ingredients

Once the dried blueberries and almond meal have absorbed most of the hot liquid, add the emulsified sugar mixture and 3/4 cup applesauce or a milk equivalent would also work. Mix it all together thoroughly.

Dry ingredients – mix and wait to add until the dried fruit is thoroughly soaked and combined with emulsifier.

  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix – corn free – or 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca flour/starch (good source of resistant starch once cooked and chilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda (Baking powder has corn starch so I don’t use it – and that is why there needs to be lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as an acid, to react with the Baking Soda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, rounded

In a large enough bowl, combine the dry and wet ingredients together and stir thoroughly.

Pour the batter, (it should be fairly wet, but not as runny as a pancake batter, more like a wet cookie dough or muffin batter) into an oiled cookie sheet or jelly roll pan – a large flat pan with sides. Bake in a preheated 350’F oven for about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan and cut into bars. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Resistant starch content is increased once a cooked starch is chilled. It is then still present even if the bars are served at room temperature. For best texture eat within a week or freeze some of the remaining bars.

Made ~ 48 bars, two or three would be a reasonable serving.

Revised recipe if it were more standard ingredients:

Soak 1 cup dried Blueberries and 1 cup Almond Meal in 1 cup of boiling water for about an hour.

Wet ingredients

  • 3 Eggs, whisk/fork mix
  • 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Olive Oil, melted Coconut Oil or melted Butter
  • 1 cup Milk equivalent or Applesauce

Dry ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour or your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, rounded
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

Mix wet and dry ingredients together, spread into a cookie sheet with sides, or jelly roll pan. Bake in a preheated 350’F oven for approximately 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan, cut into 48 bars, store in air tight container in the refrigerator. It is a moist recipe compared to cookies and wouldn’t keep as long at room temperature. Use within about a week or freeze some to the extra.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Cookies – recipe

This recipe uses dark chocolate baker’s cocoa and fresh orange peel rather than candied dark chocolate orange peel, however the taste and texture is similar. The ingredients are gluten free and vegan (egg free, dairy free) because I have to be able to taste a recipe to create it. Recipes can be modified with substitutions once you are familiar with the basic ratios of baking or cooking.

I have provided a second list of the basic ingredients I would use instead if I was making it with butter, eggs, sugar and wheat flour. The citrus peel along with zinc in the nut butter might provide some antiviral benefits and the tapioca starch is beneficial for the intestinal microbiome. The recipe is somewhat low sugar for a cookie but they do taste sweet. If Gumbo file is used as the emulsifier it is likely adding some hydrolyzable tannins which may also have an antiviral effect and is beneficial for intestinal health.

Dark Chocolate Orange Peel Cookies

  • Made approximately 40-48 small cookies. One to three cookies would be a serving, roughly. Bake at 300-325’F oven, rotate racks for even baking of the cookies. Once cooled store in an airtight container at refrigerator temperature to create resistant starch from the tapioca, which is a good thing because it supports beneficial intestinal bacteria that turn resistant starch into a positive type of fatty acid – “short chain fatty acids (SCFA). “. (1)


  • 1 large orange, wash the orange, and remove the outer peel, leaving the white part on the orange to eat fresh (I eat half the orange as a serving), mince the orange zest peel, yield was 6 tablespoons.
  • 1 cup water, simmer the orange peel in a sauce pan with:
  • 1 tablespoon Stevia (my stevia sweetener is 1/2 cup to = 1 cup sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • bring to a simmer briefly then remove from heat and stir into:
  • 1/4 cup Gumbo file, premeasured in a small mixing bowl, stir until the consistency thickens and turns a dark greenish/brown (Gumbo file is powdered sassafras leaves and acts as an egg substitute and provide some hydrolyzable tannins which can have an antiviral effect.)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter or cashew butter, add to hot emulsifier & stir
  • 3/8 cup coconut oil, melted, add to emulsifier mixture & stir

In a separate large mixing bowl stir the dry ingredients together:

  • 1/4 cup Stevia sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup Brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup Coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder, Dutch style is darker & smoother in flavor

Add the emulsifier mixture to the dry ingredients along with:

  • 1 cup Coconut milk, (part of a 13.5 oz can), or a little more until the batter is moist and could be used in a pastry bag if desired or a cookie press with a large opening (the minced orange makes it slightly lumpy).

Spoon the batter onto two oiled cookie sheets in small teaspoon mounds, 20-24 per cookie sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes at 300-325’F. Remove from oven when they have formed a slight crust but are still moist. Let cool on a cookie rack and then store in an airtight container in a refrigerator overnight. The tapioca changes to resistant starch once the cooked product it is made with is chilled (Bubble Tea fans – the bubbles are tapioca pearls (like round noodles but made from tapioca starch).

Modified recipe, roughly, for people with standard ingredients in their cupboard:

  • Prepare the orange peel in the same way, except 2 tablespoons of butter could be used – fat to help draw some of the fat soluble phytonutrients from the citrus peel,and 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter – for protein & zinc
  • 3/8 cup butter – soften, or melt depending on if you use a mixer or are hand stirring.
  • 1/2 cup sugar – this is low sugar for a cookie but if health is the goal, less sugar is healthier and the coconut adds a little sweetness too.
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch or flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda or 2 teaspoons Baking Powder (it contains starch so is less concentrated)
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk or less if the eggs add enough moisture.

For other cookie recipes and information about modifying recipes see: G8. Cookies & Bean Soup.

For more about hydrolyzable tannins, see ACE2, Diarrhea, COVID19…It gets complicated.

For more about pomegranate peel benefits and preparation (may have antiviral benefits and is a much richer source of hydrolyzable tannins which can be soothing for an inflammatory bowel condition/diarrhea) see: G13: Pomegranate, and G10: Nrf2 Promoting Foods.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Reference List

  1. Bruna L. B. Pereira, Magali Leonel, Resistant starch in cassava products., Food Sci. Technol (Campinas) vol.34 no.2 Campinas April/June 2014,
  2. Dr Andrew Weil, Sassafras Tea Safety, *Which is made with the root which would contain significantly more than the leaves.
  3. Forum topic: Safrole is not nearly as dangerous as you would think. Jan 16, 2011,,
  4. Yamaguchi, M.U., Garcia, F.P., Cortez, D.A.G. et al. Antifungal effects of Ellagitannin isolated from leaves of Ocotea odorifera (Lauraceae). Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 99, 507–514 (2011). *Ocotea odorifera is related to the North American Sassafras tree and has hydrolyzable tannins – egallic acid.
  5. pg 37, hydrolyzable and condensed tannins in the diet.

Fonia- sustainable grain

Our changing world and growing population can benefit from changing what we put on our menu plans – change what we eat often. Fonia is a drought tolerant grain in the millet family which can be harvested in just six to eight weeks from planting and it tolerates poor soil conditions.

Fonia is native to West African countries and may also have been used by ancient Egyptian cultures as the grain has been found in archeological sites.

Fonia is cooked similarly to rice but is a smaller grain. It would be good as a hot breakfast porridge or used like rice in salads or side dishes. It is gluten free, rich in fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins. For more information and a couple recipes see: “Whole Grains- Fonio,” By Jessica Levinson, Today’s Dietitian,

Disclaimer: Information provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use, not intended for individual health care guidance.

Cookies are great but so are crackers


Poma Bread – not quite a cracker, a little like Pita Bread. This is the last few of try number two at making crackers.

 The Gumbo File works so well as an emulsifier in the Molasses or Chocolate Cookies that it likely would help hold a crumbly cracker together too. If and when I set up my kitchen again here is a draft version of the cookie recipe as a potential cracker recipe – the exact amount of water/soup stock that would be needed would need to be determined by the texture of the dough.

Crackers are rolled out and cut into shape or pressed very thin before being baked. Some leavening with baking soda is traditional in the popular white flour square “Soda” crackers that are served with soups or topped with sliced cheese or other toppings. The gluten protein found in wheat flour and a few other flours forms a fibrous fabric like structure in a kneaded bread dough or cracker dough. Gluten free baking requires some other type of fiber to help form the fabric like structure that traps bubbles of air from the baking soda leavening long enough to be baked into an airy crisp texture. Whether or not Gumbo File could help serve the purpose would be an experiment. Gluten free crackers tend to be crisp and flat with only some airiness depending on the type of ingredients used.

Try number two is the same basic recipe as follows except I didn’t use any coconut oil or extra water. For liquid and added oil content I used a 13.5 ounce can of Organic Coconut Milk – full fat version, creamy instead of watery, 14 grams fat/2 grams carbohydrate per 1/3 cup. Try number two was baked in an oven set at 375’F for 20-30 minutes, Switch pans from top to bottom rack at 20 minutes bake time. Let cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator – they have a taste and texture similar to Pita Bread except are more the size and shape of crackers. Gluten free baked goods tend to fall apart more easily than gluten products and don’t hold air from leavening as well. When I try the recipe again I will go with the shorter bake time rather than attempting to get a crisp dry cracker – the recipe is not producing that quality but does make a moist square flat bread that is good with hummus bean dip or peanut butter type spreads.

Basic Cracker recipe draft

*Try number one worked basically. I had less coconut flour on hand and made up the difference with more of the other flours to equal a similar amount and I added about 3/4-1 cup of coconut oil and 1 1/2 cups water to make a cookie like dough. Making a single batch with half the ingredients would be easier to shape. I pressed rounds of dough flat in extra almond meal and they puffed slightly but remained moist inside with a skillet cooking. A longer slower baking might make them more cracker like instead of like a moist flat bread. Extra water in the dough to make a thinner batter would likely work for pancakes.

– the use of cardamom is somewhat of a pepper replacement and whether I used it or some other savory seasonings could be modified for a variety of cracker flavors if the basic recipe worked.

Dry ingredients, stir together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Coconut Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond Meal
  • 1 cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

Emulsifier step- gently heat Pomegranate Extract or Juice to a simmer in a saucepan then remove from heat and stir in the Gumbo File Powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Extract or Vegetarian Soup Stock or Water (If Pomegranate Extract is not used then add 4 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice later – when the rest of the liquid is added. Baking Soda requires an acidic ingredient in the recipe which Pomegranate Extract provides.)
  • 6 Tablespoons Gumbo File Powder

Wet ingredients – in a another large bowl combine the thickened warm emulsifier liquid with the Brown Sugar and then stir in half of the remaining juice. Reserve part of the juice to add to the dry ingredients after first mixing in the emulsifier/sugar mixture. (This method is more like making a cake than a cookie, you combine small amounts of the liquid at a time for a smooth cake batter that is not over-stirred. In a kneaded bread dough or traditional Soda Cracker recipe the goal is to fold the dough repeatedly in somewhat regular motions and directions in order to ‘weave the fabric’ of the gluten structure. In gluten free baking without gluten the fiber network is not as regular and gentle handling and folding might support some leavening air bubbles but the traditional kneaded structure is not really possible. The goal with cake batter is to gently support a more delicate sponge like texture for air bubbles without a tough fabric dough formation.)

  • 2 1/2 cups Vegetarian Soup Stock or Water
  • (4 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice if Pomegranate Extract is not used)

The dough should be moist and able to be rolled or spooned into a sticky round shape that doesn’t crumble – a soft playdough-like consistency.

Sprinkle a counter top with some brown rice flour and roll the dough into a thin 1/8th to 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into squares – or roll spoonfuls of dough into rounds and then flatten on a surface that is sprinkled with brown rice flour or sprayed with oil using a flat glass or plate. Place the crackers on a baking sheet that is covered with oil or sprinkled with brown rice flour. Brush the surface of the crackers with a lightly salted water mixture. Bake at 400’F for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans at a half way point, or until crispy.

Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. While I am a Registered Dietitian it is not intended to provide individualized health care guidance. Please seek an individual health care professional for the purpose of individualized health care guidance.