Later, we fixed a light supper (Dr. Praegers broccoli cakes and steamed asparagus) and opened a bottle of Tsarine champagne that I had purchased with the intent of having it on our 20th wedding anniversary, but forgot. It was perfect for New Year's! We stayed up until midnight, at which time some neighbors down the street set off some pretty cool fireworks; several of us were out on our front porches watching them, clapping and yelling "Happy New Year!" (I'm sure those who went to bed early really appreciated that). All in all, it was one of the nicest New Year's we've had in a long time.
As mentioned in a previous post, my relationship with wheat is evolving. A few weeks ago I bought a bag of organic flour to test my theory that the discomfort I'd been experiencing from wheat products may not be due as much to gluten as it might be to the herbicides used in conventional wheat production. This theory came from the fact that since giving up gluten, I've been able to continue to eat Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese and my favorite pizza made from flour grown and produced in Italy with little to no side effects. And I'm not alone. I've spoken with others who have shared similar stories. There are very strong opinions on both sides of this argument, and I'm not claiming I have any facts to prove my theory. I just know how I feel after eating conventional wheat products, organic wheat products and gluten-free products. The first produces awful symptoms while the latter two don't.
Here are a couple of opposing articles on the subject, if you're interested:
The Healthy Home Economist: "The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it's not the gluten)"
Snopes.com: "Grain of Truth?"
I'm sure there are many more out there ....
The bread shown in the photo above is a cinnamon swirl quick bread that I made using conventional flour (I'm using up what's in my pantry). I gave it away to friends, keeping a couple of slices for my husband who said it was very tasty. It smelled divine as it was baking in the oven, I know that. If you try this recipe, drop me a line to let me know what you think. And if you have issues with wheat, I'd like to hear about your experiences and thoughts on the subject. I'm sure the debate will be around for some time to come.
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk plus enough plain yogurt stirred in to equal 1 cup; this is a great buttermilk substitute, and is what I used to make this bread.)
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar.
2) Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Pour half the batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar. Run a knife through batter to swirl. Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over top. Run the knife through the batter in a figure 8 pattern to swirl.
3) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.