tula

A new gluten-free bakery has arrived to Portland (commence jumping up and down with joy)! In the building that formerly held the conventional yet not-so-successful Sweet Thing Bakery, now holds a solution for people with mean allergies and a meaner sweet tooth. The location is a bit odd – coming from the parking lot into the building, I find myself in the lobby of a gym for It’s About ME Fitness. If I had less self confidence, that alone might deter me from continuing on my dessert quest. It’s almost as if one has to choose between a workout (good!) or a dessert (bad!). I realize later that there is, in fact, a side entrance if you would like to surpass any hint of workout guilt. Already in the gym lobby, I ignore my conscience and follow a very small paper sign labeled, “Bakery This Way!”

Inside, I look intently at a shelf full of lumps of dough to find that they are loaves of bread and bake at home pizza dough! Both are vegan. To my left are two large cases of desserts and I am faced with many choices. Lemon blueberry tarts, zucchini loaf, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and muffins glisten on their platters. Immediately I ask the barista how to tell which ones are vegan. He explains that each item clearly marks contained allergens, and points to some swirly stamps individually marked “egg, dairy, corn, soy, and tree nuts.” The stamps are so beautiful and artistic that I ignore them entirely, thinking they are a quaint illustration next to the dessert label, but if you look closely, they hold all the answers. I select a Lone Pine (Oregon coffee!) Chocolate Coffee Cake with a chocolate espresso glaze and a Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie along with a soy cappuccino.

The chocolate cake has a moist interior and is very sweet with a deliciously dark chocolate glaze. I sample a bite of the cookie and taste brown sugar immediately. I love that there are not too many chocolate chips, but dislike the amount of sea salt on top (easily solved by brushing it off a bit). Unlike some gluten free cookies, this one is large, chewy, and not doughy. 

Despite the strange location near a gym as well as near a busy MLK bus stop filled with unfortunately dressed people, Tula is the ideal place to go for a satisfying treat or snack. They offer pizza, panini, salad and seasonal soups, as well as a full espresso and tea menu. The inside is clean and spacious, staff is peppy, and they have a very large selection of items to choose from, no matter what your allergies may be. After all, I can only go to New Cascadia so many times before I have the taste of their vegan cupcakes burned in my brain. I’m ready for new dessert options and here they are!



Tula
4943 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Suite 101
Portland, OR
503 764 9727
7am-5pm Mon-Sat

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recipe – coconut tapioca pudding

Homemade Has Never Looked so Good


After a recent dining excursion ended with coconut tapioca pudding topped with fig compote, I decided it was time to make my own. Although it takes a little longer to prepare, the larger pearl size (as opposed to small pearl) is satisfyingly gummy in a creamy coconut base. A small amount of agave instead of the usual refined sugar lends a surprising brown sugar flavor. Top with local berries, add a drizzle of chocolate syrup, or enjoy it plain. Go eat your pudding!

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

1/3 C Large Pearl Tapioca
3/4 C Water
1/3 C Agave Syrup
2 1/4 C Canned Coconut Milk (about 2 cans)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Soak tapioca in water for 30 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. In a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, combine soaked tapioca, coconut milk, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a bubbling simmer (low-medium heat) for 15 minutes, stirring often. In the last 5 minutes, add agave and stir continuously. Pudding will thicken slightly, and thickens more after cooling. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so a film does not form on top. Stir in vanilla. Refrigerate in a large bowl or 6 individual servings for a yummy treat!

 

recipe: granola for life

Warning! If you are currently satisfied with the granola you already eat, do not read this post! Otherwise, you may never go back to your old granola again. This granola recipe is full of Omega-3’s, protein, healthy fats, fiber, and has just the right amount of crunch and sweetness. It was originally inspired by a childhood trip to The Inn at Occidental, a small Northern California Inn, where the granola was served to me as a child in a massive bowl. I remember feeling full of vitality and energy while riding a horse on the beach later that day. Whether it was the pure adrenaline of horseback riding, or the protein in the granola, it did not matter. I was full of life and felt vibrant! This granola should have you raring to go with energy all day, and is not as sweet as some other granolas. Ditch that boxed granola and never look back.

Ingredients

2.5 C. Rolled Oats
1/2 C. Pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 C. Raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 C. Raw walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 C. Sesame seeds
1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds
1/2 C. Shredded Coconut
1/3 C. Coconut Oil
1/3 C. Honey
1/4 C. Ground flax seeds
1/2 C. Currants
1/2 C. Golden raisins

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except flax, currants, and golden raisins. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with a rack in the center of the oven. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut oil and honey, stirring until the coconut oil has melted and the oil and honey are somewhat combined. Remove from heat and pour over dry ingredients, mixing together with a wooden spoon. On a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, spread granola mixture evenly, and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.
Granola will look golden brown when done, but will not look crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle curants, raisins, and flax on top, roughly combining with a wooden spoon. Allow it to cool before removing from pan. Granola should keep, regrigerated (omega rich foods, like ground flax seeds, are not stable at room temperature) for 10-14 days.

Facts

Why use coconut oil? Coconut oil is easy to digest, maintains thyroid health, as well as lowers your LDL (bad Cholesterol) levels. It contains 50% lauric acid, which is known to help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Coconut oil has also been shown to help your body absorb vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (if you add blueberries to the granola, you will absorb even more antioxidants), and can even help prevent viruses, due to its fabulous antimicrobial properties. How cool is that?

recipe: dreamy whole grain bread

You know the texture of the center of a really fresh bread roll that is served at Mom and Pop Italian restaurants? This loaf of bread mimics that soft, doughy texture without gluten, and with loads of nutrients. There are some confounding ingredients used (Teff? Psyllium seed husks? Ah!), but I highly recommend avoiding ingredient substitutions, as this recipe will yield the tenderest, dreamy bread. Go forth and make sandwiches, french toast (recipe coming soon), and bask in the goodness of bread.

Ingredients

2 C. Brown rice flour
1/2 C. Teff
1/2 C. Garbanzo flour
1/4 C. Psyllium seed husks
1/2 C. Potato starch
1 Tsp. Xantham gum
1 Tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tsp Active dry yeast
2 1/2 C. Hot Water (110-115 degrees F)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all flours (rice, teff, garbanzo, psyllium, potato, xantham, and salt). Whisk together until blended evenly, eliminating any lumps! In a medium sized bowl, combine hot water and active dry yeast. Allow to bubble for a minute or so, then whisk in the honey. It is important not to skimp on the honey (even if you are  cautious about sugar intake, for the love of god, at least use 1 tablespoon) to activate the yeast. The liquids should be frothy and ready to pour over the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, blending evenly until smooth and just combined. Do not whisk too long, or your bread will be less tender. The dough will not be very thick, and is closer to the consistency of muffin or waffle batter. 
Allow bread to rise in a warm spot in the house, covering with a warm, damp dishtowel (without the cloth actually touching the dough), for 2 hours. What you do with this time is up to you! Watch a foreign film, go running, do yoga, pet the cat. Send good rising thoughts to your future loaf. You may peek occasionally at the dough to see how it is doing, but try to to look too long, or it will disrupt the rising.
15 mins before the bread is done rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a rack in the center of the oven. Oil a small glass baking dish or metal loaf pan with canola or coconut oil. I use a 9×5.25×1.75″ glass dish, but some variation in size is fine. When the oven is fully preheated and the dough has risen (it should have almost doubled in size), gently push the dough out of the bowl and into the baking dish. You may smooth over the top with a spatula for a smooth finish. Place in the oven and bake for 45-55mins. Avoid checking the bread until at least 35 mins have passed, so as not to disrupt the baking process. When the bread is fully done, it will be medium to golden brown on top, and will make a hollow noise when tapped with your knuckles. It will still be soft inside. Place your baked loaf on a metal rack on the counter to cool fully before sampling. Enjoy your dreamy whole grain bread!

Facts

Teff is very high in calcium, protein, and fiber, and adds that wonderful nutty taste to the loaf. It also has a great amino acid composition – important for the vegans among us who cannot get this from meat!

Psyllium seed husks are very high in fiber. Some people use them for crazy colon cleanses, eating tablespoons per day…this sounds a bit extreme, so I prefer to add a little to bread. Psyllium also acts as a binding agent, holding in moisture and preventing your bread from pathetically crumbling to bits. Some new research shows that psyllium husks may be helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) and diabetes.

recipe: chia seed pudding

Chia seeds? Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia? Yes, you can eat them. If soaked in liquid for at least an hour, they transform into a substance that is very similar to tapioca pudding, a favorite dessert of mine that is difficult to make vegan. This is creamy, filling, and extremely satisfying when pudding cravings strike fiercely. Eat it on its own, or layer with fruit and granola for a dreamy parfait.

Chia Pudding

Ingredients
4 Tbsp. Chia seeds
1 C. Coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Agave syrup
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out)
1 Tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Directions
In a 16oz mason jar, thoroughly combine all ingredients, stirring with a spoon, then shaking vigorously. Don’t forget to put the lid on! Refrigerate at least one hour. It is normal for the ingredients to start to separate in the fridge, especially if you make larger batches of Chia Pudding. Simply stir with a spoon, and it is perfect again.

Tips
To make chocolate chia pudding, substitute the cinnamon and agave for 2 Tbsp organic chocolate syrup. I love Holykakow, which is an organic Portland brand. For a lower fat pudding, you can use store bought or homemade almond milk instead of coconut milk.

Facts
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, with 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon (flax seed only has 2), nearly twice the amount of antioxidants as blueberries, and 2.4g (150%) of your daily Omega-3 intake! If I could exist off of one food, it would probably be chia pudding.