Gluten-free Dough Cakes (Inspired by The Secret Garden)

This family-pleasing flat bread will bring the smell of a Victorian cottage to your kitchen!

By Andrea Fabry of It Takes Time

You, like Dickon, will love these Dough Cakes. A gluten-free dough is gently patted into discs and enriched with butter and sweetener. Fifteen minutes later these lovely lightly sweetened cakes emerge from the oven ready for tea time.

These Victorian-era Dough Cakes are based on the book The Secret Garden, by Francis Hodgson Burnett. Dough cakes are made from old fashioned cottage loaves, a favorite of English “cottagers”.

The Secret Garden is one of my favorite children’s book. It’s filled with references to natural health, extolling the benefits of fresh air, clean water, and wholesome food.

In Chapter eight, Martha, Mary Lennox’s  good-natured maid, and companion, offers a glimpse into the life of a poor, loving family.

Martha recounts her recent visit to her home and tells Mary about the delicious Dough Cakes she and her mother prepared for each of the 12 children.

“I had’em all pipin’ hot when they came in from playin’ on the’ moor. An’ th’ cottage all smelt o’nice, clean hot bakin’ an’ there was a good fire, an’ they just shouted for joy. Our Dickon he said our cottage was good enough for a king.”

Text from The Secret Garden

What is a Dough Cake?

Dough Cakes rely on bread dough taken from cottage loaf dough, a rustic Victorian bread made in the bottom of a brick oven.

Amy Cotler, the author of The Secret Garden Cookbook, describes Dough Cakes this way:

“Stotty cake or oven bottom cakes were often made for a quick meal. Pieces were pulled off the bread dough; they were flattened and baked quickly at the bottom of the oven for 20 minutes, then split and buttered for served with bacon. As there was plenty of bread dough on hand, cottagers baked small pieces and filled them with brown sugar for a special treat. ”

This recipe can be adapted to suit any preference. Add some sweetener and cinnamon to the dough for even more flavor!

Resources:

(Amazon links affiliate)

Other Recipes Inspired by Books

 Dough-Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of your favorite bread dough. (Since we’re grain-free I rely on my Gluten-free Sourdough Quinoa Bread which uses kombucha as a starter. Find the recipe here.)
  • 2 teaspoons butter or ghee.
  • 4 teaspoons sweetener of choice. (We use Monk Fruit sweetener)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Divide dough into four portions.

3. With your hands, pat each portion into a flat disk and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

4. Use a spoon or your thumb to make a slight indentation in the center of each.

5. Drop 1 teaspoon sweetener into each indentation and top with 1/2 teaspoon of butter.

6. Let rest for 15 minutes

7. Bake the cakes on the lowest oven rack until dough is browned and cooked through. (Approximately 15 minutes.)

Serve warm.

Makes four medium Dough Cakes.

Gluten-free Dough Cakes (Inspired by The Secret Garden)
 
Author:
Serves: 4 medium Dough Cakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of your favorite gluten-free bread dough
  • 2 teaspoons butter or ghee
  • 4 teaspoons sweetener or sweetener alternative
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Divide dough into four sections.
  3. With your hands, pat each portion into a flat disk and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Use a spoon or your thumb to make a slight indentation in the center of each.
  5. Drop 1 teaspoon sweetener into each indentation and top with ½ teaspoon of butter.
  6. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Bake the cakes on the lowest oven rack until dough is browned and cooked through.
  8. Serve warm.

 

Potato Apple Soup with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola (grain-free)

Potato Apple Soup with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola (grain-free)By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

This rustic potato soup is delicately sweet, with caramelized onions and local apples, topped with savory gorgonzola. Not only is it nourishing-to-the-max with chicken bone broth, but it’s quick to put together and very frugal for even the tightest budget! This soup is simple enough for a busy weeknight meal (it has been devoured by my three year old son multiple times this week), but also has a touch of elegance with the addition of gorgonzola cheese in place of a traditional cheddar.

We’re officially in “soup season” as I like to call it. My crockpot is bubbling every week with homemade nourishing bone broth, and my freezer is always stocked with a few quarts for when I need it. Traditional bone broth has an abundance of health benefits ranging from helping intestinal disorders to the common cold (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, page 116-117). My husband and I drink a warm mug of broth, lightly salted, when we feel a cold coming on – and it really seems to help!

Potato soup is a favorite of mine, and I’m always looking for unique ways to serve it. I currently have twenty pounds of local apples, freshly picked from a nearby orchard. Traditionally, apples are paired with butternut squash, or sweet potatoes, but I loved the idea of a savory sweet soup with the humble russet potato and caramelized onions for extra flavor. Adding some gorgonzola on top gave it just the “bite” I was looking for.

I love keeping recipes simple, frugal, and nourishing, especially in the winter months when illnesses abound. You can’t go wrong when you use bone broth as your foundation. It’s easy to adapt this recipe for your taste as well. Add more apples or onions if you prefer it on the sweeter side, or switch out the gorgonzola for cheddar or brie.

Here are some other soups you may enjoy:

And check out Kimi’s Cookbook, (affiliate link) Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as well!

Potato Apple Soup with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola (grain-free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
 
This rustic soup is savory sweet and very frugal. It could easily be enjoyed all winter long!
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used russet)
  • 3 medium sized apples of your choice (about 1-1.5 lbs)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Gorgonzola cheese to top
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sliced onions, a pinch of salt, and caramelize them for about 20-25 minutes until they are a deep golden brown. While the onions are carmelizing, peel and chop the potatoes and apples.
  2. When the onions are caramelized, add the potatoes, apples, broth, thyme and bay leaf to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Use a hand blender to puree the soup. You could also do it in batches in a countertop blender as well. I like to leave some chunks in the soup and not puree it completely.
  4. Top with a hefty portion of gorgonzola cheese crumbles.

 

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer

Sweet, tangy, and a little bit of red-pepper-kick, these honey garlic drumsticks are the perfect meal for a hot summer night. I love the flavorful dark meat that chicken legs have to offer. Not only are they an incredibly frugal cut of meat, but the seasoning possibilities are near endless. Add in the simplicity of a slow cooker/Crockpot, and you have a nourishing meal for the whole family, or a crowd, without much effort.

When the weather is beautiful and warm, it’s much more difficult to give up time outside for prepping meals. We don’t have central air in our home, so turning on the oven during the summer can be a little uncomfortable. It’s easy to forget that crockpots aren’t just for hearty wintertime soups, stews, and chillies! I’ve learned that it’s a great option to beat the summer heat, and a convenient way to enjoy a delicious meal after a fun day outside.

This recipe can be easily prepared in the slow cooker crock itself, minimizing the amount of dishes needed to be washed. It’s also easy to adapt based on how much “kick” you desire. You can thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch or arrowroot powder after the chicken is cooked. Pour it over the meat, or into a bowl for dipping. You definitely don’t want to skip this part as the sauce is absolutely delectable!

More time in the sun with family and friends, and less time in your kitchen – a win all around in my book! Keep it simple and serve these drumsticks with a side salad, carrot and celery sticks, rice or quinoa, or some sautéed veggies with butter or coconut oil.

Kimi uses this (affliate links)  slow cooker, and uses this clay cooker for making quinoa or rice on hot days.

Time at the stove: 10 minutes if you choose to sauté or steam some vegetables. 20 minutes if you make rice or quinoa. Or none if you serve it with cold vegetables or a salad.

Time at the oven: 5 minutes if you choose to broil the legs for a crispy skin.

Other drumstick/wing recipes:

Other crockpot recipes:

Honey Garlic Drumsticks (a simple summer crockpot meal)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
 
These drumsticks are a perfect mixture of sweet and tangy, with a bit of kick! They are effortless to prepare and make a great summertime meal for your family, or a crowd.
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken legs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 Tbls coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced (garlic lovers use 5!)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated, or about ¼ tsp dried
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbls arrowroot powder or cornstarch (used at the end to thicken the sauce)
Instructions
  1. In the crock of your slow cooker whisk together the honey, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the drumsticks to the crock, and toss them until they are fully coated with the sauce.
  3. Cook the drumsticks on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-4 hours.
  4. When the chicken legs are fully cooked, remove them from the crock, leaving the sauce inside.
  5. OPTIONAL - If desired, you can place the legs under the broiler at this point to crisp up the skin. About 5 minutes at 400 F should be sufficient.
  6. Ladle out ½ cup of the sauce into a small bowl, and whisk in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch (this step may not be necessary, but I find it's easier to get the lumps out in a smaller amount of sauce).
  7. Pour the sauce and arrowroot/cornstarch mixture back into the crock with the rest of the sauce. Whisk it in and allow it to thicken for a few minutes with the crock on 'high.'
  8. Serve the drumsticks with the sauce poured on top, or in a small bowl for dipping!

 

Individual Ricotta and Spinach Omelets in a Muffin Tin (Grain-free)

Omelet in a muffin tin

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer.

Fluffy eggs and ricotta, with a hint of garlic, and nutrient-packed spinach. These individual ricotta and spinach omelets in a muffin tin are simple to prepare, easy on the budget, and deliciously nourishing. Eggs are “a powerhouse of nutrition” and one of the most frugal ways to get important vitamins and minerals into our diets on a budget. Depending on your choice of ingredients, this meal could be made for under $10, filling the bellies of your entire family!

I love the simplicity of this meal. It’s quick and easy to prepare, but it doesn’t have to look that way. There is something beautiful about the humble egg, and when prepared with a few other complementary ingredients, it can make any occasion feel special. In fact, when my husband and I got married we had a brunch reception with a full omelet bar! It was a unique, and very memorable detail from our day.

These individual omelets would be great for a bridal or baby shower, placed on a fancy plate, or a quick weeknight dinner for a busy family. After baking, the omelets freeze really well, providing an easy make-ahead meal for any occasion. Allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and they can be reheated in minutes.

Living on one pastor’s income, I’m always eager to find creative ways to save money, and still fill up on the most nutrient dense food we can afford. It’s my goal to steward our money well, while still preparing simple and nutritious meals that will keep my family healthy and energized. These individual omelets are so versatile, and can easily bring you out of that mundane egg slump that I have personally found myself in far too often. Let your taste buds, and family preferences be your guide. The combinations are truly endless!

Notes from Kimi: What type of eggs should you buy? There are more and more options in the stores and at the farmers markets. Here’s a quick guide to buying eggs. As part of our 21 steps to a nourishing diet series, we recommend that you buy the best eggs that you can afford! Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrition, and that’s most true from chickens raised the way nature meant them to be – with plenty of greens, bugs, and lots of space. (The following guide is adapted from Eggs: A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Shopping Guide for Eggs

  • Organic eggs are from chickens who have been feed organic feed, but that doesn’t mean they are free range chickens. They can be just as confined as other chickens, but are given better feed.
  • Vegetarian eggs means that the chickens were feed no animal products, but it also means that they weren’t eating any grubs and insects and are also not free-range eggs.
  • Cage free eggs indicates that the chickens have better living quarters and aren’t jammed into small cages, but they are usually cage free and running around in a warehouse. Once again, not necessarily a huge advantage nutritionally for their eggs.
  • Even eggs labeled “free range” aren’t necessarily benefiting from abundant feeding on insects and other natural food, because they are free “ranging” in a outside yard that no longer contains anything of value for them to eat (they live off of feed instead).
  • Omega-3 eggs are given feed (including flax seeds) that increase the omega 3′s in the eggs. When organic, these may be a good choice – though that’s still up to debate.
  • The best source would be getting eggs from a local farmer who allows them to truly “free range” or “pastures” his chickens. These chickens will often be moved around in a portable wire cage that allows them to eat bugs (which, believe it not, is what makes these eggs so nutritionally superior). I have found that my eggs from one such egg farmer are so different than even the expensive eggs in the store. The yolk is much more orange in color, instead of a pale yellow. They even cook differently (they won’t dry out as quickly). You can try to find such farmers by visiting farmer’s markets, looking out for signs while driving through the countryside, check out Craig’s List, Local Harvest, or word of mouth. Make sure you ask your farmer questions as to how they are raised, however. Or you can raise them yourself!
  • To see a visual example of the difference between commercial eggs and a true free range egg, look at this picture here! 

Easy Egg Recipes to enjoy with your pastured, free-range eggs:

Muffin Tin/Pan Recommendations:

Since we like muffins, and things made in muffin tins (like mini meatloaves and individual omelets), a few recommendations for muffin tins (Amazon is an affiliate to this blog). I try to avoid aluminum pans, so I personally own stainless steel muffin tins, and have really enjoyed using them. I am also so pleased to see that they have mini stainless steel muffin tins now too! I’ve also heard great things about clay muffin pans – which some feel is even safer than stainless steel. It’s more of a speciality item, so a little harder to track down, but well worth it. I have long admired Polish Pottery (which beautiful and  also lead and cadmium free). If you really wanted to have a beautiful kitchen item, you can check out some lovely ones like this one. I recommend them with an envious sigh.

Ricotta and Spinach Omelets in a Muffin Tin (grain-free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, or a Main Dish
Serves: 9-12 individual omelets depending on your egg size
 
These individual omelets are simple to make, incredibly frugal, and deliciously nourishing. They freeze well too, and are great for busy moms on the run!
Ingredients
  • 9 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 Handfuls of spinach
  • Butter or oil to grease your pan and muffin tin
  • Parmesan to sprinkle on top
  • *Optional: mushrooms, peppers and onions, bacon, sausage, etc (basically anything you would put in your favorite omelet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F, and grease your muffin tin with your choice of butter or oil.
  2. While the oven is heating up, mix in a large bowl the eggs, ricotta, and salt and pepper, until completely blended.
  3. In a pan on your stovetop, heat your choice of fat on medium, and sauté the garlic for about a minute. Make sure it doesn't brown. Add your spinach a handful at a time, and toss it until all the spinach has wilted. Add the wilted spinach to your egg and ricotta mixture.
  4. Spoon your egg mixture evenly into the muffin tins, and sprinkle with parmesan if desired. Fill them about ½-3/4 the way full. They will puff up in the oven!
  5. Bake the omelets for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs have set in the middle.
Notes
These freeze really well! Store them in an airtight container, and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.