Posted by: oceannah | November 13, 2012

Sage Advice

garden sage flowers

I always grow a fair amount of sage in my garden.  I love to have it on hand to make sausage and when roasting up a chicken.  But my favorite use for sage is making stuffing.  A bit of a difficulty for me having gone wheat free.

I have been trialing some bread recipes that are gluten free and so far the only one that is acceptable, not great, is from the Pamela’s gluten free bread mix.  Some of the gluten free breads that were purchased were utterly inedible…as in the chickens would not even peck at it!  No names…just yuk.

I’m not a great fan of cornbread stuffing but I’m thinking that may be a possible way to go…rice flour and cornmeal as a jumping off point.  I’ll keep you posted.

How about you, have you had any success with making an awesome gluten free bread?  I saw one this morning on a blog…which alas, I did not bookmark, only copied the recipe.  I can go back and link it though when I find it again….  FOUND IT–(editing in)



  1. I can almost smell the flowers from here!

    • I love the smell of the whole plant, leaves, flowers and all…

  2. You’ve just exposed the biggest problem, for me at least, with attempting to go gluten free – finding a good bread substitute. The most frustrating thing is that I know lots of cultures have never used wheat. So, are wra

  3. Sage is pretty much my favourite herb to grow: a wonderful contrast with normal greens, fabulously textured leaves both to the eye and to touch, plus just inhaling its scent makes me feel wonderfully energised. Awesome!
    Oh yeah, did I even mention flavour?: )
    You’ve just exposed the biggest problem, for me at least, with attempting to go gluten free is finding a good bread substitute. Worst of all, most of the super-expensive “all purpose” substitute/GF premixes have no taste or texture and zero nutritional value.
    The most frustrating thing is that I know lots of cultures have never used wheat at all. So, are wraps, pitas and naan type breads the way to go and to the devil with sandwiches?
    (Looking forward to your experimentations; )
    xo D.

    • Deb that is a great point about the flatter breads being the more traditional. Think of it, the high rise shiny white loaves are a product of modern food science, not generations of traditional eating. I hope to find soemthing that works.

  4. Funny, my sage doesn’t have flowers, hmmmm. Yes, I am attempting to go gluten-free also, and since my son is on a pancakes-for-breakfast-every-morning trend, I’m searching my health food store for flours. Quinoa was awful, oat is pretty good, and I add a little almond meal to it for texture, rice, yuck. I can take rice pasta, but not bread. I buy the only brand of gluten-free bread in the store, Udi’s, and they have different flavors, but most of it tastes bad, and does not taste great or hold up in French toast, and gets stale immediately. I’m still on this journey. I love cornbread (I am from the South!), and don’t know for sure where that stands with gluten. I am still making cornbread with cornmeal, but substituting oat or quinoa for the wheat flour portion, and it’s not bad. It is advised to add Zanthum gum to gluten-free flours, but that just seems counter to natural to me. If you read about Zanthum gum on Wikipedia, it blows your mind. Like a whole chemistry lesson. I prefer to add ingredients I recognize! 🙂 – Kaye

    • Yeah Kaye, I’ve read that on zanthum gum also, but I’ve never used it in a bread. The flax bread I made recently is a nice flavor, but I don’t think it would hold up as a stuffing…however, mixed w/ corn it may work.

      • Hey there! Went of an info hunt at lunch time and found A LOT on xanthan v guar gum (oh man, there’s ‘way more out there now – its enough to make your head spin#) but here’s just a couple…

      • Interesting hunt Deb!
        In general I’ve found that Bob’s red mill brand is crap. But that’s just my opinion. I tried the gluten free pizza crust, bread mix and pancake mix…all of it ended up in the trash as even the chickens would not touch it 😉

      • No, no, not advocating the brand at all! Geez, I’m all about mixing your own GF combos – no “shortcuts” here. The link’s only for information on xanthan and guar gum: their origins, what they do, which one and how much works best for different applications, and not just for baking, but where else you’ll find it…

      • got it…thanks.

      • Deb and Anna, I AM using Bob’s Red Mill, but my pancake mix is from scratch. I use 3/4 c oat flour, with 1/4 c almond, 1tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp zanthum gum, 1 egg, 1 1/4 c. milk, 1tbl oil, an overflowing tsp of good vanilla. With pure maple syrup, these taste great.

      • Hey thanks Kaye! They sound really great too!!: ) Is your son eating this pancake mix now too?; )

      • Yes, Deb, every morning. Except I am going broke buying organic grade B maple syrup. You can even leave off the zanthum gum. I don’t think a pancake needs it. But, then, I don’t like thick, bready pancakes, I like my thin and moist, like thick crepes. 🙂 Just the opposite of what you find in a restaurant, takes a ton of syrup (which is basically corn syrup with flavorings) to choke those down. – Kaye

      • Feeding boys is no small thing Kaye. I too prefer my pancakes less cakey more crepey.

      • Gak! Gimme crêpes any day. ‘Specially Coquille St. Jacques – well, if you’re a fan of scallops that is…
        (LOL! Fan… Scallops… get it? Nyuk, nyuk!

      • oooohhh yum

      • I find the moister pancakes don’t require as much syrup. Anyway, what’s up with the blood sugar thing. Mine is probably through the roof as there is no way I’m going to all the mess to make pancakes (BTW, don’t buy EarthPan products, threw out my new large skillet today) and not eat them myself. My blood sugar is probably through the roof. Though, it’s interesting, I don’t think I’ve gained more than a pound since I started this pancake thing. Today, my son was running late and I made him eat cereal, and he immediately started with sneezing and runny nose! He hasn’t done that at all since the pancake routine. I checked the cereal and it’s brown rice, and all organic ingredients, so I don’t know. Maybe the milk? But, the same milk is in the pancakes. Hmmmm.

      • Odd Kaye, since the milk is the same I’d sure bet it is the cereal. My dd loves pancakes too, she’d eat them everyday if I allowed it.

      • Yeah, I shouldn’t allow it, it’s just that he struggles mightily in school (an LD school, at that) and claims he is functioning better with the pancakes every morning. If it’s helping even a little, I am prone to doing it. He’s playing sports and very thin, so…. what’s maple syrup doing to your blood sugar, and what’s the effect of that? I’m sure mine is through the roof. As I don’t eat dessert or sweets that often. But, I do have my maple syrup! And a dollop of raw honey most days. – Kaye

      • Well a good breakfast is very important. I should think the hit on the blood sugar is diminished some by the full fat milk and eggs, which helps. Or adding in a sausage or bacon could do the same thing. For growing boys it is tough. I recall my cousin (A star pitcher that went on to play minors for the LA Dodgers) eating half a dozen eggs, a whole steak, half a loaf of bread and a quart each of milk & OJ for breakfast! At 6’5″ he could manage that…today though he is very heavy and probably heading in the (diabetic) direction of his dad.
        As for me, my blood sugar is wonky. In the last couple years I’ve struggled mightily w/ weight gain for multiple reasons (being on femara for 6 years, and early menopause) but my morning/fasting glucose averages are about 108-112…not dreadful by any means, but significant enough for me to have a dreadful awful time losing weight. It has taken me a couple years to lose 50 pounds. Much as I love ‘all natural/organic’ sugar is sugar is sugar in the blood stream. There’s no differentiation between white table sugar and organic-we-tapped-it-ourselves-&-peeled-the-wallpaper-off-the-walls-syrup! And even though I miss my bees, it’s a mitzvah since I don’t have to work all that honey. These days a sweet treat like maple syrup on my yogurt is for a special occasion only.
        As far as doing for our kids whatever is needed, I’m right there with you Kaye! We have them for so short a time and then they go off to college. Enjoy every minute 🙂

      • I have no idea what my morning/fasting glucose average is! I know I’m not going to the trouble to make him pancakes and clean up the mess, and now have a few myself! I hope I’m not doing myself in. – Kaye

      • Kaye I wouldn’t get too concerned with it. When you have your next regular check up w/ the doc, ask if them to pull your fasting blood glucose numbers as well as your HgA1C (this particular test is a running average of your blood glucose levels over the past 2.5 months or so. If you are within normal ranges, then you are not having any blood sugar issues. If you are at the high end of the normal range, you may want to revamp/limit your carb consumption. If you are over the reference range, you’ll need to address it. Not to worry. If you are keeping a stable weight and have no symptoms, then you are likely in the normal range. But as we age our bodies change, which I’m sure is no surprise to you 😉

  5. I used sage to smudge a room today 🙂
    In regard to bread, I thought the flaxseed/coconut flour bread I made and posted on my blog came out pretty yummy!

    • yummmmy sage smudge 🙂 I’ll have to go back and find that recipe Sandi. As I said above, I’m going to try the Einkorn pasta (particularly for dd) not that the rice pasta is bad, but I’m always interested in finding the goods.

      • Yummy! I bet that is good pasta! I’ll get you the smudge recipe 🙂

      • Not sure yet…it is supposed to be ‘approved’ by dr. davis (einkorn) and so I thought it would be ok to try it out. the rice pasta is ok, but even the best ones lack the flavor and tend to a more gummy texture. Even if it works out to be a good product, it will be in the ‘use rarely’ category since I’m attempting to keep here at the <60grms/day carbs.

        did you use regular garden sage or white sage?

      • We used white sage 🙂

        Have you tried turning cauliflower into rice? Did it last week and it was Mmmm, Mmmm good!

      • I’ve seen that one Sandi, I don’t have a ricer can you believe that?? I grew a bunch of cauli and my fave way to eat it is roasted w/ garlic. Maybe Santa will get me a ricer ;0

      • I’m trying to figure out how to make it Hunan style… that was the BEST cauliflower I’ve ever eaten!!!

      • yummy 🙂

      • Hi Sandi, I’d like to use my leftover stems for smudging, but lack the technical expertise; could I also learn about your method please?

  6. I love the smell of sage! The wheat free bread is a dilema…I made some pumpkin bread from a recipe from my daughter’s blog,

    mine turned out quite dense, not very sweet, I opted for honey not stevia, the whole chemical thing…needs a lot of apple butter. I have not totally embraced gluten (wheat) free…but am attempting to eat a paleo diet most of the time. I do love bread, especially homemade.

    • Oh, but don’t I know that love affair w/ bread Cindy. I have been baking fresh loaves for years and years. I guess the main thing is to realize that it is not going to taste the same. I ordered some Einkorn wheat pasta which is supposedly not the same as the current wheat on the market ie: it is ‘original’ not adulterated. It has not come as our co-op order was delayed b/c of Sandy.

    • Your comment sent me looking and Holy now!
      Natural Stevia is 10-15 (concentrates can be as high as 300) times the sweetness of table sugar, while honey is roughly 50% sweeter than sugar and, because of its hydrophilic (water attracting) tendencies, naturally contains (and will hold) more moisture. You should also lower your oven temp by 25* when baking with honey to prevent overbrowning.
      Not sure about Stevia; can’t eat it ’cause makes me sick to my stomach.

      • Hi Deb, I don’t love stevia either, but I sure prefer it to the artificial sweeteners. My daughter likes a pop called Zevia. It’s basically soda pop made w/ stevia…a once in a blue moon treat. Down here there’s a product called truvia which is erythriol mixed w/ stevia…a very reasonable product for baking sugar free. Honey is a delight to bake with b/c of the hydrophilic quality, but I use it only in the smallest amounts and as a great treat as it does spike my blood sugar.

      • Wow, it messes w/ your blood sugar? That realmy stinks!! (Condolences):

      • yah, well…it is one of those things I’m always trying to tweak, and in general I stay away from all sweets…wahhh I miss my peaches canned in pure maple syrup.

      • Man! Wouldn’t they be some expensive peaches! Funny how you don’t give proper credit for something you produce yourself, eh? It’s only when you pay someone else that you feel the pain; )

      • yah, they are delicious, but off the menu. I’ve been canning them in maple syrup since my 20’s. It really does not take up all that much syrup btw..

      • Say Anna (not sure, you may find this idea somewhat sacreligeous) but even though you’re unable to eat them anymore, they sound like an incredible gourmet treat with great sales potential; )

      • Recall that post about them being pricey!? I have been (possibly forever) cured of attempting to sell anything I make. When I was a kid and traveling with the Dead making and selling t-shirts and jewelry was easy and simple. These days with China filling our markets with cheaply made items that satisfy the masses, all bets are off. Hell, I saw a can of mushrooms (blech) in the store that are from China…do we really need to be importing mushrooms too?? It’s so bizarre. As far as food or art work, ha! I did a few years of shows and while people will LOOK a lot and a small fraction will buy most people can be satisfied with a mug for a dollar from China…even though they like the look of the (I’m not even hardly breaking even and not accounting for my time) $15.00 hand crafted one of a kind mug. And large bowls that range to hundreds of dollars and are at peril with every packing and unpacking…I don’t even bother anymore. But if you wanna give it a go…have at it, I’ll even give you the recipe 🙂

      • That’s a very generous offer but, although there are many local syrup producers, honey was my thing (and nature has been cruel these last few years):

      • Ahhh Deb, I miss both honey AND maple syrup. But health is wealth as my grandma always said, so there you have it (for me).

  7. Smudge:
    10-12 stems with leaves of Sage
    3-4 stems with flowers of Lavender
    5 foot cotton string

    Gather the sage and lavender together. And then start wrapping the cotton string from the bottom to the top then back to the bottom, criss crossing. Make sure it is tight. Tie it off and hang it outside to dry for a week. Simple 🙂

    • Thank you!: )

      • You’re welcome… enjoy!!!
        p.s. I use white sage, but any sage is fine.

    • Oh How I LOVE the smell of sage…It reminds me of my travels through the South West…the Sonoran Desert is SO beautiful. thanks for the directions for the smudge Sandi.

  8. Anna, I sent this link to you via email and it bounced back. Can you shoot me an email with your new address? Have you tried Jovial products? I just bought their Einkhorn flour to try. It is not gluten-free, but, it has never been hybridized.

    • (((Kaye))) I have tried jovial products and liked them, well, except for the price tag :/ Einkorn wheat is as you say, however there was a point in our past history in which the botanical ‘wheat’ was merely another grass. Einkorn is not gmo or a hybrid…so that’s good. But since the Agricultural Revolution our forebears of the fertile crescent have selected the biggest/best from season A as seed stock for season B. So some of the bu$$ around Einkorn is hype-imo. I don’t doubt that it costs more to raise, select and process a boutique product but it does rankle my social conscience insofar as the more we boutique-ise the food systems in our country the more division we have….I’m not saying it’s a bad product, just that there are SO many people here right in my & your backyard that are eating hydrogenated-gmo laced swill on a daily basis and because I have a few more pennies I’m able to buy less toxic food. While I’m happy that the hydrogenated oils are FINALLY getting the boot from the gov’t, it’s just such a massive mess and how and when it will change and how to regulate it all without living in a food-police state!! whew. I know it’s a huge topic and you were just being kind to share a link dear Kaye 🙂 Ackkk…I’m ranting, but I think you get my drift. We should all be eating better food because that is what is available to everyone. It’s not easy work or even glamorous but I look at what you are doing as well as some other folks and I am deeply heartened by the knowledge that folks are making changes not only in their lives but their communities. As far as the email my lavabit account was shut down (I did a post about it a while ago)… you can reach me at if you’d like to email me. I’ve reconfigured my blog to post comments and such to this gmail account. Also I though I changed the email in my ‘about’ page which gives my email if anyone wants to connect off-blog, but perhaps I didn’t actually get to that…I’ll have a look there.

      Hope all is well with you and you are continuing to grow and bloom 🙂

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