Monday, 21 November 2011

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi

Hey friends,

I hope you're not all pumpkin'd out just yet... winter hasn't even begun so I'm still on the pumpkin train! I usually don't get off until spring has sprung. I've made the recipe a few times and I'm not sure why I haven't posted it yet. Its wonderful! My littlest boy loves it and it is really quite simple to make.

Most of the recipes for pumpkin or sweet potato gnocchi that I came across had a sage/brown butter sauce that was poured on top. I decided this time to try and roll some sage leave in some the gnocchi so you get the wonderful flavour along with the delicate chew of the pillows. It turned out fabulously and I ended up serving it with sage leaves fried in coconut oil as well and didn't need any butter or butter sub. And I really liked the combo of fresh tasting sage with the toasted sage. (As I'm typing this I'm thinking that adding a bunch of crumbled fried sage to the dough would be super-fantastic...) If you can tolerate dairy, a sprinkle of parm would be utterly delicious on top.

Please ignore my imperfect gnocchi... I've only made them a few times and I'm still trying to get the hang of shaping them properly. But, it doesn't matter how they look... they taste delicious no matter what!

Pumpkin Sage Gnocchi

2 c GF flour blend (I used Namaste)
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few grounds of fresh pepper

sage leaves (about 10)
1 tbsp coconut oil
nutritional yeast for topping

Place flour, pumpkin and seasonings into a large bowl. Use your hands to combine and form a smooth dough. If it's too sticky add more flour. When you press your finger into the dough it should create a smooth indent without leaving anything stuck on your finger.
Form the dough into a ball and cut into 4 even pieces.
Take a chunk of dough and roll it out with your hands until you have an even log about the diameter of a nickle. Press it down with your fingers to flatten. Place small sage leaves along the length of the dough. Fold over and pinch to seal and create a smooth, rounded log again.
Cut into bite size piece and press onto a fork, if desired. (This is supposed to help any sauce stick better.) Set aside. *
Set a large pot of salted water on to boil over high heat.
Roll out remaining dough into logs and cut, omitting the sage or it will be too overpowering.
When all piece are cut and shaped as desired set a small frying pan with the coconut oil on to heat over medium.
When the water is boiling carefully add the gnocchi and boil until they float (about 3 minutes.)
While the gnocchi are boiling carefully add remaining sage leaves to the oil and fry until golden. Remove leaves from heat and place on a paper towel to drain, reserving oil.
Drain gnocchi when they are done. Drizzle with a tiny bit of hot coconut oil to keep them from sticking together.
Serve with fried sage, extra salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

*The pieces with the sage inside are a little awkward to shape, but if you use small pieces of sage it won't be too hard!

See that little bit of sage tucked into at gnocchi? Yum.

Who's bored of seeing my same bowls over and over??? I need to invest in some fun dishes, placemats/fabric and props to make my photos better... if you've got anything that you'd like to donate to me, I won't turn your down! :)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Angela's Vegan (Tofu-free) Chocolate Pudding

Happy Weekend ya'll. I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday.

I mentioned this recipe a little while ago in the 10 Things post and was dying to give it a try.

My problem is the I never know when avocados are ready. I always wait too long and they end up being full of yucky brown spots. I don't even know if you can eat them like this, or even if they taste good because I always end up chucking them into the compost without tasting them. This happened the first time I went to make this pudding. Good thing I read the recipe wrong and it was only two avo's instead of 4... when I went to make it the second time, I think the avocados were perfect. One seemed a little hard, but the pudding turned out lovely and creamy.

I ended up with WAY more than 1.5c of pudding so I guess my avocados were on the large side. That was my fault though since I didn't measure the flesh like I should have. But, no matter, having more pudding than you planned on having isn't necessarily a bad problem to have! All four of my kiddos loved it- even my girl who says she doesn't like chocolate! And they even ate it after I told them it was avocado!

I never would have thought you could make a pudding so creamy and luscious without dairy or soy, but it's possible - and delicious! Angela is a genius! Here is a link to her original recipe - I didn't change much other than giving some instructions about chilling. Give it a go - even if you're leery of avocados!

Angela's Vegan (Tofu-free) Chocolate Pudding

2 c avocado flesh (about 4 medium)
2/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c non-dairy milk (I used Coconut Milk Beverage)
1/4 c cocoa powder*, sifted
1 tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 c dairy free chocolate chips (optional)

In you food processor combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Process until combined and completely smooth.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler.
With the processor running, pour in the melted chocolate and process until evenly combined.
Transfer to an air tight container and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before eating - you don't want to eat it right away otherwise you'll really taste the avocado and it won't be nearly as good as it is after chilling. Trust me on this one.

*I used Cacao Berry Extra Brute. It was a good choice.

Here's Simon. Just to make you smile:

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Pasta with Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce

Cheese spelled with the 'z' is cool.

And cheeze = non-dairy cheese.

I'm full of useful tips like that. You're welcome.

I adore cashew cheeze sauce and make it every few weeks. The boy and I have it over noodles for lunch all of the time and he just loves it. Right now my favourite GF pasta is from Costco. It's Felicia penne and it's a blend of buckwheat, corn and rice. Love it. It's a nice change from plain old rice noodles and since I'm allergic to a bunch of other grains, I can't enjoy some of the other pastas. This penne has a wonderful flavour and texture and I highly recommend you grab some if you have a Costco membership! I was toying with the idea of posting the cashew sauce on here but decided against it. Even though I can tolerate cashews, so many people are allergic to nuts and I want everyone to be able to enjoy the recipes I post on here.

But this recipe is great! I had seen a recipe for butternut squash pasta and was going to try and make my own version, so I bought a squash. It's still on the counter... This recipe would work wonderfully with roasted, pureed squash but I had pumpkin in the fridge (when do I not?) and searched for a pumpkin cheeze recipe instead. I love Angela's blog (Oh She Glows) - so many of her recipes are adaptable for me. I changed a few things and will write down my version below but you can view her recipe here. She also has the nutritional info there on her site. Nutritional yeast is good stuff - complete protein, fiber and good old B12 are in those delicious flakes!

Pasta with Pumpkin Cheeze Sauce

2 c dry GF pasta, cooked according to directions
1 tbsp Earth Balance or other dairy-free butter sub
3/4 - 1 c rice milk or milk of choice
1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 tsp mustard powder
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg (or two)
1/2 tsp GF soy sauce or miso (optional)
pumpkin pie spice for serving (optional)

In a medium pot, melt Earth Balance. Add about 1/2 c rice milk and bring to a boil over med-high heat.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 milk, arrowroot and mustard powder. Pour into the boiling milk, stirring to prevent lumps. Boil until thickened and reduce heat to medium.
Stir in yeast and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in pumpkin and spices and allow to come to a boil.
If sauce is too thick, pour in addition milk (about 1/4 c) until desired thickness. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce/miso.
Taste and adjust the flavours to your liking. You may need to add more salt if you leave out the soy sauce/miso.
Pour over hot noodles and top with more fresh pepper and a dash of pie spice.

*Angela adds in 1/4 tsp garlic powder along with the arrowroot, feel free to add it in if you like!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Little Bit of News

Hi everyone.

Can you believe it's November already? 2011 is almost over and it feels like just yesterday we rang in the new year! The mornings are getting frostier, days are getting chillier. Fall is on the way out and winter is coming - a little too quickly for my liking... but I love Christmas so I'm just going to focus on that and not think about the dropping temperature!

On another note, I wanted to share with you all that I'll be hosting a food allergy seminar through Mississauga Parks and Rec in the spring! I'm very excited and have been working on it for a while now. The seminar will include talk and take home info on food allergies, tips on cooking/baking with alternative ingredients, recipes and food for sampling. It's going to be a good time! I'll give you all more info when it gets closer to the date, so keep your eyes peeled for that!


Sunday, 30 October 2011

10 Things

I thought I'd do something a little different and do a list post. All of the cool kids are doing it.

1. I need to try Ashley's pumpkin cornbread bake and oh my, I'm glad we don't have any snow yet...

2. Decorative dots glass straws. I need these.

3. Angela's vegan (tofu free!) chocolate pudding. Look how creamy it looks! Now if I only knew how to pick out good avocados...

4. Lavish and Lime stainless steel popsicle molds. Why aren't there more like this?!

5. I should bake Mama Pea's pumpkin protein bars. Heaven knows I need more protein! Her homemade lattes don't look too bad either...

6. I'm pretty sure my life would be better with this. No? What about this?

7. Cybele's donut muffins. I need to bake these too! Yum!

8. This cake looks AMAZING!!!

9. Sorry about that ^. I meant this one... in all of its allergy-filled goodness.

10. I still feel bad about number 8. I hope that image isn't burned into your memory permanently... Here, this should help:

There. A sleeping kitten makes everything all better.

Not that the kitten should remind you of that cake or anything...

Its just that kittens are so cute... and...

They shouldn't remind you of kitty litter in any way... at all.

I just...


Never mind.

I'm awesome at this list stuff...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Pumpkin Spice Granola

So it turns out that even though I'm pretty much at home most days with plenty of blogging potential, I don't often have access to our Mac for writing and posting... Even though I grew up using a PC, when I use the one we have for the kids it just feels so foreign now. I have no desire to try and plug my camera into the Piece of Crap and try and figure out how to upload pics when there isn't a proper photo program. With a Mac everything is just so easy and uncomplicated. Nothing to install - just plug your device in and it recognizes it! Wonderful.

Anyway... I've had a few recipe fails lately too and have been unmotivated to try new things. I'm tending to stick to my favourite, trust worthy recipes as well as baking some new allergy-FULL goodies for those in my family who can tolerate them. Have you tried the New York Times chocolate chip cookies? Dang skippy, they are delicious... I really shouldn't have them, but I just had to try a warm, crunchy, yet chewy cookie when they smelled so wonderful! I really wish allergy friendly chocolate chip cookies could be so good. Perhaps that will be my new mission... I need something to keep me motivated in the kitchen!
So, I've had my eye pumpkin spice granola for a while and I really don't know why I took so long to make it! I love granola but haven't made my own before. Its really very easy though! I'm imaging pumpkin muffins with this granola on top... yum!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

2 c GF rolled oats
1 c GF steel cut oats (or just more regular oats, if you don't have steel cut)
1 c crisp rice cereal (I used Nature's Path)
1 c popped amaranth
1/2 c dried, unsweeted coconut
1/4 c hemp seeds (I'm sure flax seed would be good too)
1/4 c pumpkin seeds/pepitas
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 maple syrup (or honey)
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 300F.
In a large bowl combine oats, cereal, amaranth, coconut and seeds.
In a smaller bowl mix together the pumpkin, syrup, spice, salt and vanilla.
Pour the pumpkin mixture over the oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Make sure there are no dry pieces!
Dump the mixture into a roasting pan (or two rimmed baking sheets) and spread out evenly.
Bake for 1 hour to an hour and a half, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy.
Allow to cool before grabbing handfuls and stuffing your face.

*If desired, you could add in some dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.) after the granola had cooled.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Rosemary Rutabaga Maple Soup

Hi friends,

Can you believe it's fall already?! Although I'm a bit sad to see summer go, I love the cool and crisp mornings, beautifully coloured trees against bright blue sky, cozy sweaters and snuggling under blankets. And who could forget fall food? Pumpkin! Apples, pears, squash, root veggies - I love having a new palate of foods to work with! And I really love soup. It can come together quickly with whatever you have hanging around in the vegetable drawer and it warms you through and through on a chilly day. Grab a piece of GF bread and a salad and you've got a wonderful meal.

This soup is slightly sweet but hearty and filling. I got the original recipe from a chef at a restaurant that we used to go to almost every week with J's parents. One week for the buffet the chef made this soup and I didn't try it but after he came to the table and insisted we get a bowl, I was swooning over it! As you may know, I love rosemary... so I really couldn't go wrong! The sweet maple flavour and toothsome chunks of rutabaga and potato - delish! The recipe I was given called for butter and cream but I made a few simple changes and the result is an even better-for-you soup!

Rosemary Rutabaga Maple Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot (or small onion), finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced into small (1cm) cubes
150 ml pure maple syrup (approx. 2/3c)
1L vegetable stock (approx. 4c)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into small (1cm) cubes
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot, rosemary and rutabaga. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add maple syrup, cover and cook 1 minute.
Add potatoes and pour in stock (it should cover the vegetables.)
Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer.
Cover and reduce heat to medium/low.
Simmer until rutabaga and potato are done.
Season with salt and pepper.
When vegetable are nearly tender, place beans in a blender and blend until smooth (you may need to add some soup broth.)
Carefully add half of the soup to the blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and heat through.
Adjust seasoning.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Chocolate Chunk Banana Millet Muffins

Oh. Good morning...

That's quite the shadow you've got there.

Oh my. That's a bit scandalous... we just met...

Is that a little chocolate chunk I spy there?

I thought so... Mmmmmm. You've got some really good texture going on there. Fluffy but moist... a little chewy with a bit of crunch. And that chocolate...

Don't ever leave me.

I promise you've replaced my other banana muffin. Forever.

Oh. Oops.

I'm sorry, my love.

Well, at least I've got 11 more...

Chocolate Chunk Banana Millet Muffins
Adapted from Mama Pea's recipe

2/3 c millet, ground in your blender until powdery
1 1/2 c Namaste Perfect Blend (or white whole wheat flour, if you can tolerate it)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 bananas, mashed (or blended until smooth if you don't like chunks)
1/2 c coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp oil (I used canola, but will try coconut oil next!)
1/2 c rice milk or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c Enjoy Life chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat your oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients - you can toss them all in the blender if you've used it for the bananas.
Add wet to dry and mix until just incorporated - don't over mix!
Fold in the chocolate.
Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing to a wire rack.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rosemary Lemon White Bean Dip

Hey everyone!

Today is the third day of school for my older kids - they were tired this morning! The jitters and excitement have worn off already and they just wanted to sleep in this morning... the weekend will come soon enough my babies! Its strange having Boy1 off at school all day. The days seem very long... My littlest boy has been okay at home with me though. He's been finding things to play on his own and helping in the kitchen. I'm sure it really won't take long before he's tired of being home, just the two of us, and will want to have someone to play with. I'm going to have to come up with a bunch of fun things for him to do... better kick my brain into gear!

I'm really hoping to be able to post more often, now that my days are spend at home. It means (in theory...) that I have more time to tweak/test out recipes and sit down and write!

This recipe for white bean dip is really tasty. I love dip. And I love the fresh flavours in this one - fragrant rosemary and tart lemon with a creamy backdrop. Mmmm! And the best part about making something like this is that you can eat the whole batch all by yourself (count yourself lucky if you don't have to bat off 4 extra hands trying to steal your precious dip!) and you really don't have to feel guilty about it! It's healthy and full of fiber and protein. Grab a bowl of veggies for dipping, slather it on a piece of GF bread, eat it by the spoonful or do all three!

Rosemary Lemon White Bean Dip

1 can navy beans, drained (rinse if using beans packed with salt - read your labels!)
half a lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp rosemary olive oil* or plain olive oil

Place bean in food processor and pulse until they start to come together.
Add in lemon zest, juice, rosemary and s&p. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
With the processor running, slowly add in olive oil and blend until incorporated.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving - its even better after sitting overnight (if you can wait that long!)

*make rosemary olive oil by packing rosemary into a jar and topping with olive oil. Allow it to steep for about a week before using.
**if you love garlic, I'm sure you could throw a clove or two in and you would find it delicious :)

My little guy is allergic to lemon, but I find the small amount of juice and zest doesn't bother him. I can't give him a glass of lemonade without consequences, but a little bit once in a while doesn't effect him. I'm going to try making a batch with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice and see how it turns out - should be good!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Best GF Pizza Crust

Hello my friends!

I made lasagna for friends who had a sweet little baby recently (hi Frances!) this morning and made an extra for some of my fam to have for dinner. Its my hubby's birthday and he loves lasagna. So even though we had spaghetti this week, they got lasagna anyway. No complaints though as everyone likes it! I do too and was tempted to eat a piece anyway, but didn't have to think very long before changing my mind! Smart choice :) My stomach is thanking me!

I made a pizza for the little boy and myself. I made this same recipe last week and loved it. I thought about posting it but at the time didn't want to take pics or anything. I just wanted to eat it!!! So I made a few small changes and have it for you today. The pizza I posted a while back was delish but there is just something about a yeasted dough that makes it sooo much better! It doesn't even taste gluten free!!! Or vegan! Thankfully we are okay with yeast... I'm sorry if you're not. Seriously... its very sad for you. But you can make the other crust and still have a yummy pizza!

So, here we go! The dough takes a while to complete (with the rising) so read it all and plan ahead before you decide at the last minute that you want pizza for dinner! Also, the recipe looks a bit complicated but its really not.

sorry for the yellowy pics... not good lighting in the kitchen and the table was already set!

The Best GF Pizza Crust

Place a pizza stone in the oven and turn on to 170F to preheat.

1/4 c warm water (115-120 degrees)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp coconut sugar

Combine above ingredients in a small bowl and allow yeast to proof/foam (usually takes around 10 mins) If yeast doesn't foam, its probably dead or you may have used water that was too hot.

3/4 c tapioca starch (or tapioca flour, same thing)
3/4 c white rice flour
1/2 c brown rice flour
2 tbsp sorghum flour
1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp sea salt

Combine these dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer. Use the paddle attachment to combine on low speed.

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave

Combine above ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

1/4 c water
3 tsp egg replacer

Whisk together replacer and water.

Add egg replacer mixture, olive oil mixture and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low until mostly combined.

Pour in an extra 1/2 c water and mix well - it will look like cake frosting.

Place a piece of parchment big enough for the pizza stone on the counter and turn dough onto it. Carefully spread dough out evenly.

Place parchment on the hot pizza stone. Turn OFF the oven and place pizza stone back in. Allow dough to rise for 40 mins.

After rising, turn oven on to 375F and pre-bake crust for 12 minutes.

Add sauce and toppings and increase oven temp to 425F. Bake until bubbling and golden (15-20 mins)

on my side - spinach, red pepper, yellow zucchini, mushrooms, pineapple and moz daiya 'cheese'

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Allergy Free Brownies (Gluten Free and Vegan)

For the love of all things delicious.... make these brownies!!!

I had begun to think that I would never taste another brownie again - unless I wanted to double over in pain afterward. I stumbled across this recipe on the interwebs and had to modify it a bit to make fudgey fantastic brownies. They came together in a snap and the hardest part was waiting for them to cool!

Allergy Free Brownies

1/3 c brown rice flour
1/3 c white rice flour
1/3 c sorghum flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 c dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 c oil
1/4 c brown rice syrup (or date syrup, if you have it)
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 c water

Preheat your oven to 350.
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment or foil.
Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl.
In another bowl whisk together wet ingredients - it will be sticky but then smooth out.
Add wet to dry and combine with a spatula.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth out.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting.

You can use 1 c all purpose flour instead of the other flours and xanthan gum.
After I poured in the canola oil I realized that I should have tried it with coconut oil - let me know if you test it out with coconut oil before I get a chance to!

Now please excuse me while I go eat the rest of the pan, if there's any left... I wonder if I have an coconut milk ice cream in the freezer?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Cherry Crisp

Hello lovely people!

This afternoon was a long one and I think I deserve a little time sitting with my feet up and writing a post! I just spend 4 hours in the kitchen prepping, chopping and cooking three different versions of dinner for my family. I haven't even tackled the dishes yet... that will be at least another hour! Gah! Cooking for the 6 of us is a huge challenge. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and order pizza but even that doesn't help! Four out of 6 are allowed pizza. Tonight's dinner was something simple, you'd think, pasta! Love it! But I have to make meat sauce for J and the kids and veggie sauce for me. Also wheat pasta for J, the girls and Boy1 and rice pasta for Boy2 and myself. Today I went crazy and made pasta bakes in a effort to get some of the dishes done before dinner was served. I think I made a small dent... But I had to make 3 pasta bakes... meat+wheat+cheddar, meat+rice+daiya and veggie+rice+daiya. Thank goodness there are leftovers!!! My sauce was lovely. I've been trying to eat more veggies that I don't like or haven't given myself a chance to like. Mushrooms are one. But I diced 'em up small along with red and green peppers, yellow zucchini and broccoli stems (the rest of the broccoli I blanched and served along side dinner) and the sauce was yummy! I don't really know what to do with the rest of the mushrooms but I'll figure something out.

I bought a ginormous bucket of pitted tart cherries at Loblaws on quicksale (50% off) for $11!!!! Talk about a steal! I've loaded up the freezer with bags for smoothies (they make an awesome smoothie along with banana, spinach and a splash of pom juice!) I figured I'd better do some baking with the rest!

Cherry Crisp

5 c tart cherries, pitted (thawed and drained if using frozen)
1/2 - 3/4 c agave nectar (depending on how tart your cherries are)
3 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 tsp salt


1 c Namaste perfect flour blend
1 c gluten free oats
1/2 c coconut sugar or sucanat
1/4 c coconut flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl combine cherries and agave. Sprinkle arrowroot over top and stir well. Add in extracts and salt and combine. Pour into a large baking dish.
In a medium bowl combine flours, oats, sugar and salt. Pour oil in a little at a time, tossing after each addition. Once its all added you should have a crumby mixture and no dry flour.
Pour crumbs over the cherry mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

*tap tap*
Is this thing on?!
If you enjoy reading my blog, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment! :)

Friday, 22 July 2011


Hi everyone!

Sorry I've been a bit of a slacker in blogging... but my kids are all home and it's hard to think about blogging and take pics of food! Not to mention this super hot streak that we've been having... who wants to even do anything when its 40+ degrees outside?! Well, maybe make popcicles, but that's about it!

We did paint nails though.

Girl2 had art camp this week, which she enjoyed tremendously. She lost another tooth while there and she brought home lots of fun art pieces and I think just loved being able to be creative all day, every day, for 5 days straight! I asked her what she did during free time... three guesses.... drawing. Heh. What did she do at recess? Sidewalk chalk. The girl was in heaven!!!

Plus, she's really special.

We've been making tons of popcicles in our lovely Zoku that my friend Helen gave to my kids for their birthdays last year. Man, I love that thing... As long as I keep it in the freezer, ice pops are never more than a few minutes away!!! None of this chilling over night business. When I was at Golda's Kitchen last month, I saw a cookbook that I wanted real bad... it took a lot of self control to only look at it and then place it back where I found it... The book is Ice Pop Joy. How could I not want this book?!? Organic, healthy, delicious treats! After one quick scan through it, I was all inspired to make some popcicles when I got home. Then I forgot about it. Until we went to the library this week! What jumped out at me from the shelf!? Why, Ice Pop Joy!!! :) Now I can pretend its mine for a few weeks!

Boy1 took a peruse through and chose out the "Bluebird" pops to make first. We almost had everything in the house so I only had to make a few small changes. I don't have acai powder so I added in some greens+ kids that I use in their smoothies. And I added some tofu for a little bit of protein and creaminess. They turned out great! Loved by all 4 kids. And me.
Just pretend there is a picture of a purpley popcicle...

Bluebird Ice Pops
Adapted slightly from Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter

1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c blackberries or boysenberries
1 c chopped fresh pineapple
1 scoop greens+ kids (natural mixed berry flavour) or 2 tsp acai powder
4 tbsp coconut/palm sugar
1 c purified water
1/4 c silken tofu (optional)

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into your choice of popcicle molds and freeze until solid.

We also made tropical popcicles, not from the book though. From my head. They were delish too!!!

Tropical Popcicles

2 bananas
2 c R.W. Knudsen Pineapple Coconut juice
2 tbsp orange juice (optional)

Blend it up and freeze it!!! Easy shmeasy.

While we were at the library there was a lady from Starbucks handing out little samples of Passion tea and iced coffee. Both yummy. She also gave me a receipt for a $2 grande beverage, so I treated myself to a cup of icy deliciousness on the way to picking up the girl from camp. Passion Tea Lemonade. Oh my... so refreshing! Not so healthy with the sugar syrup but I knew I'd be able to make it at home without the crap. It doesn't taste exactly the same, but I'd need to do a side by side comparison to be the parts right. But its really very easy! Plus, it made some great ice pops too!!!

Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade

2 c water
4 Starbucks Passion tea bags
1/4 c agave nectar (or to taste)
1 carton Kiju Lemonade or other sugar free lemonade

Boil water and pour over tea bags. Carefully stir in agave. Allow to steep until cold, in the fridge.
When tea is cold remove tea bags, pour in lemonade and give it a good stir.

Make popcicles!

Or as my friend Sheena suggested, blend cold lemonade with ice for a slushy beverage!

Stay cool friends!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Rice and Black Bean Salad

Hi friends!
Happy Canada Day! We are enjoying this beautiful day together as a family! It's the first day of summer vacation and the kids have succeeded in trashing the house with Playmobil and Lego, they've played some sort of house/work game and now are outside in the blow-up pool testing to see who's Lego creations can float the best. From the looks of it, there are rigorous tests going on - splashing, wave making and canon firing. :) They are having a ball! I love my kids! And summer!!!

Here is a lovely recipe for you that I created. Its lovely cold or at room temperature and would be a great thing to bring to a pot luck. Just make sure to chill it for a few hours to bring out all of the flavours.

Rice and Black Bean Salad

1 c short grain brown rice
2 c water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 red or orange pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c corn kernels (optional)
1 green onion, finely chopped (optional)


1/2 tsp lime zest
juice from 2 limes (roll them on the counter to get the most juice)
1 tsp mustard
1-2 tbsp agave
pinch each salt, pepper, ginger powder
2 tbsp olive oil

Combine rice and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 35-45 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool.
Add beans, celery, peppers and corn to the rice and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
To make the dressing combine zest, juice, mustard, 1 tbsp agave, s&p and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Whisk in olive oil. Taste. Add in more agave if its too sour.
Pour dressing over the rice mixture. Stir well to distribute the dressing.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the flavours to meld.
Sprinkle green onions on top.
Serve with nacho chips, if desired.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Quick Creamy Pasta Salad

Hey folks,
Just a quick post today - birthday month is winding down and we're ending it off with two birthday parties this weekend! I'm super busy baking and getting stuff ready for the parties and I also have to do flowers for a wedding on top of it all!

I took a healthy lunches cooking class at Health Span in Georgetown, hosted by Chef Jenny Allen. It was awesome and I came out of there with 5 recipes that I could very easily modify to avoid allergens! Score!!! All of her recipes are based on simple, natural ingredients and use natural sweeteners. And they all have a gluten-free/dairy-free option. The class was great and if you live in the Georgetown/Brampton/Mississauga area I highly recommend you check it out! Chef Jenny is always adding new classes to her schedule and each one is a new opportunity to get fabulous new recipes! Here is a link to Jenny's website which has recipes and info about classes:

On to the recipe! Make this... it's so easy and delish!!!

Creamy Pasta Salad with Grapes (and roasted chicken if you eat meat!)

2 c dry rice rotini or twisted kamut/quinoa pasta, cooked, rinsed and tossed with 2 tsp EVOO
1 1/2 c red or green grapes, halved
1 1/2 c roasted chicken diced or shredded (optional, I use 1/2 - 3/4 c navy beans instead)
1/2 c vegan mayo (or Hellman's olive oil mayo if you can tolerate eggs)
2 tbsp fresh dill or tarragon, chopped
3 green onions, minced (I leave these out and its still great!)
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch sea salt and pepper
2 c baby spinach or chopped romaine

In a large bowl, mix together mayo, dill, onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Stir in cooked pasta, chicken if using and grapes. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
To assemble, toss 1 c prepared pasta with 2 cups spinach or lettuce (for an adult size portion.)

Can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Add spinach or lettuce just before serving.

Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Yummy Lunch

Hi everyone,
It's a scorcher out there today!!! I don't usually love the heat, but so far this summer I've been loving every minute of the hot days we've had. Even though today feels like 42C with the humidity, I didn't even mind taking the boys out for a bike ride this afternoon. :) I'm just thankful for the air conditioning so we can sleep at night without sticking to the sheets!!!

Here is a recipe for buckwheat/millet bread that I made yesterday. I've made it before but wanted to try baking it differently before I posted it. It turned out great and thin enough to build a sandwich on. The boy and I love it and my favourite thing is that its chock full of goodness (unlike store bought rice bread which is not very nutrient-dense.) I was a little worried about using buckwheat flour... I really don't like buckwheat honey and I knew that the flour has a really strong taste. As I was mixing it up it smelled kinda grassy and I thought to myself, 'This should be interesting...' But it baked up wonderfully and I really love it!

Buckwheat contains 8 essential amino acids, is high in fiber and contains many minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. The buckwheat flour is offset by millet flour is this recipe. Millet is one of the least allergenic grains and is easily digestible. Like buckwheat, millet is high in protein and fiber. It is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Chia seeds are used in the bread to help bind it. The original recipe called for half chia and half flax but I can't have flax every day so I opted to use all chia. Chia seeds are also packed with nutrients - they are the richest plant source of omega 3, contain antioxidants, fiber, iron and more. Tons of goodness packed into one tiny seed! Yay for goodness!!!

Now that you've all had a nutrition lesson.... here's the recipe! ;)

Buckwheat/Millet Bread
Adapted from the edible perspective

1/2 c plus 2 tbsp buckwheat flour
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp millet flour (I grind my own in a blender)
1/4 c chia seeds (or ground flax)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sucanat
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp rice milk or milk of choice
3/4 c water
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F and line a 9x13 pan with parchment (cut the corners so it fits nicely.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add in liquids and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth evenly.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top is dry and has cracks. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then using parchment, slide the bread out onto the cooling rack to cool completely.
Cut into six large pieces for sandwiches or cut to whatever size you fancy!
You can keep it in a sealed container at room temp for a day but after that, leftovers should be refrigerated.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Allergy-Free Pizza

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! Things have been busy and I've been baking lots of allergy-ful goodies and I don't feel right about posting on here!!! It's also birthday month at our house (all four kids born in June, plus cousins, other family members too and even the cat!) so its really busy. Hopefully I'll still have time to post some of the goodies I make for Boy2 and myself. :)

Here is a pizza recipe for you all. I heart pizza. It's been one of the things I've really been missing since being off of all of the foods I should avoid... and this one is pretty good! I tried it last week, making the crust the was it was written in the book but I really don't enjoy the chickpea/fava bean flour flavour in the Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour. So I switched it up and used my favourite Namaste Perfect flour blend and it turned out yummy! I really had to restrain myself from eating the whole thing and save some for the Boy!

Allergy-Free Pizza
Adapted from babycakes Covers the Classics by Erin McKenna

1 1/2 c Namaste Perfect Flour Blend (or Bob's Red Mill GF Baking Flour plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
6 tbsp plus 3 tbsp melted refined coconut oil (melt then measure) or half olive, half canola oil
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 c cold water

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and seasoning. Add the 6 tbsp coconut oil, agave and cold water. Mix with a rubber spatula until a thick dough forms. Cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto the parchment lined sheet. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough evenly to the edges of the baking sheet. Brush the top of the dough with remaining 3 tbsp of oil. Bake until golden, about 15 mins.

Remove from oven and top with your favourite sauce, toppings and cheese (I love goat's milk mozzarella - perfect for pizza! Daiya mozzarella would work great too.) Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Cut into 9 squares and try to share!

I topped half of my pizza with spinach, fresh pineapple and red peppers and left the other half plain cheese. I topped the cheese side with a mixture of chopped tomato, s&p and basil leaves and put it on top after it was all cooked since I don't like cooked tomatoes too much. It was really yummy! You could add some garlic in and make it kinda brushetta-y if you felt so inclined.

Happy Birthday to Simon :)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Spanish Black Rice

Hey friends!

We've had two beautiful days finally! I tried to spend as much time outside with the kids as possible enjoying the warmth and wearing them out with bike rides and park playing! And I love being able to just send them into the backyard and they make their own fun... yay for outdoors! One day it would be lovely to have a bigger backyard, but I'm grateful that we have a backyard at all. :)

I made this recipe a few weeks ago and decided to make it again since I enjoyed it so much. The kids liked it too! I used black rice this time to 'hide' the black beans since Girl1 thinks she doesn't like beans... but I made it the first time with long grain brown rice. I love it in lettuce leaves, but it would be yummy in a wrap too. I don't really like the rice wraps but I'm sure some people out there do! It would also be yummy in swiss chard leaves!

Spanish Black Rice

2 c water, salted
1 c black rice (or brown rice)
1 shallot (or small onion), finely diced
3 celery stalks, diced
half green pepper, diced
half red pepper, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c corn
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c Daiya cheddar cheese shreds (or grated cheddar cheese if you can tolerate it)
lettuce leaves for wrapping

Boil water, add rice and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Boil 45 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is cooked.
While rice is cooking, dice shallot, celery and peppers.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add shallot, celery and peppers and saute until the shallot is softened.
Add in tomatoes (with juices), beans, corn and spices. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until most of the juices are absorbed.
Add cooked rice into tomato mixture and stir to combine.
Fill lettuce leaves with rice mixture and top with cheese shreds.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cocoa Dusted Popped Amaranth

Hey friends.

So today is ANOTHER rainy, dreary day here. Kinda just blah and I'm really hoping for some sun soon. We've been late to school the past few day 'cause its just too hard to get up in the morning! Sun just makes everything easier... To perk up my morning I decided to try a recipe for some popped amaranth with cocoa that I found on another blog because really, cocoa just makes everything better, right?!  Remember Count Chocula? I think I had it once in my life, but I remember thinking that chocolate for breakfast was pretty much the best thing ever!

Not sure if you can buy this as cereal in the store or not, but its really very easy to pop your own and I bet it tastes a whole lot better! Amaranth is a tiny seed/grain but it really is a superfood - thirty percent more protein, three times the fiber and 5 times more iron than wheat! Yes please! If you haven't tried it yet, aren't those reasons enough!? Its also good for baking with and adding to soups or stews. But I'm loving it as cereal!

Here's what un-popped amaranth looks like.

To pop amaranth, heat a heavy bottom pot over med-high heat (you might have to fiddle a little with the heat of your stove and find what works for you. I tested the heat with a small pinch of seeds so I didn't waste a whole bunch.) All you do is quickly pour the seeds into the dry, hot pan and put the lid on. They should pop right away and if they don't, your pot wasn't hot enough. Hold the pot over the element and shake/swirl until the popping stops. Keep it moving so that it doesn't burn. Once its popped, pour it into a dry bowl to cool.

Here's what I put into my bowl, but really the options are endless! If you can eat almonds, I think they would be especially delicious in here! Flax seed would be good. Cashews, strawberries, peanut/sun butter, raisins or pretty much whatever else you can think of to make it even better and keep you full! You could even put all of the dry stuff together and take it for lunch to work or where ever you're going and pour on the milk when you're ready. I've popped some extra so I'm going to see how well it keeps in a glass jar and if it gets stale easily. I'll keep ya'll posted!

*UPDATE* The popped amaranth keeps well in a glass jar for a few days! :)

Cocoa Dusted Popped Amaranth
Adapted from the edible perspective

1/4 c amaranth, popped 2 tbsp at a time, cooled
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or other sweetener of your choice)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 banana
sprinkle of cinnamon
milk of your choice (I'm loving So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage right now!)

Stir together popped amaranth and cocoa powder. Add in the rest of the ingredients and enjoy!