Life · Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Round and Round

I have been thinking a lot about patterns this summer.  Perhaps it is something which happens when one quilts; I see patterns in windows and brickwork and think of patchwork.  Lately, it has been circular shapes catching my attention.

Nature likes a circle.

Just a quick glance around the kitchen and all the circles, spheres and round objects jump out.  Plates, bowls, pots, pans, lids, the curve of the teapot, mixing bowls, tomatoes, a colander, the light fixture, coasters, oranges and an old baking powder tin. Even things we don’t think of as round, become round when sliced, a zucchini, a cucumber or a banana for instance;  all of these elongated shapes slice into nice rounds.

Once round the kitchen…

“Running around in circles” isn’t necessarily the best thing…unless you are a dog chasing your own tail – he seems to get enjoyment out of it! But many of our routines do have a roundness to them.  Groceries (at our home, for example) begin with the delivery of the weekly flyers, followed by the shopping a couple of days later.  The fridge is filled for a day or two, and then the list starts again and before I know it the flyers are sitting in the mailbox. Full circle…

Of all the rounds I have noticed this week, I’d have to say the best rounds have nicely domed tops, bake in multiples and come in a variety of flavours.  Did you guess cupcakes? I was thinking cupcakes…and then one cake in particular came to mind (and it is just as good as a 9″ round, or as 12 cupcakes).

Enjoy,

Simplee

Gather….

  • 1/2 c sugar, granulated
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsn grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c white rice flour
  • 3 tbsn tapioca starch
  • 3 tbsn potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/4 c sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (can make own by adding tbsn lemon juice to milk)

Method…

  1. Prep pan, line bottom of 9″ cake tin with parchment paper.  Or line muffin tin with liners for cupcakes.  Preheat oven 350F.
  2. In medium bowl combine and whisk together flours, starches, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
  3. In stand mixer bowl, cream together sugar and oil.  Add egg and combine.  Add lemon zest and vanilla to creamed mixture and combine together.
  4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk (2 additions).  Mixing well after each addition.
  5. Pour into prepped tin.  Tap on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350F oven, or until toothpick/tester comes out clean. (Adjust time if making cupcakes.)
  6. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before removing from tin and allowing to cool completely on rack.  Remove parchment paper while still warm.

Waste not, want not…use the fresh lemon juice instead of milk in the buttercream for a double shot of lemon.

Quick Buttercream…1/4 cup softened butter, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla extract.  Add sugar 1 cup at a time and lemon juice by tbsn, as needed, until spreadable, or piping consistency.  Buttercream can be doubled or halved as needed.

Gluten-Free Food

A Parfait Day…

The weather has continued to be hot and humid this past week.  There are only so many desserts one can make in the toaster oven and cupcakes haven’t been one of them…I’m missing cupcakes.  We have had donuts, they are somewhat cakey, but still not quite the same. Maybe it is really the buttercream I have been missing…but enough about cake (at least for today.)

coconut flour cupcake, ice cream and stewed strawberries with shredded coconut

One easy dessert to pull together on a hot day is a parfait.  I picked up strawberries at the grocery store this week, too good of a deal to pass up, but they were rather firm (the berries are always better from the farmer’s market).  I cut them into quarters, tossed in a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and stewed them, mashing them with a fork once the juices were released.  The stewed strawberries became the sauce over some ice cream and defrosted coconut flour cupcakes (I try to keep plain cupcakes in the freezer for emergencies…the weather better break soon, as I am down to my final one!)  

Why stop at dessert?  Parfaits make great breakfasts too.  They require less work and equipment than a smoothie bowl.  And pulling together some breakfast ingredients is as easy as a walk around the kitchen, with a peek in the fridge.  Initially, I  was going to use leftover plum crumble with Greek yogurt, but the leftover plums were gone by morning.

I always dress up my (plain) morning yogurt with one or more of: shredded coconut, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, raisins, granola, preserves or nuts and seeds.  A parfait is much prettier to look at and only takes a few extra minutes.  It doesn’t require a fancy dish, a plain glass works just fine, or a piece of stemware if you want to make an impression.

cinnamon cereal, Greek yogurt, raspberry preserves, chia seeds, orange segments, dried cranberries and shredded coconut

Here are some other parfait (dessert) ideas to try:

  • leftover apple crisp with cream poured over top
  • sliced vanilla cupcakes (or gingerbread cake) with rhubarb curd and custard
  • banana split parfait
  • sauteed apple with cinnamon and brown sugar with cinnamon Chex cereal
  • pudding and cream
  • broken up ginger cookies with cream cheese and whipped cream, topped with crystallized ginger
  • chocolate cake, peanut butter whipped cream and peanuts
  • smoothie bowl parfait
    pineapple and blueberry, Greek yogurt smoothie bowl, a bit more work

    A ‘parfait’ way to make your day special!

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

Battery Recharge…

Some argue that a routine can become a rut.  I like to know what is expected for the day – Tuesday, groceries, for example.  Thursday is my recharge day.  I do baking or sewing or quilting or reading on a Thursday, usually a creative pursuit.  A sort-of “me” day, a day where nothing has to get done.  I can choose to meander or beeline to a task.

Vitamin ‘N’ helps to recharge the batteries.

We are a one-car household.  Our family made the decision a number of years ago, to go from two vehicles to one.  My husband carpools to work and we use our feet or public transit to get around town when he has the car.  There is normally a set day for when the car is available for my use, hence Tuesday being grocery day.  So when the schedule gets changed – thanks carpool – it is a wrench in the workings.

A woodpecker enjoying some me-time.

You never really think about the effects of a routine on your energy levels, until the routine changes.  I was thrown off my usual routine this week, I lost my Thursday, my recharge day.

The days were flipped around, so Friday was my recharge day instead. It felt a bit funny, but I was happy with my productivity.  I pulled out the tote with my batting (the bottom tote, of course) and finally got a tablet cover made. Here are the instructions I used – http://so-sew-easy.com/quilted-tablet-cover-zippered-pocket/

Tablet case, closed.
Morning detox smoothie from “Oh She Glows Every Day” – mango and white tea.

I have been reading Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook by Angela Liddon.  It inspired some of my own experimentation with smoothies and smoothie bowls this week.

So far, next week looks normal.  We can never tell what is going to come our way though. I’ll do my best to get my Vitamin ‘N’, and all my other vitamins to keep those batteries charged and ready.

Simplee

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

‘Tis the Season…

Only five more months until Christmas…are you counting?  If you make gifts, you might be starting to think about it.

All the differing messages you encounter in the stores can make your head spin.  Just what season is it?  There have already been mid-season sales, the pencils and binders came out for back-to-school the week after school finished.  Today, the craft store had end of season reductions on all the summer games and crafts and the Halloween decorations are making their way to front and centre.

I do make gifts for Christmas, but I don’t usually start them until after Halloween.  I might knit some socks in the summer and stash them for later (spoiler alert), but thinking about the “upcoming” holiday season isn’t really on my radar in the middle of the actual holidays.

Houses for a quilted wallhanging. A gift? Maybe…

This year has been even more confusing as the summer weather was slow to start and the last couple of days have felt more Fall-like than summer.  (I’m not complaining, it has been nice to lose the humidity and be able to breathe).

Waiting for embellishments…

So with tongue firmly planted in the cheek.  I wish you all a “merry five month countdown!”

Peanut butter and chocolate are always in season!

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Life

Roll with it…

The weather continues to be hot and humid, but even with diminished appetites, we still need to eat.  All the cooking has been done on the stove top this week and all the baking has been done in the toaster/convection oven – heat or no heat there must be cake in some form!

Kung Pao Chicken with Cashews on Rice
Nachos

What can we do about it?  There’s only one thing we can do, roll with it.

A number of years ago, I had an annoying ache in the back of my knee. The diagnosis, after x-rays and scans, was osteoarthritis, but not in my knee, rather in my back.  I underwent physiotherapy and traction to ease the symptoms at the time.

It was a new way of living from that diagnosis on.  My son, a toddler at the time, learned to jump when being lifted to decrease the bending I

Gluten-free Chocolate Donut

had to do.  I began bending at my hips, not my waist, and kneeling to get to toddler level. Inside and out I always wear orthotics.

Our family used to travel, upwards of six hours in the car (there and back) to visit extended family.  Now, I squirm after 45 minutes, as the discomfort starts to build…and we’ve had to stop the trips. I have learned to control and adjust, the arthritis is a part of who I am and what I do now.  I continue to work with my hands, daily, sewing or knitting to keep the joints moving and schedule heavier tasks for earlier in the day.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Donut

After a year of taking iron supplements, my son’s iron levels were showing little sign of improvement.  Our doctor started ordering tests to see if there could be a cause.  (We were fortunate because I have read of other’s having years of problems before getting the appropriate tests.) The diagnosis for my son was Celiac disease.

So began another round of learning to adjust to the conditions.  We began eating gluten-free in the house.  All of my baking had a learning curve as I learned the differing qualities of gluten-free flours and binders.  My first loaf of bread was heavy, gummy and unpalatable! We have experimented and found our favourite bread and bun recipes-our millet bread looks like egg bread and I prefer it to the gluten containing loaves I can still eat.  Grocery shopping became more involved, as every label has to be read, every time.  We never leave the house without food now.  And we never ate as much produce as we now do.  In fact, we are all probably healthier because of the Celiac disease diagnosis and we look at what can be eaten instead of what is off-limits!

Gluten-free Banana Roll with Maple Buttercream

So when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade or when your bananas are starting to spot and turn brown, roll with it.

Enjoy,

Simplee

Gluten Free Banana Roll with Maple Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch or potato starch

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3 eggs (large)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup mashed banana

  1. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whip eggs with whisk attachment until starting to grow in volume.
  3. While eggs whisk, mix flours, cinnamon and xanthan gum in bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Once eggs have some volume, gradually add sugar.
  5. Once egg and sugar mixture has increased even more in volume, gradually add mashed banana.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg, sugar, banana mixture.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl (carefully you don’t want to lose the volume you’ve created)
  7. Pour batter onto prepared sheet, spread evenly and tap pan on counter to release air bubbles.
  8. Bake in preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto rack, remove parchment paper.  Allow to cool.
  10. Mix 2 tbsn and 2 tsp butter or margarine with 3 tbsn maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar.  Mix until smooth and spreadable (if too thick add drops of water until right consistency)
  11. Once cake is cooled, spread buttercream over the top of cake.  Roll the cake from the short end and place with seam down on platter. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Gluten-Free Food

All in a day…

Yesterday, the forecast called for another hot and humid day.  I woke up early and started baking gluten-free bread for the week.  The gluten-free flour showcased in our favourite sandwich bread is millet.  Millet flour gives the bread a nice colour, it looks like egg-bread.  I just love the texture of this bread…it is great on its own, the heels of the loaf are soooo good.2017-07-15 18.08.57

Toasted cinnamon raisin bread makes for a great breakfast.  This gluten-free version is so good, we don’t have to toast it, but I love it toasted!

2017-07-15 18.03.25

Last but not least, I used my mini-loaf pan to make gluten-free flax-seed buns for lunches.  These are good and hearty, enough to fill up a teen, once filled up itself.

2017-07-15 18.08.07.jpg

While cleaning up my mixer bowls and pans, I noticed one of my “special lilies” was showing its first bloom. (These lilies are very   special because they came from my brother’s garden.)  My “plain” lilies have been in bloom too and are putting on a nice show of their own.

20170715_174810.jpg
“special” lily

I finished the day, which never got as hot or humid as initially forecast with a nice walk with my sister, a Poirot mystery on DVD and yo-yo sewing.

2017-07-15 21.49.57.jpg

 

These are the simple days I like, filled with simple pleasures, like the smell of bread baking, the opening of special blooms and bonding with sis (with a few more yo-yos to add to my collection).

Simplee

 

Gluten-Free Food · Life

Mother knows best…

There is something about the wisdom of mothers which gives their advice more weight.  Just how do they know what you need at the moment?  I have a teenager who I can judge pretty well, so I should know the answer.  We just don’t think of someone else as being as perceptive as ourself.

I had thought about beginning my own blog before.  I have been a regular journal keeper for years.  But in the back of mind, I never really thought that I had anything important to add to the blogasphere.   I enjoyed reading blogs and I enjoyed two of the things necessary in the types of blogs I read regularly, writing and photography.

Last week, at lunch, ( a loaded open-faced veggie sandwich on gluten-free focaccia) my mother said ” you should start your own blog.  You’re always reading them.”

I was really rather surprised by her suggestion.  She was just so sure that I could be successful at it, that I began looking into it and then signing up and then here I was writing my own blog and pushing a publish button.

I have been very lucky to have my mother standing behind me and encouraging me all my life.  Her faith in my abilities has never wavered and it is aways at it’s strongest when I am at my weakest.

I hope that one day my son will look back and feel the same way about me as I do about my own mother and think to himself ” mother knows best.”

Chocolate Zucchini Dessert Waffles
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2  cup sugar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
2 Tbsn tapioca starch
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp zanthan gum
Mix all of the dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Whisk together the sugar and oil, add the egg and mix well.
Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture.  Batter will be thick, so use a spoon to now stir in zucchini.
Heat wafflemaker as recommended, add 1/4 cup batter, which will remain domed if you use a scoop.  With my wafflemaker  it makes a nice round waffle, instead of a square one this way.
Makes 9 waffles which can be topped with ice cream and sauce like stewed rhubarb or fresh strawberries.
Simplee
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