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.

Life · Nature

Glad

The word glad is defined as “delighted” or “pleased.”

Gladiolus or gladioli originate from the Latin for small sword, in reference to their leaf shape.  In Old English, the flowers were known as “gladdon.”

It doesn’t matter where the word originated, glads make me glad. Judging by the number of customers choosing their stems of glads at the farmer’s market today, glads make them glad too.

Is there not a happier sight than a bunch of glads peeking out of a market bag?  How about a truckload of them passing by?

Simplee

Handmade · Life

Knit One, Purl One

There is a rhythm which all of our lives follow.  A to and fro motion which sends us out into the world and brings us back to ourselves, like the ebb and flow of the tide.  It is said that prior to entering a labyrinth, the walker should frame a question they wish to have answered.  The motion of turning and bending within the labyrinth allows the walker’s mind to formulate the answer.  By the time the centre is reached, the answer is known.

Knitting, has its own meditative quality.  Two basic stitches, the knit and the purl, interlock and form a structure which can be shaped by adding or decreasing the number of stitches until a finished article emerges. The rhythm of life comes down to the basics too, put these together and we have the complexities we live daily.  If our lives could be laid out before us, think of it as a piece of knitting being blocked, we would see the changes in tension, the delicate strips which are more vulnerable to pulls, the heavier sections to handle daily wear, bright colours, dark colours, differing fibres and contrasting designs.  (The description reminds me of an afghan made out of scraps and practice squares.)  We would see our questions and discern where and when our answers came.

There are shawls which are knit so fine they can be pulled through a wedding band. Fishermen at sea wear heavy wool knits, strengthened with cables to protect against the winds and storms.  And tiny knits wrap our most cherished newborns; we mustn’t forget the well-worn and darned pair of knit socks to keep our toes toasty and warm in the winter months.  All of these articles stem from the same two stitches, interlocked and interwoven – knit and purl.

A handknit gift means the knitter thought of you while making the item; they thought of you when picking the pattern, the yarn – its colour and texture, while knitting and while wrapping it up.  And when we put it on, we think of the person who knit it.  Interlocking and interweaving.

Knitting is a skill originating out of necessity, and for some it continues to be so, for others it has been elevated to an art form.  Whichever form it takes, it remains the same – to and fro, back and forth, row upon row, knit and purl.  Just as life continues on with the simplest acts and simplest pleasures interlocking and interweaving to answer the questions we all pose.

Simplee

Handmade · Life

Close Encounters…

I know you have some, probably stashed away in your closet under another stash (maybe of yarn or fabric, scrapbooks?).  I’m talking about UFOs.

Every industry has its own jargon  with abbreviations and short forms known only to those in the industry.  Our own cottage industrialists (I’m including anyone who makes anything by hand, at home) are not to be left behind, we have our own acronyms and jargon too.

When I first came across “UFO” in conversation, I didn’t want to show my ignorance.  I nodded in agreement and tried to figure out what was meant by it, we were definitely not talking about aliens.  I did finally figure it out (and in case you haven’t come across the term in usage) – UnFinished Object.

A blouse awaiting completion.

The acronym has always bothered me though.  I don’t use it when speaking, because I don’t think of my projects as objects.  Maybe I don’t think of my unfinished projects as unfinished, rather “waiting to be finished”…to put a positive spin on it.  Accordingly, that would make them my WTFs – Waiting To-be Finished.  Perhaps not the best shorthand to use in polite society.  Then again, if the society was that polite, they wouldn’t be shocked, rather they’d nod their heads in agreement and try to figure it out too.  I would hope they would come up with the correct meaning?!?!

Still waiting to be jazzed up and quilted.

So what do you name those projects waiting in the wings?  If a project hasn’t been started, can it be considered unfinished?  There could be a basket labeled NOP (next on project), or ARS (attention required soon), the basket labels could be endless.  All we need are enough people using the term to make it the next ‘word’ in projects.

And while you are pondering that…here’s another from the world of knitting to add to your vocabulary.  If your knits and purls are making good garters, but you notice a mistake, you can frog it.  Yup, FROG, as in the green amphibian which hops.  Because, frogs say ribbit, which can sound like rip-it, which you’d do to your knitting if you made a mistake. That’s one shared by sewers and knitters alike, so maybe I’ll  start calling my seam-ripper Kermit!

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.