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

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.



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.
Handmade · Life

Just in…

Yesterday started out sunny and I had my plan.  Somehow, I don’t know how it was possible, I had completely forgotten about a fabric store I had been meaning to visit.  I jumped on my trusty steed (the two-wheeled variety), loaded up my basket and ventured off.  Which is when the clouds started to roll in.  It was overcast, but I was sure I could make it there and back.

fat quarters

The clouds were definitely getting darker and there was no mistaking their intent. After quickly browsing and chatting in the fabric shop, I headed home with one more stop to make.


more fat quarters

There were two of us bike-ladies in the pharmacy.  Both with our baskets of treasures. Her’s were of the vegetable variety, mine cloth…She said she hoped we would make it home before the rain, I agreed, knowing I needed only a few more minutes until I was home.

Just in time.  Literally walked in the door and the rain started to fall.  My shoes were put away, my purchases unpacked and a simple lunch made.  Rain, is the perfect excuse to hibernate in the sewing room.

simple lunch

There was a bento bag project I had been wanting to try,  when I saw the colours of fat the quarters, I knew this was the material for it.  The early afternoon was spent downstairs.  The sun came out and I came up, with a bento bag and a matching zippered pouch.

What a bargain, less than $10 for the pair, and I stayed dry!

It is nice to have a big project which will keep you busy for a time.  But there are times when you want to sit down with the raw materials and stand up with a finished item.  Plus it is a good excuse to procrastinate on the larger project.  Just in case you were looking for one….



Books and Reading

Remembering Jane Austen…

Today, July 18th, marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.  In England, the occasion is being commemorated with the circulation of a new 10 pound note and  coin.

At home, I pulled out “Jane Austen’s Sewing Box:  Craft Projects & Stories from Jane Austen’s Novels” written by Jennifer Forest.  The book has instructions for some of the fancy and day-to-day sewing the women of Jane Austen’s novels, and Jane herself would do daily.  I have made my own huswife (a fabric case with pockets for sewing and needlework must-haves), a letter case (luckily I have some family members still willing to pick up a pen and post a letter) and a thread case.  I would like to make my own reticule one day (but for now prefer to use a work basket over a bag.)

closed huswife

The Regency era has always interested me as a historical period.  The empire-waisted gowns inspired my own bridesmaid’s dresses.  I would not necessarily liked to have lived in the conditions, especially considering the lack of women’s rights.  The romance of the era, however, remains, in part due to the novels of Jane Austen.

I have read all of Jane Austen’s novels, and my particular favourites, one’s I reread, are “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abbey.”  I confess, that “Emma” is my least favourite.

More than two hundred years after the publication of “Sense and Sensibility”  Jane Austen’s words, and particularly her characters live on in our modern-day lives.  Young girls continue to dream of their own Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth…and count their modern-day blessings there isn’t a Mr. Collins looking for a bride from their household!

letter case



Crazy about…

Last night while working on some patchwork blocks, Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” kept running through my head.  It probably wasn’t a coincidence, as I was making crazy patchwork squares, which, contrary to their name, do not make you crazy.  There is a certain sort of calm which I feel when working on these squares, and the longer I work at it, the faster each square becomes, my fingers instinctively reaching for the perfect next piece.

These crazy patches (I use the stitch and flip method) are actually by-products of another project I have been working on this summer.  Yo-yos, or Suffolk puffs, are portable, fast and I can attest to their addictive qualities.  I currently have over 600, but have figured on needing at least 1300 for a double bed sized coverlet.  I use fat quarters, fat eighths, my own stash and I frequently raid the remnant bin at my local fabric store.

To make the yo-yos even more quickly, I use a yo-yo maker.  I know some think this is cheating….but I did mention how many I need, right!?! I clip the fabric into the plastic form and trim around it.  The trimmings make lots of scraps, mostly triangular in shape.  

The yo-yos give me the supplies for the crazy patchwork.  It is a win-win!

Cutting squares for crazy patchwork stitch and flip.

Isn’t it great that something so simple as gathered rings gives so much enjoyment?  No chance of going crazy at my home…


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.

“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).



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.
Gluten-Free Food

For everything there is a season…

Today I picked the last of our rhubarb. It was not a very good season, too much rain this Spring. But as one crop finishes, another takes its place. Strawberries have been in season for the past few weeks and what pairs better than strawberries and rhubarb? Well I can think of something to add…chocolate!
The first of the zucchini were available at the market this weekend.
Zucchini bread is a favourite in our house. Some time ago, I read an article about using one’s wafflemaker for everything from quick breads to brownies. I haven’t tried brownies as waffles, but have had success with different quick bread recipes. One of our household’s favourite is zucchini bread waffles, which are surprisingly good as “bread” in gluten-free egg or cheese sandwiches.
Today I made a chocolate variation and turned it into a dessert.