Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe

Just Peachy

I don’t know where the expression “just peachy” originated, or what it originally meant.  Now, of course, it is usually said it a sarcastic way with a bit of a snap to the delivery.

What could it mean?  Literally, peaches are bright and juicy. They are fuzzy and sweet.  The term would mean things are great (no sarcasm), looking good, everything is just wonderful.

So using the expression, literally, things were just peachy when my son brought home a basket of peaches from work on Saturday.  There is one minor catch, however, I do not like peaches.  I dislike the smell, texture and taste of peaches.  I do like the colour though!  Peaches are still welcome in my home, my husband loves them.  But when faced with more than he can eat, what is one to do?  When life gives you peaches, make curd!  And since there were also nectarines in the basket, I used one peach and one nectarine in the curd…rumour has it that it went well with the brownie.  I had a sour plum instead!

Peach Curd Recipe (naturally gluten-free)

Gather:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chopped peaches (approximately 2 whole peaches)
  • 2 tbsn water
  • 1 tbsn lemon juice
  • 2 tbsn cold butter, cubed (can substitute margarine)

Method:

  1. Reserve 2 tbsn sugar.  Place remaining sugar in medium bowl. Whisk egg into this sugar.
  2. Combine peaches, the reserved 2 tbsn sugar and water in medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. *note if the peaches are juicy the amount of water can be reduced – my latest batch had no additional liquid added.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, boil gently until fruit is softened. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash fruit while cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Slowly pour the hot fruit into the sugar and egg mixture, whisk while pouring.  Then return mixture to saucepan and cook over med-low heat – stir constantly with wooden spoon until thickened (about 10 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat and stir in butter one cube at a time, until completely smooth.
  6. Chill *we like warm curd and have one serving warm, then allow the rest to cool before placing in jar.  If you want to smooth the texture even more, place in blender or processor until the desired smoothness.

Makes 1 cup.  Store in fridge.

Curd is really good over cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, or stirred into plain yogurt.  You could even use it between cake layers, just make sure it is completely chilled as it will thicken more as it cools.

Simplee

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Handmade · Life · Nature

Home Alone

Today was going to be an alone day.  My husband returned to work after his holidays,  my son was at school for leadership training and Mum usually stays home on Thursdays.  I had a mental list of things to do, make some granola, work on my house blocks – decorative touches and hand sewing, complete more half square triangles, finish up a strip of fabric for yo-yos and get some reading done.

My constant companion.

It is only mid-afternoon, but I haven’t really got any of those things done, other than about an hour’s worth of work in the sewing room this morning, including lace curtains for my house blocks. Instead I went off on a bit of a tangent in the front garden after going for a short walk.  I began deadheading flowers, which progressed to weeding, which in turn became pruning – since I pruned bushes by the front door, it led to washing down the siding behind what had been plant.  I had the water out; well needless to say the front entrance to the house has been deadheaded, weeded, pruned and scrubbed!  None of which had been on my radar this morning. Life is like that, and I have to admit, I do feel accomplished (and tired, a bit itchy from the cone-flowers, and my pruning hand is stiffening up).  Besides, there is still this evening to get some sewing done.

I’m loving the fabric my sister-in-law used for this winter quilt.

The days are definitely getting shorter and the weather has changed to cooler temperatures. It is hard to believe the summer holidays are over after this weekend.

Enjoy this last weekend of summer. Maybe spend some time outside under the trees daydreaming about cooler weather projects!

Simplee

 

Life

By The Numbers

  • 4 downpours (3 in one day)
  • 1/4 inch taller for my son,
  • 1 needle and 2 vials of blood for annual bloodwork
  • 12 chocolate cupcakes
  • 16 traybakes (8 each of date squares and coconut raspberry squares)
  • 7 inches of knit lace
  • 14 crazy patchwork squares
  • 149 yo-yos completed (running total of 1454!)
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 hours of MasterChef
  • 35 to 16 trivia score
  • 2 picnic lunches
  • 1/2 a grapefruit
  • 1 haircut
  • 1149 total of 4 Pics 1 Word
  • 19 pages of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None 
  • 5 days off
  • 1 year older for my husband. 

One quick blog post and zero fabric purchased!

Simplee

Handmade

More Projects…

Luckily, the dentist office is across the road from a small fabric shop in downtown!  Even luckier, my son didn’t complain about stopping in.  In fact, he picked out fabric he liked for a tablet case.  I’ll like working with it too!

This fabric is “above-board” for a tablet case.

I saw some wintry fabric I liked.  What can I say…the store was cold?!?! I’m not sure yet what to make with it, maybe a runner or placemat?

I was drawn to the colour and the curl of the deer’s antlers.

Both await my attention in the sewing room.

Simplee

 

Life

Make no mistake…

Make no mistake living simply isn’t easy.  There is the constant stream of daily living and to keep life simple you often have to swim against the current in that stream.

On a daily basis, information comes in through various sources such as radio, internet, newspapers, social media, etc, etc. There are heartening stories and heartbreaking stories, news which causes fear and stress, news which makes you angry and motivates action and there are times you can’t help but question where humanity has gone.

We are all connected in some way and that gives us access at our fingertips to anything and everything at anytime of day. Where do we go to escape it all? We can’t bury our heads in the sand, and do we want to? What we do need is balance.

Ah, balance.  Simple to say, hard to attain.

Carve out something simple, something you enjoy, something you can practice regularly.  Whether it is baking, quilting, knitting, sewing, tatting, painting, drawing, doodling, building, reading, tinkering, yoga, meditation, walking…your choice.

Make no mistake, the world can be a scary place, but you can find a small corner of that world to practice living a simpler way.

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food

A ‘Waffley’ Week

Everyday this week we have had waffles.  Waffles, at our home, however are not limited to breakfast.

Chocolate zucchini dessert waffles, great with ice cream.

Normally, Saturday mornings we have waffles for breakfast (a tradition which started as a ruse to get my son up and moving.)  For variety, we will have pancakes sometimes, since the recipes are pretty much interchangeable. And there are many recipes I rotate through: buckwheat, overnight yeast (pancakes), oatmeal, cornmeal, coconut, pumpkin, banana…never a dull waffle.

Banana bread waffles.

I also use the waffle maker to ‘bake’ quick bread waffles.  I simply use the recipe for a tried and well-liked quick bread, favourites are zucchini, banana and a millet molasses quick bread.  The xanthan gum (or other binder) can be reduced in the waffle – usually by half, if not more. There is the option of adding extra liquid, to thin the batter. I have had success adding 1/4 cup of additional water to the wet ingredients, this allows the waffles to spread more. One other change I make is the amount of batter I use per waffle.  With a waffle recipe, my maker takes 1/3 cup per waffle, but when I make a quick bread waffle I use a 1/4 cup scoop instead.

Millet molasses quick bread waffle-wich.

Once you start making quick breads in the waffle maker, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t tried it sooner.  This method puts the ‘quick’ in quick bread; it gives a nice variety to the gluten-free diet.  And they freeze well, but don’t be surprised at  how quickly they disappear from the freezer!

Waffle-wich anyone?

Simplee

A Bit of Fun · Life

A Few of My Favourite Things

A simple idea for a post, got a little more complicated.  This is for those ‘Sound of Music’ fans….now if I could only get the tune out my head!

Chickadees on flowers,
and bees about their business.
Gardenias, hydrangeas and now also zinnias.
Crabapple trees in beautiful bloom
and entering a neat and tidy room.

Cupcakes and large cakes…cakes of all sizes!
Blondies and brownies,
Green tea with lemon.
Cute little owls, made out of yarn.
A dwarf baby goat asleep in your arms.

Watching the squirrels tumbling for fun,
‘Elvira Madigan’ played by my son,
Knitting old lace patterns with thread thin as string,
this is another favourite thing.

When the days drag
When the clouds rain
When I’m feeling blue
I simply remember my favourite things
and think of something else to do!

Did you sing?

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Gluten-Free Recipe · Life

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