Thursday, January 20, 2011

gluten free muffin base

so i think i have my muffin mix down pat at this point. you can change up the ingredients but i've had a half dozen perfect batches in a row so seems like that makes for a solid recipe

remember, i am no baker, i never professed to be, so what may be simple to other cooks is a triumph for me.

my gluten free muffin base

3.5c of flour - i use equal amounts of sorghum and rice flour
1.5tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
1/3c butter or margarine (both work - have tried) melted
1 egg
2/3c demerara sugar - more if no other sweet ingredients (i use bananas and berries a lot so 2/3 has become the standard)
3tbsp coconut milk, a bit more if not using fruit

i use a mixer for all - i don't have a specific order all the time but i do usually do wet ingredients, then sugar, then add the rest.

325 oven for about 20min

makes 12-15 muffins when adding other ingredients like apples (or applesauce but then cut out coconut milk), strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or my fave 2.5-3 really ripe bananas all mashed up.

if you can tolerate oats, i found i can also sub out .5c flour for oats instead.

mmm - made some muffins tonight with 2.5 ripe mashed bananas and 1/4 c blueberries that i mashed up too

Monday, January 17, 2011

chinatown finds - treats and treat wannabe-s

it's always a bit of a culinary adventure, just a few steps out my front door...
living in chinatown, with little italy just a few city blocks away, i am spoiled for choice.
...but living as gluten-free as possible the gift is chinatown
each discovery is like a little gift of heartburn free, bloat free, tastes.

i go to little italy for proscuitto and olives
divine coffee
decadent gelato
and to stare into the semolina-laced temptations - pasta...abundant
the wheat-dreamy breads
the pizza - luring as the aromas are set loose as the pie is scooped out of a dry, hot pizza oven

but then there is chinatown
with the foreign script
and the rice dreams
and i can shop and venture out of my comfort zone
and test myself and learn and create every week

and in terms of a few treats...
recent discoveries...
cookies from the top of the post

Sunday, January 16, 2011

a name is just a bunch of letters...

so my 3.5yr old, my blond-haired, grey-blue eyed boy surprised me the other day.

normally, he knows how to spell his name...starts with a c, is a half dozen letters long.

one morning he says... mommy look...i spelled my name...

maybe this would explain his penchant for pho - or any soup with asian noodles
his love of things just that extra bit spicy
his fascination with chopsticks
the way he can scarf down shrimp in black bean sauce
or noodles done in cilantro and a fish sauce base.

or maybe (and likely, i suppose)
it's just an incredibly odd coincidence
or the influence of living in chinatown.

Monday, January 10, 2011

another tour of asia week (well... mostly)

gluten free banana bread muffins
i love travelling through asia. there are many places i love. rich experiences. but if i had to choose my top 3 places in asia...well, that's easy for me...

1. chiang mai - northern thailand - i studied here, i travelled here, i learned enough basics to buy things and count and order off a menu and say please and thank you.  kop kuhn ka, chiang mai - far in distance, but near in thoughts.
2. hong kong - love hong kong. love the dirt and the smells and the chaos and the tai chi and the ferry rides and kowloon and lantau island and the gold coast. so much love can only be expressed in a run-on sentence, and there is so much substance to the place...more than i can write in that same long sentence.
3. yangshuo, china. so relaxed, such an expected rest stop in a country that is challenging to travel - from west peace (xi'an) to a 30hr train ride to yangshuo, surrounded by karst hills - my peace.

and now food, photos and recipes...

featured snack - banana bread muffins - gluten free (but could be made with regular flour
1.5c demerara sugar (or brown sugar
6tbsp butter
--- cream these
1 egg
3 mashed bananas
dash of cinnamon
1c sour cream (i used fat free
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1.5tsp baking soda
1c rice flour
1.25c sorghum flour
3/4c oats (optional
---all of these mixed until fairly smooth
---300 oven for about 45min
makes about 18 muffins
(i added a few dark chocolate chips on top of each to make it look more treat like for the boys
---seriously yum and lots of great flavour and texture especially considering it is gluten free.

omelette- cheese
yoghurt and fruit
fruit salad

coconut rice crackers
veggies and dip
leftovers - lots and lots of leftovers


coconut/tomato curry chicken with rice - i did this in the slow cooker this time, and didn't change a thing and it turned out great.
  • chicken nuggets with peanut sauce in lettuce (for the boys
  • non asian - butternut squash soup and gluten free bread from the market
    some asian herbs - grass like blade on right is culantro
  • squid, green peppers, and baby bok choy with rice noodles in black bean sauce
    1/4c water / black bean sauce / squeeze of hoisin sauce / 2 tbsp rice vinegar / 2/3 lb squid / 3c baby bok choy / 1 green pepper chopped / 2 spring onions chopped / 1tsp minced garlic / 2 tbsp turbinado sugar / 1c bean sprouts / 3tbsp chopped culantro (vietnamese looks like a thick blade of grass - can use a bit more cilantro instead
    - quickly whip up in the wok or a pan
    - quick, easy and tasty - reheats pretty well for squid
  • chili and rice
i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

this does get easier...supposedly

...but am not entirely convinced.

i am sitting here a bit numb, and teary-eyed. my baby boy is at the dayhome for the first time. and i feel numb. the 3.5yr old is an old pro at it, there were even times (when i was on strict bedrest and after recovering from the birth of my 2nd) where he went full time.

i started my family in my mid-30s - i had gotten to a point in my career and travel (50 or so countries) where if it was all taken away, i would adjust. so it seemed the right time. i know the drawbacks of being an older parent, but the great thing was sculpting a satisfying work life that seemed compatible with having a family.


i seem to be wavering on this - back and forth. it is only part time care (and paying through the nose for it so the boys can be together with someone who shares similar parenting perspectives) - 15hrs a week...and still i am feeling numb, guilty, sad, relieved, tired, stressed, anxious. ugh

2 of my jobs are very flexible and i can sacrifice a bit of sleep for them to work at home when my husband is home from his regularly-scheduled job.

it's the 3rd one that is complicated. it's not just the job it's the benefits - unlimited travel, discounts on other airlines, travel...and the history (although i am part time now there, it was my first job out of university - it sustained me financially when i went back to school for the years that it took to become a registered massage therapist...the work i am truly passionate gave me freedom to travel, to not just dream about seeing places, but going...experiencing.

as of march, it will be 16yrs there. so leaving is harder than just quitting. i keep hoping that the company will ask for volunteers to go - offer a few passes for time served, shuffle us away.

strangely - i want that! that now seems like freedom. freedom to travel AND have more time to do the work i love AND maybe even fewer hours of childcare.

i don't want this to be like a bad break-up. where you walk away with nothing but what ifs. the work is okay, i like the people more than the job, and my history with the work makes it harder to separate. but i think today showed me it is harder to separate from my boys

i will try and wait
the contract is supposed to end in early spring
hopefully i will get the handshake i am looking for and we can still be friends

i just don't know

as i walked home (15min)
stroller-less in a bundling-up kind of winter day
i let the tears flow
the uncertainty of how i felt about this decision
going through the moments
handing over my snowsuited sleeping baby
into capable arms
but paid ones

i stopped and bought some ketchup chips
and a pack of stickers
one to get me to numb
the other to alleviate the sadness of walking home without them

so i am eating the chips
all 150g of them (5oz for you imperial-ists - doesn't seem so bad)
and will let the fried potatoes, the msg, the fake flavouring take me to numb
as i prep to go to my now inflexible job that will compete with the others for my time
that will compete with my children for my time.

i may need to buy another bag of chips...

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010/2011 week

i did take christmas week off from meal planning - well sort of.
it was a short week at home
a long drive to my parents
and quick visits - too quick
so little time for some of the most important people in my life...sigh

also, the week got a bit complicated
the tummy bug turned the home part into an all soup kind of week
little down, much up
good times

so this past week was clearly an improvement. used up the last of the freezer stash from 2010, and threw together a few recipes to round out the week.

happy new year! a photo reflection of 1/1/11 to come.

now onto pics and recipes...

new year's eve snacks
champagne and snacks including potatoes done 2 ways

cereal with soy/rice milk
yoghurt and fruit
eggs with pesto, salsa and cheese

rice cakes with hummus
gluten free crackers with hummus
veggies and dip
sour cream and onion chips
frozen yoghurt with kit kat pieces

- chili over rice - mashed down a bit for the boys - i think we are finally done with the freezer stash on this one
- leftover tomato coconut curry
- fish in phyllo with pico de gallo topping (i went without the phyllo for me gluten free - made a rub out of mexican chili spice, garlic powder, cumin and turmeric)
- potatoes in spaghetti sauce
- pizza quesadillas - i had spaghetti sauce and rice pasta
- butternut squash soup with gluten free biscuits

i share my weekly meal plans at - you can find hundreds of meal plans on menu planning mondays there...helped me get back into meal planning.

potatoes done 2 ways

i had a few potatoes and a hankering for some snack-y food for the midnight hour. this is how 2 recipes were born...

4 mid sized white potatoes (baked, cut in half and scooped out)
1 tbsp chopped jalapenos (i like spicy - could omit)
1/4 c sour cream
1tsp taco mix
a few tbsp of shredded nacho mix cheese
- i sprayed the potato skins with a bit of oil and baked them again for about 15min in a 350 toaster oven
- mashed the potatoes with the sour cream and taco mix - actually ended up using a mixer

- used about 2/3 of the mix for recipe one
- added cheese and jalapenos to bottom of potato shells, then mashed mix, then cheese and jalapeno on top
- 350 again for about 15min
...these were tasty and easy to eat

for the second recipe no jalapenos and 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese instead of shredded
- i used the rest of the mix, blended with parmesan and fried them like little pancakes

- yum!

...and the midnight snacks...

easy supper for the boys - pizza quesadillas

just using up some spaghetti sauce - the homemade sauce but without any meat in it.

a few whole wheat tortillas
a few dashes of parmesan cheese
and some grated cheddar

oil in the pan and fried up crispy brown.
i had the spaghetti sauce over rice pasta - the boys weren't interested.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

new year's resolutions i intend to keep

i suppose i should preface this post by stating that i found my ideas for my new year's resolutions in a newspaper article. but the ideas struck a chord that resonated strongly for me. so here they are (with the hopes of them evolving into new years' resolutions for years to come...

1. do 5 random acts of kindness in a day - choose 1 day of the week and intentionally do 5 nice things for people i know/strangers. the rationale is that when this is done with the clear intention of doing so - whether it be holding a door open for someone, buying a coffee for one of the homeless people i may pass on the street...thinking and acting on it has positive and lasting effects for me as well.

2. write a letter of compassion to myself at least once every few weeks. i tend toward being self critical and unforgiving of myself, and the idea of this is to show the compassion i would for a friend - to be a friend to myself as those who tend to be self critical also tend to be more vulnerable to depression.

and these are promises i intend to keep.

may 2011 be filled with promise and blessings for all.
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