June 29, 2010


Something is bothering me this week and I’m not sure what it is. I’m sleeping well, eating healthy, and getting some exercise in. Work is going alright – it’s the calm before the storm as the 200 students arrive on Monday. And I haven’t had any gluten. But, I’ve been quite irritable the last two days. The kind I feel when I’ve had some gluten-type product. It’s not only annoying because people are bothering me, but because I don’t know what’s causing it. Maybe I’m just having a few bad days without realizing it. I think things are going alright; I didn’t even freak out when the mad winds blew out the flame on my BBQ last night. I said the f- and s-word once, but that was all. Maybe it’s just one of those freaky things going on.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed my dinner. I had some asparagus in the fridge, picked up at the Parkdale Market, tossed it in some homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and put it on the Barbie. Served it with some chopped tomatoes, shaved parmesan cheese and ground pepper. It was tasty and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.

The original recipe is from Foodland Ontario. Give it a try while fresh local asparagus is still around.

June 26, 2010

My Morning Staples

For the past few weeks I’ve been having different things for breakfast. They can be considered different because 1) It’s different than my usual GF toast or cereal, and 2) Most people don’t have sweet breads and dessert for breakfast.

Normally I don’t have that many different goodies for breakfast but I’m testing out two GF cookbooks to see if I like them and they were worth buying. It’s looking good so far, but I’ll keep you posted (pun intended!). But with all the additional sweets I’m starting to feel a little, well, fat. I haven’t gained any weight, but I noticed my clothes were beginning to feel a little snugger, especially after losing some weight after eliminating all my ‘evil do-ers’. I’ll blame it on all the added sugar and fattening items (like whip cream).

The additional downside for cooking for two: if one person doesn’t like it then there’s the obligation of having it yourself. This poses a problem as my Honey doesn’t really like fruit and I do. Strawberry season has finally arrived in Ottawa and I love strawberries. It has been strawberry brulee (only so-so), strawberry shortcake (my first endeavour with Cool Whip in trying to stay away from the lactose – won’t do that again, yuck!), and strawberry fool (recipe to follow another day).

And this obligation to eat it isn’t to not waste food, it’s because I actually enjoy it. I blame that on my Dutch heritage. My father’s side loves the sugar, especially if my Nana had made it, and we would take it in almost any form. But as I’ve aged I’ve gotten more refined – the item better be worth taking a digestive enzyme or lactaid for it. Some people laugh, but almost every Dutch person/family I know likes sweets. I say almost because I worked with a teacher last summer with Dutch heritage and this was our conversation:
Her: Oh, cookies. Did you make them?
Me: Yes, it’s my nana’s recipe. Would you like some?
Her: No thanks.
Me: Are you sure? They’re reeeally good.
Her: No, I’m alright.
Me: You’re saying ‘No’ to a cookie?!
Her: Yeesss (beginning to look at me like I’m nuts)
Me: But you’re Dutch.
Her: Yeesss (looking at me like I lost it)
Me: But Dutch people like sweets. I’ve never known a Dutch person to say ‘No’ to a cookie, especially those in my family.
Her: My people like sandwiches (spoken quite proudly)
Me: Oh (I look at her like she’s nuts)

But I digress. Now that my desserts and breads are done, it’s back to the usual: my Maple Sunrise cereal and Almond Milk. It’s become my favourite cereal (the vanilla one is nice too). It’s nice and crunchy and doesn’t go mushy. It’s a nice way to start off the day accompanied by a glass of oj and a magazine. Afterwards I’m ready to tackle what the world brings me.

June 24, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

I realize that this is my first post about my job. I love my job and one of the reasons being that I meet so many great and interesting people. In my ten years of teaching English, I’ve only ever had one nightmare student. I think that’s a pretty good batting average. One of the things that is hard about my job is finishing up with students and saying goodbye.

Like teachers with school boards you have to say goodbye at the end of the school year, but in the private sector, students can begin and finish at anytime. This past month I started with two new students and am saying ‘See you later’ to four. While starting with a new student can be nerve-wracking -- not knowing their level, their abilities to communicate in English, what they want – it’s a piece of cake compared to that awkwardness of saying goodbye to someone you’ve come to know really well, but who is still an acquaintance.

With language students who work for the government, summer is spent at work, with their families, and probably taking some holidays. I can’t blame them. In Ottawa summer is short and you have to take advantage of it while it’s here (and the last two summers haven’t been that great). And for others it means their course has come to an end. For some reason it seems easier saying goodbye when I teach international students. Maybe it’s because at the beginning I know that they will return to their country at the end of their studies. Maybe it’s because the classes are groups and other students take my attention away from the sadness. Maybe it’s because I know it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll meet again. Comparing with my government students, the majority work in Ottawa, a short walk or drive to the school. It’s also private classes so when my student leaves for the last time I’m left standing there alone with an empty chair across from me. It’s a weird feeling knowing that you’re probably not going to see them again, even though they work and/or live in the same city.

In teaching private classes, I’ve been blessed with interesting students, so much so that planning lessons and getting through them is a joy. Rarely is there a quiet moment and we cover everything; work, family, habits, hobbies, annoyances, news items, pop culture, the government –municipal and federal. Like the saying goes: ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’, and boy does it fly. Most often, if we didn’t need a bathroom or tea break, we would keep going all morning, afternoon, or all day.

Since the majority of my students need to learn English for work, we concentrate and practise the skills and functions they need to improve upon. In all the describing, explaining, talking about needing things done, making preferences, and composing orders you really get to know who these people are. While you prepare for their language test conversation will also include the joys and frustrations with work. Early in my career the complaints made me feel a little uncomfortable until I realized that as a student, they need to know how to do this. So while I’m sympathetic and have an ear to listen (my resume should also read part-time therapist) we use them as opportunities to learn not only about how people work, but also the language they need to express themselves. Topics that are personal and unrelated to work also materialise and it’s intriguing to see what’s behind the person sitting in front of me and it’s often these topics that show me what make them tick. I not only learn about my student personally, but their kids, spouses, other family members, and sometimes even friends. It’s the personalization of these lessons that makes it harder to say goodbye.

This is the part of my job that never gets easier. While the last day of class is far from my mind during our course, when I enter the room on our last day there is less of a bounce in my step. In the walk to the bus station or the coffee shop I think about the great time I’ve had and areas the student has succeeded in. Tomorrow I say ‘See you later’ to my last student before starting another job for the summer. There I’ll meet 200 students, get to know them, and then unfortunately, say goodbye as they return home.

June 21, 2010

Market Shopping

I’ve written previously about the local markets and the wonderful bounty they provide. And I’m sure there will be many more posts to follow in time. Once they open I don’t venture inside a chain grocery store too often, just to get the staples of milk, juice and the odd bottle of ginger ale (and now my gluten free goodies). There are so many benefits of shopping at the local markets and my list could go on and on, but I can only ever find one disadvantage – the crowds.

Back in May Noah Richler wrote an article in Maclean’s lamenting shopping at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. Throughout the article I kept smiling as it reminded me of many shopping experiences in the Byward Market on a Saturday and Sunday morning. I learn quickly and the only time I venture there on a weekend is if out-of-town friends and family beg to go.

Unlike Richler, I can venture to the market downtown or on Parkdale any day of the week at any time I desire. When I worked in the market or near Elgin St. I would often take a stroll down to the market on my lunch break and pick up some goodies for the week or the weekend. I could take my time starting at one end, looking here and there, and then making my way back picking up what I wanted. It was perfect as the vendors had a chance to answer my questions or chat a bit. With my wonderful cloth LCBO bags full I would wander back to work. It was the least stressful part of my day. When I worked in the government it got me through the day. I would return to work all smiles, show off my goodies, and sometimes share my berries. During rhubarb season my students would be appalled with the horrible tasting sticks I presented, especially after they got a bite, but more so after they saw me take a bite of it and savour the kick it gave. But a few days later when they tasted my rhubarb loaf, their sense of wonder would turn into disbelief as they were shocked it was the same fruit.

Back in February, my Honey and I wandered through the St. Lawrence Market and luckily it was nothing like Richler had described, probably because it was mid-February and mid-Saturday afternoon. We could walk at our own pace and criss-cross the aisle. We did get surrounded by a crowd at one point, but that was at the food court and we just went on our merry way. Again, unlike Richler, we weren’t on a mission to get anything. If anything, our hearts kept dropping as we saw so many things we would’ve liked to try, but our hotel room didn’t have a fridge (I always begin to drool at the cheese counter).

Still, I did find some similarities. There are more local chefs picking up some of their fare at the markets, but luckily you have to get there early in the day to see them. I think of them like rabbits; look quick, oh you missed them. And some people don’t believe in lining up and swarm the vendors, especially on a weekend. But I’ve noticed they are usually tourists. Maybe they are those Torontonians Richler writes about. It is wonderful that tourists love to take some time while they’re in Ottawa to stroll through the markets, but they don’t buy anything and take up so much space (why are they always in groups of six or more?). Yes, I realize I toured the St. Lawrence Market as a tourist, but it wasn’t during peak time. And like Richler’s experiences, I too will tell the senior citizen to wait their turn. Unless they are frail and look like they’re about to tip over, they can wait like I did (I find seniors are far worse than teenagers in budding in line). But unlike Richler, success is in all how you say it. Instead of chastising the poor person, I find something like a guilt laden apology for thinking I was ahead works wonders. Maybe it’s because Ottawa is more conservative and in general, people don’t want to insult others, compared with larger cities, and so we wait our turn (except when suburbanites want to get on the bus, but I digress).

We still venture to the markets on the weekend, but our path follows different streets where we can stroll at our own pace. On mornings when we go for an early breakfast and decide to walk off the coffee jitters, we keep an eye on the time and try to be on our way by 10am at the latest. We get to enjoy the markets our way: enjoyable, pleasant and stress free.

June 18, 2010

Lessons Learnt

In my page ‘Gluten Free ‘ I mentioned the assumption that medical practitioners are now better prepared and knowledgeable in providing information to their patients then they were in the past. As a result, I was quite surprised when my French teacher mentioned that she’s also gluten intolerant and was at a loss of what to do. I couldn’t believe it. It had been ten years since I discovered I was wheat intolerant and the information available now is amazing, combine that with the products those with gluten sensitivity have available to them and I’m a pretty content person.

She was diagnosed fairly recently so she hasn’t been at a loss for too long, but nonetheless, she’s been frustrated and disheartened in not knowing what to do. Her doctor gave her the address for the Canadian Celiac Association and figured she’d take it from there. Luckily she shops at a nearby natural food store, so she’s found some items, but overall she hasn’t had much success. While I don’t know everything there is to know about the subject, I want her to be better informed. I care about those around me and so; some of our lessons have turned into me teaching her, which is fine by me because I’m using French to communicate. Ironically, although being gluten free is about information, it’s becoming more apparent that being gluten free is also about learning. And in our lessons together we’re discovering things that one has to learn in being gluten free.

One of the first lessons has been what we can and can’t have and I would say that the second is just as important as the first. If one dwells on what they cannot have then they will be consumed by it and won’t be able to move past it and onto what they can enjoy. It’s like the Rolling Stones song ‘You can’t always what you want’. In doing this one needs to learn to read the list of ingredients, which will become regular routine.

Patience is needed and often it needs to be learnt. One may not be able to always find what we need or want, nor eat where we want. One may need to improvise. Also, the products one picks up may not be that great and instead of giving up, one needs to keep plugging along trying something new.

Price can sometimes be infuriating, especially when you know the ‘regular’ product is a third of the price. Shopping around looking for a better price will also become routine as being gluten free can have an effect on one’s pocketbook if one allows it to.

Options are out there. Products are more widely available and can sometimes be found in places you least expect. Learning to cook and bake gluten free can be enlightening. One discovers new things, foods, and flavours. One can find new places to visit and shop, and sometimes, one can gain new allies in this journey.

Reading the list of ingredients becomes a part of life, and when one forgets (like I did the other day); the resulting experience becomes a quasi-helpful reminder. One needs to read for those taboos, plus any finished product that the product in your hand may contain that also contains those ingredients that need to be avoided.

Sometimes the best way to learn is to ask questions. I have gotten over the fact of feeling like an idiot or a pain in the ass; because I’m not and nor are those who suffer from gluten sensitivities. But, there is a catch: one still needs to be nice and polite. There’s an expression something like: It’s easier to attract bees with honey than vinegar. Even if the answer is not what one had hoped for, at least you have a touch more knowledge than 10 seconds before.

Carrying snacks can mean the difference between going hungry and eating something that will make one ill. It may happen (and it usually does) that you are without something to eat and all that is around you are taboo foods. One can either go hungry, and feel ill and tired as a result, or pull a snack from one’s bag and feel content until something better comes along. I finally learnt my lesson and always carry a few healthy and tasty GF snack bars in my purse wherever I go.

My most recent ‘learning moment’ was regarding expiry dates on packaging. It had never occurred to me to look for those until I came home with a fabulous box of GF cookies that I like and were hard as a rock. Seeing the confusion on my face, the Honey asked about the expiry date (I’ve got a smart man!). Lo and behold they expired months ago (I dipped them in tea and treated them like biscotti). New lesson learnt: expiry dates don’t just apply to fresh products like cheese and juice.

Learning how to cook or experimenting in the kitchen may help you stay healthy and keep your options open. Many of the things one enjoys may contain gluten so finding some recipes or useful cookbooks may help keep those favourites in one’s life. It could be simple like pasta and tomato sauce or a soup with added chopping skills. Recipes can get you started, but your only limited by your imagination.

June 11, 2010

Ohhhh Fabulous Spring

In a previous post I rattled on about how happy I was that spring had arrived. I call myself cold-blooded because I’m always cold and so I thrive in the warm temperatures. I hibernate all winter, but once the temperatures begin to climb, I’m out and about. In early spring I was in the Byward Market and was pleased to see the stalls up and vendors making their way back for another season. The market seems to come alive once the vendors set themselves up; almost a rejuvenation. Ours, the Parkdale Market, opened May 8th and I was waiting with anticipation. It closed much earlier last year due to construction in the park and market area. It saddens me when the markets close up, making me realize that fall has definitely come and winter isn’t too far off. But when they open I revel in their bounty.

At the Parkdale Martket we’ve got our favourite vendors; those for flowers,


and food.

We’ve got our routine down. Browse all the way to the end of the block, then decide what we want to pick up and compare with what we want and need, and what’s on the list. Last year I was impressed with the number of small vendors who arrived with what I would call ‘heritage varieties’. Yellow beets, purple carrots, and the sort. While many people think they are new and genetically modified, the majority are natural and just as old, or older, than the everyday variety. I would linger and look, but I never picked any up, but this year I will. I love the market. I love that things are grown in the area I live and support those who work that land.

As a child my mom would take me to the market with her. Seeing this area of downtown Galt alive on a Saturday morning was quite the contrast to the empty building I would pass during the week. We’d pick up some fruit and vegetables, lunchmeat, and blocks of cheese. But my most favourite thing was the honey vendor, with their jars of honey – some with the honeycomb in it - and the Billy Bee bear squeeze bottle. When I became a teenager and had a Saturday morning off work we would venture to St Jacobs and stroll around the farmers market. As I got older I could understand why my mother went there; it was cheaper than the grocery store. And that’s what lured me to the Byward Market when I moved to Ottawa. At that time, it was a bonus that it was local, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more important. These are local people making a living by living off their land. And many are like the Honey’s family, and have lived off the same land for generations.

The products I find at the market have usually been picked within 48 hours. The colours are vibrant and the aroma is amazing. Who knew fresh lettuce could spell like a fresh rainfall. Sometimes the cucumbers and zucchini have some tips left on them. And bins of asparagus, tubs of berries, and tubs of cut herbs allow your mind to wander with the possibilities for dinner. At times I get out of control and buy too much as it all looks so delicious. It’s a challenge to control myself, but I manage knowing that it gives me an excuse to come back sooner.

June 9, 2010

Brown Loaf Bakery

Yesterday I had to run an errand on Elgin St. and I quickly remembered that the Brown Loaf bakery (at 268 Elgin St. 613-236-3255) has some gluten free goodies. Years ago I used to stop in there and pick up some fresh bread or treats. Everything always tasted so fresh and wonderful. I loved their brioche – so light and airy. Sadly I hadn’t visited there for a long time until Dino at Gluten Free Ghetto wrote about their gluten free date squares and macaroons back in March. I picked up a date square and a few macaroons and they were delicious. Ironically, I prefer the ones without chocolate.

Throughout my walk down Elgin I thought about their GF date squares. I had only ever attempted to make them once and it was the last time. I found chopping dates so frustrating and difficult. Yes, I realize they aren’t actually that difficult, but for me they are. My sister laughs: give me a 4-5 course meal and I’ll whip it up in a breeze; give me a slice of toast or an egg and I’ll burn it. On my way back I ventured inside and made my way to the squares only to see cookies in their place. I stood there in disbelief for a second; then asked the clerk behind the counter. I must have sounded so disappointed as his reply sounded sympathetic, telling me they hadn’t made any for a while. I looked at the gluten free macaroons. They did look quite tasty, and some had chocolate. He showed me some other treats with spelt flour that looked really good, but by then my mind had wandered back to the macaroons.

I walked out with a number of them, regular and chocolate, to share with my French teacher. It was a day for sweets and they came in handy as my energy waned while writing a short passage in the future proche. Two made it home for a picture and were gobbled up shortly after. I did originally save them for the Honey, but he was late in getting home – too bad, so sad.

I’ve had macaroons that were sickly sweet, but these are perfect. They were crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. The ones half-dipped in chocolate were the same, and thankfully all the chocolate didn’t break off at first bite.

June 7, 2010


I seem to be all cerealed-out recently. I go into phases. Years ago I ate nothing but yogurt for breakfast. I’d have all different kinds and found it quite healthy. A ½ - 1 cup usually kept me full until lunchtime. Before that I’d have toast with jam or peanut butter, or cereal. One of my favourites was Jordan’s Morning Crisp, either with strawberries or mixed berries. It became my favourite shortly after becoming wheat intolerant and I came across it out of the blue one day. I loved it so much a friend of mine in England would send me boxes for my birthday and Christmas, and I’d bring home boxes after visits to England as well. It was hard to find for many years. But of course, I can no longer have it now that I’m gluten intolerant. I have a box mocking me on top of the fridge. I know I should throw it out. But I can’t. The Honey loves cereal so I moved it onto his side of the fridge, next to the Life and Kashi.

This week my breakfast treat is Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp. Growing up my mom would make this all summer. We had a big patch of rhubarb in our garden and she’d chop a bunch and make this in the microwave. To this day it’s been the best rhubarb crisp I’ve ever had. Over the years, since moving to Ottawa, I would try recipe after recipe and there are only one or two that come close, but never as good. Sadly after many trials I finally asked my mom for the recipe and it has disappeared. Her wonderful rhubarb crisp is only a memory. My sister and I were reminiscing about it as mine was in the oven. She hasn’t found a decent recipe either. I still had rhubarb in the fridge from my last trip to the Market and I wanted to try out some more recipes from the second gluten free cookbook I had picked up. It’s Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts; I haven’t tried many out so I don’t have much to say about it at this time.

This rhubarb crisp is quite nice and isn’t too sweet or tart. If you eat it the same day, the topping is quite soft, but it crunches up the following day. I thought the fruit layer was a little in the skimpy side, so I’d change it from 5 cups to 6 and use less sugar. Roberts uses a flour mix throughout her recipes and the one here is a rice flour mix. It makes a nice breakfast, and it’s rhubarb; of course I’m going to like it. In saying all that, it isn’t my mom’s so the search continues.

Two weeks ago my breakfast treat was Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I have purchased some of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free items before and most recently the sorghum flour. Metro had Bob’s Red Mill products on sale so I picked up a package of Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix. They have had the products on sale for a number of weeks now so I may go back and try some others. There were easy directions on the back, along with instructions for bread machines. So I picked it up and thought it would make a nice weekend treat.

Well, one weekend passed, then another, then another. I began to think I wasn’t going to make this bread. Then I decided to make it for the week. To give myself a nice treat to begin a busy day. It was quite thick in the bread machine and I had to scrap the sides and corners. As the baking time came to an end I was hesitant as I looked at the top of the loaf.

It resembled a lunar landscape and didn’t look that good. It looked a little dry. So it sat overnight to cool and in the morning I sliced myself some and popped it in the toaster. I spread a little margarine on it and took a bite.
It was excellent.

Rhubarb Crisp (altered from Summer Fruit Crisp in Gluten-Free Baking Classics by A. Roberts)
(Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup corn starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour)
6 cups rhubarb, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs corn starch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup brown rice flour mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
shake of salt
1/3 cup margarine, softened
In a mixing bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar, cornstarch, and spices until evenly coated. Pour mixture into a 8x8 pan. For the topping, combine all dry ingredients then add the margaraine. Stir until blended. Pour onto rhubarb, spread evenly and pat into place. Bake in the oven for about 40 mins at 375° or until browned.
A variety of fruit could be substituted for the rhubarb.

June 3, 2010


Last night I came home from my French class and baked up a storm. A few months ago I bought a few gluten-free cookbooks and have been slowly trying them out. I had dog-eared a number of recipes in one of them that sounded really good: Honey Dijon Toastie, Olive Ciabatta, and Rhubarb Orange Loaf. While waiting for the toastie to rise I also found Banana Cake with Coconut Topping. All these recipes can be found in the Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt (with a small change here and there).

Last weekend I saw rhubarb at the Byward Market and couldn’t resist picking up a few bunches. I love rhubarb! But then the weather got hot, and I hate turning on the oven when it’s already hot outside as well as inside. Before that, I had been putting off the toastie and ciabatta because I didn’t want to turn on the oven just for those two small things. But yesterday evening the house was cool and I set to work.

First was the Gluten Free Olive Cabiatta since it needed to rise for an hour. First I assembled all the ingredients for the ciabatta and set the dough cycle on my bread machine. Because the dough is on the dry and sticky side I had to take my spatula and give it a scrap to get the dough out of the corners (and the recipe told me to do it too). When it was finished I put it into a muffin tin and set it aside to rise. Next was the Gluten Free Honey Dijon Toastie. It made my mouth water; honey and dijon mustard in a bun, mmmmm. The dough was more fluid so I didn’t have to stand around for this one. I put my time into putting the Gluten Free Rhubarb Orange Loaf together. Both the toastie and the loaf needed to stand for 30 mins, so I found a cake recipe where I could use the thawed out mixed berries I had sitting in the fridge instead of the cup of banana called for in the Gluten Free Banana Cake.
An hour or two later everything was finished and sampling could occur. The ciabatta came out first and the Honey came in wondering what I made him. He was disappointed at first since he doesn’t like olives, but his spirits lifted when I mentioned the others in the oven. The breads were wonderful. Nice and moist and full of flavour. Instead of doing one big loaf I used muffin tins making them individual portions. I was disappointed with the rhubarb loaf. Even though the Honey thought it was good, I found it to be a little on the dry side. I have many rhubarb recipes and I prefer those to this one (I just need to tweak them from spelt flour to GF flour). As a result, the recipe isn’t posted. The cake on the other hand was delicious and moist; almost too moist it. Almost. I hadn’t drained the berries too much so I’m sure that’s where the added moisture came from. I think I’d rather make this when it’s going to be consumed in one go, like at a tea party or with friends. I’m concerned it’ll be a little soggy tomorrow; we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t usually do substitutions like that. I guess I’m a stickler for recipes, at least those in baking, as I’ve had many not turn out properly because I’ve done something.

Berry Cake and Rhubarb Loaf

An hour or two later everything was finished and sampling could occur. The ciabatta came out first and the Honey came in wondering what I made him. He was disappointed at first since he doesn’t like olives, but his spirits lifted when I mentioned the others in the oven. The breads were wonderful. Nice and moist and full of flavour. Instead of doing one big loaf I used muffin tins making them individual portions. I was disappointed with the rhubarb loaf. Even though the Honey thought it was good, I found it to be a little on the dry side. I have many rhubarb recipes and I prefer those to this one (I just need to tweak them from spelt flour to GF flour). As a result, the recipe isn’t posted. The cake on the other hand was delicious and moist; almost too moist it. Almost. I hadn’t drained the berries too much so I’m sure that’s where the added moisture came from. I think I’d rather make this when it’s going to be consumed in one go, like at a tea party or with friends. I’m concerned it’ll be a little soggy tomorrow; we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t usually do substitutions like that. I guess I’m a stickler for recipes, at least those in baking, as I’ve had many not turn out properly because I’ve done something.

Olive Cabiatta and Honey Dijon Toastie

At the end of it all, some are in the fridge for lunches and dinners, while some are in the freezer to be enjoyed later. I also took some to my French teacher today, who is also Celiac and has no idea what to do. She has also been frustrated with this gluten free lifestyle. I’m sure my goodies will help convert her to being gluten free with a smile.
*as an additional note: the berry cake was perfect the day after

Gluten Free Berry Cake with Coconut Topping
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup garfava flour
2 tbs corn starch
1 ½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tbs baking powder
Shake of salt
¼ cup skim milk powder
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup water
1 ¼ cup mixed berries (could use the same amount of bananas as in the original recipe)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tbs margarine, melted
For the cake: In a bowl combine the first seven ingredients. Mix well and set aside. Beat the remaining cake ingredients in a second bowl until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Spoon the batter into a pan. For the topping: in a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the batter. Let the batter stand for 30 mins, then bake for 35-45 mins at 350°.

Gluten Free Olive Ciabatta
½ cup millet flour
½ cup garfava flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
¼ cup corn starch
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbs yeast (bread machine or instant)
Shake of salt
1 tbs each dried rosemary and oregano
¾ cup water
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup each green and black olives
In a bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Mix well and set aside. In your bread machine pan, add water, oil, vinegar, and eggs. Select dough cycle. As the machine mixes, slowly add the dry ingredients. Throughout the kneading process, scrap the sides and corners of the pan. When the kneading portion of the cycle is finished, stop the cycle. Remove pan from machine and fold in olives. Transfer to a muffins tin, filling cup 2/3 full. Let rise for 60-75 mins. Bake for 20-25 mins at 375°.

Gluten Free Honey Dijon Toastie
1 ¼ cup garfava flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup corn starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbs yeast (bread machine or instant)
Shake of salt
2 tsp thyme
1 ¾ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup liquid honey
1 tsp cider vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Mix well and set aside. In your bread machine pan, add water, oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Select dough cycle. As the machine mixes, slowly add the dry ingredients. Throughout the kneading process, scrap the sides and corners of the pan. When the kneading portion of the cycle is finished, stop the cycle. Transfer to a muffins tin, filling cup 2/3 full. Let rise for 30-45 mins. Bake for 20-25 mins at 375°.

June 1, 2010

Thank Goodness for Monotony

This past weekend was a busy one and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I realized yesterday that having a routine is pretty nice. I know what to expect and how my day will flow, but of course life is full of hiccups.

Saturday I did a teacher training session with our new recruits and Sunday I co-hosted a bridal shower. I enjoyed both of these immensely, and the adrenalin was moving quickly through my body throughout the day. But come Saturday and Sunday evening, I was ready for bed at 8pm. Dinner was whatever we could put together and leftovers I was sent home with from the shower. I held strong and didn’t have any pizza at the training session (the pizzeria didn’t have gluten free pizza), but I didn’t fare so well at the shower and I paid for it. I took some digestive enzymes when I had some cake (it looked so good and tasted wonderfully), but they didn’t help me much. Lesson learnt once again.

I felt better yesterday and even more so today. Even though my morning got off to a rough start – I left the car windows down yesterday and we had a doozy of a thunder storm last night. The seats were more than a little wet this morning. This morning I started my day with a visit to Saslove’s. Every time I’ve been there, they’ve been nice and friendly, and answered any questions I had. I pop in there once in a while to pick up some back bacon for my honey’s weekend breakfast, as a special little treat. As a vegetarian I have no issues with other people eating meat, just don’t expect me to or lecture me about it. In the beginning it did feel odd going into a butcher shop; however, if I buy meat, I want it to be a quality product and I want to have an idea of where it comes from. Also, I can buy the quantity I want or need; not some monstrous package good for a family of 8. But today, bacon wasn’t my agenda. One of the employees was going to help me make sense of the different meats, cuts and a general idea of what to do with it all. In this experiment of trying out meat I’ve had some disappointing results, mainly due to me not knowing what I’m doing. My wonderful Joy of Cooking can only take me so far. Rhonda led me around as I jotted down some notes. I was concerned about being grossed out or being made to feel insecure, but Rhonda put me at ease. Her understanding and compassion was much appreciated. She even pointed out one of the sausages that also contain soy protein, so I can avoid it with my soy sensitivity. Celiac Carnivores will be very pleased to learn that Saslove’s doesn’t use any fillers, namely wheat or gluten, in their sausages and burgers. And of course, they are happy to answer questions about their products.

That may well be the highlight of my week. I’m taking French classes again, so between that and teaching, life is back to my usual routine. Nothing wrong with that at all.