Think of Me Gluten-Free

Think of Me Gluten-Free: June 2013

29 June 2013

Je Veux un "Ice Lolly!"

Finally, popsicles, and finally, the summer weather to go with them. I was inspired to make a cool and refreshing treat with the first few days of hot weather last week, with trips to the lake and riding on the scooter in shorts and flip flops, but as soon as they were made, wrapped in parchment, and stacked in the freezer ready to be eaten, there were clouds filling up the sky. The day following, these same clouds broke, and for the days after, and continuing over the weekend, it was a steady stream of heavy rainfall. 

I was thrilled the "first" evening we could have our windows and doors open again, and finish a relaxing day with a chocolatey and delicious ice lolly that filled taste buds with as much satisfaction as knowing they were made from the same whole ingredients we could pronounce and hold in our hands during a trip to the grocer. No added preservatives, no refined sugars or fats. 
Real ice lollies? You might not feel like it with a bite through its coconut coating and into the creamy chocolate filling. However, you'll be sure once the cool taste of it will be just the refreshment for a hot summer's day. 

I'm sitting in Quebec City airport now, the beginning of my summer in Quebec only an hour away, to when we'll board the bus and make the final leg of our journey, a three hour drive to Rivière-du-Loup. Despite traveling across Canada together, and going to schools practically next door, I have only just met another girl from Vancouver while we gathered bags from the rotating carousels and found the sign held by an animateur which will lead us to our summer "home." 

I'm glad the plane ride was easy, because the anticipation and nerves that I built up about being away from family for so long were not. A couple of hours in the Vancouver airport left me drowsy and wiped out for the plane ride, causing me to sleep most of the way, but so did spending a full couple of days with my sister who had just arrived home before I was expected to set off. 

And those days were full of ice cream dates, which have been planned for years, and thus fulfilled only twice over two days, plus a series of hours spent sorting through old clothes, toys and photographs, and drawn out mornings together with teas and coffees, pancakes and eggs, all which were enjoyed in our pajamas and glasses - finally my sister and I looked similar in our differences, my hair in tight curls, hers long and wavy, to name only one. 

We also kept busy late into the evenings, mostly because I didn't want the day to end, and be left with one less day to spend with my sister. Even the first night she was home, catching the last ferry and arriving just past ten pm, we stayed up by a plate of cheese and apple slices, while my mum and sister sipped on wine and we felt the ease of being back together, and our relaxation showed as we poked fun of each other and laughed.

However, as Saturday came to an end, it was almost the time when I would be dropped at the airport and begin travelling Quebec and exploring en français. We picked my sister's boyfriend from the airport and drove out to the southern coast of Vancouver, the ever-growing popular fishing town, Steveston. The cannery has become a tourist attraction, and the park with its expansive field has become an attraction to young and old who enjoy letting their kites out to the wind and pulling the strings to hold them in place. We walked through these flutters of colours, and even stopped for our second round of ice cream amidst the heat and crowds of picnickers and cyclists who thought the five o'clock treat was just the thing. Finally, we made our way back to the center of the town, and sat on the pier to enjoy a dinner under the heat of the sun, and with the flurry of wind off the water to cool us down. 

I was quieter and quieter over the time we sat there, the anticipation and emotions rolling over me and blocking my view of those last hours with my family. Mentally I was checking I had everything, and whether I knew exactly what I was going to do in order to avoid confusion in the airport as I boarded or went through security. 

I've found my way here though, made it through two flights and a bus ride. I've met people, and can manage the language with a little patience and perseverance. I'm sure that with a few more days my jetlag will have subsided, and I'll have settled in to a new routine, new classes, new people, and a whole new culture and environment, but with it a whole new excitement for the summer. Until I take a train in the middle of the night to visit my sister in Montreal that is. 

Avocado Chocolate Ice Lollies 

For a rich and creamy treat while sitting on the beach, or while enjoying the sunny weather as afternoon fades, plus the delicious taste of cocoa, these are the perfect refreshment to be taken straight out of the freezer! Simple preparations make these ice lollies quick and fast to be ready when you need them during busy summer plans.

To make the ice lollies raw, substitute the maple syrup for agave.  

{Makes 6 small ice lollies}


2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup cocoa powder, raw and dairy-free
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water 

75 grams coconut oil
4 tablespoons heavy coconut milk, from a can
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder


In a blender, pulse pitted avocados until smooth. Add in cocoa powder, maple syrup, and water, and blend until fully combined. 

Transfer mixture into popsicle molds, inserting sticks on top and place in freezer. Freeze overnight. 

To make coating, melt coconut oil before stirring in coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Allow mixture to cool slightly before coating ice lollies. 

In a tall and skinny glass, just wide enough to insert the ice lollies, pour in the coating mixture. 

With squares of parchment prepared for each ice lolly ready, dip each lolly one by one into the coating, allowing it to drip off and harden slightly before wrapping in parchment and placing back in the freezer. Continue with all ice lollies, and repeat again to thicken the coat. 


xx S


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23 June 2013

A Few Huckleberries From the Trees

Berry picking nearby our house is something that I've always enjoyed. From heading to the little trails that make up our backyard with towering huckleberry bushes which my sister and I would have to pull down to reach the juicy berries, to spending hours reaching the best salmon berries with dad and collecting them in doggy bags because we didn't expect to find so many so delicious and ripe at that time of year.

I took the dog for a run today, and as we walked back home under a sky which sprinkled rain lightly down on us, I just left thoughts behind and looked around. Little tiny droplets of red scattered the bright green bushes, and birds chirped and chimed as they fluttered unseen behind a wall of green leaves and the trunks of trees. I noticed this wallpaper of green dotted with red as I passed through a tunnel made up of huckleberry bushes, and finally reached my hand to pull one berry, juicy and swollen, which nearly fell from the branch as I knocked the surrounding leaves.

Holding the berry between my thumb and index finger, I instantly thought of all those times when my sister and I would fill buckets, bowls, and later our pockets, with these tart little berries, ecstatic by our achievement when they were brought home and compiled into one huge bin. We would sit there and sift through the bugs, leaves, and stems that were also brought in with them, and sneaking many to eat throughout the process. Eventually, we would make pies using the berries, a tradition that lasted through to when my sister left for university and no longer came home during the berry picking season. Instead, I would bake up a pie using a mix of huckleberries and salmon berries, never quite
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Little Bit of Home's Fresh Carrots

While trying to explain a gluten allergy in French, and asking ma monatrice for help when a pizza dinner was planned on Canada day, I've had some practice with speaking French here. It seems I am the only one who doesn't eat wheat here, and so until the pizza had arrived one evening, the director had forgotten completely. I have been lucky to be able to communicate enough with the kitchen staff who are both kind and helpful in showing me the plates I can eat, although their long descriptions of ingredients can fly right by me at times. 

It was chicken stirfry without the noodles for dinner the first evening, with Greek salad on the side. The next night I waited a few moments to be served a delicious plate of gluten free pasta, which was cooked specially pour moi by my personal chef (or what I'd like to think of him as!) The chef has been extremely kind, and immediately after I arrive in the cafeteria, they recognise me and begin to prepare my meal. 

Which has frequently been a plate of gluten free penne for dinner these past few days, mixed with vegetables and a sauce or seasoning. 

My first breakfast I was glad to have a plate of baked scrambled eggs and hashbrowns with some fruit, and even more thrilled when I found the tea just around the corner from where food was served. A little oasis I like to think, and almost a little comfort from home. 

I think I've missed having a cup of tea in the afternoon most, those times during the day when we all sit down together with a hot cup, and slowly begin unwinding without much else to worry about. And we could stretch our legs out onto another chair without worrying about taking up space which one of the other 126 students could use. 

It's very easy here, and when the pressure of speaking clearly and quickly enough for others to pay attention isn't on my mind, I can focus on today, the moments maintenant, or meeting new people while introducing myself in French. It helps that everyone in small town Rivère-du-Loup is so friendly, some holler out car windows as they pass groups of us trying to find our way through a scavenger hunt of the town, or kids on their bikes wave as we pass on opposite sides of the street. They must be used to having a new group of students each spring and summer, and I'm just glad that instead of showing an annoyance at our misspoken and mispronounced French, they instead take the time to welcome us into this little town on the banks of the Saint Laurence. 

This morning, I awoke early in excitement   for an morning run, and when I was the only one who could make it out of bed, took the opportunity to explore the streets around where we've been staying for the past week. Set in a grid system with one main street running perpendicular to the river, the town is divided into an older part, which runs along the Rue Lafontaine and where many of the restaurants and amenities are. To the other side of the cégep are the large box stores, including a Wal-Mart where many students make frequent trips for things which have been forgotten at home.

Roasted Carrots with Thyme

A little reminder of home, fresh carrots grown right on Bowen, I really couldn't resist posting this recipe that I absolutely love. And there's something about cafeteria food that makes you really miss raw vegetables, both local and fresh, and without the need for too much sauce or seasoning. Carrots taken right from the ground have all the right flavours, which is why this recipe is so perfect with just a few, simple ingredients. 

Roasted until the sweetness of these carrots is developed, they're almost addicting, and a perfect appetizer or accompaniment to any meal with their delicate taste and bright colours. Who could resist something as interesting as a purple carrot? Or one that is white like a ghost-able!?

2 - 3 bunches of whole carrots, with tops, preferably in different colours
1 tablespoon grape seed oil 
2 - 3 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves


Preheat the ovent to 400°F.

Trim the green stalk of each carrot to leave only 2 inches or so, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and fresh thyme leaves.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, the carrots should be tender.

A delicious side to any meal, or to top a favourite salad. 

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21 June 2013

I Play in My Kitchen

I go to bed with a certain level of excitement for the adventures of cooking to come from the kitchen the next day. To me, it's about creating something, and finally having the space and freedom to change raw ingredients into something completely new.

I like to plan things, and so, laying awake in bed I have a mind whirling with possiblities, and organising my ideas into neat little boxes:

things to do tomorrow

ideas for recipes

ideas for crafts

And the most interesting of all,
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18 June 2013

Summer Plans

I can't believe that there's less than two week until I'm off to Quebec for six weeks: four weeks in a French program where I'll be speaking French entirely, plus another week and a half spent in Montréal with my sister before coming home again. I'll be put on a plane to Quebec City, after a quick layover in Toronto (I'll definitely check out the restaurants with an iPad at each seat!), where I'll then make my way to Rivière-du-Loup by coach - among another 3,000 kids all traveling to similar programs across the eastern part of the country that day. Atleast I won't be alone!

I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm thrilled to be travelling somewhere new (crazy that I've traveled to Europe so many times, but have never visited anywhere in Canada farther east than the Rockies!), and I'm also a little apprehensive that I might miss the final moments with my friends on Bowen, before they're off to university, and we're off in a moving van to Victoria in the fall.

With the sun shining consistantly these past few days, up before I wake up and already warming the house, and setting just as we finish dinner on the deck (rare for our usually rainy June), I'm inspired to get up from the sunny breakfast table and explore - outside, in the trees by my house, or along the beaches... or even farther... an adventure of sorts, and with it, a new experience.

I thought with plans of upcoming adventures, I'd check back to Moorea Seal's 52 List Project, and choose another to begin summer with. You can check {here} to see the last list I posted: My Greatest Comforts. Today, I wan't to write down all my goals for this summer, just before it officially begins in the calendar year this Friday (and the longest day of the year!)

It's important to me this summer that I don't miss out on special experiences, once in a lifetime
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17 June 2013

Poppy Seed Crackers while Everything Seems so Sweet

I love Father's Day for the same reason I love birthdays: it gives me a chance to show someone special just how much they mean to me, and in a way that may be over the top on any given day. It's good to have a whole day, and an excuse, to stay up late making a card with delicate lettering and meaningful phrases, as well as having a motive to mix up some delicious treats for when dad wakes up the next morning. On any other weekend, someone might say I was obsessed with the whole idea, but luckily this week was Father's Day. I made a super hero themed card for my dad, with his own superhero on the front - a 'K' on his chest and a big blue cape flying out behind him - and to go with it, a box of Chocolate Coconut Clusters. (Mum and I stole a couple before dad took them all to work this week!)

Just after waking up and putting the kettle on for some tea, which was enjoyed as we stood out on the newly renovated and sunny deck, we drove across island to the golf course restaurant for a special brunch. Again, we faced a few moments of brisk wind on the patio in anticipation of catching the
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06 June 2013

What I've Learnt Being Gluten Free

I've been sitting on this list for some time: a list that contains some of the most important things I've learnt going gluten free in my last year of high school, and I really feel that looking back, could provide someone with the forethought of what being gluten free may entail - for a teenager, or anyone. Going gluten free, I'm going to be perfectly honest here, may not begin with days stretching out as your energy stores sail above as anticipated, and like anything new, there are highs and lows. However, when your body adapts, and you start to follow a new routine, there will be the thrills of having the energy, the freedom of living a life with a little less stress and anxiety (although I'm still working on this), and the amazement of still being able to carry out a full, and fulfilling, life.

My list is as follows:

 In the beginning, there are days when being gluten free may be so frustrating, and finding something to cook for dinner while your stomach grumbles is the last thing anyone wants to do. Everyone has days when they don't know what to make for dinner, with or without a diet restriction, so breathe, take a moment, and browse the recipe section of this blog for some dinner ideas. 
Focus on the foods you CAN eat, rather than the ones you can't. This will help you keep positive, and to divert your cravings away from those gooey cinnamon rolls... 
I honestly don't often find myself doing much without a cup of tea beforehand. It gives me a little more energy, and also a little time to think, and bring myself back from any anxieties that swirl around my head. 
Be careful of any vitamins you may be missing from your diet. (And if you're strictly gluten free - watch out for the ingredients written on the labels). A couple of months after removing gluten, I found I had a return of acid reflux and tasted metal on my tongue continuously, when it started hurting my tongue, I finally went to the doctor. The reason? I wasn't getting enough vitamin B12 and magnesium, and who knew it could be so simple! (For this, I recommend checking with your doctor both before and during - they're extremely knowledgeable about the symptoms and effects you may experience).
Pack lunch. Don't rely on cafeterias to have something you can eat, chances are, you won't be left satisfied, or will remain hungry just looking at all the pastas and cookies
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