Think of Me Gluten-Free

Think of Me Gluten-Free: August 2013

28 August 2013

At the Cabin

It's a shock to feel as if I have been hit by the sudden fact that it isn't only me that's moving away, something I can control, can always know when I'll be visiting friends again, but also the people I have grown to accept as always being around, always being there, will too, move away, and find new adventures on greater, larger, and expanding coast lines. As this week goes on, more of my friends update their Facebook statuses and with their new location, or post photos of their new dorm room home.

It came when I saw one of my good friends on the island only last Friday, and I was so absorbed in running from errand to errand as well as finding time for a quick coffee with mum before heading to a friends, worried about seeing her before she left to university as well, that I didn't even think that just that evening, he would be flying across the country for a semester in university. And I'm sure he's not the only person I've missed while I've been so wrapped up in my own move. 

After last weekend, we packed a little more and filled an entire row of boxes to be kept, and to be given away, but I also took a few days off to spend a couple of nights at my friends cabin, a place I have visited with her family for years, and a place where it is easy to forget everything else, and just enjoy the sound of the waves on the beach, or the numerous trips in the rowboat in hope of pulling up a big crab from the trap out in the bay.  

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23 August 2013

Mornings Are Peachy

Ever since I was younger and mum would leave for work in the morning during summer, leaving me to sleep through the sounds of the car pulling out the drive, and her sneaking in through the door to leave me beside a steaming mug of tea she brought down, I've always loved the morning. In the summer, when I wake up to a gentle breeze flowing through the open doors, and the sun has already warmed my favourite place at the kitchen counter, it's the best time to sit and to enjoy those quiet, precious moments to myself. Outside, neighbours softly pound at broken fences, or rake up the quickly falling blanket of leaves as August heightens and the strong sun with no rain to break it up browns the leaves before they fall from the trees. In the morning, there is only the sound of the radio coming from a top the microwave, or before I've fed the dog, I can hear her paws pattering along the floor as she skips along beside my feet, and curiously detects whether I'm heading to her food bowl. She too loves the morning, it means food, and it means playing outside. To me, morning is the time before I have to get up and start packing, before Tilly gets too anxious for a walk, happy with a play and her bowl, and it's an hour, or two, before I have to think past anything more than a nourishing breakfast, and keeping hold of this cup of tea whilst turning the pages of my book.

Usually, I take my time choosing a rainbow of fruits to go with my cereal, or decide the best variation of nuts and seeds to top. Unlike when I was at camp this summer, where the cafeteria decided our plates, and being gluten free left me little option of waffles and bagels there, here I have an entire carton of eggs to play with, the spice cabinets full, a vegetable and fruit drawer to choose from, and I can't forget the cupboard where we keep our cereals and nuts. To me, breakfast has the most freedom. If you like sweet, you can have sweet. And if you're in the mood for savoury, toast, eggs, vegetables, potatoes, all give limitless variations.

Time, to me, also seems to stretch out, and I have that freedom in the bubble of before I think its the day, before the clock endlessly chimes out 12. 

Peach and Oat Smoothie

Here's the smoothie that got me ready before a big day of packing, before I really have to make the final push of packing boxes for our moving date next weekend. With a bowl of peaches on the counter, I've been enjoying them in all ways, salads, sliced with a drizzle of raw honey, or as part of breakfast, and especially in this delicious smoothie. As the main ingredient, peaches add flavour, while banana adds a bit of sweetness as well as texture. There's also nothing better than oats in a smoothie, with tons of fibre, manganese, and absorbing powers too. I've also added chia seeds for a morning boost, and because they absorb moisture to thicken it up. 

Sweet, with a slightly tart kick, but thick and creamy, this is the smoothie for a satisfying breakfast, brunch or late night bash. Peachy!

{serves 1}


1 fresh peach
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons gluten free oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup natural almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey


Combine ingredients in a blender, and allow the ingredients to sit for 5 minutes to give the oats and chia seeds time to absorb some of the almond milk. This will help to give your smoothie a creamy consistency, the wait is worth it!

Then blend until completely smooth, allowing the blender to run until there aren't any lumps left. For a thicker smoothie, add more banana, or add more almond milk to thin it out. 

Serve in a tall glass and sprinkle with more chia seeds or sweeten further with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Enjoy! xx S

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20 August 2013

Granola Like Oh Boy! Shoot! Oh Baby Holdup.

For our last morning together in Montréal, my sister and I sat down at a local restaurant for breakfast before I had to catch the bus to the airport. In declining toast which accompanied breakfast, she told me that she would try cutting out wheat for the next coming weeks, to see if it improved anything in how she's been feeling, but also worried about the increase in the cost of choosing labelled gluten free food, especially packaged items such as cereals or cookies which really hiked up our food bill while I was staying with her. 

There are alternatives to buying the fancy packages on the shelves, and with it the feeling of regretfully walking out of the store thinking what you'll have to eliminate from this weeks budget. Simple ingredients that are naturally gluten free are much cheaper, and quick recipes are perfect! Oats, for example, are generally a cheaper item in the grocery aisles, and although finding dried fruits and nuts for cheap can be a harder task, we usually head to small specialty stores in 'Little India' or Chinatown of Vancouver, where they can often be found for less than at Whole Foods. 

For the last week or so, I've been hearing updates that there really is an improvement in how she's feeling, but mostly I've heard of new recipes she's tried. So the name of these two recipes for different types of granola came from my excitement when my sister began sending me the photos while she cooked one morning, and I replied "Oh baby holdup." and started thinking how perfect her recipe was.
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18 August 2013

Giving a Raw Recipe a Try

Time really has flown. It seems that it was only yesterday that I arrived home, a little weary from travelling, but excited to be back and to spend a little time island living. It seems already that the end of August is close, most of my friends have had their last day of summer jobs, and it's only two weeks to go until the big day. Moving day.

Yesterday was both the garage sale and our going away party, which was organised by some very close friends of ours, so from the moment I stepped outside with a bowl of gluten free granola and berries for breakfast still in my pyjamas, there was sorting and selling to be done, and later lots more boxing of leftover items and finding the next step for them. 
Among the mountain of things that have piled up over the years, we sold a few knick knacks to some curious onlookers, but mostly enjoyed cups of tea here and there as we sat in the sunny spots at the bottom of our stairs or chatted with people perusing the clothes racks or boxes of toys. 

There's something about seeing all our old things going, some which we thought absolutely essential, or that once held meaning for us, that gives me the feeling that yes, there is a part of my life that is really is over. Suddenly, it feels as if I have finally passed over a line in the sand, and crossed a point where I can finally say that there is a past, and there is also a now, and there is no point in trying to blend the two, or always thinking back to what could have, or may have, been done. There are years during high school, and before, although I may have been too young and not yet influenced or changed by my environment and surrounding people, that I can close as if parts of an album, only events that are recalled upon as if passing through the pages of photos. Those years, with their many enlightening, tough, exciting, or silly moments, may have helped build the person I am today, but they do not define me.

As I put baby clothes and trinkets into cardboard boxes, closing them and labelling them before adding to the pile to keep, and sort through albums, old clothes and books to go, I felt a sense of cleansing, and with each box of toys from my childhood packed into the back room, or pile of painfully awkward old shoes sent to the garage sale pile, I felt as if that small part of my life, with any negative influence it may have, is flushed, and I keep only what I need, and only what I want. 

This recipe, made from only natural ingredients for a completely raw, gluten free and vegan, "cheesecake", is exactly the kind of food fit for a cleanse, even if we are cleansing the clutter from living in this house, growing up, and spending many years here, rather than the typical cleanse. It was inspired by a delicious dessert my sister and I shared the last night I spent in Montréal, from a little vegan restaurant off of Rue Sherbrooke. Past the rows of jars filled with dried fruits, nuts, raw granola and dehydrated crackers for sale, dining tables were set up beside white brick walls and stained glass windows made from car headlights. It was the menu that we oohed and aahed at, with its delicious descriptions of new meals, a raw lasagna, gluten free and raw crepes or pad Thai, and after we were served and had eaten, couldn't resist the temptation of dessert.

Blown away by the flavour of the raw plates, both from dinner and dessert, I've given raw baking a try at home, and am again thrilled to find that the ease of blending a few ingredients together, such as cashews and dates, with other secret ingredients to give new flavours, can produce such delicious cookies, brownies, or even this "cheesecake."

Raw Blueberry Uncheesecake

Almost unbelievable that this dessert isn't made with any cream or cheese, and is in fact is completely raw! It still has a delicious creamy texture, and the rich taste of blueberries is a perfect complement to cashews. I guarantee you won't be feeling guilty after this indulgent dessert, as it is made from all natural, and healthy ingredients.

Smooth and sweet, its the perfect combination for a dessert to impress, or to enjoy after dinner.

{makes 4 individual uncheesecakes}



1/2 cup almonds
2 dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut


3/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons raw coconut agave
1/4 cup almond milk 


thawed blueberries


For the crust. In a blender or food processor, combine almonds, dates, and coconut, and blend until finely ground and the mixture starts to have a smooth consistency. Among four ramekins, spoon in the crust mixture and press down evenly along the bottom.

For the filling. Rinse the blender or food processor, then add cashews, blending until finely ground or almost powdery. Combine the blueberries, a teaspoon of vanilla, raw coconut agave, and almond milk, and blend until completely smooth and there are no whole blueberries or chunks of cashew nut left.

Pour the filling into each ramekin evenly, and set them in the freezer for about an hour to set. If making these a day ahead, they can be put straight into the fridge and kept there until serving, otherwise, place in the freezer for a faster set. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the topping. Remove the frozen blueberries from the freezer and allow to thaw completely before layering on top of the uncheesecakes. Heating them up will also speed up this process, and release more of the blueberry juices.

Enjoy! xx S

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12 August 2013

Out of City Sounds

After a weekend spent outside of Montréal city, just beyond the busy highways and buzz of traffic, workers travelling along the roads in tooting cars and the swish of bicycle tires speeding past, with the noise of construction always just an earshot away, I suddenly miss the slow pace of living on an island, or at least beside the ocean, next to the beach where we'll go for an entire afternoon, waves lapping against the shore as the only backdrop of sound, or nearby some quiet and shadowed trails where underneath the tall, leaning arches of old evergreens, you feel protected and somehow in your own little world, as if any big city doesn't exist for the moment, and in your own world you can pretend whatever you like. Here, back in my sister's apartment, through the windows that are left open to let in some fresh air, the constant hum of machines outside also finds its way in, drilling and pounding from the moment I wake up, to the background of the radio podcast playing that it becomes, or as a replacement for the poignant sounds of the kettle or microwave that when I'm at home, and there's no other sounds to compete, are sharp clicks so surprising rather than a dull change in what I can hear around.  

We spent the weekend at one of my sister's friends house, among her three horses and paddocks around the house, plus the three cats who knew of the relaxing weekend ahead, and lazed about on any chair they could steal, and finally her two Bernese mountain dogs, excited and full of energy with every new person or movement made. I was in heaven with all the animals, but again, it made me miss my dog even more. Beside the pool, and between the outdoor bar, we sat around in the sun, barbecued chicken and sausages, and stayed up beside the roaring campfire underneath stars, little twinkles of light that aren't often seen in a city when lights cascade outward and block the little white stars from being seen. 

Her house was also filled with gluten free foods, she being gluten intolerant herself, and so as soon as we arrived we enjoyed gluten free pasta, and I shared the gluten free brownies I had made, as well as a comfort and relaxation in knowing things, food-wise, were taken care of. It was lovely spending time at someone else's house without the constant nudge of being alert if they might forget, handing you a plate of pizza and saying, "don't worry it's whole wheat," or not understanding that beer is in fact made from wheat either, replying to your decline of a cookie with a sad sort of frown. Rather, dinner that night included gluten free sausages and plenty of chicken, and the next day, a late Sunday barbecued breakfast of toast and bacon that also included enough gluten free bread for the two of us. After a late night, all of us around the outdoor table ate in large mouthfuls between recounting sitting around the camp fire, or jumping in the pool, and when I was picked up and thrown in first. 

As much as I love wandering Montréal, poking in to shops, the relaxed drinking regulations, enjoying chocolate desserts with my sister at Cocoa 70, or spending a day like today wandering into a basement coffee shop for some chai tea beside an old brick lined window, the sounds of construction each morning leave me a little restless, and the neighbouring building jumps a little closer as well. Laying on the deck chairs yesterday, the sun a welcome heat and a gentle wind blowing across us just when it became too hot, the squirt of the pond fountain in the background, I could almost remember long summer days last year on the beach, and taking my scooter round with friends to spend a day beside the ocean. 

Just after the last run on the little yellow go-cart, speeding down the gravel lane and quickly turning back before passing the neighbours paddock, without breaks to slow down, and climbing through the fence to see the three horses left to graze peacefully in the front, we set about making pizzas on the oven pizza round that had been heating up while we were outside. Taking turns pressing down on the gas and seeing how fast the go-cart would go, and sometimes leaving curving tracks in the lane, time had passed by quickly in a summer's lazy way. Bringing out gluten free pizza bases for everyone, we dressed them up with tomato sauce and mozzarella, adding boccincini and fresh basil from the garden, as well as olives, tomatoes, and pepperoni slices. With simple, fresh, and delicious ingredients, plus a flatbread-style crust, the pizzas came out hot, but were still devoured quickly as the flavours couldn't keep hungry mouths away, and even after the first slice, each new piece with a slight variation in toppings tasted as good as the first. It always seems that the freshest ingredients, or the simplest of meals, with few items needed, but always made using whole food, always taste the most delicious, with the best flavour, and will always leave you feeling much better afterwards. None of that greasy pizza after taste, like when they served hot lunch during elementary school, but using local and real ingredients, a pizza is a healthy and easy meal.

Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Pizza {with Recipe for Dough}
{print me here}

When looking for a gluten free pizza dough without the long rising time of yeast, or the trivial mixing of flours to create the perfect blend, all the while wondering if it will actually work, there's always this simple, quick, and delicious gluten free dough, that can be layered with any choice of toppings (but I will show you our fave!) and even rises to give that soft and chewy bite.

If you aren't in the mood for pizzas, or plan on entertaining friends, roll out the dough into smaller rounds or squares onto a baking sheet, which can then be eaten individual as mini flatbreads, and will even be perfect for dipping into balsamic vinegar and olive oil.



2/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup corn flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 whole egg, plus 1 egg white 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup warm water


1/2 cup caramelised onions, recipe below
8 to 12 stalks of asparagus
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sliced kalamata olives
Sliced sun dried tomatoes
Large handful of fresh baby spinach leaves, stalks removed
Goats cheese


Start by caramelising the onions, and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 425°F and coat a round pizza pan with olive oil. In a large bowl combine together the flours, and mix well.

Beat together the egg, egg white, olive oil and milk. Slowly pour into the flour mixture, and stir well. This can also be done using a food processor, which will quickly blend together the ingredients, and form a nice smooth dough. Slowly add in the warm water, quarter cup by quarter cup, until the dough begins to come together and form a round ball. It should be quite sticky, so at this point to avoid dough sticking to your hands rather than to itself, coat your hands in water, and then rub with oil.

Flatten out the dough onto the pizza pan, evening spreading across, applying more oil to your hands off necessary. Cook in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.

In a small rimmed baking sheet, combine together the lemon juice, garlic salt and olive oil. Toss together with trimmed asparagus stalks, and place in the oven, at the same temperature, for 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, line the pizza base with caramelised onions, and add the asparagus stalks straight from the oven, disregard the juices. Bake for a further 4 minutes.

Top with the kalamata olives and sun dried tomatoes, then scatter the baby spinach leaves evenly over top. Bake for another 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough it completely cooked through. 
Finally, add rounds of goats cheese on top, and place back in the oven until it is melted and the edges begin to brown slightly, approximately another 4 to 6 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving!

Maple Caramelised Onions

For bringing out the sweet taste in onions, the process of cooking slowly over low stove top temperatures does just the trick. Adding in a little brown sugar, and you've got that rich, delicate flavour that can honestly be paired with just about anything. On top of pizzas, caramelised onions can provide the base layer, a delicious texture and savour to add both a new flavour and amazing combination with other toppings.


1 tablespoon grape seed oil, olive oil can also be used
4 cups white onions, sliced 
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Heat oil in a large pan over medium stovetop heat. Add in the onions and water, cooking until the onions are completely tender, caramelized and golden, about 40 to 50 minutes. Add more water if needed. 

Stir in the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, and cook until most of the liquid has disappeared, about another 5 to 6 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, let cool, and serve on pizzas, crackers or toast, or store the rest in a tight lidded jar!

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07 August 2013

Finding Figs for Breakfast

I'm not sure what started my obsession with figs, whether it was realizing their sweet flavour and contrasting pink insides to the dark unrevealing skin, or the difficulty I've had finding them (making them all the more appealing) among groceries and market stalls. Nonetheless, I've finally found my figs, and have been chopping and slicing them, or biting into them just on the occasion of opening the fridge door, because they're so undeniable delicious, with everything.

Monday afternoon, while my sister was at work, her friends who had come down from Kingston for Osheaga had also stayed the night and had plans of exploring Old Port of Montreal. As I was already up, making a smoothie for breakfast with lots of the berries still in the fridge, I decided to go with them, and to see a little more of the city. 

We walked around the cobbled streets, poked in and out of shop windows, and pulled our sunglasses on and off the tips of our heads as shade and sunlight battled for space along every road. Families and couples rented out bicycle cars along the river, and raced around each other, among pedestrians and obstacles as well, as they both fought for the record speed. There were a lot of people also stopping for lunch in the square, a beautiful open space to the city where small trees grew up, and a fresh juice and smoothie hut had staked out the flow of thirsty people who milled about in the centre. 
After a refreshment of real lemonade, we continued down the square, and down a small alley filled with artist stalls and more people who danced around one another, eyes locked on the prize of a delicately entwined necklace, or a two for one deal on prints of the city's oldest buildings.

It wasn't until we had made our way back through the bustle of people, back onto the metro, and reemerged into daylight in the French part of the city, that we made it to the market. Known as one of the largest in Montreal, I was pretty excited to wander around, and hopefully find some figs to take back home with me. Stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables went aisle after aisle, colours contrasting against each other, and only broken by a stall which sold jars of honey and maple syrup. The larger stands, dominating the middle aisles that ran through the entire market, had plates of the fresh fruit chopped up for samples, but placed above the stands to avoid the pesky fingers of kids who would have happily grabbed handfuls of the sweet and juicy treats, I had to careful balance on my toes and reach to grab a slice of pear, or ripened nectarine from the platters. 
Finally, tucked away in a side aisle of the market, a young girl who spoke mostly French, sold baskets of deep purple figs, soft to the touch, and most definitely ripe.
Beside them, cherries of two types, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes, and caught in the moment of innocent bliss, I almost bought two baskets thinking of how many dishes I could make with my fresh figs, and how many more smoothies I'd have a chance to try with a new ingredient. Even with the one basket of figs, I happily walked around the rest of the market with them tucked under my arm, drumming out smoothie ideas, pizza toppings, or simply dreaming of the taste of fresh figs.

So this morning, after my sister had left for work, I took to the kitchen in my pyjamas, and immediately began with the figs from the fridge. From there, a slice of gluten free bread slightly toasted with a spread of peanut butter, topped with slices of fig and more berries, and finally, a drizzle of honey. 
Tucked back up in bed, I snuggled up in blankets with my breakfast plate. 
With a little craving for something sweet, I also had a slice of yesterday's gluten free banana bread {recipe and post here} topped with natural yoghurt. It was a fruity and colourful breakfast, and with a warm mug filled with a maple ginger tea latte {oops! recipe dropping}, I was completely in bliss, and so happy to have the time this summer to spend long mornings without distractions, without television or computers if I choose, and to just enjoy the things around me as if being experienced new. It's amazing how structure and order, planned activities all day and everyday with rules, can be so exhausting once you come home to familiarity and comfort. Spending five weeks away from home is not long, I know, but it was definitely something I needed to do before going off to university when the time is longer, and there is likely more to get used to. With this program, at least the activities were designed to keep us from thinking too much of being away from home, especially for those who had never spent even a week away. However, as I sit here now beside a delicious breakfast and mug of homemade tea, I also realize the importance of appreciating every moment and everything that is familiar, because there won't always be time to come back and enjoy something afterwards.

Fig and Pear Smoothie

With the soft sweetness of pear, this fruit is the perfect pair (no pun intended) with figs, which have a deliciously natural and sweet flavour that will be complemented perfectly in this blend of fruits. 

Smoothies are perfect for busy mornings, slow mornings, afternoon or bedtime snacks. I love dressing them up by adding natural yoghurt on top, and more whole berries, plus, it feels like a delicious dessert when eaten with a spoon! The yoghurt can also be blended into the smoothie for a creamier texture, or as an easy way to save time during a busy rush. 

{serves 1}


5 - 6 whole black figs, chopped roughly
1 ripe pear, save 1/4 for topping
Large handful fresh baby spinach
4 - 5 strawberries, roughly chopped 
1/4 cup natural yoghurt 
Spoonful of slivered almond and fresh blueberries to serve 


In a blender, layer figs, 3/4 of the pear, strawberries, and baby spinach leaves. Blend on high until smooth. 

Pour smoothie into a large glass, and top with natural yoghurt. 

Cut the last 1/4 pear into thin slices, and layer on top, sprinkling with slivered almonds and blueberries. 

Bisous et bon appetit! xx S 

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06 August 2013

Banana Bread from the Pantry

I was shocked to find that I actually don't have a gluten free banana loaf recipe to my blog. I thought that was an essential recipe to every baker's collection, whether they be gluten free, vegan, paleo, a picky eater, a kid just beginning to dive into mum's recipe box with the evidence of cookie batter across the counters, or a skilled baker on their way to publishing another cook book. Each time I made a banana bread, I skipped the recipe writing, and step by step photography because each time, I thought the recipe and the post must have already been blogged, up and out there for the world. And I don't know what took me so long to realize it either, but among the zucchini loaf, the apple or the huckleberry sweet bread, I couldn't find a single banana as I searched through my posts for an easy recipe to adapt for today's baking needs.

So today, tucked up in a little apartment kitchen, tucked up in a little apartment building, and tucked in
the heart of Montreal, I finally figured it was time to cook up a banana bread, both fitting for a student's budget and fitting for a gluten free me. 

I was about to head out today and explore the streets on my own for a few hours, perhaps even wander some parks, sitting down to read for a while, or to soak up some of the sun. However, as soon as I had my shoes on, and the keys to the apartment in hand, I suddenly had a desire to stay, to call friends over Skype, to bake, drink some tea, and not worry about the time, the cost of change in and out of my pocket as I passed through stores, and to take a little time just to feel as if I had given myself a chance to rest. It's been a busy month, and with finally sleeping soundlessly in the last few days here, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrient packed foods, I finally feel more like myself, thinking a little clearer, and no longer sleeping restlessly, or grinding down my teeth in the middle of the night.

So with the drumming of construction outside, I chatted over Skype and mixed together bananas at the same time, one noise drowning out the other as the volume increased, but moments of instant silence would follow, giving a little time to recollect myself and carry on with the task of mixing and measuring and listening in to the headphones that carried my friend's voice. 

I also became occupied with the flow of photos that were being posted from the explore program, and as friends uploaded, liked, and commented, I was carried back into the moments and memories we had shared, and laughed to myself at our photos, and at the thought of how many jokes we can keep forever. 

Banana Bread {gluten free, egg free, dairy free, gum free}

This is kind of an everything excluded banana bread, an allergen free loaf, hooray! Made with simple ingredients, from the gluten free chef's pantry, there's a chance everyone will be up for a slice, and a slice that holds together when it's cut, can be spread with your choice of butter or dairy-free spread, and is still full of a delicious, rich and sweet banana flavour. My favourite is that using a mix of four gluten free flours, there's no need to add any gums to help hold this bread together, plus the bananas and honey help to bind ingredients in delicious flavour. 

Using the method of microwaving frozen bananas to cause them to release their liquid, then boiling to reduce the quantity of liquid but increasing the flavour, this loaf has twice the taste of banana. The added benefit of using frozen and overripe bananas is that they contain a higher percentage of natural fructose sweetener, so even without added sugar, your loaf will be deliciously and naturally sweetened. The touch of honey in this recipe is both for consistency, and because the flavours complement nicely with bananas, to create a perfect blend with each bite. For a vegan version of this loaf, substitute honey for maple syrup, or agave, as either have a syrupy and sticky consistency perfect for baking without gums or eggs.

Chocolate chips can be substituted for chopped nuts or dried fruits if you would prefer, but they seemed like a perfect way to make this bread a sweet treat.

{makes one loaf}


1/2 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 tapioca flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 very ripe bananas, frozen
Just under 1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk, can be substituted for your choice of alternative 

1/2 cup gluten free chocolate chips
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line a loaf pan with oil and a sprinkling of rice flour, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

Microwave the frozen bananas, with their skins still on, in a bowl for 5 minutes, or until tender and slightly warm. Transfer to a strainer set over another bowl, and remove the bananas from their skins, collecting all of the liquid in the strainer. Discard the skins.

After allowing as much liquid as possible to drain from the strainer into the bowl, set the liquid over medium heat in a saucepan. Cooking until liquid begins to bubble and reduces by approximately half, about 5 minutes. 

Stir liquid back into the bananas, and mash until smooth. Mix in honey, vanilla, and almond milk, stir, and pour into dry ingredients. 

Add in chocolate chips and mix to combine completely. 

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, spreading the mixture evening into the corners and edges. Finally, sprinkle with a layer of slivered almonds, and pop into the oven.

Bake in the centre of oven for 1 hour, the loaf is finished when a clean knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and enjoying with your favourite cup of tea! 

Bisous et bon appetit! xx S

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05 August 2013

Berry Buzz Budgets and Breakfast

Quickly learning how to shop, and to cook, on a student's budget, I've already avoided the $10.99 bag of gluten free granola that will only last a week, but rather selected three boxes of blueberries for $5, plus the yogourt and strawberries, all adding up to less than $8 and with more variations in the kitchen than a bowl of overpriced breakfast cereal. My advice for shopping with a budget: if it can go more than one way, buy it. That being said, I know cereal could be used in a crumble for example, a crunchy and delicious way to spice up the regular apple crisp, but also think, will you be making a crumble more than once this week? If chances are no, put it back. The oats on the other hand, could be used to make your own granola! I'm still thinking of the perfect homemade granola recipe...

And so, with budgets and ingredients, think of those fruits in smoothies, desserts, salad toppings, and baking... With all these ideas, I'm headed for far more cooking and loads more time in the kitchen!

But breakfast always come first, and so this morning, right after my sister had left to work for the day, I made myself a steaming pot of earl grey tea and sat down at the table with mug in hand. Sun streamed in through the windows, broken up by the little pots of green tomato plants stretching out of the little space they've been tucked into. Down below, the sound of construction hummed away, but up here, on the fourth floor and with the sleepiness of mornings still hovering, it became a kind of gentle background noise, one that was no longer noticed after a few moments. You wouldn't believe how much I've missed mornings that last for what seems to be endless minutes, and the endless sips in a pot of tea, or even the smell that comes from the pot as it sits, and steeps. I could never have imagined how much the simplest of things, such as setting down to a quickly whipped up breakfast and enjoying the feeling of being both proud at creating something so delicious and so colourful, could be missed
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03 August 2013

Slipping Into Montreal

After a full five weeks in Rivière-du-Loup, all the memories, friendships, and moments we'll never forget, plus the connections and appreciation for French and Quebec culture made, I am tucked in bed in my sister's Montreal apartment. Beside me, a plate of freshly baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and a hot mug of licorice herbal tea. Curled up and tired from the last two nights with my Rivière family, many hugs and tears from those around as well as lots of chatting and laughter in recounting the time shared. I look forward to spending time exploring a new part of Quebec, seeing the city of Montreal, and spending time with my sister, while also having more moments like this, and more moments to relax, cook, laugh, and celebrate summer.

And so beside a fan spinning beside us, and sounds from the streets winding up every now and then, my sister and I, and one of her friends who came to visit for the day, chatted and shared some of the recent moments just passed. I had only just come off the train that morning, sleeping with an eye pillow and blanket across two seats as the train ran from Rivière-du-Loup to Montreal in the early morning, and so we sat around plates of gluten free waffles and tea, served with delicious maple syrup and sprinkled with icing sugar. 

There were also bowls of fresh cherries, blueberries and chopped cantaloupe, a delicious change from bland and tasteless cafeteria fruit. Instead, a burst of flavour and juice with each bite, the tartness complemented with the sweetness of maple syrup and icing, and overtop a warm and comforting waffle. It was the perfect breakfast after a night of travelling, and even at one in the afternoon, a welcome change to breakfasts after five weeks with little more than fruit, peanut butter and yoghurt each morning.
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