Think of Me Gluten-Free

Think of Me Gluten-Free: October 2013

27 October 2013

Apple Chutney from Apples Picked

We may have found ourselves in trouble if we had been caught, or even worse, may have been forced to put back what was filling every pocket in our coats, and creating a large bulge in my sweater, as we walked back through the trails, smiling at each passerby, nudging the bulge delicately to put it into a less discriminating position. I feared that a small, bright red, apple would fall from the bundle of jackets they were all wrapped up in, and our secret would be nothing. No more apples to bring home, and no more thrill of unwrapping them and inspecting each tiny, beautiful little fruit. And to savour each sweet, juicy bite, to finish the apple in only a few to little bites.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

25 October 2013

Bite Back the Chill with Coconut Cashew Bites

Darting in and out of the trees, passing by fishermen in tall boots and green trousers standing out in the river to the right, we ran; climbing over fallen trees and pressing onward up big hills while our feet pressed into small footholds, with the sound of the river's current splashing up against rocks, we ran. Reaching a fallen Douglas fir with a view of the river bed and it's swimmers and feeders, we stopped almost as if the twists and turns previous were lost on us, and the only thing that stopped us from pressing onward were the oversized tracks in the dirt and our own gut feeling. So there, with a view over top seagulls diving into dinner, their shrilling calls louder than my own footfalls and the white of their wings darting back and forth across the rocks, as well as salmon fighting the last push of the current in tattered shape but excellent form for skimming the water and breaking the waves to leap above rocks, we stopped and stretched after running for a while.

I thought at that moment of sinking in to a moment by myself, with only the sounds of each evenings scurry for dinner down at the river, and as I pressed deeper into a stretch, I was almost unaware of my heavy breathing and the half of the run just behind me. 

Although we've been busy every day with my uncle visiting this week, starting from a big breakfast to explore and enjoy the spots of sun that are quickly chased by large clouds of fog, I've had little time to be out running. But this afternoon, after a sunny day by the ocean (because when aren't we near it here!) with farms by the side of the road and alligator soup for lunch, I finally made a break for the orange-tinted tree-lined pathways that sidle up close to the river and wind their way through fields and rocky hills. We've also been lucky with each day out and have only spent one day completely blanketed by fog - a day spent in what is commonly known as "the dark side" of Sooke - and have otherwise enjoyed t-shirts while we tanned on the rocks by Sooke River, a complete sunset overlooking Sooke's Inner Harbour as we sat on a waterfront bench on the Galloping Goose Trail, and today, had lunch in Brentwood Bay on the docks where we sat outside with a clear view into the water filled with sea stars and crabs and even felt the sun's heat with each layer of clothes. I knew the first time when mum and I curled up beside hot coffees and curry gumbo with warm cornbread, looking out from large windows, that we would be back. And so, nearly a month later, we surprised ourselves by sitting out on the large patio above the bay, and peeled back layer after layer under the sun, and squinted for photos being taken in the light.

And so when many people are tucked away under a thick blanket of fog, we're out enjoying the sun and colours of the leaves amidst driving through winding roads and stopping in tea shops for coffee when the thud of the big door behind us leaves us in a room partially historic and somewhat diner-style.

So much exploring also turns up new places where I could sit for hours with a pot of tea, as long as this delicious sunshine that we've had keeps on shining. It would be all that I'd need. 

And maybe a cookie. I like those.
I love combing nuts and fruits, maybe a little sweetener to taste, and even a touch of spice as well, to toss together, mixing and mixing, only to be surprised by the new flavours developing with each new addition, and seeing what is created. I love mixing ingredients to form a delicious treat. Most of all, I love the simple pleasure that comes from creating a dish new to us, but one that lasts so much longer in taste and in memory.
These little cashew bites are like that, a simple method to making delicious cookies, without crazy ingredients, or even the process of baking. So with a warm cup of tea, maybe under a blanket of fog as this week's weather rolls in, a simple cashew bite is just the sweet treat to prepare for October.

Coconut Cashew Bites

{print recipe here}
makes 8 cookies


1 cup raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp raw honey (use maple syrup for vegan)


Soak cashews overnight. If using almonds or another type of nut, they don't need to be soaked for this recipe.

In a food processor, blend cashews until they're finely ground. Add coconut and chia seeds, and pulse 2 or 3 times before adding honey, processing again until completely smooth and the mixture begins to fall together from the edges. It should be fairly sticky and able to mold into the bites.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 8 small bite sized balls or cookie shapes, laying evenly out on a plate or parchment lined board. Place in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes to set.

If desired, you can press chocolate shavings, shredded coconut, or chopped fruit on each coconut bite to decorate.


Any type of nut can be used in this recipe, however cashews have a much creamier consistancy so I recommend using at least half cashews, or macadamia nuts which are similar, and half another type of nut (such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts).

The chia seeds can also be opted out for hemp seeds, flax (ground or whole), or completely removed if preferred. 

Dried fruit is also another favourite of mine to add, as not only does it add flavour and a different consistency, but a little bit of natural sweetness. By favourites are dried apricots, cranberries or dates, which can be blended right in with the nuts in the food processor! I'm usually careful to choose one additional ingredient though, however only for the appearance as too many colours look hectic and somewhat less unappetizing. 

Another favourite of mine is adding a bit of chocolate, and when its melted will also help to forming these little bites. (You can also reduce the amount of honey needed).

Finally, a little sugar and spice always goes far, so try adding spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg, and even some freshly ground ginger or cardamom and cloves to make them chai spiced! 

Enjoy! xx S

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 October 2013

Sipping Soup Surrounded by Autumn Leaves

Thanksgiving. A holiday filled with family, food, laughter, and most of all, lots and lots of pumpkin. Fresh pumpkins lining the tops of tables and mantles, or puréed and cooked pumpkin with maple and spice and baked in the form of pies, cheesecakes, tarts, or all three laid down the centre of an extended dining table in between decorative pumpkins, surrounded by black corn and autumn's leaves.

I spent this past thanksgiving weekend back on Bowen, and the better part of two days travelling from one island to the next, via the mainland, during which I spent most of my time thinking about what it would be like back on the island where I grew up, and back in my friends familiar house, but unable to quickly pop up the hill to where we used to live. I also spent the better part of the ferry rides gazing out the window to where I thought Bowen was, terrified. Terrified of how different it would seem, and how it would feel to be among everything so familiar but changed myself with living in a new place, new people, and most of all, a completely new routine to run by. 

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

09 October 2013

Picking Apples for Baked Chicken Dinners

The best thing about today was hanging from branches with my back hunched over and my hands reaching up and behind to find the biggest, juiciest, and highest up apples in the tree. On our third  walk of the day, after sitting out in a sunny field with a few ripples of wind in our hair and hot fruit tea in glass jars to warm up after a classic picnic of sandwiches with goats cheese and cucumber, we wandered the trails to see where dad had found an open beach where he had often spent evenings after work, looking out at the mountains across an ocean that separates Canada and the United States.

After almost falling, and with small burrs on my sweater and dried apple leaves tangled in my hair, mum and I left the park with apples tucked away in every pocket and filling our hands. Beautiful, crunchy apples, some softly hinted green and yellow, and others a bright yellow that we had snagged from the trees before the bears in the area had them when they all fell to the ground. Evidence of bears lingered by their smell around the marshes and under the trees. There were apples left on higher branches, out of reach, that we imagined grasping with our hands, or biting into the sweet juices of the apples with every bite. It made us envious of the birds, ones so easily able to reach the well-sunned fruits, that would be enjoying the delicious flavours much sooner than we ever would. And so we joked that next time, we would be the ones carrying a tall ladder down the trail, to manoeuvre it through the twists and turns of the path, and finally to where there were full apple trees. 

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , ,

06 October 2013

Buzzing Happily with Pumpkin Cashew "Cheesecake"

When I think of thanksgiving, I almost immediately picture a large table, or two to three smaller tables patch worked together in a long train, covered with mismatched table clothes and each place set with the proper assortment of plates, cutlery, glasses and crackers for a full meal together. Some, of course, match, like at the parents table where the nice plates and wine glasses reserved only for special occasions are used, but down at the other end, where the kids are usually placed together, it's a colourful array of orange and red dishes, bright napkins folded neatly, and the bright golds and shiny yellows of the crackers. I love the setting of a thanksgiving table, with all the colours and decorations that often resemble an autumn pathway, lined with fallen maple leaves held down by smoothed stones and little tea lights that flicker and eventually fade as the evening progresses.  

There is always family and friends, buzzing happily around the table, while some help to serve the heaping dishes of vegetables and aromatic tray of turkey, balancing the cranberry sauce between two plates in either hand. Some sit across from one another and chat freely, with sounds of laughter filling the whole room, and eventually catching on as everyone sits down together, and the food is served in heaping spoonfuls onto plates. I always send my spoon back to the mashed yams, my favourite, and a few extra Brussels sprouts. 

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

02 October 2013

Curiosity, Courage, and Chicken Pot Pies

Wrapped up in a cosy green, a colour which covers all the walls in this house, and symbolises the growth and rejuvenation it once stood for, and perhaps brings to us as well, I sipped a hot ginger and lemon tea and read a book beside the trails of rain streaming down the windows. Through a storm we spent huddled on our big couch or behind a pair of binoculars trying to spot the first white caps thundering into the harbour. Behind thick lenses we could see a brave fisherman in the wind, and the train of seagulls behind the boat as his crab traps were pulled up from under the waves. It was wonderful to feel so at home behind the front of a big storm rolling in, and the cups of tea held between our hands, or hot plates for dinner, kept us feeling comforted and warm. 

Perhaps it's just the cold left behind from a busy weekend of showing my friends some of my favourite places here while they visited, including a full bakery breakfast and some gluten free French toast for me, as well as a trip to Victoria in the pouring rain, but I've found having so much time difficult at the moment. Maybe it's also that we've been here a month now, and we really are settling in, I mean mum's getting movie suggestions from ladies at the grocery store checkout and we actually recognise people on our daily walks ("he was here yesterday," mum will whisper to me, or I'll wonder where the tall guy was as we come back around the beach). Especially underneath the patter of the continuous and comforting sounds of rain, and left dependant on ginger teas and Tylenol, as well as warming dinners such as home made chilli and steaming chicken pot pies, I almost feel restless to get out and explore, and finally find a foothold in this new town, among new people, and to step there to begin a climb into the unknown.

Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,