Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

So, I didn't get around to making a new lentil recipe for tonight, but I did make a nice big pot of lentil soup, with turkey sausages instead of pork for a bit of a healthier new year's day meal tomorrow.  Tonight, I think it will just be a quiet evening with family, with some food picked up from a local restaurant and some cheesy t.v., or maybe a game of cards.  I'm missing out on the annual family bowling party, but since I don't feel great, sticking close to home is the best idea. The important thing is to spend the evening with those I love.

Thank you for sharing the past year with me.  Your readership means the world to me.  I hope you and yours have a safe and happy New Year, and may 2012 bring you everything you wish for and more.

Join me next year for new weekly menu plans, weekly recipes, more product, restaurant and cookbook reviews and of course, musings on handling the gluten free side of life! 

Here's to a brave New (Gluten Free) Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Eve Soup

Last year, I posted about a tradition that Italians have of eating lentils and pork sausages on New Year's Eve.  The shape of the lentils are said to resemble Roman coins, and the sausage casings are akin to small sacs to carry around the wealth.  I mentioned as well that the representation of wealth referred not only to monetary wealth, but wealth in all areas of life.

I'm hoping to post a new recipe tomorrow featuring lentils and sausage, but I'm a bit under the weather.  In case I don't get around to cooking something new, here's last year's post and recipe for the yummy lentil soup (that can be vegetarian if the sausages are left out) that is eaten traditionally either on New Year's Eve or New Year's day. 

Who couldn't use a bit more wealth in every area of life for the New Year?

Here's The Recipe (First posted December 30, 2010)

olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup green lentils, washed
1 package frozen, chopped spinach
1 can tomatoes (diced, not crushed)
4-6 cups vegetable broth (1 1/2 boxes)- /if serving more than four, up the broth content
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley, or 1 tsp each dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes


1. Pour enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large soup pot.  Over medium-low heat, cook onions until soft.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add lentils and stir to cover with oil.
2. Add 4 cups of broth and stir in herbs.  Unwrap frozen spinach and place in the pot.  It will defrost in the pot, just break up with  spoon when soft.  Bring soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer until lentils are soft.
3. Add tomatoes and juice and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and optional red pepper flakes if using.  If you don't like pieces of tomatoes in your soup, then puree the whole can first or strain the chunks out and just add juice.
4. If the soup is too thick, add the remaining two cups of broth.  Heat through and serve.

My hearty lentil soup!

Non-vegan options:
Top with some grated Parmesan cheese and some sausage medallions.  To make medallions:
Fry whole sausages (Italian style pork sausages are traditional, check labels for gluten) in a non-stick pan until cooked through.  When done, remove from pan and slice into medallions.  Garnish bowls of soup with a few medallions.

Can't wait to eat some tomorrow night!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Goals Update

This is the last goal update for the year, and what a year it's been!  I signed up to post every day this year, and so far, I've kept up.  Things have been a little light this week due to the holidays, but I'll be back in regular posting mode by the new year! 

Overall, this year has been a whirlwind!  We visited El Salvador in April, Pittsburgh, Washington, Dewey Beach and Wilmington, Delaware in August.  Not to mention a week at the cottage in July!  I went back to work full-time in September and my son started at the French daycare at the same time. 

At the beginning of the year, my husband and I sat down and set out some goals for the year in various areas of our lives.  Not resolutions, but just some guidelines to help us keep our focus as the craziness of the year set in.  Some were concrete, like getting the roof done or updating the family room.  Others were geared more towards improving our quality of life, like monthly date nights or weekly family outings.  And because we're two separate people as well as being part of a pair, we each had a list of personal goals.  One of mine was to make more time for writing. 

I'm pretty happy with how well we were able to stay focused, even though there are still several items on the list that will have to be moved onto next year's list, or maybe removed altogether if they're no longer priorities.  My goal to Run 5K didn't happen, but it's still something I want to achieve in the future.  I also didn't read 100 books for pleasure, but if I add in all the academic books I read for my thesis, I'm well over the limit.  Next year, I'm going to get to 100!

On the house front, we're still in the process of turning the basement into a playroom/family room, but we've made some significant progress, not the least of which is the fireplace, which makes the space toasty warm in the winter.   The roof was done, and the family room is no longer filled with old, hand me down furniture, so I'd say that's an improvement!

Perhaps the biggest change this year was the full-time commitment to providing a gluten free world for my son, and sharing that journey with you!  As I get more comfortable navigating a gluten free existence inside the kitchen and out, my son's positive food experiences grow.  The company that provides his food at the daycare has taken a huge load off my shoulders as well- most days, my son eats a meal that looks almost exactly like that of his classmates. 

Moving forward, I'm looking forward to creating a new list for next year.  This time, I'm going to make a whole list dedicated just to the blog- I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my brain that I'm looking forward to making a reality! 

I'll be blogging straight into the new year, including a whole new year of weekly gluten free menu plans!  Check back often!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turkey Leftovers? Four Meal Ideas

This year I cooked a turkey roast, which is similar to any other type of roast.  It's smaller than cooking a whole turkey, and all white meat.  There were only 6 adults at my house for Christmas, so cooking a whole bird was unnecessary.  That doesn't mean we don't have any leftovers.  If you're already tired of eating leftover plates that are exact replicas of your Christmas dinner, here are four meal ideas to change things up without wasting food. 

1- Turkey Soup-  Chop up an onion and saute in a little olive oil until softened.  Mince a clove or two of garlic and add to the pot, cooking for a minute more.  Add vegetable broth, some leftover vegetables or some frozen veggies and the cooked turkey.  Season with some thyme, rosemary or other herb of choice.  Heat through and serve, topped with some Parmesan cheese, if desired.

2- Turkey Salad- I like my turkey in a turkey Caesar, but a salad of mixed greens, with chopped turkey, dried cranberries and some cooked quinoa in a herb vinaigrette sounds lovely too.

2- Turkey Pie-  I made this on Thanksgiving, but it is supposed to be a recipe for leftovers.  It's Jaime's Turkey Pie, from the Jamie Oliver website.
His version isn't gluten free, so here are the changes I make to his recipe to make it gluten free: 
a) The recipe calls for puff pastry.  There are GF puff pastry recipes out there, but it's too complicated for me to bother when using up leftovers.  I use a gluten free pie crust, either from a mix or from scratch.  Frozen formed crusts don't work because the crust only goes on the top of the pie, not the bottom. If you don't like/have chestnuts, leave them out.
b) I thicken the gravy either with gluten free all purpose flour or cornstarch, whichever I have on hand.  This recipe is a bit more work than the other two above, but it's a staple at my house, and everyone loves it. 

4- Turkey Chili- Ground meat is traditional in a chili, but who cares?  Tear or chop up leftover turkey and use it in a thick and chunky chili.  Chopped onion, garlic, orange or red bell pepper, niblets corn and some chickpeas or white beans make a great base.  Saute in a little olive oil, add a large can of pureed tomatoes, another of broth, and season to taste.  Add the cooked turkey and heat through.  For better flavour, let it simmer.  Top with shredded cheese or sour cream, and serve with tortilla chips or over rice. 

Happy Eating!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some Christmas Images

Running his own supermarket

With his brand new truck

I used to love my viewfinder as a kid- now he loves his!

Well, he didn't get the violin, but he did get the guitar he wanted!

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cake For Dessert

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We're still munching on leftovers, so I didn't put up an official menu plan for this week.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The gifts are opened, the dinner is done, and now it's time to just sit back and relax with family. 


                     Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve!

We're almost ready to head out to my parents' house for Christmas Eve dinner, traditionally a meat-free meal and some sort of fish.  My sister's cooking this year's meal, and I think there's halibut involved.  I promise to take photos and post them here!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!  Enjoy the time to be with family, share a good meal and hopefully, lots of laughs.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy 89th Birthday!

I almost forgot to post this, but today is my husband's grandfather's 89th birthday!  Our son is lucky to still have his great-grandfather in his life (and his great-grandmother too!)  We only see him occasionally since he is in El Salvador and we're not, but Etienne has visited him twice over his short life.  Hopefully there will be many more visits to come.

Happy Birthday! 

Meeting his great-grandparents for the first time 2009

The meeting of the minds, 2011

Welcome to Christmas Weekend!

Work is done for the holidays, so now I can focus on family and the holidays! 

Tomorrow I'll be busy cooking and cleaning for Christmas day, but we'll also be spending Christmas Eve at my mom's house.  My sister has been putting together the Christmas Eve menu, so I'm excited to see what she has in store! 

Then Sunday, it's Christmas at our house!  I can't wait to see what Santa brings my son! 

Posting will continue as usual over the next few days, with lots of food and family photos, as well as some leftover ideas so that all your yummy food doesn't go to waste in the days following the big feast! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Dinner Menu in Progress

This week has been crazy busy.  Exams are due in at the end of the week, my son had his daycare concert, and the after school class I teach came to an end today.  Finishing the Christmas shopping, cards for colleagues and friends, and baking for the daycare have taken up most of my free time this week after work. 

But I have finally put together a rough Christmas dinner menu, completely gluten free, and I thought I would share it in case there's anyone out there looking for a delicious gluten free menu for Christmas day.  This is still a work in progress, but I'm happy with what I've got so far.

-cheese and gluten free crackers
-crispy polenta (cornmeal) triangles with goat's cheese, fig jam and prosciutto
-holiday spiced popcorn
-vegetables and dip

Main Course:
-Soup (still working on what type. Perhaps a simple broth based soup or a winter minestrone)
-Beef Roast with a Red Wine and Mushroom Gravy
-Boneless Turkey Breast Roast with Turkey Gravy
-Scalloped Potatoes with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat's Cheese Cheddar
-Cranberry Sauce
-Another Green Vegetable (Sauteed Kale or Swiss Chard)

-I'm thinking of baking a cake, but I'm still not sure. 
-fruit platter

I'm planning on doing the bulk of the cooking the day before, Christmas Eve morning before going to my parents' house for the evening.  The meat I'll cook the day of, and just reheat things for dinner.

I'll keep you updated and take plenty of pictures. 

What are you eating on Christmas Day?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My son enjoying his early Christmas gift- a fire truck. 

And a bow stuck to his backside.

Can't wait 'till Sunday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Concert at Daycare

My son's Christmas concert was this afternoon at daycare, where for about 20 minutes a group of 2-4 year old kids sang Christmas Carols and other songs in French.  Then they opened up the floor and the kids danced to holiday music. 

Too cute!  Here are a few shots of my little Christmas elf!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Shopping is Done!

Except for my husband's gift.  But I know what I'm getting him, so the stress of finding a gift isn't there.  I also have a few colleagues in my department to get a little something for, but again, I already have the items picked out. 

Now I can sit back and enjoy the holidays. 

After tomorrow's Christmas concert.

And once I submit my semester end exams.

And decide on a menu for Christmas day.  And buy the groceries for said menu.

And pick out an outfit.  And make sure it's clean...

And.....Never mind. 

At least Christmas Shopping is Done!  (kind of.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Today we're running off to an early Christmas celebration with my Dad's side of the family, so I'm putting the menu plan up quickly, although I haven't yet cooked all the dishes. This week I wanted some lighter meals, because I know that the week between Christmas and New Year's is going to be full of rich foods.  

Monday: Greek Souvlaki Plate (Grilled chicken, yogurt and cucumber dip, Greek salad and steamed veggies

Tuesday: Black Bean and Beef Chili (my husband's request) served in a Baked Potato

Wednesday: Fish Stew with Olives over leftover rice

Thursday: Miso Lime Chicken Drumsticks and a Mango Salad

Friday: Rice Paper Rolls with Cucumber, Carrots and Avocado and any leftovers

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Glazed Sugar Cookies

This was my first try at a cookie glaze from scratch.  After searching multiple recipes, I found that the ingredient ratios were all very similar.  The differences were in the flavour- some people put vanilla extract, others almond, yet some others rum or mint.  For my first try, I didn't add anything.

Here's what I used:

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon corn syrup (I used dark, but next time I would use light to avoid darkening the glaze.)

I added the ingredients to a glass bowl and stirred until the mixture was smooth.  It should be thick, but not so thick that it can't run from a spoon in one smooth motion.

I then divided the mixture into smaller bowls so that I could add food colouring to each bowl of glaze separately.  To glaze the cookies, I spooned the glaze into an icing bag and outlined the cookies first, filling in the middle later with glaze. 

I kept it simple for my first try, and filled in the cookies without attempting any difficult designs.  I used some regular icing to draw the lines on the small snowflakes.  It was simpler than I had anticipated, so I might try and get a bit fancier next time.

If you're looking for a Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Recipe, I posted my recipe HERE.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just a week until Christmas!

It hit me tonight that this is the last weekend before Christmas!  Our schedule is hectic right up until Christmas Eve.
Tomorrow we have a Christmas Party, Sunday is a gathering with my father's side of the family.  I spent tonight baking sugar cookies to bring along, and tomorrow I'm going to try to make some glaze for the cookies from scratch.  I'll snap some photos if they're picture-worthy.

Monday I have dinner plans with a friend, Tuesday night is Etienne's Christmas concert at daycare. 

Christmas day is at our house this year, so I'll be getting a menu plan ready this week.  It will all be gluten free, and hopefully, delicious! 

There are still some Christmas cards to write, cupcakes to bake, cookies to decorate, and presents to wrap, but for some reason this year, I don't feel stressed.  I'm loving that my son is old enough to be excited about Christmas, helping to decorate the tree and singing Christmas carols. 

With only another week left, I'm going to try and enjoy every moment. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gluten and Nut Free Popsicles

The thought that a popsicle could contain gluten honestly never crossed my mind.  I generally buy pure fruit juice freezies in the summer or make my own popsicles, so I've never checked. 

Options are more limited in the middle of December, though, so when my son got sick and I couldn't find the freezies he likes, I started looking for a suitable popsicle replacement.  I couldn't believe how many brands contained gluten, or had the always ambiguous "may contain traces of wheat".  I don't do ambiguous when it comes to my son's health. 

Then I came across Chapman's Lolly's, water ice treats (or popsicles, as I like to call them), with the gluten and nut free statement right on the box.  I almost did a happy dance in the grocery store aisle! 

When I got home, I checked out their website.  Chapman's is a well known Canadian company, famous for their delicious ice cream.  Their site is easy to navigate, with a simple to find "Nutrition and Allergy Info" button that lists everything from gluten and dairy free options, to nut free, no sugar added, low fat and naturally flavoured products. 

What I found amazing was the statement declaring that all their original ice cream flavours in the 2L and 4L formats are gluten free. Finding gluten free ice cream is not an easy feat, so this is welcome news!  There are more than 20 flavours of ice cream available gluten free!

Chapman's is well-respected in Canada for producing great tasting, affordable products. I grew up eating their products on hot, summer days, and now my son will be able to as well!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sick Boy=Wordless Wednesday

My little munchkin is still sick.  Nasty cough, fever, upset stomach, the works.

What could be cuter?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wanna Dance?

My son was sick today, nauseous and feverish and just generally under the weather, so I stayed home from work and we cuddled on the couch.  All he wanted were popsicles, Caillou, and Mommy.  Fine by me! 

He was asking me if he could paint on my phone, and it reminded me of this past weekend's dinner at my mom's house.  My Uncle brought his iPad and my son and his cousin played piano, caught fish, and yes, painted.  Look like I'm going to have to download some new apps!

It also made me think of some of the good-old fashioned fun they had, like dancing to Christmas music!

Etienne and his cousin Mya, dancing up a storm

Such a storm, that they needed some rest once they were done!

A nice close-up of the reindeer sweater

Monday, December 12, 2011

Throwing a Party? Need Some Gluten Free Dips?

I've been annoyed in the past at the number of dips and spreads that add wheat flour as a thickener, making them off limits at our house. 

Dips are one of the most versatile party foods.  They can be put out with crackers, veggies, chips or bread to add variety and flavour to a gathering without getting too expensive. 

But guess what?  Many Summer Fresh Dips are gluten free!

This variety pack included Artichoke and Asiago Dip, Spinach Dip, Hummus Chick Pea Spread and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  But a quick visit to their website FAQ page and it was confirmed for me that there are A TON of gluten free options. 

Just a few listed: 10 different kinds of hummus, 18 different dips, 2 salsas, bruschetta, baba ghanouj, tahini and tapenade.  A dip lover's dream!

Since my son cannot have those with dairy our choices are more limited, but not by much.  From the pack above, he devoured the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with carrot and cucumber sticks.  The consistency and flavour of all the spreads we tried were great, and the cost for the party pack was somewhere around $6 for 4 different dips. 

As I was looking around the website, I learned a few interesting facts.  The FAQ page also lists lactose free, vegan, and Health Check Options.  Also, Summer Fresh Salads is a local Ontario business, located in Woodbridge Ontario.

I like supporting local companies, and this one makes it easy with their delicious, gluten free options. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

This week I'm cheating on Monday.  We have some leftover lasagna from the potluck Friday night, so my husband and I will eat it on Monday.  We normally don't eat food with gluten in our house, but we're making an exception because we don't like to throw away food.  Our son will eat something else on Monday.

Monday: Lasagna (we do make a great gluten free version. This photo is of my lasagna.)

Tuesday: Quick Quinoa Vegetable Soup 

 Wednesday:  Meatloaf 


Thursday: GF Pasta and Turkey Meatballs  

Friday:  Thick Rice Noodle & Vegetable Curry

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Gluten Free Holiday Dinner at Grandma's

Unlike last night's potluck, tonight's dinner was entirely gluten free, and completely delicious.  We had dinner at my mom's, kind of an early Christmas with my Aunt and Uncle who we probably won't see again until after the New Year. 

If you're concerned about how to host a gluten free dinner party without sacrificing taste, this menu plan has some great options. 

Starters: Spinach and strawberry salad served in homemade Parmesan cheese bowls, and Bocconcini and tomato skewers.  Since my son can't have cow's milk cheese, he had his own goat's cheese version of the skewers. 

Parmesan Bowl

Cheese and Tomato Skewers with Basil

Main Course: Roast Chicken on a bed of caramelized fennel and onions, steamed carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, roast peppers and cornbread muffins

Dessert: a traditional Christmas log made with a gluten free cake mix and gluten free cupcakes

The presentation of the food made it look extravagant, while the ingredients were simple, easy to find and prepared with minimal fuss (except for the Parmesan bowls, which I'm now in love with).  No one missed the gluten, and the flavour certainly didn't suffer as a result. 

After dinner, the kids discovered my Uncle's iPad and even got to open an early Christmas gift. 

With some careful planning, throwing a gluten free dinner doesn't have to involve complicated, time-consuming dishes that involve weird sounding ingredients.  This menu included a nice variety of flavours and colours, had some sophisticated touches, and was all gluten free. 

Happy Cooking!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gluten Free Potluck Makeover

Tonight's potluck was a success, although there was so much food we have tons of leftovers.  What did we have?

Ceasar and Garden Salad
Pasta Salad
Pumpernickel Bread and Spinach Dip
Cheese Tray
Veggie Platter
Fruit Platter
Homemade Pizza
Vegetarian Lasagna
Chicken in a Phyllo Pastry
Wrap Sandwiches
Chocolate Caramel Cake
Butter Tarts
Gluten Free Cupcakes
Fruit Platter

Was it all gluten free?  No. 

But it easily could have been.  

The salads: Caesar could be made with gluten free croutons, and the pasta salad could be made with rice or corn pasta.

Appetizers: Fruit and Vegetable platters are naturally gluten free, as is the cheese tray.  The crackers could be substituted with GF ones.

Main Dishes: The pizza is a bit more complicated, since GF pizza is a bit of an acquired taste, but it's certainly an option.  Many pizzerias offer gluten free crusts these days, so ordering in could be an option if baking from scratch isn't your thing.  The lasagna could easily be GF with the substitution of some rice noddles.  I make a great meat lasagna with them.  The wraps could also be used with gluten free flour tortillas.  The phyllo pastry is tricky to make from scratch gluten free, but a chicken pot-pie with a gluten free pie crust would make a great substitute.

Dessert: Several bakeries sell gluten free cakes, and there are many great mixes on the market as well.  The cupcakes I made last night, but the chocolate and cheesecakes could also be gluten free.  

 It takes a little creative thought sometimes, but I truly believe that almost any food can be tweaked to be gluten free and still delicious.  I hope this gives you some ideas of how to take some typical party foods and turn them into gluten free options for you or your guests. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Potluck Preparations

Tonight I've been getting my house ready for tomorrow night's potluck holiday party.  I've invited the teachers from the two departments that share a workroom at school for a shared holiday party.  We've been doing this for 6 years, since the school opened, but this is the first time the party is at my place. 

The house is clean, the cupcakes are cooling and almost ready for icing, the buffet table is set and the extra chairs have been pulled out in anticipation of the 16 or so people set to arrive tomorrow night.  I bought holiday themed paper plates, cutlery, napkins and cups, as well as festive tablecloths to keep with the theme and cut down on the clean-up.  Tomorrow I'll get the final prep work done before my colleagues arrive after work. 

I know many of you are either throwing parties or attending events where going gluten free can be a challenge.  When I provide all the food at my house, it's always all gluten free.  Since this is a potluck, that rule doesn't apply.  There will be gluten free options for my son.  Since the party is at our house, it's easier to keep the gluten-filled items away from the gluten-free ones.  It's more complicated when events are out of house. 

Tomorrow night I'll post some food and decor photos from the party, and over the next few days I'll show how the items brought to the potluck could be tweaked to be gluten free.  I'm looking forward to posting about how to handle throwing a gluten free party that doesn't exclude anyone, and how to navigate a party filled with forbidden foods. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

He was afraid to sit on Santa's lap this weekend, but the snowman (or Bonhomme as my son calls him) got a great big hug!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My son's new preferred way to relax

Two hands behind the head, giving my husband the "yeah and?" look as he takes the picture.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Recipe

I've been working on a new cookie recipe, since I want to be able to bake up a variety of cookies for Christmas.  I've created a basic gluten free vanilla sugar cookie recipe that tastes good and holds up without crumbling or being hard as a rock.  My husband even thinks they taste better the next day!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Recipe  
Makes approximately 48 cookies

2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks).  Should be at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs (at room temperature).  You can use just the yolks if you prefer, but I use the whole egg.
1 tsp. vanilla extract

 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400F only after refrigeration of dough is complete.

1- In a mixing bowl, stir together white rice flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.  Put aside.
2- In a separate mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and vanilla extract and beat until mixed through. 

3- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat until mixture is smooth.  This can be done with a mixer, but I just did it by hand.
4- When thoroughly combined, roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  I made half a batch of cookies after one hour in the fridge, and the other half after refrigerating overnight.  The cookies turned out roughly the same, but the dough was much easier to work with after being chilled overnight.
5- Lightly flour the counter, and place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough to roll it out.  Roll the dough to desired thickness.  For crispy cookies, roll quite thin, and for chewier ones roll thicker.  They will rise a bit, but not too much.  Cut into desired shapes or roll into balls and flatten.
6- Place on a greased cookie sheet and place in oven for 6-8 minutes.  Take out when edges begin to brown.
7- Place on a cooling rack and gently life bottoms from cookie sheet, then allow to cool.
8- Decorate with icing and sprinkles, or eat plain.  I'm going to try my next batch with a cookie glaze. 

These cookies will hold their shape well and don't crumble.  To change the flavour, substitute a different extract for the vanilla extract. To cut perfectly round cookies, roll dough into a log before refrigerating and then just cut into rounds when ready to bake.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

We're off to a kids' Christmas party this morning and a birthday party this afternoon, so I'll post our menu plan without photos for now.

Monday: Chicken Caesar Salad with Gluten Free croutons Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Pork Roast with Rosemary and Apple Sauce

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Quarters with Jacket Baked Potatoes and Leftover Salad

Thursday: Turkey Stir Fry with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Friday: HOLIDAY PARTY!!!!  (Menu to follow)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Celiac Baby!

Today is the one year anniversary of Celiac Baby!  I'm thrilled to have made it an entire year, and that my readership has kept growing over the last 12 months.

The first photo I posted.  Note the runny nose and puffy eyes- he had been off gluten for less than a week at that point.

I started this blog as a way to make some sense of the new dietary restrictions my son was facing, to share my experiences and learn from the experiences of others.
I've learned so much from other bloggers, and I hope I've had some good tips and recipes to share as well. 

If you want to read how it all started, click HERE for my inaugural post.

Much has changed over the past year- I started out unaware of just how prevalent gluten is in food products, to trying out gluten free baking from a mix, to finally creating some of my own recipes from scratch.  I've been blogging daily, sharing the things I learn as well as the obstacles that have confronted my efforts to keep my son healthy, without making his food restrictions the centre of our existence.  I became aware of just how many others are coping with the same issues; there are two other parents in my workplace whose children are gluten free as well. 

Seeing my son's health improve has been the biggest blessing of the past year.  Connecting with an entire network of people worldwide sharing the same struggles has been pretty special too. 

Thank you to all who have followed the blog or signed up for email delivery of posts, to those of you who check in from time to time or to check out the weekly menu plan or recipes, and to those of you who aren't coping with gluten issues, but can relate to the day-to-day challenges of raising a child. 

I have big plans for year 2 of Celiac Baby!  Weekly Menu Plans will continue, but I'm planning on adding more recipes on a regular basis.  Product reviews, restaurant reviews, and much, much more! 

Keep the comments and email coming, I love hearing your feedback and ideas for new posts.  I have a list of restaurants and stores that have been recommended by readers, and once the holiday season madness is over, I promise I'll check out as many of them as I can.

Thank you for your support!  And Welcome to year two of Celiac Baby!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Five Things on a Friday

1- This is the last post of the first year of this blog!  I'm so happy to have kept at this for a whole year, and that you have shared it with me!  Looking forward to continuing the journey...

2- I'm also looking forward to spending this weekend with my family. I barely saw my son last weekend at all with all the writing, so this weekend the two of us are going to spend some quality time.

3- No better way to spend time with a preschooler than to bake some cookies.  Homemade, gluten free sugar cookies coming up!

4- Planning on finally finishing the Christmas decorating this weekend.  I'm tired of the pile of garland at the bottom of the stairs.

5- Christmas shopping this weekend.  Before the crazy mall crowds begin.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Fingers Are Numb...

My fingers are numb, my eyes are dry and I feel like my shoulders have enough tension in them to last a lifetime, but tomorrow is the day that I submit my thesis to my supervisor. 

Tonight it's format, format, format. 

Forgive me for the less than stellar post?

Tomorrow my life returns to normal, and Saturday is the one year anniversary of this blog! 

Christmas cookie recipes, party tips and more to come! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

"Outdoor Santa" at the mall.  My son insisted that Daddy sit with him for the photo.  At least he's not crying, like last year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Goals Update

This month has been action packed with work, work, and more work!  Budget meetings, teaching an after school class, handling extra curricular activities and just the daily routine have kept me busy most nights after school as well as weekends.  I'm hoping that things will begin to wind down at work in December, when the holiday social calendar begins to heat up!

I did find time to catch up on some of my goals for the year this month, including spending some quality time with family.  December should have plenty more where that came from, which I'm looking forward to. 

While I haven't found time for the fitness program I was hoping to start, I have been trying to eat healthier, and I've maintained my weight despite the long hours in front of the computer working, so I'm happy about that. 

One of the big goals this year was to make some of the rooms in our house more functional, after a long stretch of neglecting those areas.  We've improved our family room, set up an office area for me in the basement and sketched out the changes we want to make to the common area downstairs. 

As for the thesis that I've been working on forever, I'm scheduled to hand in my revised draft to my supervisor this Friday afternoon.  If the committee are satisfied with it, then they will send it to an outside reader and hopefully schedule a thesis defense for sometime in the new year.  I can't tell you how ready I am to be finished with this!  I really enjoyed the process, but now that the end is in sight, I'm anxious to cross the finish line!!!

So bear with me for the rest of the week.  I'll be posting everyday, but it won't be until the weekend that the holiday tips and recipes will start coming.  I'm throwing a few holiday parties at my house this year, so I'll be passing on my tips to throwing a gluten-free friendly gathering, even when it's a potluck and not all the dishes will be gluten free.  Can't wait!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Baked Garlicky Fish and Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday: Tuna Patties with Vegetables

Wednesday: Butter Chicken with Steamed Peas and Carrots

 Thursday: Homemade Hamburgers   

Friday: A risotto with Mediterranean flavours

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Few Thoughts on a Saturday

I feel as though I'm beginning to catch up to civilization a little bit today, as my husband picked up the new iPhone for each of us.  It's been years (I'm serious) since I've updated my cell phone, and now all of a sudden I can do more things on my phone than I would have ever imagined! 

I've spent the last half hour just checking out all the features that come with the phone, and I've already browsed through hundreds of free books that I want to download. 

So excuse me if tonight's post is really, really, short.  I have to figure out how to post from my new phone.

Menu plan goes up tomorrow, and since this is my weekend to finally finish my thesis draft, my husband's doing the cooking.  Let's see what he comes up with! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five List

1- Today is my brother-in-law Carlos' birthday.  He's 23 years old, which I'm sure seems very old to him.  Feliz CumpleaƱos Carlos!

2- Toronto broke weather records today.  15.7C!  Hot, sunny and a beautiful day to be outside. 
3- The weather made up for the 45 minutes spent on a broken down bus waiting to go to the ROM this morning.
4- I'm really hoping to spend a date day checking out the special Mayan exhibit before it's over.
5- The countdown is on, 4 more weeks 'till Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving South of the Border

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends!  I was thinking of all the turkey and football I was missing while at work today.

I hope you had a chance to slow down, relax and enjoy time with family and friends.


Now get some rest before Black Friday... 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Redux

I wrote all about my Thanksgiving in October, since that's when we celebrate here in Canada.  The big day is fast approaching for those of you in the US, so if you're looking for some gluten free menu ideas, fun activities for the kids, or what to do with all that leftover turkey, be sure to check out these posts:

Recipe: Homemade Gluten Free Cranberry Sauce
Recipe: Homemade Apple Sauce
Recipe: Autumn Harvest Soup
My Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu
Hosting a Stress Free Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner Roundup
Healthy Top Whipped Topping

Monday, November 21, 2011

Putting Up the Christmas Tree!

It's a tradition in my house to put up my Christmas tree the day of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.  It may be a little early for those of you in the United States, who still have Thanksgiving to celebrate, but for me in Canada, Thanksgiving was a month ago and there's only one month to go before Christmas!

I like having the date put aside each year because I make a point to not make any other plans that day, and instead we spend it at home, listening to holiday songs while we decorate the house and put up the tree, until finally relaxing on the couch while we watch the parade on t.v.

This year my son was old enough to be interested in the process, although I don't know how much actual "help" he provided!  We didn't get all the decorations done, but the stockings are hung, the lights are strung outside, and the tree is trimmed.  There are a few more candy canes that I think need to go on it, but it looks finished enough.  Just a few more indoor decorations, and I'll be ready to finish my shopping and start wrapping gifts!

December is coming soon, and we're already almost all booked up for the month!  As for the blog, I'm looking forward to posting my party planning tips, more holiday recipes and gift ideas for the newly gluten free!  Oh yeah, and my one year blog anniversary is coming up soon!

Here are a few photos of our tree!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Chicken Parmesan with Mushrooms and GF Pasta  (I've prepared the chicken and sauce separately.  I'll cook up the pasta tomorrow and bake the chicken with sauce and cheese tomorrow, or it will go soggy).  This time I used rice crumbs, but I prefer the Nut'N Gluten brand of bread crumbs better.

Tuesday: Jamie's Char Grilled Squid, Rustic Guacamole & Antipasto Salad

Wednesday: Cream of Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
(Goat's milk instead of cream for the soup, GF bread and Goat Milk Mozzarella for the Sandwiches.  Comfort food!)

Thursday: Fritatta and Caesar Salad

Friday: Tacos