Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Five List

1- SUMMER!!!!  this could really take up all five spots on my list, but I'll restrict it to just one.  Today was the last day of school, so work is done!  It's going to be a busy summer, with a baby on the way and my 3 year old home from daycare, but I'm looking forward to getting some rest and relaxation.

2- Canada Day:  This weekend is a long holiday weekend, and there are so many options to choose from I'm not sure what we'll end up doing.  Euro soccer finals for sure, as well as fireworks, chilling in the backyard, and some cooking too.  My son loves helping me cook, so maybe we'll put together something red and white to celebrate.

3- Writing:  I haven't had much time lately for any kind of writing, so I'm looking forward to getting back at it.  I want to get back to blogging every day (at least until the baby is born!), and I also want to start writing for pleasure again. 

4- Friends and Family: The school year is always so crazy that I find I often have very little time to spend with friends ad extended family the way I'd like to.  It's not going to get any easier with a new baby in the house, so I'm hoping to connect with as many people as possible over the next few weeks.  I'm also excited about having a few weeks at home with my son before the baby comes, because I know things will get busy again soon.

5- Baby!  This one is obvious.  As I get closer to my due date, staying healthy and active without letting the heat get to me are going to be a huge focus of mine.  Finalizing the preparations for the baby's arrival are also going to take centre stage over the next few weeks. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (well, almost)

My son's daycare sent home a year's worth of artwork last week, and I found myself scrambling to figure out what to do with them all.  A few pieces got pulled out to send to grandparents and great-grandparents, but that still left several pieces.  I decided to create a scrapbook with the majority, but I wanted to display a few as well.  I had 3 picture frames that weren't being put to good use, so I chose the three pieces that I thought best represented my son's interests and put the pictures inside.  Two of the frames I hung in his bedroom, and one I hung in the upstairs hallway.  They're cute and appropriate for his room, and I can rotate the artwork out every few months (or, more likely, once a year!)

Pictures hung over his bookcase

Fine art in the 2nd floor hallway

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gluten Free Vegan Cupcakes

I try to make cupcakes for my son when there's an occasion that requires us to provide a cake substitute, but sometimes it's nice to have someone else do the work for me.  My son spent Saturday with Grandma, and she picked up some cupcakes for the occasion.  These Molly B Gluten Free Banana Chocolate cupcakes are gluten free and vegan.  The first ingredient is Banana.  The flavour is a nice mixture of chocolate and banana, and the icing is sweet with a nice dark chocolate flavour to it.  My son loved them, but they're grown-up enough for the adults too.  A great option for vegans, or for anyone who's just looking for a great tasting cupcake.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe: Stuffed Tilapia Rolls

My husband got the idea for this recipe from a friend at work, and couldn't wait to try it out.  We turn to tilapia quite often when preparing fish- it keeps its shape, has a mild taste, and is relatively inexpensive.  For this recipe, buy the fish fresh, not frozen, and preferably the day you plan to cook it.


4 tilapia fillets
1 large bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), thinly sliced
1/2 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1/4 cup (or more to taste) shredded mozzarella
handful basil leaves
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
toothpicks for securing rolls

Preheat oven to 350F

1- In a small bowl, mix the juice of 1 lemon, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  Lay the fish fillets on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, or prepare first and move finished rolls to a casserole dish.  Brush the fish on one side with the lemon juice mixture, reserving the rest.

2- Chop the pepper, broccoli and onion and divide into four equal piles.  Lay the vegetables horizontally across the middle of each fillet of fish.  Tear basil leaves and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Sprinke grated mozzarella cheese over vegetables.

3- Roll fillets up (my husband describes his process as "grabbing both ends like a taco and placing one end over the other".)  Secure with toothpicks.  Drizzle with olive oil.

4- Place fish in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Sprinke grated parmesan over top and return to oven for another 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and fish is cooked all the way through.

I was surprised at how easy this recipe was to put together, and how fancy it looked when done.  Definitely a great date-night meal, or a special occasion dish that is ready in about 30 minutes, but looks like it took much longer! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday:  Tilapia rolls filled with Bell Peppers, Onions and Shredded Cheese (these are quick and easy to make, but best made the day of)

Tuesday:  Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce (Oprah recipe- really easy and delicious) 

Wednesday:  Chicken Kebabs with Zucchini, Onion and Lemon with a Chickpea Chopped Salad

Veggies Ready to be Wrapped!

Thursday:  Grilled Vegetable Wraps with Herbed Goat Cheese Spread & Snow Peas with Tzatziki  for Dipping 

Friday:  Gluten Free Spaghetti and Bolognese Sauce

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe: S'mores Pie!!

So, I was charged with the task of making dessert for Father's day dinner, and I didn't want to make cupcakes yet again.  So, I decided to try something new.  There are a lot of different recipes for S'mores pie out there, but many of them seem to be a lot of work, or contain too many ingredients my son can't have.  So I came up with my own version, and I have to say, it is quite delicious! 

I made my own gluten free graham crust, but you can probably buy ones pre-made if you look hard enough.  It's so simple to make your own though, I highly recommend it. 

Ingredients for Crust
-pie plate (9 or 10 inch is fine.  I use the cheap aluminum ones)
-1 box GF S'mores (graham) crackers or crumbs if you can find them.  I use Kinnikinnnik S'moreables.
-1/4 cup brown suger (white sugar works too)
-1/4 cup butter or substitute. I use Becel vegan or Earth Balance

Pie Filling
-1 package pie filling type chocolate pudding.  This will firm up better than regular pudding and not melt. 
-Water, milk or milk substitute for pudding, depending on package instructions
-1 jar (7 1/2 oz) Marshmallow fluff/creme (This can be found in the candy aisle, or the bakery aisle

Instructions for Crust: Preheat oven to 325F
1- If using whole crackers, blend in a blender until you have only crumbs. 
2- In a mixing bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Stir until well combined and press into pie plate.
3- Bake at 325F for 10 minutes, until crust is browned.  It may still look soft on the bottom, but it will firm up.  I put the crust in the freezer while I prepare the pudding to help it firm up faster.

1- Prepare the pie pudding according to package instructions.
2- Pour prepared pudding into pie crust and place in fridge to set. You may not need the whole prepared package of pudding.  Leave some room for the marshmallow topping. 
3- When the pudding is set and firm to the touch, spoon marshmallow topping over pudding and spread evenly. 
4- Place pie under the broiler until top is lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

***If you want to make the pie in advance, I would suggest preparing the crust and filling it with the pudding in advance.  Add the marshmallow topping and put it under the broiler right before serving.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

First, Happy Father's Day!  We're off to my parents' house this afternoon for some BBQ, and homemade S'mores Pie for dessert (recipe coming up this week!)  I was blessed with an amazing dad growing up, who coached my teams, came on my field trips, and taught me all the things a girl needs to know, like how to use power tools, lay tiles, install drywall....

I was never a girly-girl, and thankfully I had a dad who was ok with that and didn't mind me tagging along on all those activities a dad typically takes his son along to.  My parents let me be the tomboy I was, and never told me I couldn't do something because I'm a girl. 

Now, my son has great dad to look up to, who loves spending time with him and who will be just as supportive of him as my dad was of me.  Today is their day!  As my son says. "father's day means we love daddy."  I couldn't agree more! 

As for what we're eating this week....

Monday:  Baked Lamb with a Roast Vegetable Gravy  (this is still underway, so the photo attached is of the lamb before it went in the oven, after marinating for 24 hours) 

Tuesday:  GF elbow pasta with tuna and zucchini (my husband hates tuna and tomato together, so I left out the tomato, but some oven roasted cherry tomatoes would go great in this recipe, as well as add some nice colour) 

Wednesday:  Chicken Caesar Salad and Garlic, Chickpea and Rosemary Soup 

Thursday:  Lemon. Mushroom and Green Pea Risotto and leftover soup 

Friday:  Rice noodle stir fry with chicken, snow peas and red peppers (this I'll make the day of, because rice noodles tend to clump if left too long) 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

This week's menu plan is inspired by Euro 2012!  I've prepared dishes inspired from Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Germany and Poland.  It gave me the chance to try out some new dishes.  I hope you like them!

Monday: Portuguese Piri-Piri chicken & Roast Mini Potatoes

Tuesday: Polish Style Lentil Soup with Kielbasa Sausage 

Wednesday:  Swedish Meatballs in a Creamy Gravy and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thursday:  Schnitzel and Sauerkraut  (sorry, this is the only dish I don't yet have a photo of)

Friday:  Spanish-style Vegetarian Paella

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Five List

Here are a few of the things on my mind this fine Friday! 

1- Sports, sports, and more sports!  Have I ever mentioned that sometimes I think I should have been a sports writer?  Seriously, I could watch sports ALL DAY EVERY DAY.  In fact, I often flip back and forth between sporting events because I can't commit to just one.  This weekend I'll be trying to catch some of the Euro cup soccer matches, the French Open finals, and the Stanley Cup finals.  In between our hospital visit, my son's soccer, menu planning, etc.

2- Menu Planning, with a theme:  In honour of the Euro cup action I'll be watching over the next couple of weeks, I've decided to prepare some dishes typical of some of the countries represented.  Swedish meatballs, anyone?  Look for the menu plan to go up Sunday, or click HERE to see menus from previous weeks.

3- Baby, Baby, Baby:  Last weekend I was at a baby shower for my cousin, and also at the hospital for my shot (a blood type thing, but that's another story).  Tomorrow we're scheduled for our hospital tour of the maternity ward.  This isn't our first child (obviously), but last time I gave birth at a different hospital, so I'm looking forward to checking out delivery rooms.  I'm getting closer, and bigger.  I guess it's time to start picking names....

Me and my bump, about 3 weeks ago.  I'm MUCH larger now...

4- Summertime!  The school year's almost over, the weather is hot, and I can smell summer in the air.  Aside from getting all the baby stuff done, I'm looking forward to gardening, spending some time at the cottage, reading, writing, and generally just relaxing before my life gets turned upside down again!  Long days, homemade lemonade, walks in the evening....what could be better? 

Hopefully everything in my garden will grow as big and healthy as this guy does!

5- Graduation:  I finally get my Masters diploma next Friday!  I'm a little worried about the long ceremony (it's hard for me to sit still for long periods these days), but I'm excited to finally, officially, get that diploma in my hand. 

What's on your mind this weekend?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Looking Forward to the Next Few Months

There are 4 weeks left until the end of the school year.  With the baby due in August, this means that although my maternity leave doesn't begin until September, I'll be done work essentially a month from now.  That, compared with the beginning of the third trimester, have really brought home the realization that I'm going to have another baby, soon.  That and the fact that we are soon going to be living essentially on one income once again.  But that's another blog post!

I now find myself simultaneously trying to wrap up things at work and get things ready at home. 

The result is a frequent feeling of paralyzation and panic.  I don't feel as though I have enough time to get everything done before the school year ends, and I have a never ending list of baby stuff to get done before August.  So rather than doing everything at once, I often find myself doing nothing at all, other than curling up in bed with a book.  Not the most efficient use of my time!

I have started planning some freezer meals for when the new bundle arrives and cooking falls to the bottom of my list.  I'll be preparing a bunch of gluten free freezer meals, and sharing the recipes here on the blog.  Last time I had a baby, gluten free was not even on my radar, so it was nothing to just order in on nights when I didn't feel like cooking.  It's more important than ever this time around to be organized, in all areas.  

I'm open to suggestions! Do you have a favourite freezer meal you'd like to share on the blog?  Send me an email at with your faves or leave a message in the comments section. 

Lasagne will definitely be a make-ahead meal on my list!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday:  Macaroni & Cheese with Ground Turkey 

Tuesday:  Beef and Vegetable Soup

Wednesday:  Mushroom and Cheese Quesadillas on Rice Tortillas with a Side of Mixed Vegetables 

Thursday:  Jerk Chicken Thighs with Mango Salsa and Mixed Greens 

Friday:  Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese and Homemade Bruschetta on a Gluten Free Baguette