Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie – two ways

October 11th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Holidays in our family require extreme creativity in the kitchen to accommodate all our food issues. I made two pumpkin pies to meet our needs, one with dairy, one without, both gluten free. I learned afterward that my nephew is now allergic to soy. I’ll have to be even more creative next year!

Dairy-free, gluten-free pumpkin pie:

Crust:

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 cup ground almond flour
3 tbl granulated sugar
1/8 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
ice water

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until the pastry resembles coarse meal. Add about 6 tbs ice water and mix with fork until the pastry holds together. Roll pastry on a couple sheets of overlapped wax paper until desired thickness. Place pie plate next to the sheet and carefully lift the rolled pastry on the wax paper and place it over the pie plate so that the pastry drapes evenly over the plate. Carefully remove the wax paper and fit the pastry into the plate. Flute the edges.

Filling:

2 cups cooked pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup firm smooth tofu or silken tofu
4 tbs arrowroot flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
5 tsp pumpkin pie spice or more to taste

Place pumpkin and tofu in a food processor and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour into prepared crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 325 degrees until done (approximately and hour). Cool on baking rack.

Gluten-free cream cheese pumpkin pie:

Crust:

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 cup ground almond flour
3 tbl granulated sugar
1/8 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup butter
ice water

See directions for pie crust above.

Filling:

2 cups cooked pumpkin
1/2 pound cream cheese softened
2 tbs arrowroot flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
5 tsp pumpkin pie spice or more to taste

Place pumpkin and cream cheese in food processor and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended. Pour into prepared pie plate, smoothing the top. Bake at 325 until done (about 35-40 minutes). Cool on baking rack.

Gluten-free donut bliss balls

September 13th, 2010 § Comments Off on Gluten-free donut bliss balls § permalink

These lovely little dainties taste just like those little powder sugar coated donuts you buy from the store, only better. Even tastier the next day if you can resist the urge to eat them all 🙂

Gluten-free donut bliss balls

1 cup almonds
1cup pecans
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup flax seed oil
1/4 tsp salt
grated coconut
apple butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grind almonds and pecans in a food processor. Add flours, salt and xanthan gum. Blend. Add vanilla, maple syrup, and flax seed oil. Mix in the processor until well blended.

Grease hands with coconut oil. Roll the dough into balls roughly 1 tablespoon in size. Roll in coconut. Place the coconut covered dough balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill the indentation with apple butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool slightly then remove from tray to cooling racks. Store in a cookie tin. Yum!

A Cute Review

August 19th, 2010 § Comments Off on A Cute Review § permalink

This cute review of The Odds Get Even was posted in Off The Shelf, the Book Shelf’s monthly book and movie review. Thanks Jadyn!

The Odds Get Even
by Natale Ghent

This book was very entertaining and a book that you can’t put down. The book is about three kids, Boney, Itchy, and Squeak. They’re very odd. They have their own little treehouse and unfortunately, their own bullies, Larry Harry and the gang. They have an invention convention every year at school but Larry Harry and the gang always win, but not this time, they have the haunted mill on their side. They make an invention that picks up rays of ghosts, but will it really work?

How they get revenge on Larry Harry is that the ghost shows up when Larry least expects it…

I think it’s a fun interesting book and I think it’s nice to show a group of good friends, even though they’re odd. This book is for kids who enjoy event-after-event-after event kind of books and an ending that really make you think “wow, that was cool how they ended it.”

If you’re thinking I don’t really like books that jump right into event after event after event, don’t worry, there’s a lot of very suspenseful parts. Some of my favourite parts in this book are how the boys try to get back at Larry Harry by wearing one of their fathers’ Elvis costumes and making ghost sounds when they jump out of a tree and try to scare him, and how they have little telletubby communicators so they can talk to themselves when they’re up in their rooms. Have fun reading!

Jadyn, grade six, Sir Isaac Brock School

Gluten-Free Oatcakes: Sweet and Savoury

August 4th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

My mum grew up in Motherwell, Scotland. So we grew up watching On The Buses, Benny Hill and The Two Ronnies, and eating things that most other Canadian kids didn’t: like real English toffee (the kind with the little silver hammer), Scottish soda bread, Digestive cookies (with butter), powdery fruit candies, licorice All Sorts, and oatcakes.

While I loved most everything Mum brought home, oatcakes were not my favourite. They weren’t like oatmeal cookies; they were more like oat crackers, which hold very little appeal for kids.

After reading that oatmeal is good for people with blood sugar concerns and carbohydrate-reduced diets, I decided to revisit the oatcake and create something toothsome, gluten free and super tasty.

These oatcakes have big appeal and can actually help balance your blood sugar when made with agave or maple syrup. With a low GI (glycemic index) and low GL (glycemic load), and a nice percentage of protein, they’re excellent for all and sundry. And did I mention how yum they are?

Sweet Oatcakes:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of agave or maple syrup OR 1/2 cup brown sugar if sugar isn’t a dietary concern

1 cup butter

2 1/2 cups organic rolled oats

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup of rice flour

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup of water

*optional* 1 scoop of protein powder. I use berry-flavoured Harmonized vegan protein powder – it makes the cakes taste like Pop Tarts!

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With a fork, stir in the vanilla extract and enough water so that the dough clings together enough to be worked. Divide into three portions. Roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into rounds. Bake 1/2 an inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets for 10 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. Cool.

*Note: If you live in an area of high humidity, store the cooled cakes in a tin with a couple tablespoons of baking soda on the bottom and a piece of paper towel over the soda to absorb moisture.

*For Savoury Cakes, use 2 tablespoons agave in place of the sugar, omit the vanilla extract and use 1/2 cup sorghum flour and 1/2 cup rice flour in place of the Sweet Oatcake flour mix. You can also add 1/4 – 1/2 cup flax seeds to the mix. Prepare and bake as directed.

A Mysterious Visitor

July 8th, 2010 § Comments Off on A Mysterious Visitor § permalink

We arrived at the cabin with couch in tow at midnight, Friday night. Having the use of a truck to carry said couch was an incredible luxury. We can thank our neighbour for his kindness and generosity on that one. The use of his truck for babysitting his cat. Sweet.

We’ve been talking about a couch for the cabin for over four years and finally made it a reality. How would we get it there? We were so excited about it that we just had to unwrap it and set it up right away, despite the time. After moving it here and there as we decided on the perfect spot, it was about 1:00 a.m. I was exhausted and had to climb into bed.

I was happily nestling in when Brian exclaimed, “You have to come and see this! There’s a huge moth on the backdoor window.”

I opened one eye and looked at him with suspicion, then thew the covers to one side. “This had better be worth it.”

Now, that was the tiredness speaking because I’m the first one to jump at the chance to see just about anything in nature. Brian assured me it would be worth my while.

And it was.

There, staring back at us, was the biggest, most beautiful luna moth. It was huge – easily the size of my hand – its lime-green wings and white body glowing ethereally in the light from Brian’s headlamp. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

The moth fluttered from the glass, making several furtive attempts to become one with the light, its wings tapping erratically against the window before it disappeared into the darkness and was gone.

Brian and I stood there awestruck, convinced we had been contacted by some mythical creature, determined to impart some message of great significance. And it did.

It told us that seeing a luna moth is a blessed thing and showed us how fragile and essential nature is, how delicately balanced the world must be to give birth to a creature so ephemeral, it only assumes its adult form for seven short days on this earth.

We felt like we’d witnessed a miracle in this nocturnal visitor, and truly we had. It reminded us that our efforts to live as respectfully and mindfully as possible on this magnificent planet are so important. That, more than anything, was the biggest gift of all.

wahoo!

June 16th, 2010 § Comments Off on wahoo! § permalink

My website was doing funny things and wouldn’t let me update my blog – bah! But it seems to be fixed now (thanks Mich!) so I promise to post a nice update the first chance I get – honest! :))

Spledour

May 20th, 2010 § Comments Off on Spledour § permalink

The garden is in full spring regalia right now. The wisteria is blazing with the myosotis fawning at its feet and the Canada anemone dancing in the wings. I love this time of year!

But the most incredible thing of all was hearing a wood thrush flute away in the canopy over my head as the bumbles droned and pushed into the flower blossoms. Nature is flourishing in the City!

Diving Bell

May 10th, 2010 § Comments Off on Diving Bell § permalink

It’s been a while, dear readers, since I’ve posted an entry in my blog. So much has been happening! There have been many school and library visits, festivals and workshops. The Silver Birch Festival is only two days away!

Life as a writer is both exciting and mundane all at once.

There is the day-to-day challenge of getting the words down, the unfurling and trimming of sails as I roll out upon a sea of ideas and characters and plot lines.

And then the fast-paced excitement of sailing into port, with events and award ceremonies and presentations where you actually get to meet real live readers who may have even read your book! And the fuzzy pleasure of award nominations and interactions with editors and agents…

…yeah…

Sometimes I find it difficult to surface from the weedy depths of my writing thoughts and interact like a real person with other real people in real time. When I’m writing, the process takes me deep, and the quick canter of spoken language and face-to-face communication eludes me as I slowly move within my creative diving bell. It’s an act of faith to believe that words have sounds outside the muted resonance of my mind’s ear. Is anybody up there working the machine? Will I even know how to reach the surface once the writing is done? Will someone reel me in? Will I get the bends?

But I love that liquid world and miss it terribly when I spend too much time on dry land. I’m counting the days until I can sink beneath the surface again…

Deep Thoughts

April 22nd, 2010 § Comments Off on Deep Thoughts § permalink

We managed to get a lot of work done at the cabin last time we were there, despite the relentless rain. Little, niggling things that you want to finish but never seem to find the time to do until there comes a point where you stop noticing them altogether.

Like the outhouse.

It was operational. It even looked good. But there were finishing touches that we left undone: the soffit and faschia boards, the last few battens, the door jam and the frames around the windows.

So we set to work. And it didn’t take long, really. In fact, we managed to finish the work in between downpours. Which was perfect.

Now, all we have to do is put the screen in the windows and finish the interior. When we have time…

Cake-free Cake

April 3rd, 2010 § Comments Off on Cake-free Cake § permalink

Baking a birthday cake that everyone in my family can enjoy poses a big challenge. It has to be dairy, soy, gluten, chocolate and egg-free. I decided to make a banana cake using wild rice flour grown in Canada. The batter tasted rich, almost like chocolate, and baked up with a lovely crumb. But brown or white rice flour would also be nice. The hardest part was the icing. I used a bit of coconut oil with icing sugar, vanilla, rice milk and some amaretto to give it some interest. I wasn’t entirely happy with the consistency of the icing and will have to experiment to make something that can rival traditional butter creme.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup rice syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup oil
1 – 1 1/2 cup rice milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two eight inch round baking pans. Blend dry ingredients except sugar in a bowl. Set aside. Blend sugar and bananas until mixed. Add oil, rice syrup, vanilla. Add dry mix a portion at a time, alternating with one cup rice milk until blended. If the batter seems too thick, drizzle additional rice milk into the mix until it reaches a smoother consistency. You will have to smooth this batter into the pans, but you want the mix to be light enough to rise in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tests done. Cool 20 minutes on racks then remove from pans and cool completely before icing.

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