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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cheap, Easy, Natural Christmas Tree and Decorations for Small Spaces



Our apartment is not large. Also, many rental apartments don't allow for Christmas trees because they're considered a fire hazard. Some people also don't want the hassle of putting up trees, or finding space for one. So what does one do in such cases?

Well, you could buy a nice little potted plant. My mom did that for us. She bought a beautiful little rosemary tree and we decorated it last month. Sadly, however, it died (I think it was left standing in water too long and got root rot).

Since I wanted something to decorate the place for Christmas, and since we were having the family over for a Christmas brunch, I needed a quick fix. I needed a cheap, easy, natural Christmas tree.

So I grabbed a pair of snippers and headed out back of our apartment... This is what I came up with ...


Friday, December 19, 2014

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies & Chocolate Dipped Icebox Cookies




These cookies were an accident. I never intended for them to be thumbprint jelly cookies, or icebox cookies. They were supposed to be gluten free spritz cookies.

So why did they end up this way? Well if you've ever wondered if you can make spritz cookies with a cake decorator instead of a cookie press I'm here to tell you that (at least in the case of my particular cake decorator), the answer is no. No you cannot. It's like trying to push a chunk of play dough out through your nostril.

What you can do instead, if you suddenly find yourself in a panic the night before a party which you have promised to bring cookies to and you have no spritzer-maker, is make thumbprint and icebox cookies. And that's exactly what I decided to do last weekend!

The result was these perfectly awesome gluten free jelly thumbprint cookies and chocolate dipped thumbprint cookies.So here's my recipe, with instructions, sans spritzer. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

I'm an Auntie!

So I meant to post a recipe for GF thumbprint cookies and sugar cookies dipped in chocolate today, but my sister gave birth in the middle of the night to an adorable baby girl with a full head of dark hair! Clearly she takes after her father, as my sister is almost blonde.

Subsequently, I'm exhausted and spent a good chunk of my day buying balloons and hanging out in the hospital with my new niece.

So I'll get around to that cookie recipe this weekend, but for now, I'm off to take a nap before heading out to a Christmas party tonight.

Happy Friday night everyone :)  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Easy Gluten Free and Vegan Borscht with Sauerkraut (#MeatlessMonday)

Free of gluten, dairy, soy, & eggs




A while back I shared a post with 25 Ways to Use Beets. There was a borscht recipe in there, of course, but it wasn't mine. This is the very simple, easy recipe I use to make borscht.

And believe it or not, my husband, who doesn't like beets OR sauerkraut, actually likes this borscht recipe. This vegan borscht takes only a few minutes to chop and grate the ingredients, and about 20 minutes on the stove, and is just about the simplest soup I've ever made. And it makes enough to serve 2 people throughout the week.

Which is absolutely perfect as we head into the chilly winter months and crave warm, comforting soup for lunch and dinner. Borscht is a cheap, easy, naturally gluten free and healthy soup that can be served with a big chunk of my Gluten Free Multiseed Multigrain Bread for a complete and satisfying meal!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Easy and Free Crochet Baby Set Patterns


This is one of my rare DIY posts, and one of my even rarer crochet projects. I have to share it, because these little crochet baby cardigan sets are the most absolutely adorable things I have ever made, or seen. I also have to share it because there's a little something I haven't told you all yet... sometime very soon, probably in the next two weeks, I'm going to be an auntie!!

So read on and I'll tell you (and show you) more about these free crochet patterns and my new little niece.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

My GF Weekly Meal Plan

 

I've been "off the wagon" again with meal planning, but I keep trying to climb back on it. I'm getting a little ahead of myself by posting my weekly meal plan before it actually starts on Saturday, but today I'm trying to get organized. The holidays are coming up (Happy Thanksgiving, btw, to my American readers!) and things are about to get even more hectic than usual around here!


So this week's meal plan includes making a dinner for 6 (the in-laws and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend are coming over), a couple of different stir fries, and my favorite vegan burgers.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Week of Gluten Free Pasta Making



What if you could eat pasta three or even four times a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, for over a week without ever eating the same type of pasta?

That's basically what I was doing when I put together the recipes for my last cookbook, Recipes for Unusual Gluten Free Pasta: Pierogis, Dumplings, Desserts and More!

Since the book has over 60 recipes, it took me a couple of months of intense recipes testing to put the book together, and a whole lot of taste testing! Luckily, the pasta recipes in this book go well beyond fettuccine (there are a couple of fettuccine recipes, though, like the Gluten Free Chocolate Fettuccine shown in the above photo). It's not hard to eat pasta several times a day when you realize that "pasta" includes things like dumplings, won tons, pierogis, orzo, tortellini, and more.

Scroll down to see some pictures of what I was eating while working on the book!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cheap & Easy All-Natural Microwave Cleaner


I've been meaning to blog about this for some time. Several months ago, I saw a random post on Pinterest about using vinegar and water to essentially steam-clean your microwave. I tried it. And it worked! It's incredibly easy, and super cheap. 

The pics above are old ones from a few months ago, but scroll down and you can see what my microwave looks like after a bowl of beans in tomato sauce explodes all over the roof. Of course, what the pictures can't convey is the stench of reheated fish that permeated the microwave after heating up leftovers yesterday...

But fear not! All it took was a bowl of water and vinegar and about 2 seconds of wiping things down and it was shiny and pretty inside again. And no more fishy stench...


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Gluten Free 1920s Themed Party (Murder Mystery!!)


So my birthday was about a month ago, and I've been meaning to get around to sharing some of my party pics and details with you. This was the first year in about 5 years that I had a birthday party and actually celebrated with my friends (since hubby and I have been busy with school and then living in the US).

Since my birthday is so close to Halloween, I decided to go all out this year and have a 1920s - themed murder mystery party! It was fantastic fun. I decorated our apartment (sort of) in the style of a 1920s Orientalist themed speakeasy club and we had a ton of 1920s themed gluten free cocktails.

Of course, if you've ever looked up 1920s food, you'll know most of it was disgusting (think meat jello and lots of mayonnaise type things). So we gave it a healthy, gluten free update, and there was lots of veggie/vegan stuff since a couple of the girls in attendance were vegetarian or lactose intolerant.

So read on and I'll tell you what we ate, and you can check out some pics of my decorations and me doing my hair and makeup!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Miniature Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie



A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for my favorite gluten free pumpkin pie. Then I said I would post how I make basic miniature pumpkin pies to take to potlucks, or to serve for little kids. These mini pumpkin pies are great little handheld pies, and they're super easy to make.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

My GF Weekly Meal Plan






I don't have much to report this week, except that I'm working like mad on the formatting of my next cookbook, Cooking and Baking with Gluten Free Beer. I've been putting together the recipes for months, and now it's time to finally put it all together in print and eBook version.

Coming up with recipes and testing them is the fun part of writing cookbooks. The formatting and writing out all the instructions is the not-so-fun part. 

If, however, you're inclined to check out my formatting skills, you can take a look at my last cookbook, Recipes for Unusual Gluten Free Pasta, where I finally managed to format a book without tearing out my hair and having nightmares of misplaced tables and shifting page number alignment... ;)

Now that I've shamelessly plugged my cookbook, let's move on to this week's meal plan...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan



This past month was a doozy. First there was Canadian Thanksgiving, then there was my birthday, then there was Halloween. Now that some of the madness from that has passed, I'm ready to settle down a bit and try to get back on the meal planning track...

So this week's meal plan is pretty simple. I'm taking part in National Novel Writing Month - which involves writing 50,000 words towards a novel - and trying to plow through most of the second novel in my Ancient Egyptian Romances series (the first one being the recently released In the Court of Kemet ). Doing NaNoWriMo is intense, so this month's cooking will involve leftovers, and quick and easy meals.

Then again, quick and easy meals is not unusual for me!  So without further ado, here is this week's meal plan...


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