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Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan

Hi all! I'm a little behind this week, but I've managed to take a few minutes to throw together a healthy meal plan for this week. I'm going to attempt to make some salmon burgers using some leftover baked salmon, and am looking forward to a mung bean curry and blueberry smoothies!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Baked Root Vegetable Fries (easy, gluten free and vegan)

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been abnormally cold the last few weeks, with more snow and ice than we've seen in several years combined. To top it off, our apartment building has had almost no heat and hot water for close to two months because the boiler broke... again... just like it did last year in the midst of a cold snap... they keep trying to fix it, but improvements have been small and incremental...

So yeah...

I'm looking for any excuse to turn the oven on and hold my hands over that delicious heat.

I don't know about you all, but I find that when I spend most of my day shivering, bundled in three pairs of socks, a blanket, and finger-less mittens I like to have a little bit of comfort food for dinner.

And there are few things more comforting than a plate full of easy, baked, barbeque-flavored root veggie fries. Unless, of course, you dip those root veggies into a little puddle of my Homemade BBQ Sauce.  Add a bottle of wine and there's really no reason to go anywhere else for the night!

Turnips, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, all are excellent, less-starchy alternatives to white potatoes. And if you're wanting nightshade-free fries, these root vegetable fries are definitely the way to go.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Gluten Free Weekly Meal Plan

Happy New Year! 

I don't normally make resolutions on January 1st, although it seems inevitable that this is a time for reflection on things that may, or may not, have worked well in the previous year, and what you may like to change moving forward.

Personally, I function better with some semblance of a schedule. Since I work from home and have a personality type that rejects scheduling and order I realize this is a a complete contradiction, but true nonetheless! 

One of the things that I like to schedule (and fall away from, then come back to), is meal plans.

So here I am, back on the meal plan wagon. This time around, I'm trying to do a better job of:

a) meal planning regularly, and 
b) including more variety in my breakfasts, snacks, and lunches

You know, so I don't fall back on a bag of tortillas and a bowl of salsa for lunch.... cuz I've been known to do that.... almost daily...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Easy Gluten Free Brown Rice Crockpot Paella (vegan option)

I love throwing themed dinner parties. For my birthday last year I had a Paris themed party, and this past birthday I did an Enchanted Forest theme. Recently I did a dim sum - themed dinner for a girlfriend's birthday.

But my go-to dinner theme is usually Mediterranean. That's because tapas and mezze are so quick and easy to throw together. Lately, my Mediterranean dinners have centered around this one, simple dish - Paella done in a slow cooker.

Like my Jambalaya, or Ragout, paella is one of those great, one-pot dishes that are so simple to make, and so flexible based on whatever happens to be in the fridge. It's a bit like savoury, gourmet comfort food.

Everyone who's had this recipe loves it, and I love that there's so little to clean up! You can make the paella tomato-free (if you're avoiding nightshades), or make it vegan, pescatarian, or meaty, depending on what you prefer.

Add a side dish like Baked Feta, Olive Tapenade, or Marinated Chickpea Salad and you have a quick and easy feast worthy of the most discerning guests!!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Lady of the Caravan is here!!

It's here! It's here! Lady of the Caravan, the 4th novel in my romance series, is finally here!

It took longer than expected because... well, the novel itself is longer than I planned for - mostly because the characters themselves grew so much more than anticipated over the course of the story.

Penebui began as a rather romantic, imaginative young woman, and after several weeks of strife in the desert, she developed into a mature, strong heroine. Her love-story is both intense and forbidden.

And, of course, there is plenty of action and humour in the desert.

So read on for more detail, or GET IT NOW on Kindle (other formats becoming available daily, so check with your favourite eBook and print retailer).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Easy, DIY Drawstring Bags for Christmas or Storage

This post originally appeared on One Creative Mommy back in 2012. I'm re-posting it now because it's still one of my go-to gift bags, and a great way to use up leftover fabric!  

I don’t know about you, but the commercialization of Christmas drives me crazy.  Not only does it seem antithetical to the reason most people celebrate it, but Christmas consumerism creates a ridiculous amount of bad environmental waste in the form of uneaten leftover food, wrapping paper, unwanted gifts, ugly knickknacks, old decorations and so on and so forth.
So this year on top of trying to find eco-friendly gifts, I’m making gift bags that can be reused for years to come.  In fact, these beautiful bags can even be a part of the gift!  They can be re-gifted, or used for storing things or even as little purses.  The bags are simple to make with a sewing machine, and the felt one is easy enough to make even without a sewing machine.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gluten Free Yule Log Recipe / Chocolate Jelly Roll

Jelly rolls used to mystify me. They seemed like the sort of thing that would forever elude me.

Until now. I had no idea how easy it could be, once you have a decent recipe.

Two years ago my mother-in-law (who is incredibly accommodating of my food allergies and an excellent cook) made a gorgeous gluten free yule log, complete with frosting and meringue mushrooms. She used a cake mix, which was very good.

But you know me. I prefer to bang my head against the wall a few times until I can make it myself.

I tried to make a gluten free jelly roll last year, and it was a total fail. I did, however, end up using the failed attempts to make both Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Balls and Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Pudding Pie .

As you can see, this year's attempt did not fail.

Oh no. This year's attempt was a spectacular success. And then I added chocolate leaves and it was even more spectacular.

I also wanted it to be a not-too-sweet, frosting-free Yule log, so it turned out more of a chocolate jelly roll. Which, as it turns out, is awesome.

So here it is, My Gluten Free Chocolate Jelly Roll Yule Cake recipe.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Ultimate DIY Gluten Free Gingerbread House Guide + how to make a lighted gingerbread house!

Since the holiday season is upon us, I'm re-posting my Gingerbread House tutorial from last year! I hope you enjoy it :)

Those of you who follow me on Facebook probably saw some of my posts this past week as I attempted to make my very first gluten free gingerbread house, and I promised to post about it. I still haven't gotten around to actually decorating it (thanks to having not one, not two, but THREE decorating devices fail on me), but this post should give you everything you need in time to make one yourself!

So in this post you'll find:
* A link to the gluten free gingerbread recipe I used (it's fabulous, and my non-GF hubby really liked it too)
* Links to the TWO different free gingerbread house templates / patterns I used
* A tutorial on how to make a lighted gingerbread house (my first attempt at this and I'm pleased with the results)
* Some suggestions for constructing a gingerbread house
* A recipe for simple, gluten free, dairy free, corn-syrup free royal icing

So let's get crackin', cuz Christmas is just around the corner!!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How to Make an Easy Felt Gift Bag for Christmas

A DIY Felt Gift Bag in 4 Easy Steps

Since Christmas is around the corner, I thought I'd repost this little DIY from waaay back in the winter of 2012. It's still one that I like to use!!

This felt bag costs as much or even less than a paper gift bag from the dollar store, and is so simple to make, it takes about 15 minutes once you get the hang of it. I like this one, too, because the felt sheets I used are made from recycled plastic bottles, so it’s really eco-friendly!

This easy Christmas gift bag is even simpler than my easy drawstring bag (which is also very easy, but with more steps). Although the drawstring bags might be slightly more durable and multi-purpose, and can be customized to any size, these are super simple if you want something quick, or you're lacking in sewing skills (or even a sewing machine!). These bags can be reused for years, re-gifted or used for storing things like toys and other things.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Vegan, Gluten Free Sweet Bean Paste Buns

Can you imagine something being buttery, without using any butter? And at the same time, being filled with sweet (but not too sweet) goodness?

These vegan, gluten free bean paste buns are amazing, and so addictive! I've been having a hard time not gobbling them one after the other.

And they came about because, a few years ago, I used to live near a Chinese bakery that sold red bean paste buns. After twice-weekly practices with my dance company, I would go into the store and treat myself to a bun.

I've missed red bean paste buns so much since I had to give up gluten, and I've finally managed to re-create them! They're so easy, too. You can use store-bought red bean paste, or make your own according to my recipe. This time, I made mung bean paste since I had split mung beans on hand, but red adzuki beans are most common.

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