Monthly Archives: March 2013

Homemade Gluten-Free Tortillas

We are still in New Brunswick, spending time with my family. Today for lunch my mum reheated some of her local, grass-fed ground beef that she and dad had for dinner last night for some tortillas. I scrambled some farm eggs because I didn’t feel like eating beef.

Mum uses Maseca corn flour and her food processor to make the tortillas. She just follows the recipe on the back.

Tortilla 1After she rolls the dough into balls, she uses her tortilla press to make thin discs of dough. She cooks them on her small cast iron skillet.

Tortilla 2They’re ready after a couple of flips. Sometimes they end up being really fluffy and puff up in the middle. They’re really soft!

Tortilla 3We ate them with sliced green pepper, onion, lettuce, Earth Balance Vegenaise (the egg-free kind for my mum) and Neal Brothers’ salsa. I ate three because the tortillas are pretty small 😉

After Braeden wakes up from his nap, my friend and I are going to take him out for a walk to enjoy this sunny Easter Sunday! We didn’t do anything special for him like an egg hunt or anything because he’s a still too small to understand the premise; but his cousin came over earlier and they made Mega Block soup together and had a great time.

Our Trip to Halifax

Oh my goodness! It has been so difficult to find time to post while on vacation! We have been here since late Monday night/Tuesday morning and it’s already Friday evening. Where is the time going? Now that our little road trip is out of the way, hopefully I will have time to post a little more frequently.

We headed out on Wednesday morning, in no rush. Little B did really well on the drive! He had a nice sleep and then woke up and played with some of the toys we brought for him.

Halifax 1We started off with some shopping at Halifax Shopping Centre after we had a snack of salad that we brought with us. We ate it picnic-style in the back of the van. Did a bunch of window shopping… had a bite to eat… and then just headed down to the hotel because we could all use the chance to rest a bit.

We took Braeden out in his Mei Tai and walked up to Spring Garden Road to check out the stores there. We got a coffee and went back down to a restaurant called The Bicycle Thief to try out some of their gluten-free fare. Mum ordered the pistachio crusted Atlantic salmon and she said it was delicious. By the time we had grabbed our takeout, Braeden had fallen asleep in the Mei Tai, so we laid him on the bed and there he stayed for the rest of the night.

Halifax 2The next morning, I left Braeden with Nan and went down to the fitness centre at the Westin Nova Scotian, where we were staying. I did a 15-minute run followed by a Hiit workout and some planks and stretching.

Halifax 3We all got ready and headed out with the stroller. We walked up to Spring Garden Road and shopped at the Lululemon there and grabbed some more coffee (yum, even if it is decaf for me!). Then we continued on to pick up the gluten-free dairy-free cheesecake we had ordered. After that we stopped for some gluten-free pizza at Freeman’s Little New York (my half is the one without cheese).

Halifax 4We walked all the way back down to the hotel to get the car, past Citadel Hill and then went back to the Shopping Centre to do the final damage. Not without, however, my chicken coconut soup from Talay Thai. Which was just as delicious as I remembered from a few years ago!

After a couple of long days of walking and driving and eating everything in sight, we headed back to Moncton. It was a great trip! I really like Halifax because of the selection of allergy friendly food and proximity of great shopping to downtown. We got lots of exercise walking up big hills, and I was still able to do my workout at the hotel! Which I definitely needed after the amazing cheesecake 😉

Halifax 5

 

 

 

What I’m Learning About Quinoa

We are in NB! Here is a post I wrote before we left. We are headed to Halifax tomorrow to do some shopping and staying the night. So far we are having a great time! I took advantage of the 14 day for $14 pass at Goodlife in town and worked out earlier. It was great to shake off the tension of the travel we did on Monday. Looking forward to the rest of our trip!

English: cooked red quinoa

English: cooked red quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband let me know recently that, although he appreciates the meals I make for him, he would like something a little more nutrient rich than plain rice as a side dish. I bought a huge bag on sale and had been going a little rice-crazy, so I guess I understand. I had purchased a cookbook called Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood and hadn’t really used it all that much. I suggested that we could start trying to use more quinoa for an extra nutritional punch in our meals and my husband was on board.

Now if you’re like me, if a direction in a recipe says ‘rinse ingredient X before use’, you might roll your eyes and think, “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat…”. So I have been cooking quinoa without rinsing it for the last week.

I already have some digestive issues with dairy and wheat. Upon starting to eat quinoa again, I felt some pretty severe stomach cramps and general feelings of queasiness. I thought back to a few years ago when I tried to eat quinoa as a replacement for oatmeal, or cream of wheat because it’s supposed to be gluten free. I ate a bowl before work and would feel sick the whole morning! Not very productive. That’s why I gave it up for a few years.

I did some research and it turns out, you definitely SHOULD rinse quinoa before you eat it. It is rinsed before being sold, but some of the saponin residue will remain. Rinse, rinse, rinse under running water until it runs clear! Saponin on uncooked quinoa is mildly TOXIC because it’s a natural defence against birds and other animals. It can appear slightly sudsy, like soap, when you rinse it. Blech.

Anyway, I will give it another go. I really don’t want to cross another type of food off my list!

Have you ever had a reaction to quinoa?

Spring Cleaning

My son and I are gearing up for our trip to New Brunswick on Monday. My husband is out reffing hockey this afternoon, so I decided to take the opportunity to do some cleaning so that he could enjoy a clean house once we’re gone.

I cleaned both bathrooms, did some laundry, tidied the kitchen, dusted the living room, and washed all the floors. In all, it took about an hour. We don’t have a huge house, but we do have two big (shed-errific) dogs and a baby who leaves greasy fingerprints all over everything.

I got to thinking: I’m very thankful. I’m thankful that my husband is ok with me keeping our house as uncluttered and clean as time and life permits. I’m not sure how I would cope with having tons of ‘stuff’ laying around, on every surface, needing to be dusted around (more likely it would just COLLECT dust). Mostly, the junkiest room is the guest room. It accumulates all of those items that I don’t get to putting away immediately plus all my sewing and craft projects (of which I have a little bit of a list going… come on Spring…).

Anyway, occasionally I read up on different organization ideas to see if there is any way I can improve. A few things I have read and have made a lot of sense to me, are to have some kind of cleaning schedule that works for your household, along with periodically going through closets and junk rooms and removing items that are broken, unnecessary and unused. You can throw these items away, repurpose them to MAKE them useful, or donate them to a thrift store or other community program.

In my house, I do dishes every night before bed. That is pretty much the only ‘daily’ chore that I make myself do. I also make sure my son’s toys are put away in the living room and his room. Weekly (on Monday, usually), I do the same cleaning I did today (yes, I know it’s Saturday… but I’m leaving on Monday and tomorrow is my packing day!). So: bathrooms, dusting, floors. Laundry I do whenever it accumulates (never more than one load of clothing at a time), and every three days when my son’s cloth diapers need to be washed.

Here is a sample of a simple cleaning list from Apartment Therapy. And, if you have accidentally (hehe) accumulated so much STUFF you don’t know where to start with if you’re thinking of purging some of it, start with ONE GARBAGE BAG at a time. No need to overwhelm yourself! Here is a blog post from White House Black Shutters with a printable to help you keep track of your de-cluttering progress. I think it was meant to be completed during lent, but any 40 days during the year will work!

Do you have a cleaning schedule? Am I too OCD and clutter is not a big deal? I want to know!

What We Ate This Week [1]

So I had mentioned previously that we are going to be testing out becoming ‘weekday vegetarians‘. This means, that Monday to Friday (ish), all of our main dinners will be vegetarian dishes. I would say vegan, but we still use eggs and local honey on a daily basis. And I specify main dinners because 1) our breakfasts are always vegetarian (I can’t do pork/bacon anymore after watching so many food documentaries), and 2) we like to have tinned fish like tuna and salmon for sandwiches and wraps for lunch.

So, here is our first Weekday Vegetarian menu!

Monday: Coconut Sweet Potato Quinoa soup (From Quinoa 365)

Tuesday: Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Wednesday: Leftovers (Chris brought the shepherd’s pie to his night shift and I shared the sweet potato soup with our son)

Thursday: Vegetarian Pad Thai (we ate this once a week prior to this experiment)

Friday: Curried Carrot soup (From Quinoa 365)

I really enjoyed cutting down our meat consumption. I felt like we still ate delicious dinners that were healthy and filling and saved a little bit of money by using less meat. This weekend we will be having steak and chicken from our butcher with veggie sides.

On Monday, I leave for New Brunswick for two weeks with my son for a break from Alberta life. I’m hoping to do some posting from there after my mom buys her new iMac!

Do you have any dedicated meatless days? I want to hear about your meals and why you choose to eat less meat!

Weekday Vegetarians

My husband and I don’t have cable. We have Netflix and the Internet, which allows us to watch many different types of shows and series, on demand. We have been watching a lot of documentaries lately, especially about food.

The series called TED Talks has been interesting for us. One episode focused on the importance of cutting back on the consumption of meat in the Standard American Diet, not only for personal health but for the health of the environment. The term ‘Weekday Vegetarian’ was used to describe this theory. We have decided to give it a go!

I will be using the books Quinoa 365 and Veganomicon along with any recipes I find online to make healthy, vegetarian breakfasts, lunches and dinners during the week. On the weekends we can enjoy beef and chicken in moderation.

Do you have a go-to vegetarian or vegan recipe or blog? Please share!

A Beautiful and Crafty Gift

I started crocheting just before Christmas. I figured that since we were trying to have Christmas on a budget (the plane tickets from Edmonton to Toronto weren’t going to pay for themselves), I could make homemade gifts and save us some cash.

Turns out I’m not half bad at it, and I enjoy it! It’s kind of relaxing and I don’t really have to think about what I’m doing. After making half a dozen scarves and hats for my sisters-in-law and some other small projects, I decided to make something a little fancier for my best friend’s birthday, who was the Maid of Honour at my wedding in July, 2011.

I used this free pattern (requires an account) from Bernat to crochet this simple scarf. I joined the ends to make it an infinity scarf instead of a regular one.

Scarf

And I used this tutorial from All About Ami to make a matching Knot Headband.

Lastly, I made her a couple of teacup cozies.

I popped them in the mail and when she received them she was very surprised! She didn’t know I had learned to crochet. She thought the colour was great. Hopefully she is getting lots of use out of everything. Handmade stuff just means more, I think.

Crocheting is my new go-to gifting idea. What is yours?