Halloween was fairly uneventful this year as I had to work until 9:00 and the weather was pretty dreary. However, once I got home after work JD & I dressed the boys up in their superhero costumes and tried to capture a good picture of the dogs. I bribed them with treats to try and get them to smile at the camera but you can definitely tell how unimpressed they were with their costumes. But I still think they look pretty handsome, don’t you?
I also gave up on trying to edit out the red-eye on Ozzy and flash-eye on Rally…someday I am going to learn how to properly edit photos. One day..
Since I like to sleep in as late as I possible can in the mornings (to be honest, I sleep in later than I should every morning and am constantly running late!) I need a breakfast that is grab and go. Most mornings I end up eating my breakfast on my drive to work. And my drive to work is about 5 minutes long so it has to be something I can eat quickly but will keep me full until lunch. These muffins are a perfect match to my breakfast checklist. They are grab and go and easy to eat on the run. Plus, the oatmeal makes them very filling and keeps my belly from grumbling all morning at work. Because that can be embarrassing. These muffins are even so moist that you don’t need any butter or anything- they are perfect just as is. And trust me, I put butter on EVERYTHING. So if I say they don’t need butter, then they definitely do not. This is a recipe that I modified only slightly from Keeping Up with the Joneses- a great blog!
Banana Oatmeal Muffins
- 2&1/2 cups oats
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1&1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and either line a cupcake tin or spray it with some olive oil. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl then mix all together. Scoop about 1/3 cup batter into each muffin liner and bake for 25 minutes.
Happy Halloween Eve! I had planned on spending the evening dressing up in our costumes ( the dogs & I all have superhero costumes!) and taking some family pictures but I ended up bringing in some wood and falling asleep. What an exciting life I lead! However, with all the rain forecast for the next couple of days the wood had to be brought in. I will thank myself later when it is cold outside and nice and toasty inside. When we first moved into our old home it was heated only by oil and let me tell you, that first winter was a COLD and EXPENSIVE one! After that first winter we knew we couldn’t survive on oil alone ( I like to be nice and warm in the winter!) so we invested in a wood furnace. I refer to it as my best purchase of life. It completely changed my winters- our house went from freezing to nice and toasty. I don’t think anything can quite compare to the comfort and heat of a wood stove. And honestly, I don’t really mind the all the labor that it involves. I count bringing in the wood as my exercise for the day and it makes my Type-A personality smile to know I have accomplished something. So as dull as spending a Tuesday evening bringing in wood and napping on the couch sounds, it was a pretty good evening for me. But before all that hard work and nap time I experimented in the kitchen with a new recipe for supper- and it delivered! I was a little concerned at first, as the smell of the apple cider vinegar was a little overwhelming- but the end result was delicious. A nice and tender tenderloin with a savoury, crunchy crust. A perfect meal.
Maple Balsamic Crusted Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2-1 tbsp thyme
Preheat the oven to 325. Place the tenderloin in a baking dish and coat with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. In a small bowl mix together the maple syrup, cider vinegar and mustard. Pour over the tenderloin and cook for 60 minutes. ( I just use my meat thermometer to assess doneness. I’m fancy like that)
I abandoned apple week. Completely by accident, but I abandoned it nonetheless. This past week was extremely busy for me- I was out of town for 2 days at a conference, picked up some relief shifts in another pharmacy and spent my weekend dog-sitting for my parents. I simply could not find the time to cook or bake among all the other things on my to-do list-let alone blog about them! I don’t think I have ever been so happy to just get back to my normal, everyday life. And to my normal, everyday cooking. I ate a lot of my meals in the car this past week and the food just does not taste as good or make me feel as good as when I prepare it myself ( so I know for sure it is gluten free). And there really just isn’t anything else that can compare to sitting down next to your loved ones for supper to hear about each others day.
Now that all the business over with and I am getting back to my usual schedule I have decided to make a few other new beginnings starting this week too. I am going to make time every day to exercise again- I was doing this on a regular basis but somehow life got in the way. I simply feel better and can manage my stress level better when I make time to exercise- both running and yoga, although completely different exercised, calm me down in their own ways. Running helps me to let go of any angst I have built up and when I am doing yoga my mind is so focused on the poses that I am able to let all my worries go. I am actually going to look into taking a class- as all the yoga I have done so far has been on my own in my living room- and honestly, I have been too afraid to “do it wrong” to take a class all by myself. But there is a small studio just up the street from where I live and I am going to honestly look into taking their beginner class. It will give me something else to think about other than being infertile.
Before I left for my conference I knew I had to use up more of the apple JD had brought home and I knew just how to use them. Nothing screams fall dessert like warm apple crisp. Except for warm apple crisp covered in vanilla ice cream. Which is precisely what JD & I shared the night before my little trip. I have been making the same apple crisp ever since I was a teenager. I used to work in the front store of Lawton’s drugstore during high school and one year we sold a cookbook as a fundraiser. I think apple crisp is the only thing I have ever made from that cookbook- as I was not really into baking at that point in my life, but this recipe makes one great apple crisp. I have made this recipe for pretty much all my family members at some point over the years and everyone loves it. And by simply substituting gluten free oats and all purpose flour it is easily made Celiac-friendly.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1&1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour
- 2/3 cup gluten free oats
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 6 apples, peeled and sliced
Grease your baking dish and preheat the oven to 375. Cream together the butter and brown sugar then stir in the flour, oats and cinnamon. Arrange the apples in the bottom of the greased pan and sprinkle with the topping.Bake for 40 minutes ( top should be golden brown.) Tastes best served fresh from the oven with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We live an exciting life here in the Creighton household. What do we do on a Friday night when neither one of us has to work nor do we have any other commitments?? We make applesauce! Jars and jars of it! You can really get to know your spouse by sitting side by side and peeling 50 apples together. Friday night dates used to include drinks and the bar; now they include tea and cooking together. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In my quest to eating better and living a healthier lifestyle I have been trying to limit the amount of processed food I consume. A lot of the literature on infertility suggests that a lot of the additives in processed foods can contribute to infertility and might even be linked to developing endometriosis. Since most causes of infertility are completely out of my control it makes me really happy to be able to do something to decrease the amount of processed foods I am exposed to. It makes us Type A people happy when we can control things. And you know what else? It is extremely easy and cost-effective to make homemade versions of most foods. As if those reasons are not enough to compel you- the homemade version of applesauce on particular tastes SO, SO much better than the jars you buy at the grocery store. Homemade applesauce is thick and chunky and so much more flavorful that their processed counertparts. So JD & I decided to make a night of it and make as much applesauce as our biggest stockpot could handle- we kept a few jars in our fridge to eat right away, put some in the freezer for later, and decorated up enough bottle to give away to JD’s coworkers ( it was them who gave us all the free apples.So we turned their apples into applesauce as thank you!) By making a big batch all at once we’ll have a supply of applesauce to last us all winter long! And best of all, we had a blast cooking it together and fancying up the mason jars to give as little gifts.
Homemade Applesauce (in bulk!)
- 50 apples (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 1-2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar (optional…I prefer mine unsweetened.)
Seriously, that it is. I almost feel like it is not even worth typing out the recipe it’s so easy. And it makes me so happy to see a recipe that includes only 3 common ingredients. Just pour everything into a large stock pot and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it looks like applesauce. I mash up any big chunks but like to leave some smaller chunks in it.
To decorate the mason jars a little since we were giving them away as gifts we purchased fat quarters of fabric (only $1.50 each!) in a few different prints, cut them into small squares and put that in between the lids. We also added a burlap bow but I forgot to take a picture after we finished the final step. It was easy to do, and gave the jars a rustic decor look that I loved.
I am making this apple week at la Casa Creighton- actually, the massive amount of apples my husband brought home has made this apple week at la Casa Creighton. Who can say no to free apples? Especially when so many of my favorite foods involve them….applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple muffins….the options are endless. So when JD came home with almost 100 free apples I was one happy wife.
Although I have my usual apple recipes I always make I wanted to try something new first. And when I saw the recipe for baked apple donuts on Cooking with my kid I knew I had found what my tummy desired. One of my favorite pre-Celiac treats were apple fritters- little bites of doughy, fried apple deliciousness. And I am still tempted by them on a fairly regular basis as my co-workers and I make a Tim Horton’s run at least twice a day. So when the description of this recipe likened them to a healthier apple fritter I was sold. And boy, did they deliver. They were every bit as delicious as I remember an apple fritter being and a much healthier option. A perfect pairing for my morning cup of java. I may or may not have been excited to wake up every morning just knowing this was going to be my breakfast.
Baked Apple Donuts (Gluten Free! makes 6 donuts)
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 apple (peeled & chopped)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 400. In a small dish, mix together the chopped apple, sugar and cinnamon. Spritz a donut pan with some olive oil and arrange the apple mixture in the bottom. In a large bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour this mixture on top of the apple mixture. Try to clean off the center of the donuts so you actually have a hole in the middle of the donuts (I failed here!) Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring upside down onto a wire cooling rack.
I find it hard to believe that just 6 years ago I barely knew how to cook or bake anything and would never have the ambition to ever modify a recipe at all. If I did make anything, I followed that recipe to perfection. During my university years, I was preoccupied with schoolwork and the university social life- I didn’t have any time or desire to spend what little free time I had in the kitchen. But then 6 years ago I found myself graduated, married, actually working for a living- and with a lot more free time. It was during this time that I realized how enjoyable cooking can be.
In those “early days” I relied heavily on my family and coworkers for recipe ideas as it would never occur to me to browse recipes online and the only cookbooks I owned were those that had been given to me as wedding gifts. How times have changed. I now collect cookbooks like I am trying to make my own little culinary library. However, there are some recipes from back then that are still among my favorite today- and this sweet and sour chicken is one of them. It is so easy to prepare and I have served it to picky eaters of all ages who all devour it. It is a basic, tasty recipe that appeals to almost everyone (seriously- who doesn’t like sweet and sour sauce?)
Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs
- 1 pack or 6-8 chicken thighs
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 and place chicken thighs in a casserole dish. Mix together the ketchup, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a gentle boil. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and cover the dish. Bake for 1 hour. This tastes amazing served over basmati rice.
I have a cookie addiction lately. I don’t know if it is the cool weather (because nothing warms you up like a cup of tea and fresh from the oven cookies!) or simply my sweet tooth rearing it’s head but I have been craving cookies like they are going out of style. In fact, as I blog about this recipe I am also deciding which cookie recipe to try tonight. I might even have to dedicate an entire pinterest board to cookies as every recipe I come across sounds delicious. I don’t know if there is anything more comforting than warm, fresh baked cookies- and either a cup of tea or glass of milk to go along with it. And the most comforting of all cookies has to be chocolate chip. One of the most basic, simple recipes in existence and so delicious!
Besides fantasizing about cookies I have been busy enjoying the Fall weather and scenery on PEI. This weekend, the hubby and I took a mini vacation to the island to visit some friends and have dinner at the hands-down best restaurant on the planet. The Dunes. Which is actually a whole lot more than just a restaurant- they sell pottery, jewelry and some of the most amazing hand-made furniture I have ever seen. But the food is the best part. Their chef uses local food, everything is cooked fresh and they are extremely knowledgeable about being gluten free (they ever offer GF desserts!) Here are just some of the awesome things the Dunes has to offer
And this is one of my favorite pieces of furniture there- it is a bench made from recycled fishing boats- how great is that?
We had a perfect little weekend getaway. It was the last weekend the Dunes was open this year (it is a seasonal business) and I am already counting down the days until next Spring when we make our next trip over. In the meantime, I’ll be snacking on these simple, delicious chocolate chip cookies from Real Simple. It is a very basic chocolate chip cookie recipe like your grandma would make…and it is delicious!
Back to the Basics Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free!)
- 2&1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
- 1&1/2 cup coconut sugar OR 1&1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients then cream in the butter, eggs and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon out the batter and roll into small balls then flatten a bit with your palm. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
This has been a bad week for cooking- I’ve had several major kitchen flops already this week and it is only Wednesday. Such is the joy of experimenting with new recipes. Although I must admit I am usually pretty lucky- for every kitchen fail I have many more successes. I hardly ever repeat the same recipe twice because I love experimenting with new ones so much. I spend an unhealthy amount of time perusing recipes on Pinterest and have an obsession with cookbooks. Especially cookbooks with pictures- I think I could drool over food porn all day long. Give me a cup of Starbucks coffee and an hour to wander through the cookbooks at Chapters and I’m a happy girl.
But the recipe I’m going to share with you today doesn’t come from the internet, or a cooking show or a cookbook….it comes from my dear old dad.Now don’t get the wrong impression- my dad is no chef. Growing up, it was my mom who did the
majority all the cooking. But this is one meal that I only ever remember my father making and because of that it feels like comfort food for me. Eating this dish brings me back to family dinners around our dining room growing up. It is also a very versatile dish- I have made it with both chicken and pork and both turn out fabulous. It is also super easy to prepare- just throw everything into a roaster in the oven and wait and hour. That easy.
Garlic Chicken & Rice
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or pork chops ( I prefer pork)
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup garlic sauce
- 2&1/2 cups water
- 2 tbsp soya sauce (I usually throw in a little more because I love it)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
Preheat oven to 350. Cut the chicken breasts into halves and place on the bottom of a roaster. Place the chopped onion, rice, garlic sauce, water and soya sauce on top and cook for 1 hour. Easy, huh? Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!
Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there! My long weekend was filled with food (and lots of it!), playing with the dogs and a nice, long drive around Elgin, NB with the hubby. We started out yesterday bright and early sharing breakfast at a local restaurant with my family and finished it with turkey dinner with JD’s family. I think my belly was full from first thing in the morning until my head hit the pillow last night. In between all the eating, we managed to sneak a Sunday drive out in the countryside around Elgin, NB. Sunday drives have been a sort of tradition with JD and I- we usually start by stopping at a local cafe for a big mug of coffee and spend hours driving around listening to the radio and enjoying each others company. It is nice to take a break from our busy life to just be with each other and is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. And it always amazes me how many picturesque places there are so close by.
Pollet River, New Brunswick
And the best scenery of all is in our own backseat
The weekend was so busy I barely squeezed in any time in the kitchen. But I did manage to find time to make these gems- pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. A gluten-free girl has to be prepared for family dinners and show up with her own dessert. I will admit it- the pumpkin pie covered in whipped cream and apple pies covered in ice cream did make me resent my gluten free status for a minute- but these cookies satisfied my sweet tooth and kept my belly happy. And my gluten-loving husband gave them his approval as well- so I encourage everyone to give them a try. The original recipe comes from the one and only Bethenny (yup! THAT Bethenny…and she used banana instead of pumpkin which I think would also be delicious but pumpkin seemed more appropriate for the season.)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
- 1&1/2 cups oat flour (I use Cream Hill estates- it’s GF!)
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another then blend together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out small balls of batter onto the cookie sheet. Flatten with your hand (these cookies do not spread out much during baking) and bake for 12 minutes (until crisp and slightly browned around the edges.) These go well with a big mug of coffee or tea.
Today was the Fall Fair here in Amherst. One of the best things about living in a small town ( besides the fact that you never, EVER have to wait in traffic and can get anywhere you want underin 10 minutes) is the whole “community” feel of the town. I love it so much I actually participate in the town activities for both Amherst and the town of Sackville, just a 10 minute drive away. Between the two we have a Fall Fair, Christmas Fair with midnight madness shopping and free apple cider and horse & carriage rides, Canada Day Festival and fireworks, and a music festival at the end of Summer. We have the Amherst farmer’s market on Fridays and the Sackville Farmer’s market on Saturdays and being in the middle of all this farmland means there is always an abundance of local produce in the Summer and Fall. I love leaving my house to get groceries or run an errand and always know I’ll run into someone familiar. Yes, we don’t have a huge selection for shopping or restaurants but the city is only 40 minutes away. And if I actually lived in the city I’d have to wait in traffic for about 20 minutes to get anywhere anyways. I’ll take my country living over the city life any day.
With the cooler weather here to stay I have been craving comfort food, soups and stews over the salads and barbecues of summer. Last week I found this awesome recipe for beef goulash while perusing the blog “Salad in a Jar”. If you like food blogs you should totally check this one out- almost every recipe had me drooling. But this beef goulash just completely hit the spot for my comfort food craving and with a little modification I made it gluten-free and delicious!
Gluten Free Beef Goulash
- 1 box Gogo Quinoa macaroni pasta (it’s gluten free, better for you than wheat pasta and delicious!)
- 2lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 large onion
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 green pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 large tomato
- 2 cloves garlic (I LOVE garlic, so a little less if you don’t)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup water
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bring the pasta to a boil and cook until al dente in a separate pot. In a large skillet brown the ground beef, remove from pan and set aside. Next brown the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Add the green pepper, carrot and tomato and simmer until soft. Next add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, water and ground beef and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in macaroni and shredded cheese & mix all together. Yum! And the best part? this makes tons, so you’ll have lots of leftovers!