Thursday, 31 July 2014

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

We all know how the rhyme goes. Without doubt it is me who takes the cookies from the cookie jar.

There is nothing I like more than a cup of Lyon's tea and a bickie after a long day at work. My generous mother mails me the tea bags every couple of months {Thanks Mam}.

 I had decided awhile back that I wasn't going to ask for them anymore, I figured I've been away long enough now that I just needed to get over my Lyon's infatuation. Right??

 Wrong!! I couldn't do it. Tetley, Red Rose, Tim Hortons and Starbucks teas do nothing for me. I am a Lyon's girl true and true and nothing will convince me otherwise.

Now the bickies on the other hand I'm not fussy I'd eat anything, even the ones that are left in the biscuit box at christmas that no one likes. But since my gluten free reformation that hasn't been possible so I put together a few Gluten Free recipes I've tried along the way so you never have to be without a cookie again. These are all recipes I've made at some stage since I became gluten free. The ginger nuts are a recent trial with Cloud 9 Gluten Free Baking Mix I hadn't heard of it before and it was relatively cheap at Costco so I said I'd give it a go. Cloud 9 Speciality Bakery have in no way sponsored this post.

1. Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Allergy Free Alaska
2. Gluten Free Half Brownie Half Cookie from Gluten Free on a Shoestring
3. Chewy Almond Spice Cookies from The Kitchn
4. Gluten Free Ginger Cookies from Cloud 9 speciality bakery
5.Chocolate Decadence Cookies from Gluten Free Mom
6.Gluten Free Short Bread from Gluten-Free-Girl and the chef 

Gluten Free Ginger Cookies
2 cups Cloud 9 All-Purpose Baking Mix
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet.

In a bowl, mix Cloud 9 Baking Mix, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and set aside.

Beat together the oil, sugar and egg on medium speed in your mixer until mixture is smooth and light.

Add molasses and mix, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to blend well.  

On low speed, mix in the dry mixture to make a firm cookie dough.

Roll the dough into an even log shape, cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the dough in thin pieces about a pencil width, then dredge in sugar, place on baking sheet and flatten.

Bake for 10 minutes. Makes about two dozen cookies so split my dough in half and froze a batch to bake later.

The original recipe suggested using a teaspoon to make small balls and then flatten before putting in the oven however as you can see from my pictures the first batch (top right hand corner above) came out very thick. When I made the second batch I decided to roll the mix into a log and slice pinky finger width slices which gave a wider lower cookie as pictured in the truck above. If you like your ginger cookies thinner than this I suggest pencil width slices from the jog. I like them a bit thicker for dunking.
I hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying the dog days of summer. If you need some Lyon's teabags leave me a comment, I'll have my mam hook you up :-)

Hope your all having a great week. Grab yourself some refreshments and pop over to my Liebster Award Post to find out more about behind the scenes at country cottage musings.

Michelle xxx

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Flour blends I'm using

I'm putting together the flour recipes I use for my bakes so it's organised and easy to find {unlike the rest of my recipe collection}. 

I, like the rest of you gluten free bakers out there have tried numerous pre-mix brands and multiflour mixes but have had mixed results and almost all the pre-mix blends leave that awful gritty texture which is never good.

Below are some of Bette Hagmans mixes which I've been using and having great results with. I will add to the list as I try different other mixes.

Four Flour Bean Mix-makes 9 cups

Exchanges cup for cup with wheat flour and works well in cakes and cookies.

Garfava Bean Flour 2 cups
Tapioca Flour 3 cups
Cornstarch 3 cups
Sorghum flour 1 cup

Four Flour Bean Mix-makes 9 cups- exchanges cup for cup with wheat flour and works well in cakes and cookies.
Strawberry Cupcakes

Light Bean Flour Mix- makes 9 cups- Use for breads only
Garfava Bean Flour 3 cups
Tapioca Flour 3 cups
Cornstarch 3 cups

Four Flour Bread Mix- makes 6 cups

Garfava bean flour 1 1/2 cups
Sorghum flour 1/2 cup
Tapioca flour 2 cups
Cormstarch 2 cups
Xanthum gum 1 1/2 tablespoons
Salt 1/2 tablespoon
Egg replacer 1/2 tablespoon
Sugar 6 tablespoons
Gluten Free Four Flour Bean Bread

Directions for Mixes
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. I use a whisk to mix and then place in a large zip lock bag and roll to ensure the mix is well combined.

Be sure to date the batches once mixed. I don't like to double up the batches, I just use the 9 or 6 cups per recipe and then mix a fresh batch when needed.
If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line . I love hearing from you guys.
Note: The background picture used for the "Gluten free flour blends" image above comes from here. It is not reflective of any gluten free flour.
Michelle xxx
Sharing With

New Mrs. Adventures Tasty Tuesday
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Gluten Free Homemaker for Gluten free Wednesdays
Chantille Fleur for Tea Party Tuesday
Pretty Pintastic Party
The Ultimate Pinterest Party Week 11
The Creative Spark Link Party
The Turquoise Home and the ladies for Work It Wednesday
Just a Girl and her Blog and the Ladies for Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Maybe She Made It and the ladies for Do Tell Tuesday
Baking in Pyjamas and the ladies for Sweet and Savory Sundays
The Ultimate Link Party
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The SHINE Blog Hop
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My Liebster Award Nominations

Last week I received a nomination for the Liebster Award by Angel Casale of The Loving House of Mama Casale. While trying to put this post together {blogger having serious issues} I received another nomination form Kathy Piper of Smile for no Reason. So I will cover both ladies questions together but first I would like give Angel and Kathy humongous squishy hugs and say Go raibh míle maith agaibh (a thousand thank yous in Irish) to both ladies for their nods.
 Check out The Loving House of Mama Casale for recipes, kiddy activities and three of the cutest little boys you have ever seen! And Smile for no Reason for sewing and gardening tips, recipe inspiration, photography and much more.


So what is a Liebster I hear you say? Well I'd no idea to so I turned to ever faithful Mr. Google, who came back with this "The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome"

The Rules of the Liebster Award state;
  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves by answering the questions that the nominator has set for you.
  • You must create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer. You must choose 11 people (with less than 200 followers) and link to them in your post.
  • Go to their page and let them know!
  • No tag backs!


So here are the 11 questions Angel set for me

1.What is the inspiration behind your blog title?
My blog started as “country cottage musings” after my Pinterest board. This was where I was collecting all the inspiration for our dream cottage but the more I taught about the blog and what I would post about right now I wasn’t really feeling that title. My mam sent me this song and  it really resonated with me so I changed the blog name to “a life that’s good” because that’s where we’re at right now. The two names kept going round in circles with me until I decided to focus on where most of the blog content will come from in the future which will be our journey as we buy and restore our cottage so I went back to “country cottage musings” I did consider combining a version of the two but I gave up in the end. I’m very indecisive!!  J
2.Why did you start to blog?
Initially it started as a way for me to recount my travels over the last few years so I would have them all together in one place before I started to forget the little details. It wasn’t public or highlighted for anyone to see It was purely for my benefit.  I didn’t know about link parties or blog hops and all that jazz but the more I started looking around the web I was enjoying the blogging communities so  I decided to make my blog public and start sharing more of what we have been up to and what we plan for the future. I have since gotten side tracked with all the recipes, décor and partying and have yet to post about my travels but I am working on it.
3.What is a goal you have for your blog?
I haven’t really thought that far ahead to be honest. I’m just enjoying where I am at know. I like having somewhere to share the satisfaction or frustration I feel when a bake goes askew. The boy in the house just doesn’t get it! And my mam is 3000 miles away so it’s not the same. We have plans to buy and restore a cottage in Ireland in the coming year or so and we have a wedding to plan so plenty of topics to cover there.
4.What is your favorite activity to do with your family?
It all depends on the day and the humour. We like to listen to live music so we try find different places to catch live bands around the city but we could just as easily curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and watch a movie or trawl through Pinterest for cottage ideas.

5.What is one of your favorite quotes?
"What's for you won't go by you" my Mam used to say this to me and still does when I'm questioning things. These words are so true to how my life has turned out so far that I can't help but use them continually.
6.What is your favorite song?
We love music. Will listen to anything and everything from Aretha franklin to ZZ top. All genres pop, rock, jazz, country, disco. We recently bought a record player and are slowly building our collection. My favourite song though is Tim McGraw’s My Best Friend. I fell in love with my best friend four years ago and this song just captures all of my feelings towards him perfectly.
7.What is your favorite food?
Ohhhh this is a tough one. I like food in general and haven’t a total and utter favourite. I miss my mam’s Sunday dinners -Roast potatoes , joint of meat, vegetables, creamy mash potatoes and delicious gravy would be what I’m craving most at the moment. Roll on December 20th til I get me so of mammy’s cooking!
8.Which of your blogs post is your favorite?
I’d have to say my first. It’s not about anything in particular just an introduction to myself and the blog but I was delighted after all my hemming and hawing about creating a blog to actually push publish and see my words out there. Granted no one could see them at the time but in my head it was like climbing a mountain.
9.If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
I've struggled with this question for some reason and it really got me thinking about different things. We can't change what has gone before us nor can we know whats coming ahead of us but in an ideal world I'd like to be sitting in our dream cottage a few years from now with my hubby by my side and our first born sleeping. By the fire listening to the wind howling and the rain driving against the windows reminiscing of the time we spent hoping and dreaming it would all come together. We can only pray that it works out as we envisage it but we will make the most of whatever situation is presented to us and be greatful for it.
10. What story does your family always tell about you?
That would have to be about a time I was staying in my uncles for the weekend as a little kid. My aunt and her friends where going out for the night and as they were leaving I said to them “have a good night and don’t get yourselves Kilt girls!!”

11.What do you do on your free time?
If I'm not baking or hanging out with J I like to read, I’ve been trying some knitting for a while now too. I also want to learn to play the piano so I have the keyboard out on an occasion also.

And here are the question Kathy put to me which haven’t already been covered. Question 1 was How did you pick the name of your blog?I covered above so on to question number 2.

2.What is your favorite cereal?
Dry Honey Nut Chex. Don’t like milk on my cereal.
3.Do you have any pets?
I have a golden Labrador called Millie who I got for my 21st birthday and I have recently adopted a kitty. We are still working on a name for her. My mam is taking care of them while I’m here. They are her adopted grand kids at the moment.
4.What is your favorite restaurant?
Here in Toronto it’s Churrasco on Eglinton Avenue. Back in Ireland it’s Orchid House Chinese in Abbeyfeale, Co.Limerick
5.To this date what is your best blog post you have written?
The post that has received the most hits was my Gluten Free BlackberryMarshmallow Swirl
6.What is your drink of choice?
I love a cup of Lyon’s Tea. I haven’t been able to find an alternative here that I like as much. My mam sends me the teabags every couple of months.
7.Do you collect anything...if so, what?
I don’t collect anything in particular unless I can count recipes, cake tins or things for my future home (I have an attic full of home wares back in Ireland)  
 8.Do you have a favorite book?
I like Patricia Cornwell's book but have recently finished something a bit lighter. It was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs and I loved it. It’s an easy read with a great plot twist. I love the sense of community it portrays. It also has knitting patterns and recipes to boot.  
 9.What is one lesson you have learned since starting your blog?
It’s not as easy as you’d imagine. A lot of work goes into a post an can be very time consuming. But is great fun.
10.Where would you venture to on your dream vacation?
If money and time were no object I would love to do an overland tour from London to Australia. It takes about 6 months to complete.
11.How long have you been blogging?
 I have been blogging for a little over 2 months now.

So without further a do {drum roll please} My nominees for the Liebster Award go to.....


And my questions to you ladies are:

What is the inspiration behind your blog title? 

What made you decide to start blogging?
 What is your favorite thing about blogging?
 What do you do while you’re not blogging?
 If you could give one piece of advice to a brand new blogger, what would it be?
 Name one item near the top of your bucket list.
 Who inspires you the most?
 What is your favorite food?
 What is your favorite song?
 What's your favourite little indulgence?
 What story does your family always tell about you?

So there you have it. My questions answered and nominees presented. Stop by their blogs and share the love. If and when you write your Liebster Award post, don’t forget to link back to this page so I know you’ve accepted. I look forward to reading your responses!!

Have a great week everyone.

Michelle xxx

**Apologies for the formatting issues guys. Blogger has been having serious issues with me writing this post for the last four days and i'm just beyond trying to figure it out at this stage. I'm sure you understand.**

Sharing With
Enchanting Inspiration Link Party
Upcycled Treasures and the ladies for The Makers Link Party
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

My party piece...

We were having a little party at work last week to celebrate all the birthdays that happen during the year were everybody brings a little something. They have similar get together's a couple of times a year, be it for people who are transferring departments or leaving the company but I never committed to making anything because I'm always afraid it wouldn't turn out right. So when the invite went out I told myself that this time I would make a gluten free cake and bring it in
{Although I was still not ready to say it out loud so I kept it to myself. Thankfully}

I planned to make a lemon sponge, making the lemon curd the day before I was to make the sponges to give myself plenty of time for baking night to go nice and smoothly. Best laid plans right- I nearly lost my life to my handheld mixer and well after that it was downhill from there.
The whisk attachments got caught up in my apron and while trying to free myself it cut up my finger. After a few choice words to which J said replied "that's a drastic step to take to get yourself a Kitchen Aid Mixer" I carried on to have the sponges sink and burn in my crazy a** oven which can't stay at one temperature for longer than 15 minutes. At that stage I'd lost all interest. The cake was thrown together, I had a few bites to calm my nerves and threw the rest in the bin. Needless to say no cake was presented at the party the following day. Next time for sure!

On Saturday I decided to try again this time without the pressure and what do you know it worked out great. Gluten free baking, self-imposed party pressure and me do not mix. But a rainy summer day in the kitchen provided some great results.

I know Carrie Spense over at Sweet and Savory Spence is a big fan of all things lemon so this is for her. A gluten free lemon curd sponge cake. I hope you like it Carrie.


1 cup margarine
1 cup caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large Eggs, beaten
¼ cup double cream
1 cup Gluten Free self-raising flour*
1 tsp Xanthum Gum
2tsp gluten free baking powder
Lemon Syrup
Juice of 2 lemons
7 tbsp. light brown sugar

Lemon curd (get recipe and directions
1 1/2cup Whipping cream
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 190C/Gas 5. Line 2 8 inch sandwich pans. If you don’t know how to do this there are lots of tutorials online. You can have a look at this fun quick one or this more professional one.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
Beat eggs, lemon juice and cream together in a separate bowl. Gradually add some of the egg mixture a little at a time on medium, mixing well with each addition. If mixture curdles, turn the mixer up high for a few seconds and it will become smooth again.
In a separate bowl shift the flour, xanthum gum and baking powder together. Using a large metal spoon fold in the flour being careful not to knock out the air.
Divide the mixture between each pan, smoothing to the edge with the back of a spoon. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until cakes are well risen and the sponge springs back when touched. Insert a skewer in centre ensuring it comes out clean when removed.
While the cakes are baking make the lemon syrup by combining the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl stirring well to combine.
Remove baked cakes from the oven and gradually spoon the lemon syrup over both. Leave cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning them out on to a wire rack.
To make the fillings whip the cream adding the icing sugar and vanilla extract. I make the lemon curd before baking the cakes it gives it time to cool and set. The recipe and directions can be found here.
Once cakes are completely cool, place one cake on your serving platter or plate and spread lemon curd evenly then top with whipped cream. Place the other sponge on top and press down gently. And Ta Da all done and hopefully minus my drama.

I must tell you guys that I used a new gluten free flour mix {which will remain name less for now} to make my first set on sponges. Now as it didn't work out I won't be recommending just yet but I have made cookies with the mix which were fine. Once I've tried a few more recipes and had more success with it I'll be happy to share. *For the successful sponges I used Bette Hagmans Four Flour Bean Mix which to make self raising I add one and a half teaspoons of baking powder with a quarter teaspoon of salt for each cup of gluten free flour. Recipe adapted  from Julia Thomas' Cake Angels

Michelle xxx

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