Thursday, 25 September 2014

A new LOVE

Guys I was recently introduced to a new (to me) concept of trying tasty treats for next to nothing. They even have a Gluten Free option which I'm loving. Unfortunately as I live in Canada I can't take part in the mailing just yet {they're working on it} but I love the concept so much that I wanted to spread the word to all you lovelies. 
 
Who doesn't like getting nicies in the mail? No ONE that's who! Did you see my excitement when I eventually received my Easter parcel in August?
 
Love With Food delivers new organic or all-natural snacks to your door every month within the U.S. 
 
Please be aware this post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
 
 
Let's take September's box as an example. It contained 11 items, ranging in price from $1.46 to $20. Combined it's a lot of money to spend trying new products that you or your family may not like. Below is a break down of the products and their prices from the company websites or amazon as an approximate reference. You know yourself if you where to buy these individually in your local store they are likely to be dearer still.
 
 Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips by Way Better Snacks $2.38
Lemon Rosemary Seasoning by Fogg City Spice Co. $10 for 28gm
Green SuperFood by Amazing Grass $1.46
Maruso Ghost Soy Sauce by Maruso Soy Sauce $7.99 for 200ml
Ginger Peanut Quinoa Clusters by i heart keenwah $4.99
Barbeque Potato popchips by popchips $2.38
Falafel Crunchy Chickpeas by Saffron Road $5.19
Ginger Twist Tea by Mighty Leaf from $11.50 for 15 bags
Pizza Crust Mix by Chebe $20.50 for 8 packs
Cinnamon Thin Cookies by Dr.Lucy's $7.59
Cinnamon Nut Renola by LĂ„RABAR® $12.79 for 5
 
 
Doing the maths you can instantly see $10 is not a whole lot especially when LOVE with Food donate a meal to food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength- No Kid Hungry for every box sold they sell. To date they have donated 321,587 meals.
  
 
http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=614928&U=980465&M=53869&urllink=
 
 
 Love with Food are giving you the opportunity to get your first box free if you become a member by September 30th 2014. Click on the image above to start the process today.
 
Try it an let me know how you get on. Share your love with food parcels with me over on Instagram. I can't wait to see what you get!!
 
 
Michelle xxx
 

Fall decorating gone awry

I had hoped that we would be in our new apartment for October 1st but best laid plans and all that. We now don't move in until November 1st so there will be no decorating this time round.
 
I thought I would show you a selection of ideas from around the web that I like and would have used for inspiration if I had been decorating.
 

 
 
 
 

 
 

 

 

 

 
You can check out more fall inspiration over on my Pinterest page. And if your the type of person who likes to wander around peoples homes from the comfort of your sofa there is no end of fall tours going on at the moment. Check out An Autumn Welcome taking place all this week and featuring 35 fabulous homes or The Fall Homes Tour showcasing 20 amazing homes. Maybe next year I'll have my stuff together enough to take part.
 
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."- Albert Camus
 
 
Michelle xxx
 
Sharing with
 
Lewis Lane Designs for Tuned In Thursday

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Adventure with bread making - Take 5 -Carrot and Walnut Loaf

Gluten Free Carrot Walnut Loaf
 
I made this beauty during the summer and never got around to posting it and thankfully so. I remade it at the weekend and it came out much better than my first attempt below. As you can see the first loaf is denser and it flopped in the middle. At the time I thought it was ok but I'm so glad I went back to it and tried it again. So much better second time round.
 
First Attempt
 
 
 I'm putting the difference down to the fact that this time round I used proper Buttermilk as apposed to souring milk with lemon juice which I did the first time round. {Note to self sometimes it pays to not substitute ingredients}
 
As with most of my bread recipes the original came from  Bette Hagmans "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread". I have amended it slightly to make a larger loaf . I really can't recommend this book enough. There are so many recipes I can't wait to try and can honestly say I haven't touched the surface of what's available in this book. It's the only book I've had consistently good results from and as my mam says "if it's not broke don't fix it". Successful bakes make for a happy Shelly after all.{And no I'm not getting any commission :-)}
 



Dry Ingredients
Four Flour Bean Mix 3 cups
Xanthum Gum 2 1/4tsp
Brown Sugar 3tbsp
Baking Soda 1tsp
Baking Powder 3tsp
Egg replacer 1 1/2tsp
Almond Meal 3tbsp
Salt 3/4tsp
Cinnamon 1 1/2tsp
Carrot 1 cup (Finely grated and pat dry)
1/3 cup chopped Walnut
 
Wet Ingredients
3 Egg plus 1 egg white
Melted Margarine 4 1/2 tbsp
Vinegar/Dough Enhancer 3/4 tsp
Butter Milk 3/4 cups

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and prepare pan*. Mix dry ingredients minus the carrot in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and egg white slightly, add the dough enhancer, margarine and the buttermilk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix completely. Do not use a mixer.  Mixture should look like cake batter. If too thick thin by adding a tablespoon of water at a time. Stir in the carrots.


Put the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 55-60 minutes. Leave in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes, remove to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container.

* I prepared my pan by lining the base and sides with double thickness parchment paper. My oven tends to run on the high side.
 
 
 
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you all have a great week.
 
 
Michelle xxx
 
Sharing With

Pretty Pintastic Party
Foodie Friday with Pure Grace Farms
The Gluten Free Home Maker for Gluten Free Wednesday
Allergy Free Wednesday with Real Food, Allergy Free
New Mrs. Adventures Tasty Tuesday
Gluten Free and DIY Tuesday
Rattlebridge Farm's Foodie Friday
 
 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pinterest Recipe Trials Continue...

Monday was an awful depressing rainy day here in Toronto this week so I decided some comfort food was in order. Returning to my Pinterest recipes trials I decided to try a Turkey Chili Soup I found at Skinnytaste.com.
I've changed up a few ingredients according to our tastes and to make it gluten free. I remember reading somewhere you can't have chili without corn bread so I used Bette Hagmans recipe for Springy Corn bread to serve on the side.





1 package lean ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Passata tomato sauce  
2 tbsp gluten free taco seasoning**
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place the taco seasoning ingredients in a small container and mix well. Set aside.

Brown turkey on medium heat in a large pot. When cooked through, add onions and pepper, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning and chicken broth. Bring to the boil and simmer about 15-20 minutes.

I topped mine with sour cream, grated cheese and sliced snap peas. And served it with a wedge of Gluten Free Corn Bread. 




Yellow Cornmeal 1 cup
Xanthum Gum 1/2 tsp
Egg Replacer 1 tsp
Sugar 1/4 cup
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Salt 3/4 tsp
1 cup Plain Yogurt
2 Eggs, Lightly beaten
2 tbsp Margarine, melted
1/4 cup Orange Juice
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease and flour your baking pan. I used an 8" round pan.
Combine the dry ingredients, mix well and set aside.
Blend yogurt, beaten eggs, melted margarine and orange juice together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix. Place the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread springs back when pressed. Serve warm or at room temperature.
 
 
There you have it. Two easy recipes to warm your hearts. Hope you enjoy!!
 
Michelle xxx
 
 
Happy House and home for Merry Monday Link Party



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The House Hunting begins...

We have officially started house hunting! Unofficially I have been at it for months two years but don't tell J :-)
 
We have been working towards getting home to Ireland for Christmas to start the hunt and now that it's not too far away (13 weeks mam) we have been looking at houses that fit our budget, preferences and ideal location so we can look to set up viewings for when we get back.
 
Now I'm obviously not gonna share what we have our eyes on {coz I'm mean like that} until the paper work has been signed and the keys handed over but I though I'd show you a little bit of whats available if you have a few Euros to spare and fancy an Irish holiday home .
 
 
 http://www.daft.ie/sales/2-clonrush-cottages-whitegate-clare/744085/#
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/rehy-west-carrigaholt-clare/959140/#
 
 http://www.daft.ie/sales/caher-kilgarvan-kerry/994580/#
I am crazy about this place. I can see a "French Chateau" inspired transformation happening here. It's just too far from our search area unfortunately.
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/killocrim-listowel-kerry/989814/#
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/gortroe-knocknagoshel-kerry/941918/#
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/tullamore-ballybunion-kerry/679221/#
  Crushing on this thatch!
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/kilcox-lower-lisselton-kerry/614949/#
 
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/old-kildimo-kildimo-limerick/740141/# 
 
http://www.daft.ie/sales/caherdaniel-west-caherdaniel-kerry/723359/#

These houses are all in the province of Munster in the south of the country. They're a mix of county Kerry, county Limerick and county Clare and under 90,000 Euro. All easily accessed from the U.S with direct flights into Shannon Airport or a scenic drive from Dublin, Galway or Cork :-)
 
 
Any one fancy taking on one of these projects and being a neighbour?!
 
Michelle xxx

Friday, 12 September 2014

Traditional Soda bread... no raisins here!!

If any of you follow me on Instagram you're sure to have seen soda bread pictures popping up for weeks now. A simple recipe with 4 basic ingredients can hardly need practice I'm sure you asked yourselves but when you're trying to make it Gluten Free it sure does. Every time I tried a gluten free version I had to make a regular gluten laden one for comparison which J was only too happy to consume.


 
A traditional Irish Soda bread is made with flour, salt, baking soda and soured milk. According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread the Oldest published Irish Soda Bread recipe to date was found in a Farmer's Magazine from November 1836.

There are thousands of recipes online claiming to be traditional Soda Bread recipes but take note peoples if the recipe contains raisins, sugar, shortening, zest's of any kind or honey it is not traditional. Our ancestors could barely afford the basics let alone those luxuries.

Today I'm going to share with you the two Soda Bread recipes I've been using. The first is a real basic soda bread recipe and the second is a not so traditional Gluten Free version.


 
Soda Bread
(not gluten free)
 
3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
2 1/4 cups Buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 190C. Lightly grease and flour an 8inch round pan.
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix the dry ingredients raising the flour high over the bowl to aerate the mix.
Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk again mixing with your hands to form a sticky dough.
Place on floured surface and lightly knead. Over kneading causes the air and gas from the buttermilk and baking soda to escape.
Shape into a round flat shape and place in the prepared pan. Cut a cross in the top of the dough. It was thought by cutting a cross in the top of the bread you were letting the fairies escape.
Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes. Check for the hollow sound by tapping the bottom of the bread. If it's there the bread is done.
Remove from the tin and wrap the bread in a tea towel to keep the crust moist.
Allow to cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea.


Now for the Gluten Free version I've adapted Bette Hagmans recipe. My first couple of attempts where quite flat and the texture and colour was not great but I've figured it out and think this adaptation is spot on. And it's the easiest gluten free bread to mix that I've come across in all my adventures.
 
  
Gluten Free Soda Bread
1 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
3 tsps Baking Powder
3/4 tsps Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Egg Replacer
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp Group Cardamom
1 cup Gluten Free Oats
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp Flax meal
3/4 cup Water
2 tsp Molasses

 
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease and flour an 8inch round pan.
Combine the dry ingredients. Omitting the oats until the end. Use your hands to mix the dry ingredients raising the flour high over the bowl to aerate the mix. Set aside.
Mix the flax meal with water. In a large bowl combine half the buttermilk, flax meal/water mix and the molasses.
Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use your hands to combine. Add the remaining buttermilk as required. The dough should be thicker than cake batter. Sprinkle the remaining oats and mix lightly. These are to add texture to the top of your finished bread so do not need to be completely incorporated.
Place the dough in the prepared pan. and bake for about 50 minutes. Check for doneness buy tapping the bottom of the loaf for the elusive hollow sound. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.
Now in my trials I attempted to get the traditional look of this bread by creating the cross on top. The above recipe is wet so the cross doesn't stay while baking. I found that by omitting just a bit of buttermilk that the mix formed more of dough consistency to allow me cut a cross in the top but when it baked it was more dense and didn't rise to well.



So in the interest of a lighter, softer bread I recommend forgetting about the cross and just enjoying a nice untraditional gluten free soda bread round.
If you're interested in some more Irish recipes you should check out Donal Skehan's series Rediscovering the Irish kitchen where he visits Muckross Traditional Farms for lessons in old time Irish cooking.
If you try either of these recipes or have your own family recipe I'd love to see a picture tag me on Instagram or twitter and let's get a Soda Bread revolution going :-)
 
 
Michelle xxx
 
Sharing With
Baking Beauties for the Gluten Free and DIY Link Up
New Mrs. Adventures  Tasty Tuesday









Monday, 8 September 2014

Tour Through Blogland

So today I have something a bit different for you. Angel Casale of The loving house of mama Casale has asked me to join her in the Tour Through Blogland and well how could a girl refuse. What an honour. Angel and I started blogging around the same time as each other and she has been a great support to me as I find my feet in the blogosphere.


http://mamacasale.blogspot.ca/
 
 
Angel is a mom to 3 handsome little boys and 2 fur babies Rocky and Sable. She started her blog with a Super Mario themed birthday party for her son and let me tell you as a girl who grew up with Super Mario on the Nintendo, It's a party I'd have loved to attend. Stop by Angels blog and show her some love on Google+, Twitter, Pinterest. She has great craft activities, recipes, parenting tips and boy themed activities.
 

The Tour Through Blogland works when each Monday, a new group of bloggers are nominated. Those bloggers answer four questions about themselves, and then pass the torch on to a couple of their favourite bloggers. Those nominated bloggers answer the same four questions the next Monday and then pick some of their favourite blogs to tag for the next week. So on to my questions;

1. What am I working on?
 
I am ashamed to say I am  STILL working on a project I spoke about back in June {But in my defence I have been baking A LoT!}  I wanted to make cushions for two rattan armchairs we have but when I researched the price of foam, shipping, material and all the bits and pieces I would need to complete the task I decided to wait for the summer sales to start. I lucked out when Sarah from Cozy.Cottage.Cute mentioned the Pier 1 sale and managed to get myself two cushions for half the price of all the DIY stuff I'd have needed and a few throw cushions on top. I'm also "working" on an old window frame I picked up that I want to use in a wall hanging for our living area. I intend to get a picture we took of the Cliffs of Moher printed on canvas and use the frame on top. Something like this.


Wasn't it worth my while waiting for the sale. Ted looks very happy with her new cushions. That's the window frame soon to be picture window to the right.



This was J's summer project. Didn't he do a great job! You can read about it here if your missed it.
 

2. How does my work differ from those in my genre?
 
This is a toughie. I suppose most people I have connected with are at a different stage in their life stories. They have their families, their homes and are working at the future we hope to have. We are just setting out on our journey with planning a wedding, getting a house and figuring out the initial steps before the family comes along. We are in that in between stage that's kinda past the partying of our twentys but not quite at the settling down stage. We are just putting the wheels in motion to get there, wherever THERE is.  In our case we are hoping for somewhere like this...;-)

Source

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Initially it started as something fun to do on the side. I like to bake and have recipes stacked high so the blog is somewhere to keep track of what I've made. I wasn't aware of the doors and friendships that would come from it. I've continued with it as I love seeing other peoples reactions to my bakes and getting feedback from other gluten free cooks. These are some of the things I've made so far.

http://countrycottagemusings.blogspot.ca/2014/07/gluten-free-blueberry-swirl-marshmallow.html
Gluten Free Blackberry Marshmallow Swirl and Gluten Free Profiteroles
http://countrycottagemusings.blogspot.ca/2014/08/adventures-in-bread-making-take-4.html
Gluten Free Poppy Seed Bread
       
http://countrycottagemusings.blogspot.ca/2014/08/ohh-lala-cest-magnifique.html
French Macaron
 
 
4. How does my writing/creative process work?

I don't really have a process as such. I enjoy cooking and baking. I love food. Baking distracts me from not being at home. It's a way to pass the hours and use up the hordes of recipes I have stock piled over the last few years. I told of my confessions here.  Saturday is a day to myself while J is at work and if a recipe turns out well I take lots of pictures and blog about it. If it doesn't I bust a little tantrum in the kitchen and  J has to hear about it when he comes home. Sorry Babe!






Now the ladies I'm passing the torch to are Kathy at Smile for No Reason and
Carie Spence from Sweet and Savory Spence.

 

Kathy has become a great blog friend since we met a few months back. Her blog has great sewing crafts, recipes and she has wonderful photography tips too. Her Everyday Life Photography Link up on a Monday is one of my favourites.
 
Carie's blog Sweet and Savory Spence is where she shares her budget friendly tips and recipes. She also has a page dedicated to the picky eater in her house, her daughter, otherwise know as Lil Diva.

Google+ Twitter Instagram 


My Third blogger was to be Sarah from Ruffles & Rain boots but unfortunately due to family circumstance Sarah had to pull out of the tour. However I'm including her links here because you should still check out her blog.
 
 

                                                                                                                               
So thats my tour. Thanks for stopping by and thank you ladies for agreeing to join the tour. I look forward to your posts next week!
 
 
 
Michelle xxx