Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A breakfast change...

We are big weekend breakfast people in our house but recently we have been looking for alternatives to the standard fair.  This trial suggestion came while watching an episode of Donal Skehan's Irish Feast on the RTE iplayer where he made a poached egg, black pudding and boxty dish that both myself and J where drooling over.
Now as usual the first part is figuring out the gluten free alternatives I can use. Also we are not huge fans of black pudding so I set about making a batch of the gluten free white pudding which I shared here. I hadn't made it in quite awhile so I was looking forward to it. I also made the boxty ahead of time. This dish would be great if you where having a crowd for brunch, most of the elements can be made ahead of time and all you'd have to do was poach the eggs when the guests arrived.
First things first so I set out to make the boxty. For this you need to start by making the mash potatoes. Use 6-7 peeled and quartered russet potatoes, salt and pepper and some milk and butter. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potato and cook until a knife pierces the potato. Strain and allow to dry off for a moment or two. Add some milk and butter, salt and pepper. Don't be too heavy handed you can add more while your mashing if its required. Mash until smooth and free of lumps.
For the boxty cakes themselves you will need:
11/2 cups of the mashed potato
1 cup grated russet potato, squeezed dry to remove excess moisture
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sliced spring onion
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup rice flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Place mash in a large bowl, add the grated potato, spring onions and milk.  Whisk together egg and egg yolk separately then add to the potato bowl and mix ingredients well. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder in a medium bowl, add to potato mix and combine.
Now in hindsight I think to make sure these are even it would be a good idea to use a potato scoop or ice cream scoop as your measure. I didn't think of this at the time and just took a couple spoonful's and shaped into a round like a burger patty so there was some difference in my shapes and sizes. How bad I'll do better next time! My mixture made 9 patties.
You can cook these two ways, either fried on lightly buttered pan or by baking in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 150C\300F. I prefer the frying method as it gives a better color. Working in bathes, melt a knob of the remaining butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the patties and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while your cooking the other batches.
If you are cooking these ahead of time allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator. If your doing the trial all on once occasion keep the patties warm or re heat when your ready to plate up.
So that's the pudding and boxty elements sorted. I know it seems like a lot of prep but it so worth it. Moving on the apple salad now and you'll need the following:
1 green apple, cut into matchsticks
2 handfuls mixed lettuce
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of lemon
Salt and black pepper
Put the apple sticks and lettuce into a bowl. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together and season with salt and pepper. Add to the apple mixture and mix gently.
To cook the pudding add a drop of olive oil to a frying pan and heat over medium temperature. Add pudding slices and cook until golden. Remove from pan and cover in foil to keep warm. If your reheating the boxty you can add these to the pan now with a bit of butter and cook for a couple minutes either side to heat through..
Last but not least is the poached eggs. I was never any good at this process so we used to use the cling film method, have you seen it. It's very clever

As I'm trying to do better I decide I would forgo this method and try poaching the eggs properly. I'm so proud of myself, at 30 years of age I can now poach an egg perfectly without the cling film :-)
I gave J the delicate messy job of coating in the poachies in the egg wash, flour and bread crumbs while I set about sorting the fryer.
To poach the eggs you'll need
2 tsp white wine vinegar
6 room temp eggs
sunflower oil for deep-frying
Rice flour flour
Gluten free bread crumbs
Check out the concentration...
Bring a saucepan of water to simmering and add the vinegar. Break in 2 of the eggs, one at a time, poach for 3 minutes, until just cooked through and holding their shape. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in cold water to stop them cooking further. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Repeat with 2 more eggs.
Heat a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan to 180°C. Place the flour on a flat plate and season with salt and pepper. Beat the remaining 2 eggs in a shallow dish. Place the breadcrumbs into a separate shallow dish. Coat the poached eggs in the seasoned flour and then dip in the beaten egg, then cover in the breadcrumbs.
Deep-fry the coated eggs for 2–3 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Drain well on kitchen paper.

To serve place a handful of apple salad on your serving plate, add a slice of boxty on top followed by a couple slices of the pudding and top with the crispy golden egg.
And Enjoy!

I know its a long winded recipe but really if the prep is complete prior its not that bit a deal. I also know that my eggs where a bit over cooked but for a first try on the recipe and the poaching I think we did ok. 


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Have a great week everyone!!
 Michelle xxx

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Cause your so SmoothIE....

Day 4 of the Clean 9 detox and I have to say it hasn't been as bad as I expected. Before deciding to start the detox I was reading a lot of reviews and all made mention to the "disgusting Aloe Gel", but I haven't found it bad to be honest nor have I been suffering any headaches, in fact I normally suffer when the weather changes and in the run up to thunderstorms which we had last night but I had no headache, coincidence... who knows.

I have been researching some smoothie recipes just to mix it up and came across these. All use fruit and veg from the list of Low GI foods found in the book which is great, those that don't I just omit that particular item {the yogurt for example :-} and Don't forget to add the Forever Lite Ultra and you should be set!

Strawberry, Kale and Spinach Detox Smoothie

Grape Smoothie (omit the yogurt)

Plum Smoothie

Energizing Smoothie

Peach and Cherry Smoothie

Green Monster Detox

Why not stop follow and share Forever Living Toronto on Facebook to keep up to date on recipe suggestions and special product offers coming down the line.

For International shopping and shipping visit our website, simply select the country your in your and you can shop to your hearts content. If your looking for gluten free products use our Facebook page as your dedicated reference to each product.

Any questions or queries please don't hesitate to get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.
You can also follow along with the Country Cottage Musings blog on facebook , Pinterest, Instagram , twitter and bloglovin for the latest gluten free recipe trials, home and wedding projects.

Hope your having a great week and remember....

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

Justin's favorite dessert is cheese cake. It used to be one of mine but since I've become gluten free I've only been eating the topping and giving himself the best bit, the base!
Fed up with missing out I recently made a cheese cake using a combination of graham cracker recipes from the gluten free recipe box and allergy free Alaska to make the base. Megan has a great tip for getting the crackers even sized be sure to check it out. There is no going back now, J is clean outa luck where the bickie base is concerned.....
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Gluten Free Graham Cracker 
2 tbsp. hot water
1-1/2 tbsp. agave
1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp. sorghum flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup corn starch 
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tbsp. margarine (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F.  
In a small cup, add warm water (about 100°F) and stir into agave and allow to cool.
In a separate bowl combine together dry ingredients.
Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the margarine into the flour mixture.
Add the vanilla to the water and agave mix, add to dry ingredients and mix well
Lightly dust your rolling pin with potato starch. Form dough into a patty and roll out onto a sheet of parchment paper to about 1/16" thick.  
Use a pizza cutter or long knife to slice the dough into about 2-1/2" squares. 
Poke holes in each cracker with a fork, move to a lined baking sheet. I used a spatula.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on try before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
If your crackers are a bit soft once cooled don't be afraid to add them back to the oven for 5 more minutes or so.
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Have a great week everyone!!
 Michelle xxx

Friday, 19 June 2015

Clean 9 Meal Inspiration...

So as I told you guys before I'm on a mission to do better in my life, and part of that included setting up Forever Living Gluten Free, a store dedicated to the Gluten Free range of aloe vera wellness products.
The Clean 9 and Vital 5 weight management  systems call for eating healthily and supporting your system with the aloe nutrients. Myself and J have really been a funk lately and with the wedding coming up we realllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy need to snap ourselves out of it so we are starting the Clean 9 detox on Monday.
Part of the Clean 9 involves having evening meals of no more than 600 calories so I've been doing some research and these are some of the recipes I'm gonna try out over the week.

This recipe has 454 calories. I'll be changing out the pasta for a gluten free version.

Can you believe there is only 296 calories is this plate of deliciousness. Serve it with a side of couscous from Everyday Meals and your done!

Mushroom pasta is one of my fav pasta dishes much to J's distaste (he is not a fan of pasta dishes at all) and this one is only 345 cal. I'd be changing out the pasta again for a gluten free one.

No pasta dish is complete without garlic bread though but coming in, in some instances at over 300 calories a new version is obviously required so I plan to use Toufayan Low Carb Pitas (100 calories) with a drizzle of olive oil  (2 tsp is about 80 calories) and a nice rubbing of garlic. Where is the sacrifice in that I ask you?
Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken
And just look at this slow cooker dish from the lady behind the curtain with only 302 calories with rice. We have no excuses....

We're really looking forward to getting started and hope if brings the boost we're looking for. We'd love if you could check out our little venture and should you have any questions feel free to drop us a line.
Don't forget to check out our new facebook page and follow us on on Pinterest, Instagram , twitter or bloglovin for updates.
Have a great weekend every one!!
Michelle xxx

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Carpe Diem....

A friend of mine recently introduced me to these treats from Real House Mom. She is so good and always trying to find me gluten free treats that when she presented these to me and told me there was peanut butter in them I didn't want to say eh thanks but no...... {see I hate peanut butter, hate the smell, the texture, just NO, never ever did peanut butter, never thought I would} so I very graciously took them thinking J would like them but I've been trying to make some changes to myself lately and open myself up to new things so I decided to give one a try.
Peanut butter, I small step for man a giant leap for Michelle!!!
They are delicious. I ate them all, you wouldn't even know it's in there which is great. I decided to make my own batch yesterday so J could have a try and he loves them too so they will be a new snack in our fridge from now on. Full of fibre and protein, a much healthier snack alternative.
½ cup creamy peanut butter,
¼ cup honey,
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
1 cup old gluten free oats,
1 cup toasted coconut,
½ cup chopped pecans,
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped raisins,
 Combine peanut butter, honey and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl
Mix the oats, coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, raisins  in a separate bowl and mix well.
Pour the oats mixture over the chocolate mixture and stir until all combined
Cover the bowl and place in the freezer for 30 min or fridge for 1-2 hours, until mixture is firm. Shape into small rounds, about golf ball sized.
Store in an airtight container and return to the fridge until ready to devour :-)

So as I said I've been trying to do little things to make changes to myself. My lifestyle, my mind set, just trying to do better. Jamie Oliver recently launched a new app called YOU basically its about undertaking small actions every day to do better, over time these actions add up and your self improvement has developed without the trauma or sacrifice you think it's going to entail. So I have been doing little things and you know the physiology of it works. I feel better for doing something however minor, out of the ordinary and that's a good place to start I think...

On the foot of that I recently came across Forever Living Products which if you don't know are all natural Aloe based products. Now I'm a bit of cynic where these things are concerned and don't go in for the whole get rich side of it but then I looked into it more and saw they had a huge selection of Gluten Free products including cosmetics. I delved a bit further to see a lot of the reps were selling the products for the weight management side of the business and I felt the Gluten Free dedication was being missed out on so I decided to become a distributor and set up a Facebook page dedicated to the Gluten Free products to make shopping for make-up, nutritional products and skin care products easier {I was that crazy lady standing in the aisle of Shoppers Drug Mart checking the labels on moisturizers and vitamins}
So if your interested pop on over to Forever Living Toronto and if you wouldn't mind giving us a like and a share we would be delighted. I'm so impressed with how far gluten free products have come, there is no need for it to be the hindrance it used to be.
Hope your all having a great week. Don't forget to make the micro change if your heart so desires.
Michelle xxx
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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

How to Ditch TV...

When we moved into our last apartment we gave up cable tv as our first year was up and the company was racking up the fee almost 60% a month. We had hundreds of channels that were never watched and just couldn't justify the price to watch an episode of Coronation Street in the evening.

So we switched to a new internet provider and stream corrie from the CBC website when we need to need a fix. We also set ourselves up with a Netflix account for movies nights.
But now we have discovered Ditch TV. a new service which lets you channel surf the web and discover the best online videos quickly. They have some fantastic web series like Whatever, Linda and Does this baby make me look fat?
Whatever, Linda
The collection doesn't stop there though. Ditch TV has 26 stations covering a huge range of categories from Comedy, Documentaries  Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, Travel.
The Tonight Show on Ditch TV

Does this baby make me look fat? on Ditch TV

Lonely Planet- 2 minute tours on Ditch TV

Gordon Ramsay on Ditch TV

Ditch TV has everything and more than you need to pass an evening and dare I say it... Winter is coming, long dark nights need light entertainment. Be sure to check out the channels and follow Ditch on Facebook and Twitter for updates. 

 Saving money has never been so much fun..!

Michelle xxx

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

After spending four hours wandering the city on the hunt for suiting for the hubby to be I had absolutely no interest in setting foot outside the door on Sunday so I decided to try these flourless cookies from Erin at meaningful eats, that a friend recently shared with me.
They are the perfect accompaniment to a rainy Sunday on the couch and the discovery of Nashville on Netflix... :-)
Flourless Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 egg whites, at room temperature (I needed 4)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray  lightly with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt together.
Beat in three egg whites and the vanilla extract until the batter is moistened. The batter should be brownie-like. A thick and fudgy batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white.
Fold in the chocolate chips. I used a half cup of white and a half cup milk chips as that was all I had to hand.
Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.
Use the parchment paper with the cookies to slide on to wire racks and allow to cool completely. If you can resist them long enough!
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 Michelle xxx