August 22, 2021 · 7:53 am
After a few weeks of non-stop activities surrounding the apple tree that wouldn’t stop dropping bushels of apples, I finally got a day off thanks to thunderstorms.
I took a moment to realize what a struggle it had become to wedge in the apple picking, the sorting and the distribution, between everything else I needed to do and before it got too hot and humid outside. I had to suspend pretty much all other garden maintenance work when I had only a limited window to work with in the early morning.
With the apple tree still dropping apples faster than we could collect them and everyone’s hands cramping from peeling the apples we gave them, I was feeling stressed.
With bags of apples accumulating quickly, getting progressively larger and waiting for the next “disposal”, we were attracting more than our fair share of insects and possibly fauna as I kept spotting partially eaten apples showing up in random parts of the property nowhere near the apple tree.
Funny enough, I realized that in the recent rush of apple activity, I was too busy to notice that my legs and glutes weren’t burning anymore. I guess the body adjusted to the intense activity… hello bright side!
When I took to the Internet to do some research, I discovered that yard work can burn about 300 calories per hour. That seemed to bring a whole new perspective and positive mindset about the time and effort I was devoting to the apples. When stretching, squatting and moving bags of heavy and wet apples was part of my daily morning routine, who needs a gym work out consisting of stretches, squats and weights? Continue reading →
Filed under food, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as animal, animals, apple pie, apple sauce, apple tree, apples, bright side, donate, donation, exercise, fallen, falling, feed, garden, healing, maintenance, nature, outdoors, picking, recipes, retirement, ripe, yard
October 13, 2019 · 11:21 am
For the last 20 years, as an avid cyclist and runner, getting my recommended 8 glasses of water each day was never a problem. Whether water, tea, coffee or milk, I almost always have a beverage on the go.
I know I must be getting enough fluids, because when I walk down the halls at the office, my tummy often makes swishy or “glug-glug” noises.
On the weekends, I might splurge and get into an occasional soft drink like cola, ginger ale or root beer. I really do like them, but I keep myself on a short leash, metaphorically speaking. Maybe it’s because my metabolism is getting older, but I just can’t put them away like I used to. For me, the tipping point between enjoyable and “I’ve had enough” comes quickly.
When I was preparing for my colonoscopy a few years ago, I don’t know exactly what part of my inner anatomy was complaining about the sweetness, but the ginger ale, popsicle and gelatin diet had me feeling pretty gross. No amount of clear chicken broth seemed able to sway the balance back to feeling normal, or as normal as one can be when trying to prepare for such a procedure.
Sparkling water was always something that I kept on the side as a treat. Even though it contains no sugar and makes a good building block for a variety of drinks, it can get expensive. Also, any leftovers tend to fizzle out after a day or two, which makes buying an economy size a huge question of commitment, unless I’m having a party. Plus, I can’t look at a plastic bottle without feeling a sense of deep environmental guilt.
When you combine all of these factors, for the last several months, I have been looking at SodaStream machines with increasing interest. But I also hesitated, not knowing how much use I would get out of it. Continue reading →
Filed under food, Humour
Tagged as bar, beverages, carbonated, carbonation, club soda, drinks, flavor, flavours, ideas, recipes, soda water, SodaSteam, soft drinks, sparkling water, water
March 3, 2019 · 1:40 pm
1. Baking can be an “in the moment” experience. It is difficult to ruminate over an issue, when one is busy measuring and following directions, while keeping an eye on the clock and the oven.
2. To me, baking can be a relaxing experience.
3. Baking is an opportunity to develop new skills or to work on existing ones.
4. I love that baking can be broken down into many individual disciplines and learning opportunities.
5. I love that I have succeeded in folding egg whites without completely deflating batter.
6. I love that baking is something for which I am passionate enough to make the time to keep trying.
7. Baking is an opportunity to develop intuition for what will work and what won’t.
8. Baking is an opportunity to experiment with different ingredients.
9. Baking is an opportunity to take a favourite recipe and to try to “embellish” it with different flavours.
10. Baking is the closest I will ever get to becoming a scientist, meticulously combining different ingredients and relying on their chemical properties to achieve grand results.
11. I love baking because I know exactly what goes into a recipe.
12. I love baking because I don’t use ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Continue reading →
Filed under food, Lists
Tagged as baked goods, baker, baking, cakes, connection, cookies, food, foodie, fun, generational, gluten-free, hobby, ingredients, journey, joy, learning, love, pleasure, reasons, recipes, seasonal, simple pleasures, tradition, wheat-free
April 15, 2018 · 9:00 am
“A place for everything and everything in its place” was the advice I was given as a child when I misplaced something, which I have to admit was often enough.
But whenever I had a chance to put things in order and to give things a designated spot (and I made sure to return the objects to their designated spot after use), it seemed that losing, misplacing and hunting for things became a rare occurrence. Mom and Dad’s advice was proven right, again and again.
I was working in the kitchen a few days ago when I realized that my kitchen was not following that mantra. I had teas scattered in three different cupboards. I had bags of bulk store products piled on top of one another and sliding off each other. Even my cat’s cupboard was becoming an avalanche-waiting-to-happen.
My spring cleaning instinct went into overdrive. It was time to tame these cupboards and get the kitchen organized once and for all!
It’s not like I’ve never done this before. A few years ago, I containerized the different kinds of gluten-free flour I needed, just to keep them clearly identified and organized. Gluten-free recipes were a breeze when I could tell my tapioca starch from the potato starch, and the white rice flour from the sweet rice flour. Every time I baked or brought back more flour from the store, I was so thankful that I had this section so neatly organized.
It was time to apply the same makeover technique to the rest of the kitchen. Continue reading →
Filed under food, How to
Tagged as baking, budget, closets, containers, cooking, cupboard, cupboards, efficiency, ingredients, kitchen, makeover, organization, pantry, recipes, space, spring cleaning
January 14, 2018 · 8:40 am
A couple of months ago, I overheard a young lady and her colleague on the elevator, in a conversation that went something like this:
“Are you going to the pizza lunch?”
“Yes, I guess we have to. It’s mandatory.”
“Except for those people who asked for gluten-free.” She started shaking her head and continued, “Come on, it’s a free lunch.”
Ever since that conversation I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief that anyone could say something so unenlightened. Whether a person has an allergy, an intolerance, a medical condition, a dietary restriction or a preference, people’s food choices need to be respected. Period!
I suspect that the young lady in question probably does not have a family member with a food allergy or intolerance, for her to say that a lunch being free is a good reason to eat something that could pose an allergy risk.
In my case, wheat can turn my world completely upside down for about 24 hours. Imagine if you will, your absolute worst stomach flu, resulting in frequent, persistent, urgent and (please excuse the vulgarity) “explosive” trips to the washroom. Then add the sensation of something sharp painfully working its way through the digestive system. Continue reading →
Filed under food, Health and Wellness, Misc blogs
Tagged as advice, allergies, allergy, chemistry, cholesterol, colleague, compassion, condition, dairy, diet, dietary, digestion, digestive, food, friend, genetic, gluten, gluten-free, health, heart, help, hints, illness, information, ingest, ingestion, intolerance, intolerances, lactose, medical, nut, nuts, peanuts, preference, recipes, respect, restriction, safety, sensitivities, sensitivity, sick, sodium, stomach, suggestions, symptoms, tips, understanding, wellness, work
December 3, 2017 · 8:22 am
Regular readers probably know that I have my moments where I might be considered a bit of an oddball, especially when it comes to my borderline-obsessive love of fruit cake. It hasn’t always been that way though.
When I was younger I would have a couple of pieces from the overflowing tray of treats passed around the table at Christmas, and I’d be set for the year.
But it was in my body’s rejection of gluten a decade ago, that I had to stop all foods involving wheat flour including fruit cake.
For something that I only ate once per year, it wasn’t a catastrophic loss, but with each passing Christmas after that, I grew to miss the tradition that much more. I also grew to appreciate it as one of life’s simple pleasures at the most wonderful, most festive time of the year.
A few years ago, I even wrote a poem about my hunt for the perfect gluten-free fruit cake. It wasn’t easy. The hunt, not the poem.
Around here, not a lot of stores sell gluten-free fruit cake and for the ones that do, I found the experience to be a very pricey one and sometimes a disappointing one. I remember one in particular that lived up to all of the hype and negative connotations about heavy and dry fruit cakes, and added a few more.
Then inspiration hit. How hard can it be to make gluten-free fruit cake for myself? Continue reading →
Filed under Christmas, How to
Tagged as allergies, baking, Christmas, dessert, easy, festive, food, fruit, fruit cake, fruitcake, gluten, gluten-free, holiday, holidays, human interest, intolerance, Noël, nuts, recipe, recipes, traditions, treats
August 3, 2015 · 10:27 am
Batch cooking has become a way of life in this household, since the discovery of my intolerance to wheat products 10 years ago. In a nutshell, it just means preparing food in a full recipe that serves 6, 8 or 10 people and freezing the leftovers. It isn’t really rocket science, but in this day where cooking at home seems to be a dying art in our fast-paced world, it just means returning to our roots somewhat. Our mothers and grandmothers did it almost every night, so why can’t we?
In my case, to take it one step farther and make it even easier, I separate and freeze the leftovers in single serving containers. That way, I have a complete and balanced meal in one container, ready to bring to work for lunch or to pop in the microwave to enjoy anytime I need a quick meal.
It takes a bit of preparation and organization, but it definitely pays off in the long run when I know exactly what went into each meal, I am not risking the repercussions of an accidental dose of wheat, and I can control portions of everything that I make.
Sometimes, the fun part of batch cooking is the ability to buy regular or family-sized sized portions of ingredients and know with certainty that with careful planning, little will get wasted. Better yet is the prospect of getting a deal or being able to save money on the ingredients, especially when the recipes you would like to make align with the weekly specials at the grocery store.
Then we have those serendipitous moments like the chicken lottery:
Some of the grocery stores nearby sell prepared (gluten free) roast chickens as a convenient option for busy families on the go. To me they are also Continue reading →
Filed under How to, Humour
Tagged as anecdotes, batch cooking, chicken, cooking, cooking tips, dishes, food, food prep, food preparation, freezer, freezer meals, gluten-free, ingredients, make-ahead meals, meals, observational, prepared meals, recipes, retail, shopping