A Little of This and a Little of That …

I’ve survived the Christmas season. Why is it that we make Christmas cray cray crazy? Seriously … why?

This year I tried really hard to make the whole Christmas experience magical and less crazy for our kids. In case you’ve forgotten, I already live that most ridiculous lifestyle … I’ve got four kids, and a husband who’s away half the month for work. Yes, coffee is my fuel most days. I survive on it. I used to be one of those people who only enjoyed coffee occasionally and never past 3 pm. If I drank it too late, I could most definitely count on being awake until the wee hours of the morning. Now, coffee is in my blood stream for most of the day and into the evening. When I do manage to hit the pillow at the end of the day, I am utterly exhausted. So, sure, I’ll have another cup. Anyway, I digress, back to the Christmas season talk….

So, hubby was away for work most of the Christmas break. He’s got the most glamorous lifestyle. He’s a commercial pilot and pretty much everyone I meet says … “oh you’re so lucky to be married to a pilot” and my all-time favourite stranger comment is “oh you must travel ALOT and get great deals!”  Ok, let’s just take a moment and think about those two statements. Yup, I’m lucky, blessed, fortunate … whatever you want to call it … to be married to my hubby, but not because he’s a pilot. I’m all those things because he’s an all around amazing guy (I could go on an on about him, but ya didn’t come here to hear all that sappy stuff!). Seriously people, give your head a shake. He’s a pilot … it’s his work. He flies you to your most amazing beach getaway and then turns right back around and comes back. He doesn’t stay and if he does, he stays in a hotel room, sleeps, eats, tries to recover from the 3+ time zones he’s been through in a day, all so he can get up and do it again. Oh yes, and let’s not forget to mention that he misses most holidays, if not all of them, because he’s busy working. And as for the second comment … We have four kids, hubby works full time and I also have a real job, so finding time to travel is unheard of.  Sorry, once I again I digress. Anyway, back to Christmas talk. Hubby worked. Santa had to make an early pit stop on the 22nd … the kids wrote a lovely letter at the beginnning of December explaining the situation and Santa once again came through with an early Christmas. Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention he was gone over New Years as well. So, making our Christmas season less crazy was my ultimate goal. What I really try hard to teach my kids is that Christmas, and most other holidays, isn’t about gifts, it’s about being together with those you love. I think this year we did a great job of doing that. We spent our early Christmas together and then enjoyed extended family homes on the actual Christmas day. Christmas was lovely, but I’m glad to get back into routine. O and C thrive on routine. And really, so do the twins. Now that they are back to school and our routine is back, things are going a lot more smoothly. Christmas was as mellow as we could make it, and that made me happy.

Our kids keep us cray-cray most of the year. When strangers ask me if I have kids I just want to scream …. CAN’T YOU TELL FROM THE BLACK CIRCLES UNDER MY EYES! I can most definitely say having twins is one of the hardest, most exciting, fun (and mostly crazy) experiences of my life. You can’t even imagine my life … it would be easier if you just came to help out. You know, witness it first hand. Seriously, message me … I need all the help I can get! The next time you see a twin mom out and about, bite you tongue and resist saying all those comments that pop into your brain … I can guarantee they’re probably ridiculous (I’ll let you know in a different blog post all the stupid things strangers have said to me), she’s heard them before and she most certainly doesn’t have time to have idle chit chat with a stranger … instead buy her a coffee. That’s what she needs the most. Coffee ….

So, until next time ….

Sending you lots of gluten free love with a side of twin love,

Jenny

 

Catching Up

Yup, I’m baaaaaack! So it’s taken me a while to get back in the saddle … so to speak. Its definitely been a wild ride.

I’ve left you all hanging for quite a while now, so I’ll spill the beans and let you know what’s been happening in my world.

So, I managed to carry my twins all the way to the end! Woot woot! (Applause!) Let me tell you that being pregnant with twins wasn’t a cake walk. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Those 6 months (we found out at 3 months in we were expecting twins) were filled with worry and anxiety and, well, exhaustion. Near the end, just getting out of bed was a chore. I was HUGE! It was a crazy feeling to always have someone moving, squirming and kicking. At 37.5 weeks my water broke and that’s when the real fun started. 12 hours later I was holding our little boy in my arms, waiting for the other babe to make it’s entrance. It took another 28 minutes for our second boy to make an appearance. They were born and our lives changed forever. Little L spent 5 days in NICU. He was just a little small at 4 pounds 12 ounces, but he was mighty. Mr. E was born 6 pounds 4.5 ounces. Yes, the .5 of an ounce does count! After having them, I felt like I could run a marathon. We had relief knowing that our boys were perfect in every way possible. I went home with Mr. E the next day and then spent the following four days running back and forth to the hospital. It was tough trying to juggle the other three kids around, all the while wanting to be there with Little L. We managed to take shifts at the hospital and waited ever so patiently for Little L to come home. I do not understand how parents who have babes in the NICU for months at a time manage. We were lucky it was less than a week and when he came home everything really changed

Since coming home from the hospital life has been a blur. Seriously, what a crazy life we have now! It’s taken me a long time to be able to manage to come back here. I keep waiting for life to slow down, but it just doesn’t! I am enjoying every moment with all my kids. People always told me to “Savour every moment, because in a blink of an eye it’s gone.” And, it’s soooooo true. Oliver is now 8. He’s still gluten and dairy free and I’m not sure if that will ever change. He’s doing so well now … growing like a weed, smart as a whip and well, always on the go. Charlotte is 6. She’s still gluten free and we are now just doing a trial of dairy products on her. I’ll let you know how that goes in a future blog post! And, the littlest of the bunch … they are both gluten free. Mr. E is on full dairy and seems to be doing quite well now. Little L is dairy free. So, we’ve got quite the mix! E and L came home from the hospital on lactose free formula (Little L threw up every time he had regular formula in the hospital). They did well on the lactose free formula until about ten weeks old. Then everything came to a screeching halt. I mean EVERYTHING. A day apart, both of their GI systems, just shut down. I had to start giving them suppositories to poop! Ok, enough about that, but after 18 days of not having bowel movements on their own, my doctor finally put them on a hypoallergenic formula. They did quite well and continued on that until about a year old. That’s when we switched Mr. E to regular dairy. It was kinda scary to think about switching him over. We were doing so well and given this family’s track record, I wasn’t sure I wanted to even try. But, Mr. E did just fine and has continued to flourish. Little L on the other hand didn’t do so well. He had all sorts of issues. GI issues, constant runny nose, he stopped sleeping and well I don’t know what else. So, it was back to the drawing board. At that point in time I decided to put him on rice milk. And since September he’s been drinking rice milk without too many issues. I’ve been taking him to see our naturopath. She’s been helping to resolve some of his gut issues with probiotics. He’s doing quite well now. People always ask me if they are sleeping through the night. No they aren’t, but why is that always one of the first questions? As if it’s some kind of standard that all good parents have to achieve to be added to the good parent list. I always say, we’re working on it. And, truth be told, I probably will be until they leave home!

Life hasn’t been dull this past year and a half. I know how lucky and blessed I am to have four healthy children. It’s been a wild ride, like I said before, and I don’t think it’s going to get any less crazy as time goes on. I’ll continue to write as often as my life lets me and well, that’s that. Keep checking back for more recipes and more crazy life stories!

 

Much Love (and Exhaustion),

Jenny 

And then there were SIX …..

Okay, so it’s been a while again …

I have been wanting to get on and post something for a while now, but finding the time to sit and have the energy has been difficult. I’ve got a secret you see … I’ve had a hard time getting on here, well, because life has thrown me for a loop. It’s a good loop, but a very big one … or two!

So, ready for it? My fun, frugal gluten free family of four is turning into SIX! If you must, take a moment and read that again…

Yes, we are having twins … TWINS! After a lot of repeating the word twins in my head, it has finally sunk in and become a reality. And, well, the exponential rate of growth I am experiencing also brings it into reality!

So, let’s start from the beginning. We found out in early January we were pregnant, but didn’t know there was more than one in there until our 12 week ultrasound when we saw it on the screen!  I have been feeling really excellent, but was so exhausted for the first 3 months, that I thought something was wrong. Well, I mean, I kept thinking, it has been five years since I last did this, so maybe my body is just getting old and tired! We were totally blown out of the water to see not one, but two on the ultrasound screen. Thinking back, that totally explains my complete and utter exhaustion during the first trimester. Now, at 20 weeks, I’m back to having a little pep in my step and feeling excellent. I know I am fortunate to not be one of those women who get sick with each pregnancy and are miserable the entire 9 months. I’ve never had that with either of my previous pregnancies and this twin pregnancy is no exception. I have to say that I feel even better with this pregnancy than with the other two. I’ve learned a lot about my own body in the last 5 years and staying healthy, fit and active is a priority in my life. I have come to realize that being gluten free isn’t a choice anymore for me, it’s a necessity. I feel better than I ever have in my entire adult life and I know that taking a step backwards and feeling crappy is not an option. Adding two more little people to our gluten free family is exciting, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s also terrifying. I mean, come on, having two babies at once is a huge challenge. When I think back to my other two and all the dietary issues we had with them, I wonder what these two will be like. Knowing what I know now, I’m pretty confident that things will be okay. But, there’s always that lingering what if in the back of my mind. What if they don’t sleep? What if they cry all the time like the boy did? What if they are up, wide awake all night, just like the girl was? You see the struggle going on in my little brain? But then I bring it back to … being gluten free, dairy free and soy free has changed my life and I’m pretty confident that all the issues I dealt with the boy and the girl would have been alleviated if I had suspected gluten intolerance/allergies/celiac disease sooner. All I can do is hope that things will be better this time around. And, it’s starting off pretty good. Like I said, this is by far the best pregnancy that I’ve had so far (and to be honest, the other two weren’t bad!). I have learned that taking care of my body physically, mentally and emotionally is key to living a life that is full of life.

People have asked me if I will keep these two gluten free, dairy free and soy free as well. And, my answer is yes, absolutely. It’s just our way of life and seeing my kids happy, healthy and full of life, makes it all worth it. But, I’m keeping my options open and who knows what the future will bring for these two.

So, there you go. Secret’s out. How will this change my blogging life? I hope not too much, but reality is, it just might. I still hope to share my recipes with you and my stories as well. I believe knowledge is key and like I’ve said from the beginning, if I can help just one little person unlock their door, like my two little beans have, then this is all worth it.

Sending lots of gluten free love,

Jenny

Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Wings

I think I start off every post talking about how I’ve been away so long and how sorry I am about that! Well, not this time. I’ve been away, but no apologies this time. Sorry.

Darn … I just did it again didn’t I?

This past month has been a whirlwind for me. I’ve been busy doing all sorts of things around the house and with the kids’ classrooms. We were even able to fit in a day of downhill skiing with the family. I wasn’t sure how the kids would fair, but as it turns out they are now better skiers than I am! It’s so fun to watch kids learn something new. They just catch on so quick and seriously, they aren’t afraid of anything! I must admit that I was pretty nervous getting to the top of the bunny hill … thinking about how I was going to have to ski my way down. In my defence though, it has been over 15 years since  I was skiing. Of course, I didn’t want to show the kids my deep, burning fear, so I grinned and skied down that hill! Guess what? I made it! It was my own little victory! That day was one of the best days I’ve had with my little family in recent memory. Maybe it was because I was just like a kid myself on the hill, giddy and laughing with hubby and the kids. And, it was a worry free day in regards to feeding the family.  As I get older, I realize that I am much more like my own Mom than I ever thought possible (this isn’t a bad thing!). When it comes to food, I am just like her, I always pack enough food for a small army, because well, it’s always better to have more, much more … than not enough! Anyway, we had plenty of food for lunch, snacks and probably even enough for dinner! The best part about it was that I didn’t have to worry about what would be available for us to eat. Actually, probably the only thing that we would have been able to eat being gluten, dairy and soy free would have been a bag of plain chips. Yeah, not the best option. Instead we feasted on sandwiches, vegetables and hummus, pepperoni sticks, crackers and of course cookies and juice. I was so relieved that I was prepared and if I hadn’t been I don’t know if I would have been able to enjoy the day as much as I did. My number one tip for people with allergies is to always be prepared … especially if you have kids! I’ve been in that situation before where I’m not prepared and I hate that feeling of scrambling around to make something work. Often times it ends up in an epic fail. And then, of course, no one is happy, especially not me. So, over the years I’ve learned that being prepared is key to being successful. I won’t say I’m always prepared, but more often than not I am. And, at the end of the day, I am happy and so is everyone else.

Speaking of being prepared, this recipe takes a bit of prep work, but it is oh so worth it! There aren’t many options for seasoned chicken wings when you are gluten, dairy and soy free. There are a few, but most are boring and lacklustre. What I love about this recipe is that you can adapt this to your personal preference and taste. I personally love spice. I love to wash these down with a gluten free beer, but hey, that’s just me! I’ve adapted this recipe from Nancy Kohler at The Sensitive Pantry. I make these quite often. Sometimes I make them for a date night with hubby or I make them alongside a couple of side dishes for dinner with the kids. The kids love these chicken wings without the buffalo sauce, and they are good, but I prefer the buffalo sauce with them. Try them for your next date night or serve them with a couple of side dishes, like potato wedges and a salad and you won’t regret it! Find me on Facebook, Twitter or leave me a message below! And, oh yes, enjoy these little gems!

Buffalo Chicken Wings

1.5 kg chicken wings (about 3 lbs)

1/2 cup Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour*

1/4 cup corn meal

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

canola oil for drizzling

Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Mix dry ingredients and place into a large ziplock bag. Shake your chicken pieces in your dry mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle each piece of chicken with a small amount of canola oil. This will help your chicken have a nice crispy outside. If you have any leftover dry mix you can sprinkle over each piece of chicken.

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(Here are the chicken wings ready for the oven!)

Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes. While your wings are cooking, prepare the Buffalo Sauce.

Buffalo Sauce

3 tbsp canola oil

1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original Hot Sauce

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (vary based on personal heat preference)

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisking until all ingredients have been well incorporated.

After your wings have cooked for 20 minutes, turn them and cook another 10-15 minutes. Your wings should appear fairly crispy now.

After 10-15 minutes, brush each wing with your Buffalo Sauce, making sure that you get both sides and that each wing is coated in sauce. Return to the hot oven and cook another 10 minutes. Coat each wing during this 10 minutes if you think they need another bit of sauce. I usually use all the sauce up during this process.

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Remove from oven and enjoy! And, don’t forget to wash them down with the beverage of your choice!

Love,

Jenny

*Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1/2 cup sorghum flour

 

 

Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Wings
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Jenny Beaulieu:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg chicken wings (about 3 lbs)
  • ½ cup Jenny's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour*
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • canola oil for drizzling
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup Franks Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (vary based on personal heat preference)
  • 1½ tsp brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and place into a large Ziplock bag. Shake your chicken pieces in your dry mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle each piece of chicken with a small amount of canola oil. This will help your chicken have a nice crispy outside. If you have any leftover dry mix you can sprinkle over each piece of chicken.
  3. Bake at 400 F for about 15 - 20 minutes. While your wings are cooking, prepare the Buffalo Sauce.
  4. To make the Buffalo sauce, combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisking until all ingredients have been well incorporated.
  5. After your wings have cooked for 15 - 20 minutes, turn them and cook another 10-15 minutes. Your wings should appear fairly crispy now.
  6. After 10-15 minutes, brush each wing with your Buffalo Sauce, making sure that you get both sides and that each wing is coated in sauce. Return to the hot oven and cook another 10 minutes. Coat each wing during this 10 minutes if you think they need another bit of sauce. I usually use all the sauce up during this process.
  7. Remove from your oven and enjoy.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Okay so winter is back. And, in full swing. Mother Nature teased Saskatoon a couple of weeks ago with temperatures on the plus side and I had visions of dancing around in shorts and tank tops. Sadly, it was just a teaser and winter is back with snow and all. Oh well, it’s the first week of February and I suppose the weather could be worse right? I mean we could have the snow that Atlantic Canada does … yeah, maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut about the weather!

I have been diligently working on a new cookie recipe in my kitchen. My kids love it when I work on new recipes. What I love most about my kids is that they are brutally honest. I know that they will tell me the truth whether or not I want to hear it. So, if the first and second or maybe even third batch of a recipe needed tweaking, they’d let me know loud and clear. Well, after two batches, I got the thumbs up from not only kiddies, but the hubby as well. And, I must say these cookies are FANTASTIC. They honestly are super good and like my hubby said I can’t even tell they are gluten free! I’ve had some gluten free baking that is gritty and overly crumbly. And, well, lack lustre in taste. But, these cookies are none of those things. They are simply delicious. They are moist, full of flavour and have the perfect amount of crumble to them. I know that it’s been a long time since I’ve had a gluten cookie, so that’s why I enlisted my hubby into the taste test. And, I know if I passed with the hubby and the kids, well then I’m good to share it with all of you. These cookies are delicious fresh out of the oven and will keep for a couple of days on the counter in an air tight container. Otherwise, wait till the cookies have cooled completely and freeze them. Just pop them out of the freezer as needed. This recipe will make about 2 and a half dozen, so you’ll have plenty to share or umm, plenty to eat yourself!

As always, give them a whirl and let me know how they turned out for you! Find me on Facebook or Twitter or simply leave a comment below!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Preheat your oven to 350 F.  In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the following:

2 1/4 cups Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour*

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups Gluten Free Certified Rolled Oats (I use Only Oats) 

Only Oats Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, 1 Kg (Grocery)


New From: CDN$ 8.99 In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp all spice

Mix well and set aside.

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In the bowl of your mixer combine:

3/4 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Spread

1 1/4 brown sugar, packed

Mix until well incorporated and mixture appears fluffy.

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Next add:

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Mix until just combined. Then slowly add the  dry ingredients to the bowl while your mixer is on low speed. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often to ensure even mixing. But, be careful to not over mix the cookie dough! Next, using a spatula, fold in:

1 cup raisins

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Roll batter into small balls and place on a parchement lined baking sheet. (This can be the tricky part. I like to coat my hands in Earth Balance Soy Free Spread so the cookie batter doesn’t stick to my hands while I am rolling the balls) Do not flatten the balls! Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. (You will know your cookies are done if the bottoms are a light golden brown). Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Like I said earlier, once cooled completely store these in an airtight container on the counter for up to a couple of days or freeze to enjoy them later!

Enjoy with your favourite glass of dairy free milk and you’ve got the perfect combo to put a smile on your kiddo’s face! (or your own!)

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Love,

Jenny

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Jenny Beaulieu:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2.5

Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour*
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Certified Rolled Oats (I use Only Oats)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • ¾ cup Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
  • 1¼ brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins

Instructions
  1. Methold
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, rolled oats, cinnamon, and all spice. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer combine the Earth Balance Soy Free Spread and the packed brown sugar. Mix until well incorporated and mixture appears fluffy.
  4. Next add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until just combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl while your mixer is on low speed. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl often to ensure even mixing. But, be careful to not over mix the cookie dough! Next, using a spatula, fold in the raisins.
  6. Roll batter into small balls and place on a parchement lined baking sheet. (This can be the tricky part. I like to coat my hands in Earth Balance Soy Free Spread so the cookie batter doesn’t stick to my hands while I am rolling the balls) Do not flatten the balls! Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. (You will know your cookies are done if the bottoms are a light golden brown).
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 Jenny’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1/2 cup sorghum flour