My New Small Business :)

2014 Jan-sept 360If anyone lives in the GTA and would like an old or outdated piece of furniture redone contact me on my Facebook page!

Brendan Blinch Furniture Restoration

   I use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, Hemp Oil and products that are safe for our families and our environment.

Thanks for checking out the page and hope I can help you out

Photo Credit: David Knapton

Graduation Day: I’m awesome

On Saturday I officially graduated being a intermediate gluten free to a pro gluten free chef! Ladies and Gentlemen, I made Gluten Free Bread! It was soft, puffy, and tasted like normal bread! Some of you have already crossed this milestone and I am now pleased to say that I am here with you! After a year and a half of brutal and horrible dinners and snacks that could be used to stone someone, I am now well trained in the art of Gluten Free.  2014 Jan-sept 451

I used a recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess to make a beautiful Focaccia Loaf (I just didn’t put tomatoes on mine)

Tomato-Garlic Focaccia – Italian Flatbread Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour!) or tapioca starch
1/2 cup millet flour or certified GF oat flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons each: chopped rosemary, thyme, basil
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup warm water (at 110º F)
A pinch of raw sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon mild rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 free range egg, beaten, or Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed
A dusting of GF cornmeal

Note: You’ll need sliced fresh garlic and tomatoes for topping.
Instructions:
Turn on the oven briefly- just to warm it; then turn it off.
Whisk together the flours, starch, xanthan gum, sea salt, garlic, and herbs in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, proof the yeast in warm water and pinch of sugar.
When the yeast is poofy, pour the mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, honey, vinegar, and egg or egg replacer.
Stir to combine. The dough should be sticky- it doesn’t really feel like typical wheat bread dough- more like a thick muffin batter.
Scoop the dough into a 9-inch cake pan dusted with cornmeal.
Using wet hands pat and shape the dough into a rounded loaf.
Top with sliced tomatoes and fresh garlic; sprinkle with extra herbs, if you like, and a little coarse sea salt.
Place the pan into the warm oven and allow it to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
Turn on the oven to 375ºF.
Once the oven is 375º put the timer on for 20 minutes. Bake until golden and firm- from 25 to 35 minutes. When you thump it, it should sound hollow.
Remove from the pan as soon as you can handle it, and cool on a wire rack. Slice with a sharp bread knife.

Makes one loaf.

Read more: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/03/gluten-free-focaccia-recipe-with-garlic.html#ixzz3DPYBTVP2

Now That It’s Fall… Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins!!

Now don’t start with me about the official day of Fall because up here in Canada it’s already feeling nice and cold! When it’s begins to feel like sweater weather you know it’s time for good hearty meals and sweet treats! Ashley and I have recently stocked our shelves with all kinds of different flours and baking supplies to start making a ton more of our own Gluten Free food. We’ve relied heavily on our local grocery stores for our GF food but we are coming to a place in our lives where we want to become more self reliant. We’ll still need to spend a pretty penny on the flours will need but i’m sure in the long run we’ll save money.

This Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffin recipe comes from Kitchen Stewardship and it is fantastic! The muffins had a beautiful consistency which can be challenging to accomplish. I made a few changes, I used quinoa flour instead of buckwheat flour and I kept the same measurements. I also used agave nectar instead of honey and coconut oil instead of butter. The results were glorious and legendary! Enjoy! These are my photos of how they turned out! the bottom picture is the muffins covered with a vanilla icing 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2/3 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c. freshly ground buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 c. arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch, corn starch as a last resort)
    (see below for MANY more gluten-free options, including a starch-free version)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. honey OR 1 c. sucanat
  • 2 eggs OR 2 Tbs. freshly ground flax + 6 Tbs. hot water
    (see below for more options and instructions for egg-free)
  • ½ c. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
Instructions
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add all the rest of the ingredients right on top. (You can just “dump and mix” but I wanted to make sure the little spices and leavenings were mixed thoroughly first.) Stir or beat well.
  2. Line muffin tin and pour about 3/4 full into 12 muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes (20-25 for 24 mini muffins).
  3. You might have a little left over, and a mini loaf pan is usually just right for the excess.
Notes
Watch timing carefully as honey browns faster!
* Note on baking powder: NOT corn-free typically; you need to use a homemade version like this one or just skip it – bet it still works out.
* You can also use a greased 8×8″ or 9×13″ glass baking dish to make a sort of “cake” instead. I haven’t tried it, but readers have done it with the original and again, I can’t imagine messing this recipe up. Cut into squares and serve just like muffins for breakfast, or I hear a cream cheese frosting is delicious to make it into a “real cake.” Try yogurt cheese for an inexpensive, probiotic substitution for cream cheese.
* Use any orange vegetable for the pumpkin.
* Refrigerate the “flax eggs” at least 15 minutes before incorporating into the batter; more below.
* If coconut is included on someone’s list of allergens (it has just been classified in the “tree nut” category!) and you also still need dairy-free, you could use any melted fat, such as palm shortening, lard, or a healthy oil.
* Readers have also subbed unsweetened applesauce for the fat, although I’d try more pumpkin for a healthier result.
* Try reducing the sweetener, especially if you’re using home-pureed pumpkin or a nice sweet squash like buttercup or sunshine. To make up for the missing mass, add a bit more pumpkin puree.
* Many gluten-free flours are appropriate for this recipe; see below for more info.
* Additions: raisins, chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, sub 1/4 c. cocoa powder for 1/4 c. starch. One reader on the original recipe added a bit of cocoa powder to just part of the batter and swirled it on top of each muffin, finishing off with crumbled pecans and a dusting of cinnamon.
* UPDATE: They freeze great!

Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/09/26/fall-recipe-connection-best-gluten-free-pumpkin-muffins-dairy-free-egg-free-corn-free-soy-free-nut-free/#EEPxFf7PoJlrfsEf.99IMG_4871

Prepared for Disaster? Thinking about the Unthinkable for Canada

This is an article I wrote for CarbonCopy and I would like to share it with you. Our weather and world is becoming increasingly more violent and we are often very unprepared for it. I wrote this weeks before North America’s ice storm blew through and left many stranded with no electricity. Let’s be smart and prepare ourselves for harsher weather. For more environmental news sign up for CarbonCopy’s newsletter. Written by Brendan Blinch and Edited by Russ Blinch.

 

Sitting in my office on a beautiful morning, I was reading about yet another natural disaster hitting a community miles away. My heart broke for those people who had lost their home and loved ones. I looked out the window and tried to imagine what it would be like to experience nature’s cruelty.

The litany of nature’s woes are all around in this small, connected world. The Philippines, for instance, has been hit by a succession of weather-related disasters. Typhoon Haiyan struck in November and the country is still recovering — and counting its dead. Closer to home, the United States has been hit hard by increasingly severe natural disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes and drought.

In Ontario, where I live, we see so little of the problems and disasters that the rest of the world experiences. Yet our climate is changing and the experts say even we won’t be immune to the erratic weather caused by global warming.

“Canada will continue to see more warming than the global average and extreme weather events will be more frequent and more intense. There will be stronger hurricanes, longer heat waves and, in some parts of the country, more snow and more hail,” the Toronto Star wrote recently after the release of the big report from the U.N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This year Canada got a taste of extreme weather with the flooding in Calgary, Alberta in June and the huge downpour in Toronto in July.  Russ Blinch, chief scribbler at CopyCarbon, wrote about his experience after the massive rains struck the Toronto area:

“We were in nearby Mississauga and needed to get back to downtown Toronto. Traffic, however, was a mess. The storm had laid waste to the city’s power grid and traffic lights were down. We started crawling along a major artery that would get us to the freeway. With growing horror we listened to reports on the radio. The announcers were running down a list of woes: traffic was snarled everywhere, cars were seen floating on a stretch of a highway to which we were headed, subways were shut down and a major commuter train was marooned in water with commuters still inside… It took us four hours to get home in a journey that would normally take about 40 minutes in decent traffic.”

And what are we doing about it? Our governments are moving slowly to come to grips with climate change. Besides the over arching battle to reduce emissions, cities need action plans to deal with the growing natural threats to its citizenry.”

We see that our world is changing and scientists continue to confirm our deepest fears that nature is becoming more violent. Are we accepting of this truth and readying ourselves for the worst? David Arama, founder and teacher of WSC Survival School, would say no.

“The apathy towards natural disasters from citizens seems to be worse in urban areas like Toronto,” Arama told me in an interview. “99.9 percent of the population is not ready for anything to go wrong. Large amounts of our population have nothing backed up like extra food, wool blankets, or generators.”

“‘Emergency Management Ontario’ seems to be well prepared for the extreme disasters but senses the lack of concern from the overall population. It would be great to see more mandatory programs preparing people for natural disasters,” said Arama, who holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an Outdoor Education Certificate among his many credentials. He has been teaching and leading wilderness survival programs for more than 30 years at colleges in Ontario.

If we teach our children to swim to avoid drowning or practice fire drills at work to be prepared for a fire, then why aren’t we preparing people for natural disasters? Scientists are pointing towards a future with a temperamental mother nature and we need to heed the warning. Yes there is probably only so much we can do to fully prepare for a disaster but accepting our new reality and preparing for the worst can bring hope, raise morale and even save lives — when we need it the most.

For more information on how you can be prepared for the forces of nature, click on the sites below.

http://www.redcross.ca/what-we-do/emergencies-and-disasters-in-canada/for-home-and-family

http://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/beprepared/beprepared.html

http://www.wscsurvivalschool.com

Apple Crisp

ImageI’ve made this one a few times in fall after Ashley and I went apple picking at a local farm. It’s a great hit and very easy to make if dessert plans fall through. I found the recipe on food.com but I would like to point out that they site says it only takes 5 mins to prepare and I will say that is not true! It takes a lot of time to cut up all the apples, at least 20 mins to make the whole thing! I just wanted to give you that warning 🙂 

4 cups apples, peeled & sliced, such as Granny Smiths
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup certified gluten free old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
Directions:

1
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a pie dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, sugar, water, cornstarch, 1 teaspoons cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Set aside.
2
Make the oatmeal topping: In a bowl, gently combine: almond flour, oats, brown sugar, 1 teaspoons cinnamon, and butter until crumbly.
3
Place the apple mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the apples are cooked through, the juices are bubbling, and the topping is browned. Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Recipe found on Food.com

Thanks for reading and may the GF be with you!