K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

K.I.S.S.(or Keep It Simple Stupid) was a phrase I learned from my high school drama teacher Mr. Slater. It’s funny how certain phrases will stay in you mind for years after you’ve heard them. I remember trying to apply this phrase to what I was doing at the time in class and never really getting the outcome I wanted. It always seemed like I was trying to hard, which is the exact opposite of what the phrase means – if you’re trying too hard then you’re not keeping it simple!

So years after I first learned this phrase it seems more then ever that I use it on a daily basis when it comes to cooking and creating in the kitchen. When cooking from scratch, I find that it’s pretty easy to apply this phrase. We tend to over complicate things in life – wouldn’t you agree? The kitchen is a great place to bring it back down a notch, edit what you’ve been doing and come up with a recipe that is delicious without all the complications. When we first started using pesto, we of course looked for it in the grocery store. Anyone checked out the ingredients on a store bought pesto lately?? Very difficult to find one that does not have dairy or some type of preservatives. And once you have found an uncomplicated one, often the price is RIDICULOUS!

This pesto is what we use on our homemade pizza instead of the typical tomato sauce. Total cost of this is about $2 and makes enough to cover 2, 12″ pizzas with some leftover. This could also be used as your sauce base for a pasta or as a spread on your grilled cheese sandwich.

Easy Pesto
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch Basil
  • ½ of a lemon, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • 7 whole walnuts (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend until a smooth sauce, scrapping down sides of blender with your trusty old spatula if you need to! If you find that it's not mixing well, add 1 tbsp of cold water as needed and continue to blend. Use right away or store in airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

 

 

If you don’t succeed, bake again…Or try this recipe first!

I used to work in an office where 5 out of 9 people had major food sensitivities. Everyone saw their naturopathic doctor more often then their conventional doctor and they were all very disciplined about not cheating. With good reason too, because they would be in pain if they did eat something that had gluten, dairy, eggs or yeast in it. My one co-worker could die if there were peanuts around. Before everyone went all ‘crazy diets’ on me, I loved to bring my ‘famous’ banana bread to the office (and by famous I mean it was one of the only things I baked that did not get burned). However it wasn’t getting eaten anymore. Wanting to make everyone feel included, I stopped bringing banana bread and started thinking about baking gluten free – key word ‘thinking’. Mainly I thought: Really? Doesn’t all gluten free baked goods taste weird and crumbly? Strange after taste anyone?…yeah I’ll keep thinking about it.

During this ‘thinking’ period, my husband became very ill and lost the ability to walk for nearly 6 weeks due to arthritis. All of a sudden I was thrown into a territory that I was not used to – a nurse for my husband, full time working woman and recently pregnant. When the doctors told us that my husband would always have this disease with him and most likely NEVER go off medication, it was obvious that we needed to change our ways. My husband saw many doctors that year, including a naturopathic doctor (yup, we hopped on that wagon), who suggested the elimination diet . BEST thing we could have done for our overall health! It was at that time that we eliminated gluten from our diet.

When I first started baking gluten free, I went through A LOT of recipes – some were edible, some I forced my husband to eat because I didn’t want to waste the precious ingredients and some LITERALLY went in the compost (so sad). When eliminating things that you have eaten your entire life, you can go through withdrawal – mine was for baked goods. What do you mean I can’t eat the cookies from the cafe on my coffee break?!?!? It goes so perfectly with my coffee…Stop looking at me Mr. Tea Biscuit, you’re just a cheap add on at this doughnut shop! Store bought gluten free baked goods can be costly. And when you’re tight on income, you begin to find more cost effective ways to enjoy life’s sweets .  Desperate to hold onto having some good old fashioned baking, I kept trying at home to make from scratch. And I’m glad I did! These cookies satisfy ANY baked good craving you may have and you can feel guilt free about eating them because there is nothing but goodness in them! Or as I like to say ‘no bull sh*t added’! Full of fiber, fruit, energizing seeds and protein – these cookies are great for a breakfast add on. Don’t stress about the chia seeds – you can get them at any Costco for about $10 a bag – which is a great price, or just use eggs. Now you have an easy go-to gluten free & vegan cookie that you can try without worrying if it will taste good. And I can guarantee you that everyone at your office will like them. Try it! You will be surprised at how good they taste!

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment below!

*Credits: Teapot designed & created by the brilliant artist Sally Cumming. Recently given the Emeritus Member Designation from OCAD, she has always been an inspiration to me as an artist and as my aunt. Check out her site here.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Breakfast Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2¼ cup oats
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds - mix with ½ cup water (or 2 eggs)
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or ½ cup organic butter, softened)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, oats and xanthan gum in a large bowl. Stir well.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix chia seeds and water. Let soak for 5mins. Add coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add to oat mixture. Mix well.
  3. Using your spatula, fold in unsweetened shredded coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet (I like to spread a little olive oil on the sheet before I drop the dough). Bake for 12 - 17mins, or until brown around edges. Let cool and serve with favourite cup of tea or bold coffee.