Review: XO Baking Gluten Free Oatmeal Gourmet Cookie Mix

So we hosted some family for dinner. Being a celiac family, while the rest of our family is not can sometimes make meal gatherings difficult and stressful.

When our relative brought us this Oatmeal Gourmet Gluten Free Cookie mix by XO Baking Co. as a hostess gift; I have to admit, it sat in our pantry for quite a while.

I wasn’t expecting the picture and “unforgettably delicious” claim to be true. But on a day when I wanted a “quick” baking treat, I thought I’d try it.

At first, I was a bit disappointed that it is a cookie mix only. From the box I adored the cranberries and hearty appearance of the cooked cookie.

Any add ons from the oatmeal cookie mix are optional and not included.

You will need 1 large egg and 1/2 cup of softened butter.

I added 3/4 cup butterscotch chips, 1/2 cup shredded coconut and 3/4 raisins.

It mixed together really well. Almost reminded me how Gluten cookie dough would stick and mix so easily together.

I used a rounded table spoon to measure out the drop dough on the cookie sheet.

I found they needed 16 – 18 minutes – not the estimated 10-12 minutes to reach a lightly golden state with an oven at 350

I have to say my family was pleasantly surprised with how wonderful these gluten free cookies tasted!!

Chewy and delicious!

When you want to bake some cookies, but want something quick and convenient -this would be a great gluten free cookie mix box to keep in your pantry for such a time!

check out: www.xobaking.com

**this is not a paid review**

Gluten Free Pho 

I had left over roasted vegetables. Not sure how I wanted to eat them; I decided to make a gluten free vegetable Pho soup. 

The night before,  I had roasted mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, peppers, celery, broccoli and a  clove of garlic in a little olive oil, drizzle of vegetable broth and fresh ground pepper. 

So I dumped the leftovers in a pot, put in a full package of Campbell’s beef broth, a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice, tablespoon of Gluten Free Soy Sauce, tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and let it simmer. 

In another pot, I cooked up al dente rice vermicelli noodles. 

I placed the cooked noodles on the bottom of the bowls. Then poured in the soup! 


It was a hit! 


Enjoy! 

End of Summer Gluten Free Bean Salad 

Hard to believe the end of summer is here. Back to school, work and Fall. 

As I grapple with behaving and eating healthy, I decided to make a bean salad to take for my lunches this week. 

At a recent Farmer’s Market in Muskoka, I bought a dried bean salad mix from Spill The Beans ( www.spillthebeans.ca ) This seems easy and my bean mix selection is already done for me. 

I have modified the Spill The Bean recipe slightly as I didn’t have all the ingredients she recommended to add to her “Hearty Fearty” bean salad. 

1) Soak the dried beans and then cook as per the Spill The Bean packaging 


2) I diced up a red onion, 1/2 cup of mini carrots and a cup of peas from fresh pods 


3) I whipped up the recommended salad dressing: 2/3 vinegar, 2 table spoons honey, 1/2 cup of oil. I added 1/2 table spoon of freeze dried cilantro. 


4) after the beans cooled, I mixed in my other ingredients, then poured in salad dressing over the top! 

Voila my lunch is made for the week! 

Enjoy! It’s yummy! 

And check out Spill The Beans! Highly recommend! 

www.spillthebeans.ca

Summer Memories Relived at Santa’s Village 

It’s kind of funny how in some aspects of raising children, we get to relive or atleast get flash backs of our childhood from our children. 

Except for me, Santa’s Village was a once a summer experience but nowadays most local families have season passes here and the Village becomes more a familiar frequented meeting place. And you get to know the staff…like for example some gate greeters don’t even need to see our season pass card to let us in – they know we have it as we are regular visitors, as they greet us frequently.  

How can that view not take you back?!

Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, Ontario is a lovely little amusement park for young kids. It’s where Santa lives in the summer! 

And what a lovely place it is! And something for everyone!

You can feed the reindeer:

Ride a Ferris wheel of Christmas Balls:

 

Enjoy a train ride all around the park:


Enjoy a boat ride: 


Enjoy Elves Island with fun activities:


Enjoy Kiddie rollercoasters: 



Enjoy the Splash pad. Or as we like to call it “Santa’s Beach” 


Our almost 3 year old loves Santa’s Village. And it’s a hit with my nieces, nephews and friend’s children. 

It’s a must when visiting Muskoka with children to spend sometime with Santa! 

To plan your trip check out: https://www.santasvillage.ca/

Chickpea Greek Salad

Summertime is a time for fresh and refreshing meals. I wanted something different for work lunches but not sure what. With a quick look in my pantry I decided to whip together a chick pea salad.  

This salad is high in fibre and protein. It is easily adaptable to add your favourites  

Chickpee Greek Salad

1 can chickpeas 

1 can (no salt added) diced tomatoes 

6 green olives sliced 

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 

1/3 cup diced onion 

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes 

2 tablespoons Greek Clubhouse seasoning 

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup Greek salad dressing 

1/3 cup balsamic salad dressing 

Directions: 


1) drain chickpees and rinse before dumping into a 1.75quart bowl. 

2) drain canned tomatoes and the mix in with chickpees 

3) add all other ingredients and mix well let sit atleast 12hpirs before serving. 

This is such an easy salad that you could add (if desired) cucumber chunks, pasta, black olives….the tweaks are endless! 

Enjoy! 

It’s a wet salad so I use a serving spoon with the slit in it to take off excess fluid when serving! 

It’s easy to take it in a container at work 


I like to serve it with garlic Naan bread. 

Fresh cherry Gluten Free Pie 

I couldn’t resist the fresh cherries in the market. First of the season; sweet and refreshing. 

The only downside of any type of fresh fruit is it can spoil quickly. With a large bag of fresh cherries and not wanting to waste even one the only option was to make a fresh cherry pie! 

A cherry pie is simple to make and tastes amazing! How could I resist? 

Fresh Cherry Pie: 

Fresh pitted cherries – atleast 2 heaping cups. You want to have a full pie shell. It can be painstaking to pit each cherry but fresh cherry pie tastes so much better then can. 

1/4 tsp of pure almond extract 

Pinch of salt 

3 heaping tablespoons of gluten free minute tapioca 

2 tablespoons of softened butter 

1) Preheat oven to 385F   

Place pitted cherries in a bowl. Add almond extract, salt and tapioca. Mix well 

2) Prepare pie shell. Refer to my earlier post about my amazing Gluten Free dough! 

3) Place cherry mixture into pie shell. 


4) Place Gluten Free Dough over cherries. I personally like the fence style for pie tops. I place small dips of butter in the wholes of the crust 


5) Place pie on middle rack of oven. Cook for 50-60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cherries are bubbling. 


Enjoy!! 

Mommy Makeup

Since giving birth 8 months ago my makeup routine has drasticly changed or maybe I should say adjusted! 

I’m not sure when I got into the habit of having makeup on before going out anywhere…I don’t remember caring about makeup in high school – but I do remember loving lip gloss! 

In university getting all done up to head out for an evening of fun was the thing and maybe it just progressed from there…

I like how foundation smooths out and evens my skin tone; I love playing up my eyes and how even a simple lip gloss can refresh or perk up a look. 

Growing up my mom’s makeup routine was wearing lipstick. I remember when I was young always watching my mom put on lipstick – before going out lipstick was needed and she always says “I feel naked without my lipstick”

I feel naked without my makeup or rather “my face” as I and my family call it! 

“We can’t go until I put my face on” 

So I didn’t really appreciate or realize the time I took to put my face on – that quickly changed having a baby. I have had to adjust  but I still look polished or should I say put together in 10 minutes or less 

Face cream 

  

Aveeno Face Cream has been my go to cream way before Jennifer Aniston started promoting it. It’s lightweight while keeping my skin hydrated. Plus the added Natural Light Diffusers helps give a bit of sparkle for days I choose to go makeupless   

Foundation 

  

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation is amazing! Let me count the ways – full coverage but light feeling. It goes on smooth and effortlessly for perfecting blending to look natural. 

What I love most about this foundation is the staying power- you can workout and sweat wearing it and no need for touch ups after! I loved being able to go to the gym at lunch then return straight to work. 

I put it to a true test when I went into labour unexpectedly at 36weeks – had my face on all day at work, went into labour later that evening and over 24hours later my foundation was still going strong! I even had the nurses asking me what I use for foundation as even they were impressed! 

Powder

  

To set the foundation I use Lancôme Dual Finish Powder. Sometimes if I don’t have time for foundation I will just brush this on for a sheer look. 

Eyes

  

Sometimes I choose to just put mascara on but I like choosing a light off white to beige eye makeup colour to brighten my eyes – especially if I’m feeling or looking tired. 

As you can tell from my picture – you can tell which shades I use most!! 

Mascara 

   

 I have naturally thick eyelashes but mascara helps extend the length and intensify the thickness. I haven’t always been a fan of mascara as I always found no matter the promise of wet and smudge proof, low and behold as the day went on I would get mascara smudges under my eyes. Then my estitician introduced me to Blinc mascara – I’ve faithfully and happily been using this brand for the last couple of years! 

What makes Blinc mascara unique as it “tubes” your lashes and won’t come off without warm water and gentle massage! 

Lips 

Way back when I use to use lip liners, lipstick then gloss! I am a huge fan of the lipstick markers/stain followed by my favourite Lancôme juicy gloss.  

And presto my makeup routine to get out the door with baby in tow is now about 10minutes! It’s a fresh simple makeup look now – perfect for the on-the-go Mommy! 

What are your tricks and tips for looking fresh faced since becoming a mom?