This time of year we do a few simple good deeds. A box of food goes to the Toronto Food Bank, a donation to my brother’s movember fundraiser is always in order, and this year we’re donating to Sick Children’s Hospital in the name of all the hard working people who helped Robin and his feet get walking.
The easiest good deed of the season so far was creating a holiday greeting card through the Kinder® Canada Facebook page. For each card created, Kinder® will donate $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network. They are well on their way to donating $25,000 this season. Rebecca really enjoyed making her card and printed it out to happily colour on for the rest of the afternoon.
What are your family’s favourite ways to give this time of year?
Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own
I have a confession to make. I bought tomatoes. At the grocery store. I have no regrets.
We have plenty of jarred and sauced and roasted frozen ones but I needed something else. It’s November in Toronto and I went to the store and bought two tiny plastic boxes of green house tomatoes. You see, I needed to make pie very badly and I hadn’t found a way to make gluten free pastry in August when the tomatoes were here.
Shana makes tomato pie and I missed it very much. But now it’s back and I want to share it with you, even if it is November in Toronto.
Here’s how you do it:
Roll out the pie crust of your choosing. I’m sticking with the Bob Red Mills Gluten Free Pie Crust Mix, if you like wheat you should follow Shana’s instructions here: www.folksgottaeat.com/2011/08/tomato-season.shtml.
Form your crust and fill with sliced or chopped tomatoes. 2 boxes of store bought cherry tomatoes should do it.
Mix with thyme, oregano and salt. Drizzle the edges with olive oil.
Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes and sit down and eat the whole thing. There are no such thing as tomato pie left overs.
With the holidays sneaking up on us it’s time for me to start baking again. When we suddenly had to switch to an entirely gluten free diet I abandoned sweets for a while. It was enough to cook every meal from scratch and besides, I had to give away all my baking stuff.
Now I’m ready to get back into it and just in time for the holidays. I’ve done some experimenting and have found the perfect gluten free shortbread recipe. Short bread is pretty easy to make gluten free as there are lots of variations on it and wheat flour is not the major component. Butter is clearly the most important ingredient, followed by sugar and then the flour which traditionally could have been corn, or oats, over wheat, so it’s not a stretch to use rice flour in it’s place.
Sharing food is one of my favourite parts of the holidays. With food restrictions I know that can make people nervous but really it isn’t so hard. Keep your kitchen clean to prevent cross contamination, ask people what they’re eating, and most importantly label everything with the ingredients you used. That way everyone can enjoy each other’s baking with out second guessing or wondering if something is safe. I’ve made it easy to share with my fellow allergic/intolerant/celiac friends and family by packaging shortbread to share in jars with labels clearly stating what I used. It’s heavenly.
What’s your favourite shortbread recipe? Do you have any short bread tricks?
- 1 1/4 cups Gay Lea Unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup Icing Sugar
- 1 large organic egg
- 2 1/4 rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Preheat your oven to 300F
- Beat butter and vanilla extract until fluffy.
- Add in the icing sugar, then the egg.
- Whisk the rice flour, salt and xanthan gum in a separate bowl.
- Stir the dry mixture into the butter with a wooden spoon.
- Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Scoop the bater on to the parchment. Take another piece of parchment and cover it then smooth it out using your hands or a glass. Take top piece of parchment off before baking.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes until evenly golden all over.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove shortbread from pan and cut into 24 pieces using a sharp knife.
- Label and share with friends.
Gay Lea has a fun facebook app where they are giving away kitchen aid mixers and a brand new kitchen.
Something amazing has happened! We just had our 10,000th sale on etsy! It’s a wonderful milestone especially when we are on the cusp on so much growth. I want to celebrate all our wonderful customers but first I think it’s time to tell you the story of how Cubit’s started in the first place.
You see, I wasn’t always self employed. I used to work for other entrepreneurs. I had a habit of getting jobs managing other passionate small business owners businesses, and then getting gloriously fired. It happened more than once. Ok, it happened a bunch, I actually don’t know anyone as good at getting fired as me.
As I left my last exit interview, I knew I wasn’t going back. I had a little spring in my step as I packed my office and my swing-line stapler into a banker box and headed down those stairs. I was done working for other people. I had enough good ideas and it was time to turn one of them into my own business.
The only bad part about getting canned when I did was that we had plane tickets to Paris booked for the next week. 3 weeks in France, Italy, and Austria, all paid for and no cancellation insurance. Although I had no foreseeable income there was nothing else to do but go. It was when I found myself staring out the train window counting all the little kitchen gardens along the tracks and picking oranges at Versailles I started to figure out where I was really going.
We’d been growing a tremendous amount of food in our apartment’s back yard in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. Watermelons and giant squash on the parking slab, peppers in window boxes, tomatoes taller than the fence. We lived there for 6 years and saved a lot of seed. We gave it away. We used our art backgrounds to design cute envelopes for the seeds we shared. We had friends over and weeded the herbs with them before dinner. We got a dog who ate all our carrots and picked strawberries daintily with her teeth. Or something like that.
So I decided to turn my hobby into a business and start selling the seeds that we were saving. Then we decide to have a baby and start a business at the same time. Hilarious! I’m not really sure yet if I recommend it.
I went to the Toronto Business Development Centre and took courses under the Ontario Self Employment Benefit. They were really grumpy about me being pregnant but it all worked out. I started Cubit’s with a website designed by Dan Sampson and a picture of Hazel by Adam Swinbourne. Our first customer came on the very first day we launched and was a total stranger. I have no idea how that happened but I still have a photo of her package.
So our landlord went terrible and we quickly moved our 7 month pregnant family and garden (I dug up every plant before my gardens got sodded over) to some new digs. The business started, Rebecca was born, I answered piles of emails, & life as we know it began.
Now fast forward to a weekend visit in “the county“. Long story short; We decide to buy a barn and now we’re really doing it. Buying a barn along with 13+acres and some giant buildings I can barely open the doors to. We’ve been growing there for a few years and it’s working, it’s all coming together. Although I wouldn’t have guessed when Ryan and I first met in Sculpture Class at OCAD at the ripe ages of 18 & 19 that we would end up farming, I have to say it’s the best bad idea I’ve ever had.
In the last 5 years, we have hand folded about 100,000 seed packs. No really.
Now here’s you chance to win 24 packs of some of the last lovingly folded packs ($90+value).
To celebrate our 10,000th etsy sale it’s important to me to pay it forward and share the small business love. Please swing by these 5 Canadian etsy shops and click on the heart near the top right hand corner to favourite them. Earn extra entries for voting for our “small business big wish” and by sharing your favourite etsy shop in the comments for an extra entry. If you’ve never purchased anything on etsy use this link to receive $5 off your first purchase: http://etsy.me/1iw19IN