Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. I hope you have a holiday surrounded with love, blessings and happiness.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, We Are Wrapping You In Virtual Arms of Love

I, like so many of you, have shed many tears over the last few days. There are no words to describe all the feelings I had as I learned of the horrors at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connnecticut on Friday. December 14, 2012 will always be remembered. The children. Teachers. Parents. Lost to a tragedy we will never be able to wrap our minds around.

Both of my girls are in elementary school. The youngest is the same age of many of those precious children who were lost to the world forever. All tragedies hit you hard, but as a parent, they hit you harder. This loss in Newtown affected me in a way I can't really describe. Minutes after learning what had happened, I wrote this to those in my close social media circle: "Tears flowing for the parents, children and teachers in Connecticut. I can't find any other words. Praying."

I wanted desperately to pick my girls up from school so I could just hold them. A couple of hours later, I wrote this: "I just can't stop crying. Nothing else matters but my family. Everything else is so trivial. Baking is the last thing I feel like doing and I desperately need a nap, but I'm making a snack through tears for my girls to have after school and I'm never letting them go. To hell with everything else."

This is how I still feel. I reluctantly dropped my girls off at school this morning and gave them an extra big, long squeeze. As they were getting ready for school and playing around and not doing what they were supposed to be doing, I began to get frustrated as usual but reminded myself, "I'd rather have this." I'm so thankful and blessed to have them waking up in their beds each morning. We don't know what each day holds and how long we have with those we love. We need to make the most of it.

To Newtown: I am praying for you. We are praying for you. When you can't find the strength, the heart, the will to pray, please know that we are saying prayers for you. We are wrapping you in virtual arms of love, wrapping you in our thoughts and prayers, holding space for you. You ARE NOT just another news item to us as we go about our day and you live in this tragedy, wondering how life can go on. We are there with you. We are weeping with you. We are praying that one day you will feel peace.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins and a Giveaway!

Are you enjoying your holiday season so far? Lots of preparations under way? I'll be honest that I haven't been able to do too much baking yet, but I plan to get some things baked this weekend.

I think I might make these muffins again. They are that good, and work perfectly for a fall or winter treat or gift for someone special. This muffin recipe comes straight out of "Fast and Simple Gluten-Free: 30 Minutes or Less to Fresh and Classic Favorites" - the recently-released cookbook written by Gretchen Brown of kumquat blog. I'm giving away a copy of this book at the bottom of this post, so don't forget to enter for your chance to win!

I have gotten to "know" Gretchen a little through the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally (look forward to the day when I can meet so many of these bloggers in person!) and I love her blog. Naturally I was thrilled when she asked  about interest in reviewing her cookbook.

Gretchen provided me with a copy of this book to review and give away and I can't be anything but honest with you when I tell you that this is my new favorite all-purpose and more gluten-free cookbook. In fact, I've used this book so much before the review that some of the pages got dirty, so I'm keeping this copy and providing a new copy for the giveaway.

This book is simply amazing, and not just for "gluten-free." Anyone would love this book. Unlike other "fast" cookbooks I have intended to give you recipes in 30 minutes or less and you end up spending more than hour on them, this book truly delivers recipes that take 30 minutes or less. The recipes range from beverages to entrees, sides to desserts and more. She has a few recipes in the back that take a little more time, and states so. They are worth it, though, and don't take too much time. These muffins are one of those recipes.

I have already made several of the recipes in this book (including entrees), and my family and I have loved every one of them. You won't be disappointed to receive this book as a holiday gift for yourself or to give to someone else. Gretchen fills the pages with tips and gorgeous photos. I've always loved her food photos. She is also a registered dietitian, so she doesn't steer you wrong with ingredients.

You'll want to enter yourself for a chance to win at the bottom.

Pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins
From pg. 160 Fast and Simple Gluten-Free: 30 Minutes or Less to Fresh and Classic Favorites

1 1/2 (210 grams) Kumquat's Gluten-Free All Pupose Flour Blend (see link or page 15 of book) or gluten-free all-purpose flour (*Caneel's note: something like Pamela's baking mix would work here)
1 teaspoon baking powder (*Caneel's note: Cut back on all leavening agents if you are using a blend that already contains them)
1 teaspoon baking soda (*see note above)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (*see note above, some blends already contain salt)
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil (*Caneel's note: I used extra light olive oil)
1 cup (225 g) packed brown sugar (*Caneel's note: I used dark brown)
1 cup (245 g) canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (175 g) miniature chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees Celsius, or gas mark 6).

Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin pan. Bake for 21 minutes and then cool on a rack.


The giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Marci who is the winner!

Now, here's how to enter for a chance to win this fabulous cookbook:

This giveaway is for one copy of  "Fast and Simple Gluten-Free: 30 Minutes or Less to Fresh and Classic Favorites" and the entry period begins today, December 13, 2012 and will end on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. CST. The winner will be picked through the Random Sequence Generator on 

***My apologies, but this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States.***

You are eligible for up to seven entries in this giveaway. To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what type of recipe you'd be most excited to make out of this cookbook (only one comment per person will be counted this way, and this counts as one entry).

Additional entries may be earned by leaving a comment EACH TIME you do one of the following (you get an entry for each one only if you leave a comment for each):

2. "Like" Mama Me Gluten Free on Facebook (if you already "like" the blog on Facebook, that also counts as an entry) and leave a comment here telling me you've done this.

3. Follow @MamaMeGF on Twitter (if you already follow, that counts as an entry), then leave a comment here telling me you've done this.

4. Share this giveaway on Facebook with a link to this post, and leave a comment here telling me you've done this.

5. Share this giveaway on Twitter: "I want to win "Fast & Simple gluten-free" cookbook @MamaMeGF! " and then leave a comment here telling me you've done this.

6. Subscribe to Mama Me Gluten Free RSS feed, then leave a comment here telling me you've done this. (If you already subscribe, then that counts too - just leave a comment letting me know!)

7. "Like" Gretchen's kumquat blog on facebook and then leave a comment here telling me you've done this. 

You must leave a comment on this post for each of things if you want an entry for each one. Only one comment per item per person will be counted. In other words, if you comment more than one time saying you "like" Mama Me on facebook, only one of those comments will be counted, etc. On the other hand, if you only leave one comment saying you did all of these things, you will only get one entry rather than seven.
********Be sure to leave a contact email if you are posting anonymously or don't have a way to contact you listed in your profile!

Good luck! 

*In the interest of full disclosure, Gretchen Brown had a copy of this book provided to me for review. Mama Me Gluten Free is purchasing a copy for the giveaway. I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinions of this book are entirely my own.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gluten-Free Ratio Rally Does Focaccia Bread

Logo designed by Anile Prakash

I missed out on the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally this month - the holidays had begun and it was already December and wait - I didn't do the focaccia challenge! I'm going to have to give it a try, though, because I really love focaccia bread - especially for sandwiches!

In the meantime, please head over to the host this month - Heather from Discovering the Extraordinary - and see her incredible focaccia with rosemary and garlic. Hello, yum! And don't forget to check out the other delicious breads baked up for you by the other participants this month.

If you are curious about the rally, you can check out my rally page here, where I link up to all of my previous rally posts and recipes, as well as the ones I have missed. You can also find Shauna's first post introducing the rally and what it's all about.

Here are the other delicious recipes this month:
Carol | Goodness Gluten Free made Gluten Free Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia
Morri | Meals with Morri made Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia Bread
mary fran | frannycakes made Gluten Free Sage Foccacia
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) made Focaccia Bread
Silvana | Silvana’s Kitchen made Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Focaccia

I hope you're all having a great start to your holidays so far!


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