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Favourite's Fall Giveaway!


Hello Intrepid Reader's!
It is the middle of October and I am super psyched to announce my first giveaway of 2018!
I wanted to do something that was simple, small, and that would be fun for me; so this is a mini Favourite's Fall Giveaway!
If you know anything about me, I love all things fall, tea, hot cocoa, and tasty!
So, I felt it was high time I shared some of all that with you.
Blogging is kind of a lonely world at times, you post all these things, tell personal stories, share recipes, experiences, hope people read them and likey, and then you forget about it and move onto the next tale.
It can seem a bit cold and egocentric, when that feeling creeps up, I prefer to turn that eew feeling into an ahhh moment, for others.
A great way to spread some warmth is by sharing the things that bring a smile to my face and have other's enjoy something new.
I have chosen hot beverages as a happy medium for spreading fall joy!

Before I begin, I am stating this for the record, NO, I have not received any money what so ever, zero endorsements, nor have I been approached, asked, offered anything, blah blah blah, for any of the products I am including in this giveaway.
This is all out of my own pocket, also, I have no issue with endorsements, but some people get a bit snarky about them when it comes to promoting something on a platform.
Anywhoodles, the truth is, I just like em' and want to give so another can appreciate.
I  worked as a manager at a tea shop called Kibou tea, a few years ago, and really fell back in love with tea thanks to their high quality products. The shop is here in Quebec,  with a few locations sprinkled about in the region, and there is also an on-line boutique. Link provided below if you want to know more or are too impatient to wait and see who wins, and want to buy some tea beforehand. Just be advised that the site is in French.
Pour vrai?
Back to giveaway, so here are some pics of what is coming your way, should you be the lucky winner.

This first tea is called Canneberge D'automne aka Fall Cranberry, and she's a lovely gal. She is light, almost like a Darjeeling with sweet notes of cranberry. I adore this one in the early morning with honey and oat milk, it starts those cool fall days out nicely.
Then there's this amaze bombs Chai Cochin Nasala.
Side bar, I had to go look up the proper name on the bag because I had written chai nochin casala, and it just didn't feel right. True story of my being a forgetful ass. Back to tea love.
I kid you not, this is one of the best freaking chai tea's I have ever had!
Yes, it really is.
We used to have tastings at the tea shop, I made this one with almond milk, sweetened it with a bit of maple syrup, and served it hot or cold. Either way it was always a big hit, with people inevitably buying some, and asking for the recipe.
I think the reason it is so good, is, unlike some chai tea that I have had, which can be overpowering, too bitter, or the spices make it taste a bit off, this tea is gentle with a robust flavour of sweet spices that mellows when made correctly. Fear not, the lucky winner will get the recipe for my chai drink too!

I am also including this delectable alternative to caffeine for those of you wanting something healthy and tasty. This caramel Rooibos, which is an African red-bush tea, has a myriad of great health properties, including helping with digestion, and is herbalicious! Tea and caramel, yum, fo sho!!!

They come in these perfect, sealed, flavour preserving pouches, that look like this:
There's more though!
Yes, there is because what is fall without hot cocoa?  The Bien confit Gluten-free cocoa is serious cocoa schtuff! I had people tripping out over this, homemade, rich, chocolatey goodness. 
When you make it, you can have a nice cosy set-up, like this book and blankey down below.
To make it extra special, you can choose to have your cocoa regular or vegan!
Yes sweet vegans, I keep a spot for you, always...
I know, it's pretty amaze bombs to hear that all this could be yours.
Better than a million dollar mansion you say?
Why yes, I agree, it is.
For what is a mansion without a hot cup of love? An empty sad house. Wah wah waaaaaaah...
But seriously, this could be you...
So, rules. Why are there so many rules all the time? And why is the rum always gone?

So, here goes, you can enter one of two ways:

1) Subscribe to the blog, via that easy, enter your email button.

2) Follow on instagram.

3) Leave a comment on the blog or on the insta feed on any of the 2018 fall giveaway pictures.

The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere, as long as you have an addy to have your gifts sent to.
You have until October 31st, 2018 to enter.
There are no limits to the amount of entries, you can enter more than once by liking the favourite's fall giveaway pics on Instagram and adding a comment.
The winner will be announced Friday, November 9th.
Best of luck to one and all, and God bless!

Gluten-free Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Hello sweet pea's, it's tasty Tuesday!

Alright, let me begin by saying that I freaking abhore gluten-free baking!
I know, I know, this is a blog dedicated to gluten-free, and it has a bunch of baking recipes; how can you possibly hate it you ask?
Well, I am speaking as an ex-Chef and ex-Pastry Chef, who, once upon a time, was able to work with gluten filled everything, without a care in the world. Let me tell you, that ish was waaaaaaaaay more stable, reliable, less fussy, actually a joy to work with, and bien moins cher (much less expensive-if I bust out the French, you know I am vexed.)
I remember first having to go gluten-free many years ago, it was a devestating blow. How does an unhappy Chef cope? By heading to the kitchen of course!

I made 7 attempts at cupcakes, tried to apply the numerous Chefie tricks I learned in professional kitchens, and even went back to culinary school days/cookbooks for inspo.
All of it was crappola, and I am not being modest.
It sucked to the suckieth of suckable suckie degrees!
Finally, I gave up using what I knew and tried a completely different tack, I went and bought a specialty cake mix from a local dude who knew what he was doing and had a tasty end product which people raved about.
I tried to never look back, but every now and then the baker in me insisted I try to take another crack at it.
It always went horribly wrong, oh, so, wrong...
To this day, I still suck at making my own mixes for cakes. I don't feel any way about this as I seriously do not have the health, finances, or patience required to keep going at it.
This may seem rather odd, and surprising to hear, you may think I should relish the challenge, but it is my shame to claim and I am fine with it.
Just like I cannot stand sharpening my own knives, turns out I am not alone, found out a few years back that a raw food Chef from New York felt the same way about knife sharpening and she always sent them out to have done. Shocking!
We are a so wrong and such a disgrace to our noble profession, totes cool with it.

The reason I bring all this up is because this mutha of a pumpkin spice loaf was my freaking Mount Everest, for the past month!
Yes, a month! I tried to make this recipe 4 times, on my weekends off! 4 freaking times!!!
Pardon my cussing, but the biatch wouldn't bake all the way through, no matter what I did.
See for yourself:

The last one was by far the worst, gummy goo mess; it was so bad I started singing a childhood television show theme song just to not start crying.
"Gummy bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere, high adventure that's beyond compare, they are the gummy bears."
It was seriously starting to feel pretty personal, and dreadful thoughts of Pinterest fails flooded my mind, kinda like this:

After the 4th try, I was discouraged, and I almost gave up. What was most vexatious was that it tasted boomtastic, the nasty mofo just would not cooperate in the oven! I went in my room to sulk and lick my pumpkin loaf mistake wounds.

So dramatic Kiki. My uncle always did call me his little Greta Garbo, I rather like that, she was quite strong of character.

Anywhoodles, we get back to the dastardly deed of making pumpkin loaf for the fall.
Something true and I think a bit cool about me, is that if I really put my mind to something, like, super duper decided, then tenacity takes over and pushes me through.

Yeah, so I know you're gonna think back on that cake mix thang I stated a few paragraphs back. Shhh, I cannot hear a word you say, as I am deliberately shoving my fingers in my ears while munching on pumpkin spiced noms.
I am happy to post that this pumpkin spice loaf, the 5th try, second recipe I baked on the same day, actually worked! Yipeeeeeee!
I went with my old Bob's Redmill AP flour, lowered the temperature, gave it plenty of extra time in the oven, and added my little light & fluff inducing vinegar baking soda mix, just at the end, before turning the batter into the loaf pans. It made for a wonderfully light, fluffy, and yum-scrum, pumpkin spice loaf!
I think making this vegan, refined sugar free, and using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, made this batter heavy, the first attempts. None of it was aided by the pumpkin, which is another heavy ingredient. I gotta say, after much unbecoming cussing, trial and error, a pretty and loverly pumpkin spice loaf was my happy reward. Now you can try your hand at baking it too!
As always, pics follow below to help you along.
Makes 2 loaves

1 Cup Bob's Redmill A.P flour mix
1 Cup Brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp Pink sea salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin spice mix
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp Molasses
1 Cup Pumpkin puree (canned, not pie mix)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cup Buttermilked almond milk. (1 1/2 Cup almond milk mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon juice)
Flax eggs (3 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 1/3 Cup water)
1 tsp Baking soda mixed with 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (Only goes in after all ingredients are mixed in the bowl)
Coconut sugar for sprinkling on top (about 2 Tbsp each loaf)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Grease two loaf pans with coconut oil, or vegan margarine, or baking spray.

-In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
-In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients, EXCEPT the 1 tsp baking soda and cider vinegar, keep until the end!
-Mix dry with wet, EXCEPT the 1 tsp baking soda and cider vinegar, keep until the end! Whisk until well incorporated.
-Now mix the baking soda and vinegar, quickly, then quickly pour into batter and stir in quickly.
-Pour into 2 prepared loaf pans
-Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
-Turn off oven, leave in for 20 mins more. This is very important to make sure it cooks all the way through. Even if the skewer for testing comes out clean when the oven was on, it needs the extra time to "bake", in the off oven.
-Remove from oven, let cool in pans for 20 mins, remove to rack and allow to cool completely before eating*.
*Bob's Redmill ap flour can be a bit beanie, so, I prefer to eat this loaf the following day but my tastebuds are more sensitive. Other's tried it the same day and had no complaints, but there were lots of crumbs on their shirts as they scarfed down rather quickly. Guess it was pretty darn good!

Only use canned pumpkin puree, no touchie pumpkin pie mix in a can!

I used a whisk to slowly incorporate the ingredients, then I added the "buttermilk"

I adore sprinkling coconut sugar on top of my loaf breads, it gives a beautiful extra sumthin' sumthin', to these tasty snacks.

I hope you enjoy my expensive, frustrating and tasty labour of love. Let me know how this turned out for you, in the comments section below.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki

When to Slow Down (thanks toxic mold)

Good morning,

Today was a day that I had all kinds of marvelous things planned out for moi. Turns out, my body and need for continued healing had other plans . Sigh...
I didn't choose the mold recovery life, it chose me...
 My body is saying to me today:
Self-care can be a struggle, particularly if you have the kind of personality where you have always been used to doing, pushing, accomplishing, getting stuff done.

I was an athlete for many years as a youngin'; then I grew and as an adult I loved to workout hard, keep in top shape, eat right, and just live a healthy lifestyle. I also pushed a lot with work, as a Chef, your body suffers for your culinary art. It's part of the job but I truly believe that there were some important lessons that were overlooked in culinary school, in any school I attended, heck, even in the school of life.
We need to start teaching and valuing the need for rest, recovery, and respecting the cries from our bodies; internal and external.

One thing toxic black mold exposure has taught me is that I need to appreciate and adhere to the limitations that may be placed on me at any moment.

Some days are great one's, and some are just not. There's so much that this experience with mycotoxin toxicity has effected. It has impacted my health, life, relationships, and spirituality.
That's because mold is insidious, usually invisible, mimics other illnesses, and has layers of symptoms we are all still learning about.

I often forget, believe it or not, that I was exposed to toxic black mold for years, and that being out of it is still only 5 months old, or should I say young?  So, I often get the feeling of being like the pic down below but because I look fine on the outside, and people who see me have zero clue, I push, to my detriment. Invisible illness is a struggle you cannot comprehend until you live it, and I would not wish it on anyone.

One of the things I struggle with is not being able to get out to church. I am so grateful to have access to apps and a myriad of resources on-line, that have made connecting to God possible. Through the worst of my illness, I could not leave the house for extended periods of time or on bad days, not at all. I would lie to my friend's and loved one's, claiming I had "things" to do around the house but the truth was, I was so sick, so weakened, itching and rashed out all over, in so much pain, swelling, sore to my muscles and bones, coping with the depressive effects, as well as tremendous nausea that made eating and drinking a chore I had learned to despise.
A Chef who despises eating?!?
Yes, it was that bad.
There were days I just didn't want to keep on living. As my health deteriorated, I lost my joy, my desire, and zest for life. I knew a sense of shame that I  had never experienced before, I felt a burden to everyone, and worst of all, I believed I had become worthless to life.
For, if I could not contribute, if I could not self-actualize, if I could not work, pay my way, give back to those whom I loved, give back to the community, do what God had placed me here, then I was failing and I had no right to keep living.

It turns out that mycotoxin poisoning has seriously dangerous impact on cognitive function, particularly mood, learning, retention, clarity, and comprehension. I kid you not, when directly in the environment, I felt a dark cloud of terror, sadness, anger, frustration, and oppression.
I had horrid brain fog and tremendous difficulty expressing the most simple things.

This literally lifted within the first month of our move to the new home; for the first time in years, I started to feel like my old, happy-go-lucky, silly, smiling, geeky, quirky, light-hearted, positive, normal self.
No, it wasn't an overnight improvement but it was a marked one. My friend's and family have remarked on it repeatedly, and confessed that they were seriously concerned for my well-being, before we finally figured it all out.

Thanks be to God and Jesus for answeing prayers!
So, although today was scheduled as  a re-visit to a new church I discovered, it turns out that I can spend time with Jesus in my jammies, and that's okay.
No, it is seriously okay Kiki!
That means letting go of guilt, telling the push-push attitude to hush, and listening to God moving in my life.
Also, respecting doctor's orders.

I  am trying to find a new place to worship but for now, I am listening to the most wonderful series from Chip Ingram's, Living on the Edge ministry app. Here's a screenshot:

I cannot recommend it enough, particularly if you are struggling with change, new situations or people, seeking solace amidst the turmoil, or seeking new pathways for your life. It is inspiring and truly peaceful in the life affirming messages that Chip Ingrim delivers.
If you don't have the app, look for it on apple or Google play. It is free and super easy to use.
Also, it is portable, which means you can listen to this bible teaching ministry on the go;  wherever you may be, whenever you have need. Something that I appreciate about this ministry, is the approach to God, Jesus, and teaching the word.
It is calm, positive, provides a way to connect in a deeply profound manner that resonates, minus the mumbo jumbo. I love how close I feel to Jesus, how uplifting, and empowering these messages are. If you are interested in the actual site you can click here:
I am not pushing this or paid in any way to sponser this organization. I am spreading the good news through what has had such an important, positive, and sustaining impact on my life, during some very difficult times.

I am going to rest, probably do some crochet, or read a good book, then listen to another sermon from the above mentioned series. I pray you are blessed with love, kindness, and the enduring peace of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki