Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cinnamon quick bread

Best bread ever? Quite possibly true.

I thought that this would be just another ordinary loaf of sweet bread, like banana bread or zucchini bread (which are good, but normal). But after my first taste, straight out of the oven, I was in love with this cinnamon goodness.

For those of you who would like to make this, but are not gluten-intolerant, and don't have all the special flours, you could try substituting all the flour substances (and leave out xantham/guar gum) for an all-purpose flour. I haven't tried this, so don't know how it would turn out, but it's worth the experiment. Let me know if anyone tries making this with normal flour. I'd love to know if it worked.

Gluten-free Cinnamon quick bread (All credit goes to Lauren of Celiac Teen- her recipe can be found here)
1 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup millet flour (2.80 oz)
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (1.80 oz)
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour (1.55 oz)
6 tbsp brown rice flour (2.45 oz)
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp oil
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Place the lemon juice in the milk and let sit for about ten minutes, while getting everything else ready.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a second bowl whisk together oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the liquids and lemon milk mixture into the dry ingredients.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Claire's Tips:
- I wanted my bread to come out all pretty, so I swirled some cinnamon/sugar/honey into my loaf like this, using a knife:

- Also, Lauren of Celiac Teen recommends using this bread for french toast. That sounds amazing, though I have not tried it yet. To find her recipe for french toast, go to her post


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY Glass "Sippy Cup"

DIY= Do It Yourself

That's always fun! I've always loved DIY projects. To make something old into something new excites me. To make one thing into something totally different gives me joy. To be creative is fun! 

A few weeks ago, I came across this little DIY project and filed it away in my memory. I finally got around to it today (and it took only a couple of minutes!). 

Summer is just around the corner, and the temperatures are rising every day. It's important to give our bodies what they need to stay healthy and active: water. For most people (and I admit, for me too sometimes!) it's hard to get our 8-10 cups of water in a day. So, why not make drinking water more fun? Sippy cups don't only have to be for little kids, after all! 

DIY Glass Sippy Cup

You will need:
- a clean glass jar (a jam jar works, or you could buy a new one) including the lid
- a straw
- a screwdriver (or other small sharp-ish round object)
- a hammer
- scissors
- a lemon wedge and ice (optional)

Instructions (pretty easy, but I'll explain it in detail, just in case):
1. Unscrew the lid of your glass jar and place on a hard sturdy surface that won't dent if you hit it accidentally (no, that didn't happen to me! But that's something that would happen to me!)
2. Take your screwdriver or other small sharp round object and poke the end into the middle of the lid
3. Tap the screwdriver with the hammer until it pierces the lid all the way through, forming a small hole (it should be big enough for a straw to fit through)
4. Take your straw and cut off the end, so that it sticks out at the right height for you to drink at
5. Fill your jar with water, ice and a squeeze of lemon, then screw your lid back on tightly 
6. Insert your straw into the hole of the lid and voila! You've got yourself a fun cup to drink out of! 

Now try to stay hydrated and have a wonderful spring-y day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Changes and brothers

Well, the time has come...I can officially move out of my wintery blog, and into my summery blog! I hope you like the new changes. Change is good, isn't it? I would way rather post on a blog that made me think of the lovely springy/summery outing with my brothers, than one that reminds me of cold winter.

This afternoon Caleb and Tyler asked me if I wanted to join them for a photography outing. Oh, how I love those! We always have so much fun together. We find joy in discovering new places, exploring the countryside, and being creative. I am so thankful for my brothers who have taught me to enjoy these moments and to find beauty in small things.

(All photos courtesy of Tyler Patty)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chile corn chowder

This recipe goes to you my dear friend Maya K.! Ever since I made it for her once, she's been asking for the recipe, and I keep on forgetting to give it to her. But now I will finally share it!

I absolutely love this soup. It's all you could want from corn chowder. Warm and cozy on a cold winter day, refreshing on a balmy spring evening. It goes really well with toasted bread, or rolls (like our Shar brand of gluten-free ciabatta...would recommend those!), or a simple salad. The spices are perfect.

All credit for this soup recipe goes to Jamie Oliver. He has a great iPhone app of a whole bunch of recipes, and that's where I got this one. For more fun recipes, you can purchase that app too!

  Tip: Be sure to read through ALL of the instructions before making this. It could be a little confusing in the middle of your cooking if you don't know what's coming. 

Serves: 4
400 g frozen sweet corn
1 medium potato
1.2 L vegetable broth
1 large onion
2 sticks celery
2 medium fresh chiles
1 pat butter
1 small bunch fresh thyme (make sure it's fresh!)
6 scallions or shallots *See "Claire's Tips"
Optional: Cheddar cheese (of course, I leave this out- I'm lactose-intolerant!), Sour cream
Olive Oil
Sea salt

1. Fill a medium pan with the vegetable broth and bring to a gentle simmer over a medium heat.
2. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Trim and roughly chop the sticks of celery. Halve 1 of your chiles lengthways (deseed it if you don't like things to spicy), then finely chop it.
3. Put a large deep pan on low to medium heat and add the pat of butter and a lug of olive oil. Meanwhile...
4. Pick the thyme leaves and discard the stalks. Add the leaves to the pan of broth.
5. Add all the chopped veggies to the large pan with a splash of water. Stir then cover with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until the vegetable start to soften. Meanwhile...
6. Peel the potato then roughly grate it onto your board. Add to the pan of simmering broth.
7. Add the corn the the large pan of vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Carefully pour the broth and potato into the pan and bring everything to the boil.
8. Simmer for 5 minutes then take the pan off the heat. While simmering, trim and finely slice your scallions and finely slice the remaining chile. Grate the cheddar.
9. Pulse the chowder a few times with the hand blender so it's still quite rustic and chunky.
10. Taste and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper then cover with a lid.
11, Spoon a dollop of sour cream over each bowl then sprinkle the grated Cheddar cheese, sliced scallion and chile. Gorgeous!

Claire's Tips:
- Be extremely careful when cutting your chile pepper. DO NOT touch your nose, mouth, and worst of all, eyes while cutting a chile pepper. I learned that the hard way. My eyes started burning so badly that dinner was half an hour late, because I couldn't stop the watering. I finally had to go stick my head in the snow (it was still winter) to numb my face, and after that I was ok! Luckily, Hayley was over that night, so we had quite a funny time of figuring out how to get my eyes to stop burning. I would recommend using rubber gloves when cutting chile pepper though!
- I made another mistake once while making this soup, and it actually turned out to be really good! I confused scallions with shallots and also didn't read the instructions thoroughly, so didn't know that the scallions/shallots were just a garnish. I put in an extra three or four little shallots (sweet little brown onions) in with the vegetable mix, and it was delicious! Hey, you never know when a mistake will be a success!
- Make lots of this soup!! It makes great leftovers, plus, from experience, people always want seconds. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

JV Spring Conference 2011

I don't have any pictures to share from JV confernce, but I do have one little thought to share.
Picture courtesy of 
The theme for the adults at this year's annual JV conference was "Faith That Amazes". The program for the kids was preparing for a choir/variety show that we would perform on Sunday for the parents (adults). I never expected that the adults' theme would actually play out in the kids program too, but it did. And it amazed me.

Korban and Tanya came from Indiana to lead the kid's program this year. We hardly knew them before Conference, but I felt so loved by them this week. They didn't just come to teach songs, but to serve. They sure did serve me. They exhibited faith in a way that I would never have imagined.

They taught me that whatever I do, I can do it for the Lord; do it to His glory.

Simple, I know. But it's more than just words. It's my life.

As I go back to a normal schedule this week, I don't want to forget this simple truth that I learned from Korban and Tanya's example. God is above everything. He is in everything. And I am not alone. His plans are perfect, and He leads me each step of the way. Remind us again Lord, that You are in control.

"So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just like a fairytale

The light is fading.

The birds are singing.

A warm breeze is blowing.

Oh, how I love Spring evenings! What better time to go for a walk than this?

Take me with you?
Bird of paradise bud
There's no place like it
Shafts of light
Whisper of the leaves
Gateway to Pavlina
Going someplace?
Two worlds collide
Gone climbing.
Strawberries to be
New crop
Closing the day

Monday, May 9, 2011


I came across this picture from one of my favorite DeviantArt artists today. DeviantArt is a website where any and all artists can share their art online. I love to see people's creativity and their amazing skills! This artist in particular gives me so much joy because of the stories behind each of her pictures.

This picture, though simple, speaks a thousand words to me. It reminds me to enjoy the details in life. It makes me think of releasing all the cares of this world and living freely, focusing on something Bigger.

May you experience this kind of joy today as you go through your day!

If you want to see more art like this, go to:

All credit for this art goes to Nidhi, the artist! She is amazing!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I just got home from an amazing weekend yesterday. It's hard for me to even explain in words all that God did at our school's student-led retreat. But let me just tell you...God is amazing. God is true. God is good.

More than 30 students joined us up at the hotel (Hotel KAM- a Christian hotel that is one of JV's training centers here in Czech) for three days of baseball, workshops, games, seminars and discussion groups. My dad spoke for the seminars and clearly presented the Gospel to all of these BMA students. God was clearly present at Catch-it, and I think that people could feel it.

I had the pleasure of leading a discussion group for some of the girls, along with being the photographer for the weekend (or one of them). I'm so glad I got to be at Catch-it.

Yep, that's my dad in the middle there. He was in the drama workshop one afternoon and had a lot of fun!