Tuesday, 23 April 2013

My Gluten-Free Favorites!

Last year, after having suffered for many years with digestive issues, I finally decided to give up gluten and all of the tasty foods that come with it! This was a major life decision for me and one which I wasn’t really sure I could handle. I’m a French Canadian girl and I LOVE my bread! I used to buy a baguette and a stick of butter and just eat that for lunch.. well, those days are over.

I’ve been happily gluten-free for almost a year now. It is something that has just become a part of my everyday life. I don’t miss eating gluten based foods, I don’t crave them and I definitely do not miss the painful side effects or the extra 10lbs I would carry around because of them.

Going gluten-free is by far, one of the biggest changes you can make to your diet. It really does remove so many foods that you so easily grab for and never think about - bread, cereal, pasta, muffins, cookies, chips, crackers… oh the list goes on! If you’re thinking about going gluten-free, don’t let this list scare you. I still eat bread, cereal, pasta, muffins, cookies, chips and crackers… they are just gluten-free!

Here are some of my ‘can’t live without’ gluten-free options.

1. Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles: On a Saturday morning, who doesn’t love waking up late and having some waffles with fresh fruit and syrup! I absolutely love these waffles – my favorite is blueberry but my boyfriend prefers their cinnamon flavour. You can’t go wrong with these and I promise that you’ll never know that they are gluten-free!

2. Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread: I have to admit that it has been hard to find a gluten-free bread that tasted good. Well look no further! Rudi’s bread is so yummy – I especially love their multi-grain and cinnamon raisin loaves. You can find them in the freezer aisle!
3. Udi’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust: One thing that most of us can’t live without is pizza! Each package of yummy Udi’s gluten-free pizza come with 2 personal sized pizza crusts. Just add whatever toppings you want, pop it in the oven and enjoy!

4. Kind Bars: I cannot live without these bars! I always carry one in my purse whenever I leave the house and it has saved me during many luncheons and dinners when there were no gluten-free options for me to eat L They come in amazing flavors and are also dairy and soy free. My favorite is the dark chocolate and cherry (try it!!)
5. Wheat Free Only Oats: I love making homemade granola’s and cereals and I can’t do that without my wheat-free oats from Only Oats. I add them to my baking and even my smoothies. You can find them at bulk barn!

6. Nature’s Path Cereal: I am a cereal addict – I can’t start my morning without it and it is one of my favorite snacks. Nature’s Path makes delicious cereal’s in great flavours!
7. Crunchmaster’s Crackers: I am currently obsessed with these crackers! I love to eat their roasted garlic crackers with some salsa – so good! They would also be great with some cheese or in a soup.

Every day, there are new and amazingly tasty gluten-free options coming out. I’m not saying that going gluten-free is easy, but at least you have a lot of good foods to choose from and there really isn’t a whole lot that you can’t eat – you just have to find the gluten-free option.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Gift Ideas for Mom

Mother’s Day is fast approaching! This wonderful day, where we honour and lavish our mothers with gifts and thanks is one which should come more than once a year! I find it easy to gush over my mom and tell her how amazing she is, but finding a gift… now that’s the hard part. My mom is just plain hard to shop for!

I do miss the days when a macaroni glued, crayon filled card or a tissue paper bouquet of flowers would bring a huge smile to my mom’s face. Not that she wouldn’t still love one of my unique creations, but now that I’m all grown up, I love taking the time to thank my mom for always being so amazing. Let me tell you a little bit about my mom – Lynn.

My mom is my best friend – someone that I can talk to about anything. She is so supportive and patient. She cares – at times too much –but it is always coming from a good place. She sacrificed so much for my sister and I and has never once made us feel as though we weren’t perfect and everything she dreamed we would be. She is silly, beautiful and kind. I’m blessed to call her my mom.

Our mom’s deserve the best and so I thought I would compile a list of unique and thoughtful gift ideas that you can give your mom this Mother’s Day.
1. Soaps: Our mom’s do so much for us and it’s important for them to take some time to pamper themselves. A lovely set of soaps is a great gift. What’s great is that you can get them in so many different shapes and scents – lavender, lemon, and even coffee! These great soaps from seventhtreesoaps not only smell lovely but are handmade and vegan.

2. Gardening Supplies: If your mom loves to garden and has a green thumb – like mine does – then she’ll love a little something to make her garden beautiful. Spring is here and she is probably getting ready to head out and start planting. This pretty gardening apron from Apseed would be the perfect gift!

3. Coffee Cozy: Mom’s favorite thing might be waking up to her favorite cup of coffee or tea. This adorable cozy by Natalya’s Studio will help to keep her hands warm as she enjoys her favorite cup.

4. iPhone Case: Maybe mom is really into technology and loves to send you texts or replies to your Facebook posts (oh dear…). She will love this adorable iPhone case from misala. Help her look stylish while keeping in touch with you no matter where she is.

5. Scarves: What mom wouldn’t love a beautiful scarf to wrap around them on a lovely spring day or when dressing up for a lovely night out on the town. I personally adore scarves – they are my favorite gift to receive and to give to others. Scarves can be light and silky or thick and made of wool. Mom will look beautiful in this gorgeous scarf from latenightdrawing.

6. Recipe Cards: If mom loves to cook, she would love this beautiful recipe box and matching recipe cards from 1canoe2. You can take this opportunity to ask her to teach you how to make one of her favorite dishes. I’m always trying to get as much information from my mom as I can –  for some reason, things always taste better when she makes it! 

Happy Mothers Day!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Gluten & Dairy Free Quiche

One of my hands down favorite foods to make is quiche. I’m a French Canadian girl and have always loved making a traditional Quiche Lorraine for a Sunday brunch or really, anytime! Being gluten-free has really got in the way of me enjoying this egg filled, buttery crusted delight – until now.

Since going gluten-free, I’ve been scouring the grocery stores looking for gluten-free crusts. I had heard that they existed and had even seen the labels in the grocery stores for the product, but the shelves were always empty. Now you might be saying to yourself, “silly girl, she could just make herself a homemade gluten-free crust instead of buying the frozen version from the stores”. Yes – I could do that, but quite honestly, baking – especially with dough – is not something I’m good at or enjoy. So, moving on…
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went out to Whole Foods to get our groceries for the week. We were walking down the frozen food aisle when I saw it… gluten-free pie crust. I literally shrieked with joy and immediately grabbed a package and exclaimed that I was making quiche for dinner the next day.

So tonight, I decided to make a broccoli and spinach quiche with onions and prosciutto.
Pie shells from Molly B's - available at Whole Foods. Comes with two ready to bake pie shells.

Spinach & Broccoli Quiche
1 cup of fresh, spinach leaves
1 cup of broccoli florets, sliced
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup sliced prosciutto (optional)
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp sea salt
4 eggs
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup water

2 tbsp dijon mustard

Turn on your oven to 375C. Take out your pie crust from the freezer and place it in your favorite serving dish. I like to place the frozen crust in the oven for about 5 minutes while I’m prepping all of my other ingredients. This just helps to begin the cooking process and it won’t be frozen when you put the egg mixture inside of it.
Prepare your spinach leaves, broccoli florets, red onion and prosciutto (optional). The great thing about quiche is that you can really put whatever food combinations you want in them. Some of my other favorite recipes have ham or mushrooms in it. Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients I’m putting in for your own. If you’re not lactose intolerant like I am, feta cheese goes great in a quiche!

Added a few fresh spinach pieces on top
Ready for the oven!
Sprinkle a bit of olive oil in a pan and place your prepared items in a frying pan for 3 – 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside. In a separate bowl, add your eggs, almond milk and water. I use almond milk because I’m lactose intolerant. You can easily replace this with regular milk, lactose-free milk or soy milk if you’d prefer – same amount. Whip together and add pepper and sea salt. Add the friend ingredients into the egg mixture and mix together. If you were adding cheese, this would be the point to do so.

Before putting your mixture into the crust, I like to lather my crust in Dijon mustard. I take a pastry brush and just brush it over the entire center and sides of the crust. Once done that, pour in your egg mixture into the crust.

That’s it! Place it in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes. Everyone’s oven is different. When I make this at my moms, it usually only take about 35 minutes but when I make it at home, I end up having to leave it in for closer to 50 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and you can put your fork or a toothpick into the quiche to see if it’s ready. If your toothpick comes out wet, it isn’t ready.

Serve your quiche with a salad of your choice. My personal favorite is this strawberry salad with raspberry vinaigrette, goats cheese and candies almonds. To - Die - For! On a cold day, you could also pair it with a vegetable soup. Whatever you do, don't let anyone put ketchup on it... yikes!

Plated with my favorite strawberry and goats cheese salad
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Serve this at your next brunch, luncheon or family dinner. Remember you can add whatever ingredients you like - be creative! Happy gluten & dairy free eating my friends!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

My First Show!

On Saturday I had my first show with my vintage shop. It was a great day – I learned a lot and met some really nice people who shared my loved for vintage. The show was in St Catharines, Ontario - just south of Niagara Falls. My wonderful mother got up with me at the break of dawn and off we headed to the show! (of course after stopping for a much needed Starbucks coffee). We got there a little later than I had planned, so it felt a little rushed getting everything in and set up, but we made it just in time for the a very large crowd to rush in at 9am sharp!

I have to admit that I loved my display. I was really proud of how it turned out. I used a beautiful set of vintage creates as my backdrop and just filled them with all of my finds. This was really easy to set up and the crates drew a lot of attention - I would definitely use these again! And the crates made it easy to transport my items - I just filled them with stuff and transported them to the show.

My $3 frame
My booth setup

Last year I purchased a beautiful vintage frame for $3 at an estate sale and my amazing boyfriend went out and printed my sign for me. He placed it in the frame and I simply love it! I have to admit that it was a little too big for the space I had, but I just had to show it off.

The day went by fairly quickly and I had the chance to chat with so many friendly people. I can’t think of anything better than spending my entire day talking about vintage. Before we knew it, the clock struck 2pm and it was time to go.
......... Ugh, time to pack up.

My lessons learned

Since this was my first show with the shop, I really went in to it knowing that this would be a learning opportunity and something that would help me grow my shop and improve the quality of my future booths. Here are some of the things that I learned (just to name a few!)

1. I’d rather be overprepared then underprepared.
I definitely spent a bit too much time preparing – BUT I’m really glad that I did. It made setting up and getting ready less stressful because I already knew where everything needed to be placed. I had set up my display in my living room before packing up and took pictures. I even measured the space and taped it off so that I knew exactly how much room I would have on the day. When I arrived at the event, I just opened the photo and set up from there – so easy!
2. Ask questions!
Getting ready for any event – especially your first one – requires a lot of planning. It pays to think ahead and ask the host of the show any and all questions that you may have. I’m sure I drove the host crazy for this event, but I had a lot of questions and didn’t hesitate to ask them. If you aren’t sure about something – find out the answer! You would hate to show up and realize that the show wasn’t what you had planned for. I’m glad I asked

Standing in my 'spot' at my beautiful display!
3. Stand up and be friendly.
One thing that always drives me crazy when I attend fairs/shows is when the vendors sit behind their booths, text their friends and don’t make any eye contact with you as you pass by. I often don’t want to stop because I don’t feel welcome. Although my legs were killing me after standing on them for 7 hours, I’m glad that I stood right beside my booth for the entire show. This allowed me to greet people and pass out business cards. My advice is – although it might hurt – be present in your display. It makes a difference!
4. Know who you’re selling to.
I wish I had thought more about this. I was working with a very small area and wish that I had brought different items to sell. As I was standing there and speaking with some of the visitors, I kept flashing back to some of the items that I had left in my shop and was thinking “oh gosh, this would have been perfect for this customer”. Darn! It pays to think about what people are going to want to buy.
5. Taking down your booth is by far the least enjoyable part of the day.
You’re tired, hungry, thirsty and wish you didn’t have to take down the beautiful booth that you’ve erected only hours earlier.
Overall, it was a great day and I’m so excited for my next show (which I’m currently working on setting up). I think I just needed to get this first one under my belt to feel confident in knowing that I could do it and that people would like my shop and the vintage items I had to offer. I have to admit that I loved all of the compliments that came my way and it made me very proud of the work that I do.  Thank you to everyone who visited my shop at the event! 
I hope that some of my learnings are helpful to any of you taking on the challenge of doing a show. In the end, I think what is most important is that you smile and have fun!

Now… on to the next show!

Monday, 1 April 2013


I’m Kim! Also known as the curator and owner of Coco&Bear – my online Etsy vintage shop. I opened my shop in May of 2012 and have since been very busy picking for vintage finds and keeping my shop moving. I’m a vintage girl at heart and have absolutely loved this past year with my shop.

I run my shop out of my home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (just outside of Toronto). I'm supported by my adoring partner Marko and my two furry children, Coco and Bear.

I have followed and read blogs for many years and have always thought that it would be something that I would like to do. It wasn't until recently that I realized that I had a lot to say and a lot of really good information to share - so, why not start my own blog!

Aside from being a vintage curator, I’m also a bit of a foodie. Probably not the kind of foodie you might expect however. I’m (now don’t be shocked) gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, pork-free and pretty much free of any additives and ingredients that I cannot pronounce. I like to call myself a ‘clean eater’. I love eating fresh foods and most importantly, I just love to eat!

My plan is to share with you some of the amazing recipe’s and clean foods that I eat and bring to my table. I know many people struggle with food limitations/restrictions – I’ve been there – and I hope that I can give them some new ideas for how to enjoy food, even when you have some limitations.
I also want to share with my readers all of the wonderful experiences I have as a vintage curator! The amazing picks that I go on, the beautiful vintage finds and the amazing people I get to meet along the way.
If you love vintage and if you love food, this is the blog for you!