Two new gluten-free breakfast recipes (Egg & dairy-free too!)

This morning around the breakfast table, we were dealing with gluten-free and egg-free diets, as well as no cheese for another guest. We tried two new recipes, both which were successful. Since I posted the photo on our Facebook page, I’ve had requests for the recipes, and also from the guests, so thought we’d post them here for easy access.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free banana muffins

Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free banana muffins

Gluten, egg, and dairy-free banana muffins

Mix the following together with beaters until smooth:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (we use canola)
  • 2 tsp. egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water OR 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine the following dry ingredients, then add to the wet mixture and stir until moist. Do not over-mix.

  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (We used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Line muffin tins with papers, divide batter between 12 muffin cups, and bake in 350*F oven for 20 – 22 minutes.

Egg, dairy, and gluten-free crepes

Egg, dairy, and gluten-free crepes


  • 3 Eggs worth of prepared egg replacer
  • 3/4cup rice milk
  • 3/4cup Water
  • 3 TBSP oil (we use canola)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (We used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 TBSP potato starch
  • 1/2t Salt

Combine together all ingredients in bowl and whisk until combined. Batter will appear deceivingly thin. Cook crepe in hot, oiled frying pan and top with desired filling. This morning we served our egg-free guests crepes filled with asparagus, tomato, basil, chives and boursin cheese; and our cheese-free guest, the same herbs & veggies in scrambled eggs. (Pictured above.)

As you can see from above, these recipes are also soy-free. However, the flour we used (Bob’s Redmill) is processed in a factory that uses soy and tree-nuts, so we consider these recipes both “unsafe” for our daughter.  If we used a different flour, they would be safe.

Please let us know how they turn out for you! We will definitely serve both of these recipes again!

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

Yummy Rhubarb Struesel Muffin Recipe

Beautiful rhubarb. Photo credit: Taste of Nova Scotia

Beautiful rhubarb. Photo credit: Taste of Nova Scotia*

As spring arrives in Nova Scotia, so does the growth of one of our local food treats – rhubarb! I LOVE rhubarb. Although technically a vegetable, in Nova Scotia we mostly treat it as a fruit. Rhubarb will be found growing in many people’s gardens and will then be found at the breakfast table for the next few weeks in various forms: warm from being stewed with maple syrup and a touch of lemon (perfect with vanilla yogurt and some granola!), and often chunked in muffins. The tartness of the rhubarb is perfectly offset by the sweetness of the struesel topping. The following is one of our favourite muffin recipes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (We use egg replacer)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, if using or add egg replacer. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and alternate with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Fold in rhubarb.
  • Fill paper-lined or greased muffin cups three-fourths full.
  • Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl; then cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Serve warm. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.

We hope you enjoy – either at your breakfast table or at ours! 😉

*Taste of Nova Scotia

Belgravia Bed and Breakfast

Donut Showdown

Our nephew Matt lives in Toronto. This week, his girlfriend, Rachel, and her partner, Heather, were featured on The Food Network’s television program, “Donut Showdown”. Rachel and Heather own and operate the VERY successful, “Emma’s Country Kitchen” at 1108 St. Claire Avenue in Toronto. (If you’re in the area, you should definitely stop in and tell them that “Auntie Anne sent you”. Please have a donut for me while you’re there…)

To see the show, click here.

Spoiler alert: They won the $10,000 prize!! Congratulations – we’re SO excited for you!! 🙂

“To Die For” Blueberry Muffins

teacher love

It’s national Teacher Appreciation Week this week and at our daughters’ school, the parent-teacher group has been making sure there have been special treats for the teachers each day to show them how much they are appreciated. Little treats like a mural that says “We love you” made out of kids’ drawings, ‘real’ toilet paper in the staff washroom (hey – these things matter!), and today, a tea trolly with treats. Although I can’t be at the school to help deliver the treats, D’Arcy made a batch of his “to die for” blueberry muffins this morning to send.

blueberry muffins

Thank you teachers!!

Here is the recipe:

    • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs OR 2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with pastry blender, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
  5. Makes 12 muffins.


Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Happy New Year! Gosh, keeping the blog updated has taken a backseat to life recently. We had a busy and fun Christmas break, entertaining a total of 72 friends and family at different times during the twelve days we had off from school.

I’m amazed at how fast the month of January has flown – they say “time flies when you’re having fun”… This semester, I’m teaching Entrepreneurhip, Experiential Tourism Products and Services, Into Psychology, and Intro Sociology at the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College; while D’Arcy continues to teach Grade 6 at a school not far from mine.

The boys are curling every day after school, and at least one day on the weekend. They are heading “South” to Yarmouth tomorrow for their first Canada Winter Games (2015) qualifier. The tournament is double-knockout and the top two teams will automatically move forward to next year.

The “mate” or “third” of their team is from Yarmouth, so the boys and their coach will be staying at their house, for which we are very grateful. I spent last weekend cooking and baking, to send some food along (the least we can do): lasagna, chilli, homemade macaroni & cheese, four loaves of bread, blueberry muffins, and homemade granola bars.

I posted a photo of the granola bars on my personal Facebook page and got such a response of friends looking for the recipe, that I decided to post it here for more people to enjoy! I must begin with the caveat that each time I make these, they are slightly different, depending on what ingredients I have on hand. Although they are not gluten free, they are peanut, tree nut, egg, and soy free. (Dairy free too if you omit chocolate chips, or use Enjoy Life or Divvies brand chocolate chips.)  I hope if you try them, you will enjoy!


The base of each recipe is:

  • 2 cups flaked oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

To this, I added:

  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts – be sure to use the nutritious hemp hearts 😉
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • generous handful raisins
  • generous handful dried cranberries
  • handful of chocolate chips

Other suggestions would be to add flax (I was out), coconut, dates, or any other dried fruit.

Bind together with:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mixture will be crumbly. Press into a well-greased 11×13 pan. Bake in 375*F oven for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Cut while still warm, or they become difficult to cut through.

This bars have quickly become a lunchtime or snack favourite in our household and the bonus is that they are economical, allergy-free, and litter-less!

 (I promise not to take so long until the next post…)

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This Thanksgiving Monday, I am happily *full*, in all senses of the word. D’Arcy, Evan, Alex, Sarah, Olivia and I hosted our 4th annual Thanksgiving extravaganza.

For the past four years, we have hosted D’Arcy’s parents, his eight brothers and sisters and their families, and my parents for Thanksgiving Dinner. One of my favourite parts of the meal is when, in a circle around the table, we all share what we’re thankful for. Family… health… friends… “family and friends which are one and the same”… cousins that are growing up not just knowing one another, but as friends… family traditions that we value and hold dear…

We had close to 3/4 of the 40+ family in attendance, but were missing a few. With the wonders of technology, we were able to connect with D’Arcy’s brother and his wife who were in Alberta welcoming a new grandson, and our niece Kathryn who is in her first year at Memorial University of Newfoundland. We also had lovely Facebook messages from nieces and nephews who live away. Although they weren’t physically able to be present, we felt their presence at the gathering.

This year, the meal featured a 25 pound turkey, and two pork roasts; homemade savory dressing, mashed potato casserole, squash casserole, peas with red pepper and basil, six bean salad, mustard pickles, cranberry sauce, gravy and whole wheat rolls. Throughout the afternoon, family munched on shrimp, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, olive tapanade, and salsa dip with crackers. Dessert was apple pie, pumpkin pie, and apple crisp with whipped cream – lots and lots of whipped cream! We provide the meal and our family graciously brings donations which we take to the food bank.

We are thankful for our family and friends, our health, our home which is large enough to accommodate 30+ at one long table, and the opportunities that our Bed & Breakfast has offered us. We are thankful for our guests – especially those who return again and again, and become part of our family.

We are thankful.

Handsome helpers, chopping onions, celery, and peeling apples, potatoes and squash.

Evan helped me set the table and Sarah & Olivia colored and made place cards for everyone with Ginna’s help.

Michael, Erin & Stephen chat before dinner

We were so happy to have nephew Pat & his fiancee Jackie home with us again this year after spending the last two Thanksgivings in Australia and China. They will be getting married in Greece in August.

Chatting with Jackie in the kitchen – she’s an expert gravy whisker!

D’Arcy’s dad, Rollie, our nephew Ryan, and my dad, Dave chatting together before dinner.

Olivia and her cousin (once removed) Seamus.

Hugs as Stephen & Kathy arrive.

It’s so much fun to watch the older cousins interacting with the younger cousins. I’m not sure who has more fun…

Erin & Dave enjoy the sunshine on the front stoop.

More love from Olivia to Seamus.

Two of D’Arcy’s favourite women! 😉

Grandpa, Neil & Olivia

Neil & Auntie K

D’Arcy and I did not plan our attire… This is what happens after 15 years of marriage?


Olivia and some of the food bank donations

St. Paddy’s Day at the Belgravia (with some photos from Brazil)

Before he left for Brazil, we had asked Evan if he wanted to curl in a bonspiel taking place in the Annapolis Valley this weekend. I was a bit surprised when his response was, ‘But that’s St. Patrick’s Day. Aren’t we doing something?” Our last name, McDonah, is Irish, and D’Arcy’s father’s family came from Killarney, in County Clare, Ireland. Each year, we usually get together with family and friends (and some years, guests!) and host a Guinness inspired meal. I didn’t realize this had become an event the family looks forward to so much.

When I asked for menu suggestions, they came up with burgers. “Patties” for St. Paddy’s! We invited my parents and I made lamb burgers and sweet potato buns. They were really good – the recipe came from Canadian Living and can be found by clicking here: Sweet Potato Rolls. We also barbequed potatoes, carrots & onions, and my mom had brought a salad. I cooked mushrooms & red onions in Guinness to top the burgers. For dessert, we had shamrock shaped cookies and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream while watching a slide show of Evan’s photos from Brazil. There was coffee & Bailey’s for the adults. We ended the evening playing a short version of Pictionary.

I leave you with a few of our favorite photos from Evan’s trip:

First glimpses of Brazil

Evan's Brazilian families - we love them!

The beach in Santos

View from Monte Serrat

View of Santos from Monte Serrat

Evan and Scott at City Hall

They made the paper!

Learning to surf


A view of the rain forest, taken from the home of Jean Piaget's Principal's mother.

Endless beach


Ruins in the rainforest

So much to be Thankful for!

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Nova Scotia, and were fortunate enough to be able to host 35 (including us) of the McDonahs, representing four generations, for Dinner!  We closed out the B&B for the night so that we could get everything ready.  It was a pretty special sight to see that many of us sitting at one table.  We went around the table, one-by-one, revealing what we were thankful for.  Although the sentiments varied, I know we were all thankful to be part of such a large, fun & loving family!

Preparing to make the dressing...

Preparing to make the dressing...

A photo while setting the table

A photo while setting the table

"Turporken" - a de-boned turkey, stuffed with a pork roast, stuffed with a de-boned chicken which has been stuffed!  This one turporken would serve 25 people. We also barbecued an 8lb pork roast.

"Turporken" - a de-boned turkey, stuffed with a pork roast, stuffed with a de-boned chicken which has been stuffed! This one turporken would serve 25 people. We also barbecued an 8lb pork roast.

Some family, chatting before Dinner

Some family, chatting before Dinner

The only photo of the day with both D'Arcy & I...

The only photo of the day with both D'Arcy & I...

Everyone finding their seats...

Everyone finding their seats...

D'Arcy's sister, Kathleen, started off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

D'Arcy's sister, Kathleen, started off the "What I'm Thankful For" Circle

Sarah, presenting her grandfather with an "ear" of corn she'd grown just for him - it was about 5 cm long!

Sarah, presenting her grandfather with an "ear" of corn she'd grown just for him - it was about 5 cm long!

Dinner Time!

Dinner Time!

"Great" Auntie Anne with the youngest family member, Phinn

"Great" Auntie Anne with the youngest family member, Phinn

What a wonderful day we had – we are truly blessed!


The weatherman is saying that it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend here in Truro, so it’s time to get the garden ready. 

D’Arcy & I have always been fairly conscious about what we eat, however our interest in where our food comes from was sky-rocketed to a new level when our daughter was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies two summers ago.  Her allergies were so severe that we hesitated to take her into the grocery store; she would break out into hives if I sat her in the cart where a previous child might have been eating a cookie from the “cookie club”.   In the winter especially, when all the peanuts & tree nuts are out en mass, we had to feed her canned or frozen fruit & vegetables just in case somebody else had lifted their bag of nuts over our produce, leaving unseen dust behind.  It took a long time for us to come to terms with the fact that this small amount we can’t necessarily see is enough to send her into anaphylaxis.

Last year, we decided to plant a garden of our own. 

D’Arcy rented a sod cutter & a rototiller and away we went.  It was a family affair as we tore out a rock garden and started digging into the lawn.



My father came down and helped us with the planting and we planted carrots, onions, garlic, beets, spinach, yellow peppers, red peppers, broccoli, sugar peas, green beans, cilantro, basil & sunflowers.  Oh yes, and tomatoes – lots of tomatoes!  We ended up with about 50o tomatoes, using them to make green tomato chow, salsa and tomato sauce.  We served and gave them away to guests & family, and told the other B&B’s in the area to come over with their baskets and take as many as they wanted… 


It was very satisfying to grow our own food and oh, so convenient to just run out the back door to grab what we needed for supper (or breakfast!).



Our bounty of sunflower seeds

Our bounty of sunflower seeds

We have long supported one local farm and buy the majority of our meat and strawberries at Riverbreeze Farm Market.  (They also have an awesome corn maze that is fun to go through in the fall!)  This year, we are going one step further and have joined Club Salad Bowl Gardens, a Community-Shared-Agriculture style delivery program. Every Tuesday, for 18 weeks starting in June, we will receive a box of organic goodies (whatever is ready to be picked!) from a local farm.  This will supplement what we just don’t have room to grow.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it!!

Happy Earth Day!

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