30 December 2009

Visiting with Friends

"The laughter of girls is and ever was among the delightful sounds of earth." ~DeQuincey

Gluten Free Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning Mix
from Herb Mixtures & Spicy Blends
Introduction by Maggie Oster

Yield: About 2/3 cup

1/4 cup dried onion flakes
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 Tablespoons chili powder
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
2 teaspoons dried hot pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons sea salt

Combine all ingredients. Shake well, or place in blender for a finer blend. For tacos, add 3 Tablespoons of this mix and 1/4 cup water to 1 pound browned hamburger. Cook for 15 minutes, adding more water if needed.

The original recipe calls for beef bouillon. I leave that out as well as the garlic and cornstarch. I use much less chili powder and more oregano.

Yesterday I had lunch with friends and used this recipe for taco meat to go on our baked potatoes. The potatoes were delicious. Mine was topped with the taco meat, sea salt and Earth Balance. Other toppings included sour cream, bacon, broccoli and salsa.

28 December 2009

Dog Treats

Beef Treats

1 pound ground beef
1 cup vegetable scraps such as carrot or sweet potato peels and a small amount of greens (Dogs should not be given onions.)
1 egg including shell
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
fresh or dried herbs

Mix all ingredients together and spread on a baking sheet with edges.
Bake at 250 degrees for 1/2 hour and then at 200 degrees until done -approximately 4 hours.

After the treats cool cut them into bite size pieces and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

22 December 2009

Christmas Projects

The first quilt I made given to my first nephew.

Pillowcases for friends.

19 December 2009

No Gluten, Casein or Refined Sugar Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

2 eggs or 2 teaspoons chia seeds

1 15 ounce can pumpkin
1 cup hemp milk
1/2 cup plus 1-2 Tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix all ingredients together. If using chia seeds allow pie filling to sit for 15-20 minutes. Place in pie crust and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. With chia seeds the pie will not be as firm as usual. Take the pie out once the top has nicely browned.

My favorite pie crust recipe is in the apple pie post under the dessert label.

We had our family Christmas last night and there was little of this pie left.

18 December 2009

Peanut Butter Balls - Free of Gluten, Casein and Refined Sugar

To make these peanut butter balls start with desired amount of natural peanut butter then add maple cream to taste. Form into balls and dip in melted chocolate chips. Place the balls on waxed paper and put in the refrigerator until hard then put in storage container. These are yummy!

note: If your peanut butter does not have a lot of oil then you will want to add some butter or Earthbalance.

10 December 2009


The Snow

"Last night when we were sound asleep, the snow fell fast, the snow piled deep, when morning came and we looked out, the snow was lying all about. The wind was blowing high and low, and wrinkling up the pure white snow; and everywhere that we could see, we found that God made mystery."
~Marguerite Church Clark

30 November 2009

Sewing Project

Some of the aprons I recently made.

29 November 2009


"You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself..." Emily Dickinson

Gluten Free Hot Dogs in a Blanket

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
From Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis, Ph.D.
(half recipe - for 4 hot dogs or 1 pizza)

1 cup water
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt (we use sea salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1 cup Beechnut Baby Rice cereal
1 cup rice flour

Combine first three ingredients. Set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients, and add them to the oil mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Spread on sprayed pizza pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, add sauce and top as desired. Return to the oven and bake until light brown around the edges.

After baking, but before topping, the crust may be cooled and frozen for later use.

For hot dogs pat the dough between hands and form around hot dog. Place on greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

This dough is sticky. It helps a little to put shortening on your hands.

25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

Apple Salsa

Apple Salsa

1 apple, diced

1 persimmon, diced
2-4 Tablespoons apple butter or apple sauce
chopped nuts, optional

15 November 2009

Two Meals

Using a boiled chicken and sauteed carrots, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes we made two chicken pot pies and had extra chicken and vegetables to save for later. For the pot pie crust I used the recipe in the apple pie post under the dessert label. I pressed herbs into the bottom of the crust. We added canned green beans to the chicken and sauteed vegetables. For the sauce I used hemp milk, leftover water from boiling the chicken and arrowroot powder.
Then next day we added rice to the leftover chicken and vegetables along with a teriyaki sauce. Our favorite way to eat this is with potato chips. The sauce recipe is available at the following link www.cookusinterruptus.com/index.php?video_id=43 We used agave nectar rather than honey and left out the garlic.

This meal gets a thumb up from Matt and Ellie!

10 November 2009

USMC Birthday

Happy 234th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

The United States Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern on November 10th, 1775.

My Uncle Rene retired from the Marine Corps and my brother Matthew served four years as an active duty United States Marine.

Matthew wrote the following letter during that time.

"Dear Friends,

Hello, I'm writing from my seat on a Boeing 767 as I start anther great adventure in my life, Operation Iraqi Freedom III. In approximately 15-20 hours I will be in Kuwait, and then on up to Falluja, Iraq where I, part of the greatest fighting force in the world, will begin 'peace' operations. I say 'peace' knowing that it is no more than all out war. Cowboys vs. Indians, it has been part of the world since sin entered, and it will go on until Jesus comes back with the greatest fighting force, which I already am a part of, as well as all of you. I am proud to be able to claim that in the hardest battle man can know, the battle for his soul, my father, mother, sister, brother and friends stand shoulder to shoulder with me. In the war that matters most, WE have already won.

Love to all, Cpl. Potter, Charles M., United States Marine Corps"

"There is no better friend and no worse enemy than a United States Marine."

Happy Birthday and thank you to all who have served in the USMC! Thank you to all veterans and those serving in all branches of the military including my Grandpa Joe and my Uncle Randy who served in the Army and my brother Jacob who served in the Air National Guard.

"When you go home, tell them for us and say: 'For your tomorrows, we gave our today.'"
Fifth Division Graveyard Sign, Iwo Jima

07 November 2009

Sweet Tahini Tea Dunking Cookies

Flying Apron's Gluten - Free and Vegan Baking Book by Jennifer Katzinger arrived at my house a few days ago. I have been anticipating its release for some time. Yesterday my mom and I made the Sweet Tahinis. This morning we enjoyed them dunked in a cup of tea.

Sweet Tahinis
12 Cookies

2 cups brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup palm or coconut oil
1 cup organic whole cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup agave syrup

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine the brown rice flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the tahini, palm oil, organic whole cane sugar and vanilla until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Add the agave syrup and mix until well combined.
3. Scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets with an ice cream scoop, dipping the scoop into water to avoid sticking. Indent each cookie with a fork mark and sprinkle with organic whole cane sugar. Bake until firm to the touch, about 17 minutes.

My notes ~ I used a hand mixer and that worked fine. Another time I will probably mix them by hand. It definitely helps to use parchment paper even on non-stick baking sheets. Gluten free items almost always still stick.

31 October 2009

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Isabella, Adelaide and I made Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins. To make these muffins you need a chocolate cake mix, 15 oz can of pumpkin and a bag of chocolate chips. Mix those together without adding anything else. At first the batter will be dry, but keep stirring. When the batter is completely mixed place it in muffin or bread tins. Bake as directed on the cake mix box.

The Gluten Free Betty Crocker Cake Mix works well for these muffins. I find it amusing that Libby finds it necessary to print on the pumpkin can label "Naturally Gluten Free."

24 October 2009

Mighty Hunters

Ricky, Jacob and Andrew and Matthew

"Be always sure you are right then go ahead." Davy Crockett

Jacob, Matthew and Ricky went bow hunting then came in for dinner. We had beef stew, biscuits and apple pie.

Gluten Free Biscuits

2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 cup butter (earth balance works well -chill in freezer for a short time before cutting in)
1 1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 egg or substitute (I use 1 teaspoon chia seeds in 1/4 cup water)
up to 1 1/4 cup water

Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, add milk, egg, apple cider vinegar and mix well. Add water as needed. Drop onto baking tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 16 biscuits. For half recipe use whole egg or substitute for one egg.

21 October 2009

Pork and Apple Stew

This recipe is from Rachael Ray and is easy to make with or without gluten. It is a tasty stew with pork, carrots, apples and dried cranberries. To make it gluten free I left out the flour and used a couple tablespoons arrowroot powder mixed in a small amount of cold water to thicken the broth. The following link has the recipe. www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/autumn-stew/

12 October 2009

Beef Stew

This recipe is adapted from a recipe my friend April gave me. April made this stew for me when I visited her family in Tennessee earlier this year. I have made it many times since.

Beef Stew
1 - 2 pounds stewing beef
sea salt
coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
4 cups hot wate
2-4 tablespoons soy sauce (Bragg's amino acids)
1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch mixed in small amount cold water
2 large onions, diced
4 bay leaves
thyme to taste
dash of chili powder
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
sweet potatoes and white potatoes to fill up the pan, peeled and sliced

(approximately five of each)

Heat a large pan over medium high heat, add oil and let heat then add stew meat and brown. Add the hot water, 1 onion, salt, pepper, soy sauce, sugar, bay leaves, allspice, thyme and chili powder. Bring to boil then reduce heat, stir in arrowroot and water mixture and simmer for 1-2 hours. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes and remaining onion and cook for another hour or until vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork.
Matthew calls one of my bunnies "Stew." However, despite the nickname she is not intended for eating!

03 October 2009

3R's Ten Year Anniversary

"There are three services which books may render in the home: they may be ornaments, tools, or friends. In the best homes they are all three simultaneously."

~Lyman Abbot (1835-1922)

September 17th, 1999- September 17th, 2009

Rachel, Renee and Ramona knew each other as homeschool moms. In 1999 their shared love of reading led to the beginning of 3R's Book Club. Through the years their friendship has deepened and they have broadened the scope of each others reading. Prior to 3R's Ramona had not read Tolkien's "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings." Since the first meeting when "The Hobbit" was the book being discussed Renee, Rachel and Ramona have read that and "The Lord of the Rings" three times for book club. In the past ten years they have read and discussed over 120 books. Enjoying a pot of tea and dessert has become a tradition along with a Christmas lunch and cookie exchange. Last summer Sharon joined 3R's. Sharon was unable to attend the anniversary celebration because she was in Wyoming visiting her daughter. The following picture shows Renee, Ramona and Rachel with a portion of the books they have read.

"There are peculiar joys attached to the implements of reading. When we collect books, we are collecting happiness. When we build up a little library, we are bolstering the delight of life."
~Zeno Philaton (1697-1742)

15 September 2009

Apple Pie

My mom and I made apple pie this evening. I didn't eat the entire pie, although I would like to. Our apples are locally grown at Old MacDonald's Farm. If you are in the area their place is worth a visit.

The following recipe makes the best gluten and casein free pie crust. It comes from Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis.

GF Double Crust

1 1/4 cup rice flour

1 tsp salt (I use 1/2 tsp sea salt)

2/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup ice water

1 TB potato flour (potato flour, not starch)

Combine rice flour and salt in mixing bowl or food processor. Cut in shortening or use short pulses to achieve a dough comprised of pea size dough bits.

Using a whisk add potato flour to ice water. I put the water in the freezer while I mix the flour and shortening. Make sure you add the potato flour to the water and not the other way around.

Add the potato-ice water mixture to rice flour mixture. Use short pulses and process only until the dough forms a ball. If working by hand, pour the water mix over the flour and work in with a spoon. Remove from bowl and knead gently only until smooth. Do not over mix.

With wet hands pat dough into bottom and sides of pie pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Add pie filling then pat remaining dough between hands and place on top of filling. Bake pie as directed.

09 September 2009

Fresh Figs

Last summer my mom and I visited Jacob and Jessie in Florida. During our stay Jessie took me to the farmer's market where I purchased my first fresh figs. There is no way to describe the delicious flavor of a fresh fig. Since that time I have waited with great anticipation for the opportunity to taste another fig. When I walked into Whole Foods last week I was delighted to see little baskets filled with figs. Besides eating the fresh figs we added them to smoothies and I made mom a salad with figs, heirloom tomatoes and fig vinaigrette. I also made a sauce for our pork chops -from happy pigs that lived without hormones and antibiotics. To make the sauce puree figs with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and agave nectar in the food processor.