Tres Leche Cake

Invite your friends over for this sponge cake, soaked in 3 milks, topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix

Make your own gluten free flour mixture at home. It is really simple to make and it's texture is smooth. You can substitute this equally for regular wheat flour.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Start your day with this easy and moist quick bread, topped with cinnamon sugar.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Caprese Panini

 "You like tomato, I like tomahto."  Tomato...tomahto... it's all the same thing.  But it's not the same.  Slavery is not just happening overseas, it is here in our backyard.  In the US tomato fields!  It's not just a small number of tomatoes.  It is the vast majority of tomatoes sold in our supermarkets.  According to IJM (International Justice Mission), as of June 2012, there were only 2 supermarkets where you could buy slave free tomatoes, Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

IJM has started a campaign this summer called Recipe For Change.  They are collecting signatures on petitions to send to major US grocery stores, asking them to join the Fair Food Program, ensuring us that the tomatoes we buy are slave free.  You can make a stand against slavery here in our US tomato fields by following this link and signing your name on the petition.  Share this information with your family and friends.  Let's make a difference together!

~ "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963.

Starbucks Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Panini, has inspired me to try making this sandwich at home.

Caprese Panini

Gluten Free Ciabatta Roll  (I use the Schar brand)
Tomato, slices
Fresh mozzarella slice
Fresh basil leaves
Fresh spinach leaves
Optional : Basil pesto (if you can safely eat pine nuts)

Assemble your sandwich and cook in a panini press if you have one.  If not, cook on your stovetop over medium low heat.

Simple.  Quick.  Easy.  Nutritious.  Fresh.  Delicious.

Thank you Nap-Time Creations, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Homemaker for letting me share this recipe on your blog party.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lemon Feta Quinoa

Quinoa is a high protein grain with a delicate, subtle flavor.  It's shape resembles tiny beads.  I buy my quinoa from Trader Joes but it is found at most grocery stores.  Costco has a really great price on it, if you have a membership there.

This is my favorite quinoa recipe.  The lemon, feta and spinach are such a flavorful combination with the quinoa.  If you aren't a spinach fan, then try using fresh, asparagus instead.  It is quick and really easy to make.

1 c Quinoa
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 c fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c feta cheese
1 lemon

1.  Cook the quinoa according to directions on package.
2.  While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan.  Add the garlic, cook about 30 seconds.  Then, add the spinach and toss until it begins to wilt.  Turn off the heat.
3.  Add the cooked quinoa.  Squeeze juice from the lemon over quinoa, add lemon zest and feta cheese.  Toss to combine. Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Thank you to Nap Time Creations, Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Homemaker for featuring this recipe!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birthday Parties #2: It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

Second Birthdays give way to unpredictable toddlers.  Who would have ever guessed that all our guests gathered around serenading them Happy Birthday, would be so upsetting?  Especially with something so yummy looking within arms reach.

When my little girl's birthdays roll around, I am often overcome with gratitude for the miraculous gift they are.  We are so humbled and blessed that they are alive and healthy.  They came into this world with an amazing story of God's sovereignty, which I will begin to share with you in a few weeks.  

Getting ready for Anna and Josie's 2nd birthday, I was excited to find Cherrybrook Kitchen's boxed cake mix that is Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free.  At this point, I had not tried baking very much, without wheat flour or eggs.  So a boxed mix was just the ticket that year.  I found it at a local grocery store, (some Target stores carry this too).  I even found their vanilla frosting mix that worked well.  Thank you Cherrybrook Kitchen for helping me make Anna her very first gluten free, egg free birthday cake!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Birthday Parties #1: 1st Birthday!

We recently celebrated our son Noah's birthday.   So while I'm still in birthday mode, I want to share with you about our birthday celebrations with food allergies.  So today's post is the first in I'm not sure how many it will be, posts.

Celebration.  Family.  Friends.  Party.  Games.  Music.  Balloons.  Birthday Box.  Streamered  Door.  Cards.  Gifts.  Special Plate.  Pizza.  Cake/Dessert.   These are all part of our birthday traditions.  And in our family, we all get really excited for each others special day.  Anna was diagnosed with food allergies at 10 months old, so when Anna and Josie's first birthday rolled around, I was wanting to find a cake that was safe for both of them.  I had heard about a gluten free bakery near us and went in to check it out.  My hopes were deflated when the bakery informed me they could not bake an egg free cake.  I was so sad.  Clearly Anna wouldn't know any different if she didn't get to eat the cake at their first birthday, but I was sad I couldn't give that to her.  So we went ahead and ordered cakes for photos, "blowing out" their candles and for our party guests to enjoy.  Meanwhile, I dreamed of how I hoped to someday have a safe cake.

Just in case your itching to know what the polka dot pictures are all about...I put a picture of each of the girls at each month of their first year, inside a polka dot and made a little timeline around our living room. 

We love birthdays here (and yes, polka dots too)!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

S'mores Bars

Even though S'mores season is fully upon us, I've been craving S'mores Bars.  Not the ones I've been finding on Pinterest lately, but the ones I grew up with.  The ones I remember having at church potlucks as a little girl.  The ones with Golden Grahams, chocolate and marshmallows.  Do you know the ones I'm talking about?  But now Golden Grahams don't work for our family because they contain wheat.  So I was thinking about them the other day and thought, hey, what about Puffins?!  They might replace the Golden Grahams nicely.  Now, I know, that some of you may not be able to have Puffins because they are made with oat flour (which probably isn't a Gluten Free oat flour and the oats may have been cross contaminated from wheat grown nearby).  Oats have not ever caused a problem at our home, so we use them.  Always follow YOUR doctor's recommendations for your specific needs. If you cannot safely eat Puffins, then try another Gluten Free cereal like Honey Rice Puffins or Gorilla Munch and I'm sure these would still be delicious!  This recipe is just about as quick and easy as Rice Krispie Bars.

This recipe has been adapted from Golden Grahams.

8 c Gluten Free Cereal (like Honey Rice Puffins or Gorilla Munch)
6 c miniature marshmallows (divided)
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c light corn syrup
5 T butter
1 t vanilla

1.  Butter 9 x 13 pan.  Melt 5 c marshmallows, chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter.  Stir in vanilla.
2.  Pour mixture over cereal and toss quickly until completely coated.  Stir in 1 c marshmallows.
3.  Press mixture evenly into pan using empty butter wrapper.  Let stand about 1 hour or refrigerate.

Thank you Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Nap Time Creations, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Cybele Pascale  and Fireflies and Jellybeans for featuring this recipe!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

 A couple of weeks ago, I came across this great granola bar recipe through Pinterest.  This weekend we are getting ready to go camping and I decided it was time to give that recipe a try.  So tonight, I made a batch and WHOA!  These the bars are good!  They remind me a little of Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, only a little less sweet.  I don't think I'll be buying granola bars at the grocery store much anymore.  They are a nice balance of crispy and chewy, and quick and easy to make.  I have adapted the recipe from Laurens Latest.  You can personalize this recipe to your liking by adding nuts if they are safe for you, coconut, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, white chocolate get the idea.

It makes a jelly roll pan full, about 2 dozen bars.  Some of my batch may get frozen for quick breakfasts (if there are any left).  Our whole family LOVES these!  And I hope you love them too.

adapted from Lauren's Latest and Rachael Ray

4 c quick cooking gluten free oats
4 c gluten free, nut free granola
4 c gluten free Rice Krispies
1 c butter
3/4 c honey
1 1/3 c packed brown sugar
2 t vanilla
1/2 c mini chocolate chips


1.  Stir oats, granola and Rice Krispies together in a large bowl. Set aside.
2.  In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes, while stirring continuously.  Remove from heat and pour in vanilla.  Stir.
3.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased jelly roll pan. Pat down firmly, to help them stick together.  This will fill your pan about up to the top.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly.
4.  Cool on a counter top to room temperature for two hours or in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator to keep them firm.

Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before eating, to allow them to soften a bit.

Thank you Fireflies and Jellybeans for featuring this post!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Today is a day to celebrate the freedom we have but let us also remember and celebrate the freedom we have in Christ.  While we celebrate, there are many today, in fact more than ever before, that cannot celebrate freedom.  

Did you know...
1.   Each year, nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. (UNICEF)
2.   27 million men, women and children are held as slaves. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)

But we can help make a difference and fight for their freedom through some great organizations like International Justice Mission (IJM).  IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.  When I first heard about how many trades there are today, I was blown away.  How could that happen in this time frame of history?  It is so hard to fathom.  Shortly thereafter, a dear friend introduced us to IJM and the incredible work they are doing.  They are modern day HEROS!  A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda, visit the IJM office located there and meet their team.  I was honored to meet one of their clients.   Even though this widow's land had been stolen from her (which is a BIG deal in Rwanda) from her own Mother-in-law, she took orphans into her home, along with her own children (including twins which is near to my heart).  Here she was struggling just to survive with her own children, yet she shared what little they had with orphans.  She was full of joy and gratitude.  She left a big impression on me and inspired me to be more appreciative, to love more freely and to help others more freely.
There is still so much work to be done to free these slaves.  You can make a difference!  

Thank you IJM!

*If you are looking for a gluten free & vegan recipe, click here.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

1 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg (1 egg = 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp water)
1 t vanilla
3 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 t baking powder

Cream butter and sugar, on low beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour and baking powder a little at a time. Do not refrigerate. Dough will not roll if cold. Cook 7-8 minutes at 400.

 4 c confectioners' sugar
 8 t milk (or your favorite milk substitute rice, coconut...)
 8 t light corn syrup
 1 t vanilla extract
   * assorted dye free food coloring

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more milk or water.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. 

Thank you Gluten Free Homemaker and Allergy Free Wednesdays for featuring this recipe!

Monday, July 2, 2012

White Chocolate Fruit Tart

Years ago, I found this wonderful White Chocolate Fruit Tart recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.  It became a quick favorite of ours and I loved to make this for guests.  However, this is the recipe that I discovered I had food allergies.  The original recipe uses kiwi, strawberries, pineapple and mandarin oranges.  The first time I made the original, my throat felt funny but eventually got better.  Then, a couple weeks later I made it again, and the same thing happened only worse.  So I figured out that I am allergic to kiwi and tried taking a couple of Benadryl.  They were difficult to swallow.  So now, I stay clear of kiwi and carry my own Epi-Pen.  Little did I know then, that kiwi was just the start of food allergies in our family.

This wonderful dessert is once again a family favorite, now that I have adapted it to be free of kiwi and gluten (there is also no eggs).  This would make a great 4th of July dessert to share, adding blueberries in the middle instead of grapes. 

Happy 4th of July! Thank you to all those who have served our country!  I am so thankful for our freedom!

Cookie Crust
3/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix (or your favorite GF flour mix with xanthan gum)

1 package (10-12 ounces) white chocolate chips, melted then cooled
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

Your choice of fruit or I use...
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
3/4 c grapes, halved

3 T sugar
2 t Gluten Free cornstarch
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 c reserved pineapple juice

1.  In a small bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually add flour and mix well.  Press into ungreased 11 inch fluted tart pan or 12 inch pizza pan with sides.  Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.
2.  To make the filling, combine melted chocolate chips and cream in mixing bowl and beat.  Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.  Spread over the crust.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

3.  Drain canned pineapple, reserving 1/2 c juice for glaze.  Arrange the fruit over the filling.  
4.  For the glaze, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Stir in the lemon juice and reserved pineapple juice until smooth.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Cool.
5.  Brush glaze over the fruit.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. (Or make ahead of time in the morning for a dinner).  

Yields: 12 servings

Thanks to Melt In Your Mouth Mondays and Tasty Tuesdays for featuring this recipe!