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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter from the Hope's Kitchen family!

Happy Easter!

My favorite part of our kid's Easter baskets this year was a garden shovel and flower seeds.  We planted them in pots today and hope to transplant them outside on Mother's Day.   Time will tell if we have a green thumb and can keep them alive until then.

Hope you all had a great day!
Melanie and family

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Allergic Reaction: A letter to my daughter

The past couple of weeks, life has been a little overwhelming so I haven't been posting much.  Anna had a bad allergic reaction.  She had her normal safe foods, no contamination, yet she had a bad reaction that needed epinephrine and an ambulance ride to the Emergency Room.  My thoughts have been a bit consumed with trying to figure out what happened.  I wrote this letter a couple days after the reaction, to try and help me process everything.

To my dear sweet, little girl, 

First of all I love you and I am so sorry you have food allergies.  This past weekend's allergic reaction scared me more than I can let you know.  I try to be strong and brave to help you remain calm.  Yet I can see it in your eyes that it worries you, even if you aren't able to express that in words to me.  I ask how you feel about it and you say your ok, but I am your momma and I can tell you are worried.

You ate the same meal you have had many times before.  A few minutes after dinner, I heard a cough so I asked if you were ok.  You said yes and wanted to go outside to play with your brother and sister.  As you were all getting ready to go out, you came over and sat on my lap.  I asked why you didn't want to go out and you said you changed your mind.  You wanted to stay on my lap and I think you were concerned you might be having a reaction.  You coughed again, so I looked more closely at your lips.  They looked a little grayish blue but I thought you might just be cold.  So I asked if your throat hurt and you said no.  I decided to put you on our pulse oximeter anyhow (you have due to how severe your asthma was a few years ago).  You seemed to be breathing a bit faster.  Your oxygen saturation was down into the 70's.  I got the epi pen out to give you and asked Papa to call 911.  For some reason it took a little longer this time for you to respond to the epi, so it was such a big relief when it finally helped and when they medics finally arrived.

What scares me most is that I don't know what happened, what it was that caused your reaction and that your symptoms can be so difficult to notice yet so severe.   How am I to keep you safe when I don't know what caused the reaction?  You ate the same foods you've had many times before.  If I knew what was the culprit, I would keep the allergen away from you.   I am calling the manufacturers of the food you ate to try and see if they changed their manufacturing processes and if it possibly got contaminated with one of your allergens.  I am calling your allergist to talk it through with her and see if she may have some helpful ideas.

Sending you to school today is nerve wracking for me.  I wonder if you are scared too.  Will you tell an adult if you start a little cough or start to feel your throat get tight, like we talked about?  Will you get to the nurses office when you need to and quickly enough?  It is hard to trust other people to recognize your symptoms and to act on them when I myself, often question if your symptoms are a reaction.   I've gone in this morning to talk with your teacher and the school nurse, who will also talk with the clerks that help at lunch and at recess.  

What is the solution?  Do I volunteer at school everyday over the lunch and recess hour so I will be near you?  Do I home school you?  How do I ever leave you with a babysitter or go away for the weekend again?  How do we travel with you?  These are questions your Daddy and I need to consider and wrestle with.  We care about you so much and don't want this to happen ever again.

I love you up to to the moon, 

When Anna was in the ambulance, I asked her what she would do if this happened while she was in school.  I told her she had to tell her teacher or an adult if she needed to see the nurse, to go at the first sign of a cough or a funny feeling in her throat.  To go with an adult to the nurse and quickly.  We talked about how she needs to go right to the nurse even if she is not sure.  Her school nurse is there to help her recognize her symptoms and treat her appropriately.

But it is still so hard to have her out of my sight.

How do you deal with your fears and food allergy realities?   Do you ever struggle with leaving your child in the care of someone else?  Are you ever afraid to feed your child?

I was thinking about my fears and remembered that God loves Anna more than I do and that our children are a gift, no matter how long we get to share this life with them.  "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us" 1 John 4:16. 

~ A week has now passed and we had some more allergy testing done on Anna.  We learned that she has added a couple more moderate allergies, rice and green beans.  Yikes!  Thankfully, she should be able to tolerate a small amount of rice but unfortunately, it is in so many of the things she eats.  I am so relieved to know her bread recipe doesn't contain rice.  The all-purpose flour mixture we use has rice as the main ingredient so I might be trying to mess around with that to reduce the amount of rice in it.  We still don't know why she had such a bad reaction.  I wish there was a blood test that could be done right after a reaction to determine exactly what the cause was.  Maybe someday.

*  This is not to be considered medical advice in any way, rather just our own families personal experience.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies get a gluten free, egg free makeover!

Finally, I have been able to make a chocolate chip cookie (gluten free, egg free & nut free) that tastes much like the Nestle Tollhouse recipe I loved growing up with.  The outside has a slight, tender crisp while the inside is soft and slightly chewy.  They are hard to stay away from.  So go on and grab a cold glass of milk and enjoy a delicious, little chocolate chip cookie again.

2 1/4 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix (or your favorite GF flour mix with xanthan gum)
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt

1/2 c butter, softened (not melted)
1/2 c coconut oil, melt before measuring
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla 
1 T Ener-G Egg Replacer (whisked with 4 T warm water)

1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
3.  In mixing bowl, place butter, coconut oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix together on medium speed until creamy.  With mixer running, slowly add egg replacer. 
4.  Gradually mix in flour mixture.  Turn off mixture once combined and stir in chocolate chips.
5.  Spoon dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
6.  Bake 8-9 minutes.  Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow to cool 3-5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 40 cookies.

*To make Dairy Free version:  You could try replacing the butter with an additional 1/2 c coconut oil.

Shared on Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays & Allergy Friendly Fridays.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mini White Chocolate Fruit Tarts

Years ago, I discovered my food allergy, while eating a fruit tart that had kiwi on it.  The fruit tart was one of my favorite desserts to make for company but it had to be changed.  Thankfully, kiwi is easy to replace with green grapes for a color pop of green.  Little did I know back then, that that recipe was just the first of many I would be revising later for my children's sake.  I've grown to LOVE revising recipes to make them safe for my family and friends like you!

Last week, our family was getting together with friends and I was bringing the dessert.  There are A LOT of kids when our families get together, so I wanted to make a finger food type of dessert.  I decided to make my favorite fruit tart recipe into individual tarts using a sugar cookie recipe to make the crust a little more sturdy.  A biscuit cutter made just the right sized treats.

You can top these mini fruit tarts with your favorite fruits.

Cookie Crust

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

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Cream butter and sugar, on low in mixer.   Beat in egg replacer and vanilla. Mix in flour and baking powder a little at a time. (Do not refrigerate. Dough will not roll if cold. )
3.  Cook 7-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet a few minutes.  Then, transfer cookies to wire rack to finish cooling.

White Chocolate Filling

10 oz white chocolate chips
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1.  Melt white chocolate chips then add the chocolate to mixing bowl.
2.  Add cream and cream cheese to mixing bowl.  Beat on high til smooth and creamy.
3.  Spread on cooled cookie crusts.
4.  Top with your favorite fruits.


6 T sugar
4 t gluten free cornstarch
1 t lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 c pineapple juice  (or you could use canned pineapple chunks to top the tarts and reserve the juice from the can)

1.  Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
2.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Brush over fruit.
3.  Chill for an hour before serving.

*Makes approximately 36 mini fruit tarts.

Shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays and  Allergy Friendly Fridays.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Well, hello cream filled goodness!

These little cookies are inspired by Little Debbie's Oatmeal Cream Pies but have their own unique spin on them.  They are a crisp oatmeal cookie filled with a wonderful, cream frosting.   These are a big hit with the kids!

Oatmeal Cookies:

1 t xanthan gum
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
3 c Gluten Free Oats
1 1/4 c butter, softened
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c sugar
2 T coconut oil, melted
2 t vanilla extract

1/2 c coconut (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
2.  In medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats.  Set aside.
3.  In mixer, combine butter and sugars.  Mix on medium until creamy.  Add coconut oil and vanilla and mix well.
4.  Add flour, gradually to the creamy mixture until mixed well.
5.  Scoop dough onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.
6.  Bake for 9-11 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.  Then, transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Filling:

1/2 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
2 T + 1 1/2 t whipping cream (if too stiff to spread on cookies, add 1/4 t cream at a time)
1 t vanilla extract

1.  Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.  Mix on low to combine, then on high until light and fluffy.  
2.  Spread about 1 T onto one cookie, then top with another cookie.

Recipe adapted from