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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Epi Travels

We are taking a road trip this weekend.  Road trips with asthma and allergies takes extra planning.  Anna's asthma has been flaring this week, thanks to good old springtime blooms.  She has been on her nebs, so last night I very carefully packed her neb, tubing, mask and medicine.  While I was packing I thought to myself, we could forget anything BUT asthma nebs & medicine and Epinephrine.  Everything else could easily be replaced at a store along the way.  

We got on the road this morning, nice weather, full tank of gas, meds and food for Anna packed along with our suitcases.  About an hour into the trip my heart sank as I realized I forgot to grab her EPI pen!!!!  Oh no!  I suddenly felt so vulnerable and anxious.  

Then I realized maybe her pharmacy could transfer her prescription to one of their stores at our destination.   With the help of modern technology, I made a few phone calls and had it all set.  We could pick it up in half an hour, just before we get lunch.  

I am so thankful for modern technology!  We would have had to add on over two hours to our trip of we had to turn around.

I felt horrible that I let her down and left her health at risk.  I was not a good role model while I'm trying to teach my seven year old the importance of ALWAYS carrying your epinephrine.

I told Anna, in the back of our van, that Mommy forgot her EPI, but that we were stopping in a few minutes to get a new one.  She lit up as she informed me that she might have it in her travel bag!!  After a little digging, there it was!!

Wow!!  I am so proud of her for remembering to bring it, without my prompting.  It is so good to see your kids learning responsibility and safety.  My heart was so relieved and I was able to call and cancel our order at the pharmacy.  She is my little rock star!  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Giveaway & Review: The Sneaky Chef

The original winner never contacted me and I don't have a way to contact her so I ran the random number generator for a new winner.  The number is #5... Brenda K in Florida!  Please email me you address by tomorrow to receive your jar of No-Nut Butter :)  Congratulations! 

The Sneaky Chef, Missy Chase Lapine, is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author.  She has begun selling pasta sauces and peanut butter alternatives.  What's so sneaky about pasta sauces and peanut butter alternatives?  Sneaking veggies into them, to help provide your kids (or yourself) with the recommended amount of veggies each day.    They are gluten free, contain no msg, are all natural (no artificial colors or flavors) and have no added sugar.

The Sneaky Chef sent me the Pasta Sauce and No-Nut Butter to try and let you all know what we thought. 

The Pasta Sauce has eight hidden veggies!  Tomatoes plus sweet potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, yellow squash, celery, and onions, With that much vegetable power in it, I did not tell my kids The Sneaky secrets.  Much to our surprise, the sauce was smooth and tasty.  My kids enjoyed it and I enjoyed knowing they were getting extra veggies in for the day.  The Sneaky Chef also makes a Cheesy Red Pasta Sauce.

Now for the No-Nut Butter.  It sat on our shelf a few days because I knew it was made with Golden Peas, and I have to admit I was hesitant to try it.  I had never heard of golden peas and my only reference point is green peas which didn't sound so good.

One evening, after my kids went to bed, I baked a fresh loaf of The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread.  I was craving a slice so I decided to crack open the No-Nut Butter and give it a try.  Since I was hesitant, I put only a small amount on a little corner of the bread.  Holy Moly!  It was GOOD!  In fact, I put more on my slice and ran over to my husband to insist he try it.  He doesn't like sunflower seed butter, in fact he is a strictly peanut butter kind of guy.  I wished I had a picture of the look on his face, he was pleasantly surprised and said it was really good.  The rest of my family loved it too.  The taste is really subtle with just a hint of sweetness, surprisingly similar to peanut butter minus the sticky, dryness.  The fresh bread and No-Nut Butter make an amazing combination! I wanted to try baking with this to see how it works.  Sunflower Seed Butter often makes the food look greenish after a couple of days and I wonder how this will do.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) it was too good to save any to bake with.  We couldn't stop eating it!  :)

All The Sneaky Chef products are specifically made in a facility that do not contain any of the top 11 allergens.  Way to go Sneaky Chef!!!  That helps so many of us!

The Sneaky Chef Foods are currently only available at select grocery and natural retailers (like Whole Foods) in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as online at However, Sneaky Chef Foods is hoping to expand their availability soon.

For more ideas on how you can sneak vegetables into your foods, check out her bestselling cookbook,  "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals," available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

And now for the Giveaway!      Contest is over.

The Sneaky Chef has offered to send one lucky Hope's Kitchen reader a jar of the No-Nut Butter!!!

1.  Contest ends on Monday, May 20 at 10 pm CST.
2.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with the your name and the name of your favorite bread to put the No-Nut Butter on (or what you want to try it on).  It could be a recipe or store bought.  (If you don't see the comments at the end of the is post, then you need to go up to the title and click on the post title, which will open a new page and at the bottom of the post will be the comments where you can add yours)
3.  If you share the giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter, you will receive an extra entry, just leave me a comment letting me know you "shared" or "tweeted" the giveaway.  This allows you up to three entries per person.
4.  The winner will be chosen at random and the name will be announced on this post.  So please remember to come back to see if you won!
5.  Let the contest begin!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Our Story continues.. Life in the NICU: A Rocky Road

Read the first part of Our Story here.  Then, come back to today's post.  See you soon :)

Monday morning, our little girls entered our world.  Josie (Baby B, the TTTS Donor who had too little fluid making it difficult for her to grow) was doing great.  She was breathing room air within her first 24 hours and I even got to hold her on Tuesday for the first time.  She was certainly itty bitty, 3 pounds is pretty little!

Anna (Baby A, the TTTS Recipient who had too much fluid in her amniotic sac causing Congestive Heart Failure) had a rough start.  Anna spent the first week needing some breathing help with a ventilator and then CPAP, along with several other preemie type issues.  We were anxious to see her sweet little face, without tubes, and to get to hold her.

On Saturday (at five days old), Anna was weaned off CPAP and onto nasal cannula oxygen!  I finally got to hold our second baby girl.  Her eyes were wide open and a couple times she even looked like she was laughing.  She seemed much more peaceful that day.  Then, the nurse asked if I'd like to hold both of our girls together.  YOU BET I DO!

Joy flooded my heart to be able to hold both of our little girls and to see them so close to each other.  What miracles!  

Sunday morning, I was able to go to church again.  It was the first time in months!  There is something amazing and indescribable about spending time in worship after you have just been face to face with a miracle.  When we got home from church, my phone rang.  It was one of the NICU nurses telling me we needed to come down to the hospital right away.  Anna was very sick and needed emergency surgery for a perforated bowel.  Anna had Necrotizing Enterocolitis aka NEC.  Being a Special Care Nursery Nurse, I knew this had a high mortality rate and was very serious.   I felt almost physically crushed while tears streamed down my cheeks.   After 3 months of not knowing if they would ever be born alive, I had thought we were finally in the clear.  Yet here we were again, on our knees, pleading with our heavenly Father, for His sovereign help!  We got in the car right away.  While Dan drove to the hospital I frantically called a few people to ask them to pray with us for Anna.

When we arrived at the hospital, they were prepping Anna for surgery.  She did not look good.  The Pediatric Surgeon arrived and introduced himself.  He explained what happened and what he was going to do.  When he was all done he went on to tell us that his In-laws are our neighbors.  He said he was actually sitting at their table with them, right by their front window.  They were telling him about our girls, that they had TTTS and were preemies at his hospital NICU.  Then his phone rang and it was the nurse telling him about Anna.  He said he watched us back up out of our driveway and followed us down to the hospital.  What crazy comfort that brought us in this time of desperation.   We knew this surgeon had a vested interest in our baby girl.  He took her down for surgery and I went into the pumping room.  I looked out the window and the snowflakes almost took my breath away.  They were huge and falling so soft and slow.  I felt like I saw a glimpse of hope.

Anna came out of surgery fine and ended up only loosing a small section of her jejunum (small intestine) and was left with an ostomy.

A few weeks later they were able to take down her ostomy.   We were very excited because after her take down surgery, they were able to be move our girls closer to us, to the Special Care Nursery that I worked in.  It was such a blessing to have my friends and co-workers caring for our babies.

After about two months, our girls got to come home.  We were able to close this chapter of our life and thank our Sovereign God that we were now a family of five, all under one roof, together.

Next up... Food Allergies Arrive!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

With summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time to share this light treat! 

These little shortcakes were made in muffin tins, then cut in half to layer with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  They are great for making individual servings.

I am delighted with how this recipe turned out and love that they are light, not heavy.  I hope you enjoy them too!

Years ago, Dairy Queen use to make Strawberry Shortcake Blizzards.  They were my berry favorite!  This recipe will soon be used to make my own Gluten Free, Egg Free Strawberry Shortcake Blizzard at home...hooray!


1/4 c Spectrum Organic Shortening
2/3 c sugar
1 1/2 t Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked in a small bowl with 2 T warm water til dissolved and frothy
1 t vanilla extract 

1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix (My favorite GF flour mix, easy to make at home)
2 t baking powder
1/2 c milk   (For Dairy Free: use Rice Milk or your favorite milk substitute)

 Whipped Cream    (Dairy Free option below)

2 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 t vanilla 

1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced 

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour muffin tins.
2.   Cream together shortening and sugar.  Then, add egg replacer and vanilla and beat together well.  Set aside.
3.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together salt, flour and baking powder.
4.  Alternately, add and stir in the flour and milk to the creamed sugar mixture.  Add about 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 milk, another 1/3 flour, remaining milk, and end with the remaining flour.  Do not over stir, just make sure it is all incorporated.
5.  Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each half full.
6.  Bake 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly golden on top and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely. 
7.  While cakes are cooling, prepare Whipped Cream.  In a mixing bowl, add cream, sugar and vanilla.  Start mixer on low with whisk attachment and gradually turn up to high.  Mix for a couple minutes or until fluffy and peaks.
8. Cut each shortcake in half horizontally.  Place the bottom half in a cup or on a plate.  Top with strawberry slices then a dollop of whipped cream.  Place top half of shortcake on top of whipped cream, cover with strawberry slices and finish with a top of whipped cream.  
9.  Enjoy!!

Dairy Free Whipped Cream Option

1 can coconut milk

Refrigerate the coconut milk for a few hours.  Remove from freezer without shaking.  Open the can and scrape off the solid layer.  Whip that with a little powdered sugar and a little vanilla.  (Save the coconut water that is left in the can, in the refrigerator and use it later for another recipe)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

There is a little bakery that I use to love to visit, that is back in our gluten full days.  They make this amazing bread that has pepperoni and mozzarella rolled into it.  You don't have to make it into a sandwich because each slice is it's own delicious sandwich.

I decided to attempt something similar to these gluten free pizza favorites, using my favorite Gluten Free Vegan Bread Recipe as a foundation.  If you've made this bread recipe, then you know that it is easy to make (no kneading, YAY!) which means these flavorful rolls are easy to make as well.

My gluten eating, picky son told me the other day, that he likes these gluten free pizza rolls better than Dominoes Pizza, which is one of his Top 5 favorite foods ever!  Boy, oh boy, did he ever win some big points with Mom!

These are certainly great fresh and warm out of the oven but they are also great reheated.  The kids  like them cold in their lunch boxes too.

If you don't already have Paula's Gluten Free Flour Mixture on hand, make up a batch.  You should be able to make these Pizza Rolls along with a loaf of Gluten Free Vegan Bread out of the batch of flour.

Paula's Gluten Free Flour Mix

1 1/2 c. millet flour
1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1 c. potato starch
1 c. arrowroot powder

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls 

3 c Paula's Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 t xanthan gum
1/2  t sea salt

1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
3 T sugar
1 t dry yeast
2 t coconut oil (melt before measuring)
1 1/2 c + 2 T warm water

18 Pepperoni slices (to make VEGAN: use sliced bell peppers and onions)
4 oz mozzarella, sliced into 1/4" thick squares (For DAIRY FREE: use
Daiya's shredded mozzarella)

Garlic Butter

4 T butter (For DAIRY FREE: use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t salt
3/4 t dried parsley flakes 

1. Grease and dust with GF flour an 8×4 loaf pan.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Combine GF Flour Mix, xanthan gum, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, and dry yeast in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3.  In mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and warm water together and then add the dry ingredients. Mix on high for 2 minutes, this activates the yeast.  It should resemble a thicker cake batter. 

4.  Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel, TURN OFF the oven (you don't want to forget that) then gently place the covered bowl in the warm, off oven.  Let rise about 30 minutes.  
5.  Take the covered bowl out of the oven.  Remove tea towel.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
6.  On a parchment covered cookie sheet, spoon a small amount of dough onto the parchment paper, gently spread out, working from the middle out and making a slight well in the middle for the pepperoni to get placed.   It should be just a bit larger than the size of your pepperoni slice.   Space the rolls 1-2 inches apart.
7.  Place one slice of pepperoni on each dough roll, top the pepperoni with the slice of mozzarella, then top that with another slice of pepperoni.  Spoon a little more dough onto each roll and spoon dough to cover the pepperoni.  Use the spoon to gently spread the dough making sure the edges are sealed with dough (to help keep the mozzarella from melting out onto the cookie sheet while baking).  
8.  Bake rolls at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 
9.  While rolls are baking, in a small glass (microwavable bowl), melt butter and stir in spices.  When rolls are finished baking, remove from oven and brush with garlic butter.  Serve warm with marinara or pizza sauce.

Makes 18 rolls.

Takes about 90 minutes to make, start to finish.

Check out these great blog party's where I've shared this recipe - Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays and Allergy Friendly Fridays.