Just in time...

Ok--so maybe not just in time. The Christmas cards will be a bit late this year, but I think a stamp from the post office on Christmas Eve is kind of fun!

Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Sugar Cookies

My mom has always made a big batch of sugar cookies at Christmas time, and I was feeling a little sad about those cookies this year, thinking I would have to miss out. It's funny how I still think that way sometimes, after more than a year of my dietary changes. But--then the light bulb moment! Restructure the recipe!

I'm so happy with the results, and I hope you will be too. Would you let me know if you give these cookies a try?

You'll Need:
3/4 Cup Earth Balance
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs {I haven't tried using an egg replacer, but I think it would work in this recipe}
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups GF Flour {I used Bob's Red Mill AP Blend}
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum

To Make:
Combine the Earth Balance and sugar and whip for several minutes. I used my stand mixer, but a hand mixer would also work.
Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix to combine.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, stirring to distribute the baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum in the flour.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, blending on a low speed to prevent the flour from flying.
Place the dough in a covered container and refrigerate for several hours {or overnight} before baking.

To Bake:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop equal portions of dough, rolling each in the palm of your hand to create a ball.
When you place the ball of dough on the pan, lightly squish it to create... well... a flattened ball! This will help the surface of the cookies stay slightly flat for the frosting.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly golden around the edges.
Cool completely on a wire rack, or on an extra piece of parchment paper.

If you'd like to frost your cookies--and who wouldn't??--I recommend my recipe for Buttercream Frosting.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

I love this buttercream frosting for cookies and cakes. It's so simple to put together, and so much tastier than a frosting made with shortening. I especially love it paired with my sugar cookies.

1/2 Cup Earth Balance {at room temperature}
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar {reduce to about 3 Cups for frosting a cake}
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp. Almond Milk
1-2 Drops Food Coloring

Whip the Earth Balance until it is smooth and begins to fluff a bit.
Slowly add the powdered sugar to Earth Balance, mixing well.
Add the vanilla, almond milk, and food coloring.
Whip the mixture for several minutes until it is smooth and fluffy.

Rainbow Wreath

I love the way this wreath turned out!!

My hubby, on the other hand, says he doesn't "get it." Clearly, he doesn't see the prettiness or the simplicity of the project. Or the fact that I make and do in order to have fun... not just for the finished product.

Our bathroom is all white and gray, with the exception of a brightly colored rag rug. I love the way this new wreath ties the rug in a bit.


Making the wreath was quite simple, but I can't claim the idea as my own. Find a tutorial at Duo Fiberworks.

Polka-Dot Mobile

I started this project a few weeks back, and then sort of just walked away. It was left to hang, unfinished, in our little breakfast nook. Extra-long strands if fishing line tangled in my eyelashes whenever I leaned in to clean the bench seat in our nook.

I'm not kidding.

I'm so glad I was finally able to pull myself together and FINISH this one! It's been awfully gray and gloomy lately, and this mobile is a perfect little spot of sunshine.

The good news? 

You can make one too!

A tutorial really isn't even necessary, but here are the basics:

Gather your supplies:
An embroidery hoop {or other circular hanging device}
Several strands of fishing line
A large circle punch
Brightly colored paper
Glue Dots, used for scrapbooking and things {a glue stick would probably work too}

Now get to work:
Cut circles from your paper.
Attach fishing line to your hoop {I tied it in knots around the inner circle of the hoop, then placed the outer circle of the hoop to hold the lines in place}, spacing it evenly around the circle.
Hang the hoop with four more lengths of fishing line, balanced and tied together at the center.
Hang your hoop at a comfy working height.
Use two paper circles and a glue dot to make a "sandwich" around an individual strand of fishing line, pressing firmly.
Continue attaching the circles in whatever pattern {or lack of!} you'd like.

Apple Betty

I've always wondered why this dessert is called a Betty. How it is different from a Crumble, or a Cobbler, I do not know. But growing up, I was served Betty's! Whatever you call 'em, there is something about a yummy, fruit-filled dessert.

This is my grandma's recipe, swapped and changed a bit to be allergy friendly.

For the Filling:
6-7 Apples {more or less, depending on size}
Cinnamon & Sugar

For the Crumb Topping:
1 1/3 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Earth Balance
1 C. GF Flour Blend
1 C. GF Oats
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt

Peel, core and slice the apples, layering them in a 9x13 baking dish.
Top each layer with a bit of cinnamon and sugar.
Repeat the process until the baking dish is quite full. Remember, the apples with reduce as they cook. Too few apples will result in a very flat dessert!
Mix the crumble ingredients in a medium bowl, digging in with your hands if you'd like, to help break up the Earth Balance and really mix it in.
Spread the topping over the apples evenly.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges are bubbly.

Shared on... allergy friendly friday

Lasagna {gluten, dairy, and soy free}

I love lasagna. Love, love, love it! When I gave up gluten, dairy, and soy, there was a period of time where I mourned the loss of foods I've always enjoyed. I didn't see HOW I would manage to recreate my favorites so that I could eat them. But then my survival instinct kicked in and I got to work.

It's true--this lasagna isn't the same as my old lasagna. There just isn't a way to mimic the melty, gooeyness of cheese baked in the oven. But! This version doesn't give me a tummy ache. Fair trade, I say!

You'll Need:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1.25 lb. Ground Turkey {it comes packaged in that amount, but 1 lb. would do also}
1 Large White Onion, diced
Several mushrooms, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed
1 Large Can {24 oz.} Tomato Sauce
Salt, Pepper, and Italian Seasoning to taste
Fresh Basil
8-10 GF Lasagna Noodles {boil noodles separately, but only to a chewy consistency--not cooked through, rinse with cool water and set aside}
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Daiya Mozzarella-Style Shreds

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with oil. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Add the diced onion and cook for several minutes. The goal here isn't to brown the onion, but to see it begin to look translucent. Reduce the heat if necessary.
Add the mushrooms and cook another few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the turkey, and cook through, stirring occasionally to break up the meat. Add a couple of Tablespoons of Italian seasoning to the turkey so that it begins to pick up the flavor.
When the turkey is no longer pink, add the garlic {I use a garlic press and smash the cloves directly into the pan} and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat a bit, and add the tomato sauce, stirring to combine.
Add some additional Italian seasoning, plus a hearty shake of salt and pepper, and stir the mixture.
Add several leaves of chopped, fresh basil.
With a clean spoon, taste the sauce. Add more seasoning to suit your tastes.
When the sauce is done, you're ready to layer your lasagna.
To the bottom of your baking dish, add four or five lasagna noodles.
Spread 1/2 of the sauce mixture of the the noodles.
Sprinkle with a bit of nutritional yeast flakes plus a bit of Daiya.
Repeat the process, adding the rest of the noodles, the rest of the sauce mixture, a bit more nutritional yeast, and some more Daiya.
Bake your lasagna for about 20 minutes, until the Daiya has melted and the edges are bubbly.
Remove lasagna from the oven, and allow it to rest for at least ten minutes. This will help your lasagna stay together a bit more when you serve it.

**By request, if you aren't gluten, dairy, or soy free, feel free to use this recipe by making the following substitutions:**
Use regular lasagna noodles if you aren't gluten free. Follow the directions to cook them to a chewy consistency.
Use standard mozzarella cheese, and perhaps add a modest layer of cottage cheese in the center of your lasagna.
Omit the nutritional yeast flakes, which are used in vegan/dairy free cooking to add a bit of a "cheesy" flavor.

{allergy friendly} Chocolate Fudge

A friend put in a special request for fudge the other day. How could I turn her down??

2/3 C. Coconut Milk {this kind}
1 2/3 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Mini Marshmallows
1 1/2 C. Chocolate Chips {this kind}
1 tsp. Vanilla

You'll also need something to grease your pan. I used my Spectrum Organic Shortening. Earth Balance would also work, or some coconut oil.

Heat coconut milk and sugar in a sauce pan until it boils.
Boil the milk and sugar mixture for five minutes. Boil at medium-high, or perhaps even a bit lower. You want a nice, calm boil. Not a rapid boil.
Remove the mixture from heat and stir in marshmallows, chocolate, and vanilla.
Stir very well, until all ingredients are melted and thoroughly combined.
Pour warm fudge into a greased 8x8 baking dish, or smaller. {A smaller dish will result in thicker fudge, like what you see in the image above.}
Allow the fudge to cool completely before cutting into it.

I shared this recipe on: Allergy Free Wednesdays

Overnight Oatmeal

My hubby gets up at the crack of dawn for work. He adores his sleep, so he tends to get up at the very last minute, leaving little time for breakfast. He also adores his food, so I often hear that he wishes there were more quick, simple, and WARM breakfast options.

When he mentioned yesterday that he thought he'd like to try taking a few extra minutes in the morning to make himself a bowl of oatmeal, a number of frightening images popped into my mind. I pictured burned, sticky pots on the stove and forgotten bowls on the kitchen table. He simply doesn't fare well in the morning, in the kitchen. There isn't enough time!

But then, an old Apartment Therapy {the kitchn} post came to mind. I knew the recipe had been posted for make-ahead steel cut oats, which aren't what he wanted, but it gave me enough hope to keep searching.

{Are you still with me? How about another picture?}

What I came up with is what you see in the pictures above. It's a combination of suggestions and my own ideas, and it tastes so, so yummy. Topped with a bit of brown sugar, it's like a warm little slice of heaven in a jar. A jar! I think I'll try to join the food-in-a-jar movement, because eating my oats from a jar today made me pretty darned happy.


A very happy hubby called this morning to let me know that he LOVED his overnight oatmeal. Success! The best part is that he can grab the jar on the way out the door, and then make his oatmeal at work while he gets ready for the day.

You'll Need:
A Pint Jar {another microwave-safe container would work too}
1/2 Cup {gluten-free} Oats*
1 Cup Almond Milk*
A Sprinkle of Salt
Agave Nectar

Optional toppings... raisins, dried cherries, fresh fruit, brown sugar, peanut butter... you name it!

To Make:
The night before you plan to eat your oatmeal, fill a clean jar with the oats, almond milk, salt, and a bit of agave nectar. If you'd like to include raisins or dried fruit, add it the night before as well. The milk will soften the fruit.
Close up the jar, give it a shake to mix the ingredients, and stash it in the fridge.
When you're ready to eat your oatmeal, remove the metal lid and place the jar in the microwave for two minutes.
Carefully remove the jar from the microwave, as it'll likely be a bit hot. Stir in other toppings or sweeteners if you wish. I only added a bit of brown sugar to mine.

*Note: the same recipe can be made with non-gluten free oats and your milk of choice.

Roast Chicken

On Saturday, I learned that it's not necessarily easy to take a picture of a whole chicken. I still don't really care much for this image, but  it's what I have. And the chicken really does speak for itself. Make one, and you'll see!

Until recently, I was a bit afraid of roasting chickens. It was my mom who encouraged me to try again. You see, I tried to roast a chicken years ago and the darned thing splattered all over the oven and caused quite a bit of smoke. What's up with that? I never did find a culprit. At any rate, this recipe will NOT cause a smokey kitchen. If you've ever felt intimidated by a whole chicken, start here.

You'll Need:
One Whole Chicken
One Lemon {sliced into wedges}
Whole, Fresh Herbs {I love Rosemary and Thyme}
Salt & Pepper

To Make:
Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare your chicken by removing those fun little gifts stuffed into the cavity, and giving the chicken a quick rinse, if you'd like.
Place the chicken in a 9x13 baking dish, and squeeze some of the lemon juice over the bird. Place the rinds, and the remaining wedges of lemon inside the cavity of the bird.
Lightly salt (and pepper, if you'd like) the outside of the chicken.
Place the fresh herbs around the chicken, over the chicken, and inside with the lemon wedges, then pop it in the oven for at least 50 minutes.
A safely cooked chicken should register 180 degrees on a meat thermometer. Any less, and my chickens go back into the oven for a few minutes.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Butternut Squash Soup

I really love this soup. It's perfect for fall or winter, and especially yummy with some sort of warm bread for dunking. My measurements aren't exact, because for me, this is more of a "throw it all in" soup. Feel free to splurge a bit, or leave something out all together if you don't have it on hand.

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Carrots {peeled and chopped}
3-4 Stalks of Celery {chopped}
1 Large Onion {diced}
1 {very large} Can of Chicken or Vegetable Broth

2 Cups {peeled,diced} Butternut Squash
2 Medium Potatoes {peeled and diced}
Salt & Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot.
Saute the celery, carrots and onion over medium-high heat for several minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth, then add the diced potatoes and squash.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat a bit, cover and cook for at least 20 minutes.
When the vegetables are tender, season the soup. I like to add a hearty sprinkle of both salt and pepper, and at least a tablespoon of cinnamon. 

**For chunky soup, stop here! For creamy, pureed soup, continue reading.**

Working in small batches, blend the soup in your food processor or blender to puree. {I typically pour the soup into a large mixing bowl, puree in batches, and return the pureed soup to the original pot over low heat.}
Taste your soup, adding additional seasoning if necessary.

It's finished! {a new blanket for the boy}

I'm so, so thrilled with the results of my second EVER crochet project, that I couldn't resist sharing it here. 

When we were home for Thanksgiving, I asked my mom to finally teach me to crochet. I knew the basics, but a couple of steps were missing... and creating a mess. So I went to work with a Q Hook {read: BIG!} and made a scarf one evening. 

After the scarf, I was craving another, bigger project. So I decided to dive right in with a new blanket for my favorite little guy. He helped me choose the colors, but he won't receive the finished blanket until Christmas. I can't wait, because I know he's going to love it, and that makes this mama so darned proud of herself.

Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free Oatmeal-Banana Bread

I like to keep a bunch of bananas on hand, especially for our little guy, but they don't always wind up being eaten before they're looking a bit too brown and squishy for our tastes. The natural solution? Banana bread, of course!

I stumbled on a recipe similar to this one (though not designed to be allergy-friendly) and made it my own several months ago. I've made some changes as I go, but I think now, I'm finally happy with the results.

You'll Need:
1 1/4 Cups GF All-Purpose Flour Blend
1 Cup GF Oats
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon {sometimes I get a little crazy and add a whole teaspoon}
4 {ripe} Bananas, mashed
1/4 Cup Applesauce
1 Tbsp. Canola or Grapeseed Oil
1 Egg {beaten}
2 Egg Whites {whipped to soft peaks}

To Make:
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mash the bananas in a small bowl, then add in the applesauce, oil, and whole egg.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Beat the egg whites on high {use your hand mixer} to form soft peaks.
Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to over-mix.
Pour the batter into a greased {I use Spectrum Shortening} bread pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the loaf comes out clean.

This recipe shared on... Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

My chocolate chip cookie recipe is a big hit here at home. I wanted something different, though, and was inspired by a recipe I saw online.

By simply adding about 1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract and several drops of Green Coloring to my original recipe, I came up with these! They're perfect for the holidays.

Faux-sagna. Seriously. {gluten, dairy, and soy free}

I love lasagna.
Sometimes, however, I do not love to MAKE lasagna.
I'm not always prepared that far in advance, and I don't want to fiddle with the layering, but I want the taste.

Enter faux-sagna.

It tastes like lasagna, but it takes far less time to put together, and doesn't require use of the oven.

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. Ground Turkey {or beef}
1 Onion, diced
Mushrooms, finely chopped {optional}
2 Cloves Garlic {crushed}
Italian Seasoning {to taste}
Salt & Pepper {to taste}
1 {large, 24 oz.} can Tomato Sauce
8-10 Lasagna Noodles {Tinkyada brand are great}, broken into pieces and boiled until slightly undercooked, then rinsed
Daiya Mozzarella-style Shreds

Heat the olive oil in a large pot {again, my enameled dutch oven comes into play!}, and cook the turkey and onion until done.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Season the meat to taste using the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Reduce the heat to simmer, and add the tomato sauce. Allow the mixture to cook for several minutes, then taste again. You may wish to add a bit more seasoning at this point.
Turn off the heat.
Add the broken lasagna noodles, stir to combine, top with Daiya shreds, and cover the pot, allowing it to sit for at least ten minutes.
Lift the lid, admire your handy-work, and serve!

Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free Turkey Taco Soup

I made taco soup all.the.time. before giving up gluten, dairy and soy. I panicked a bit when winter rolled around and I didn't think I was going to be able to make taco soup any longer. But I was wrong! My recipe required a few changes where the seasonings are concerned, but the taste is identical.

You can easily make this recipe in your crock pot by cooking the meat and onion ahead of time, adding the seasoning, then placing the ingredients in your crock pot for the day. Your house will smell so yummy when you come home!

You'll Need:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. Ground Turkey {or beef, chicken}
1 {large, diced} Onion
Taco Seasoning {I use homemade--recipe here}
3 Cans of Beans {kidney, pinto, black, or a combination}
1 {large} Can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Can of Whole-Kernel Corn {not cream-style!}
1 Can of Diced Green Chilis

Your choice of garnish: Fritos, Green Onions, {dairy-free} Sour Cream, and/or Dairy Free Cheese alternative {I love Daiya}.

To Make:
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan. I use my enameled cast iron dutch oven.
Saute the onion and ground meat until cooked through.
Add taco seasoning to taste, as you would for tacos, adding a bit of water to help blend the mixture.
Add the beans, tomatoes, corn, and green chili's, and stir to combine.
Add a bit of water {about one can full}, cover, and simmer for at least an hour.

Serve with desired toppings.

This post shared at: Gluten Free Wednesdays


Ok--so I did it. I put my tree up. Before Thanksgiving.

Hubby wasn't a fan of the idea, and we've been, ehem, conversing... about the topic for several days now. But on Sunday, as the snow fell outside and I worked inside on my Christmas crafts, I couldn't stand it anymore. The final straw was when that same hubby put up the lights outside.

So I asked once more. And I won.

What about you? Is your tree up already? Do you refuse to even *think* about Christmas until you've slept off your Turkey Dinner? Or do you fall somewhere in between?

I'd love to know :)

Gluten Free Play Dough

We don't really *need* gluten free play dough in our home, but I know that rule doesn't apply to everyone. Children who have been diagnosed with Celiac or a gluten intolerance shouldn't play with "normal" play dough. I was looking for a fun challenge, and we were in need of some new dough... so, here it is! Play dough that's safe for your littlest Celiac!

Update: see this post for Autumn-inspired, Pumpkin Spice play dough!

You'll Need:
1 Cup Rice Flour {brown or white}
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Cup Salt
1 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive or Grapeseed Oil
1 Cup {hot} Water
Food Coloring {optional, add enough to make your desired color/shade}

To Make:
Combine dry ingredients in a sauce pan.
Add oil, stirring to mix, then add water and food coloring.
Place the pan over medium-low heat for several minutes, stirring frequently until the dough begins to form one large "ball" in the pan.
When the dough is mostly solid and stuck together (3-4 minutes, give or take), turn it out onto the counter to cool for several minutes.
Knead the warm dough, adding a bit more cornstarch if the dough feels too sticky. I added one extra teaspoon to my dough.
When the dough is smooth and soft, it's ready for play!

Keep the dough sealed in an air-tight container for best results.

Spicy Sesame Noodles {gluten free, soy free, and vegan}

The other day, when we had spaghetti and meatballs, I made way too much pasta. Truly, I have no idea what I was thinking, but it was a lot of pasta. No leftover sauce meant a bowl of sad, limp noodles in my fridge. What's a girl to do?

Make Spicy Sesame Noodles, of course!

I originally made something similar to this by following a non-gluten/dairy/soy free recipe. I followed it too closely, didn't really think through the changes my ingredients would make, and the result was only so-so.

This second attempt is much tastier. That means I get to share it with you!

You'll Need:
1 Box Spaghetti or Linguine Noodles {boiled and rinsed under cool water}
1/2 Cup Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes {or less, as this will result in a decently spicy taste!}
4 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos {soy sauce replacer}
2 Tbsp. Honey {agave should do nicely here, and if you're using true soy sauce, add extra honey/agave}

Chopped Green Onions
Chopped {fresh} Cilantro
Sesame Seeds

To Make:
In a small pan, heat sesame oil and red pepper flakes over medium heat for several minutes, being careful not to boil or burn the oil.
Pour the oil through a small strainer into a bowl, discarding the red pepper flakes.
Add coconut aminos and honey to the warm oil. Stir to melt honey and combine ingredients.
Pour oil mixture over the cool pasta, add desired amount of green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds, then stir to combine the mixture.

You can enjoy your snack right away, or stash it in the fridge for a bit to allow the flavors more time to combine.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Apple Compote {Gluten, Dairy, and Soy Free}

This is a favorite weekend breakfast in our home. The idea to add pumpkin puree was born from a batch of too-dry gluten-free pancakes, and it stuck! We very rarely make any other variety of pancake.

I start out by making the compote, as it will need a bit of time on the stovetop. While the compote simmers, you can whip up your pancakes.

Compote Ingredients:
2 Apples, Peeled and Diced
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
1-2 Cups Water

Compote Directions:
Place apples, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
Allow the apples to cook for several minutes while the mixture becomes thick.
Slowly add water, a few tablespoons at a time, allowing the mixture to thicken again in between. I never measure the water, and prefer to just continue adding water until the texture looks right. You want the sauce to be thick, but able to flow over the edges of your pancakes, like syrup.
Reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer while you make your pancakes.

Pancake Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix {Pamela's, etc. will do nicely}

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. {freshly ground} Nutmeg

1 Egg {apple sauce would work well if you're vegan}
3/4 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Can {15 oz.} Pumpkin Puree

Pancake Directions:
Whisk flour mixture and spices in a medium bowl.
Add egg, almond milk and oil, mixing thoroughly until there are no lumps in the batter.
Stir in the pumpkin.

Cook pancakes as you normally would {I prefer to use my electric skillet at about 350 degrees}, taking care to spray the pan to avoid sticking. Because ALL aerosol oil products contain soy, I use a Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer. It allows me to put in my own oil, then pump, pump, pump, and spray a mist of oil.

To serve, top pancakes with apple compote.

Cinnamon Cookie-Cutter Ornaments

I remember, as a small child, pulling cinnamon-scented ornaments from storage every year. They were homemade, like these, and so familiar to me. Honestly though, I had forgotten about those ornaments until I ran across a recipe for the "dough" used to make these little stars.

They're quite simple, and you likely have the necessary ingredients already hidden in your pantry. You might also have a very eager assistant in your home. I did! Camden enjoyed helping me place and press the cookie cutters.

You'll Need:
1 Cup Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Applesauce
1/2 Cup Glue {craft, Elmer's, etc.}
Glitter {optional!}
Cookie Cutters
A {throw-away} Straw
Paper Towels, Parchment or Newspaper--this is where you'll place your ornaments to dry
Ribbon, for hanging your finished ornaments

Combine the cinnamon and apple sauce.
Stir in glue.
Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
Working with about 1/3 of the dough at a time, knead the mixture to soften it a bit and keep it from crumbling.
Spread the dough to about 1/4" thick using a rolling pin. Use extra cinnamon to "flour" your rolling pin if you need, and sprinkle on some glitter, too, if you'd like.
Cut out shapes as you would cookies.
Transfer to your drying surface.
Using the straw, poke a hole in each ornament where you'll want the hanging ribbon to be placed.
Allow the shapes to dry, turning every few hours to keep the ornaments uniform in shape {the edges may curl a bit} and to allow both sides to dry evenly. My ornaments sat for about 24 hours.
{Alternately, you may choose to bake your ornaments at 200 degrees for a couple of hours, turning once or twice.}
When the ornaments are dry, thread a ribbon or cord through each one to hang.

{this moment}

Placing an order with Christina Weedon Photography? Your packing will now look something like this. Tying the bright, cheery bow makes me grin each and every time. 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

A Place for Christmas Cards

When my toddler broke this embroidery hoop last summer, I chose to keep it stashed in with several others I own. Though it wouldn't work for holding fabric, I knew it would still serve a purpose. Yesterday, I discovered that purpose.

When the Christmas cards start rolling in this year, this is where they'll go!

Making my card "wreath" was very simple:

Did you follow? If not, try this:

Choose a large embroidery hoop.
Place several ordinary clothespins around the hoop, spacing them evenly. I used 12 clothespins.
One by one, glue the clothespins to the hoop, clip pointing out, with a glue gun.
{Note: I glued the top-center pin facing in, to showcase a favorite card or clip an ornament in the center of the hoop.}
Select a ribbon slightly more narrow than the outer edge of your hoop.
Working in sections, apply a thin layer of hot glue to attach ribbon all the way around your hoop. Begin and end on either side of the tightening screw.
Attach a loop of coordinating {or contrasting} ribbon at the top to hang your wreath.

I can't wait to receive our first card this year, just so I can clip it up!