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.