Friday, March 23, 2012

Faces of History

We all enjoyed the "Faces of History" program put on by David's Essentials class (Classical Conversations). Each of the children chose a famous person from the Revolutionary War time period and wrote a research paper. At the program, the student either read his paper or gave a presentation-- in costume! David was Benedict Arnold and did a fantastic job! We are so proud!

Everyone happy!


Laura very content with Grandaddy

What a good-looking Benedict Arnold!

Congratulations to all the Essentials students! Well done!

First Day of Spring

This is what people in South Georgia do on the first day of Spring. Slip and Slide!

Laura stares down the slip and slide. 

Water Sprinkles

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Cheesy

I love macaroni and cheese. It's the best part about a potluck or covered dish.

Fried chicken? Okay. Biscuits? Sure.

But first show me to the macaroni and cheese. The kind baked in an old harvest gold porcelain dish with the picture of a fox hunt on the side. The kind with the crumbs on top and the chewy, overbaked noodles on the edge. Mmmm....

Although, come to think of it, I won't argue with the boxed stuff either (except for that Velveeta version-- that stuff's only fit for hockey players and people who dress their dogs like Smurfs).

But I'm gluten-free.

And dairy-free.

That rules out all semolina, milk, and cheese.

What about the mac & cheese, man? What about the mac & cheese?

Here it is! It looks like macaroni and cheese, it tastes like macaroni and cheese.... it even strings like macaroni and cheese!! Hooray!

All I need is a harvest gold baking dish.


1 package of Tinkyada rice elbow/rotini noodles
1 cup carrot puree (cooked whole or baby carrots, pureed in the blender with a little bit of the water they are cooked in)
2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup + 2 T arrowroot or tapioca powder (fill the 1/4 cup and then fill it halfway)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp salt

Add noodles to boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain and spray with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add all other ingredients to the blender; blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cooking until just boiling and thick. Pour over noodles and stir.

I usually serve this with broccoli and flax seeds (ground or whole).


Dr. Seuss Day

The Littles' preschool celebrated Dr. Seuss' Birthday on March 2nd, so we did, too!

We had green eggs and ham (er, turkey),

and the preschool had green egg-shaped cookies with green frosting. Another challenge!

I couldn't use food coloring, so for the nice green color I used liquid chlorophyll.

It was Silly Sock Day, too!

This is what I sent with my kids:


1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup sweet white rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sugar
1T guar gum
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

 ⅓ cup water
½ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 T liquid chlorophyll

 Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, kneading if necessary. Shape into eggs and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

I am not going to post my frosting recipe, as it still needs a LOT of work!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Corn-Free Purim

Nothing says Purim like Nutella Hamantaschen. I need them. I make them every year. Every. Year. Without Nutella Hamantaschen (capital letters, please), the newness of spring becomes merely the agonal death throes of winter. Without Nutella Hamantaschen, it cannot be Purim. Without Purim, I cannot begin Passover cleaning, which means my house will sink into the abyss of unfound chametz, and chaos and panic will ensue. Nutella Hamantaschen are critical for survival. FEMA keeps track of this stuff.

Nutella contains both milk and artificial flavor. Oh, bother.

Purim is the celebration of the Jews' deliverance from yet another plot to exterminate them. A lot of people think of it as Queen Esther's holiday (the story is detailed in the book of Esther). Here's a link to one version of the story. It involves quite a bit of irony, a beauty pageant, a few face-palm moments for Haman (the king's vizier), and such noble themes as justice, family bonds, faith, and purpose.

Traditionally, the story is read to children, who "BOO" and spin groggers at Haman's name and cheer for Mordecai. Some dress up in costumes, and there is a tradition of drinking until one cannot tell the difference between Haman and Mordecai. Hangovers are not my style, so I don't recommend that one, particularly if you have to work the next day.

So I had to try to make GF/CF, Corn-free Nutella Hamantaschen. Whew.

Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread. So, I started with 2 cups of hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are incredibly expensive. I had one shot.

Hazelnut Blender Cam
I placed all of the Hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and into the oven at 420 degrees, per an online recipe. 12 minutes later, I had nicely burned hazelnuts.

"They'll be okay, Mom."
"You mean, after the smoke clears?"

Perseverance, right?

I let them cool and then rubbed them with a dry towel. This pulled the skins off and made a delightful mess. As I'm doing this, I keep hearing an ominous crackling sound coming from the nuts. In disgust, I left them to cool overnight.

Everything is supposed to look different in the morning, but these looked remarkably similar to how I had left them. I piled the hazelnuts into the blender and added canola oil. I make cashew butter every other week, so I was familiar with the process. I put in the other ingredients and out came a beautiful batch of homemade nutella. A batch of homemade nutella that tasted just like sweet, chocolatey, charcoal.

But Purim is about overcoming difficulties, right? Right?

So I tried again with cashews. I can make some mean cashew butter, so I knew I had a better shot at this. I made a base of cashew butter and added the nutella goodness. Voila! Cashew nutella. It ain't quite the same, but perhaps it will spare us the demise of Western culture. The only drawback was that this recipe used agave as the sweetener, and I found the fruity-overtones confusing. Just give me sugar. It's a holiday, after all.

I'm still looking for the ultimate GF/CF,CF sugar cookie recipe.The only sugar cookie recipe I have at this point is my Dr. Seuss recipe (that post is coming); it's not fantastic, but I thought it would work. I made a batch of that, cut out triangles/formed triangles--I couldn't decide which method was better--and plopped some chocolate cashew butter in the middle. The triangle shape is used so that it looks like Haman's tricorn hat; fashions of the American Revolution were all the rage in Ancient Persia. After baking for 10-15 minutes, I had my own homemade cashew nutella hamantaschens. Make that Cashew Nutella Hamentaschens. Yeah, I just might survive.

So, we were watching VeggieTales Esther and eating cookies. And the wheels start turning. Hazelnuts. Cashews. PEANUTS!! I made a peanut butter version using my favorite no-sugar-no-oil-just-peanuts-peanut butter: Joseph's Creamy Valencia Peanut Butter. Soooo good. It's worth another batch of cookies....


Just hand me a spoon.

Purim Sameach!


2 cups of cashews
1T of canola oil

Place cashews in the blender, and pour oil in the center. Blend until very smooth; it may take a few minutes. Makes 1 cup cashew butter


2 cups of hazelnuts
1 T oil
1 T vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup agave
(OR 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar
OR stevia equivalent)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk

Heat oven to 350. Place hazelnuts on a cookie sheet. Roast for 8 minutes-- watch carefully!! Let cool. Rub with a dry towel to remove skins. Place in a blender, pour oil into center of nuts. Blend for a few minutes until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and well mixed. Makes 2 cups nutella.


1 cup brown rice
½ cup sweet white rice
½ cup tapioca
½ cup sugar
1T guar gum
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

 ⅓ cup water
½ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, kneading if necessary. Form into a log and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Cut slices and form into triangles. Place jelly or nutella in the middle. Bake for 10-15 minutes.


1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 T vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup sugar

Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 cups.