Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Butter Pancakes and Breakfast Sausage Patties

Yesterday was National Pancake Day, so what better to serve my family for dinner than their favorite meal - pancakes and sausage!  Since it was feeling and looking a whole lot like fall outside, I decided to switch up my pancake recipe a bit and use my mom's wonderful homemade apple butter.  OH YUM!!!  They were a HUGE hit!   I use the same basic pancake recipe, but change it up depending on what the kids or Steve (or I am) are hungry for.  Sometimes I use plain applesauce in place of the apple butter, and use cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; often I use pumpkin, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. The kids love mashed banana with a bit of ginger, and a handful of toasted pecans tossed in. Another favorite is plain applesauce with blueberries and a pinch of ginger and nutmeg (You can't taste the plain applesauce, and I prefer it to using over 1/2 cup of oil).  Before discovering Mandie's chocolate allergy, we'd make pumpkin pancakes and toss in a cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  And no, the kids can't decide which kind are their favorites!  They always beg for leftovers in their lunch the next day, complete with pure maple syrup (or Grandma's peach syrup) to dip them in, which is why I make a large batch.  These freeze very well, and reheat nicely in the microwave or toaster.

Apple Butter Pancakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup BRM All Purpose GF flour
1 tsp. guar gum
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. Hain Featherweight Grain Free Baking Powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup chia seeds

Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. Grapeseed oil
 1/2 cup apple butter (we used some my mom made)
 2 tsp. pure vanilla (I use our own, made from vanilla beans and potato vodka) 
4 beaten eggs*
 5 cups water

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  I cook mine on a large electric griddle, getting 8 pancakes per batch.

*Can also use 4 Tbsp. flax meal dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water

 Sage Breakfast Sausage Patties

 1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
5 Tbsp minced fresh sage or 2 Tbsp dried sage
5 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley or 2 Tbsp. dried parsley
6 cloves of minced garlic
 4 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients - I use my hands and squish them together.  Using about a 1 Tbsp. measure, form sausage into balls and flatten slightly.  We cook ours on our George Foreman grill, for 3-4 minutes.  You can also cook them 3-5 minutes per side, in a skillet coated with about 1 Tbsp. of grapeseed oil.  

Linked to: Whole Intentions Weekend Whatever Linkup #40
Vegetarian Mama Gluten Free Fridays #7

Monday, September 24, 2012

Will You Support Our Team?

My team will be walking in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy on Sunday, September 30th, in Chicago, in Lincoln Park.   Please consider making a donation to help fund research for a cure for food allergies!  Our team is Amanda's Allergy Annihilators. 
This link will take you to our team page.   I will post pictures and updated during and after the walk.
Thank you, 
   Jen and family 

This is my Mandie, who we are walking for.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Harvest Day Cake and Maple Frosting

This cake is my hands down fall favorite, and I often choose it for my October birthday - even over chocolate!!   Steve's birthday was Monday, and we got to celebrate with the kids Tuesday night.  I am not surprised that this is what he chose for his cake.   This cake is very moist and dense and is a fanatastic spice type of cake.  I love pumpkin in absolutely anything, and this is no exception. The frosting recipe is amazingly simple - even after making Powdered Sugar in my Magic Bullet!   The maple is an amazing compliment for the pumpkin in the cake.  I'm sure it will become as requested in your house as it is in mine!

Harvest Day Cake
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend***
½ cup tapioca starch
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. Hain Featherweight Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp. guar gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. sea  salt
1 ¼ cups grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. flax meal combined with 9 Tbsp. hot water (let stand 5 minutes) **
1 can (15 oz) pumkin
¾ cup Craisins brand dried cranberries
¾ cup toasted chopped pecans
1.        Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of “9x13” pan, or two 9” round pans.  Set aside.   Combine flours, baking powder and soda, spices, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
2.         Add oil and flax goo, and  mix for one minute.  Add sugars and beat another couple of minutes.  Add in pumpkin and flour mixture.   Stir in cranberries and pecans.  Pour into greased pans.
3.       Bake rectangular pan for 47-55 minutes, and rounds 38-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and center feels firm.   Cool on a wire rack.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with Maple Frosting.

** May use 3 whole eggs instead of flax, or the equivalent of egg replacer
***Whole wheat or all purpose flours may be substituted for gluten free flours.

Maple Frosting
3 Tbsp. lard*
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup maple syrup**

Combine all ingredients in your mixer (I use my Kitchenaid) and whip until it reaches spreading consistency.  Sometimes I have to add 1/8 cup of additional maple syrup.

    * Instead of lard you may also use butter or shortening of choice
     **  Instead of maple syrup, you can use milk of choice

Monday, September 10, 2012

Super Power Muffins

I made these muffins as a combination of a few recipes, which of course I further modified to suit our family.  I sent a weeks worth to school with Mandie for her snack, and she LOVED them.  I made a huge batch to take to the air show with us last weekend.  After the energy bites were gone, these were the next thing we all ate.  I wouldn't have even needed to make sandwiches.  They are really yummy and really really healthy.


1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand)
1/2cup ground millet
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp. non-iodized sea salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Hain Featherweight Baking Powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)
2 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce 
1/2 cup ground flax meal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I make my own)
2 cups grated zucchini or finely chopped fresh spinach
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. guar gum
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 muffin cups with cooking spray.  Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.  In a smaller bowl, combine bananas, applesauce, eggs, carrot, and vanilla.  Fold wet ingredients into dry mix and stir until combined.    Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Cool completely on a wire rack.  
   These freeze very well.  I am going to try them as mini-muffins for Mandie's class treat in a few weeks I think.

Whole Intentions Weekend Linkup

I linked this post to the above blog.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Energy Bites - Two Versions

I decided to make Energy Bites to take with us yesterday when we went to the air show in Waukegan.  Of course I had to modify recipes, and I found out that I didn't have any safe carob chips (see previous post) so I did what any good allergy mama does.  I improvised and reworked and came up with two  yummy recipes for energy bites - one for Mandie, and one for the rest of us.  Both are gluten, dairy, corn, and soy free, Mandie's are of course free of palm, coconut, chocolate, almonds, peanuts, oats, honey,  sunflower, etc.     Needless to say, they were a HUGE hit!  I do think that the next time I do the regular ones I may decrease the oats by 1/4 -1/2 cup to add shredded coconut. 


2 cups Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
2 tsp. pure vanilla (homemade)
dash of salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl.  Using wet hands and a plastic spoon, form into small balls.  Place on waxed paper to set up before storing in an airtight container.


1 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
1/2 cup homemade cashew butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup carob powder
1 tsp. homemade vanilla
dash of salt

With wet hands and plastic spoon, form into small balls.  Let set up on waxed paper before storing in an airtight container.       

To me, these smell like Larabars.  Mandie adores them!   

Linked to: Whole Food Fridays

Friday, September 7, 2012


      This loaf of bread looks like I have felt all day.  I am feeling completely and totally overwhelmed, to the point of tears in fact.  It was a silly thing that started it - a couple of loaves of bread that somehow fell in the oven --- for the second day in a row.  Gluten free bread is so picky!!!!  (Well, any gluten free baking, to be honest.)  I really and truly do not know what happened, but when I pulled them out of the oven, they looked like the above photo.   At least the ends of both loaves are able to be cut and used for sandwiches.  The rest will be frozen in a gallon freezer bag for use as stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Still - why didn't it turn out when it I did the same thing I always do to get beautiful bread???

       The bread is not all that has me overwhelmed today.  Tomorrow we are going to spend the day at the Waukegan Air Show, which will be totally incredible, but packing food for 5 people for an 8-10 hour day, plus wipes, safe hand soap, sunblock, clothes, drinks, .... etc.  I also have to make sure everyone has enough medication along, and of course bring the bottle of Benadryl.    My plan is to fill the family up with pumpkin oatmeal (pumpkin cream of rice for Mandie) before we leave the house, then bring my Super Power Muffins, Energy Bites (a batch for Mandie, and a batch for the rest of us)  {recipes for both will follow}, Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches for the boys, Steve, and I and Cashew Butter & Jelly sandwiches for Mandie, apples, and bananas.  This means that tonight after work and dinner and homework (yes, on a Friday night!) I will make Energy Bites.  Luckily my muffins are made and thawed!       Before I leave tomorrow,  I'll toss a roast in the crockpot with fresh rosemary, potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms, so we can have dinner ready when we get back.          

        Also overwhelming me is the construction going on in our home - not only because of the noise and mess and having everything displaced, but also  because we have hit the painting stage, which MUST be done in the next few days so that the work can continue.  Of course, Mandie's airborne latex allergy and my asthma and chemical sensitivity make this extremely complicated.   The only primer we have found that is safe is by PURE, and of course contains latex.  It has no VOC's and low/no odor, so it only gives me a mild headache.  The paint, Dutch Boy's No VOC and no/low odor paint is also latex paint - which is how we figured out that Mandie's latex allergy had gone airborne when we were painting Steve's office last fall and she went down to see what he was doing and started reacting.  (She started turning red, got a dry, barky cough, and told Steve she itched all over and could not walk up the stairs, but needed Benadryl).   So, the kids' dad will meet up with us after church on Sunday, and take them for an extra afternoon and night so we can get our painting done on schedule.  It kills me to give up any time at all with them, but it is the only safe thing we can do.   As much as I know they are safe with their dad, being a mom and especially an allergy mom, I can't help but worry about them when they are not with me. It is tough, the need to have them out of the house to protect them, but wanting them with me all the same.  
             A few minutes ago I went to make the Energy Bites, and was going to use carob chips in Mandie's in place of the chocolate chips.  No problem, as I had a new bag in the fridge.  After I cut them open I again read the label - and saw palm kernel oil.  Sigh.....   These were from Barry Farms.  I hope to find a safe brand, but fear I will be making my own soon.  I know the Sunspire brand are not Mandie-safe.  And yes, I shed a few tears on Steve's wonderful shoulder, then started laughing like a mad woman.    Then I got busy and made Mandie's using carob powder instead of chips.  I will post the recipes tomorrow night or Sunday.  Now it is time for bed so we can get up and make lunches to take to the airshow tomorrow!  I am sure I will feel more positive in the morning.

Super Smoothies!

This morning my kids were up very early with the storm that literally shook our house, so I decided to whip them up a wonderful, quick breakfast.  I used inspiration from a recipe a friend sent me, and what I had in my freezer.         I tossed 1/2 bag of frozen peaches, 2 cups of frozen blueberries, 2 cups of pomegranate juice, and about 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened hemp milk, 1 very ripe avocado, and 1 heaping Tbsp of Chia Seeds into my Ninja and blended until thick and creamy.  What a wonderful way to start our day!

And yes, I took the picture of my mug on the dash of the van as Steve and I were headed to our busses!  ;-)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Bites

Since we did not have the kids this weekend, I wanted to play with a new recipe and modify it to suit my own allergies.  I was totally in the mood for ooey gooey chocolate, and Steve has been big-time craving Reeces Peanut Butter Cups - so as I always do, I modified recipes and made some.  I'm sure if I wanted I could put these in layers in little mini muffin tins with liners to look more like the "real thing" - but I didn't have time or energy late last night, and I honestly think that this way is absolutely perfect!      Steve's verdict - far better than Reeces!  :D     That right there is the reward.  That and watching my cousin Robin close her eyes and smile as she ate them.  She and her girls happened to agree with Steve.   So, when the mood hits, these are pretty easy to make!    I may have to experiment with carob chips and homemade cashew butter so that Mandie can also enjoy these - just as soon as I get a safe graham cracker figured out for her!  ;)


 1 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
1 lb. (2 cups) powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 box Kinnikinnik S'MOREABLES
1 bag Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp. lard

Put S'MOREABLES into a food processor.  Pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine Earth Balance spread, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and crumbs together in a large bow.  A wooden spoon sprayed with cooking spray works well for this step.  Using a plastic spoon, scoop out a spoonful and roll into 1" balls.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and put in the freezer for 20 minutes.  While peanut butter balls are freezing, put lard and chocolate in the top of a double boiler, set over medium heat.  Using same sprayed spoon, stir until chocolate is melted, then turn heat to low to keep warm.  Take peanut butter balls out of freezer and drop one by one into warm chocolate.  I found using a toothpick to remove them back to the parchment lined sheet works the easiest with the least mess.  Let set up over night on the baking sheet.
Makes 6-7 dozen.

9-14-12.  I linked this to the wonderful blogs at  Vegeterian Mama Gluten Free Fridays Recipe Party