Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crafty Tuesday - Birthday Follow Up

Well Saturday was our much anticipated 5th Birthday Party and it was a huge success! Everyone had a great time and all the activities were so much fun for all of us! As a last minute addition/swap I switched the create a robot paper craft for Rice Crispy Cake Robots instead and that was a big hit! All we did was mix up a box of Christmas Rice Crispy we had on hand and made shapes with it circles, squares, and rectangles then we had mini colored marshmallows and gummi bears plus some leftover icing in a can. We made them a demo one and them let them create their own and it was so much fun! Upon waking in the morning my Son let me know he wanted some birthday cupcakes and they should be chocolate with blue icing well off I went to find recipes for such a thing I found an amazing Devils Food Cake recipe and used it to make chocolate cupcakes and then a fabulous vanilla butter cream frosting recipe and viola wonderful birthday cupcakes! I wanted to also post a picture of some of my finished projects the birthday crown and fairy play set both of which my Son is very happy with! I also wanted to show you some of the beautiful handmade gifts my Son received one of his little friends made him this amazing painting and on canvas no less I can't wait to hang it up in his room! Also my good friend made him a Thomas the Train Tie and gave him a playdough dentist (her husband is in dentistry college and she originally bought the gift for him and well the kids loved it too!)

Well after all of that birthday fun I also have a little recipe for you all to enjoy, it's called Rock'n Banana Bread and was so yummy! A good friend gave me this amazing recipe she makes for her family and we had the opportunity to enjoy the last time we visited with them. Anyways of course hers is a non-gluten free recipe so I had to change it but I really wanted to keep the graininess of hers so I had to get really creative with the flour blend but I completely rocked it! Sorry no pictures I thought I had photographed it but can not find the pics?

Rock'n Gluten Free Banana Bread

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white sorghum flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp xantham gum
4 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped with the food processor
1 cup bananas, mashed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup raisins ( recipe called for dates soaked for 5mins and then chopped but I didn't have any on hand)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Combine all your flours and whisk then add the xantham gum, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Put your raisins and walnuts in your food processor and chop til fine.
  4. Combine your mashed banana, maple syrup, apple sauce, coconut oil and vanilla together until well mixed.
  5. Then add to your dry mixture and combine till mixed and add your walnut and raisin mixture.
  6. Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 mins or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meatless Wednesday - Good Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

I have doing battle with my stomach the last couple of weeks so I really wasn't sure that I would have a post today as most of my best meatless ideas contain things that aren't always the best for my troubled stomach. Then inspiration hit how about a nice big bowl of good old fashioned vegetable soup that sounded perfectly what the Doctor ordered!

So let's start with our stock first, I used the stock recipe I previously posted except this time I added one parsnip to change it up a bit. Drain your stock and reserve the liquid into a large pot.

Good Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup


Previously made vegetable stock
2 cups of water
1 Tbs Epicure Pot Herbs (Again feel free to enter my consultant Deanna Osterbeck when ordering)
2 carrots, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup organic frozen green beans
1/2 cup organic frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup organic frozen peas
1 cup Tinkyada Pasta Joy Little Dreams rice pasta shapes

  1. Combine all ingredients together including reserved stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down to a medium heat and a low simmer for 20 -30 mins or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Serve with your favorite crackers or other yummy dipping treat.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crafty Tuesday - My Baby is Five!

So today really doesn't have a lot of crafting going on other than trying to finish my wood play set which took a blow last week when my husband left my Son and one other daycare child unsupervised while I was in bed with severe pain anyways I am salvaging that project. I have to put the faces on the fairies, hair and wings and then paint the pumpkin stacker as well I still have to get my felt crown made but the party isn't until Saturday so there is time. I picked up two more books from the library for next month the first one is Around the World in 80 tales it's a huge book but looks wonderful and then to compliment that I found Our World a National Geographic Child's First Picture Atlas.

Other than that the only other thing I managed to accomplish on this very crazy snowy day, seriously is Spring ever going to show up, is make birthday cake for my Son to share with his Daycare friends this afternoon. My girlfriend came to celebrate with her two kids and said the cake was so good is right up there in my "best list" and that I must share the recipe with you all.

Spencer's Gluten Free Birthday Blondies

1 Cup white rice flour
1/2 Cup Sorghum flour
1/2 Tsp Xantham Gum
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Cup Fudge Cups
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup organic unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 Cup agave nectar
2 eggs

  1. Preheat Oven to 350F and grease a 9" square baking pan.
  2. Cream butter using mixer. Then add the 1/2 Cup Agave and blend together.
  3. Add the 1/2 cup apple sauce and 2 eggs and thoroughly mix together.
  4. In a separate bowl combine flours and whisk together until completely mixed. Then add to mixing bowl with the wet ingredients and blend together.
  5. Once completed add 1/2 Cup of the fudge cups and reserve the other half.
  6. Pour completed batter into pan and bake for 10 mins, then remove from oven and add the remaining half of the fudge cups.
  7. Bake for another 15-20 mins or until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for 5 mins and remove from pan.
Here is a link to my current favorite frosting recipe I substitute the milk for rice milk or soy depending on what I have on hand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crafty Tuesday - Finishing up some projects and planning for next month

So next month we are going to be focusing on Rainbows, spring, people around the world and our little part of the world. I found a great tutorial on Rockabye Butterfly on how to do the dying. We will be doing some exercises on measuring with our tub next month, I am gathering some rulers and I just purchased from Discovery toys the Measure up Pots and Spoons to use in our tub next month. I came across a template for making paper people and their clothes on Serving Pink Lemonade and we will spend some time making our people from around the world and talk a little about the differences between us, also just came across this amazing book we will be borrowing from the library about other children around the world Children Just like Me. The fun part is going to be making them some hair! I am also going to be working very hard on getting a calendar set up for us that we can work with each day for some fun and learning! I came across a wonderful resource on the 1+1+1=1 website and also joined the members only site to gain access to some wonderful learning tools. Other than these things I am working on finishing up my wooden play set and starting on cutting out eggs and hamsters for Easter. I am also wanting to work on making some bean bags for the crew and plan some activities around that as well but only so much time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meatless Wednesday - Tuscan Vegetable Baked Ziti

So yesterday several people broke the news to me that we will not see spring like weather here until the end of May or so they are predicting. Well I am going to do everything I can to make sure they are wrong not that I can do a lot but I am sure going to pray for warmer weather, winter needs to be done!

So on tonight's menu we have Tuscan Vegetable Baked Ziti and a surprise bonus recipe too!

Tuscan Vegetable Baked Ziti
1 1/2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
3 cups rice noodle penne, cooked and drained
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1/2lb fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 of a small onion, thinly slice
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2/3 of a jar of organic tomato basil pasta sauce
1 tsp freezed dried oregano leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine all vegetable ingredients, add the spices and mix together. Then put in the bottom of a 11x13 oven safe pan.
  3. In a medium bowl mix penne and the sauce, then pour on top of vegetable mixture.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 20mins, then set to broil for 5 more mins.
Bonus recipe! Pineapple, Banana, Coconut Gluten Free Muffins
1 Cup white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 egg
3/4 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
1/3 cup crushed pineapple without the juice
*(May need to add 1/8 cup rice milk depending on how wet your mixture looks)
Preheat oven to 400F

  1. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl until well blended.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed.
  3. Slowly combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and blend until thoroughly mixed together.
  4. Grease your muffin pan and fill each cup 2/3 full.
  5. Bake muffins for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back when touched.
Makes about 12 muffins.

I hope you enjoy both of these recipes and please let me know!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crafty Tuesday - More Montessori and a Recipe

So we are continuing to get things ready and made to continue on our new learning path here with the kids. Yesterday I had some time to do some more searching and came across more wonderful resources and information, I am so pleased with how much I have been able to find online. I came across this wonderful site today with directions on how to make rainbow play dough and many other wonderful ideas it is called the Tinker Lab. Also yesterday I found many more wonderful sites for beautiful printable's to use with the kids as well. The first one I came across was a great site it is called PreKinders and it lead me to many other useful links! One of these links has a great ABC play dough mat activity that we will doing with our rainbow play dough it is called Homeschool Creations. Another wonderful activity we found on Homeschool Creations was Color Matching Cards which are as beautiful as they are a great learning tool. Next week we are going to do some reading and learning about apples and the life cycle of an apple. I found a really good National Geographic kids book at the library called Apples for Everyone and then I came across a Montessori activity on Montessori for Everyone in the free printable's section called Life Cycle of an Apple which we will use along with the book and also make some apple treats to eat next week too. Those are just some of the things I have been working on for the kids to use in the coming days and hopefully one day soon Spring will come and we can start going outside to enjoy some outdoor activities.

Today's other creation was Chicken Taco Soup, the kids really enjoyed it, as well it was quick and easy to make!

Chicken Taco Soup

1/4 cup jarred mild green sal
sa ( salsa verde)
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (such as a rotisserie chicken)
2 cups gluten free chicken stock
1 cup water
2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped
Gluten free tortilla chips ( as much as wanted for topping)
shredded sharp cheddar
( as much as wanted for topping)

In a medium sauce pot combine the salsa with the chicken and vegetables, add the gluten free chicken stock and the water. Heat over medium heat until it simmers and allow to simmer for 20 mins or until the vegetables are tender. Serve and allow the kids to add their own toppings with maybe a little help to crush the chips and Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Yesterday I came across the most amazing print while browsing on Etsy and I had to share it with you all as well I purchased on for our home. The name of the store is Raceytay and the photo is of a butterfly coming home after the summer, it symbolizes so much to my family as butterflies are one of the symbolize of pregnancy loss and we had a miscarriage last spring after almost 3 years of trying and finally we are ready to try again so this photo is very symbolic to us.

So on the menu tonight is;
Gluten Free Updated Shepherd's Pie

6-8 red potatoes
1 1/2 tbs epicure minced garlic
3/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese
1 lb free range lean ground beef
2 tbs gluten free flour
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
3/4 cup gluten free beef broth
2 tbs organic ketchup or tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 375F

Cook potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan of boiling water for 20mins or until potatoes are very tender. Drain return to saucepan. Add sour cream and mash potatoes to desired consistency. Stir 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

Brown the meat in a large skillet. Stir in the Gluten Free Flour; cook and stir about 1 min. Add your vegetables, Gluten Free Broth, and ketchup; cook 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a 11x13 baking dish; cover with the potatoes and top with remaining cheddar cheese bake for 18 mins or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted.

After supper my husband is heading to do some teaching with the missionaries and I plan to work on a Marble Loaf recipe if I am successful I will post if for you all later. Oh and I have to tell you about the meal I cooked on Friday for the missionaries it was completely amazing it was one of the Rachel Ray Yum - O meals the Pork Chops, Golden Apple and Raisin Sauce, and Whole Wheat Pasta Mac n Cheddar with Broccoli so very good! I of course used rice noodles and I used the penne and also switched the broccoli for green beans and steamed them on the side instead of mixing them in but still very good! If you get a chance try and make tonight's' meal and the Rachel Ray one.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meatless Wednesday - Quinoa Primavera

This dish I have been kind of looking forward to making I am really enjoying cooking Quinoa and it is very nutritious for you! I also find that my Son really enjoys eating it which is surprising because he is not usually so good with new foods right away but with this he is and asks me to make the soup with it in there now on request.

Nutritional value ( as posted by Wikipedia)

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[10] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

Quinoa Primavera

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs EVO
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 parsnip, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, chopped

3/4 red bell pepper, diced

3/4 orange bell pepper, diced

3/4 cup peas
1/3 head of
cauliflower, finely diced
2 scallions white part only, thinly sliced

1 tbs oreg
1 tbs low sodium soy sauce

  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Add quinoa and cook stirring for about 5 mins (grains should be dry and fragrant). The add the water and 1/2 tsp salt, cover, simmer and let cook for about 10-15 mins or until the quinoa is tender. Do not stir while simmering. Set aside.
  2. Combine EVO and garlic in a large skillet and place over medium heat. When oil is hot and garlic aromatic add your vegetables and saute until peppers are tender. Stir in quinoa, oregano, and soy sauce stir till everything is well coated and simmer for 1-2 mins. Add Salt and Pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Wanted to let you all know that I will be doing a Namaste Foods review and give away in the near future be sure to visit their site and take a look at all the wonderful products!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crafty Tuesday - Montessori Learning Activities

So for the last little while I have been struggling with which learning method best suits my family or part of a learning method. I really liked the idea of Waldorf learning but after some reading and investigation I learned we are not a Waldorf Family that we are more suited naturally to Montessori learning. So I have been doing some reading on that method and really liked the activities and the hands on learning. Then a week or so ago I received a facebook link Counting Coconuts and well after some exploring I was more committed than ever and started doing some research. One thing from Counting Coconuts blog that stood out to me was the sensory tubs what a great idea and I knew my crew would love it! She offers a little tutorial on how to set up your own and answers questions on how she does hers just follow this link and with that information off we went last Thursday to search out things to create our own! Well we headed to Micheal's first which was maybe not the best choice price was but we did find a lot of treasures on sale for our tubs! After that we made a trip to the dollar store for some more odds and ends then home to start the sort of colors. I have to admit it was a lot of fun and even the sorting was fun with some yummy chai rooibos tea and cadbury mini eggs! Also on Counting Coconuts she usually does a play dough theme activity too in conjunction with the sensory tub and being that we love our play dough here we so did a playdough too! So this months theme is Green for March, St Patricks Day and the beginning of Spring (soon maybe!!!) It is a good time to be gathering all things green, I found at our local Zellers a bag of assorted buttons for $4 and then also a few interesting things at the bead store which is half price on Tuesdays. Then we found puffs, gold coins, clovers, glass beads, a tub of more than a thousand different colored and shaped beads for only $6 and several other little things. I made green playdough with gold sparkles in it to go with our green tub with a little bit of gold too and finally I picked up a spring themed cookie cutter set at the grocery store on the weekend. I did end up spending around $100 on everything but I have enough for many different tubs and activities in the future not just this month. My learning goal with the tub is to have fun and explore, we are also using it to for math related activities right now as well like matching and visual number counting. They really are enjoying it and it is a treat to them when I bring it out for some learning fun, it is also working well for all the ages although I do have to tailor the activities to the different learning levels but we do them together as a group.