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Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake 🎃

Here is a super easy recipe for pumpkin spice cake using a box of gf yellow cake mix, a can of pumpkin, 1.5 T pumpkin pie spice, and 1.5 T cinnamon.

  
Simone mixed the ingredients…

  
…. And baked it for 30 minutes at 350•.

  
(As with most gf cakes, it’s a heavier, denser cake than none gf)

  

You can frost it or just serve it with ice cream 😋

A minimalized home and a much needed cup of tea

Soooo… I just went on an almost 2 month “declutter, minimalize, paint, rearrange and transform EVERY SINGLE ROOM IN THE HOUSE” phase!

…and boy am I exhausted!

Here’s a little peek inside our home.

The first picture is our living room being used as a dual dinning room and classroom.

OH – there was so much stuff!!!

I can’t even begin to explain how much stuff we donated or threw away, but you can get an idea by looking at the other pictures of both our dinning room and living room.

 
Needless to say – I was in need of a break this evening. LOL 🙂

So…

I combined some very delicious goodies to make a fall treat!

I steeped the Chai Spice black tea in my newest 5-cent vintage thermos.

(See why I needed to declutter, I can’t turn down something vintage! I told myself I wouldn’t go to the garage sale and yet there I was forking over a nickel to a sweet old man in exchange for yet another fabulous thermos!!)

I added pumpkin spice creamer I got from Aldi’s to my chai tea.
 

….and let me tell you…

 – this is one delicious cup of tea 🙂

 – it feels so good to write a blog post, drink a pumpkin spiced tea, and do absolutely NOTHING 🙂

Cheerios… GF for real? or just really close to being GF?!

As his mother, I can tell when my little Eli has been glutened!


Basically he cries over everything and thinks everything is terrible 😦

(This picture is of him happy of course… I didn’t want to embarrass him by taking a picture of him sad!)

Once I realize that he has eaten something not gluten free… the next question is –

“WHAT DID HE EAT?”

It was exactly what I was thinking about when I saw this while scrolling through Facebook.


What! Seriously! Cheerios aren’t quite safe for the sensitive?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Eli has been so excited to about cheerios being GF… and he’s eaten like 100 bowls…since yesterday!

I have been googling the facts… and since it’s a brand new process and product, there wasn’t a whole lot on it concerning people’s experiences with eating it.

http://glutendude.com/gluten/are-gluten-free-cheerios-safe-for-celiacs/

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/general-mills-gluten-free-cheerios-comment-from-gluten-free-watchdog/

My opinion for MY son:

Cheerios are not gluten-free enough for my son.  They can pull out all the wheat they can from their oats, but obviously, the damage is done...

*I would love to hear from other’s about their experience with gluten-free cheerios.

* I know, I know… Stay away from packaged food!

I have been so happy with being able to have corn products in our life that we have gone off the deep end!

Time to focus on real food again! 😊

Welcoming corn back into our kitchen

Our youngest son has been on a gluten free and corn free diet for years now…

http://kindcotton.com/2015/05/05/a-vintage-picnic-bag-and-the-history-behind-our-gluten-free-corn-free-diet/

Although we have tried reintroducing gluten into Eli’s diet

http://kindcotton.com/2015/06/18/oops/

… it occurred to me that we hadn’t tried reintroducing corn/ corn derivatives back into Eli’s diet.

We went slow… Just starting with simple things like salt and citric acid and xanthum gum.

This Trader Joe’s lollipop was Eli’s first piece of candy in FOREVER!


SUCCESS!! There were no reactions!! 😃😃😃😃😃

We got braver and tried organic corn chips and food made with corn starch…

But the real deal was when Eli ate corn on the cob!


There were shrieks of joy when he ate popcorn…


Eli happened to have his well doctor’s visit and she was so happy that we had taken the risk and had Eli try corn.  She also wasn’t surprised that he still can’t eat gluten, she said more and more people are finding that gluten affects their health in one way or another. She also assured us that his gluten sensitivity is not a sign of an underline issue… He’s a healthy “headstrong” 5 year old boy!

Naturally, grocery shopping has become so much fun!  

There are SO many options of food to eat! LOL- I feel like a kid in the candy store!!

I even reorganized the kitchen pantry using some new-found vintage Pyrex bowls!

Yes – that is a whole entire shelf devoted to sandwiches!

One of my first blog posts was about trying to love my kitchen despite the frustrations of a restricted diet.

http://kindcotton.com/2015/01/22/its-time-to-love-my-kitchen-again/

I happily accept that my kitchen is 1/2 gluten free!

I feel like a cook unleashed, a baker unchained… a mother with cooking options!!

Gluten Free Garlic Bread

This is the EASIEST gluten-free/ corn-free garlic bread ever… and the YUMMIEST!!

  
We got home late last night from a swim meet and the kids were starving!!!!

We stopped at Aldi and bought a cheese pizza for the older three kids but we had to get creative for a pizza-like food for Eli.  

We were out of sauce but I did have a good crust recipe that I made up… So I immediately got to work in the kitchen – and came up with something delicious!!!

  

  
Recipe and instructions:

CRUST

1/2 cup potato or tapioca starch

1/2 cup sorgaum flour

2/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1t sea salt

*mix together and pour into a well greased 11×7 pan.

*bake at 425 for 15 min

While the crust (bread) is baking prepare the oil and garlic mixture.

Grate about 3 cloves of garlic into a bowl.  Mix in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

  • Take the baked crust (bread) out of the oven and brush the garlic – oil mixture on it.
  • Grate your favorite cheese on top.
  • Put back into oven for 10 more minutes.

Eat and enjoy!!

  



Rainbow Swiss Chard – from the garden to the table

My rainbow Swiss chard is ready to be eaten!!  The stalks and leaves are ao beautiful and bright!


I’ve grown chard before but didn’t do much with it other than admire it’s colors!

I get intimidated when it comes to harvesting and preparing food that I grew… Even though it’s surprisingly easy!!!

Simone was my helper today and I think she should get an A+ in both gardening and cooking ❤️
HARVESTING 

Simone cut four leaves off of each plant- she just snipped it with scissors at the base…


I felt so farmer-like with my bouquet of chard!


Anyway 😊 we washed the chard with cold water (and found a dead fly and a very much alive spider)!


Chopping the Swiss Chard

 

1. Seperate the leaves from the stem

 

2.  Slice the stem down the middle and chop it into little pieces.



3. Roll the leaves and cut them into fourths. (You can layer them to save time)

 


4. Keep the leaves and stems seperate since they will be cooked at different times).

 


5. Peel and cut two onions.



6. Sauté the onion with butter (or oil) and garlic. Get them carmelized – meaning brown and sweet!


7. Throw in the stems and sauté for about 5 minutes.

 

8. Throw in the leaves, stir, and cover for 5 min on low heat.

9. Serve and eat!

 

* I served this with scrambled eggs and love kids LOVED it!! 💚

Drying herbs

The sunshine ☀️ yesterday was absolutely heavenly!   Today, it’s back to rain ☔️ and thunder and lightening ⚡️ The good thing is I spent part of the day outside in my garden 🌻🌿🌼 Every year, I have good intentions of drying my herbs, but I never did! This year I was going to change that! Because of all the rain, everything was growing like crazy, so I decided to begin harvesting! The mint in my front flower bed was quite tall – so Eddie and I gave it trim.   I soon had a ton of mint!    Eddie helped bundle it in stalks of 10-12 (not too many, there needs to be good airflow to all the leaves so they can dry).    We tied sting around the end and made a loop to hang it with.    I brought all my bundles to the back sunporch…    I then used thumbtacks and hung them (upside down) above the curtains –    It was so much fun fun 😄 however, we were going to be having company and the dishes were calling my name! So, Simone and Eddie took over the herb drying – and they did a fantastic job cutting and bundling!   In addition to the mint, we now have oregano, sage, lovage, and lavender drying in the sunporch.       When the rain stops again, I’m going to harvest and dry dill, chives, basil, and cilantro! What am I going to do with all these herbs? Eat them LOL! I make my own veggie stock by throwing a bunch of veggies and spices/herbs into a pot and boil it for a few hours. Then when it cools, I put it in mason jars and freeze for soups and stews!  

Oops…

I’m not sure if this counts as a mistake or a learning experience.

…by now most of my readers are probably familiar with our diet: gluten-free and corn-derived free. 

We adhere to this strict diet as a family  because foods containing such ingredients affect my youngest son on an emotional level.  He becomes depressed, anxious, and impulsive.

We have been gluten free for 2 1/2 years and corn free for 1 1/2 years.  That’s a really long time in food years… Almost an eternity!

Anyway… My son was doing so well and he was getting older and maturing and acting so well and so happy 😊

  
So, the temptation was there and it became so great! Perhaps my son was cured of his food allergy or food intolerance or whatever you want to call it…

So, he got a veggie (homegrown lettuce!) sandwich on WHEAT bread. He was so happy… Ecstatic is more like it!  Everything seemed great…

I had visions of making him bread and cake and pizza and leading a typical allergy free life…

Premature thinking…

My poor son was an emotional wreck today.  I’ll keep his transgressions to myself to keep his dignity, but the whole day has been off 😦

And I know it’s my fault!

I gave him a nice long nap this afternoon! 

I’m brewing some dandelion tea (with some lemon for taste) to aid in digestion.
And I’m vowing to keep feeding my little Eli the fresh, organic  fruits, veggies, and beans he deserves!

  

Sleepy Tonic

You would think that the more my kids play outside and swim, the more tired they would be at night!

However, they are turning into night owls that want to stay up waaaay to late!

Well, as I was cleaning out the pantry, I saw that I had some nighttime tea… Which is perfect because I just got a vintage ice tea set – a pitcher with matching  insulated cups!

I brewed the tea in my teapot, which in itself makes me feel special 🙂

  
I only used two tea bags so I let it brew for about 20 minutes!

  
Then I poured it in the pitcher and added ice… And my sleepy tonic was done! 

  
The kids loved it… and now… I just wait for them to start nodding off 😉

…if only it were that easy! LOL!!