Almond-Coconut Pie Crust

chocbanpieIt’s pie crust season for sure, so I wanted to get this posted ASAP! This is my new favorite-most thing. Most pie crusts use eggs or palm shortening, which I can’t have. My old one used agave, which I’ve been using much less. And, for some very strange reason, Mr. Dude hates the taste of almonds. Almonds! For years he had been complaining about something having a “weird, gluten-free taste” and by process of elimination, I discovered it was the almond flour. I get having an aversion to the taste of, say, amaranth or quinoa. But almonds? I don’t understand how this happens. He is a good person, I swear, but I guess we’ve all got to have some flaws, right?

So…while this is an almond crust, it tastes coconut-y. In many pies, this is a bonus. So it’s perfect with my Chocolate Banana Mousse (updated recipe coming soon!) and I can’t wait to make it with my Sweet Potato Pie. It holds together and cuts fantastically, and it’s obviously gluten-free, grain free, vegan and Paleo friendly.
pie crust
2 cups almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/3 cup of coconut oil–still solid, smushed into the measuring cup
pinch of salt
pinch of vanilla powder
1/4 cup maple syrup.

In a food processor, pulse all but maple until well combined and no chunks of coconut oil remain. Pour in the maple syrup and it should come together in a ball. Pat into 9 inch pie crust. Bake at 325 for 18-20 min until golden.

…and that’s it! It holds together beautifully, and I’m loving it.

I’m linking up to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

GFW is co-hosted by Shirley of gluten free easily, Linda of Gluten-free Homemaker,  and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

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Thankful for Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes 2014

There’s something amazingly lovely about digging in the garden–and pulling up big ‘ole sweet potatoes! I didn’t “cheat” and check, so I had no idea they’d grown so well.

So a big thanks to the deer for not pre-nomming the vines, and hopefully a delicious harvest.

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Thankful for Beauty

treeIt’s the most wonderful time of the year. Sing it with me! I’m not a fan of winter or the holidays, but oh, how I love Autumn. I was trying to find the *perfect* tree to photograph, and came to the conclusion that it’s the array of them that makes the magic.

It’s such a pleasure to have a show while I’m driving around.

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Halloween Fun

pumpkins and ghostsIt’s almost Halloween time! I’m totally enchanted with my strawberry friends–dipped in melted white chocolate/cocoa butter (or vegan chips). They’re best served the day they’re dipped.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to share my post on a healthy, happy Halloween from my website. Enjoy!


Think outside the candy dish…c n pumpkin

About 10 years ago, I made the choice to stop giving out Halloween candy. Candy isn’t the only fun kind of treat, and I really didn’t need or want to be staring at a bowl of candy the month prior and the month after Halloween. My husband was definitely not happy with my decision, and I was a little nervous, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” One year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber ducky house” every year.  Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.

There are plenty of good options for stickers, toys, rubber duckies, mini games or even temporary tattoos for children you know well. Amazon has a ton of fun toy assortments (glow in the dark fangs, anyone?) Oriental Trading Company has a wide selection. G-free peeps, do remember that Play Doh has gluten. Some are more expensive than candy, but it depends on how you halloween treatslook at it. When you average in the bag of candy you bought on sale in September (and ate), the one in mid-October (trust me, that one will disappear as well) and the one you have to run out at the last minute and buy, it evens out in the end.

One of my clients, Stephanie, got really creative and put together goodie bags of her own (above). She found the DIY approach was cheaper than ones she could buy. I predict they’ll be a hit!

Extra bonus–if you decide to go the non-food-treat option, there’s a new registry so that children with food restrictions can find safe houses to visit. FARE also just announced the “Teal Pumpkin Project”, a new initiative for people with non-food treats to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on the doorstep, so children and parents know that safe options are available.

This isn’t a rant against candy. Like everyone, I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween as a little kid, and I trust there will still be more than enough to go around without my help. There’s nothing wrong with that on occasion. I’m a fan of eating treats when I really, really want them and will enjoy them, not eating treats because they’re sitting right in front of me and then *poof* where’d they go? You can also opt for healthier treOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAats, like mini Larabars and mini Kind Bars, all fruit leathers, mini-packs of pistachio nuts, etc.

Tips for Enjoying Halloween with Food Restrictions

  • Talk to teachers and friends about focusing parties around activities (like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, costume contest) rather than just trick or treating.
  • Pre-stock your Halloween bag with foods that are ‘legal’ for your child (and/or you) so that you can safely snack along the way. Some treats that are normally gluten-free or allergen free have different ingredients in the special holiday versions, so always double check.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s the 2014 list from CDF.
  • Stash safe bags of candy/treats at friend’s houses for your child.
  • Have a trade in. Your child can trade the “problem” candies and treats for “safe” treats, or games, prizes, special outings, etc. You can either stash the “problem” candy somewhere out of reach, or donate it to the foodbank.
  • Kids with Food Allergies has a great resource for safe Halloween activities, games, tips, etc.  Although it’s not directed at people avoiding gluten, a lot of the strategies are the same.

Fall recipes:

One of the things I love most about autumn is the beauty of the leaves. The food is a close second! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Butternut Squash Bisque: The tastiest way to get vitamin A! A wonderful soup for the fall or winter. Allergen friendly with a dairy free option.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Hot Mulled Apple Drink: a favorite at our annual pumpkin carving party. It’s the perfect drink for a crisp autumn day.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: several variations on this classic snack.
  • Roasted Green Beans: So easy to get green beans this time of year. Yum yum yum!

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Thankful for Support: Thankful Thursday

Sometimes it’s hard to put into words, so I’ll use more elegant words than mine:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
~Albert Schweitzer

I’m thankful for the ones who know me and love me anyway. 😉


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You are pretty awesome

you are pretty awesomeThere are so many people that I admire, appreciate and respect…and think they’re pretty awesome. I often don’t say it, and most of us aren’t regularly reminded of our awesomeness past elementary school, and life would be more wonderful if it happened more often.

So…here are 5 bloggers that I admire. If you’re so inclined, I’d invite you to tag others you think are awesome and do the same.

Debi of Hunter’s Lyoness

I admire Debi’s dedication to mental health. She’s got a bunch of amazing posts on the topics we don’t give much voice to: Living with autoimmune disease,  suicide, daily struggles, mental illness…ya know, the things we try to push under the rug. I appreciate her starting a conversation on these important topics that touch so many.

Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily

Shirley has a warm, nurturing presence, and it shines through over the interwebs. I admire her passion for people with gluten related disorders, and her advocacy supporting people in her community and online, and her devotion to making me drool at all hours of day and night with her dessert blog. She puts her heart where her mouth is, and I love that.

Julia of a Painted Pathjulia's love

Julia is proof that you can be awesome even without blogging about food. I love Julia’s poetry, her honesty, her sincerity, her vulnerability and her desire to share what’s real. She writes of love, she writes of whole-ness and beauty, and her words touch my heart. So does her art–I love this new drawing of hers. Thanks, Julia, for sharing your gifts.

Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl

I’ve appreciated the privilege of getting to know Carrie over the years. I love her cookies, of course, but I’m an even bigger fan of her compassion and willingness to share her truth and her struggles with weight, depression, anxiety, etc. I admire her courage in facing life as it is.

In Johnna’s Kitchen

I’m new-ish to In Johnna’s Kitchen. While I’ve bookmarked her Ultimate Alfredo Recipe and plan to make it soon, what I admire most about Johnna is her Soften Saturdays, with beautiful nuggets of wisdom of ditching diet judgments, living with challenges, and all those other fun things that come up so often.

Oh, BTW, I am a big fan of the “You are Awesome!” posters from Kal Barteski. How many people do you know that could use a reminder of their awesomeness?

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Thankful for my hair: Thursday Thankful

c new sidewalkI’ve loved having long hair as long as I can remember. I had short hair in 2nd grade or so and, well, it convinced me that short hair never needed a repeat.happg g and c

Genghis also loves it when I have long hair. It’s a nice fluffy blanket for his nice fluffy at panorama He’ll kneed my hair, get wrapped in it and take a nap.


I’ve pretty much been growing my hair out since third grade, and it’s always been comforting to me. It’s been a constant, and almost part of my identity. I lost a lot of hair with both tick bites and also when I was having thyroid issues, so to some extent it was a health barometer.

So..Mr. Dude grew out his hair for the past 2 years and shaved it off for wigs for people with cancer. He opted for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program because they have a higher rate of making/distributing wigs than Locks of love.

I pondered it for another month or so…and last weekend, I got 9-10 inches cut off to donate as well.

short hair c 1The strangest part? No one has noticed on their own. Not one single person. Weird. It feels very, very different to me, but just goes to show how our own view can differ greatly from the perception of others.

But you know? I’m thankful. Thankful to be able to help someone, even in a small way. I can’t give blood anymore, so it feels nice to be able to do something. It’s been such a long decade of medical stuff, too, that there was a part of me that wanted to let go of the past and move on.

Besides, it’ll grow back. 😉

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Autumn Recipes: Top 10 Favorites

Ah, the taste of Autumn. Here are some of my favorite recipes that are perfect this time of year:


apple crisp 2013

Apple crisp Vegan, grain-free—one of my very favorites

cheryl's pralines

Vegan Maple Pralines! So amazingly delicious—refined sugar-free and vegan

glazed walnuts

Cinnamon Roasted Walnuts

Sweet Potato Pie: Yes, please! Vegan & Paleo friendly


E’s Cake (Chocolate Hazelnut Torte): amazing and gluten-free, but that’s about it.


sniffle stew

Sniffle Stew

Veggie recipes:

bn puree

Roasting a Butternut Squash


Celery in chestnut Sauce


Green Beans, Roasted


Hot mulled apple cider

I’m sending these yummies over to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Gluten Free Wednesdays are co-hosted by Linda of Gluten-free Homemaker, Shirley of gluten free easily AKA GFE! and Lynn of Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

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Thankful for a mini-vacation: Thursday Thankful

cacapon mountainThe last few weeks have been a whirlwind emotionally, so I was extremely grateful that we had a long weekend planned in WV. It was so great to get away and sit on “my” mountain, listening to the birds and the trees, and enjoy the sunshine.

I wish I could have stayed a week, but I’m grateful for the reminder that even a few days can do wonders.

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Thankful for Savta

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANote: I wrote this post on Tuesday morning as a tribute, and Savta died Tuesday night. I’m not ready to go through and switch all of the grammar to past tense quite yet. I trust that Savta is out of pain now, and hope she’s reunited with her beloved dog Kiki from when she was a child.

Savta means grandmother, and while Savta is alive right now, much of her is already gone, and her time here is short. I wanted to honor her in a way, because she is certainly one of a kind.

When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, I wrote “books”. They were fully illustrated, of course, complete with a title page and everything. I remember showing Savta my latest book, and she’d oooh and aaah over them. I think it went over my head that she couldn’t read English….and so perhaps they weren’t as impressive as I thought.

Thinking back to my childhood memories, oddly, I remember that she always had Mentos. Minty and fruity Mentos. Isn’t it funny the things that stick in our minds years later?

She was always an amazing baker, with these delicious circular shaped breads. I wish I knew how to make them, so I could figure out how to make them gluten-free! She was not one to share her recipes, even with her grandchildren.

She also made a chicken and rice dish called T’Beet. I’ve seen a few recipes, I haven’t tried any of them yet. Long story short, T’Beet is something delicious enough to write sonnets about. Enough said.

One of the things I appreciated most about Savta was that she remembered a time and a place that few living people can imagine. She would talk at length of the beauty of living in Iraq, where Jews, Muslims, and Kurds all gathered as neighbors and shared meals and celebrated together.

And I think to myself…what a wonderful world. Obviously that’s not the world we live in now, but even the memory of the peace of the past is a ray of hope for the future, and something I hope is never forgotten.


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