Friday, May 29, 2009

orange pie & a tea party

(you may click on the images to view them larger)

I was looking at some of my favorite blogs for recipes and inspiration yesterday, when I saw Orange Cake at Elanas Pantry. It was news to me, as Elana mentioned, that Starbucks has released a gluten-free orange cake. I go to my local coffee shop nine times out of ten, where they always have a good selection of gluten-free/dairy-free cakes and cookies, and when I do go to Starbucks I use the drive-though, which explains how I was out of the loop, but I digress. 

I wrote down Elana's Orange Cake ingredients, and while we were out I swung by a Whole Foods to grab them. When this Whole Foods was still a Wild Oats grocery store, I bought almond meal flour there all the time, but now... it's gone. This is the second time I've lost a gluten-free product which Wild Oats carried, that Whole Foods doesn't. The last product I actually went ahead and requested, with those little pieces of brown paper which they display near the check-out. You know, the ones they hang up on a small board, with a note written below your own that says, sorry, but no.

I was disappointed, but I didn't feel like driving to Vitamin Cottage, where I should have gone in the first place. So I went home, and decided to make up my own version of an orange cake, using my own blend of gluten-free flours. I made one last night, but it needed a little tweaking, so I made another one this morning and I am very happy with the way it came out. It turns out that mine is not really a cake at all. It's an orange pie, and it's super yummy. I'm so excited about it that I'm going to take it to a pot luck this weekend. Cheers, Kelly

Orange Pie:
Boil 2 whole oranges (peel and all) for about 80 minutes.
Add the whole cooked oranges (peel and all) to your food processor, after putting in the blade.
Cut each orange in half, inside the food processor (they will be very soft).
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp spoonable stevia, or 1/4 tsp liquid stevia
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
While pureeing, drop in 4 eggs. 

Now for some reason my spring form pan drips oil onto the bottom of my oven (yes, even when it's properly assembled). So what I do is use a large piece of unbleached parchment paper, untrimmed, so that it comes right up the walls of the pan, and I pour the batter over. As you can see this creates a bit of a scalloped edge, that I think is pretty. If, however, you have a pan that doesn't leak like mine, you wont need this step =)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 34 minutes.
Let cool fully before dusting with ground xylitol (I use a mortar and pestle to grind mine).
It will take forever to cool, so if you are impatient (I am impatient, and it was driving me crazy :-)), you can skip dusting it and eat it hot.

*As always, be very careful that your pets don't eat any xylitol

Update: I should mention that the size of the fruit really changes the texture and consistency. The first two were made with large organic oranges (I think it's especially important that they are organic, since we are eating the peel). The large oranges produce a pie-like dessert (can I call it dessert if I eat it for breakfast -Ha!). The last one I made for a pot luck last weekend used two much smaller organic oranges, and it came out more like cake. They were equally good, I just thought I'd pass that on! Today I'm making it with 2 lemons for a lemon cake to take to another pot luck tomorrow -yay!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lauren's cake with a surprise...

Last night I was reading some of my favorite blogs, when I came across something that left me mystified: Healthy Chocolate Cake with a Secret, by Lauren at Healthy Indulgences. 

What makes this cake so intriguing? ... it's made of beans. That's right, beans. And not only that, but there is no flour in this cake. And since Lauren doesn't use sugar, like my family, I couldn't resist giving this easy recipe a try.

I had dry red beans in the pantry, so I soaked them overnight. This morning I washed them well and cooked them. I followed Lauren's recipe almost exactly, only making a few minor changes. I'm out of liquid stevia, so I used 1/2 tsp of Spoonable Stevia, with 1/3 cup honey, and I used only 1/4 cup of coconut oil (and no butter). Also, I made mine a bundt, which took 40 minutes to bake at 325 degrees. 

We were all too eager to try this mysterious cake, and we were all thrilled with it. It's very much like my Chocolate Raspberry Cake in taste and texture, but a little darker and richer. And I thought there was hardly any flour in my cake! Very cool recipe, Lauren. XOXO

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last weekend we went hiking with our neighbor, Abi, who we adore. It was such a blast. The trail wasn't too difficult, and ran along a creek. There were all kinds of wild flowers, and butterflies. We also saw two lizards, and a chipmunk. I could hardly choose which pictures to share with you! XOXO

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

playing school

I've mentioned that Zoe loves writing, and that sometimes, when she's being a very serious (almost 7 year old) girl ;-) , she asks me for help spelling. Other times she writes on her own, and it's really funny and cute. Below is her "schedule" for the day. I will translate below for you.

coloring  break  dress-ups  break
makeover  break  play  break  makeover
break  hide and go seek  break
twister  break  mommy's here

Several aspects of this are funny, like the spelling, of course. Also this schedule presumes that Zoe is in charge (which may actually be kind of true ;-)), and that I am at work away from home, until the end, where I return (obviously not true). I also think it's funny that "makeovers" are a recurring theme - how or where she heard of makeovers is beyond me - I don't even wear makeup. :-)

Also, it's funny that this is sort of Zoe's way of "playing school," which she prefers as a make-believe concept. -I even gave her the option of Options (once weekly public school just for homeschool kids) in a moment of weakness once (i.e. desperate for a break), and she said, "no thanks." She does, however, occasionally ask for some structured "homeschool," meaning she wants us to play school. We sit formally in our places, and I pretend not to be her mommy, calling on her for answers, as if I hardly know her name (of course she raises her hand, very school-like). Or she will tell me we need to work on our journal -That documentation which proves actual learning is taking place is very important to her. ;-) Besides, hello, it's fun!

Likewise, last week she pulled out a fresh, unopened math workbook, which Grama Patti sent her, and without much help at all, she sat down to work on it for at least an hour. It had been months since she did any "structured" math, though she's counting and using money and her calendar all the time ("but that's not 'homeschool' mommy!" -how do you unschool a child who never even made it into kindergarten? -where does she get this stuff from? lol) But there she was. She just took it upon herself that she wanted to learn some math - so she did - nearly the whole workbook, practically by herself. Cracks me up. 

Why did she do a years worth of math in an hour? Because she felt like it. Why did she feel like it? Because she hasn't learned to hate math. Because it's not painful to her. I think she actually enjoyed it... imagine that! ;-)

... And now I have to go see a presentation she's holding in her room. I think there are costumes and music involved... :-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To South Mesa Trailhead

with our environmental club, Roots & Shoots.

Driving out of our development. You can see the mountains still covered in snow.

Almost at highway 93.

View from the car, on Eldorado Springs Drive.

Almost at the trail.

The younger group with the volunteer naturalist. 

Nature journaling.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

going to the rec center

Yesterday afternoon we had the pleasure of having our friends, Maximo and Oliver, over. 

Ashley loves when Oliver picks her up. And it's really cute.

Here they are walking into the rec center.

The next few photos are for my dear friends, Catherine and Pat, Ashley's Maryland Occupational and Cranio Sacral therapists. Can you guys believe this is Ashley? Aghh! I'm so proud I could cry! Hypersensitive no more! :-)

Your eyes do not deceive you - Ashley really is walking under the waterfall! And loving it!

And putting her head under the streams of water...

And sliding...

And making seamless transitions! 

Here is Zoe up the first set of stairs, crossing the bridge with her tube, heading toward the water slides.

It was such a rough afternoon ;-) hahaha!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

a bunny in the garden & sprouts

Our seeds have sprouted! Pumpkin, squash and watermelon - so excited! Hopefully tomorrow will be nice so we can plant them outside.