Thursday, August 20, 2015

Old family pictures

I cam across quite a few old pictures in helping to sort some family photo albums. In trying to identify who and when I was pointed to these articles:

I love these old photos!! Especially the ones where they are smiling just a tich. :)


Enjoy discovering your family stories!

Family History Pictures

I'm posting these here so I can have them for easy access. I know very little about the pictures.
This series of three were found with 1905 written on the back:





Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving menu with food allergies: Dairy free, Nut Free, Peanut Free, Gluten Free/Grain free, low sugar or sugar free

Thanksgiving menu for our current food allergies is quite a feat. I can't do any grains or potatoes or sugar. My kids can't do nuts, traditional dairy(raw is ok), or peanuts and my youngest can't do gluten. :) It's a fun challenge I'm telling you! :)
We had a pre thanksgiving dinner we attended  and there were two recipes that we LOVED, so I am adding them to our meal plan:
Homemade Cranberry sauce- with orange and cinnamon
Sweet potato casserole- not like your grandmas!

Meal plan:
Sweet potato casserole

Cranberry sauce
THE Gluten free stuffing

Grain free(veggie) Stuffing
Sweet potatoes
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Fotatoes

Coconut milk Pumpkin Pie
Grain free Crustless Cranberry pie

Cranberry sauce, I have NEVER been a fan of cranberry sauce Either gelled that looks like a can or the stuff that comes out of a can with whole berries has always been what I tasted. It was too sweet and sour at the same time. And I was never willing to try fresh because by that ppoint I didn't like cranberry sauce. For some reaosn I was willing to try the cranberry sauce at this lunch and it's amazing!

Sweet potato casserole is another dish I just don't understand. This wasn't something I grew up with, but when I attended family thanksgiving in other homes while I was in College, a marshmallow sweet potato casserole was served. I tried it  A BUNCH. I wanted to be sure I dind't liek it, because I really like sweet potatoes. I never liked it.  But this recipe is a nice blend of sweet potatoes and other flavors. VERY VERY yummy!
As per my usual I am tweaking it  for our family's dietary needs. I mostly use honey and occasionally maple syrup for my sweeteners. I do also use coconut sugar on occasion.
 These are the ingredients from the  the recipe from the food network that my friends brought:
8 sweet potatoes
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Read more at:

It has dairy, nut, wheat flour and sugar. So I will do my substituting magic and come up with something yummy that we can eat:

8 sweet potatoes
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (raw, coconut or other milk you can have)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (coconut sugar or powdered honey)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

We will leave off the topping to be nut free.

Non grain stuffing:
9x13 pan and so that is the instructions I will share, but you could easily cut the recipe in half.

2 lbs. ground pork or ground turkey (whichever you prefer)
2 onions chopped
10 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups cubed, peeled, butternut squash
4 eggs
6 garlic cloves

1 carrot chopped fine
6 turnips chopped fine
1 bag fresh cranberries
2 Tablespoons fresh sage
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
4 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon Truvia/ honey or no sweeetner We prefer none

  Cube butternut squash and combine with cranberries in a baking dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let it cool.  Brown pork or turkey while adding herbs, Truvia and salt.  Sauté onions, celery and garlic in butter until soft.  Combine meat, onion/celery and squash/cranberry mixture in a 9x13 baking pan sprayed with non stick spray.  Whisk eggs together, add drippins or broth to mixture.  Pour over meat mixture and mix together.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until starts to get brown on top.  Serve and enjoy!

"Crustless" Cranberry Pie GF( Grain free subs)
1 cup GF flour (I use BRM GF all-purpose) (Grain Free 3/4 coconut flour)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (Sugar free 1 cup honey)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh cranberries
2/3 cup coarsely chopped or broken walnuts*
1/2 cup butter, melted (I put it in a small glass measuring cup and melt it in the preheating oven.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (Grain free 4 eggs)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract ( opt- I omit)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon GF vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9in. pie plate with butter or coconut oil. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries and walnuts, and toss to coat. In a small bowl, mix butter, eggs, and extracts. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until batter is completely moistened. The mixture will be quite thick. Spread batter in greased pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes (if GF), or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If you're using wheat flour, the baking time is likely shorter, so start checking at 35 minutes. Serve warm. Not that it isn't good cold, but it's better warm, trust me!:-) *If you can't have nuts, try adding additional cranberries instead.:-)

Grain free took about an hour and looked gooey in the middle when it wasn't and was done.

Twice Baked Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

1 large head cauliflower florets, cut off stems.

3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoons butter (optional)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 clove minced garlic.

1/2 – 3/4 cup of sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

I make this with goat cheese and tofutti sourcream. We rarely do soy, but I do with this recipe


Bring cauliflower & chicken broth to boil in a pot. Cook for 10-15 minutes in broth until cauliflower is soft, and the liquid is reduced.
Drain cauliflower. You will want to drain it well. Try to get most excess fluid off.
Put cauliflower in food processor. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream. Add 3/4 cup of cheese. Add minced garlic. Use the food processor (I prefer the pulse mode) until creamy. Use remaining 1/4 cup of sour cream if not creamy enough. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use butter if you like the buttery taste for mashed potatoes.
Place cauliflower in baking dish. Add remaining cheese to top. (I like to put some more pepper on top)
Bake on 350% for 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and cheese melted.
* Don’t skip the chicken broth in this recipe, it is just not the same making it with water.



2 loaves gluten-free bread, diced into one-inch cubes, toasted and cooled
2 large ribs celery, medium diced

1 large yellow onion, medium diced

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sautee the onion and celery in olive oil on medium-low heat until they are translucent. You will be able to smell the onions cooking at this point. (Take a deep whiff. That's a beautiful smell.) Add the garlic, as well as the rosemary, sage, and thyme. Stir these in and cook until you can smell the herbs, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat.

Bring the chicken stock to boil on high heat. Place the egg yolk in a medium-sized bowl and carefully ladle two to three ounces of the chicken stock to the egg yolk, slowly, while whisking the mixture. Add the rest of the chicken stock to the egg mixture at this point. (Ladling a small portion of the stock into the egg first, and blending it, will prevent you from having scrambled eggs.)

Add the cooled celery, onion, and herbs mixture into the stock and egg mixture. Toss the bread cubes into this mixture and stir it all around with your hands (or a spoon), to coat the bread. Add the salt and pepper and toss the bread again. Place all of this into a greased casserole dish (big enough to hold three quarts) and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for twenty minutes at 425°, then remove the foil and bake for another ten minutes. Take a toothpick and stick it into the stuffing. If it comes out clean, the stuffing is done. If not, bake until the toothpick comes out clean.

Serves six to eight people, depending on their appetite for stuffing.

I like to use either of these pumpkin pie recipes- either tofu or coconut cream base. Use what you have and what works best for your diet.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 (16-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar or sucanat OR 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 (10- to 12-ounce) package silken soft tofu
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (to firm up the pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (9-inch) unbaked vegan pie shell


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Blend the pumpkin and sugar. Thoroughly mix in tofu, cornstarch, and spices (allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves).

3. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Lower heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 60 minutes. Chill and serve.

Don't use the low fat tofu, then the pie tastes like it was made with tofu. This pie is soooo yummy, it will fool almost anyone. I made it last Thanksgiving for my whole family, I am the only one, and everyone asked for seconds. They begged me to make another one for Christmas dinner. Top with nondairy topping and it will fool any pumpkin pie lover.

Makes: 8 servings, Preparation time: about 1 hour + chilling time, Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

We make this crustless. YOu can also make your favorite GF crust:

This take on the classic pumpkin pie is a rich, dairy-free (and easily gluten-free) dessert that is perfect for fall and winter holidays (though, really, as long as you can find a can of pumpkin puree, you can make it all year round). Coconut oil makes the crust melt in your mouth, and coconut milk in the filling creates such a decadent flavor and texture that everyone will ask you for your recipe, while not expecting it to be dairy-free! Trust me: you'll want to try this one!
As with any recipe that is intended for persons with allergies, make sure to read all of your ingredient labels thoroughly to ensure that there are no dairy-derived ingredients in any of your products.


  • For the Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1 1/3 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (if gluten-free, use gluten-free graham cracker crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 5 T. brown sugar
  • 6 T. extra virgin coconut oil
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, store-bought or homemade
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. ground ginger
  • ¼ t. ground cloves
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • Vegan Coconut Milk Whipped Cream (optional)


1. Prepare the graham cracker crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9" pie plate and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut flakes, and sugar until well mixed. Add in the coconut oil and rub in until the mixture begins to clump together. (It will be pretty crumbly at this point.) Press into the prepared pie plate and place in the oven for 4 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool while preparing the filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt until very well combined. Gradually add the coconut milk until all has been added.
4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 F. to bake for 35-40 minutes longer. (If the edges of the crust start to brown too quickly, loosely tent the crust with foil.) Transfer the pie to a cooling rack to cool completely, then chill for 1-2 hours before serving. Serve with Vegan Coconut Milk Whipped Cream if desired.
Cook's Note:
    If you do not have coconut oil or it is unavailable to you, you can replace this with a dairy-free margarine of your choice. If you are able to find coconut oil, however, I urge you to do so; it really adds a wonderful flavor and melt-in-your mouth quality to the crust!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Homeschooling for under $210

I wrote  a post on how to homeschool for free. I realized if you have these items, it's a lot easier. And for $210 or thereabouts you can get the. You can also spend less if you have them or if you can find them cheaper (from friends etc)Supplies that HELP a lot-
lots of printer ink and printer paper

If you have any of these supplies you can cut costs. But this is assuming you don't have any of these.

Are these absolutely necessary? No, but since may people have smart phone you can down load the kindle app or other reading apps.  But If I had $210 to start up homeschooling, I would get a cheap old school kindle(not the fire and I would pay for no ads) and a printer and ink for that printer.
This is what I would choose if no one I knew had an old kindle, or I couldn't get one of ebay or craigslist. I loved the keyboard kindle, but they don't make those anymore.

We have a canon MX850 and my folks have an MX 920. I found this awesome deal on the MX450. It doess dupex printing, copying, fax and scanning- plus this one has google cloud and compatible with apple products for printing- allf or $66 Pretty awesome.
I would then buy ink from or Amazon. At Amazon this is the what fits for ours. And it's pretty cheap for 2 sets of ink for $16
So for $210 I would buy
Printer $66
Printer ink- $15
kindle $100
case of paper- costco $29

Hope that helps you on your homeschooling journey. It realis IS possible to do homeschooling cheaply!