Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts


I was excited to have an idea for a treat that Alistaire could enjoy: gluten-free, nut and peanut free, egg free – well you know the spiel. Quinoa flour is one I work with only here and there, it has a pretty strong flavor so I usually avoid it when baking, unless it is a small amount. With the level of sugar, I figured the taste wouldn’t be too prominent. I was right on that. And guess who really liked them? Well, one would be Alistaire….the other was a certain older brother in a blue shirt. Turns out…..


I didn’t leave them far back enough on the counter. And someone ate nearly THREE of the six donuts. Oh well, at least someone appreciated them. As in a 3½ year older. At least baby got one to himself.


I do add a disclaimer: if you are not used to baking with quinoa, it has a very dominant smell while baking. Very earthy. I find it dissipates as it cools. But these donuts will not be light or fluffy. They are whole-grain (well, actually whole-seed) and are rich with the sunflower butter. I found the texture pleasing, xantham gum might be a good addition to lighten the batter when baking (and firming it up to be more cake-like).

Sunflower & Peach Jam Quinoa Donuts


  • ¾ cup Quinoa Flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup SunButter Natural
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp peach jam


Preheat oven to 325°, liberally spray a 6-Cavity Donut Pan. Whisk flaxseed meal and water together, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, beat until thick. Divide jam between the cups, spreading evenly around, about 1½ teaspoons each.

Whisk the quinoa flour through sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk Sunbutter and flax mixture till smooth, whisk in remaining wet ingredients through vanilla, until smooth. Add to dry ingredients, stir until mixed. Scrape batter into a new gallon zip top bag, seal out air while zipping closed. Cut off a corner of bag, pipe equally on top of the jam.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes, flip over and remove pan. Let cool before enjoying.

Best eaten day of baking.

Makes 6 donuts.



Zucchini Oat Brownies (GF/Allergy Friendly)

Ooh, guess what today is? Besides my littlest one turning 18 months old?


It is National Zucchini Day!

Well, I’d probably celebrate more, but this week I had to tear out all of my squash and cucumber plants. The white fungus got to them all 😦 Ah well. At least I got to enjoy some tasty zucchini and yellow summer squash before they were infected. Apparently this year I don’t get to participate in the other part of today’s holiday “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch and run day“. Hehheh! Oh well – there is always next year, and I now know to not buy any veggie starts (lesson learned – I bought a yellow patty pan set of plants that got it first a few weeks back, then it travels via insects landing on other plants). If anything, this year has been a great lesson in how things grow organically 🙂

So…the other day, for National Night Out in our neighborhood, I made up these brownies. Partially I wanted to see if anyone noticed. Apparently not, because the platter was empty within minutes. And I didn’t hear any kids going “OMG, this is so gross”. Mission accomplished 😉 The boys loved them and hey, even the Teenager didn’t question what was in it. With all the chocolate the zucchini melts into it. If you are worried your kids might question it, use the fine grating side of your box grater.


Zucchini Oat Brownies


  • ½ cup Sunbutter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (see below)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (GF/Vegan/Nut Free)


Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil or spray a 9×13″ baking dish.

Shred zucchini on a couple of paper towels (layered). When done grating, roll up and let sit for a few minutes to help remove excess moisture.

Whirl oats in a mini food chopped until mostly ground.

Add Sunbutter, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl, beat on medium till smooth. Add in zucchini, cocoa powder, ground oats, baking soda and salt, beat until combined. Add in ¼ cup of chocolate chips.

Spread in prepared dish, sprinkle remaining chips over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean from the center.

Let cool, then cut into 20 pieces. Store tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator.


Sunbutter Cupcakes for Alistaire

For my little buddy, I would try anything, just so he can have a treat like the rest of us.


Giving him a cupcake that can give wheat ones a run for their money? Yeah, that felt awesome! Moist, light with that cupcake texture and yes, allergy friendly. No gluten, peanuts, nuts, eggs, dairy….just a lot of flavor! I was proud of these cakes, I took them to our neighborhood National Night Out this week. And they were all gone in minutes. Woot!


Sunbutter Cupcakes




Preheat oven to 350°, line a 12 count muffin tin with papers (preferably Reynolds or Wilton).

Stir cider vinegar into milk, set aside.

Add Sunbutter to a stand mixer bowl (paddle attachment in place), beat for 2 minutes on medium.

Add oil, brown sugar, and vanilla, beat on medium for 3 minutes. Add in flax mixture, beat until combined.

Whisk flour, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour in slowly, in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, beat on medium until smooth.

Divide batter between the liners. Bake for about 22 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


Sunbutter Frosting


6 Tbsp vegetable shortening (Spectrum Organic)

1/3 cup Sunbutter

1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (used So Delicious)


Add shortening and Sunbutter into a stand mixer bowl, beat on low until combined, add in vanilla. Add sugar, beat in on low, then on medium until crumbly. Add milk in, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until smooth.

Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes. Decorate with decorating sugars, if desired.


Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix (Allergy Friendly/Whole Grain)

In my quest to find a general all-purpose gluten-free flour that we liked (and agreed with out bodies, that meaning no bean flours), I had come to using Trader Joe’s premix, which was considerably cheaper than its counterpart by King Arthur, but still not exactly cheap. KA is nearly $8 for 24 ounces (33 cents an ounce!) and TJ’s is around $4 for 16 ounces. Compared to wheat flour…that is so pricey ($1 a pound is about the highest I have paid). Especially with feeding 5 people!

I got inspiration from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, which has a recipe for a Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix. It appeared to be quite similar, so I gave it a try, adapting it to my taste.


Cybele Pascal’s recipe uses superfine rice flour, honestly I don’t mind the more rustic Bob’s Red Mill flour. If anything, to me it seems more “normal”. We used white whole wheat and pastry whole wheat flours before going gluten-free, so to me white rice and finely milled brown rice flours just seem…too processed. And as well is cost: Bob’s runs about 11 cents an ounce, Authentic Foods is closer to 26 cents per ounce. That adds up quickly. Having been to Bob’s mill and their store, their products are something I very much approve of. But I digress, the other key about making my flour mix is removing the white rice flour of it. The packaged versions contain a percentage of it, I’d prefer we not have it. So…if you like less rustic, then source out the pricier flour.


On the left is the homemade mix, on the right is Trader Joe’s. Not a huge difference in look – or in feel. Just cheaper 😉

Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix



Mix the ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Store in a glass airtight jar.

Makes about 6 cups. Use in recipes calling for a general/basic all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (use in recipes calling for xantham gum or similar).



I was inspired by a quick recipe I saw on Keeley McQuire’s blog and made an adapted batch for Alistaire to nibble on. Turned out everyone else liked them just as much…..even the Teen. But first I had to lure the littlest back inside to enjoy a snack made just for him!



Being that they didn’t need a food processor, I had them ready in under 10 minutes (most of which was Walker trying to help me….)



One thing I changed was using 1-minute quick oats instead of rolled oats. The texture is finer and easier for Alistaire to chew.





Mix the oats through honey together in a medium mixing bowl. Make balls with a 1 Tablespoon Disher, packing tightly with hands and rolling into balls.

Add powdered sugar to a shallow bowl, roll balls in sugar. Store balls in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

Makes about 14 balls.


You can make your own oat flour easy enough. Grind oats in a mini food chopper or blender.

Read powdered sugar labels. Some contain tapioca starch, others cornstarch. I have good luck with Wholesome Sweeteners organic.

I tried out a new-to-me honey in this recipe, Golden Blossom Honey:



I had received samples of it recently, the Sunballs were its first use. Taste wise?  Clear, mellow, fruity. It wasn’t what I was expecting from commercial honey (I am not a fan of most honey-bear honey found in stores. It is often so intensely sweet it isn’t palatable) I would put Golden Blossom Honey in the “I’d have it in tea” category, meaning I liked it quite a bit. And to my Mother In-Law (who I know will read this!), it is sold in Florida. You need to pick me up some 😉


Inchilotta Casserole & A Dilemma

The irony in Alistaire’s allergies is it took away my lazy cushion for cooking. Many of my vegan/plant-based diet tricks were not there anymore. Nut “meat”balls? Nope. Wheat pasta? Yeah, nope. Finely ground nuts in oatmeal? Sigh. Gluten-based faux meats? And a big fat no. There have been days where I honestly feel pretty sorry for myself, then I remind myself that of all the kids to have allergies, he is pretty fortunate. At least he has a Mom that can learn to adapt not only his diet, but ours. At 17 months he wants to eat with us now, not just have a pile of “baby” food. No dummy there. Even then, I can’t cook with many ingredients anymore around him, so that means I have removed most everything he is allergic to from the house. From spelt flour to pecans, to my lazy-evening dinner solution: marinara sauce with faux-ground beef tossed with whole wheat pasta. He eats that, we have issues. And I got the bill for his last two ER visits and gack, no thanks on that. Oh well, at least we have met our yearly deductible, must look on the bright side.

So my dilemma is how do I get protein into him? I would fall back on faux meats about once a week and the rest of the time it was heavy on legumes and nuts before Alistaire was eating solids. Baking has to be vegan/gluten-free still, to avoid eggs. But I am also realizing we will have to have some meat, until I can get his diet under control. Trust me, I do NOT like cooking meat, nor buying it. This recipe does contain meat, although it can easily be converted to using faux-chickn’ strips chopped up. This will I am sure lead to some issues with readers, as I have primarily posted vegan and vegetarian recipes the past couple of years. I am not one to hide though and pretend to be something I cannot be. If my using organic meat offends you, I apologize, but what choice do I have until I can figure out my baby’s health issues?

Still, I am happy to be able to make my son a whole foods meal that he can enjoy with us. My inspiration? A copy of, Eating Gluten Free: Delicious Recipes and Essential Advice for Living Well Without Wheat and Other Problematic Grains, published in 2004, that I came across in our local library this week. I found it gratifying to read an older book on GF cooking/eating, being 9 years old, it doesn’t have a lot of hard to find ingredients, that are now in style for cookbooks (don’t get me wrong, I love hard to find ingredients…but hey, it makes it easier with allergies to avoid them). Picking through the recipes I found a number that were good to use as-is and many I could adapt for B’s allergies.


The Inchilotta recipe on page 41 caught me eye. It is the stuffing of a vibrant enchilada, and can be eaten as a salad, or baked as a casserole with corn tortillas. Yum! I had to try this out, so I got my shopping list ready and went to the farmers market.


Inchilotta Casserole (As adapted)


  • 1 pound organic chicken breasts (see notes)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans organic black beans
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 package corn tortillas (gluten and allergen-free), about 9
  • 8 ounces finely grated cheddar/jack cheese (see notes)


Preheat oven to 350°, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray liberally.

Add the lemon juice to a glass mixing bowl, place chicken in, turn to coat, let rest for 10 minutes.

Mix the salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Transfer chicken to baking sheet, discard lemon juice. Sprinkle the seasoning on top, flip over and sprinkle on the other side. Bake chicken for 30 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and tomatoes in bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Rinse and shake off beans, add to onions. Add the spices, toss to coat. Stir in cooked chicken.

Eat as, or add chopped romaine hearts and make a salad, it keeps great in the refrigerator chilled – or better? Make a hot casserole!


To make a casserole:

Preheat oven to 350°, oil a baking dish (I used a 9×13″). Lay down a layer of corn tortillas, spread half filling on top, sprinkle on 1/3 cheese, then another layer of tortillas, remaining filling and 1/3 of cheese, ending with another layer of tortillas . Sprinkle last 1/3 of cheese on top, bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

– To fit tortillas in dish, cut 3 of them in half, and use 2 whole ones and 2 half-moons on each layer.


Use a favorite faux-chicken strips, chopped up, for a veg-friendly version. You won’t need the lemon juice. If your strips must be baked before, sprinkle the spices on, before baking. If going vegan, use a favorite faux-cheese.


Gluten-Free & Vegan Marionberry Cobbler

I finally broke down and picked up a bag of Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. After my not-so-good experience with Bob’s Red Mill AP Flour mix I had been very hesitant to try any of the others (let’s just leave it at we don’t care for heavy bean based flours). I had an idea though and seeing as the ingredient was short, and everything Alistaire could have, I decided to try it out. From looks of it (and from researching online) it is very similar to King Arthur’s Multi-purpose GF Flour. Both are a mix of brown and white rice flours, tapioca starch (flour) and potato starch. Unlike the heavy bean based flour mix we had last time, this one was light and airy – and there wasn’t any triggers in it for him.


I converted a wheat flour recipe but didn’t use any gums for this. I liked the texture – halfway between cobbler and a molten-lava style cake. Crisp on top with a caramel-y like cake pudding layer under, then berries.



Which was very delicious, especially with Marionberries brought hom on Saturday from the farmers market.


Gluten-Free & Vegan Marionberry Cobbler


  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sucanat sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 4 cups fresh Marionberries


Preheat oven to 350°. Add coconut oil to an 8×8″ glass baking dish, let melt in oven as it warms up.

Rinse and shake off berries, spread on paper towels.

Meanwhile, whisk flour through salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in milk. Take the pan out of the oven, spread the batter in, sprinkle berries over the top. If desired, dust a little more sugar over the top (gives the crust a crunch).

Bake for about 60 minutes, until crust is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold.


Gluten-Free & Vegan Zucchini Bread

Eeeeh! My summer squash plants have finally started to produce. Maybe not too exciting to most, but for me…I had all my early squash die and had to be re-seeded in May (live and learn, I planted the plants way too early. Seeds were a better choice, in May).


I try to pick them small, when they are tender and have few seeds developed. At this stage, no longer than my hand, they are perfect for most anything  especially raw zuke noodles. And that is why I planted so many seeds. I want a lot of raw noodles come August 😉 Still, I had 3 to pick, just enough to make a loaf of bread that Alistaire could enjoy. We also picked our first “baby” carrots, the first globe zucchini, patty pan and lots of berries.



A stumbling block for cooking is finding gluten-free recipes/concepts I can adapt that are not only GF, but vegan and nut-free. Oh yeah, that is so not an easy task I am finding. So much GF uses eggs to bind or have gone the paleo route of using almond flour. Not that I don’t like those ways, don’t get me wrong. But with his allergies…I am finding yet another way to cook. Yet again. The goal though is simple: it has to fit his dietary needs and taste good. Beyond that, I am pretty open-minded now.

The bread was a success. Everyone liked it, and Walker was happy to help chow it down – and the baby ate his share very happily, daintily with a fork 😉


Gluten-Free & Vegan Zucchini Bread




Little hands interrupting my photo shoot. Alistaire saw me working and came running up to check it out.


Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oiling or spraying a 9×5″ bread-loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, oil the paper as well.

Stir brown sugar through salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk olive oil through cider vinegar.

Grate the zucchini, using a box grater. Press gently in a fine mesh strainer to remove as much moisture as possible. Knock onto paper towels, roll up and press again. Unroll and fluff up, then measure. I used 3 small zucchini.

Whisk zucchini into wet ingredients, then scrape wet into dry, stir until mixed.

Spread evenly in prepared pan, bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a butter knife in center comes out clean. Turn out on a cooling rack, let fully cool before slicing, with a serrated knife. Store wrapped.

Makes one loaf.


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