Pumpkin Spice Season: Pumpkin Spice Cookies (GF/V/A)


Ford started High School this morning. Talk about making one feel old. It is really hard to wrap it around that he is in the 10th grade. And worse, is going to turn 16 in a few weeks. I spent Monday baking cookies, freezing up for his lunches. And realized something. It has been a long time since I used wheat flour. I still have a container on the counter, with maybe a pound in it. At this point, I am sure it is pretty stale. I gave away all my bags of flour to our neighbor this summer. If I can’t do it gluten-free/allergy-friendly, then it won’t be made.

I was very happy with the results of this tinkering. It is a soft cookie, more cake-like, than cookie. The boys loved them, especially Alistaire. Will Ford like them? Who knows. He gets all weird about pumpkin. Not sure why!


Pumpkin Spice Cookies


  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup olive or grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 375°, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir the brown rice flour through nutmeg together, sift through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk the pumpkin, oil and vanilla together, add to dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

Use a 1 Tablespoon Disher to scoop and drop balls onto prepared baking sheets, 12 per tray.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until set on top. Let cool before moving to a rack.

Store tightly covered, freeze for longer term storage.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.



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 & Allergen-Friendly Pizza Crust

Where do teens go to hide from Mom, when in a grocery store? The magazine aisle. At least mine does. Looking for Ford, I ended up flipping through magazines, and going home with a few I hadn’t read before. One of which was:

Reading the July/August 2013 issue of Delight Gluten Free Magazine, I went through their lengthy section on pizza making. At 5 pages long, this was pretty intensive. I was thinking maybe I could try out a gluten-free pizza crust, at least get there 90% of the way for Alistaire. Get the basics conquered, then get where he can eat everything (ie…dairy free cheese). The recipe was for a thin crust pizza, so I was thinking “Oh, I’ll double the recipe and make two pizzas! “. Note to self: OK, just make two batches and proceed. GF isn’t the same as using wheat. After letting it rise for an hour and a half I was not feeling so confident this crust was going to be useable. It was ummm….spreadable. It didn’t look like “dough”. Feeling fearful, I took the red sauce I was simmering for the pizzas, and turned it into a pasta sauce. I decided though, to give the dough a chance. Pizza? I wasn’t so sure, but maybe a focacia bread? Or cheesy bread? Ooh…yeah.


As I made my backup dinner, the bread baked in the oven. Walker asked what I was doing, as I crouched down, looking through the window. Hoping, I thought to myself. It looked done, I set it on a cutting board and sliced it. Burning hot – and one bite had me thinking of a memory from years ago.

Ever indulged in Papa John’s Cheesy Bread? Oh please, we all have.

My accident just produced heaven on a plate. Like that, just um, way better. We couldn’t keep Walker out of it. He ate so much he gave himself a tummy ache 😀


I’ll be working on this for pizza and just have the confidence it won’t fail. I have to remind myself that gluten-free/allergen baking doesn’t look like wheat dough/batter when it is raw. I just have to believe and trust my nose that it is turning golden delicious. And that a double batch produces a heavenly, thick and fluffy crust.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust & Cheesy Bread


  • 1½ cup warm water
  • 4½ tsp active dry yeast (2 packets)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

For topping:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


In a stand mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, oil, and sugar. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

Turn mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture, beat until mixed in. Add vinegar and remaining flour, mix until dough is smooth (it will not be thick like regular pizza dough is).

Oil a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, Scrape dough in. Lightly oil a piece of plastic wrap, cover tightly. Let sit for 2 hours in a warm spot.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 450° and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spritz or lightly oil the edges of the pan (important, otherwise it can and will stick to the edges!)

Knock dough out onto prepared pan, spreading gently with a silicone spatula, until it fits the pan. Let rest for 15 to 30 more minutes.

Drizzle olive oil over the top, liberally grind pepper and a pinch of salt over, then sprinkle on cheese to taste.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly. Work a thin spatula under the parchment paper, loosen the edges and slide onto a cutting board.

PS: If you chill leftovers, reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave. It is not good cold, but heated, delicious.


My feeling on how to use as an actual pizza crust is to par bake it for 5 minutes, then top and bake for another 15 minutes. I would use a light hand with sauce and cheese, and use ingredients that won’t produce a lot of moisture while baking.


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).


Zucchini Bread From Learning To Bake Allergen-Free

When I need inspiration that isn’t coming from the ever-growing stack of cookbooks waiting to be reviewed…I go wandering on Amazon. Amazon rarely fails in this: if I know a cookbook I like, I have many others presented to me that are similar. Then I go to the library’s website and start searching. Being that our county library system is massive (how big? 48 libraries!) and one of the most used in the US (it is a yearly battle between KCLS and one in New York – 22 million items circulated alone in 2012!)…well most times I can get the books I see on Amazon. It gives me a chance to find authors I might have missed and avoid stinkers (which is one reason I like the luxury of getting so many review copies of cookbooks!)l My goal was to find more inspiration in baking for Alistaire and the family. Finding gluten-free books isn’t hard, but those that are also egg, nut and peanut free? It gets a lot thinner in choices. Real thin. I picked up a pile of books and started flipping through. The first two went back into my library bag. One claimed to be nut free but wasn’t (really??), the second one used a GF flour mix in every recipe that was nearly all garbanzo bean flour (my stomach said nooo thank you!).

The third in my pile had me happy. It was that special-needs diet cookbook I was dreaming of. How had I missed it before? Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts by Colette Martin. And more so, it follows pretty closely to how we eat, unprocessed and plenty of whole foods. And will walk the shaky/nervous/overwhelmed through it (yes, it is a crash course, but there isn’t a learning curve  with allergens…ugh). And this is a relatively new book, having come out last year, with plenty of color photos, sprinkled throughout.


This made the most ethereal loaf of zucchini bread.


Ummm…this was beyond fantastic. Consider it this way: zucchini bread is usually a heavy loaf that is dark in flavor, texture and heavy in the stomach. This wasn’t that. The vanilla slips through, mingling with the sugar. It doesn’t taste gluten-free. Or allergy-friendly. If you brought it out and kept quiet, it would disappear quickly. Walker and Alistaire happily had it for dessert, and Walker ate what baby didn’t finish.



I took the boys out to the garden, and we picked a couple of small zucchini to use in it. There is something so cool about having fresh produce on the vine, waiting for you!



It never got above 65° today. What a way to celebrate the first day of August. No measurable rain in all of July, first day of August and it opens up dumping and cold. Loved it! The plants did as well….

The bread pulled together quickly, and was in the oven before we sat down to dinner. This could become a go-to for all those squash plants 😉 Yellow squash would be so pretty.



Zucchini Bread, pages 102-103 (adapted for our dietary issues)


  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (see notes)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (see notes)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + ¼ cup warm water, mixed
  • ½ cup oil (called for grapeseed, used olive oil)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (called for hemp, used coconut milk)
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups zucchini, shredded



Preheat oven to 350°, spray or lightly oil a 9×5 bread pan.

Mix together the flour, xantham gum, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Blend together the egg replacer mixture, oil, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl, with a hand mixer on medium speed, for 1 minute.

Gradually add the flour mixture, blending on medium speed until the batter is smooth.

Add the zucchini and mix for an additional 2 minutes, until combined.

Scrape batter into the loaf pan, smoothing out. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or thin butter knife comes out clean in the center, and the top is turning golden. My loaf took a full 60 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, gently flip over to remove, let cool on a wire rack before slicing (a serrated bread knife works well). Once cool, store covered, eat within a day or two for best taste!


I used Trader Joe’s all-purpose gluten-free baking mix, a comparable version is King Arthur’s.

If the GF flour mix you are using has xantham gum, do not add any to the recipe. I used the GF mix I have, it imparts a light flavor, where other ones such as Bob’s Red Mill have a heavier taste (it has beans). Use what you prefer, but keep that in mind.

Overall, I bake with So Delicious coconut milk. I like the texture/flavor. My husband prefers to avoid Hemp products. As for the oil, I cook with only two oils: olive and coconut. Maybe I am used to it, but I love olive oil in baked goods. I don’t fine it strong at all.


Date Bars For My Youngest

Alistaire has changed, he is a big boy now. He looks at our food longingly. He wants what we have, to not be segregated due to his allergies. I went back into my copy of Enjoy Life’s Cookies for Everyone!: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free Treats that are Safe for Most Anyone with Food Allergies, Intolerances, an, to make a new recipe for him to enjoy. I picked the Date Bars on page 107 and adapted them to coconut oil, rather than shortening. I have really enjoyed this cookbook, I first found it long before allergies were even an issue in our family. Now? I have a vast array of sweet treats I can offer the littlest. No eggs, gluten, peanuts, nuts and so on 🙂


His face was beaming happiness.

Little man couldn’t get enough of it!


Baking for my children makes me happy, being able to create for the baby? That is more than happiness.


Date Bars

Cookie Base:


  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar



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

Place the dates, water and sugar in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until thick and mostly smooth. Set aside to cool while the crust is prepared.

Add the cookie base ingredients to a food processer, process until finely crumbed. Divide in half, spreading on half in the prepared dish, pat down firmly. Spread date filling over crust, smoothing out. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over the top evenly.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool partially on a wire rack, cut bars while still warm (but not hot).

I cut 16 bars. Wrap extras in plastic wrap, freeze on a baking sheet till hard, then package in a freezer bag.


I chilled a wrapped bar and took it on my Sunday hike. For second breakfast, it was so tasty. It fueled me on my way out! Even after I squashed it with my camera 😉 Oh yeah, that is Mt. Rainier.




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