Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

George Washington's Proclamation can be found here for an interesting bit of history.

This Thanksgiving. ..

May your home be blessed with
An abundance of joy, peace
And love from above.

May the warmth of His gifts
Overwhelm your hearts as you
Reflect upon the many blessings
Of the the Lord our God, most high.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gluten Free Recipes for Thanksgiving

We have had to revamp a lot of our traditions that involved food because of needing to avoid Gluten & Casein. We've butted heads with extended friends and family members on this issue for oh 7 years. Often skipping get togethers in hopes of avoiding ugly confrontations and nasty end results from an Opps!

A glimmer of light is beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel. I say this because of the following recipes I am sharing below. These recipes are all for Gluten free options of some holiday favorites. I got these recipes from not 1 source but a total of 4, Where they got them or who created them I do not know as it wasn't specified. While these won't be used here this year for Thanksgiving (the ones who would benefit most from these recipes are not big on corn bread, stuffing, or pie), I share these in order to possibly help someone else who could truly benefit from these.

To those who sent them for us to use: Thank You!

To whoever created these recipes: We salute you! You have given us hope and possible new palate tempting recipes for the future.

Gluten-Free Jalapeno Cornbread

Makes 8 servings

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 cup sweet rice flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 cup shortening

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup low-fat milk, at room temperature

3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

1 cup yellow cornmeal

Butter or margarine for final rub

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease a deep, 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

Sift the sorghum, tapioca, potato and sweet rice flours into a large bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum, mixing well. Cut the shortening into the flours with a pastry cutter or fork, as if you were making a pie crust. The batter should be crumbly, with coarse crumbs that resemble small peas.

Combine the eggs and milk in a small bowl and beat with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid, as if making fresh pasta. Stir with a rubber spatula until everything is combined. Add the jalapeno peppers and mix just until they are evenly distributed.

Stir in the cornmeal, whisking fast, until it is just combined. Do not overstir.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sides of the cornbread are slightly shrinking from the pan and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Rub a stick of butter along the top of the hot bread to coat and soften the crust. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Variations: For regular cornbread, omit jalapeno peppers and increase sugar to 3 tablespoons total; cook as specified. For mildly smoky cornbread, omit jalapeno peppers and mix 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, or pimenton dulce, into dry ingredients, then continue with recipe as specified.

Gluten-Free Stuffing With Autumn Fruit

Makes 8 servings

1 loaf of heavy gluten-free bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes to equal 5 to 6 cups

1 1/2 cups walnuts, cut into pieces

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons dried sage, or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups stock (vegetable, chicken or turkey)

2 fuyu persimmons, chopped coarsely

2 pears, such as Bartlett or Asian pears, cored and chopped coarsely

Additional salt and pepper for seasoning

3 tablespoons butter

Place rack in middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread gluten-free bread cubes evenly on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside. Raise oven heat to 375 degrees.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add walnut pieces. Toast for 4 minutes, agitating every 15 seconds to allow for even toasting and to prevent burning. Walnuts are done when they are fragrant and have turned a few shades darker. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet over medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers. Add onions and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add sage and thyme, sauteing for 30 seconds, then celery, sauteing for 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper and bread cubes and mix well. Drizzle in stock and remaining olive oil, mixing until bread cubes are coated. Remove from heat and allow to soak for 5 minutes, mixing once halfway through.

Gently stir in persimmons, pears and toasted walnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour the whole thing into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Dot the top with butter and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Pie

Makes 8 servings


1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe below)

5 teaspoons sweet rice flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Pinch of salt

6 tablespoons cold salted butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon orange juice

Prepare a 9-inch pie pan by greasing it with butter or nonstick baking spray and generously coating it with Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe below).

Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut cold butter into dry ingredients until it becomes crumbly and resembles small peas. Add egg and orange juice, and mix with a fork until the dough combines. Form into a ball and place in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper, for 10 minutes.

Lay down a sheet of wax paper and place the ball of dough in the middle. Lay another piece of wax paper over the top and press down gently with your hands to flatten the ball. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thick, making sure to keep an even thickness and fill in any cracks with dough from the edges.

Remove the top sheet of wax paper and place the dough in the pan, then peel off the remaining sheet of wax paper and gently press the dough into the pan. Take care not to puncture the dough with your fingers or fingernails. Crimp the edges and prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork. Cover pie pan loosely with wax paper and place in freezer for 15 minutes.

While the dough is freezing, place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove pie pan from freezer and line crust with aluminum foil, making sure to seal the edges so they don't burn. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until crust is a pale brown. Remove from oven and set aside.


2 pounds butternut squash

3/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

5 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs


Preheat to 425 degrees.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Lay squash facedown on a jelly-roll pan and pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast in oven for 1 hour, checking occasionally to make sure there is still water in the pan. Squash is done when a fork easily penetrates the flesh. Remove squash from oven, allow to cool and scoop flesh out with a spoon. You need 1 1/2 cups of mashed squash for the filling.


Make a shield for the edge of the pie crust by cutting 3-inch-thick strips of foil and folding them over the edges of your crust to protect them from burning. The foil should not dip down into the basin of the pan. Make sure it just covers the crimped parts around the rim of the pie pan.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until ingredients are liquefied. Pour filling into pie crust and carefully place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the pie comes out clean.

Place pie on wire rack until completely cooled. Slice and serve with whipped cream, which is nice with a little cayenne pepper.

Variation: For standard pumpkin pie, replace the butternut squash with 1 1/2 cups of fresh, unseasoned pumpkin puree. If you are roasting your own pumpkin, cut open the top, scoop out the seeds and split the body into four pieces. Roast according to directions above.

Another version of a Gluten Free Flour base mix.

Gluten Free Flour Mix

Makes 3 cups

2 cups finely ground brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)

1/3 cup tapioca flour

Mix flours in a large bowl. Sift and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Stills: Fin, Feather, Fur

Here are my choices for this particular Sunday Stills challenge.




If your interested in participating in Sunday Stills or want to learn more about this visit: Sunday Stills

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dawn Correspondence

I can't say enough about this Great Shop and Owner Amanda Day. Amanda is simply amazing between her creative designs, phenomenal customer service, and positive outlook on life and her business. She's simply a joy to work with.

I have purchased the above Mini Thanks Yous to place in my new customer orders. Each one that has been used as resulted in a customer calling me back thanking me for the adorable little addition to their order.

Because of the high quality work with the Mini Thank Yous, I felt more than confident in asking Amanda to create a personalized birthday card for a special 2 year old. Amanda took up the challenge and surpassed my expectations. She not only made it personalized but made it fit the theme of the party extremely well. Just off of my pathetic description. The card touched the parents and they are including it in the child's scrapbook. Something they didn't do with several of the other cards they received. hee hee

Again because of Amanda being so great to work with and fast timing I referred her to my niece. She has both my great niece and nephew in a Scouts program. Every year they participate in the respective cookie and popcorn sales for their organization. Every year she has them write thank yous to the people who purchase from them.

This year a black cloud of defeat loomed on the horizon. See my great nephew has a neurological condition that is progressive. It has progressed a bit faster than expected in his arms/hands. The recommendation from the medicals was to start transitioning the child to typing and saving the handwriting to critical things like paying bills and signing contracts. It looked like the annual tradition of thanking customers for their purchases was in jeopardy.

Enter our heroine, Amanda Day of Dawn Correspondence. She quickly and amazingly created mini thank yous for my great nephew. She included all the pertinent information Thank You, the message he used to hand-write, and his name. To top it off she used the Scouting colors. While they were simple in looks they contained a certain heartfelt boyish charm. Many of his customers where positively impressed with Amanda's creation. A few even thought it was wonderful how she captured his signature so well. ;) (Yes, they were quite elderly.)

Anyways, here are two comments about Amanda's work:

From my great nephew's mother: My 10 year old son used Amanda's custom mini cards to thank each person who ordered BSA popcorn from him. What made these cards so special is that Amanda made it look like he signed each one. My son has muscular dystrophy and its progressed to the point that handwriting is incredibly frustrating. To have to physically sign 75 cards would have driven both of us to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Thanks to Amanda he was able to carry out the tradition of thanking his customers without the tears and struggle it could have been and has been in the past. Amanda is a pleasure to work with. We look forward to repeating this next year and for the rest of his BSA career. You can shop her store with complete confidence that your order will be treated as if it's the only one she has to do. Her turn around is superb especially given the size and short time frame. She is a delight to do business with and more business could take a leaf from her book on customer satisfaction.

From great niece: I can't wait for Cookie sales to begin. I plan on asking if Amanda will do my thank yous, too. Everyone liked my brothers and commented on how nice they were. I want to offer that, too.

From the three shopping experiences that I have had at Dawn Correspondence. It is with heartfelt thanks and complete satisfaction that I can say the following:

Amanda is a super person to do business with. She's very talented and creative. She knows her stuff and what she creates is just WOW! Her turn around time is superb. Her attitude is extremely positive. She handles curves and challenges with a smile. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next as well as using her store for my correspondence needs.

Dawn Correspondence products can be found at:

Art Fire


Be sure to get your holiday correspondence and personalized paper good gift items the weekend after Thanksgiving! I will be offering FREE worldwide shipping on all purchases, excluding sale items and wedding correspondence, November 27-30.

*Again wanted to draw positive attention to Dawn Correspondence and encourage others to get products simply based on the positive experience of the purchase made by us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful for Disability Advocates.

Disability Advocates are often the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to make life better for those who have a disability be it visible or invisible.

Over the years I have met several of these very special people. They all had a few key characteristics and beliefs in common. Hope, Courage, Patience, Tenacity, and the ability to see that there is a real person hidden inside the disability.

These people really put their hearts & backs into trying to solve problems for those who are often pushed aside or ignored simply because they are different. I have had several first hand experiences that have led me to believe this.

If it hadn't been for a disability advocate my great niece wouldn't be where she is today. She'd most definitely have been removed from her mom's home and sent to live with strangers and be a statistic that the neighbors throw out when they go to pay their taxes.

If it hadn't been for a disability advocate my niece and her family might have been evicted. Why? Because a few people objected to having "disabled" people in the neighborhood. Like being disabled was going to have a negative effect on their property values or something. It's bad enough that their children can't go any where near the place my niece lives in because they are being taught that they might catch something bad if they do. It was the disability advocate who pointed out to the landlord that he couldn't toss them out just because of prejudice neighbors.

If it hadn't been for the disability advocate my niece would have continued to leave her children in a place where they suffered horrible abuses. Not because she wanted her children abused but because she believed the lies told her that this is how she should parent.

I can't say enough positives about these unsung hereos.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflections

I plan on sharing something I am thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches. I'm not sure how often that will be or just how wacky my thanksgiving will appear. I do plan on addressing each one a bit more in depth as time allows.

What I am thankful for:

Military Personnel
Veterans & Disabled Veterans
Home Schooling
Home Based Businesses
Children Hospital Personnel
Speech Therapists
Early Childhood Intervention
Advocates for the disabled

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Stills: Halloween

Here are some pictures from our around our town.

Sunday Stills: Halloween

Floating Ghosts

Just Hanging Out

Pop Up Greeter

Haunted House

Blow-up Pumpkin Globe

Man Made Pumpkin

Last House for the Night

A boy with a Werewolf Pumpkin

A Gentleman

Teen Wolf