Frui Pizza - gluten free/dairy free

Yesterday was the first 4th of July we have ever spent at home without friends or family.  I was bummed at first, but it turned out to be such a great day.  We went to the parade, had a wet sponge contest, bbq chicken on the grill, and, of course, the fireworks.  

My favorite fireworks photo from last night.

Every 4th of July we have a fruit pizza.  It's a family favorite.  But this year, we had a dilemma.  How do you make a GOOD gluten free/dairy free fruit pizza?  Well, I took on the task and it produced some awesome results!  So good!

Looks great, right?


GF cookie crust
½ cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (or use a margarine)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons GF vanilla
1 ½ cup GF flour*
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1 ½ teaspoon GF baking powder
Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a cookie sheet or pizza pan. 
Cream first 6 ingredients.  Add the remaining 3 ingredients.  The dough will be soft.  Place the dough on the prepared sheet and gently press the dough in place.  Cooke for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool a few moments and gently pull the cookie sheet off of the pan.  Place it on a large platter or cutting board.  While this bakes, make the glaze.
1 c. sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
dash of salt
3/4 c. water
1 c. orange juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (I used two lemons)
Place all ingredients into a small pot.  Cook until the sauce is thickened.  Once thickened, remove from heat and put in the fridge to cool.  While the glaze cools, mix the filling and prepare the fruit.

Dairy Free Filling
1 container Tofutti better than cream cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat all ingredients with a mixer until well blended. 
Any seasonal fruit can be used here.  I simply used strawberries and blueberries this time.  Just wash it, let it dry and cut it up.  Slice strawberries and kiwi.  Cut raspberries, blackberries and grapes in half (or leave whole if you prefer).  Cut pineapple into chunks.
Once the cookie crust is cool, pour on your dairy free filling and spread evenly.  Place your cut fruit on top in any pattern you like.  Pour glaze on top of the fruit and chill until ready to serve.


Egg sandwich

Today for lunch I fried an egg. But I really didn't want JUST an egg. Again. So I pulled out the vegan cream cheese (chive and garlic), and spread it on a corn tortilla and topped it with onions and tomatoes. So yummy and simple.


Vegan Nutella

I still haven't had time for crafting, but the dairy free and gluten free diet has enabled me to find some killer awesome recipes.  Even more so now that I have put my oldest son on the same diet.  The changes in him have been astonishing!  Needless to say, it's been a bit of a challenge for him since the start of his diet.  So as a reward, I made him a vegan version (dairy free) of his favorite treat... nutella.  If you or your children love nutella, you need to try this recipe.  Even if you do not need to eat dairy free, you should switch to this instead to avoid all of those unnecessary, bad for you ingredients.  Just read the label and you'll see what I mean!

First off, whether you use this recipe or another, make sure it calls for real chocolate, not just cocoa powder.  I assure you, it makes all the difference in the world!

 2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
12 ounces vegan chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp vegetable or nut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp of confectioners sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Roast until the skins of the hazelnuts are dark, 12-15 minutes.

While the nuts cool, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave until smooth.  Cool. 

Grab a handful of nuts and rub in your hands (over a bowl) as though making a ball of dough.  This will remove the skins, which are bitter.  Don't worry if you are unable to remove all of the skins, just get most of them.  Process nuts in a food processor (not a blender... it won't work) until a paste is formed.  This takes awhile.  Be patient! 

Add the oil, vanilla, sugar, salt.  Blend until you have a smooth consistancy (it probably won't be perfectly smooth... that's ok!!!)

Add the melted chocolate and blend until mixed.

You can strain the mixture to remove the bits of hazelnut if you prefer, but I don't think it's necessary. 

Let it cool in the fridge and you will have a great texture as it thickens when it cools.  ENJOY!!!


Gluten free Salads

Over the last 4 months I have been on a gluten and dairy free diet.  Not by choice, mind you.  When you learn that you have a food allergy, there is this sense of relief and frustration all at the same time.  The relief is because you finally know what has been keeping you from feeling healthy for as long as you can remember.  The frustration comes because you have to learn a new way of life.  

Doesn't it seem that everything in life is based around food?  Food has become less of a main part of life in that I don't center my time with family and friends around it anymore.  Going out for dinner is no longer enjoyable because of the hassle that comes along with it.  Instead, we eat at home.  It's actually saved us so much money as opposed to costing us so much. 

The sad thing has been realizing that some of the kids have a gluten issue as well.  The behavior they exhibit when they have gluten is ridiculous! 

All of this to say, it's been a challenge, but it is so worth it.  If you have questions about gluten and/or dairy free, feel free to ask and I will help you the best I can or direct you to someone or something that can.

During this journey, I have discovered some amazing recipes and made some great ones myself.  Some of you have been asking for those recipes and here are a few for you to enjoy.

For nearly all of my salads I use an organic spring mix.  If you're not a fan of spring mix, experiment!  Also, I don't usually use measurements when making a salad dressing.  Dressing is usually 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar.  Add your seasonings to taste.

Most of these are concoctions made by myself or my mom.

Today I came up with this crazy salad recipe that turned out to be SOOO GOOD!!!

Here it is:

spring lettuce mix
1 green onion
a few canned mandarin oranges
raisins, craisins or dried cherries
dark chocolate roasted almonds
1 orange
extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Cover a plate with salad and top with 1 sliced green onion (using the white and green parts) a few mandarin oranges some raisins and some almonds.  If you do not have the chocolate almonds (these are not chocolate covered, but covered with cocoa powder), use regular almonds instead and put some cocoa powder in your dressing.  in a bowl, juice 1 orange.  add a bit of oil (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and enough red wine vinegar to add a bit of tartness (just add to taste).  Pour on your salad and add salt and pepper.

Greek Salad

1/2 green pepper
1/2 cucumber
a handful of cherry tomatoes
1/4 red onion
16 kalamata olives
a few banana peppers
fresh or dried basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano 
salt & pepper
Feta cheese (omit if dairy free)

Cut your veggies into chunks.  Slice the onion.  Pit and cut the olives in half. put the veggies and feta into a bowl.  Mix oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper well in a small bowl, pour over your salad and toss gently.  

Asian Salad

sliced leftover chicken
salt and pepper
6 cups shredded Napa cabbage
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 English (hot house) cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 c. creamy nut butter of your choice (peanut is perfect here)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or use dried, ground ginger)
a bit of honey (just a bit to taste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
cilantro leaves - chopped

Mix the salad and place onto a serving plate.  top with chicken, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, and cucumber.  In a bowl,  mix but butter, vinegar, oil, ginger, and honey.  Top with sesame seeds and cilantro.

*with this recipe, play around with the veggies you use.  Just use what you have.  You can also skip the chicken and use almonds instead.

Mexican salad

Romaine lettuce
green onions
black beans
hardboiled egg
extra virgin olive oil
white or apple cider vinegar
cayenne pepper
chili powder
garlic (or garlic powder)
salt & pepper

Put your lettuce in a bowl and add veggies, beans, and egg.  In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, cumin cayenne pepper, garlic and salt and pepper.  Pour on top of salad and toss.

*You could top this with crushed tortilla or corn chips as well.  You can also choose one protein by omitting the beans or egg.


I completely forgot to post this!  ooops.   

This light was an inspired project that I really didn't think I was going to be able to pull off.  But, I did!  Dan and I love it!  In fact, we're planning on making a bigger drum shade to go over our dining room table.  It's a maple veneer that looks modern and yet, elegant.  

Modern Pendant Light
Unique light fixtures can often be hard to find at an affordable price.  So, instead of dropping that hard earned cash, make it yourself!

I made this pendant light with wood, some recycled materials, and my husbands drill.  With a tad bit of guidance, a vision and patience, this modern wood piece was created.


Kid Dates

So this isn't a craft post, but I anticipate craft posts coming because of this post.  :)

This morning I watched a few youtube videos that got me thinking about the dynamic of our family.  Dan and I have put so much time and effort into the financial aspect of our family (I guess that's just part of the territory when you have 4 children) and not enough on the investment we need to make in their lives to ensure that they have solid marriages as adults.  I thuroughly believe that it is OUR job to set them up for success!  We start the ball rolling!

It is so important for us to protect the hearts of our daughters NOW so that we can help our odds of avoiding sex before marriage, multiple sex partners, and a successful marriage.  We have all heard of ideas for father/daughter dates.  They are so important!  In fact, here is a video with some great ideas.
Tell me that you, as a little girl, didn't want your daddy to adore you?  You wanted him to notice you.  You wanted your mom to do the same.  So, do it for your daughter!  Make her feel special so she doesn't run out and find it elsewhere.... because she WILL!

But, what about our boys???  As a society, we are not raising responsible, dignified men who have integrity.  This video has some stunning facts.  Watch it and run over and buy the book!  Protect their hearts.  By doing so, you're protecting the hearts of someone else's daughter as well.

Dan and I have decided to start something we have been meaning to do for a long time now, dates with our children.  The kids and I made a list of 40 ideas that they can each do with one of us.  Not family nights.  One on one time with mom or dad.  We have decided that we will each take two of our children on dates each month.  That way, 2 get a date with dad and 2 get a date with mom.  The next month, we will switch kids.  A lot of our ideas are cheap or free.  Investing in your childs emotional needs does NOT have to cost a lot of money.  Below is the list we came up with.

Here are a few resources you should check out:
Wild at Heart - a GREAT book for moms of boys to read!
Captivating - a GREAT book for Dads of girls to read!
Every Man's Battle - for Dad's and Moms to read!
Six ways to keep the little in your girl
six ways to keep the good in your boy

1. Fishing
2. Laser tag
3. camping
4. beach
5. park
6. zoo
7. make and fly kites
8. mini golf
9. ice cream
10. board games at the coffee shop
11. breakfast
12. bike ride
13. Jumping Country (indoor bounce house)
14. crafts @ Michaels ($2 saturday morning workshops)
15. movies
16. skateland (indoor roller skating)
17. ice skating
18. go shopping
19. soup kitchen
20. horseback riding
21. bowling
22. rock wall climbing
23. dinner
24. picnic
25. Glaze (local pottery painting studio)
26. theater (watch a play)
27. go carts
28. Brewers game (yes, we're in Wisconson:)
29. Packer game
30. Hot air balloon (something we have always wanted to do)
31. Six Flags (great America for you crazy people)
32. Sledding (if we ever get snow this winter)
33. batting cages
34. train ride
35. bookstore
36. candystore
37. toy store
38. Pigments Art Studio (local art studio)
39. Park patrol (go to as many parks as you can in your town in a certain amount of time)
40. American Girl Store

Make your own list and romance that child!


Recycled Ruffle Skirt and Hair Tie

Recycled Ruffle Skirt and Hair Tie

My daughter absolutely LOVES skirts and leggings in the winter.  She loves even more, when I make it for her.  This skirt is one of my favorites to date!

The skirt is made from a women's shirt and knit material.  The leggings are attached to the skirt at the waistband, allowing for more comfort than separate pieces.  

The skirt features a fold over waistband and is extremely comfortable for your little one.  I added a little bit more visual interest by simply sewing on some stitches with embroidery floss.  The skirt can be made with more or less detail, depending on your taste.  

 The hair tie pulls the whole outfit together.  What mom doesn't love matching hair ties?  It's bright, ruffly, and girly.  Three things little girls love!


Teaching a child to knit

My almost 6 year old, homeschooled, kindergartner wants me to teach her how to knit.


Pretty sure I learned when she was a baby!

I mean, off and on as a child... but not 5!

Not sure where to begin.

I just did a bit of research and was reading that you should start with finger knitting.  Remember the easy Christmas Garland I posted a long time ago?  Probably not.  It was a LONG time ago.  You can find it here.

It really is easy and I will probably start her with that this week.  

Has anyone else taught a young child to knit?  Need suggestions here!


Love Plates - TUTORIAL

I love these plates!  The best part... they are soooo easy!  You do not need much artistic talent to accomplish this task.  Which, if you haven't noticed, is my goal in S.Y.T.Y.C. this season.  We can all find crafts that are difficult by looking on the internet.  However, simple and cute.... much harder to find. This one takes the cake!  Give it a try.  I promise, you can do it!

Items needed:
Ceramic dishes
Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint (Michaels)
Paint brush

1. Print, draw or copy the artwork of your choice.  I found this design online and simply redrew what I saw.  If that does not fit your abilities, just print a design you like and cut it out.  This will help with placement.

2. With a pencil, scribble on the back of your drawing.

 3. Tape your image to the dish.

4. With a pen or pencil, trace your image.

 5. Pull off the paper and you will find a faint sketch of your image.  It is just enough to trace.

6. Start painting.  This is the paint and brush I used.  I should have used a liner brush, but I didn't have one.  Not to mention I'm cheap and I like to make things difficult on myself.  Use a brush size that best fits your image.  Trust me.  It will save you frustration!

7. Follow the directions on the back of your paint bottle for baking.  Mine said to let dry for 24 hours.  Then bake at 300 for 35 minutes.  After baking, you can put it in the dishwasher!  LOVE!

Enjoy your new, personalized dishes!

Gluten free & Dairy free

Not too long ago I found I  am lactose intolerant and have a gluten sensitivity.  So what does that mean?  It means I can't eat anything!

Well, not really.  But some days it feels that way.  Do you have any idea how much I have missed a slice of greasy pizza?  

Not as much as you might think, actually.  Now that I've been eating this way for some time, I can't stand the thought of those foods.  Every once in awhile though, I get a craving.  It was so hard for the first few weeks.  Cooking for my family and differently for myself was not easy.  But I feel so much better.

So why am I telling you all of this?  Because I want to share with you some killer (and some not so killer) recipes I've tried.

Here is my new favorite website:  Gluten Free Goddess

She has such awesome recipes!  These are my favorites from her collection (so far, anyway):

This recipe is AMAZING!  Gluten free or not... try it!

You're not going to find a better gluten free pizza crust.  Trust me.

This is soooo good!  The red wine and balsamic vinegar are what make this recipe so great.

This is a great way to kick a craving!  

I lost 20 pounds the first week!  Mostly because I felt like I couldn't eat anything.  But I'm still loosing and expecting that next year, I'll be half the girl I am today.  YAY!

A few other things I tend to eat....

lettuce wraps (chicken, hummus or avocado and lots of veggies wrapped in boston butter lettuce)
gluten free crackers and hummus
lots or corn tortillas stuffed full of veggies
smoothies... like every other morning :)

What I've learned:
-Don't make try to redo old recipes (you know, the ones full of cheese and fat).  Instead, eat healthy.  Fruit, veggies, and protein.
-dairy substitutes SUCK!  Just skip them!
-almond flour is so yummy and so much better than wheat flour anyway!
-Most of all, treat food as a source of energy, not satisfaction.


Are you gluten and/or dairy free?  I'd love for you to share your fav recipes because I'm still learning!

Leather Accessories - SYTYC

This craft bums me out.  It sooo did NOT turn out how I intended and I'm pretty sure it will be the end of my time on this season of S.Y.T.Y.C.  lame.

So many of you have been asking for the tutorial for the plates.  That tutorial will be posted tonight.  So, check back soon.

Leather Accessories

We all love accessories.  Finding things is different from the rest, however, is not always an easy task.  

The necklace is a basic bib necklace made of leather, lace and beads.  It's not too feminine but has a bit of a girly touch to soften it. 

The head band is simple.  Little pieces of leather on a headband.  It pulls it all together.

Love you Plates

Forgot to post these last week.  I loved this craft because it is SOOO simple!


Love you Plates

If you are anything like me (a mom with children) you might just be staying in for Valentines Day.  My husband and I rarely do go out for V-day, but I usually make us a special dinner that we enjoy AFTER the children are in bed.  I set the table, light candles and it's just the two of us.  Silence, adult conversation and food.  It just doesn't get better than that!

This year, we will be enjoying our dinner on special plates that I made.  Something cute.  These would also make a wonderful wedding gift, shower gift, or... just because.  The process for making these plates was not only simple, but something anyone can do and budget friendly.

 You can do this process with any image you draw, print from your computer or re-create. The possibilities are endless with this idea!



The jewelry tree stand I made for S.Y.T.Y.C. was featured on Knock Off Decor.  Go check it out here:

Here is my second project for S.Y.T.Y.C.  This was kind of a rough theme for me, which is always a great way to push you back into the creative mode.  In the end, it was a great project that my daughter helped me make.  So, head on over and vote!


It is inevitable, if you have children, that you have wonderful books that have torn or missing pages.  They are no longer useful for their original intent.  Those books often make their way to the garbage.  Instead of throwing it away, here is a great way to make use of that wonderful book.
Made from the book Where the Wild Things Are, this paper bowl is more sturdy than it used to be.  It makes a great decoration that can be used for so many things.

 It's a fun project you can do with your children, making it a great recycling lesson. 


S.Y.T.Y.C. - Again :)

If you haven't noticed already, I am doing S.Y.T.Y.C. again.  Head on over to see my jewelry tree creation.  It's an anthropologie knock off and I'm totally loving it!  Head on over and vote!