Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gooseberry-Blackberry-Blueberry Streusel Pie (gfdf)

Our garden is bursting with fruits and vegetables right now and I am blessed with my first gooseberry harvest! I discovered gooseberry pie at Marie Callender's restaurant and have been in love with them ever since - but it's not easy to find this pie. I jumped at the chance to grow my own berries (despite a garden hotline person telling me I wouldn't be successful in doing so).

I attended a facebook Pie Party a few weeks ago and I discovered a recipe that I had to try plus I grew all three berries in our garden!

For the original version, please visit Debbie's blog here. If you have no food restrictions, try her recipe. Great job Debbie!

Here's my gluten-free, dairy-free adaptation.

Gooseberry-Blackberry-Blueberry Streusel Pie

My pie crust recipe can be found here.

For the filling:
1 cup organic cane sugar
3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups gooseberries
2 cups blackberries
1 cup blueberries
OR (combination) of 5 cups assorted fresh berries; rinsed and dried

For the topping:
6 Tablespoons golden brown sugar
6 Tablespoons raw pecan pieces
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery sticks, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour

**You'll want your favorite vanilla ice cream in the freezer. Mine is Almond Dream.

Make up my pie crust recipe (or your own favorite recipe). Using about 2/3 of the dough, roll it out and place it in a glass deep dish pie plate. Flute the edges, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. *I did this following the original directions, but I have no idea why it's chilled.

*My gooseberries are fresh, but my blackberries and blueberries are from last season and were frozen. I measured out the frozen fruit and placed them in a bowl to thaw for a few hours. Once thawed, I added the gooseberries and mixed gently.

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the sugar, arrowroot and lemon juice. It makes a thick paste. Add to berries and mix gently. *The paste won't disperse fully, so don't worry about it. Let this sit while you prepare the topping.

Put all the topping ingredients into the bowl of your food processor. Whir them until combined and no flour is visible. Mine was pretty sticky.

Pour berry mixture into pie crust and distribute evenly. You really need to use your hands to drop the little bits of the topping mixture, so know they are going to get messy. Drop small bits of the topping mixture all over the berry mixture.

Place a baking sheet on the lower rack of your oven (to catch berry juice overflow). Place your pie on the top rack and bake for 45 - 50 minutes. When the crust is golden, the topping browned and the berries bubbling - it's done!

Let cool for a couple of hours before cutting. Add a scoop or two of your favorite vanilla ice cream and enjoy! We loved it.

Ready for the oven!

It looks and smells wonderful!


Monday, July 25, 2011



My schedule is just not in a good rhythm. I know what I want to do, but I just can't seem to get there. I love spring and summer, but never feel "right" when daylight savings time arrives. While I don't want to wish this season away, I feel so much better when it's normal time. However, our government has decided that the more they control the hours of light in a day, the better. Really? Maybe it's not the silly time change, maybe it's something else entirely.

My eating pattern is off.

Numerous projects need my attention (and I want to give it), but I am easily distracted.

My energy level is low; tired often.

My upper back, neck, low back and hips are tight and painful. Which doesn't help with the distraction issue.

My thoughts are all over the place. I need to focus!

I wake up with a "plan of attack" and accomplish little.

I want to spend extended time in the garden, but it's a bit here and there instead.

HOW DO I FIX THIS? I have no idea, but I'm hoping things improve SOON.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God is still here!

Over the past year or so, God has brought a friend from high school back into my life. Her faith is strong and she shares His Truth powerfully. I am so thankful for her. Today, I discovered a message I needed to hear posted on her facebook wall... And, I knew I needed to share it with you here. Thank you JoAnna! You are a blessing.

For all the broken-hearted, God is still here.

For all those who see only darkness, God is still here.

For all those who believe He has abandoned you, God is still here.

He never left you and He never will. Reach up and reach out and you will find a peace you have never known before.

Philippians 4:7

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Don't ever let man's response to you keep you away from Him. God is still here.

God loves you in spite of yourself. He loves you on your best days and He loves you even more on your worst.

Romans 8:38-39

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Oh, how He loves you and me.


Yes, I am. We all have "issues" to deal with - we're all human and life involves pain and joy. Troubles and triumphs. For so many years, I've tried to keep it all together. But, I can't do it anymore. In the past couple of years, events occurred in our lives that caused me to come to a place where I had to face "issues" in my life or they would consume me... I've decided to face them. And thankfully I'm not going through this alone. Others are going through their own healing journeys and while our circumstances are not the same, I am strengthened and encouraged to acknowledge the areas in my own life that have held me captive.

I am addicted to APPROVAL and ACCEPTANCE and
I have a horrible FEAR of FAILURE!

And, over the years it has caused me to make decisions or commit my time to people or activities that caused others to be sacrificed. Even though I thought I was doing good and helping many, I sacrificed my own family too often. Yes, "we" were all involved in activities together, but family time and vacations didn't happen - because time and money were invested in the activities. Or there was busy preparation time. Or training or a meeting to attend to. There were things I wanted to do growing up that I wasn't able to do and I was determined that our children would always be able to do the things they wanted to ~ and they did, but it wasn't necessarily a healthy balance for the whole family. In addition, being gripped by FEAR there were activities or people that I didn't want our children to be involved with. So, there were excuses and reasons why they couldn't go somewhere or be with some people. I was too afraid something might happen to them and I couldn't protect them. I wish I would have allowed them to take more chances. But, I didn't know it then. I am grieving over things we lost together. And, I'm thankful for, and remind myself of, God's grace in the midst of it all - for I can see how He has blessed our children and family in spite of my own complicated "story" that affected us all.

There. I said it. And, it's true. Once I made the discovery, I knew it was who I am. And, I'm incredible thankful for Sarah Ferguson for sharing her journey on OWN. I don't care what your thoughts are of her (or me, actually). I've learned that my judgements of others (and their actions) are not always accurate. And people's judgements of me aren't always right on either. I find Sarah, Duchess of York, to be a real person. Yes, she's made lots of mistakes and has regrets in her life. So have I. But, she hasn't given up. She keeps trying. She's determined to discover who she is and to heal, so she can live wholly and be set free from what holds her captive. I am seeking the same for my life.

Today, I am walking this healing journey and it's extremely difficult. I want to give up almost daily. I often fall back into the same patterns and then "beat myself up" for not being stronger and overcoming.

Add to this emotional eating. I use food to deal with stress and to comfort me ~ especially sugar (cookies, ice cream, chocolate) and salty foods (chips). And, when I remove these foods - my body goes through a significant withdrawal. If I keep these foods out of my diet, I feel a lot better. But just a few bites draws me in and it's difficult to stop eating... I'm trying to learn new tools to deal with stress in my life. And, I'm trying to extend myself GRACE when I fall short.

When you're dealing with addiction to approval and acceptance and a fear of failure coupled with emotional eating ~ it creates a real mess! I've always tried to make everyone happy and I don't want to let anyone down. I can see now that it's really unhealthy to live this way. It's not humanly possible to do. I need to focus on knowing that God accepts me for who I am and I need to accept myself. I will fail in this life. I have failed. I will fail again. I am human and every fails at some point in their life. Some fail more than others. It's okay. I know that I've never intentionally tried to hurt others or intentionally failed them, but I have fallen short. I have wounded other people. I have failed. It is painful to know this, but I must continue to learn and grow and transform my life - letting go of what has held me captive and seek healing.

So... this is where I am today. Taking one day at a time. A few steps forward, a few steps back. Making progress, learning from failures, healing the "lenses" through which I see the world and people around me, continuing to process the "hows" and "whys" of who I am and how I got to this place. Some days, I feel paralyzed and nothing gets done. I have been tortured by these days. Recently, someone I love and is a blessing in my life, shared that my body is trying to heal and it can't give out energy - but needs to reserve all it can to help heal me inside. I'm trying not to struggle on those days now, but allow healing to occur. My creativity has crashed. My naturopath has given me some flower essences to support my body in the areas it needs. They are helpful and I have times that I feel "inspired" again. One day, I know it will fully return. There are things I'd like to do in my life..., but today I'm taking one day at a time and believing HEALING will come and I will overcome my addictions. God is good.

GF Coconut Cream Pie

Our oldest son's 24th birthday was approaching and he requested a Coconut Cream pie. Okay. I can do that ~ except I've never made one before. I did some research and found this recipe. I read some of the comments about how others tweaked the recipe and came up with this:


1 1/2 cups whole coconut milk (1 can)
1 1/2 cups half 'n half
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9inch) pie shell, baked - recipe here


1 cup Heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract

Prepare pie crust and roll out in a deep dish pie pan. Cut parchment paper and press gently into dough. Fill with rice to weight down parchment paper and keep dough from bubbling while it bakes. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

While pie crust is baking, toast coconut.

To toast coconut: spread in an ungreased pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Set coconut aside with vanilla extract and prepare custard filling.

Once pie crust is baked, allow to cool while you make custard.

In a medium saucepan, combine milks, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours or until firm.

Top with whipped topping. *Combine ingredients and whip until thickened. After spreading on top of pie, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of coconut on top.

Chill and serve!

Happy Birthday Benjamin!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes revisited

Wanting more variety of ingredients and less potato starch, I played with the strawberry cupcake recipe I recently posted. This recipe is a definite improvement and won approval by family members. Sharing with neighbors later today...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

This recipe makes 16 cupcakes. You will want to line your muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Add in:

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup "squished" fresh organic strawberries (about 2+ cups whole, cleaned strawberries)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

Beat on medium speed until batter is smooth and fluffy. Evenly distribute batter between the 16 paper-lined cups. Let batter rest for a few minutes and then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm. It's better to leave oven door closed during baking, so cupcakes don't fall. They should be tender and springy. Remove from tins and onto cooling rack immediately. When cooled, frost with recipe below:

In a mixing bowl:
1/2 cup Spectrum organic shortening
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2+ Tablespoons "squished" strawberries
2 cups organic powdered sugar

Beat on medium high until frosting is smooth and creamy. If not spreadable, add a little more squished strawberry juice. Enjoy!

*You can frost these cupcakes and then store in an air tight container in the freezer. Take out how many you need, thaw for a short time and they're ready to serve.

Seattle Tilth's Chicken Coop/Urban Farm Tour

Loved this espalier apple fence in Ballard

Nothing says "garden" like a picket fence...

Charming chicken coop

Loved the decorating details!

Cottage garden details...

Creative gate idea...

A Buff Orpington wanders through a garden.

Most chicken keepers said your coop needs to include one of these...

La Mancha goats in a city backyard, which is legal - but after visiting 3 homes with goats on the tour, I'm now wondering whether this is really a good idea... I understand why people are keeping them, but is it really a "good neighbor" thing to do?

Wonderful outdoor "kitchen" space

Loved this fence idea (with the pipe) ~ would keep the neighbor children's balls out of our yard and make a stronger fence (that, hopefully, their balls would not damage), but is it too contemporary for me?

Like the old band saw on this coop

Creative with their garden space in Seattle ~ beehives on the roof of their house...

One of my favorite urban farms on the tour: City Art Farm

They have Pygora goats - a cross between a pygmy and angora. Great fiber animal, but I'm still trying to understand having a male goat in the city... Female I can understand more, but they have to be bred for milk production. Still wrestling with what's a good balance of sustainability and urban living.

Hollyhocks and artichokes ~ garden beauty!

Cord wood construction for their predator proof chicken coop = interesting!

Loved how they incorporated glass bottles for perches in their design. Very funky!

An annual event in Seattle. Second Saturday of July. Mark your calendars for next year and be inspired... Happy Urban Farming!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry cupcakes!

Inspired by the Fourth of July and strawberry season, I decided to work with a recipe that has been successful for me in the past - but was designed for oranges.

More than a year ago, I discovered the Gluten-Free Goddess' blog and fell in love with her Orange Creme Cupcakes. I've made her recipe many times and they are always fabulous! I frost and freeze them and get out what I need to serve. I've also made them for a wedding reception. Today, I've used her recipe and adapted it for these strawberry cupcakes... YUM!

Strawberry cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This recipe makes 16 cupcakes. I use 2 muffin tins and put paper liners in 8 spots in each tin.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Add in:
2 Tablespoons sunflower oil
1 Tablespoon raw (local) honey
*1 cup crushed, fresh organic strawberries (you need to have a 1 cup liquid measure of strawberry juice when done crushing them)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons organic vanilla

Beat on medium speed until the batter is smooth. Spoon the batter evenly between the 16 paper liners. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 22 minutes last night) until golden and firm (should be slightly tender still). Try not to open the door to peek (use your oven light to look at them if you've got to see how they're doing) until the very end of the baking time. These cupcakes rise high and then settle down. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes and then remove from muffin tins and cool completely on wire rack. (I actually take mine from the muffin tin as soon as they come out of the oven.) When cooled completely, frost and enjoy!

Strawberry creme frosting:

In a mixing bowl beat:
1/4 cup Spectrum organic shortening
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
2 Tablespoon crushed, fresh organic strawberries (Again - you must get the measure listed).
2 cups powdered sugar
Hemp milk

Put all ingredients - except the hemp milk - into a bowl and beat on medium to medium-high until frosting is well mixed (will probably appear somewhat chunky and not smooth). Add just a little hemp milk (may not even be a teaspoon) and beat again. You want a frosting that is just workable (through a piping bag) and not runny... I love my Wilton cupcake tip and in just a few minutes, the cupcakes are done and ready to eat OR freeze until you need them!

Personal note: Karina's recipe has never let me down, but now that I know I can substitute other fruits in for the oranges - I'll begin tweaking the recipe more, as I'd like the cupcakes to not be all sorghum and potato starch... The frosting recipe will not frost 16 cupcakes - a stretch to get 14 done. Also, it's pretty sweet and I'll probably play with adding a little more shortening to balance it out.

You're going to have to get your hands dirty to make this recipe. Wash hands - strawberries should be rinsed and hulled. Place in a glass liquid measuring cup (2 cup size would be good so you have space to squish) and squish by hand. Squish the strawberries as much as possible to get maximum juice. You don't want large chunks of strawberry either. And remember, you'll need 2 Tablespoons of strawberry juice for the frosting...

Strawberry cupcakes. ENJOY!

In celebration of PIE PARTY DAY!

Shauna Ahern, the Gluten-Free Girl, created an event and declared July 5th would be Pie Party Day! Make a pie, take a photo and post it on facebook. If you have a blog, post the recipe too. Word spread fast and many people are joining in.

I've been wheat-free since 2000 and gluten-free since 2009. I've been making gluten-free pie since 2000. I LOVE pie and cannot imagine life without pie! It's a favorite dessert in our home and one we enjoy sharing with family and friends. And, it's even more joyful when people love the pies I make, even though they don't have to eat gluten-free. Best compliment a girl can get: "Wow! This is better than a regular pie crust." Awwwwwww, thanks!

Gluten-free crusts can be fussy to deal with and most recipes call for you to refrigerate the dough (even the recipe I use), but I don't chill mine anymore. If the weather is especially warm, I just don't thaw the "butter" stick I'm using - which is Earth Balance in my kitchen. If I used all Spectrum shortening (they offer "butter" flavor now) - it might require a short chill.

Oh how I love making gluten-free pies!

Sunday was our youngest son's 19th birthday and he requested strawberry rhubarb pie. One of his favorites! This is a frustrating and delicious pie. With gluten-free, juicy pies can be challenging in getting the fruit filling to set. I've had great "failures" with this pie and am still tweaking the recipe. This weekend's version set quite well and I'm pleased.

The traditional way of making pie filling - fruit and add the sugar and some type of "flour". Mix and put in the pie crust... For me, this hasn't worked so well for my strawberry rhubarb pie in the past.

Last time I made this recipe, it overflowed and was super juicy...

... and I mean SUPER JUICY. Ugh. So, I've tweaked the recipe.

My gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust recipe is here.

For this recipe, you will want to have your crust ready for the filling, cover with top crust and pop into oven - fairly quickly. Keep both pie dough layers covered with cellophane, so they don't dry out while you prepare the filling. You'll want the bottom crust to be in the pie pan (I use a standard glass pie plate).

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

4 cups rhubarb, diced* (frozen, thawed)
2 cups strawberries, sliced (fresh)
1 1/3 cups sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
1/3-1/2 cup tapioca flour (or 1/4 cup cornstarch)
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
approx 1/3 cup liquid from thawed rhubarb

* We grow our own rhubarb, blanch it and freeze it in 4 cup measures - ready for pie. I thawed the rhubarb in a bowl (and used the liquid in preparing the filling).


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

After draining rhubarb liquid into a liquid measuring cup, combine rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl.

Combine sugar, tapioca starch/flour (or cornstarch, if you prefer), cinnamon and rhubarb liquid in a small saucepan. Over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, heat until thickened or if it begins to boil; remove from heat. If thickened, add to fruit mixture and mix well. If it doesn't thicken well, add additional tapioca flour and whisk in. Stir and cool slightly. Add to fruit mixture and mix well.

Note: When I made pie this weekend, I started with 1/3 cup tapioca flour, but it didn't thicken as I would have liked it too. Ending up whisking in more tapioca flour (bringing it to the 1/2 cup measure). Addition was done off the stove - no additional heating.

If the cooked filling thickened well, you'll need to work fairly quickly - because you're mixing it with the fruits and pouring into the bottom crust, drizzle lemon juice over the filling (if adding), covering with the top crust, fluting the edges and adding steam vents plus getting it into the oven to bake. The warm liquid will begin to interact with the pie dough and you don't want it to do so for very long before the actual baking process begins.

If you're new to this, I would advise you to allow the liquid to cool a bit so you don't feel stressed. When I made pie this weekend, the liquid was cooled a bit as it hadn't gotten as thick as I desired; giving me time to work with putting the whole pie together.

Once it's all together, bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Grab your favorite ice cream, add a scoop and ENJOY!

Gluten-free recipes shared by others:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nicholas' birthday and more garden work...

Can hardly believe our youngest child turned 19 today! Who gave him permission to grow up?

Strawberry rhubarb pie

(The fruit was grown in our garden - yay!)

Abundant blessings today and the year ahead!

I love you, Little Buddy!

At the end of a long day's work in the garden...

Don't like to use peat moss, but really felt the huckleberries and blueberries needed an extra boost after last year's frigid weather. Also added compost to all the front and side areas. Pulled weeds and removed everbearing strawberries (can't get them to produce sweet fruit). Planted osteospermums in the deck garden boxes.

The front garden beds took a hit last winter with the extra cold weather, so removed that which did not survive well and I'm transitioning the space to mostly herbs.
Planted rosemary, summer savory, hyssop and lavender today.

Alot of work to do for this herb area... Orange thyme and rosemary here.

Fresh covering of compost.

Love daisy flowers just outside our bedroom!