Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Favorites

Autumn is definitely in the air here in SW Minnesota. Trees have turned, pumpkins are perched on our doorstep, flower beds have been laid to rest, and shivers are felt at the morning bus stop. As fall sets in, I find myself seeking all things that are cozy and warm. Doodle and I enjoy our morning routine snuggling in front of the fireplace while getting ready for school. I also find my dinner dishes have turned from all things made on the barbecue to cozy fall dishes. I've broken out some of my favorites this week:

Wild Rice Soup
Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes
GF DF Apple Crisp 
Hot Dish
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
and Easy Chili especially get me in the mood for Autumn.

Easy Chili

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Pound Italian Sausage
1 small onion - diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder
1 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 can Organic Kidney Beans
1 can Organic Black Beans
2 cans Organic Italian Style Tomatoes

1. Brown ground beef and Italian sausage in a large pot. Add diced onions and minced garlic.
2. Add seasonings. Pour in kidney beans, black beans and tomatoes. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Serves 6-8.

We like to eat this chili with corn chips or some gluten free corn bread. The Italian Sausage gives the chili a little kick - so adjust the Chipotle Chili powder to your own taste - it can get a bit too spicy if you use too much.

Doodle has her first Kindergarten conferences on Tuesday. I'm anxious to see how she is doing this school year. We continue to work hard on her recovery and the progress has been wonderful. She's actually reading parts of stories to me - I feared she wouldn't have the concentration to sit and read a book - but have been wonderfully surprised by how quickly she is catching on!  Look for an upcoming post on progress once I hear the report.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gluten Free Waffle Cookies

I tried my hand at something new today - waffle cookies. I'd never heard of these cookies before, but found a recipe in my Scrapbooks etc. magazine, of all places. I thought they looked interesting and easy to make - so why not modify the recipe to be gluten free and give it a whirl? It was a great activity to try with Doodle's new friend who came over today for their first play date together. I let each girl take their turn adding ingredients and using the mixer. Best part was, this normally picky eater of a friend, didn't even know the difference between these cookies and a regular cookie. They tasted wonderful!

GF Waffle Cookies

1 stick Dairy Free Butter - melted
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Dairy Free Chocolate Chips

1. Heat waffle iron.
2. Mix together dairy free butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add in sweet rice flour, cocoa, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. The batter should be thick. I added 2-4 more tablespoons of flour to thicken up the batter before baking.
4. Once the waffle iron is hot, place a small amount of batter on the waffle iron, close iron and cook like a waffle. After 1-2 minutes, remove cookie from waffle iron and cool on a cookie rack. Repeat.
5. Once the cookies are cool, add frosting (or peanut butter) as desired.

We mixed up an easy batch of frosting to go with these cookies. Doodle and her friend each chose a different color of food coloring for their frosting. Doodle, of course, had pink. These cookies will be a great lunch box treat for Doodle this week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


What child doesn't love a great dish of classic spaghetti? When Doodle went Gluten Free, we were afraid she wouldn't be able to enjoy her favorite dish. Thankfully, our local grocery store carries several varieties of gluten free pasta. We were initially surprised at how close to regular pasta this tasted - what a wonderful surprise. It's easy to over-cook the pasta and have a mushy mess on your hands, so watch the pasta carefully in order to avoid a soggy pasta dish.

As for the pasta sauce for spaghetti - many a mom here in the Midwest reach for a jar on the grocery store shelf. I find these renditions of spaghetti sauce blase and boring. I find it equally as easy to stir up a sauce from scratch. It takes a total of 10 minutes and produces a rich sauce which arguably is better than any restaurant you will find here in town.

Basic Spaghetti

1 lb Ground Italian Sausage (or Hamburger)
2 Cloves Garlic, diced
1 Small Onion, diced
2 16 Oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
1 8 Oz Can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large sauce pan, brown the Italian Sausage or Hamburger until cooked thoroughly.
3. Add Onion and Garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
4. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings to sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve over pasta.

I usually save the leftovers of the spaghetti for Doodle to take to school for lunch. I've arranged with the school cafeteria for her to be able to heat up her lunch every day - so any leftovers are frozen and saved for another day. Makes planning school lunch so much easier!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Amazing Story

Thought I would share this amazing, inspiring story of an Autistic girl who finds her voice through the use of a computer at age 11. It's truly inspiring!

I hope all Autistic children are able to find their voice, just like Carly did! My quest is to continue to help Doodle find her voice and speak it out loud.