Cleaning House and Sweet Rewards – Recipe: Peach Strawberry Sorbet

Today was a great day.  What is amazing about it being a great day is that it was not what I usually envision as a fun, exciting, great summer day.  It was great because I learned even more about being a mom, and I learned it from my littles.  You see, I have a confession to make.  I am a bit of a perfectionist about some things.  One of those things is cleaning house.  It is not that I am great at it.  It has more to do with the fact that I know what to do, how to do it, and the amount of time that it will take me to complete each task.  I typically do everything in blocks, planning to treat myself to something at the end.

After lunch today, everyone was kind of doing their own thing.  I looked down at the floors, and I realized that the house was anything but clean.  Between all of our trips and the summer long respiratory infections, I have not been the house-keeper that I like to be.  Then, a light bulb went off in my head.  Gabriel has been asking for a way to make extra money.  Even though my children sometimes want to help me clean house, I must admit that I seldom let them.  I know that letting them will likely mean that it will take more time to accomplish the end result.  I honestly consider house-cleaning to be one of my jobs as a stay-at-home mom, and I take pleasure in the end result.

So, back to the light bulb…as I looked at the floors, my eyes then went to the baseboards.  I called to Gabriel and told him that I had a job for him.  He eagerly agreed to take on the work.  Summer appeared within seconds, wanting to know what she could do.  So, I asked her to clean the glass doors and windows.  And, within a few minutes, Ethan came in to see what all of the action was about.  I put him to work cleaning the dining room table.  They were all happily working on their assigned tasks, so I started cleaning the bathrooms.  We were working together as a family, and we were having fun.

Who would have thought that we would have fun on a summer day by cleaning house together?!  I learned such a valuable lesson as a mom.  First of all, when my children want to help, let them!  Secondly, it is not always about the sprinklers, swimming pools, and trips to the parks that make a great summer day.  It is just about being together, learning from each other, and taking the time to focus on the important things.  Today, it was important to me to clean house, but it was also important to me to make sure that my littles were happy.  When I took the time to actually think about it, the two were able to go hand-in-hand.

At the end of the day, did the house-cleaning take more time?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I had to stop to explain what needed to be done, which took me longer to complete my tasks, but, no, because they were doing things that I did not have do to later.   Was the house perfectly clean?  No.  But, it seldom is, even when I do it by myself.  We were all happy, and I was so proud of everyone for pitching in to accomplish getting the house cleaned.  Sometimes perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  And, what this momma saw today was three children who were happily working together, and, to me, that is absolutely, positively perfect in every way.

Today’s Menu:

  • Breakfast: Toast with sesame seed spreed and banana cashew butter smoothies (recipe coming soon)
  • Lunch: Hotdogs (no buns), apple slices, grapes, and chips
  • Dinner: Roasted vegetable pasta (recipe coming soon) and salad
  • Snack: Peach Strawberry Sorbet (recipe below)

           

After all of the hard work, I thought that we all deserved an extra special snack as a sweet reward.  Luckily, I had thought ahead, even before I knew the beauty that would unfold with the house-cleaning, and made the sorbet this morning.  As I was trying to get to a stopping point in my house-work, the littles patiently waited with full anticipation of a special treat.  Since we are not having dairy right now, we have not had ice cream in a few weeks.  So, instead of focusing on what we cannot have, I decided to think of what we can have.  Sorbet – fruit, juice, and sugar.  Perfect!

Peach Strawberry Sorbet

Peach Strawberry Sorbet

Ingredients

4 peaches, pealed and sliced

10 strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups pineapple coconut juic

Instructions

  1. Add the fruit, sugar, and juice to your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into the freezer of your ice cream maker.
  3. Freeze according to the manufacturer instructions. I let mine freeze for about 45 minutes and then put it into a container in the freezer for about 3 hours before we ate it.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/11/cleaning-house-and-sweet-rewards/

I have this Cuisinart ice cream maker and love it.  I literally turn the switch to on and let the machine works its magic.  Easy breezy, perfection.

We all loved our special afternoon treat.  It was a great day.

The last thing that I must do before I tuck the littles into bed for the night is send a great big shout-out to my friend Kristen over at Dine & Dish.  I have known Kristen for 4 years, and she is amazingly awesome.  If you read her blog and ever wonder,  “Is she really that nice, that smart, that funny, that kind?”, the answer is “yes!”.  Kristen is the type of friend who I wish lived next door so that we could chat every day, cook together, and watch our littles grow up together.  She is truly a wonderful, dear person.   I commented on Kristen’s blog today, and she immediately posted my little blog information on her Facebook page.  Thank you, Kristen.  You amaze me; you truly do!  Now, go reward yourself with some sorbet!

Reunions, Babies, and Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had an amazing weekend, so I took a few days off from updating our menu and posting recipes.  We had our annual reunion on Sean’s side of the family.  Honestly, I could not ask for a better extended family.  They have always welcomed me with open arms, and they love, love, love my children.  Anyone who loves my children has an extremely special place in my heart forever.

I am happy to report that Ethan and I remained gluten, dairy, and peanut free.  Summer, Gabriel, and Sean had a little bit of gluten here and there, but, overall, I thought that we ate really well.  The family did an amazing job of accommodating our new diet, and all of the bigger cousins were so helpful in making sure that Ethan stayed away from all of the foods that he cannot eat right now.  We all took turns cooking meals, and, I must say, we have some spectacular chefs in the family!

We had a baby shower for my dear sister-in-law on Saturday night, and I was responsible for the dessert bar.  I so enjoyed every moment of baking the treats and sharing them with the family.  Sean was my sampler because I vowed not to eat any of the foods that Ethan cannot eat.  When I explained that to Ethan, he put his hand on my head to see how I was feeling.  Since I told him that the food might be making him sick, he was checking to see if I am sick, too.  Bless his sweet little heart!

   

Anyway, I did not want Ethan to miss out on any of the fun, so I made him some special chocolate chip cookies.  Gluten Free Girl and the Chef are quite amazing, and the cookies that they created were spectacular.  I made them plain the first night, and the second night, I made them into little cookies cups and put dairy free frosting in them.  Ethan really liked that!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca starch

1 cup potato starch

1 cup millet flour

1 tablespoon of flax seed)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

16 ounces Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Mix the flours, flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  2. Put the shortening and the sugars into a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, mix them well, until they are just combined, and then 1 minute more.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the vanilla extract and mix for a beat.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, about 1/2 cup at a time, and then mix.
  6. When the all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the chocolate chips and mix for just a moment.
  7. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in your refrigerator.
  8. After the 36 hours, preheat the oven to 350°.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
  10. Scoop generous balls of dough from the bowl. Place 6 of them onto the baking sheet.
  11. Bake the cookies about 18 minutes, or until the tops have turned golden brown. The middles should still be somewhat soft, however.
  12. Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Allow the baking sheet to sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
  13. Transfer the cooling cookies onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool for a few more moments.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/31/reunions-babies-and-chocolate-chip-cookies/

These cookies were truly delicious.  Ethan loved them, especially with the dairy free frosting.

It was a wonderful weekend – food, family, and fun.  Who can ask for anything else?!

Recipe – Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lazy days and chocolate chip cookies go great together.  Sean returned to work today, and the kids and I decided to take it easy.  We have two more days at home, and then we have a weekend family get together.  Today was a good lazy day, one that required pajamas, movies, popcorn, and chocolate chip cookies.

I love to bake, which is quite funny because I was a terrible baker when Sean and I got married.  My mother has always made everything that she bakes look and taste delicious.  When my bread, cookies, and pies started looking and tasting even close to hers, I felt like I had accomplished my baking goals.  And, I had, until I received Ethan’s food sensitivity test results.  Then, I knew that I had only just begun.

The other night, I took out my first batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and Sean said, “Do you kind of feel like you are starting over?”  Yes, I do.  Yep, the cookies were flat and ugly.  They tasted really good, but they were certainly not presentable, not in the very least.  It does feel like I am starting over, in a way, but this time I feel more equipped to know where to begin.  And, I have good recipes to follow.  It is just a matter of substituting things here and there and discover what all mixes well together.

Ethan is my little baking assistant, especially when it comes to sweets.  He has a major sweet tooth, just like his momma.  So, I knew that I had to start finding or creating good recipes as quickly as possible because I really did not want him to feel like he was having to give up everything.  So, I have been practicing, experimenting, and taste-testing.  Ethan must have known that these would be THE cookies.  He anxiously awaited tasting them cookies, going so far as to watch them in the oven until his legs got tired, and then he just squatted and watched them from the floor.

Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Alton Brown’s The Chewy Gluten Free

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were adapted from Alton Brown's The Chewy Gluten Free.

Ingredients

1 cup organic shortening

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon Authentic Foods brown rice flour

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup dairy and nut free chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the shortening with the sugars.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
  4. In separate bowl, mix together the brown rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate chips.
  7. Shape the cookie dough into balls (I used a cookie scoop).
  8. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 13-14 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans. If your family has more patience than mine, you can remove them from the pans to a wire rack to finish cooking. My family, however, devoured the cookies straight from the pan, only leaving a few for me to photograph.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/26/todays-recipe-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies/

These cookies were a hit.  Gabriel said, “These are the best cookies I have ever had.”  High praise from my little food critic.  I do not think that I would call them the best cookies that I have ever had, but, for gluten free, I think that they are really, truly good.  And, I am beyond happy that my children are still standing together with this gluten, dairy, and nut free journey that we are on.  It makes me want to try hard, cook even more, and continue to persevere.  Because, seeing their smiling, appreciative faces is all that this momma needs to bring a smile to her face on this lazy, peaceful day.

Oh, and I almost forgot…today’s menu…

  • Breakfast – Cereal and rice milk or granola, apples, bananas, and cashew butter
  • Lunch – Noodle soup
  • Dinner – Grilled chicken, homemade baked fries, mixed vegetables, fruit
  • Snack – Popcorn and juice