Three Favorite : To Eat, To Wash, To Play


Welcome to the April 2013 :

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly hosted by Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.


How can you resist a family recipe?  We have a ton of favorites here, but for this month’s (hey there, it’s been awhile!) I will share three that have been in heavy rotation in the past year here.  One is a food recipe, one is a tried and true homekeeping recipe, and the last is something fun for the kids (and kids at heart).   Hope you enjoy!  Can’t wait to check out the other carnival partipant’s recipes, I know there will be some good ones!


To Eat: Gluten Free Orange Vanilla Sugar Cookies

This recipe is a new family favorite, not old, but I suspect it will become one.   We’ve recently become gluten-free, so we are working on finding some new favorites as well as adapting the old!  This recipe started out as a lemon ginger cookie, which I found Pinterest.  I did not have lemon or ginger on hand, however, so I changed things up and was pleased with the result! These cookies did not spread out wide and flat for me (as they mention in the original recipe), but did spread some and were the perfect combo of chewy and crispy.  I did not make this recipe dairy-free this time, but I assume swapping out the butter for coconut oil or a coconut oil/margarine blend would work well too.  Enjoy!


12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated cane sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (or the seeds from half of one vanilla pod)
2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mix (homemade or premixed/purchased.  Add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum if your mix does not already have it)
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 T orange zest


Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C

Combine softened butter and sugar and whip in mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and zest, beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free all purpose flour, baking powder & salt. Whisk to mix thoroughly.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, gradually to avoid a mess. Beat until well combined, scraping the sides occasionally.

Roll dough into balls, with 1-2 T of batter per ball.   Place on cookie sheet (I lined mine with a silicone baking sheet).  Leave space on the baking sheet for them to expand!

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are set and the edges are golden brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least five minutes before removing with a large spatula to a cooling rack.

Makes about 20 cookies


To Wash:  Make Your Own Powdered Laundry Detergent

I found this while scouring the web a few years ago, and it took me a good year or so to finally break down and try it.  I’m not sure why I waited so long, I love it!  It’s easy, affordable, and works great for us.  I know there are liquid recipes out there with similar ingredients that allow you to stretch the ingredients much further, but I am partial to the convenience of this simple recipe and a powdered detergent.

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent

  • One bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap (or other bar soap of your choice, see note below)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda (NOT regular baking soda)

Directions:  Shred soap as finely as you wish (I used my regular box grater on the normal “shredded cheese” side — it washes clean).  Dump into large bowl.  Add borax and soda, mix well (I like to crunch it up a bit with my hands).  Pour into an airtight tub, add in a tablespoon scoop left over from a storebought laundry detergent, if you have one. Use one tablespoon for normal loads, perhaps a bit more for heavily soiled loads.  Click here for original post with a bit more info!

*Bar soap options: You can experiment with any bar soap, though Fels Naptha is a laundry soap known for being good on stains and works well for me.  I’ve heard recommendations for Ivory, Pure & Natural, Zote, & Dr. Bronner’s.  I sometimes use a simple castile bar soap and it works fine as well!

To Play: Flubber! 

This recipe has been around my world for awhile, as I learned it when volunteering at our local science museum as a teen.  Here is more of the backstory from a previous post.  I made it countless times at OMSI, then for my mom’s preschool camps (and for my parents and my own fun, admittedly!), and now my kids have been enjoying it for years.  This recipe originally came from my old OMSI cookbook, thanks OMSI!  


  • 2 cups Elmer’s White Glue
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • food coloring (I use a lot for bright colors)
  • 3 teaspoons Borax (I’ve found 2.5 works better!!!)
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (make sure its warm enough to help dissolve the borax!)

In a large bowl, blend glue and 1 1/2 cups water. Add food coloring to desired brightness.

In  a separate bowl, combine Borax with 1 1/3 cups water and stir to dissolve.

Pour two mixtures together, and immediately start kneading with your hands.  It feels funny, but keep at it!   The OMSI recipe says to take the flubber out of the bowl now, leaving the remaining water behind.  I don’t do this!!!  This makes the it a lot more stiff (that and adding the full 3 t’s of Borax).  Leave the flubber in there and just keep kneading it until most, if not all, the water absorbs into it.  Then it gets nice and stretchy and pliable and ready to enjoy.

A few things to keep in mind:  This is not good for eating!  I’m not sure if its officially “non-toxic” due to the Borax, though the amount in it is small.  But yuck!  Its pretty gross and I think they’d  just spit it out if they tasted it (mine did!) but just keep that in mind if you have mouthy toddlers. Also, part of the fun of this lovely tactile stuff is that it runs, a bit like a liquid, if left to its own devices.  Because of this, flubber is best played with on a tray with raised edges, to keep it from dripping its way off the table.

While it comes off most things pretty easily, if flubber sits on cloth/clothes it starts to absorb into the fibers and is very hard to get out (eventually its just hardened glue). When that happens I do have to sometimes scrape it off clothes and then pour boiling water on it (the fresher the better) to get out the remaining bit. Vinegar dissolves it really really well off of anything, too!  If you have some sort of waterproof paintshirt that can prevent such mishaps.  Don’t let this stop you from trying it — its really not very messy!

Also, just store the flubber in a large ziplock bag or airtight container — should last a few weeks or more, depending on usage.  It’s fun on its own, but also great to add household utensils or plastic (washable) toys to play with.  Have fun! 


Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next !

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite : To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.


Related posts:

Play With Your Food: Hot Dog Noodles

Quite awhile ago I got inspiration for this dinner activity from Pinterest, but only brought it into fruition recently.  The premise is very simple:  take spaghetti  poke it through hot dogs, boil, eat.  Not the healthiest dinner but definitely including ingredients my kids like (plus playing with your food is pretty fun).   I did it from memory and realized after I did that it helps to cut up the hot dogs and poke the noodles through one way, not every-which-way.  That did make for difficult holding and boiling, but we figured it out!

Pretty fun!  Though they had a lot of fun making them, I think my kids may prefer to enjoy their dogs and noodles separately.  Or just more chances to get used to the noodledog idea…

Related posts:

I found it! A Gluten, Dairy & Yeast-free Quick Bread Recipe

Yesterday I was determined to have BLTs.  We love them!  But my husband has recently discovered he is intolerant to gluten and YEAST, oh the tragedy.  I knew I had heard of people making quick breads that were plain and not full of bananas or zucchini, so I googled around and found this lovely recipe.  I was a bit daunted by the egg-whites but I decided I could woman up and tackle that extra step and I am glad I did.  So worth it!  And still quite an easy recipe!  It held up great to BLTs and was excellent the next day toasted with soup.  Not quite the same texture as bread with gluten and yeast, but still very hearty and delicious (and sturdy for this kind of bread, woohoo!).

Pardon my indoor night-time iPhotography. Better than no photo at all!

Note:  the recipe linked above is not dairy-free, so here are my substitutions:   I used half Earth Balance margarine and half coconut oil for the butter, light coconut milk instead of dairy milk, and soy milk powder for the milk powder (I prefer rice milk powder but am out).  For the flour I used 2 cups of Mama’s Coconut Blend Flour, 1 cup sorghum flour.  And I used homemade kombucha vinegar instead of apple cider, because it was in front and easy to reach.  They taste very similar though!  I also messed up and whipped all the egg whites instead of only half of them, but it worked just fine adding them all in at the end, anyway.

YUM!  So glad to have a bread recipe that works for us!  The kids and I still have a stash of “regular” bread we often eat but we all had and enjoyed this even more!

Let me know if you try this and how it works for you!  Any substitutions or different flour blends you’ve tried?  

Related posts:

Halloween Fun

Hey, it’s November!  And I may or may not actually do NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month, where you post every day for a month), but I guess I should post every day until I decide, yes?  We’ll see how it goes.  Time is a precious precious thing.

Yesterday was Halloween and we had a variety of festivities to partake in.  At Emma’s school it was “Book Character Day” where the kids dress up as book characters (ideally — for us parents — matched to what they want to be for Halloween anyway).  After a quick search (thank you Facebook) we found a book that went along with Emma’s black cat costume, and after reading Jenny Linsky, she is in love!  We will definitely be getting more Jenny books in the future!  They had a parade (which I missed) and then a classroom party which included origami and fruit kabobs.  Can I say how refreshingly awesome it is to have the only party treat be FRUIT!!!!!   Yeah!

Then I hustled to pick up these hooligans from Pajama Day at preschool.  Preschool is a costume & candy-free zone so they do PJs and pancakes on Halloween.  They loved it and apparently spent an hour hanging out with each other eating pancakes, that’s my slowpoke social eaters!

We had a leisurely afternoon at home (Emma was home with early dismissal, great idea SPS!) we had dinner and got into trick or treat mode.  Oh yeah!  Here’s my black cat Emma, Princess Delia/Cinderella, and Spiderman Elsie.  Our neighbor fairy Haven came trick or treating with us up and down our block too.  Love hitting the neighborhood streets to actually see and meet the neighbors!  There really were not many folks on the streets — every year it seems there are less trick or treaters.  What is UP with that?  Are they all at parties somewhere, I guess?  Or in neighborhoods with sidewalks and no steps? I actually feel like it is my neighborly duty when I see how pleased the elderly neighbors on our street are when we come to the door!

Then we hit the road to trick or treat at Aunties Em & Paige’s house and Uncle Charlie & Aunt Marie’s.  Love having family so close!  Uncle Charlie dressed up as Batman, much to Elsie’s delight.  Emma was waning a bit at the end there, as the eye-roll suggests….

By the way, Elsie is SpiderMAN, not girl/lady, get it straight, people!  And in case we need it, that costume will last for a good 3 more years.  Room to grow, yo!

All in all a fun night!  I’ve been asked many times today when we will have Halloween again.  Elsie is already planning her next year’s outfit:  baby cow.  Haha!

What were your Halloween activities, and do you trick or treat in your neighborhood?  

More coming tomorrow, perhaps? 

Related posts:

Meet the Chickens!

Back in April, we got chickens! They started out teeny tiny and very peep-y and now they are heading towards fully grown and some have started laying.  And, I have officially become The Chicken Lady.  I have a million posts planned to share more about our chickens and promise to go back and show our chick days, the coop and more, but for now, here are the girls, almost full grown (I think?) now at 6 months.

Pippi the Red Sex Link: Super layer, most friendly and adoring of humans, avidly hungry, a smart and wily escapee/adventurer. Our smallest chicken.

Beatrice and Halley (as in the comet) are two Black Langshans from the same hatchery.  They look SO similar, I have an extremely hard time telling them apart!  Their combs are very slightly different, and one tends to be more shy (but sometimes they switch, so that doesn’t help much!).  They are HUGE chickens and good friends, often sticking together, though they are very laid back and friendly with all the other chickens too.

Here is my best guesses with individual photos of the langshans.

Beatrice the Black Langshan: Very shy, but calm and friendly with other chickens

Halley the Black Langshan: approaches people on occasion but not super social, calm and laid back with other chickens

Rosie the Barred Plymouth Rock: Social but generally prefers not to be picked up. Strong personality, kind of a bully with the lower order chickens (trying to preserve her place in the pecking order).  Does not want to miss out on anything!

Tulip the Easter Egger:  Friendly and interested in everyone, rarely bothers other chickens but always knows what’s happening.  Top chicken, we think?  She is HEAVY.  And pretty (despite, or perhaps because of the beard)!

Bonney the Easter Egger:  Easy-going, friends-with-everyone chicken.  Raised with Annie, so they are buddies.

Annie the  Buff Orpington:  Sweet but sooooo shy.  Super soft and fluffy.  Skittish around people and chickens, often keeps to herself or on the periphery, though she is buddies with Bonney and the big black langshans.

More coming soon!  Can’t wait to show you the coop and the eggs! And those sweet baby chick pictures!

Related posts:

Back-to-School Menu Plan Monday

For me the start of school is a great time to work on getting us (erm, myself) into a weekly rhythm that feels more organized than our somewhat free-floating summers.  For me, having all three kids in school helps ground our schedule and gets us into routines that eventually (not at first, I will admit!) start to flow easily.   Emma started full day school for the first time last Wednesday (its going great, woohoo!), and Elsie and Delia start morning preschool 3 days a week this Wednesday.   I really want to be more intentional about what we do (and don’t do) each day, in order to make more time for the good stuff.  I hope to post more details about our/my daily plan for chores and activities, but for now, here’s a start, our dinners for the week!  While we are always dairy/beef free, for the past 2 months Lonnie has been gluten-free as well, so these are all dairy, gluten and beef free. We still sub wheat in for me and the kids sometimes, though!

fresh tomatoes
roasted potatoes OR millet/quinoa dish
steamed veggies
gluten free buns
Leftovers OR
Beets & kale
Gluten Free Cornbread

I am planning to write up my adapted dairy-free/gluten free enchilada recipe for a post sometime, it’s based on the above link and it ROCKS! Here are Elsie and Delia contemplating a version of them last fall (lately, I’ve been covering them with Daiya cheese shreds, which is pretty great!).

Dairy-Free Enchildas, ready to dig in!

What’s for dinner at your house this week?  I’d love to hear of any gluten-free favorites!

Related posts:

Fingerpainting in the driveway

A few weeks ago at school, the girls and I spotted some fun in the studio that was hard to just pass by.  Jaala and some of the K-2 kids were fingerpainting on the table on sheets of clear plastic and it looked pretty awesome. I love color mixing and tactile experiences with paint!  Luckily when she saw us(me) ogling the fun she gave us the remains of the plastic roll they were painting on.  It fit our skinny work table perfectly, so last weekend we busted out the paint in the driveway…

Elsie and Delia had lots of fun smearing the paint around.  Elsie’s tongue always comes out when she is concentrating, ha.

Elsie and Delia moved around the table freely at first, then settled on a spot of their own when Emma joined in.  Two’s a party but three’s a crowd when it comes to group art at our house, it seems.

I grabbed some paper and we did prints of the pictures and marks they made.  Easy, super cool.  I am hoping to hang some of them in  a photo curtain like this in our dining area.  We really need a curtain there!

Our neighbor Haven came over to give it a try, but didn’t want to touch the paint with her fingers.  So we got some sticks.

Three cool projects in one, and after we were done I sprayed it all off on the driveway with the hose and rolled it up for another day! Thanks Jaala, we had fun and will do it again, for sure!

Related posts:

Menu Plan Monday: Back in the Saddle Again?

Okay!  Trying to get back into blogging AND menu planning.  Here’s this week.  Cutting/pasting and posting in various ways from my meal planning software, Plan To Eat, including a bunch of the recipes at the bottom!  Cool!


Thai Sticky Shrimp w/Coconut Rice
(actually quinoa not rice)
green beans & lettuce


Bean Soup (freezer)
GF rolls or muffins
Steamed Chard
Chicken & Veggie
Pasta Salad
Fruit Salad
Spaghetti Squash
Green Beans


Leftover Buffet!
chopped salad?


steamed chard


Print Recipe

Thai Sticky Shrimp with Coconut Rice


Serves: 4


  • 1 can (14 oz.) reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups short-grain white rice such as pearl
  • 2 ruby grapefruit (about 2 lb. total)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound thawed frozen uncooked shelled, deveined shrimp 38 to 50 per lb., rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 pound Belgian endive leaves separated, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/2 cup finely slivered fresh basil leaves


  1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, combine coconut milk, rice, and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender to bite, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut peel and membrane from grapefruit. Cut between fruit and membrane to release segments into a bowl.
  3. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. Stir on high heat until boiling, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and stir often until opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Mound rice equally on warm plates, spoon shrimp mixture equally onto rice, and garnish with grapefruit segments, endive leaves, and basil.

Print Recipe

Cauliflower Au Gratin



  • 1-2 large heads cauliflower
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 1/4 cups soy milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons raw cashew nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoons paprika


  1. Cut the cauliflower into medium pieces and place in a bowl with the onions. Set aside.
  2. Blend the soy milk, water, cashews, salt, white and black pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast in a blender until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and gently heat, stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the flour to make a roux. Then whisk the heated soy milk mixture into the roux to make a light, cre sauce. For a thicker sauce, use more roux. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir.
  4. Oil a casserole dish. Pour the vegetable and sauce mixture into the pan and press lightly. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the vegetables and cover with paprika. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for 45 to 55 minutes.

Print Recipe

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs



  • 1.5-2 lb ground turkey
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 or more cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 c. fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ground black pepper to taste (about 6 turns of the grinder)
  • 1 26-oz. jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • extra veggies like carrot or zucchini to add to meatballs


  1. Add all ingredients — except for the sauce — to a large bowl, and mix with your hands until well-combined.
  2. Roll meat into golf ball-sized balls, and layer into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  3. Pour the jar of sauce over the meatballs so they are completely covered. (I had 2 cups shredded zucchini laying around, so put that in the bottom of my crock, then put one layer of meatballs on top of zucchini. I then poured one jar of sauce on bottom layer, added the rest of the meatballs, the 1/2 jar of sauce to cover 2nd skimpy layer of meatballs.
  4. Place lid on your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4 hours.

Print Recipe

Lentil Veggie Burger Recipe

Yummy family-tested lentil burger, substantial & satisfying


Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Min

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: 1 unsalted vegan veggie bouillon cube
  • Optional: 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger OR 1 tsp dried ginger
  • Optional: 1/4 cup shredded carrot or finely chopped red bell pepper.
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • Fresh gr black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp salt OR 1 Tbsp soy sauce OR Braggs liquid aminos
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats OR quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup firm bread crumbs from a stale crust of bread
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil or parsley


  1. Soak lentils in hot water for 2 hours
  2. Drain and rinse lentils
  3. Place drained lentils in a 4 quart pot with 2 cups of water, plus optional veggie cube or bay leaf
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 1 hour OR pressure cook for 3 minutes at high pressure
  5. Remove lid and turn heat up to medium, stirring occasionally, until remaining liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Mash lentils with a potato masher, stick blender or fork
  7. While the lentils are cooking, place the sunflower seeds in a large shallow pan. Toast in a 275 degree oven for 1/2 an hour stirring once or twice until golden brown
  8. Chop onions, garlic, and ginger plus any optional veggies
  9. Sauté onion, garlic & ginger with oil in a frying pan until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add spices, stir for another 2 minutes, and remove from heat
  10. Grind toasted sunflower seeds to a coarse meal in a food processor or spice grinder, leaving some large chunks
  11. Place oats, sunflower seeds, mashed lentils, veggies, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl
  12. Add nutritional yeast, along with minced basil or parley
  13. Stir together with your hands to make a stiff mixture. If it seems not quite stiff, add a little more oats and-or dry bread crumbs
  14. Let stand for 1/2 hour to allow the oats to absorb moisture and bind the mixture together
  15. Heat a little cooking oil in a frying pan on medium heat, shape the lentil mixture into patties and fry 10 minutes on each side until nice and crispy brown

Print Recipe

Spanish Tortilla

Don’t confuse this with the flour or corn tortillas you use to make wraps. A Spanish tortilla is a potato-and-egg omelet found on numerous menus throughout Spain. Traditionally these are cooked in heaps of olive oil. Our version uses less oil, so it’s lower in calories, and if you use precooked diced potatoes, it’s faster too.


Total Time: 40 Min

Serves: 6


  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup precooked diced red potatoes (see Tip)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup shredded Manchego or Jack cheese
  • 3 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add potatoes, thyme and paprika and cook for 2 minutes more.
  2. Lightly whisk eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Gently stir the potato mixture into the eggs along with cheese, spinach, salt and pepper until combined. Wipe the pan clean; add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and heat over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture, cover and cook until the edges are set and the bottom is browned, 4 to 5 minutes (it will still be moist in the center).
  3. To flip the tortilla, run a spatula gently around the edges to loosen them. Invert a large plate over the pan and turn out the tortilla onto it. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and continue cooking until completely set in the middle, 3 to 6 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

Yum! What’s cookin’ at your place? I’m always in need gluten/dairy/beef free ideas!!!

Related posts:

Shrimp and Sweet Potatoes with Mango and Avocado

On Friday we got home from a nice afternoon at the park and I did not have a dinner plan.  However, I had a stocked pantry & fridge and this is what I came up with.  How can you go wrong with these ingredients?  You cannot, really.

I started with these: sweet potato, frozen shrimp, bacon, three overripe mangos, avocado.  Added lettuce, onion, mayo & honey, a few spices, juice, and some cilantro from the garden.  Oh yeah, baby.  This is my kind of meal!  It was soooooo good.  And pretty easy.

I started with cooking the sweet potatoes in the pan because I thought it would be faster than  roasting them the whole time in the oven (and it did indeed speed things up a fair bit!).   I sautéed them in our large cast iron pan and then poured in some liquid (apple peach juice, to be exact) and covered them to let them steam.  But then they were too crowded in the pan to properly crisp (and I wanted to use the pan for the shrimp) so I transfered them to a hot oiled sheet pan in the oven to finish them off.  It worked fine and they and they caramelized well, though they didn’t get as crispy as I’d like.  But they were still pretty good and the kids even liked them, which is a good sign around here!   The mayo sauce I whipped up to echo one of my favorite shrimp dishes, honey walnut prawns.  I think that dish might use sweetened condensed milk but honey mayo really works similarly (and is dairy-free!).

All in all, this dish was a hit and contained 3 of my favorite foods (shrimp, mango and avocado) so that combined with some wine with dinner made for an excellent evening.  Cheers!

Shrimp and Sweet Potatoes with Mango and Avocado


  • 1/3 lb (ish?) frozen shrimp.  I left the tails on, they were already peeled
  • 5-6 slices chopped bacon.  Mine was frozen so easy to chop up before putting it in the pan.
  • 1/4-1/2 chopped onion (I just grabbed 2 ends that were sitting in our fridge)
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 T oil (I used grapeseed and a little coconut oil )
  • chili powder to taste (1 tsp?)
  • cinnamon to taste (2 tsp?)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T sweet chili sauce
  • 3 (small) ripe mangos
  • 1 large avocado
  • chopped lettuce
  • cilantro, to taste


  1. Thaw shrimp (to do if fast I set a strainer inside a bowl under a trickle of cold water).  Heat a heavy, large bottomed pan (I used cast iron) to med. high with 1-2 T of oil.
  2. Peel (if you wish) and chop sweet potato into 1/2 pieces, toss into pan.  Add salt, pepper, chili powder and cinnamon.  Stir to coat, saute for a few minutes to toast the spices.
  3. Add 1-2 cups of liquid (I used peach/apple juice) to pan, bring to a simmer, and cover.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is mostly cooked.  Heat oven to 425, oil a large baking sheet with 2-3 T oil.  Pop the tray in the oven to heat up.  When hot, transfer sweet potato to tray to fishing them off, crisping and caramelizing (15-20 minutes, I think).
  4. Drain shrimp, peel if needed (I left on the tails) and mix with sweet chili cauce.  Whisk together mayo and honey.  Chop lettuce, cut avocado & mango, wash and chop cilantro as desired.
  5. In the same pan, fry up the chopped bacon & onion on medium high, stirring often until bacon is cooked through.  Drain grease if needed (my bacon was not very fatty so I actually added a touch of coconut oil along with the onion, though I probably didn’t need it).  Add garlic, then crank up heat and add shrimp. Cook 3-4 min until shrimp are cooked through.
  6. Serve immediately with sweet potatoes and lettuce, mango, avocado, lettuce, cilantro and mayo dressing.
  7. Devour and enjoy some seconds.  This would also go well wrapped in a tortilla or served with a side of crispy bread.  Yum!

Related posts:

Naturally Weaning Twins

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.


It’s May, which around here brings memories of birthing babies, as well as birthday celebrations (x 3!) of years past.  My oldest was 6 this past Friday, my twins will be 4 nine days later.  Every year I  am shocked at how time flies!  Where did my little babies go?

This year is particularly bittersweet, as I can tell my girls are heading down the path to weaning.  Yes, I am still nursing twins, at 2 weeks shy of 4 years old.  I never imagined this going into it, but here I am, and I am so glad to be here!  Allowing my girls to breastfeed through toddlerhood and beyond, and wean naturally, at their own pace, has easily been one of the best experiences of parenting so far.  I know that sounds strange, but it is true.

A few months back in the car, my girls had a conversation about weaning.  “Elsie, when do you think you will stop having Mokie?” Delia asked out of the blue. “Will you stop having Mokie when you are four?”   “I think I will stop having Mokie when I am how old Emma is” Elsie replied (meaning 5  1/2). Then, Delia offered “I’ll stop having Mokie when I am four” .  “Maybe.  Maybe when I am four.” Elsie chimed in again.   And then they were both quiet, thinking.  All three of us sat there as we drove, thinking about weaning.  

Tandem nursing, age 2

Why did I not wean earlier?  The simple answer: nursing was going well for us!  It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, and there was just no reason, in my case, to stop.  Sure, I had my moments of not wanting to nurse, but they were really quite fleeting, and thanks to setting down firm limits early on (really the start of the weaning process) and luck that it never physically became uncomfortable,  I never felt pressured or overwhelmed by nursing.

Contrary to what so many people assume, nursing my toddlers and preschoolers has been a joy, not a burden.  It has been the easy thing to do, not a challenge in any way!  I am not a martyr, nor to I feel I am better than any other mother for nursing my kids this long. Far from it!  I, frankly, chose the path of least resistance, the path that felt most comfortable for me, the path that was most rewarding.   Nursing is the easiest way I have found to connect with my girls, the sure-fire way to get them to nap (even now at almost 4!), the most soothing way to heal a hurt or sick kid. Those things are all all possible without nursing, of course, but when I compare how easy it is to do them via nursing my twins, and how much more effort it takes to do those same things with my non-nursing eldest, the difference is remarkable.  And I don’t think it’s just different personalities at play.

My twins progression towards weaning has been incredibly gradual, starting, in my mind, back when they were only 9-10 months old.  When nursing switched from being more about food (in my mind, at least) to one about comfort, with a strong side benefit of immunity tossed in for good measure.  As my girls began to get more nutrition from solid food (they took to it early, perhaps in part due to my supply issues), no longer was nursing a critical task to stress over, it was a pleasant extra.  Attachment — connecting and soothing — was now the primary reason for us to nurse, and I do believe that may be far more important, in the long run, than how I fed their hungry bodies as infants.

With each passing month, and season, and year, we took more steps towards weaning, they and I.  I started up with setting limits, particularly with nursing in public (something far more challenging with twins than a singleton, I must say).  Then, came limits about when and how often to nurse at home — not easy, not without tears, but it was an important step for us all, and it was time.  As this happened, they also learned to accept comforting and bedtime with Daddy, and eventually with other caregivers as well.  At one point (well several points, haha!) I gradually pared down night nursing, and finally night weaned completely, mainly to help with frequent night-time wakings.  All steps on the path to weaning, some child-led, some my call, for sure.   Since this is my body, and I am the adult who knows what my kids need, I get to call the shots.  I would check in with them, carefully read their needs, and would  give them ample warning about what lay ahead, but in the end, the status of our nursing relationship lies with me.

Just as with any upcoming milestone (transitioning out of diapers, out of cribs), months and months (even a year?) before I expected we would hit it, I began to talk about it.  Talking about what weaning is.  Talking about how not all kids their age drink mama milk.  How big kids do stop having mama milk as they get older, and how they get cuddles and snuggles from mama then.  Laughing together at the thought of their big sister, or themselves, nursing when they were much older.  Oh ho ho, funny stuff, apparently!

Goofing around on the nursing pillow, age 2

The fact that Elsie and Delia are twins has made these discussions about nursing and weaning fascinating, as well as incredibly sweet.  They really truly have a partner in this nursing deal, one who understands the importance and the joy of it, and has been there at every step — and almost every nursing session — since birth.  When they nurse, more than half the time they are gazing into each others eyes, fiddling with each others hands &  clothes.  There is a specific way we all cuddle up — legs and arms woven together, and I must say that it doesn’t feel quite right if there is only one kid nursing at a time.  They have whole games made up, which they can play with their hands and without a word, while they are latched on nursing (though more and more, there is more chatting about the games instead of actually nursing — yet another sign that they are well on their way!).

Boy will I miss all that when we are finally through! I cannot say for sure when that will happen, but dang, it feels like it is close! Just a few months ago, soon after I had raised the issue of weaning sometime in the future, there was a phase where both Elsie and Delia were incredibly sad about missing a nursing session now and then at bedtime.  Oh, the drama of no Mokie! Big tears!  An upswing in requests to nurse.  It was like they were clinging to the old, not ready to move towards this new thing.  Now, a few months later, they really seem to have made peace with it. They do still nurse 2-3 times a day (AM waking, nap, and bedtime), though sometimes it is only once or not at all.  Delia just this week has started nursing for only a few seconds, maybe a minute or two most sessions.  She is starting to lose her latch.  She will admit she just wants to cuddle instead of nursing, or will hop down and climb into bed if it is time to sleep.  She has said she will stop nursing when she is 4, and I am thinking she may really be on target there.   Elsie is still into it and will happily nurse longer —  though she is also okay if we skip it some of the time.  I was away for three days recently, and there was zero discussion about missing nursing while I was gone.  I was not at all surprised.  I am so very glad to have let them come to this final step on their own, without drama, or a sense of separation or loss.  It is on their own terms, they trust I will not take this away from them before they, themselves, are ready.  This feels so right.

I wonder how it will finally happen, when the time comes….?  Will I know when that last tandem nursing session is?  Will I be able to savor the moment, knowing it is my last time cuddling this way with my two sweet girls?  Will one stop before the other? Will they continue to request it when they are hurt, or particularly sad, even after our daily nursing is done?  Should we have a weaning party? How the final details shake out will be something I discover as time passes, but I can feel that our time is coming, coming soon. My sweet girls….

Asleep in my lap after nursing, age 3.5


Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):


(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 21 with all the carnival links.)

Related posts: