Gallery Archives

DIY Fall Leaf Collage

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DIY ProjectsAutumn Project: Leaf Collage

Because I thrive in an organized and visually appealing environment I like our home to have a comfy, cozy, welcome, “Sit down and stay a while,” feel to it.  We had a big empty wall that screamed, “Lonely, void, help me,” which led to this project.

The concept came from the desperation of wanting a large piece of art for the lonely living room wall. I found a beautiful painting of a turkey at a Missouri Conservation Artists’ sale but the $2000 price tag did not fit in my budget.  Farm Boy is an excellent painter but since he already has a demanding day job I knew he did not have time to paint me a large — very large — turkey in an autumn landscape.  I brainstormed from March to September attempting to decide what to place on our large empty wall. Autumn descended and as I looked out my windows at the beautiful colors on the trees I realized I wanted these colors; all year long. How? Bring them in? Hmm… I knew I could do it. Yes, instead of colorful turkey plumage on canvas I would place the hues of fall foliage on canvas. So I began.

Here is how I created my Leaf art:

In Missouri, autumn will be peaking over the next four weeks which makes it the perfect time for collecting colorful fall foliage.

Five years ago I drove around looking for deep purple and red leaves which I did not have in my yard. I found them at a local lake along with gold Ginkgo leaves.  I also collected leaves from friend’s yards so I could think of them when I delighted in my finished project.  To this day the red Japanese Maple leaves, from my friend Ann’s house, are my favorites.

I am going to estimate I collected around 700 leaves, from small flaming red Burning Bush leaves to a few large dark brown Sycamore leaves. It sounds like a lot of leaves but it doesn’t take long once your begin picking. Other leaves included: Bright orange Sugar Maple, deep purple Red Maple, yellow Silver Maple, several types of brown Oak, gold Ginkgo, red Japanese Maple, purple Sweetgum, pumpkin orange Sassafras, bright gold Shag Bark Hickory, deep reddish-brown Red Bud and various shades of tan and brown from Elm and Poplar. I also collected several very small branches with 4-5 leaves still  intact.

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I allowed the wet leaves to dry then placed them in large heavy books for pressing.   2/3 of the leaves remained pressed 4-5 weeks  1/3 of the leaves were pressed for 2 weeks then removed so edges could slightly curl.

In a large ventilated area, our garage, I set up 4 saw horses and placed large pieces of lumber or old doors on top of them. I covered the large flat surfaces with wax paper to eliminate sticking.

I watched for a 50% off sale and then bought a 4’ x 4’ wrapped painter’s canvas at Hobby Lobby  for $40.00.

For the base color of the canvas I used two coats of a coordinating trim paint which we had left over after painting trim in our house. You will notice in pictures we do not have baseboards finished yet. I will admit we have way more projects going on than we can keep up with or afford. As the cost of living continues to sharply and painfully increase our rehab budget keeps shrinking. Add to that doctor bills and therapy for a severe traumatic brain injury plus some newly added college costs and well; maybe we will finish the house during retirement — if we ever achieve retirement. Nonetheless, I still enjoy my home of perpetual autumn and I love the people who live in it.

I was after a natural look for preserving the leaves; nothing shiny, which meant wax was not an option. I watched the ads for Hobby Lobby and Michaels to purchase flat finishing/ polyurethane spray 50% off. I used 5-7 cans (memory is foggy here).

To preserve color and ensure my leaves lasted for years, I used a flat spray and gave the slightly curled leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application and making sure the leaves did not touch/stick together.  When completely dried I loosely piled the leaves in a box and brought them back in the house to deter bugs from feasting on them in the garage.

When the remaining 2/3’s were finished being pressed I spread them out on the saw horses.  Using the flat polyurethane spray I gave the leaves two coats on each side, allowing dry time between each application making sure the leaves were not touching/sticking together.

Attaching the leaves to the canvas proved to be tricky. I attempted just about every type of adhesive and glue a soul can find at the arts and crafts store. None held! Out of desperation I took a look through our garage. Neither wall paper glue nor wood glue worked. While considering Liquid Nails I spied: Henry Premium Multipurpose Carpet and Sheet Vinyl Adhesive. Out of curiosity I opened the tub and my eyes beheld thick goopy beauty! Just what I needed to grab hold of the veins on the back of the leaves. I applied this adhesive, allowed dry time, turned the canvas over, shook it and nothing happened. Nothing! It held the leaves in place. No falling off. No breakage.

Using a small craft/paint brush I turned over each individual leaf and generously applied adhesive to the back then pressed it down on the canvas; wiping away any excess with a damp cloth. I covered the entire canvas with the flat-pressed leaves allowing overage along the straight edges of the canvas.

I allowed the pressed leaves to dry then sprayed two more light coats of poly on the entire project.

Next I generously applied adhesive to the curled three dimensional leaves on the spots where they would touch the canvas base of pressed leaves. I set them in place and allowed them to dry.

I allowed the newly adhered leaves to dry then sprayed three more light coats of poly on the entire project, allowing dry time between each coat.

Done.

My boys know when playing with Nerf guns that the guns may NOT be aimed at the leaves and they have been careful to obey. Someone did toss a pillow hitting a leaf and breaking a small portion off. To my knowledge this is the only damage to my leaf art. I have had minimal fading to the leaves but with the unfiltered direct light coming into our home I have had minimal fading on everything in the living room.  I do not have an expensive camera for taking quality photos but I believe I am showing a good representation of the final product.

I used just under ½ quart of the Carpet & Sheet Vinyl Adhesive for this project.

From start to finish, because of pressing time, this was a 2 month project.  My guesstimate on time spent is 25 working hours. This does not include dry time for the paint, poly & adhesive. Total cost was approx. $80.00. That’s $1920.00 less than the $2000.00 turkey painting!

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Above: View of the dimensional aspects.

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Above: View of edge                                                            Side profile

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I enjoy my little piece of autumn in winter, spring and summer too.

D.I.Y. Student Divider Organizer

Colson's divider   After finishing a Monday of schooling necessity was once again the mother of invention. The day was long for this homeschool momma and for the students who were feeling defeated by their lack of concentration to get the assignments done. Listening, remembering and doing seemed the impossible goal—again. We have lost count through the years how many times my kids have heard and been shown how to put their blinders on by keeping their minds on the assignment, their eyes to their papers, and their mouths quiet. So on this particular day I decided to make the boys some ‘blinders’ complete with school supplies and their most used paperwork. All through dinner preparations and the meal I took my turn daydreaming—about how I would make this divider tool.  As soon as my boys left for basketball practice I took inventory of supplies I had and supplies I thought I might need. My goal was to spend little money and use what I could find around the house. Then a made a quick trip to the store.

A Closer look.
A Closer look.

I was desperate to reign in daydreaming, distractions and endless chit-chatting. I’m still brainstorming  how to overcome the daydreaming but these dividers/organizers help tremendously to lessen distractions and chit-chatting between my two boys who are a year apart. Having almost everything they need within arm’s reach greatly reduced having to get out of their seat to sharpen their pencil or to retrieve a needed school supply. We had a school room where there were desks but after A.J.’s severs traumatic brain injury three and a half years ago he could no longer tolerate being in the basement school room, with one north window,  surrounded by large shade trees. He needed to be in a larger open area so we began schooling upstairs at the kitchen table, next to large windows with abundant morning and afternoon light, and that is where we have stayed. The boys sit at opposite ends of the table with their divider in front of them. There is plenty of room for a stack of books and workbooks or notebooks. I began with a 36″ X 48″  foam core display board from Wal-Mart which I measured and cut in half with a utility knife/box cutter. (Display boards located in the office/school supply department.)

Elmer's 36" X 48" Display Board $9.99, school/office supply
Elmer’s 36″ X 48″ Display Board $9.99, school/office supply
Double-sided tape $2.00
Removable Double-sided tape $2.00, office supply
Elastic from my sewing basket
Elastic from my sewing basket
Command Large Damage Free Hanging Velcro Strips $3.55
Command Large Damage Free Hanging Velcro Strips $3.55, office supply
thumb tacks
Thumb tacks from the school room
binder clips
Binder clips my daughter had in her room; or I would have used painted clothespins
Hobby peel and stick cork roll from our art supply/craft closet
Hobby cork roll from our art supply/craft closet, available at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s Craft stores

AJs divider marker board abcTop left: Marker board, from the school room closet, to record non-school questions/remarks. This keeps us from becoming distracted by topics that have nothing to do with school. So far my boys have not used the marker boards, which shows all of us the questions/comments CAN wait or aren’t significant. I used a binder clip to attach this which allows for other school assignments to be easily and temporarily added to the divider/organizer.   Bottom left: ABC cursive sheet of upper and lower case letters. I made this for free at Handwriting Without Tears Online Tools. You will need to create a free account and use the A+ GET STARTED Worksheet Maker. I used the Grade 4+ Spelling template. Red scrapbooking paper and ABC sheet held in place with removable double-sided tape. animal tracksMiddle top left: Peel and stick cork board cut to size for extras that may need placed on the divider. mult chart Middle bottom left: Free printable Multiplication Chart 1-15 which I printed on scrapbooking cardstock. Removable double-sided tape for adhesive.

Weekly Scripture Memorization
Weekly Scripture Memorization

Middle top center: Weekly Bible memorization is held in place by a removable binder tab. I make these at Picmonkey.com for free under the ‘Design’ tab. Design possibilities are endless! Background scrapbooking paper. Adhesive is removable double-sided tape. Middle center and middle bottom center: Scissors, ruler and calculator are held in place by elastic. I placed the objects on the board and made cuts thru the foam board on each side of school supply. I then pushed a piece of cut elastic thru the board and tied it in a double knot on the back of the board. (The white on white is not a terrible eyesore on the back side of the board.)

Math Measurements Chart
Math Measurements Chart

Middle top right: Symbols, tables, measurements and formulas sheet from Math-U-See student workbook. Adhesive: Removable double-sided tape.  Center bottom right: Pencil bag attached with Command Velcro strips. This creates a strong hold that will not fall off when zipping/unzipping and removing/returning supplies; yet is removable. Supplies include: Pens, erasers, high-lighter, marker board markers, and Mechanical pencils which are on sale through the month of August at most stores that carry school supplies. Mechanical pencils eliminatethe need to constantly get up to sharpen pencils. (I feel the need to sing: If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” Plus I have never found an electric pencil sharpener that lasts the entire school year. Grrrr! daily schedule schedule calendarTop right: Each week I add the new day-by-day schedule. This method has proved to work best for us. They know what has to be done each day and they place a check mark beside the assignment when it is finished. Bottom right: I printed this free mini calendar (2015 calendar UPDATE) Scroll down to landscape: 2015 Calendar / Small and cut it into monthly strips then used removable double-sided tape to adhere it, on top of colorful paper, to the display board. This keeps the boys from asking, over and over, for the correct date to write on their paperwork. This project took between 2-3 hours which included finding free printables and making copies on my home printer. I have included links to websites in bold red fonts throughout the blog post to make your search for printables fast. AJs divider These could be used at a desk or table. My boys were thrilled with their new dividers/organizers and I received several hugs, kisses and thank-you’s throughout the day. Two and a half weeks later—the boards have been used every school day.  Best of all we have saved considerable time. We have less distractions, a lot less talking while working on assignments, and no need to get out of the chair for school supplies or necessary charts. At the end of the day the boards are folded up and placed next to the school book shelves. This project was a Win/Win idea!

DIY Mini Utensil Set

Mini Utensil Sets

 

DIY Projects

Okay—it isn’t completely DIY. You won’t need your own foundry to forge the utensils but since you will not find a mini utensil set/holder/crock in the stores; I will show you how spectacularly charming, efficient and necessary this set is to the everyday functioning of your kitchen.

Several years ago for my birthday my mom gave me the red tea cup filled with multiple measuring spoons. I am a stay-at-home mom who usually cooks a homemade meal every night of the week; plus breakfast, lunch and quite a bit of baking. Mom knew I would love the splash of red in my kitchen (everyone needs a splash of red even if their kitchen isn’t red) and the extra measuring spoons are time saving because I don’t have to stop, wash, and rinse spoons in the middle of meal preparations. DSCN3335

I immediately added a variety of utensils to my cup and have used the set every day since; so have my kids. We whisk eggs, stir pancake batter, spread jams, measure,  scrape bowls and jars, flip small pancakes, bake cookies, remove hot items from the toaster oven, squeeze the last flavor from tea bags and much more. Our kitchen would not function well without the cup which sits on top of our toaster oven in a centralized location. I am all about function; pretty—decorative function!

The tea cups with the front tea bag pockets are difficult to find and Ebay has been my only success over the last few years. I like the pocket for the Smidgen/Pinch/Dash measuring spoons.

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Here are my favorite places for finding miniature utensils. I order in quantity for future bridal showers and birthday gifts which saves on shipping costs. This is my favorite gift to give at Bridal Showers because it is almost guaranteed the bride does not have a mini utensil set.

You will need a short squatty type tea cup, soup mug, or creamer for the utensils to be visible and the side of the cup needs to go somewhat straight up; not curved out like a bowl or expensive China tea/coffee cup.

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Honey Dipper

Honey Dippers: Best prices for multiples (6 inch) https://www.etsy.com/listing/114462014/assorted-wooden-honey-dipper-you-choose?ref=sr_gallery_5&ga_search_query=honey+dipper&ga_ref=auto6&ga_order=price_asc&ga_page=1&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

These utensils can be found at http://www.amazon.com/

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Mini Condiment Spoons
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Mini Wooden Condiment Spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Measuring Spoons
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Heart Measuring Spoons. Left: Expensive. Right: Inexpensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Whisks. Left: Individual. Right: Set of 4

The below utensils can be found at Main Street Marketplace – This is a local store located on Main Street in historic St. Charles, Missouri. Best prices except for the heart spoons http://www.mainstreetmarketplace.com/

Smidgen/Pinch/Dash Measuring Spoons
Smidgen/Pinch/Dash Measuring Spoons
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Miniature Whisks – Left: Individually sold. Right: Set of 4
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Mini Flipper/Turner
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Honey Dipper
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Mini Toaster Tongs
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Mini Scoop
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Dozens of Cheese Knives/Appetizer Spreaders
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Mini Condiment Spoons: Curved Handle spoon only. The other 2 are from Amazon.com
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Tomato Corer
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Citrus Zester

 

 

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Tea Bag Squeezer/Toaster Tongs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip

TEXMEX Recipes

Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (A.K.A. Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip)

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I recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, and visited my dear friend, Michelle, from years past. Once upon a time our families lived in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the same time where I taught her youngest daughter at a local Mom’s Day Out program. We later belonged to the same homeschool association and would hang out at each other’s homes while her daughters and my daughter played together.

Allow me to tell you what Michelle did to me; she interjected herself into my personal life. Ha! I tell you this in the most light-hearted way with a smile on my face because I absolutely positively love this woman. It’s a long story and one I am working on writing in it full detail. The abbreviated version is that several homeschool moms, led by Michelle, were praying for me behind my back and asking God to provide me a husband and to give Riley a daddy. I named Michelle the instigator of this but she insists it was the Holy Spirit. I heard through the grapevine that while some of my friends were meeting for homeschool playdates they would huddle in the garage and pray for me while their children played in the yard.

And they were not the only friends doing this! It began months earlier with my friend Pam speaking to me about the same subject.  Little did I know, God was working out His plan (definitely not mine or Riley’s) for my life and for Riley’s life.

Here is a quote by Michelle, “I figured out a long time ago, that when several God-fearing women walk into God’s throne room together…whatever they are praying about…better watch out!” – #moveoversatan #nottakingGod’sglory #getunderourfeetwhereyoubelong

I obviously got over Michelle’s Holy Spirit led intrusion and recently allowed her in-depth private details of every aspect of my life; beginning to present day, for Restoring the Foundations ministry. Michelle is training to minister in RTF and I can honestly testify that RTF was the most beautiful, personal, empowering, healing and tender time I have ever spent with the Lord. I love Him!

How does this connect to a Tex-Mex recipe you may be asking?

Well, before visiting Michelle I texted her and asked if there was a Chuy’s Tex-Mex in Nashville. To my delight she responded that Chuy’s was; in fact, located down the street from her home in Franklin, Tennessee.

Chuy’s is my all-time favorite eating establishment. If I were allowed to have only one option for eating out, from present day to the day I die, Chuy’s would be it. I believe it is impossible that I could ever tire of their deliciousness.

My boys crave Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip, but since we live in the heavily populated Italian cuisine city of St. Louis, Missouri, we have no Chuy’s Tex-Mex. We rely on our trips to visit my family in Texas to fulfill our Chuy’s longings.

Every time I eat at Chuy’s I attempt to pull apart the individual flavors; veggie, pepper, herb and spice in the salsas, Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip and meats.

I have made the dip with Jalapeños, Anaheim Chile’s, Poblanos, Serrano Peppers and blends of these peppers. I use fresh Serrano peppers in my Creamy Jalapeño Ranch Dip—no Jalapeños. We find this recipe every bit as flavorful, if not the same, as Chuy’s. I did ask a manager at a Chuy’s in Kentucky if there were Serrano’s in the salsas and dips and she confirmed that there were.

When it comes to preparing dishes with peppers you get to decide the amount of heat you want in your recipe. Here is the trick:

Mild heat: Remove seeds and devein the inside of the peppers.

Medium heat:  Remove seeds and leave the veins in. You can always add a few seeds if you want more heat.

Fiery heat: Leave seeds and veins in peppers.

I always double this recipe for my hungry guys because even Farm Boy likes this non-Italian Tex-Mex dip.

~Enjoy!

Post with introduction of Farm Boy:  https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/peeper-and-stalker-and-harasser-o-my/

 

 Creamy Serrano Ranch Dip (Jalapeño)

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½ cup sour cream

½ cup real mayonnaise (low fat is not tasty in this recipe)

¾ cup milk

½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar (this turns milk in to buttermilk)

1 (4 ounce) can green chilies

1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

2 Serrano peppers (remove seeds and veins for mild) Remove seeds for medium heat. Leave seeds and veins for hot heat.

¼ cup cilantro

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

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Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

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Refrigerate for two hours before serving so ingredients can soak into the dressing.

Serve with chips or use as salad dressing on Mexican salads, or sauce for Mexican foods and casseroles.

*Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet of White Corn Restaurant style tortilla chips in the oven for 3 minutes. Enjoy fresh restaurant style chips and dip.

word filled linkup

Celebrating an Answered Prayer—Again

AJ

And He did!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ll never tire of it.

Praising God, that is.

He has answered so many prayers in huge, glory making ways! (Original Post is here.)

Today is a reminder of one of the answers because today is A.J.’s eleventh birthday.

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Those eyes. Those cheeks—that I never tired of squeezing.

A severe traumatic brain injury rocked our world and almost claimed A.J.’s life.

God is so wise to not allow us to know our future. I cannot imagine how this child would have lived his life had I known what was in store for him. Would I have allowed him out of the house? Would I have bubble wrapped him? I most certainly would have made him wear a bike or baseball helmet AT ALL TIMES.

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Tonight I will watch AJ. play baseball with his brother for their season opener.  What a cute catcher he is; #4 for his favorite catcher, Yadier Molina, of the St. Louis Cardinals.

If you think I’m comfortable with him catching; think again!

It happened like this: Last year at the beginning of the season, Farm Boy, who was one of the coaches picked up the baseball gear from the association. Everyone on the team was new to baseball, except my boys, and since we had the gear A.J. suited up and practiced catching at home. That is how it happened.

I have informed A.J. that I want this to be his last season of catching. Each year will become more physical and I DO NOT want him being plowed over as the other team tries to score a run; not caring if they slam him to the ground in an attempt to make him drop the ball for the R.B.I. at home plate.

I think he should concentrate on bowling. Ha! I’m only half joking.

Today my joy abounds as I recall snapshots my heart has taken of A.J. over the last three years. Snapshots of answered prayers, therapy appointments, fun times, teachable moments, frustrating moments, caring moments, ornery moments, giggles, spiritual growth, church moments, a deep thinker who I do not always have an immediate answer for, a boss man who has great potential as I teach him to become a servant leader,  an avid debater (pros and cons), brother moments, tender moments, a little man on his way to only God knows what.  My heart if full!

Happy Birthday my co-chocoholic and fellow lover of Tex-Mex food.

I am thankful to have you and I love you; even at 4:12 a.m. when you wake up ready to celebrate the day!

I think birthday lunch will be served at 9:30 a.m. since we will have been up for five hours. Yawn…

AJs birthday

 

Update on A.J.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Recipe: Gluten Free

 

 

 

 

It’s fall.

The air smells like it, the rustling leaves sound like it, and the chilly outdoor temperature confirms it.

This means one thing in our home: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread baking time. Since we have a bon-fire to go to this weekend, and we committed to bringing this bread, our home is about to smell like the glorious scent of chocolate harmonizing with pumpkin. Our taste buds are preparing to dance!

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Life is hard.

Chocolate is good.

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But chocolate mixed into pumpkin in next to heavenly! Literally. I believe God made the cocoa bean specifically for women as a little gift to compensate us for the once a month hormonal upheaval we endure. And when we discovered the scrumptiousness of mixing chocolate into pumpkin, God may have smiled, leaned over to Jesus and said, “Do you see that? She discovered another little treasure we left for her.”

Make yourself a batch of this bread, which makes three loaves, and see for yourself that Gluten Free does not have to mean flavorless, fall-a-part dry bread. This bread is fit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack or anytime in between.

Eating Gluten Free means putting extra time and thought into almost every meal or snack we eat. I am thankful to have the resources to eat what we need and want but the planning is time-consuming. Plus, eating gluten free can make my boys’ taste buds whiny. They’re not whiny—but their taste buds are. The best way to hush them is with this dense, moist, bursting with flavor treat. If you have never tried chocolate and pumpkin together you are missing out on one of the finer things in life. Chocolate and pumpkin are perhaps the most perfect union since the pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t doubt it ’til you’ve tried it!

This is my own personal recipe I am sharing with you and the kids can NOT keep their hands off it. Prepare to gain a pound—or two.

Our dog became a thieving table jumper the first time she smelled it. She is willing to suffer consequences  to wrap her mouth around this delicious concoction of chocolate and pumpkin. To manipulate us in to giving her more she has, without being prompted, been known to perform every trick we have ever taught her; one after the other, until we almost die laughing and cave to her cuteness. When we have a say in the matter we remove the chocolate chips from the dog’s bread. Sometimes we don’t have a say in the matter. Like when she runs by, jumps and grabs a mouthful from our hands. She’s fast like that—for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.

With no further ado I present to you:

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This is a very forgiving recipe. Combine the  ingredients in the same mixing bowl in the order listed.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature

1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Mix

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Add 1 teaspoon each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & All spice

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (located in the baking aisle near the yeast or GF items)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix

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Add 2 cups white rice flour or All Purpose Gluten Free flour

½ cup Gluten Free oats (I mill these in my blender) If you do not have Celiac disease  you can put Quick Oats through a blender or food processor.

¾ cup Potato starch (Tapioca starch or Corn starch may be used)

¼ cup ground Flax seed (Flax seed helps hold the bread together)

*If you love Flax seed you can adjust the recipe to ½ cup pot. starch & ½ cup Flax seed; this slightly changes the texture.

Mix

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Mix in 2 cups chocolate chips.

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Pour into 3 ungreased 4 inch X 8 inch pans.  I use the disposable pans from the store because they bake the most uniform nicest looking loaves of bread and for some reason they bake more evenly than any of my other pans. This makes a nice size loaf of bread for DSCN3003gift giving. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips down the center of each loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick. When it come out dry, except for chocolate smudges, it is finished. Test each loaf. Cool about 20 minutes then use a metal spatula to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans. With one had on the top of the bread and one hand on the bottom of the pan; turn the pan upside down to remove the bread. Completely cool before placing in a bag or container.

This bread freezes beautifully in a freezer bag.

DSCN3006I buy most of my grains from Whole Foods and mill them at home with my electric mill but many grains can be purchased already ground/milled. I am listing my favorite combination of flours for this post but I have used many combinations and never disliked any of them. I have used Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Brown Rice, Sweet Rice, cooked Quinoa, and Almond Four. I do not care for Garbanzo and Fava Flour in any baking product.

Gluten Free baking needs to be done with room temperature ingredients.

~Enjoy!

Below is the recipe without the pictures or you may link to the recipe card format at http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/special-dietary-needs/gluten-free/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-pumpkin-bread-7/

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This is a very forgiving recipe. Combine the  ingredients in the same mixing bowl in the order listed.

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs at room temperature

1 – 29 oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Mix

Add 1 teaspoon each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & All spice

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (located in the baking aisle near the yeast or GF items)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix

Add 2 cups white rice flour or All Purpose Gluten Free flour

½ cup Gluten Free oats (I mill these in my blender) If you do not have Celiac disease  you can put Quick Oats through a blender or food processor.

¾ cup Potato starch (Tapioca starch or Corn starch may be used)

¼ cup ground Flax seed (Flax seed helps hold the bread together)

*If you love Flax seed you can adjust the recipe to ½ cup pot. starch & ½ cup Flax seed; this slightly changes the texture.

Mix

Mix in 2 cups chocolate chips.

Pour into 3 ungreased 4 inch X 8 inch pans.  I use the disposable pans from the store because they bake the most uniform nicest looking loaves of bread and for some reason they bake more evenly than any of my other pans. This makes a nice size loaf of bread for gift giving. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips down the center of each loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick. When it come out dry, except for chocolate smudges, it is finished. Test each loaf. Cool about 20 minutes then use a metal spatula to loosen the bread from the sides of the pans. With one had on the top of the bread and one hand on the bottom of the pan; turn the pan upside down to remove the bread. Completely cool before placing in a bag or container.