Flourless Oatmeal and Dried Cherry Bars

Gluten Free Oatmeal Bar

So these came from Budget Bytes. They are the “Apricot-Walnut Bars,” but I used pecans and dried cherries since that was what I had on hand. They’re super easy, there’s very little added sugar, and I was able to use gluten-free oats—-triple win! My seven-year-old (who has gluten troubles) loves them, which is no small compliment. Recipe here.

You use mashed banana for sweetness and stick-together-ness, which means the bars taste a little like banana bread–yum! We eat them for snacks and sometimes for breakfast.

American friends, how was Thanksgiving? We enjoyed time with extended family down at the beach. Beforehand, the hubs and I got to spend a few days in Mexico (thanks, mom and dad for kid-watching!). The trip was great, but we got stuck an extra day, which was not the most fun. Fortunately we had lots of folks covering for us back home with the kiddos—-I’m eternally grateful.

Christmas is now descending upon me, and I feel only half-ready and half-remembering what it was I meant to do to prepare. I’m going to try to post some round-ups of favorite gifts to give. recipes, and simple crafts, so stay tuned. As usual, I’m spending most of my kids-in-school time working on my novel. Is it getting anywhere? I sincerely hope so!

For more posts on cooking and eating, click here.

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Blueberry Oatmeal Cobbler

Gluten Free Blueberry Cobbler

Hello readers! I’m sorry to have been M.I.A. I’ve been writing and sewing and all that good stuff, and hopefully I can share more about that soon.

In the meantime, here’s a dessert I made recently that was a big hit.

I like to go to pick-your-own farms, especially for apples, but since we couldn’t find a functioning apple farm, we went blueberry picking while in Western North Carolina over Labor Day. It was the end of the season—-slim pickin’s for sure—but still, the berries were delicious. We found the berry patch tucked in the hills. It had just rained, but the sun had come out, and though wet, it was such a gorgeous little spot.

I had planned to make a gluten-free blueberry pie from this book, but I ran out of energy for crust-making and just made the filling along with a half recipe of baked oatmeal. I then combined the two, and voila—blueberry cobbler sans gluten.

It had almost more of a pudding/ cake-like texture that was really lovely. The filling has the most surprising and wonderful secret ingredient: grated Granny Smith apple. Filling recipe here. At the time I actually didn’t have the tapioca, and it worked fine without it.

Baked oatmeal recipe here. I used gluten-free oats, halved the recipe, added some extra liquid, and did not soak overnight since I was in a hurry. When it was cooked, I roughly layered the still-warm filling with the baked oatmeal and baked (350, maybe?) until bubbly—not that long, maybe 10 minutes, tops.

Have you been reading anything good lately? I’ve been on such a memoir and nonfiction kick that I’m a bit worn out from it and have just started a novel called The Lonely Polygamist. So far, it’s hilarious.

On TV, loving the BBC’s Foyle’s War (WWII murder mystery) via netflix, and Borgen on DVD. Borgen is a Danish political drama featuring a female prime minister. Very smart and engaging, though it’s impossible to multitask while watching (due to subtitles and fast pacing).

Found a new podcast for writers: Narrative Breakdown with Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein. Really good, meaty stuff. Also found a mention of my easy reader, Slowpoke, in Books that Teach Kids How to Write by Marianne Saccardi. The author uses Slowpoke as an example showing kids how to slow down and notice the details they need to enrich their writing. Fun, eh? I’m honored.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a couple of quilts, but they’re slow-going. Nothing exciting to report. What’s new with you?

Peppermint Marshmallows

Peppermint Marshmallows

We actually made these around Christmas, as a rainy day activity with the kids. We just followed Martha Stewart’s recipe and added some crushed peppermint candy on top.

We loved the way the concoction of sugar and gelatin morphs into white foam. It made me feel like a chemist (my chemist grandfather, by the way, loves to make candy and measures things out neatly on little squares of waxed paper).

Candy Making

True to form, I tried to cut out some of the sugar, as drowning the finished cubes in yet more white stuff seemed a bit excessive. Turns out, though, that you kind of need the powdered sugar on top at the end to keep the marshmallows from being a total sticky mess. It’s like flour, I guess, when you’re rolling out pizza dough.

Uncut Marshmallow

Marshmallows weren’t hard to make but they were definitely messy, even for my high mess threshold. I would totally recommend a giveaway plan, since even my kids, who were sure they’d want to eat the whole pan on their own, couldn’t finish them before they were past their prime (a couple of days).

The best part for me was having a giant marshmallow (we call them marsh planets) to put in my hot cocoa, which I made not-too-sweet on purpose.

Marshmallow in Cocoa

For more of my cooking and eating adventures, go here.

Around these parts we’re still being absolutely buried by fourth grade homework (what’s up with that?). I’m still loving, really loving My Berlin Kitchen by food blogger Lisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef. It’s got love, travel, international friends and family, and recipes to boot. Currently dreaming of baby artichokes with potatoes and separately, braised endive. Never thought I’d be interested in endive, but she makes it sound so exciting! As an added bonus, the book is making me want to keep writing, and in my mind that’s the best kind of book.

I’ve been sewing a bit, some of which you can see on my Instagram feed. You can find me there under Emily Smith Pearce or in the lower righthand corner of my blog homepage.

This interview with writer/ director David O. Russell (of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) was so good I may have to listen to it again. I also loved reading this interview with the author, the illustrator, and the translator of Sydney Taylor Award honor book The War Within These Walls. The translator (Laura Watkinson) is a friend of mine in Amsterdam, and the interviewer (Joyce Moyer Hostetter) is a friend here in North Carolina. Small world!

Also just sent out my nonfiction manuscript to some early reader friends. So excited to be moving ahead with it. How are you? Cooking/ reading/ watching anything good?

Gluten-Free Molasses-Clove Cookies

We served these yesterday to non-gluten-free guests, and they were a hit with everyone, kids and grown-ups alike. They have a nice, chewy texture.

I actually made them egg-free as well (using egg substitute) since one of our guests is allergic to eggs. The cookies have a lot of butter in them, but next time I may try coconut oil, since I’ve made similar cookies with regular flour and coconut oil in the past, and they were great.

The recipe is once again from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Peter and Kelli Bronski. You can find the recipe on their blog here.

Today, we made a little candy! So I’ll show you that when I have time. Hope you’re cozied up with loved ones and enjoying festivities.

P.S. We got a special Christmas supplement to the newspaper today: a cup of water and an earthworm fell out when I removed plastic bag #1! Luckily the paper itself was dry and wormless. Gives you an idea of how much rain we’ve had in the last day or so.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie

Gluten Free Pie

I can’t take any credit for this pie, other than having been an experienced taste-tester. At my kids’ request, my mother-in-law took the reins on this project during a recent visit.

She used the pastry recipe here from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and her favorite apple pie filling recipe for the center. According to her, the dough was “terrible, just terrible to work with,” but of course GF doughs are often tricky and tend to fall apart a lot. We wondered if using a pastry cloth would’ve made it easier (I don’t have one). Still, though, isn’t it a beautiful pie?

The results are so delicious that I would definitely try this again, tricky dough or not! A certain anonymous person (not a gluten-free eater) even tried to eat more than his allotted share.

I would say the pastry was a bit more crackery in texture than traditional dough, but it was still yummy. I think I’ll try it again at Thanksgiving, though I may use a crumble-top instead of a pastry top.

Gluten Free Pie Slice

Currently reading America’s Women by Gail Collins. She’s got such a fresh voice and fantastic sense of humor—-this is the way history should be written.

A few of posts around the web that caught my fancy recently:

this one from Amy Karol of Angry Chicken about using free digital art from the Rijksmuseum

–a glow-in-the-dark party over at Elsie Marley

–love, loooove this collaboration between an illustrator and her 4-year-old

Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was long and relatively lazy. We even started some Christmas crafting. Feels a little early, but I know it’ll be here before we know it. I even went totallly nerdo and made a spreadsheet of the gifts I’ve already purchased and squirreled away. I have more of a head start than I thought. Woohooo!

P.S. For more posts on cooking and eating, click here.

Summer Journal: Homemade Orange Creamsicles

Homemade Orange Creamsicle

The kids and I have made a list of fun things to do this summer, and one of them is to make popsicles.

This was our first batch, made with this recipe, from the blog Oven Love, found through Pinterest. I love that they’re non-dairy, made with coconut milk and real orange juice. They were a hit. Next I think we’ll freeze our favorite peanut-butter-chocolate-banana smoothies. With maybe a little coconut milk. Do you have any favorite popsicle combos?

Meg of elsiemarley.com suggested that readers share short posts about fun summer activities . If you’d like to play along, leave a comment on Meg’s blog and use the words “Summer Journal” in your blog title or as a hashtag if you’re instagramming or whatnot. While you’re at it, let me know in my comments, too!

For more posts on food, including recipes, click here. I like to cook with less meat and dairy, more veggies, and I do a lot of gluten-free stuff, too.