You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

Actually, I suppose most of the honor of this title should go to Charles Schultz rather than to Charlie Brown. We watched the Charlie Brown version  of the Pilgrim story this evening. Somehow, I had never seen it before. It was a good reminder of the story of the first Thanksgiving. 

This little cartoon reminded me that the Pilgrims did not undertake the consideration of uprooting their families lightly. After all they had just done that very thing some 10 years before when they left England for Holland. And now they were considering doing it again. And what was it they looked forward to when they considered moving across the Atlantic Ocean? They faced “…invoncevable perils and dangers.” (Of Plymouth Plantation, Book I, IV).

There was the expense and the danger of crossing the seas, the length of the voyage, exposure to the elements upon arriving in America, famine, nakedness, want, sickness, disease, danger from unknown peoples, and “other cruelties too horrible to be related.” (Book I, IV). 

Yet, they made the decision to come anyway.

“It was replied that all great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both met and overcome with answerable courage. It was granted the dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible. For, many of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne or overcome. True it was that such attempts were not to be undertaken without good ground and reason, rashly or lightly; or, as many had done, for curiosity or hope of gain. But their condition was not ordinary; their ends were good and honourable; their calling, lawful and urgent; therefore they might expect the blessing of God on their proceedings. Yea, though they should lose their lives in this action, yet might they have the comfort of knowing that their endeavour was worthy.” (Book I, IV

So tonight I would like to thank Charles Schultz and William Bradford for reminding me to persevere and to look ahead to future generations when life feels uncertain. Thanks Charlie Brown for helping me to remember the lessons of my forefathers and not to forget the first Thanksgiving.

Fall Baking – Pumpkins + Apples = Pumplekin

So we decided to celebrate one of my favorite holidays today. Pumplekin! What? Never heard of it?

Well, let me tell you about this wonderful New England holiday. Actually, we made it up. Pumplekin was born with lots of laughter around a table full of friends. We took two of our favorite parts of fall – pumpkins and apples and we came up with Pumplekin. We pick a day in the fall, usually in November, to gather together play games and of course, eat wonderful food made of pumpkins and apples. There are even culinary contests and the competition is fierce sometimes. Well, we decided to do our Pumplekin baking today. Here’s what we made. Some recipes are old and some are new. Try some of them to spice up your fall. You could even make your own Pumplekin holiday.


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

An old standard at our house: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread! This has been one of my favorites for years. I can’t get through the fall without making this. Click on Family Favorites for the regular recipe and on Allergy-Friendly Recipes for the modified versions for those with food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, soy, nut and egg-white free).


Homemade Toffee Pieces

Next on the list is a Pumplekin award winner! Apple Pie Cheesecake! This is an allergy-friendly version of a Kraft recipe.

The first thing we did is make our own toffee since the store bought toffee has ingredients that don’t work for us. We used this simple recipe from the Pioneer Woman which had only four ingredients. This was our first successful attempt at candy making. It worked great and is delicious. I made a half recipe and it made a lot. I think we’ll have enough crumbled toffee chips with just this half batch for the rest of our lives. Lol. Also, I didn’t do the chocolate part that they did. I just used the toffee recipe.

Then, once we had that ready the girls and I went to work on the cheesecake.


Apple Pie Cheesecake

Next, we peeled, cut and cubed three small apples (you need about 2 cups). Sautee them in 3 tbs.of butter, 1 tbl. sugar, 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. of salt until the butter and sugar are syrupy. Set these aside to cool while you assemble the crust. Drizzle 2 cups of crushed gingersnap cookies with 4 tbls. of melted butter and press into the bottom of a pie pan.
Now for the cheesecake. Yay!


Pumpkin Butter

Mix  2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tsp. of vanilla. Then add 1/2 cup of sour cream and 6 egg yolks. Mix until all the eggs are combined with the cream cheese mixture. Then stir in 1/4 cup of toffee bits, 1/4 up of chopped pecans and half of your apple mixture. Pour into the pie pan with your prepared crust and bake on  325 for about 35-40 minutes or until the center is set. Once cooled chill for 4 hours and then top the cheesecake with the remaining apples, some of the chopped nuts and toffee. Yum!

Pumpkin Butter 
was next on the list. This is an old favorite for us too. You can find the recipe on the Allergy-Friendly Recipes page. It’s great on biscuits or toast. And it lasts a really long time in the fridge so don’t worry if you don’t eat it up right away.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese

And last but not least – Pumpkin Cream Cheese! I saw a tub of pumpkin cream cheese at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and had to try it. As soon as I tasted it I knew I would have to make my own. It’s delish. My girl’s want to eat it by the spoonful. I looked at a few recipes online and ended up mixing 1-8 oz package of cream cheese, 1/2 can pumpkin, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Mix and store in the refrigerator.

Other great fall recipes you might enjoy:

Spiced Chai Tea (I call it Christmas Chai, but it’s great for fall too.)

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
And if you know me. fall is my favorite time of year to cook and decorate for. Here are some of our fall decorations from years past complete with leafy twinkle lights.

This is how we get baking done these days. We got lots done while she napped don’t you think? 🙂



Pumpkin bread – make extra and freeze it.


Toffee poured out to cool.


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread


Apple Pie Cheesecake


Pumpkin Butter

Quick Breakfasts – Chocolate Quinoa Custard and Homemade Granola

These are cooking in my kitchen. Chocolate Quinoa Custard and Homemade Granola are two quick breakfast options.

Chocolate Quinoa Custard:

140127_0000This recipe is gluten, dairy, nut and sugar free. This recipe contains eggs.

I’ve been making this for breakfast lately. It’s delicious, filling and high in protein. Try it!

Start with 2 cups quinoa. Soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Add enough water to a saucepan to cover the quinoa by about 1/2 inch. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed, the quinoa is transparent and the little curly tendrils can be seen on the side of each grain. Cool.

Next stir the following into your cooled cooked quinoa.
2 tbls. cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves

Mixture unset before it goes into the oven.

Mixture unset before it goes into the oven.

In a separate bowl combine
2 cups milk (substitute: goat, almond or coconut milk)
6 egg yolks (or 3 whole eggs)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or 3/4 cup honey)
1 tsp. vanilla

Add the liquid mixture to the quinoa mixture and stir to combine well. Pour into a greased casserole dish and cook at 350 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the mixture is set.

It is best served warm. Add some extra maple syrup to taste and pour some cream over the top. It’s delicious!




Everyone seems to ask me for my granola recipe. So here it is. This way I can just tell everyone, “It’s on my blog.”🙂

First mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

6 cups oats (I prefer regular, not quick-cooking)
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (You can use any nut you like or have on hand. I usually use walnuts but almonds or pecans even work.)
1 tbls. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

Stir the dry ingredients until mixed well. Then mix in following.

1 cup mild- tasting oil (whatever you’ve got – coconut (melted), canola, light olive oil, etc.)
1 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla

Stir well until all the oats are coated. Put in a baking pan with sides and bake on 350 for 20 minutes removing at the 10 minute mark to stir. When you stir be sure that you are careful to pull it away from the sides as the honey burns easily along the edges otherwise. When it has cooled off, stir in 2 cups of raisins. Makes a yummy breakfast or snack.

Happy Independence Day!


We’re enjoying our vacation at the lake. Hope you’re enjoying a good day celebrating friends, family and our nation’s birthday!


Spending the day outside?

Don’t forget these easy DIY recipes to make your time outdoors more enjoyable:

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DIY 2-minute Sunscreen

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Homemade Bug Spray

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Got bites already?

Remedy for Bug Bites – Tea Bags


Magnesium Oil: uses for pregnancy


magnesium oil

Have any of you tried the Magnesium Oil recipe from Wellness Mama? I’ve been using it for several years now and recently loaned my friend a bottle to use on her husband’s sore back.

She started using it and found that really helps the muscle cramps that she gets during pregnancy. She says that it’s magic. As soon as she sprays it on she says that the muscle releases. I’ve also used it during pregnancy and though I don’t typically get muscle cramps, I struggle with restless legs and sore ligaments. I’ve found to be especially helpful with my sore muscles with my last pregnancy and in terms of mobility – the aches and pains disappeared and I didn’t even feel like I was pregnant. So, make up your own magic potion for sore muscles. Why suffer? Give your muscles what they need – extra magnesium! (Note: magnesium oil can sting when first applied. Do not use on broken or cut skin or apply after shaving.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day celebrations!

Remember all your blessings and from whom they come.

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“And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, Chapter XII

Thanksgiving in the City

We normally travel over Thanksgiving. But, this year we are planning on doing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (pictures to follow) so we are staying in the city this year. I’ll be making the chicken and dressing that my “Nanny” always used to make us. So, as I cook this week I’ll be thinking of Maggie and other family far away. Enjoy your families this week and make some good memories.

My great-grandmother, Maggie Lane.

My great-grandmother, Maggie Lane.