gluten-free raspberry breakfast bars…


IMG_0225It’s been a while since I have posted a recipe here! To be honest, I kind of like to wing it in the kitchen so if I am using a recipe it’s probably somebody else’s and it’s a special occasion. Speaking of special occasions, Leo’s birthday party is this weekend! I have been prepping, crafting and making all sorts of to-do lists.

It’s a brunch party and we have some gluten-free guests coming. I went to Whole Foods to check out their gluten-free pastry section and honestly the stuff looked kind of gross. So I am attempting to make some gluten-free pastries of my own. I started with this recipe, which was fine but I found the cardamom overwhelming and I didn’t think there was enough of the “crumble” part. Also, I wanted something that was nut-free as most of Leo’s friends are in that “still trying out nuts” phase and I am super-paranoid about nut allergies…so I made up my own recipe and I think they are pretty damn delicious!

Raspberry Breakfast Bars (vegan and gluten-free)

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup quinoa flakes (these are usually by the oatmeal in Whole Foods)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup tapioca starch (cornstarch would work too)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 to 3/4 cup of coconut oil

1 12 oz. package of frozen raspberries, thawed with most of the juice removed

2 tbsp. honey

1 big dash of cinnamon

Pre heat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Place thawed raspberries in strainer (I thawed mine in a strainer over a bowl) and press thawed raspberries until most of the juice is removed. (The juice is excellent served with a little champagne, just sayin’…). Set aside.

Add the first seven ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well (I used my hands). Slowing add in the coconut oil and combine until the mixture holds together slightly and has a “crumble” texture. I used the entire 3/4 cup of oil this time but I have used less previously.

IMG_0207In a separate bowl combine the drained raspberries, honey and cinnamon. Now you’re ready to assemble.

Place about half (or a little more of the crumble mixture into the baking dish, press down with your hands until it forms one even layer. Next add the raspberry mixture and spread evenly over the crumble.

IMG_0211Finally, add the remaining crumble as the top layer. I used my hands to evenly sprinkle the mixture over the top then pressed down gently to create a flat surface.


Bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Once the bars are done allowed them to cool for about an hour before removing from the dish and slicing. They are a little crumbly when slicing but that give you an excuse to nibble at the crumbs and eat the “not so pretty” bars so I see it as a good thing. Serve the same day or freeze the bars, they thaw quickly (about 30 minutes) when you are ready to eat them.


going nuts…


For some reason I have been really paranoid about giving Leo nuts. It seems like every time you walk into a pre-school or indoor playground you see a warning that you’re in a “tree-nut free zone.” My mind went to all sorts of scary places…giant hives, anaphylactic shock, etc. So we decided to wait until Leo was two to try nuts, not for any real practical reason but because I was irrationally scared.


I gave Leo peanut butter before his two-year check up on Monday and guess what? He hated it!  My husband pointed out that if I gave him JIF, as opposed to the organic unsweetened stuff that I usually buy he may have like it.  But he wasn’t allergic!  So today we took yet another step into the world of tree nuts with my very favorite, hazelnuts in the form of Nutella. And he loved it!



And now we have the whole exciting tree nut kingdom to explore. Almonds, walnuts, pecans…imagine the possibilities.




you know that you really love someone when…



So this potty training stuff is pretty all-consuming right now. But it’s been going a little better, until last night. Stop reading now if you’re not a parent or a shock comic because you will think I am gross…

Leo exclaimed “poo poo” before bed so I took him to his little potty and sat on the floor across from him. We sat and read books for what seemed like forever. Then he looked up and me and smiled and said “mama” and stood up and gave me a sweet hug around the neck and kiss on the face. “What a sweet boy!” I thought… until I realized that he was taking a giant poop in my lap and peeing all over me…

But instead of throwing up in my mouth like I wanted to, I cleaned it up. Took a quick shower and crawled in his bed with him and read books. When else would you ever be so sweet to someone who just took a giant shit on you?  Oh the joys of motherhood…

what we’ve been up to…

So after a lot of household debate and a heart-to-heart with a teacher at Leo’s future pre-school we realized that our half-ass method of potty training (trying to use the potty and undies at home but diapers out of the house) wasn’t really working and most likely confusing Leo.  So we went diaper-free. Leo will be 2 in 12 days (can you believe it???). As much as I would like him to still be a baby he’s not, so it’s time.

So this week we have spent A LOT of time at home, a lot of time in the bathroom, a lot of time “fussing” (both us and Leo) and a lot of time cleaning up some pretty gross shit. Literally.

The first day we had 10 accidents. Considering that we only have 10 pairs of training undies, it was a rough day. Day two was four accidents and day on three we only had two.  Today it’s not even 10AM and we’ve already had two… It’s A LOT of work.  A lot of “helicopter” parenting, because if I leave him alone for even 5 minutes there could be piss all over my couch.  I understand why people wait until closer to three to potty train, I’m sure this would/could go faster if Leo was better able to communicate.  But in some ways, I know that we are already starting too late as he is already more comfortable going in his diaper.

I have heard that the first three weeks in the worst, and we only have four days under our belts. I know in the end this is what’s best for Leo, but it sucks right now.

IMG_0165He gets his best thinking done on the potty…

another day in LA, the annenberg commmunity beach house…


The idea of a public beach house is so California and pretty awesome.  We spent the day yesterday at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica and it did not disappoint. The property was formerly the beach front estate of actress Marion Davies, then a private beach club and now it’s a public “beach house” operated by the city of Santa Monica.  You can make reservations on-line for parking, the pool and even beach cabanas (which are just pop up tents but they provide great shade).

Even though we live in LA we barely go to the beach. It’s such a hassle to drive there, pack a lunch and cooler, bring swim diapers and clothes and regular clothes and then when you get there you have to find parking… you get it.  But the Annenberg Beach House made it really easy for us. Great facilities, clean bathrooms, lots of room for kids to run around, a yummy beach cafe… yeah, I had to shlep towels and 4 changes of clothes for Leo but it was worth it.

IMG_0077When we arrived it was a little chilly- only 73 degrees!  Poor Leo’s teeth were chattering, he’s such a California boy. But it started to warm up pretty quickly and the boys took a dip the the gorgeous pool with an art deco marble mosiac surround. Then Leo hit the splash park which could have been a good hour of entertainment if his lips weren’t turning blue from the cold (though the water was surprisingly warm).


Next we headed down to the beach for some sand castle building…


Followed by a yummy lunch from the beach cafe…


And finally, a walk down to the water.  It was a great day for the whole family.  And well worth the 66 bucks we paid for parking, pool passes and the cabana rental.  Leo was so tuckered out after his beach day that he took a three hour nap! And I was so tuckered out that I joined him.


It was a great way to spend the day…

how to travel with a toddler…

So, after four flights and two layovers this past week I consider an expert at traveling with a toddler.  Just one toddler.   I already told Lenny that traveling with more than one child seems impossible and that if we have another one relatives just have to come to us. I saw some parents traveling with multiple children on this trip, and let me tell you if there was one of those safe baby drops in terminal C at the Houston airport if would be stuffed full of children…screaming children.

So let me tell you my secrets to traveling with one toddler. Here is the deal, forget all of your rules when you travel.  Do you limit screen time? Forget it! Do you shun refined sugar? Who cares? Are you avoiding nitrates? Preservatives? These rules do not apply at ten thousand feet!!!

If you have been doing any of the above things you are off to a great start. The more rules you have at home, the more excited your toddler will be when they get to break them in the sky. Before our trip I stocked up on all kinds of junk food that I would normally never give my kid. Flavor blasted goldfish, chocolate covered biscuits, chocolate chip granola bars, potato chips… whatever keeps your kid from screaming and kicking the seat in front of them.

IMG_0071Next, get an iPad, tablet, whatever.  TV is like crack for toddlers. They can’t get enough of it! Before our trip I downloaded an entire season of Yo Gabba Gabba and some Elmo. Leo watched a total of three hours on our second flight yesterday- but he wasn’t screaming so I consider it a win.

Also, relax a little have a Chardy.  You don’t like chardonnay? Too bad. Red wine is too much of a risk with turbulence and and you’re a mother, you can’t order a vodka soda or Jack and ginger of you will look like a drunk.  And enjoy some of those snacks… you deserve them.

IMG_0073And before I go, I have to thank the fine people at the Houston airport for this amazing invention that allows you to strap your child to the wall while you pee so that they don’t crawl out under the stall forcing you to run after them with your pants down. Not that it’s ever happened to me… They should have these on every wall in America. Not just in bathrooms.


you know we’re on vacation when…

I have to say that our two flights to Cincinnati were kind of amazing. We enticed Leo with the normally forbidden fruits of the iPad and candy. Specifically, downloaded Yo Gabba Gabba and those Pocky chocolate dipped biscuit sticks. Damn, those things are tasty. But I digress…back to our amazing flights. He even slept for two hours on our first flight allowing me to read a book! I mean, how many times have I brought a book on a trip and never even cracked it!

But as usual, the magic quickly faded and here we are with another ear infection… You may recall that the same thing happened on our last vacation (to Palm Springs). I am wondering if we should just start booking our trips based on the locations and hours of supermarket minute clinics and urgent care centers. FML.
I was hoping to have some great posts about the Cincinnati Zoo and Children’s Museum but between Leo’s mood and the weather (it’s been POURING) we didn’t make either of those outings happen… Oh well!

Leo, enjoying terrorizing the aisles at the local pharmacy…