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This time of year I am SO in the mood for fruit crisps and cobblers. I thought I’d use individual ramekins for a fun, new way to serve my family dessert. Peaches are in season and so delicious! I used some tasty toppings to create this new peach crisp. It was a hit with my family, and my daughter said, “Mom, this is the BEST crisp you’ve ever made!” I have to admit it tasted heavenly and mine was gobbled up fast! The grandkids loved having their own dessert.

To begin I skinned and chunked 5 large peaches, placing them in a medium bowl. I squeezed the juice of one lemon over them then tossed. I added 2 tablespoons honey, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla then stirred the ingredients in. I divided the peaches into 6 ramekins.

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I set the oven to 350 degrees. In a separate bowl I added ¾ cup almond meal/flour, ¼ cup millet flour, ¼ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup GF oats, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 ¼ sticks butter cut into slices (shortening may be used) and ½ cup raw cashews. I used a pastry cutter ( you may use a food processor and pulse) to get a crumbly mixture. I used a small measuirng cup to carefully add the topping mixture to the fruit, carefully packing it into the peaches. I added more until each ramekin had a heaping amount, then placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

I baked mine for 30 minutes until tops were golden and bubbly.

I served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream. (I used Breyer’s Lactose Free Ice Cream. You may use regular ice cream or Soy Dream.)

My family will definitely be having this again soon!

Get the recipe: Favorite Peach Crisp

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Lately I’ve had an abundance of mangos. This salad is a delicious way to use them – my version of Rumbi’s Mango Chicken Salad. The dressing is the perfect ingredient to bring the flavors together! You can also use mandarin oranges.

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These pictures show an easy way to cut mangos into cubes. It also works for avocados. My husband LOVES this salad!

Get the recipe for Mango Chicken Salad in Gluten-Free Recipes under Salads.

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by Christine Roach

These are a healthier version of the normal oatmeal cookies. It’s a good way to sneak in some extra fruit!

christine's cookiesGF/CF Pineapple Oatmeal Cookies
Ingredients:
2/3 cup applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup GF flour
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3-1/2 cup GF oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
(May add 1 cup raisins and ¾ cup chopped nuts if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. In a mixing bowl, cream the applesauce and the sugars together. Then add the vanilla and the egg. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, guar gum, baking soda and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture and stir. Stir in the crushed pineapple. Finally, mix in the oats. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls about 2 inches apart. Cook for 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a couple minutes before transferring to plate or cooling rack.

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My niece Stef introduced us to this recipe, and it is a family favorite. It makes a large bowl, the perfect size for family functions or picnics. For the casein-free version, just leave out the cheese. It will still taste delicious!

Broccoli Salad – by Stefanie Bohin

4 bunches broccoli cut into small pieces
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (omit for the casein-free version)
1 pkg or 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar (I use organic brown sugar)

Combine broccoli, onions, bacon, cheese and seeds in large bowl. Mix vinegar, mayonnaise and sugar. Pour over broccoli mix. Chill.

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I have missed graham cracker crust for years! Today for April Fools Day I really wanted to make a version of my “worm pie.”

For a sweet dessert pie crust use 10 Pamela’s Lemon Shortbread Cookies. (I found them at Walmart. I have also seen them at health food stores.) In a bowl, crush them well with a large spoon. Add 2 Tbsp. sugar, pour in ¼ cup melted butter, whisk then push with a spoon into a pie crust.

For an easy pie recipe, stir ¼ cup boiling water into a small pkg. lime Jell-O. Add a lime yogurt plus a small tub of Cool Whip. Whisk together, then add to piecrust and chill in fridge. You can do this with any flavor of Jell-O/yogurt combination.

I have traditionally put gummy worms in my pie, but could only find octopus gummies this year.

Happy April Fools Day!

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by Christine Roach

A wonderful local charity donated an iPad to our family. My 3 kids with autism are able to utilize it in many wonderful ways:

Learning is easier and more fun since getting the iPad. Jason finds it any time it’s out, and starts playing educational games. He can scroll through all the folders and games better than anyone at our house. He’s quite the expert. His therapists have commented that he knows many more words, colors, etc., since he started using the iPad.

There are so many apps available! Since Garrett and Caiti are visual learners, their tutors have incorporated the iPad into their lessons. The kids think they are playing games and have a great time!

The iPad helps when we are out in public. We use the app, “Going Places.” http://www.modelmekids.com/ It shows a story of a child in different social settings and the appropriate way to act and what to expect. I used this when I took my kids to the doctor and also when I took Garrett to the barber.

Garrett’s tutor and I put together a social story about how to act when we are at church. It was very helpful, because we could just point at the picture, and he would know what was expected of him.

The iPad is a great source of entertainment. It is always nice to see my kids enjoying doing “normal” kid things like playing video games. Garrett really likes a Spider Man game, and he’s actually better at it than I am!

You can get movies on iTunes and download them to the iPad. Whether we are at home or out in public, the kids can touch the picture of the movie they want to play. It is nice because then they are also working on making a choice.

Caiti’s favorite game is called “Rosita Counts.” Rosita jump-ropes in the game, and she wants you to jump, too. Caiti will prop the iPad on her bed and jump along with Rosita. I didn’t realize she understood the concept of the game until I walked in on her jumping along. So cute!

I love the iPad for potty training. Caiti loves the free app from Huggies Pull-Ups. When she goes in the potty, she gets a star. Each row of stars unlocks simple game for her to play.

For Garrett, who was essentially potty-trained but needed some reinforcing, I found this app called “I Earned That.” Whenever he comes home dry, he gets to place a puzzle piece. When the puzzle is completed, he will see a picture of the reward he has earned.

He earned a date with Mommy at McDonalds last week for staying dry at school 6 days in a row. Now we are working at staying dry at home. His reward will be going swimming. He loves to see the picture of the swimming pool coming together when he stays dry.

One of the best uses for the iPad is that my kids are able to connect with their Daddy while he is deployed with the Navy. I was really worried about how to explain where Daddy was. Since people with autism struggle with communication and do better with visuals, I was lucky to find an app that allowed me to do a picture explanation. This deployment has gone so much better for Garrett because he has the pictures to go with the words. He knows Daddy is on the ship in the ocean, but he will come home.

At bedtime, I use the iPad to play a video of Daddy reading a wonderful children’s book about deployment, called “Over There.” It is so sweet to see them watch their Daddy on the iPad. It’s a nightly routine that makes bedtime so much easier.

So, these are just some of the reasons I love the iPad.  It is such a help for my family.  We won’t even start on the reasons I love it for myself.  ;)

Christine

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