Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bye-Bye to Blogging

My dear friend Katie has been after me to write this post.  I've been drafting it in my head for well over a week, yet I'm still struggling to figure out what to type.  Perhaps I should start with where my heart was when I initially started this blog.

A few months ago when I first started blogging about my family's allergy experience(s), I was optimistic.  I immediately saw an opportunity to not only keep my information, recipes, and struggles documented and organized, but I had hoped to inform others in the process.  I think I've been successful as I've reached what I would consider a rather large audience, particularly through Pinterest.  That got me excited.  I was fired up about all the pins and hits I was getting on Pinterest, comments on Facebook, and emails through my blog.  My daily traffic stats amazed me, and I think that's what kept me going, knowing I was accomplishing what I set out to do...and then some.

But then I got a little carried away.  Well, in my opinion, anyway.  I think I lost sight of the most important thing, my purpose, the reason this all existed in the first place.  You see, as soon as my husband would get home from work, I would run off to update my blog, post on Pinterest, check my activity, etc.  Throughout the day I was getting sidetracked by answering emails, typing up recipes, and even baking far more (sweets) than our family really needed (incidentally I've cut out refined sugar from my diet and feel better than I ever have....what on earth would I post now?!).  This mommy was entirely too distracted.  I was going overboard, and my dear family was paying the price.

And then reality hit me.  You see, I had somehow drifted off to this fantasy world where I somehow scrounged up enough money to open my own allergy-friendly bakery, and we all lived happily ever after.  But that's not my real dream, it never has been.  And just as quickly as that vision came, it went.  It turns out my call to teaching is what really drives me in the professional world, and I suddenly had an amazing opportunity for not only myself, but my family as a whole.  I decided to take it, and I'm excited to say I am returning to teaching in the fall after a four year break with my babies.

As soon as I started considering the job, I stopped blogging.  I realized it was a time-suck, and it wasn't serving much purpose in the long run for my family, at least not in the way I initially had hoped.  In hindsight, I think I would have continued if I were going to carry on as a stay at home mom, but again, this was never my goal in life.  I need to put my master's degree to use and get back in the classroom.  And my dream of teaching where my children attend school is no longer a dram, it's a reality.  My husband and I feel that's the safest and best thing for our girls.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to do this.  While I make it sound like a negative experience, it wasn't entirely.  I learned some new things about myself, and I had a lot of fun (and success) trying out new recipes.  I also stepped outside of my comfort level and tried something I didn't think I would be very good at.  I may still occasionally post recipes on here, but, it will be sporadic to say the least.  You never know what lies ahead, I may pick it back up in time, who knows.  All I know is, I have a few short months left to be home with my girls, and I don't want to spend that time in front of a computer.  So, farewell for now, but perhaps we'll meet again.  :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gluten-free Berry Crisp and the Amazing Cross Family

I feel like shouting from the rooftops....yesterday was the first Costco trip I didn't buy diapers or pull-ups in.....years!!  Day 5 of "nowears" and we are going strong.  And that's all I'll say about that, because I know you're not here to read about potty training, just had to share.  :)

Other than the run of the mill, deciding which half marathon to run next, dealing with a certain preschooler crashing face-first off her bike into the curb, making dessert for MOPS, and getting a little substitute teaching time in last week, I haven't been up to too much.  So, in the meantime I'll share with you what is on my heart.

I have been attending MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) since Grace was a baby.  I have met some amazing women and have watched faith in action through this program.  Some of the speakers we have had have been so motivating and inspiring, I have been left feeling in complete awe and in appreciation of their work, dedication to their passion, and above all commitment to being a good mom and caring for their family.  One such speaker, who also happened to be another MOPS mom in my group, was Amie Cross, who spoke last year about her family and their upcoming missions trip to South Sudan.  At the time of her presentation I remember thinking, "Wow, this woman is amazing.  Her husband is going to be building water purification systems and teaching water purification techniques to the Sudanese people in their area while she cooks, cleans, home schools and cares for her four young children, all the while 'dealing with' the elements and realities of living in an extremely different environment." Wow, right?  I remember thinking I don't think I would have the courage to do what she is doing.  I mean, what if something happened?

Well, something has happened, and I would like to ask you to pray for this dear family.  For days, Amie and the children have, one by one, been affected by a severe intestinal illness.  After several days of sickness, the family was fortunately able to get from their small village to Nairobi and has begun receiving medical help (no easy task, nor an inexpensive one...think about riding in the bed of a pickup on dirt roads, waiting for the airport to open in order to get to a plane which was out of fuel and needed to get to another airport to refuel....yes, these things really did happen, all the while with puke and fevers and all around miserable achey bodies).  As I type, they are awaiting test results so that a correct course of treatment can be determined.

The Cross Family has been blessed by both a physical and prayerful support system.  Please join me in making that support system stronger.  Here is a link to their facebook page, where the family is able to periodically post updates, as well as to their blog,, which will no doubt leave you feeling inspired and uplifted by the work that they are doing (and will give you a good laugh at some of their experiences!).

I am so reminded of the fear and stress I felt just a couple of short months ago when Emma had spent days vomiting and become so severely dehydrated that she had to be hospitalized for three days.  It was a scary time, and we were only minutes from the help that we needed.  I simply cannot imagine the emotional roller coaster this family has been on for the past few days.  Thank you for keeping them in your thoughts.

Now, about that dessert I mentioned for MOPS.  I'm on week 2 of no refined sugar, so was slightly disappointed when I realized I was to provide a dessert for this morning's meeting.  But, I came up with something that must have been good, because there was just enough for Grace and Emma to finish off a couple bites each when we got home.

Gluten-Free Berry Crisp
3 cups berries (I used my Costco mix of blueberries, rasberries, and blackberries)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup Spectrum shortening

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Toss the berries with the honey.  Sprinkle with the cornstarch and gently incorporate.
3.  Grease an 8 by 8 baking dish.  Transfer the berries to the dish.
4.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Melt the shortening and add it to the dry mix.  Mix until you have a large crumb.  Sprinkle over the berries.
5.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up.  

I did steps 1-4 last night then put it in the oven this morning.  Again, it was delicious!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cocoa Oatmeal Muffins and Shopping Excursions

I'm cozied up on the couch with layers of sweaters, cozy socks, fleece blankets and slippers.  It's April, but it feels like October!  What is up with our weather?!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  Nothing irritates me more than listening to Seattle folks complain about the weather - I mean, really?  If you don't like the rain, move to California, that's what I say.  But last night we had rain pelting the windows, accompanied by majorly high gusts of wind.  Today it's about 45 degrees.  This is a little bit crazy!  But this is also what cute rainboots and weatherproof jackets are for, as well as heated seats in my rockin minivan.  And since I just got home from a little shopping excursion, am peeled out of my wet layers and all thawed and snuggled into my dry, cozy attire, I'm going to enjoy the warmth of my fleece and fireplace just a little bit, even if it is mid-April!

Speaking of shopping...there's not many things I dread more than attempting shopping with my kids.  I say attempt because it's never quite successful.  Someone usually ends up hiding in the underwear racks or wearing fancy fedoras around the store or wiping chocolate grime on a beautiful beige cashmere sweater.  Once Grace came face to face with a fur vest and screamed bloody murder, "Why is that dog hanging on a clothes rack?"  Then there's the trying-on process.  I went to Nordstrom Rack a couple of weeks ago and took my girls in the changing room with me, because what else was I going to do with them?  I steered them to the full length mirror where they proceeded to make funny faces, kisses, etc at themselves. Well, I got about halfway done before their little eyes tired of themselves and instead were glued on me as I changed clothes.  In our house, there really is no privacy, my kids bust into any given room at any given moment, so bare skin is certainly something they're used to seeing.  Maybe it's that we were outside of the house that threw them off.  At any rate, they started yelling at the top of their lungs, "Mommy's naked, Mommy's naked, I see her nowears, I see her nowears (that's Emma-speak for underwear).  Then Emma darted off beneath the changing room door and into the next room where a sweet little lady was also naked down to her nowears.  All the while every other woman in the room was laughing so hard they were crying.  I had no idea we could be so entertaining.  

So, this morning I spent a whole two hours of shopping bliss by myself.  No stress to get home for lunch or naptime, so worries about dressing room debacles, and no missing children in lingerie departments.  I was so happy to come home with my treasures, but when I did I realized I was famished.  We're a little low on edibles at the moment, and I was certainly not in the mood to rush back out for grocery shopping.  So, I settled on these muffins that I made yesterday.  No refined sugar, high in fiber and nutrients from oats, pumpkin, and bananas.  And they are full of chocolate - yes please!

I adapted this from Sugar Free Mom, who I follow on Facebook and Pinterest.  She has some really tasty recipes that are all made without refined sugar.  

Cocoa Oatmeal Muffins

1 ½ teaspoon egg replacer + 2 tablespoons rice milk (equal to one egg)
1 mashed banana
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups gluten free oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sucanat
1 cup chocolate chips

1.    Preheat oven to 350.  Generously grease muffin tin.
2.    Whisk egg replacer with banana, pumpkin, water, and vanilla. 
3.    Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.
4.    Pour mixture into muffin tins and bake for about 30 minutes (20 for mini muffins)

These taste great when served warm, I’m talking melt-in-your-mouth ooey gooey goodness.  My kids ate three each right out of the oven.  Then three later after dinner.  Not a bad dessert when you factor in the sugar content, or should I say factor out?!   And they were minis, by the way.  My girls are birds!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins, Minus all that Sugar!

I have to admit I was a little unsure of when I would have the time this weekend to post anything.  However, I found a few spare moments before our babysitter is to arrive and my husband whisks me off on a date, so here we are.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy, but when is life NOT busy?!  Emma had her surgery which went well, but it definitely took her a week or so to get back to "normal."  She seems like her self now, and that is awesome.  So, that has been my main focus, and the blog took a back burner.  I won't apologize for that, but I am happy to be posting something new!

My newest venture....I have decided to kick sugar...well, as much as I can.  I never used to have the sweet tooth that I have since going gluten-free.  It seems like the success of a lot of recipes I have tried depends on sugar.  And the bottom line is, we are eating too much of it!  The more sugar I eat, the more I want.  And it's just so bad for you, in so many ways.  So, I made a delicious cake for an auction using up all of the tiny white granules from my pantry on Friday, and I've resolved to buy no more (unless someone wants me to make something for them!).  I do, however, have agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup.  I know these are still sources of sugar, but how does one (especially one with little kids) eliminate this stuff all together?!  I think these are a little healthier....right??

Well, here's a scrumptious blueberry muffin recipe using agave nectar.  Moist, sweet yet tart, and overall pretty much heavenly.  Better yet, the kids love, and that's what matters in the end!  This is a great basic recipe to have, you can substitute the berries for anything.

Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins (Refined sugar, dairy-free too!)
2 cups Basic Gluten Free Flour Blend
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup melted Spectrum shortening
3 teaspoons egg replacer + 4 tablespoons rice milk
¾ cup rice milk
¾ cup applesauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup berries

1.    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or line a muffin tin.
2.    Mix together the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
3.    In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg replacer with the rice milk.  Add the remaining wet ingredients.  Blend on medium-low about 1 minute.
4.    Gradually add the flour.  Blend on medium-high speed about 2 minutes, until the batter is smooth.
5.    Mix in the berries by hand.  Spoon the batter evenly into the cups of the muffin tin. 
6.    Bake at 350 for 24-28 minutes (if baking mini muffins, 12-16 minutes)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Muffins: Gluten-Free Cornbread Muffins

I have to admit, this one's a cheat.  Crazy, busy life leads to taking shortcuts here and there.  Last week for MOPS I needed to make some sort of side dish.  I figured cornbread fit the bill, and since I was short on time, energy, and resources due to not making it to the store, I went with a package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread.

I'm not usually a fan of prepackaged gluten-free anything, particularly Bob's.  But, given the circumstances, I used it anyway with some modifications.  I have made this mix in the past and every time it turned out dry.  This makes for a great crumble topping for chili or soup, but not so much if you are to be eating the bread as....well, bread.  So, I added some liquid, lowered the temp, and hoped for the best.  

I think I'm on to something.  I will definitely make these again.

Steph's Version of Bob's Gluten-free Cornbread Muffins
1 (20 oz) package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Cornbread Mix
2 cups Rice Milk
1/3 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons egg replacer + 4 tablespoons rice milk

1.  Preheat the oven to 325.  Grease or line a muffin tin 9 (I used a mini muffin tin)
2.  Place the entire package of cornbread mix in a large mixing bowl.  Add the milk, oil, and egg replacer.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Beat another 30 seconds on high speed.
3.  Pour into muffin tin.  Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

As usual, I made extras and put some in the freezer.  Worked out nicely! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wasting Time Talking About Applesauce When I Should Be Doing A Million Other Things

It's snowing!  I waited all winter for this, and now, the first full day of spring, here it is! It's not sticking, but it's still fun to know it's happening.  I love the snow.  It makes me giddy.

You know what else makes me giddy? Running! I'm so excited about this weekend.  It's the Run, Ladies, Run! Half Marathon in Friday Harbor.  I am heading up to Anacortes to catch a ferry for San Juan Island early Saturday morning with a group of gals for a fun, kid-free escape, and of course a fabulous run on Sunday.  Saturday morning can't get here soon enough!

In the meantime, I have a lot to accomplish in the next 24 hours.  Monday is my baby's 2nd birthday!  Her doctor gave us the green light to have a playdate party outside, which is totally awesome.  We've been sort of in seclusion here at home to avoid germs before her surgery on Tuesday.  But, Dr says if we're outside, it should be fine.  Woohoo!  So, I made a batch of vanilla cupcakes this afternoon to pop in the freezer and have ready for Monday.  Also, since I won't be around this weekend, I will need to stock up on soft, easy-to-eat foods like coconut yogurt, jello, and sorbet tomorrow.  Since my other daughter will be staying with my mom so that we can keep our attention just on Emma, I'll need to make sure she has some allergen-free snacks and treats packed, as well as clothes, etc.  Clothes....that reminds me, I need to do laundry.  Oh, I should probably pack my own clothes, too.  What the heck am I doing on here right now?!

Well, anyway, since I brought up freezing the cupcakes, I wanted to mention again just how easy it is to freeze foods.  Anytime you make cupcakes, muffins, cookies, bars....make extra.  And freeze them!  I buy freezer bags in bulk at Costco and go through them like there's no tomorrow.  I know, I should really use reusable freezer containers, but bags are just so much easier at this stage in life.  I'll get there someday.  I promise.

One of the most frequently used ingredients in my kitchen is applesauce.  I use it a lot in my baking.  Every person under this roof loves to snack on it, as well.  And let me tell you, Tree Top's got nothing on me.  My applesauce is the bomb.  Why?  Because it's pure and simple.  It's applesauce.  Not sugar sauce.  Not cinnamon sauce.  Not water sauce.  Applesauce.  Sometimes with a splash of vanilla.  Sometimes a hint of agave.  But mostly just good old organic (it IS after all on the dirty dozen list) apples.  My applesauce is so smooth and sweet, my kids won't even touch the store bought stuff.

Here's what you do:

Peel, core and slice a bunch of apples.  I buy organic Fuji apples at Costco because they're cheap.  Using a variety will boost flavor.  Experiment with what you like, and report back to tell me what I should be doing differently!

Dump them in your crockpot.

Pour some water on top (the amount depends on how saucey you around with this, but start with a little, you can always add more)

Add a teaspoon or so of vanilla.  Or more.  A dash of cinnamon is acceptable, too.

If you must sweeten, use a splash of honey or agave.  Not too much, though, you'd be amazed at how tasty unsweetened applesauce can be.

Set your crockpot on low for 8 hours.  Let your house fill with the sweet smell of amazing applesauce.

Take a potato masher or a whisk and stir/break up any chunks that are left. Unless you want them, some people like their sauce chunky!

If you want to freeze your applesauce, pull out an ice cube tray (or make a mad dash for the store if you're like me and use only your automatic ice cube maker from the freezer).  Fill each cube with sauce and plunk it in the freezer overnight.  Pop out the frozen applesauce cubes and throw them in a freezer bag (there I go again with the bags!).

Done.  Now you have applesauce at your disposal for all sorts of baking and snacking needs.

Bet you'll never guess how I prepared and stored all my prepared baby food.  ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Living With Food Allergies

It's the first day of spring, and what would be more ordinary than a rainy, gray day in Seattle?  And that's exactly what we've got.  I'm not complaining.  My veins bleed rain.  I'm a true Seattle girl, and yes I have worn socks with my Keens.  And rainboots with skirts.  And softshell jackets with dresses.  And wool socks with shorts.  Don't judge.

What will we do on this rainy, dreary day?  What we normally do I guess.  Play, go for a splashy walk in our rainboots, bake something, watch Sesame Street...a pretty typical day.  Oh, and a couple of our favorite friends are coming to play this morning too.  Not only are these fabulous friends that we have a blast with, but they are allergy-buddies, too!  We all eat the same foods, and that in itself is a blast.

I saw this on Pinterest the other day, and had to save it:

Having food allergies can certainly be a hassle as well as a huge source of stress.  Always having something on hand to accommodate an outing, playdate, or even birthday party where allergen-free food might not be available requires a lot of preparedness, planning, and thought on my part.  But what does it include for the allergic child?  Not getting to eat what the other kids eat.  Feeling left out.  Feeling disappointed and sad that they yummy cake is for everyone but me.  Watching while other kids get to indulge while I have to eat something totally different .  Crying and feeling angry that I have to leave my friend's birthday party because someone kissed me with peanuts on their breath and now I'm having an allergic reaction.  Or being bummed that I didn't even get to go in the first place

These are all things my kids have experienced, and so much more.  They aren't even at an age yet where they are able to adequately verbalize their emotions regarding allergies.  But I can tell you exclusion is there, I have seen it in many forms.  Sometimes they seem affected by it, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes I am affected by it, and I am an adult! (I know, cry me a river, get over it, right?!).  

So, what does this mama do to make sure my kiddos always are included on some level?  What do I do to ensure my level of stress stays somewhat low?  I plan.  And plan. And then I plan a little more.  You can never be too prepared.  When I bake, I make extras and freeze.  Cupcakes, cookies, and bars freeze really well.  You have no idea how much stress is alleviated by simply being able to grab a cupcake from the freezer at any given moment (this doubles as a great stress reliever when the stress has already hit and mama is in need!).  

Whenever we are invited to a party or gathering I first always check to see if peanut products will be present.  If they are, we usually decline the invitation.  If it's one of the lesser-reactive foods, we'll go but pack our own food.  I always give a head's up to the host that I am doing this as I don't want to be rude, but I also want them to be on board with me and not serve food to my kids.  Creating an understanding ahead of time really helps, and we have had some really successful parties due to clear communication and foresight.  

However, this does not alleviate the disappointment when the birthday girl blows out the candle on the beautiful glutenous cake that everyone but my child gets to eat.  That disappointment will always exist in those situations.  But, being included is better than staying home.  Right? 

We recently went to, what I would consider, the most relaxing birthday party ever.  Why?  Because our dear friends who are coming to play this morning were hosting.  First of all it was cute as can be - ten 4-year olds dressed in princess attire listening to princess music, playing princess games, etc.  But the food, where all of my anxiety normally lies, was fantastic.  Fruit, popchips, deli meat, and jello.  And of course, Cybele Pascal's vanilla cupcakes.  not a trace of gluten, egg, dairy, soy, or peanuts.  And I didn't have to pack anything!  It's really lovely having allergic friends on so many levels.  Someone to commiserate with (if I had a dime for every text that said "missing the days of ordering dinner in"....), someone to share recipes with, but most importantly someone to share every day life with and never worry about being "different."  

I have to give a shout out to my mom at this point.  She always makes sure there is something to eat for my girls.  But she goes the extra mile for treats.  She recently discovered gluten-free, soy-free ice cream cones.  Add some sorbet, you've got yourself a rockin' treat.  And how many food-allergic kids get to indulge on ice cream cones?!  It's pretty awesome when you have family and friends who are not only accommodating to your needs, but celebrate them.  Right on, Mom! Thank you for that (and for being the best mom ever and putting up with me for 33 years and all that other stuff). 

Some day my kids will be old enough to understand the emotional roller coaster food allergies brings to our lives.  Until then, they live and breathe it and suffer through it.  For people that don't have food allergies, please know our kids are still ordinary kids.  While it is unfair of us as parents to expect others to accommodate our children completely, I think it is fair of us to expect others to understand their needs and be empathetic toward them.  If we have to decline or leave an event due to a food-related issue, please be understanding about it rather than irritated.  Please don't single our kids out or draw attention to the differences, rather celebrate the commonalities and just respect their needs.  And please know that we would rather be envious of your wheaty cake  than not have been included at all.  We'll have our own cake and eat it, too. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Best Ever Dairy and Soy-free Vanilla Frosting

My oldest daughter's birthday is June 25th, and my youngest daughter's is March 25th.  So, next week Little One is turning 2.  You'd think these cupcakes with incredibly yummy frosting would be for her, right?  But, they're for Big Sister.  Having a summer birthday myself, I completely understand the importance of celebrating throughout the year so as not to get jipped.  However, why did the preschool teacher have to pick March to celebrate this one?!  This made for a very confusing day in our house.  

Chocolate cupcakes, a cute little birthday crown, a special song, and suddenly it's her special day.  I think tomorrow will be mine.  Lucky for me I have plenty of cupcakes left to celebrate with.  

The Best Ever Dairy and Soy-free Vanilla Frosting

1 cup Spectrum shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1.  With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the shortening and salt for about a minute.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat for about 5 minutes until smooth.  

I like to use my pastry bags to swirl frosting on top of cupcakes.  Don't they look so pretty? :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Monday Muffins: Cinnamon Roll Muffins

You know you're worn out when escaping to the bathroom to pluck your eyebrows is a quiet luxury.  That's just how my week has been.  I was really looking forward to getting the kids to bed early on the weekend and having some quiet time with my husband.

Friday night, as he was finishing up bedtime with one of the girls, I was laying on the couch thinking how divine graham crackers with frosting would be.  Having just made my delicious graham crackers, I had plenty of those.  But I didn't have any frosting and I felt kind of silly getting up to make it just to satisfy my late night craving (and no, I'm NOT pregnant!).  It seemed like one of those feelings that might pass if I distracted myself.  So, I flipped on the tv and tried not to think about it.  But it didn't work and my thoughts kept going back to creamy vanilla frosting.  And then, wonder of all wonders, my husband walked in and said, "I sure wish we had frosting to go with these graham crackers."  My hero.

Five minutes later I had us a fresh batch of frosting.  We plopped down on the sofa determined to watch a movie.  Every once in awhile I have a hankering for a good old Western flick.  I'm not sure if Gunfight at the O.K. Corral qualifies as "good," but it had 3 1/2 stars on Netflix so we decided to give it a go.  Halfway in and my sugar rush failed me.  I crashed and headed to bed.  Maybe tonight we'll get to the end.

Now about these muffins....they are heavenly.  My kids love them, but my husband is the one I have to keep my eye on.  Since I made mini muffins along with regular ones, they are so easy to just grab and pop in your mouth.  Seems like every time he's passing through the kitchen, he's got another one in his mouth.  I can always tell something's good when he goes back for more.  Though my kids are both picky eaters, they inherited that gene from the master, their daddy!  These are great with vanilla frosting, too.  :)

Gluten-Free, Vegan Cinnamon Roll Muffins

2 cups basic gluten-free flour blend
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoon Egg Replacer + 2 tablespoons rice milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 cup brown brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup rice milk
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Cinnamon sugar mix:
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line a muffin tin
2.  In a large bowl combine flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 
3.  In a medium bowl mix egg replacer with sugar,  applesauce, milk and vanilla. 
4.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until combined.  
5.  Pour muffin mix into muffin tins until they're around 3/4 full. 
6.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix over the top of the muffins, and swirl sugar mixture with a toothpick.
7.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer removes clean and the edges have pulled in from the sides.