My Not-Quite Homemade #GlutenFree, #EggFree, Extraordinary Pumpkin Pancakes


Tonia’s Pancakes

FIRST – Buy Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pancake Mix.


Follow the recipe, but double it, and  substitute every egg with one tablespoon of Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter. I also used canola oil in the recipe (butter optional).


Pour batter onto a hot griddle spritzed with coconut oil spray. Cook until lightly brown and flip.

Remove and stack two on a plate. Drizzle with melted butter. Skip the syrup and dollop with pumpkin butter. Garnish with a basil leaf.

 

 

A Family Christmas Pictorial


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Underwood Family Farms. We found the tree!

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Come here, cute stuff! Let me squeeze the dickens out of you in front of a tree that isn’t ours.

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Sure dad. Park the car under a big tree that overshadows the tree we picked out on top of our car.

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I cropped out the fact that both of my men are wearing shorts on a day we picked-out our Christmas tree. Note my chilly weather attire. In their defense, it was 73 degrees outside. I was burning up.

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As I was shooting this picture. Santa told Miles that I wanted a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl. I reminded Santa – yes, but it never came. Miles smiled.

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A big old wad of tangled lights. John can handle this. I’m not equipped.

What was in the 20-gallon storage bin (labeled “SHOES”) taking-up all that space in the garage, you ask? One string of lights and three bows. No shoes in sight.

You thought I was kidding about the SHOES, right?

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Found the tree skirt!

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What are these weird, fake plants doing in the holiday decorations? Hmmm.

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He always looks like he’s waiting for me to leave the room so he can pee on the tree. He never does. But, I always think he will, eventually pee on the tree when I’m not looking.

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Time for wine.

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Found another giant bin in the garage filled with only one angel, one star and one string of lights. WHO puts this stuff away?

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I’m going to need more wine.

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You thought I lied about the peeing on the tree thing? There’s my dog again just waiting for me to turn my back so he can snatch a chocolate. (Note the glass is almost empty.)

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The stockings are up! My husband asked me if I could iron them. What? They are made of felt. No one irons felt. Wait. Do they?

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I asked John to stand behind the tree while he was stringing the lights, because he was in boxers. No one needs to see that. P.S. That’s his annoyed face.

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“Here mom! Let me help you hang ornaments!” What a good son.

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After Miles helped hang one ornament.

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One of those is a crystal wedding present. He’s broken two ornaments after hanging five ornaments.

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It was a three glass of wine kind of night. #deckthehalls

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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Where do all the unstrung ornaments go? #ornamentgraveyard

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Time to focus.

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I love this Santa. He takes up too much room, but I love him.

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Time for the star!

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A Dream Coming Closer to True


By Tonia Allen Gould,
AKA: #ArcheryMom

Miles and his bowThere’s a common theme in my family and it has to do with all of us daring to dream BIG. Allowing our children the freedom to dream is a value my husband and I have instilled in our children, pretty much since birth. We believe that no one should ever squelch someone else’s dreams no matter how crazy and impossible the dream may sound. After all, I’m currently working on developing an entire 28-acre island along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for social good. Had I not dreamt the impossible, and had my family not supported me along my journey, I wouldn’t be in the throes of conquering my dream in such a magnificent way through the Finding Corte Magore project.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that my son, Miles, has a gargantuan dream of his own.  For the past two and half years, ever since he picked-up his first bow and arrows at a resort during my husband’s company picnic, Miles has dreamt of one day making it to the Olympics. But, being “good enough” is only half the battle for him. The trouble is, his bow is making his dream impossible–that is, unless compound bows are ever allowed into the Olympics alongside their counterparts, the recurve bow.

Still, all that isn’t stopping Miles from going after his dreams. My twelve-year-old currently holds the California State Champion title in both indoor and outdoor archery in the compound bowman division. During this year’s California State Outdoor Championship, in Long Beach, Miles set a new California 30M state record held since 2009 of 355. Miles broke the record with a score of 356 out of 360.  It takes laser-sharp focus to shoot a nearly perfect score in a high-stakes tournament like that one.

Maybe there is hope on the horizon for our young compound bowman yet. All his successes have taken Miles one step closer to his Olympic dream, because Miles has been invited by USA Archery, the archery governing body of the Olympics, to try-out for the Compound Junior Dream Team at a week-long selection camp held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.  Up until now, the Junior Dream Team consisted of 36 of the most skilled and promising Olympic-style archers in the country, all shooting recurve. But, recently, compound archers have been added to the program and Miles hopes to earn his spot on the team, as a compound bowman, and one step closer to his Olympic Dream.

Even if the compound bow never makes it into the Olympics, if selected to the Junior Dream Team (JDT), Miles will intensively train weeklong at the Olympic Training Center once a quarter with some of the best junior archers in the country, regardless of which bow they are shooting. Between training camps, JDT coaches and archers will continue to train together by utilizing video conferencing via the internet.

Shooting at Miles’ level takes a lot of practice.  He shoots an average of 100 arrows a day on a range safely set-up on our backyard sport court.  Miles is privately coached by World Champion Compound Archer, John Norberg. He shoots a Hoyt Freestyle Compound Bow, 35 lbs., with 70% let-off.  He releases with a Carter Evolution Plus back tension release.  He uses PSA Radial X Weave Pro 100 arrows with Blazer vanes.

Here’s to dreaming big, son!  Good luck this month at selection camp and keep dreaming, no matter what the outcome is, this time around.

#GOTEAMMILES

Love, #ArcheryMom

Just a follow-up to the post: We are so proud of our dreamer, Miles B. Gould, who made the FIRST EVER COMPOUND Junior Dream Team under Head Coach, Linda Beck! Miles is elated beyond belief. (Needless to say, so is the rest of his family!)

My Pre-Teen Boy is Now Eager to Do Chores


Step 1: Seriously restrict your pre-teen boy’s computer time for two weeks on Minecraft. Give him an allotted time, to be on the computer and don’t waiver. Step 2: After two weeks, ask him if he’d like to earn a half-hour more (if all his work is done). Step 3: When he exuberantly says YES – look around the house for things for him to do, and tell him to come back to you when he’s finished. Step 4: Walk around the house and review his handiwork. Applaud his effort if everything is completed and done well. Step 4: Give him the extra time he’s earned. (Set a timer!)

#eagertodochores

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Like Mother, Like Daughter…I See the Thoughtful, Burgeoning Writer in Her


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By Whitney Gould
Reprinted with Permission, Copyright Whitney Gould, 2014, All Rights Reserved

I am Soul; I move like a needle and thread.
I pierce the crisp air with elegance and grace.
You breathe me in as I dance.
You breathe me out as I dance.
The gentle breeze is my partner and I follow his lead.
Your soft whisper interrupts my routine.
I move about the room like a paintbrush
dancing across an endless canvas. There is no paint.
You want my warmth so I blanket you with my dewy kiss –
as I escape the walls you have entrapped me in.
I dance.
I dance until I can dance no more.
You breathe me in.
You breathe me out.
My endurance fades; I leave barely a trace –
only the remnants of my dewy kiss.
You thirst for my Body; you can’t wait until I die.
Handle with caution as I can burn.
Blow me away and I will soon return.
I am Soul; I move like a needle and thread.

My daughter, Whitney Gould, is a Sophomore at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California. Whitney emailed me this poem to get my take on it. She said she had to write a poem, due tomorrow, from the perspective of another person or object. Her poem perspective is about the steam of a coffee mug. I think she nailed it. But, I’m a clearly smitten, biased mother.  How did she do?

Tonia’s “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancakes


Pancakes. I took them for granted when I was a kid. Now that I am all grown-up with adult onset allergies to both egg and gluten, pancakes could have become a product of my past like so many other foods I previously enjoyed.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to know I’m not on some vanity diet. No, I really do have to get creative making meals due to my allergies. So cooking, for me, has developed into a creative, culinary exploration in both sustenance and science. All that said, if you are vegan, gluten-free, or egg-free…these pancakes are for you! Even if you’re not deploying a similar diet, I’m betting you like my latest creation, “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes. My pancakes involve two meals: lunch and dinner.

Tonia's Kale SmoothieFor Lunch:
In your juicer, juice two large handfuls of chilled, fresh organic kale, two stalks of celery, two green apples, two large basil leaves, and two large bunches of grapes picked off their vine. Serve the juice with a refrigerated celery stalk to keep it cold, or drink it down. Preserve your pulp in the refrigerator for your pancakes you’ll make later. Run to Whole Foods and buy the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Pancake Mix and Egg ReplacerPancake mix

For Dinner:
“Upside Down Day” entails serving breakfast for dinner. Hubby is never home when we celebrate “Upside Down Day.” While he is a fairly good sport, I’m pretty sure he would suck all the life out of the occasion and dangle his fabulous homemade tacos in front of our kids’ noses instead. (Plus he’s not invited because it’s imperative he never witness my slothfulness firsthand). If you haven’t figured it out already, “Upside Down Day” translates to “Lazy-Mom-Doesn’t-Really-Feel-Like-Cooking-Tonight-Day.” We used to celebrate the event more frequently when my daughter was little and I’d serve up bacon and eggs for dinner. “Upside Down Day” is a rare, special occasion in the Gould house now that I can no longer eat eggs due to my allergy. I can’t even cook eggs without itching…something about airborne allergens and what not. Who knew?

Anyway, I digress. Back to making “Dinner”:
Mix the gluten free pancake mix following box instructions, except substitute the egg for the egg replacer (following those box instructions as well) and also substitute the cow’s milk with VANILLA Almond Milk or VANILLA Soy Milk. Mix in the leftover pulp (where all the fiber is) from your lunchtime smoothie. Add more vanilla soy or almond milk to play with your desired thickness. Pour your batter onto a HOT, lightly greased griddle. I used canola oil because I was out of rice bran oil, my new “go to oil” because it cooks at high temperature points. You know your griddle is hot enough if a drop of water dances off of the surface. Pour your batter onto the griddle. My pancakes poured thick and imperfect, and I quite liked them that way even though they took longer to cook. If you like yours thick too, avoid burning them by turning them frequently once the batter has set. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the batter if you have OCD and prefer a perfectly round pancake. My husband’s banana pancakes are always perfectly round. Again, it’s your night to be a sloth, because you’ve kicked your husband out so you can make my pancakes.

I served ours the conventional way, with Earth Balance natural spread from Trader Joe’s and a hearty drizzle of Canadian maple syrup. My twelve-year-old son loved them, and he’s fairly hard to please, plus he got servings of both fruits and vegetables. I got to be a sloth and he ate his greens. It was clearly a win/win. If you try them, be sure to check back. Oh, and Happy Upside Down Day!

Enjoy!

ABC’s of Discipline


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I picked up something somewhere about parenting that really works. I wish I could credit the concept to whomever created it. If I understand correctly, think of it as something like the ABC’s of Discipline. A-is the Antecedent or the precursor to B- a child’s Behavior (acting out) which leads to a parent doling out the C-Consequence.

Parents become reactionary and often jump straight to C, because they don’t identify the Antecedent, and only see the Behavior. I’m not sure that’s effective. What works for me and my son, Miles, is to nip things in the bud when he starts to misbehave in a consistent way, so he always knows what to expect.

What works for me and Miles is if he starts to misbehave, I recognize it and let him know he’s in “A-mode.” He can then choose if he wants to continue to act on his Behavior which always leads to Consequences, because he understands how the ABC’s works. Rarely does Miles ever get to C-mode since I’ve deployed the strategy. On the rare occasion that Miles gets himself in “B-mode” and continues to act on his behavior; I very clearly look him in the eyes and say, “Would you like to go to C-now?” That question always backs him right up to A-mode, and the behavior ends.
(He’s no dummy. Consequences are never fun!) I think the whole thing works because a child has real control over what he wants to do next. Miles always wants to roll back to A-because don’t we all wish for a “do-over” sometimes?

Thanks for the ear,

Tonia Allen Gould