Who Doesn’t Love Cornbread?

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It’s the season for comfort food.  I love these cool days with nice warm hearty dishes.  Soups, Red Beans, White Beans, Chili, Cabbage…I could go on and on.  There are so many  dishes we make at this time of year that need a little cornbread on the side.  I guess some people would say you technically don’t NEED cornbread, but in a house full of bread lovers, it really is a NEED.

The cornbread I grew up with was always an even mix of all purpose flour and yellow corn meal.  That’s not an option for us anymore because of my son’s wheat allergy.  I’ve tried recipes with all cornmeal that are good, but I missed the light cake-like texture that comes with flour.  I decided to give oat flour a try in my cornbread recipe.  And wouldn’t you guess, it’s Mommy and kid approved.  It’s hard to get the kids to stop eating them.  They have especially loved them baked in mini muffin tins.  It’s the perfect pop in your mouth size.


  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup of oat flour
  • 2-4 Tbsp sugar (We like sweet cornbread)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add milk, egg and oil.  Mix until fairly smooth.  Bake in a greased 8 in. square pan or a cast iron skillet for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Note:  Makes 8 servings and 36 mini muffins

Wheat Free Banana Bread


I have three kiddos and we go through a lot of bananas. Of course,  there are always some weeks we let a few get a little over ripe.  It’s never really a problem because we love Banana Bread.  Quick cooking oats and oat flour have been a God send at our house to make sure we can continue to enjoy these goodies.  This is a moist delicious bread that is super quick to mix up. Everything gets thrown into one bowl which means less clean up for me! On days I have extra time for baking I throw the batter into a loaf pan.  If we have a morning I’m short on time,  I put the same batter into muffin tins and they make a great breakfast or snack.


  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 2 eggs

Mash the bananas with a fork.  Add oil and sugar and stir.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix.  Add vanilla, oats, flour, baking soda, and xanthan gum.  Mix well. Pour into a loaf pan or muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees.  For 1 loaf bake for 1 hour.  Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.

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Wheat Free Pumpkin “Scones”

Wheat Free Pumpkin Scones

Wheat Free Pumpkin Scones

I am raising carb junkies.  It’s a serious problem I have passed on to my children.  I take full responsibility.  It nearly broke our hearts when we found out my son is allergic to wheat.  Per the allergists instructions we limit his wheat intake to once a week.  We love baked goods at my house, so the idea of only being able to have them every once in a while was REALLY NOT WORKING for us.  What to do…what to do?  Come up with ways to get our wheat fix, that’s what! Today I was in the mood for something warm and yummy for breakfast, but it’s not “Wheat Day”. It was the perfect day for our Wheat Free “Scones”.

This recipe isn’t a healthy version of scones.  I may try to work on making them with healthier ingredients later.  My main focus this morning was making sure I could make one delicious baked good we could all enjoy.  And if I must say so myself, we certainly did!


  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk

Mix together the first 7 ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the egg, pumpkin puree, and milk.  Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Unlike traditional scones you do not have to knead the dough.  The oats and oat flour make a very soft mixture. It’s somewhere between a really wet dough and a really thick batter. Spoon the “dough” into a scone pan.   I use a scone pan to bake them to keep the scone shape (If you don’t have a scone pan you could try making a circle on  a parchment lined  baking sheet and cut into 8 triangles).  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  It makes 8 “scones”.

Top with your favorite glaze or enjoy them plain.  We topped them with a cream cheese icing.  I heated 1 oz of cream cheese for 25 seconds in the microwave.  I then added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 3/4-1 cup of powdered sugar.  Stir until combined.  Spread the icing when the “scones” come out of the oven and are still hot.

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A Pizza Pasta Every Hill Can Eat

I miss baked pastas and I miss casseroles.  My 6 year old cannot have wheat or rice due to allergies and my 2 year old has a mild allergy to dairy.  These two things mean we normally cannot have the carb overloads this momma really craves.  We’ve tried many different wheat free pastas, but nothing we really loved.  We can’t do the gluten free thing because most gluten free products contain rice.  We’ve been using corn and quinoa pastas, but I could never get everyone in the family to get on board.  My 8 year old and my husband always turned their noses up to the taste and texture.

Enter a beautiful gift called corn pasta by Sam Mills Pasta D’Oro! They make a penne pasta made completely of corn and I decided to use it to make pasta tonight. I like it because the texture is very similar to wheat pasta.  My oldest critic even commented she couldn’t tell the difference!

My traditional Pizza Pasta has always been this wonderful cheesy gooey creation that was baked in the oven.  We wanted the same taste, but without the huge hives my 2 year old gets, so I decided to do a skillet version and simply top our portions with cheese.  Everyone declared it a hit and it was delicious and healthier!  Don’t get me wrong I still love the cheesy bakes, but this is a recipe that has so much flavor you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.

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  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 lb corn pasta
  • 2 cups sweet bell pepper chopped in large chunks
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large red onion chopped in large chunks
  • 1 can black olives halved
  • 1 cup green olives halved
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup pepperoni
  • 12 oz water
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Start by chopping the tomatoes, peppers, and red onions.  Place the vegetables on a parchment lined baking pan.  Toss with the olive oil and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, brown the ground meat in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Drain the excess fat.  Add tomato paste and let cook for 30 seconds.  Using the empty can, add in 2 full cans of water (12oz).  Stir well.  Add Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste.  Lower heat to medium/medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.   Turn the heat to low.  Add the pasta, and remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until everything is well combined and heated through.  Plate and top with shredded cheese (optional).  Serve with a big salad and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Baked Oatmeal

As a kid I never liked breakfast.  For a good part of my adult life I didn’t even bother with it.  All that changed when I became pregnant with my first child.  I could no longer skip breakfast.  At least if I still wanted to have friends by mid morning.  The extreme hunger only grew during nursing. When my little one began to want a real food breakfast, I realized I needed to cook things that would appeal to me too.  I attribute this journey to the reason I cook breakfast almost everyday.

Cold cereal and milk will not do for me.  My kids think it’s a huge treat.  Now with three, there have been days when I’ve made do with cereal because I was too tired to care.  Some mornings are made for elaborate breakfasts, but most are made for the quick breakfast that feels elaborate when you eat it.  That’s what this baked oatmeal is.  You can mix it up and pop it in the oven while you take care of that list of things you have in the morning.  Or is that just me?

I came up with this recipe to meet my need for something yummy and my never-ending quest to let nothing go to waste. I happened to have some leftover candied yams from the night before.  There weren’t enough left to feed my family of 5 so instead I used them to make breakfast!


  • 1-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I used leftover candied yams)
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans and extra for top of bake
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp baking powder,
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Note: ( You can add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, but I did not because my son is allergic).

Mash the yams in a large bowl. They do not have to be completely mashed. I actually like them a little chunky. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix until well combined. Add to a greased 8 x 8 baking pan and top with additional chopped pecans to taste. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until set in the center. Cut into squares and serve warm. If you do not have leftover yams, I would add about 1 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon to your cooked sweet potatoes and maybe a little maple syrup.

What you end up with is an easy, warm, yummy breakfast perfect for a cool day.  Fall 2014-K 005

When Children Speak Encouragement

I homeschool. Lots of people have lots of different opinions about it. Some think it’s abnormal, others believe it’s the best thing ever. Lately I have been struggling. I’ve felt stressed, overwhelmed, and ready to consider other options.

I’ve considered asking other homeschool moms how do you stay motivated when you want to give up? How do know for sure you are making the right choices? How do you maintain a balance and save your sanity? How do you stop beating yourself up everyday and wondering if you are doing enough?

This morning in our devotions B read these words, “God is always doing things that look like they can’t be done. It looked like God’s people would die in the desert. But God sent water from a rock. It looked like Gideon’s army was too small to win. But God scared the enemy away. It looked like Peter would be killed in jail. But God opened the jail doors and led him out. So when problems don’t look like they’ll work out, look for God. He does things that look like they can’t be done”. It was a really good word and reminder. That word turned into being something that completely blew me away when B & S looked at me and said, “Mommy you have to start believing God about homeschool or he’s going to get mad. You were created for this. Even if you think it’s hard, He said you can do this”. What?!?

I don’t know what the future holds or when this season will end, but I do know right now He says I can do this. Many of us have something or many things we doubt we can do, but I’m going to “look for God”. God help me to hold onto that assurance. God used my children to encourage me this morning and I hope someone else can be encouraged too.

Weekend Love Equals Oat Rye Waffles

Saturday mornings at the Hill House mean a really good breakfast.  Sometimes my oldest two start making their weekend breakfast requests days in advance.  This morning my son asked for pancakes, but I decided to make waffles instead.  Waffles are usually reserved for when their dad cooks breakfast, so they were really excited when I said I would make them.

My son has allergy issues and only allowed wheat and rice one day a week.  We celebrated Three Kings Day with a wheat King’s Cake a few days ago so this morning’s breakfast had to meet the criteria of not having those ingredients. That’s where my Oat Rye Recipe comes in.  I use this recipe for pancakes and waffles.  It makes a hearty healthy breakfast.  The texture and taste resemble whole wheat pancakes and the kids gobble them up.  This morning was no different.


  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil or melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

Pumpkin Variation:  Add 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  Instead of greek yogurt or sour cream use 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix until well combined.  Cook on a hot oiled griddle or on a waffle iron.  Enjoy!!

We top our pancakes or waffles with berries or simply butter and maple syrup. My favorite as a Louisiana girl is pure cane syrup. We made the version with sour cream and butter and they are all gone! I thought we’d have enough for leftovers, but no such luck today.

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Choose Joy

A couple of days ago during a conversation with one of my closest friends, she asked what did I think would truly make me happy.  This question came after I complained how sad I had been. I didn’t have any idea how to answer.  I look at my life and from the outside looking in I should be happy.  My husband and my children are healthy.  We have shelter, abundant food, the necessities, and many luxuries.  But there are other things that just aren’t right and there are days my heart simply aches.

What I began to realize as I pondered this question was nothing tangible could make a difference.  Nothing I could measure or quantify would affect the way I had been feeling.  And then it hit me. I am happiest when my focus is not on me.  I am happiest when I have those sweet still moments with God and he fills me and prepares me for my days.  I am happiest when I work hard to be content in my circumstances and trust that what I see is not all there is.  I realized I am happiest not when I am “happy”, but when I choose joy.

Happiness and Joy are two very different beasts.  Happiness is based on the moment.  Happiness is based on something that happens.  If my mood is always based on what happens, I will always be all over the place searching. Happiness is of the flesh.  Joy is a fruit of the spirit .  It’s not something that changes with the wind, but a gift that is given and chosen.

I want to choose joy.  Not because I simply want it, but because I NEED it.  I need it for my marriage.  I need it for my children.  I need it for my purpose.  I will choose joy as if my life depends on it because it does!  When I choose joy, I’m not just choosing the right now moment to moment. I’m choosing the eternal.

Jesus came that we may have life (John 10:10).  He chose to lay down his life for us to give us what we could never get for ourselves. We make the choice to accept his gift when we accept him as our Savior.  In accepting him we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  When I choose to live by the spirit and stop living in the temporary, I will eventually begin to produce the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5).    Joy is included in the list of fruit to which I will have access.

If I don’t choose it, I will continue to be stopped in my tracks instead of moving forward. What my self-centeredness desires is opposed to what the spirit desires for me. So what will make me happy?  Nothing.  What will give me joy?  Jesus.  Taking the focus off me and putting it right where it should be_GOD_ will allow me to position myself to receive the gifts outlined in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I know this is not going to be an easy assignment, but I also know I am very thankful for the grace of the Holy Spirit which means I will not be doing this by my own might.   I am thankful and expectant.  I look forward to seeing God’s fruit flourish in my life. Today I choose joy as I seek to live God’s way.

Be joyful always, and pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.  For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18