Lunchbox “Cowboy” Cookies


Gluten Free Peanut Butter Ranger Cookies

  • ½ cup margarine (dairy-free)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats (gluten free)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups rice crispies (gluten free)
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips (optional)

Cream together margarine, sugars and peanut butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix soda, baking powder, salt, oats and coconut.  Gently stir in crispies and chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 1 hour (overnight would be better). Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on pan and then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 4 doz.

I am in so much trouble with these cookies. I would eat these until I am sick. I have to put them into a secure container as soon as they are cool. I’ve already eaten four, before they were actually cool. I must remember I made these to put in my daughter’s lunch, not eat (all of them) myself.

This recipe has been modified quite a bit. It started out as a recipe that my mom’s friend got from a bakery in Sun Valley. They were called ranger cookies. I halved the recipe and added peanut butter to them. Then I wanted to make them gluten free so I changed just about everything from the original recipe. Then I added chocolate chips, because my daughter wanted chocolate chip cookies. That is often the way recipes work at our house. Pretty sure my mom’s friend would not recognize these cookies as being the offspring of her recipe. I guess adding the chocolate chips makes these more like cowboy cookies. Whatever you want to call them, they are delicious!


I had to put the cookies in bags inside the canister so that I don’t eat them all. These are reserved for school lunches only. Seriously, I can’t stop eating them!

GF DF Brownies

GF DF Brownies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup DF chocolate chips
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup GF flour blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl.  Stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix well, until smooth. Add GF flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold flour in, until just incorporated. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 25- 30 minutes at 350°.


So, I made these for my little GF girl to have in her lunch. BUT, they smell so amazing! AND they are brownies. I really don’t know it I can resist them. She can’t eat the whole pan. They will be stale before she could eat all of them. Right?

These brownies are pretty fragile. I can’t seem to get the first one out of the pan without some damage. I have been sending them to school, but I prefer them in a dairy free brownie sundae!

Not a good photo. I’m working on it.

Mini Donut Break




It is fall break here and at our house any school break is a reason to make donuts. This time I had two requests from the children. The eldest asked for gluten free and the youngest asked for “no pumpkin”. But it is FALL! Fine, no pumpkin. I wanted to have spice donuts, but after I put hemp protein powder in these babies, I decided that chocolate would be better. My kids are pretty good at eating what I give them, but green donuts aren’t terribly appetizing. So a couple of tablespoons of cocoa and these donuts were perfectly chocolate. These are so good! I’m still so new to gluten free baking. I haven’t even begun to figure it out. These actually turned out. They were light and so tender. I was trying to find a substitute for rye flour and in a list I saw hemp flour. AND since gluten free products benefit from protein added to them I thought “hemp protein powder”. It worked. I am so happy.

GF DF Chocolate Donuts

  • ½ cup GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ¼ cup hemp protein powder (Manitoba Harvest)
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg dash pumpkin pie spice
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp carob powder/cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  •  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir egg, milk, and vanilla together. Add wet into dry ingredients. Stir in melted coconut oil. Fill greased donut (or muffin) pan 1/3 full. Bake at 400° for 6-10 minutes (depending on pan size). Cool on wire rack and shake in/sprinkle on powdered sugar. Makes about 18 mini donuts.



Raco? Taco Rice

I was thinking of calling this Mexican dirty rice or taco rice. The “raco” name was suggested by my eight year old. My DH went further to suggest that we open a raco truck. Hmm, yeah that isn’t happening. I was craving taco meat and rice and tortilla chips; raco was born. I guess this is like hamburger helper, although I can’t remember ever eating hamburger helper.  I have no idea how I got through college without eating hamburger helper, but as I was dealing with chronic headaches and food allergies at the time, I just never bought the stuff.


  • 1-1 1/2 lbs Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • 2 Tbsp, Taco Seasoning (Azure Market, GF and no weird stuff)
  • 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (Natural Value Organic)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed, stems removed

Brown the ground beef, season with taco seasoning. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add cooked rice and pour tomatoes over all. Cook until bubbly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with cilantro leaves and serve with tortilla chips.

Probably best to serve this with a green salad, this isn’t really the healthiest recipe, not veggie packed or anything. Still, it’s easy and yummy and probably not at all original. Oh, well. I mostly wanted to write down the recipe for the next time I make it.

October Menu 2016



Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
30 31 1
Aunt Sandi’s Stew Soup and Sandwiches Falafel/chicken
flat bread
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Minestrone soup
French bread
Chicken pot pie Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed potatoes
green beans
Haystacks Chicken Enchilada casserole
beans and rice
green salad
Loaded baked potatoes Red Beans and Rice
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Beans and Ham
Baked potato
Halibut fingers
veggie tray
oven fries
acorn squash
Baked potatoes
french bread
Chicken Verde
green salad
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Teriyaki Halibut
Green salad
Taco Salad Halibut Melts
baby carrots
apple slices
Fried Rice
Stir-fry veggies
 Popcorn Chicken French Dips Asian chicken
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
green salad
bread sticks
Peanutty Pork
cucumber salad
Tuna noodle casserole
green salad
Mexican Veggie Soup Burrito/taco bar Pizza/Calzones Greek Chicken
flat bread

I haven’t posted a menu for some time, but I find them so helpful. I just want to be able to go to the monthly menu page and get some ideas. This blog is the place where I can organize my thoughts.

I’m trying to incorporate more slow cooker and oven meals because the school year gets so busy. There are days when I’m not home until dinner time. How am I supposed to cook something when I haven’t been home? I don’t do a lot of “30 minute meals” because it seems like too much work. I don’t mind something that takes an hour or two in the oven just as long as the prep time is short.

I also avoid slow cooker meals where you have to cook everything first. What is the point? I will say that I have made soups and stews early in the day and then transferred them to the crock pot until dinner time. I want to be able to do my prep work and cooking when I have the time. And that is rarely just before dinner time.

That said, Chicken Fried Steak is one of the most labor intensive (and messy) things that I cook. It is also high in calories and fat. (We don’t have it often, even when it is on the menu.) So, I schedule that dinner for a day that we have more time at home.

On the other hand Chicken Verde is just about as easy as you can get! It’s just chicken breasts and salsa verde (from a jar) in the crock pot. My family loves it. Even the child that complains that almost everything is too spicy likes it. Just buy a salsa that your family likes.

I am looking forward to Fall and all the cozy meals I can make. Can’t wait for Navy Beans! I love them in a bowl, on top of a baked potato or even on top of toast. I might have to move that up on the menu a bit. Getting hungry.

Nail Gallery

I love to do my nails. I love natural stuff and all, but I want my nails done. When I was in high school I had acrylic nails. I know, super bad for you, especially for a kid. Some time in college I must have stopped that. In beauty school, Miss Jenny taught us about the evils of artificial nails. Of course, Alaska had pretty lax rules concerning nail techs at the time, so she was just watching out for us. Anyway, when CND came out with Shellac my manicure schedule was changed. I used to paint my nails at least, AT LEAST once a week. I was a hairdresser, do you know how hard that is on your nails? Now that I am a housewife my nails still take quite a beating. But my polish looks great. Plus, I have Pinterest to get new manicure ideas.

So, I wanted a place where I could save pictures of the manicures I have done. Then I remembered I have a blog! I can make my own gallery! So much better than flipping through all the pictures on my phone. I’m still not skilled at adding pictures to my posts so this might take a little work. WordPress probably has a tutorial I could use, but that would require effort. I’ll just mess up a page and then I’ll look for help. It’s the way I work!



Don’t think I need to do that Forth of July mani again, ever. Almost as bad as my gallery work. This blog may never be pretty. Or maybe it will become a job and I’ll get training and go to conventions and my life will change. But probably not. I think I’ll check out some more manicures on Pinterest.









GF DF Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Makes 6 Jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins

  • 3/4 cup GF flour blend (I used Montana Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix, it is mostly oat flour)
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seeds (remove and set aside 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein powder (like Manitoba Harvest Pro50)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut/almond milk (any dairy-free milk)
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon old-fashioned molasses
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional toppings:

  • sliced almonds
  • coconut chips (big flakes)


Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.

Pour vinegar and dairy-free milk into small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

Mix that tablespoon of flax seed meal (you took out of the 3/4 cup) and mix with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside

Combine first 8 ingredients through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.

Stir together pumpkin puree, sugar, molasses, vanilla, flax mixture (egg replacer) and milk/vinegar mixture in a small(ish) mixing bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Gently stir until combined. Divide batter into muffin tin. (I use a measuring cup.) Top with sliced almonds and coconut chips (optional).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean (hard to avoid chocolate chips though).

Almond Joy Muffin


I have a problem with Almond Joy Granola (minimalist baker). Every time I make it, I must eat it until it is gone. I have one bowl for breakfast and another one for afternoon snack and one more before I go to bed. My children may get one bowl, if they are quick. Favorite granola, hands down! Now,we also have our favorite chocolate muffins, but they have whole wheat flour and wheat germ and I am trying so hard to keep my child gluten free. So, what if we substitute ground almonds for the wheat germ and add in coconut because coconut goes with chocolate and almonds? I’m thinking these could be the next favorite muffins. (wrote this before muffins were actually made)

(written after muffins made and eaten) These taste nothing like the Almond Joy Granola or the candy bar (from what I remember). These muffins are super chocolaty with coconut and almond accents. I’ll probably try again for a more pronounced coconut flavored muffin, but for now I’m happy with chocolate!

I made these muffins last night. After they had been baking half an hour, I turned off the oven and left them in there overnight. This morning I served my (wary) children, each half a muffin. One picked the coconut off of the top and left the rest crumbled on her plate. My other child didn’t leave a crumb. So a mixed review. I thought they were yummy. Gluten free, dairy free,vegan, high fiber, what is not to love? I’m thinking I’ll have another one for snack. Is it snack time?