Yvonne's Gluten-Free Goodies

Last weekend was quite exciting. Saturday I walked around all morning at the designer tag sale in Venice and passed out samples of mini cupcakes, cookies, and muffins. There were some amazing items there, but I was too slow. Once I was done working, the orange hanging lamp and metal wall decoration were already sold.

Sunday was even better. It was my first day at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market where I’ll be the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. I sold out of the Banana Blueberry muffins sweetened with blue agave, mixed berry pie with almond streusel topping, and the banana bread. I’ll have to make more next time.

Designer Tag Sale in Venice

If you’re in Venice on Saturday and you love a deal come by the Designer Tag Sale. Hosted by interior designer Vanessa De Vargas, former Editor of Western Interiors and Designs Vanessa Kogevinas, and entrepreneur Amy Swift, the event features sample works by some of LA’s hottest interior designers. While you check out the bargains be sure to sample some fabulous treats by (yours truly) Yvonne’s Gluten-Free Goodies.

Cooking like Rick Bayess and Gluten Free mixed fruit cobbler recipe

There was a lot of cooking going on this week post Blogher. Maybe I felt guilty about being away for so long. During Blogher, I saw (and met!) Rick Bayess who did a cooking demonstration sponsored by the Real Pork Bloggers of Chicago. He made a Chamoy-Marinted Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa and it was fantastic.

I attempted to make this at home, but of course didn’t read the recipe before I went to the store. I tried to go on memory and forgot a few things (and some I left out). What I came up with was a pretty good interpretation of his recipe. The mango salsa called for jicama, which I don’t like so I added heirloom tomatoes that I had from our biweekly Spud organic box delivery. I also didn’t have the dried morita chiles so I substituted chili powder and it worked well. After I squeezed the third lime, I felt my carpal tunnel kick in, but the fresh lime juice was worth it.

Friends and family came over today and I made my new favorite (and easy) gluten-free dessert, mixed fruit cobbler. Here’s the recipe:

Gluten Free Mixed Fruit Cobbler

5 ish cups of mixed fruit (Spud provided nectarines, plums, and peaches and I added blueberries, raspberries and blueberries. You can use any combination or just pick 3)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick of butter (or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
3/4 cup of gluten-free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills GF Baking and Pancake Mix)
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ teaspoon xantham gum
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup milk (or soy milk)

Melt butter and let cool. After washing and cutting up fruit, place in a glass baking dish. Mix the fruit with ½ cup sugar. Combine the remaining sugar, flours, xantham gum, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add cooled butter and milk and mix until lumps are gone. Spoon mixture in clumps over the top of the fruit. Bake at 325 in a preheated oven for 50 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (or whatever dairy alternative treat you’d like). Enjoy!

Brown Rice Pasta with Gluten-Free Meatballs

Here is my lame just-got-home-from-blogher meal that I made last night for the family. I wanted to make Rick Bayless’ Chamoy-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mango Salsa, but I couldn’t get it together. Instead I threw together brown rice pasta, vodka sauce, and frozen spinach – all from Trader Joe’s and Adelle’s Sundried Tomato and Parmesan Meatballs (they’re gluten-free unlike a lot of meatballs). It was pretty good for last minute.

Save Our Parks!!!

Every day I wake up and check the California newspapers to find out what is going on with the state’s budget.

I’m just sick about the Governor’s proposal to help fix the budget crisis by shutting down most of the state parks. It’s bad enough that the cuts could end summer school, stop road projects, slash social services, but now it could take away one of the great joys of living in California .

That means no escaping from this smoggy, traffic-filled city and heading to the quiet and lovely Malibu Creek State Park for a walk. Or escaping the summer heat to camp near the beach at Leo Carillo State Park. No more hikes with the kids at Will Rogers. In the Bay Area, you won’t be able to take a day trip to Angel Island or climb Contra Costa’s Mount Diablo.

One of the best days of our lives as a family was in Malibu Creek. The weather was perfect, sunny, not hot, no wind and no flying bugs (little flying bugs are a-very-special day killer for my kids). The boys were thrilled to hike on the beautiful trail and they kept giggling because they were so happy to be out with mom and dad getting dirty and climbing rocks.

How sad will it be to go there and find the gates locked and the place a mess because there are no park rangers there to maintain it.

The state’s budget conference committee voted today to save the parks by imposing a $15 fee to all registered vehicles. Once you pay the fee you would be able to park in all state parks for free. As a California voter, I’m not thrilled about new taxes, but this sounds like a good idea.

The fee is part of a bigger tax hike and in order for it to pass it needs a two-thirds majority in both houses. That means some Republicans will need to vote for it.

In order for this to go through it needs public support. Sign this petition to save the parks!!


We took the boys to see the Pixar movie “Up” last night. My kids liked it, but I absolutely loved it. It was perfect: sweet, exciting, and a little sad. It was about love and expectation and what you make of your life when you aren’t able to do the things you dream of doing.

Carl starts out as a shy little boy looking for adventure and finds it in Ellie, the love of his life. They meet as kids and eventually marry, dreaming of someday taking off in search of Paradise Falls in South America. But life gets in the way. The car needs a new tire, the house needs fixing and they end up getting to the end of the lives never having gone on that big trip. After Ellie dies Carl must go on without her and the smile is gone from his face.

When it looks like it’s all over for Carl, he takes off on the adventure he and Ellie dreamed of, and he does it for her. Along the way, he learns to love others and embrace the unexpected.

The boys are too young to understand those big picture problems of love and death and the responsibilities of adult life. But I hope what they take from the movie is that they should make the best of what life gives you and love the people who are good to you.

When Carl finds Ellie’s childhood scrapbook, he expects to see the pages she left empty, to fill after Paradise Falls. He’s touched to see that pages filled with pictures of the two of them together living their simple, happy life.

It's for your own good!!

After a week of relaxing in beautiful Sedona I decided to spend the drive back catching up on email and reading the news. Little did I know that this exercise would result in my family hating me.

Letting my 4-year-old and his even younger brother watch Star Wars is not one of my prouder moments. I’ve written about how it was me who really wanted to watch it, and I went on to make lots of excuses about why they still do.

I didn’t feel good about it, but I let it go until my sister sent me a blog by another mom who had done the same thing. But the writer included a study that had evidence proving that when preschoolers watch violent programs they become juvenile delinquents, meth addicts, and serial killers. Okay, it didn’t really say all of that, but it did say that it can lead to violent behavior in the tween years.

Not only do my kids watch Star Wars, they play it on the Wii. My husband said the game isn’t just about killing the other characters, it’s about problem solving. I asked my 5-year-old what his favorite part of the game was and without hesitation said, “killing the badguys.”

That’s it. No more. No more watching Star Wars until they’re older and no more Star Wars Wii. “Why???” My 3 and 5-year-old wanted to know. It’s not violent, they said. It’s pretend. Well, it may be pretend, but it’s still disconcerting when my 3-year-old tells his brother he’s going to shoot him.

It’s not just that. I know boys play differently and can be more aggressive, but since we got back from vacation I’ve been watching how other kids play. The boys of our friends who don’t let their kids watch violent shows don’t talk about shooting and killing. They do still push and kick and occasionally punch, but it’s not taken to that next level.

This turn-around from happy house of Clone Wars and light sabers to one of PBS and Wii bowling is not one my kids are embracing. And they’re not liking me much either. I’m hoping after a few weeks they’ll just forget. Yeah, right.


A week ago we scored last minute tickets to see BRUCE! Springsteen. We enlisted friends to watch the kids and off we went, first to dinner and then the concert.

We were feeling good about ourselves after getting carded for the second time that night, and went to our seats with wine to share in a giant soda cup.

I struck up a conversation with the people behind us. The guy mentioned he’d seen Bruce the night before and it was fantastic. He was a loud talker, which says a lot since I’m a phone shouter who can’t hear very well. His continued talking as loud as he possibly could after the concert started so his date could hear him talking over “Badlands.” And then “Candy’s Room.” And then three more amazing songs.

Maybe it was the wine, or maybe it was because he was really pissing me off, but I turned around and gave them a big ssshhhh!! They looked at me like my own kids do when they’ve been caught being bad – wide eyed and guilty – and said in unison “Sorry!”

I was so proud of myself that I said something and didn’t stew in rage while the guy tried to woo the unwooable, a girl 10 times hotter and 10 years younger.

A couple days later, I eagerly told my story at a party, thinking I was a champion to concertgoers everywhere. Two people said, “You did what?” Hmmm. Did I do something wrong? One person pointed out that I was the jackass for scolding people trying to have a good time at a concert. But they were yelling in my good ear!

I keep thinking about the look on their faces. Now that I have children, am I universal mom, the one young people say sorry to when they swear in public? The one people look guiltily at when they reek of pot?

I don’t want to be that lady.

Good Eats

My husband and I just got back from a fantastic couple of days in New York. My inlaws took care of the kids at home while we saw two Broadway shows and met up with friends.

If you’re ever in New York you must try S’mac , Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese in the East Village http://www.smacnyc.com/home.html. It was life changing in a way that only bubbling cheese served in a skillet can be. S’Mac has a dozen different combinations including four cheese with Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyere, and Pecarino and Mediterranean with Goat Cheese, spinach, olives and roasted garlic. Or you can make your own with mix-ins like broccoli, fresh rosemary or bacon because what’s the only thing better than bubbling cheese? bacon.

But the very best thing about S’Mac is that you can get your pasta Gluten-Free. For the first time in 8-years my husband was able to go into a restaurant and have what he wanted and it was just like everything else on the menu and just as good.

We also hit another restaurant that is almost entirely Gluten-Free, Risoteria Restaurant on Bleeker Street. The Risotto was creamy and flavorful and delicious The breadsticks were good (a little salty) and the Gluten-Free pizza was the best my husband had ever had. And it wasn’t just the entrees and dessert that were Gluten-Free, they had a couple different Gluten-Free beers on the menu.

Gluten-Free beer is quite a treat to find in a restaurant in Los Angeles. Usually they just carry hard cider, which is not satisfying if you’re craving a beer. Rush Street in Culver City has a Gluten-Free beer, Greens Dubel, that is dark and complex. It’s 500 ml and $15, but worth it.

ok, nevermind

So last week I was all “baby, baby, baby,” and today I think I might be over that.

Some friends and I threw a baby shower for another friend and one of the guests brought her baby. When she came in I instantly offered to hold it. It was so cute and had this great baby/man face. Looking at it you could tell exactly what he was going to look like when he grows up. He was so sweet and adorable; then he started crying and fidgeting and I was suddenly terrified.

Babies scare me. I wasn’t scared of my own kids (okay, I was; eventually I got over it), but in general little babies scare the crap out of me. They’re so small and they make that high pitched noise when they need something. And they don’t just need something, they must have it NOW!!! And then you have to figure out what they need and it’s not always food, diaper or sleep.

It’s so nice that my kids are now at the point that they can tell me what they need. Even if it’s food (“I want some sugar!), laundry (“Wash my favorite pajamas right now so they’re clean when I go to sleep”), and entertainment (“Bolt is on sale. Buy it.”).