Dinosaur Train

The countdown has begun in our house for the premier of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train http://www.pbs.org/parents/dinosaurtrain/ . I received a screener of it a few months ago and it’s been the #1 show request in our house. It’s genius – dinosaurs and trains – what could be better for two little boys?

The show mixes animated stories about a dinosaur family’s adventures traveling around on a train with segments of a paleontologist talking about life science. The best part is hearing my son walking around using the word hypothesis correctly in a sentence.

Dinosaur Train airs Monday, but be prepared to have the theme song running through your head all day long.

Star Wars Cake – The Force Was Not With Me

I did not know this, but kids don’t like lemon curd. My husband knew this and told me I should absolutely not put it in our son’s Star Wars birthday cake.

I had such high hopes for the cake, too. I make natural, mostly organic gluten-free cakes and I normally don’t use food coloring of any kind. But I really wanted the cake to look like outer space in a galaxy far, far away. I consulted with the owner of N.Y Cake West in West LA and we decided on black food coloring with bright yellow frosting (from a can!) for the stars.

It was not easy to make white frosting black. I thought it would be okay to use food coloring as long as I just used a little, but just a little food coloring made the cake gray. A little more and it was purple. A little more and it was a darker shade of purple. Finally, after an unacceptable amount of food coloring, it was black.

I added the stars and a glob of white frosting in one corner (to represent the ice planet Hoth) and wrote Happy Birthday. I can’t fashion Star Wars characters out of marzipan like my ex sister-in-law said I should have, so I vigorously cleaned my kids’ Star Wars figurines. I placed them on top of the cake to look like Jedi Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader were having a light saber duel with C3PO and R2-D2 watching. And I stuck a snow-suit-wearing Luke into the white frosting so it looked like he’d just climbed out of his snow speeder. I’m not an artist, but I was pretty happy with myself.

And it seemed to me to taste really good. I planned to heed my husband’s warning about not using the lemon curd, but I couldn’t make my own raspberry filling because I was out of cornstarch. I stared at my Trader Joe’s jar of lemon curd and thought how good it would taste with the vanilla cake.

My husband’s words came back to me. He said that even though the cake and frosting were vanilla, it’s colored black and people might think it’s chocolate. Psychologically the lemon filling didn’t work. “And kids don’t like lemon curd.” Ridiculous! Who doesn’t like lemon curd?

All children. “I don’t like this!” my son said throwing down his fork. Then another kid threw down his fork. And another. Of course I forgot, on the hottest day of the year, to buy ice cream for the cake. One kid said he wanted a popsicle and a bunch of them went running into the house to get one (we didn’t have those either). They settled for piñata candy.


Last week I happily posted that you can now get my cupcakes at Rainbow Acres. Well, now you can’t. Not a seller. Yet another setback for Yvonne’s GFG. Having one’s own business means taking rejection, which, you can imagine, sucks.

I’ve been having a crappy week here at the GFG. As an entrepreneur/stay-at-home mom, I feel like all I do is cook and clean. If I’m not baking for someone outside the family, I’m making dinner for my family. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, but cleaning up is a bitch. It’s a lot of hard work and manual labor.

When I was 15 my parents made me work at the Dunkin’ Donuts (They weren’t forcing me into child labor. I was paying off a $250 phone bill). The manager was my sister’s girlfriend so she made sure I learned my lesson good. It was a horrible place where I was enslaved in a pink uniform and left smelling of fried bread, bleach, and sugar. I promised myself I would never work in a bakery again.

Flash forward 20ish years to Tuesday: I have a migraine that is shooting from the left side of my neck through my right eye. I’m trying to figure out why the f*#@ing blue agave muffins keep burning when the guy at the kitchen where I cook at starts talking to me.

He asks about my background, my business, and how long I’ve been cooking. “Did you go to college?” What?? Yes, I went to college. “How many years did you go?” What??? Four years!! I went to college for four years. I was a journalist. I have a degree and I had a career.

I left the kitchen an hour later smelling of donuts.

Pizza Fusion

I was in too much of a happy-pizza-coma to write about this last night, but I took the family to Pizza Fusion in Santa Monica and we loved it. Seriously, loved it. We don’t take the kids out to eat much anymore because they’re so picky and crazy in public. But while the younger one was still a little hyper, he sat down long enough to eat. The 5-year-old ate an entire small pizza by himself and kept saying how good it was.

We usually stay away from pizza because the kids and I don’t love it and the husband can’t eat it. But Pizza Fusion has a gluten-free pizza with a crust that rivaled the regular wheat crust. It was flavorful, but not sweet and the vegetable toppings were fresh and delicious. I can’t remember the last time I had pizza and didn’t feel sick afterward (not because of the gluten, but because it’s junk food). I felt like I was eating something healthy. As an added bonus, they not only have gluten-free pizza, but brownies and beer. My husband was in heaven.

It’s not just having gluten-free items that makes this place different. They use organic ingredients, have hybrid delivery vehicles, and my favorite, use compostable take out cups and straws made from corn. Getting takeout always makes me feel guilty because of the amount of waste, but this is a great alternative. It was pricey (see interesting NYT article about cost of living with celiac), the gluten-free crust was $5 more and you can only get it in large. But we’ll be having the leftovers for dinner again tonight.

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!