Peanut Butter Cookies – Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, THM S

A sweet aroma is in the air… Well, love is in the air too since it is Valentine’s Week. Today, I’m sharing a new cookie recipe I’ve been making for my sweet valentines lately. It’s a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe that is healthy, sugar free, gluten free, and low carb. For Trim Healthy Mamas, these cookies are a satisfying S that shows how much you love yourself and your family.

pb cookies 1

Peanut Butter Cookies, low carb, sugar free, THM S

½ cup butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup Gentle Sweet and 1-2 tsp for garnish

1-2 doonks pure stevia extract

1½ cups Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend

½ tsp mineral salt

¾ cup sugar free peanut butter

2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

*optional ½ cup Lily’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

Using mixer, cream butter, gentle sweet, and stevia. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in peanut butter. Add baking blend, baking powder and salt. Stir in optional chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet or stoneware. Gently smash down with fork and sprinkle each one with gentle sweet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.


Butter Pecan Shake – THM S


Maple, pumpkin, nuts, caramel–these are the flavors that I love year round. However, it is fall so I’m indulging in them even more now. Tonight I made a rich, butter pecan shake that was so good that I had to grab my computer and immediately share it. If you like this one, you might also like my Turtle Cheesecake Shake or Pumpkin Cheesecake Shake.

Butter Pecan Shake – THM S

2 tbsp chopped pecans

1/2 cup Daisy lowfat cottage cheese

1/2-2 cups of ice (depending on how much ice you like)

1 cup unsweetened original almond milk

2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla pure extract

1/8 tsp maple extract

1/8 tsp butter extract

2-3 tsp of super sweet blend, or 4-5 tsp gentle sweet blend

1 doonk of stevia if needed or to taste

Blend cottage cheese and whipping cream first to get a very thick and rich base. Then add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. If you like it with a little more ice, blend for a shorter period of time. Finely chop a few extra pecans for a garnish if you’d like. Enjoy, and Happy fall y’all!


What’s Your Secret?

What's Your Secret? Motivation for Staying on Plan. #weightloss #trimhealthymama #cleaneatingWe all want to know the secret to staying on plan when we begin a new food regimen or diet. What’s your motivation for taking on a healthy lifestyle like Trim Healthy Mama and others? What’s driving you to begin, keep persevering, or jump back on the wagon? What keeps you on plan? You may be like me–I had several reasons for changing my lifestyle. My children and I have food allergies and intolerances. I needed to lose weight. I wanted to set a good example for my family. Ultimately, I wanted to glorify God.My main motivation these days is health. I’m a “purist”, which means I try my hardest to eat “clean”, whole foods, no chemicals or processed foods, nothing that God didn’t create naturally for us to eat and nothing that man has altered from God’s original plan. I don’t always adhere to this, but I try.


I happen to be a Trim Healthy Mama. You may or may not know this, but Trim Healthy Mama is not meant to be a diet. Many people treat it like one, but it’s not. It is a lifestyle change, a change in mindset, a retraining of old habits to new ones. I find that many people who treat THM and other plans like a diet are usually only in it to lose weight. While there is nothing wrong with losing weight, you will have limited results with this at some point. Somewhere down the line you will either meet your goal or give up. Either way if you don’t treat it as a lifestyle change, you will eventually enter back into old habits and the pounds will creep back on. It’s a slow fade, but it will happen sooner or later. I have found I stay on plan more when my focus is related to health and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle for The Lord and my family. I can’t serve Him and my family if I am trashing my body. I won’t have the energy, stamina, or health to do what they need me to do. It helps that the Trim Healthy Mama recipes are researched, tested, and delicious. THM Fried Chicken Tenders low carb gluten free

There are different variations to the recipes that make them a little more convenient for those who aren’t as strict on healthier ingredients and also variations with purer ingredients. They call them Drive-Thru-Sues. Even thought I try to eat clean and am considered more of a “purist”, I appreciate that Trim Healthy Mama allows for both lifestyles. I think many Drive-Thru-Sues end up becoming more purist because they see the benefits of incorporating more clean foods into their lifestyle. Trim Healthy Mama has their own line of clean ingredients used in their cookbook.THM Button

I find it easier to eat clean because I am intolerant to certain chemicals in foods. I didn’t know I had these at first. It took me going off of them and then “treating myself” to a treat by cheating to discover them. Then I finally got it through my thick skull that cheating made me sick most of the time. I had to get honest with myself and realize that I wasn’t “treating” myself. I was really punishing myself. I don’t deserve to be sick or to bring disease upon myself through the chemicals in foods. My body is not a trash can.garbage-can-1423840_1920I am a Child of The King. He values me and I should value myself enough to stop trashing my body. I should value you myself enough to eat God-created, nourishing foods so I can continue to feel energetic and healthy.


There are times when the enemy tries to convince me that the junk food is a treat, especially when I’m stressed. If I intentionally stop and think about certain foods I am disgusted and able to turn away and give the enemy the boot! The thought of eating something created in a petri dish in some science lab somewhere usually makes me sick to my stomach.


(Looks appetizing doesn’t it? YUCK!) I’ll be honest, there are times when I don’t exhibit self-control. I don’t stop to think about the consequences of my actions. I fall for the lies of the enemy and “treat” myself to his junk food. Then I have to endure feeling ill immediately or even sometimes the next day. Succumbing to temptation leads to sickness, guilt, and failure. Why would I choose to put myself through that? I

t’s really no secret–the main thing that motivates me has been around for centuries. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I’m reminded that my body is a temple of The Lord. How am I glorifying Him by trashing my body? I’m not. If I seek Him first, He’ll be sure everything else is taken care of. Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Every single day we have to make a choice on whether we are going to surrender to God or live for self and that includes what we eat. Many times we don’t see food in this way probably because eating is not a “choice” per se, and is necessary for our survival. Food is much more than a means of survival, especially when we look to it for pleasure. This verse clearly says “eat or drink, whatever you do”, so what and how we eat are choices that have the potential to glorify God.

It’s our choice. God honors choices that fall in line with His Word and will. Honoring God, setting an example, and staying well–those are my motivations. What motivates you or helps you stay on plan?

Trim Healthy Mama on Vacation

Trim Healthy Mama on Vacation

Sunsets, waves, sand, and shells – our family vacation was a restful and blessed getaway. Returning to reality was not so restful, but that’s okay. I am slowly, but surely easing back into my routine with just a few weeks left before we resume homeschooling.

Vacations are moments when you can take a break from the madness or mundane and set off on an adventure. I’m all for a good long lapse in my busy, everyday schedule, but I’ve learned the hard way that there are some things you just don’t want to break from–time with The Lord is one of those things and my healthy lifestyle is the other.

weight loss before and after

I’ve worked too hard to flush my progress down the toilet. After being on plan for over 2 years, I’ve also come to recognize those aches, pains, and moments of just not feeling right are usually contributed by a risky and foolish veer off course. My best friend and I both decided that if we were going to alter our THM lifestyle during vacation that it would probably be best just to allow ourselves some crossovers instead of going off plan.

Since I committed to stay on plan during this vacation, before our camping trip to the beach I began planning a menu and a shopping list. Planning ahead and preparing comes naturally to me. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but anything worthwhile that you purpose to do in life takes some amount of planning. If you expect to keep everything on course without following a path or a map, you’re going to fall apart when the enemy distracts you–and you know he will.

Depending on the location of your trip and the resources available to you, you may be limited but you just have to get creative. Taking a Saturday or an evening or two of your time to plan ahead will make your trip so much more enjoyable. No one wants to return to reality at the end of vacation, but you’ll be able to handle it better if you’ve stayed the course. Returning from vacation feeling sick, bloated, fatigued, or guilty isn’t going to help you.

Here are some things that I don’t leave home without when we go camping:



We don’t eat out much whether we are at home or away from home. Between the expense, my children’s food allergies, and my food intolerances, it’s just not something we do often. If we do plan to eat out, I research restaurants before I even leave for the trip so I can scope out the menus for things we can eat.


We do a lot of camping, so my sweet husband cooks on the open fire or on a portable grill. I do most of the cooking at home, but when we are on vacation he does most of it. Well, we are a team. I prep and he grills. I usually enjoy cooking, but this does give me a much-needed break.


For breakfasts I usually make a batch of muffins or coffeecake at home before we leave for the trip. This makes the first morning of vacation chore free so my husband and I can relax. I save at least one serving of these goodies for the last day of our trip as well, which makes the morning we pack much easier and there isn’t much to clean up.

I bring pancake mix or all of the dry THM ingredients in a zipper storage bag rather than bringing all of my separate containers of ingredients. We also eat lots of eggs, bacon, and/or sausage. For our last trip, we also brought cereal and stovetop granola from the THM cookbook. We were able to sprinkle it on our yogurt or eat it with milk. This made a good snack for the beach as well. I also made packets of dry ingredients for the muffin-in-a-bowl recipe. This is a good FP snack, dessert, or breakfast.

Adding all dry ingredients to zipper storage bags is a great way to plan ahead for hot drinks and smoothies. All you have to do is add liquids and/or ice.


For lunches, we usually eat leftovers from the dinner before. We also bring sandwich meats, sliced cheese, fruit, veggies, and bread. I make the Nuke Queen bread or Bread in a Mug recipes from the THM cookbook.


Snacks are usually packed for the beach pretty quickly by using zipper bags or storage containers. I pack a variety of things like cheese, nuts, raw veggies, greek yogurt, fruit, deli meat. I make THM pudding, gummies, superfood chews from the cookbook before vacation. Of course, I can’t go on vacation without my chocolate! The Skinny Chocolate recipe from the THM cookbook is made from coconut oil, so it melts easily. That isn’t always practical for vacation depending on where you are going and your resources. Even regular chocolate will melt quickly on the beach, so I save my Lily’s chocolate bars for the nights around the campfire when the rest of my family makes s’mores. You could make on-plan s’mores with any THM S cookie recipe, THM marshmallow recipe, and the skinny chocolate. I have done this before, too. I make the cookies ahead of time before I leave for vacation. Josephs pita crackers or any THM cracker recipes from the book are delicious treats as well.


Dinners are pretty easy if you stick to meats and veggies on the campfire or grill. We’ve gotten a little more creative and made these yummy meals:

Pulled Pork and Cole Slaw THM recipes – For our first night of vacation, we like to have an easy meal so that we don’t have to cook while we are trying to set up and settle in. On the day before our trip, I put a pork roast in the crockpot and cooked it all day. I packed a prepackaged bag of cole slaw veggies and packed ingredients to make dressing. All we had to do when we were ready to eat that night was mix the dressing and slaw, and warm up the pork in a pan on the grill.

Pizzas on the grill  with side salad – We simply use Joseph’s Pitas, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and our favorite toppings. For my gluten free and soy free children, we used gluten free and soy free tortillas.

Sloppy Joes with veggies – We made the sloppy joe recipe from the THM book by cooking it in a cast iron skillet and had veggies on the side. You could easily make a bun or bread before the trip, but I just had the filling with no bread.

Burgers – I brought a pre-made bun for the burger my husband grilled, and I topped it with a tomato slice, pickles, avocado, and lettuce. Veggies on the side are great, but the burger by itself is pretty filling.

Grilled chicken and veggies – I seasoned chicken with my favorite rub recipe Fiesta Chicken Rub and we had grilled veggies on the side. If you have the room, you could even bring tortillas and your favorite toppings for chicken wraps or tacos.

Salads – If you have refrigeration, you could easily make salads in a jar using Ball jars. Since the jars seal well, the salads stay fresh for days. You could prepare all of this ahead of time or you could simply make salad on a plate while on the trip.

I know this seems like a lot of preparation, and it was, but if you start early and plan ahead you can make it work. A few weeks before your vacation, you could plan to eat a few of the meals you will have on the trip, double them, and freeze them. Or simply prepare it the week before you leave so that they can safely be stored in the fridge for a few days up to a week before you need them. Be sure to research food safety and storage rules for and check expiration dates.

Making good choices is work no matter how you look at it. Sometimes we’re tempted to take the easy way out and give it to cheating. It’s worth it to take a little time to plan ahead. You deserve to treat your body with wholesome and healthy foods that your bodies needs to rest, relax, and enjoy your vacation.

Well, it’s going to be a while before our next trip so I’m off to enjoy some summer time activities with my children. Then I need to start planning for our next school year. If you are getting read to head out on a getaway with your sweet family, I pray it is a safe and blessed trip. I hope this vacation tips help you stay on plan!

Cream Slush Recipe – THM FP

cream slush

Summer break is here and that means it’s time for lots of fruits and frozen treats! My children have really been craving slushes and ice creams. They have summer fever! We made this strawberry lemonade cream slush, and it was better than the ones I used to purchase at a certain fast food joint! It’s my new favorite dessert!

Cream Slush

6 strawberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 doonks stevia

2 tbsp nonfat greek yogurt

10 ice cubes

Add all ingredients into a quality blender (I use this one.) Blend until ice is finely chopped. Enjoy this delicious cream slush on a hot day!


Berry Lemonade – Substitute 1/2 cup of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries for strawberries and this will still be a FP cream slush.

Blue Coconut – Substitute blueberries for strawberries and add a splash of coconut extract.

Fruit Cream Slush – Substitute any frozen fruit for the strawberries and this will make an E slush.


Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes – THM S

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S
Spring is on its way! I usually enjoy winter, but it seems the older I get the earlier I look forward to spring. Of course, I have everything is connected to food. The fresh fruits and vegetables of spring and summer simply delight my taste buds–the colors, the flavors, the variety!
Even though it’s not strawberry season, I’m already experimenting with recipes for spring and summer!  I always look forward to strawberry shortcake. It’s more of a summer dessert, but I’ve really been craving those bright, plump, juicy strawberries.
In anticipation of spring and summer, here’s a delicious strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe that is gluten free, low carb, and sugar free.
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake – THM S

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, or 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 splash of almond extract
  • 1/2 cup Gentle Sweet Blend
  • 1 cup Baking Blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Fresh Hulled Strawberries

Whisk the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until combined.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and then place hulled strawberry down into center of each batter filled cupcake liner in pan.  Bake on 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean. There will be a little more moisture around strawberry.


You can serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream sweetened to taste or you can make a thicker topping with 4 oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp Gentle Sweet Blend or add more to taste. (I like subtle sweetness in my whipped topping.)  Pipe onto top of cupcake. Enjoy!

 Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S

No Bake Double Chocolate Cheesecake – THM S

Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts, but it is no small feat to bake a cheesecake. My grandmama used to make no bake cheesecake from a box. She wasn’t one to use boxed desserts often but that was one of her ways of cutting down on the time and work to make cheesecake.  Cheesecake in a box is full of chemicals and fake foods, so it’s not something that appeals to me any more. You can make your own no bake cheesecake without a box of powdered chemicals.

This weekend I was craving chocolate cheesecake so I experimented and whipped up this little beauty:

no bake cheesecake

No Bake Double Chocolate Cheesecake

In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Set aside in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix in cocoa, sweetener, and extracts. Next fold almost all of whipped cream leaving a tablespoon or two for garnish. Sprinkle nuts evenly into bottom of four jars or dessert dishes.  Layer cheeescake mixture over nuts. Pipe or spoon whipped cream over top and sprinkle with a few chocolate chips. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours.


Meatballs and Gravy – Trim Healthy Mama Deep S Fuel Cycle


This week I participated in another fuel cycle. For those of you new to Trim Healthy Mama, a fuel cycle is an occasional week or two within the plan with strict guidelines, that is used to boost your metabolism when you’ve hit a plateau.

One my last Deep S day of the fuel cycle, my family wanted meatballs for dinner, which they typically like with marinara sauce. I try my very hardest not to be a short order cook. I’d like most if not all of the meal I cook to be compliant with all of our food restrictions and allergies.

Since I was on a DS day, I couldn’t have tomatoes. I really wanted some Smarty Pants Stroganoff from the book, but the DS days of the fuel cycle also prohibits dairy so I couldn’t use sour cream. Sour cream is one of my very favorite foods. Unfortunately it is dairy and high in fat. That’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for sour cream, but there are definitely times when I can’t use it. Now keep in mind that normal meals not on the special fuel cycle do not restrict your consumption of tomatoes or dairy.

I decided to do a little experimenting. I came up with these yummy meatballs that fit right into the THM fuel cycle restrictions. I am so excited to add another meal to my list for the next fuel cycle I do, but I’m hoping I won’t need another one any time soon.

Meatballs and Gravy – Trim Healthy Mama Deep S Fuel Cycle

2 lbs lean ground beef

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1-2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp glucommanan

1 tbsp heavy cream

Mix beef with seasonings and then roll beef into meatballs. Line raw meatballs into crockpot, stacking gently if you run out of room. Carefully pour chicken broth over meatballs. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove meatballs from broth and set aside. Whisk in glucomman. Then whisk in heavy cream. Add meatballs and stir to coat them.  Serve meatballs over Not-So-Naughty Konjac Noodles, zucchini noodles, or other non-starchy vegetables.

These meatballs were a huge hit with my family! I can’t wait to see how my metabolism has changed at the end of the week, and I’m so thankful to have discovered another meal I can eat during the fuel cycle.  Enjoy!!

Trim Healthy Mama Review






I began my Trim Healthy Mama journey in October of 2013.  I purchased this life-changing book at that time not realizing the difference it was going to make in my life:

If you are curious and interested in taking a look inside, you can view excerpts by clicking on the picture above or by clicking here: Trim Healthy Mama. It includes the faith-based plan, tips, helps, sample menus, and over half of the book consists of delicious recipes.

Here are some of my blog posts and recipes regarding Trim Healthy Mama:  Trim Healthy Mama posts. Check these out when you have a moment. You’ll find my weight loss journey, tips, advice, and recipes.

The authors of Trim Healthy Mama, Pearl and Serene, have recently published an updated version of their book. The old plan works fine, but they have improved the plan as well as added more recipes.  They also divided the information into two books, a plan book and a cookbook. If you’d like to view excerpts from these, you can click on the pictures below or click here:Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline and Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes.


Since I already had the first book, I simply purchased the cookbook.  I’ve read and heard some interesting things about the new plan book, so I wish I’d purchased it as well. I probably will do that at some point.

Today I’m going to give you a little review of the new cookbook and also of the basic planned outlined in both the old book and the new plan book.

Trim Healthy Mama is NOT a fad diet. It is a plan for changing your life, and since life is a journey, so is the THM plan.  I am a purist and became one long before THM entered my life. In other words, I have been eating whole foods for a long time. Years ago, The Lord showed me what “fake foods” do to your body. Through my health and food allergies of my children, I cut out processed foods, chemicals. I am still on my journey of transitioning into all organic foods and away from GMO’s as well, but like I said it’s a journey.

The THM plan isn’t just for purists. I’ve seen many reviews from purists complaining about the fact that there are suggested foods that aren’t pure, whole foods.  That’s because Pearl and Serene know life is a journey. They know that not everyone is going to be able to make every change necessary to lose weight and eat healthier all at one time. Some people won’t be interested in whole foods at all. Some people may need convenience foods to suit their lifestyle (the authors call them “drive-thru Sue”). So they have written a plan that appeals to many different types of people with different lifestyles and situations.  That being said, there are plenty of recipes using whole foods and many times they offer alternatives for a purist or a drive-thru Sue. That is one of the very reasons I love the book. They have done their very best to show how this plan can work for a multitude of people.

The plan helps you remove sugar and chemicals from your diet. It helps you balance your intake of fuels. What do I mean by fuels? Well, your body only needs two types of fuel: carbs or fat. If you eat them both at the same time, then your body burns one of them, but holds onto the other which prohibits weight loss or even causes weight gain. THM teaches you not to tandem both fuels, but to base your meals on one or the other in a way that doesn’t make you feel deprived.

I cannot begin to count how many THM’ers I know of who have been able to stop their prescription medications because of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, etc. THM is a plan of low carbs, healthy fats, and superfoods that improve your health and well-being.

Trim Healthy Mama also helps you learn to like new foods you never thought you’d eat before, but you must have an OPEN MIND. I’m a Southern Belle, so grits were my hot cereal of choice my entire life. I detested oatmeal. THM taught me why oatmeal is so important, and how to prepare it in such a way that makes it easily digested and more palatable for me. Now I like oatmeal. I also never really liked cauliflower or okra. I still don’t eat okra cooked in it’s regular form, but I’m working on it. THM has enabled me to eat okra as a secret ingredient in several recipes in the new cookbook so that I am able to consume this superfood without having a suffer through it.

Speaking of ingredients, THM has recipes that include special ingredients like stevia (all natural sweetener), almond flour, coconut flour, glucommanan, collagen, and many more. Some of these ingredients are at your regular grocery story, but some are only sold online. You can check these products out by clicking on these links: at my Amazon Store or Trim Healthy Mama store or on the pictures for my stores in my sidebar of this blog on the right side.

You DON’T have to use special ingredients to be successful on the program. There are tons of recipes that do not include special ingredients and many of them have alternative ingredients you can use. The special ingredients last a long time so you do get your money’s worth out of them. They are used to help you make some of your old favorite recipes into THM recipes without the chemicals, high carbs, refined flours, etc.

I have to say that I am very proud of my family. My two oldest girls saw how much better I was feeling, and read about the health benefits of going sugar free. So they began the THM journey as well. They’ve never been overweight so they didn’t do it for weight loss and are more or less on the maintenance plan. They have seen improvement in their health and energy. My oldest is a very picky eater and even she loves almost everything I’ve made from both THM cookbooks. My sweet husband and twins also love the recipes as well.

I cannot say enough about Trim Healthy Mama. It has changed my life. Not only have I lost weight, but I have been able to go off of medication as well. I have more energy than I had as a teenager. That’s probably because I may have been thinner as  a teen, but I wasn’t nourishing my body with healthy foods. I am the healthiest I’ve ever been.

Beware of negative reviews. Some people are not reviewing objectively and are not seeing the big picture: a plan that works for many types of people with different lifestyles and circumstances. They are only reviewing from their own choices and circumstances.

The main thing I like about THM is the prioritization. It prioritizes faith first, then shows you how to bring your eating habits in line with the way God created our bodies. It’s like owning a car. You wouldn’t put diesel or any other substance in a car requiring gasoline. Just as the manufacturer created your car to use gasoline for fuel, God created your body to require certain foods. Why do we fill them with things God did not create for our bodies?

If you have any questions or need advice on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, please feel free to comment below or contact me via the contact tab at the top of my blog.


Gingerbread House Alternative


Building gingerbread houses is a favorite tradition at Christmas time.  As you may know I have one child with gluten allergy, one with gluten sensitivity, and one with soy allergy. Most gingerbread house kits contain these allergens. So do most graham crackers which is what many people use instead of kits.

For the past few years I have made homemade gluten free gingerbread dough, rolled it out, and cut out pieces with a template and baked them. It’s not much more effort than anything else I do for my children with food allergies. I really wouldn’t have it any other way because almost everything I make is from scratch.  Even if they didn’t have food allergies, I’d still prefer to make that effort because homemade foods are much healthier.

However, we’ve had a busy break so far. Some of our traditional activities have sneaked up on me.  So today was the best day for us to make our gingerbread houses, but I did not have time to make them from scratch. There are no stores near us that sell gluten and soy free graham crackers.

I did some research and found a wonderful alternative: cereal treats. You know, those old favorites made from crisped rice cereal or cornflakes and marshmallows. I rushed out to my local store and they were all out of gluten free crisped rice cereal. So, I scanned the aisle and racked my brain for a good substitute.  Cocoa Pebbles were my choice. They do contain more chemicals and sugar than crisped rice, but they are gluten and soy free, and they are brown–perfect for a house!

So I gathered up some of their favorite gluten and soy free candies.  I grabbed some marshmallows, ingredients for icing, and rushed home for some fun with my two youngest blessings.

When I arrived home I made a batch of treats using the traditional Rice Crispy recipe.

Gluten Free Rice Crispy or Cocoa Pebble Treats
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Pour in marshmallows and continuously stir until melted. Dump in the cereal and coat completely with melted marshmallows.

I greased two mini loaf pans, packed most of the mixture into the pans, and inverted the pans onto a plate or cardboard. Then I put them into the freezer to set and harden a little.

Once they were set, I dumped them out of the pans back onto the plates or cardboard. I used the remaining mixture to make roofs for the houses. I greased my hands and molded roofs into the shape of triangles onto the houses. Then I put the houses back into the freezer to finish setting.

While they were setting, I made homemade soy free, gluten free buttercream icing.

Buttercream Icing
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

Soften and cream butter, milk, and vanilla. Gradually and slowly add powdered sugar while mixing. Add salt. Mix until nice and smooth. Add icing to piping bags or use plastic zipper storage bags by cutting a small corner of the bag after filling.

Allow kids to squeeze or spread icing onto their houses wherever they would like to add accents of snow and candy. We used gluten and soy free sprinkles, gumdrops, peppermints, candy canes, and holiday Skittles. I melted soy free, gluten free chocolate chips into a square plastic dish, froze it, and broke the hardened chocolate to make shingles or stones for pathways. You could decorate with peppermint flavored marshmallows, gummy bears, or red hots, too.

One of the best things about these houses is NO ROYAL ICING! Let’s face it–it’s not that tasty. We weren’t wishing we were an octopus trying to hold panels of gingerbread or graham crackers waiting for the royal icing to harden like glue. Many times in the past our houses have broken during the decorating phase, but not these!

My twins made some beautiful houses this year, and we had so much fun! gbreadhouse2gbreadhouse1