Sunday, November 8, 2009

RAW Desserts: Pumpkin Cheesecake

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Instead of pumpkin pie, we'll be following our feast with a dairy and sugar-free, Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake!


Blender (a good one)
Cheesecake pan or pie pan

2C raw organic pecans
12 raw organic dates
1/4 tsp salt

3 C raw organic cashews
3/4 C organic agave
1 can organic pumpkin
2/3 C extra-virgin, organic coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2T pumpkin pie spice
1/2-3/4 C light coconut milk

1. Combine the crust ingredients (pecans, dates, and salt) in your blender and blend until well-chopped.
2. Press into pan.
3. Blend filling ingredients (cashews, agave, pumpkin, coconut oil, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, coconut milk) in blender until smooth.
4. Pour into crust and cover.
5. Allow cheesecake to set in the freezer.
6. Thaw in the fridge. Enjoy!

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sleeping Beauty...and the Beast?

I know, I know...I have my fairy tales mixed up...
My littlest princess, Sleeping Beauty Madeline, selects the most peculiar places to take naps. Today, we found her asleep, again, out in the garage. The garage? Yes, that's right...the garage! Now, I surely don't think of taking a nap in the garage, but Madeline seeks a different type of comfort when she is tired...she was curled up with our black Labrador Retriever, Rosie (the Beast), in the dog crate. Madeline seems to have established a strange habit for catching some zzzs while using her favorite canine as a pillow. I will have to try to catch her on film in the future...

Fortunately, the time we found her asleep in the clean laundry basket, we did take a picture!

RAW Smoothies: Cranberry-Orange Julius

A great way to start off the day with this raw Cranberry-Orange Julius. This particular smoothie is one of my kids' favorites!


blender (a good one)

2C fresh-squeezed organic orange juice
1 ripe banana
1 can light coconut milk
2T dried cranberries
1 12 oz bag of frozen papaya chunks

1. Blend all ingredients using the smoothie setting on your blender until smooth enough to drink through a straw.
2. Enjoy!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 6, 2009

RAW Desserts: Chocolate Mousse Pie

This has to be one of the best raw desserts for chocolate-lovers. This RAW Chocolate Mousse Pie is dairy-free, sugar-free, and melts in your mouth!


blender (a good one)
pie pan

2C organic raw walnuts
12 soft dates
1/4 tsp sea salt

3 (med to large)-4 (small) ripe raw avocados
1/4C organic cocoa powder
1/4C organic agave
2T vanilla
1/4C light coconut milk
1T coconut oil

1. Combine the crust ingredients (walnuts, dates, and salt) in your blender and blend until well-chopped.
2. Press into pan.
3. Blend filling ingredients (avocados, agave, cocoa powder, vanilla, coconut milk, coconut oil) in blender until smooth.
4. Pour into crust and cover.
5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Posted by Picasa

GLUTEN-FREE Cooking: Pumpkin Pancakes

My kids request these pancakes at least twice a week...they love to start the day off with a short stack of cinnamon and nutmeg flavored Pumpkin Pancakes drizzled with maple syrup!


Griddle or frying pan
Mixing bowl
Hand mixer or spoon
1/3C scooper

1 18oz package Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Pancake & Waffle Mix (purple bag)
1 can organic pumpkin
1 can light coconut milk
4 eggs
2T pumpkin pie spice
1 can canola oil spray to coat your griddle

100% pure maple syrup

1. Preheat your griddle or pan to 350 degrees and spray lightly with canola oil.
2. Mix all of the ingredients (pancake mix, pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs, pumpkin pie spice) by hand or use your mixer.
2. Scoop 1/3C of the batter at a time onto your griddle or pan to make each pancake.

3. Cook the pancakes for 4 minutes on each side.

4. Serve immediately and top with maple syrup!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finances a little tight? Consider using charter school voucher funds!

While trying to keep afloat in the stagnant waters of our economy, I've been looking for ways to make every penny count--even in home education!

For the past several years, we have enrolled at Connecting Waters Charter School, which serves Alameda, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties to maximize our educational investment. I've also noted that under the same IEM umbrella there is another, Ocean Grove Charter School that serves Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties (see

Connecting Waters ( provides at least $1800 per year of voucher funds per student. These funds can be redeemed for curriculum, educational products/supplies, computers/peripherals, and enrichment classes from a list of approved vendors. Even better, if your student(s) are already taking classes in Lego robotics, art, music, science, martial arts, horseback riding, etc. from a venue that has a business license, they can be added to the vendor list so that the classes come at no cost to you!

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Being that the charter schools receive funding from the State of California, they must answer to standards and testing. So, even though you still get to select your own curriculum or even take an unschooling approach, your children will be tested annually and must meet with a credentialed Education Specialist every 20 school days to verify attendance and provide work samples. Seems like a small price to pay if finances are tight and you still want to provide the best for your kids...

Just wanted to let you know about this option--it works for us and may be a blessing to other Bay Area home educators as well!

Happy Homeschooling,


Check it out: