The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Pancakes!

Gluten Free Ratio Rally

Baking with a cause: YOU and getting you back in the kitchen too!

I’m a language teacher, so let me start this the right way:

What is a rally?

  • Noun:  a demonstration, a sequence of strokes between serving and scoring a point (as in tennis or squash).
  • Verb:  to come into orderly arrangement, to renew order, or united effort, as troops scattered or put to flight; to assemble, to unite, to collect one’s vital powers or forces; to regain health or consciousness; to recuperate.

There are so many ways to take this initiative.  So many definitions that ring true for people who are newly diagnosed with Celiac Sprue – or Gluten Intolerance.  So many different reasons why even those of us who have been diagnosed for a while still manage not to bake any more because of the initial fears of failure, or wasted ingredients (expense!), or downright disappointment with the results.  But here is the reality:

We need each other.

Those of us in the gluten-free world really need each other.  Together we have created a community where we have pushed each other to develop new recipes, answered questions (even those unfit for food blogs!), supported each other through the isolation that it feels like – and can often still be, and pushed our local markets and economies in to providing gluten-free food options in many, many places. Oh, yes.  We need each other to keep it all.

But this rally?  This one is for YOU.  That little part of you that is fearful of getting in to the kitchen and trying your hand at baking again.  It is intended to quell the little voice of doubt in your head that prevents you from just tossing what you have into a bowl and making breakfast for yourself and your loved ones without fear of failure or the sense of disappointment.

I know that feeling very well.

You see, I was diagnosed in 2000.  But I truly didn’t start cracking open my family recipes until nearly 4 years later.  Up until that point, I stuck to some Bette Hagman or Rebecca Reilly books.  Bette was an amazing pioneer and was my only resource upon diagnosis beyond the random (and at that time – hard to find!) internet source.  Rebecca Reilly’s cookbook became a beacon of hope for me.  She is a trained culinary artist who provides recipes for classic and delicious cakes, pies, tortes, etc.  All the things I needed to feel like I could make a birthday cake and actually *enjoy* it.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that these women were also giving me the courage to keep baking.  To keep trying new recipes.  My Love encouraged me to make my old favorites, but I always denied their possibilities.  I mean really.. who would have thought that I would be making batches of gluten-free goodies to share with friends and have for ready for my girls?  Potstickers?  Croissants? Thin crust, non-bready pizza crusts? Soft, pliable wrap bread?  Oh yes.  All of these and more.

Why?  Because it works.  And it is so, SO much less difficult that I imagined (or feared) that it would all be.  In fact, apart from a standard loaf of bread, I have found gluten-free food items and baking to be rather forgivable.  In fact, it was within the last two years or so (since the Chicklet’s arrival) that I have begun to cook and bake like my grandma’s recipe box:  handful, pinch, dash, etc.  And before this?  All of those measurements would drive me batty.  I mean really:  a pinch?  Come on now.  But – yes – a pinch!  It makes sense to me now.  Duh!  Everything is a ratio or percentage and it works.

Shauna and I bantered briefly a while ago about the ratio of whole grain flours to starch when we bake.  We each felt that there are far too many starches in standard gluten-free baked goods and we were working to reduce how much starch we were using.  Not surprisingly, we were close in our ratios.  Both of us were using about 70% whole grain flours and 30% starch.  With these measurements, I can make a batch of basic gluten-free flours for making cookies or muffins, etc.  (Not bread however – that’s a different story.)

Recently, she emailed a bunch of us to start a rally.  A rally to teach that ratios really are the key to taking off in the kitchen.   Michael Ruhlman published his book “Ratio” which explores all of the ratios in cooking and baking.  Many of us have read his work (it reads much more like a notebook than a cookbook – which is great for me) and have wondered about the exact ratios we have found to be successful as well.  Thus the beginnings of a rally.

And where best to begin but with breakfast?  And pancakes.  🙂

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes
Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes Photo by Kate Chan

The only problem with pancakes?  Once you start recipe testing, you can’t stop.  Trust me.  Even my non-bread-eating Chicklet is now asking for mini-pancakes and “dip-dip” (maple syrup or melted peanut butter with apple “fries”) for her breakfast.  She doesn’t want the ones from a restaurant, nope.  She wants “Momma’s”.   (Oh, I love that.)  I’ve made pancakes often before, but honestly… I don’t always measure.  There is something about having grown up with pancakes that made the batter intuitive once you know the parts/pieces involved.

I suppose it is much like my sister who with her artist-trained eye can see the different layers of color in paintings and the world.  It helps her recreate what she sees or wants to see.  For me?  It’s about the texture, the mixture, the consistency and the flavor.  Those are my artist’s colors.  They are the paints I play with.  Beyond that?  The ingredients are just the components to the paints.

My friends and I were talking at work the other day about gluten-free eating.  They were sincerely curious about what kind of baking and cooking I do at home.  For teachers, we were experiencing a rare event:  lunch off campus with adults only and for more than 25 minutes.  It was a slice of heaven.  I knew lunch was going to be at a restaurant near the school we were visiting, so I had done my leg work.  I had found the restaurant with a gluten-free menu and when the question of “Where do you guys want to eat?” popped up, I was assertive enough to request we ate at “X” because they have a gluten-free menu.  Armed with my reasoning (and the fact they could eat vegetarian there too), we were off.

But once the food was served,the questions began.  I’m sure it is because my GF option looked just like the rest of their plates.  And so the conversation ran through the usual topics: what do you eat?  where do you get it?  how often do you bake/cook? etc. I mentioned how lucky I felt to be so empowered with my own food choices and experience new things.  I told them how hard it is at first and how socially isolating it can be no matter how much experience we have.  And we talked about these pancakes.

None of them had ever made pancakes from scratch.  I told them how.  One woman quickly calculated the cost of her pancake mix and the cost of the ingredients and just about kicked herself.  Yeap, I said.  And you’re not even gluten-free.  Just imagine what those prices are like.  (OH!  I wish I had a photo of her eyes when she calculated that cost out for you! LOL)

Anyway, here’s the deal.




Just go in your kitchen and try it.

There are a dozen of us gluten-free bloggers participating with this Gluten Free Ratio Rally about pancakes.  We have plans for more rallies in the future.  But the fun part is just how we all took a ratio (4:4:2:1) (flour, liquid, egg, fat) and what we did with it.

Since I chose to use nut flour (either hazelnut or almond), I had to bump up my liquid a bit more.  There is something about nut flours that always requires a splash or so more of milk than other flours.  Regardless, if you have ever made pancakes before, you will know the batter texture when you see it.  It should be thick enough to coat spoon generously and yet thin enough that it will ooze off the spoon and back into the rest of the batter.  And then… you can make pancakes like these:

gluten free whole grain pancakes with strawberries
Gluten Free Whole Grain Pancakes with Strawberries Photo by Kate Chan

My pancake ratio is this:

  • 200 grams gluten-free flour mix (whole grains + starch)
  • 240 grams of liquid
  • 100 grams of eggs or 2 eggs
  • 50 grams of butter

NOTES about this ratio:

  • The gluten-free flour mix is 160 grams of whole grains, 40 grams of starch – a mix of 4:1 whole grain to starch.  For the flours I chose, this meant 1 cup of whole grains + 1/4 cup of starch.
  • The liquid is increased due to nut meals being used in the flour mix. Use less if not using not meals (200 grams = 3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk)
  • You can use less fat (butter) successfully, but don’t omit it completely or your pancakes will be “dry” in texture.

Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes
(Printable recipe can be found here.)
Makes 12-24 pancakes, depending on your preferred size

130 grams (3/4 cup) millet flour
30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnut or almond meal
40 grams (1/4 cup) sweet rice flour or tapioca starch flour
75 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
100 grams (2) eggs
240 grams (1 cup) low-fat buttermilk
50 grams (3 Tablespoons) butter, melted
30 grams (1/4 cup) dried cherries
30 grams (1/4 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts or sliced almonds


  1. Mix together all wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, melted butter) in your blender. (Or use an immersion blenderor mini blender which is what I do.)
  2. Add your dry ingredients (feel free to just dump them in OR mix them in a separate bowl together and then dump them in).  Mix until there are no dry lumps.
  3. Preheat a griddle over medium heat.  (I used a non-stick griddle, so no additional oils were needed).
  4. Pour 2-4 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle.  Sprinkle the tops with chopped nuts and dried cherries.
  5. Leave undisturbed until bubbles form and pop on the edges and form in the center.  The edges will turn slightly golden brown.  (See this photo.)  Then gingerly slide a spatula underneath and flip the pancakes.
  6. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (the second side takes less time).  Adjust the temperature (medium-low?) for the next batch as needed.
  7. Keep warm until serving in a covered dish in a preheated/warm oven.
  8. Serve with your favorite “dip-dips”.

To Make the Gluten Free Whole Grain pancakes, omit the dried cherries and the chopped nuts. Serve with chopped fruit, powdered sugar (not pictured as the Chicklet doesn’t like her pancakes with “powder”), your favorite marmalade, melted peanut butter, etc.

Happy pancake making, all!

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes - take 2

You can find the other Gluten Free Blogger Ratio Rally pancake recipes here:

Tara at A Baking Life :  Supper Pancakes (with bacon inside!)

Lauren at Celiac Teen : GF, Egg-free, Dairy Free pancakes

Karen at Cooking Gluten-Free : Buckwheat Pancakes

Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries : Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

Irvin at Eat the Love : Quinoa-Cornmeal Pancakes with honey and rosemary

Britt at GF in the City : Spiced Teff Pancakes

Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl :  Pancakes with cinnamon and cardamon

Jenn at Jenn Cuisine : Hazelnut and Coconut Pancakes

Erin at The Sensitive Epicure : GF Oatmeal and Buckwheat Pancakes

Carol at Simply Gluten-Free : Maple and GF Oat Pancakes

Plus, as an added bonus, Lisa at Gluten-Free Canteen created a GF Potato Pancake

And a special note of thanks to Anile Prakash of for creating our fabulous Gluten Free Ratio Rally logo. It’s a fabulous way to unite the effort and RALLY us all to better health together. Thank you.  (And for any of your interested in her work, please check out her site here or send her an email.)


Follow me on Facebook:

Follow me on Twitter:  KateChan


Gluten Free Bean Burgers

GF Chickpea Burgers

Gluten Free Chickpea Burgers, Photo by Kate Chan

The beauty of maternity leave, as I am discovering, is being able to spend time with my girls as our own pace.  On the weekends, rather than running every errand imaginable, we can have little adventures with the girls as a family.  (Although, I do reserve plenty of errand running to be down with My Love’s help as an active toddler and a newborn can make “quick trips” into afternoon outings.)

This weekend, we were lucky enough to meet with a family who is also in the adoption process – waiting for their child to be ready to travel.  We drove up to Seattle to a public park where we visited as best anyone can with a toddler itching to ride down the slide MORE MORE MORE or swing MORE MORE MORE.  Poor little thing thought that the random soccer balls or bicycles were part of the “community playground” as well as she was quite disappointed to learn that they weren’t.  Her disappointment was brief, however.  As soon as she had turned her head away from the longed-for-object, she spotted yet another delight that made her squeal and off she went with one of us close on her heels.  (And yes, the Peanut/baby was with us… just snuggled up and completely asleep.  She’s very accommodating like that.  My life is going to be much more challenging as soon as the little one is mobile, that’s for sure!)


Z's first ferry ride

We decided to continue our adventure and bring Z on her first ferry ride, too.  She was delighted to have Daddy “drive the car on the boat, Momma!” (repeat statement 1,000 times for full toddler-loving-joy effect).  Even more exciting to her was learning that we could all get out of the car and go upstairs for the brief ride across to the island. Oh, she was in heaven.  And I was trying to balance a camera along with a loosely wrapped baby in order to get some pictures to document her joy.  Only…. the Chicklet didn’t want to do anything but rush to the side to see the water and life passing by.

"Oh, Daddy! FUN!"
(And no, he isn’t scowling. Between the wind and the Chicklet leaning, I think he thought she might just go over. LOL)

We were lucky enough to head over to The Hardware Store where Daniel Ahern (aka “The Chef” of “Gluten Free Girl and the Chef“) works.  I knew he would be cooking that night so the chances of my getting a delectable gluten free meal were spot-on.   And I was SO RIGHT.  The food was great!  I dreamt of that fabulous gluten-free buckle all the way home and wondered why I hadn’t bothered to just buy some more for the drive home!  OMG.  SO freakin’ delicious.  (Even better, Shauna has the recipe on her blog. So now I can make it any time I want and not have to pay the ferry fee!  Who knew!  I always thought a “buckle” was something related to Texas and belts!  LOL)

Another thing I didn’t know (among many), is that we would also be lucky enough to have Shauna (Gluten Free Girl) and her little Lu join us as well.  It was great as I hadn’t really planned anything, but as soon as I knew we were heading to Vashon Island, I might as well try to see if she was available to meet up.  LUCKY US!  And really – lucky Zoe!

Zoe and Lucy are a few months apart in age.  It was fun to watch the girls twirling about and toasting each other with apple slices.  (Seriously, each spontaneously hold up their apple slice and tapping the other’s while saying “Cheers” quietly.  I hope I remember that cuteness for quite a long time!)  Zoe apparently has a little Mother Hen in her (I am avoiding the control freaky term I really want to use).  When Lucy will skidoodle off to greet and play with a restaurant patron or employee that she knew (obviously, Dad works there…), Zoe would rush to her and say “Lucy-ah!  Oh, no!” and then put her arm around her to herd her back toward her Momma.  (Ay ay ay…) But hang on, it gets even more 2-year-old.  Lucy is getting her molars (poor babe), so just as Zoe did, she is eating ice.  Unlike Zoe, however, Lucy can reach in to a water glass to get her ice cubes without having a conniption that her hands or clothing are wet…. requiring (in Z’s mind) a wardrobe change. Since Zoe loathes wet clothing, we just instilled the rule “No hands” if it was going to lead to a mess.  So as soon as Z saw Little Lu reaching in for her ice cubes, the tattle-tale came out full force “Oh, oh, oh!  No hands, Lucy-ah! No hands”.  She was fixated.  And we talked briefly about different strokes/rules for different folks.  Thankfully, the apple slices appeared then and the two-year-olds did their thing:  off dancing and twirling and saying cheers…. and dreaming of Buzz and Elmo.  Cuties.  I hope they can play together again some day.  It was hard for Zoe to leave her new found friend.

Shauna and I got a chance to talk about food.  We both thought about the good things that our kiddos are eating.  And how they eat things just because we do.  I know this is true from a cultural standpoint as well.  Zoe will eat things that I never even knew existed when I was growing up:  tofu? chicken feet?  sushi? roe?  Yeah… these items were not on your standard Minnesota menu in the 1970s, that’s for sure.  I actually think that learning about food because of my diagnosis in 2000, made me more aware of the huge variety of foods.  Living in a city (Chicago) made access to all of those things SO much easier too.  It was an easier transition from gluten to gluten-free than it could have been considering in 2000 there were not the plethora of blogs or internet resources that exist today… let alone the variety of foods in the grocery stores that are clearly targeting the gluten-free group.

More importantly, I was able to put those middle school cooking classes to work for more than just soups and cookies.  I could easily follow instructions to make new things and I wasn’t afraid to try something different (although it did take me another year or two before I would try to recreate any of my childhood favorites).  Mostly, I wanted to keep learning about fresh food and keep trying new things to eat healthier.  Now that there are kids in the house, this is more important than ever.

It blows my mind when I learned via Jamie Oliver/Food Revolution that this generation of Americans has a lower life-expectancy than do we due to their poor health. And poor nutrition is certainly a major contributor to that.  And while my Love and I are not the fit-King/Queen that we want to be, we have vowed to work to get there for our kids and to continue to eat whole, healthy foods as a family.

It’s not gourmet.  It’s natural, whole foods.  And cheaper too.

On the ride home, I was thinking about the different things we had discussed and laughed about together.  Mostly, I was thinking about her upcoming book tour (NY in just a few days, people!  Go see her!) as well.  I was wishing that more people could meet her and see that she really knows how to grab the bull by the horns well, okay…. I think she could probably grab a little lower… and call it like she sees it.  The food that is in her latest book Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef is GORGEOUS and will make you do two things (1) go buy a kitchen scale, if you haven’t done so already) and (2) make you dream of licking the photos like I was doing the first night I got the book home.  When you read it, you will see that she isn’t cooking to be pretentious.  She is cooking what they love.  What they “play with”.  What makes them “dance” in the kitchen.  She writes short vignettes of life that make reading the book a delight.  (Especially for those of us with little ones around!)  I can’t wait to cook my way through the recipes…let alone read the snippets too.

Making it for yourself.

Today, I was craving buckle (again) but the Chicklet asked for Chickpea burgers for lunch.  It surprised me a bit because she really likes these when I make them with mung beans or black beans.  I thought about her request in relation to Jamie Oliver and Shauna.  How many other kids are asking their parents to make bean burgers for lunch? I know quite a few, actually. And I’m hoping with books like Shauna’s, programs like his, and efforts like all of us gluten-free folks to make whole, natural foods for our families is taking hold.  Maybe we can reverse that prediction for our kids.  Now wouldn’t that be worth it?  (PS. Shauna!  Good luck with the book!)

Try it.  Try out these easy-to-adapt bean burgers.  In lieu of chickpeas, use black beans or pinto beans or mung beans (cooked, of course).  Use the flavors and seasonings/herbs that make your tongue and tummy happy.  You can’t go wrong.

Gluten Free Chickpea Burgers
Makes 4 large burgers or 16 “sliders”

1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas (or other bean) (if not using canned, than 16 ounces cooked beans), drained/rinsed
1 cup leftover or cooked brown rice
1 egg
1/2 cup grated (or shredded, if you prefer) carrot
1/2 cup finely diced apple
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) chili powder
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro (or basil or dill or other fresh herb)
3 green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
salt/pepper for seasoning


  1. In a small processor (or with a fork), mash the chickpeas into a medium bowl. (I prefer to use a mini-food processor when using chickpeas)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Form into 4 large patties or sixteen small patties.  Set aside.  (Some people cover and refrigerate their patties for 1 – 2 hours at this stage to help them stick together and bind better.  I don’t mind if my burgers aren’t completely patty-set when I cook/eat them, so I skip this step for convenience too.)
  4. There are two ways to prepare the burgers:  with or without oil for frying.  Either way, heat your pan up over medium-heat for a couple minutes. If using oil, add a swirl of olive oil (not the sesame oil – that should be in the bean burger mixture) to the pan.  When the oil (or just the pan, if not using oil) is hot, add the patty (or patties).  Cook on each side 3 – 4 minutes or until browned.  Flip gently with a spatula.
  5. Serve with gluten free buns or lavash bread or without.  Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, feta cheese, tomato relish, salsa, greek yogurt, cucumber raita or tzatziki or whatever you enjoy.  (Z always votes for barbeque sauce!)



Adoption Auction: Signed Copy of Gluten Free Girl’s Book

It ends at 11:28PM PST on December 9, 2008.
Item sold!  Thank you, all!

The adoption page has links to other posts that include thoughts/information about our adoption as well as our adoption time line (for those of you who have been asking for more time line information).
Nothing keeps you watching the calendar/clock like a pending adoption…

Okay….. I’m back at the book bartering.
But just in case you think it’s because I’ve lost my mind… let me just say this: I have.
Completely, too.

You see 5 weeks ago we received our referral for our daughter. In the mail arrived three single solitary pieces of paper and two photos of a little girl we have already fallen in love with.

baby toes

We dream of her little toes and the tickles and caresses we will give them.

Baby fingers

We dream of her little hands and fingers curling around our fingers just as she is doing her with her foster mother’s hand. (And OH, how we LOVE her foster mother for loving and caring for her!)

baby lips
We dream of her sweet lips tasting popsicles on hot summer days, dipping to red bean drinks with coconut milk and “jellies” with the family and kissing her until the end of time.

And oh, how we dream.

The nursery is painted. The crib is ready. And our arms have been open and waiting for far longer than I have ever wanted to wait. But we will continue to wait until she comes home.

Our little girl’s paperwork is currently in the land of “immigration” and “visa” funnels. Of which we know the steps, but we have no idea which step our paperwork is in. No knowledge is hard. It just makes up stare harder at her sweet pictures… which are now in frames by our computers at home… on our desks at work…emailed and printed for family/friends and even on our desktop wallpapers.

Yes, we have completely lost our minds… to love.

This means that I have one more auction that we hope to sell. This time it is for Shauna’s book, “Gluten Free Girl or How I found the food that loves me back and how you can too”.

Last Fall I met Shauna while she was here in my town for a cooking class. There she sat – pregnant and happy with her Love working diligently in the kitchen prepping for their cooking class. We spoke about blogging, gluten free life, the joy of good food but mostly about our love of life and hopes/dreams for our futures. To mothers-to-be on different paths, but both paths filled with love. I told Shauna then that I wanted to get a copy of her book to auction off for our adoption and she giggled with delight.

It was a done deal. Shauna grabbed a pen and signed the book with a flourish, a smile and a deep profound wish for our successful adoption and I for her baby’s birth. She’s truly a lovely girl, that gluten-free chica.

I learned that we had more in common than I originally thought. I am a teacher and she was teacher. Our journeys to that profession were rather similar – both pursuits of passion that brought us to that calling. Her passion has pushed to her write… mine pushes me to blog like a random internet spammer but with great zeal and joy.

We both met the Loves of our lives and knew it when it happened. It was a done deal with them too.

And now we venture in to parenthood via blogging together.

And our journeys to Celiac? Well, all journeys are distinct and personal. While Shauna and I are of the same age group, our parents had amazingly distinct food preferences when we were children. 🙂

Shauna’s book does a great job of giving a voice to the gluten free journey. It is uniquely her journey that she takes us through – and for that, I thank her. As through her stories, she introduces people to gluten free foods that only 8 years ago, when I was diagnosed were unheard of/not as common. And this was just FIVE years before Shauna’s diagnosis.

At the time of my diagnosis, I was lead to believe that my life would no longer include croissants, pizzas, breads, wrap sandwiches, cupcakes, etc. I was told to just not “eat anything white – like bread, pasta, etc.” Not super helpful – but thankfully we’ve come a long way, baby.

Shauna’s book will not only lead you through her life, however, but she introduces her passions for finding new foods and includes several recipes for you to try as well. Above all, I am thankful for her voice to our “cause”, if you will.

Are we a “cause” really? Us gluten free eaters? Not really, in my opinion. But I can say that she has helped empower countless bloggers, readers, recipe testers, chefs, etc to begin to push forward into the land of not just “suitable” or “edible” items for the gluten free diet, but rather DELECTABLE, DELICIOUS and WONDERFUL foods too.

In fact, let’s just say my lavash wraps, cupcakes, yellow cake and pizza crusts are now the preferred items for my gluten and gluten-free eating buddies and family! This is FAR cry from the duffel load of “muffins” (or bricks) that my Love and I hauled to Rome for our honeymoon so that I could have some “bread”. Please note I am using the term “bread” here very liberally. In fact, after attempting to eat just ONE of the $60.00+ worth of “bread”, we promptly deposited all of the pre-wrapped, nuclear-fallout-ready “bread” into the trash. I’ve felt guilty for years that we didn’t leave a note to warn the hotel maid of the heft of the trash can that morning. I sure hope she didn’t sprain a back muscle while attempting to lift up those bad boys to dump them out.

But with gluten-free bloggers and books, sparks of change are everywhere. Now at the bookstore, you can find a dozen or more cookbooks – but just as many authors! (Versus before, two authors, two books!)

And Shauna’s book? The personal journey to help and food joy? It’s here too. And now it’s up on auction. (Click here to bid, if you can! PLEASE!) FYI: The auction ends on December 9 at 11:28PM PST.

If you can help us raise funds by bidding on this auction, please know that we SINCERELY appreciate your help in bringing our little one home.

Many happy dreams to all…. and may they include your own little images of comfort and love. For now, my dreams are filled with toes, wrinkled noses, sweet lips and curled fingers……

GF: Dessert, thanks to Burt

Sometimes the best things in life are the things we don’t often stop long enough to contemplate.

Take for example the rare sunshine (in the PNW) through my skylights in the living room. Both Max (our black lab) and I were lounging in the sunshine on Saturday for as long as it lasted. (I swear some part of me in solar-powered.)

Other examples?

  • Watching dragonflies hatch in the summer.
  • Listening to my love roll with laughter while he watches “Human Tetris” on YouTube (for which I absolutely MUST thank my student profusely for the introduction).
  • Early morning birds chirping.
  • Sun breaks in an otherwise cloudy day that spurs you on further.
  • And meeting new people.

Today I met Shauna (Gluten Free Girl) and her love, Danny. It was a lovely chance to meet another blogger face to face and chat about life. And it was refreshing to talk about the many things in life beyond what we eat. In fact, that was hardly a topic of conversation at all.

We talked about travels in Italy, blogging, wedding cakes, pregnancy and babies (adoption for us), and more. It was a lovely time and I left to enjoy the last rays of sunshine on my way home as she prepared for a cooking class they were going to be teaching.

I mention this meeting because she graciously signed a copy of her book for me to somehow (if I can figure this out) “auction off” to the highest bidder here in an attempt to help raise funds for our own bundle of joy. Adoption is an expensive option. Sadly for us, it’s the only one left. But that, that will have to wait until I figure out how to do it. (Any ideas? Feel free to drop me an email!)

So instead, in the sun, I thought back upon the reasons why children make you thrive.

I thought about the lifetime of love I have to share with my love and how maybe if we would have met earlier, things would be different? No. That’s really not it. We’re perfect as is – and I truly believe that there is always a greater plan in action. Things happen when the happen for a reason.

Uncle Burt & Aunt Betty

Take my Aunt Betty. She’s an amazing woman. At the age of 80+, she went on a canoe and camping trip through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota with her boys (in their 50s). She’s not slouch, either, let me tell you – she was carry heavy packs and all.

My Aunt’s husband, Burton, was a wise man. He knew what a wonder Betty is and his admiration and esteem for her was obvious when you saw them together. In fact, even though they had dated in high school, both Betty and Burton had married others and had kids. It was only after their spouses had passed that Betty and Burton reconnected.

At their wedding, several decades since they had been in high school, both of them had dance cards that they had saved from long, long ago with the other’s name on it. Neither of them knew that the other had saved the dance card until that day.

Things happen for a reason, don’t they?

Burton was an amazing person in his own right. I truly enjoyed all of my conversations with him and the sparkle in his eyes when he spoke and told jokes. And, Burton was an excellent cook. He made the most wonderful brisket I’d ever tasted. (No worries, I have the recipe!)

Better than the brisket though, was Burton’s ability to bring the simple flavors together for an amazing dessert. He brought muskmelon to the table and proceed to slice it up. On each plate he placed a slice of muskmelon, topped it with a small scoop of lemon sorbet and then squeezed a lime section over the top.

Oh. My.

It was all I could do to savor every bite as slowly as I could despite the melting sorbet. (It was July, after all, and even in Minnesota, for those of you who don’t believe me – it gets DANG hot!)

Oh it was wonderful.

So on Saturday, after absorbing as much sunshine as the clouds would let me have through the skylights, I ran my errands. I had to go to the store for some items for our potluck (with the Foreign Exchange kids) that evening. And of course, sun-inspired, I picked up some sorbet and melon too.

I modified Burton’s recipe mostly because I didn’t grab the right kind of sorbet (I grabbed raspberry, not lemon) and then the modifications just kept coming. Strawberries? Oh yea, those looked too good to pass up. Lime juice? Hmm… Why not try Limoncello liquor. Oh yea. That was a winner too!

A simple dessert with many, many thanks to my Uncle Burt.

Uncle Burton’s Simple Dessert
1 cantaloupe, sliced into long slices for serving on a plate topped with other ingredients or cut into pieces for serving in a glass or bowl
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 small container of lemon or raspberry sorbet
1 lime or 1 Tablespoon Limoncello (per serving)
*mint leaves for garnish *optional


  1. Cut and prepare fruits.
  2. Layer fruit (cantaloupe and then strawberries) into your serving dish.
  3. Top with one small scoop or 2-3 melon ball sized scoops of sorbet.
  4. Either squeeze fresh lime juice on top or pour 1 Tablespoon of Limoncello on top for each serving.
  5. Can be served with fresh mint leaves as garnish as well.

Ah. A little bit(e) of summer in the spring time.
Thanks, Burton.

%d bloggers like this: