How Big is Your Tea Tin?

Rerunning this favorite article today in honor of the Tumblewood Tea ladies who are hosting a TEA this evening (scroll down for the cookies we are serving :-))…

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19 (NKJV)

On a sunny March morning, the wind blew me through the door of this charming tea company in Big Timber, Montana.  Smiling faces and an inviting tea showroom beckoned me inside.  My goal was to find the largest tea container for my upcoming article, but I was treated to even more.

Tumblewood Teas founder, Riza Gilpin, graciously ushered me from one tea room to the next. Huge tea bundles from around the world were carefully organized on pallets from floor to ceiling.  Separate storage rooms contained organic teas, with another room for potential allergens such as coconut and almonds.  In the backroom, individual bags of the latest blend were carefully sealed and labeled.  And a bucket of Montana honey was delivered to the back door.

My final stop on the impromptu tour was the showroom where all the latest tea blends can be purchased.  I selected four to give as hostess gifts on an Easter trip to family:  Chico Cherry, Montana Almond Joy, Petticoat Peppermint, and Custer’s Nutty Rooibos. I’m hoping my family will give me a taste, but if not, I can always stop back and see Riza and Laurie and the Tumblewood Tea gals for more.

Beside the front door as I headed out, stood a rack of tea tins from around the world.  Awesome! What a beautiful collection, fitting so well with my devotion, “How big is your tea tin?”  But none was as big as the bundles I witnessed in the storerooms that day.

The wind blew me back to my car.  While I took a sip from my well-loved Tumblewood Teas tumbler, I pondered all I had learned on my short visit.  Did you know green tea’s water should only be 175 degrees, not 212 degrees that comes out of my boiling tea kettle?  If the water is too hot, the leaves wilt, giving you a bitter flavor.

Our lives can be like that, too, bitter because we fall into hot water.  Sometimes it’s our own doing, and other times it comes from outside sources. Regardless of its origin, the bitterness is a result of our fallen world.  Ever since Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, we’ve needed a Savior to make life sweet again.

I have Good News for you!  There is a God who loves you, who created you, who knows you, who sent His only Son Jesus to die for your sins.  All who believe in Him enjoy the sweet blessing of His forgiveness and comfort for life’s bitter moments.  And there is no tea tin in all the world that can contain His love for you!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, I invite you today to sit down with Jesus for TEA.  Find a BIBLE and a quiet spot, sip your TEA and read God’s Word, savoring the sweetness.  Then as you pour yourself a second cup, pour out your heart to Jesus in prayer.  He will give you more than all you ask or imagine.

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

Jennifer Grace lives in Big Timber, Montana, home to the esteemed Tumblewood Teas company.  Her mission is to invite ladies to TEA with the King of kings.  Jennifer Grace’s new book, My TEA CUPP Prayers, is now available in Big Timber at Tumblewood Teas, The Fort, Touch of Sunshine Flowers, and the Coffee Stop.  It’s also available on Amazon.

And here are the Zucchini Cookies we are serving with our tea…

Ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup grated zucchini, it’s okay to leave on the skin
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 package Enjoy Life chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine all the dry ingredients together in one bowl:  rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Stir in the grated zucchini.  Next add the dry ingredients and walnuts, mixing well.  Finally, stir in the Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Use a small scoop to spoon the cookie batter onto the pans, 12 to a pan.  It should make four batches, or about 48 cookies.  Bake each pan for 15 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy.  48 cookies should last a long time, but somehow these always disappear in two days at my house!  Enjoy!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Gluten-Free Choc. No-Bakes

While I’m camping with my family, please enjoy this summer recipe…

When it’s summer time and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen, or perhaps your oven broke like ours did last month, it’s time for some No-Bake Cookies!

This variety of No-Bakes is gluten-free and dairy free.  The oats, coconut, and peanut butter make these a great energy-treat on a busy summer day.

Here Chef Joel whips up a batch…

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
In a large sauce pan, cook the coconut oil, milk, sugar and cocoa over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When it starts to boil, keep stirring and let it boil for one minute.  Then remove the pot from the stove to a pot holder on the counter.  Now add the peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until combined.  Add the oats and coconut, one cup at a time until well mixed.

Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper.  With a small ice cream or melon scoop, scoop the mixture onto the pans, about 20 per pan.  Place the pans in the frig to firm up. Now, stand guard, they will disappear quickly!  If you prefer them a bit softer, you could add less oatmeal.

Happy summertime, dear friends!

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine Cookies – GF

img_6224  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  John 15:13 (NKJV)

We love Valentine’s Day and we love cookies!  So, we had to make some gluten-free, dairy-free heart cookies again this year.  I first ran this recipe four years ago. My two-year old taste-tester Joel said they were delicious.  Now my six-year old Joel rolls out the dough and cuts the hearts for me!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

Cream coconut oil, Earth Balance butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  In another bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, xanthan gum, and salt  (I used 3 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour).   Add dry ingredients to coconut oil mixture, stirring until it is well combined.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough on your kitchen counter until it is 1/4 inch thickness. It might seem crumbly, but you can work with it to make it stick together. Use cookie cutters to cut out hearts or your favorite shapes.  Place cookies on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes, then cool on cooling racks.  Top with your favorite icing (I use a mixture of 2 T. coconut oil, powder sugar, almond milk, a dash of vanilla and food coloring, adding sugar and almond milk until it is just the amount and consistency I need).

Now you get to eat your heart cookies and share them with your family and friends!  Spread around some love today :-)!

p.s. This recipe makes great Christmas cookies, too!

img_6225For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. John 16:27 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Anna’s Peanut Butter Cups

It’s time to make holiday treats again!  If you’re like me, you are eager to try new recipes.  But often that is tricky if you need to make gluten-free and dairy-free confections.  My friend Anna served these at a gathering for homeschool moms this fall.  She had a bowl full of them in her fridge. They are so tasty, I don’t think a bowl would last very long in my fridge!

So this begins my Holiday Recipes section of Gluten-Free with your TEA. I thought it would be a blessing for my family to have all our favorites gathered together in one place.  If you are looking for some gluten-free, dairy-free Holiday ideas, these recipes are for you!  And enjoy these delicious treats from my friend Anna!

Ingredients:
Peanut Layer:
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Layer:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened baking cocoa)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey

Line a mini-muffin pan with 24 liners.  Make the peanut layer first.  Melt the coconut oil either in a pan on the stove or in a glass dish in the microwave.  Remove from heat to a potholder on the counter. Then stir in the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Mix well, then carefully spoon into your prepared muffin cups.  Set the pan in the fridge while you make the chocolate layer.

Next, make the chocolate layer.  Again, melt the coconut oil either in a pan on the stove or in a glass dish in the microwave.  Remove from heat to a potholder on the counter.  Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla, and honey.  Mix well.  Take your muffin pan out of the fridge. It is okay for the nut layer to still be soft.  Carefully spoon the chocolate layer over the nut layer.  Your muffin cups will be full to the top.  Place the completed peanut butter cups back in the fridge to harden for at least an hour.  Now stand guard at the fridge because these will disappear quickly!

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

zucchini cupcakesIt’s that time of year again…zucchini time!  Our vines are just bursting with these versatile veggies.  Already we’ve had them on the grill and baked in cupcakes.  To keep ahead of their production, we’ll have to shred or slice and freeze them, and share with all the neighbors.  Please holler if you you want any!  If you happen to have an abundance at your house, you will certainly want to try this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake (gluten-free and dairy-free).  It’s one of our favorites.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Gluten Free Flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-4 cups zucchini, coarsely shredded (1 medium zucchini)

Putting it together:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line muffin pans with paper, or grease and flour 3 round cake pans.

Mix together dry ingredients:  Gluten-free flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine coconut oil, apple sauce and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla to stand mixer, mixing well.
Add the dry ingredients and shredded zucchini to the stand mixer.  Mix 1 minute or until combined.

Portion batter into prepared pans.  Bake 35 minutes for cupcakes or 1 hour for cakes.  Baking time depends on moistness of zucchini.  Cool on wire racks and frost with your favorite chocolate frosting (we like ganache made with melted dairy-free chocolate chips and a bit of coconut milk).  Enjoy your zucchini season!

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Cereal Bars (GF & DF)

cereal barsIt was a day of celebration last year when I learned that Cheerios are now gluten-free!  One of my favorite breakfast cereals, baby snacks, GORP ingredient, etc. is now part of my life again! Thank you, Cheerios, for making your product gluten-free!

To celebrate, here is a recipe for your sweet tooth, using Cheerios and my favorite dairy-free Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  You might have to guard these delicious bars. They are disappearing quickly at my house!

cheerios

Lightly grease a 9×13″ pan with coconut oil.

In a large sauce pan combine:
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup sugar
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When mixture boils, remove from heat. Add,
1 cup peanut butter and mix well.
Quickly stir in
6 cups Cheerios, coating them evenly.
Spread the Cheerios mixture into the prepared pan and let rest for 30 minutes.

While that is cooling, melt
1 package (about 1 1/2 cups) Enjoy Life chocolate chipsenjoy lifeSpread this over the Cheerios pan.  Place the pan in the frig, allowing the chocolate to firm up a bit.  Remove from frig and slice into bite-size bars.  Your Valentines will love these!

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

My Gluten-Free Story

gluten-freeAnd He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34 (NKJV)

Everyone has a story. That’s what the “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, Understanding our stories in the light of God’s Word.  When we know our stories, it helps us share our testimony with others, encouraging them to follow Jesus.

But today I want to share a different kind of story with you, this story is how God brought me healing in a unique way. I share this in hopes that my readers might find healing, too. This is My Gluten-Free Story.

I have always had tummy troubles.  Forever there has been a bit of pain in my stomach area.  When my two oldest kids were little, I was diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain and IBS.  This was after several mortifying doctor visits where I was poked and prodded.   When our third child was born, I had an epidural.  It was the only time I could ever remember not having pain in my abdomen.  Too bad those epidurals wear off!

As my children grew, I continued to have tummy troubles, trying various supplements and healthy shakes to no avail.  We were praying for more children, but never thought about how my condition could be connected to the ability to conceive.

Finally, in the summer of 2009 we were expecting again, only to lose that baby in a painful miscarriage.  That very autumn, we were expecting again, and also lost the baby.  The following June, we lost a third baby soon after conception.  “Why is all this happening?” I pleaded with God.

At the time, we were working at a church camp.  I was in charge of ordering food from Sysco.  In the fall of 2010, Sysco offered a webinar for its customers about gluten-free cooking.  I chose to participate, thinking it would help me order the right foods for our guests.

The Sysco webinar turned out to say very little about their products. Instead, it went into great detail about Celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.  They discussed the symptoms of those with gluten-intolerance, including stomach pains and miscarriages.  They explained how the walls of the intestine are covered with little fingers called villi. These villi absorb the nutrients from food, providing nourishment to the body.  The problem for a gluten-sensitive person is the gluten wraps itself around the villi. This makes the person not absorb nutrients, thus causing miscarriages and other health issues.  The webinar also explained that a traumatic  event, such as a miscarriage, could cause a person who was only slightly sensitive to suddenly become gluten-intolerant.

So, there I sat in our camp office, expecting to make a shopping list for the dining hall. Instead, God gave me information to make some new healthy choices.  And that is what I did.  I went back to our house and announced to my family what I had learned, giving up delicious pizza crusts and cinnamon rolls forever, in favor of better nutrition for my body.

And guess what, it was exactly one year later, in the fall of 2011, that God blessed us with our fourth child.  God healed me and answered my prayers.

I still have tummy problems off and on, giving up dairy a few years ago, too. But I don’t catch as many colds, and I know that by eating gluten-free, I’m doing my part to keep healthy for serving the Lord.  And so I share my favorite gluten-free recipes with you, even some pizza crust that is thick and yummy like the real thing.  I pray that you will enjoy these recipes and be blessed with better health.

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.  Matthew 14:35-36 (NKJV)

 

Hot Cocoa Cookies (GF & DF)

Hot Cocoa CookiesMy boys picked out these Chips Ahoy Hot Cocoa cookies from the grocery store the other day. Oh, the torture of having these delicious-looking cookies on my counter and not being able to eat them!

So, I set about making my own version of gluten-free, dairy-free Hot Cocoa Cookies.  Gluten Free Mama Flour is my favorite for cookie recipes.  Coconut oil and applesauce replace the butter, making these soft and dairy-free.  Instant pudding and baking cocoa add the hot cocoa goodness.

As soon as these were out of the oven, my family was eating them instead of the store bought ones!  A day later, only half the batch is left.  Next we will have to find a padlock for the cookie tin!  I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do.

God’s blessings,
Jennifer Grace

Ingredients:
2 cups Gluten Free Mama Flour
(Almond blend or coconut blend, or your favorite GF flour mix)
3 T. dry instant chocolate pudding (half a 3.9 oz. box)
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

1 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Mini marshmallows

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients:  Flour, dry pudding, baking cocoa, xanthan gum, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat together the apple sauce and coconut oil.  Add the brown sugar and white sugar and continue to mix well.  Next, pour in the vanilla and eggs, beat until creamy.

Add half the dry ingredients to the stand mixer, blending 15 seconds. Repeat with the remainder of the dry ingredients, blending until all is incorporated.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips into the mixer and blend for just a few seconds.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a small scoop, scoop the batter onto the parchment paper, 12 to a pan.  Poke one or more mini marshmallows into the center of the cookies.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes.

Let cookies cool on pan for 2 minutes and then place on cooling racks.  Makes 36-40 cookies. Cookies will be moist and chewy, may be re-warmed in the microwave for 5 seconds to experience that authentic “hot cocoa” flavor.Hot Cocoa Joel

Our little baker was quite eager to clean the mixing bowl for me.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

 

 

Healthier Choc-Oat Chip Cookies

Healthy cookiesThe little baker is at it again, whipping up healthy cookies for his athletic brothers.  Here Joel re-invents the Choc-Oat Chip cookie.  It is now gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free, packed with goodness of oats and pecans for his active brothers.

We want you to know, YOU can make any recipe healthier!  Substitute gluten-free flour for flour, apple sauce for part of the shortening, flax seed for eggs, agave nectar or apple juice concentrate for sugar, and so on.  Try a few modifications each time, and you will invent your own new favorite cookies.

Healthier Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a stand mixer or big bowl combine:

1 cup coconut oil
1 cup date sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 eggs (next time we’re going to try a flax seed and water replacement)
1/4 cup coconut milk (soy, almond, rice or cashew milk will work, too)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix the butter, date sugar, agave nectar, eggs, coconut milk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, blend together the following dry ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup arrowroot or tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups gluten-free oats
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix well. Then add:
2 cups Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons onto the cookie sheet.  Flatten each dough ball with a fork, as you might with peanut butter cookies. Bake for 9 minutes at 375 degrees.  Makes about 5 dozen delicious cookies.  Store in the freezer.

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal PB Choc. chip

 THE BEST COOKIES!

These might be the BEST of my cookie recipes! So healthy and so yummy! Gluten-free, dairy-free, low fat, low sugar — perfect for tea time or any time!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 t. xanthan gum
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 cups gluten-free oats (I prefer quick-cooking)
1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients:  brown rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together, coconut oil, apple sauce, peanut butter, and sugar.  Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and cream together.  Stir in the oatmeal and chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto the prepared cookie sheets, 12 to a pan.  With a fork dipped in water, press the cookies to flatten.  Bake for 9-10 minutes.  Cool on cooling racks.  Makes about 4 dozen, but they won’t last long!

 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.  Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.