Dairy + Gluten Free Funfetti Cake

From January till the end of March, we celebrate all five of our birthdays. I know, it’s absolute chaos from pretty much having one big party after another. Really, the party never stops! But my love for baking really enjoys this time of year. I adore making my children’s birthday cake. To see their eyes light up when it’s all done, and their huge smiles when it’s lit up with candles. Such memories I know I will cherish my entire lifetime.

We just celebrated my middle child’s fourth birthday, and for her cake. She picked a vanilla funfetti cake! She loves sprinkles. And I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out a recipe so the whole family could enjoy the cake.

My son, who is currently breastfeeding is allergic to dairy, and I don’t handle gluten all that well. So I created a recipe that has no dairy and no gluten. The recipe steps are similar to making a cupcake. The creaming of sugar, and slowly adding the gluten free flour will help give your cakes a good rise.

I like to use vegan butter in this recipe, EarthBalance is my preferred choice. It tastes very, very similar to butter. Becel does have a great line of plant based butters. Both can be found in standard grocery stores.

You’ll see while reading the recipe “non-dairy milk”. It’s your choice what you would like to use: almond, oat, coconut or cashew. Be sure to use a non-sweetened non-dairy milk, or your cake will be one sweet treat.

For the flour, I recommend using a 1:1 gluten free baking flour. This has Xanthan gum in it which will help your cake texture turn out similar to all-purpose flour. Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred choice, which can also be found in standard grocery stores or online.

The best part of this cake is the sprinkles! the bright spots of colour as you cut into the cake. To help the sprinkles from not leaking as you mix them into the batter, and to stop the sprinkles from sinking to the bottom as the cake bakes. You need to take a tablespoon of flour, and coat the sprinkles in a smaller bowl. The outer flour barrier will help keep your sprinkles intact and in place.

My number one tip with this recipe is to cream the vegan butter straight from the fridge. The motion and heat produced from the mixer will be enough for this recipe. Vegan butter melts at a lower temperature than traditional butter, and letting it soften too much will make your batter dense.

And of course no cake is complete without icing, and yes this icing recipe is dairy-free also. And delicious might I add. No one would know that it is dairy-free.

Now let’s get baking!

Dairy + Gluten Free Funfetti Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups of 1:1 gluten free flour + 1 tbsp
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegan butter, cold.
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of non-dairy of choice
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles of choice

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8″ inch pans.
  2. In a small bowl, coat the sprinkles with 1 tbsp of gluten free flour.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the vegan butter until creamy and fluffy. Roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Add sugar in slowly till thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix in one egg at a time, making sure the egg is mixed in before adding the next egg.
  7. On low speed, add half the flour mixture. Beating until just blended.
  8. Add all of the non-dairy milk and vanilla extract, beat till just blended.
  9. Add the rest of the flour mixture, beat till just combined.
  10. Add in the sprinkles, gently fold 5 times with a spatula. Do not over mix or the sprinkles colour will start to leak in the batter.
  11. Pour the batter evenly into the baking pans, bake for 20-25 minutes till golden brown and toothpick comes clean.
  12. Allow time to cool before icing the cake.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Icing

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup vegan butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp non-dairy of choice

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream vegan butter for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
  2. Gradually add one cup of powdered sugar at a time.
  3. Beat in vanilla, and one tbsp of non-dairy milk.
  4. Continue to beat, and gradually keep adding a tbsp of non-dairy milk till desired consistency is reached.

I really hope you enjoy this delicious cake and be sure to tag me @thejaclynyvonne in your creations on social media!

Transitioning to a Montessori Bed

Our third child has been nothing but different in the sleep department, compared to my two oldest children. I don’t want to say difficult, because what sleep pattern is normal? But it’s safe for me to say that he loves his Mama, and co-sleeping is his preferred sleeping arrangement.

Since our son was five months old we have been working relentlessly to get him sleeping in a crib. We have tried many sleeping methods, many tactics, I joined countless Facebook groups, stalked multiple sleep consultants on Instagram, I even paid a sleep consultant to help us. By the end at ten months old, I was laying in the crib with my son. Like a wannabe ninja, I would climb in and out. In hopes that one day it would just magically work.

Finally one day, we said ENOUGH! We took apart the crib and got it out of the house. We just knew it was never going to happen. The “cry-it-out” method wouldn’t work because we discovered when my son was six months old, he vomits when he cries. And crawling in and out of a crib throughout the night is not the greatest on your body. We knew to get our son out of our bed, we were going to need to do a method we have never done before. A technique that would be gentle on both him and I.

I say me, because mentally all this “sleep training” was exhausting, pretty much draining. I felt like a failure. Most of it stemmed from going into sleep training my son naively. Thinking I was a professional after successfully sleep training my two oldest children. I quickly discovered I am no professional. And it took me a while to realize that every child is different, and it’s not that I was doing something wrong. We just hadn’t found the right technique that suited his personality and needs.

We knew right away that we were going to need to do a mattress on his bedroom floor. Cut him off from our room cold Turkey. But a large bed not only for his safety, but for our comfort during the night. I tortured myself by squeezing in and out of the crib for months, and it was horrible. I’ve learned that success not only comes from meeting your child’s needs, but yours also.

So we got a queen mattress and laid it out on his bedroom floor. Spent an afternoon baby proofing his room for safety, and hunted around the house for blankets and pillows to protect him. We are planning on building a Montessori bed frame with a railing. For now we are testing out this sleeping technique before we commit the time and money towards the new bed frame.

The plan is to just get him comfortable with his new room. It will most likely involve me being there to help him fall asleep, and me going in throughout the night if he wakes up. He still feeds once a night, usually around 1am.

From there, I plan on staying in the room but patting his back and not going in his bed. We want him to drop needing me to sleep, so we can move onto me hopefully not being in the room at all. In the near future I will be weaning him from breastfeeding. So having me out of the room, and hopefully not needing me to sleep with help with weaning our son off breastmilk.

But, we understand that this will take a while. It’s not going to be a one week success story. We are taking a couple, maybe even few months. There is no rush this time around. As a busy household of five, the extra stress from being on a timeline is not beneficial for anyone.

What I want you to take away from this post is that there is NOT one way to parent. Something that may have worked for one child, may not work for another. There are so many factors, and it’s not because you’re doing something wrong. Trust your gut, your heart and do what is best for everyone.

And try not to get caught up in what other parents are doing or saying. It’s easy for “Melissa” down the street to give you a ton of advice on what she did for her kids. Take it in, but don’t let it make you feel guilty.

Just know you are doing a great job!

I will keep you all posted on this transition, so stay tuned!

Homemade Drink for Colds and Flus

Our house has been hit with the flu not once but twice in February. With the kids being back in school, and more socializing in the community. It has created some not so great illnesses that are spreading like wildfire. And with a household of five, these illnesses tend to drag on.

Thankfully everyone is on the mend, and we have our fingers crossed that March will have less sickness in our household. Because seeing your little ones sick is hard, especially with the flu wen there is not a whole lot you can give them, especially for the vomiting. Usually whatever you give them just comes right back out.

The most important thing you can do is keep your child hydrated. This is key, and I know how frustrating it can get when they can’t keep anything down. And it makes you a vet nervous parent. What helps us with the flu is a homemade Pedialyte beverage. I started making homemade because sometimes you don’t have the opportunity to go out to the store and get what you need. Or have someone who can get it right away. You can easily make your own at home that will help hydrate your child and tastes pretty yummy. You’ll wat a cup for yourself probably too.

But what makes Pedialyte so great when sick with the flu? It contains a high amount of sugar, which can be a useful energy source. For my recipe I like to use honey. It is a natural sugar, with many benefits. Feel free to use Maple Syrup also. I highly recommend a natural occurring sugar, compared to white processed sugar. Especially when you or your child is having a hard time keeping food down. It also contains sodium which can help with fluid loss. That is why, you will see salt in this recipe. I highly recommend using sea salt, or Himalayan. More than just table salt for this recipe, but if that is all you have. That is ok. This recipe is intended for those “we really need this moment’, when you don’t have time to go to the store.

To give this drink a yummy flavour is the use of herbal tea. Many teas contain benefits. I love to take my girls to tea stores so they can pick their own and then I stock up. Some of our favorites are Sunny C and 9 Berries from David’s tea. Be sure to use herbal tea, with no caffeine. If you don’t have any on hand. Substitute the tea with a splash of juice and one cup for water.

Now let’s get your little ones feeling better!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brewed herbal tea
  • 2 tsp of honey
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Brew your tea and allow it to cool.
  2. Mix in your honey and salt.

It really is that simple. If you need to make more, you can just double this recipe. And feel free to serve warm or pour over ice. I usually put it in a larger cup with a straw for my children to slowly enjoy as needed.

Be sure to tag @thejaclynyvonne in your creations and I hope everyone is feeling better soon!

Easy Fried Rice

Life with three can get pretty crazy, and I can’t live off scraps and leftovers everyday. So I love to cook up some fried rice to keep me going throughout the day.

I feel like fried rice isn’t made enough because people are intimidated by the recipe, even though it’s actually quite simple to make! And you only need a handful of ingredients.

What is great about fried rice is that you can cook a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week, and it keeps great in the fridge. So when it’s time to cook, you just have to scoop and go! It helps cut down the cooking time!

And feel free to use whatever rice you have. White rice is the go-to for a traditional fried rice recipe. But if you have brown, that works also.

I usually make mine with just egg for protein, but feel free to add in chicken or ham to give this meal some extra filling. You can add in the cooked meat when you are cooking the egg. Very simple!

Enjoy! And don’t forget to tag @thejaclynyvonne, I love seeing what you all cook up!

When your Motherhood isn’t happening by “the book”…

Motherhood has many ups and downs, especially in your first year. You are jumping hurdles, and taking sharp turns trying to figure out how to raise a baby. All while attempting to balance life for yourself. And sometimes you come across events where you feel like you are failing horribly! Like you are skydiving and your parachute won’t open.

Our third child has had quite a few struggles in the sleep department. First he boycotted napping in his crib. We tried for almost six months. We created new routines, different schedules, we paid professionals to help us, I even was sleeping in the crib by the end. Yes, I managed to squeeze into a tiny crib and sneak out with out waking him. I stressed, I lost sleep. I felt like a failure that I couldn’t get my third child to sleep in a crib. Even though my previous two babies had no problems.

Then his naps have been become more difficult over the last couple months. Again, my previous two babies were champions in the sleep department. My third….not so much. So now we are playing around with his naps, and it looks like we are dropping him down to one nap at eleven months old. Even though “experts” say children shouldn’t drop down to one nap till about fifteen months.

As a Mom of three, and also taking many hours to assess our situation and looking back at all my parenting adventures. As well as talking to an amazing community of Mothers. I am here to tell you that every child is different. And that Motherhood and parenting does not always “follow the book”. Books, social media and the internet are guides. They aren’t the rules for parenting. And I know how easy it is to get caught up in “what you should be doing”, but what you should be doing is what you and your child needs. Not what chapter eight says.

I understand it is a hard concept to let go of when you have social media, the internet and professionals sometimes telling you otherwise. But honestly, you need to do what is best for you. It’s as simple as that.

For us, I took apart the crib and sold it. We are now setting up a full mattress on his bedroom floor and dropping him down to one nap. I am sure he will flip flop between one to two naps over the next couple months. But I believe he does not need as much sleep. That is just the child that he is, and some children require less than others.

What I also want to highlight, is that you should not compare yourself, or compare children. Each child is their own. They have their own personality, likes and dislikes. Just because Becky’s kid is sleeping through the night, doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.

Focus on yourself, your parenting and what your child needs. And if that is them sleeping on a big mattress on the floor than that is what they need.

I felt the need to write this blog post because as a Mom of three, I really got into my head the last couple of months over my son’s sleep. I felt the guilt, felt the frustration and anger. Even a veteran Mom like myself, all Mom’s can still experience these range of emotions. So I just wanted to put this out there to help any Mom’s who feel like their failing to know that you aren’t.

Take a step back, take a deep breath, sit down and reevaluate what the situation is.

And know you are not alone!