Gluten-free German Pancakes (just as good as the wheat version!)

The deliciousness has landed!

Since my diagnosis with Celiac Disease a year ago, I have slowly been expanding my repertoire of gluten-free breakfasts. This has been one of the very easiest. I love to whip this up, put it in the oven, and let it bake while I make the kids' lunches and help them get ready for school. Even my not-a-morning-person daughter, who often tries to skip breakfast, will eat several helpings. In fact, she's the one who said, "These are just as good as the gluten version!"

I first got the idea for making German Pancakes gluten-free while staying with my sister-in-law. She made them with sorghum flour. They were a little heavy (similar to German pancakes made with whole wheat flour), but still quite tasty, and I realized that this recipe had potential. She recommended I try oat flour (lighter and less strong taste), which I did, and that's how I've been making them ever since. If you cannot tolerate oats, I recommend trying sorghum flour (for a heartier version) or experiment with brown/white rice flours, millet flour, and so on.

[For those without gluten issues, here is my delectable gluten version. I still miss them just a little.]

Top Ten Tricks for Early Potty Training Success

Are you interested in saving money? Conserving resources? Preventing diaper rash, UTIs, and constipation? Side-stepping years of changing diapers containing "man-poops"? Do you want a greater range of choices for preschools? Would you like to avoid potty training an uncooperative 3-year-old? Then early potty training just might be for you.

If you want to try early potty training, it's as easy as taking off your child's diaper, and plopping them on the potty every once in a while.  Here are my best tips for successful early potty training, based on my experiences potty training my second and third children.

9 Ways to Limit Your Family's Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: Top Tips for Parents and Parents-to-be

Recently I was asked what advice I had for parents or soon-to-be parents who want to limit their family's exposure to toxic chemicals.

In putting together this post, I've thought long and hard about my response. I've been in those shoes and when you first try to learn more about toxic chemicals in everyday products it can be extremely time-consuming and overwhelming. And at a time in your life where you are already probably quite overwhelmed and short of time! This post is my advice for busy overwhelmed parents who want doable, affordable steps that will significantly limit their family's exposure to toxic chemicals.

Toxic Teflon: 10 Ways to Minimize Your Family's Exposure

To learn more about the story of toxic Teflon, read last week's post:
Toxic Teflon: How a Deadly Chemical Evaded Regulation and Ended Up inside 99.7% of Us

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) or C8 is an essential ingredient in Teflon and for decades was used in a huge range of different products (nonstick cookware and bakeware, pizza boxes, coatings for eye glasses, waterproof clothing, and stain-proof coatings for carpets, to name a few). Because of exposure through consumer products and due to exposure as a result of the disposal of millions of pounds of chemical waste into the air, water, and landfills, 99.7% of Americans have PFOA in their blood. (source 1)

Studies have tied PFOA to an incredible range of health effects throughout the body, often even at very low exposure levels. These health effects include:
  • ovarian cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • lymphoma
  • reduced fertility
  • arthritis
  • hyperactivity
  • altered immune responses in children
  • hypotonia, or 'floppiness,' in infants" 
  • ulcerative colitis
  • high cholesterol
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • thyroid disease
  • testicular cancer
  • kidney cancer
(sources 1, 2)

The story of toxic Teflon is a horrifying illustration of our broken regulatory system, and proof that consumers cannot rely on the reasonable assumption that if something were truly dangerous, companies wouldn’t be allowed to sell it.
In some ways, C8 [or PFOA] already is the tobacco of the chemical industry — a substance whose health effects were the subject of a decades-long corporate cover-up...And, like tobacco, C8 is a symbol of how difficult it is to hold companies responsible, even when mounting scientific evidence links their products to cancer and other diseases. (source 1)

While U.S. companies have participated in a "voluntary" (read "unenforceable") phase-out of PFOA, the not-so-different replacement chemicals industry is now using instead appear to be just as problematic. (source 3)

Does What I Do Matter?

In the face of this kind of information, it is easy to feel outraged but also helpless. However, I take the same stance with PFOA that I do with all other toxic chemicals I learn about. While I cannot eliminate my family's exposure, I can refuse to support these companies financially and minimize my family's exposure to PFOA (as well as the novel “fluorochemicals” that have replaced PFOAs in consumer products) whenever possible. Here are some ways to do that.

Toxic Teflon: How a Deadly Chemical Evaded Regulation and Ended Up inside 99.7% of Us

There is a prevailing sentiment among well-meaning people who don’t want to be unduly influenced by alarmists and worrywarts: if something were truly dangerous, they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it. Unfortunately, this logical line of thinking has been disproven time and again as a result of our broken regulatory system. The story of Toxic Teflon, as recently laid out in The Intercept’s three-part series, is a horrifying illustration of this fact. 

DuPont Suspected Teflon Harmful for Decades

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid), also known as C8, is an essential ingredient in Teflon (first introduced in 1946). DuPont is by far the leader in PFOA use and emissions in the U.S. Due to recent court battles many internal documents from DuPont have been uncovered, including “write-ups of experiments on rats, dogs, and rabbits showing that C8 was associated with a wide range of health problems that sometimes killed the lab animals…[and] hundreds of internal communications revealing that DuPont employees for many years suspected that C8 was harmful and yet continued to use it, putting the company’s workers and the people who lived near its plants at risk” (source 1).

Kids Need to Hear Good News about Environment

Recently I've been reading and writing about How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott P. Sampson. The chapter on "The Rewilding Revolution" included a passage that grabbed my attention:
"One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is an optimistic outlook on the future. Particularly for kids in early childhood, avoid negative stories about the natural world and the declining environment. This can lead to emotional detachment rather than caring. Recognize, however, that kids in middle childhood will likely be getting a doom-and-gloom message about the state of the world, even if it doesn't come from you. It's important to listen to kids' fears for the future, to respond honestly, and even to share your own fears. Equally important, however, is balancing any fears with positive, hopeful stories of change, stories that demonstrate how people are working to solve the problems, and how youths can be part of this critical work." (emphasis mine)

Would you like more ideas and tips about Going Green Gradually? Sign up for my free email subscription to get each of my posts delivered to your inbox (I usually post one or two times a week). You can also follow me on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, or with your favorite RSS Reader. I hope to see you again soon!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. Thank you for your support. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Eco-novice's Top Picks for Reusable Lunch Gear (based on 3 years of rigorous testing)

I have children entering the first and third grades and after packing four-years' worth of school lunches (plus innumerable snacks and lunches for summer and weekend family outings), I'm ready to tell you my very favorite reusable lunch products.

When it comes to reusable lunch gear my top priorities are: toxin-free (or in other words, mostly plastic-free); durable; and dishwasher-friendly. There is no way I am going to hand wash my two kids' lunch gear everyday, so I put a very high premium on dishwasher-friendly containers. I also want some products that are truly leak-proof, and able to maintain temperature (so that I could send hot and cold foods).

Gluten-free Goodness: Whole Grain Pancakes for the Whole Family

Some for now, some for later (see double recipe below)

I am coming up on 6 months since I was diagnosed with Celiac and started eating gluten-free. And in that time I have found that some of my whole wheat favorites have easy and delicious gluten-free versions, and others don't. For example, bread. Gluten-free bread is a tough sell for me since I still remember well the deliciousness of my honey whole wheat bread and the airy crumb and crunchy crust of an artisan loaf.  But pancakes! My gluten-free pancakes are just delicious! If I do say so myself.

One thing I've quickly realized is that most recipes for gluten-free goods are decidedly not whole grain. But after spending years tweaking recipes to achieve deliciously healthy whole grain baked goods with wheat, I'm not willing to settle for the fiber-less not-hearty un-filling recipes full of starches and white rice flour that so often populate my search results.

After much searching and experimenting, I present to you this delicious recipe for whole grain gluten-free pancakes. If you hate weight measurements, I'm really sorry (and I did include a volume approximation just for you!), but I have already been thoroughly converted to baking by weight with gluten-free flours. I dug a decade-old IKEA digital scale out of my cabinet and have never looked back. I find it much easier to pour rather than scoop out when dealing with all these types of flour. Baking by weight makes doubling or tripling a recipe easy-peasy too.

Often gluten-free recipes will say, "use 1 cup or so many grams of gluten-free flours," and then provide a list of about 300 different gluten-free flours you might use. As a gluten-free newbie, I did not find this useful. I want a combination of flours that will work and taste delicious right now!  So this recipe prescribes specific flours in specific amounts, but of course you can and should substitute your favorite gluten-free flours (although the mysterious properties of buckwheat may be why this recipe needs no oil) or fudge the amounts and flours based on what you've got on hand, as I often do. But here is my favorite version so far. The one I keep coming back to.

From Tech-Lover to Nature-Lover: Using Technology to Connect Kids with Nature

Can Nature and Technology Be Friends? 

Kids' overuse of screens and underexposure to nature seem to go hand-and-hand. But given the fact that technology is here to stay, and most likely will always sing its siren song to digital natives, I think it's best to harness that power to turn kids onto things I care about, like the natural world! Here are 8 ways to use technology to increase kids' interest in and engagement with the natural world. These suggestions are especially relevant for tweens and teens, who are pushed toward ever greater technology use by both school and peers.

Protect Your Family with Safe Sunscreen by Goddess Garden {Review}

This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood. All opinions are my own.

Get outside!

As parents, it is hard not to worry about all the things in life that could go wrong. Unfortunately, there are risks even to simply enjoying the great outdoors! Where I live we have to contend with West Nile Virus from mosquitoes, Lyme Disease from ticks, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, accidental injuries, and, of course, skin cancer. Most people know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., but what you may not know is that rates of skin cancer have tripled in the last 35 years. Sun safety -- covering up and using safe, effective sunscreen -- is especially critical for children, since serious childhood burns can double a person's chance of developing skin cancer.

So does this mean we should avoid spending time outside? Of course not! After all, the benefits of spending time outside (and the risks to spending too much time indoors) cannot be ignored either! The amazing benefits of time spent in nature include: reduced stress, better attention and cognition, better immune functioning, decreased anxiety and depression, and an extended lifespan! While time indoors exposes you to indoor air pollution as well as health problems associated with a more sedentary lifestyle. Recently scientists have even suggested that too much time indoors may be responsible for the rapidly rising rates of myopia (near-sightedness) in youth.

The solution is clear: spend lots of time outside (we aim for at least 30 minutes in nature everyday!) but be aware of and mitigate the risks. We come inside at dusk when the mosquitoes are out in full force. We check for ticks after hikes. We discuss with our kids how to recognize and react to rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Whenever practical, we cover up with long sleeves, long pants, and hats while outside. And during the sunny summer months in particular, we wear sunscreen. Lots and lots of effective & safe sunscreen. Because some sunscreens do not effectively protect against UV rays, and others contain toxic ingredients that may actually increase your chance of cancer and other health problems.

Choose a Safe & Effective Sunscreen

When selecting a sunscreen for my family, I look for the following:
  • Mineral or physical sunscreens rather than toxic chemical sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens reflect sunlight and provide a physical barrier between you and the sun's rays while chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays. Chemical sunscreens such as oxybenzone are also known endocrine disruptors.
  • Broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays damage DNA and cause aging, while UVB rays cause burns. Both types of rays have been linked to skin cancer. 
  • No nano-particles (generally considered to be particles smaller than 100nm). Many sunscreens that use mineral sunscreens utilize nano-particles to avoid the sunscreen leaving a ghostly white sheen on your skin. But there are health concerns associated with applying super tiny particles to your skin.
  • Free of harmful ingredients such as Vitamin A/ retinyl palmitate (which may actually speed development of skin cancer), fragrance, hormone disrupting chemicals, liquid plastics, and alcohols. 

Garden Goddess Organics sunscreens offer all the above and more!
Goddess Garden sunscreens use only mineral sunscreens, provide broad spectrum UVA/ UVB coverage, use only safe non-toxic ingredients, and are free of nano particles. In addition, they are
  • Certified organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO
  • Biodegradable and reef-safe (so important if you spend time in the ocean!)
  • Made with recyclable packing 


We have been using Garden Goddess Organics products for over a year. Last summer we used Garden Goddess sunscreens nearly daily for swim lessons, beach trips, hikes, and other frequent outdoor adventures. While wearing the sunscreen as advised (reapplying every 2 hours, or more often when in water), we never got burnt. It rubs in easily and does not leave any ghostly white residue. We love the convenience of the continuous non-aerosol spray and trigger spray for wiggly limbs ready to jump in the pool, run across the sand, or hit the playground. Garden Goddess makes the only safe and non-toxic sunscreen spray I am aware of, and it’s the only spray I have ever considered using. We use the tube lotions almost daily on our faces. The sport sunscreens offer 80 minutes of water resistance and are perfect for swimming and beach days, or active outdoor adventures that will involve lots of sweating!


So get outside and enjoy nature, worry-free! When you use Goddess Garden Organics sunscreen, you can protect your family against sun damage without any adverse effects on your family’s health or the environment.

Buy (with a discount!) Safe Sunscreen

You can try Goddess Garden Organics sunscreen yourself for free right now! Simply be one of the first 600 people to sign up for their newsletter. The first 100 people to sign up receive 1 oz tubes. I keep this size in my purse at all times, just in case I ever forget my regular tube. It is also a great size for travel! The next 500 sign ups receive free natural sunscreen sample packs (perfect for on-the-go!). Offers good while supplies last. Note: all free 1 oz tubes and sample sunscreen have been claimed.

You can purchase Garden Goddess sunscreen for 20% off now through July 31st with the code #SunSafeGoddess. Don't miss this chance to stock up for the summer!

Would you like more ideas and tips about Going Green Gradually? Sign up for my free email subscription to get each of my posts delivered to your inbox (I usually post one or two times a week). You can also follow me on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, or with your favorite RSS Reader. I hope to see you again soon!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. Thank you for your support. Read my full disclosure policy here.


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