The FPIES First Birthday Cake Challenge

My daughter has FPIES and if you don’t know what that is, believe me it’s a good thing. FPIES is ER visits, IVs, and stomach dropping fear due to crawlers and crumbs. It’s braving the scary world of new foods and frustration at the tiny pool of “safes.”  A few weeks ago I was visiting a friend and she had Chopped on. I had never watched the cooking show since our family allergies make anything they come up with unlikely to be insprational to our meal plan, but I did have an idea. I want the food network to create a show where the contestants have to create edible meals out of safe ingredients. Sometimes when I’m working in the kitchen creating a recipe I feel a bit like a mad scientist, a bit like an explorer and a bit like a gambler sitting at the table long past the time I should have packed my bags and gone home.

And then there’s the days when you beat the house that make it all worthwile!  After 5 months of slowly adding one food at a time to my daughters safes we are finally up to

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Apples
  3. Coconut
  4. Yellow Squash
  5. Beef
  6. Lamb

Yes, you read that right. At almost a year my daughter can eat 6 foods. She is acutely allergic to rice in all forms, bananas and avocados and due to that is not able to even try any grains, dairy, legumes, poultry or items related to her fails (like plantains).

At a time when most moms are picking out party themes and ordering a cake I’m scouring the internet looking for a way to create some sembalance of a celebratory dessert out of that list, because believe me any any FPIES mom knows making it through the first year of this condition deserves a celebration!

Today I stumbled across a recipe for a South Beach Primal’s Paleo Cinnamon Bun in a Mug and it hit me…A MUG CAKE would be easier for converting to FPIES safe! They usually have fewer ingredients to start with so I could possibly only have to sub a few things to get a recipe that might work.  I modified the original recipe, put it in front of my other kids to get an honest taste test reaction and BAM…we have a winner!

I hope this recipe helps others who just want a little bit of normalcy in celebrating their little ones! FPIES mamas this one’s for you!

FPIES Birthday Mug Cake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Telecommuting Tyrant’s FPIES Safe Coconut Flour Mug Cake.
Safe’s Needed:
Coconut, Apples, Eggs


2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash sal
½ tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coconut vinegar
1 egg
2 tbsp canned light coconut milk
1 ½ tbsp homemade coconut syrup

1 can coconut cream
4 tbsp homemade coconut syrup (to taste)


Mix all of the cake ingredients in a coffee mug, mixing in the baking soda and coconut vinegar last.
Microwave for 2 minutes.

For the icing scoop out the can of coconut cream into a cold bowl and use a stand mixer or beaters to beat it for three minutes or until light and fluffy. Add in the sweetener. I’ve used both coconut sugar blend it up in my vita mix into powdered sugar, or my homemade coconut syrup.

Make sure the cake is nice and cool Frost, and then stick in the refrigerator to firm up.



Pictures coming soon!


It’s Primal for the Win

I’ve been looking for a way to maintain my weight loss so far, keep losing slowly, and generally steering my family to a healthier way of eating.  I looked a more “lifestyle” diets than I care to write about, but in my love of all things real and natural this family is heading down a Primal road! Primal and Paleo share some common ground and this caught my eye. I’m a visual learner! More to come on how and what we will be eating. I’m teaming Primal cooking up with kid friendly and freezer crockpot preperation for a whole new way to eat healthy for fast moving families!

I grabbed this infographic from Pinterest! Follow me there! Click the button over ————->

Paleolithic Diet Explained
Learn more about the Paleo Diet.

Eggplant Parmesan…An Italian Eviction

eggplant parmesanImage by stringparts via Flickr

Recently I’ve been offered funny, entertaining advice as I near the end of my pregnancy. It cracks me up sometimes how this advice, offered in earnest, well meaning tones has survived for so many years. A few quick minutes of google searches and you can read for hours on things that will start or stop labor, ways to have a quiet child (yeah right I missed that one with Alex!), birthing quickly, you name it!

My favorite of the last few weeks has been the labor inducing Eggplant Parmesan. I told my husband about it, joked about making it as we got closer to our date, even sent him the link to this “baby making dish“.

Then today my mother in law called and invited us out for Italian. Now eating out for Italian food is a big treat around this gluten free, corn free, egg free household! Lucky for us the new kid on the block Maggianos offers a great gluten free menu I’ve been dying to try. I got a huge chuckle too out of glancing over the menu and Eggplant Parmesan being the first thing to catch my eye! We’re almost 37 weeks, have 25 days to go, so I’m not planning an Italian eviction just yet, but if it comes down to Pitocin vs Italian I know where I’m setting up shop!

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Great Gluten Free Maize Free Site

1 in 25 Americans has food allergyImage by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

In my never ending search for more information on cooking for someone with allergies, I came across this Gluten and Corn-Free Getting Started Guide.

I found the information very helpful and if you cook for or live with someone with food allergies, or have food allergies yourself, it’s a great place to start.

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Gluten Free Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

I love to bake, but have seriously tried to cut back lately. Sometimes though I just can’t help myself! My Mother in Law’s birthday was a few weeks ago and I took the opportunity to try out a few things that had caught my eye.

1. The Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes (thank you, thank you, thank you Betty Crocker)
2. The Boston Cream Pie Cupcake recipes that are flooding the foodie blogs

The results…FABULOUS!

The Betty Crocker cake mix got mixed reviews on several of the blogs I checked out so I used some easy suggestions like adding pudding mix and orange juice to dress it up. I added some custard cream I found of google and drizzled some chocolate ganache on top. So easy and delicious…hubby at 3 before I got them put away for the night.

Betty Crocker Cake Mix
Boston Cream Pie Custard filling recipe from Annie’s Eats

Chocolate Ganache Recipe

and a close up of the goodness…

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Gluten Free Goodness

Going gluten free had a lot of positive health benefits for our family, but man does it make shopping, cooking, and snacking a whole lot tougher. A few weeks ago I got an email from a great company called GoPicnic asking if I would be interested in reviewing some of their specialty snack boxes. They have vegetarian, kosher, and best of all GLUTEN FREE (GF) boxes full of great tasting treats. I immediately shot off a response offering to taste test anything they could send that was GF. Eric is also avoiding corn, but even then, 4 out of the 5 boxes they sent me were perfect for a quick after work snack, travel food, or best of all since he flies all the time, food to eat at the airport.

If you are looking to try these meals out I HIGHLY recommend the family pack of gluten free snack packs. Here are a few of my favorites. My son, husband and myself all took samples and tasted items in the boxes. We all loved the cookies, the trail mixes, and the beef jerky. My three year old didn’t care for the sunflower crunch, but I loved it. None of us liked the cheese in the boxes, but we’re all a bit spoiled with nice, fresh deli cheese. Outside of the cheese we devoured the boxes.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. The great people at GoPicnic have teamed up with us to give one lucky reader a sample pack.

Read how to enter below and spread the word about this great gluten free giveaway!

Contest Rules: VISIT, and then come back and tell me how you could use some of their boxes! Camp, back to school, travel, how could these meals make gluten free, or dealing with allergies, more convenient for you.

To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry. But for extra entries, you can:
* Tell your own story about how going gluten free has turned your life upside down.
* Tweet the contest with the following text “Traveling the Tightrope Gluten Free Giveaway—GoPicnic Makes Gluten Free Life Convenient:”. Leave the Twitterlink in your comment.
* Blog about the contest – add a link to Traveling the Tightrope and the Sponsor GoPicnic
* Add Traveling the Tightrope widget (on the right under the blogroll) to your site OR add Traveling the Tightrope to your blog roll.
*Become a Traveling the Tightrope follower.

One person will be randomly chosen when the contest ends on Friday, 21st at midnight CST. I will contact the winner directly through email or the blog link that you leave when commenting.

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The Beach Cake

I loved this cake! Not only was it right up my ally being pretty simple and yet impressive looking, it tasted fantastic! I’ll be the first to admit that I typically go overboard with my son’s birthday parties, but I did make an attempt this year to keep myself in check with everything but the cake.

Our decor consisted of a few inexpensive banners and one beach bucket full of snacks, some paper plates and napkins and we were set. We did go in with most of the family and get an inflatable water slide for Alex’s birthday present this year. Throw that in with a regular kiddie pool, and the inflatable soccer goal Alex got last year for his birthday, and my backyard became a kids inflatable land dream. 🙂

Then there was the cake. My brother joined our decorating team this year and made such notable contributions as the teddy graham chicken fight, and the bouy. My sister carefully crafted a kayak, helped with the bouy and served as general managing director of the decorations, and I was the brains behind the surfer, the beach babes, the lifeguard and the tree. All together we got a nifty cake that served the 50 or so people who came with very little leftover.

I used 3 boxes of funfetti cake mix to make the 11 x 15 cake, a thin 8 inch round and two cupcakes so I could test the results before the crowd. 🙂 Once both cakes were cook, I put them in the fridge over night to lock in the moisture. The day before the party I brought them back to room temp, arranged the 8 inch round in pieces to create the beach and added a crumb coat to make frosting it easier. Once the crumb coat had set for a bit I tinted store bough whipped white frosting with orange extract (colorless) and did a white layer over the entire cake. I quickly added finely blended graham crackers (they were powder like consistency) all over the beach by patting them into the icing. Then I tinted another can of whipped white frosting blue for the water and mixed it with the white to create white caps in the water. Then came the fun with the teddy grahams and gummy drops rolled and cut up into shapes. Here see for yourself!

The USDA is on my list!

USDA Organic SealImage by edlabdesigner via Flickr

I woke up in an off mood today. I had to deal with my Grandfather’s wake yesterday afternoon, a late evening phone call from my mother reassuring me everyone was okay in case I caught the news (there was a shooting at the funeral home I had left just a few hours earlier), and then I came out of a dead sleep to my husband yelling at my toddler for daring to be chipper before the sun had fully risen. All told, not a set of circumstances that would help anyone be in a good mood. I got my son out of the room, hoping my husband would catch a bit more sleep and wake up in a better frame of mind. Fast forward a bit and I hear “Ohh Traci this is going to make you mad,” …never a good sign.

Turns out MSN ran this article today,, and like any husband who knows his wife Eric instantly spotted that it was sure to set me off.

When I first started college I was premed. Shortly into that first semester I realized that my future was looking a little more green then red and I happily began following a course load that should pave my way into environmental lobbying. My family viewed it as eccentric but even at that point I knew there was something wrong with how we grow, process and store our food. With the rise in illnesses, cancer, and problems like diabetes becoming a household word, we are looking to medication to band-aid the problem instead of our lifestyle to solve it.

Although I wanted to pursue a career in lobbying my moral fiber would never let me work on an agenda that could harm. I find it irresponsible and ethically detrimental to society for high ranking US officials to knowingly discuss selectively banning known neurotoxins. As a firm believer in the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” I find it very disheartening that our government would seek to undermine their own label in the interests of big business. Many consumers, including myself, use that label to guide purchases that are better for our family. I for one will be very careful moving forward trusting a label that can so obviously be bought.

Ms. Robinson, I say shame on you!

My Kind of Weekend

(Warning: this is a long post since it contains two full recipes)

The holiday weekend has been absolutely wonderful. It was jam-packed full of projects and anyone who knows me knows that is just the way I like it. We did a lot of laying around, unfortunately a lot of cleaning up after sick dogs and a partly potty trained toddler, and best of all I spent a ton of time in the kitchen. Now that may not be every ones idea of a great weekend but when I have the time, there are few places I would rather be. Eric’s recent need to go gluten free has driven me to new creative heights and I have been quite upset when a new experiment went bad. Luckily this weekend was smooth sailing as I tried out a few new recipes that are bound to join our family favorites.

This weekend’s project line up:

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Gluten Free Buttermilk Bread
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Barber family recipe Strawberry Icebox Cake
Custom designed vellum wrapped votives
Apple Pie Popscicles

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Serves 8 or 9

2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of milk, room temperature
1 packet yeast (about 1 tablespoon)
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup corn starch (I used tapioca starch successfully)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 – 2 tablespoons sugar

FILLING (*see Ellen’s note at end of post)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped nuts – optional

¾ cup powdered or confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
milk to thicken (I used soymilk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In medium bowl, combine shortening and sugar. Mix well. Measure warm milk and add yeast to milk. Whisk well to fully dissolve (**see Ellen’s note).

Add milk/yeast to sugar mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix very well, being sure to remove all lumps. Dough will be quite soft (***see Ellen’s note).

Take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it out so it covers a 13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ square. Sprinkle sugar on the wrap. Lay ball of dough on top of that. Then pull out another sheet of wrap and gently lay over the dough. Pat the dough down into a roughly squarish pancake. Lift the top wrap up and then reposition it. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough in between the two layers of wrap. Occasionally you’ll have to lift and reposition the wrap because it gets “stuck” under the edges. You might have to occasionally flip the whole thing over. Make sure that when you’re done you’ve got ABOUT a 13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ square of dough.

Remove top piece of wrap. Combine filling ingredients. Spread evenly across dough’s surface. (Original recipe poster suggested leaving about a 1 1/2″ sugar free edge because when you roll the dough all the sugar shifts and fills this in; otherwise all the sugar spills out).Use the bottom piece of wrap to lift the edge of the dough and start to roll it up forming a long cylinder. Start with the sugary edge, which will be the center of your roll and roll toward the sugarless edge. Cut off or trim up the irregular ends of your “log”. Then cut into 8 or 9 slices of similar size, about 1 1/2″ wide. Place rolls into a greased round glass pie pan.

Bake approximately 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to make glaze. The amount of milk you use will depend on how thick you want the glaze to be. Stir until all lumps are dissolved. Drizzle over warm rolls if desired.

Gluten Free Buttermilk Bread

Liquid Ingredients:
3 Large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Oil
1 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk into which 4 tablespoons dry buttermilk has been dissolved.
Heat milk such that liquid mixture will end up at room temperature.

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Brown rice flour
1/2 cup Potato starch flour
1/2 cup Tapioca flour
3 1/2 teaspoons Xanthan gum
1/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 1/4 teaspoons Active dry yeast

Mix all liquid ingredients together and pour into breadmaker. Mix all dry ingredients, except yeast, together and spoon over top of liquid ingredients in breadmaker. Sprinkle yeast over dry ingredients, and avoid letting it touch the sides of the pan. On the Welbilt ABM3300, the settings are ‘Basic’, ‘Light’. I beleive this corresponds to your basic loaf settings on most machines. After bread is done, do not remove from pan until any ‘Stay Warm’ cycle is finished and the bread has cooled down.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Check out Ginger Lemon Girl’s blog for detailed recipe and instructions. These cookies were amazing; definitely not something you could identify as gluten free. I had to hide them away today in a cookie jar to keep from over-indulging.
Barber Family Strawberry Icebox Cake

Sorry the recipe is a closely guarded secret! ☺ But here’s a picture of the yummy goodness.

And probably my favorite project of the weekend…

Custom vellum wrapped votives for a wedding reception at the zoo.

No Pudge Fudge and other faves

So my sister came to town for the weekend (she makes more waiting tables here in Austin than in her college town) and chaos ensued. Late Saturday night as we were heading off to bed screeching tires and slamming brakes made sure it was going to be another late night. Turns out a freaking drunk driver hit my sisters parked car and bounced into my neighbors driveway, barely missing his garage. There were cops, firefighters, lots of paperwork and in the midst of it the rain started coming down.

So what’s a girl gonna do in that kind of stress…definitely time to turn to chocolate! So I introduced my sister to No Pudge Fudge Brownies :). If you have never tried them I highly recommend them. There is a flavor for everyone and the brilliant creator even added a single serving recipe that keeps me from eating the whole pan! All you need is the mix and lowfat vanilla yogurt. The yummy fudgey, one minute microwave goodness made the chaos all better until…

We woke up Sunday morning and Alex had Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. BOOO! No dull moments around here!