The Birthday Girl Turns 8

Jenna and more friends (2)

This past week my daughter turned the ripe old age of 8.   Aw to be that age again or for some of us would say no thank you.  I guess it all depends on your experiences growing up.  For me I say it was difficult but those experiences made me who I am today and I wouldn’t want that to change one bit!

As for my daughter she shared her birthday with a loving family and her closest 13 high energy  friends 🙂  It was a little snowy and chilly as you can tell by all the little red noses.  But they had a blast!  How about you?  I remember those days when the temperature outside didn’t affect one bit the amount of fun you were having 🙂

We spent the day out at Open gate Ranch.  What an awesome place to have a party or just to visit and take some lessons.  The people who run it are so kind.  They are so happy  to help you in whatever way they can.  As for Jenna’s party the kids had a blast!  Here’s their link if you would ever want to check them out.

Jess (Stemmler) Stein and her sister Emily Stemmler made it so much fun for our kiddos.  They showed them all about the care of the horses, played games and then of course everyone’s favorite ridding the horses.

outside with more horsesHere are some of the kids outside learning about horse care from Jess.

Jenna and her friend Alyson with Nugget

Here’s a picture of Jenna and Alyson brushing Nugget.  He was such a good boy and loved the attention!

Here they are all lined up getting ready to play a game.  Jess and Emily had a unique way of teaching them about the different way a horse can run, gallop etc.   They had so much fun doing it, thanks Emily and Jess!

Jenna in the bathing stall

Jenna riding a horse (2)

Above is Jenna riding the horse named Joey.

Tyler riding at Jenna's partyDavid and Tyler on horses

Your never too old to ride horses at your sister’s/ cousin’s birthday party.  Tyler and my nephew David where good sports they hopped up on the horses and went around like the rest of the kiddo’s and of course did it with a smile!

Tyler at Jenna's 8th bdayJenna’s friends are learning the meaning of gluten free eating these days.  Some of her closer ones even check labels for snacks to make sure Jenna can have it before coming to visit, that’s super sweet!

Planning a gluten free party now a days is pretty easy.  Once you become familiar with what is available and what works and what doesn’t it all comes together.

For Jenna’s party we stayed with the cowgirl theme and birthday party staples. Also I don’t know how cowgirl it is but there was lots and lots of pink, Jenna’s favorite color.  What we had to eat was hamburger bbq, baked beans, bologna, cheese, grapes, strawberries, lots of chips and an amazing birthday cake baked by my friend Heather Unangst.  Heather bakes for other food allergies as well.   Heather doesn’t have celiac disease herself, she is just a super sweet person who felt a need to supply wonderful baked goods for others with food allergies.  So that everyone could enjoy!   I think that’s pretty awesome!

Jennas Bday cakeJenna 8th bdayMom and Jenna at bday partyThis cake was so moist and so delicious!  People that we where meeting for the first time didn’t know it was gluten free till I told them.  Heather and I talked about how we love when that happens 🙂  I can bake but when it comes to decorating that’s a whole different story, thank goodness for the Heather’s of this world!

I am so excited that she gave me permission to share her recipes here.  Jenna’s cake was half vanilla and chocolate and where it met in the middle it was marbled and it was so yummy!

 So if you would like to make a super yummy birthday cake for your kiddo, here is what you’ll need if you don’t have a Heather in your life 🙂

Gluten Free Chocolate wacky cake:
3 cups of gluten free all purpose flour (recipe from this blog) with 1 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cocoa (use a 1/4 cup and press cocoa x3 to equal the 3/4 cup) I use Hershey’s cocoa
2 tsp salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP vanilla (I use McCormick artificial vanilla)
I mixed all the dry ingredients first and mixed well then added the rest of the ingredients. Once all mixed and blended- then add 1 TBSP of baking soda. Mix well
Grease and flour 9×13 pan with either organic shortening or butter and flour with flour mix. Pour batter in prepared pan let sit for 30 minutes then bake at 350 degrees for approx 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
*When baking for a half sheet size cake use  1 and 1/2 of what the recipe calls for and add an extra 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. It may take a little longer to bake. It rose about 3/4 the height of the 9×13 pan.
After taking it out of the oven let the cake set about 10 minutes before flipping it out of the pan. Let cool completely before icing.

Gluten Free Vanilla butter cake:
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 sticks softened butter
3 3/4 cups gluten free all purpose flour + 1 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum(recipe on this blog)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. ( I used the rice flour mix and added approx 1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
*To make buttermilk- add 2 TBSP of vinegar( reg clear) to a 2 cup measure then fill rest of cup with milk. I have used skim milk,1%, and 2% milk- they will all work, but I found the 2% works best. I usually make this first and set aside before I mix anything else.
After mixing buttermilk and dry ingredients,
Cream together sugar, eggs, and butter till thick consistency
Then add flour mix and buttermilk to creamed mixture, alternating dry with buttermilk. Batter will be thick.
Bake in 9×13 greased and floured pan. Grease with butter or organic shortening and flour with above flour mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for approx 35 minutes. If top starts to brown and center is not done, turn heat down to 325 til done baking. Done when knife comes out clean.
Let set before flipping out of pan- I let it set about 10 minutes.
Cool before icing

Gluten Free Butter-cream Icing:
2 sticks of softened butter
2 lb. bag of confectioner sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
Pinch of salt
Add water a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.
*For chocolate icing- do above recipe then add cocoa to desired taste- will also have to add more water for mixing.
*For peanut butter icing-
Use only 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter and then add remainder of above ingredients.
*For gluten/dairy free:
In place of butter, use 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of organic shortening. Add the rest of above ingredients. I found this icing a little runnier than normal butter-cream icing, but you can still ice a cake and it tastes good. *Here’s a tip to  try 1/4 cup of coconut oil an 3/4 cup of organic shortening – might make icing a little stiffer.

Rolled Butter-cream Fondant:
1 cup of Karo-syrup red label
1 cup shortening ( I used organic shortening)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp clear vanilla extract ( I use McCormick)
2 lbs of confectioners sugar- sifted
In large bowl, stir together the shortening and Karo syrup. Mix in the salt and vanilla, then gradually mix in confectioners sugar until dough is stiff. If using a mixer use dough hook or knead by hand. It helps to add a little confectioner sugar at a time. Store in airtight container at room temp or in the refrigerator.
Roll out on clean surface dusted with confectioner sugar til 1/8 ” thick or thinner. Doing this recipe gluten free makes the fondant crack a little easier and palm oil has a lower melting point, so it gets a little more oily as it is handled- you may need to add confectioner sugar to mat and rolling pin while mixing.

Hope this recipe and our family stories encourage you and in some small way make your day a little more brighter!

Jeremiah 29:11

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