Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

Gluten free strawberry rhubarb crisp bars are one of the best spring and early summer desserts!  Strawberries and rhubarb are in season in May and June in Minnesota, so if you’re looking to cook and bake seasonally, this would be a great time to use them!

If you have an abundance of strawberries and rhubarb in your garden, you could always chop them up and put them in ziplock bags in the freezer.  Then you can make this later in the season too!

When I saw rhubarb at the farmer’s market this last weekend, I immediately thought of my Grandmother.  As a child, I would often snack on rhubarb from her yard.  This will be the first year I get my rhubarb from the farmer’s market instead of my Grandparent’s garden, a bittersweet moment.

Last year, my grandparent’s house was sold.  This was the place that I grew up in, next to my own home.  It was where all of the best childhood memories happened.  It was where my Grandparents made me feel like I was someone who mattered.

I know that farmer’s market rhubarb will be just as good as Grandma and Grandpa’s.  However, there will be a little part of my heart that will always cry and smile at the same time at any mention of rhubarb.

After I brought the rhubarb home I thought immediately back to my childhood days again.   My Father would always make a delicious rhubarb crisp.  Unfortunately, my Dad’s recipe was not gluten and oat free.  Determined to have one of my favorite childhood desserts, I set about scouring the internet for a decent alternative.

Sadly, I didn’t find any recipe that fit my needs, so I improvised.  It turned out great!  So great, in fact, that I gobbled up almost the entire thing myself!  My kids were not happy with me.  Ha!

The next time I make this, I’m going to make 2 at once.  Maybe the kids will get a piece or two.

I hope you love my recipe!  Let me know if you try it!

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
Serves 12-16
Shortbread Base
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
2 cups gluten-free flour mix

Crisp Topping
1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix
3/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup almond meal (optional)
6 tbsp unsalted butter(cubed about 1/2 TBSP chunks)

Strawberry Rhubarb Center(Prepared Last)
12 ounces or 2 cups of quartered strawberries
12 ounces or 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
1/4 cup gluten-free flour mix

Shortbread Base
Preheat over to 325.  Grease 9×13 pan, line with parchment paper (optional), grease again.  Blend butter and sugar well.  Add in flour until smooth.  Press dough into a pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Increase over to 350.

Crisp Topping
Blend flour, brown sugar, and almond meal.  Add butter and mix until crumbly.  Chill in refrigerator.

Strawberry Rhubarb Center-Make Last
Chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces.  Quarter strawberries.  Toss with sugar and flour.  Immediately spread over shortbread.  Use hands to crumble crisp topping over strawberry rhubarb mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Turn off oven and allow to remain in oven for additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven to cool.  Once the pan is cool, you have two options.  1. Refrigerate for more solid bars to transport and display for a party or 2.Eat immediately if you enjoy them warm!  Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Best Dessert EVER
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Allergy Website Links

Corn Allergy & Intolerance
Corn Allergy & Intolerance Group on Facebook
This group is wonderful.  They have a tough love approach to weed out any dangerous exposure risk.  It’s one of the fastest ways to learn about what is safe and what isn’t.
Make sure to check out the notes section.  They have links to all sorts of helpful information.

Corn Allergy Girl
This website stays up to date on the corn free world.  If you want to know what to avoid, this is a good place to look.  There are also printable medical lists, should you ever need to go to the doctor or the emergency room.
She’s got 3 great lists called Where’s the Corn?  These lists can help you find the hidden corn in food, medical and non food items.

Milk Allergy & Intolerance
Go Dairy Free
This was my go to site for eating out at restaurants.  Obviously this was also before our corn and wheat free days.

Peanut Allergy & Intolerance
Peanut Allergy
It has everything.  Peanuts are the deadliest for me, but the easiest to avoid on labels.  Thankfully anything with or made in a facility with, must be labeled.  Too bad there isn’t a warning label for public situations…

Guilt-Free Cookie Balls

Guilt-Free Cookie Balls

I’m not sure that naming these “Cookie Balls” sums up how delicious and nutritious these little treats are.  Not only are they full of natural vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, they taste like something one should feel guilty over.  Thankfully, unlike classic cookies, these will leave you feeling full and satisfied, without the guilt.

Nutritious, Guilt Free, Cookie Balls
Cookie Balls

I discovered that these work wonders for morning sickness.  I had heard that protein can help lessen morning sickness.  So with my last pregnancy, I made a large batch of these and snacked on them whenever I started feeling nauseous.  It worked marvelously!

Nutritious, Guilt Free, Cookie Balls
Cookie Balls

My kids love these.  When I make them, I have to hide some or they’ll gobble them all up.  I make sure to set some aside for my youngest and myself so that we have something allergy-friendly to snack on while the non-allergy big kids have their snacks.

Cookie Balls
Makes 20-24 Cookie Balls
35-40 Chopped Dates
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Almond Meal
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1 TBSP Coconut Oil
2 TBSP Organic Grass-fed Butter
1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes

Mix all Ingredients, except coconut flakes, until well blended.  Add coconut flakes and mix until blended.  With your hands, take about a tablespoon or two, depending on how big you want them. and roll the mixture into balls.  I like mine to be bite-sized for less mess.  The smaller, the better, for little mouths.  I find they store well for at least a week.  They might last longer, but they are so good that they usually get eaten up before a few days have passed!

Work Begins

We started working on our new home right away, in the dead of winter, still with no heat.  Our home had been winterized.  The heating system uses radiators and had been completely drained.  So until things thawed, we didn’t want to risk filling the system with water and springing a leak.  We put 2 space heaters in an upstairs bedroom for the children while we worked.  Whenever we got too cold, we would also go in there to thaw.

Working on the Exterior
Working on the Exterior

As the weather started to warm up, we were thrilled to get outside and work on the exterior.  The yard was filled with debris.  We were very fortunate that my parents were able to come help out often.

Unfortunately, it was still too cold to run water in the bathrooms.  We all had to take bathroom breaks at Walgreen’s up the road.  Sometimes we used bathroom breaks as as excuse to explore town.  We found a dairy co-op up the road that sells chocolate shakes for $1.00!  As fun as exploring was, we all looked forward to our friend Marco from helping us sort this and the day we could enjoy the convenience of indoor plumbing again.

Our New Home

We first viewed our new home in February 2011.  With no heat, it was a bit chilly at -15, even indoors.   Is it possible to fall in love with a building?  This old house has a bunch of little rooms, unlike modern open floor plans.  Although I love open floor plans, to me, this means a lot of wall space for hanging artwork!

I was a little nervous when we first considered moving to this town.  I had heard of it, but had never been here.  It seemed so far away compared to the cities.  How would I survive being so far away from everything?!  How could I cope being away from everyone I knew?

As it turns out, our town is a hidden city.  Quite the hidden gem.  The longer I’ve lived here, the more I’ve loved it.  We have all the local amenities with a lot of small town charm.  It’s great!  I’d say the only downfall is that we live off a highway, so it can get a bit noisy.

Here are some images of our first viewing!


RV Beginning

In the beginning of our RV adventure, I was simply a dreamer.  I’d spent years saving, researching, planning and searching.  I have always wanted to travel the world, starting in our own backyard, the U.S.A.  I’ve dreamed of opening my children’s eyes to the love of the great outdoors.  I want them to breathe fresh air, run through the woods, bask in the sun, dance in the rain, climb trees, swim like fishes, and be FREE to be children.  I want to explore new places with them,develop and quench our thirst for knowledge, bond as a family, and grow intellectually.

IMG_1882-2After several RV’s that we had planned to purchase fell through over a 2 year period, I felt defeated and decided to take a break.  On a whim, half a year later, I pulled up my search on Craigslist on my phone.  As soon as I saw the ad, I immediately emailed them.  This one, had all the features I wanted, plus something I’d never seen before, 4 bunks in back.  How perfect!

The only downfall was that the price was more than I had saved. Nate and I decided to use our both our savings.  We theorized that this RV didn’t need any immediate repairs, so the extra costs we had planned on spending on a possible fixer upper, made this a savings in the long run.

I reviewed all of my questions to ask and only asked the most important ones over the phone.

Were there any issues with the engine? No
Did the air conditioner work? Yes
Were there any leaks or was there anything wrong with it structurally? No
Was everything in working condition in the interior? Yes, but they’d never used the furnace for heat, so they didn’t know if that did.

At the meeting I had to stifle my giddiness and try to remain calm and professional.  I brought Nate, the kids and my parents with me.  My sisters also came along to help watch the kids.  Unfortunately, since it was so late at night, the ATM had a limit of what we could withdraw from our accounts.  So we were $500 short of their asking price.  After asking a bunch of questions, we informed them that we would take it, and explained that we were short on cash.  I asked if we could take it tonight with what we had brought with.  They said no, there were a lot of offers and ours was the first.  Well, darn.  We decided to return the following morning.

I had only been able to view the inside for a quick tour.  Since they had dogs, I couldn’t breath very well inside.  They were kind enough to air it out overnight so that I was able to check it out inside again.  Having already decided to purchase and all the questions had been answered satisfactorily, I didn’t think to go poking around.  I wish I would have.

Once we got home, we brought out our air purifier.   I vacuumed and removed the curtains to wash.  I scrubbed EVERY surface. Doing so, we noticed the front mattress had black mold on the bottom that had eaten into the mattress and down into the plywood.  Disappointed, I knew we would have to toss the mattress out and replace the wood.

Then it rained.  I went out to the RV to stock it up with a few things the following day and I noticed the carpet was wet in places, the front mattress was sopping wet and there were weird black tar spots on the counter.  Our RV was not as leak free as they claimed it to be.  Nate and I thought that perhaps it was just because we had gotten a lot of rain and that water had leaked in through the air vents.  I made sure the air vents were secure and use towels to absorb the water.  The next rain did not result in wet carpet, so we put it out of our minds.

I can't wait!
I can’t wait!

As the weeks rolled by, I prepped our RV in every way possible.  I printed check lists and put them in a binder.  I stocked food and emergency supplies.  We put sheets on the kids beds and let them bring out one or two small things.  I eagerly anticipated our first trip.  Having drained our funds on the purchase, we had to wait awhile before we could head out on the road.  The waiting was incredibly hard, but all good things are worth waiting for.