Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gluten Free Flour Tortilla Recipe

Wow...I haven't posted a recipe in ages! I figured it was time that I did and I just had to choose my new, favorite thing - gluten free flour tortillas.

I hadn't eaten a flour tortilla since going gluten free several years ago. What a shame, since I love them so much! They do have them at my local grocer, in the freezer section, but I've never tried them. Aside from the fact that store-bought gluten free ANYTHING is super expensive, I've found that anything frozen usually tastes awful. So I decided to try making homemade flour tortillas and it worked out perfectly! There are a couple of things I'd do differently next time, and I mention them below the recipe. I used my Kitchenaid to mix the dough, since it was a gift from my children, but you can also mix the dough in a food processor or even by hand.

If you give this recipe a try, please tell me how it works out for you!

  • 2 cups  gluten free all purpose flour (I used Pillsbury. Just be sure yours has Xantham Gum)
  • 4 Tbs. shortening (I used vegetable oil, but you could also use room temp coconut oil)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 to 1 cup warm water

© 2016 DIY Mom Blog, Susan Barton

Combine the flour, salt and shortening in a food processor or mixer, mixing until it turns into a fine, grainy consistency (only takes a couple or so minutes). Slowly pour the water through the feeding tube until the dough begins to form a ball. The amount of water needed may vary, so keep an eye on it. You can always add a little more flour if you find you've allowed the dough to get too sticky. If you've made dough of any kind you'll know what to look for. 

Wrap the dough in plastic. Let it sit while you heat up an ungreased skillet. Pinch off a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball. You can either use a tortilla press or roll it with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to form your tortillas. Roll to the size you want your tortillas to be…thin enough to remain pliable, but not too thin or the dough with crack. Fry in the heated skillet for less than half a minute or so on each side, turning with a spatula. Watch for slight browning. Don't over fry or your tortillas will become tough and brittle. Gluten free flour can be annoyingly unforgiving. Enjoy!

© 2016 DIY Mom Blog, Susan Barton

*My tortilla press is the smaller kind, more like for corn tortillas, so my tortillas were kind of small and thicker than I’d like. I’d either get a larger tortilla press or roll them by hand next time. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oliver and Jumpy's Latest Book Installment is Another Wonderful Children's Book!

I LOVE children's author Werner Stejskal's Oliver and Jumpy book series! Stories 52-54 continue this awesome story collection.

These stories are the latest three in the Oliver and Jumpy series. They include:

  1. Oliver the Babysitter
  2. Smoke Over the Sea
  3. Raindrop

As before, readers follow the adventures of Oliver the dapper black and white cat, and his best friend Jumpy the Kangaroo. In Oliver the Babysitter, Oliver learns he’s about to become an uncle again. His sister is expecting her fourth baby and needs Oliver to babysit her three current little ones while she's in the hospital. Oliver soon finds that minding children is a difficult job. Young readers will be amused by Oliver’s adventures and mishaps. There’s a lovely ending and some valuable lessons for children.

In Smoke Over the Sea, Oliver finds that someone is sending SOS smoke signals. As usual, Oliver and his friends are quickly willing to help out. When things don’t exactly turn out as expected, Oliver uses his smarts and ingenuity to save the day.

In Raindrop, readers follow an imaginative story about Droppy the raindrop and her friends. There’s some wonderful kid-friendly science lessons at play here!

As always, I enjoyed these three new Oliver and Jumpy stories. Werner Stejskal continues to write wonderfully engaging, clever and educational books for children. I’m always so impressed by the detailed and gorgeous illustrations too. I highly recommend the Oliver and Jumpy series of books for children, parents, grandparents and caregivers.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

This book is currently FREE on Amazon:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Orphan Dani by Simon Driscoll Book Spotlight and Excerpt

  • File Size: 7031 KB
  • Print Length: 124 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Az Publishing Services, LLC; 2nd edition (December 15, 2015)
  • Publication Date: December 15, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English


Dani is a young orphan girl, living on the streets of a medium-sized border town. Her only friend in the world is a dragon. At fourteen years of age, she should be starting her apprenticeship, but all her schooling has come from a dragon. The same day he promises she can some day become a dragon herself, a Mage finally comes looking for her. But is he there to help her, or control her?

Simon Driscoll loves fantasy adventure books and spent years researching magic in many worlds. Now he's created a world of his own, where dragons, swords and scorcery cross paths in this exciting young adult adventure series.



Simon Driscoll has published several books, including the Dragons’ Bane Chronicles, and the Warriors & Watchmen series. Writing is his passion, as well as his hobby. He studied creative writing in college to learn the mechanics of written stories. He has been influenced in his writing by great authors such as Sir Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card, to name only a few.

Simon has been a student of the scriptures all his life, and feels passionately about helping others understand them better. The most difficult aspect of scriptures to comprehend is prophecy. That is why Simon has combined his passions for writing and the scriptures to create a fictional account of the fulfillment of End Times Prophecies. The first book in the Warrior and Watchmen Series was published in 2015.



Smooth stones shifted beneath my feet as I limped toward the dragon’s cave. Anger buzzed in my head with no outlet. Two miles of walking on a sprained ankle hadn’t helped my mood, or the injury. In addition to the ankle, which continued to complain with every step, my left eye felt swollen from a recent blow. The blow itself didn’t bother me so much. Instead, I was concerned by why she hit me and how I got away.

Two miles south lay Barrington, a village sandwiched between the kingdom of Puji and the mountains of Goldoon. Almost five thousand people lived in the village, including the families who had taken me in. Every winter for the past six years one family or another had taken me in as a housekeeper or cook, and shared what little food they had with me; rarely enough to truly satisfy me, or them. Eventually they would start to resent having me there. Thus every year, around the start of spring, I would find some reason to leave.

This year, the reason had reached out and grabbed me by the throat, literally. There was no real love for me there, and hadn’t been since my nanny died almost six years ago. Why should they care about a little orphan girl?

The cave before me wasn’t the adventure others might see. I wasn’t here in a vain attempt to gain treasure or impress someone with my bravery. No one else in the village knew there was a dragon nearby. For me, this was my one escape from the cruelty of the world. The only place left where someone showed me kindness instead of hatred and violence.

The last few feet were the trickiest of all and my injured ankle gave out. I scraped my hand on the cliff in a failed attempt to stop my fall.

“Cortiban’s bones!” The curse escaped my lips. Frustration boiled over and I had to close my eyes to contain the anger. Pulling myself up by grabbing the face of the cliff before me, I put all my anger to the task of overcoming the pain. I kept my eyes shut as I limped through the protective magic hiding the mouth of the cave. If someone watched as I entered, they would see me walk through solid rock. A protective spell hid everything inside. Now the magic hid me as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked by Maggie M. Larche is a Fun and Silly Read for Kids

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked is a fun and silly book for middle-graders. It's currently FREE on Amazon!

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked is a middle-grade chapter book that centers around one school day adventure. Charlie has a crush on his teacher, Miss Walker. When Miss Walker’s antique clock goes missing, Charlie and his friends have to find it before one of them ends up in detention. What follows is a series of slapstick antics, mishaps and wacky kid-friendly escapades.

This is a silly story that will appeal to both boys and girls between aged 8 and 10. It has plenty of action and I was happy to see that it models some excellent problem-solving skills for this age group. The vocabulary is ideal for this group and the book is fairly short (just eight chapters), so it’s a book that can be enjoyed by youngsters quickly and easily. Recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Paint Blob Figure Art

I love Carla Sonheim's art and wanted to give her ink figure art a try. I didn't have any ink, so I used watered down black acrylic paint. Using a messy, well-used brush I painted two paint blobs and added the figure. This is a super simple technique, which can be easily altered to fit your own style. You could also try making your figure's base using Sharpies or oil pastels like I did in the last two photos below. Go ahead...give it a try!

"Fran" © 2016 Susan Barton

"Gramps" © 2016 Susan Barton

"Redhead" © 2016 Susan Barton
Made with Sharpie instead of paint.

"Redhead 2" © 2016 Susan Barton
Made with Oil Pastel instead of paint, and a little bit
of watercolor for the background. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dark Fire by Angela Dorsey is an Excellent Book for Young Girls

Lisa’s life has been turned upside down. Her parents have lost their family home and, along with it, Lisa’s beloved horses. She misses Jupiter the most, but at least the kindly new homeowner, Mr. Pickering, allows Lisa to visit the horses whenever she likes – until his evil nephew, Jimmy, shows up. Lisa is forced to visit the stables under the cover of darkness, for fear of alerting Jimmy. It’s becoming clear to Lisa that Jimmy is willing to do anything to keep her away from Mr. Pickering and the horses. Fortunately, for Lisa, a mysterious and beautiful stranger named Angelica arrives to help.

What a wonderful story this is! I LOVE books that place girls in strong protagonist roles and Dark Fire certainly does this. Ms. Dorsey has written a story about a young, determined girl who is fearlessly devoted to her friends, family and horses. She’s willing to risk anything to right the wrongs she sees. This makes Dark Fire an excellent book for young girls in particular.

There’s plenty of mystery, action and suspense in this book to keep youngsters involved until the very end. The writing is compelling and intelligent.

The idea behind this story is lovely – that there are kind and gentle souls who are watching over horses and their owners is a charming basis for a book series. I’ve already downloaded another one of Angela Dorsey’s books and can’t wait to read it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Uncle Amon Book FREEBIES


© Uncle Amon Books

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Uncle Amon is running an awesome promo on a bunch of his books. There are plenty of freebies to grab during this promo, so download them while you can! Several Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas books are included!

You can check out the Uncle Amon collection here.