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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

October 9, 2014

Gluten-free Flours including Oat Flour! Yep it's true!

How do schools kill creativity?

Steve: "Standing in front of children"

This Week
Open Studios
Delicious Recipes from Lauren
Click to view our Business Directory

(Photos General) JefferyLuhn_Boywithguitar.jpgI've had a few adventures this last year, but this one I did not seek out.  While sleeping, a brown recluse spider (we guess) took a nibble on my cheek.  In the morning I woke up to a pulsing pain and hard lump on my cheek.  Over the next few days the poison spread until one ear, one cheek and my entire forehead were aflame with poison, literally a very noticeable bright red and caused a doctor visit!

I'm sure Jeffery Luhn, former photo-journalist, could tell you a few adventure stories from his travels around the world; he survived a stabbing, a small plane crash, snipers, cholera epidemics, and police detentions in Spain, Phillippines and Indonesia.  Jeffery gave up his dangerous occupation and brought his skills for noteworthy photography to us in the Monterey Bay region.  His Family Photography Workshop is a winner.  Check it out!

As children we think becoming a grown-up will be so great, and it is for a while as we experience the exhilaration of being out on our own. Then as life goes on we begin to realize that our entire lives are one long, learning curve.  Steve speaks eloquently, reflectively and thoughtfully  about his own journey and how it relates to raising our children.  You can catch Steve's workshop - for adults who love story, want to exercise their own imagination and share with their children.

I heard a wonderful talk on the topic of creativity in our schools.  Take the time to listen to this particular TEDTALK.  It may help you formulate good questions to ask when seeking the best school for your child.  Schools are offering open houses during the October-November. It's very eye-opening to see the variety of philosophies and practices in our area.  We are blessed with an abundance of "conscious" educators providing services for conscious parents.

We have three Family Pack tickets for this week's Watsonville Fly-in.  First three to email us with 1) your full name and contact info (email and phone) and 2) one friend who is not on our mailing list but would certainly enjoy the newsletter, win!  This Friday after 3pm is a big Kids Day with free hot dogs and drinks, the Disney Planes movie and more at the Watsonville Flyin. Bring a can per person to give to charity for entrance.

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend.

Have a great weekend, Parmalee


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  Gluten-free Flours including Oat Flour! Yep it's true!

by Lauren Hoover-West

(Photos General) LaurenHoover.jpgOat flour has a sweet taste without any bitter aftertaste like many other wheat free flours. It is great in baking and cooking since it holds together. It is the predominant flour used in my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem.

 Oats are high in protein, iron, thiamine, and fiber and low in fat. It is also cholesterol lowering and heart healthy! If you cannot eat oats, you can use other gluten-free flours such as Amaranth, Millet, Buckwheat, Sorghum and Teff either alone or combining them. 

If you prefer to avoid carbs, then you can use coconut flour and nut flours, but the texture is a bit different; and you may need to adjust the liquid content in your recipe. 

Play with these flours and see which ones you like and notice how you feel after you eat them. Each flour has a different flavor and texture so experiment around with them, both using them alone and combined.

I highly recommend that you buy Bob's Red Mill because they are a co-op that has dedicated gluten-free fields and facilities and they measure the gluten ppm(parts per million) which is usually 5ppm or below. It is the sweetest and least bitter brand I have found too. It is important to remember that oat flour is often processed in facilities which handle gluten-containing grains, like wheat, rye and barley. As a result, it can be contaminated with gluten, and people who are extremely sensitive to gluten may experience discomfort if they consume products made with the contaminated oat flour.

You can use it for your traditional recipes that call for all purpose flour(white/wheat flour). Start by using the same amount as your original recipe and if the texture is too wet, then add more 1/4 cup at a time until you have the right consistency. You can also use half oat flour and half of another gluten-free flours such as, Amaranth, Millet, Teff, Sorghum or Buckwheat or grain-free flour such as Coconut or Almond. 
I like to make my own gluten-free combination of flours so I get to choose what flavor profile and what my body responds to best. You do not need to add tapioca or potato starches or xanthan gum to these especially if you use 1/2 oat flour.

I do not use much rice flour for two reasons, first it is very high in carbohydrates and turns into sugar in the body which can result in weight gain and blood sugar issues. It does not have much nutrition either. Finally, rice and corn can mimic gluten in the body! So think twice before you use or eat rice or corn. 

Sadly many gluten-free packages products are using rice flour along with starches; and that is why I created a gluten & dairy-free Biscotti using GF Oat Flour which can be purchased on this blog and at Staff of Life! Give them a try. Even people who are not gluten-free even love them.

For more information and free recipes visit,


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  How do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes a case for creating an education system that nurtures - rather than stifles - creativity.

About Ken Robinson

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we educate our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. Robinson argues that we're educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. More than 28 million people have watched his TEDTalk on the web since its release in June 2006.

Robinson led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, an inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a look at human creativity and education.

Related NPR Stories

More Than 50 Years Of Putting Kids' Creativity To The Test

Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores

What Kids' Drawing Say About Their Future Thinking Skills



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  Steve: "Standing in front of children"

(Photos General) SteveSpitalny.jpgSomething Margret Meyerkort (longtime kindergarten teacher and mentor) said again and again resounds in my head as a sort of watchword of my personal striving. "Unless I develop myself, what right do I have to stand before the children?" One reason she said that is because the basic learning modality of the young child is imitation. Young children imitate what we say, what we do, and even more, how we are in the world. I am a teacher of young children, a parent, a grandparent and more. I want to be worthy of "standing in front of the children.' 

Alongside Margret's voice, in my head I hear the voices of self-doubt and unworthiness. They are the voices of fears and inadequacy. I don't want to see how imperfect I am. Our fears keep us from truly looking at ourselves. We all have shortcomings and don't live up to our own standards, and we all need the courage to take an honest look at ourselves. I need courage to look at myself especially if I might (and will) find inadequacies and shortcomings. How else can I change for the better if I don't see what needs to be changed?

When I find the things in me that I want to change it can be overwhelming. I do not like what I find, and there is so much to change. I can only keep up my search to know myself if I can find the enthusiasm to keep at it. I need to be passionately persistent in my inner search for self knowledge to be able to carry on with more and more and deeper and deeper discoveries of what I need to change. And I need this fire, this enthusiasm, this passion to make the changes. I need a wellspring of inner strength. (see previous post by Rick Hanson) Waking up is not easy. Making the changes is not easy.

I truly want to develop myself to become a free human being. What I mean is I want to be able to be free to respond in any situation, not to react based on my own lifelong patterns and conditioning. Becoming free requires diligent and persistent work, the hard work of truly waking up.  Read the rest>>>>


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  This Week

(Holidays) Halloween_MagicalGlassPumpkinPatch.jpg

Events in the Parks

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School Corner

Santa Cruz Waldorf PreK-8, Early Childhood Education Class


SSCDC Preschool Open Houses Tuesdays & Wednesdays


Ecology Action, Bike to Work/School Day 10/22


SC Waldorf K-8, Waldorf Alive! 10/15


Gateway School K-8, Open House 10/15


American Geosciences Institute, Earth Science Week Contests 10/12-18


Mount Madonna PreK-12, Art & Play in Pre & K


LitWits Master Classes High School, The Hound of the Baskervilles Class 10/17+ 24


SC Montessori Preschool - 8, Primary School Open House 10/19


Mount Madonna, Campus Tour Day 10/22

Spring Hill School K-6, Invention Convention and Open House 10/16


Santa Cruz Montessori Pre-8, Open House 10/19


Santa Cruz Montessori Pre-8, Lecture: Steven Hughes 10/22


Chartwell School 1-12, Open House 10/22


Mount Madonna PreK-12, Campus Tour Day 10/22


Monte Vista Christian School 5-12, Open House & Curriculum Fair 10/26


Tara Redwood School Pre-5, Call for a Tour




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Pre-K Mornings


The Art Factory


3 Hour Pre-K Art Class

in a small, charming
cottage setting

Weds or Thurs 9am-12noon

Indoor/Outdoor, Play,
Explore, Stories
and Lots of Art!


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Parenting is "thrilling, exhausting, hilarious, fun, frustrating, rewarding.... and requires constant vigilance..."

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Tune up Your Parenting Skills

Workshops for  Parents with Babies to Teens

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 Open Studios

Open Studios

Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County
The Cultural Council's Open Studios Art Tour brings artists and art enthusiasts together--from the redwoods to the sea
Date: Every Su and Sa (Oct 4-Oct 19) from 11:00am to 5:00pm

The Open Studios Art Tour is a self-guided tour with 300 studios open throughout Santa Cruz County. Art Tour information is available through the 15-month Artist Guide/Calendar, a Preview Exhibit at the Santa Cruz Art League, and on our website

The museum-quality, 15-month Artist Guide/Calendar, available for $20 at more than 50 locations in Santa Cruz County, includes a map of Open Studios Locations and contact information for each artist. Calendar sales benefit local arts and arts learning programs.

The Cultural Council's Open Studios Art Tour brings artists and art enthusiasts together--from the redwoods to the sea--in a celebration of the creative spirit. Welcome to the ultimate art adventure!

 First three weekends in October

South County - October 4th & 5th

North County - October 11th & 12th

Encore Weekend - October 18th & 19th

Guide and App available in September

We launched the Open Studios Art Tour in 1986 to connect artists directly with art lovers. Our program has become a model for art tours across the country. The self-guided tour gives 300+ artists across Santa Cruz County a chance to welcome art admirers and buyers into their studios. One of the most popular annual events in the county, the Open Studios Art Tour welcomes thousands of locals and visitors who come from all over to see the creative process at work and experience first-hand the artistic diversity of our community.


click to view website
view all details >>
Family Photography Workshop
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  Family Photography Workshop
Jeffery Luhn
Date: 10/11/2014 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm
Ages: all ages
Details: Family Photography Workshop!
Special Instructions: sign up through Cabrillo College Extension
City: Felton Phone: (831) 479-6331 view all details >>
Mission Cooking Demonstration
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  Mission Cooking Demonstration
State Park Mission
Date: 11/25/2017 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Details: Presentation of Ohlone and Spanish cuisine including hot rock cooking, tortilla frying on a Comal and baking in our Horno
Special Instructions: at the end of School Street off the Santa Cruz Mission Plaza
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 425-5849 view all details >>
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view all details >>
Second Annual Scotts Valley Glass Pumpkin Patch
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  Second Annual Scotts Valley Glass Pumpkin Patch
Chamber of Commerce Scotts Valley
Date: Every day (Oct 11-Oct 12) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Hundreds of pumpkins to choose from made by various glass artists
City: Scotts Valley Phone: (831) 438-3251 view all details >>
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view all details >>
Stories, Storytelling  and Making Stories for Young Children
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  Stories, Storytelling and Making Stories for Young Children
Steve Spitalny
Date: 10/11/2014 from 10:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: Adults
Details: Story Workshop with Steve Spitalny
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 476-8264 view all details >>
click to view website
view all details >>
Open Studios
click to view website
  Open Studios
Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County
Date: Every Su and Sa (Oct 7-Oct 22) from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: The Cultural Council's Open Studios Art Tour brings artists and art enthusiasts together--from the redwoods to the sea
City: Santa Cruz County view all details >>
Younger Lagoon Reserve Tour
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  Younger Lagoon Reserve Tour
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: The 2nd Su of every month from 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Ages: 10 years of age and older.
Details: Experience the wildlife and natural beauty of Younger Lagoon.
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
Monte Fireworks Extravaganza
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  Monte Fireworks Extravaganza
Monte Foundation
Date: 10/09/2016 from 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Details: Come, enjoy the Best Beach Party on the Central Coast! Monte Fireworks
Special Instructions: free parking at Cabrillo College
City: Aptos view all details >>
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view all details >>
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  Delicious Recipes from Lauren

(Photos General) Food_ChocolateCupcake.jpgChocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate can brighten you up no matter what is happening at that moment! Great for traveling or when you want an individual dessert neatly wrapped in its own packaging. Kids love this at parties! Adults can eat this small portion with much less guilt than a large piece of cake!

Yields: 24 cupcakes, regular size


3 cups gluten-free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill oat flour best), or Amaranth, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet or combination

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

1 teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt, fine

½ cup grapeseed oil or avocado oil

½ cup real maple syrup

¾ cup coconut nectar(low glycemic sweetener)

2 cups unsweetened alternative milk*(almond or sunflower are best)

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional or 2 drops coffee extract, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Oil pan with vegan Earth Balance or grapeseed oil or place paper liners into cups. 
  3. Sift all dry ingredients into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. 
  4. Measure out all liquid ingredients, set aside. 
  5. If using vanilla beans, cut in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds with the back of a knife.
  6. Whisk the vanilla bean into the wet ingredients to evenly distribute the seeds. 
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Place paddle attachment onto mixer and mix on low speed just until incorporated. 
  8. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, mix briefly until smooth.
  9. Pour batter into cupcake pan or liners filling ¾ of the way to the top. 
  10. Place muffin pan on a baking sheet. 
  11. Bake on the middle rack of oven for 20-30 minutes. 
  12. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake and it is done when it comes out clean. If it does not come out clean continue baking approximately 5 more minutes and continue to test.
  13. Cool on a rack until completely cool. Frost with "buttercream" or Ganache. Decorate with fresh berries or whatever you like. 

For transporting place cupcakes back into a clean cupcake pan or disposable cups. Insert a toothpick into all four cupcakes in each corner and one in the center so they are sticking up ¾ of the way out the top. Gently cover with foil, put into a large shopping bag with handles and place on the floor of your car and take it slowly around those corners! Trust me on the driving tip!

*Any nut or seed milk may be used. Coconut milk makes the cake too gooey. 


Chocolate Ganache Frosting

This makes a thick and fudgy frosting that can be piped onto cupcakes or spread over a cake.

Yield: 3 cups-enough to frost one 9x12 cake or double layer 8 inch round cake or 3 dozen cupcakes


12 ounces good quality dairy-free dark chocolate or chocolate chips(Enjoy Life) or Lilly's Stevia Chocolate Chips

1 ½ cups/1 can regular coconut milk (not light)

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

For sweeter frosting you can add ¼ cup coconut nectar or raw honey to the coconut milk, optional


  1. Place chocolate in a metal or glass bowl and set aside.
  2. Put coconut milk in a sauce pot and bring to a boil, remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. See note for sweeter frosting above-if using chocolate chips it will be sweet enough. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes and then stir with a whisk until smooth and well mixed. 
  3. For a shiny glaze over cake: pour directly over cake and let it set at room temperature for a few hours-do not refrigerate. Best when the cake is in a pan. If you are doing it over a round cake on a stand, pour half over it and let it set and then pour the other half so it doesn't all run to bottom of the cake onto the stand and not on your cake
  4. For a fluffy frosting: Chill the Ganache in the refrigerator, uncovered, until it is completely set and thick like fudge. Put into an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium-high speed until it is fluffy. For a really deep, dark chocolate flavor, add ½ cup dark cocoa powder, and mix on low speed until smooth and completely incorporated. For sweeter frosting you can add ¼ cup coconut nectar or raw honey to the coconut milk, optional. The amount of sweetener will depend on the bitterness of the chocolate that is used. Spread onto the cake or frost cupcakes with a star tip; and leave at room temperature or refrigerate to use later. These may be frozen and kept for up to 1 month!

Dutch Baby Pancake

This is baked in the oven and is like a combination of a crepe and a pancake. 

Yields: 1 (8-10 inch pancake)-will feed 1-2 people


2 Tablespoons grapeseed or avocado oil

½ cup gluten-free flour(oat or sorghum or a combination of both)

2 Tablespoons coconut nectar or agave nectar or pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon sea salt, fine

½ cup unsweetened almond milk 

2 lg. organic eggs

1 lemon, washed and sliced in wedges

Topping: real maple syrup and citrus olive oil and lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put an pie pan into oven and heat for 10 minutes. 
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  3. Measure all wet ingredients together, except 1 TBSP. oil.  Pour into dry ingredients and whisk until combined, set aside.
  4. Using pot holders, carefully put 1 Tablespoon into the sauté pan and spread evenly to coat bottom of pan, not the sides.  
  5. Gently pour the batter into the hot pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. 
  6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and real maple syrup and citrus olive oil. You can also coconut nectar or lemon curd or fruit spread. Top with fresh organic berries or fruit if you wish. 
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