Zoet alors! Can you believe how quickly summer has passed us by? It seems that we haven't had nearly enough beach time this summer for that to be so! But the kids are breaking in their new backpacks and trying on their back-to-school outfits in preparation for the first day of school on Tuesday. (Already??!!)

While it has been far too many years since I can even remember getting a new backpack for a new school year, September always brings out in me a desire to start something new - whether it's signing up for a new art class, joining a new group, or starting this blog! I have been wanting to start this blog for some time now, but I wasn't sure how to start or what the focus would be. I had originally intended to focus on our family's struggles with food allergies, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that these food allergies (although a challenge in the beginning) have turned out to be anything but a struggle. They have been an inspiration! Having to do all of our own baking and cooking has shaped our family from one that easily relied on the conveniences of our modern lives to one that has come to rely on the gifts of our own hands. Using these gifts in the kitchen has spilled over into the rest of our lives and it is here that I will chronicle our journey as a handmade home.

I must first explain the name I have given this blog, Zoet (zoot) alors!: I'm sure most of us remember learning our first French expletive - zut alors! Well, sometimes life needs an expletive or two, and with a family name of Zoethout, well, the play on words seemed perfect!

I'm going to leave you with a recipe that will be a perfect treat to add to a back-to-school lunch! This recipe saved our lives so many years ago when our son Nate was diagnosed with severe dairy and egg allergies. In fact, the entire book, The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies, where this recipe came from, saved our lives! But it was this recipe that helped us to realize that yes, we can make safe, yummy alternatives for our son. Warning - these cookies do not last long!!

World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 C margarine
1/2 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 C flour (spelt and rice flours work equally well in this recipe if you are trying to keep wheat out of your diet)
Mix together in a small bowl before adding to dough:
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp water
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together margarine and sugar. Add vanilla, baking soda and flour. Mix in baking powder mixture. Add chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake about 10-12 mins. or until golden.