WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Manioc Flour Cookie


Farofa made with the coarse Manioc flour(from yuca)is one of our favorite go to foods, I toast the flour in coconut oil and saute shallots(when Abby tolerates) and add scrambled egg at the end- it is truly remarkable and I think if you search my blog you will find my recipe.

At many latin and International Markets you will find an assortment of Manioc flour. I look for the coarse(reminds me of a cross of breadcrumbs and cornmeal)and make sure it isn't instant or pre seasoned. (You can also find it on Amazon though the price is steeper)


It is one of the ingredients I keep in my pantry religiously.

For the last week Abby has really struggled with a lot of GI upset, nothing wants to stay in.. We scaled back to a few of her safest foods and even then it isn't staying in her. With the storms, hayfever and more I suspect she is just having a full on mast reaction.


Needing something, anything as a vehicle for some much needed sugar I decided to try cookies with the manioc- and to my surprise they turned out very very well. For Abby anything from yuca/cassava her body tends to be very happy with, same with arrowroot.

They are "different" as in a texture, but they have got a nice crisp in the oven and the ingredients are simple.Like a vanilla wafer with a bit of texture. They worked very well for her with essential ginger tea. I am already thinking these would be terrific as sandwich cookies, or cookie crumbs for pie crust making.


1 cup manioc flour(I ran mine through the blender to grind it smoother, inbetween flour and cornmeal for texture)
1/4 cup tapioca starch(plus some for dusting your parchment)
2/3 cups C&H organic sugar
1/2 teaspoons pink himalayan salt(or safe for you)
1/2 teaspoon homemade baking powder.
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening(Next time I will try Tropical Traditions coconut oil, I suspect it will work well)

Preheat oven to 350

1) In bowl combine manioc flour, tapioca starch, sugar, and salt.

2) cut in the shortening into the flour mix.

3) To the mixture add vanilla, egg and mix until it combines into a dough.(if too soft add a touch more tapioca starch, or if too dry a touch of water, but because of the texture of the manioc even after grinding some it tends to crumble. You should be able to use your hands to press it into a ball that rolls out well)

4) Lightly dust a sheet of parchment with tapioca starch and a light dust on top of the dough before covering with a second piece of parchment. Roll to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick(mine were thicker)

5)cut with cookie cutter and place on parchment lined cookie sheet- place in freezer for about 10 minutes.(I embossed each cookie with a piece from my mooncake kit.)

6) Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Friday, April 1, 2016

21st!

In just a few days Abby will be 21.


Of course I have been looking back over the years and remembering each and every wonderful stage she went through- newborn,toddler, childhood,teens.. and each memory is one that has filled my heart for 21 years now.

After our first child we were not sure we wanted a second. Not because our oldest was anything other then a gift but we were sooo young and so poor and I still remember the panic of just trying to figure out how to buy diapers.

We made the decision to have Abby(her sissy was an unexpected gift!) and she completed our family, our hearts. Each day I wake up and still want to pinch myself at my good fortune. Over 25 years of a great husband and amazing daughters. Through thick and thin we are closer today then ever, I have truly won life's lottery.


Over the past few months I have had a lot of different feelings and thoughts. Generally I try to be upbeat(or outraged and angry!) when I post but recently not sure if it is simply the approach of "empty nest" or maybe just another stage in "living" as a parent with a child with a chronic disease. I have felt a certain sadness as this birthday approaches.

The triggering event for me was a few weeks ago. Abby has carefully saved money monthly for a year to buy a macbook pro for herself. Finally, she had enough saved up. We talked about her going to the Mall to the apple store to buy it. We could help her shower the day before. She could wear a mask.. gloves if needed! With the wheelchair just maybe she could enjoy the outing without triggering, without catching every virus hiding in the mall. Of course even at best she would be exhausted and flared for a few weeks, but certainly worth it, right? She should get the enjoyment and anticipation of slapping her hard saved money on the counter. As the big day approached it was clear she wasn't up for it. But, like always she was okay with it. She wasn't stressed at all and pointed out that really computer shopping wasn't ever her thing and she was sure her Sissy and Dad would enjoy making her purchase for her. Zen, just such an incredibly easy going person who always can let the small stuff go and appreciate all the good. I think that is what made it worse for me. Maybe reality? It isn't normal for ANY 21 year old to save that much money and be fine and not disappointed about the big purchase.. but Abby she isn't any normal 21 year old,between her incredible and gentle spirit and being chronically ill she tackles the world differently.

So to compound my feelings the Hubby and oldest got the computer home and were excited for Abby to see it. Instead she was tired and headed for a nap with a promise to open it later.. each day we asked and finally her sister opened it. She just did not have enough go-go to dedicate to unwrapping all the plastic,casing and boxes that were entailed. Not enough energy to focus to learn how to use it. Granted, part of it is she has always been incredibly patient as a person.. all those Christmas mornings she would always take her leisure in slowly and savoring each and every gift.. she was one of those little ones who was happy opening one at a time to play with and dragging the unwrapping out throughout the day or week if she could! The rest of course would tear into everything and drag her back to the tree to "hurry up!" so the rest of us could open another.. she never got upset about us making her do it our way.. but I often wonder if as a child if I let her unwrap at her leisure if she would even be done by July? :-)

The computer (weeks later) is unwrapped and sitting unexplored and still unused. Just too tired and not worth the energy right now. She will get to it eventually I am confident since her primary laptop is dying a slow and miserable computer death, but the whole experience really highlighted what Abby so patiently deals with daily. When you are too tired to be excited about opening a long awaited carefully saved for purchase?

More then anything else that has happened in the past 5 years this hit me. It highlighted the losses for her. It highlighted my role in her life and my feelings of helplessness to give her the world on a platter.. heck, even if I could offer the world to her on a platter she doesn't have the energy to lift that fork and tackle it. I suspect my feelings right now are highly impacted by the "end of an era". Abby is our baby and she is now 21 and I know the days of littles running through the house are somehow officially over and I am not wanting to let that part of myself go quite yet. Perhaps that is why there are 10 new chicks in my garage! Or why I am determined to feed the stray cat that wandered in the barn horribly thin or the stray scared dog that hopefully waits for me to bring it some food. I think though also it is a stage in our journey with Abby, one that I hope passes quickly for me!

Abby is remarkable. Each day is joyful for her. She has connected to the world in a very different way then someone who isn't chronically ill but just as vivaciously. She owns her world and has grown into such an incredible person, an adult. Kind, patient,deeply feeling, thoughtful, never angry or catty.. she ALWAYS see's the world and the people in it in the very best light and she is happy. She continues to teach herself various languages and her depth of knowledge in cultures, history, politics, and more are beyond most 40 year olds I know. Add to that she is so gentle , so patient and kind, oh and beautiful too! Somehow she got the best of all of us.

Perhaps with her gifted approach we have given her the world on a platter. But, her world, her platter, and her fork are just so creatively created and customized for her that she is able to have that sense of fulfillment. Square pegs never fit in round holes, and I forget that she is an expert in shaving off those sharp corners and making everything a custom fit for herself,another gift of hers.

Our whole family continues to be grateful for her general stability. The move has definitely been the right one. The well water continues to be such a huge positive! When she does have the energy to shower she can without it causing anything other then fatigue. Her kidneys continue to have small flares a little too often for my comfort but no regular major flares for a few months now. She has had a significant increase is bruising and this time of year hives are just a given! Considering the trees,fields here she hasn't been as reactive as I suspected she would be. We worry about her being rested as feeling well rested seems always right out of reach for her, but she manages it so well and rarely let's it bother her.

We have revisited a few foods recently that she is tolerating well. We have opted to keep them as rotational to hopefully keep them! :-)

While birthday 21 will likely be at home in pj's like the past 6 or so birthdays it will be celebrated with joy.

Abby is one of the lucky ones! The continued stability is very promising. Her unique biology leaves the door open, one day perhaps sooner or later she will gain rather then just holding on. Better then that, healthy body or sick body, she is remarkable and at 21 it is just beginning! Instead of the "normal" 21 year old things that are so predictable she gets to adventure into the unknown! A journey waiting for her to create. I don't doubt for a second that like Abby it will be remarkable.

Happy 21st Birthday Abby!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dr. Afrin Wrote a Book!!! (World expert on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)

I think the entire Mast community is buzzing about this book and most of us are holding our breath waiting for Amazon deliveries this week!


This is one of those books you won't need a review to be convinced to buy- it is going to be good! Going to be EXCELLENT!




Amazon Link to Buy the Book!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cajeta! but with Coconut Milk.


For the last year I have noticed a lot of Cajeta being sold at the farmers market.. I can see why, sweet, rich and caramelized goats milk... what is not to like?!?!?


Well unless you are allergic to goat's milk.


Finally got around to making a batch with coconut milk.

The original recipe I found called for 1/3 cup scotch or whiskey so I just added 1/4 cup of our homemade vanilla extract(potato vodka.)

Worked great! Intensely vanilla flavor worked great with coconut milk flavor.




On ice cream, cakes, pancakes, muffins.. off the spoon! Great stuff to have in the fridge.



Coconut Caramel(Cajeta)

1 1/4 cup coconut milk(minimum of 60 coconut fat or evaporate it first)

1 cup C&H organic cane sugar

2 Tablespoons Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening

1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water

1/4 cup homemade vanilla extract(I use potato vodka)


1) In large heavy bottomed pot combine coconut milk and and sugar.

2)Bring to a simmer stirring with spoon to dissolve sugar.

3)Add the baking soda/water. STIR! IT will foam up!

4)When bubbling stops reduce heat to a low simmer and add your vanilla extract.

5)Stir continually until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon(20-30 minutes). The color will have darkened as well.

6) Pour into jars and seal tightly. Will keep in the fridge for at least a couple weeks. (if it lasts that long!)

(If it thickens too much when cold, just gently warm to eat)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Anything is better in a Bundt Pan!


I was cleaning out the freezer over the weekend and ran across a container of sweet potato puree. I know pumpkin/sweet potato is more of a fall and winter food, but had to use it up.

Things have been busy around here and I just haven't had the time to experiment in the kitchen lately. I was in a hurry with this one and grabbed the bundt pan to make it more interesting. I think I have seen about anything and everything baked and cooked in a bundt pan. I have seen stuffing and meatloaf, jello, and of course cakes. One of those kitchen pans that can be used to prepare any number of dishes so a good one to have in your collection.

This one turned out like a tender and more delicate crumb coffee cake. What we really appreciated about it was that when covered tightly it lasted a few days without the normal gluten free issues with quick staling. I suspect it was the sweet potato that kept this cake fresh longer.


Sweet Potato Bundt Cake:


1 cup organic C&H cane sugar
1/2 cup honey(or no honey and 1 1/2 cup sugar)
1 cup grapeseed oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sweet potato( or pumpkin) puree
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon guar gum or psyllium husk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder(homemade)
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons clove (Or a couple teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice or spices of your choice )


Well greased Bundt Pan
Preheat oven to 350


1) In one large bowl combine all dry ingredients.


2) In second smaller bowl combine all wet ingredients.


3) Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until completely blended.


4) Spoon into Bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes(or until knife comes out clean).


5)Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes and then flip out of pan.

6) I glazed with some homemade powdered sugar and coconut yogurt- but optional.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Medications Abby takes for Mitochondrial Disease




I often see patients posting their boxes and baskets of medications/supplements/vitamins to help folks understand the cost/extend of medical intervention it takes for them to manage their disease.

Mito though is about snowflakes.


No two patients are the same.

In Abby's case this is a picture of her medication.


It isn't a cure, and while she has shown a couple mild improvements what this "medicine" has done is give her a lot more stability. The rapid progression we were watching has slowed to a trickle.

We know the medicines and vitamins weren't good for her particular case of Mito, but it seems something a lot more natural is helping her like the medicines and vitamins help others.

Might be mast involvement, or allergies, or something else entirely, but it works.


So, if you are diagnosed with Mito and panic when you see those mountains of meds so many patients need, take heart, even some pretty sick patients like Abby don't need them and in fact do better without them, at least at this point in her disease process.


We keep in mind that medications and other toxins cause mitochondrial damage when we are searching for foods for Abby. The garden is growing wonderful carrots,parsley and more. The chickens are giving us so many eggs! They eat a diet of free range and a corn free and soy free supplemental food. Ginger, coconut oil, turmeric and chickpeas are essential for her.

You might need all those meds, or maybe you will be a snowflake that doesn't.

More meds doesn't always indicate "more sick" nor does "less meds" always indicate less sick.

Mito is the most complex and individual group of diseases out there.

Listen to your gut when tailoring your healthcare to your bodies needs.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Remember that Wonder( Mill ) Mix stand mixer I bought? Worse then I thought.



Well, I tried to sell it on craigslist- and no takers!

So when we moved I packed it up and brought it with us since I hated the thought of throwing away the money.

My oldest Sara wanted to make bread(she makes wheat) and I told she ought to try it.

Worked well enough for a soft sweet bread recipe. She used 2 times.

She decided to make the french bread today and noticed the plastic parts were wearing and dinged and found chips of plastic in her bread.


So, probably the worst purchase we have made and it hits the trash today. I will take some pictures before I trash it so anyone else with one can see where it will wear so they can carefully check their parts.


Stick to the Kitchen Aid folks!

Though I still stand by their WonderMill- it grinds everything with no problems at all.

(sorry, not the best pic but was so annoyed I just wanted to hurry up and toss it! )

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ginger - Streusel Sweet Potato Pie




Although usually by now I have moved on from the sweet potato pie I still had quite a few sweet potatoes laying around needing to be used. I figured another pie would be appreciated.


The streusel topping was great! Offered a nice crunch contrast to the smooth sweet potato. Ginger has endless benefits for our health and digestion so I am always thrilled to get another serving in one way or another.

Abby is only tolerating ginger and clove right now for "spice." Feel free to use other spices like a homemade mix of pumpkin pie spice or whichever spices you prefer or tolerate.





1 prepared unbaked and chilled gluten free pie crust
3 eggs
1 3/4 cup pureed organic sweet potato
1-1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup C&H organic cane sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar(homemade)
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
STREUSEL:
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour(homemade)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar(homemade)
1/2 cup coconut oil(Tropical Traditions)
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger(homemade or just use powdered ginger about 1-2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt(safe for you)

preheat oven to 350

1) In blender combine sweet potato, coconut milk,sugar,brown sugar, salt, eggs,and ginger and cloves.

2) pour into chilled crust and bake for 40 minutes.

3) while pie bakes mix streusel. combine flour,brown sugar and salt. Cut in coconut oil. Lastly mix in finely chopped(like coarse salt)ginger.

4) Gently sprinkle streusel onto pie and bake for 20-25 more minutes.

5) cool and chill.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Salade Russe: gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, chemical free..


Our version is basically "potato salad!" :-) Just about 80 degrees in Houston today 2 days before Christmas, a cold salad just seemed right today! Usually served with a meat(smoked chicken or smoked salmon I have seen pork and beef even!!) but we like it as a side. I also commonly see diced beets thrown into this salad which we would love but Abby triggers to beets. But, just add a cup of diced beets to this recipe and you will end up with a beautiful pink salad!

Homemade coconut yogurt, homemade mayo(with homemade fruit scrap vinegar, homemade mustard and TJ grapeseed oil)and homemade fridge pickles allow this one to be free of corn. Abby tolerates a few bites of homemade pickle without triggering but the pea's that she used to do so well with she now pulls out. Still, even then this a big favorite around here. I have a good size bunch of fresh dill coming up which just made this that much better. This feeds us for a couple days so I recommend cutting the recipe in half for single meal for 4.

3 boiled,peeled, diced and cooled organic potatoes
4 boiled, diced and cooled carrots(same size as the potato )
2 cooled diced hard boiled eggs.
1/4 cup diced homemade dill pickles
1 cup peas
1/2 cup homemade mayo
1/2 cup homemade coconut yogurt
2 Tablespoons fresh dill
salt to taste(safe for you )



Mix it all together and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours for the flavors to meld.

Serve as a side or with diced smoked chicken or smoked salmon for a meal.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pear -Ginger Pie: Gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, lemon free...



We are more about the cookies this time of year, but have been on a pie kick! :-) This one turned out great! I wish I had popped it under the broiler as the crumb was a bit soft, but I had no complaints.

Gluten free pie crust:


1 1/4 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour(homemade,store blends aren't completely safe)
2 teaspoons Domino's organic cane sugar(you can reduce this, or remove for a savory pie)
1/2 teaspoon guar gum(or ground chia, or psyllium husk powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt(I use pink himalayan)
6 tablespoons cold Palm Shortening(Tropical Traditions or Spectrum)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Braggs apple cider vinegar(the only recognized corn-free vinegar)
1-3 Tablespoons COLD water
Combine all dry ingredients.
Cut in cold shortening into dry ingredients.
Add egg, vinegar, and start with 1 tablespoon cold water. If you cannot get it to form into a ball add 1 additional tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together. Your gluten free pie dough will be softer and sticker then traditional wheat crust dough.

Roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper (wax paper is NOT corn-free)that are sprinkled with gluten free flour.
Once you have the pie crust in the pie pan chill it while you prepare filling and crumb topping.


FIlling:

5-6 large firm pears peels and sliced
1 tablespoon tamarind puree(or 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice if safe for you.)
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled ginger(juice and all!)
1/2 cup C&H Organic cane Sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose gluten free flour

In bowl combine tamarind,sugar, and ginger. Add pears and toss to coat well. Last sprinkle with the flour and toss well to coat. Place pear slices as flatly as possible into chilled crust(scrap any of the good sugar/ginger/tamarind out of the bowl and back on the pears too).

Crumb Topping:

3/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/2 cup C&H organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or safe for you salt)
a dash of ground clove(or safe for you spice like cinnamon, or allspice or nutmeg)
5 Tablespoons coconut oil.

Combine all the ingredients except coconut oil into a bowl. Then cut coconut oil into flour blend until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the pears and gently pat down. (I piled my pears pretty high knowing they would cook down so it started out looking slightly mounded)

Place pie on cookie sheet and place in oven at 425 for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes until browned and filling is bubbling.

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Spritz Cookies: gluten free, dairy free, corn free, nut free,



Let the Christmas Cookie baking begin!!

I haven't made spritz cookies in many years. Mostly because it seemed all I could ever find was a plastic cookie press and no matter how I tried they seemed to break. My cookies always pressed out weird and I just gave up. Last year when I hit a thrift store I spotted an all metal cookie press(sawsa brand old vintage good one) and for a couple bucks I dragged it home. I found it this weekend and decided I would try my hand at a safe version for Abby. I have to say it was easier then years past and not sure if I am just getting more patient or using coconut oil made the process easier! These really are delicious and provide that lovely rich, and delicate and crisp cookie you want when you think spritz cookie.

When I was playing with the dough I tried it without the water, and the dough was just too stiff. Once I added some water and softened the dough it was much easier to work with and did not seem to harm the texture of the cookie in the end. You want a soft dough, not a batter. I did freeze my cookies for a few before baking to prevent spreading. I should have tried one without chilling but too many times in the past when baking with gluten free and coconut oil I find they spread without chilling first so I just did it "right" the first time.




2/3 cup C&H organic cane sugar

3/4 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or whatever salt is safe for you)

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon water


Preheat ove 400

1)In bowl cream sugar,coconut oil, egg,vanilla and salt.

2) blend flour into cream mixture.

3) add water. You want a dough that is soft but not a batter.

4)pack your cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.

5)Chill in freezer for about 5-10 minutes.

6)Bake chilled cookies for 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from cookie sheet.


* You can sprinkle a little sugar on the cookies before baking.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Abby's Easy Blondies: Gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free and nut free..


Abby created these one night when she couldn't sleep. Usually she doesn't have the energy for much cooking, but she was out of snacks(we try to make sure there is always some sort of prepared carb accessible every couple hours)and decided to try to find something quick- well, she out did herself and I quickly asked her for the recipe to make for her again, and again and again! :-)

These really are the perfect blondie. That thin layer of crisp across the top. Chewy and moist but not too dense. The edges are chewier and crunchier for those who prefer them and the center is just the perfect bite.

Best of all, easy and cheap to make. No lengthy list of ingredients!

I am thinking I really need to consult more frequently with her when creating new dishes for her, she really nailed these!

With the holidays here sometimes we need to be able to throw something together fast! These with a cup of coffee are perfect. If you have some homemade ice cream in the freezer you could make a brownie sunday with some homemade caramel? These are just no fail anyway you serve them.


Abby's Easy Blondies:

1 1/2 cup homemade packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil(softened)

2 eggs

2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt




Preheat oven to 350

Line 8 x 8 square baking pan with parchment paper.

1) In mixing bowl combine sugar,oil,eggs and vanilla- mix until well blended.

2) Add flour, baking soda, and salt to sugar mixture and mix until just blended.(Batter will be thick!)

3) Spread batter into the lined pan.

4) Bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot or let cool.




 
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