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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Graham Crackers-


Abby for awhile wasn't tolerating the brown rice protein powder we love. As far as I know there isn't an absolutely and completely corn-free protein powder, but during good periods for her she has tolerated 1 or 2 brands.She tried again recently and did well so it was time to make a big batch of graham crackers. They are delicious without, but something about the brown rice powder makes them taste more like a "graham" cracker. The addition of buckwheat really worked well.

Hardly a "healthy" treat, but definitely "healthier." I do add teff flour to our gluten free flour blend, plus the protein powder, plus the buckwheat, a justified sweet treat.




1 3/4 cup homemade gluten free flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour(we grind our own from toasted groats)
1/2 cup homemade brown sugar(Plantation Blackstrap molasses mixed in C&H organic cane sugar)
3/4 teaspoon guar gum(we use NOW brand)
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan)
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons honey(know your bee keeper, some honey can be cut with corn or the bee's fed corn syrup to help them winter)
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract. (potato vodka plus lots of beans tightly sealed in a jar for at least 6 months)

Preheat oven to 325.

1)Mix first 9, dry ingredients.
2)Cut in the coconut oil to dry ingredients.
3)Add remaining wet ingredients. Mix well.(you may need more water to get a firm dough)
4)Roll dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to even thickness using a rolling pin.
I use a pizza cutter to cut squares.
5)Using a fork, prick the dough in an even pattern.
6)Place sheet of parchment paper with cut and pierced dough right onto your cookie sheet.
7)Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately score the crackers into squares if needed, while still hot and soft.

8)If your crackers are still too soft you can either flip them and place back in the oven for another 5-10(watch carefully)or slide them into your dehydrator(my favored option). If you don't have a dehydrator you can turn your oven as low as possible and keep an eye on them to allow them to dry out more. I like to make a triple batch and dehydrate them very dry and vacuum seal snack packs. Keeps on the shelf for months.


NOTE: We like to add brown rice protein. As far as I know, the majority if not all protein powders should be assumed as corn contaminated to some degree. Once in a blue moon Abby tolerates it just fine(different levels of sensitivity to corn). I add 1/4 cup of the brown rice protein powder and reduce the gluten free flour to 1 1/2 cup. The brown rice protein powder just gives it that true graham cracker flavor.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Double Stuffed Abby O's : Chocolate free, corn free, dairy free, gluten free, soy free...



1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/3 cup medium roast carob powder(Abby has been tolerating Frontier brand)
1/2 teaspoon homemade baking powder
3/4 granulated(C&H for cornfree) sugar
1/2 teaspoon safe for you salt(we use pink himalayan and grind it)
1/2 cup Tropical traditions coconut oil
1 slightely beaten egg
2-3 Tablespoons "homemade alternative milk" or water works fine

Preheat oven to 325

1)First,combine flour, carob,baking powder, sugar and salt.

2)As if you were making biscuits or pie dough, cut in the coconut oil.

3)Add slightly beaten egg and 2 Tablespoons of "milk" or water.

4)Mix until firm but workable dough, you may need to add another tablespoon of "milk" or water.

5) Roll out aprox 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of parchment paper( you may need to also lightly flour your parchment)

6) cut cookies and transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet.

7)Place cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes, you want the dough well chilled.

8) Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.

TIP: I have often not rolled them thin enough and my cookies never got crisp, I found 2 solutions. Either turn the oven on the lowest setting and let them dry out on the cookie sheet in the oven, or toss them in your dehydrator for an hour or two until crisp.

Before filling make sure they are cool.


"Fake Oreo Cookie Filling"

3 1/2 cup corn free powdered sugar(I make our's but if you have some store bought you trust is cornfree it works great too.)
1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar(domino's)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract(homemade using potato vodka and vanilla beans)
1/2 cup palm shortening(Spectrum or Tropical Traditions)
2 Tablespoons HOT water

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and start mixing. I used a hand mixer and had a tough go of it, but it did blend. This stuff will be very thick. It will surprisingly roll into a ball with ease. If it is too sticky, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too crumbly add a touch more hot water.

You take about a tablespoon(or more or less depending on the size of the cookie)and roll it into a ball. flatten it slightly between your palms and place on your cookie. Top with another cookie and lightly press together.- Done!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reality 1 or 2

Those moments when you are running as fast as you can from a sense of engulfing panic that things could go so very wrong.


For Abby's entire life we knew even at the best of times that something was very wrong. We weren't always able to pinpoint what it was, or how to treat it, cure it, stop it, move ahead of it. Often the Specialists "saw it" "felt it" and they too could not pinpoint beyond that something was "wrong."

Each time I felt that panic nipping at our heels we ran faster, or we watched Abby's body catch up and balance out and we could again breath deeply. We were blessed with the ability to shut it out and move forward with our lives without putting her health first.


Over the years during the rough periods Derek would always say " she will be fine. ".


He was right(he generally is), yet despite knowing that again and again she bounces and overcomes, that stupid sense of impending doom nips at my heels.


"Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome", FSGS, and other medical terms I search daily to see what is new within the field brings it all smacking me in the face at how very fortunate she has been, we have been. It also often triggers those troubling thoughts of I might not be able to hold the dam forever. Maybe the balance we have seen is that we are closing our eyes and hiding to avoid reality or is it just a fluke.

Today is one of those days I feel like we hover between two different realities. 1 reality includes the Depletion and all the potential horror that comes with it and the other reality is the one we have been chasing, working for and cementing which is that while she may have those diseases the "cause" can be removed or at least the aggravating factors that trigger progression we can remove.


The wild card is that on many levels the reality is that we have made massive changes in her environment/food and the progression slows to a trickle. Same thing happened as a toddler. I sure wish we could pat ourselves on the back and say "we figured it out!" But is that "wild card" dumb luck or real?

The problem is, it could be a fluke. A coincidence.. random foolish luck. Those baby toddler years are very hard biologically speaking because of the rapid growth, it is expected to see more symptoms and progression. Same can be said for the teen years, remarkable and stressful changes occur to the body that can and often do trigger progression. Her disease process could simply be mild and or unique, even the Specialists admit they don't know the half of it yet.

Are we simply enjoying a lull in the storm? Or have we leashed this journey and it is our unified and outlandish efforts and not her biology that has allowed for this stability.

The self doubt, the worry, the lack of confidence in these times are warranted. We are opting for a path that at least to us, seems to be making all the difference in the world, but is one that very few medical professionals would ever recommend for someone like Abby. There are hints of research, a zillion threads that have yet to be woven together by science that make it clear that we did not just randomly chose this path, but there are also the same amount of threads that can be combined that argue just as articulately against the path we are on.

There are days I wake up and really think I have lost my mind, that we have collectively lost our minds. I think about our "old lives", walking on the treadmill, schools buses rolling through the burbs day and night, running out for dinner or lunch multiple times a week, opening up a box for dinner,shopping and buying the latest greatest cleaner, smelly to make the house more welcoming, food without ever reading past the calories, going to the Dr and giving her whatever was prescribed without even reading the insert.. was that life really, truly adding to her poor health? What was it exactly that caused us to run from that life, what event triggered this radical change in our lives?

Or when it is 20 degree's outside and I am picking up chicken poo, filling ice cold waterer's in the pouring rain... or in 100 degree heat and humidity pulling weeds or butchering a turkey or a chicken, sweating like this old body has never experienced before. Scrubbing my feet after a day of dirt, poo, scratches and bites.. staring at fire ant hills as far as the eye can see..trying to figure out what welt on my body came from what bug and how many bites can my body take? Trying every trick to move ants and bugs from pouring giant heavy kettles of boiling water over the mounds to rubbing my shovel with cinnamon oil in hopes of discouraging them from attacking up the shovel handle.. that moment when I have to take the life of a bird that I have nurtured and loved in order to nurture and love my family. Plucking feathers? How many in my generation or daughters generation have ever plucked feathers from their food. Have we lost our minds? The 5 am grinding of teff grains for flour, the yogurt maker on the counter culturing homemade coconut milk- really have we lost our minds?

Even on the best of days when I have found a new food Abby tolerates, when I drink a glass of water from the well feeling good knowing it is safer then city water, when Abby is smiling and up to brushing her hair or helping fold laundry, there is that tickle of doubt in the back of mind.

In the patient population there are very few who have opted for a journey like Abby's. That doesn't help my self doubts.

Without a doubt Derek and I have been fearless in following our own destinies and are kind of proud at this point of how many doubt us or felt we had lost our minds for going against current trends or expectations. There have been huge rewards for our free thinking and a huge price as well.

This isn't gambling on a job across the country, or a gamble on which housing market will improve or fail,or following my gut that the girls needed more academics then the public schools provide, this is gambling on life. Abby's life.


Is that dramatic? Probably and probably not. Is it reality 1 or reality 2? Not sure today.

I woke up today wishing for the comfort of Specialists telling her, us what medical intervention we should do. I woke up wanting their reassurances that food, medications, environment in no way what so ever could make her worse. I wanted someone other then myself to make potentially life saving decisions, or at least life extending decisions, heck even simple quality of life decisions. But, I also had a moment of clarity.

She is more stable today then yesterday, then 6 years ago.

She is smiling more.

She is happy.

I am getting more exercise.

We have followed the Drs. creed of " First, do no harm."


So for today we will stick with reality number two- this journey is our reality and worth continuing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Corn-Free Turkey

Corn-Free Turkey:

We haven't been able to determine whether Abby is reactive to Turkey or just reactive to what it was fed, or rinsed with, or injected etc. A few years back we spent a great deal of money on a local Turkey and she still reacted, but now that I am able to raise food for her I finally took on Turkeys to make sure we aren't removing a good source of protein from her diet.

I thought it would be the same as Chickens- not so. Turkeys need a lot more attention. They EAT like crazy! Not cheap when feeding them corn-free and soy -free Scratch and Peck and any(and ALL) organic greens I could find. I finally broke down and fed them some organic bread that did not have corn listed but I suspected it wasn't completely safe. They ate a lot of organic banana's, for whatever reason they adored them. They loved 3 helpings of dairy yogurt a day(I needed to make sure their protein needs were met and my homemade coconut yogurt covers the calories but not the protein). For the last six weeks I went out of my way to hand feed them every two hours throughout the day to make sure they gained weight as quickly as possible. (The cost calculations on what we fed these guys is mind blowing, that local organic turkey from the farmer you trust that is charging 100 dollars for it all dressed, rested to go? Buy it, you are getting a deal!)

Another issue was that the setup I have just wasn't spacious enough for Turkeys and chickens(my chickens were not into sharing ). So, I had to carry the turkeys in the morning to a 10 by 10 dog kennel and in the evenings I had to carry them back to their area of the henhouse. They were curious and sweet but big and strong and I am still covered in bruises and scratches. If we do it again I will make sure we have a building just for turkeys so I don't have to carry them! That last week was a tough one!

Butcher day came this weekend. Until we bought property the only thing I had killed in my life were fish and even those weren't easy on my heart. I suspect the only reason that I can participate in the butchering is because I know I have an obligation to the animal and also I keep in mind the end goal, which is to keep Abby's diet as corn-free as possible.

While butchering is hard on the heart and soul and it is labor intensive(especially with large strong birds) it really isn't complicated or hard. We hand pluck and even then 4 Turkeys took us about 6 hours start to finish(we set up the night before). Rinsing with water frequently and keeping our work area clean were key. When I pulled the turkey from the fridge today there was no smell what so ever. A huge different from the grocery store.

At 14 weeks my largest dressed broad breasted turkey weighed in at 23 pds. No complaints. If Abby tolerates turkey, then 23 pounds of meat could be split in a way to feed her for months.

Tonight Abby will try a bite of the first one to be roasted. Fingers crossed. On one hand it would be really terrific to add another protein to her diet, on the other hand the thought of raising more turkeys right now is daunting!
Not sure which critter comes next. Abby is opposed to rabbits(I have to admit after the struggle to butcher the big baby eyed turkeys this weekend I am relieved) and we aren't huge fans of goat meat so the goats are safe from me. I think though for at least a few months,I will focus on the garden.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Compost or Precious?



Before going corn-free a 1/4 cup of leftover graham cracker crumbs I would have tossed without hesitation. Today I get excited to have leftover crumbs.


Before going corn-free steps to graham cracker crumbs:

1) Buy a box of graham crackers

2) make crumbs

3) I noticed they also sell boxes of graham crumbs so that would be just opening the box!


After going Corn-free:

1) Find corn-free grains and flour. More complex when you are also gluten and nut free.

2) Grinding your own flours from the grains that took weeks to find with the least likelihood of corn contamination. Some flours we are lucky to find others we have to make by grinding. (So add a grain mill to your shopping list)

3) Finding safe local honey. Not as easy as you would think.

4) Finding safe salt- this for whatever reason is often purely personal tolerance so recommendations aren't always helpful.

5) Find safe sugar. C&H is the current gold star. Again, different tolerances to various levels of contamination.

6) Find Blackstrap molasses. We use Plantation brand. Now make your own brown sugar because for many store bought brown sugar isn't safe.

7) Find safe "fat". We use Tropical Traditions coconut oil or palm shortening. Not cheap. Also must be ordered online. No last minute running to the store.

8) Make safe "milk". Or find safe local dairy or goat. First you have to find safe coconut or rice or nuts if you can have them. Boxed alternative milks are often not just enriched(just consider all enriched foods as corn tainted) but many other ingredients and the carton itself can be lined with corn tainted wax.

9) Find safe baking soda and cream of tartar to make your own baking powder. For most with corn allergies store bought isn't safe.

10)Now you are ready to try about 10 or 15 recipes you have to alter slightly to get a graham cracker worth baking and eating.


11) Lastly you need to either have a safe plastic bag to pound your crackers into crumbs(ziplock brand used by many)or have a blender or food processor.

12) After all of that you can see why those crumbs are now precious!



Monday, December 19, 2016

Gingerbread Men- dairy,soy,gluten,egg,nut, cinnamon, and corn free



These are easy, crisp and hold up well to icing. Plus, they are also egg free and I don't have many egg free recipes. Last year I posted another gingerbread cookie recipe and it is more chewy texture, and I suspect that is because the recipe uses palm shortening and egg.

These would be great for little hands to decorate and remind us more of gingersnaps then gingerbread men.

Preheat oven to 325

3 cups Gluten Free Flour
3/4 cup Homemade Brown Sugar packed
1/2 tsp Guar Gum(I think these would work without)
1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Salt (we use pink himalayan but use safe for you)
3/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil softened slightly
3/4 cup Unsulphured Molasses(we use organic Plantation brand)
2-3 Tbsp Water or Milk of choice.


1) In bowl combine dry ingredients. Then add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. I found using my hands worked great!

2) Between 2 sheets of parchment paper roll out cookie dough. I prefer rolling these thinner for a nice crisp cookie. If dough gets too dry to roll add just enough water to bind again.

3) Transfer cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet.

4) Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on thickness.

5) Cool and decorate.



Monday, November 21, 2016

No Mail is Good Mail

This last year I just haven't been great about posting anything. I think because this part of our journey involves me working a lot more outside and admittedly I am just tired out when I find a minute to sit.


I was laying in bed last night thinking about all sorts of great things to post today, and of course once the coffee was brewed and I was sitting in front of the computer I have drawn a complete blank.


Over all I would label Abby stable, and of course while I dream and plan and hope that she will get better, I am also learning to be thankful for stable. It has been about 1 1/2 years at the new property and we have seen subtle improvements. Patience to see what else may come is tougher for me then for Abby. In the back of my head though I worry. It has been our experience that the first 2 years anywhere tend to be the honeymoon period for her mast cells. As if it takes a couple years for them to assess new exposures to decide whether to react, generally they have started to react and every few years as we watch her start to get worse and we get the itch to move again. We are some of the fortunate, we have figured out food, environment and lifestyle that help her feel her best and allow her to use her good days in her own way to find happiness, and day after day she continues to always surprise us in the small pleasures she reminds us about, the little things we forget as we get older and busier that truly are the most important. The delight she takes in my stories about what our chickens are up to(yep everyone is named like a pet), the good times when she is up to wandering over to the chickens to enjoy their antics. As I find wild foods on the property to forage and bring them in for everyone to learn about and sample. When she has bad days, or bad weeks or even bad months we know we have the tools to power through them, the patience now to know the good days will return. For as gentle and patient as she is I am secretly delighted she has inherited my stubbornness, once she decides on a path she sticks to it, and her path is to preserve her health and create a life that she can learn something new daily to find joy. Pretty special.


I still read medical articles daily and it continues to forge and shape my opinions about what exactly went wrong for Abby's body. I haven't paid as much attention to what is happening in Texas any longer, it is clear this just isn't the best place for rare diseases. One bright spot in Houston is that Baylor does have a Geneticist who is a specialist in EDS so perhaps one day there will be equal passion for Mast Cell disorders and Mito.

Epigenetics, microbiome, mast cells, t cells, mitochondria... each tiny bit is cogged and connected to the next theory. Each time something new is learned about any part of our body, it changes what can be learned about the next. There are still more with Mito that don't have a known gene mutation then do... while some are clearly secondary other's like Abby who have had symptoms from birth aren't as clear cut. There is definitely a huge swing in Medical community to rely on genetic studies only, without a known mutation you are "fine", even when you aren't. The good old muscle biopsy is still relied upon by many(especially non-mito knowledgeable Drs.). It is an interesting and rapidly changing time in medicine, which is good and bad. I cannot help but think "One day you are in, and then one day you are out" (Thank you project runway). It certainly is not improving care for complex patients right now but hoping that it will help and not hinder sooner then later.


There are days I am almost willing to accept that perhaps the Mito Depletion has always been a part of Abby. It would explain all the problems she had as a baby and toddler. Then other days I still think that the problems she had as a baby were a myopathy of her own blend plus Mast cell issues and after years of exposures and not protecting her it took it's toll and caused the Mito Depletion.. Of course either Mast or Mito could explain GI issues or heck, even EDSIII. Her immune system issues are common enough in the Mast, Mito or EDS populations. The kidney issues could be the result of years of ANA from the Mast, or could be the Mito or could have been caused by medication damage even years ago. I could chase my tail in circles daily and often do trying to figure out where to try to unravel the mystery to help her best address what we can to make the biggest positive impact. Then the fact that radically changing her diet and environment has had such a positive impact, if it were just Mito that would not be the case, or would it? We know the keto diet can stop seizures in Mito patients, so that would make the changes we made for Abby as likely, or not? Whether I like it or not she has Mito but if it is secondary it would explain more.. or maybe not. Nothing is certain and that frustrates me. Still too many unknowns. What this journey has taught me that is certain is that as far as chemicals in our homes, our food and our medicines it is true that less is more. The research is out there now showing the negative impact even destructive impact and disease causing impact on our genetics(epigenetics)and our microbiome. I think it will be slow going but I see hope. A lot of cancer centers now offer advice to go organic. To remove many chemical cleaners and scents in the home and used on the body. It has to begin somewhere. Thankfully research is finally starting to uncover the damages we have unintentionally created in our search for progress. I even read a research article the other day that talked about how for certain Mito patients they need more carbohydrates and subsets of the population can show progression if put on a more paleo styled diet.

Off and on we have toyed with the idea of seeing a few new specialists, to flip a few more rocks but we back off and stay focused on staying stable which is something we are fortunate enough to be able to control at least somewhat.


Everyday I thank my lucky stars for my "Momma gut". Had we blindly trusted and treated Abby medically in the way that many Drs. recommended I doubt she would be alive today. The path we opted for was extreme (for us and many would agree)but our gamble paid off. I hate that it did not fix her. I hate that she has to rely on us to care for even many of her very basic needs, but I love that we can and we did make a positive difference for her, we are thankful. Considering what we were facing 5 years ago, the fact that she is stable is a miracle in our book. Each day we continue to strive to improve the quality of her environment, it keeps us moving forward.


Hoping everyone has a very special Thanksgiving this year, our Country has much to celebrate and give thanks for this year more so then ever.








Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lima Bean Pancakes


Lima bean and sweet potato pancakes, and I am so glad I tried this combination! We are die hard potato pancake fans and I hate to admit it but these might become the preferred! That good.

Crisp on the outside, like a souffle on the inside!


I used to hate lima beans. Then I bought an electric pressure cooker and now lima beans are a favorite around here. They turn out so creamy and buttery in the pressure cooker they are nothing like the grainy horror we were all tortured with as children. Now and then though I overcook a batch and end up with mush. Which means I am always looking for a way to use pureed beans.

Right now it is sweet potato season and if I do things right on Thanksgiving I anticipate a large amount of leftover mashed sweet potato. I am already planning how to stack these pancakes with leftover stuffing, chicken(no turkey here) etc.

The bean's keep the middle creamy and souffle like and we even ate them plain and were impressed. Down the road I may try adding various herbs or making a spicy coconut yogurt sauce to spread on them. We sampled them with pear sauce, thumbs up.

Abby thankfully does fine with white potatoes, but I know many who do not. We are also always looking for ways to deliver protein to Abby since she has limited protein in the foods she tolerates. I suspect you could use any flour since the flour is for thickening more then binding.


1 1/2 cups pureed lima beans
1 cup mashed sweet potato(a few lumps are fine)
2 eggs
1/2 cup homemade gluten free flour
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder
salt


Tropical Traditions coconut oil for cooking.(or safe for you fat or oil)


You may need a touch less flour or more, my batter was thick like thick brownie batter.


Mix all ingredients together. In frying pan add oil and cook as you would potato pancakes. (medium/low heat, since these are thick they do take a bit longer to cook)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Garibaldi Fig Biscuits: Gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free,


If you can make a pie crust, you can make these!

Sweeter then a "biscuit" but you can skip sprinkling sugar on top for a less sweet treat. These go terrific with tea or coffee and hold together very well.

Abby has always done reasonably well with Made in Nature Figs and they certainly help keep things moving naturally. Many patients that struggle with mast cell issues may not tolerate any dried fruit. You can use whatever dried fruit works for you, I believe these are traditionally made with raisins. Next time I think I will make them with dried blueberries.

Roll them thinner and bake longer for a more "crunchy" treat, our's were a mix of chewy and crisp and we loved them.

DOUGH:

1 cup gluten free flour
2 Tablespoons homemade powdered sugar
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon safe for you salt
6 Tablespoons Tropical Traditions coconut oil
3 Tablespoons cold juice(fresh squeezed orange,lemon, or apple, whatever you have cornfree on hand)
1 Tablespoon ice water
(C&H Organic cane sugar to sprinkle on top if wanted)

FILLING:

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c minced Made In Nature brand figs(or raisins or dried blueberries or dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350

Directions
1) line cookie sheets with parchment paper

2)Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients using your fingers, a mixer or a fork, mixing until the dough is crumbly.

3)Drizzle with the orange (lemon or apple)juice and water,mixing until dough holds together and it doesn't seem all dry or crumbly-you've added enough liquid.

4)Divide the dough in 1/2, and shape each 1/2 into a small rectangles

5)Place dough on a lightly floured parchment paper surface. Roll it into a rectangle 10x 14-inches, about a little less than 1/8 -inch thick; the THINNER the better. Don't worry about square edges, you can trim later.

6)Brush dough lightly with some of the beaten egg, then spread 1/2 the surface with 3/4 cup of the figs(or other dried fruit finely minced), pressing them in carefully. Fold dough over raisins(I use the parchment to flip the dough over) and flatten dough again with hand or rolling pin. to about 6x15-inches. Some figs might pop though- that's OK. Cut into squares or rectangles(pizza cutter works great!) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and if you like poke with fork for a pattern.

7)Chill for 15 minutes.

8)Bake for 16-18 minutes. You are looking for golden. We liked these both baked longer for more crunch, and baked less for a more chewy biscuit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pastry Cream: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, corn free, soy free,




I have been busy around here and neglecting to post. With the holidays right around the corner though I am sneaking back into the kitchen a bit more and hoping to conquer a few new foods for Abby this year. One of the desserts that sounds delicious is boston cream pie and you have to have a good pastry cream recipe for that so I went to search the blog for a pastry cream recipe and realized I had not really made a direct post, so here it is!

What we have found is that if you have a good pastry cream you have endless options. A fruit tart, eclairs, boston cream pie,cake,cupcakes... all those delicious desserts center around pastry cream.

Before our corn free days I cheated with a box mix or with cornstarch... when we went corn free I tried potato starch with mixed results. Tapioca was too slimy! I always avoided flour based creams because with wheat flour if you don't cook it properly it won't be good!

BUT, one of the advantages to baking and cooking with gluten free flours is you don't get that "raw" flour taste if your timing isn't perfect. Pastry cream is now a cake walk for me using our gluten free flour and it turns out great each time! (if you need a thicker cream try increase gf flour by a teaspoon, it doesn't take much).

Thinking this batch of pastry cream is going to make some boston cream pie cupcakes(you can make ganache with cocoa powder or carob powder and coconut milk(mostly the cream of the coconut milk) and it turns out amazing! If for some reason I don't get to making cupcakes I am certain someone in the house will find a bowl of pastry cream better then any pudding for a snack.





Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole coconut milk(more cream the better!)
1/2 cup C&H organic sugar
1/4 cup homemade gluten free flour
1/4 teaspoon safe for you salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract




1)Warm the milk: Warm the coconut milk in the saucepan until you start to see steam. It should not be boiling, just nice and toasty hot.

2) In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, gf flour, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients(it will be thick!).

3)Add the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture: Pour a little of the hot coconut milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Continue pouring the milk slowly into the eggs, whisking continuously. When all the milk has been added to the eggs, pour everything back into the saucepan. Set a strainer over a bowl and place this near the stove.

4) Set the pot back over medium heat. Whisk constantly. The pastry cream will look very thin and frothy, but it will start to thicken after a few minutes. When it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency remove the pan from heat.

5)Strain the pastry cream(just in case of bits of cooked egg or flour lumps). Stir the vanilla into the pastry cream
Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed right up against the surface of the cream and chill completely.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sweet Potato Snack Cake- gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free



As the rest of the world kicks of "pumpkin everything!" season, we bring out the sweet potatoes!

Sweet potatoes do provide a slightly different texture then pumpkin. They tend to be more dense and not quite as magically moist so where with pumpkin you can often cut the fat with sweet potato we find better results with full fat recipes.


This is an easy one, especially if you are like me and boil up and puree a big pot of sweet potatoes and then portion and freeze for baking use all season long.


Sweet Potato Snack Cake:

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups pureed sweet potato(or pumpkin 1 15 ounce can)
1 1/3 cups C&H organic sugar
1 cup grapeseed oil
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
2 teaspoons homemade baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger(instead of ginger and cloves you can use cinnamon and nutmeg or any spice blend you tolerate)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup raisins or other favored add-in's.

(I frosted with coconut yogurt icing that reminds us of cream cheese- corn-free powdered sugar,tropical traditions palm shortening, homemade vanilla extract, coconut yogurt)


1) Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 by 13 pan.

2) In bowl mix eggs, pureed sweet potato,sugar, oil.

3) To above mixture add flour,guar gum, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves- mix until everything is well combined.

4) (add raisins or other add in) and pour into 9 by 13 greased pan.

5) Bake for 35-40 minutes .

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Toasted Coconut Butter Bars


When fall approaches we crave certain foods,with chocolate and peanut butter at the top of the list! Since Abby cannot eat either(lost peanut butter last year)we have searched for sub's. She cannot do seeds either so toasted coconut butter is really the safest(and tastiest!) substitution for her.

These are easy, and delicious! Chewy,sweet, and salty... Not quite peanut butter and not quite chocolate but enough that it brings back nice memories. If we don't compare directly with chocolate or peanut butter it makes an exceptional rich and sweet treat that is pure comfort food! These cut so nice and tidy and would be a great take along dessert.



3/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil
3/4 cup homemade toasted coconut butter
3/4 cup C&H organic sugar
3/4 cup homemade brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 1/2 cups toasted flattened rice(thin Poha)
1 1/2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 teaspoons salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan)

Preheat oven to 325

Line 9 x 13 with parchment paper.

1) In bowl add coconut oil, toasted coconut butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Mix until well combined.

2) To above mixture mix in flour and lastly toasted flattened rice(thin poha or you could use oatmeal if you have it safe)

3) Once combined pat batter into parchment lined 9 x13.(mine was pretty thick)

4) Bake for 20-25 minutes until center is set.

5)Optional: Top with carob frosting. (carob powder, corn free powdered sugar, tropical traditions palm shortening, vanilla extract,salt, coconut milk)

 
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