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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Tomato, No Spinach Italian Meatball Soup


A few posts back I posted about Abby's favorite roasted red pepper sauce.

I keep a lot of tubs of this in the freezer.

Abby is a huge fan of soup and one that she has missed since giving up tomato's is the Italian Meatball Soup. Before project elimination I used a beef broth base with tomato and spinach.


Yesterday we made it without tomato,spinach or beef.

I used chicken bone broth(I keep plenty in the freezer for her.)

ground chicken meatballs.(gf sourdough bread crumbs I made in dehydrator from leftover bread. Egg, italian seasoning. ground chicken tends to be "wetter" so I mix the crumbs, eggs and chicken and stick in the fridge for an hour to firm and moisten the bread crumbs. I cook these stovetop in a bit of coconut oil and they freeze very well)

Italian seasoning(fresh garlic, all of the already chopped or crushed have asorbic acid which is corny)

Fresh organic basil leaves.

If Abby is in the mood, I will add additional sauteed onion and green peppers too.

Parsley- always. Abby likes a TON!

That is it. If I have all the components already in the freezer this is super fast to make. A gf teff/honey dinner roll(will post a recipe for those soon!)is delicious with this soup. The teff and honey blend reminds us of a honey wheat roll.

I don't measure when I make soups, but around 4 cups of broth, 1 1/2 cup of red pepper sauce, a dozen meatballs, handful of fresh chopped basil.. season and salt to taste!

Easy- nutritious, allergen free, and best of all Abby loves it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting ready for Halloween




We are years past trick or treating, but Halloween has become a favorite. Even Evie the poodle has at least 3 or 4 costumes she rotates through, believe it or not, that Poodle LOVES to play dress up! This witch costume is her new favorite. :-)

Last year we realized, we can bring the holiday right to Abby!

Christmas is always dressing up, hitting celebrations and parties, not something Abby can do.

Easter, 4th of July more of the same. We stay home and usually avoid the activities and all of the viruses that are shared. Once in awhile she will feel up to showering,dressing and going but rare indeed.

Yet, with Halloween we literally bring it to our doorstep. Last year she dressed like a doll, this year I think she may dress like a zombie- nice baggy old clothes covered in blood, a bit of makeup, she won't even have to brush her hair ! :-)

Last year we built our first "Haunted Halloween entry". We used PVC pipes and plastic imprinted with stones for walls, lots of blood and spooky fog and strobes.. The PVC construction was a big pain! This year we found a used canopy and are making plastic walls with it.. Of course all the good sound effects and lights..


This year Abby and Derek went zombie crazy! We have zombie babies, zombies from the Walking Dead series, all sorts of scary animated items.. Abby can sit at the door and hand out candy with the celebration brought right to her! Perfect.




We got some of the structure up yesterday and are feeling optimist it is going to be even scarier then last year!

Here are a few pics, once we complete the Haunted "house" I will grab some photo's of that as well.

Last year we had way too much candy leftover. This year we are just buying full size candy bars and toys. We were surprised last year when the little kids all wanted the toys over the candy. That left way too much temptation around the house. We figured toys and full sized candy bars should clear out quick! Being a school night, I don't expect as many trick or treaters, but those that come and are brave enough to make to our door will hopefully gladly take the candy off our hands!

We won't be using the wheelchairs and walkers for props outside(at least that is not the plan at this point,but who knows?), but they sure made a great place to store the zombie fleet as we put them together! Abby thought it was hilarious!





Sunday, October 28, 2012

Marshmallow Frosting- Nofu Butter and fluff gf sandwich- YUM!



Since most powdered sugars have cornstarch, and those that don't can be spendy, I have been playing with frostings that need cooking.


We aren't going to talk about my lengthy list of failures to date when it comes to cooked frostings, but this one is a winner! We use it to frost, or as "fluff" for nofu butter and fluff sandwiches on gf white bread. :-)




It will stay fluffy in a storage container in the fridge for at least a week. That is the longest a batch has made it around here before we found delicious reasons to use it!

IF you are planning to use it to pipe or frost, I do recommend using immediately, but for sandwiches, cookie fillings etc it is fine to make ahead.



You could skip the salt and vanilla, or you can add a different extract like lemon or coffee- I promise you, adding the flavoring just makes it even better!

I used this recipe from the Pixels and Paperie blog;

4 large egg whites(do not use boxed whites, they do not whip up as nicely as freshly separated whites..consider using the yolks to make some pudding,custard or ice cream)

1 Cup granulated sugar(Domino)

1 pinch of salt(pink himalayan for us)

1 tsp vanilla essence(we use our homemade but use whatever flavor you would like)

Place all ingredients except the vanilla essence into a bowl which you can place over a pot of simmering water.

{You could use a double boiler here instead I used a large pyrex mixing bowl set in a pot about 1/4 full of boiling water}



Whisk the egg white mixture constantly(I admit to not mixing the whole time and it still worked just fine) over simmering water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch. {It takes around 5 minutes}.

Pour the mixture into a bigger bowl(I used a big bowl to begin with, this will really fluff up and get big! However, transferring to a larger and cool bowl will shorten the amount of time you need to whip it.) and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. {Add the vanilla while beating}. After 3 minutes, the mixture will be lovely and fluffy.

{I just used an electric handmixer}

I love using disposable piping bags – {or you could even use a plastic bag} without a nozzle, I simply piped straight out the end of the piping bag directly onto the cupcakes.

Don’t you love how they look – and so yummy!!!

Hope you try this recipe. It sounds like a bit of work, but really it takes very little time and effort and they are so easy to pipe as the icing is very soft and much easier to squirt out than buttercream.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Bounce

Abby looks so much better today and has the "wobbly legs" which are actually a good sign for her. Once we hit the wobbly legs it ALWAYS means she is bouncing.


5 day turn around is pretty terrific. Though I sure wish we could figure out "what" causes these random flares, at least we know what to do to cut them as short as possible.


Her stomach was doing much better yesterday, and this morning it is almost normal. We are still being cautious and she is only eating her safest foods for a few more days. By next week she should be able to eat her full diet again.


I suspect a sinus infection since the rest of us having been fighting them, the weed count was high and that always seems to bring on sinus junk.


Last year, I would have run her into the Dr at the first sign of fever or green snot, after all they say infections need to be addressed ASAP in the Mito populations- last time she took an antibiotic for an infection we shut down her gut and Project Elimination was born.

This year I am smarter- For Abby, antibiotics are NOT a good first, or even second line option. Gutting out a minor infection is a much safer option for her. Research indicates we take too many antibiotics in general, I suspect in the Mito population way too many antibiotics are used, simply because what else can you do?

Of course the fact that the Mito Protocol causes more harm then good in Abby always makes me wonder what Abby's Primary issue is that caused the depletion? Because if this was all just Mito, then why does the Mito Protocol hurt her worse then help?


Which leads me to wonder, Are there other patients diagnosed with "mitochondrial disorders" that are being hurt by blindly following the Mitochondrial Protocol? Maybe antibiotics causing more stomach issues? Cocktail causing bad reactions? Above all else I have learned this year, each Mito patient is unique. Just because it works for Abby, doesn't mean it will work for you, and just because a Mito Dr. says to do something, doesn't make it the best choice either. It is a very unknown disease process.. hoping they figure it out soon, so each individual gets appropriate treatment- one size doesn't fit all.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homemade Extract Update(10 weeks)



I finally just could not resist opening up my extracts.

Lemon- gets a C+ . Definitely a lemon flavor and smell. Just not as concentrated as I had hoped. However, I am certain it will flavor something I make just fine! Plus, I don't always have a safe clean organic lemon on hand when I need it, hoping a splash of this will work.



Peach- Not sure how to grade it! It "tastes" a little peachy, but definitely has a unique floral undertone. Not sure how vodka and peach combine to make floral, but surely I will find a use for it? I spilled some on my hands and wow, it smelled just divine even after washing! So maybe I can add it to a homemade lotion? Soap? Some international inspired dessert that calls for rose water? Who know! It is bottled on the shelf though, if you have any good ideas, let me know! :-)

Coffee- A+. Literally "black magic". Potent, strong and insanely coffee flavored. Hands down my favorite. I "spiked" a cup of coffee with it and transformed my cup of cheap Joe into some extreme coffee house blend! LOL This I have plans for.. thinking coffee flavored coconut whipped cream, inside a coconut crepe.. Of course I will have to make a batch of coffee coconut ice cream. If you are wanting to make your own extracts you really ought to add coffee to your list. Fill a pint jar 1/2 to 3/4 full of coffee beans of your choice then fill the jar with potato vodka, shake 1 time a week for 6-10 weeks and you will be thrilled with the results.



Vanilla- I have used a bit, but really needs another month. This was my whole reason for starting this extract experiment. Commercial extracts either are loaded with chemicals that make Abby sick, and/or made with grain alcohol which 99 percent of the time if not more, means CORN! YUCK! The vanilla takes a long time. It only gets stronger each week. Next time, I will just jam a bunch of good quality cut vanilla beans right into the bottle, we use a lot of vanilla in everything.

Almond- the only one I did not mess with yet. I will get to it. Abby really cannot have nuts so not something I need to flavor her food, but I am curious how strong it will be for the rest of us, we are huge fans of anything almond flavored.

Extracts should be kept in dark bottles. I found these bottles on Amazon and they were perfect. Will I do it again? Absolutely.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

So easy GF Sourdough Loaf




Most of my recipes I have used sourdough starter in are either quick breads or also include a packet of rapid rise.

I had way way too much starter that needed to be used this morning. No one will eat one more muffin or pancake around here- they just groan! LOL I was too lazy to haul out the bread maker. To be honest, I was not in the mood to make bread, more just playing and using up various ingredients.

So I threw some stuff in a bowl, mixed it and threw it in the loaf pan and walked away.

6 hours later- we had this,




I was pretty happy that I got a loaf to rise without extra yeast. I have read that it is common to leave a loaf of sourdough all night in the oven to rise, starter yeast takes longer, and gf flours without the gluten are questionable for consistent rising(at least for me!).


I sprinkled the loaf with some gf flour, used a serrated knife and placed a few cuts on my loaf(the cuts were pointless, it did not rise one bit more in the oven)- threw it in a 375 degree oven. Honestly, I just wasn't expecting it to turn out- but we got a little ugly, but sour, chewy and tasty loaf.


Sometimes less, IS more.


2 cups sourdough starter
2 cups gf flour(2 ish- may need more or less)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt.
(1/2 cup distilled warm water on hand)

As I said, I literally threw the stuff in the bowl. I did not measure. When I thought it was too thick, I added a touch of water. Basically I made a thick sourdough starter. I really wasn't expecting much. So I am guessing as I write this down. I do mix it very well, since I am not kneading my gf flour doughs it seems many recipes call for a good mixing instead. :-) Feels weird not to knead, but hey, there are advantages to everything!

My dough was a thick batter, barely a dough bordering on thick batter. I scraped it into a well greased loaf pan. Patted the top of the loaf to smooth a bit and rubbed a bit of grapeseed oil on it. Lately I have been crackling everything! so figured a bit of oil might stop that habit. However, you can see in my pic below, no luck! Still cracked.. I try not to cover with plastic wrap(can be corny) and have been just covering with a dish towel, I may have to find an alternative..

after about 6 hours(might have been 7) I happened to look at it and it had doubled in size.

Threw it(with a bit of gf flour sprinkled on it, and cuts ) into a preheated 375 oven for about an hour.



Once I pulled it, I pulled it out of the loaf pan as soon as I could to cool. Fingers crossed I can duplicate this so that I can improve it! LOL But it just goes to show, sometimes you just have to get into the kitchen and play with your food, you never know what you can do until you try!

Overall this is barely a C graded bread! Not a loaf I would take to a party. But, I am so thrilled I got a loaf to rise enough to call it a loaf just using a starter. Maybe the sourdough starter needs to stay out tonight, maybe tomorrow I will try again.. I bet it would taste good with more buckwheat,or teff... :-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some sewage with your Vitamins? No Thanks!

After all of Abby's bad reactions to vitamins, and having to remove not only preservatives but any fortified foods, it got me more curious about what exactly are vitamins made of, and why did we start adding them to foods where they don't occur naturally?

Fortified foods were started to boost vitamin intake in our poorest populations.

A vitamin only needs to contain 10 percent natural sources to be called "natural" vs synthetic.

Most vitamins needs co-factors to be metabolized and used by our body, when food producers add a synthetic vitamin to a food, they do not add the co-factors necessary. In order to use that fortified vitamin, our bodies will use any of the co-factor stores in our body. Which means, that sure you are getting plenty of B, but the fake vitamins are stripping your body of essential co-factors. You end up depleted, and you at some point become unable to use those fortified vitamins.

Of course, the truth isn't usually straight forward,so I recommend always fact checking and deciding for yourself, but if even half is true about what I have been reading about synthetic vitamins, no wonder they make Abby sick!

Here is a tidbit from Natural News-

"Other ingredients" usually means animal parts and cancer causing artificial sweeteners

If your vitamins come in the form of gelatin capsules, you are more than likely consuming the skin, cartilage, connective tissues and bones of diseased animals. On top of that, if your vitamins contain the artificial sweeteners Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose or Sorbitol, you could be developing artificial sweetener disease (cancer) and mutating your cells, your DNA, and passing that mutagenic DNA along to future generations.

Don't feel dumb if you did not know that synthetic B-12 comes from activated sewage sludge just don't be a repeat offender! Your "corporate" made vitamins are made by pharmaceutical and chemical companies who also concocted chemotherapy. It's just another angle to handle the threat of people getting healthy from nutritional information, and so you've been deceived.

Synthetic vitamin B-12, cyanocobalamin, is made from ground up toxic cow livers and activated sewage sludge. These cow livers are overloaded with steroids and antibiotics, and the pesticides the cow assimilates from eating GMO feed, and these cows are living in CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations), where they often collapse and die slowly, while lying in their own "sludge" or fecal matter. (http://www.foodkills.org/synthetics.html) Synthetic vitamin B also comes from coal tar and petro-chemicals, known to depress the central nervous system and cause respiratory ailments.

Those cheap, synthetic vitamins you're taking in hopes of maintaining proper health are deteriorating your health as quickly as fast food burgers and fries. Synthetic vitamin A comes from fish liver juices loaded with toxic PCB's and mercury. Synthetic vitamin C comes from acid blends that irritate the lining of your digestive track. It's just a chemical copy of naturally occurring ascorbic acid. This kind of fractionated, chemical acid never grew in the ground or received sunlight, but rather it's a sulfuric acid by-product. Once you swallow that pill, it's just another carcinogenic drug in your body, like MSG (monosodium glutamate) or Aspartame.

The bottom line is that the wrong vitamins are chemicals. More than 90 percent of the fake "vitamin C" in this country is manufactured in New Jersey by Hoffman-LaRoche, one of the world's largest drug manufacturers. (http://www.thedoctorwithin.com)


Diseased cow livers,sewage... so, we go out of our way to eat grass fed beef,organic, hormone-free, antibiotic free meats and produce and then you eat fortified rice or milk,bread and cereal or pop a vitamin- and you just "ate" everything you have been avoiding..


If you want to know more about your vitamins, google synthetic A ... that will have you running for you kitchen and throwing out anything fortified!

That rice milk,nut milk, coconut milk in cartons? Think it is a terrific option? Read the ingredients- Rice Dream original organic is the only one that is not fortified. Though, I have to wonder how safe it really is?

Could it been this EPIDEMIC of chronic illness in our children could be connected to the fortified foods we have been eating? Certainly doesn't explain all, but I wonder if it has contributed.

Know what you are eating. Abby's body is so incredibly sensitive to any insults- we have learned from her.

We won't be taking ANY synthetic vitamins, or eating fortified foods in our house. Natural. I will research how they make it, I would rather avoid using diseased cow livers(livers are full of toxins, it is their purpose to filter them) or sewage, or other toxins that they the government and manufacturers are claiming are safe- no thanks!

The last time our Country used all natural vitamins to fortified the basic foods for the masses was in the 1930's. By the 1940's synthetics were being dumped into our food supply.

Monday, October 22, 2012

It is an Epidemic, but who is trying to find out Why?

Abby's had a couple flare days, nothing bad,bad but enough to wipe her out. She is able to sleep(sometimes she gets insomnia- that is bad for her and us!)it off so far, but I knew she was feeling down and out when she did not want to get up to watch the Walking Dead with us. I don't think it is the D oil, or anything she ate, I think it is just one of the flares we cannot figure out how to stop. Frustrates me to no end that I cannot figure out how to help her during these..


Which means I have no reason to create some new Abby safe recipe, as she doesn't eat much when she feels out of sorts. Odds are she will just want homemade chicken broth and rice.


I might just bake or cook for the rest of the family, or might actually do some housekeeping?

This weekend I have been worrying about my friends littlest one who out of the blue developed some chronic lung issues. He also is not a good eater. He did perfectly on the swallow test to rule that out. I hope the specialists will give her some good answers this week, and help him.

Fretting about her little boy really made me think about "eating" issues in kids. 40 years ago, we had a couple chunky kids, lots of "normal" and a few super skinny. Everybody ate their food when they were hungry. Some were very short, some were very tall. I did not know one child with a feeding tube. We had the clean plate club, those of us who loved food liked that club, and the picky eaters groaned when they were told to finish their food before they could leave the table. For most, it really was that simple, not just me being an old lady reminiscing about the olden golden days.

Today, too many are overweight(I blame those twinkies and processed snacks-throw them out! They are a once maybe every 3 months treat, not a daily source of food) too many that refuse to eat, too many that cannot eat, too many that are allergic, intolerant, too many not absorbing... constipation used to be solved at home by eating more raisins,grapes and blackstrap, but today, constipation is a growing issue that even medications are not helping..Why?

In forty years, chronic health issues that involve food/GI system in one way or another in our children have gone through the roof. Why?


Why? That is what I want to know. Why are so many more kids instinctually not even wanting to eat? Why so many illnesses involving the GI track. There is seriously something wrong in our population. Abby is allergic to the weirdest things, granted we have a lot of allergies in my family, but she really takes the cake, why? Why are they worse in her then any other generation? Hubby's family doesn't really have too many allergies- just hay fever. Why are the numbers of Autistic rising? Why so many toddlers with tubes or medical liquid diets?

In nearly every type of chronic illness in children that I have run across in my various interest and support groups, the GI is affected. Autistic families deal with all sorts of food intolerances plus more complicated issues. Mito is almost a promise of some sort of GI involvement. Mast Cell diseases have GI involvement.. see the connection? All these illnesses that are increasing daily seem to involve the GI system one way or another...

I wonder if 40 years ago, more of these kids simply died from lack of interventions? But when you look at the statistics available, I don't see that in high enough numbers to explain this mounting wave of chronic illnesses.

In this last year of our journey as I see these populations increasing literally daily I cut the Drs. a little bit of slack(not too much though, they should know better then anyone how essential early intervention is, you don't wait till someone is dying before you help them!). They are probably drowning in sick children and must triage. What I want to know, when they do lay down at night finally, are they asking "Why the swelling numbers of sick kids?"

It is an EPIDEMIC.

While our Political Elite squabble over the power, they are not listening. They need healthy taxpayers to stay powerful, but we have the highest disability filings in years, and that is just adults. Who is listening? This weekend I saw some poor little boys in the little league wearing pink socks for breast cancer awareness, ridiculous! They should be wearing the colors of their peers- all the tubies,autistic,Mito,cancer,MD,CP Etc. But, as a society we don't want to talk about how so many kids are sick with mysterious and unexplained diseases- if we admit to the swelling numbers we have to admit we are messing up our kids either through our environment or food or something.. Politicians should be pushing billions to research this, in 40 years they won't have enough taxpayers to support our Country, or their life styles.

I don't know what is wrong. I just know I am frustrated that Abby is so frail. I am upset that my oldest has issues a young person shouldn't. I was young,healthy and behaved while I was prego with Abby. That should have been enough. I get even more upset as each day I hear or read about another baby born with one of these diseases and watching the numbers swell.

Maybe I should find something to cook today, otherwise I may just spend my day ranting. :-) But what should I be cooking? Today I am leery about what we are eating, what we are breathing, what we bath in.. What is causing the epidemic? Can I control it? Probably not. I want our Society to demand answers. If giving up GMO or food coloring, or corn in our gas, or vaccines or a zillion other amazing advances we as humans have created, would stop this Epidemic, would we? Would we give it all up it up for healthy kids? The sick feeling in my gut says no.

Until the celebrities,politicians and super wealthy start having children who also suffer from some variable of this epidemic, nothing will happen- it doesn't exist until they say it does.

Another thought lingering in my head is that when Derek travels he always eats the local food. India,Australia,Singapore,England,Czech, etc and he digests just fine. Actually, better then fine. He says he notices his skin "smells" different and a few other oddball things. Yet, after 3 days of even a careful diet when he gets back to America, his insides freak out! Why can he eat the oddest foods in Countries like India or Trinidad and his body loves it- but when he gets home and tries to eat Western foods he is sick until he "acclimates" to the Western diet? Think about that.

Yep, no lemonade out of lemons today! :-)




Saturday, October 20, 2012

More gf Sourdough! Gluten Free Sourdough English Muffins


As I was searching for some recipes to use my gluten-free sourdough starter(joe)I stumbled across a few english muffin recipes. I had absolutely no idea how English Muffins were made! Which of course made me want to try to make them. My first attempt above had all the right "flavor". Toasted it had a good texture, but was missing the nooks and crannies we all love to see in a good english muffin.

Second attempt, these turned out a little better. I skipped the step where you gently knead the dough, gf flours just don't like all the kneading. I also reduced the flour so it was as close to a thick batter as I could get it and still shape them. They rose better, but the tops all crackled. Also, because of the softer texture these spread more then rising so before I stuck them in the skillet I had to squeeze and press the edges some to "fatten" them up. Did not hurt the end result, but I think I will have to make this a few times to make them perfect, but the in the meantime they are perfectly tasty if not full of the nooks and crannies and a bit ugly! :-)There isn't a safe butter or margarine that Abby can eat, so she did not need those nooks and crannies to hold that yummy butter! Also nice to know you really can make anything at home. For round 3 I may go more "batter" and use empty clean water chestnut cans as molds- we will see!
Picture here of second attempt-see the cracks on top? The rough lumpy sides from my pressing them back in shape?


English muffins are corny because they dip the muffin on both sides in corn meal. I used millet flour instead! Millet flour is a bit grainy like corn meal, and yellow. Perfect!

I added the guar gum on round two- not sure it really did anything, we are trying to minimize the guar gum because of soy-thinking round 3 I will skip it again and see if the other changes are key.

Here is the LINK to my inspiration recipe.

Abby's gf Sourdough English Muffins-

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons yeast(we use red star)
1 cup gf sourdough starter
1 can or 2 cups coconut milk
3 1/2 cups all purpose gf flour
1 cup millet flour(we use arrowhead mills,Abby is more corn-lite)
3 tablespoons cane sugar(domino's)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt(pink himalayan of course)
2 teaspoons guar gum(SpiceHouse)

Preparation:

1Combine warmed coconut milk, sugar and yeast in large mixing bowl
2Add sourdough starter and mix until combined
3Add 2 1/2 cups of gf flour,guar gum ,and the salt, stir with wooden spoon until well combined
4Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour
5Stir down and add remaining gf flour to make a very soft dough bordering on batter.

7Divide dough into 16 equal pieces(flour your hands, it will be sticky!)
8Form each piece into a ball and flatten to 2 1/2 inch thick(it spreads more then rises)
9Dip each side of flattened muffin into millet flour to coat thickly
10Place coated muffins onto cookie sheet that is also thickly sprinkled with millet flour.
11Let rest in warm area for 1 hour
12Heat a dry, iron skillet on medium heat
13When hot, place three muffins gently into skillet
14Set timer for 6 minutes and allow muffins to crisp up (they will double in size and become very tall-so says the recipe, this did not happen for me, and I am blaming the gf part of it, and/or my starter)
15Very gently flip muffin over to brown remaining side for 2 more minutes
16Remove from heat and place on a platter
17Cover with dish towel to hold in heat so muffins cool slowly
18To eat, split with fork and toast before serving


Friday, October 19, 2012

Another corn-free,dairy-free,soy-free gluten-free, Candy-



The only candy that Abby can eat store bought is Reeds Ginger Candy. They are tasty but with the holidays coming I have been working to find a few recipes for her.


I did fudge, caramel(I will post that recipe soon!)and now divinity.

To be honest I avoided the divinity. Somewhere in my memory when I think of divinity I think of "icky" old lady candy! LOL Seemed like someone always brought a tray of it, dyed a lovely shade of pink to tempt me, but when I would pop it in my mouth it WAS NOT what I thought it would be! Things change. How the ladies would moan and groan over failed batches, too much humidity... Maybe I just had beginners luck, but it was easy!
The only substitution I used was Lyle's Golden Cane Syrup in place of the corn syrup. So far seems like Lyles works for many many corn allergic and so far no problems with Abby. In some recipes it seems I can replace equal amounts of the Lyles for the Corn Syrup, but have had a few recipes perform better with a different amount..

Divinity recipes are pretty standard. You may find food colors, or different flavored extracts or even nuts mixed in. Sometimes some changes in amounts of sugar or water. You may find it spread in a pan and cut into squares or dropped by spoonful. Apparently to make the spoonful look pretty takes some practice! Mine were very funky little fluffy bites- will do it better next time!

I think I figured out why I never liked divinity. Those sweet little ladies were giving me the stale stuff! LOl Fresh it really is divine! :-) Abby really enjoyed a nibble of this too! Thinking a couple drops of blueberry juice would turn them a neat purple/blue color- maybe next time.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups sugar(using domino's)
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Cane syrup
1/2 cup water(we use purified for anything Abby eats)
2 egg whites
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(any flavor you would like my vanilla extract is working well that I made! will do follow up post soon.)
Directions:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, Lyle's cane syrup and water and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, undisturbed, until the mixture reaches the hard-ball stage, 260 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

In a standing electric mixer(or hand mixer, but you gotta have power to make this stuff,I cannot imagine using a wooden spoon!), whip the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Working very slowly, add the sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream, and continue beating on high speed until the candy begins to lose its shine - this can take as long as 10 or 15 minutes, depending on your mixer. (When adding the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites, make sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the bowl if any syrup has collected on the sides. When the beaters are lifted out of the candy mixture, it should fall in a smooth thick ribbon that mounds on itself.

Working quickly, fold in the vanilla and drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cool completely before serving. The candies will firm up as they cool. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flu shots, shingles vaccine, meningitis vaccine...

Had I had my kids today, now that I am wiser and older and have stopped trusting our Government, neither would be vaccinated.


However, I was a young and trusting Mom when I had my girls. Despite some bad reactions that I was reassured were perfectly normal I never questioned whether they were safe.

Frankly, I don't know whether they are safe for you or not. That is your business. Too much research out there indicates they aren't what I thought they were.

We don't do flu,shingles, pneumonia, meningitis, so steer clear of us.

I read on the CDC website that immune compromised individuals have a higher failure rate of the vaccine. So, why encourage the immune compromised to get the shot if it is likely to fail? I don't understand that logic at all.
Cut and Copied from the CDC website:

A person may be exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different influenza viruses that circulate every year. The flu shot protects against the 3 viruses that research suggests will be most common. Unfortunately, some people can remain unprotected from flu despite getting the vaccine. This is more likely to occur among people that have weakened immune systems.

I also read these little headers;


A recent study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

A study published in the Lancet just two months ago found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, yet there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.
That Lancet study supports a similar study done five years ago, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which concluded that vaccination against pneumonia does not reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine last month also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.

Last year, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”

A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.


We also consider that the flu vaccine only covers A,B,C(this year is identical to last year). There are hundreds of subtypes of the flu that the flu shot will not protect you from.

Now the big question, can the flu shot cause harm? Not sure, but from vitamins to vaccines we avoid things that don't have value for us, and the flu shot doesn't have enough proven value.

Even if you get the flu shot religiously, not everyone will develop antibodies(titer) to what it is supposed to protect you from... In fact despite multiple attempts the military could not get my husband to develop the proper levels to any of his vaccines. Who knows who is walking around protected or not.. We have thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens come into our Country- they are likely not immunized. We have thousands upon thousands of tourists who could very likely not be immunized. Who is touching your food at the restaurant? Or the silverware? Who is stacking the fruit at the grocery store or touching your cart? Who touched the faucets before you in the public bathrooms? You simply cannot depend on a shot to protect you.

So even if everyone I knew got the shot, 1)they still can get the hundreds of other strains of the flu and share with me. 2) The vaccine might not have "taken." So they can still get the A,B, or C strain and give it to me. 3) Any time I am out in public any number of illegal aliens,tourists,those who did not titer,and those who did not get the shot, might sneeze on me or my Hubby or the girls..and get the flu anyway. Based, on the CDC, odds are if Abby got it, it would not "take." Odds are since my hubby never titered after multiple attempts by the military to keep him fully vaccinated a flu shot probably would not take for him either.

The same Drs. who scream about making sure you get that flu shot, are the same ones who tell parents that it is so important to expose your little ones to every virus in the preschool and daycare and public school to help build their immune system. So which is it? Block or expose?


So pointless and needless expense and possible risk for "us". We don't gamble with Abby's health. Get a good night sleep, good nutrition, soap and water hand washing. Good hydration. When we worry about the flu, we keep Abby home, we change our clothes at the door, and wash our hands. We wash our produce, we don't eat take out, we don't eat out. We avoid the Drs. offices like the plague,when we have to go in we take the first morning appt and get out fast! Abby hasn't had the flu or if she has our theory of chicken soup, hand washing and rest has been enough. Considering the failure rate, we trust soap and water, rest,avoidance more then a shot- but hey, we are old fashioned. If you think it works go for it! Not for us though. So, now you know to avoid us, but who else is roaming around your school,hospital,restaurants,business,retail carrying and spreading 1 or more then 1 of hundreds of variants of the flu? Last time I checked they had a surplus of the flu vaccine, the border has thousands of illegals crossing each day, and tourism is alive and well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tomato Free Spaghetti



Here is the link to my "inspiration" recipe-Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


When it comes to sauces and most savory dishes I am hard pressed to follow any recipe.

To Abby's sauce I add,
4 Roasted red peppers(link above tells you how to roast them)
2 sweet yellow onions
3 cloves of garlic
Italian seasoning
Parsley
grape seed oil to saute veggies and garlic.

Chop the roasted peppers,onion,garlic and saute in the grapeseed oil. Add seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool, throw in the blender to puree and then throw in fridge or use right away - that easy!

We have added a teaspoon of sugar in the past if the peppers weren't sweet to reduce "tang". We also find keeping in the fridge overnight allows the flavors to meld and you get a better tasting sauce. Will keep for a week in the fridge or freezes very well.

I made chicken meatballs with gf crumbs,egg, and italian seasoning and made spaghetti for her.

This also makes a terrific sauce for pizza, meatloaf(change the seasonings or not), sloppy joes(change seasoning)

A very delicious substitute for tomatoes! Abby misses tomatoes more then she misses chocolate, so we are extra pleased with this sauce. In her early years she tested allergic to tomatoes and then seemed to outgrow it, she fell in love with all things tomato! So giving up tomato this year to help reduce the histamine load was tough- she said this sauce makes it much easier- she loves it!


Health benefits of bell pepper (Via, nutrition and you)

Bell pepper contains impressive list of plant nutrients that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Unlike other chili peppers, it is very low in calories and fats. 100 g provide just 31 calories.

Sweet (bell) pepper contains small levels of health benefiting an alkaloid compound capsaicin. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. When used judiciously it also found to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.

Fresh bell peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. This vitamin is especially concentrated in red peppers in highest levels. 100 g fresh red pepper provide about 127.7 mcg or about 213% of RDA. Vitamin-C is a potent water soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

It also contain good levels of vitamin-A. 100 g of sweet pepper has 3131 IU or 101% of vitamin A. In addition, it contains anti-oxidant flavonoids such as α and ß carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. Together, these antioxidant substances in capsicum helps to protect body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress and diseases conditions.

Bell pepper has adequate levels of essential minerals. Some of main minerals in it are iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Selenium is anti-oxidant micro-mineral that acts as co-factor for enzyme superoxide dismutase.

Capsicum is also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. B-complex vitamins facilitate cellular metabolism through various enzymatic functions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comfort Food "GF Sourdough Coconut Coffee Cake"




There is nothing in this cake I can justify as even a bit good for you! Well, maybe the coconut and coconut oil, but even then...no hidden nofu, black beans, rice protein, fruit,nothing at all nutritionally essential- once in awhile you just have to make junk food! No chemicals, no colors, so at least it has that going for it. :-)


My gf sourdough starter(Joe) needed to be used and fed today. I could have tossed some of "Joe" but that just seems wasteful! I am still very tickled that I managed to start and not kill a starter, so I am just a little obsessed with finding ways to use it. It was rainy and cold and Abby wasn't feeling so grand, and for Abby there is simply nothing better then a spoonful of sugar to perk her up a bit.

I found a few Sourdough coffee cake recipes and could not decide on which one to use. So I combined and tweaked a few.

This was terrific. Really terrific and it tasted as comforting as it smelled baking. Dense, moist, a bit crumbly but for once gf crumb was definitely appreciated!

I think I could have reduced the grapeseed oil, the sourdough starter gave it all the moisture it needed.

Best part, I did not have to pitch any of "Joe" down the sink and I think if I slice it and individually wrap this I can a few pieces tucked into the freezer for another rainy day.
(Picture below is right before it went in the oven)


Gf Sourdough Coconut Coffee Cake (use safe ingredients and it is dairy free,soy free,corn free too!)

for the streussel topping:
1 cup gf flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon mace( I used 1/8 mace and 1/8 nutmeg)
2/3 cup palm shortening or coconut oil(cold for cutting)
1/2 cup fine flake unsweetened coconut shreds
1/4 teaspoon salt(pink of course)

Combine flour, sugar,coconut and spice and salt until well combined. Rub in cold palm shortening or coconut oil using your fingertips(or fork) until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when you press it together with your fingers. Set topping aside.


for the cake:
1 cup healthy sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1/3 cup oil(grapeseed or liquid coconut)
1 egg
1 cup gf flour
1 cup sugar granulated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or nutmeg or cinnamon, we avoid cinnamon so opted for nutmeg)

Grease 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" square cake pan.
Stir together all ingredients until they are just combined.
Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top of the cake.
Allow the cake to rest for 30 minutes. While it is resting, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake is set and the sides begin to pull away from the pan.
Allow to cool before cutting.( So did not wait and it did not hurt a thing, besides my calorie intake for the day!)


We LOVE this time of year..

Can you guess why? The food? No. The weather? No. Halloween? Well, yes that is important, but the very best part? TV Season!


We are All American, joyful, Couch Potatoes. After what to us is almost an agonizingly long summer of being housebound with cruddy TV, the fall brings new life to our tube!


In previous summers the girls and Derek loved the movies- it was their weekly entertainment to look forward to, to plan and sometimes to fight over! How they loved dragging Derek to various chick flicks, or how they loved sharing a good sci fi flick with him. This summer Abby could not handle the theater. Not much on the TV and she was awake a lot more! Long summer this year.

We are avid readers- Sara and Abby both were dragging around Tolstoy to King from the time they started recognizing words in her their toddler years, but our hearts are with mindless and entertaining TV.

Don't be scandalized, but we don't nor have we ever edited reading or TV or computer materials. Sara and Abby both at age 2 might be watching Lion King, and then want to watch Feet of flames or Riverdance, and then flip to some horror movie within hours. They read what they found at the library or at home. Might be the Giving Tree and by before school even the Color Purple. As soon as they found the internet they were like duckies to water- I am sure they surfed plenty of sexual material. Probably all sorts of stuff most parents would freak over and honestly had I seen it, I would have made them close it, but "what I don't know,I don't have to monitor". But, since they were little their minds were always way beyond their bodies. I could never decide which was more humorous when they were in lower primary school- that they were trying to teach themselves a computer language in order to program offensive material onto websites or that they wanted to learn to pole dance. Their imaginations have always had free reign.

Derek and I were wild- I mean really really wild, like parents worst nightmare teens. If you gave us a reason to rebel we jumped for it. Since we knew very quickly with the girls that they were likely smarter then we were, we decided to not give them any reason to rebel. We let them curse at home. Watch horror movies at age 5 on a school night(still had an 8pm bedtime).. but they also had the ability to understand that with that right came the same rules I live by- fine to curse, but don't do it in public, it is offensive and not attractive. Don't talk about sex with your 5-7 year old friends. Parents don't like that. Not hard at all. It worked. Sara and Abby are soooooooooo NOT rebellious. They enjoy us. No tattoo's, no teen pregnancies, no sneaking out at night, no pot smoking, these girls are so squeaky clean it is almost alarming! Their idea of wild is ignoring us and steering clear of us for a day or two,or when Sara insisted on staying at the dorm for college.. Really.

This time of year means we fight for the best real estate on the couch. Admittedly, Derek and I take advantage of our age and "parental right" to have the most comfortable seating, and even for Abby we usually won't budge. We look forward to dinner together every night and the evenings shows. New shows, sitcoms from last year, old favorites and new. Always the Simpsons. We have watched that the girl's entire lives every night on Fox. Now we love Big Bang theory! Abby even got a Soft Kitty T-shirt this past Christmas. We love Revolution, we ADORE the Walking Dead, we love The Boardwalk, we love Dexter, True Blood... We LOVE Hope, We LOVE New Girl! Fringe,American Dad,The family Guy, endless! Don't get me started on reruns! From MASH marathon's to I dream of Jeannie,X-Files,Star Trek . We watch it all!. Food Network, Bravo( Project Runway!) Discovery, History, ID. I sometimes think we are the only American Family that truly appreciate every channel we subscribe to through our direct tv.

Tonight as I watch the Voice I have to wonder if all this TV is good for us? I suspect so many episodes of Big Rich Texas likely knocks some IQ points off.. And do I really need to watch the Real House Wives of NY? I am pretty sure that is not their "real life" still... Animal Cops makes me weep and want to adopt every animal..


Nope- not going to feel any guiltier about our devotion to fiction then I do about our sugar addiction. They both serve a purpose. Sugar helps Abby digest and hold her weight and TV keeps us sane. We have gone years in the past without cable and survived just fine, so we can live without. It offers us time together. No health issues, no money issues and no outside world realities. I remember when Sara was just a toddler and Abby was a baby we went to visit my Uncle. My cousins are beyond brilliant, like crazy breath taking Actuary kind of smarts. At the time I had been told that too much TV was bad for children- My Uncle pointed over to my cousins and said - "you think they got that smart from listening to me? They watched the boob every second they could."

Our lives physically are in these 4 walls often, but our minds fly free, always have and always will.

Gotta close, Revolution is about to kick on and it is such a great series and deserves my full attention!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's in My Pantry?

I have had a couple folks express an interest as to what I keep in my pantry. Please keep in mind, that each person has different tolerances when it comes to allergens, so what Abby is able to tolerate may be different then what you can tolerate. Abby is a "bucket" allergy type. If her exposure has been low(not exposed out of the house to sizings,exhaust,chemicals at Dr office ,hayfever low)and good food choices her bucket is "empty" and she can tolerate tiny bits of exposure to various allergens. IF she has been exposed to more allergens, her bucket gets full and she will and does react to EVERYTHING! So we rotate based on the status of her "bucket."



Rice Milk
- We use Rice Dream Original/Classic. Not fortified! Any fortified product is CORNY! Rice Dream original is pretty clean in a pinch though if you are celiac it does have gluten contamination(so I have been told)Since Abby is off gluten for ease of digestion and not allergy we haven't worried about it. Our preference is coconut milk, but rice dream is what we use when Abby is in a flare- it is simply easy to digest. She is unable to eat any of their other products because of various ingredients. 17 years ago when she quit nursing this was the only milk she tolerated then, and does well enough with it now. Sadly, not a lot of value but better then nothing.



Domino Sugar
- We used Imperial and C&H for awhile. But, recently swapped to Domino and it does seem to reduce the flares Abby was having. IT is also important to consider what packaging your sugar comes in- you know the boxes with the wax paper lining? Not a good choice for Abby. We stick to the paper wrapper packaging. (Their powdered sugar is NOT safe because of Corn)

Chickpeas- I buy dried chickpea's. Not canned. So far I haven't had to be super picky about dried.


Coconut- Hands down Tropical Traditions brand is the safest, but unless they are running an online deal it isn't a "must" for Abby. We have used a number of different brands of Coconut for Abby. "Let's do Organic" for the coconut cream. NOW brand coconut flakes have been fine. We try to stick to Spectrum coconut oil but have used other brands without penalty. At times we worry more about corn contamination sometimes more about soy or dairy- just depends where Abby's bucket level is at...


Oils/Fats
- I mentioned Spectrum Coconut oil. Spectrum Palm Shortening is in my pantry as well. I rarely use it- I stick to coconut oil and grapeseed oil as much as possible, I would say 80 percent of my cooking/baking is with coconut oil. It just seems that Abby digests coconut fats the easiest. Her GI will complain about other fats no matter how clean. The palm shortening I have only used a couple times I think I was making biscuits and found it as the best option.


Baking Powder- is "corny" except Hain brand. You can make your own, but I do have a container of this in my pantry.




Flours
- this has been a lot of trial and error. First off going gluten-free and then trying to avoid corn and soy and dairy contaminations. Bob's was what we tried first and she reacted to all of Bob's- they admit there may be some corn contamination so maybe that was the problem. We use ArrowHead Mills a lot(brown rice,millet,and buckwheat flour), though we think she reacted to the puffed rice once or twice but aren't sure however, the puffed millet has been safe for her. ArrowHead Mills is easier to find and the prices are generally fair. However ArrowHead Mills does process a lot of corn products which would make their products at higher risk for corn contamination. We have used Barry Farm, SpiceHouse(guar gum), Ener-G(sweet rice flour), AuthenticFoods(potato starch)... From talking with other corn allergy and soy allergy sufferers some react to some of Abby's choices but so far so good with Abby- maybe because we rotate or pay attention to her "bucket?" I have suspected a reaction here and there but with her huge list of intolerances and allergies it often very hard to tell what product is the issue.


BlackStrap Molasses-
We have used both Plantation Brand and Tree of life un sulfered organic. So far no noticeable reactions to either. If you have read my blog, you know how important I think it is to add Blackstrap to your diet. :-)

We have lots and lots of other products we have found but that is enough for this post. Lots of trial and error. Some items are available at Kroger, some at Whole Foods, and many at our favorite Health Food Store in Conroe TX, The Granary Street Natural Foods. We were very disappointed with Trader Joes. Not sure if when we shopped with them in Seattle years ago we just did not have as many allergies to content with, or if they have just quit carrying single ingredient foods. I understand Sprouts health food stores are coming to Houston in 2013. Mixed reviews on what they offer, but I suspect they will carry a few brands that we will be able to use.

We try very hard to only buy single ingredient, organic foods for Abby. Any chemicals, vitamins, mixed ingredients tend cause reactions and flares. I have found myself ordering more of her food online. Amazon, vitacost and a few other online shops carry a much better and safer selection of single ingredient foods. We try to research and look out for possible contaminations but usually with Abby it comes down to a trial on each new item/brand. Too many times something that has "looked and sounded" clean- triggered a reaction. Buyer beware. Worse then that, something that has been clean for years will suddenly change their ingredients and Abby will start reacting. Every time I think we have this all figured out, something changes- It leaves me staying on my toes. :-)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

UMDF Grand Rounds Ft Worth TX October 16th





Grand Rounds
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation has made it a priority to reach out to physicians through Grand Rounds. The program introduces and/or broadens the knowledge base on mitochondrial diseases. The primary purpose of the Grand Rounds is to provide continuing education to health care providers on topics specific to mitochondrial disorders, which also furthers the UMDF mission to promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders and to provide support to affected individuals and families.
With the generous support from various funders, the UMDF schedules up to eight Grand Rounds per year. The Grand Rounds will also be coupled with a special family meeting to help educate patients/families about mitochondrial disease - and many times, the family meetings are suitable for outreach to nurses, therapists, educators, and various allied health professionals.
If you would like to see the UMDF bring a Grand Rounds Program to your area, please contact Janet Owens at janet@umdf.org.

Grand Rounds UMDF

October 16, 2012
Cook Children’s Medical Center
Ft. Worth, TX
Speaker – Dr. Mary Kay Koenig
Grand Rounds – 8:00pm

If you would like more information feel free to contact: Shawna McElveen atshawnamcelveen@yahoo.com or 972-358-8727


Should be a great opportunity to learn more about Mitochondrial Disease.

Friday, October 12, 2012

No Mito Cocktail, No Guilt.

If you are at all familiar with the Mito World, then you know the first thing you hear is about the Mito Cocktail.

Basically just supplements, over the counter. A few compounds can be prescribed, but often those with Mito need to find clean,safe and properly evaluated supplements- no easy task. When we do find them it can literally cost more then a house payment each month to supplement the patient or family.

We tried them, and even compounded them- they made Abby terribly sick. We think some of the reason is that the compound pharmacy wasn't as careful as we wanted(compounding out of pocket is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive) and even the cleanest supplements and vitamins have some tiny bit of hidden corn that everyone thinks is so small it could never bother someone with a corn allergy- Ha! Tell Abby's body.


I gotta say I was feeling a level of guilt that after just a month or two we quit trying to find any cleaner,safer versions. At first, Abby was sooo sick it just wasn't a priority, simply trying to get even chicken broth into her was a challenge.


The last few months as we are enjoying a level of stability I have begun thinking about it again. Do you know, I don't think anyone ever tested her CoQ10 levels in the beginning. My theory, why take a supplement when you don't know whether you need it or not?

So the last trip to the Mito Specialist Abby's levels for the components for the Mito Cocktail were tested. Guess what? They were all perfectly and deliciously normal.

Not everyone needs the cocktail, and shockingly a lot of patients are recommended to take and spend the fortune on it( insurance doesn't cover much if any)and their levels have never been tested.

Too much of a good thing, might be as dangerous as not enough.

The one level that came back low low as usual was Abby's D. Seems like a very common thing with all populations not just Mito. We have tried supplementing in the past and never got her level up, but trying again. She cannot take it by mouth, after a few days the minute amounts of hidden corn will start to build. So we ordered vitamin D oil and have been rubbing her skin with it. Who the heck knows if it will work, but it has alleviated some of my guilt and so far after a couple weeks it seems her skin isn't as sensitive and she hasn't flared directly. I have poked around a bit about D and haven't found any secret way to jump her level, but it seems temporary large doses don't cause harm if we are forced to do that down the road. One tip I thought was interesting- don't use the egg whites in the carton, separate your own egg whites.

Are you paying 500-1000 dollars a month for supplements? Have you had your levels tested via lab to know if you really need to be supplementing?

We are content not supplementing since her levels are good-normal. Unless, some serious fab research can prove to me and my insurance company that I NEED to be blowing a house payment on supplements, thinking Abby is just fine without.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Small Improvements

Abby is still showing tiny little improvements. These days they are not the huge leaps and bounds that kept us on this journey, but if you look closely you can find the improvements each week.


The bad flares don't last as long. Instead of knocking her down for 2 weeks, it is just a couple days. Far fewer bad flares as well. Lots of little bad days, but those are soooo much easier to deal with.. We are rewarded with a good day now and then, but often the reward is stability- well, I will take that too!


There have been many days that this journey has been hard. Yesterday my sciatica was acting up and my poodles have been waking me up at 3 am, I soooooo did not want to cook for Abby. But I did. She has days where she so doesn't want to eat, but she does.


Her hair is growing back in at a nice rate, we are both very happy about that! Her toenails and finger nails look good. Her energy is still poor, but this month she has had more good days where she is up and moving around the house, helping with cooking or helping with dishes. To us a very big deal.

Knock on wood the introduction to the homemade coconut yogurt and all it's good bacteria has been working without a hitch! We both delight in her "hearing" her stomach make noise instead of dead silence. The sourdough has sat well. We are hoping that it will make it easier for her digest food properly and get more of the minerals, and vitamins to digest- at least it hasn't made her sick! :-)


I have a few new foods on the list and lined up for Abby. Day before yesterday she and I were giddy over her lunch. She had a fat sandwich(gf bread) of chicken,lettuce and ranch(coconut sour cream and coconut yogurt,onion,dill and parsley). A blueberry gf sourdough muffin and a serving of red grapes- that was the most complete and normal meal to date in nearly a year! We have figured out how to make enough foods safe now that she can have a balanced and appealing meal. Success.

As the noticeable progress gets much slower and harder to notice, the journey gets harder. When she has a few bad days in a row, it sends us into panic that what we are doing isn't working. Somedays I wonder if what we are trying is right,after all most Mito families aren't doing it this way. Then, she does something like showers on her own, or picks up her own clothes, and we swear to work harder. This is working. I have met a few other families in the last few months that are finding stability doing it this way, and I delight in watching the progress in their kiddo's too. Mito needs a very individualized approach. For some with Mito they thrive running errands,school etc. Some thrive with PT,OT,Speech.. Some like Abby need less to do more. You must be strong and pick what works for you and yours and stick to it despite judgement within this community. There is no one right way in life, and in Mito who knows what will work? When you find the right path, run with it!

Teff flour is up on our try list next. Similar value to millet,quinoa,wheat- a very high value flour to bake with, and you can just boil the grain like millet or quinoa and eat it. Let the food trial begin!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gf Sourdough Bread Machine 1st Attempt.


Today I made a gluten free sourdough bread in the bread machine.

Mixed review.
1) It wasn't very "sour" or "chewy".
2) It was tender, and the sourdough seemed to make the texture far more like a loaf of wheat bread.
3) This loaf sliced really well and the slices held together nicely- not crumbly at all like some gf white breads.


So, delicious but just not very sourdough! :-) But, guess we will have to try again won't we? I cannot say we will mind if they all turn out like this!


Gf Sourdough Bread Machine
1/2
cup water
1 cup gf sour dough starter
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt(dairy free)
1 egg
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

3 cups gf flour
1 tablespoon of guar gum

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon bread machine or quick active dry yeast(I use red star active)

Measure 1 cup of the sourdough starter and all remaining bread ingredients carefully, placing in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.( mine calls for wet ingredients first, I added the sourdough starter first.)

I used the gluten free option, 2 pd loaf and medium crust.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gf Sourdough Starter is Good for You!




After my wild success with our "Nofu" butter, I decided I was ready for a real challenge, it was time I started my own Gf sourdough Starter.

Years ago I did try to do this, and my starter was a big F for failure. :-)

Thanks to bloggers, websites and those devoted to all things sourdough, I have succeeded in a nice sour sour dough starter- that is gf/cf.

I followed this blog, Peas and thank you directions with a few easy changes.

I used half buckwheat and half millet flour to start my starter.

On day 3 when it is time to add more flour, I changed over to an organic brown rice flour.

On Day five I also used the organic brown rice flour.

On Day six I used my all purpose mix of gf flour which is; brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and millet flour.


I used the juice from a fresh pineapple instead of canned. Abby doesn't "tolerate" fresh/canned pineapple, but isn't allergic. So, after a couple feedings and the "fermenting" I am hoping the pineapple juice will have been "consumed." Then it will be clean. ( Tonight I was browsing and found a recipe on allrecipes for a sourdough starter that she uses "red organic grapes" instead of pineapple juice- I sooo have to try that one! Way better for Abby. Interestingly, apparently there are yeast spores on the skins of the grapes.)

When I decided to make this I read about 10 different blogs/websites on how to grow and maintain. Another site I leaned on was the King Arthur directions for their gf sourdough starter. I wasn't sure which grain flours would work to start it, but it seems many are started with whole wheat, or ancient grains. This lead me think about which flours I have that are more along the "Ancient grain" definition. Buckwheat and millet I always have on hand and use them like I would whole wheat. A tip I found was later down the road, I should now and then feed my starter more buckwheat and/or millet to help keep it healthy.

Some of the blogs started theirs in a jar. Then they would have transfer to a bigger vessel later in the process. It is recommended to use glass,ceramic and lastly plastic. I opted to start with a container that would be big enough for the final product vs transferring mid- process. I have a nice big large mouth glass jar that will be it's final vessel. I kept my starter on top of fridge hoping to maintain a bit of warmth from the appliance. I never added cold juice or water- I did warm the juice or water to not quite as hot as for activating yeast, but definitely a touch warmer then room temperature. I also only used purified water, making bread over the years I have learned that our tap water isn't a good choice(we don't drink it because of the fluoride), it can cause failure.

Now of course beyond flavor, I am always anxious to try to increase the value of Abby's food. Like her buckwheat bread, it is dairy free,gluten free,etc but lots of sugar. Thankfully buckwheat has a great profile and I throw in blackstrap molasses so I rest easy she is not eating just empty calories. Everything needs as much value as possible without upsetting her system.(sugar is a catalyst for digestion for Abby- not sure why, but am in no mood to dump the apple cart as long as she continues to improve). Sourdough is "fermented" and thus has good bacteria that help with digestion, and since Abby has been tolerating the homemade coconut yogurt very well, this is just one more avenue to introduce those "good" bugs. In the Mast world it is generally recommended to avoid foods that are fermented, but since(knock on wood!) we haven't seen any disruption from the yogurt we are going to push this a little further. If it is an energy issue that has been interfering with her ability to digest many foods, and part of that may have been from multiple antibiotics then these little bacteria are necessary to keep Abby healing. Our thoughts are that anything that will make it easier for her to absorb nutrition is a good risk. Bring on the good bugs!

If you are interested in learning more, Simple Bites blog has a terrific page on the nutrition and "science" of sourdough. Easy and appealing to read it encouraged me that this was the right next step.

Pancakes,muffins,waffles,breads... even cakes, cookies, pastries and pretzel's- they are all just that much more flavorful with some sourdough starter added, and that much more nutritious.

Lastly, one more link I have referred to quite a few times as I have been learning about yogurt and sourdough- Cultures for Health. Terrific information and really sold me on the importance and benefits of fermentation. At the end of the day, I still have some doubts about how far Abby's food makeover will take her health, but sure has been a tasty journey!

My first use of the sourdough starter;
Gf sourdough, coconut yogurt blueberry muffins, we were impressed! Not only did they taste delicious, but the smell of them baking was simply out of this world!

Gf sourdough, coconut yogurt, blueberry muffins:
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup gf sourdough starter
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
3/4 cup coconut yogurt
2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Blueberries
INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or paper)a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.(I got 16 muffins)
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, guar gum and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Whisk together sourdough starter,coconut oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Stir in flour mixture until partially moistened. Fold in blueberries until evenly mixed. Batter will be thick, do not over stir.
Divide batter evenly between muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.
Bake 10 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to bake about 10 minutes longer or until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 3 minutes. Serve warm or remove to wire rack to cool completely.


I have read a lot of different pages on how to Maintain my starter.. Hopefully, I don't kill this batch before figuring out what works best! :-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Nofu Butter" For those with a Nut-allergy and Seed-allergies.


Allergic to Nuts and Seeds and craving peanut butter? Try Nofu Butter :-)

Abby cannot have nuts or seeds. Which means no almond butter, no peanut butter, no tahini, no pumpkin seed butter, sunflower seed butter etc. Boy does she miss something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich.. or peanut butter cookie..


So we made our own " faux peanut butter".

Chickpea/coconut cream butter. Sounds terrible? It isn't. It is amazing, delicious and we think BETTER then peanut butter! Even the non allergy folks in the family thought it was shockingly good! Goodbye peanut butter! Hello Nofu Butter!



Nofu Butter Abby Style:

1 cup chickpea nofu.(my blog entry on how to make Chickpea Nofu.)

1 block "Let's do Organic" coconut cream

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt(more or less to taste,we use pink himalayan)

3 heaping Tablespoons dark brown sugar for "Jiffy or skippy" flavor or use less sugar for a more natural style butter(been using Domino's)

3 Tablespoons "grapeseed oil." ( liquid helps the mixture blend better in the Ninja gives it a more authentic texture as well we tried coconut oil,but since we keep in fridge it got too hard)

Throw it all in the Ninja. Blend and scrap for a couple minutes until creamy and smooth.

Pack into jar or container and keep in fridge. We use our chickpea nofu the day after I make it to make our "chickpea nofu butter" and keep in fridge for 2 weeks.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Eat the Grapes



( Image from Texas Gardener I had to see what grew here in Texas)

A favorite food of children and adults alike, almost too likable to have any value, but Abby and I were talking about grapes last night and we decided it was time to look the nutrition profile up on grapes- WOW!

Manganese,Vitamin K, B1, B6, and vitamin C to mention the top.

They also are noted for containing a variety of phytonutrients:
Stilbenes
resveratrol
piceatannol
pterostilbene
Flavanols
catechins
epicatechins
procyanidins
proanthocyanidins
viniferones
Flavonols
quercetin
kaempferol
myricetin
isorhamnetin
Phenolic Acids
caffeic acid
coumaric acid
ferulic acid
gallic acid
Carotenoids
beta-carotene
lutein
zeaxanthin

In addition to the above-listed nutrients, grapes have also been shown to contain the hormone and antioxidant melatonin as well as unique oligopeptides (small protein-like molecules) that have anti-bacterial and other properties.

For as sweet as they are they have a lower glycemic index rating. Another plus.

As usual my go to website WHfoods is packed with all the good news about grapes.

A few positives of eating grapes-
All of the following cardio benefits have been demonstrated in research studies on grapes and grape components:

better blood pressure regulation, including blood pressure reduction if high
better total cholesterol regulation, including total cholesterol reduction if high
reduced LDL cholesterol levels
reduced LDL oxidation
reduced levels of reactive oxygen molecules in the blood
reduced likelihood of cell adhesion to the blood vessel walls
less clumping together of platelet cells, when inappropriate
enhanced release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls in situations where vasodilation is needed
better inflammatory regulation in the blood
increase levels of glutathione in the blood

Before project elimination I thought about grapes very little. These days though they are one of the few fresh "berries" that Abby tolerates. When she and her sissy were little if we were dealing with constipation I always provided grapes for a "cure." Had I known then what I know now about grapes, I would have made them available daily to the girls.

Now, I am motivated to figure out how to add grapes to my baking and cooking- with the exception of fruit salad and waldorf salad I cannot remember seeing a recipe that calls for them. For now, Abby is snack crazy about grapes,but the day will come when there is a bag of grapes in the fridge that end up in a new recipe.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gluten Free/Dairy Free/soy free/corn free Cream Puffs!


Gluten free, dairy free,soy free and corn free.. and they turned out terrific! (The "powder" sprinkled on them is a touch of sweet rice starch, purely for "looks!")


Not sure what inspired me to make these for Abby, but I am pretty determined to make all of our old favorites minus the wheat,dairy and corn.

These did not "puff" as much as traditional cream puffs when they baked. When I have made "regular" ones I have had that happen and found if I cut them open and spoon out all the doughy stuff the crust/outside will stay crisp- did the same with these and they were still somewhat crisp in fridge full of pudding overnight. They were very crisp and a touch chewy in a good way before filling with pudding. I will make again and tweak the flours- might be able to get something that puffs up better.


Ingredients:
2/3 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 tsp guar gum
Pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 large eggs, room temperature

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper(or greased tinfoil), and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, sweet rice flour, guar gum, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Once they have reached a boil, pour all of the dry ingredients in at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated, and the mixture looks similar to play dough. stir and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat add one egg at a time.(I used a fork for this, it will look awful but keep mixing,) Beat dough until the egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. Repeat until all 4 eggs have been added.
Mix until the dough is smooth.
Spoon the dough (about a 1/4 cup per cream puff) onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between cream puffs.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door, and pierce each cream puff with a sharp knife. This will help any steam trapped inside them to escape, giving a nice crisp cream puff. Leave the cream puffs in the oven, with the door open a few inches, until the oven has cooled completely. I waited about 10 minutes and cut them open and scooped them out(the wet dough) using the coconut oil these did not fluff as much as I had hoped, but nice and crisp on the outside so worked just fine!
Once cream puffs have completely cooled, fill them with a sweet or savory filling. They are best served the same day, but can be stored in an air tight container. To crisp unfilled cream puffs again, place in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes.

I filled the ones in the picture with some Marshmallow frosting. I found the recipe on Pinterest. It is just egg whites and granulated sugar and really the easiest cooked frosting I have ever attempted!. Once I had the frosting whipped to my satisfaction, I gently added in some vanilla and a couple dashes of salt. The frosting doesn't have much flavor without it. This frosting has been in the fridge for 2 days and was still fluffy. Here is the link to the Marshmallow Frosting.
I also made some of Abby's perfect vanilla pudding I had posted here awhile back. I made it a hair thicker then usual. Abby said the ones filled with "frosting" were prettier, but she loved them chilled filled with the vanilla pudding.

Monday, October 1, 2012

India-Hope in the midst of shocking conditions.

(this was a fav pic- he felt it captured their spirit-)


Derek made it back from India on Saturday. Out of all his global travels, India evoked the most emotion.


The people are amazing. He nicknamed them the "New American's". They work 12-14 hour days, no complaining, fab customer service. Impeccably dressed. They seem tireless to improve their station in life.



What they consider middle class living is what we consider abject poverty. The cost of a flat/apartment is high enough that they generally share the apartment with at least another couple or family(pic of apartment building,middle class). The Caste system is alive and active in Mumbai. Derek was shocked and horrified by those lowest in the caste system. They would not make eye contact, they tried to be invisible, and those above them treated them terribly. They were simply born with the wrong last name.
Derek said it was a National holiday while he was there. The festivities went on well into the night, every night, yet everyone was up and at work at dawn. He was amazed at how clean and well dressed everyone was despite some of their living conditions- even the beggars were extremely well kept.

He said it was difficult to not throw his money at the beggars, especially with babies.. he said it was hard not to tip insane amounts of money to the bellhops,servers etc. This experience touched him, and through him me.

Perhaps we are not taking advantage of the freedoms we have in this country. Perhaps I have not appreciated the access to medical care or the ability to pay for it myself. Our idea of poverty has changed. Our poorest receive cell phones, food, healthcare, housing from the taxpayers. I know some families that are poor or low end of the middle class that have far less then those who are receiving a taxpayer paid lifestyle- so wrong that you work harder and have less then those who aren't working. Many have now had generations of living dependent on the Government. I don't blame them. If I "felt" strongly that the American Dream was out of reach for me, why kill myself working 3 jobs to have less then those kicking back and letting the workers pay for their homes,cells,food and medical care? If I were to bring a handful of the poorest from India and give them 3 seconds here, they would not depend on the government. They would work tirelessly. They would embrace the American Dream because their last name doesn't matter here- it is your willingness to work hard that counts. Or would they? Would they too tire of working tirelessly if they knew they could be living better on the government/taxpayer dollar? Would they fall into the trap too? Yet, why are our numbers swelling here in America of those who have no hope? Is our culture changing? Are we just lazy? What do we want as a Nation? It takes a lot of ants to feed one grasshopper.

My perspective is changed. I "want" a lot of things, but do I "need" them? I think the next time I want to buy an item, I will ask myself, if I were living in Mumbai, would I spend my money on this? We also feel stronger then ever that we must protect our belief system and the ideals of our founding fathers. I was lucky to be born into a family who wasn't poor. Many of my ancestors went through Ellis Island though, they lived their lives here with no education, and less then 2 pennies to rub together, but they believed that at least their children stood a chance at better lives. We are a fast food nation now-if it doesn't happen fast we quit. Despite our better then average lives, Derek and I are worried that despite the opportunities we have been given, that we have given our girls, they won't be able to access the American Dream- that thought sits heavy in my heart.

One of the things that keeps running through my mind is; What if we had been born "untouchables?" Sara as a super preemie would not have survived. Abby probably would not have either.

I also wonder if I would be as sensitive to these perspectives if we had never struggled ourselves? I wonder if all the freebies for chronically ill, chronically poor, chronically undereducated are creating are own society of Untouchables? What will America be like in 3 more generations? Today I am beyond grateful for Abby and Sara's incredible intelligence, and determined to find avenue's other then government dependency for their success in this world- they have great last names, and I don't want them to be untouchable. If an American with a physical disability cannot find a way to be independent,or their families are unwilling to support them without government assistance, what hope is left for India? Do we no longer Dream of Freedom? Or do we no longer have the patience to work for it?


 
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