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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Toasted Coconut Caramel Thumbprints-dairy-free,gluten-free,corn-free, soy-lite



You just cannot have a tray of christmas cookies without the thumbprints!

One of our favorites in the past was a thumbprint rolled in finely minced pecans and filled with caramel and finally drizzled with chocolate.

No chocolate, no nuts but coconut and caramel really go great together! (Made a few plain blueberry filled too just incase no one liked the caramel/coconut combo!)

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookie- (takes 1 egg, you could easily replace with substitute.)


1/2 cup palm shortening
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. guar gum
1 tsp. baking powder(hain's)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
dash of salt
coconut shreds
egg white +1 teaspoon water

Instructions


Cream together the palm shortening, coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the vanilla. Mix to combine.
In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, guar gum,salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, beating with the mixer on low until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
Cover and chill the dough 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Use non stick cookie sheets, or sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Roll the dough into small ball. mix the egg white with the water well in a bowl. dip cookie ball into the egg white and then in another bowl filled with coconut shreds roll the dipped cookie until well covered with coconut. Place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each ball making a deep impression.


Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown slightly.
If your cookies have spread or your "thumbprint" has filled in some, take the handle end of a wooden spoon(or something similar) or if like me you have nerve damage in your fingertips you can use your finger to gently press the center back in- not too hard or the cookies will crack.

Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Caramel Filling.
Here is the recipe I use, but I think everyone has their favorite, as long as it will firm up enough you will be fine. The original recipe with dairy is at Melskitchen Cafe. I "tweaked it" a bit to work for our allergies.
INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup full fat coconut milk(just the hard stuff on top after you take a can out of the fridge)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:
In a small, heavy saucepan, slowly combine the sugar and water, taking care not to let any of the mixture splash up onto the sides of the pan. Set the pan over low heat and stir the mixture gently until the sugar is dissolved, 6-10 minutes. Again, don’t stir vigorously or else the syrup will splash onto the sides of the pan which can cause crystallization issues later. To be sure the sugar is dissolved, I’ll dip a spoon in the sugar mixture and then gently slide my finger over the mixture on the spoon and take a taste. If the sugar is dissolved, the syrup will be smooth and not at all grainy. If you still feel grains of sugar, keep stirring over low heat until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before letting the mixture come to a boil. If you notice any sugar particles on the sides of the pan, gently wash them down with a clean wet pastry brush. As the caramel boils, it can crystallize if those undissolved sugar particles get incorporated into the caramel.

Once the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat to medium or medium-high and bring the syrup to a boil. Cover the saucepan and let the syrup boil for 2 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to boil, without stirring, until the edges start to turn golden brown. It is critical not to stir the caramel during stage while it boils covered and then turns a light golden color because this is where it is most likely to crystallize if it is going to do so. Again, the crystallization happens due to undissolved sugar grains and other possible substances that fall into the syrup while it is boiling. By not stirring, the syrup doesn’t move around as much which reduces the chances of any undissolved sugar granules falling into the caramel.

Once the syrup has turned a light golden brown, carefully and gently stir the syrup or swirl the pan until it turns a deep amber, caramel color. On my stove, this takes about 5-7 minutes. Do not stir vigorously or quickly and don’t scrape down the sides of the pan while stirring. Simply move the spoon or rubber spatula slowly over and around the bottom of the pan.

Remove from the heat and add the coconut oil. Gently stir until the oil is incorporated. Stir in the coconut cream. If the sauce becomes lumpy and isn’t whisking together, set the pan over the still-warm burner and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Let caramel cool, but while still warm enough that it will spoon into your cookies fill your thumbprints. I pop my in the fridge to get them to set quicker.

I also had some blueberry jelly in the fridge so made some of the thumbprint cookies without coconut and filled with the jelly-

Fill really with whatever you would like. The coconut/caramel would be simply amazing with a drizzle of chocolate across the caramel if you can eat chocolate :-)





Candy Cane Rice Crispies(Gluten-free, corn-free, dairy-free, soy-free)



Well, "puffed rice".

I made my own cane syrup the other day. Worked well and gobs cheaper then my beloved Lyle's golden syrup. After I made the syrup, I had to try it to see if it would work as well as Lyle's. I decided on Marshmallow fluff(not frosting similar but different.)


The Marshmallow fluff worked! Now what to do with it?

I made Abby safe crispie treats. Puffed rice(arrowhead mills, we have some concerns about corn contamination but had 1 bag left in the pantry needing to be used), homemade marshmallow creme, palm shortening(for candy making palm shortening works better the coconut oil.) a shot of salt, some crushed candy cane..

1/2 cup palm shortening
1 1/2 cup marshmallow creme
well crushed candy cane
dash of salt
3 cups puffed rice(puffed rice seems to "absorb" more so I use less then a standard crispy recipe to make sure they are chewy and not dry.)

First, melt the palm shortening on medium heat and sprinkle the crushed candy cane in- stir constantly until candy cane is melted and well blended. Add marshmallow creme and salt and stir until combined. Pour over puffed rice and pat into 8x8 pan. Top with more crushed candy cane.


Done! Delicious! Used up a candy cane or two. Abby pointed out that the candy cane on top looks like red onion but it did not stop her from sampling. Because of the natural colorings in the candy canes they aren't as vibrant.

The cane syrup recipe I used is at theKitchn

The marshmallow creme recipe I used is here at Chow

With the Marshmallow creme I only had to substituted the homemade Cane Syrup for corn syrup-and followed the recipe besides that swap.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Organization Worth Giving to-

After my epic rant yesterday, I was pleased to get a note from MitoAction explaining how their Marcel's Way grant process works.


It is not based purely on income. However, it is completely based on "need."

Each and every application goes through multiple review processes. It takes more then just a note from a Dr. They have a multi review process. No one who works for their organization is eligible. Various professionals will review each and every application to confirm a true need.


I "get" that someone making 150,000 a year can have medical costs that exceed 50 percent of their income which would leave the best of us in the poor house. Some expenses to keep children alive and stable are not covered by traditional private insurance.
.
Then there are those who only make 50,000 a year but their medical costs don't exceed 10 percent of their income. So "need" can be more relevant then a system based purely on income.

I know the year before last, Derek and I figured up our medical costs at tax time and far more then 30 percent of our income in 2011 went to medical costs- that stung. We managed but had that exceeded 50 percent we would have run into some serious fiscal dilemma's. Yet, those are our bills, our burden not the taxpayer, though I really think hospital systems ought to offer frequent flyer miles! :-)



More then anything I appreciate MitoAction's willingness to provide transparency. They also have committed strongly to take each application on a very individualized basis. That shows a true commitment on their part to serve the neediest. I applaud them.

I have watched MitoAction this year do a lot of good in the Mito Community. They have reached out to the patient. They patiently provide patient education. They clarify and support. Some of the other organizations haven't supported the patient first but more the specialist first which is good, we really do need both, but if you want to touch the life of a mito patient directly and really make a difference send your donation to MitoAction.



I still feel strongly that medicaid should not be based on illness it should be based on income like it is for every other American. Just my 2 cents. I am very against Socialized medicine, Obamacare, and redistribution. I feel strongly that if you also feel strongly about our Country not becoming socialized then if you have the means you should cover your own expenses.

Consider a Senior Citizen who has no parents to look after them and they are suffering with cancer and heart disease. They have to sell their home and use that money for meds.. until all their assets are proved long gone they cannot qualify for medicaid. No pain meds for them right?

VS

A sick child whose parents have private insurance, a nice home, a good income. Who gets medicaid because of a diagnosis and not income. Who could afford to get their child their meds. Might mean a smaller house, or an older car but can do it.


Tell me, if you didn't have a sick child nor a sick elderly grandparent, who do you think should be eligible for medicaid? The senior who cannot work, who has no family or parents with cash or the child who has parents with plenty to take care of them?

It should be based on income for ALL.

America has a huge health care issue- but giving taxpayer money to families who don't need it as much as another simply because of a diagnosis? Isn't right.

The cost of Healthcare isn't right either.

Maybe I am the odd bird, but I cannot just think about my families needs and wants without thinking about the consequences of my decisions on my neighbors, Seniors too sick and too poor to get care,family and maybe grandchildren one day. I don't want to be part of the problem, or to teach my daughters to look no further then their own needs- no matter how tragic it goes much deeper then that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Should I Give?




I have not spent a whole lot of time in the Mito World the last few months. However the little bit that I have chatted with folks, there is a burning issue.

There are many of us "Mito Families" who have found ourselves donating money to help various other Mito Families who have expressed a need.


This is a good thing to help other families who are struggling and have less then you have, but how would you feel to find out that you have donated to families that have more then you have?

Pretty rotten feeling. I know first hand.


Statistically those with less are more willing to give more. I suspect that is because we know what it is like to struggle to pay rent, to eat, to keep the power on..

Been there and done that- no fun.


We don't have a lot of money, we have years of medical debt and student loans we pay each month which doesn't leave a whole lot. Yet, I am grateful we can pay our bills. So grateful, that if I have extra money it feels great to help other families who are at risk of no shelter, no gas, no food.


I really "want" a new couch. You can see by the picture that it should have been replaced a long long time ago. Do I "need" one the way some family needs food? Or needs electricity? No. When I see a fundraiser to help a Mito family or other family suffering from a devastating disease I have grabbed my couch replacement fund and donated. I don't mind my ratty old couch at all if I can go to sleep knowing I helped someone from living in their car.

What doesn't feel good is knowing that my donations and tax dollars go to families with a new couch, cellphones, traveling on vacations, medicaid, 2 new cars(less then 10 years old), own a nice home in a nice neighborhood. My donations go to families that have MORE then I do- that doesn't feel right at all. Morally it really rubs me wrong.

So I no longer donate to Make A Wish. I don't donate to a lot of different private fundraisers or fundraisers where they do not make sure that the families receiving Aid really "NEED" the aid. I don't put our money in the fireman's boot for the MDA.. I don't give to the UMDF.. Or toward Susan G Komen..

I am starting to really wonder what other people think is a "Need" vs a "want"?

We are getting closer to Abby turning 18. In theory, it is now up to her to apply for disability etc. Based on all the other Mito families, we could have back doored the system and had her signed up for free medicaid years ago because if you have Mito or other major health issue they don't deny based on income. Had we not fought the feeding tube so hard and been so willing to devote the past year to every calorie it would have been even easier to get her freebie coverage. Meaning if you are a Mito family making 150,000 or more a year? Yep you can get medicaid while our Senior Citizens cannot afford to take their medicines to stay alive- legally not a thing wrong with it, morally I find it offensive. Derek and I have put into the "system" all our lives.. so on that Abby would be just taking what we put in.. but if we can provide for her and still have food and shelter, isn't it our obligation as her PARENTS? We brought her into this world be that she turn into a famous ballerina or disabled, she is ours-our responsibility not my neighbors. All the financial planners recommend we help her apply now, because if something happened to us it could take months and months to get her application processed- it feels so wrong though...

I buy all my clothes second hand so I can afford my shoe addiction! :-) I buy all our furniture secondhand so we can afford to buy new tires or brakes when we need them. This year Abby could no longer go to the movies so we have been saving our change for 3 years and cashed it in to buy a nice big TV to have a "pretend" movie theater in our rental home. I sure would love to have a Vitamix- but I bought a Ninja because the Ninja was 1/6 of the price and worked nearly as well. The money saved went to pay for extra safe food and pay bills...Covergirl works just fine, and box color for 6 bucks covers my grey's just fine.
(Had to share a pic of this much change! Over a thousand! Our bank only had one office that would exchange if for us without charge, so if you are ready to exchange yours make sure you call ahead!)



We aren't hurting- frankly, we are doing pretty well and able to save money for the first time in a long time. We made a choice years ago to have me at home full time instead of working to compete with the Jones. I want to help those with less, but how do I know who has less?

It is a darn shame that too many of us who feel it is our duty to give to those with less no longer want to give. I know there are Mito Families(and lots of other families out there working so hard to stay afloat) out there who really are struggling, who have given up their cellphones,eating out, cable,homes,cars, vacations, and even food, who struggle very hard NOT to take charity, those are the families I want to help- but once bitten twice shy as they say.

So this year, maybe I will use my charity dollars on a new couch? Or splurge on a new outfit instead of secondhand?

Because based on what I am seeing we are giving too often to those who have far more then we do- until I KNOW my private donations are going to those with a true "need" and not just "wants" I might as well buy that couch, or add it to the saving account. I cannot do much about where my tax dollars go, but my couch fund I control.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gluten Free, dairy-free, Corn- free Fake "Cornbread"



Yep- cornbread with NO CORN! I had sifted some chickpea flour and did not want to waste the coarse flour I had separated out, so mixed it with some millet flour and decided it reminded me a lot of cornmeal. The chickpea flour can be "beany" to some taste buds, but it really worked well in this recipe. I am sure it work just the same without sifting first. Abby of course cannot have butter but for the sake of taste testing I took one for the team- a bit of margarine or butter, some honey- a bowl of chicken chili? You will never miss "corn" again!




GLUTEN FREE "Fake" CORNBREAD
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup millet flour
3 Tablespoons of sugar(Domino's)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder(Hain's)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
2-3 beaten eggs(more cake like with 3 eggs, more crumbly with 2)
1-3 Tablespoon honey (if you like it sweet add all 3 tablespoons or just 1 and increase the granulated sugar, I used 3 tablespoons of the honey)
1 cup rice milk or coconut milk
(grease 8x8 pan with coconut oil or grapeseed)
(you can also add a dash of turmeric to the dry ingredients to make the color more yellow)
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt) together in a med. bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, rice or coconut milk, and 1/4 cup oil. Add this mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour into baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

Abby McGriddle(Gluten-free, Dairy free,corn free)



Her McMuffin was a huge hit! Which made her remember a Mcgriddle!

So easy! (As always use ingredients safe for your allergies!)

First-
Maple sugar crystals.



1/2 cup real 100 percent maple syrup.



Boil(make sure you stir continuously) the maple syrup until the temperature hits 280. Pour maple onto a parchment paper to cool. Once cool smash the heck out of it. I folded it into the piece of parchment that I cooled it on.. some of my pieces were still a bit big, so you might need to do a better job then I did. Big pieces don't melt as nicely in your griddle cake. Store in airtight jar.




Make your favorite pancake recipe. We like a gluten free, dairy free recipe.


1 3/4 cup gf all purpose flour
1 cup rice milk or coconut milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar (domino's is on the corn-free list)
1 teaspoon baking powder(Hain's brand or make your own)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt.(pink himalayan)
(some folks add 1/2 teaspoon of guar gum, they seem to work fine without. Guar gum is not safe for soy allergic, though Abby is "soy-lite" and tolerates it now and then if her allergy bucket is empty enough)

Mix until well blended.

Depending on your flour blend, you may need a bit more flour or a bit more rice milk - you want this to be a thicker pancake.


I used a few of the english muffin rings well greased to shape my "griddle cakes." I filled them a little less then half full. Sprinkle the top with the maple sugar. Cook on low heat. When you see the the edges drying or bubbles remove form(run a knife if needed.) flip and brown.

a piece of Abby's chicken sausage a bit of maple syrup and ready to eat! You could add a fried egg if you wanted but Abby was happy with just the sausage.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Coconut Candy



These as pictured are "Corn Lite" at best. The papers and the crystal sugar could be "corny" but you get the idea!

Abby's safer batch weren't as picture pretty, the granulated doesn't sparkle like the coarse and who can resist pink mini papers?




Ingredients
1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened coconut(smallest flakes possible)
2 large egg yolks
Granulated sugar
small mini muffin papers
Instructions
1. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk together sweetened condensed coconut milk, coconut milk, coconut, and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat at a gentle simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan for a moment if you draw a spoon through the mixture. This will take about 5 minutes.
3. Scrape mixture into pan, spreading into an even layer using an offset spatula, and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
4. Place granulated sugar in a medium-size bowl. Scoop mixture using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop and roll into 3/4-inch balls. Roll them in sugar.

OPTIONS- Rolled in safe Cocoa powder? Or rolled in safe powdered sugar? Dip in safe melted dark chocolate? Or before you put in the fridge to cool, mix in some safe flavor extract?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Abby McMuffin



Using gluten free corn free English Muffin(posted on my blog)

Fresh Chicken sausage(posted previously on my blog)

a fried egg fried in coconut oil and cooked in one of the muffin rings-


No gluten, no corn, no dairy, no nuts,no soy, no CHEMICALS... clean, safe, and better then the more "known" version. :-)


YUM!
( I make english muffins and keep frozen. Then we just thaw as many as we need and toast.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gluten free,Corn free,Dairy free Yorkshire Pudding



Rosemary Infused Yorkshire Pudding gfcfsfdf


So Turkey Day is here and I am already planning Christmas! We ALWAY get a prime rib roast- in past years that has meant cutting the grocery budget, or cold showers, but we always get a PRIME RIB ROAST! :-) What is prime rib roast without yorkshire pudding? Abby never has tolerated beef well,but she ALWAYS eats a piece of the rib roast- she has always said it is well worth the misery that follows. This year however, I am not sure she is up for it. But I figured I could at least attempt making yorkshire pudding that was safe for her. Just using grapeseed oil just doesn't give it any flavor. So I figured since we coat the rib roast in fresh rosemary why not flavor some oil with fresh rosemary(bush out back)? It worked and I hate to admit it, but I think this gf recipe turned out way better then many of the previous recipes we have tried. Very good! Even Sara who can "sense" a gluten free substitution 5 miles away and snobs it said this was really really good! Now, I am thinking we should eat yorkshire pudding more often then just Christmas- Not a good idea! This is NOT low calorie, but sure is tempting!

NOTE: I did try a few with just coconut oil instead of the rosemary oil, I wanted to see if it would work as I do try to use coconut oil when I can. The puddings did not cook as well as they did with the grapeseed.


INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup of gluten-free flour mix
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp gluten-free/corn free baking powder
1/4 tsp guar gum
3 whole eggs
1 cup coconut milk(I needed another couple tablespoons, will depend on your flour blend)
Rosemary Oil or drippings from roast beef

ALL ABOUT ROSEMARY- Had to add this bit about rosemary and how it can benefit your health. Indulge in this herb whenever you can.


Health Benefits
The wonderful smell of rosemary is often associated with good food and great times. But it could just as easily be associated with good health. Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. So, the next time you enhance the flavor of some special dish with rosemary, congratulate yourself for a wise as well as delicious choice.

Description
It is not surprising that the taste and aroma of the herb rosemary, historically used for strengthening the memory, is unforgettable. Rosemary has a unique pine-like fragrant flavor that is balanced by a rich pungency, a combination that evokes both the forest and the sea. Its memorable flavor and unique health benefits makes it an indispensable herb for every kitchen.

Rosemary grows on a small evergreen shrub belonging to the Labiatae family that is related to mint. Its leaves look like flat pine-tree needles, deep green in color on top while silver-white on their underside.


DIRECTIONS

First The Rosemary Oil
a few fresh twigs of rosemary.
1/2 cup grapeseed oil

In a glass measuring cup use scissors and cut your rosemary finely into the cup(this helps release flavor) then pour 1/2 cup grapeseed oil in. Cover and zap in the Microwave(or heat on the stove top just till hot)for aprox 1 minute. Done- set aside and allow the rosemary to steep.

Preheat oven to 425ºF
Mix all dry ingredients well.
Beat eggs separately, then add to dry ingredients.
Mix well with a hand mixer.(or blender)
Add the coconut milk and beat for three or four minutes. You want it very smooth. The batter will be pretty thick, thick as boxed cake batter, but you should still be able to pour it, slow pour is okay, but if it is too thick to pour add another tablespoon or two of coconut milk(I think this is variables in gf flour blends.) You do not want this too thin either. Set aside while you finish your oil.

Using a fine mesh strain the oil into a fresh container to removed the rosemary. Now put about 1 tsp(a little less)of your rosemary oil into each cup of a standard muffin tin.

(or you can use 1 tsp of beef drippings into each of 12 muffin cups.)

Heat the muffin tins(with the oil in them) in the oven until VERY hot.(you want your batter to sizzle when you pour it in)
Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups.(less is better then too full, mine turned out best 1/2 to no more then 3/4 full)
Bake for 15-17 minutes.
Puddings will be well risen and golden brown.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am Thankful

Day before T-Day and I have shared all my T-day recipes except the stuffing, and I think stuffing is one of those things where no one else's is going to ever taste as good as their own.
Pies and a few other prep's today and then eat. My mind has already moved forward to the Christmas menu! Going to hold off though.
Abby is on her 3rd cold! Which at first I was pleased that she was even getting a cold! But 3 in a row is a little much. She is bouncing back after even fighting off a sinus infection. I hate to give her antibiotics, they are what triggered Abby's shutdown last year. So we are getting through the sinus junk without.. I have had the same muck along with her and so we both are sucking it up - saline spray, essential oils, and lots of chicken soup and sleep. Hoping she gets a couple weeks at least of no colds to recharge and enjoy this time of year.

I am thankful for Derek,Sara and Abby. They are the smartest, kindest and most moral people I have ever met. To have daughters who chid me gently not to judge others for their ignorance, or selfishness is a very big gift- They tell me gently, I am better then that. My family is a gift.


I am thankful that Derek has a job. My thoughts are with the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are without jobs,food, security and homes. My thoughts are with the thousands upon thousands who will also lose everything they worked for in the upcoming years. My heart breaks for those who have grown dependent on the government healthcare, foodstamps, medicaid, cellphones- they have lost their freedom for a free cellphone. I hope we can shrink Government one day and start encouraging Americans to learn to fish again instead of depending on free fish.


I am thankful to live in Texas. For years I did not appreciate Texas or Texans. After living back home in Seattle for 2 years we realized we missed Texas! As we drove into the state, we stopped the car as we crossed the border into the state to put our feet on the ground,we admitted at that moment, no place would ever fit us better then Texas. We are born again Texans. Free thinkers, who value hard work, who play hard, but fair.


I am most thankful this year for food. For the food that has stabilized Abby. Last year at Thanksgiving we lived in fear that she would continue to get worse, that whatever illness ails her be that the Mitochondrial Depletion or something else would destroy her very quickly. A lot of hard work, a lot of learning about food, and a huge effort from team Neuman and we have a new appreciation for food and life in general.

I am grateful for my friends who put up with my eccentric approach to all things.


Thankful for the courage to start Project Elimination. I am a terrible leader, not really a great Indian either :-). Going against the Mito Protocol or Mito Medicine really even modern medicine(look up functional medicine we fit that a bit better minus taking supplements which I think are bad too at least for Abby) or at least "delaying" it was not easy. Like every parent I want to DO everything for Abby, but despite the diagnoses the treatment did not fit- it wasn't arrogance that I knew more, I just knew a feeding tube, supplements, hospitals, Drs visits were going to make things worse not better. Abby had gotten better once before so I placed my money on her getting better again given the right environment, rest, clean foods and time. Stable is not enough for me. Better is and we are there and working hard for even better.

I am most thankful this year for all my Internet Mama's! Whether we share an interest in sewing machines, politics, growing organics, mito, mast or allergies! Whether we even have similar philosophies or not, you have shared your knowledge and helped me put the pieces together to do what works for Abby- Thankful for you all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Corn-free store bought candy canes- YES!!!


Yes, a store bought candy cane. that is as corn-free as we can hope for.. :-)

As far as we have been told, only the Peppermint Candy Canes are deemed "safe" by those with corn allergies.


I was tickled pink(or red and white?) when these showed up yesterday! WOW what a beautiful box and each candy cane was perfect and HUGE!


Prepare yourself, these are not cheap. Abby tasted one, and claimed they were worth every penny.

Giambris

Ingredients: Peppermint Candy Canes: Pure cane sugar, cream of tartar, natural oil of peppermint, natural red cabbage color, and natural red beet color.


However, the package does warn that they were made in the same facility as soy,corn,nuts,chocolate,dairy etc.

Pleased to say, she did not react. Maybe if she ate a whole one daily it might trigger something- but even us with our crazy insane need for sugar could not pull this off!

I was gonna wait to post this until after T-Day- but, I was told these will sell out, so order now!

We already are dreaming about candy cane ice cream(thanks for the idea), candy cane fudge, candy cane divinity, ......

Abby now has 2 store bought candies- Reeds Ginger chews and Giambris Candy canes- life is good.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Abby's Ultimate Non-Dairy Eggnog



Dairy Free, Corn Free, Nut Free... Eggnog!
(for gluten-free use a homemade safe rice milk or other alternative milk that is certified gluten free)

I did see that So Delicious now sells a coconut egg nog, and if Abby did not have a corn allergy it probably would have been worth trying, the ingredients looked fairly clean. However, with her corn allergy, it was too risky- so I made our own. I was surprised at not only how easy, but even the dairy lovers around here gave this a huge thumbs up!

2 can's full fat coconut milk(or homemade equivalent)
1 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk( or 3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup additional coconut milk)
1/2 cup rice milk(or other non-dairy milk of your choice.)
4 egg yolks(freshest eggs are best)
1/2 teaspoon mace(or more 1/2 t is just a suggestion,same with the nutmeg.)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(I used closer to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the homemade)
dash of salt



Throw all the ingredients into your blender. Blend well.

Pour into saucepan and on medium heat warm until thickens slightly- DO NOT BOIL! You will ruin the eggs.( if you get scrambled eggs don't toss, strain it.) You want it to heat for a couple reasons, a) safety. I have seen plenty of eggnog recipes with raw egg, sorry that is just not okay for most families. b) to thicken,it adds a quality of richness to your finished product.


Allow to cool down some then pour into container(I had a fido jar in front of me, so that worked for me!) and refrigerate till completely chilled(overnight.)

IF your egg nog gets too thick when chilled- Don't Panic! Pour the cold eggnog into your blender, add 1/2 cup rice milk(or your choice of alternative milk)at a time and blend until the consistency appeals to you.

We like it thick. We like a nice dash of mace or nutmeg on that! :-) Use spices to taste. We tend to like stronger flavors.

NOTE: You have 4 leftover egg whites.. Don't waste them! Add them to french toast tomorrow, or make a batch of waffles and fold whipped egg whites in, or how about some scrambled eggs? 2 whole eggs and 4 whites makes a generous amount of scrambles for two! Or, if you have a sweet tooth, make marshmallow frosting! We keep the frosting in a sealed container for a week and it stays ready to use.

UPDATE: Since posting yesterday, I have had folks ask, "where can I buy sweetened condensed coconut milk?" To the best of my knowledge, you cannot, but beyond easy to make and keeps in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

2 cans coconut milk(or equivalent homemade,again full fat)
1 1/2 cup sugars

In saucepan, simmer slowly on medium low until reduced by aprox 50 percent. You can also add a touch of vanilla if you want.. I am guessing mine usually takes a couple hours. I stir now and then to aid in the evaporative process but the key is the lowest possible temperature while maintaining a slow low soft boil. It will thicken as it chills. It may turn in color a bit, a very very soft toasted color(like super light caramel, I am guessing this is the sugar) I store in fridge in glass canning jars, but whatever works. :-)

With the holiday's upon us, this would be a very handy item to keep in the fridge for substituting in your favorite holiday recipes..

Warm Spiced Pear Sauce and gf Sugared Pie Crust Dippers!


Super Allergy friendly.. great for kids...and grownup's too!

Pie Crust Dippers-

1 1/4 cup gf flour blend( I used my gf all purpose)
2/3 cup COLD palm shortening plus 1 generous tablespoon of coconut oil(solid,not melted!)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt(don't skip! the salt offer a fab contrast to the sugar)
2-3 Tablespoons ice cold water.
Sugar for sprinkling(if you can find a safe large crystal really pretty! this pic was just normal old domino's granulated sugar)

The only hard part of this recipe is cutting that palm shortening- I keep mine in the fridge and it is like a rock! I end up using a fork and kind of grating bits off until I have 2/3 cup(I press the bits down gently in the measure as I go).

Cut the palm shortening and coconut oil into flour and salt. I do this with two butter knives or pastry cutter but by hand. I just have never gotten used to making crust in a processor though I am sure you could.

Once your fat is well distributed(again that shortening is going to be some work to cut in, be patient). Add 1 tablespoon cold water at a time until it comes together(less water is more so add more if you must but too much water makes a tough crust). It won't ball up the same as a wheat crust, but at this point I use my hands and form a ball when it sticks nicely I cover it tightly and throw in the fridge for 1 hour.

While you are waiting for your crust to chill, you can make your pear sauce.

3-4 pears
1/3 cup water
Ginger syrup(you can use ginger powder instead and add additional sugar)
1/4 cup sugar(you could skip this with sweet and ripe pears- you know we like sweet here!)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
shake of nutmeg
shake of mace
(you are welcome to use cinnamon, but Abby cannot have it so we don't)


Peel,dice and core a few pears.(I used bartlett because that was what was in the fridge needing to be eaten.)
In a saucepan add all the ingredients. Add as much ginger syrup as you would like, this will depend, ours is homemade and the level of intensity varies. You can always add more later on. Cover and simmer on medium low heat until pears are tender.

This took almost an hour- keep an eye on it, you don't want to let it burn. If you notice you have very juicy pears go ahead and simmer uncovered to evaporate some.

Turn it off and stick it on a back burner while you work on your dippers.

Now to Roll the Dippers-
I have found rolling gf crust between sheets of parchment paper works best for me.

You will want to roll your dough to the same thickness you would for a pie crust.

Once rolled, remove the top piece of parchment. Sprinkle the pie crust with water(to make the sugar stick!)and sprinkle sugar(you could add spice like cinnamon if you wanted) to cover. I used a pizza cutter to cut long slices.(cookie cutters would be fun too!) I used a spatula to transfer them to a cookie sheet covered in parchment.

Bake at 350 for 12-17 minutes- this will vary on how thick you rolled your dough. We liked crisp and lightly browned.

Set your Dippers aside to cool(if not using now, once cool store in airtight container- mine were still crisp after a week)

Finish the Pear Sauce
;
If your pears look like they are too juicy(mine were, less juice equals firmer pear sauce which you want.) go ahead drain off some pear juice- I saved that lovely spiced juice I am certain I will find sometime to use it in later this week. I threw the tender chunks in the blender- and quickly blended- Done! If they have cooled off too much you can reheat or chill.

We liked the warm spiced sauce with the Dippers.


Dippers would be good with pumpkin dip, pudding, any sweet dip you can think of!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Things I have learned.

As Sara approaches 21 this Spring, I am realizing that I did it, I have raised two amazing,smart,polite and terrific people. Some things I have learned:


1)Crying babies are meant to be held- you cannot spoil them.

2)Drs. can be wrong, if your gut says they are wrong and they won't listen to you,then time to find a new Dr.(From the mouth of a Non Compliant Parent.)

3)High School persists into Motherhood- believe me, "fitting in" is overrated and always ends badly. Granted, being an individual has a high price tag, but well worth it and much healthier for your children.

4)Listen to your child. If a 5 year old cries and doesn't feel well enough to go to school or daycare- don't make them. Kids are pretty darn smart. They understand far more then most parents give them credit for.

5)Just because the other Mom's are doing it, doesn't mean you should.

6)Don't depend on anyone when it comes to your child. They are yours,your responsibility-all the good and bad. We write the check for ballet, and we are also responsible to write the check for medical care.

7)There are going to be terrible awful no good very bad days- accept them, forget them, and move on. There are always more terrific days.

8)Until kids hit the teen years they don't care if you have the latest furniture, a less then 10 year old car, or the newest house on the block. What they remember are the days you sat on the floor with them and played. (Sara and Abby have confirmed this- not just a theory!)

9)Food- you really are what you eat.

10)No two children are a like. They learn different,they think different, they get sick differently.

11) Sharing and caring starts at home. If we all helped our families and gave up a few luxuries no one would need food stamps, or medicaid. Wet n wild makeup has pretty much the same ingredients as Elizabeth Arden(at least the same allergens).. Covergirl is cheaper then Estee and works as well. Do you really need highlights and low lights? Surely you have a cousin or third cousin or someone in your family who could use that 200 bucks you spend every 6 weeks to buy food or pay for medical foods. Do you go out to eat 2x a week? How about that starbucks addiction? That has got be at least 75-100 bucks a month that would make a huge difference to someone who lives on less then 700 a month. Cook at home(healthier anyway) and send that extra money to you Grandma who waits every night for meals and wheels to eat. Maybe cook for her too- a double gift for her your company and nutritious food. I cannot believe that as a society we feel that everyone is entitled to a cell phone, I live without one and it hasn't killed me yet. That extra 45-100 bucks goes to various family and friends and is far more rewarding being used that way. Without family and friends we are nothing.

12) Someone is always suffering more then you.

13) Screaming children at the grocery are NOT okay! No matter what the disability, if you have a screamer leave them at home. No excuses! You find time to go get your highlights done, have dinner with the hubby or the girls, you can certainly find the time to shop without making us hate you. There is a time and a place. If you are at a park with a screamer- go for it, that is the right place for them to let loose, not at the grocery,movie theater,mall, hair salon, car wash,library etc. Sorry, you may think your screaming child is great, 99.9 of the rest of us end up HATING you by the time we are done shopping. (Oh and please don't fly either!)

14) You know how our parents always warned us not to touch stuff at the store? I always thought growing up it was because they were afraid I would break something- Nope- you don't touch so you don't collect extra germs or spread extra germs.

15)Letting your kids wear their Halloween costumes at Christmas or 4th of July isn't going to hurt a thing.(and might keep them from screaming at the grocery..hint!)

16)IF you give them no reason to rebel, they won't.

17)Laura Bush was right, read to your babies. Start reading before they even start smiling- it makes the difference.

18) Read every book on the banned books list.

19)If you do not look forward to spending time with your kids, don't have anymore kids. If you resent your kids you have a problem.

20)Your parents were right more often then you thought. Just accept it. As I have parented, I cannot tell you how many times I have caught myself repeating my parents word for word.

21) Your child will be just as academically successful without PreSchool as they would be with Preschool. In fact, in previous generations(like mine)when no one went to Preschool our SAT scores and graduation rates were much higher. Silly old house wives must be doing something right.

22)Follow through. If you set the rules show some maturity and stick to them, if you cannot follow the rules you sent up and you are the parent, how do you expect your children to?

23)Being shy or an introvert is not a disease nor something all children outgrow. Quit trying to change who your child is, and accept and appreciate them, the world would be terribly annoying and boring if everyone was a football player or cheerleader.

24)If you aren't as tired as your kids by 8pm you aren't doing it right.

25)There is NO perfect parenting.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A little Inspiration

Abby and I thought this song is very fitting about what we have dealt with and how we feel about Mito this last couple years- Stronger.





This one is just because 3 out of 4 us love the song :-) Well also because I have missed Derek this week and am delighted he will home with me soon. 23 years and I miss him more each time he travels! Abby and Sara are missing him too. Good way to kick of a great weekend!

Easy No-cook Nofu Ice Cream!



I warned you I would be "playing" with the new Navy Bean Nofu.


It was too soft to dry fry. Even after I dried and pressed it for awhile. Which gave me a terrific excuse to use it with sugar!


Over the last few months I have been reading a lot of Vegan blogs because they know how to use Tofu/Nofu in nearly magical ways. I have seen cheesecakes,puddings, whipped, and more. They often use a product called silken soy tofu. I am guessing it is probably softer, and lighter like my navy bean nofu.


Had blueberry syrup in the fridge. Decided to try mixing it with the nofu. First, a terrific violent color! Abby cannot eat a whole lot of veggies or fruits yet and no chemicals or artificial colors so often her food is "blah" in color. Anytime we have food with great color I have to admit it makes it more appealing to eat. Second, you really cannot taste the Navy Bean nofu without the blueberry, so with the blueberry syrup you would have no idea what you were eating.:-) I have been wanting ice cream because I have had some TMJ trouble and cold foods seem to sooth,which lead me to throwing this purple stuff into the ice cream machine! Good thing I did! Yum!


1/2 cup navy bean nofu
1/2 cup homemade(or clean)blueberry syrup
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

dash of pink himalayan salt
squeeze of a fresh lemon

Mix well until smooth and pour into your ice cream maker.

That easy! No cooking, no eggs.. gf/sf/df/cf/nf/ef etc!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spicy Biscuits and Gravy



We had a couple leftover dinner rolls from the Living Without recipe I tried and shared the other day. Yesterday I made more of Abby's chicken breakfast sausage recipe.

Just made sense to make Biscuits and Gravy with the leftovers.

Biscuits and Gravy for 2

2 stale(or fresh,but a good way to use up daily old rolls) gluten free, dairy free,corn free,soy free, nut free rolls or biscuits

2-3 cooked chicken sausage patties(I posted a great recipe for these a few days ago- soooo easy to make safe low fat homemade sausage!)
crushed red pepper flakes
cayenne powder
salt
coconut oil
rice milk and coconut milk(rice milk is too watery and coconut milk on its own can have a strong coconut flavor, but an equal amount of both is a nice blend. Feel free to use whatever milk you prefer this is what we like though.)
gluten free all purpose flour blend.

I crumbled the chicken sausage into a pan that had a bit of coconut oil. Sprinkled with pink himalayan salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, cayenne(we like spicy gravy!)

Browned for a few minutes.(my sausage was pre cooked,but the browning allowed them to absorb some of the spices I added better and of course got it hot again to make your gravy)

In a 2 cup measure, I mixed 1/4 cup gluten free flour with 1 cup of coconut milk.(with a whisk, blend till there are no lumps!) Turned the heat on my sausage up to medium/high and pour the milk flour mix into the sausage.(Keep stirring briskly with the whisk to avoid lumps!) I had 1 cup of rice milk ready, and as the the gravy thickened as I was continuously whisking I added rice milk until the gravy was just right for Abby(she likes thick, but still pourable). I apologize, but I have never followed a recipe for gravy! I always keep extra milk or water beside the stove when I make gravy just in case it gets too thick I can thin it.

That easy- that fast and used up the leftovers in a really delicious way!

Dairy free, corn free, gluten free, soy free, nut free.. and Abby said you would never know.


You could add onions or veggies and saute during the browning, but we are kind of purists when it comes to biscuits and gravy. :-) This is our version of junk food and even during the days when we ate allergens it was considered a treat and comfort food.

Navy Bean Nofu

Of course I did.


We love the chickpea, but my pantry is busting at the seams with all sorts of dried beans and I was just too curious to see how different/similar Navy bean nofu would be!


First I threw a bag of dried Navy beans in the Ninja- My goodness! Grinding beans is the loudest use for the Ninja- I swear it could wake the dead! The poodles flew to hide in the darkest corner of the house,they think beans in the Ninja is far more dangerous that horrible vacuum! LOL

I decided I was only going to use the super super fine flour. Which meant a lot of sifting, and sifting and sifting with a super fine screen.(so I had some time on hands)I was left with a bowl of coarse bean chunks and almost an equal amount of super fine bean flour.

(Next time I use besan/chickpea flour for nofu, I am going to take the time to super sift it too!)

I put the fine flour aside to soak for nofu, but I wasn't sure what to do with those coarse bean chunks- I wasn't going to just throw them away!

Finally I could not come up with anything "fun" so decided I would throw them in the pressure cooker with water for an hour.

This is what I got from the chunks! A super super smooth and silky puree!


Which made me want to do something with it! My corn allergy group suggested brownies and hummus- of course my sweet tooth decided HAD to make those brownies!


With the puree I was able to reduce the amount of "fat" and still get a moist Brownie- super easy and fast gf,cf,sf,df semi nutritious brownie!

Blondie Beanie Brownie


2 cups gf flour
1 cup white bean puree(well cooked white beans pureed- dried safer then canned)
1 tsp. baking powder(Hains)
3 /4 tsp. salt(we use pink himalayan)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4- coconut oil
2 cups packed golden brown sugar(Domino's)
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla(Homemade or safe option)

How to make it

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour and grease (I used a 8x10, but you could easily use a 9x13)
Sift flour into a bowl. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking
soda. Set aside. In mixing bowl, place soft coconut oil(doesn't have to be melted but can be)
and add sugar, mixing well. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Add pureed beans, and mix well.
Add flour slowly, blending. Batter will be thick.
Spread in pan.
Bake for 25 − 35 minutes.(smaller pan means thicker brownie needs a few more, a 9x13 would be done faster.) These may be a tiny bit wet in the center - that is okay! My oven is a bit wonky, so really watch them after 25minutes. The beans seem to make the brownies need a few extra minutes to cook.
*Can top with icecream and maple topping, could add safe chocolate, or nuts.. or even 1/2 cup of shredded coconut? Flavor with your choice of extract-

I still had puree left so I decided to freeze it. No idea how that is gonna work out, but was curious to see if when I thaw them they will stay as smooth.

So back to the Nofu.

I followed the chickpea recipe. Right off the bat when I started the cooking I realized that the Navy bean's did not need as much water- next time I will reduce the water by a cup when using the Navy Beans. I am wondering if I use a finer chickpea flour if it will need less water too? I suspect it was the "type" of bean and not the texture of the flour, but guess I will find out! :-)



It did not firm up as "firm" as the chickpea, I hate to use the term "gelatinous" but it is soft and had some "jiggle". It is much milder in flavor and of course sooo smooth. Today I am going to try to "whip" some like you can with a silken soy tofu. I am going to try to dry fry it as well- though I cannot make the slices as thin due to it's softer texture. Regardless, this will work great in all our baking recipes to up the nutrition for Abby. You know I will have to try to make Nofu Butter out of it too!



I suspect I will go back to chickpea nofu- a better product overall from a texture standpoint and nutrition one.I think I am going to grind my own chickpea flour next round, I want to try roasting the chickpea's first to up the flavor. We have also grown to love that beanie flavor as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Mito Protocol Would have KILLED Abby.

So a bit dramatic, but the truth.

You know what that picture is of? Dust. Dust off her wheelchair. This picture says everything about Project Elimination- Dust means we aren't using those wheelchairs.

As we creep up on a year of cutting the ties to traditional medicine, I look at Abby and marvel.


Abby was "off" from the womb even. When she was born she did not move much. She was happiest tightly swaddled at all times. Nursing was a NIGHTMARE!


That was 17 years ago, before Mito was known to anyone.. it was just being discovered as a disease in just one or two research hospitals. I thank the Gods daily that she wasn't born today. Had she been diagnosed with a depletion from that first muscle biopsy before her second birthday- she would be dead.


Constant ear infections, no sleeping, 3 minutes of nursing and 10 minutes of fussing. Constant calls to the lactation consultant in Oregon(who helped me with Sara being preemie) while we lived in NY. I managed to live on pink lemonade and rice for months- Abby seemed happier with that flavor of breast milk..no smiling, floppy, cellulite all over torso- winging shoulders, you could not hold her around the middle, she would slip through.. could not sit without leaning over a ball to stay up, could not keep her little head up...

I knew something was wrong. I asked the Ped every time and she just kept telling me Abby was just a fussy baby, or she would catch up.. to quit being a worry wart. That I held her too much and she needed more floor time, I was too sensitive.. By 10 months I knew breastfeeding was going to end and with a lengthy history of severe food allergies(My Dad spent months in the hospital as a little one and was slow to met his milestones, my little brother was allergic to everything and survived on a meat based formula)I just knew she needed an allergist. The Ped said no need, babies that are breastfeed don't have allergies, Abby was a chunky baby- nothing wrong- move along. Finally got a referral to an Allergist. And changed Peds. Little did I know at that point that our beloved Crabby Abby was going to have a challenging life.

Looking back, had we not taken Abby to that particular Allergist 16 years ago, Abby would be dying or dead instead of healing today.

I have his waiting room and patient room imprinted in my head like I was just there yesterday. I can see all the signs saying no perfume,makeup hairspray please.. The light filtering through the old 70's wooden blinds.. the worn and scratched wood floors- and his face. Near retirement but a face so full of compassion, wisdom and kindness- hard to forget.

The skin testing on a baby - terrible. I know my friends thought I was torturing her- the old Ped sure thought allergies were no big deal.. but I trusted his face. I hate to say it, but even today fifteen years later, Drs. tend to blow off allergies and food intolerances- they don't understand or believe that food/medicines can kill slowly as they understand quickly.

Indeed- some wicked responses to that testing- like everything! Who the heck is allergic to corn? Tomato?

We only did some foods but he sat down with us and we talked. He did not think we needed to test further, you see, he had seen Abby's before.

He warned us that Abby was "unique". Things were going to be tough. Her allergies were going to rule her life. Whether she did well or not would come down to me being completely plugged into her, to be super sensitive to her every symptom. He explained to us that allergies were still a very unknown part of medicine and often disregarded. He explained that skin testing,blood testing were often not accurate and not to trust just the testing, but trust what we saw Abby do well or poorly with. He explained rotating foods, the top foods to avoid until she was old enough to verbalize with us. He warned us that some allergists if no positive skin test will tell you that you are not allergic, when you might be. That many other Drs. were never going to believe that food could make Abby this sick. He warned us about medications, environmental allergens..

Keep in mind I was in my early 20's. It has taken until now for me to fully understand what he was warning me about... he was right- out of the hundreds of Drs. Abby has seen over the years, he was the only one that had it right.

We tried to comply. I remember a lot of rice, carrots, and peaches- she seemed happy to eat those. She would cross her eyes at us to show approval, smiling was rare it seemed smiling just was too much work for her- crossing her eyes to smile scared me to death and reassured me she was in there somewhere behind that soft expressionless face...

Sara was so sick with severe asthma. In and out of the hospital. I had no family. Derek was on rotating shifts as a Nuclear Instructor in the Navy. Abby was less fussy but still so floppy. I was at my wits end, I honestly have weeks of blacked out memory from that year or two- so incredibly sleep deprived. I scrubbed and washed and kept the house sterile with Abby wrapped up on me to keep her content.. breathing treatments every 4 hours to keep Sara breathing.. This was not the white picket fence and laughing cherub children I had planned on-

Finally, after dislocating elbows and her learning to pop them back in herself.. still not meeting milestones around 16 months we saw a Neurologist. Within 30 minutes the Neurologist told me, your daughter has some sort of Muscular Dystrophy.

I was with a friend because Derek was on duty. I cried the hour drive home. I cried all night. Muscular Dystrophy was what Jerry's kids had. I thought it was just allergies. I knew that afternoon that our world was never going to be "normal". I knew after a preemie, a lost baby, and now Abby that we would have no more children. Frankly, I am not sure how I made it through those following months- I just don't remember a whole lot. The internet was just starting to show up in people's homes and really only the "rich" folks.. I remember about 6 months later a friend got a computer and the "magic internet." I looked up the MDA- back in the day not much, I had to depend on what I could find at the library to learn anything.

We drove all over the East Coast seeing Specialized Neurologists. The Developmental specialist team thought she had IFSH. That was a death sentence. We started,PT,OT,Speech, I did what I could to not feed her allergens.. she did seem not be getting worse, and maybe doing a bit better.. finally we saw a Dr. who researched IFSH and he said he thought the diagnosis was wrong and it was time for a muscle biopsy. We did the muscle biopsy and waited months for results.. but, in the meantime she was "waking" up.. we started noticing her smiling more.. doing more.. talking. By the time the results came back we were full of hope. The biopsy only showed a myopathy- between that and the improvements the Neurologists felt she would only continue to improve, she might "outgrow it". HOPE! My memories are much clearer from that year on. We watched her outgrow a lot of the hypotonia.. outgrow many of her allergies.. granted some odd things hung around over the years.. she would get tired out faster, caught every cold, would get sick or faint if overheated or cold..leaky bladder.. but, that was what happened to me, my brother, my Dad and others in my family, we all "outgrew it". I just figured whatever it was, Abby just got a bigger dose. Sara was "outgrowing" her allergies and asthma.. both girls were proving to be intellectually gifted. So they weren't ever going to be athletes- no big deal to me!

Public School was a challenge. Without a "diagnosis" (no one takes allergies serious unless you write "anaphylactic" beside it and they had never heard of a undefined congenital myopathy) we had some issues, and of course academically school was boring.. It was easier and healthier to home school off and on over the years for both the girls.

When Abby was age 10 we got the opportunity to move back to the Pacific NW(where both my hubby and I grew up)we were so excited to share the culture with the girls. Little did we know what was coming.

She crashed. Lost a ton of weight. In horrible pain. Slept around the clock. Fought to climb the stairs. Soon we were petrified that whatever illness plagued her as a baby was back. I ran to the allergist- we eliminated everything. We tried steroids, nothing helped. It seemed medicines just made it all worse. The latest skin testing show far fewer foods, so it couldn't be the food right? Cedar trees maybe,right? 6 months later we tested her skin again, a whole different bunch of allergies- what the heck? She developed scoliosis/kyphosis overnight. The orthopedic was certain that we were not dealing with allergies anymore- this was neuromuscular. No.

We blamed the environment- we figured she had done so well in Texas we needed to move back. Of course this was during the big real estate crash- we lost everything, but we got her back to Texas. She did seem to perk up a bit, but things started getting worse. More fatigue, now kidney disease.. hair falling out, toenails dying- my God we thought, what is wrong with her?

She still pushed she managed some college and finally it was just too much.

They found the depletion in a second muscle biopsy. It shocked everyone- Despite being homebound and all the mounting health issues, she had never needed the hospital- no critical life or death. She was intellectually gifted, hearing great, eyes great.. She doesn't look like Mito.

After learning about the Mito, we tried to be compliant and try the cocktail- but it made her sick, it made her worse, though I think everyone else just thought it was the disease progressing. Her GI shutdown finally, and we tried supplemental formula's a number of them, and she and I agreed- they made her worse, though I am pretty sure all the Drs. felt it was just the disease progressing. She developed steroid diabetes.. the kidney disease, I have never felt such horror and fear. No way was this the disease progressing, it seemed everything we tried would make her worse- though everyone but us thought it was disease progression. How many 16 year olds have Depletions and bounce back? My gut said they were wrong, maybe just denial, who knows? Our denial, and fear, and that visit years ago to that Allergist saved her life.

Once I witnessed the supplemental formula's making her sick, I could not think of anything but that kind Allergist we saw at the beginning. His warning of how Abby was unique- she needed me to be ultra sensitive to every change...

When Abby hit the chicken broth only last year and that GI scared us to death talking about feeding tubes- We leaped. We took the leap of faith that there was a better way then the protocol, because my gut said the protocol was making her sick was going to shorten her life- that the depletion wasn't.

That day Project Elimination was born- she has gotten better by the day. We threw out the supplementals, we threw out the cocktail, we threw out the miralax, the meds- each thing we removed offered her a mild improvement.. each day we eliminated more chemicals, more colors, more meds, removed vitamins, removed anything fortified, removed it seemed like everything!- she got better. We threw out the Ace for her kidneys... and she got better.. and better..

What if Abby was 2 today and they found the depletion? What if her GI shutdown as a two year old with a Depletion diagnosis? They would have put a tube in her and packed her full of supplemental formula. She would have gotten sicker and sicker.. it would have ended badly- Without a doubt, I know it would have killed her. Her kidneys would have gotten worse, her dysautonomia, line infections, more meds with more side effects making her worse- and everyone would have assumed it was just disease progression, and not the Protocol killing her.

Had I been the trusting type last year when we saw that GI, had I had any faith in medicine when it came to Abby- she would be dying instead of getting better.

Abby is unique- but though we would all like to think she is one of a kind, I cannot help but wonder if there are others out there like Abby, who trust without question that their only option is the Protocol? That as they watch their child progress that maybe some of the treatments are making their babies worse?


I don't know what is wrong with Abby. We have 1 unique mtDNA mutation, but that isn't unusual.. so far nothing has turned up in the nDNA...I know she has had a lot of different diagnoses in her short life and none seem to stick around long,beside the allergies. I don't know how to cure her- clearly, it is part of her. But, I know food is the treatment. I know Modern medicine was wrong, at least on this.. I know that kind old Allergist saved Abby's life, more then once now.

Maybe Abby will get stronger and stronger. Maybe she won't. But a year of steady progress in the right direction makes me hopeful that we can find a way for her to live in harmony with this unknown illness- If it is Mito? Why is she getting better? Why would the protocol nearly kill her? If it is Mito, it is a type that they don't recognize yet. But we do. Maybe Dr. Lipton and his observations about "perception" being more important then DNA is what working for us.. Who knows? I really do think that next fall I will be posting a pic of her heading back into the college for a class and with no wheelchair.

IF this is just the placebo effect? It is more powerful then Modern medicine or the Mito Protocol.

Trust your Gut- you know more about your body, or your child's body then anyone. Ask the questions. IF you think something is making matters worse, it is possible that it is.. it might not be the mito.

Maybe Abby will get worse again, maybe we will have no choice at some point, I don't know. Maybe it is the Mito. Who knows? Never say Never, right?

What I do know is this is working now. Be it placebo, be it luck, or be it the crap they put in our food these days, we are rejoicing in her improvements. We are appreciating every moment- and listening to our guts. Though the Mito Protocol works for many patients, it did not work for Abby- it made her worse.

20,30 or 50 years from now, we are going to look back and realize how very little we knew about Mito. Our era will be seen as the era of Mito guinea pigs, there will be collateral damage - some will come out on top of the learning curb, and some won't come out at all.

Maybe next year or the year after, Abby will be able to leave the house again without getting sick. Maybe we won't be wondering about Mito,Mast, allergies- cause we will know. Maybe I won't be dusting her wheelchairs anymore, because we don't need to hang on to them anymore for that "just in case." So I hope.

Blueberry Nougat Corn Free!



I was pinning the other day and saw a recipe for almond nougat. Abby cannot have nuts but I was intrigued, nougat is really very similar as far as ingredients to divinity, you are just taking it a few steps further to get a harder and chewier product, figured I would give it a try.


I decided I would use the dried wild blueberries in the nougat instead. I wish Abby could have cranberries, I think a mix of cranberries and dried blueberries would be terrific in this if you are nut free and corn free.


First, let me say, I am a pretty tidy cook at this point in my life, but after making the nougat it looked like 12 teenage girls had a baking party in my kitchen! LOL


Second, it was easy, as easy as the divinity. The key is to make sure your candy thermometer is accurate and you have a strong hand mixer or kitchen aid- it is a lot of mixing.

Here is the link to my inspiration recipe- Nougat Recipe via Love to Know Cooking.

As usual I had to tweak a couple things. First, no almonds, easy I used 1 1/2 cup dried wild blueberries instead. Second, no cornstarch! So, I used potato starch instead. Third, no corn syrup! So I used Lyle's Golden syrup instead.

I was able to equally sub so no conversion measurements on my first batch- whew! :-) We ran into a major problem though- nougat is too hard for Abby to chew!



These pic's are from my second batch. We quickly figured out with the first batch that the nougat was too hard for Abby to chew(TMJ and her jaw easily dislocates, jaw breaking chewy candy is bad!) So, with this batch after I had whipped the egg whites, I added 1/4 cup blueberry syrup(warmed up I had made some the other morning while I was making ginger syrup) and mixed it in well before I started adding and blending the hot sugar syrup. We are both a bit disappointed that they did not color pink from it! LOL But, it made them firmer then a marshmallow but easy enough for her to chew and enjoy :-) It turned out chewier then a 3 musketeer but not too much. The recipe below is for the "firmer, chewier" nougat. Nougat like Divinity and Marshmallow can respond to humidity and your batch may turn out slightly different, but it still should be yummy!

Ingredients for Blueberry Nougat Recipe

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch plus enough to dust a pan
1 cup Lyle's Golden Cane syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(homemade, I bet almond extract would be great!)
1 1/2cup dried blueberries
Instructions:

Prepare a baking pan with foil, making sure to extend the foil over the edges.
rub sides and bottom with grapeseed oil and then dust with the potato starch and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and the 1 tablespoon potato starch.
Add the Lyle's golden cane syrup and water and mix well.
Cook mixture over medium-high heat until it boils.
Be sure to constantly stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar.
Use a candy thermometer and cook until mixture reaches 286 degrees F.
You will want it to reach the soft-crack stage, which takes about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat.
In another pan, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gradually pour hot mixture over the egg whites,and then beat on high for about 3 minutes or until it is well blended.
Add vanilla and continue to beat until it becomes thick and less glossy.
Beat for another 5 minutes, then stir in dried blueberries.
Turn nougat mixture into the pan lined with foil.
When nougat is set and firm, use foil to lift it out of pan.
Cut or break the nougat into pieces.
store it in a tightly sealed container.

FYI- this recipe did not have a pan size so I prepared a 8x8. Next time I might prepare 2 8x8 pans would be easier a bit thinner I think. Though, for our "soft Abby version" it worked fine. I also powdered my hands with potato starch and patted the candy down in the pan to smooth out the top some.

Abby has been chocolate free for months now, and I have been chocolate free mostly too along with her. However, Sara is still enjoying the chocolate. Last night she had some chocolate melted for dipping and dipped some nougat! WOW! That was delicious, not just because I had not had chocolate in forever, but really really yummy!

On the corn allergy groups there are a few brands of chocolate that are corn-free, but chocolate is a histamine trigger or high histamine(I can never remember which!)and the few that Abby tried that were corn-free she reacted to. So for now, she has eliminated it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Soft Dinner Rolls via Living Without Magazine



Nearly done tweaking all our holiday favorites so that Abby can feast with the best of us.

Dinner rolls you would think would be easy enough after all the gluten free bread I have made this year- Not so!

I try to use more protein flours in my gf flour blend and it does seem to make a "denser" end product, not what we want with a dinner roll.

Honestly, we used to love those cheap brown and serve rolls- not homemade and I don't even have the heart to read what is in the ingredients!


Yesterday I gave the recipe below from the Living Without Magazine a try. I figured, after all they are the gluten free goto resource, their rolls stand a good chance of being good!

I still had to tweak a few things, but not too many! They did turn out yummy, soft, tender and very "wheat like". The flours I used don't have much value, but hey, I am not really worried about that on Thanksgiving! My rolls did not look like their rolls but they did not look bad either :-)

Generally I avoid these recipes that make you measure out a zillion types of flours, call me lazy! But well worth the effort. I am finding glutenous rice flour really does a great job of making a softer bread.

This morning I unwrapped one, despite what the recipe claims, these aren't nearly as good a day old(even reheated)as they were when fresh, which is no surprise since gluten free tends to dry out quickly. For best results make these the same day you plan to serve them.



Living Without Soft Dinner Roll recipe(Thanksgiving Edition)
As always, make sure your ingredients are corn-free. :-)

Gluten-Free Soft Dinner Rolls
MAKES ABOUT 24 ROLLS(I got 18)

The last holdout to my Thanksgiving dinner menu was the rolls. It wasn’t until I figured out how to make gluten-free dinner rolls that were soft and fluffy that I was able to serve a completely gluten-free Thanksgiving.

These rolls can be made ahead. Bake them and let them cool in the pans; wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Warm for a few minutes in a 350° oven and serve. This recipe can be made egg-free with good results.

2 tablespoons dry active yeast(red star)
2 teaspoons sugar(domino's)
2 cups warm unflavored milk of choice (105°F-110°F)(I used coconut milk)
1½ cups superfine or Asian white rice flour*
½ cup superfine or Asian sweet rice flour* (also called glutinous rice flour)
¾ cup potato starch* (not potato flour)
½ cup tapioca starch/flour*
3 teaspoons xanthan gum(I used guar gum)
1½ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt(or my favorite, pink himalayan)
1 tablespoon baking powder(hains or homemade)
2 large eggs, + 1 egg (optional) for brushing tops(I skipped brushing the tops)
¼ cup butter or dairy-free butter substitute, melted, more for brushing pans(I used coconut oil)
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (braggs)

1. Combine yeast, sugar and warm milk in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Let sit 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture is foamy and has increased in volume.

2. Combine flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for 30 seconds on medium-low to combine and break up any lumps in the potato starch.

3. Add the yeast mixture, 2 eggs, melted butter, honey and vinegar. Mix on medium-low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Then turn the mixer on high and mix for 3 minutes. Batter should be very thick and smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 standard muffin pans with melted butter or spray with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray.

5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling about ¾ full. Alternately, use a small (#60) ice cream scoop and place 3 scoops in each muffin tin (like a clover leaf). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let rise for 35 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.

6. If desired, beat remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water until thoroughly blended. Gently brush the tops of each roll with egg mixture.

7. Place rolls in preheated oven and bake 17 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

Each roll contains 125 calories, 3g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 33mg cholesterol, 227mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

For Egg-Free Soft Dinner Rolls, omit 2 eggs. Combine 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons warm water; let sit for 5 minutes until thickened. Add mixture to yeast mixture in step 3. Add 1 tablespoon arrowroot to dry ingredients.

*TIP In place of flours and starches, use 3¼ cups of a good-quality, all-purpose gluten- free flour blend. If your flour blend already contains xanthan gum and salt, omit these ingredients from the recipe.

I am thinking some spicy chicken sausage(just double up on cayenne and red pepper on my chicken sausage recipe I posted and brown crumbled) gravy on biscuits(rolls) is calling our name for dinner tonight... a mix of rice milk and coconut milk and thicken with potato starch for the gravy.. no way am I wasting these rolls! Whatever is left after that, will likely become some very tasty bread crumbs.

Thank you Living Without Magazine! Now, if we can just get you to also spotlight corn-free! :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Corn free Jellied Cranberry Sauce

UPDATE!!!!!
No need for gelatin. Was watching Alton Brown and figured out I am overcooking the cranberries- you must NOT cook them for longer then 15 minutes or you will damage the natural pectins in cranberries. Also, you MUST add enough lemon juice and sugar. Sugar was not an issue, but I did add 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.. and by the time I was pouring it to cool it was already solidifying! Go Alton Brown!



Super easy!

I have admitted before that we like our sugar, and during past Thanksgivings you might have caught me eating a can of cranberry jelly straight out of the can! Loved that stuff. Of course last year I read the label- big mistake! Pretty much corn syrup in a can! No way can Abby go near that stuff!

Cranberries aren't a safe food(on the histamine list) for Abby, though she isn't allergic- but I decided just in case she felt like sneaking a bite I would make these safe and frankly, I cannot imagine Thanksgiving without them. I would feel like such a traitor to eat canned ones around her..besides, we are all noticing we feel better without the corn in our diets.

I have been kind of dreading this experiment.. over the years of family holiday meals as a kid, someone always decided that making homemade cranberry sauce was a good idea- and rarely was it! Always too tart, not enough sugar and they always left the berries whole which I can so do without! Nothing worse then chunks of thick skin,or stems, or other debris in my cranberries! I like sweet jelly and on Thanksgiving I am going to eat it! My family always made everything from scratch, even the stuffing, but the one item that was always store bought was that beloved cranberry jelly! For the first time, I have found a homemade version that I will gladly eat :-)



Poked around at a few blogs and came up with my own brew this morning, pretty happy with the results and shocked at how easy it is to make firm,smooth and sweet cranberry jelly.

2 3/4 cups Water
1 12-oz package fresh cranberries;
2 1/2 cups Sugar(more or less to taste. I added somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 cups,I just kept pouring in the sugar as I tasted so did not measure much past 2 cups, as I said we like it sweet! )
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.
(2 packets knox unflavored gelatin plus 1/4 cup cold water. if it doesn't set, you can fix with gelatin)

First, put unflavored gelatin in the 1/4 cup cold water to "bloom". Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the cranberries and boil over moderately high heat(I boiled too hard and too much water evaporated, I just added a 1/2 cup of water to the hot berries before I threw them in the Ninja), stirring occasionally, for NO MORE then 15 minutes. (Alton Brown says, more then 15 damages the natural pectins)
Puree the cranberries in a food processor and strain.(I tried a couple different strainers before I found the one with the right size screen- you want larger mesh, a fine mesh clogged up to badly to let the smooth juice/pulp through)
Return the puree to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2-3 minutes. Take it off the heat as soon as the sugar as dissolved and pour into container.

My first batch Without the gelatin, was more a "sauce". I wanted fake OceanSpray's jellied cranberry Sauce. I wanted that artificially bouncy unnatural form of cranberry! Which lead me to add the gelatin- Presto! Next I will try using Agar, Abby cannot eat the unflavored knox gelatin(corn clean, so we aren't sure why she reacts, some other intolerance/allergy at work.)so I have been playing with Agar. I will need to try again soon if I want to master this for her in time for Thanksgiving!

My final batch using the lemon juice, and cooking no longer then 15 minutes gave me perfect jiggle with no gelatin!



 
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