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

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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


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

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

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



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

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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



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

Gluten free pie crust:


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

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


FIlling:

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

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

Crumb Topping:

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

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

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

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

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Monday, November 30, 2015

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



Let the Christmas Cookie baking begin!!

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

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




2/3 cup C&H organic cane sugar

3/4 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract

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

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon water


Preheat ove 400

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

2) blend flour into cream mixture.

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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


Abby's Easy Blondies:

1 1/2 cup homemade packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil(softened)

2 eggs

2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt




Preheat oven to 350

Line 8 x 8 square baking pan with parchment paper.

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

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

3) Spread batter into the lined pan.

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




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stuffing! Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, yeast free, chemical and color free..



Here is the basic stuffing recipe we are fond of using. This year I will make two batches of this, one with the pepper,onion and celery for Derek and 1 without those for Abby! :-)

Feel free to use dried herbs, but I do try to use fresh when I can. I find that a heavy hand on the herbs,onion and celery are what makes this stuffing. While Irish soda bread "works" it can be a bit tricky as a little too much broth makes mush, too little and it is too crunchy! So we focus on packing it full of flavor!

I usually free hand adding herbs to taste so these measurements are just my "best estimate".

If you are lucky enough to be able to use butter, then by all means use it! Butter offers the best flavor.

If you increase the egg's to 2 and also use 1/4 cup coconut yogurt mixed into the broth and egg, you will end up with more of a "savory bread pudding" which Abby absolutely loves, but not the same as "stuffing."

Feel free to add in whatever it is your family likes and tolerates. I know folks add everything from apples or cranberries to mushrooms. We stick to the basic for Abby.


1/2 cup grapeseed oil(or coconut oil or palm shortening) plus more for baking dish
1/2 pound Irish Soda bread cubed (about 5 cups I use this to avoid yeast)(Use whatever bread is safe for you!)
1 1/2 cups chopped organic yellow onions
1/2 cups sliced/diced organic celery
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons pink himalayan salt(or safe for you)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth
1 large egg


Preheat oven to 350, grease baking dish.


1)You need to dry your cubed bread. I set the oven to 225 and stir them now and then on cookie sheets. Takes about an hour. You can do this the day before and just keep them airtight on the counter overnight.

2)saute the onions and celery until soft(save any excess oil with them the fats are great for stuffing!). You can also do this the day before and keep in the fridge.

3)In small bowl combine salt,pepper, herbs.

4) In another bowl beat egg and chicken broth together(You should have chicken broth already made in the freezer for this)

5) In large bowl toss bread cubes with herbs and salt mix. Then mix in broth and egg mix. Place into greased baking dish.


Bake for 40-45 minutes. If top gets too brown during baking, cover with foil. I usually check mine at the 30 minute point.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cream of Mushroom for Cooking(gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, )



(You can sub celery for the mushrooms if the mushrooms are an issue.)


We make this for cooking in casseroles or stuffing and is necessary for Thanksgiving green bean casserole. I freeze it in 1 cup portions in the freezer. If you actually want to eat it as a soup, you will want to thicken it slightly with some gluten free flour or potato starch. Without sherry it isn't quite the same, but safe beats the "same" every time around here. We just aren't fans of cream of mushroom on it's own, so this recipe works well as an ingredient. Easy,fast and freezes well- perfect.


4 cups sliced organic fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped shallot(or onion)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or coconut oil(to saute mushrooms and shallots)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup homemade coconut yogurt(or you could use full fat coconut milk if preferred.)


In pot combine sliced mushrooms,shallots,grapeseed oil, and thyme and saute until shallots and mushrooms are tender.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

In blender add yogurt,salt and mushrooms/shallots combination.

Puree until smooth(or chunky if you prefer.)Separate in portions to freeze.

Friday, November 6, 2015

No New Funky Symptoms

For the first time in a few years Abby has gone over 4 months without a "new" and "weird" symptom!


Granted, she has had her normal flares.. and the normal gamut of symptoms.. BUT nothing new in months, is worth celebrating around here!


The well water continues to be a huge gift. While she will still react if it is too warm(or too cold) for her, at least she can shower without throwing up or fainting or being ill for 2 weeks after the fact. They still exhaust her and energy wise it takes her a couple days to recover enough from a shower to ready up for another, but a huge improvement in her quality of life to even be able to shower!


We use the well water for cooking now- and no problems!


Unfortunately, we really have not gained any new foods for her yet. Though it has just been 4 months and the hay fever season has been a big one not to mention living rural among the fields and tree's. We have gone back and tried a few and no improvement on her tolerance so we are just going to give her body some more time.


Our bodies are programed to heal. Granted, not all damage can be undone, but we have faith that we can at least keep her this stable.. and will always be hopeful that she will gain other positives with the right tweaks to her environment. Just that she can shower now and then and new funky symptoms has made it very clear to us that environment is everything.


She is still catching every cold that comes near her. Her energy level hasn't really improved. She is incredibly sensitive. She has been trying to go outside for a few minutes now and then but often ends up with hives, nausea and muscle pain though now and then she can step outside and be okay for a few minutes. So, that too can wait a little longer. She has her good days where she can be on her feet longer, and then still the bad days where just getting out of her bed is a challenge. We do notice that when she reacts it happens faster now.. on a positive it makes it much easier to pinpoint what caused the kidneys, stomach,heart etc symptoms, but bothersome that it seems the reactions are more defined and worse.. On the other hand, with the new environment she seems to be recovering a little quicker.. or at least that is how the past 4 months have played out. I have learned never to assume things won't change with her.


Our chickens are growing so fast! Another couple months and they will be laying for her. Of course she cannot go near them for long, they cause her to react! Feathers! But she has always been reactive to feathers and fur so no surprise.. I admit, they get to my allergies as well but manageable! Plus, they are amazing little birds. Who knew? They all have names now and while we still plan to get "broilers or fryers" down the road I know it is going to be hard.. they have so much personality. I am just grateful this first bunch are all for laying, knowing I am not going to be eating this first flock is a huge relief for all of us! We are so excited! The fall garden has produced green beans, bok choy, italian parsley, rosemary for her and a few others for the rest of us. The carrots are growing like weeds now that it has cooled down some so soon there will be plenty of those for her. We hope this spring we will have a much, much larger garden(working on beds and fencing now)and hoping to add a few beehives if no other critters.


We noted signs of feral hogs in the back fields a couple weeks back but haven't noticed anything new since the heavy rain- we are hoping they have moved on. We continue to see the deer now and then but they keep a distance, which is good! Our biggest grief has been the fire ants- without chemicals there is very little we can do but to watch carefully where we walk. With winter coming we will get a break for awhile though.

So, overall? The Move was worth the grief. :-) Hoping for a great winter this year!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fig Newtons(gluten free, corn free, dairy free, soy free, citrus free)



These are in Abby's top five of all time favorites.


We were just talking about how when she was younger(and was able to eat a lot of different foods) she was always disappointed if I bought a box of these.. Now however, she see's them as absolute luxury! :-) How things change!


These are a little bit of work, but after you have made them a few times, much easier.

I am pretty sure I have posted versions of these before, but as I have made them over the years I keep modifying to make them better.(and easier!!)

Fig Newtons:

Cookie dough:
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions or Spectrum Palm Shortening
1/4 cup Domino's organic cane sugar
1/4 cup homemade Brown sugar, packed(cane sugar plus plantation blackstrap molasses)
1 Large egg
1 teaspoon homemade Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon water(if needed)
1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 tsp guar gum(since these need to be shaped I would hesitate to remove the guar gum,though psyllium husk powder should work)
1/2 teaspoon Salt(safe for you, salt is tricky for the corn-free crowd. )
1/2 teaspoon homemade Baking powder

Filling:
1 1/2 cup of Made In Nature Dried mission figs
1/3 cup tamarind puree
3 Tablespoons Domino's organic cane sugar
Pinch Salt(safe for you)


1) Start with the filling.

2) remove stems and cut(at least quarters)the dried figs. Cover in boiling water and set aside to rehydrate and soften.

3)Make your tamarind puree. I cut about 1/4 cup of tamarind fruit from a block of pressed tamarind and cover with boiling water to soften. Then push tamarind through fine mesh to remove any bits of seed/shell.

4)Once figs are hydrated drain. Place drained figs, tamarind, dash of salt,and sugar in blender or food processor. Pulse until a jam like texture- it will be thick. If too thick to puree you can add a teaspoon or so of water as needed to smooth it out.

5)Make the dough!

6)In bowl cream sugars and shortening. Add egg,vanilla and beat until smooth. Now add flour, guar gum,salt, baking powder. The dough should hold together and hold it's shape but soft. If it is too crumbly add the reserved Tablespoon or less of water.

7)Split dough into 2 or 3 equal portions(we like bigger and thicker so we split into two sections).

8) Roll dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper- aprox 4 inches by 12 inches(give or take.)you can trim the edges for a tidier fit. Remove top parchment but leave dough on bottom piece of parchment.

9) Down the center of each piece of rolled dough spoon fig filling. There should be enough dough on either side of the filling to wrap over the filling down the middle.

10) using the parchment, flip one side of the dough over the filling. Then gently flip the other side of the dough so the dough slightly overlaps over the filling. It should now look like a long tube of dough filled with fig filling.

11) Place roll on cookie sheet and place in the fridge until firm, or into the freezer to hurry things up.(about 10-15 minutes in the freezer)

12) Slice fig newton sized sections and place each cookie on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place back in the freezer. (just until oven is hot)

13) Preheat oven to 375

14) Bake for 12-14 minutes- just until the edges turn golden- don't over bake!

15) Ideally these are best if you seal in an airtight container while still very warm, it helps the dough mimic the original better- however, Abby claims they are perfect as soon as they are cool enough to chew.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gluten Free Freezer Roux! (corn free, dairy free, soy free)




When we first moved to the Gulf Coast in Texas, one of the first foods we learned to appreciated was gumbo. We are close enough to Louisiana that most along the coast are huge fans of gumbo, but it has to be authentic. Over the years as Abby lost foods we could adapt but once corn and gluten free I wondered if I could even call it a gumbo any longer minus what seemed like everything! These days Abby really cannot have gumbo any longer, but she can have this roux. I have found various combo's of veggies and chicken with rice are pretty tasty when mixed with roux.


It seems every family has a different recipe and so far we have found them all delicious! But the one thing that is key to all good gumbo's is the ROUX!!!


It isn't "real" gumbo or even good gumbo if you use the the packaged stuff and even worse is that all the package stuff is packed full of corn, or wheat, MSG and heaven knows what else!

It is very simple to make a roux- flour plus fat and cook and stir and cook and stir.. really it is that simple but it is time consuming!


When I have an extra hour on hand(a favorite book I am reading etc) I found I can stir and read and then freeze the roux! This has made gumbo making on another day a lot easier, and less time consuming.


1 cup Grapeseed Oil(TJ's)(or safe lard or other safe fat that will tolerate the heat threshold)
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour



Pour oil into thick bottomed pot. Slow sift in flour while stirring with whisk on high. When combined and smooth reduce temp to medium/low and keep stirring, and stirring (50-60 minutes!!!) until your roux is a deep brown. Some prefer a more milk chocolate color while others take it to a deep dark chocolate. The Northerner in me prefers a milk chocolate color.


Allow to cool to room temperature and then freeze.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coconut Chew Bars:(gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, corn free, )



My Mom was a great cook and when she passed away she gave me her favorite recipes. One that I requested was called Coconut Chew Bars. She did not make them often but over the years I often thought about them and kept meaning to make them. Now years after she passed I finally got around to making a batch. The trick was converting to "Abby safe" ingredients. We are quite pleased with how they turned out. The one major difference(to my memory)was the glaze. The original called for lemon and orange juice so I swapped for tamarind. Mine turned out some what gooey because I opted to add extra tamarind(good source of various vitamins/minerals) for extra tang so the glaze did not set up well. On a positive, we really like gooey goodness around here so we are quite pleased with the conversion. The original filling also called for chopped walnuts which I substituted roasted chickpeas for- the chickpeas were an improvement! I was never a fan of walnuts! :-) But if you can have nuts you could use any chopped nut instead of the roasted chickpea. The flour was a direct substitution so you could just use the same amount of wheat if it is something you can eat.

If I were making these to share I would stick to the 3 tablespoons of tamarind- but if you aren't trying to impress anyone? Go for more tamarind!



Crust:
3/4 cup Tropical Traditions palm shortening
3/4 cup homemade powdered sugar(caution with store bought versions.)
1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour(homemade, none of the store bought are considered safe)
dash of salt(safe for you)


Filling:
2 eggs
1 cup homemade packed brown sugar(organic domino's plus Plantation organic blackstap molasses)
2 Tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon homemade baking powder(1 part tapioca starch,1 part baking soda and 2 parts cream of tartar)
1/2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract.
1/2 cup homemade roasted chickpea's
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions coconut flakes


Glaze:

1 1/2 cup homemade powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
3 Tablespoons Tamarind puree(we buy the block of fruit and make our own puree)


1) Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9x13 with parchment paper(you can cut the recipe in half and use a 8 x 8 pan)

2) CRUST: In bowl combine powdered sugar, flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Press firmly into base of your pan.
A)Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

3) While crust is baking, in bowl combine eggs,flour,baking powder,brown sugar, vanilla. Mix until well combined. Lastly, stir in coconut and chickpeas.

4)While crust is still hot, pour filling over the crust.

5)Bake for 20 more minutes.

6) While it bakes prepare your glaze. Combine powdered sugar,tamarind and coconut oil. I ended up using a few extra tablespoons of tamarind which was a wonderful flavor, but the glaze did not set so they ended up kind of messy!

7) When still hot cover in tamarind glaze.

8) Allow to cool completely(consider chilling) before cutting.

Friday, October 16, 2015



This is an easy one.

Basically a gluten free recipe for chocolate chip cookies and instead of chocolate chips you add coconut flakes and raisins. They get a nice chew around the edges and soft in the middle. If you are watching how much fat you eat you can reduce the coconut oil to 1/2 cup and I think they would be just fine.



2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour (we mix our own, none of the store bought are safe for the corn sensitive.)
1 teaspoon homemade baking powder( 2parts cream of tartar,1 part tapioca starch, 1 part baking soda)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan)
1/4 teaspoon Now Brand guar gum
3/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed homemade brown sugar
1/2 cup Domino's or C&H organic cane sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons homemade vanilla
1/2 cup raisins(we make ours to make sure they are safe)
1/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut flakes.


1) Preheat oven to 375 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper

2) Beat coconut oil, brown sugar and sugar together. Then add vanilla and eggs

3) Now add flour, baking powder,baking soda,salt and guar gum to the mixture above. It will be a pretty stiff dough.

4) Place by spoonful a couple inches apart on lined cookie sheet.

5) Place in freezer for 10 minutes(important when baking with coconut oil, the cookies will spread too much if you don't chill first)

6) After chilled bake for 9-11 minutes.

7) Allow to cool completely. They will firm up as they set.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Carrot Cake Cookies: dairy free, gluten free, corn free, soy free..



The cookies are wonderful, but the filling is what we really love! It is as close as you can get to cream cheese frosting when you are dairy , nut and soy free. I had made a big batch of raisins the other day and besides tossing them into her cream of rice we like them best in cookies!

You can easily use cinnamon or whatever spice you prefer or is safe for you instead. Abby is still tolerating ginger and cloves so those are our go to spices still.


INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan)
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed homemade light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Domino's Organic Cane granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon homemade vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrots (2 medium)
1/2 cup homemade organic raisins

Filling ingredients:

3 Tablespoons homemade coconut yogurt
1 1/2 - 2 cups homemade powdered sugar(only way to make sure it is completely corn-free)
2 Tablespoons Tropical traditions palm shortening
dash of salt

1) preheat oven to 375

2)line cookie sheets with parchment paper

3)Mix together flour, ginger,cloves, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4) Beat together coconut oil, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, and raisins at low speed, then add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

5) Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per cookie a couple inches apart on baking sheets and bake until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 10-13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

6) In bowl using hand mixer combine yogurt,powdered sugar, palm shortening and salt until fluffy(depending on your yogurt you may need more or less powdered sugar)

7)When cookies are cool fill and sandwich.

DIY Cream of Rice (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, chemical free)



With winter coming(hopefully!) it was time to grind some cream of rice cereal for Abby. I use the WonderMill and use the coarse setting to get the right consistency. I tend to grind a bunch at one time so I won't have to do it again for awhile. We like to grind in a few tablespoons of buckwheat to add some value and heartiness to it. We have found though if we use too much buckwheat it can get bitter so we only add a bit(not even 1/6th buckwheat).

I make our own brown sugar(1 cup Domino's organic cane sugar plus 1 Tablespoon unsulfured organic Plantation blackstrap molasses) and always have that on hand. I also keep some homemade margarine(Fake Butter Spread) in the fridge for Abby. When you have these already made this is a super fast and wonderful breakfast.




2 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice "cereal"
1/4 teaspoon salt(safe for you)




1) Grind on "coarse" on your grain mill a few cups of safe for you rice( We use Nishiki sushi rice)

2) If like us you would like to add more value, also "coarse" grind a few Tablespoons of teff, or buckwheat or other higher nutrition grain or seed to combine with your rice.

3) Store in airtight container.


4) Bring 2 1/4 water(or safe for you milk) to a rolling boil.

5) Add salt

6) Using a whisk(or you get lumps!)slowly whisk in rice cereal. Reduce heat to medium.

7) cook for a couple minutes until creamy.

8) serve.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Gingersnap Custards:(corn free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, )

This was a tasty mistake.

For a long time I have been wondering what buttermilk pie tastes like.. Many years ago my friend Karen told me about how it is a southern tradition for many families. Since I grew up in the pacific northwest I had never heard of it. Over the years I have thought about it off and on and for the last year I have wondered how it would be dairy free. Since making gingersnaps last week I have had a bag of gingersnaps either begging that I continue to eat a few with coffee each day, or hurry up and find some way to use them.

They taste shockingly good! Smooth and creamy and the cookie got soft and is like a layer of moist gingerbread in each serving. The mistake was that the cookie floated to the top! :-) Not as pretty as I had imagined, but with a cookie across the top, or peeled and flipped with some cookie crumbs sprinkled on the sweet creamy base it wasn't too ugly! Plus, we ate them so quickly we just did not care. I am considering trying the filling on a regular gf crust down the road.


Warning- these are SWEET, like insanely sweet! 1 will be plenty for even the sweetest sweet tooth.

How I wished I had tried making buttermilk pie a very long time ago!




Ingredients:

1/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil, melted
1 3/4 cups Dominos(or C&H) Organic cane sugar
3 Tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup full fat homemade coconut yogurt
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or safe for you salt)
12 gingersnaps(my last recipe post was for a safe gingersnap)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine coconut oil, sugar, flour, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl; whisk until smooth.
Place 1 gingersnap in the bottom of each lined muffin cup.
Pour mixture into lined muffin cups with the cookie in the bottom(I use parchment liners,work great!).
Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

Note: If you want the tops to be golden, place under broiler for a few minutes.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Ginger Snaps(corn free, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, chemical and color free)



Despite it being hot in Houston still, the leaves are falling and Fall is in the air! Now my house smells like fall too!

Gingersnaps are not only tasty but they are versatile. Add them to ice cream, or decorate a fall flavored cake, or crush them for a pie crust, or a quick trifle? For me a handful with a cup of coffee for dessert is my favorite way to consume them.


Beyond these being safe for Abby, they contain ginger,blackstrap molasses and coconut oil which are all full of good nutrition. We have been using a lot of cloves for the past 2 years mostly because Abby stopped tolerating allspice, nutmeg,mace and cinnamon. I finally got around to reading about cloves. Even today extracts from clove are still used dental work and care. Clove oil will help numb a tender tooth. Even better they contain vitamin K, and iron and other wonderful values. So more cloves in our baking and cooking for sure!



From the website The Worlds Healthiest Foods
:

A Nutrient-Dense Spice:

"Like its fellow spices, clove's unique phytonutrient components are accompanied by an incredible variety of traditionally-recognized nutrients. Using our nutrient ranking system, we determined cloves to be an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber, and a good source of iron, magnesium, and calcium."




Crunchy Gluten Free Ginger Snaps:

1-2/3 cups Gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. pink himalayan salt(or safe for you salt)
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil
3/4 cup homemade packed dark brown organic sugar
1 large egg yolk
4 Tbs. Plantation brand blackstrap molasses


1)Cream together sugar, molasses,yolk, coconut oil.

2)Blend together flour,guar gum,spices,baking soda and salt then add to creamed ingredients.

3) using your hands work the dough into a ball.(reminded me of gingerbread man dough you would roll)

4)roll into about 2 diameter roll. I wrapped it in saran wrap and it rolled easier that way.

5)Place in fridge for at least 1 hour.

6) preheat oven to 350

7)line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

8) Slice your cookies. You are trying for a nice thin slices(will get a better crunch!). The dough wants to crumble, so use a very sharp knife and be gentle.

9) place on cookie sheets. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.(Helps prevent spreading! )

10)bake for 12-14 minutes(depending on the thickness of your slices).

Allow to cool and keep in an airtight container.

If they get soggy, you can place in the dehydrator for a few hours to get the "crunch" back.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Patient Care Improves With Fewer Mito Specialists but MORE Mito Literacy

This past year or two I know the Mito Community has been alarmed by the number of Mito Specialists stepping away from patient care, or some only willing to see patients who have a known genetic mutation, or those are scaling back to see patients just in their wheelhouse. Patients were justifiably panicked. They were angry, disappointed, scared, and feelings of abandonment. Over the past 3-4 years I cannot count the number of families who were accused of child abuse simply because their child had a disease the hospital systems and medical schools hadn't figured out yet. With so few Mito Specialists out there it didn't help these families much. There was no literacy and just a few Specialists that even understood the word "Mito" and it's complex definition.


Four years ago when I first started reading research articles and googling there were only about 10 names involved in Mito Medicine. Today in just 4 years I could not even begin to count the number of Dr. names represented in the endless stream of Mitochondrial research and care.


As the original Mito Specialists have stepped away from patients, there has been a flood of new patient care Drs. These Drs. aren't "Mito Specialists" but they are Drs who attend extended learning. Drs. who read. Drs. who google. Drs. who are capable of caring for most Mito Patients.


From Rheumatologists who have dealt with mystery patients their entire career to Functional Medicine Drs and for that matter many holistic Practice Drs. They are doing a remarkable job filling the void. If you have a Dr. that cares,listens and is willing to individualize medicine you might just have a very good Mito friendly Dr.


I often compare the flood of Mito Patients to the floods of Chronic fatigue and Lupus patients in the 80's and 90's. Or the Lyme patients today. It took years but today these patients have options for Drs. who take them seriously in communities across the Country. Sometimes that was a nutritionist, sometimes a family Dr. or even Immunologists and Rheumatologists. These patients are receiving much better care today because care is accessible. Most importantly though, the knowledge of these diseases has blossomed across all medical specialities.


Another interesting thing that happens when more Drs. step up to care for a unique group of patients is that new discoveries are found. New treatments, new avenues, new support. Based on a Drs. experience and background they have a different views from a clinical standpoint.


These new Drs bring new ideas.


For a disease with no cure, with extreme individual symptoms, with no specific treatments we NEED brainstorming! We need that Chiropractor, that MAPS Dr, that Rheumy, that Immunologist, that functional Med Dr, that holistic Med Dr, that Family Dr, etc. They are the ones that will be hands on with patients moving forward.

Those original Mito Specialists are still around even if retired from patient care. Their original findings will likely change and no longer be the standard but because of them we learn more because they are the ones who planted the seeds. As they retire, step back, move away from patient care, patients will find new care and better care because of those original Mito Specialists.


If you have read my blog you know I feel the majority of Mitochondrial Disease is ManMade. The zillion medications(70 percent of Americans take prescriptions daily! GASP!!! ) , the chemicals in our food, in our lives. We mean well but it isn't ending well. The study of Epigenetics, the study of our Microbiome, and methylation are providing answers finally.


In 10 years our children may see a "Epigenetics Specialist" instead of a "Mito Specialist." Or how about a " Microbiome Specialist?" It is coming. We must thank our Mito Specialists for this huge new world of medicine opening up.. for providing the open door to a massive leap in the right direction for understanding the human body. Knowledge always(eventually)translates to better patient care.


Our Mito Specialists did good. We thank them! They planted the seeds and now the rest of the Medical Professionals get to water and weed and hopefully harvest that knowledge to prevent and cure Mito.

So welcome Mito Literate Drs! We are glad to have you onboard. Our hopes now lie with you.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What if I were the Mito Specialist?

I admit, I get impatient with the Mito Specialists at times, I think they "could" do more.


What I often forget is, if they did do more, who would believe them?

Scenerio: Pretending that I am the Specialist. My first appt of the day is a family of 6. Mom and all the children have mild and suspicious symptoms, but one child is more then moderately affected. After all the tests clearly Mitochondrial Disease but no known mutation.


The Mom is worried about her other children plus is considering another pregnancy and asks me "Is there ANYTHING I can do to prevent my other children from getting sick?"


1) What do I tell her? "Mito has no cure, just live as normally as you can because you have no control over whether you get sick or not." This would be the PC response. Pretty standard and it really ticks me off that a Dr. see's a snowball coming and doesn't at least suggest the patient "might" at least want to step out of the way.


2) Or do I tell her "You know, there is a lot of research in it's infancy that indicates toxins "might" play a part in triggering Mito in "some" patients. Definitely a better response. Most importantly it addresses the possibility of prevention in the other children. It gives the Mom something to do in a positive direction. It reinforces that research indicates right now that we have unanswered questions about the cause.


3) Or do I tell her what I really want to tell her? " Here is a list of mito toxic drugs, avoid at all costs. Avoid or consider a change in vaccine schedule. Here are a pile of research articles on Round Up, fluoride,flame retardants, pesticides, and more that indicated humans may be causing more disease then we are preventing. " That you may have to change your lifestyle. For some, Mito is Man Made.



Number 1 seems to be the most common response. It really steams me. I think because it is the "easiest" response. Most American's trust that if our government says a drug, pesticide, herbicide is safe and sold in the local grocery and drug store it is safe. I suspect a lot patients would disregard any advice to consider cutting back on the drugs(script and OTC), or toxic cleaners or to avoid processed foods(fast foods, packaged, enriched,MSG, non-organic, GMO, food colors and more). Most American's would probably think the advice was whacky- sad but true. What Dr. is going to take hours to teach a patient family about toxins? About foods and why they should avoid certain chemicals? They don't have time and time is money. So they refer them to the nutritionist. (pass the buck) The nutritionist will probably tout the beauty and perfection of the food pyramid. Or recommend lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Likely will avoid openly encouraging organics. If the child/patient doesn't tolerate it, well then time for an elemental formula which is full of garbage. So they refer the patient to the GI who doesn't care about what is in the food but that the "plumbing" isn't able to digest it... Some patients WILL GET WORSE no matter what, but there are some patients like Abby(she isn't the only one!) who can stabilize by avoiding toxins.

Number 2 is what I think should be the "expected advice". There is now enough research out there(been out there for many years and been replicated) that there are many toxins(chemicals,medicines,cleaners etc) that have been shown to negatively impact the mitochondria. I don't think there are any studies that absolutely claim that they are the "cause"(with the exception of a number of medications that are proven to cause mitochondrial damage), but isn't it enough that we know they make our mitochondria unhappy?


Number 3 is what I really wish they would say, I also recognize they simply cannot. Something called "Science Based Medicine" get's in the way. Drs. who are skeptical of vaccine safety are often ostracized. They aren't allowed to recommend unless it has been cleared by the Government, FDA, CDC, Medical Boards- their hands are tied. I cannot imagine being a Dr. and feeling pretty strongly based on the evidence that they should be giving out advice that could prevent, but they aren't allowed. If they did give such advice they might not be able to help patients at all. They could lose their jobs, their reputation.. their efforts they have funneled into research to help us.



I have a lot of sympathy now for Mito Specialists. After a day in the office they get to go home at night and wonder if that Mom when she gets pregnant will take anti-nausea meds, anti depressants, anti- anxiety, motrin, tylenol, antibiotics, get vaccinated early in the pregnancy, eat McD's daily(1/3 of american children eat fast food daily), get their hair colored and nails done, eat food saturated in hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, do some yard work spraying round up to remove weeds instead of pulling, spray the house for bugs .... If I were a Mito Specialist it would be agony and true purgatory to bite my tongue day in and day out knowing odds are in a few years they will have more and more and more patients and they aren't allowed to say a thing.


Maybe I am wrong, maybe a lot of mito specialists think the toxins, meds, vaccines, fast food are truly harmless and thus they are giving good and sound advice.

I think they are smarter then that though... daily the skyrocketing number of sick children. This generation of children are the sickest in a few generations. Why? Why are so many of our children chronically ill? Random? I think Not.


I guess I could not be a Mito Specialist. Either I know too much or I simply don't have the self control... I couldn't do it.

Thank your Mito Specialist this week. They are a small population that have fought and fought to have the disease and suffering recognized. They have fought for years when even the Medical Schools are so outdated they still aren't teaching. It is a rough and good year for our Specialists. At least that is the way I see it if I were a Mito Specialist. On one hand we have new genetic testing so they can "prove" that it is "science based medicine". On the other hand less then 30 percent of Mito Patients are "absolute". So, 70 percent of their patients are still in limbo which means 70 percent of their patient load(for those still willing to see patients who aren't genetically identified)will continue to force our Mito Specialists to bite their tongues, to read and research day in and day out.. To watch more patients line up at their door when for some they could have been prevented. How much longer can the question be asked, "If it isn't genetic, what made me or my child sick?" and not be answered when odds are for at least some we already know the answer.



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A few pictures as we settle into the property.

We have been busy, but it still feels like we have so much to do! Already the well water is a huge plus for Abby. We are hoping as we grow our own chickens and eggs, and garden we can continue to improve her food and health. Just the reduction in car exhaust has been such a bonus. Plus, under the tree's it is cooler in general. There are so many things we can continue to do to help reduce the toxin load on her body, it really has us hopeful.


The Chickens- 3 guinea and 10 chickens(we suspect at least 1 roo but maybe up to 3! 1 is good but will have to resolve the issue if there are more) The run is temporary. They will have a larger one and then they will free range during the day.


Copperhead- it was him or me!


Green beans are up!


Dung Beetles- natures poop scoopers! I had no idea we had such a thing, but we do! For the first month here I kept going out to scoop poodle poo, and did not find any! You can imagine my surprise when I finally spotted some but it was on the move! :-)



Imperial Moth: More then the size or color what caught our attention was it looks like a face on it's back.


The Deer- haven't seen them as much but the other night around 2-3am they were up at the fence.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Roll(Gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free,nut free)



It is that time of year- Pumpkin everything!


Unfortunately no pumpkin for Abby, on a positive she does very well with sweet potato's and yams.


Sweet potato bakes a little differently then pumpkin, but does offer a nice moist cake and with the right spice it is a terrific substitution. The one problem I cannot seem to get past is that this cake cracks much worse then a roll cake that doesn't have sweet potato. Still doesn't stop me from trying, and it really does taste amazing! :-) Reminds us of pumpkin but also a nice rich piece of carrot cake.. So, we will take ugly!


Definitely a fall recipe we will make again.


Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Roll:



(Cake)
1/4 cup corn free(make yourself to ensure cornfree)powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon guar gum(don't skip, even with it tends to crack)
1/2 teaspoon homemade baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger(or cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt(safe for you, we use pink himalayan and grind it)
3 large eggs
1 cup C&H organic cane granulated sugar
2/3 cup mashed organic sweet potato(peel,boil until very tender and mash until smooth)

(filling)
Homemade Coconut yogurt
corn-free powdered sugar
vanilla extract(homemade)

(Glaze)
1/2 cup corn-free powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup(add until it is glaze consistency)
(garnish with roasted and salted chickpeas if you would like a crunch and the salt is a terrific contrast!)


Preheat oven oven to 375° F. Use a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan(a full sized cookie sheet works!)and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar and leave towel on the counter for when the cake comes out of the oven.

Combine GF flour, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and organic granulated sugar in large mixing bowl until thick. Blend in the sweet potato puree. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately flip cake onto towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together,(roll the short side,not length wise). Allow to cool completely.

Filling:

I lightly sweetened some thick coconut yogurt and added a bit of homemade vanilla extract. I carefully unrolled and spread with filling and gently rolled it back up. You could spread softened homemade coconut ice cream, or maybe a caramel filling?

Glaze:

Combine powdered sugar and maple syrup - drizzle(or flood!) the top of the filled cake. Garnish with roasted chickpeas if you wish.



Monday, August 31, 2015

Let's Focus On PREVENTION for Mitochondrial Disease Awareness.


Mito is frequently acquired. (So far only 22 -30 percent are genetically diagnosed, and based on the study of epigenetic's plenty of those mutations are potentially "manmade.")


When you read the research you will often see the term "environmental" for causes. This is a huge category. It includes, chemicals in our food(pesticides,fungicides,herbicides,medications and hormones),lack of nutrition in our food,chemicals that damage our microbiome, in our water,(medications that recycle through the water treatment,chemical runoff not being filtered out) in our homes(cleaning products,building products,insecticides,lawn treatments,car exhaust,skin and hair products) and the BIGGEST contributor being MEDICATIONS.


The FDA doesn't require either testing or listing on medication that they are mito toxic or potentially mito toxic. From vaccines to Tylenol more medications then I care to list have the potential to damage your mitochondria.


If we focus on PREVENTION we wouldn't have to focus on a cure.


For Mito Awareness this month- research your medications. Or work on eating cleaner food and water. Try replacing some of your household chemicals with less toxic alternatives.


Just because the Dr. prescribes it- doesn't make it safe.


Right now the only Dr. that probably is aware of the Mito toxicity of your medications/environment (at least somewhat aware even if they don't do the best job sharing this information) is your Mito Specialist. It is on your shoulders to do the research. Since the FDA doesn't require testing or labeling this is no easy feat, but it is easier then having Mito. It might help keep a patient more stable by avoiding Mito Toxins. Since most Drs. in most specialities still have no idea what Mito is,or what it looks like, or that it can be primary or secondary or acquired, they certainly have no idea that some of the medications they prescribe could potential cause or make a patient become worse.


Many of the pharmaceutical companies actually do now study their medications to figure out if they are mito toxic- so they know, but aren't required to tell.


What if we could prevent even just 5 or 10 percent of patients from acquiring Mito just by properly labeling the medications. Especially since right now there is NO CURE at all!


Don't get me wrong, I want Abby cured, but I wish more then anything that it had been prevented in the first place.

Mito,autism,food allergies,Mast Cell Activation Syndrome,Multiple Chemical Sensitivity,EoE,ADD,seizure disorders and more childhood diseases are skyrocketing at terrifying rates.

Prevention first.

When the dam breaks, do we try to rebuild the village first, or do we fix the dam first? We fix the dam in order to PREVENT further damage, and then we clean up and fix what was broken.


The dam is broken- our children are being swept away,time for us to fix the dam.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fast "Lyles" Candy



If you don't tolerate Lyle's Golden Syrup(a corn-lite item) this isn't going to work for you, but you can do old fashioned rock candy which takes aprox. 7 days. I haven't tried using honey or homemade cane syrup yet with this recipe.


For those who have followed Abby's food journey you know she requires "sugar" to stay functional. Usually baked goods fit the bill, but sometimes her digestion is just not up to fats or eggs or even the various other carbs. Our solution is some hard candy.


No extracts, and no colors but still a nice treat for Abby. You can add extracts(if you have any safe ones) or color(if you have any safe for you) but even just simple without flavor or colors this is a great straight sugar fix.


WARNING WARNING WARNING: If you try to chew this like a hard candy it can become very very sticky and chewy! Choking risk and dental risk)


Lyle's Candy:


(Prep is key here- prepare a lined and greased cookie sheet ahead of time.)

½ cup water
¾ cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
2 cups organic Domino's or C&H sugar

candy thermometer

(To add extract add 2 teaspoons of extract with other ingredients)


1) Combine all ingredients together and place in a medium saucepan.
2) Stir continuously on medium to medium low heat until boiling.
3) Once liquid begins to boil, DO NOT stir.
4) Once it hits a boil, place candy thermometer in liquid and watch closely. When it reaches 300 degrees, take off heat and set aside.
5) Allow to cool until the bubbles quit breaking at the surface of the liquid.
6) Pour candy onto a foil lined (and well greased) baking sheet
7) Let cool until fully hardened(about an hour). Then break apart to the size desired.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Chickpea Sumac Burger and Mashed Sumac and Chickpea Potatoes(gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free)



While Abby definitely has her preferences for flavors we also try to be mindful of values.

One of the best way's we have found to increase nutrition is through herbs and spice. Sumac is a big favorite of her's and mine. It has a nice almost lemon like zest to it which since she lost citrus makes sumac a wonderful addition to any number of recipes. Then fresh parsley. I think we take it for granted. Like it is just a "color". When in fact fresh parsley not only add's color(we do eat with our eye's)but has it's own flavor. Best part about parsley is that it actually contains a lot of key nutrients. Tastes great and healthy- cannot beat that!

These "burgers" are one of our favorites. We have done quite a few versions of chickpea burgers, but we always come back to these. I have found that instead of " shaping and cooking" into burgers you can take the blended chickpeas and potatoes(skip the egg!) and add a tablespoon or two of coconut yogurt(add enough until them become creamy) and blend well, makes an amazing "mashed" chickpea and potato side dish! Or, shape and cook into a burger, either way, delicious!





Sumac:"Sumac fruits contain mainly water soluble extract containing Vitamin C and other vitamins, protein, fiber and Minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. Nearly 4% of sumac by weight includes tannins. Its tangy flavor is result of high acid content and because of malic acid citric acid, fumaric acid and ascorbic acid present in berries.

Health benefits of Sumac
Sumac has been used across globe for its medicinal properties and uses. Research has showed that health benefits of sumac are many, some being antifungal, anti microbial, anti oxidant, anti inflammatory. "

Parsley:"The flavonoids in parsley—especially luteolin—have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.

In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene).

Vitamin C has many different functions. It is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, rendering harmless otherwise dangerous free radicals in all water-soluble areas of the body. High levels of free radicals contribute to the development and progression of a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma. This may explain why people who consume healthy amounts of vitamin C-containing foods have reduced risks for all these conditions. Vitamin C is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which explains its usefulness in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. And since vitamin C is needed for the healthy function of the immune system, it can also be helpful for preventing recurrent ear infections or colds.

Beta-carotene, another important antioxidant, works in the fat-soluble areas of the body. Diets with beta-carotene-rich foods are also associated with a reduced risk for the development and progression of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and colon cancer. Like vitamin C, beta-carotene may also be helpful in reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. And beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the "anti-infective vitamin."


Chickpea Burger:

1 peeled and still hot boiled potato(caution, hard to find safe for the corn-free)
1 tablespoon coconut oil(or fat of your choice)
2 cups very well cooked chickpea's(Dried)
1 teaspoon sumac
1 finely minced and sauteed clove of garlic(or safe for you garlic powder)
1 Tablespoon fresh minced flat leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or safe for you)
1 egg(you could probably omit if you are egg free)

1) In bowl mash potato half of the chickpeas to a not quite smooth paste. Add oil, sumac,garlic,parsley and salt. Mix well.

2) Now mix in the rest of the chickpeas. You want to partially mash them, but not completely, you want some texture.

3) Lastly mix in egg well to the mixture.

4) Shape into balls, (I oil my hands!)and flatten into patties.

5) I use a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat, approximately 3 and half minutes per side.




Mashed Sumac and Chickpea Potatoes:

2 boiled potatoes ready to mash
1 cup very well cooked chickpea's
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 finely minced and sauteed clove of garlic(which ever you have safe)
1 Tablespoon of minced flat leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan(or safe for you salt)
3 Tablespoons plain homemade coconut yogurt(you may need more,just add until smooth and creamy)

1)With hand mixer mash potato's and chickpea's together.(If you want smooth then puree chickpea's in blender first and then add to potatoes)

2)Blend in everything else.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Peaches and Cream Bars(gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free)


When I was unpacking I ran across a bag of poha. Which is flattened rice. Found in Indian/Paki markets or International Markets. It is very cheap and it comes in different thicknesses. From Thick to Thin. I always buy the thin. Once I toast it in a dry frying pan it is a great crisp alternative to oatmeal in my baking! (or great for rice crispie treats!). There is also a Vietnamese version where they use green young rice and flatten it. I prefer it as I think it is more delicate and it smells amazing while toasting, but it is a little harder to find consistently. (You can buy poha on Amazon as well though it is much cheaper when found locally.)

This year the peaches just haven't been that good and that is unfortunate as they are one of the only fruit's we don't have to rotate for Abby. On a positive they do cook into bake goods just fine.

I have been pretty busy still settling in here and the list of to do's for outside are endless. It has just been so hot that I figured today would be a good day to bake something for Abby so I could hide from the heat with a good excuse!. I have neglected trying to keep her meals more interesting and she was glad to see me experimenting in the kitchen today. The last couple days she has been in a bit of a flare but today she was looking well enough to try some food that was a little more exciting then her safest and easiest to digest options.

While this doesn't "look" so wonderful, it really was tasty! I think you could sub for any fruit or even berries and it would be as good.

Definitely reminded us a bit of cheesecake or a baked good with cream cheese and that is always a good thing!




Cookie crust:

3/4 cup Tropical Traditions Palm Shortening(or coconut oil)
1/3 cup C&H or Domino's organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pink himalayan salt(or use safe for you salt)
1 3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

Peach and cream filling;

1 cup homemade coconut yogurt(any safe for you plain yogurt works)
1/4 cup C&H or Domino's organic sugar
2 egg
2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
3 peaches, peeled and pitted and cut into 1/2 inch cubes(other fruit would work as well-pears,apples, whatever is safe for you)

Crumble topping;

1 cup homemade brown sugar(1 tablespoon plantation brand blackstrap molasses plus 1 cup domino's organic cane sugar)
3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Toasted Poha(flattened rice you toast dry on the stovetop until crisp and golden)
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or safe for you)
1/2 cup palm shortening(or coconut oil)


Preheat the oven to 350

Cookie Crust-

1) grease 8x8 square pan.
2) In bowl combine sugar,salt and flour. Cut shortening into flour blend until crumbly.
3) press into greased pan.
4) Bake for 20 minutes.

Peaches and Cream filling-

1)in bowl combine yogurt,sugar,eggs,flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Fold in peaches.

2)pour over cooked and still hot cookie crust.


Crumble topping-

1)In bowl combine the toasted Poha,flour ,brown sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixed clumps and crumbles.

2)Sprinkle across the top of the peaches and cream filling that has already been poured on to the cookie crust base.

REDUCE TEMPERATURE to 325.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the center is set.

Chill and serve cold.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Raspberry Coconut Yogurt Sherbet(no cooking, no eggs, no dairy, no chemicals!)



We are ending the raspberry rotation and I had some in the freezer that needed to be used. Who doesn't like sherbet?

This clean version really reminded us of those push pop's that are so full of chemicals..

The coconut yogurt(any safe plain yogurt would work well) actually was a perfect addition and offered a nice additional tang. We love ice cream but sometimes when it is this hot outside we want something a little less rich. No eggs, no cooking and minimal fat via the coconut yogurt offered a lighter satisfying sweet treat!

Over the years we have found that IF Abby is going to eat fruit, veggies or berries we need to cook them first. I was hoping since these were frozen and the seeds removed they would be okay, and in small amounts it was, though next time I will cook the berries since she tolerates them better that way.(thinking blackberry next week!!!)

This freezes pretty fast with the lower fat/protein content but stays soft enough to serve the next day right out of the freezer.

I know a lot of families who juice their veggies and fruits.. I couldn't help but think perhaps using a juice of choice would work well. While the grape and apple do offer sweetness you cannot taste them. The berries,yogurt and sugar would disguise all sorts of juice.


3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (caution,know your source berries are notorious for being corn tainted)
1/4 cup homemade grape or apple juice(we make grape juice from organic safe grapes for Abby and freeze it. )
3/4 cup C&H organic sugar(Add sugar to taste depending on the berries and juice you may need less or more.)
3/4 cup homemade coconut yogurt


1) In blender combine,berries,juice,sugar. Blend until smooth.

2)Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour in the berry mixture. Stir until only the seeds remain in the strainer. Discard seeds.

3)Add the coconut yogurt to strained berry mixture. I found a whisk was enough to combine it well.

4)Chill.

5)Follow your ice cream makers instructions.





Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Bean Paste "Brownies" (gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, chocolate free..)



Using the term Brownie usually means chocolate in my mind, but I used the term anyway to describe the texture. These are a little more cake like.. almost more like a moist whacky cake(3 eggs make for more cake like)and while not big on any particular flavor other then sweet,made perfect vessels for dressing with other "toppings."

Coconut oil, red beans, and eggs make for a high protein and higher fiber brownie and coconut oil is just good for your body. One of the few fats Abby's body seems to tolerate and appreciate best.

We make our own red bean paste(very easy, a matter of cooking the beans to mush,puree, adding sugar and cooking down slowly to a paste.)and I have been trying to keep some on hand for adding a bit of goodness to more of her baked goods. Plus, we just love the stuff.. we eat a spoonful like you can eat a spoonful of peanut butter(which she lost peanuts again!). I have found freezing it works pretty well.

Abby has raspberries on rotation for now, not sure how much longer her body is going to allow this cycle but we have found a million ways to enjoy them! She doesn't tolerate them well raw we think because of the seeds and just the fact her body just doesn't like raw. I cook them, push them through a sieve then sweeten and finally thicken with a bit of water +potato starch.. the raspberry gel reminds us of the filling in raspberry donuts.. These would be tasty with applesauce, ice cream,caramel. Just on their own they are quick and satisfying bite. Red bean paste is a very mild flavor and goes well with any number of toppings.



Red Bean Paste "Brownie"

2 cups homemade red beans paste (or 1 can if you have a brand that is safe for you)
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted Tropical Traditions coconut oil
1/4 cup gluten free flour(homemade)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract(homemade)
1 cup C&H organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt(we use pink himalayan but you use what is safe for you)

Preheat oven to 350


Combine all the ingredients and place in very well greased 8x8 baking pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.(until just set in the center)

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Potato "pancake" Loaf(gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free)



5 medium potatoes peeled and shredded(about 2 cups shredded)
1 medium carrot shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup grapeseed oil(I am guessing melted coconut oil would work well)
1 cup homemade coconut yogurt
1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt


I have seen a few versions of this online and combined a few for this one. Really a great side with soups or stews it takes the place of a biscuit or bread and butter very well. If you eat it hot right out of the pan it is like a cross between hash browns and mashed potatoes..and a dab of coconut sour cream,well at that point it is a meal on it's own. Next time I serve it for breakfast I will also offer a side of my homemade chicken sausage. If you let it cool it will slice more like bread.


You could easily add other veggies. Or omit the rosemary and maybe go Mexican with cumin, cayenne some diced sauteed red and green peppers? Italian would be easy as well. Some grated onion, or minced garlic? Or skip any seasoning beyond just salt. Delicious any way you chose to prepare it. Rosemary is one of the herbs Abby does very well with so I tend to lean on it frequently. Beyond flavor Rosemary is a great source of vitamin A.

I will warn that many in the corn-free community really struggle with potatoes,even when organic. So make sure you know your source.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375


Combine all the ingredients and place in well greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

To slice allow to cool, or scoop to serve hot. Top with coconut sour cream or topping of your choice.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Move...

3 weeks with no cable,no phone and no internet.

We lived.


I honestly cannot count the number of times we have moved at this point, but this will be one of the more memorable.


Even closing had it's hiccup's. The latest is a broken water heater(please let them replace it today!). Boiling water for cleaning dishes is a little more homesteading then we are interested in! :-) Cold showers when you want one are great but not so great when you have no other choice. Just a little hiccup though, and hasn't changed our optimism.


I had grand plans to have so much accomplished by the end of our first month, and while much has been done, nothing on my dream list for owning a sizable piece of property. Things move slower.


To our great joy the well water here agree's incredibly well with Abby. While it is still tiring for her to shower she can shower without fainting and the amount of rashing and hives is greatly reduced. That alone made the move to this new life well worth it. We are just now using it for cooking her food and are hopeful that it will be as remarkable. Funny how something so simple as clean and pure water is so hard to find these days. That reality is shocking to me that in America of all places finding clean(free of chemicals) water is so difficult and at a premium. The rest of us have benefitted too, our skin is much happier and for the first time in many years I am not breaking out in hives with every shower.

We haven't seen any huge miracles but starting to see lots of tiny ones. A couple times now Abby has taken a walk down the driveway(very long).. and that tiny miracle has kept a smile on my face even when realizing I made the wrong paint choice for the living room! :-) I honestly cannot remember the last time Abby was able to walk that far outside... remarkable.


While we still don't have chickens or a garden, I at least know where I will be putting them. Progress.


It has been many years since I have enjoyed such privacy and space. Every morning I step outside with my coffee and have to pinch myself, having elbow room and still close to work for Derek is a dream. Deer, fireflies, a pond with a swelling abundance of frogs that sing us to sleep each evening- truly a little slice of heaven.


I am so hopeful today that these tiny gains for Abby will continue.


My old body is telling me exactly how little exercise I was getting in the suburbs, but each day along with Abby I get a little stronger.

Hope is a beautiful thing, but moving? Not so much. :-) Well worth it though.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yellow Split Pea Dip(gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut and seed free, chemical and color free and corn free!)


Summer means dip time!

We make our own version of "hummus" for Abby with the traditional chickpeas minus the tahini and while we like it we are always looking to use other peas,beans and lentils.

This more Mediterranean version is really really good. Love the oregano in it and for dipping veggies or spreading on crackers you just cannot go wrong.

Yellow split peas can be a little tricker to find but they can be ordered or are often available at your local international market.



1 cup yellow split peas, picked through, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup grapeseed oil(olive if you have one you tolerate)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons of tamarind puree(or fresh squeezed lemon juice if it is safe for you)
2½ cups water
2-3 garlic clove, minced fine
½ teaspoon safe for you salt(we use pink himalayan)
Grind of freshly ground black pepper, to taste(if you can we omit for Abby)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish(or some finely chopped green onion, or chive, or fresh oregano,just a pop of color)



In pot combine yellow split peas,onion,garlic and water. Cook until the peas' start turning to mush(I did mine in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes)

Using a fine mesh strainer drain liquid from peas. If you have cooked your peas long enough you have no choice but to use a fine mesh as they are starting to break down and impossible to strain any other way.


Place peas in a bowl and add oregano, salt and pepper and stir until it becomes mostly smooth. (salt, oregano and pepper to taste! The peas will thicken more as they cool and the oregano will soften overnight)

Chill.

Once chilled, before serving stir in oil and top with fresh garnish. It will be pretty thick after it sits in the fridge overnight.


I served with Abby's mini irish soda bread slices that I toasted until very crunchy and added a side of ginger fermented carrots for me!

June Already?

I cannot believe it is June already! Although finally the Texas summer and all it's sunshine is here!

Abby has had a few rough months. We suspect it was a combination of issues but triggered by a slow leak we found in her room way too late to prevent some issues. Once we got that taken care of things have slowly showed improvement. Like many with health issues her body is crazy sensitive to mold. I really need to pay closer attention to her room,in my defense it was leaking under a baseboard and under a dresser and I rarely move the dresser. I will be moving dressers regularly in the future.


The big tip off was the kidneys- again. Every single time she is exposed to something her body dislikes it always starts with the kidneys.

The proteinuria was bad bad and wasn't settling down for weeks at a time. Then came the other symptoms, the rashes, the fatigue, the weight loss, the grumps... the works. For once her Nephrology appt fell at the same time as a flare. Definitely caught the significant proteinuria, but everything else was holding fine, to our relief. This past four years has been all about keeping Abby's kidneys happy so we panic a little each time they are symptomatic worrying how much more damage they can take and still bounce back.

Once we hunted down the leak and fixed and treated it, her kidneys definitely responded positively quickly, but everything else is taking it's sweet time improving.


Of course we had what seemed like a month of horrid constant rain and all the pressure issues that come with T-storms, I am sure that added to it.


We are planning a move here shortly which I am sure has stressed her out as much as it stresses the rest of us out, so surely that has contributed as well. No matter how well you think you keep house, when you start packing things up it stirs a lot of dust up, which is also a trigger for her.


This go round we have definitely seen more skin issues. She has developed some "spots" on her legs. If you are from the Mast world you know exactly what we are talking about it. Definitely new for Abby. Some bruising which is unlike her. And an increase in the hickey like marks. As a matter of fact just her washing up left massive rashes/marks that looked like she had been dragged down a road in bare skin- they were smooth but horrific in how red/purple and massive they were. Those settled down reasonably quickly thankfully and within a couple weeks of each outbreak they cleared up.


Her wisdom teeth which we were fretting about have decided to make an appearance on the top. So, apparently severely impacted wisdom teeth will still cut the skin all on their own despite what the dentists say. While I am glad they are making room for themselves without having to put her at extreme risk to have them removed, they have caused her teeth to move. It kills me to see her teeth crooked(well okay, hardly crooked but definitely not straight any longer in a few spots) after the years of orthodontics, but I would rather a few crooked teeth then take the massive risks involved with a surgery - frivolous with her health for straight teeth isn't something her body can afford right now. On a positive, the world of orthodontics has evolved to the point that when she is well enough we can go get them straightened out again. So, we are leaving well enough alone for now. I see adults with braces all the time now.

Her stamina is less. Though she is up and moving around more now to our relief. Hopefully she will build back up now that she is bouncing back.

While I can honestly say that sunny 90 degree days aren't high on my list(I just like the sunny!) and her body definitely doesn't like the heat, it does seem to like "stable" weather patterns so hoping a nice long stable summer will help her out.

Sensitive and delicate for sure!

Glad we took the time to figure out what her body is safest with and what it hates, it makes it much easier to maintain stable.

All of these little things in the scheme of things I know aren't major. So many with similar diagnose's do not fare as well as Abby has.. but in our world we find them alarming, sometimes scary, and frustrating.

On the rare occasions I can step back and look at her from a different approach, what I see is remarkable,unique,evolving.

We have seen many symptoms come and go, many ebb and flow, and many new ones. Right when we get used to any given group of symptoms a new one will pop up and scare us. Eventually when we realize it is just another "small thing" we wonder if that new symptom will be the key to figuring her out. The metamorphosis.

This week a couple children that I have followed their family blogs about their health journeys have passed away. Little Nina and Mabel.

It really puts in all in perspective. I cannot imagine what their families are going through right now.

So, we will work harder to count our blessings.



 
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