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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Abby Coconut Falooda(dairy free, corn free, gluten free, soy free)

I found something called Hairy Basil Seeds at the Vietnamese market- threw them in my cart because they were so cheap and anything that says "basil" tempts me.

When I got home and looked them up, I was pleased to find that they are used very much like Chia Seed.(They are often used in alternative medicine for a natural diuretic and to ease constipation. There are a number of other values as well.)

Then I went to look at recipes- first thing that popped up were they fabulous pink concoctions in a glass that reminded me of an old school strawberry milkshake.

Course had to do it.

There are lots of various recipes for Falooda. Some are in a glass, some on a plate, usually they call for rose water or rose syrup and often strawberry.

We have not tried any rose extracts with Abby and not ready to either. She also cannot have strawberry. She can have blueberry but we do a lot of blueberry and I wanted to try something to make it pink! So made some pomegranate syrup from a fresh pomegranate. Very easy, I juiced it like I would a lemon and sifted any wayward seeds out. Added sugar and some fresh lemon juice and heated till the sugar was melted- a really lovely vibrant red color.

Then the noodles. Yes! This dessert has noodles! Still not sure how I feel about that part, but we decided for our first attempt it might not be the best idea since none of us could wrap our minds around noodles and ice cream! So, I had some fresh young coconut shreds in the freezer, we decided to use those. I simply put some coconut milk, and pomegranate syrup in a pan with the coconut shreds and heated it to help absorb the color. Turned a soft lavender color- worked for us!

The "ice cream" part was easy. Who doesn't have some safe vanilla ice cream in their freezer?( we make Abby's with a coconut milk base)

The Hairy Basil just needed to have liquid added to swell and get soft(about an hour in the fridge.(1 Tablespoon hairy basil seed or chia to 1/4 cup water)

Lastly a lot of the recipes call for a "jelly layer" . I simply warmed some of the pom syrup and added some gelatin I had bloomed first to help it thicken.

There are what feels like a ton of components, but if you made an ice cream sundae or any number of western desserts with layers you would run into the same amount of ingredients.

Next time we might just try noodles in our Falooda! :-)


1 fresh Pomegranate juiced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice.
2 cups of sugar

I juiced our Pom like I would a lemon. A bit of work but not too bad. Combined the pom juice, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heated until the sugar was completely dissolved. Then stuck the "syrup" in the fridge to chill.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream. (We make our own but you can buy it or make your own)

Basil seed layer:
1 Tablespoon Hairy Basil or Chia seed
1/4 cup water.

Combine and place in fridge to chill and soften.

Coconut Layer:
Fresh shredded coconut(aprox 1/2 cup)
3 tablepoons pom juice/syrup
1 tablespooon coconut milk

Combine in sauce pan and heat to a quick boil. Take off heat. Stir well and place in fridge to cool.

Pom Jelly:

1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Pomegranate syrup

Pour 1/4 cup cool water in a bowl. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of gelatin across the top to allow to bloom. Heat up about 1/2 to 3/4 cup pom syrup on stove. When it hits the simmer point stir in your dissolved gelatin. Stir well for 1-3 minutes to ensure the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Chill in fridge completely.

Then layer! I did syrup, shreds,basil seeds, pom jelly, then the coconut milk ice cream and topped with pom seeds. It tasted as amazing as it looks!

Try any flavor- strawberry, blueberry, mango- sky is the limit!

Lastly, the hairy basil seeds had the texture of tapioca or chia- no flavor. They were simply perfect.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I am always looking for another way to add some nutritional value to Abby's food.

Right now, we seem to running out of foods to trial, but we have a lot of herbs that we can still try.

I stumbled across Sumac on Amazon. My first thought was why eat an invasive plnat related to poison Ivy? But Sumac the spice though related isn't the same and is perfectly safe.

The spice Sumac is actually the dried berries. Quite popular in Mediterranean cooking.

Of course I ordered it and plan to try it with her. Below is a few snips of information I found on flavor, nutrition etc.

Via The Epicentre

What is Sumac?

Sumac comes from the berries of a wild bush that grows wild in all Mediterranean areas, especially in Sicily and southern Italy, and parts of the Middle East, notably Iran. It is an essential ingredient in Arabic cooking, being preferred to lemon for sourness and astringency. Many other varieties of sumac occur in temperate regions of the world. In North America Rhus glabra is known for its use in the tanning industry and for its medicinal properties. Also in North Americai is the related Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy) which can cause a severe skin reaction when touched.

Spice Description

The berries are dried and crushed to form a coarse purple-red powder. The whole fruit appears in dense clusters. Individual berries are small, round, 10 mm (1/4”) in diameter, russet coloured and covered with hairs.
Bouquet: Slightly aromatic.
Flavour: Sour, fruity and astringent
Hotness Scale: 1

Preparation and Storage

The berries can be dried, ground and sprinkled into the cooking, or macerated in hot water and mashed to release their juice, the resulting liquid being used as one might use lemon juice. Ground sumac keeps well if kept away from light and air.

Cooking with Sumac

Sumac is used widely in cookery in Arabia, Turkey and the Levant, and especially in Lebanese cuisine. In these areas it is a major souring agent, used where other regions would employ lemon, tamarind or vinegar. It is rubbed on to kebabs before grilling and may be used in this way with fish or chicken.

The juice extracted from sumac is popular in salad dressings and marinades and the powdered form is used in stews and vegetable and chicken casseroles. “The seed of Sumach eaten in sauces with meat, stoppeth all manner of fluxes of the belly…” (Gerard, 1597) A mixture of yogurt and sumac is often served with kebabs.

Za’atar is a blend of sumac and thyme use to flavour labni, a cream cheese made from yogurt.

Substitute for Sumac

Lemon zest with a little salt makes a reasonable stand-in for sumac.

Health Benefits of Sumac

The berries have diuretic properties, and are used in bowel complaints and for reducing fever. In the Middle East, a sour drink is made from them to relieve stomach upsets.

Plant Description and Cultivation

A bushy shrub of the Anacardiaceae family, reaching to 3m (10 ft). It has light gray or reddish stems which exude a resin when cut. Young branches are hairy. The leaves are hairy on the underside. In autumn the leaves turn to a bright red. White flowers are followed by conical clusters of fruit, each enclosed in a reddish brown hairy covering.

Easily propagated by seed, sumac grows best in poor soils. In Sicily, where it is widely cultivated and grows wild in the mountains, its quality is found to increase proportionately the higher it is sited.

Other Names

Elm-leafed Sumac, Sicilian Sumac, Sumach, Sumak, Summak, Tanner’s Sumach

This link is great too- the fact that it mentions restrain with kidney disease might slow me down from trying it on Abby- at least as a medicinal.

Mountain Rose Herbs:
Sumac Berry and Powder Profile
Also known as
Rhus aromatica and coriaria, Fragrant Sumac, and Sweet Sumac. Not to be confused with other poisonous varieties.

Sumac as a spice comes from the berries of a wild bush that is native in all Mediterranean areas, especially in Sicily and southern Italy, and parts of the Middle East, notably Iran. It has also been naturalized to most of the United States, and was known to Native Americans. Sour and astringent, sumac berries are used in place of lemon peel in Lebanese and Turkish cooking. Sumac juice is added to salad dressings and marinades and the powdered form is used in stews and vegetable and chicken casseroles. A mixture of yogurt and sumac is often served with kebabs. Zather is a blend of sumac and thyme use to flavor labni, a cream cheese made from yogurt. The sumac is a relative of poison ivy its leaves can cause painful skin reactions but its berries do not.

Calcium maleate, fatty oils, tannins, anthocyanins, and organic acids (malic, citric, and tatric acid plus smaller amounts of succinic, maleic, fumaric and ascorbic acid).

Parts Used
Berries, either used whole or dried and crushed to make a reddish-purple powder.

Typical Preparations
Usually used in cooking. Whole berries can be soaked in warm water for 2 hours and then mashed to release a lemon-like juice. Or the berries can be freshly ground and sprinkled in dishes directly.

Sumac berries are gently diuretic and laxative. In Arabic and Unani herbal medicine, sumac is used in herbal combinations to reduce fever. The Romans used the juice to add a tart flavoring to foods, and to treat digestive complaints. Native Americans and Appalachian settlers used sumac for a number of medicinal purposes, including fevers, colds, and skin diseases. The bark was used for basket weaving, and the leaves, seeds, roots and berries for making different colored dyes for cloth.

Not recommended for those with a history of liver or kidney conditions. Make sure to distinguish between edible sumac and the poisonous varieties. Poison sumac has white berries, while edible sumac berries are red.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Refrigerator Biscuits Gluten-free, corn-free, dairy free

Though I really enjoy cooking, baking, etc there are times I need something fast to finish a meal. Or fast because Abby is hungry right NOW! Or I am just tired.

This stuff is great! You make a batch of the batter and throw it in the fridge. You can grab a spoonful at a time for a drop biscuit, or roll a small amount for a couple cut biscuits, or mix a bit of milk and sugar in and you have a fast cobbler or even cinnamon roll- Move over Pillsbury, I got something better!

It doesn't rise as much as I wish it would, but boy oh boy is it tender and a fine crumb- and who can beat how easy this is!!! A bucket of this in your fridge will keep for 2 weeks. Instant biscuits, pot pie topping, cobbler topping. Life made easy is rare when you have to cook everything from scratch!.

All 3 of the packets on a Red Star pack of three of yeast.
5 Tablespoons warm purified water.
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar(Dominio's)

2 1/2 cup gluten free flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar(yes, more!)
6 teaspoons baking powder(Hains or homemade)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon guar gum(soy lite)
1 teaspoon salt(we use pink himalayan)
2/3 cup palm shortening(so far I have only used spectrum.)

1 1/2 cup coconut milk (warmed to a bit above room temperature.)
1/4 cup warm water(maybe more or less, you want a very soft dough that borders on batter)

First, mix the yeast,water, and first 3 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Then mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut palm shortening into dry ingredients.
Then mix the coconut milk into the yeast mix. Now, add all liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients that you cut with palm shortening.

Stir well. The dough will feel almost "foamy" . Put in airproof container and keep in the fridge.

When you want quick biscuits, 1 cup of dough(will be thick and firm from the fridge) plus 1 Tablespoon warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. (3 drop biscuits) Mix well into a stiff batter and pour into greased muffin tin or muffin tin lined(fill about 3/4 full). Place in oven. Now turn oven on to 375. Bake 15-20 minutes until brown.
Drop biscuits top a chicken stew for a quick dinner.

Take out the amount of dough you want and pat on a lightly floured board. Cut biscuits. Place in cold oven. Then turn oven on to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes.
I roll three small balls and jam them in the muffin pan(lightly greased or lined)bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Grab 1-2 cups of the dough. Basically you could crumble it(would cook faster)or you can add 2 Tablespoons water/milk to each cup of dough. Mix well until it becomes more "batter" add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and mix well. Drop by the spoonful onto of your fruit.

I grabbed two cups. Rolled on a board sprinkled with gf flour. Rubbed a couple teaspoons of coconut oil, some allspice and nutmeg(Abby cannot have cinnamon)some brown sugar. Rolled, sliced and baked for aprox 15 minutes at 400 until golden brown. Almost like the mini's from Burger King. Make a quick dipping/glaze with powdered sugar, vanilla and water.

1 1/2 cup of the dough. Mix in 1 egg and 1/4 cup warm water/warm alternative milk 2 Tablespoons sugar. Will be thicker then pancake batter but too thin to call a dough. I grease english muffin rings and pour a few tablespoons in. Make a little dip in the center and put a spoonful of diced peaches(or whatever fruit,preferably already cooked or canned for softness, jams, jelly all work well). Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until golden. Glaze if you want.

1 1/2 cup of the dough. 1 egg and 1/4 cup warm alternative milk or water. 1 teaspoon sugar. Mix well and again spoon into greased english muffin rings. Sprinkle with diced meat and cheese of choice. Place in cold oven and bake for 20 minutes at 375.

This isn't going to have a lot of height, but boy is it a tender biscuit! As you play with it, it is going to have better height and crumb if you mix egg or milk into the dough and use it in a batter state. A bit of sugar for any sweet dough. Terrific to make single portion foods. Not exactly a pillsbury pop and bake biscuit, but with the dough mostly made and kept in the fridge it sure has made life easier- and that is what we were after.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Turn in the Road

It seems with Abby that no sooner do we manage one area something new insists on popping up!

We think her TMJ is acting up, or the dreaded wisdom teeth. I am not a fan of wisdom tooth removal. However, if this level of pain continues for her, and it is the wisdom teeth then the removal might be warranted.

Just getting her to the dentist is going to cause a flare. Then all of the corn danger at the dentist office. Medications, sedation all has to be special ordered and/or compounded clean. All corn,soy issues, all mast issues and all Mito issues- bound to set off some issue and something we have tried avoiding.

We know a lot more about Abby and avoiding is her best option and often only option. What we are going to have to figure out is how to take on the danger and reduce the risk. The Mito protocol is more harmful then good for Abby, so we have to wing it.

The pain seems to ebb and flow, but since it has been coming and going for 3 months now and just seems to get worse with each flare, time to figure it out. Pain definitely causes her to crash so this isn't gonna work.

Fingers crossed we have learned enough to manage this process. I cannot help but think about all the perfectly healthy adults who have their wisdom teeth out and are so sick for weeks- not exactly reassuring. TMJ is chronic, so that path isn't one we want either- maybe just some garden variety sinus infection, but that would mean antibiotics which were responsible for her major gut shutdown that started project elimination. Clearly antibiotics are dangerous to Abby as well.

Thinking this isn't gonna be easy, but also thinking at least we know what to expect.

The drama of the unknown is the worst- we are not fans of drama. So we hope this is an easy fix. Better yet, no fix needed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Coconut Sour Cream So Easy Dairy Free and Soy Free

Essential in our home.

It is not the same as dairy sour cream, but close enough. Helps in baking and soups and of course to top a baked potato(or potato pancake!).

1 cup of coconut cream off the top of a cold can of coconut milk
1 Tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar(This is universally accepted as corn free).

Mix the coconut milk(hard cream part)with the Braggs(or vinegar of your choice) and stick it back in the fridge- Feel free to use less or more vinegar to your taste.

That is it!

I usually keep coconut milk in a can in my fridge for that in a pinch moment, and I also make coconut milk from scratch, but for ease I know more folks are familiar with canned.

Ideally, you want a full fat coconut milk. With NOTHING but coconut milk in the can- if you use coconut milk that has guar, or other thickeners your cream will not rise to the top and harden in the fridge overnight. Thai kitchens(most commonly accepted as corn-free), Golden Star(corn-lite)and a couple other brands are safer for corn allergies.(these are what we use, please make sure any ingredients are safe for your allergies.)

Golden Star by far has the most "hard cream" in each can- sometimes as much as 3/4 ths of the can will be hard cream with very little coconut water in the bottom. I figured that would be a better visual for this post.

I keep the coconut water and use it when a recipe calls for water or in a smoothie or in coconut ice cream, once opened I keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Forbidden Rice Pudding(dairy free,soy free, gf)

(Not quite as purple as we wanted!)

Abby requested rice pudding for her Christmas dessert, but with a catch. She wanted me to use the Lundberg Christmas rice(red wild rice)in combination with black forbidden rice(Lotus brand). Abby is corn- lite, meaning that sometimes if the product appears clean and is likely clean, sometimes we can get away with a hair of cross contamination without penalty. Lundberg has quite a few types that are accepted as pretty clean but the Lotus Black rice is the wild card- so we are living on the edge for her Christmas pudding.


1/4 cup Forbidden rice(Lotus brand)

1/4 cup Lundberg Christmas Rice(red rice)

1/4 cup coconut oil(I use spectrum or Nutiva or TT)

4 cups full fat coconut milk( divided)(if you use canned read the ingredients carefully, some are full of junk or potential for corn contamination)

4 beaten eggs

2/3 cup sugar(domino's)

1 tablespoon vanilla(homemade)

1/2 teaspoon salt(we use pink himalayan, a lot of salt is corn contaminated so be careful what you use.)

Ground mace, nutmeg, or allspice

In a four-quart heavy sauce pan bring 2 cups of milk, rice, to a full boil, then quickly reduce heat. Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender, stirring several times. (Watch carefully to prevent boil-overs.) (DO NOT DRAIN RICE)

When rice is fully cooked—approximately 45 minutes—remove from heat and stir in coconut oil until melted. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine remaining 2 cups coconut milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mace and nutmeg to taste and gradually(slowly a bit at a time to avoid scrambled egg) stir into the cooked rice mixture. Pour into a well-greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake uncovered at 325 for 30 minutes. Stir and sprinkle with more mace and nutmeg if you want. Return to oven and bake another 35 minutes, until edges are set. The center will still be “wiggly.” Let sit 10 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped coconut cream.

NOTE: We stuck our's in the fridge overnight and reheated. This allowed the red rice and black rice to soften more and the texture came together better we thought. Great cold or hot! The rice retains texture and reminds us of tapioca.

We were trying to get "purple" pudding, but a little on the gray side- next time we will just use Forbidden rice and maybe blueberries to ensure a violent color!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Uncle Mike's Potato Pancakes

We are devoted to the potato. My children, myself, my Mother, my Uncles, My Grandmother, my Brothers. Grating part of our knuckles off is a rite of passage in our family.

Nothing makes us happier then a big plate of potato pancakes, and standby if you have all of us together- I just know we could polish off a 50 pd bag between us!

The traditional toppings in our family are; granulated sugar, applesauce and sour cream. There is a lot debate however in which order these should go on the potato pancake or which to mix.

My favorite is just sugar- of course. Abby likes pear sauce and sugar. Really we will put about anything on our potato pancakes except one thing: ketchup! That is frowned upon- as ketchup is for potato omelets or hashbrowns- NOT a potato pancake! LOL Sara is the rebel and uses ketchup, and we all groan for her rule breaking!

My Mother and grandmother always used fresh shredded potatoes for our pancakes. So that is all I have ever made for my girls. My Uncle however discovered that leftover mashed potatoes are much faster to cook, thus quicker to eat.

We all agree, they are good this way too but the controversy remains: in what order to top them is the "proper" order?

This is my Uncle Mike's FIRM suggestion of how ALL of us should be topping our potato pancakes if we want to do it the right way! :-)

Abby and I sampled the mashed potato pancake done his way, and have to agree, it is delicious and it was fast! Abby eats mashed potato's regularly so kind of handy to be able to also make potato pancakes. Of course, I still think shredded is better, but these are a very close second. We of course made the substitutions to make these safe for Abby, but I bet they taste very close to his, especially since we topped them in the "proper" order! :-)

2 cups Abby's fast mashed potato's(potatoes and coconut yogurt I posted a week or so ago)
2 eggs
2 heaping Tablespoons gluten free flour
2 Tablespoons very finely minced yellow onion(puree in the food processor is best)

Mix it up well. In a preheated frying pan add a tablespoon of coconut oil. I find cooking these slow on medium heat insures that they cook all the way through. When I scoop some into the pan I spread it a bit to make it even with the back of my spoon.

Topping Directions(rules) from Uncle Mike.

1) First sprinkle a liberal amount of granulated sugar
2) Then a generous amount of "pear"(he uses apple) sauce
3) finally top it with coconut sour cream(he uses dairy)

Some of us like a bit more sugar on top(don't cringe, I told you we love sugar!)

Overall this was winner- a terrific quick breakfast, no worse for you then a donut, and actually a bit more nutrition. We happen to like them for dinner.. or a snack, or lunch.. :-)

Susan's Bread

Susan is a member of my corn-allergy group and shared a recipe for peasant bread wishful that it could be made gluten free. This was a no-knead recipe that truly is about as easy as bread could get... I agreed, a fast, no brainer loaf of safe bread would be terrific.

Not just gluten free, but rice, potato, and corn free! A challenge I could not pass up! My first loaf I used my gluten free flour and teff flour. I had a mixed results, I suspect I used too much water. Still, it was promising.

Today I tried making a loaf without potato or rice flour. I really did not expect anything "good" to come of it, but to my surprise we got a loaf of bread that we not only could eat, but enjoyed! Clearly, a short and flat loaf but I did not have the right pan for this- and I think next time I will add honey instead of sugar. This very much reminded us of a whole wheat flavor and we used to love honey wheat. I still prefer using the bread machine and will likely make a similar loaf with tweaks that I can use in the bread machine, but I know lots of folks don't have a bread machine so winged it here. Not my area of strength, but if I had a special gluten free bread loaf pan I think this would work great for a sandwich bread. So far though my attempts without a bread machine usually look like this loaf! LOL This would make good finger sandwiches! :-)

Usually, I would not "share" a recipe that wasn't quite right, but since this was unusual in that it did not take any rice or potato flour and used my newest flour "Mung Bean Flour" I decided to go ahead. Maybe someone better with yeast breads then I can make this in a better size/shape to make a sandwich with it!

1 cup teff flour(I used brown but ivory or red is fine too)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup mung flour
2 Tablespoons sugar(domino's)
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon guar gum
3/4 cup warm water

(proof yeast)
4 teaspoons yeast(2 out of 3 of the packs of red star)
1 tablespoon sugar(domino's)
3 Tablespoons warm water

First proof your yeast using the 2 teaspoons yeast, 1 Tablespoon sugar and 3 Tablespoons warm water. Stir it and set aside while you get everything else ready.

In a bowl mix teff, mung, tapioca, sugar,salt,grapeseed oil and guar gum well. Add proofed yeast and the additional 3/4 cup water. Mix well. Should be a thick batter(like a thick brownie batter), not quite a dough.

NOTE: This bread would work best in a special gluten free bread pan(they are a more narrow pan with taller sides).

Grease a loaf pan or oven safe bowl. Grease it really well this stuff likes to stick. Spread batter in greased pan and allow to rise until doubled in size.(30-1 hour) Place in pre heated oven at 350 and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fast Leftover Bread Pudding (gluten free,dairy free, corn free )

In the Pressure Cooker!

I had leftover Teff bread, leftover eggnog, and some coconut yogurt. Leftover Gluten free bread is ideal for bread pudding. It dries out fast and absorbs liquid like mad! I bet leftover gluten free rolls, waffles, or pancakes would work well too!

5-6 slices leftover gluten free bread
1 cup dairy free eggnog
1 cup coconut yogurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(mace, nutmeg and/or ginger if your eggnog is not spicy,we pack our eggnog full of spice so more spice was not necessary.)
6 inch metal spring form pan or other metal bowl of similar size.

I put a layer of teff bread(about 5 large slices total) in a small 6 inch spring form pan that I greased with grapeseed oil.

In a bowl I mixed her coconut eggnog(1 cup), coconut yogurt(1 cup) and coconut milk(aprox 3/4 cup). I also added 1/4 cup brown sugar, a teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract and gave it a good mix.

I poured about 1/3 of the eggnog mix over the bottom layer of bread. I added a layer of peeled, sliced raw pear. Then another layer of bread, another 1/3 of the liquid mix and a second layer of sliced pears. Then a final layer of bread and poured the last of the liquid over the top. I sprinkled a few tablespoons of brown sugar over that for good measure. Covered the springform pan in tinfoil tightly.

In my pressure cooker I poured 1 cup water. I placed a metal rack in the bottom(mine came with it, but you could also use metal canning jar rings, you just need something to set the pan on so it is only partially in the water and not sitting on the bottom)then placed my tightly tin sealed bread pudding in the pressure cooker. Cooked for 15 minutes on high and let it come down on pressure on it's own.

Done- that was it! For best results allow to cool to room temperature and reheat and top with a scoop of whipped coconut milk, or coconut ice cream(I had coconut eggnog ice cream- wow!)

We could not wait for it to cool and it was moist,sweet - with the pears just cooked but still firm for some texture. Not bad for using up leftovers!

The major advantages to the pressure cooker are how fast it cooks, and that all that moisture is trapped in your pudding guaranteeing a moist and tender pudding.

Next time for a prettier presentation, I am going to use a layer of sliced pears on the top in a spiral. Since when is bread pudding pretty though? :-)

Mito and Nutrition

I try to stay caught up on the latest UMDF and MitoAction news- I am always hoping to learn something I can apply to Abby.

The other day I read the UMDF Newsletter and saw that they are going to cover Nutrition during the 2013 conference.

My first reaction was Joy! Yippeee! This certainly is our focus and that of so many other Mito families. Then I started thinking about the likely "watered down" information and I got a little frustrated..then I could not but envision a nutritionist talking with a pile of bottles of synthetic vitamins and cans of supplemental formula in front of her and suddenly I started thinking maybe I am not going to like their advice! LOL

Totally not fair or realistic of me. Abby is unique. I really do realize that for many many Mito families whether you feed them McD's or supplemental formula or fresh and clean, it simply isn't going to help. I really do get that, but nutrition counts from if anything a calorie standpoint. Patients with Mito seem to digest and metabolize food so differently it certainly is a critical subject.

I really hope though, they approach nutrition from an "individual" need. Nutrition in Mito patients is so incredibly individual and if they try to make a one size fits all protocol for food I might just hit the meltdown point.

So I am going to hope that they break nutrition down as very individual. That some Mito patients struggle with mast, allergies,slow digestion,EoE,FPIES, and intolerances(and thousands of other GI issues)and need to spend a great deal of time trying various foods that are easy to digest, and healthy. It takes a lot of thought to find the right foods to met their nutritional needs.

That they will also cover the different types of supplemental formula's and which ones are best for what- when to use them(what exactly is in those medical cans). At what point in the disease process should tubes be considered, when to remove tubes, feeding therapies and clinics..the positives and negatives.

My whole interest in GMO, chemicals, preservatives, allergies and sensitivities in our population is not likely to be addressed- I get it. Admittedly, we have taken a more extreme approach. But wouldn't it be nice? Abby has improved vastly by taking her super highly sensitive body into account when considering food.. I know there are other families like us out there... would be nice right?

Abby is bouncing nicely. A good hair washing, and bedroom scrub down, another day of solid restorative sleep and she was "right as rain" last night. :-) Whew! I swear I am going to build a decontamination room we go through to get sanitized before entering the house :-) It is really a HUGE relief to see her bounce back.. for a few days there, I had to reflect that maybe I had lost my mind with this Project Elimination- Nope still working. Nice to see the easy smile and sparkle back. I figure she will need more sleep and more protein for a few more days and then we will settle back into "normal."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Halloween Soup

4 cups chicken broth(we make it in the pressure cooker)
1 chicken breast
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1 small sweet onion diced

King Soba brand black rice noodles.

In large saucepan add broth and chicken breast. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 or until chicken breast is cooked. Add, carrots, onion and seasoning. Simmer/low boil for another 30 minutes. Remove chicken breast, dice it and put the diced chicken back into pot. Add rice noodles cook for 10 more.


If I have fresh herbs we use those. We try to use farmers market onions, carrot when we can. We are very heavy handed with parsley and basil as Abby adores them. Regular basil or sweet basil or both. The more we read about herbs the more surprised we have been to find they are loaded with nutritional benefits.

Because of the black noodles and orange carrots, we named it Halloween Soup- it stuck. The noodles tend to "bleed" some of the color to the broth, and then heavy handed parsley and basil also darken the broth.

Freezes fairly well, though the rice noodles tend to break down with freezing. We usually remove the noodles before freezing the soup in single portion sized containers.

Marshmallows(corn-free, egg-free, gluten-free, dairy free)

Finally got a few more brands of unflavored gelatin to try with Abby. So far she is reacting to many- if these couple brands fail to agree with her, we will move on to pork based gelatin.

I have made marshmallow creme, and marshmallow frosting, but this is a first for marshmallow's! I learned a couple things. 1) be prepared, everything measured and ready to go. When that sugar hits 240 it hit's it fast! 2) A mess. A worthy mess though :-) Simple hot water melts away the stickies in no time.

These were far from perfect. But, I got the first batch done- now I am determined to try a few more recipes and even do this one a few more times to see if I can improve how they look when I cut them! I make tasty food, not pretty! :-)

¾ cup cold water, divided
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin(5-6 teaspoons other brand)
2 cups granulated sugar(domino's)
2/3 cup light Lyle's golden cane syrup
¼ teaspoon salt(pink himalayan)
2 teaspoons vanilla(homemade)

About 1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar for dusting pan and coating the marshmallows..(I used 1/4 cup potato starch and 3/4 cup powdered sugar)


Line the bottom and sides of a 8x8 inch baking pan with plastic wrap. Lightly grease the plastic wrap with grapeseed oil. Sprinkle enough powdered sugar to get a good coating on the oil.(corn free store bought powdered sugar or homemade.)

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, put ½ cup cold water. Sprinkle gelatin over the water; set aside about 10 minutes for gelatin to soften.(sprinkle evenly, if you pour it too thick in spots you will get "gelatin clumps" not good!

In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine ¼ cup water, sugar, Lyle's golden cane syrup, and pink himalayan salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan(very important). When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.

Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F, a soft ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup(1 sugar crystal will multiple into hundreds,believe it has happened to me!). In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 240 degrees to prevent it from going over 240 degrees.(I was surprised at how fast this came to temperature, so keep an eye on it!)

With the electric mixer on low speed, slowly pour(not too slow, just slow enough not to splash) the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture.Be careful,sugar burns are miserable! Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and shiny and nearly tripled in volume, about 6- 10 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue beating about 1 minute or until the vanilla is well combined.

Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan, spread with a rubber spatula to make as smooth as possible. The mixture will be sticky. Coating: Generously dust the top of the marshmallow with about 3 tablespoons powdered sugar.(I did not, and it was fine.)

Let marshmallow sit uncovered, at room temperature, until set and dry, about 12 hours.(I so could not wait- mine sat for 4-5 hours- I suspect that contributed to the raw looking edges)

Dust(I did more then dust) a large pastry board(I used a large shallow cake pan to contain the mess) with powdered sugar (I used 1/4 cup potato starch and 3/4 cup powdered sugar). Run a sharp kitchen knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow. Invert the pan onto the pastry board. Remove the plastic wrap(careful) and dust the top of the marshmallow with about 3 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Cut the marshmallow into 1-inch squares. Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows into powdered sugar to help prevent them from sticking together, shake off any excess sugar.

Store marshmallows covered, in an airtight container, at room temperature.

Mung Flour Blood Orange Muffins(Gluten free,corn free,dairy free,soy free)

Mung beans do fall under the "legume" heading though apparently they are a "cousin".

Known for being easy to digest.(No gas! LOL) . Great nutrition. I had found a bag at the Indie/Paki market and have been trying to decide what the best way to try it would be.

FYI: It is also know as Moong flour - read the labels carefully- I believe there is also a lentil flour that may be called moong dal flour- not that lentil flour is bad it is great, but if you want mung bean flour in particular it is easy to get confused.

I also had a handful of blood oranges from my tree left- why not?

These did not "rise" the way I had hoped, perhaps my mix needed a bit more flour. But what they lack in looks they make up for in taste!

After mixing I tasted- I was slightly alarmed. Mung flour has a slight bean flavor and it was almost a tiny bit peppery- but though it was foreign it was not unpleasant. Also, I know from using chickpea flour that when it is raw the flavor is very different then once it is cooked.

Just thrilled with these muffins. No bean flavor at all or pepper after being baked. Transformed into a creamy orange flavor we just loved. Next time, a bit more flour. Might use 2 eggs since I opted to skip the guar gum(figured pushing my luck with mung and guar and Abby's allergy bucket.)

Tender, sweet, subtle orange flavor. Not beanie at all! Really a new favorite!

Fun too! Who else is going to bring Mung and Orange muffins to coffee? :-)

Makes 10-12 muffins

wet ingredients

1/4 cup coconut oil, softened but NOT melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup fullfat coconut milk
2 tablespoons orange zest, finely grated
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

dry ingredients

1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup mung flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt

Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan well with oil or liners.

Using an electric mixer or by hand, cream coconut oil in a medium-size bowl. Gradually add sugar; continually beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat in well. Stir in milk, orange zest and juice.

For the dry ingredients, Add flours, Add baking powder, and salt; sift again(or just a good mix). Add flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. DO NOT BEAT.

Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full and bake for 10-14 minutes(golden brown). Remove muffins immediately from pan. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

The Ninja and Rice Flour

In the world of food allergies we all find ourselves having to cook much of our food from scratch.

A good blender is essential.

We talk a lot about the merits of the vitamix, the Blendtec, and the Ninja.

I am cheap and frugal, but I also "get" you get what you pay for...

The price on the vitamix has dropped drastically in the last 6 months, and again the discussions of which blender is best is a popular topic.

When I bought the Ninja I figured worse case, I could return it. My first experiment was ice cubes. I threw in about 6 big cubes and in seconds I had fluffy snow. I was terribly impressed. Might be because the most I had spent in my previous years on a blender was 40 bucks or just a great machine.

The ladies are making their Christmas lists right now. You can buy a new Ninja 1500 system for around 180 bucks if you shop careful. You can buy a vitamix for around 350 on super deals. With the vitamix you are also going to have to buy extra pieces in order to grind grain, but not so with the Ninja.

Last night a lady on my group asked if it could make rice flour? I knew it did great powdered sugar and chickpea flour but had not tried rice!

I pulled out the single serve container(great for grains,sugars)and threw in 1/2 cup rice in a minute I had flour. A bit gritty, but no more gritty then the texture of the Arrowhead Mills white rice flour.

The Ninja is used and abused in my kitchen and still works as well as it did 6 months ago. Is it as good as a vitamix? No idea. But it makes everything I could dream of, so I don't need to know. :-)

Honestly, I am so sold on the Ninja I bought the new Shark vacuum that rated better then the Dyson via consumer reports. Pretty darn happy with it too! :-)

Gluten Free Teff Bread(corn free, dairy free)

Still on the Teff kick. Added extra teff to a favorite bread machine recipe and we are all very pleased.

This stack of slices will become French Toast tomorrow morning! Half the loaf went to bread cubes for stuffing next week.

This is a great sandwich bread, but a little sweet. I made it sweet on purpose for French Toast and bread pudding. You could easily drop the granulated sugar and just use honey, or reduce the granulated sugar. Once your machine is done mixing this it should look like a thick smooth batter.
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cider vinegar(Braggs)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup honey(local raw)
3 Tablespoons cane sugar(Domino's granulated)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt(pink himalayan)
1 tablespoon guar gum
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 cup Teff Ivory flour(used Teffco brand)
2 cups gf all purpose flour(rice, brown rice,potato starch,tapioca, and teff)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (Red Star)
Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the sweet dough cycle. Five minutes into the cycle, check the consistency of the dough. Add additional gf flour or liquid if necessary. When bread is finished, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nofu Truffles

In the old days, one of Abby's very favorite Holiday candies were the peanut butter buckeye's. She was always hopeful I would run out of the chocolate to dip them in as her preference was just the peanut butter.

I had some nofu needing to be used or tossed. Decided I could "try" to replicate that for her.

1 cup nofu butter(Search blog for Nofu Butter- how to turn your tofu/nofu into fake peanut butter!)
(salt if needed, we had lightly salted this batch of nofu butter so I gave this a quick dash to get that great sweet and salty we all love about peanut butter)
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar(give or take.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla(homemade)

Place the coconut oil, nufu butter in microwave safe bowl. Just 15-25 seconds softened it up enough to be able to mix the them together until smooth. I then added 1/2 cup at a time of powdered sugar(cornfree is getting easier to buy or homemade)until it was pretty thick, but not quite thick enough to roll easily.

Then I placed it in the fridge for 30-1 hour to get it hard enough to roll into bite size balls.

I rolled a few in fine coconut shreds, a few in powdered sugar and a few plain, just the way she loves them.

Lemon Curd- Dairy free, corn- free, gluten free, soy free

Abby is still on her lemon kick(tends to crave after being in a flair). So I started wondering if I could make a safe version of lemon curd for her. On muffins, toast, cakes, danishes, thumbprints,filling for a gluten free donut? The options are endless. Or, just eat it out of the jar, it is that good! :-) We are so thankful that Abby's histamine reactions do not include lemon.

It was EASY! and DELICIOUS! We did not miss the butter at all!


5 egg yolks(fresh!)
1 cup sugar(Domino)
2 organic lemons(I gently clean with baking soda and warm water in hopes of removing any potential wax), zested and juiced(Need 1/3 cup fresh juice)
5 Tablespoons spectrum coconut oil chilled
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal or glass bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 10 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in coconut oil a spoonful at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: One of the only differences between making this and using butter is that as the lemon curd chills I HIGHLY recommend stirring once an hour for the first couple hours. Coconut oil tends to "float" to the top. So you will end up with a lovely creamy lemon yellow coconut oil layer on top of a darker egg and sugar layer :-) With the original butter based lemon curd you don't have to worry about that. Stirring a few times while it chills appears to have resolved that issue. My butter based recipe called for 1/2 cup of butter(1 stick) which is 8 tablespoons. I used 5 Tablespoons of coconut oil since I had no idea what would happen, and we do like to reduce fat(even really healthy fat like coconut)for Abby- she struggles with any fat. I wish it were a little more "custard" like, but maybe after a night in the fridge that coconut oil will have tightened up better- regardless- creamy,sweet and tangy just like the original.

Injera "CHIPS"

I had a few leftover Injera from yesterday. I could have wrapped and frozen them or they would have kept wrapped in the fridge for a week, but I started wondering if I could make a "cracker" out of them.

coconut oil
pink himalayan salt

I used my biscuit cutter and cut rounds. I brushed a bit of coconut oil on them and lightly salted.

Baked at 250 for 30 minutes on each side.

Some were more crisp then others because my injera bread varied in thickness. The flavor was terrific! Abby said the texture reminded her of a toasted bagel, parts were crisp from toasting and some chewy- she gave it a thumbs up!

Honestly, had they not been worthy of eating, the smell of them toasting was worth it! It is such a rich nutty smell, with very very delicate chocolate undertones- we were drooling by the time they came out! They don't "taste" like chocolate, but just that rich undertone of a smell was all we needed.

These are "sturdy" so would be terrific topped with juicy toppings. I cannot help but think of smoked salmon and cream cheese- which of course Abby cannot have, but I wonder what other yummy topping I can come up with? Even then Abby said she was perfectly happy to eat them plain.

Another good reason to make injera!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Injera gluten free, corn free, dairy free, egg free- quick bread

I recently ended up with a terrific abundance of Teff flour. It happens to be my new favorite flour.

It is a much softer flour then millet and far more mild in flavor then chickpea.

Injera looks like a tortilla with lots of little bubbles on it. It is served frequently in Ethiopia. Teff is a staple in Ethiopia.

Traditionally Injera is made very similar to sourdough. You make a "starter" to ferment further batches. However, I wasn't quite ready to take on yet another sourdough project and found this "shortcut" recipe-

1 pd teff flour(color of your choice, I used brown teff flour)
3 cups purified water.
2 teaspoon yeast.

Combine all three items in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit out for a minimum of 24 hours at room temperature. Picture is of the batter before I cooked it.

In a dry very hot and smooth frying pan(no oil no fat -dry!), pour batter like a pancake- roll it around the pan to get it thinly spread.(I held my pan at an angle so as I poured it rolled down, then I just had to roll it side to side.) Cover it to trap the heat while cooking- but keep an eye on it, these cook fast! I found they did cook without covering, but tended to crack and did not have that nice shine even look. Do not flip! You only cook on the first side.

Tender, flexible and a little tangy like sourdough. Terrific with any stew, soup or filling. I can imagine eating these with EVERYTHING. It does remind me of a combination of sourdough and fresh thick flour tortilla's- how can you beat that?

Teff nutrition: via Tamara Duker Freuman Medical Nutrition Therapy

1) It’s quite delicious. When I use it to make crepes (see recipe below), it reminds me a lot of buckwheat as far as the flavor goes. Slightly sweet, maybe a little nutty.

2) Whole grain teff flour is even more nutritious than whole wheat flour. While both have about the same amount of protein (4g) and fiber (4g) per 1/4 cup, Teff is also a good source of iron and a not-too-shabby source of calcium as well. That same 1/4 cup serving of teff flour contains 13% of the Daily Value for iron (versus about 6% for whole wheat flour) and 5% of the Daily Value for Calcium (versus 1% for whole wheat flour.) This makes teff flour an especially good food to incorporate into the diets of toddlers, children, teenage girls and adult women; all groups that tend not to meet the recommended intakes for iron and/or calcium on average.

2a) Even better: Whole grain teff is one of the few plant foods that’s a source of complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. (Some other examples of plant foods that are complete proteins include quinoa and soybeans.) This makes it a great addition to the vegetarian and vegan pantry.

2b) But wait, there’s more! The iron in teff is more bioavailable than you’d typically expect from a plant food, which means your body can absorb it relatively well. Without getting too technical, this has to do with a favorable ratio of phytates (a naturally-occurring form of phosphorous in many plant foods) to iron in teff. (Phytates bind to iron and inhibit the body’s ability to absorb it.) To enhance the iron’s bioavailabilty even further, you could eat teff in the form of traditional injera, where the yeast fermentation helps break down the phytates even further, or to eat your teff along with foods that contain vitamin C, like tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, fruits, etc..

3) It’s gluten free! This makes it a great choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, especially since so many of the other available gluten-free flours tend to be low in protein and fiber. A word of caution, though: many (most?) Ethiopian restaurants combine teff with whole wheat flour when they make their injera, so if you’re eating out and avoiding gluten, always be sure to ask what’s in it before you dig in.

Maple Cream

A Member on my corn allergy group shared a recipe for Maple Cream.

IT was soooo easy I could not resist giving it a try. Ideally, I would have wished mine to be a bit thicker but I am thinking I did not get it completely to 233 degrees(I really should have put my glasses on!)or maybe it is because I used a Grade B Maple Syrup? Either way, this stuff is good and EASY!

1 Cup Maple Syrup

Candy thermometer

deep saucepan( when it starts getting hot it really foams high!)

On medium temp bring 1 cup maple syrup to 233 degrees- DO NOT STIR

Take off heat and allow to cool to 110 degree's(about room temperature)DO NOT STIR or DISTURB while cooling.

Once it is down to around 110 degrees get out your wooden spoon and start stirring. I used long slow almost a pulling motion with mine. FYI: A lot of STIRRING!

My maple syrup is a dark amber color, and from the picture above you can see it turn opaque and caramel colored from stirring.

Once I thought I could not stir anymore, I was a little disappointed mine was still pretty soft, not really "spreadable." I was glad I only used 1 cup of my spendy maple syrup. I then put it in the fridge thinking I would figure it out today.

In just a couple hours it had thickened up nicely! Now a jar of spreadable Maple cream.
Now of course I am wondering what type of concoction I can make out of it! Maybe nofu/maple truffles? Or maybe just keep it for a spread on toast.. or a drizzle on coconut milk ice cream?

Definitely feeling better..

After a good 19 hours of sleep she feels better. Slowly climbing out of the hole.

She actually felt pretty good after all that sleep so I am hopeful she will continue the upward climb. Last night she was nearly "spunky" :-)

If she follows pattern, she will have a good day, bad day, iffy day, and slowly add more and more good/stable days. Works for me and for Abby.

You can see in her face she is off still, but even that looked better.

Now, to prevent another cold and NO allergens! :-)

I give Abby serious credit, the fact that she is patient and calm to weather these lows, that she has the strength to suck it up because she knows in the long run it is a better option. Most folks would throw in the towel after a week or two of misery.

Fingers crossed. Another couple good days of sleep and she should reset nicely.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poop Cookies

After figuring out how sick the Miralax was making Abby we HAD to figure out how to keep the plumbing moving without medications.

Blackstrap Molasses is a family home remedy. It works! IT is also loaded with gobs of terrific nutrition! But, most folks just are not going to want take a spoonful straight up- a very powerful flavor!

Sweet potato's have a nice bit of nutrition as well. And also help things move along.

Figs- just as powerful as raisins if not more so for Abby. Abby for whatever reason doesn't tolerate raisins but does better with dried figs.

We combined all these elements to make what we lovingly call "Poop cookies!" . They don't taste like poop but they do kind of look like it, and they sure make a tasty preventative! :-) The spices in these smell so holiday, I never mind making a fresh batch of these.

These freeze very well. We will just grab 1 or 2 frozen and let them thaw on the counter or zap in the micro for 15 and ready to eat!

Abby will eat 1 of these cookies with each meal throughout the day. Within 24-48 hours any blockage she has is resolved. When she is going through a spurt of back to back episodes of constipation she will just eat 1 or 2 of these daily for a few weeks until her system balances back out. She has never complained! :-) My oldest has severe constipation issues(10 plus day type) and she swears by these too!

1/4 cup spectrum palm shortening
3/4 cups white sugar(domino's or C&H)
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons pureed sweet potato(or skip and increase molasses to 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup unsulphered black strap molasses(Plantation Brand seems to be universally safest for corn allergy)
2 cups gf all-purpose flour( I did 1 1/2 cup gf all purpose and 1/2 cup teff flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger(we use 1 1/2 t but we like a lot of spice!)
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves( 1/8 is plenty)
(You can also add cinnamon but Abby is sensitive so we skip it, you would want about 1 teaspoon and then skip the mace and cloves)
dash of salt
3/4 cup diced dried stewed figs(or raisins)

1) dice black mission figs. Place in microwave safe bowl. Cover with water and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Microwave on 2 minutes(till boil). Place to the side and allow to soak in the vanilla water. Or if you are using raisins same thing, but you don't have to cut the raisins. Nothing worse then hard chewy raisins or figs that stick to your teeth, stewed they are sweet, tender and plump.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking sheets(or use parchment paper).
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until smooth.Mix in sweet potatoes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the molasses. Combine the gf flour, baking soda, and spices and salt; blend into the molasses mixture. Drain the figs or raisins well, caution they may be hot, I really press them to get as much fluid out as I can. Mix the drained stewed figs or raisins(or both?) Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes in preheated oven, or until the center is set. Cool on wire racks.

You could also add 1/4 cup finely minced candied ginger. I have also in the past snuck in 2 Tablespoons of rice protein when Abby is struggling to get her protein.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holy Basil

I have run across a few people now that swear by using Holy Basil for reducing inflammation or for cold and flu symptoms. Considering we are huge fans of basil and you will find fresh thai basil(minty tones), sweet basil, regular basil at any given time in my kitchen, how can I resist another basil?

First though, is it safe? What does it taste like? Can I grow it? Where do I buy it?

From WebMD-

Holy basil is a plant. It is originally from India and is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” to counter life’s stresses. It is considered a sacred plant by the Hindus and is often planted around Hindu shrines. The Hindu name for holy basil, Tulsi, means "the incomparable one." Medicine is made from the leaves, stems, and seeds.

Holy basil is used for the common cold, influenza ("the flu"), H1N1 (swine) flu, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, earache, headache, stomach upset, heart disease, fever, viral hepatitis, malaria, and tuberculosis. It is also used for mercury poisoning, to promote longevity, as a mosquito repellent, and to counteract snake and scorpion bites.

Holy basil is applied to the skin for ringworm.

In cooking, holy basil is often added to stir-fry dishes and spicy soups because of its peppery taste. Cookbooks sometimes call it "hot basil."

How does it work?
Chemicals in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling (inflammation). Other chemicals might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

There is interest in using holy basil seed oil for cancer. Beginning research suggests that the oil can slow progression and improve survival rate in animals with certain types of cancer. Researchers think this benefit may be explained by the oil’s ability to act as an antioxidant.

That sounded promising. So dug a little deeper-

Found this PDF

Then on the Internet Rx list- Are there safety concerns?
Holy basil might be safe when used for short periods of time, up to four weeks. It's not known if long-term use is safe.

Do not take holy basil if:
You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Holy basil might increase the risk of bleeding.

So, seems pretty safe. Been used in India forever..

Found this on growing and cooking from the Gourmet Food Source website-
How to Grow

Holy basil should be treated exactly the same as Mediterranean basil, I sow mine in late spring ready for cutting in early June. Like any other basil it thrives in a warm, sunny and sheltered position with moist soil. I pinch out the flowering heads to encourage bushier growth and cut back quite hard if the plant becomes too leggy.

How to Cook

Holy basil is both hot and sharp to the taste, tear off a little piece and try it before cooking so as to best gauge how much you think you will need. As mentioned I use it for chilli hot stir-fries and curries rather than soups or salads for which I prefer to use the less sharp Thai basil. Either leave the leaves whole or tear them with your hands and add towards the end of cooking to preserve its unique flavour and give the finished dish a pungent but fresh taste. If a recipe calls for Thai or Holy basil and you do not have any then do not be tempted to substitute it for Mediterranean basil, they are quite different.

Found even organic seeds on Amazon. Of course, Amazon sells everything!

Have the seeds in my shopping cart- and fingers crossed I have basil growing like mad in a few months.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yep, I did - Chickpea Pie (gf,cf,sf,df,nf)

Gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut free...

What do you do when you are dying inside for Pecan Pie but you live in a nut free and seed free home? You use chickpea's.

This morning we were watching Alton Brown and he mentioned that you can find roasted chickpea nuts being used in various Countries instead of nuts in their desserts-

Abby and I looked at each other and knew we were making them.

Roasted Chickpea Nuts
1 can of chickpea's(I used dry, and cooked them in the pressure cooker first)
grapeseed oil to coat
salt(pink himalayan)(if you are using these for pie, very lightly salt, I over salted mine and wish I had not.)

Rinse the chickpeas well. Lay them out to dry(I placed them a clean dish towel to air dry for a bit.)

Once dry, put them in a bowel and coat with grapeseed oil(or olive)and salt.

Spread on cookie sheet and set oven to 350. The recipes say anywhere from 20-50 minutes. About every 10 minutes I would use a spoon and move the chickpeas around.

Mine took longer because I pressure cooked. They will start to turn a nice light brown. I taste tested as I went. Abby likes them still a tad soft but crunchy on the outside, I prefer them crunchy all the way through.

Crunchy they reminded me of an easy to chew cornnut! Really shockingly good!

We already have plans to make a spicy batch. Healthy, tasty, crunch portable snack.

I have been dying for Pecan Pie. So we went for it. Instead of pecans in my favorite pie recipe I used the roasted chickpea nuts.

I won't lie to you, it wasn't the same- but it sure was good :-)

Chickpea Pie

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.

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.

Roll and make crust. Place unbaked pie crust in the fridge while you make everything else.

Chickpea Pie Filling


1 cup packed light brown sugar, dark muscovado sugar, turbinado sugar, or light brown sugar(I opted for dark brown sugar)
2/3 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
4 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for coating the pie plate
3 large eggs
1- 1 1/4 cup roasted chickpea nuts(I used 2 cups in my first pie- WAY too many!)
1 Tablespoon homemade vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon store bought.
1/4 teaspoon fine salt


Place the sugar, syrup, coconut oil, in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly and scraping back in any foam that clings to the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm, at least 15 minutes.(if the syrup is too hot when you add the eggs the eggs will scramble)
Beat the eggs in a small bowl until the yolks and whites are broken up and incorporated, then beat into the cooled syrup. Add the chickpeas, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine. Pour into the chilled pie shell.
Bake until the filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 40- 50 minutes. Cool the pie completely on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped coconut cream or vanilla coconut ice cream, if so desired.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My two Realities.

For the last month Abby has been struggling. Between the back to back colds, a violent reaction to Rice Dream we have seen all those symptoms that scare me. The proteinuria, the edema, the fatigue, the wobbles, the pain, and I have these moments where I wonder, am I facing the reality of what is wrong with Abby or not?

We all know someone who has a very sick kid who goes to Dr. after Dr. hoping for a cure. They don't "see" that their child might be past the point of no return. Oh the pity I have for them. I always think, "That poor Mom cannot face the reality that it is just a matter of time."..

Over the last year we have seen for the most part nothing but improvements. At times minute, but still..

Then this crash. Like everyone else, Abby crashed with the season change. It gets her every year.

I have two realities.

1) Project Elimination. Remove anything that makes Abby sick. For the most part this has worked super well.

2) Maybe it is Mito? and all our efforts were simply a fluke. We don't control her health the Mito crap does.

I don't want to be that parent that everyone pities for not facing Abby's reality.

I don't want to be that parent either, that gives up and says well," she is gonna just keep getting worse, I might as well let the Drs. start drugging and tubing her."

We remind ourselves daily, Rome was not built in a day. Rarely is anything easy that is good. It is okay to have self doubt, but not okay to quit.

For the last month we have been back to Limbo land. On some of Abby's worst days we have talked about seeing a Dr. to see if there is something they can do- Abby's says "why?" We have tried that and weathering it out at home is safer for now. It also works for Abby's reality. On the better days we hold on tight to project elimination.

So we weather this flare,crash. Keep moving forward with our core plan of good nutrition, good sleep, no stress. We wait for the bounce.

Though this is a long long flare, it isn't nearly as bad as last year. We hope that is because of our efforts and not a fluke. Abby is right, going to the Dr. would just make things worse- the germs, the effort, the lab work- it all takes a bite out of her energy.

Abby has ALWAYS been her worst this time of year. Even during her best years she struggled Sept-December. It is just Abby. She is stronger this year and we are smarter.

We have seen the glimmer of her bouncing the last couple days and we are determined to be patient.

No idea which reality fits, but it seems I get to pick and I chose Project Elimination as does Abby.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nofu and Double Potato Irish Potato Candy

I had some homemade powdered sugar in the pantry and nofu butter in the fridge- of course I thought I just have to make Irish Potato Candy.

In my 20's a friend of mine introduced me to this easy, sweet, no cook candy. Always a favorite especially on a budget and sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.


1/4 cup mashed idaho potato(boil,mash don't add anything.)

3 cups powdered sugar

vanilla if you would like.


Any fillings you can think of.. peanut butter is commonly used, but since we cannot I used my nofu butter to fill it instead.(You can search my blog for the recipe.)

I also had some leftover plain mashed sweet potato in the fridge. I added spice(nutmeg, allspice,ginger, clove)1 Tablespoon coconut oil(added benefit and to add some "creaminess.". Also added a bit of brown sugar to taste.

1)Put your 1/4 cup mashed potato in a bowl and use a fork to get it as smooth as possible.(I added my vanilla at this pt.)

2) Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and start mixing. Soon it will turn into almost a water! Don't panic, this is supposed to happen!

3)Add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time until you make a sticky dough.

4) I then throw a good layer of powdered sugar on a clean,dry counter top. Knead the dough a bit and roll out. Add powdered sugar as needed to roll smooth and keep from sticking to the counter. 1/4 inch is recommended. Too thin it is impossible to roll, too thick and the slices will have more dough then filling. Spread your choice of filling on the dough, and roll up like a cinnamon roll.

5) Slice and enjoy!

I have seen a zillion idea's for this candy. Some have stopped adding powdered sugar to the dough when it was still a very soft cookie batter texture. At this point they add cocoa powder, or finely shredded coconut and roll into balls. Some dip in melted chocolate.

Fast,easy, delicious, No Cook Candy.

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