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

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chewy Coconut Cookies(gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut free)

Easy, fast and I always have the ingredients on hand. These keep really well and are sturdy enough to travel for a snack. These are crisp on the edges and soft and chewy for the centers. Cookies just don't get much easier.

1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour(depending on the amount of starch in your blend you may need to add an additional tablespoon or 2)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or what is safe for you)
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions organic Palm Shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar(domino's organic cane plus organic Plantation blackstrap molasses)
1/2 cup domino's organic cane sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups Tropical Traditions flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350

In large bowl cream sugars, egg, vanilla, and palm shortening.

Add flour, baking soda,salt and mix well. Add coconut flakes.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheet by the teaspoonful. Give plenty of space between cookies as they spread.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before storing.

NOTE: there are huge variables in gluten free flours, from types to even name brands. I always do a "trial" cookie before proceeding with a full batch. With this recipe if anything you "might" need to add an additional tablespoon or so of gf flour to the batter to get the right texture. They are meant to be flat- crisp edges, and chewy centers.

Rosemary Coconut Yogurt Lima Beans(gluten free, soy free, corn free, dairy free,egg free)

I used to hate lima beans. My Mom would buy the frozen veggie blend and those were grainy and hard lima beans! I suspect a couple generations of children who had to eat those grainy lima's probably cringe at the thought of eating them. I am so glad I decided to cook the dried lima beans in the pressure cooker, they are truly transformed into an amazing soft and buttery texture.

"Lima beans contain the trace mineral, molybdenum, a component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. While we should all avoid sulfites having a good store in our bodies of molybdenum can help our bodies handle it better. Lima beans are an excellent source of molybdenum and a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, and manganese. Lima beans are good sources of folate, phosphorus, protein, potassium, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B6." (read more at the website "The World's Healthiest Foods")

Rosemary Coconut Yogurt Lima Beans:

1 cup homemade chicken broth(there isn't a corn-free store bought)
1 cup homemade coconut yogurt
1 finely minced shallot
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or what is safe for you)
2 cups well cooked lima beans(I soak dried overnight and cook in the pressure cooker for 15-20)
grapeseed oil or coconut oil(to saute the shallot)
1 Tablespoon potato or arrowroot starch plus water
(paprika to serve if wanted)

In saucepan saute shallot in oil until tender.

Add rosemary and cook until fragrant(just a minute or so)

Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes- just enough to infuse the broth with the tasty rosemary flavor.

In a cup mix potato starch and about 1/3 cup water. Pour in a bit at a time to the boiling broth to thicken slightly.

Mix in yogurt,lima beans and salt.


(serve with grain to complete the protein)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Leftover Corn-Free Cornbread Bake(gluten free, corn free, dairy free, soy and nut free)

I love corn free cornbread- it truly is BETTER then cornbread. Tastes better, better texture and works better as a leftover!

We made too much the other day so I cut it and threw it in the freezer. I found that I can take a few pieces out a time and it reheats very well. We were in the mood for a casserole or bread pudding and all I had was leftover corn-free cornbread and we were shocked by how easy and how good the flavors worked together it this dish!

Corn-free Cornbread Bake:(recipe for Corn-Free Cornbread)

2 cups of stale cubed corn free cornbread(I freeze our leftovers and thaw it before cubing)
4 eggs
1 cup homemade coconut yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh organic thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt(we use pink himalayan but use what is safe for you)
1 finely minced and sauteed organic shallot(or onion or leek)
1 cup of sliced and sauteed organic button mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 350

Grease baking dish(casserole, single serves, or loaf pan)

Place corn-free cornbread cubes in bottom of baking dish.

In bowl mix eggs,yogurt,salt,thyme well and set aside.

Saute the shallots and mushroom and pour them over the top of the corn-free cornbread cubes.

Pour egg mixture over the top of the mushrooms and cubes.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve hot.

(egg in general doesn't reheat well).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


You know, sometimes you don't realize how well things are rolling until you run into trouble.

Overall Abby has been stable- not great, but not bad either. Little issues that are just going to be a part of her life, but in general she was on a pretty good run. With the longer periods of stable we don't seem to see as many truly good days with her but on a positive we sure don't get as many bad days.. It all balances out.

About 2 weeks ago she tumbled into a flare.. the bladder pain and bleeding, the odd sleep schedule,GI issues, the proteinuria, muscle pain and headaches and the odd hickey like rashes are on her skin.

We have gone over again and again what could have possibly triggered this one, and for the life of us we just cannot pinpoint anything in particular. Either some cold/virus since we have passed a few around and Derek has been back and forth to France which means who knows what type of fun bugs he was exposed to on the plane or there or could be just the season change. It really has been an unusual Houston spring this year. Late and cooler and wetter then the last few years. Certainly plenty of pollen the last few days as well. Sometimes once she is in a flare, any little trigger can continue to keep her flared until we can empty out the bucket.

During a flare, we just have learned to sit back and wait it out. Usually after a few days we start seeing some small improvements, at least enough to settle that worry that is growing deep in the pit of my stomach that maybe this time something really bad is going to break with her. But, again and again her body does it's magic and bounces out the flare just in the nick of time.

This time she is 2 weeks into a good flare and no signs of improvement. Last week I was getting anxious. I kept saying to myself - don't worry, any day now things will settle out. But, while she was no worse over the weekend she still isn't on the mend yet.

I hated to do but we went ahead and had her get labs done. Usually when we panic the labs come back fine! So, we are kind of hoping her body gets tricked into behaving with this flare as well.

The pollen should be be settling down and the spring will be over in a blink of an eye, so hopefully she will be back to a nice steady stable quicker then the labs take coming back.

I remember when the girls were little and would be sick and run a fever. After a few days I knew it was time to take them and let the Dr. take a look, and wouldn't you know it, but 5 out of 10 times by the time we actually got to the Dr. office the fever would be gone and they would be all sorts of bouncy and ready to roll! We are hoping for the same thing this time around- we called her bodies bluff! :-)

Overall though she hasn't lost any foods recently- which is a huge relief. She is still tolerating the peanuts but in small amounts. I suspect the fat content and just that nuts are difficult to digest keep her from enjoying more then a bit at a time. But hey, a bit is better then none!

Abby turns 20 in April. Crazy since she is our "baby'. Hoping the flare will be over and she will have a nice healthy 20th birthday!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Red Bean Paste:

Red Bean Paste is an all time Abby favorite! However, it is very difficult to find it "clean" or safe in a can.

To our joy it is incredibly easy to make. Usually darker colored beans aren't something she tolerates but the adzuki beans just seem to work for her, maybe because we add sugar when we make it into a paste?

Abby will spread it on a biscuit,pancake, instead of jam, in a crepe, even coconut ice cream and of course it makes a terrific filling for a cookie!

Full of iron,potassium and folic acid. No fat,good carbs- if you want to try to increase some value to a "treat" this is a terrific way to do it.

4 oz(half a bag)Adzuki beans(asian markets,international markets, and Amazon)
1 cup organic C&H cane Sugar.

Soak the beans overnight.

Drain. I cook ours in the pressure cooker until they are beyond soft.

Reserve the starchy water you cooked them in.

Place well cooked beans in the blender. Add reserved bean water and blend until as smooth as you can get them. I make mine pretty soupy as I find it helps with the end result. So add enough of the reserved bean water to make a texture that is thinner then crepe batter.

Pour pureed bean into a pot. Add sugar. Bring to boil and reduce temperature to as low as possible to maintain a very slow simmer.

Stirring now and then(especially as it get's thicker you need to stir more) keep cooking until it is reduced to a paste texture. It will slightly thicken as it cools. Depending on how much of the bean cooking liquid you added this part of the process can take a few hours.

Store in the fridge for 2 weeks. Or freezes well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Coconut Tamarind Bars(Gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut and seed free)

Think Coconut Lemon Bar when you are trying to figure out what these will taste like. Tamarind isn't quite as crisp for flavor, but it actually reminds us a lot more of sweet tart candy. Even if you can eat lemon, you might just like the tamarind better!

Since losing lemon last year Abby has really mourned it. She has done well with Tamarind but we are hesitant to use it too often, we work hard to resist the temptation to eat it much more frequently and dutifully keep in on a long rotation! Not easy though, we adore tamarind in everything. So on days like today when I go all out using tamarind everyone is very happy in our family.

From Mercola: "Similar to the natural gums and pectins found in other foods, the sticky pulp referred to earlier contains non-starch polysaccharides, which contribute to its dietary fiber content. They bind with bile to help flush waste through the colon, decreasing the chances of it sticking around.

Each 100 grams of tamarind contain 36% of the thiamin, 35% of the iron, 23% of magnesium and 16% of the phosphorus recommended for a day's worth of nutrition. Other prominent nutrients include niacin, calcium, vitamin C, copper, and pyridoxine.

Tamarinds also contain high levels of tartaric acid, just as citrus fruits contain citric acid, providing not just a zing to the taste buds, but evidence of powerful antioxidant action zapping harmful free radicals floating through your system.

Other phytochemicals found in tamarinds include limonene, geraniol (a natural antioxidant with a rose-like scent), safrole (a natural oil also found in sassafras), cinnamic acid, methyl salicylate (a plant essence with counter-irritant properties), pyrazine, and alkyl­thiazoles (natural flavors and fragrances derived from plants and vegetables). Each brings its own flavor and/or healing property to the fruit's overall make-up."

We have had good luck buying the tamarind already shelled and compressed into blocks of the fruit.(Asian Markets, Latin Markets and Amazon of course!) You will still have to strain it to remove the seeds and veins but from my own experience it is gobs easier then shelling,removing veins and seeds from each pod individually. We did start by using the individual pods since anything "processed" is a concern for cross contaminates, but knock on wood, the blocks of tamarind have been safe.

1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
1/2 cup cornfree powdered sugar(homemade is safest!)
1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt(or whatever is safe for you)
1/2 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

For the filling:

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups organic C&H cane sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup tamarind puree (see below)
3/4 cup shredded Tropical Traditions coconut

1/4 cup corn-free powdered sugar to top the bars.


Preheat oven to 350

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment(really the easiest they tend to stick!)

In large bowl combine flour,powdered sugar, and salt. Cut the coconut oil into the flour combo. Press firmly into pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake crust for 20 minutes.

(reduce oven temperature to 325 after crust has baked)

In large bowl combine eggs, sugar, flour, tamarind puree, and coconut.

When crust is finished baking, pour tamarind mix over the crust.

Reduce oven heat to 325

Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Don't over bake.

Sprinkle with corn-free powdered sugar. Allow to chill completely. We cut into this batch before it was fully chilled and it resulted in slightly messy though still delicious bars.


I buy the blocks of tamarind paste at the Asian market(on amazon as well). It is the whole fruit compressed into a block. I cut about 1/2 block into small pieces. Then I place in a bowl and cover with equal amounts of boiling hot water. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes. Stir vigorously until it becomes more paste like. Place through fine strainer in order to remove any stems, veins and seeds. Measure out 3/4 cup tamarind for the bars. You can store remaining puree in the fridge.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Junk Free Rice A Roni(dairy free, soy free, chemical free)

Junk free and gluten free, and best of all corn-free Rice A Roni! This is really very easy to make. Use whatever safe rice you have. Use whatever safe noodle you have. We have a fine vermicelli styled all rice noodle we found at the asian market but I know there are lots of options out there. King Soba has organic noodles that are a bit thicker(more like spaghetti)but broken into small pieces would work as well. I find that the all rice noodles did not brown as well as wheat noodles, but the rice started to get a bit golden so I knew it was done.

Junk Free Rice A Roni!

1 cup uncooked rice(I used a basmati that is safe for us,careful when buying rice! Avoid Enriched it is always CORN Tainted)
1/2 cup small pieces(about 1/2 inch in length) of rice pasta(thin like vermicelli, I found ours at the Asian Market)
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 1/2 cup homemade chicken broth
1/4 finely minced or grated yellow onion
1 clove finely minced or grated garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 teaspoons pink himalayan salt(or your safe salt)
2 Tablespoons Tropical Traditions coconut oil

To prepare:

Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in pot.
Saute garlic and onion until soft.
Add Rice and noodles Saute for a couple minutes or until pasta or rice starts to turn golden brown.
Add parsley,thyme and salt.
Add 2 1/2 chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

NOTE: You could use onion powder instead of fresh onion and the same for garlic. But we find it safer to either dry and grind our own, or I simply use a fine grater and grate the onion and garlic into the dish.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chickpea Ginger Cupcakes with Blackstrap Molasses Frosting( gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free)

I had leftover soft chickpeas in the fridge that really needed to be used. I thought about making some hummus(well, our version of hummus) but I started thinking about how smooth and silky hummus is and started to wonder if it could be made into a sweet filling. It turned out surprisingly delicious! We do love red bean paste around here so we might be a little more open minded then some when it comes to using beans, but chickpea and ginger went very well together and the smooth puree made a terrific filling for a simple cupcake. Since I was on a roll for adding some nutrition to a cupcake I opted to make some BlackStrap molasses icing. So far from healthfood, but a tasty food with some nutrition- works for us!

Ginger Cupcake:

1 1/2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
2 teaspoons homemade baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt(safe for you)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cup organic C&H granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350

In large bowl combine flour,guar gum,baking powder,salt. Then mix in everything else until well blended.

Line cupcake pan. Divide batter between cupcakes(makes 12 cupcakes)

Bake for 18-20 minutes.


Chickpea filling:

1 cup very well cooked and cool chickpeas(mushy is best!)
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground ginger

In high speed blender combine chickpeas,honey and ginger. Use just enough water to puree smoothly- you want something a little thinner then hummus but not much. Make sure you puree until very smooth and silky.

OPTION: Instead of honey and ground ginger you can use ginger syrup if you have some prepared in your fridge already.

Black strap Molasses Frosting:

1/3 cup palm shortening
3 cups corn-free powdered sugar (homemade is safest!)
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Plantation blackstrap Molasses
2 Tbsp. coconut milk

In large bowl cream shortening, 1 cup of the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add molasses and more sugar and then coconut milk- alternating.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hibiscus and Coconut Cookies(dairy free, gluten free, corn free, chemical free, soy free)

I have to admit, these were a "mistake" I was glad to make. As soon as they started to spread in the oven I KNEW my ratio of oil to flour was off. I figured I would let them cool so I could at least taste them before remaking the batch with less oil. When I finally got around to tasting them they had firmed up and were delicious! So a new recipe was born.

I was trying to convert an old favorite slice and bake cookie to make it dairy and gluten free. When I can I do try to use coconut oil as it is digested better by Abby and as of right now research indicates a better option then palm shortening. Sometimes though my results aren't predictable!

With my old slice and bake they did not spread as much. They were more a sugar cookie/shortbread hybrid. These are not that!

What was terrific though is that it made a delicate cookie. The coconut I rolled them in toasted and created a crisp and chewy edge that we have decided is terrific.

I decided to color half the dough with hibiscus flower powder. It has been tolerated by Abby very well and with her limits on fruit and veggies her food is often lacking color so anything I can add safely that offers some color is appreciated by her!

These are best kept in the fridge. The coconut oil when chilled provides some stability for the cookie. Next time I might increase the flour by 1/4 cup in hopes to prevent them from being soooooo delicate, but keep them more delicate then the traditional slice and bake.

1 cup Tropical Traditions coconut oil at room temperature
2/3 cup corn-free confectioners’ sugar(homemade is safest to avoid corn)
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of pink himalayan salt
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
hibiscus flower powder(Amazon and International markets)
coconut(to roll in if wanted)

Preheat oven to 350

In bowl cream coconut oil, sugar and egg yolks. Add vanilla extract and salt.

Mix in 1 1/2 cup of your flour.

Split dough in half.

In small bowl or cup combine a couple teaspoons of hibiscus powder and equal amounts of very hot water. Allow to steep for a few minutes.

To 1/2 of the dough add a teaspoon at a time of your hibiscus mixture and mix well. Add until your dough is a color you like. If needed add more flour to get dough firm again.

On a piece of saran wrap flatten out uncolored dough(I used a rolling pin and a bit of flour and shaped it into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick).

Place your colored dough on top of the flattened dough and pat/roll out on top of it.

Carefully roll into a log. Roll in coconut flakes(these will brown in oven,you can skip,but the toasted coconut flavor is amazing!). Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in fridge until firm. (at least 2 hours)

Once firm, cut into slices and place slices(they do spread so give them plenty of space) on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

DO NOT try to move them until completely cooled. These are delicate, and I find storing and serving them cold from the fridge provides the sturdiest cookie.

NOTE: Next time I will likely try a bit of guar gum or increase the flour a bit- I still like the texture, but these are very delicate.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mito or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome? Same symptoms, Different Disease?

Considering that less then 25 percent of Mito Patients have a known genetic cause for their mito disease, I cannot help but wonder how many of the other 75 percent could have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome? MCAS has a much better prognosis and a patient might regain their previous quality of life with proper diagnostics and care.

Really uncanny how the symptoms for Mast Cell Activation are the same symptoms that send patients to the Mitochondrial Disease Specialist.

This chart was found at : Fight Mast Cell Disease: Lecture Tour 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

Chickpea's & Coconut Cheesecake Bars(gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, chemical free)

We are so pleased that we figured out how to make our nofu cheese(recipe I posted awhile back). We use it for a spread, to add richness to a sauce or soup and the best use is CHEESECAKE!!! The nofu cheese doesn't have quite enough tang to make it convincing on it's own as a cream cheese replacement, so we found if we add a bit of tamarind puree(a chunk of tamarind in hot water,soak and stir and strain,used the smooth strained puree)or you could also use fresh squeezed lemon juice(organic and careful of the rind,it is can be corn tainted)it works really well as a replacement for cream cheese. It is so close that even those of us who still can eat dairy find we enjoy this Abby safe version just as much if not more!

The hardest part of these is letting them completely chill. Just like cheesecake they are best if chilled overnight.

Cheesecake Bar:

1 cup homemade gluten free graham cracker crumbs(or homemade gluten free vanilla wafer cookie crumbs)
1/4 Tropical traditions cup coconut oil, melted
2 cups nofu cheese(combo of homemade coconut yogurt blended with chickpea nofu and strained until firm)
1/2 cup C&H organic cane sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose gluten free flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon homemade vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons tamarind puree(or fresh squeezed organic lemon juice add to taste,a bit of tang is needed)

Preheat oven to 350

Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper.(for good measure grease the paper too!)

Combine the crumbs with the coconut oil and press into parchment lined pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside when done.

In bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour on top of crumb crust and bake for 35-40 minutes or until just set.


Chickpea&Coconut Caramel Topping:

1/4 Cup Tropical Traditions palm shortening(you can use coconut oil,but with caramel we have had more consistent results with palm)
1/2 Cup Organic Sugar(domino's)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar(1/2 cup domino's organic cane plus about 2 teaspoons of plantation blackstrap molasses)
1/2 Cup cream from the top of a can of cold coconut Milk(or off the top of homemade)
1/2 Cup Lyle's Golden Cane Syrup(or homemade cane syrup)

1/4 cup Tropical Traditions coconut shreds/flakes
1/4 cup homemade roasted chickpea's

In large microwave safe bowl combine; palm shortening,granulated sugar, brown sugar(light or dark),coconut milk cream, Lyle's.

Mix well and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well. Microwave for 2 more minutes. Stir well. Microwave for 2 minutes more(I did 2 minutes and 20 seconds, my microwave is older). Stir. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes it will thicken.
Stir in coconut and chickpeas and spread over the top of cheesecake bars. Place in fridge, chill completely(at least 4-6 hours, better overnight).

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