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, November 30, 2015

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

Let the Christmas Cookie baking begin!!

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

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

2/3 cup C&H organic cane sugar

3/4 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract

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

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 Tablespoon water

Preheat ove 400

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

2) blend flour into cream mixture.

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abby's Easy Blondies:

1 1/2 cup homemade packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil(softened)

2 eggs

2 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350

Line 8 x 8 square baking pan with parchment paper.

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

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

3) Spread batter into the lined pan.

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 350, grease baking dish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

No New Funky Symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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