Friday, December 17, 2010

Grain-free mocha brownie

Breakfast of champions. And 3rd trimester pregnant ladies, apparently. No apologies here, though. It was immensely delicious.

3 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 egg whites (or one full egg, I just had leftover whites from making eggnog)
1 Tbsp honey
1.5 Tbsp oil
1 tsp instant (organic & water-process decaf) coffee
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Mix everything together (dissolving the the instant coffee in the oil and/or egg whites would be a good idea...)

I have a little pyrex 5.5x7.5in dish that is perfect for a personal sized brownie. Just pour it in the dish and microwave for 2 minutes.

It was a bit dry, so I topped it with chocolate frosting (a dollop of palm shortening + dollop of honey + scoop of cocoa powder and drizzle of alcohol-free vanilla extract).


Thursday, December 16, 2010

100% from scratch Chebe brand style tapioca bread recipe

My friends, I am excited. I finally "reverse engineered" the Chebe tapioca bread mixes. I think I could even make an egg-free version. Joy! It can be kneaded, rolled out, and even twisted into a pretzel. Tonight, I divided the dough into four balls, then rolled them out, topped with pepperoni and rolled back up. I used olive oil to seal the edges. Homemade marinara on the side for dipping, makes this the perfect grain-free alternative to an old school craving.

Homemade tapioca bread

1 C tapioca starch
~1/2 tsp baking soda
~1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp water or milk sub
1 egg

In a saucepan, mix 1/3 C tapioca starch + 5 tbsp water/milk sub + 1 tbsp olive oil. After it is well-mixed, heat on low, stirring continuously until mixture congeals, into a pasty, thick goo. Do not over heat! Set aside and allow to cool.

In a bowl, mix 2/3 C tapioca starch, baking soda & sea salt with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 egg. Add the cooled tapioca gel and knead thoroughly.

At this point you can shape however you want. Pizza crust, buns, pretzels, whatever. I brush the tops of whatever I'm making with olive oil. Bake @ 375*F until crispy to the touch. (For my pepperoni rolls, that was 20 minutes.)

I think the egg could be omitted, with just a bit more water/milk sub & oil. I'll try soon enough. If Lily and Aevryn could have pretzels, I think I might win Mom of the Year in their minds. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grain-free holiday treats

Thumbprint Cookies (contains almond flour - I'm still figuring out an appropriate sub for us)

St. Lucia buns

peppermint bark (this particular recipe has white chocolate and cream. I'm considering doing all dark chocolate and coconut milk. I bet it would work out well.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blizzard Biscotti

I was craving something chocolatey, but didn't have much in the house due to a lovely, cold & windy blizzard.

2 C dried cranberries, sweetened (just cane sugar)
1/4 C palm shortening
2 eggs
1 C potato starch (not flour)
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

I blended the ingredients in that order in my food processor. It is a goopy, thick mess, that tastes a lot like frosting. Or like the filling between layers on a fancy cake.

I poured it out and mushed it down with my hands onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. 350*F for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool BEFORE slicing. Arrange slices on the parchment paper and bake again for another 30 or so minutes.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Cookies

Can you tell Halloween sparked a sweet tooth? And it's my birthday on Wednesday... Uh oh.

To tide us over a few days until a legitimate reason for more sweets, I made these:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Flour Cookies

1/4 C coconut flour, sifted
1/4 C cocoa powder, sifted (not strictly necessary, but I had the sifter out, so I just threw it in with the coconut flour)
1/2 C peanut butter (or almond butter, or sunflower seed butter, etc)
1/4 C palm shortening
1/2 C brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

Mix peanut butter, shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla & salt. Mix in cocoa powder & coconut flour. Scoop up with a tablespoon (actual measuring spoon) and roll into a ball in in your hands. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten, criss-crossed, with tines of fork.

Bake at 375*F for 12-15min. Try to let them cool enough so you at least don't burn the roof of your mouth...

Makes ~20 cookies.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

(Banana-Key Lime) Goat Cheesecake

I'll just put this here, so I don't lose it again.

Here is the original recipe:

Preheat oven to 350

For the crust

½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

Combine and press in the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pan (or 8x8x2) refrigerate until filling is ready


2 cups of soft fresh goat cheese
(or 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese)
3 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¾ tsp vanilla

Beat until smooth and creamy

Pour it into the crust

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until firm

My substitutions: instead of a graham cracker crust, I tried coconut flour + arrowroot + brown sugar + palm shortening.

My additions: sliced bananas over the "crust layer", juice & zest from one key lime.

And I only had 4oz of goat cheese, so I had to make a quarter-batch. It's in the oven now. Eagerly anticipating...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Banana Blueberry Coconut Flour Muffins

Divine. Simply divine.

Banana Blueberry Coconut Flour Muffins

1/2 C coconut flour *sifted*
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 C mashed banana (~1 med)
1/2 C palm shortening (or coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grapeseed oil, etc)
3 eggs
1 tbsp GF vanilla extract
1 C blueberries (frozen okay)

* Preheat oven to 350*F

* Sift your coconut flour. Do it. Don't skip this step. If you don't have a sifter or a fine mesh strainer, stop what you're doing and go get one. Borrow one if you have to. It makes that big of a difference.

* Stir in baking soda & sea salt. Set aside.

* In a stand mixer or with a hand whisk, combine eggs, bananas, oil & vanilla. Mix until well blended. I tend to mix my eggs well first and then add in the other wet ingredients, as this helps reduce the random strings of egg white you sometimes find in poorly mixed baked goods (especially grain-free goodies with high egg counts).

* Pour dry into wet ingredients and mix well until smooth.

* Fold in blueberries.

* Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins. I like silicon liners, and often just use them stand-alone on a baking sheet.

* Bake at 350*F for 25-30 minutes. They will start to brown and feel a bit firm.

* When I made these, I made a mix of mini & normal-sized muffins. The regular ones turned out much better than the mini ones. I think I may have overfilled the mini muffin pans so they were too dense. The regular ones were amazing. Either way, only fill the muffin cups half-way, no matter the size. It was late and I was being lazy and wanting to get it all baked at once and I think that wasn't the smartest choice. Learn from my mistakes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Goat Cheese & Salsa Stuffed Poblano Peppers + Creamy Artichoke Dip

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

6 medium poblano peppers
4oz soft goat cheese
a few tablespoons salsa
handful of shredded goat's cheddar

Roast peppers over open flame (I used the flame on my gas stove), until charred.
Wipe charred skin off.
Cut peppers in half & seed.
Mix goat cheese and salsa.
Spoon cheese/salsa into peppers.
Grease a baking dish with EVOO.
Place peppers stuffing side up on pans.
Sprinkle cheddar on top.
Bake at 400*F for 10-15 minutes. (Until cheddar is bubbly).
Cool & enjoy.

These were very good. However, I was craving the breaded and deep-fried kind you get in restaurants. So, next time, I will just carve the stem out and take the seeds out that way and then stuff the cheese/salsa in, dip the stuffed peppers in eggs, then in an arrowroot/coconut flour mixture. Deep fry in rendered grass-fed beef lard.

Creamy Artichoke Dip

Artichoke whole, trimmed, steamed & finely chopped (or get a jar of artichoke hearts)
4oz soft goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
a few swirls of EVOO ~2Tbsp?
sea salt & black pepper

Mix chopped artichoke, cheese, EVOO and garlic.
Spoon into baking dish.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake at 400*F for 10-15 minutes, until dip is bubbly.

This dip tastes amazing straight off a spoon, as well as on tapioca or arrowroot crackers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Poem

Leaves, leaves on the ground.
Leaves fall on the ground.
Leaves tall up in the trees.
Leaves, leaves on the ground.

by Lily

Friday, October 8, 2010


Sometimes I wonder how everything is so inexpensive. Relative to the amount of effort or raw materials that went into it, that is.

We were in the backyard, in the trail down into the forrest harvesting wild raspberry leaves. I was being choosy, only picking the green ones not laced with bug bites, and trying to only take a few from each vine. I reflected on how we had wild, organic red raspberry leaves just here for the taking. For "free"! I smiled thinking how the cost of my pregnancy tea just halved. (Minus the cost of my time. Since it was a fun activity with kids, we'll consider it an even trade, at the very least.)

I considered the cost of of organic RRL herb: $10-20/lb. In roughly half an hour, with the "help" of two lovely and eager children, I picked roughly 8oz of fresh leaves. I know it will dry down significantly, with what? 50% loss of weight? So, one person can leisurely gather $2.50 - 5 of leaves? I know I was making my way down a forest path with children, so perhaps we could double my potential efficiency. So let's say, I could gather $10-20 worth of product an hour. Subtract the cost of processing, packaging, marketing and shipping... What would I have been paid? I'm thinking it would be somewhere around $2.50-5/hr maximum.

I think about this with items such as hand-knit sweater or hats. If I were to look at my investment in time, effort & materials, a sweater for a grown man would be worth $200-300. I suppose if I had the ability to purchase luxurious yarn in bulk, and had hours and hours to devote to knitting for profit it could be negotiated reasonably down to $50-100. Compared with prices you actually see some places, that seems insane. But, I guess those items come with hidden costs.

Priorities. If you only bought one really high-quality sweater instead of 3 low to medium quality ones, it would a no-brainer. I wish I were able to adequately express the idea of quality over quantity and the value of having less "stuff". I try to keep this in mind as we enter into the "pre" holiday season. (And as I consider going into the girls' room and helping them cull their bounty. On more than one occasion, one of them has told me that they are overwhelmed and don't know what to play with since there is so much.)

It's all just a bit.. humbling. It definitely helps to have this perspective when you see the price of real items - be it food, clothing or household goods - and the price induces temporarily arrhythmia.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Enjoying it while it lasts...

How I know Fall is here:

  • Gorgeous color starting to emerge. Leaves falling everywhere.

  • Kids are already digging through the Halloween costume box and putting up decorations.

  • They beg daily to get our pumpkins and carve them right away.

  • It's chilly in the morning when we wake up, but the sun is still warming our afternoons.

  • We're finishing up our first cold of the season.

  • I am making soup several times a week.

  • Aevryn is so thrilled will her "new" fall wardrobe that she changes her clothes a minimum of three times a day.

  • I'm getting the urge to hole up inside and make lovely, fuzzy crafts. This may also be related to being pregnant.

  • Baking. So much creative, inventive baking is going on right now.

  • We're going to an apple cider pressing party this weekend!

  • I've already started planning out my holiday giving-making "schedule".
  • Friday, October 1, 2010

    Chocolate chip coconut flour zucchini bread

    In case you have any more zucchini lying around or in your freezer...

    3/4 C coconut flour (sift it first, to loosen it up and get all the chunks broken up)
    1 tsp allergy-friendly baking powder (or just sub 3/4 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp cream of tartar or vit c crystals)
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    6 eggs
    1/2 C olive oil, or coconut oil (or butter), melted
    2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
    1 tsp allergy-friendly vanilla extract
    3/4 C grated zucchini
    1/2 C allergy-friendly chocolate chips

    Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

    In a separate bowl, mix eggs, honey, vanilla & oil until well blended. Slowly add dry ingredients until fully absorbed. Add zucchini. Fold in chocolate chips.

    Line a loaf pan with parchment. Bake for ~60 minutes at 350*F. Allow to cool for a while before attempting to cut.


    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Broccoli Salad

    I've had a craving for broccoli lately. Specifically in the form of broccoli salad. Here is my healthy version of a classic.

    2 heads of broccoli, just the florets (save the stems for soup, stews or stir fry)
    1 med shallot (or 1 small red onion), finely minced
    5 full strips of uncured bacon, fried, drained & chopped
    2 tsp raw honey
    4 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup soaked & roasted sunflower seeds
    ~ 1/2C homemade mayo

    Basically put everything in a big bowl and mix. Salt & pepper to taste. Toss in the fridge and serve cold.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    Homemade Mayo

    Mayo can be healthy as well as yummy. And homemade mayo is super easy.

    2 yolks from pastured eggs
    1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
    pinch of salt
    plop of dijon style mustard (optional)
    3/4 to 1C oil - we use a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil

    I make mine in my kitchen aid mixer, with the whisk attachment, because my blender and food processors are terrible, and because my immersion blender bit the dust. I used to prefer the immersion blender because I thought it was the fastest and easiest method and yielded the most consistent final product.

    In my mixer I put the yolks, the vinegar, the salt & the mustard and turn it on. Mix well. While mixer is running, slowly drizzle in oil. At first do it super slowly, almost drop by drop, but then you can increase to a larger stream. Just watch to make sure the oil is being entirely absorbed so you get that yummy, creamy emulsification.

    I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Arrowroot Apple Crumble

    Adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions

    8 tart apples, peeld, cored & sliced
    juice of 1 lemon
    zest of 1 lemon
    1/4 C + 1 tbsp maple syrup
    1/4 C palm shortening, softened (or coconut oil or butter)
    1/2 C + 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
    dash sea salt
    pinches of nutmeg, clove, ginger, and/or cinnamon

    1. Mix apple slices with lemon juice.
    2. Mix 1 tbsp maple syrup + lemon zest + 1 tbsp arrowroot. Mix into apple slices & lemon juice.
    3. Pour apple mixture into a greased glass pan.
    4. In a separate bowl, mix spices, remaining arrowroot, maple syrup and melted shortening with a fork. It should start to make small balls in the bowl as the arrowroot absorbs the oil & syrup. Add more arrowroot as needed to get a clumpy crumble.
    5. Crumble arrowroot mixture over top of apple slices.
    6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350*F for roughly one hour.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Welcome Fall!

    We have been busily enjoying the last days of summer as we transition into true autumn. Bike rides, kite flying, baking, apple sauce making... I foresee a trip to an apple orchard here soon, and a pumpkin patch not too long after that!

    Aevryn has figured out her big bike to her complete and total comfort and has been riding laps around "the loop" on our cul-de-sac. Today she fell off for the first time, but immediately jumped right back on and kept going. She really loves her bike.

    She also started gymnastics at the Y with her cousin last week. Her energy level is usually quite high, mixed with a desire to flip and jump. We thought gymnastics would be a great fit for her.

    Lily is nose deep in a book at nearly all times. I'm starting to hear her use expressions and turns of phrases that are not necessarily common in our house. It's wonderful to hear how she chooses to express herself when she has the entire English language at her disposal.

    She has started her pre-ballet with tap class. I have never seen this girl so serious about anything in her life. It's astounding to watch her maintain a lazer-sharp focus for an hour. Then she comes home and practices for another hour or more.

    I've been focusing on yoga a few mornings a week, for the sake of my hips, back and shoulders. Pregnancy really wrecks havoc on my body.

    I'm also starting to gear up for the holiday extravaganza. Plotting & planning & acquiring supplies. I'm pleased that I have a trip-of-necessity to the fabulous out-of-town yarn store to look forward to soon.

    Dave is hard at work on his own new project. So everyone is contently busy, as we start to feel the pull inside, more and more.

    I'm getting the nest-y feelings early, and I've really been wanting to put up a lot of food. Soups, sauces, and spices are all finding their way into my rotation here. I've got this feeling that we're in for a doozy of a winter. Or it could just be that I'm expecting a baby in late February or early March. Either way, I'm going to make sure I'm prepared!

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010


    I'm dehydrating celery tops for use this winter. The whole house suddenly smells like soup. YUM!

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    chocolate chip coffee coconut ice cream

    1 can coconut milk (~1 3/4 C)
    1 C strong, fresh-brewed coffee
    2-4 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on desired sweetness)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp arrowroot
    3 Tbsp chopped & lightly toasted almonds
    3 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

    Mix the 2T arrowroot with 1/4C of coconut milk and set aside.

    In a saucepan, heat coconut milk, coffee, and maple syrup until just boiling. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and stir in arrowroot mixture. Stir continuously, otherwise the arrowroot will clump. Batter will thicken noticeably. Stir in vanilla.

    Allow to cool in fridge or freezer before pouring it into your ice cream maker. Stir in almonds & chocolate chips into batter in maker right before it's done, or just sprinkle on top after.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Homeschooling, Day 2

    Kids are currently grating laundry soap & making laundry powder. Together, without fighting, without my direct supervision or assistance. (I mean, I set them up, but now it's *their* project.)

    Just today, we've also:

    Played dress up and pretend Halloween.

    Went grocery shopping, with Lily in charge of checking things off the list. Listened to Winnie the Pooh books on CD on the way there and back.

    Done a quick survey of the changing weather and already found our first fallen leaves and pinecones. Which were promptly painted. Which then led into painting on paper... "My hands are FILTHY, but it was WORTH it, because this picture is SO GORGEOUS."

    Built barns out of blocks, made elaborate jewelry out of pop beads, made houses for quarters out of puzzle pieces...

    All that and dinner is simmering on the stove.

    On my end, I've taken a hives-relieving bath (going on two weeks now, arg!), got a week's worth of grocery's purchased & put away, cleaned the entire kitchen, took a LLL helping call, caught up with a friend, did a load of laundry...

    Sometimes you have to sit down and take stock of your day. Here I was feeling all lazy and unmotivated... just had to realize I'm not beholden to any schedule, and I don't need to be in a constant frenzy of "busyness" to be productive.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Prepping for the Annual Labor Day Weekend, aka Food Extravaganza

    We're off for our annual Labor Day "retreat" to a gorgeous ranch in the middle of nowhere. That's not to say that there isn't an abundance of things to do... including eat. For some reason, this holiday weekend has turned into an all-you-can-eat style family reunion. This year, Lily has been especially sensitive about foods other people are enjoying that are off-limits to us, so I've been working really hard to come up with our own special stuff.

    My "bring-along" list this year:
  • canned chicken
  • an outrageous amount of fresh fruit & veggies
  • homemade, thoroughly local pemmican w/cranberries

  • dehydrated cucumber chips with dill & sea salt

  • kale chips

  • applesauce cups

  • banana chips

  • chocolate coconut flour zucchini muffins

  • sweet potato chips (Terra Brand)

  • lemonade

  • and...

  • relatively safe-ish marshmallows

  • safe chocolate bar

    do you see where this is going?

    If only I had a graham cracker recipe. I did find this one, but we're not doing almonds, especially roasted almonds, at the moment. I thought I'd made plain arrowroot cookies (like the cocoa ones I made in July), but it turns out I only have 1/2 C of arrowroot in the house.

    What to do, what to do? Wing it, of course!

    This is my attempt at a totally last-minute, thrown-together graham cracker cookie replacement, using only the ingredients I had in the house. What resulted was decided NOT a graham cracker... Instead, it was sweet arrowroot "chebe style" crackers. Which, if it's even possible, are better than their tapioca counterpart. Serendipity!

    Sweet Arrowroot "Chebe" crackers

    1/2 C arrowroot starch
    1/8 tsp sea salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    2 eggs
    1 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut oil
    1 Tbsp water
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    1. Mix dry ingredients.
    2. Mix wet ingredients.
    3. Mix dry into wet ingredients.
    4. Pour over a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet (I also oiled the tin foil after I lined the pan just to be safe).
    5. Bake at 350*F for 25-30 minutes, stopping after about 5 or 10 minutes to poke holes in the top, since it will be getting puffy.
    6. Cool and cut into squares with a pizza cutter.
  • Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Planning & organizing now...

    ... so we can enjoy ourselves and appreciate living in the moment later.

    Over the last few days, we have been gearing up to start homeschooling with Lily after Labor Day. We got the Earthschooling kindergarten curriculum and are excited to see how that goes. Today, Aevryn and I ran errands and got most of our art and organizational supplies. A few things, like modeling beeswax and block beeswax crayons, I can only find online, so I ordered those today as well. Luckily, there is a locally-owned, online children's store that has free in-town, next day pick up.

    We should be all set and organized by Monday -- just in time for out-of-town relatives to arrive at grandma & grandpa's house. :) We plan to spend the next two and a half weeks enjoying the end of summer and spending time with family. We also would like to declutter and simplify the living room, which, combined with the kitchen/dining room (and really, we have an open plan upstairs, so it's all one big room anyway), will be our primary indoor space. Lily is eager to get going, so I think we might ease into things by trying to fall into our approximate daily and weekly rhythm, and reading stories from the August curriculum during our already-establish post-lunch quiet time.

    I have so many ideas and so much information just swimming around in my head. Today I finally got my binder with divider tabs and my monthly + weekly calendar inserts. I plan to print what I need for the month ahead as we go, since the guide is nearly 700 pages in its entirety and I don't need every single item in a binder. I think I will feel a lot more settled and actually prepared once I have that all assembled and ready to go.

    I would also like to read The Temperaments and the Adult-Child Relationship before we get started in earnest. I have a pretty good idea of what I think Lily and Dave are, but I'm struggling to find a precise fit for me. I seem to straddle two types, which is common for me in most temperament assessments. Aevryn is just too young to type yet. Being barely 3.5, she will mostly be in tag-along mode anyway.

    The girls would like to each do a class this fall. Aevryn would like to try gymnastics and Lily would like to go back to dance class, specifically pre-ballet with tap. For myself, I think I would like to take a prenatal yoga class. If I can arrange it, I'd love to have the girls have a grandma or Daddy morning once a week, while I go to yoga and then do the grocery shopping (which they
    universally revile).

    Finally, we hope to meet up with friends every Friday morning for "all weather" hikes. Precluding truly inclement weather, of course. I feel very fortunate to live in an area with other homeschooling families who follow a similar curriculum/philosophy.

    I think the key to our success will be consistency of rhythm and mentally staying a few steps ahead of ourselves. I am going to go ahead and write out which stories & accompanying crafts & verses will go with which block of days. But, I fully expect the blocks to be interchangeable. That way, I'll be organized but flexible, which is sort of my motto in life. I'm hoping that by the time baby arrives in February or March, we'll have our daily/weekly rhythms to sustain us through the gigantic changes that will rock our house. But, that's one of the beauties of homeschooling: we can take a few weeks "off" to just adjust to our new family dynamics.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Apricot Ginger BBQ Sauce and Quick & Easy Hot Sauce

    Tonight, I deep fried chicken wings (in local, pastured rendered beef tallow, yum). I really needed, NEEDED, hot sauce for mine. For the kids, I created an alternate BBQ-style sauce. Both were great hits.

    Apricot Ginger BBQ Sauce

    1 Tbsp apricot preserves
    1/2 in section fresh ginger root, ground into a paste
    pinch sea salt
    dash pepper
    pinch of cloves
    2 Tbsp maple syrup
    2 Tbsp molasses
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1/4 C lemon juice or vinegar (we did lemon juice because Lily can't have vinegar, but I thought it was an odd flavor. The kids didn't mind and it could just be my pregnancy taste buds talking.)

    1. Grind ginger and sea salt into a paste (I used a mortar & pestle).
    2. Put all ingredients into a small pot and mix well.
    3. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to a thick sauce.

    Quick & East Hot Sauce

    1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on your heat preference)
    1/4 C apple cider vinegar
    1/4 C oil (I used palm shortening, since most "real" recipes call for butter)
    a few dashes salt
    pinch onion powder

    1. Put everything in a small pot and stir.
    2. Simmer at a very low heat until everything is melted and reduced a bit.

    Old Fashioned Faux-tato Salad with Homemade Mayo

    We've done cauliflower as a rice substitute, in tacos, stirfries and curry-style sauces. We've done mashed cauliflower as a mashed potato sub (turnips and/or parsnips surprisingly also mash up super tasty, as a non-nightshade, but not necessarily low-carb potato replacement). As a potluck looms on the horizon, I've been wishing we could do a nice, old-fashioned potato salad. Thus my "a ha!" moment. This recipe isn't totally safe for my low-glutamate (i.e. no pickles,) and egg-, pepper- and onion-free child, but I have an idea on how to modify a version for her.

    Old Fashioned Faux-tato Salad

    1 head cauliflower
    4 - 6 ribs celery, minced
    2 stalks green onions, minced
    2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    2 small to medium sized pickles, minced (I adore Bubbies)
    1 C homemade mayo, more or less depending on how mayonnaise-y you like your salad.

    1. Chop up cauliflower into cube-ish pieces (you know, about the same size you'd use if you were cutting up a potato for salad ~1in). Boil until soft. Drain and allow to cool.
    2. Add celery, onions, eggs & pickles.
    3. Mix with homemade mayo until evenly coated. Salt & pepper to taste. Paprika on top for finishing.
    4. Serve chilled.

    Homemade Mayo

    1 egg
    1 egg yolk (the leftover white can be used in meringues or added to omlettes)
    1 cup olive oil (or sunflower or a combination)
    1 tsp prepared brown mustard (we love Eden's)
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    good sized pinch of sea salt

    In blender/food processor blend egg & yolk, mustard, sea salt, and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in oil until it firms up. It might be slightly liquidy, but it will get more solid in the fridge.

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    At long last, Zucchini Fries!

    Have you tried making fries out of zucchini before? I have. It doesn't work. You basically get soft, slimy, deep-fried zucchini. Not really finger food and not really appetizing. So, I got to thinking. Why do potatoes make such quintessentially perfect fries? And why do sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute? Starch!

    First, I cut one super large zucchini (fresh & local - hurrah summer!) into fry-length sections. Then, using my wonderful mandolin slicer, I made perfectly julienned pieces. Using a clean flour-sack style towel, I dried all the pieces and then dipped them in a bowl of arrowroot starch (about 1/2 C), mixed with sea salt & pepper. Toss the zucchini pieces in the starch until evenly coated, then shake off the excess. Do to this without making a mess and taking forever, I put them in my mesh strainer and shook it out over the sink.

    A few Christmases ago my MIL got me a deep fryer. I LOVE it. However, before I got it, I would deep-fry things (in teeny batches) in my big cast iron skillet. I use rendered local, pastured beef tallow for the oil. Not only does it survive the high heat very well, it also is actually nutritious (honestly!) and has a great flavor besides. Once my fryer has reached 325*F I go ahead and drop the first batch. Small batches are key, because they WILL stick together.

    Okay, here's the "secret" to yummy, crispy zucchini fries (aside from coating them in starch): you need to double-fry. The first time I fry them for 4 minutes. I shake the basket, let the grease drain and then pour out onto a cut-open paper bag (or old newspaper). While they are cooling and the excess grease is soaking into the paper, I drop another batch. When that one comes out to cool/drain, I put the first batch back in for 3 minutes. When I pour it out on to the bag again, I immediately salt (while the grease is still hot). I go back and forth between 1st drops and 2nd until everything has been fried twice.

    Sort of time-consuming, sure. Hot as Hades in the middle of summer, yep. Worth it? Absolutely. But maybe only once a week. ;)

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    GF Coconut-Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

    Oh hello. No I didn't abandon this blog. I've been prepping for homeschooling in the fall, dealing with preggo nausea, and generally enjoying summer. To make up for my absence, here's my recipe for GF coconut-banana cake with chocolate frosting. Enjoy!


    1/4 C + 2 Tbsp (or 6 Tbsp) coconut flour
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/4 C palm shortening
    1/4 C maple syrup
    1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
    3 eggs
    1 ripe banana

    1. Cream maple syrup & shortening. Add eggs & vanilla.
    2. Add banana either mashed or cut into thin slices. Blend well. (I use a stand mixer and it whips up beautifully.)
    3. In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, soda & salt.
    4. Add dry ingredients into mixing bowl.
    5. Pour into greased cake pan.
    6. Bake at 375*F for roughly 30 minutes (it's done when it's browned and firm to the touch).
    7. Cool completely before frosting.


    1/4 C + 2 Tbsp (or 6tbsp) palm shortening
    3 Tbsp maple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
    3 Tbsp cocoa powder
    1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract

    1. Blend shortening & syrup. Add vanilla.
    2. Add cocoa powder until smooth.
    3. Once cake is cool, spread frosting evening on top & sides.


    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Feeling crafty

    I'm starting to amass a pile of crafty projects...

    In my queue are:

    * finishing up a present for my mom. Her birthday was the 14th of July. I've ripped this item out twice and am casting on yet again. I being extra perfectionist about it. My mom deserves the best, what can I say?

    * knitting a matching baby hat to the socks I've already knit.

    * crayon roll for each girl

    * cloth baby shoes, for various and sundry individuals, including myself.

    * finishing the recycled jeans bathroom rug project (so tedious to prepare the strips for knitting...)

    * a play cloak for each of my girls - I have all the fabric & notions & pattern already.

    * tracing my favorite, yet horribly stained skirt so I can make a few more to last out the summer.

    * cloth (cotton, hemp, wool) nursing pads.

    * new hand knit diaper covers for littles

    * finishing up the diapers I started making when lily was a baby. they are size large, so I've still got some time, but I would just like to be done with the whole thing.

    * mini dream pillows with non-allergy-inducing herbs for each girl.

    I think that's all. That's all I can remember at any rate. It's enough to last me a little while, at least. :)

    Thursday, July 15, 2010


    I just perfected a chocolate sandwich cookie recipe. You know the ones. People like to dip 'em in milk... You can get them obscenely "double-stuffed"... My one true pregnancy vice with Lily... (Sit me down with a stack of cookies and a glass of milk and call it dinner. Perhaps this is why I gained almost 60lbs with her.)

    We're driving down state tomorrow - approximately a 4hr drive - to go to a failed family reunion. I was trying to think of portable bribes, I mean, snacks for the children when things start to get hairy around the 3 1/2 hr mark. Inspired by a recipe in a book whose title I cannot remember, Aevryn and I set aside the afternoon to bake cookies. In the sweltering 80+ degree, one million percent humidity, we somehow forged on. I'm sure all the chocolate cookie dough she could shove in her mouth when she thought I wasn't looking was motivation enough for Aevryn. Knowing that I have a neat treat for my littles was enough for me.

    Chocolate Cookies

    1 1/2 C arrowroot
    1 C cocoa powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp vit c crystals (or cream of tartar)
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/2 C palm shortening (or coconut oil or similar)
    1/2 C maple syrup
    1/4 C water
    1 tsp vanilla extract (in our case, homemade with vodka)

    Yield: approximately 80 cookies

    Preheat oven to 350*F

    * Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.

    * In the stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip maple syrup & shortening. Add vanilla extract.

    * Add dry mixture into wet by scoopfuls, letting it mix well before putting more in.

    * It will be a bizarre texture. Not quite dough-like, not quite frosting, but some nebulous inter-region. Kind of like the middle of a truffle, actually. You can smoosh it together with your hands to make a big ball if you are so inclined.

    * Scoop out a hunk of dough with a teaspoon (like a measuring spoon, not the spoon with which you stir tea). Roll it into a ball in your hands. Press down to 1/8 to 1/4" thick discs onto a VERY LIGHTLY greased cookie sheet. I used a half of a tea ball as a cookie cutter. It's somewhere between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. Peel the excess dough away.

    * Bake for 12 minutes at 350*F.

    * Allow to cool completely before trying to make sandwich cookies with a filling. I've considered straight up frosting, jam, and nut butter. None of those are particularly portable, though all tasty. So, I'm developing a "white stuff" recipe. I believe it's going to involve shortening, vanilla, maple syrup & arrowroot. We shall see. Aevryn is in full afternoon-heat melt-down (literally) mode, so I will have to experiment another time.

    If you make these, let me know how they worked out for you, and if you made them into sandwiches. If so, please share what you used and how that turned out as well. Thanks!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Tea Popsicles!

    Thanks to the fabulous Soule Mama for the inspiration.

    I've been struggling to drink my pregnancy tea. It tasted just way too green there for a couple weeks, but now it's tasting perfectly perfect. I think my recent cheese & leafy greens cravings point to a need for calcium right now. My heaping handful of nettles is glad to oblige.

    I think pregnancy tea popsicles will be a great way to have a cool treat in this sweltering heat, while also providing good nutrition for myself and the growing alien, er, baby within.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Scrumptious Magical Chocolate Mousse Cherry pie

    Warning: this is a first attempt that I totally made up on the fly this morning, and this is my best recollection over 12hrs later. If it looks, feels or tastes "off" fuss with it until it's right to your tastes. My finished product this afternoon was out of control yummy, but I need to recreate it a few times before I can totally vouch for it.

    Chocolate Cookie Crust

    3 tbsp arrowroot
    3 tbsp cocoa
    2 tbsp maple syrup
    2 tbsp palm shortening
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/16 tsp vit c crystals

    In one bowl mix all dry ingredients. In another, mix shortening & syrup until well-blended. Mix dry into wet. This mixture will be thick and frosting-like. Press into a greased 10in pie pan. This is messy. Use your hands, lightly wet with water and a rubber spatula. Bake at 350*f for 20-25min. It will seem fluffy when hot, but will crisp up when cooled. Cool in fridge before filling.

    Chocolate Mousse Filling

    3 ripe avocados
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 cup cocoa powder
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Blend avocados with maple syrup & vanilla in food processor. Transfer to bowl & stir in cocoa powder by hand. Cover and cool in fridge.

    Cherry Glaze topping

    2 cups pitted cherries
    1/2 cup water
    2 tbsp arrowroot + 2 tbsp (additional) water, mixed in a "slurry"

    Boil cherries & water until cherries are soft. Transfer to food processor & puree. Transfer back to pan and return to boil. Stir in arrowroot/water slurry. Simmer & stir until mixture thickens. Transfer to bowl and allow to cool before glazing. [Alternatively, I'm considering just boiling the cherries, puree-ing and then reboiling down into a syrup for next time. This turned out a bit runny yet for my likes. Though still tasty.]


    Spoon mousse into cooled crust. Spread evenly. Pour cherry glaze over top. Store in fridge & serve cooled.

    Friday, July 9, 2010


    Yesterday was a fantastic day.

    Today was not.

    But, at the end of the day, Lily apologized and picked me a bouquet of wildflowers.

    Tomorrow is a new day.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    too hott too blogg

    cleaned the guinea pig cages; vacuumed the entire house; dropped off book at library; got new baby two outfits at resale store; lunch on the riverside watching an overprotective mama swan & her two fuzzy babies; deposited garage sale money at bank; aevryn demanded (and received) a haircut; downtown to book- & toy-stores; picked up 1/3 of a half of a cow; delivered half to my parents; picked up dinner from co-op on the way home; kids in bed by 8.

    still, one of the best days we've had in quite a while.

    also: dear god, please let it rain and cool off. amen.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    I could have been a contender!

    I lost the cherry pie contest. Well, didn't lose, exactly, but didn't even place. The pies all melted; it was terrible. The 1st place pie was actually a cherry-blueberry and was the wheatiest pie of ever. Probably delicious, but still. Totally opposite of me. We had a great time at the actual picnic, though, so that's what really matters. Lily spent a good hour picking & eating wild mulberries.

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Keeping busy

    We are in full swing of summer and are generally keeping quite busy in ways that keep me far from the computer.

    In the past two weeks, I've made a hat and I've started on a scarf. When I'm not threatening to randomly fall asleep at any moment, I'm craving salty fish and spicy, spicy salsa. And in my spare time, I've been sorting out the house to get ready for a garage sale this weekend.

    Dave has sent out dozens of resumes all across the world. We're opening up the job search to the US & Canada shortly. He's been working on tiling the downstairs bathroom and then finished painting the girls room today.

    Aevryn continues her monologue about when the baby comes (after Daddy's birthday) she will put on gloves and catch her. And she will hold his hand, but if he doesn't like it she will give it back to him. Also its name is Tata or Pocket. She is starting to act out a bit. Not sure if it's in relation to my hormones, or the declining milk supply, or what, but it's very trying on everyone, especially her. Maybe it's just because she's three. Or a bit of everything.

    Lily is struggling through something. She has had a fine white, dot-like rash since we started the enzymes. It's not itchy and it's not irritated, so I think it's just kicking up something. Such a scientific explanation, I know. We're trying to figure out if CLO is helping or hurting. We've had some pretty miserable days of later, but I thought maybe it was the carrots or avocado? I hate second-guessing myself. She spiked a mild fever this afternoon and now her eczema is flared, so I really wonder what's going on. We're just supporting her and trying to move forward.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010


    As most of you know, we're having an unexpected addition to our family, set to arrive sometime in early March. I had suspected for about a week, and finally tested yesterday (twice) and today. What can I say? I bought a three-pack.

    We're surprised, but happy, of course. The girls are thrilled. Lily's reaction to, me, in particular has been transformative. She is very concerned for me, in a good way. She's getting me cups of water, asking if I need a nap, and generally being gentle and sweet. It has sort of snapped her out of her extreme funk of self-preservation-motivated self-centeredness. I am so thankful, for all of our sakes. Aevryn is adorably excited. She has so many plans for "her" new baby. However, my already dwindling milk supply + changing hormones is very frustrating for her. Good thing we were already working on not nursing at night before we found out.

    We are also driving up to Boyne City tomorrow morning to get some guinea pigs. Lily has really been wanting a pet lately. Specifically, she really wants a dog. She asked me, "Mom, what can I do about this 'wanting-to-get-a-dog' feeling?" My compromise was to look on craigslist for guinea pigs or hamsters. Lo and behold, there were two guinea pigs, with cage & accessories, for free. The only caveat is we have to drive an hour north to get them. The children have already named their guinea pigs Rosabel & Daisy. Well, actually Aevryn wanted Toe-toe, but Lily talked her into Daisy.

    Yes, this is a bit of added insanity into our barely-controlled chaos. At least it's free insanity. We may be crazy but we're not stupid.

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Heritage Picnic Cherry Pie Bake-off

    I got a call today from the Cherry Festival Heritage Picnic coordinator, letting me know that my pie has been formally registered into the Cherry Pie Bake-off! I'm so excited. I will most likely make another practice pie for Fourth of July and then the competition itself is July 6. Wish me luck! (And cross your fingers that the judges don't hate coconut!)

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    The further adventures of Lily and her emotional outbursts

    "I think you're gross!" -- Lily, during a fit of hypoglycemia in the grocery store. She also shrieked for me to put her down, while fiercely holding onto my neck. Luckily it was a short one that ended with her announcing that she just needed to go home. We were actually two feet from the checkout when she burst, so all's well that end's well. Nothing a square of chocolate and a dried date couldn't fix.

    A few minutes after she declared she needed to leave, she was standing next to me at the checkout and very seriously asked "Can you stop yourself from having babies?" I told her yes, and then we got interrupted by our turn in the lane. Once we got back in the car, I asked her why she wanted to know that. She explained that she didn't ever want to have "fussy, whiny" kids - presumably how she felt she was being in the store.

    Once home, Dave & I had a nice chat with her about how you can't pick what kind of kid you'll get. We reassured her that we wouldn't trade her for any other type of kid. I also tried to help her re-frame her apparent image of herself. Instead of considering her a fussy, whiny kid, I told her that I think she is a helpful, silly, lovey, smart, funny, creative, sensitive kid who sometimes has bad days. We reaffirmed that everyone has bad days, or times when we feel out of sorts, and that's normal. She sat there grinning from ear to ear, so I think she got the message: she's an fabulous person at the core who sometimes makes less than stellar choices. So, she's human.


    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Blanket Fort!

    This weather is just not cooperating with all the wonderful visions I held while enduring winter. Today is another indoor sort of day, it looks like; at least for now. I realized that it was high time the kids figured out the fine art forting. With just a bit of help from me, we turned a (huge) playsilk, blanket & sheet into a nifty fort. They're currently busy "moving in".

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    A pie a day...

    ... keeps your blood sugar elevated? Well, just a little. My pies are grain-free and sweetened with just a bit of maple syrup. Not so bad.

    We live in the Cherry Capital of the world. Or so our town likes to boast during an enormous Cherry Festival every year, around the fourth of July. It's a week-long festival, each day jam-packed with events for kids & adults. Since Lily is five this year, she's eligible for many more kid events. I was browsing the festival brochure to see what she might like to do when I came across the Old Fashioned Cherry Pie bake-off contest. And I paused, thinking: I could do this. I could submit a grain-free, allergy-friendly pie.The deadline for entry is June 18th.

    Test Pie #1: baked coconut crust, with cherry, vanilla, maple, arrowroot filling.

    Test Pie #2: baked almond crust, with the same filling, but tweaked proportions. I'm not enthusiastic about the looks of this crust, sadly. Also, I would like to be able to say that the pie is vegan, grain-free & allergy-friendly. I don't know that a nut crust really screams "allergy-friendly".

    The baked coconut crust is good, but it's amazing once it's been in the fridge for a few hours. The pies need to be delivered by 1p on the day of the Heritage Picnic, so I wonder if I delivered a super cold pie if it would hold up in the heat for judging? Pondering. I'm even envisioning a way to make a mock-lattice top for it...

    I see a Test Pie #3 in my near future. Coconut crust + hopefully perfected filling. And, of course, I will post recipes once I perfect the filling.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Just one of those days...

    Today was just one of those early rising, cherry pie contemplating, popsicle stick & pom pom crafting, babywearing, supporting other moms, grocery shopping, filling with joy seeing kid-sized carts, deflating with frustration realizing major items were left out of the big cart, making laundry soap, falling off of swings, weed pulling, seed soaking, amateur chiropracting, deep stretching, sobbing over cutlery, making a second pot of coffee at dinner, soaking in an epsom salt bath, making homemade candy after kids got to bed sort of days.

    Lily and her hypoglycemia make the five minutes preceding any meal a veritable adventure.

    Chocolate -covered Roasted Sunflower Seeds "candy"

    2 tbsp coconut oil
    2 tbsp cocoa powder
    2 tbsp maple syrup
    4 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
    drop of vanilla
    dash of sea salt

    Mix & eat with spoon like "fudge". Or drop by small spoonfuls onto a plate & pop into freezer for a few minutes to harden.

    I soaked my seeds in sea salt & water, then rinsed & drained them. I didn't soak them long enough and then roasted them way too fast, but I was impatient. You really should soak them for 7+ hours and then dehydrate them at 150*F for 12-24hrs. I blasted mine at 300*F for 40 minutes. Oops. Next time.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Meanwhile in AevrynLand...

    Sometimes Aevryn gets a little lost in the chaos of Lily's raging storms. She weathers them well and in good spirits, usually. She will just disappear for a few minutes and come out with a random assortment of things and then quietly go about her business. Today, she needed just a bit of assistance.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Botanical Food family resources

    I think many of us in the "food allergy community" are aware of the potential for foods within the same family as a known problem food to cause other issues. It can be helpful to clear entire food families if you are having persistent reactions. For example, peanuts are legumes. If you have a peanut allergy, you just may have issues with soy and/or beans as well.

    I have often used the Calgary Allergy Network's listing of botanical food families.

    However, the other day, I was reading something that caught my eye that led me to a new resource. It's a page from a ND who specializes in chemical sensitivity. Her Botanical Food Family list is more complete and also includes herbs.

    From this site, we also learned that yucca (tapioca/cassava) is in the lily family, which the alium family also belongs. We had already purchased a bag of cassava chips for lily to trial. We gave them to her today just to see. It took roughly 6 hours, but she just started itching herself raw in her sleep. We found the same to be true with asparagus - also in the Lily family. Poor Lily... Allergic to the Lily family.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Raw Chocolate Pudding!

    1 banana (yield ~ 1/3 c)
    1 avocado (yield ~1/2 c)
    1 tbsp cocoa powder

    Just mash & mix.

    Sounds weird; tastes fabulous. Dave & I split a batch. 15g carb (~9g net) each. I accidentally skipped lunch, so around 4 I was starving. This was just enough fat & sweet to satisfy and tide me over till dinner. Simple, easy, yummy. My favorite kind of recipe.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Just Another Rainy Summer Day

    It rained all day yesterday, all last night, and now again all day today.

    My children are very in tune with the weather, shall we say. When it is breezy and sunny, so are they. When it is gloomy and soggy, well, so are they.

    Inspired by our dear friends, we made Ojo de Dios today. We used this page as a starting point.

    Popsicle sticks + left over yarn + enthralled 5yo = peaceful early afternoon.

    Lily really, really, really enjoyed herself - eventually. Which is her song in life, truly. At first she just wanted to watch me do one. Then she declared that she didn't think she could do it. Then she asked if I'd help her do one. Which turned into her doing it all by herself and declaring "I can do it!" and me replying, "I knew that you could."

    This task was a bit over Aevryn's head, and it took just that much too long for us to do one together start to finish. However, she was pleased just to be a part of the activity at the table. She spent her time with scissors and scrap yarn cutting up tiny mounds of tiny bits of yarn. She proudly announced: "they're to you mama!" Aevryn may be my contrarian, but she is also sweet to her core... mostly.

    Each of the girls now have one near their beds. Lily also made sure Dave has one in his office and I have one in my bedroom. In fact, she loved this craft so much (hurrah for self sufficiency!) that she wanted to know if anyone had birthdays coming up.

    The idea of a token of safety really resonated with Lily. She latched on to the concept of the protective eye of god watching over her and reassuring her in her fear. She also reinforced her understanding of the connected between the concept of god(dess) to parents and love.

    All from some popsicle sticks and some yarn. Thanks, Megan.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Cauliflower "Potatoes"

    I tried this one day on a whim. I pretty much squealed with glee when I tasted it and it was nearly identical to mashed potatoes. At least, my memory of mashed potatoes...

    1 head of cauliflower
    1/4 C milk/sub/left over cauliflower water
    a few tablespoons of oil
    sea salt

    Cut up the cauliflower and boil it until soft.

    Buzz in food processor with milk, oil & salt.

    Occasionally I will put cumin and/or onion powder. If you use coconut, it's very curry-like.

    I've also heard that cut up boiled cauliflower can be used as a substitute in potato salad. I hope to try it soon. In sum, cauliflower is versatile and delish. A fabulous potato sub.

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Tasty Adult Beverage Concoction

    Coconut-banana-rum Drink

    1 tray of ice
    1 can of coconut milk
    1 banana
    juice of 1/2 lime
    1/2 C vanilla rum

    Put ingredients in blender and buzz until smooth.

    (Pineapple makes my mouth go numb and start itching, otherwise I'd have included a few chunks of pineapple as well... Classic Pina colada base. Mandarin oranges might make an interesting sub.)

    Goes well with Friday night Stargate and cucumbers + avocado-jalapeno dip.

    Kale Chips

    Kale is in season. We love it and it's super nutritious. However, sometimes you can only eat so much sauteed kale. Tonight with dinner we tried our first batch of kale chips for the season.

    1 bunch of kale
    a few tablespoons oil
    sea salt

    Set the oven to 425.

    Rinse the kale and remove the leafy part from the stalk.

    Cut or rip into "chip" sized pieces.

    In a big bowl, rub the oil on the leaves and sprinkle with salt. At this point, you can add any number of spices, if you'd like.

    Previously, I'd put the kale directly on an oiled pan, but that requires turning. This time, I put drying racks on the pans and put the kale on the rack (much like how I make jerky).

    I have a hot spot in a back corner of my oven, so I rotate my pan. 4 minutes to a side seemed to be the ideal amount of time for crispy but not burnt.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Peace, Love, Joy

    What a week!

    Aevryn had a beach party at her grandparents' house that included both sets of grandparents, uncles, aunt & cousin. There was cake and presents and bubbles and sandcastles. And lots and lots of giggles.

    We've played outside, visited friends and gone on a home-visit for LLL.

    Today, both girls had serious Grandma Time™ while I got some group work done and visited with a friend. (I also ran a few errands alone, which is a newly discovered joy. Right up there with going to the bathroom unattended.)

    Aside from being busy, busy, we seem to have had a breakthrough with Lily.

    We had connected her rage or anger or aggression issues with glutamate overload. Our solution was to go on a low-glutamate diet. That seemed to be working, but we needed to stay super low to keep the peace. In my research, I discovered that theanine helps mitigate glutamate overlaod - by competing with glutamate for the receptors. Dave had been taking it for awhile to help with anxiety. We started supplementing Lily yesterday afternoon and I am thrilled and amazed by the results.

    The positivity and love radiating from my child is astounding. Sweetness, love, helpfulness. Smiles, giggles.

    I really like it when I figure out the biochemistry food stuff.

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun

    Summer is here!

    The girls found some new pets today. Tent worms and rollie pollies. They made habitats and fed them leaves and droplets of water. The also named them. Lily named her tentworm Olfa. Her rollie pollies are Dave, Ham, Pork, Beef & Chicken. In honor of the naming of backyard pets, I named the baby birds living in the nest under our deck Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

    I set up the sewing machine on the porch again, and made curtains for our bedroom. The upstairs is almost completely done. The downstairs... Well, let's just say: "Out of sight; out of mind." We will get there, eventually.

    Finally, we spent the afternoon at the beach with friends. That makes three times this week, plus plans for a beach party BBQ for Aevryn at her grandparents' house tomorrow.

    These are the days that feel the best.

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Aevryn Aevryn

    Aevryn turned three today. Hmmm. I could swear it was just yesterday that I woke up on that oft-predicted by Lily Sunday, certain in the knowledge that I was having a baby that day. Then just 13.5 fabulous hours later, Aevryn was here. One of my first memories of her, is scooping her out of the water and then looking down to see if she was a boy or a girl, but her umbilical cord was in the way. She was a bit snuffly and had to work some gunk out for a few minutes, and I remember feeling so certain that she was going to be a boy that I didn't really investigate. Dave said that as soon as he saw her face, he knew she was a girl. He was also certain that she was a girl the entire time.

    The last few months, whenever you'd ask her when her birthday was or how old she was turning, she'd proudly declare "I'll be May in Three." All day today when I'd remind her it was her birthday, she'd grin and say, "I May!" I'd gently inform her that she was three because it was May now. Sometime in the early afternoon she said, "Oh! Is it May today? I THREE!" Heh. I love those little lightbulb moments.

    She is also learning her letters quite stealthily -- much like she did with her colors, when one day last summer she spontaneously informed me of the color of every car we walked past in the parking lot. Today, when I was decorating her cake, she exclaimed, "Mama! You wrote a B on my cake!!" Maybe a half an hour earlier, she had handed me a piece of paper that she had written Bs all over. Her other favorite letters are A, K and T.

    I made her quite an experimental cake. It turned out well. It reminded me of those huge "cookie cakes" you can get, since it was chewy and sweet and thin.

    Aevryn's coconut-date cake:

    2C (~8oz) dried coconut, unsweetened, no preservatives
    1C water (maybe coconut milk next time?) + 1/4C
    20 dried dates, pitted
    1/4 C palm shortening
    1 1/2 tsp GF/corn-free vanilla
    1 Tbsp maple syrup (didn't need it)
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    Soak the dried coconut in water/liquid for at least 30 minutes. The coconut will start to rehydrate.

    Chop the dates well.

    In a food processor or good blender, buzz the rehydrated coconut flakes + dates. While it's running add remaining water, shortening, vanilla & salt. We don't do cinnamon or cloves or nutmeg at the moment, but those would be mighty tasty here, like a "spice cake".

    I poured it all into a well-greased spring form pan and baked it for 75 minutes at 325*F. Next time I might bake it for longer at a lower temp.

    Frosting was 1/4C (4Tbsp) palm shortening + 1 Tbsp maple syrup, whipped together. I could have used half as much, but I was using a piping kit and needed a larger amount. If you're doing the cutting the tip off a a baggie trick, you could make just what you need to use.

    It was moist and sweet and delicious. You could pick it up with your hands. I think with some tweaking, it could easily become a nut-free, grain-free "granola" bar recipe.

    And it was amazing with the coconut milk ice cream: 1 can of coconut milk + 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1/2 tsp vanilla. Mix well then chill in fridge until time to pour into ice cream maker. You could also freeze half of a can into ice cubes and then blend the frozen coconut milk cubes plus the remainder of the can, chilled, in a blender, with the syrup & vanilla.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Waiting is very hard.

    I went ahead and appealed the selection results for University of Stockholm, Mastersprogramme in Social Work. Dave and I feel like it's a unique opportunity that we owe it to ourselves to explore fully. Plus, I really am qualified per all the application information, except for the fact that they didn't get my transcripts (though UofM confirmed they were sent.) I waited until the last minute to make my decision and then had to rush express everything across the ocean. Now I'm obsessively tracking via Fed Ex and UPS. What was that about putting things behind me?

    UPDATE: Studera shows they received documents on the 25th and 26th of May. My appeals + transcript resend needed to get there by end of day on the 27th. So far, so good.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    the weight of weight

    So I worry. I am a worrier. I try to only worry about things within my sphere of control and let go of everything else, but I am by no means good at doing that. It's a life-long process and I'm working on it daily.

    That said, I do worry about Lily's weight.

    She was nearly 10lbs at birth and quite long as well. She grew rapidly, both in weight and height until sometime between her first and second birthday. As you would expect, her growth slowed down when she started getting more mobile. When my milk dried up in pregnancy with Aevryn, and she begrudgingly started eating more food, her weight stalled completely. She continued to grow steadily in height, however. I didn't worry about it then, though that was around the time of the beginning of the allergy adventure and the birth of Aevryn, so life was in flux. But I was aware of her health, for sure.

    In the last 3 years, she has only gained around 11lbs, and recently we noticed that she has lost about 3 of those pounds. Again, she continues to grow steadily in height and is outgrowing clothing as well. Per the currently used growth charts, she's roughly 9th percentile for weight now, and 11th for height, so I guess she's at least proportional! She's strong and energetic most of the time - once you get her motivated and out of her own brain. Also, she eats like a thoroughbred race horse.

    Which brings me to my other worry: she claims to be hungry quite a bit. I'm trying to help her discern if she is *hungry* like empty stomach churning or if she just feels like something to eat. I will feed her either way, of course, but if she is never truly satisfied and is experiencing gnawing hunger despite eating the same amount of food that fills *me* up in a day, then I would feel like I had true cause for alarm. Luckily, it would appear that she's just a growing girl who like to eat. Nothing wrong with that.

    Just to assuage my curiosity, I entered in her food for the day into fitday, and online nutrition tracker. Her overall caloric intake was only 985 calories, however 70 of them came from (good) fat. Her nutrient intake breaks down into 64% fat (70g), 20% protein (48g), 17% carbs (45g). A good balance, in my well-researched opinion. However, seeing that amount of protein seems excessive. The RDI for protein for a girl her age is only ~25g/day. Perhaps I could experiment with giving her less protein and more fat and veggies. I realized that she and I got the same amount of protein today. Mine was the RDI for a woman of my age. That's something to think about for sure.

    Egg-free Cabbage Slaw

    Adapted from Dave's Grandma's recipe, which I just tried to recall on the fly...

    1 head of cabbage, chopped or shredded
    1/2 cup oil
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    1-2 tbsp maple syrup
    salt to taste

    combine oil, salt & syrup and pour over cabbage. salt. voila. instant yummy egg-free cole slaw.

    actual review from my 5yo: "This is the best cole slaw I EVER tasted. You are the best cooker."

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    On squash & seaweed

    After reading more about oral allergy syndrome and pollen cross-reactivity, we decided to stop eating squash for now. Within only a few days, her rash has cleared. The skin itself is still dry and healing, but she is not itchy. Hallelujah.

    After reading about Zane's mama date with Amabel, I realized Lily needed a very similar outing. Lily and I went shopping. We both greatly dislike shopping, but it was a necessary errand. We needed a few things, plus Lily needed to pick out a birthday present for Aevryn. She ended up picking out a portable mini-horse stable and giving it to A today, despite her birthday not coming until Thursday.

    I realize that this wasn't a stellar date activity, but it was just she and I, and she had my undivided attention the whole 2+ hours we were gone. She was a lot more snuggly with me after. I think we're going to try to get a one-on-one session for each kid with each parent, every week. That sounds complicated, but it doesn't have to be solo trips into town. Even just a walk in the woods alone together would accomplish the same thing.

    Part of the "date" included lunch out. For a number of reasons due to what time we left, which store we went to, and Lily's lack of desire to go to a different store for lunch, our selection of "safe" foods was limited. We settled on Hormel's natural roasted turkey slices, rolled in fresh basil leaves, with blackberries for desert. I noticed that one of the ingredients was carrageenan, which is a seaweed. Seaweeds are usually fairly high in glutamates, which we are avoiding, as they seem to muck with her brain chemistry. I thought we'd eaten that brand without incident before, but we've never had an official "trial" where everything else was clear first, like today. Within a few hours, she escalated to a fit in her bedroom where she told Dave that she felt like hurting herself and he needed to leave the room so she could do so. Obviously, he did not. He stayed with her and helped her settle. Then we all just had a chill afternoon & early bedtime after a family bike ride/walk around the block.

    I start to feel crazy about the food thing, and then this happens. Predictable, repeatedly observed results. I'm hopeful that the K + Mag + B vits are moving some calcium around and she will be less sensitive to things like glutamates when we aren't rebalancing mineral stores.

    The next thing I'm looking into - for myself and my sad teeth, primarily - is phosphorus. I've been reading Weston A. Price's work for awhile now and I think it might be the missing key for me, and possibly her.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Chebe Crackers

    I did another tapioca experiment, and it turned out fabulous, but in a different way than I intended. I've been trying to perfect my chebe recipe to get a nice, soft but not gummy flat bread. I'm really close. Today I tried using a bigger pan with the same amount of dough, and the result was a super thin, crisp flat bread - aka - crackers!

    I think Dave will be happily surprised to find that he gets zucchini soup with onion crackers on the side for lunch today.

    Chebe Crackers

    1 lg egg
    1 tbsp EVOO
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    2/3 C tapioca starch
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    3 tbsp water

    1. Mix egg, oil & vinegar.
    2. In a separate bowl, mix tapioca, salt, soda & onion powder.
    3. Mix dry into wet ingredients, a little at a time. It might be a little clumpy.
    4. Add water. It will thin out tremendously.
    5. Pour onto well-oiled jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides).
    6. Bake at 375*F for 10 minutes.
    7. Turn off oven. Allow it to sit in warm oven to crisp up.

    It will probably break when you try to remove it from the pan, but that's okay, because you're trying to make crackers anyway. They remind me of toasted pita bread. Get yourself some raw veggies and some guacamole or hummus and you've got a great lunch.

    If you wanted them sweet, you could do apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic and cinnamon instead of onion powder... Maybe mix a little vanilla extract and maple syrup into the batter. Or sprinkle some succanat over the top.

    You could make texmex crackers with onion powder, garlic powder (or finely minced fresh garlic), cumin, coriander, black pepper & paprika.

    You could make italian crackers with rosemary, garlic, oregano, basil & thyme. Or just rosemary. Yum.

    You could make honey mustard crackers.

    The possibilities stretch before you. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Pollen Cross Reactivity

    (AKA Oral Allergy Syndrome)

    For as long as I can remember, certain foods have tasted "tingly". I suppose in retrospect I can identify the sensation as tingly, or even itchy, but at the time I would have just said it was just the unique flavor of certain foods, for example: oranges, apples, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, celery, cherries and especially pineapple & kiwi. Those last two I can't even get past my lips without intense itching. Though I have not been tested, I assume I have some environmental (read: pollen) allergies. Poor Dave. How often do I turn to him and say, for example, "What? You mean you DON'T get numb lips when you eat granny smith apples?" The assumptions I've made about my own life experiences being universal are constantly revealed to me. This is both amusing and humbling.

    The reason I starting thinking about this again, is because I went for a run tonight. I haven't gone running on my own in quite awhile, so I was actually able to experience a real workout, without distraction or interruption. It was fabulous. I feel great and had a nice, intense run without overdoing it. However, about 15 minutes after I got home, I started wheezing. And I remembered the phenomenon of "allergy induced asthma", which I have experienced in the past. I did some online research, as I am wont to do, and I stumbled upon the connection between apparently exercise induced asthma and pollen-induced asthma.

    If you are allergic to a pollen, you can have a cross-reaction to foods in that family.

    If you are allergic to ragweed, you can have problems with any or all of the following: raw bananas, the gourd family (melons, squashes), chamomile, sunflower & echinacea.

    If you are allergic to grasses, you can have problems with any or all of the following: oranges, melons, tomatoes, kiwi & peanuts.

    If you are allergic to various tress, you can have problems with any or all of the following: apple family (apples, pears), plum family (plum, peach, nectarine, apricot, cherry), kiwi, parsley family (carrot, celery, dill, anise, cumin, coriander, caraway), potato family (potato, pepper, tomato), tree nuts, peas, peanuts, beans & sunflowers.

    If you are allergic to latex, you can have problems with and or all of the following: banana, avocado, kiwi, chestnut, and per some sources, papaya, fig, potatoes & tomatoes.

    Additionally, honey and honey products often cause issues depending on the pollen the bees were collecting.

    It is often reported that if you experience OAS symptoms, it will usually be when the food is raw (with the exclusion of nuts, which are reactive in all states), and gets worse as they ripen. Many people are able to tolerate these foods cooked, despite major symptoms raw. Like salicylates, the allergic compounds are usually concentrated in the peel and the underlying tissue.

    We've been feeding Lily a pretty steady diet of apples & squash on this elimination diet. We haven't really hit baseline with the skin, though this experiment has been useful in helping us figure out vitamin & supplement dosages and has revealed a hive-reaction to shea butter. So, I wonder if we were to swap out a different fruit for apples -- I think our options are berries & coconut -- and drop the squash to focus on the veggies we're already eating -- kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and perhaps lettuce -- maybe we'll see that last bit of improvement that we've been waiting for.

    I'm not claiming to have all the answers. I'm not totally sold on every new theory I run across or discuss here. But I am open-minded and willing to shuffle things around and find what seems to make sense for us. Looking forward to seeing what the next week brings.

    Tomorrow I will call our allergist and see if we (Lily and I) can both be scratch-tested for pollens and go from there.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010


    I feel a huge relief having put the Swedish grad school situation behind us. I don't think either of us was eager to return to school at the moment.

    Last night, I had a dream, a dream that I just couldn't get out of. In it, I showed up to a meeting at the wrong time, underprepared. While at the meeting, our space was overtaken by another group. Then, when I pushed through the throngs of people and got outside, I was stopped short by impenetrable fog. Also, I'd realized I couldn't find Aevryn. I normally don't have such clear dreams, but I will say: message received.

    I do feel completely unsettled right now. Between the complete uncertainty of the Food Situation™ and the lack of a Plan™ - beyond selling our house - I admit to feeling anxious. I'm starting to have nomadic fantasies. Sometimes, I really want to buy an RV and drive around the US for a year. Other times, I'm 100% on board with trying to arrange a year of WWOOFing in Europe. I have visions of just packing the car and driving, figuring it out on the way.

    I figure, we must have *some* mobile skills we can exploit into a semi-steady paycheck. Obviously, Dave can do "computer stuff", but that's sort of vague. I could do something with etsy, I'm sure, but would it be enough to feed us?


    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Sunday Afternoon Delight

    Today we all packed up and went hiking at Sand Lakes Quiet Area. As we were hiking to our picnic spot, we were scoping out a camp site to use in the (hopefully) very near future. We found a nice little site on the other side of the lake, off the main path. I'm excited to get the whole family out camping this year. We had it on the to-do list last year, but with the whole Bo saga, it got deferred. All I have to do now, is figure out a menu. The lake is stocked with trout, so maybe we'll catch our dinner and roast it over the open campfire. Yum!

    We spent the rest of the afternoon mowing the yard (Dave) or sitting on a blanket in the sun reading (Lily, Aevryn & I). I am thankful for spring weather finally.

    The hives on my face are still here. They got worse, but are now calming, thankfully. I am certain, for me, that it was the shea butter. I used it on my face as a moisturizer on Thursday and makeup remover on Friday. (Dave and I got to go on a date - our second one this month - so I put a little make up on and dressed up a bit. We saw the hilarious Noises Off at the local playhouse.) As I'm dealing with hives for the first time since I was a few months pregnant with Aevryn (cashew-exposure), I am recalling the terribleness of being chronically itchy. I am also examining up close and personal what hives flaring up and slowly fading look like. I'm starting to think that Lily may have eczema on her neck and right in the folds of her elbows, but the "rash" up and down her arms that comes and goes, seemingly willy nilly is in fact chronic hives, in various states of flaring and healing.

    I think, I really need to find a doctor to patch test her.

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Testing, testing...

    As we slog through the elimination/trial process, I once again find myself considering allergy testing. We've had mixed results with allergy testing in the past.

    At the age of nearly 2, Lily had a RAST (IgE) blood test performed. It showed sensitivity to cats and mold.

    At the age of 2.25, Lily had an ELISA (IgE/IgG combined) blood test performed. It showed sensitivity to dairy, garlic, turmeric, poppy seeds, pinto beans, navy beans.

    At the age of 3, Lily had a repeat ELISA. It showed sensitivity to nothing. With actual ZEROS showing up. I now doubt the validity of that particular test. (I also had an ELISA done at the same time. It showed that I am mildly allergic to sesame, though we know that I have a very quick hive reaction to cashews & pistachios, that I would be surprised if it wasn't IgE mediated.)

    At the age of 3, Lily had a scratch test (IgE) performed at the allergist's office. It showed sensitivity to dairy, soy, cats & mold. However, again, these are immediate response tests. She was scratched, they let it sit for 30 or so minutes, then came back and read the results. I declined steroid cream for her after the testing, and just opted for washing with soap and water. Even so, I noticed hours later that certain welts were bigger than they were at the allergist's. Delayed reaction?

    At the age of 4.75, she had a stool sample tested. It showed elevated IgA anti-bodies to gluten, despite the fact that she's been gluten-free for 2.5years.

    Recently, at the age of newly 5, I performed my own little delayed reaction "patch" test on her. I took local, unpasturized egg whites and painted a patch on her thigh - i.e. not a place where she typically gets reactions. That whole day she was fine. She said it didn't itch. The next day she had a splotchy red rash where the egg had been. Roughly 24hrs after exposure. It peaked around 36hrs after and then healed up quickly. Now, I know that uncooked egg whites are a "histamine releasing" food, so I wonder if it did just that? However, I also did a test on Aevryn and myself and we were completely fine - no itchy or splotchy rashes, even delayed.

    This got me thinking about testing for delayed reactions. I know there is something called a patch test, and it is a test that is recognized by allopathic medicine. I think I'm going to call Lily's allergist and see if he would be able to perform that test for us. Otherwise, I might start looking for doctors or clinics downstate. Hey, we could get her checked by a peds GI at the same time. Fun!

    While researching patch testing, I kept finding information on Eosinophilic Esophagitis and/or Eosinophilic Gastritis. Not that I want her to have EE or EG, but it really would explain quite a bit. Not only for her, but for me as well.

    First step is patch testing if we can get it... Then we'll go from there...

    Thursday, May 13, 2010


    I need to learn that I can never announce positive progress in a public sphere.

    We've tripped 3 of our 4 criteria. Skin is back to an itchy, scabby rash up and down her arms. She has a smattering of white pimply bumps on her arms, cheeks and chin now. It's still "mild" compared to what it can turn into, so hopefully it will clear soon. Sleep is messed up. It took her until nearly 9:30 last night to fall asleep, despite being tired. Behavior yesterday and this morning included lots of irrational threats. The only that seems to be okay is digestion, but she's kind of irregular at the moment, so it's hard to tell.

    I admit that we started Shea Butter as a topical cream starting Tuesday morning. I noticed her rash about 24-36hrs after her first exposure. The ironic part is that the Shea Butter is doing wonders for the eczema, which is a separate skin issue as the rash, believe it or not. Her skin itself is smooth and soft, no cracks or irritation in the skin folds. There just now happens to be scabs and pimply bumps all over her arms. *sigh*

    I also made buffalo jerky overnight on Tuesday. We ate it for lunch and snack on Wednesday. That seems a little fast for a reaction, especially since her pattern is normally 24-36hrs delayed. Also, she can tolerate pastured beef, so I would think that pastured buffalo would be even more well tolerated.

    We are stopping Shea Butter (didn't put it on this morning). I won't make buffalo jerky again for awhile. We are having buffalo burgers for dinner again tonight, but they won't have been slow cooked overnight (increases amine content).

    I have enough food to get us through Friday, so we'll just eat what we already have here (i.e. what we've been eating). Hopefully by Saturday we'll be ready for more food trials (I've got my eyes on some zucchini, finally). I want to power forward and get as many foods as possible into our "safe" corner as fast as we can. I am focusing on meats, fats, & veggies. After that we can leisurely investigate fruits and spices.

    ETA: Update. Around 4:30 she started itching like mad in her elbows. Actual hives again. Nothing has changed - there was nothing to trigger it. We went back to bare bones food today (all I had in the house anyway). We stayed inside because it was raining. We didn't use any topical products... So, I started reading some more on the whole oxalate/K debate. There is some evidence to suggest that if you are *too* low in oxalates, your body will start producing it's own. Lily has been extremely low oxalate for a few weeks now... It's hard to say what's going on. I gave her extra Vit C at bedtime (a no-no on the LOD b/c Vit C can metabolize into oxalates...) so we'll see if that helps as an anti-histamine. We're hemming and hawing and back to thinking that we just need to trial foods of any stripe and see if we can't get some back, regardless of their food chemical affiliation... This is beyond frustrating. (It doesn't help that I have hives on my eyelids and my neck and face is crazy itchy today, too.)

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010


    Pardon me, I'm having a Delicious Dish moment here. (Yummy! Good times!)

    On the whole, the elimination diet experience has been illuminating. She has resumed falling asleep easily by herself. She is mostly in control of herself emotionally during they day - to an age appropriate degree, I mean. No more threats of suicide or random violence. Lily's skin never quite reached baseline, but we know for sure that she has an emotional trigger for itching. When she gets tired, or angry, or irritated, or frustrated, or overwhelmed, she starts absent-mindedly itching. So, when she got to the point of no open scabs, no oozes, no pimply rash, we decided to start trials.

    We have four criteria for whether to keep a food in or set it aside again.

  • One, skin: if it cracks, hives, rashes, bumps, bleeds or oozes, it's a fail. If it's just red, dry and generally itchy, that's just life as we know it, sadly.

  • Two, sleep: if she stops being able to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time, or starts waking incoherent again, we'll know that something is amiss.

  • Three, behavior: if she starts issuing ultimatums or starts threatening to kill herself, fail. If she starts picking things up and chucking them across the room at the slightest provocation, fail.

  • Four, digestion: if she starts having - otherwise unexplained - pain upon urination or elimination, fail. If she starts having mucous or blood in her stool, fail.

    Per these criteria, we've introduced safflower oil and cabbage to non-immediately disastrous results. This brings our current "safe" list up to: pastured turkey, peeled golden or red delicious apples, acorn squash, maple syrup, safflower oil, palm shortening, pastured beef, sea salt, saffron, chives, cabbage, napa cabbage. Next up include: brussels sprouts and green onions!

    Stay tuned for my musings on further allergy testing for she and/or I... Writing this here to remind myself. Also, I know I never came back and posted about the Vit K debate, but honestly, I'm still not sure exactly what's going on with that, scientifically. All I know is we are doing K2 supplementation combined with LOD and things seem to be going well.
  • Saturday, May 8, 2010

    In Honor of Mother's Day

    We've all probably seen the email going around with 2nd grade answers to cute questions about their moms. I decided to ask Lily, newly 5, what she thought about those questions. I think her answers steadfastly represent her personality. My little pragmatist.

    Why are there mothers?

    So other people could be born.

    How are mothers made?

    They are born.

    What ingredients are mothers made of?

    Stuff that's in people's bodies.

    Why do you have your mom and not some other mom?

    Because I was born from you.

    What kind of little girl was your mom?

    Like me [Lily].

    What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

    His name. (Me: Anything else? Her: No.)

    Why did your mom marry your dad?

    Because she wanted to.

    Who's the boss at your house?

    My mom and my dad.

    What's the difference between moms & dads?

    They have different privates.

    What does your mom do in her spare time?

    I don't know.... Play with me [Lily].

    What would it take to make your mom perfect?

    For me [Lily] to act really good.

    If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

    That she could always play with me - that she didn't have any chores.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    FMI - For my information

    Our Thorne vitamins came yesterday afternoon. I have divided up the doses and thought it would be nice to have everything written out somewhere - somewhere not in a pile of papers on my counter.

    Lily's Regimen:
  • 1/3 dose Thorne's Basic Nutrients III: multi w/o iron & copper
  • 1/2 dose Thorne's Mo
  • 1/2 dose Thorne's Zinc
  • 1/4 dose Thorne's B-complex #6
  • 1 drop Thorne's K2
  • 1 drop Carlson's D3
  • 1/2 tsp Natural Calm 2x/daily (initial dose of Mag in the multi)

    This translates to:
    Vit K: 1mg
    Vit A: 5,000 IU
    Vit C: 283 mg
    Vit D3: 1000 + 333 = 1333 mg
    Vit E: 133 mg
    Thiamine: 13.3 + 10 ~ 23 mg
    Riboflavin: 3.67 + 7.15 ~ 11 mg
    Niacin: 53 + 20 = 73 mg
    Vit B6: 3.3 + 51.7 = 55 mg
    Folate: 333 + 50 = 383 mcg
    Vit B12: 150 + 25 = 175 mcg
    Biotin: 133 + 20 = 153 mcg
    Pantothenic Acid: 138 + 11 = 149 mg
    Calcium: 100 mg
    Iodine: 75 mg
    Magnesium: 95 + 87.5x2 = 270 mg
    Zinc: 5 + 15 = 20 mg
    Selenium: 67 mcg
    Manganese: 2 mg
    Chromium: 67 mg
    Molybdenum: 33 + 500 = 533 mcg
    Potassium: 30 mg
    Boron: 1 mg
    Choline Citrate: 33 + 10 = 43 mg
    Vanadium: 33 mcg

    I am considering adding Betaine & Pepsin as well: 324mg Betaine & 75mg Pepsin. Holding off on that for now.

    As for me... I am taking:

    Vit K: 5 2x/daily = 10 mg
    Vit A: 15000 IU
    Vit D: 1000 + 2000 = 3000 IU
    Vit C: 850 mg
    Vit E: 400 IU
    Thiamine: 40 + 20 = 60 mg
    Riboflavin: 11 + 14.3 ~ 25mg
    Niacin: 160 + 40 = 200 mg
    Vit B6: 10 + 103.4 ~113mg
    Folate: 1000 + 100 = 1100 mcg
    Vit B12: 450 + 50 = 500 mcg
    Biotin: 400 + 40 = 440 mcg
    Pantothenic Acid: 413 + 22.5 ~ 435mg
    Calcium: 300mg
    Iodine: 225 mcg
    Magnesium: 285 + 200 to 400 = 485 to 685 mg
    Zinc: 15 + 30 = 45 mg
    Selenium: 200 mcg
    Manganese: 6 mg
    Chromium: 200 mcg
    Molybdenum: 100 + 1000 = 1100 mcg
    Potassium: 90 mg
    Boron: 3 mg
    Choline Citrate: 100 + 40 = 140 mg
    Vanadium: 100 mcg
    Betaine: 648 mg
    Pepsin: 150 mg
  • Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    a zucchini deferred

    Today, on the day I was planning a zucchini trial (the first new food on our 10 day and counting elimination diet experiment), Lily broke out in actual hives at the play area in the mall. Okay, universe, I give up! Not really, but it sure does feel like it. It doesn't help that I gave her probiotics three days ago and again the next day, before I realized they had maltodextrin -- from corn. I had called the company when we used them before to double check. So, I learned a valuable and costly lesson about always re-read ingredients and also, I should keep a personal allergy wiki page so I can see why I stopped which supplement.

    Also, now that I've given myself time to reconsider, I think we will start with cabbage instead of zucchini and move from there. Our Mo came today, so I have a feeling that Mo supplementation coupled with our extremely LOD will increase our sulfur tolerance. The new, current plan is that we will stay lowish sals + low amines + low glutamates + LOD and start intro-ing sulfur-y foods allowed in that venn diagram overlap first. This suggests cabbage, green onions, brussels sprouts & leeks. And maaaaaaaaybe eventually eggs. Whee. Are we not having fun?!

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    New Elimination Diet, End of Week 1, Report

    As many of you know, we've been trying to figure out which foods are helping and which are harming for quite some time now. We have dabbled here, there and everywhere trying to ferret out exactly what was going on. We've done testing and we've done elimination diets, and now, 3 years later, we still only sort of know what's good and what's bad. Or what's "safe to us" or "not safe to us", as Aevryn says.

    IgE Blood testing told us that Lily is allergic to cats & mold. IgG blood testing told us that Lily is allergic or intolerant to dairy, garlic, beans, poppyseed, and turmeric. Scratch testing (IgE) told us that Lily is allergic to cats, mold, dairy & borderline soy. Stool testing (IgA) told us that Lily makes anti-gluten antibodies still, over 2.5yrs gluten-free. So: no gluten.

    Elimination & reintroduction diets have given us glimmers of info. We have long suspected we have histamine/amine issues. She reacts quickly and noticeably to many high-histamine and histamine-releasing foods. Additionally, over the past few months, we've definitely made connections to oxalates and vitamin K issues.

    After everything (except dairy, gluten, soy, legumes & grains) started creeping back into our diet, culminating with an unintentionally super high oxalate birthday weekend, we noticed we were back in "that place". Lily's skin was red, irritated, scabby and oozy. Her ear was cracked and bleeding. She was having pain in her privates. And, worst of all, for me to bear, she was angry and out of her mind. She actually has said that she feels like killing herself or that she wishes she wasn't alive. She just turned five last week. FIVE. It completely breaks my heart.

    Clearly, there is a connection here, because when we eat "cleanly" she is a joy. She is helpful and lovely and sweet and inquisitive and bubbly and silly and just wonderful. Obviously, she has her moments, as any of us do, but overall she is positive. When we start to stray, she gets sullen and angry and downright rude & demanding. She flies off the handle and physically attacks people and things. She will have 30 solid minutes of screaming 5 year old versions of obscenities. She starts threatening and issuing ultimatums. And this goes on continuously with maybe a few short breaks of terse neutrality. And this is just the emotional side of things.

    When we eat "cleanly", her skin clears up. She isn't constantly itchy. She can SLEEP. She falls asleep easily and stays asleep. When we lose track of what we're eating, she breaks out in various rashes and itches constantly. She can take hours to fall asleep and then wake up every hour or so.

    So, after her birthday blowout, we decided to try to figure out once and for all what foods do what. We determined the best diet to clear oxalates, salicylates, (hist)amines, glutamates, and sulfur. For the past week, with only one slip up, we have been eating pastured turkey burgers & 1/2 of a peeled red delicious apples for breakfast; baked acorn squash with palm shortening & maple syrup for lunch; the other half of the apple for snack; pastured beef burgers with romaine lettuce for dinner. Think of it as a customized elimination diet.

    Well, I know it sounds crazy but it's totally working. Her skin is clear, her mood is fabulous, she's sleeping great and the feeling in the air is positive. Today was day seven. I think we are giving it two more days to get to 100% clear - the first time we will have hit baseline in over a year.

    We will systematically start to test individual foods, within individual food chemical categories. We are going to start with sals (the one we think we have a moderate tolerance of) and go from there. Hopefully, we will see not only which food chemicals affect us, but if there are individual foods yielding reactions.

    I've also ordered us a lovely iron- & copper-free multi, a B6-heavy B-complex, Molybdenum & Zinc Picolinate from Thorne. This is on top of our K, D, & mag citrate. There is betaine, probiotics & enzymes in there somewhere, but I want to trial everything slowly so we can truly see which causes yield which effects. I think we are slowly going to overcome our nutritional deficiencies, we are going to heal our wonky guts, get rid of the "mysterious parasite" and the H. pylori and we will HEAL. And soon.

    We are currently trying to find a good, local GI doc to help us with the H. pylori and the rando parasite. If anyone has any leads, please pass them on. Thanks!
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