Saturday, December 30, 2006

Andy's Check Ups

Andy had his annual check up this week. He is finally over 40 lbs! He weighed in at 41.4 pounds and is 47.5 inches tall. He is about 50% for height and has gone up to almost 10% for weight. We are very happy.

He continues to be pretty healthy - he hasn't been to the doctor for anything in a year - no strep, no fevers. Nothing. We continue to hold off on any booster shots and the ped was OK with that - I am so fortunate that she doesn't give us any grief over that. None of Andy's shots had mercury in them - but there are so many other things in there - I just don't know.

But he continues to have GI problems. He had a series of rashes and tummy aches in early December. I thought I had figured it out - the only new thing he had to eat was bananas - so I was pretty sure that was it. We removed them from the diet and then last week (since he is off school) we introduced them again. No rashes and no tummy aches - nothing.

I have no idea now what is going on. Is it a new food allergy? Is he getting some hidden gluten? Was he getting something not on his diet at school? He has always had dark circles under his eyes. They are lighter now than they were when he was younger - but they never really went away and because of that I am pretty sure he has some other food issues.

Anyway, he is not being monitored by a gastroenterologist and he really should be for his celiac - so we are going to start there. And then if we don't get answers then we will go to an allergist. We made an appointment for the GI for February 21. It is such a long wait always to get in to any specialist - but this is a pediatric gastro, so hopefully it will be worth the wait.

He also went to the dentist this week for a check up (get all of the appointments out of the way while school is out). He was pretty scared - he has had a lot of traumatic experiences at the dentist in the past, but luckily the dental assistant was really patient with him. He did not want to do the X-rays - he was convinced they would hurt somehow - but eventually he cooperated. And the good news is - No cavaties this time! So we do not have to go back for 6 months. By his next visit, his molars should be all the way in and they will want to seal them - so I have to do my homework on sealants and if they are OK - always something to investigate - what ever happened to being able to trust the doctors and just let them do what they needed to do? My trust in the medical system has been totally eroded.....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

GFCF Holiday Treats

I discovered these recently - they are GFCF, but are produced in a facility that also processes dairy - so if you are really sensitive to dairy, don't buy them. Baker's also makes them in a cup ready to microwave - the ones in the cup contain dairy - only the bag ones are GFCF.
Don't these look yummy?
1½ cups peanut butter (I use all natural)
½ cup margarine (I use Crystal Farms Non Dairy)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Baker’s Real Chocolate Melts in the bag (cup has dairy)

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix everything except the chocolate – you may have to use your hands to mix well.

Shape dough into small balls and place on waxed paper.

Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl according to package directions.

Insert a toothpick into a ball and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate to set.

Peanut Brittle is generally GFCF, unless it is made with real butter. Hard on your teeth, but a nice holiday treat.

Microwave Peanut Brittle
1½ cups raw peanuts
1 cup sugar
½ cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking soda

Grease a cookie sheet and set aside. Mix peanuts, sugar, syrup, and salt in a large microwave safe bowl; cook 6 to 7 minutes on high stirring 2 or 3 times. Mixture should be bubbling and the peanuts browned. Quickly stir in butter and vanilla. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove and add soda and stir quickly until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto greased cookie sheet and spread to desired thickness. Let cool and break into pieces.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I added a few links along the side. Check them out! I still have links to add - but this is a start. Check out the links to blogs.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Successful GFCF Birthday Party

We had Andy's birthday party yesterday. He is turning 7 years old this week.

Recipe for a successful GFCF Birthday Party:
1. Hold it at a time when no one expects to be fed more than cake (1-3 pm)
2. Plan an activity like Stuff A Friend so you don't have to fill goody bags with junky candy and toys - and it keeps them busy the whole time so they don't have time to want more food.
3. Buy the cake from a gluten free bakery like the Bittersweet Bakery in Eagan, MN. It tasted so good no one knew that it was GFCF.

We held Andy's party at a local nature center. The first hour was led by a naturalist - they talked about Minnesota wildlife - went on a walk looking for wild life and then checked out some wild life in aquariums (snakes, turtles and frogs). Then we spent a half hour making stuffed animals - and then just had time to serve cake and open presents and it was time to go. Everyone had a blast and there were no meltdowns and no diet infractions.

If you are curious - Andy is in the back row in an orange shirt holding his stuffed pig.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

GFCF Stuffed Bell Peppers

We had these for dinner tonight and they were a big hit. The cinnamon and brown sugar gave it a different flavor that was readily accepted by all.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
6 large, well proportioned bell peppers
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium to large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup plain cooked rice (any type of long grain rice works well)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper to your personal taste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste

Slice stems and tops off green peppers. Remove seeds and white membranes. Rinse and set aside to dry.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown Turkey with onion and garlic in a non-stick skillet. Sauté over low heat until turkey is thoroughly cooked.
Mix in cooked rice, brown sugar, vinegar, all spices, 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce, and the tomato paste
Stuff peppers with the meat mixture.
Place upright in a 2-quart casserole dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
Place any remaining mixture around the peppers in the dish.
Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers.
Bake for 1 hour

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What happens when Andy and I eat things we shouldn't?

This is a rash on Andy's arm that he has been scratching at and I didn't catch right away.
These hives are just starting on his upper leg. They are super itchy.
This is a fungal rash from dairy products on my leg. The round appearance is a clue to it being fungal.
These are some itchy hives on my hand from eating gluten.
I am not really sure what is causing Andy's latest round of hives, but we have been fighting them for about 3 weeks now. I treat them with prescription ointment and they go away pretty quickly and the next morning a new crop pops up somewhere else. We are think we may have figured it out and that it is Bananas - but we are not really sure yet.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

GFCF Waffles

There was a thread today on the autism board on babycenter about waffles and it made me hungry for waffles - so I had to make some. Unfortunately my digital camera is not working so I had to take pictures of the waffles with my regular camera. When I get the film developed, I will scan the picture and edit this post to show them. Andy like his cut into 4 long strips and then he dips them in the maple syrup.

GFCF Waffles
3 eggs
1 ½ cups milk substitute (I used Dari Free)
1 ¾ gf flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening (I used crisco)

Heat waffle iron. Beat eggs. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth.
Pour Batter into waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops.
Remove waffles carefully.
This made 14 waffles in my waffle maker.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The little touches....

The little touches can be what makes Thanksgiving fun for the little ones. Sometimes we get so busy with all of the cooking that we forget to put fun things on the table too - even if it is just your family. I collect napkin rings and use them for special meals. I let Andy pick out the ones we use - and if he picks snowmen and there is no snow on the ground yet - that is OK. And if he picks 3 different ones for each of us, that is OK too - just makes it more fun!

GFCF Cranberry Bread

No Thanksgiving meal is complete at my house without cranberry bread. I grew up in Warrens, Wisconsin - the Cranberry Capital of the World and even ran for Cranberry Queen in 1974. The population of Warrens at the time I was growing up there was about 300 and even today I doubt it is over 500. Yet they host the largest Cranberry Festival in the US the last weekend of September every year and thousands and thousands of people flock there. I use the same recipe I have used for years except that I substitute Bob's Red Mill GF mix for the flour. It turned out a little crumbly this year (but still tasted great). Next time I will probably add a little Xantham Gum.
Cranberry Bread

In one bowl sift together:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder

In another bowl, mix:
1 well beaten egg
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Mix with dry ingredients and add:
2 tablespoons hot water
½ cup nuts (chopped)
1½ cups cranberries cut in half

Put in one well greased & floured bread pan (or two smaller loaf pans). Bake one hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from pan as soon as possible. While still steaming and hot wrap in wax paper and foil.
Store in refrigerator at all times for perfect slicing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Green Beans with Carmelized Onions and Almonds

This was our veggie side dish on Thanksgiving. To make it I thawed 2 quarts of green beans that I had frozen from my garden - but you can use commercially frozen beans as well. I drained all of the ice crystals off of them. I sliced 4 medium onions into slices and cooked over medium heat in 2 tablespoons GFCF margarine until nice and brown looking. While they were cooking, I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and a pinch of brown sugar - not too much. When they were nice and brown looking I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and cooked until the liquid was cooked off. Then I added 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and the green beans. I cooked until heated through. I added another 1/4 cup of slivered almonds on top for crunch. Everyone gobbled these down - even Andy likes onions when they are carmelized.

GFCF Banana Cream Pie

I made this for dessert on Thanksgiving. I used a mix from Miss Roben's for the pie crust and it was not that great - kind of like cardboard. Pie Crust mixes I have used in the past that were great were the graham cracker mix from Miss Roben's and the pie crust mix from the Gluten Free Pantry. The filling is also good just as a pudding. Added Note: Miss Roben's has reformulated their pie crust mix - so don't rule it out yet. They are sending me some to try out. Miss Roben's has great customer service - they want happy customers and it shows.

Banana Cream Pie
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups milk substitute (I used Dari Free)
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons GFCF Margarine (I use Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 bananas, sliced
1 9-inch baked pie shell
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks slightly. Stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks – mix well. Return egg yolk mixture to saucepan and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in margarine and vanilla. Arrange banana slices in bottom of pie shell. Pour hot filling into pie shell. To prevent a “film” from forming on the top as it cools, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the filling. Cool to room temperature and then put in fridge to chill thoroughly. Serve with Soy Whip topping.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And all the GFCF fixings!

I made extra stuffing as well as mashed potatoes and gravy. Here are my recipes:
GFCF Bread Stuffing
Chop up 2 cups of onions and 4 cups of celery (adjust to your own tastes). Melt one cup of margarine, add onions and celery and cook until tender. Dice up 15 cups of soft GFCF bread and place in large bowl. Add celery, onions, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss until well mixed. Gradually add one cup chicken broth until moistness desired. This is enough to stuff a 12 lb bird and have 2 quarts to cook on the side (cook in 350 degree oven until heated through - 20 to 30 minutes).
GFCF Mashed Potatoes
Peel and cube 5 lbs of potatoes. Wash and put in large saucepan with water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt. 1 tablespoon dried minced onions and 4 teaspoons dried minced garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 30 mintues). Drain well. Put in a large bowl with 2 sticks of GFCF margarine and 1 tub of Tofutti Sour Supreme. Beat until Fluffy.
GFCF Chicken Gravy
Mix 1 can of GFCF Chicken Broth with 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 2 cups of water. Heat over medium heat until it thickens and boils. If it is too thick - add more water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

GFCF Turkey

Here is the turkey ready for carving. It was a butterball and I stuffed it with GFCF bread stuffing. It was juicy and wonderful!

A GFCF Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful and tasty GFCF Thanksgiving. We sure did. This picture shows our entire meal except for the pie - everything was GFCF and tasty.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

GFCF Peanut Butter Cookies

Andy and I made cookies this afternoon. My cookies are on the left and his are on the right. He wanted bigger cookies.
Here is the recipe that I have modified and we love to use:
GFCF Peanut Butter Cookies
½ cup GFCF Margarine (I used Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
½ cup Peanut Butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Blend)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Beat margarine for 30 seconds. Add peanut butter and both sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, baking soda and salt and beat until well combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using a fork, make criss cross designs on the cookies. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown around edges. Cool on cookie sheet.

Erewhon Rice Twice Cereal

This cereal is a little different from the usual Rice Krispie type that I buy. It has both rice puffs and the crispies in it - Andy thinks it looks like you have worms in your Rice Krispies (and that is appealing to him!).

Enjoy Life Allergen Free Cookies

These cookies are expensive, but they are soft and tasty. They come in a variety of flavors and are free of the top 8 allergens.

Soy Whip by Soyatoo

Now this was a real find at the store today - fake whipped cream that tastes good! I have tried Hip Whip and a few others in the past - but they were pretty gross. This stuff tastes pretty close to the real deal (especially if you have been gfcf for awhile). The bottom picture is an "ice cream sundae" made with Soy Dream Vanilla, home made raspberry sauce (from raspberries I grew) and Soy Whip on top. Andy ate it all gone and declared me the *best mom in the whole world* for finding this stuff!

Glutino Gluten Free Brown Gravy Mix

I was pretty excited to find this today in the store. For those who are very dairy sensitive, it does say it may contain traces of dairy. I am going to try it on Thanksgiving. I will be sure and post back how it turned out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday is Taco Night at our House

Fridays we pretty much always have Tacos - which is good for two reasons. One, Dan cooks them so I don't have to and two, Andy eats them really well and I don't have to nag him even once to clean his plate.

Tacos were one thing that I thought we would give up forever - but with a few modifications, they are back on our menu. For one thing, I don't trust that there isn't hidden gluten in the seasoning mixes you buy in the store - so I make my own and I also have never been able to find an acceptable grated cheese. So we eat them without cheese.

What we make is really Tostadas for Dan and me, but Andy likes his in a hard taco shell. We use The Turkey Store extra lean ground turkey and we cook it up and season it with my homemade seasonings.

To make our tostadas or tacos, we first put refried beans on the flat tostada shell (or in the curved taco shell) and then we put the meat on. We then top with Tofutti brand sour cream substitute, salsa and lettuce. They taste so good and we don't even miss the cheese.

Here is my recipe for the taco seasoning mix:

Taco Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons instant minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon corn starch
½ teaspoon instant minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin

I make this mix up 6 at a time. I use Tupperware 2 oz. midgets. I just line 6 of them up and do along assembly line adding each ingredient and then moving on to the next.

To use: Brown ground beef (or turkey) in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease (I use extra lean ground turkey so there is no grease to drain). Add ½ cup water and 1 packet of taco seasoning mix. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes filling for 8 to 10 tacos.

If I think of it tonight I will take a picture of our tacos and tostadas so you can see how yummy they look.

Enjoy -

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Change in Kirkman's Toothpaste Gel

If any of you are using the GFCF toothpaste gel from Kirkman's you should be aware that the formula has changed. It is still GFCF - but if you have a child like I do that is resistant to change - you might want to be aware that the taste is different.

When we bought our last tube of it, Andy decided he didn't like it - but since I don't use it myself - I thought Andy was just being Andy and rejecting something that he has always liked. I bought a couple of other types of nonflouride gfcf toothpastes, but he didn't like them either. So I gave told him that he just had to use one of them - no choice and I am pretty firm about things like this.

Well, then I went to Atlanta for a conference at work and was gone for 4 nights and Dan had to help him brush his teeth. He put on quite a stubborn front for Daddy and Dan calls me at the conference all upset. Andy refused to use any toothpaste and what should he do? I told him to pick his battles - Mommy is out of town - it is not going to be the end of the world if he brushes his teeth without toothpaste one or two nights - but Dan was not going to let Andy win on this - we recently put quite a bit of money into Andy's mouth with caps (because we wouldn't do the mercury filled analgram fillings) and Dan does not want the rest of Andy's teeth to rot. They had quite a blow out - but Daddy won and Andy brushed his teeth. When I got home I found a cabinet door pulled off in the bathroom - Andy had pulled in out in his fit and thrown it at his Daddy (didn't hit him). I had quite the talk with him about that not being acceptable behavior and we have kept the cabinet door off for the time being - to remind him to behave. He has been brushing his teeth with no complaints.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a new friend in the UK (Karan) and she asked me if I had noticed any difference in the Kirkman's gel - her son with autism refuses to use it. I wrote back to her and told her that Andy had refused to use it at first but that I hadn't realized that it had changed - I thought Andy was just being Andy (bad mommy - how could I have not noticed?). I suggested that we both e-mail Kirkman's and ask them to change the formula back or make the old formula available to those of us with kids that don't like change.

Before I had a chance to send an e-mail to Kirkman's - she forwarded me her reply from them (boy they are speedy - great customer service there - even if we don't like what they conveyed).
Here is the response:
I spoke with Larry, our chemist, about the toothpast gel. Our old manufacturer has quit making the formula that you had before. We are unable to get the old formula back. The product number has changed. I was not aware that you had not had this formula before when I sent it out to you, or I would have told you about the changes. The new formula is not as sweet as the old formula. I apologize for the inconvenience. Also, we do not have any of the old products anywhere. Thank you very much. Again, I am very sorry.

So if you are currently using Kirkman's you might want to be aware when you order again. Hopefully you won't end up with a damaged bathroom like I did. Although now that we are past that I don't think I would want to go back to the old - he might have the same reaction!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki

We had this for dinner tonight and it is one of Andy's favorite meals. I can even get him to eat brown rice with the sauce from this over the rice. Of course, my fruit loving son loves the meal even more when I serve pineapple chunks with it!

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki

2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds chicken pieces – skin and remove visible fat. I use thighs and legs since they are so cheap
¾ cup pineapple juice (or use any juice)
1/3 gf soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar (Heinz is gf)
½ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons corn starch

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet. Arrange the chicken in the skillet. Fry over medium-high heat until the chicken browns slightly. Turn and brown all sides. Mix all of the rest of the ingredients in a small container and pour into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook covered about 45 minutes (less time if you are using smaller pieces). If the liquid in the pan is too thin – remove the lid and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens up.

Serve over rice.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gold N Plump Gluten Free Products

I have been avoiding most pre-marinated meats since we have gone GFCF thinking the spices may not be gluten free.

Since discovering Jennie-O has some gluten free products I decided to investigate and see if I can find some more products that might be easy for a working mom to make.

Since there are always coupons in the mail for Gold N Plump chicken products, I decided to start there.

Here is what they told me:
Gluten-Free Products include: Seasoned whole birds - Mesquite and Lemon Pepper Premium Selects Marinated breasts, tenders and strips (fresh, tray pack) Whole rotisserie products Please verify when you purchase. Any products containing gluten would list it in the ingredients.

It's not that big of a deal to mariante my own - but sometimes taking that extra step to make the marinate is just too much time. Nice to know I have more options.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am sick of the GFCF Diet

We have been on this diet for 2 years and 11 months now and never once during this time have I expressed negative feelings towards it.

It isn't like I have a choice and I want to present a positive picture for Andy - and I think part of the reason that he is so accepting of his diet is that he follows my example.

But today I just want to vent and get it all out. I am sick of this damn diet!

I know today is going to be a bad day for Andy. Even though we don't celebrate Halloween, they do at school (he is taking a costume to school - we allow him to choose to participate or not - last year he chose not to) and the other kids will be able to eat their treats without regard to what they contain. His will be put in his backpack to be brought home and checked over before he can eat any. If he is lucky, there will be one treat that he recognizes that will not have red 40 in it that he can just eat - but that is a rarity.

I am sick of spending my entire weekends cooking so that we will have enough left overs to eat during the week since I get home from work too late to cook a meal from scratch during the week.

I am sick of having to veto vacation ideas because we can't get a reservation anywhere with a full kitchen.

I am sick of not having the option of going out to eat very many places.

I am just sick and tired of how this diet controls our lives.

Will we stay on the diet? Of course we will. The course has been set and we will continue to sail along, but I don't have to like it.

Is it really that bad? I guess not. We do eat healthier and in cooking from scratch it isn't that much more expensive than a regular diet. We do all feel better on the diet.

Is it really that hard? No, and it does get easier over time.

So what is your beef today lady? THAT IT IS NOT FAIR TO MY CHILD! That is all - it stinks to have to put a child on this diet.

There, now that I have vented I feel better.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey

The gravy packet in this contains gluten - I just threw it away. The turkey itself and the seasonings are GFCF!

I am really excited about finding this - while I don't mind cooking from scratch most of the time and I do know it is healthier for my family - there are just times (like yesterday) when I don't have time to make a fantastic meal. It was so cool to be able to just put this in the oven. It goes straight from the freezer to the oven - so at 3:00 yesterday when I realized I had nothing thawed for dinner I was just able to pull it out and put in the oven. Made some mashed potatoes and frozen veggies and we had a wonderful meal.

Jennie-O's list of gluten free products can be found here:

It was moist and wonderful and tasted great - check it out.

You might also want to check out how bzz agent - they sent me this turkey breast for free! They give you free products that match your lifestyle (you fill out profiles) and then you fill out reports (bzz) on who you talked to about them. It is just honest feedback. They don't want me to lie and say something is good if it isn't. Just create by talking to my friends about the products I try (which I would do anyway) and then report back to them. I don't get paid to do it - but getting the free products is fun. And sometimes it is something like this that really makes my life easier. I plan on keeping one in the freezer for emergencies always. Bzz agent is here:
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

GFCF Pumpkin Bars

I made these from pumpkins we grew, but you could use canned pumpkin just as easily.

GFCF Pumpkin Bars

2 cups GFCF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GFCF mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 beaten eggs
2 cups pureed pumpkin (I used fresh – you can substitute 1-16 oz can)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil (I used canola)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir flour, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil; beat until well combined.
Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
Pour batter into ungreased pan 9” x 13” or if you want thinner bars use a 10” by 15” pan.
Bake in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out. clean. If you use a bigger pan – cook for less time.
Cool and frost.

½ stick GFCF margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla flavored Silk brand soymilk.
Beat all ingredients until fluffy – if too stiff, add more milk. If too runny, add more sugar.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GFCF Apple Spice Cake

I made have posted this recipe before, but I keep tweaking the recipe. Here is a cake I just made for a co-worker.
Apple Spice Cake
4 ½ cups peeled, chopped apples
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or Fruit Fresh)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice or fruit fresh – it is just to keep the apples from darkening. Cover and set aside. Beat oil with the sugar and eggs until creamy. Sift flour with salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Gradually beat into oil mixture. Beat in vanilla extract (batter will be very stiff). Fold in apples – the batter will get easier to mix as you get the apples mixed in. Pour (spread – it is thick) into pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick in the center.

I cut the apples into little pieces, but I think shredding them like you do carrots for a carrot cake would work also. I think this would also be good with pecans.

This makes a very large cake; it filled my pan up totally – if your pan is a little small, you might want to make a half dozen cupcakes so the pan doesn’t overflow.
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Food projects in school

Blame it on age or simply not having to notice and therefore remember, but I don't remember that many food projects when I was in elementary school. I do remember taking treats to school for my birthday and making Mexican food in Spanish Class in Jr. High and High School, but I don't remember so many projects involving food in elementary school.

Andy is only 1 month into First Grade and already we had encountered a few birthdays and Japenese food tasting. Now I have to find and/or make Hot Cross Buns for him because the music class has been learning the song of the same name and the music teacher is bringing Hot Cross Buns in for the students.

And it nevers comes at a good time. I did find a recipe on the internet and then yesterday afternoon, Dan ran out to our favorite health food store and found some cinnamon buns that I think I can just put a cross of icing on.

I feel pretty proud of myself most of the time that I have the lunch and snack routine down so well that feeding him daily at school is pretty seemless - so when I need to put something together at the last minute and it doesn't fall neatly into my pre-planned week I get irritated and want to scream why do they have to use so many food related themes at school? But then I calm down and realize it is not the end of the world - that it probably is a really effective way of learning and the kids probably love it.

This week I think I am set, I just wonder what next week will bring.......

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New packaging for Glutino Pretzels

I was a little confused when I was shopping and thought maybe they didn't have the pretzels we like so much, then I figured out that it was just new packaging! So I thought I would share in case someone else is looking for the other picture I posted. Same great taste - just a different bag. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I wonder if I also have celiac.....

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I need to be GFCF as well as Andy. Since we do not bring any non-GFCF food into this house, most of the time I am. I have a confirmed dairy allergy, but I am starting to wonder if perhaps I also have celiac. I certainly do much better on a GFCF diet. My entire life I have suffered from constipation and bowel issues. I have suffered unexplained rashes and practically lived on antacids and I always had canker sores in my mouth. Once we went GFCF for Andy I started to feel much better - but I was still getting both gluten and casein when at work. I was unemployed from June of last year through January this year. During that time since I was home with Andy I had very little chance to consume anything that wasn't GFCF. My BM's were never so normal as they were during that time and I never ate one single antacid. In the fall we took a trip out of town and I had some ice cream. Within minutes I was heading to the bathroom and had the runs all weekend. I got a runny nose and thought I was coming down with something - it was followed by the most terrible (and itchy) rash a few days later. Two months later I decided see if it really was the dairy (I had been tested for a dairy allergy years previous and it was positive, but it was too hard for me to stay away from dairy - I was still in denial) so I repeated the ice cream experiment with the same results. Once I returned to work at the end of January I again had many more opportunities to eat gluten and casein. I found I could eat small amounts of dairy and be OK - but no chunks of cheese, no pizza and no ice cream. Gluten didn't seem to bother me - but I really didn't eat it that much - maybe a few croutons on a salad. I was out of state all week this past week at a conference for my job. I avoided dairy - but it is impossible to avoid gluten at these sorts of things - and there was plenty of gluten everywhere. I got so sick. I still feel sick and I have been home for two days. I have eaten a whole huge Sam's Club bottle of Tums, my bones hurt, my skin is itchy (a rash is just appearing), my mouth is full of canker sores and I've had a runny nose. Something triggered a migraine (something I thought maybe I had finally gotten rid of for good). My son is adopted - I am not genetically related to him - what are the odds that I would have celiac as well? Regardless, I think I need to stay GFCF as much as possible. I think I will enquire into a special menu at the next conference I attend.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

GFCF Carrot Cake Recipe

I made this carrot cake for a co-workers birthday. I probably won't even tell him that it is GFCF - I doubt anyone will be able to tell the difference. I also made a dozen cupcakes and Andy practically inhaled them (without frosting).
Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups canola oil
4 eggs
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill GFCF Flour Mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated carrots (small fresh ones work taste best)
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (a 20 oz can is about right)
1 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts you prefer)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round pans.
Beat sugar with oil; add eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift flour with other dry ingredients. Add flour mixture, mix well. Beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto wire racks. Frost when cool.

Rum-Buttercream Frosting
1 pound box of powdered sugar
1 cup GFCF margarine
½ teaspoon imitation rum flavoring (if making for a child, use vanilla instead)
2 to 3 tablespoons hot milk substitute (I use Dari Free)

Beat sugar with butter and rum flavoring. Gradually beat in milk.
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

My son was fed a regular muffin at school!

It has been almost 3 years since Andy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. During those 3 years I have been most fortunate to not have too many problems with his diet. His schools and daycare have always taken it very seriously and I have always packed all of his food and provided bulk snacks for special occasions. In the past, they have either called before feeding him something or only fed him food provided by or approved by me. And Andy is very good about questioning what is set before him.

That is not to say that Andy has never had an infraction and consumed gluten (or dairy). Most of the time it is minor and it is something that I, myself have given him - either because I did not read the label as closely as I should have and missed something or because it was previously safe and I missed that they changed something in it - or it had hidden gluten and I neglected to call the manufacturer to check.

So I was quite surprised when Andy started showing signs that he had consumed gluten and even more surprised when I tracked the source down and found out that it was a muffin given to him by a paraprofessional (aide) assigned to work with him at school. But I think I handled the situation appropriately (I always worry if I am too much of a bitch about these things or too soft) and I feel pretty confident the situation has been resolved and won't happen again.

Here is the story from the beginning:

School started the day after Labor Day. The week before school started, the school had a meet and greet day where all of the kids come to school and meet their teachers and get aquainted with their new classrooms. Dan and I took Andy to that and took along a list for the new teacher of the foods that Andy could and couldn't have. We chatted briefly about it. Although I was offered a private time to bring Andy to see the classroom and talk with the teacher by the principal I turned that down and only attended the meet and greet. We were short staffed at work and getting out early for the meet and greet was all I felt I could handle.

In the written letter I had given the teacher with the list of foods was a request that I be kept informed of all food related activites in the classroom so I could provide alternative foods for Andy and an offer to send in bulk snacks to keep on hand. I assumed the letter had been read. On the first day of school I learned that the paraprofessional assigned to Andy's class was one that had worked with him the previous year in Kindergarten. I was thrilled. She was very good with him.

We continued to be short staffed at work. I sent Andy's lunch in daily with him and he has a button on his lunch box that says "I am on a special diet and can only have foods brought from home." With being so busy at work I overlooked the fact that it was a new school year and the teachers are overwhelmed with getting to know all of their children and I did not persue talk about the diet any further. I assumed everything was OK. I let my child down.

So we get through the first two weeks of school and I think everything is going well. When I picked Andy up from daycare on Friday (which I normally do not do, Dan does), his daycare teacher tells me that she thinks something happened at school because Andy was brought out to her by his PE teacher and it appeared that he had been being difficult - something about reading - and he had a meltdown - but she wasn't sure. That was sign number 1 of a gluten infraction - but the signs are easy to miss - he has plenty of meltdowns that have nothing to do with gluten.

I read his school communication notebook when I get home and there is nothing in there about an afternoon meltdown over reading. There is a note from his para saying that they had celebrated a birthday at school today and could I please send in some fruit snacks or something to keep on hand so he can have a treat in situations like this? It did not state that they had given him anything to eat.

He continues throughout the evening on Friday to fly off the handle very easily and lack self confidence. This was sign number 2. But again - nothing to really point to gluten. Dan does homework with him every night - even if there isn't any from the school. This time there was some from the school - luckily we had all weekend to get it done because he was not being very cooperative - couldn't even get him to try. All he would say was "I can't".

Sign number 3. The diarhea begins. He asks me to come and wipe his butt and I notice that his BM's are much softer than normal and ask him what he has eaten - how much fruit had he had today? (this kid loves fruit) I assume he has just been eating too much fruit. But 30 minutes later he is in the bathroom again and so it continued until bedtime. At this point I am starting to suspect he has consumed some gluten and I question him on what he has eaten that I didn't give him and he informs me that Mrs. C gave him a muffin - but that it was tiny and had no frosting on it. I wonder where she would have gotten a gluten free muffin from and question him further and he says he asked her if it was OK and she said it was. I decide he couldn't possibly be telling me the truth and start reading labels on everything in the house he has eaten. Mrs. C worked with him last year and certainly knows his dietary restrictions.

Signs number 4 & 5. He starts complaining that he has "growing pains" that his bones are hurting and his skin is itchy.

Signs number 6 & 7. He wakes up in the middle of the night terribly congested and with a cough full of phelgm. It would be easy to think he is just developing a cold, but with all of the other signs, it is pretty evident at this time that it is all related to the gluten.

All of this continued throughout the weekend. Sign number 8, the rash didn't appear until Tuesday - something it happens that way - he is itchy for several days before you see anything physical.

By Monday morning I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to find the source of the gluten this time. I wondered if he snuck something from another child - which he has never done before, but there is a first time for everything. But I kept coming back to the fact that he said Mrs. C had given him a muffin. I still wasn't believing it - if I had I would have gone into the school and talked to her - but I did write a note in his notebook asking if she had and if so, what type of muffin was it?

Monday evening I rush home from work so I can spend a little time with Andy before going to a PTA meeting. I read his notebook and find a note from Mrs. C. She had given him a muffin - it was a regular, gluten laden one - and she was sorry. I was stunned. I went to the PTA meeting and I actually sat right next to the principal, but I didn't say anything. It wasn't the time or place - and I hadn't fully processed it yet. Had I said something then I probably wouldn't have handled it as well.

I spent a pretty restless night on Monday wondering how best to proceed. I had to make sure this didn't happen again. But on the other hand I didn't want Mrs. C to get in trouble - she is very good with Andy and she did admit her mistake and she did apologize. I just want to make sure it doesn't happen again.

So I get up early on Tuesday as usual (I'm an early bird, always up at 5am). I print out information on Celiac Disease to send into the school and I wrote a long e-mail to the principal. I copied his teacher on the e-mail so she would know what I said and not feel I was going over her head - I just felt this needed to go up a level. If an aide that was really familar with Andy could make this mistake, what about the specialist that only spends time with him once a week or less? I needed to know that everyone who works with Andy knew about his diet. I needed some assurance that this would not happen again.

In the e-mail I tried to just lay out the facts. What had happened, what the long term effects of consuming gluten are, the symptoms that Andy had been experiencing and how unacceptable it was that he should have been given gluten by a staff member. I made it clear that I was not out to get anyone and an apology had been given but I needed assurance that it wouldn't happen again.

I feel I got that assurance. I just love our school and our principal. Somerset Elementary and Mary Bowman are the greatest. Mary called a meeting that day with all of the staff that works with Andy and she went over it with all of them. They all understand the importance of this. She then called our home and spoke with Dan and apologized to him. When I dropped Andy off at school on Wednesday morning I got apologies from his teacher, Mrs. C and the principal. I sincerely feel that they have taken this seriously and it won't happen again. They all feel bad.

It was a wake up call for all of us. Next year I will make sure I make as big of deal of his diet at the beginning of the school year as I did when he started Kindergarten. As a mom of a child with celiac, you just can't ever let your guard down.

Andy is doing better. His only lingering sign is a small rash and a cough (which is getting better daily). Gluten can take several weeks to leave the system. We are lucky that this appears to be working it's way through his system fairly quickly.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What I love about my Special Child

I posted this earlier today on the autism board on babycenter, but I thought it was worthy of posting here as well. It is easy to get frustrated and see all the parts of autism that we don't like - sometimes it is good to dwell on the positives.

1. His logical, no-nonsense approach to life. I mean, really, do so many words have to have double meanings? What is the point in that and I love it when my child points that out to me.

2. The way he stims when he is excited. Wouldn't it be great if all of us could learn not to contain our joy? He just beams with happiness when he is stimming.

3. Some of his coping mechanisms are ones we could all learn from - for instance when he sees someone that he isn't sure who they are - he will greet them with "Do I know you?" And they usually laugh and they might accuse him of being silly, but they tell him who they are. Seriously, how many times have you found yourself talking to someone that you have no idea who they are and you are afraid to tell them you don't know who they are?

4. His artistic talents. This kid may not be able to draw real good yet, but he puts details into his drawings of things that really are amazing and the colors that he chooses.

5. His joy when he accomplishes something. He gets very frustrated and has to have a lot of encouragement to try something new, but when he finally is able to try something - it is just amazing to see how he lights up and is so proud of himself.

6. His acceptance of his special diet. He never tries to steal food from another child and he always questions any food put before him by any other than me - and while he may feel sad that the other kids are having a treat that he can't have - he is very accepting of it being the way it is.

7. His singing and his musical talent. I just love hearing this child sing along to his favorite CD. He can carry a tune much better than I can.

8. The way he loves to help me in the garden. His knowledge of gardening is pretty awesome for a child his age - and he didn't learn that from being forced to help me, but because he loves to be in the garden with me and is always asking questions.

9. The way he loves to snuggle with me.

10. His love of stuffed animals. I love seeing that softer side of a little boy.

And I am going to add one more that I didn't think of when I posted earlier.

11. His sense of humor. This is one funny kid - he gets how humor should be done and that draws other kids to him. When I hear other kids say that Andy is a funny kid, I know they mean it literally and not odd!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

School Lunch Day 6

The thermos today contains baked beans and cut up chicken hot dogs. This is probably Andy's all time favorite lunch. I am also sending a juice box, fruit cup and carrots with thousand island dressing. For morning snack he has a container of Soy yogurt. The next several lunches on my menu are repeats. I won't post another picture until I send something new. If you want a copy of my menu spreadsheet, e-mail me at and I will send it to you. Posted by Picasa

School Lunch Day 5

The thermos contains cooked rice noodles (Andy requested these instead of bread and since he would probably just throw the bread away, why not - it's a grain) 1/2 of a hamburger and green beans. Then he also has Soy Milk, a fruit cup and ketchup to dip his hamburger in. For his morning snack, we have carrot sticks (carrots from our garden) and thousand island dressing to dip them in. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 09, 2006

School Lunch Day 4

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, baby carrots, plum, Perky O's, Juice Box and a Fruit Cup for morning snack. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tropical Source Chocolate Chips

Another GFCF Chocolate Chip. Thanks Jennifer for the pic. Posted by Picasa

Tree Top Applesauce

Thanks to Jennifer for this pic. Posted by Picasa


I love Tings - unfortunately Andy can't have them. They are GFCF, but everytime he has tried them - 3 times, he has become a spoiled rotten brat with meltdown after meltdown. I don't know what it could be - the nutrional yeast? Anyway - they are a great tasting snack that is similar to Cheetos. Thanks Jennifer for the pic. Posted by Picasa

Sun-Maid Raisins

You need to be careful when purchasing raisins - many have hidden gluten as they are coated with flour to keep them from sticking together - and since that is considered part of the packaging process and not part of the food it doesn't need to be disclosed. A good bet is if they clump together, they are fine, but if they separate easily - call the manufacturer and make sure they are GFCF. Posted by Picasa

Snack Fruits

I can't read the brand name on these - but the picture is real clear - if they carry these in your area, you should be able to find them based on this picture. This is another picture from Jennifer in Washington. Posted by Picasa