Sunday, December 27, 2009

Product Review: Kinni Kritters Animal Cookies




Over the holidays I visited a Good Earth store in Orem, UT. They had a huge selection of products (particularly snack products like cookies) that were safe for Barrett (no dairy, gluten, soy, egg, or yeast). I splurged and bought a lot of them and will post a review of each as I use them.

The first one we opened was the animal cookies listed in the title (http://consumer.kinnikinnick.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.home/productcategoryid/12) These do have soy lecithin, but Barrett doesn't seem to have a problem with the lecithin (amazingly enough). They were delicious though! I think they taste as good as any normal cookie and Barrett was so excited to be able to eat a cookie. I wish I had bought more boxes of it because it isn't available where I live at this time.

Product Review: Gluten Free Life Cookie Mix


























I'm not sure if this is a real brand or not. I picked it up near the check stand at a Good Earth store in Orem, UT. My guess is that it is created by either Good Earth itself or a local distributer. There isn't really a prominent brand name on it. The ingredients are sorghum flour, organic evaporated can juice, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and sea salt. You are supposed to add 1 1/2 sticks of soft butter, 1 egg and that is all. (I used Earth Balance soy free buttery spread).

This mix is terrible.

1. It smells disgusting and that is never a good sign.

2. The recommended butter/flour ratio is totally off. It was way too much liquid. I would recommend less butter and/or using half shortening and half butter.

3. It said to drop by tablespoons onto a sheet, which I did. They completely melted together to make one giant cookie.

4. They ended up being hard as rock.

5. If you could manage to chip any away to eat it did not taste very good.

6. The recipe says it can make chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, or sugar cookies. What it really means is that you can put chocolate chips in it, roll it in sugar, or roll it in cinnamon sugar (although it would actually be extremely difficult to roll in anything with how runny it was).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Rice Cheese


A friend of ours with a milk allergy made an interesting discovery the other day: rice cheese. Better yet, Vegan rice cheese. This "cheese", made by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, comes in slices like the Kraft Singles. I tried them myself and while they weren't bad, I wasn't that excited about them. It seemed more like a really soft cracker than cheese, but it would probably be alright on a sandwich or something.

The good thing is that my son really liked it. He felt so special to be able to eat cheese like his sister. He kept asking for the "cheese that doesn't make me sick". It warmed my heart to have him feel like he was included in something that the average person participates him. That alone made it worth it!

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix


I just made a wonderful discovery. Recently Betty Crocker came out with a line of gluten-free products. I bought a cookie mix just to try but I didn't have high hopes. After all, the main ingredient is rice flour. Last night we had a Gluten-Intolerance Group meeting that was a Christmas sampler. I figured now would be a good time to try the cookies because if they were nasty I wouldn't be stuck with a whole box of them.

The first test of knowing if you have truly good cookies is the batter test--and it passed with flying colors! Sampling the dough made me feel like I no longer had to miss the cookie dough I so loved as a kid. In fact, I'd much rather eat the dough than make the cookies!

The next test was the cookies. They tasted awesome! A little crumbly, perhaps, and they probably won't last more than a few days, but they tasted like a real cookie--even my gluten-eating husband thought they were good! It was a pleasant surprise.

I did not try it with egg replacer this time (I used real egg) but I will add to this post when I do and let you know how it worked out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Corn Meal Scones--gluten/dairy/egg free with Marshmallow-Honey Butter

We were looking for some new food options and experimented with this recipe. They don't look very professional but I thought they tasted really good. They have a satisfying crunch on the outer shell and are nice and chewy inside. Dip them in a little marshmallow-honey butter and you are set!

2 c corn meal
1/3 c tapioca flour
2/3 c potato flour
1/3 c sorghum flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp guar gum
2/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c oil
1/3 c honey
2/3 c almond milk
egg replacer for two eggs

oil for frying

Heat oil in a frying pan until you can flick a bit of flour in and make it sizzle.

Mix dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in wet ingredients.

Dough should be like a thick cookie dough--runny enough that you can "spoon" it into the frying pan. (If you can roll it into a ball in your hands it is too thick). Spoon into frying pan and cook until golden and crisp on the outside. Flip and do the same. Cool on a plate with paper towels to soak up the grease.


Marshmallow-Honey Butter

1/4 c of your favorite butter substitute (I use Earth Balance Soy Free buttery spread)
1/8 c honey
1/2 c small marshmallows

Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Update 2/8/10: I just tried this again and something in the batter reacted with the grease and they all fell apart. It was like trying to cook straight corn meal in hot grease. I swear I made it the exact same way but this time it didn't work. We ended up cooking them as pancakes, which didn't work that well either.

New Cereal: Cookie Crips Sprinkles!




I discovered that General Mills now makes Cookie Crisp Sprinkles, which appears to be gluten free. Wikipedia states, "In July 2009, Cookie Crisp Sprinkles were introduced. They are vanilla cookies with small sprinkles on them. The cereal is said to be gluten free." The beautiful thing about this is that I can use them as a substitution for Nilla wafers and they make great travel snacks. Even though they are loaded with sugar I feel good about the fact that they are fortified with vitamins like most breakfast cereals. In my opinion that makes them BETTER than Nilla wafers!

Sorry for those intolerant to corn--it is a corn-based cereal.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gluten/Egg/Soy/Milk Free Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is my favorite part of Thanksgiving and I wasn't about to go without just because of food allergies. Last year in a gluten-intolerance group meeting I learned how to make a delicious pie crust so I started with that:

Crust:
I believe it comes from the Gluten-Free Gourmet cookbook. I'm sorry I'm not going to post the whole recipe because I don't want to be guilty of copyright infringement, but I posted a link so you can still get it. I used Ener-G egg replacer instead of the egg and it worked out just fine. I also used Earth Balance Soy-free margarine and Spectrum organics palm oil shortening in place of Crisco and butter. The crust looks pretty bad in my picture, but that's because I forgot to take pictures of the good ones before I filled them. This one is broken because I had too many "helpers" in the kitchen. It tastes delicious though!

Pie:

I decided to try four different varieties of pie to see which ones I liked the best. I went for two baked and two un-baked versions. In place of milk in all of these pies I used 2 quarts of Pacific Foods plain rice milk boiled down to about 1 quart with 1 cup of sugar added (for my own version of sweetened-condensed milk).



(It is actually supposed to be Butterscotch but I didn't want to go to the store and I already had vanilla pudding). It tasted pretty good but did not set up very well. It might work better with real milk, or less milk, but I don't know. I also think the recipe calls for too much cinnamon so I'd put a little less in than it says. I don't think I'll be making it as a pie again but I'm thinking it's going to make some delicious pumpkin shakes.



I thought this one tasted fine but the texture didn't really satisfy me. Too--gelatin-y.



This one was the best of all the pies. It was fairly close to normal pie in taste and texture. I still just can't get over the texture of real pie--but it was a fair substitute and a nice treat. In the future I think I will stick to this recipe.



This one looked interesting so I thought I'd try it, even though I didn't really need to have four pies. Unfortunately I couldn't use what she says is her key ingredient--buckwheat--because Barrett doesn't tolerate that either. I used a mixture of sweet rice flour and sorghum instead. I have yet to taste this pie too but I'll post an evaluation as soon as I do. The batter tasted good and it looks good though.

UPDATE: This one tasted pretty good, but it's not like the "real" pumpkin pie that I crave. My kids absolutely love it though. They wouldn't eat any of the other pies but they beg for seconds and thirds of this one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Sister, Negative Blood Test but Testing a Gluten-Free Diet Anyway

It turns out that my sister, who swore she would never try a gluten-free diet, is giving it a try. I don't know what all of her symptoms are, I just know she has not been feeling well and the doctors tell her she is just fine. She had a blood test for Celiac, some allergy, and her thyroid and all came up perfectly normal. They just assume that means there is nothing wrong but with the way she feels I'm sure she would tell you otherwise. I was looking up information on Celiac.com and found that a lot of people who are gluten-intolerant but don't have Celiac end up with negative blood tests. And my son also had a negative test result and he is extremely sensitive to it. So she has decided to try the gluten-free diet to see if it makes a difference. I hope she doesn't have it, but at the same time it would be a relief for her to find out what's wrong and be able to find a solution to it.

UPDATE: My sister has been feeling much better on a GF diet. She did a trial for a few weeks and then ate gluten again--not a good result. Of course, real results are complicated by the fact that she is in the first trimester of pregnancy so morning sickness doesn't really help. But she was convinced enough to avoid all her favorite foods. People just don't go on a GF diet because it's fun, you know? If you really do feel better it is worth it!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just an Update

I just wanted to update since I haven't posted in awhile.

The kids are doing very well as am I. It is amazing how much better I feel after going gluten-free. It is even more amazing to see how much Barrett is progressing since we supposedly discovered all of his intolerances.

Abbie is also doing very well on whole milk. It is a relief to see that she is not really bothered by the dairy. I still try to keep her away from soy as much as possible. I will let her decide whether or not to eat soy when she is old enough to connect the effects of what she eats with her symptoms. We've been tempted to test her on gluten again but every time we go to give her some we get a really bad feeling about it and pull back. I hesitate because I must have gone through my whole life with an intolerance and never known it. I don't really want to take that risk with her.

And as a side note--I am loving the Earth Balance soy-free butter. It has made life 10 time easier!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"New Cereal"

I went grocery shopping yesterday and just for fun I read the ingredients on all the non-wheat containing cereals again. I discovered that the new boxes of Kix cereal and Honey Kix no longer contain oat flour. I was so happy to discover that! The honey Kix has caramel coloring and I called to make sure it did not contain gluten and it's good to go. Hooray! More selection! They do not test specifically for gluten content, but I'm willing to risk it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seizures?

I don't want to sound paranoid, I'm not that concerned about it at this point, but I wanted to write it down.

Last Saturday at a social gathering Barrett exercised such great self-control for the most part. I was very proud of him. He was hovering over the cookies and cheese crackers with such longing, but he would just look up at me and say, "Those will make you sick." However, you can only expect so much self-control for a two year old. After about 30 minutes he snuck under the table and was eating the crumbs of some smashed cheese crackers.

We saw the usual contamination symptoms: stomach ache, diarrhea, diaper rash (his poor swollen legs!), runny nose/cough, bloating, meltdowns, etc. But I also noticed times when he would just stare off into space an appear not to be aware of anything for several seconds. Then he would just go on as if nothing had interrupted what he was doing. Just yesterday he had been crying because he got a sliver in his foot. My husband was holding him and then he just stopped for several seconds and was staring into space. I was snapping my fingers right in front of his eyes and he wouldn't blink or anything.

I don't want to jump to the conclusion that these are seizures, but the certainly could be. It's something that I am going to watch closely and keep in mind though. I'm not sure if there is a link between that and celiac or not. If anyone knows anything about it though, please comment! (It only seems to happen if he is contaminated).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Confusing Contamination

I have no idea what caused it this time, but both kids ended up with the strange-smelling, undigested diapers, bloating, and had trouble sleeping. Barrett was a major basketcase as well and niether one would eat much for a few days. It started a few days ago after we had a casserole for dinner that had sweet potato, carrot, cinnamon, pineapple, molasses, and brown sugar. It didn't really peak until we had pancakes and sausage for dinner last night though. It could have been cross contamination in the pancakes, or it could have been the sausage. The ingredients looked okay but you just never know. Perhaps I was too lax with the ingredient listed "flavorings". In fact, it probably was something in that because the worst part of the contamination was today. That's when the diapers started smelling strange anyway. I guess I should have been more careful. It's just that sausage is so nice and fattening...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Product Review: Pamela's Bread Mix, Palm Oil Shortening



I tried Pamela's bread mix for the first time yesterday. I used half the small bag to make a small pizza for myself and some bread sticks for my kids. It actually tasted good! Not like the sawdust-pizza I had been making from scratch. I didn't follow the directions quite right but it still had a good texture and taste. It doesn't have any of the allergens my kids can't have in the ingredients although it is made on the same equipment where milk is processed. I haven't seen a reaction in anyone. I assume, knowing who they are, the Pamela's company cleans their equipment fairly well between processing. Then today I made a pie crust out of the rest and it worked really well. I actually like doing crust better with gluten-free mixes because it's easier to patch mistakes. (Unfortunately my pie didn't really turn out, but once I figure out a dairy-free recipe that works well I'll post it.)



Also, I used the Spectrum Organic 100% Palm Oil Shortening for the first time in my pie crust. I substituted it for both butter and shortening and it worked out well and tasted fine. I did add about 1/2 tsp imitation butter flavor but I don't think it was necessary. Anyway, it looks like it will be a fine substitute for regular shortening and as far as I can tell it doesn't behave strangely.
Doesn't that look wonderful? The crust was. Too bad the rest totally didn't work. I think I failed on the egg-replacer part of it.

Gluten-Free Shepherd's Pie


3 large potatoes or 6 small, cubed
1/4 c sour cream
Milked to desired consitency
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp butter or margarine (optional)
fresh chopped chives to taste

1lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped

1 14.5 oz can green beans

1 60z can tomato paste
abt 6 oz water
1/2 tsp powdered celery seed
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. Peel, chop, and boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until tender

2. Cook ground beef and onion together. Place in bottom of a casserole dish. Spread green beans over meat.

3. While beef is cooking slowly stir one can of water into the tomato paste in a small bowl. Add celery seed, onion and garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour over top of beans and meat.

4. When potatoes are cooked drain them. Add sour cream and/or butter and milk and mash until smooth and creamy. Stir in garlic and chives. Spread evenly over top of bean and meat mixture. Top with cheese.

5. Cover with foil and bake until warmed through (about 30 min)

*tip-for a cleaner pan, line the pan with aluminum foil before filling it.

**If you want an easier version, replace the tomato paste mixture with a can of Amy's gluten-free tomato soup.

Diary/soy free version:

Mash potatoes with canola oil, rice milk (or soy) add imitation butter flavoring if desired, and leave out sour cream. Also leave out the cheese on top of the casserole. Sorry, it's not quite as exciting. If you can think of anything good to put in it to make up for the cheese please leave a comment!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gluten/Soy/Egg Free Breading (for Chicken or Zucchini, Etc)

Flour Mixture
1/2 c Bob's GF All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 c Brown rice flour
1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp oregano


"Egg" Mixture
2 tbsp milled flax seed
1/2 c water

Combine water and flax in a small bowl and set aside. Heat 1/2 c oil in wok or frying pan. Pat chicken or zucchini dry. Roll in flour mixture and set on a plate. When flax is set up (should resemble egg white) Dip pieces in flax mixture and then coat with breading mixture once more. Place in hot oil (oil should sizzle when you flick flour or water into it) and cook until both sides are golden and pieces are cooked.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gluten/Egg/Soy Free, Easy to Chew Chicken Nuggets





"Egg" Mixture

1 tbsp milled flax seed
1/4 c water

Breading Mixture
1/4 c gluten-free corn flakes (can be substituted by any smashed cereal or bread crumb-type item of your choice)
1/8 c brown rice flour (can also be substituted by any flour)
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt or seasoning salt
pepper to taste

Chicken Mixture
1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded (you can also use un-cooked chicken but I'm not skilled enough to make sure it gets cooked all the way through when I fry the nuggets so I use pre-cooked chicken)
a dash of the following: oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt or seasoning salt, pepper, poultry seasoning

abt 1 1/2 cups canola oil

1. Stir flax seed and water together in a small bowl and let it set up. After several minutes it should resemble egg-white

2. In another small bowl, mix together corn flakes or bread crumbs, flour, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture on the edge of a plate.

3. In a food processor chop chicken into a fine paste. Add oil or water if you need more liquid to make a paste. Add oregano, garlic and onion powders, parsley, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to the paste.

4. Roll chicken paste into nugget-sized balls. Roll in flour mixture on the plate. Heat canola oil in a deep frying pan. Oil should sizzle if you toss a little flour in the pan, but it should not be smoking.

5. Take each "floured" ball and dip it in the flax mixture, then roll it in the bowl with the rest of the breading and drop in oil. Turn when outside is golden (about 2 minutes, depending on how hot your oil is).

6. Dip in honey mustard sauce (equal parts of mustard and honey) and enjoy!

*Makes about 16 1 1/2 inch nuggets.

Mine kind of fell apart easily. I'm open to suggestions of how to avoid that. Guar gum in the chicken mix, maybe? But they tasted really good! I'm addicted. I'm going to try making a huge batch and freezing them for quick and easy meals. The chicken I used was actually the chicken off of one I boiled yesterday to make chicken broth. I used most of it for chicken enchiladas and the leftovers were just enough for a batch of nuggets.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream in a Ziplock Bag




1 cup coconut milk*
1 tsp vanilla
3/8 cup (6 or 7 tbsp) sugar
optional flavorings of your choice

ice
rock salt (abt 6 tbsp)
quart-sized ziplock bag
gallon-sized ziplock bag
newspaper or hotpads
packing or duct tape (if using newspaper)

*Use partial combination of coconut milk and rice milk for fewer calories or milder coconut flavor.

Pour milk, vanilla (or other flavoring of your choice), and sugar in quart sized bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal it. Place a layer of ice cubes and rock salt in gallon sized bag and put in quart sized bag in. Surround with additional layers of ice and rock salt until full. Seal bag. If using newspaper and tape (to keep your hands from getting cold) wrap in several layers of paper and tape shut. If using hot pads use the gloved pads. Shake bag vigorously for 15 minutes or until ice cream is hardened. Remove quart sized bag, rinse salt off very quickly (so ice cream doesn't melt) in cold water. Eat straight from the bag or transfer it to a bowl.

This turned out to be delicious! Coconut has been my favorite flavor of ice cream for a long time. The flavor was a little strong for the kids so I recommend using a blend of coconut and rice milk for kids with a strong sense of taste. (My kids sure need the calories from the coconut milk though!)

[ETA 3/16/12]: This recipe is included in my new book, Barrett's Unusual Ice Cream Party.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dairy/Soy Free Hot Fudge

*picture coming soon.

This one turned out to be very delicious! Drizzle some over coconut or rice milk ice cream, dip banana slices in it, or drizzle some on your favorite pastries.

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa
2/3 c coconut milk
1/3 c corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c canola oil or 1/3 c margarine substitute of your choice

Mix sugar and cocoa in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Stir in coconut milk and corn syrup. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and oil or margarine.

Variation: melt in peanut butter to taste for a different flavor or added protein or calories.

Mine was a little thin because the coconut milk I used was watered down. You can use a more concentrated coconut milk to make it thicker.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Soy/Dairy/Gluten Free Shortening and Margarine

I just discovered these two items:

Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread

This one is relatively new and so not widely available. I haven't been able to find any yet but I am in the process of requesting it at our local stores. I wish I could just order it online but they don't do direct sales.

Spectrum Organic Shortening This is made from 100% palm oil. I haven't tried it yet either but I'll write a review as soon as I do. You can only order this one online. They don't appear to sell through stores. Of course the disadvantage of that is it's $7 for 24 oz plus $6 shipping. Not cheap. But they do have a monopoly on it so I guess they can get away with it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Egg Free Applesauce Bread, version 2




(pictures coming soon)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 1/4 c flour*
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp guar gum (or xanthan)
  • 3 tbsp milled flax seed (my egg replacer)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cashews and peanuts**
  • 1 15 oz can applesauce
  • 1 c canola oil
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, guar gum, and flax seed, flour, and nut paste. Slowly stir in applesauce and oil. Batter should be thicker than cake batter but thinner than cookie dough.

5. "Glop" into muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes about two dozen.

*For this I used 1/2 c gluten-free oats made into flour in a food processer, 1/2 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c coconut flour, 1/2 c (2 parts potato flour, 1 part tapioca starch) 1/4 c Bob's baking mix

**I wanted to add protein and calories and Barrett won't eat anything with chunks so I blended the nuts very finely, almost like peanut butter.

The goal was to make these not quite as dense is the last ones and I accomplished that goal. I still want to put coconut milk in but it just had too much moisture last time. I could possibly do 1/2-1/2 ratio oil and coconut. I could also put coconut milk in place of applesauce but that would still make them pretty heavy. I'll have to check to see which has more calories. But maybe heavy isn't bad since the kids ate the last batch just fine.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gluten-Free Cream of Chicken Soup


Sorry it has dairy, but I needed a substitute that I could eat for sauce on Hawaiian haystacks and to use in casseroles.

4 oz softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade broth with chicken bits in it)
1 tbsp potato flour (or rice flour or whatever)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp parsley

Beat cream cheese. Slowly beat in broth (try to keep the chicken pieces out until you are done beating). Stir in herbs and spices. Add chicken. Once the broth and cheese are mixed together you can heat it on the stove, stirring often. Or when everything is mixed together you can microwave it for 2-3 minutes. Make sure and stir every once in awhile if you do it in the microwave. You can change the consistency by adjusting the amount of flour you use.

Makes about 2 cups.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Rice Krispie Treats


Fruity Treats:

3 cups Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice
3 cups Fruity Pebbles (or the imitation brand from Wal-Mart is okay too)
1 bag marshmallows
4 tbsp canola oil or Nucoa margarine (if no soy allergy)

Melt oil and marshmallows in a large bowl in the microwave. Add cereal and stir. Spread onto a flat pan like a jelly roll pan. Sprinkle a few colored cereal pieces on top for aesthetic reasons. Let cool.



Chocolate Treats:

3 cups Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice
3 cups Koala Crisp (may contain traces of soy but it didn't bother Barrett)
1 bag marshmallows
4 tbsp canola oil or Nucoa margarine (if no soy allergy)
1/2 c Enjoy Life or Tropical Source chocolate chips (or more if you want it really chocolaty) (Tropical Source chips have soy lecithin but it has never caused a reaction in Barrett).
Enjoy Life chocolate chips to sprinkle on top.

Melt oil and marshmallows, and chocolate chips in a large bowl in the microwave. Add cereal and stir. Spread onto a flat pan like a jelly roll pan. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top for aesthetic reasons. Let cool.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with Coconut Frosting






It was my daughter's first birthday and we made two gluten-free carrot cakes. One was also dairy free and had coconut frosting. The other had cream cheese frosting. They turned out pretty good. I even fooled my little brother into thinking they were regular cakes. I used this recipe from Karina's Kitchen. We have also tried this one in the past from Allrecipes and just substituted a GF flour mix. I remember liking the Allrecipes one better, but I also used Pamala's baking mix in that one, which I don't use anymore because it has buttermilk. I decided to try letting my kids have the small amount of eggs they would get in the cake. Abbie was fine with it. Barrett didn't seem to handle it very well althoughI still suspect that buckwheat might bother him.

Here is the recipe as I made it. This is the doubled version.

6 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 crushed pineapple or applesauce
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp Allspice
4 cups flour mix with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda added per cup of flour*
1 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut (I left this out--you can also put in raisins or nuts)
3 cups processed [or finely grated] carrots (about 4 medium carrots)

*I used 1/3 c tapioca starch, 2/3 c potato starch, 4 tsp guar gum, 1/2 c buckwheat flour, 1/2 c coconut flour, 1/2 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c Bob's all purpose baking mix, 1/2 c sweet rice flour, 1/2 c potoato flour---I think I could have done with only 1/2 cup starch total and put in another 1/2 c of flour instead.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray two 9" square pans with cooking oil and sprinkle with sweet rice flour (mochiko). Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add oil and brown sugar. Mix. Add applesauce or pineapple. Mix. Slowly beat in dry mixture. Add carrot. Batter will be fairly thick. Spread batter into pans. Bake for 40 minutes (I am high altititude). Turn over onto wire racks and let cool.

Coconut Frosting.

I sort of guessed on this. I mixed coconut milk with powdered sugar and vanilla until I had a good consistency. I think it would have been better with almond extract instead of vanilla but I ran out. The coconut is a little strong or bitter or something so you might want to use just a little coconut milk and then use rice milk or water if it needs more liquid.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz pkg softened cream cheese
powdered sugar
vanilla

Blend them all together to desired consistency and sweetness. I know it's not very helpful instruction, but I didn't measure so that's all you get.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gluten-Free Flatbreat Sandwitch

I tried this last night and it was so nice to be able to have a sandwich!

GF Wrap Sandwich Success

It does have eggs and yeast but it was sure nice for me to eat! I would not use straight brown rice flour like the recipe says though. I used a mix, as usual.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Can't Chew

I recently learned why I haven't been able to feed Barrett things like meats, apples, carrots and other raw vegetables. I took him to a speech pathologist who specializes in feeding and she said that he chews like a baby who is just learning to eat table foods. He doesn't use his tongue or the rotary motion that allows food to be ground up smaller. So I guess now he gets to have "chewing therapy".

I didn't think too much of his chewing abilities until I noticed that his little sister with no molars could chew up things he couldn't. I hope if we can get this solved we can help him to be better nourished.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gluten/Milk/Soy/Egg Free Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1 c canola oil
  • 1 c gluten-free oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Oats)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp guar gum (or xanthan)
  • 3 tbsp milled flax seed (my egg replacer)
  • 1 15 oz can applesauce
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 2 c flour*
1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine canola oil and oats in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes (to help soften the oats). Set aside to soak.

2. In a large bowl combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, guar gum, and flax seed. Slowly stir in applesauce and coconut milk.

3. After the oats/oil have been soaking for at least ten minutes add them to the mixture in step #2.

4. Slowly stir in flour. Adjust amount for desired consistency. Batter should be thicker than cake batter but thinner than cookie dough.

5. Drop into muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes about two dozen.

*For this I used 1/2 c coconut flour, 1/2 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c Bob's baking mix, 1/2 c tapioca/potato starch.

They turned out really good, but also very dense. I'm not sure how to make them less dense without eggs but I'm open to suggestions. Maybe less starch and more flour would do the trick. And maybe there was too much oil. I was just trying to get as much fat in there as I could for my skinny little boy (oil and coconut milk).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Baby Definitely Has A Food Intolerance Problem

It is now obvious that Abbie has a problem similar to Barrett's. Her diaper rashes and diarrhea the last week have been sure evidence. Unfortunately I can't pinpoint the exact cause yet. We started giving her more milk products like yogurt and cheese, and I also have been slack on my own gluten-free diet. It's possible the gluten from breast milk is bothering, or the increase in cow's milk has been bothering her, or both. So now we get to start the elimination process with her. Keep those things out of her diet for a few weeks to see if she improves, and then add them back in one at a time and see what happens. I already suspected gluten which is why I don't feed it to her directly, but my current theory is that both are a problem. I know for sure that she can't tolerate eggs at this point. She and Barrett both had a hard time the last time we fed eggs to them. I'm not even going to attempt soy with her if she can't have casein.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oops! A Little Cow's Milk

Last weekend we left Barrett with a babysitter. We made the mistake of assuming she would remember from last time that he couldn't have gluten or milk since her sister has the same problem. Never assume anything. We came home to find a sippy cup with the last dregs of cow's milk in the bottom. (It was in the morning). That night at about 2 am Barrett woke up screaming, "poopy diaper!" Now I know how long it takes for a contaminant to affect him. I've changed a lot of diarrhea diapers since then. Today is the first day he hasn't had one...yet. Hopefully it has cleared his system by now. I felt so bad about it. He never complained about his stomach hurting though, and it didn't seem to affect his personality, which is good. Just diarrhea and diaper rash. Those contaminated diapers sure smell bad though!

We have finally ordered the protein drink the doctor recommended. I couldn't find it anywhere in stores and they changed the name to Regence Boost Fruit Beverage so it took me awhile. It also has whey protein from cow's milk and I wanted to make sure that wouldn't bother him before I forked out the dough. I bought some Special K protein water that has whey protein in it to test it out. It didn't seem to affect him so I went ahead and ordered a six pack of the Boost. Hopefully it won't bother him either because he really needs the nutrients. His fingernails are still peeling.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gluten/Milk/Egg/Soy Free Pumpkin Bread

Before cooking
After cooking

I just found this recipe and I thought it was really good:

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread


I adapted it a little and I'll post the adaptation here. I left out the nuts and coconut flakes because I didn't think Barrett would eat them. I also added more spice to hide the taste of the flour and reduced the sugar because I use it as more of a meal than a dessert.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I used buckwheat, Bob's all purpose, rice, and potato flours)
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp Jamaican all-spice
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, and mix until all of the flour is absorbed. Spoon batter into cupcake tins (or two greased loaf pans)
  3. Bake 20 minutes for muffins or 1 hour and 15 minutes for loaves.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Egg Reaction, I Think

We wanted to be sure whether Barrett was really sensitive to eggs or not so we scrambled up a few and fed them to him and his sister Abbie for dinner a few nights ago. They both ended up with diarrhea. I was not surprised about Barrett but I was surprised about Abbie. She doesn't appear to be sensitive to either milk or gluten. She is generally somewhat constipated though, so I don't know if it was just her body trying to clear itself and was just a coincidence with eggs, or if there was some bacteria or something in the eggs that mad them both sick. It's too bad it's so hard to tell these things for sure.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Visit With the Gastroenterologist

Our appointment wasn't for a few more weeks but yesterday the clinic called and said they had a cancellation for this morning so we took it.

The appointment wasn't long but it was nice to finally be able to talk with some who actually had some experience with this sort of thing. The doctor is Dr. Harnsberger. We discussed the Enterolab results a bit but she said she couldn't do anything with them because it was considered an alternative form of medicine and she was not trained or qualified to interpret such results or use that approach. She said the tests are sketchy because some of the things they test for are naturally found in food and so would come out in a stool sample. At least that was the case with the transglutaminase tests. She did, at least, concede that the information about soy was helpful, and that regardless of any sort of testing we have seen and can conclude that Barrett is sensitive to milk, soy, and gluten.

We discussed possible causes of his insensitivities. When Barrett was a baby they suspected giardia, but the stool sample came up negative. Dr. Harnsburger said you couldn't entirely rule that out because it only shows up in 50% of stool samples when people have giardia because it lives in the small intestines. She said the bacteria could cause the food sensitivies because it breaks down the proteins in larger chunks than normal that cause the immune system to react to it. We could have seen improvement on an elimination diet because the bacteria was not being fed the foods it was previously ingesting.

Another possibility could be a genetic food insensitivy or allergy since it does run in the family. My uncle couldn't eat anything but rice until he was about three years old. His daughter had a similar problem. My family also has a history of autoimmune disease and my husband's sister has Celiac.

Another possibility is that there is some kind of damage or infection in the digestive tract that caused something like leaky gut. The only way to rule that out would be by a biopsy. Dr. Harnsburger recommended waiting on that and trying other methods first. Especially since he has done so well on the elimination diet.

Our main concern was getting Barrett the nutrition he needs on a restricted diet. Barrett was taking Usanimals, but he won't eat them anymore. Not even if I smash them and put them in his food. She recommended a simple gummy vitamin, if we wanted to give him one. Even more importantly though, she recommended some protein juices designed specifically for children like Barrett. They come in juice boxes and are called either Boost Breeze or Eo28. She gave us a sample of Eo28 and Barrett seemed to like it. They are supposed to be hypoallergenic. She also recommended a medication called Cyproheptidine, which is an antihistimine for the digestive tract to help lesson reactions. It also stimulates appetite. She wanted us to do that for three weeks and then call and update on his status.

She also said that 90% of kids outgrow their food allergies by the time they are in kindergarten. Even with kids as severe as Barrett. I guess I will place some hope in that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baffled

Barrett has been a basket case the last two days. So much that I could hardly stand to be around him. He has been very whiny and has refused to eat much of anything. Today the reason was manifest in a full-blown diaper explosion. His diapers had been getting progressively greener and runnier, but this one required the bath tub. The only culprits I could think of were buckwheat hot cereal, Trix cereal, or fruit snacks. I'm still unsure about corn, I have suspected food dye, and the buckwheat could be cross-contaminated, or it could be the buckwheat itself. He's had buckwheat in his diaper but it has hard shells that are difficult to digest anyway. I assumed it would be that way for anyone, but perhaps I am wrong. It could also be the canola oil he's had the last couple of days.

ETA: I just remembered that we have been giving Barrett Prednisolone the past couple of days for his asthma. Some versions of it have some ingredients that contain some milk proteins, I discovered after looking it up. The particular one he took didn't appear to have it, but that is the only thing he has ingested that he doesn't usually eat.

ETA: Yesterday, Saturday, the contamination cleared. I still don't know what it was, but I'm glad it's gone. He had horrible diaper rash until yesterday afternoon. (It's great for potty training, by the way. I can actually get him to poop in the toilet when he is contaminated)!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chicken Broth

Following Anna's suggestion, I cooked my first whole chicken today and the broth is simmering in the crock post. It was a huge chicken, cost $12. But I got 8 cups of boiled chicken out of it that I can freeze for later and 11 cups of broth. I am posting Anna's instructions for making chicken broth as its own blog for easier referencing. I hope you don't mind, Anna--and thanks for the info!

Have you considered making chicken broth to avoid the MSG issues? Do you have a Crock Pot slow cooker? You can also make it in a big pot/Dutch oven on the range, but then you'll have to stay home to babysit (peek at it now and then). CP slow cookers are easier because you put the stuff in, set the temp and come back later and it's done.I used to make broth with leftover chicken bones/carcasses, but a friend showed me her way, with a fresh whole chicken, and I like it better because a) it's easy, b) it makes a big container of cooked and deboned chicken meat for easy snacks, soups, and quick meals at the same time.

Seriously, I unwrap a whole chicken and put it in the pot. Add water until it is about 2" from the top. Add chopped onions, carrots, and celery (or keep a bag in the freezer for onion ends, scallion, carrot, and leek, trimmings, and limp celery and dump them right in when you make broth) and a bay leaf if you can, but they aren't essential if you are pressed for time or don't have any. [note-I added other herbs as well such as thyme and marjoram. I can't stand a bland broth. Also, somewhere I read "crap in, crap out", meaning I wouldn't recommend using onion skins and carrot ends--use stuff that tastes good.]

Here's the important part: pour in a "glug" of vinegar (a couple tablespoons) such as apple cider vinegar, even lemon juice. The slight acidity of the water will "leach" minerals out of the chicken bones and into the broth, for greater flavor and nutrition. You won't taste the acidity, but it makes great broth.

Cover and set the temp. Naturally, Low will take a lot longer and High will cook faster. A few hours at the minimum, though, but not all day (you don't want to cook all the flavor out of the chicken meat). I tend to set on High at first until the water is hot, then reset it to Low later. When the chicken is cooked well, carefully remove it to a big bowl or platter to cool off a bit (watch out for splatters and splashes and falling legs if it's really well cooked and falling apart - use tongs if necessary). When the meat is cool enough to handle, quickly debone with big hunks of meat to serve right away or store in a container in the fridge. Ladle a bit of broth over the meat to keep it moist.

Return skin, bones, and cartilage to the pot, perhaps add a bit more water and cook a *lot* longer. Strain into containers and store in the fridge for a week or in the freezer (leave space for expansion). In the winter I do this weekly, for the meat and the broth. Even though the cooking takes several hours, the hands-on time is very minimal.And homemade broth is richer with gelatin than commercial broth, so it's great for the GI tract (my friend Dianne likens commercial broth to "water used to rinse chicken). Gelatin is very soothing, nourishing, and promotes GI healing. And no MSG! Yay!

http://web.mac.com/gandasalvesen/iWeb/GandA/Chicken.htmlhttp://web.mac.com/gandasalvesen/iWeb/Site/Blog/95426232-1443-448C-A0D6-C50EBB668568.html

This one might freak you out ;-):
http://web.mac.com/gandasalvesen/iWeb/Site/Blog/822FEFE9-4B66-44EE-8F3E-95DB501FA531.html

P.S. For ideas on how to use the boiled chicken check out this thread from Discusscooking.com

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flourless, Eggless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milled flax seed
1/4 c water
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and roll into balls, about the size of a teaspoon. Cris-cross with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes. Yield: abt 1 dozen cookies. (Cookies are a bit crumbly).

I use either Skippy all-natural peanut butter or Arrowhead Mills Organic Crunchy Valencia Peanut Butter because they don't have any soybean oil in them. If you can have egg, then substitute one egg for the water and flax seed. I use dairy-free chocolate chips in mine as well. I've had some people tell me these are the best peanut butter cookies they have ever had, but I disagree. They aren't the best, but they are pretty good. And it's one way to get some protein and fat into my little toddler's body!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cross-Contaminated Trail Mix

Yesterday I ate a bunch of Sam's Choice Trail Mix. The label said it was made on equipment that processes wheat. I figured it wouldn't be a problem because if I am sensitive to wheat at all, I didn't think I would be very sensitive and was sure not much could get through to the baby. Well I was wrong at least for my part. I felt awful this morning and I haven't felt like that since going gluten-free. It could have been coincidence or it could have been something else. That was just the most likely candidate. It looks like I may be on this diet permanently.

Hiding Vegetables in Pasta Sauce

I can't get Barrett to eat any vegetables in their original form. Last night I decided I would try making a sauce out of them since he loves to eat rice noodles. I just feel like eating nothing but Rice Chex, rice and rice noodles isn't considered a balanced diet. I was trying to get him to eat some left over green beans and he would just split them in half and eat the seeds. So I blended them up and mixed them into his rice. It worked just fine, so for dinner I decided to make a vegetable puree pasta sauce to keep his noodles from being too bland and to add a bit of nutrients to his meal. He really liked it and is eating some at the moment. Here's the recipe:

10 green beans
5 baby carrots microwaved until soft
A few slices of onion
a dash of garlic powder
A handful of fresh spinach, microwaved until limp
water

I just blended them in a blender until they were the consistency of a nice red sauce and mixed them in his noodles. It was enough to fill a cereal bowl completely full with noodles and sauce. I liked the sauce enough that I might make some for myself too!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bloating Tonight

Barrett's belly was very bloated tonight. I could tell without measuring but I measured anyway. Around his belly button he was 21 1/2 inches (normally 18 1/2). He has just been complaining that his stomach hurts as well. So far he hasn't had any other symptoms but we'll be watching him.

Foods he ate today:
buckwheat cereal in rice milk, banana, homemade zucchini bread, mixed nuts, quinoa cooked in chicken broth with organic ketchup, pineapple, apple, orange, Baked Lays Natural potato chips, black beans

I'll update if and when more symptoms show up.

ETA. I just read the label of the chicken broth I used. It was Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth. It claims to have no MSG. However, the label says it has autolyzed yeast extract (oops, I was supposed to be avoiding yeast anyway). It could be the yeast that made him bloat, but he has never bloated from the yeast in the tapioca bread he used to eat. In fact, I have never seen him react to yeast. However, this website mentions that a different variation of Swanson broth states that the yeast extract comes from wheat. This article talks about manufacturers hiding MSG under the name of autolyzed yeast extract which is used to make MSG (wikipedia:yeast extract). MSG is something that should generally be avoided because it often is derived from wheat--and many people who react to gluten react to MSG anyway.

Adding Mom and Sister to the Diet

I have suspected that my daughter, Abbie, who is now almost 9 months old is also intolerant to gluten. I was pregnant with her when I discovered that Barrett couldn't eat it. I was worried about her getting exposed to gluten too early as well so I went gluten-free for the last month of my pregnancy and the first months or so after she was born, since I was nursing her. She was a perfect baby: healthy, happy, easy to please. She started sleeping through the night when she was 9 or 10 weeks old and I could just lay her in bed and she'd fall asleep without crying. I slowly started eating gluten again (I'm a sucker for chocolate chip cookies and rolls!).

When she was about 4 1/2 months old she started waking up twice a night, then three times, then every two hours, then every hour! I waited for growth spurts to end, teeth to come in, milestones to be learned, and still her sleeping did not improve. She got to be really gassy as well and became very famous for passing gas all the time. I really didn't want to go gluten-free again, but when my gene test from Enterolab showed that I had two gluten-sensitive alleles I knew that my kids had a three in four chance of having gluten intolerance--and it would probably benefit me as well.

I really didn't want to go gluten-free again but I'll do anything for my kids so I've been gluten-free for about a week again (and it really isn't so bad). She is still sleeping horribly but I suspect it will take some healing time and body-adjustment time before that improves. But she hasn't been gassy at all. A good sign that she is improving, but a bad sign since I was hoping she wasn't gluten-intolerant.

Even more, I myself am feeling much better. After Barrett's Enterolab results came back I began to wonder if I was gluten-intolerant myself and started paying attention to what happened after I ate it. I noticed very slight, uncomfortable intestinal cramps. Nothing bad. Nothing I would even complain about to anyone. I could have had them my whole life and just passed it off as a natural digestion process because it wasn't very painful. And what do you know, since I've been gluten free I haven't had that at all! I want to do stool samples through Enterolab for my whole family but I can't afford to do it right now. I refuse to have a biopsy done for any of us because I think it is the most useless and ridiculous diagnostic process I have ever heard of.

I think I'll end up staying gluten-free at least as long as my baby is nursing, and possibly forever. I just hope I don't have any problems with casein because I am addicted to milk shakes and cheese!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pineapple Zucchini Bread Gluten-Free/ Dairy-free/ Soy Free




Gluten-Free Pineapple Zucchini bread.




1 c

Pamela's baking mix (has diary)


1 c

White sugar

1 c

Buckwheat flour mix*


1 c

Brown sugar

1 c

Bob's baking mix


3 tsp

vanilla

1 tsp

Baking powder


1 c

canola oil

1 tsp

Baking soda


3

Egg yolks

1 tsp

salt


3

Egg whites, whipped

2 tsp

nutmeg


2 c

chopped zucchini

1 tsp

cloves


8 oz

Crushed pineapple w/ juice

1 tsp

Jamaican allspice




6 tsp

cinnamon











  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. In a large bowl mix the flours, sugar, soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Set aside.

  3. Separate egg yolks from whites, putting the yolks in a bowl and the whites in a blender.

  4. Beat egg whites until thick and fluffy, almost firm.

  5. Add zucchini, pineapple (with juice), vanilla, canola oil and egg yolks to blender. Blend until very smooth.

  6. Slowly mix contents of blender into the flour bowl. Pour into to large loaf pans or three small loaf pans and bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Or 20 minutes in muffin tins).


*Buckwheat flour mix: ration of 2 cups buckwheat flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 2/3 cup potato flour, 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum. Buckwheat flour is a little sweet and is great for making dessert-like foods.


Variations:

Do the same thing but don't separate the eggs. My husband also says he thinks it had too much cinnamon and nutmeg so feel free to put less spice in it if you want. You can also add a few raisins but my son won't eat it that way.


Gluten-Free Biscuits

You WILL taste the flour in this recipe so choose your flour carefully! You don't have to use the flour I used.

1 c Bob's Gluten-free Baking Flour
1 c soy flour mix*
1/2 c potato flour (not starch)
1 tbsp sugar
3 1/4 tsp baking powder**
2 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 tsp garlic salt (takes the edge off the flour)
abt 1 1/4 c milk (you can use soy milk--maybe rice milk but I have never tried)
1 cube butter
garlic salt to taste

Preheat over to 450. Melt 1 stick of butter or margarine and mix in garlic salt. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk. turn out and knead. Add extra milk if it doesn't all hold together. Roll into 1 1/2 in balls and smash to about 1/2 inch in your hands or on the counter with a cup. Dip in butter and place on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

The trick is to hide the taste of the flour with lots of butter and garlic salt. I really enjoyed these biscuits.

*2 parts soy flour, 2/3 part potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch

**baking powder is made with corn starch so if you have a corn allergy use featherlight baking powder made from potato starch or use a substitute from the like of food substitutes on the left sidebar.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Signs of Contamination

There are 8 things we watch for to see if Barrett has been contaminated:

1. Behavior. Shortly after he eats something bad he becomes a basket case. My sweet little boy turns into a nightmare. He whines because he can't zip his jacket up and when you help him he cries because he wants it off. He quits paying attention to what he's doing so he trips a lot. Normally when he trips he says, "I fall down," and goes on his way, but when he is contaminated he sobs and sobs or else throws a tantrum. There are also times when I suspect seizures--he blanks out and doesn't respond for 10-20 seconds, but I can't tell if he's just spacing off or if they are really seizures.

2. Sleep. He usually wakes up several times in the night afterward. Sometimes with a poopy diaper or upset stomach. But sometimes he just gets up and plays and talks to himself and gets really hyper.

3. Diapers. We pay attention to a lot of things with diapers. Frequency, volume, content, smell, and acidity. He usually has 4-5 bowel movements after contamination that are large in volume, contain undigested food--and smell absolutely horrible! They are also very acidic but I'll get to that in the next one.

4. Diaper rash. His diapers after contamination are usually pretty acidic and he gets burn rashes all over. He usually tells me his "bum hurts" immediately after passing a BM. It's difficult to clean off and usually requires rinsing with water so it doesn't continue to burn him.

5. Stomach Cramps. This can be hard to tell. It was a relief when he finally learned to say, "Stomach hurts!" so I knew for sure. I think when my baby gets stomach cramps she just cries out suddenly or twitches side-to-side a lot. She is also really gassy and often gasses or burps after she has been twitching or crying out. I am assuming the reason is that it hurts her stomach.

6. Bloating. Sometimes after he eats food he shouldn't his stomach bloats, but not every time. I haven't been able to figure out at what point it bloats or what exactly causes it. It's just something we have seen happen on more severe contaminations.

7. Eczema. After being contaminated sometimes his eczema on his ankles flares up. I haven't noticed it lately though. My theory is that we've finally managed to eliminate all of the allergens from his diet. Hooray!

8. Loss of Appetite. After contamination Barrett rarely asks for food and usually refuses it when we offer. If he does it it's only bites of what is given him. It used to stress me out because he is so skinny, but I learned that he doesn't digest the food anyway. It just comes out in his diaper and gives him cramps and a rash so he is better off not eating much.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tips for Going Dairy-Free

I think it was harder to adjust to going dairy-free than it was to go gluten-free. I couldn't hide the flavor of unusual flours with cheese anymore! We tried soy cheese but it was made with casein and so it still was no good (I didn't know my son also had soy intolerance at the time). You have to be careful looking for dairy replacements because some things still use milk. A friend of mine whose child has a milk allergy says that even "milk-free" acidophilus still has traces of milk because it has to be cultured with milk. I wanted so bad to give it to Barrett to help with digestion but he could not tolerate the milk-free tablets, like she said (although they may possibly contain soy so it's possible that it is the soy and not milk that bothered him).

There are a few kinds of dairy-free margarine. Nucoa, Blue Bonnet Light, and Earth Balance are all dairy-free. If you are intolerant to casein other kinds might be okay too because they contain milk but it is whey and not casein. ((Milk is usually divided into two parts--curds (casein) and whey (not a protein). Cottage cheese it the curds and so is basically pure casein. Don't ever feed it to your kid)! I found it safest to just avoid milk altogether though to avoid cross-contamination. I would also avoid using butter-flavored Crisco because while they claim it contains no milk it is derived originally from milk.

A good alternative to milk, if your child can tolerate soy, is Silk Very Vanilla which is specially fortified for kids. I found it to have the most vitamins as well as calories and my son loved it (until we found soy was bad for him). Even the Silk Plain tasted good to me. There are many brands of soy milk and you can try as many as you like, but I never found one that was fortified as well as the Silk Very Vanilla. If soy is also a problem or if you want fewer calories I would recommend almond milk or rice milk. Hemp milk is supposed to be the most nutritious, but let's be honest--it's nasty! And do not use oat milk because it contains gluten. Also, if you buy rice milk be careful if you buy Rice Dream because some of it is made from barley which contains gluten. For a list of gluten-free rice dream products click here.

You can make a very good pumpkin pie with soy milk (don't use vanilla flavored milk though). You can substitute soy milk for evaporated milk and it will still taste good (use the recipe on the package of Libby's Pumpkin), it just won't set up quite as well. You can, however, make your own evaporated milk by boiling 2 1/2 cups of soy milk down to 1 cup and using that. I could not taste the difference between my dairy and my soy pies. You can use a gluten-free crust (I'll post a recipe later), or I like to just pour the mix into cupcake wrappers and have crust-free pies. That's what I did for Barrett's second birthday. It makes for nice easy servings and easy storage.

You can get dairy-free chocolate chips as well. Tropical Source is the only brand I have been able to find. Be careful if you are sensitive to soy. They have soy lecithin in them. It shouldn't bother most people but if you are extra sensitive to soy it may bother you.

You can also buy soy ice cream and yogurt but I have never tried them so I don't know if they are any good. I have recipes though and I will post those later as well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tips for Going Gluten-Free

It was overwhelming for me, at first, to put Barrett on a gluten-free diet. What would he eat for nursery snacks at church? How could I feed him while we were traveling? How would I get him enough calories? How much would it cost? Where do I even find gluten-free foods? But I learned that after I found a system things would fall into place and it would not be stressful for me.

There are many places to find gluten-free products. Most health food stores will have at least a small selection. Many grocery stores like Smith's and Macey's have organic sections or special shelves marked as "organic" that often have gluten-free foods. Sunflower Market also has gluten-free products that are specially marked.

For nursery I put gluten-free cereal, raisins, craisins, fruit snacks, and crackers in zip-lock bags and put them in a container. I explained the situation to all the nursery workers and they now keep his snacks in the closet so I don't have to worry about bringing something for him every week.

One thing I really struggled with was finding foods that I could give my son quickly. A friend told me that she makes gluten-free cornbread muffins and freezes them, then puts peanut butter on top and send them to school with her son for lunch. I thought it was a great idea, and although I learned that my son can't have corn I like to make zucchini and pumpkin bread muffins and keep them in the freezer. Then I just thaw them out in the microwave for 40 seconds on defrost and give them to Barrett. If I am travelling I put one or two in a ziplock bag and bring it in the car.

Many people make their whole house gluten-free when a member of the family goes on the diet. We chose not to do that because it is very expensive and my son has to avoid so many things it would be very difficult to have us all do it. We may try it if it becomes necessary, but so far Barrett just accepts that he eats different food than everyone else and does not have a problem with it. When I cook dinner I try to make it gluten-free if I can do it easily, otherwise I just cook something different for Barrett. When I make pasta I make the sauce gluten-free and then use rice noodles for Barrett and regluar noodles for the rest of the family. I thicken chile and soups with gluten-free flour (you can also use corn starch but I avoid that because of his possible corn intolerance).

There are many gluten free flours you can choose from for baking. You can buy premade pancake mixes, cake and cookie mixes, breadstick and pizza crust mixes and more. They are expensive but they tend to taste better than a lot of homemade ones. I however, prefer to make my own. You can read about different kinds of flour and how they work on the internet. Experiment with them and when you find a combination you like you can make your own pancake mixes and cake mixes and store them in large zip-lock bags or tupperware containers. It's a lot of work at first but in the long run it is cheaper and will save you time. Usually it's best to combine different types of flours so the flavor of one does not overpower your food. You also need to add a starch to it or the flour will not hold together very well. The standard mixture is:

2/3 part potato starch
1/3 part tapioca starch
2 parts flour of your choice
1 tsp xanthan or guar gum (I use guar because xanthan gum is derived from corn)

I usually throw the ingredients in a large ziplock bag and shake them up. Then I date and label them. Some flours need to be stored in the fridge so read the labels.

The noodles I have found to be the best are Tinkyada brand noodles. They are made from rice, taste good and they don't fall apart. Even the lasagna noodles work well. I also like Ancient Harvest Quinoa and Corn noodles, but they fall apart more easily if they are overcooked.

For breakfast you can usually find hot cereals like quinoa flakes, buckwheat cereal (not related to wheat), hot rice cereal, and gluten free oats for oatmeal (make sure the oats are specially marked gluten-free. Red Mill sells some gluten-free oats but they are expensive). Regular brand cereals that are currently gluten free (but always check the label because they change the recipe sometimes) are Rice Chex, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, and Dora and Diego cereals. I also like to buy Erewon Crispy Rice and some no-name brand called Cinnamon O's. (Basically just a plain box with plain black print I found in the gluten-free section at Macey's).

You have several options for flour. The best, if you are not avoiding milk, is Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix. It is a little light though and if you want something heavier just mix it with another flour. Bob's gluten-free baking mix is a pre-made mix made out of garbanzo and fava bean flours. It's alright but I never use that alone because the bean flavor is a little strong. The cheapest is rice flour. You can even get a grain grinder and grind your own to make it even cheaper. I can't stand the taste of rice flour though (brown rice is better than white rice in my opinion). Sweet rice flour isn't bad and is good for pie shells, but it is a lot more expensive. You can get it in Asian stores and it's usually called Mochika. I like to use buckwheat flour for sweet things like pancakes, cakes, and sweet breads (but never alone--mix it with another kind of flour). Soy flour works well if you do not have problems with soy. You can also use millet flour, garbanzo bean flour, fava bean flour, sorhgum flour, coconut flour, and potato flour (different from potato starch). Millet flour is better for pizza crust-type foods. I use coconut flour to absorb extra liquids. It is probably a good one to mix with the Pamela's mix. I will be posting recipes that I have tried and adapted on this blog soon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Enterolab Results

A) Gluten Sensitivity Stool and Gene Panel Complete *Best test/best value
Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA 163 Units (Normal Range <10>

Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA 152 Units (Normal Range <10>

Quantitative Microscopic Fecal Fat Score <300>

Fecal Anti-casein (cow's milk) IgA 112 Units (Normal Range <10>

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0301

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0602

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,1 (Subtype 7,6)

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-gliadin IgA: Intestinal antigliadin IgA antibody was elevated, indicating that you have active dietary gluten sensitivity. For optimal health, resolution of symptoms (if you have them), and prevention of small intestinal damage and malnutrition, osteoporosis, and damage to other tissues (like nerves, brain, joints, muscles, thyroid, pancreas, other glands, skin, liver, spleen, among others), it is recommended that you follow a strict and permanent gluten free diet. As gluten sensitivity is a genetic syndrome, you may want to have your relatives screened as well.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-tissue Transglutaminase IgA: You have an autoimmune reaction to the human enzyme tissue transglutaminase, secondary to dietary gluten sensitivity.

Interpretation of Quantitative Microscopic Fecal Fat Score: Provided that dietary fat is being ingested, a fecal fat score less than 300 indicates there is no malabsorbed dietary fat in stool indicating that digestion and absorption of nutrients is currently normal.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-casein (cow's milk) IgA: Levels of fecal IgA antibody to a food antigen greater than or equal to 10 are indicative of an immune reaction, and hence immunologic "sensitivity" to that food. For any elevated fecal antibody level, it is recommended to remove that food from your diet. Values less than 10 indicate there currently is minimal or no reaction to that food and hence, no direct evidence of food sensitivity to that specific food. However, because 1 in 500 people cannot make IgA at all, and rarely, some people can still have clinically significant reactions to a food antigen despite the lack of a significant antibody reaction (because the reactions primarily involve T cells), if you have an immune syndrome or symptoms associated with food sensitivity, it is recommended that you try a strict removal of suspect foods from your diet for up to 12 months despite a negative test.

Interpretation Of HLA-DQ Testing: Although you do not possess the main HLA-DQB1 genes predisposing to celiac sprue (HLA-DQB1*0201 or HLA-DQB1*0302), HLA gene analysis reveals that you have two copies of a gene that predisposes to gluten sensitivity (any DQ1, DQ2 not by HLA-DQB1*0201, or DQ3 not by HLA-DQB1*0302). Having two copies of a gluten sensitive gene means that each of your parents and all of your children (if you have them) will possess at least one copy of the gene. Two copies also means there is an even stronger predisposition to gluten sensitivity than having one gene and the resultant immunologic gluten sensitivity may be more severe.

C) Egg, Yeast, and Soy Food Sensitivity Stool Panel
Fecal Anti-ovalbumin (chicken egg) IgA 35 Units (Normal Range <10>

Fecal Anti-saccharomyces cerevisiae (dietary yeast) IgA 35 Units (Normal Range <10>

Fecal Anti-soy IgA 140 Units (Normal Range <10>

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-ovalbumin (chicken egg) IgA: Levels of fecal IgA antibody to a food antigen greater than or equal to 10 are indicative of an immune reaction, and hence immunologic "sensitivity" to that food. For any elevated fecal antibody level, it is recommended to remove that food from your diet. Values less than 10 indicate there currently is minimal or no reaction to that food and hence, no direct evidence of food sensitivity to that specific food. However, because 1 in 500 people cannot make IgA at all, and rarely, some people can still have clinically significant reactions to a food antigen despite the lack of a significant antibody reaction (because the reactions primarily involve T cells), if you have an immune syndrome or symptoms associated with food sensitivity, it is recommended that you try a strict removal of suspect foods from your diet for up to 12 months despite a negative test.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-saccharomyces cerevisiae (dietary yeast) IgA: Levels of fecal IgA antibody to a food antigen greater than or equal to 10 are indicative of an immune reaction, and hence immunologic "sensitivity" to that food. For any elevated fecal antibody level, it is recommended to remove that food from your diet. Values less than 10 indicate there currently is minimal or no reaction to that food and hence, no direct evidence of food sensitivity to that specific food. However, because 1 in 500 people cannot make IgA at all, and rarely, some people can still have clinically significant reactions to a food antigen despite the lack of a significant antibody reaction (because the reactions primarily involve T cells), if you have an immune syndrome or symptoms associated with food sensitivity, it is recommended that you try a strict removal of suspect foods from your diet for up to 12 months despite a negative test.

Interpretation of Fecal Anti-soy IgA: Levels of fecal IgA antibody to a food antigen greater than or equal to 10 are indicative of an immune reaction, and hence immunologic "sensitivity" to that food. For any elevated fecal antibody level, it is recommended to remove that food from your diet. Values less than 10 indicate there currently is minimal or no reaction to that food and hence, no direct evidence of food sensitivity to that specific food. However, because 1 in 500 people cannot make IgA at all, and rarely, some people can still have clinically significant reactions to a food antigen despite the lack of a significant antibody reaction (because the reactions primarily involve T cells), if you have an immune syndrome or symptoms associated with food sensitivity, it is recommended that you try a strict removal of suspect foods from your diet for up to 12 months despite a negative test.

THE MOTHER'S GENETIC TEST

Gluten Sensitivity Gene Test
HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0301

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0301

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 7,7)

Interpretation Of HLA-DQ Testing: Although you do not possess the main HLA-DQB1 genes predisposing to celiac sprue (HLA-DQB1*0201 or HLA-DQB1*0302), HLA gene analysis reveals that you have two copies of a gene that predisposes to gluten sensitivity (any DQ1, DQ2 not by HLA-DQB1*0201, or DQ3 not by HLA-DQB1*0302). Having two copies of a gluten sensitive gene means that each of your parents and all of your children (if you have them) will possess at least one copy of the gene. Two copies also means there is an even stronger predisposition to gluten sensitivity than having one gene and the resultant immunologic gluten sensitivity may be more severe.