Sunday, November 13, 2011

No Bake Cookies-Dairy/Gluten free

1 3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c rice milk
1/4 c butter
1/4 c shortening*
1/4 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 c gluten-free quick oats**

*I use this only if I am using non-hydrogenated butter, otherwise I use 1/2 c butter or margarine
**I want to try this using quinoa, sweet rice, or some other grain because my kids don't tolerate even gluten-free oats very well. I bet it's really good with sweet rice.

Melt sugar, cocoa, butter, shortening, and peanut butter in a pan. Bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add oats or other grain. Stir for 2-3 minutes while the grain absorbs moisture. Drop with a large spoon on a pan covered with wax paper and cool in refrigerator.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chinese Sweet Rice Balls--a naturally gluten, milk, and soy-free treat

I recently bought some Chinese red rice to try for a little variety. I didn't find much on that but I stumbled across this recipe for Sweet Rice Balls that intrigued me. I'm always looking for easy recipes for my kids so I decided to try it. Result: BIG SUCCESS! They were a big hit and really easy to make.

1/3 c peanut butter (or sesame, almond, or other desired nut butter)
1/4 c powdered sugar
rice, soy, or cow's milk to desired consistency

Stir powdered sugar into peanut butter and if necessary, add a small amount of liquid if it get's too thick and clumpy. You should be able to pick up and shape the peanut butter with your fingers. I used a knife to place pieces onto the balls.


1 cup freshly ground sweet rice flour*
4-6 oz water
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
1/8 c fine ground flour of your choice (I used corn, but sorghum might be really good)
(optional) a nice health idea that I haven't tried yet is to add a small amount of ground flax seed

*I don't store flour, I store whole grains so I used a coffee grinder to grind sweet rice kernels (and it's so much cheaper!). You can use any kind of glutinous rice (does not contain actual gluten, it just means it's sticky). The coffee grinder is an easy way to grind a small amount of grain but it makes the flour a little bit coarse. This is why I had to add xanthan gum and another fine ground flour. If you use Mochiko or a store bought flour you can probably just use water and flour with no additional ingredients.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway full of water and begin to heat. Combine rice flour and water until it forms a large sticky ball. I mixed it with my hands. If the mixture is not sticking add the xanthan gum and other flour until it forms a ball. roll out the ball into a long "snake" and cut into 1/2" circles with a knife. Smash the circles flat and place a small amount of peanut butter filling onto the circles. Wrap the dough around the peanut butter and form small balls. When the water is boiling, place the balls into the water. They will float when they are done. It took mine about 5 minutes. These are best if served while warm.

This is traditionally served with a fermented rice soup or brown sugar and ginger soup poured over the top. I'm trying to pack my kids with calories so I made a brown sugar and ginger syrup to pour over ours.

1/2 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground ginger*
1/4 c water

*You can also use a slice or two of fresh ginger instead.

Stir brown sugar and ginger together in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour over rice balls and serve.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Special Needs Kids Eat Right

This is not a book review I wrote. This is one a friend of mine wrote but I needed to share it. Please read it:

I took her recommendation and got a copy of this book. It is helpful for any child with bowel problems, not just kids with disabilities. Although I found it even more helpful because I do see some elements of Asperger's in my son, I just have not found it necessary to seek a diagnosis.

The book talks about how nutrition significantly affects the functioning of children and their ability to focus, learn, and grow. She addresses specific issues children with Autism and ADHD face nutritionally and gives steps for restoring nutritional health in children. Proper nutrition can make medications work more effectively, or eliminate the need for medications at all. I highly recommend it.

Baby#3--Also Gluten/Milk Intolerant

I have been doing a lot of research about food sensitivities since dealing gluten-intolerance. When I got pregnant with my third child I was determined to avoid all of the potential triggers hoping he would not have the same problems as my other children. I chose to have a home birth to avoid hospital medications, interventions, and pathogen exposure. We avoided vaccinations and watched very closely as we introduced foods to my baby. And unfortunately, it hasn't done a lick of good.

Kaden had rashes all over his face for the first three months and has very sensitive skin. He has really bad eczema on his legs, feet, and hands and I have not been able to find the trigger. His stools are not normal. He was in the 85th percentile in weight and at 8 months he had dropped to the 25th. He is very active--but I don't think his activity could account for the huge drop. He does have the same gene sequence as his sister--two different gluten intolerance genes and no celiac genes. He reacts to gluten and milk with a flushed face, increased eczema, diarrhea, diaper rash, and evidence of intestinal damage in his stools, and sleep problems.

On the other hand, he has been much more easy-going than his siblings. He has a very easy temperament, was crawling at 5 months and walking at 10, and learning words at 10 months. It could just be a different personality, or that we knew what to watch for in food allergies so he hasn't had as much stress to deal with.

Either way I am disappointed that our lifestyle changes didn't seem to help even a little bit. The only other known potential trigger that I could not avoid was pesticide. We got chickens to eat yard pests, but the mosquito abatement truck still goes by almost weekly in the summer. I hope one day research shows why so many more kids are having autoimmune problems!

Goat's Milk

Now that we have got things relatively under control for my oldest child, I have been braver about trying new things. It is obvious to me that he still is not getting proper nutrition, even though we seem to have eliminated most of the foods that bother him. His teeth (and probably bones) are particularly bad. He is only 5 years old and just had 2 root canals and some additional cavities filled. Compared to his milk-eating sister with perfect teeth, his teeth are very, very weak. I worry that his bones are in the same condition. I want to make sure to get him the proper amount of calcium and other nutrients required for tooth development before his adult teeth are finished forming. 

I don't think the calcium supplements and calcium-fortified rice milk are really doing the trick for him. I've been trying to make sure he eats calcium-containing dark green veggies every day, but that can be a challenge for a 5 year old. I recently found a source of raw goat's milk and tried it to see if it caused the same reaction that cow's milk does. And lucky us! No reaction (so far)! I am so relieved to find a better substitute that is more nutritious than rice milk, and I will be able to get cheese as well. He is hesitant to try it, but we have slowly been working it in. 

I don't have my hopes up just yet though. We had success with soy milk for about a month before he started reacting to that after switching him off cow's milk so the jury is still out. But the most frustrating part is that his little brother (10 months old) does not tolerate the goat's milk so I'm still stuck using rice milk in a lot of my cooking. :(

Gravy and Biscuits with Mashed Potatoes--dairy, soy, gluten free


I just found the most fantastic biscuit recipe. I've never been able to get one to work very well. I got it from this link and made a few adaptations:

1 1/2c. flour of your choice (I used brown rice and coconut)
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 c. rice milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice (or milk of your choice)
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add lemon juice to milk and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Form a hole in the center of the mixture and add liquid ingredients to the "hole". With a spoon (not a whisk or the batter will get stuck inside) slowly stir dry ingredients into the liquid until fully mixed. Batter will be very thick. With a 1/4 cup measuring cup form biscuits and place them on the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. For me this recipe made 10 biscuits.

Sausage Gravy:

This can be really fattening, but in our house that is a good thing. My kids do not get enough calories so we are looking for many ways to increase their calorie intake and get them growing again. You can use less grease if this is too much for your taste.

1 lb ground sausage
abt 1 cup milk
abt 1/4 c potato flour
ground pepper
herbs of your choice

Cook 1lb ground sausage in a frying pan. remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Using about 3tbsp leftover grease (to desired taste and fat content). Add milk and heat. Slowly add potato flour, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Add about 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and ground pepper to taste. The sausage should add plenty of flavor, but if not add herbs of your own to enhance flavor. Add some of the sausage back in if desired.

Mashed Potatoes: 

I don't like using rice milk in my potatoes so I usually pull some potatoes out after they have been boiled for my dairy-intolerant kids and use cow's or goat's milk for the rest of us.

Boil potatoes until tender (at least 1 potato per person). Drain. For dairy-intolerant kids add rice milk and dairy-free butter substitute and mash until creamy. For dairy-eaters add sour cream and milk to taste. You could also use plain yogurt. Serve with gravy and biscuits. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gluten-Free All Purpose Flatbread--by Mary Brown

I recently sent in a children's book manuscript modeled after my son Barrett with his experiences living gluten-free around other children. My book (currently titled That Will Make You Sick but that will probably change), was accepted by Tate Publishing and given a production date. After having a discussion with my publisher they informed me they had just published a Gluten-Free cook book and sent me a free copy:

I have only tried this flatbread recipe, but it is just perfect for making sandwiches, bread sticks, cinnamon bread, pizza, and much more! I have made a few adaptations, as usual, but the original is very good too.

1 1/2c brown rice flour
3/4 c gluten-free oat flour (or white rice flour)
3/4 c tapioca starch
3 tbsp potato starch
3 tsp sorghum flour
3 tsp cornstarch
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/8 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 c water with 3 tsp sugar dissolved
3 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp egg yolk
3/8 cup corn oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Take the yeast and eggs out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature. (You can warm the eggs faster if you place them in a bowl of warm water).

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Grease pan (I use a jelly roll pan).

Mix yeast and sugar water in your mixing bowl and let sit until it foams.

Separate the eggs from the whites. (Google it if you don't know how, there are lots of ways to do this).

After the yeast is foaming add the required amount of eggs, oil, and vinegar and mix. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix. (I use the bread arm on my Bosch but I bet a paddle attachment on any mixer would also work well). Beat for 10 minutes.

Spread dough (looks like a really thick batter) in the pan and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour. (I have cheated and done it for less--the bread is just flatter and more dense).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When bread is risen bake for 20-24 minutes. (The instructions say to release immediately and cool upside down on cooling racks, but I have never done this).

Cut the pieces to whatever size you want. Use right away or freeze for later use.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Best Brownies Ever!

This recipe is adapted from my friend's Blondie recipe, which is also fabulous.

1 cup packed brown sugar*
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups gf flour blend (I used 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/8 c potato starch, 1/2 +1/8 c sweet rice flour, 1 c GF oat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
optional add-ins: 1-1 1/4 cups of total of dairy-free chocolate chips, walnut pieces, coconut, etc.

*The brown sugar seems to be the key to what makes these so good. It helps cover up the rice flour taste and makes the brownies more moist.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9x2 pan, set aside. Melt sugar, butter, and cocoa. In a separate bowl mix together flour blend, baking powder, and baking soda. Slowly add cocoa mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in any additional add-ins you desire.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan. Cut into bars while warm. Makes 24 bars.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tom Kha Gai--Chicken, Coconut, Galangal Soup

This is one of my favorite gluten/dairy-free dishes. I make it soy free as well by leaving out the soy sauce. (I'm not sure if fish sauce has soy or not, but the thought of it makes my stomach turn so I don't use that either).

Adapted from From Our House to Yours: Comfort Food to Give and Share

‎1-2 lbs cubed chicken
1 19oz can of coconut milk (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
4 fresh lemon grass stalks, sliced into 4 or 5 pieces and bruised
20 quarter-sized slices of galangal
12 kaffir lime leaves
2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
fresh cilantro to taste

Toss all but the green onions, lime juice, and cilantro in a pot and boil it until the chicken is cooked. Stir in onions, lime juice, and cilantro. Remove the lemon grass, galangal, and lime leaves before serving.