Friday, September 28, 2012
Yesterday I shared how terrible Ashley has been feeling lately. Then last night my friend Tom Malterre called and questioned me about every supplement I give Ashley. And guess what we found? Wheat germ. Ugh. It was like having an out-of-body experience when I found it. I thought I must be mistaken. I wanted to deny it. Then I got mad. Then upset. It was so emotional.
Over the next couple hours I tried not to beat myself up for making such a crucial mistake, to no avail.
So I decided to allow myself to feel badly - to get it all out - to cry - and then to forgive myself and let it go.
All of Ashley's sudden trouble began around the same time that she started taking this supplement. It doesn't matter what brand it is - the mistake was mine. I didn't notice the wheat, because I was only looking at the list of vitamins in the nutritional info. The ingredients (pictured above) were continued on the other side of the bottle.
It will take a very long time to get this out of her system, especially considering how long I've been giving it to her, and as Tom pointed out, now she's depleted of things like zinc as a result. He also encouraged me to be happy that we figured it out, because now she can begin to recover. I am so grateful for his call and his friendship.
Just wanted to give you the update.
P.S. I also wanted to update my thoughts on Agape. While I have seen some major improvements in the last two weeks that Ashley has taken it, it has also made her very constipated. After studying the ingredients I can only imagine that this could be due to the xanthan gum, which I had not realized was in Agape when I bought it. Xanthan gum is usually grown on corn. So I may not be able to use Agape after all.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
It's time for a little heart to heart conversation between me and you. I've hinted at it in recent posts, but I thought it would be best to really share what's been going on. Times have been hard with autism lately. That big bad wolf has seriously reared it's ugly head. The last time Ashley had tantrums this bad was four years ago. Four years ago. Only now the tantrums include throwing and breaking glass, whereas back then it was more like non-stop screaming.
We recently switched to Agape after some of you suggested it (thank you!) and I do see an improvement, but we still have a ways to go. It's going to take time, but I believe that Agape is one of those things that is going to help us get there. Another friend of mine suggested Bioplasma, and we added that too. Have you used it?
As my neighbors will tell you, lately I've been spending most of my days walking around outside with Ashley and Ginger. There are two things that calm Ashley and put an end to her fits—Riding in the car and walking around outside. So that's what I've been doing. A lot.
The other thing that Ashley loves, as you may know, is therapeutic horseback riding. Ashley had the best ever classes these past two weeks. So thankful for how much she communicated and had a blast. My wish for Ashley is that she could always feel as good as she does when she is on a horse. Someday I hope to have a little house on an acre of land so that I can get Ashley a horse, and a greyhound dog, and some chickens.
Meanwhile, the best I can do for her (and for all of us) is simplify our life as much as possible. If you've ever seen this video (above) of the girls from a few years ago, then you know how tiny our house is. But it's crazy how much we have filled it up! The closets and drawers have been brimming over. And lately I wonder, "What is all this stuff?" There are drawers and cabinets in the kitchen that I look at and I say to myself, "I don't remember the last time I used anything in there."
So whenever possible we have been collecting things that we don't use and donating them. What is it about living with less that makes me feel so much lighter?
In relation to food: I've been making double batches of my pancake batter so I can put half in the fridge for the next day. I've been making lots of salads for lunch (with dressings from my light pink cookbook).
Also, I'm really into homemade chicken stock right now. I put the whole chicken in the pot, and use Ali's recipe for making stock. When the breast is cooked and I've picked off all the meat I put the bones back in the water and keep going with the lid off, barely simmering, refilling the water frequently (Alton Brown says this brings out the most gelatin).
On day one we eat the chicken breast. On day two I use the stock with my dumpling recipe, and just throw in whatever greens and veggies come in my box. I use the crock pot and cook it slowly, until the veggies are just tender. It's enough stock for all of us to eat soup for a couple days.
And what could be more comforting to eat than soup? : ) ♥, Kelly
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
I was over the moon when I received my Nourishing Meals review copy last week. Then four days later my review copy of Paleo Indulgences arrived. Eeek! I am such a happy camper. And my family is probably slightly relieved that rather than testing (and ah-hem, flopping) recipes, lately I have been cooking out of these two books!
Paleo Indulgences just rocks. I can't say enough good things about it. I love the writing, I love the ingredients, I love the super clever and creative recipes.
I seriously couldn't wait to make something, but it was so hard to choose. Seconds after I began flipping through the book I was making a recipe. Being obsessed with coconut I was immediately torn between Mint Chip Coconut Bark and Almond O'Joys (both primarily coconut). So I combined the two. I made the O'Joys, but I doubled the coconut oil and added a teaspoon of peppermint extract. OH MY GOODNESS. I could have never made another recipe and the book would have been more than worth the money for just these "joys."
We have all been eating one (okay two) O'Joys a day since the book arrived, and we decided yesterday that we're doing an experiment. We're going to see if we eat them every day... will we ever get sick of them??? It's been four days and we are no where close to being sick of them, and I don't think we ever will be. And what I'm really excited about is making them for Andy's family while we're in New York in a few weeks. I can't wait to see his parents faces when they take that first bite : )
But I did go on and make more of Tammy's fantastic recipes : ) I made the Gingerbread Pancakes (above). Hello. Gingerbread pancakes??? Mmm. Then I whipped up some of the Sweet Potato Fries. Genius. That's all. Just genius. When you see the recipe you'll understand. And you may never make sweet potato fries another way again. I won't.
Next on my must-make list are Breakfast Biscuit Bowls and Macadamia-Date Macaroons. Decisions, decisions...
Like Ali's book, I know you won't be disappointed with Paleo Indulgences. Trust me, you gotta go buy one right now. ♥, Kelly
Thursday, September 13, 2012
I'm so excited to announce that after many years of being a huge fan of Laptop Lunches, I have become an affiliate. I have long promoted Laptop Lunches bento boxes in both my books and here online, but now when you purchase them through my links I will receive a commission.
The lunch box comes like this, above. Inside the box are two medium sized compartments and two small ones, plus a little dip container. Everything is free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead.
For years we cut our sandwiches in half, and placed them upright on their sides in the medium sized containers. It was really cute because you could see what was inside the sandwich when you opened the box.
But I recently got the Bento Buddies, as seen above. All of the containers in this kit have lids, and the kit includes one very big compartment that takes up most of the box. It's perfect for salad or sandwiches laid flat (like the top photo).
While creating THIS Pinterest board of lunch box ideas, I came across THIS owl sandwich, and I had to make my own version—it's just too cute.
I didn't use any special tools, or even cut the sandwich. As you can see above, all I did was cut the eyes and wings out of apple—it added only a few extra seconds to the time spent packing the lunch. I used carrots for the nose and feet, and dairy-free chocolate chips for the eyes.
Zoe likes to dip celery sticks into SunButter mixed with a tiny bit of honey. I placed the celery below the owl as if she is standing on a tree branch. The pressure of the lid holds everything in place.
Thin cloth napkins or re-usable silverware fit into the spot on the right.
Each average-sized elementary school contributes about 18,000 pounds of waste to landfills each year due to plastic sandwich bags, paper napkins, juice boxes, and individually wrapped snacks, chips, cookies, etc. Help me spread the word that adorable, healthy, reusable lunch boxes are cool : ) And thank you for supporting us by buying through me!
Monday, September 10, 2012
Despite the fact that it was 90-something degrees yesterday, and will be again today, I am in the mood for fall and pumpkin pie : ) I already have an egg-free pumpkin pie made with gelatin, but I wanted a vegan version too, like my vegan pumpkin chai bars. So after reading this comment on my vegan pumpkin chai bars I decided to try turning it into a pie myself:
"Thanks SO much for this yumminess!! I made this last night for my family and followed your recipe exactly... except I put it in a pie pan and made it a pumpkin pie. I had to double the filling, and I also baked the crust for about 10 minutes to give it a drier, toastier flavor. But it was a hit (even with my son who claims to not like pumpkin pie!) I loved the cardamom-chai-spiciness of it."
I left out the cardamom in this pumpkin pie, but I'm sure it would be really good with it too. Whether you make yours pumpkin chai or just pumpkin, I hope you love this recipe, and thank you Dottie for inspiring it! xoxo
Vegan Pumpkin Pie, no-bake
gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free
Add to food processor:
2 cups almond meal flour (I use Bob's) or ground walnuts*
8 soft pitted dates (soak first if they are dry)
1 tsp cinnamon
Puree until it begins sticking together.
Press into a deep ceramic pie dish.
Note: You don't need to grease or line the dish first. The raw crust won't stick.
Add to a small pot:
1.5 cups coconut milk
1.5 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 to 3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Optional (for chai flavor): 1/2 tsp cardamom
Simmer till coconut sugar is just dissolved.
4 tsp agar powder (Not flakes! You would need far more if you use flakes!)
Whisk agar powder vigorously while simmering for about one minute.
Pour over crust.
Refrigerate to set.
I prefer to eat it room temperature.
*Ground walnuts are my favorite. I think they create a crust that tastes similar to a graham cracker crust. But I used almond flour in the photo above.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Since Ali sent my review copy of her new book, Nourishing Meals, two days ago I have been spending every free moment reading it. From the moment it arrived I've wished that I could do nothing else but read it. This is a book that anyone would love, but if you have children or are planning on having children—this is a must-read book. My nose was glued to the page as I read about environmental toxicity, chronic inflammation, leaky gut, imbalanced flora, introducing solid foods, snacking and more.
And the recipes in this book are nothing short of spectacular, as I knew they would be. I'm less than half way through reading it, and I've already marked 10 recipes that I can't wait to eat, all of which are grain-free. They include: Baby Green Smoothie (for Ginger, but really for all of us), Raw Breakfast Tacos, Zucchini Almond Pancakes, Coconut Flour Biscuits, Date Walnut Cinnamon Swirl Muffins, and Healing Ginger Miso Soup. (As you can tell I left off in the soup chapter : )
But I had to dive into a recipe before I could even finish the book—I was so excited. I had a bunch of very ripe bananas, so I made Coconut Banana Breakfast Cake. It couldn't have been simpler, and it came out amazing. That's it in the photo above.
Love this book. I want to give one to everyone I know. ♥, Kelly
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
This is the third year since we planted our grapes. I give them (and everything in our yard) worm castings and water. Nothing else. And they are thriving.
Below is Zoe sitting with the first basket so you can get a sense of how many grapes there are. We don't own a scale, but I am guessing that this basket weighs at least 30 pounds.
I searched around the blogosphere, and decided that most people make grape jam one of three ways. 1) With added pectin. 2) With tons of sugar. Or 3) By separating the skin from the innards and including the skin in the jam.
The reason that including the skin works is because the skin contains pectin. You can read a great post about it by my friend, Beth, HERE.
I didn't want to separate the skin from the grape innards though. And I was determined to make this jam without added pectin or tons of sugar. Hmm...
After three tries I came up with a grape jam that I am so happy with. It's tart, not overly sweet, and intensely grape. I thickened it by adding agar powder. If you use this method but leave out the agar powder it will still be super yummy, just not as thick as jam. I fondly refer to my first few tries (without the agar powder) as "grape butter." —It's great on pancakes and ice cream.
I have to give special thanks here to my friend, Linda, who gave me this fantastic spoon (at the top). I adore it!
Add to large pot:
about 14 cups of grapes (I used grapes with seeds from my yard - I haven't tried using store bought)
Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, mashing them down frequently.
Pour into a strainer that is set over a large mixing bowl.
Use a flexible spoonula to press as much liquids and pulp through the strainer as possible.
Add to the pot:
4 cups of grape juice/pulp from above (I don't know if this recipe would work with store bought juice, like Knudsen Just Concord. —I think it would require more agar powder.)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp lemon juice
Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the liquids have reduced by half.
Add 1 to 1.5 tsp of agar powder (not flakes! you would need far more of the flakes)
Whisk while simmering for about one minute.
Store in mason jars in the fridge.
Makes 2 cups of grape jam.
I have made much more, so I have been canning mine. I used my friend, Ali's canning instructions HERE.