Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple (Allergen Free) Feasting

I hope that everyone is having an awesome holiday season! We had a very merry Christmas at our house. Eli had the most fun, of course! Even though it has been almost a week, I still wanted to share our simple Christmas meal on my blog. It has just been awhile since we had a holiday by ourselves, and so although it may seem silly, it was really fun for me to orchestrate the whole little meal by myself. The whole meal was gluten free, casein free, soy free, and nearly corn free as well.

We had on the menu, turkey of course, which you can see below the cheesy smiles in the first picture. The turkey was Norbest Tender Timed. Although not quite as preservative free as I would wish, it did say GLUTEN FREE. And by the way, the timer did not work, which I found kind of amusing. I put Earth Balance spread under the skin, as well as the juice from half a lemon, and a mix of spices including paprika, salt and pepper, and dried chopped onions. I meant to also use rosemary, but I forgot. The results really were surprisingly great.

Sides included green beans, carrot sticks, and green salad. Jason loves deviled eggs, so I made them as allergen-free as possible, using only Canola Mayo, (to avoid soy,) French's Mustard, salt and pepper. Eli, our son with autism, apparently hates deviled eggs, so I didn't have to worry about them bothering his system after all. The mashed potatoes had Earth Balance, Rice Dream rice milk, salt and pepper. Of course I made gravy from the turkey drippings, adding just alittle potato starch to thicken. Although Eli is sensitive to yeast, he did have 2 little pieces of his favorite "Sandwich Bread" from page 21 of Carol Fenster's "Cooking Free."

Dressings included Annie's All Natural Roasted Red Pepper salad dressing, Old Nauvoo homemade style red raspberry jam, and of course our favorite Earth Balance spread. We washed the whole thing down with Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. Yum.

Eli had lots of fun with making cut out cookies later that evening with another recipe of Carol Fenster's, from page 239 of the same cookbook.

And tomorrow is a whole new year. The holidays pass way too quickly once they get here!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pigs in a Blanket

This was an old childhood favorite of mine from when I was very young. My mother would chop hot dogs in half or thirds, wrap each little dog in a layer of biscuit dough, and bake. Often she would make the dough, and other times she would get it from one of those refrigerator popping cans, (those things used to startle me every time!)

Lately one of our favorite family dinners at home have been new and improved "Pigs in a Blanket," thanks to the lovely Linda at Her wonderful blog has made feeding my family easier with her easy gluten free, dairy free recipes with natural ingredients. Here is her recipe for the dough to wrap the dogs. It has an awesome homemade taste, unlike refrigerator biscuits. Totally worth the effort. I wish I had taken a picture of our main entree tonight, but of course they always disappear too fast. (My five-year-old loves these!) Tonight we had our Pigs in a Blanket with Hunt's All Natural Ketchup, French's Mustard, Linda's Roasted Red Potatoes, and some green peas.

I have to admit, I have a thing against regular hot dogs. Even if there are those that are gluten free, I have a serious thing against the nitrates that are often in them, and I always, always avoid feeding my family nitrates. At our local health food store called "Good Earth," they carry nitrate-free chicken hot dogs. They are called "Sheldon's Cooked Uncured Chicken Franks." They are all natural, and as such need to be kept frozen until use. They make the best "pigs" we have had so far. I will be on the lookout for other brands of nitrate-free piggies to try out in the future.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today is my 30th birthday, and so I thought I would share just afew things about me. Be warned, I ramble.

I am currently 11 weeks pregnant with our second child. Our son will be six years old when this baby is born. I guess in the area where we live that is totally taboo. Oh well, every family is different.

It's funny how with our first, I was kind of hoping for a girl just because I am an oldest girl. Now I find myself kind of wanting a girl because of the higher chance of having a neuro-typical child. (Although I don't know if I am well suited to handling little girl drama!)I know without a doubt that however our child comes to us, we will be completely thrilled to have him or her. Although we feel we are taking preventative measures where possible, we are not afraid of autism because it is not an uncharted path for us.

My major in college was art. I have an associates from a junior college and a bachelor's from a university. Although I love creating things when I have the energy, (has not happened much this pregnancy,) my culinary skills are always in much higher, and more practical demand. This is because of the cooking I do for my son's and my own food sensitivities. (Our main ones are gluten, dairy, corn, and un-natural additives and such.) Some days I feel like I am cooking all day long. On the bright side, there is so much information and so many products out there that used to not be available. It is truly a blessing that the work I do maintains my family's health.

I am currently the room mom of the autism kindergarten class that my son goes to. I hope that the "Winter" party goes as well as the Halloween party did. I have to admit I am not quite prepared just yet!

Currently reading: HypnoBirthing; The Mongan Method. Next I hope to read Preventing and Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy, followed by The Age of Autism. (My understanding is that The Age of Autism is a in-depth look at the link between autism and vaccines. I HAVE to read it!)

I am such a Jane Austen junkie. With my first pregnancy I happened upon the Sense and Sensibility movie with Emma Thompson, 1995. I found it so entertaining and so calming when I was feeling tired and ill with my pregnancy, that I just about wore out that VHS copy. Now I have a DVD collection, and I am hoping to add to it this Christmas! My obsession has also led to reading and re-reading of the books. I love watching and collecting the different versions of the movies because it's so fun to see all the different ways they tell the same story. My husband doesn't really get it, but he gets them for me anyway. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The founder of my faith once said that all minds are 'susceptible of enlargement.' We have had substantial proof that this statement is true as we have seen our son change, evolve, and grow as we have followed the programs/therapies that we have been blessed to have for him.

My husband and I have always tried to be aware of teaching our son to be independent. This is much harder to actually do in practice than I ever thought! Especially when your child has special challenges, helping them to reach that goal of independence in those things that are within their reach is so extremely vital.

As a mom of an only child, I am the first to admit that I do too much for him. Because he is the only one, and because he did not have typical development, I have a hard time knowing what is age appropriate for him. His teachers always have to get after me for not letting him do things for himself. They have even explained to me that this even extends to helping him learn to control his emotions.

His teachers have explained that immediately hugging is not the best thing to do when a melt down happens. The issue here is that Eli cannot have more time main streaming in the regular kindergarten until he can stop having these emotional melt downs. They have told me that he needs to learn to control his emotions on his own, and I know that they are right. I am trying to learn to ask him if he needs a break, or to tell him in a neutral voice that he is ok, and letting him start to calm down on his own before I ask him if he needs a hug. What a tall order for me to fill! I am really trying though, because this is an important step for him-- an independence he needs to gain. How wonderful it is that we live in a school district that is so aware of the needs of autistic children and that is so dedicated to helping them meet these important goals.