Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reflective Weekend With Chicken

Memorial Day weekend had its reflective moments for me. I have had the misfortune of losing 3 grandparents within the last few months. Two of them were my two grandfathers, and both were vets. One went on to have a career with the VA, and one went on to be a public school superintendent.

The third that recently left us was my step-grandmother, who was a RN and a Seventh-Day Adventist. Both her career and religion had an effect on her cooking, and she would bring us low sugar cookies stuffed with seeds and dried fruits that were really quite delicious. The first Christmas after I got married she gave me a cookbook called "Healthy Choices," which I really appreciated.

Over the last few years as we have been embarking on our healing allergen-free diets, this cookbook has been sadly neglected. Last Friday I brushed the dust off of it and revamped one of our old favorites to fit our current way of eating. It was a great way to sit back and remember these great people I have had in my life and look forward to meeting again one day. I have my own way of preparing this recipe, and so I thought it would be appropriate to share here.

Spicy Southwest Chicken Skillet

4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless, or bone-in with the skin pulled off
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can drained black beans
1/3 cup thick and chunky salsa

Mix the chili powder, salt and pepper. Rub on both sides of the chicken. Heat oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in skillet, turning once, until juices run clear. (This will take 8-10 minutes or more if using bone-in.) Stir in beans and salsa. Heat to boiling and then cover and reduce heat to simmer. I like to simmer off much of the salsa liquid, as condensing gives it great flavor. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby Boy

The arrival or our second child is only weeks away. It seems like it was such a short time ago that we were anticipating the arrival of our first child, who is now six years old. Little did we know of what our journey with him would be! It was like going to an unknown destination, and I have been thinking quite a bit recently about this story I once posted called "Welcome to Holland."

I do not regret that our journey with our son has been different. Holland is a nice place, after all, and he is so much more well than he once was. What I do regret occasionally is that I feel like I lost lots of time with him while he was little and not feeling so well. That is to say, our interactions were not what they could have been for quite a long time. He only appeared to be attached to me when he was little because he had serious separation anxieties. His dad and I were like extensions of him, and he did not call us mom and dad, or anything at all, for many years. We began to see a big turn around with him by the time he was 4. By that time he had been in the DAN! program for about 6 months and he had started ABA therapy.

Our second, yet to be born child is also a boy. I admit I have experienced some anxiety over this, (given that boys are so much more likely to have autism than girls are,) and in fact I really wanted a girl this time for that very reason. The thing about it is though, I have already been to Holland. Figuratively speaking, I already know some of the language, and I already have an itinerary, and I am already packed for the weather. If this second little boy is destined to have autism despite my best efforts to prevent it, he will feel better sooner, and both directly and indirectly he will learn many valuable things from his brother.

And so with that said, here is to the journey, and where ever it may lead us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Everyday Pancakes

I cook breakfast every morning, and about 5 of the 7 days of the week end up being these pancakes. I have chosen this recipe as a staple in my home because they contain whole grain, are free of all of our allergens, and they are quick and easy to make. This recipe is a sample from Allergy Menu Specialists, where many delicious gluten-free recipes can be found. (Used here with permission.)

Everyday Pancakes

2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix together dry ingredients. Add:

1 Tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
1 egg, medium or large
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water

Whisk together until the right consistency. If cornstarch is used, start with 3/4 cup water and add more as needed.

That is all there is to it. Now they are ready to fry up! I get the best results with my cast iron, which I heat up nice and hot while I am mixing the batter.

This is just one of the many recipes that can be found with this fantastic new business. If gluten is your main allergy concern, signing up for a recipe card membership will get you great gluten-free recipes mailed to your home on nice laminated cards. Many of their recipes are revisited old-fashioned delights. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Painting Together

This is just one of those moments that make a mom happy. My son often needs suggestions of activities to do after the video games and TV are turned off. Lately when I suggest that he paints, he is very enthusiastic about it, and insists that I paint with him. He fills the water jar, and I pull up a big sized chair to his little desk and we use brushes with his bottles of finger paint. Super fun!