Monday, September 29, 2008

"On a journey to get my autism out"

I just wanted to post about a cute thing that happened today.

My parents have been staying at their house in Mexico for the last couple of weeks and while they were gone both of my boys lost a tooth. I was telling my mom how excited they were about losing teeth and having a visit from the tooth fairy so she said she would call later to talk to the boys. When she called she asked Connor how he was doing and what he had been up to while she was gone. Connor started telling her about his journey. She asked what journey he was talking about and Connor responded, "my journey to get my autism out".

He saw the name on my blog one day and figured it was something fun. He started asking about journeys and what they mean. I didn't think much of it at the time since I didn't know he had seen the blog name. He started saying he was on an adventure, or a voyage, an odysey or an excursion. I still didn't catch on to the connection with the blog name. I have told him in the past that a doctor accidentaly gave him bad medicine and that we are trying to fix it. I want him to know that there is a reason he has to take all those pills and why he sometimes gets overwhelmed.

When I asked what his journey to get his autism out meant, he replied, "I'm going to get the bad medicine out and then my autism with be gone". Somehow hearing him say it, I knew he could.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gluten Free Cinnamon Crackers with Pear, Fig and Vanilla Bean Jelly and Baked Pear Flan

Although I am no expert in gluten free baking, I have managed many times to bake gluten free cakes and cookies, but this was my first attempt at baking yeast breads using gluten free flours. I have to admit it was a challenge and it took three trials to get to these crackers that you see in the photos. It is a very simple recipe but I couldn't get the consistency right the first two times.

The trick to getting a thin cracker is to roll it as thin as possible, almost like paper. The first two doughs were tough so rolling them became a challenge. The baked crackers were rather thick and hard. Finally, for the third batch, I added a bit more water to see if a softer dough would be easier to roll. And there it was, worked like a charm.

To accompany the crackers, I made a pear, fig and vanilla bean jelly and also a baked pear custard. For the custard in these photos, I used cow's milk (I am not of an dairy free diet), but it works the same with rice, hemp or coconut milk.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Graham Crackers

1 1/2 cups gluten free baking mix (used Bob's Red Mill all purpose mix)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 to 4 oz water, at room temperature
Ground cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, stir together the baking mix, salt, instant yeast, agave nectar, oil and 3 oz of water. Mix well and slowly add the remaining 1 oz of water, if needed. Shape into a ball and place it in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for 90 minutes. It can also be placed in the refrigerator overnight retarding the fermentation (I chose to retard the dough this way).

Lay out two sheets of parchment paper or silicon mats. Divide the dough in half and place the dough between the sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is paper thin and about 15" x 12". Peel away the parchment on top and place the dough on a sheetpan. Spray the surface with cooking spray and sprinkle cinnamon sugar and top.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until brown. Let them cool before serving.

Pear Flan

250 ml rice milk, hemp milk or coconut milk
3 eggs
60 grams sugar
Half a pear, thinly sliced

Whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Slowly add in the milk and whisk until thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine sieve and pour the custard in your ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking sheet or deep baking dish and add some hot water to go up about an inch high. Bake at 300F for about 25 minutes, but it will depend on the size of the ramekins. The center should still jiggle a little but the rest should be set. Let them cool for a bit and store in the refrigerator.

Pear, Fig and Vanilla Bean Jam

2 pints of green figs, quartered
2 medium sized Bartlett pears, medium diced
1 lb sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 vanilla bean split

Wash the figs, pat them dry and cut the stems off. Cut them into quarters and place them in a ceramic bowl. Dice the pears and add them to the bowl. Add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla bean. Stir the fruit gently and cover the bowl with parchment paper. Let the fruit macerate at room temperature for an hour.

Transfer the fruit to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Transfer the fruit to another bowl, cover with parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, transfer the fruit to a saucepan, bring it to a boil, skim impurities from the surface and cook for about 7 minutes. Laddle the jam into jars and seal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Connor's Lunch Box

While at Whole Foods getting all the fun new food to go into Connor's lunch box for school, I discovered this new and "clean" lunch box. I hated putting all of his organic food into a grody 'ol plastic (probably full of lead) junky old lunch box. I hate to sound so dramatic, but it did make me feel like the food that was going in was getting contaminated by the grodiness of it. This new lunch box is safe and has a ton of room. I do tend to over stuff Connor's lunch box anyway, so now it doesn't get all smooshed in the process. He has a fascination with other countries so this lunch box was perfect for him.

While talking about his new lunch box I figured I should at least mention what I put into it. Connor is on a low protein diet because of his genetics. Because of this, and because he is sooo darn skinny, I insist the school give him access to food every two hours.

Connor's lunch box:
1 huge organic grapefruit (he loves these things!)
1 organic nectarine
1 organic blueberry dried fruit
1 bag of gfcf barbq chips (whole foods brand)
1 bag of pizza flavored gfcf bread sticks (glutino brand)
1 baggie of raw organic pistachios
1 baggie of organic baby carrots
1 raw food bar (spirulina)
1 juice box (R.W. Knudsen Lemonade)

I know, I know, where's the pb and j?

I would love some suggestions...

Crocodile Creek Countries Lunchbox
School lunches can now be more fun than ever with this beautifully-designed, high-quality lunch box. Lunch box is 10"w x 7.5"h x 3"d. We have given special attention to make certain that the lunchboxes currently offered by Crocodile Creek do conform to the current U.S. & European Consumer Product Safety Standards as well as FDA recommendations. Our lunchboxes are child safe, with lead-free linings and are Phthalate and PVC free. Ages 3 and up. Handwash in warm water with mild soap and soft cloth. No abrasives or heat.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Helpful Magazine

I just found my favorite magazine on the rack at Whole Foods again after months of it being gone. I know they were doing something to it and it was gone for a while, but it is back.

I read it last night and found some great articles and recipes. My mom use to make my sister and brother and me a special breakfast on holidays and special weekends called baby dutch pancakes. When Connor started the gluten free, casein free diet we were sad that we couldn't make those special pancakes any more. This issue of Living Without has a recipe for these baby dutch pancakes. I was so excited I called my mom right away to tell her. They call them dutch pancakes. I will update you when we make them...stay tuned!!