Monday, September 21, 2009

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cakes

Photos by Aran Goyoaga

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cakes

My friend, and my kids' godmother, is an amazing pastry chef. She created this beautiful masterpiece and I asked her if I could post the recipe on my blog for those of us who are gluten free. Aran said that the recipe could be altered from its original state to accommodate dairy free diets as well by substituting olive oil or shortening for the butter in the recipe. I am not a fan of beets, but I have it under good authority that a fellow non beet lover liked this cake a lot. I think anytime we can add a great veggie to our desserts is a good thing.

Thanks Aran!!

Makes 6-4 oz ramekins

2 eggs
2 yolks
50 grams sugar
55 grams non-hydrogenated shortening (originally, this was butter)
170 grams gluten, dairy and soy free chocolate chips
55 grams roasted beet puree
20 grams rice flour
pinch salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until pale and very thick (ribbon stage).

In the meantime, place the shortening and chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over a double boiler. Add the melted shortening and chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs and mix. Add the roasted beet puree and mix. Finally add the rice flour and salt and fold.

Pour the runny batter into the greased ramekins and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400F for about 8-10 minutes until the edges are set but the center is still soft and pudding-like. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before trying to unmold them.

Roasted Beet Puree

2 beets

Cut the leaves off the beets leaving about 1 inch stem on. Wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them at 400F for about 1 hour or until fork tender. Let them cool completely in the aluminum foil and them peel them.

Cut the roasted beets and puree them in a food processor. Strain the puree through a fine sieve. It makes more than what you will need for the cakes but you can freeze the rest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Post...finally

So if any of you are actually reading this, you know that I have written a new post for the first time all summer. This was a long and grueling summer for me. We moved to Arizona from Colorado IN THE SUMMER. People that live in Colorado make it through nine or ten months of crappy weather for the chance to experience two blissful, beautiful Colorado months. There is probably no more beautiful place in our vast and diverse country as Colorado in July and August. The state is green and lush and the temperature is a perfect 75 degrees. There are few bugs and no humidity either. The camping and fishing and overall outdoorsy people go crazy. My friends hiked and visited the ski areas that are actually more beautiful in the summer. All this was happening while I was in a state where the smart people leave for the summer. I moved to a state that the summer is the one season you don't want to experience. If I had a say in life, I would not have done it this way, but life didn't ask my opinion. A good job opportunity came up and we had to take it. I believe everything happens for a reason so I am not dwelling on this (too much) but instead looking for the next door of opportunity. I can't complain too much (well I can, but I won't) because we did rent a house with a pool, so the kids had a blast in the pool all summer and their momma got a pretty decent tan.

So here we are having started school in a new school for the first time in my children's young lives. In Colorado, we were in the same school since Connor had started school, but every year was a entirely new staff. I had to retrain the staff on Connor and his issues and needs every year, so I was prepared for this. Since we moved here in the summer, I wasn't able to get a hold of anyone at the school to let them know about Connor and his needs. I called and called the district office as school approached, but with no real answers. The first day of school was approaching, and I still had no communication from the school. I refused to just drop Connor off the first day of school with no para, or trained team, or plan in place. The Friday before school was going to start was the open house to meet the boys' teachers. I was able to meet the principal and the special education teacher and explained the situation. The principal called the district office and got someone on the phone who could get our ball rolling, and fast. She set up a meeting for the next week, the first week of school, for the entire team. I told them I would be keeping Connor out of school until we met and all the plans were in place. When we met, I expected to have to fight for everything. Connor needs a para. He needs a visual calendar. He needs a lunch bunch group with students and a teacher. He needs a lot of things and they didn't already have any of these in place. The team and I met for our meeting on the third day of school, a Wednesday. I proceeded to ask for all of the things I believed Connor needs, and was prepared for a fight. They don't keep paras on hand for children and they would have to hire one just for Connor. This seemed like it was going to be fight for sure. Instead, the team as a whole said "yes" to ALL of my requests, without any issues. Instead of fighting for everything Connor would need and having to justify everything, they just said "yes". Not only did they do everything I asked for, they got it done at record speed. He started school the next Monday. I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop...

So, Connor has had a great couple of weeks of school. He adjusted well to his new class and teacher and para. He still thinks school is boring, but what kid doesn't? He is doing well academically. He is doing well in his "lunch bunch" group. It would seem that life would finally calm down for me, right? Wrong...

My middle child Fisher has always been our easy child. He is a typical middle child. As much as we try to give him attention, he tends to slip through the cracks on occasion. Connor has obvious needs and requires a lot of time and energy and the baby is little and requires a lot as well. Then there is Fisher... He is a wonderful middle child because he is patient with Connor and Sophie and he has a big heart. When you are easy and low maintenance in this house, you tend to get less attention. Squeaky wheel... Fisher didn't adjust to his new school as easily. Fisher doesn't do well with change. He likes to be home and not travel because it is such a change for him. In fact, on the second or third day at Disney World, he begins to ask when we are going home. He likes the status quo. He was born in the house in Colorado that we just moved out of to move to Arizona. He was actually born IN that house because I had a home birth with he and Sophia. He loved that house. He loved his school although I don't think any of it had to do with the actual house or school. He just loved the routine of them. Moving here was a big deal for Fisher, but because he is not a big talker, he never really talked about it. This move was like a vacation for him in the beginning. He swam everyday and played games and watched TV in his room. He didn't have TV in his room at the house in Colorado, so this was cool and new. Then school started...

Fisher's teacher took me aside on the second day of school to ask about Fisher. She was already concerned that he wasn't adjusting well to the start of school. He was having a hard time with sitting still. He was also having difficulty with the work load of the day. He couldn't remember his letters all of a sudden and writing was a real issue for him. He got distracted easily and rarely was on task. We agreed that she would watch him closely for a couple of weeks and then we would determine what steps would need to be done in order to help him. Two days ago the teacher recommended Fisher be tested for ADD.

The autism spectrum is called that because it is a big and vast issue. Connor has autism. It really only makes sense that his brother would be on the spectrum also. Keep in mind that Fisher was born at home and has never had a vaccine. He eats organic food and has a home with all natural cleaning supplies and organic sheets, etc. I have done all that I know to do to limit his toxic load, but I was still toxic when we conceived and when I carried Fisher. I know there is a certain genetic aspect at play here, but I believe that the toxins are present, just less in Fisher than in Connor.

So, what am I doing for Fisher? Fisher is gluten free, dairy free, soy free. He eats what Connor eats. Also, Fisher takes supplements. He take Dr. Amy's multivitamin just like Connor and I do. He takes magnesium and Vitamin D and fish oils and a green supplement. He isn't getting a lot of sugar or processed or artificial anything. He is doing much of his school work at home now also. I sit with him when he gets home from school and we quietly and calmly go over his work. His frustration level is very high and he is quitting easily, but I just reassure him. He gets rewards for completion of his work in a timed manner. He gets to get up and go in different rooms to do his work. I feel that movement is key with him. I just bought all the supplies for a reward chart for both boys. They do what they are expected to do without issue and they get a star. X amount of starts equals a reward.

I did a lot of research on ADD. I am not worried about Fisher in the long run like I am with Connor. Fisher just learns in a different way and the public school system is not set up for it right now. Fisher's teacher is encouraging a diagnoses, but I don't believe in labeling my kids. Connor has always been told that he HAS autism. He thinks of it as an illness that we are curing rather than something HE IS. Fisher has the "symptoms" of ADD and that is enough for me. I would rather spend my time and energy toward helping Fisher rather than labeling him. Insurance won't cover anything with that diagnoses anyway so it seems it would be labeling for the sake of labeling.

I know it is said that you are never given more than you can handle and that everything happens for a reason and that this too shall pass...Enough with the cheesey cliches? Oy vay!! Enough already!! I'm ready to be given less than I can handle for once!! We will make it through this and the saying that I love right now more than any other is:
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.