Monday, October 27, 2008

Recipe: Quinoa Cookies

The girls and I made cookies today! I got the recipe off of Mara's quinoa cereal box this morning, and thought it would be a good way to spend the afternoon since it was raining outside. I modified the recipe in a couple of ways...I used Spectrum's shortening instead of butter, and we used almond butter instead of peanut butter. I also used sorghum flour instead of rice flour, for no other reason then that it was closet to me (the rice flour was out in the freezer). So a bit of laziness on my part, but hey, it was raining outside and Rose is in the "must have Mommy at all times" stage...
The cookies were really good! They reminded me of oatmeal cookies in a way, but chewier. I want to play around with this recipe a bit, even though I thought they were quite good. Next time I want to replace the baking soda with baking powder-for a fluffier cookie
(this works well with the peabutter recipe too). These cookies spread, so a well rounded teaspoon works well.


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of nuts, or seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix honey, shortening, almond butter, brown sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl at medium speed until creamy. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, quiona flakes, and baking soda together and slowly add to the wet mixture, mixing until completely blended.

Bake for about 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie tray. (You might want to set the timer for 9 minutes and check often!) Let stand on cookie tray for a minute before removing to cool.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

And so it begins.....

The holiday season, that is.

This used to be my favorite time of the year, with all the "fun" holidays lined up, back-to-back. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New, fun, fun.

I have been thinking about how this has changed due to Mara's allergies. Last year I found myself really worrying with each upcoming holiday. Worrying about all the holiday parties and social events that revolve around food. Worrying about what I was going to make. Worrying about what Mara and I were going to eat.

And most of all, worrying about Mara.

My biggest concern is that she would feel left out in all the fun. I want her to look forward to each holiday with the excitement that her sister has...that all kids have. I fear that she will one day start to dread them, knowing that she must plan out what she is going to eat in advance, making and having to bring her own food everywhere. Imagining her just standing there smiling as the people around her go on and on about how delicious the food is...and not being able to join in.

And while I hope and pray that she will one day outgrow some-if not all, of these food issues, I also know that it is my job to be prepared and to prepare her...if she does not.

But I have to tell you...I feel so fortunate that Mara is just so good about checking before she eats something. The other day at the doctor's office, the nurse asked the girls if they wanted a lollipop (a big pet peeve of mine, but that's another post) and I was so proud when Mara said "no, that might hurt my tummy".

Proud and sad.

This morning we were talking about the Halloween party we are going to, and I asked the girls if they wanted to go trick-or-treating. They both said yes, and I kind of turned to Mara and said, "Now you know, you probably won't be able to eat the treats that they put in your bag". I saw her deflate, and she said "why?" I told her that the houses we go to don't know what hurts her tummy or not, but that I will bring special safe treats that she can trade them in for. She still looked deflated but said OK. I figure I'll remind her a few more times before next Friday so that it will sink in more and hopefully she'll be more accepting of it.

So what kind of treats did I get for her? Before I tell you, I have to tell you that Mara is not a candy/dessert person at all. I know I have mentioned this many times before! But still, I get her a variety of safe candy...just so that she has the choice in eating it.

Even when I know she won't :)

So here is a list of safe treats going in Mara's bag this year:

  1. Yummy Earth's lollipops. We bought these last year for Easter, and bothg irls loved them. They are really good!
  2. Enjoy Life's Chocolate bars. Yes, I have to admit...these are mainly for me! I bought them through my buying club with two other families...24 bars are coming my way (can you feel my excitement?) I just hope they are good!
  3. Surf candy jellybeans.
  4. Kettle Valley's fruit snacks. Another favorite, and there's an apple in every bar:)
  5. boxes of raisins. This will probably be her favorite. I only wish they had dates in a box :)
That is it. I think she'll be happy with that.

Hopefully I will find time to post some of our Halloween recipes this week. We are going to a friend's house, which should be fun. Mara chose to be a "ballerina princess", and wouldn't even consider being anything else. Analese is being a "woodland fairy who likes unicorns" (you have to say that too!) She is in love with everything pink, and her costume is all browns and golds. She had me promise to find some pink ribbon to tie on her costume so that she has some pink in it :) Now I just have to decide what I am going to be......

How do you feel about the holidays now that food allergies have entered your life?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yes, it has been awhile...

But I have a good excuse!

Meet Rose Hollin, born July 18th and keeping my life very busy at the moment!

So things have been bit hectic around here, but I hope to start posting again soon.

And for those wondering the food allergy question, the answer is yes. Sort of. Rose has been reacting to dairy, so I went off of that last month. I am so happy to say that right now things appear to be fine! She does have some reflux issues, which tend to flair up on certain days, so I am watching that...

Mara is doing well. I cannot believe she will be three in just a few months! We have been trialing tree nuts over the summer, and so far she has passed. I am so excited and feel that peanuts probably will not be an issue, but we still haven't attempted them yet.

We have been struggling with Mara's face all summer. She has eczema all around her mouth, and we have tried EVERYTHING to get rid of it. I feel so bad for her, it looks so painful. she assures me that it doesn't hurt, just feels "bumpy".

Any suggestions on that, I would love to hear them!

So my goal will be to post at least once a week!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mara's favorite Chicken Salad

I made this chicken salad for Mara a few weeks ago, and she now asks me for it ALL the time! She has definitely developed a love for salads-chicken, egg, her avocado salad....

This chicken salad couldn't get any easier, and its definitely a toddler-pleaser. Even Analese-who is a "peabutter and jelly kind-of-girl", loves to eat this for lunch. We serve it on the Chebe Flatbread-which is truly the best gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free bread for sandwiches and salads.

As for measurements, again we just kind of throw everything together, so feel free to add as much or as little of something, depending on what you like.


  • boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped or shredded
  • apple, diced
  • celery, chopped
  • dried prunes, chopped thinly
  • canola mayonnaise (we use Spectrum's Canola Mayo, but safflower mayo would work, or any other acceptable choice that works for you)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients. Done! Serve on a bed of lettuce or spinach, or on warm flatbread....yum!
My husband has also added the following to his: curry powder, or old bay seasoning...both were very good!
(I do recommend making it a few hours beforehand so that the ingredients can combine together in the fridge for better taste, but this isn't absolutely necessary.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Love of Smoothies

When I first found out I was pregnant, I eliminated my daily cup of coffee and instead, replaced it with a smoothie. I really wanted the girls to drink it as well, as Analese does not like most fruit and neither one drinks juice.

The girls were not impressed, and refused to drink more then a sip. So I let it go...sort of.

Every morning I offered them a sip of mine. Some mornings was a yes, some a no.

Then, I unknowingly bought the best "bribe" for getting both girls to want to drink a smoothie. A "Blend-n-Go Cup" that comes with a straw.

The straw is the best part. Funny how I had never thought of that before!

Now, the girls each drink an almost full glass of smoothie every morning. Mara, with her smaller glass, will drink 2-3 glassfuls! I am in heaven, it is so exciting to see them drink up , knowing how nutritious these things are.

Because of course, now that they love smoothies, I have begun adding more and more to it! Along with our fruit, yogurt, juice and milk, I also add some probiotics, hemp seed oil, flaxseed, my Juice Plus supplements-both fruits and veggies, and calcium powder.

Oh-and a handful of spinach.

I waited a bit before adding the spinach, hemp seed oil, and flaxseed. I started off with the basics, and each week we added a bit more. The girls "help" me make our smoothies every morning, and really enjoy it. They help me decide what fruits to put it, what new things to try, etc. Yesterday we used our simple orange squeezer to add some freshly squeezed clemantines to our smoothie. The girls loved taking turns squeezing the juice out, and I just enjoyed giving them the experience.

So here our basic smoothie recipe. I have to admit that I was shocked that both girls guzzled down their smoothie the first time I added hemp seed oil to it. I added 1 tablespoon, and could taste it right away (so you may want to start out with a smaller dose for those more finicky tastebuds!) With everything else, I have found that as long as they can taste what appeals to them, they are fine with anything else. In our case its bananas! Also, by letting them help you make it and giving them more control in what goes in it, has helped tremendously in this household!

I should also note that I don't really give "amounts" as it totally depends on what you like, don't like. This is just the basics of what we are drinking every morning. Hope it inspires you!

Basic Smoothie Recipe

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries (we use frozen)
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • mango
  • 1/2 cup Ricera rice yogurt (we use strawberry)
  • orange juice
  • vanilla hemp milk (or any other acceptable choice!)
  • handful of chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
We have also added (and enjoyed):
  • kiwi
  • strawberries
  • cherries
  • avocado

Some Updates

I know, I has been a looong time since I have posted! Not due to lack of recipes of course, but lack of time. This semester is proving to be very time-consuming as well, and I am so looking forward to May 4th-when I am officially done until the Fall!

So we are all surviving. We survived Easter, which brought on some added stress for me in finding ways for Mara to participate in Easter hunts without too much intervention from me. As she gets older, I have to admit that I struggle with this. I do not want my child to be singled out, or miss out on normal childhood fun. But ultimately this isn't possible, as everything seems to revolve around food. Sigh....

Our little Mara is doing well. We have had problems in the past month-she was suddenly waking up 6-10 times a night and we could not figure out why. Other changes we saw: diaper rash, eczema appearing once again on her lower back and around her mouth. We knew something was upsetting her, it was so frustrating not to know what! Finally, last week she had two mucous-filled diapers. And that was it. She began sleeping through the night once again, and things seem to be getting back to normal. At least my fingers are crossed that it is!

The pregnancy is going well...I am now almost 27 weeks! This may be the fastest pregnancy, and I hope once school is out Ill have a bit more time to just enjoy and reflect on it a bit.

So, just a quick update. I plan to do some changes to the site soon, making it a bit more functional. So stay tuned :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Recipe: Peabutter Cookies

Warning: these are NOT the most nutritious cookies! I debated whether or not to post this recipe just yet, as I plan to experiment with sugar alternatives because I hate the amount of refined sugar that are in these cookies. So I will keep you updated and hopefully post a healthier alternative in the future! Otherwise, these will just be an occasional treat for our girls.

I found a recipe for "Flourless cookies" from "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods" by Bette Hagman. This is a great book, as she also tries to eliminate dairy from her recipes less modifying for me! The original recipe uses peanut butter, and I made it without modifications first, adding the Enjoy Life chocolate chips with it. They were delicious, and if you can have peanut butter, I highly recommend them! The author recommends using a processed peanut butter, but we found one that was still natural but had the added salt.

So after I was able to eat more then my share of these cookies, I also wanted to try and make some for Mara. It wasn't fair for her to see her mother stuffing her face, now is it? I immediately wanted to try her peabutter and see how it worked. I also added some raisins as well. These cookies only take a few minutes to make, another plus for me , as I am not the best at planning!
Both girls LOVE these cookies! The biggest difference I found between the two batches (besides the taste) was that the peabutter cookies did not spread out like the peanut butter ones did. Which actually worked out well, as I made small mini-cookies to keep the total sugar intake low for one sitting! Plus, these cookies are pretty filling, so I think a smaller cookie is ideal. Both girls prefer these cookies over anything else I have made, so I am even more determined to try to reduce the amount of refined sugar!

Here's the recipe, enjoy!

Peabutter Cookies


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peabutter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp gluten-free vanilla
  • 3/4 cups raisins (optional)
Using your mixer, blend the peabutter and brown sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the baking soda and vanilla and blend until completely mixed. Add the raisins and blend by hand.
Drop cookies onto greased cookie sheets or parchment paper (we used parchment paper).

Bake 8-11 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees.