Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Power of Three Crepes, Gluten-Free and Casein-Free

One Year is Almost Upon Us!

We are coming ever so close to our one year Bloggaversary! Wow, an entire year since we started this blog. I think for me it calls for a number of things.
  1. Facelift! Well not for me... but for the blog. I need to dive in an d give her a little attention that she so deperately needs. Its been a rough year for us and through all the changes in our home, we have been a bit neglectful. So its facelift time MofM!
  2. Well... we must more than anything else actually write more frequently! We have stores and stores of recipes that haven't made it to your hot little hands yet! (well hot... eyes?... screens?, whatever)
  3. Link to Facebook! We have so much good stuff going on over at our Facebook page and followers on our Facebook page who don't follow the blog and vice versa! Link time folks! We are gonna make that happen.
  4. FIX TIME! I have looked back on some of my recipes and thought, hmm.. Mom, what in the piggies name were you thinking when you posted that? I have a few that have grammar errors some that are just missing ingredients, not because I didn't use them when cooking, but I just didn't post it!! AH! So I need to run a fine tooth comb over the recipe box.
So coming back to the recipes, we have been cooking up a storm lately. The funny thing is that we have these tried and true recipes in our home kitchen that every time I make them I think that I have already posted them... then I look at the blog and realize that I haven't. I think that there may have been one teeny aspect that I may have not been happy with and wanted to try again or something along those lines. I am if nothing else, MacLeod can attest to this, my absolute worst critic. But if I don't think something is FATASTIC, I just won't let it leave my kitchen and certainly won't share the recipe.

One recipe I have been using for a long while now that I have altered here and there and come back to a lovely heart warming delicious and AH-mazing result is this crepe recipe. To me crepes always seemed like something extra special, like going out for a special brunch with mimosa kinda special. Years ago when MacLeod and I were first dating, pre-gluten-free days, we ran into this food cart in our local farmer's market, a crepe food cart! I was head over heels in love with them. From that day on I knew I needed to learn how to make crepes.

Then gluten went bye bye and so did crepes... or did they? I tried lots of recipes on the interwebs that claimed the fame of "super easy and delicous" and "3 ingredient" which were so blech. Really what you have to go back to are the mechanics of the crepe as it is done in the gluten-full way... only... gluten-FREE. I took the methods learned via The Gluten Free Girl, a gluten-free all-star and my previous crepe making expereince which served me well.
Because we are working towards a completely gluten-free AND casien-free kitchen, these crepes are made with no gluten and no dairy products at all and I got to tell you the resulting crepe is amazing. I don't think you miss the butter, but that is just my humble opinion. (While writing this entry I was amused to find that MacLeod was actually disappointed to discover that I "deceived" him with the absense of butter in the crepes) I recently have had a love affair with amaranth and millet for all thier amazing nuttiness and deliciousness they add not to mention nutritional greatness. So in this recipe I have added amarnth flour to the crepes and just love them. for a little extra about this wonderful flour....

Generally harvested from seeds, amaranth is an excellent source of protein, unlike many other grains. Like other grains it provides essential amino acids but the seeds of the Amaranthus species specifically can provide 30% more protein than rice, sorghum and rye making it a protein powerhouse in the grain department. Wiki  That, and of course it tastes wonderful in baking!

Power of Three Crepes (as kiddos called them... via Doctor Who, Season 7)

Gluten-free, Casein-Free Crepes

1 Cup Gluten-free flour blend
1/2 C amarnth flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 C water
 Cooking Spray

1. Combine flours and salt.
2. In a small beat the eggs lightly, then add to the flour blend and begin to combine.
3. Slowly start to add water to the flour mixture and blend. The mixture will be thin, which is what a crepe mixture needs to be.
4. With a mesh strainer, strain the mixture into another bowl to strain all the lumps out of the mix.
5. Let the crepe mix sit for 10-15 minutes while you finish preparing all the fillings that you want to use.
6. Heat your pan on medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
7. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter on the pan and swirl the batter over the pan to coat it thinly. (if you have trouble figuring out how to do this, there are a few tutorials on youtube that can help you out with a visual). Allow the crepe to cook for just a few minutes and with a spatual just lift the side slightly to check that its browned a bit.
8. You can either use your spatula to flip your crepe or you can use the handle of your pan to move your pan to flip your crepe over (if your really, really brave!... again, I recommend youtube for tutorials if you don't know already... because you can learn ANYTHING on youtube!)
9. Allow the other side to cook just another 30 second more or so and viola, crepe is done. Move to a plate and keep in a warm oven. Pile the crepes onto the plate in a warm oven while you complete them, until assembly.
10. To assembly, you can be creative about how you want to fill them. Below we have included some of our favorites!


Blueberry Filling:

1 C frozen wild blueberries (we use Wyman's Frozen Blueberries)
1/4 coconut palm sugar
1 Tbs  water
1 tsp tapioca flour

Simmer blueberries and sugar for approximately 25 minutes or until the berries are cooked down and the liquid is dark in color. The liquid should still be thin. Add tapica flour to water and mix to combine then add to simmering berries. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken. Remove from heat.

Strawberry Delights:

2 C Fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 C full fat coconut milk (canned, refrigerated)
1/4 C confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C dark chocolate, dairy-free (we use Enjoy Life), melted

In a stand mixer, with a whisk attachment, whisk together chilled coconut milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla. If the mixture is too thin, add more sugar by the tablespoon to thicken to your desired consistency. Spoon about half the mixture into a bowl and add the melted chocolate and blend well.The remaining amount will be used to garnish and use as whipped cream.

Piggies in a Blanket:

Any combination of breakfast meats, diced
Non-dairy cheese

Toss the meats and cheese together in a bowl prior to crepe assembly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Busy Days and Catching Up

Its been a while since I have been back and McLeod owes an entry here, he swears that he will be visiting soon for the long awaited BAAACON Pancakes, the new breakfast favorite in our house. If it's not a bacon pancake, it's a boring pancake.

I digress....

We are in the midst of an extraordinarily busy and hectic time in our lives right now which has left us slightly neglectful, but not purposefully. McLeod and I, as we have mentioned before are finally getting married at the end of February. So we are in the final month of intense wedding planning, which is... complicated. Its been a while since the first foray into wedding planning and maybe I wasn't that "into" it when I married the first time... perhaps it was the person? I dunno, but this has been something of an ordeal to get planned. Maybe its just weddings in general are insane to plan... why on earth do people do this to themselves? I liken it to water torture... slow and very painful. But I think that is just part of me... I don't really like to go shopping, I dislike showers of any king unless it entails cleaning of the body.

Then there is the fact that kiddo has somewhat, well hit a wall in therapy and such. We are in the process of finding help help stabilize him. But even there we have been running into problem after problem with practices refusing care because he has Medicaid as a secondary insurance, even though they do accept our private insurance. Its ever maddening and pushing me closer to snapping in one of these offices when I can't get my kiddo the help he needs to feel better.

We are in the process of reworking his IEP at school, currently awaiting the evals for a number of specials to see what we can do to get services going at school to help him. Socially, school is an increasing challenge for him, each day seems like another horrible story about some interaction he has had with a kid he hates. We hope that we can get some support for social skills at school for him as well with the IEP revamp.

He has been so moody and difficult, but we have really been trying our hardest. Fore instances, we thought the Pinewood Derby would be a great time, tons of family fun! Yes! .... or no. Well, he had been talking about it for about a month and then we started to work on the car and he quickly lost interest. McLeod and I finished the car and we were ready to go by race time. In the morning we were ready to go and kiddo was excited. But when the races started and he didn't win each race he started to fall apart, meltdown time started up and by the time we left he was full blown meltdown. It was bad. I really wanted to not be angry about it all, but the car was really nice even if it didn't win all the races. All the other boys, wether they won or lost were having a great time and I was trying my hardest to remind myself that kiddo is not like each and every one of those boys, he is kiddo.

To just keep things interesting, and keep Mom on her toes, kiddo's feeding tube was removed- YAY!!!! It had been 8 years in the making! I will be writing up a more detailed entry about eating and diet about how we got here, but about this week- complications? Yes, the hole, 80% of the time heals up right on its own within 24-48 hours. Wouldn't ya know that kiddo would fall into the 20%. So we are now on a wait to get him scheduled for surgery to have the hole closed, UGH! He is miserably unhappy about it and in the meantime the hole leaks every time he eats or drinks. It sucks.

So that is what is going on!

Tomorrow.... CREPES!!!

....then... yes, Girl Scout Cookie copycats!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

In Memorium; Missed Chances

It's 12:35am and I realize that there is nothing that is getting me to sleep, so I should go ahead and write.

My service uniform is pressed and ready for the morning, I am not. I realized as I lay staring at the ceiling that the person that I am going to say goodbye to for the last time was a friend that I have crossed paths half a dozen times over the last very hard years of my life. The first was when I thought that someone was trying to break into the house that I was renting when I first separated from my now ex-husband and called the police. The very calm and kind dispatcher directed me to take both my children into one bedroom and wait for the officers to arrive. I did so with a baseball bat in hand. She remained on the phone with me and let me know when the rap at the door was them. To my surprise when I pulled open the door the first serious faced officer quickly cleared into a very familiar smile, one very unmistakable one that I remembered very well, and I said "Sgt. Yung?" and he said "Paz?" We both laughed and he said "well, it's Officer Yung now." He went on to continue the job at hand and found no actual disturbance, though I am certain there had been at some point. We both agreed that maybe it was best if my shepherd took up residence in my backyard from then on, which he did and I had no issues from then on. He left me his phone number to call him and meet up with him and his wife again, which we had hung out together in our Marine Corps days years before and I said I would. He went on his way and I said goodnight.

I didn't call him, I was embarrassed at where I was in my life, my problems, my drama. I hated talking about it to people. If I didn't have to run into people and explain how terrible things were, I didn't. So I didn't call him back.

A year later I was back in court dealing with more court issues with my ex, custody or visitation or some issue related to it. The hearing time had been delayed so I had to wait. As I waited, I walked towards the bathrooms and saw all the county police corralled waiting for court to begin. And who did I see, but my old friend again Officer Yung! I jabbed at him and asked what trouble he was getting himself into and we chatted about why I was there, more ex-husband issues and how his family was doing. Three children now and his wife had joined the force! Just then he was called into court and that ended our chat.

The following year I ran into Officer Yung, Chris, again at court... as you can see my life is riddled with court, and we chatted again. I never did call him though he did tell me to. I think I just had always assumed that I would just see him again the next time I was there, I mean I am always there.

There are times when I think God gives a sign to stop and look at people who are there and in our lives because there are few opportunities that you are given and once they are gone, they are gone. I cannot look back and say with regret I should have called him back and made those connections because that time has passed. I am thankful that I was able to serve under him in the United States Marine Corps and as a friend got to experience what an incredible person he was. Chris served our country in the United States Marine Corps, he was an Officer serving our local commity proudly, a father of three beautiful children, a devoted husband, a brother and friend to countless people. He will be missed. Rest In peace.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Meltdowns, Rages and Moving Forward

The meltdown. Its something that no parent of a child on the spectrum is alien to and we certainly are not immune to them. Kiddo has a number of meltdown triggers, social triggers like kids bugging him or calling him names or having to do a presentation in front of the class or sensory triggers like the seams of his socks or a particularly thick emblem on a shirt. His biggest meltdown trigger by far is transitions. Since the holiday season is chock full of changes in schedules, visits to and from family that otherwise don't usually happen and many other changes, we seem to live in a state of holiday meltdown chaos.

Lately, and I feel like it shouldn't surprise me, but it still does, I have been noticing the after effect of the meltdown. I have heard from other parents of kids on the spectrum and read things to the same effect so I know it's not just so weird kiddo thing. He rages during his meltdown and says pretty horrendous things. Sometimes I try to reason with him because he is ten now and very intelligent and knows what, for the most part, he is saying, what it means and how impacts a person. Sometimes those things are directed towards the person who triggered the meltdown if there is a social component and its in the realm of "I hope they get hit by a car...etc." it goes on from there and can get pretty dark and graphic. I am used to it, but in mixed company it can be shocking and even frightening to hear a young boy say such things. Sometimes he tries and succeeds breaking things all in his rage. I don't excuse the behavior but do try to get him somewhere else where he is isolated and can't hurt anyone or anything including himself. At home he has his room in other settings it can be a little more challenging.

Such was the occasion during the holidays and some family got to really hear some of the more "colorful" things that he has to say about people when he is in full meltdown. I get really nervous about allowing him to be around others when I know he isn't calm and in control of him emotions and is just letting things fly. I get so nervous that I will be judged because other than his behavior he appears to be a normal child and so many people still see this "on the spectrum" stuff as speculative. I know in my bubble that we all know that kiddo has high functioning autism and that is the reason for all this, but if you just walk in off the street and see this kid he just seems like an angry child who is gonna grow up to mow down college kids on some university campus.

I guess that's the whole thing about parenting though, typical or special needs, at some point weather with your own family or outsiders, you will be judged. I think what surprised me this time around was that ten years down the line I just assumed that my skin was thick enough to not care anymore, guess not.

So after the meltdown subsided and the party who was present to the meltdown and shocked by the things kiddo had to say and do was standing by, I told kiddo " maybe you should go say your sorry for saying all those horrible things in front of him, huh?" Kiddos response was "what? What things? When, I don't remember saying bad things." I pressed a little more but then let it go. It came back to me, kiddo blacks out when he is raging. He remembers nothing that he says or does. It's not unique to him, I have heard other kids on the spectrum do the same.

Later we did discuss the incident again and I addressed it like this:

"Kiddo, remember when you were riding in the car into the city with the family and you were really angry?"
"Ok, lets go back a little. Do you remember being back at Grandma's house?"
"Good. Remember how we were talking about how you were feeling so mad about being with MacLeod's kids and you didn't want to go anywhere?"
"Great, you remember when you put your jacket on and we walked outside and got into the car with Grandma?"
"Do you remember driving up to the city after that?"

This is the progression that I use to see where he loses things and goes into overload. This particular incident I wasn't physically with him, which I really regret because I couldn't really monitor him and see where he lost it. I felt completely comfortable with him being in the hands of my mother, I know she knows how to talk to him and he responds to her. But he was so amped up about this situation that he completely blacked out in his rage and hate to have him in a situation like that without me present. After we had our discussion and figured out exactly where he blacked out, I went on to discuss with him about how we are going to be moving on with some new therapy and testing to help him work through these rage moments so that he doesn't get to the point that he is blacking out during his meltdowns and maybe and hopefully minimizing the meltdowns altogether. He agreed that he was angry a great deal of the time and he wasn't happy about how he felt.

So the holiday time was a big eye opener for us not just in a watchful eye of others on us, but also in getting us to move towards a place where we need to be to get to the right people for kiddo. I think we have resisted because we have known that it was a lot for him to take on, but its time to get him the help he needs now.