Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake!

My mother gave me this little recipe book with family recipes in it. The photo on the front is me when I was 4 or 5 and my Grandma Barb with her ribbon winning bread from the fair. My favorite recipe is her baking powder biscuits and we use them for strawberry shortcakes. My mom makes them often (dessert is her specialty!).
Strawberries were on sale (I road my bike to the grocery store to get them, I was really proud of myself, but that is a differant blog post!) so I decided to see if my new flour mixture was going to work by trying it out with this recipe.

They turned out great and everyone seemed to like them, including Daisy!

So if you'd like to try them for yourself, here's the recipe:

Grandma Barb's Baking Powder Bisquits

2 cups Flour (GF if you choose or wheat Flour)
2 Tbs Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cups margarine

Mix with a fork until crumbly. Add 1/4- 1/2 cup milk until it is JUST moist. Lay out on a floured board and pat to about 3/4 inch thick, or thicker if desired. Use a glass or round cookie cutter. Bake at 400 degrees about 12-14 minutes. Makes 6-9 biscuits.

GF Flour mixture

I was searching for a good flour mixture that I could substitute straight cup for cup in my old recipes. Bob's Red Mill is the only thing close available ready made and it has a very strong aftertaste we didn't like. A friend of mine you has been eating GF for a long time just emailed me this.

6 cups white rice flour
3 cups potato starch flour (has to say starch on the package)
1 cup tapioca flour

whisk together combining all the flours! Cup for cup...you may need to add a little more to chocolate chip cookies and other things you have made in the past if the consistency does not look right. The exception being for bread dough.

I bought the ingredients on my trip to Whole Foods, except I accidentally bought brown rice flour, but it didn't seem to make too big a difference. I mixed them up today and I'll let you know tomorrow how my first creation turned out!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Garden

I spent the entire weekend working in the yard and my garden. I can't believe how much I accomplished. Rich was gone fishing all weekend, so I put my supermom powers to work and wah-lah the garden is all planted! No, it wasn't really that easy. I am so tired and my mucsles are aching! I think Daisy, who is no longer content to be confined now that she can crawl, ingested some dirt, grass and probably even a few bugs. Lily and Rosie almost killed each other fighting over Rosie's pet worm...But the beds are built and the garden is planted. We are all looking forward to a summer full of fresh homegrown tomatoes!

Lily and Rosie were actually big helpers some of the time. Rosie helped me shovel compost and dirt into the containers that we planted our petunias and marigolds in. Lily "the workhorse" hauled the sled full of compost (we don't have a wheel barrel) to the garden. Yes, she did makes horse noises the whole time. Daisy took pretty decent naps so I could get alot done, and for an hour or so after she woke up she was pretty happy to sit in the stroller and watch the action. I also owe Rich a big thanks even though he wasn't home to pitch in. He has been the one doing the composting and I was very excited when I dug into the pile and found some beautiful dirt! I am sure our plants will love growing in it. Lots of nutrients!

Towords the end of winter we had painted some garden signs together with Amy and her kids. It was a fun family thing and I think they look really cute, the perfect finishing touch. The pink flowers in the bottom of this photo are wild strawberries. This is their third season, so I am hoping we can get some of the fruit before the squirels. The dirty rats have a sneaky way of getting some of our best produce but they better be on the lookout this year, Rich bought pellets for his gun!

Here is a shot from the end of the day today when all our hard work was finally finished. We planted tomatoes, carrots, lots of herbs, lettuce, potatoes, green peppers, and cucumbers, in addition to the beans, lettuce, spinach and peas that we had started earlier. The section in the front with the wood paths is what I had from last year and everything beyond that where the stepping stones are is the new area. I got rid of some more grass (FOOD NOT LAWNS!!!) by using the lasagna method of layering newspaper, leaves, compost and dirt. At the very front is my new Lilac bush the girls and Rich got me for mothers day.

I will leave you with a few more pictures and soon I'll be inviting you over to eat some fried green tomatoes!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ann Arbor

My friend Amy and I took a road trip to Ann Arbor this week. My mom watched Lily and Rosie and we took only Daisy with us. We just needed to get away and I wanted to do some shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. We really don't have enough options for health food stores around here. Eating GF is not cheap and I was hoping to save some money shopping there. (Not that that is even possible with gas at $4.00 per gallon!) I did find some good deals and I am glad I went. No offense to Harvest Health, but they just don't have the same selection and their prices are higher.

Here we are shopping. Daisy was a good sport. She is still pretty portable and goes with the flow for the most part. She is a very happy baby and I love her smile!

If you also wish that we had a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's in Grand Rapids, please visit their site and let them know! Just click on the links!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Swimming at the Y

Rosie, Daisy and I went to the Y last night to go swimming. It's Rosie's favorite thing to do and she's always asking to go. It's a big production and I don't usually have the energy for it. When I answer by merely saying "maybe", her face lights up and she exclaims, "Oh thank you Momma!" So I only feel like I can put put her off about it for so long.  Since Rich and Lily were gone together last night I figured it would be a good time to go. Rosie was so excited she didn't even want to take the time to eat dinner. I didn't know how the baby would like it, but she had a blast in the shallow part. She splashed around and crawled after the beach ball.

 So we had lots of fun and I finally convinced Rosie it was time to leave and we headed for the family locker rooms. There are individual rooms with showers for families. This is when things got really interesting. We were all in the shower (in our birthday suits) when the fire alarm goes off! It took a minute for the reality of the situation to sink in, but there I was naked with two naked little girls and I had no idea what to do. So jumped out of the shower and threw on my clothes as fast as I could. As I was considering what to do about the girls nakedness there was a knock on the door; a woman telling me I needed to get out. I told her I was doing the best I could, I obviously had my hands full! She ran off with her walkie talkie. I guess that meant there wasn't time to get the kids dressed, but we live in Michigan and it wasn't that warm out! I threw all our stuff on the stroller and ran (right, I've got a baby in a stroller and a three year old in tow who wants me to tie her bathrobe before we go anywhere, and about three doors to open and push a stroller through with one hand, Yes I have SuperMom powers!) towards the exit. When I got up to the front desk the staff was just standing around. I was a little confused and I asked if this was for real. The guy informed me that because they didn't know, everyone had to leave the building. I asked if I had time to put something on my kids who were wrapped in wet towels. He gave me a blank stare. So I stood by the front door trying to wrap my naked baby up in a blanket I happened to have with me, thank God, and dropped stuff all over the floor in the process. Finally some women offered to help and we got the kids wrapped up and headed outside where the entire population of the YMCA was crowded around about 6 feet from the front entrance. I had my van keys with me, thank God again, and so I headed to my van, which even with my SuperMom powers was extremely difficult. A kind man eventually offered to push the stroller for me. He didn't seem to have anything better to do, unlike all the other people who must have been very busy waiting around. I put the kids in the van, turned on the heat and got my kids dressed. A few minutes later a fire truck showed up and a few minutes after that everyone reentered the building. I have no idea what the whole thing was about, but it left me thinking that they need a better disaster plan and I sure hope I never find myself in that situation in the case of a true emergency!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rosie protesting the road construction

here is the video of Rosie protesting the injustice that is the blockage of our driveway and the destruction of our street. I couldn't get it on the last post. Stupid blogger.

Winter is gone...

So now that winter is finally over, we have entered the other season that we have here in Michigan...Road Construction. It seems as though overnight almost every road I travel has a big ROAD CLOSED sign, and the one I frequent the most, Lake Dr. is the biggest mess of all. This is the view out our font door:

What a mess! and this is supposed to last all summer! It is so loud! When they are working the whole house shakes and it feels as though we are living in a war zone. The other day I couldn't figure out why I was so anxious and edgy all day long, till I stopped to think about all the crashing and banging and I realized how jumpy I am because of it. I jump every time assuming that one of my kids has climbed up on a piece of furniture and brought it down. It's really not out of the realm of possibility around here!

Today we are without water as they work on the water main. I thought I had planned ahead enough by filling up four jugs of water and taking my shower, but I didn't account for the fact that my kids are needing to be constantly hosed off as they get food and various other substances all over themselves every few minutes. I can't tell you how many times I have thoughtlessly turned on the faucet and been scared to death by the burst of air and dirty water that shoots out! The big problem is how do you flush the toilet!!!! It's only 11am and it is already really gross! I think we might be heading for the Y!

The kids are pretty unhappy about the road work. They really don't like the disturbance of their neighborhood. Friday I found Rosie on the back porch protesting. 

GF/DF Waffles

and they were good! Especially with lots of Syrup! Next time I am going to try them with strawberries! Hopefully from our garden. Oh yum!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Diet

It doesn't get much more restrictive than that...

About 8 weeks ago Rich was diagnosed with Celiac disease. It runs in his family and is a complete intolerance to wheat gluten. So after a hard goodbye to Olive Garden we have embarked as a family to eradicate wheat from our diets. We also figured that as long as we had to make such major changes, that we would also cut dairy from Lily's diet. We have been coming across lots of information that for kids on the Autism spectrum that they are very sensitive to the combination of the protein in wheat, gluten, and the protein in dairy, casein. It has been a challenge and we are learning as we go, but for the last month we have been completely gluten free and Lily has been dairy free. I already know we are doing the right thing and I am amazed at the positive changes we have seen for Lily and Rich. In Lily's case we have seen major changes in her behavior and mood. She is a much happier little girl. I spoke with her teacher last week and she told me that she has also seen allot of improvement in the classroom. This is such an answer to prayer for us and is so encouraging. We really need to stick with this and be a strict as possible about it. But this is also a hard time for us. Rich and Lily are really mourning the loss of so many things that they enjoyed eating. We have been trying to explain to Lily why we are making these changes and she has been pretty understanding. She asks me, "Mom does that have wheat in it?", but the other day she began to realize what no 'wheat' means. She cried when we told her that meant pizza and veggie burgers. She has been a trooper, but it is really hard and that's why I don't want her to have to be around the things that she misses and will be tempted by. Interestingly one of the most beneficial changes we have been seeing is that both Lily and Rich have felt so much relief from their anxiety. Lily is much more relaxed and can more easily deal with upsets that used to send us into a tailspin.

Everywhere I go now we meet people who for various reasons need to follow a GF diet. I thought I would use this blog to share resources that we come across for doing this. It is so frustrating to need to eat a diet that is so counter to everything that is "normal" and easily available in our culture. We have found that eating out is almost impossible with the kids along (with the exception of Noodles, which serves a few rice noodle dishes and Qdoba. They both have good allergy information available too.) and we certainly can't just go in the grocery store and quickly grab some food. I think the most difficult thing right now is eating with other people and social gatherings where food is involved. This is very important to us though, so I know that we need to find creative solutions.

So if your out there reading this and you are GF let me know. What have you learned? Let's share resources!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I think in blog posts

I have been pondering the idea of starting a blog for some time now. We have so much going on in our lives lately, so many new things and big changes. The girls are growing up so fast and there is so much I want to share with everyone. For the last few weeks the desire to start a blog has been getting stronger and stronger and I know that I can't ignore it anymore (I have been trying to, since writing seems like allot of work to me), especially since in the last few days I have begun to think in blogs posts! I look around my house and I think of little things I would like to photograph and write about. When the girls do something cute I think of a funny title for a post and as I am taking care of my three little girls or gardening and cleaning I think of little things I am learning that I would like to share with you. So you'll have to excuse the grammatical errors and run on sentences. It has never been my strong point! But hopefully you'll enjoying hearing about life in our house.