Scattered Everywhere Else

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me how long it had been since I last posted.  Whoops.

I haven’t forgotten about my blog exactly.  My brain has just been, well, scattered everywhere else. 🙂

Hot Biscuits!

I just realized how long it’s been since my last post.  Oops!  Here’s a quick update before I get to the hot biscuits!

We still have lingering remnants of the cold.  Lots of nose blowing and ear popping, and now, coughing.  Last night the kid was coughing in his sleep.  As it was, he had already gotten to sleep much later than usual for a school night so I didn’t want him to suffer any additional lack of sleep.

When he was little, I had heard of using mentholated ointment on the feet and then topping with socks, and believe it or not it actually worked.  Last night, I was slightly desperate and decided I had nothing to lose in trying straight eucalyptus oil.  Relative silence!

The bread recipe was a bust for a number of reasons.  I have discovered that ground chia seeds must need more water than I’ve been using.  I’ve noticed when I use the chia seeds ground up, they tend to clump up more and I end up with visible clumps in the end product.  That was the case with this bread.  And since the ground chia seeds were clumped up and not evenly distributed, parts of the bread were crumbly.  The flavor wasn’t great either, which I think was because of the buckwheat.  Why it works in my graham crackers but not the bread, I can only guess it’s the amount of time in the oven that changes the flavor into a Kasha-ish roasted buckwheat taste, which is NOT appealing to me at all.  I tried slicing the bread up and toasting them in the oven, but that only intensified the Kasha flavor.  Blech.

Hot biscuits!  Hallelujah!  *cue angels singing*  I found this recipe for gluten free biscuits yesterday and after some thought, I decided it might work with a flour I know we like.  Teff.  This morning I decided nearly the last minute to try whipping it up.   I used ivory teff or the lighter color.  (I use brown teff for my cinnamon graham crackers.)  They did not turn out fluffy or flaky, which might be partly attributed to my old baking powder, but when you haven’t had a biscuit in several months, these aren’t really that bad. I also think 20 minutes in the oven was too long, so next time I’ll check them at 15 and go from there.

Gluten Free Bread Recipe Test

It should come as no surprise, with the swarming cesspool home of germs school having just started, that my son got sick.  Thankfully he was fine until Friday and when he climbed off the bus that afternoon, he sad his nose had been running like a faucet.  I figured it was just a cold or ragweed and gave him some stuff to help.  He woke up in the middle of the night and ran to the bathroom to throw up.  (That was HUGE!)  He told me he still felt bad afterward, which is not the case when he’s been glutened.  He lost his appetite and was very lethargic for a couple of days.  He even took a NAP!  I chalked up the vomiting to his sensitive gag reflex and a whole lotta mucous, because it was a one time occurrence.  So it appears to have been just a cold and he is now getting over it now.

I, however, now have the crud.  I felt it coming on yesterday afternoon.  This was particularly bad timing, since I was nearing the bottom of my container of homemade chicken broth, something I was pretty sure I would be needing once I was down for the count.  I ran out to Costco, on a Sunday and a holiday weekend and an hour before they closed no less (I’m a glutton for punishment LOL), to get a couple of whole chickens and a few other things we needed.

Once I got home, the kid’s appetite had returned and I made him a dinner of what he said he was up for eating: hotdog, steamed broccoli with homemade ranch, and strawberry kefir to drink.  He was still hungry and then ate a piece a pizza.  On the mend…hooray!

I threw the chicken in the crock pot, unfortunately still so frozen (as were all the whole birds at the store) that I couldn’t get the gizzards or neck out.  Oh well!  Also into the crock, I threw in carrots, onions, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper.  Notice anything missing?  Yep, I discovered that I don’t like celery in my broth cuz I’m weird like that.  :-)  I also cut up a whole head of cauliflower that was hogging precious space in my frig, space that the spare chicken desperately needed, and roasted it.  YUM!

After all of of those tasks had been completed, it was nearly the scheduled school-night bedtime for the kid.  I thought it wise to try to aim for it, which we sorely missed.  But we gave it the good ole college try!

I had loftly ideas of making pancakes, breakfast cookies, and maybe even try my hand at gluten free bread baking once he got to sleep lat night.  But alas, the sick truck arrived before I could get any of that accomplished.  My neck was stiff and my back and hips ached.  My eyes felt like they were going to burst from my head and my teeth were throbbing a deep pulse.  I dislike when my sinuses are jacked up.  It really stinks.

Despite all of that though, I could still smell that wonderful chicken soup bubbling away in the crock pot throughout the night.  How can that be?  Well, because I hardly slept with my faucet nose running all night.  I ended up going downstairs at 4am for some pain reliever, vitamin C, and orange juice, because I simply could not handle the throbbing pain any longer.

The kid woke up of his own accord not long after his alarm would have gone off on a school day, thankfully.  Once the kid was fed breakfast and I had some much needed coffee, I decided to try my hand at the bread recipe that was recommended to me recently.  I doubled the recipe for a more normal sized loaf.  For eggs, I used 2T ground white chia seeds in 1/2c water to make a slurry.  I opted for white chia seeds so they would be less noticeable in the loaf, since regular chia seeds look like poppy seeds.  I ended up having to bake it for 1 hour and 25 minutes, and it just came out of the oven.  So far, it looks promising.  I will report back once the kid has taste tested it!

First Grade and More Recipe Successes

Despite our county being rated the wealthiest in the country, we still only have half day kindergarten here, probably because we’re also one of the fastest growing counties in the country.

In anticipation of full day first grade, I signed him up for a couple of full day camps this summer.  He wanted to do nature camps, so despite cringing at all the extensive tick checks I would be doing, I signed him up.  He was tired at the end of each day, but he loved it.

But this is my son’s first full day school experience.  As expected, he’s coming home a little over-stimulated and tired.  He’s waking up like a champ with his new Ninjago alarm clock.  And since he’s trying to earn money to buy Skylanders and he gets the bulk of his earnings from behaving and following the rules at bedtime (our previous biggest battles), he’s going to bed at a decent hour.

Also as expected, he told me on day two that he hated school.  I reminded him that his Kindergarten teacher had said that this would be a rough couple of weeks and that he would be tired and cranky and think that he hated school, but that was all part of the transition.  That he would get used to it.  Love going to school again.  I think that helped because he seems to be accepting that this is only a temporary feeling and that it will pass.

On to the food challenge of first grade.

His teacher is a long term sub while his regular teacher is on maternity leave until mid-October.  Her own daughter has an anaphylactic allergic to garlic, so she gets it!  Hooray!  He sits at same table as his class, but he’s the end of it with a couple of other kids who have food allergies, so he’s in good company without being segregated or feeling left out.

I was shocked to learn that the first grade teachers decided as a team NOT to have snack time.  Let me explain why this is such a surprise.  The bus picks up at 7:25a, the first graders have lunch at 10:40a, and he gets off the bus at 2:55p.  That makes for a LOOONG stretch of time with no food.   Surprisingly, there are older kids at his school who DO get snack and who also have a more normally schedule lunch break.  I don’t see how this makes sense!

But I digress.

In addition to finding good recipes for pancakes and pancakes muffins, I have also found a great graham cracker recipe, a very versatile quick bread recipe, and an awesome breakfast cookie recipe.

For the graham cracker recipe, I used 1 cup buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup teff, and instead of an egg white mixed in, I used 1 tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with a 1/4 cup water to make a gel like slurry.  Instead of doing an egg wash and sprinkling with sugar, I used a mix of teff flour and sugar to roll it out between sheets of parchment paper.  This stuff is STICKY so I highly recommend flattening it out with your hands and dusting LIBERALLY before trying to roll it out.

For the quick bread, I used more chia seed slurry instead of xanthan gum.  I think I used 1 teaspoon of chia seeds and one teaspoon of water.   I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread and was winging the spice measurements.  The kid likes it!  It’s not overly sweet at all and the spices are pretty mild, so all in all it’s a good breakfast option for the kid palate.  Since I used a bean based flour mix, it’s got some protein in it too.  Bonus!

The breakfast cookie is really awesome, I must say.  I have to taste test, even though it has things in it that I’m avoiding for various reasons, to see if it’s something he would like and eat, and these were gooood.  Very peanut butter-y, which is no surprise since they are flourless and the main ingredient is nut butter.  I did not grind the chia seeds for this recipe, but I found that I was digging seeds out of my teeth for a while, so I will be grinding them for the next batch.  (If you’re not familiar with chia seeds, they’re about the size of poppy seeds.)  I used straight cane sugar instead of xylitol, skipped the stevia, and I used two teaspoons of starch.  Oh, and a threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips.  Let me warn you, the recipe makes two humongous cookies.  For a ravenous adult, I can see one cookie being a complete breakfast.  My son has been satisfied after eating only a quarter of one, so next batch will be made into 8 smaller more kid-size appropriate cookies.

Puffed Millet Brand – GF FAIL

While the Candied Puffed Cereal recipe was a success, the brand itself was a big fat FAIL.  As it turns out, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the description of the Arrowhead Mills Puffed Millet.  It was NOT gluten free and my son reacted.  Bad mommy!  :-(  I was able to get him to take some Glutenease mixed with honey and that helped lessen the reaction and he was fine in time for the first day of first grade.

The other brand of Puffed Millet I’ve seen online is Nature’s Path, and there are comments on Amazon that several GF folks successfully consume it without issue, but it’s not certified gluten free.  I’ve contacted Arrowhead Mills to find out how it’s contaminated so I know that this level of cross contamination is not safe for my boy.  I’m still awaiting that response.

I also posted on a Celiac forum asking about the Nature’s Path, and someone responded that she had contacted the company about it.  They said there’s some slight chance for cross contamination but absolutely no gluten in the item.  I think I will contact them to find out about the “slight chance of cross contamination” before buying it.