Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Yummies......

Yummy Pork Goodness!

The following recipe is an amazing way to eat pork. I found this recipe about 4 years ago trying to find something else (which I can't even remember what that search was for!) This recipe is naturally safe for my kids which is great. We receive rave reviews anytime I make it. In fact, this last Thanksgiving meal was followed by two requests for the recipe.

Pig on Coke

6 liters of cola (not diet cola) - - you can use water if you are not able to use corn syrup
3 c. of kosher salt
2 heads of garlic, pealed and slightly smashed
6 bay leaves
1/2 c. cracked pepercorns
10 lb. bone in pork shoulder roast

Before we go any further.....what is a pork shoulder
roast? You will normally find it in a vacuum sealed bag in the pork section of your market. It needs to have the skin on it. This is important for keeping the meat moist and tender.
The roast will look similar to this. Before you submerge it in the brine, you will want to take a sharp knife (is there any other kind?) and score the skin. Try not to cut through the fat layer to the meat. You can see the scoring on the picture at the top of the post.

Brining: You can brine for as little as few hours or as long as 24. I usually brine for 24 hours.....two reasons: 1, better taste and 2, I can do it way ahead and check it off my list:) You do need to keep it refrigerated while it is brining. I use a large (18 quart) stockpot, but you could use ice packs in a bottom of a cooler and store somewhere cool.

After brining the roast, you will need to rinse it and pat it dry. It will need to sit out for about one hour. After an hour, create a rub (oil, salt, garlic, rosemary, basil, etc. - - whatever sounds good!) and smear it all over the pork.

Place in a 500 oven for 20 mins and then lower the temperature to 350. Glaze every 45 minutes. (Glaze recipe to follow below.) Cook until internal temperature of the ham is around 160-170 degrees. Rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

Pineapple Ginger Glaze

1. c pineapple juice
2 c. packed brown sugar
1 inch grated fresh ginger

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/3 cups (about 5-7 minutes).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Faux Soy Sauce

We eat a ton of rice. I know! Hyperbole:) In all honesty, we consume approximately 25lbs of rice a month. A hot pot of rice is a blissful thing......meat, vegies, rice. What could be better? My son thinks soy sauce is necessary component of the above "blissful" combination. My son can actually eat soy; however, the San-J gluten free soy sauce sold in stores is not guaranteed to be 100% wheat/gluten free. Do to the severity of his wheat allergy, we are not comfortable taking the slightest risk. This recipe is the alternative.

Faux Soy Sauce

1 cup organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup organic apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons pure sea salt
1 teaspoon pure cane sugar or 100% pure honey

Put all in small saucepan and heat, stirring well until mixed and very hot, but not boiling. Cool and pour into bottle and refrigerate. Original instructions say it will keep for a month on the shelf.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Allergy Free on a Budget

Everyone knows that Gluten Free and Allergy Free Food can be very expensive. A frozen loaf of GF bread can cost $5-6 depending on the store. The kicker! It isn't even as big as a "normal" loaf of bread! A box of 12 quarter sized cookies - $3.85. How can a family survive eating gluten free or allergy free with a limited grocery budget? We have become fans of salvage grocery stores. Never heard of them? Let me introduce you:)
This is a picture of things I have recently bought at our local salvage grocery store. The total shelf value at a typical grocery store would be......$91.10
The items on the table include: 4 boxes of Enjoy Life Cookies, 4 boxes of Betty Crocker GF cake mixes, 10 cream of tartars (for making safe baking powder), 1 bag gluten free oats, 1 bag sorghum flour, 1 jar of Sunbutter, 6 boxes of jello, 1 box of Rice Chex Cereal, 2 GF/Allergy Free Sprinkles, and 2 boxes of Chai Tea.

I paid: $11.65 a 87% savings!!!

Salvage grocery stores specialize in closeouts, scratch and dents, and "outdated" items. Not all items are outdated. As you can see in the next two pictures, the jello and the cream of tartar are not out of date. In fact, they have 2- 3 years BEFORE they "expire".

Many people squirm at the thought of shopping at one of these stores. Really? Out of date food? In reality, many of the dates are just "best by". Not a date that tells you food is no longer edible. The following link explains, that these dates are not mandated by the government. They are determined by the manufacturer. Of course, a "use by" date or a true "expiration" date is different than a "best by" date. You can see in the picture above that the cream of tartar has a "best by" date.

To be honest, numerous boxes of cereal I purchase have the box tops ripped off. Amazing, right? People actually walk through a grocery store ripping off .10 box tops? To us though it is a blessing as Rice Chex is one of the only cereals my kiddos can eat.

My favorite finds? Bob Red Mill bargains! These two items were a huge blessing! $11.75 of goods for .75!

Where can you find salvage grocery stores? Here are a couple of links that will help you locate one near you.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Warm Lentil Stew.....

Our family loves soup. When I say love, I should use a thesaurus to find plenty of adjectives to prove the point. This recipe started as a school project. The munchkins have been learning about ancients and making lentil stew was a fine art project. I am not an artsy person so this activity was right up my alley - - eating. Perfect! I found this recipe on so I can not claim full rights on it. Although, I have made adjustments which I will note as I enter the recipe. I am sorry I do not have any photos, I keep forgetting to take out the camera.

Lentil Stew

1 onion, chopped
1/4c. olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used Italian Seasoning instead)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil (I totally skipped this)
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 lb. bulk Italian Sausage (The recipe didn't call for this.)
2 c. dried lentils
8 cups water
1/2 c. spinach (I used WAY more than 1/2 c.!)
2 T. Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery - cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil - cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. I added small sausage meatballs here. Simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

I did notice that I did need to add more water towards the end of the hour of simmering.

Happy Eating:)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yummy treats in Dallas.....

We have just returned from a week vacation with friends and family. It was a blast!!! My sister treated us to amazingly yummy treats that the whole family could eat.

She had these amazing coconut macaroons topped with a chocolate glaze! Everything was safe for the kiddo's. She found the recipes in a cookbook titled: Flying Aprons Gluten Free and Vegan Baking.

I did a quick flip through the cookbook and it looked amazing! No Eggs, No Dairy, Perfect!! The kids had sandwiches for lunch and dinner. What a treat for them! Cupcakes topped with strawberries......they were perfectly spoiled by my sister!

Here are a couple pics of them enjoying the goodies! This cookbook will be put on my wish list!

Thanks Claire for all the baking and cooking you did!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I have been on the hunt for really good gluten free pancakes. I can find them easily for myself - - Maple Grove Farms has the best mix I can find. But I have been trying to find the best pancakes I can give to my munchkins. On many occasions, I have poured concoctions down the drain due to being SO! bad.

This recipe though is pretty yummy. DD's friend said that were as yummy as normal pancakes.

I did find though that these are best if you let them cool a little bit otherwise they will not hold up to butter and syrup.

1 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. xantham gum
2T. sugar
2 T. oil
1 T Vinegar + enough milk (dairy, soy, rice, etc) to make 1 1/4 c.
1 t. vanilla (optional)

In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Mix oil, milk, and vanilla together. Add to dry mix.

Cook like normal pancakes. Note: These pancakes will not bubble like wheat pancakes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn:)

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A History of Sorts....

Frequently people will ask how we found out our children had severe food allergies. Knowing that you have no insight into our family, I decided a short history of our family and our children's allergies might prove helpful.

11 1/2 years ago our precious little girl was born. I studied. I read. Finally, I decided to breastfeed my new little blessing. But within days, my little girl started to develop little rashes on her face. Soon her entire body was covered. I would question the Dr. about the rashes. Eczema I was told. Questions came pouring out.......Is it food related? Is it detergent related? What causes this itchy red rash that my little girl scratches raw? Everyone said the best I could do was heavy lotions. Soon her little faced had a huge abscess. Antibiotic cream was applied religiously. People would question why I couldn't keep her from scratching. Make her wear gloves. Clip her nails better. I often felt as though I was doing something wrong.

When Hannah was six months old, we took a trip to my mom's house. My mom (who loves to make things from scratch) made homemade ice cream for the occasion. It was yummy. Even Hannah tasted it. Shortly after tasting it though, Hannah began to fuss and break out in a weird rash. We asked my Mom for some insight. Calmly, she told us to go to the hospital. Hannah was having an allergic reaction.

Hospital - right! Baby into the car seat. Ugh! Car seat taken apart due to blow she breathing okay? My mom noticing that things may not be right called 911. How kind of God to have a fire station literally 1 mile from her house. We were soon on the way to the hospital. Welcome to the world of allergies........

Testing showed that my girl was severely allergic to eggs. The nurses and Dr. had to wipe the serum off of her back due to her reacting so severely to the scratch test. We were handed an Epi-Pen and told to carry it with us at all times.

Two months later I developed acute mastitis. I tried to nurse through it, but I was so sick. Finally to the Dr. I went. A fever of 103 was the breaking point:) He declared nursing to be over. Handed me a can of formula and put a shot in my behind. Within two days, Hannah's face was 100% better. Her skin was healing! No more eczema.....but the sleep deprived mama didn't make the connection.

Fifteen months later another little blessing popped into our lives. Like his sister, his skin beautful skin was short lived. Soon the same sores covered his body. His bottom bleed from the oozing sores. Diaper changes were horrible. I cried watching how miserable my little blessing was.

Remember the Epi-pen I was told to carry at all times? I asked the Dr. if I could use it on baby boy if needed. I didn't know that a week later I would use it.

Sitting at a McDonald's, I fed 8 month old baby boy a small (very small!) amount of bun. He started to fuss. Why wouldn't he drink his bottle? I realized he was covered in hives and struggling to breath. Instantly, I pulled out the Epi and used it! A family member and I had planned an outing to the zoo that day. We had stopped at McD's for lunch. I didn't realize I needed to go to the hospital. Naively, we continued on to the zoo. En route, I knew we had to go to the hospital. We changed course. He was in trouble!

"911.....What is your emergency?"
"My son can't breathe!"
"Where are you?"
"We are on 35W North"
" need to stop. What is the mile marker number?"
" It is XXX. We are stopping. Please hurry!"

The Dr. in the ER told me straight to my face "Your son would have died if you hadn't used the Epi. Most parents don't even carry it."

That wasn't the last time we would call 911.

Blueberries, Fish food, undeclared egg in muffins, a cracker from a well meaning church worker, corn contaminated rice pasta........I could list more.

For awhile, my children wouldn't even go near an ambulance at a Fire Station Open House. They understood far to well what an ambulance meant.

Literally born with allergies, my children know nothing of the carefree eating most children enjoy. But they are a true testament to God's gracious care. He is the one who has protected them when I have made mistakes. He has provided medical technology that has saved their lives. How grateful I am for the skill He has given to Dr's to care for my children.

Parents with allergic kids live with a whole different dynamic. Our children can literally die from these allergies. It could be today. I am grateful that God holds my children's lives is His hands. Psalm 139:13 says that God has numbered our days. How I hold that verse tightly. My children's days are numbered. I must remain faithful to care for my children in a way that does not endanger their lives. Yet, I know their lives are utlimately held in the hands of a God who has chosen this road for us.

I pray that whoever reads this blog (it may not be many!), but whoever it is will be blessed by the road that God has enabled us to travel in serving our kids. This blog is a result of that road started so long ago with a scoop of ice cream.........

Monday, September 13, 2010

Along time in the waiting.......

Wow! It has been so long since I posted to this blog. With many of life's little happenings this project was put on the back burner. I was amazed to see that people were still looking at this blog. I am humbled and feel the need to start the project back up again. I have found in my search for allergy free treats......that my children tastes don't like Indian foods! That discouraged me greatly. But once again I see the need to find more foods to broaden their horizons.

Thanks for sticking with me!