Tag Archives: anticandida

Coconut pumpkin seed butter macaroons. It’s practically health food. 

Berrik is headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the weekend. I wanted to send a treat for him to enjoy while he’s there since there are almost zero commercial ‘treats’ that Berrik can have. This doesn’t bother me one bit because I love knowing exactly what is going into his growing body.  I have been reading about the Health Benefits of Pumpkins Seeds and wanted to incorporate them into this recipe for a little extra health boost to an already healthy cookie. The immune boosting  properties of the pumpkin seed butter and honey are ideal for the ‘flu’ season! 

This recipe is (as so many of mine are) inspired by Elana’s Pantry. She has two coconut macaroon recipes on her website and they are both fantastic. I often start with one of her recipes and then adapt it to Berrik’s specific needs, or just change it up for fun. This one was a bit of both. 

The thing I love most about these cookies is how simple they are to make.  Only 5 ingredients. 

Ingredients:

2.5-3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (start with 2.5 and add more as needed)

1/8 cup honey 

1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter

1 egg

Optional: chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, dried berries or white chocolate chips 

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. 

Mix pumpkin seed butter, honey and egg by hand until well mixed. 

Add coconut 1 cup at a time and mix until incorporated. The batter should be just sticky enough to hold together.  We added a small scoop of sugar-free stevia sweetened chocolate chips. Nuts, raisins, dried berries or white chocolate chips would also be yummy, although no other additions are necessary! 

Scoop or hand roll into small balls and place on cookie sheet. 

Put into oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Tops should brown up nicely but watch closely as they burn relatively easily. 

Make a cup of tea and pop a few in your mouth!

Let me know how they turn out for you!!

Holiday treats – Free of Dairy, Sugar, and Wheat!

 

At this time of year in particular, sugar and wheat filled treats are EVERYWHERE.  It makes everything a challenge for those of us who have kids who are sugar and wheat free.  A visit to Santa means a dye and sugar filled candy cane, or a sugar, wheat and dye filled iced cookie.  Any holiday event at school, with friends, with family, all involve treats of some kind.  Gluten-free is easy enough these days, as there are many commercial options for the gluten intolerant.  But not so much for the gluten AND sugar free.  At Halloween I made chocolate ‘bars’ for Berrik so that he wouldn’t feel left out.  He loved them!  However, they are very dark and bitter chocolates as I prefer to keep any sweetener to a minimum, regardless of what type I am using.  But I know that a lot of people, especially kids, prefer the milder, sweeter ‘milk chocolate’.  Because my kids were dairy free by necessity, they grew up eating very dark chocolate so have a taste for it.  Most kids, not so much.  I decided to experiment a little today, to see if I could create a dairy, sugar and wheat free chocolate treat, that would satisfy even the most diehard milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate fan.

These aren’t perfect but they are unbelievably delicious, and will do the trick in this house. Berrik won’t feel left out at all, as I think these might be better than most of the treats we will come across over the holidays.  Except my mom’s lemon tarts. Those are the best.  But I digress.  Our biggest issue will be keeping enough chocolate in the house to last, as my girls and even my dessert avoiding husband can’t keep their hands off this chocolate!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa

all the full fat cream from a can of coconut milk (discard the watery stuff, or save for another recipe… I just added it to a smoothie)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

sweetener of choice, to taste.

I use stevia and just add a couple drops at a time until it gets to the desired sweetness (5 drops or so seemed to work).  Other really good and tasty options are pure maple syrup, raw local honey, coconut sugar, xylitol derived from birch, or even just plain old sugar if you aren’t limiting sugar.  I would guess at about 1/8-1/4 cup of these sweeteners, but I would recommend to start low and add a bit at a time, tasting after each addition (best part of the process!!).

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat slowly over low heat, stirring occasionally. When ingredients are mixed, smooth, and starting to bubble, continue to heat for about 2 minutes, stirring the entire time.  Pour into chocolate molds, or small muffin cups and freeze for a couple of hours.

OPTIONAL:

  • add a couple tbsp of nut or seed butter for a yummy nutty taste!  Chunky peanut butter is pretty amazing in this.
  • add gluten free pretzels, nuts, coconut, dried berries or red pepper flakes to each mold or muffin paper before pouring in the chocolate or sprinkle flakes of pink Himalayan sea salt on top

We added pretzels to ours as that is Berrik’s favorite.  These chocolates become soft quite quickly so should be served directly from the freezer.  They are creamy and fudge-like in texture and in flavor. Enjoy!!

 

He’s the teacher. I’m the student.

My life is a constant series of ups and downs.  It’s sometimes hourly, but more often it’s daily or every other day.  And then there are few higher level things that are every month or even every 6 months.  Does everyone feel like this?  I imagine so.

Berrik has good days and bad days.  The girls have good days and bad days.  I have good hours and some really crappy hours… and Kevin….well, same deal.  I wish I could say my good hours stretched out to good days or good weeks frequently….  Now I know this sounds like I’m perhaps depressed, or struggling.  I’m not.  I actually feel pretty good most of the time, even on the ‘downs’.  This is a skill Berrik has taught me.

Since he was a 2 year old, we’ve had many ups and downs.  He was very late to speak so those initial years of navigating the world of speech therapy had us riding a roller coaster of emotions that ran the whole gamut; fear, joy, hope, defeat, excitement, sadness, disappointment, guilt, and contentment.

This roller coaster has continued although in different forms, and not just with Berrik.  It’s part of parenting, part of living, part of loving and being connected to people.  Unavoidable as a human, as far as I can tell.  What makes the difference is how you ride the roller coaster.  What I have learned to do over the years, is when I’m speeding down the hill and my stomach is in my throat, I remind myself that I may spiral upside down next, but eventually will be back on the slow, steady uphill climb.  I try not to focus on the fact that this roller coaster ain’t ending until I reach my ‘final destination’ if you catch my morbid drift.  I don’t always keep my crap together when I’m upside down or speeding down a hill, but I am fortunate to have parents, a husband, siblings and some really wonderful friends to talk me down if I get too freaked out.

All this to say, we are currently going up and down like a bunch of maniacs.  Berrik had some test results come back recently that showed that the yeast overgrowth in his poor little gut came back.  I was not surprised as I could see the symptoms in him.  But it was disheartening because this kid has completely avoided sugar and yeast since January 2016, and the only ‘sugar-like’ substances in his diet have been fruit, potatoes, and the odd gluten free bun or pancake. However, when I went to discuss all the test results with the doc, she was quite pleased with everything that she’s seeing, and we created a plan to address the yeast and a few other things…. so while I was feeling like we were going down, we are actually doing ok.

Berrik’s school is going really well overall. But some hours don’t go well (which is usually because I’ve chosen a method of learning that doesn’t suit him in that moment).  And while I sincerely believe that it is my responsibility to figure out how he learns best and support him to learn in that way, it doesn’t mean that I feel all zen when he refuses to engage.  The yeast symptoms exacerbate this little phenomenon.  Yay me.  Poor Berrik.  These things are completely out of his control.  These are not the symptoms of an undisciplined kid who just needs to get in line and do what I say (wouldn’t life be easier if my kids would just do what I say?).  So when I am feeling particularly un-zen-like and am ready to put my head through the drywall, I remind myself that Berrik is also not having much fun in this moment, for reasons he understands, but cannot do anything about.

We have had some major ‘successes’ since June…some that were so incremental that I didn’t really notice until a few months had gone by and then it hit me how far he has come.  Others, like last week at school, are big all at once, when he is focused all day, excited about what he’s learning, telling me all about it, and grasping concepts that were foreign to him the week before.  And there have been some things that I was sure he had mastered, and then I realize we aren’t quite there yet.  Up and down.  Up and down.  I may be Berrik’s teacher when it comes to schoolwork.  But he is setting the example for how to ride the roller coaster. He seems to just take everything as it comes.  Sure he has his moments where he is annoyed that we are getting in the car to drive his sisters somewhere, again, and we are counting by 2s and 5s or playing rhyming games.  Or when he is tired of putting his food into an increasingly complex pattern before eating it, “not EVERYTHING has to be about learning MOM!!!!”  But considering all he’s been through, and what he has ahead, he is not the one who loses sleep or worries over the future.  He’s going to be a ninja and an astronaut when he grows up.  An astronaut because he wants to travel to space, and a ninja in case he encounters evil when he gets there.  He dreams big because he believes that if you work hard, anything is possible.  He knows this because he has already lived that experience many times in many ways in his nearly 8 years.   He’s the teacher.  I’m the student.

Bread for Berrik….

 

When I first started making bread for my grain free, sugar free boy, I found an almond flour and flax recipe that was absolutely delicious and made a perfect breakfast toast… it was so good that I was eating it too – my favorite was with an egg, tomato and avocado on top.  Berrik stuck to the more traditional peanut butter.  In the beginning, before I discovered that I was overdosing Berrik on almonds via almond flour bread, muffins, and actual plain old almonds, I used this recipe weekly: Paleo Bread – Elana’s Pantry .  At the start of this food adventure I was trying new recipes all the time, and attempting to adapt them to meet Berrik’s specific needs.  There were many epic failures.  If you’re looking to avoid failure as you experiment with gluten free or paleo baking, I highly recommend you start with Elana’s Pantry.  She has a TON of recipes that are FREE (she also has some cookbooks for purchase that are well worth the price), and the beauty of Elana’s recipes is that they NEVER fail, AND she keeps them as simple as possible.  You won’t find a recipe with 17 ingredients on her website.  No crazy out of this world ingredients.  You can find all her ingredients at Safeway.  But I digress….

Once we realized that Berrik needed to significantly reduce his almond flour consumption, I decided to try out another Elana’s Pantry recipe Rochel’s Cashew Bread.  I have never actually made this with cashew butter, but instead have tried it with both Sunflower Seed Butter and Nut & Seed Butter I found at Costco.  I think you can probably use any nut or seed butter and have success.  This is a high protein (lots of eggs) high fat bread, which was perfect for my growing boy.  It’s SO simple to make with only 5 ingredients.  I double the recipe and add about 15 mins to the baking time to make a taller loaf.  I highly recommend using stoneware loaf pans.  I have had ZERO bread failures since ditching my aluminum pans and splurging on a Le Creuset loaf pan.