Tag Archives: diet

Homeschool Math (aka baking muffins)

After my earlier post with the muffin recipe, Berrik and I set off to make the muffins.  It turned into a major math lesson, with Berrik none the wiser about doing school work!  Here’s some of what we did:

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Preheating the oven.  In Math this morning Berrik was learning about number placement on ‘decimal’ street, including 100s, 10s, and 1s.  We used that learning to preheat the oven to 350F.  Simple stuff, but nice reinforcement of what we were doing earlier.

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Preparing the pan.  I asked Berrik to estimate how much coconut oil he would need in order to grease all 12 muffin holes, and then had him spoon the amount he though he would need into the little glass bowl.  When he was done greasing the pan, he realized he had overestimated the amount and said he would use less next time.  We talked about whether he thought he had used 1/2 the amount of coconut oil, or less than that.

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Measuring the ingredients.  The bananas allowed for a review of simple addition and subtraction.  We did both, which I think is so good to promote understanding that addition is just the opposite of subtraction.  This was easy for him, but always a good review.  After I quizzed him on a couple, he was then supplying the equations and answering them himself.

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The rest of the ingredients.  Talking about the difference between 1/2 cup and 1 cup and physically being able to see that 1 cup is double the amount of 1/2 cup is a great way to promote understanding of fractions.  Measured with teaspoons as well, and then estimated the right amount of cinnamon.  More addition and subtraction with the eggs, but generally decided that learning how to crack the egg was more important than the math.  Egg cracking is a life skill.  Everyone should know how to crack an egg.  🙂

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Chocolate chips:  Berrik identified the pattern he wanted to use and wrote it on a sheet of paper to help him remember it.  Then he followed through and created the pattern 3 times.  I had him figure out how many times the pattern would repeat before he started, and while it took him a little bit to figure it out, he was able to get the answer.   When he finished he confirmed that his pattern repeat guess was correct (and sounded pretty surprised that it was correct, which was funny).  He also informed me that he would eat the 5 and 4 chocolate chip muffins and McKenna and Avi were welcome to the 3 & 2 chocolate chip muffins.  Definitely my kid!img_6775

We put the muffins in the oven and set the timer.  I made him read to figure out which button said ‘kitchen timer’ and then punch in the amount of time.  His concept of time isn’t great, but he thought that 25 minutes seemed like a perfect amount of time to play outside to ‘get a good appetite for eating muffins’.  I’d love to spend some time inside his brain.  It’s so funny and busy in there.

And finally once the muffins were baked, we discussed more math using word problems. If Berrik ate 2 and mom ate 1, how many would be left for McKenna and Avi?  What if McKenna and Avi each had 1, how many would be left when Dad gets home for dinner?  If Berrik ate all the 4 & 5 chocolate chip muffins, how many would he have eaten?  I had to repeat these a few times (processing word problems is a real challenge for Berrik), but we used the muffins as manipulatives and he was able to figure out the answers.

#learningbydoing is still trending in our house….

Back to School Muffin Recipe

coconutbananamuffinsThe girls are off to school…Berrik doesn’t ‘officially’ start until next week, however we have been doing school all summer so it’s not quite the same level of drama and excitement as it was for the girls.  Berrik was up bright and early today and he’s best when he’s fresh, so we got through some language arts and math work including some desk work, so we’re both glad to have that out of the way.  We’re about to do some baking (more math, with measurement….and the way I bake there is plenty of estimation as well…). And on that note, I wanted to share the recipe we are using today.  It’s essentially sugar free (naturally sweetened with fruit), high fibre and high protein.  Perfect for kids as a convenient breakfast if the morning is rushed, a ‘dessert’ in their lunch, or for us, a quick snack for when we are on the go.  All three kids love it, and I feel good about them having one to help get them through choir, dance, karate or whatever other activity they’re involved in.

Coconut Flour Banana Muffins

6 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (you can use almond butter, peanut butter, or any other nut/seed butter here…. sunflower seed butter keeps it nut-free which is handy for school).

4 eggs

1 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, and can be substituted with raisins or nuts if you like).  I use stevia sweetened chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips, but again, whatever type you like will work fine.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Prepare your muffin pans.  I use coconut oil and grease the pan with a little pastry brush, but you could use nonstick cooking spray as well.  My preference is for stoneware for baking…I just find it cooks more evenly. Regardless, watch the muffins closely as baking times may vary – I use convection when baking, so that is likely to reduce the baking time by a bit.

One of my kiddos does not like banana chunks in her muffins (pretty sure anyone who knows us can guess who!!!) so I use my Blendtec blender (Vitamix would work too), but you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer as well.  I love using the blender for baking – just one thing to wash at the end. Downside is no beaters to lick though!

Throw the bananas, nut/seed butter, and vanilla in blender and blend until smooth.  Add eggs and pulse a few times until they are blended in.  Dump in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and blend until just combined. You can fold in chocolate chips or other additions here if you like, or if it’s going to be a math exercise like it is for us today, you can have your helper count out the chocolate chips and make patterns on the top of the muffins before putting them in the oven.

Pour muffin batter into muffin pan.  I like to fill them up pretty full as these muffins don’t rise as much as wheat flour versions might.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The centers should be firm and springy when they are done.  Let them cool in the pans.  They will hold together well once cooled, but can sometimes come out of the pan in pieces if they are too warm.

Enjoy!

 

Test results

Leading up to the urine test, Berrik’s attention and mood seemed to have taken a downturn.  It made for a long few weeks as we awaited the test and the results.  I was exhausted with the pace of life – I was competing in dance that month, and McKenna’s dance competition season was amping up with dress rehearsals and extra practices.  Berrik had been tiring of some of the recipes I was using, so I was attempting to find and/or create new ones.  Add all this to a full time job and a kid who is now emotional and unfocused again, and I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Thank goodness for Avi’s patience with Berrik…she has always been very nurturing with him and because of their strong relationship, she is really great at keeping him busy and happy when the rest of us are running around like chickens with heads cut off – and for anyone who has ever seen chickens butchered, you can really understand how our family was functioning at this time!

So, the results come in and they are really odd.  Many of the results that were issues in the first test had been resolved.  All markers for yeast except one were within normal levels – however the one that was not had increased significantly.  Another marker called oxylates was through the roof, and there were a couple other really strange results.  The naturopath wasn’t sure what was going on and planned to call the doc at the lab to see if she had any thoughts.  It appeared to be very random and nonsensical, particularly when compared to the first urine test.

Never satisfied with not knowing, I took to reviewing the literature about oxylates and yeast markers.  After a few hours of reading, I found out that almonds are a food with one of the highest levels of oxylates, and overeating almonds can cause oxylate levels to rise significantly.  High oxylates can result in one specific yeast marker to rise as well.  And the other odd results were also related.  While I was glad to find the reason for the strange test results, I felt a little sick.  I was essentially poisoning my kid with almonds….  Almond flour is the easiest non-grain flour to work with – so my poor kid was eating almonds concentrated in his morning toast and his daily muffin at school, not to mention eating nuts as an afterschool snack and other more occasional almond flour goodies.  Sigh.

Back to the drawing board.  I slowly weaned Berrik off the almond flour and started looking for ways to bake without it.  I also decided that sticking to more whole foods and using muffins and other baked goods less frequently would be better for him anyways.  I told the naturopath what I had discovered and when she spoke with the lab doc, she agreed with me.  After a few weeks Berrik was feeling better (and so was I….overwhelming mommy guilt on that one!  Good grief. <insert eye roll here>)

At this point we decided to do a stool test to determine with accuracy if there was any yeast left in Berrik’s tummy, and if so, what type so we could treat it more aggressively if necessary. Also wanted to see whether there was good bacteria growing in there, as that will be the key to sustained health for my boy.  It was a three sample test – I’m sure you can imagine – poo in tray, little stick to put sample in little plastic jar – x 3.  Conveniently I was at a dance competition with McKenna when this started <snicker>, so nurse Kevin was on the hook for the poo.  After 2 samples had been collected, Mac and I arrived home from dance and I had one day at home before having to head to Vancouver for work.  Within an hour of arriving home I hear Berrik yell from the washroom, “Dad, I’m going poo in the tray…. want a sample?!”  I offered to collect this final sample, but superdad and uber nurse Kevin declined and marched off to collect.  For any of you wondering how I survive this crazy life – it’s because of Kevin.  He truly picks up all the slack in every area, regardless of what needs to be done.  I often marvel at my good luck, considering we met in a nightclub after a few beverages – I credit my excellent taste and sparkling wit – and perhaps his beer goggles that evening.  <shrug>

Stool test results came back – NO YEAST!!!.  Very exciting results as yeast can be difficult to clear.  We were so very strict with the regimen for almost 5 months and Berrik was SO good with avoiding grains and sugar.  Even at birthday parties he was voluntarily decline the cake and happily eat the ‘cookies’ or other treat I sent with him.  There was no bad bacteria showing up either, but the good bacteria was low, so still more work to be done.

At this point we reintroduced grains, but still kept sugar and yeast off the menu.  Again a downturn in attention and mood.  But we had a celiac test to complete so we stayed with the wheat for about 4 weeks.  As soon as the test was complete, I took Berrik back off wheat (but left the other grains).  Within a week or two, he improved again.  Celiac test was negative, but because wheat seems to cause issues for him, we decided to just keep him off of it for now.  Luckily with all the other grains and no more fruit limitations, Berrik has many more food options and was quickly gaining back the weight he had lost on the stricter anti-candida diet.

In my next post I’ll talk about my decision to take some time off work….

 

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