Sunday, August 24, 2008
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 jar (16 oz) salsa (we like Green Mountain Gringo)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 TBS lime juice
2 TBS oil for cooking
Add lime juice to the rice while it is simmering.
Heat oil in large pan. Add onion and bell pepper and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add chicken and cook through. Turn off heat and add rice, salsa and cilantro. Mix well.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I saw a lot of information about the GFCF diet. Initially, I disregarded it. If it is so great, why didn't the doctors recommend it? It's expensive and difficult to implement, why bother with an unproven treatment like that?
Something I read stuck with me, haunting me for days. I had read about the morphine type reaction that some children experience after ingesting gluten or casein. How many times had I commented that Jake 'looked drunk' after eating? I decided that we had to at least try the diet and see what happens. I had to know that I was doing everything in my power to help him.
We were in a unique position to give the diet a true test. The kids were home with me and I had complete control over what they ate. So, the first to go was milk. I worked to wean Sarah from nursing and switched her to a soy formula. Jacob's regular milk was replaced with Soy milk. All other sources of casein were removed from their diets as well. Sarah's never ending colic was miraculously cured within a few hours of switching to soy. She still has quite a temper, but now at nearly 2 years old, she is a typically developing child.
After 24 hours without casein, Jake came out of his fog. His eyes were so bright! He woke up the next morning and walked around the house looking at everything as if it were the first time he saw it. I just stood back and watched him go. He was happy, curious, excited...so was I! Then, he looked at me. I mean REALLY looked at me. The eye contact I had craved for months was back! My boy was waking up! It was truly one of the most wonderful moments of my life.
Motivated by his rapid improvement, I decided to go ahead and remove gluten. This would prove more difficult than removing casein. I had to learn how to cook in order to replace all of his favorite foods with gluten-free versions.
He has continued to progress steadily in all areas. He still has an occasional meltdown, but overall his behavior is good. His language skills have improved remarkably. In fact, I'll do a post soon about our fun with echolalia.
Jake is now 4 and has completed one year of preschool in a special education setting. At the end of that first year, he graduated out of physical therapy and the special education classroom. Next week, he will begin preschool in a typical classroom and will continue with his speech and occupational therapies.
Something changed after we had our second child, Sarah. This beautiful baby was the loudest, most unhappy infant to ever exist. She cried so much that the nurses wouldn't even keep her in the nursery at the hospital after she was born. She never slept and could not be consoled. The only time she seemed happy was when she was nursing. Her diagnosis was colic, though now I know better.
The Great Regression
Shortly after Sarah arrived, Jake's behavior deteriorated. This sweet, happy child became withdrawn. He suddenly began standing in a corner and screaming, sometimes for hours on end. It was not unusual to find him staring blankly into space. Initially, I thought he was reacting to Sarah. There was always a lot of noise in the house and everyone was stressed. With 2 screaming children, I was at my wits end.
The regression continued and I noticed that Jake was losing skills. He lost interest in potty training, could no longer use a fork, spoon or straw and all of his acquired language disappeared. Eye contact was gone. He was still talking and singing some, but it was all exact repeats of things he had heard on his favorite TV show. Obviously, this was more than a minor regression some kids experience after the arrival of a new sibling.
I knew we were dealing with autism. I do not believe that the autism began during the Great Regression, it simply became obvious at that time. As I read more about the condition, I recalled all the times that Jake 'refused' to follow my directions, 'ignored' me when I called his name, his 'love' of opening and closing doors. I also cringed as I remembered how many times I apologized for his 'shyness'.
We began seeing specialists and eventually he was diagnosed with Autism. Of course, no one could see into the future and tell us his prognosis. We couldn't know if he would look at us, talk to us, have friends, or play ever again. It was devastating. I wanted my sweet boy back.
To Be Continued...
Thursday, August 14, 2008
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except oil in food processor and pulse a few times until chopped. Add oil and blend until well mixed. Toss with your favorite GF pasta.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Also, there are lots of new items in my stores on www.SpectrumHope.com . I am still working on expanding the site to include helpful links and other information, but the stores are open.
Let me know what you would like to see on these sites. You can post a comment here or email me. I'd love to hear from you.
I received a copy of 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders as a gift from my sister. This book is outstanding! It absolutely delivers what the title claims. I have done a lot of reading since my son was first diagnosed, but this was the first time that I actually took notes. Authors Ellen Notbohm and Veronica Zysk have provided us with a tremendous resource that I will continue to reference for years to come. Their suggestions cover most of the challenges we encounter in dealing with autism and they include ideas that are beneficial for nearly all age groups and skill levels. Get a copy for yourself and another for your child's teacher. It's worth it!
GFCFSFEF Sandwich Bread
2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1 cup quinoa flour
2 TBS sugar
2 TBS ground flaxseed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp egg replacer
3 tsp xanthan gum
2 packets active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 TBS canola oil
2 TBS honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Add wet ingredients to bowl of stand mixer equipped with dough hook. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. With mixer running on a low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to wet. You'll need to help by occassionally scraping the sides of the bowl. After a few minutes, with all ingredients well combined, you will have a very thick, sticky batter. Place mixture in greased, large loaf pan. Gently smooth into loaf shape with wet hands. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about an hour). Bake at 400 for 45 to 50 minutes. For a lighter crust, cover with foil after about 30 minutes of baking.
Here's where Lend4Health comes in. Tori posts detailed loan requests for families in need of a loan, including the total amount needed and the specific use for the loan. Individuals can then contribute a micro loan (minimum of $1) that will be repaid (interest-free) according to the terms agreed to by the loan recipient. While it is impossible to 'guarantee' the repayment of the loan, recipients are required to sign a promissory note and are subject to a reference check.
Lend4Health is very well organized. Lenders can view pictures and read all about the children they are helping. This is a new program, but I am certain it will soon become a well-known resource in the autism community.
Check it out today: http://lend4health.blogspot.com/
Ask for help if you need it. Lend if you are able.
At any rate, meatloaf is easily adapted to be GFCF. But, I am posting a version of this classic recipe that is a little different from the norm. Hope you enjoy it.
Meatloaf with a Twist
20 oz ground pork
20 oz ground turkey (or beef)
1 cup GF breadcrumbs (I used ground Nutty Rice cereal)
1 cup bell pepper, chopped (I used a combo of red, green and yellow)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 TBS lime juice
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
Additional tomato sauce or ketchup for topping
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Place in baking dish and form into loaf shape. Top with ketchup or tomato sauce and bake at 375 for an hour and 15 minutes.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I use apple juice for the liquid and cut the sugar in half. Add in fresh minced carrots and/or zucchini with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Use orange juice, cut the sugar in half and add in dried cranberries.
Use your favorite milk substitute, add a little vanilla extract and dried blueberries.
Have fun experimenting!
Monday, August 4, 2008
This recipe is a bit labor intensive by my standards. I recommend making a big batch as described below and freezing them. That way, you will have a ready supply for a quick and easy meal. I made these as fries to accommodate Jacob's preference, but the recipe would also work for chicken nuggets.
We are experimenting with eliminating eggs from his diet due to a borderline allergy, so this recipe is GFCFSFEF.
Chicken Cauliflower Fries
2 lbs. ground chicken
1 bag (16 oz) frozen cauliflower
2 cups GF flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
canola oil for frying
Cook and puree cauliflower, let cool. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Yep, you need to get your hands in there. It's the best way. Grease the inside of a gallon size freezer bag. Place the mixture in the bag and zip closed. Heat oil in large pan. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze fry shaped bits into the hot oil. They will cook fast, so watch closely. Let cooked fries drain on a paper towel lined plate. Enjoy!
Note: If you are suddenly overcome with the desire to make your fries into fun shapes, letters or numbers, go ahead. The kids will love it.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
You'll need a large pan with high sides for this dish.
Quick and Easy Paella
- 1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 lb. cooked small shrimp
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 cups rice
- 3 cups GF chicken stock
- 1 TBS dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (opt.)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add chicken stock and rice, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until most of the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until water is absorbed.