Friday, April 11, 2014

Coffee Cake Follow Up-- Fancy, Big Girl Style

Last week I gave you B's new muffin recipe. Well, sometimes, you may be craving something a bit more than muffins! So today we will talk about how easy it is to turn this muffin recipe (and many other muffin recipes) into a coffee cake version for more of an adult presentation.

To start, like all of these recipes, this is a version of something that looks and for the most part tastes like a coffee cake. This may not be like the ones you buy at the store but it is close!

The first step is altering the initial recipe. For the sake of ease, let's use last week's recipe which is here. You really do not have to do much, in fact you don't have to change it at all. But in my opinion (take that for what it is, haha), there are a few things that you can do to make this more like a traditional coffee cake.

One thing you can do is, instead of just using a cup of unaltered berries, is to dice them into small pieces (even the blueberries-- I cut them into fourths), put them in a separate bowl, add 2 Tbsp of white sugar/cane sugar, blend, and let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so before starting the rest of the recipe. When you prepare the recipe, simply add this mixture instead of unaltered berries. OR, for better results, you could cook this mixture (berry mixture) down in a saucepan until it becomes more like a syrup and then when you get to the spot in the recipe for the berries, add the syrup that you made.

The other thing you can do, either by itself or in addition to the alteration above, is to add a coffee cake-like topping. This is super easy and adds a nice sweet crumb topping. All you need is 4 parts brown sugar (or coconut sugar) to 4 parts flour to 3 parts shortening (or butter, or coconut oil or coconut manna).

Translation for this recipe?

In a small bowl, blend:
4 Tbsp brown sugar (same thing as 1/4 cup)
4 Tbsp of safe flour
3 Tbsp of shortening (I used palm)

The mixture should be crumb-like. Once ingredients are blended together, set aside. Prepare the rest of your recipe according to the instructions and pour into prepared pan. Ensure that the to of batter is relatively smooth. Using your fingers, sprinkle crumbs over top of batter until entire top is completely covered. Bake according to original recipe instructions. You may want to peek in on it a bit more frequently to ensure that the topping does not burn. If the topping does start to appear like it will burn before the cake is done, you can do a few different things. (1) make sure that the cake is closest to the center of the oven and the top isn't too close to the heating element, (2) cover the cake with foil (being careful not to disturb the topping), (3) decrease the oven temperature and increase your baking time to correspond.

You could also do these alterations and simply keep the recipe as muffins. I decided to make a coffee cake version because it had been five years since I had one of those yummy bakery coffee cakes and for whatever reason, I woke up with a craving and decided I was going to make one. ;) Enjoy your "adult" Sunday breakfast treat and if you can have coffee with your coffee cake, drink an extra cup for B, C, and I!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Berries for Breakfast

As many of you can relate I am sure, getting our kiddos to eat can often be a struggle. Between normal age and stage pickiness and all of the issues that arise from reaction pain/anxieties, it can seem like an impossibility at times to get through three meals a day.

Slowly, B has been eating less and less and is now at the point where she is refusing breakfast 5 of  days a week, entirely. I told her that I would make her whatever she wanted if she would start trying to eat and she decided on berry muffins. Happily, an easy choice! This is what I came up with:

B's Merry Berry Muffins
1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes (or amaranth flakes, millet flakes, or rolled oats)
1 cup sorghum flour (or corn flour, or wheat flour, or millet flour, etc)
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar but coconut sugar would be yummy)
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
4 Tbsp sunflower seed butter or safe nut/seed butter (or coconut manna/butter!)
2 Tbsp palm shortening (or safe nut/seed butter, or coconut manna/butter)
1/4 cup safe oil (we use canola)
2 Tbsp honey/maple syrup/coconut nectar
1 - 1 1/2 cups safe milk (we use coconut)
2 Tbsp coconut vinegar (or other safe vinegar)
1 Tbsp vanilla (OPTIONAL)
1/2 - 1 full cup finely diced berries of choice (1/2 cup was fine for us)

Makes 36 mini muffins and one 4x6 coffee cake (for coffee cake recipe, stay tuned for next week. There are some alterations here) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare 36 mini muffin cups (approx 12 regular sized muffins).

In a medium bowl, combine flours and baking powder. Add in sugar and blend well. Add oil, then shortening and sunflower seed butter. Pour in the honey. Mix all ingredients well and then blend in the coconut milk until mixture is well blended. Add berries!

Combine vanilla into mixture completely. Add vinegar and mix JUST until blended in.

Using a small cookie scoop or Tablespoon, scoop spoonfuls of batter into each muffin cup, filling each 3/4 to completely full. Bake in a 375 F oven for 10-15 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and spring back when you poke them gently.

These may look done but feel a bit soft when you poke them in the center. Still, remove them from the oven and keep them in the pan as they sit on top of your stove to cool. They should set up just fine.

Next week, I'll give you the scoop on how to do a few quick alterations and to create a beautiful coffee cake to have for the more adult presentation, in case you are getting sick of muffins ;).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Chips: Are They REALLY Ever Just Optional?

I believe that, in FPIES, as in most things, we get bones thrown to us once in a blue moon. Something to make the road a little less difficult, to give us a break, whatever it may be. Often I talk about the amazing support of the FPIES community, or some other life line that helps us to get through. Tonight, I am here to talk to you about something slightly more superficial but all the same, truly lovely-- chocolate.

That is the bone that we have been thrown. And I am so grateful for it.

I can still eat basic cocoa on my elim diet (as well as Enjoy Life Chocolate chips) and B can eat cocoa and EL chocolate chips also! I really hope that little sis C can join us in our love of this sweet sweet treat in the months to come!

Because B does not have a ton of safes and because treats are not super common in her diet, chocolate is happily our go-to, our "Add-in" to make a food more enticing so that she will eat it. Now don't get me wrong-- I add very little at a time, and I don't put it in everything, but baked goods get a nice dose of it about 50% of the time at our house!

In honor of this delightful treat, here is our current waffle recipe. And a note-- I cheat with waffles and use this pan instead of a waffle iron. Not quite the same, but so much easier to clean! Chocolate chips are of course optional (sometimes I sprinkle the chips into individual waffles so that some are plain):

Wonderful Wake-Up Waffles (also great as pancakes!)
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar or maple sugar!)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil (or other safe oil)
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (or other nut/seed butter)
1 1/4 cup safe milk (we used coconut) 
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (optional)
Chocolate chips/ cut fruit/ whatever you might want to put in your pancakes or waffles-- optional

If using a skillet or waffle iron, you will need to lightly oil the surface. I like to melt a bit of coconut manna in the skillet and then pour it into the batter if there is excess.

Mix flours, flakes, baking powder, and sugar in a medium bowl. Blend well. Add canola, maple syrup and sunflower seed butter. Blend all ingredients well. If using chocolate chips and/or vanilla, blend into mixture. As soon as the pan/skillet is ready, add milk to the mixture, blend thoroughly and then pour into prepared pan/skillet. Cook as you would typically cook waffles or pancakes. Just a note-- your batter will not be thin--- it will be thick and need to be thick in order to hold up.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fifth Birthday

Another birthday has come and gone. B is now getting so big! She still loves being a big sister (most days), loves arts and crafts, loves trucks/cars/any and all vehicles and legos. . Now she goes to gymnastics class twice a week and it has been a great outlet for her. Still homeschooling but we are considering public kindergarten for the fall. She has truly become an amazingly spirited girl and a very strong one, a strong girl who still very much deals with allergies and FPIES everyday. 

This year's birthday: Lightning McQueen and ice skating. Never a dull day! Happy birthday to my sweet girl!! I can't wait until May for little sis to turn two!!!

B's Best Brownies

Please check out the recipe at the end of the post!! :)

I promised my husband that I would get better at writing these things down.

Life has been so nutty with both of the girls busy at homeschool and tumbling, in addition to the routine allergy nonsense that we have going on daily. Most of my recipes end up in my head or on the back of some old medical billing envelope, typically written in crayon. . . not very useful to anyone but myself when the recipes end up there!

So in true fashion of this blog, this is a treat recipe--- I thought our lives needed some sweetening up these days. With quite a bit of chronic issues and then two major ER reactions in the last month, B needed a new treat. Brownies, it is!

As is with all other recipes on here, you do not have to stick to the exact same ingredients. Great subs for sorghum flour include millet flour, rice flour, corn flour, wheat flour (just be aware that if you are using a gluten flour, it will rise more than my original recipe, so just keep that in mind). . . any "stand alone" flour would be great. Though I have not yet tried it, I strongly suspect that you could do this recipe completely with quinoa flour or amaranth flour. If you went that route though you might want more sugar. . .

Also, for corn free, keep in mind that you can use HAIN brand baking powder if potatoes are safe or you can make your own baking powder out of baking soda and cream of tartar. Another option is using vinegar-- I would use 1 Tbsp vinegar (we like coconut vinegar) in place of the two Tbsp baking powder. It may make the brownies a bit denser or fudgier, but who doesn't like a fudgy brownie?!

The vanilla extract and chocolate chips are optional. Instead of sunflower seed butter, you could use the same amount of coconut manna or coconut butter, or a different nut butter or seed butter. We used coconut milk with this recipe but any safe milk would likely be fine. Remember that you CAN make milk from quinoa as well as other seeds!

B's Best Brownies
1 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar (coconut sugar is a wonderful substitute for this)
1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
2 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp safe oil (we use canola)
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life) OPTIONAL
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract OPTIONAL 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly oil a 9x9 inch pan (this makes a tall brownie--- about 1.5 inches thick. If you wanted a thinner brownie, you could use a 9x13 inch pan).

In a medium bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add sugar and blend well. If using chocolate chips, add them here!

Blend in sunflower seed butter, vanilla, oil, and water. Once oven is fully preheated, add milk and stir until just blended. Pour/scoop batter into prepared pan immediately and smooth until level with a spoon. Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Another option for your chocolate chips is to not add them to your batter, but to spread them over top of the hot brownies after you take them out of the oven. One chips start to melt, you can spread them over top of the brownies like a frosting.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baby B's 200th: One for the Peg Board

Dealing with a rare diagnosis, doing everything in your power to help your child/children, navigating doctors appointments/reactions/kitchen debacles with strange ingredients. . . let's face it. FPIES is HARD. Its ok to say it! All of you families that live this day in and day out, you are far stronger than you truly realize and really ought to be commended for all that you do!

As we move through the days,months and years with this diagnosis, we have encountered pediatricians, specialists, medical support staff and allied health providers. We have read countless medical journal articles, shared stories on support forums, and accessed essential information from support organizations. All of these encounters and experiences provide us with an opportunity to gain tools, tools to add to our "peg board" in our work shop, as it were. But it is our job to identify the tools and to use them to the best of our abilities and to the best of each tool's usefulness.

Imagine a house without a door. You are inside and need a way to get out-- you have a door that needs to be hung and its hardware. Your tools include a wrecking bar, a ratchet, and a saw. You can certainly use any of these to cut or smash a hole in the drywall, and the wrecking bar is likely to get you through the exterior wall as well. But what you end up with is not a door, but rather a hole in the wall. Then, someone comes along and hands you a drill. Suddenly, you can cut that opening with your saw and you can use your framing, hinges and screws to attach that door. You don't balk at using the drill because it isn't green or pink or red, or it came from Home Depot rather than Lowes-- if it works, it gets used. And that hole becomes a door.

That is the thing with tools-- they are typically only useful if they are being USED. I encourage all of you, whatever place you may be in in your family life with FPIES, look around at the tools being offered. Sometimes they may be in places you would not expect, sometimes they are handed to you, no expectations, no questions asked. It is our tools that will power us through the dark nights, on to more information, on to opening doors that seemed helplessly stuck. A solution starts somewhere and it is the tools, not the color or brand or location of the tools, that will bring us closer to the answers we so desperately need for our children and our families. Let's connect to one today:
 The FPIES Foundation Global Patient Registry

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Place on the Map

We love maps. In fact, our homeschooling curriculum (self-created) is based on geography. More on that later. . . So, yes. The girls love maps, even little C, who is now, wait for it. . . 18 months old! But despite our love for maps, we have often felt like a family without a compass, navigating the chaos that we know to be FPIES. We have often felt "off the grid" when we go through periods of family life seeming, well, "less than normal."

Tonight, however, we find ourselves looking at a map, and guess what?! We are ON it! That little flag? That's us! I am talking about The FPIES Foundation's ground breaking new release--- a global registry for children and families affected by FPIES! All of these years (we've been active in the FPIES community for 4 years now) of hoping that someone could share the information from the families living with this condition in an organized way with the doctors trying to help our children, and now with a click of a button, this is all possible. The FPIES Foundation has figured it out!

The other thing that B, C and I love (Daddy loves it too!) is that this registry doesn't just stand alone-- it is actually part of the National Institute of Health Global Rare Disease Registry program through a program called "Connect," by Patient Crossroads. Our information is not only going to make an impact for families but it will also make a large impact on a far larger scale.

Click on the button to connect and add your little one to the growing group on the registry. Find your place on the map-- can you find us? We've been looking for you!

The FPIES Foundation Global Patient Registry