Friday, December 17, 2010

A real hamburger.

Hamburgers are so much better when you can eat them with a bun. And when Dad threatens to send you to your room because you're being {goofy} naughty and not eating, just block him with your hand and food and yell "no".

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our first food trial.


I'm so excited! It's been two months since Sam's last scope, so it was time to either scope again or just start adding a new food. I called Dr. Harnesberger, and based on Sam's 1 and 1/2 pound weight gain and seemingly good health, we decided to go ahead and start wheat, see how he does for the next couple weeks.

I have so many things I can't wait to give him....noodles, my homemade wheat bread (without feeling guilty), grilled cheese and quesedillas with his special rice vegan cheese, chicken nuggets, graham crackers, cookies, pancakes, many things I can make dairy and egg free and still taste normal because I can use wheat. And I don't have to worry about weird hidden gluten-clad ingredients like caramel color or modified food starch.

Here's to hoping Sam does well the next couple weeks, and to a happy kid because Sam is going to be in heaven!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Gave In

Before Sam was diagnosed, one of his favorite things to eat was my homemade wheat bread. He has not had it for 7 months now, and honestly he has never begged for it, kind of like he knew he couldn't have it. Well, this morning Patrick made French toast, and Sam saw that loaf of bread and started throwing a fit because he wanted some. He wanted nothing to do with his gluten-free muffin with maple syrup, or grapes, or juice, or anything else.
So I let him. I figured he's been so healthy lately, gaining weight, growing out of some clothes, and we're going to trial wheat first anyways, why not? Actually, I know why not, but still, he was so so happy to have that little piece of bread, and he's not sick afterwards. I had to give in. What can I say, he's spoiled.The problem is, he wanted more than one slice. So we put powdered sugar on his muffin; that inspired about two bites after he licked all the powder off. So we resorted to the dum dum and that completed his breakfast.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finally, Some Good News

I called Dr. Harnesberger and told her I didn't want to wait another two months for a scope. I felt like we were just sitting doing nothing, and Sam wasn't getting any better or worse. I want to start adding things in, or taking more things out, whatever we need to do. I don't want to just do nothing. She agreed and we had a scope last week. This time Dr. Harnesberger did it. Although inconvenient not to be down the street at Riverton Hospital with an early morning appointment, I wanted her to see his esophagus herself. So we headed downtown to Primary Children's at 1pm with a cranky child who had not eaten anything all day. But I was more than happy with the results! Dr. Harnesberger said his esophagus couldn't look any healthier. The pictures showed it perfectly, smooth as could be, well vasculated, and no visible white patches. Hooray!! I wanted to add wheat back in that day, with such good results, but she said to wait for the biopsy. That call came yesterday, with more good news. The highest number of eosinophils found was 27 per high powered field. That's a 75% decrease, and about as fast as the esophagus can heal. She also explained that the basal layer was significantly thinner, indicating less inflamation. Dr. Harnesberger was more than pleased, as was I. Although the disappointing news was that she wanted me to keep Sam on the same diet for a couple more months, and then scope again before adding food back in. She said we're on the right track, but she wants to be sure, keep an eye on him first.

So for now we'll stick to fruit, corn chex, and cocoa pebbles. And of course hot dogs. Broccoli has become a new favorite too, thank goodness! I have to say, he has grown in the last week. A lot of his clothes he wore the week before no longer fit. Really, it was overnight. So maybe he'll start catching up now! But either way he is a happy happy boy.
We just love to see his smile!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Birthday Stats

Sam turned 2 on September 2. I can't believe it! My sweet sister made him an allergen-free cake, and it was so fun to watch him eat a real treat with real {delicious} frosting. To see the full birthday festivities, go here. We haven't had our official well-check, but I took him in a few days before for weight and height checks when he was done with his Singulair. He was 21 lbs 3 oz, and measured 31 inches. I don't know how accurate the height is, but his weight stayed the same. No growth on the Singulair as far as I'm concerned. He has however outgrown his size 3 shoes, so that's a milestone. Slowly but surely, this kid will grow! He's still in 6-12 month clothes, and some 12-18 month shirts.

Right now we are doing nothing besides the 6-food elimination. I haven't started the Lomatium yet because I kind of want to get a scope first to see if he is getting better or worse. If it looks worse, then I will start the Lomatium and see what it does. Then I could tell people with surety if it actually works. I really want to be able to help other people too. I think that's the only reason we go through these trials, so we can help others around us. So things are just kind of normal around here. Nothing new yet. Sam seems to be stable, not better or worse. Although he did get sick yesterday and is on steroids again for a couple days to help his breathing. So maybe he'll gain a couple pounds again. He sure is a happy kid though! That's all I can ask for at this point. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Update #3

So I've been seeing this lady in Logan, Sharon, who is a chiropractor trained in Australia and has a masters in herbology. Her techniques are amazingly effective, and I have been seeing her for my neck and mono issues, and also high cholesterol, since January 2010. Now I have seen countless doctors, chiropractors, pain clinics, done acupuncture, phsyical therapy, medication, ANYTHING to try and help my chronic neck and shoulder pain I have dealt with for 16 years. I lack a curve in my neck, which causes the chronic muscle tension, and no one has ever been able to relieve my symptoms for longer than a few hours. No one. Ever. Until I started seeing Sharon. Her gentle way of manipulating my own body to correct itself is beyond amazing, and after making the treck up there (3 hours round-trip) for the past 8 months, I can honestly say I am a different person. My neck is so much better, and the pain so infrequent now, that I can hardly believe it. She has also had me taking supplements for my cholesterol and herbal concoctions for my mono, and I still need to get a blood test to see what effect that has had. But the fact that she fixed my neck is a miracle in itself.

I tell you this, because she also had some ideas for Sam when I went there last Thursday. She thinks food is not the root of the problem, and just smiled knowingly when I told her his numbers had doubled after the food elimination trial, like she expected that. She believes eosinophilic esophagitis is a problem from birth, in the embryo, and once the esophagus and body as a whole is healed, food will not be a problem in the future and he should be fine. She gave me Lomatium, a type of plant, to give him twice a day, and that should heal him.

It sounds too easy, but I'm willing to try it. It can't hurt at least. What if it worked? I trust Sharon immensely. She is one of the most intelligent people I know, I think with seven different degrees. And the sweetest little lady who just loves helping people feel better. She's not a quack trying to get me to buy all these supplements from her, trying to make money off me. In fact, almost everything she's had me take are supplements I bought myself from Whole Foods, or even just olive oil and lemon juice for my gall bladder. It's just alternative stuff she knows works, because she has studied and researched it for years. The Lomatium is actually being looked at in treating AIDS because it's such a powerful healer; she didn't even know how much longer it would actually be available in the alternative therapy world if modern medicine starts really using it.

So I'm going to get my blood test done, and if my cholesterol is below 200, I'm trying the Lomatium for sure. That's the

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Update #2

Dr. Harnesberger called me Monday with the resulting consensus from the conference on Friday. Unfortunately Dr. Pohl didn't make it there. LOL They all agreed that it didn't seem reasonable to put Sam on an elemental formula given how much he eats. Nor do we want to keep putting him on steroids. So they decided we should try Singulair for a couple weeks and see if that helps him grow. Apparently it's a new treatment. We'll see what happens. I'm not expecting much in two weeks.

Then today we saw Dr. Gleich again. I wasn't too excited about this appointment, since last time we waited over two hours. The nurse assured me we wouldn't be waiting that long, and she said I could slap her if she was wrong. I told her I would take her up on that. Anyways, I only waited about 40 minutes, and Dr. Gleich was totally enamored by Sam. He kept saying how cute he was and called him a little "Teufel". That means "devil" in German and it is his new nickname, if I can ever remember it. I have to keep asking Pat.

So, Dr. Gleich said he was concerned about Sam's lack of growth and the high number of eosinophils and subsequent inflammation still present, even without any other symptoms. He really wants to clear out the esophagus so it can heal, and then start with a clean slate finding out what foods he can't have. The only way to really do that is with the elemental formula for 4-6 weeks. He said the steroids are like a bandaid, but the elemental formula is like stitches, actually healing the esophagus; 95% of patients have a clean scope after formula. He wants me to try Elecare for a week, just seeing if I can "use my charm" (really??) to get Sam to drink it, not eliminating his other foods yet. See how it goes, and then come back next week. He really overestimates my "charm" on an almost 2 year old.

I don't know. It makes sense, but I know Sam will not drink that stuff. And what do I do about what Harnesberger said? I think I have too many doctors involved. Every one of them says something completely different, and who am I supposed to follow? Dr. Gleich I think knows the most, has the most credentials. Ultimately, it's up to us what we do. I just wish someone would decide for me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We met with Dr. Harnesberger yesterday, and I must say I feel a bit better. She looked at the pictures from Sam's scope and said she could see why Dr. Pohl said Sam was better; the furrows are much less, the plaque is much less, and there possibly could be sampling error as far as the numbers go. And Sam was as crazy active and happy as ever while we were there, so he is obviously not visibly sick. The one thing that is still a question is why he is not growing; yes he is a couple pounds heavier, I think from the steroids, but he has not grown in height in over 6 months. Dr. Harnesberger has never had a patient like Sam, with no symptoms, eats a ton, doesn't act at all sick, and yet won't grow and still has high eosinophils. She is stumped.

So we went over a few options, deciding that since Sam seems to be doing so well and not showing signs of discomfort, it wouldn't hurt to just watch for awhile and scope again in four months. I chose to not do the daily steroid, and then we'll just see how Sam does. Keep him on the same elimination diet {whew!!}, come back in two months for an evaluation. She said he could still be catching up on his growth; and he has until the age of 8 to keep catching up and still reach his full growth potential. So if we are still missing something, we have some time to figure it out. She is also going to present Sam's case in front of a panel of GI docs that have a conference twice a month. That is on Friday, and she will call me Monday morning with any insights they might have. I was very pleased with this visit.

I do still have questions and concerns, but I feel at this point I don't need to be overly worried that anything critical is being overlooked. Sam is happy and eats well, and that is a good thing. We'll see what the next few months bring. For now, Sam can continue enjoying his vegan rice cheese. He ate a whole pack in the last two days!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Well, I can't even begin to describe how frustrated I am at this point.

Dr. Pohl called yesterday, less than 24 hours after surgery, with the results. He sounded very pleased, said the eosinophils were indeed gone from the small intestine, and he looks great and thinks at this point he is doing really well. He kept going on about how he didn't feel he needed to scope again and we could just see him in a couple months to see how Sam was doing with his weight...and....wait....could you please tell me what the numbers are? Well, he starts out about how he doesn't really like to look at the numbers and he prefers to see how the patient is doing clinically and not worry about the numbers, because the higher the number does not mean the sicker the kid...and Sam looks like he is doing well....Sam's numbers were 50 on the first scope....and they were 75-100 this time.....STOP....what?!?! He didn't even want to tell me the numbers, and even though the numbers have DOUBLED he still thinks Sam is doing great because he kept on the 2 lbs he gained while on a heavy steroid??? And because he's a happy kid like he always is??? I understand the actual number doesn't matter, but I absolutely understand as well that it IS important if that number goes up or down. The two separate doses of steroids should have almost wiped out the eosinophils in his esophagus, if not completely, and the fact that they came back at even higher numbers means that he is still eating something not good for him! HE IS NOT DOING WELL JUST BECAUSE HE LOOKS WELL!!

The problem is, Sam's only symptom at this point is not growing. (And maybe some weird looking poop, which I don't even know what normal is anymore.) He doesn't throw up. He doesn't act fussy. He doesn't stop eating. He's active and crazy as ever. He doesn't look scrawny. He just looks younger than he really is. So how am I supposed to guage when a food is making him sick or not? I can't just wait a year and see if he grows. And then apologize to him when he's 18 years old and 5 feet tall. "Sorry Sam, we thought you were growing."

Sam eats a lot of food. He ALWAYS eats a lot of food. Dr. Pohl does not believe me that Sam rarely loses his appetite and always consumes a substantial amount of calories. He thinks I'm a naive parent who doesn't really know, and he's probably eating less than I think, and he thinks Sam will not eat well when he is eating a food making him sick....


Sam would eat cheese all day long, and I gaurantee that dairy is a trigger for him. And obviously he is still eating something bad, and he is eating a lot of it because he only eats things he likes, and everything he eats right now is a lot.

So I hung up with Dr. Pohl assuring me that Sam is better and I should absolutely add wheat back into his diet.


So I called our allergist Dr. Taylor, who I really like. I asked if he talked to Dr. Pohl, and the first thing he said to me was "yes, I got your results just now and I was disappointed to see the numbers had gone up". Finally, I wasn't just a paranoid parent and I know what I'm talking about! Dr. Taylor totally agreed that the numbers indicate that Sam is not doing well, and something is still wrong in his diet. He was surprised that Dr. Pohl said the complete opposite. So he went on to tell me that the next step is to either do an elemental formula, or eliminate the next group of foods that might be triggers.


Now add to our list: chicken, beef, corn, potatoes, rye (I thought that was already part of the gluten thing?), rice, and peas.

So what do I feed him you ask? I have absolutely no idea. Fruit, I guess. This is an absolute nightmare.

This morning I got a call from Dr. Harnesberger, our other GI doctor we've been consulting, and who put Sam on the steroids earlier. She left me a message saying she was not happy at all with the biopsy results, some fields were over 100, and she went ahead and made me an appointment for Tuesday and could I call back to confirm. I called and talked to her for a minute; she couldn't believe what Dr. Pohl had told me and she was going to have a chat with him. Why else would you do a scope if you didn't care what the numbers said and only wanted to diagnose clinically?? She said at this point not to change his diet and to wait until we discuss on Tuesday. I'm afraid she will want to just put him on a feeding tube and forget about the elimination diet, and add steroids back in. That doesn't make me happy. This whole thing doesn't make me happy. It seems so rediculous that this little boy who looks so healthy and full of energy and smiles, and eats so much food, would need to be put on a feeding tube. That's just crazy.

Why do we have this stupid disease that no one's ever heard of, and we don't even have the normal symptoms?? Maybe there's something else going on that we're still missing. I don't know. I can't even start to think about what he's going to eat now. How I am going to keep the calories high, let alone keep his weight on. What a mess.

I guess I'll enjoy the weekend while I can still give him his vegan rice cheese and hot dogs. He has no idea what's coming, poor kid.

Stupid EoE.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today was the big day I've been anxiously waiting for.
It has been such a roller coaster these last few months, thinking one day he was doing great, and the next day thinking he was just getting worse. But for the last couple weeks I've really been optimistic. He's kept on the weight from his last dose of steroids, has had no breathing problems, and I think even gotten taller. I think his face looks chubbier too. So I couldn't wait to get the scope and see if his esophagus had healed.

He weighed in at 21 lbs 2 oz, and measured 30 in. That is awesome. The surgery was quick and Dr. Pohl said he did very well. The white eosinophil plaques are still there, but much less, and nothing in the small intestine. He took several samples for biopsy. We are so happy!

So now we wait for the results, but it really seems he is getting better. I'm anticipating a grilled "rice" cheese sandwich in his future, and maybe some cookies.

The only frustrating thing now is what to do in the future. My GI doctor does not want to scope again, just watch symptoms and determine by observation if a new food is a trigger. The problem is, Sam's only symptom is not growing, and that is going to be hard to tell right away. My doctor does not believe me that he eats well, all the time. As terrible as it sounds, I would like to scope three or four weeks after introducing a new food so we know for sure, right away, and can get this over with. I don't want to be here a year from now realizing that Sam stopped growing, after we introduced all these foods thinking he was doing fine because he was eating a lot. And at what point will he not be able to recover from a growth stunt? I'd even be fine just doing three more scopes, one after wheat, soy, and seafood, and just not ever trying to add back dairy and eggs since he's allergic, and obviously never nuts. Is that so bad?

I wish I could find someone who is in the same situation, who doesn't have these obvious semi-immediate reactions to trigger foods. Who doesn't throw up or stop eating well. And who is too young to express discomfort when they eat certain foods. The only thing I have to go on is growth.

Maybe he'll keep growing a lot and we won't have to worry about it. But I know when he has a breathing problem or eczema flare-up, which I'm sure will happen, I will worry it is because he's getting sick again, and I won't know for sure. Nobody knows for sure how much it correlates. So what do I conclude at that point? Do I eliminate whatever food I had most recently added back in? Should I consider breathing and skin issues to be EoE symptoms? No one can give me an answer.

Anyways, enough of my slipping into negative mode. Right now I am just happy with the scope, and I'm anxious for the biopsy results to come back so we can move forward. Maybe Sam will actually start talking and he can just tell me how he feels. That would be perfect!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I'm not sure where we stand now. Sam was doing so well after his two weeks on Prednisolone. Then about 5 days after taking him off of it, his skin was the worst I've ever seen it, he started not eating as well, getting sick, and then even threw up, which is not common for him anymore. He didn't eat for about a week, and then started to feel better. His brother came down with strep throat after Sam was sick, so I'm hoping maybe just a bug?? When I weighed him at Phenix's appointment, he had not lost any weight, surprisingly. He was even a few ounces heavier. Thank goodness, too! He started eating a ton again, and I felt much better about the situation. Then on Friday morning he woke up not breathing well. I took him in to the doctor, gave him a double dose of nebulizer, and then was told to take him to the hospital because it didn't help. So we spent the day at the ER, giving treatments that weren't helping, testing for RSV which was negative, and basically not knowing what else to do. We were about to be sent to Primary Children's for admission when they finally gave him a steroid, Prednisolone again, and that worked. We could go home.

His retractions are gone, but he still sounds wheezy to me. And they could never tell me why this all happened, whether it was asthma or a virus or what. He's not eating the best anymore, but hopefully he will feel better today. The sad thing is he is back under 20 lbs. I don't know when he lost it because he ate SO much food the few days before we went to the hospital, but Friday morning he was 19 lb 11 oz. Oh well. I did have to put back some of his one piece 6-12 month clothers that were too small. At least he's getting a bit taller I guess. His skin on the other hand a sad sight. His poor thumb looks like he scraped it on concrete. And the saddest is getting ice cream at the Daily Freeze for the 4th of July and he can't have any. My poor little Sammy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This is the face of a 20 pounder!!

We hit a milestone...Sam is finally 20 lbs!!

Two weeks ago we woke up to rapid breathing and wheezing. Sam was having asthma problems, which have not been an issue before, and it was not something I was happy about since he has been on Flovent and should be "healthy" right now. So we went to the pediatrician for a breathing treatment, and while I was there I called my GI doctor. She said the Flovent is obviously not working, since he also has not gained any weight in the last month, and she prescribed him Prednisolone. It's a stronger liquid steriod that he was to take for two weeks, and tomorrow is the last day. So today I took him to check his weight, and he is exactly one pound heavier!

So today is a happy day. I'll be interested to see how it goes the next few weeks when he is not on a steriod, but hopefully he will continue to grow.
I will say another thing....he has suddenly become a ticklish little boy. I think that in itself is a sign that he is feeling better. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The official word.

I neglected to post on the biopsy results, and as expected they were positive for eosinophils. His numbers were 50, which is average I guess. Anything above 20 indicates EE. So for now my plan is to keep him on swallowed Flovent for a couple weeks to clear out the eosinophils in his esophagus, and continue the allergen-free diet for the top six offenders. Then we will scope again in three months. If the scope is clear, then we will start adding things one at a time. If it's not clean, then we will eliminate more foods, and maybe the dog...sadly....blood tests showed he is very allergic to the dog. They aren't sure how non-food allergens play a role, but cases of EE are worse in the fall and spring.

So that's where we are at. It may change as I read and learn more. My friend gave me the name of another doctor who is the expert on EE, and even taught at the school in Cincinnati (the leader in EE research) where my current allergist went to. And he just happens to live in Utah. My only concern is that Sam does not throw up hardly ever, so I don't know how I will know if he's getting better, or if a certain food we add is making him sick. Please comment if you have any suggestions!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sam gets mac and cheese again...sort of...

I saw a recipe on the Gluten-Free Goddess for a cheesy uncheese sauce, and I wanted to try it for Sam. He loves mac and cheese. In fact, I felt so bad a couple days ago because I made some for Ethan and Phenix and tried to hide it from Sam, but he saw it and was so sad. I should say mad.

So tonight we had no-cheese sauce with quinoa noodles, chicken sausage, and peas and corn, and I think it was a pretty good meal for my little guy. He ate it all.

The Best Cheesy Uncheese Sauce

4 tablespoons light olive oil
5 tablespoons sweet rice flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain hemp milk (or rice milk- but it's thinner, less creamy)
2 rounded tablespoons good tasting nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more, to taste
A good dash or two of garlic powder to taste
A good dash or two of minced onion to taste
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free Dijon or honey mustard, or to taste
1 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, or lemon juice- to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon paprika (for orange) or turmeric (for yellow) color- may omit
1/4 cup white wine, to taste (Frey Organic is vegan/egg-free)

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the rice flour (I like to use a whisk to do this). Cook and stir the flour for about 30 seconds- it will make thick paste- and continue stirring to cook the raw flour taste out of it.

Slowly add in the hemp milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and hemp milk.

Bring the mixture to a bubble (it will thicken as it heats) then reduce the heat to low. Add the nutritional yeast, sea salt, garlic and onion powder, mustard, vinegar, nutmeg, paprika or turmeric, wine (and sesame tahini, if using), and whisk to blend.

Continue heating and stirring the sauce over gentle heat for about five to ten minutes. Taste test. Does it need a hint more salt? Wine?

Stir and gently heat through.

Remove from heat and use on pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables or casserole fillings.

Makes about three cups sauce.

Karina's Notes:

Originally I used rice milk in this recipe, but lately I have switched to hemp milk- gluten-free soy-free Hemp Dream - it's thicker and creamier, and rich with Omegas and calcium.

I added the salt and vinegar to my basic sauce recipe because- to me- it helps replicate the flavor found in Parmesan.

As for the mustard- I'm allergic to it, but I included it because I've always found that a dab of mustard really livens up a white or cheese sauce. If you're sensitive to mustard, leave it out and don't worry- it will still taste good.
I now add a tablespoon or two of toasted tahini paste (sesame butter) for added creaminess and depth. Allergic to sesame? Use almond butter or cashew butter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Own Quinoa Chicken Nuggets

So I realized the very first time I went to the store for Sam, when I bought a box of 10 allergen-free chicken nuggets for $7, that I would be making my own.

My first batch was good, but fell apart when you touched them. My second batch, I think is perfect. I must say I was pretty impressed with myself on this one. And they are so much healthier than any chicken nugget in the store!

Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
5-6 chicken thighs or 2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 to 2/3 c cooked quinoa
1 tbsp egg replacer mixed with 1/4 c water til frothy (two eggs)
1/2 c brown rice flour

Mix all ingredients in a food processor for a couple minutes until smooth. Using a small cookie scoop, drop balls onto plate of crushed Rice Chex. Coat with cereal, and pat down into shape of nugget. Heat skillet with canola oil and cook nuggets for a few minutes on each side until firm and golden. Store in freezer in ziplock freezer bag, and just reheat to serve.

Makes 36.

Notes: To be honest, I did not exactly measure everything, besides the egg replacer. This recipe is very versatile and can be altered according to what you have on hand. I have not tried it, but I'm sure you could use pork instead of chicken, or rice instead of quinoa. I actually used a quinoa pilaf with carrots and mushrooms that I had leftover. By all means, add some vegetables to boost the nutrients! And if you try something different that works, please let me know. I would love to hear!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

These were actually really good muffins. Again, like the cookies, my older boys and I liked them more than Sam, but he has eaten some of them. I think at this point he just doesn't want anything because it's not his normal food he loves. Maybe after a week or so he'll start liking these new things. I did not make the topping for these, because it was more work and I wasn't sure if Sam would even like them, but I would have used quinoa flakes instead of the oats if I did make it. Maybe next time. This recipe made 12 regular muffins and 24 mini muffins, and I put them in the freezer so they wouldn't go bad.

Pumpkin Muffins


2 bananas

1 cup canned pumpkin*

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rice milk

2/3 cup canola oil

3 1/2 cups safe flour (I used a rice flour/tapioca starch blend)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped rolled oats

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the topping: Place oats in blender and pulse a few times until they are roughly chopped. (Do not clean blender, we will be using it again.) In a small bowl, mix oats, oil, and brown sugar and set aside.

Place banana in blender and puree until they become a smooth sauce-like consistency. (I just mashed them in a bowl.) Mix banana, pumpkin, sugar, rice milk, and oil until well blended. Combine dry ingredients and then gently stir into the wet mixture until just moistened.

Top each of the muffins with one tablespoon of topping. Bake 20 minutes.

Makes 24 regular muffins.

* Variation — Spookily Sweet Potato Muffins: For a low-histamine version of these muffins, use canned pureed sweet potato instead of canned pumpkin. Substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger for the 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, and omit the cinnamon in the topping.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My first bread experiment.

So I did it. I made a loaf of bread.

It actually turned out better than I was expecting, and really, it was easier than making my normal bread. No kneading or shaping into a loaf, just dump in a pan like cake batter. Now I will warn you, this bread is really good for the first few hours out of the oven, but after that it gets very crumbly. I sliced it and put it in the freezer, hoping that would help, but no. Still, this bread tastes pretty good, and Sam eats it. I just have to have a vacuum out during meals.

(the Gluten-Free Goddess uses a bread machine, which I don't have. So if you have a bread machine, follow the first instructions; if not, scroll down and she tells you what to do for the oven version.)

Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

Most gluten-free bread recipes rely on eggs for texture and rise. Not this one. This gluten-free bread is tender, crusty, vegan, dairy-free, rice-free, and egg-free. I baked it in my Breadman bread machine.

First- whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside:

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour!)
1/2 cup millet flour (I used quinoa flour b/c I couldn't find millet flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/ 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon rapid dry yeat

You'll need sesame seeds for the top; set aside for later. Or omit.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bread machine pan:

1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup warm water (at 110 to 115 degrees F)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey- or raw agave nectar to keep it vegan
1/2 teaspoon mild rice or white wine cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons warm water till frothy

Gently pour the mixed dry ingredients on top of the liquid.

Set your bread machine program for 1.5 loaf medium crust. I used the gluten-free cycle on the Breadman; if you don't have a gluten-free cycle, I believe a rapid rise cycle will also work.

Check the dough after a few minutes of kneading- it should be closer to a muffin batter than bread dough, soft but not too wet. Adjust dry to wet ratio with a tablespoon of flour or warm liquid, as needed. Humidity influences the dough. As does temperature (your bread will rise higher on a hot day).

If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and place it in the oven at 350 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

Cool the loaf before slicing for best results.

Enjoy fresh from the oven- the first day (as with most gluten-free baked goods) has the best texture and taste.

Store the leftover bread as slices, wrapped in a paper towel and bagged in freezer bags; freeze. Thaw and toast or grill for best results.

Karina's Notes:

This yummy bread was not only the most successful egg-free yeasted bread to date- the taste, texture and tenderness make it one of my all-time top faves in gluten-free bread land. It didn't crumble. And it didn't taste ricey (well, duh...there's no rice!). The combination of sorghum and millet with potato starch imparts a springy bread texture that reminded us both of our favorite ciabatta bread recipe from our pre-gluten-free days.

Karina's Baking Tips for Fabulous Gluten-Free Bread

Have all the dry ingredients at room temperature.

Water should be 110 to 115 degrees F (too cool and the yeast won't rise; too hot and the yeast will die).

Yeast should be fresh- check the expiration date.

After a minute or two of mixing, open the machine and scrape down the sides of the pan with a soft spatula to help incorporate the bits of flour on the edges; I had to do this twice.

Immediately after the mixing/kneading cycle was finished I reached in and removed the paddle; then smoothed and pressed the dough and with wet fingers to even out the shape. It's not necessary to do this; I just prefer removing the paddle from the loaf ahead of time.

When the dough was resting I sprinkled a generous tablespoon of sesame seeds all over the top.

When the machine beeped "done". I immediately removed the pan from the hot machine, and within a minute released the bread from the pan (if you don't do this, it steams and gets a bit soggy) and placed it on a wire rack to do the thump test. It should sound hollow when tapped. And the loaf should feel firm (not squishy).

I thought the sides were a tad soft so I placed the naked loaf directly into the oven- on the center rack- and turned on the temp to 350 degrees. I baked it for another 12 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on it. When I tapped the bread it sounded hollow. The crust was crusty. Done.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Slice when cooled with a sharp serrated knife. (If you don't wait for the loaf to cool the bread will not slice evenly.)

I am thinking this bread would make fabulous burger buns and pizza crust.

A note regarding altitude. At high altitude- you may only need one egg's worth of egg replacer. Experiment.

Readers sometimes ask if they can lessen either the oil or the sweetener in a recipe- in this case, I'd suggest, no. What really makes this bread tender and not crumbly is the give it gets from the honey and oil. When you don't use eggs or butter, you need to boost the stickiness factor- and flavor. That's why I use good tasting olive oil and honey (agave would work).

Yes, you could use real eggs in this recipe- I don't see why not. Beat two large organic free-range eggs.

If you find the center sinking, the dough may be too wet. Use less liquid- start with a tablespoon or two less liquid. If you use milk or non-dairy milk instead of water this could produce a denser loaf as well.

If the bread is gummy in the center use less honey or agave; both are humectant. If you use flax seed gel as an egg replacer, this can also create a gummy dough.

If you don't have a bread machine:

Follow the instructions for whisking together the dry ingredients.

Proof the yeast in the warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) and a teaspoon of the honey/agave (add the yeast to the water and honey stir; allow it to get poofy).

Add the proofed yeast to the dry ingredients; add the olive oil, remaining honey/agave, cider vinegar and mixed egg replacer (or egg); beat until a smooth batter forms. I use the word batter because gluten-free bread dough is more like muffin batter than wheat based bread dough.

Scrape the dough into a 1.5 pound loaf pan (or 7 to 8-inch round cake pan for ciabatta style) and smooth evenly (I use wet fingers). Top with sesame seeds. Loosely cover the pan and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. (I forgot to let it rise, and it still rose in the over.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When the oven comes to temperature bake the bread until it sounds hollow when thumped. This might be anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes, and even up to 60 minutes if you're at higher altitude. Lower style round pan loaves will bake at 30 to 40 minutes, usually.

If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and return it naked to the oven at 350 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

Cool on a wire rack.

My first day of baking.

So this was my first allergen-free recipe. Well, to be honest it was my second. I tried making up my own pancakes for Sam for breakfast, and they turned out not so great; crisp and golden-delicious-looking on the outside, and mushy-like-applesauce-would-not-set-up on the inside. Sam ate a few bites, bless his heart, but then when he saw fresh fruit on the counter he was done trying.

So this cookie recipe is actually delicious, and my two older boys (and me) keep snitching them while they are cooling on the rack. However, I don't know if Sam likes them. I am LOVING the Gluten-Free Goddess, all of her advice, tips, information, and yummy-looking recipes. Like I said, this was my first one, but I think I will be trying a lot of her recipes. Next today is bread. I'm nervous.

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

3/4 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
1/2 cup Organic Quinoa Flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch (not potato flour!)
1 2/3 cups organic light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large measuring cup blend:

2/3 cup light olive oil
3 tablespoons real maple syrup (I didn't have pure maple syrup, so I used molasses, so it was more like a gingersnap)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon until you get a thick, sticky batter.

Make your egg replacement:

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons warm water

Whip the egg replacer ingredients till foamy and frothy. [If you are adding eggs instead, beat two large free-range organic eggs; and omit the egg replacement formula.]

Add the egg replacer to the batter and combine well. The dough should be thick and rather sticky.


3 to 4 tablespoons of warm water, as needed to achieve a cookie style dough that sticks together when you pinch it.

Stir in:

1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cover and chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or lightly greased parchment.
(at this point I changed the recipe to make smaller cookies, which cooked in a lot less time)

Roll about two teaspoons of dough between your palms to form small balls. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet and press down a bit to flatten slightly- not too much. Place the pan into the center of a pre-heated oven and bake until golden and set, about 9-10 minutes. The cookies will still have a little give to them while hot; as they cool they will crisp up.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes; then carefully remove the cookies with a thin spatula and place them on a wire rack to continue cooling.

Lovely warm and melty. Store in a covered container for up to a day or wrap cooled cookies in recycled foil, bag and freeze for longer storage.

Makes 55 cookies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Journey with EE begins.

This is Sam.He is the sunshine of our home, a sweet, smiley, cuddly little guy who stopped growing at about 9 months. He has gained about 2 pounds in the last year, has gone through a lot of testing, and finally at almost 20 months we are getting some answers.

Sam had his scope today, and the doctor said it looks like classic eosinophilic esophagitis. He has ridges in his esophagus with white plaques (which is the actual eosinophils you see). Of course we have to wait for the biopsies to come back before an official diagnosis, but I think it's a for sure thing. I asked if we could keep the adorable get-up. They kindly said no.I was prepared for this, our primary doctor and the two GI doctors and allergist and new-found friend up the street had told me about it, said he looked like he had it, and wouldn't be surprised if he did. I did my research (which there's not much out there), and kind of knew going in what we were facing. In fact, I think I would have been disappointed if it came back showing everything was normal. This is something we can deal with, get under control, and help Sam live a normal happy life once we figure out what he can eat safely. It's an answer, and I am grateful for it, whatever it is.

Now I won't say that answer didn't come with some emotion, anxiety, tears, and feelings of inadequacy. Following an allergen-free diet is overwhelming, even with a background in dietetics, and it was hard to decide where to even begin. Sam might eat a lot of food, but not a lot of types of food. He is picky. All of Sam's favorites are out: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, salmon burgers, noodles, sugar cereals, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, and my homemade wheat bread. And all of his dislikes were in: chicken, hamburger, potatoes, and veges. He does like rice and fruit, but after the first day he is already sick of it. He is DONE with rice chex. And I have not found any allergen-free sweet cereals.

So I've been scouring the web. That was even more overwhelming, so I decided to dedicate a blog to all my favorite recipes, tips, and blogs I have found, so I don't have to try and remember where I found this or that. I hope this compilation can help others who are diagnosed with EE, as well, because there's not a lot out there on this disease. And it's hard to find recipes that are gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut free. Hopefully we will soon be able to cut that list down, but for now that's what we're doing.

It's a roller coaster ride, and I'm sad and happy all at the same time. Sad for my poor little Sammy that's been suffering and can't have the foods that make him smile, and happy that we now know what's wrong and {kind of} what to do, and Sam will soon be a healthy little boy who might finally be able to face forward in his car seat!