Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gluten free, egg free, dairy free Peppermint Meltaways

Yum, yum, yum!


  • 1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk-substitute like Vance's Dari-free
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies


  • In a small bowl, cream Earth Balance Buttery Spread and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine gf flour, xanthan gum and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • In a small bowl, beat Earth Balance Buttery Spread until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk substitute, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Baking Plans

I get to host Christmas this year for my family.  My mom is here from Arizona and my sister and her family will be coming from Wisconsin.  That's five adults and twelve kids.  It's tricky, though, because my daughters sing at 4:00pm Mass and they (we) need to be there at 3:15.  If we want to eat at a decent hour for my sister's family to drive back to Wisconsin, we need to eat at 6:30 or so, which is one hour after we will be home from Mass.

So, consider this my on-line plan.  Here is our menu:
Shrimp and cocktail sauce
Rustic Whole Wheat Artisan Bread
Pumpkin Oatmeal Artisan Bread (from Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day)
GF/EF/DF crusty Artisan Bread (from Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day)
Fresh Spring Green Salad* (Sister is bringing) with Kalamata Tampenade and Sun Dried Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Tart (optional store bought dressing for those adverse to olives and goat cheese tart*)
Grandma Marion's Strawberry Banana Salad* (Sister is bringing)
Borscht (Beet and cabbage soup)*
Main Course
Baked Potatoes* AND Delmonico Potatoes
Apple Cider Glazed Ham*
Assorted beverages (Orangina, non-alcoholic wine, soda, Peppermint Mocha Godiva Coffee)
Christmas Cookies (Some *) (Sister is bringing some)
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake with Peppermint Whipped Cream (A GF/EF/DF Devil's Food Cupcake with Rice based Whip Topping and sprinkles of broken candy cane for the three year old*) - our birthday cake for the Infant Jesus

* are things the really allergic three year old can have.

I also need to find time to get the house whipped into shape.  We have opted to only make two or three different kinds of cookies this year.  Grandma Sue sent some of her world's best chocolate chip cookies.  We can't top those, so we will only add a few for variety.  The kids have picked sugar cookies, sunbutter cups and peppermint melt-aways.  We will make the last two gluten free, dairy free and egg free.

My Christmas baking also includes a few food gifts for elderly neighbors, too.  I like to bake them bread.  This year I will be making braided bread wreaths made from brioche dough with candied cherries or Bambino bread  (see the picture?)  Which would you make?  I am drawn to the message the Bambino bread sends, but love the look of the wreath.  I will also make one for my sister's family to eat on Christmas day. 

Tomorrow's to-dos:
Roll, cut, bake and frost sugar cookies
Make sunbutter cups
Make brioche dough

Thursday's to-dos:
Make peppermint melt-aways
Make pumpkin-oatmeal dough and wheat dough for Christmas Eve
Shape, rise and bake Christmas gift breads
Prep ratatouille and put in crock pot for Christmas Eve
Prep and place in zip-loc bags all the ingredients but water for Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Make borscht and put in other crock pot
(Put crock pots in the extra fridge)
Prepare Delmonico Potatoes up to final bake and put in fridge
Prepare Apple Cider Glaze and bacon for the main dish ham
Make Kalamata Tampenade

Friday Morning to-dos:
Shape, rise and bake both breads for dinner
Defrost shrimp
Plug in crock pots
Cut out squares of puff pastry for goat cheese tart and bake

Friday Afternoon to-dos:
Put ham in the oven with precooked bacon.
Put potatoes in oven (both bakers and Delmonico)
Set out silver ware and glass ware
Get all serving items on serving area
Put coffee and filter into coffee maker and add water
Bring in coolers and put drinks on ice

Friday After Mass to-dos:
Put out the shrimp and cocktail sauce for the appetizer
Turn on coffee maker
Slice breads
Assemble goat cheese tarts (puff pastry, slice of goat cheese, puff pastry)
Glaze the ham
Put out the salad, dressing(s) and sides (sun-dried tomatoes, other veggies, goat cheese tarts)
Set up the serving area
Put Hot Fudge Pudding Cake together and put in the oven to bake while eating dinner
Whip cream for Hot Fudge Cake and refrigerate

Friday After Dinner to-dos:
Serve cake, cookies and coffee and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus
Open gifts
Do dishes

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Ember Days

As a revert to the church, I am STILL learning about all the beautiful things our religion has to offer.  This year, for the first time, I learned about Ember Days.   Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Luke 13:5 "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish."

This year the days fall on December 15, 17, and 18.  Did you miss Wednesday, too?  Praise the Lord we have a merciful and patient God.  So, I'm hoping He will give me partial credit since I just found out about them.

We have much to be thankful for at our house.  Next week, my husband starts a new job.  This is significant because we have really felt the effects the ecomony.   God does take care of all of us.  We have learned to economize and really be thankful for things we used to take for granted, like gym classes for my kids or being able to afford both a babysitter and a movie.  I'm also so very thankful for the generosity of others.  My husband's family has regularly sent a check here or a check there for us to "just go out to dinner."  Members of my family have sent money to fix things that have broken and to replace worn out items.  Outside family members bought the kids Christmas presents this year.  Also, a secret Santa left a gift card at our house to stuff the kids stockings. Prideful creature that I am, I would have perhaps donated that card to another more deserving family in the past.  But, I opted to take is this year and use it for stocking stuffers, as directed.  I turned down help in the past, because of my pride.  I don't think God wants us to do it.  So, this was a truly humbling experience for me.  I'm thankful for the lesson.

But one of the things for which I'm most thankful for is my family.  My husband has not ever lost hope.   He knew God would care for us.  I kept asking why? Or when will things finally change?  "Ye of little faith..." Yes, that describes me.  My prayers changed from "Lord, please give my husband a job." to "Lord, just take care of us and please help me be patient to see your plan."  That's a big change for this impatient, prideful person.  My kids don't whine anymore when I say, "We can't afford that."  And, both sides of our family have helped us so much. 

Lastly, I'm thankful for having a roof over my head and enough healthy food to feed my children.  The next couple of months will be challenging in many ways.  First, I need to keep my budget where it is now because we really tapped our saving over the last couple of years.  I also need to become more independent.  My husband will be traveling a significant amount of time each month over the following year or two.  God didn't intend for me to be a single parent, so I pray for my husband's safety traveling and when he's away and that I manage well on my own.  I am also praying that I can make more time for my kids.  That will be more challenging with him gone.

Happy Ember Days - I will be praying  Joyful Mysteries today.  I will include my readers' intentions to those prayers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Please offer prayers for my mom!

Hey all you prayer warriors out there!  You've done it before and I know you can do it again.  My mom is dealing with chronic illness and  a recent med change is making her feel pretty crummy.  Can you offer up a prayer or sacrifice for her?  Prayer and great medical treatment brought her back from the brink in 2007.  We would really appreciate it. 

We have the wonderful opportunity to have her here with us for Christmas.  We're very thankful!  I'll offer up a prayer for the intentions of my readers, as well.  Thank you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Am I a bad Catholic?

Usually, we wait for the week before Christmas to put up our tree, decorations and all the house "finery".

We didn't wait this year.  After being snowed in yesterday, frozen in today, with activities for which my kids have been planning and practicing for months canceled AND to have the hubby get three, yes three, job offers last week, each on a different feast day (St. Ambrose, Immaculate Conception and St. Juan Diego), we decided to put up the tree last night.  We couldn't go and celebrate.  The kids couldn't do their activities.  We needed something.

One of our holiday traditions is for the kids to sleep under the Christmas tree.  This is so important to my kids.  We move all the furniture around and put down sleeping bags and pillows.  All but the one year old slept there all night (or most of it - five year old was up until 1:00am because he was so excited.)

So, I may be a bad Catholic for not waiting a little closer to Christmas.  But, it was because He has already delivered so MUCH joy this Advent season that we couldn't wait to say ooh and aah (or as the one year old says, "OOOH pretty!") as we wait in joyful hope of the coming of Our Lord!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Economy of Scale

Today, as I waded through the laundry tasks here, I needed something "mental" to do. Here is the Math I did in my head.  Each week I do:
  • 56 pairs of pants (or skirts)
  • 112 socks
  • 56+ pairs of underwear
  • 16 pairs of pajamas (easily with the bed wetting that happens)
  • 10-16 undershirts
  • 14 bras
  • 60 or so tops(including layers, on occasion)
  • 3 sets of sheets (I alternate and do half one week and other the next) or more depending on accidents or sickness
  • 20 or so bath towels
  • 14-21 hand towels
  • 14 dish cloths
  • 2 large table cloths
  • the occasional stuffed animal
  • coats (usually once a month or as needed)

Thank the Lord for large capacity appliances!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Thyroid is NOT my friend!

Six months after my second child was born, I got sick.  I wasn't sick in the classic sense.  Instead, I felt like I was disappearing.  That may sound strange.  I thought I was suffering from post-partum depression and a little sadness about giving up a very lucrative and rewarding career.  I was raised to be a working woman.  I know now that I did the very best thing for my children and love being their teacher.  But, I was actually sick, not depressed. 

Slowly, I needed more sleep, up to 14 hours a day, endured horrible headaches, lost hair, had dry skin, was constipated (sorry if TMI) and felt depressed.  I also had tingling hands.  If that wasn't enough, I started to feel like I was choking.  I wasn't choking, but I felt like I was.  It became very distressing and my husband insisted I go to the ER.  Something was choking me.  It was a goiter.  My thyroid had grown so large, my neck was swollen (didn't notice myself because I was 70 pounds overweight at the time), but it was also putting pressure on my windpipe, hence the choking sensation.  They tested my thyroid levels. Low and behold my TSH was incredibly high (double digits - 89) when normal is between 0.5 and 3.  I was prescribed a low dose of Synthroid and was given instructions to get to my doctor on the next business day.

The nurse-practitioner I saw was petrified and referred me to a surgeon to have my thyroid removed.  The surgeon read the report and sent me to an endocrinologist.  After a month wait to get in, I finally saw one of the best endocrinologist in town.  He did a blood workup and one of the most thorough exams I had ever had.  He called me a week later to explain my problem.  It was Hypothyroidism secondary to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  He increased my Synthroid dose, told me to schedule another appointment in 6 weeks and hung up.  I didn't get anymore information from him.  Thankfully, I felt much better pretty quickly.

However, my system goes through spurts when I feel yucky and figure it is my thyroid.  More often than not, I am right.  One of the sad, sad side effects, which the doctors didn't explain was how the thyroid works in the body.  The thyroid is responsible for metabolism.  Every cell in the body relies on thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.  So, when you are not producing enough of those important hormones, your metabolism suffers.  Fun stuff when you are trying to lose weight!  Or maybe not?

I have been having one of those yucky spurts lately.  I usually start to feel like I am disappearing again.   I haven't had my thyroid levels checked in 9 months, so it was time.  Well, my weight loss of late can be explained by the fact that my levels WERE off, except in the other way.  I was over-corrected and my TSH was at 0.12.  So, my "easy" loss of five pounds was more likely a side-effect of  hyperthyroidism.  My meds are corrected.  Disappointing from a weight loss perspective, because I know it will be harder but at least I am feeling better.  Those five pounds lost just seemed too easy.  Now I know.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I will not allow anything to dominate me

I was struck with how God sends me messages. 

I was a glutton yesterday.  My dearest friend, with whom I co-school, sent cookies to our daughter's book club, which I host at my home.  She made some date sandwich cookies which contained no eggs.  As many of my readers know, I am allergic to eggs, so most baked goods are off limits to me.  So, a whole platter FULL of delicious cookies that I COULD eat broke me.  I splurged.  I don't know how many I ate, but it was probably more than 10.  I didn't eat them all at once.  One or two here and three before bed with a glass of milk.  Ugh!

Then, I opened up by Divine Intimacy book by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. to #305:
Lord grant me self-control and gentleness, fruits of the Spirit. - Gal. 5:22

BAM.  Right in the forehead.  So, I figured I better keep reading:
"All things are lawful for me'; but not all things are helpful!  All things are lawful for me'; but I will not be enslaved by anything" (1 Cor 6:12).  Here St. Paul is rebutting the claims of those who, under the pretext of freedom, want to enjoy everything and to experience everything.  The liberation for the  prescription of an oppressive law brought about by Christ and confirmed by the Apostle cannot be synonymous with licentiousness.   "Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom 13:13-14).  "All things are lawful" to the Christians "to the pure all things are pure" (Tit 1:15), but on condition that this benefits his own and others' welfare and does not make a slave of anyone.  The freedom of the children of God is in quite another sphere than that of immodesty, greed or anger.  "I will not allow anything to dominate me" is the program to be followed by anyone who wants to become master of himself, in order to submit himself to the one rule, the liberating dominion of God. 

So, that is my motto..."I will not allow anything to dominate me", especially food.

I wish I could say I held my weight loss, but I didn't.  I have gained back the last 2.5 lbs.  Still down 2.5 lbs.

I will be writing next about my struggle with thyroid disease, which is also been a problem lately.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Portion Size -vs- Calories

I am specifically trying to work on portion size, but the devil side of my subconscious plays with me saying, "But that is soooooo low cal.  You can have two or three times that amount and you won't gain any weight." Or even better, "That was SOOOOO good.  A little more won't hurt."

I had that struggle at lunch today.  Trying to piece together a lunch from left overs, I mixed leftover veggies and Israeli couscous with chicken broth and a poached  chicken breast.  There were probably four cups of "soup", but I was convincing myself that since it was so low calorie, I could probably finish it all, totally forgetting that I am really working on portion control right now, not calorie counting.

That is the problem I have with rules.  I have to focus on ONE thing or I rationalize myself out of doing the right thing.  So, I stopped at two cups and put the rest in the fridge for tomorrow.  Admittedly, even two cups of that soup was probably a better choice than home made cream of tomato basil soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, a meal with which I have much less self control.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Weigh-In Results: 2.5lbs this week, 5lb total

I've had another good week!  I haven't added any more rules.  Just eating only when hungry.  I did eat a little more today than I should have.  But, I will wait for the tummy growl before I eat again, which will be tomorrow, I'm sure.  We had home made pizza for dinner and I should not have finished the slice.

I am tempted to try Coke Zero.  I haven't had a Diet Coke for 8 months.  I went cold turkey from a 6 can a day habit.  I'm looking for more drink options.  I have a bad habit of going for a cup of "cappuccino" mix, which is 70 calories a cup.  Not horrible, but I can't drink black coffee.  I really, really don't enjoy it.  I haven't done a lot of research on Splenda, so I will do that before I try Coke Zero.

Saturday we go for our family Thanksgiving, one state away.  The good news is that there isn't much I will want to eat there.  I'm choosing to be choosier these days and make choices to eat only food that tastes good and that I crave rather than just eating to satisfy a mood.  I am also not making the food behave.  I am behaving by portion control.  I have had two small McFrappe's this week and a bag of M&M's.  I also enjoyed half of a rosemary olive oil Bruegger's Bagel slathered with cream cheese.  The key was eating only half.  Half was enough for me.  The one year old enjoyed the rest of it. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wonder Woman Cured My Fashion Blindness!

Last spring I spoke at our state homeschool conference.  At the end of my speech, a very "well-put-together" friend came up to me at the end of one of my talks to tell me I looked great!  That was high praise indeed, for this woman is always dressed to a tee.  She's one of those ladies I've always admired because everything she wears looks great on her!

Then, this summer, I saw her at our church's family camp.  She came up to me and said, "I wanted to talk to you about the conference."  Wanting to return the favor of her compliment, I thought perhaps she would be asking me for guidance about some topic on which I spoke.  To my surprise, she helped me.  She helped me in a way no one ever has before.

You see, I'm fashion blind.  Being a tactile person, not a visual person, I choose clothes that are comfortable.  If I find something I like, I will often buy two or more of those items in various colors because of how they feel.  I usually didn't give much thought to "which color".  For example, you've probably read here about my obsession with "Therashoes".  I have three pair.  None of them are fashionable AT.ALL.  But, I have no more back pain and I've toned up considerably as a result of wearing them.

Along comes this lovely lady, Wonder Woman**, I'll call her.  That morning at camp, she handed me a little notebook sheet of paper showing me my "season".  She made a list of colors to wear and colors to avoid.  Then, she handed me a book she had borrowed from the library to read at camp, but was finding she didn't have the time called How Not To Look Fat..  My littlest was still taking two naps a day, so I snatched the book and went to read during nap time. 

Come to find out, I was wearing all the wrong colors and dressing to look both old and fat!!!!  So, Wonder Woman straightened me out.  I've purged all my "wrong colors" from my wardrobe.  Having lost 18" has helped in that matter because I had to go get some new clothing that actually fit me.  I am a thrift store shopper.  I completely redid my wardrobe, including shoes, for about $300.  That included Ann Taylor, Nine West, and a few other brand names were accessible to me, buying used.  ALL of the things I bought were in my color palette.  All the clothes fit the requirements, except many of them are now to big :-)!!!

So Wonder Woman, I thank you!  You saved me from Fashion Blindness.

** Wonder Woman hosted a couples' party for our homeschool group.  We played a "newly wed game" though most of us have been married more than a decade, some two.  One of the questions for the women was, "Which would you rather be? A) Nancy Drew B) Wonder Woman C) Barbie?"  The hostess said, "I can't believe this!  After having my fifth baby, I bought a Wonder Woman costume on clearance after Halloween that year."  She ran upstairs and donned the costume UNDER her real clothes.  The room went wild when she not only revealed her answer, but her Wonder Woman costume under her clothes (complete with the red zip up boots.)  And, she is nothing SHORT of Wonder Woman in so many ways.  She's one of my heroes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week 1 results: 2.5 lbs down!

I stuck with my plan this whole week of only eating if I was truly hungry (tummy growling or hunger pangs).  That meant no between meal eating AT ALL unless I was truly hungry.  I know not everyone can rely on hunger signs.  Thankfully, I don't have a problem with knowing when I need to eat and not eat.  That doesn't work for everyone.  My sister and I did the same "weighdown workshop" ten years ago and it did not work for her but it did for me.  I am a rather distract-able person, so calorie counting and food journaling don't work for me.  I firmly believe you have to go with what works for YOU.  This method works for me.  There are some rules, but not a lot.

Here's the first rule. You don't eat unless you are hungry.  Second rule is that you cut sandwiches, pizza slices, etc., in half to make sure you really are hungry for all of it.  Portioning at restaurants is absurd.  In order to justify charging you $7 for a burger, they make it HUGE because it cost them about $.50 more to make it huge, but reality is they need to pay for lights, electricity, staff and rent which bumps up the cost of the burger much more than the supplies to make the burger.  When you are at home, you use smaller servings.  The other rules are: you eat whatever you want (you behave, don't make the food behave by eating only low fat or low cal foods) and drink when you are thirsty (and make sure you are truly hungry not thirsty before you eat).

I will update weekly.  To reach my goal weight, I need to drop my body fat by 8% and/or lose about another 25-30 pounds.  I'm already down 40 pounds from last year.

So, first week - 2.5lbs off...I'm sorry.  I'm not willing to reveal my actual weight.  You'll have to just use your imagination!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Diet Experiment

I'm about to embark on a diet experiment.  I'll call it the stomach growl diet.  I did it about 10 years ago and lost ten pounds a month.  It's been on my mind for a while and I finally decided to give it a go again after reading this.

The trick is whether I have the self control to wait for my stomach to growl.  I learned this when I was doing the "Weigh Down Work Shop" by Gwen Shamblin.  I hate missing meals with my family, so I need to occasionally have a drink of milk if the tummy growls before dinner is done.  I will also need to get more sleep.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More with the GF/EF/DF HBI5MAD dough

Quick, tiny, little update for you...

The three year old is thrilled.  He has had, so far, cinnamon rolls (twice), donuts and french toast sticks.  Tomorrow I will finish up the dough for him. 

He usually gets the little sad puppy dog eyes when the other kids get stuff he loved before his diet change.  Now, he's excited because he knows he gets something (albeit not exactly the same).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I did it! HBI5MAD Eggless, GF, Diary Free Brioche Dough!!

We have a new 11 year old here.  My eldest daughter turned 11 today.  We started the day with Mass (her choice).  Then, we came home for our very weird family tradition - Ice Cream and Donuts for breakfast.  Last night at midnight, I was mixing up the regular dough.  My friend Julie lent me the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book.  I have only tried one other recipe, and of course, I punted on that one, too.  We didn't want the three year old left out, so I modified a recipe for donuts for him, too.

I'm happy to report my daughter (the birthday girl) and husband said the GF, EF, DF, CF donuts were great!  I couldn't try them because of the rice flour (I'm allergic).  They said the donuts were chewier (more like a bagel) than our Egg free Challah based donuts, but good none-the-less.  The good news is that I have lots of dough left.  I will be making him cinnamon rolls tomorrow, as a treat.   I will make the rest into a small loaf suitable for little pieces of toast or I will make it into cinnamon swirl raisin bread.  Haven't decided on that one, though.

So, here's the recipe.

Egg Free, Diary Free, Wheat/Gluten Free Brioche the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Method

based on the GF Brioche recipe from Healthy Breads in 5 Minutes a Day.
Makes 3 1-1/2 lb loaves (I only made enough for 1 loaf)

1 c. brown rice flour
1 c. tapioca starch
3 3/4 c. corn starch
2 Tbsp. granulated yeast
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. xanthan gum (I used 1.5x as much Guar Gum since I'm out of xanthan gum at the time)
2 1/2 c. milk substitute (I used Vance's Dari-free, made according to package directions)
1 c. honey
1/4 c. flax seed meal mixed into 3/4 c. warm water (as an egg substitute)
1 c. neutral flavored oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1.  Combine dry ingredients and whisk together until thoroughly combined.  I used my stand mixer because this a difficult bread to mix well by hand.  I used the paddle attachment.  If you use an ice cream bucket for your dough, it will fit under your stand mixer and you don't have to dirty an extra mixing bowl.
2.  Combine liquid ingredients and mix until well combined.  Gradually pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until no dry spots are left.
3.  Loosely cover and allow to rise until doubled at room temperature. 
4.  Refrigerate lightly (not tightly) covered.
5.  For donuts, sprinkle a little rice flour on a board or counter.  Sprinkle top or cover with wax paper or plastic wrap.  Roll to about 1/4" thickness and cut with a donut or circle cutter.  Place on a sheet pan or bread board covered with wax paper, sprinkled with rice flour to prevent sticking. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  Heat oil to 360-370 degrees.  Add donuts and holes carefully to hot oil.  Do not over crowd.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and flip carefully.  Cook until other side is done.  Drain on paper towel covered plate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.
6.  For bread, grab a 1 1/2lb wad of dough and gently shape into a loaf, using wet hands.  Put into a greased 8x4" pan.  Allow to rise for 90 minutes (covered with plastic wrap).  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Just one more note...I don't usually use flax seed as an egg replacer, but I have found that it is the best replacement in bread.  I just don't use it as much.  I'm going to get some chia next to try as an egg replacer!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eczema Update

I just wanted to report that I have taken all traces of coconut out of the three year old's diet.  His legs look much better.  I think the tomato may still be a culprit, but I want to only remove one thing at a time so I know what really worked.

Thanks for all the prayers and suggestions. It is so wonderful to have help from so many folks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Lady of the Rosary

This, my friends, is my favorite feast day.  It is also my husband's and my 15th anniversary today.

“The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at a heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel messge in its entirety. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb...It can be said that the rosary is, in some sense, a prayer-commentary on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution Lumen Gentium, a chapter that discusses the wondrous presence of the Mother of God in the mystery of Christ and the Church" (Pope John Paul II, apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary).
If you say a rosary today, could you offer at least one decade for my husband and my special intention?
Thank you in advance.  I will remember all my readers and their intentions in all of my rosary today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Now what?

I'm proud to say we have made it 8 weeks gluten free with very few slip ups (only in the first two weeks)
Despite that, my three year old's eczema is worse than ever.  It's now on his neck, arms,  face, stomach and sides.  He'd never had it anywhere but his legs (and diaper area - ouch!). It's still there and worse than ever.

He's no longer getting any dairy, eggs or wheat.  Now, he eats MOSTLY rice (which I'm allergic to), gar-fava bean flour, coconut milk, corn (tortillas), soy based cheeses, Earth Balance Buttery Spread (thank, realmom!) instead of the obvious alternatives.   One thing I've noticed is he has started to only eat a few things.  If I bake anything, he won't eat it.  I tried to make cinnamon rolls for him - nope.  I have baked GF/CF/EF brownies with a Bob's Red Mill mix and he wouldn't eat those either.   GF Biscuits?  Nope.  He will eat pancakes made with the new Gluten-free Bisquick, but not the Bob's Red Mill GF Pancake mix (any body want what's left?)  I've also made a wide variety of things like muffins, coffee cakes, etc and he's turned them all down cold.  He likes it when I make oven baked chicken with a Gluten Free Bisquick as a coating.  The last 8 weeks I have tried to make his food as much like ours as possible so that he doesn't feel denied.  I don't think he does.  Now he's being selective either because of picky-ness or because something is not agreeing with him.  He's not terribly verbal, so it's hard to figure out.  It's very frustrating when he REALLY needs to eat to gain weight.

I'm more frustrated about the eczema, though.  While he's not lying in a pile on the couch saying he's tired anymore, he's scratching all the time now.  He can't sleep.  We're down to one bath a week with cool water and moisturizer two times a day.  I can't seem to pin point what the culprit might be that is causing the eczema.  So, next trip to the doctor we'll have to do yet another blood draw to see if he's allergic to rice, coconut, sunflower seeds or perhaps some fruits?? I don't know.  He already takes Zyrtec, which is a histamine blocker for his allergies.  I wonder what his eczema would look like if we took him off that!  I can't see putting a kid that is already short and small on steroids.  For now, we're relying on Aquaphor and tricimnalone for the eczema.

I wish we had a normal here.  He also hasn't gained any weight or grown taller.  It is hard enough to try to get him to gain weight on the short list of foods he's allowed to have.  He comes down in the morning, literally shaking because he's so hungry. Then, he turns down the food he asks for and requests something else.  It's hard to know when to give in and when to give up.

One more month and we'll have had our three month run of Gluten Free eating.  I'm not sure what will happen when we switch back.  I'm a little scared - scared that what I am doing now IS the new normal.  All prayers are gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No, I'm not pregnant...

I had serious concerns that I was pregnant on Sunday.  We were at a picnic and boy, did I have nausea.  The kind that usually only comes from one source.  I was tired.  I had a massive headache...and my monthly bill had not yet arrived.  What was it?  I knew I couldn't be pregnant, given what I know about my cycle (unless God had other plans).  What caused it?

Stress caused the delay in the cycle.  But the other stuff?  Duh!  I started a very mild liver cleanse two weeks ago because I'd dropped several medications that I really no longer needed and I wanted the remains OUT of my body.  I'd also given up aspartame seven months ago and figured that some of the garbage may still have been in my system.

What caused the illness that looked like pregnancy?  A healing crisis, I think...My body finally flushed all the yuck out of my systems and temporarily sent it into my blood stream only to be flushed away (if you get my drift).   However, in the process, my system went EEKKK!  POISON!!!

While I was nauseous, headache-y and tired on Sunday, Monday was 10 times worse.  School was modified to a 2/3 day schedule (we'll make up the balance on Friday afternoon).  I took two naps.  I took an epsom salt/baking soda bath.  I used a caster oil pack on my tummy.  I drank peppermint tea.  I drank about a gallon of water.  This morning only the headache remained.  Strangely, it is still going in and out.  I have already downed 64 oz. of water because I just can't get enough and my skin is amazingly soft (must have been the baking soda bath).  But the nausea is gone, praise the Lord!

Now, I am working toward eating better and getting more sleep.  I will work on the food part first as the sleep thing is harder for me.

So, to all those friends at the picnic on Sunday night that were praying for me, thank you!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The shortest of posts...

...just to say that since school has started and my computer has started to die (and I'm just too busy to set up the new one), I haven't had time to blog.

The three year old continues to have eczema that bleeds because it's so itchy.  His geographic tongue looks better, but not completely healed.  All his food needs to be made separate from everybody else's because of his wheat, dairy and egg allergy...

I'm crabby as all get out because all people under the age of 5 have been destructive.  Baby learned to unload all the clothes out of the dressers in our family closet/laundry room.  A baby lock has since been installed on the door with express instructions that the baby is only allowed in for diaper changes.  She also regularly unloads all the books and magazines at her level.  My kids are getting really good at sorting.
On the bright side, and I want to thank GOD for Chocolate Emporium for peanut free and dairy free M&M-wannabees.  For those with allergy issues, you might want to check them out....and Illuminated Ink for there beautiful products which have kept antsy girls at bay.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

HI. My name is Cathie and I am addicted...

to coconut milk.  I love to use it in everything I bake as a non-dairy substitute for milk and sometimes eggs.  It is so, so good for you as is coconut oil. It's one of the few foods that has lauric acid, which is fabulous for healing a bad gut (which Celiac's would cause.)   Heck, some people have claimed to cure diseases with it.  Sadly, here's the problem.

A week or so ago, we took the three year old to the doctor to get tested for the wheat allergy (again), a Celiac panel and oat allergy.  He only scored .5 on a scale from 0-6 for wheat and .3 on a scale of 0-6 for oats.  The doctor's not convinced wheat's his problem, but he's asked me to keep him on the wheat free diet for 3 months.  We've got one month practically under our belt.  He did ask me to watch for other allergies.

Here's what I've come up with...coconut and sunflower.  Last time I gave him a spoon full of sun-butter, the poor kid's nose ran like a faucet and he broke out in hives.  His eczema flares seriously if I give him coconut.  Yes, the coconut yogurt he loves may be making his skin worse.  That along with everything I've been baking for him (because I keep adding coconut milk.)  What a bummer.  You see when you have a kid allergic to eggs and dairy AND is failure to thrive, you try to find ANYWAY to get fat into them.  Little kids really need it.  All the non-dairy milks are pretty much fat free.  So, I can't add cheese, cream, ice cream, etc to fatten the kid up.  I'm practically down to potato chips and french fries ;-).  Okay, I'm only kind of kidding.  He doesn't eat much meat.  He will eat baked beans.  We've cut him off from his 2-bowl-a-day oatmeal habit because of the fear of cross contamination with wheat.  He'll eat some veggies and lots of fruit.  He would live on boxed cereal if I let him, but that's not going to happen.  Against my will, I've been giving in to giving him soy based cheese.  I haven't tried tahini yet.  That might be next.  We stay away from nuts and peanuts because of other allergies in our house.  He's eating quinoa about once every two days for variety, although he doesn't like it.  If you have any suggestions on other good-fat foods I could feed him, please hit the combox.

So, I'm back to not knowing how to keep this kid on the growth curve.  He keeps sliding off...

Monday, August 23, 2010

So Delicious

Did you know there is coconut milk yogurt out there now?? Yes there is!!! It's aptly named "So Delicious".  And, the three year old loved it! I have to take his word for it since it has rice in it.  Now, it's $1.89 a container.  He won't be getting it often, but whoo-hoo!  If I could just figure out how to make my own.  I've seen lots of yogurt recipes with regular milk...

Time for a google search!

Trusting in God, Big Family Style

As practicing Catholics, my husband and I have chosen not to use contraceptives. This seems to get me into trouble when I go to my doctors' offices or talk about the subject with non-Catholic friends and family. Six children seems like enough to everyone. What's wrong with me? I'm sure that is what they are wondering.

When my husband and I were first married, we aspired to have two children (one of each, of course) as the cafeteria Catholics that we were. I was a career woman and figured daycare and parochial school were in our future.

Nope. After a couple of miscarriages and inability to get pregnant during times we "SHOULD" have gotten pregnant, I finally convinced my family practice doc to refer me out to a fertility clinic to find the root cause of both problems.  After test after test, we were told we would be best to adopt or do other "assisted fertility procedures" that went against our Catholic beliefs.  The day we were told, we were 4 days pregnant with our first child.  At my son's six month check up, my doctor said, "This is when I usually give moms the birth-control talk, but I don't think I have to with you.  He (meaning my son) is one in a million, so I won't worry about it."  I showed up in his office 3 months later at my first prenatal visit for my second child.  Fast forward to now, when I have six.  I say God is good and He's the doctor of my body, not the medical world.  God has a plan.  Had God's plan been to not give us children, we would have prayerfully considered adoption.  I, in no means, believe God ever punishes anyone by not giving them children.  I just believe His plan is different than someone's wishes.

One thing that I have been thinking about lately, though, are the folks who encourage me to either use birth control OR to get permanently sterilized.  Do they Trust in God?  I hear friends (non-Catholic) who talk about others who should "get fixed" or use birth control.  I just had a garage sale this weekend.  I put all my baby clothes out and a neighbor said to me, "Are you finally done?"  I said, "Only if God thinks I am.  We've always trusted He would provide for us, and He always has."

This leads me to this Bible verse that I've had my kids memorize from Proverbs:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)

What does it mean to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding? It means that we completely trust God with all that is in us, that we rely not on anything that we can do on our own strength, and that we give all of the strength we possess, both physically and mentally, to the will of the Holy Spirit. Then God can fulfill His perfect will through us and bring glory to Himself. We do not seek our own gain but desire God to receive all the glory. We get to enjoy what God does for Himself.

So how does this apply to NFP and birth control. Well, NFP (Natural Family Planning) is a method of tracking a woman's fertility by charting her basal body temperature, cervical position and cervical mucus.  Those three beautiful God-given signs tell her about her fertility.  Together, those things change as a woman goes through her cycle.  During ovulation, her temperature drops (albeit slightly), cervical position changes to a lower position and her cervical mucus changes in consistency and amount allowing for conception.  Once you've learned to read these signs, it is possible to improve your chances of conception.  Also, the opposite is true.  It is possible to abstain during this time to avoid pregnancy.  The basal body temperature rises after ovulation, the cervical position raises and the mucus goes away or becomes nominal.  Now, one must prayerfully consider why they are avoiding pregnancy and be sure they have good reason.  The most important part is that a couple remain open to life.  God is the maker of life.  He can decide when a new life will be created in cooperation with the choices of a couple.

If God is truly the center of our lives, we live for Him and Him alone. Do we really believe that He lives? Then we should also believe that we can trust Him with all our hearts. The result is the blessing of God falling on our obedient bodies, the body that was used to fulfill God’s perfect will.  If His will is that a child be conceived, then that is a blessing.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3)

Children are a reward.

“In all your ways acknowledge Him”  To acknowledge the Lord is to be wise. We should acknowledge God when we get up in the morning, we should acknowledge  God when we start to talk, think, eat, listen, and act (or engage in a marital act). When we are around people we should acknowledge God. This keeps us wise, and most importantly keeps us from sinning (Proverbs 1:7; Exodus 20:20).

Here's the blessing: “HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT.” Why? Because they are no longer our paths but His. Since He is perfect, He can’t have any fault. So the paths must lead to fulfilling His work, His perfect will, in and through the life He has given.  So many have fallen to the god of Money or Health.  They would rather have things than children or they worry their health will suffer (or heaven forbid their body shape) if they have more children.  We go down the wrong path when we fail to trust Him.  Have you ever heard the saying, "The Lord won't give you more than you can handle?"  I believe that stems from this Bible verse.  We've banked on that.  We've got six children.  We've experiences health issues, miscarriage, unemployment and family losses.  That doesn't give us an excuse to stop trusting Him.

A friend, bearing, is writing about St. Francis de Sales book Introduction to the Devout Life.  This particular entry hit me right across the head, and it applies here:
They will watch us carefully; one word of anger and they will say we have an ungovernable temper; if we show prudence in our affairs they will say we are avaricious; if we are gentle they will call us foolish, while as for them, their anger is courage, their avarice economy, their over familiarity honest fun...

In this case, I think the "prudence in our affairs" is our choice to use NFP.  And when they use birth control or get permanently sterilized, they call it economy "economy".

One last thing:

Psalm 127:4-5: "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

Ed. note:  A friend emailed me over a little confusion about the temperatures.  I added more info to make it clearer what happens during ovulation ;-).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 7 - One Week Wheat Free (almost)

First, I apologize for not posting last night.  We have some kind of virus going around our house.  I was first, now my oldest daughter has it...yucky 101+ degree temp, headache, sore joints and malaise.

Even though I haven't felt well, I was able to keep the three year old on a diet free of wheat yesterday and today.  I was really bummed last night, though, when I hosed him off in the tub to see his eczema worse than it has been in a long time.  I was really, really hoping it would go away, not get worse.  What I worry about with allergies is that once you are off the offending food  totally, when you have a "incident", it's much worse than when you were having that food all the time.  Maybe it was the wheat in the rotisserie chicken on Sunday night.  I don't know.  I also know I have not triple verified that EVERYTHING is gluten free by contacting the manufacturers.

I can't honestly remember what he had yesterday, so, sorry about that.  I can tell you what he had today, though:
3 very small pieces cinnamon toast on BRM Wonderful bread (mini-loaves)
2 bowls of Berry Berry Kix with Rice Dream
1/2 a banana
1/2 a glass of apple juice
1 slice of soy based cheese

Rice noodles with Prego spaghetti sauce
1 Coleman's GF/EF/DF chicken nugget
Apple slices

Afternoon Snack:
Rice Crackers
Rice Dream

Quinoa/Corn pasta with tomatoes and sausage
1 slice of tofutti soy cheese


He and I went to a healing Mass tonight.  The priest is a member of the Charismatic Renewal here and I can only say it was nothing short of AMAZING.   We started with a rosary.  The Mass was an hour long because the priest, Fr. Jim Livingstone, prays over whatever needs he feels need to be pray for and he takes as much time as it takes.  We got there at 7pm for rosary, followed by Mass, followed by the priest praying over each person individually and got to the car at 9:35.  The three year old was prayed over.  I was too, and it was indescribable.  It was like I was at one of the TV shows where people are being healed and they fall over.  That was the way it was here.  I was, well, a bit skeptical.  However, when he laid his hands on me and started praying, I got so dizzy I could not stand up.  They thankfully have someone there to catch you.  And, a nice lady walked the three year old around the stain glass windows while I was prayed over.  If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing this priest, whether it is physical or spiritual healing that you need.  I'll stop gushing now.  Thank you, Fr. Livingstone!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 5 - Wheat Free - almost...

We went to the Minnesota Irish Fair today.  Archbishop Nienstedt said Mass (WOW!) and then we spent the whole morning and afternoon enjoying a FREE day.  The fair is free.  We brought our own lunch to avoid any allergens.  It was lovely.

Unfortunately, we ended up blowing it tonight.  We got rotisserie chicken and I didn't think to check the label.  The seasoning had wheat.  So, we'll have to see how he fares tomorrow.

Here's what he ate:
Cinnamon Chex with Rice Milk

Ham and Soy Cheese sandwich on BRM Wonderful Bread
French fries (had some from a vendor - may have had some wheat...)
Cotton Candy (a little bit)

Chocolate Rice Dream
Carrot Sticks
Rice noodles with spaghetti sauce
Chicken Drum Stick

Pearson Mint patty

Bowl of Mother's Cereal with rice milk

Like I mentioned before, he's a big cereal eater.  I just found a website that costs $4.95 a month that has 30,000 different items with allergen indicators.  I'm considering the expense.  I can do my research before heading to the grocery store.  Trust me.  The last thing I want to do is spend my time reading more labels in the store than I already do.  The big gotcha's with Gluten Free (we're really just trying wheat free) are:
modified food starch
natural flavorings
natural color
caramel color

Those things can contain wheat. I've not been perfect at avoiding those items.  So, perhaps my test isn't really a good test at all.

We'll see how the next week goes.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4: Wheat Free

Sorry for the continuation of what is probably a boring topic for most.  I'm really using my blog as a place holder so I can keep track of my three year old's progress off of wheat.

I made Cherry Garcia Scones as a treat for breakfast this morning.  I found a GF scone recipe that I added chocolate chips to for the little guy.  He didn't like them, but the twelve year old boy loved them!

Here was his day:
part of a GF scone
Tea with rice milk
Cinnamon Rice Chex with rice milk

Snack -
Kosher dill pickles

baked beans
some hot dog (no bun)
kettle chips

Dinner- (We couldn't pass up KIDS EAT FREE at Ikea)
hot dog (again)
mandarin oranges
apple sauce

Bed time snack
more Cinnamon Rice Chex
cream of rice

This kid loves cereal.  I don't think it's terribly good, but I'm in a place where I need to have both convenience and something he will eat that doesn't have wheat.  My oldest daughter realized that I'm now having to make two sets of meals from scratch and then said, "I'm so sorry, Mom."  She had no reason to apologize.  She just felt bad.  I'm glad I LIKE to cook, or this would be very tedious!

I might try oatmeal again.  I know it is controversial as to whether it has wheat in it.  He loves it, though.  And, I keep reading it is okay/ it is not okay.  Not sure if we'll see a difference.

Observations for today:
  1. Didn't eat as much and was clingy much of the day
  2. Turned down fruit and veggies several times
 I'm also curious if any of my readers have experience with DH Dermatitis Herpetiformis.  It's a skin condition caused by gluten.  Celiac disease is a gluten reaction in the gut.  DH is a gluten reaction on the skin (caused from eating gluten, not touching it).  My three year old isn't verbal enough to tell me if what he has for a rash on his skin burns.  I do know his rash itches.  I've always assumed it is eczema.  I get it cleared up usually just before we go to the doctor, so it's never been bad enough for the doctor to say much.  It is scaly looking, symmetrical, located behind his knees, but mostly on the backs of his thighs.  He also gets it in his elbow creases on occasion.  I usually have to treat it with triamcinalone.  I also have been putting aquafor on it as well.  The doctor told me that it is most likely allergy induced, what ever it is.  Sometimes it is bright red, bloody if he's scratched it too much.  Other times, when it is not bothering him so much, it is just pink and raised.  I'm a little worried he'll have scarring on his legs from it because it doesn't seem to go away completely.

Tomorrow we'll be gone all day, so eating might be an adventure.  I will probably pack him a sandwich and hope for the best!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 3: Wheat Free

Everyone wanted waffles for breakfast this morning.  I opted to get some Van's frozen Gluten Free waffles because not only are they gluten free, but they are also free of eggs and dairy!  Hooray!  One less thing I need to figure out how to make on my own.  I would also worry about cross contamination on the waffle iron.  I will venture into GF waffles, home made, but not right now.

We went to see the replicas of the Nina and Pinta in Hudson, Wisconsin today.  WOW!  That was a day well spent with family.  To boot, we navigated McDonald's gluten free.  The three year old usually eats the bun, pickles and one or two bites of the hamburger, fries and apple juice.  I thought ahead enough to bring two slices of the BRM Wonderful Bread that I had made on Wednesday to replace the bun.  He did his usual.  He at the two slices of bread, the pickles and two bites of hamburger.  He didn't eat many fries, but that's okay.

I made Tandoori Chicken, naan, salad and assorted veggies for dinner.  I opted to make him Coleman's GF chicken nuggets,  GF, DF, EF naan.  The consistency was more like pancake batter, so I just fried it like pancakes.  He loved it, but didn't eat much.  My seven year old daughter, who somehow wishes she got "special food", tasted them for me (they had rice flour).  She said they were great!  They tasted more like "bread" than our naan, which I made from Olive Oil Light Wheat made from the ABI5MAD dough.  I made too much for him, so I will freeze the rest and save it for the next time we have tandoori chicken.

He's been snacking on a leftover Van's waffle all day, too.  He asked me not to throw it away.  He has been back to eat it several times through out the day.

Thanks, bearing, for the comments.  He doesn't like quinoa, but I did buy some quinoa noodles.  He seems to be reacting to sun butter, but I haven't done tahini yet.  He didn't like hummus the last time I made it, but I can keep trying that.  We'll be working through baked beans, Coleman's chicken nuggets and pasta sauce with meat.  I think I will buy quinoa flour, too, so I can add it to the stuff I bake to beef up the protein content.

He also has a new found love for Rice Dream milk.  He's been drinking 2 cups a day.  That is wonderful because it has LESS sugar in it than regular milk.

Observations for today:
  1. The Wonderful Bread is truly that - wonderful for him.
  2. Van's and Coleman both have a big thumbs up since they also don't contain dairy or egg.
  3. He's full of energy, again.  In fact, he's acting very DIFFERENT!  He's full of P&V (I won't spell it out...)
  4. Again, going to the bathroom did not cause crying, needing to be held and reassurance that it would all be over soon...He just went and informed me he needed to be wiped.  Very different than the past few months.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 2: Wheat free

I'm trying serve my three year old the same food (not from the same source) that everyone else is having. 
Here was his intake today:
Cream of Rice cereal and a banana (other kids had choice of bagel and cream cheese or hot cereal)
Tea with Rice Dream and Agave Nectar
2 BRM Gluten Free Pancakes w/ strawberries and syrup
1/2 a glass of Apple Juice
GF Pizza with Veggie Slice of Mozzarella on top
Rice Dream with Nesquick

My biggest challenge is getting enough protein into this kid.  What do you do with a kid who can't eat dairy or eggs, doesn't like most meat and we have a significant enough peanut/tree nut allergy that we can't do nut butters?  Help?  Anyone?

So, it's only day 2, but here are some observations:
1) He didn't act lethargic all day
2) He was cheerful most of the day
3) His BM was solid and he didn't cry about having to go potty
4) His eczema looks exactly the same

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A new chapter in cooking with allergies...

We made the decision this weekend to take our 3 year old off wheat.  The pediatrician has been gently nudging me to give wheat-free a 6 week trial to see how he feels.  He had been "failure to thrive" and we have addressed two other allergies, eggs and dairy, and are now trying this out to see if he feels better.  I've seen a cycle with his eczema.  When he has large doses of wheat, he breaks out badly.  The more wheat, the more eczema.

The big challenge here is the different combination of allergies.  I have a long list of allergies as do 4 of my kids and my husband.  The biggest one is the egg allergy.  I have made most baked goods without eggs since 2009, when I had my first bad reaction to eggs.  I still make scrambled, fried and hard boiled eggs.  I will, occasionally, make other dishes with eggs when I know the 3 year old and I can have something else.  However, because of my rice allergy, cooking gluten free has really intimidated me.  Most recipes that are wheat free use rice flour in combination with some other flour...then Bob's Red Mill saves the day.  I was at the grocery store on Saturday looking through all the gluten free/wheat free items and realized most of the BRM mixes did NOT use rice flour.  Only the brownie mix had rice flour.  The rest were a combination of sorghum, tapioca, potato, garbanzo and fava bean flours.  Those are totally doable for me.  So, today is day one of our new life.  We are now cooking, in some way shape or form, without:
soy protein
We're also adding sunflower seeds to the list of can't haves for the three year old for a few days.  Unlike wheat, we should see results pretty quickly.  The good news is that this leaves about a million other foods we can have.

One other very interesting thing I came across in reading up on other allergy problems was a problem we've had, but hadn't been able to identify until Sunday.  There is something called Oral Allergy Syndrome.   I've been struggling with my 12 year old's face lately. He's broken out in hives around his mouth on and off the last three weeks.  It happens every summer.  Come to find out his horrible Ragweed allergy is to blame and is causing his body to react to watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumbers (okay, not zucchini-he won't touch that).  He lives on watermelon and cantaloupe in the summer.  Funny, the three year old is reacting similarly, too.  I knew he had allergies, but now I know he's allergic to ragweed, too.

So, I made BRM Gluten Free Wonder Bread today for the 3 year old.  He liked it.  We all tried a little and found it to be pretty good.  I'll still only be serving it to the 3 year old because it's something like $5 a mix.  I divided up the dough into mini loaf pans.  My little guy doesn't eat a very big sandwich.  So, it's just the right size for a small 3 year old.  I"ll keep you posted on the new recipes as we try them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Prayer Request?

If you have the time today, could you say this prayer, found in my great grandmother's 1952 St. Joseph's Missal for a special intention? Thank you in advance!

Memorare to St. Joseph

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted.
 Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection.
 Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A much needed read for me. You too?

I came across this reading from CatholicGeek's Blog, an older post.  I got there via Bearing's Blog.  Somehow, I was led to it.  It spoke to my heart.  Does it speak to yours?

From a homily by John Henry Cardinal Newman, called Sermon 3. Knowledge of God's Will without Obedience.  This is the last part of the sermon:

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John xiii. 17.

To watch and to pray are surely in our {38} power, and by these means we are certain of getting strength. You feel your weakness; you fear to be overcome by temptation: then keep out of the way of it. This is watching. Avoid society which is likely to mislead you; flee from the very shadow of evil; you cannot be too careful; better be a little too strict than a little too easy,—it is the safer side. Abstain from reading books which are dangerous to you. Turn from bad thoughts when they arise, set about some business, begin conversing with some friend, or say to yourself the Lord's Prayer reverently. When you are urged by temptation, whether it be by the threats of the world, false shame, self-interest, provoking conduct on the part of another, or the world's sinful pleasures, urged to be cowardly, or covetous, or unforgiving, or sensual, shut your eyes and think of Christ's precious blood-shedding.

Do not dare to say you cannot help sinning; a little attention to these points will go far (through God's grace) to keep you in the right way. And again, pray as well as watch. You must know that you can do nothing of yourself; your past experience has taught you this; therefore look to God for the will and the power; ask Him earnestly in His Son's name; seek His holy ordinances. Is not this in your power? Have you not power at least over the limbs of your body, so as to attend the means of grace constantly? Have you literally not the power to come hither; to observe the Fasts and Festivals of the Church; to come to His Holy Altar and receive the Bread of Life? Get yourself, at least, to do this; to put out the hand, to take His gracious Body {39} and Blood; this is no arduous work;—and you say you really wish to gain the blessings He offers. What would you have more than a free gift, vouchsafed "without money and without price?" So, make no more excuses; murmur not about your own bad heart, your knowing and resolving, and not doing. Here is your remedy.

I recently took Rod Dreher off my blog roll as he has lots of negative things to say about the Roman Catholic Church.  While he has lots of other good things to say, I can't read his Catholic bashing anymore.  I'm too suggestible and need to make sure I'm reading GOOD Catholic Blogs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Ultimate Family Vacation

We're just back from our annual family camp sponsored by our church.  We LOVE this weekend and look forward to it for the whole year.  Not only does the weekend include all our food, but it also includes access to a life guarded beach, kayaks, canoes, sail boats, fishing supplies, life jackets, pontoons, a great playground, hiking trails, a zip line (whoo hoo), a chalet with a lounge, game room, costume room and full stage.  There is also a couple of sand volleyball courts, baseball field, tennis/hockey court and camp fire sites.  For our family of eight, it worked out to  $55.75 per person.  That's not per day, that is for Thursday night through Sunday afternoon, for each person.   So, for $18.58 a day each, we had a fabulous vacation!!!

We stayed in the most modest of accommodations this year.  In the previous three years we have attended, we stayed in the "hotel-like" accommodations with private baths and air conditioning.  This year, we took a cabin.  I think we will always use a cabin from now on unless we ever have a newborn with us again, like we did last year.

The cabins can accommodate 12 people.  There are five bunk beds and two single beds.  The four biggest kids took the bunks.  They turned the bottom bunks into forts/changing rooms by hanging up blankets around the edges.  The fifth bunk bed became my bed because the bottom bunk was a full bed.  I needed room for a co-sleeping/nursing baby.  Dad, the protector, took a single near the door and my fifth child, the drifter, took the other single.  He falls asleep in the oddest places and we just move him to the bed after he's completely out.   My husband had scouted out the cabins last year to see which one he liked the best.  Thanks to our great coordinator, Dean, we got the cabin we wanted.  We were only one cabin away from the shower house/rest room.  We had complete shade, meaning we barely needed the fans.  And, it was an invigorating, cardiovascular walk up to the cabin as we were at the top of the hill.  That means with all that great camp food, I didn't gain any weight.  (I was worried about that!)

Speaking of food, this place knows how to serve 200 people!  The cafeteria was under the chalet, overlooking the lake.  After prayers, we went table by table through the dinner line.  They food is all home made, with one exception.  On the first day, they served sandwiches and as an alternative, they had PB&J Uncrustables.  Being the overly protective mother of a peanut allergic child, I freaked and asked people to either move or let us know if they were having PB&J at our table.  We ended up moving our daughter to the end of the table as two kids did opt for PB&J.  She survived but I was anxious the whole meal.  There isn't a hospital near by and she has about 20 minutes to get to a hospital if she has a reaction.  They serve PB in the toast line also, but that did not present a problem for us.

Perhaps the most fun for us was the annual talent show.  We do something every year (although we didn't the first year as we didn't know what to expect) and we have a blast preparing for it.  The first year, we just sang Edelweiss from Sound of Music.  Last year we sang an a cappella song by The Blanks called Testy Tiger.  This year we did it up big.  Fully costumed, we sang the entire Star Wars Tribute to John Williams (sung by Moose Butter, made popular by Corey Vidal, arranged by Mr. Tim) in parts.  Here's the clip.

I'd like to thank Erin for pointing that out to me about two years ago.  It's still a family favorite.  My husband was Darth Vader, my oldest daughter was Princess Leia, my oldest son was Chewbacca.  The baby was an Ewok (and boy was she cute), the littlest boy was Yoda (he kept going around saying, "Yoda, I am."), my middle daughter was Han Solo and I was Obi Wan.  My middle son stole the show as Luke Skywalker with a solo all his own and his hammy acting during the song when Darth Vader informs him that Luke is his son. Sadly, we didn't get pictures, but I know someone did and someone also took a video.  Hopefully, pictures will surface and we will have them to put in our family yearbook.

Maybe even more important than all that stuff, was to know that we were surrounded by beautifully, faithful Catholics.  We didn't worry about our kids safety.  We didn't worry about any outside influences.  We could let down our guard a bit and know our kids were surrounded by other GREAT kids and we were able to interact with friends with the same values.

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Living with a Dairy Allergic Kid

This post is a response to a friend who asked about dairy allergies:

It's possible to live without dairy.  We did it for three years when my first two were 5 and 4.  The four year old was positive for a dairy allergy.  It made the 5 year old have an upset tummy and it caused some issues that I think were a 5 year olds way of saying, "Hey, I don't feel so great!"  So we got rid of it.  Actually, we also got rid of it because I believed (and still do) that the dairy was causing problems with their behavior.  There are articles that talk about it, but I believe that medical research still needs to be undertaken for that to be truly PROVEN.  I can tell you removing dairy made a huge difference in my children's behavior.

So, to cut dairy out means no:

  • Acidophilus milk
  • Casein
  • Caseinate
  • Cream
  • Curds
  • Galactose
  • Ghee
  • Ice Cream
  • Lactalbumin
  • Lactate
  • Lactic acid
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose
  • Malted milk
  • Milk
  • Milk fat
  • Milk solids
  • Nougat
  • Potassium caseinate
  • Rennet
  • Skim milk
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Whole Milk
WE USE BUTTER HERE...we don't give that up because it doesn't seem to cause a reaction in my dairy allergic kid.  If your child is severely allergic, you can find dairy free margarines OR you can make GHEE, which is clarified butter where all the milk solids are removed from the butter.

Be aware that foods containing "artificial butter flavor," "caramel color", "non-dairy substitutes" (believe it or not, they often contain dairy!), or anything that doesn't describe what "flavorings" or "seasonings" means, may contain milk. Non-dairy whipped topping actually has dairy protein in it (the trigger for dairy allergies).  In addition, milk may be hiding out in canned fish (such as tuna), many processed meats and deli meats, nutritional supplements and medications.

READ THE LABELS.  When you go to a restaurant, you need to ASK. 

If you are breastfeeding a child with a dairy allergy, you MUST avoid dairy, too.  REALLY.  I know that sounds harsh, but if you are going to do it, do it for love and make the sacrifice.  I had to give up dairy while I breast fed my 5th child.  One day before his 1st birthday, he snitched some chocolate protein pudding (1 scoop of protein powder added to my chocolate pudding).  The protein powder was casein based (dairy based).  He broke out into welts, started making a gagging type of sound and started wheezing.  Off we went to the hospital in the ambulance.  We came home with an epi pen.  He nursed for nine months past that date.   I couldn't have dairy so he wouldn't have dairy. So, I know the sacrifice you are making here.

How do you cope and what do you do?
1) Find a milk substitute you like, they like and you can cook with.  Rice milk is my first choice if you aren't allergic to rice.  (I am.)  Vance's Dairy Free is a powdered hypo-allergenic milk replacement we use at our house.  These are all vitamin and mineral fortified to have the same calcium/vitamin D levels as cow's milk.   I don't recommend soy milk because I'm convinced the soy causes LOTS of problems with early onset puberty in girls and issues with estrogen induced reactions from boys.  I use coconut milk a lot.  It has lots of fat in it.  It used to be used in formula before the evil health cops came along and (wrongfully) said coconut fat is bad for you.  They were wrong.  Coconut fat is GOOD for you.  Oh, so good for you because it has Lauric Acid in it, found in few places besides breast milk, cow's milk and goat's milk.  I use coconut milk in my baking.  It also whips, with lots of work and chilled implements (bowl and mixer attachments put in freezer before whipping). 

2)Decide which camp you will belong to:  NO dairy for anyone or NO dairy for the allergic child.  If you decide to feed the allergic child differently than the rest of the family because you are afraid of a family revolt when the menu changes, just be sure all other sources of dairy are cleaned up after meals and snacks.  My scavenging dairy-allergic toddler has found his way to many a dropped cheese cube or leftover glass of chocolate milk.  We're used to dairy free cooking here, but many families can not live without dairy on the table.  It might be necessary to remove dairy only from the allergic child's plate. It might be necessary to remove it from the whole house for a short time so the allergic child isn't the only one "restricted" from the food.  Trust me, that's a hard thing for a small child to understand - they can't have something everyone else is having.  You have to decide.

3)Cook from scratch.  Canned soups, many processed foods and prepacked meals contain milk.  Cereal bars, meal replacement bars and many snack foods have dairy.  Read the labels.  Anything with cheese, ranch dressing, chocolate coatings, butter flavor or creamy texture may have dairy (i.e. Tootsie rolls, caramels, Zone bars, Ranch Doritos, some brands of microwave popcorn, dill pickle potato chips...you get the picture.)

4) Calcium can be found in many other sources.  When in doubt, supplement.  Drinkables Coral Calcium at Sam's Club is a great supplement recommended by my pediatric dentist for my dairy allergic son.  There are other ways to get calcium.  Calcium fortified OJ is a great way with having the added bonus of having Vitamin C.  Broccoli is great as are many other leafy green veggies.  Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D and your body will grab the calcium out of any food that has it.

5) Know that this may only be temporary.  Most kids outgrow dairy allergies by 5-7 years of age.  Also, if you are just starting, it will take 8-10 days to see a difference.  Once it's eliminated completely, you will see when they have gotten into the dairy!

Good luck and hit the com box if you have more questions. 

Herman Munster, watch out!

I posted about my new shoes here.    A USA Today article looks at whether they work or not.  I have to believe it is just a case of "your mileage may vary."  I have seen tremendous results in my body with no other explanation than I wore the shoes.  They are SO comfortable I now own 3 pairs.  Not the expensive Sketcher brand, but TheraShoes distributed by K-mart.  I couldn't pass up the BOGO 50% sale a few weeks ago.  I now own an outdoor pair, an indoor pair and TheraSandals.

My husband called them my "Herman Munster Shoes."  He has a pair now, too.  He has bad feet, thanks to genetics.   He finds them quite comfortable and wishes they made a decent pair of TheraSandals for men.  Right now, it's only flip flop types which he despises.  So, now my normally 6'2" hubby lurches around at 6' 4 1/2 " thanks to these babies and if it helps his feet, all the better.

What I found more interesting was that my two older kids wanted a pair too.  They have them as their "indoor shoes."  My kids could do with a little core muscle work, so I figured there was no harm in having them wear them inside, not for active outdoor activities.  They are not allowed to carry the baby when they are wearing them, so I'll be watching for a pattern of running to put their TheraShoes on when I ask them to help with the baby ;-).

For me, I'm just looking for comfort with the possible side effect of a stronger core.  So far, I have lost 18" since I got my pair on May 6th (almost 2 months).  In that time I have lost 5 lbs (I'm working on that...I've plateaued the last 2 weeks), so some of that might be due to weight loss, but it certainly can't account for all of it.

Ed. Note: I forgot to give credit to my husband for passing on the article from USA Today.  Thanks, honey!

Living with food allergies

I would be kidding if I said it wasn't a big deal to live with food allergies. We have, between 6 of us in our house, 11 major food allergies. Thankfully wheat isn't one of those, nor is corn. When my step dad comes to visit, we add those on top of our allergy list. However, you learn to cope. You have to. We all have to eat so it just becomes an exercise of trying to make it work.

We don't do fancy food here at our house. Most dinners, sit down - all of us together, usually consist of 1 meat, 2 veggies, 1 starch, 1 fruit. The starch is usually an artisan bread. The meat is usually, not always, free of sauce. We grill a lot, Spring through Fall.  We stay away from processed meats except for the occasional hot dog (Kosher, usually) and Johnsonville Brat (what can I say, we're German/Irish).

One thing I've noticed lately is that I have been having nightmares about the peanut allergy in our house.  I keep dreaming we are on a boat (inaccessible to a hospital) and other people on the boat have peanut addictions.  We had chosen the boat ride because we were assured it would be "peanut free" and here are all these people, typically girls the same age as my peanut allergic daughter, sneaking around eating peanuts.  Can someone explain this to me?  I have to go around on this boat and throw the peanuts overboard, then go wash my hands. 

Food allergies are on my mind lately because they have been affecting more of my life than normal.  Usually I'm a stay-at-home kind of gal.  But the Summer has us doing things we don't normally do, like going to VBS and the pool.  It is just control issues for me, I'm sure.  The other thing in my mind is that our pediatrician is asking me to consider having our 5th child go wheat free for a while.  He's a tiny guy.  What's worse is he's fallen from the 15th percentile for height to the 2nd percentile.  If he hadn't moved up by August, we have to consider tests, one of which would be an endoscopy with a biopsy to determine if he has Celiac's Disease, which could affect his growth. 

Please say a pray that he grows.  My nightmares will change in nature if that happens.  You see, I am allergic to rice.  If he needs to go wheat free, things change, even more for the worse here.  I will have to make all his food separately from mine.  I've actually been thankful to have an egg-free buddy as we both have egg allergies.  But now, this would make life just a little more difficult. 

I've heard it said that having a child with food allergies is like having a really bad neighbor you can't trust.  You have to keep your eye on your children at all times and can't let them go outside alone.  Food allergies affect them, too.  They feel left out and get tired of making sacrifices.  We don't eat out much, but when we do, I worry.  A lot.  They also think that we don't get invited to peoples' homes because they are worried they will contaminate us.  I worry a little about that too, both that we don't get invited for that reason and that they will, indeed, contaminate us.  So what do we do?  We have to have faith.  We have to be diligent and we have to be strong.

While I don't like that my kids might be left out because of their food allergies, I know in the long run learning to make sacrifices is an important lesson. I also know that education is the most important aspect of food allergies.  Kids need to know what they can and cannot have.  Adults need to know how to read labels and know what the allergic child needs to avoid.  People need to know we have means to mitigate an allergic reaction and what to look for and when to administer meds.

If you are reading this and you wonder what you can do?  Have a bottle of liquid Bendadryl in your house at all times.  That is the best and easiest way to make sure you can help if there is ever a food allergy at your house.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In praise of Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook - AGAIN!

We are watching a close friends' two girls today. They are 12 and 11, just about the same ages of my oldest two kids. We've know these gals since birth as their mom and dad got married 8 months after we did and had our babies relatively close to each other.

So, we wanted to do something to celebrate having them over. We had Daisy Head Maisy burgers from the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook. Except, we did not put the cookies on the burgers. They were delicious and egg free to book! I made them safe for Tinkerdoodle (the dairy allergic one) by using coconut milk instead of milk. They are delish...

We'll also be trying a few other recipes in the next week and report back. As I said before, the recipes are pretty decent nutritionally. For example, one recipe is a "mix between nut brittle and trail mix". We won't be doing that either...But I will report on the others!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Naan Sense

I confess that this is one of my favorite things. Naan is a flat bread that you use to sop up the delicious juices of your favorite food.

We have this with Indian food, mostly, but it goes well with anything.

Here's my recipe for a single batch, regular technique. I will follow up with the Artisan Bread version.

Naan, Easy traditional Method
Makes enough for my family (8 eaters)
Mix together:
1 c. warm water
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar

2 1/2 c. flour (can use whole wheat, if you like)
1 tsp. salt

Mix all together with the Kitchenaid, adding:
1/2 c. melted butter

Knead in Kitchenaid for 10 minutes. If dough is still sticky, add enough flour (a little at a time) until the dough no longer sticks to the sides. It is okay if it sticks to the bottom. Place in oiled bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour. Cut dough into 8 hunks. Heat a griddle over med-hi heat. Melt 1/2 stick of butter. Flatten and stretch each ball. Then, brush melted butter on one side. Place buttered side down and butter top. Cook until browned on bottom. Flip and repeat. Remove to a kitchen towel to keep soft.

Naan, Artisan Bread method
Cut off a hunks of dough, about tangerine size. Heat a griddle over med-hi heat. Melt 1/2 stick of butter. Flatten and stretch each ball. Then, brush melted butter on one side. Place buttered side down and butter top. Cook until browned on bottom. Flip and repeat. Remove to a kitchen towel to keep soft.


No Longer Obese...

The scale finally tipped to a number that indicates I am no longer obese!

I pray that I can have the will power to continue the down hill descent to a healthier weight.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Almost no longer obese...

In case anyone has noticed, the ticker on the right side keeps going down. I'm excited to say that when I stepped on the scale today my weight went down enough to cause my BMI to drop to 30. Below 30 is considered only "overweight" and I'm excited to say I know I will be there soon.

I'm 27 lbs away from normal. I can do that. I've dropped 35 pounds since October, which is an average of 1 lb a week. At this rate, I will be normal around Christmas. Wish me luck!

Strawberry Icebox Pie with Whole Wheat No-Roll Pie Crust

As promised, as healthy as you can get recipe for Strawberry Icebox Pie
Whole Wheat No-Roll Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil (preferablely no taste)
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl until combined.  Do not over mix.
Place in pie pan.  Use the bottom of a measuring cup to nicely smooth the dough into the edges and up the sides of the pan.  Place a very large piece foil over top (so that you can press it into the pan and still have some hanging over) and fill with pie weights (I used dry beans) to prevent the sides from falling down while you blind bake it.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes with the pie weights in.  Carefully remove the pie weights and bake for another 8-12 minutes, depending on how brown you like your crust.  Cool completely before filling.

Strawberry Icebox Pie

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemonade mix or 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 baked pie crust (see above)

Defrost the frozen strawberries (in the microwave or in a bowl) and mash them.  Place them in a small saucepan. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt, and stir to combine.

Soften 1 1/2 teaspoons of the gelatin in the cold water, and set it aside.

Place the saucepan over low heat and bring the berry mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is transparent and of medium thickness, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the softened gelatin, and stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Arrange the fresh strawberries in the pie crust pointed end up.  If any strawberries are left over, dice them and mix them into the cooled strawberry mixture.  Pour mixture over the strawberries and gently work the mixture down to the bottom of the pie crust.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

My husband and I love Indian food.  Getting the kids to eat it is a whole other story.  They actually tried this dish and half of them loved it.  That's pretty good!

This dish is adapted from the American Test Kitchen's Recipe.
This recipe does contain dairy.  I had my dairy allergic eat some that did not have the dairy on it...
Fast Tandoori Chicken 
Serves 4

Homemade Garam Masala
In the blender or spice grinder put:
2 TBSP coriander seeds
1 TSP cardamom seeds 
1 ½ TSP black peppercorns

Blend or grind until relatively fine.
Tandoori Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tsp. ground ginger
All of the garam masala made above
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup plain greek yogurt
4 tablespoons juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons table salt
4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise in half to reduce the thickness
1. Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ginger, garam masala, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder; continue to cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds longer. Transfer half of garlic-spice mixture to medium bowl; stir in yogurt and 2 tablespoons lime juice and set aside.
2. In large bowl, combine remaining garlic-spice mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, and salt. Place chicken breast pieces in the bowl.  Using hands, gently massage salt-spice mixture into chicken until all pieces are evenly coated; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken and toss until chicken is evenly coated with thick layer. Arrange chicken breast pieces on wire rack set in foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 125 degrees for breasts and 130 for legs and thighs, 10 to 15 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Transfer chicken pieces to plate as they reach correct temperature.)
4. After removing chicken from oven, turn oven to broil and heat 10 minutes. The oven needs to come up to temperature without the chicken in the oven or it will be over cooked and burnt.  Once broiler is heated, flip chicken pieces over and broil until chicken is lightly charred in spots.  Flip and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, approximately 8 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate, tent loosely with foil, and rest 5 minutes. Serve with chutney or relish, passing lime wedges separately.