Google Analytics

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Elijah Neal {10 Months}

Dear E Man,

You turned 10 months old yesterday! And oh, what a month it has been! About two weeks ago, you took your first unassisted steps.  Right now you are maxing out at about 5 steps before you lose your balance.  I bet you could get more in if you would take your time but you don't do anything are definitely a "bull in a China shop" as they saying goes!

Last month when I posted your update, we were in the middle of the holidays and your sleeping at night wasn't so great as in you were waking up 2 to 3 times during the night.  Once we got back home and you were in your own bed, you started sleeping so much better (maybe waking up once at the most during the night.) But the inevitable happened and you cut 4 more teeth this month (you are at 8 right now). So naturally, this has not been a good month for sleeping through the night.  I'm hoping that we can get a break in the teeth department for at least a couple of weeks!

What else? Well, you are definitely our little comedian.  Even at only 10 months, you have such a little personality and sense of humor.  You think it is absolutely hilarious when two people are having a conversation and you just start laughing out of nowhere.

Here's a few of my favorite pics from this month:

You and Josiah have taken a liken to playing in my kitchen cabinets!

You love to eat! (when you're not teething)

And you love to play under forts with Josiah!

That face says it all!

Pacifiers are so over-rated!

Handsome little guy!

Mommy and Daddy and Josiah love you so much Eli! You have brought so much joy to our lives!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extra Crunchy Chicken Fingers (GFCF)

So last night was my first attempt at cooking a GFCF meal...and to my surprise, it turned out really really good! It is something that I will definitely make again. I chose chicken fingers because it is something that Josiah loves...this was definitely healthier than frozen chicken fingers...a little more laborsome, yes. But knowing that my family (especially the wee ones) are eating healthy is worth the extra labor of love.  So here it is:

Extra Crunchy Chicken Fingers (GFCF)

What you will need:

2 cups of gluten free corn flakes
1 cup of gluten free pretzels
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend (see below)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp gluten free soy sauce
4 Chicken Breast (tenderized and cut into strips)
Nonstick cooking spray

GFCF All-Purpose Flour Blend (this blend is for all baked goods not made with yeast):

1 cup white rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup almond flour
1 cup cornstarch

Combine all ingredients and whisk until flours are evenly distributed.  Store in an airtight container in the refigerator.

So pretty much it takes all of these:

Plus this:

To make this:

(what I like about this is that you can just double and triple, etc. the recipe and store in the fridge for whenever you have a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour)

Okay, so now that we have our flour blend recipe taken care of, let's continue with the chicken tenders:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the corn flakes and pretzels in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.

2) Pour crumbs in shallow dish; stir in garlic powder, paprika and mustard powder:
3) Combine flour blend, salt and black pepper in another shallow dish.

4) Combine eggs and soy sauce in a third shallow dish:

So now you have your three shallow dishes: (couldn't get the pic to load horizontally...sorry)

5) Prepare your chicken: tenderize it and cut it into strips:

6) Coat chicken with seasoned flour blend; shake off excess. Dip in egg mixture; drain.  Transfer to crumb mixture; coat both sides with crumbs.
7) Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray.  Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides; transfer to large cookie sheet.
8) Bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve:
Obviously the cheese on the salad isn't part of the GFCF diet. I guess we will give that up eventually too before Josiah starts trying to pick it off our plates!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Journey with Josiah {2}

So we started Josiah's (and our) gluten free diet on January 17th.  As I mentioned on Facebook, we have been testing the waters with this diet for awhile now but have put off diving all the way in for several reasons. 1) we found out that Josiah was allergic to dairy and didn't want to throw anymore changes at him...the poor baby had a hard time giving up cheese and I didn't want to take his animal crackers away too! 2) I just wasn't looking forward to going gluten free.  Josiah is a picky eater to begin with and I thought that he would starve if we put him on this diet. 3) I wasn't looking forward to the extra effort that this diet requires to prepare meals.

So what made me take the plunge? 1) my nephew, Micah, whom I have mentioned before was diagnosed with high functioning autism awhile back now and has had significant improvements since starting him on the gluten-free diet.  I got to see him just the other day and I couldn't believe the change! He was talking up a storm...blew me away! 2) I started reading this book (check out the, cheap at Wal Mart):

Now as I mentioned before, Josiah has not been diagnosed with Autism but there is an area of concern since his speech is so delayed.  As it is explained in this book: (paraphrased) Children that suffer with symptoms of ADD/ADHD or autism are not able to completely digest the protein in milk (casein) and wheat (gluten) and these leftover proteins form peptides in the blood that act like opiates in the body, influencing behavior in many ways which can also include speech delays. This is also where Josiah's dairy allergy comes into play.  For example, after taking Josiah off of dairy, we saw a major difference in him.  He started trying to talk more, show more affection, and he became much more sociable in general.  We also saw an improvement in his behavior.  You see, since his body was unable to digest the protein in dairy, it was leaking into his blood stream, affecting his behavior/development negatively.  So since we have seen such a positive difference in him since taking him off dairy, it only makes since to take him off gluten as well, since children who can't digest casein usually can't digest gluten either. The proof is in the pudding for me and I'm anxious to see how much more he will improve on the GFCF diet!

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't looking forward to starting this diet because preparing meals takes some extra effort and I didn't think I would be able to find anything that Josiah would eat.  My first trip to the grocery store left me feeling defeated as expected.  If Vernon had a whole food store it would have been a breeze but my choices of shopping were a bit limited between United Supermarket and Wal Mart.  Epic fail at both! I found a few things but it was so expensive.  And I searched high and low for gluten-free bread. I quickly realized that I was going to need to do some research before my next shopping trip.  So I did and I am happy to say that my second shopping trip was much more successful! I was even surprised at some of the items that were gluten-free that I never would have expected like Lay's Potato Chips, Fritos and Tostito Tortilla Chips ...who would have thought?

During my first shopping trip, I expected all the gluten free items to be in one section.  Although Walmart does have a gluten free section, it was very limited.  It wasn't until round two that I discovered that a lot of gluten free items are scattered all over the store.  Nothing is ever easy, is it? It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but I did find items like these:

Only problem is, they are like $5 per item! Hello?! One family income here! Nope, not going to do it!

So I got this little cookbook out that my sister-in-law, Ashley, bought me:

And I found great recipes for things like homemade gluten free pancakes, pizza crust, bread, and tons of meals that weren't going to cost me an arm and a leg!

So I went and bought a few staples that all gluten-free pantries need:

No, they didn't come in the cute containers, I added that touch because it's cute and much more convenient then having to open and close the plastic bags that they come in:

Oh, and with some of the above flours, I made my own Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour! Yes, I'm pretty proud! (recipe for that later) So what's with all the different types of flours, you may ask? Well, as I already mentioned, gluten is the protein found in wheat, therefore, just about all the different flours that I am used to cooking with contain gluten.  And because I refuse to drive 45 minutes to purchase a loaf of bread that cost +$5, I have decided to make my well as, pancakes,waffles, cakes, pizza crust, and all that other good stuff! (more recipes to come)

So here are some more gluten free items that I found:

Oh, and of course, fresh fruit and veggies are included in the GFCF diet:

Oh, and avocados are a food group all of their own for Josiah (he loves them, which is I find strange since he is so picky!) (No complaints here though... Avocados are wonderful for you.)

And tonight I made my first GFCF dinner...homemade chicken tenders...and they did not disappoint! I plan on posting that recipe tomorrow but who knows if that will actually happen or not!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Feet

So last year at Christmas (2010), when Josiah was 16 months old, he fell in love with this little stuffed penguin that my parents had put under their tree for decoration. He loved it so much that my parents let him take it home with him.  We named him Happy Feet based on that kid's movie about a penguin eventhough we have never seen the movie ourselves.  Anyway, over the past year, Josiah and Happy Feet have become best friends. And just in the last two weeks they have become inseparable. They go EVERYWHERE together. And although Josiah still isn't saying a whole lot that we can understand, I know that he understands us because when we say "where's Happy Feet?" or "go find Happy Feet" you better believe that he comes running back to us with Happy Feet.  It's really cute.  Here are some pics from the past couple of days of Josiah and his pal: