Thursday, September 15, 2016

Roasted Vegetable Soup (Dairy, Gluten and Grain Free)

Our oldest daughter had a big bike fall at the end of this summer.  It caused a lot of damage to her mouth. She lost control down a steep hill, ran her bike into a tree and then scraped her face along the tree trunk.  I won't go into too many yucky details but basically she required some plastic surgery in her mouth and will eventually need some dental work to replace some adult teeth :(  We are thankful it was only her mouth that was affected and not her head, neck or back.

In light of this accident, she has had difficulty eating and has been on soft foods for two weeks already.  It has been a little challenging over here creating food for her, our little guy who has started solids and then the rest of us.  As much as possible, I have been trying to make something we can all enjoy.

This soup was simple to create, tasty and worked for the baby, our oldest, and the rest of us "regular" eaters.  I have since made this soup on numerous occasions, using whatever vegetables I have ready in the garden or in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions chopped into eighths
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 chopped carrots
  • 1 diced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1/2 a chopped cabbage
  • 1 diced sweet potato
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1-2 cups chopped kale
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable or bone broth
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • water (if needed)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In two 9 x 13 pans, distribute chopped vegetables, except the kale.
  3. Drizzle the vegetables with some oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir vegetables to fully coat.
  5. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Add chopped kale, stir together and roast for another 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft and browned.
  7. Puree vegetables until smooth.  Add to a medium size pot.
  8. Add broth and any water if wanting to thin soup.
  9. Heat until boiling, stirring frequently.
  10. Serve.




Saturday, September 03, 2016

Why Not Have a Cup of Golden Milk (Dairy Free Version)

What is Golden Milk?
I have recently learned about Golden Milk.  It actually isn't a milk on its own but uses a milk and a variety of spices.  The main spice, being turmeric.  Turmeric, a spice used in many Indian or curry dishes and is one of the most powerful herbs around.  Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Curcumin is also able to lower blood sugar levels, enhance wound healing, suppress tumour growth and protect against brain disorders.

So a drink with the main flavour of turmeric...I was skeptical.  I am not sure I am going to like this, despite the fact that I love the spice in my Indian recipes.  After personalizing a recipe I found, I have to say I really liked it as a drink as well.  I could definitely see myself drinking this more often, especially as the cooler weather approaches.
Here is my version of golden milk.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk or cashew milk
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (*important to help absorb the curcumin)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, stevia (my favourite) or honey to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • pinch sea salt

Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a pot.  Heat until milk bubbles.  Blend with a hand blender or blender.
  2. Serve

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Baby's First Foods, Food Intolerance and Introduction

So after 5 plus years I am back into the world of baby food. Wow, things have changed.  Once our little guy was about 5 months we noticed he started having a keen interested in our food.  He would watch us eat and try to grab at our plates.

I decided to take him to our pediatric naturopath to talk about food introduction.  I am glad I did, as I had done things quite differently with my girls.  Theories seemed to have changed.  Do talk with your own health care provider about what foods to introduce to your baby but this is what I learned.

To start off I will mention that I have an intolerance to egg whites and dairy.  I had been still eating these in moderation in his early months of breast feeding and it resulted in eczema over pretty much his whole body :(  Thankfully he didn't seem bothered by it, but I definitely was.  I cut out all eggs and dairy and his skin healed in about 3-4 weeks.

The naturopath explained that our bodies are working as one so what bothers me can be transferred to him.  It didn't necessarily mean that he was intolerant to those foods.  So this is where the food introduction becomes so important.

I was told to start him with some fruits and vegetables, one at a time for the typical three days each to monitor any allergies/intolerance.  I will be honest I didn't do these each separate for three days as I really wasn't concerned about them being an issue.  She said after about a week or two pick, to pick one of the common food allergen groups and introduce one for three days and monitor his body's reaction.  If there is a reaction to just hold off for about 3-4 weeks and then introduce again. Here is a list of the top food allergen groups:
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • gluten
  • Fish/shellfish
  • soy
  • citrus
  • tree nuts/peanuts
I was told since I am intolerant to eggs and dairy that I should make sure he gets them sooner and more frequent as long as no reactions are observed.  From what I understand, babies bodies should be introduced to these foods soon so that their systems will accept them as food.  The idea is that they are taken in internally before environmentally/through the skin and as a result the body will then fight them off, thinking they are foreign or "not" food.  I hope I am making sense here.

Since he is only just passed 6 months we have not yet gotten to all of the allergen foods but are almost there.  We have definitely given him eggs (scrambled) and organic Greek yogurt on several occasions and so far, he has not shown any reaction to them.  He has also enjoyed nuts, peanuts, and citrus.

I have been enjoying cooking for him.  I am definitely giving him way more spices then I have with the girls. I seem to use a little more creativity but am also known to just forage through the garden, add some bone broth and puree.   Here are some of the food combinations he has eaten:
  • sweet potatoes
  • avocado
  • fruits (banana, pears, berries, melons, pineapple, lemon)
  • zucchini, green beans, kale and potato
  • cabbage, mushrooms, carrots
  • beef and chicken bone broths
  • almond butter
  • peanut butter
  • fish, chicken, beef
  • Greek yogurt
  • scrambled eggs
  • pea soup
  • roasted vegetable soup
  • homemade apple sauce
  • pureed prunes
  • pureed coconut, curry soup
  • cream of rice cereal with fruit
  • pureed shepherd's pie
  • pieces of gluten free homemade pancake







Saturday, August 13, 2016

2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break

A little update about the garden this year.  I suppose this is really for my own records and perhaps a bit of venting ;)  It has been a really tough year here in Ontario.  We have been hit with a drought. There has been such little rain we have had to get our well filled twice this year, which in his 40 year history has never been done.  The lawn is completely brown and the leaves fell off the poplar trees already in July.

The garden has taken a huge hit.  Since we are really trying to conserve the water I have not been out there much with the hose.  The soil is also depleting in nutrients and becoming quite attractive to various pests.

 My sad tomato plants.  
Many of the tomatoes on there are getting brown bottoms because they 
aren't absorbing enough calcium.

Early this summer I had to pull out all the cucumber, zucchini, watermelon and squash plants due to the cucumber beetle.  I tried to spray naturally but they were repopulating themselves much quicker than I could manage.

Come July I was faced with the dreaded potato bug.  Yuck, I was so glad to have 6 year old around to help me pick them off the plants.  She was such a trooper.  My 8 year was out there spraying the plants with some diluted peppermint oil.  Thankfully we managed to rid the plants of these pests in about a week.  I found these ones so gross, I won't bother posting a picture...

I am now experiencing other bugs on the cabbages and the kale...oh no not my precious kale!  It has been quite heart breaking and I find myself avoiding the garden because of its disappointment.

This will be our fourth fall here with the apple trees.  The spring showed great promise as there were thousands of blossoms, many working bees and then tonnes of apples.  The apples now however are half their normal size.

With all this said, I will take this as a big learning curve.  Isn't that what a homeschooler should do ;)  I will plant a few things later into the spring and let the compost break down even further before spreading on the garden.  Next year I will also be adamant about adding another layer of manure down in order to bring back some nutrients.

On the upside, my 6 year old planted ground cherries from seed in the spring which we planted in the garden in June.  They are doing so well and she is super thrilled.



We have also learned that cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, pole beans, swiss chard, kale and snow peas don't require as much water as we are still reaping those rewards.
Despite the frustration, my husband and I have both been thankful that we live in an area that still has water available.  Perhaps it isn't always in our well but with one phone call, clean water is delivered the very same day.  We do live in a safe, healthy and abundant environment that is just a little dry right now ;)

Friday, August 05, 2016

Asian Rice Noodle Salad (Gluten and Dairy Free)

This simple salad is great for summer, potlucks, and BBQs.  It can be eaten as a side dish or an entree.  The addition of some chicken or shrimp would also make it a heartier dish.  The girls gave this one an 8 out of 10, although one of them said it would only be an 8 if I took out the cashews ;) We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 7-8 drops stevia
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1 diced sweet bell pepper
  • 1 thickly shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup pan roasted cashews
  • 1 package (454 g) rice noodles



    Directions
    1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients except rice noddles.
    2. Cook noodles according to package directions and then add to bowl.
    3. Stir to fully coat.
    4. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to absorb flavours and serve.