Monthly Archives: November 2006

A supplement to help Celiacs?? I’m skeptical, but…

I found this blog post, citing that

 Dutch reserachers have identified an enzyme that has the potential to be developed as an oral supplement to help people with CD. The enzyme, a new prolyl endoprotease derived from a common mold Aspergillus niger, can break down gluten efficiently even under extreme conditions found in the stomach, where most enzymes are inactivated either by the acids, or by pepsin enzymes.

The key word for me there is “efficiently.”  The problem with Celiac Disease is that the reaction is on such a minute level.  I’ve read that it takes only 1/8 gram of wheat flour to make a Celiac’s sypmptoms worse.  *ANY* amount triggers a response, but since the villi, which CD damages, can repair itself, a healthy Celiac’s digestive system can usually handle a VERY small amount of gluten, occasionally.

If I used a supplement like this, it would be in the dreaded situations where I’m in need of eating questionably safe food.  IOW, eating anything except that which has been made from scratch by me, or another Celiac.

It would seem unfortunately likely that this product would be misused, either by sloppy-but-hopeful Celiacs, or out of misinformation about the effectiveness of the product.

Most Celiacs, once they’re aware of the power they hold over their own health by “simply” changing their diet, are more than happy to do so.  But, there are those out there who would rather be ill — sometimes deathly ill — than to inconvenience themselves.  I know a Celiac who has been dx’ed as bipolar.  She has absolutely no bipolar symptoms while on a gluten-free diet.  However, she’d rather eat a normal diet and pop her bipolar meds than be a gluten-free “weirdo.”  Personally, I prefer the gluten-free kind of weirdness to the bipolar kind of weirdness, but obviously, there are those who think differently.

Anyways, there’s at least a subset of people with CD who would rather medicate than preven.  And that’s what is concerning to me about the potential of this kind of pill:  It just seems impossible to me for any kind of medication to “catch” every bit of gluten that is eaten.  And, there could potentially be folks who take the pill, thinking it will solve all their ills, when really, they should be on a gluten-free diet.

Last but not least, what about the neurological problems that gliadin/gluten cause?  Does the fact that this pill “predigests” gluten mean that there would be *NO* gliadin that reaches the system at all?  Because for me, the digestive symptoms of CD are only a fraction of the picture.  So, just because the digestive end of things would be taken care of doesn’t mean that all the symptoms of CD would be eliminated.

Hope that makes sense. 

I will *not* be stressed out, I will *not* be stressed out, I will *not* be stressed out

This coming week will probably be my busiest of the year, as Saturday the 9th, we’re hosting our church’s worship team Christmas party.  My husband is the worship leader at our church, and quarterly, we have a meeting in our home.  December’s is always a party where I provide everything.  I *want* to.  I want to serve and give to the people who so willingly and skillfully play their instruments and sing on our all-volunteer band.

Many churches who have “contemporary” (hate that word) worship pay their musicians.  We not only don’t pay;  in many ways we fend ’em off.  In order to be on the worship team (and many other areas of ‘public’ ministry), in my church, you have to commit to a number of Body-life responsibilities.  The purpose behind that reasoning is that we want people who value serving in the church, not just displaying their musical talents.

So, basically, everyone on the worship team (there are about 20) are complete and total servants, giving with no expectation of payment.  I am so intensely grateful for each member that something rises up in me and I just want to GIVE GIVE GIVE as much as I can to all of them.

Each year, I make something — last year I canned strawberry jam at the end of summer and topped the jar nicely with cloth and ribbon, and attached a ‘silver’ reindeer ornament.  This year, I was hoping to do similarly with prickly pear jam/jelly, but anyone who has read this blog for any length has already seen that I was humbled in those efforts.  So, I’m back to making candy this year.  I have a number of recipes pulled out, which I will post as I actually make them, and candy wrapping/packaging items being shipped.  I’m also going to include the g.f. chocolate pinwheel cookies… and probably an ornament.

Also, this coming week, I need to thoroughly clean the house, and put up my Christmas decorations, which I’ve not yet done.  AND, I need to make the dinner that I will serve next Saturday.  Last night, while grocery shopping, I had a revelation:  I’m NOT going to make the traditional turkey and ham dinner that I’ve done every year previous.  I’m going to have  Mexican dinner with chicken & hominy posole, red chile tamales, and various side dishes.  That way, I can cook most of the food ahead of time, instead of having to do all of it that day, which compounds my stress.  When I decided upon the Mexican dinner, an actual spring came into my step in the grocery store;  a weight had been lifted, a new, more workable plan was in place.

So, all that said, as much as I dearly love and long to serve each worship team member, I get stressed about getting it all accomplished.  SO…  I’ve decided to exchange one of our Christmas break weeks, and take off next week from schooling.  We were going to start on Monday the 18th, but now we’ll school that week.  It makes for a choppy schedule, which I dislike — fits and starts bother me;  I like to get in a groove.  BUT, I’m shelving that preference to maintain my sanity, and ensure that I *can* get it all done.

Here’s hopin’.  And, if you’re the praying type, please do pray for me that I will *not* give in to the stress, but that I will make preparations with the joyful anticipation of giving all the worship team way less than they deserve, but my best nonetheless. 

I spoke too soon…

I can’t believe it was only two days ago that I wrote this post, angsting about my almost 8month old baby, Audrey, not eating anything besides breastmilk.  What a difference a day makes.  Or two, as the case may be.  

We had somewhat of a crisis…. “Crisis” may be overstating it, but when you have 24 hours where a baby ain’t happy, well, it’s a loooooonnnnnnnnngggg 24 hours.  Starting the day I wrote that post, Audrey started round-the-clock eating every 3 hours… and when she wasn’t eating, she was fussy.  She wouldn’t sleep, either.  And, she *bit* me.  Hard.  I’m still hurting.  I think it was more out of frustration than anger.  I don’t know about any other nursing moms out there, but although it is a supply-and-demand situation, it takes my body about 24 hours to catch up to any increased demand, and Audrey was *not* happy about that.  She was getting a wildly desperate look in her eyes.  Sleepy, hungry, frustrated — plus teething — baby does not a peaceful household make.

Looking back on it a bit now, it seems like, “Well, duh.  Of course she was hungry.”  But, at the time, I didn’t know if her fussiness was due to the fact that she was teething, or just not napping well, or what.

So, by dinner time, night before last, when I tried to spoon feed her again (I think for the 3rd time that day), it was like she had a revelation:  “Ah ha!!!!  This muck that my mom keeps shoving in my face is NOT just to play with, or to humor her over, with a taste here or there.  It’s actually nourishing!  It fills my belly!  I LIKE it!!!”  By the fourth bite, she was lunging at the sweet potato and rice cereal I was offering to her.  We all marvelled at her ferocity.  Previously, her “record” of eating was four bites.  This time, I stopped counting at around 20.

For the last 24 hours+, she’s been eating like a champ.  And now that her belly is full, she’s much happier, and napping for much longer.  And, she slept through the night again, last night.  Or, she would have, had my dh not heard her rustle around 10 p.m., took her out to snuggle her, then gave her to me saying, “Mama will feed you now.”  Audrey would have easily gone back to sleep after rustling around a bit, but it’s hard to be upset at my hubby for taking her out of bed:  he just loves to hold her and play with her.

It’s scary/sad to think that I had been, essentially, under-feeding my baby for the last couple of weeks.  But, I couldn’t help it!  I was giving her as much milk as I had, knowing that it wasn’t quite enough for her, and offering her other foods at every possible opportunity.  I guess she just wouldn’t eat until she was desperate enough.  Yikes.      

It’s a tad concerning to me…

…that so many people find my blog after searching for “arowws.”  In this blog post, I copied verbatim a journal entry of my 9yo son, in which he misspells “arrows” a couple times.  For the record, the word is correctly spelled a-r-r-o-w-s.  Whoever is searching for information on them will probably have more success when the word is spelled correctly. 

BBC’s History for Kids Website

We’re wrapping up Sonlight’s Core 2, which is a “broad-sweep survey of world history from the Dark Ages to the present for early elementary age children.”  I wanted some additional resources for the WWII era, which we are studying.  In searching, I found the most excellent BBC’s History for Kids website. 

Though I highly love my country, one of the reasons I chose Sonlight was because it is NOT what I call “Amerocentric”;  it has a much broader world perspective than any homeschool curriculum of which I’m aware.  In studying Sonlight, which uses quite  few UK-produced Usborne books, I’ve had a few chuckles over what might be thought of as British… uh… propaganda.  For example, of course the British perspective of the USA’s Revolutionary War is going to vary quite a bit from our own.  “Propaganda” might be too strong of a word, but some of the things we’ve studied are definitely held in a different light, compared to how I’d learned it when I was a kid.

So, anyways…  caveats aside, the above website is really well-produced, thorough, and fun, geared towards kids with age-appropriate sections, ranging from 4yo to 14yo.   

“ME do it!”

This is what my 7 month old has been telling me from birth, “ME do it!”  No, not literally.  Her vocabulary, so far, is limited to, “Ma Ma” and, “Da Da.”  However, she is highly insistent on doing things herself. 

If it wasn’t for those Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders, my child would still be 99.99% breastfed only.  If it’s not something that she can feed herself, she’s not interested.

I thought it was simply that she just wasn’t ready to eat, but… take carrots, for example.  I made my own babyfood carrots, peeling and steaming organic carrots, putting them in a blender, then freezing the resulting puree in ice cube trays.  I have tried every way I can think of to get her to eat those carrots:  with rice cereal, without rice cereal, with a bit of breastmilk, with a bit of water, with a bit of rice cereal & breastmilk… etc.  She just wouldn’t eat ’em.  But… Thanksgiving Day, what does she eat?  TEN steamed baby carrots, all with her fresh food feeder.   I tried carrot-puree-on-a-spoon the next day, and she pursed her lips and turned her face, while trying to grab the spoon, thereby flinging carrots everywhere.

And juice — what baby does not like juice???  But, she will not take it from a bottle, not any kind.  But, I had a revelation today:  It’s not the juice that’s at issue;  it’s ME feeding her the juice.  So, I got out the Boppy pillow and laid her on her back with a bottle of grape juice (thinned about 40/60 juice/water), and after I propped her hands on the bottle, what does she do?  Drinks it with no problem.  Of course, this being her first “go” at feeding herself with her bottle, she only got down about 2 ounces, and it took her toting her bottle around with herself for about an hour to get those 2 ounces down the hatch.  However, that’s two more ounces of juice than she’s ever previously consumed.

This has been somewhat problematic.  She is getting to the age where she needs additional nutrition, needs to have something that takes her longer to digest, needs to get used to the idea of eating-but-not-necessarily-nursing.  She was eating about every four hours, but because she’s so big now, and eating virtually nothing else but my milk, she’s back down to about every three hours, PLUS, she’s waking up in the middle of the night to eat, almost every night, after sleeping through the night since she was 7 weeks old.  She is well-nourished, but it’s apparent to me that my b’milk is not sustaining her.

Reflecting on this led me to consider my own personality.  I am independent to a fault.  I have a serious, “I’ll do it myself” attitude.  That can be helpful at times, as I will probably never be the “damsel in distress.”  But it has also caused some serious relationship problems, as I don’t have “need” of anyone else.  I have had to teach myself dependence upon my hubby (which is *still* very scary), how to be an interdependent part of the Body of Christ, how to make and maintain friendships (especially with other women), how to avail myself to various forms of help when it’s needed — and how to recognize when I need help.  This is a near-daily struggle for me. 

My problem often lies in the exact area as my daughter’s:  I frequently don’t have the skills to accomplish that which I am insistent upon doing on my own.  I feel like I should be able to do these things — do everything — but, that is simply frequently not the case.  I can’t do it.  Sometimes, I can just learn those skills in process.  But, other times, my stubbornness has led me to be malnourished, in one way or another, because my ignorance and inabilities damage me.

It’s easy for me to see my own dear daughter’s humorous, foolish, determined, ignorant insistence upon independence, and as a mom, I sometimes just shake my head at her, and other times have real concern for her development.

However, it’s not so easy (or it hasn’t been, until this weekend, when I had this whole revelation) to see the folly in my own self.

I firmly believe that every child has something to impart to (and needs to receive from) each member of the family that that person can’t get anywhere else.  Here, I’m receiving revelation from my caring God the Father, delivered through my sweet, stubborn baby girl.   

Everybody bakes…

Holy cow.  Or, holy cookies!!  I can’t believe all the people searching for gluten free Christmas/sugar cookies today.  So far today, 23 people have at least read that post.  That’s a lot for this blog, for one post.

Here are some of the searches that have led folks here today:

gluten free christmas baking
gluten free sugar cookie recipe
gluten free sugar cookies recipe
cookies recipes that make a big batch
celiac sugar cookie recipe
cookies recipe only
rice flour sugar cookies
gluten and casin free cookie recipe
gluten free christmas baking recipes

I guess the Monday after Thanksgiving is when everyone starts their Christmas baking.  I was going to, too, until I realized that, thanks to my pie crusts, I don’t have enough shortening for the job.  Hmph.  Well, bake and enjoy, and let me know how they turned out!

Thanksgiving Mini-Rant, Dh’s 40th Birthday, and The Best Cheesecake Ever

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, though leftovers remain, of course. We had scrambled eggs and pumpkin pie for breakfast. :mrgreen:

Joining my family for Thanksgiving dinner (and well beyond) was my mom, my dear stepdad, and my brother-in-law, Adam. Small group, this year, but those who were there were oh-so-pleasant to hang out with. Love, football, Scrabble, and food abounded.

This is my mini-rant: My two sweet nieces were supposed to be along, too. However, my ex-SIL… argh. She is the most conniving person I’ve *ever* met. She will purposefully plan things to tempt her own daughters *away* from spending planned time with their dad. She’ll say, “If you stay with me, we’ll do this such-and-such really attractive, expensive, exciting event.” She just puts a bug in my nieces’ ears, and before you know it, they suddenly don’t “want” to spend time w/ Dad. If Adam complains, she puts a guilt trip on him, about how if he’s a sacrificing, truly loving father, he’ll comply with what his daughters want to do, instead of “selfishly” insisting on his own agenda.

This whole thing twerks me so bad. I kept thinking about it throughout the day — my mom, too — and we’d just pause and look at each other, and know that we were both thinking the same thing. Those poor dear girls, caught up in that manipulative web. Someday, it’s going to come back to bite their mother in the butt, because that sort of deception might not be apparent to an 8yo, but a 15yo isn’t going to be fooled. She’s trading short-term gain for potential long-term loss of relationship.

But, in spite of this one blight on the day, the rest went great.

It was also my dear husband’s 40th birthday. The kids and I had secretly gone to the Money-Sucking Black Hole of Spendiness that is Cabela’s, and got him some really nice fishing gear. We only go fishing 2-3x/year, but each year, we purchase a $15 pole or two at Wal-Mart, and each year, we inevitably break a pole or two. So, along with a nice rod & reel, we got him a protective fishing pole tube, a new tackle box, and some assorted fishing gear that I knew he needed, including a trout net, as those darn slippery trout have jumped ship before, whilst he’s removing the hook…

He tried on his new Cabela’s hoodie and hat, and looking mighty handsome, caught me up and said, “Wanna kiss a 40yo fisherman?” My heart went pitter-pat. 😛

He deserves a whole lot more than we gave him, and really deserved a grand party/celebration, but one-track-mind-me could not get my act together in time to adequately plan for one, which is something that will surely cause me to cringe for the next 20 years or so.

He doesn’t like cake, and his favorite pie is pumpkin, so that worked out well, two birds with one stone and all.  (BTW, if you think regular homemade pie crusts are hard, then take pity on all of us gluten-freers, who have to fashion a crust out of completely non-elastic flours.  I have a great-tasting pie crust recipe, if anyone wants it, but it is really hard to work with.  However, it does get highly favorable reviews from even regular-food people.) 

A new Thanksgiving tradition will surely be pumpkin cheesecake, which I made with the sour cream topping (found in the 2nd review on the page), and with a gluten-free, nut-free crust  (1 c sorghum flour, 1/4 c Kinni-Kwik Bread & Bun mix, 2 Tbsp white sugar, 2 Tbsp, 1/4 c soft butter, press into bottom of springform pan).  It is simply the best cheesecake I’ve ever made, perhaps ever eaten.

The recipe calls for the spice mace, which my extensive spice cabinet did not contain.  I wasn’t even sure what it was.  But, I purchased it, and used it in both the cheesecake and the pumpkin pies.  I was commenting to my hubby about it, late Wednesday night as I baked, and he Wikipedia’d it, and found out that it is the ground nut of the nutmeg fruit.  I had said, “It smells nutmeggy.”  Well, duh.  🙂  We also found out that nutmeg is hallucinogenic and produces euphoria in not-so-very-large quantities.  This new knowledge has led me to wonder if *that* is why I like so much nutmeg in my eggnog.   

Say Thank-You to a Soldier

Every time I go to Bashas’, I fill out a “Dear Soldier” Christmas card.  Today, my two oldest sons did one, too.  Near the store exits are small tables with blank cards on which one can write a Christmas message, and the envelope, on which one writes, “Dear Soldier.”  There’s no way to know who will get the card, of course, so I just pray a short prayer that the soldier who gets my card will need to hear exactly what I’ve written.

Also, there’s this website, where you can send a postcard of thank to a random soldier.  You choose a postcard — all of the artwork done by kids — put your name and hometown, and either choose a “stock” message, or write one yourself.  Xerox prints out the card and mails it for you.

I like the handwritten idea better, but the Xerox site is a little more far-reaching, and I’m sure that any service(wo)man who gets the printed postcard isn’t going to shun it simply because it’s not handwritten.  

Gluten Free Banana Muffins Recipe

I made up a recipe tonight that ended up really successful.  These muffins were light, held together well, had good texture, and weren’t too sweet.  Oh!  They also did NOT stick to the muffin papers, which too many of my muffins do.

I’m a little hesitant to post it, because not everyone out there has Kinnikinnick Bread & Bun Mix.  But…

Gluten-Free Banana Muffins

Preheat oven to 375*. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and honey.  Whisk in the Bread & Bun mix, and baking powder, stirring well until batter is smooth.  With a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir in sorghum flour until combined.  Then, stir in mashed bananas.

Spoon into paper-lined muffin tin, almost to the top of the papers.  Makes 12, with a tiny bit of batter left over.  Bake until tops are quite golden and test done with a toothpick, about 20 minutes (sorry — I didn’t watch the clock).

Enjoy!

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