Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quinoa Buckwheat Cookies

Quinoa buckwheat chocolate chip cookies (adapted from the Gluten Free Goddess, found HERE). Below is her recipe with my adaptations in blue.

1 1/4 cup organic quinoa flour (Her recipe called for quinoa flakes and quinoa flour. I just combined the two amounts and used ground organic quinoa)
1 cup buckwheat flour (I used soaked/sprouted/dehydrated that I ground fresh)
1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch (not potato flour – I used Tapioca)
1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup light olive oil (I used grapeseed instead)
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large organic free-range eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer (I used replacer)
Warm water, as needed
1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips (or less, see note below)


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients.

Add in the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs/egg replacer. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon until you get a thick, sticky batter.

If you need to, add 1 tablespoon of warm water at a time, as needed, to achieve a (cookie style) dough that sticks together when you pinch it. As you may know from working with buckwheat, it tends to soak up liquid, a lot. I ended up adding 8 TBSP of warm water to get it to cookie dough consistency.

Stir in the dark chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. You may want to consider using less, especially if you use the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. I know, ME saying less chocolate?? But seriously, anyone who has ever made chocolate chip cookies with these knows they can make the cookie very crumbly (and hey, when cooking GF who needs additional crumble??). Towards the end there were so many chocolate chips it was hard to mash together enough dough. Lucky kid who gets that one eh? Cover and chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

 Round 1, not very flattened
 Round 1, much "taller"
So, the 2nd batch I flattened them quite a bit more and cooked for 10 minutes. Perfection! They remind me of Chips Ahoy and boy have I missed Chips Ahoy!

Round 2, slightly wider but flatter

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

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

Makes 24-30 cookies. My batch made about 4 dozen.
Gluten free, rice free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free chocolate chip cookie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Beginnings Nutritionals SALE

If you don't know about New Beginnings Nutritionals and you are doing biomed to help your child with Autism, you should!! They are a supplement company designed to support the very unique needs of our kiddos on the Spectrum. My son's DAN! Dr. Kurt Woeller is a huge supporter which is how I came to know about them. Once we began the biomed protocol and saw phenomenal results with testing and supplementation they asked me to begin attending western conferences since they are based in Kansas and I am in Arizona. So, that began my more professional association with them. I can talk to parents about the supplements and many times I have personal experiences to share about getting them into my own kids. And this is a common theme with the employees at New Beginnings at the home office. They are parents of recovering/recovered children. So when you call and talk to someone, you are getting someone who has been in the trenches with you! And I should mention that even though they are geared towards the Autism population, anyone can use them! They just are formulated to be super pure, highly absorbed, come in many forms for ease of administration and allergen free. And what New Beginnings doesn't do themselves they source from the best! So they have a great product array including toxin free personal care and even food items! If you haven't found them on Facebook or Twitter, you really should since they are running a discount for their followers until May 31st. And they are having a 20% off sale on some very popular summer items. Time to stock up!! Want to read more? Check out their May Newsletter where you can link to FB and Twitter and see what deals they are offering. Click HERE.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Losing it....

As any family with a special needs child can attest to, life is like a roller coaster, hence the name of my blog. We've faced big challenges, made tough decisions and questioned those decisions over the years. This past year has brought many extra challenges for our family. Most recently it was my husband's job loss that provided that sudden dip, where you lose your stomach on that roller coaster. But we are no different than many, many others all in the same boat right now. My husband has never been out of work, NEVER. We met in the workplace as a matter of fact. So this is a huge change for us as it is for many of my Autism friends who have experienced the same. And just like many others, I gave up a well paying career to devote myself to my son's recovery. My son's needs, even from the very beginning, meant a traditional daycare was out of the question. We could not afford a private nanny either. So we did what we had to in order to afford to pay the bills. We moved out of state where my husband could get a job that afforded us a modest life on one income. Our move to Flagstaff was similar. In order to provide our son with the education most suited to his specific needs, north we went. And I do not regret that one bit and I firmly believe our whole family has benefited from this move.

And yet here we are. I am so blessed with friends and family who understand our situation. Life has changed, we are in crisis mode quite honestly. Every penny scrutinized. We do not have the liberty of the dollar menu, we have special diets to accommodate and supplements are not free. And just like any other medical issue, how do you sacrifice your child's health for non-essential expenditures? And for those who don't understand that, I hope they know how lucky they are that they don't have to make those decisions.

 But one thing has rung true. This experience has brought my husband and I even closer. As we near our 10 year anniversary in a few months I think back to how easy and carefree our early years were. We've been tested in ways I never thought possible, had our share of downs beyond any I could foresee. And yet here we are and I love my husband more now than when we got married. I have seen the man he has had to become. There is a depth to him that was not there before our life together. We were chosen for this, chosen to parent these children together and chosen for an even bigger role that I hope to share with you all soon. Never have I had a time in my life where I truly feel inspired by a higher self or calling until now. And yet it all seems to converge at once, seemingly in the worst of times, but isn't that just life? We will rise to these tasks and be grateful for this journey, our amazing family and the love we share each and everyday.

 So I want to hear from my blog readers, are you in the same boat? What is YOUR best tip for saving money on a special diet? How is your family coping in these times? I know we are not alone! We can use this experience to share our ideas on how not just to survive but to flourish. I will begin sharing our frugal tips, as I come from a long line of conservative (ok cheap) women, making those ends meet no matter the gap. One big goal for us is to get our garden in, which we've been working on. Growing as much of our own food - and we primarily eat fruits and veggies - is a huge way to cut our costs. So that is one thing we are definitely focused on right now. And later this week I will have a giveaway opportunity for one lucky blog reader, generously provided by Tropical Traditions! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil - 5 ways!

Click HERE to see their selection of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sorry for the delay, our 2nd move in 6 months and whew! I can now say we are safely on the other side of it! We have finally arrived, acreage, animals, critters, gardening, oh my! Let the adventure begin!

But I must play catch up for the moment, trying to find my to do list and figure out where I left off. One thing I have been wanting to do is to review the Gold Label Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions. You see we are HUGE fans of their Expeller Pressed Organic Coconut Oil. I like the fact that without any coconut flavor it can be versatile and fit in with almost anything I prepare. I have blogged before on the health benefits of coconut oil and I love what it does to my body and how I feel when I eat it. If you want to learn more, you can visit the Tropical Traditions Website and read their information on how to use coconut oil HERE.  Or you can watch this video on ways to use coconut oil

So, we wanted to try the Gold Label version and see what happens. Check out what we did below:

1) Popcorn. We make our own popcorn on the stove, the old fashioned way. We added in 3 TBSP Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and 1/2 cup organic popping corn. Same lightly buttery feel and taste but with a hint of coconut flavor. This would be excellent if you wanted to make a batch of homemade kettle corn!

2) Pancakes. We make pancakes every Sunday morning. I usually do a blend of buckwheat, rice flour, tapioca starch and sorghum. The Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil gave it a very light, sweet taste of coconut. But it was very faint and not at all over powering. They were delish!

3) Cinnamon spice muffins. When I made these muffins, honestly I could not tell the difference between the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and the Expeller Pressed oil. They were moist and flavorful with the coconut flavor lending itself nicely to the overall tone of the muffins. The kids begged for more.

4) Raw "cookie balls". The kids needed a snack. I wanted it to be healthy. So raw cookie balls it was. This is a combo of sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, soaked dates, I made this one a little cinnamon-y and added some pumpkin pie spices as well. But I switched it up and added 2 TBSP melted Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to it as well. Put it in the food processor, process then roll into balls. I vary this recipe up lots of ways, adding in sunbutter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, etc. I didn't know how this one would come out since I didn't add the cocoa to bring that strong flavor. You could certainly taste the oil but again with the cinnamon flavor it worked very, very well. And if you refrigerated the balls I bet it would make them very firm and not so fall apart because of the oil.

5) Raw cinnamon rolls. This morning I finally got around to making raw cinnamon rolls for the kids for breakfast. I adapted THIS RECIPE from Gone Raw. Here are my tweaks:

I used more dates instead of the raisins
Used ground sprouted buckwheat instead of almond meal
Used Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil instead of olive oil
Used Coconut nectar instead of agave
Left out the cayenne

They were super easy to make and WOW! There was silence at the breakfast table, until they both asked for more that is! I sliced bananas on top and the kids went crazy for these! They will be a staple around here for sure. Once again, there was no detectable coconut flavor from the oil but just an overall blending of flavors to create super yumminess!

As I said before, I love the expeller pressed because of the lack of taste. But, I feel that the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil was a fabulous addition to my baked goods and raw recipes that have that sweet quality. As with all of the Tropical Traditions oils I have used, it is easy to work with, smooth, creamy and I know I can count on the awesome quality of the oils. I feel comfortable knowing my family is being nourished with healthy fats! While I won't give up on my Expeller Pressed oil for my more savory dishes, I must say I am going to be adding in the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil for my sweeter creations. If you want to learn more about their product selection, please visit Tropical Traditions Website.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.