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Friday, 30 July 2010

Baby steps...

Yep, baby steps is what it is like wading through this Failsafe elimination diet. Sometimes Blossom watches me in the kitchen for hours on end and says quietly, "Mum, you don't have to do this...I can keep going without it". Bless her. 
She's feeling guilty because of all the effort it requires to make foods she can eat - but she is so much more to me than time spent in a kitchen. She is a precious young woman who feels like crap most of the time because her body is struggling with the foods she eats, even healthy whole-foods. 
Finding ways to prepare Failsafe foods that keep her nutritionally balanced, satisfied in both appetite and taste, and free from physical and emotional reactions, will get easier with the passing of time and the more information and recipes I gather.
I bought this cute notebook yesterday to keep my recipe notes, and to mark down any reactions she seems to be having...
She is keeping her own daily food diary for the doctor.
Yesterday we went into Townsville to arrange my hand surgery with the ortho-surgeon, and we took with us a long list of grocery items to purchase; Failsafe things that we cannot source in our little town.
It certainly will make life easier because the range of safe foods are increasing in our pantry.
Even sweet treats like soy carob buttons and plain white Pascall marshmallows...
Last night I made chicken nuggets using rice crumbs, and we served them with Pear Chutney and green (allowed) salad veggies.
This morning I made a chick pea dip, which is like hummous, but without yoghurt and tahini. It's actually much nicer (and we LOVE hummous!)...
The recipe is simple - chick peas, garlic, sunflower oil, small dash of water mixed with citric acid, and some pureed tinned pears. Delish!!
Blossom loves Anzac biscuits so I made them today as well...
For the family's dessert tonight I made a dairy-free carob ring cake with mock lemon icing...
I took a favourite chocolate cake recipe and substituted Failsafe ingredients. Not sure how it will taste, but it looks good! 
Dinner tonight will be Roast Lamb with garlic, duchess potatoes, and green beans. Simple, but safe for Blossom. 
As I have said previously, I am doing this with her and I wanted to let you know that I already feel the positive effects. It's amazing really - and quite a surprise to be having success so soon into the program. 
One thing we found on the Failsafe list that we cannot tolerate though, is instant de-caff coffee. I bought a jar for convenience to make Iced Coffees (with rice or soy milk) and we had one last night - I had dreadful chest pains, and Bloss had stomach cramping. 
Today we are back to the lovely Lavazza de-caff ground coffee and having no problems at all. 
I am having surgery on my hand next Friday, August 6th, so the week ahead will be full of cooking and freezing as I'll be limited in what I can do for two weeks after the surgery.
This new cookbook from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Allergy Unit is helping enormously!
Between both Failsafe cookbooks I am able to plan a bigger picture of menus. Phew. 
Healthy Hugs
Jenny
xxx

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Menu planning just got a whole lot harder

Just as I was getting right back into the swing of things after our house move, a new dietary challenge begins.
Blossom (16yo daughter) has had some niggling health issues over the last two years. Our previous doctors always said, "She'll grow out of them..." and so we tried their few suggestions, but no relief. Now here we are years later and finally, a doctor who listened to every symptom Blossom had written down. \o/ She didn't just listen, she asked questions, arranged numerous blood tests, AND believes that all/most of Blossom's symptoms are caused by food intolerances - dairy is one we were pretty sure about all along, but now we're looking at salicylates and amines, preservatives and artificial additives. 
Our doctor has put Blossom on the Failsafe Elimination Diet. This is no easy diet. It is a very restrictive menu, and requires me to spend a good portion of my day preparing meals with the allowed food items - but I am so grateful to find a course that may bring Blossom's health back. 
You can read all about the Failsafe program HERE.
 Here is a rough picture study of what she can use in meals...
The only fruit is peeled soft pears, or tinned pears in syrup. The only vegetables are those shown above, plus thickly peeled potatoes. She can eat skinned chicken...
...which I marinate in garlic, shallots, maple syrup and sunflower oil. 
Fortunately she can eat rice and pasta, so we made a fried rice with last night's chicken. The 'sauce' is made with golden syrup and water. Bizarre, I know, but not bad to taste.
I have made Pear Jam, Pear Chutney, Pear Ketchup. These are her only condiments. In place of peanut butter (not allowed) I made Cashew Maple Butter, which tasted 'better than peanut butter' according to her, and I agree. 
The only drinks are water, decaffeinated coffee, soy milk, and 'magic' cordial - this is made with citric acid/sugar/water and is used diluted with water (or soda water for a sparkly drink).
Fortunately she can still have flour and eggs, so I made pancakes for breakfast, and pear muffins for snacks. 
Because we are a family, and also because some of us share the same physical symptoms that Blossom has, I am on the Failsafe Elimination Diet with her, and my husband is going to try and stay as close to it as possible. This is great because I can make most meals to suit everyone, just need to tweak them to conform with the Failsafe menu items. My 17yo son isn't keen, but he's not complaining about the meals so far. I even managed to alter a lemon syrup cake recipe to please everyone's palate - and it doesn't even have lemon in it! 
I used some citric acid with sugar and water - boiled in down to 1/2 and poured it over the cake. Wonderful! 
As long as the sweet tooths in the family can have their dessert fix, they will play along. 
Tomorrow's breakfast is rolled oats with soy milk and brown sugar, morning tea will be rice cakes with cashew maple butter, then chicken/lettuce/egg salad Mountain bread wraps for lunch. After that? No idea!! 
Have you ever tried Failsafe eating?
Healthy Hugs
Jenny
xx

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Fruits, fats, and fermenting...

Bowls of fresh fruit salad do not last long in our home. My usually fruit-phobic 17yo son devours bowl after bowl without complaint, a regular mimic of Oliver with, 'please mum, may I have some more?'
Though he touts that he is fruit-phobic he does like strawberries, green apples, and pineapple on their own, but his repertoire of fruit increases when it is diced and mixed in a large bowl.
Perhaps you have a family member like that?
He is the same with my Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin soup (HERE). It is loaded with an assortment of vegetables - every one on his hate list! - but cooked together and pureed? He can't eat enough!
~~~~~
From the farmer in the park on Saturday I bought a fresh pineapple. I am wary of pineapples because I always seem to end up with a sour one (could be because I have bought them from the supermarket??), Mr Farmer's pineapple was juicy and so sweet!
I used 1/2 of it to make a pineapple upside-down pudding.
The difference with this recipe was my choice of fats. I used coconut cream - a very healthy fat, and one that adds extra moistness to the cake batter as well as giving it a true tropical flavour. Perfect for life in the tropics!
 Again on the baking side of things, I made a batch of fermented ginger and date muffins using a slightly altered recipe from the Nourishing Traditions book. This is the third time I've used the recipe, and the one thing I keep forgetting to do is omit the salt in it. 
I seem to keep coming across American recipes that use way more salt that we Aussies use, and to be honest I have never used salt in a 'sweet' baked product before so I really notice it. I was watching Martha Stewart the other day and was surprised (again) at the amount of salt used in the recipes on her show. I hope I am not offending my US friends - it's just an observation I felt the need to mention.
Even though I use nutritionally rich Celtic Sea Salt, I still avoid salt as much as possible.
The muffins are lovely, but that salt edge needed butter to tame it.
My sour dough starter was perfect by day 3...
...so I mixed some of it into my sour dough bread mix today. It will sit, ferment and rise overnight, and I'll bake it tomorrow afternoon.
 ~~~~~
Here is a very easy, and extremely tasty vegetable side dish you might like to make. It has no name so let's call it...

~Extremely Tasty Vegetable Side Dish~ 

Chop two cups of fresh greens. I used snow peas, runner beans, and broccoli.
Blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute.
Strain them. Don't rinse.
Mix together 1/2 tablespoon Sesame Oil, and 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (or low salt soy sauce), and toss the vegetables in this whilst still warm.
Toast some flaked almonds and scatter across the top. Serve immediately. Delish!
Using different fats and oils gives us a wider range of nutrients - sesame oil adds a wonderful flavour!
Healthy Hugs
Jenny
xxx

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Back in the kitchen again!

Welcome to our new home...
...it is such a calm and inviting home, a place where we can relax and step back from the busyness of life.
For more photos you can visit my Elefantz blog HERE.
A new kitchen is quite a boon for me; it's larger, brighter, and has more bench space to play on.
We are just a few doors from Lissner Park and each Saturday a local farmer brings his fruit and vegetables, along with produce from neighbouring farms, to the park to sell. Everything is wonderfully fresh, cheaper than the supermarket, and seasonal - such a blessing for us, and it's wonderful for the farmers. I'll be there with my bags every Saturday morning from now on!
Yesterday I made a big pot of chicken stock...
...and started a new batch of sour dough starter.
It will take a few days for the starter to be ready for breadmaking, but the stock was used today to make a favourite soup for the kids.
First, let me confess that my children *hate* pumpkin and avoid vegetables as much as possible. However, there is one vegetable soup they devour! My 'Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Soup'...which really should have been named 'leftover veggies' soup because that was how it came about six years ago.

Jenny's ~Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Soup~

To make your own chicken stock you'll need to roast a chicken, remove all the meat, and boil the bones with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and some basic veg such as onion, celery, carrots and parsley.
Simmer very gently for a few hours. Let it go cold, strain and discard the bones and veg, and use the stock for this soup (or freeze it for later use with other recipes).

Place the chicken stock into a large pot. Add an assortment of vegetables - anything you have on hand that needs to be used is great. I used corn, capsicum, carrots, onions, garlic, bok choy and zucchini.
Add to that the flesh of half a whole pumkin.
Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour.
If you have a stick blender you can blend/puree all the ingredients in the pot as I do, but if not you'll need to let the soup cool before you use a large blender for the same result.
Now add to the pureed soup - 
2 tablespoons curry paste
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 cup coconut cream
...and a cup or two of chopped chicken meat (from the chicken you roasted the day before to make stock).
Serve in deep bowls with toast, and enjoy it outside amongst the trees with someone you love. 
No leftovers.
What have you been making while I was away?
Any recipes to share?
Healthy Hugs,
Jenny

Thursday, 8 July 2010

I haven't disappeared...

...just busy with a house move! :-)
My desire to feed my family healthy fare is still strong, but we've just spent two weeks looking for a new home to rent, and today we were at last successful. We'll be packing and moving over the next week, so I'll be absent from this blog a bit longer.
I'm very excited about this move because I'll be able to grow some of my own herbs and vegetables, and my new kitchen is bright and sunny - always good for enjoying food preparation. The Nourished Kitchen course is GREAT and I am learning many new ideas; some I have already implemented in my cooking, and others I will try once we've moved.
In the meantime, we're eating our way through our freezer, and only buying what we have to (fresh fruit, milk, and veg).
I'll see you all mid July with a continued diary of my journey to health.
Healthy Hugs
Jenny