Unless Someone Like You….

May 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Staples | Leave a comment
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By Shannon Penrod

I know this is food blog, where I usually talk about what I feed my son.  But every now and then you come to a crossroads on an important topic and I want to get the word out – becuase our children’s education is in jeopardy.  We all see it happening but there is something we can do to stop it.  So I am using the blog this week to spread the word.  Here is a repost from one of my other blogs, please take action, we need to be our children’s advocates.

By Shannon Penrod

When so much is wrong where do you begin to prioritize?  We all know we are in an economic crisis; we all know that there are things that are going to have to be cut.  But can we afford to continue to cut funding to our children’s educations?  Can we afford to continue to cut teachers and funding for books and music programs and other essential services?  Are we really saving money when we cut these things?  Does anyone really think we are saving money when we lay off crossing guards who keeps our children safe?  If we are forced to put 35 children in a classroom, do we really think there is dollar savings?  It seems more like mortgaging our children’s future than actually saving money.

Fortunately there is an alternative, but it requires us to use our voices and to use them loudly. We need to be one voice telling Congress to pass the Education Jobs Fund.  This is an amendment to a bill that will prevent drastic cuts to our schools and create government funding to help keep teachers in the classroom. The vote on this bill is scheduled for next Tuesday.  We need to let our congressional representatives know how we feel about children’s education as well as support our teachers! We need to take action now because next week maybe too late!  

Please take action in two ways:

1. Visit  http://www.capwiz.com/nea/issues/alert/?alertid=15045411&type=co to forward a letter directly to your representative to have your voice heard. 

2. Spread the word!  Tell your friends, family members and colleagues to do the same.  If you are a social networker here is a sample of how to spread the word  in your status:

Tell Congress 2 pass #EducationJobsFund 2 support teachers w/ no cuts in class #education http://bit.ly/8ZBh8M. Vote is next wk. Pls RT!

As Doctor Suess said, “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

Use your voice!  Help our teachers, help our children, help our society.

For more information on this important legislation visit http://www.educationvotes.nea.org.

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GFCF Hot Dog on a Stick

May 14, 2010 at 4:46 am | Posted in GFCF, Mixes, Recipes, YUM | 1 Comment
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by Shannon Penrod

Everyday Autism Miracles

One of Jem’s favorite treats is hot dog on a stick.  This treat is perfect for a summer day, a picnic or even a rainy cold day becuase it always makes the day special.

I buy bamboo skewers at the store, but I try to buy the shorter ones that don’t have a sharp point and I always check to make sure they weren’t made in China.  If you buy the ones that are longer you will probably have to break them in half and then there are the possibilities of splinters, not a good idea.  Wooden disposable chopsticks also work well.

I use Shelton’s chicken and turkey hot dogs, they are gluten free and have no nitrates.  They come in two different sizes regular and jumbo, Jem loves both and both can be made into hot dogs on a stick.  This recipe is for the regular size dogs, if you use the jumbo dogs make sure to make more of the breading mix.

For the breading I use Namaste’s Sugar Free Pizza Mix.  If you read my blog at all this doesn’t surprise you.  I use it for everything.  Okay, almost everything.  I have aslo used Namaste’s Sugar Free Pancake Mix and Trader Joes Gluten Free Pancake Mix to make this recipe but Jem prefers the pizza mix, it has spices in it that are tasty.  His words not mine.

As always the consistency of the mix is what really creates success.  I use about 2/3 of a cup of mix and about 3 tbs. of water.  Mix it up and if it is too runny just wait a while the mix will thicken with time.  If it is too thick upon mixing add water slowly to get the right consistency.  You want to be able to stir it with a spoon but have it create a peak if you pull the spoon away.

Always pre-cook the hot dogs and then let them cool to the point that you can insert your sticks.  Coat the hot dogs with the mix, smoothing the mix as you go.  Place the coated hot dogs in a pre-heated heavy frying pan with a enough canola or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Cook on each side just long enough to brown.  I you try to turn too early the coating will crack, be gentle and use a spatula to loosen them from the pan before turning.  I usually roll the dogs by quarters, taking 4 turns before they are fully done.  Let them drain on a paper plate, paper towels or a clean white dish cloth before serving.

For a reduced fat and cholesterol version bake the hot dogs in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. (Watch them closely, so they don’t burn!) It still provides a nice crunchy breading but with fewer calories and less cholesterol!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles a talk radio show about Autism.  The show airs weekly on Fridays a 2pm Eastern Time, 1pm Central Time, Noon Mountain Time and 11am Pacific Time on Toginet Radio.  To call into the live show dial 877.864.4869. To download the free podcast click here or visit  iTunes.

Yeast, Autism and Sugar, Connecting the Dots

May 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Birthday Parties, GFCF, Yeast | 2 Comments
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By Shannon Penrod

I’m very fond of saying, “I’m not an Autism expert but I’m an expert in my kid.”  One thing I know for sure, my child’s Autism is related to yeast.  I don’t need to argue it, you don’t have to believe me, but I know it’s true for my child.  I don’t know what’s true for your child.  I know that my child was a normally developing child until he had his first infection and took his first antibiotic.  Then he began to lose language like water running through a sieve.  As a parent it was like watching a car accident in slow motion.  We have been putting the pieces back together ever since. 

We have been extremely lucky; we have a luscious little boy who is a social butterfly, is academically on target and has a divine sense of humor.  However, our son’s ability to connect with the world came at a cost.  There have been countless hours of ABA therapy which have made all the difference in the world, but I can tell you honestly that when my son’s diet isn’t right there is no amount of therapy that can reach him.  At first I thought “diet” just meant GFCF.  Then I realised that I needed to remove potatoes, then corn, that’s when I read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Since then a lot of foods have been sidelined from my child’s diet.  Here’s the bottom line, anything that can convert to sugar in my child’s system leads to erratic, compulsive, crazy behavior.  Give my kid an orange and one hour later he’s like a drunk who stayed at the party way too long.  Sometimes he is the happy drunk, other times maudlin, or aggressive, or simply “checked out”. 

Sugar feeds yeast.  Yeast is a living thing, it grows when fed.  Here is sucky part, if you don’t feed it, it grows too.  If you starve yeast it grows in an attempt to save it’s self.  This is known as “die off”.  It’s why when you pull sugar out of your kid’s diet they are even more miserable for a while.  It’s hard enough to make the decision to limit your child’s diet and to prevent them from having all the “fun” crap (this is the appropriate technical term for non nutritive, colorful, sugar laden food) that we all enjoyed as kids, it is even harder to stick to the decision when your child’s behavior worsens as a result.  I know for me it was the seventh ring of hell.  Fortunately when I was at the end of my rope, a friend explained die off to me and told me to hang on a little longer.  Four days later I was able to have my first conversation with my child.  I can tell you that there is nothing better than being able to converse with my child.  Sure there is always a moment at birthday parties when they haul out the cake and I have a twinge of regret that my child doesn’t get to participate in the fun.  But then I thank God for the fact that it isn’t a peanut allergy and I remind myself that he can have his cake or he can be a part of the world around him.  That’s when I hand him a gluten free, sugar free cookie with no artificial sweeteners or colors and I watch him talk to his friends. 

It took me a long time to connect the dots but I’m glad I did.  If yeast is an issue for you, I strongly urge you to look at the sugars (natural and otherwise) in your child’s diet.

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on the HerInsight Network.  She is an author, speaker and coach and most importantly the mother of a six year old recovering from Autism.  You can subscribe to the free podcast of Everyday Autism miracles on iTunes or download it here.

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