GFCF Thanksgiving Turkey

November 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Posted in GFCF, Recipes, YUM | Leave a comment
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By Shannon Penrod

Okay, last Thanksgiving was almost a total disaster.  We were moving – literally finished hauling the last box at 5pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving only to discover that the washing machine wasn’t working in our new condo.  Thanksgiving eve, which I like to spend cooking, prepping and watching a good movie was spent at the laundromat and then searching through half un-packed boxes for the turkey roaster.  It wasn’t the best of circumstances, to say the least.  But at least we had groceries.

At two o’clock in the morning on Tuesday  I had gone to an all night grocery store to get all the fixin’s I could and the rest my husband brought from Whole Foods Market, where he works.  It’s a really good thing when your husband works for a grocery store and even better when it’s Whole Foods Market.  But I do still buy certain items from a typical grocery store and last year I made the silly decision to buy a turkey from Stater Bros.  My intention was to buy a Better Ball turkey which I knew were GFCF, but of course they were all gone.  I bought whatever the store brand was, and thoroughly questioned the half asleep clerk, who was almost of no help – but who assured me that all turkeys were GFCF.  What can I tell you?  I was exhausted and I wanted to believe her. I bought the turkey and vowed to call the number on the package the next day. 

I didn’t call the next day – I was busy moving and having  a breakdown.  It didn’t even occur to me that I hadn’t called until I was basting the turkey at 2pm on Thanksgiving day.  So I called and what do you know? – it had gluten in it!  There I am with a cooked bird and no dinner for my child who is looking at me with puppy dog eyes telling me what I already know – I promised him turkey legs for dinner!

Arggggh!  Thank goodness for Whole Foods Market, I called my hubbie (he was still at work) and asked him to bring home two gluten free turkey legs.  They had them, of course, and my son was thrilled.  The holiday was saved.  The gluten turkey went to my friends dogs.  But I swore that would never happen again.  This year I have my Butter Ball turkey in the freezer, and I called their hot line already to make sure that they are still GFCF; they are(except for some turkeys that come with gravy).

My favorite way to cook turkey is to defrost it in the refridgerator starting on Tuesday.  The morning of I wash the turkey thoroughly and remove all of the extra parts like the neck and giblets.  Then I rub olive oil all over the bird, inside and out.  We call it giving the bird a massage.  I take an organic orange and prick it about 10 times with a fork and pop it into the turkey’s body cavity, then I take another orange prick it all over and stuff it into the neck cavity.  I insert fresh thyme, rosemary and sage leaves just under the skin on the breast of the turkey and rub the leaves and some salt all over the outside of the bird.  Then I place the turkey BREAST SIDE DOWN into a roasting pan that has carrots, onions and garlic lying in the bottom.  Breast side down is the opposite of how all the typical pictures demonstrate, but it makes for a moister turkey.  I cover the turkey and bake it according to the instructions on the package, although I only baste once or twice.  The oranges do all the work for you!  The result is a delicious, moist turkey! 

Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving!!

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GFCF Lunches Hard? That’s Bologna!

November 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Posted in GFCF, Staples, YUM | Leave a comment
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By Shannon Penrod

The older my son gets, and the more recovered he gets, the more he notices what the kids at his lunch table think.  This is a quality problem.  On the one hand I want to tell him not to worry what they think, but the truth is it’s part of his recovery to take their thoughts into consideration.  So while it used to be “cool” with my son to take seaweed snacks in his lunch box now it is “not cool” because one of the girls said they were weird.  Heaven help me that I not only have to pack a nutritious GFCF meal, I now have to pack one that passes inspection from a snotty 7 year old girl who thinks that flame colored cheetos are healthy!  Thank goodness I like a challenge!

I have found a few things that are really helpful to pass the little girl lunch police.  Applegate Farms lunch meats are GFCF, they taste good, they smell good and they look like regular cold cuts with none of the crap.  No nitrates, no fillers, nothing but turkey and water.  You can even get it in bologna flavor!  Hah! Take that cheeto girl! 

Jem’s favorite lunch is now bologna wrap – using a brown rice tortilla from Food for Life.  I throw some sliced cucumbers in a bag, some baby carrots in another bag, a bottle of water and  an ice bag and I have an easy GFCF lunch that passes everyone’s test, including Jem’s.

The Secret of Our Success…With Autism

November 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in GFCF | Leave a comment

By Shannon Penrod

The other day I ran into a woman I had not seen in years.  The last time I saw her was shortly after my son was diagnosed with Autism.  We had begun having therapy sessions at a local business that specialized in early intervention using a “Floortime” Approach.  Jem was 2 1/2, and had lost almost all of his language.  After speaking in full sentences he was down to five words that he would use sparingly.  I was terrified. 

He was in a group of eight kids and he was by far the most severe.  He couldn’t sit in the circle with the other kids.  He screamed as if he was being peeled.  It was terrible.  So terrible that I have blocked most of it out.  But I ran into the parent of one of the other children the other day.  Jem was with me and I could see in her eyes that she didn’t believe that it was the same child.  She asked me a question and he pipped up and answered, telling her all about his friends in class and how glad he was that it was Friday because he didn’t have any homework for the weekend.  The mom looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked me what the secret to our success was.

I didn’t hesitate.  I told her that the diet was first.  When we started GFCF Jem started gaining five new words a day.  Being GFCF opened the door for him to be teachable.  Without it we could have done everything under the sun and I don’t think we would have been successful.  I have always believed that on a gut level.  I didn’t understand the science behind it until I went to the recent DAN Conference, now I understand why it is true. 

But ultimately I followed my gut, we did the diet and it started our child on the road toward recovery.  We also got the very best ABA imaginable and we did some biomedical intervention.  But you know how Oprah always asks her guests “What’s the one thing you know for sure?”  The one thing I know for sure is that the GFCF diet made it possible for the ABA to work and made it possible for us to get through some of the negative side effects of biomedical intervention so we could enjoy the benefits.  The GFCF diet is the bedrock on which we built our son’s intervention, without it I think it’s very possible we wouldn’t have gotten our child back.

I can not know what is right for your child.  You need to look to your own gut for that.  But I do know that if you have read this far, you are either GFCF or considering it.  I am begging you to follow your gut.  For your sake and for your child’s sake.  It’s incredibly doable and the rough transition will be over before you know it.  Please follow your gut.

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