GFCF Pumpkin Cookies with No Sugar

October 15, 2010 at 12:46 am | Posted in Birthday Parties, GFCF, Mixes, Recipes, Yeast | Leave a comment
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By Shannon Penrod

‘Tis the season to bake scary treats for little goblins who want to share in the festivities but don’t want the fall out of gluten, casein, soy or SUGAR!  This is my newest treat.  I can’t say that the recipe is perfected yet, but this is a pretty good cookie considering the restrictions.  I started with a cake/cookie mix from The Craving’s Place.  This is the same mix I used for Jem’s birthday cake back in June.  The mix comes unsweetened giving you options based on your kid’s needs.  If your kid tolerates sugar, go for it!  I chose to sweeten Jem’s cookies with Earth’s Best pear baby food and carrot juice which added to the pureed pumpkin make these tasty but incredibly healthy, not to mention a lovely pumpkin color.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of The Cravings Place Unsweetened Cake/Cookie mix

1 4 oz. jar of Earth’s Best Pear Baby Food

1/2 Cup of pureed pumpkin

Approximately 1/4 cup of Carrot juice added slowly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the pumpkin and pears together.  Add the mix in slowly.  One tablespoon at a time add the carrot juice until all of the ingredients are moist but it is the equivalent of a paste.  Spoon on to a cookie sheet, press down with a fork and bake at 350 for about 6 minutes. Because these cookies have virtually no fat in them it is best to cook them on parchment paper to avoid sticking to the pan. Cookies should be firm to the touch but not hard.  Allow them to cool before removing from the cookie sheet.  This recipe makes about one dozen small cookies.  Please be advised that the cookie mix does contain corn ingredients.

These make a great lunch box treat and are wonderful to take along to Halloween parties so while the rest of the kids are stuffing their faces your child gets a treat too.

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on Toginet Radio.  She is also the author of The Autism Miracle in my Kitchen and three children’s books with her son Jem, who is seven years old and recovering from Autism.

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Bubbies Pickles…Oh! Yum!

October 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Staples, Yeast, YUM | 1 Comment
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By Shannon Penrod

We make no bones about the fact that we are in a never ending battle with yeast at our house.  Over the years we have taken so many things out of our child’s diet that it boggles the mind.  I remember when we went GFCF and I realized that there would be no more macaroni and cheese – I wasn’t sure any of us would survive it.  But it was okay, and my kid could suddenly acquire language.  Then when it was time to eliminate potatoes, I remember a cold shiver ran down my spine – but again we survived it and he flourished.  By the time I got around to eliminating vinegars and other “yeasts” we were old hat at elimination and I literally thought nothing of taking away my child’s beloved pickles.  They were turning his butt bright red!  It was a no brainer.  But the loss of pickles is what my child has mourned for years.

My kid sits at birthday parties and watches all the kids stuffing purple and blue cake down their gullets and never complains, but when he sees a pickle he gets sad. 

Recently I have been hearing alot about the body ecology diet and naturally fermented foods.  It turns out that when food is naturally fermented it becomes something that is beneficial in the fight against yeast!  Then some one told me about Bubbies naturally fermented pickles.  No vinegar! Naturally fermented!  A pickle that not only doesn’t make my kid’s butt red, it also helps to control his yeast.  I’m sorry, do you hear angels singing?  I do!

I ran out and bought a jar; they are not inexpensive pickles – it doesn’t matter – they are amazing.  Did you know they were voted the best pickle by chefs? So, yes they taste really yummy too.  I almost hyperventilated when I tasted them. They are an answer to a prayer.  A yeast fighting pickle that tastes great?  Don’t tell the people at Bubbies, but they aren’t charging enough.  Buy them at Whole Foods Market in the refrigerated section and enjoy!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles, an internet talk radio show about Autism.  Everyday Autism Miracles broadcasts live on Fridays at 2pm Eastern time and 11am Pacific time at www.toginet.com or you can download the free podcast by visiting www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles or on iTunes by visiting  http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/everyday-autism-miracles/id356451530

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.

GFCF Pretzels Using Namaste Pizza Crust

April 22, 2010 at 4:41 am | Posted in Birthday Parties, GFCF, Mixes, Namaste Contest, Recipes, Yeast, YUM | Leave a comment
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by Shannon Penrod

Before we went GFCF my son loved pretzels.  When we started the diet I looked for a substitute and we found the Ener-C pretzels, they were expensive but they worked, he loved them.  Then when we started working with our DAN Doctor he asked us to remove all soy, well that meant the Ener-C pretzels were out.  We switched to another brand then, I’m not sure which, it may have been Glutino.  Whatever it was had yeast in it and when we eliminated yeast from our son’s diet we effectively eliminated store bought pretzels.  That’s when I started making them out of Namaste Pizza Crust mix!  The make really nice chewy pretzels, you can add kosher salt before putting them in the oven for a real authentic soft pretzel.

The consistency of the dough is key to making pretzels.  It needs to be about the same consistency as Play-Doh.  Gushy enough to roll into a ball, but not so wet that it sticks to your hands is perfect.  At my altitude this is about one cup of Namaste Sugar-Free Pizza Dough Mix and 3 tablespoons of water.  Add the water slowly so you can see what works for you.  Mix the dough and then separate into two pieces.  Roll 1/2 of the dough between your hands to create a long tube.  Once you have it in a tube, place it on a piece of wax paper and gently knead the dough making it longer and thinner.  The spices in the mix will make it impossible to continue rolling it between your hands without breaking so slowly work the dough out with your fingers, smooshing it back together if it breaks or cracks.  One you have reached the desired length (about a foot) take both ends and cross them attaching the ends inside, like a pretzel. If the pretzel breaks just smoosh it back together, they are very forgiving before you cook them. Do the same with the other half of the dough and then transfer the two pretzels to a baking sheet.  Cooking on parchment paper is ideal but not necessary.  Sprinkle with kosher salt if desired.

Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes, do not burn or even let them get very brown. One cup makes two large pretzels!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on www.toginet.com.  The show airs live every Friday at  2pm EST/11am PST.  Free podcasts of the show are availabe at www.toginet.com/shows/everydayautismmiracles or you can subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes.

GFCF Corn Free Popcorn

March 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Birthday Parties, GFCF, Mixes, Namaste Contest, Recipes, Yeast, YUM | Leave a comment
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Listen, when I say that I can make almost anything out of Namaste’s Sugar Free Pizza Crust, I’m not kidding!  Someone asked me the other day if I work for Namaste, because I’m always talking about it – here’s the sad truth – I don’t work for them I just love their stuff.  If your kid has as many dietary restrictions as mine, you’ll love it too.  Jem can’t have corn – it is too starchy and converts to sugar in his system and where there’s sugar – there’s yeast.  A little corn and I have a drunk elf – seriously he acts and smells like he’s been to a bar.  So, no corn – what do you do on movie day at school when all the other munchkins are dining on popcorn?  I make pop corn out of pizza dough! 

I take one cup of Namaste’s Sugar Free Pizza crust mix and slowly add water one tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency, today it took 8 tablespoons of water (it can vary greatly depending on the humidity where I live)  The dough needs to be wet, but not soupy.   It needs to be wet enough to spoon it on to a cookie tray in small globs that will remain slightly spiky.  It should look like big popcorn.

Bake at 400 degrees for only a couple of minutes – Don’t bother walking away.  You need to bake it long enough to dry the dough out, but not long enough to brown.  My oven runs hot and I am at altitude so it only takes about 4 minutes.  Keep an eye on your oven the first time to time it – nobody likes burnt popcorn.  I serve it as is, but you can add salt if you like.  It’s good hot, cold or room temperature and it travels well!

What can YOU do with Namaste Pizza Crust Mix?  Enter the recipe contest on Everyday Autism Miracles and you could win a prize and have your recipe featured in Namaste’s new cook book!

The Never Ending Yeast Issue

May 14, 2009 at 4:30 am | Posted in Yeast | 2 Comments
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By Shannon Penrod

Some days it seems like my life revolves around yeast.  To someone outside the Autism community that probably conjures up visions of fresh baked bread.  Sometimes my home yeastsmells like fresh baked bread but it is because of the smell of my son’s head –not some fluffy concoction baking in the oven.  People think I’m crazy when I first tell them that my kid smells like bread, and then they smell it.  Of course some days he smells like brandy, but usually you can see it on him before you even smell him.  He acts like he’s drunk.  Imagine hanging out with a drunken kindergartener, and trying to teach them how to hold a pencil!  That’s just 68 kinds of fun!

There are lots of theories on controlling yeast, I am a huge fan of attacking and maintaining yeast through diet.  Last summer when we had reached a plateau I agreed to put Jem on Diflucan.  I’m not a fan of putting more things into his body. I personally have a hard time taking even Tylenol, so putting my kid on medicine that has some potentially harmful effects…not my favorite thing.  Still, sometimes you get to a point where you give a little.  I’m glad we did.  It took two courses of Diflucan (along with an antibiotic) and Jem was a different child.  The entire summer was one long die off hell, but about a week before Kindergarten started my child was returned to me in a way that he never had been before.

We have coasted most of the year on the benefits of that de-yeasting, maintaining with a really restricted diet and probiotics.  Now as the summer approaches I am looking at digestive enzymes and it’s making sense, for my entire family.  I don’t know where the money for that will come, but I know that it will. 

I have to remind myself that Jem is doing remarkably well.  I attribute a lot of it to diet and to his ABA therapies from CARD.  But there are sometimes when the Biomedical aspect is also important, I’m trying to find peace with that.  My friends who are into the Biomedical stuff shake their heads at me, I’m an anomaly, I am willing to do whatever I have to diet wise, but I struggle with the supplements.  I guess we all have our comfort zones.  Where yeast is concerned, mine continues to grow – pun intended.

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