My Oldest Daughter, Super

We have called my oldest daughter “super” since she was a baby. My husbands family has a saying, “super duper coopers” since Cooper is our last name. When my daughter arrived and we started our journey with food, we began to say she was a “super duper, not a very good pooper, Cooper”. Don’t tell her I told you that! The only reason I’m telling you is because it goes along with her food journey. Since Super was my first, there were a lot of things that I know now that I wish I would have known then. If you have read the stories of my youngest two daughters, you know they vomited A LOT. Super was no different, she vomited A LOT from the very beginning. I tried breast feeding her but after a week of her crying, I went to see the lactation specialist. While I was there, I fed her and then weighed her to see how much milk she was getting with each feeding. She got NOTHING. I was heartbroken and felt terrible guilt that I had been unknowingly starving my newborn. The lactation specialist was really kind and helpful and sent me home with formula and a tube that connected the formula to my breast so I could continue to try breastfeeding while also allowing Super to get formula. That worked a bit but was so much work and didn’t work well enough to keep doing it. I tried doing this for as long as I could, but ended up just using bottles and formula. The vomiting continued, so much so that I have video of me feeding her laughing that I was already in my third outfit for the day. At one point when she was about 7 weeks old we were at a checkup. She vomited in the Dr’s office and there was pink in it. The nurse panicked and thought it was blood so she sent us straight to Childrens Hospital ER. We spent several hours in the ER and they couldn’t find anything obvious wrong with her except that she had reflux. They sent us home with reflux meds and that was it. Super began to be very constipated, to the point that we had to regularly help her have bowel movements.

Fast forward to solid foods. From the moment we tried giving Super anything with wheat in it, she broke out in a full body rash. Every six months we would do a food challenge with wheat and always had the same reaction for probably eight years. At eight, Super no longer got rashes but would have a very evident emotional response to gluten. She noticed it very clearly and has chosen herself since then to remain gluten free unless she doesn’t have any other options.

At some point when Super was a few years old, I honestly have no clue how old she was, we realized that she was intolerant to dairy. We took her off dairy and had her drinking almond milk and the symptoms she had from dairy went away. When Super was three, she stopped growing almost all together. She didn’t gain very much weight or grow in height very much. Our pediatrician started to watch her growth closely. By first grade she still wasn’t growing well so she got referred to an Endocrinologist at Childrens Hospital. They agreed that she had pretty drastically dropped off her growth chart so they did many x-rays and a full day of testing with blood draws every few hours. The outcome of all of those test were, she is just very small. My mom would say, of course she is, my growth journey was very similar to Supers. Toward the end of our time with the endocrinology appointments we realized that Super was still having some stomach issues and decided to take her off of almond milk. You know what happened? She gained 4 lbs in a month!! That was miraculous for her. It had been at least a year since she had gained any weight at all. From that point on, Super has been almond free. She has grown and gained weight fairly well and the stomach issues she was having from almonds went away. I had a Dr tell me that no one is intolerant to almonds, then she tested Super for almonds and she in fact was intolerant to almonds. The Dr was floored. All other nuts seem to be fine for Super so we have her eat them to help keep her weight up.

While Super hasn’t had severe food allergies, which we are very thankful for, she has had her fair share of issues due to intolerance. I love that she is old enough now, almost 11, to make her own food decisions. Since her food intolerances aren’t allergies, we allow her to make her own choices with what food she avoids. She has chosen to not eat dairy, gluten, and almonds. I’m really proud of her and she is becoming quite an amazing chef. Last fall she made a chocolate chip marble bundt cake and won a 2nd place prize for it on the Kids With Food Allergy Foundation website.

Looking back, I know that Super was dairy intolerant from the very beginning. It isn’t normal to help newborns have bowel movements or have them vomit profusely, even with reflux. I wish I would have know to ask the Dr earlier about this possibility, but that isn’t what happened. We live and learn don’t we?! Super is still on a journey with her stomach and struggles to gain weight, but we are headed in the right direction. Progress in this area is worth celebrating!

Below is one of Super’s favorite muffin recipes. Currently, this is her go to breakfast everyday. The recipe is a great way to use up all that zucchini. 🙂

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umpalaRAIN Carozini Muffins

Carozini Muffins

Ingredients
1 C Brown rice flour
1 C White rice flour
1 C tapioca starch
1 ½ t guar gum
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
1/8 t cream of tartar
1 T cinnamon
½ t pumpkin pie spice
½ C apple sauce
½ canola oil
2 eggs or 6T Aquafaba (chickpea/garbanzo bean water)
1 T vanilla (choose a corn free brand if needed)
2 C shredded zucchini
1 C shredded carrot
1 C coconut sugar, you can use regular sugar if you can’t have coconut
2 T flax meal
1 C water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° Prepare a muffin pan with cupcake papers and non-stick spray. This recipe makes about 15 muffins.

Place the carrots and zucchini in a blender or food processor and blend until they are a smooth liquid. In a stand mixer put all of the liquid ingredients, including the zucchini and carrots mix, and beat until well combined. Next, add all of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Using a large cookie scoop, place batter into each cupcake paper. Bake the muffins for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Once the muffins are done baking, place them on a a cooling rack until fully cooled. Enjoy!

Recipe inspiration www.coconutsandcardamom.com which no longer exists. I have changed the recipe quite a bit from what was on this website.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

I have been on vacation and haven’t posted any recipes for a few weeks so I thought I would post one today. This recipe is brand new as of a few weeks ago. I was feeling the need to add a new muffin to my breakfast routine so I came up with the pumpkin oat muffin recipe. It is so good that I almost shed a happy tear. I’m not a girl that cries over food, but this one was almost worth it. 🙂 Clearly, I know this seasonis not fall with lots of pumpkin recipes floating around. I have a very long list of foods that I can’t have so I’m not able to eat seasonally very often. This forces me to eat whatever I can whenever I want. With pumpkin, I’m happy to eat it all year round!! I hope you enjoy this amazing and quick muffin recipe all year round as well.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Ingredients
1 ½ C Gluten free oats
2 2/3 C Gluten free oat flour
6 T Coconut sugar
5 packets Stevia
1 t Baking soda
½ t Salt
2 T Flax meal
½ t Pumpkin pie spice
1 t Cinnamon
2 Eggs or 6 T aquafaba (chickpea water)
2 C Pumpkin puree
½ C Olive oil
1 ½ C Water

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare muffin pan with paper liners sprayed with non-stick spray, then set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Then add all of the liquid ingredients together and mix until well combined. Using a large cookie scoop, fill each muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minuets. Makes 18 muffins. Enjoy!

*These aren’t very sweet so if you like a sweet muffin, I would up the coconut sugar to 3/4 C

Easter Brunch Muffins

Easter is just over a week away. At our house, Easter is one of our favorite holidays all year round. My husband has a big birthday (40) the day before Easter this year so I have a lot of food prep and baking to do this week. I look forward to putting a lot of thought into how we will celebrate my husbands birthday and Easter. We are abundantly thankful for my husbands 40 years of life and looking forward to many more, as well as the new life that we celebrate on Easter. There is so much to be thankful for and celebrate.

Life has been busy since we have been traveling so I haven’t put a lot of thought into Easter brunch until now. I was asked to post a muffin recipe so I thought this strawberry muffin would be the perfect addition to Easter brunch. These muffins come together quickly and easily, using fresh strawberries. Not only are they easy to make, but they are packed full of healthy Omega 3’s as well. I do my best to pack as many of my recipes full of healthy ingredients as well as make them taste amazing for us food allergy folks. It’s a win win all around in my book! You can of course switch out the strawberries for another berry if you choose, but we really enjoy these with strawberries.

Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients
2/3 C Brown rice flour
2/3 C White rice flour
2/3 C Tapioca starch
1 t Guar gum
½ C Coconut sugar
1 T Flax meal
1 ½ t Chia seeds
½ t Cream of tartar
¾ t Baking soda
½ t Salt
2 T Earth balance buttery spread, soy free
2 T Apple sauce
1 Egg or egg replacer
1 ¼ C Coconut milk (or rice milk) + 1 t lemon juice
1 C Diced strawberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 12 muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together and be sure they are well combined. Then add the wet ingredients except fruit and mix well until combined. Cut strawberries into small chunks. Fold in the berries until fully incorporated. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope that you enjoy these strawberry muffins! Have a great week everyone!

Scoops!

You want the scoop on my scoops?! 🙂 I absolutely love everything about a set of * scoops These are almost a part of my daily baking, they are that helpful. If you plan on doing a lot of baking or cooking, I highly suggest finding yourself a set of ice cream/cookie scoops. I have found them called both, but I call them ice cream scoops in my recipes. I use these in so many different ways, I will post several pictures below that I used scoops for. The possibilities are endless really.

Here are several of the reasons that I love using scoops:
1. They are quick and easy to use
2. They are dishwasher friendly (can I get an amen to that since a lot of my kitchen tools can’t be?)
3. It is a great way to get even amounts of things. This way my girls can’t grumble that someone else’s food is bigger 😉
4. They are so versatile in the kitchen. See below for all the ways I use them.

Now for pictures 🙂

I make muffins by the 4 dozen. No joke, I do this every 10 days or so. My family eats muffins for breakfast every day, so scooping makes my life a whole lot easier and faster. The largest scoop is the perfect muffin size.

Ok, fine, you are going to begin to see that I make most things in bulk. I make tortillas in HUGE stacks and freeze them. By huge stacks, I mean 8 cups of dough, big. Again, the scoops make my life so much faster and easier here. I use the largest scoop for these as well.

No picture here, but I use my smallest scoop to make melon balls because my youngest insists that I do. In all honesty, I don’t prefer to do this, but for her? Anything! This takes longer than cutting, but it works well none the less.

We love a good healthy snack/dessert around here so we make date balls often. My second from the smallest scoop is the perfect size for these.

I do actually use my scoops for ice cream. 🙂 The largest scoop, of course!

Several other things that I use scoops for are frango chocolates, cupcakes, dinner rolls, small brownie bites, pie filling for small pies, cookies, bread sticks, buns, and more. Hopefully you find this helpful. Scoops forever changed my life in the kitchen, I hope they do for you too. 🙂

* This is an affiliate link for your convenience and to help keep my site running. I will always give my honest opinion, for me, there’s no other way to be. Also, I am a frugal shopper and I like to pass that on to my readers as well. 🙂

Why I love oats

About three years ago, I had just completed 90 days on the Whole30, with the exception of only being able to eat 2 fruits. I did this for health reasons, and it worked for me. After the 90 days was up, I had lost quite a bit of weight and needed to be able to add more foods into my diet, but my gut wasn’t very happy with very many foods. The one food that I was able to add to my diet was oats. At first this felt disappointing since I didn’t like oatmeal for breakfast and cookies were off limits for me. I have learned though that when I am in a bind of some sort, I am fiercely determined to not let it get the best of me. So I made up my mind that I was going to learn to love oats.

It took me several months to find recipes that I liked, that fit my specific dietary restrictions, and ones that wouldn’t take forever to make. This began my journey of all things oats, and I do mean all things. I have tried almost everything possible with oats and found that they are an amazing food for lots of reasons. Now I absolutely LOVE oats and eat them multiple times a day. Since it is the only grain I have been able to eat for years now, it has become my best food friend. Here are the reasons that I love oats so much.

1. Oats don’t have a ton of flavor. While this might sound boring, it really is amazing. Because it is pretty bland in flavor, it really can go with most foods really easily.

2. Oats are very forgiving. When cooking/baking with oats if you added too much liquid, no worries just add a bit more oats. If your oats are a bit dry, just add more liquid until it is the right consistency. I actually rarely measure when I am making items with oats because I know that I can easily add more oats or liquid depending on what I need. This is a huge bonus for me.

3. When oats are met with liquid, they stick together. I can’t eat any gums (guar, xanthan, etc.) so this too is a huge win for me.

4. Oats are very simple to work with and recipes come out very quickly when I use oats. One flour, no gums, or any other ingredients. Win all around.

5. Oats have a lot of health benefits as well which is great. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claims that oats, as part of an overall heart healthy diet, could lower the risk of heart disease.

The possible health benefits of oats include: reducing the risk of coronary artery disease, lowering levels of cholesterol, and reducing one’s risk of colorectal cancer. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270680.php

I bet you are wondering what I have actually made successfully with just oats. Here is a list, though not likely exhaustive, but my main staples with a few pictures.

Breakfast bars. I have eaten these breakfast bars every morning for the last three years, maybe a handful of times I have skipped these. They are definitely a staple for me.

Oat pancakes. Who doesn’t love a good pancake? Oats make great pancakes!

Oat tortillas. I make these in huge batches and freeze them. I use them for sandwiches, “quesadillas”, buns, chips, etc. These are very versatile and I also eat these in one fashion or another every day.

Pizza crust. I’m not one to cry over missed food. While it can feel discouraging sometimes, I’ve learned to be thankful for what I can eat. When I made this pizza crust, I nearly shed a tear, seriously. It was that good and exploded my mind for the possibilities of what oats could do for me.

Oat Crackers. Everyone needs a simple go to snack, including me. Of course I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and nuts for snacks, but sometimes I just want a good cracker. I have made these multiple times with multiple different seasonings and they are great to have around.

Oat muffins. I have made all kinds of muffins with just oats, you might be surprised. Again, I love the versatility of oats. Sometimes I add nut or seed butter into my muffin mix which works well too.

Oat cookies. I went for years without having a cookie, or any dessert for that matter. One night I was determined to make myself a chocolate chip cookie without any sugar, without a “gum”, or a rising agent (baking soda, baking powder, etc) because I couldn’t have any of those. My mom and I texted back and forth about how to do this and I was determined to make it happen. What came out was utterly amazing! Who knew?! Next came a pumpkin cookie that was just as fabulous. My world has changed because of oats. If you have food allergies or restrictions, I promise life doesn’t have to be boring in the food department. It just takes more creativity than it once did. It is possible to have food allergies and restrictions and eat amazing food!