Friday, February 26, 2010


We have a snow day in NYC today. It is nice to not have to run around doing drop off and pick up in the snow. As the Huffington post reported in their story NYC Gets Fourth Snow Day in Six Years--snow days don't happen that often here. I feel particularly lucky to be having a second chance at SNOW DAY 2010 because of all the fun I read about on Raising Six Children in New York City post on SNOW DAYS. Although I am not quite ambitious as Mommy Wommy and will have decidedly less kids in tow--I will grab my camera and snap pictures of today's events and make a book out of the fun. And maybe I will even combine it with the pictures I took on the snow day a few weeks ago and call it SNOW DAYS 2010.

Here is a link to my recipes for homemade hot chocolate and gluten free pop tarts I am making to celebrate our snow day.

Homemade Hot Chocolate (GFCF)

This is a picture from December, when we took some hot cocoa to the park in a thermos with a few ceramic mugs and some Joan's gluten free bagels.

It is pretty chilly out again--the perfect time to enjoy a cup of homemade hot chocolate. Enjoy life chocolate chips, agave and coconut milk make a great gluten free/casein free hot cocoa. But we also have made hot cocoa by making a paste with cocoa and agave/sugar and adding coconut milk. Below are both recipes.

If some family members still consume dairy, you can use the same chocolate cocoa base with cow's milk instead of coconut milk.
So Delicious Coconut Milk works well for a GFCF hot chocolate. I buy the coconut milk in cartons from Whole Foods Market but they sell it at Natural Frontier Market if it's too snowy to get downtown! Another option to make a dairy free hot chocolate is to use rice milk or water with a few tablespoons of canned coconut milk.

Hot Chocolate Recipe (with GFCF option)

2 tablespoons Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (GFCF) or chocolate chips of choice
1/2 or 1 tablespoon agave or sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of So Delicious Coconut Milk or "milk" of choice

Melt chocolate in microwave for 10 seconds at a time until melted in mug. Stir in sugar or agave. Heat milk until steaming. Add to melted chocolate for a super creamy chocolaty treat. Add a marshmallow for extra credit.

Hot Cocoa Recipe (with GFCF option)

2 teaspoons organic cocoa
1 Tablespoon sugar or agave
tiny pinch of salt
few drops of vanilla
1 cup milk of choice--we use So Delicious Coconut Milk

Make paste from cocoa, agave or sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla. Heat milk until steaming. Add slowly to paste. Serve with a marshmallow for extra fun.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

DINNERTIME at Raising Six Children in New York City is a wonderful new blog by a mom who has some terrific ideas about how to make total chaos into pure fun. I am kind of a homebody. Really I am a "kitchenbody" as I am mostly in my kitchen. So it is with great pleasure that I read about Mommy Wommy's adventures taking her SIX kids here and there in NYC. The truth is my kids are kind of homebodies too. My daughter loves to read. My son builds legos and paints. And often we don't take advantage of all that New York City has to offer. But I am inspired to adventure out more after reading RSCinNYC. Even if you aren't in NYC you might be inspired by her ideas about Dinnertime Activities and Dinnertime--The Time for Dinner.

Our favorite way to get dinnertime conversation going is for everyone to tell about the best and worst part of their day. Everyone gets to reflect and share about how their day went. And it is often the best part of my day. Another favorite--if you aren't feeling as creative as Mommy Wommy--is Family Dinner Box of Questions. You pick a card and then everyone goes around and answers a fun question. What is the coziest place in your house? What TV family is your family most like? We had a hard time answering that one!

You can always find Raising Six Children in New York City on my blog list on the lower right.

New York Times Op-Ed Article on Toxins

This quote is from an article Do Toxins Cause Autism in the New York Times published today. It's nice to know that the mainstream media and medical community are now concerned...

"Concern about toxins in the environment used to be a fringe view. But alarm has moved into the medical mainstream. Toxicologists, endocrinologists and oncologists seem to be the most concerned."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Gluten Free Family Vacation on Key Biscayne in Florida

I decided a little warm weather and vitamin D would be the best way to keep my kids healthy and happy this winter and so we went to Key Biscayne, Florida for winter break. After our splurge to Mexico over New Year's we took a more modest vacation to Florida for February staying in a condo on Key Biscayne, which is an island off of Miami.

We brought a bunch of food with us and found several options for gluten free food nearby. The Winn Dixie on Key Biscayne has some gluten free products--Glutino Pretzels, Gluten Free Pantry Brownie Mix, Pamela's cookies and some organic produce. When we went to the beach club at the Ocean Club, where we were staying, we ordered hot dogs and terra chips and fruit for the kids and I got an Ocean Club Salad and ordered vinegar and oil on the side. Talking to friends who travel this seems to be an easy meal to find at most hotels when information on what has gluten is lacking.

For dinner out, we picked up some food from the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, where I had stayed last spring. Although they don't have a gluten free menu, they seemed to know enough about gluten free to tell us they were making special sushi because the vinegar contained gluten. And they had gluten free english muffins to make eggs benedict when we stayed there. Although it was a drive from Key Biscayne, I really wanted some gluten free Pad Thai. We also discovered Ayesha, an Indian restaurant, on Key Biscayne where we were told the only flour used was in the naan bread. We ordered Chicken Tikka Masala and Palaak Paneer and some Chicken Biryani.

There is also a small health food store, Key To Health, which carries some gluten free products like Tinkyada Pasta and gluten free flour. Of course, the Whole Foods in Coral Cables has a full range of gluten free products and organic meats and produce. I purchased coconut milk there and staples for meals there.

It is amazing how much more is available now than was available two years ago. "Is that GLUTEN FREE?", an application on my iPhone, allowed me to easily look up which pickles at Winn Dixie were gluten free in the supermarket. I bought the Winn Dixie brand dill pickles.

It's actually unseasonably cold this week. But everyone has a little color and has enjoyed building sand castles on the beach and swimming in the heated pool. It is funny how much I love living in New York City and how much I need to get out of town in the winter and summer.

604 Crandon Blvd, #1
, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-8261

Key To Health
99 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, FL 33149-1411 (305) 361-1765

Mandarin Oriental, Miami
500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131 (305) 913-8288

Antibiotic Usage and Mercury

Doing some research I stumbled upon this Generation Rescue page which lists all studies done on Mercury, Pesticides, Solvents, Thimerosal and Autism

Here is a quote that was particularly startling to me in study number 36 on Mercury, lead, and zinc in baby teeth of children with autism versus controls.

"Antibiotic use is known to almost completely inhibit excretion of mercury in rats due to alteration of gut flora."

YIKES! Especially given the rampant usage of antibiotics by children and adults and by the animals that end up as food.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Temple Grandin Article in the WSJ

The Weekend Interview with Temple Grandin: Life Among the 'Yakkity Yaks' in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. With her recent HBO movie Temple Grandin is everywhere right now. What has helped her: "While she's adamant that there is no magic cure for this disorder, Ms. Grandin says she has seen some "very big improvements" with special diets, like wheat-free and diary-free." Temple Grandin and Jenny McCarthy are two completely different voices in the autism community. Eventually the scientific and medical community are going to have to admit that the GFCF diet is helping children who are affected by autism.

Related posts:
Disorder Out of Chaos in the NYT: Autism is Becoming Less of a Stigma
Temple Grandin on HBO
Inspirational "Healing and Educating our Children with Autism" Conference Quotes

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats

I always consider it a huge success when both my kids eat the same meal--this morning they both had Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal for breakfast. My daughter had it plain. My son had a little coconut milk and agave in it. For many years, I did not include oatmeal in our diet. I wanted to make sure everyone was healthy, absorbing nutrients and growing before I included oats. Although oats themselves do not contain gluten, because of field rotation and processing, unless they are labeled gluten free, they probably contain traces of gluten. Also, although studies have shown a small amounts of oats are safe for people who have celiac, the amount used in the study was a very, very small (1/4 cup for an adult)--and some people who could not tolerate oats, might have dropped out of the study. So, according to the research I have seen, I assume some people with celiac can tolerate oats in limited quantities. Also, Bob's Red Mill makes gluten free and regular oats so make sure you get the gluten free rolled or steel cut oats if you are on a gluten free diet.

Also, read all about how Bob is turning over his company to his employees in the ABC News report: Owner of Multi-Million Dollar Company Hands Over Business to Employees.

Oatmeal is a wonderful way to start off the day, but I wouldn't suggest ever going overboard with oatmeal because like most unsoaked whole grains, they contain phytic acid which binds to calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. So if everyone is healthy and growing, indulging in gluten free oatmeal three times a week, at most, is fine. But having oatmeal every day is not a good idea for anyone, whether they are gluten free or not.

Thinking that non GF oats are not contaminated with gluten? Think again. According to Wikipedia entry on gluten sensitivity, a 2008 study Measurement of Wheat Gluten and Barley in Contaminated Oats from Europe, the Unites States and Canada found that 85 of the 109 sources of oats screened were contaminated with gluten.

WHAT TO FEED YOUR KIDS: Gluten free oats three times a week for everyone who is healthy and growing is fine. If your kid's gut health or development is still compromised, avoid oats until they are better.

Related Posts:
Can Oats Be Included on a Gluten Free Diet?
Whole Grains and Calcium

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun Friday: Gluten-Free Pop Tarts

I was inspired to make these gluten free "Pop Tarts" after attending Rebecca Reilly's Gluten Free Dumplings cooking class last week. She mentioned that you could use the apple dumpling dough to make pop tarts. I added almonds and coconut flour to Rebecca's dumpling recipe to add protein and fiber to the pastries to make these gluten free pop tarts a little more of a balanced meal for my kids. They loved these gluten free pop tarts and asked for them the next day. Although these look like pop tarts and are fun, they are more labor intensive than regular pop tarts. But they are also healthier when they are homemade.

1&1/2 cup gluten free flour mix
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup sugar (maple sugar, if you have)
2&1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup spectrum organic shortening (or butter)
2 or 3 eggs

1. Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine well so xanthum gum is distributed well. You can use a food processor or your hands, if you know how to make pastry dough.
2. Cut the shortening into the flour mix by pulsing the food processor or using your fingertips. Work the dough until it is the textured of a coarse meal and the shortening is evenly distributed.
3. Crack two eggs in a cup and make a well in the center of the dough and add the eggs in with a fork. If the dough is too dry add an additional egg. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide in two and pat into two flat cakes.
4. Refrigerate until ready to roll out.

To make Pop Tarts:
1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Roll out one half of dough between two plastic bags which you can cut open. Use a little flour so it doesn't stick to plastic.
3. When rolled out completely, remove one side of plastic and turn it onto a baking sheet.
4. Use an index card to cut each pop tart.
5. Fill with filling--leaving 1/3 inch of sides without filling.
6. Roll and cut additional dough to make tops of tarts.
7. Use water or egg wash on edge of bottom crust.
8. Put top crust on top of filled tart and use a fork to press edges together.
9. Brush with an egg glaze. (1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water or coconut milk.)
10. Bake for 15-17 minutes until dough is cooked.
11. Serve or top with glaze. (Mix together 1/4 cup confectioners sugar and 1-2 teaspoons water in small bowl to make a glaze or see my maple glaze recipe.)

Makes 5-6 "pop tarts".

* or 1 cup gluten free brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch and 1/4 cup sweet rice flour

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Movie Review: Generation Gluten-Free

Generation Gluten-Free is a documentary directed by Susan Cohen about celiac disease and how much gluten free food manufacturers and gluten free restaurants have improved the quality of life of people who must adhere to a lifelong gluten free diet. It is a great film to give to anyone who wants more insight about celiac disease and the struggles that people with celiac face. It is also a terrific DVD to give to restaurant owners who might be interested in providing gluten free food, but who don't have much knowledge about celiac. And the reasonable price of $4.50 makes it possible to give Generation-Gluten-Free away.

It is not a riveting, edge of your seat documentary. It is a quiet, thoughtful film about people who have celiac and how, in many instances, a diagnosis of celiac has shifted their lives and caused them to create products, organizations and companies that make life easier for people with celiac. Instead of ruining their lives, often a diagnosis has infused their lives with a passion and meaning that has enriched it tremendously. Hearing people's stories of how they got a diagnosis of celiac and what their life was like before beginning a gluten free diet and after they got better is fascinating and there is often a thread of hopeful relief that runs through the interviews.

Celiac is a unique disease with a treatment that is entirely dietary. Since food is a not only about eating, but also about socializing, people who are on a gluten free diet have a unique connection to other people who are on a gluten free diet and to people who provide food for them. They feel incredibly cared for by the individuals who can make their lives more "normal." The most moving part of the film is actually when the owner of Risotteria describes talking to a customer who ordered two pizzas and a beer. The customer started crying because he hadn't had pizza and beer for 10 years.

The film profiles several companies who have been on the forefront of providing gluten free food for celiacs: Foods by George, Risotteria, Peter's and Gluten Free Pantry are all interviewed in the film. In addition, it profiles several individuals who have started organizations which improve the life of celiacs: Dr. Peter Greene who founded the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, Pat MacGregor who founded the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program and the founders of Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group. Living with celiac in New York City, the world depicted in the film is a world I know well. I eat at Peter's and Risotteria and I have heard Peter Green speak many times.

I think it is both a strength and a weakness of the film that it presented the stories so objectively. In many ways, it feels like you are sitting down with the people who are speaking--it seems real. On the other hand, at times, you wish there was a little more spin. Overall, it is a nice debut by Susan Cohen, who made this film while she was a student at Barnard. An important part of the film is showing how a diagnosis of celiac and pursuing a gluten free diet are life altering for people with celiac and the people closest to them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heinz Ketchup is Gluten Free--Heinz Organic Ketchup is NOT

Here is a link to the Heinz gluten free list. It is interesting to look at the list because Heinz Ketchup is gluten free in the U.S. and Poland, but Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup is not gluten free in the US. Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup is gluten free in the UK and Canada. I would have thought if Heinz Ketchup was gluten free in the US it would be GF around the world. After looking at the master list, you realize how much more complicated assessing the gluten free status of food is for these large companies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gluten Free Cooking Classes in NYC Today until Monday!

I went to a gluten free cooking class with Rebecca Reilly at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It was a glass on gluten free dumplings! We learned how to make asian dumplings, gnocchi, apple dumplings, matzah and matzah ball soup, spaetzle as well as a bunch of sauces. (She even gave instructions on how to make pop tarts from the gluten free apple dumpling recipe.) It was the most fun thing I have been to in years. Even though, I attended cooking school years ago and cooked professionally in restaurants, I learned so much from Rebecca, who has been cooking gluten free food professionally for over 15 years and is the author of . The bonus--at the end of the class the students all got to enjoy a gluten free FEAST together with gnocchi with a red pepper sauce, gnocchi with sage butter, asian dumplings and apple dumplings. I can't remember when I had this many tasty gluten free dishes that I hadn't prepared myself. After cooking gluten free food in my kitchen on my own for three years, the cooking class was a dream come true. And Rebecca Reilly has three more gluten free classes this week that you can still sign up for:

Sat., Feb. 13, 11-5 Gluten Freedom: Reclaiming Our Daily Bread
Sun., Feb. 14, 11-5 Amazing Gluten Free Pies, Tarts and Quiche
Mon., Feb. 15, 11-5 Gluten Freedom: Reclaiming Our Daily Bread

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Catalog Opt Out

Go to to easily tell merchants you would rather NOT receive their catalogs. I am opting out of the too many catalogs we receive. It is good for the earth and makes sorting mail easier.

GLOW Gluten Free Cookie Contest on Knowledge Safari

Knowledge Safari has a GLOW Gluten Free Cookie Contest. I just entered it myself a few minutes ago. It is an interesting contest with a lot of different ways to enter. I noticed that GLOW Gluten Free cookies have gotten a bunch of press lately. Visit GLOW gluten free news page to see all the reviews. As I said in my contest entry, the chocolate chip cookies used to be my favorite, but now the gingersnaps have taken the lead.

Disorder Out of Chaos in the NYT: Autism is Becoming Less of a Stigma

There is an interesting and ground breaking op-ed piece in today's New York Times about Autism Spectrum Disorders called Disorder Out of Chaos. I am happy for the young woman , Isabel, who can embrace the many strengths that autism has given her. Still, many children with autism are profoundly sick and never speak or function independently. While making autism less of a stigma is great, I fear that many parents will not get the medical care and therapy their kids need to be successful and healthy if every image of a person with autism is a high functioning Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin is an amazing person who has a unique view of the world. Still, she only eats pudding, jello and yogurt and has colitis and her Harvard educated, determined, mother who had enormous resources also worked extremely hard to make her the success she is today. The root of autism is "auto" referring to self. Individuals with autism are often locked with in themselves. The uniqueness of their brains can allow these individuals to focus on things intensely and create amazing works-- such as the art depicted in the Beautiful Minds: A Voyage into the Brain. It can be a strength, as recognized by the young woman Isabel, described in the NYT op-ed piece on autism. It is comforting and hopeful to think of autism in this light. But, unfortunately, autism is a spectrum and I fear that the children who are trapped completely within themselves and sick everyday are being left behind by the media.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffing

This is my new favorite quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) recipe. It is a version of the lemon quinoa recipe--which is a great basic quinoa recipe. Although I don't recommend overcooking it, if you overcook the quinoa cooked in chicken broth it tastes like stuffing! My kids prefer Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, but I like having a bowl of this healthy "stuffing" in the fridge so I have something healthy to eat all the time. Quinoa is a complete protein. According to the Body Ecology Diet "It contains all 9 essental amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscle."* It is actually a seed--not a grain. But the small couscous-like seeds taste like a grain when they are cooked and seasoned. Because it is a seed, it has higher levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc that most grains like wheat and corn. It is also a prebiotic, which is a food for good bacteria. Another great thing about quinoa, is that it does not encourage growth of candida in the body--making it a great "grain" for people who are sensitive to yeast. Quinoa can have a funny taste if you don't rinse it well. You can also soak it for 8 hours to remove the phytic acid which interferes with absorption of minerals. Ancient Harvest quinoa is a good brand to use if you have never cooked it before, because it is prewashed.

6 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon very mild honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups quinoa (about 10 oz or one package)
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup of dried cranberries - chopped
1 cup of pecans - chopped

Whisk together lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a large sieve each time. (washing the quinoa thoroughly takes away the bitter taste it would otherwise have) or use Ancient Harvest Quinoa which is prewashed.

Cook quinoa with chicken stock or water in a pot, uncovered, until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in sieve if there is any excess liquid. Let stand (covered with a cloth and a lid) 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in scallions, mint, and salt and pepper, cranberries and pecans to taste.

Makes 10 servings.

*Body Ecology Diet on Quinoa: An In-Depth Guide to the Amazing Health Benefits, Uses and Other Darned Interesting Facts of this Beloved Body Ecology "Grain"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lemon Cupcake Recipe from Comfy Belly

I made this gluten free recipe for SCD almond cupcakes from Comfy Belly. It is a perfect recipe and an impressive blog. Comfy Belly's wonderful photos remind me that I REALLY need to improve the food photography I have on my blog. Of course, I adapted her recipe a little and below is my version. It seems to be impossible for me to just make a recipe and not tinker with it a little--putting my own spin on it. These are actually pretty healthy cupcakes. Even my readers who "can't eat cupcakes" might be able to eat these. And I would think if you called these muffins, they would be a good quick breakfast for picky eaters.

But, all the credit for these delicious cupcakes goes to Comfy Belly. The only problem is that they stuck to the paper cupcake liners. I'm wondering if oiling the liners would help. My son asked for some powdered sugar on these and I remembered when he used to have a problem with sugar, I would put 1 tsp of xylitol in an old coffee grinder and grind it for a minute to make "powdered sugar" when his sister was eating powdered sugar on waffles or pancakes. Despite his now knowing what powdered sugar tastes like, he seemed pretty satisfied with the powdered xylitol.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of (rice) vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond flour (finely ground, blanched almonds)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp simply organic lemon flavor
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Separate the eggs.
3. Beat the egg whites and vinegar until stiff peaks form.
4. Mix the yolks with honey, baking soda, and coconut oil, zest and flavoring.
5. Add the lemon juice to the yolk mixture and mix well. The lemon juice will activate the mixture and it will expand. See Comfy Belly's original recipe for Fluffy Cupcakes for more info.
6. Add the cup of almond flour to the yolk mixture.
7. Fold the almond/yolk mixture into the egg whites.
8. Pour into a muffin tray lined with cupcake liners. Fill to the top of each liner. Makes about 8 cupcakes
9. Cook for 17 minutes until the cupcakes spring back. Cupcakes will deflate a little when cooling.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

NAA-NY Metro Chapter Bowl-a-thon on Sunday, May 21, 2010


Sunday, March 21, 2010
10:00a - 12:30p
Bowlmor Lanes, 110 University Place
New York, NY

Come to the NAA-NY Metro Chapter's first fundraiser--a bowl-a-thon! Autism is 1 in 110 now...Many children are getting better, but many still need help. Please consider making a donation to Team What To Feed Your Kids. 100% of the profits from this event are going to NAA-NY Metro Chapter to help provide support and education programs and events for families with children who have autistic spectrum disorders.

Donate now online.
Come to our event.
Team up online!

It's $100 for a team of six to bowl and raise money for the NAA-NY Chapter. And there will be some tasty gluten free food at the event.