Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Brown Rice Flour Cake

Here is a tried and tested brown rice flour recipe I found on net.  It works well and tastes good even for those who can have wheat.

Brown Rice Flour Cake (Wheat free)

4oz (1/2 cup) butter or vegetable oil or shortening (not Crisco; instead try Earth Bound)
4oz (1/2 cup) sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
5oz (1 1/4 cup) brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).  Grease and flour an 8" cake pan.  Cream butter and sugar until light, then beat in eggs and vanilla.  Beat in flour adn baking powder until thoroughly combined.  Note:  Alternate wet and dry ingredients for better combination.  Pour into cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from center.

Happy Baking!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Changing times

The world we live in has changed exponentially since we were children.  Perhaps, it is difficult for our brains to comprehend this and learn to adapt to it.  I find a sort of Luddite mentality emerging.  "Lets ban or boycott..."  I have seen the same with people removing television from their home.  Living like a hermit is certainly possible but is it healthy or is it something that our religion/way of life supports?

Over the years, mankind has said "automobiles cause deaths", "television teaches violence", "video games make people shoot other people", "internet spreads pornography" and now facebook, twitter, myspace etc.  But actually, these are all tools that the human being uses for good or bad.  You can cut vegetables with a knife or you can stab someone, do we then "ban" the knife?  Should we start boycotting every page, group or person who doesn't agree with us?  Where does it stop?

On the other hand, however, how we express ourselves has changed greatly over the years.  When this happens, we have the power of influence to make a change through this new media.  We've seen this through online petitions, web pages dedicated to making a change, mass emails to congress and so on.  However, these are all coordinated efforts.  If there is a certain issue that needs to be addressed through a social networking site then the effort has to be coordinated, otherwise, all it is doing is creating confusion.

With a recent controversy in the news, I feel the reaction has certainly been over the top.  Perhaps, if we were to ignore the person trying to get a reaction, then the person's efforts would be fruitless.  If majority of the population ignores a site, the site gets fewer hits, is less popular and eventually goes offline.  The more we share certain sites, the more popular they get, the more hits, and in the end, they end up on the news along with shows of extremism from both sides concerned.

I know everyone will not agree with me but I am a person who supports technology.  The only way forward, for me, is to embrace this new technology, learn it and adapt to it.  Yes, it is a change, from writing a letter on my best stationary and I certainly miss that.  But we have to move with the times.  How else, are we to keep up with our children.  We will definitely loose them to extremism if we do not even try to understand where they're coming from.

Perhaps, in this whole episode, there is a lesson for us.  Firstly, we should certainly think how our actions affect the technology and what will in the end get potrayed to the world.  Secondly, taking action may not be the best choice.  Sometimes, doing nothing is the perfect choice.  Doing nothing, brings down traffic, hits, popularity, stats and comprehensively marketing money.  So, in conclusion, lets not do too much, just the simple stuff, make our personal lives more constructive and go have fun with the family.  Facebook, twitter, myspace etc will still be there tomorrow.  We shall live to protest another day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life gives you lemons, make tartar sauce

The last couple of days have been slowly getting to routine.  We made chicken nuggets, molasses taffy, fish sticks and tartar sauce...all from scratch.  I am now equipped for a seven year old's whimsical appetite.  There is a great variety for her to choose from in the pantry, fridge and freezer so theoretically there should be no more sad whines of "But mommy, I can't eat anything!"

With both the kids birthday party coming up, I need to find a good cake recipe that my daughter would be able to eat.  I am thinking about experimenting with date cake using brown rice flour.  This will be my weekend assignment.

My other assignment, that I've given myself, is to find some websites for healthier cooking.  

As promised here are the recipes for our various experiments:

Chicken nuggets
Chicken breast boneless (4)
Half an onion
Garlic minced 1tbsp
2 eggs
Brown rice cereal

Put the chicken breast, onion, garlic and eggs in the food processor and blend until minced.  Make patties, cover in brown rice cereal and shallow fry in olive oil, about 5-7 minutes each side or until done through.  Enjoy.

Molasses taffy
2 cups molasses
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Oil or butter 1/2 cup

Heat pan, add oil or butter.  Add sugar, molasses, salt and baking soda.  Slowly cook until temperature reaches 250C on candy thermometer.  Take off heat and pour on to cookie sheet or marble.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Slowly peel edges to center and make two balls.  Pull a few times and cut off small pieces like candy size.  Once cooled completely wrap in wax paper.  Tastes better the next day.  Ours was a little burnt.

Fish sticks
Fillets of cod
1 egg
Brown rice cereal

Cut fillets into stick size pieces.  Dip in beaten egg, cover in cereal and shallow fry.  Cook through, takes about 7-10 minutes.  Enjoy.

Tartar sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sweet relish
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together.  Cool in fridge for an hour.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A mother's day with a helping of ranch dressing

Today was fairly decent.  It was Mother's Day.  Perhaps a made up holiday but fun nonetheless.  I received a drawing and a poem from my daughter, telling me what a great mom I was and how much she loved me.  The rest of the day was mundane, with eating, scolding for not eating and hugs to make up for the temper.  

I don't know if every mother does this, but I find myself being judged as to what kind of mother I am.  I am a good mother, I believe, and I do my very best at my one job.  Why then, do these outside judgmentals, make me ponder if I'm doing my mothering correctly?  I wonder if they judge themselves as to what kind of parents they are.  If we start judging others then we should be ready to be judged by others, don't you think.  Would they like it if I started pointing out their flaws in raising their child? 

It is exhausting physically and emotionally being a mother in this time and age.  I have little help.  I am a chauffeur, chef, laundromat, cleaner and personal assistant all wrapped in one pretty little package.  My mother did the same for me so I do the same for my kids.  I appreciate my mother who raised three daughters and now six grand kids.  She is tired and sometimes ill-tempered but I now know why.  She gave herself selflessly to her childrens' needs.  

We buy gifts for our mothers on this day and other occasions but most of all, what they really need is a hug from their kids and once in a while, being told, 'hey, you're doing a good job being a mom and I know its tough.'  That would make their day and most probably make us all even better moms.
As promised, our day ended with homemade ranch dressing.  Very easy and very delicious.  My daughter's smile after tasting the ranch dressing was the best moment of the day.

Ranch Dressing
Goat's milk Kefir or yogurt or sour cream
Salt, pepper to taste
Garlic powder or minced garlic

Mix ingredients together.  Mayonnaise and sour cream/kefir/yogurt in almost equal quantities.  Salt, garlic, pepper or other seasoning according to taste.  It tastes great and no additives.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting There

The last week has been exhausting.  I've had to make sure that my daughter eats the right things and doesn't eat the wrong things and takes all her vitamins.  It is a lot of pressure and responsibility.

Our eating habits are changing.  We are very conscious of what we are buying and consuming.  My daughter has starting reading labels for everything.  Before we would just read the labels for sugar content and calories.  Now we look for corn or corn syrup and if there is any, then its a 'no no'.  With the store bought items on the 'wrong' list, my daughter has requested me to make ranch dressing and taffy for her.  Again, more work for me but this is not that difficult a request as it turns out.  I discovered ranch dressing is just mayonnaise with sour cream which I can easily replace with goat's milk yogurt.  Taffy is not too difficult once corn syrup is replaced with molasses.  So the next few days are going to be some new experimental recipes for us. 

We have discovered close replacements for her favorite foods like instead of wheat pasta, she now has brown rice pasta with goat cheese.  I have made a  pot of chicken stock which I put in the pasta or rice, thus adding more nutrients.  She has chicken and fish too with the rice and of course some salad of some sort to balance it all out.  Dessert is fruit.  I will be trying sorbet soon.  Today, I used my new food processor and made salad and vegetable casserole.  It was quick, easy and a good investment, I believe.  Next step, is to try pastry and cakes with brown rice flour.  Sorbet and smoothies are also a good option to get the fruit in.  But none of this before the taffy, of course.

In just one week, however, I can see the difference in her behavior.  She is happier and more energetic.  I will soon post the list of foods that our nutritionist has told us to change for her permanently.  I hope this will help others make this lifestyle change.  And of course, as always, I will be posting recipes for everything I try.

I keep getting a nagging feeling that this is one of those changes in our life that we will remember forever.  Years later, we will look back and say 'remember that year, when we changed the way we eat forever.' That thought, alone, makes me happy and yes, we are getting there.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another grocery trip

My daughter is now getting a little bored with the food options.  She misses her berries and wants some other jams.  So, here I go again, another trip to Whole Foods to look for alternatives.  Before I began her on supplements, I did thorough research on the test results and the supplements.  Basically, the acids in her body are high.  This is due to her not being able to process them caused by her body being too busy processing cow's milk and also because she prefers things like berries which are high in acid.  A lot of these acids are also found in processed foods to preserve them.  Although, they may be naturally occuring they are not natural for those foods they are added to, to preserve them.  Yet another example of what the multinational corporations are doing to our bodies without us knowing.  I know people don't want the government to tell us what to eat but shouldn't we control what the corporations are putting in our foods without us even knowing?  Slow poison, is what I call it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Brown rice flour cookies

Today we tried baking cookies with brown rice flour.  It was pretty simple and they came out really well.  So here's the recipe to share with everyone.

1 cup Brown Rice Flour
2 Tbs butter or vegetable oil
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup nuts (ground)

Directions: Blend all ingredients thoroughly. If you'd like, chill for several hours or overnight. Roll into 1-inch balls and arrange on oiled baking sheet. Press flat with bottom of glass. Without chilling, just spoon onto baking sheet.  The balls will spread out, but the cookies will still be tasty. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

Cookies came out well and my daughter enjoyed having them.  Yield was about 8 cookies.

Food Revolution in our home

It has been a while since I blogged. Life has been busy, to say the least. For the past few weeks, I have been keenly watching Jamie's Food Revolution. I was mesmerized by this one-man-army, as it seems, trying to change America. I know that he's already made a change in the UK but I had my doubts about his revolution in America. I hope, that his efforts in Huntington don't go unrewarded and we can see the ripple effects throughout America. Watching Jamie and then Food Inc., our family started to make slow changes in the way we eat but nothing drastic. We thought we were healthy enough, not overweight, generally doing ok.

At the back of my mind, however, I knew something was going on with my eldest daughter. Her teacher also pointed out that she was keeping behind her class and was always tired. She's been a fussy eater for the past 3-4 years but I assumed it was due to growing up and the family changes of having a baby sister added to the mix. I knew my time with her had decreased but I was trying my best to get her to eat healthy.

We did what all parents do and took her for a checkup. Eventually, we got the test results and believe me, the results were shocking. Her little body was not absorbing proteins and was under extreme stress from having to process cow's milk and other processed foods. As a family, we knew we had to make a change before our daughter's body started to shut down. The nutritionist advised us to stop giving her cow's milk and switch to goat's milk. Of course, processed foods were out. We read labels like crazy. Everything, and I do mean everything, had corn syrup! Even things that don't need it, like pastry dough. Now my daughter is on a strict diet for a year and then a less strict regime of healthier eating. Her diet right now involves, brown rice, fresh fruits, vegetables and goat milk. After a year, she can start having wheat again so life should get back to a little normal. The nutritionist has also given supplements to get her acid levels back to normal. Giving her the supplements is going to be a challenge. She has been really good about the food. She's read the list of things to eat and not eat, herself, so it has sunk in and she is following it to the letter. But the supplements, are another story.

I wanted to write about this major change in our life to help other parents with children on special diets. My day one for a lifetime change, has begun with an overhaul in the kitchen. I have gone through the pantry, fridge and freezer and taken out anything with corn, corn syrup or corn derivative. Next step was to get groceries for my daughter, where Whole Foods really helps with varied choices.

I will be posting everyday about things she eats and what changes I have made to the way I cook, challenges I face and what I tried to help solve the problems. I want other parents to benefit from this blog. If we pool our ideas together, we can help raise our children on a healthy lifestyle. This is our legacy. We are responsible. Pass on the message and continue the food revolution.