Mental health check-in

It’s time to be real. I’ve been struggling the last little while. Struggling with being honest about how I am doing. Struggling with being real.

This part of my story is all related to breastfeeding and allergies and it goes back several years. I can only hope that by me sharing this I may help someone else, even just one person, to go and get support.

So to start we have to go back 27 months to when our oldest blessed our lives with her presence.

When our oldest, V, was born over 2 years ago we had some scares health wise (read all about it in The terrors of being a NICU parent) but our breastfeeding journey started out amazingly. Yes it took us a day and a very helpful nurse being a little forceful in helping V latch property. But she latched well, I got over the 3 week hump easily and I never had any cracks or bleeding or anything.

Fast forward to 3 months when we started realizing the V was reacting to something in my breastmilk. We knew something was wrong, green diapers with blood, abdominal pain, screaming uncontrollably, etc. This wasn’t my baby. I knew something was wrong.

I went to the ER because it takes 2 weeks to talk to our family doc. And he tried to gaslight me.

“Must be your cracked and bleeding nipples causing the blood.”

“um, I don’t have any cracks. She has a great latch”

“well then it must be from a milk clog”

“I pump once a day, if there was blood in my milk I’d see it”

“Well, she is happy so I wouldn’t worry about it”

What kind of response is that? How is someone being happy for a 5 minute period indicative of everything being ok health wise. I pushed to see a pediatrician and sure enough she had what is known as CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) and advised to cut out all dairy and soy from my diet, including derivatives. That list is like 40 ingredients!

I was prepared for the dairy, I already avoided most of it due to my own dairy allergy, but V reacted to things made in the same facility, so any cross contamination. I was also informed it would take 6 weeks for her to heal. The first few weeks I kept making mistakes, not reading a label twice, missing warnings on labels.

I bawled a lot. Mentally I struggled. I felt like it was my fault. I was failing her. I hurt my own baby. And it got worse from there.

I noticed after 4 weeks that she was getting better, but kept getting worse again repeatedly. Crazy enough we noticed a link after I ate popcorn. This opened our eyes and felt like we saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Little did we know how immersive corn is in our diets. I have had to completely overhaul our lives. I do a lot of food prep and honestly it is overwhelming, but something I was willing to do to keep my family safe and healthy.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was that I couldn’t keep any of the milk I had pumped while eating her allergens. I ended up donating my milk to a local mom in need of milk for her adopted baby whom she wasn’t able to relactate enough to fully feed herself. What an incredible feeling to know I could help someone else during our struggles! I think that first donation was just under 400 ounces of milk!

Things took a while to stabilize and from there we just struggled with adding foods to her diet directly. We ended up getting an allergist who diagnosed her with FPIES. Through all of this I continued to breastfeed her and we fell into a great rhythm.

Yes my diet was restricted because of her, but I knew I was doing everything I could for her. She was healthy and gaining weight. I always wanted her to wean when she was ready and after we found out we were pregnant I kept hoping she would want to wean. I wanted my body back, if even for a few months. But it wasn’t to be and I was ok with that.

Our beautiful Kae was born and she also latched well and didn’t have any nursing issues and man did I feel blessed.

And then after 3 days of V getting a bottle after Kae was born I nursed her. And I felt so beyond violated. I pushed through and helped her lay down for the night. I came out and almost curled up into a ball. I felt dirty. Violated. My skin was crawling. I didn’t know what had happened. I had never experienced that before and I was confused.

I tried to talk to J about it, but he was more confused than I was. “You just nursed her 3 days ago. Do you feel the same way with Kae?” I didn’t know what to say. I felt like I was betraying my daughter.

I had of course heard of breastfeeding aversion. Seen in mentioned in some mom groups. But usually only for people when they first started out nursing, not 2 years in. I felt like I could just plow through and it would go away.

Well over the course of the next 2.5 weeks I nursed her 8 times. And by the last time I actually had to fight the urge to throw her down on the bed and run from the room. My skin crawled. I felt resentment towards her. I dreaded bedtime. I couldn’t stomach looking at her. It just felt so horribly wrong.

To top it off I felt like I was abandoning her if I quit before she was ready to stop. Suffice to say there were many tears. I didn’t know what to do.

Finally a good friend said the words I needed to hear, “I think that switching to bottles is a really good alternative. She still gets mom milk and snuggles, but gets her mommy at the right mental space, which is so important. Your mental space is important, and you take on a lot. It’s okay to takes steps to be gentle with yourself ❤ you are a wonderful mommy.  You got through 25 months of breastfeeding before that happened. You crushed it.”

What an encouragement I needed to hear.  We made the transition and thankfully it went so smoothly. She only cried a couple times for me, for the most part she was totally fine with taking the bottle over nursing.

I thought our nursing troubles were behind us. I was so wrong.

Less than a week later I realized since I wasn’t nursing her anymore that meant I could eat the food she reacted to. She had gained a couple more allergies after we figured out the dairy, soy and corn. Long story short I hadn’t had eggs in 1.5 years. I ate 2 scrambled eggs and man were they delicious. My joy was short lived. 8 hours later Kae had the exact same symptoms that V got. She was in so much pain and I just knew that once again I had caused it.

What was so wrong with me wanting to eat food? Why were all my kids broken? Did I cause this? Did I somehow mess up and now they had allergies because of it? Why me?

I kept thinking, “Ok. It’s only eggs. No other symptoms. Everything else is fine. We are at baseline otherwise so I can not eat eggs. I can do this again.”

I thought I could hold it together. And then several weeks later she started to get worse. We noticed she reacted to peanuts, then pecans and cashews. Then fish and shellfish. I cut out the top 8 allergens (already gluten, dairy, soy and corn free from before). She was still reacting to something. Everytime I eliminated a suspect she got a little better. And then a day or two later she got worse after eating something else.

I didn’t know what else to do. I had been tracking literally everything that went into my mouth for a month and I couldn’t see a pattern. I tracked every possible symptom. I felt so lost. So I bit the bullet.

I started a TED (Total Elimination Diet). I still felt like I was in control. That I could do this. We would just cut down and figure out maybe one more trigger food and then I could add everything back in. This was 4 weeks ago.

I cut down to chicken, potato, apple, carrot, plum, salt, pepper and olive oil. And by that I mean literally only those whole foods. Nothing else. She got WAY WORSE. So looking at charts we cut chicken and swapped with beef, then cut potato. Slightly better. Then plum. Then raw carrot and apple. We had 4 days of everything looking like she was on the mend. Of looking like it was all worth it. And then the symptoms came back with a vengeance.

I did the only thing I could think of. I went to only beef and salt. For 3 days. I was desperate. She started getting better. We have had a few ups and downs since then, I am now eating beef, rutabaga, salt and coconut oil and I think we are almost at baseline.

Am I ok? Some days.

Am I broken? Every day.

Have I struggled. SO MUCH.

Do I feel like a failure? 100%

Do I feel like a crappy mom? I can’t hide from that feeling.

I cry every day. Multiple times a day. I have lost weight. I eat so much of those few foods in a day it’s disgusting. The amount of fat and oil I need to stop losing weight is obscene.

I feel fat, which obviously isn’t true.

I feel lost and alone.

I know I have friends, but no one else has struggled with this and it is so isolating. How do I talk to people about it without them saying I’ve sacrificed enough. I don’t want to give up. I want to keep going. In the long run this is good because we will find her safe foods. There isn’t even a guarantee that there is a safe formula, and if I lose my milk supply then I will have failed her.

So I keep going. I am struggling every day managing a baby who is obviously not feeling well and a 2 yr old who is craving attention and is incredibly jealous. I struggle with cooking 2+ meals for every meal. Of not being able to taste anything but the most basic foods. I struggle with trying to be happy in the face of depression, something I’ve never dealt with before. I struggle to feel God in these moments, to know he is walking beside me. I struggle because COVID-19 has secluded us from everyone and everything. I struggle because most days I just need a hug from a friend and a phone call just isn’t enough. I am also struggling to admit that it’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok.

I feel some days like I’m a piece of paper tacked by a nail to a post. Storms keep coming. The rain and wind have shredded me to pieces. I am barely hanging on to that nail. The words on the paper are my identity and the rain has washed away almost all of it. Pieces are missing. But I can’t let go, I have to hold it together for my family.

So where do I go from here? This looks so different for everyone. I guess that’s what this post is about. Everyone’s mothering journey is different. Everyone’s feeding journey is different. Some struggle with post partum depression or anxiety and others don’t ever have to worry about that. Some struggle raising one child. Others struggle raising two or more. Some want a huge family, some want only one child.

It’s time to be honest with yourself. Honest with your friends. Honest with your family. Talk about how you are doing. The good stuff and the bad. Don’t let your fears of them not understanding hold you back. You can’t get help if you don’t ask. You won’t find someone to share your burdens with if you never open up. You won’t find peace in Him if you never give your everything to Him. And for some you may never get the relief you need mentally without assistance from a medication.

So this is me being true to myself. This is me opening up. I’d love to hear about your journeys. I’d love to be a friend, to listen and be there for you. It’s time to be real.

Much love,

From a struggling mom

World Rare Disease Day

It’s World Rare Disease Day on the last day of February every year. Before I had kids I not only didn’t know anyone with a rare disease, I didn’t even realize there was a day to try to bring these diseases and the research needed into focus.

Did you know that there are over 400 million people affected by rare diseases worldwide?

Our toddler V has several rare diseases, Incontinentia Pigmenti (IP), Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) and Food Protein-Induced Allergic Proctocolitis (FPIAP). Our newborn K has been showing the exact same signs that V did at her age in regards to FPIES and FPIAP, reacting to different foods through my milk.

Due to this, I want to talk a little about FPIES today and this it is not only impactful for the child, but also on the family. Food Allergy Canada has a great post up about FPIES. It is inflammation involving both the small and large intestine with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea with a late onset of 2+ hours after ingestion.  “FPIES symptoms can be very serious and can include turning grey or blue, dehydration, and even going into shock. Call 9-1-1 if a child is experiencing these or other serious symptoms, as immediate medical care is necessary. In cases of shock, epinephrine is sometimes used.”

“Other emergency FPIES treatments include steroid treatments and IV rehydration. Children may also have growth issues as a result of untreated FPIES, which must be addressed and monitored by health care providers.”

Skin testing or blood testing does not identify FPIES either, which means it is all trial and error. This can cause a lot of anxiety around introducing new foods. I have seen some kids have food aversions and needing to be in eating therapy just to learn to eat and not be terrified of eating.

Community FPIES Focus is an article posted with a great breakdown on FPIES.

There was a recent poll asked in a support group I’m a part of, “Tell me you’re an FPIES parent without taking me you’re an FPIES parent.” This post has had over 400 heartbreaking comments about how this non-IgE allergy is traumatizing, heartbreaking and so incredibly difficult for everyone involved. I’d like to share a few of the comments. Warning, bodily functions mentioned.

“When we would eat out, most of the family was bunched to one end of the table, with a huge clear & cleaned off area for our FPIES boy, so that he couldn’t accidentally touch anything but the safe food we brought along for him.”

“”Does your tummy hurt?” Everytime she says she doesn’t feel good or starts acting irratic.”

“I get gut wrenching anxiety when my son burps”

“Call about ingredients. Oh, that’s proprietary info”

“What are the ingredients of the ingredients?”

“Cheerios on the floor at the playground- Aaahhh!!! (Cue panic attack)”

“When they throw up and you pray it’s just a stomach bug”

“Constantly telling people “please don’t feed my son” “

“It’s easier to tell you what he CAN eat. The no list is 3 pages long”

“Mommy, when can I have yoghurt like my friends?”

“Overnight bags in trunk with a single blow up mattress. Family sends labels of any food they are buying. So many hospital appointments. Weekly weigh ins for a year. TED diets, swaddle cloths all over the house throughout infancy”

“I make the same dinner with three different sets of ingredients in three separate pots each night.”

“I examine poop like it’s my job.”

“I just spent 4 hours meal prepping special foods for the week and labeling like crazy 😫 every time my kid coughs my heart stops waiting for an acute reaction. I have a hospital bag packed at all times “

“Reading and research every ingredient like a p.i. “

“I never leave the house without a bag of snacks “

“I have a stack of old towels in just about every corner of the house in case we have accidental exposure. “

“I’ve had to google the ingredients to our dog food.”

“My kids daycare sends me the food/celebration schedule a month in advance and we chat that day to discuss what alternatives I can send in so my kids aren’t left out “

“I cried the first time we all ate the same dinner”

“My daughter never had a piece if her first birthday cake !!”

“I have to make everything from scratch and always bring food wherever we go!!”

“My daughter was a very sick baby/ toddler, we thought we were going to lose her 😭”

“My son is 3.5 and has 12 foods. “

“Takes me double the time grocery shopping trying to read every ingredient to try and find new foods for my child to eat “

“I buy 50 million of the same item weekly “

“My grocery bill is 3 times higher than it should be having to buy all these expensive ass foods for my kiddos.”

“Whenever we go out to eat as a family, I always have to pack lunch for my FPIES toddler because ordering food for him is just too risky. Better to be safe than sorry 🤷🏻‍♀️”

“I hate how food centered holidays and social events are. “

“When things were bad…. we made my son around 10 meals a day…. and celebrated when he ate 1 of them.
#foodaversion”

“It’s like being allergic but a different kind of allergy 🤔 lol “

“Babe! Did you check the label!?!?”

“Sorry we can’t eat out at that restaurant ,they don’t offer any of his safe foods there”

“Make everything she eats by hand (no store bought snacks). Also waaaaay too invested in her poops”

“Did you take a pic of the poop?”

“I legit can’t let my husband feed the kids without pre-planning everything
“Send me a picture of the ingredients”
“….it was blurry try again” 🙄”

“At a restaurant…. “STOP TOUCHING THE TABLE WITH YOUR FOOD!” “Don’t touch the wall.” “Let me wipe the table again.” “Let’s wipe your hands again” “Here, eat your home packed meal.” “This is so fun…” 🤦🏼‍♀️😣”

“My daughter has never eaten take out or at a restaurant “

“We’ve got about 4 hours until he starts puking.”

“My sons tummy is distended and he is laying on the floor just sad in anticipation of the pukes (he is seasoned and gets his own bowl) little champ
(… a typical scenario when he has been fed at daycare or by someone who claims it’s trigger free)”

“Them: “relax.. it’s fine! Stop hovering. He’s a kid”
Me: “oh I’m sorry, have you seen a child vomit to the point of shock and pass out? No?””

“I just went on vacation and cooked every single meal, including preparing enough stuff for the 2 day drive”

“I didn’t have to cook tonight!” = “I only had to cook for my FPIES kid tonight!”

“Slimy yellow blowout to the shoulders, in the hair after I just got the car seat washed & back together yesterday 😩”

“Hi! Thank you for inviting my son to your sons birthday party! I know you don’t know me, but can I ask specifically what you will be having at the party, down to the decorations on the cake/cupcakes so I can make/bring my own version for my son?” 😂

“Did you finish eating? Wash your hands please, before you touch your sister!”

“I made my child’s first birthday cake out of boxes because she only had formula as a safe. “

“Vomit PTSD: it’s a thing “

“You breastfed until 3!?”
“Yep. It was the only thing she wasn’t allergic to..”

“You have the pharmacist print out the ingredients before taking medicine for yourself because you are breastfeeding and have to explain that “Yes, medical grade lactose is definitely a problem ingredient no matter how small and broken down you think it is.””

“Hi babysitter (aka trusted family member if you have one). Here is my daughter’s 36 page care plan. Don’t feed anything I haven’t set aside for her. Wash your hands extensively. And I may question you extensively about what her poo looks like. Actually, can you take pictures? “

“”no corn listed in the ingredients” does NOT mean there is no corn in a product. “

“H1/H2 blockers, vinegar poop, acid rash, baking soda bath, terrible sleep, reflux, delayed vomit, only a handful of safes.”

“The ER doctors said “oh are you a first time Mom?” After implying I shouldn’t have brought my baby in for a stomach bug 🤬”

“Don’t let her eat that piece of paper, some ink has soy derivative”

“Checks ingredient list on food items we buy EVERY WEEK, because you never know if they are going to change “

“I’m on a TED (Total Elimination Diet), going down to only several individual ingredients because my baby reacts to the food I eat and she is only a couple months old and fails everything I trial”

This is a small portion of the many heartbreaking comments. I have seen parents scared to have another kid for fear of the same issue or worse.

I made a post last year that goes more in depth on rare disease in general. Check it out here.

I want to close the same way I did last year. I encourage you all to read up about a loved ones disease, rare or not, and know how you can support them. Whether they are in need of financial support for programs, help with just staying on top of their house (due to an even busier schedule than most) or even just taking them out for coffee and listening. Trust me, when loved ones research and are able to participate in a conversation about the condition, bring forward suggestions or ideas and overall just are there, it means a lot!

References

Rarediseaseday.org

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/incontinentia-pigmenti/

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/food-protein-induced-enterocolitis-syndrome/

https://foodallergycanada.ca/food-allergy-basics/food-allergies-101/what-are-food-allergies/food-protein-induced-enterocolitis-syndrome-fpies/?gclid=CjwKCAiAm-2BBhANEiwAe7eyFPrYlFDC8ZAy16jHqPqzEj90PCwLPDj1UgKkxwfzT8PsctszeCcA5RoCPecQAvD_BwE

https://foodallergycanada.ca/community-fpies-focus/

Peach Scones with Honey Vanilla Glaze

I am a huge fan of brunch, and what is a brunch without fresh scones?

Made with fresh peach scones from summer

I have made this recipe many times, it has turned out soft, fluffy and delicious every time. Most recently I made strawberry scones from dehydrated strawberry pieces I had from this summer, and it was to die for. Almost as good as fresh, I just had to rehydrate the strawberry pieces in hot water for 5 minutes.

Strawberry scones made with home-dehydrated strawberry pieces

Peach Scones with a Honey Vanilla Glaze

  • Servings: 8
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Delicious, fluffy, buttery scones with fresh peaches or other desired fruit and finished with a delicious honey glaze.

Ingredients

Scones:
2 C all purpose flour/gluten free flour (I use my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3 Tbsp cane sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder (or 3/4 tsp baking soda and 2 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar) (1)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (2)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter/vegan butter/coconut oil, cold, in 1/4 inch cubes (3)
1 C heavy cream/full fat coconut milk + 1 Tbsp to brush on the scones (4)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (5)
1 C diced fresh peeled peaches/strawberries (or rehydrated fruit)

Glaze:
1 C icing sugar (6)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (5)
2 Tbsp milk/milk alternative (4)

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder (or baking soda if using), cinnamon and salt.
  3. Use a pastry blender to quickly cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Mix until it resembles coarse meal with a few large butter lumps.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together 1 C cream, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar (if using). Pour liquid ingredients over the flour mixture, stir with spatula until dough begins to form. Don’t over mix. Fold in the fruit gently.
  5. Transfer dough to the Silpat, slightly floured, and knead by hand just until it forms a ball. Do not overwork the dough.
  6. Form scones by patting the dough into a 1 inch thick circle Use a sharp knife to cute into 8 triangles.
  7. Place tray in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  8. Remove the scones from the freezer, lightly brush with additional heavy cream. Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until scones are golden brown on the bottom and edges.
  9. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  10. While cooling, make the honey vanilla glaze by whisking the sugar, honey, vanilla and milk together. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones. Serve.

Notes
(1) Baking Powder: Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(2) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive and require brand specific salt.
(3) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted), also be careful of the diet of the cows. Many of vegan butter have corn derivatives.
(4) Coconut Milk: Corn allergy – ensure coconut milk is additive free
(5) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(6) Powdered sugar: Corn Allergy – Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar uses tapioca starch instead. This is an ok option for corn lite, but trial carefully as there is a lot of cross contamination. It is possible to make your own. This is what we do, it is just time consuming.

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are one of those easy meals that are so nice to have in the freezer, ready for a simple fries night or a quick lunch. Life with kids makes simple easy meals a necessity. For those with little ones with allergies you know how difficult it is to find safe meals like this.

I was desperate for easy finger food to add to fries night which we often have twice a month, and everything I made V didn’t like. Breaded chicken tenders were a huge no from her. I tried several chicken nugget styles and recipes. Baked just wasn’t working either, no one liked them. And then I found this recipe. I have made it from straight ground chicken, but you can start with the chicken breasts as well.

Chicken Nuggets

  • Servings: 42 nuggets
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An easy alternative to the chicken nuggets you find in the store, but you actually know exactly what is in them.

Ingredients
18 oz boneless skinless chicken breast/ground chicken (1)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2)
3/4 tsp parsley flakes (3)
3/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp onion powder, heaping
1/4 tsp pepper, heaping
3 large eggs, beaten/flax eggs (allow to set for 5 min) (4)
1 1/2 C flour/gluten free flour (I use white rice flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt (2)
2 C deep frying oil (canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil etc.) (5)

Directions

  1. Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Make flax eggs, if using. Allow to set for 5 min. I found the flax egg mixture was slightly too thick, add more water if needed.
  2. Combine flour and salt and put in a shallow bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet or saucepan on medium-high heat. Set a candy thermometer in place. Keep an eye on the temperature to avoid burning your oil.
  4. While oil is heating, cut chicken breast into cubes and whir in a food processor until a fine paste, or use ground chicken. Combine chicken with salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder and pepper in a medium size bowl.
  5. Make 42 balls with the chicken mixture, about 1 Tbsp per.
  6. Roll ball in flour, then coat in egg, then recoat in flour. Use your fingers to press ball down to flatten into a nugget.
  7. Once oil is 350-365 degrees place as many nuggets into the oil as possible, frying until golden brown. Depending on depth of oil, you may need to turn halfway through. Takes approximately 7 min to fry. Use a digital meat thermometer if desired to confirm chicken is cooked fully (165 degrees).
  8. Remove and place on a towel lined plate or pan. Enjoy!
  9. Keeps in sealed container in the fridge for several days. Freezes well for easy leftovers. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Notes:
(1) Chicken: Corn Allergy – The carcass may be sprayed with citric acid or some other anti-bacterial. The poultry may be packaged on a Styrofoam tray containing a citric acid-saturated soaker pad underneath the poultry, and then wrapped with shrinkwrap or plastic wrap. A whole chicken or turkey is usually wrapped in plastic. The inside of the packaging may contain cornstarch, to keep the poultry from sticking to the packaging. More on corn free meat processing. In addition they are typically fed corn as part of their diet.
(2) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive and require brand specific salt.
(3) Spices: Corn Allergy – Dried spices can be treated with a corny preservative. Penzey’s and Frontier single ingredient spices are well tolerated.
(4) Egg/Egg replacer: Corn allergy – Eggs are washed with a commercial cleaner that is full of corn products. The egg shells are porous and absorb the cleaner, so many with corn allergies have issues with eggs. Less common is to have issues with eggs due to what the chickens are eating. I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(5) Vegetable oil: Corn Allergy – Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful. If bottled in plastic, the bottles can be corn-derived. The oils can be rendered corny during refining. Need to determine what is used during the extraction process (alcohol or other medium?), and if any defoaming agents are used. Citric acid can be used as a degummer as well in safflower, sunflower, canola (rapeseed), soy, and flax oil.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts

Ever been walking along the beachfront, or at a farmers market and pass the mini donuts truck and get a massive craving for donuts that you can’t eat due to allergies? No, just me? This is a great recipe that makes light baked gluten free donuts. Definitely a must try recipe, and relatively quick to whip up. Makes me wonder why I haven’t made them in a few years.

I don’t think I am the only one out there that has yet to get pregnancy cravings, but breastfeeding cravings, those are a definite thing in this household! I may or may not have made several batches of these recently to curb those cravings. Even better than I remember them from before.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts

  • Servings: 4 dozen mini donuts or 18 large donuts
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I used to make these regularly and for some strange reason I kept the recipe in my binder, unused, for several years! I recently pulled it out and make a couple new tweaks, making it better than ever.

Ingredients
Donuts:
1/4 C unsalted butter/coconut oil/vegan butter, room temperature (1)
1/4 C vegetable oil (I have used olive, coconut, and sunflower oil) (2)
1/2 C cane sugar
1/3 C brown sugar/coconut sugar (3)
2 large eggs/flax egg (allow 5 min to thicken) (4)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (5)
2 2/3 C (320 g) gluten free all purpose flour (I use my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
1 1/2 tsp psyllium husk fibre/1/2 tsp xanthan gum (6)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 3/8 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar) (7)
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 – 1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt (8)
1 C milk/milk alternative (I use coconut milk) (9)

Topping:
5 Tbsp salted butter/coconut oil/vegan butter, melted (1)
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 C sugar

Directions

Donut:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease donut pan (10)
  2. Using your electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil and sugars until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and apple cider vinegar (if using), beat until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder (or baking soda if using), baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix on low until just combined.
  6. Scoop batter into a ziploc bag or a piping bag, cut off the tip/corner and begin piping the batter into the cavities of the donut pan, fill almost flush to the top of the pan.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes until pale golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven, let sit for 2-3 minutes in the pan Turn over and cool on a cooling rack.
  9. Repeat with remaining batter.
  10. While cooling, make the topping.

Topping:

  1. Melt the butter/alternative in a small bowl.
  2. In another small bowl whisk together the cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Take each cooled donut, dunk top half into melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mix. Place on cooling rack or tray to set, enjoy.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. I haven’t tried freezing them yet, they never make it that far.

NOTES:
(1) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted), also be careful of the diet of the cows. Many of vegan butters have corn derivatives.
(2) Vegetable oil: Corn Allergy – Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. I usually use grapeseed oil. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful.
(3) Brown Sugar: Corn Allergy – depending on sensitivity, you may need to make your own with safe molasses and sugar. Alternatives include coconut palm sugar.
(4) Egg/Replacer: Corn allergy – Eggs are washed with a commercial cleaner that is full of corn products. The egg shells are porous and absorb the cleaner, so many with corn allergies have issues with eggs. Less common is to have issues with eggs due to what the chickens are eating. I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(5) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(6) Xanthan Gum: Corn Allergy  – xanthan gum is iffy with corn allergies due to how they make it. We made the switch to psyllium husk fibre in our house.
(7) Baking Powder: Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(8) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive and require brand specific salt.
(9) Coconut Milk: Corn allergy – ensure coconut milk is additive free
(10) Grease: Corn & Soy Allergy – PAM is full of contaminated corn oils and soy oil. I use safe oil & grease with my hands or a silicone brush. You can buy oil mister bottles and fill with your own safe oil as well.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

As with many things gluten free, so many say “This is the best recipe I have tried!” or “tastes just like the original”. It is frustrating to say the least. I have tried close to a dozen different cinnamon bun recipes and this is the best one I have tried by far.

I then made this recipe a good 5+ times. I have altered it a little each time. I think that it is the best it is going to get at this point.

Several tips I have, do not lament if you think, there is no way this recipe is going to work, it is so loose. The first time I actually made it I actually made a different batch after because I thought there is no way this is turning out. However when it came out of the oven I was pleasantly surprised! It is quite soft and as you can see in the photo below, the sides collapse down a bit as it is so soft. This moisture helps the cinnamon buns stay fluffy after they are baked. Most gluten free cinnamon rolls are quite dry, so this is pleasant change of pace.

Use the plastic wrap to help roll it, otherwise it won’t turn out as nice spirals. In addition, don’t roll the dough too thin. I did this once and found it was more like a cinnamon spiral cake. It baked together rather than having distinct layers that you can pull apart, which is the best part of cinnamon buns! Lastly, enjoy!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

  • Servings: 8
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These light, fluffy gluten free cinnamon rolls, can be prepared the night before.

Ingredients:
Dough:
2/3 C milk/milk alternative (I use coconut milk)
1 Tbsp butter/vegan butter (I use miyokos) (1)
1 packet (7g) yeast (2)
1/4 C granulated cane sugar
1/2 C potato starch
1/2 C brown rice flour
1/4 C fine ground almond flour
1/4 C tapioca starch plus more for flouring surface
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 T psyllium husk fibre (or 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) (3)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 3/4 tsp baking soda + 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar) (4)
1/2 tsp salt (5)
1 egg/flax egg – 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal, 2 Tbsp warm water (6)
1/4 C oil (olive oil, coconut oil etc)
1/2 tsp vanilla (7)

Filling:
1/3 C butter/vegan butter softened (1)
1/2 C brown sugar/coconut palm sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon

Frosting:
2 T butter/vegan butter (1)
1 C powdered sugar (8)
1/2 tsp vanilla (7)
1 1/2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & lightly flour a pie plate (9)

Dough:

  1. Make flax egg, if using. Mix 1 Tbsp flax seed meal with 2 Tbsp warm water, sit for 5 min.
  2. Combine yeast & sugar in a mixer bowl.
  3. Microwave/heat milk and 1 Tbsp butter to approximately 110-115 degrees. Whisk into yeast mixture and set aside to proof.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together potato starch, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, almond flour, baking soda, psyllium husk fibre (or xanthan gum), baking powder (or baking soda if using) and salt.
  5. Once yeast is proofed add in egg, oil, and vanilla (and apple cider vinegar if using). Mix for a moment, begin slowly adding in the flour mixture. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Beating long enough is essential, GF flours are “thirsty”, the dough will thicken & lose it’s stickiness as you beat it. Note, it will still be quite wet and loose.
  6. Cover your surface with plastic wrap, coating lightly with tapioca starch. Place dough in center, sprinkling with more tapioca starch and another sheet of plastic wrap. Roll out to approximately 13″ x 10″. Carefully peel off the top layer of plastic wrap.

Filling:

  1. Use a knife or spatula to gently spread the softened butter over the dough evenly, leaving 1/2″ space around the edges.
  2. In a small bowl combine brown sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the dough.
  3. Roll the dough: start on the shorter sides, gently roll your dough into a log form using the plastic to “lift & roll” the dough. Try to make it as tight as possible, however don’t try to unroll it and retry, it is too sticky for that.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with tapioca starch again. Dip a sharp knife into tapioca starch & cut into 8 pieces.
  5. Place the rolls, cut side down, in a prepared pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and tea towel, placing in a warm spot, rising for 15 minutes. (10)
  6. Bake 22-27 minutes until tops are golden brown

Icing:

  1. In a mixing bowl beat ingredients in a bowl. I use a hand crank whisk.
  2. Spread on top of cinnamon rolls 15-30 minutes after they are out of the oven. Enjoy

Notes:

(1) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted). Many of vegan butter have corn derivatives.
(2) Yeast: Corn allergy – avoid all yeast that contains any additives, most contain ascorbic acid, which is derived from corn. Red Star Active Dry Yeast is the only one that is free of any additives, it has to be the pack of 3 single packages.
(3) Xanthan Gum: Corn Allergy  – xanthan gum is iffy with corn allergies due to how they make it. We made the switch to psyllium husk fibre in our house.
(4) Baking Powder: Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(5) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(6) Egg Replacer: Corn allergy – I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(7) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(8) Powdered sugar: Corn Allergy – Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar uses tapioca starch instead. This is an ok option for corn lite, but trial carefully as there is a lot of cross contamination. It is possible to make your own. This is what we do, it is just time consuming.
(9) Grease: Corn & Soy Allergy – PAM is full of contaminated corn oils and soy oil. I use safe oil & grease with my hands or silicone brush. You can buy oil mister bottles and fill with your own safe oil as well.
(10) Night before preparation: Once the rolls are in the pie plate, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. In the morning set out at least 25 minutes before baking.

Gluten Free Frosted Sugar Cookies

Somehow, even though we had no company or travel, we were more busy than ever coming up to Christmas this year. This might have to do with a newborn in the house… This meant I didn’t get to Christmas baking before Christmas day. Instead, V and I made cookies on Boxing day, by that I mean I made the cookies, she helped pour some ingredients into the bowl and she selected the cookie cutters. Strangely our toddler didn’t want to cut the cookies out herself.

This cookie recipe I used to make years ago with the shortening that the recipe calls for. Since at this moment in time we don’t have a safe shortening I decided to tweak the recipe, and they turned out fantastic. So great, that I made a second batch yesterday because we ate all of them already.

You will notice one photo has decorated cookies while the rest are just white icing. The decorated cookies were from before our corn allergy diagnosis. I didn’t bother trying to add some natural food coloring to my icing this time around, however there are many ways to do this safely for different allergies. I may have to experiment.

Gluten Free Frosted Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen cookies
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This easy and delicious recipe is great for the holidays, birthdays or just any ordinary day. Enjoy!

Ingredients
For the Cookies:
1 C shortening/vegan butter (I use miyokos butter) (1)
1 C granulated cane sugar
1 large egg, cold/flax egg (allow to thicken for 5 min) (2)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (3)
3 C Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp sea salt (4)
Tapioca starch for rolling out the dough

For the Frosting:
1/2 C vegan butter (1)
1/2 C shortening/vegan butter (1)
3 C icing sugar (5)
1 tsp vanilla extract (3)
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage
food coloring (optional) (6)
sprinkles (optional) (7)

Directions:
To make the Cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the shortening/vegan butter and sugar until light & creamy (approximately 2 minutes). Mix in the egg & vanilla extract.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mix low speed until completely incorporated. The dough should be slightly firm but still pliable, not sticky.
  4. Separate into 2 balls. Flour working surface with tapioca starch. Roll out half the dough on floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap and roll out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick or less. Using desired shapes/cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Transfer carefully to cookie sheets, repeat with remaining dough. Dough scraps can be re-rolled. Use additional flour only as needed.
  5. If using vegan butter, refrigerate for 5 minutes before baking. Bake 8-14 minutes (all depends on size of cookie cutters & thickness of dough). Cool cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the Frosting:

  1. Mix the shortening, vegan butter & powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
  2. Beat on medium-high for 1 minute.
  3. Mix in vanilla and milk until the frosting is light & fluffy, about 1 minute or less.
  4. Incorporate food coloring (optional)
  5. Frost the cookies, top with sprinkles (optional). Serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to serve

Notes:

(1) If using shortening in the dough it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, however if using vegan butter it bakes much better if chilled.
(2) Egg Replacer: Corn allergy – I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy. Bob’s Red Mill works as a great replacer, however it has a lot of cross contamination and isn’t recommended at all with corn allergies. You could also use a flax egg as an alternative.
(3) Vanilla: Corn Allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, you may need to make your own
(4) Salt: Corn Allergy – Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(5) Powdered sugar: Corn Allergy – Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar uses tapioca starch instead. This is an ok option for corn lite, but trial carefully as there is a lot of cross contamination. It is possible to make your own. This is what we do, it is just time consuming.
(6) Food coloring: Corn Allergy – coloring often in an alcohol base, usually corn. One can use natural coloring if desired. Beet root powder, matcha tea powder, etc.
(7) Sprinkles: Corn Allergy – made with corn starch and corn syrup, avoid if needed

Oat Flaxseed Crackers

Since our house has issues with soy, I have yet to find store bought crackers that are not made in the same facility as other soy products. This means that there were no crackers in our house for almost 2 years.

I discovered this recipe about a month ago, and I have made them at least once a week since finding it. I even used these crackers to participate in communion a couple weeks ago.

For the gluten free flour mix in the recipe I have used both my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix as well as my Gluten Free Baking Mix. They both work really well, but I find that using the Baking mix gave the crackers a bit more a soft snap. They actually reminded me of Breton crackers.

I have tried a few different variations of this recipe, including topping it with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chopped dried rosemary etc. I would like to try putting some vegetable powder in the recipe one of these days as well!

I am not sure how long these keep for on the counter as they get scarfed pretty quickly at our house. They have lasted for 1 week without going soft or stale. Beyond that, you will have to let me know.

Oat Flaxseed Crackers

  • Servings: 50 crackers
  • Print

Ingredients
3/4 C Gluten free flour (I use my Gluten Free Baking Mix)
2/3 C oat flour/almond meal
1/4 tsp baking powder (or 1/16 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (I use golden flaxseed meal)
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 Tbsp oil (I prefer coconut, olive oil works just as well)
3-5 Tbsp cold water
dash topping/herbs (salt, garlic etc)

Directions

  1. Pulse dry ingredients in food processor until mixed.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, pulse.
  3. Flatten mix onto silicone baking sheets. To make even crackers roll out onto a silpat mat, then place on a cookie sheet.
  4. Cut into shapes using a knife or pastry cutter wheel. Poke several holes per cracker.
  5. Freeze for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 325.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-30 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  7. Let cool before storing covered at room temperature. Keeps for at least one week.

Pancakes for Everyone

I have been making this recipe for almost 2 years and my family can’t get enough. I have made it many different ways with different flours, with and without eggs, different butter/oils etc. I hope you can enjoy these as much as my family does.

All-Around Pancakes

So this recipe is amazing. Somehow it works no matter what substitutes I have made to it. It seriously is the perfect recipe! I definitely recommend trying it.

Ingredients
1 1/2 C flour + more if needed, gluten free if needed (I use my Gluten Free No ‘Gum’ Flour Mix) (1)
3 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 1 tsp baking soda and 3 tsp apple cider vinegar) (2)
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp cane sugar
1 1/4 C milk/milk replacer (I use light coconut milk)
1 egg/egg replacer (I use a flax egg [1 Tbsp flaxseed meal, 2 Tbsp warm water]) (3)
3 Tbsp butter/vegan butter/coconut oil, melted (I use miyokos butter) (4)

Directions

  1. Make flax eggs (omit if using regular eggs) in small bowl by combining flaxseed meal and water, mix and let sit for 5 min.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder (or baking soda), salt and sugar. Make a well in center.
  3. Combine the milk, egg/egg replacer, melted butter/oil (and apple cider vinegar if using).
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, mixing until smooth. If using Gluten Free No ‘Gum’ Flour you will likely need to add an additional 1/4 C of flour so it isn’t too runny.
  5. Heat a lightly oiled griddle/frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop batter onto the pan, about 1/4 C for each pancake. I make smaller pancakes for my toddler. Brown on both sides, serve hot and enjoy.
  6. Freeze extra pancakes in a sealed bag or container, reheat and enjoy

Notes
(1) Gluten Free Flour: Gluten allergy – If you are using a standard 1:1 gluten free flour mix, such as my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, that has psyllium husk fibre/xanthan gum, it will cause your batter to be quite thick. You will need to spread the pancakes out on the pan. If using my Gluten Free No ‘Gum’ Flour, you will need to add an additional 1/4 C approximately.
(2) Baking Powder: Corn & Grape Allergy – Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be. Cream of tartar is made from grapes, if you have a grape allergy; you just need 1/4 of powder for baking soda and remainder in apple cider vinegar
(3) Egg: Corn allergy – Eggs are washed with a commercial cleaner that is full of corn products. The egg shells are porous and absorb the cleaner, so many with corn allergies have issues with eggs. Less common is to have issues with eggs due to what the chickens are eating.
Egg Replacer: Corn allergy – I have found that many of the egg replacers out there use corn starch, so beware which one you buy.
(4) Butter: Dairy & Corn Allergy – Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELTEarth BalanceMiyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter). Beware of salt in butter if corn allergic (look for sea salt/unsalted), also be careful of the diet of the cows. Many vegan butter have corn derivatives.

Gluten Free No “Gum” Flour Mix

Gluten Free No 'Gum' Flour Mix

A fantastic, simple flour mix great for delicate things such as pancakes, crepes, puddings or to use in recipes to control the amount of binding ingredient (psyllium husk/xanthan gum) in a delicate cake recipe such as sponge cake or champagne cake. Also great in gravies or sauces.

Ingredients
924 grams White Rice Flour
308 grams Potato Starch
168 grams Tapioca Starch

Directions
1. Whisk all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Store in a sealed container in a dry, cool place in your kitchen