Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

Ohai!

Yes, I do have a blog. I also have a husband who's been out of town for over four weeks (save less than 48 hours when he was home and got sent right back out) and a baby who keeps! going! to! the! doctor!

Not that anything is seriously wrong, of course. Or, rather, not that anything is isn't manageable.

Emerson has acid reflux. I mean, acid reflux. He can out-acid-reflux anyone. Is there a competition for that? 'Cause he'd win. I sure hope there's a trophy.

We started fake-prevacid. My doctor is all, IT'S GENERIC, LAURA, NOT FAKE. And I'm all GENERIC, FAKE, WHATEVER. THE POINT IS THAT IT'S NOT AUTHENTICATED OR SOMETHING.

Because when you have a husband out of town and a baby that can puke further than you can throw a soaking burp cloth, you begin to lose your mind and have high hopes for fancy trophies.

So! Yes! Medicine! Emerson started the fake prevacid and I'll be damned if he didn't immediately break out into a rash.

And that's the thing with off-name-brand medicines: you can rarely tell if the binder/filler/crap-they-put-in-the-medicine-that-isn't-medicine-itself is gluten-free or not. Name brands, hells yes, you can look that up and know if it's gluten-free or not.

In fact, that website is my best friend.

Non-name-brands. Yeah. Not usually. "Starch" is common and you never know if it's wheat or corn. There's been many times I've had to make our pharmacy get a name-brand prescription for me because that's the only way to get it gluten-free.

So Emery got fake medicine. A pill. A pill I had to break in half, crush with a spoon, dissolve in water BUT DOESN'T REALLY DISSOLVE IN WATER, ONLY THE BINDER PART and try to get these tiny snowball things in him, instead of him spitting them out and GO AHEAD AND ASK ME HOW WELL THAT SYSTEM WORKED.

Hint: he was still in running for a four-foot gold-plated trophy.

When he started the medicine his weight at the 30th percentile. And that's just... tiny. For our family, at least. Griffin always ran around the 85th percentile and Darwin around the 65th. Thirtieth percentile? What's wrong with mah baybay?

After two weeks I called the doctor and was all rash! snowballs! spittle! six foot pure platinum trophy!

So she was all GAH. And I was all iknowrite?

I took him in and he had dropped to the 27th percentile. And she was freaked out by his rash. So we switched his fake prevacid to compounded certified gluten-free prevacid (fake prevacid? I don't know) and BAM! Baby cleared up. Baby doesn't puke as much.

Win-win.

I took him back in yesterday, another two weeks later and he's still at the 27th percentile. But, at least he's not at the 26th percentile.

Now, if we can just keep Aaron in town longer than the Thanksgiving holiday, maybe I won't be so bat-shit crazy.


Why are you looking at me like that? I'm not that bat-shit crazy. And where's my diamond-encrusted ten foot trophy?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Best Evah Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know with a title of "Best Evah" something's got to be good. And better deliver. And these will. I promise.

(And a post title that's not a song lyric! SHOCKER! But when it's two months from now and you want to make some damn cookies 'cause someone pissed you off is when you'll realize my omnipotence awesomeness and be thankful.)

Now, let me vent that I have, in fact, been in a funk for quite awhile. Not a depression funk per se ('cause, trust me, I had one of those post-pregnancy before and stared at our kitchen knives, this is definitely not that kind of a funk), but a food funk.

A food funk as in my gluten-free flour mix had become a FAIL due to manufacturer's inconsistencies of grinding the flours the same texture from batch-to-batch (hell, within a bag once I had super-fine to crazy-course grind brown flour) and flours being gross (rotten? mildew-y? I have no idea, just gross) at the time of purchase. So for the past year, year-and-a-half I have hardly been baking.

So I've been experimenting, trying new things - and let me tell you, what we can try is quite narrow. Including gluten and soy issues (like me), Griffin and Darwin also have serious dairy, nut and legume allergies. Which means figuring out food is extra fun for me.

Two weeks ago I bit the bullet and tried King Arthur's gluten-free brownie mix (was kinda bitter, not very chocolate-y) and then their all-purpose flour mix. Finally, a consist gluten-free flour mix that we can all have (ingredients are white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch and brown rice flour) and I don't have do some voodoo hand mixing.

Now, let's be clear: I didn't receive anything for free, they don't know me from Sam Hill and this stuff is hella expensive. I'm talking locally paying $5.79 plus tax for just over four cups of flour.

Welcome to the Gluten-Free Lifestyle: we hope you have no other interests other than eating 'cause you're not gonna be able to afford them anyway.

And I admit: we sacrifice and pinch and save to keep up with my foodie ways. I like to cook, we all like to eat. And we're lucky that we kinda-sorta make it work.

Now, I'm not saying this mix is so magical that it resolved my funk: I resolved my funk. Or, I'm working to resolve my food funk. I'm a work in progress goddammit.

But I guarantee these are damn good cookies. And to answer your questions: yes, I'm sure you can substitute other gluten-free flours for the King Arthur I use. I was just telling you what I use in case you wanted ideas. And yes, you can make these cookies non-gluten-free too - use the same amount of your wheat-y flour and do not add the xantham gum. Yes, this recipe can be halved - or doubled. And yes, you could make this with less chocolate but just don't tell me 'cause then I don't think we could be friends.


Best Evah Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy-free too!)

1 cup shortening*
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
3 cups gluten-free flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips**
1 cup dark chocolate chips**

Preheat over to 350.

In a large bowl cream shortening and brown sugar to fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add salt, soda and xantham gum, scrap the sides and mix a bit more. Slowly add flour and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolates and stir by hand.

Let dough set at room temperature ten minutes to two hours - this allow it to melt together and I got the idea from Jackques P├ępin so you know it's a good idea.

On a lined cookie spoon blobs of dough (whatever size you like) and then bake 7 to 12 minutes, until done. For a "standard" size cookie I prefer eight minutes, which is golden on the outside and still chewy all around.

Recipe makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies depending on size and how much cookie dough you eat.

Not that I know anything about eating cookie dough. Ahem.

*I use organic gluten-free certified palm shortening. Not a dairy-free household? Substitute half the shortening for an equal amount of room temperature butter. Yum.

**I use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips and Whole Foods' 365 dark chocolate chunks - both are gluten & dairy free.

Monday, November 01, 2010

They Did the Mash

"Darth Vader, please stop using the force on me. Phantom of the Night? Could you please move closer to Daddy? Yoda.."

"That's MASTER YODA!"

"Okay, Master Yoda? Smile!"


Halloween 2010