Monday, June 9, 2014

Grain Free Apple Cake


4 eggs  (or the equivalent in flax or chia goo)
 1 ¾ cups coconut sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup melted coconut oil
 2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
6 -8 medium Gala, Fuji, or Honey Crisp apples
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. guar gum

Preheat oven to 350*.   
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, syrup,  and oil.
Peel and slice the apples, adding to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep them from turning brown).
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and guar gum.  Add to the ingredients in the large bowl.  Mix well until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients.
Coat a 9x13” or two round 9” pans with cooking spray.
Pour mixture into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

This is an adaptation of the Grain Free Apple Cake recipe that I just posted.  I wanted a cake that I could eat, that was free of grain and refined sugar, as well as dairy, soy, and corn.    The cake itself is a bit crumbly - but oh so filling and yummy!   

Gluten Free Apple Cake


2 eggs  (or 2 Tbsp. flax or chia seed dissolved in 6 Tbsp. hot water)
1 ¾ cups pure cane sugar (C & H or Domino brand)
2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup grapeseed oil
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. guar gum

Preheat oven to 350*.   
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and oil.
Peel and slice the apples, adding to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep them from turning brown).
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and guar gum.  Add to the ingredients in the large bowl.  Mix well until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients.
Coat a 9x13” or two round 9” pans with cooking spray.
Pour mixture into prepared pans.
Bake for approximately 55 minutes.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Experiencing Anaphylaxis

Experiencing Anaphylaxis


I have experienced anaphylaxis several times (including to airborne milk in cheese cracker crumbs and powdered milk in a bread mix), but this past Thursday (9/19/13) was by far the worst accident I’ve had - to chocolate candy with milk in it.  I made a serious error and mistook the label for the similar candy that is dark chocolate and dairy free. 

My tongue started tingling and swelling in under 30 seconds. My throat felt like it was closing, I got my short, raspy asthma cough, severe congestion that was draining down my swollen throat and choking me, stomach pain, loss of voice, and then confusion/brain fog. I used my rescue inhaler while I looked at the package to see what I’d done, then took Benadryl as my husband drove me to the ER (less than 5 minutes away). I still thought I was having a panic attack and not a reaction.  At the ER, they immediately injected epinephrine into my upper right arm, and put an IV in my left forearm for the steroids. My veins were collapsing, so it was very difficult and painful, and the bruise I have today is still swollen and both arms are sore in spite of repeated applications of arnica gel. Epinephrine hurts after it’s injected, and the shaky muscles are worse than albuterol shakes by a landslide!  Of course, I’m also reacting to the adhesive from the tape they used when they removed my IV when they released me after a few hours.   

 As I expected, less than four hours after the incident, I started getting the severe drainage of a second wave of a reaction, but Benadryl stopped it before it got too bad. I had to have a full dose of Benadryl exactly four hours after the last dose or I’d start getting full body itchy again, and the hives from the adhesive came back.  A good friend told me to take Pepcid for the stomach pain of the reaction, and while it hasn’t totally eliminated the painful cramps and emptying of my system, it HAS helped.  It has also eliminated the heartburn I get from taking Prednisone, which is a huge blessing at this point! 

  I spent the day after the reaction in my recliner, taking a full dose of Benadryl every four hours like clockwork, and stoned out of my brains or sleeping when I wasn’t in the bathroom.  I ate when I was hungry, which I was especially by dinner time.  My almost eleven year old son made his first solo dinner (as I gave instructions from my recliner, thankful to be able to watch him so closely) for all of us.  He made our favorite Turkey Spinach Noodle Bowl from scratch.  I am such a proud mama!
When I explained the huge bruise on my arm to my doctor’s nurse the next morning (today) , she gave me a funny look and said “Honey, your veins were collapsing during anaphylaxis, so that all the blood could get to your heart and brain where it belonged. Of course it (putting the IV in) would be painful and difficult and would leave a large bruise.  Almost dying is a pretty big deal.”  Yes, that it is.

 I’ve managed on only one dose of Benadryl all day today (9/21), since I’ve had only minor itching and been alone with my kids (who also have anaphylactic allergies to many things), though Pepcid has still been my friend.  I’d forgotten how long a reaction of this kind takes to leave my body, and the side effects of the epinepherine, albuterol, and prednisone are also taking a toll. It’s now just over 48 hours later and I’m still dizzy, having major stomach pains, diarrhea, shaking, sore throat, and headache. At least my asthma is back under control. 

I have to look at the bright sides. #1 – I am alive, and that is HUGE and wonderful!   #2 - I am able to remember and describe what happens during a severe reaction so that I can educate my kids and other people. #3 - I’ve realized that I was very lucky that some of my past anaphylactic reactions didn’t kill me. #4 – I now know without any doubt to use my Epi Pen AS SOON AS I start to feel my throat or tongue swelling, or as soon as I know I’ve ingested or inhaled anything with either milk or walnuts – regardless of if I have symptoms yet or not. #5 - I have learned that no matter how careful I think I am, accidents can still happen, and that since I am human, they will happen again. I have to get over bashing myself for my mistake and be thankful that my husband was still home and that I wasn’t alone when it happened. I have to give myself permission and time to heal from this, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

My bruise and the remnants of the tape reaction.

9-25-13   Updates on healing:   I spent the entire day in my recliner, mostly sleeping, with massive stomach pain but not itching on Day 3 (9/22). My bruise makes sleeping positions challenging and painful.   We tried to go to church, but my stomach decided that was not in the cards.   Day 4 (9/23) - I finally got to go back to work (after being off since my last asthma flare/ER visit on the 12th), just to ride along on the route I'd be taking over the next day.  I needed Pepcid before breakfast, and was so wiped out from just riding  that I slept the entire 3 1/2 hours between routes; then fell asleep again when I got home and woke just enough to eat a bit of dinner and get into bed.  The stomach pain was wicked bad still.    Day 5 (9/24) I still needed Pepcid, but had a bit more energy - enough to do my grocery shopping and my route. The pain was intermittent, and tolerable enough to breathe through as I drove.  I did crash as soon as possible after dinner and a long soak in an epsom salts bath, however.  Today is the end of Day 6 (9/25).  I've run like a crazy person b/c of my schedule, but when I've been home I've been sleeping.  I still had to take Pepcid.. and had some stomach pain, though no where near what it has been in either intensity or duration.  I'm really hoping that tomorrow will be even better as far as pain and energy go.  My bruise is looking worse as i heals, as is typical....   Today it is very very sore underneath the bruise, around my elbow.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wedding Pictures!

My favorite photo of us, sitting on the bench in my mom's garden under my brother's tree.

Such a sweet, private moment with my husband and our all time favorite Harvest Day Cake!

Our cake was my Harvest Day Cake, with some chocolate cupcakes - made by a good friend of Steve's.

After the ceremony, playing in Coval Creek. I LOVE Mandie behind us!

Siren Song

My sweet Mandie, asking permission to walk in the water.

Under my brother's Empress tree in his memory garden in my parent's yard.

I love this shot of my hair and my flowers.

My wonderful wedding party!

Steve and his guys - Jim, Karl, Truman, and Hunter.

My wonderful women - Cristina, Michelle, Shelby, and my Mandie.

Cristina, Michelle, and I.  I love these ladies so much!

My posed "moment of reflection". It does show off my dress well. I am very happy with how it turned out!

My two princesses - Shelby and Mandie - showing off their dresses I made.

Shelby and Truman have been inseparable since Shelby was born!

Shelby and I were really really missing her mama.

My wonderful, sweet boys. Hunter cracks me up in his hat and binoculars!

I LOVE this shot of the smiles on the guys faces!

My favorite shot of my four kiddos! (Shelby's been my princess since she was born.)

I love this photo - especially the mischievous looks on Mandie & Hunter's faces!

Not sure what cracked Hunter up, but it's a great photo of my loves.

My babies and I.

One of my favorite of all our photos - heading off into our new life together. I also love the back of Mandie's dress!

With Pastor Howard Smith. He had everyone laughing through the ceremony!

Our happy walk to the altar.

Hunter getting last minute instructions on the carrying of the ring book!

This one is so sweet! Shelby & Truman heading towards the ceremony.

Mandie telling Steve how much she loves him before the ceremony.  I LOVE her hair in this shot!

My friend/makeup artist Sharon grabbing a shot of Mandie and I after hair and makeup was done.

  Sorry these are in reverse order.  I have no idea how to get them back to the correct order I started with! lol    

 Steve and I wed on an amazingly beautiful Monday in May, in an area which had been under several feet of water just two weeks beforehand.   We were surrounded by our very best friends and family, who worked hard to help us celebrate our wedding the way we wanted to - outside, with our dear friends and family present.  We got married at Coval Creek at Ottawa Friendship House, and had the reception at my parents home in South Ottawa.   Friends & family came from all over the state of IL, as well as IA, CO, CA, WI, and AK to share our day with us.  Two of my dearest friends, whom I've been close to since grade school, came from CO, and CA to celebrate. 

  The night before the wedding Michelle, Cristina, and Robin came to our house and helped with a pre-wedding dinner before spending the night with us.  Deborah had come in from CA a day before that, and attended our dinner and was the biggest blessing with all of her help.    My dear friend and Mary Kay Consultant - Sharon - came to our house the morning of the wedding and did makeup for me, Cristina, and Michelle.  My wonderful cousin Cristina did all of our hair, while Michelle (Steve's niece/my dear, dear friend, came all the way from AK via her sister's NH wedding) was my wedding planner, chef, calming presence, and all around kept everything flowing smoothly all weekend.  These amazing photos were taken by my very talented cousin Robin, who blogs, does photography, is a mom and step mom, massage therapist, and wonderful friend.  To see more of her work, check out her blog, Write On, Mom!   
 If you want to see more wedding photos, please feel free to look at them here on Snapfish There are some fantastic shots of my flowers, done by my buddy Jody, and the dresses I made myself, Shelby, and Mandie.  Our Honeymoon Photos are here also.  We went to Galena for a few days in June, so that we could relax without worrying about getting back for work.    All in all, our wedding was exactly what we wanted, and what God had in mind for us when he put us into each others lives three years ago.  Every single detail was perfectly orchestrated, and everyone told me during and after the wedding that they saw God's hand at work not only in the details of our perfect day, but also in how He brought us together.   Yes, I am a very blessed woman!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Homemade Fruit Leather Roll Ups

 I've had several recipes for these floating around for quite some time, and I meant to make them for Mandie for school lunches last year, but had too many other things to make and managed to forget.  I unearthed my recipes last week, before we went to WI, and made up a batch for Mandie.  They turned out very well, with the same texture as the store bought organic variety I had gotten for the boys.  Now that I know how easy these are to make I will make sure she has some on hand for after school snacks and lunchbox treats!     I'm sure these could just as easily be made in a dehydrator, but since I do not own one or have the space for one, the low oven method worked out just fine!

My finished fruit rolls, ready to put in the container.


2 lbs of fresh fruit, cleaned
1 cup unsweetened applesauce/pureed apple
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey

Preheat oven to 170*F.  Put ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Line 2 large jelly roll pans with parchment paper.  Spread fruit mixture evenly on pans, making sure to get as thin and even a layer as possible.  Place trays in oven until dry – anywhere from 6 – 24ish hours depending on humidity, checking every couple of hours or so.   When done they will be a bit sticky, and have the same texture as the store bought kind.  Cut into strips and store into an airtight container on the counter. 

This is how it should look after it has dried.

I personally found it was easy to use my kitchen shears to cut the dried fruit into strips.

I stored mine in a plastic container so that they would travel easily and safely.