Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes (GF, DF, SoyF, EF)

Butterfly had her birthday this weekend!  She is now a fabulous six year old (but that is another blog post!).  We had her party today and I knew that myself and a couple of the guests had food allergies/sensitivies so I needed to work with those as I prepared the cakes.

I found a very easy gluten free cake recipe that could EASILY be adapted to dairy, soy and egg free as well!  So I did it...and they taste fabulous!  :)  So I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  :)

I found the original recipe here.

One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour 

  • 1/2 cup cocoa

  • cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • teaspoons baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum*

  • tablespoons cooking oil

  • tablespoon vinegar

  • teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • egg*

  • cup water

    1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Add all liquid ingredients and mix well.
    3. Bake in greased and floured 9" square pan (or lined with waxed paper), at 350 F, for 30 - 35, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    *My Notes:  I used a premixed gluten free flour that already had the xanthum gum in it so I omitted this in my recipe.  I also used 1/4 c applesauce instead of the egg to make it egg free.  :)

    <3 Alison

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Check out this giveaway!

    With me now dabbling in photography and selling crocheted things this giveaway REALLY peaked my interest.  I thought you all might like it too.  So go check it out!  It is a FABULOUS giveaway, really nice products and lots of them.  :)

    Here is her website!

    Hope you all are having a GREAT day!
    <3 Alison

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    What is God trying to teach me?

    This last week has been, well, stressful to say the least.  Hubby left for Detroit on Tuesday morning.  We made it through Wednesday night without him just fine. Thursday hit and I was not expecting it.  Butterfly woke up for school with a temperature of 103.  Sigh.  She had been coughing and said the inside of her nose hurt.  So I knew it was time to take her in.  Dragonfly had also not been feeling well so I thought since we were there I would have them check her out too.

    Grandma was here so we loaded up all four kids (just in case it was something serious going around, I wanted to have all kids on hand) and headed to the doctor's office.  Butterfly and Dragonfly were diagnosed with upper respiratory infections and prescribed antibiotics.  We got those filled and headed home.

    Enter, Thursday night.  Both Bee and Bubby had low grade fevers.  Sigh.  I checked them again the next morning (Friday) and decided I did not want to go into the weekend with the possiblity of 2 more sick kids.  So I pile everyone back in the car (this time sans Grandma) and head BACK to the doctor's office. Yep, two more with upper respiratory infections.  But Bubby was worse than any of the girls.  We were told to do a nebulizer treatment 3x's a day with him as well as the antibiotics.  Poor guy!

    I was so glad to see Hubby come home on Friday (ok it was really close to Saturday morning)!  I knew he would only be home for a day but I needed his support.  So we spent yesterday just hanging out.  I LOVED IT.  Hubby and I decided to have an in date before he left for China (he will be leaving in 2 1/2hrs).  We rented Thor (pretty good movie!) and were up late.  It was then we heard Bubby in his room turning on his light.  Ok, silly boy, I thought...back to bed!  Hubby picked him up and said, "Um, he is HOT!"  So I search for the thermometer.  Yep, 101.5.  Sigh.  Guess there will be no church for us today.

    I sure hope these sick kids get better soon.  We have plans this weekend to celebrate the long weekend (MEA break)!  Pray that my kids get well soon.  All week I have been thinking about the saying, God won't give you more than you can bear.  Right now I am hoping he knows my limits well.  I am pretty stressed out.  But I came across this verse and it reminds me of what I need to do.

    "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all undertstanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

    Philippians 4:6-7

    So this is what I am going to try and do this week and for the two following weeks while Hubby is out of town.

    Enjoy your Sunday everyone!
    <3 Alison

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011


    Yesterday, I called the insurance company to find out if Dragonfly's formula would be covered.  Well, they FINALLY approved it!  I am sooo excited!  I gave her the first bottle last night before bed and she slept from 7pm until 6am!!!!  WOOHOOO!  I cannot tell you how happy I was when I realized that it was 6am and I didn't have to get up and feed her 4 times at night and change at LEAST 4 nasty diapers.  YAY!

    She seems to like the Neocate better.  She doesn't have a scrunched up face while she is eating, she is actually relaxed.  I can't wait until I can see more changes in her diapers and to get rid of that NASTY diaper rash she has.

    Today is a day full of "homemaking".  I am working on hairbows, crocheted items and making applesauce.  Tomorrow will be much of the same along with making salsa and salsa verde.  I am so excited!

    Hubby left today for a month.  He will be home exactly one day in that month...and that is Saturday.  He will be home long enough for me to do his laundry and get him re-packed for his trip to China.  I knew when he took this job that travel was expected.  What I didn't expect was that all the travel would happen at once.  But, that is Hubby's job and we are blessed to have this job and I will accept that this will happen.  God will provide me with the support that I need while he is away.  God won't leave me hanging.  :)

    OK, off to craft some more! :)
    <3 Alison

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    UGH Insurance!

    What a mess.  I am not a huge fan of insurance companies right now.  I mean I am glad that we have good insurance but I am not glad that I have to fight to get what I need for my daughter.

    Let me start at the beginning.  All of my kids have dairy sensitivities.  With each kid it has gotten progressively worse.  Butterfly I nursed for 6 wks and then she was on soy formula (don't judge me, I didn't know much about soy then).  Bee I successfully nursed for a full year limiting dairy and soy in my diet (see, learned more about soy by then!).  Bubby was failure to thrive at 3 months and was immediately put on Neocate because limiting dairy and soy did not do ANYTHING for him.  So with Dragonfly we knew we needed to start dairy/soy free right away.  When that seemed to do most of it but she was still really gassy we knew I had to eliminate gluten.  So I did.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  However, at the beginning of this month my supply dropped, drastically.  She would nurse and nurse and nurse and still scream because she was so hungry.

    Enter, formula.  I knew we needed Neocate.  I knew that with the allergies/sensitivities that Bubby had we would be facing an uphill battle if we didn't.

    Enter, insurance company.  In the state of MN, there is a law that states that if a formula like this is prescribed/deemed necessary by the doctor the insurance company should cover it.

    Enter, frustration.  Since Dragonfly didn't meet any of the diagnosis' that are covered right away we had to jump through hoops.  We had to trial her on 3 or 4 different formulas.  Yep, so everything that I was so careful about avoiding in my diet I had to shove back in my daughters body.  The first formula we tried was Alumentium.  Fail.  I will spare you all the nasty details, let's just say the diapers were not pleasant.  Second formula was Nutramigen.  Fail, but not as bad as Alumentium.  Diapers were still pretty bad.  Third formula (and just because we had to try at LEAST three), soy formula.  EPIC fail.  I don't even want to go into how those diapers were.  One thing that I should mention is that before we started formulas, Dragonfly had not had ONE diaper rash.  Not ONE!  As soon as we started trialing these we got a MAJOR diaper rash.  Not just a red spot or bumps, I am talking open sores on her bottom.  I tried Triple Paste, Bourdreaux's Butt Paste, coconut oil, and Aquaphor.   I then tried what the doctor prescribed, Bryan's Butt Paste (made by a local pharmacist).  At this point, I couldn't get the stuff to stick. Her bum is so raw that the paste won't stick.  I took her to the doctor today and they prescribed another cream.  It is a cream they give to severe burn patients to help heal their burns.  That is how bad it is.  Even just writing this makes me want to cry.

    I have had two weeks of sleepless nights because my baby can't sleep through the night because she hurts.  The crying in the middle of the night, she balls up because her stomach hurts so badly, and the gassiness is enough.  I am done with it.  If her bottom looks this bad what do her insides look like at this point???

    On Thursday of last week we started this process of getting the right information to the insurance company.  By Monday we thought we had it figured out.  The insurance company faxed a form to the doctor and the doctor faxed the form back.  And we were told it would take up to 72 hours to get an answer.  Ok, 72 hours was Thursday.  By Friday morning when we hadn't heard anything I decided it was time to call.

    I called as I was on my way to Fairmont.  I had to pull the car over when I heard this: "We never received a fax."  So you mean to tell me that I waited THREE DAYS for NOTHING?!  I was bawling.  I talked to an RN at the insurance company who was less than helpful.  You need to send in the form.  Right, did that.  I called my sister (who works with medical insurance companies and doctors) and had her point me in the right direction (that is of course after she calmed me down).  First step was to go back into my doctors office.  And since I was headed that way anyways, it worked out fine.  I walked in, still visibly upset but not crying anymore, and talked to someone about insurance, I don't remember who it was but she was so kind!  She helped me find the answers as quickly as she could.  I then got to see our provider and she helped us figure things out as well as one of the ladies who works with insurance.  We made a plan to re-fax the information and call the company right after to make sure they got it.  It was time for lunch so we decided that I would stick around Fairmont for a while to make sure that I could get EVERYTHING done that I needed to if there were more steps.

    I was in the parking lot when I received a call from our doctor's office.  It was then that I found out that the insurance company lied to me.  They told me that they had not received the fax on Monday.  That information, ladies and gents, was FALSE.  They HAD received it.  They had denied the claim because not all the paperwork was filed.  Ummm, all you told us was that we needed this ONE form.  Well apparently, we needed more forms and from different people.  We needed one from our physician AND one from a durable medical supplier.

    I got pretty upset at that point.  Why on EARTH would they lie to me?!  So after I calmed myself down I called the insurance company back.  I finally got a hold of a person who actually cared about what was going on.  His name is Joe.  Joe helped me figure out who needed to do what and he even called the pharmacy we will be purchasing the formula from to set things up on that end.  So now we FINALLY have all (I hope!) the paperwork in the right places and we wait.  Yes, we still have to wait the 72 hours for an answer.  So for another three days my daughter has to be on formula that eats up her insides.

    The formula will come in to the pharmacy on Monday and regardless if the insurance company covers it or not I will be picking it up.  I have to.  I cannot do this to my baby any longer.  I am praying that the insurance company will approve it quickly so that we can get this dealt with on Monday.  I think the thing that makes me the most upset is that I didn't find out there was a problem until Friday.  The day that no one wants to do anything, much less deal with a crying mess of a Mom.

    So, that is my story.  I hate insurance companies.  So much red tape to do the right thing for you kid.  I will say this.  If the insurance company chooses NOT to cover this, this will not be the last they have heard from me.  I will fight that tooth and nail.  According to our policy, this should be covered.

    Sigh.  Time for some hot tea and time for bed.
    If you made it this far, you are a saint!  I guess I really needed to get all of those details out.  I feel some better now!

    I hope you all have a great weekend!
    <3 Alison

    Monday, October 3, 2011


    Mondays seem to come all too quickly as of late.  I have to get up at 6am to get Butterfly up by 6:15.  She needs to have breakfast eaten by 6:45 in order to get dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed and to have used the bathroom by 7:10.  At 7:10 we begin the daunting task of putting shoes on.  Yes, you heard me right...putting shoes on.  Butterfly is FULLY capable of putting her shoes on AND of tying her shoes.  However, she does not like to do it.  She convinced me that she would tie her shoes if I let her get them for school.  So, I did.  And here we are a month and a half into school and we are tying her shoes for her just to get her out the door to catch the bus by 7:25.  Now if my other kiddos were still tucked snuggly in their beds while this process was going on, it would be no big deal, but, you know my kids!

    Bee is usually up BEFORE the alarm waiting for it to go off.  Bubby is waiting in his room (sometimes with the light ON) as I bleery eyed stumble into the kitchen.  He will knock on his door til we open it.  Sigh.  Then it is a scramble to get everyone the cereal they want or if they want oatmeal that particular morning.  And of course somewhere in the middle of all of this the baby wakes up and is hungry.

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday we have preK for B so we ALL have to get out the door by 8:50 to make it to school on time.  Then Bubby and Dragonfly and I will head out to do errands and hit up story time on Mondays.

    Today was no exception to the busy pace of life here in our house.  But I look at our family and I look at what we have and I see what so many others don't.  I see God's blessing.  I see a, for the most part, healthy family.  I see an active family.  I see a very intelligent 5 (almost 6) year old, I see a very active 4 year old, I see an inquisitive 2 year old and a very cheerful 3 month old.  I see a husband who is doing his best to make our lives the way we have always dreamed of it.  We have a wonderful home, the ability to grow some of our own food, the ability to cook/bake what we need, and the ability to keep it up.

    Even though things get rough around the edges at times, I try to remember that God is always there waiting for me to think of Him.  Romans 3:23 has been popping up all over the place as of late, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  I keep thinking on it and keep wondering what God has in mind with that verse.  I will keep pondering it and keep it close at heart.

    I hope you all are having a blessed Monday!
    <3 Alison

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    I got brave! (GF, DF, SoyFree baking!)

    The other day a friend of mine posted a recipe on FB.  I was intrigued because it was all the things free that I am!  :)  So I thought I would try it out.

    Here is the recipe:

    Brownies: of the dairy, soy and gluten free varitey!

    1/3 c coconut oil
    1/2 c cocoa powder
    6 eggs
    1 c sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/2 c coconut flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour)
    1 c nuts (optional)

    In a saucepan on low heat, blend together oil and cocoa.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In a bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Stir in cocoa mixture.  Whisk coconut flour into batter until there are no lumps.  Fold in nuts (if using).  Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

    REVIEW:  Very tasty!  It is so nice to have a treat around that I can have!  :)  YUM!

    Flourless Fudge Cookies

    2 1/4 c confectioners sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp espresso powder (optional) (I didn't use it)
    1 c cocoa powder, Dutch-processed preferred (I used Hershey's)
    3 large egg whites (I used the full egg)
    2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract

    For darker richer-looking cookies, substitute 1/4 cup black cocoa for 1/4 cup of the Dutch-processed cocoa.

    Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.  Or line with parchment and grease the parchment.

    Stir together all of the ingredients till smooth.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and stir again till smooth.

    Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in balls about the size of ping pong balls, about 1 1/2"; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

    Bake the cookies for 8 minutes; they should spread, become somewhat shiny, and develop faintly crackly tops.

    Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow them to cool right on the pan.

    CHANGES I MADE:  I used 3 full eggs.  I sprayed one sheet with cooking spray and didn't do the other.  The one I sprayed did NOT set up and just spread.  The one I did not spray worked REALLY well.  I would suggest using parchment paper and not greasing it.  Another thing was that one of the pans was chilled prior to baking and the other was not.  The one that was chilled (without cookies on it) worked the best.

    REVIEW:  VERY chocolate-y!  I LOVE them.  One cookie will do you!  :)

    I am so excited that I finally got brave enough to try some of these things for myself.  So far am 2 for 2. :)

    Enjoy your gluten free eating!
    <3 Alison