Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Thanksgiving "gluten-free-for-all"

Our Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch with plenty of gluten-free dishes for everyone to enjoy. Not only did my in-laws prepare a separate turkey with gluten-free stuffing, we also had mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, a few appetizers, and the bread pudding and cheesecake I prepared.

In an effort to be a good Celiac Mommy, I left the few gluten-containing items off of my plate so I could share with Buttercup.

I did mention in a previous post that I would update on how the desserts turned out and the bread pudding was a success. It's sweet enough to put someone in a sugar coma, but a few bites are heaven! The Japanese Cheesecake, though, was a bit dry and not at all moist and creamy like one would expect cheesecake to taste. It wasn't bad, per say, just not as good as I had hoped.

My plan is to tweak the recipe and see if maybe a bit of extra cream cheese and/or buttermilk will help, but Celiac Dad and I were thinking that maybe this recipe is just meant to come out like this. If so, and my tweaking attempts fail, I probably won't use this one again and instead just doctor a traditional cheesecake recipe with a gluten-free crust.

We still have one more Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate on Thursday, and for that I'll be making gluten-free stuffing for the whole family to enjoy. Aside from the turkey, it will likely be the only "safe" food for Buttercup, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for any relatives who have "forgotten" about my daughter's diet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In the name of The Celiac Kid (and sidekick: The Celiac Husband)

It's 1:17 a.m. and I am waiting for french bread to rise while I whip up the Japanese Cheesecakes.


I am so in the running for mother-of-the-year. (And for those of you who are wondering, the wife-of-the-year trophy is already sitting in my china cabinet.)

And I haven't even made the bread pudding yet.

Thanksgiving: Celiac style

I love baking for fun. And if this makes me a bad mom and wife, then so be it...but I hate baking because I have to.

It's one of the reasons the holidays become a little more stressful for me (and for you, I am sure!) No matter whose house the festivities are being held at, we have to make sure that dishes are gluten-free for my husband and daughter. Usually, we make stuffing, gravy, and desserts that can be enjoyed by all. There might be a dish or two that are off-limits, but we are thankfully made aware of what to stay away from.

This year, my husband has to leave on Thanksgiving morning on a business trip, so we are celebrating on Sunday with the in-laws. And thanks to some great timing, we are also celebrating my mother's 50th birthday early on Saturday. That leaves me with basically no time at all to prepare a gluten free cheesecake and an altered gluten-free whiskey bread pudding.

Remember, I am not a chef so most recipes I post will be attributed to the proper source.

For the cheesecake, I will be using a Japanese Cheesecake recipe from Recipezaar. It's our first time trying it, so I will let you all know how it turns out.

The Whisky Bread Pudding recipe presents a bigger challenge, since in order to make it safe, I first need to prepare a gluten-free french bread recipe before I can make the actual dish.(And no, Buttercup isn't going to be eating any of this tasty little dish.)

Since time is crunched this year, I am taking the easy way out and preparing an all-purpise baking mix in the breadmaker and then making the pudding. It's cheating, I know, but I deserve a break here and there.

I'll post later on how the cheesecake turns out.

So does she or doesn't she?

I get asked this a lot about Buttercup and whether or not she actually has Celiac Disease. and I am always reply with a "We don't know yet."

And that, quite frankly, results in a few raised eyebrows from family and strangers alike.

I know what they are thinking and I am sure the words "crazy" and overprotective" come to mind for many. And if I had never seen my big, strong, capable husband curled up in the fetal position trying to wish away the pain as his body fought to rid itself of unintentionally digested gluten-containing foods, I'd probably think anyone else was crazy for keeping their kid on a special diet with no "proof" it was actually necessary.

But I have. So here I am with my Celiac Kid.

When I was pregnant, we did all the research we could to make sure that even the simplest things like formula were safe for Buttercup. I even asked an attending physician I was seeing if I needed to watch what I ate when breastfeeding to make sure gluten wasn't accidentally ingested by my daughter. His reponse (that Celiac disease was an aquired condition and I had nothing to worry about) made me realize how much misinformation is still out there, and reminded me that we were going to have to be our own advocates.

I should have known. After all, it took ten years for my husband to get a proper diagnosis after popping acid reflux meds like tic tacs for ten years with no benefit or relief. Not until I dragged him to my own doctor were the proper steps taken, correct tests ordered, and Celiac Disease issued as a diagnosis.

We have hemmed and hawed over when to test Buttercup, what test to go with when the time comes, and bucked the "It's no big deals" coming from well-meaning loved ones hoping to share a nice, cheap, and tasty snack (that didn't require six different kinds of flour and four baking attempts for it to come out right)with our daughter. And since she was born it has moved from 12 months to 18 months and now to four years old. Perhaps even four.

Based on our research and commens from well-versed doctors, the longer we wait to test the better. We'll get more accurate results that way, and at the very least I'll rest better knowing that any gluten introfuced solely for testing purposes won't hurt my baby's tummy without her being able to tell me.

Eyes rolled when we announced our plans for our extended gluten-free diet. But in all reality, it's no more work or expense since Buttercup's daddy is on the same diet. I know he feels better knowing that we are giving our daughter the extra time needed for accurate test results, and I do, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Celiac Kid

I must be crazy to start a new blog with two already going, and yet hear I am.
Now, I know that there are tons of blogs a sites out there devoted to Celiac Sprue (or Celiac Disease, as it is also known), but I wanted to see if I could create a place for moms like me. I'm not a chef and won't be coming up with any crazy original recipe ideas. I haven't written an cookbooks. And I don't have a medical degee.

What I do have is a husband who was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue five years ago, and 17-month-old daughter (whom I call Buttercup) who will be on a gluten-free diet until she is at least three years old (more on that later.) And of course, because it always works this way, I also have too many kiddie parties, family dinners, and other situations where I have had to make like Superman and jump tall buildings in a single leap in order to smack a cookie on it's way into my daughter's mouth out of a well-meaning relative's hand.

If you found your way here, I am sure you can relate.

And since I'm the family shopper and cook, it only makes sense that I'd be pretty versed in what works and what doesn't. In my frantic efforts to help my husband and daughter have relatively normal eating experiences both in and out of the home, I've come across some great gluten-free products in some unexpected places and I've also had my fair sharen of "oopses".

I'm in the process of gathering a panel of contributing experts to share tips, recipes, and other relate insight on how to raise a Celiac Kid. I'll be surfing the net for resouces we all can benefit from, and sharing my own adventures along the way.So stop on by as I get the new Celiac Kid community on its feet.