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Big Plans For The Garden In 2012

I have big plans this year, more corn, more berries, more onions....100 bulbs to be exact.  Don't mock me, you may want to cozy up our friendship, I LOVE to share garden bounty with my friends. 
 This is where I am going to plant a whole bunch of corn.

 These are my boysenberry plants getting their start in the warm weather.

I figure if I over plant, the random scavenger animals will take a percentage, the garden bugs will take another......I will end up with a great harvest.

The chickens have stepped up their egg production, and bug eating!

We have kittens....A.K.A gopher/squirrel extinguishers. 
They look kinda lazy in this picture, but wait until their momma puts a dead gopher in front of them, they become little selfish growl machines.

The flower garden is always a sight to see in spring.  Check it out!



My Daughter's Diabetes

     This post has been a long time in the making.  I hate to try and fit Type 1 Diabetes in a box, because each person has their own journey, symptoms, and feelings about it.  It has been over a year now, and I feel compelled to speak out about what I have learned while dealing with my 8 year old daughter's type 1 diabetes. 
Mackenzie just before diagnosis.  She was way too skinny.
     At first diagnosis I was shocked and knew nothing about this condition.  Notice I say condition, not disease.  I feel Type 1 is a way of life now, not a death sentence.  A year ago my daughter was waisting away, she lost so much weight, was severely dehydrated, and almost slipped into a coma.  Her blood sugar upon admittance to the hospital was over 600, the meter couldn't read past that number.  She was in the hospital for 3 days, and we were discharged on Christmas Eve. 
Mackenzie in the hospital on Christmas Eve.
     We went home with a promise of going to Children's Hospital to learn how to deal with this condition. Three days on our own (because of the Christmas holiday) would have completely wrecked us.  A family  who has a type 1 diabetic son came along side us the day after we got home from the hospital, and walked us through everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  This family saved my life, their support, understanding, and knowledge was the game changer.
Glucose monitor, lancer, syringes, insulin, and test strips.
       My husband and I read books, talked to doctors, and friends who also have type 1.  It was overwhelming, but manageable.  We went through a total life change.  We decided to go gluten free after following some research that made some great points about gluten sensitivities and type 1.
     Carb counting consumes my life, meals and food preparation are half of my day.  Looking back over this past year I can see how much I have learned.   When I bake I have to measure out ingredients by the gram and then calculate how many carbs are in that measurement.  I have found that packages aren't necessarily true in their carb counts/serving sizes.  Math isn't my strong point, and that is even an understatement.  I have a loving relationship with my calculator, and am getting better at math. 
Weighing out ingredients by the gram.
      As I look back at what I have learned the most this past year, I would have to say....... the relationship of food and insulin needs has taught me the most.  For my daughter potatoes send her on an elevator to super high blood sugar numbers.  Beans send her on a roller coaster of lows then highs three to four hours later.  Any meal that consists mostly of fat will send her into the high numbers three hours later when her short acting insulin has timed out.  I have learned to balance out certain foods, avoid others, and plan for patterns. Whenever a new food is introduced I have to watch her like a hawk.  Who knows how her body will react.

      I have gotten a lot of eye rolls, and concern over how we manage Mackenzie.  Some may feel that we are too obsessed with management. It is a huge task to maintain an average blood sugar of 120-150, and I see excellent health in her future because of our diligence.  Mackenzie is very involved in the process, and takes a lot of the blood sugar testing on herself. She doesn't want to take it all on, she wants to be a carefree kid a little longer, and I respect that. This is all consuming for our family, but what health concern isn't?   We continue to pray for advancement in the cure, and new management tools for Type 1 Diabetes.  Who knows God could bless us with a healing, miracles still happen!

Psalms 31: 24  Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart,  all you who hope in the Lord. 


GF Magic Cookie Bars

This is one recipe I have longed to convert to a lower carb, and gluten free version.  I think I did it.  The kid taste testers give it a thumbs up. 

First make the Cashew Cream, this is going to be made thicker than the Chai Tea recipe from a previous post. 

1 1/2 cups unsalted cashews
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
Mix all ingredients together in your food processor or Vita Mix.  This will be about the consistency of peanut butter.
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together in your mixer.  It will be a crumbly mixture.  Press the crumbs into your greased pan in an even layer on the bottom.
Bake at 350* for five minuets, or until the crust is slightly golden on the edges.  Remove the baked crust from the oven and add the various ingredients in this order: Cashew cream, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut.  Press everything down, and place the pan back in the oven.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top coconut is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool, cut, and refrigerate.  If you divide this recipe into 18 pieces you end up with a bar that is around 15g of carbs each.  Not too bad.
 I wanted to spend a moment on this great pan. My mother got this for me from Target I think.  It is a brownie pan, but can be used for any type of bar, or even CAKE.  I bake my bars without the dividers in, then push the divider into the bars right when they come out of the oven. 
It is pretty easy to clean, but most importantly, easy to get your baked goods out of!

GF Vegan Whipped Topping

Sometimes things feel so complicated, unless you have the right directions.
I have had this recipe for a while now.  I was scared to attempt it, I HATE wasting ingredients.  This had potential to be a messy gloppy blob.  It wasn't though, quite the opposite, it was BEAUTIFUL.  It tastes like Cool Whip!  Give it a try, and double the recipe cause you will want more.

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 cup spectrum shortening
1/2 cup confections sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 First - whisk together the cornstarch and rice milk in a small saucepan.  Bring the milk to a simmer, stirring constantly, whisking out any lumps.  It will thicken very quickly, take the milk off  the heat when it starts to get thick.  Set this aside until it is VERY COOL, put it over ice to cool it faster.
 Next - in your mixer add the shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  Cream the shortening and sugar, slowly add the cool rice milk mixture and mix until everything is fluffy.
 As you can see this whipped topping preforms like any homemade topping.  Refrigerating it will solidify it further. It can stand at room temperature
I mixed a bunch of this up and put it in the refrigerator to use on hot chocolate or fruit whenever I want it.  I should last in the refrigerator for a couple days.
It does pack a punch in the carbohydrate department.......85g of carbs total (for 1 1/2 cups) divided by 4 servings makes it about 21g of carbs each serving.


Dairy-Free CHAI TEA

My kids offer up praise and adoration to me as I pour them their dairy, and soy free chai tea.  This is one thing I was trying to figure out in the back of my mind for a while now.  The kids miss the sugary, milky chai tea we used to have.  Here is a great rendition, it has protein from the nuts, and a GREAT taste from all the spices!  Give it a try.  You can make it up ahead the night before, then heat it up for a treat in the morning!

*1 cup unsalted whole cashews
*1/2 cup water
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*1/4 cup honey

Mix the cashews, honey, vanilla, and water together in your Vita-Mix or food processor.  You know you are done when a creamy milk is formed.  Set this aside, and get your spices together.
 *7 cup water
*1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
*1 cinnamon stick
*1 teaspoon fennel
*1 teaspoon cardamon
*1/4 inch cut of ginger root
Simmer these ingredients on the stove top for about 5 minutes.  Then add 2 Tablespoons loose leaf black tea. Turn off heat and cover for 10 minutes.
 Strain your spices through a coffee filter.  Then add the cashew cream to your strained tea mixture.  You are all done at this point.  Drink it all now, or wait until tomorrow morning, this is great heated up later. 
I get about 100g of carbs for the whole batch of chai tea.  Divide that into 7 cups of tea and you get about 14g of carbs per cup.  My diabetic daughter loves this tea!