Monthly Archives: March 2007

A Steaming Hot Bowl of Scrumptious

Yesterday Flamenco Dad and I had the pleasure of meeting a visiting guitarist from Montreal who is performing at the college tonight. We took him out to dinner at a Thai restaurant near the hotel where he was staying. The restaurant was new to us–since we don’t live in that part of the city–and it was rather small. But when we walked in we were immediately struck by the fragrant, intoxicating aromas of Thai cooking. While the men decided to have some yummy curries, I decided to keep it light and I had some Thai Coconut Soup with chicken.

Oh. My. God. It was one of the best bowls of soup that I’ve ever had the privilege to eat. The coconut milk and lemongrass gave it a lovely sweetness, while the chilis brought out just the right amount of heat. I never knew that what looked like a rather simple bowl of soup could have such a complexity to it. I have decided to make it my mission to replicate the dish so that I can have it whenever I like.

The cooking will have to wait until after the weekend. I’m off to visit my mom in her new house. The kids, my husband, and I cannot wait! The horses have been moved from the trainer’s farm to my mom’s property, and mom and her hubby have added two goats to their growing menagerie of animals. See ya!

Put Down the Teasing Comb

I know my blog is supposed to be about gfcf food, my life, etcetera. Well, you know what the tagline to this blog is…it’s right up there at the top of the screen. But my friend Lynn wrote about something today that has frankly been plaguing me since last night. So I’m going to stray from my blog’s theme for a moment and ask the burning question:

Sanjaya, dude, what the @#*& is up with that hair???

I tried to explain to my husband what it looked like, and I came off sounding like Simon Cowell. It went a little something like this: Honey, if I’m being honest, he looked like a deranged cockatoo. After my husband stopped laughing at me, I rewound the show back to Sanjaya’s performance (again thank God for DVRs) and there he was in all his glory. I was so perplexed by the whole thing that I had dreams about Sanjaya and his crazy hair. Crap, no wonder why I had such a horrible night’s sleep. All I saw was this kid with cockatoo hair singing “Bathwater” way off key.

Opa!!

I found a delicious recipe for a Greek Lentil and Pasta in the current issue of Heart Healthy Living. Since I love beans and legumes–and since they are so good for you–I decided to give it a try. I made a few minor changes to the original recipe. The recipe called for an onion–I presume a white or Spanish onion–but I used a red one. Also the recipe called for a can of diced tomato. Instead, I used a can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. It was fantastic; a delicious lunch. And meatless! I’m not a vegetarian, but I think it’s a nice idea to change things up and not have meat all the time. Besides, my doctor friends would say that eating too much meat has links to all types of long-term health risks. Wow, I think I’m really starting to take this health kick thing seriously!

Greek Lentil Pasta

5 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1 large red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 8-ounce cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
hot cooked gluten free pasta
olive oil

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven cook carrots, onion, and garlic in the 1/4 cup hot oil over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.
2. Add undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper. Return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until desired consistency.
3. Cook your favorite gluten free pasta according to package directions. For each serving, top 1 cup pasta with 3/4 cup lentil sauce and drizzle with 1 teaspoon additional olive oil. Makes 12 cups sauce.

Meltdowns

When Zoe has a rough time, she is prone to having meltdowns. They don’t happen as often as they used to–the gluten free/casein free diet has a lot to do with her success–but they are still tough to handle sometimes. When Zoe was a toddler her meltdowns would be comprised of hours of uncontrollable crying and screaming, and a heightened sense of urgency about the fact that everything needed to be just so. Now that she is older and more verbal, the crying and screaming have been greatly reduced; but oh man, she gets very rigid about things when she’s having a meltdown.

The past two days have been a challenge. I think part of it is because Zoe’s been off her typical schedule due to spring break. She’s obsessing (rather loudly) over things that typically wouldn’t get much attention from her; she’s chewing on her clothing again; and she’s doing a lot of “stimming.”

Stimming, for those who have not been introduced to the term, is a common behavior of autistics. It’s a self-stimulation behavior, and different kids have different stims. For many, it included things like hand-flapping and rocking in place. Zoe’s stim includes rocking back and forth while squeezing her left hand and wrist with her right hand. If left unchecked, Zoe can do this for HOURS.

Truth be told, if her stim wasn’t harmful to her body I wouldn’t mind it so much. Parents of other autistic kids I’ve spoken to all say that their kids find comfort in it, since it helps them deal with their sensory integration issues. However, Zoe has caused damage to her left wrist and hand due to the stimming–even with us stopping to remind her to stop when we see the behavior. Ayden even tells Zoe to stop stimming if he sees her doing it.

These behaviors appear periodically, and the worst of it never lasts for long. That’s something that I always keep in mind while we’re going through it; that certainly helps me keep my cool (somewhat). Zoe is a child that’s going through a transitional period, so I’m trying my best to remain calm and keep a positive outlook. Her classroom situation is gradually changing; and hey, she’s growing up. Moving from childhood to early adolescence is tough on many kids. It’s different for her because she has other social issues to work on, so it’s tough for her to process these changes sometimes. Sometimes it’s hard for parents too.

A Berry Good Spring

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d be eating delicious, ripe strawberries in March. I am blessed, because February-March is the height of strawberry season here in Florida. There is a strawberry festival in a nearby town, which just concluded last week. Yes, we went to the festival; no, I did not get to visit the booth where you make your own strawberry shortcake. Boo hoo.

It’s always a good idea to eat seasonally and locally if you can. The flavors are just so crisp and refreshing. My mother-in-law’s dear friend Amanda went strawberry picking today and was nice enough to bring us a rather large bowl of berries. Oh, how sweet they are. A lovely end to a lovely day.

I Heart Toys-R-Us

We went to Toys-R-Us today so that Ayden could pick out more Thomas trains (good Lord, how many are there anyway?) and Miss Zoe could get some new Leapster software. As we walked up to the building we saw a humongous sign. From a distance it looked like it said “Autism” but I wasn’t positive. Sure enough, it did say autism. Toys-R-Us is now the national sponsor for Autism Speaks International. Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now recently merged to become the largest foundation for autism research.

The world’s biggest toy store is accepting donations and is sponsoring nationwide fundraising walks. The Flamenco Family completed a 5k for Cure Autism Now a year ago, and we’re planning to do it again this year. For information on walks and other fundraising events in your area, visit Autism Speaks at www.autismspeaks.org.

Waiting Game

What is it that Tom Petty says in that song? Oh yeah, waiting is the hardest part. I practically had to wave the kids back with a stick when they saw what was coming out of the oven. “Mini pies–they’re just like our size!” was what my little guy had to say about these tasty cherry mini tarts.

I used the recipe for gfcf pie crust that I got from the Wild Oats website, and filled the tarts with cherry Comstock Pie Filling. The filling had just the right balance of tart and sweet. And the crust has a great texture–it reminds me a bit of shortbread cookies. There was little time to get fancy and dust these with powdered sugar. They didn’t even get to room temperature before the kids started to dig in.