Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Contest: Zeer Select Month Membership















I have spent the last two years reading labels to determine if a product contains gluten or not. Although I am sure about the many items I use repeatedly, when I encounter a new product, it takes a lot of effort to comb through the ingredient label to decipher whether it is okay. Often, I have to look up information online to determine whether it is, in fact, gluten free. So it is with great enthusiasm that I recommend Zeer select to anyone who finds themselves wondering whether a particular item is gluten free.

ZEER select is a service that enables consumers to quickly and easily assess the gluten free status of 30,000 items in the supermarket. Not only does it tell you if an item is safe ("labeled as gluten free" or "appears to be gluten free,") It also recommends safe gluten free products for any item that isn't gluten free. ZEER uses an icon system to let you quickly identify which products are gluten free or not. Products are assessed a category and an icon is assigned depending on which category it falls into. The service costs $4.95 a month with 30 days free so you can try it out. Check out the ZEER Blog for more information on gluten free items.

If you would like to win a one month trial membership of Zeer select leave a comment on this post. Feel free to mention the item you would most like to look up on Zeer and I will let you know the Zeer select status of the item. Leave your email or check back on Friday, September 4th to see if you have won and to view the Zeer status of all items mentioned.

MAKE A COMMENT TO WIN a one month free trial membership. 1) To enter, please comment on THIS post (Click on "comments" below.) 2) Post your comment by 11:59 pm on Thursday, September 3th, 2009. One entry per person, please. 3) One winner will be chosen by random and announced on Friday morning, September 4th, 2009. 4) NOTE: If you wish to be contacted by e-mail if you win, please include your email address in your comment. Otherwise you must check back on Friday, August 4th to see if you have won. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited to another winner after 72 hours.

We have a winner...
Lisa from Growin' Up Anderson won the free trial of ZEER select, a food information resource that contains a searchable database of the gluten free status of 30,000 products.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Sensitive Baker--A 100% Gluten Free Bakery in LA























Sensitive Baker
thesensitivebaker.com
10836 1/2 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3610
(310)815-1800

It really made my son happy to go to a bakery that was 100% gluten AND dairy free. It is hard to believe that this place even exists. The vanilla cupcakes topped with a generous swirl of frosting were my favorite. My son said the frosting was "too sweet" and "too sugary" and asked if I could remove it. I guess he doesn't have my sweet tooth--because I thought they were delicious. His favorite was the chocolate zucchini muffin. I went crazy and bought a half dozen muffins, a half dozen unfrosted vanilla cupcakes, bagels, and breadsticks.

I love The Sensitive Baker's website, which says:

"LA's premier gluten-free bakery! Well, ok; LA's only gluten free bakery."

In case you have other allergies, there is a user friendly allergen chart on their Frequently Asked Questions page. Looking over the website more closely, I realized this one of a kind west LA bakery is actually up for sale--in case any readers feel like taking their gluten free baking to the next level. I actually would consider it, but it is a little far from where I live--in New York City.

They have two recipes online:
The Sensitive Baker's Gluten Free Challah
The Sensitive Baker's Gluten Free Morning Glory Muffins


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thank you for the Betty Crocker Mixes...


Betty Crocker launched FOUR new baking mixes that are gluten-free this summer. My favorites are the chocolate chip cookie mix and the brownie mix. I recently had a Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Baking Mix contest and Misha at Beauty and Joy said...

"Would LOVE to win this. The thought of what this will do to help my kids feel a part of parties makes me so happy (and a little teary!)."

Not only will these mixes make gluten free life a little easier (and sweeter) but so many friends and relatives who might be unwilling to make gluten-free food, will have no problem making a gluten-free mix if it is in a familiar Betty Crocker box right in the aisle of their supermarket. I was so touched by Misha's heartfelt comment and now Betty Crocker is sending her the baking mixes to try out! Misha's kids made these thank you cards I wanted to share so everyone could see how happy they are about the new gluten-free mixes.

Here is what Misha had to say about the new mixes, which I think sums up how many of us feel:

"I wish I could even tell you how much it will mean to both my kids...and to me. The ostracizing they have faced at sweet birthday parties etc. has broken my heart. I have baked my own little heart out and still had such a hard time baking things that their friends found palatable and would share with them and have, too.

Thank you so much. I had already told the kids about the new mixes and I wish you could have heard the cheering! :)"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

sweetriot unBAR 65: The unofficial bar of Virgin America


I am on the plane to Los Angeles and I just had a gluten free, dairy free (and kosher!) unBAR 65, which was a delicious pick me up. It is not too sweet so it is satisfying and uplifting. Many candy bars have too much sugar and they leave you desperate for more and completely unsatisfied. But unBar is totally different. It is a chocolate treat that is more reminiscent of real chocolate you would find in a european chocolate store than any wrapped american treat. It seems both sweet and dark to me. Not at all bitter, like some dark chocolate.

I think it is cool that the unofficial bar of Virgin America is something people who are avoiding dairy and gluten can enjoy. It is the first time I have been on the plane and been able to buy a descent snack.

What makes me happiest about finding unBAR, is that it bodes well for my kids for the future when I am not hovering around baking cookies and packing homemade crackers.

Although not fairtrade certified yet, Sweetriot, the company that makes the unBAR is committed to using fairtrade farmers and to moving beyond fair trade to an equitably traded product which moves more value back into the poor nations in order to try to end poverty--a movement called Equitrade. I am always skeptical of marketing with a mission, but this seems like the real thing: Sweet riot seems to really be about making the world a better place--and delicious, nutritious chocolate packed full of antioxidants and minerals. You can read more about the health properties of chocolate on sweetriot's Chocolate Health Facts page. To try the unBAR yourself, head to a Whole Foods or a retailer nearby.

Craving chocolate, by the way, is often the sign of a magnesium deficiency, because chocolate is full of magnesium. When you correct the deficiency, the craving often disappears and you can enjoy eating chocolate for it's delicious, magical taste.

Wee Go Bottles by Babylife


Wee Go Bottles by Babylife are a great find for parents who want to use glass, but are worried about their breaking. These glass bottles are wrapped in a protective silicone sleeve so they won't shatter. And they are super cute and fun. There is still some plastic involved (the nipple and top) but it is all bispenol-A (BPA), phthalate and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) free. Limiting your kids exposure to plastic whenever possible is important because endocrine disruptors can leak out of plastics. Fat that comes into contact with plastic is most susceptible to this type of leaching.

Related stories:
Fresh, Raw Food--An Important Source of Glutathione

What NOT to Feed Your Kids...A Nickle: Choking and Coins


Last Thursday, my son stood up in the middle of watching TV and told me "Mommy, I swallowed a penny." His voice was meek and teary and I could tell he was scared. I am good at many things but I am horrible when there is a crisis. I got angry. "Why did you swallow a penny?" I asked desperately while calling the pediatrician. The pediatrician told me to take him to the ER when I described that he could talk and was breathing okay. I hung up and called 911 who immediately sent some paramedics and an ambulance over. We were in Vermont and everyone was amazing--no one even rolled their eyes at all the supplements my son takes. Although my son was breathing, he was also throwing up a little foamy spit, which seemed strange. The paramedics, nurses and doctors were all reassuring me that kids swallow pennies all the time, they land in their stomachs and they eliminate them in a couple of days. But as a precaution, they need to x-ray them to make sure it isn't in their esophagus, because then it can turn and cut off their airway.

Although I am pretty negative about mainstream medicine, in the event of an emergency, there is nothing better than mainstream physicians. Our "death and disease" model of medicine is great if you have a crisis or an emergency.

Here is what I learned:
• If your child swallows a penny call 911.
• Don't give the child anything to eat or drink until you are sure the penny is not in their throat.
• Don't bang on their back as this may make the situation worse. On Feb 5, 2009 Henry Heimlich wrote in a letter to the New York Times: "Backslaps are proved to cause death by driving a choking object tighter into the airway."
• Go to the ER to get an x-ray to determine the location of the penny.
• In rare cases, for a very young child, the only sign they have swallowed a penny is that they stop eating and start losing weight and have breathing problems. The hospital told me a story like this one about how doctors overlooked a penny in one child.

Anyway, for my son was truly like life imitating art. They checked my son into the hospital, gave him a bracelet and a gown and x-rayed him and it was just like Curious George Goes to the Hospital. When he went to get x-rayed, I stood behind the radiologist as the x-ray image of my son came up on the computer. There was a perfectly round white circle at the top of his throat--no where near his stomach. I could feel the situation change from a casual "these things happen" to a true medical emergency as they rushed us back to meet with the attending physician who informed us he was calling the ENT and GI doctor to remove the penny.

They put my son to sleep using propofol--the same drug that was implicated in Michael Jackson's death. They told me it was actually called the "presidential treatment" because one former president had it when he needed anesthesia. The formulation of this product is actually 1% propofol, 10% soybean oil and 1.2% purified egg phospholipid (emulsifier) and 2/25% of glycerol and sodium hydroxide. Interestingly, it also contains EDTA as an antimicrobial agent. The good news is my son did fine with it.

I was with him when they put him to sleep and although I was scared, I was actually more terrified of the penny in his throat. As they wheeled us into the surgery (they let me lie with him on the stretcher) the doctors were taking bets on what kind of coin it was because it looked bigger than a penny on the x-ray. A half an hour later the GI doctor came in with a silver nickel in a little cup and I went to my son in recovery while he woke up.

I was most freaked out that it happened while he was watching TV and seemingly safe. He had been playing for two weeks in the garage with his cousin where there were so many more dangerous items around. There was a mother's helper three feet in front of him watching his cousin and I was ten feet behind him in the kitchen. I also wondered if I had conjured the whole episode to happen, like in the secret, because I had been overly focused on my 8 month old niece putting everything in her mouth.

Luckily, our emergency had a happy ending. The paramedics gave him a bear and asked him to give it a name. He named the bear "coin." Now I am determined not to let my son put ANYTHING in his mouth ever again. Any non food item that gets put in his mouth gets removed immediately. There are no warnings or second chances. Big or little, nothing goes in his mouth but food. Well that is the plan...but as every parent knows, theory is one thing, reality is another. I have a few toys on the mantle that I found him chewing on.

According to Choking Episodes Among Children by the CDC, coins involve 18% of all choking related emergency room visits. Hard candy accounts for 19% of all choking related visits.

The New York Times has an article on Choking: Infant Under 1 Year and another article Choking: Unconscious Adult or Child Over 1 Year. According to these NYT articles "A partial blockage can quickly become life threatening if the person cannot properly breathe." I am glad our emergency is over and everyone is safe and sound asleep and I am baking for my trip tomorrow to California.

Never a dull moment. Enjoy every crazy moment, I say. And when you are done, bake some cookies.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

S'moreables: Gluten-Free Graham Crackers

These gluten-free, dairy-free graham crackers are another great product from Kinnikinnick. Last summer, I started making my own graham crackers to take to barbeques to make s'mores. This summer, at Healthy Living in Vermont, I discovered S'morables--which everyone loves. Although I enjoy making homemade graham crackers, these are, truthfully, more fun for my kids. Like regular graham crackers, they will soften if not kept sealed, so try to keep them in a bag after opening them--if they don't disappear immediately. Also, as of June 15, 2009 all Kinnikinnick products are also Peanut & Nut Free which makes these a great choice for so many of our kids with allergies.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pigs in a Blanket Recipe (Gluten Free/Casein Free: GFCF)

For years, my husband has asked me to make gluten free pigs in a blanket. He loves, what he calls "regular people's food". I have tried several times with little success to make this kid friendly finger food until I used Chebe bread mix which worked very well. A friend, Kim, who writes a terrific blog called Embracing Wellness, told me about this great mix. It is the first bread mix I have found that kneads like regular dough. Most gluten free doughs are more the consistency of a cake mix than a soft, workable dough.

My 3 year old neice announced excitedly: "We are having BLANKIES for dinner!" about the pigs in blankets. I doubt she had ever even had pigs in a blanket--which is kind of a retro dish. But she loved the name and the idea of eating her blankie.

Pigs in blankets were always considered a common dish by my very gourmet mother (who by the way, worked her way through Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking while living in Germany in the late 60's). Then in 2006, the New York Times article: The Kings of the Cocktail Hour Once Again described how pigs in blankets were being served at black tie events with sushi and caviar. For a brief moment, her complicated palatte and my husbands interest in simple, unfussy fare briefly overlapped.

Although I tend to always overly complicate food, I have learned to appreciate "regular people's food" which is why I was thrilled to be able to recreate this classic American hors d'oeuvre with Applegate Farms Organic Grass Fed Hot Dogs. I would think they would make

Pigs in a Blanket Recipe

1 package Chebe All-Purpose Mix
2 Tablespoons of Spectrum Organic Shortening (or oil/butter of your choice)
2 large Eggs
5 Tablespoons of rice milk or coconut milk or seltzer water (or your favorite milk)
1 package Applegate Farms Organic Hot Dogs (or your favorite hot dogs)
1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water (for an eggwash)

• Using a fork blend the mix with the shortening (or oil) and eggs.
• Add milk or water while continuing to mix.
• Knead dough with hands and work dough until it is smooth and well blended.
• Cut into 8 pieces.
• Roll out each piece of dough into 1/8 inch thick rectangle. Cut into long triangle shapes.
• Cut hot dogs into 3 pieces each.
• Wrap around hot dog pieces.
• Place on a baking tray and brush with an eggwash.
• Bake in a 350º oven for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jennifer's 1-2-3 Gazpacho Recipe

This gazpacho is great soup to make in August when tomatoes are ripe and plentiful. My friend Jennifer makes this all summer long creating her own seasonal tradition to share with family and friends...

1-2-3 Gazpacho!

1 red onion (peeled, cut in quarters)
2 yellow peppers (cut in quarters, seeded)
3 large cucumbers (peeled, seeded)
4 large garlic cloves
5 flavors: 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, cumin/3 tablespoons each of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar

4 cups of premium tomato juice (I use Looza)
8 tomatoes (quartered--I don't peel--some might like to parboil and peel)
__________________________________________________________________

*Of course this soup is at it's yummiest with farm-fresh, preferable organic veggies!

Fill a food processor three-quarters full with a combo of all veggies, plus some juice, and pulse to create desired texture. Empty each pulsed batch into a large bowl. Continue until the last batch is in the bowl, then hand-stir in the 5 flavors (adjust if desired).

We love our gazpacho quite chunky, but some might prefer it smoother. Garnish with fresh parsley, goat cheese (local, farmstand variety!), hot sauce and/or croutons. It is also a healthy "salsa" with tortilla chips. Conveniently, the Looza bottle is a great vessel to store leftovers in--if there are any! We always have a bottle of 1-2-3 Gazpacho in our fridge, all summer long, for ourselves and for guests who pop over. Summer in a jar.

Gluten Free Chocolate Crepes (GFCF)

I made gluten free crepes with chocolate for breakfast this morning using ENJOY LIFE chocolate chips* which are gluten free and casein free. My crepe recipe is an easy, fun way to make sure everyone starts the day with a whole egg and adding the chocolate chips makes it even more of a treat. This is the third time I have posted my crepe recipe, but I have perfected the recipe over the summer and wanted to share it again.

Some kids are sensitive to chocolate, which contains natural chemicals called phenols the body needs to break down. No-phenol is an plant based enzyme which helps to break down the phenols. It also comes in a chewable form. Other kids are sensitive to the sugar in chocolate chips. But my kids do okay with 1 tablespoon of these when they have the protein and nutrients of an egg to balance the sugar.

The original recipe is for individual crepes. If you need to make a bunch, the easiest way is to line up the number of small bowls you need. For instance if you need four crepes, then line up four bowls.

-Crack 1 egg in each bowl.
-Add 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon gluten free flour into each bowl.
-Add 1 teaspoon water into each.
-Add 1/2 teaspoon agave (or sugar) and a pinch of salt into each bowl.
-Whisk ingredients in each bowl until smooth.
-Heat 8 or 10 inch pan with coconut oil or butter.
-Pour one bowl into hot pan and tilt the bottom of the pan to evenly cover the surface with a thin, even coating.
-Cook the crepe until it is firm (about 1 minute.)
-Turn with a spatula and cook 30 more seconds.
-Put 1 Tablespoon on ENJOY LIFE chocolate chips in a line down the center of the crepe.
-Roll and serve or freeze for up to one month.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Website of the Week: Life Without Plastic





Life Without Plastic is a dream come true for anyone who wants to move away from plastic. Although my resolution was to give up my dependence on plastic, it seems like an impossible task in the modern world. Plastic is EVERYWHERE. That is why minimizing your exposure to it is so important.

Friends have tried to give up sippy cups but haven't had much luck finding local alternatives. Life Without Plastic will help anyone who wants to find safer alternatives to plastic drinking cups and dishes.

Related posts:
SnackTAXI Reusable Bags for Snacks
Protecting Children from Toxins in Our Everyday World

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Flax Seed Crackers

I adapted a flax seed cracker recipe from RAW The UNcook Book by Juliano into a cooked cracker because I don't have a dehydrator--although it is on a list of things I wish I had.

1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2/3 c. sundried tomatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced jalepeno
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups flax seeds

Puree all ingredients except flax seeds in a blender or food processor. Transfer into bowl and mix in the flax seeds. Spread onto parchment paper into cracker size shapes (I use 4 inch circles.) You might have to use whatever flour you have on hand to spread the dough. Bake in 250º oven until crispy (45 minutes-1 hour.)


Friday, August 7, 2009

snackTAXI reusable bags for snacks












These snackTAXI reusable snack bags are a great alternative to plastic ziplock bags. You can wash them and according to my friend, Leslie, they dry in no time. She found them at Healthy Living, in Burlington, Vermont, but you can also them directly from snackTAXI. To see the snackTAXI in action check out their homepage...

Related posts:
Lead-free Lunch Box
Safer Plastic: Protecting Children From Toxins in the Everyday World
Resolutions: Doing Better

Betty Crocker Baking Mix Contest Winner...























The Betty Crocker Baking Mix Contest was our first contest and in the spirit of living a simpler life, my daughter and I wrote the names on small scraps of paper and she picked a winner out of a hat. Cherie won the contest. Cherie has two blogs: Tightwads with Triplets and More Than An Egg. Here is her comment:

"I'm a new reader to your blog and would love to try the mixes out. My son is completely GFCF and hasn't found a sweet treat that he likes yet. FYI: I googled my son's nutritionist (Kelly Dorfman) and found your blog. :)"

Congratulations to Cherie and thanks to everyone who made comments--and to Betty Crocker for making these NEW gluten-free baking mixes.

Agave Chai (GFCF)


This is a spicy chai syrup you can mix with milk, rice or almond milk over ice for a refreshing treat. Or for a hot beverage, mix into steaming milk, rice milk or almond milk. I adapted a recipe from RAW The UNcook Book for this.

2 cups agave
3 Tablespoons cocoa or raw carob powder
1.5 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup minced ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Puree in vita-mix or blender until smooth. Use 3 Tablespoons of syrup with a cup of Westsoy rice milk for a creamy, spicy coffee and tea alternative.




Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zinc and sleep

There is a fascinating overview of zinc at Do I Need Magnesium or Zinc? Like magnesium, zinc is needed for hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body so being deficient can cause many things to go wrong.

According to the site:
"One of the first signs of zinc deficiency can be disrupted sleep patterns...Those with low zinc tend to eat more frequently. They may have poor concentration, poor short term memory recall, mental apathy, eczema, dermatitis, hay fever, allergies, asthma, frequent colds, sore throats, ear infections, thrush, warts. They may be fussy eaters, lose sense of taste and smell, have pre-dinner tantrums, temper outbursts, anorexia or bulimia, acne, teenage depression, be hyperactive or moody. "
Zinc is critical for fighting infections--and, according to the site "Zinc is secreted into body fluids as an antiseptic" and "Body zinc is depleted by high carbohydrate diets." and "Calcium supplements and high calcium foods reduce zinc absorption by half. Stress (physical, emotional or chemical) as well as pollutions, pesticides and toxic metals leave us short on zinc. "

My son tested low in zinc according to recent blood tests and has many signs of a zinc deficiency. Anecdotally, last night he was screaming in his sleep. After 15 minutes of listening to him and trying to comfort him, I remembered I had forgotten to give him the zinc, so I gave him some in a little water and he immediately stopped crying and fell asleep. It is not science--perhaps it was the water-- but when I looked it up I noticed that a disrupted sleep pattern was associated with low zinc. Most people, including my son, don't usually have such dramatic responses to zinc supplementation. More typical signs of zinc deficiency are: poor growth, picky eating, and slow wound healing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dermatitis Herpetiformis-Itchy, Scabby Elbows Can Be a Sign of Celiac



Dermatitis Herpetiformis is an autoimmune skin condition that is actually a type of celiac disease caused by a genetic sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology:
"The rash is caused when gluten in the diet combines with IgA, and together they enter the blood stream and circulate."
Interestingly, iodine is required for the reaction so avoiding iodized salt is recommended. If you have this kind of rash, you should see a doctor who understands celiac disease. More than 90% of patients with Dermatitis Herpetiformis also have gluten sensitive enteropathy which is celiac disease. I would also recommend getting a copy the book Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Dr. Peter Green.

If you have an undiagnosed, untreated autoimmune disease then you are more likely to get a second autoimmune disease so getting a diagnosis and treatment if you have this type of rash is important. The good news about having this itchy skin condition is that it goes away on a gluten free diet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Burlington IS Beautiful...but I am often busy


Mariel and Chloe are two young bloggers who are staying in Vermont next door. I took a look at TWO EGGS IN SNOW and ChloeKillwell--their blogs-- and seeing their artsy, edgy* West Village lives made me feel SOOOOOOOO old and reasonable and linear. Which is funny, because if you know me, you know that I have a difficult time being linear. Life is so relative. I agree with Chloe though...Burlington IS beautiful! I am just too busy doing laundry or watching the kids at the beach or cooking tacos to notice. So I thought I would be a little less obvious tonight and write about the day. Which will make this post still linear, but slightly more random...

We picked green beans and flowers at the farm and talked to the farmer about how tricky it is to pick a good watermelon--especially now with so much rain. He had on rain boots and I thought I would be less afraid if I saw a snake if I had on rain boots. Bagels for breakfast with almond butter and jelly. E. had peanut butter and jelly. I ran the dog down the street and back before we set off for the gym and the beach. Bought some Bluebonnet Calcium and Magnesium with D3 at Healthy Living after A. got these red welts from a mosquito bite. Can't help but mention that a high histamine response can be a sign of a magnesium deficiency and the Bluebonnet certainly helped his red welts. My daughter has been begging me for tapioca pudding the last few days so I made some vanilla ice cream tapioca pudding--no one drinks milk here so I used vanilla ice cream instead of milk. Ate outside while the kids begged us for more tacos. They settled for ice cream and playing on the rocks. I love watching the kids run off in the grass to the blueberries. Can't imagine how much I will miss their soft little feet and arms and legs when they are older. Life is not edgy and racy now but it is beautiful--and too busy to EVER be boring.

This is a picture of Intervale Community Farm in Burlington, Vermont.
*I would say racy--but that would make me sound even older.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Enter to Win NEW Gluten Free Betty Crocker Baking Mixes


Betty Crocker is launching four new gluten free baking mixes at the end of the summer: a chocolate chip brownie mix, a yellow cake mix, a devil's food cake mix and a chocolate chip cookie mix. See below to win a prize package from Betty Crocker...

I am THRILLED that Betty Crocker has decided to introduce these four new gluten free baking mixes in mainstream supermarkets. How great will it be for all our kids who are gluten free that relatives and friends will be able to find these mixes in mainstream supermarkets? Since my daughter has been gluten free, so many people have asked me what they can have on hand for her to eat. A number of people have wanted to include my kids in celebrations, but it has often been too difficult. I can't tell you how great it is to be able to point people toward these new mixes.

I am also a huge fan of how simple the ingredient lists are for these mixes. The yellow cake mix contains: rice flour, sugar, potato starch, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate) xanthum gum, and salt. I love that they don't contain soybean oil, cotton seed oil, dried corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors and nonfat milk--which are in other typical boxed cake mixes.

When I received the mixes my husband asked me to to make the Betty Crocker brownie mix--he hadn't seen a brownie in our house for years. After I made them we sampled the brownies warm from the oven. They were gooey and delicious and the mix already contained extra chocolate chips, which I usually like to add to brownies. He gave them the ultimate compliment...they were "regular people's brownies."

Although they are gluten free, they don't taste like they are gluten free--they just taste like delicious chocolate brownies.

Everyone agreed the chocolate chip cookies were also a homerun. My sister said "They taste just like your--only they are easier to make." Another family member said "They are a little grainy" as he helped himself to a second. The uncooked cookie dough is crumbly when it is mixed, but you can make balls of the dough and flatten them and the cookies turn out perfect.

To find out where you can buy these delicious mixes go to the Betty Crocker product locator or go to amazon.com to order now.

MAKE A COMMENT TO WIN a Betty Crocker baking mix prize package containing the four baking mixes, coupons and gifts. 1) To enter, please comment on THIS post (Click on "comments" below) 2) Post your comment by 11:59 pm on Thursday, August 6th. One entry per person, please. US addresses only. 3) One winner will be chosen by random and announced on Friday morning, August 7th. 4) NOTE: If you wish to be contacted by e-mail if you win, please include your email address in your comment. Otherwise you must check back on Friday, August 7th to see if you have won. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited to another winner after 72 hours.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hives, Thyroid, and Yeast

I found this on dermatology.about.com:

"Chronic hives are also associated with thyroid disease - hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. An infection with the yeast, Candida albicans, is also associated with chronic hives. All of these conditions should be ruled out. Skin testing is of variable benefit since people with hives tend to react positively to most agents tested for."

My son had hives on and off until he started thyroid medication for low thyroid (hypothyroid) and the biofilm protocol for yeast. His TSH wasn't high on the typical TSH test, but Dr. Kellman did the TRH stimulation test, an older test. Yeast overgrowth also interferes with thyroid receptors, according to Dr. Morton Teich, so the conditions are not unrelated. Anecdotally, a mother I know, from India, told me that in India, if the mother is hypothyroid and her child displays symptoms of low thyroid they often prescribe a low dosage of thyroid medication for the child. After hearing this from my friend, I looked into whether my children were suffering from a thyroid problem.