Wow. I make it out of bed when the alarm goes off at 7am yet again. I take a look in the mirror and wonder whether I’m imagining things or whether the samples of cream that Sarah gave me at the weekend are already starting to work their magic. Is that possible? I’m not sure. I ask M to inspect my forehead. “Don’t you think the creases are disappearing???” M laughs, but agrees my skin does indeed look healthier today. I’ve had some sneaky bits of gluten filled food, so I can’t blame it on the diet. Dr Perricone may indeed be my new best friend. (http://www.perriconemd.com/). Apparently this is miraculous anti ageing stuff. I’m at the point where I’ll give anything a whirl. Feels like I’ve been beaten up and haggard by all of the harsh cancer treatments for the longest time now and have kind of given up on the idea of ever looking youthful again. It’s all natural and it slots in perfectly with the new g-free lifestyle. In C’s words “it’s a healthier way of life”.
For the record, I’m taking Pericone MD nutriceuticals: DMAE with Tocotrienols Complex (food for the skin apparently). I’m applying Advanced Eye Area Therapy, Advanced Face Firming Activator, More Than Moisture SPF 30 to my face daily. Watch this space…
Breakfast is less elaborate today – I’ve spent far too much time staring in the mirror admiring my potentially diminishing wrinkles. C has his herbs, gets dressed, eats some cornflakes and yoghurt and stands at the door ready to go to school. I love the new C. Life is so much easier this way.
We troop to school. I’m volunteering in the classroom this morning and with T in tow we watch the beginning of the class day. I watch in awe at the kids pledging the allegiance to the flag and realize that I have made a big cultural faux pas by not putting my hand to my chest. Mental note to self: Must put hand to chest next time I watch my children pledge their allegiance to the flag!
It’s fun to spend some time in the classroom and I wonder whether C has managed to be more focused yet. He has seemed a ton happier at the end of his school days this week already. Fingers crossed!
We get home and my landlady calls to ask if I’m interested in having a beehive put into the garden. She is super excited and is planning to have one installed in her garden this weekend. There is apparently only a short window of opportunity – the next 2 weeks to do this. We’d talked about it some weeks back, as we have a swarm of friendly honey bees that inhabits our chimney. I thought that it’d be amazing to harvest honey from them, rather than it all go to waste in the chimney pot. I’m now not sure that I can handle becoming a bee keeper at this point in time on top of everything else. I think that I may watch and learn from my friend this year and maybe take up bee keeping next year. Still undecided.
T and I then pick up his swim partner friend and his mom and dash into the city for the weekly swim lesson. We are a little late as I became a tad engrossed in the bee discussion. I’m mostly always late…
T has lessons every week in a group of 4 kids. We 4 moms – and also one of the dads – chat every week about this and that as we oo and coo over our kids doggy paddling around the pool. This week I tell my gluten free saga. I know that one of the moms has talked about having allergies before and know that her little girl isn’t allowed bread, but I have no idea to what extent they need to avoid certain foods. I am quickly in awe of Jennifer’s in depth knowledge of food. She knows what is good and bad in everything it seems to me. She is also incredibly dedicated to making so much food from scratch – her own sauerkraut, her own roasted nuts, her own varieties of nut butters. I suggest that she starts a cottage industry called ‘Jennifer’s Nuts’. She may be nuts, but she’s smart. . Check out her blog at: http://mommajenskitchen.blogspot.com
She very kindly posts a couple of recipes/flour mix ideas for me:
Flour Mix from Food Allergy Survival Guide:
3 cups potato or tapioca starch
2 cups chickpea/garbanzo flour
2 cups brown or white rice flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
This can be kept in a jar or airtight container for months. It seems to almost behave like wheat flour, which makes it nice for substitutions. FYI, though, the potato flour is SUPER absorbent. I much prefer the tapioca starch for consistency.
Super-easy one bowl muffins:
2 cups flour mix
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or 1 egg, beaten
large pinch of salt
2 cups nondairy milk or water
1/2 cup coconut oil, grapeseed oil or ghee, softened
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking cups. Blend together all dry ingredients: flour mix, guar gum (if using it), salt, in large bowl. Whisk in milk or water, oil and blend until smooth. (Add egg here if you’re using it instead of guar gum.)
Spoon into cups being careful not to overfill. Bake until lightly browned, and when cake tester or toothpick comes out smooth from middle of a muffin, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack.
These will be best the same day and still tasty the next am. After that, freeze them and they’ll keep a long while.
The muffins can be varied with just about any blend of fruit, nuts, spices, etc.
After a lovely stroll along Crissy Fields and our weekly coffee at the Warming Hut (http://www.presidio.gov/experiences/visitor.htm), we head back to sunny Mill Valley to pick up C from school. He has just had a drama class and his teacher remarks on the fact that she is impressed that he knew and remembered his lines. We’ve been practicing the past few days and I’m so relieved that it has paid off and that the words have sunk in. Maybe his focus is improving?!
We then head to Boyle Park for tennis (http://www.boyleparktennis.com/), but the honeymoon is over and C gets tired and wants to stop half way through the lesson. I keep him going with a banana and have some rice crackers on hand. He is fed up with the snacks that I have to offer and wants something more tasty. My search for tasty snacks to have on hand when we are on the go will continue.
After having drenched himself and his little brother in the creek at the park and the dog having managed to get a handful of kids to dutifully throw a tennis ball for him we head back to another cooking session. I make a mental note to check C’s lunchbox and wonder whether he didn’t like the food again and was so hungry and tired because of that.
It turns out that the contents of the lunchbox were gone. I asked whether he liked his food today and the answer was yes. Result! Today, I’d given him Quinoa pasta with some veg and really wasn’t sure if he’d like it or not. He really liked it. Great! I discovered Quinoa when I was going through my radiaton treatment last year. It’s important to eat a lot of protein while your cells are having the hell zapped out of them and so Quinoa was recommended to me by the Cancer Care Center. I’ve been calling it ‘Kwi-Noah’ ever since, but my lovely friend pointed out to me the other day that it is in fact pronounce ‘Kwee-Noire’. Ah well. The Quinoa pasta brand is Andean Dream (http://www.adreamshopping.com/).
Tonight I make an organic chicken risotto. It tastes amazing (although I say so myself) and we all enjoy it. I just wish I’d made more!
G-free moms organic chicken risotto:
3 tablespoons butter (or earth Best Buttery spread – gluten free)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1 onion. All finely chopped.
8 chicken thighs (I use the Trader Joes organic ones and then cut each one in half)
11oz (350g) Aborio rice
2 pints (1.2 l) organic chicken stock
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter (or spread) with the oil in a large pan.
Add the celery, carrot and onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the chicken in a single layer, turn up the heat and brown for 8-10 minutes.
Make sure chicken is coked by piercing with a tooth pick and then remove the meat and keep it warm in a low oven.
Add the rice and cook for one minute.
Then slowly start adding the stock, stirring frequently until cooked – about 20 minutes.
Add the remaining butter before serving. If you can eat cheese also add a couple of tablespoons of fresh parmesan.