Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Quinoa Pancakes (& Fructose Friendly!)

Quinoa Pancakes Egg Free Gluten Free Fructose Friendly CradleRockingMama.com

The addition of baking soda to our diets has been wonderful  for baking. It really helps make everything I’ve ever made for Zac fluffier and better textured than they were without it. Including these gluten-free dairy-free quinoa pancakes!

A while ago, I realized that the cookie recipe I make for him could easily be poured into a skillet and fried up like a pancake. It’s the exact same recipe, but he sometimes prefers it cooked that way.

The other day, I decided to make Zac pancakes, and with baking soda on board, I took it a little bit further.

They were a Screaming Success!

He LOVED them! Couldn’t get enough and ate an entire batch before noon.

These yummy little pancakes came out fluffy, and looked and felt exactly like regular pancakes. I was thrilled!

They’re also really simple to make, and are naturally gluten-free, wheat-free, fructose friendly, and potentially dairy-free if you use an alternate liquid.

If you also make sure to avoid corn-y ingredients, you can make these corn-free, too!

Basically, you’ll follow the steps for the quinoa cookies, except to begin, you’ll add some safe fat or oil to a skillet and start heating it up on the stove. Pancakes of any stripe cook better when poured on to a hot surface!

Add 2 eggs, the milk, and the uncooked quinoa to a blender and process until smooth. To make these dairy free, just use an alternate milk like hemp or quinoa milk.

Ingredients Ready to Become Pancakes CradleRockingMama.com

Obviously “extras” aren’t safe for us, yet, but this would be a good time to add any that you’d like. Vanilla and some sweetener come to mind. I would suggest stevia; if you use anything else, like maple syrup or some granulated form of sugar, reduce the liquid accordingly.

Pour the batter in to a bowl, and add the baking soda. Stir it together with a large serving spoon, then use that spoon to “spoon” the batter in to the skillet.

Batter Up CradleRockingMama.com

I was aiming for mini-pancakes. Mine came out a little larger than a typical “silver dollar” pancake.

I’ve since made them larger, and they come out just fine as full-sized pancakes.

Cook the cakes for 2-3 minutes, or until you can see the edges begin to brown and some bubbles forming on the top.

Cooking the Pancakes CradleRockingMama.com

Then flip, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Pancakes Side Two CradleRockingMama.com

Plate them up and enjoy a delicious, healthy breakfast!

Quinoa Pancakes CradleRockingMama.com

Since the first time I made these, I’ve made an alternate version with bananas for extra flavor.

I simply added the banana to the blender with the rest of the ingredients; the only difference is that I reduced the milk to 1/2 c.

That version also came out fluffy and beautiful!

Fluffy Little Pancakes CradleRockingMama.com

Enjoy your gluten free, potentially dairy free, and fructose friendly pancakes!

Quinoa Pancakes - GF/DF & Fructose Friendly
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These delicious little pancakes are gluten free, potentially dairy free, and fructose friendly. They're also fluffy and perfect for breakfast! Enjoy!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 18 silver dollar sized pancakes
Ingredients
  • 2 T. safe oil/fat (olive oil, tallow, butter, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ c. milk
  • ¾ c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 banana (optional - if you use banana, reduce the milk to ½ c.)
  • 6 scoops of stevia (just under ¼ tsp.) - optional
  • 1 tsp. vanilla - optional
Instructions
  1. Add your safe oil/fat to a skillet and begin warming the pan on the stove. Pancakes work best on a hot surface!
  2. Crack the eggs into a blender.
  3. Add the milk and uncooked quinoa seeds. (Now would also be a good time to add the banana, stevia and vanilla, if using.)
  4. Process until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Pour the batter into a bowl.
  6. Add the baking soda and mix together with a spoon.
  7. Using a large serving spoon, spoon the batter into the hot skillet. These work best as smaller, "silver dollar" sized pancakes.
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the edges have browned slightly, then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  9. Use a spatula to slide those cute little pancakes on to a plate.
  10. Enjoy your delicious breakfast!

Blueberry Picking With Preschoolers

Blueberry Picking with Preschoolers CradleRockingMama.com

A few weeks ago, I went blueberry picking with my preschoolers. We had to find some organic, fresh blueberries for Zac’s planned blueberry trial, and since I couldn’t find organic blueberries last year at the Farmer’s Market, pick your own seemed the solution!

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would go. Not only have I never actually picked blueberries before, but how would my 3 and 4 year old boys react?

Better than I would have thought!

Jed turned out to be an excellent blueberry picker. The first time we went, he easily picked a half gallon in the time I picked a full gallon.

Boys Picking Blueberries CradleRockingMama.com

Then he made friends with a very sweet lady named Hannah, who kindly topped off his bucket for him!

Even better, Hannah is a nanny. A nanny whose current charge has severe peanut allergies. A nanny whose degree is in public health.

She volunteered her phone number in case we ever need babysitting.

I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but it’s nice to have a backup that may have a clue!

Zac, on the other hand, started off strong but quit picking completely after about ten minutes. Then he whined. He was hungry. He was thirsty. He was bored.

Wandering the Blueberry Patch CradleRockingMama.com

Still, between Jed, Hannah and me we managed a full 2 gallons of blueberries in about an hour for the low low price of $14 a gallon!

Bg Bucket of Blueberries CradleRockingMama.com

The next time we went, Jed started off strong again. He quickly started to try and find a new friend to talk with while he picked, though, which seriously diminished his picking ability. There weren’t many people there that day since it looked like it might rain.

Finally he found two little boys who were helping their parents gather berries for the local CSA they operate. The boys weren’t nearly as friendly as Hannah, but they weren’t mean. Jed enjoyed chatting with them, though, by eavesdropping, I learned exactly where Jed needs some clarifying on his social skills!

Zac didn’t even try to pick that time. He just started whining from the start.

Then he took off his shoes and left them…somewhere.

Then it started drizzling.

That ended any picking on Jed’s part, too.

Since we were already wet, and my 3rd gallon was almost full, I just started picking faster to try and finish as soon as possible.

When I was done and we headed up front, we couldn’t find Zac’s shoes anywhere!

The boys looked. I looked. No shoes.

Finally I just took them up to the sheltered stand where we pay and told them to wait there. I grabbed the umbrella from the car, wiped my glasses free from water, and headed back to look by myself.

Suddenly, Zac said he remembered where his shoes were. So I picked him up and carried him with me.

After 20 minutes of hunting for shoes in the rain before giving up, the little stinker took me RIGHT to his shoes when we went back to look the second time. Grr.

That visit netted us 3 gallons of berries.

The 3rd time we picked berries, it was Jed’s actual birthday. The sun was shining and I remembered to offer an incentive to the boys for berry picking. Every pint they picked earned them an extra red chip!

It didn’t work. 

I think they picked a whole pint between themselves.

Jed, as usual, went off to make friends. Zac just hung around me and whined, until I gave him my phone to play with.

After the shoe incident, I made sure the ringer was turned on and that he moved with me every time I hit up a new bush!

Jed quickly found some little girls and tried to make friends, but they weren’t nearly as friendly as the other folks he’d chatted with. I actually heard this little 7 year old girl incredulously ask Jed “Haven’t you ever heard of stranger danger before?”

The whole concept of stranger danger goes against everything I believe in as a human and a mother, so, much to her parents dismay, and just as Jed cheerfully responded “No.” I shouted out “I don’t teach my kids that concept. It’s a dangerous thing to believe.”

Then I called Jed over to me and encouraged him to find other people to chat with.

He couldn’t. So he and Zac went up to the ladies who run the berry patch and chatted with them while I finished picking. Fortunately, they thought the boys were cute and funny and were entertained by the visit.

Jed’s birthday brought us 2 more gallons for the stockpile.

I plan to go back for at least another 2 gallons, though, because while I was absent from the blog the last two weeks we did a full blueberry trial for Zac.

Blueberries are safe! Hello, food #16!!

Honestly, he’s not a huge fan. That’s not too surprising, since he has no safe sweetener to aid in blueberry taste.

But mix those blueberries in with some banana ice cream, and the kiddo goes nuts!!

Eating Blueberry Ice Cream II CradleRockingMama.com

Zac LOVES blueberry-banana ice cream!

Eating Blueberry Ice Cream CradleRockingMama.com

Thank God for bananas!

Once we have a sweetener, I’m sure he’ll be a lot more receptive to blueberries. I’ll be able to make syrup for his pancakes, and his muffins will be a lot more palatable with some sweetener to go with the sometimes tart or bitter blueberries. Having a few more gallons of berries around seems wise, since this year all  of us will be eating these berries and it’s apparently really difficult to find corn-free blueberries out of season!

I, for one, LOVE blueberry muffins! Jed can’t get enough blueberries, either. He eats them frozen all the time. We need plenty of blueberries to last us until next June.

Next up to trial? Probably olive oil. Darrel is on a quest to streamline our cooking procedures at the house. He’d like us to all be able to eat olive oil, black pepper, and potatos, since so much of his, Jed’s, and my diets depend on those three things.

I agree with him about the black pepper and olive oil. I even agree about potatos…I’m just not ready to do that trial yet. I’m not prepared to “lose” potatos if they prove unsafe for Zac.

As fast as he’s weaning, though, by the time we get through an olive oil and black pepper trial I’ll probably be willing to chance potatos. If they prove unsafe for Zac, well, at that point I would just wean him – if he hasn’t done so all by himself!

Once (if?) olive oil is safe, cooking will be HEAPS easier in our house. So pray for a safe olive oil trial for Zac, please? We’re starting that tomorrow!


Have you ever gone blueberry picking (or any kind of berry picking) with your preschoolers? How did it go?

Super Woman Needs a Vacation

SuperWoman Needs A Vacation CradleRockingMama.com

If you follow my Facebook page, you’ll know where I’ve been the last two weeks. On vacation!

Sort of. 

June is pretty jam-packed for our family; my birthday, Jed’s birthday, Zac’s birthday, and Father’s Day all hit at once. We have a double birthday party for the boys in June every year, rather than having to do two separate parties three weeks apart.

My birthday basically goes un-celebrated these days, since the kids birthdays have completely overshadowed mine. That’s okay, actually. The only thing I ever really want on my birthday is to NOT be on an airplane! (Don’t ask me why, but it seems like every year that I work on my birthday is the day weird stuff happens. As in, ‘call security or paramedics to meet the flight’ kind of weird. I don’t need a lot for my birthday, but I’d rather not have to deal with that!)

Consequently, I bid for vacation days on or near my birthday to make sure I’m not going to have to work that day.

That worked out great this year, since it ensured I had not only my birthday, but Jed’s birthday off, too. It also provided me with my only complete Friday-Sunday weekend off the whole month.

Remember when I mentioned selling the kids Thomas bed in my quest to “clean out the house, sell off the good stuff and make some money”?

Well, endlessly optimistic me decided to hold a garage sale for all that stuff we cleaned out.

Garage sales happen on Friday and Saturday.

Last weekend was my only Friday and Saturday off the entire month.

Saturday was also the day of the kids double birthday party.

Is anyone else reading this and thinking “Is she insane?”

Yeah. I didn’t think it was insane until about Thursday. By then it was too late to reschedule everything.

The last twelve days have been full throttle, pedal to the metal, 4 hours sleep per night, absolute frenzy!

I’m exhausted. 

The good news, though, is that all my projects turned out to be huge successes! The garage sale cleared out a TON of stuff and netted us a nice profit, and most of the stuff that didn’t sell has either already been donated or will be soon.

Some of the nicer things that didn’t sell I brought back in to the house to try and sell online. I’m going to give it a month; if they don’t sell by then, well, hello Salvation Army!

Consequently my house is looking much better.

In fact, I’m inspired to get rid of MORE junk. I was shocked when I realized that my house looked nicer after the party than it normally does! So this will be an ongoing project, I think.

Every now and then it’s important to get rid of the things you no longer need or use in order to make room for the life you are living. 

Better than the garage sale is that the boys birthday party was a huge success! Thanks to engaging with the world a bit, we had 6 kids come celebrate with the boys.

We finally had a REAL birthday party!!

Jed was beside himself. 

Ever since Zac’s birthday, Jed has asked about his birthday at least ten times a day. When we revealed that we were having a party for them, he got so excited I thought he would explode!

Every morning he would ask “Is today my birthday party day?”

Every. Morning.

For weeks. 

The whole week was spent prepping for both the party and the sale. Darrel spent hours in the yard, hauling trash, mowing, weed eating, cleaning up the outside, and tidying up the porches.

I spent hours inside cleaning, sorting, pricing sale items, cooking, and advertising both the party and the sale online.

Not to mention the typical “cook 3 meals a day from scratch” and basic functional life necessities.

Friday was to be our first sale day, and it was scheduled to rain.

We don’t actually have a garage.

I didn’t fancy standing outside in a downpour while all our stuff got drenched, but I’d already advertised the sale.

Solution? We set up the garage sale in our living room!

The threat of rain kept most people away in the morning, but by noon it had cleared up and the garage salers came out to shop! Our first sale came at 1:00 pm, and the rest of the afternoon had a nice turnout.

Saturday was beautiful weather all day, and the sales started bright and early. Thankfully, they naturally dwindled by 1:00 pm, which gave us time to clean ourselves up and set up for the party.

Side note: you didn’t think I did this all by myself, did you? Not only did Darrel and I work nonstop for a week, but my Mom came over on Friday to help with the cakes and both my parents came early on Saturday to help set up for the party. We could not have done this without their help!

The party was scheduled for 3:00 pm, and we were ready to go.

Homemade items on the menu:

  • two birthday cakes for Jed & the guests
  • one cake for Zac
  • one cake for me
  • Banana ice cream for everyone
  • Banana ice cream for Zac & me with his special bananas
  • Grilled burgers
  • homemade ketchup
  • Homemade salsa
  • Lemonade (Jed squeezed almost all the lemons by himself!)
  • Cucumber infused water
  • Orange and lime infused water

We bought store bought buns for our guests, corn chips, potato chips, mustard, mayonnaise, and lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.

My entire goal was a birthday party where everyone got to eat basically the same food. At their own party, my kids were not  going to be told they couldn’t eat the food! 

Sure, there were lots of things Zac couldn’t have and a few things Jed couldn’t have, but everyone ate hamburgers, cake, and ice cream.

Beyond the food, we had a game of “stick the funnel on Thomas” (you knew this was a Thomas themed party, right?), in which both of my boys cheated. They didn’t understand they had to leave the blindfold ON!

After that we had presents, which, thankfully, was just the right amount of “stuff” (since I’m clearing out stuff right now!).

Once the presents were done, we headed outside for piñata time!

Jed and Zac were so excited about the piñata! They’d never seen one before, so when I told them what it was and we went shopping for it, I thought Party City would never recover from the shrieking and sheer enthusiasm the boys displayed!

They didn’t pick the obvious Thomas piñata; they went with the knock-off train shaped piñata. It was smaller, but it made them happy.

Then we stocked up at the dollar store for goodies to put in the piñata. With food allergies, there was no way I was putting candy in there. None of it is safe for Jed or Zac, and it was their birthday party! They needed to be able to participate in all the fun!

Fortunately, I think the kids at the party thought a toy-filled piñata was even better than a candy-filled one.

Plus, it doubled as their thank you gift! I wrote “Thank you for coming to our party! Jed and Zac” on the outside of plain gift bags, handed them to the kids, and let the whacking begin!

Two thoughts about this: one, when did it become “the thing” to give gifts to people who come to your birthday party? We didn’t do that when I was a kid. It was enough to be fed cake and ice cream and get to play with your friends. I don’t get it.

And two, when did whacking a piñata become too “violent”? Nowadays piñata’s all have strings that you pull to open them up, so the kids aren’t “encouraged to be violent”. Say what? It’s a pinata!!

We got a stick and let them whack at it the old fashioned way. It was loads more fun than a tame string-pulling!

Anyway, after the last of the goodies had been scavenged by the kids, everyone said thank you and bye bye and went home.

Whew!

Since the weekend, the week has been spent doing some required computer training for work, blueberry picking, goat milk procuring, donating unsold items, online garage sale attempts, and cooking enough food for me to eat this weekend at work.

I need a vacation from my vacation!

Oh, I called myself Super Woman in the title. I’m being facetious. I don’t really think I’m Super Woman.

However, one couple came to our garage sale on both days, and after seeing all the craft supplies I was selling, some of the handmade stuff I was selling, the headboard I made from scratch with my mom, and noticing how I’d decorated my home, the lady informed Darrel “your wife is amazing! You know you’ve got a superwoman there, right?”

To which he wisely replied in the affirmative. Obviously.

I was amused. 

But a little something that showed up a few days later made me laugh out loud: the boys got Super Hero capes and masks!

Well, if my sons are Super Heroes, I guess I can pretend to be Super Woman, right? 

We’ve been having fun being Super Heroes this week, though I think Jed and Zac are just as worn out as Darrel and I are:

One Tired SuperHero CradleRockingMama.com

Yep. The Super Hero family needs a vacation.

Or just a week of good sleep.


How are you doing? Do you find kids birthday parties and garage sales as exhausting as I do?

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part IV: The Little (Big) Things

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part 4 The Little Big Things CradleRockingMama.com

Beyond concerns about the education system, socialization of our children, and food safety, there are a few other, little (and not so little) things that answer the question of why to homeschool. This post wraps up the series by addressing those little (big) things.

First, a logistical issue. We live in the country. The schools my children would attend are about a 20-25 minute drive away from our house.

I’ve observed the children in my area being picked up by the school bus at around 7:00 a.m., and being dropped off after school hours between 3:45 and 4:15 p.m.

If you’re keeping track, that means the kids are out of the house by 6:30 a.m. (because the school bus pickups are not AT our house; we would have to drive them there) and not home until 4:30 p.m.

TEN HOURS.

Ten hours out of every 24, my kids would be gone.

Since they sleep 11 hours per night, getting fed and ready for school would easily take an hour, and dinner time means a good hour and a half we are occupied, that means that if my children were to attend public schools, we would have a mere 30 minutes a day to spend any sort of fun, quality time as a family.

30 minutes.

We may as well ship the kids off to boarding school at that rate!

I could increase our quality time together by driving the kids to and from school every day, but that is easily 80-90 minutes of my day dedicated to just driving, to net us only an extra hour or so of time with the kids.

I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous.

Now for a not so little concern. The decision to homeschool, for me, began with concerns about public schools. When our food issues first began, I started thinking more seriously about the idea. Over the years of observing the school bus schedule, I really began researching how to homeschool.

However, it’s only recently that I’ve begun growing convicted that homeschooling is the right choice for our family. 

Yes, convicted. 

After reading more about homeschooling, I started to look at homeschooling through the lens of my faith.

God says to raise your children up right, and when they are grown, they will not waver. He also says to be in the world, but not of it.

Both of those are really good admonitions, and both are a true challenge to achieve in the world today.

It is concerning to see what our modern culture glorifies, and what it ignores. You can hardly turn around these days without encountering something unwholesome, perverse, cruel, or just inane.

I’m disturbed by stories of teenagers hooking up, having babies, doing drugs, flaunting authority, eschewing responsibility, and even more concerned with the observation that those behaviors often continue well in to adulthood.

Harder to find examples of?

Honor. Integrity. Loyalty. Kindness. Truth. Respect. Faith. Hope. Charity. Love.

This world is a fallen world, and always has been. I can’t change that, and I can’t stop my children from living in it. 

But I believe this world encourages children to grow up too fast, before they are prepared to cope with the world in a healthy way. 

So while Darrel and I cannot change the world, we can try to do as God commands and raise our children right, helping them encounter the world in a judiciously controlled way.

They will not be denied the modern world, but we will expose them to facets of it as they are ready for it, not at ages far too young to understand what they are seeing, hearing, or reading.

I pray that by homeschooling, thereby remaining the primary influence in our sons lives, they will grow to be strong men of integrity who can seamlessly wander the world without being eaten up, churned around, and spit out by it.

I’ve grown convinced that while God doesn’t explicitly say to homeschool, choosing to homeschool is the right way for us to attempt to live up to the other things God does want us to do. 

On a less serious note, I look forward to the future, when I can finally utilize my job in a way that will make all the challenges I’ve been enduring this last year well worth it.

Free flights anywhere in the world, folks! Can you imagine a better way to teach the boys about WWII than to walk them through Dachau, see where the Berlin Wall stood, visit Pearl Harbor, and walk the beaches at Normandy?

What about Ancient Greece by visiting the Parthenon? Or the Roman Empire by a day at the Colosseum?

Stonehenge, the Tower of London, the Great Wall of China, maybe a trip Down Under?

The Revolutionary War by visiting Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore?

That’s what I call making history come to life!

We will someday have the opportunity to take a month or two every year and spend it doing intensive, hands on teaching via travel. The boys will learn languages, history, math (using currency exchange and budgeting for the trip), and more. Public schools just can’t offer that!

My kids will someday get to learn the history and languages of the world first hand, and Darrel and I get to go along for the ride. 

I simply can’t wait. 


Homeschooling is not the right choice for all families.

I know that, and have absolutely NO condemnation for anyone who chooses other options – including public schools.

My only hope in writing this series was to share our reasons for making this decision for our family, and encourage you to consider your options for what is best for your own family.

The decision on how to raise and educate our children is an important one, and conversation about the many options available can only bring about good things.

Deliberate actions always bring about the best results; I hope we will all be deliberate about raising our little future adults. 


Read the whole series:
Part 1: Concerns About Public Schools
Part 2: Socialization
Part 3: Food Issues
Part 4: The Little (Big) Issues

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part III: Food Issues

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part III: Food Issues CradleRockingMama.com

I wish food issues played no part in our decision to homeschool.

I wish food issues were a non-issue in a multitude of places, but sadly, that is not so.

When you have children with food allergies, considering their safety when outside of your care is a matter of life and death.

However, as strange as it may sound to those parents who either deal with no food allergies or only IgE food allergies, our concerns about our children’s food intolerance’s are greater than our concerns about their IgE allergies.

The Food Allergy World has made terrific efforts to raise awareness of IgE allergies; most people nowadays at least know what an Epi-pen is, even if they aren’t completely well versed in the symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Food intolerance’s, however, have not made such strides.

In my experience, people tend to not take food intolerance’s very seriously. Because the symptoms of a food intolerance are usually delayed and don’t threaten immediate death, it’s easy for people to not worry as much about them.

Anyone who suffers with a food intolerance will earnestly counter that opinion, but trying to convince people of the seriousness of food intolerance’s is difficult. Usually it requires the doubter witnessing a reaction themselves to change their minds.  In the meantime, this attitude is very worrying to parents of children with food intolerance’s.

Now, if we were to send our children to public school, we would absolutely sit down with the administrators and teachers to arrange a 504 plan to ensure our kids safety.

After 5 years of living in this world, though, I must admit that Darrel and I are wary of the effectiveness of 504 plans.

While we do hear amazing stories of how good a particular teacher or school is at following the rules of a child’s 504 plan, we also hear far too many stories of 504 plans being completely ignored or only loosely adhered to.

From personal observation, I’ve concluded that the effectiveness of a 504 plan is dependent on the staff at the school.

Certainly there are legal options available to a parent whose child’s 504 plan is being ignored, but who wants to deal with that?

All any parent wants is for assured safety for their child. The lack of import given food intolerances makes Darrel and I concerned that the majority of our children’s food issues will not be treated with the concern they need.

While we might be lucky and find diligent, caring, efficient teachers at the school our children would attend, there is always the chance that we would find ourselves in a constant battle over the guidelines we arranged.

Frankly, I don’t have the time or energy to deal with that.

Sadly, the danger of food allergic/intolerant children attending public school is not limited to the diligence of teachers and administrators. After all, our children would attend public school with other children, and other parents will be involved in many activities for all the children, including our own.

That means our children would be exposed to two other sources of potential danger: food allergy bullying from the other children, and willful disobedience and ignorance of the other parents.

Food allergy bullying is a growing danger to food allergic/intolerant children.

Situations of peers deliberately contaminating a food allergy child’s food or learning space (such as wiping peanut butter on a peanut-allergic child’s desk or trying to shove it in their face) are happening with growing frequency.

In addition to reading about this phenomenon, I’ve personally heard from two mothers whose young children have been forced to change schools or classrooms because of a food allergy bully.

It’s not a pleasant situation. It’s a dangerous, potentially deadly or debilitating situation for food allergy/intolerant children.

As for the parents of the other students, every few months another disgraceful article or blog post is published by a parent who is “fed up” with all these restrictions being placed on the food their kids can bring to school. (Many of the comments on this article are great examples of the attitudes of fellow parents.)

I personally observed a Facebook exchange where a lady whined about not being able to bring cupcakes to class for her sons birthday because a student in his class had allergies.

Every single commenter on her post took her side. Some merely agreed that it was a difficult situation for the rest of the parents and students, and some went so far as to say that they would stand outside the classroom and hand out the cupcakes to all the kids as they left to go home for the day anyway.

Not one person was horrified at the thought that they might actually kill or maim a child in their pursuit of confectionery celebration.

That makes my blood run cold.

Evidence shows that food allergy and food intolerant parents are making great headway in changing the landscape of public schools to be a safe place for all children.

Unfortunately, the end goal has not been achieved, and far too many food allergy/intolerant children are sickened or killed in public schools due to lackadaisical 504 adherence, insane restrictions on carrying Epi-pens outside of the nurses office, cruel classmates and selfish parents.

Darrel and I feel that our children’s food issues are complicated enough that it will be nearly impossible to create a 504 plan that can be easily adhered to (I mean, how easy is it to convince people to take The Meanies seriously?), and are unwilling to risk our children’s health to the other potential dangers public school brings.

I will be perfectly honest about this next point. While concerns about public schools, socialization, and the other concerns I’ll address tomorrow certainly had me leaning towards homeschooling, it was the concerns about food issues that sealed the deal for me.

I can supplement my children’s education if I feel they are not being properly challenged in public school.

I can work diligently to instill our values and ethics in our children, put them in situations where they must deal with people other than their peers, and otherwise mitigate the effects of poor socialization from public schools.

But I cannot eradicate the pain and internal damage caused by exposure to an intolerance, or, if exposed to an IgE allergen, bring my children back to life.


Tomorrow wraps up this series with an explanation of other factors that played into our decision.

Read the whole series:
Part 1: Concerns About Public Schools
Part 2: Socialization
Part 3: Food Issues
Part 4: The Little (Big) Things


Do you worry about your food allergic/intolerant child in public schools? Have your 504 plans been adhered to properly?

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part II: Socialization

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part 2 Socialization CradleRockingMama.com

One of the most common concerns I’ve heard people express about Homeschooling is this:

What about socialization?

Originally, I shared that concern. How on earth were my kids going to learn how to get along with their peers without being in a public school?

Then I thought about it a bit more.

Let’s start with the definition of “socialize”. From Merriam-Webster:

Full Definition of SOCIALIZE

transitive verb
1
:  to make social; especially :  to fit or train for a social environment
2
a :  to constitute on a socialistic basis <socialize industry>

b :  to adapt to social needs or uses

3
:  to organize group participation in <socialize a recitation>
intransitive verb
:  to participate actively in a social group

Dictionary.com defines SOCIALIZATION as follows:

noun
1.
a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.

2.
the act or process of making socialisticthe socialization of industry.

Let’s address the widely held belief that the only proper way to socialize children is via public school.

I  now have to ask “why?”

Why is public school believed to be the only way to properly teach children how to “participate actively in a social group”?

If you’re anything like me, much of your education in how to participate in a social group did NOT come from your years in public school; instead, it was gleaned from outside activities like church, Girl Scouts, dance classes, etc.

In fact, I would say that the very situation of being in public school makes it nearly impossible for an “individual (to) acquire a personal identity”, considering the well-known fact that schoolyard teasing, cliques, and even bullying are hallmarks of the “social scene” in public schools.

Let’s face it; peer pressure is intense, and school yard teasing can be brutal. 

How can a child discover who they truly are and grow confident in their sense of self when at the slightest mis-step they are brutally condemned and even ostracized for their differences?

Sure, most of us survived the school social scene and lived to tell the tale, but how many of us gained our actual inborn sense of self during our school years? How many of us actually gained that self-awareness years later, either in college or during our ’20’s?

The aim of public school socialization might be a development of an individuals sense of self, but the actual outcome is of thousands of children striving for conformity.

Feeling as though one does not “fit in” with peers is the basis for many young adult novels, made for TV movies, and therapy sessions as adults. Do we really feel it is necessary to endure that in order to function in society?

This ties in with our observations of how social interaction with peers has influenced our oldest son, Jed, already.

From birth, Jed was a charming, friendly, engaging little boy who shared everything freely, played nicely, and had an innate sense of right and wrong.

At one of our playground visits, however, he attempted to play with other children in the sandbox. They would not share their toys, grabbed Jed’s toys and refused to give them back, literally turned their backs on him, and generally behaved horribly.

The very next time we went to the playground, Jed mimicked their behavior, much to my embarrassment and chagrin.

We have had to work diligently for two years to help him “un-learn” horrible practices he learned from other children.

I shudder to think what my sweet, kind, loving son would turn in to after years of isolated exposure to other badly behaved children.

That experience was the first time I actually considered what the influence of peers versus the influence of adults would bring upon a child. It helped me to realize that there is an entirely different perspective we should utilize when considering the socialization of our children. We need to ask the question:

how can our children learn to function in the “real world” by being isolated in an artificial situation with legions of other socially ignorant children?

As an example, say you want to learn a new skill. Skateboarding, skydiving, knitting, car repair, or underwater basket weaving, it hardly matters. As a novice, do you seek out the insight and wisdom of other newbies? Or do you search for a teacher/mentor who has plenty of experience in your chosen skill?

I think the answer is clear; experience and wisdom are key to development and growth of any new skill.

Including socialization.

So why is it considered so absurd that a child could be raised and taught at home, thereby primarily learning how to properly socialize in the world from older siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and extracurricular activity leaders? These people have, theoretically, far better social skills than their child’s fellow gradeschoolers!

This perspective would argue that it is BETTER for children’s social skills to be home schooled; not only would they still encounter plenty of children in outside activities, church, and at the playground, but their primary introduction to how to easily communicate and get along with others would come from a wider variety of experienced, seasoned adults.

They would learn how to be comfortable in ANY social setting, regardless of the age and experience of the company they are sharing.

Homeschooling families often view socialization through this perspective, and the studies back them up. This article cites many studies, so click through if you’d like proof.

In the end, Darrel and I have come to the conclusion that the naysayers are right: socialization DOES matter.

That’s part of the reason why we’re choosing to home school our children.


Read the whole series:
Part 1: Concerns About Public Schools
Part 2: Socialization
Part 3: Food Issues
Part 4: The Little (Big) Things


What do you think about socialization?

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part I: Concerns About Public Schools

Why We Decided to Homeschool Part 1 Concerns About Public Schools CradleRockingMama.com

This is the first post in the series “Why We Decided to Homeschool”. Since this was a joint decision, I asked Darrel to share his thoughts – especially about our first issue. Without further ado, and for his first appearance on my blog, here is what my husband has to say about his concerns about public schools:


Homeschooling vs. Public Schooling

We all want the best for our children. We want our children to be prepared to excel in life. We try to help our children grow into the best people that they can be. There are multiple routes to achieve this; for some it’s public schools and for others it’s homeschooling. This is by no means a condemnation of teachers and administrators at public schools, but rather a statement of the weaknesses in viewing education as a system.

My Mom was a public school teacher. I have many friends who work for public schools. I work at a public university. I considered becoming a teacher at various points in my life. My problem is not with the teachers.

My problem is with the laws, rules, and decisions regarding educational spending. 

I feel that public schools do not focus on gifted artists and academics to the degree that they should. This includes all those extra-curricular programs that prepare our children for life such as 4-H, Quiz Bowl, FBLA, FFA, DECA, Gifted and Talented, and more.

A reason for homeschooling

There are many reasons to choose homeschooling for a child. One of the reasons that I have considered for years is the way education is applied by the public school system. My wording here is purposeful. Public schooling is a system and the overall course of education is dictated as a system – rather than plans for educations. The state and national programs do not take individuals into account and are geared toward ALL students at once. When applying education to all students the system must  focus on groupings of students that need the most help to meet minimum requirements.

Goal seeking in public schooling vs. homeschooling

Primarily the public school system is interested in achieving specific goals. A certain percentage of children who meet a given criteria is the general format for these goals. This means that the system must focus on children who do not  meet those goals, while ensuring that children already meeting them maintain their current level.

Through this goal seeking the public school system is pushing everyone to intellectual equality AT THE LOW END.

This is partially the fault of common culture. We spend more money per student on athletics than we do the arts and intellectually gifted because sports are more popular.  I’m sure you can find articles about the likelihood of Johnny becoming a pro athlete rather than a well paid professional, but the bottom line is the latter is more likely. This means we are not spending to push the gifted beyond their current level. Are public schools required to have athletics programs? Are public schools required to meet academic standards? With homeschooling you can put the focus and seek the goals you want.

I’m sure someone is thinking “but, we do spend money on academics”. Yes, but our focus is not on academics, the focus is athletics and entertainment. This focus perpetuates the race to mediocrity.

Tailored education in homeschooling

The other part of the race to mediocrity is a focus on lower performing students. Too often the schools have an unrealistic set of goals and focus hard on meeting them. This means they siphon money from gifted programs to pull up the lower performers to meet those goals.

This means our schools aren’t pushing higher; they are not pushing for academic excellence.

They are pushing for the absolute lowest requirement.

With homeschooling we, as parents, can tailor to the educational needs of the individual rather than the whole.

A quick read through http://www.arkansased.gov/esea-flexibility gives an example of this. This page states that the state board of education in Arkansas is “targeting supports to any group that is not meeting its targets.”

I’m sure that any teacher or administrator at the level of personal interaction with students will tell you it’s about helping struggling students. The problem with that is the teachers are working within a system that isn’t interested in the individual, but in meeting overall goals for the whole. Those who already meet the goals are not specifically targeted for improvement.

Another line from this same page states that the accountability system “is particularly focused on intensive supports and interventions for schools that are struggling the most.”

With homeschooling you can focus on the needs of the child, not the entire systems areas of weakness.

For instance your child may be a whiz at math and this means tailoring their curriculum to advanced math while just meeting requirements for this student in other areas. The math whiz in a public school is going to be bored to tears by the repetitive nature of already mastered material.

Homeschooling is a way out of the SYSTEM

Homeschooling is a way out of the system and into real learning and education. Oh, the child will still be meeting the system standards, but they can do that at an accelerated pace. They can get through the system check-boxes and begin to specialize in whatever they want.

Carrie and I discussed this even before Jed was born. We both agreed that high school was boring most of the time. We were not challenged at the high school level. So by homeschooling we could skip all the boring for our children and let them specialize. Whether that specialization is as a plumber, electrician, mechanic, musician, engineer or research chemist, they can focus on what they want during the time of life when they have the real drive and support at home to do it.

Homeschooling and choices

The race to mediocrity in public schools is a great reason to choose homeschooling. Public schools slowly push everyone to the middle. With homeschooling you can educate your children so much faster and allow your child to start doing what they want earlier in life. The choice to homeschool means less time for the adult, but more time for the child.


(Carrie here again)

Obviously I agree with Darrel’s points. I also agree with his perspective on teachers. There are some truly excellent, life-changing teachers out there. These are the teachers that inspire, motivate, and encourage children to learn more than they know and become more than they are. These teachers are awesome!

These teachers are rare. 

Equally rare, however, are the truly horrible teachers. The ones that make kids hate school, hate learning, and hate them. While I had more than my share of those rotten, stinking, awful teachers during my school  years, I acknowledge that I was simply unlucky.

Most teachers are perfectly fine and adequate. Maybe even better than average.

So, as he said, our concerns about public schools do not stem from the teachers, but from the system itself.

For us, those concerns can be boiled down to two things. The teachers have no choice; they must: 1) follow the guidelines given them by state and federal authorities, no matter how ridiculous and unhelpful, and 2) do their best to teach without the ability to truly address the needs of each child.

Darrel basically addressed both of those points in his writing, since the reason the teachers cannot focus on the individual as much as they would surely like is because of requirements sent down from state and federal authorities, but I’d like to take the issue of guidelines a step further.

Public education in America has been, for all intents and purposes, completely taken over by federal mandates. While States still, theoretically, call the shots on many issues, the bottom line is money. If States want federal education funding, they must comply with federal rules. Period.

Most schools are woefully underfunded these days, even with the federal funding. There’s no way they are going to say ‘no’ to that money.

What that means is that all these brilliant, well-produced, strenuously vetted educational decrees (sarcasm) thought up by geniuses who have never tried to teach a class in their life become the road map our children must follow in school. Think “No Child Left Behind“. Think “Race to the Top“. Think “Common Core“.

While there are advocates for all of those endeavors, Darrel and I are not fans. We feel they hurt children more than help them.

Feel free to look this up for yourself to decide the matter on your own. There’s no shortage of commentary on all of them. (Try hereherehere, and here, for starters.)

From the beginning of my school years, the frequent testing to measure performance was frustrating. I was lucky to be an excellent test-taker, but many of my fellow students were not. They grew anxious and stressed out by the idea of taking a huge, federal test to measure how smart they were. It was distressing to observe.

Beyond that, even back in the 1980’s, we would often drop any and all actual education for weeks prior to a big, federally mandated test to simply work on “test preparation”.

There was no learning going on in the classrooms for the month preceding such a test. Only drilling to ensure we would score as high as possible, so the school wouldn’t lose funding.

That is hardly my idea of a wise way to spend time in a school.

Today, the situation is worse. Tests are more frequent and funding is even more directly tied to the test results. Children are “failing” tests that cannot possibly measure any true hallmark of learning. Teachers are frustrated that they cannot truly teach the way they would like to; the way they know the students need and deserve.

They are hamstrung by the federal regulations that are tied to the funding that keeps the school doors open at all. It’s a vicious Catch-22. 

As for Part 2 of our concerns, that teachers must teach without being able to address the needs of each child, that is pretty self-explanatory.

A teacher with 30 children in her class simply does not have the time to truly focus on each child to ensure they get the attention they need. It’s not a failing of the teachers; it’s a logistical impossibility.

While that method has worked, to some degree or another, for a long time, it isn’t ideal and does little to ensure children reach their full potential.

As Darrel said, with Homeschooling, we can focus on our children and their strengths (and weaknesses) much more than would be possible in a public school environment.

Even with Homeschooling, there will still be tests for my kids to take that measure what they know. However, Darrel and I will have a much better understanding of whether our children are actually LEARNING than we would if they were in school most of the day.

With Homeschooling, our children will not waste hours, days, and even months of their lives drilling for tests that do nothing to enhance their individual education. They will spend every moment of their actual school time doing what all parents hope their kids will do: learn to think, learn to reason, and learn to love learning.


“Ah, but school isn’t just about learning!” I can hear some of you thinking. “School is about learning to function in the world and socialize with other kids!”

I’ll address that concern in tomorrow’s post

Read the whole series:
Part 1: Concerns About Public Schools
Part 2: Socialization
Part 3: Food Issues
Part 4: The Little (Big) Things


Whether you Homeschool or not, do you also have concerns about the frequent tests, the lack of personal attention to the children, and the ever-changing mandates passed down from government in our schools? 

Letting Your Kids Quit (And a New Series on Homeschooling)

Letting Your Kids Quit CradleRockingMama.com

It’s official. Darrel and I have decided to homeschool our sons.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it as a distinct possibility before, but now we have made the call and bought curriculum for Jed’s Kindergarten year.

In some circles, homeschooling is perfectly normal and acceptable. For others, though, it’s still considered strange and unacceptable. Since I will likely begin posting at least occasional posts about homeschooling, I thought I would start by outlining exactly why we made this decision.

Hint: it’s about more than just food issues. 

In fact, this decision is so layered it seems the only way to give justice to our decision is to dedicate an entire post to each point that influenced our choice.

The rest of this week will be dedicated to the series Why We Decided to Homeschool, and I hope that reading our thoughts about why we made this decision will help you when making your own decisions about how your children will be educated.

As parents, we all need to think carefully about how our children might become the adults we hope they will be. Education is a big part of that.

I hope that this series will bring up some good conversation about your children’s futures, whether here on the blog, or in your own homes. Maybe it will encourage you to homeschool, maybe it will encourage you to send your kids to public schools but supplement their education in other ways, and maybe it will simply encourage you to think about this in a way you never have before.

In the end, though, I hope it will help…somehow.


Before that first post tomorrow, though, I want to give a little update on the kiddos.

Thursday evening two weeks ago, we took Jed to his last martial arts class. He told his instructor that he wasn’t going to come back to class anymore. I stopped auto-pay for the monthly classes.

Jed was fine, but I thought I was going to cry.

Some might wonder why, when we have only JUST started engaging with the world, would we suddenly quit martial arts?

Well, as much as Jed loves martial arts, he has one huge problem with it.

For about three months now, Jed has complained that “it’s SO LOUD! It hurts my brain!”

It had gotten to the point where every time we drove to class, Jed complained the entire drive that he didn’t want to go because of the noise.

Added to that, with working so much, my parents were having to take him more frequently than I’d anticipated. For us, it’s a 30 minute drive one way for a 30 minute class. That’s quite a bit of driving, but it isn’t totally  insane.

For my parents, though, it’s a 75 minute drive one way for a 30 minute class. Absolutely nuts!

They were getting annoyed with it. Even though it is our car, it’s their time and effort, and I had to respect that.

In the end, we asked Jed what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to quit.

I have problems with that.

I don’t like quitting things.

I’ve always been the kind of person that sees things through to the end.

I feel like letting kids quit things sends the message that they can just walk away whenever stuff gets hard, and that’s not a message I want to send.

I went along with this decision, though, for a few reasons.

One, I was outnumbered! Both my parents and Darrel were in favor of letting Jed quit.

Two, Jed never wavered. Every time I asked him if he liked martial arts, he would say “Yes! I love it! But it’s SO LOUD it hurts my brain! I don’t want to go any more.” If he had ever changed his mind, I would have chalked this decision up to the whims of a 4 year old and refused to let him quit. He never wavered, though.

Three, I’ve been in the “special needs kids” world long enough to know that Sensory Processing Disorder is real, and I suspect Jed has it to some small degree. The fact that his only complaint about martial arts was the noise made me wonder if he simply has a sensory overload there.

I have issues with noise, too. When people try to have a conversation with me and there is a TV on in the background, it drives me absolutely crazy! I feel like my skin is crawling and have a hard time focusing on the conversation.

Background noise in general, like in large crowds or noisy restaurants, has that effect on me.

Even when I can calm myself down in those situations, I usually am not capable of actually “hearing” people talking to me. My mom used to get SO mad at me when I was younger and we were out in public. She would call for me, and I wouldn’t answer or even indicate I heard her. Even when she screamed my name, I truly did NOT hear her at all.

The background noise was too overwhelming. I had shut down.

So I have great sympathy for Jed’s plight. I understand where he’s coming from.

That is why I let him quit.

Unfortunately, it leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I mean, what activities for kids exist that aren’t noisy in some way??

Jed told me he wants to keep playing tee ball. He said, “It’s very noisy, but I like that noise. It’s not so loud.” Yes, that is vague and convoluted, but I understand what he’s trying to say. Being outdoors, the noise is dissipated enough that it doesn’t “hurt his brain”.

Apparently outdoor activities will be okay for him.

But tee ball is over with this year, and I can’t think of any other activities for his age that haven’t already started (and therefore are too late to join now).

Sigh.

I’m not thrilled that he quit martial arts. But I’m encouraged that he was showing great growth and progression in martial arts (despite the noise), still wants to play tee ball, and shows interest in other things. Hopefully, with time, we’ll find a perfect fit for Jed; one that helps him grow and mature…and doesn’t hurt his brain.


Meanwhile, Zac still has his wretched cold, and has managed to give it to Darrel! (Poor guys can’t catch breaks.)

Food trials are on hold for the time being, until Zac feels better.

I’m not happy about this cold. 

I did, however, find a You-Pick-It organic blueberry place that we hope to hit up this week, so we should have plenty of blueberries for Zac when his little nose stops running like crazy!

Oh, and our main goat milk lady is having a hard time keeping up with the demands of milking this year. Her husband is in training for a promotion and she’s having to handle the farm mostly on her own for now; she planned to milk this year, but it’s proving to be a challenge for her to cope with. She’s not sure she can continue to provide us milk.

We love her, and so she wouldn’t feel the slightest bit guilty if she decided to stop milking, I contacted our original goat milk lady and she graciously put us back on her customer list for the summer.

She’s not nearly as conveniently located as our new goat milk lady, but it is necessary. Looks like we’re back on a bi-monthly “goat milk run” for the duration.

With luck, our sweetheart (and very close by) goat milk lady will have more help next year and we can go back to her for the 2016 season. (Or maybe keep both ladies next year, so we absolutely don’t have to struggle through the winter “dry” goat milk months!)


The last month, I’ve been on a quest to Clean Out The House, Sell The Good Stuff, And Make Some Money. Yesterday I sold the boys Thomas the Tank Engine toddler bed for a little more than half what we paid for it. Whew! 

The boys were not thrilled with the loss; they cried over the bed, saying they loved it and wanted to keep it…even though neither of them has slept in it for over a year!

Once I told Jed that we had to sell it so we could buy them birthday presents this year, though, he suddenly was much more amenable to the idea. That child really, really wants a bike!

I’ll admit that Mama was on a Mission and had no qualms about putting that ad on Craigslist…until the time came to turn the bed over to the new owners. Then I got a little sad.

That was Jed’s first Big Boy Bed, and he adored it. Even though Zac never slept in it, they both enjoyed playing on it, pretending they were driving Thomas. I felt like I just sold a part of my childrens childhood, and that stung a bit (especially on the heels of the lost hard drive).

It’s ridiculous, I know! That bed was going to have to go eventually. No way could we store a plastic bed for use by our grandchildren! Better to sell it now, when we can get some money for it (and, frankly, when we NEED the money from it) than to wait until the boys have somehow destroyed or damaged it so much we can’t get a dime for it.

Still. At that moment, it stung.

Then I got home and rearranged the boys bedroom. 

You know what? They have a HUGE bedroom! I never really realized it until that big ol’ bed was gone. I’m thinking a lot of the boys toys can be moved into their room, and out of my living room now.

Yep. The sting is gone.

Sure, they’re growing up, which means parts of their childhood will disappear, and that is sad at times.

But life goes on. Sometimes, it brings sweet with the sad.

I’m looking forward to getting some of my living room back.


 So…what’s new with you?

Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Salmon Patties – Revisited!

Salmon Patties Egg-Free Gluten-Free CradleRockingMama.com

One of the most frequently searched-for recipes found on my site is my egg-free, gluten-free Salmon Patties. It makes me so happy to know I’m helping some people figure out how to make something delicious again after losing eggs and gluten from their diet!

Unfortunately, that recipe was from my early days of blogging. The photos are TERRIBLE. A few months ago I dug out those old photos with the plan to edit them to make them look a whole lot better. Then American Airlines stole my hard drive and almost all the original photos I took for this blog are gone…including the salmon patty photos. Grrr.

Well, the other night I decided to make salmon patties for dinner again.

Since Zac can have eggs, I usually make them with eggs for Darrel, Zac and myself, and separate a small amount of salmon batter for Jed that is egg-free.

The other night, as it happened, we were out of eggs.

Egg-free salmon patties for everyone!

We’ve grown up quite a bit since that first salmon patty recipe; back then, I used canned salmon and called it “good enough”.

Now, with histamine issues, we buy our salmon from Vital Choice seafood. They catch the fish, clean it, and flash freeze it right there on the boat. This salmon is probably the lowest histamine fish you can find anywhere!

Our salmon patties now start with fresh, beautiful real salmon.

I suddenly realized that I could take new photos of the salmon patties to update that recipe! So I grabbed the camera and took some beautiful pics.

Then I realized that since then, I’ve made a few adjustments to my original recipe. (Big surprise that I tweaked something, right?) I decided to just write a whole new egg-free, gluten-free salmon patty recipe to satisfy my Google friends, rather than just updating the photos off the old recipe.

Here’s how I make egg-free salmon patties now:

Start with salmon. I’ve used the salmon raw and tried to make patties that way, and it works; it’s just so much nicer and easier to do when the salmon is already cooked.

Bake the plain salmon at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until it’s nice and flaky.

Take that lovely baked salmon and throw it in a bowl. Grab a whisk and use it to break the salmon into flaky bits.

Flaked Salmon CradleRockingMama.com

Once the salmon is flaked up, start your pan heating up. Add some oil or fat to a skillet, and set it over medium heat. Make sure it’s nice and hot before you ever put a patty in to make sure you get the prettiest salmon patties ever!

While we can all eat the same salmon patty, now, we can’t use the same oil. Zac only has tallow as a safe cooking fat, and since that is harder to come by than olive oil, I try to save it just for him. So I cooked the patties in two separate pans. Doing so helped me see a distinct difference in how the patties come out based on skillet type. If you have a cast iron skillet, USE IT. The patties come out absolutely gorgeous in cast iron!

In regular stainless steel pans? They cook okay, and they taste fine, but they don’t LOOK as beautiful.

Anyway, salmon is flaked, pans are heating on the stove, so now, start adding your “stuff”.

I now add about 3/4 c. of shredded zucchini to our salmon patties, because, why not? It adds nothing to the flavor, but it boosts the nutrition factor and makes the patties cook up nicer.

Salmon and Zucchini CradleRockingMama.com

I also simplify things by NOT making a batter to pour in. Instead, I add about 1/2 c. of quinoa flour directly to the salmon and stir it around. Then I add about 3 T. of water and stir it around. I usually end up adding about 5-6 total T. of water, but the end amount depends on how the batter turns out. Zucchini can vary a bit in how much wetness it adds to the recipe.

You can get creative, if you’d like; add some seasonings or different vegetables to make this unique every time!

Just know that in the end, you want to have a salmon patty mix that looks and feels just like the regular, egg and wheat flour mix of old.

Finished Salmon Patty Batter CradleRockingMama.com

Scoop some mix into your hand and shape it into a patty form. Then lay it in the skillet.

Side 1 Cooking Salmon Patties CradleRockingMama.com

Let the patties cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip them over. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Cooking Side 2 Salmon Patties CradleRockingMama.com

Then plate them up, add a side dish, and enjoy a delicious, egg-free, gluten-free salmon patty that tastes amazing!

Salmon Patties Yum CradleRockingMama.com

Look at how beautifully they cut into bites!

They Cut so Nicely CradleRockingMama.com

Oh, yum…

Delicious Salmon Patty Bite CradleRockingMama.com

Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Salmon Patties - Revisited!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious, crisp yet flaky, these egg-free, gluten-free salmon patties will satisfy anyone at the dinner table!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 12 patties
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. salmon
  • ¾ c. shredded zucchini
  • ½ c. quinoa flour
  • 5-6 T. water
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • seasonings (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Bake the salmon at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until nice and flaky.
  2. Put the baked salmon in a bowl; use a whisk to break it up into nice flakes.
  3. Start heating your oil in a skillet over medium heat on the stove.
  4. Add shredded zucchini, quinoa flour, and any salt, pepper and seasonings you wish to the salmon.
  5. Add 3 T. of water to the salmon. Stir together well.
  6. As needed, add more water, 1 T. at a time, to make the salmon patty batter look like regular egg and gluten filled salmon patty batter.
  7. Scoop the salmon into your hands and shape into patty form.
  8. Lay in the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Flip, then cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  10. Plate up those delicious salmon patties, and enjoy!

What do you like to add to your salmon patties?

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Corn-Free Everyday

3 Years Old with 15 Safe Foods!

3 Years Old with 15 Safe Foods CradleRockingMama.com

Zac turned 3 years old yesterday.

For his birthday, he got his 15th safe food: baking soda.

It doesn’t sound like much, but we are ecstatic!

Baking soda doesn’t add much to his diet, really, but it makes everything he already has much better. Pancakes are fluffier, cookies are more real, waffles are possible, muffins aren’t thick. Things that were good before are now great!

I can’t believe he is 3 years old already. Two years and ten months ago, our lives seemed to grind to a halt with his FPIES diagnosis.

Somehow, though, the time has just flown by!

Honestly, I thought that by 3 years old we would have a far larger diet for Zac than the mere 15 foods we can now claim. I’ll admit to being a bit disappointed.

However, since I know exactly  how arduous those 15 foods were to obtain, I am beyond grateful he has as much to eat as he does. And I’m grateful that he is such a BIG eater!

Truly, I’m staggered by the differences between Zac and Jed, appetite-wise. Jed has a limited diet, too, but in comparison he can eat SO much more than Zac can! And Jed regularly refuses to eat at mealtimes, wanting to eat only the same few things over and over and over  again.

Zac, on the other hand, is incredibly limited in his diet but will scarf down huge quantities of almost anything I put in front of him. The child regularly packs away TWO steaks all by himself at dinner time, plus some sweet potatos as a side!

I’m sure it’s partly due to personality differences, but I also suspect it has a little to do with the fact that Zac was so very young when he had the majority of his reactions that he hasn’t associated “food” with “pain”. Poor Jed has made that association. It worries me about him…but that’s another story.

Thanks to Zac’s healthy appetite, though, he is currently weighing in at 32.2 pounds, solidly in the 75th percentile for weight!

For an FPIES child, especially one as sensitive as Zac and with as many triggers as him, that is a downright miracle.

He’s not just weighing good; he’s measuring 36.25 inches tall, which has him at the 49th percentile for height.

Since overall growth is important to measure with food issue children, not just weight, these two numbers have me breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing with the knowledge that, limited though his diet may be, he is doing very, very well.

For his birthday, we kept it simple. We’re planning a double birthday party for both boys in a few weeks, so yesterday we simply had a little cookout, made a modified quinoa cake and some banana ice cream for Zac, and sang Happy Birthday to him.

My parents did give him a toy tractor and a balloon, which thrilled him to no end, but the rest of his birthday celebration will come at the party.

Unfortunately, poor Zac has a little cold right now. It’s not too bad, but it’s bad enough that we skipped church in the morning and wrote off the two imperfect diapers he’s had this weekend as “sick kiddo” diapers instead of “FPIES reaction” diapers.

Still, the fact that I’m going to be at work all week is actually a good thing this time. It means we can let him ride on the baking soda for another week, just to be absolutely sure it is safe for him. (When I go to work, we don’t start food trials until I will be home for a few days. Less risky that way.)

In other Zac news, our TEFRA application is being processed as we speak! The unfortunate, terrible, rotten incomptent and thieving American Airlines debacle meant that filing our taxes for 2014 was delayed (due to missing tax paperwork), but we finally managed to get the taxes off to our accountant last week.

I’m anxiously awaiting their return, for two reasons: 1. we should get a NICE refund and 2. TEFRA requires the first two pages of the 1040 to complete the application!

As soon as I have those taxes in my hands, I’ll be faxing those forms over to TEFRA and, God-willing, Zac will be approved.

Once approved, speech therapy can resume at limited cost to us. Whew!

Speaking of speech, Zac is just a chatty little jay bird these days. Every day he seems to take leaps and bounds in his ability to say what he wants.

Oh, don’t get me wrong; he’s still speaking at about the level an 18-24 month old would speak. Maybe even younger.

But it is SO much more than he ever has, and we couldn’t be happier with the progress.

Nowadays, when he wants something and points and grunts, when we figure out what he wants we explain to him what he should say to get it.

Every single time, now, he at least attempts to repeat what we tell him!

It’s not always clear; “soup” and “shoe” sound disturbingly similar, as do other words for him, which makes for some confusion at times!

But he walks around babbling, tries to tell us stories, gets SUPER excited when we can communicate via words, and – get this! – two days ago, said his first ever 3 syllable word!

BLUEBERRY.

It. Is. Adorable.

And it helped us decide what our next food trial will be!

Hey – a food trial that might result in a safe, nutritious food for him, while also encouraging him to use words to ask for what he wants sounds like a win-win to me.

(Now I just have to think of ways I can feed him blueberries for two weeks straight without driving him crazy. Any ideas?)

All in all, Zac is doing extremely well as a newly minted 3 year old.

I’m thrilled with the personality I’m seeing finally able to come to light with his new vocabulary, proud of the sweet little boy he is, relieved at his physical growth and speech development, and more in love than ever with my adorable Snuggle Bear.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ZAC!