Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza

Our family LOVES pizza! One of the hardest things for Doodle to give up when she went Gluten and Dairy Free was my home-made pizza. Some say (mostly my nephew) that I make the best pizza around. It's an old recipe I inherited from my mother. The pizza has a perfect thin crust, delicious sauce, and I pile on the pepperoni - since you can never have too much pepperoni on a pizza. When we have pizza night, Doodle usually has to settle for pepperoni kabobs or pizza made from GF biscuit dough with tomato sauce and pepperoni, since we lack any casein free cheese in the area. Not anymore!

GFCFMom introduced me to Daiya Cheese. It's a GFCFSF cheese substitute that is pizza worthy. It melts similar to regular cheese and tastes pretty decent too. On a recent trip to civilization, I picked some up at Whole Foods Market - both the Mozzarella and Cheddar varieties. I couldn't wait to try it out on a GF DF pizza for Doodle!

For the pizza dough recipe, I found a reasonable recipe online that I tried out. Making GF dough is a bit different than my normal variety of pizza dough. For one, you don't knead the dough. It also doesn't roll out the same, but the end result was pretty tasty. Here's the recipe that I used:

The Pizza Sauce I make is very similar to the spaghetti sauce I make. It's actually just about the same exact recipe - minus one can of tomatoes. Here it is:

1/2 Cup Onion - diced
1-2 Cloves Garlic - diced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Can Italian Style Tomatoes
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

1. Heat Olive Oil in a medium sized sauce pan over high heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic for 1 minute.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4. Top pizza crust with sauce and pile on your favorite toppings. Finish off with Daiya Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese.
5. Cook pizza in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes - or until crust is brown and cheese is melted.

For Doodle, I made an entire pizza while the rest of the family ate regular pizza. I cut the pizza in 10 slices and froze the slices she did not eat. Now, when we make pizza, I grab a slice or two of Doodle's pizza from the freezer, heat it up in the oven, and she enjoys her pizza right along with the rest of us!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Conferences

Last week Doodle had her first ever parent teacher conferences as a Kindergartner. I was nervous as to what to expect. I wasn't sure how she would keep up with the other Kindergartners. Worry wort mom should have had more faith in her child because she is doing great!

First up were her test scores...I was so amazed to see that she was in the top of her class for language and math scores - in the 95 to 100 percent range! She was also the ONLY child to recognize all of her capital and lower case letters in the whole class! I told her teachers if only they knew how far she had come, they would realize what a great accomplishment this was for her.  Two years ago she couldn't look someone in the eye, she could barely write a letter, and she would repeat everything you said (termed echolalia). 

They also listed several concerns, which I will work harder on this year. Doodle definitely still has attention issues. She needs quite a bit of redirection during class. I thought we had this licked last year - she worked with an Occupational Therapist last year, but seemed to be doing much better when I put her back on Zinc. I haven't been giving her probiotics lately, in addition to the Zinc, so note to self that I better get back on the program. It seems to help. I'll have to be more regimented about her vitamins, as last year they really seemed to help conquer the attention issue. All in all, though, her special ed teacher agreed that Doodle no longer would qualify for an autism label - which is a wonderful affirmation for all of our hard work over the past two years!

Friday, November 5, 2010

You're My Sweet Potato Pie

When Doodle was a baby, before she ever became known as Doodle, I used to love to call her My Sweet Potato Pie. Sweet potatoes were one of her favorite baby foods to eat and we would listen to Ray Charles and James Taylor sing Sweet Potato Pie from the Genius Loves Company CD. Now that Doodle is older, we all enjoy sweet potatoes with dinner. Our favorite is roasted sweet potatoes. Using Organic sweet potatoes makes for the most flavorful dish - if we don't have the organic variety in the store, I don't bother buying sweet potatoes, as the conventional version can't even compare in taste.  This recipe is simple - but takes about 45 minutes to bake - so leave enough time when preparing dinner.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2-3 Organic Sweet Potatoes, washed and peeled.
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cut sweet potatoes into small cubes (no bigger than 1")
3. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place sweet potatoes on cookie sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and kosher salt. Toss thoroughly with your hands.
4. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes.
5. Change oven to broil and broil the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes - stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and serve as a side dish. 

These sweet potatoes are also wonderful on a spinach salad. I like to use any leftovers (which is rare) to add to a salad the following day for lunch.

On another note, Doodle has been enjoying playing Webkinz on the computer these days. I've been impressed by how much she can do by herself now. I used to have to navigate for her and play the games for her. Now, she does almost everything by herself. She's got down how to drag and drop items all by herself. Another great site for reading development is - we've been using this to help Doodle with phonics and learning new words. She can do this site all on her own.