Mom's Blog

Sulfur Allergy

We have, in addition to my allergies, which include wheat, corn, and canola (also known as rape seed), a family member has a sulfur allergy.  We were able to find this because it is the common element of some very basic foods that would upset her digestion.  The offending foods were bananas, eggs, iron-rich meats, and a few others.  If you suspect that you may have a sulfur allergy, the internet is full of lists of foods rich in sulfur.  (However, garlic and onions do not seem to bother our family members.  So, you may not react to all of the foods in the list.) We have now changed to a different gluten free flour, which we really like, as well.


Buckwheat GF Flour:

1 cup buckwheat flour

4 cups sorghum flour

2 cups potato starch


Sorghum flour can be purchased at an Indian store inexpensively.  It is called Jowar or Juwar.

We buy our potato starch online through Honeyville Farms.


With this we make yummy buckwheat waffles:


Buckwheat Waffles:


2 3/4 cups Buckwheat GF flour

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder (Check if it's GF and corn free.  I use Gefen.)

1/2 teaspoon salt (Be sure there's no added dextrose.)

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups milk (I use Grassmilk by Organic Valley, because of my canola allergy.)

4 tablespoons oil (I use light olive)


Heat up a clean waffle iron that has been sprayed liberally with oil.  Mix together flour, powder and salt in a large bowl.  In a measuring bowl, add eggs and oil to milk.  Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just mixed.  Drop onto the waffle iron.  When it seems to be ready, you may want to pull the iron just open, let it cook a minute more and then remove. Removal can be tricky.  With practice, it becomes easier.  If you continue to have trouble with removing the waffles, be sure the iron is clean, except for oil, be sure that the non-stick coating is still there, and be sure the waffle is completely cooked.  These will come out somewhat crunchy.  I hope you enjoy them!



Living with Allergies

     I have heard people say that they could not possibly prepare everything that they or a family member eats.  It is simply not true.  It just takes a lot of time. However, I recommend that if your allergies are numerous or in any way severe, you do not eat other people’s cooking, especially not from restaurants.  I rarely eat anything that I did not prepare unless it was prepared by my daughter or daughter-in-law.  It is really the safest way to live when you have severe allergies.  If you or a child of yours has numerous or severe allergies, it is worth the time and effort to prepare everything yourself. 

     We use flour in most of our meals.  I have already posted a flour recipe, but recently I have changed to using:                              


GF Flour

6 cups of sorghum flour

4 cups of almond flour

3 cups of potato starch


     If you find a gluten free recipe, but do not have the right flours, you can substitute flours of similar density. Heavy flours include buckwheat, brown rice, almond and other nut flours. Medium weight flours include amaranth, coconut, garbanzo bean, millet, quinoa, sorghum (our favorite), superfine brown rice, and teff flours. Light flours include arrowroot powder, potato starch, tapioca starch, and white or sweet rice flour.

     Something that has helped me in serving good gluten free food is that I learned that gluten-free foods do not keep overnight. They almost always become stale. If there is any food left over at the end of the day, freeze it. When you reheat it, it usually turns out better from the oven rather than the microwave.

     Almond flour is a very good price at Sam’s Club right now. Sorghum flour is inexpensively obtained at Indian stores under the name Juwar.

     We have been cooking without wheat and flour for a few years now, so if you have questions, please leave them on the ASK MY DAD page. (If it’s a question for Mom, though, instead of prefacing your question, “Dear Dad,” say “Dear Mom.”) 

     Also, I highly recommend the website glutenfreeonashoestring.com. I love Nicole Hunn’s books.  She has done a fantastic job in making gluten-free understandable.

Allergen-free Beauty Products

          Our newest  adventure in life is learning  to make do without allergens in our foods or our health and beauty products.  For those of us with a canola allergy, in addition to wheat and corn, this can be a real challenge.  I recently found a makeup company on Etsy that sells powders that can be mixed with an allergy-free base of your choice to create cover-up makeup with no canola.  Here is a link to the shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarthMakeup?ref=l2-shopheader-name.  I use Vaseline as a base for my lip-glosses and even my spot cover cream, but you could perhaps try coconut oil or another, as your allergies allow.

How to Eat Gluten-Free and Not Lose Weight

          As a mother of a young man who must eat gluten free, I have found it challenging to prepare foods that are nutritious yet contain enough calories to keep a very active person from losing weight.  Here is what I have done: 


  1.  He begins every day with a cup of cocoa.  Milk with sugar and cocoa powder are warmed, then vanilla is added.  Two teaspoons sugar to one teaspoon cocoa is a good ratio, but you can use less sugar to taste.  Two drops of vanilla to a cup of milk is about what I use.
  2. I make biscuits or pancakes from our Master Mix recipe for his breakfast.
  3. I try to ensure that there is always gluten free bread in the house for sandwiches.
  4. We buy many, many pounds of potatoes every month, so there is always something to eat in the house. 
  5. I prepare a regular, gluten-free supper, such as shepherd’s pie, masala, or old stand-bys like chili or spaghetti.



Here is our recipe for GF flour:

800g sorghum flour

400g millet flour

400g almond flour

1200g rice flour

1200g tapioca starch

1/4c xanthan gum

            We buy our sorghum and millet flour from an Indian store.  Our almond flour comes from an online restaurant supplier.  The rice flour and tapioca starch can either be found in Fiesta stores or a Korean store.  If this seems like too much work, the flour blend, Namaste, is a good choice.


Here is our recipe for Master Mix:

            10 c GF flour

            1/3 c baking powder

            ¼ c sugar

            2 c shortening, butter, or lard

            2t salt


            Mix all of these ingredients in a large mixer.  You may halve the recipe, if necessary.  In order to make the mix into biscuits, add ¼ cup of milk to a cup of MM.  Bake at 350 for about 20 mins, then at 400 for another 10 mins or so until they are light brown around the bottom edges and slightly browner on top.

            For pancakes, add a cup of milk and an egg to each cup of MM.  Fry in an oiled skillet.








GF Milk Bread:


            2 c milk

            4T oil or butter

            1T honey

            1T salt

            4c GF flour

            4t yeast


            Mix ingredients together. Knead with a kneading blade or by hand for about 3 mins.  Place into buttered loaf pan and allow to rise for an hour. Do not knead it before placing it in the oven.  Bake at 350 for about an hour. 



To fry potatoes (hashbrowns), peel, rinse, and finally grate one to two potatoes per person.  Drop a handful of the grated potatoes in hot oil in the shape of a pancake. Press it down flat with a pancake turner.  When the bottom of the cake is brown, flip to cook the other side.  Serve with ketchup or fried eggs. 


To bake potatoes, wrap in foil, then bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour.



Our shepherd’s pie recipe is:


4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

2T finely chopped onion

Salt, pepper, milk & butter to taste.

5 carrots peeled & chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

Pepper, chili powder & garlic salt to taste

2T flour

¾ cup broth

3 T ketchup

Shredded cheese to cover


            Boil potatoes 15 mins or until tender.  Mash and add onion and seasonings. 

Boil carrots until tender and mash. 

Saute onion and cook until translucent, about 5 mins.  Add ground beef; brown and season.  Making a well in the center, use the flour and beef broth to make a white sauce.  Mix together and add ketchup and seasonings.  Spread the beef mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Spread the mashed carrots in a thin layer on top.  Next spread on the mashed potatoes.  Finally sprinkle the shredded cheese in a thick layer on top.  Bake at 375 for 20 mins.




Tikka Masala:


2 T butter

1 onion

Seasonal veggies, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1T cumin

1t salt

1t ground ginger

1 t Indian chili powder (or other spicy pepper)

½ t cinnamon

¼ t turmeric

14 oz tomato sauce

1 c whipping cream

2t paprika

1T sugar


1 T oil

4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

½ t curry

½ t salt

1t sugar


            Heat butter.  Add onion and cook about 5 mins, until translucent.  Stir in garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about a min.  Stir in spices; cook until fragrant, about 2 mins.  Stir in tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil; turn down to low; allow to simmer for 10 mins.  Add cream, paprika and sugar.  Bring back to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick, about 10 mins.  In a separate skillet cook oil, chicken, curry, salt and sugar.  Sear chicken until slightly brown but still pink.  Transfer to first pot.  Cook about 30 mins.  Serve over Basmati rice.

Note: Timing is key in this recipe.


          Rice is a very important food in the GF diet.  I recommend utilizing a rice cooker.    

          When you substitute GF flour in a recipe, you will probably need to use less flour than the recipe calls for or increase the liquid.  You will also need to cook it longer on a lower temperature.

          Another thing that helped me was Gluten-free on a Shoestring. That really helped me get started when I didn't know what to do.


          I hope these hints help. 


A Word About Usefulness

          I once had a teacher who taught us that the Plains Indians would leave the sick and elderly in the camp when they decamped and moved on without them.  This teacher thought that this was a beautiful thing, and explained that the sick and elderly did not want to slow the others down. It was a self-sacrificing action that was for the good of the entire tribe.  Now, whether this teacher was correct in his assertions is beside the point.  It was, in his opinion, the right thing to do.  The value of a person, in his estimation, was based only on whether the human being could contribute economically to the group.

            It resembles very closely the frustrations we had with the older members of our last church.  You see, in this part of the world, the next step for a grandmother or grandfather who can no longer live alone is to move into a nursing home.  The sweet widows in their seventies would consider moving closer to their children or maybe even consider moving in with their grown children or grandchildren.  Yet they would always decide to stay in our town for one or all of three reasons:  “My friends are here”, “This is where I grew up”, or “I don’t want to be a burden to my working child (or grandchild)”.

            Here I would like to tell you the story of one of our homebound members that passed away a couple of years ago.  My partner in the homebound ministry and I visited with this lovely lady in her nursing home for about five years. She had been in the nursing home for twenty years. When she had entered the nursing home in her seventies, she was not expected to live much longer.  One of her three daughters had asked her relentlessly to come live with her.  The lady had said the same sad words that I am sure so many grandparents feel, “I don’t want to be a burden.”   When we visited with the mother, now in her nineties, she told of how this daughter, now in her seventies, was now bed-ridden, and needed assistance fetching objects when the home health nurses were not around.  The mother, who was able to get around well, wished that she had moved in with her daughter all those years ago, so that she could be assisting her.  You see, she did have value to her daughter.

            But, regardless of her function in the home, this lady was a precious woman made in the image of God.  So often people discuss children or the elderly in terms of economic benefit or loss.  “If I have another child, it will cost me $100,000 over the next twenty-two years.” Or “If we put grandma into a nursing home, it costs $500 less per month than home health.”  It seems to me we are miscalculating the situation.  People have an infinite and eternal value that cannot be judged economically.

            Value comes in many forms: knowledge, wisdom, ability to help, providing comfort and compassion, and love. Even a person not able to perform duties, can do so much to bring joy and even strength to a family.

 This post was penned by a dear friend named Trina.  It moved me so much I asked if I could reprint it. 


         This time last year (this was posted in 2013), my husband took our oldest son, Noah, to camp for a week. He had a blast; I, on the other hand, thought I was being tortured! Our younger children (then 1 and 3) attempted to be as loud, whiny, and rambunctious as humanly possible during that week. I was so ready for Michael and Noah to get home so these angels could expel some of their energy on them as well. I remember thinking, “There has got to be a camera recording all this craziness!”

          A few months later, we discovered that we were expecting our fourth child. We felt blessed and scared to death all at the same time. We were not shocked about our new addition, but that did not dispel our anxiety one bit! After all, I felt that I was already just barely keeping our other blessings fed and bathed. How would I meet the needs of yet another child?

           That thought did not linger long, for on November 20th, we had a miscarriage. That day rocked my world. I didn’t understand what was going on with my body. Whenever we had decided to get pregnant, we did. I had had so much control, now I had none! I had decided that I wanted a fourth baby! But God had other plans, plans I didn’t understand and could not control.

           The next few weeks were a blur. I kept asking God why and thinking about how unfair it was. There were other women successfully carrying their babies at that time; why not me? However, the Lord had things for me to get done. There were children to raise still, housework left to accomplish, and Bible study yet to be done. Everything could not stop for me to keep wallowing forever. To say I was reluctant to jump right back in to all the ‘normal’ day to day tasks would be an understatement. I just began doing it because it had to be done, but with no emotion, honestly.

          Somewhere along the way, little by little, one prayer at a time, one little chuckle at a time, I was healing. Then we found out that we were expecting again! Hallelujah! Wait! Will I miscarry again? Will I be able to carry this baby to term? Welcome back, timid, reluctant me. I now had tangible knowledge that I could not control this life within me. There was nothing else to do but trust God, trust His will, trust His love for me and the baby He now allowed me to carry.

           My husband and oldest son got back from camp once again. It’s been a long year. But it's been a really short week. I dreaded this week since all the camp talk would begin again this year. And just as I expected, our rascals were loud. They were fussy at times and they were rambunctious. But I was different. Instead of yelling, “Quit running in the house!” “Be quiet!” “Why did you spill that?” “Get down from there!” “What is that awful smell?” I smiled, even laughed as I watched them play. I still directed them, but now with a more thankful heart.

          As I look back, things are becoming more clear to me. I thought I was the one in control last year, so when our kids got us off "my" schedule, I became stressed. I know now that I can schedule all I want, but these children are not mine to control. They are God’s alone. So I can rest in His peace and let Him lead while I thank Him for His perfect direction. Or I can try to take control and let every little thing distract me from His will and His grace.

           I cannot take back the years that I did not appreciate this, but I can live this day forward forever marked by it. I am so sorry to God and to my family that I was so selfish. I know I will still struggle, but I thank my Lord for letting me have a glimpse into His plans. Many times, we do not get to see the big picture and get to know 'why'. But through our children’s smiles, He allowed me to see some of the good that came from November 20th. He is shaping me more into His image, even through tragedy. I don’t know that I could have ever truly known the honor of getting to mother these little arrows, if not for November 20th, 2012.

P.S.: Faith Elizabeth is due on November 16th, 2013. God is so good!

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© Cassandra Scott