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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with Sorghum Flour

Today's experimental gluten-free baking challenge was chocolate chip muffins. Raya has been doing SO well with the blueberry mini muffins I made her last week that I thought I would try to branch out on that same concept. "Food chaining" is a common practice in feeding therapy where you take a food that the child likes and making small changes to help them expand what they are comfortable with eating. When Raya tried the blueberry muffins last week, one of the comments she made was, "These are good but I wish they were chocolate chip instead of blueberry." At first I was thinking I would just use the same muffin mix but add chocolate chips instead of stirring in the little can of blueberries, but then I realized there is probably blueberry flavor in the actual muffin mix too, and that would be gross. Being that it's now September, I keep seeing pumpkin flavored everything popping up everywhere so I decided I'd embrace the pumpkin and see if I could gra…
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Gluten-free, Allergy-friendly Beef Stew

We have a problem. Raya wants to eat and I don't know what to feed her! I'm kidding, it's not a problem. I've been waiting for this for years so I'm finding a lot of joy in cooking for her and trying to find new foods for her to eat that won't cause problems for her.

Last night, I had thawed out a roast but then when it came time to start cooking and we got the meat trimmed, we realized it was a smaller roast than I thought it was when I got it out, so stew in the Instant Pot became plan B. I looked on Pinterest and didn't find any recipes that worked exactly as written so I combined ideas from a few and decided to just wing it. Here's what I came up with:

Gluten-Free, Allergy Friendly Beef Stew 1-2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes 2T tapioca flour 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped 8 medium red potatoes, cut and diced 4-5 large carrots, peeled and diced 2 cans beef broth (approx. 4 cups) 2T tomato paste 1T Worchestershire sauce 1T soy sauce 1T bro…

Muffins!

I happened to be walking past the gluten-free section at Walmart a couple days ago and on a whim, decided to look at a couple of baking mixes on one of the shelves. Pretty much every GF baking mix has something in it that Raya can't have, but I look at them every now and then anyway. SO. This time, it just so happened that there was a blueberry muffin mix that did NOT have rice or tree nut ingredients in it!

Krusteaz Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Mix
I think Krusteaz is kind of a gross sounding name for a food company but HOORAY FOR KRUSTEAZ!! The main ingredients in the muffins are sorghum flour and millet flour. I was a bit nervous about the millet. We did some experimental baking last summer with millet and it was AWFUL. We made chocolate chip cookies and while they were baking, they smelled like barf. They tasted fine until the aftertaste came. It was barfy too. Or is it barfesque... Either way, they were gross so I didn't get my hopes too high for these muffins, but decided…

Self care: Sanctuary and a day of rest

I don't know if it's just me or if the messages that have been shared at church recently really have gotten better, but I have found church to be so uplifting and refreshing lately. Of course that's how it's supposed to be, but some days I find it easier than others to focus on what's being shared and figure out how it applies to my life.

Today, I walked into church {15 minutes late...okay maybe more like 20} in time to hear my brother-in-law's name announced as the first speaker. It was nice having him speak, if for no other reason than my kids were excited to see him up there so they were quiet while he was talking. {Kidding...sort of...} I sat on the bench and listened intently as he shared his feelings about the temple, and how attending the temple has changed his focus in life and given him peace when he has needed it the most. The strength of the testimony behind his words was palpable in the room and his words resonated with me. Perhaps because I have c…

Settling in to new routines and schedules

It's hard to believe how quickly the first weeks of school have gone by! This year, we have kids in 3 different schools and they take 4 different modes of transportation to and from school (none of which is me driving, haha). I thought that would make things completely crazy but it has actually been really nice. Instead of having to rush to get 3 or 4 kids out the door all at once, I can check in with each of them individually to make sure that they have everything they need and are ready to go. It has made getting Raya ready in the morning SO much easier than the past 2 school years.

One of the struggles she has had in the past is difficulty focusing on the things she needs to do to get ready for school in the morning. She was (and is) very easily distracted. Last year was especially difficult. Even with frequent reminders throughout the morning, I would find her playing with toys because she had gotten distracted and forgotten what she was supposed to be doing. It wasn't tha…

It's school time again!

After what felt like the SHORTEST summer break yet, we're a couple weeks in to another school year already. In some ways, the summer went by too quickly because we stayed so busy all summer, but we were ready to get back into the swing of things. We had a really REEEALLY busy summer, but it was also a great one. Some of the kids did swim team for the first time and really enjoyed it despite the 6 am practices. All but one did swimming lessons or diving classes and they all loved that too. In the past, I've felt like they didn't get much out of swimming lessons but it was great to watch how much progress they made after a solid 6 or 7 weeks of practice. Keeping them busy helped keep them happy too. Aside from all the pool time, we spent a lot of time at the library, playing with friends, having lunch at one of the nearby schools, doing chores, and reading. We spent a lot of time (almost all of it) together, and it was just what we needed. Sometimes that was exhausting in it…

Another school year in the books!

It's hard to believe that another whole school year has passed. Raya has had a great year at school this year. We are extremely blessed to have had a caring teacher, wonderful aides, and a really great school nurse. Without any of these people being as awesome as they've been, sending her to school would be so incredibly stressful. It's hard to trust other people to take care of a child who needs specialized care, and so wonderful when you find a village who you know can and will take good care of them for you.

She has done even better than anyone expected her to this year. Academically, she blew us all away. She is reading at a 3rd grade level, learns very quickly, and remembers things well. She LOVES school! She is sad about her teacher not being her teacher anymore but we are crossing our fingers and praying that she'll keep the same aide for the coming year. We had an IEP meeting earlier this month and it went so well that I had to pinch myself. Hearing the words, …