Coconut, Trials and Progress

It’s been busy around our house.  Colin has learned to climb on everything, especially the kitchen chairs.  We’ve caught him trying to scramble up to grab the light fixture over the table.   What a monkey!  I can’t take my eyes off of him or else he’s into mischief.  Good thing he is so darn cute!

We’ve been seeing some food success here lately! Once Colin was finally over all his various illnesses, we started trialing some new things:  coconut and now sweet potato.

I’ve been looking forward to coconut for quite a while.   I’ve been wanting to get more fat in Colin’s diet and there are a lot of dairy substitute products that are made with coconut.  We gave Colin some coconut yogurt and I put some organic coconut oil on his bread one night.  He’s up to eating a few spoonfuls of the yogurt in one day and so far so good!  He was really excited to have something new and so different.  I bought the So Delicious greek style coconut yogurt in both vanilla and plain for Colin and a strawberry one for me.  You do need to stir them up for a smoother consistency but they are really good.  The vanilla and plain were both really tasty and the plain is really close to normal plain yogurt.  I tried strawberry but wasn’t a fan and Hannah wouldn’t eat it either.  The strawberry and coconut flavors were fighting it out- the result wasn’t good.  So we’ll stick with the simple stuff.  I am excited the yogurts have live cultures in them.  I’m hoping they will be good for Colin’s digestive system, maybe making other trials easier.  Who knows?!

Beside the coconut spread by Earth balance that I’d like to be able to use in Colin’s cooking, there are several new coconut products I’d love to try sometime.  Happy Baby brand foods (one of my new favorite brands!) now has Happy Creamies (like yogurt drops but made with coconut milk) and Happy Tot pouches that are coconut milk and fruit. Most are a blend of fruits or fruits and veggies and so I’m not sure we are a match for anything just yet, but hopefully soon. (We are currently buying the Happy Puffs banana puffs – they are oat free. Check them out if you are looking for allergy friendly puffs.)

Since coconut has been going well, we just started a sweet potato trial.  When Colin was younger he used to react when I ate sweet potato,  so I’ve avoided them for over a year.  I decided it was time to get over our fear of them and give it another go.  I ate some sweet potatoes whipped with honey and cinnamon (my favorite) for a few days and things seemed fine.  Colin has now eaten a few bites of boiled sweet potato and had a little bit of an apple-sweet potato squisher (those baby food pouches) but not much.   No big reactions so far so hopefully it will be a pass.

With both the coconut and sweet potato trials we didn’t give Colin the new food every single day, but we try/tried  for most days or every other day.  Part of me is hoping that not giving him the new food every single day will help him acclimate to it.   Maybe he could tolerate some foods if he was only getting a bit now and then.  As a kid I could handle drinking a little milk but a bowl of ice cream gave me eczema.  So could small doses be the solution for Colin with his foods?  I don’t really know.  I hate to think maybe we’ve called things fails that could have been passes if we’d done it differently.   Since no doctors have been helpful in this area we have a new theory every week here about what is going on and how we should be going about this.  I also know that in two weeks if he is screaming at night I will be up wondering if it is teeth or is it a recently added food that he may have eaten a lot of.  So yeah, this isn’t good science, just eagerness to find new successes.  I know Colin wants to try foods and I’m impatient for him too.

I’m very thankful for our successes.  They give me hope that we might be turning a corner in this journey.  If nothing else, the food freedoms we are gaining are making for a happier Colin and mommy and that is always a good thing!

Magic Salmon

IMG_3341

Welcome 2013! You’ve been a rough one so far, but hopefully many better days ahead! The kids and I are all finally on the mend and we are getting back to eating food again.

I thought I would start out 2013 with a recipe that is for sure my favorite dairy/soy- free dinner: Magic Salmon.  It is delicious and wonderfully easy.

The inspiration for this recipe came from salmon my dad makes in the summer with the fresh salmon he catches in Lake Michigan.  He liberally sprinkles fresh salmon steaks with Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salmon Seasoning and grills them on cedar planks.   The Magic Salmon Seasoning, which you can get in the spice aisle of many grocery stores or here at amazon.com, is just a spice blend that is amazing on fish.

Magic Salmon Seasoning

I’ve made my dad’s recipe many times, but one night I decided to add a coating of mustard to the salmon before the Magic Seasoning.  The result was fantastic!  We now make this recipe whenever good salmon fits into the grocery budget.

You don’t like salmon you say?  Well, don’t blame your taste buds just yet.  It may be the salmon you are buying.  Some of the fishiest salmon with the worst texture I ever had was a frozen package I bought at my grocery store.  It was so different from fresh salmon that I couldn’t believe it. If you can’t get high quality fish at your grocery store, I highly recommend finding a fish market.  The best salmon I’ve found, outside of freshly caught, is salmon from a great seafood shop nearby that just does seafood.  The next best I can buy is from Whole Foods.  At both locations the people working there can tell me where the fish was caught, when it was caught, and how the variety I am buying compares in taste to other varieties.   We often buy Scottish salmon, which to my taste is very fatty and rich.  It picks up the flavors of the cedar planks and grill smoke beautifully, but it does make for a rich meal. Also, it is pricey.  No doubt about it.  But like a nice steak, it is not something we have every week and it is definitely worth the cost.

If you can, don’t skip the cedar planks.  They really are an important part of the recipe, adding lots of flavor to the fish and protecting the fish from the direct heat of the grill.  I’ve found them for sale in the seafood section of many grocery stores but they are also easy to find online.  (The cedar planks in my pictures are from Woot.com.)  The trick with cedar planks is to remember to soak them in water for at least an hour before you use them.

This recipe is really easy, with minimal prep work so don’t overthink it.  I’ve given rough measurements for the dijon mustard and seasonings but don’t feel like you have to get out the measuring spoons, I don’t unless I’m trying to write down recipes to share.  I literally just smear mustard all over the salmon fillets until they look coated on all sides (except the skin) and then sprinkle the salmon seasoning VERY liberally on all the fleshy sides.  Quick and easy!

Magic Salmon

Ingredients

4 Salmon Fillets, 1/2 pound each (skin on is fine)

about 4 tablespoons Dijon Mustard, divided

about 4 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Salmon Magic Seasoning, divided

2 Cedar Planks for grilling, soaked in water for 1 hour

IMG_3321

Directions

First make sure your cedar planks have been soaked and are ready to go.  Then get your grill going.  (I use a charcoal grill.  I start the charcoal in a chimney style lighter and after the coals are lit/ashed over,  I spread them evenly over the bottom of the grill.  Then I place the grate on the grill, put the lid on and let the grill heat up for about 5 minutes.)

Prepare the fish:   Place the salmon fillets skin side down on the cedar planks, two fillets per plank.  Smear about 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard over each fillet, more if needed.

IMG_3328

Then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Salmon Magic Seasoning over each fillet, using more if needed.

IMG_3330

Place the cedar planks on the grill and put the cover on the grill.  Cook the salmon for 20-30 minutes.  I check the fish at 15 minutes with a probe thermometer.   Take the fish off when it reaches 135 degrees F.   I use a big cookie sheet to lay the planks on to carry the fish into the house.

IMG_3338

IMG_3340

As you take the fish off the cedar plank, usually the skin stays behind, making it perfectly ready to serve and eat!

IMG_3344

IMG_3347

Still Here!

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long.  The holidays were crazy and our house has had only a few germ free days since before Christmas.  We’ve the stomach flu, RSV, a vaccine reaction, stomach flu again and now an upper respitory virus.  Poor Colin has had it all, several overlapping. He hasn’t gained any weight since his 1 year appointment. 😦

I am working on a recipe to post soon, one of my favorites! So keep an eye out and hopefully we will be healthy here soon and I’ll have a little more time to sit at a computer!