Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What is it about…and my favorite appetizers {#Galactosemia #Newbornscreening #dairfree #recipes}

Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about my little blog, where it's headed, and well also its purpose. Let me back up a little - yeeeeeesss people please just let me do it ;) ~  this blog, albeit under its old name Galactosemia in PDX, has been in existence since 2008.  I started blogging - upon dissolution of Galactosemia Support Northwest -  to share our journey;  talk about what it is like to raise children with a rare metabolic disorder and dietary restrictions in a positive way; plus life in general.   At the time Alena was 4 years old and Mia Rose not quite 2 years old; you can say we have learned a lot along the way.

One of the biggest reasons why I want to share our story and life is to give hope to all those with babies newly diagnosed with Classic Galactosemia.  It will be okay - really, believe me.  At first one is not able to see the forest through all the trees but once one comes to grips with the disorder it will be okay.  Sure there are challenges along the road, but heck everyone faces those in one way or another.  Show me the parent that does not worry about their child.  Now why did I start all of this,  I need to take you back to the time when Alena was fighting for her life.  When we had no clue, no idea, had never heard of such a disorder as Classic Galactosemia.  I remember sitting at the computer the NICU at Emmanuel Hospital provided to the parents (remember this is 11 years ago) searching the internet, hoping to find pictures, and stories of parents raising children with Classic Galactosemia.  All I wanted to know is what is their life like and yes - selfishly - what do kids with this disorder look like, what do they do, what will life be like.  Really, we had no idea and the information we found only presented worst case scenario.  So I hope that my little blog can provide hope, give strength to those newly diagnosed, those affected by Classic Galactosemia, be positive, and happy.
In our journey I soon came to understand that our little family would not be what it is today without Newborn Screening and shared our story.  You can say that I am an advocate for newborn screening because - this is not just sappy talk - without it Alena would not have survived.  MiaRose is our second born, so we already knew that there is a 1:4 chance for her to also be affected.  So, yes my other purpose to raise awareness for newborn screening, share our story, those of others saved by newborn screening in hopes that you all will learn about this life saving test and share it. And yes, advocate that all countries - such as the UK - to include testing for Classic Galactosemia in their newborn screening; please read Jake & Owen's story

Now, rightfully so you may ask what on earth does any of this have to do with food?  I am here to read about fooooood….. Good question!  Those affected by Classic Galactosemia lack an enzyme to metabolize galactose (a long milk sugar) into glucose and as such is a toxin for the body.  The only treatment for this disorder is through diet = food.  In infancy babies canNOT be breastfed but need soy, or other galactosefree formula; thereafter it is through regular diet.  The diet has changed a lot over the years, but no worries I will not go into this here but since diet = food this is where the food piece comes in.  Yes,  I love to cook and it was a steep learning curve but here we are 11 years later and to me it is second nature.  So the other purpose is to share our recipes.  All are 100% (ga)lactose free, most are dairy free (not all since aged cheeses such as Emmenthal, Gruyere etc. are "safe"),  some vegetarian and some vegan.  So yes,  the majority of the blog is about food and I hope to share with you all delicious recipes in hopes that you like them as much as we do.
Okay - now I talked a lot so here are some of our favorite appetizers that you can still pull off for New Years Eve.  Thank you so much for reading.
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Salad
Pineapple Salsa
Pinenut stuffed dates
Fleischkuechle (Swabian Mini Meatballs}
Lemon Sorbet in Prosecco

Friday, December 26, 2014

Germerican Christmas as in Merry Christmas, Frohes Fest & Food Traditions...

This year we celebrated another Germerican Christmas;  German, our own, and some American traditions are combined and make our Germerican Christmas.  -  I am not a traditionalist,  but this time of year I turn into one.  Yes. it basically starts in with Laternenparade for St. Martin's Day,  the next thing is the advent's wreath,  on December 1st, both girls get a advent's calendar each and St. Nikolaus visits December 6th every year.  Then of course there are the movies we watch.  Elf, Grinch, Lampoon's Family Vacation, Peanut Christmas, Christmas Story, not to forget Love Actually must all be watched before Christmas, the Elf starts visiting, cookies are baked and the rest of the family insists on a tree.  It is not that I do not want a tree but putting it up in early December?  When I grew up my parents decorated the tree and it was not revealed until Christmas Eve when not only saw the tree for the very first time but also the presents.  It was magical…such anticipation; now we get a tree and decorate it together plus we each pick out a new ornament at Santaland each year…

Presents…well, yes there are presents and we hang stockings by our chimney for each person celebrating.  In Germany the Christkind visits and brings present on Christmas Eve; so yes, our girlies are quite spoiled as it just also happens to visit our house after dinner and leaves a few presents.  Santa of course visits at night and we do follow him along on the Norad tracker it's so much fun. Christmas Day is a lazy one, spent unwrapping, trying on, playing and/or reading presents plus it has to involve a long family walk up  Mt.Tabor

Food - yes, there is food; the first few years after Alena was born was quite a steep learning curve as to how to modify recipes, knowing "safe foods" etc.  In the meantime reading labels, knowing which foods are safe, how to modify is second nature and at home no big deal. So what do we eat on Christmas?  Keeping with  German tradition Christmas Eve dinner is simple and it's Fleischkäse (thank you for a great German butcher in Portland) and Potato Salad. For Christmas Day we used to make a goose, potato dumplings, red cabbage but since neither of the girls really like it we have switched it up.  This year was the second in a row that we had Rouladen with Spätzle {scroll all the way down for recipe} served with oven roasted carrots, and red cabbage.  I have to admit that this year I got a jar of Hengstenberg Apfel Rotkraut {red cabbage with apple} and just heated it up; I may just stick to that tradition.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vanilla Cut-Out {Ausstecherle} & Linzer Cookies {#dairyfree #recipe} plus Winter break fun

Are you ready for the big day? One more day to go and yes,  there is still time for another cookie recipe to be shared and another cookie to be baked.  This is one is super easy plus the dough makes not only super delicious, fun cut-outs, but also - if you want - more Linzer Cookies.  Plus they are easy, and oh so much fun to make with kids.

Yesterday was the first official day of winter break here in PDX; and I can honestly say that we spent it very leisurely.  I am in a holiday mode as in relaxing mode so not in the mood for doing anything along the lines of the zoo, or OMSI.  More like a leisurely walk up Mt. Tabor but - surprise surprise - neither of the girlies felt like walking up Mt. Tabor, not even the playground was enticing.  Dang, and I thought it was such a fantastic idea.  Instead of my stellar idea we drove downtown, met Ron for lunch at Potbelly (the girls order their sandwich without cheese and it is "safe) and afterwards I took the girls to the Pittock Mansion.  Not sure what I was thinking as I still had hopes of taking a nice long walk and  the walk around the mansion was just not enough; however we peeked through windows to see the beautifully dressed rooms, and enjoyed the view.  Okay truth I enjoyed the truth and MiaRose kept saying "this is boring"….HA here you have the plain truth…she thought it was boring.  Yup - and I could not entice either of them to hike down one of the fantastic trails.  Our next stop - the Rose Garden playground; still fun for both girls and then I saw it.  Yes the trail leading up to the Rose Garden and formed my "evil" plan…The girls played for a while and when they were ready to leave showed them the trail.  Oh yes, it worked like a charm - Alena loves walking but MiaRose is not always a fan…but it worked.  Yup,  we took the trail to the Rose Garden and had fun even MiaRose….

Back home it was time to make our cookies to finish up the first day of winter break.  This is my Mom's recipe the only change is that instead of butter we are using vegan butter to make it dairy free.

Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 stick Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Cream together margarine, with eggs, sugar and vanilla until well combined
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour with baking powder
  3. Slowly add flour to the margarine until everything comes together into a dough
  4. Divide dough into two parts and wrap each into plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
To make the  cut-outs
  • Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough 
  • 1 egg yolk plus 1 tsp of water mixed
  • sprinkles
  • your favorite cut-out shapes
*** prehet oven to 375 F - line baking sheet with parchment paper ***
  1. Roll out the dough
  2. Cut out cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet
  3. Brush egg yolk over each cookie; decorate them with sprinkles
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes

The Linzer Cookies almost as easy - the only added step is to fill them

Linzer  Vanilla Cookies

  • Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 3 Tb your favorite jam - couple of drops of water
  • 1 Tb powered sugar for garnish

*** Preheat oven to 375 F - Line baking sheet with parchment paper ***

  1. Roll out half of the dough and using a Linzer cookie cutter - leaving out the insert - cut out the bottom rounds.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes
  2. While the bottoms are baking cut out the tops by placing the cut-outs inside of the Linzer cookie cutter. Bake tops for about 8 - 10 minutes
  3. While the bottom and tops cool down, stir jam together with a drop or two of water.  
  4. When cookies are cooled down spread a layer of jam on the bottom cookie then place the top on it. 
  5. Once all cookies are assembled sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Hazelnut Chocolate Lebkuchen Squares {#dairyfree #recipe #cookie #gingerbread}

How was your weekend?  Ours was quite lovely filled with lots of baking, cooking and we may have never left the house on Saturday.  Heck, I may just come right out and admit that we actually never made it out of PJs on Saturday…ahm yes, maybe this is not something that should be admitted but it is true.  The girls and I spent the entire Saturday in our PJs baking, cooking, cutting stars for the window plus we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  On Sunday we actually made it out of the door; never moved the car  (and yes, I am proud of that) and took a nice Solstice walk to Por Que No?and New Seasons Market.

One of the treats my assistant (MiaRose) and I made yesterday were these delicious little Hazelnut Chocolate Lebkuchen Squares.  They are delicious, maybe not pretty but super delicious...

Hazelnut Chocolate Lebkuchen Squares
  • 1-3/4 stick Earth Balance (7/8 C) - (or your favorite vegan "butter")
  • 1-2/3 C powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tb rum
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 oz. shelled hazelnuts
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tb Lebkuchen spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For glaze
  • 3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 3 Tb OJ
  • Sprinkles
*** Preheat oven to 350 F - prepare a 8"x11" baking dish***
  1. Cream Earth Balance together with powdered sugar until well combined
  2. Add eggs, and rum and beat until everything comes together
  3. In the meantime grind the chocolate and the hazelnuts
  4. Add chocolate/hazelnut meal to the eggs/margarine mixtures and mix in well
  5. In a separate bowl combine flour with baking powder, salt, and spices. Slowly add - 1/2 C at a time - the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Do not over mix.
  6. Pour dough into the prepared baking dish, smoothing out the top with a spatula.  Bake in preheated oven for about 35 - 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let it cool off.  Place Lebkuchen on a icing (cooling) rack
  8. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar with OJ until it turns into a smooth paste.  Pour the glaze over the Lebkuchen and spread it with a baking brush.  Top with sprinkles.  Let glaze dry.
  9. Once glaze is dry cut Lebkuchen into squares and place in cookie tin.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Linzer Lebkuchen Cookies #dairyfree #recipe

I just realized that Christmas Eve is just four days away..yes,  hello earth to Bea where have I been all this time.  Only four short days away and there are still many more cookies that I want to make.  Thinking about Haselnussmakronen (hazelnut macaroons) Zimtsterne, plain Ausstecherle (cut outs) with the girls, coconut macaroons plus more Lebkuchen inspired cookies…Oh so little time but so many plans; let's see how many of these will make it out of the kitchen in time.  Good news is that today is a super dreary, rainy day here in Portland which makes it the perfect day for spending it in the kitchen baking with my girlies.

Today let me tell you about the Linzer Lebkuchen Cookies I made yesterday.  Remember the Lebkuchen cookie dough from earlier in the week?  You know, one dough makes at least two types of cookies…let me present you with part two  Linzer Lebkuchen Cookies - their name should be more like Linzer inspired Lebkuchen cookies since I filled them with cherry jam and not raspberry jam since cherry was in the house…Take a look - it seems like this girl (me) finally achieved a cookie that is pleasing to the eye. HA - finally a pretty looking cookie that is also absolutely delicious….

Linzer Lebkuchen Cookies
  • 1/2 portion Lebkuchen cookie dough (or the entire recipe)
  • 3 Tb your favorite jam - couple of drops of water
  • 1 Tb powered sugar for garnish
*** Preheat oven to 375 F - Line baking sheet with parchment paper ***
  1. Roll out half of the dough and using a Linzer cookie cutter - leaving out the insert - cut out the bottom rounds.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes
  2. While the bottoms are baking cut out the tops by placing the cut-outs inside of the Linzer cookie cutter. Bake tops for about 10 minutes
  3. While the bottom and tops cool down, stir jam together with a drop or two of water.  
  4. When cookies are cooled down spread a layer of jam on the bottom cookie then place the top on it. 
  5. Once all cookies are assembled sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Lebkuchen-Marzipan Bites | one dough for two types of #dairyfree #cookies

My our house smells of Lebkuchen from treats made with my Lebkuchen spice mix - to me it is the scent of Christmas.  It seems that there is just not enough time between making everything and sharing it; so yes, once again I am behind.  I promise however no less than three different delicious Lebkuchen treats.

First let me share this super easy Lebkuchen spiced dough - this dough leads itself to endless versions of cookies from simple cut-outs to more elaborate versions.  One portion of the dough will yield either a lot of one type of cookie, or if you are like me two different versions.  Yes,  I am "talking" too much - the girlies always tell me that too - just get to the point Mom  Bea.  Okay, okay, okay I absolutely get the message.

Lebkuchen Spiced Cookie Dough
  • 1 stick Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp Lebkuchen spice mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Cream together margarine, with eggs, and sugar until well combined
  2. In a separate bowl combine flour with Lebkuchen spice and baking powder
  3. Slowly add flour to the margarine until it all comes together into a dough
  4. Divide dough into two parts and wrap each into plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Lebkuchen-Marzipan Bites
  • 1/2 portion of Lebkuchen Spiced Cookie Dough
  • app. 5oz Marzipan paste
*** Preheat oven to 375 - Line cookie sheet with parchment paper***
  1. Roll out dough into three different long, flat pieces 
  2. Cut three about 1" pieces of marzipan off and roll each into the same length as the dough.
  3. Working one rolled out dough piece at a time, place marzipan roll into the dough then tightly roll the dough up around the Marzipan
  4. Cut little angular about 1/2" big bites off and place pieces on the prepared cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

German Holiday Baking = Lebkuchen {Gingerbread} spice mix {#homemade}

The cookie baking frenzy has finally arrived at our little house in Portland and this year I wanted to make something different.  Yes,  there are old favorite - some are yet to be made - but I was really, really craving homemade Lebkuchen treats.  True, a sleeve of imported German Lebkuchen - dairy free even - can always be picked-up at Trader Joe's but there is nothing like homemade treats.  Right?!  I am sure you agree…

Now it's confession time so - I have never made Lebkuchen myself before plus the spice mix is not readily available at our local grocery stores.  Yes,  there is always the German store but it takes another trip and thus time out of my day.  So I searched and found the perfect recipe for a Lebkuchen spice mix…

Perfection friends - it smells like Christmas and takes me right back home, and oh, the treats you will be able to make with this delicious mix….

Lebkuchen Spice Mix
  • 3 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tb ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp generous - ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp generous - ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
1. Combine all spices on a plate and mix up
2. Store Lebkuchen spice mix in a Mason jar

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Vanilla Swirl & Orange Almond Cookies #fbcookieswap {#dairyfree #vegan}

Are you ready for cookies?  I know everyone has been talking about cookies lately.  All types of cookies…and my family is quite happy that cookies are also in our house.  This is the time for all type of cookies and both girls reminded me that the cookie tins need to be refilled in a - not so - subtle reminder ;)  Yes,  they we have eaten our way through almost all the cookies  even so this year we had a extra treats because I participated in my first ever {yes absolutely true not just virtual but first ever} cookie swap.  As some of you may be able to appreciate a cookie swap is generally not something we can easily participate in because of our dietary restrictions….yes,  butter = milk ;);  this year is different as I am participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap . Bloggers from around the world participate and funds are raised for Cookies for Kids'Cancer plus one can matched up with other bloggers meeting specific dietary restriction i.e. dairy-free, vegan, etc.  Its is really wonderful….
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014
We have received delicious vegan Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Oat cookies from Jacks & Nick from over at Happy to be a Table of Two;  super rich and putting one in chocolate heaven Cookie Biscotti Sticks from Shannon of Killer Bunnies, Inc.; and last but not least perfectly spiced Chocolate Chai cookies from Emilie of Loose Leaf Vegan.  Thank you all!  Pictures…ahmmmm sorry friends,  the cookies are all gone and yes, I have not taken pictures.

This blogger could not decide on which cookie to make, so I sent two.  Vanilla Chocolate Swirl - Alena's all time favorite; and Orange Almond Cookies.  Both cookies are not only dairy free but also vegan plus super quick and easy.  Yay, right?!  Now are you ready for them…oh and before I forget the pictures of Alena's favorite cookie after they are baked are pretty much non-existend right now but will soon make another appearance on Instagram

Chocolate Vanilla Swirl aka Alena's all time favorite cookie
  • 3/4 C Margarine {I use Earth Balance}, softened
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tb plain almond milk {or other milk}
  • 2-1/4 C flour
  • 3 Tb chocolate powder
  1. Combine margarine, sugar, vanilla, pinch of salt, and milk until well combined.
  2. Slowly add flour and combine until everything comes together into a dough
  3. Divide dough in half; roll one part up into kitchen wrap and place in fridge
  4. Add chocolate powder to the second part and well combined also roll it up into kitchen wrap.  
  5. Let dough rest for about an hour in the fridge.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 F - prepare baking sheet with parchment paper
  7. On a kitchen board - combine pieces of the vanilla dough with the chocolate dough and roll up together.  Cut slices off the roll and place on prepared baking sheet.  
  8. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes 

Orange Almond Cookies
  • 3/4 C Margarine, softened
  • 1-1/8 C powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • grated peel of an untreated, organic orange
  • 2-3 Tb orange juice
  • 3 Tb Almond paste
  • 3-1/8 C flour
  1. Stir margarine until it has completely softened
  2. Add powdered sugar as well as pinch of salt; stir until well combined.
  3. Add orange peel, juice, together with Almond paste and stir until well combined
  4. Stir in flour and combine into a dough
  5. Combine dough into two parts, form into rolls, and wrap each roll into kitchen wrap.
  6. Let dough rest in fridge for about an hour
  7. Preheat oven to 325 F - prepare baking sheet with parchment paper
  8. On a kitchen board cut slices off each roll and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes {depending on your oven} 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This that life musings - fall adventures - Chocolate-Raspberry Ice "Cream" Birthday cake {#dairyfree}

This fall has been a whirlwind more so than I remember;  well, at least it feels that way.  I truly have felt overwhelmed with too many things on my plate.  Yes,  it is true the perpetual rat race just never seemed to stop leaving me feeling beyond exhausted. You know, when there is not enough time to listen to your family and always being preoccupied with some aspect of work be it volunteer, in my business, or on my blog.  So it was time to reassess things a little bit and take a small step back from blogging.  No,  don't you worry my friends I am not leaving the blogosphere but have decided - at least for the time being - on taking time off on the weekend.  Now that I got this out let me fill you in what has been going on these past several months.  Yes,  it really has been months - true recipes have been posted but adventures took a complete back seat.

Both girls are doing great and it is hard to believe that Alena just turned 11; yes, it seems just like yesterday that she was toddling around and we were learning to adjust our diet.  Let me just tell you that  these parental units have come a long, long way and the journey is incredible…

Alena is in 5th and MiaRose is in 3rd grade and this year both of them joined the Junior Cross Country team.  They ran in three different city wide meets and I think both of them enjoyed it; well, truth be said Alena more so than MiaRose but both and did a great job.

We took a trip to the pumpkin patch in Hood River again this year, and in October Ron treated us to a fun little get away to Timberline Lodge up on Mt. Hood.  We stayed in a bunk bed room - yes,  two bunks total of four beds - the girls swam like fish in the pool, we read by the fire, and just had a wonderful relaxing time.

Halloween came and went with lots of fund as well as plenty of dairy free treats for both girls actually way more than they could eat.

And yes,  Alena turned 11 years old;  she wanted to celebrate at home and we had a little sleep over party for her including the favorite games of Topfschlagen and Musical Chairs.  Oh, and cake of course there was cake - she asked for a chocolate raspberry vanilla ice cream cake.  She asked and I delivered…not to toot my own horn but it really was super yummy and hence zero leftovers…Do you want to hear about the cake?  Yes? Maybe?  Well, let me just tell you.  It's super easy but it does take time.  I usually start about a day before we need it :)

Chocolate Raspberry Ice "Cream" Cake
  •  1 box of dairy free Brownie Truffle Baking Mix {I used Trader Joe's}    
  •  2 Eggs (according to package)
  •  1 stick Earth Balance (Vegan Butter) or Olive Oil
  •  1  pint Raspberry Sorbet
  •  1 - Quart Vanilla Soy ice "cream" 
  •  1 - pack frozen raspberries (for decoration)
  •       Dairy free Chocolate sauce (for decoration)
  1.  Bake brownie crust according to instructions 
  2.  Once the crust has cooled down place a catering, or aluminum foil between the crust and the side of the pan.     
  3.  Place raspberry sorbet into the fridge - or out on counter to soften.
  4. Once the crust has completely cooled down, spread the softened sorbet over the crust.  Cover with aluminum foil and place into the freezer for at least 2 hours; or until firm. 
  5. Soften vanilla ice "cream" and spread it on top of the frozen sorbet.  Cover and return to freezer for at least 2 hours; or until firm. 
  6. Decorate the top of the cake with raspberries and chocolate sauce
  7. Cover and return to freezer for at least one hour or until firm. 
  8. Remove about 30 minutes before serving


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