ALF device update–look at that smile!

Phase One: Complete!


Somehow, we hit the sweet spot of pre-puberty growth and appropriate timing for the ALF device and Kyle has completed Phase One in exactly one year.  Woot!  He’s been device-free for almost 5 months and his bite is stable.  We go back in 2 months for photos and bite register to officially wrap this up.  Our plan: he grows a bit more, a few more teeth come in, and then we start Phase Two.  In the meantime, we only need to check in twice a year.


It doesn’t always work this fast or this well.  What’s the phrase…your mileage may vary (YMMV).  However, I am overjoyed for something to go relatively smoothly and painlessly.  Traditional orthodontia would have had us cranking open his upper palate with a butterfly expander, something our pediatric neurologist wasn’t very keen on.  Me neither.

This has been an easier and less traumatic, although pricier, option. Worth. Every. Penny.


For more information on ALF devices, check this out.



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Stuffed chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and bacon…oh, and cheese…and gravy

  Happy accident!  I had the following in my fridge the HAD to be cooked (or tossed the next day): 2 packages of chicken breast, 2 small heels of raw cheddar, a thawed package of Applegate Farms organic turkey bacon, and a package of sliced mushrooms that were teetering on the verge of cook-me-or-compost-me, and the the last glassful at bottom of a bottle of white wine. I was stuck in the kitchen for half an hour anyway waiting for a handy man to finish up a quick job. I pulled all this out and, inspired by a random video on Facebook, came up with this:

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Bacon

I think pancetta would be a brilliant substitute for the turkey bacon. Also, feel free to leave out the cheese (although the gravy may suffer 😉) or substitute with something you prefer. I would not put raw pork bacon in the middle of this. I don’t think it will cook adequately. If you use pork bacon, pre-cook it, but leave it soft.


  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 slices turkey bacon, cut in half
  • 4 slices raw mild cheddar cheese, about 1/2 oz each
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c gluten-free breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • …and don’t forget the toothpicks!


Preheat oven to 350.

The key to this is setting up the mise en place. Line everything up BEFORE you start.  Trust me on this one!

This is what my mise looked like:


  • Oil baking dish, spread mushrooms out evenly on bottom of baking dish.  Pour wine over top. Set at the end of your mise en place assembly line.
  • Flatten chicken breasts, pounding them out between two layers of plastic wrap. I used a small bottle of tapenade as my hammer.
  • On the underside of the flattened chicken breast, lay out a few pieces of sun-died tomatoes, one piece of turkey bacon, and a small piece of cheese.
  • Roll each chicken breast, secure with toothpicks.
  • Dip in beaten egg, getting all sides.
  • Roll in seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Set in baking dish, toothpick side up, on top of the mushrooms.
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Removed cover so the tops can brown and bake another 10-15 minutes.


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Taureau des Gardiens, a.k.a., slow bull, or Provencal cowboy stew

IMG_8859There were two tour leaders on my recent trip.  One was the author Kathleen McGowan and t he other was her dear friend Isobel Denham.  Isy has a wicked sense of humor and a musical voice.  One day we piled onto the bus, hot and exhausted from a climb up Ste Baume and Isy calls out over the PA, in a trilling voice, “I need to send our dinner order ahead to the restaurant in Stes Maries-de-la-Mer.  Who wants slow bull?”Yes, that’s what she said.  Slow bull.  Yummmm.  Sign me up.

The Camargue (pronounces Com-ARGH) region is populated by wild white horses, black bulls, and migrating pink flamingos.  It’s the reputed site where Mary Magdalene landed in France, along with St Mary Jacobi, St Mary Salome, and St Sarah.  The place is alive with music (think Gypsy Kings on every corner), sun, and Mediterranean chill.

IMG_8864(yes, the sky was really that blue)

This is my re-creation of slow bull.  Hands down one of the best meals I had in France. Oh, this was my salad.  I never eat raw tomatoes, but I finished half of this.  Amazing:


What they served me, with a nice side of local Camargue rice.


My version:


Taureau des Gardiens

I didn’t brown my stew meat.  If you prefer to do this, brown the meat in the cooking fat of your choice, remove, then cook onions.


  • 3 lbs lean stew beef
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil or lard
  • 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups decent red wine (I used the empty can from the tomatoes to measure)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup black olives, drained and pitted
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp Herbes du Provence
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp worcester sauce
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves


  • Heat Dutch oven on stove top over medium heat.
  • Add avocado oil or lard.
  • Cook minced onions and garlic until soft and just beginning to caramelize.
  • Throw everything in pot or crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Bon apetit!

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Are you open to a new approach to healing and well being?

Everything is Energy - Chinese Master This is where we dip a toe into the woo part of the blog. :)

If I say everything is energy, what do you think of? Sunlight, electrons, E = mc2, quantum physics, your gas and electric bill?

I now think about energy, emotions, connection, and healing.

I’ve known the lovely Tami Duncan, author of Vibrational Healing for Autism, virtually for several years and have had the pleasure of working with her as both a client and–briefly at Autism One–as a mentee.  Tami is a reiki master, teacher, and healer who works with subtle energies as a healing modality.


I have found energy healing to be helpful and supportive. I recently took a Reiki level 1 class and I pretty much LOVE it.  If it’s placebo, I just don’t care.  It’s just upside for me and my family.  It may help to think of it as love in action. When I start the reiki my hands get warmer. I can feel the energy starting to flow.  It’s remarkable.

If you’re curious and would like to learn more, particularly as it relates to children with autism, Tami has two online events coming up that I’d like to share with you:

On Wednesday, July 22, at 1 pm EST, Maria Rickert Hong, author of Almost Autism: Recovering Children from Sensory Processing Disorder, will go live with an interview she did with Tami in a webinar on Communicating with the Soul of a Child with Autism.


Tami has also just announced a 6-week online webinar course, aptly named A Course in Healing.  It starts Tuesday, July 28.


If you’re ready, you’ll know.  If you’re still reading, in between headache-inducing eye rolls, you’re almost ready. ;) I double dog dare you to learn more.

Welcome to the woo.


Posted in alternatives, Autism, Chronic Fatigue/Fibro, Therapies | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feeding a small crowd on a special diet

My parents made their annual summertime trek to California, this year bringing my two nieces, ages 15 and 12.5.  For those keeping track, that’s 9 mouths to feed total.  They’re staying in their RV and eating breakfast there, but lunches and dinners are community meals.


What to do?

Oh, and everyone is on some sort of special diet or has food allergies.  Woot! Woot!  Bring it on.  The girls are on a special detox diet from a functional nutritionist: no grains, no vinegar, no canola oil. Raw cheese is OK. Hmmmmm, what’s for dinner?

Some of our eats:

Breakfast for dinner

I made hash with onion, 2 packages of Applegate Farms Chicken Maple sausage, 2 cups of frozen organic chopped spinach, and red potatoes.  Eggs to order on top.

image2  image3

Indian-inspired leftovers:

We had a few random pieces of chicken breast leftover from two different meals–one poached in lemon juice and water with Herbes du Provance and the other sautéed with tomatilla salsa.  I poached one more chicken breast, cubed all the chicken, then in my second largest skillet I threw in the chicken, a jar of Trader Joe’s Masala simmer sauce, left over chana masala from our favorite Indian restaurant, a can organic pinto beans.  In my largest skillet I made kale and baby spinach (6 bags of greens!) with caramelized onions.  Served with leftover basmati rice. (Tip: Order extra rice when you eat out, take it home and FREEZE IT!!)


Homemade pizza:

For the grain-free girls, we made a large cauliflower crust with this recipe.  I had three frozen pizza crusts from Mariposa bakery. Topping options were turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, and sliced black olives.  I started a salad, but never finished it. We had two little helpers who needed 100% focused supervision. Salad not a priority when boys with poor impulse control suit up with oven mitts to their elbows and run over to pull hot pizzas out of a 400 degree oven. So yeah, no salad.

image1 image2

Paleo turkey burgers and salad:

I put these together last year from Once A Month Meals and had stashed them in the deepest, coldest part of my standing freezer.  Plus the salad we didn’t get to the day before, with pistachios and homemade lemon vinaigrette.

Other meals I’ve got planned include:

  • Nom Nom Paleo’s keema with yuca dough wrapper, green beans with Indian-style tomato sauce (Recipe to come!)
  • Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato fries, and braised cabbage
  • Chicken soup (made with leftover chicken and broth made from chicken carcasses)
  • Taco salads: making my Crockpot Tomatillo Chuck Roast, pinto beans, raw cheddar cheese, sliced olives, organic mild salsa, and sliced avocado on organic baby lettuce.
  • Burgers, roasted cauliflower, and potatoes.
  • Roast turkey breast (in crockpot), turkey gravy, cauliflower mash, roasted broccoli

…plus Chipotle!!

I’ve also got a stash of frozen hamburger patties, clean turkey dogs, and Italian meatballs in the the freezer for the chilluns for whom the main meal offering just doesn’t work. There’s always fresh fruit and a vegetable of some sort: salad with organic baby greens, sautéed spinach and baby kale, roasted broccoli, cooked green beans, or cauliflower one of a dozen ways.

So far, so good.  No one is starving.

How do you feed a crowd on a special diet?

Posted in Getting started, Managing allergies, Meal plans | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Some gluten-free meals in France. Including BREAD!

I had absolutely zero issue with my gluten-free diet when I was traveling.  YAY!  There were two of us who were GF and two vegetarians.  I believe we were all well taken care of.

The only lump in the roux was the fellow traveller who decided half way through the trip that the gluten-free options were more appealing and I watched him intercept my GF bread one morning at the hotel (God bless you, Madame Yolande, for getting me more!) and one day at lunch he snatched my baked apple with caramel out of the waitresses hands.  What’s up with that?

Otherwise, it was a worry-free and completely delicious trip.

Bon appetit!

IMG_8392IMG_8395IMG_8410IMG_8535  IMG_8824IMG_8826IMG_8964IMG_8415IMG_8974IMG_9395IMG_9396IMG_9397 IMG_9398IMG_9710IMG_9973


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Restore: The gut healer we’ve been waiting for?


The bottom line reads Save 15% with coupon code TMR15 through June 30th.

Get it at

One of the buzziest, most exciting things to come out of Autism One, Restore is a carbon lignite supplement that — in a petri dish, and according to early reports, at least — heals your gut lining by restoring cell-to-cell communication and recreating the tight junctions between cells.



And let me tell you, intestinal permeability, a.k.a. leaky gut, is at the root of a lot of chronic health problems.


This is one dose for an adult.  1 tsp 3x/day is the recommended dosage, but if you or your child is sensitive, do what I’ve learned to do over the years: start low and increase slowly.  It has very little taste to me, but a friend of mine swore a blue streak she thought it was so nasty.  My kids take it with no problems.  It tastes kind of like salty water.

Listen, if this stuff works (and it really looks like it does), we have a major game changer on our hands.  I’ve been taking it 1x day for the past 3 weeks and can definitely tell my digestion is improving.  I’m ordering more so I can get myself and my whole crew on the recommended 3x/daily dosing schedule.  Use the code TMR15 through the end of June to save 15%.

I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Zachary Bush, the creator of Restore, when he sat down with a few Thinking Moms at the conference who weren’t able to attend his talk.  He knows his stuff.  He has a background as a researcher and endocrinologist from the University of Virginia. But more than that, he gets it. He has taken all the research and clinical experience and matched it with a paradigm shift. IMG_7813

Initial reports from some of the TMR moms are very good.  VERY good.

But you NEED to watch Dr. Bush’s presentation to understand how and why this works. Dr. Bush also addresses the very specific concerns several biomed moms raised about the ingredients listed on the label that include sulphur, copper, and nickel.  Basically, this is a carbon byproduct of bacterial metabolism that is extracted from ancient topsoil.  The mineral components are naturally occurring, essentially inert, and are in the same tiny concentrations as they would be in a sweet potato.  Watch the video and all will be revealed!

Basically, you’re rebuilding the bulk of your immune system and down-regulating chronic inflammation.  It blocks the activity of zonulin, which breaks up those tight junctions.

Imagine that Zurg appears only in the presence of gluten or glyphosate and the ping pong balls are Zonulin.

Here’s the URL one more time.  I make no money on this.  Just sharing good news. Please let me know if you try it and what you think!

Posted in ADHD, Autism, Chronic Fatigue/Fibro, Supplements, Thinking Moms Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments