Monday, October 22, 2012

PUMPKIN SCONES AND CANCER


Sometimes I get comments on my blog that tug at my heart strings. There are some people out there who are utterly encouraging and sweet to thank me for my hard work on this blog that no one pays me to do. It is all I have to keep going. I want to use my experience and culinary knowledge to help other people acheive their goals, learn some new flavors and techniques in paleo cooking and, ultimately, live a healthier life. I received a comment from a woman named Kim yesterday. She commented on my pollo rellenos post the following message:

Wow, so many of your recipes look fantastic. I am so happy to have found your site, your family is a bit like mine. I am paleo and love it. Finally, at 37, I feel great physically and mentally. A lifelong battle with eating disorders has been slowly doused as I am learning that food as fuel gives me so much more power and that, in truth, the right food is your strongest defense, not your enemy. 
I am feeling more and more guilty everyday, though. I feed my family (husband and 3 kids, ages 7, 5, and 2) mostly good, homemade food with a nice variety of vegetables and fruit. There is, however, too much junk food in my house. I get waves of nausea and self doubt when I pour them a bowl of their requested Lucky Charms in the morning, for example. Last night, my 5 year old son ate 4 pumpkin muffins, homemade yes, but loaded with sugar and wheat. (He has cancer, so I am absolutely terrified about sugar, but I also know that, due to chemo, he can't eat/taste many foods, and he's losing weight, so what to do?)
I would love to hear what your favorite recipes are....I see so many that I want to try (and will) but it's always great to hear what another person's family finds that works for all.
Thank you for taking the time to blog, it must be tedious at times. Know that your commitment to the task makes life easier for people like me. 
With gratitude, 
Kim


First of all, Kim, I am heartbroken that your son is battling cancer. As a mother of a four year old boy, I could never, in a million years, imagine the horror of that diagnoses for your child. How precious our children are. It makes no sense and no fairness that something like this has to exist, especially in the innocence of childhood. I have so much respect for you that you are able to stand strong in your own health while taking care of your family who needs you. My mom went through chemo last year and I remember times when she would have no appetite and couldn't taste certain things. There were times that everything but a plain baked potato tasted like metal. I can't imagine that, either. Trying to feed your son must be a huge struggle. I do understand the sensation of guilt and self doubt when feeding your family the foods they are programed to want to eat. My advice to you is to worry first about feeding them real, whole foods. Here is a great way to start: If it went through a factory, throw it out. Your guilt about throwing away a perfectly good box of lucky charms will be totally squashed by the proud moment when you realize you are taking a step towards keeping your family healthy. Feeding your family real, unprocessed, high-quality, nutrient-dense foods is about love. You want them to be happy and healthy because you love them and have their best interests at heart. That doesn't mean you have to be a health nazi 24/7, but you can do little things to move towards good health. 

In response to meals that the whole family is sure to enjoy, I have to say that meatballs are your best friends. They are easy to take on the road, easy to sneak in veggies, easy to eat as leftovers, to freeze, etc. Anything we put on the grill seems to be a hit for everyone in the family. We especially like the chicken wings (they are fun for the kids to eat with their hands), the asian pork tenderloin, paleo spaghetti and lemon rosemary chicken. We also eat a lot of eggs for dinner. They are easy to tailor to your family member's individual preferences. If your family likes soup, my caramelized butternut squash soup is both easy to make and a crowd pleaser. The easiest salmon recipe is a great way to introduce your family to this nutrient-rich fish as it has a nice crunchy crust. You can find all of these recipes in my RECIPE INDEX. 

As for your pumpkin muffin-loving son, I wrote a recipe for him this morning that may be a better option than one "loaded with sugar and wheat." This is a great recipe for the whole family. I can't wait to have one tomorrow morning with my coffee. I tested out the recipe on my little boy, who is pretty picky himself. He loved it! I hope your son does, too. 



Paleo Pumpkin Scones

Makes 12 scones
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 Tbsp canned coconut milk
1/4 c pure maple syrup + more for drizzling
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick of high quality, grassfed butter, frozen 
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 425ยบ and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make sure you have your butter in the freezer--it needs to be rock solid. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, egg, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Grab your butter out of the freezer. Using the large holes of a box grater, quickly shred the butter over the almond flour mixture. Use your fingers to quickly and gently incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. Next, stir the pumpkin mixture into the almond flour mixture until well incorporated. Don't stir too much that the butter melts. You want it to stay cold. Stir in the cranberries. Using an ice cream scoop, drop 12 nicely shaped mounds onto your cookie sheet. Using the palm of your hand, gently squish the mounds so they look like little hockey pucks. Bake for 20 minutes. Drizzle with more maple syrup (or honey) for serving. 



Oh yes, I have more to say. Cancer sucks. I mean it really sucks. I received yet another awesome comment from a fellow blogger, Layla on my post about the Stiletto Stampede (a fundraising event I am committed to that raises awareness and benefits the new Seton breast cancer center here in Austin):


"Hi, so glad I found your blog as I'm sure you have heard a hundred times. My husband and I just started our second month on paleo and that is pretty big considering we never committ to anything! Anyways, I don't live in Austin, but I do have friends that live there and will pass on the blog post. I wanted to know if I could host a charity event for this Austin event with you and your bloggers. I applaud you for making people aware that October is cancer awareness month."


I don't know what happened but I didn't receive this comment until today (blogger/email glitch!), the day after the Stiletto Stampede. I would love to work with Layla and other bloggers to raise money for the Stampede. Even though the event is over, there are still ways we can help. Stiletto Stampede is in the process of organizing other events throughout the year to continue to raise awareness about prevention and early detection. I will continue to blog about them and petition you to help! In the meantime, members of the blogosphere, stay healthy, stay aware. Keep doing your monthly self exam and keep having your regular mammograms. And spread the word. Remind your mother, sister, best friend to do the same. Thank God for the health that you have and for the health of your family. Cherish it and feed your body the nourishing foods it needs to maintain it. 


As a Texas nonprofit organization, your donations are essential to the year round success of the Stiletto Stampede organization, and the Stiletto Stampede event.  You can easily donate to our fund by sending a check made to Stiletto Stampede:

Stiletto Stampede 
P.O. Box 9969 
Austin, TX 78766


By the way, Stiletto Stampede was a tremendous success this year. Thank you so much to everyone who came out and supported our cause. I cannot wait for next year and the spring events. The sponsors were our heroes; the committee was amazing; the volunteers were great; the stampeders were delightfully competitive! If you did not make it this year, here is a sneak peek at what you missed:

7 comments:

  1. I am absolutely sobbing right now. Thank you fo reading my post and addessing my questions. If anyone who has ever spent a few moments reading your blog has ever doubted the depth of your soul, I'm here to shout from the roof how beautiful you are. Not only are you an efficient and compelling witer, you clearly have a gift for connecting with people and giving strength to strangers from your desk chair.
    I will absolutely be making these scones, as soon as I can figure out how to make almond flour. I have also selected about ten more recipes to start with, because I'm sure I'll be making everything you post.
    My boy was 4 when we received the diagnosis. I've had to watch him go through things no child his age should ever endure. My husband and I have had to have conversations no parent should ever have to have about their child.

    I spent many sleepless nights reviewing everything I could about his type of cancer, which only led to more sleepless nights. I thank God or whoever watches over us that I found Paleo just before we found out about the tumor. I was headed down a disgusting, ugly path and if I hadn't known about strength through food, I would surely have landed in the hospital myself. I was determined to do this paleo thing despite the chaos that ensued after the diagnosis. It would have been so easy to slip back into my horrible yet comforting old routines....I am so glad I stayed strong, I needed all of that resolve to fight for him. I see now that my determination is so present in his young soul...he is doing tremnendously well and is gaining strentgh everyday. I will eventually find a way to be strict with paleo at least in my home, yet it seems so shallow now to refuse him his Golden Grahams when we take him weekly to pump poison in his veins to "save" his life.
    I'm not sure I can fake anybody out with the Paleo Pumpkin Scones, but I will offer it and they may surprise me. I have good kids who make good choices, so who knows. And bless you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading my comment and giving me the tools to do the right thing.
    You are a wonderful addition to the paleo blogging world, and I'm sure, to the world in general.
    Cancer does suck, but sometimes the power it has to change our lives is not a bad thing.

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    1. My computer does not, apparently, always type "r'....I did not meant to thank you "fo" reading my post......ug.

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    2. Kim, all my best wishes to you, your son and family. You can buy almond flour, usually labelled as "Almod Meal/Flour". Both King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill make it among others. I can usually find the Bob's Red Mill in any grocery store with a natural/organic food section.

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  2. Homemade Almond Flour is super simple and you can purchase organic raw almonds to work with so you know it's good. Here's a link: http://www.amazingpaleo.com/2012/06/07/how-to-make-homemade-almond-flour/

    God Bless and I pray your little one will heal and be well.

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  3. Kim, here is another recipe you and your son will love! http://www.threedietsonedinner.com/2013/02/best-paleo-banana-bread-ever.html

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  4. I bought a burr coffee grinder that has never seen a coffee bean, but plenty of almonds, flax, cloves, etc. A plain ol' pastry brush helps to keep it clean.

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  5. I realise I am commenting literally years after the event, but this had me in tears so I had to. Kim, I really hope everything has worked out for you, my 5 year old son Artie has autism which is hugely less terrifying but gives me a tiny, tiny glimpse into the world of heightened, continual, parental worry.

    Brittanie - I found this post whilst looking for a paleo recipe to get my children away from the dreaded toast and cheerios at breakfast, I have made breakfast muffins before but usually end up using some sort of rye or spelt flour. I don't think I can get canned pumpkin in the UK, would grated carrot and raisins work? I too have to hide ALL fruit and vegetables from Artie or he wouldn't eat any! Its so brilliant to read a blog by someone who faces such similar dinner struggles (budding paleo mum, anti-paleo dad, mega fussy children)!!!

    Thank you

    Pip

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