I will not lie; yesterday was a depressing day for our household. I had Little A's blood tested again to see if she still has chronic neutropenia, and unfortunately, she does. And like any mother worried about her child, I got in the car with the results and cried.
At first I felt as though all of the work we've put into getting our family healthy -- gluten-free, dairy-free, almost grain-free for the kids, whole foods, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and pork, etc -- has been in vain. Then I dried those stupid tears off my face and said, "Wait a minute."
Here are the facts:
Little A used to be sick with a cold, fever and/or ear infection on a monthly basis. Visits to the pediatrician's office were constant. More than one ear infection needed antibiotic injections. And we own two nebulizers for breathing treatments.
Little A had her adenoids out and a new set of ear tubes put in a week after her 3rd birthday yet she did get an ear infection a few months after the surgery (so the adenoid removal/tubes may or may not have helped).
BUT... since we went gluten-free/dairy-free, Little A has not had one fever or one ear infection. Not one! Yes, she has gotten some colds (less frequently than before) but has recovered from them more quickly than before we changed our diet.
Also, her energy has improved.
AND... Little A's body filled out on the gluten-free/dairy-free diet. Her little face plumped up, her eyes look healthier, her arms and legs filled out and her body has an overall much healthier look to it.
So I keep telling myself to quit sulking over these lab results, these silly numbers on a piece of paper. Because my Little A is healthier than before even if her neutropenia persists. Our research has also given us hope: most cases of childhood autoimmune neutropenia spontaneously resolve around age 5 (for an unknown reason). So cross your fingers, say a prayer or do whatever it is you do to wish my little girl better.... and I thank you.
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the challenge to make cut-out cookies for Big C to decorate at school. I did find a few recipes out there. I even tried a recipe from a blog I follow, but the results were less than stellar. Not to mention the recipe was very finicky.
I didn't want to let Big C down, so I came up with my own cut-out cookie recipe (dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and Paleo). These cookies are great for decorating because they hold their shape well AND they're not real sweet -- so they won't be overly sweet once you put your decorations and icing on them.
Shortbread Cut-Out Cookies
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup palm shortening, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 T vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, arrowroot powder and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted shortening, syrup and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir together until fully incorporated.
4. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 15 minutes. On a piece of parchment paper or a silpat mat, roll out half of the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out using cookie cutters and carefully transfer to prepared baking sheet. If the dough gets sticky or flimsy, place in freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
5. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn brown. Keep a careful eye on the cookies; once they start turning brown, they'll continue to brown very quickly.
6. Cool on a wire rack. Decorate as desired. As you can see, my kids went a little crazy with the chocolate chips.