ABA: What it is, What it is Not, and Why Autistics are Fighting Against it.

Every year in the time leading up to April, I write a post about autism, in the hope of educating people. Usually it’s with the goal of helping parents understand their autistic kids and treat them better – or empowering autistics themselves – but this year is going to be a bit different.

With this post, I am hoping to reach all the people that fall outside of the “autistic” and “parent of autistic” circles. I want to reach all of the people who don’t know what ABA is, and who assume that the “therapies” being fought for in the news MUST be a good thing. I’m hoping to reach the politicians who probably think that they’re fighting FOR autistics, when really they’re just alienating a key voting base for themselves.

There’s a lot to say, so I’m going to break it up into sections.

Disclaimer

Thankfully, I did not go through ABA – “Applied Behavioural Analysis” myself. I WAS subjected to some sort of “therapy” in elementary school, but it was only a few hours a week, and I’m unable to find any details about it. I remember it creeped me out, and now the school and school district say they have no record, and didn’t even keep employee records. (I tried asking about the “therapist” – I remembered his first name). CURIOUS.

However, I am someone with a lot of empathy. I am friends with a lot of autistic survivors of ABA, and I’m acquainted with many, many more. I’m horrified by the abuse they went through, I hear them, and I LISTEN to them. No one should have to go through what these people have endured.

The Origins of ABA

First of all, I’d like to discuss how ABA came about. While one common argument against autistic self advocates is “that was the past”, it’s really not – it’s the very foundation.

ABA is the brainchild of Ole Ivar Lovaas, a psychologist, professor, and bigot. A couple examples of what he thought of autistic people:

“You see, you start pretty much from scratch when you work with an autistic child. You have a person in the physical sense—they have hair, a nose and a mouth—but they are not people in the psychological sense. One way to look at the job of helping autistic kids is to see it as a matter of constructing a person. You have the raw materials, but you have to build the person.”

“In any case, what one usually sees when first meeting an autistic child who is 2, 3, or even 10 years of age is a child who has all the external physical characteristics of a normal child—that is, he has hair, and he has eyes and he has a nose, and he may be dressed in a shirt and trousers—but who really has no behaviors that one can single out as distinctively ‘human’. The major job then, for a therapist—whether he’s behaviorally oriented or not—would seem to be a very intriguing and significant one, namely, the creation or construction of a truly human behavioral repertoire where none exists.”

Yes, ABA therapy was invented by someone who saw autistics as inhuman / subhuman.

Lovaas went on to co author such works as “Behavioral treatment of deviant sex-role behaviors in a male child”, and co-create “The Feminine Boy Project” – a relative to ABA, which sought to “pre-treat homosexuality among young children”. If a boy was deemed to be too feminine / not living up to male gender roles enough, they were subjected to “therapy” to “prevent them from being (staying) gay”.

This was “accomplished” (sorry for all of the quotation marks, I’m too literal not to temper these words, in this context!) Through what would become known as gay conversion therapy – often through physical violence. At least one of the program’s earliest survivors ended up killing himself as a result.

Aside from both “therapies” originating with the same person, they also have the same mindset, the same goals. That autistics and gay people are subhuman / broken, and should not be allowed to be themselves. That they should be subjected to inhumane treatment until “molded” into something deemed more acceptable to society / their parents.

As with gay conversion therapy, ABA doesn’t actually change the subject into what the program / their parents want. A gay kid does not become straight through the therapy, an autistic kid does not become allistic. What it does accomplish is to essentially brainwash the subjects into *acting* more like the type of person desired by the program. After enough bullying, shaming, coercion, and general breaking down of a child’s personality and defenses, that child learns to pretend to be straight / allistic as much as possible, to please authority figures (the “therapist” / parents / teachers), and avoid negative consequences (beatings, denial of food, denial of affection, denial of water, denial of washroom breaks, etc).

So when autistics point out that ABA is “autistic conversion therapy”, and warrior parents act like we’re being histrionic… know that we’re not. This is literally the genesis of ABA. The goals were – and still are – the exact same for both.

Most of society has realized that gay conversion therapy is barbaric, bigoted, and uncalled for. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for ABA.

What ABA is

The “quick and dirty” analogy is that ABA is essentially like a form of dog training that is generally frowned upon as abusive. It’s intensive “training” using aversive and coercive methods, to force change in a child’s behaviour. A lot of the time, this is about changing harmless self-sooothing behaviours in autistic children – stimming.

Stimming is the rocking, leg shaking, flapping, humming, dance, etc that we tend to do. It expends excess energy, it acts as communication, and it feels good. Stimming can prevent meltdowns, stimming can communicate an oncoming meltdown with enough time to mitigate things – when parents pay attention, learn autistic communication, and learn to recognize patterns. Suppressing stimming is a popular goal of ABA, and to us – that’s completely nonsensical. When you see mention of “quiet hands”, that’s suppression of stimming. The thing is – wiggling our fingers to release energy – as an example – harms no one. Yelling at / slapping the hands of / etc an autistic child who has that energy to release is not only uncalled for, it’s damaging. Teaching a child to suppress something that is obviously a help to them? Why do that? Is wiggling fingers or a bouncing leg really so disruptive that it is worth making a child feel like a pressure cooker?

Anyway. I digress.

ABA is an intensive therapy, usually 35-40 hours a week, of compliance training. Children are (usually) pulled out of school for a good chunk of these hours, missing out on actual education, for what is essentially a full time job. Imagine having to do compliance training – as a 6 year old – for as long as your grown, adult parents spend at a full time job!

In these sessions you may see things like a child being told to pick up a pencil, then put it down. Then pick it up. Then put it down – generally meaningless tasks. This goes on ad nauseum, with the child being “rewarded” – usually with a small candy – for complying. When the children do not comply, aversives are used to punish the child. This can be harsh words, denial of food/water/toilet break/affection (parents), etc.

Harsher aversives *tend* not to be used any more – there are exceptions – and parents love to point this out. However, this does not change the premise or goal of the “therapy”, or the fact that you have a child being subjected to extremely repetitive menial tasks in a brainwashing setting, for 35-40 hours a week.

This is one of those times when I’m not sure how well that I – as an autistic – can convey the horror of something that autistic people feel, to people who are not autistic themselves. It’s like when I talk about hand dryers – I’m sure it seems silly to non autistics, who don’t tend to grasp just how painful they can be to me, and to many like me.

I hope that allistic people reading this can picture a 5 year old, 6 year old, whatever – sat at a table for 35 hours a week, being told to do the same thing over and over again, and see how awful that is. How spirit crushing it is, and how inappropriate of a way to treat humans it is. I just don’t know.

As an aside – at 30-40 hours a week of this training – an autistic child is subjected to more of this training in one year, than their “therapist” went through to be qualified to administer ABA.

What ABA is Not

You may hear a lot of claims about what ABA is, that are pretty histrionic. “Life saving” is my favourite. “Medically necessary” is another. Both are false statements.

With the goal of ABA being to force the child to act allistic, that goal is solely to improve the life of the parents / family around the child. It’s to make their kid appear less “broken” than they see them. A common misconception – what with the name “therapy”, and all – is that this is done to help the autistic child.

The real fact of the matter is that no part of ABA is actually designed to help the child actually deal with autistic issues that affect *them*. It doesn’t teach children to actually calm themselves in the face of overstimulation, it doesn’t teach them healthy ways to release energy (ie: finding a good/better stim), all it teaches is suppression. Suppression is unhealthy.

Healthy stims are a good thing to teach. Working together with parent and autistic child to help the PARENT learn to recognize autistic communication would be a good thing. Helping an autistic child to learn ways around their sensory triggers would be a great thing – however, this is not what ABA is.

What ABA does to Autistic People

Now that I’ve touched on what happens in ABA sessions, I’d like to address what happens afterwards, how ABA can impact autistic children for the rest of their lives.

First and foremost, when subjected to compliance training for 35-40 hours a week, autistic children are taught that they lack autonomy. They are taught that they do not have the right to say “no” to something that they do not want to experience. This is drilled into their head, in a very intensive manner, from a very young age… and that’s incredibly harmful and dangerous. This leaves autistic survivors of ABA to be highly susceptible to various forms of abuse both as a child, and later on in life.

A child’s ability to decline physical contact is FAR more important than a parent’s desire for a hug.

Additionally, the whole “pretending to not be autistic” thing is extremely problematic.

This is called masking, and does not change the fact that the child is autistic, it merely brainwashes them into maintaining a facade. Masking is also the reason that many women are not diagnosed until much later in life – because of gender roles and conditioning, we tend to be a lot better at masking, early on.

Masking is why you may think or say “you don’t look autistic” when you meet an older autistic person. We – and masking is something I do, myself – have had an entire lifetime of masking to fit in, whether it was forcibly coerced, or just picked up as a survival skill.

Anyway, this masking – along with the actual ABA itself – is not only exhausting, it has been shown to have disastrous, lifelong effects on ABA survivors.

A large percentage of ABA survivors end up with PTSD as a result of the “treatment”.

A study in 2007 found that nearly half of all ABA survivors met the diagnostic threshold for PTSD. I’ve seen other studies referenced that put the number closer to 85%, and also include C-PTSD.

Is having a child that can better fake “normalcy” really worth setting them up for a lifetime of PTSD and training them to be a perfect target for physical and sexual abuse?

Who Benefits from ABA

The other day, a conservative politician retweeted a tweet from an autistic advocate, that highlighted one of Lovaas’s awful quotes, mentioned above.

I really shouldn’t have been, at this point, but I was shocked to see that “warrior moms” – parents of autistic kids who spend a lot of time going after autistic adults online – attacked his sharing of the quote, calling it hate speech.

Cognitive dissonance about calling it hate speech one minute, while continuing to subject your child to the “therapy” founded on the same principle, by the same person aside… it IS hate speech. That’s the point. ABA was founded on a basis of hatred and ignorance about autistic people.

I digress. I wanted to share that incident, as it had a pretty wild outcome – the parents were accusing the politician of using it to “further his agenda”. (Of course, they don’t accuse politicians on their side of doing the same, when sharing anything pro-ABA. Again, I digress…).

Additionally, autistic advocates – myself included – have also been accused of “agenda!!!”. So, I’d like to touch on that for a minute – the agendas of all parties involved.

Politicians are going to politic. That’s the same for any subject.

The parents are fighting for ABA, because they want “normal” (appearing) kids. It’s not about the child’s health, mental well-being, or future, as discussed above.

ABA “therapists” – BCBA, or “Board certified behaviour analyst” – stand to lose a TON of money if ABA is relegated to the same place that its twin – gay conversion therapy – is.

I saw an article the other day, that parents are paying something like $25,000 for 3 months of ABA. There are many articles out there about how parents “have to sell their house” to afford ABA. That’s… wild.

Adult autistic self advocates that are fighting to abolish ABA are doing so without any hope of personal gain. In fact, we open ourselves up to LOSS by fighting for autistic kids of today. We are constantly harassed by warrior moms and BCBAs online – up to and including death threats, in some cases – and it’s extremely stressful. Some take time off work and pay for commutes and materials to counter protest.

This can come at an extreme cost – not only financially (and many autistics are under/unemployed to start), but also physically and emotionally. Any giant, loud crowd can be extremely distressing and draining, even for pleasant circumstances (I’m personally bracing myself for a big outdoor concert later this year. ) … but it’s so much worse when you’re outnumbered and surrounded by people who are angry, and whose signage is full of hateful rhetoric about people LIKE YOU.

Yet, we do it. We’re not paid, the best we can hope to gain from our actions is to prevent more autistic children from being subjected to the barbaric and inhumane treatment that many of us have been.

… and that would make it worth it. That is literally our entire goal, our agenda.

Attacks on Autistic Adults

In the past few days, I’ve not only been accused of “agenda!” and “personal gain!”, but also of supporting Autism Speaks (Uh, NO) because of my anti-ABA stance, and more. I’ve had my twitter responses flooded by angry, hateful parents who are *enraged* that adult autistics are speaking up for the child autistics of today. That’s not all, and I’m far from alone in that. With April starting in just a few days, many/most of the “out and proud” autistics I know of only have already been subjected to much of the excess nastiness we’re accustomed to April (“Autism Awareness Month” bringing our way.

As I told one such venomous warrior mom on twitter:

I, for one, cannot wait until the current generation of ABA survivors are all grown up – the children of warrior moms/mommy bloggers. The generation that was blogged about, had their private bathroom habits discussed publicly, who had their meltdowns videotaped and posted for the world to see (and for their parents to gain social media or real currency from!).

These kids had it so much worse than we did. I honestly don’t even think I’d still be here, if my own mother had the backing of warrior moms back in the day. I can’t imagine going through school – hard enough as it was – with the added hell of having my childhood blogged about, as ammunition for bullies. I just.. Can’t.

If the parents who attack and harass adult autistics online for speaking up think that WE are angry… just wait til their kids grow up. They don’t seem to realize that we WERE those kids… and those kids will grow up to be us.

The difference, though – aside from all the extra awful they’re enduring?

Back in the day, no one was standing up against ABA and abusing autistic kids, to our generations’ parents.

I can’t imagine how much angrier I’d be to grow up and see archives of my parents fighting against autistic adults standing up for me. Yikes.

These kids will grow up, they *will* find their community – and their voices – as so many of us have.

I hope the parents that abuse autistic adults online are ready for that day, and ready for themselves serving as a firsthand example *to other parents* of why ABA is a bad idea.

A Word to the Left Wing Politicians:

It is, frankly, appalling to me to see the very politicians who champion women’s rights and fight against rape culture, to fight so loudly for an abusive, unnecessary industry that sets up children to become sexual and physical abuse victims.

As a society, we realize that gay conversion therapy is inhumane. We look at the type of dog training that most closely resembles ABA to be animal abuse. We look at residential schools – an idea that bares striking resemblance to the concept and execution of ABA – as a dark spot on our country’s history, and one that we are trying to make reparations for now, after the fact.

I invite you to take a good hard look at ABA, at what these children are being subjected to, and realize that you are not learning from the mistakes of the past. You’re repackaging and repeating them, with the same tired old justifications that were used back then. You are the parents that subjected gay children to conversion therapy in an attempt to “fix” them – for them to fit in better and have a better life, of course – and you are the colonizers that removed First Nations children – people like my own grandmother, who raised me – from their culture, in an effort to “tame” and assimilate them, forcing them to fit in to mainstream society, and the dominant culture. Not even the lingo and excuses have changed. Be better.

If none of that info, if none of this post is enough to discourage you from continuing the fight to fund ABA, I ask you to consider this:

Many of the qualities and traits of autism put us squarely in the NDP’s key voting demographic. There is no such unifying feature to being an allistic parent of an autistic child.

So, if you won’t consider the actual needs of autistic children, maybe you could consider the actual needs of your political party.

Do you have any idea how many ABA survivors are voting age? How many autistics are voting age? Those numbers increase every year. I’m asking you to consider that, as you continue to work on harming the younger versions of us. We see, and we remember. (And BOY, we can hold onto memories and grudges!)

I would suggest not only doing some real research into autistic experiences of ABA, but also into common traits of autistic adults. For instance, are you aware of the huge percentage of autistics that are GLBT, non-binary, etc? Are you aware of how our empathy and sense of justice tends to make us extremely social justice minded?

Do you have any idea how you’re alienating a great voting demographic, out of ignorance? It’s really disappointing. I want BETTER from the parties that purport to champion marginalized groups.

In fact, I hope you can consider what it feels like to watch a party fight for the rights of EVERY other marginalized group, but our own. To see that your empathy ends JUST short of autistic lives and well-being mattering.

In Closing

Well, I’m on page 7 of a WordPerfect document here, so I should probably wrap this up.

Like I’d said in the beginning, there was a lot of information to cover – and I hope this has been educational for anyone who has read this far.

I’d like to end with a request, for observation of #AutismAwarenessMonth / #AutismAcceptanceMonth:

This April, please consider checking in with your doctor about your vaccine record, and arrange to have any outstanding vaccines or booster shots dealt with.

It may not be the quick trip to AutismLand that some like to claim, BUT I think it’s on theme for the month.

Not only would you be helping autistics – by fighting the nonsense stigma people are tarring vaccines with, in OUR name! – you’d be helping everyone – including yourself! Win-win-win!

This is looking to be an especially demonizing / dehumanizing “awareness” month, so it would be nice to see progress made against autistics being used as a boogeyman to usher in a new round of polio, you know?

Please and thank you!

Links to My Previous Posts on Autism

On Passing, and NT Gaslighting

Symbols Matter, Words Matter

Explaining Autism: Interoception, and Something Other Than Pain

Autism Awareness Day – A Few Thoughts from My Spot on the Spectrum

Autism Speaks Does Not Speak for Me

Interacting with Autistic Children: A Guide for Charity Appearances

Aspergers: You Can’t Cure “Awesome”

Gluten-Free Banana Nutella Ebelskivers

Well, it looks like I’ve been a while since I posted, so I figure it’s about time to dig into the backlog of recipes that we developed and photographed *prior to moving home to Canada*.

Yes, we actually worked ahead, came up with a big folder of recipes to post while in the process of moving into our RV, traveling from MN to Canada, living in that RV while we found a house, etc. We planned ahead, so I’d have content to post even when our kitchen and photography set ups weren’t really appropriate.

… Then, everything got away from me, and I didn’t post any of it. Whoops!

Anyway, prior to moving, we’d been on a big Ebelskiver kick. I can’t remember what prompted me to want an Ebelskiver pan in the first place, but we went a few months with having them every weekend – expect some more recipes from that time, in the near-ish future!

These were a runaway favourite, obviously. Banana and Nutella is a wonderful combination, and both work really well in this format. The pancake batter creates a soft, fluffy casing for the molten Nutella, and the combination is highly addictive.

As with many of my other gluten-free recipes, this is another case where the gluten-free recipe tastes better than an all-purpose flour recipe would. I just find that the flavours of the chosen flours really brings a lot to the pancake, and the texture is great, too!

Serve these as-is, or sift some icing sugar over them immediately before serving.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Banana Nutella Ebelskivers

Makes about 21 stuffed pancakes – Serves 3-4

2/3 cup white buckwheat flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ripe banana, peeled and chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Nutella

Whisk together dry ingredients, set aside.

In a blender, combine banana, egg, milk, butter and vanilla, blitz until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry, whisk until smooth.

Heat a nonstick ebelskiber pan over medium-low heat, spray with cooking oil. Place 1 Tbsp pancake batter in each cavity, followed by about 1/2 tsp Nutella in the middle of each. Top with about 1 tsp batter, using the spoon to carefully coat the nutella entirely.

Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Using two chopsticks, carefully flip one pancake over. If it’s golden brown on the bottom, continue to flip all other pancakes over. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, or until all are golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot

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Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Mango Salad Recipe

Short and sweet blog entry today – I knocked off this recipe this morning, and have a bunch of friends waiting on me to share it… so, good excuse to post this blog!

Shortly after moving to Ontario, we happened across a Vietnamese restaurant on our way into Toronto one day. We’d gone in wanting pho, or maybe a vermicelli noodle bowl… but we were intrigued by the mango salad on the menu. I’d never seen it before, and it sounded amazing.

Blew. My. Mind.

After that, we noticed it on other Asian restaurant menus – at the sushi place we like, at a Chinese restaurant we’d met friends at. I guess it’s a *thing* here… but none of those other salads lived up to that first one.

We’ve been back to that restaurant a few times, and that salad has me happily rocking in my seat each time.

… We may actually need to rename “The Sushi Rock” “The Mango Salad Rock”. (It’s one of my happy Autistic stims. Basically the complete opposite of my “IKEA 2 days before Christmas Flap”!)

Excuse my crappy cellphone photo of the source material. It’s kind of amazing I actually managed to get a photo before inhaling it!

I love the bright colours and flavours of it. It’s such a sunny dish, and the taste of it lingers (and burns a little!) on the lips for a fair amount of time afterwards, just a drawn out reminder of how amazing it was. Pretty sure it’s actually my favourite dish, now.

Anyway, I shared a photo on my personal Facebook this past weekend, raving about how amazing it was. Friends who don’t live in Ontario hadn’t heard of it, and I promised I would share my recipe as soon as I replicated it.

… and here we are.

Look at this other crappy cell phone photo of the preparation:

Even the separate ingredients just look amazing! LOVE.

Anyway. For this recipe, you’ll want under ripe mangoes – pick ones that are pretty hard. They’ll have the best texture for this, and besides… it’s a salad, not a dessert! It’s also vegetarian and gluten-free!

When it comes to servings… I have no idea. I can put away a truly embarrassing amount of this salad in one sitting, so it’s hard to estimate how much it makes. I’d say 3 as a main dish, and maybe 6 as a side?

Enjoy!

Mango Salad

Makes 3-6 servings

2 under ripe mangoes
1 Large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ Small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 Red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Fresh mint, chopped
3 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp Vegetable oil
2 tsp Granulated sugar
1- 1 ½ tsp Crushed dried chilies
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
Cashew halves or pieces

Peel mango, slice fruit into long, thin strips (thicker than matchstick). Place in a large bowl, along with peppers, onion, cilantro, and mint – mix well.

In a small food processor or blender, combine lime juice, oil, sugar, chilies, pepper, and salt. Blitz until well combined, and chilies are finely chopped.

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to fully coat. Chill for 30 minutes or so before serving… assuming you can wait that long. (I could not)

Serve topped with a handful of cashews.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Chicken-Based Swedish Potato Sausage Recipe – Potatiskorv

Today’s recipe was a fun challenge to tackle.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is no longer able to eat pork or beef, which has been … interesting… to work around. It’s not a religious or ideological thing, his body just can’t handle either any more.

SO, for the most part, he just eats chicken, fish, or vegetarian dishes, and doesn’t normally miss the pork or beef – save for the odd cheeseburger craving. For the few favourites that he didn’t want to give up, I’ve had great success with replicating the taste and texture, using non-pork ingredients. For instance, my Chicken and Mushroom Tourtiere, or my Vegan Donair “Meat”.

Early on in our marriage, my husband made mention of potato sausage he used to get as a kid. His extended family all went in on a bulk order of the stuff from some unnamed (to him) supplier, and they’d split it up, freeze it all, and eat it over the following month or two.

We bought a few different kinds over the years, all of which he found to be “meh” – they weren’t THE ONE. He knew.

Last year – our final Christmas in the US – I happened across a little Scandinavian store in Minneapolis, and picked up a bit of their sausage for the hell of it. As luck would have it, that was THE ONE.

Unfortunately… it’s a pork and beef sausage. He braved the consequences and had some anyway, just in the name of nostalgia, but I promised him I’d make a safe version. It felt like big shoes to fill, having seen how “meh” he was over everything that wasn’t IT.

I played around with chicken, mushrooms, potatoes, and spices, and came up with a recipe that was BANG ON, bringing him right back to his childhood on the first bite! Even his father was shocked and in disbelief – He seemed to think we were pulling his leg when we told him that we’d made it at home, and it was chicken!

The only problem? When frozen and thawed, my sausage turned all kinds of ugly colours – like blue black, marbled in. After making some calls, we learned that this was safe – if unappetizing – it was just the raw potato oxidizing. The solution? Cook the potatoes first.

I tweaked the recipe, tested it out, and here we are! Once stuffed into casings, this sausage can be boiled right away, put in the fridge for a day or two if needed, or frozen – so do whatever makes the most sense for your needs, without worry about discolouration!

Note: Sausage making can be a bit of an… undertaking. This recipe can easily and successfully be halved, for a smaller batch!

Swedish Potato Sausage Recipe, Chicken Version.
Makes about 10 lbs of sausage

2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breast
4 lbs Boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 lbs Russet potatoes
1 ½ lbs Yellow onions
1 lb Baby Bella / Crimini mushrooms
3 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Pepper
1 ½ tsp Allspice
3/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 cup Milk
Casings*

* We used pork casings, available at most butchers, as it doesn’t cause him a problem, and it’s easy. If you need it to be NO pork, you’ll want to use synthetic casings – I have no experience with those, so I don’t have any advice there.

Peel potatoes, chop into 1″ cubes. Place in a large microwave safe dish and cook on high for 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender. Set aside

Peel and chop your onions, chop mushrooms. Add both to a food processor, process until finely chopped / pureed. Add to bowl of cooked potatoes, mash until not quite smooth. Set aside.

Set your food grinder with the coarse disk, and process the chicken down. In a large bowl, combine chicken with potato mushroom mixture. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Following the instructions on your meat grinder / sausage stuffer, set it up with the appropriate nozzle to make sausages. Make the sausages whatever size you like – we usually aim for about the diameter and length of a kielbassa ring, but you can make them longer or shorter – a whole coil, as pictured, or individual sausages. Tie off ends:

Use a fork to poke a few holes in each sausage.

To cook, place in a pot of boiling water, turn heat down to a simmer, and allow to cook for about 30 minutes.

To serve: Pan fry cooked sausage in butter, either whole or sliced up.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Replica Recipe: Trader Joe’s Tofu Edamame Nuggets (Gluten-Free)

A while back, a friend of mine posted on Facebook, lamenting the discontinuation of a food they were very fond of – Trader Joe’s Tofu Edamame Nuggets. One of my “big autistic superpowers” is being able to accurately replicate commercially produced food products (See: a big chunk of the recipes in “More Than Poutine!), so I wanted to help.

Problem 1: I’d never tried the source material.

Problem 2: The source material was no longer available… and my friend lived very far away!

I DO love a challenge though, so I offered to give it a go anyway. My husband is borderline vegetarian himself, and is always up for fun new treats.

First level research was easy: Finding the ingredient listing, nutritional data, and product images online – both commercially photographed, and photos from customers who bought them.

This gave me a good idea of what I’d need for my recipe – minus a few unnecessary commercial ingredients.

The next step was to fill in the missing pieces, the information that’s not as easily obtained through an ingredient list.

This is where thorough questioning came in. Lucky for me (and them, and all of you!), my friend is as good at answering questions as I am at asking them. Within a few minutes, I had a long list of very detailed information about the textures, mouth feel, ingredient sizing and proportions, and much more.

My lovely friend is also autistic, which was absolutely a blessing – NO ONE notice, catalogs, and clearly and efficiently relay fine details about things like an autistic!

Between the nutritional data and my friend’s detailed notes, I was able to put together a fantastic recipe. Aside from the “leave out unnecessary commercial ingredients” adjustment, I also developed this recipe to be gluten-free, as my friend has wheat issues.

I’m basically an obligate carnivore, and I’ve got to say – these are really tasty. REALLY tasty!

I’ve done up the directions so that you can cook and eat these fresh, OR be more true to the source material and par-cook them before freezing, so they’re available as a “throw it in the oven” convenience food, later on.

If you were a fan of the source material, be sure to try these and let me know what you think!

Replica Recipe: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Nuggets

Makes about 28 nuggets

Filling:

1 Brick medium-soft tofu, about 1 lb
½ White onion
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 ½ tsp Nutritional yeast, optional
3/4 cup Soy flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
1 tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Pepper
3/4 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Shelled edamame
1/3 cup Shredded carrot (Large shred, not fine)

Drain tofu, wrap in 3 layers of paper towels, and place in a strainer. Add something a little heavy – we used a peanut butter jar – on top, to press. The tofu will mush a bit, that’s OK. Allow to stand for ten minutes. Discard paper towels, chop up pressed tofu and transfer to a food processor.

Grate onion. With clean hands, squeeze out as much water as you can. Measure 2 Tbsp squeezed onion into a food processor, along with egg, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast, if using. Blitz until smooth and well combined.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine soy flour, corn starch, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Add tofu mixture, stir until smooth and well combined. Add edamame and carrot, stir until vegetables are well distributed.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using two tablespoons, scoop mounds of filling onto the prepared baking sheets – you’ll want rounded Tablespoons, close to about 2 Tbsp in volume. Use a wet finger to smooth mound into a “nugget” about 1.5″ x 2.5″, and about ½” thick. Once all nuggets are formed, transfer pans to freezer and allow to chill until firm.

Once your patties are prepared, heat vegetable oil to 375 F. You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan. If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3″ deep. As oil is heating, prepare your batter:

Batter:

½ cup Masa flour
½ cup White rice flour
1/4 cup Corn starch
½ tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Paprika (for colour)
1 Large egg
1 tsp Soy sauce (does this need salt?)
1 1/4 cup Cold water

Whisk together dry ingredients. Add egg and soy sauce, whisk until well combined. Add a small amount of water, stirring to combine. Continue adding cold water, stirring gently until just combined – mixture can be a bit lumpy.

For best results, set bowl of batter in another, larger bowl that is filled with ice. The colder the batter, the better the coating!

Gently dip chilled patties in the batter one at a time, slowly removing from the batter and allowing excess to drip off. Carefully transfer to heated oil. Fry a few at a time – turning every couple of minutes.

To eat immediately:
Fry until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer fried pieces to platter lined with paper towels. Salt lightly – if you’d like – and serve hot!

To freeze and heat/eat later:
Fry only until batter is no longer wet and is only lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil, transfer to paper towels, and blot well. Cool to room temperature. Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, freeze. Once frozen, transfer to airtight freezer container until use.

To bake frozen nuggets:
Preheat oven to 350F. Place frozen nuggets on a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Flip each nugget, bake for 10 more minutes. Serve hot!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Apple Blueberry Muffins

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I blogged a new recipe, but looking at it now… if I’d left this til tomorrow, it would have been a full month. Oops!

Things have been busy here. We’re mostly settled in, both as far as the house and our new lives go. I’m working my butt off at my spandex costuming business, while also working on editing and formatting Maize Craze. For his part, my husband is about halfway through finals – he had to go back to university, to become qualified to do the job he was doing for the 20 years before moving to Canada. Yikes!

Anyway. I’ve been making muffins more often, lately, as they make great grab and go breakfasts for his long commute to the university.

Sometimes they’re my tried and true recipes (We’ve done my Pina Colada Muffins and my Cardamom Pear Streusel Muffins recently), and sometimes I just ask what he’s in the mood for, and build a recipe around that.

This week, he was in the mood for apple cinnamon muffins.. but blueberries were on sale and looked good. We kept the cinnamon in, as not only does cinnamon work well with apple, it also works well with blueberries – this is something he learned as I was working on More Than Poutine – they’re the main flavours of Blueberry Grunt! I’d originally (ie: while mentally planning this recipe at the grocery store) intended to put some maple syrup in, but managed to forget.

They turned out really well, regardless – they’re definitely going into regular rotation!

Enjoy!

Apple Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2-1/4 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup White sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 large apple
1- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 12 muffin cups with liners, or spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Peel and grate the apple; add grated apple to this wet mix. Add mixture all at once to the flour mixture, along with the blueberries. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy.) Divide batter between 12 prepared muffin cups, filling each to almost full.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.

Banh Mi Power Bowls (Gluten Free!)

One thing I’m loving about our new life in Ontario is the multiculturalism – and the food, by extension. Even the most mainstream grocery stores have a wide variety of interesting ingredients and prepared foods from around the globe. I can go grocery shopping, and hear 6+ different languages spoken, as I wander the aisles! LOVE IT.

There’s also an abundance of ethnic food available from restaurants. No exaggeration, you can find shawarma easier than a mainstream fast food chain: Shawarma places are everywhere, along with every other cuisine you can think of. There are several different places that specialize in banh me (Vietnamese sandwiches) AND deliver through the major services!

Our first few weeks here saw us eating banh mi on an almost daily basis. It was cheap, easy, full of good stuff, and was only $3-3.50 for a meal. Can’t beat it!

I’ve been getting more into making power bowls at home for meals lately. Combine that, with our love for banh mi, and the fact that our favourite place is a 15 minute drive away, and … today’s recipe was bound to happen. I’d seen mention of a banh mi bowl on social media, and decided to make my own take on the idea.

We eat a lot of chicken in this house, so that was the protein I chose. You can use whatever banh mi fillings you like, though. There’s a “dry” tofu that our fav Banh Mi place uses – we initially thought it was some kind of mushroom! – that we’ve since found at a local Asian grocery that would be great, sliced up over this. Use BBQ pork, or whatever else you like.

This makes a bit more pickled veggies than you’ll actually need for 4 servings. I like to use the extras to make actual banh mi, to put on other meals (they add a flavour punch to a variety of foods!), or just to munch on.

Also: To make this gluten-free, just be sure to use a GF soy sauce – it’s that easy!

Banh Mi Bowl

Serves 4

Pickled Veggies:

1 large carrot
1 small daikon radish
1 jalapeno
1 cup water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt

Peel carrot and radish, slice jalapeno in half and remove the seeds (optional). Use a vegetable peeler to create long strips of the carrot. Even the smallest daikon radish is going to make a lot more strips than a large carrot, so I like to peel enough daikon to create about the same volume of strips as the carrot. Feel free to make more or less, depending on your tastes. Slice jalapeno into long, thin strips. Set vegetables aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Add carrot, radish, and jalapeno strips to this mixture, stir well to combine.

Cover bowl, refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Marinated Chicken:

2 large (or 3 medium) chicken breasts
1/4 cup soy sauce (Gluten-free if needed)
1-2 Tbsp ginger/garlic paste*
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp Sriracha
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce

* This is a paste I buy in jars, and use a lot when cooking Asian or Indian dishes. You can find it in Indian and/or Asian grocers, and sometimes in the Asian aisle of mainstream grocers. We use 2 Tbsp for a potent flavour, but you can cut it back to 1 Tbsp if you prefer more mild flavours.

Slice chicken into whatever form you prefer – strips, small cubes, etc – and place into a bowl or plastic baggie for marinating.

Whisk together soy sauce, ginger garlic paste, rice vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Pour over cut up chicken, stir well to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

For serving:

3 1/4 cups chicken broth**
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ an English cucumber, sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Green onions
Sesame seeds

** Here in Canada, Campbell’s makes a “Thai” chicken broth, which is what we use for this. Regular chicken broth works just fine if you can’t get this, though!

To Assemble:

45 minutes before you want to serve it, cook the brown rice in the chicken broth.

When the rice is almost ready, use a slotted spoon to strain excess liquid off chicken (don’t throw out the marinade!), transferring chicken to a nonstick frying pan along with olive oil. Cook until browned, then add the leftover marinade and simmer for 2 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Divide rice among bowls. Top with cooked chicken, pickled veggies, cucumber, cilantro, and green onions. Drizzle with a little cooked marinade from the pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

“Extreme” Caesar Salad Recipe (And Homemade Croutons!)

About a year or so ago, I happened across a post – maybe it was a tweet? – where someone mentioned using mayo as a base for Caesar dressing.

I hadn’t considered it before – it’s easy enough to make an emulsion with a stick blender or food processor after all – but it was actually kind of brilliant. Not only did it make things a lot easier, it gets rid of the worries associated with the use of raw eggs.

I decided to mess around with making a mayo based Caesar dressing to our tastes, and came up with this… monstrosity.

This dressing smells TERRIBLE. It burns to eat. The lemon in it makes my tongue feel like it’s ripped to shreds halfway through.

… and it is – far and away – the BEST Caesar salad I’ve ever had in my life.

The weird thing about this recipe is that almost every rave I have about it sounds completely negative! This isn’t about “burst of flavour”, it’s more like “punch you in the face with flavour”. This recipe is definitely geared towards garlic lovers, so keep that in mind!

If you’ve never worked with anchovies before, you may have a weird idea of what to expect. Though this recipe has a lot of anchovy in it, it doesn’t taste fishy at all. Anchovy doesn’t really taste like fish, it just has a rich, salty, complex flavour that adds a ton of character to whatever you put it in. You buy them in little jars, either by the canned meats, or in the fresh fish aisle, depending on your grocery store.

This dressing whips up in just minutes, and makes a SUPER potent dressing. A little goes a long way, so use less dressing than you think you’ll need – you can always mix more in if you want to kick it up a notch or ten!

Anyway.

Making homemade croutons is a good way to accent this dressing, because who wants crappy store bought croutons when you’re serving a special dressing? Not I! So, I’m including a non-recipe recipe for my croutons at the end of the dressing recipe. It only takes about 3 minutes to prepare, and 15 or so minutes to bake – totally worth the effort!

Enjoy!

Caesar Dressing

Makes just over 1 cup of dressing

6 Anchovy fillets
5-6 Cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Grated lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

In a small food processor or blender, combine anchovies, pressed garlic, and lemon juice, blitzing to create a smooth paste. Add zest, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, once again blitzing until combined and smooth. Add mayo and cheese, blitz once more to combine.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Homemade Croutons

Bread of choice*
Butter or oil**
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or don’t. It’s not really needed, but makes clean up easier!)

First, cut your bread into cubes of whatever size you like, and place in a bowl that’s big enough to stir them around easily. I like to cut fairly big pieces, so that they can get toasty and crisp on the outside, and stay tender inside. Your mileage may vary!

Next, melt your butter (if using). Drizzle some butter or oil over the bread pieces, tossing well to coat. You want them lightly coated, not drowning in butter. Eyeball it – you can always add more if you feel it needs it!

Once you have the bread lightly coated, sprinkle on the remaining ingredients, to suit your tastes. Taste as you go!

Once you’re happy with the flavour, spread the bread pieces out on your baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring a few times during the baking. If you’re happy with the colour of them at 15 minutes, remove and let cool slightly before adding to your salad. If not, let them bake a little while longer, keeping an eye on them.

* While many people use stale bread, I don’t. I like soft interiors to my croutons, so I just chill a few slices for a bit to make them easier to cut nicely. If you like very crunchy croutons, use stale bread. In terms of type, I like bread with a little character – this was a flax seed bread. You can use whatever bread you like, however – even gluten-free!

** If you want to be *Extra* about it, you can use melted bacon drippings in place of butter or oil!

“Maize Craze” Campaign Launched This Morning!

Hey everyone,

If you’ve been following me on social media, you may have noticed that I’ve been working on another cookbook. Well, the campaign for it launched this morning, so I wanted to tell you a bit about it.

This project is a little different from my past cookbooks, for a few reasons:

1. It’s mostly done!

Unlike all of my other cookbook campaigns that were each started from scratch, this book is probably 80% done at this point.

It was actually released as “Sweet Corn Spectacular”, my first – and LAST – traditionally published cookbook. I had to make a lot of compromises to fit the publisher’s parameters, and was really unhappy with how it turned out. The name, cover, cover font, lack of photos – and the few photos they had were in black and white – it just wasn’t ME.

I had the rights reverted back to me a year ago, and have been working on giving the book an overhaul – it’ll now have full colour photography, with a photo for EVERY recipe… be in my voice, have more detailed directions where needed, and more. Also, I’ll be adding a few new recipes!

As the plan was to only include a few photos in the original book, not many of the recipes were photographed at the time – so we’ve been working on that lately, taking advantage of corn season.

2. “Legacy” and “Retail” book sizes.

Remember shortly after “More Than Poutine” came out, the printer raised their prices to the point where I’d need to significantly raise the price of my books, or change their size? Well, that’s made things tricky when it came to planning the reward levels for this book!

As someone with an eye to detail and patterns myself, I wanted to offer the opportunity to buy Maize Craze in the same size as all of my previous titles, before the change. I figured it would look silly to have multiple books from my line in one size, and then the final one (spoilers!) Slightly smaller.

SO – and this is only available through this Kickstarter campaign – I am offering “Legacy” sized books as an option. If you have any of my previous books – or have gifted them to people you would like to gift this book to – and would like to keep the same size here, that is the option you should choose. This is only available on a few reward levels, so be careful which you choose!

If size isn’t an issue, there are also listings for “retail” sized books – these are the slightly smaller books, and are a few dollars cheaper on this campaign.

Again, legacy sizing will ONLY be available through this campaign, so if you have a collection you’d like to finish off, this would be the time to do it!

3. It’s in .CAD!

I moved back to Canada, and that’s resulted in a few changes to the campaign, this time around.

Don’t freak out about the “high” prices on the rewards – they’re listed in Canadian funds. Give or take a few cents for the sake of rounding, they’re the same as they’ve been on all previous campaigns, just with currency conversion applied.

Additionally, there have been some changes to shipping, as logistics have changed.

Books will now be shipped both from the US and Canada, and the new prices reflect that. Books going to Canada have a slightly cheaper cost now, and books to the USA are slightly more expensive, reflecting the most recent changes to USPS shipping prices.

Canadian orders should arrive a lot faster now (depending on Canada Post!), and will not be subject to duty, etc.

4. No more international shipping

Figuring out international shipping tables has gotten far more complicated, and – from my experience – sweet corn isn’t as big of a THING in the rest of the world. So… we decided to save a few days worth of headache, and just not ship overseas from the Kickstarter.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck if you live outside of the Canada or US, though – Feel free to pledge $1 to basically subscribe to member updates, and we’ll let you know when the book is available to be shipped overseas, from our normal website set up.

Our shopping cart system is Shopify, and is much better able to calculate accurate shipping costs specific to each country. I’m sorry to make you wait, but this way will be a lot better for everyone!

5. Much shorter campaign.

In the past, I’ve done mostly 60 or 45 day campaigns – and those take a lot of stamina and are prolonged stress. This time around – where our goal minimum is a fair amount lower than usual – we’re going with a 30 day campaign.

6. This will probably be my final cookbook.

… at least for the foreseeable future.

As an autistic woman I have somewhat weird cycles when it comes to careers – I do my thing, and then I’m done and move on to the next one. Sometimes I cycle back eventually – I’m back to doing spandex costuming after taking several years off – but I generally know when a change is coming.

Think of it like Doctor Who regenerations.

I’ve known for a while that my time with cookbooks is drawing to an end, I just wanted to make sure to right this particular wrong before I move on to my next adventure!

I sincerely thank every one of you for supporting my cookbook career along the way, and I hope you’ll stay in touch even after the last copy of Maize Craze has been distributed!

——————————————-

With all of that said, I would love for you to check out the campaign, which is now live at www.maizecraze.ca . Please consider backing it, sharing it on social media, etc. You know the drill!

Thanks in advance for your support, let’s have some fun with this one!

Marie

PS: As you may (or may not?) know, the first day of a Kickstarter campaign is the most important day, to really get the ball rolling. Starting out with a mob of backers trips something in Kickstarter’s algorithms, resulting in a lot of additional help from Kickstarter in showcasing the campaign to Kickstarter members. It can make a huge difference to the outcome of a campaign, so please consider backing / sharing today in particular.

Also consider this your heads up that my social media output today will very heavily be Kickstarter related!

Canadian Candy Bar Salad – “Fusion Salad”

So – It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog entry!

A LOT has happened – we packed up and sold our house in Minneapolis, got everything onto two shipping containers, and moved to Canada. Shortly before we sold the house, we moved into a small, 27′ motor home, and that’s been “home” right up until we closed on our new house a couple weeks ago. The kitchen didn’t really lend itself to creating blog worthy meals, and we’ve been very busy with getting settled, so.. no posts. We’re now mostly settled, so I can get back into posting from time to time.

For the first recipe being posted from within Canada, this one seems appropriate. We’ve been calling it “fusion salad”.

This weekend, we attended our first social event in Ontario – a potluck BBQ. We were fussing over what we should bring, and my husband joked that we should bring a Minnesota “salad” – basically a desserty item made with things like Cool Whip, fruit, pudding, etc. One thing led to another, and we ended up coming up with a “Minnesota-Canadian Fusion” version of Snickers Salad, which we brought to the event last night. (Along with my Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake, just in case our creation didn’t turn out well!)

We decided to use our 3 favourite Canadian candy bars, because neither of us wanted to actually choose. We decided to keep the Granny Smith apple, so the sour crunch could provide a good foil for all that chocolate.

For the fluff, we decided we would be adding maple syrup… because obviously we would. Knowing that, we decided on a cream cheese based fluff, so that the syrup wouldn’t be competing with pudding mix, nor would it be sickeningly sweet as a result.

What started as a joke ended up turning out really well! Once people got past the look of it (“What is THAT?”) and actually tried it, it seemed fairly popular. Definitely a conversation piece! The maple syrup in the fluff definitely elevated it from normal “salads” – it seemed to really tie everything together well. It just added a little something, without being overpowering.

If you are in the USA, these chocolate bars may be available in the international aisle of some grocery stores, and/or at World Market.

Also, as a tip: My $9 cheapie sushi knives that I bought off Amazon work REALLY well for cleanly cutting candy bars, as you can see with the garnish slice in the pic. (A Mr Big bar, sliced on an extreme diagonal!). You know, in addition to making sushi, carving foam, and everything else I use them for!

Enjoy!

Minnesota-Canada Fusion Candybar Salad
Makes about 8-10 cups worth

3 Wunderbars
2 Coffee Crisp bars
2 Mr Big bars
250 g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup icing / powdered sugar
1 L / 16 oz container Cool Whip, slightly softened
4 Granny Smith apples

Thinly slice all 7 candy bars, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and maple syrup together until smooth. Add icing sugar, continue mixing until well combined and smooth.

Gently fold in Cool Whip, until well combined. Add chocolate pieces, once again gently folding until well combined.

Chop Granny Smith apples into bit sized pieces, gently fold into mix.

Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. Top with reserved candy bar pieces, if you set some aside.

NB: The sugars in the Cool Whip and Maple Syrup will draw the juice from the apples, so if you let it sit TOO long – more than 12 hours or so – the fluffy will break and become runny.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes are included.

“More Than Poutine” is available for purchase, here.