Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gluten Free Dough Enhancer


I didn't know that this product existed, gluten free.  It is by Authentic Foods--Gluten Free Dough Enhancer.   The ingredients are lecithin, ascorbic acid, tapioca, and ginger.  You use a 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour.    I added it to my bread machine recipe yesterday and I wanted to share the results.  I included the pictures below.  Now, without the enhancer my bread was 3 1/2 inches tall.  With the enchancer it reached almost 5 inches!  I couldn't believe it.  It was a nice airy, soft loaf of bread.  I loved it! (And so did the kids!).  I would recommend adding this to your bread recipes.  I will be doing that from now on.  

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rambling on about Snow and Seeds

 I went out to get my mail today, and my seeds arrived.  Yeahhhh!   I bought  some lettuce, tomatoes, huckleberries, sunberries, and leeks.  Last year as I dared to venture in to Square Foot Gardening, my good friend Julie introduced me to a great place to buy seeds.  Seed Savers Exchange, www.seedsavers.org ,
"Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange members have passed on approximately one million samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners. We are a non-profit organization of gardeners dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. " 


Secretly, I would love to be a great gardener.  But alas, I am very mediocre.  This will be my second year square foot gardening and I took notes as to what grew and what did not.  I noticed what veggies were under vicious attack by pests and have been searching for natural ways to rid my garden of them this year.   My children each plant a fruit or vegetable of choice, and tend their square.   My son wanted a pear tree, so last year we planted a dwarf one.   So we are up to one dwarf pear and one dwarf apple tree.  We had our first apple crop last year.  A  proud twenty two spotted apples.  Though some weren't edible because they  had some sort of disease.  I have a whole new appreciation for farmers that must be constantly vigilant in tending their gardens and orchards.  They are a lot of work.  But nothing beats the taste, and seeing my kids race to the garden to pick the fixins for the salad out of our garden for dinner that day.  


So I want to say to anyone that is fighting allergies.  Take that friends advice like I did and start a garden.  Buy a few seeds, plant them and be amazed at what you get, (and sometimes what you don't).  I am still learning, reading, and asking others for advice.  I hope you will consider what you would plant in a garden if you had one, and then go order and wait for you seeds to arrive in your mailbox too.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rambling on..

    I went to our naturopathic doctor the other day... and we were once again discussing allergies for several of my kids.  During the course of the conversation, came the inevitable list of things that are wrong with our food these days....

 Eczema is often caused by eggs in the diet. 
 Canola is a GMO unless it is organic, but I should try to avoid it in general. 
 All corn is a GMO- try to find it organic and unaltered if you have to eat it. 
 Try to buy all organic produce so you skip pesticides and such. 
                             
   The more I learn, the more I realize that what the food industries do to our food, just might be killing us.  Just when I thought I had things down, I find out something else they are doing to our food, needing to avoid that too.  I found out about "farm raised" seafood the other day, and it was awful.  Not buying any more of that stuff.   I read another article about the top eight produce that not even the farmers who raise them would eat.   The farmers actually grow a seperate crop for themselves away from the ones that they grow for the grocery stores.  Now that is telling you something.   It can be sooooo overwhelming, especially when you are trying to avoid the foods that sets off an Autistic child.  They can be sensitive to so many things.
     I feel like we are allergic to everything.  Do you know that feeling?  People often ask me after learning our families restrictions,"So what do you guys eat."  Nothing is always my response.   No... we do eat, but everything takes time to prepare, and nothing is instant.  I realized that on this blog that I love dessert recipes and I spend a lot of time cooking them.  I always say that  I could just skip the main course and go straight for dessert.   Anyway...I voiced a wish of mine the other day, that I wanted someone to hand me a list of main dishes for a month and I wouldn't have to figure it out every week.  So with that, I thought I would ( here soon) do a few weekly main dish plans that maybe will help you out.  We eat these regularly because they are the kids favorites.  I would love to hear from you guys, with what your families love to eat regularly.  It would be great to get new ideas and swap allergy friendly recipes.  So I hope people will post some of their favorites, so they can become ours too!

Peanut Butter Bars


Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy, Egg

I based my recipe off a recipe that I found in the Taste of Home Magazine.  The recipe was sent in by Charlotte Ennis.

3 Tablespoons of Spectrum Shortening
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoon flax meal + 6 Tablespoon of hot water (let sit for 10 minutes before using)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of my bakers flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthun gum*(possible corn)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine the flour blend, baking powder, guar gum or xanthun gum, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar.  Do this until well mixed.  Add the flax mixture and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  The mixture will be very thick.  Spread into a 8x8x2 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.   Cool completely before cutting.  Makes about 16 bars.

* I haven't tried this substitution yet, but if you are allergic to peanut butter, I wonder if you could substitute sunflower butter.

Quick German Chocolate Cake

Free of : Gluten, Corn*, Soy, Egg, Peanut 
I got my  King Arthur Flour catalog today and they had this great recipe that I tried and it turned out wonderful.  Just wanted to share.  The orginial recipe is here, http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/german-chocolate-sheet-cake-recipe

I changed the topping ingredients to be corn,and dairy free.  The rest of the instructions are straight from King Arthur's recipe.

Cake:
Bake your favorite chocolate cake.  I use Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Cake Mix, and Gluten Free Pantry Decadent Chocolate Cake Mix on a regular basis. * (they do contain xanthan gum ---possible corn).


Topping:
1 cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon + 2 tsp arrowroot starch
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tablespoon of Earth Balance Palm Shortening
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans.

To make the topping: Whisk together the brown sugar, arrowroot starch, and salt until thoroughly combined. 

Melt the shortening in a medium-sized saucepan; stir in the milk, brown sugar mixture, and agave syrup.  Bring to a simmer and cook gently, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 1 to 2 mintues.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans.  Let it cool, and then spread the topping onto the cool cake.  Let the whole cake rest at room temperature until the topping sets.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Bake Chocolate Drop Cookies

Free of: Gluten Free, Corn, Dairy, Soy, Nut*, Egg
 I love these cookies because they are easy to make and easy to convert into an allergy free cookie.  I think everyone probably has had one of these cookies and most of the recipes  for these cookies are basically the same.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup of rice milk
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup nuts (optional)*
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Boil together sugar, shortening, milk substitute, cocoa, and salt on medium heat until the sugar has melted.  Remove from the stove and add vanilla and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well and drop heaping tablespoons onto a waxed paper sheet.  Let chill in the refrigerator until firm.


I use McCain's oatmeal because they are gluten free.  I do know there is some dispute as to whether oatmeal grown in the same fields or processed side by side with wheat is tainted or not here in the US.  I will leave that to your best judgement.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Difference in Brown Rice Flour Brands

I got an email in my inbox today that had a great article about the difference in brown rice flours.  I highly recommend reading this.  The article shows pictures of the difference of the brown rice flour in the same recipe.  It really makes a difference in what brand you buy, as to how your baked goods turn out.  Check it out!

http://www.cybelepascal.com/?p=594



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy, Egg, Nut*, Peanut
I adapted my favorite banana praline muffin recipe that featured in the January 2004, Southern Living issue.  The recipe was submitted by Coley Bailey.   We had to forgo the praline part because of milk allergies.  But they are wonderful muffins.


3 small ripe bananas mashed
1 egg equivalent of egg replacer (Ener-G)
1 1/2 cups Mock Pamela's Baking mix*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp gf -vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon extra light virgin olive oil (or your favorite)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Mix up your egg replacer and let it sit and thicken.  Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add egg replacer to the mashed bananas.  Add the pancake mix, sugar,extract, oil and chocolate chips.  Mix together until the dry ingredients are moistened.   Spoon mixture into baking cups in your muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Makes 1 dozen.

*Replace the nut flour in the Mock Pamela's mix with flax meal to make it nut free.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grains allowed and not allowed on Gluten Free Diet (beginners list, not exhaustive)

Grains ALLOWED:

Corn (maize)
Rice
Soy
Potato
Tapioca
Bean
Garfava
Sorghum
Quinoa
Millet
Buckwheat
Arrowroot
Amaranth
Teff
Montina
Flax
Nut flours
Garbanzo (chickpea)
Black Lentil flour


Grains NOT ALLOWED:

Wheat
Einkorn
Durum
Faro
Graham
Kamut
Semolina
Spelt
Rye
Barley
Triticale

*There are lots of foods and products that may contain gluten.  Label reading is one of the things that whether you are a beginner or seasoned individual dealing with allergies, you should always read your labels. Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time.   I can't tell you how many times I have bought my tried and true product and they have 'improved' their product and now contains an ingredient that we can't have.  Ugh! 

*The rule you will hear over and over is, if in doubt go without  -----do not buy or consume it. 

* I have read that distilled products do not contain harmful gluten peptides. The gluten-peptide is too large to carry over into the distillation process. So distilled alcohols and vinegars are gluten free.

Mock Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix


Mock Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix:
I use this to make waffles and pancakes.  I also use it in a few of my cookie recipes, but you must make adjustments if the recipe calls for adding baking powder or soda.  Additionally, I swapped out the offending ingredients for our family and made some adjustment with quantites. 
I got this recipe from a GF Yahoo group (sorry I can't remember which one.) but it was posted by healthyfishies on Dec. 16, 20007.

1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 3/4 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup of dairy free powdered milk (I use Dari Free made from potatoes)
1 cup hazelnut flour*** (Nut free replacement below, this was orginially Almond meal)
3/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp xanthun gum

Mix altogether and store in a air tight container.



***Update to the Mock Pamela's Gluten Free Bake Mix

I have a friend that is allergic to nuts and I have modified the recipe to accommodate those with nut allergies.  I replaced the 1 cup of nut flour with 1/4 cup of flax meal.  I tried it out in my pancakes, muffins, and cookies and they all turned out the same.  

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Interesting Allergy Websites and One other

I was made aware of this website the other day.  The website had a feature that I wanted to share.  It is the tab labeled Allergy Friendly Food Reports.  It was interesting to read about newly released foods.  They give a description of the product, what the food is free of, and possible cross contamination issues.
http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=1

While I don't have a child that has an anaphylactic  reaction, I could only imagine how scary that would be to send them off to school or anywhere else for that matter.  I liked the following website. It had good information for beginners with allergies, but the section I that grabbed me was the section that allows members and non-members to sign up for email alerts, at no charge, to be notified of mislabeled or recalled products.
http://www.foodallergy.org/

This link was to a special report by the Environmental Health News.  This was a tidbit I didn't know.  It talked about a high dose of lead in many Balsamic Vinegars.  This website gives a current list of non toxic Balsamic Vinegar.
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/lead-in-vinegar

Feeling Like a Social Oddity

      One of my kids is creeping up on being a teen.  And with teens they begin to worry about what others think of them in social settings.  My kid recently went to an event that served light refreshments at its conclusion.  After the event, instead of mingling with friends, he bolted for the door.  He came to me later and said that he didn't stay to talk to his friends because he just knew that they didn't have anything he could eat.  He didn't want to look different.  After that talk it got me wondering, what could I do to help him?  This kind of thing is going to repeatedly happen in his life and running out the door isn't the answer.   At this particular event we were not invited to bring food and contribute something that he could eat. 
      All the talking in the world about how it is okay to mingle and you don't have to eat to have fun, was not going to compensate for the feeling of being the odd man out.  I haven't quite figured out how to help him along on that one, because in some sense he has to navigate his own waters of sociality.  However, I figured a good start would be to try and build his selfconfidence and give him knowledge about food.  As a result he is learning to cook allergy free dishes.  He also is making desserts and bringing them into his classes as a treat.  That at least means there is no gluten desserts to compete for attention and the comments on how good they taste makes him feel proud.  I have to say it seems to be helping.  I have also allowed another of my kids to have a cooking blog (that I monitor of course! safety first!) because he wants to explore and create gluten free foods.  I haven't released his blog to the public yet, I will let you know when I do.  Just wanted to throw out a few thoughts and wondered if anyone else has encountered this 'social wet blanket' syndrome with their children and what do they do?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's in your Gluten Free Pantry?



 I got a call the other day, from a friend who said that his co-worker was just diagnosised with Celiac Disease.  He wanted to get a list from me of what I have in my pantry.  I realized that there is a lot of stuff in my pantry!  What I have listed includes my favorite brands and the ones that I have personally tasted are italicized.
 As soon as you go out on your gluten free buying spree to stock your cabinets, you will find that it can be quite pricey.  So I believe that is why many of us begin to take our adventures into the kitchen.  But one step at a time.   When you go to the store you will be overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised at the amount of choices and products out there.  So here are just some of the things I stock in my pantry.





Breads:

  •      Against the Grain Gourmet  baguettes
  •      Gillian's french bread rolls
  •      Foods By George english muffins
  •      Ener-G tapioca rolls
  •      Udi's bagels
  •      Rudi's sandwich bread




Flours:

  •    Bob's Red Mill  Flours  potato starch, white rice flour,       brown rice flour, sorghum, millet, teff,  tapioca starch, coconut flour
  •      Ener-G potato starch, tapioca flour, egg relacer.
  •     Authentic SuperFine Brown Flour  I use this in my bread recipes.


    * Note - I also buy rice flours from Asian Grocery stores, they can be cheaper.


Mixes:

  •      Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix ( great to make pancakes and waffles; does contain milk and almond flour)
  •      Gluten Free Pantry  old fashion cake and cookie mix, decadent chocolate cake,  truffle brownie mix
  •      Betty Crocker Cake and Cookie Mixes chocolate chip cookies, yellow cake, chocolate cake
  •      Cherry Brook Kitchen  mini chocolate chip cookies, vanilla cookies, sugar cookie mix, chocolate cake mix, fudge brownie mix, * Not crazy about their frosting




  
Pasta:

  •      Tinkyada Rice Pasta  spaghetti, elbow, penne, shapes, lasagna, jumbo shells. (* When you cook this, I always add olive oil to the pot and  stir often so that it doesn't clump.  I also, rinse the pasta well before serving.)
  •       Schar Pasta  tagliatelle, penne, fusilli, spaghetti ( this is a blend of corn flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour, and sometimes cornstarch).







Crackers and Cereals:

  •     Erewhron Crispy Brown Rice Cereal I use this in cooking to make bread coatings
  •     Koyo Brown Rice Crackers tamari, sweet chili, garlic ( I use these in meatloaf, but are good with serving cheese and other things on them)
  •      Mum Mum Crackers ( I know these are in the baby aisle but these are slightly sweet crackers that I eat with a dollop of peanut butter.  I missed peanut butter crackers.)
  •      Glutino Crackers
  •       Rice Chex and Corn Chex   great to make muddy buddies, and chex mixes.  *The rice chex does contain corn if you are allergic to corn.





Snacks:

  •      Pirates Booty aged white cheddar, tings (these are like Cheetos
  •      Glutino pretzels, chocolate wafers cookies
  •      Schar shortbread cookies
  •     Pamela's mini chocolate chip cookies







Instant Food:

  •   Glutino has lots of frozen foods I haven't tried any of them but I like a lot of their other products
  •   Ians  french toast sticks, fish sticks, turkey corn dogs, chicken nuggets -  my kids eat these, but as an adult I don't like any of them
  •  Jones Sausage links
  • Van's  pancakes, homestyle waffles, blueberry waffles, apple cinnamon waffles, flax waffles

I remember the first time I went shopping for gluten free food.  The first thing I did was assess what my child was already eating and how I planned to make those same dishes.   He loved spaghetti, so I went and bought gluten free pasta.  He ate tacos, so I just made sure the season packet didn't have gluten.  The Garden of Eden brand has a kit that is gluten free.  So, I can't  make you a shopping list, but I would suggest that you assess what you already eat and then go and look for those items that you need to make your dishes gluten free.  If you don't cook a lot, then there are lots of options in the freezer cases in the gluten free section.  There are several brands of pizza, mac and cheese, and breakfast items.  You can try Annie's rice pasta and cheese in the dry food section for the good old macaroni and cheese style from the box.  I have to say there is a nice selection that didn't use to exist a decade ago.

Here are  few quick links to buying some of the items that I listed above.  These are in bulk, but I find that we go them pretty quickly, and it is nice to have some in storage, so that you never find yourself without.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gluten Free Pesto Pizza

Free of : Gluten, Corn*, Soy, Dairy, Egg, Yeast
Pizza Crust:
I use a recipe that from this website.  www.recipezaar.com/recipe/print?id=44487.  My kids and gluten  friends all love it.   The recipe references that it is from Carol Fenster's "Special Diet Solutions."  You can click the link to the site, but I will include here the alterations I made to the recipe to make it allergy friendly for those who watch their yeast intake, and corn allergy.  *I know that for some people with corn allergies they don't use xanthan gum, so you can use guar gum.  For me, corn allergies are the trickiest thing.  It is in everything and is often hidden.  My kid doesn't seem sensitive to the xanthan, but use what is good for you.  You will notice I leave out the yeast all together from this recipe.

1/3 cup of brown rice flour
1/3 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
2 Tbsp of powdered potato milk
2 teaspoon xanthan gum* (you can also use guar gum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon italian seasoning ( I also like to use Greek Seasoning)
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon of sugar or honey or agave syrup
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Put all the dry ingredients together in your bowl and whisk it all together.  Add the wet ingredients and with a the beater (NOT THE DOUGH HOOK) and they really do mean that,  beat on high for 3 minutes.

Dust your pizza stone with rice flour.  Put your dough on the stone and roll out.  Because it is sticky, I coat my hands with olive oil and pat it out and then use my rolling pin.  I add more oil to my hands as I need it.  I like to roll it out to a thin crust.  Prick with a fork all over the crust and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, just until it browns.   Remove from oven and add your sauce and toppings.  Return to oven and bake another 5-8 minutes until it is hot and bubbly.
PESTO SAUCE:

1 cup of walnuts
8 cups of lightly packed Thai basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spread nuts out and toast them lightly, tossing them once.  Do this for 8-10 minutes.  Fill a large pot with 4-6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add your basil, submerging all the leaves with a spoon.   Immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Pat the basil with paper towels until it is completely dry.   In a food processor combine the nuts, basil, and garlic.  Blend until it is smooth and the nuts are finely chopped and not visible.  With the machine running, pour the oil in a steady stream through the tube until it is smooth and blended.  Add the salt and pepper.  You will use quite a bit here.  Keep tasting and salting to your taste.

NOTES:

* I choose to make my pesto with walnuts because they are inexpensive compared to pine nuts.  

*I don't like my pesto with lots of oil.  The recipe originally called for double the amount of oil but I like mine a bit drier.  Feel free to add more oil if you think it needs it.

*I use Thai basil in my pesto because my family likes the fuller flavor.  You could use any basil that you like.  Eight cups is a lot, so I like to go to the Oriental Markets and buy it there.  They sell it in larger bunches for a lot less.  I got all eight cups, which is about 4 ounces, for $2.

*If you are not casein intolerant, you can add bits of Parmesan cheese to your pesto.

*I make the pesto and freeze them in ice cube trays.  I then move them into Ziploc bags and defrost one to two cubes for one pizza.  You can defrost them by leaving them out in a small bowl at room temperature, or you can defrost them for about fifteen seconds in the microwave.

*Cheese on my pizza.  I mentioned some of my kids are casein intolerant.  We have had success with not having reactions to Buffalo Mozzarella cheese.  We buy it in wedges as shown below.  It comes straight from Italy.  It is the only cheese my one son can eat.  He is allergic to goat, sheep, and cow, but doesn't appear to be allergic to the buffalo.  (Photo below on the right.)

*I triple this pizza crust recipe and mix it up all at once in my kitchen aid.  It makes three pizza balls that I wrap up and freeze.  So far I have kept them up to two months in the freezer and  let them thaw out at room temperature when I want to use them.  They work nicely.  ( Photo below on the left.)


Gluten Free Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)
1 tsp GF vanilla extract
1 cup of GF oatmeal
1/2 cup of GF rice cereal
1/2 cup of coconut
1 1/ cup of nuts and seeds (  my favorite mix is 1 1/2 cup walnuts, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp flax seeds)
1 cup of dried fruit ( I opt for chocolate chips here)

Oil an 8X10 dish ( I line mine with parchment).   Make granola glue by pouring honey and brown sugar into a small pot and heat until the brown sugar dissolves.  Stir often.  Turn the mixture on low for about three minutes or until it begins to bubble.  Remove it from the heat and stir in your peanut butter and vanilla extract.  Let it sit while you mix your granola.  Mix your oatmeal, rice cereal, coconut, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  Toss together so it is evenly distributed.  Pour your glue onto your granola mix until it is well coated.  Press into your dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let it cool completely before cutting into bars.

Notes:


*When I use chocolate chips I wait for the glue to cool quite a bit before I add it to the granola mixture.  That allows the chocolate chips to remain whole.   If you pour it in while it is still hot, then the whole bar will take on a darker color because the chocolate will melt as you mix it.  It is still very delicious, but the appearance is darker.

*You can toast your nuts and seed in the oven before you add them to your mixture if you like.

* One of the great things about granola is that you can make your own combinations.  The above recipe happens to be our family favorite.  So below are some suggestions for your to make your own families favorite:

          GRANOLA BASE :  You can use all oats, or alter the ratio of rice cereal to oats;  Use your favorite gluten free cereal.
    
          NUTS AND/OR SEEDS:  Based on your allergies you can use a variation or none of these.   Almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios.

          DRIED FRUIT:  If you are on the Feingold diet don't use berries, but dried pineapple is an option.    Otherwise you could use cherries, blueberries, cranberries or Craisins, apricots, prunes , raisins, figs, dates, chocolate chips ( you can use Enjoy Life if you are casein free).

No Egg Gluten Free French Toast

Put the following items in a blender:

1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk ( or your favorite milk)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
1 teaspoon extra light olive oil
Loaf of GF Bread

Blend all together until well mixed.  Scrape down sides if you need to.  Pour into a dish that you can dip your sliced bread in.  Use your favorite GF sandwich bread.  I used the recipe on my blog and I used the whole loaf.  Dip your bread on both sides.  Let the excess run off and fry in a well oiled pan.  Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown.

*I wiped my pan between batches because some caramelization occurs.
*Don't soak the bread in the batter or it will make soggy french toast.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Marshmallows

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy,Dairy
I have to tell you, I didn't even know you could make marshmallows.  I haven't had any in the house since we found out that one of our kids was allergic to corn.  My mom saw this recipe on Martha's show and told me about it.  I made it with just one tweek.    So making them homemade, has made it possible to have marshmallows again. Yipeeeee!  We can have rice krispy treats and s'mores.

I used Martha Stewart's recipe,  http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vanilla-marshmallows  and instead of the 2/3 cup of corn syrup I used agave syrup.  It was a sight to behold, making these marshmallows.  At first they don't look like much, but then after the twelve minutes of mixing in the Kitchen Aid, they really turn out like the real thing.  The first time I made them, the kids gobbled them faster than I could get powdered sugar on them.  So when I stored them for all of a day, they were sticky.  Dusting them in the powdered sugar is really the key to prevent that.  I recommend this recipe for anyone who has a corn allergy.

*Quick note:  So far I have stored the marshmallows in an air tight container for three weeks now and they are still good.



Time Saver Tips

1.  When I make my bread recipe,  I bag the dry ingredients into ziploc bags.  I make the recipe twelve times and store them in the refrigerator.  That way each morning, it takes me about five minutes to put the wet ingredients into the bread machine, pour the dry ingredients in and start the machine.  It has been a quicker than mixing the ingredients up every morning.


2. I also make my pizza dough in quantity as well, and freeze the dough balls for future use.  So far I have stored my dough balls for up to three months without freezer burn or change in taste or texture.  

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Counter Tops

When I have a stressful week, I have to find something to do to decompress.  This time it was finishing up painting my countertops.  I know this has nothing to do with raising an allergy kid.  But when you feel that your bucket is overflowing, do something for yourself.  Mine was to finish painting my countertops.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Homeopathic Medicine Chest



I opened my medicine chest today (yep, this medicine chest is in the middle of my kitchen cabinets) because my son has the beginnings of a cold.  I looked at my shelf full of homeopaths, that a year ago, would have sounded like a foreign language to me.   Homeopathic medicine is something that I wished that I had learned about earlier as a mother.  I have only been introduced to it within the last year, as I searched for a way to detox my Autistic child safely.   Now,we use homeopathic medicine with all my kids, and it has made a huge difference in our lives.  My Autistic son who has been on it for a year, is now speaking in sentences on a constant basis.  His language is continually expanding as we see him put forth great effort to make himself understood.  A year ago we were just so happy that he was up to four words in a sentence, when he used them. Now he is using contractions, and expressing his emotions in words.  We are on the road to improvement, though homeopaths are slow, I feel like they are surely going to help him become the best he can be.     So I wanted to share some of the basics in our homeopathic medicine chest.  This is a whole family list for the every day events that are bound to happen.

1. Arnica- good for traumas.  Like you twist your ankle, or pulled a muscle.  This is for simple pulls not the kind that needs casts and such.
2. Arsenium Album - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
3. Belladonna- for redness and swelling of an injury, teething, earaches, sore throats
4. Calendula cream- eczema (mild), dermatitis, diaper rashes, cuts and scrapes
5. Chamomile- fussiness, teething, illness, has a sedative calming property
6. Gelsenium- achiness, flu like symptoms, headache, (we use it in the place of Tylenol for our son that is literally allergic to every over the counter drug for reducing fevers and headaches.  This was a life saver for us.)
7. Eucalyptus oil- a few drops in our saline solution in our nebulizer or it can be added to a warm bath and inhaled that way to help clear up rattled breathing and opening the airways.

As with all things if you have concerns or on other prescriptions you should check with your Physician.   This is just a general list of what we use and has worked great for us.  If you guys have homeopaths that you have used to solve some of your common problems I would love to hear it.  None of this is medical advice.  So please don't take it as such.


Trip to the Spice shop

My autistic son was flapping a lot the other day and I noticed that he had consumed quite a bit of hot sauce with his hot wings.  Having been on the Feingold diet some time ago, I decided to pull peppers from his diet to see if there is any link.  Anyways,  I made a trip to my favorite spice store Penzeys today.  I have been looking for a combination of spices that would give me heat in the food without the pepper.  I was looking for a heat replacement in things like Salsa, taco seasoning, and hot wings.  I found some interesting stuff at the spice store.  There are pink peppercorns that are suppose to be spicy.  They are not true peppercorns, so this would be good for any one allergic to black pepper.  Then I also found out that allspice gives your tongue the same sensation as eating something spicy, but not necessarily the same intensity of, lets say a cayenne pepper.  I also found the herb Epazote that I can use in Mexican dishes to give more flavor when I have to omit heat.  I am still searching around for a spice that gives heat without being a pepper.  I guess I will keep poking around until I find something.  Let me know if you guys know of something.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Egg Rolls

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Egg, Shellfish, Fish
I cook these up for lunch and the kids gobble them up.

1 lb of ground pork
1 large carrot grated
1/2 medium onion finely diced
1/4 package of rice sticks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 pinches of salt
1 tsp of sugar
2 King black mushrooms rehydrated in hot water and then chop up finely.
1 package of rice wrappers
Oil for frying

1. Soak rice sticks in hot water for 15 minutes.  Drain and cut into small pieces ( about 1-2 inch pieces).
2. Combine all the ingredients together including the rice noodles cut up.
3.  Have a shallow bowl of warm water to soak each rice wrapper in until it softens and then place on surface to fill with your meat filling.  Roll them up tightly, making sure to tuck in the ends.  You can make them skinny or fat, however you like them.
4.  Once you are done wrapping them, check your oil to make sure it is HOT.  Deep fry the egg rolls on high heat until golden brown.  It takes about 3 minutes.
5. Let it cool before you bite into one or you'll be sorry.  Enjoy with the Thai Chili sauce.


Thai Chili sauce

Free of: Gluten, Corn*, Soy, Dairy, 
When I make homemade egg rolls, I can't live without that dipping sauce.  So here is a recipe that I got from the following website, http://www.shesimmers.com/2009/02/how-to-make-thai-sweet-chili-dipping.html.  It is very good.   Visit the website, because they have beautiful pictures showing how to make this sauce.   We made the changes of using white vinegar to rice vinegar and used potato starch instead of cornstarch.


3 large garlic cloves, peeled
red Jalapeño peppers, seeded (Your mileage may vary, so adjust the heat accordingly. Keep in mind, however, that the heat is the strongest the day you make the sauce and starts to dissipate gradually the longer it is kept in the refrigerator. I usually start off with more pepper than I would like and let the sauce sit in the fridge for a couple of days before I use it. This sauce keeps for a long time, and after a couple of weeks, you can't even taste the pepper.)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch*
2 tablespoons water
  • In the blender, purée together all the ingredients, except for the last two.
  • Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer over medium heat until mixture thickens up a bit and the garlic-pepper bits begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer one mor minute. The cornstarch will help the sauce to thicken slightly thereby causing nice suspension of the garlic-pepper bits; otherwise, you get a thin sauce with all the little pieces floating at the top.
  • Let cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate.

Gluten Free Baking Cookbook by Rebecca Reilly

I had read on the internet that Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly was a must in your Gluten Free cooking library.  So, I went to the library and check out the book first to decide if it was worth buying.  While most of her recipes for the breads and crust didn't work out for me and our family's taste buds, she did have an excellent Mississippi mud pie that was really good.  We eat it for dessert on special occasions.  Because of copyright laws,  I don't think I can reprint it here, but I did want to give it a thumbs up and a great dessert!  The recipe has no eggs, no gluten, no dairy, no soy, and no peanuts.  This cake makes its own caramel type sauce on the bottom of the pan.  I followed the recipe to the letter, no changes necessary to make this cake turn out great!


Honeydew Popsicles

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Soy
My picky eater loved this popsicle recipe.

1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 honeydew cut up into chunks
1/4 honey or agave nectar

Place all ingredients in the blender for about 45-60 seconds.  Spoon into molds and freeze.

Reeses Cup popsicles

Free of: Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Corn
We love desserts in our house and we make quite a few popsicles.  In the summer they are using the fresh fruits with a simple sugar added and spun up in the blender, but in the winter I make more decadent ones.

1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of peanut butter (we use natural)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of Dari Free powder potato milk ( you can use your favorite powder milk substitute)
1/2 cup of Dari Free powder chocolate milk ( you could also use any chocolate milk mix)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups of ice cubes

Place the ingredients in your blender as listed and turn on high.  Blend for about 45-60 seconds or until it is smooth.   It will be thick.  Spoon into popsicle molds and freeze.  When it is time to remove, we had to run ours under hot water for a few minutes to get them to dislodge.

My favorite Egg Replacer

I have one kid that is allergic to egg whites and another kid that is allergic to the egg yolk, and one kid allergic to the whole thing.  So as you can guess, we just skip eggs all together.    I have a few favorite egg replacers, and I try to skip tofu because of the soy.  If you aren't allergic to apples then you can use 3 tablespoons of applesauce or any other baby jar fruit puree and one teaspoon of baking powder.  We are allergic to apples, so that doesn't work for us.   What puree we DO use is pumpkin.  In pancakes, and other breads, and desserts it works well.  We use 1/4 cup for every egg.  I usually only replace up to two eggs with the pumpkin.     We also use Energ-G egg replacer and that works well too.

Homemade Ketchup

Free of: Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy
Being a allergic to corn is a real tuffy.  A lot of the citric acid in food products is now derived from corn.  So unless it is stated or unless I call the company personally to check out its source, I can't just buy something that has citric acid in it.  I have tried several brands of ketchup and haven't found one that my child likes.  Heinz is his favorite hands down, with all that corn syrup that he can't have.  And of course their organic brand has the citric acid in it.  So I have been trying recipes for ketchup.  I finally found one that he will eat.  Hallejuah!   I got this recipe off recipezaar,
http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/print?id=28412.  It is the Heinz copycat recipe.  We changed a few ingredients because of our allergies:

1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of agave syrup*
1 tsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of water*
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and simmer for twenty minutes over medium heat.  Stir often.
*I pour this in a little at a time and to monitor how sweet I like it.
**I started out with 1/4 cup like the recipe said, but kept adding water until I got a consistency that I liked.  I thought it was too thick with just 1/4 cup of water.  I used about 1/2 cup.  Add water until you get it the way you like it.

Bread Machine Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

I like to make seven baggies of the dry ingredients and store them in the refrigerator for day to day use.  Typically when using a bread machine, the yeast is added to a well in the flour.  I haven't noticed a big difference in mixing the yeast into the dry ingredients when making this. Note however, this is why I call for warming the water before adding it to the bread machine.  It offsets the coldness of the ingredients that were stored in the refrigerator.

Free of: Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, Egg

WHISK DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER and SET ASIDE:

1 cup oat flour*
1 cup potato starch
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons flax meal
2 Tablespoons dairy free milk powder**
1 Tablespoon instant dry rapid yeast
1/2 teaspoon Authentic Foods Gluten Free dough enhancer (optional)



POUR WET INGREDIENTS INTO THE BREAD MACHINE:

1 1/2 cup warm water
4 Tablespoons light extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons honey, agave syrup, or sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar


Pour the dry ingredients on top.  Select the rapid rise cycle or gluten free cycle.   (I use a Zojirushi machine.)  When the machine goes off,  take it out immediately and let it cool on a rack to prevent it from getting soggy.  Be sure to remove the arm and pin so that area won't get soggy either.

*For oat flour, I grind down a box of McCain's  Quick Cooking Irish Oats, until it is a fine flour.  I have also substituted oat flour with equal amounts of millet and it turned out okay, however it seemed to fall apart more easily.
** I use Dari Free from Vance's.

Cook's note about bread rising:  I have found that 
many times bread will rise very high in the machine and then fall.  It happens to me off and on, and has to do with the humidity of the air.  Don't be discouraged.  I have never had a loaf not taste great even if it has fallen.

Starting a Blog

This is my first attempt at a blog.  I hope that I do okay at this.  I started this blog in hopes that as many are already doing... to help someone else along the way.  I hope that people will jump on and find something that they can use and then go away a little better off than when they came.  I offer up what I have learned so far, and hope that someone will share words of wisdom with me.  So here we goooooooo.....