Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Butter Cream" frosting

I love frosting. I grew up in a house where it was perfectly acceptable to eat it out of the fridge with a spoon (as long as no one caught you, that is - but we all did it). In particular, I love chocolate butter cream frosting. Believe it or don't, but I have come up with VEGAN butter cream recipe that you would never guess was dairy or soy free. The secret is in the palm oil shortening. Spread the word. Palm oil shortening is also good for making french fries in a cast iron skillet. Versatile and delicious. And super allergy-friendly. Yay for palm oil.

  • 1/2 cup palm oil shortening, slightly chilled is best
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 cup cornstarch-free powdered sugar*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
* or make your own: put one cup of white cane sugar and 1 tsp cream of tartar or tapioca starch in blender or food processor. Mix on high until sugar is powdered. Voila!

  1. Cream shortening and rice milk with a hand mixer.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar until you get a nice frosting consistency. If it's too stiff, add more rice milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and mix well.
Yield: enough frosting for a batch of brownies, the top of a sheet cake or a batch of cupcakes.

  • Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the frosting for chocolate butter cream.
  • Use cold coffee or espresso instead of all or part of the rice milk for coffee butter cream. You can also sub out vanilla and sub in coffee extract.
  • Use coffee AND cocoa for mocha butter cream.
  • If you can do nuts, sub out vanilla for almond extract.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Easy One Bowl Brownies

Not only did we recently re-lose eggs, now we are finally addressing the lingering chocolate issue. Namely: I love it and really don't want to give it up, despite a potential reaction. I am in serious denial here, but we really need to find out.

So, vicariously, I am posting this fantastic brownie recipe. It's a little crumbly as is, but if you can tolerate eggs, that helps immensely.

  • 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup safflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water heated in microwave = flax meal gel
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix flours, salt, soda & cocoa.
  2. Add sugar.
  3. Add oil.
  4. Add flax meal gel.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Pour batter into a greased & lightly floured 9x13 glass pan.
  7. Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes or so. Edges will pull away from sides of pan & knife tip will come out clean when pushed into center.
Yield: Double batch. For us, that means 24hrs, 48 max. For other, more will-power endowed, it will last longer.

  • Eggs instead of flax meal, will help it hold together better.
  • Try adding chocolate chips, dried coconut, or dried fruit, like cherries.
  • Use coconut oil to grease pan.
  • Make a chocolate "buttercream" frosting and frost like a cake.
  • Pour into muffin tins for brownie "bites".

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We thought we'd successfully re-introduced eggs several weeks ago. About a week ago, Lily developed a mystery rash - so mysterious that the doctor at urgent care had no idea, other than the suggestion that it "sort of looked like bug bites". After 8 days of this rash, we dropped everything suspect - including eggs, xanthan gum, her vitamin, and the hydro-cortisone cream we'd been using to help control the itching and inflammation. That was Sunday night. Monday morning she was significantly improved. This morning, she is even better. We've actually been off of eggs since Saturday morning. So, I don't know what effect anything had on anything, really. All I know is her skin is better; her behavior is better; her sleep (kinda - shhhhh) is better... And that's okay for now.

Therefore, my recipes will now again default to egg-free. (I should go back and edit the Tuna Pasta Salad entry - I just made an eggless version this morning. It was really good. Different, but good.)

Sorghum Bread (a la Cornbread)

What goes better with Chili than cornbread? Sorghum Bread, of course! Sorghum is a grain that has a sweet corn-like taste to it. If you can tolerate cornmeal, sorghum mixes very well with it for GF muffins, breads and crusts. The secret to successful GF, in my experience, is to focus on sweets and quick breads (i.e. ones that don't need to rise, thus don't need gluten to hold them together). This Sorghum Bread is sweet and fluffy. It may crumble apart when you try to put honey & butter-substitute (coconut oil!), but it will taste great in doing so. It may also force you to go ahead and mix the bread right into the chili. Yum!

  • 2 cups sorghum flour
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder*
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 cup palm oil shortening
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
* or make your own: 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda

  1. Mix flour, baking powder & salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix shortening, honey. Add egg.
  3. Stir dry ingredients into wet.
  4. Very lightly stir in rice milk.
  5. If batter seems too wet, add more flour; if too dry, add more rice milk.
  6. Spoon batter into a single-layer cake pan, lightly greased & floured
  7. Bake @ 400*F for roughly 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick or knife tip comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
We slice ours up and eat with coconut oil and honey. Or crumbled into chili. Or sometimes both at the same meal.

Yield: 1 single-layer cake. Enough for 8 people, when served as a side to a main dish.

  • (Vegan): Use flaxmeal gel instead of egg (1 Tbsp flax meal to 3 Tbsp water, heated in microwave)
  • If you can tolerate corn, substitute one cup of cornmeal for one cup of the sorghum flour.
  • Instead of shortening, try olive, coconut or safflower oil.
  • For a spicy version, omit honey and add one or two jalapenos, minced
  • Bake in muffin tins for "sorghum bread" muffins

Monday, July 28, 2008

Three Bean Chili Casserole

Last summer, before we truly embarked on the elimination diet adventure, we loved one-pot meals. Especially meals I could cook bit by bit throughout the day - say, chop veggies in morning; cook beans/meat later; then just saute aromatics & stir in spices before dinner time- and still be tasty & fresh in the evening. We were tomato-free at the time, still eating legumes, and trying hard not to eat very much meat. This was a filling meal that really hit the spot at the end of a long summer day. It's also perfect to take to potlucks - i.e. it travels well.

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (1/2 cup dry)*
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans (1/2 cup dry)*
  • 1 cup cooked green beans, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • a couple stalks of celery
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (leave some seeds if you want spicy)
  • 2 tsp cane sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup bone broth (or water)
  • juice of one lemon
*it's best to soak your beans overnight, then rinse them before cooking in fresh water. 1 cup of dry or soaked beans cooks in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer covered for 45ish minutes (until the water has been absorbed and the beans are soft all the way through). Soaked beans will cook faster than dry beans. They are also much more easy for your body to digest.

  1. Saute finely chopped onions & celery in olive oil
  2. Add cooked beans, jalapeno, spices & sugar/sweetener
  3. Add broth/water & lemon juice
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with Guacamole & Sorghum Bread.

  • Add chopped, peeled, cored & seeded fresh tomatoes (or a can of tomatoes or tomato paste plus more broth)
  • Add fresh cilantro
  • If you can do corn chips, eat it like salsa/dip (this was our favorite way)
  • Put it on brown rice tortillas or noodles
  • Add green and red peppers, sauteed with the onions
  • Add mushrooms
  • Serve over rice, quinoa, or millet
  • Replace beans with ground turkey or shredded chicken
  • Add a 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Sunday, July 27, 2008

GF Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Sorghum Cookies

These cookies are amazing. Really, really amazing. It's the only allergy-free food I make that you could easily mistake for the "real" thing. (Aside from rice noodles... Those things are fantastic.) Without further ado:

  • 1/2 cup palm oil shortening
  • 1/c cup sugar (organic & fairly traded, if possible)
  • 2 eggs (organic & free-ranged/pastured, if possible)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup GF oats (soaked overnight in water with a little lemon juice, if possible)
  • 2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips i.e. the only Dairy, Soy & gluten-free chocolate chips I've found. You could always find a "safe" chocolate bar or bakers' chocolate and chop it up yourself. In which case, you would have chocolate chunk cookies. Ooh la la.
  1. With a handmixer, cream shortening and sugar.
  2. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, soda & salt.
  4. Add flour mixture a little at a time to the shortening mixture.
  5. Add oats. (If you use dry oats, you can mix them in with the flour in step #3.)
  6. Add chocolate and mix lightly just to evenly disburse chocolate.
I use a tablespoon to scoop up the dough and put it on my very lightly greased cookie trays a dozen at a time. Flatten dough balls so they are more like pancakes and less like spheres. Bake for roughly 8-10 minutes (until edges are golden brown) at 350*F. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Yield: Approximately three dozen, I think. It's hard to say. Much dough is consumed in the process when you have a little helper (or two). Also, cookies seem to disappear off the cooling rack before the entire batch has been made. Hmm. Mysterious!

  • (Vegan): Omit eggs and use a flax meal gel (1Tbsp of flax meal + 3 Tbsp of water per egg)
  • Try rice or quinoa flour instead of sorghum. Or mix & match.
  • Try coconut oil instead of palm oil shortening
  • Omit oats for plain chocolate chip cookies

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What to eat for breakfast (when all you can think of contains dairy, wheat and eggs)

Breakfast is our trickiest, head-achiest, carb-loadiest meal of the day. But it's also when we take all of our supplements, so it evens out, right? Right! Seriously, though, breakfast is tough. Especially when you've been roused out of a sound sleep by one child incessantly flopping and the other potty-dancing in her sleep. At some variation of the 6 or 7 o'clock hour. But, that is why I go to bed at 10 or 11. And I digress.

The breakfast market seems to be aimed at those among us who are addicted to wheat and/or dairy. Traditional breakfast items include:
  • wheat-based cereal with cow's milk
  • cow's milk yogurt
  • oatmeal (unless GF oats are usually wheat-contaminated)
  • granola (with wheat-contaminated oats & wheat flour)
  • smoothies (with cow's milk yogurt)
  • eggs & wheat toast
  • wheaty bagels with cream cheese
  • wheat toast and butter
  • wheaty, buttery pastries & danishes
  • wheaty pancakes & waffles with butter
  • fruit
Of that entire list, the only thing we can safely consume right now is fruit. Or oats if they are GF, but 2lbs of GF oats costs $7, so we only splurge every now and again - say for oatmeal-chocolate chip (sorghum flour and palm oil shortening) cookies! Speaking of: I know what recipe I'm posting tomorrow. These things are outrageously good and you would never guess they are allergy-friendly.

My point is, it took me a really long time to widen my breakfast repetoire beyond rice puffs with fruit and rice milk. But, now that we've been on our fully restricted diet for almost nine months (aside: wow), I think I have some good suggestions.

What to eat for breakfast when everyone else is eating eggs, wheat and dairy:
  • The obvious: GF cereal with milk substitute.
  • Hot cereal: GF oatmeal, cream of rice, or cream of buckwheat with maple syrup & coconut oil
  • Homemade granola (recipe to come)
  • Pancakes with GF flour (see: cherry pancakes - can easily omit eggs)
  • Muffins with GF flour (see: cherry muffins - can easily omit xanthan gum & sub flax meal gel)
  • Hashbrowns (or other potatoes) in oil with greens
  • Coconut milk & tapioca "pudding" (porridge really) with jam stirred in
  • Dairy-free Smoothies (future post dedicated to smoothies soon to come)
  • Breakfast burritos (recipe/filling ideas to come)
  • Blended soups - as the weather gets cooler, I will start posting lots of yummy soup recipes
  • Dinner leftovers
In the last few days (i.e. as far back as I can recall) we have had: cream of buckwheat with maple syrup & coconut oil; rice puffs with rice milk & blueberries (2 days in a row); cream of buckwheat with honey & coconut milk; "breakfast fries" with ketchup & sauteed kolrabi greens plus raisins on the side. Once you get used to having to actually work for breakfast, it's automatic. Especially if you remember to soak your grains or flours the night before. (Or if you keep your house fully stocked with GF cereals and dairy-free milks. Haha. Although, remember: convenience comes at a price. Those prepacked allergy-friendly foods are not cheap.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma)

Grape-leaf dolma are perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. You can prepare them ahead of time; you can serve them cold; you can eat them with your fingers. Three cheers all around. Did I mention they are incredibly easy to make (once you get the hang of it) and are super tasty. 100% kid approved! (Just make sure you have your kiddos chew very well - we are known to have some dolma-related choking incidents.)

Currently, we use grape leaves from a jar bought at the co-op, but I'm hoping to get grape leaves from local wineries this season and preserve them myself. I will, of course, chronicle that adventure here.

Aside from being easy, portable, and tasty, this dish is very versatile. You can do just about anything for the filling. Here is our favorite version - Stuffed Grape Leaves with Lamb, Rice & Spinach.

  • 1 16oz. jar of grape leaves
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 cup (dry) short-grain brown rice
  • 1 large bunch of spinach
  • 1 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 3 Tbsp dry mint or a huge handful of fresh, finely minced
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • juice of 2 lemons
  1. If you know ahead of time that you will be making this dish, it is best to soak your rice overnight. Just measure out a cup of rice into a bowl, cover with water and let soak until you need it (8+ hours if possible).
  2. Put rinsed & drained rice in a pot with 2 cups of water. Cook on high heat until boiling. Turn way down and cover. Let rice simmer until water is absorbed.
  3. Rinse & drain grape leaves. Submerge in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes.
  4. Brown ground lamb with finely minced onions.
  5. Add washed and chopped spinach, mint, sea salt & pepper. Mix spinach and mint into lamb and onions as it cooks down.
  6. Add juice of 1 lemon.
  7. Add cooked brown rice. Mix well.
  8. Take blanched & rinsed grape leaves and spread them out viney side up
  9. Place a small spoonful of the filling in a horizontal line at the base of the leaf.
  10. Roll the bottom of the leaf up over the filling. Fold in each side one at a time and then continue to roll all the way up.
  11. Place the rolled leaves on a serving plate or in a casserole dish and squeeze the juice of one lemon over the top.
  12. You may also serve with additional lemon wedges on the side.
Yield: many dolma; depends on number of leaves in jar. The four of us can easily eat an entire batch for dinner.

  • (Vegetarian/Vegan): omit lamb, use safflower oil to saute onions & mint
  • Add fresh parsely
  • Add zucchini; try other greens
  • Try other grains: different rices, millet, buckwheat or quinoa
  • Try other meats: ground turkey; ground buffalo, ground beef
  • Try cinnamon, nutmeg & oregano instead of mint

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Best Ever" Quiche

There is something fundamentally comforting and delicious about a big fluffy slice of quiche. They are incredibly easy to make and, if you load 'em up with greens instead of bacon, they're healthier than you would think. I have fond memories of mini quiche at my grandma's house every Christmas. She always had them catered in, so I assumed they were this super difficult, expensive endeavor. I felt kind of cheated out of years and years of quiche-making when I finally attempted one and it was no big deal. Traditionally, quiche is made from wheat dough pie crust, eggs & cream, plus "fillings" - i.e. cheese, bacon, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach... Ours is a little more Spartan, but it still hits the spot when you find yourself in a quiche-y mood.

  • Potatoes - the amount is going to depend on the type & size - we've used 6 medium white potatoes or 8 small red-skinned potatoes; peeled & grated
  • safflower oil
  • sea salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • lots of kale (one bunch from the grocery store is good; I've been using the kale fresh from my garden and it has been wonderful - I highly recommend growing your own food whenever possible)
  • handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • one onion, cut in half and finely sliced
  1. Peel & grate potatoes
  2. Fry them in safflower oil like hashbrowns - fry on one side, letting sit for a few minutes getting golden, then turn over.
  3. Push hashbrowns down into a greased glass pan (we use an 8x8 pyrex or a round casserole pan - whatever you've got on hand will be fine)
  4. Saute onions & mushrooms in safflower oil, sprinkle with sea salt; let them cook down until the onions are nice and soft
  5. In a mixer (or with a whisk), blend eggs together on high until eggs get frothy. Add a pinch or two of sea salt and black pepper as it mixes.
  6. Add rice milk while mixer is running. Add nutrional yeast. Mix for a few minutes more.
  7. Prepare kale by ripping leaves off of stem (like you would chard or spinach). Rip or chop the kale into small pieces.
  8. Layer kale over potatoes.
  9. Pour eggs over potatoes & kale.
  10. Sprinlke with nutrtional yeast, covering the entire top surface - this will give you a "cheesey" coating on top
Bake at 375*F for 45 or so minutes. Start checking on it around the half hour mark. Every oven and bakeware combination is different. You will know it's done when it's fluffed up and the top is "set" (firm to touch).

Serves 8, theoretically. The four of us can easily polish off an entire quiche for dinner.

  • Add 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Try adding bacon or sausage
  • Try subbing the rice milk for maybe 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • Instead of kale, use chard, collards, spinach, turnip greens or any other green (or combination of greens)
  • Use broccoli instead of greens
  • Experiment with different potatoes/combinations to see what you prefer
  • Instead of potatoes, use sweet potatoes
  • Try using lots of different mushrooms plus a well carmelized onion or two

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cultured Condiments - Salsa

We like salsa and chips - as a snack, as a side dish, as an entire meal. However, we are currently corn-free (well, the girls and I are), so I've had to find some interesting ways to consume salsa. So far I've eaten salsa: scooped with brown rice crackers; scooped with Better Made Potato chips; wrapped up in Brown rice tortillas; mixed into cooked rice or millet;and over eggs and hashbrowns. All were fantastic, though not quite as satisfying as crunchy, salty, corn-y corn chips. (Sigh.)

As promised, here is my delicious & nutritious homemade, fermented salsa recipe.

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, cored & seeded
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper, seeded
  • 1 red pepper, seeded
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, with varying amounts of seeds (depending on "heat" desired)
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • juice of two lemons
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • approx. 1/4 cup water
  • 1 quart-sized or 2 pint-sized canning jars with lids
  1. Dice everything: tomatoes, peppers & onion
  2. Mince cilantro leaves
  3. In a big bowl, mix chopped veggies with cilantro leaves, salt and lemon juice
  4. Let it stand for a few minutes
  5. Stir for a few minutes, smooshing veggies into bottom of bowl as you go.
  6. Pour into canning jar(s).
  7. Add enough water so that juices are above veggies in jar - leaving around two inches between salsa & top of jar.
  8. Let it ferment at room temperature for roughly two days.
  9. Transfer to cold storage.
Yield: 1 quart-sized or 2 pint-sized jars of salsa.

  • Try tomatillos instead of (or in addition to) tomatoes
  • Try different kinds and combination of peppers
  • Try roasting peppers first
  • Add black beans
  • Add corn
  • Add garlic and/or other spices
  • Try limes instead of lemons

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cultured Condiments - Ketchup

The word "ketchup" comes from the ancient Chinese "ke-tsiap", meaning "pickled fish-brine," which is one of the most widely used condiments in the world. (Per Nourishing Traditions pg 104-5). Perfect for hamburgers and fries in particular, ketchup is also a good base for tomato BBQ sauce or chili. It is also one of my favorite condiments of ever (the other, for you curious few, is mayonnaise).

Since we avoid garlic, we have to avoid any commercially processed food that lists "spices" in its ingredients. Garlic is almost always one. (We also avoid turmeric, which is universally used as well.) Annie's Homegrown Organic Ketchup is safe for us, but uses vinegar in place of the natural fermenting process. When you naturally culture your condiments, they are full of living enzymes (in this case, lactic acid) instead of chemical preservatives.

I'm trying to sneak more cultured foods into our diet - besides the sauerkraut that my family will or won't eat depending on the direction of the wind, apparently. I also naturally culture my salsa, which is delicious. I will post that recipe tomorrow.

Here is our recipe for a naturally fermented ketchup sauce that you can customize with whatever spices you prefer. Adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.

  • 3 cups organic tomato paste (roughly four 6oz. cans, if not using homemade)
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • chives or green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 quart-sized (or 2 pint-sized) canning jars with lids
  1. Grind salt and chives or green onions into a paste
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour into one quart-sized canning jar (or two pint-sized), leaving at least one inch below top of jar.
  4. Secure lids.
  5. Leave at room temperature to ferment for roughly two days.
  6. Transfer to cold storage (i.e. fridge).
Yields: 1 quart-sized or 2 pint-sized jars of ketchup.

  • Try tomatillos instead of tomatoes for green ketchup
  • Try adding pureed roasted red peppers
  • Use garlic in addition to or instead of chives & onions
  • For curry ketchup, use curry spices (e.g. allspice, garlic, coriander, cardamom, turmeric)
  • For Tex-Mex ketchup, use Mexican spices (e.g. clove, garlic, onion, cilantro/coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin)
  • For Italian ketchup, use Italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion)
  • Try adding (or using instead of tomatoes) various fruit pastes - cherries, apricots, mangoes, plums, etc.
  • Just experiment! Cinnamon ketchup? Why not?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flatbread a la Pita Pockets

I miss bread. A lot. This rice bread available at the store is a. expensive (over five dollars for a tiny loaf) and b. not very good. It's actually pretty good toasted with coconut oil, but that's about it. It is absolutely terrible for sandwiches. So, we've been without bread for a long time. I've grown accustomed to the lack of sandwiches (lettuce wraps or straight-up salads are surprisingly satisfying in their stead).

Recently, though, I stumbled upon a recipe for a GF sandwich wrap bread. With a bit of futzing, I came up with a really tasty and surprisingly easy pita-type bread for sandwiches or burgers. (Real burgers! with lettuce and ketchup* and everything!) We had a nice pseudo-normal summer meal with those burgers and sides of carrot sticks and Better Made potato chips (fried in "safe" cottonseed oil - safe because it does not cause us an allergic reaction; "safe" because it is a GMO crop and heavily laden with pesticides). Better Made chips are also made in Michigan (where we are) so that's a bonus.

* homemade ketchup recipe to be posted soon!

  • 1 package of dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca or potato starch/flour (we used potato)
  • 2 tsps xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • extra oil & flour for oiling & flouring pan
  • Proof yeast: stir packet of yeast into 1/4 cup warm water. Stir in sugar. Wait 10 minutes, or until yeast has at least doubled in size with a nice head (foamy top).
  • Mix all dry ingredients (rice flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, sea salt) and set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, combine wet ingredients (1/2 cup water, vinegar, oil, eggs) and mix well.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet.
  • Beat on medium for roughly four minutes until it turns "doughy"
  • Oil & lightly flour a "jelly roll pan"
  • Scrape dough onto pan, press as thin as possible (fill pan) (oiling your hands first helps keep the dough from sticking to them)
  • Prick dough all over with a fork
  • Allow dough to rise 35-40 minutes in a warm area
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes at 425*F - top will be slightly browned
If you allow the bread to cool for 15-30 minutes before using, it will become very soft and flexible. Cut the pan into 8 equal pieces (roughly the size of a commercially prepared piece of sandwich bread) and then slice those like you would to separate the top and bottom of a hamburger bun. Store the bread on the counter in a plastic zipper bag - do not refrigerate as it will get crumbly and stiff. I don't know how long this bread will store on the counter. The longest a batch has lasted in our house is roughly 24 hours.

Yields: 8 servings

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Turkey Tacos with Brown Rice Tortillas

I blanked on dinner tonight, so I just browned some frozen turkey and made do with what we had in the house. Luckily I had bought brown rice tortillas last time I was at the store. Also, we always have avocados and green salsa around. Easy as pie. Or tacos, as it were.

  • 1lb free-range ground turkey
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, diced very small
  • fresh cilantro
  • green onions or chives
  • 1/4 cup (or more) nutritional yeast
  • spices: 1 Tbsp cumin, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1/4 tsp clove, 1tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup shredded raw cabbage or lettuce or other greens
  • 1 can of Green Salsa - or make your own with jalapenos, tomatillos, onions & salt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package Brown Rice Tortillas
  • 1 -2 Tbsp safflower oil
  1. Brown turkey. Add stock a little at a time to help turkey thaw. [If you are using fresh turkey, add the stock with spices after turkey has browned.]
  2. Add water, green onions, nutritional yeast & spices. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring.
  3. Add zucchini, chopped cilantro, and tomato. Simmer on low-medium with lid on while preparing the next ingredients.
  4. Finely slice/shred greens. Set aside.
  5. Cut avocado in half, scoop out pit with spoon. Scoop out flesh from skin with spoon. Cut up into chunks.
  6. Prepare tortillas - rub the surface of each tortilla with safflower oil and nuke in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Alternatively, have oven preheated on warm/low and toss them in the oven for a few minutes.
  7. Check meat/zucchini - the water should be mostly absorbed. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so.
  8. Stir in lemon juice and throw some fresh cilantro on for garnish.
We eat ours by putting a line of the turkey filling down the middle of the tortilla. Then add avocado and fresh cabbage (and spicy green salsa down the middle if you are Dave or I). Last we attempt to roll the tortillas up. Even with the warming and the oiling they are a bit... brittle, shall we say. Lily likes to rip up the tortillas and make mini tacos. Dave likes to eat them with a fork. I manage to hold mine together long enough to eat it like a burrito. Aevryn kind of just goes for it and eats with her fists - inelegant yet effective. You could also toast the tortillas and make nachos or taco salad. The possibilities are endless.

Serves 6, if everybody eats just one (large) taco/burrito.

  • Additions: raw onions, raw tomatoes, salsa, sauteed peppers & onions, mushrooms - whatever you have in the house
  • Make avocado into guacamole and spread onto tortillas first
  • (VEGETARIAN): swap meat for quinoa or beans & rice

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tuna Pasta Salad with cooked egg "mayo"

It's summer and we've been longing for those easy & cool summer meals. Pre-allergy elimination diet, we were a big fan of tuna pasta salad - tuna from a can; hard boiled eggs; frozen green peas; elbow (wheat) noodles; mayo; salt & paprika. Delish. Since we were egg-free for so long, I didn't even attempt it. Now that we're doing cooked eggs (no raw yet - thus no true mayonnaise yet), I thought I'd give it go. Allergy-friendly style, of course.

  • 12oz (dry) brown rice noodles
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • two green onion stalks
  • 6oz can of safe tuna (check labels - most tuna packed in "water" is actuall packed in a vegetable broth containing soy)
  • safflower oil
  • paprika
  • salt
  1. Prepare noodles according to package directions, rinse in cold water & set aside
  2. Cut boiled eggs in half and separate hard yolks from whites. Chop egg whites however you like.
  3. In a separate bowl, mush up egg yolks. Add some salt, paprika & safflower oil and make a mushy paste. Gradually stir in more oil until you have a dressing/sauce of sorts.
  4. Finely slice green onions.
  5. Mix everything (including drained & rinsed tuna) together in a (really) big bowl. Add more salt or oil as necessary.
We served ours with raw carrot sticks on the side. Easy, cool and yummy. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like we were eating a "normal" meal.

Serves 4-6 (The four of us ate it all, eating probably more than we needed to feel full because it was so good and so different than what we've been eating.)

  • use fresh chopped up chicken or fish or seafood instead of canned tuna
  • use actual (homemade or otherwise) mayo if you can tolerate raw eggs
  • chop up raw veggies and mix in - onions, garlic, broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc
  • serve as "real" salad over a bed of greens
  • Omit chopped egg whites and use an italian-style dressing (olive oil, basalmic or apple cider vinegar plus spices) instead of yolk sauce.

Friday, July 18, 2008

zucchini fritters

I'm getting a little "grained-out" in the morning, so those soaked pancakes will have to wait another day.

We went to the farmer's market on Wednesday and got some amazingly delicious (and large) zucchini. They were so beautiful (and cheap) that I got a bit more than we could use in a week. Thus a zucchini brainstorm yielded this easy and nutritious meal/snack.

  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg
  • approx 1/4 cup rice milk
  • approx 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • sea salt
  • safflower oil

  1. Grate zucchini, sprinkle with sea salt
  2. mix egg, sorghum flour, rice milk and grated zucchini
  3. drop by small spoonfuls into heated safflower oil
  4. turn them over when you can see the edges getting golden
  5. put on wax or parchment paper to cook. sprinkle liberally with salt.
Lily liked to dip hers in basalmic vinegar. Aevryn just ate bits and pieces as she ran around the living room. I thought they were fairly good - I admit I'm not a huge zucchini fan, so my recipes tend to be along the lines of "how can I hide this wonderful veggie so I don't have to taste it so much?" I think they would be fantastic dipped in homemade spicy mayo.

Yield: 16 small-medium sized fritters

  • (Vegan): use flax meal gel instead of egg (1 Tbsp flax meal to 3 Tbsp water, whisked & heated in microwave, per egg)
  • add grated onions or chives
  • add carrots and bean sprouts and an extra egg and you get egg foo young
  • add fresh herbs - cilantro or parsely or basil

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cherry Pancakes

More cherry deliciousness. We've been in a breakfast rut, so I'm trying to add some variety. Yesterday was cherry muffins. This morning was cherry pancakes. (Still maybe 10lbs left.) This recipe is adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.

  • 1 Cup GF flour (today: 1/2 cup sorghum & 1/2 cup brown rice)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pitted sweet dark cherries

  1. Mix together dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat egg, adding milk & vanilla.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix well.
  4. Add cherries last and just stir to mix. Today, I just cut the cherries in half and took out the pit. These cherries were too big. Next time, I will either chop them up after I pit them, or, I mix blend/process them with the rice milk first, depending on the texture I want.
  5. Heat pan and lightly oil (or use non-stick pan).
  6. Pour one Tablespoon of batter into each corner, or around edge. We can fit four pancakes on our square griddle at a time.
  7. Flip over when bubbles form and edges brown.
We serve ours with coconut oil and maple syrup.

Yield: roughly 24 sand-dollar-sized pancakes.

  • instead of an egg, you could use 1 Tbsp ground flax meal mixed with 3 Tbsp water, whisked together and popped into the microwave (or heated on the stove) until boiling. Allow to cool and you have "flax meal gel" that you can very successfully use as an egg replacer in baked goods.
  • instead of rice milk, you could use almond milk. Cherries and almonds go GREAT together.
  • you can easily omit vanilla extract. Or substitute with almond extract.
[One final note: per Fallon's recipe, instead of rice milk, you should use yogurt or butter milk poured over the flour (and mix) and let sit overnight ~8 - 12hrs. If you can't use dairy, you can use water or rice milk or whatever and add a Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to sour. I have yet to try this, mostly because I never remember before we go to bed. Perhaps I will try to soak our flour overnight, tonight and try the pancakes again in the morning.]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Grain-free Turkey Chili with Guacamole

We are big fans of Tex-Mex influenced cuisine. (We are fans of many cuisines, as you will learn.) This Chili is easy, fast and filling.

  • 1lb free-range ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • handful of mushrooms, diced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced (Apparently, I like dicing things!)
  • homemade chicken bone broth (you can use water instead)
  • spices: sea salt; pepper; ground cumin; clove; allspice; ground coriander; paprika; oregano
  • fresh cilantro leaves, whole & diced
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • nutritional yeast
  • medium avocado
  1. Saute onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini in olive oil, sprinkled with salt. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground turkey. Add bone broth as needed to keep meat from sticking to pan. Once meat is cooked, add reserved onion mixture. Stir.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro and more bone broth. Simmer.
  4. Add spices. I used: handful (well, a palmful, really) each of paprika & cumin. Liberal pinches of sea salt & pepper. Small pinch each of oregano & ground coriander. Dash each of clove and allspice. Stir well. Continue to simmer.
  5. Add a couple handfuls of nutritional yeast. Stir well and continue to simmer bone broth down.
  6. Once you've reached desired thickness, stir in the juice of most of one lemon, cover and let sit.
  7. For guacamole, I just mash up avocado with oil oil, sea salt & lemon (or lime) juice, fresh squeezed (squeeze a bit of the lemon into the guac and then squeeze the remainder into the chili).
Serve the chili in a bowl with a dollop of guacamole in the middle, garnished with fresh, whole cilantro leaves.

The yield is hard to guess. This recipe easily fed all four of us for dinner with plenty left over for the girls and I for lunch the next day (and me for breakfast the following morning).

We like to make enough to have left overs. For lunch tomorrow, I will put the chili (sans gauc, because 1. it doesn't keep well & 2. my kids devour it so there's never any left) in on leafy greens - kale, lettuce, steamed cabbage - and eat like a taco. Yum!

  • instead of ground turkey, use free-range ground beef, buffalo, chicken, fish, whatever.
Vegetarian Alternative:
  • The meat can be swapped for quinoa, millet, or rice & beans.
  • Instead of swapping meat for grains, use as a meatless taco stuffing and put on brown rice tortillas - brushed with oil and nuked in the microwave or heated in the oven to soften.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Free" Cherry Muffins

We live in northern Michigan, on the outskirts of Traverse City - the Cherry Capitol, as it were. Naturally summer = fresh, juicy cherries. Yesterday, the girls and I picked cherries with their grandma. We had a great time eating cherries straight off the tree. I think Lily got more cherries in (and on) her than in her bucket. Aevryn was in the sling and started snagging some cherries for herself. She managed to get two cherries (including pits) before we decided perhaps she could sit on a blanket and hang out with some toys for awhile. Surprisingly, this worked out okay - but there were lots of interesting wildflowers all around to grab at and sniff.

At any rate, I have 17lbs of cherries in my house right now, so I am embarking an a Very Cherry culinary journey over the next few weeks. I am hoping to make cherry salsa, cherry jam, cherry preserves, cherry muffins and breads, dried cherries and frozen cherries.

Here is my recipe for our Cherry Breakfast Muffins

  • 2 cups gluten free flour of your choice (I like to mix and match: today's muffins were sorghum and brown rice)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1 cup fresh, pitted sweet cherries

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F (don't leave door ajar like I did today, somehow? Yikes!)
  2. Mix flour(s), xanthan gum, soda & salt.
  3. Add brown sugar, making sure it is mixed in very well.
  4. Stir in oil, vanilla and rice milk.
  5. Add fresh cherries and mix until evenly distributed.
  6. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (we greased ours with coconut oil, yum!). For extra cherry goodness, put a pitted cherry on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until muffins are golden around edges and feel set on top.
We like to cut ours in half and spread with coconut oil.

Yield: one dozen delicious muffins.

  • You can sub two eggs for the xanthan gum.
  • Instead of rice milk & vanilla extract, you could use almond milk & almond extract.
  • Instead of sugar, you can use honey or brown rice syrup or agave syrup (use 1/2 as much) or maple syrup.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How we got here

I'm assuming those who will read this blog, at first, will be people we personally know, who thus know our story (or at least are familiar with it). To those people I say: sorry for the repetition. But to those of you who find us randomly, or join us later, here is the background info.

We are a family of four, dealing with multiple food allergies in me and at least one of our two young children. My name is Nessa. I've been married to Dave for 4 years this past May. Our older daughter is Lily. She turned three at the end of April. She is our reason for our allergy journey. Our younger daughter is Aevryn. She just turned one at the end of May. The jury is still out on her, though she has already shown some reactions to the same foods with which Lily and I have issues.

In a nutshell: Lily was an intense baby (and is subsequently an intense kid. Very.). We actually assumed there were allergy issues as early as one week old. The symptoms were: projectile vomiting; constant nursing; gas; horrible poops. I went off dairy for 3 months. I did not see an appreciable difference, so I went back on gradually. Things seemed to be going okay, so we decided she must have "outgrown" it. Starting when she was roughly 20 months old, and encompassing a two month period, she got hit with a barrage of illnesses including: a mysterious rash and eczema; croup and lingering chest cold; mysterious persistently high fever; constant night terrors; mysterious rash around her mouth after eating certain foods. Remarkably (and not in a good way) the eczema, to this day a year and a half later, has not gone away.

After much trial and error (and doctor's visits and blood tests as well as hours upon hours upon hours talking to other moms online and combing medical journals and articles) we have come to this place of food avoidance. We've been diary-free since May 15, 2007, after a particularly bad week of tantrums, night terrors, screaming and bloody full-body eczema. We've been garlic-, pinto- & navybean-, poppyseed- and turmeric-free since a blood test identified those as problem foods for Lily in July 2007. We've been additionally soy-, corn-, gluten- (including wheat, barley, rye, spelt and non-GF oats), peanut-, legume-, and seed-free since October 31, 2007 (after a particularly upsetting and all around tear-filled week). We have been tree nut-free for several years now, since my random cashew allergy escalated after Lily's birth.

We were also at times fish-, shellfish-, ginger-, onion-, potato-, egg-, tomato-, and pepper-, coffee, coconut-, canola-, banana-, avocado-, and chocolate-free, but have since successfully added them back. I'm a mite worried about the chocolate, but I've yet to pinpoint a reaction.

We have tried the Body Ecology Diet with moderate success. I believe if we had been able to keep at it for more than 3 weeks, we would have seen a great deal of healing. I loved the information in the book and think there is great wisdom in detoxification, especially when you are presented with symptoms that tell you your body isn't handling things well. As with any diet or medical regime, I think it's best to do your own research and figure out how things fit into your life and your belief system. From this book, we learned about food combining. Breakfast is the hardest for us to "properly" combine. However, we do well with lunch and dinner. Rarely do we have protein, grains, or starchy veggies in combination with each other. (The exception is my potato-kale quiche which I have renamed "Best Quiche Ever".)

I am for sure reactive to: cashews, pistachios & mangoes (severe hives on my hands and face); sunflower and sesame seeds (less severe hives on my arms); dairy and soy (severe digestive issues).

Lily is for sure reactive to: diary and soy (eczema worsens/spreads; night terrors; bed wetting; tantrums; digestive issues); green peas (eczema worsens/spreads); raw tomatoes, strawberries, citrus (hives/"mystery rash" on arms and face); dogs & cats (hives on arms; severe worsening of eczema). We're also pretty sure she is having issues with corn slipping into our supplements and other places (darn you xylitol!). We are almost back to a baseline after the terrible waiter incident from 16 days ago, so it will be interesting to see where we go from there.

Aevryn is for sure reactive to green peas, soy and diary (super gassy; mucous in stools; CRANKY; restless/interrupted sleep).

And then there's Dave. Poor Dave is just along for the ride. He may or may not have mild wheat issues. But, he still consumes whatever he wants when outside the house. Additionally, we do stock yogurt, granola, cereal, almond milk, wheat bread, cheese and lunch meat in the house for him. I'm not an ogre. Heh.

So that's us and our story so far.

Sometime in the next few months, I'm hoping to get Lily in to see a local Traditional Chinese Medicine practicioner who specializes in children and allergies. I've heard good things about him from several, unrelated sources. I would also like to get us established with a chiropractor, but there are only so many dollars in a pay period...

Inaugural Post

Hi! Welcome!

I've been putting it off and putting off, but no longer. Here is the beginnings of an allergy-friendly recipe blog that I've been pondering for almost a year. After the countless, "but... what do you EAT?" responses when people hear of our "allergy situation" as I've dubbed it, I thought I'd start keeping track of the deliciousness that I lovingly prepare from scratch. Daily. For every meal and snack. It's an endless job, but also very rewarding. (And tasty.)

Yes, I do miss cheese. And ice cream. And bread. But, I *don't* miss constant stomach pain, heartburn and gas. Nor do I miss the gross poops and the hellacious gas my children used to have. And neither the full body eczema nor the constant night terrors in my older daughter. We're still pinpointing a few things here and there - corn is exceedingly hard to avoid; gluten cross-contamination is everywhere; restaurant servers like to lie to you about food ingredients (yes, this really happened) - but all in all, we're in a pretty good place, especially compared to where we were even six months ago.

In addition to avoiding personally "reactive" foods and other "potentially reactive" foods, we are on a daily supplement regiment to help our bodies digest our food better and to help heal our gut (more on that in a coming post). All of us (Lily, Aevryn & I) take daily dairy-free probiotics and cod liver oil (not as gross as it sounds; ours is mint flavored). Lily takes an allergy-free children's multivitamin. I take daily allergy-friendly Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc and B-complex 100 vitamins. Lily & I try to take digestive enzymes with every meal that contains proteins or grains.

As the months wear on, I'm starting to see evidence of better nutrient absorption and better gut conditions. I'm hoping to go off of vitamins this fall, preferring to get all of our vitamins and minerals directly from our food. We've been digestive enzyme-free for a week now and I'm considering going back on, but I'm still waiting and seeing. We've been eating a lot of raw and/or fermented foods lately, so I think that's been helping. I feel like we'll be on priobiotics and fish oil for a long time to come, but I think it's worth it for improved health.