Friday, February 29, 2008

"Super Duper Straw-Banana Pile Cake"

Hooray for fruit! This recipe was created by my friend Bella and her son ( at ). Bella's son has a dairy allergy so this is a dairy free recipe, but I love that it is also free of all other common allergens including gluten. Sometimes avoiding gluten doesn't mean going through some huge ordeal to "replace" it with an elaborate substitute, sometimes it just means avoiding it. In this recipe a thick round slice of apple visually replaces the traditional shortcake and creates a fruity and delicious dessert. That having been said...IF you have a piece of cake laying around that is safe for you allergies , by all means use it! Allergen free cake can be used instead of the apple and the drizzle of italian ice will soak into it making it moist and delicious.

3 Strawberries sliced
1/2 banana sliced
1 Round apple slice (about 1/2" thick and cored)
1 Italian Ice Lemon or Strawberry (or Ah!Laska Chocolate Syrup)

-----Place italian ice container in hot water
------Put apple or shortcake on plate
------Mix strawberries & bananas together and put on top of apple or shortcake
------Take italian ice out of water and drizzle melted juice over the mixture -------Drizzle with Ah!Laska Chocolate Syrup


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dairy Free Cream of Broccoli Soup

This is a recipe I created for my 5 yr old so it is creamy and rich but not spicy at all (you’ll notice I even had to hide the onions), so feel free to spice it up however you like. If you prefer vegetarian of course vegetable broth can be used. I just made my 2nd pot in 2 days because my 12 yr old ate the whole thing yesterday. This is a wonderfully warming winter soup! It is a little time consuming but worth it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

32 oz Chicken broth
4 c Chopped broccoli florettes
1 Med carrot, grated
1/2 Small onion, finely chopped or grated
4 T Dairy free margarine
2 1/2 T Sweet rice flour
1 1/2 c Warm soy milk, rice milk, or soup broth
Salt and pepper to taste. Also, if a little more flavor or fullness is needed a dairy and gluten free bullion cube (I use Harvest Sun) and/or an extra pat of margarine will do the trick

Put broth, broccoli, grated carrot, and onion in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Pour into a blender and set aside to cool, in the fridge gets the job done faster. If you like to have chunks of broccoli in your soup then remove about 1 cup of broccoli from the broth to be added in later.

Give the pot a quick rinse (a standard recipe would say to use a separate pot but I avoid using extra dishes at all costs!) and in it melt 4 T of margarine over medium low heat. Add sweet rice flour and stir with a whisk while cooking for 3 minutes. It will look grainy and weird but it will be OK, I promise. Add warm milk substitute (soy, rice, or broth), a little bit at a time, whisking thoroughly with each addition. Continue cooking and whisking until thick and creamy, like a gravy.

In the blender, puree the broth and veggies for about 1 minute. Add the broccoli puree (and the broccoli florettes previously set aside if you are making a chunkier soup) to the gravy and whisk together until well blended. Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Give it a taste, you may want to add salt, pepper,additional spices, or bullion. Have a cozy winter, and enjoy!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Banana Muffins

I would LOVE to show you a picture, but my daughters new camera is broken. These muffins are dense and moist but not at all gummy. They are a bit on the sweet side since once again they were created for my 5 yr old...Oh, who am I kidding, I'm the one with the sweet tooth! Anyway, if you leave off the topping or reduce the amount of sugar in it these muffins will be much more "adult".

½ c Rice flour
½ c Sorghum flour
1/8 c Tapioca starch
1/8 c Potato starch
2 t Baking powder
½ t Baking soda
½ t Cinnamon
2 Bananas, mashed
1/3 c Brown sugar
¼ c Oil
1/8 c Soy milk (or rice milk)
1/8 c Applesauce
½ t Guar gum (or xanthan gum)
½ t Vanilla extract

2 T Margarine
¼ c Brown sugar
½ c Gluten free oats
A dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl mix topping ingredients until blended and crumbly, set aside.
Sift or whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In another bowl mash bananas. Add brown sugar, oil, soy milk, applesauce, vanilla, and guar gum. Stir briskly with a whisk until well mixed. Add dry ingredients to wet and continue to stir until completely blended. Mixture will be very thick.
Put paper liners in muffin cups and using an ice cream scoop fill cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle on topping and gently pat it down so it will stick after the muffins are cooked.
Bake at 350 for approximately 25 minutes.
Makes 9 to 12 muffins depending on how large they are.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Plum Ketchup (Tomato Free)

I was rummaging through my allergen free recipes and came accross an old one that (thankfully) we do not need to use anymore, but I thought there may be others out there who would be as thrilled to have it as I was at the time. Emily used to have a sensitivity to tomatoes and since every American kid loves ketchup I created this for her. I will type the basic recipe and add the "healthier" version in parenthesis .

1 container Gerber plum with applesauce babyfood
1/4 t Salt
1 dash Onion powder
1/4 t Vinegar
1 T Sugar (Zylatol or other alternative sweetener)
2 drops Red food color (bright red berry juice like pomegranite or raspberry)

Mix all ingredients together, let set for about an hour so flavors can meld, stir again.

This doesn't make a lot, obviously, so if your child loves it you may want to quadrouple the recipe. Enjoy!

P.S. If you are avoiding tomatoes you may also want to check out this "un-tomato sauce" recipe from Sister Cooks at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Here's to a Brighter Tomorrow!

This isn’t the type of thing I would normally write about but it came to my attention this morning and I think it’s pretty cool. Martha Stewart is looking for a new business idea (big surprise!), she narrowed the ideas down to seven and is now asking the public to vote for their favorite one. One of the choices is a publication for people with food allergies and sensitivities. I was just on her site to vote and so far “we” are winning by a landslide…YEAH!!! If you would like to vote go to Martha’s blog and scroll down to the bottom of “The Big Idea”. Also, (since this is probably the only time I will ever write about current events) I want to share something else that has just come to my attention. Sunbutter (a peanut butter substitute made from sunflower seeds) is now approved as a USDA Commodity for the School Lunch Program. Again…YEAH!!! I’m going to try to include the link here but i’ve been having trouble getting my links to work… . Well, I believe I’ve reached my quota on current events and educational info for the year. Hats off to all of the people/companies making life with food allergies a little bit easier!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Buttercream" Frosting

This frosting has a nice “buttery” flavor and is the perfect consistency for frosting cakes and cookies (see pic below). It also is stiff enough for decorating with tips.

1/2 c Palm shortening
1/2 c Dairy free margarine
4 c (1 lb) Powdered sugar
2 T Vanilla soymilk (or rice milk)
1 t Vanilla

Bring shortening and margarine to room temperature and cream together thoroughly with powdered sugar. Add soymilk and vanilla and beat with electric mixer for about 1 minute or until completely smooth and fluffy. Food color and other flavor extracts can also be added with the soymilk.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

This is my latest creation in search of the perfect "Lofthouse" style allergen free sugar cookie, and my favorite recipe right now with all of the cookie rich holidays going on. This roll out sugar cookie is gluten, egg, and dairy free, and can be corn free if "safe" baking powder and powdered sugar are used. It does have a slight grit to it which is unavoidable with rice flour, but it is also soft, light, and delicious. I am currently experimenting with sorghum flour instead of rice flour and when I perfect it I will repost the recipe.

3/4 c Dairy free margarine (softened)
1 c Sugar
1/4 c Applesauce
1 t Vanilla extract
1 1/2 c White rice flour
1/2 c Sweet rice flour
1/2 c Potato starch
1/2 c Tapioca starch (sometimes called tapioca flour, they are the same thing)
2 1/2 t Guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1 t Salt
1 T Baking powder
Powdered sugar for rolling

Cream together margarine and sugar. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl sift or whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Cover work area and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll dough 1/4″ thick, or thinner if you prefer a crispy cookie. Cut into shapes and transfer to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes depending on cookie size and desired softness/crispness. I bake 4″ cookies that are 1/4″ thick for 15 minutes to get a nice soft cookie. Let cool on sheet for a few minutes then remove to cooling rack. Sometimes I cover the cookies in colored sugar crystals before baking and sometimes I leave them plain to frost them after they cool. Right now, of course, my 5 yr old daughter and I are making hearts with pink frosting AND sprinkles! I will post my frosting recipe next.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Staff of Life

Yes, my profile pic is a loaf of bread. The most satisfying loaf of bread I have ever made! When I found out my youngest daughter is allergic to gluten I set out on a quest to make the perfect allergen free loaf of bread. Up to that point I had amazed myself many times with my creations and I expected this to be the same. First I tried buying ready made, they were all like hard dry sponges...BLECH! Then I tried to make my own from scratch, mind you no gluten, no eggs, and no dairy. Every single recipe I tried came out gummy and gooey and 2" tall. I tried a few mixes but the results were the same. With every failure I cried over how my poor baby would never have a sandwich. I worried (I still worry) about what on earth I would pack for all of her school lunches to come since she can't eat one single thing on the hot lunch menu. Bread has been called "the staff of life". How can that be something you can live without? Then one glorious day my husband asked "have you tried Pamela's Wheat-Free Bread Mix?" I may have literally been one failure away from giving up hope, but I tried it...SUCCESS! I honestly can't describe the joy I felt when this loaf of bread rose...and didn't fall. It was moist but not gummy and tasted great too! I am here to sing the praises of Pamela's Wheat-Free Bread Mix!!! I have to say I was sad to find out that most of her other mixes (maybe all of them) contain dairy, but I buy the bread mix by the case. I have made bagels and english muffins from this mix too. A word of advice, use an 8"x4" loaf pan for a nice evenly proportioned loaf. and now a link to the product that changed our lives!
I will be happy if this post helps just one person out there be able to enjoy bread again, it truely is the staff of life

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Journey

This is the story of my life with food allergies. Well not my life exactly since I am actually the only one in this family without food allergies.

When my oldest daughter (now 14) was a baby she had a milk allergy which made itself apparent every time daddy snuck her a finger full of ice cream or cake frosting. She would break out in tiny little red bumps which I still refer to as “milk bumps”. One day I decided to try her with peanut butter (knowing full well daddy is anaphylactic to peanuts). I touched it to the tip of her tongue and next thing I knew her face and ears were flaming red and swollen! No more nuts!!!

By the time my second daughter (now 12) came along I was a little more educated and a lot more aware. I paid close attention to what she ate and how it seemed to affect her, I kept a mental food diary of sorts. Eggs and milk were obvious, bananas and cantaloupe made her lips itch, and then there was beef. No one believed me, even I had never heard of a beef allergy, so I kept giving it to her and she kept breaking out. Finally we had her tested and found that I had been right about them all (they didn’t test for beef but I took her off of it anyway). Again the peanuts…they did the skin prick test and put the peanut prick right on top of her back where she could reach it and said “now don’t scratch and just sit there for 15 minutes”. She was amazing! Just 3 yrs old and crying, sat on her hands and did what they told her to. The peanut bump was huge and scary! OK, so now our house is a “nut free zone”.

Now we come to my baby (5 yrs old) and the reason I decided to try my hand at writing a blog…well, that and a deal I made with my father-in-law. When this poor child was a few weeks old she developed what I suppose was a rash but it covered her from head to toe, there was no “normal” skin to be found. The best way to describe it is she looked like she had flaming red elephant skin! It was hot and thick from swelling. She could barely move. We gave her 3 baths a day, 15 min long each, followed by smothering her in Aquaphore. After 2 weeks it cleared up but I knew that food allergies were on the horizon. As she got older we tried her on new foods one at a time, very carefully. She seemed to react to everything! I breastfed her until she was 2 because I was scared to death that if I weaned her she would starve to death. I can’t even remember everything she was allergic to but the foods that come to mind are wheat, dairy, eggs, beef, soy, tomatoes, melons, grapes, and of course nuts. Almost all processed foods were out of the question. I learned to be an amazing alternative foods cook. I even made ketchup out of plums! She struggled with itchy skin for 5 long years until last year when the Headstart program helped us get her tested…again I was right…well, almost. She was not allergic to soy but turned out to be not only allergic to wheat but all grains containing gluten. Let me tell you, even with all my expertise I had developed in alternative cooking I was not prepared for gluten free baking! It is a challenge, especially when you can’t add eggs or milk either. So now I boast “look, I made a cake out of NOTHING”.

So here I am. I don’t really understand yet how this blog thing works so I may not be able to do everything here that I want to. My intention is to write stories as they come to me, post recipes that I have found truly amazing, and hopefully get to hear your stories and favorite recipes too. I’m not sure yet what the recipe copywrite laws are or how that will work but I am looking into it. If anyone does know I’d love to hear from you.