Monday, March 31, 2008

"Allergen Free" Banana Bread

It's done, it's done, and oh my gosh is it good!!! I looked everywhere for a banana bread recipe that was gluten free, egg free, and dairy free with no luck. Finally I pulled out a classic old recipe and proceeded to change every ingredient. Whaddya know...It worked! Not only did it work, it's incredible (if I do say so myself). Now I will admit this photo is a little bit deceiving, I think it makes the loaf look taller than it is. The actual loaf of bread is 2 1/4" tall. It is pleasantly dense and moist with a fine crumb and it holds together well. My 12 yr old, Nikki, fed it to her friends and none of them knew it was "allergen free". Can you tell I am beaming with pride right now?! :)

1/2 c Brown rice flour
1/2 c Sorghum flour
1/2 c Potato starch
1/4 c Tapioca starch
2 t Baking powder
1/4 t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
1 t Xanthan gum
1/3 c Dairy free margarine, softened (or Spectrum shortening)
2/3 c Brown sugar
1 T EnerG egg replacer mixed with 1/4 c warm water (equal to 2 eggs)
1 c Mashed ripe bananas (this is about 2 large bananas, if you’ve mashed your bananas and find you are just short of a cup you can make up the difference with applesauce)
2 T Applesauce
1 t Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x5” loaf pan.

Measure all of the dry ingredients (the first 9 ingredients) into a bowl and blend well with a whisk. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together margarine and brown sugar. Add prepared egg replacer, mashed bananas, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Slowly stir in dry ingredients, scraping down sides of bowl, until fully incorporated. Beat on medium speed for another minute.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and smooth the top if needed ( a metal spoon dipped in water will smooth it without sticking to it). Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with crumbs instead of goop.

Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue to cool on a rack. Now you can slather it with margarine while still warm, wait until it cools (yeah right) and eat it like snack cake, or try it toasted tomorrow morning. This is one of the few allergen free breads that is just as good the next day even without toasting or warming.

It's Rising!

Is it a sad statement on my life that everytime I bake something for Emily the rest of the world stands still? I fall into my own little space while calculations of cutting recipes into fourths and what ratios of GF flours to use and how much xanthan gum will be required swirl around in my head. I am writing this now, in fact, because I am baking banana bread and I need something to keep me preoccupied so I don't feel the need to keep checking it's progress every two minutes. I just got a new (used) oven...and it works! It still feels like a dream. No more slamming the oven door every 10 minutes to keep the oven turned on, no more opening the door to see what's happening to my bread (this one has a working light!), and no more guessing that my temperature dial needs to be set about twenty five degrees higher than called for. The problem is that now I have too much time on my hands! I find myself sitting on the floor with my oven light on just gazing at my bread while it, that IS sad. I suppose I could do the dishes...nahhhh. So here I am..... looking for a little distraction.....thank you for joining me. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ham and Bean Soup

OK Tracy, this ones for you, a dinner. I made this soup from our leftover Easter ham and canned quick and simple! The funny thing is I made this recipe free of gluten, dairy, garlic, etc. so Emily could have it and then she didn't even want to try it. The rest of the family however cleaned out the pot in one night. It was sooo yummy!

1 Meaty ham bone
1 14 oz can of chicken broth (or vegetable broth, beef broth might even be good)
1 14 oz can of water
2 15 oz cans of white beans (we use S&W brand in light seasoning, so unseasoned may result in a different finished product)
1 Large carrot
1/2 t pepper

Place your ham bone in a large pot with the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. (Now at this point I'm thinking I should retract that part about this being quick. How about if at the end I give you the shortcut version?)

Take the ham out of the pot and set aside to cool a bit. Pour one can of beans with juice into the pot with the broth and water in it. Blend with an emersion blender or mash well by hand. Keep simmering.

Remove ham from the bone and chop into small pieces. Chop carrot into small pieces also. Put ham and carrots into the pot. Pour the other can of beans with juice into the pot. Add pepper and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1/2 hour or until carrots are soft.

Now for the shortcut. This will be a little less salty and a little less "hammy" but still delicious and a lot quicker. Skip the whole hambone thing and just buy a thick slice of ham at your deli counter. Put the broth, water, and one can of beans into your pot and blend. Add the ham (chopped), carrots, pepper, and the other can of beans and stir well. Simmer for about 1/2 hour.

There ya go, quick and simple. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rice Pasta Salad

This is not a recipe so much as an idea for those times when you just want something different or when you just want to clean out the fridge. I have forced it into recipe form for practical purposes, but really I just throw in handfuls (my handful is about ¼ cup) of this and that until it looks good. Keep in mind that if you can’t have rice pasta there are also pastas made of corn, quinoa, amaranth, and, well, even wheat (lol). This colorful pasta salad is full of flavors and versatile enough to be made free of all allergens that are unique to you, so let your creative juices flow. By the way, these are just the ingredients I had on hand last night. Some of our other favorite additions are: broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, red onion, green onion, cubed cheese substitute (my daughter who can have dairy likes grated parmesan in hers), any canned beans, sugar snap peas, and canned chicken or tuna.

4 c Cooked rice pasta veggie spirals (Tinkyada)
¼ c Each (basically 2 c total):
Kosher dill pickles, diced
Black olives, sliced
Carrot, grated
Cucumber, diced
Celery, diced
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Ham, julienned
Red onion, chopped
¼ c Kosher dill pickle juice
¼ c Safe Italian dressing (we use Briannas Blush Wine Vinaigrette, it is sweeter than regular Italian so if you are using a standard vinaigrette then you may also want to add a pinch of sugar for the kids)
¼ t Black pepper

OK…Throw it all in a bowl and mix it up, that's it! If you can wait then refrigerate for about an hour to chill and to blend the flavors...personally, I like it room temperature straight out of the pot. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

OK, if I do say so myself, these cookies are amazing! I'm talking dangerously good! Although, I have to say as cookies go they are pretty darned healthy. They are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and nut free. They are high in fiber and protein, not to mention the vitamin C in the applesauce and cranberries! This recipe is adapted from the fabulous original recipe for Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies created by Karina the Gluten Free Goddess at
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do...just be sure you know when to quit...ughhh!
*Please note that some of the harder to find items in this recipe have links to their home page. They are also all availabe in bulk through my Amazon links to the right.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. (a few dabs of shortening between the cookie sheet and the parchment paper will hold it in place and keep it from rolling up.)

Combine in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy:

2/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light olive oil

In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free Lara's Oats)
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup vanilla rice protein powder (Nutribiotics)
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, beating to combine. When the dough is smooth, add in the following:

2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free Lara's Oats )
1/2 cup allergen free white chocolate chips (Veganessentials)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Use a 1 1/2" spring action ice cream scoop to measure out the dough and place on the cookie sheet about two inches apart. Do not flatten. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until they are golden. They will be quite soft until they cool. Using a thin spatula, remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Support for Families With Food Allergies

About a year ago I stumbled upon an online support group for families of children with food allergies. It is the most extensive, well organized, amazing allergy website I have ever encountered. They have a forum for just about any allergy related subject you can think of, and if they don't already have it you can start a new one. All of the other parents there are caring supportive people and I have come to feel like they are part of my family. The name of the site is Kids With Food Allergies and the link is
There is a fee for joining, but if you cannot afford it a simple letter is usually all it takes to have the fee waived.
I'm sure there could be a smooth transition here but I'm a little foggy this morning. Anyway, I also want to take a moment to address eosinophilic disorders. The first time I had ever heard of this type of thing was in Kids With Food Allergies and I have to say (although I know none of us is looking for sympathy) it broke my heart. Now, since I have had this blog, I have met several new people who have food allergies and eosinophilic disorders so they obviously go hand in hand. Because I am only just learning about this myself I will not try to explain it, but I would like to share with you the links to two other sites that will. Please visit these women if you are looking for support or if you would just like to be educated on the subject. The first is
Mothers Encouraging Mothers of Eosinophilic Children and the second is
Winning Against Eosinophilic Esophagitis . Thank you both for your work! Also, Kids With Food Allergies has an entire forum devoted to eosinophilic diseases, and a subsection for children with feeding tubes.
I realize this post is disorganized and random but I felt a need to share this information immediately instead of waiting for my creative side to wake up. I hope you all have a lovely day. Happy spring!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yayyyy Brownies!

Guess what, I found another Pamela's product that does not have dairy in it! This could not have worked out more perfectly. A few weeks ago I was browsing the shelves at my local health food store, doing my usual label reading, when I came accross Pamela's Chocolate Brownie mix ( and realized Emily can have it (gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and nut free). At the time I was making a multitude of practice birthday cakes so brownies weren't really a priority and I stuck the mix in my cabinet and forgot about it...until this weekend. My husband brought home some of those "cosmic brownies" by Little Debbie, you know the ones. dense and fudgie with bright colorful candy sprinkles on top. Now what 6 yr old is not going to want one of those when she sees Daddy eating them?! Suddenly I remembered my mix. I whipped up a batch using EnerG egg replacer ( and sprinkled some jimmys on top. They are fabulous! (Yes, I'm eating them too.) I have included this mix in my Amazon Favorites and I have to tell you that I myself will definitly be buying them by the case. Yeah brownies!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dairy Free Ranch Dip

I am so excited to have finally come up with a recipe for dairy free ranch dip! It was so easy to make I can't believe there isn't already something like it on the market. My daughter loves it, but more amazing is that I love it too (I can have dairy, and ranch dressing is one of my favorite "foods"). I think a little garlic in it would be lovely, but Emily is allergic to garlic so I didn't even try it.
I would also like to point out that my photographer is back! My 14 yr old daughter Amanda has a new camera and I am so glad. :)
Thank you for the pics Amanda!

1/2 C Vegenaise mayo substitute

1/2 C Dairy free sour cream substitute

1/8 t Dry dill (fresh would be great, I just didn't have any)

1/4 t Pepper

2 T Fresh parsley chopped fine

1 T Chives chopped fine

Just mix it all together, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour so flavors can combine. That's it! :) Happy Dipping!

Oh, I almost forgot, if you want it thinner so that it is more like a dressing than a dip just add a dash or two of water or milk substitute (soy, rice, etc.).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kraft Style Mac and Cheese (Gluten and Dairy Free)

As you can see, Emily LOVES her rice cheese (although admittedly the rest of us have a hard time with the smell)! She also loves trying to be like her older sisters. My middle daughter Nikki eats a lot of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (cut me some slack, some nights I have to cook 3 different meals to accomodate everyone) and Emily always used to look longingly at it and say "I wish I could have that" in her most pathetic little voice...the same voice that had spurred most of my creations for her. Well, anyway, here it is, Emily's dairy and gluten free mac and cheese. Who would have thought that was possible???
*Just for the record this dish will work better for a child who already has a safe cheese that they really do like than it will for a child who was just eating Kraft a few weeks ago before they were diagnosed with is good...but it is different.

1 c Dry pasta (we use )

4 oz Meltable dairy free cheese (PLEASE READ THE LABLE TO MAKE SURE IT IS ALSO CASEIN FREE) We use Vegan Rella, made by Panos, which is also soy free but is nearly impossible to find online. If you can have soy, I have tried Follow Your Heart brand and I loved it, but Emily doesn't care for it.

2 T Soy milk or rice milk

1 T Margarine

1 t Nutritional yeast

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Drain,rinse, and set aside. In the same pot (I am the queen of 1 pot dishes), over medium heat, melt the cheese with the milk substitute, the margarine, and the nutritional yeast. Once it is all melty and gooey add the pasta back in and stir until warm and well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now, like I said, my kids actually prefer this pre-fab looking version of mac and cheese. If you want a homestyle mac and cheese then lay this in a casserole dish. Mix together a pat of margarine and safe bread crumbs. Sprinkle it over the top of the mac and cheese and then grate a lttle more cheese over the top of that. Put it under the broiler for a few minutes and voila!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pamela's Amazing Wheat-Free Bread Mix

I have added a new element to my blog, it is a list of my favorite items that are available through Unlike my Google ads (which are generated by Google and some of which I love but also some of which I have never even heard of), my Amazon favorites are items that I have hand chosen because I use them myself and truely love them. At the moment I only have one item on my list. It is the Pamela's Amazing Bread mix that I spoke of in my post "The Staff of Life". This bread mix is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free (top 8 free), however it is processed on shared equipment. I have found that by ordering it from Amazon a case at a time (6 bags for $23.00) I am saving about $2.60 per bag over my local grocery stores prices. That adds up quick! So, off to the right is the link if you are interested. As I add more items to my favorites list I will write an informative post/review to go along with it. I honestly don't know how I would deal with allergen free shopping if I didn't have my online resources! Happy shopping :) !

Monday, March 3, 2008

Help in the Fight to Cure Autism

I know that many of you living the gluten free life may be doing so because of autism. Even if autism does not directly affect you or a family member I feel this is an important cause and we need all the support we can get. I have one nephew with autism and another with aspergers .
The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks each time this video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.
Thank you for your support and good luck to everyone in your journeys to good health!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Need A Recipe?

You may have noticed that I usually put quotations around "allergen free" in my recipes. As I have said before, that is because everyone's allergies are different and therefore there is no such thing as a truely allergen free recipe. In the beginning of all this food experimentation my mother told me that she had read that rice was one of the only foods no one is allergic to, I have since read about people who are not only allergic to rice but some even anaphylactic. I use a lot of soy in my recipes because I can, but that was not always the case. I also used to use spelt instead of wheat until we found out Emily is allergic to gluten. Today I have a question to put forth to you...What are YOUR allergies? What recipe have You been looking for? I need some ideas for "new material" and I would love some input! I'm looking forward to hearing from you, and thank you! :)