Friday, April 25, 2008

Italian Sausage and Peppers

First of all, how cute is that Tinkyada Little Dreams rice pasta?! I couldn't help myself, I had to take a picture. That being said, it also goes great with sausage and peppers. My Italian mother-in-law taught me how to make this. It is a family recipe and was certainly never labled as "allergen free", that's just a bonus. This dish is quick and simple with minimal ingredients, and it is so delicious! (I just hope there's some left when my husband gets home) I like mine served over the top of my pasta, but this picture is of Emily's plate and she is 6...that "don't let my foods touch" stage. I hope that your family will love this as much as mine does. Bon Appetito! :)

1 Package of Jenni-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (or other "safe" sausage)
1 Large red bell pepper sliced into strips
1 Large green bell pepper sliced into strips
1 Medium onion sliced into strips
1 15 oz Can of safe tomato sauce (we used Hunt's 100% natural)

Fry the sausages in a large frying pan over medium heat for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Add the peppers and onion and stir fry for another 5 to 10 minutes until the veggies are tender-crisp. Pour in the tomato sauce and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve alone or with your favorite pasta.

Chicken Curry

A while back Tracy asked me about dinner recipes and it got me thinking. I really don't have many dinner "recipes" for Emily (my 6 yr old) because our family (generally speaking) does not share her food, so her dinner is almost always something I can just heat up or throw together quickly. Now I know at this point some of you are shaking your heads at me in dissapproval. I know that a lot of families sit down and eat allergen free food together and I applaude them! In this family, however, it just isn't feasible. I have a husband and daughter who are red meat eaters, one daughter who is allergic to red meat but eats turkey, chicken, and pork, and one daughter who is a, I'll eat anything! Then we add in food allergies and the fact that everyone here has DIFFERENT food allergies...well, I just can't do it! This brings me to my latest recipe. My oldest and youngest daughters pretty much don't touch each others food, their eating habits are the least similar in the family, but this weekend Amanda (my 14 yr old) made an incredible chicken curry that the three of us sat down and ate together and it was so nice! (my husband hates curry and Nikki my 12 yr old had leftovers, but I'm happy with 3 out of 5!) This is is an Americanized chicken curry so it's not too spicy and very child friendly. Before I get into the recipe I also wanted to make a note to Tracy: I think you can do this one if you use cubed pork instead of chicken and veggie broth for the chicken broth.

3 c Cubed cooked chicken
2 T Olive oil
1 Medium onion, chopped
1 T Curry powder (we used The Spice Hunter salt free organic curry seasoning)
1/2 t Salt
1 Granny smith apple, chopped
1/3 c Golden raisins (regular raisins are fine and much cheaper!)
1 c Chicken broth
Prepared rice, shredded coconut (we use sweetened to balance out the spice of the curry), and chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and cook over med heat until soft. Stir in curry powder and salt and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken, apples, raisins, and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve over warm rice. We put out our cilantro and coconut separately so each person can add to taste. Quick, simple, and so delicious!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Crepes...Yes Crepes! Gluten Free, Egg Free, and Dairy Free

Crepes are basically made from wheat flour, lots of eggs, milk, and butter, so obviously an exact replica is out of the question. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing just how good a recipe is because my only willing taste testers are myself (a little biased seeing as I am the chef) and my 6 yr old who has never had anything standard to compare it to. I made 4 different versions of this recipe before I came up with one I am happy with, but I still am not positive it couldn't be better. If anyone tries this recipe please give me some feedback. Constructive criticism is always welcome and appreciated. I am putting the recipe for the crepes themselves first, then a few filling ideas. Because these don't have any sugar in them they are great for both sweet and savory fillings. If you have never made crepes before the swirling motion may take a little practice. I hope you enjoy them! :)

3 Eggs worth of prepared egg replacer
3/4c Soy milk (or rice milk for soy free)
3/4c Water
3T Melted Margarine (or Spectrum Shortening for soy free)
1/3c Rice flour
1/8c Sweet rice flour
1/8c Potato starch
1/8c Tapioca flour (starch)
1/2t Salt

Preheat an 8” omelet pan to medium-high. Here are the keys to success:
1. Use a heavy duty Teflon coated pan, brand spankin’ new if possible.
2. Keep an oiled paper towel next to you and give the pan a wipe with it after the removal of each crepe, re-oiling the paper towel as needed.
3. Make sure the pan is fully preheated or the first crepe won’t brown… then again there is the old saying “the first crepe is for the dog”, which pretty much means your first crepe is just for practice.

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and blend for 1 more minute.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, then lift the pan off of the heat and swirl it until the bottom is covered and the batter has stopped flowing. Set the pan back on the heat and cook for about 2 minutes, until the edges are all curled up away from the pan and the bottom has browned a bit. Gently flip the crepe over and brown the other side for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and lay on a piece of plastic wrap. Continue layering crepes with plastic wrap as you remove them, this will make them more pliable and keep them from sticking to each other.

Fruit Filling:
Since I was a little girl it has been a tradition in our family to have fruit filled crepes for breakfast on the morning after a birthday sleepover party. I don't have recipes per say, but these are our 2 favorite fillings.
1. Strawberries: 1 pint of chopped fresh strawberries with a few spoonfulls of sugar and a few spoonfulls of water mixed until sugar is dissolved and a syrup is formed. If you prefer an easier version just buy the frozen presweetened strawberries, my girls actually prefer them.
2. Apples: chop up a few apples and put them in a pot with just enough water to cover. Add a little sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water is gone and apples are tender.

Put a line of filling down the center of each crepe and roll it up. Top with whipped soy cream (Soyatoo) if desired.

Savory Filling:
Here is the recipe for the filling used in the picture above, but really you can fill them with just about ANYTHING you like.
4T Margarine
2T Sweet rice flour
1c Chicken broth
1/2c Chopped cooked chicken
1/2c Chopped cooked broccoli

Melt margarine over medium heat, add sweet rice flour, cook while stirring for 3 minutes (it will look grainy-it's ok). Add a little of the broth at a time, whisking thoroughly with each addition, until all broth is added and the sauce is smooth and creamy. Stir in chicken and broccoli. Cook until heated through. Put a line of filling in the center of each crepe and roll it up. Top with a little of the cream sauce if desired.

Well, there you have it, an extremely long post for Emily's gluten free, egg free, dairy free, *soy free crepes. I hope the length of this post won't scare everyone out of trying them. It's really pretty simple for a special occasion food. Again I ask that if you do try these please let me know what you think of them. Thank you for sharing with me in our family's special tradition. Enjoy! :)

*My versions of this recipes contain soy, but it is all easily replaceable. Soy milk=rice milk/chicken broth, margarine=Spectrum shortening, omit Soyatoo whipped cream, and make sure all of your ingredients (ie chicken broth, or any fillings you are choosing to use) are soy free.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nonuttin-Give Them a Try

You may know that I usually stick to recipes, I'm not much of a writer, but I have a story I feel compelled to share. Nonuttin ( is an allergy friendly granola bar company in Canada who's products are free of peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, wheat, barley, rye, (and now gluten), trans fats, artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives-including sulfites, GMOs, and animal by products. I applaud them just for that, but their customer service is beyond anything I have ever experienced!
About 6 months ago I ordered a sample pack from the Nonuttin company. Admittedly it is difficult for most of us to shell out the $50 required for the minimum order, but they do offer 3 different trial packs for $10 each and these can be ordered without meeting the $50 minimum. We got our sample pack and devoured it in one day. Everything was delicious! I held on to their address so that someday when I had an extra $50 laying around I could order more...I haven't gotten around to that yet. A couple of days ago, out of the blue, I got a letter from the company detailing some problems they have had recently with their new gluten free oats and with it came a free granola bar so that we could taste for ourselves that the problem had been rectified. It has, once again it was soft, chewy, and absolutely yummy!
Apparently the owner of the company herself was tasting the products one day and realized they had a somewhat sour taste. Long story short, she found out there was a problem with the shelf life of the new oats. Production was halted and all reachable customers were notified and their products were replaced. Then they proceeded to send out these samples to all customers (even me, who had only placed a $10 order to begin with) along with a very detailed letter about what had happened and what had been done to fix it. Needless to say, they lost a lot of money in this process and I have decided it is time for me to dig deep in my pocket and make that $50 order. Not only am I ordering wonderful products that my family will love, but at this point I also feel like I am supporting a cause. This is the kind of company that all businesses should strive to be like. I want to help ensure that the Nonuttin company continues to grow and be successful. I hope that anyone reading this will also consider placing an order, even a trial pack. I want to see good people triumph!