Thursday, December 18, 2008

Creamy Mushroom, Chicken and Rice Casserole

Mmmm....remember the days of opening a can of cream of anything soup and adding it to a casserole for creamy easy dinner options. Gone are those days if you are following a diet restricted by multiple food allergies. This recipe though, it will take you back. Back to comfort food and creamy baked casseroles, so good you can serve it to guests with no apologies or even explanations, just pure hostess pleasure.

That being said, this recipe is very out of character for me in that I did not measure even ONE ingredient. Obviously, my husband's cooking style is rubbing off on me. I will do my best to guess-timate how much I poured in, but feel free to alter what you add based on your cook's instincts. The results were even yummy even cold, so I think it is worth trying. And next time, just for you, I will measure.

DOH! I forgot to mention the secret ingredients in this recipe: laziness and chance. I actually decided to make chicken and rice casserole to use up the rest of the chicken I had roasted from the night before. I was too tired to do more than throw saran wrap over the pan I had roasted it in and put it in the fridge the night before. So, as I am removing the remaining meat from the bird, I realize that the bird is in the pan that I want to use. Darn it! In a moment of inspired laziness, I tossed the carcass, mixed the saved meat into my recipe, and decided to cook it IN THE SAME PAN. No need to wash it, it was in the fridge the whole time! So, I scraped the fat off the top of the drippings, and poured my casserole into the pan. I really think that the recipe benefited, and I had to wash the pan only once. Win win I say.

Creamy Mushroom, Chicken and Rice Casserole

3 T olive oil + 3 T olive oil
1/3 c gluten free flour (I used the blend from
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika (optional, this is more for color enhancement)
1/4 c hemp milk
2-3 c safe chicken broth (I used Giant Eagle's Market District Natural Chicken Broth)
8-10 sliced mushrooms (more if you like them, I keep it light for the kiddos)
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
8 oz cooked brown rice pasta of your choice, or 3 c cooked rice (I used fusilli.)
2 c diced roasted chicken
pan juices from roasted chicken

Preheat oven to 375. In large skillet heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add mushroom and onion and saute until reduced and nicely brown, about 10 minutes. Or more. You know when they look yummy to you.

Add spices and stir, saute about 1 minute, just to warm and release fragrance of spices. (If your mix is very dry at this point, add up to 3 Tbsp more olive oil and warm it.) Add flour. Mix well. It should absorb nicely, and be fairly dry but not Sahara like. Add hemp milk slowly, then add chicken broth about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until incorporated. This is your sauce, and you want it creamy. More broth means more sauce, you know how sauced you like your noodles. Too much broth will make a thin sauce though, so don't go all crazy on me. When you achieve the desired consistency, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and stir.

Add pasta and chicken, stir to coat. Pour into 8x11 glass pan (and if it is the one you roasted the chicken in last night, even better! Give it an extra stir to incorporate some of those pan juices that have congealed down there.) Bake about 25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly around the edges. Enjoy!

I have been meaning to try this with a mix of white and wild rice, as it seems like it would be divine. Please, let me know if you beat me to this...I'm curious as to the results. (Aim for about 3 cups of cooked rice for this recipe if you decide to use rice.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pineapple Coffe Cake

Moist. Tender. Sweet, but not dessert-like. Incredible texture, especially given that it is wheat-free. OH! And don't forget totally stolen. Many thanks to Susan at the FatFree Vegan Kitchen for originating this recipe. I just tweaked it to make it fit our dietary restrictions. (The whole wheat-free part. And I added a bit of fat, for the kiddos. They need a little for those brains to keep developing!) So, without further ado- our version of pineapple coffee cake:

Pineapple Coffee Cake

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup vegan sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup crushed pineapple in juice
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or whatever you have on hand) I use a little olive oil and a little applesauce together to measure a total of 1/3 cup.

1/4 cup Sugar in the Raw (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350. Pour oats in blender and grind until fine. Stir to make sure they are uniform. Mix oat flour with other dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl stir together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until moistened and completely combined. Pour into greased 9x9 glass pan. Sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw for a crunchy topping. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve warm. Snack some later when its cool. Try not to eat the whole pan in one day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guest Baker for the Holidays

I have been notably absent from the world of invented recipes of late, mostly because I have stumbled upon a treasure chest of recipes that I can not resist trying. Karina Allrich, of the Gluten Free Goddess blogspot, has recipes too numerous to count that sound so yummy that I can hardly sleep at night for desire to try another one. So, dear allergy moms out there, please join me in exploring the tasty treats Ms. Karina is creating. I promise you will not be disappointed. (Click on the heading above to be taken directly to her magical site.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chili Bake

Cold blustery days of late fall call for a bowl of warm chili and a slice of steaming corn bread. The two go so naturally together that I was inspired to combine them into one scrumptious casserole. Or at least a kid friendly version that would allow my munchkins to ease into mommy's world of comfort food using the one food that is a no fail hit at our house: corn cake. That's right, my girls go nuts over Chi-Chi's Fiesta Corn Cake every time I make it, but are less than lukewarm about chili. Actually soup in general tends to make them nervous, as if having food not only touch but actually merge into a conglomerate of flavors served in one bowl should be approached only with utmost caution. They will come around. In the meantime, I create concoctions that are halfway between their world and mine, where we can meet on common ground and all come away with happy tummies. This recipe is easy to prepare, and even adapts easily with varied spicing. As presented it is a chili casserole. We also like to change it up by omitting the chili spices in favor of adding a packet of our favorite taco seasoning mix, morphing this into a Fiesta Taco Bake. Ole!

Chili Bake

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic
dash of salt
1/4 c spectrum shortening, melted
1/4 c warm water
1 can corn
1 pkg Chi-Chi's corn cake mix

Preheat oven to 350. Brown turkey, onion, and peppers in skillet. Add chili seasonings (or taco!) and kidney beans and stir to combine. Transfer meat mixture to the bottom of a greased 2 quart casserole dish or 9x9 cake pan. While meat is browning, pour the can of corn, undrained, into blender and process until it resembles creamed-corn in texture. (About 30 seconds.) Pour into separate bowl. Add melted shortening, warm water, and corn cake packet. Stir until combined. Pour on top of meat mixture and bake 45 minutes until golden brown around edges. Serve warm. Yummy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blissful Sunbutter Banana Coffee Cake

This morning I really was lost in wanting a bite of fluffy, moist, baked goodness. Nothing like coffee cake warm from the oven on a chilly morning. Add hot coffee and giggly girls, and the morning is complete! I found a recipe so utterly amazing you won't believe it is allergy free! A hint of sunflower butter mixed in with this banana treat takes you back to childhood's peanut butter and banana sanwiches, but all grown up now. It was approved by two of the three giggly girls, and the third ate every last ounce of crunchy sweet topping off the top. Not too shabby. Try it tomorrow, and enjoy fall's finest moments.

Blissful Sunbutter Banana Coffee Cake

2 medium bananas, very ripe
1/3 c creamy sunbutter (up to 1/2 c, if you want more flavor)
3T spectrum shortening, melted
3/4 c warm water
1 box Gluten Free Cake mix (I used 365 GF White Cake Mix)
1/4 c turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Put bananas in mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly mashed, add sunflower butter and mix until combined. Add melted spectrum and warm water, mix until smooth. Add cake mix and mix well. Pour into greased 9" cake pan. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. (You can add a dash or cinnamon here if you want!) Bake 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amazing advancements

It is phenomenal the difference in the sheer quantity of information on food allergies that is currently available online compared to what I could find when I started learning 5 years ago. Where I struggled to find recipes and alternative products to use when cooking, now it is a few keystrokes away. I can not imagine what parents did 15 years ago when the information and alternative products were so rarely found. I know how much easier my life has gotten, just in the last few years, largely due to the vast increase in information and products. I love how many people have started a blog to share their own experience and information. It frequently makes me realize how little I really have to contribute when I read the wonderfully expressive thoughts of fellow allergy survivors. The devotion they have put into creating new recipes rather than just giving old recipes a facelift is amazing. And guilt inducing at times. Most of the time I am just grateful they are willing to share with me, and others, the things that make their life easier. The recipes that rock their tables. And I feel the pain of moms that have recently been thrown into camp with us, because it is overwhelming when you are just starting to learn. I am so thankful that they will have so many resources to turn to, so their learning will speed along and life will resemble normal sooner. Someday I will put the effort into making this a spot of inspiration rather than rambling, and focus on my writing skill as a craft as much as sharing thoughts and information. But for now it remains a site of ramblings from a mama that is learning....always learning more about how to feed a family with food allergies.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Meatloaf, revised

So, I looked at the old meatloaf recipe and realized that I don't make it like this anymore. I thought I would put the newly modified recipe up, with the stipulation that you can always omit things your family doesn't like, or substitute the things you can't have.

Allergy-free Meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey (don't use the super lean one)
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c oatmeal
1/2 onion, chpd fine (I give it a whirl in the food processor to chop, about 1/4 c)
1/2 gr pepper, chpd fine (same deal)
1/2 red pepper, chpd fine (whirl it again)
1/4 c spinach, chpd fine (I actually do this with a knife!)
6 baby bella mushrooms (whirl 'em up)
2-4 T water, as needed

Mix all seasonings first. Add veggies. You can substitute what you have on hand. (The baby bella mushrooms really enhance the taste!) Then work in the meat. Add the water a little at a time, you will need the full amount (and sometimes more) for lower fat turkey, and a bit less for higher fat turkey. If you add too much water, the meatloaf will not hold together well when slicing. It should produce a slightly sticky mixture. I usually try to blend it together around lunch time, and stick it in the fridge for the flavors to blend. It can be whipped together and tossed right into the oven, but I think it works better if you let it age in the fridge. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. Enjoy...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Allergy Free Biscuits

After a series of disappointing wheat free baking trials, each resulting in passable flavor but horrible texture, I have a winner. I made biscuits today that have good flavor, and good texture. I am so excited I had to share the recipe right away. It is adapted from the baking powder biscuit recipe in Betty Crocker's "new cookbook".

Allergy Free Biscuits

1/2 c shortening (I used Spectrum organic all vegetable shortening)
2 c gf all purpose flour*
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 c cold water

Heat oven to 450. Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in water until dough leaves side of bowl, it will be soft and sticky. (You may need to add more water a tbsp at a time.) Place spoonfuls of dough onto greased cookie sheet. (Pat lightly into shape if you desire. I flattened the peaks on mine a bit so they would make good sandwich biscuits.) Bake 10-12 minutes.

* I used one cup of GF all purpose baking flour from Bob's Red Mill brand, and one cup of GF all purpose flour mix from One is rice based and the other is bean based. This may account for the decent texture, but that's just a guess for now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Caramelized-Onion and Sweet Potato Skillet

I totally lifted this recipe from the Green Giant website. It rocks. My husband made it last night, and was skeptical because it "looks to simple to be any good". Trust me, it IS easy and simple, and it is fabulously tasty. It throws together quickly with few ingredients, and is just as good cold as it is warm. Try it. I did not have jerk seasoning laying around the house when I made this the first time, so I searched for a homemade jerk seasoning recipe. Feel free to make your own (mine is great) or buy a commercial one.

Caramelized-Onion and Sweet Potato Skillet

1 t vegetable oil (I use olive or safflower)
1/4 large sweet onion, sliced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t jerk seasoning
1 T chpd fresh parsley (optional)

In 10" skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sweet potato, cook about 5 minutes stirring occasionally until light brown. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir in brown sugar and jerk seasoning. Cook uncovered about 3 minutes until glazed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Baked Goods and Copyright Infringement

I am very new to the world of wheat free baked goods. My experiences so far have been making pumpkin muffins and banana muffins from scratch, and pancakes from a mix. The mix, from Cherrybrook Kitchen, is wonderful. The muffins have good flavor, but are a bit dense and gummy. I have no idea how to lighten them up, or take out the gumminess. I will have to keep experimenting. I am enjoying trying the recipes on . (Her muffin recipes are the ones I tried.)

I have to admit that I came across the FAST website, with their recipe section. (Food Allergy Survivors Together) I was amazed at how possessive they are with their recipes! All over the site are warnings on not printing them in any form anywhere else without proper citation. Yikes! I want to share every recipe that I've ever found to be yummy, and I hope it gets spread to millions of people so they can enjoy yummy food too. I have copied recipes for my file from so many sources over the years that I could not begin to properly credit the originator of the recipe. So, here and now, my apology. VERY few of the recipes I print are original. Some are stolen from a random source in their original form, and some are altered to better suit the needs and tastes of my family. I mean no offense, I want to share the wonder of a well made meal. I will, in the future, be more diligent about sharing the source of my inspiration and awe.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Return

We returned from vacation today. I have to admit that I was a little nervous leaving home without a solid grasp of what we can now eat. I worked out wonderfully. We ate like gourmet foodies (I think), and enjoyed every day. I really recommend that anyone with multiple allergies stay at a suite when traveling for more than one night. It is such a stress relief to know that you can always have safe food when you get back to the hotel.
We love Homewood Suites, but recently stayed in a Residence Inn. (A mistake by the way, for those of you who are allergic to animals. I did not know ahead of time that they allow animals. My eldest is VERY allergic to dogs, and I must admit, I freaked out. The manager did put us on the 'pet free floor'. She seemed okay in the room, but after 10 minutes in the lobby, she needed a Benadryl and a bath.) I digress.
I love having a full kitchen to cook in, and knowing that I can stock it with whatever foods I want. Granted, it is not fully stocked with all of the utensils that we get spoiled by in our own kitchens, but it has what you need to cook for a week. It is a luxury worth indulging in. Most families spend money eating out at restaurants the whole week, so grocery shopping is a money saver that can offset the added expense of a suite.
I will say that we had two restaurant experiences on our trip, both of which are worth sharing. Quaker Stake and Lube had an impressive knowledge of the allergens on their menu, and the waitress seemed genuinely concerned with accommodating us to the best of her ability. We had more options there than I would have imagined.
We also tried Houlihans. The waitress seemed unconcerned with learning about what would be safe for us, and suggested that instead of learning what is in the barbeque sauce we just order our chicken/salmon plain. I was so mad at her lack of concern and effort that I was ready to walk out, but the visit was saved by the appearance of the kitchen manager. He took us very seriously, and made the eldest feel like a princess by making her a special dish and delivering it himself. Kudos to him!
I think I am done rambling for now, I just wanted to offer encouragement to those who are wary of travel. It can be done, and done well. We had a ton of fun, ate well, played well, and felt normal the whole time. What a great relief!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Crazy for Raspberry

For those of you who don't cook, the next recipe will make you crazy. There really aren't measurements. I just dump it all together to get the texture and flavor I want. I did put a guess-timate for those of you who need a starting point. Taste and fix to your taste. Tonight, we will have sauteed chicken with raspberry sauce. Use your imagination, you could put it on mandarin oranges, pork chops, whatever.

Raspberry Sauce

2 T Simply fruit seedless raspberry jelly
1 T raspberry blush vinegar
1/2 t sugar

Mix all in small bowl. Microwave on high for 15-20 seconds. Stir. Serve warm. Drizzle over food of your choice. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Simple and Tasty

When I came across this recipe, I was doubtful that it could be anything special because it sounded too simple. I made it, and it was wonderful! Even my hubby, who does not like mandarin oranges, enjoyed this dish. The kiddos like it too! And it is so quick to throw together that it may become a staple in our house.

Mandarin Chicken

1 1/2 c rice
2 pounds chicken (I have used legs, thighs, and breasts. It's all good.)
1 c orange juice
1 c water
1 c chicken broth (be careful, many have allergens in some form!)
1 T barbecue sauce of your choice
1/2 t salt
dash pepper
1 8.5 oz mostly drained mandarin oranges
paprika (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 13x9 pan.

Spread uncooked rice in prepared pan. Lay chicken on top.

Whisk orange juice, water, broth, and barbecue sauce together in a bowl. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with oranges. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Bake for 65 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and rice is tender. (Time will vary based on type of chicken used, bone-in chicken takes a bit longer.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Score! Success number one!

Today I found a coconut milk based yogurt that is YUMMY! It is better than soy yogurt by far, and I think it is even better than dairy based yogurt. Now, just think, if we had not developed a soy allergy, we would likely have never found coconut milk yogurt. I love it, my daughter loves it, and my husband loves it. I'm sure the little girls will like it too when they try it. If you want to give it a whirl, we found it at Whole Foods Market, and it is "All Natural SO Delicious made with coconut milk". Yipee! There can be taste in our world still. Here's hope for tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

And the list grows!

We got word from the doctor's office yesterday that my eldest has added wheat and soy to her list of allergies. Which of course explains why her eczema is getting worse everyday, she is a walking ball of oozing itching girlie. Poor thing. And mama gives her at least 2 glasses of soymilk everyday, plus all the incidental soy. And wheat crackers are her favorite snack of late. So, the two of us were a discouraged pair yesterday. Now I get to learn a whole new way of feeding the family. I would love to hear from anyone with experience. In the meantime, here we go. Today's recipe:

Berry Strawberries

1 qt sliced strawberries
t T simply fruit red rasberry spread
1 t sugar (depending on how ripe and sweet your berries are, you may be able to skip this)

Microwave fruit spread 20 seconds, or until just melted. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour over sliced strawberries and toss to coat evenly. Enjoy! Simple and easy way to dress up berries for a fun change.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Better than Campbell's!

Ever notice how many baked casserole recipes call for cream of (fill in the blank) soup? Yes, of course you can substitute, but the result is not quite the same. And when feeding a husband with discriminating tastes, poor imitations are just that. Of course, my girls don't mind, as they haven't anything to compare to, so it's still yummy to them. This recipe, though, is incredible. It is so creamy, it tastes like there is an actual cream of whatever in there. Even my husband loved it. And took seconds. And thirds! What a success.

Mushroom Chicken and Rice Casserole

1/2 c dairy free margarine (we like earth balance and soy garden)
1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t garlic powder to taste
1/4 c plain (unsweetened) soymilk
2 c chicken broth
6 oz fresh sliced mushrooms of your choice
2 T onion, diced
3 c cooked rice
2 c diced cooked chicken (leftover roast chicken is great for this)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium to large skillet melt margarine. Saute mushroom and onion about 7 minutes until tender. Add flour, salt, pepper, garlic and combine well. Slowly add soymilk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Add rice and chicken, and stir until combined. Place in 13x9 pan. Garnish with paprika and parsley if desired. Bake 25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. YUM!

I have not tried this with wild rice yet, but I think it would be incredible to substitute wild rice for white rice. Let me know if you beat me to it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chocolate cake for all!

I am a chocolate addict. Seriously. When I had to give up dairy, eggs, and nuts while I was nursing my daughter 5 years ago, that hardest part was giving up chocolate. I never realized what a hard core addict I was until that time. Now, there are many more kinds of dairy free chocolate on the market than there were then. Back then, I went through a really ugly withdrawl, and finally figured out some creative solutions. One of them has become a reliable standby. Seriously moist and delightfully tasty chocolate cake. I have had numerous requests for this recipe from my non-allergic friends. So, here it is:

Alia friendly Chocolate Cake

2 2/3 c flour
2 t baking soda
2/3 c cocoa
2 c sugar
1 t salt
2 c water
2 t vanilla
2/3 c oil (I prefer to bake with corn oil- it lends a buttery flavor)
2 t vinegar

Preheat oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add liquid. Mix well. (Note: batter will be thin.) Bake in 2 greased layer pans or one 13x9x2 for 30 minutes. Cool and frost. (My husband has never liked my attempts at allergy friendly chocolate frosting, so I buy a tub of Pilsbury Chocolate Fudge. It is wonderful.) Don't blame me if you eat the whole cake in one day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Restaurant Roulette

So, those of you with food allergies understand how nerve wracking it can be to dine out. I know that for a very long time our dining out consisted of three local restaurants that we knew could be trusted. Now, with the introduction of the new allergy guidelines and information, it is amazing how many companies have their allergy information on their web site. It's nice to see where we might have options before getting in the car.
 I know that some nights a mama just does NOT want to cook, especially when you make three meals a day, two snacks a day, seven days a week. And there is no ordering pizza. Ever. No mac and cheese. Don't get me wrong, we have quick options- God Bless Tyson! They were among the first to be dairy free in the world of chicken nuggets. A mom has to have some shortcuts.
 Still, it's nice to eat out now and then. And now that the world seems to be getting more aware of food allergies, it's easier to find restaurants that I can trust. Even at that, I do worry about the cooks who are not careful about cross contamination, or servers who do not accurately convey the allergy part of the order. So, anytime that I have any doubt, I do ask to speak to a manager. Of course, I always make it clear that the server is not at fault (unless of course it WAS the server with a lackadaisical attitude.), but that we need extra assurance because of the severity of the issue.
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE Aladdin's eatery in Grandview, as the staff there is so knowledgeable about the menu contents and allergy information. They have a particularly wonderful man there named Michael that really won over our family. He is super friendly, and has an amazing memory! He remembers us and our eating limitations, and even bits of information we share on our daily life. I absolutely trust that eating there will be a good experience. I really wish that everyone with a food allergy could find one restaurant that they could trust as much, because everyone needs a break on occasion. Good luck, and good eating!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Successful Snacking!

My girls are getting tired of the same old snacks, so I am on a quest to shake it up. I want healthier and more varied foods to serve, so that their palettes will be open to new experiences. Yesterday was pumpkin dip for their graham crackers. They licked the bowl! So, here is the super simple recipe for a quick and delicious snack pumpkin lovers can enjoy:

Pumpkin Cracker Dip

1/2 can pumpkin
1/4 c powdered sugar, or to taste
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2 T silk original creamer

Wisk all ingredients together in bowl. Dip graham crackers, cinnamon chips, or your favorite crunchy snack. The spices can all be altered to fit your tastes, I was trying for spices that would mimic the pumpkin pie flavor, since my girls LOVE pumpkin pie. (Vegan pumpkin pie is actually quite yummy.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Meatloaf my way

Meatloaf is such a comfort food for me. I couldn't eliminate it from my diet, but leaving out eggs, dairy and beef meant some adaptations. I really never measure anything, I just throw it all together, so the following measurements are guess-timates. I often change up the add ins based on what is on hand, so feel free to play with it to customize it to your family tastes. I have added parsley, red pepper, mushrooms, even shredded carrot! This one is good, my husband loves it, and so does my mother-in-law. We have it frequently, and it is even awesome cold on a meatloaf sandwich.


1 pound ground turkey (I like the 7% fat variety, more fat is good with meatloaf)
1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t dried sage
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t ground dry mustard
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1 t olive oil (use a bit more if use lower fat turkey)
3 slices bread, processed into crumbs in food processor
1 small onion, chpd in food processor
1/2 green pepper, chpd in food processor
1/4 c fresh spinach, chpd fine
2-3 T nutritional yeast (optional)

Mix all seasonings first, then work in meat. If the mix seems a bit dry, you can add up to 1/2 cup of water. (Careful though, because adding too much water makes it so tender that it will fall apart instead of cutting.) For best flavor I assemble this at lunch time and let it sit in the fridge until it's time to make dinner. I have even prepared it the night before and the flavors have time to really blend for super yummy results! Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Welcome to my world.

Being a mom means always thinking about food. It starts with the birth of baby one, and continues until all the kids cook for themselves. I'm not there yet. I'm past the bottles and baby food though! With three preschoolers/toddlers at home, food is always a few minutes away. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and sometimes, ANOTHER snack. Really, is it any wonder stay at home moms struggle to maintain a healthy weight when they are constantly around food? And in my life, we have food allergies to contend with, so eating is a bit of an extra challenge.
 My eldest is allergic to dairy, eggs, nuts, and beef. So we cook creatively. At first it was HARD! The dairy council is an un-named mafia in this country. Really! I remember shopping right after the allergies were finally named, and picking up a package of frozen chicken breast. Thinking it totally unnecessary, I checked the ingredient list only to find MILK! In frozen chicken breast. Milk is the hardest for us to avoid, because it hides in so many places. Now it's even in soap. What's up with that?
 The good news is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new allergy labeling. Those days of spending three hours on every grocery trip reading every ingredient list for every food I touched are gone. Granted, there seem to be some loopholes, so I still pay careful attention, but my time in the store has been cut way down.
 I'm rambling. The real reason I decided to blog is that it's hard to feed kids, and even more so when you have to avoid whole groups of food. I wanted a place to share my frustration, but more so my success. I want to share the winning recipes that the kids approve of, and the husband will enjoy too! Sometimes he is pickier than they are, because he comes from a history of eating with no limitations, so substitutions don't always go well with him.
 Here I am to share food that my kids eat. I am going to share food my whole family will eat. We will build a cookbook for kids, one recipe at a time.
 Thanks for tuning in, and know that allergy free cooking gets easier with practice. I'd love to hear from you, frustrations, questions, and tips for making it easier. More soon, right now, the dirty kitchen is demanding attention so that I can start the never ending food parade again tomorrow.