Thursday, February 26, 2009

Celebration Time!

And our house is happy. Really happy. Sometime ago, what feels like eons but was actually only 7 months, we added soy and wheat to our list of foods to avoid. Why? Because mommy noticed the allergic kiddo got a tummy ache every morning after drinking her soy milk. And because we had RAST testing that showed a mild soy and wheat allergy. This week we braved the week of no allergy medicine in order to get the dreaded skin prick testing to confirm the allergy. And the skin prick testing says NO REACTION!

I know, I know, either one in isolation is not entirely reliable. And your actual reaction after ingesting suspected foods is more valid than any test. I know. But. To see that there was no wheal. To know that we can start to add soy and wheat back into our diet and watch to see how she reacts. It makes us feel normal again. And hopeful.

Oddly though, we have no plans of resuming our former diet completely. We still plan on keeping soy and wheat limited. Why? We eat so much healthier. We have learned a lot of alternative foods that we would not have tried before are really quite tasty. I've seen so much research hinting that maybe wheat isn't so good for us anyway. Everything in moderation. So many reasons.

To have the freedom to add a bit of soy butter or wheat flour to our diet is a wonderful option, don't get me wrong. We fully plan on it. Just keeping it in moderation.

And Alia. She is so excited about having REAL toast in the near future. How can you say no to that? What she missed the most is toast. Children have a whole different perspective on the things that are valuable to their pallette. I love it.

So, we'll still be posting allergy friendly recipes. You may see wheat and soy creeping in from time to time. When possible, I'll include how to alter the recipe to omit these.

Until then, sing a little happy song for us. We'll keep hoping it's your turn soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Raspberry Upside Down Cake

So, I needed a birthday cake to celebrate two February Birthdays. One that would be allergy friendly, but still good enough that my husband could eat it. One of the birthdays was his, after all. Maybe even allow a little Valentines influence to creep in. Oh, and not too hard.

How to start? I had a box of 365 brand GF white cake mix in the cupboard. Not as good as homemade, but not a bad place to start. And, a recipe for sweet potato coffee cake from The Gluten Free Goddess that the girls adore...which just happens to be based on said boxed mix. Sweet potato birthday cake? I think not.

Sooo...what then? Hmmm. Then it hit me- I want raspberry. Surely I can start with a basic recipe and make some changes. Here is what I got:

Raspberry Upside Down Cake

1 4 oz jar raspberry baby food
2 T safflower oil
2 T olive oil
2 Ener-G eggs
1/4 c coconut milk
1/4 c apple juice
1 tsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp raspberry extract

1 box 365 GF cake mix

1 bag frozen raspberries
1/2 c brown sugar

Beat first set of ingredients until well combined. Add cake mix and beat until well combined, then beat on high for one additional minute. Generously grease one 9" cake pan. Sprinkle frozen raspberries in bottom of pan and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until knife tests clean. Be sure not to poke all the way down into the topping, or the knife will never come out clean! Allow to cool on rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Then run a knife carefully around outside edge to loosen and invert onto serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar, or pipe your favorite icing around the edges. Serve warm or cold, tasty both ways.

Cooks Notes- I only had half a bag of raspberries, and the cake needed more. When I make it again I will use the whole bag. The sugar is a guess, as usual, based on the few handfuls that I tossed on. You can alter this to your taste, but don't skimp too much as this helps the topping to be gooey and sweet. Sometimes raspberries need a little help with the sweet part. Also, next time I might use an entire 1/2 c of coconut milk and omit the apple juice. I think it lends a nice undertone to the flavor, and blends well with the raspberries. I'm going to work with the recipe to see if I can find a cake that I like better than the box mix. I think that homemade lets you blend the flours and get a richer, more 'normal' flavor and texture in the cake. I'll let you know when I hit a winner. In the meantime, this is tasty enough to keep serving!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sweet Potato Cereal?

Yes, my allergic kiddo needs more veggies in her day. Now that she is packing her lunches, and won't eat SOOO many foods if they are cold, less veggies make it into her day. My thought: She hates oatmeal, and most traditional breakfast foods are out for us. Why not serve vegetables at breakfast? Hmmm...

Enter sweet potatoes. My kids love 'em. Seems like a good intro to veggies at breakfast. Now, to make them seem less like a vegetable and more like a breakfast, for those of us with more traditional breakfast fares in mind. Something creamy, and with a bit of fat the help it stick around until lunch time. But healthy fats if possible. Ready?

Creamy Sweet Potato Cereal

  • 3/4 c cold mashed sweet potatoes, unsweetened
  • 1/4 c coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/4 c hemp milk
  • maple syrup, to taste (I used about 3 T)
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cream of rice (optional)

Heat sweet potatoes, milks, syrup and cinnamon over low heat to simmering. Adjust liquid as needed to reach desired consistency. (Think cream of wheat.) Simmer 1-2 minutes and serve. You can add cream of rice as needed to thicken the cereal if you went crazy with the milk, or don't have time to simmer it to the desired thickness.

As is getting to be the general state of affairs with me, all of the above measurements are estimates, because I have learned to just eyeball it when cooking. Just dump in the amount that seems right. The coconut milk adds sweetly rich creaminess and stick-to-your-ribs fat, the hemp milk adds healthy omegas, and the sweet potatoes are a fountain of good for you yumminess. Serve with brown rice toast and jelly to fill up the meal. Non traditional, sure. Tasty? You betcha!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

BOOYAH! Banana Muffins

So, I have been baking dairy and egg free for 5 years. In five years, my hubby has not enjoyed baked goods at our house, the flavor and texture is too different. He always tastes a bite, but never more. "No thanks," he always says. "They're good, but..."

But today was different. Today my two year old brought him a banana muffin to taste. Not just dairy and egg free, but also soy and wheat free. I expected a smile, a taste, and an encouragement along the lines of "Yummy! Here, you eat it!". I did not expect to look up and see an empty muffin wrapper in his hand.

He ate it. He really ate it. And he said it was good. Wow. Yes, of course he could have taken one for the team (finally) and snarfed it down quickly to avoid tasting it. That's not his style. He knows that if he pretends to like it, I just keep making it. Better to be honest and keep working than suffer through known disasters. So, yes, I think he might have actually liked it.

And that, my dear, is high praise.

So, here is my take on banana muffins. Of course, the recipe is modified from VegWeb, under Crazy Good Banana Muffins. I hope the author won't mind me using hers as the jumping in point.

BOOYAH! Banana Muffins

  • 1/4 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 c brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c GF flour blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 bananas (VERY ripe, they are good until they are moldy)
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T corn oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine flours, soda, baking powder, salt and xanthan in a large mixing bowl. In smaller bowl mash the bananas and add sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add wet to dry and mix just until moistened. Fill lined muffin cups and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait

What to serve a finicky eater with food allergies for breakfast? Time to start breaking away from "traditional" fare. At our house, anything goes these days. Today was moderately traditional, except the kiddos think they had dessert for breakfast. That's the best way to make it disappear quickly!

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait
  • 1/2 c safe granola (I use Cascadian Farms Honey and Oat)
  • 8 oz vanilla yogurt (I used SO Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt)
  • 12 oz pumpkin pudding (see below)

Presentation counts on this one! Put 2 Tbsp granola in the bottom of each of 3 glass custard dishes (or dish of your choice). Follow with a layer of yogurt, about 2 ounces each. Put a layer of pudding on, about 4 ounces each. Using remaining yogurt, put a spoonful on top of each dish for decoration, followed by a sprinkle of granola. Serve and watch it disappear.

Vegan Pumpkin Pudding
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c cold ricemilk (I used Horchatta)
  • 3/4 c cold hemp milk
  • 1/4 c potato starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves, dash nutmeg)
  • 1/2 c sugar
Combine all ingredients thoroughly in a food processor. Transfer to small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Chill and serve.

Honestly, I am still tweaking this recipe. It's ok, but not awesome. I would have preferred to use tapioca starch as it is a little sweeter, but I was out. I added sugar to taste, so the amount above is a guess. I'll keep working and let you know when it is perfect. In the meantime, it's decently healthy, and the kids love it.