Friday, December 14, 2007

Chili - No Beef, Tomatoes, Cheese

I was inspired to come up with a chili recipe one night when I looked on the menu and saw the same old rotation diet list: buffalo and turnips. I was tired, and remembered how easy it was to make chili - brown ground beef, combine it with some canned tomatoes and kidney beans, then enjoy. So here's my version of chili (we can't have tomatoes, ground beef, pinto or kidney beans, or cheese).

1 lb ground buffalo
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can white beans
about 1 quart bag cooked frozen turnips in cubes (or fresh, cooked if you have them)
about 3 cups vegetable broth
chili powder, to taste
sweet paprika, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

Brown the ground buffalo, onion, and garlic. Combine the turnips and vegetable broth in a pot, cook until tender. Gently mash turnips with a potato masher, add water to bring to a "soupy" consistency if needed, then add beans, meat, and spices. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with grated carrot sprinkled on top.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Shepherd's Pie (no beef, tomatoes, wheat)

For some strange reason, I'll always remember the time my Aunt Patty made Shepherd's Pie and brought it over to our house. It was creamy, with green beans, and mashed potatoes. This had to have been at least 15 years ago, but I still remember how great it was. There is a Shepherd's Pie recipe in Cybele Pascal's Allergy Cookbook, but it has evolved into my own recipe, tailored to my family's needs. Here's my new Shepherd's Pie recipe:

7-8 all-purpose baking potatoes
1 package frozen green beans
1/2 package frozen corn
1 lb. ground buffalo
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
2 cups vegetable broth
2 T. oat flour
2 T. olive oil
1 cup rice milk
1 t. chili powder
2 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. cumin

For the mashed potatoes: wash, peel, and cut potatoes into small cubes. Place in boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash with a little rice milk and olive oil.

Brown the ground buffalo, then add the onion and carrot. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until carrots are soft and buffalo is no longer pink.

In a small saucepan, combine the 2 T. olive oil and 2 T. oat flour over medium heat. Add the vegetable broth and rice milk, stir constantly, and cook until thickened. Stir in spices.

Spread green beans in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Add corn and ground buffalo mixture. Pour sauce/gravy over everything and top with mashed potatoes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly and potatoes are slightly browned.

I actually divided up the ingredients between two glass casserole dishes: one for my kids (no spices, no corn), and one for us.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Easy Pasta dish - no wheat or tomatoes (cheese & nuts optional)

I came up with an easy pasta dish:

1 package of brown rice pasta (or you can use wheat or quinoa)
Frozen vegetables such as peas, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, summer squash
Some pesto (see below)
Pine Nuts (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, steam the frozen vegetables (I do this in the micro) until tender-crisp. Toss everything together and you have a pasta-pesto dish.

Pesto: Combine 1 clove garlic, some fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and pine nuts (optional) or parmesan cheese (optional) in the food processor. Process until it forms a thick paste.

This is a great easy dish for a family with multiple different food allergies, because you can reserve a little pesto without nuts (for the kids) and add cheese later for those who can have it. For those who can eat cooked chicken pieces, you can toss that in too. Otherwise, my husband just ate his with fish.

Freezing Vegetable Broth

Last blog, I wrote I would stop using the glass Ball/Mason Jars for freezing soups/broth and revert back to plastic or pyrex. Some advice from a recent Martha Stewart Living magazine came in handy...freeze broth in one-cup muffin tins (like ice cubes). Then you can pop them out and store them in a ziplock freezer bag until you're ready to use them. Just take out as many "ice cubes" as cups of broth called for in the recipe and you're done. It worked wonderfully. I just had to be very careful putting the filled muffin tins in the freezer, and I used my thumb to firmly press on the back of the muffin tin in the middle of the cup to remove the "ice cubes" of broth. They gently popped out and it worked very well. A little more work up front, but it was very easy to just pop two "cups" of vegetable broth out of the freezer to boil my cabbage.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grandma B's Chicken Noodle Soup

My mom's most famous meals always involve putting a whole bunch of meat and vegetables in a huge roasting pan, and roasting them in the oven until they are so tender they simply fall apart when you put them in your mouth. My daughter and I were wanting some chicken noodle soup that we could keep in the freezer (an alternative to canned). Here's Grandma "B's" recipe for chicken noodle soup:

Rinse a whole, cut up chicken in cold water and put it in a roasting pan. Sprinkle in cut-up carrots, celery, and onions. Add at least 2" of water, cover with aluminum foil, and roast at 350 degrees for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Roast on the bottom rung of the oven. Then, dice up the chicken, cool and freeze the broth, vegetables and chicken. When ready to eat, simply thaw and add some pasta, noodles, or rice and water (if necessary) and cook in a saucepan on the stove until grain is tender. You can add your own salt/pepper to taste.

It's turned out great, but again I've had a problem freezing in the glass Ball canning jars. They keep breaking on me and it's hard to remember to take them out of the freezer in advance. If I do this again, I'm going back to plastic freezer containers or Pyrex.

Unfortunately, this one is only allergy-free for my daughter and also makes great "baby food" for my 14-month old in the blender. However, my husband loved the pork tenderloin I made in the slow-cooker with carrots, onions, garlic, parsnips and salt/pepper (another "Grandma B" dish).

Sushi and Granola Bars

When my sister came to visit, she gave me $20 and requested I pick up some California Rolls and Granola Bars for her at Whole Foods. While she's watching the kids, my husband and I go into the store and look at the California Rolls - we think about the nori, carrots, avocado, wheat-free tamari soy sauce and cooked frozen shrimp we have at home. We decide, "let's just roll our own at home, it will be fun!" So we pick up a cucumber, wasabi powder, and some special sushi rice out of the bulk food section and off we go. And as for the granola bars - I didn't want to spend hours reading boxes to find some without soy, peanuts, nuts, or trans fat in case my daughter were to want one (which is likely), so I decide to make those myself too, and we buy some chocolate chips (for a special treat).

When we got home, I cut up the vegetables while my husband de-thawed the shrimp and put the rice in the rice cooker. A couple of his rolling tricks: (1) put the rice in a wooden bowl to cool and absorb excess water, (2) use rice vinegar (we used brown rice vinegar) to make the rice not so sticky.

I made the granola bars after dinner, which were from the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook" and simply involved stirring all the ingredients together (I used 1/4 c honey and 1/2 brown rice syrup) and pressing them into the cookie sheet. I also added some unsweetened shredded coconut sprinkled on top.

It did take a little longer, but it was very rewarding to make our own food at home.

My Sister's Visit - Indian Dhal (Lentils)

I wanted to try out some new Indian recipes when my sister came for a visit - since I think it's probably her favorite kind of food. For all of you Indian cooking experts out there, please comment and tell me how I could do better! I tried a lentil soup called "Dhal Panch-phoron" which translates to "red lentils with five-spice seasoning." The basic recipe, from "Secrets From An Indian Kitchen" by Mridvla Baljekar, is the following:

1 cup red split lentils
4 1/2 cups of water
1/2 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
2 T ghee (I used canola oil)
1/2 t five-spice mix
2-4 small dried red chilies (which I omitted)

The five-spice mix consists of 1 t cumin seeds, 1 t fennel seeds, 1 t black mustard seeds, 1 t onion seeds, and 1/2 t fenugreek seeds. Basically you simmer the lentils for about 25 minutes. The really neat part is what you do with the spices: you heat the oil in a steel ladle over the gas stove, then add the five-spice mix and chilies and let them sizzle a few minutes (until the chilies are blackened). You want to be careful to not burn the spices, you are just infusing the oil with the flavors. The aroma in the house is beautiful! Then you carefully lower the hot ladle into the lentils, and the spices spread to the whole dish. It is a wonderful technique and I'm so glad I learned it!

I improvised on my five-spice mix, just using what I had in the house: cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seed and I had to just stir in some powdered fenugreek. But it still turned out absolutely wonderful. I'm sure it would be better if I got the right spices.

Pumpkin Pie Experiment - Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's an egg, dairy, refined sugar, and wheat-free pumpkin pie recipe I've devised, which has its roots from one that was in an old Martha Stewart "Pies & Tarts" cookbook.

I found vegan pie recipes on-line, but they were all made with soy (my daughter is allergic to soy). The pumpkin pie recipe in the "Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide" was made with gelatin and a refrigerated pie (no baking, except for the crust). I was determined to perfect, or come as close as I could to perfect, a pumpkin pie with no eggs, dairy, or refined sugar.

The first time I tried, I used a whole can of coconut milk and substituted the sugar with honey - and it turned out more like pudding than pie (first picture with coconut sprinkled on top). The second time (second picture) it was a much better consistency, and my sister (the avid taste-tester) said it tasted "normal."

For the crust, see the apple pie post (and just half that recipe if you only want one pie). The first crust (the filling that failed) I made with oat/millet flour, the second crust was oat/corn flour. Oat/brown rice also works too. You could use gluten-free flours for a gluten-free version. They were all tasty.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
One 15oz can pumpkin puree (just get the one that's plain pumpkin, or make your own puree if you are so inclined)
1/2 cup coconut cream (do not shake a can of regular coconut milk...I used the Thai Kitchen brand...and skim the cream off the top of the can)
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
4 1/2 t of Ener-G-egg replacer mixed with three T of rice milk or water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer and pour into the pie shell. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool or refrigerate before serving (I let mine cool overnight in the refrigerator, which I think helps it to slice better). Also, I think that I mixed up the egg replacer with the rice milk too soon. The pie would probably rise higher if I blended the rest of the ingredients first, then mixed up the egg replacer and added that last, transferring to the pie shell and oven quickly to aid in leavening. Makes one 8" pie.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Halloween - Carob Cupcakes

Like most moms, I really didn't want my kids eating a bunch of candy for Halloween - with enough refined sugar and chocolate (think, caffeine) it would mess up their sleep schedule and make them cranky for days. So I came up with Carob Cupcakes, my own variation of the Chocolate Cake recipe in the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook.

1/2 c safflower oil
1/2 c honey or brown rice syrup
1 t vanilla
3 t Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed with 4 T. rice milk
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c oat flour
1 c brown rice flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 c carob powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c rice milk

First beat together the oil and honey/brown rice syrup. Then add vanilla, egg replacer, and applesauce. Then I just beat in everything else all at once to save time. Pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (time will depend on how big your cupcakes are).

I made the frosting from the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook" too, and just used regular food coloring. If anyone knows of a "natural" food coloring, let me know, but for this Halloween I just used what I could find. We had green, orange, and yellow carob cupcakes.

Milo-Sweet Potato Muffins

The Milo-Sweet Potato Muffins in "The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide" are exceptional. Though I suppose you would say they were a "heavy" muffin, we all eat them like dessert since they're so sweet! If you have given up refined sugar, you will know they taste sweet. If you're still a sugar-addict though, they might not be for you.

Milo is also called Sorghum. I've used Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour for these muffins. It's a great way to use up leftover sweet potatoes, and the recipe is so basic and easy - just sweet potato, milo/sorghum flour, salt, baking soda, unbuffered vitamin C powder, and oil. I believe that sorghum would also be gluten-free. I used unbleached baking cups from Whole Foods.

Quinoa/Apple Pancakes - A Success!

The headline sort of reminds me of my AQ Times writing years. A lot of headlines were "XXX - A Success!" Things have changed a lot since those good 'ol days. Anyway, these pancakes were finally "a success" after getting a non-stick griddle. I also made some adjustments to the basic recipe in "The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide." The basic recipe calls for quinoa and tapioca flour, baking soda, unbuffered vitamin C powder, cinnamon, oil, and water. I used fresh apple cider for the water, and added apple and hazelnut chunks. They were different pancakes than "normal" - the texture is a little more sticky. But they were mighty tasty and made the whole house smell like fall.

Previously I tried the quinoa/tapioca pancakes in a stainless steel fry pan, and they stuck so badly it was impossible to cook them. The non-stick griddle worked exceptionally well. When I went to buy a non-stick griddle I was shocked by how much they cost. I ended up getting one from Target.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hot Carob Sauce

I've been experimenting with a "hot fudge sauce" without chocolate, butter, milk, or sugar. How's that for completely changing an original? Anyway, here's what I've come up with so far:

1 T. Coconut Oil
3 T. Honey

Melt together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.

3 T. Better Than Milk Rice Powder (Vanilla)
2 T. Carob Powder
1/2 cup rice milk

Whisk together in a small measuring cup. Add to oil & honey in saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook for about 1-2 minutes on low heat.

Combine 1 T. rice milk with 1/2 t. arrowroot powder. Add to saucepan, continuing to whisk ingredients together. Cook for about 1 minute longer on low heat. Continue to whisk while you allow the sauce to cool (I think this helps the coconut oil and honey mix in better.)

I put mine on regular ice cream, but you could use rice dream for a vegan dessert. Sprinkle a little unsweetened coconut on the top for crunch without using nuts.

It tasted great, the only think I found is that the sauce doesn't really "stick" to the rice or ice kind of runs off a little.

Homemade Granola - Day 4 of Rotation Diet

I came up with a great granola recipe that includes most of the foods from Day 4 of the Rotation Diet in Dumke's allergy survival guide.

Angela's Homemade Granola:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds (borrow from Day 3)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (secret tasty ingredient - my mother-in-law's idea)
1/2 cup chopped dried dates

Mix everything but the dried fruit in a bowl. Pour onto a lightly greased baking sheet and spread out. Bake 300 degrees for 10 minutes, stir, bake another 10 min, stir. Check to see if toasty brown...if not bake another 5 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes then put into a big bowl and stir in dates. (I remove it from the baking sheet so it doesn't cool and stick to the baking sheet). Eat warm and cool completely before putting away. I store mine in a glass Ball canning jar in the refrigerator, but it doesn't usually last long.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kitchen Organization Advice

I love great kitchen organization advice!

One great idea from my mother-in-law:
- get your cookbooks spiral bound at Staples/Office Max (they cut off the spine and put a spiral in so you can turn your pages)
- use a cookbook stand (I got a great one with a plastic shield to prevent spills from Crate & Barrel, less than $25)

Here's a few ideas I've come up with:
- pantry organization: use clear glass wide mouth quart/pint Ball/Mason Canning Jars with plastic screw top lids. Label everything. It's cheap and helps when you are cooking with several different grains and buy in bulk from the health-food store.
-I also got some nice clear glass jars from Ikea for larger items like rye and oat flakes
- use tension curtain rods and hooks wherever they will fit to create bars to hang light little utensils or measuring cups on.
-keep a spray bottle of mild dishwashing liquid (I use Ivory) mixed with water by the sink. It's useful for spraying and rinsing out big pots and pans while you're cooking, spraying and wiping counters and tables, and cleaning little spills before they become huge messes.
-I love this breadkeeper for homemade bread, well worth the $10: Progressive International Clearly Fresh Bread Keeper. I also add a little wheat gluten to my homemade bread to keep it fresher longer (not exactly allergy-free though).

Grandma's applesauce

We went apple picking, like most everyone enjoying New England's harvest, and we came home with more apples than we knew what to do with.

I made some of my grandmother's applesauce -basically just a bunch of cut up apples in water to cover, then gently simmered until they become a thick applesauce (the picture shows it in the beginning, not the final product). Applesauce doesn't get any tastier or easier than this - my mother used to spend hours straining, pressing...who has time for that?

Also, I made two different apple pies (compare the allergenic from the non-allergenic in the picture above...):

My husband's (no dairy, butter, wheat, refined sugar - on the right):
2 c oat flour
1 c yellow corn masa flour (yes, the same flour to make tortillas)
1/4 t salt
1/2 c vegetable shortening
8 T ice water
2 T safflower oil
6 large apples
2 T oat flour
1/4 c honey
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

My daughter's (no corn, refined sugar - on the left):
Grandma's pie crust:
2 c white bread flour
1/2 t salt
2/3 c canola oil
1/3 c whole milk
(note: crust got a little brown because I baked it with my husband's which requires a higher temperature.)
6 large apples
2 T flour
1/4 c honey
(she's sensitive to any spices)
2 T butter

Rye Waffles - Boring Rotation Diet

My grandmother always used to say, "Never eat the same food all the a good variety out of the different food groups every day." The past couple of weeks we've really been working on a rotation diet. A rotation diet is where you rotate the foods you're eating (and foods in the same family) over a period of 4 days. The basic idea is to prevent the development of further food sensitivities by allowing potential allergens to clear out of your body before you introduce them again. I say, "boring" because we've just been following the standard rotation diet in "The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide" by Nicolette Dumke where all the foods are assigned to each day for four days. We haven't figured out how to incorporate our usual recipes into this rotation yet, "borrowing" foods from one day and moving them around. So we've just been eating very simple meals - broiled/roasted meat/fish, steamed vegetables, and salads.

All of the recipes in this food allergy cookbook are incredibly simple with minimal ingredients. They are easy and incorporate many different and "exotic" foods, but I've been spoiled by the gourmet taste in Cybele Pascal's allergy cookbook. I've become confident in Cybele's recipes that they will turn out, whereas in Nicolette's book I'm still uncertain. However, the pancake, waffle, and cookie recipes all include numerous combinations of grains and flours to go along with the rotation diet, and all it takes is a little more willingness to experiment.

What works: By far, our favorites in this cookbook are the tortillas, crackers, waffles and pancakes. We particularly like the rye waffles - which are just basic rye flour, baking soda, unbuffered vitamin C powder, salt, oil and water. The teff waffles turned out pretty good too (though teff flour is expensive). I tried the teff crackers and those weren't bad, they would have been a little crisper if I had rolled the dough thinner. Teff has a neat flavor - maybe it's the dark color, but it reminds me a bit of chocolate.

What hasn't worked well for us: The quinoa-tapioca pancakes seemed to stick to my stainless steel skillet (which I generally use to make pancakes), even after I used coconut oil to grease the pan. I've since bought a non-stick skillet, so I'll have to try that next time. Also, the rolled cookies sweetened with stevia just seemed like eating a bunch of flour - very crumbly and sticky. I used oat flour instead of the flours recommended...because we couldn't eat kamut, spelt, amaranth or barley. If I try rolled cookies again, I'll just go with the maple sugar ones in Cybele Pascal's book.

Easy Skillet Dinner - No Cheese, Tomato, Beef, Wheat

"What's this...some kind of goulash?" I have to give my husband credit, he'll try anything. One night, I was craving an easy old-fashioned mac n' cheese skillet dinner like my family used to have when I was a kid. Remember "Hamburger Helper"? Since I gave up packaged dinners I haven't had anything like this in a while. There are lots of skillet dinner recipes out there, but most of them with tomatoes. I made up a recipe on my own - no cheese, beef, tomatoes, or wheat.

1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground buffalo (probably venison or any game would work too)
1 carrot, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 pkg frozen baby lima beans
2 cups of cooked winter squash (you can make this ahead of time and freeze it)
dried onion, parsley, salt & pepper to taste
brown rice spiral pasta, cooked

Brown onion with the ground meat in a large skillet. Add the carrot and zucchini, cover and cook about 10 min on medium heat, or until soft. Add lima beans, squash, and spices (you may need more water if it seems too dry) and cook covered for another 7-8 minutes. Stir in the brown rice pasta and serve.

If you can tolerate cheese, it's good with a little shredded cheese sprinkled on at the end - I used cheddar, but you could use grated Parmesan too. Otherwise, my husband adds sea salt to make up for the saltiness of cheese.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Really Cool Website

I just found a great website for allergy-free cooking/baking:

It is neat because you can make a profile and check the foods you are allergic to, then a green icon will appear next to recipes you can have, and a red icon appears next to the ones that have ingredients you are allergic to.

I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but will post them if I do.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Experimenting with Tortillas

I wanted to branch out from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal that I use 90% of the time, and decided to get "The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide" by Nicolette Dumke. I began experimenting with tortilla-making. I was also tired of buying expensive corn-only tortillas at Whole Foods, and they really didn't hold together well even when I could find them. I happened upon some Instant Corn Masa flour (Maseca) at Whole Foods and now I could never go back to buying tortillas.

The corn ones turned out great. I was worried that they didn't look as perfectly round as the store-bought ones, but my husband said they tasted "yummy and homemade".

There are directions on the flour package, but basically you mix flour, salt, and water together to form a "play-dough" consistency, roll into little balls, and flatten with a rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap. Then, cook over medium heat for about 50 seconds on each side. You kind of have to practice a little to get the right consistency. I found it worked best to pound mine out a little with the rolling pin to get a good circle shape started before I roll, and I cover the balls with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out quickly. I like my cast iron skillet to cook them in.

The only other tortillas I've tried are the rye, and those were a little more tricky (just learning to work with the rye flour), but overall they turned out pretty good.

More updates to come on this one (I've got to look into tortilla makers, try different flours, etc). Apparently you can make tortillas out of kamut, barley, milo-arrowroot, amaranth, white sweet potato flour, rye, teff, buckwheat, yam-water chestnut flour, spelt, quinoa, cassava, oat, rice, chestnut, malanga-arrowroot, and garbanzo.

First Birthday Cake

For my son's first birthday, I had to consider what kind of cake to make for him. I made one of the boxed cake mixes for my daughter's first birthday...and now I regret not baking one from scratch (even if I was going to use milk, eggs, butter, and least it would be fresh and not contain aluminum baking powder).

I decided to make a cake our whole family could enjoy...the Orange Layer Cake from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. I was still concerned about my one-year-old eating honey, but figured that for as little cake as he would eat he would be alright. He's further behind his sister at eating, as he is still breastfed and we haven't pushed too much food at him given the allergies that run in the family. Although honey is still sugar, it has to be better for you than refined sugar.

This was a vegan eggs, butter, milk, wheat, refined sugar. And, I use aluminum-free baking powder in all my baking. I juiced the oranges for the fresh orange juice, and ran the peels through the juicer to get them all ground up for the zest it calls for in the recipe.

The cake itself consists generally of oat/brown rice flour, safflower oil, honey, vanilla, Ener-G-Egg Replacer (a great egg substitute), unsweetened applesauce, orange juice and orange zest. The frosting is a neat little creation using vegetable shortening, honey (and I used 1/2 the honey it called for and 1/2 brown rice syrup so it wouldn't be so sweet), vanilla, rice milk, "Better Than Milk" Vanilla Rice Powder (I found this on - it's like powdered sugar only better), and the zest of an orange. It was pretty hot that day and so the frosting is a little gooey and runny, but I guess that's part of the fun!

Moroccan Vegetable Tangine

This recipe from the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal turned out great in my crock pot. I also used blanched, frozen turnips and substituted a package of cooked winter squash for the 1 1/2 cups of canned tomatoes the recipe calls for. Included in this stewed creation are onions, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric (we leave out the cayenne and cinnamon), carrots, turnips, potatoes, the squash, vegetable broth, honey, zucchini, lemon juice, chickpeas, currants, saffron (I found some at Trader Joe's cheap), and salt.

Vegetable Broth

I've searched for a commercially prepared vegetable broth without celery, and there's only one that my husband doesn't react to (Health Valley Fat-free Vegetable Broth). I decided to just make up batches of my own and freeze them in Ball Canning Jars. I learned my lesson about filling them too full after I broke four jars, and this time I only filled the jars with 3 cups of broth. I used 6 cups of coarsely chopped vegetables (carrots, yellow squash, leeks, green bell pepper), 1 onion, fresh parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, garlic, fresh bay leaves, and 8 cups of water.

I just let it simmer for 2 hours, then I juice the cooked vegetables in my juicer to extract the maximum liquid and combine it with the broth. Then I let it cool, refrigerate overnight, label and freeze.

What I have to get better at is thinking ahead for when I will need it so it has time to defrost. The canning jars unfortunately won't fit in my small microwave.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Vegetables for BREAKFAST???

Would you like some brussels sprouts with that?

After reading "The Schwarzbein Principle...A Regeneration Process to Prevent and Reverse Accelerated Aging" we have started filling up on veggies for breakfast. The USDA recently increased the number of vegetable servings from 3-5 to 5-10. I try to make it a green non-starchy vegetable...and I've really gotten used to it.

The one we had with the peach pancakes was a fresh zucchini, onion, lima bean and chickpea salad from the August 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living (with flaxseed oil substituted for 1 T of the olive oil).

Our favorites are: frozen steamed brussels sprouts, broccoli, or green beans. It's easy to take them out of the freezer, microwave or steam them, and eat them with your porridge, cereal, or toast.

We may not get in all the vegetables recommended in one day, but at least it's one step up from the vegetable sold to millions of Americans everyday..."would you like fries [potatoes] with that?"

Peach Pancakes with Peach Syrup - Dairy/Wheat Free

I actually never used to like pancakes - my mother's pancakes always seemed a little too heavy to me (even though she's a great cook). I could only eat one and I'd feel like I would explode. I think it was the whole-wheat flour combined with milk and butter. Anyway, this version of Cybele Pascal's Peach Pancakes includes a combination of oat and rye flour. The rye flour gives them a slightly crunchy taste. Due to the high humidity today, they didn't rise/bake as well as they normally do, but we still liked them. The recipe also uses honey (to replace sugar), rice milk (to replace dairy), Energy egg replacer, and safflower oil (to replace butter).

I made the peach syrup out of the juice from the canned peaches (I made sure to buy peaches canned in pear juice, NOT the High Fructose Corn Syrup everything comes in nowdays!) I took the juice from the can and combined it with Brown Rice Syrup, an excellent substitute for sugar.

Sloppy Joe's - no wheat, tomatoes, beef

I always stayed away from the Louisiana Sloppy Joe Recipe in Cybele Pascal's Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook because I didn't think it would be possible to make without tomatoes. We are used to substituting ground buffalo/bison for beef (it tastes the same and is actually much better, leaner and more tender).

But what could I substitute for tomatoes? I read on the internet to use a puree of squash, red pepper, with lemon juice. I've tried just the red pepper before but it usually turns out too sweet and watery. I tried this time pureeing in my Cuisinart Food Processor a package of thawed, frozen winter squash, one red pepper and the juice of one lemon. It turned out great and made a nice tomato paste to use in the recipe.

The recipe for the biscuits calls for oat/barley flour, but I used oat/corn masa flour so that they would contain less, maybe no, gluten.

It turned out great, it was a little spicy for our 2 1/2 year old, so if I made it again I would leave out some of the spice for hers.

Monday, July 30, 2007

PIZZA - Wheat/Yeast/Dairy/Tomato Free

My latest successful creation is Wheat, Yeast, Dairy, Tomato-Free PIZZA! I never thought pizza could be done given these restrictions, but I couldn't give up trying.

1 cup oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
2/3 c water
1/4 c safflower oil

Sauce: Basil Pesto - puree basil leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and pinenuts
Cheese: Soy Cheese (I will have to find the brand name I used, this one actually melted and shredded like real cheese)
Green & Red Pepper
Artichoke Hearts
Black Olives
Nitrate-Free Deli Sliced Ham

Bake 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Worked well on the Pampered Chef Pizza Stone.

Allergy-Free Cooking and Baking

Since my husband discovered several food allergies/sensitivities nearly 2 years ago, I have been attempting to cook and bake without wheat, yeast, cheese, tomatoes, dairy, beef, chicken, turkey, refined sugar and eggs. A recent discovery is that our 2 1/2 year old also is sensitive to soy, cinnamon and nuts. Cybele Pascal's Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook has been our saving grace, but I have had to modify many of her recipes to fit with my family's requirements.

I learned to cook with my grandmother, who always made 3 balanced meals per day with at least "one green and one yellow vegetable." We baked pies, cookies, and desserts, though nearly all of our creations were made with butter, milk, eggs, and white flour and sugar.

My ultimate goal is to cook nutritious whole-foods recipes that my whole family can enjoy, while also preserving the sense of home that my grandmother created for me through cooking and baking those traditional home-cooked meals.

I needed a space to write down my successes and failures for myself, and also in the hope that others who are on restricted diets can gain some ideas from them!