Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pumpkin Seed Butter Cookies

I was going for a gluten-free peanut-butter cookie; but with no nuts. Along the way, I also discovered the *secret* ingredient to gluten-free cooking: xanathan gum. This stuff works great. I added about 1/2 t. to my oatmeal cookies from the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook (I substituted the spelt flour with buckwheat and brown rice, and added xanathan gum). I suppose the oats still add a small amount of gluten (unless you use gluten-free oats).

Here's my pumpkin seed butter cookie recipe:
1/2 c. agave syrup or honey
1/2 c. better than milk rice powder (original flavor)
3/4 c. pumpkin seed "butter" (for me this is really just ground pumpkin seeds that I put through my juicer. If you use processed pumpkin seed butter that is more "buttery", I'm thinking you could add less shortening *see picture*)
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
2 t. egg replacer mixed with 2 T. Rice Milk

Beat all of the above together with an electric mixer.

3/4 c. buckwheat flour
3/4 c. millet flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanathan gum

Mix until combined, note batter will still be "sticky" because of the rice milk powder. Drop in tablespoon fulls on an ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. They will just start to brown around the edges a little. They puff up when you bake them, but they sort of deflate when you take them out and they are very soft and chewy. Also, they are very sweet. Remove from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack about 2 minutes after you take them out of the oven. I think you could use less milk powder and honey to make them less sweet, and I also noticed that there is xanathan gum in the rice milk powder, so maybe it wouldn't be essential in this recipe. I've still got to experiment more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kid's Tortilla Dinner

My kids loved these tortillas, though they probably aren't "allergy-free" there's a million ways you can make them:

Corn Tortillas - I made my own with corn masa flour, salt & water in my tortilla maker
Mashed black beans - that I soaked the night before and cooked in the slow-cooker in the morning
Arugula (yes the kids ate this since I sneaked it in the tortilla
Pitted, sliced Kalamata olives
Sour Cream (but you could use soy sour cream if you have a milk allergy)
shredded carrot
thin-sliced green pepper

I love my tortilla maker. I found it on craigslist for $35 (it's a Villaware). Though of course they aren't as good as tortillas rolled by hand and cooked in a cast-iron skillet, it only takes a few minutes to make a batch of tortillas - quinoa and corn masa are my favorite, but you can also make buckwheat, rice, and many other kinds. If you cook them a little longer, they become crunchy crackers. You just have to learn a few tricks - we found you have to lower the top and push down with the handle only once, and quickly, then leave it alone (don't push down more after the first time, or they will "blow up").

Turnip Fries

I guess you could say that my kids aren't thrilled with the spicy taste of purple-top turnips. But I'm determined to get them to eat lots of different types of fruits and vegetables. So, my lastest creation is turnip fries. I just peeled and cut the turnips into long "fry" shapes, tossed with some safflower oil, salt, oregano, and pepper, and baked them on 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. I spread them on parchment and baked on the lowest oven rack, turning once. I guess they didn't get quite as crispy and browned as potatoes, but you can see my 2-year old still ate them with ketchup (I made an exception to the "no-sugar" rule for turnips).

Crepes w/ "no-nut-ella"

My kids slept in late today (8 a.m.), so I did too. Maybe it was finally "sleeping-in" for the first time in years or a lazy summer Saturday, but somehow I was in the mood for crepes. I made the "regular" ones - with white flour, butter, milk & eggs, but started to feel a twinge of guilt when I saw my husband looking woefully into his bowl of almond milk & Joe's O's. So I thought I'd try to make some he could eat.

Here's my adapted recipe. He says they turned out great. They do, however, contain egg yolks (I haven't experimented with egg replacer in them, but I assume they wouldn't be as bendable and crepe-like). Though sensitive to eggs, most of the proteins are found in the whites, so he has been able to eat the yolks. This is similar to ghee, where most of the dairy proteins have been stripped from the butter and the leftover ghee is mostly fat. I could have used melted ghee in place of the safflower oil below.

Allergy Crepes (makes enough for 1 or possibly 2 servings):
3/4 c. oat flour
2 t. sugar (I used pure cane, minimally processed)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 c. coconut milk
1 T. safflower oil
2 egg yolks
1/4 t. vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients and mix the wet ingredients separately, then mix them together with a whisk until smooth. Pour 1/4 c. batter onto a hot crepe pan (I just continued after I made my regular crepes, so it was hot and was very seasoned since I was cooking with butter. If you are starting from scratch, try heating some high-heat safflower or sunflower oil on about medium-high until the water test). Instead of swirling the batter around in the pan, I just let my crepes be a little thicker. You can experiment and see what you like best.

"No - nut - ella" spread:
I love nutella. But it has both hazelnuts (bad for kids with nut allergies) and dry milk in it. Here's my version.

1/4 c. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 T. cocoa powder (or carob)
2 T. Better Than Milk Rice Powder, vanilla flavor
1 T. safflower oil
1 T. brown rice syrup
3 T. rice milk

Combine all ingredients in a food processor on high speed (this is the "crunchy" version). If you wanted it smoother, grind your pumpkin seeds into "butter" with a juicer.

Spread on crepes and enjoy. Or use fruit-only jam and fresh fruit - I had a blueberry jam & fresh pineapple crepe, a banana & no-nut-ella crepe, and an apricot-orange jam & fresh cantaloupe crepe.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"I Eat The Colors Of The Rainbow"

My kids love the Swingset Mama's "Colors of the Rainbow" song. So here's a colorful 15 minute lunch/dinner idea:

(1) Wash, peel, cube a sweet potato. Throw into a medium saucepan with water about 1/2 way covering the potato. For me, it took 2 minutes to bring it to a boil, then I simmered for 6 minutes on med-low.
(2) Meanwhile, shape 1 lb. ground meat (I used buffalo) into patties and place in a skillet on med-high heat. Season w/ salt & pepper if desired. Fry for about 10-12 minutes (time will depend on the type of meat you use and the size of your patties.
(3) Wash a broccoli head. Break off in the pot over the sweet potato after step #1 is complete. Cook/steam about 4-5 more minutes.
(4) Serve with butter/ghee/maple syrup on the sweet potatoes, ketchup or crushed tomatoes (I sometimes use spaghetti sauce...the kids don't know the difference and it normally doesn't have sugar/vinegar).
(5) Serve with a tortilla, slice of bread, or crackers to get a grain in.


Use any ground meat - turkey, buffalo, beef, chicken, lamb
OR use mashed beans (when you fry them, use canola or safflower oil)

Use any starchy root vegetable in place of the sweet potato - carrots, white potato, turnips, acorn or butternut squash, parsnips

Use any green vegetable in place of the broccoli (you may have to adjust your "steaming" time) - spinach, green beans, peas, lima beans, asparagus.

Now you can play the song while your kids eat their veggies (:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"The buckwheat cake was in her mouth, the tear was in her eye,"

"Oh Susanna"... a great kids song. I would love to revive buckwheat! Very tasty, it is also gluten-free. A bit crumbly for baked goods, but who cares! The goal in allergy-free cooking is not always to make a stunning, moist, spongy cake, it's to make something that remotely tastes yummy and homemade and that isn't going to make you or your kids sick.

So, I'm working on a buckwheat cake for my son's birthday, and yes - I'm going to allow some pure cane sugar in it.

For the cake (adapted from "Vegan with a Vengeance")
1 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. safflower oil
1 c. coconut milk
1/3 c. sugar (use as unrefined as possible)
1/3 c. maple sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

I baked this on 350 for a little over 30 minutes, in one round cake pan. I will be doubling the recipe for the birthday cake and adding frosting. The trick to make it not stick in the cake pan is to cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom, and grease the pan, then put in the wax paper, and grease again.

First sift together dry ingredients, then combine wet ingredients and mix into the dry. Add the coconut last.

Instead of frosting, I topped my trial version with strawberries. The buckwheat almost looked like a chocolate cake!

Ginger Cookies

I usually try to bring my own treat for the after-mass gathering at our church. They usually have "munchkins" from Dunkin Donuts (not exactly allergy-free, or healthy). I can generally keep my kids away from the "munchkins" with a home-baked bake good. While not everyone shares my enthusiasm for eliminating refined sugar, I think overall people appreciate the thought. It's fun to see what people think of my somewhat "wierd" creations.

Ginger/Apricot Cookies
1 c. rye flour
1 c. oat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. cloves
(you could add cinnamon too, but my kids are allergic)

Stir dry ingredients together.

1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. honey
1 t. vanilla

Mix together wet ingredients and add to dry. Then add about 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats and chopped dried apricots (or whatever dried fruit you want).

Drop in teaspoons on a baking sheet, bake at 350 for 10 minutes. They aren't really sweet, but very "spicy."

Plum Pie

I was lucky to find a whole basket of ripe, black plums on sale at our local fruit/vegetable market (Russo's in Watertown). On a whim, I decided to try a plum pie. With the help of my 3 1/2 year old, we created this.

2 c. quinoa flour
3/4 t. salt
2/3 c. safflower oil
1/3 c. coconut milk

Mix the flour and salt together. Then add the oil & milk and mix with a fork. Pat dough together into one ball, roll dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Then comes the tricky part that didn't exactly work for us....we were supposed to roll the dough to a 14" pie, then place in a 8-9" pie plate, add the fruit filling, and fold up the edges of the dough. Well, it didn't exactly work. The quinoa doesn't really hold together well, so we wound up picking up the pieces of dough that fell and just putting them on top. If I do it again, I'll try making a chilled version of a pie crust, maybe with a different flour. I guess you can't complain if it's gluten-free.

Fruit Filling:
2 1/2 lbs. of plums, washed, pitted, and sliced (I didn't peel mine)
1/3 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. honey
1/4 t. nutmeg
juice of 1/2 a lemon

I baked mine on 400 degrees for 30 minutes, but I think this is a little too hot for quinoa. If I bake a pie again with quinoa, I'll do it on 350 for about 30 minutes, and maybe then the fruit filling will get a little more cooked/bubbly without the crust browning. I don't like my desserts super-sweet, but if your plums are still a little tart, just add more honey on top.