Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rolled Cookies

These are simple, rolled cookies that I made with my preschooler. She had a ball, and I didn't feel guilty letting her eat them - though she can have everything in a "typical" sugar cookie (if the shortening isn't soy). If you're expecting a sweet sugar cookie, they aren't very sweet and they taste mostly like quinoa. But they are the consistency and texture of a regular sugar cookie...the secret ingredient to this gluten-free cookie is "Better than Milk" Rice Milk Powder.

1 c. spectrum vegetable shortening
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
1 t. vanilla
2 t. egg replacer mixed with 2 T rice milk

(1) Combine the above with an electric mixer until combined.

1 c. sorghum flour
1 1/2 c. quinoa flour
1/4 c. better than milk rice powder (vanilla flavor)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar

(2) Add the above and mix with a wooden spoon. Batter will be slightly sticky, but should hold together well. Take about 1/3 of the dough and place on a quinoa-floured surface, pat into the shape of a rough ball and then lightly pat down. Sprinkle more quinoa flour on top and roll it to about 1/2" thickness (use your judgement). Cut with cookie cutters. Gently place on ungreased cookie sheet. Many recipes call for refrigerating the dough, but I found that it's easier and faster to work with the dough when it's soft (I think the vegetable shortening is too stiff when it's cold, not like butter).

(3) Bake on 375 for about 9 minutes, they will slightly brown around the edges...but will mostly stay light.

My daughter wanted "brown" frosting. I mixed with the electric mixer about 1/3 c. shortening with 1 or 1 1/2 c. of powdered sugar, 1 t. of vanilla, and a few T.'s of Coconut Milk...then I added about 1 1/2 T. of carob powder, and mixed well. This makes a very light, smooth, spreadable frosting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Allergy Substitutions

Previously, I published this document as a post on my blog:

I've since been adding to it, modifying it also for changes I've sort of voluntarily made in my diet (like the Genotype diet, and eating write for your Genotype/blood type).

Hope you find it helpful! It helps make most recipes in normal cookbooks, and while the substitutes are not perfect and won't taste exactly like the original, in most cases they're good enough for me.

Example if you're a Teacher (blood type A+) and using a cookbook like Martha Stewart (where everything is butter, milk, cream, cheese & wheat)

Butter => Ghee
Cream = > Yogurt, Soy Sour Cream, Coconut Cream, or for a soup just add a little oat flour mixed with allowed "milk"
Milk = > Almond Milk
Chicken Breast or other Ground Meats = > Turkey (Breast or Ground) or Fish
Bacon = > Turkey bacon
Vinegar = > Unbuffered Vitamin C Powder mixed with water, lemon/lime/pineapple juice
Sugar = > Honey
Mustard = > Mustard Powder
Wheat Flour = > Buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, rice or teff flour + 1/2 t. xanthan gum, or spelt flour (make your own tortillas)
Pasta = > Buckwheat Soba Noodles, Brown Rice Pasta, Quinoa pasta

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Carob "Milk" Shake

2 frozen bananas
2 T. Vanilla Better Than Milk Rice Powder
2 T. Carob Powder
Rice Milk

Blend until smooth.

Impromptu Indian Cooking Lesson

I was fortunate to get a very special treat last night, an impromptu Indian cooking lesson! Not only did I leave feeling as though I've stolen all the secrets, I was full from a beautifully flavored fish curry.

I learned that I can soak rice, grind it, and make a "pancake" or dosa. Impossible to write about, I think someone has to show you to learn how to do it. I had no idea rice could do this.

I plan to try this recipe myself soon:
Take Poha Thin (like rice paper flakes), mix with a little chopped red onion, fresh grated coconut, sugar, water mixed with salt and a chile. It makes a great snack.

I have to say, the most impressive was how my friend perfectly cracked open a coconut with the back of a butcher knife. There was no way I was going to try that. I sheepishly asked if I could break it with a hammer outside...yes, she said, but it wouldn't be this perfect. The coconut water was great. Then I learned how to use a grinder to grate the coconut out of the shell, it was the best coconut I ever tasted. I am going to have to learn how to do this. I'll report back; if I don't get too frustrated trying to break the coconut open.

The Muffin Recipes

Just like the cookie recipe, I like to have one basic recipe for muffins & pancakes too. This is the basic muffin recipe I use:

2 c. flour (quinoa, oat, barley, buckwheat, teff, brown rice, millet, or a combination thereof)
1 T. baking powder

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease or put in muffin cups in pan. Recipe makes 6 large or 12 small muffins. Combine the flour & baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

1 1/2 t. egg replacer mixed with 2 t. rice/oat/almond/coconut milk
3/4 - 1 c. liquid (rice/oat/almond/coconut milk/juice)...may have to adjust based on flour you use, I start with 3/4 c., mix everything together, and if I need more I just whisk it in
2 T. - 1/4 c. honey/agave nectar/brown rice syrup (based on how sweet you like your muffins)
1/4 c. safflower oil (I generally use safflower, but you could use any kind of oil you prefer)

(2) Mix the above liquid ingredients right in a 4 c. liquid measuring cup with a small wire whisk. Pour into flour and whisk, adding liquid if need be. Batter should be lumpy, but the batter sits it will start releasing gas and become "puffy". You should try to work as quickly as possible once you mix the wet & dry ingredients and get the muffins in the oven.

(3) Fold in whatever add-ins you want; grated carrot or zucchini, mashed bananas, berries, chopped candied ginger, rasins, dried fruit, etc.

(4) Bake for about 25-30 minutes, some muffins will brown, others won't depending on the flour you use. If you use all gluten-free flours (besides quinoa), you might want to add a t. of xanthan gum to improve texture.

I'm not worried if they don't come out perfect everytime...I like having an easy recipe I can memorize, then make whatever variation I feel like at the time.

I made these quinoa-zucchini muffins today, and everyone loved them (but we like the quinoa-flour taste, you might have to get used to this if you're new to quinoa).

Makes 12 extra large muffins:
3 c. quinoa flour
1 c. millet flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. nutmeg
3 t. egg replacer mixed with 1/4 c. rice milk
2 c. rice milk
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. safflower oil
2 c. shredded zucchini
1/4 c. chopped candied ginger

Follow the mixing directions above. I baked these on 350 for about 30 min. They didn't brown, but I could tell they were done as they were firm on top, the toothpick came out clean, and they were slightly pulling away from the sides of the muffin tin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Looking for a good way to use up or store fresh herbs? I made a bunch of pesto today as soon as I got back from our local fruit & vegetable market Russo's.

Here were my pesto ideas:

Basil Pesto: I made two different kinds: one with olive oil, basil, garlic, and pine nuts, and another with olive oil, basil, and salt (no nuts for kids).

Cilantro Pesto: Grapeseed oil, cilantro, garlic, a little lemon juice, salt.

Parsley Pesto: Again, two different kinds: one with olive oil, garlic, parsley and lemon juice for the kids, and one with walnut oil, garlic, parsley, and walnuts for my husband & I.

I froze this pesto in mini glass Ball canning jars with plastic screw tops. I'm planning to use it in the future to toss with fresh steamed vegetables, rub on fish/turkey before baking, toss with hot brown rice or buckwheat pasta and veggies, or spread on a tortilla and top it with artichoke hearts, black olives, and vegetables, lightly toasting it for "pizza."

Seems like you can make pesto out of anything (it doesn't have to be basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic & cheese). Maybe next time I'll have to try watercress and other herbs. I also though that if traditional "condiments" are banned for you (like mustard, ketchup, vinegar, mayo, etc), you might try some pesto on a toasted sandwich?

Monday, September 8, 2008


Well, I guess you could call this a hamburger...or a buffalo burger (is it still a "burger" if it's in a tortilla?)

The picture doesn't exactly do it justice, but in real life, the burger looked as good as it tasted.

I made spelt tortillas (per the "Ultimate Food Allergy Survival Guide"), pan fried some ground bison/buffalo, added ketchup and arugula and it was delicious and easy served with a side of frozen squash & green beans.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

...a brilliant quote attributed to Albert Einstein. I have grown weary of baking and experimenting with different cookie recipes, scouring through endless allergy cookbooks and internet sites for the "perfect" egg/gluten/dairy/sugar-free cookie. I want one - simple - cookie "recipe" that I can use to make any kind of cookie I'm in the mood for. So while I'm still experimenting with variations, here are the "bones" for a pretty good cookie recipe. The cookies aren't always completely "perfect," but our family thinks they're pretty tasty (they're the best cookies their going to get!).

Here's my "simplest" egg/gluten/dairy/sugar - free cookie "suggestion":
1/2 c. vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated, soy-free..."Spectrum" is good)
1/4 c. molasses
1/4-1/2 c. maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, brown rice syrup (or any combination thereof)
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour (quinoa, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, oat, brown rice, rye (or any combination thereof)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 c. additional flour (see above options) or 2 c. old fashioned oats for oatmeal cookies)
2-4 T. coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, water, etc. (just in case your dough needs a softer consistency, depending on the type of flour you use)
raisins, dates, currants, candied ginger pieces, goji berries, coconut, carob or chocolate (dairy-free) chips, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries/cherries, or any other stir-ins (use your judgement on quantity)

Directions: (1) preheat oven to 350, (2) cream shortening, sweetener, and vanilla w/ electric mixer, (3) stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, adding "milk" or water if necessary (dough should be able to be scooped in a spoon and dropped on a cookie sheet, but still retain it's shape), (4) add extra stir-ins noted above, (5) drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, (6) enjoy!

From my "basic" recipe, I created these Date Cookies:
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. honey
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 c. quinoa flour
1 c. brown rice flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder (aluminum-free)
2-3 T. coconut milk
3-5 fresh dates, sliced, pitted, and chopped in large chunks

Follow the directions listed above. I have noticed these cookies "spread" less than your typical gluten/egg cookie. They bake up somewhat dense, in the same shape that you dropped them in. and tend to be "crumbly" even with the use of xanthan gum. I will try to experiment a little more, and I'm following some "new" experiments of others, but for now these cookies are quick, easy, and do just fine (no one at my house is complaining). However, my kids have never known any different, and I've become so used to these cookies, my definition of the "perfect" cookie does not follow the normal "objective" opinion anymore. See this website, it's very interesting just on the science of baking:

Friday, September 5, 2008

A nice raw fruit & vegetable salad

My husband has found this book helpful: "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" by Elaine Gottschall. I made the "waldorf salad" on p. 97, and it was very good. It was just a raw salad, and here's what I included:

3 apples, cut into chunks (I used my apple peeler/corer to make quick work here)
1 can pineapple chunks (I used canned, in pineapple juice, only the pineapple and reserved the juice)
1/4 c. currants
1/2 green pepper, sliced and cut into chunks
about 4 carrots, shredded in the food processor

I combined these ingredients first, because I knew my kids could eat it, and they loved it - even if I did indulge them and put a little honey on it.

Then, my husband added some chopped walnuts to his. We ate it with salad or for snacks the next day.
The salad pictured was one that I did in a hurry when I needed something for the kids (2 and 3 1/2) to eat in the car.

(1) Shred in the food processor = 1 green pepper, 3 carrots, one apple
(2) Dump in a can of pineapple juice
(3) EAT!

Happy Birthday!

My son, Jacob, recently turned 2. Though I usually have only made sugar-free honey cakes in the past (wheat, dairy, and egg-free for my husband), I decided to do something different this year. I decided to make two cakes: one with milk, butter, eggs, white flour, and sugar, and one with buckwheat (gluten-free), coconut milk, coconut, no eggs, only 1/3 c. sugar, and maple syrup. We were having a birthday party, and some kids couldn't have eggs, others needed gluten-free, all were allergic to nuts, some allergic to dairy. I wanted everyone to feel included and have a good time.

I put a lot of thought into the cakes...what would kids like eat? should I use food coloring? should I use sugar (cane sugar/powdered sugar)? should I use a cake mix? After seeing the price on "natural" food coloring at WF, and deciding that it would be too much work to make mine myself (like out of beets), I decided to just have two white cakes. I figured a little sugar would be fine for the occasion, and the cakes with honey did turn out to be a bit runny/squishy. Dear old grandma always used to use a cake mix, but for fear there would be soy or some other strange ingredient in there, I figured I'd just use a cake recipe from my Better Crocker cookbook.

I was happy that the cakes looked basically the same (except when you cut into them of course, the buckwheat one looked more like chocolate).

Here are the recipes:
Starlight Yellow Cake (from "Betty Crocker's New Cookbook")
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. sugar (I used a minimally processed sugar)
1/2 c. shortening (I used Spectrum)
1 1/4 c. milk
3 1/2 t. baking powder (aluminum free - another reason to not use a mix)
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla (I used alcohol-free from Trader Joe's)
3 large eggs

(1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & lightly flour bottoms of two round pans.
(2) Beat all ingredients together on low for 30 seconds, then high 3 minutes. Pour into pans.
(3) Bake about 30-35 minutes, cool on wire racks completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting:
3 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. stick butter, softened
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1-2 T. milk

(1) Beat with electric mixer until smooth, adding one T. milk then more if you need to.

Allergy-Free Buckwheat Cake
2 c. buckwheat flour
1 c. sorghum flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. xanthan gum *secret ingredient*

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two round cake pans as follows: cut a piece of wax paper in a circle to fit in the bottom of the pan. Grease the pan with shortening (vegetable, no soy), and place the wax paper down, and grease again over the paper. Mix the above together in a large mixing bowl.

1/2 c. safflower oil
2 c. coconut milk
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. maple syrup
2 t. vanilla

(2) Mix the liquid ingredients together with a wire whisk.
(3) Add the liquid ingredients to dry, whisking until smooth.
(4) Fold in 2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut.
(5) Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean and you see the sides of the cake pulling away from the pan a little. Cool completely.

Coconut Frosting (from "Vegan with a Vengeance"):
1/2 c. vegetable shortening (Spectrum)
1/2 c. coconut milk (maybe a little less)
2 t. vanilla
4 c. confectioner's sugar
1 c. unsweetened coconut

(1) Beat all but the coconut together, adding the milk a little at a time. Fold in the coconut at the end.