Saturday, September 25, 2010



I decided to switch where I keep my blog photos and there's been a glitch or two. I apologize for multiple posts (I think I've now sorted out the tagging issue that caused that!) and I'll also apologize for the re-posting of old posts (just so all the photos come from the same place).

The good news is I've got several posts waiting to be... you know, there'll be some new stuff soon. :D And I'll delete this post once everything's been updated.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hold the Mayo

Just before we lost egg, I'd made some amazing homemade mayo with balsamic vinegar...I took one taste & swore I'd never get store-bought again! I suppose that was a prophetic statement, in a way, since it has been tough impossible to find a top 8-free mayonnaise. Not exactly what I meant.

I'm not a big mayo eater (though I seriously might have become one for the homemade stuff) so I haven't missed it that much. But my toddler does love a sandwich (mostly for the bread, I think) and since GF breads tend to be dry/crumbly, it seems like mayo might be useful there.

Anyway. Here are two recipes (I must confess that I have not made either just posting here because I'm posting it to my favorite allergy group and figured I might as well plop it on here as well) that might fit the bill for your family. I'd love to hear feedback!


1 3/4 cup drained cooked or canned white beans (one 15 or 16 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs white wine vinegar or additional fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup EVOO
1/3 cup organic canola or safflower oil

Put all of the ingredients except for the oils into a blender or food processor with s-blade. (Blender will yield a smoother result.) Blend or process until creamy. With appliance running, slowly & steadily add the oils. Stop machine and scrape down sides as needed; process to desired smoothness. Refrigerate to chill & blend flavors.

Cover tightly and store in refrigerator. Will keep about a week. Can also be frozen.

Avocado Mayonnaise
Yield: ¾ cup (177 ml)
This blend can be used as a sandwich spread, salad dressing or to boost flavor of potato or bean salads.

1 medium or large avocado
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup (59 ml) expeller pressed vegetable oil

Remove pit from avocado; scoop out flesh. Place in blender along with lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth. With appliance running, slowly & steadily add vegetable oil. Stop machine and scrape down sides as needed; process until creamy & smooth.

Cover tightly and store in refrigerator. Will keep (without discoloration) 5-6 days.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's for Dinner? PIZZA!

Seems like my allergy mom friends are unhappy about pizza lately, while I am loving it over here. When my non-allergy peeps ask me, 'How do you make pizza without cheese?' My flip answer is, 'You just leave off the cheese.' Well, it sounds flip, but it's really kind of true. You just need to pay a bit closer attention to the other ingredients & you're set.

Here's the crust I usually use. I'm not going to say it's the best pizza crust ever (though I'm loving it more each time I have it), but if I spread the batter out really thin, I get 3 pizzas out of the recipe and they're thin enough that the texture is quite good. (The cooking temp was left off the PDF I linked to up there... it's 350F.) Eventually, I'll get around to trying a yeast-based recipe or two but for now this works for us. (And yes, I sub flours all the time...and it always seems to work okay.)

First off, I make sure I use a good sauce. I am not a huge fan of tomato sauce in general but I like (Surprise! What can I say? There's a reason I rep their food, people!) the Wildtree one (Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend, but I'm going to try the Scampi blend sometime soon, too, for a tomato-free version)...partly because you can easily customize it to your own tastes. If you get that one, ignore the cooking instructions on the package. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then you can cook it as short or long as you want (I usually do at least an additional 10 minutes). The boil/simmer helps the tomatoes to carmelize, which gives the sauce a MUCH better depth of flavor. You'll just need to watch the moisture level, as the simmering can thicken it up pretty quickly. Oh, and I usually use canned tomato sauce rather than stewed tomatoes because I like the texture better. Use whatever works for you.

Now, what about toppings? I'm sure you have some favorites & those will probably be fine here as well, unless you're a one-topping type and then I'm thinking you might want to branch out a bit. ;)

A few of my favorite combos:
-- ground beef, spinach, tomato, garlic (or leave off the beef and add basil for a fabulous veggie version)
-- turkey sausage, ham, sauteed spinach & onion, pineapple, olives or olive tapenade
-- turkey sausage, sun-dried tomato, olives, spinach

Since there's no cheese, I usually drizzle on some grapeseed oil (flavored oils work great for this) or extra virgin olive oil--after baking, so it doesn't all soak in--both for flavor and mouth feel. You could also add a bit of balsamic vinegar on top, if that strikes your fancy. I also once used Karina's Best Cheesy Uncheese Sauce and, while it didn't fool me into thinking there was cheese on my pizza, it wasn't bad. (My subs to the Uncheese Sauce: other wheat-free flour, oat milk. I added the mustard but then decided I'll leave it out next time...flavor was too overpowering. And we are seed-free, so no tahini. And it was still pretty good.)

My kids LOVE pizza. Even the cheese eaters in the household like these versions a lot and my picky eater has even started requesting his pizza without cheese. Now that's an endorsement. :)

**I've recently discovered that Daiya fake cheese is safe for my little guy so we have added that to our pizzas now. I do like it better than w/o any cheese at all but pizza seriously was a fave even before that. (We've only had it once so far with the Daiya, if that means anything to you.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Microwave Potato Chips? Really?

I loooove sweet potato chips. I'd eat them all the time except they're kind of a pain to make. Or so I thought. And those fancy veggie chips are so spendy, plus there's the whole issue about unsafe ingredients. But that doesn't bother me anymore, 'cause I just learned that I can make delicious veggie chips in my microwave! :)

I feel silly even posting a recipe because this is so incredibly easy. (I feel even more silly that I didn't know about this before!)

Microwave Veggie Chips
vegetable of choice
1-2 tsp oil of choice (I've tried grapeseed* & olive, both worked great)
salt or other seasoning, to taste

Slice veggie into thin slices. (In my experience, disc-shaped veggies cook the most evenly. However, carrots are so tiny in discs that I'm going to try them sliced lengthwise.) You can use a mandolin slicer or slice them by hand. Leave skin on or peel it off... your choice. (I'd definitely peel non-organic root vegetables.)

Put veg slices into bowl and toss with oil. (*Garlic & jalapeno grapeseed oils were very yummy. I use the Wildtree oils, so I'll definitely be trying all of those--plus spice blends since I have a cabinet full of them--favorites so far are Scampi and Cajun.)

Add salt or other spices, as desired.

Arrange veggies in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined microwave-safe dish or an oiled dish. Cook on high until veggies start to brown, turning them over around halfway through cooking time; time will depend on thickness of slices. Allow to cool/crisp. Serve. (Not sure how they'd store, as I've not made enough at once that storing was an issue. In other words, I eat them pretty much as fast as I can cook them; they go even faster if I share.)

I made super-thin slices using just a potato peeler...those took about 5 minutes to cook. When I did hand-cut slices that were about as thin as I could make them that way (I'm no chef) it took about 11 minutes, and they were just a tad overcooked. My mandolin slicer cuts them a tad thicker than that. You'll need to play with the timing. Once they start to brown they seem to brown pretty quickly so you'll want to watch closely.

My preschooler flat-out refused to try these for a while (his pickiness is becoming the stuff of legend around our house) but as soon as I bribed convinced him to try them, he was asking for more. :)

Okay, now go get your chip on!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Cupboard Was Bare (or so you thought)

based on a list provided by Victoria DeLano

I probably should have posted this the very *second* Victoria shared it but, well, you know...time got away from me once again. ;)

I think the most intimidating thing about going top 8-free is: What can you eat?? You start looking through your pantry and realize that there's almost nothing in there that you can have anymore! You still have lots of options, of course. Like fruits & veggies. But--let's be realistic--that's not always practical, or even feasible. I can almost promise you that my preschooler would actually starve if all he had to eat was fruits & veggies.

Here's a list of foods that should be safe to have in your pantry. (And I will update this as I learn of new if you subscribe to posts, expect to see this one pop up from time to time.) Please, as always, check ingredients labels carefully every time you purchase these or any other products. Ingredient lists can (and do) change without warning. Please help me keep this list current! :)

Ball Park brand all beef hot dogs
Hillshire Farm Beef Summer Sausage
Ian's Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Patties, Mac & Meat Sauce, Mac & No Cheese, Popcorn Turkey Corn Dogs
Jennie-O turkey - tenderloins, ground turkey, turkey sausage
Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh lunch meat
Market Pantry (Target) pork sausage patties-fully cooked

Pasta & Sides
Ancient Harvest corn-quinoa pastas
Eden Foods Rye Spirals pasta
Food Merchants Polenta
Ian's Alphatots
McCain Home Style Baby Cakes potato cakes (Target)
Mrs. Leeper's rice pasta
Tinkyada rice pasta
Asian rice noodles
Asian rice paper wraps (Asian markets or Whole Foods)

Chips, Crackers, Snacks
Edward and Son Rice Snaps Crackers
Frito's Original
Garden of Eatin' Vegetable Chips
Glutino Gluten Free Breadsticks (crackers)
Glutino Gluten Free pretzel sticks
Good Health Veggie Chips (the Stix have wheat)
Lay's Classic potato chips
Market Pantry (Target) tortilla chips
Mission tortilla chips
Terra Chips - some flavors
Trader Joe's Lite Kettle Corn popcorn

Betty Crocker Gluten free baking mixes
Enjoy Life products
Kinnikinnick's Animal Cookies (has a 'may contain' statement on the box)
Kinnikinnick's S'moreables graham crackers (has a 'may contain' statement on the box)
Let's Do Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones
Namaste cake & cookie mixes
Newman's Own= Newman-O's Wheat free, Dairy free creme filled chocolate cookies (contains soy lecithin)
Newman's Own Fig Newmans (contains soy lecithin)
Rice Dream frozen dessert

Fruit Snacks
Archer Farms (Target) fruit strips & bars
Brother's All-Natural Fruit Crisps
Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit real fruit rope
Florida's Natural Nuggets fruit snacks
Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit strips
apple sauce
raisins (many other dried fruits will also be safe, but watch for 'may contain' warnings)

Cocoa Pebbles
Corn Chex
Honey Comb
Ian's French Toast Sticks
Kix Cereal
Rice Chex
Rice Krispies

Ener-G Foods (shared ovens--not pans--with egg)
Outside the Breadbox Imagine Egg-Free Oat Bread

Kraft Original BBQ sauce

Victoria also suggests the top 8-free cookbook "8 Degrees of Ingredients" saying, 'I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this cookbook!!!!!!!' (Yup, direct quote.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's for Dinner? Turkey Tenders

Last time I tried to make nuggets I used a 'just like McDonald's' nugget recipe. Well, I'm not a fan of those but my kids usually like that junk so I figured it was worth a shot. No go. I don't know if it was my choice of flour sub (buckwheat & something, IIRC) or what but DS1 would barely touch those things.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I thought I'd try again and just be careful about the flour. I looked at a few recipes and then (largely because I didn't want to take the time to go fire up the other computer so I could print out a recipe) I made one up on the fly.

Here we go...I'm pretty sure this would work for anything you might want to eat a 'tender' of. Since chicken's a no-go for Ponyo, I used turkey. The quantities shown here fed me and the two boys, with 2 tenders left.

Turkey Tenders
2 turkey tenderloins, cut into wide strips
2 cups Chex cereal of choice, crushed (you might want to add just a tad of safe flour for better sticking, unless your crumbs are really tiny)
2 tsp California Garlic Pepper Blend (or other combination of spices to taste)
EnerG egg replacer to equal 2 eggs
1/2 cup safe flour (I used masa)

Put out three bowls: one for flour, one for egg sub, one for Chex cereal. Coat turkey tenders lightly with flour. Dip into egg sub and then into Chex crumbs, making sure the tenders are well coated. Handle tenders carefully so coating doesn't fall off.

Cook in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and turkey is cooked through. Serve with your choice of dips, over pasta, whatever strikes your fancy!

Now, neither boy was a big fan of this until I gave them some dip. Then Wee Laddie ate three tenders (that's pretty good for him) and the Sprog at at least three. Nobody but me ate the green beans, but I keep trying. ;)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hello, (Chocolate) Cupcake!

I am not a baker. I can make a pretty yummy (and easy) quiche but fat lot of good that does me now, eh?

The thing is, I have kids now. And they have food allergies. AND they go to birthday parties where other people eat cake & cupcakes & things that look yummy. Things my kids want to eat. And those parties don't usually have those treats in a top 8-free version. So bake I must.

Those of you who know me from other forums (TKWFA, mostly) know that I have a GF baking 'crush' (if you will) on Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess. I have only made a few of her recipes but I very much admire her a) writing, b) ability to create/convert a kick-ass GF (at the very least) recipe, c) the fact that she has some recipes I can use without making ANY substitutions, and d) she's given me the closest thing I've had to cheese in almost 2 years. That's almost love, baby.

Normally, when I have to make changes to a recipe I go ahead & modify the instructions and all so that I can post it here in its entirety without infringing on anyone's intellectual property. But I only made one tiny substitution to each of these recipes so I'll just link you to them on Karina's own blog. Look around, make yourself at home. She's not top 8-free but odds are you'll find some stuff there you can convert for your family without too much trouble.

I've made these cupcakes twice now, close enough together that I only needed one batch of frosting (I'm a light froster). I'm putting them on my short list of go-to cupcake recipes. My toddler liked them better the first time but now turns them down. I wonder if they're too strong for him...they do have a bit of a dark chocolate flavor to them. My sugar-loving, carb-junkie preschooler, on the other hand, would probably eat them all day long if I'd let him. And I'm not sure why but the recipe seems to give me quite a few more cupcakes than it's supposed to. Am I being stingy on cupcake height? Don't know. Like I said, I'm not really a baker...which should be reassuring, since these cupcakes turned out pretty well for me. :)

So without further ado, the GF Vegan Chocolate Cupcake recipe. The only thing I substituted was that I used oat milk in place of the coffee. My preschooler isn't so hot on the java yet. ;)

And the Vegan Coffee Icing recipe (just scroll down from the cupcake recipe). Again I subbed oat milk for coffee. I think I made mine a bit too thin (way thinner than Karina did, as you'll see) but I didn't want to thicken it as I was worried the powdered sugar flavor would take over. Honestly, I found it a tad strong already.

On a side note, I'm thinking the chocolate cupcakes would be divine with Karina's Vegan Orange Creme Icing. The orange creme cupcakes, by the way, were my last attempt at cupcakes and I thought the flavor was amazing, but I underbaked them. And my palm shortening was apparently past its prime so it never got creamy (ick...small globs of it stayed, well, globby). Those will be my next cupcakes and I'll post more then...if they're as good as I suspect they will be once properly baked.