Monday, January 30, 2012

Wheat and Soy Free Vegan Crispy Baked Eggplant

  We are trying to do Meatless Mondays in our house now! Today was our first try and it went really well (i.e. no one complained too loudly). We had breaded eggplant and spaghetti for dinner. It wasn't eggplant paremesan as I am anxiously waiting for my Nutritional Yeast to arrive from to make that officially. This was pretty easy and very tasty, both boys ate some, and both my dad and Chris went back for seconds. I was so very proud of myself!

Know what this is? A two year old, willingly
eating eggplant!

Vegan Crispy Baked Eggplant

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into rounds
1 cup GF/dairy free mashed potato flakes
1 cup Zatarain's Crispy Southern Fish Fri
2 cups GF all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill, which does not contain rice flour)
2 Tbs dijon mustard
2 cups almond milk
olive oil spray (or whatever kind of non stick spray you like)

Preheat oven to 400.
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and dijon until well blneded. Set aside. In another wide shallow bowl, stir potato flakes and Zatarain's together. Set aside. Fill a third bowl with the flour.

Lightly spray a dark baking sheet with oil or non stick spray. You're going to want to form an assembly line on your counter: flour, milk, breading, cookie sheet. Coat a round of eggplant in flour, then quickly dip in the milk mixture, then coat with breading. Place it on your sheet and repeat until you have breaded all of your eggplant. Generously spray the breaded eggplant with olive oil spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once in between.

Sorry for the not so great photo, I had already started eating before I remembered to take a picture so I cropped out my half eaten parts!

This recipe made a TON of eggplant and I thought we were going to have a bunch left over, but we actually only had 2 pieces because everyone loved it so much!

We served this with Ancient Harvest corn and quinoa spaghetti and Kirkland Marinara Sauce from Costco (little did I know that most pasta sauces contain soy! Kirkland, Classico, and Bertolli do not though!). I mashed up some of the nofu into the pasta sauce to add some protein to the meal and no one suspected a thing.

Soy Free Homemade 'Tofu' (Burmese Chickpea Nofu)

  With so few options for meats, I find myself looking to vegan recipes alot lately (since they don't include eggs or milk either). Invariably, they call for some form of tofu or textured vegetable protein, and with soy now off the table that was posing a problem for us. But then I found out that there are actually many types of 'tofu'. Tofu is made from soy bean curd, but there is also Nofu (or Tohu) made from chickpeas, Goma-Dofu made from sesame seed, and even some made from peanuts, peas, and even rice.

  Anyway, soy free 'tofu' products are not something many people know about, and it's definately hard to find in even the most open minded specialty grocery stores. But that's ok, because I found a recipe on The Republic of Bunny for homemade chickepea nofu, and it is great! Bob's Red Mill sells chickpea/fava bean flour mix that I actually found at Walmart of all places, so it shouldn't be something that is too hard to get ahold of. Bob's also sells a black bean flour that I am really interested in trying with this recipe!

  This recipe takes a day (with only 25 minutes of active time though), but it makes a whole lot so if you start in on Saturday night you'll have at least enough to get you through the week! You can use this in much the same way as you would use regular tofu; I cut some into 1 inch cubes and fried them with olive oil, bell peppers, onions, and a little salt and served them as a protein rich version of country homefries, and it was GOOD! You could also bread and bake it for 'chicken' parmesan, crumble it in fried rice to take place of the egg, use it to replace ricotta in a lasagna, etc. The possibilities are vast!

Burmese Tofu (Nofu)

1 1/2 cup chickpea flour (I used a chickpea/fava bean flour mix from Bob's Red Mill)
4 1/2 cups water
a pinch of tumeric (if you don't have any don't worry, I don't think it's really necessary at all)
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
You will also need a 6+ cup container with a lid and a loaf pan.

Mix the flour and water together in the container, stir to combine. Cover and let sit 12 hours. If you used a transparent container, you will see that the mixture has seperated into a light colored liquid on top and an opaque 'sludge' on the bottom.
Lightly oil a large saucepan and your loaf pan. Pour off the liquid part into your saucepan, reserving the sludge for later. Add salt and tumeric, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir continuously for 15 minutes. I'm sorry there is so much stirring involved but it really is important to keep this moving or it will get lumpy!
Once the 15 minutes are up, pour the 'sludge' from the container into the saucepan and stir for another 5 minutes. It's going to thicken up quickly and, if you are a wimp like me, near the end it'll take two arms to stir, but keep it moving!
Pour the mixture into your loaf pan and refrigerate for 12 hours to set. Once it's set, slice it and use it as you would regular tofu.

This is only about 1/5 of the amount this recipe makes.

I sliced mine into 'steaks' and put them in a Tupperware container to keep them from drying out.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gluten/Wheat Free Cajun Fried Fish and Hush Puppies

  First of all, I got a fryer today! Wahoo, I am so thrilled! I know it's not the healthiest thing in the world, but now we can stop buying pre made sweet potato fries and really expensive breaded fish that even after proper baking never really have that crispy coating. I hate hate hate frying on my stove top as it is such a mess, plus never comes out right (my techinique is terrible, I am way too impatient). Now the Orange, Sweet and Sour, and General Tso's 'chicken' recipes will be so much better!
 And did I mention it was only $40!!! What the heck, all this time I thought fryers were at least $100.

  Anyway, so this is more of a review of Zatarain's Crispy Southern Fish Fri and Zatarain's Seasoned Fish Fri, the latter of which was used to make hush puppies, since we followed the recipes on the box, making substitutions for eggs and milk.

  Here's my review: IT WAS AWESOME! We used Tilapia fillets and cut them into inch wide 'fingers', then breaded them with the Crispy Southern breading and fried them. They were great, and I'm sure fried on the stove top they would have been just as good. I'd love to try it with catfish but we bought a huge bag of tilapia fillets a while ago and I want to use them up first.

 We also followed the hush puppy recipe on the side of the Seasoned Fri breading mix, which called for corn meal, milk (we used almond), 1 egg (we used EnerG egg replacer), 2 Tbs shortening (we used soy and dairy free olive oil margarine) and finely chopped shallots. They were a bit on the spicy side but not so much that anyone here complained.

 All in all, I probably would save this type of meal for once in a blue moon because it just seems wrong to each two fried things on one plate, but they were really really good and I had no idea they were wheat and rice free and could be made so well with substitutions.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fried Quinoa with "Soy" Sauce!

 Ok, so tonight we had the General Tso's Chicken recipe but made with turkey breast fillets, and then instead of fried rice I made fried quinoa. But fried rice calls for soy sauce, ahh! I stumbled on this recipe from and after some minor adjustments, it really is a great substitute! I actually dumped out the rest of our real (but gluten free) soy sauce and washed the bottle in super hot water and then poured this into it!
 I also found a recipe for something called Nofu, which is like tofu but made from chickpea flour rather than soybean. I am going to try to make it tonight (it's a 2 day process though), and if it works out I would love to add it to the fried quinoa as an 'egg' replacer!

Soy Sauce Substitute (or Triple S, as I have been referring to it)

4 tablespoons vegetable bouillion
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark molasses (or brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch garlic powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups water

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients thoroughly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid has reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 mins.

Fried Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
3-4 Tbl soy sauce substitute
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (green beans, carrots, peas)
2 Tbl oilive oil

In a medium pot, soak quinoa in water for at least one hour. This will get rid of the bitter taste is can sometimes have, but is not really necessary if you don't have time. After an hour, bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Just like with rice, be sure not to remove the lid during cooking.
Meanwhile, boil frozen veggies in small pot according to directions.
Once the quinoa and vegetables are done, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add quinoa, "soy sauce", and drained vegetables and stir until all is incorporated. Spread quinoa evenly across the bottom of the skillet and let sit for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat 3-4 times, until olive oil seems mostly absorded.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New restrictions: Soy, rice, oat and chicken free recipes to follow!

  My son went to a new (and wonderful) allergist today. He's still been having lots of problems eating and his esophagus was continuing to deteriorate despite removing wheat, beef, pork, milk and eggs and putting him on steroids, so something he ingests regularly is still causing him issues. So we decide to test him again and now he tested positive for soy, rice, oat, and chicken (chicken!!!) as well as beef, pork, milk, and eggs. We are now going to be excluding those as well. Wheat did not show up positive (and it didn't on the last one either, just the very first) so we may try to add that back in a few weeks but probably not. I'm not too upset about the new restrictions as most recipes can be adjusted pretty easily, but we will need to find a new pizza crust recipe which is a bummer because we love the heck out of Bob's Red Mill pizza crust around here!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gluten and Wheat Free Sweet and Sour Chicken

  We've been on an asian kick lately. Orange chicken, General Tso's, and now sweet and sour chicken. This was easy and tasty. I think I might make the sauce on it's own sometime for 'nuggets' as well. Thanks to the Lemon Ginger Girl blog for the recipe!

GF Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (can be substituted with corn starch)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbl cornstarch
3 tsp white wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tbl gluten free soy sauce
3 Tbl ketchup

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in chicken and toss to evenly coat the chicken, making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies! In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and fry the chicken , about 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Drain on brown paper bag or paper towel. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, whisk all sauce ingredients together. It will be thin and brownish/red. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Continue stirring, after about 5-10 minutes, it will turn transparent and a pretty red color (trust me!). Remove from heat. Add chicken and stir to coat all pieces in the sauce. Serve with brown rice or my version of 'eggless gluten free fried rice', which is

cooked brown rice
cooked frozen mixed veggies (peas/corn/green bean/carrot mix)
4 Tbl GF soy sauce
2 Tbl olive oil
heated in a large skillet until some of the rice gets a nice crispy fried-ness to it. I'm going to try replacing the egg with tofu eventually but haven't gotten around to it yet. I will probably post a more formal recipe when I do!

Vegan and Soy Free Ranch Dressing

  So one of the biggest things Chris misses since going dairy free is ranch dressing. We bought some from Organicville and while I thought it was ok, Chris hated it, plus is wasn't exactly cheap. One of the things about it that really put Chris off was the fact that it was sort of a beige/grey color and semi transparant.

  Well I found a recipe (another awesome one from adventures of a gluten free mom) for vegan (and easily adapted to be soy free as well) ranch dressing that is not only white and not see-through, lol, but tastes just like the Ranch of our pre-dairy-free days! It was slightly thinner than regular ranch but Chris and I both agreed that it wasn't enough to be a problem. So without further ado, the recipe:

Vegan Ranch Dressing

1 cup Vegenaise (use soy-free Vegenaise if you are avoiding soy)
1/2 tsp dried parsely
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup "buttermilk"*

*To make "buttermilk", put 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice in a measuring cup. Add enough non dairy milk to bring the total amount of liquid to 1/4 cup. Allow to sit for 5 or so minutes until the milk curdles. If using rice milk, it will not curdle but it will still work fine.

Combine all ingredients except buttermilk and stir until well blended. Slowly whisk in buttermilk. This can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Ravioli - Gluten, Wheat, Egg, and Dairy Free

  Chris had a bad day today... he had to run a route he wasn't used to and his GPS died on him, he worked almost 12 hours and then when he got out to the truck it wouldn't start. He went looking for someone to help jump him but everyone else had left at a more reasonable time. Anyway, he finally got it started and came home. I am thankful that this was the night I chose to make pasta from scratch, because he said it was so good it really helped make his day a lot better <3

  I don't know why I got it in my mind that I should make ravioli or tortellini by hand but I searched high and low for recipes and ended up making a version of the recipe I found on I didn't have tapioca starch so I used potato starch, otherwise it's the same recipe. And it was FABULOUS! I won't say it was easy, but it wasn't hard, it was mostly just time consuming. It was nice though, I got into a little bit of a zone making the tortellini and it was actually pretty relaxing.

  Here's the recipe for the dough. You can make any type of pasta shape you want out of this, even noodles. I watched this video and learned how to make tortellini (a lot easier than it seems), and did a super simple ravioli by cutting a small square of dough, placing a tsp of filling in the center, then folding all the corners to meet in the middle like a little pyramid and pinching the seams. Everyone agreed the tortellini was better for catching the sauce, but of course they all tasted the same.

Wheat and Egg Free Pasta Dough

2/3 cup brown rice flour (plus more to flour your work surfaces)
1/3 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
*more water if needed

Combine flour, starch, gum, and salt in a small bowl. Pour into  bowl of stand mixer. Turn mixer onto the lowest setting and slowly add in the 1/4 cup warm water and olive oil. Gradually increase speed of mixer to medium and mix about 2 minutes. Evaluate the dough. If it is crumbly and not sticking together, slowly add 1 Tbs at a time of water. You want the dough to form a "ball" but not be sticky to the touch.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For any shape you decide on, you'll have to lightly flour a cutting board, lightly flour your rolling pin, and roll 1/4 of the dough at a time (keeping the rest in the fridge). Roll the dough very thin, about 1/8 of an inch or less.
Wet the edges with a wet finger ever so slightly before pressing together.
After filling, add prepared pasta to salted boiling water. When they float (about 3 minutes) they are done!

Turkey Pasta Filling

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbl dried oregeno
1 Tbl dried basil
2 Tbl Daiya Mozzarella Cheese Shreds (optional)
salt to taste
1 Tbl flax meal mixed with 3 Tbl water (called flaxgel)

Over medium heat, brown turkey, onion, and garlic. Cook until meat is done, onion is soft, and no pan juices remain in the skillet. Remove from heat and stir in herbs, cheese and salt. Mix in flaxgel.
Cool before using to fill pasta.

This made way more filling than I ended up using, so I mixed the rest in with the pasta sauce.

And there you have it. After the pasta is shaped, you can either cook it immediately, or freeze it until you are ready. Eitherway, just throw them in lightly salted boiling water. When they float, they are done.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dairy and Gluten Free Orange Chicken

  Ok ok ok, first of all I actually used turkey breast, but "Orange Turkey" is probably not going to get anyone excited. These are not as crunchy as Panda Express' but they taste very similar and were relatively easy. It did make quite a few dishes to clean up though, but well worth it!

Dairy and Gluten Free Orange Chicken

1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 1/4 cup orange juice
zest of one orange
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup GF soy sauce
2/3 cup sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Everything else:
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless turkey breast
2 Tbl cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Egg replacer for 2 egg whites (directions on packge)
2 cups cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil

Optional: Sesame seeds and chopped scallions (for garnish), 3 cups cooked brown rice.

 Add all of the marinade ingredients to a medium saucepan and stir with a whisk until blended. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the marinade to a large ziploc bag and add the turkey to the bag. Marinate the turkey in the refrigerator for about an hour.

 In a shallow bowl whisk the egg replacer until foamy. In a second shallow bowl combine 2 cups cornstarch, salt, and cayenne seasoning. Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and discard the marinade. (I cut the turkey up into 1 inch peices a this point but you could leave them whole) Dredge in the egg replacer and then the cornstarch and set aside on a plate.

  Meanwhile, heat up the rest of the unused marinade (which should be still in the saucepan) on the stove and bring to a simmer. This will become the sauce. Blend 2 Tbl cornstarch and cold water together and add to the sauce. Simmer for at least one full minute until the starch dissolves and becomes clear. Then remove from heat.

 Heat oil in a large skillet. Fry the turkey about 3 minutes and then flip over and fry about 3 minutes more. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your skillet, as you don't want the turkey pieces to touch each other (they will stick together). Once cooked, blot on a paper towel.

 Serve with brown rice and drizzle sweet orange sauce on top.

Serves 4

I forgot to take a picture, dang it! It was beautiful though, I promise. However, my stove top afterward was not so pretty. :/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vegan and Wheat Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  Wow, let me start this off by saying that these are the first cookies I have had since changing to this diet that are actually really good. Usually, wheat free anything means that there will be a bit of grittiness, but since these are oatmeal cookies I think that any grittiness is masked. These were really easy to make and they actually even stayed together without having to be a quarter of the size of a 'regular' cookie like others that I have made. Also I used a jar of baby food pears for the pear puree but half a banana that is well mashed, or any other fruit puree, pumpkin, or even squash could sub in and probably not have much of a recognizable flavor change. Here goes:

The boys enjoying their cookies at the zoo!

Vegan/Wheat Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup quick cooking oats (make sure you use certified wheat free, like Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup rice flour (I used brown but white would work too I'm sure)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons pureed pear
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate or vegan chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl or ziploc bag, mix oats, rice flour, baking soda and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir oil and both sugars together. Mix in pear, peanut butter and vanilla. Add rice flour/oat mixture and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using about 2 tablespoons of dough, form dough into balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 11-12 minutes (longer for crunchier edges). Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

Makes about 8 cookies.

I didn't flatten mine very much because I had a previous experience with vegan oatmeal cookies that turned into oat-puddles, so I was hesitant and ended up with pretty fat cookies. They are still super delicious but next time I will flatten them a tad more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

They can't all be winners.

First and foremost, it has been made fairly clear that Jack has a problem with coconut milk so from now on we will be avoiding coconut as well until we talk to the allergist on the 23rd. He started having a very hard time eating once I began giving him his weight gain smoothies. I've now just started giving him his regular hemp/soy/almond milk mixed with baby rice cereal instead because it's one thing he will consistently drink. *Sigh* EoE sucks. Thankfully though he has started eating without pain again since I removed the coconut milk.

  Anyway, Chris wanted pizza (again) but I'm pretty tired of it. I was craving something different and remembered the delicious white garlic sauce pizza we used to sometimes get from this yummy pizza place called Captain Tony's in Quartz Hill CA. Well, I searched the internet and only found 2 reasonable sounding dairy free white garlic pizza sauce recipes. I picked the one I had all the ingredients to make and while it was a yummy tasting sauce (tasted like a marsala sauce) it wasn't anything to write home about on pizza.
  I think that on grilled chicken and with mushrooms, it might actually be something really good though. Perhaps I'll try it and let everyone know.

  Tomorrow I am going to try to make vegan, gluten free oatmeal cookies. Hopefully I have something good to say about THAT!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Accepting limitations in a child with special needs

  Sometimes while being a stay at home parent, it feels like you are living the same day over and over and over again. I wake up at the same time each morning, get the boys out of their beds, sit in the rocking chair with them and sing them a song or two. Then I put them down in their play area (Ben cries while Jack gets right down to the business of playing), and make them sippies of almond milk. I hand them each a sippy at the exact same moment or else the one who got his first will be attacked by the other. Then I change their diapers, get them dressed, make breakfast, and we sit at the table. Jack eats, Ben throws all his food on the floor (I still am not 100% sure how it is he survives on the very few morsels that make it to his mouth).

That's just the first hour, but I assure you the rest of the hours are just slight variations of that last paragraph, and it is the same, day after day.

  My point is that it's sometimes very hard to keep sight of the BIG picture while drudging through the monotony of day-to-day parenting: Teaching a small human being how to ultimately be a big human being who is productive, compassionate, and self sufficient. Sure, we've all been guilty of putting a child in a time out simply because we are irritated by something they keep doing, but generally speaking you discipline a child because they are doing something that isn't acceptable in our home and probably out in society. We are teaching them the rules of a civilized world so that when it comes down to it, they can function without us there to tell them which path to take.

  But what if you know you aren't raising a child so that he can be self sufficient? Of course no one can see the future, and you never ever ever want to discount your own child's potential. But sometimes, parents of children with particular special needs need to accept what is and isn't in the cards for their children. This is an unfair comparison but imagine for a second that your 20 something year old son comes to you and says he's finally ready to admit what he's known for some time: He's gay. Depending on your own lifestyle and choices, it might take you awhile to come to terms with the fact that you may never have any biological grandchildren, that your son will be bringing his boyfriends home to dinner, and that you may have to travel to a different state to attend his wedding someday. But would you tell him everyday that he'll snap out of it, find himself a nice lady, and be 'normal'? Not if you want him to know that you love and accept him. You may still mourn the 'loss' of not getting to share your favorite recipes with your daughter in law, but you accept it and move on because your relationship with your child will suffer if you don't.

  To be sure, I am NOT comparing homosexuality to a disability of any kind. I am simply saying that as parents, we all have images of who our children will be from the moment they are born and they very rarely follow the path the imagined. Regardless, they are still our children and we accept them for everything that they are in order to love them unconditionally.

  In certain circumstances it is pretty apparent that, barring some sort of miracle, a child will not ever live independently. That is the case with out oldest son Jack. Right now, our goal for him is to be able to speak and if not that, at least be able to communicate through signs or pictures things like his needs and where it hurts. Looking forward, I hope that he will be potty trained someday, am hesitant but hopeful that he can put his own clothes and shoes on eventually, and sometimes when I am alone so no one is there to see me get emotional about it, I allow myself to imagine a time when he can do something complex like make himself a sandwich. The course that he is on now, living on his own is not on the table for him.

  Some may say, "How dare you give up on your son like that!" and my response is that if anything, I have finally fully embraced my son, and no one wants more for him or expects more from him than myself and my husband. However, spending our days dreaming about the things he will never do will only prolong the sense of loss in us. It's time to accept it, cry about it, then get over it and start living each day teaching him to be kind, to use his voice (or hands), to enjoy eating at the table and to look both ways before he enters the road, and for God's sake to stop pushing his brother. True, we don't know what the BIG picture is for Jack exactly, but we know what it's probably not. There is no greater disservice that can be payed to a child than to hold him to an unobtainable expectation. Then both the parent and the child will feel they have failed the other.

  Sure, I still mourn the 'loss'. My heart breaks when I look at the journal I started writing for Jack the day I found out I was pregnant. I planned on giving it to him when he and his wife were having their first baby and I fully expected him to be able to read and understand the words I was writing someday, to hug me and say "This means so much to me, Mom." Yeah, that stings. I am sad, but I am not ashamed, I accept my son for who he is and I love him unconditionally. I think that you have to be honest about what "full potential" means for your child before you can push them to reach it. If you are always trying to force them to be something that they just can't be, or if you are forever dreaming about the things you wish they were, you are totally and completely missing the beauty of the person that they actually are.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wheat/Gluten and Egg Free General Tso's Chicken

  Traditionally dipped in an egg and wheat flour batter before frying, General Tso's is super tasty but off limits to us. UNTIL NOW! I came up with this last night and it was pretty spot on if I may say so myself, even without the breading! Go me! ;)

Allergy Free General Tso's Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 Tbl cornstarch, divided
2 Tbl minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
3 Tbl light brown sugar
2 Tbl gluten free soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer + 3 Tbl water, mixed
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbl olive oil
serve with
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups steamed broccoli

In a small bowl, stir together 1 Tbl cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water till smooth. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk egg replacer mixture, 3 Tbl cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Add chicken and stir to make sure chicken is totally covered.

Heat 1 Tbl oil in a large non stick skillet (non stick being key... I used a regular one and it was a BIG mistake) over medium-high heat. Lift half the chicken from the mixture and add to skillet. Cook turning occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Set aside.

Using the same skillet, lower heat and add the garlic mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and stir well, heating chicken through. Serve over brown rice with a big plate of steamed broccoli.

Serves 4

Dairy and Egg Free "Marshmallow" Weight Gain Smoothie

  It's no secret that my son Jack has a lot going on medically. Besides the eosinophilic esophagitis and many food allergies, he's also got an extremely rare chromosomal disorder. In many cases, children with chromosomal disorders grow differently than typical children. Most times they are smaller though some conditions can cause them to grow too quickly. Eitherway, it is difficult to judge a genetically different child's growth on a growth chart made for average children, because while they may not be anywhere near the 50th percentile, they may be growing just the way their genes are directing them to. That makes it very hard to tell if a child with chromosomal abnormalities is growing slowly because that's what he/she is made to do, or because they are not getting adequate nutrition.
  The first thing that tipped Jack's doctors off (but not the first thing that tipped his mom off) that something wasn't quite right with him was that, on his birthday, he weighed just 17lbs, despite being born at a normal 8lbs. After birth, he has just seemed to grow r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, and that's ok. However, he has a nutritionist that comes every two weeks to our house to weigh him and talk about any concerns we may have since his diet is so restricted, The last two times she has come (a 4 week period), he's lost weight. He's gone from 29lbs to 28.4lbs to now 27.8lbs. Obviously, his genes may make him grow slowly but they probably aren't making him lose weight, so his calorie intake is not adequate. It's very hard to get enough calories when you take dairy and eggs and tasty things made of wheat like bread, cake, and cookies out of the equation, and when eating is sometimes painful and traumatic.
  ENTER the magical dairy free egg free weight gain smoothie!

  Together with Jack's wonderful nutritionist, Miss Ashley, we have come up with a yummy recipe. It's by no means a recipe that needs to be strictly adhered to to be tasty, you can omitt or add practicaly anything and it'll still probably taste good, but here is our recipe!

Marshmallow Smoothie
We call this a Marshmallow Smoothie because it smells and tastes like marshamllows, despite having an avocado in the recipe!

1 very ripe medium avocado, peeled and pitted
1 large ripe banana (frozen works best but not necessary)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vanilla non dairy ice cream (such as Rice Dream or SO Delicious coconut ice cream)
1/3-1 cup vanilla almond or soy milk (as much as needed to reach desired consistency)
2 tsp honey or agave nectar, if needed for sweetness

We also add 4 scoops of vanilla Elecare Jr. for extra calories, but it tastes almost the same without it.

Blend all until creamy and smooth. Makes a whole lot, but I make it in the morning, keep the rest in the fridge and give it to him between meals.

You could throw in some berries, but for Jack I wouldn't use berries with lots of seeds and he hates blueberries so, it's sort of out of the question. Dates are high in calories, as are raisins but you might need a food processor instead of a blender to really puree those. Peanut butter and/or cocoa powder would be yummy also. There's really no limit to what you can throw in a blender and turn into a smoothie, lol! Yesterday I added too much soy milk and it was pretty watery so I poured in a bit of baby rice cereal that we still had laying around to thicken it up. Worked like a charm! Only use a little though because the cereal thickens up as it sits and becomes a little like semi-wet cement. ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dairy, Wheat, Gluten, and Egg Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

  There is this delicious chain in California (and they have one location in Washington, apprently) called Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill. It's fabulous! One of the things I used to love to eat there but I don't think they have anymore is the Naked BBQ Chicken Pizza. It was n a super thin crispy crust, almost more of a crisp tortilla than pizza crust. It had BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, onions, low fat mozzarella and I think a few shreds of cheddar, and various green things... fresh oregeno, bell pepper, I think scallions also. Can't remember exactly, but I know it was superb and I was totally craving it this afternoon so I decided to see what I could make here at home. The result was obviously not the same, but a really really good substitute that can stand on it's own right as a fabulous pizza! Even the kids loved it, despite the green things! This is going to be something we make often. Omg, so yummy!
  I can't believe I used to feel like we were so limited by these diet restrictions! What I realize now is that we were actually really limited in what we chose to eat before... I never would have dreamed of making many of the dishes I make now, with 'real' ingredients or otherwise. And it's amazing how, well, amazing food tastes when it's fresh, not processed and full of unpronounceable ingredients and beaver butt (see Buffalo Chicken Meatball recipe for clarification), and made with love at home. I love it!
Allergy Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

  • Bob's Red Mill gluten free pizza crust mix (calls for 2 Tbs flaxmeal, 6 Tbs plus 1 1/2 cup water, and 2 Tbs olive oil)
  • Daiya Mozzarella (3/4 cup) and Cheddar (1/4 cup) shreds
  • 2 cans grilled chicken breast, drained (you can use real grilled chicken if you have the time, but I was in a pinch)
  • 4 Tbs gluten free BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbs oregeno
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 half green bell pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make pizza crust dough according to package directions. Once raw dough is spread onto oiled cookie sheet, bake for 12-13 mins (the directions call for 7-9 but the extra time will help make it crispy crust!). Spread 3 Tbs BBQ sauce onto the crust. Sprinkle on onions and chicken. Then sprinkle on mozzarella and cheddar, bell pepper, and oregeno. Take remaining bbq sauce and drizzle it over toppings. Bake for 17 mins or until cheese is melted and pizza looks done.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Egg and Wheat/Gluten Free Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

  OMG. These were so easy and good! Probably not something I should have fed to my family as a main dish, but when have I ever cared about what I probably should be doing?? ;)
  I bought a package of ground chicken from Sprout's just because I wanted to try something new, but then I couldn't think of anything to do with it. Enter Rachel Ray, in her infinite bubbliness and 30-minute-meal glory. I didn't even really tweak the meatball part of this, and making my own Buffalo Sauce was just something I did because I'm a control freak and not necessary*

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

1.5 lbs ground chicken
1/2 smll onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp dried parsely (I don't think this part was necessary)
Extra virgin olive oil, for greasing your hands and drizzling

Vegan Buffalo Sauce

3 Tbs oil (1Tbs olive oil, the other 2 vegetable or other oil)
1/4 cup FRANK'S original hot sauce
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2-1 tsp cayenne, depending on your preference for hotness

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken with onion, garlic, and parsely and season season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used about 1.5 tsp of salt. Using an ice cream scoop or olive oiled hands, divide meat mixture into 16 balls and arrange them on  nonstick sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all wet buffalo sauce ingredients and stir until fully mixed. Whisk in spices, holding back on the cayenne if you are worried about it being too hot.

Once meatballs are fully cooked, roll them in the buffalo sauce and let them sit about 3 minutes to soak up all the yummy flavor. Serve with Organicville Non Dairy Ranch Dressing, carrot sticks, and celery.

We also had salad and these totally cool, kid friendly things called Peas of Mind cauliflower and carrot fries with this. They are regular potato and cauliflower or carrot mixed together, then extruded in fry shape. They taste like regular fries, are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside like fries should be, with a healthy dose of veggies! What an awesome product! Plus, hello, the package is super cute! My only suggestion is salt them BEFORE you bake them if salt is your thing, as it won't stick to the fries once they are done. Yum!

*FRANK'S makes a buffalo sauce that is already vegan so you could use that. I didn't because it contains a "Natural butter type flavor", which just makes me think of this time I watched Dirty Jobs and Mike Rowe had to help clip a bearcat's claws and he said it smelled exactly like popcorn... also I read an article recently about how the Great North American Beaver marks its territory with urine and some sort of secretion from it's anal glands that smells sweet, and the anal glands are harvested and sold to food additive companies because, when it's added to vanilla ice cream, it makes it smell better. And that's listed as "NATURAL FLAVOR".... Yuck. So I like to avoid any product that doesn't tell me exactly what I am about to ingest.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Yummy Easy Dairy and Egg Free Chicken Salad

  A long time ago, when we still lived in Northern California and shopped at Raley's, and shortly after we learned of Jack's egg allergy, I came across a product called Vegenaise. We tried it once and it tasted like Miracle Whip... which I find revolting. Jack didn't care for it either.
  However, at Sprout's, they had a whole line of Vegenaise, so we bought a different version to try. This one actually tastes like mayonnaise, the only thing that isn't 100% right about it is that, straight from the fridge it is mayo like gelatenous consistency (um, mmm?) but once it starts to warm just a little, it becomes rather watery. No big deal though.
  Anyway, we made chicken salad for lunch (Chris had it as a sandwhich, my dad had it on crackers, Jack and I just ate it with a spoon and some veggie fries). It was easy and delicious! We will definately add it to our lunch time repertoire.

Chicken Salad

4 cans chicken breast chunks, drained
1/2 cup vegeniase
1 Tbs spicy brown mustard
1 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp parsely flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Optional: 2 Tbs dill pickle relish, 2 stalks thinly sliced celery, 1/4 cup halved grapes, 1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped

Mix all ingredients together and serve on your favorite GF sandwich bread, with GF crackers, or enjoy it all by itself with a pickle spear and some black olives! YUM!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Tonight I made Balsamic Glazed Chicken, also known as "Sticky Chicken". There are several variations of this recipe... the one I settled on, from was a little out of my comfort zone and so I just had to try it! The chicken was very good, in fact I thought the whole thing was good but I think for our family, the chicken might be better served by itself instead of on a bed of thai noodles. However, it was quick, easy, and slightly sweet so Jack ate it up!

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup GFDF chicken stock
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey
S&P to taste

Thai salad
4 servings worth of cooked GFEF thai rice noodles
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
4 Tbs mint, coarsely chopped

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired, and cook about 10 minutes on each side until they are a nice golden brown. Move chicken to a plate. Add garlic to the pan and cook for about a minute. Add tomato paste and chicken stock and stir until well blended, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan well. Add honey and vinegar and boil about 3 minutes, until about half of the liquid has evaporated.
Return cooked chicken to the pan (I cut ours into strips but you don't have to) and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Divide the lettuce and noodles into 4 bowls. Cover with chicken and remaining sauce, sprinkle with mint.
Serves 4

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Citrus Salmon en Papillote and Dairy Free Stuffed Mushrooms

  Well tonight I decided to try my hand at some more fancy fare. Citrus salmon, stuffed mushrooms, and roasted green beans. It all came out very tasty, but I don't think the stuffed mushrooms were quite worth the trouble. Maybe for a holiday, but not regular weeknight food, for sure.

  Before attempting, you should know the salmon is made en papillote (in parchment). It's a super simple way to make fish that doesn't dry it out, but there's a little bit of technique to folding the paper. I suggest this video to learn how to do it.
Fold and fold and fold some more!

  Otherwise, here are the recipes!

Citrus Salmon en Papillote

4 4oz wild salmon fillets with skin
3 Tbl olive oil
1 orange, lime, and lemon
2 tsp dill weed
S&P to taste
4 12 inch squares of parchment paper

Pre heat oven to 450 degrees. Brush skin side of fillet with olive oil and place slightly off center on parchment paper. Brush the top of the fish with olive oil. If desired, lightly salt and pepper salmon and then sprinkle with dill weed. Place one slice of each citrus across the top of the fish and sprinkle lightly again with dill. Fold the paper into packets. Repeat with other 3 fillets, then arrange packets on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until fish flakes apart.
Place the packets on each plate and cut and X in the top of the paper being mindful of the steam and not to cut the food.
Serves 4

Roasted Garlic Greenbeans
We make these as a side dish at least 3 times a week, so easy and great for you!

1lb fresh green beans, trimmed
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs garlic powder
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread green beans onto baking sheet and sprinkle salt and garlic powder over green beans, then drizzle on olive oil. Using a spatula, stir the green beans until all are evenly coated with oil, salt and garlic. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through for even browning.
Serves 4

Stuffed Mushrooms
I found this on and adapted it to replace the egg and pork, and made my own 'crumbs'

24 oz white button mushrooms
1/3 lb sweet italian chicken sausage
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup marsala wine
1 whole package Tofutti "Cream Cheese"
1 1/2 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer, plus 2 Tbs water, mixed well
S&P to taste
Gluten free bread crumbs (I used crushed rice chex with salt... it's ok in a pinch but probably not as good as real GF bread crumbs)

Clean mushrooms and dry. Pop stems out and set caps aside. Finely chop stems and set aside also. Brown sausage over medium heat, then remove to a plate to cool. In the same pan used for the sausage, saute onions and garlic over low heat about 2 minutes. Add the wine and allow to evaporate. Add in chopped mushroom stems and cook another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and set mixture aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix Tofutti Cream Cheese with egg replacement mixture until smooth, then slowly stir in both the sausage and the mushroom stem mixture. Place in fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350. Using a spoon, gently carve out center of mushrooms so there is a clean cavity. Spoon cream cheese mixture into mushrooms, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake for 25 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to brown the tops.
Serves way more than 4... this recipe could easily be halved and be fine.

It was nice to all sit down to something that felt a little bit gourmet... at least more so than meatloaf and mashed potatoes anyway!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dairy Free Ground Turkey and Chickpea Curry with "Yogurt"

  I found a recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen for ground turkey curry tonight that, with a little tweaking, was allergy friendly and super yummy!

Apparently this was already adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe, but here is my final product:

Ground Turkey and Chickpea Curry

1 Tbs + 1 tsp olive oil
1lb ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbs curry powder (we used half sweet, half hot)
1 can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 can chickpeas (garbonzo beans), drained
12oz sour cream substitute (we used Tofutti Sour Supreme)*
S&P to taste

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add turkey. Break apart meat and lightly brown, about 7 minutes, drain if necessary. Push the turkey to one side of the pan and in the other side, heat 1 tsp oilive oil. Once hot, add onion and saute about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle onions wiht curry powder and cook about 2 more minutes (I actually added about 1/2 Tbs of water to the onion-curry mixture as it was just dry powder stuck to onions and I was afraid it would burn). Stir onion and turkey together until well blended. Add tomatoes with juice and chickpeas and bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes. With heat still on low, stir in sour cream sub and simmer about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot over cooked brown rice or quinoa, or eat it all by itself as a stew! Yum!

It's not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but I take what I can get!

Jack and Ben both really liked this, which is really rare, but so did Chris and my dad which I don't think has ever happened before... Score!

* UPDATED: Now that we are also soy free, we use a soy free (and actually tastier, I think) sour cream substitute that is made with cashews. The recipe can be found here.