Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vegan and Soy Free Ranch Revised

  Before we found out about Jack's rice allergy, the very best way we'd found to make dairy free ranch dressing was to use soy free Vegenaise as a base. (Recipe here). Since we lost rice, we've found a few different yummy ways to make salad dressings and dips that are creamy and tasty, but they were never quite right.

  Well this recipe is still not 100% Hidden Valley, but it is so close I bet most non-vegan or allergy restricted partakers would not think it was dairy free. ((Since this is made with nuts, one of the top 8 allergens, it's probably wise to inform your guests about it's ingredients before they eat it though).

  I used my Blendtec blender for this. If you do not have as powerful a blender, you can still make this recipe but you may have to blend it for much longer, or ideally soak your cashews in water the night before.

Vegan and Soy Free Cashew Ranch

1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2+ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil

In a blender, add cashews and water and blend until smooth (Using the Blendtec I went to speed 2 and let it run it's whole cycle twice). This could be 5 or more minutes using a less powerful blender and unsoaked cashews.
In a separate small bowl, add almond milk and lemon juice and allow to sit for a few minutes until 'curdled'.
Once the cashews are smooth, add the almond milk/ lemon juice mixture, olive oil, and all seasonings to blender and blend until completely combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. We ended up using about 1 tsp salt altogether.

You can also add other seasonings to this such as chipotle powder or pepper corns. The cashew cream, olive oil, and almond milk/lemon juice mixture makes an excellent base for lots of dips and dressings, more than once we have a had a great tasting salad dressing that I can never recreate because I just threw things into the blender, so feel free to experiment!
It even makes a pretty good mayonnaise substitute (add salt). It should not be watery, if it is add more cashews to the mix and blend again. It will thicken even more in the fridge.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spicy Peanut Butter Turkey - Dairy, Soy, Wheat/Gluten Free

  This sounds strange but is so tasty. I discovered it online and started making way back before we knew about most of Jack's allergies. Back then, we made it with chicken and real soy sauce and served it over brown rice. We've had to adjust the recipe some since then but it still is one of our very favorite dishes. Even though it has very few ingredients, it has a complex flavor and along with the spiciness and peanuts, it's very reminiscent of Thai food.

  Also, I recently discovered coconut aminos while at a great local health food store called The Sunflower Shoppe. It's soy free but tastes pretty close to soy sauce, though milder. The downside of that is that to replicate the flavor intensity of a recipe calling for soy sauce, you have to use a ton of it and, well, it ain't cheap. So if you have this stuff available to you, give it a try. Maybe you'll like the milder flavor and the convenience of not having to make your own "soy sauce" and it'll be worth the price. Here's my favorite soy sauce substitute recipe that works really well in this dish.

Also, you can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less red pepper flakes. 1 tsp is about what we use and it's not too hot for my 3 year old and almost 2 year old, but they have strange palates!

Spicy Peanut Butter Turkey

1 lb turkey cutlets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 cup chunky peanut butter (smooth works fine too but isn't as fun!)
1/3 cup soy sauce substitute (recipe linked above), soy sauce, or 1/2 cup coconut aminos + 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups cooked quinoa (preferably cooked in vegetable broth rather than water, for flavor)

In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, and water until smooth and blended. Stir in pepper flakes, garlic, and onion powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.*
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently to prevent turkey from sticking to skillet, about 6-8 minutes until cooked through and beginning to brown a bit.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour peanut butter mixture into skillet with turkey and stir constantly, being sure to scrape the bottom well, for 5 minutes. Stir in sliced green onions.
Serve over quinoa.

*The longer this mixture sits, the better all the flavors become. If possible, make this 30 minutes or so before you start cooking, but the flavor will still be great if you make it right before hand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Turkey Corn Dog Bites- Dairy, Egg, Wheat/Gluten Free

  Ian's Natural Foods has a whole line of allergy-free, kid friendly frozen foods, like fish sticks and chicken nuggets. They also have these great Jack friendly turkey corn dog bites that we love, but they are a tad on the pricey side and I tend to shy away from pre-packaged foods if possible, so I tried my hand at making them myself.
  I was able to make a reasonable facsimile. I think that if these were frozen while the batter was still raw and then baked, they may be even better, and I'd like to try that next time!

Turkey Corn Dog Bites

1 package turkey hot dogs, room temperature and cut into fourths
1/4 package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free corn bread mix
1 Tbl sugar
Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs
1 Tbl Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, melted
3/4 cup or so plain unsweetened coconut milk or other non dairy milk
olive oil to grease plate

Pre-heat your deep fryer to 375*
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together corn bread mix and sugar. Stir in egg replacer and melted earth balance. Start adding in milk 1/4 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly, until mixture is the consistency of a milkshake.
Grease a plate generously with olive oil.
Dry hot dog pieces well with a paper towel and then dunk them into the corn mixture. Set dipped pieces on greased plate until you have enough for a fryer batch (for my Presto Cool Daddy, that was about 13 pieces).
Fry for about 5 minutes, until golden and beginning to brown. Drain well on brown paper bag and serve.

*If you do not have a deep fryer, you can pan fry these on your stove top in corn oil or your other favorite kind of oil for 4-5 minutes per side.
You can also try baking these at 400 for about 20 minutes, but this is just my best guess as I have NOT tried baking these before. You will have to use your judgement whether it needs more or less time.


Cereal Bar Treats - Dairy, Soy, Wheat/Gluten Free

  We had lots of cereal that was going (or already) stale on our pantry shelves. I was just about to throw it out when I thought, well, I might as well try to make rice-crispy type things out of them and see how they come out. The worst that could happen was I would still end up throwing it out.

  I just started melting random stuff in a pot and lucky for my dear husband, these came out tasting like crunchy Reese's. "Oh my god.... you have GOT to write that recipe down" is just about the best compliment a wife can get :D

Cereal Bar Treats
1/2 cup honey, agave nectar, or corn syrup
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
3 Tbl Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
1 cup allergen free marshmallows
2 cups cereal of choice (We used a mix of stale Honey Kix, Honey Nut Chex, and plain Corn Chex)
1/3 cup or so vegan chocolate chips
olive oil for greasing the pan
1 pinch sea salt

Generously grease a small cake pan or casserole dish with olive oil. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat honey, peanut butter, and Earth Balance over medium heat and stir until smooth. Add in marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Fold in cereal and continue folding until evenly coated. Toss in chocolate chips and stir just a few times, enough to spread  them throughout the mixture. They will melt, but you are trying to keep the melted chocolate from completely mixing into the peanut butter. You want to have a marbled effect so some bites have more peanut butter and some have more chocolate.
Spread mixture into the cake pan and pat with a wet spatula until well packed and level. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of sea salt.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until set. Cut into bars and enjoy!

These do not hold up after a few minutes at room temperature, so store in an air tight container in the fridge and serve chilled.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Quinoa

I love quinoa, but one thing I've noticed about it is that it doesn't seem to lend itself to sweeter, breakfast-y type applications. Or so I thought! I'm so over toast and turkey sausage and was at a loss as to what to make this morning that didn't involve a bunch of dishes like making pancakes or biscuits and gravy does, when I came across a Martha Stewart recipe for Breakfast Quinoa. Her recipe called for whole milk (can't use) and blueberries (didn't have) so I improvised, added some things, and ended up with a really tasty peaches and cream almost-oatmeal! Of course it did have a quinoa-y taste to it but only slightly and if you are used to that flavor, it's no big deal at all. My husband and kids readily ate this up, Jack even tried very hard to use his spoon (we're still working on that) :) Sorry there is no picture, it looked about as photogenic as oatmeal though which is to say, tasted better than it looked!

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Quinoa

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups vanilla almond milk (or other vanilla non-dairy milk of choice)
1 cup frozen peaches, thawed slightly and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 Tbl white sugar
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add milk and quinoa to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until milk is about 3/4 absorbed. Stir in peaches, sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla and continue to simmer until milk is completely absorbed, about 8 more minutes. (I actually waited to stir the peaches in until the quinoa was completely done so that they would cool it quickly for my impatient little boys!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread - Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Egg Free, Vegan

I don't know what I was thinking but I decided to make chili and cornbread tonight when my dad came over. I thought I'd get a little fancy with the cornbread, and good thing, because after helping my dad and husband unload said husband's 1968 Mustang from a car trailer and pushing it (with under inflated tires) uphill into the garage in 106 degree weather, chili sounded like the absolute WORST idea ever and we ended up just eating these tasty cornbread muffins.

The secret to making these so ooey-gooey and delicious is using Daiya's new wedge cheese rather than their shreds. You can still use the shreds, but it won't be nearly as fabulous.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

1 package Bob's Red Mill gluten free cornbread mix
Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs
1 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond (or other non-dairy) milk
1/3 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, melted
1 jalapeno, half seeded and diced, the other half sliced into 12 half circles
1/3 package Daiya Cheddar Wedge, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Olive oil to grease muffin pan

Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl, stir cornbread mix, cheese cubes and diced jalapeno together. Slowly stir in non dairy milk, egg replacer, and melted butter.
Grease muffin pan lightly with olive oil. Fill cups 1/3 of the way with cornbread batter and press one slice of jalapeno on top of each. Bake 20-25 minutes, until muffins have risen and are ever so lightly browned on top.
Allow to cool for 3 minutes and then pop them out of the muffin tin with a spoon. Serve with more Earth Balance smeared on top and enjoy!