Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Food Allergy T-Shirt

Here's a good reminder to keep food away from a food allergic individual-especially for a child who can't speak up for themselves.  It might be a nice break for the parent who has to share the food allergy info every. single. time. 

Since food is at every function, this might make you breathe easier if you're brave enough to actually go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Allergy Free Chocolate Cake

Here is a recipe for a Texas Sheet Cake that is so moist and yummy!  It is rich chocolate with a hint of cinnamon.  I love it without icing but chocolate icing on top makes it a chocolate lover's dream.  It's even better with vanilla hemp milk ice cream.

Texas Sheet Cake

2 cups flour blend (4 cups rice flour, 1 1/3 cup potato starch, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup rice milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 Tablespoons rice milk

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

Combine water, Earth Balance, and cocoa in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture.  Beat at medium speed with mixer until well-blended.  Add the rice milk/lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and egg replacer/milk mixture.  Beat well.

Pour into greased 15x10 jelly roll pan (or 9x13 sheet cake pan-bake longer if using this pan) and bake at 375 for 17-18 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. 

For icing:
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1/3 cup rice milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine Earth Balance, milk, and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Pour over warm cake. 


Here is the cake before icing......as you can see I had to sneak a taste!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gluten free and vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been trying to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I've found that many of them crumble into nothingness, bake into one giant pancake, or are more like cookie cake.  Well, these cookies are not perfect but they are the closest I have come to buttery, crunchy-on-the-outside but chewy-on-the-inside cookies.



Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Earth balance spread
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup flour blend
3/4 tsp xanthan
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
12 oz chocolate chips

Mix flour blend, xanthan, salt, and baking soda together.  Cream Earth Balance and sugars in a separate bowl.  Add in vanilla extract.  Add in the flour mixture, alternating with the rice milk.
Gently stir in chocolate chips.  Place dough in fridge for 30 minutes.  Then place rounded spoonfuls of dough on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets and then remove to cooling rack.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Allergy Free Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken

I have been on a quest to find some easy crockpot recipes for this winter.  Our first successful recipe was sweet and sour chicken which we served over rice.  The kids loved this simple Asian inspired recipe.



Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 T ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 T Coconut aminos (soy-free "soy" sauce)
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into cubes or strips
2 T cornstarch and 2 T water


Combine first 4 ingredients in crock pot and mix well.  Add chicken and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.  When done, whisk together cornstarch and water in small bowl.  Stir into slow cooker and cook an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Curly!



And to round out our birthday weekend, Happy Birthday to Curly!  Curly girl is 6!  That just can't be possible!

Here's to the "other mother" at our house-the drama queen, chatter box, girly-girl, lover of pink and purple, bookworm, princess, ballerina, sparkle and glitter wearer, violinists, dress up darling, pianist, story-teller, baking buddy, and always my helper.

Happy Birthday Curly!! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Tiger!



Happy Birthday to my Tiger!  He is 4-years-old today!!  He is the rugged adventurer, the brave man in a house full of girls, the sharp-shooting protector, the knight in shining armor, and the one full of imagination. 

Tonight is his party-in combination with Curly's party.  (Her birthday is tomorrow!!)  We are having a Candy Land party at our house with candy, games, gingerbread cookies, and a cardboard castle. 

His birthday breakfast request is cinnamon rolls!  No surprise there!  It's hard to believe that my once-tiny little NICU guy is now 4!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Temper Tantrums



Baby Bee is 2 1/2 which is sometimes a terrible age!  At this age, Tiger and Curly were both so difficult!  The tempers!  The tantrums!  The screaming!  The stubbornness! 

Bee has hit this magical age where she has become contrary, disobedient, stubborn and an expert tantrum-thrower.

It's a phase.  We'll get through it.  She'll one day grow out of it.  But it doesn't make it any less frustrating!

And with Bee there's an added element---her temper tantrums can make her break out in a rash.  That's right!  When she's all worked up, she gets overheated which can make her break out.  It would be so easy to just give in to make the fits stop, but I know that's not the answer.  We might go back to some cool tub soaks and lots of bendaryl cream in the meantime.  Thank goodness the weather is cooler right now.  Is it too much to hope that Bee's tantrums will slow down for springtime??

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Allergy Free Baking Disasters

I love posting new recipes that we have discovered in hopes that it helps someone else who is allergy free and hungry.  However, I haven't yet talked about the many baking and cooking failures. 

When we first began our allergy free cooking endeavors, most things did not turn out well.  We had a few recipes that were already allergy-free without any modifications.  So, we stuck to those recipes and had the same things every. single. week.

When we were all so very tired of those recipes, we began to branch out and experiment.  On occasion we would find a great new recipe or find a perfect substitution.  But, it was so time consuming!  I spent hours scouring the internet for ideas and help with possible allergy free substitutes.  We had so many expensive failures!  We always had a backup plan to run to Chick-Fil-A for grilled chicken.  We had to use that plan many times!

Then my hubby bought me this cookbook and this baking book.  Suddenly, I was able to cook a few new meals.  The book clearly outlined the substitutions that were possible for our allergy free life and the recipes were edible!  Actually, they were more than edible; they were good!

I stuck to the recipes in these cookbooks for months.  Then I slowly had the confidence to branch out and modify other recipes and come up with new ones.  The recipes on my site are ones that we have discovered or are recipes that are loosely based on some of our old favorites.  And I do mean "loosely!"

However, I still have expensive baking and cooking disasters.  Bread is like the Holy Grail of GF baking.  It is sooooo sooooo very difficult!

I tried a type of French bread that other week.  It was very dense and very heavy, nothing like the airy, fluffy, crusty French bread.  So much for all that expensive bread flour and xanthan gum!

My next experiment was pumpkin roll.  Tastewise it was good.  Other than that it was a mess!  The pumpkin roll did not "roll," it crumbled, it fell, it tore, and it stuck.  And the frosting for the inside was all smooshed out as I rolled it up.  That was fun to clean up!

I gave up on the pumpkin roll and went for something simpler-pumpkin bread.  It looked and smelled wonderful while baking.  But once I cut into it I discovered that it didn't bake all the way through.  It was dense and mushy and gooey.  I even baked it for almost 45 minutes longer than the recipe said.  Fail!

And those failures were all in one week!  Yes.  At the end of that week I had vowed to never cook again.  And I cried.  That was when Prince Charming stepped in and cooked dinner the next night to get me out of the kitchen; since then I'm back at my cooking and baking.

So, no matter how long you've been cooking the allergy-free way, you will have many failures.  However, each success makes it so very worth it to try new things.
 
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