Thursday, August 30, 2012

{Allergy Free} "Cream Cheese" Icing

A while ago I made carrot cake with "cream cheese" icing.  In all the moving craziness, I forgot to blog the recipe and then I couldn't find it!  Well, this week I found my icing recipe so I made another round of carrot cake (which disappeared in 2 days).  The icing was just as I remembered!

Cream Cheese Icing
1 cup Earth Balance Soy Free
pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon rice milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

In mixer, beat Earth Balance well, adding a pinch of salt.
Add the powdered sugar, alternating with the rice milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Beat until the icing is smooth and fluffy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

{Allergy Free} Chicken and Rice Soup

I love using my crock pot, especially on long school days.  Here's a very simple chicken and rice soup that is a favorite of Ladybug's.  The recipe is very basic so you could always experiment with the spices.

Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Soup

1 pound of boneless chicken breast
chicken broth
6-7 stalks of celery
14 carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground sage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
salt and pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice

In crock pot, combine chicken, veggies, seasoning, and enough chicken broth to cover.
Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Add the cooked rice.
Salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a giant recipe to fill up my crock pot so that we will have leftovers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

{Allergy Free} Pumpkin Maple Bread

I'm trying to bring on the fall weather by doing some pumpkin baking.  I made these pumpkin loaves for our breakfast and they were perfect with some powdered sugar and even some extra maple syrup on top.  The bread has a very subtle pumpkin flavor with a hint of maple and is not overly sweet.  It was a great breakfast bread and a great snack!

Pumpkin Maple Bread
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons milk
1 cup maple syrup (real maple syrup!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour blend
3/4 teaspoon xanthan
5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 and grease loaf pans.  (I used mini loaf pans but you could use one large loaf pan).

Mix flour through nutmeg in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin through brown sugar and whisk well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the hot water.  (I mixed with a whisk to work out the lumps.)
Pour into loaf pans and bake for 30 minutes (or more for larger loaf pan).
Loaves are done when a tester comes out clean.
Makes 4 small loaves or 1 large loaf.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Down Days

I think we handle our allergy situation well.  We do lots of cooking and label reading and we are careful to monitor all of Bee's surroundings for allergens.  We've accepted our differences and moved on, with the focus of keeping her safe.

But there are still some days when I have a down day.  Those are the days when I feel depressed about all of our differences.  I look at Bee's future and know that she'll have to be vigilant every single day of her life.  She'll have to constantly let others know about her special needs and there won't be a day that goes by that she can forget and just dive right in to a normal life.  The limitations can be depressing.

Then I start to feel overwhelmed as I wonder how we're going to continue our allergy free life day in and day out.  Did I call that restaurant?  Did I read that label?  Did I double check that recipe?  Do we have our doctor's appointments scheduled?  Are we ready for more allergy tests?  Yes, it's so overwhelming to plan ahead for every meal and every outing and to question, question, question.  I have lists and I read labels and I scour the internet for safe recipes.  And sometimes it gets so very old and I just feel like I don't know where to begin even now.

At that point, I feel stressed.  I worry and allow fear to take over.  On those days, I don't want to go anywhere or be around anyone or even think about eating out again.  I don't feel like I can read another label and the stress keeps me from thinking straight.  Sometimes I can't even recall Bee's extensive allergy list and I feel panicked and worried that I'm forgetting something or missing something.  I feel sure I've overlooked something important.

As all those feelings hit, I feel such a sadness that we can't be carefree and enjoy life without all the worry and planning.  I remember when we used to head to restaurants as a family or take short trips without worrying about ice chests full of specialty foods.  I remember going to birthday parties without a single thought.  Simple things like going out for ice cream or enjoying a picnic at the park or a playdate at a friend's house used to be so easy.  I didn't have to be hyper vigilant.  I miss those days.  I feel such a sadness that I have to view everything as a potential danger and I have to spend so much time planning ahead and educating everyone about Bee's allergies.

So, even though we've been doing this for several years now, it doesn't always feel like it has gotten easier.  Some days it's just hard to process the changes we've made and it's difficult to keep moving forward.  I just want to wish things back to the way they were or have a do-over.  This is not what I envisioned for our family.

I don't experience the days of sadness as often as I used to, but they still come.  Some days, all the emotions and stress and worry compound, and I feel like I can't continue.  I have a feeling that I'll always have days like these.

But when I do start to feel overwhelmed, I just look at Bee and remind myself of how far we've come.  Seeing her smile and hearing her giggle as she plays serve as encouragement.  She's doing so well and we've learned so much in just a few short years.  She's worth all the changes and the sacrifices.

Still, there's just a bit of sadness when I look at her as I wonder what challenges she'll face as she grows and learns to become her own advocate. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yakaturi Steak Marinade

This is our favorite steak marinade that was originally made by my grandfather and my dad.  I got the recipe from my dad and we've changed it so that Bee can enjoy steaks with us.  Let the steaks marinade for 24 hours for the best flavor and you will have one juicy steak.  Curly and Tiger are huge fans although Bee prefers her steak with ketchup!

Yakaturi Marinade

1/2 cup coconut soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ginger
6 cloves garlic, diced

Combine ingredients in large bowl.  Pour over steaks and let marinade.  Grill!  (That's my hubby's favorite part!)

We usually double the recipe to have enough marinade for all of our steaks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

{Allergy Free} Yellow Sheet Cake

One of my favorite cakes is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  So, to satisfy a pregnancy craving I made myself one!  This cake is more like a sponge cake texture and is perfect with your favorite chocolate frosting.  I use the frosting recipe from The Allergen Free Baker's Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Yellow Sheet Cake
1/2 cup Earth Balance soy free melted
1 cup plain coconut yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons milk
2 cups flour blend
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rice milk mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 and spray cake pan.
Combine butter and yogurt in mixing bowl and whisk well.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat with mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add egg replacer and continue to mix.
Combine flour, xanthan, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl, alternating with the rice milk/lemon juice mixture.  Begin and end with flour mixture.  Mix well.
Pour batter into pan and tap once on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Let cool and then frost.

Ladybug kept looking for more cake.  She was so disappointed when it was gone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

{Allergy Free} Lemon Poppyseedless Muffins

Bee has a sensitivity to most seeds so we're not taking any chances with poppyseeds.  But that doesn't mean that she can't enjoy lemon "poppyseed" muffins.  We just omit the poppyseeds.  These buttery, lemony muffins are a favorite breakfast of Curly.  The tart glaze is perfect on the warm muffins.

Lemon Poppyseedless Muffins

3 cups flour blend
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons rice milk
1 1/2 cups plain coconut yogurt (3 containers)
3 Tablespoons lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk together flour through salt.
In separate bowl cream Earth Balance and sugar with mixer.
Add egg replacer and lemon zest and beat well.
Alternately add the dry ingredients and the coconut yogurt, beginning and ending with flour.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.

2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk ingredients together and pour over muffins while still warm.

Makes 24 muffins.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

All Moved In!

It's official!  The Hive has relocated once again this summer.  We are now out of the awful apartment and into our rent house!  We finally have bedroom space, real beds, a kitchen with counter top room, and all our kitchen appliances and utensils.  Whew!  That was one busy, busy day!

 Most of the boxes have been opened and we can walk through the house.  I think we've been able to find almost everything and nothing was broken.  That's a miracle!
The kids' first request once we got settled was for some chocolate donuts.  Now it feels like home!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Soccer Game

We did a brave thing-Daddy took Bee to a professional soccer game.  She survived.

Prince Charming was given 4 VIP tickets to a local soccer game.  None of us care a bit about soccer, but.....the seats were really really good.  He had a box seat with his own private table.  You can't really turn that down!

So, after much debate and worry, we decided that he should take all 3 big kids to the game.

I called ahead and spoke with the manager of the complex and he said he would allow us to bring in a snack for the kids since the concession stand was off limits.  I wrote down his name-Andrew.

Prince Charming headed out the door with 3 kids, an Epi-pen, and a bag of safe pretzels.  He was of course stopped at the gate and told to ditch the pretzels.  He said the magic word-Andrew-and they were sent on their way with the bag of pretzels and told to enjoy the game.

The seats were awesome!  The kids had a wonderful time with water bottles and pretzels.  They sat at midfield in their box seats and watched the game for an hour.  The VIP area filled up fast and a few people nearby were munching peanuts, so Prince Charming decided that they had enough soccer for one night and they headed home.

It was Bee's first time to go to any sports game.  Previously I've been too freaked out by the lovely concession stand.  But she did great!  We can do this!

I would post wonderful pictures of Bee's first sports experience, but Prince Charming left his phone in the car.  No pictures for me.  But all the kids did get this little soccer ball cowbell.  Man, those things will bless you.  I'll leave you with a picture of our new bells instead.

Monday, August 13, 2012

{Allergy Free} Chicken Cacciatore

Here is our version of chicken cacciatore.  It's different from most recipes in that we omit the olives and mushrooms (which you could always add back) because we don't like them (sorry!).  So, it's almost authentic chicken cacciatore.  My kids love it over pasta but you could serve it over polenta or rice.

Chicken Cacciatore
1 package of chicken breast strips (about 1 pound)
olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 jars tomato sauce
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lay out chicken pieces and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Cover bottom of skillet with olive oil and turn on medium setting.

Brown chicken pieces for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Remove and sprinkle with thyme and sage.

Pour out most of excess oil and then place skillet back on burner.

Put chicken broth and minced garlic in skillet and stir, scraping bottom of pan.  Let cook on medium low heat for a few minutes.

Place onion and carrot slices in bottom of greased casserole dish.

Pour chicken broth with garlic over the onion and carrots and stir.

Place chicken pieces on top of carrots and onion.

Pour jars of tomato sauce over the top.

Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

{Allergy Free} Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

I don't know why I've had the baking bug lately.  There is nothing less fun than baking in our apartment!  I only have a few kitchen supplies (we brought only what would fit in our cars) and the kitchen is teensy weensy.  The dishwasher doesn't work right so that means I have to hand wash most of the dishes I dirty.  Isn't that fun??!! And then there's the oven.  It thinks it is a bird and it chirps at me while I bake.  Why??

Despite the challenges of doing any type of cooking here, I've been baking and cooking away-maybe to take my mind off the move.  So I tweaked some online recipes I found to make these snickerdoodle cupcakes.  They were heavenly!  Yum!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 Tablespoons rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups rice milk
extra cinnamon and sugar mixed together for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray the muffin tins.

Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream the Earth Balance and sugar well.

Add egg replacer mixture and vanilla.  Blend well.

Alternately add the flour mixture and the rice milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Spoon into muffin tins, dust with cinnamon sugar, and bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool on wire racks before frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cinnamon "Buttercream" Frosting

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup Earth Balance
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 T rice milk

Cream shortening, Earth Balance and salt well.

Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.

Add powdered sugar alternating with rice milk until frosting is smooth.

Pipe onto cupcakes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

{Allergy Free} Orange Cake

I make this orange cake with glaze as a breakfast treat or a special snack.  You could also frost the cake with a vanilla frosting if you want a dessert dish.  The cake is best served warm and has a nice subtle orange taste.

Orange Cake

1 1/2 cups flour blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup applesauce
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside.

In separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour into greased 9x9 pan.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice

Whisk glaze and drizzle over still warm cake.
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