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Food & Diet

I love cooking for my family and friends!

Ultra Cheddar Vegan Nut Cheese


Sometimes I want a mild, delicate cheese with a creamy texture that politely compliments its surroundings. However, other times I want a bold, robust cheese that stands on its own and happily becomes the life of the party.

I was really inspired by the flavors my son prefers.  As a little boy he wants the mac n’ cheese, quesadillas and pizza everyone else his age enjoys.  But as a mom, I know he will grow to be a gentleman who will want a spicy cheese to crumble on top of his chili, melt over his nachos or dip with his friends in a savory fondue.  And let’s face it, the only reason I ever started making vegan cheese was this little boy child of mine that I love to smithereens. It makes sense that he gets the number one vote on how tasty a cheese is.

With that in mind I created an Ultra cheddar that’s delicious, great with mix-ins and super extra cheesy.  Perfect for now and adaptable for a life time of dairy free cheese enjoyment.

Most of all, my kiddo loves it!

Let’s begin with the following ingredients:

1 ½ c water
5 T agar agar flakes

3 c soaked cashews
2 – 3 cloves garlic

3 T lemon juice
2 T tahini
2 T chick pea miso (soy miso if tolerated)

1 c nutritional yeast flakes
2 t granulated onion
1 T paprika
½ t dry mustard
¼ t kosher salt (optional)

Oiled cheese container with lid

20150323 113
All the parts for making cheese.

Let’s get to it:

1) In a sauce pan combine water and agar agar. Mix and let bloom while the other steps are completed.

2) Add cashews and garlic in food processor or blender and wiz into small pieces.

3) Add lemon juice, tahini, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, granulated onion, paprika, dry mustard and kosher salt. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse peanut butter.

4) Bring the bloomed agar agar mixture to a boil. Whisk continuously as you bring the temp to medium.  Continue to whisk and simmer until the liquid forms glossy bubbles and turns a light golden brown color.

5) Pour the agar agar into the processor and blend with the nut mixture until smooth. Be sure to scrape down sides to ensure all is incorporated.

6) Pour the cheese mixture into the pre oiled container. Work quickly as the agar agar will begin to set right away.

7) Cheese stays happily in the frig for a week and a half in a covered container.  Ours is consumed pretty quickly so I can’t vouch for longer than that.

*I have made two loaves at the same time.  One to use and one for the freezer.  This cheese is easier to grate when partially frozen.  Once defrosted it slices and behaves normally.  I should do myself a favor and make two more often; it was nice to have a back up ready to go.*

Voila!  Deliciousness accomplished.
Voila! Deliciousness accomplished.

Some fun add ins to this ultra cheddar nut cheese are:

2 T chili powder = nacho cheese flavor
2 T Italian seasoning = cheese pizza flavor
1 T pepper flakes = zesty cheese flavor

Happy cheese making.

Junk Food Does NOT Cause IBD.

Junk food does NOT cause IBD.
Junk food does NOT cause IBD.

Landslide of diet questions lately.

Please let me clarify something. We -my family and I- eat a Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Casein, Food Dye Free diet for our child. Out of respect for him, when in his presence we eat the same foods that he does. Because I am a stay at home mom, this is most of my day. However, when I go grocery shopping by myself, I occasionally indulge at the local Greek shop and enjoy baklava or gyros…or both!

I do not live this diet because of IBD or my Ostomy at all. If there are any positive results, I attribute them to a whole body care idea of Gastroenterology, meds, and general healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise and joyful pursuits.

With all that I still have flares, am very careful to eat according to my bodies needs that day, always mindful towards hydration, proper rest and fatigue levels.

I know many people who have changed their diets with amazing results. This is hopeful and inspiring. However, that outcome isn’t universal.

As for junk food? I strongly disagree with the crazy notion that junk food is THE cause of IBD. As a person who sat across from more than one well intentioned aka passive aggressive person who suggests you just ‘buck up’. It’s all in your mind. Exercise more! Have you tried X.Y.Z. supplement, diet, therapy, ‘cure’, method, spiritual cleanse? How about various detox, wearing special rocks with healing powers, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, medications, creams, ointments, oils from such and such country? Just eat more. You need a milkshake, you need a hamburger, how about adding mayonnaise to your food? I’m taking you in so this herbalist can look into your eye and ‘map’ your problems then suggest the right combo of herbs. Chlorophyll. Raw diet. And the list goes on.  Junk food is just one more way to calculate cause and blame for a disease we are still learning about.

It all adds up to the idea that the cure is in the hand of the afflicted if only you believe and try hard enough. As if our own actions, or lack there of, caused this disease that every day tries to kill us. It’s a ‘Results vary by effort put in.’ thought process that exonerates those around us from guilt. They can’t feel bad if being sick is our fault. Our choice mirrored out by our actions. Junk food represents the IBD that we willingly consume, making disease our fault.

As for a cause of IBD? I’m putting my money on good ol DNA.  Could something be a trigger?  Yes.  Environment, diet, stress, general health, exercise/ activity level, pollution, and so much more more.  As a whole, we just don’t know.  And that’s the point.

Suggesting that junk food, or any food, is THE cause of IBD is shifting energy from finding a cure, towards villainizing foods and blaming the patient as the cause of their own suffering.

Blaming, shaming, presumptuous, incorrect words passed off as fact is dangerous, isolating and unintelligent.  It serves to purposefully unload responsibility of discovery and cure onto the shoulders of sufferers and their families to navigate alone.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, Soy Free and Food Dye Free Grocery Trip to Costco.

When we first changed our diet the concept seemed pretty simple.  I did not feel like I was asking a lot.  I just wanted real food.  If you think about it, most of what our grandparents and great grandparents ate was real food.  Local fruit and veg, bread from the bakery around the corner and fish and meat from the market run by that family that has owned the place for the last thirty years.  Having moved away from Oregon,  I now realize I was spoiled in all these regards.  Most people don’t live near a farm where you can pick up fresh ingredients or have a great weekly farm stand where you can make a relationship with the people who grow your food.   And so the challenge was to find real food in a more urban setting.  

That is when I realized how very much Costco is your friend.  

Firstly Costco listens to their customers.  At the door to every Costco is a suggestion box.  Every time I go I am there at the box asking for what I need for my family and know I will buy as staples.  I asked for REAL peanut butter.  Just peanuts, not that other stuff with the sugars and what not in there.  I asked for organic jam with no corn syrup.  I asked for veggie straws, tortillas, quinoa chips and more.  Slowly Costcos list of ‘safe’ foods have grown and continue to grow.  Thousands of families are now able to get what they need.  

The way we eat is not a fad.  My son will be Autistic for the rest of his life.  His diet plays a huge role in his improved quality of life.  There is no going back to ‘regular food’ for us.  Because of this, it is important that both my children feel empowered and excited about our food choices.  This is why Costcos tradition of giving samples matters to our family.  We aren’t there to eat ‘free food’.  We are making important nutritional decisions for our family and including our children in on that process of reading labels and breaking down ingredients.  I am that lady in the isle on the phone Googling Olestrin and putting that package back on the shelf.  How the food tastes is the final deciding factor.

So, because I am nice that way, I will share a photo shopping trip with you.   Every item was found at my local Costco.

Click  *Read More*  to view pics with descriptions.

I describe these as ‘home style’ because they are thicker than a regular corn tortilla.
Great flavor and holds up well to cooking, quesadillas, enchalatas, sandwich wraps and baking into chips.  


We are a fish loving family.
Fresh versus farmed is the way to go.
It always goes fast, so get it while you can.


We love Foster Farms thighs.
These tear away packets make it easy to defrost just enough for dinner.

 

 


This rice milk is Organic, unsweetened, and vitamin and calcium enriched.
Subs out in recipes perfectly.


This is the dog food and diaper isle.  It is usually located at the very back of most Costcos and is one of my secret weapons.  Because everybody loves Costco, it gets super busy, crowded and loud.  My little guy is sensitive to the lights, noises, and people around him.  When he looks like he is getting overwhelmed, (hopefully before the melt down) we duck into this usually quiet and vacant isle for calming and regrouping.


The walk in frig is a multitasker of goodness.  We talk about the fruits and veg in season and it is my second favorite quiet place for calming and regrouping.  It echos less, has fewer traffic jams and it’s chilly.  Great ways to naturally sedate anxiety before continuing on.  


Eggs ~ Protein that’s easy to sneak into almost everything.


We eat a lot of beans.  Pinto are my husbands favorite.
I make a huge batch in the crock pot and freeze in packets so I always have some ready to go.
A great way to get away from purchasing ‘refried beans’ in a tin.  Healthier as well.


The small V8 just the right size for lunches.


Dried fruit in our house is soaked and pureed as a sugar substitute, added into baking and used in leu of candy as fun treats in lunches and to fill out a home made trail mix for safe snacking on the go.
This is raisins, mango and coconut.  


Brown rice is a powerhouse in our home.
I make it in my crock pot in large batches to freeze some away so I always have it on hand, warm left overs with cinnamon and honey as a hot breakfast cereal and grind it into my own organic brown rice flour.  


Organic tomato products.
These are the diced but I get their paste as well.


Everybody loves olive oil. 

 

 
We use dried almonds, walnuts and cashews for baking, trail mix, lunches and snacks.
I grind nuts to make nut flour and nut butters as well.



This Organic Strawberry Spread is super delicious, kid approved and has no weird ingredients!
Organic lemon juice.


This peanut butter is amazing!
It’s just nuts and a wee bit of salt.  That’s it!

No sugars, stabilizers, flavorings or other gook! 

 


Sometimes you want chips with that sandwich. These don’t have any odd things in them.
Be careful though, not all Kettle Chips are safe in the dairy or soy department. FYI


Dried cranberries are always a hit in my house added to cookies, breads, brown rice or trail mix.


Coconut Water!
We live in a southern climate and as an Ostomate I get dehydrated pretty quickly.
I drink coconut water regularly.
Because I do, my children do as well.

 


  These little jewels are amazing to eat and are a great natural sub for sweeteners in baking.
Try wrapping some in bacon and baking in the oven for a while.
A great way to make friends.


These Larabars are essentially nuts and fruit pressed together into delicious bars. 
I try to have these in my purse for  snacking on the go for my lil guy.


Vegetables in straw form but crunchy like a chip.
  This is our ‘sometimes food’ and is a fun treat for dipping into hummus.


These are amazing!
Protein, fiber, and good for you in a tasty little crisp.

Puts all other tortilla chips to shame as far as nutritional content.
My whole family loves these.

We use coconut oil in most of our baking as a sub for butter.
It is our go to fat when we are not using olive oil.
Thanks to Costco you can get a huge tub of Organic Extra Virgin.
Delicious and smells heavenly.

As you can see, finding nutritious food that tastes good and fits your lifestyle is possible and easy at Costco.  As I find more gems I will share them with you.

Take care my Sweet Bolognas

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pancakes With Wee Ones

My kids LOVE pancakes.  Golden, fluffy little medallions of deliciousness arranged artfully on a plate and smothered with fruit or drizzled with real maple syrup.  Kid heaven.

Before we went Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free (aka Autism Diet)  my husband would make either pancakes or waffles every weekend.  Making breakfast and taking special time with his children gave him immense joy.  In the 10 months since our diet change we have tried different recipes without the reliable success we had before.  Pancakes and waffles were replaced with other breakfast items.  All the while Hubby was wishing for a great recipe that would get him back to the pancake griddle again.  I kept looking and trying with limited success.  

And then while browsing Pinterest I found the super simplest banana pancake recipe ever!  (You likely know which one I am talking about.)  I didn’t like how it turned out at first, so I messed with it and made it better.  Aka. more substantial and filling.  AND I discovered a way to do it in a sourdough form. Plus it keeps well in a shaker container in the frig for easy make ahead pancakes and morning prep ease!  On top of it all, it is easy enough that my seven year old made a batch. By now you are chomping at the bit to get your hands on this recipe.  I feel your joy! 😀

6 ripe bananas
12 eggs
1 c. brown rice flour *sub of coconut or almond flour works well*
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon 

*If you are doing the sourdough version, add 1 c. recently fed sourdough starter* 

Prep your eggs early as this recipe calls for a bunch.

Add banana to blender.

Mix until smooth.

Add eggs a few at a time.

Mix until smooth.

Add brown rice flour (or coconut or almond flour) and whisk to incorporate.

Cook as you would any other pancake.
The flavor is outstanding.
The banana makes it sweet enough where you don’t really need syrup.

Enjoy my sweet Bolognas 😀

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Sourdough Starter

Okay, before going GF,DF I kept and loved sourdough.  (I even named it)  I made breads, rolls, pancakes, sweet buns, waffles, and battered everything from french fries to chicken and fish with my sourdough starter.  Once a week I came up with something sourdough fabulous.

Part of the all for one and one for all family GF,DF family diet change involved using up the last of, and saying good bye to my beloved sourdough.

However, I never let go of my love of sourdough and kept trying to find ways to make it work.

This is how I found Brown Rice Sourdough Starter.

Brown rice starter is a different consistency from traditional starter, denser in a way.  But it has great flavor and I am enjoying getting back into the swing of all things sourdough again.  I am still getting to know this brown rice version and am tweaking recipes as my learning curve continues to grow.

So for those in love with sourdough like I am, I thought I would share.

Brown Rice Sourdough Starter:

2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 c. brown rice flour
2 T. honey

*Combine honey and water until honey dissolves.
*Add yeast and proof until frothy.
*Whisk in brown rice with non reactive spoon or whisk.
*Cover lightly with lid or cheese cloth.  (I set mine in the sink as it may over flow)
*Stir down with wooden spoon twice a day.  (I live in a warmer climate and needed to stir more)
*If too thin add more brown rice flour plus 1 t. honey, too thick add water 1 T at a time until the right consistency.
*After 24 hours your sourdough should have a slight sour smell.  This is a great thing and means it is ready to be used.

Feeding:
If using 1 c. starter ~ feed remaining starter with 1 c. brown rice flour + 1 t. honey + 1 c. water.
Mix well with non reactive spoon.

**Feed weekly and may be kept in frig between feedings.

Enjoy my sweet Bolognas 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Popsicles

Right to Left: Shark Fins, Chocolate Banana, Banana Bottom Strawberry Smoothie, Blood Orange Fruit Jumble.

It’s the end of June.  If you haven’t had summer weather where you are, hopefully you will soon.  Popsicles are a rite of passage for children all over as a means to cool off and enjoy summer break.  As a mom I want to give my kids great treats to cool them down without loading them up with sugar or artificial yuck.  So today I am going to share with you what I have been up to.

Shark Fins have a provocative name but are simply watermelon cut into pie shaped wedges.  Cut the rind off and insert a popsicle stick.  Freeze on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or cling wrap and they will come off easy for you.  Long, seedless watermelons are best for this project as you can get more wedges that way.

Chocolate Banana Popsicles are great for when you are wanting something a little more decadent.  I used 4 bananas, 3T cocoa powder and honey to taste.  Mash with fork until smooth and pour into forms.  It really tastes like a banana fudge pop!

Banana Bottom Strawberry Smoothie Pops are made by putting a slice of banana into the bottom of your form.  Mix the remainder of your banana and strawberry in the blender or mash with fork and pour over.  The banana at the bottom allows for the popsicle stick to stand upright easier while freezing.

Blood Orange Fruit Jumble Pops happened because I had some of each fruit but not enough to make a dedicated popsicle of any one in particular.  I thought it would be fun to make a fruit salad and pour it into a popsicle form.  I poured coconut water over and froze it but you could put what ever fruit you wanted.  The results were beautiful and delicious!  This one has blood oranges, apples, banana and grapes.  Coconut water adds extra hydrating power and is an amazing combo with the apple.  Delightful and refreshing.  

As a mom I love these treats.  They are nutritious, fiber full, hydrating cold sensations.  My kids feel like they were getting something special, and I feel good giving them ripe, locally farmed, seasonal fruits in a fun form.  I love making and enjoying with my children and I hope you do too.

Enjoy

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cooking & Baking with Wee Ones

Part of parenting is giving my children life skills to care for themselves and someday their families.  An essential aspect of that is cooking and baking.  In this series my 7 year old daughter will make various Gluten Free, Dairy Free foods.  Some from packages, and others from scratch.  So easy a kid can do it. 
You can too!

Our first food item is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix.  It is also Dairy free but that is not boldly advertised on the front of the package. 

One thing I like about Bob’s Red Mill is that it is super easy, tasty and pretty much fool proof.  They are also quite affordable.  I stock up when they go on Sale or Clearance.  If you need a yummy, easy Gluten Free, Dairy Free brand as a reliable ‘go to’, I like Bob’s Gluten Free line every time.  Just make sure it is also Dairy Free, as not all are.

Ready?

Lets Go!

You will need:
1  3/4 c. water
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1 t. cider vinegar

This recipe can be done by hand, but we made ours in a bread machine.

Here is how we put ours together.

Whisk eggs, oil, apple cider vinegar and water together.

Two Eggs



1/4c. Oil

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 3/4c. Water

Whisk!

Until frothy and lots of air is incorporated.
Open your Bob’s Red Mill Package to get ready.
Pour liquid mixture into bread machine pan.

And the froth.
Use a scraper to get all that goodness in there.

Pour in your Bob’s Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mixture.
Open up your yeast package.  

Add to top of dry mixture.
  Works best if you make a little well with your fingers for the yeast to fall into.

Ready to go!
Carefully place bread pan in machine.
Ours needs encouragement to ensure it is  properly seated.

The package recommends ‘White Bread Basic Setting’
Pick crust type. (We like Medium)
START!
It’s working 😀 !!!

Keep an eye on it for the first bit to make sure consistency is not too dry or moist.
You may need to add water or flour..

It should look like this.
Once you know the bread is happy, let the machine do it’s job.

And there you are.
Bread the entire family can eat.

  Rest on a wire rack to cool before turning out onto a cutting board.

A joyful thing to make for yourself or create with your wee ones.

Say Cheese!


Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free and Casein Free that is.

Mild cheese much like Colby
Herb cheese

 


Going gluten free, dairy free, soy free and casein free has not been that hard.  I have figured out breads, cookies and pies – for the most part.  I still feel like I have so much I want to try.  But I miss the cheese!  I wanted to make a huge ol’ quesadilla with herbs to dip into salsa.  I want creamy pasta dishes.  I need cheesy goodness to enjoy with a slice of apple, and I want pizza.  

In the end I made three variates of cheese.  They are creamy, melty, sliceable, and they are all delicious.  Even my husband and four year old like them.  (They love me enough to tell me if it was awful – my daughter has hit the age where she wants to spare my feelings.  Awww!)

I will share the base recipe then tell you what I did to make each batch look and taste very different.

1 ½ c. water
5 T agar flakes
½ c soaked raw cashews (I soak the day before for the creamiest result)
¼ c nutritional yeast flakes
3T lemon juice
2T sesame tahini
2t onion powder
1 clove garlic
¼ t dry mustard

1)  Lightly oil 3 cup container and set aside.

2)  Combine water and agar in measuring cup, mix and let ‘bloom’ (
ß—if you don’t do this, and your agar acts up like mine did the first time, your cheese won’t firm up.  Blooming is super duper helpful and worth getting it ready first!) Let this mixture hang out on your counter top while you get everybody else ready.


3)  Add cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, tahini, onion powder, garlic and dry mustard into a food chopper or blender.  Wiz until it begins to look smooth.  


4)  By now your agar is poofed up and ready to heat.  Pour into saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once it has boiled, reduce heat and let simmer for about fifteen minutes.  Whisk/ stir frequently.  Watch it constantly.  This is not the time to get lost in a book.  It is going to get thicker, glossier and even change color a bit.  When dipping in a spoon, the agar should coat the back.  Also, you could place a small plate in the freezer and drop a dab of agar onto the chilled surface.  If it gets all jello-ish firm, you are good to go!  


5)  Pour the agar into the pre blended nut mixture  and wiz for a few more minutes.  Scrape down the sides and get all those parts mixed in.  It should be super smooth and even look and smell like cheese by now.


6)  Pour the cheese mix into your pre greased container.  Work quickly as the agar wants to set up right away.  


7)  Cover container and refrigerate overnight.  Your cheese is ready to serve the next day.  (Must chill for at least a few hours to help set the agar completely)

Now here is what I did to make it two more ways:

To make an herb cheese I added dill, parsley and chives.  It was super yummy and got better tasting by the third day.  My little guy did not like the parsley consistency so it will not make it into the next batch.  I am thinking of trying a finely ground Italian seasoning for next time and see how it goes.

To make it extra cheesy to attempt a more cheddar effect I added 2T chickpea miso and 3t. paprika, plus one more clove of garlic.  This is what my little guy is eating now and loves with apple slices.

So there you go.  Once you find all of the ingredients (which as you can see will be used in most kinds of cheese you want to make) it is a matter of waiting for the nuts to soak and waiting to be able to slice into the uncheesey goodness.

Happy Uncheese everyone!

If you enjoyed this recipe and want more like it.  Please check out the book
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook:

  Delicious Dairy-Free Cheeses and Classic “Uncheese” Dishes by Jo Stepaniak. 

It is not just a recipe book but it educates about the various ingredients and their purpose.  Each recipe has an allergen guide box so you can see at a glance if you can eat the items that recipe. That way you can choose to stay and enjoy or move on to something that suits you better.  The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook has spreads, sauces, soups, fondues, pasta, quiches, block uncheeses and sweets. 

Certainly a cook book that lives in my kitchen. 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Easter/Holiday Candy Helper

 

Rainbow of  gluten free dairy free delightfulness.

Today I was thinking about Easter/ Holiday prep. As a mom, I am going through reading packaging labels and searching on line for ingredient lists.  My brains are falling out, my eye balls are on fire, and I am going to have to start carrying around a magnifying glass to read the tiny print on the packages.  Much of what I look at is a dead end, which is frustrating and daunting.  So I decided to share some of the positive information I have compiled into one place for you all to look at.  Hopefully this will make your search easier (and help me remember for next year).  




For those looking for Gluten Free/ Allergen Free Easter/Holiday Candy, here is an interesting page to look at.  
http://surefoodsliving.com/2010/03/easter-candy-gluten-free-and-allergen-free/

For those on the GFCF Diet Intervention – Autism Diet; this may be a helpful guide.
http://gfcfdiet.com/Chocolatecandy.htm

I also know that Dum Dums are gluten free dairy free.  The Cream Soda flavor is dye free as well.  You can order Dum Dums in packages of your favorite color versus the mixed bag.

http://www.spanglercandy.com/faqs/allergen-information

Here is a heads up on Peeps.
http://www.justborn.com/get-to-know-us/faqs#Are your candies gluten-free?

And for those who like Jelly Bellys.
These rainbow candies are Gluten Free Dairy Free, kosher and vegetarian, but not vegan because they use bees wax to make the beans shiny.
http://www.jellybelly.com/search/go?p=Q&lbc=jellybelly&uid=504663184&ts=custom&w=Gluten%20Free%20Dairy%20Free&isort=score&method=and&view=list&modaf=r:type:articles

Hope this helps in your Easter/Holiday prep.  I know I’ve got it easy as my daughters candy top list include Gum, Willy Wonka anything (movie influence perhaps?), Jelly Beans, Dark Chocolate, Caramel Apple and ….Tick Tacks!

Happy Celebrating

Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread Machine Loaf

 

Onion dill bread is super yummy!

This bread is great for slicing and using for sandwiches.  It is spongy and light yet holds its shape and has great flavor.  Super for toasting and fun to add spices to switch it up from regular bread.

*Follow the guide for your bread machine please.  I will list what I put in mine.*

For my machine, moist items go in the pan first, followed by dry.

3 eggs
1 T. apple cider vinegar
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. honey
1 ½ c. rice milk (or your fav dairy free sub)
3-1/3 c. Gluten Free flour mix
1 t. salt
1 T. xanthan gum
1 T. yeast

Set your bread machine on the ‘sweet dough’ setting.

Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Today I added 2T onion powder and 2T dill to change things up a bit.  Super yummy, great hit with the family.   Italian seasoning is a fun addition as well.  Cinnamon and raisins, bacon, or vegan cheese and chives are amazing.  Just have fun with it.  Toss anything in there and make it your own.

Left over bread is great cubed, tossed in oil and herbs and baked.  Crushed fine it can be used as a coating for chicken strips or a crispy topping on casseroles.  Left large it is perfect for stuffing and croutons.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Blondies

Gluten Free Dairy Free Cranberry Almond Blondies.
Still hot from the pan.
If you let yours cool (clearly I did not have the restraint) yours won’t crumble like mine did.

 

These are chewy like a brownie, so creamy you swear there should be butter in there, and crispy edge pieces that are dreamy and moist and perfect.

½ c coconut oil
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2T vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. xanthan gum
¼ t. baking soda
2 c. GF flour
1 ½ c dry fruit, nuts, safe chocolate chips, whatever you want in a blondie

Set oven to 360’F
Lightly oil 9 x 13 pan

Mix baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, baking soda, GF flour and cinnamon in a bowl.

In separate bowl mix coconut oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy.

Add moist ingredients into dry and mix well.

Dough should be thick and sticky.

Spread dough into prepared 9 x 13 pan and place into pre heated oven.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Check with tooth pick before pulling out.

Let cool completely before cutting and serving (or it will fall apart)

*what I will do next time*
If you like a sweet treat, these will fit your needs.  However, I found these to be very sweet.  Next time I will use less sugar.

Also, I did not let mine cool completely before cutting and taking the picture because my little guy was super excited to give them a try.  Yours will be prettier than mine if you let them cool.

We took these to my daughters’ class to share and they were a huge hit.  No one believed they were gluten free dairy free!!  Yay! 😀  That is the best compliment ever!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Crumiri Cookie

 

Crumiri on the right, Cocoa Cookies on the left.
Crumiri is an Italian treat made with corn meal and love.  It is creamy and flaky.  Perfect with coffee or tea.  I love mine with a bit of orange zest to spark it up.

350* F  Bake 12-16 minutes

½ c + 5T olive oil (or coconut oil)
½ c +3T sugar
2 eggs at room temp
1t. vanilla
2c Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
2/3 c corn meal
½ t salt
Cinnamon to taste
1t lemon, lime, or orange zest (optional)

How to:
Line baking sheet with parchment

Cream oil and sugar
Add eggs one at a time.  Mix well between additions
Add vanilla, mix well
Add wet to dry until just combines
*Dough will be thick
Transfer into piping bag.  Traditional shapes are V, S, J and O  A cookie press works great.
Keep cookies small and leave room for expanding or drop into rounded spoon full and press down lightly.
Bake 12 to 16 minutes until golden on edges.
Let rest on cookie sheet a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Fun add ins are citrus zest, sprinkles and almonds pressed into the top.

Amazing Gluten Free Dairy Free Muffins

These GF/DF beauties were sweet, golden and moist.  They would be great for breakfast, spiffed up and decorated for a dessert, or just enjoyed any time of the day you want a yummy treat.  Look how much these lovelies poof up! 
Today I added raisins, cinnamon, vanilla and stone ground corn meal for added  fiber staying power.

400*F, Bake 25 minutes,  Yeild 12 muffins


1c. rice milk
½ c. oil
2 eggs
¾c. brown sugar
2c. GF flour
3t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
1t. xanthan gum
¼ t. salt
1t. cinnamon
1t. vanilla
1c. fruit of your choice.

Mix dry ingredients and make well in middle.

Add wet ingredients plus fruit and mix by hand.

Do not over mix.

Pour into oiled lined muffin tins.

Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes.

Let set on rack to cool before removing.

Enjoy every body.

GF/DF Cocoa Cookies

 

Ready to bake.
Ignore the finger prints, a joyful hazard of baking with children.


Pre heat oven to 375′
1c. cold virgin coconut oil
1c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
1T. vanilla
1 egg
2c. GF flour *use your favorite brand or check out my GF flour recipe down below*
1c. cocoa powder
1t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1c. yummy add ins: candy cane, toffee bits, *If you add coconut flakes to this it tastes like an almond joy.* I also like to add 1T of instant coffee powder to brighten the cocoa flavor.

1. Cream coconut oil, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla (or whatever extract you like best).  Once it is incorporated, add egg and beat until fluffy.
2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in separate bowl.
3. Add flour mix to coconut oil mix.
4. Drop 2” apart onto an ungreased baking sheet (parchment is your friend though ~ or one of those baking sheet protector mat things are helpful as well.)
5. Bake at 375’ F for 9 to 12 minutes.
6. I flatten my cookies a wee bit with the back of a spoon or fork so they cook evenly.

Because of the coconut oil this is a delightful yet crumbly cookie.
Here is the flour mix I use.  I make this in a large batch and store in an air tight container.
3c. brown or white rice flour
3c. corn starch or arrow root
2c. sorghum
1c. masa flour

Sift all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with whisk until completely blended.

That is all there is to it.

Hope you enjoy 😀

All For One

 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Dinner Rolls.

In a previous post I mentioned that we are largely Gluten Free and Dairy Free.  But we are also Casein Free and Soy Free as well.  For now we are all doing this together. Its an All For One mentality in supporting the positive changes and creating good eating habits for his future. As he gets older, we will equip him to pick safe choices for himself in group or party atmospheres to stay on a path that works best for his own health. Which works out well as we all need to be able to resist certain foods and drinks from time to time.

The diet change has been remarkable for my son.  Under his doctors direction and my careful research we are achieving small wins all the time. With each new little success, I am encouraged to continue trying new recipes and re working old recipes to suit my little guys needs and tastes.

His physical consequences to certain foods are abating. Digestive distress, skin rashes, ability to sleep more restfully and wake happy, and the general irritability that would naturally happen with a person experiencing all of the above are improving. I’m seeing sides to my little guy that I have not before. More comfortable, he is able to explore and express himself in ways he was unable to. It’s not a miracle, it’s work. The replicable, rewarding kind that matters to his future.

To that end, I am going to share my Gluten Free, Dairy Free Successes with you. In addition to my regular posts, I will post what foods I have been making for my son.

To start, I will go over some of the basics.

Apple Cider is your friend.  It is in many baked breads and yeast raised confections.  Get the good stuff as it will impart flavor and function to your creations.

Xanthan Gum helps with consistency and is used in many of your baked items.

A good gluten free flour mix is a must.  You can buy it pre packaged at the store, (I like Bob’s Red Mill) however, I make my own mixture.  Making your own ensures you know what is really in there and you are able to alter for taste.

Here is my base flour mix:
3c. brown or white rice flour
3c. corn starch or arrow root
2c. sorghum
1c. masa flour
From this mix I make most of the goodies I create for my little boy.
I make different variations of this depending on what I’m making using the same ratio.

Almond or rice milk is a must for those avoiding milk.  I get mine at Costco.  It is organic and GMO free.

Rice based, (or nut based) casein free cheese.  I get mine in the vegan isle at my local grocery store.  I generally choose pre shredded but it comes in bricks as well.  If you choose to get a brick, chill in the freezer before shredding for use on pizza or in a pasta salad and such.  I have made nut based cheese with great success in the past. It is tasty, melts and is rich in protein. Be careful to read ingredients. Some cheeses have ingredients you may be avoiding in the small print.

Gluten Free Pasta.  It comes in all the regular shapes and sizes.  It is generally made of white rice, brown rice, buckwheat or quinoa and cooks just like regular pasta.

Gluten Free/ Dairy Free breads and bread substitutes.  Pre packaged GF/DF breads are readily available at most grocery stores and markets. I prefer to purchase mine in bulk at Costco because they freeze well, the price point is reasonable and it’s nice to pull out what I need from the freezer for on hand meals versus running out of necessities for my little guy. I have discovered bread machine recipes which turn out to be a tasty, fun activity with great success.

Alternate ingredients can brighten your day and add to nutrition.  Buckwheat, Sorghum, Brown rice, Quinoa, Millet, Coconut, Chick Pea, Certified GF Oats (like from Bobs Red Mill) and Nut Flours are all alternatives to regular flour and great additions to your GF flour.

Consider making your own condiments.  The most basic items such as ketchup, relish, kimchi, sauerkraut and even mustard and salad dressing have hidden gluten, dairy and other allergen irritators.  Looking at labels is worth the time. However, easy to make recipes are all over the internet and easy to customize to need and taste preference.

Steady as she goes towards food goals and a healthier and happier little boy.

In whatever your goals are, I wish you the very best.

I Loaf Cheese! ~Vegan Cheese~

                                             Gluten Free Dairy Free Vegan Cheese. 

Home made mostly vegan cheese is scrumptious! My kids voted it a winner 😀  And it tastes like nutty cheddar.  It was fun adding flavors that inspired color such as paprika and a pinch of tomato bullion.  (Tomato Bullion was the only non vegan item in this cheese.  Leave it out and you are Vegan golden….if that is what you are going for.)  Because I added Tomato Bullion I left out the salt suggested in the recipe.
 http://www.wellsphere.com/vegetarian-article/really-good-df-cheese-a-primer-with-cheddar-recipe/619154

^^^This is the link to the page I got my recipe from.

I found agar powder at the local Asian market for about two dollars, but I bet any store with an organic section may have all of these ingredients
. I used ordinary organic sliced almonds with skins on(more nutrition that way). I didn’t have any tomato paste so instead I used paprika and Tomato Bullion for color. I also did not use white miso. Mine is amber in color so that adds to the “cheddar” look.

It was easy to put together.  My sweet boy child helped and tasted his way through the whole process. I had a hint that it was good when he volunteered to lick the bowl after I let him taste the rubber scraper.  Mmmmm Mmmmm Good Mama!  Delishish!! 

Very fun.  I did a CrohnieBolognaIBD Mama Happy Dance right there in the kitchen! 😀 I will take any small victory I can get.  I have no shame.
This cheese shreds and melts and doesn’t taste all chemically or waxy or like bland plastic. (as you can tell we have tried a few vegan cheeses, some of which my little guy refused to eat) Cost wise this is super affordable in comparison, and is actually yummy

And because I made it myself, I know there are no odd ingredients or preservatives, colorings or hidden things Sweet Boy can’t have.
I think of this one as a Mom WIN!!
I am going to freeze some to see how it behaves after being thawed 😀
I am also on the hunt for a soy free version. But for now, this one is a hit.
As a mom, my first priority is my children.  I am eager to try new things that may enhance or make their lives better.  I love making home made, real food for them every single day.  It is worth every small effort I can make to fill their growing bodies with true, real food that will result in happy minds and full bellies.  I know I am growing their bodies and minds in a caring atmosphere that I create, and in a large way influence.

In a deep part of me I hope to raise children that are healthier and stronger than I am in mind, body and spirit.

One day at a time for my little sweet hearts.

 

Gluten Free, Dairy Free & IBD Health

 

A while back I mentioned on my Facebook Page that I am new to the gluten free/ dairy free world.  Since then I have been getting messages asking about GF/DF and its success in curing, healing, and improving various forms of IBD.  So I thought I would answer here. 

In truth, I have no idea. 

I am not completely GF/DF.  My Son is. 

Why is my sweet little boy person GF/DF??  Autism.  As a mother I am doing everything in my power to help him.  That includes Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Casein Free and Food Dye Free.  I am not an expert on Autism, just a mom willing to try her best every day.  Right now this is what is working for our family.

I respect my Son, want to be a good example to him, and love sharing my snacks with him, so I stay GF/DF etc. in his presence.  As a stay at home mom that includes the majority of my day.  I still enjoy creamer in my coffee – but we all know only mamas drink that stuff!

I have discovered that Autism, like IBD, is an invisible disease.  He doesn’t LOOK Autistic.  But he struggles everyday just like we do with IBD.  It is also very individual.  Yes, my son has Autism but his symptoms and sensitivities are unique to him.  No two Autistic kids are alike.  Just as no two IBDers are alike.  Autism has stolen parts of him that our family is trying to recover.  Just as IBD has changed our lives and affects our families in their efforts to help, support, and understand us. 

So, I have absolutely NO idea if GF/DF helps with IBD.  But right now it sure is helping this CrohnieBolognas’ Son.

Waste Free Kitchen


I was living my life, happily going along.  Then I realized that I was getting something completely wrong.  I was teaching my kids wasteful habits with my daily routine. 
I am a mom who loves to cook and make homemade food and snacks for my family.  I see it as an activity to do with my children and a way to nurture them.  But I have been doing it the wrong way. 

Once a week I clean out the refrigerator.  This week I noticed all the waste.  I realized we were not eating the food I was preparing and it was going in the trash.  That equals time, energy, and money in the can.  I was making too much food and we were not using leftovers; all a very sad waste.

Right there I decided to change.  That is when I came up with my plan for the waste free kitchen. 
*I try to make exactly what we can eat in one meal.
*Pre cook meat for the week (except for fish). 
*End of the week days are usually soup days or ‘decorate your own potato’ days.
*I implemented the ‘milk only at meal time’ routine.
*Reduce snack crackers.  When given every day they were less special and have little nutritional value.
*Switch to homemade hummus with vegetables or on wheat bread as a snack.
*Stopped making elaborate egg breakfasts that the children barely ate, and moved to oatmeal instead.
*Stopped buying extra items at the grocery store.
*Added more vegetables to our meals resulting in more contented children.
*Stopped making a ‘new dinner’ until any leftovers are used.

I am not so organized as to actually meal plan ahead so I came up with this weekly structure to build meals off of.  So far we are having great success.

Mon-Meat free
Tues-Pasta
Wed- Ethnic
Thur-Potato
Fri- Soup
Sat- Free day
Sun- Free day

Our grocery bill has gone down drastically.  Meal planning is far easier.  Almost no food goes to waste and my family likes the change. 

That makes this Crohnie Mama happy 😀

Gas Producing Foods


I am a sucker for salads.  I love eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden.  And on a cool day there are few things nicer than a bowl of white bean or split pea soup with corn bread.  And while I cherish these foods, they are not always kind to me in return. 

Each person’s digestive system works a little differently; but we all have to deal with gas.  Although a perfectly normal part of digestion; has it’s down side.  That painful, bloating fills your stomach – or ostomy – with air that is uncomfortable and no fun. 

Here is a list of some of the most common gas producers so you can be better prepared for next time: (These are just a few, you likely have your own personal offenders)

Beans/legumes
Beer
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carbonated beverages
Chewing gum
Corn
Cucumbers
Dairy products
Eggs
Melons
Nuts
Onions
Radishes
Rhubarb
Spicy foods
Yeast

I am still going to eat all my favorites.  But knowing the list of heavy offenders is helpful for those times that you do not want to worry about extra wind.

Help A Friend Out with a Casserole

Hummus for my neighbor, casserole for my mom, casserole for my friend.

This week after feeling much better after my last Crohn’s flare I saw that someone I know was in need.  Her husband just had surgery.  As a wife and mother the kindest thing you can do for me is to give kindness to my husband and children.  And that is what I did.  I made her a casserole.

A casserole.  Not rocket science, easy to do.  A trip to the dollar tree (where would I be without the dollar tree?) and I had the tin serving dish and was ready to go. With ingredients I already had on hand I made beautiful food to share.  But it is more than that.  Helping each other out when you can does many things.

1) It makes me feel good to be well enough to help someone else.  I am not 100% yet but I am getting there and helping others is building my spirit back up.

2) It helps her.  She is a mom and wife just like me.  Her husband just went through surgery.  The last thing she needs to be worrying about is dinner.

3) It is an example to my children about real ways to help out and be a good citizen.  You don’t have to be rich or super influential to make a difference in others lives.

I helped a friend out and hopefully made her day better.  If you know someone who needs help, just do it.  Helping when we are able is part of what makes us special.  It is love in a casserole dish.