Vegetarian

Salmonberry Crisp

 Salmonberry Crisp

Filling:

5 cups salmonberries

3/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2-3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate (this is really a to taste thing, if you want to taste it, use more, if you don't use less, or omit)

1/4 cup gluten-free flour (we like Bob's Red Mill 1:1)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup gluten-free oats

1 cup gluten-free flour blend (we use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gf blend)  

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup palm shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a 9x13 pan, mix the filling ingredients: salmonberries, palm sugar, orange juice concentrate, gf flour & cinnamon.

3. In a small bowl, mix the dry topping ingredients, then cut in the palm shortening.

4. Spread topping all over the filling. 

5. Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbly & crispy around the edges. Enjoy alone, or topped with coconut whipped cream or dairy-free ice cream.

Potato Salad

Summer's should be filled with sunshine, laughter & potato salad. Seriously, it's my favorite. It's also quick & easy to prepare & seems to stay good for a few days. I like that I can fill it up with veggies, too, & the kids still chow it down. Sometimes I make it without a mayo-dressing & sometimes with one, just depends how quick I want to get it on the table. This recipe uses vegenaisse, which has a few options available, one of which is soy-free.

Potato Salad

1 pound potatoes

3 tablespoons vinegar

3 carrots, chopped small

1/2 head broccoli, chopped

1 can black olives, sliced

3/4 cup veganaisse (or more, if you want more dressing)

1 tablespoon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces (leave skin on or peel them, whatever you prefer).

2. Boil potatoes until just about done; don't overcook, otherwise they'll become mashed potato salad.

3. When potatoes are done, drain in colander and sprinkle with vinegar.

4. Mix together mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.

5. When potatoes are cooled, add chopped carrots, chopped broccoli and sliced olives and dressing. Mix until evenly coated.

6. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Enjoy!

Rainbow Cupcakes (vegan, dairy-free)

Yesterday, I made these sweet little rainbow cupcakes, an idea courtesy of Pinterest. I repinned this months ago, but as usual, never followed through. When you click on the link, there's actually no directions in English, but there's a good set of photos to walk you through the steps. So what I did was divide my white cake batter (I used this dairy-free/vegan recipe, but it's not gluten-free) between six little pyrex dishes. I then had my 3-1/2 year old assistant choose the colors for each dish. We put some food coloring drops in (kind of a lot) & mixed it up until we liked the color. I then put about a tablespoon of batter in each cupcake liner, then followed it with another color of batter. Each color sat for a minute or two, which gave it time to spread out in the liner. It was super simple, probably easier than these directions sound.

Aren't they cute? I was proud of them & I think they'd be perfect for St. Patrick's Day, especially topped with the green frosting. While I did use regular flour, I think a gluten-free cake recipe would work.

& my favorite frosting recipe:

1/2 cup palm shortening

2 cups powdered sugar

splash of dairy-free milk

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl & mix until desired consistency, add more milk if you need to. This recipe is good for a dozen cupcakes or one cake, double for more. It's pretty much the age-old shortening frosting recipe, but I suppose the reason it's age-old is because it taste really, really good!

Eggplant Parmesan (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

The last few weeks have been filled with some drastic food changes. It deserves it's very own post, but the short version is our 9 month old has lots of food intolerances. She is still exclusively breastfeeding, so January 1st I took those foods out of my diet. It's been an interesting adjustment. I had taken dairy out when she was about two months old because she was having obvious reactions. Her recent symptoms were so mild, & honestly, if we didn't have Ry to base things off of, I'd probably brush it all aside. But since Ry was getting his testing mid-December anyway, I wanted Ella to also have some done. She had a record 13 foods show up- dairy, eggs, all meat, wheat, rice, corn, green bean, peas & peanut. In a strange way, it's not too hard. We're so familiar with making foods that taste good, that are also free of all those things, that it sort of comes naturally these days. But it's also a little disheartening because Ry has gotten a lot of those foods back, so the words 'here we go again' seem to reverberate in the back of my head. Luckily she tested negative for soy. Not that I'm a big soy-proponent by any means, but I have to get some protein some how. I'm only eleven days into it, but it hasn't been too bad; I was hungry a lot the first few days. I'm drinking a lot of smoothies. My latest discovery is TVP (textured vegetable protein); it kind of grosses me out, but it serves it's purpose. It actually taste almost identical to ground meat, when it's mixed in with a ground burger-requiring dish.

A few nights ago, I came up with this eggplant parmesan recipe. I was scouring the internet, determined to find something, to no avail. So I decided to come up with my own. We all loved it. Ry devoured his, asking for 'more meat.' Silly guy had no idea it was eggplant. I think the batter mixture could certainly have some flexibility. I went with what we had in the pantry & the fact that I'm fairly limited in what I can eat, such as no breadcrumbs or crackers (unless I make them myself). The millet really gave it a nice crunch; the tapioca egg is something I read about in another recipe & it worked great. There is no form of cheese in the recipe, though, in case you we're hoping for that. We can't use the daiya cheese & I haven't attempted to make our own, yet. I think the cashew cheeses sound very enticing, but for now, I'm avoiding all nuts, in hopes that Ella doesn't develop an intolerance or allergy to them. Honestly, I know this change in diet is good for me. While we already eat relatively healthy, I now have to all the time, & it's a good opportunity to see if any foods affect me negatively. I can't imagine our kids are developing these all on their own- I'm sure our genetics are playing a big role.

I'm slightly embarrassed by the photos for this post. With our short bits of daylight this time of year, I just don't make anything in time to use up our lovely natural light.

Eggplant Parmesan

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup millet grain

1/8 cup teff whole grain

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon crushed chili peppers

1/4 teaspoon paprika

tapioca egg: 1-1/2 cups hot water & 1 tablespoon tapioca flour

coconut milk or other non-dairy milk, to fill shallow dish about 1 inch

eggplant

spaghetti sauce of choice

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Whisk tapioca into water in small saucepan, & bring to slight boil, whisking the entire time. Remove from heat when it just starts to gel; you don't want it to thicken too much.

3. Pour coconut milk into shallow dish, where you can dip eggplant into it before coating.

4. Bring olive oil to frying temperature in a large pan on the stovetop (I check by putting tiny piece of batter in, to see if it fries).

5. Slice eggplant thinly, while oil is heating up.

6. Dip eggplant into coconut milk, then batter, then tapioca egg, then batter. It will get nice & coated, then place in hot oil in pan. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until it is brown & soft.

7. Repeat eggplant dipping steps (yes, I'm that formal in my directions), until you've used everything up.

8. Serve with noodles, spaghetti sauce, alone, etc. We had trouble not eating them before we all sat down- good thing they were hot ;)

*this recipe was good for one small eggplant & fed two adults & two little kids (one of whom refused to eat it)

Salmonberry Pie

I have a confession to make. Rylee is no longer gluten-free. Wow! It seems so strange to write that. Whenever I've heard people say they got a food back, I'd be 1. jealous & 2. wonder how the heck did you get so lucky? I honestly wasn't sure if we'd ever see the day of foods returning. However, in the last year we've seen a lot make it to the 'we can try these' list. I have to admit, I've been pretty hesitant to try new foods. I never know if they'll cause a flare-up or a less obvious reaction & we'll end up regretting the reintroduction.

In the past six months or so, as I've seen his body grow, & overall, appear healthier, I've been more willing to tackle that 'we can try these' list. It's been very worth it. Most recently, we successfully crossed wheat of the list. Ry was gluten-free because he has always tested intolerant to wheat & either oats or rye at some point, so it was easiest to just eliminate gluten altogether. Plus, I know gluten can be inflammatory, & I didn't want to wonder if gluten was the possible culprit of his severe eczema. However, there has been absolutely no change in his health since reintroducing wheat. I have to admit, it's pretty damn exciting.

When you can't even count your child's allergies & intolerances on both hands, it's an amazing feeling to get foods back. In addition to wheat, beef & chicken did not show up on his last allergy test. Those have also been successfully reintroduced. They were both IgE allergies (type I), whereas wheat was a IgG allergy (type IV). It is strange not worrying about gluten/wheat. Those evenings when I wished I could've made a pizza real quick are no longer existent (okay, there's no cheese on our pizzas, but they still taste good!). Reading labels & seeing in bold letters contains: wheat, no longer matters. & pie. Yes! Sweet, delicious pie. I can now use my mom's tried & true pie crust recipe. While I had a great gluten-free pie crust recipe that I used for both dessert pies & turkey/venison pot pie, the simplicity of my mom's crust is nice. I sort of feel like I'm bragging here, & I'm sorry, but I just feel like we finally have a food in Ry's diet that makes things 'easy.'

When you can't use dairy, wheat or eggs, it makes it a bit challenging. There should be some unwritten allergy law that says you can only be allergic/intolerant to one of those, not all three! But if you are, you make do- we always have.

Now on to the recipe. Salmonberry pie. It was delicious & lasted mere hours in our household. Ry & I picked the berries yesterday, while my other two slept in the car. I have a feeling their naps during our berry picking time allowed us a successful harvest. We picked some of the biggest berries I have ever seen. I should've gotten a picture, if we find some more that size I will. I told Ry if we got enough berries, we could make a pie. He must've really wanted that pie, as he only ate a few berries from our bucket, I was shocked! I didn't strain the seeds out of these guys, but I did soak them in some water, to clean them up & get any mysterious berry inhabitors out of them. I also made it last night & we didn't eat it until this morning- pie for breakfast, yes please! It had plenty of time to set, so I'm not really sure how long it would need otherwise. The boys were trying to get into it straight out of the oven, but it was a bit jiggly.

Salmonberry Pie Filling

4 cups salmonberries

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch*

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 pie crust (recipe below)

 

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Mix together all filling ingredients & let sit in bowl, while you prepare your crust.

3. For crust, mix together all ingredients, until it comes together in a ball.

4. Roll out into a thin piece of crust & place into a pie pan (this recipe is enough for one crust, which you can see on my topless pie, is all I made last night).

5. Poke the crust with a fork & bake for about 4-5 minutes.

6. Pour filling into pre-cooked pie crust & bake for about 35-45 minutes.

7. Remove pie from oven & let set for about an hour, if you can wait that long!

 

Pie Crust (if you are gluten-free, here's an alternative crust)

1 cup flour

1/3 cup shortening

dash salt

ice cold water, as needed

*note: you could try arrowroot or tapioca starch in place of the cornstarch, if you are corn-free.

Easter Brunch

This year, we are kind of on hold with Easter plans. Yesterday was my due date & she's not here, so as long as I'm not in the hospital Sunday, here's our brunch plan (& here is last year's menu, in case you need some more inspiration). 

  • Turkey: roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper, fresh garlic & little chili powder
     
  • Breakfast Potatoes with Bacon: cubed potatoes & cook with olive oil, salt & pepper & chopped bacon
     
  • Cinnamon Rolls
     
  • Lemon Tart with Sliced Strawberries
     
  • Coconut Scones (recipe is for raisins, but I think I'll use berries)
     
  • Fresh Fruit Platter (this would be a fun way to put fruit together)
     
  • Fruit Smoothies

We successfully dyed wooden Easter eggs this year & I have the boys' Easter baskets ready to go, just in case baby arrives in the next couple days. There will be safe candy in there- Enjoy Life Chocolate Bar, Surf Sweets Gummy Bears & Yummy Earth Lollipops. I am also trying to make chocolate with Easter-themed molds, with Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I also found this recipe for homemade Reese's Easter Eggs. It would be easy to adapt them- just use 'safe' chocolate chips, almond butter, non-dairy milk & shortening.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!


Spanish Rice

My parents are both great cooks, but for some reason, every time they attempted Spanish rice, it was bad- mushy & flavorless. It didn't even resemble the stuff you got at Mexican restaurants, except, I guess, the hint of red. So, it was instead made from a box. There were very few things made from boxes as we grew up, but this was one of those few. I recently googled Spanish rice, to see if there was any possibility of successfully making it without the box. After all, Ry can't eat the stuff in the box & I suppose none of us really should, it's another one of those food things that is so full of ingredients for no apparent reason. From my dear friend google, I found lots of variations & we tried a few different ones. I've now modified it into a super simple, quick dish that we all devour. I need to start making double batches- there are never any leftovers & Ry usually helps himself to a good three servings. So here's to finally conquering Spanish rice, without the box, & adding another quick & tasty meal to the weekly meal planner!

p.s. you can make this with brown rice, if you'd like. I've tried it, but we've decided jasmine rice is the best so far.

Spanish Rice

1 cup jasmine rice

1-1/2 cups water

1- jar Herdez Casera salsa (we usually use medium, but mild is available for less spice)

2-Tablespoons olive oil

1. In a wok, heat olive oil. Add rice & cook for about 5-7 minutes, keeping the rice from burning, but getting it just a bit brown. (you may need to add a little more olive oil, just continue stirring rice as it begins to turn white, then browns).

2. When the rice starts to brown, add the water & salsa. Cover with a lid & simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until done.

3. Enjoy!

I told you it was easy!! We either use ours in tacos/burritos or for rice bowls. The other night, we topped it with black beans, black olives, avocado & cilantro.

Noodles with Veggies & Almond Butter Sauce

Each week we get our CSA (community-supported agriculture) order of fresh, organic produce from Full Circle Farms. They always include a couple of recipes that sound delicious, but often need big modifications, of course. This week there was one for Linguine with Snow Peas, Cucumber & Peanut Sauce. It needed a few big changes to make it Ry-friendly (no peanuts, snow peas or soy) , but all easy changes. I also doubled the sauce recipe- which definitely resulted in a more soupy texture, but we loved all the extra flavor! Overall, it was quick, simple & the flavor perfect! Sauce

4 cloves garlic

4 Tablespoons coconut aminos

2/3 cup almond butter

1-1/3 cups vegetable broth

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you don't want a little spice)

1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

Noodles

1 package stir fry rice noodles

1-can bean sprouts (or if you have fresh, almost 2 cups)

1/2 cucumber, peeled & cut into small chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

 

1. Prepare noodles according to directions.

2. In your blender, combine all the sauce ingredients. Blend for a couple minutes, until smooth.

3. In wok, place noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, chopped almonds & cilantro. Pour sauce over & mix well.

4. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins: take 2

I have a bad habit of modifying every.single.recipe I make. Even when they're my own...Today I felt like baking something & those browning bananas needed something special done to them, so decided on my Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins. However, we had no teff, so just like that the ingredients started changing. They still taste great, but thought it was the perfect opportunity to show how you can modify something to make it 'friendly' depending on what foods are safe & still taste good!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

1-1/4 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup sugar

5 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups mashed bananas (I used four today, last time five)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.

3. In separate bowl, mash bananas (I briefly put mine in the Vitamix) & mix with olive oil.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients & mix well, careful not to overmix. Fold in chocolate chips & apple cider vinegar.

5. Spoon into muffin tins (about a 1/4 cup per tin).

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean!

 

The Best Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes, Ever

okay, I may be exaggerating, but these potatoes turned out perfect & they are so easy to make...plus, they are pretty much free of everything, except potatoes, palm shortening & salt! I know they aren't the healthiest with all that palm shortening, but if you're not eating them every day, you should be fine :) & they really do taste like the "regular" dairy-filled mashed potatoes they're being compared to! Enjoy!

Mashed Potatoes (dairy-free, gluten-free)

5-7 medium sized potatoes

1/2 cup palm shortening (maybe a little more, depending on creaminess)*

sea salt, to taste

 

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash potatoes (you can skin them if you'd like, I don't). Chop into small cubes & place in water, when boiling.

2. Boil for about 20-minutes, until they are soft & ready to be mashed.

3. Place cooked potatoes, palm shortening & sea salt in bowl & blend until they are mashed. Taste & add more shortening or salt, if needed.

*I'm not sure on the exact measurements of the palm shortening, I put a big scoop in there & then added a couple more little scoops just in case, but once they're mashed, taste it & add more if they don't taste like the perfect mashed potatoes your desiring ;)

Gingersnaps (vegan, gluten-free)

Last night I wanted to make some cookies. The snow was falling heavily, the fire was crackling loudly & in all honesty, I was exhausted. I had a full-day of holiday mini-sessions yesterday, for my photography business, & spending five hours out in the 25-degree weather definitely wore my 20-week pregnant body out...but I had a lot of fun & am so excited to get editing on these images. There are so many great ones! but back to the cookies. I decided on gingersnaps. I tried to make them once, but I think it may have been a couple years ago, regardless of how long it's been, it's definitely been too long. So I went to my trusted friend, google, & started reading the variety of vegan recipes (which I always search for, not because we're vegan, but because they're egg- & dairy-free) & then searched gluten-free recipes. I found a lot of complex recipes, okay not complex, but a lot of ingredients- I wanted simple. Then I found this recipe from Veggie Revolution, which was very simple. So I made a few alterations & these cookies turned out amazing. Seriously, we're eating them this morning, after forgetting to put them away last night, & they are crunchy on the outside & perfectly chewy on the inside...now I am going to try to modify these tasty treats into Snickerdoodles.

Gingersnaps (adapted from Vegan Gingersnaps on Veggie Revolution)

1/2 cup melted palm shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 Tablespoon hot water

1 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or 2 teaspoons, if you like stronger flavor)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 cup cane sugar, to roll cookies in

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix together palm shortening, brown sugar, molasses and hot water.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together rice flour, starches, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Make sure they are well blended.

4. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing well until they form cookie batter. I like to hand mix, with a wooden spatula, then use my hands to ensure they're completely blended.

5. Roll dough into balls & roll each one in cane sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper & bake for about 10-minutes, until they look like the most-perfect gingersnaps you've ever tried. Remove from oven & place on a tray to cool.

6. Let them cool (if you can wait that long) & enjoy.

Russian Tea Cakes (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Growing up, one of my all-time favorite holiday cookies was (& still is) Russian Tea Cakes. I've been thinking of coming up with a 'boy-friendly' recipe for awhile, just haven't done it, until now. I think it's the drop in temperature, creating the sincere feeling that Christmas is just lingering in the distance. I am determined to have a multitude of tried & true recipes this year. My Grandparents will be here visiting over Christmas & we like to call my Grandma Mrs. Claus- she is the queen of the cookie baking. I want to make sure I have some she can enjoy with her great-grandsons. The best part about this recipe, is I read through a variety of them on google, but then found Betty Crocker's- it was already egg-free, so I actually just followed it ingredient per ingredient & swapped out what I needed to. So here it is....Russian Tea Cakes. Enjoy!

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup organic palm shortening

1/2 cup powdered sugar (I use corn-free)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix (1-cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup potato starch)

3/4 cups finely chopped almonds

1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar, for dusting the cookies
 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat together the palm shortening, powdered sugar & vanilla.

3. Mix together gluten-free flour mix, chopped nuts & salt.

4. Add dry ingredients to palm shortening mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to bring it all together. It will actually look fairly crumbly.

5. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls & place onto a cookie sheet.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are done, but not browned.

7. Let cool for a little bit, then remove from pan & roll in remaining powdered sugar while still warm. When cooled completely, roll in powdered sugar again.

Jelly Thumbprint Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

I have to say, I am quite proud of these cookies. You know when you have one of those moments, where you really think something will work if you tweak it & twist it just right? & then it actually does? Well, I admit, these moments don't happen all the time- after all, it takes a lot of tweaking & twisting to get things to taste good, when you're working without dairy, eggs & gluten, just to name a few. Technically, we're working with a whole let less then that, but these cookies are pretty much perfect- I think I ate more than the boys. They of course preferred the jelly middle, but that just left more of the cookie itself for me! So just in time for the holidays, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

1-1/2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

2 teaspoons corn-free baking powder

1 teaspoon guar gum

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup palm shortening, cold

3/4 cup water (or non-dairy milk)

1/2 cup sugar

Favorite kind of jelly

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Stir together the dry ingredients.

3. Add the cold palm shortening to the dry ingredients & mix well (I find using my fingers is the easiest).

4. Stir in water (or non-dairy milk), mix until combined. Again, I find using my hands most effective.

5. Roll into balls & place on greased cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper). Gently make wholes in the middle of the cookies, being careful not to go all the way through the dough. Fill with choice of jelly- strawberry or raspberry are our favorites :).

6. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, until done. Enjoy!

& be sure to get your vote in over at Circle of Mom's for the top allergy blogs!

Cinnamon Rolls/Caramel Sticky Buns (gluten-free, vegan)

I've made this cinnamon roll recipe twice now & it's delicious. It's from the Cinnamon Quill & here's the link. The only thing I changed was swapped the dairy-free milk for water because we were out & they still worked just fine. The second time I made them, though, I wanted to turn them into sticky buns.

To do so, I mixed:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup palm shortening

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spread the mix in the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan, placing the cinnamon rolls on top of the mix. Be careful when you remove them from the oven, as the mixture will be melted & almost fill the pan. Let cool & flip over. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Tonight I came across a recipe for tortilla soup that was so simple, I did not know if it'd actually taste good. With a few alterations, I made it friendly for the boys. Okay, there's only a few ingredients in the original recipe, so besides the salsa, I changed everything else. The taste took me back to days of traveling in Mexico, I think the flavor of the soup just may shock you, too! Please note, the recipe is not corn-free as that's a food Ry has been successfully eating for about 10 months now, but it'd be very easy to make it corn-free. You could either make your own salsa or use one that is corn-free & omit the corn tortilla strips. The sorghum tortilla recipe would also work well in their place. Tortilla Soup

4 cups of salsa of your choice (I used Herdez Casera medium)

3-1/2 cups water

2 vegan bouillon cubes (I use these)

4 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk

toppings: avocado, toasted corn tortilla strips, cilantro, white onion

 

1. Place salsa & water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.

2. When boiling, add both bouillon cubes & dissolve.

3. Once bouillon cubes are dissolved, pour soup & coconut milk into blender (you may want to do it in 2 batches, depending on your blender).

4. Puree soup until smooth. Soup will turn a reddish-orange color.

5. Pour into bowls & top with chopped avocados, toasted corn tortilla strips, minced onion &/or chopped cilantro.

List of Allergy-Friendly Foods

We recently returned from a week in California- filled with sun, fresh produce, Hollywood, the zoo and aquarium. It was a lot packed into a little- 8 days total for our adventure, including a couple days of actually flying to/from Alaska. The main point of the mini-vacation was to get Ry to Dr. Jing at the TCM Healing Center. She is the same Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor we took him to last summer. While we haven't seen the same significant results this time around, he also was in a much worse state last summer, so it was more obvious. His cough has gotten pretty bad this spring & early summer, so we're hoping her treatments help that. He actually hasn't had a coughing fit in the middle of the night the last 5 nights, which is a big deal. She has this tea that she gives her patients with asthma, but it tastes awful. When we do manage to get Ry to take his, you really can tell a difference. It's just that getting him to take it is a battle I rarely win.

While on our trip, I went to Whole Foods (a lot) and New Frontiers. It was a lot of fun! Expensive? YES! but, I must admit, there is something slightly thrilling about going into a grocery store and actually buying 'ready-to-eat' food for my children- this has not been a reality for us. Ry also has corn, potatoes and oats back, as of his last allergy test in February. We have tested all of them, successfully (insert happy dance!!!). These open a whole new world for us...oh yes, he's also eating almonds. Tree nuts have never shown up on his tests, but we wanted to wait until we thought he was healthy before introducing them...on that note, be sure to rotate foods and that your children are healthy when feeding them certain foods, otherwise, I'm convinced they may develop allergies to them. Ry lived off of salmon and sunbutter for about 9 months, without any problems, until we noticed he was getting red around his mouth. Sure enough, his two biggest allergens at his following appointment. We had never heard of food rotation, so the best we can do is to be sure to pass on what we've learned! Sunflower also has significantly decreased in size, with the prick test (going from a giant 4 to a 2), so I kind of feel like it may disappear eventually...maybe too optimistic, but we'll see.

As a result of all these fabulous foods I purchased at the California grocery stores and ordering groceries from Amazon, I thought it'd be good to make a list of foods we've found 'safe.' I always get excited when I find something new- I'm like a kid in a candy store, only the 'candy' I'm finding probably has no sugar in it, or gluten, eggs, dairy, seafood, shellfish, beef (gelatin), peanuts & more! I hope this lists is helpful & please leave any foods you've found & enjoy in the comment section- we can certainly make this a running list for anyone & everyone that would benefit from it!!

Ah!aska Chocolate syrup - their chocolate syrup is dairy-free, gluten-free, peanut-free & vegan. After all that, it's delicious!! Perfect on top of your coconut ice cream- yum!

Applegate Farms - I love this company for two reasons 1. they make turkey lunch meat that is free from all the weird crap, which means my children can eat it and 2. they make turkey hot dogs, which means summer can feel a little more 'normal'...actually three reasons, their turkey bacon is awesome!!!

Barney Butter - this almond butter rocks! It's made in a peanut-free facility and the chunky stuff is really, really good! I haven't tried the smooth because I'm convinced if I feed that to my children, they'll then refuse the chunky version & I'm not eager for tantrums of "I won't eat it, there's chunks in it!" ;)

Bob's Red Mill - while these guys don't have any 'premade' foods that work for us, I still have to include them because I use their products on a daily basis & love them! They've got all sorts of flours, seeds, gums & more. Definitely worth checking out for your baking needs!

Brother's All-Natural - these are dried fruit crisps, which to be completely honest, my boys don't really like. The strawberry-banana one they usually eat (surprise, it's super sweet!), but the apples and pears are usually rejected. Just in case someone else will enjoy them, here they are ;)

Bubbies - this company makes sauerkraut & pickles the boys can eat & enjoy! They are naturally fermented, which means you are also getting probiotics & enzymes with every bite. Don't forget to drink the juice! I've also read that some people eat a tablespoon of her sauerkraut with every meal for it's enzymes to aid in digestion.

Edward & Sons - their Rice Snax's are tasty! You can order them on Amazon & enjoy them anywhere. It's cute because they're different shapes, which the boys love. They're convinced the broken diamond is actually a boat :)

Enjoy Life Foods - this company is awesome! While most of their cookies & cereals contain sunflower seeds or oil (which Ry can't have), they do have mini chocolate chips & chocolate mega chunks. There's just something about chocolate that makes your life a little sweeter! Their chocolate bars are also delicious- but note, there's a stamp on the backside, under the flap, stating that cornstarch is in the bar. They do make note of it on their website, but I overlooked it a couple years ago in my excitement of finding Ry a chocolate bar. When I received my case & then noticed the stamp, well, you could say I wasn't too happy ;)

Erewhon Cereal - their gluten-free Brown Rice Cereal is just like rice krispies, only it's not, which means the boys can eat it. We all eat it. Another one of our fabulous finds on Amazon, for $3.50/box, that's less than what we pay for cereal at our grocery store, so it's a good deal all the way around! They also have a gluten-free chocolate cereal, which we haven't bought or tried yet, but the natural flavors ingredient is a corn-derivative.

Ezekiel Gluten-free Bread & English Muffins - We've been getting their Almond-Brown Rice loaf at our local health food store, but when in California, we found they have about 5 different types of gluten-free loaves. We tried the Bhutanese Rice Loaf, we really liked it! I also just found their english muffins (gluten-free) at our local health food store, but we haven't tried them yet. I'm looking forward to it!

Fritos - say what?! Yes, Fritos are okay. They're just a bunch of corn (probably not non-GMO, but that's a whole other post in itself), but Frito-Lay does produce them separately from their peanut-containing products. The boys actually don't enjoy them all that much, their first bag was exciting, but that was about it. They must be too healthy for junk food ;)

Good Health Natural Foods - they have two types of potato chips, one made with olive oil and the other made with avocado oil. Both are delicious. We probably eat too much of them, everyone loves them and they're a really nice price on Amazon (I'm pretty sure they work out to be cheaper than all other 'regular' potato chips)

Lara Bars - These are delicious; there are two the boys can have, but only one they like- the Banana Bread bar. I personally love the Cherry Pie bar, but they don't. There's also lots of other kinds, but I'm only giving them almonds right now & cashews, walnuts & pecans are in the other flavors. If you tolerate these nuts, be sure to check them out because the ingredients are very minimal & straight-forward!

Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss - for whatever reason, some days Ry refuses coconut, some days not. I can't decide if he's intolerant to it or just doesn't like it. The other day was hot & I made a banana split with one banana, two scoops of their naked coconut ice cream, Ah!laska chocolate syrup & enjoy's life's chocolate chunks. It was soooo good!!! When looking at their site, I just noticed they've got 5 new flavors that look absolutely delicious!!!

Oskri Coconut Bars - another awesome Amazon find, these coconut bars are delicious! I've only tried the coconut-mango, but I loved it. They are made in a facility with tree nuts and sesame, but if that's not an issue for you, they have just three ingredients- coconut, brown rice syrup and mango (or whichever flavor you order)

Que Pasa corn chips - their organic corn chips are made with non-GMO corn & have a minimal ingredient list. Most importantly, they taste really good!

St. Dalfour jam - This jam tastes great, it's corn-free & you can reuse the large jars into a sippy cup. Check out how at the Spunky Coconut. I also ordered the 1-ounce jars from Amazon awhile ago & we've been making rattles with them, with rice inside & glueing the lids on. They're actually pretty fun & I think would make a great, green birthday party favor.

Stretch Island Fruit Leather - these have been a staple of ours for a long time, but people still get excited when I share them. They are just fruit. They taste great. Just about everyone enjoys (loves) them! However, my boys do not like apricot. We buy them in bulk from our local Costco-type store (small, family-run, but more expensive than Costco) and it's a variety pack. I was just noticing yesterday I have about 20 apricots sitting in my pantry, but nothing else....even if I open them, without them seeing the wrapper, they still refuse that flavor. I think it's because it's a bit tart (I don't really like it either...)

Tree Top Apple Juice - Not all of it is plain apple juice, but their gallon jugs and some of their small bottles (in 6-packs) are plain ol' juice, nothing more, nothing less.

That is going to do it for now, I am probably forgetting something, but hopefully this at least makes your day/week/grocery shopping adventure just a bit easier. Let me know if you have any questions or feel free to add 'safe' foods you've found in the comment section below! Thanks & happy Sunday & Summer!!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (Gluten-free, Vegan)

The other day my friend’s facebook post was in regards to baking a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread. Yum, it sounded delicious. I love banana bread, I could eat a whole loaf. I usually don’t put chocolate in it, but, hey, why not (okay, I’m not really asking…) The post inspired me to come up with something for the boys. Now, we all know how much I love my pumpkin spice cake. If you don’t know, I love it a lot, and you should try it because it is really, really good.

Using that as my base, I made these scrumptious muffins, or as Ry calls them, cupcakes. I had a ½ cup of teff flour to use up; we got our Azure order today, with a 25-pound bag of teff, so I wanted this little bit gone. Thus, the measurements are a little different than the pumpkin spice cake. I actually used a bit more flour in this recipe. I then swapped the pumpkin out for mashed banana and omitted the spices.

The recipes are still relatively similar, but the taste is vastly different. I don’t think you’ll be able to keep either one around for long. We made these in Halloween-themed cupcake liners and stuck in toothpicks with spiders and pumpkins on the ends of them. They were festive and tasty and are now gone. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

(Gluten-free, Vegan)

1-1/3 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup teff flour

2/3 cups tapioca flour

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups mashed bananas (about 5 bananas)

1/2 cup palm shortening, melted

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together dry ingredients.

3. In separate bowl, mix mashed bananas with melted palm shortening. Add to dry ingredients and blend.

4. Fold in chocolate chips and apple cider vinegar.

5. Spoon into a muffin tin, about 1/3 cup each.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until done.

Pluot and Peach Cobbler

We’ve been receiving an abundance of pluots, peaches, plums and nectarines in our CSA orders lately. My mom suggested I come up with a cobbler for Ry, to try and eat up some of this fruit. Because we’ve been keeping them in the fridge, they have not been ripening very fast. This has been just fine, until we suddenly have more fruit than we know what to do with. Last night, I filled a couple bowls, to start ripening them. Plus, I think that our CSA was also encouraging me to make a cobbler because there was a cobbler recipe in the order this week. Typically, I don’t pay too close attention to the recipes because of the many allergens that overflow the ingredients. However, this week there were two recipes that were easily adaptable to gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. The cobbler needed its flours, cornstarch and butter swapped around, but I always find the biggest challenge to be eggs. Thankfully, it was already egg-free. There was also only one cup of flour in the original recipe, so there wasn’t too much to replace. I chose to use a mix of sorghum and tapioca flours. I think if you wanted to use brown rice, instead of sorghum, it would still be good. Those two seem fairly interchangeable to me. Also, I added the cinnamon, so if you don't tolerate it, I'm sure it would be fine without it.

Although we won’t be enjoying this cobbler topped with a big scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, we will still be enjoying it (okay, I already ate a bowl, but the boys are asleep...it was really, really good)! On that note, we did try coconut again the other day and Ry was not interested in it. He ate just a little bit of canned coconut milk (when it’s cold, it’s like eating whipped cream!) and had diarrhea later that day, so we’re going to continue staying away from it, even though it showed up negative on his prick test. If it was to show up, I think it would be on the patch test.  

This cobbler topping would also be great to use with other fruit fillings. I used to love to make blueberry cobbler when I was young and I am now anxious to try and make a 'Rylee-friendly' blueberry cobbler. Also, rhubarb. I love rhubarb crisp, my mom has always made an absolutely delicious one, which she has done dairy-free, but it calls for oats. The last time we tried gluten-free oats with Ry, they didn’t go over well. So this will have to be a new topping for the rhubarb! I’m getting excited just thinking about all the fruit possibilities- I love easy, delicious ‘allergen-free’ foods!

Pluot and Peach Cobbler

Filling:

4 medium peaches

4 medium pluots

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Topping:

3/4 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 teaspoon corn-free baking powder

3/4 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 + 1/8 cup chilled palm shortening

1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice peaches and pluots and place in a medium-size bowl. Pour sugar, lemon juice and tapioca starch over fruit, mix thoroughly. Once the fruit is evenly coated, place in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, mix together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the chilled palm shortening, in small chunks, to the flour mixture and blend in with your fingers. Add boiling water and mix well. The flour mixture will appear smooth, with chunks of palm shortening throughout.

Remove baked fruit from oven and place spoonfuls of topping about 1-inch apart on top of fruit. As it bakes, the topping will spread. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool.

Note:

I ate more cobbler for breakfast (again, while the boy were sleeping) and it was absolutely delicious the next day!!! It had such wonderful flavors; I'm now thinking of trying it with a meat and vegetable filling and omitting the sugar and cinnamon. This topping has really got me thinking....I'm excited.

Oreo Cookies (Gluten-free, Vegan)

I just got done making Oreo cookies. They are gluten-free and vegan, which means they are free of many things, except, of course, calories. When I came across this recipe, I was excited. Although I still had to adapt it for Ry, there wasn’t anything significant, like eggs or butter, that needed replacing. I did swap the flours around a little bit and changed the type of sugar, but other than that, it pretty much is the same. Okay, I guess that is kind of significant, considering different flours do lend different flavors, textures, nutrients, etc., but, I guess what I am trying to say, is I can’t take credit for this recipe.

When I first came across this recipe last week, I was so excited to make it. I printed it off immediately and headed to the kitchen, boys in tow. However, we had no cocoa powder. By the time I made it to the store, list in hand, I forgot why I was buying the cocoa powder. I knew I wanted to have some available, though, so no big deal. Tonight, I remembered- the chocolate cookies I was so excited about! Hmmm, something about motherhood and forgetting things, why do these two things go hand-in-hand when we need to remember EVERYTHING?!?!?

These cookies are the real deal, except tastier and better for you! They contain no weird ingredients you can’t pronounce. Okay, I’m stereotyping. I think Oreos would probably have a paragraph of strange words  that constitute food listed under "ingredients" , but I am not sure because I don’t have a package to read. I apologize in advance if I’m wrong, Oreo’s.

These do take a little bit of time to make, only because the dough needs to chill for a bit, but so do we, so no big deal! Plus, they’re not complicated, no weird flipping backwards while walking on your hands to make these cookies taste right. They just taste great. Isn’t that awesome? I'm excited! My kids don’t even know what an Oreo is, but tomorrow they will find out! I may have to give them one as soon as they wake up. I know it’s not the healthiest breakfast, but, hey, my boys eat ridiculously well, so a cookie upon waking would be one heck of a treat!

Oreo Cookies (Gluten-free and Vegan)

Adapted from Oreos and/or Thin Mints by the  Cinnamon Quill

Cookies:

1-1/3 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup tapioca flour

2/3 cocoa powder

½ cup sucanat (sugar)

1 teaspoon corn-free baking powder

¾ teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

7 Tablespoons cold palm shortening

 4 Tablespoons cold water

1 Tablespoon molasses

extra flour, sugar, cocoa for rolling

Filling:

2 Tablespoons hot water

1-3/4 cups corn-free powdered sugar

¼ cup palm shortening

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add shortening and mix with fingertips. Add water and molasses and mix with your hands, forming a ball. The consistency should be similar to play-dough. Add more water, by the tablespoon, if it’s too dry. Once a ball, cover tightly with saran wrap and put in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix extra flour, sugar and cocoa together for rolling (about ¼ cup). Break dough into four pieces and roll out the first piece, until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into shapes. For traditional Oreos, use circles, or use whatever favorite shape(s) you want. I did both circles and stars. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. They will get crispy as they cool, so don’t overcook them.

Once cookies are cool, make the filling. Place all of the filling ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. Try the filling on one cookie, to be sure it’s not too soft or too firm. It should be soft enough to handle, but not oozing everywhere. It’s also oily because the hot water melts the shortening. If you find it to be too dry or too wet, add 1 Tablespoon of water or powdered sugar, depending on what direction you need to go.

Place 1-2 teaspoons of filling on one cookie, place second cookie on top and softly squish together. Let sit for about 30 minutes before trying to twist the cookies apart. Remember that Oreo commercial, where some like them twisted apart, others don’t? Well, you can choose with these cookies!

P.S. We are trialing soy, so maybe Ry will even be able to eat his “Oreo’s” dipped in a glass of milk!

Salmon-a-Go-Go Cookies

Salmonberries are plentiful this time of year. These juicy berries range in color from bright yellows to vibrant oranges to deep reds (we've actually always called the yellow/orange ones 'Russian Berries,' not sure why, but I'm sure it's not politically correct....). They get their name because they look like salmon roe (eggs) and both people and bears devour them. They are similar to raspberries (which means they have to be good, right?) and they make delicious pies, jam, syrup and cookies. We’ve never given them to Rylee before, until a few days ago. I decided, why not. Raspberries were not too good for him in the past, but that was two years ago and the one thing I know for sure, is his intolerances change, often. So far, so good. It was so much fun to go berry picking with him. He’d get so excited when he saw a “good” one (which was all of them), yelling “Mom, mom, I see one.” He’d pick it and inform me, “ohhhh....well, I should eat this one” or put one in the bowl, then quickly grab it back out because, obviously, his mouth is a much better place for his berries then a boring, cold, plastic bowl.

So, what to do with these berries. I found a pie-filling recipe I really want to tweak and try and I also want to try it in my raspberry jam recipe, using salmonberries instead, but I had found a cookie recipe already and thought, yum, these would be a good addition. The cookie recipe was not gluten-free; it’s called Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. Well, they may make a vegan happy, but not Ry. He needed some changes, okay a lot of changes. I needed to first switch out the flour so they were gluten-free, not use the chocolate chips because there aren’t any he can have, change the oil, take out the vanilla (I don’t have a corn-free one, any suggestions?) and use corn-free baking powder. Whew! Actually, the only big deal was the flour. I decided to try a simple mixture I know works well in cake recipes- sorghum, tapioca flour and guar gum.

We also have goji (go-jee) berries that have been sitting in our pantry for awhile and I still hadn’t tried them in a recipe, so they replaced the chips. I think I may be evil, what kind of mom trades out chocolate chips for goji berries? Yep, this one. Not because I don’t want Ry to get treats, I just don’t want him to flare up. Someday, his gut will be in good health and he can devour all the chocolate chips his tummy can handle :-) (I may be crazy, but I really do believe this). So back to the goji berries, these little superfoods are packed with some really good ju-ju. They are a big antioxidant, used in baking, smoothies, tea, etc. They were a great addition to the cookies and since I’ve never baked with them, that was good to find out. In all honesty, these cookies still need some tweaking, but straight out of the oven, they held together, they were moist and their flavor was delicious. Both the boys loved them (and my parents, Mike and I).

Yesterday, Ry came down with a tummy ache. At first, I thought it was a cookie-overdose, but now that it still is hanging on, I’m thinking he may actually have the flu. But he has had so few cookies in his life, he really couldn’t get enough- I had to set some limits :-). One last thing, I was trying to go for that nice, catchy name- it came down to Salmon-a-Go-Go or Go-Salmon-Go, cheesy I know, but I was having fun. Plus, think of your reaction when you read salmon cookies, yuck!?! Oh but they are so good!

Salmon-a-Go-Go Cookies

1-1/4 cup sorghum flour*

3/4 cup tapioca flour

3/4 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons corn-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup goji berries (soak them in hot water for five minutes before using)

1 cup organic sugar

1/2 cup palm shortening, melted

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup salmonberries

*This recipe will work much better if you use all of your ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together sorghum flour, tapioca flour, guar gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and soaked goji berries (with water drained). After mixing, make a whole in the middle. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the melted palm shortening. Mix well and add the water, mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the whole in the dry ingredients, mix together well. Be cautious not to overmix the cookie dough.

Place spoonfuls on cookie sheets and then gently press a few salmonberries into the top of the dough, careful not to smash the cookies too flat. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees (the original recipe called for about 10 minutes, but my parents oven tends to need 5 more minutes than what recipes call for, so just keep a close eye on them). I found that they were still too soft at 10 minutes. The original recipe (not for gluten-free) said to pull them out when you think they are still too soft because they will harden up; however, I found that mine didn’t harden too much.

We put some of them in a tupperware overnight and they kind of turned into a mushy, tasty concoction. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is we may need to work on the gluten-free flour blend more than the actual baking time- more guar gum, some applesauce? not sure, yet. However, what they lacked in structure they sure made up for in flavor. I also want to try them in a glass pan, in cookie bar form. If you try them, let me know any ideas/suggestions you may have. Enjoy!