Monday, November 8, 2010

Life with Allergies: Where to Begin?

My nephew was just diagnosed with a long list of allergies. I'm overwhelmed for their family and it has made me think a lot about what advice I would give them. I didn't grow up as a kid with known allergies. I was sick most of my life and finally figured out my medical problems were due to Celiac Disease and allergies when I was 21. It was a very overwhelming day. It's of course nice to know the reason for your illness and it's even nicer to have a cure, but it was still difficult. My life would never be the same. It was very difficult in the beginning to adjust to a new life of eating differently than I had ever before done, but now it isn't difficult at all. I rarely think about it. So where do you begin? How do you adjust? I think the first place to begin is by making a list of things you can eat. Focusing on what you can eat and not on what you can't makes the transition much easier. Make a list. Ask others for input. Start by food group or walk through a grocery store with pen and paper in hand. I think you will find there is still quite a bit out there that you can eat. Don't overwhelm yourself in the beginning by trying to perfect an allergy free version of whatever is your favorite food. Focus on what is naturally allergy free for you. Learning to cook allergy free takes time and it takes patience. Things don't always taste the same. Your taste buds will adjust though and so will you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mac and Cheese

8 oz of rice or corn elbow macaroni
1 medium red onion chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter
1 T corn starch
3 cups of 1% milk
2 cups of shredded mild or medium cheddar cheese

1. In a medium saucepan, saute chopped onions in 1/2 stick butter.
2. Stir in 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tablespoon corn starch.
3. Mix in milk slowly to attain a smooth consistency with no lumps, add in macaroni and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until desired texture is achieved.
4. Mix in cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and evenly blended into the mixture.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mexican Rice

2 cups rice (we use basmati)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 chopped purple onion
2 tsp Taco Seasoning (see previous post for homemade recipe)
One 6 oz can of tomato paste
1.5 tsp salt
4 cups chicken broth

1. In a large Saucepan or stock pot saute onions in 1/4 cup oil and then add the rice stirring often to make sure the rice doesn't burn.
2. Once rice has browned slightly, add 2 tsp Taco Seasoning, 1.5 tsp salt, 4 cups of chicken broth and the 6 oz can of tomato paste.
3. Bring to a boil and then stir well to make sure the tomato paste has dissolved in the chicken broth. Once the tomato paste has dissolved, reduce heat, cover and and simmer until most of the broth has evaporated (I've never timed it, I usually monitor the steam coming out the top and use my nose to detect doneness).

tip: it may be easier to dilute the tomato paste first in a cup or so of chicken broth before adding it to the pot.

Taco Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 T ground cumin
4 tsp salt
4 tsp pepper

Mix together and store in a moisture tight container (or else it will clump).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Caramel Corn

I love caramel corn and what's great is that it is naturally gluten and soy free.
Here is my favorite recipe:

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 quarts popped corn (1 cup of popcorn is about right)


1. Melt butter and sugar
2. Stir in corn syrup and salt
3. Boil stirring constantly for 4 minutes
4. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla
5. Mix caramel with popcorn evenly and then bake in oven at 250F stirring every 15 minutes for an hour.


You can bake the popcorn in the oven on a cookie sheet like most people do, but it is a bit difficult to mix every 15 minutes without all the popcorn falling off and making a big gooey mess. If you do use a cookie sheet I recommend covering it with foil to avoid a really difficult to clean cookie sheet. I use our turkey pan to bake our caramel corn. It's deep and big and this makes it very easy to stir and make sure all of the caramel corn is covered and baked evenly. Good Luck!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been playing around with cookie recipes as of late and this one is my all time favorite. I hope you enjoy them!


1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free mix (1 & 1/4 cups rice flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup tapioca starch)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 and 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Combine gluten free mix, xanthan gum, cocoa, baking soda and salt in separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients to butter sugar mixture and blend well. Add chocolate chips.

Bake cookies on sheet for 10 minutes.

Dinner Idea: White Sauce with Rice and Chicken

Coming up with new gluten free meal ideas is difficult for me so I thought I'd post a few ideas we've come up with. Lately we've really enjoyed white sauce mixed with rice and chicken. It is very quick and easy, which is nice and it tastes pretty good as well.

White Sauce:

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons corn starch or rice flour
1 Cup milk

In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt butter.
Add flour and stir until well combined.
Pour in milk and stir as mixture thickens. Add more milk if needed to create desired consistency.
Flavor to taste with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Pour white sauce over rice and serve with chicken.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Banana Bread

2 cups Gluten Free Mix (2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca starch)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
pinch of salt
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (I put them in the blender because I'm not a fan of chunks)

Optional, but recommended:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients in medium sized bowl.

Cream butter, add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add the eggs, followed by bananas.
Add optional spices at this time (cinnamon, vanilla, cloves)
Add dry ingredients and stir until blended.
Spoon batter into 9 x 5 bread pan and optionally sprinkle brown sugar on top if you would like a crusty sweet top.

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

This banana bread can also be frozen and saved for a later date. If you wrap it in foil and then put it in a freezer bag is tastes just as good a few months later. It's nice to have on hand during those unexpected busy times.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins


2 cups gluten free mix (2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca starch)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and Grease muffin cups or use paper muffin liners.

Make gluten free mix and then combine 2 cups gluten free mix with the dry products (cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt)

Mix wet ingredients (milk, egg, canola oil and vanilla).

Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and then add chocolate chips. Mix well.

Fill muffin cups to the top and then sprinkle sugar on top if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.

These were really yummy. They were gone in one day. Hope you like them.

Easy Cornbread

Cornbread is one of the easiest gluten free breads you can make. This recipe calls for no special flours and thus is really easy to make when you are out of the starches or xantham gum. Pictured I have made the cornbread in muffin pans, however I most often make it in a square baking dish. Either way turns out great.


1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cup ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt) together in a bowl.

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl (butter, eggs, milk)

Swirl 1 tablespoon of butter in baking dish or in muffin pan. I use spray butter in the muffin pan because it's easier.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and bake for 15-20 minutes. Insert wooden toothpick to test if the cornbread is done. When toothpick comes out clean cornbread is done.