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Thursday, January 19, 2012

You have to be creative

These food allergies have inspired one thing in me and that is creativity. When you have 3 of the top  8 food allergies you know that you have to be creative with cooking especially if its not an easily avoidable allergen like the top 8. But then there are those that are not on the top 8 that can be just as much as a big pain in the rear. Its beans for me. You may not think it but beans are popular in most cuisines.
I really do miss a good chili with beans in it. Or hummus on my pita. My kids miss my taco bean dip.
But I have found ways around this no bean thing. In my chili I substitute cut up zucchini for beans and my taco dip I mix low fat cream cheese with my homemade taco seasoning and put tomatoes, low fat cheddar cheese, olives and lettuce on top. The morale of the story here, get creative. Use your imagination when it comes to foods you may use for substitutions for the allergen.

In light of our cold snowy days lately here in Seattle I will provide my Turkey Basil Chili recipe.
Feel free to leave out the zucchini if you do not like squash but try to add something else in its place.:)

Turkey Basil Chili (no beans)
1.5 lbs ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 med. green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 zucchini chopped
2 15 oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp basil
2 tbsp taco seasoning or 1 envelope of taco seasoning, I make my own but you may use the envelopes.
Tabasco sauce to taste (if you like heat)

Cook ground turkey until no longer pink. Add in onion, garlic, green pepper and cook for 3  minutes. Add in zucchini, tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, basil and taco seasoning. I put mine in a slow cooker at this point for 4 hours but you can let it cook for 30 minutes and serve.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tasty Apple pancakes with apple syrup

These are my favorite pancakes to make. And I put all my heart and soul into making these. The kids love these even though they are gluten free, shhh its our secret! I adapted this when I became gluten free because I loved the wheat version so much. The syrup isn't your typical syrup. Its not too sugary and adds a lovely taste to the pancakes. Be ready to have a taste sensation like no other!

2-1/4 c Gluten free flour mix with added xanthum gum
1 tbs sugar or substitute
2-1/4 baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbs oil
2-1/4 c dairy or non dairy milk
1 large apple, peeled, and shredded or you may use 1 cup of apple sauce
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients first in a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another medium bowl well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing with a whisk. Cook them using non stick spray or using light spray of light olive oil.

To make the syrup

2 cups of apple juice or cider. I used Honey crisp juice which is sweet on its own.
4 tbs cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar if using cider or if you want your syrup a little sweeter.

Mix cornstarch in the apple juice in a small pan while its still cold. Add in sugar as you heat it. Bring to a boil until its thickened. Turn off heat.

and ENJOY!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In love with my BBQ

These late summer days of heat are too much to bare in my house with no air conditioning. See in the  Northwest we have a natural air conditioner, the ocean. But it only works if you live BY the ocean. I do not so I suffer on days I want to cook or bake.

BBQ hmm interesting thought. I could use the BBQ to bake! Heck yeah!

So I went to it this weekend.

I made grilled bbq chicken pizza, grilled peaches which I used to make peach crisp that I baked on my bbq, french fries got baked on the bbq and now the buns for our sloppy joes are grilling. Ok that last one is pretty normal.

What I want to know, is if any of you grilled or baked anything on your bbq that is unusual? I would love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Christina's gluten free BBQ sauce

Oh how sweet it is! And it does have sweetness with a kick! I love experimenting with marinading sauces and dipping sauces. This one I made tonight to put on my BBQ chicken pizza.

1 cup gluten free ketchup

¼ cup molasses

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp dried onion

1-2 tbsp orange marmalade or apricot preserves

1 tbsp brown sugar

A pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1 tsp Cocoa
1tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Put into small sauce pan stir and simmer until well blended. Take off heat and serve.
Mix well and put on your favorite meat or use as a dipping sauce.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creme filled cakes

In my quest to make food that is similar to the junk food you can buy at the stores I made this yumminess that doesn't have a lot of fillers or fake ingredients. Its also, dairy, soy, peanut/tree nut free. My goal is to make it gluten free too BUT if you are so inclined you may use your favorite chocolate cake mix that is gluten free. My favorite is King Arthurs, that is one moist chocolate cake!


Creme Filling

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk or rice milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup dairy free butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
I start with the creme filling because you have to let that cool but you could do it while the cake is baking. Put the flour and milk into a pan on medium heat and whisk until smooth, add 1/4 cup of sugar. Constantly stir until thick. Pour into bowl and refrigerate until cool.
When cool add in the rest of the ingredients including the rest of the sugar and beat until fluffly. You can refrigerate until you are ready to use.

For the cake:

  • 2/3 light olive oil or canola oil

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa

  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1-1/3 cups coconut milk, rice milk or dairy milk

  •  Preheat oven to 350.Mix the oil, sugar, and eggs until well blended. Add in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and mix until well blended on low speed. Add in milk and blend on medium speed for two minutes. Grease a 9x13 pan with your choice of butter or oil spray. Put batter in pan and cook for 35 minutes until inserted toothpick comes clean. Once its out of the oven let cool for 15 minutes. Gently loosen sides of cake from pan and some of the bottom. turn upside down on cooling rack or place you can let it cool. Once cooled, cake cake in half by taking knife down the middle of the cake so you have two 9x13 sized cakes.
    Then add creme to middle put other half on top and keep refrigerated. This recipe freezes well for later use.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Baking weekend

    I decided since I am unable to go anywhere this weekend I will bake. Maybe experiment some and use some tried and true recipes. My passion is cooking AND baking. I love both but there was a time I thought that I could only cook and baking was big and scary!
    This weekend I will be making chocolate zuccini cake. Our local farmers market had bags of LARGE zuccini for $1.00 so I bought two. I need to use that up quick.
    Right now I have homemade twinkie cakes in the oven. I do miss a good Twinkie now and then but don't miss all the  junk they put into it. Homemade it is! In the past I have made homemade Suzi-Q's. Remember those? Chocolate cake surrounding a creamy goodness middle. mmmm I love those and the great thing is it's made out of a 9x13 cake, so there is plenty to go around. I made it dairy free which is great for some of your dairy allergic or intolerant. Its also soy free, peanut/ tree nut free and maybe soon I will get brave and try gluten free. I will post that recipe this weekend for you all to try.
    Well I better get my bake on and make the filling for these twinkie cakes. Happy weekend!

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Workplace and Allergies

    This summer has been quite a challenge with many things including food allergies. Working while you have food allergies is a struggle alone without people who challenge your allergy at work. I got a first hand experience with this recently. A co-worker, I will call her Chelsea, made it very known that she not only doesn't believe my allergies are all that bad but also has made it her mission to discredit me, making it a very dangerous situation if I do have anaphylaxis at work.
    When you have people like this it can be a very tricky if not scary situation at work that can lead to undue stress and anxiety. My goal in life is to educate people so younger generations who have food allergies don't have to run into situations like this that are so very uncomfortable and dangerous.
    Typically people who show any disrespect toward you are pretty insecure with themselves. But someone who purposefully discredits your disability (Yes, food allergies are recognized as a disability by the ADA) are in denial about their own personal struggles. Again its a matter of insecurity but also a lack of empathy towards others. I know I don't have time for this kind of lack of feelings from others nor do I need the added stress.
    Food allergies are a rather new element to the workforce these days since they are becoming more and more prevelant among younger generations. Our seasoned workforce will have to learn new ways to deal with food allergies and how to be sensitive towards those who have them. Whether it be one food allergy or multiple as I have, either way it can be a very real and scary situation if all of the sudden you can't breathe and your coworker doesn't think its serious because you don't have hives and you face isn't swollen. But as all of us who live with this know that every reaction can be different and each of us reacts differently when exposed to the same allergen. For instance, when I eat a peanut my throat swells shut and I get a runny nose with sneezing. I don't swell. But my neighbor down the street who is allergic to peanuts swells up like a balloon and looks awful. Both reactions can be deadly. Just because you can't see the reaction doesn't matter, you have to act quickly. Find their epipen, call 911 and stay with them!
    This summer and fall I will be working with some fellow food allergic to come up with a pamplet that will hopefully help those we work with understand how food allergies work and how to be empathetic toward someone who has food allergies. When we have a completed pamphlet, of course I will post it here. This will hopefully be a very productive summer ahead that will produce some results for others entering the workforce with food allergies.
    As for my coworker, I know she won't get it until it either happens to her or someone she is very close to so I keep my distance as much as I can, but stand up to her when she pushes. There is only so much you can do in a situation like this but keep your chin up and know that you have others who "get it".
    Thanks to all who get it!