Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arrowhead Mill Flours:

When I go to the health food store, there are only a couple brands of flour for me to choose from: Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill. Arrowhead Mills Flours are always arranged in a beautiful display of Rice Flours, Millet, to Wheat Flour. So are they safe for my kids? That was the question.

Arrowhead Mills manufactures their gluten free products in a shared facility (facility that also manufactures products that contain gluten - aka wheat, rye, barley, etc.) on shared equipment. Arrowhead Mills products are manufactured by The Hain-Celestial Group, here is a written statement that I found on the Internet: "The items which bear the label "gluten free" or "made with gluten free ingredients" are formulated and tested to be gluten free (below the detectable limit of 10ppm). The Hain Celestial Group's labeling declares major allergens (peanuts, soybeans, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, tree nuts, and wheat) and we follow the U.S. FDA's regulations. In addition, our labeling always declares gluten containing ingredients. Both major and minor ingredients of all products, as well as all processing procedures and equipment, are closely scrutinized and all potential allergen issues as determined by the Hain Celestial Group are declared on our labeling. We assure you that strict manufacturing processes and procedures are in place and that all of our manufacturing facilities follow rigid allergen control programs that include staff training, segregation of allergen ingredients, production scheduling, and thorough cleaning and sanitation."

With that being said, I made a personal call to Arrowhead mills to confirm the statement and to ask a few follow up questions.

"Do you package multiple gluten free products at one time - Like corn and rice products?" The answer was yes there was the direct possibility that different items would be run at the same time. The lady I spoke with literally said - - It most likely would be best if you do not use our products as there is the possibility for cross-contamination.

So, I walked from the call with two key piece of information for our family:
1. All of their gluten free products may contain up to 10 ppm of a gluten containing item. (That is what the statement out rightly said......the ELISA tests can not detect to zero only as low as 10 ppm as I understand it.)

2. Their gluten free flours may be run at the same time. That would mean that corn dust or soybean dust may contaminate the flours my kids could have. My son is so sensitive to corn that in the past corn dust has caused a severe reaction.

Decision for our family: We are not comfortable at this time with using Arrowhead Mills with the severity of our kids allergies.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mung Bean Pudding

I am married to a Vietamese guy. He loves his sweets. But they aren't like American sweets. They are very different but good. One of them is a whole collection of "puddings". This is a Thai recipe but very similiar to the deserts I have seen at Vietnamese restuarants.

The pictures included were taken by my kids and "Aunt" Kim one night.

Mung Bean Pudding
2 Servings

2 cups water
1/4 cup tapioca flour (this is sometimes called tapioca starch.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup Mung beans (see note)
1/3 cup coconut milk

Boil mung beans in 2 cups of water until tender. It should take about 20 minutes.

The beans should be very soft. Cook them until they aren't stiff in the middle anymore. We realized too late that we hadn't cooked ours enough. It was still good but the beans had a little chew to them still.
Dissolve tapioca flour in a cup of water and add to the boiling mung beans.

Stir quickly and constantly to prevent the bottom from burning. It should thicken.

Add more water if it gets too thick. Add more flour if too watery. A consistency of gravy is ideal.

Add sugar, bring it back up to a boil and turn off the heat

In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup of coconut milk with salt. Heat it up in the microwave for a few second just to warm it up. Don't let the coconut milk boil, otherwise it will separate.

DD is stirring coconut milk getting it ready for eating. My two oldest kiddos gobbled this stuff down quickly! By the time we got to the pot there was only one small bowl left!

Serve hot with coconut milk on top.

NOTE: There are two ways mung bean are sold. Whole and Split. The split mung beans are yellow and look like split peas - except yellow. These are the ones you want to buy for this pudding. They usually run about .79 a bag.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fish Sauce? Really with allergies????

There is a lot of bad rap on the Internet about fish sauce and allergies. Some sites say to stay away from it if you are allergic to soy. Others warn you that they can be made with either fish or shellfish. So what is the truth? My kids have crazy allergies to sooo many things. So do I have problems? The answer is no.

May I tell you what I have learned after 12 years of cooking for my wonderful DH? From my experience - All of these things are wrong.

Fish sauce is a fermented product made from anchovies. Nothing else! The following website has a good explaination on how it is made: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/fishsauce1.html

There are dozens of brands of fish sauce. Many with names that would make you think that they are made out of shellfish. One brand that I really like is Crab and Scallops brand. It has pictures of crabs and scallops all over the front of the bottle. Read the ingredients though and all it has in it is: anchovy extract, water, salt and sugar.

Be careful though! There are several brands that DO have wheat protien in them. Not all but a few - - and they are usually the more expensive brands.

There are other sauces that do contain shellfish, soy, wheat, etc: oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and some specialized dipping sauces that will contain shrimp.

My favorite brands fish sauce are:

Crabs and Scallops

Golden Boy


Squid is fine to use if you have allergies - but it is REALLY REALLY stinky!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green Papaya Salad

It has been a week since I posted last - YIKES!

This was an instant hit the other night when I made it. My SIL has made it before for DH and me, but it was never safe for the kids. I am including the full recipe and making notes on where I changed things.

This is the recipe pretty much as written from http://www.thaitable.com/

Green Papaya Salad

1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar (normal sugar can be substituted - but you may need to add a little more

3/4 of a lime

2 cups green papaya, shredded

6 green beans

1 clove garlic

1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon dried shrimp (left this out)

2 thai chili peppers (used less than was called for)

5 cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons peanuts, toasted

Tips and substitutions from http://www.thaitable.com/ : For a vegetarian som tum, omit the dried shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce. Some people use tamarind in place of lime. Regular sugar can be substituted for palm sugar. The balance of fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and peppers listed here are guidelines.

About Green Papaya: Many Asian supermarkets have shredded green papaya. However, if you can only find whole green papaya, the papaya can be peeled and shredded using a regular cheese grater with medium to large sized holes. When you get closer to the center, you will see the white immature seeds inside. Stop and move onto another part of the papaya. Discard any seeds that got into your bowl.

In Thailand, green papaya salad is made using a clay mortar, wooden pestle and a spatula. Smash a clove of garlic first. Then add green beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Pound a few times just to bruise the beans and get the juice out of the tomatoes. Add chili peppers and crush them just enough to release the hotness, unless you like your salad really hot. Add the green papaya, dried shrimp, toasted peanuts, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Use the pestle to push the mixture up in the mortar and the spatula to push it down so that the mixture is mixed well.

However, if you do not have a big enough mortar you can crush garlic, tomatoes, green beans. Set them aside in a large bowl. Add dried shrimp, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar to the bowl. Add green papaya and mix well. Serve with sticky rice and a sliver of cabbage, green beans and Thai basil.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


My husband loves fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, pickled mustard greens, etc. I have grown to love them and the kiddos can devour large amounts of them:) I recently found this kimchi recipe and my family is extremely happy with the results! My friend Miran just told me on Saturday that she wants to throw a Kimchi party and teach us how to make 3 or so types. I was so excited!

The recipe is taken from Eating Korean by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger root
1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp (used fish sauce)
1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup Korean chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Sesame oil (optional) (left this out)
Sesame seeds (optional) (left this out)

1. Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours.

2. Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced.

3. In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.)

*****If you do get chili burns - pour straight white vinegar on your hands. My mom learned this from some friends when she spilled a container of jalapenos on her hands. *****

4. Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff radish mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not over stuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

5. Let sit for 2 to 3 days in a cool place before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with a little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.

Leftover Pasta Idea:

I find that Tinkyada Rice Pasta does not reheat very well. It gets hard and then the kids won't eat it no matter how much sauce I put on top. Recently, I was at the health food store picking up xantham gum and egg replacer when I saw a package of GF Cheeseburger Mac. I picked it up to look at it already knowing that it would not work for my kids. I saw that it had pasta sauce in the box. AHHH! My mind went through the possibilities:) I went home quickly added the leftover pasta to a pan added a bunch of sauce over the top and warmed it up. The pasta came out nice and soft and the kids loved it. They gobbled up every bite and for the first time I wasn't trying to convince them to eat it:)

Spaghetti Sauce

After the conference last week and a whirlwind trip to home (my DH is currently in school for 10 months and we made a temporary move), I needed an easy meal last night. DH picked up Tinkyada pasta for the kids and we were set to go.

There are pasta sauces that my kids can eat out of the jar.....but they are spoiled and won't eat them. They prefer my homemade sauce. This recipe is based on how my mom made sauce growing up - tweaked to meet my families tastes.

Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground beef - browned
1 med onion - diced
2. c tomato paste
6 c. water
1/4 c. Italian Seasoning
Salt and Sugar to taste.
Saute onion in a little oil until soft. Add browned ground beef, tomato paste, water, and Italian Seasoning and mix. Add salt and sugar to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes.
The sugar amount will depend on how sweet you like your sauce. My mom and I like our sauce to be on the sour side. My DH and kiddo's like it to be on the sweeter side. So I probally use upwards of a 1/4 c. of sugar in this recipe for my family.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Roast Beef - The Easy Way

I love meals that cook themselves! My mom made this meal the entire time I was growing up and still makes it for our family when we come home to visit.
Crock Pot Roast Beef
One Crock pot:)
5-6 lb. Beef Roast - (I normally use the least expensive cut at the store)
1 Large Onion
approx. 1/4 cup Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste (I usually use a lot but I am heavy handed with these on a regular basis!)
1-2 c. of water depending on size of crock pot.
Place Roast in the crock pot, add all other ingredients, cover and cook until it falls apart. Usually 8-10 hours on low. In terms of the water amount - my mom has a smaller tall round crock pot and she uses only 1 cup of water. I have one of those new larger oval super fancy turns off when it is done cooking crock pots - so I use 2 cups of water.
Ideas for using up the roast beef:
Roast Beef, Baked Potatoes, Veggies and a salad - usually the first meal we eat
Roast Beef Sandwiches for lunch the next day
BBQ Beef and Chips
Any other ideas? I would love to hear about them!

Chai Tea Latte!

I love Chai Tea Lattes! I mean they are the first thing I reach for in the morning. Okay - - I know! Some reach for coffee and I reach for a yummy creamy tea:) My son also likes tea. One day he asked if I could make him a Chai Tea Latte too. I thought - - Hmmm, I can do that! Now this is the one area where I make "special" things for each child. DS can have soy products and DD can have milk products. Normally, I make things that both children can have at one time but this is the exception. He loves them. The other day I didn't have any soy milk so I made them with the another "milk" and he thought that was good too!
Here is the recipe!
"Starbucks At Home" Chai Tea Latte
One bag of Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. safe "milk"
sugar to taste
Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat to nice and hot. Add sugar to tea and pour into a mug.

This is the box of tea so you know what it looks like.

My very happy boy with his chai tea latte in a real Starbucks mug.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

At Conference This Week:

Howdy! DH and I are attending a conference this week and I will not be able to post more of this weeks recipes until later this week. Thanks for understanding!

Yummy Allergy Free Bread!

I have recently found a wonderful bread recipe for the kiddo'! My kids absolutely adore it. They say it is the best bread I have ever made, and they have been eating GF bread now for years. Even my DH says that is very good:) So this recipe must really be good! I found it cruising around the internet trying to find new recipes to cook. I found this one at Karina's Kitchen (Karina's Kitchen- Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess: Karina's Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Recipe)

I am posting the original recipe straight from her website, but have made notes where I changed it:) Also, these are the directions for a person who does not have a bread machine. I you would like the directions for using a bread machine, please follow the link to her website.

Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Recipe
Most gluten-free bread recipes rely on eggs for texture and rise. Not this one. This gluten-free bread is tender, crusty, vegan, dairy-free, rice-free, and egg-free.

First- whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside:
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup millet flour (I used brown rice flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/ 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast- or rapid yeast

You'll need sesame seeds for the top (or hemp seeds); set aside for later. (I skipped this as the kiddos are allergic to sesame.)

Liquid ingredients:
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup warm water (at 110 to 115 degrees F)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used Canola. and just so you know - 4T. = 1/4 c.)
1 tablespoons honey- or raw agave nectar to keep it vegan
1/2 teaspoon rice or apple cider vinegar

Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs whisked with warm water

Proof the yeast in the warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) and a teaspoon of the honey/agave (add the yeast to the water and honey stir; allow it to get poofy).

Add the proofed yeast to the dry ingredients; add the olive oil, remaining honey/agave, cider vinegar and mixed egg replacer (or egg); beat until a smooth batter forms. I use the word batter because gluten-free bread dough is more like batter than dough.

Scrape the dough into a 1.5 pound loaf pan (or 7 to 8-inch round cake pan for ciabatta style) and smooth evenly (I use wet fingers).

Top with sesame seeds. (Skipped this step.)

Loosely cover the pan and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven comes to temperature bake the bread until it sounds hollow when thumped. This might be anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes, and even up to 60 minutes if you're at higher altitude. Lower style round pan loaves will bake at 30 to 40 minutes, usually.

If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and return it naked to the oven for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

On another blog that I follow ( http://www.econobusters.com/ ), Molly always posts her weekly menu. I thought "Hey! This is a great idea, it will give people an idea of what we eat! AND, it will give me direction in what to post!" I have been sitting here wondering what recipe to post first.
This week my DH and I will be attending a conference so I have cooked most of the kids food ahead of time to make the week easy in terms of cooking. Thursday we hit the road and drive home for a quick visit so Saturday's menu item is a splurge as we will have a grill at hand:) Here we go!

Monday - Chili, Allergy Free Bread, and Fruit

Tuesday - Roast Beef Sandwiches, Chips, and Fruit

Wednesday - Sweet Italian Sausage, Baked Potatos and any fresh fruit or vegie that must be eaten!

Thursday - Packed food - Lunch Meat, Chips, Fruit, Puppy Chow

Friday - Packed food for 2nd day of travel.

Saturday - Steak! Yippie for splurges:)

Sunday - Packed food for drive home - Lunch Meat, Chips, and Fruit

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Allergy Alert Products

When my kids were little, they were not able to tell people about their allergies. If someone offered them something to eat, they would take it. We had a couple of ER visits due to this. The individuals were well meaning people. They just didn't know about the allergies for a variety of reasons. I wanted to add a layer of protection when I was not there but what could I do? For awhile, I would pin a large piece of printer paper on their backs that said "Please do not feed me! Allergic to .....". Then I found a website that sold stickers created just for kids like mine. I can't find the original website that I used, but I was able to find the following two websites that are similiar. I hope this will prove helpful!

Allergy Stickers: http://stores.homestead.com/allergystickers/Page.bok?template=about

AllergyKids: http://www.allergykids.com/

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Powdered Sugar - a test in patience.......

As I stated earlier, all commercial powdered sugar contains cornstarch. I have not been able to find one brand that doesn't have it. So I must make it from scratch. It can be made too! All you need is a blender (a VitaMix is a wonderful help!), normal granulated sugar, and time.

First, make sure the blender is very dry.
Second, add about 1/4 c. sugar
Third, place wet rag on top of blender lid to catch escaping sugar.
Fourth, blend on highest setting for about 5 minutes.
Fifth, taste to see if there is any graininess to the sugar.
If yes, let the blender cool a minute and proceed to blend again for a couple more minutes.
If no, dump out into container, and start again at step one.

It is very important that you let the blender cool between blendings. Why you may ask? Well, if the blender gets too hot it will start to melt the sugar. Trust me! I have ruined 2 blenders this way. We want powdered sugar - not caramel:)

A VitaMix is a wonderful help in making powdered sugar. My friend has allowed me to borrow hers and I have made large batches of powdered sugar in a matter of minutes (okay 20 minutes - but it beats 3 hours any day!)

Yeah! New Treat for the Kiddos!

Hannah recently was invited to a birthday party where "Puppy Chow" was on the menu. Puppy Chow? That was my thought too. So going to my favorite spot for questions - Google - I quickly found my answer. Puppy Chow is a mixture of Rice Chex, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Butter, and Powdered Sugar. Could I modify this to work for my kiddos? I did and the kids loved it! They gobbled it all up. But I wanted to test it on an innocent bystander so I gave a few bites to a boy from down the block. He LOVED it! So I consider that a success! Here is the recipe:)

Gluten Free and Allergy Free Puppy Chow:

9 cups of General Mills Rice Chex (the only brand that is GF)
1 c. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
1/2c. SunButter (or any other nut butter that works for your diet)
1/4 c. Flieshman's Unsalted Margarine (has some corn oil in it but my son tolerates it well - - use whatever works for your family)
1 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar - - all commercial powdered sugar contains cornstarch so you will need to make your own. The next post will explain how to make it.
Melt Chocolate Chips, SunButter, and Margarine together until smooth. Pour over the top of the Rice Chex and mix until well blended. After blending, pour mixture into a 2 gallon ziplock bag. Pour in powdered sugar and shake. If you are out of bags (or like me to frugal to buy a box for one bag), I just stirred really carefully to coat well. :)
Store in the fridge as Enjoy Life's Chocolate Chips do not withstand warmer temps well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gluten Free Flour Blend.......

Many of the newer gluten free recipe blends have cornstarch, corn flour, or nut flours in them. For our family these new better tasting blends are out. But I have been able to come up with one that I LOVE! I think it tastes the best of anything that I have ever made before.

5 cups brown rice flour (you use all white rice flour or do a mix of brown and white rice flour)
1 cup sorghum flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cups tapioca starch/flour

Mix well and use:)

Where to begin?!?!

Who are we? We are a family with allergies. My children are allergic to - wheat, corn, soy, diary, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (all but almond), sesame, and shellfish. In addition to this they must also maintain a gluten free diet - - so out go rye, barly, spelt, and others!

Why are I starting this blog? I am starting this blog to document recipes and foods that I feed to my kids. I want to serve them by building a library of recipes for them to use when they are older and also as a way to serve the many families that have similiar needs. My goal is to find recipes from around the world that are already allergy friendly or that need little modification.

We are on a tight budget so I will also share ways to watch the bottom line while still being able to enjoy lots of delicious foods.

I hope this blog will be a blessing.