Welcome to ABC's and Allergies! I hope you will enjoy some of my thoughts and experiences with allergies and homeschooling, and try out some of my recipes. I have found a new passion for creating excellent meals that are free of Mandie's allergens, and are so yummy no one realizes they are "allergen free". I am also passionate about raising awareness of food allergies, and raising money for FAAN.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Photos 2010

Mandie and Mommy.

Princess Mandie - dress by Grandma G.

The boys with their laser tag game.

Here's a link to our Christmas photos.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sage Turkey Sausage Patties

I found this recipe in the October/November 2010 issues of Healthy Cooking magazine, and tried it last night - with obvious adaptations to make it Mandie-safe.  I don't think I'll ever buy sausage again!   See what you think.

Sage Turkey Sausage Patties
1/4 cup grated rice vegan american cheese (or parmesan cheese if you do dairy)
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley OR
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh sage OR
2 tsp. dried sage leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, combine everything but the turkey.  Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well.  Shape into twelve 3inch patties.   In a large skillet coated with olive oil, cook patties in 1 Tbsp. oil in batches, over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink.  Drain on paper towels if necessary.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Family Photos 2010


Bud and I.

Our Christmas card.  I LOVE this photo!

My other absolute favorite.

I think this one turned out very well.

Mommy and Princess Mandie.

Daddy and his princess.

Surrounded by my beautiful boys.



My gorgeous boys!
Here is the link to all of the photos. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Adapted From: “Vegan Lunchbox” by Jennifer McCann (www.veganlunchbox.com)
1 cup plain canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree
½ cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp flax meal
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup gluten free oat flour
½ cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Kroger Value Brand chocolate chips)
Cinnamon Sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin cups and spray cups with nonstick spray.  Set aside.  Put the pumpkin, water, oil, flax meal, and vanilla in a blender or food processor and process on high for at least 1 minute, until light in color and well blended.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Add the pumpkin mixture and mix w/a wooden spoon until well blended.  Fold in the chips.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tin to make 12 muffins.  Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon-sugar.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spatula to gently lift each muffin from the muffin tin.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup pumpkin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 eggs or 2 Tbsp. flax meal dissolved in 6 Tbsp. hot water (let stand 5 mins.)
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup gluten free all purpose flour*****
1 12oz package chocolate chips

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If using flax, combine with hot water and let stand.
2.     In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, sugars, baking soda, and xanthan gum until combined.  Add eggs or flax gel and vanilla, scraping sides of bowl as needed.   Beat in flour until well combined.  Add chocolate chips and beat until just mixed.
3.       Using a small cookie scoop or two teaspoons, drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are still soft on top but do not collapse when you touch them.  Immediately remove cookies from baking sheets onto a wire cooling rack.

***** You can substitute 2 ½ cups of any kind of flour for the flours I used and the cookies still turn out perfectly.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Salmon Patties and Tartar Sauce; Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Tonight I made a meal that is an absolute favorite in our house - salmon patties, boiled potatoes, and green beans, served with a side of homemade tartar sauce.  The salmon turns out crisp on the outside, and melt in your mouth flaky and tender on the inside.  The combo of the hot salmon and cold tartar sauce is not to be missed. 

Salmon Patties
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup reserved juice from salmon
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill, or 1 tsp. dried dill
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 14 3/4 oz can salmon, drained and flaked
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs***
1 Tbsp. cooking oil of choice
1 recipe Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)

Drain the salmon, reserving the liquid.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg, milk, onion, dill, parsley, and pepper.  Add salmon and bread crumbs; mix well.  Form mixture into patties.  Preheat oil in a grill pan over medium high heat.  Cook patties for about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy on the outside.  Serve hot with cold tartar sauce.
  ***  For gluten free bread crumbs, put a few slices of your favorite bread in a blender or food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.  You can dry the bread in the oven before making crumbs.

Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup miracle whip salad dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. dried or fresh dill

Combine everything in a small bowl and chill before serving.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
(modified from Living Without Magazine, Oct/Nov 2010)
Makes one 10 inch pie

1 (15 oz can) pumpkin
1 cup dairy-free vanilla flavored milk of choice
2 Tbsp. corn oil
3 Tbsp. brandy or bourbon or spiced apple cider
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. gluten free oat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs or flax goo (2 Tbsp. flax meal dissolved in 6 Tbsp. hot water - let stand til gelled)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease a 10 inch pie pan.  Mix together all liquid ingredients in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Slowly pour dry ingredients into liquid, stirring to combine.  Then beat until totally combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place pie in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30-45 more minutes or until a knife inserted into pie center comes out clean.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats (we use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats)
1 cup pumpkin
4 cups water
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. vanilla
Optional toppings: brown sugar, flax meal, toasted pecans or walnuts, dried cranberries, milk of choice, etc.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Topped with brown sugar, flax meal,  pecans, dried cranberries, and almond milk.

VARIATIONS:   Applesauce Oatmeal: add 1 cup of applesauce (I use homemade, chunky w/lots of cinnamon) and 2 Tbs. of cinnamon and 1 Tbsp. nutmeg. 
Blueberry Oatmeal: 1 cup pureed blueberries, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
Also good with pureed pears or peaches.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Due to the kids food allergies, especially the severity of Mandie's, trick or treat is not really safe for them.  I'm not even too crazy about letting them go collect candy and trade it for safe or a toy as many food allergy families do.  Last year we decided do a family Halloween party, which all three kids talked about all year and could hardly wait to do again.  The kids get to dress up and play in their costumes all day, and watch whatever kids cartoon Halloween movies we've found for them.  This year was a Pooh Movie and some other one about a square pumpkin.  We tried to get Legend of Sleepy Hollow for them but it was rented.  I guess that's what you get when you look for movies on the afternoon of Halloween!

Instead of buying costumes this year, or making them (which I just didn't have time to do), we told the kids to go through the dress up box and their clothes and be creative.  Here are the results: a ballerina, a pirate ninja, and batman.

For their treats this year I found cute bags at the local video store.  Mom and I went to Streator Kroger and found some fun treats to fill the kids bags.  I had a couple of Halloween themed coloring books (one with stickers, one with crayons), and we got them each a carton of orange juice, a cup of diced peaches, a cup of mandarin oranges with cute little spoons in the lids that folded up, an Enjoy Life Foods Boom Choco Boom bar, a couple of Clif Kids Twisted Fruit ropes, a few mini boxes of raisins, and a box of ginger candies.

The kids bags looked super cute when they were done!

At dusk the kids went out to the north yard to find their treat bags, which their daddy had hidden.  Bud also dressed in his camo and hid, waiting to spook the kids.  Unfortunately for him this year, Truman's dog Shelby figured out his hiding place and gave him away.  The kids still enjoyed seeing where Daddy had been hidden, and got a picture with him.

After they found their bags, they came inside and had a treat (they chose their juice and oranges) before watching another video while Mom and I got the table decorated and got dinner ready.  We made a "spooky" meal of Dragon Brains (spaghetti), goblin fingers (steamed asparagus), bones and bats (gf breadsticks), and eyeballs (knox blox made w/juice).  We drank goblin's blood (cranberry juice and gingerale), and had Harvest Day Cake for desert. 
Here are the recipes for dinner:

Dragon Brains (Spaghetti)
2 boxes gluten free spaghetti of choice (we used DeBoles Rice with Flax)
2 lbs ground italian style sausage, or ground meat of choice
1 onion, minced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, chopped (we used one yellow and one red)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 quart of marinara sauce of choice (we use home canned)

Sautee ground meat, onion, garlic, and peppers.  When they're halfway cooked, add the tomatoes and beans.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and combine with contents of skillet and marinara sauce.  Heat through and serve.
Bones and Bats
(Thin Crust Pizza dough recipe from Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking by Peter & Kelli Bronski)
3/4 cup warm water (about 115 degrees F)
1 Tbsp. agave or maple syrup
2 1/4 (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. freshly minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups Artisan GF Flour Mix***

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine the warm water, agave or maple syrup, and yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, xanthan gum, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic.  Mix in the flour to form a dough that is soft but not sticky to the touch.  Using aluminum foil, form desired shapes, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and spray with oil.  Press dough into shapes.  Cover with a clean cloth and let rise 20 minutes.  Bake for 20 minutes, unitl done to the touch. 
  *** Artisian GF Flour Mix
1 1/4 cups brown rice or gf oat flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. potato flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum

Eyeballs (Fruit Juice Knox Blox)
4 envelopes KNOX brand unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold fruit juice (we used V8 Splash Strawberry Banana)
3 cups fruit juice, heated to boiling

Heat 3 cups of juice in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice in a large bowl; let stand 1 minute.  Add hot juice and stir until gelatin completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Pour into 13x9x2-inch pan.  Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  To serve, use a melon baller to cut scoop out balls and put in a bowl.
Dessert was my Harvest Day Cake.

So, this is how we enjoyed Halloween.  What did you do?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Applesauce Spice Cake Muffins

½ cup applesauce (I used home canned – chunky and full of cinnamon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs or 2 Tbsp. flax meal stirred into 6 Tbsp. hot water
½ cup gf oat flour
½ cup gf oats (or oat flour)
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup all purpose gluten free flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
 ¾ cup “buttermilk” of choice ***
2 tsp. vanilla
1.      Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease 12-14 cupcake papers and place in cupcake tin. 
2.     Using electric mixer, combine applesauce and sugar on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in eggs on low speed until blended.
3.     In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla.
4.     On low speed, beat dry ingredients  into applesauce mixture, alternating with buttermilk, and ending with dry ingredients.  Mix just until combined.  Using a large cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared pans/papers and gently smooth tops if needed.
5.     Bake at 350 for 22-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.  If baking in an 8” round pan, bake for 30-35 minutes. 
*** To make buttermilk, pour 2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Add required amount of milk of choice.  Stir, and let stand 5 minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest Day Cake

This cake is my absolute favorite, beating out even chocolate as my most craved cake.  Everyone who has tried it agrees with me.  I think it will be a hit in your family also.

Harvest Day Cake
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup all purpose gluten free flour blend***
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups olive oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. flax meal combined with 9 Tbsp. hot water (let stand 5 minutes) **
1 can (15 oz) pumkin
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup toasted chopped pecans
1.        Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of “9x13” pan, or two 9” round pans.  Set aside.   Combine flours, baking powder and soda, spices, and xanthan gum in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
2.         Add oil and flax goo, and  mix for one minute.  Add sugars and beat another couple of minutes.  Add in pumpkin and flour mixture.   Stir in cranberries and pecans.  Pour into greased pans.
3.       Bake rectangular pan for 47-55 minutes, and rounds 38-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and center feels firm.   Cool on a wire rack.  When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with icing of choice.
** May use 3 whole eggs instead of flax, or the equivalent of egg replacer
***Whole wheat or all purpose flours may be substituted for gluten free flours.

Recap of the 2010 FAAN Walk

     The 2010 FAAN (Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network) Walk for Food Allergy was held in Chicago in Lincoln Park on Sunday, October 17th.  The theme of this year’s walk was “Moving Toward A Cure.”    Cybele Pascal, author of The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, and Kelly Rudnicki, author of The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book, were in attendance to sign copies of their books, and Cybele Pascal was the local celebrity chair of the event. The walk officially kicked off with Cybele Pascal and FAAN officials making some announcements and recognizing the top fundraising teams and some strides made in the allergy world in the past year.  Out of 54 total Walks this year, 36 have been completed, putting FAAN at 75% of their goal of $2,669,000.  $78,014, was raised at the Chicago location this week end, our team contributed over $800, hitting our goal for this year.  There were many donations mailed in that have not yet been calculated (from our team and in general), so I’m sure the numbers will go up once all of those come in.
      We had extremely beautiful weather to walk in, though the breeze off of the lake was a bit cool and we were thankful that we made team sweatshirts as well as tee shirts. There were officially 13 people walking as the Illinois Valley Food Allergy Support Team this year – our family, Bud’s mom, Kristy and AJ, Amber (our team captain) and Kory and their two boys, and Amber’s mom. We walked a three mile course that wound through some of Lincoln Park Zoo and along the lakefront.  The fall colors were absolutely gorgeous in the sunshine.  We took some great team photos, and got beautiful shots of the kids along the walk route.  You can see some of the photos on my blog: www.abcsandallergies.blogspot.com.  When we arrived and parked our van, we met up with the rest of our team and got registered and got our official walk tee shirts, then were free to visit the vendor tables before the walk began.  There were many vendors on hand this year.  DEY, (www.EpiPen.com) makers of EpiPens, were on hand to demonstrate the new EpiPen design and hand out trainer pens.  The new design is much easier to use and more ergonomic, if a bit larger than the old one.  Enjoy Life (www.enjoylifefoods.com) was also on hand  to give out free samples of some allergen friendly granola and snack bars, as well as coupons for their products, which includes the only chocolate bars that are safe for Mandie.  They also had a wonderfully informative brochure on celiac and the top 8 allergens.  We tried samples of some gummy candies by Surf Sweets (www.surfsweets.com), some of which are free of palm, which delighted Mandie to no end.   Mandie also got to eat her very first (gluten free) pretzel, which was made and distributed by Kim and Scott Holstein of Kim & Scott’s café twist on North Lincoln Ave in Chicago (www.kimandscotts.com).  They are an excellent company and very allergy aware, and their pretzels are excellent!  They have non gluten free pretzels in the freezer section at Whole Foods and Jewel stores, and hope to begin selling their gluten free line at those stores soon.   There were also vendors there from Divvies (www.divvies.com), Sunbutter (www.sunbutter.com), Barney Butter Almond Butters (www.barneybutter.com), Ian’s Naturals (www.iansnaturalfoods.com), and Pirate Brands Gluten Free Snacks (www.piratebrands.com). 
    After the walk our team enjoyed a picnic lunch together on a sunny hillside in the park, then everyone headed home.  We already have plans for some fundraisers for next year, and are thinking seriously about walking in Nashville as well as Chicago. 
      I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and support.  We could not have met our goals and had such a successful walk without all of you.          

Mandie's first ever pretzel - by Kim & Steve's cafe twist.

Illinois Valley Food Allergy Support team, Chicago 2010.

Starting off the walk!
Our best friends came from TN to walk w/our team!
Great photo along Lake Michigan.
AJ & Mandie - best friends forever.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dinner Rolls/Hot Dog Buns/Hamburger Buns

Dinner Rolls modified from Living Without Magazine (http://www.livingwithout.com/)
2 large eggs, room temperature (or 2 Tbsp. flax meal dissolved in 6 Tbsp. warm water)
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
 1/4 cup oil (we use corn oil)
1 tsp. cider vinegar or rice vinegar
2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (we use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. xanthan gum or guar gum
2 tsp. yeast, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 6-8 muffin cups.  2. Mix egg or flax goo, water, applesauce, oil, and vinegar in a bowl until combined.  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, xanthan gum and yeast (if using) and blend together.  With mixer on low speed, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  4.  Using an ice cream scoop, distribute the dough evenly among the muffin cups.  Immediately place the pan in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes until internal temperature registers 160 degrees on a thermometer.  Remove rolls from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Hamburger Buns
Prepare buns as above from steps 1-3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease 7 -8 english muffin rings or large canning jar rings and place them on the baking sheet.  Using an ice cream scoop, place dough in the rings and smooth tops.  Sprinkle with gluten free oats or sesame seeds if desired.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes as above.

Burger buns topped with gf oats.
Hotdog Buns
Prepare buns as above from steps 1-3. Use baguette pans or form heavy duty aluminum foil into the correct shape.  Place a scoop of dough into each greased  form (makes about 8) and pat into shape using a small spatula sprayed with oil.  Bake for 40-45 minutes as directed above.  Remove from forms, cool, and split down the center.

Dog buns in foil forms.
The finished buns!

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters
Makes 30 donut hole sized fritters
2 Tbsp. flax meal dissolved in 6 Tbsp water (or 2 eggs)
3 Tbsp. water, warm to touch
1 cup chunky  applesauce with sugar and cinnamon (homemade)
¼ cup oil of choice
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 cup gf oat flour
1 cup gf all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup sugar
 ½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. xanthan or guar gum
2 tsp. yeast (optional)
1.     Preheat oil of choice in a fryer.
2.     Combine flax goo (or egg), water, applesauce, oil, and vinegar in a bowl until combined. 
3.     In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt, xanthan gum (or guar gum), and yeast (if using).  With mixer on low speed, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
4.     Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 Tbsp. capacity), drop dough into hot oil.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until they are brown and crispy on all sides.  Remove to a paper towel and roll in granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar, or powdered sugar.  Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grampa Cookies

I modified a few recipes to make a Mandie-safe version of the cookies my dad always made while we were growing up.  Dad even sent several batches to my best friend after she went off to college since she missed them so much.   We always called them "Dad's Cookies", so now they're "Grampa Cookies".

Grampa Cookies
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
 2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup corn oil
 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
 2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cups chocolate chips
3 1/2 cups gluten free oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. water + 2 Tbsp. vinegar + 2 tsp. baking powder.  On medium speed, beat oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in the flour mixture into sugar mixture until well blended and smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips and oats.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto cookie sheets.  Flatten just a bit.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set in the middle.   Cool on sheets for 3 minutes before removing to racks to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Harvest Day Cake

2 1/2 cups gluten free cake flour blend *
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs (or egg sub of choice)
15 oz pureed pumpkin (I used freshly made)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cups chopped toasted pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch pan, or 2 round cake pans.  Combine flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.   Beat oil and sugars in an electric mixer on medium speed.  Beat in eggs (or egg sub.) .  Beat in pumpkin until combined.  Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until batter is smooth.  Stir in cranberries and pecans.  Pour batter into pan(s).  Bake rectangle pan 45-55 minutes, rounds 35-38 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean and internal temperature registers 200 degrees.    When cool, top with powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting.

*Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend
(adapted from Artisinal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski)
1 1/4 cups gf oat flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. potato flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
Combine well and store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 20, 2010


1 bottle of Smirnoff vodka
2 vanilla beans

Using the tip of a sharp knife, make a slit in each vanilla bean from end to end.  Place beans in the vodka and replace the cap.  Leave on counter for 30 days, shaking the bottle every time you walk past it.  After 30 days, use as you would any vanilla.  Beans can be re-used for 10-12 months, or unitl they no longer have any scent left. 

S'More Cookies

What do you do when you and your family really want to make S'Mores, but you can't find a pre-made graham-style cracker that is free of all of the allergens you are avoiding?  If you're an allergy mom, the answer is simple.  You create one!  This is the recipe I created that's free of Mandie's allergens.  (I'll take and post photos the next time I make them.)  The cookies taste a bit like a cross between snicker doodles and cinnamon graham crackers.  They are flat and crisp, and soften up just a bit when they are stored in a zip lock bag overnight.  They turned out to be the perfect size, and were just pliable enough that they didn't crumble when you took a bite with all of the chocolate and marshmallow inside.  Mandie and I used the Milk Chocolate flavor of Enjoy Life's Boom Choco Boom bars http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/our_foods/chocolate_bars.html   for ours.  YUM!

S'More Cookies
2 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. flaxmeal dissolved in 9 Tbsp. hot water (or 3 eggs)
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use homemade)
1 Tbsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups sorghum flour
2 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour

Combine oil, sugars, and baking soda.  Beat until combined.  Add flax goo (or eggs) and vanilla.  Combine.  Add flour.  Mix well.  Drop by large rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.  Let set on cookie sheets for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

White Chili

Tonight's dinner was my favorite White Chili - which I modified from a friend's recipe.  It is a yummy soup that is quick to put together for those nights when you need a hearty dinner in a hurry with very little fuss.  Pair it with my Cornbread for a quick, delicious meal.

White Chili

1 lb ground turkey, cooked
1 cup turkey or chicken broth (I use my homemade turkey broth)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup salsa
2 cans (15 oz each) white beans, rinsed and drained

Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 30 minutes.  It pairs well with cornbread. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Corndog Nuggets and Potato Chips

Once in a while I just get a real craving for "junk food" for dinner.  One of our favorite quick junk food dinners before multiple food allergies was corndogs and fries or potato chips.  With Mandie's multiple allergies, including wheat/gluten, store bought corndogs are out (as are most potato chips).  That certainly takes quick out of the equation, but corndogs and potato chips are very easy (if a bit time consuming) to make.  Here's what I do . . . .

Potato Chips
6-8 potatoes, scrubbed
oil for deep frying
sea salt for sprinkling on chips

Warm your oil in your fryer (we use corn oil).  Using a mandolin, thinly slice potatoes and pat dry.  Drop chips into fryer and fry until lightly golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with salt.  When they've cooled for a bit, put them into a bowl.  Yum!
Corndog Nuggets
1-2 packages hotdogs of choice (we love Jennie-O Turkey Dogs)
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 cup gluten free flour of choice (I use 1/2 sorghum flour and 1/2 rice or bean flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. oil of choice  (we use corn oil)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
1 egg, slightly beaten (or equal amount of flax goo)
oil of choice for fryer (we use corn oil)

Preheat your oil to approximately 375 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add water and oil, mix well.  Add egg.  Cut hotdogs into thirds.  Dry well.  Dip in cornmeal mixture and coat well.  Drop into hot oil - about 6 per batch - and fry for 2-3 minutes or until nuggets are golden brown on all sides.  I've found that a double batch of batter coats 3 packages of hotdogs.  My kids love to have extras to eat for lunch the next day. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cornbread (free of gluten/dairy/soy)

Tonight I made ham and bean soup and cornbread.  Both were so yummy!  For the soup I pre-soaked two pounds of soup beans, then this morning I put them in the crockpot with a ham, some tomato juice, fresh crushed tomatoes, a diced onion, and water to cover it all.  I cooked it on high for about 8 hours.  Everything was done to perfection!  Here's my cornbread recipe.

2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (we use BRM)
2 cups cornmeal
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
4 beaten eggs (or egg replacer of choice)
2 cups water
1/2 cup oil (I use corn oil)

Grease a 9x13 inch pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, water, and oil.  Add to dry ingredients and combine.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes until tester inserted into center comes out clean and top is slightly browned. 
I serve it with a variety of toppings such as maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, sorghum, and molasses.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Natural Remedies

With cold and flu season fast approaching, I thought I’d share some of our family favorite “non-drug” remedies.

Starting in October, I start the kids and myself on immune enhancers. The boys take Echinacea, which is a homeopathic herb that is excellent at strengthening the immune system. You can find it at any drugstore or Walmart, in formulas for both kids and adults. Mandie and I take elderberry syrup. There are several brands, the main one being Sambucol. You can find it at Whole Foods, Seeds of Change, and Body and Soul (or any health food store). It also comes in different formulas for kids and adults, and some kids versions also contain Echinacea. Mandie is so severely allergic to the ragweed family (Aster/Composite) that we can’t use the Echinacea since it is a member of that family.

If you do get the misfortune of coming down with a cold or flu, there are a few non-drug things you can do. We like to sprinkle a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil (found in health food stores and Whole Foods) on our pillowcases before bed, and also in a warm bath. It is a wonderful decongestant. Chamomile tea is an excellent decongestant, and has a calming, mellowing effect. It is safe for newborn babies through adults. After one year of age, a couple of teaspoons of honey added to the tea will help stop the symptoms. (Honey is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial. Raw honey is excellent at healing wounds.) Chamomile is a member of the Aster/Composite family however, so if you have severe allergies to any other members of the family you need to avoid it. Honey is excellent for sore throats, either a spoonful alone, or with a bit of fresh lemon juice (for the vitamin C). For stomach issues of all kinds, Peppermint tea is the first remedy of choice. Sip it hot or cold, with the addition of honey if you like, throughout the day. Sucking on peppermint candies often helps a bit as well. Also excellent for stomach issues is ginger. You can take it in capsule form (from Walmart, etc.), candied crystallized from the grocery store (eat 1-2 pieces as needed), or cut a thin slice off of a fresh root, pour boiling water over it, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the root, sweeten with honey, and drink as needed. Ginger is 100% safe during all stages of pregnancy, and works wonders for the associated nausea and vomiting.

My absolute favorite natural antibiotic is garlic. It is antiviral and antibiotic. I take it either fresh (in pieces), or in liquid capsule form for anything that would need an antibiotic. I’ve successfully cured severe mastitis, strep throat, and sinus infections using garlic. It works quicker than drugs, without all of the side effects. Www.kellymom.com has some wonderful information about using garlic to cure mastitis and other ailments.

With three very active children, my medicine cabinet is not complete without a few remedies for cuts, scrapes, bug bites, and bruises. In the medicine bag next to the Benadryl I keep a bottle of Lavender essential oil by NOW Foods (www.nowfoods.com). Lavender is antibiotic, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral. I use it on all three kids on any bug bites, cuts, scrapes, or burns. The Immediate Care doctor used it on Mandie’s foot after her thorn removal. Tea Tree oil (found at Walmart, etc.) is also antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antibiotic. We use it the same way we use lavender oil. Calendula Cream (by Weleda – www.weleda.com), which is found at Whole Foods, is also excellent for wounds and burns. Calendula knits the skin back together, and is extremely gentle. It is a member of the Aster/Composite family, so proceed with caution with severe ragweed allergies. The best remedy for bruising or sore muscles is Arnica Gel. It is made by NOW Foods and Boiron (www.boironusa.com). Simply rub some gel on at the first sign of bruising, and soon the pain, swelling, and discoloration will be gone. Arnica is also a member of the Aster/Composite family, so use appropriate cautions.

If you would like to learn more about herbal remedies, check out “Herbal Remedies for Dummies” by Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., "the Naturally Clean Home" by Karyn Siegel-Maier, www.boironusa.com, www.weleda.com, or visit your local health food store or Whole Foods, where you can get all of your questions answered.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Pancakes are a favorite dinner in our house, so we make them quite often.  I usually serve them with Jennie-O Breakfast Lovers Turkey Sausages and several varieties of homemade syrups.  The kids also like to spread them with various nut butters and sprinkle them with sugar before rolling them up to eat.  I make a huge batch at a time so that I can feed seven hungry people and have some left for the kids to snack on the next day or (if I'm really lucky) to freeze for later. I really need to just make some up for the freezer for quick breakfasts - but only if the kids are not around.   They LOVE these pancakes!  Here's how I make them.  You can cut the recipe down to a half or quarter to suit your needs.  It is extremely forgiving.  The pancakes are very light and satisfy all of my IHOP cravings. 

Jen's Multi-Grain Pancakes

1 cup Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour blend
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup gf oat flour (we use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 cup buckwheat flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
8 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
4 beaten eggs (or 4 Tbsp. flax meal combined with 12 Tbsp. water)
4 cups water or milk of choice
8 Tbsp. applesauce or other fruit puree
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup flax meal (if using eggs)
2-3 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients until well combined and batter is fairly thin.  I use an ice cream scoop to make 8 pancakes at a time on an electric griddle.  Cook until bubbly and bottoms start to brown, flip, and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  I often toss blueberries into a batch of these.  I like to use chunky applesauce for more flavor and texture.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Biscuits, Gravy, and Apple Butter

Last night my wonderful mother made apple butter.  It turned out absolutely perfectly, and we canned 12 pints (and saved one to eat fresh).  For lunch today I made biscuits and tuna gravy, and have to say that the biscuit recipe turned out the best I've ever made. I think I've got it figured out!  Here's what I did:

(top 8 free)
2 cups Bob's Red Mill gf flour blend (or any gf flour blend)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup corn oil (or any safe oil)
1 cup almond milk (or any milk of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a safe oil.   In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Stir in oil and milk until just combined.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  These don't brown much, but they are very light and flaky.

Tuna Gravy

Pour about 1/4 cup of safe oil (I use corn oil) in a deep skillet.  Saute 1/2 of a chopped onion until it just softens.  Whisk in 3 cans of un drained tuna, flour, and broth (I use homemade turkey broth) until thick and bubbly and the consistency you like.  Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Serve over biscuits.  Yum!

Apple Butter
(makes about 3 pints)  (from "Ball's Blue Book of preserving")

 4 lbs of apples (about 16 medium)
4 cups of sugar (we used about 1/3 less than called for)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

To prepare pulp:  Wash apples.  Core, peel and quarter apples.  Combine apples with 2 cups of water in a large sauce pot.  Simmer until apples are soft.  Puree using a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy (we used a food mill).  Measure 2 quarts of apple pulp.
To make butter:   Combine apple pulp, sugar (4ish cups per 2 quarts of apple pulp), cinnamon, and cloves in a large sauce pot.  Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Ladle hot butter into hot jars, just to bottom of rings.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Boiling water canning:  Place jars in a large stockpot.  Cover jars with water to 1 inch over tops of jars.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, process for specified amount of time.   Let cool before removing from water.   

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Turkey Broth

Today I made and canned 16 quarts of turkey broth. I only use store bought broth in the rare case of if I run out of homemade because it is one thing that I think has high potential to be cross contaminated with at least one of Mandie's allergens (many have caramel color or other allergens in them).  I start off by roasting a turkey for dinner, then saving all of the bones, leftover skin, neck, liver, etc.  I cook up the liver, neck, etc, and toss those and the cooking water in a huge stock pot (24 quart).  Into the pot I add 2-3 apples, which I quarter, 2-3 quartered onions, a head of peeled garlic, 3-4 stalks of quartered celery (leaves and all), a handfull of fresh sage, and a few stalks of fresh rosemary. (You can add salt if you like, but I find we don't need it with the flavor of the fresh herbs.)  I fill the pot with water to about 1" from the top, and bring it to a boil.  I like to simmer my stock for a good 8 hours, until the bones and meat are very tender.  Strain out the bones/meat/veggies/herbs.  Pour into canning jars (I like quarts), seal, and process for 25 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure.  The house smells AMAZING, and the end result is totally worth it!  We eat turkey several times a year and I always make broth afterwards.  I also make broth the same way using whole chicken (that we've roasted and eaten). 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spinach Noodle Soup and Black Bean Brownies (top 8 free)

Tonight I tried a couple of new recipes with excellent success!  Together they make a nice light dinner and a decadent yet healthy dessert. 

Spinach Noodle Soup
6 1/4 cups gluten free chicken broth (I use homemade turkey broth)
8 oz uncooked dry spaghetti -style rice noodles (we used DeBoles brand),  broken into thirds
2 cups matchstick carrots
4 oz. snow peas, cut in half
4 cups packed spinach leaves
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. gluten free soy sauce (we like San J brand)
1/8 to 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat.  Add noodles.  Return to a boil.  Cook for 4 minutes (2 minutes less than package instructions).  Add carrots and snow peas; cook 2 minutes longer until pasta is tender.   Remove from heat; add spinach, chicken or turkey, onions, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper flakes.  Let stand 4-5 until spinach wilts and flavors combine. 
This is such a quick, amazing soup!   We all enjoyed it very much.  It would be great with gluten free cornbread, or herb bread.

Black Bean Brownies
(top 8 free)
1 can black beans
1 box gluten free brownie mix

Puree beans in their liquid.  In a mixer bowl, add beans to brownie mix and combine well.  Spoon into a greased 9x13 inch pan.  Bake according to package instructions.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
These are super yummy!  They're very moist and fudgy.  The kids could not get enough of them.  The friend I got these from said that each piece is just 1 Weight Watchers point.