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.

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.