Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nicole’s Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

This recipe is from my friend Nicole. Gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free – full of love and yummies!

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (I made my flour out of Bob’s Red Mill GF Whole Grain Steel cut oats ground in my kitchen aid blender)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 3 TBS water (mixed together)
  • 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (in liquid form)
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Mix all of the above all together.
Bake on 2 greased cookie sheets for 13 min in a 350 degree oven
Makes 33 mini cookies.
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My note’s on Nicole’s recipe. I’ve never used the Ener-G egg replacer yet, although I’ve heard really good things about it! If you don’t have Ener-G egg replacer, you can use gelled chia seeds or soaked flaxmeal as an egg replacement. Enjoy Life brand is a really great resource for finding allergy friendly foods!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

We just got back from our late summer vacation. It was a great time on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. I’m from New Jersey; it’s a bit of a homecoming whenever I go! I love the sand, the crashing waves, the amusement park rides. Evidence of last year’s storm Sandy was everywhere. There were brand new board walks erected where one had been swept out to sea. The condo where we stayed had caution tape still on it’s own dock, torn, flapping in the wind. It felt good returning to the shore, I wanted to bring my tourist dollars there and help out an economy that meant something to me.

I had an easy and hard time navigating the waters of our newly diagnosed allergies on this trip. I wanted to eat out, of course, but also felt unsure, alittle bit embarrassed. It’s a long list of items we aren’t able to eat. Talking to the waitress about it and asking about substitutions on a menu can be intimidating when you’re not used to it. Calling ahead first helped a lot, and this will be my strategy going forward.

One of my favorite new specialty shops is Spice It Up in Beach Haven New Jersey. That’s where I found this awesome new food!

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Today we are back to life at home, settling in with a messy house and finding very little in the cabinets for food. Nathan and I had a long standing playdate for this morning, and I whipped up a new recipe at 8:30am while getting children dressed and ready to go!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins!
2C Old Fashioned Oats (make sure your oats are gluten free!)
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp cinnamon or more to taste
2 mashed Ripe Bananas
1/4C Melted Coconut Oil
1/4C Honey (use Agave syrup for Vegan)
1T Coconut Jam (if you can get it, makes a more rich flavor)
1t Chia seeds soaked and geled

Add Ins:
1/4C Raisins
1/4C Craisins (dried cranberries, my fav!)
1/4 C Sunflower seeds (roasted no shell)
1/4 C Shredded coconut.

Feel free to play with your add ins of choice, keeping it to about 1 C total.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a regular muffin pan. Mix dry ingredients together. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, honey, mashed bananas, and chia seeds. Add dry ingredients slowly until just incorporated. Add your add ins last. Makes 12 regular size muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and enjoy!
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I brought these to the playdate and many people asked me if there were walnuts in this! No! But the combo of sunflower seeds and coconut makes a pretty convincing substitute for walnuts, the flavor is similar. They were a hit with the moms and the kids.Image

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies! Gluten Free and soooo good!

For all of the gluten free veterans, you know that regular oatmeal can be cross contaminated with wheat flour and gluten!  I never heard of this until recently. For this recipe, make sure you have oats that are gluten free.

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Today my daughter wanted cookies for breakfast and cookies for lunch! That’s a little too crazy, even for me. After successfully getting both my kids to try pork chops at lunch, and the younger one to nap, I decided it was time to bake. We were out of both raisins and chocolate chips. But being only about a week away from September, I decided to use our bag of craisins! One of my fall favorites!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Makes 6 dozen. Recipe is easy to half!

3/4 C Coconut Oil
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Sugar
2T Flaxmeal soaked in 6 T water (egg replacement)
1 t Vanilla
1 1/2 C Gluten Free Flour mix (I use millet, sorghum, potato starch, teff, and tapioca starch)
2 t Xanthum gum
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
3 Cups Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats
1 C Craisins, or raisins, or dairy free chocolate chips

With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, combine coconut oil and sugars until just combined. Add fully soaked flaxmeal and vanilla. Combine. Mix in a separate bowl the flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon. Add flour mixture slowly. Once combined, add oats and craisins. Scoop about 1 teaspoon size, and arrange on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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Late summer… one of the most wonderful parts of the late summer bounty is zucchini. We visited Lawrence Orchard Farms last week and brought home some BIG ones! For only $1 each, I wanted to buy them all! My husband and I settled on 4. What to do with all this zucchini? In my quest to create the best gluten, egg, and dairy free goodies that are (mostly) healthy and also delish, I got to work creating my own unique recipe that meets all of my family’s needs.

Makes 2 loaves. Preheat 350.

First I blended my own GF flour from the favorites, and made the proportions so that I would get 3 cups total.

3/4 Cup Millet Flour
1 Cup Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 Cup Tapioca Starch
1/4 Cup Teff Flour

You can mix a lot of flour ahead of time in this proportion so that you don’t have to think about it when you need it! Store pre-mixed flour in the refrigerator in a sealed glass jar to keep it the most fresh.

3 Cup GF flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon Xanthum Gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons flaxmeal soaked in 9 Tablespoons water (egg replacer for 3 eggs)
1 Cup Veg oil blend (I like coconut oil, grapeseed oil and/or organic canola oil)
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
3 teaspoons Vanilla extract
A LOT of shredded Zucchini ( this recipe can hold between 2-4 cups of zucchini, I used 4 this time!
3 Heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder
I Cup non dairy chocolate chips, I like Enjoy Life brand

Mix dry ingredients together (GF flour, salt, baking soda and powder, xanthum gum, cinnamon, cocoa powder). In the electric mixer, combine oils, sugar, soaked flaxmeal, vanilla. Add dry mix and zucchini to wet mix, alternating, until fully combined. Last add chocolate chips or add-in of choice.

Grease 2 loaf pans. Put half of the mixture in each pan, and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Cool slightly, and enjoy!!
(we put non dairy ice cream on top while it was still warm!!)

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Allergy Friendly, Gluten Free Bread!

final productAfter about a day or two into the Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Nut and Apple Free diet, I got hungry.
Ok HUNGRY! Like how do people adjust to this and live through it hungry. Cheating on this diet isn’t an option for me since I’m nursing my son, who is close to 2 years old. So I knew I had to find food that would satisfy me. (Note to self, I’m going to blog about the benefits of nursing past 1 year and the benefits to nursing an allergic/celiac child to well beyond 1 or even 2!)

I started my frantic online search for a really good bread. There are a lot of gluten free flour mixtures commercially available right now, so if you like to keep things simple, they are great. I also want to cut out corn and soy, because of the threat of contamination from GMOs. My other requirement is to avoid over use of rice flours because of the levels of arsenic found in rice. I decided that creating my own gluten free flour mixture at home is the best option for me. The flours I picked are millet, teff, sorghum, tapioca, and potato starch.
FloursI found this awesome recipe, which I’ve tweaked only moderately, and I’ll be posting further tweaks as I make them, since I can never leave a good recipe alone!

This is the recipe for 2 loaves, it is easy to make it half for just one!

1 1/2 cups millet flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1 cup sorghum flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
4 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp active dry yeast

Add:

4 tsp olive oil or grape seed oil
3 1/4 cup warm water (not hot)

a drizzle of honey over the top!

Mix the dry ingredients in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, or stir by hand. The potato starch is a messy one! The flour can billow up into the air if you’re not careful. You will get a little messy, but that’s sort of the fun. Just go with the flow, and don’t let the number of different flours distress you. Since I’m making it for a 2 year old, I think it’s fun to do some learning about measuring during this, if you’re patient enough. (Honestly, I made this batch while he was napping, but it can be perfect for a teaching moment, too.)
mixerwhat dough looks likeOnce you’ve blended your dry ingredients in your mixer or by hand, it’s time to add the oil and warm water. It’s important that it’s not too hot that it kills the yeast!

Grease your loaf pans next. I like coconut oil. Put half the dough in each loaf pan. I drizzled the top of mine with honey this time as a bonus.

You have to let it rise! I found a new technique that is working for rising bread. Microwave a small amount of water until boiling.  Leave the cup of water in the microwave, and place your bread in there with the door closed for approximately 1 hour. You may have to take out the plate in your microwave to get 2 pans to fit. You can also allow your bread to rise by placing it on a warm surface with a kitchen towel covering it.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Put foil over the top and continue to bake for 45 minutes. Mine is never 100% done yet so I put it in for another 5 minutes uncovered to brown the top a bit. Use a wooden toothpick to determine when it’s done.

Let the bread cool a bit, but it’s most delish while warm out of the oven! I like to use this bread for golden peabutter and jelly sandwiches!
Enjoy!!!
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Diagnosis of Multiple Food Allergies Part 1

My son Nathan was 3 months old when the first little patch of eczema appeared on his belly. During his 3 month checkup, I didn’t think anything of it. The doctor, really a nurse practitioner, told me to watch it and apply some baby lotion. She took it more seriously than I did at the time. At the time, I was exhausted from a wild 28 month old daughter, nursing around the clock, co-sleeping, and worry over my son’s two other congenital conditions, metatarsus adductus and a mild hypospadias.  So eczema was far from my mind!

When my son was 5 months old, I tried to give him some conventional formula. I was already eating “healthy” whatever that means! And thinking about organics, that sort of thing. It was kind of a fluke giving him the formula sample, me just thinking, hey maybe I don’t have to nurse all the time! Maybe I can go out sometimes!! Nathan didn’t know exactly how to drink from a bottle nipple, and a lot came spilling out of his mouth because he was sucking too hard. Everywhere where the formula spilled on his skin, he developed an instant case of hives. On his lips, chin, neck down his belly and his hands. I took away the bottle right away and was shocked! Also saddened that I had a feeling nursing would continue for quite a long long time to come!

After the hives incident, I called our pediatrician and told her what had happened. We went in for an appointment. We were prepping him for his hypospadias surgery at that time, and the doctor didn’t take it very seriously, to my surprise. We had bigger concerns at the moment. I went off all dairy as a precaution. The eczema did not improve from removing dairy from my diet and Nathan’s diet. Still, I used rice milk in my coffee and cereal, and avoided cheese, yogurt, etc.  I told my doctor I thought the eczema was a food allergy, but couldn’t prove it, and was told that it would clear up on it’s own, hopefully by age 2.

After surgery, and more doctor appointments, I got a referral for a dermatologist. We saw an assistant dermatologist since it was 2 month’s wait to see the one that was so highly recommended. Nathan was formally diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, a fancy term for eczema. I was told about using more creams, a prescription steroid cream which made me nervous, and a liquid antihistamine. The steroid cream would clear up any eczema for a day or two, but since the amount of coverage was nearly his entire little body, I never felt comfortable with that approach.

Things went on this way for over a year, and I researched more and more different creams I could use and started using Ava Anderson Non Toxic diaper cream, coconut oil, and other natural ways to treat his skin. I also had the pediatrician’s office do a blood test on Nathan for food allergies which came back negative. I have no idea how.  I thought maybe it was environmental allergies and not food. I took out all toxic substances from touching his skin, using the natural soaps and detergents from Ava, cleaning my house with lemons and vinegar, etc. No improvements.

At age 21 months, my son ate from a local bakery and developed itchy bumpy red dots covering his entire torso and resulted in screaming pain when I put lotion on him.  I finally had enough and made the appointment next day for an allergy specialist. I had been talking to many friends who suspected either gluten or dairy to be the main culprit. We went back off dairy and also off gluten the very next day.  This was a big first step for me! The itchy bumps cleared up, but not the persistent eczema in his arm and leg creases, back of his ears and neck, and on his wrists, knuckles and ankles.

Finally, the day of the first allergy appointment arrived. The allergy doctor was very good at working with small children. He took down Nathan’s entire medical history, and also took into account my allergy history, which the pediatrician had only glossed over. I am allergic to tree nuts, stone fruits and have seasonal allergies and cat allergies.  The allergy doctor ordered 3 panels of the skin prick test, which was a pain quite literally. It was over quickly enough and he measured the size of the rashes that had developed. My poor baby was allergic to rye, dairy, egg whites and apples!