GFCF Recipes

GFCF Recipes


Sweet & sour sauce

Here's a good sauce to use with beef or poultry. It's very easy and made with stuff you probably already have on hand. Feel free to tinker with it too.

1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
1/2 cup Heinz vinegar (gf)
1/2 cup sugar or sweetener
1/2 cup water (more or less to adjust how thick or thin you want the sauce)

Mix in a bowl. That's it.


Sick tummy

Well, haven't been posting for a while. Kids have been sick. Actually, we've all been sick with a stomach virus -- a bad one. The experience was so bad with our littliest that it prompted me to post about how we handled a very touchy situation. Maybe somebody out there will benefit from this.

Our littliest is 3 and vomitted everything out of her system. She couldn't eat or hold water for more than a day and we became very concerned about dehydration. So, we tried this, and it worked.

We took a tablespoon of a roll and fed it to her, then a quarter cup of water. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Do it again. Repeat all day if necessary. Later, we switched to diced potatoes boiled in salt.

The little food is enough to keep the water down and eventually, the water will rehydrate the body, the food helps to settle the stomach and your kid starts to feel better. We did this for most of a day to keep water in her system. The second day we didn't adjust much. We started out the same and then upped the portions by 2x starting with lunch. We also added some cubed chicken pieces at lunch -- not a lot -- and some carrot.

It wasn't until the third day that we were able to add more food and unlimited water. But, again, this was a very bad stomach virus.


A flour mix for all baking

This is a very versatile flour mix. You can make many different baked goods using it. All start with the basic dry mixture.

BLOG UPDATE: Note, these are some of my first basic recipes. They are simple and crude. Yet, they are enough to get started and get cooking. If you're looking for something else, browse my blog for some of my newer bread and cookie recipes, like Lindsay's Bread or my All-purpose cookie mix. On this page, however, the Basic dry mix below is very versatile and can be used as a foundation for just about anything.

Basic dry mix
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp egg replacer powder(Ener-G)
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

1 - Dinner rolls
Add:1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Beat with blender. Using WET hands, form circles and place on ungreased cookie sheet or in muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

2 - Pie crust
(leave out baking powder)
Add:1/2 cup canola oil
1/3-1/2 cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil. Beat with blender. Add 1/3 cup water and mix. If too crumbly, add 1 tbsp at a time until less crumbly and able to be pressed without cracking. Press dough into greased pie plate. Bake 1 minute at 450. Then make pie as instructed.

3 - Meat or veggie wrap
(leave out baking powder)
Add:1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Beat with blender until workable dough forms. Add a tablespoon or two more flour if necessary. Cut dough into four portions. Roll each out, one at a time, on floured surface. Slice each into two pieces and place meat or veggies on closest edge. Wet the edge with water, then roll up the filling in two complete rotations. Slice off extra dough. Wet edge with water. Place edge side down on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with oil and salt. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

4 - Cinnamon cookies
Same as #3
(add 1 tsp baking powder)

Roll out entire dough and end with the longest section being the width in front of you. Brush with canola oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon and generous amount of sugar. Roll up. Seal edge with water. Brush top with oil and sugar. Cut into 1/2 wide cookies. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes at 400.

5 - Crackers (like saltines)
Same as #3.
(Leave out baking powder)

Roll out entire dough into a near-square shape. Brush top with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Use a pizza cutter to cut rows both ways. Prick crackers with a fork. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes on greased cookie sheet.
- variation: add onion or garlic powder to the dough.

6 - Pancakes
Do NOT use the entire dry mix recipe above. Use 1 cup of the gf flours (1/3 tapioca, 1/3 potato starch, 1/3 chickpea). Add 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder and mix with 2 tbsp oil and 1/3-1/2 cup water. Pour batter 1-2 tbsp at a time onto hot nonstick pan with 1 tsp oil on it.

7 - Bagels
Same as #1.
Add 1/2 canola oil
1/2 cup water

Add 1 cup extra flour mix (tapioca, potato starch, chickpea) to the recipe. Heat broiler on high, set rack two rungs down. Boil pan full of water on stove top. Grease a cookie sheet with Spectrum shortening. On a floured surface, with floured hands, roll a ping pong sized ball of dough between hands until smooth. With a floured finger, poke hole through middle. With dough still around finger, smooth the dough on the bottom that's disturbed from the poking, then pull off. Repeat for all. Place on sheet. Broil small bagels for 2 mins then flip and broil another 2 mins. Watch closely. They should lightly brown on top but not burn. This will happen quickly. Repeat for all. Place bagels in boiling water for 2 mins then flip and another 2 mins. Meanwhile, turn off broiler and heat oven to 350. Place bagels on paper towel while doing the rest. Put bagels on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 mins for smaller sized and 20-30 mins for larger, depending on size.

Here's an optional recipe that also works: Mix 1 cup gf flour, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthan gum and 1/3 cup water. Then, follow same directions as above. The difference between the recipes is this: recipe 2 is a little chewier like a real bagel and recipe 1 looks more like a real bagel. Both are good and my kids will eat both. Try both out and take your pick.



Dutch potatoes

This is a staple in our home since rice and corn are not allowed. The recipe is quick and easy. It's also healthier than fried potatoes.

5-6 potatoes
sea salt

Peel potatoes and wash. Cube the potatoes or cut into any desired form - strips, wedges, big chunks, small pieces, diced, etc.

Put into large pan. Sprinkle 1 tsp sea salt over potatoes. Pour 1 cup water over potatoes. Cover with lid. Cook on medium high for 20 minutes or until tender. When water's nearly gone, sprinkle 1-2 tsp paprika over potatoes and then stir for 1 minute to mix paprika in and "dry up" some of the potato juice.



Oven "fried" chicken

OK -- this is really easy.

Chicken legs and wings, cut up.
Chickpea flour
Sea salt
Hot pepper powder
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Canola oil

Heat oven to 400. Wash chicken. Toss 1 tablespoon oil over chicken in a bowl. Hand toss to coat.Mix dry ingredients in bowl. When oven is hot, toss chicken and coat in the dry mix. Coat generously. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Turn, drizzle oil sparingly on top of chicken. Bake 5 more minutes.

Very good.


Shoo Fly Pie

If you've never had this Amish pie, you're missing out. And, it lends itself well to a GFCF version of the original recipe. The pie is in three parts: crust, filling and topping.

1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tbsp sugar - Wholesome Sweeteners
3 tsp egg replacer - Ener-G
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3-1/2 cup water

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil. Beat in with blender. Add 1/3 cup water and mix. If too crumbly, add 1 tbsp at a time until less crumbly and able to be pressed without cracking.

3/4 cup GFCF flour (1/4 cup sorghum, 1/4 cup chickpea, 1/4 cup tapioca)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar - Wholesome Sweeteners
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp Spectrum organic shortening

Mix together until crumbly.

1/2 cup blackstrap molasses - Golden Barrel (unsulphured)
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg yolk (I subbed with Ener-G (1.5 tbsp powder/1 tbsp water)

Mix together well.

1 - Press crust dough into greased pie plate.
2 - Bake 5 mins at 450.
3 - Pour filling and topping in layers into pie crust. Leave enough topping aside for one layer.
4 - Bake 10 mins. at 450. Pull from oven.
5 - Add leftover topping.
5 - Bake 20 mins more at 350 or until firm.



The cause of autism?

This likely is interesting to anyone reading this blog. It might explain why you have to eat this way. This article ran worldwide and you can easily find it on the web. I've reposted the version from the Globe and Mail.

Chemicals may be damaging kids' brains
Canadian Press

Environmental exposure from hundreds of industrial chemicals could be damaging the developing brains of children worldwide, but few of the potentially toxic compounds are regulated because too little is known about their effects, researchers say.
In a paper published on-line today in The Lancet, two specialists in environmental medicine (each of whom has spent decades studying the effects of lead and mercury exposure on fetuses and children) compiled a list of 201 industrial chemicals they say have the capacity to cause irreparable damage to the developing human brain.
Lead author Philippe Grandjean, chair of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, said he and co-author Philip Landrigan of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine had similar experiences while studying the neurotoxicity of lead and mercury.
"First, things were seen in adults," he said, then in children exposed in early childhood, or those whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy. "And then we wondered: Is this only happening with mercury and lead?" Dr. Grandjean said in a telephone interview from Copenhagen.
The two researchers undertook an extensive review of published data on chemical toxicity to create a list of those agents most likely to harm the developing brain. Their tally of 201 compounds includes everything from arsenic to benzene and phenol. About half the chemicals are ubiquitous in industrial processes and products and could make their way into the environment through air, water and food.
But because there is a dearth of research on the effects of these chemicals specifically on children, their use has not been regulated in the same way as mercury, lead and PCBs.
The researchers argue that the lack of international regulation is putting children around the globe at potential risk, and they worry whether exposure to such chemicals could be behind such conditions as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (The causes of these conditions remain unknown.)
Calling the potential for harm a "silent pandemic," the researchers are urging governments worldwide to begin strictly controlling these chemicals, instead of waiting for years of testing to provide definitive scientific proof that they are either harmful or benign.
"What we are saying is we cannot afford to wait decades because that way we will expose another generation of children to toxic chemicals that will affect their brains permanently," Dr. Grandjean said. "We cannot afford to do that."
But Warren Foster, director of the Centre of Reproductive Care at Ontario's McMaster University, said there is no data to support the idea that chemical exposure is harming children or that conditions such as autism are caused by such pollution. While Dr. Foster has high regard for the two researchers and calls the goal of their review "lofty," he said their suggestion that industrial chemicals are causing neurotoxic effects in fetuses and young children is "a hypothesis that requires testing."
"The kids actually have to be exposed," Dr. Foster said. "Simply because things are in the environment does not necessarily mean that children are exposed, or are exposed to the concentrations necessary to create the neurotoxicity."
"I don't think it helps them to create fear when we don't have evidence of a problem."
Still, Dr. Foster concedes that until there is definitive evidence of their effects, people should be cautious in limiting exposure to industrial chemicals -- for instance, by not heating food in margarine tubs that can produce harmful compounds.
However, he's more concerned that governments could start banning chemicals based on insufficient data, only to replace them with compounds about which nothing is known.
"We still need coolants, we still need plasticizers, we still need flame retardants, we still need solvents," he said.


Hot "chocolate"

Just in time for the holidays -- hot cocoa. Except no cocoa, or dairy. Still, this is very good stuff. You could give it to all your guests and I'll bet they love it. Really!

OK -- this is easy. Ingredients:

1 mug of hot water
1/4 cup of Darifree powder
1 tbsp carob powder (I buy soy free)
1 tbsp sugar (any sweetener will do)
1/2 tbsp powdered sugar (I use corn-free and this is optional)

Mix and stir until dissolved. This really is good.

If you're cutting back on sweetener, cut out the powdered sugar and maybe try honey or agave nectar instead of sugar.

If you can tolerate cocoa, by all means, use some Hershey's cocoa.

You also could try any milk alternative you wish, from soy milk to rice milk. I think the Darifree naturally has a sweet flavor that lends itself well to this recipe.

Happy holidays!


Silly fries

Here's a neat treat. It's easy. The kids will love it. And, it's a starch that isn't potato or rice.

Find a nearby (or online) ethnic grocery that sells Fufu -- usually at an Asian or African grocery. It costs up to $3.50 for a box. Fufu is cassava flour and is a staple in some countries, much like our American mashed potatoes. Check out my earlier post on Fufu to catch up.

Anyway, make some Fufu. Follow the box directions for one recipe, usually 1 cup water, 1/2 cup Fufu and add some sea salt into the water.

When this is done, if it's too mashy, like mashed potatoes, add some more Fufu to make it thicker and more like a dough. During this process, you can add some favorite herb if you like -- such as thyme, 1 tbsp oil, and 1 tsp baking powder. Mix by hand or spoon until a firm but flexible lump of dough.

Heat some oil in a fry pan. When hot, pull off pieces of the Fufu dough and mold either into flat circles or rub between your hands to make long ropes. Fry on both sides until golden brown.

The circles turn out like fried pancakes and the ropes like fries -- just irregular shaped. I call them silly fries.



Sensative skin?

Nope -- that's not food. It's soap, shampoo and conditioner. And, I don't mind a free ad for the small company -- Gluten-Free Savonnerie -- that makes this stuff. It's gluten-free. No soy, casein, peanuts, tree nuts, fragrance, and colorants. They're made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and tested.

One of the owners has celiac disease.

Anyway, I use the shampoo and conditioner on my girls, whose skin easily breaks out, and no problems. And, it works. Clean hair.

Order their products online ( or via Miss Robens.


Eggless noodles

This is exciting, for me. These are noodles without egg, rice, corn, margarine or butter. And, they taste great! All store noodles either have rice or corn in them -- neither of which my kids can have right now. So, here's how:

1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg sub (Ener-G egg replacer: 1 tbsp powder, 2 tbsp water)
2 tsp canola oil
10-15 tsp water

Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Important to get clumps out.

Mix egg and let sit 1 minute. Add oil. Then add to the flour mix.

Add water tsp at a time until dough is firm enough to roll without crumbling. It still will appear on the dry side. Let sit for 30 minutes under wax paper.

Lightly flour a board or table, roll dough out (you can do 2 pieces) as thin as possible. Let rest and dry, turning once, until dough feels like soft leather.

Trim uneven edges (I save trimmings to cook into other recipes).

You can cut this any way you want. I use a long flat knife to cut very thin slices about 4-6" long.

You can let these dry even more, freeze, or boil. I boil in salted water with 1-2 tsp canola oil.

After 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness), I drain, lightly salt and add seasoning, like Thyme. Or mix with a red sauce. I'll soon be posting a tomato-less spaghetti sauce that I promise is great.

Now, I won't try to fool you. These will not look like store noodles and that was a problem with my kids at first. It's been many months since they last had a noodle and this time, they polished off the plate. They had forgotten what store noodles looked like. Big hit!


Chocolate cake icing

This is an updated version of this icing recipe. I've found a version that works much better. I'm sure it'll continue to be a work in progress.

1 cup powdered sugar (if corn's an issue, make your own or buy corn-free)
1 tbsp carob powder (cocoa is fine)
1 tbsp organic Spectrum shortening
2 Ener-G egg subs (3 tbsp powder, 4 tbsp water)

Mix the sugar and carob well. Make the egg sub and let sit 2 minutes. Add all ingredients in bowl and blend with a mixer. Spread on cake!

And, just to be thorough, here's the old recipe version below:

This is a simple icing recipe. It's quick, easy and reliable.

And, there's no soy, dairy, gluten, tofu, shortening, margarine, etc. Just basic icing.

In the end, the icing is more of a liquid but after a few hours, turns into more of a harder icing shell -- not quite as hard as a candy shell, but just more solid.

4 tbsp powdered sugar (I use Miss Robens corn starch-free)
2 tbsp carob powder
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp canola oil

Mix the dry ingredients well. Add the oil and stir well.

Add water 1 tbsp at a time until reaching a smooth, but not runny, consistency. If it's too runny, add tapioca starch. Too thick, add a little water. This is about enough to coat (1) 8x8 cake.


Coffee cake anyone?

This stuff ain't bad.

My kids love my chocolate cake (see recipe links on the right). But I like to mix up the selection every so often with a yellow or white cake. So, I've modified recipes to make this coffee cake. Note, this relies on egg replacer and the gfcf flour mix I use is 1/2 cup sorghum flour and 1/2 cup chickpea flour. You could use any mix you want. Replace sorghum easily with rice flour. Replace the chickpea maybe with 1/4 cup tapioca and 1/4 cup potato starch. Anything will do. But, you'll notice -- no soy, rice, gluten, casein, corn, yeast, butter or margine.

- 1 egg substitute (I use Ener-G egg replacer: 1 tbsp powder with 2 tbsp water)
- 1/2 cup water (during mixing, I end up adding up to another 1/2 cup to reach right consistency)
- 1 cup gfcf flour (I use 1/2 cup sorghum, 1/2 cup chickpea)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp baking powder (Miss Robens sells some without corn starch)

Topping ingredients:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (I prefer Wholesome Sweeteners to avoid allergens)
- 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp Spectrum shortening (or just use canola oil)

Mix the egg sub in a bowl. Let sit 1 minute. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the last four -- brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and shortening. Blend well with mixer.

Mix last four ingredients in small bowl. Stir together until crumbly (this is the topping).

Heat oven to 350. Grease 8x8 baking pan with Spectrum shortening. Pour batter in the pan.

Sprinkle topping over batter until well covered.

Bake about 20-25 minutes. Mine is usually done in 20.

You'll notice this is a "shallow" coffee cake. I prefer it that way. You could also bake this in a round cake pan for a circular cake.

Or, double the batter recipe to make a thicker coffee cake and bake 5-10 minutes longer.



Chili burgers

Now here's a really simply burger recipe that my kids like. They seem to like spicy foods. And, it has cumin in it, which is a good spice antioxidant.

Anyway, here's the recipe.

1 lb. ground beef (I prefer farm bought)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
diced onion to taste or onion powder
1 tbsp Heinz ketchup

Mix together well. Form into patties. Bake on 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Easy. Enjoy.


Awesome "chocolate cake"

This is chocolate cake for even the most particular diet. To start, it has no chocolate, although you could use cocoa powder just as easily. Needs no rice flour. No butter, milk, yeast or soy. Amazing! This is a staple in our house -- the kids call it "ice cream cake," because it has a shine to the top that resembles ice cream.

This really is a carob cake and if baked properly, comes out full and moist.

1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/4 cup potato starch (others will do too, but potato adds moistness)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup carob powder (make sure it's free of soy and is gluten-free)
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups water
Spectrum Organic Shortening

Heat oven to 350.

Mix dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Add oil and water.

Beat with electric mixer.

Grease an 8x8 baking pan with the organic shortening and do the sides.

Pour batter into pan.

Give kids the beaters.

Bake on 350 for 25 minutes. When done, it will not be completely baked through the middle, but this is a key part of making this because it will continue to self-bake out of the oven. In the end, it will be completely baked through, yet remain moist. (If you do this and it still seems unbaked in the middle, next time, add 5 minutes to the baking cycle.)

I store this in the summer in the fridge with plastic wrap. In the winter, it's OK out.

You can make two at a time by doubling the recipe and freezing one.

You can also make this into a birthday cake. I've split the recipe between two round cake pans. You can easily make icing -- I just make a simple one out of powdered sugar and water with a little oil or the shortening -- not too much.


Spicy chicken

The kids have called this fish, but lately they're realizing it's really chicken. So, we're starting to call this spicy chicken.

I buy farm chicken twice a month, usually a few pounds at a time. When I get home, I wash the chicken breasts, slice them into strips, and boil them. When cool, I freeze them in 1 lb packages.

Pull a package out the night before you want to use it. One package is enough to feed two kids for two nights.

Cut the strips into "nugget" pieces.

In a bowl, mix 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp hot pepper powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp onion or garlic powder.

Heat a nonstick pan to medium high heat. Add 1 tsp of canola oil to the pan.

Stir the chicken pieces into the seasoning mix and rub it in a little -- doesn't have to be coated like a deep-fried batter, just rubbed in.

Cook pieces in the pan until cooked through, no pink.



A good morning

This is a good recipe for an all-purpose snack or a breakfast bar. My kids call these "cereal bars" and they easily could be modified.

Flour mix: 1 cups sorghum flour, 1 cup chickpea flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch, 1/2 cup carob powder.
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water with 1 tsp lemon juice in it.
1 cup brown sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners brand is good)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking sheet with Spectrum shortening (actually, I cover sheet with foil, and grease the foil because later, when done, it's easier to remove the bars.)

In a bowl, mix flour, cinnamon and xanthan gum.

In another bowl, mix water, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and soda.

Stir wet mixture into dry.

Should resemble thick pancake batter but not runny. You should be able to spread it on the sheet with a spatula. If too dry, add water. If too runny, add starch.

Spread dough on cookie sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

When cool, lift foil off the sheet. Peel the baked square off the foil. Then, put it back on the foil and use a pizza cutter to cut into bars. I freeze half.


Buckwheat - less pancakes

"Buckwheat" Pancakes (without the buckwheat)

These are pancakes resembling buckwheat pancakes but without the buckwheat. Although buckwheat is NOT a glutenous grain, it is harsh on the digestive system and a lot of kids cannot handle it. Ours cannot.

Flour mix:
- 1 cup of the following flour mix: equal parts of chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour, 1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour (certified gluten-free), 1/3 cup potato starch flour (certified gluten-free), 1/3 cup sorghum flour.

- 1 cup of flour mixture (above)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tsp baking powder (corn-free, aluminum-free)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp Steens cane syrup (
- 1/3-1/2 cup water

Pre-heat non-stick frying pan on medium-high. Drizzle 1 tsp canola oil on pan and shake around. Mix dry ingredients well. (Note: no need to add xanthan gum to this recipe or egg substitute as you would for many gluten-free bread recipes)
Add 2 tbsp canola oil, syrup and 1/3 cup water. Stir with wire whisk. If too sticky and thick, add 1 tbsp water and stir again. Continue this until it reaches pancake batter consistency -- not too thick but not watery.
Pour batter into hot pan by the tablespoon. Use 1 tbsp for dollar-sized pancakes and 2 tbsp for normal pancakes. Cook until golden brown on one side, then flip.
We serve these with pork sausage from Kennedy's. No syrup. However, you could, for a treat, sift powdered sugar on top. We get powdered sugar from Miss Robens online that's free of corn and is gluten-free.


Autism Diet cheat sheet

I developed this cheat sheet some time ago to give people looking for help with the GFCF diet. How to start? Where to get info? Etc. Maybe it'll help you.

The Autism Diet cheat sheet
A quick guide to getting helpful info

1) Goto the TACA website. There's two tremendously helpful things here. First goto their bookstore and consider purchasing the Autism Journey Guide -- you can find it at this link: I get nothing for recommending this guide. I just wish it existed years ago.
Second, head to their GFCF articles section at for all sorts of good ideas. Read! This might be a bit overwhelming. But you need to know these things. Some of the problems they discuss are invaluable, like testing for supplement levels.

2) Consider buying Lisa Lewis' cookbooks. There's two. Special Diets for Special Kids I & II. Available on Amazon. Tons of helpful info in addition to great starting recipes and a list of online specialty food suppliers. A lot of us who first ventured into the world of GFCF 10+ years ago started with these.

3) Visit It has some helpful info, but almost too much info for beginners. Note it has a link to a huge list of unacceptable foods and a recipe page. Just know this site exists.

4) Goto the GFCFrecipes Yahoo message group and join. This is a tremendous source of help that you can goto daily for advice. Note that the organizers of the message group now have posted all of the recipes submitted over the years to one Website at You could spend a day at this site checking recipes.

5) From the above info, you should get a decent grip on what needs to be changed and generally how to change it. But, where do you shop?

-- Online: some people order foods online. This is very convenient but more expensive. One good one is Ener-G Foods at There's many more. For flour and grains, Bob's Red Mill is the best.
-- Supermarkets with organic sections. Also very expensive but convenient. I'm finding more and more GFCF products and on the shelves.
-- Food co-ops: This is the best option for me in the Pittsburgh area. You join for a nominal fee. It's a grocery but mostly organic, including flours, noodles, grains, breads, produce, etc. Usually, you can buy in bulk and get a significant discount. Find one near you by searching Also, search your yellow pages and online for any organic store, wholesaler, supplier in your area.
-- Meats: It's recommended you buy organic. Some buy natural meat that is free of preservatives and hormones. You can search for farmers who sell poultry, beef, ham/pork in your area at Also, check the yellow pages again under farms. I don't buy certified organic. That's my personal choice. But I buy farm meat to avoid preservatives and hormones - and to support local farmers.
-- At many supermarket deli's, Applegate Farms and Boars Head Meats tend to sell stuff that's OK. Search for them on the web to check on gluten status. Also, consider Wellshire Farms meats. Oh, their Website is: (make sure you get both "ll's" in the Wellshire or you'll go to another farm's Website).

6) Seek the help, advice and support of others who have gone through this. Having someone that you can call with a question anytime is invaluable. The Yahoo GFCFRecipes site ( is one great place to goto daily.

7) Note: Many kids with autism also have food allergies and intolerances. Do not be surprised if you find this with your child AFTER switching to the diet. That's when it will expose itself. This includes things like soy, corn, tomato, chocolate, rice and beans. If you think this is happening, remember, most doctors only test for allergies, and will not test for food intolerances. Many people do this privately by hiring a company to test their kids blood for intolerances. You can easily do this by mail, sending them blood from a simple finger prick.

8) Be patient. This diet takes time and effort. Nothing will happen overnight. We've found it has been well worth the effort with our daughters. It especially has enabled them to better respond to their other treatments -- therapies and vitamin supplements.

9) I'll leave you with a couple basic recipes. One is for yeast bread, the other non-yeast bread, and a third for cookies. All are gfcf and allergy friendly. They're a good place to start. Enjoy.

-- Tom's Bread: see original posting at
1 1/8 cup Chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
1 cup cornstarch or potato starch
1 cup + 1 Tbs. tapioca flour
3 1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. brown sugar or regular sugar
1/4 tsp. creme of tartar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/8 cup warm water (uncomfortable to touch but not boiling)
3 Tbs. vegetable oil (I use peanut oil or canola oil)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

See original post for the bread machine method. I'll include the oven method below.
Heat to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients including the yeast. Mix thoroughly. Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, warm water, and oil in a separate bowl and whip with wire whisk. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed. When sticky ball forms scrape sides to get all of the flours and ingredients mixed together and continue to mix for about 1 minute more. Scrape into a 9 x 5-inch lightly greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until at least double size (approximately 45 to 60 minutes). Remove plastic wrap and place pan in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with a spoon. Turn the loaf out onto your wire rack and allow loaf to cool or you can slice it while hot.

-- Noah's Bread: see original post at

1/2 cup brown rice fl. (I subbed sorghum)
2/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup corn or potato starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg (or sub)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup CF milk (or water)
1/3 cup sparkling water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients well, except the sparkling water. Once the batter is well mixed, add the sparkling water to make the batter rise.
Work quickly and form batter into buns, bagels, roll, etc. I use hamburger form pans and rings from the Gluten Free Pantry but you can also use aluminum foil to make form rings. I also put the batter into large ziplock bags, cut a corner, and squeeze out the appropriate shape of whatever I'm trying to make, such as bagels.
The batter should be thick and look somewhat lumpy. Don't use too much batter or form too high. The bread will puff and rise and settle back down once cooled.
Bake for 20-25 min until the crust is golden brown.
The crust will be hard out of the oven but will soften once cooled.
They freeze and thaw really well.

-- JR's tolerant cookie recipe:
see original post at

This is a basic cookie recipe. This version is for chocolate or carob, whichever you prefer. I make carob. However, you can also make a spice cookie from this. These freeze well.

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa or carob powder
3 tsp egg replacer powder(Ener-G) or 1 egg sub
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
Mix this well. Then add, 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup water. Add extra water by the tablespoon if too chunky. You want this to be smoother, but not liquidy.
Beat with blender.
Using WET hands, form into rough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet or in muffin tins. I sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes. They will be very soft coming out of the oven but will firm up as they cool.
To make the spice cookie, omit the carob/cocoa and add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1 tbsp of syrup (any kind) into the 1/2 cup of water.




Yeah, I let the blog go for a while. But, now I'm back. Sometimes life has a way of overwhelming you. So, I will resume posting and update some of my previous cooking, shopping and recipes from previous posts. This is a learning process, and I continue to learn. So, I'll share!



French Fries

Here's another basic recipe. But, just to get it on record...

5-6 potatoes
Canola oil
Sea salt

heat oil in a deep frying dish. Either cut potatoes to desired size or shape, or buy a inexpensive french fry cutter. When you hear the oil start to "pop," carefully put in a layer of potatoes. Heat to golden coloring, turning every so often. Drain. Sprinkle salt over top.



Now, this one is ridiculously easy! Anyone can make a burger, and you probably have your own way of making it. So, follow your stomach, or your kids' stomachs. Here's my simple version. Served without buns (for now) and Heinz ketchup.

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp hot pepper powder
1 tbsp onion diced
1 tbsp ketchup

I bake these at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I also make a bunch and freeze the extras.


Potato Chip Chicken

This is a favorite in our home and a special treat we make every so often.

The recipe, of course, is just what it sounds like -- potato chips and chicken, together.

What you need, then, is some chips, and some chicken. Essentially, you just crush the chips, dip the chicken and cook!

4 oz. Lays potato chips (gf), crushed (2 small bags)
1 chicken breast
Canola oil
Heinz ketchup (optional)
1 Egg or egg sub
Sea salt

Cut chicken into nugget pieces. Heat pan with oil (this could be baked also). Mix 1 tsp oil into chicken pieces along with sea salt and paprika. Dip pieces into egg/egg sub and then roll in crushed chips to coat. Cook or bake until done.

One variation on this is to skip the oil and egg coating, and stir in ketchup instead, then coat with chips. The kids love this too.


Easter Candy III

So, I now think I've got it. And, I plan to try it this weekend. I think the trick may be powdered sugar. So, I've found corn starch-free powdered sugar at Miss Robens and I've learned that shortening likely won't do. Cocoa butter should be used, but my kids can't have it. So, there's a similar butter called Mango Butter. I'm shopping for it now. So, I'll use mango butter, powdered sugar and carob. I'll let you know.


Easter Candy II

OK -- I'm about halfway there. I tried a second round of chocolate easter candy and it's OK, but not great. I'm using carob powder, sugar and organic palm shortening. I also tried using Ghee. But, the main problem is the cane sugar does not dissolve. I'm heating it and pouring into candy molds. That part works. It cools and pops out of the forms. But, the candy is grainy because of the sugar. So, I'm going to try another round using powdered sugar (corn free). The other problem, but not as crucial to me, is the candy melts easily. So, it needs to be stored in the fridge. I don't think the kids care about that. It'd be nice to get it to hold its form out of the fridge also. Maybe another base -- like palm or coconut oil? We'll see.


No yeast?

Tried a yeast substitute in a bread recipe the other day. It worked -- about 50%. I used some baking soda and lemon juice in place of a yeast packet. It was the recipe for Tom's Bread, commonly found on the web and in this blog. The bread raised about half of its intended height. Still, it worked and I ended up with a loaf of bread that I could slice for my kids. They loved it. I plan to keep tinkering with yeast subs to see if I can get more raising out of them.


Cactus cookies

You read the headline correctly -- cactus cookies. Actually, I made cookies over the weekend that use cactus nectar as a liquid sweetener. They're awesome and the kids loved them. See my previous post on replacing corn syrup. This stuff really works.


Easter Candy

I must confess that I don't know what to do about Easter, which is coming soon. My kids cannot eat chocolate. So, I use carob powder instead. But, now I'm faced with the king of all chocolate holidays -- Easter. I have promised myself that I will learn how to make one chocolate candy for them by Easter using the carob powder. I'm reading recipes online and in cookbooks and trying to figure out how to convert. Remember, we also can't use milk, butter or corn syrup. Looks impossible, right? I don't think so. We can use palm shorterning and agave nectar -- see the previous post. In fact, a trial run of a taffy-like candy over the weekend didn't turn out too bad. The kids love it. It's a cross between taffy, tootsie roll and hard candy. I want to make mold candies, like an Easter bunny. That's my goal.


Replacing corn syrup

If you've ever tried to make candy at home and your kids can't tolerate corn, then you've likely come across this problem: corn syrup. It's found in many candy recipes, including chocolate treats. Here's an alternative you might consider. Sweet Cactus Farms makes an agave nectar -- from a cactus plant. It's sweet, organic, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, nut free and it absorbs slowly enough into the body that it's even OK for diabetics. I bought an 8 oz. bottle for $5. That's retail. Find it wholesale for $4 through a co-op or other supplier, including the manufacturer's website.


Cornless sugar

I was taught this simple trick for making powdered sugar, so I'll pass it along. Powdered sugar bought at the store most often contains sugar and corn starch. That's no good for those of us with kids dealing with corn problems. Corn does horrible things to both of my daughters. So, make your own. Put regular sugar in a food processor and do it until it breaks down to a powder. You can add a starch to help recreate the "powder," like potato starch or arrowroot starch. Store some in a kitchen container.


Organic shortening? Really?

Yep, you read the headline correctly -- organic shortening. Spectrum Organics makes an organic shortening that's made from 100% organic expeller pressed palm oil. It lacks the bad stuff in Crisco -- like soy. And, it's free of trans fat. That certainly doesn't mean it's fat free. But, it's great for the allergy cook and for kids on the autism diet. So, maybe that impossible pie crust is possible after all?


Fridge pickles

This is my kosher dill pickle recipe, called Fridge Pickles.

  • I grow my own pickles -- very easy. You can do the full recipe or cut it in half or down to a quarter. And, you can find pickling cukes in the grocery too. I'm sure you can even use regular cucumbers, just cut into spears or slices. Anyway ...

    77 oz. water
    38 oz distilled vinegar
    8 oz pickling salt (1/2 lb.)
    74 oz cucumbers (~4.5 lbs.)
    handfull of fresh dill heads (I grow, but can be bought)
    peeled garlic cloves
    whole peppercorns

    Put water, vinegar and salt into a large pot and boil.
    Remove from heat and pour into glass (mason) jars overnight to cool. (Wash the jars first)
    Next day, scrub the cukes and remove the blossom ends by making a thin slice.
    Either keep cukes whole, or cut into spears or slice crosswise.
    Pull out the jars you wish to use -- not the jars with the brine.
    Add some dill to the jars, a few garlic cloves and about 1 tsp peppercorns.
    Add cukes and cover with cold brine.
    Keep in fridge for 3 days before eating.

    These will keep nicely for months. I've had mine in there for 3-4 months with no problem. Just keep lids on tight. There's no need to process these in a canning pot. The vinegar solution preserves the cucumbers. If you can them, the cukes get soggy. So, I do it this way in mid-summer and have cucumbers through Thanksgiving. Then, I try to buy some more in the fall at the store, and make another batch to get through to spring.

    You can adjust the flavor of this by adding more/less garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, hot pepper, onion, etc. By the way, the photo is from the Seeds of Change website -- a good supplier of organic seeds.

    They are fun to grow if you have space. They grow like a vine. So, dig a 8-10' row, put two 6' stakes on either end, and tie netting to the stakes to make a "fence." The cukes will vine up the fence. Pick regularly to keep the vines producing.

    Good luck!


Need GFCF recipes? Start with pancakes!

I get a lot of questions about how to get started on a gluten-free casein-free diet (the autism diet). One great place to find some beginning recipes is at the GFUTAH website. This is where I found the pancake recipe that I use weekly (slightly modified). Anyway, check it out and I'm sure you'll find something that fits your child's taste. Look at the pancake recipe but I'll include my version here. By the way, the pancakes shown at right are from their website.


Bean flour mix (1/3 cup chickpea flour, 1/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour)*
2 tbsp sugar (or other sweetener)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water + another half of 1/3 cup water
Cooking spray or oil for the pan
(I exclude egg or egg sub and xanthan gum on purpose in this recipe. Yes! It still works)

  • Combine the flour mix, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix.

  • Add the oil and water and whisk. This should resemble normal pancake batter and not stick to the whisk but not pour off of it like water. Something in between. You'll know if it's too dry because the pancakes will look flaky and dry. It's just right if the pancakes show bubbles while cooking.

  • I spoon 1 tbsp batter onto a medium hot pan sprayed with original Pam. Turn when bottom is browned.

  • Makes about 1 dozen. I often make a double batch.

  • Note: I exclude the xanthan gum and egg sub because it tends to make the pancakes too gooey and not fluffy.

  • I also modify this recipe sometimes by adding 8 tsp carob powder (cocoa is fine if your child can handle it) and another 1/3 cup water to make "chocolate pancakes."

Thanks to the GFUTAH folks!


Fufu fantastic

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. Been out of circulation here between illness and work. Anyway, we finally got around to making some Fufu (see my earlier post called Fufu 4 u). It was as easy to make as instant mashed potatoes. But's it's just cassava. It's somewhat firmer, so you can take a chunk and roll it into a ball with your hands just like you would do with a dough. That's how I gave it to my daughter -- in little balls. She loved it. I salted the mix a little with sea salt, but that's it. My older daughter has not wanted to try it yet, but clearly is interested. I like the taste, too, and am trying to think of other ways to use this unique mix. Try some.


Finally -- rice!

Sometimes, solutions fall from the sky. Or, so it seems. My kids cannot eat rice and I've tried over and over to find a good substitute. No, quinoa and amaranth didn't go over so well. And, sorghum tore up their stomach's just like corn. I still have to try millet, but fear the same reaction as sorghum. Anyway, to my point.

A couple of nights ago, I made some tapioca noodles for my youngest daughter, who loves noodles. I drained them and placed them in a bowl, which I put in the fridge.

Last night, I pulled them out. The noodles looked like a round blob, or even a weird UFO. They had stuck together to the point they gelled, making it impossible to pull the noodles apart. It was just one big blob of tapioca pasta.

So, I heated a pan, sprayed it, poured a tbsp of canola oil in, a little diced onion and sea salt, and the blob. I began chopping it apart with a spatula. I did this for maybe 10 minutes. The noodles never did come apart, but I managed to chop the blob into edible, bite-sized pieces.

I made myself a bowl. It was good. My youngest daughter walked past, looked at the bowl, and said, "I try some rice?" Stunned, I said, "Sure."

Then, my oldest daughter walked in, saw what the youngest was eating, and said, "I want some rice, too." More stunned, I said, "Sure."

We all had two helpings of "rice."

The end result of all the chopping and cooking was that the tapioca blob looked like rice pieces all stuck together. The kids didn't care. It looked like rice and was flavored like I'd make rice, so they ate it.

One problem solved. A million more to go.


Safe Easter candy

Just a tip on one candy that you might consider when searching for safe stuff to fill Easter baskets ... cane sugar candy. It's very simple -- cane sugar and water. No candy is really healthy. I found bags of this at the Asian grocery for 79 cents a pound. No preservatives, corn, soy, grains, etc. Just cane sugar and water. They're similar to hard candy. They will either melt in the mouth or crumble if bitten. Very good.


A Yucca recipe

Dealing with allergies to rice, corn, soy and gluten at the same time makes finding side dishes tricky. What's left -- potatoes? I've recently found that yucca -- a root commonly used in other cultures -- is a good substitute for potatoes to rotate into your menu. Here's a good recipe to start with.

"French fry pancakes"

These really are just a version of potato pancakes, using yucca. My kids, of course, love fries, so I called them french fry pancakes. They're a hit. Here's my recipe:

  • 2.5 lbs yucca, either frozen or fresh.
  • 1 small onion
  • cooking oil
  • pam original cooking spray
  • thyme, basil, cilantro or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup homemade broth -- I use low-fat chicken
If using frozen yucca, thaw them. I put mine in a pot, cover with water, a little sea salt and a little lemon juice. If fresh, peel and quarter.

Boil the yucca with lemon juice for roughly 45 minutes, depending on how big the chunks are. Strain, let cook slightly. Remove the tannish core stem that will become visible after cooking.

Put yucca into food processor and mash it down. Then, in mixing bowl, add yucca, your choice of spice (I use 1 tsp thyme), sea salt and broth, mix well.

Put 1 tbsp cooking oil in pan and heat to medium high temp. Wet hands before handling the yucca mix. Scoop a dollar-sized amount of yucca mix and shape into a pancake. Cook a few minutes each side until golden brown.

This recipe is very adaptable. You can cut the oil and just cook with Pam Original, for example, to cut down on fat. You may use your choice of herb. And, you may use your choice of broth.

In addition, you can use this mix to make yucca pancakes, yucca balls, yucca logs, or even a yucca dough by mixing in some flour. I haven't tried that yet, but I plan to. And, if you can make a yucca dough, then you could make yucca noodles or yucca gnocchi, just like you would with potato.

By the way, I found yucca -- both fresh and in 5 lb frozen bags -- at a local Asian grocery that also carried some South American foods. So, look either in South American or Asian groceries for this. Cost was $1/lb.


A simple bread

One of the first problems I faced when switching my kids to a non-gluten diet was making some type of bread. I had no clue what flours to use, how to mix them or how to bake them. Which recipe was right? After all, there's so many types of flour. And then, what recipe would my kids actually eat? Well, here's two recipes that are good to start.

The first is a simple roll recipe that you can use to make dinner rolls, snacks, and even buns.

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup potato or arrowroot starch
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg or 3 tsp egg replacer powder
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum (may sub guar gum)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Addliquids. Beat until combined, but don't over-mix. It will be a stickydough. I wet my hands with water and scoop up a golf-ball sized chunkof dough and roughly mold it into a ball, then place it on anungreased cookie sheet or muffin tin. They puff up, so don't placetoo close. Bake for 20 minutes. They freeze well, too. I usually makea double batch and freeze half.Also, you can try to make buns from this, using a form or foil paper.Or, in the muffin tins, you can flatten the tops using the wet end ofa small cup to give them a more uniform shape.

The second is not my recipe, it comes from the GFCFrecipes board. Here it is:

CELIAC LIGHT BREAD by Tom Van Deman August 20, 2003

  • 1 1/8 cup Chickpea flour also called Garbanzo bean flour (I grind my own)
  • 1 cup cornstarch (I use Cream corn starch) NOTE: could use arrowroot, potato, etc.
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbs. tapioca flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbs. brown sugar (Make sure that there are no lumps)
  • 1/4 tsp. creme of tartar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten or egg replacer
  • 1 1/8 cup warm water (uncomfortable to touch but not boiling)
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil (I use peanut oil or canola oil)
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or substitute)

Bread Machine Method WARNING: Adding more liquids or flours or reducing same could cause the bread to not cook thoroughly on the inside or to be too heavy. Also I am at almost 6000 feet altitude in Denver area which might cause your bread to be slightly different than mine. First try it as is and then experiment if necessary. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl except for the yeast. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly with wire whisk. Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, warm water, and oil in a separate bowl and thoroughly mix with wire whisk. Pour the liquid ingredients into your bread machine bowl (I use my Zoj). Immediately spoon in your dry mixed ingredients on top of the wet ingredients to make a mound in the center but covering all of the wet ingredients. With a spoon or spatula make a small depression in top of your dry ingredients (must be dry for the yeast) and immediately spoon in your yeast. Place your bread machine pan in the machine correctly and turn the machine to regular wheat bread cycle and turn on machine. (This dough will need two kneadings in order to get its content to proper consistency.) Do not add any more liquids or flour. The dough will form a sticky ball. With a spatula scrape down the sides of machine bowl to make sure all of the dry ingredients get into the dough ball. On the rise cycle use your spatula that is wet to smooth the top of the loaf, if desired. Bake the bread using the medium crust setting. When finished turn the loaf out onto your wire rack and allow bread to cool or you can slice it while hot (Do not squeeze the loaf too tightly while holding it to slice while hot.) Slice the bread thin with a serrated bread knife or electric knife and enjoy. Oven Method Turn your oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl or your mixer bowl including the yeast. Mix thoroughly on medium or low setting. Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, warm water, and oil in a separate bowl and whip with wire whisk until all ingredients are mixed. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with your mixer on medium speed (Use paddle or dough hook). When sticky ball forms scrape sides to get all of the flours and ingredients mixed together and continue to mix for about 1 minute more. Scrape into a 9 x 5-inch lightly greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, set in non drafty warm place and let rise until at least double size (approximately 45 to 60 minutes). Remove plastic wrap and pace pan in preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with a spoon. Turn the loaf out onto your wire rack and allow loaf to cool or you can slice it while hot (Do not squeeze the loaf too tightly while holding it to slice when hot.)


Getting started

Getting started on a new diet can be overwhelming at first. Parents of children with autism or PDD often face this when they're doctors ask them to start a diet free of gluten and casein. How do you do it? What foods can you eat? What foods can't you eat? Where do you buy the food? It's an endless string of thoughts that frustrate and many times deter starting the diet.

There is help available to ease this process. And, the first -- and best -- piece of advice is this: DON'T PANIC! This does not happen overnight, nor should it.

The first place I recommend people go is the TACA website, specifically to the diet page at There is a great piece up top on how to phase in the diet over 10 weeks. Another good site is

I also recommend buying one, or both, of Lisa Lewis' cookbooks. They're very good. You can find them at Amazon.

And, there are a number of good autism message groups on Yahoo where thousands of parents talk back and forth every day, offering advice, asking questions and giving support. The best one for diet is the GFCFrecipes message group.

Also, search the web and phone book for a local autism group -- someplace that may offer help and guidance.

Search for stores in your area that sell a variety of flours or specialty foods, like a food co-op, Whole Foods, etc. Again, if you don't know where to go, ask for help.

If you're on a tight budget, don't worry. This still can be done. Buying in bulk cuts food prices down. Shopping at ethnic groceries often is far less expensive than Whole Foods. Look for local farms that sell meat, vegetables and fruit -- you'll likely buy better quality stuff for less than the local supermarket.

For example, I buy meat from a farmers market that's free of hormones and preservatives. I pay about $1 less per pound than I would at the local supermarket.

If money's not an issue, you can find prepared foods that fit the gfcf diet at the specialty stores and online.

And last but not least, use this blog.

Keep your head up -- reading this is a good start.


Coconut flour

That's right -- coconut flour! I'd never heard of it or seen it until today. An entry on the GFCFrecipes board submitted the following recipe she made for her son. I thought I'd repost it here because of its uniqueness. I plan to try it soon.

"After 6 month of trying to do a bread for my son with no success, he is on Gluten, soy, corn, yeast, beans, dairy, nuts (only walnuts are ok), grain free diet, I was able to find a very simple coconut bread recipe. Here's the recipe:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (I used 1/3 cup olive
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I didn't put any, in my mind bread
    shouldn't be sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I put a little bit more)
  • 3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Blend together everything, pour into greased 9x5x3 inch
or smaller loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, remove from pan and
cool on rack. I actually made small balls (like meatballs) and baked for 20
minutes instead, they came out like buns."

Anyone interested in trying coconut flour can find it at Bob's Red Mill or Wilderness Family Naturals' website.


A brothy solution

Have you ever checked the ingredients of your everyday broths -- chicken, beef, vegetable? I've seen all sorts of things that I know aren't natural, and even items like MSG! And for us cooking for allergy sufferers, you're sure to find dairy, gluten, soy, corn, etc. So, the best answer is simple. Make it yourself. Once a month, I make chicken broth once a month, using a crockpot, a fryer chicken and a few veggies -- carrots, onion, celery, parsley, salt. Set on low and come back 6-8 hours later. I strain this, then chill overnight. Skim fat away the next day and freeze in ice cube trays.


Eggless recipes

How do you cook without eggs? As long as you can tolerate potato, this is the answer. Ener-G makes an egg replacer powder that can be used in most recipes. It's not a sub for fried eggs or scrambled eggs. It's to be used as a sub in recipes, like cakes, cookies, etc. All you do is mix a little powder with water, stir and add. I've used it and it works well. And, one box goes a long way. I buy this at a local food co-op, but I imagine it's also available at Whole Foods, etc. You can also order it online at Ener-G's website.


Fufu 4 u

Here's another experiment that I'll be trying in March. Fufu flour is a specialty flour made either from cassava or plantains. The box shown at the left is made by Tropiway and contains cassava and elephant's ear plant tubers. This may seem strange to you and me but it's standard in Africa and parts of South America. You can find it at an Asian or Latin American grocery. I paid $3.45 for the box. Fufu really is like a dumpling and served with a meal. It's also very simple to make. So, I plan to try variations. Like, could it become the base for a pancake mix? What about rolls? Could I use it to make a gravy mix? What about a bisquick-type mixture? Lots of possibilities. I'll update on my successes and failures.


Got milk?

People with dairy allergies or on a casein-free diet, like many autistic children, can't drink milk. But there are alternatives.

Many people drink soy milk (like WestSoy or Silk) or almond milk (Almond Breeze). You can easily find these, even at regular supermarkets. If not, try Whole Foods or a food co-op (find a local one here).

However, soy and nuts also are common allergens, meaning many food allergy sufferers cannot turn to these options. Don't worry, there are other alternatives.

-- A good one is rice milk and Imagine Foods' drinks are common on store shelves. WestSoy also makes a rice milk. People intolerant of gluten should know that Imagine Foods' Rice Dream is made using a process that exposes it to gluten. Some people do not react to this, while others say they do.

-- Another option is Darifree, by Vance's Foods. This is potato-based -- no soy, no rice, no gluten. It's harder to find and comes in a powder. You can order it at the company's website. My younger daughter cannot have rice, so I have used Darifree in recipes.


French fry lawsuits

Thought I'd update the McDonald's fries issue, since I think this is just going to grow.

Anger sizzles over seasoning used in McDonald's fries

By Lylah M. Alphonse,
Globe Staff February 22, 2006

Kathleen Fischbach's 6-year-old son, Andy,
has autism as well as celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by
gluten, the protein found in wheat and many other grains. He is also sensitive
to casein, a dairy protein. On his strict gluten- and casein-free diet, known as
GFCF, anything with wheat or dairy in it -- bread, pasta, cheese, almost all
fast food -- is off limits. But McDonald's french fries were a ''safe"
Not any more.
As news broke last week that the fast-food giant has
been using wheat and dairy ingredients to flavor its fries for years, people in
the celiac and autistic communities were up in arms. As of Friday, at least
three lawsuits had been filed against McDonald's. For those with celiac disease,
even a trace of gluten can lead to severe intestinal damage; for many autistic
children, gluten and casein cause hyperactive behavior and a host of
gastrointestinal problems.
''Parents of children on the GFCF diet drive
themselves nuts checking and rechecking every ingredient in every item they
buy," says Nicole GuBrath of Colorado Springs, Colo., whose 5-year-old son has
been on the diet for about three years. ''I am furious that McDonald's was able
to lie for so long and poison our children with known allergens when we work so
hard to keep them away."
Lynne Monnett, who grew up in the Boston area, lives
with her husband and six children in Central Florida. All of them suffer from
celiac disease, and they used to stop at McDonald's for french fries. ''My
children have various food allergies in addition to celiac, and they've been
increasing instead of decreasing," she says. ''McDonald's fries were one item
they were always allowed to have, that we thought was safe.
''My life and my
childrens' lives were unnecessarily toyed with," Monnett says. ''And I'm pretty
upset about it."
McDonald's acknowledged on Feb. 13 that a seasoning agent
containing beef, wheat, and dairy ingredients -- previously listed as ''natural
flavor" -- is added to the oil at the factory where the potatoes are precooked
by the supplier. McDonald's director of global nutrition Cathy Kapica told the
Associated Press that the supplier removes all wheat and dairy proteins from the
flavoring. ''Technically, there are no allergens in there," she said.
disclosure was in response to new rules by the Food and Drug Administration for
the packaged foods industry, including one that requires that the presence of
common allergens -- including milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and peanuts -- be
reported. Because it is a restaurant, McDonald's does not have to comply with
the new regulations but is doing so voluntarily.
''We knew there were always
wheat and dairy derivatives in there, but they were not the protein component,"
Kapica said. Those who have eaten the french fries in the past without an
adverse reaction should be able to continue to do so, she said.
McDonald's early this month removed the fries from its list of gluten-free
Fischbach, who lives in Minneapolis, says she caught wind of the
change the day after the Super Bowl -- which was also the day after she had
taken her son to McDonald's. She contacted the company, based in Oak Brook,
Ill., to see if the rumors were true. ''I called three times," she says, ''I
spoke with three different people and got three different answers."
Friday, Debra Moffatt of Lombard, Ill., who has celiac disease, filed a lawsuit
in Cook County Circuit Court accusing McDonald's of misleading the public. The
lawsuit seeks class-action status. McDonald's Corp. senior vice president Jack
Daly said in a statement that the company has not yet reviewed the case, but is
testing its french fries for gluten through a food allergy research program at
the University of Nebraska.
Also on Friday, Mark and Theresa Chimiak of
Juptier, Fla., sued McDonald's, claiming that their 5-year-old daughter has a
gluten intolerance. Nadia Sugich of Los Angeles filed a suit on Wednesday since
she is a vegan and would not have eaten the french fries if she had known they
contained dairy products.
In 2001, several lawsuits were filed after
McDonald's confirmed that it had used beef tallow to season its fries since the
early 1990s, even though McDonald's told consumers the fries were vegetarian.
Others would consider joining class-action suits. ''I think the thing that makes
me the most angry is that they promoted the fries as gluten free," says GuBrath,
whose 4-year-old son has been on a GFCF diet for years. ''I would like to see
[McDonald's] give a substantial donation to autism and celiac causes."
M. Alphonse can be reached at


It'za nightmare

Here's another restaurant nightmare.

This time it's Pizza Hut and the story comes from NOTmilk (website: & newsletter:

Got Pizza Hut? Got Silicone!Once upon a time, it used to be a beautiful day
inthe neighborhood...that no longer applies to theworld of 2006.Good morning,
boys and girls. Can you say:Polydimethylsiloxane?Polydimethylsiloxane is a
substance that is manufactured byDow Chemical and is primarily used in
food-manufacturingfactories as a de-foaming agent for commercial
boilers.Polydimethylsiloxane is not approved for use as a foodadditive, yet,
Pizza Hut is using this silicone-basedchemical as a stabilizer for cheese on its
patentedpizza products. Some of those pizzas go directly to yourchild's schools
and are served at lunchtime.In order to preserve their frozen pizzas, Pizza
Hutclaims that their silicon emulsifier is a necessarypreservative and
emulsifier.Although the package does not list its own secret formula,it does
list "other additives" under the guise of this patent:Patent # 4894245A review
of the United States Patent Office website confirmsthis story that was first
reported on page 5 of the February,2006 issue of Pete Hardin's "Milkweed." The
actual patent:
following is included in the online patent:"A silicone emulsifier (Dow Corning
FG-10) is mixed with waterto form a 0.05% emulsifier solution. This solution is
sprayedon the frozen cheese granules at a rate of 1.75 parts ofsolution per 100
parts by weight of cheese."Our children are eating silicon in school
cafeterias.Silicon is not an approved substance for human consumption.Neither is
Polydimethylsiloxane, or formaldehyde whichresults as a byproduct when frozen
silicone-sprayed pizzais subjected to heat. Polydimethylsiloxane breaks down
intoformaldehyde when subjected to heat in excess of 150 degreescentigrade.
As guardians for all children, should we continue allowingschool kids to naively
ingest silicone and formaldehyde?How dangerous is formaldehyde? The National
Cancer Institutereports:"Formaldehyde has been classified as a human
carcinogen(cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency forResearch on
Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by theU.S. Environmental Protection
Agency." Write a letter to your local school board. The healthof our children is in great jeopardy.

McDonald's gluten fries

I'm going to post a copy of an article just written on the McDonald's fiasco regarding the dairy and wheat in its french fries that it had not disclosed to the public. This is very disturbing. My daughters cannot eat wheat or dairy and have serious reactions to both. McDonald's claimed its fries were clear of both allergens. My family has spent countless hours trying to figure out why my daughters were breaking out with rashes, getting sick, etc. We ruled out the fries based on the company's info. I'm also concerned about the type of oil the fries are cooked in. I believe, based on seeing the oil firsthand, that it contains soy, which the company does not disclose. Here's the article:

Fury At Milk And Wheat In McDonalds' French Fries

20 Feb 2006 -- When McDonalds serves its French Fries, everyone believes
they contain just potatoes and cooking oil - even people who are vegan (eat no
animal product at all) or allergic to wheat. We trust the company and believe
everything they say. Because that is what they have been saying - that their
fries are gluten-free. It has been revealed that McDonald's fries do contain an
animal product - Milk. They also contain wheat. There are thousands and
thousands of people around the world who are allergic to wheat (mainly because
of the gluten in wheat). Surely, out of respect for people who get ill when
consuming wheat, the company could have let us know that wheat and milk were
being added to its French Fries. So far, three people in the USA are suing
McDonald's because of this. Debra Moffatt, from Chicago, has celiac disease. She
cannot consume gluten, which is present in wheat. If she consumes wheat she
experiences serious gastrointestinal problems. Mark and Theresa Chimiak have a
5-year-old girl who is gluten-intolerant. The little girl, Annalise, became
seriously ill after eating French fries in McDonalds. Mark and Theresa, from
Florida, are also suing McDonald's. Nadia Sugich, a vegan, is also suing
McDonald's. Vegans do not eat any animal products at all (vegetarians include
dairy and eggs in their diet, vegans don't). Had she known the product contained
milk she would not have touched them. What many people find incredible is that
McDonald's claimed its fries were free of gluten and milk. It has just added in
its web site that its fries do, in fact, contain wheat and milk ingredients -
now that people are starting to take it to court. What is the consumer to do if
claims made by fast food centers are completely untrue? How can a parent protect
a child if that child has a serious allergy? One minute they claim something is
not present, then they say it is after lawyers start saying they are going to be
sued. Now, McDonald's Vice-President is saying that wheat and milk were added to
enhance the flavour of the French Fries. There is nothing wrong with that. What
is wrong is not telling people about it. Even worse, is telling people there is
no gluten in a product when there is - that is dangerous. Apparently, there is a
third ingredient we knew nothing about in McDonald's French fries - a trans fat.
Here are some comments from our readers:“I am vegan. I have eaten their
vegetable burger with fries for many years. I will never do it again. I really
hope their vegetable burgers were animal free.” “I really do not know where to
take my children any more. I thought these companies had to work under certain
rules - rules laid down to protect the public.” “I cannot believe they would
deliberately add a potentially dangerous ingredient and still claim their
product is free of it. I cannot eat gluten, I get very ill if I do. Each time I
go out to eat now, I am going to feel uneasy.”

Written by: Christian Nordqvist Editor: Medical News Today


Snowflake fries

Yep, the lotus root worked. I promised to update how some of my potato alternatives worked and I'm happy to report that the lotus root was successful (see my previous post, "Potato or potato," from 2-17-06). The lotus root, as you can see from the photo, has air chambers, giving it a pinwheel or "snowflake" shape if sliced. So, I decided to fry some and call them snowflake french fries. The lotus root is easy to work with. You cut off the ends, slice it like a potato and then cut as you desire. Most people stir fry them, enjoying them as a crunchy addition to their meals. I may try that next time. Frying is trickier because they cook quickly and it's easy to overcook. I fried in a pan set at medium-high for about 4 min. each side, thinly sliced. Actually, I turned them when I could see the edges starting to brown. You want that tan-brown color rather than the deep brown. Add some sea salt and ketchup.


Potato or Potato?

So, I've been on a mad quest to find alternatives to potatoes for my daughters' diets. The reason is one cannot eat rice due to an intolerance. They can handle quinoa 1x or 2x a week, but no more. One's very fussy about the gfcf breads I've tried -- so, no stuffing. And, due to the rice intolerance and a corn intolerance, standard noodles aren't an option either (we are trying some Asian noodles now -- tapioca, sweet potato, etc. -- and I'll post more on that later).

The kids just can't eat potatoes everyday. One, I'm afraid they will build up an intolerance to the potatoes if they eat it 3x a day. And two, I don't want to get stuck on a food. Thus, my search for potato alternatives.

I've found some and am in the middle of experimenting. I thought I'd share.

Taro root: found this at the Asian grocery. You peel this, plunge in cold water, boil, and then slice thinly, dice or cut into sticks to cook. I fried these like french fries and the kids didn't notice the difference. Yep, it worked. These are a little tricky to handle. I've read they can irritate the skin while handling in the pre-cooked stage, so I wore plastic gloves. No rash. Also, they tend to get sticky when they cool. I served these warm so I didn't encounter that problem either. I don't know if it would make much difference though if I had prepared mashed taro root. I plan to try it. I paid $1.49/lb for these.

Malanga: have not found this yet, but 2 local Asian grocers carry it. From what I've read, this may be the most promising as it closely resembles a potato, without the fussiness of the taro root. I'll let you know when I get them. Also, priced at $1.49/lb.

  • Lotus root: I just bought a few of these to try but have not yet cooked them. I believe these have "air chambers" in the middle, so if you were to slice one, it might appear like a snowflake. I'm hoping the fun snowflake appearance of these entices my kids, or that I can mash them. I'll be experimenting this week. Also found at the Asian grocery at $1.49/lb.

Plantains: a restaurant owner I came across in the Asian market told me about these starchy vegetables. These also look promising and might be sold in an Asian or Latin American grocery. I've also seen them in big cans at the Latin American grocery.

Yucca: The same restaurant owner also suggested yucca, which is very similar to potato. These are sold at both Asian and Latin American markets.

So, I'll post again as I experiment and discover which ones work and what doesn't work.

Quinoa stuffing

I was involved in a message board discussion yesterday and today at GFCFrecipes about how to get more protein in a child's diet if they're picky about meats. One way is to introduce the quinoa or amaranth grains into the diet -- if you can find a good recipe for the child. I haven't mastered amaranth yet, but I do make a quinoa recipe that the kids love. It's called "broccoli circles." This is from my posting:

  • 1 cup quinoa grain
  • 1 cup broth -- I use homemade chicken broth.
  • 1 cup water
  • margarine -- I use ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3-6 celery stalks (depends on preference - I use 3)
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper (I skip this)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes

Now, bring water and broth to boil. Add quinoa. Bring to boil. Cookover medium heat for 12 minutes OR until quinoa has absorbed all theliquid. (When cooked, quinoa will "pop" open, thus creating the "circles.") In a skillet, melt the margarine or ghee, cook chopped onion and celery about 10 minutes. (I dice the celery in smaller pieces) In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, onion mix and the spices.

I got this recipe from Bob's Red Mill's website. It says you can use this to stuff a turkey. However, my kids used to love eating broccoli pieces but cannot anymore because of one daughter's food intolerance. When this recipe cooks, the parsley pieces sticking to the celery gives the appearance of broccoli. When the kids saw it, they called it broccoli and then they saw the quinoa and said, "circles." So, "broccoli circles."


The co-op shop

So I've talked a lot about good products to use in cooking special meals. Here's a good way to find these foods and others in your neck of the woods. Find a food co-op in your area by using the Co-op Directory Service, an online guide that lists food co-ops in each state. You'll find it at

At most co-ops, you'll pay an annual or quarterly fee to join the co-op. That entitles you to a discount, say 2 percent for example, on all purchases. At many co-ops, you can by products in bulk and save much more. At mine, I save 20 percent on bulk purchases, which is one way I can afford to buy special foods for my girls on a tight budget. I'll post more later about the other places I shop and find good deals. If money is not a problem for you, shop at Whole Foods all you want. If I shopped there for everything, I'd go broke.


Gee, Ghee!

Ever hear of ghee? What about clarified butter? Well, that's what ghee is. It's essentially butter without the dairy. It's very popular in Indian cooking and can be found at an Indian grocer. I also find it at my local food co-op.

I think ghee is best used to saute. It holds up well in the pan, unlike other fake margarines. It smells great, too. And, it's gluten-free, dairy-free (casein-free), hormone free, non-hydrogenated, free of transfatty acids and salt free. So, for us folks on strict diets due to allergies and other medical resaons, this stuff really fills a cooking void.

The only downside to ghee is that it really isn't a spread. It's actually very hard. And, I don't think it has much taste. My kids don't have much alternative, so I melt some ghee and brush it on a roll or bread for them.

I buy Purity Farms brand ghee for about $10.