Showing posts from 2006

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 …

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 cu…

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 wit…

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 Phili…

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 si…

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 u…

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

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:
- …

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 minute…

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 coo…

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 w…

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 gr…


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!


Recipe guide

Side dish recipes

Cakes, cookies and sweets recipes

Cooking basics and subs

Breakfast recipes

Breads, rolls and bun recipes

Main dish recipes

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 wil…

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 o…

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, b…

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 onioncooking oilpam original cooking spraythyme, basil, cilantro or parsley1 teaspoon sea salt1 tablespoon lemon juice1/4 cup homemade broth -- I use low-fat chickenIf 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…

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 flour1/2 cup tapioca flour1/2 cup potato or arrowroot starch2 tbsp sugar1 egg or 3 tsp egg replacer powder2 tsp xanthan gum (may sub guar gum)2 tsp baking powder1/2 cup oil1/2 cup waterPreheat 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.…

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…

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
oil) 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 interest…

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 webs…

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 intes…

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…

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 Fries20 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

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 d…

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 grain1 cup broth -- I use homemade chicken broth.1 cup watermargarine -- I use ghee (clarified butter)1/2 medium onion3-6 celery stalks (depends on preference - I use 3)1 tsp sage1 tsp sea salt1 tsp pepper (I skip this)1 tablespoon parsley flakesNow, 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 oni…

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.