Showing posts from March, 2006

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.