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Showing posts from February, 2006

Eggless recipes

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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

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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?

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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"
treat.
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: http://notmilk.com & newsletter: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/notmilk/.

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
e…

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?

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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

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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:

Ingredients:
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 http://www.coopdirectory.org/.

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!

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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.

Breading

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So, what can you use for a good breading if you can't eat gluten -- anything with wheat, which means any common flours. Also, my kids can't handle corn yet -- too hard to digest. So, I found this stuff. It's called manioc flour and it's made from the yucca plant and very common in other parts of the world. I'm told it's as common to a South American household as pancake mix is to us. The flour is a little grainy, just like corn meal is. I mix this with a lighter flour, like tapioca or chickpea, some onion powder and sea salt. I found this in a local Mexican/South American grocery in our city. If I couldn't get it there, I'd also look in our Asian market, then even the ethnic section of our local supermarket (even talk with the manager there), or lastly ask the local food co-op if they can special order it. The bag wasn't expensive. I think maybe $2.

Fake rice

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Since one daughter has an intolerance to rice, I've tried to find a substitute. She really liked rice, even more than potatoes. I've tried quinoa (keen-wah) and amaranth, which a lot of people turn to. Quinoa is OK -- it's much different than rice and certainly doesn't look like it. But, my daughter liked one recipe I tried (I'll post "broccoli circles" later). Amaranth is much different than either rice or quinoa. It's very sticky and small. Maybe good for a hot cereal mix but not mock rice. After much trying, I've found my answer: white sorghum. Yep. Maybe you've heard of sorghum flour. This is the grain. I found the grain in a local asian grocery. A 2 lb. bag cost just $2. It looks like a round rice, which is what I called it in front of my kids. The sorghum I bought is "white sorghum," so it's even colored like rice. You soak the sorghum overnight. Then, cook it like you would regular rice. I make mine with homemade chicken b…

Fake bacon

That's right. Fake bacon. Believe it or not there is a way to cook fake bacon and your kids will like it. And, you'll save money in the process. I should start by telling you why I did this. Between my two daughters -- ages 4 and 2 -- they're allergic/intolerant to gluten, dairy (casein), rice, cabbage family, peas, beans, soy, corn, tomatoes, chocolate, pineapple and a few others. We limit the bad stuff too -- like preservatives, hormones, etc. And, bacon can cost more than $4 a pound, especially the healthier brands, like Applegate Farms. So, I buy kosher hot dogs -- Best's Kosher does not have soy (Hebrew National does). And, I buy it in bulk at a local restaurant supply store in our city's wholesale district. I'll bet your city has one too. So, I get the hot dogs at about half price of retail (about $2 a pack rather than $4). So, take a hot dog, slice it down the middle lengthwise. With each slice, slice it again lengthwise about 3-4 times, making long sliv…

Hello

I know there are a lot of people out there with food allergies. And I know there are a lot of parents out there wondering how to feed children with food allergies. I'm in that boat. Two daughters with a list of allergies and intolerances that's endless. But, I'm doing it and even finding clever ways to do it on a tight budget. That's why I started this blog. Sharing is crucial. My wife and I got a lot of help from others and we want to do our part. We're not experts, not nutritionists, not doctors. Just parents who've learned a few tricks. So, feel free to jump in anytime to talk about your situation, ask questions, share recipes, etc.