"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Learning to Cook Allergen Free

My nine year old sure did enjoy the Fiddler on the Roof play we went to last week.  It's all he's talked about.  He keeps breaking out in song, and he is drawing the scenes ... very accurately, I might add.

My goal lately has been to try to find more recipes my one year old can have.  (For those of you visiting for the first time, he is at the moment allergic to eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, corn, coconut and sesame.  At least those are the things we are aware of.  

So basically the only milk substitute he can have is rice milk.  I found a recipe awhile back that allows me to make it from scratch (which I blogged about awhile back).  This time when I went to make it, I used brown sugar to sweeten it a little (trust me, it needs a little something).  It's darker than usual, but he really seems to like it a lot.

I also saw on a blog (Knights and Maidens Gathering - there's a link on my sidebar) an idea for a carrot salad.  Basically, it's shredded carrots, raisins and pineapple.  Super simple and the boys love it.

 Kind of a funny story here.  After making the trip to the grocery store, where I bought a 5 pound bag of carrots, I was busy putting all the groceries away.  I wanted to make some of this salad up for lunch for the boys, so I pulled a few carrots out and set them on the counter while I put everything away.  When I started up the food processor, the boys came running to see what I was doing.  When they saw the carrots going into the food processor, they generously *ahem* offered me the ones the little sneak thieves had stolen off the counter.  They wanted me to grind them in too.  Um.. no thanks.

 I'm working on getting a few things in the freezer for him so we always have safe options, and he can have more variety.  Last week when I made mashed potatoes, I made an extra large batch so I could freeze some for him.  I mashed them with chicken stock rather than butter and milk, and everyone liked them well enough.  My husband always adds butter or gravy to his anyway, so I don't think he even noticed a difference.

I made up a batch of oatmeal banana cookies (just smashed bananas plus a handful of oatmeal, a few raisins, and a touch of cinnamon) and the carrot salad on Saturday.  There would have been enough salad to last several days, if the rest of the guys hadn't decided it would make a good side with dinner.  No problem.  It whips up pretty fast.

 Looks pretty tasty (I'm not allowed to eat any of these ingredients on the diet, so I'll have to take their word for it).

The other thing I managed to get done this weekend was to run to the local health food store.  They have a lot more than I thought they would.  Anyway, it turns out that cooking gluten free or allergen free sure takes a lot of different ingredients.  There isn't one single flour that seems to work as a substitute for wheat.  The cookbooks always have flour blends.  So I made a list of the different ones that show up in several recipes I want to try, so I can hopefully have ingredients on hand to make whatever I want to try.

I ended up with quinoa flour, sweet sorghum flour, flaxseed meal, millet flour, tapioca flour, garbanzo bean flour, garbanzo and fava bean flour blend, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, potato starch, brown rice flour, and lard.  I was especially excited about the tapioca starch.  Looks like it substitutes for corn starch, so maybe I can use it to make gravy - opening up the whole world of casseroles.  Woohoo ;)

It wasn't cheap.   These bags are $5 - $15 a piece.  My biggest expense/pound I think was the xanthan gum - which was about $11 for half a pound!  Holy cow.  And that was from Walmart a couple weeks ago.  If I had bought it here in town it would have been $17.  Good thing the recipes don't seem to call for much of it at once.  The hardest thing to find was dairy free soy free shortening.  The best I could do was to buy lard - which I'm hoping is okay, since it doesn't have an ingredient list.  I believe it's just pig fat, but we'll see if it bothers him.  It was hard to find.  The local store didn't have it in their baking aisle.  I finally accidentally found it at the bottom of the row with the tortillas.  Yeah.  Right where I would have put it... NOT.  Now, wish me luck...

Note - reading in my Learn to Bake Allergen Free book last night, I found out that Millet flour is probably not good to use because there is a close connection to corn, and people with corn allergies ought to avoid millet too.  Oh well. Live and learn.  I've definitely got a lot to learn!

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