Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: September 2011

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love #3 and Vegan Muffuletta Sandwiches



Welcome again to the Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love link party!  Reader response has been great, and I love looking at all the clever submissions.  My three sons have now made reading the linky a part of their regular routine so they can troll through the lunchbox ideas and put in their requests :) 

Today I am featuring two of the most popular submissions from last week's party -- one recipe and one post full of great ideas.  Both entries tied for the highest number of views by readers… congratulations!  If you haven’t clicked on them already, take a minute to visit their blogs and get some lunchtime inspiration!

from Wayfaring Chocolate


from To The Moon And Back


For lunch today, I’m sharing a Vegan Muffuletta recipe that my boys have dubbed Rainbow Sandwiches.  The Muffuletta sandwich is a New Orleans tradition that is normally made with a huge peasant loaf stuffed with cold cuts, cheeses and olive salad.   A round loaf is hollowed out a bit, several inches of filling are layered on, and the whole thing is wrapped in plastic and left to marinate overnight in the fridge.   The flavors of a typical Muffuletta are strong, with onions, vinegar and olives as the most recognizable tastes in each bite... and one huge sandwich typically feeds several hungry people.

For my vegan version, I’ve sliced up a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and layered them generously into a whole wheat pita (feel free to use gluten-free bread here) with a yummy tapenade from the store: The Gracious Gourmet Garden Tomato Pesto (tomatoes, dried tomatoes, olive oil, agave, basil, garlic, salt, pepper).  Amazingly, when the veggies are sliced very thin, they act (and almost taste) just like cold cuts in the sandwich.

The inspiration for this version came when VintageDad sprung for a mandolin (the kind that cuts food really thin, not the musical instrument!).  On the first night he tried it out, he sliced up just about everything he could find in the fridge, then set out a big buffet and invited the kids to make their own sandwiches... the only rule was that each sandwich had to include at least four items.  The boys had a blast layering up apples, yellow squash, zucchini, strawberries, chives, endive, red and green pepper, olives, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos and even figs.  They had a choice of three different spreads -- two savory and one sweet -- and darned if even Picky Eater went back for seconds and thirds!

As I made my own Dagwood-type sandwich, piled high with veggies and savory stuff, I realized that I didn't miss the meat in my sandwich at all.  In fact, it occurred to me that my favorite part of muffuletta sandwiches in the past had been the flavorings, and their ability to cover up the less pleasant taste and texture of the cold cuts.  I had thought that going vegan would make eating sandwiches kind of dull, but I just LOVED my savory pile of crunchy healthy stuff, in all colors of the rainbow!  Feel free to make your own combination of fillings, but my favorite is below for reference.

P.S.  In my photo above, the other items in the lunchbox are dried pineapple rings, tiny clementines and lentil chips.


Vegan Muffuletta Sandwich

1 large peasant loaf or 4 small round rolls Bread (gluten free if possible)
1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow squash
1/2 sweet red pepper
1 small endive
1 cup mixed spring lettuce (with spinach, if possible)
2 fresh figs
1 Tbsp chives, left at least 3" long
1/2 cup black olives
1 cup Gracious Gourmet Garden Tomato Pesto (or your favorite pesto or tapenade)

Slice large loaf in half horizontally and scoop out a bit of the insides to accommodate your veggies.  Or, slice your rolls in half and lay face up on the counter.  Spread both cut sides with pesto or tapenade.

Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the vegetables as thinly as possible -- almost transparent.  The lettuce can be left in its original state (as shredded lettuce tends to fall off sandwiches) and the chives should be left relatively long for the same reason.

Pile up the sliced vegetables onto the breads, then put the cut slices back together again.  Sandwiches can be eaten right away, or wrapped tightly and set in the refrigerator to marinate.  Gluten-free bread may not hold up to marinating, so if using, eat sooner.

And now on to our new party!  What did you pack for lunch this week?  Remember, recipes don't have to be completely allergy-free, just without whatever foods you are avoiding.

(Shared with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and the Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and This Week's Cravings at Mom's Crazy Cooking and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay At Home Mom and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly The Kitchen Kop and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All and Whisking Wednesday at A Pinch of This That and The Other and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet and Creative Juice at Momnivore's Dilemma and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS. )

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup


Here's another fun way to get your full rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day!  Next time you need a little something orange, try this easy cold fruit soup.  Somehow, when the boys eat fruit that doesn't look like fruit, they think of it as a sweet treat rather than something healthy to eat.  Works for me!

This recipe couldn't be easier to make... just throw everything in the blender.  Eat it right away, or chill it for a little bit to give it time for the flavors to mellow.  Just give the mixture a stir before you serve it, as it tends to separate.


Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

1 ripe cantaloupe
1/2 cup rice milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lime

Cut the rind away from the cantalope and dice it.  Combine it with the rest of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Serve cold as a soup, or in a glass as a smoothie.

Shared with Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Pennywise Platter Thursday at the Nourishing Gourmet and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health  and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Tuesday Tea Party at Sweetology and Weekend Gourmet at Hartke is Online.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Post: A Viewpoint from A Non-Allergic Mom



A warm welcome to our guest blogger today, Pamela Maynard of http://pmaynardwrites.blogspot.com/.  Pam is a full-time wife, mom and MRI technologist, and part-time freelance writer, blogger and school volunteer.  Today she's sharing a viewpoint from the other side of the fence ... the perspective of a mom without allergic children.  Here's what she'd like to know from us, moms of allergic kids.


Is Your Child Allergic to Play Dates?

My son loves to have play dates.  Most of his friends aren’t allergic to any foods or common things that kids encounter on play dates.  He does have one friend that has a gluten allergy.  The day he came over, I was never told about his allergy from his parents, and only hesitantly from the child (we will call him George). 

My son eats anything he is given, especially when he is a guest at someone’s house.  When it was time for dinner, I made sure that George wanted Mac and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets (our Friday night regular) and he said yes, he loved that.  When it was time to eat, he only picked at his food.  Then he told me he had a gluten allergy or something like that.  He didn’t even know what it was.  I took his plate away, shocked that I could have made him sick with what I fed him.  I didn’t panic, I didn’t even call his mom.  I waited until she came to pick him up. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Strawberry Hearts with Macadamia Cream and Mint Leaves



Since we've gone dairy-free, I've been missing creamy sweet things.  Many of the vegan recipes I've found use tofu to substitute for dairy, but since we're also allergic to soy, that isn't an option for us.  I've been seeing cashew cream recipes around a lot, but -- you guessed it -- we're allergic to cashews too.  Imagine my delight when I saw a sidenote on one blog off-handedly mentioning that cashew creams could also be made with macadamia nuts!  What?!

First chance I got, I was off to the store in search of raw macadamias.  I have a beautiful teatime cookbook (The Tea Table) that features a recipe for strawberries with mascarpone, and I knew that I could make something completely delicious from this inspiration.

And here we are!  Sliced strawberries (that look heart-shaped) with a bit of maple-sugar-sweetened macadamia cream, sprinkled with a tiny bit of ground pecans, topped with a fresh mint leaf.  C'est magnifique!  I'm ready for tea :)

You may want to sweeten your cream a bit more than I have here.  I was afraid of going too far in the sweet direction, and tried to be moderate with my maple sugar.  As I sit here typing, munching on my the strawberry creations that I saved from the mosquitoes outside, I'm thinking a little more sweetening would be just right.  Happy teatime!

Strawberry Hearts with Macadamia Cream and Mint Leaves

1 pound fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup rice milk
2 - 3 Tbsp maple sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup ground pecans
fresh mint leaves (the smaller, the better)

For the cream, add nuts, milk, sugar and vanilla to a blender and blend on high until creamy (about a minute).  Slice strawberries from top to bottom and lay on a plate.  Remove green leaves if desired, or leave for color.  Top each slice with macadamia cream.  Sprinkle on pecans, then place one mint leaf at the tip of each berry, where the original leaves were.

Shared with Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist and Monday Dessert Party at Joy of Desserts and the Hearth and Soul Hop with Premeditated Leftovers and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life and Tuesday Tea for Two at the Plumed Pen and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom and Crazy Sweet Tuesday at Crazy for Crust and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and the Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training and Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and What's Cooking Wednesday at The King's Court IV  and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Whatever You Want Wednesday at Free Pretty Things for You and Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage and Success U at The Stuff of Success and Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Pennywise Platter Thursday at the Nourishing Gourmet and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs  and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Sweet Tooth Friday at Alli 'n Son and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Any Linky Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Sweet Indulgences Sunday at A Well-Seasoned Life and Crafting and Cooking from the Heart at Bacon Time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crazy Salad Pizza


Yes, I know, pizza is usually covered with cheese, but in our house, cheese is a major trigger for a number of nasty symptoms all five of us.  Coupled with the gluten intolerance in the kids, we haven't been Dominos' best customers lately.

This week however, I found a cool recipe for quick-rise focaccia dough in The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook (ready to bake in 30 minutes), and thought "Hey! This could work for a pizza!"  (I think with a lot of exclamation points.) (!)

After changing the flour to a combination of teff and sorghum, I invited each boy to choose his own toppings (always a fun activity).  Their choices ranged from julienned salami to raw onions to cauliflower & tomatoes ... no one wanted any sauce, and the cheese wasn't even missed!  We made a special pizza for VintageDad featuring salsa, tomatillos, tomatoes, cauliflower and caramelized onions.  He had a minor freak-out when he saw it because he thought the cauliflower was feta cheese, but that was quickly straightened out :)

Everyone loved his own personal pizza, but I wanted something special for myself.  I had started making salad to go with the pizzas, and that little lightbulb went on over my head.  I baked my pizza crust naked, then topped it with my salad!  I had some spring mix lettuce and diced tomatoes tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt, then I stole a few of VintageDad's caramelized onions for the top....and It. Was. Awesome!  It might have looked a little funny, but I. Loved. It.

The crust was thin and crunchy at the edges, and so nice and hearty (and dark).  The salad had a nice snap, and the onions were sweet and mellow... a little bit of a lot of different textures and flavors that blended into one of my new late-night cravings :)

Crazy Salad Pizza (makes one 10" pizza)

1.5 cups teff flour
1.5 cups sorghum flour
1/2 cup additional flour of choice
1 package quick acting yeast
1 tsp salt, divided
1 cup very warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups spring mix lettuce
1 ripe tomato, diced
1/2 onion, sliced in rings

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.  Oil a baking sheet and set aside.  Mix 1 cup teff and 1 cup sorghum flour with yeast and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add water and 1 Tbsp oil, then stir in remaining 1/2 cups of teff and sorghum flour.  Knead for about 10 minutes, adding additional flour if needed until you have a springy ball of dough.  Shape dough into a ball, cover with a dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Start your caramelized onions while you are waiting.  Cook onions in 1/2 tsp oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

After the dough has rested, place it on your baking sheet and press into a round shape (do not roll).  Focaccia typically is not flat, but shows the indentations of the chef's fingers (part of its charm!) so don't worry about making your pizza crust beautiful.

Dampen your dish towel, drape over your dough, and set the baking sheet in the oven.  Turn off the oven immediately and let the dough rise in the warm oven for 20 minutes.  At some point during this rising time, your onions will be done.  Set aside.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn on the heat to 400 degrees F.  Spread 1 Tbsp olive oil over the top of your crust and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.  (If you choose to add different toppings, now would be the time.)

Meanwhile, mix lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil and salt.  Cool the crust slightly, then top with salad mixture and caramelized onions.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's For Dinner Mom? and Makin' You Crave Monday at Mrs. Happy Homemaker and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Mangia Mondays at Delightfully Dowling and On The Menu Monday at The Stone Gable and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Real Food 101 at Ruth's Real Food and the Hearth and Soul Hop with Premeditated Leftovers and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and What's Cooking Wednesday at The King's Court IV and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and Pennywise Platter Thursday at the Nourishing Gourmet and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Creative Genius at The Creative Paige.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Allergy-Friendly Virtual Dinner Party

Antique Cookbook at Etsy

Welcome to my latest fantasy event... today I would like to invite you to my "house" for a virtual dinner party!  Imagine we're sitting around a lovely dining room table, lit by candles, and I'm bringing you course after course of delicious, gourmet, allergy-friendly food.  (While you're at it, feel free to imagine that I live in an enormous house overlooking the ocean.)

Planning a sit-down dinner for friends is a lot of fun, but can be challenging when you are trying to avoid multiple food allergens.  Most of my favorite recipes from my old cookbooks don't work when I'm trying to be allergy-free (see my vintage Worcester Evening Post Prize Cookbook above! )

I surfed the 'Net this week and linked up my favorite recipes from a wide range of great food blogs... be sure to click the links to see the original posts and find the details of the recipes.  Many thanks to all the great cooks and writers out there who graciously gave me permission to use their masterpieces :)  Let's eat!


*** * ***
Allergy Free Vintage Cookery's 
VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY
*** * ***

 ~ Appetizer ~ 

from Gluten Free A to Z


~ First Courses ~

Celery & Turnip Soup
from The Intentional Minimalist



from My Darling Lemon Thyme


~ Entree ~

Cheeseless Lasagna with Hidden Veggies
from Allergy Free Vintage Cookery


Zucchini Pasta
from Italian Food Forever


~ Dessert ~

Dark Chocolate Fig Tart
from Celia at Primal Toad


Coconut Cake with Mandarin Reduction
from the Welcoming Kitchen


Thanks for coming everyone!  See you next Sunday for another allergy-friendly virtual party -- I'm thinking of a birthday party this time :)

Shared with the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Mangia Mondays at Delightfully Dowling and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever After.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Chocolate Chips



We've been working on this pancake recipe for months!  Baking without gluten, dairy or eggs is frustrating, to say the least :)  All of the pre-made gluten-free pancake mixes contained something we couldn't eat, like corn or white beans, so after much experimentation (and dozens of weird circles that called themselves pancakes but were really something else altogether), we finally put together our own baking mix that works for our favorite weekend breakfast!

To make these pancakes special, we've added sweet potatoes (as you know, I get an unnatural satisfaction from hiding vegetables in my kids' food :) ) maple sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips.  You would not believe how quiet it is at my breakfast table when the boys dig into these!  I say "we" have been working on these pancakes because Saturday morning used to be Daddy's time to cook, and his go-to recipe was always sweet potato pancakes.  This final recipe is a compilation of all of our efforts.

Gluten-Free Baking Mix (makes enough for about three batches of pancakes)

2 cups quinoa flour
1 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
2/3 cup arrowroot starch
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Daddy's Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 1/2 cup baking mix (above)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp maple sugar
3/4 cup rice milk
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 egg replacer (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water)
1 jar baby sweet potatoes
3/4 cup chocolate chips
oil, if desired, for the griddle

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (baking mix, cinnamon, ginger, maple sugar).  Stir in wet ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips.  If your batter seems too thin, add more baking mix.

Oil your griddle or frying pan, if desired, and heat to about 350 degrees F.  Spoon onto griddle and cook about 2 - 3 minutes, or until rising bubble are all popped. Flip and cook about 3 minutes more. Makes about 16 4" diameter pancakes.   Serve warm with maple syrup or fruit.

Shared with Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff  and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs and Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home and Pink Saturday at How Sweet The Sound and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever After and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Share the Love Wednesday at Very Merry Vintage Style and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and the Living Well Blog Hop at Nourishing Treasures and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and Makin' You Crave Monday at Mrs. Happy Homemaker and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Mangia Mondays at Delightfully Dowling and Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Allergy Friendly Friday with Cybele Pascal. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love #2 and Helene's Meatballs


Wow!  What a great response to our first Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love linky party!  Thank you to everyone who submitted links to great lunchbox menu ideas, and thanks to all of you who stopped by and browsed through our inspiring submissions.  By popular demand, we will definitely be running this link party every Friday... I guess it's not just me who needs new lunchbox ideas!

The post that received the most views from readers was "Pack Your Lunch," submitted by Andrea at From Seed to Stomach.  Andrea shared a whole list of ideas to fill lunchboxes with quick and healthy choices...she sounds super-organized and completely on top of the whole meal thing... something I aspire to be, but frequently fall short :)




Today I'm sharing one of my boys' favorite lunches... Meatball Wraps.  I use my grandmother's recipe for meatballs (updated to use ground turkey instead of beef), and I found some surprisingly tasty gluten-free tortillas to use for the wraps (La Tortilla Factory Ivory Teff Wraps).  The boys have access to a microwave at school, so luckily they are able to heat the meatballs... they taste so much better that way. This week I rounded out their meals with a little green salad and some sliced figs.  I love how the figs count as a fruit serving, but are so sweet they feel like dessert!

This meatball recipe is very quick to put together, but takes 3 hours to cook on the stove, or 6 hours in the slow cooker, so plan ahead.  I like to make a big batch and use them for lunches all week, but you could certainly freeze some instead.  It's kind of funny that my Irish grandmother passed down such a delicious Italian recipe, but I think someone told me she got it from a neighbor :)

Helene's Meatballs

3 lbs ground turkey (or a mixture of veal, pork and beef)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used white rice flour)

2 (24-oz) jars or cans of tomato puree
2 jars or cans of tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano


Start the sauce by combining the tomato puree, tomato paste, onion, pepper, garlic, sugar, salt and oregano, either in a large pot on the stove or in your slow cooker.  Add one 24-oz can full of water. Heat on medium on the stove, or turn your slow cooker on to high.

To make the meatballs, mix together turkey, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Roll into 1.5" diameter balls, then roll in flour and drop into sauce.  When the sauce starts to boil, turn it down to low and let simmer, covered.  On the stove, cook for three hours, stirring about once an hour so the meatballs don't stick to the bottom.  In the crock pot, cook for six hours on high.  Makes at least 25 meatballs, depending on how large you roll them.

Now let's party!  You can link up a whole lunchbox, or a recipe that's lunchbox-friendly (as many as you like).  Your submissions don't have to be free of all allergens, just the ones you're avoiding.

(Shared with the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Friday Flair at WhipperBerry and the Creative Genius at Creative Paige and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever After and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Crash Hot Potatoes


This is one of the easiest appetizers you'll ever make.  You may have seen this recipe around the Internet... I found it on Vegan Yum Yum, who saw it on Pioneer Woman, who got it from a reader in Australia.  And now, I'm passing it on to you!

Earlier this week I posted a recipe for gnocchi using baked potatoes.  All I needed was the insides of those potatoes... leaving me with twelve scooped-out potato halves.  In one of those great flashes of inspiration, I remembered seeing the Crash Hot Potatoes recipe a while back, but of course I couldn't put my hands on it right that minute.  Luckily, this recipe is so easy I was able to make it from memory :)

These come out just like the potato skins from your favorite restaurant, but they're not fried so the calorie count is much more reasonable.  You can top them with anything you like, but we loved them with just salt and parsley.  The boys scarfed them down and begged for more!  In the original recipe (which I finally found), whole baby red potatoes are used and boiled.  Obviously that's a perfectly fine option if you don't have potato skins lying around, but I loved that I was able to create another dish from the leftovers of my gnocchi baking.

My Crash Hot Potatoes

Scooped out skins from six baked potatoes
2 Tbsp of your favorite oil
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Press down each hollowed-out potato half with a potato masher, or just a big spoon.  Sprinkle with olive oil and salt.  Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.


Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Making You Crave Monday at Mrs. Happy Homemaker and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Simple Lives Thursday at Culinary Bliss and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and Gastronomical Sovereignty

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why do we crave the foods we are allergic to?

Merlin, Arlene and Elliott, three of the six Barnett children, 1944

One of the most frustrating aspects of food allergy is that many of us begin to crave the very foods we are allergic to.  One would think that ingesting a substance that the body views as a poison would produce such unpleasant symptoms that we'd go out of our way to avoid it, but unfortunately this is often not the case.

According to a leading allergy specialist, "frequent contact with allergenic foods triggers a rise in the brain opioid enkephalin. The enkephalin is a narcotic produced by the body that is as addictive as externally supplied narcotics."  (http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/health_food_addiction.html)


Apparently, our first exposures to allergens result in acute unpleasant reactions (most of which occur when we are very young), but if the food is constantly ingested, the body begins to build up defenses that mask the original symptoms.  Addiction follows, as continuous exposure causes the body to "need" the offending substance in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms.  


It is only much later that unpleasant symptoms override the addictive high we feel when we eat allergenic foods.  Long-term exposure causes a number of serious illnesses, including obesity, migraines, heart disease and diabetes.  


How can we possibly become addicted to something our body tries to eradicate?  It's a lot like becoming addicted to cigarettes.  The first puffs taste terrible and make us feel sick, but we force ourselves to continue (for whatever reason), and eventually we don't hate smoking so much.  Soon, we are craving cigarettes and can't stop smoking them, even though they are doing terrible things to our bodies.  We must have a cigarette to feel good, and feel terrible when we are denied our nicotine. 


Eating allergenic foods can actually cause a euphoric feeling, akin to the high one would receive from narcotic drugs.  Our bodies are trying to adapt to these toxic substances, but in doing so they are putting us in more danger by creating a cycle of addiction.  We only feel good when we are constantly ingesting poisonous substances... it certainly makes it hard to stop eating allergens.  One allergy website notes, "Ideally, one should feel no better or worse after eating a specific food.  If you do, then suspect a food sensitivity." (http://www.karinya.com/alrgies.htm)


As a child, I disliked milk, cheese and eggs intensely.  No one knew it, but I was allergic to both dairy and eggs.  Unfortunately, the popular wisdom of the day encouraged parents to feed their children these items daily for optimal health.  So, as many young children do, I sat at the dinner table gulping down foods I couldn't stand, grimacing all the way.  


Eventually, I started to choose to eat dairy and eggs, just so I could fit in with other people... pizza parties, cocktail parties with cheese and crackers, breakfast buffets with omelettes... it seemed as though I couldn't join into any social activities without eating these items.  I was sort of proud of myself for expanding my palate and eating more "grown-up" dishes.  I never realized that my body had been trying to tell me to avoid dairy and eggs.


When my infant son was diagnosed with dairy and egg allergies, I eliminated both of these from my diet while he was nursing.  I noticed a number of odd symptoms disappeared at this time, but I didn't really suspect an allergy in myself.  When my food restrictions were lifted, I went back to eating my "favorite foods," which by now included dairy and eggs at the top of the list.  I often found myself craving cheese and quiche-like casseroles in times of stress, and as soon as I ate them I felt wonderful.  I chalked up my subsequent bouts with irritability, moodiness, fatigue and depression to living with a food allergic baby who hardly slept, cried constantly, and was a living diarrhea machine.  I was caught in a vicious cycle.  


After six years of feeling miserable (yes, it takes me a while to get around to taking care of myself), I finally had my food allergies tested, and am now trying to follow an allergen-free diet.  It's not easy.  I still crave cheese, I still find eating non-allergenic foods boring because they don't give me the rush that my allergenic foods do, I still struggle every time I go out to stay away from my favorite foods. 


My allergist suggested I follow an elimination diet for three months, then try re-introducing foods one at a time to see if the extended break allowed my body to become less sensitive to some of the allergens.  Nope.  I had a *spectacular* meal last weekend at a restaurant -- Red Robin's new Octoberfest burger.  Pretzel bun, burger, caramelized onions, spicy mustard, thin-sliced ham -- with a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, I was in heaven.  For a while.  Then life started to suck.  


I am not supposed to eat gluten, ground beef, onions, vinegar (in the mustard) or cured meats (the ham)... or alcohol.  That's every single thing on my plate that night.  What was I thinking?  I think I was having a severe case of wishful thinking, or possibly abject denial.  I *wanted* that burger more than I wanted anything else.  I *needed* to eat that burger (there was a picture of it on the table) or else I would not be happy.  Ever.  I convinced myself that I could have all this stuff once and it wouldn't be a big deal.  


Not the case.  I won't get into all the gory details, but my worst symptoms came back with a vengeance, and have lasted for a good week.  I knew better, but I fell off the wagon.  Time to climb back on and try, try again.  It's an addiction, so I shouldn't beat myself up, but I do feel as though I should be able to control my food intake more carefully.  Has anyone else experienced the challenge of food addiction?  What do you do when you *must* have that food item that you know will make you feel good now but bad later?  




Shared with Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Fat Tuesday at The Real Food Forager and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coconut Date Balls



This recipe is one of my favorites to make at Christmastime.  It's an old family recipe that's been passed down since the invention of Rice Krispies :)  As I was searching around for something yummy to make for Teatime Tuesday, I came across my old, rumpled recipe card (entitled Frying Pan Cookies, typed and reproduced using carbon paper) and thought "Aha! These can be made allergy-free with just a few minor changes."  Originally, this recipe contained eggs and butter.  I left out the eggs and substituted coconut oil for the butter, and the cookies taste just like they're supposed to!  (Phew!  I never know what might happen when I start messing with old recipes.) Enjoy :)

Coconut Date Balls

2 cups chopped dried dates
1 cup demerara sugar
3 Tbsp coconut oil
2 cups Rice Krispies (some stores carry brown rice varieties)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut

In a large frying pan, combine dates, sugar and coconut oil and cook gently on low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally, and watch carefully -- if the dates burn, your cookies will turn out tooth-crackingly hard.

When the dates appear melted and soft, stir in the Rice Krispies, vanilla and salt.  (By melted, I don't mean that the dates are completely liquified.  They will still have some shape, but some of their edges will have melted and mixed with the sugar.

Let cool for a few minutes, then roll date mixture into balls and roll in coconut.  The hot sugar can be hard to handle, so be careful, but don't wait too long -- if the dates cool totally you won't be able to get them to stick to the Rice Krispies.

You can set these in mini cupcake liners to keep them from sticking together.  Store in a closed container for up to a week.

Shared with Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations and Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and Tea Time Tuesday at the Rose Chintz Cottage and A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life and Tuesday Tea for Two at The Plumed Pen and Tabletop Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life and the Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy and Tuesday Time Out at Reasons to Skip the Housework and Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training and Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff and Totally Tasty Tuesday at Mandy's Recipe Box and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Crazy Sweet Tuesday at Crazy for Crust and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and What's Cooking Wednesday at the Kings Court IV and Success U at The Stuff of Success and Whisking Wednesday at A Pinch of This That and The Other and Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Sweet Tooth Friday at Alli n Son and Vintage Recipe Thursday at Joy of Desserts and Sweets This Week at Sugar Bananas and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies at The Traveling Spoon and Cookie Exchange 2011 at Art of Dessert and Recipe of the Week: Cookies at Family Fresh Meals and Healing with Food Friday

Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Tomatoes



I've always been in awe of people who make their own pasta... it seems so elaborate and tricky.  We received a pasta making machine as a gift years and years ago, and despite our best efforts, only managed to wring out a few sad, thick noodles.  I was amazed then when my husband (VintageDad) decided to attempt to make gnocchi a few weeks ago.  I rolled my eyes and wished him luck, then made myself very busy setting the table and making salads.  Much to my surprise, his gnocchi turned out GREAT, especially when paired with a fresh pesto from our little basil patio pots.  I felt so cosmopolitan!

VintageDad is traveling this week for work, but something about this beautiful fall weather prompted me to give his recipe a shot.  I was expecting it to be hard, messy work, but it really wasn't.  The fact that I didn't have to fool with rolling out thin noodles made things a lot easier too.  Shaping the gnocchi felt like playing with Play Doh!

I served mine with a new batch of dairy-free pesto (see my recipe here) and some awesome roasted tomatoes.  I made the basil first and set it aside, then quartered several tomatoes and set them in the oven to roast with oil and salt, then attacked the gnocchi.  While the method is very simple, you will be busy watching your batches boil -- each one only takes a minute or so -- so don't plan on setting a pot on the stove then moving on to do something else.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi

6 medium potatoes
1 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
2 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper

Bake the potatoes in the microwave for about 2 minutes per potato (don't forget to poke with a fork; leave whole and with skin on).  Let cool slightly, then cut in half and scoop out the pulp.  Reserve empty skins for another recipe (see Crash Potatoes later this week).

Meanwhile, mix flours in a large bowl.  Add the potatoes, salt, pepper and oil and mash.  Knead for 3 minutes, then shape into a rectangle.  Slice your rectangle into eight equal ribbons.  Take each ribbon and roll into a snake shape.  Cut each snake into 1/2" pieces, and press each piece lightly with a fork.

Boil gnocchi in small batches.  As soon as the pieces start to float, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a casserole dish.  When all of the gnocchi are cooked, re-warm them in the oven (add a little cooking liquid if they seem dry, but don't add too much or they'll start to break apart).

Serve with pesto (you can thin your pesto with some of the gnocchi cooking liquid) and roasted tomatoes.

Shared with Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist and the Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead and Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Mangia Monday at Delightfully Dowling and On the Menu Monday at The Stone Gable and Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven and Family Friendly Food Week at Serenity Now and Made by You Monday at Skip to my Lou and the Hearth and Soul Hop at 21st Century Housewife and the Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mommy and Tuesday Time Out at Reasons to Skip the Housework and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training and Tuesdays at the Table at All The Small Stuff and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace and Totally Tasty Tuesday at Mandy's Recipe Box and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at The Gluten Free Homemaker and What's Cooking Wednesday at The King's Court IV and Share the Love Wednesday at Very Merry Vintage Style and Whisking Wednesday at A Pinch of This That and The Other and Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooked and Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs and Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home and Allergy-Friendly Friday at Cybele Pascal and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Allergy Free Wednesday at Tessa the Domestic Diva.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Virtual Allergy-Friendly Tea Party

Vintage Handkerchief at Etsy


Last Sunday I debuted my first virtual event, a picnic featuring allergy-friendly menu items from food bloggers all over the Internet.  It was fun to surf the 'Net and find all of the great recipes, but it was even more fun to read everyone's comments about how they enjoyed seeing all the foods in one place!  

Based on the great response, I've decided to make my virtual events a weekly post.  Check back here each Sunday to see what allergy-friendly foods I'd serve at my fantasy events!  

Today I'm imagining a tea party (and you know how much I love tea parties!)  Many thanks to all the great bloggers who've shared their skills with the rest of us... cooking for the allergic family can be quite a challenge!  Click the links to see the original recipes ... there are some great allergy-free websites out there!  Happy Virtual Tea Party :)

*** * ***
Allergy Free Vintage Cookery's 
VIRTUAL TEA PARTY
*** * ***

Elegant Easy Party Puffs
from Gluten Free Easily


Allergy Free Tea Sandwiches
from Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

from Allergy Free Mom


Rhubarb Scones
from Domestic Diva


Double Chocolate Chip Scones
from Real Food Allergy Free


Strawberry Almond Tarts
from Simply Gluten Free

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes
from Living the Allergic Life to the Fullest


Pineapple Lemonade 
from Our Jubilant Nest




Shared with Whatcha Got Weekend at LollyJane Boutique and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Friday Flair at WhipperBerry and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.