Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: November 2011

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apple Cider Reduction


Cooking for a family with multiple food allergies can get tiring after a while, so it's a real treat when someone else makes an allergy-friendly dish for us.  At Thanksgiving, Uncle Mike brought a delicious squash and apple side dish to dinner that we all loved, and he was kind enough to share the recipe with me so I could share it with you!  Mike is a chef at the Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany, New York, and he whips up organic and vegan foods for a living, so you can be sure this dish is yummy :)  Thanks Uncle Mike!


Roasted Butternut Squash with Apple Cider Reduction

2 medium butternut squash
2 large apples (Galas are good)
1 large bunch of kale
12 chestnuts
2 to 3 cups of walnuts
4 cups apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp mulling cider spice

Peel and de-seed butternut. Cut into bite-size cubes, coat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, then roast in a 350 degree oven until fork tender.

Cut an X into the skin of the chestnuts. Roast them in the oven while the squash is roasting. Let them cool a little then peel and chop.

Chop and toast the walnuts on a baking sheet.

Peel and cut apples into bite size cubes. Put apple cider, apple cider vinegar and spices in a pot.  Bring to a boil then simmer and let it reduce for at least 15 minutes.  Add the apples at the last 5 minutes.

De-rib and rough chop the kale.  Pour the apple cider mixture over the it and stir well until the kale softens.  Add squash, walnuts and chestnuts and mix well.  Serve warm.

Chef Mike at Honest Weight

Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and The Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Traditional Tuesday at Whole New Mom and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable and the Homemaking LinkUp at Raising Homemakers and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFLGLINS and Wellness Weekend at Diet Dessert and Dogs and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and A Gluten Free Holiday at Daily Bites.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Triple Cute Blog Award and A Follower Milestone!


I am so touched to have received the Triple Cute Blog Award from Michelle at The G-Free Wifey... it encompasses the Cutest Blog Award, The Circle of Friends Award and the Kreative Blogger Award.  Wow!  Three in one :)

Michelle's blog is a great gluten-free resource.  She is a very talented baker and sugar decorator, and the fact that her creations are gluten free is even more inspiring!  Check out The G-Free Wifey for some amazing cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and more.  Take a minute and peruse the site... you're sure to find something wonderful to make tonight!

The protocol for the Triple Cute Blog Award is to pass it on to seven other bloggers whose sites you admire and visit frequently.  I'd like to mention several of my favorite blogs... sites that feature allergy friendly recipes that I'd like to make myself.  Hop on over and see what they have to offer... it's much more fun than Christmas shopping at that insanely crowded mall (and there's no pepper spray in sight!)

My Seven Favorite Blogs









I'm so honored to be working in the company of these talented ladies, all of us trying to make life a little easier for food allergy sufferers.  Thanks again Michelle, and cheers to my seven favorite bloggers!

One little note... I just hit the 100 follower mark!  Thanks so much to all the wonderful people who read this little blog and take the time to comment and follow :)



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Individual Lentil Shepherd's Pies



My mother-in-law was a rabid crafter whose ceramic creations could be found everywhere in her home.  Since her passing ten years ago, we've slowly inherited many of those creations, which makes my husband very happy as they remind him of his childhood home.  The dishes above were probably meant for mini souffles, but as I was making my umpteenth shepherd's pie the other night, I spotted them and thought, "Hey!  Mini pies!"  Anything to make a regular dinner seem more fun, right?

This recipe is an adaptation of one I saw online, but of course my computer crashed before I could record the website info, and even looking back through my internet history I can't find the page!  I did change the recipe to make it allergy free, but I hate not being able to give credit to the original source.  (I think it has something to do with Oldest Child Guilt.)  In any case, this lentil filling doesn't resemble meat, but still tastes earthy and filling with the addition of the steak-friendly flavors.

Individual Lentil Shepherd's Pies

1 package dry lentils
1/2 package frozen spinach (5 oz.)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp red wine
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp steak seasoning (*see note)
1 cup hazelnut flour
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups leftover mashed potatoes (made with oil and rice milk)

Cook the lentils in water according to the package directions.  In a large pot, combine the spinach, garlic, wine, soy sauce and seasoning.  Heat to thaw the spinach, then add the cooked lentils.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in hazelnut flour.

Spoon filling equally into six small ramekins.  Top with 1 cup mashed potatoes on each.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

*Note:  I used a Williams Sonoma product called Steakhouse Rub as my seasoning.  It contains garlic, onion, worcestershire, mustard seeds, sugar, coriander and tamarind.  You might like to substitute your favorite steak sauce, but you may need to reduce the liquid in your filling to compensate.  


Shared with Sunday School at Butter Believer and Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist and Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's For Dinner Mom? and the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead and the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Minestrone and Lunchbox Love 11


Welcome to our weekly Friday feature, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love!  This link party is specifically for your dishes that will travel well in a lunchbox, and if they're free of some (or all) of the top eight food allergens, that's even better :)

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday yesterday!  I'm still out of town hanging out with the relatives, so for my lunchbox feature today I'm linking back to a recipe I posted a few months ago.  This Quick Minestrone Soup is so simple to make, and is a nice warm treat on a cold day.  Make a big batch and your lunch-eaters will have something yummy for a whole week!

Our Lunchbox Love features today are two clever bento lunchboxes and a yummy reader's choice dessert.  Food Corner submitted her first bento lunch, a rice onigiri in the shape of a heart that forms the flowerpot beneath charming flowers made of carrots and green onions.  Such a fun way to deliver a healthy lunch!  Welcome to the Jungle shared a healthy baked eggroll, stuffed with high-protein beans and other Southwest deliciousness.  Little packages of food always look so much more appetizing than bigger versions, don't they?  Then, our readers most-clicked link is Heather's Pumpkin Dessert from Gluten Free Cat.  This looks so wonderful - thick and sweet - and I'm afraid when I make it I'll have to lock it up so I don't eat the entire thing in one sitting!

Click on the links above the photos to see all the details...

from Food Corner


from Welcome to the Jungle



at Gluten Free Cat


And now it's time for this week's link party.  I know many of you are still on holiday, but I thought I'd just give everyone the opportunity to share anyway!  What did you pack for lunch this week?

Shared with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Friday Food at MomTrends and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Shine On Friday at One Artsy Mama and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever AFter and Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My Face.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

(Yes, I know this is a birthday photo, but it was taken in my grandparents' dining room, which was the scene of many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners!  Somehow I didn't inherit any of those shots :) )

Have a great time today with your families, and good luck with the allergy-free eating!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Do You Handle People Who Don't "Get" Food Allergies?

Ken Barnett and his mother Hattie Kloss Barnett

'Tis the season again!  No, not that one.  I mean the season where we food allergy sufferers get together with long-lost relatives who want so much to feed us things we can't eat, and don't understand why we won't eat them.

When I first started writing this blog, I posted several entries that explained food allergies in simple terms. I was hoping that our friends and neighbors would read these, commit them to memory, and never ask me what we could eat again.  Ha!  If life was that simple, psychiatrists would never work again.

Unfortunately, people to whom I've explained food allergies and food sensitivities to in detail have been acting like they never heard a word I said.  Apparently, my voice sounds like all the adults in the Charlie Brown movies -- wah wah wah-wah wah wah-wah.  (You get what I'm trying to do there, right?  It's that funny trumpet sound that replaces all the words an adult might say?  Ok, now you can think about that piano riff ...)

Guests bring cheese and crackers over for a party, despite the fact that we can't eat dairy or gluten.  Teachers offer our kids donuts and candy in school, even though they've seen the email listing all the allergens (like corn syrup).  Moms on the soccer team bring fruit roll-ups for snack, but the kids can't eat apples or grapes.

Despite the fact that I'm whining about feeling like our needs aren't being taken seriously, I very rarely say anything to these people directly.  I hate spoiling a good time, and I hate being seen as high maintenance, so I usually smile politely and just eat something else (or whisper to the kids that I'll get them something when we get home.)

Part of the problem is that our allergies aren't simple or common.  Most people understand the seriousness of a peanut allergy, and are careful about offering peanut-free foods if they can.  Our allergies are of the non-anaphylactic kind, which tends to make people think we can make exceptions to our food rules if we want to.  And that's true, we can get away with eating certain foods occasionally because our symptoms aren't life-threatening.  That's not to say that they're not uncomfortable, and we wouldn't prefer to avoid dealing with them when we can. (Think stomach ache, migraine, itchy rashes, diarrhea, etc.)

Also, we're allergic to odd foodstuffs like carrots, pears, cashews, strawberries and bananas -- things that most people view as healthy and wonderful.  When my son was in first grade, he was choosing items from a buffet in his classroom.  Most were dessert items, but there was a bit of fruit and cheese as well.  A well-meaning mom who didn't know him put some cheese on his plate, thinking she was giving him something healthy to balance out the sugary things he had chosen.  He was old enough to know he wasn't supposed to eat the cheese, but he ate it anyway because an adult had given it to him.  It's that kind of thing that's the hardest to deal with -- people who are trying to be nice.

Beyond that, though, I'm starting to get really aggravated with people who understand full well that we can't eat certain things, but choose not to go out of their way to make sure they have the appropriate stuff to offer us.  I just don't get it.

Now the holidays are here, and it's time to eat potluck at relatives' houses again.  How are you feeling about that?  (sigh)  I'm kind of feeling invisible (not because of my relatives - just in general).   Is it that people just don't understand and don't want to ask?  I am kind of at a loss.

What do you do on holidays when you must deal with people who don't "get" food allergies?  I'd love to hear your stories.

Shared with Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Traditional Tuesday at Whole New Mom and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Autumn Spice Truffle Bites



Raise your hand if you think dessert is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner!  I thought so.  Today I'm going to share with you a recipe that I've been fooling around with for a week now.  The flavors were there, but the texture was tricky.  I wanted to make a simple truffle that wasn't chocolate-based.... something that said "autumn" and was rich, sweet, and small so one bite was just enough.

After many sad attempts, after which my son asked "Where's that bowl of glop that was in the fridge?  I was going to have a spoonful!",  I finally stumbled upon the right proportions to keep this dessert solid at room temperature.  I had been working from recipes I'd seen elsewhere for truffles based on condensed milk, which is a little tricky to substitute for....lots of sweet stuff out there, but nothing quite as thick.

The center of this amazing truffle is a rich combination of sweet and savory that's reminiscent of a thick spice cake... brown rice syrup provides the sweetness, graham cracker crumbs give it body, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves evoke autumn, and mashed sweet potatoes give it a pumpkin-y flavor and slight seasonal orange shade.

I rolled mine in powdered sugar, but be careful not to do this too far ahead of serving time, as the sugar tends to melt into the moist center and disappear.  I also rolled another batch in miniature chocolate chips, and these became the boys' favorite.  These truffle bites would look adorable in tiny seasonal cupcake liners, or displayed on a tiered serving dish.


Autumn Spice Truffle Bites

1 package S'moreables GF graham crackers, crushed into crumbs in a food processor (makes 2 cups)
1 jar baby sweet potatoes
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
powdered sugar (organic, with no cornstarch) - optional
mini chocolate chips (allergy free) - optional

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the powdered sugar and the chocolate chips.  Set bowl in freezer for at least 2 hours, until mixture becomes hard enough to roll into balls.

Roll batter into 1" balls, then roll in powdered sugar or chocolate chips (or both!).  Eat immediately, or return to fridge or freezer to keep the balls from getting too soft.

(Note: If you are avoiding white sugar, skip the powdered sugar and roll in demerara sugar.)

Shared with Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and the Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers and Traditional Tuesday at Whole New Mom and Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage and Tuesday Time Out at Reasons to Skip the Housework and Joy of Desserts and Anti Procrastination Tuesday at New Nostalgia and Crazy Sweet Tuesday at Crazy for Crust and Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training and Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead and Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff and Sunday School at Butter Believer and Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos and Friday Food at MomTrends and Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Stitch Stir and Straighten at Not Your Ordinary Recipes and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and the Homemaking LinkUp at Raising Homemakers and Tastetastic Thursday at A Little Nosh and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and On The Menu Monday at The Stone Gable and 12 Days of Christmas Goodies at Mom's Crazy Cooking.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy Parsnip Fries


I've got another fun side dish for you today that would make a great addition to your allergy-free Thanksgiving table.  These oven fries couldn't be simpler, and their sweet/spicy flavor is a wonderful contrast to the typical heavy Thanksgiving dishes.  I'm still having fun with my spice mix collection... in this recipe I used a Shawarma spice mix by Ajika, but I've included a note below about how to make your own.

Want to have more fun?  Set these on the table and challenge your guests to guess what they're made of :)

Spicy Parsnip Fries

1 pound of parsnips, peeled and sliced into fries
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 Tbsp Shawarma spice mix

Shawarma Spice Mix

1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


Place the sliced parsnips in a large plastic freezer bag.  Pour in the oil, seal the bag, and toss around to mix the oil onto all the parsnips.  Open the bag and add the spice mix, then seal again and toss some more.  Dump out the veggies onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly.  Roast at 375 degrees F for about 30 - 40 minutes.  Check any very skinny parsnips earlier to prevent burning.  Serve warm.

Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's For Dinner Mom? and Real Food 101 at Ruth's Real Food and the Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead and Meatless Monday at Midnight Maniac and My Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory and Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures and Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My Face and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Stitch Stir and Straighten at Not Your Ordinary Recipes and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Frugally Sustainable at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways and Midweek Fiesta at Food Corner and Wellness Weekend and Sweet or Savory Challenge at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trail Mix Cornucopia and Lunchbox Love 10


Welcome to our weekly Friday feature, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love!  This link party is specifically for your dishes that will travel well in a lunchbox, and if they're free of some (or all) of the top eight food allergens, that's even better :)

Just a few days left until Thanksgiving, and I'm still having fun playing with my food!  Holidays are a great excuse to turn something ordinary into something special, and food is no exception.  Why have a plain ol' Tupperware container of trail mix, when you can have a Thanksgiving Cornucopia instead?  Yes, I know, this can hardly be considered a recipe, but when you think about how happy your little guys will be when they find these in their lunchboxes, how can you not try it?

Last week we stumbled upon gluten-free ice cream cones at our local Whole Foods (brand: Edward and Sons), and we've been thinking up weird ways to use them ever since.  A traditional, pointy-ended cone would look more authentic as a cornucopia holder, but so far we haven't found those with allergy-free ingredients.

For our trail mix, we used hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch Granola (which we recently received a sample of from the company).  Shanon from Food Farm Health linked up a more elaborate Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola recipe last week which is similar, but better, if you'd like to have a look.

 You can certainly create your own trail mix using any items to which you are not allergic, but do consider including the Enjoy Life granola -- it's very good.  We've found all the Enjoy Life products we've tried to be very sweet, which works well to hide any off-flavors from any allergen substitutes.  The Bear Naked granola, for example, tastes very sawdusty and a little cardboard-y in comparison.

Now, have a look at our two features from last week's link party.  I'm a sucker for adorable Bento boxes, and Diana Rambles posted a charming one featuring "onigiri" rice people.  I love that this lunch is rice-based so it's automatically gluten-free, and it's so cute that your child will be the envy of all of his friends at the lunch table... rather than the outcast who "can't eat sandwiches."  (Plus, this lunch is winking at me.  I'm easily charmed!)

from Diana Rambles



I've also featured a clever recipe from Penniless Parenting for a gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread that would be yummy with a little coconut spread in a lunchbox, or even some pumpkin butter.  Most cornbread combines cornmeal with wheat flour, but PP uses a mix of rice and teff flour along with her cornmeal, plus coconut oil and non-dairy milk to complete the package.

from Penniless Parenting


I'd also like to mention a great trick from Gluten Free A to Z for keeping your cut apples from browning in a lunchbox.  Check it out here.

And now it's time for this week's link party!  What did you pack for lunch this week?

Shared with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Creative Genius at The Creative Paige and Shine On Friday at One Artsy Mama and Friday Free For All at Cooking at Cafe D and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Friday Food at MomTrends and Foodie Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and What's For Lunch Wednesday at What's For Lunch at  Our House and Success U at The Stuff of Success and the Homemaking Link Up at Raising Homemakers and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Show Off Your Stuff at Six Sisters' Stuff and Weekend Wrap UP at Tatertots and Jello and Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Family Time Tuesday at Celebrating Family and Stitch Stir and Straighten at Not Your Ordinary Recipes.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hypothyroidism and Food Allergies

Genevieve Doyle Lynch circa 1900

As I mentioned in a recent post, I've added hypothyroidism to my list of health issues to deal with.  The thyroid is an important gland that regulates metabolism, among other things.  An underactive thyroid is a common ailment, affecting about 5% of the US population.  Most sources suggest that hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder with a variety of causes.  Hormone imbalance, pregnancy, radiation exposure and iodine deficiency are all possible causes, as is heredity.  Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, depression, cold intolerance, joint and muscle pain, heavy periods, forgetfulness, hoarseness, and more.

In my research, I've come across several references to the high correlation between gluten intolerance and hypothyroidism.  This link appears poorly-researched at present, but initial studies suggest that the percentage of individuals with hypothyroidism who are also gluten intolerant (3.4%) is higher than the percentage of the general population who are gluten intolerant (0.2 - 0.6%).

This is not a causal relationship, as yet.  In other words, gluten intolerance does not cause hypothyroidism, nor does hypothyroidism cause gluten intolerance... they just tend to be found together more often than chance would suggest.  In fact, the authors of "Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat," Roger Deutsch and Rudy Rivera MD, claim "autoimmune disease (hypothyroidism) and food allergies are almost always found to occur together."

Why?  One theory is that gluten intolerance "may be triggered after infection by a type of virus that biologically resembles the protein in gluten.  After the infection, the body cannot distinguish between the invading virus and the gluten protein, and subsequently, the body reacts allergically, releasing mucous into the intestinal tract upon gluten exposure, causing damage to the intestines." (from The Celiac/Autoimmune Thyroid Connection by Mary Shomon.)

In some patients, eating a gluten-free diet for 3 to 6 months can reverse their hypothyroidism.  It's been difficult to find many scientific resources to back up these claims, but I did find an interesting anecdotal post from a person with food allergies and thyroid disease who was able to significantly mediate her symptoms with an elimination diet (Food Allergies and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease).

While this potential connection is interesting, the stories I am reading are also frustrating, as they seem to indicate that it will take up to 2 years to heal a leaky gut caused by ingesting food allergens, and thus it will be a matter of years, not months, until I feel better and can eat more freely.

Has anyone else had experience with thyroid disease and food allergies?  I'd love to hear your stories...


Shared with Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Sunday School at Butter Believer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Allergy Friendly Chicken Soup


Who doesn't love a good chicken soup?  Normally this comforting taste of home features carrots and onions, but we need to avoid these.  I wish the boys weren't allergic to carrots, but all three of them are... I never heard of such a thing until we were tested!  If you take the carrots out of chicken soup, you are left with a pot of anemic-looking pasta and chicken, which isn't very appetizing, no matter how good it smells :)

To make our soup more interesting-looking, I added a beautiful yellow beet and some sliced leeks.  The beets are sweet, just like the carrots would be, and the leeks add a lovely splash of dark green color.  Dill is my favorite dried herb... the smell of it makes me think of farm stands for some reason!  I poached my chicken in a separate pot before I added it to the broth.  This way the scum stays behind, and the poaching makes the chicken mouth-wateringly moist and tender.  This soup can be made with completely organic ingredients, which boosts its reputation as an excellent supporter of good health!

Allergy Friendly Chicken Soup

3 chicken breasts, poached then diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 yellow beet, peeled diced
1 large leek, sliced
1 Tbsp dried dill
1 - 2 cups dry rice pasta
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until pasta and beets are tender.  Makes about 4 servings.

Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Real Food 101 at Ruth's Real Food and the Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead and Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures and Hunk of Meat Monday at Beyer Beware and Mingle Monday at Add A Pinch and On The Menu Monday at The Stone Gable and Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven 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 Sunday Night Soup Night at Easy Natural Food.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Allergy Friendly Virtual Baby Shower

Vintage Luncheon Set on Etsy
I'm going to be an Auntie in January!  My sister is expecting her first child (a boy), and today is her baby shower, so in honor of this festive occasion, I am posting an allergy-friendly baby shower menu!  Now we can all join in the fun :)

I just love tea parties, so imagine that this virtual party has a charming tea party theme, and all the food is dainty, pink and blue.  To set the mood, here are a few lovely images for you...

Image from Design Scouting

Image from Nantucket Rose

*** * ***
Allergy Free Vintage Cookery's 
VIRTUAL BABY SHOWER
*** * ***


*** Beverages ***




*** Brunch ***

Coconut Lime Scones from Allergy Free Vintage Cookery






*** Dessert ***







*** Welcome Baby! ***



Shared with Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever After and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Anything Goes at Bacon Time and Thanksgiving Showcase at Passionately Artistic and Bedazzle Me Monday at Everything Under the Moon and Success U at The Stuff of Success and Creative Juice at Momnivore's Dilemma and Happiness Is at Rub Some Dirt On It and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Silly Turkey Sandwiches and Lunchbox Love 9


Welcome to our weekly Friday feature, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love!  This link party is specifically for your dishes that will travel well in a lunchbox, and if they're free of some (or all) of the top eight food allergens, that's even better :)

Meet my little friend Tommy Turkey!  I've been seeing cute little lunchbox turkeys all over the place, mostly made with cheese, but Tommy here is allergy-free.  He's made with a gluten-free, egg-free English muffin, carrots, red peppers, and pineapple feathers, uncured salami legs, pea eyes, and a little carrot beak.  You might like to spread Tommy with some hummus or nut butter, or even coconut butter to keep his facial features in place... my little tester declared he wanted his turkey naked.

Today's features from last week's link party include a delicious, dairy-free chocolate milkshake from Gluten Free Pantry (who wouldn't want to find one of these in their lunchbox?), and an adorable bento lunchbox from the Keeley McGuire Blog featuring charming little "sandwich balls" arranged in the shape of a rabbit.  How sweet!  Be sure to click the links to their sites to see all the details.


from Gluten Free Pantry



from the Keeley McGuire Blog


And now for this week's link-up!  What did you pack for lunch this week?

Shared with Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Creative Genius at The Creative Paige and Anything Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Friday Food at MomTrends and Foodie Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and the Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers and What's For Lunch Wednesday at What's For Lunch At Our House and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Strut Your Stuff at Six Sisters' Stuff and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Seasonal Inspiration at Crumbs and Chaos and Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Shine On Friday at One Artsy Mama and Thanksgiving Showcase at Passionately Artistic and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Mingle Monday at Add A Pinch and Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff and Thanksgiving Traditions at JDaniel4's Mom and Family Time Tuesday at Celebrating Family and Stitch Stir and Straighten at Not Your Ordinary Recipes.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coconut Red Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash



I haven't had a lot of experience cooking red lentils, so when I found myself staring into my pantry at several bags worth, and not much else, I wasn't sure what direction I should take.  Some ingredients practically tell you what to make with them.... corn just says chowder, for example, or sweet potatoes yell "fries!" at me.  (What? They don't do that to you?  Hmmmm...)

Luckily, I decided to ask my trusty computer for some help.  When I googled "red lentil soup" the very first recipe (on Allrecipe) featured butternut squash, which happened to be the only vegetable in my fridge.  I took that as a sign.

I did need to make a few substitutions because I was missing a few other ingredients, but I was very happy with the result.  Given the amount of time I had stood staring into that pantry, the chances of us having a dinner that we all enjoyed were relatively slim.  Even Picky Eater ate some soup, and even deigned to tell me that it "wasn't that bad."  :)

The coconut milk in this soup gives it a lovely creamy texture, and the red lentils cook down to the consistency of rice (but with all the wonderful protein of a legume).  The spices are quite mild, letting the squash shine.  My husband preferred a good dash of hot sauce to perk up the soup, and we ate it with a delicious, sweet and citrusy salad that cut nicely through the thickness of the squash and starch.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp mustard seed
1 cup dry red lentils
2 cups butternut squash (peeled and diced 1/2")
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups water
3/4 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, saute the onion, garlic, mustard seed and ginger in the oil until the onion is soft.  Add the lentils, squash, and parsley, and stir to coat.  Add the water, coconut milk and tomato paste, then stir to mix.  Add the spices, then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Shared with Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Sunday School at Butter Believer and Sunday Night Soup Night at Easy Natural Food and Recipe of the Week at Family Fresh Meals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Potato "Crostini"


I was casting around for an interesting appetizer recently and stumbled across Ricki's Potato Bruschetta at Diet Dessert and Dogs.  She had the spectacular idea to use sliced, roasted potatoes as a base for bruschetta instead of Italian or French bread, and topped hers with a delicious homemade pesto.  Aha! I thought.  I could do that!

As I had already given my basil plants a severe haircut, I needed to think up some other kinds of toppings.  What I came up with was a serve-yourself buffet of several "crostini" type toppings... a garlic tomato dice, a spicy eggplant baba ghanoush, and an antipasto mix of salami and black olives.  You could, of course, use any type of topping that you would normally find on a crostini.  The potatoes are just the right size and strength to hold just about anything, and the savory crusted edges plus the creamy soft centers provide a wonderful foil for strong flavors.

For the potato base

Slice several large potatoes into 1/4" round slices.  Toss with olive oil and salt, and roast in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.

For the tomato topping

Quarter several cups of red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes.  Mix with minced garlic, fresh basil, salt and olive oil.

For the antipasto topping

Quarter a dozen slices of nitrite-free, casein-free salami (we use Applegate Farms).  Display with cured black olives.  (Yes, I know this isn't meat-free or unprocessed... but the other toppings are :) )

For the eggplant dip

Slice one eggplant lengthwise and brush both sides with olive oil.  Roast on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.  (This can be done at the same time as the potatoes are roasting.)  Scoop out cooked pulp into a blender and add 1/4 cup tahini, 3 Tbsp minced garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp cumin, and salt to taste.  Blend until a paste forms.

Serve while the potatoes are still warm.

Shared with Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's For Dinner Mom? and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager and Gluten Free Wednesday at The Gluten Free Homemaker and THese Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Foodie Wednesday at Frugal Wannabe Cooks and Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers and Anything Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and The More The Merrier Monday at DIY Home Sweet Home and Gastronomical Sovereignty. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken and Butternut Squash Potpie with Maple Nutmeg Sauce



We have the weirdest combination of food allergies.  No gluten, dairy or eggs... that's pretty standard.  But also no carrots, onions, garlic, peas, or corn either... which means that our chicken pot pies are a bit unusual.  Previously, I tried making a vegetarian pot pie made completely of root vegetables.  It ended up completely pink from the beets -- pretty, but a little too strange-looking to serve to guests!

My husband is still enjoying his vegan journey, but the boys and I are back on meat again.  Son #1 was losing too much weight without the protein and calories that meat provides (and he was super-skinny to begin with), and I just didn't have enough energy.  (Side note:  apparently people with hypothyroidism need the protein and iron found in meats more than others do.)

Today's pot pie is an interesting autumn creation.  I chose butternut squash as my veggie to go with chicken in the pie filling, and made a white sauce of rice milk, coconut flour, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.... I've never tried a sweet sauce in a pot pie before, and I really liked it!  The flavor is very similar to my mashed squash recipe, and I used a coconut flour crust as well to round out the sweetness.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Pot Pie with Maple Nutmeg Sauce

4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I poached mine)
1 medium butternut squash, cooked and diced (I boiled mine)
3 cups rice milk
1 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 prepared pie crusts

This recipe makes two relatively small pies (I used two oval 11" x 6 " casserole dishes.)

Combine the chicken and the squash in your casserole dishes.  In a medium saucepot, mix the remaining ingredients and heat over medium for about 5 - 10 minutes, stirring often until thickened.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and squash.  Cover with prepared pie crusts and bake at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the crusts are browned.

Shared with Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and the Homestead Barn Hop at the Prairie Homestead and Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemaker Haven and On The Menu Monday at The Stone Gable and Mangia Monday at Delightfully Dowling and Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Hunk of Meat Monday at Beyer Beware and the Homemaking Linkup at Raising Homemakers and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for My Boys and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Farmhouse Friday at LaurieAnna's Vintage Home and the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Power Is Back! (and maybe you'd like to vote for me)


Hooray!  The power is finally back on in most of Massachusetts, and double hooray -- my Internet is working again!  I've been cooking up a storm today (wait - maybe I shouldn't mention "storm")  and will have lots of delicious recipes for you this coming week.

In the meantime, I just want to make a humble request.... I've been nominated for the Top 25 Food Allergy Mom blogs, and if you'd like to vote for me, you can do so at this link DAILY until November 16th.  I don't want to grovel, so I won't remind you every day, but if you have a minute and you'd like to vote, I would be eternally grateful :)

Thanks everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Brownies Again and Lunchbox Love 8


Welcome to our weekly Friday feature, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love!  This link party is specifically for your dishes that will travel well in a lunchbox, and if they're free of some (or all) of the top eight food allergens, that's even better :)

Last weekend we had our first Nor'easter of the season here in Massachusetts, and the unusually early snow falling on trees which still had their leaves caused a major catastrophe in the area... it seems as though there are more trees down than up!  We had no power for four days in my town, and still have no Internet at home.  Our family actually de-camped to New York City for a few days to enjoy some heat and technology :)  As a result, however, I don't have any new lunches to show you today (the kids have been out of school all week... some neighborhoods still don't have power!).  Instead, I've included one of my favorite desserts that I posted back in August... a deliciously rich Vegan Volcano Brownie that actually includes beets!  Excellent for the lunchbox.  I'll have something extra-special for you next week to make up for not having a new post today :)

This week's features from last week's link party include an adorable Halloween lunchbox from Bentomonsters, and a healthy, allergy-free pumpkin cookie from Whole New Mom.  Click the links above their photos to pop over to their sites for all the details.

from Bentomonsters


from Whole New Mom

Shared with Show off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Anything Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Weekend WRap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime and Sharing Sunday at Everyday Sisters and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever AFter and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemaker Haven and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Friday Food and Recipe Linky at MomTrends and Sunday School at Butter Believer and Melt in Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Mingle Monday at Add A Pinch and Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations and Success U at The Stuff of Success and Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff and Tasty Tuesday at 33 Shades of Green and Gluten Free Wednesday at The Gluten Free Homemaker and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.