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Exchange of the Cookies: Vegan and Allergy Friendly (GF, DF, Peanut Free)

Ever get ahead of yourself? This morning I did. Lofty Monday goals to finish this post and life did not agree, so I panicked at my alarm when an unfinished post went out. Much like making five dozen cookies to bake this weekend, I set goals and got in over my head. This is the final product of vegan cookies that my whole family can eat. That is a victory. The allergy count as of now? No gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, most tree nuts (coconut is okay), most fruits with digestive issues. So what’s left? Uh not a lot. In my experimentation, I have come to love oat flour and brown rice flour. They are easier flours to digest but not the only ones. All purpose is great for most things but I find making cookies with g free all purpose flour tends to be chalky. Ack. Oats expand and hold it all together which is great when eggs are not invited. There are egg substitutes but less is more for me. Especially in the nuances of baking. I was completely confident in my abilities to make purchases in a bakery years ago. But when vegan is the best option for allergies… it’s expensive. The years of baking frustrations followed but it’s paying off. Now, I am a straight forward and un-sophisticated baker, who has cookies for “Santa.”

My kids know Santa isn’t real. Mom and dad take credit for the presents and these cookies.

Iced Sugar Cookies

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cup Brown rice flour plus 1/4-1/2 cup extra 
  • 1/2 cup Oat flour*
  • 1/2 cup Vegan butter, soften to room temp plus 1 Tbsp set aside
  • 1/2 cup Sugar (for sweeter 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp of coconut milk**
  • Clean space to roll out dough
  • Cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters
  • Basting or pastry brush
  • Optional: food coloring

*You can opt to ground plain quick oats to a fine powder.  ** Coconut milk is best, but any milk or plant-based milk can be used to accommodate allergies or lifestyle. Rice milk is nut free and dairy free but thin. Half the amount of milk the recipe calls for.

Icing Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp Coconut milk or milk*
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Vegan Butter

Making and Baking Cookies

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  
  2. Mix sugar and butter. 
  3. Add in Vanilla Extract and 2 Tbsp of coconutmilk
  4. Dry ingredients: In a separate bowl combine brown rice flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix.
  5. Combine dry ingredients with sugar, butter, extract, and milk. Add in food coloring here.  
  6. Mix with hands or use a baking spatula.  The consistency should be that of play dough- firm but easy to shape.  Additional Tbsp of milk may need to be added- add in on Tbsp at a time.
  7. Spread 1/4 cup of brown rice flour over clean surface for dough 
  8. Place dough on flour covered surface and roll out dough to around 1/4 of an inch in thickness.  
  9. Use cookie cutters to create cookie shapes and place on parchment paper and cookie sheets.  
  10. Unused dough can be mixed and rolled out again to create more cookies.
  11. Melt 1 Tbsp of Vegan butter in a separate bowl.  Then use a basting or pastry brush to place a thin coat of butter on each cookie.  In a pinch, use clean hands to spread butter on each cookie.  Let’s be real, having basting brush was coincidental but I am not chefy enough to have a pastry brush.  Real cookies for real people. 
  12. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes.  It should be firm on the cookie surface but slightly soft.  As they cool they will harden.

Mixing the Icing

  1. This is fairly straight forward. Whisk powdered sugar, butter, and 1 tbsp of milk of choice.
  2. If it’s too thick, that extra tbsp of milk held back can be used. You can add food coloring while whisking or just leave it plain.

Now I will be honest. Straight foward right? I am crazy sensitive to sugar and knock it down a lot, especially considering the use of icing to add in sweetness. If you have a crazy sweet tooth, add in extra sugar at your own risk. Also, the texture is going to be… well not Loft cookies, those super soft ones. It’s is supposed to be a firm outside, soft in the inside and middle. (After it cools) If your conscious, food relationship, or loved ones with either are in need of a holiday treat. This is it.
I’m heading back to the kitchen for more cookies and ideas to share. Look for more soon or hit the “yes” but to the right for it to come to you.

Extra love points. Mark your boxes of what is and isn’t there.
Extremely helpful for those with dietary needs.

Namaste. Love your light in this holiday season.

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Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Simply because cannot take “no” for an answer- I had to find answer to this pasta dish and my every changing food life.  Largely because of the sauce.  So what’s wrong with the sauce? Puttenesca is a tomato sauce with a specific combinations of plants, veggies, and (most of time) anchovies.  I HATE anchovies. If I was desert and had a choice between those greasy, tiny fish and bugs.  I choose bugs. Then there is the acid factor in tomatoes.  With a few quick switch outs with some veggies, I have a delicious alternative.   I opted for campari tomatoes as they are sweeter with lower acid.  To reduce acid more, you can add in some carrot puree.  The tomatoes didn’t irritate my reflux.  Since the anchovies got to go- I went with capers to give that briny, salty taste.  Best part, is more concentrated veggies means more nutrition.  The instructions are for the sauce, your base is dealer’s choice. As complex carbs can help absorb stomach acid, I opted for a brown rice/ quinoa gluten free pasta but zoodles are just a good. 

Ingredients and Prep

  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • Oregano 1 tablespoon dried
  • Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
  • Campari tomatoes, 16 oz, quartered
  • Green or black olives sliced (2.25 oz can or I eat a specific green type, about 10 olives)
  • Capers 1-2 tablespoons
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of carrot pure

Cooking

  1. Put in diced garlic and olive oil and gentle stir for about 5-7 minutes on medium.
  2. Still on medium heat, place in diced tomatoes and oregano and cook until tomatoes have broken down plus a few minutes (25 minutes). In the last 5 minutes you can put in optional carrot puree to lower the pH level.  
  3. Put in olives and capers for additional ten minutes.  1 1/2 tablespoon of capers is enough for me. Start with 1 tablespoon and add to taste.  Do let it cook for a minute before adding. 

So what’s up with the letter’s in the title? As I began typing this recipe I realize how many dietary concerns this addresses. Basically it is a flag for whatever need you have.  Vegan- follow the V, no animal products were used in the making of this meal.  Vegetarian? VEG means no meats.  If you are gluten free, then GF.  Dairy free or watching the lactose? DF is for you because cow’s milk didn’t want to get involved.  This recipe is all of them with an low acidic conscious. Plus it’s an easy yum.  

My soul honors your soul’s individuality in your food relationship 

Namaste

Health Foodie: Teal Pumpkins and Candy Safety 👻 🎃

Health Foodie: Teal Pumpkins and Candy Safety 👻 🎃

From intolerances to “this could be an ER visit,” we are that allergy family.   We hit all of them.  Restaurants require research.  Dinners are a cultivated art of allergy free.  We meticulously plan for BBQs and get togethers.  Halloween is a search and find of labels and parental taxes.  We gotta get something out of preparing for the festivities, right?  Fortunately for the food allergy challenged, there are easy options.

  1. First things first.  Know your candy.  Know what your favorites are to negotiate taxes and know how to practice candy safety.  This means check packaging (sealed?), reading all labels (known allergies on it?), and if you’re not sure, trash it.
  2. Look for safe candies (free from top 8 allergies): DOTS, Ring Pop, Dum Dums, Skittles, Smarties, Starburst, and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.  Yes brand matters in this case.
  3. Get in the project!  Food Allergy Research & Education has an amaze Teal Pumpkin Project The site contains a map across the United States of homes with Top 8 Allergy friendly candies or non candy items.  We are on that map!!img_1616
    • There are great kid friendly activities
    • Print outs for your home are on this site!
    • Stores like Target and Michaels are carrying Teal Pumpkin items for purchase.
  1. Offer allergy friendly candies that do not contain the top 8 allergies or have a prize option:  Stickers, rings, slime, pencils, any party favor.
    • I am finding multipack prize options at a reasonable cost at Target and Walmart.

Below are the Top 8 Common Allergies for your  in  the know.  Food allergy challenged or not, awareness for the sake of safety in important.  Please consider going teal in the festivities.  This act of kindness will treat you in the future.

Top 8 Allergies

  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Gluten
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Soybean
  • Shellfish

Namaste 🙏 and  ❤️ teal 🎃

The kid’s teal pumpkins

Aside

Laundry Detergent Made Me Itch: Foodie with Allergies

As a foodie with food allergies I feel that any packaged product is potential death waiting to happen.  That might be a bit dramatic.  Seriously, my step son with bakers dozen food allergies and I of a few call certain products boxes of death.  Largely, because it is. Shockingly it gets worse, food allergies are NOT just in the food aisle. They lurk every where.   As a matter of frightening fact, companies can pretty much put any claim or statement on their product with little to no accountability.  There is one major Federal law to “protect” us foodies with food allergies.  Thank you foodallergy.org for informing us that only eight allergies have warning labels on a certain number of food products.  If you clean with it,  take a prescription, take an OTC, put it on your skin, has a kosher label, or smoke it (ew) then a company is not obligated to tell you when an allergen may be in their product.

Lesson one is read labels on household products but they are not required to have a warning label.  We learned this the hard way with lotion containing almonds and hand wash with casein (milk protein).  It was right on the ingredient label and we just didn’t think. Have you read their labels? I decided not to become a chemist for a reason.  Read labels and learn the chemical names.  Especially when it comes to cosmetics.  Speaking of,  lip balm and lip glosses may contain fish oils.  Watch for that.

It isn’t always on a label either.  After taking on the GF life, I was still reacting as though I was still eating gluten.  As wise sage informed me that it may be my laundry detergent.  She was right.  Water and flour are suspected added as fillers.  We switched to a concentrated, natural product and the reactions stopped.  Along with the laundry switch and a reading/investigation about peanut oils in products, cleaning products were changed too.  I like my house clean but don’t want to put my sons life at risk.  Lesson two here is: if you have an allergy and have removed it from your diet, chances are its in a household or self care product.  “Get rid of it” instructions below.

Other scary food allergy things

– Play dough contains wheat

– Marzipan is made from almond paste

– Worcestershire sauce contains fish

– Soy sauce is blatantly out there with having soy

– Read supplements and vitamin labels.  Example, many joint supplements contain shellfish

– Ask before you vaccinate- some contain eggs

 You have the PSA.  Food allergies are everywhere.  Practice food allergy safety- know chemical names, read labels, and listen to your body.  If you are reacting as though you have a food allergy and you haven’t eaten it, it may be skin deep. Or more.  Take away whatever you suspect for two weeks (takes that long to get out of your system) then keep it away if you get better or you can “challenge” by adding it back to see if the reaction happens again. If the reaction is severe or life threatening, don’t play chicken and stay out of challenges.  If you aren’t sure if you are reacting or why or the reactions are severe, see an allergist.

Namaste and Share for the Good of other Allergy Foodies

Health Foodie Chucking the Burger for a Veggie (and liked it….)

Health Foodie Chucking the Burger for a Veggie (and liked it….)

 

Like most people,  I love a great burger.  I am rather picky about this comfort food because I hate grease.  It’s a texture thing.  Generally, I opt for ground turkey or bison or an occasional frozen veggie burger.   In a veggie burger craving moment this past week,  I wanted fresh and relatively effortless.   I pulled it off! A vegetarian comfort meal with tons of nutrition to fuel and taste to savor.   I chose an egg plant switch out because they do not have a strong flavor, are cost effective (bought one for a dollar), and come packed with vitamins.  They are great for three B vitamins (nerve health! metabolism booster!) and potassium (muscle/heart muscle health!).  I am a potato loving girl but had sweet potatoes lying around.  Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile and make delicious chips.  Side done. They are great for eye, bone, nerve health plus metabolism boosting vitamins.

By the time it take you sit down and order a burger, you could make this deliciousness.

Ingredients & Prep

  • Egg plant sliced no more than 1/2 inch thick
  • Bun of choice- me GF bun
  • 2 Sweet potatoes thinly sliced
  • Cooking oil of choice ( I prefer Olive oil but canola or avocado oil works too)
  • Gluten Free Hack GF breading: eggs, milk, white rice flour, bread crumbs, oil

Cooking

  1.  Step one is easy as a pin and doesn’t have to be gluten free. You can substitute the bread crumbs for any bread crumbs or panko.  White rice flour can be switch for all purpose flour.  This step can be taken further to make extra egg plant patties for a second dinner.  Throw some pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese on them with thirty minute oven time at 350 – egg plant parmesan.

Gluten free freading

2.  Step two is making sweet potato chips.  I would start making the chips before burgers as they take a while in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Then drizzle oil on a sheet pan and lay out sliced sweet potatoes.  Depending  on how crispy you like your chips, bake in the oven for 30- 45 minutes.

The best part of this meal is it’s kid and husband approved.  No one complained it was meatless.  It satisfied our cravings and hunger.  Plus, for the effort of one meal, you get two excellent meals.   If you want more future healthfoodie ideas, subscribe to this blog as we chase cravings with healthy twists.  Invest in your body and mind with nutrition then feed comfort to your soul.

Namaste and nourish wellness