Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rice Pudding

This is simple and so yummy. I adapted this recipe from the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook.
  • 1 cup cooked jasmine rice
  • 2/3 can coconut milk (I use the rest for a chocolate ganache for other desserts)
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 plum (or other fruit) sliced
  • handful of granola (I used Cranapple Crunch by Enjoy Life)
  1. Mix together the rice, coconut milk and honey in a saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently (around 8 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Spoon into 3 dessert bowls and refrigerate to chill.
  5. Top with plums and granola before serving.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yam Fries

Here is a tasty snack. Peel a yam and slice into fry fingers. An easy way to do this is to cut the yam into one centimetre thick slices, and then cut the slices into one centimetre wide pieces. Toss with plenty of olive oil to coat well. Optionally season with sea salt. Bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 475 F for about 30 minutes, turning once. They are best piping hot from the oven. I like to put several on my plate while leaving the remainder in the oven with the temperature turned off and the door opened a crack. Then I return for a second helping that is just as fresh and hot as the first serving.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hawaiian Chicken Stirfry

I like to call this "Hawaiian" simply because it has pineapple in it. I'm sure no one in Hawaii has ever made this, but they should! It is yummy.

  • 6-8 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 inch ginger, diced
  • 2 cups vegetables, cubed (I used broccoli, onion, carrot, and bell peppers)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  1. Whisk sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Stir fry vegetables and ginger in 2 Tbsp oil over high heat for 3 minutes.
  3. Set vegetables aside in a bowl and cover with foil.
  4. Stir fry chicken 3-4 minutes until browned.
  5. Add sauce and heat until bubbling.
  6. Add vegetables and pineapple and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Serve over cooked rice.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Avocado Chickpea Spread

This isn't anything terribly fancy, but it is a favourite for my Little Man. I simply mash some chickpeas in a bowl, remove the skins by skimming my fork over the mash, and then mix in some avocado. If making this for myself, I add salt, pepper and some fresh lime juice, but for a toddler I keep it simple. I spread it on Hol Grain rice crackers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Breakfast Cereals - Part One

After recently learning that we had to add oats to Little Man's allergen list, I went cruising the cereal aisles once more in my search for wheat-free, oat-free, dairy-free, nut-free cereals. There aren't many that fit that description. But I discovered a brand, Perky's, that manufactures their cereals for Enjoy Life (and I looove them, my providers of yummy chocolate). I also trust them, which is important when looking at foods through allergy-filtered eyes.

So I decided to give their cereals a try. The first one I tried, Nutty Flax, tasted like a good-for-you health cereal.

I am not a health cereal fan.

I am more of a Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms connoisseur.

But I have to say, it's been a week, I've eaten it three or four times and now it tastes pretty good. I really like the texture (crunchy up to and including the last bite). Now it tastes nutty and wholesome (which is a much better taste than "good for you" somehow). So this will be on my shopping list again when it runs out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Potato Pancakes

I made these for breakfast on the weekend and they were so tasty. I used leftover mashed potatoes, mixed in some fresh parsley and some salt and pepper, and then fried them in a little olive oil.

But the real secret is how I had made the potatoes the night before. I put the potatoes through a ricer and then added Imagine Creamy Potato Leek Soup. This makes the potatoes very smooth and flavourful and they have a creamy texture, unlike the more watery texture with rice milk.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Avocado and Pea-Shoot Quesadillas

Quesadillas: the new excitement in my life. I have finally found some corn tortillas that don't contain soy or anything else we can't have! This helps fulfil my craving for bread products at lunch. It's strange that I never used to eat a lot of bread products, but I would have the occasional tortilla wrap. Now that I can't eat wheat, I suddenly want sandwiches and wraps for lunch. Enter corn tortillas. Specifically, Grimm's 6" Tortillas.

Here's what I've been savouring for lunch:

  • 2 6" corn tortillas
  • 1/3 large avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbps salsa
  • a few thin slices of leek, washed well and separated into rings
  • small handful fresh pea shoots
  1. Mash avocado in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread avocado over one side of each tortilla.
  3. Spread salsa, leeks and pea shoots on one tortilla.
  4. Putting avocado sides together, stack tortillas.
  5. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in small frypan.
  6. Fry tortillas until golden on first side, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Flip tortillas and fry until golden and heated through, 2-3 minutes.
  8. Use a pizza cutter to slice into quarters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf

This is one of our fairly regular dinners as we can cut it into little pieces and feed it to the Little Man. It is definitely one of his favourite foods, so I usually chop up the leftovers and freeze them for him. (As I am typing this he is on my lap pointing at the picture and indicating that he wants some.) It makes four adult dinner portions.

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup rice breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage or poultry seasoning
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients except syrup and mix well.
  2. Press lightly into loaf pan.
  3. Top with syrup.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees (325 degrees convection) for one hour.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Banana Mini Muffins

I'm still at the stage where I'm searching for snack food that I can eat. One of my favourites is something that I have been making for Little Man for a while, but only recently thought "hey, I could eat that too". Yes, lightbulb moment. I get so caught up with trying to find things for Little Man to eat that I completely forget that I need to eat too. So now I whip up a batch of mini muffins every 3-4 days and don't feel guilty when I eat "his" food because there are always plenty to go around.

I adapted this recipe from one provided to us by Little Man's nutritionist.

Dry ingredients (stir together in a medium bowl):
  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Wet ingredients (mash together with a fork in a small bowl):
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to combine.
  2. Drop batter into mini muffin cups (I use a silicone pan, so I don't need to grease the pan).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees (325 convection) for 17 minutes.

Chocolate Bunnies and Eggs

Happy Easter!!

My contribution to Easter dinner this year was a dessert. But I didn't want it to be just any dessert. I wanted our family to see that "cooking with weird ingredients" didn't mean having to sacrifice in the taste department. And that it could still follow a theme. And that it could mean eating chocolate! (I still can't believe I found chocolate that fits all our restrictions -- and just a week before Easter. Thank you Enjoy Life!)

A huge thank you to Allergy Mom at The Allergic Kid for posting her recipe for "Be My Valentine" Cakes. This was my first time attempting to bake a cake without wheat, dairy or eggs and I must say I found the task quite daunting. It took literally hours to make, but was worth every minute of effort. And I learned so much that I could probably whip these up without too much fuss the second time around. Part of the lengthy time was due to reinspecting labels on all the products I had never used before. I also used a coconut spread that needed to be "warmed" first -- and this took 45 minutes. Next time I will get that going even before preheating the oven.

So, lessons learned and confidence gained for future baking projects. But did I mention the taste? OMG!! This was probably the best chocolate dessert I've ever eaten! Now I may be a little biased after not tasting chocolate for a year, but these cakes were way beyond my expectations and our family wholeheartedly gave them a glowing review.

Here are the substitutions I made to the cake batter to make these work for our allergies:
  • 1 1/4 cup wheat flour => 3/4 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • I added 1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil => just under 1/2 cup safflower oil to accommodate the added "egg"
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt => 1/2 cup Wilderness Family Naturals Coconut Spread

I didn't make the filling due to lack of time and they were still delicious without it. I made the ganache as listed in the original recipe.

These cakes reminded me of chocolate lava cake, which I will try making at some point using this recipe. I picture putting batter in a ramekin, then the ganache (or maybe even just the chocolate chips), then more batter. Mmmmm.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Asparagus Leek Risotto

I recently checked The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook out of the library and I have been very pleased with the first two recipes I have made from it. The first recipe was Cherry Dijon Pork Chops (page 106). I didn't have cherry jam on hand, so I made my version with blackberry jam instead -- yum! Probably the best pork chops I have ever made -- tender, juicy and flavourful.

The second recipe we ate tonight -- Asparagus Leek Risotto (page 84). It was the first recipe I had read in the book, and it was all I could do to restrain myself from running to the store to purchase the ingredients. I'm not even a fan of rice, and I've never made a risotto before. But the ingredients are some of my favourites: asparagus, leeks, fresh basil -- what's not to love? I made a few adaptations as my stomach is not a fan of shallots. The results? Delicious!

The onions and leeks dissolved into a creamy sauce that even had a hint of cheese flavour (at least in my imagination). This recipe didn't feel like I was being deprived of anything or as if I were eating an allergy-altered recipe. The picture doesn't do it justice as I was so excited to eat it that I snapped the fastest photo I could get.

Of course I didn't read the part about stirring constantly for 40 minutes until I had poured the rice in the pan. This recipe has the added benefit of a good arm workout in addition to the winning taste.

Here's my adaptation of the recipe (serves 2):
  • 4 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth for a vegan meal)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup onion
  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 1/3 cups asparagus, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped coarsely
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  1. Simmer broth in pan #1.
  2. In pan #2, cook onion and garlic in olive oil, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add leeks to pan #2, cooking until wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add rice to pan #2, stirring until coated in oil. Add wine and stir until absorbed.
  5. For 20 minutes, add one ladle of broth to pan #2 at a time, stirring constantly until completely absorbed.
  6. Add asparagus and two ladles of broth to pan #2, stirring until absorbed.
  7. Continue adding broth one ladle at a time until broth is used up (approximately 10 - 15 minutes), stirring constantly.
  8. Remove from heat, stir in basil, salt and pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!