Saturday, July 25, 2009

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

These are carrot cake cookies inspired by the cookbook "Cookies for Everyone" by Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso. I adapted the recipe somewhat. The recipe calls for ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg (my ginger has sulfur dioxide, and I wasn't sure how Z would respond to it; vanilla extract has corn in it; and I couldn't find my nutmeg). It also calls for a frosting filling using Spectrum Organic Shortening, and since I still haven't introduced palm oil, I didn't want to test it out on Little Z yet.

These were soooo good. We loved them, as did my 7-year old niece, who asked for the recipe. And, they were sweet enough without the frosting!!!

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup applesauce
½ cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
¼ cup flax meal
1½ cups brown or white rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (I used Featherweight, a corn-free baking powder)
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups certified GF rolled oats
1½ cups finely grated carrots (I ground mine in the food processor)
1 cup packed raisins
¼ cup shredded apple peels (optional – I made my own applesauce for these cookies because I wasn't sure if mine was corn free, and I hated to waste the apple peelings!)

Combine sugars, applesauce, oil, flax meal and cream together. Add the remaining ingredients (except oats, carrots and raisins) and blend until smooth. Add oats, carrots and raisins and mix well. The recipe then says to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until firm. I instead added a little extra rice flour until the consistency was a little thicker.
Scoop dough onto a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (use a small ice cream scoop). Flatten dough slightly and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove immediately and cool on a flat surface. Yields about 45 cookies.

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I Can't Believe it's Soy Free - Orange Chicken!!!

This is a recipe I created after scouring the Internet and cookbooks for meal ideas. I have been trying to find a way to make Chinese food that tastes like it has soy sauce in it, when it really doesn't. I read somewhere you can make your own soy-free soy sauce with balsamic vinegar and molasses, which is why this has vinegar. I also have been trying to avoid using any corn ingredients (I think they bother Little Z), which is why I used freshly-squeezed orange juice (I didn't want to deal with all the additives many juices have).

This tasted really good, and I could not believe that it didn't have any soy sauce in it. I will definitely be making this again.

3 large boneless chicken breasts, chopped (approximately 1 to 1½ lbs)
½ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (a juicy, large navel orange should work)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar (has sulfites)
2 tsp powdered garlic
¼ tsp powdered cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbl sp unsulfured blackstrap molasses
1 tsp dry mustard
½ cup diced green bell pepper
1½ fresh oranges, peeled and chopped (I used navel oranges in this recipe)
rice or Thai-style rice pasta

Mix orange juice, vinegar and spices until well blended. Place chicken in a saute pan with a little oil and pour orange-juice mixture over it. Add diced bell pepper and chopped oranges and cook on low to medium heat until the liquid reduces down and the chicken is golden brown. Stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn't burn. When chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden, stir in the prepared Thai-style rice pasta, or serve over warm rice.

The orange chicken here is shown with Thai-style Pasta.
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Cinnamon Update

The other day I posted pics of Z's face, which showed red splotches around his mouth and nose where cinnamon had stuck to his skin. I also did some searching on the Internet, and found that cinnamon and extracts of cinnamon are often irritating to the skin.

Well, my husband and I created a paste of cinnamon and rubbed a small area on our wrists to see if we, too would have a reaction. Sure enough, we both had red marks on our skin where the cinnamon had been (mine was itchy, also). I am not sure that cinnamon bothers him, and I am taking a "wait and see approach."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coupons - Enjoy Life Products

$1.25/2 coupons for Enjoy Life are available on the Mabosprouts Web site. You can print two.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A reaction to cinnamon or contamination?

So here is another confusing and frustrating symptom. This morning I fed Little Z cream of rice with cinnamon and sugar. I have been holding off on adding cinnamon to his food lately because a few weeks ago I gave him cinnamon and sugar rice for breakfast, and he became very fussy and had the usual distended stomach/diarrhea. Without thinking about it this morning, I added it to his cereal and he seemed to enjoy it; however, by the time he was done eating it, his face was bright red where the gooey cereal had stuck to his skin.

So now the question is: is he allergic to cinnamon, or is it made in a facility that works with a food that bothers him? There is nothing disclosed on the packaging, but as my celiac sister-in-law pointed out: you don't have to say if you process something on the same line as say rye (which has gluten, and because it is not one of the “top 8” doesn't have to be disclosed).

Ugh. The frustrations never seem to end with Little Z's food issues.

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Easy Oven Fries

These are really easy and tasty.

3-4 well scrubbed large potatoes cut into large wedges
garlic powder and any other seasonings to taste
canola oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. In a gallon-sized zipper baggie mix canola oil and seasonings. Put potato wedges in bag and shake. Place well-coated potato wedges on the cookie sheet (skin side down) and lightly salt the tops. Bake uncovered 15-25 minutes until soft and golden.
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Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders - 3 ways

I am getting sick of eating the same old boring chicken, so I decided to jazz it up a bit by making honey mustard chicken tenders. I made them three different ways, and all tasted delicious. The Chex tenders had the best crunch, but my husband and I both agree that the best tasting were the honey mustard tenders.

½ cup honey
¼ cup yellow mustard (if you have a corn allergy, beware that mustard has vinegar, which is often made from corn)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Canola oil
salt to taste (use less if doing the potato chip tenders)
crushed safe potato chips (around 3-5 cups)
crushed Chex (around 3-5 cups)
Preparation: Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix honey, mustard, salt, black and crushed peppers and blend until smooth to make marinade.
Cut chicken breasts into tender-sized pieces and place in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over it, mixing it to make sure all tenders are well covered. Cover and refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
Coat the bottom of a large casserole dish with Canola oil and put marinaded chicken tenders inside.
Drizzle with Canola oil and sprinkle with salt. Cover and bake 20 – 30 minutes. Uncover for the last 5-10 minutes until chicken is golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Preparation: Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix honey, mustard, salt, black and crushed peppers and blend until smooth to make marinade.
Cut chicken breasts into tender-sized pieces and place in a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over them, mixing it to make sure tenders are well covered. Cover and refrigerate 15-30 minutes.
Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease with Canola oil.

Crush potato chips/gluten-free Chex in large bowl and coat chicken tenders in the crushed chips/Chex. Place on cookie sheets and bake uncovered for 15-25 minutes. After 10 to 15 minutes, check to make sure the chicken is not getting too brown. If they are, reduce the temperature to 400. Bake until tenders are golden and cooked through.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Tater Not Tot Casserol - A cheaper, healthier twist on the old version

This is a healthier, cheaper and allergy friendly twist on the much-loved tater-tot casserole. It is a recipe I adapted when I realized that tater tots and cream of mushroom soup are chocked full of soy and dairy. My husband loves this, and prefers it to the old version.

3-4 large potatoes, well scrubbed chopped
1 lb hamburger or ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
Canola oil
½ Tbsp powdered garlic
Italian seasoning
1 bag allergy-safe frozen veggies of choice (mixed veggies works well, but any are fine).

Preheat oven to 375 F. and grease a casserole dish with Canola oil. Chop potatoes into large cubes (about the size of tater tots) and place in casserole dish. Drizzle Canola oil over the potatoes and add spices. Mix well. Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes while you chop onions and brown your hamburger.

Brown your hamburger and onion with salt and pepper. When fully cooked, or almost fully cooked, drain well and distribute over the top of the potatoes.

Layer frozen veggies over the top, recover and bake for 15 to 30 minutes (or until potatoes are tender and vegetables are cooked).

Please note that this is a recipe I have been making for awhile, so the measurements on the seasonings are estimates only. Use your own judgment and personal tastes to season as you see fit!

Variation: if you don't have an allergy to dairy, during the last 15 minutes, you can uncover and top with shredded cheddar and bake 10 minutes, or until until golden.
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Why can't your kid eat so many foods?

I get a little uncomfortable trying to explain why there are so many foods my son can't eat. At this point in time we avoid eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, gluten, corn, and nitrates – these are foods that I know either for sure bother him, or I suspect bother him. He was tested for food allergies and Celiac disease (Celiac disease runs in my husband's family) when he was around 7 months old. Little Z tested as “not allergic;” however, in the words of my son's pediatrician, he is “clinically allergic.” I have latched onto the term “protein intolerant” because of the research I have done on allergies on my own (and I don't mean intolerant to all proteins, just several).

Yes, this is a self-diagnosis, and I am sure it drives doctors everywhere nuts. But, if I had fully relied on the doctors, Little Z would have had surgery to tighten his esophagus due to uncontrollable and painful Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) at 5 months. My son's doctors have been wonderful, but it was either a mother's instinct, or at least a mother's absolute terror at the thought of having her baby undergo surgery, that caused me to try the Total Elimination Diet when he was 5 months old.

Our pediatrician finally referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist, and we get to see him (or her) in early September of 2009. I am praying that we finally get some answers, and that Little Z's “clinical allergies” are finally diagnosed – and that they are just that, and not symptoms of a more problematic underlying health issue.

This is a picture of my husband, Mike, holding Little Z
during one of his early "reflux episodes" as we used to call them.

Oatmeal Bites (or Quinoa Bites): the most convenient toddler breakfast!

This is the easiest and most convenient breakfast I have found for Little Z. Who knew that oatmeal congeals and can be cut into bite-sized pieces? This is perfect because little Z can feed himself (which he INSISTS he must) and not get it all over, like he does if it is freshly prepared oatmeal/quinoa. What the heck is quinoa, you wonder? See my post What the heck is quinoa?! in my blog archive.

I discovered oatmeal bites by accident several months ago when I realized I had no fruit or homemade baby food to feed Z for breakfast, but I did have oatmeal in the fridge left over from the previous morning. I make a double batch of oatmeal or quinoa the night before, and it usually feeds Little Z for 2-3 mornings.

A double batch of quinoa mixed with sulfite-free organic raisins is shown in the pictures here.

Prepare the gluten-free oatmeal or quinoa as directed by the packaging, except use ¼ cup LESS water than called for per serving (i.e. if you are making a double batch of oatmeal/quinoa, then use ½ cup less water than called for on the directions).

Mix in fruit if desired, spread in container, and chill. Cut up into bite sized pieces and microwave for 15 to 40 seconds. Top with cinnamon and sugar if desired.
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What the heck in quinoa!?

I made quinoa flakes (pronounced "keen wah") for the first time the other day for Z (I wanted to make him GF oatmeal, but I couldn't find it at the store, and thought this might be a good alternative). According to the the Quinoa Corporation's Web site (, it is an ancient food that was cultivated by the ancient Incas, and was called the "mother grain." It is a seed that looks like a cross between millet and a mustard seed.

Quinoa flakes prepare more quickly than oatmeal, and when it is cooked, looks a lot like yellow squash ground in a baby food hand grinder (those of you moms who prepared your own baby food will know what I am talking about!). It has a mild flavor, and tastes a little bit like yellow squash and cream of rice with a slightly bitter after taste. It doesn't sound all that appealing, but when I mixed it with sugar, it isn't... terrible. Z actually seems to like it.
Photo "Hand in Quinoa" curtesy of

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hearty and delicious Mini Meat Loaves - gluten and egg free!

This is a meal that I made up when I was nursing and looking for interesting foods that were cheap and didn't contain ingredients that triggered Z's reflux. I used to hate meatloaf, because I find it really gross the way the fat has no place to drain. Regular meat loaf is essentially a big ball of meat – sitting in it's own fat... ick. However, this recipe eliminates that disgusting problems – because you aren't making it in a loaf pan, the fat drains away from the mini-meat loaves.

This recipe doesn't use eggs, so you must make your meatloaf into little balls for it to stick together. I love this meal, and will NEVER go back to making regular meatloaf again. It is moist and delicious, and is the ultimate comfort food.

1 lb hamburger (ground turkey works well, too)
1 small diced onion
¾ to 1 cup certified GF oatmeal
1 tsp salt
½ pepper
tablespoon of powdered garlic or 1 clove fresh garlic
tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon red pepper (optional)
¼ red pepper flakes (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. After it is thoroughly mixed, divide up the meat so that it makes 4- 6 balls (about the size of tennis balls). Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half (check the center of one to be sure they are done). Remove the aluminum foil in the last 15 minutes to let the mini loafs brown on top.

Make loaves smaller for a shorter baking time. Also, I never really measure when I cook, so these are just an approximation. Adjust spices and ingredients to suit your own tastes!

Variations: pour tomato sauce on the top in the last 15 minutes.
If you don't like oatmeal, or if you have an allergy to oatmeal, I hear that instant mashed potato flakes work well (although I have never tried it!).
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Move over rice cakes and Chex crunchies. I have a new love.

Little Z ate his first potato chip yesterday. The big smile and greasy face say it all, it was a glorious moment in his 15-month existence.

He has never had something so tasty, I am sure of it. You see, most chips and crackers that I have ever found have soy and gluten (and corn, too, which I think may be bothering him).

Z had the lightly salted made by Kettle Chips. I must say, I am not a huge fan of potato chips, but these were really good. I had to stop myself from eating too many. He loved them, and I am hoping his tummy loves them, too (as in -- please don't give him tummy troubles!)

Update: Although these chips are delicious, and Little Z loves them, they bother him a lot. Unfortunately, after his experience with these chips and sunflower seeds themselves, I now know that Z is intolerant to sunflower seeds/oil, which is the oil used in the making of these chips.
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Savory Chicken Pasta - Quick, cheap and easy allergy friendly meal

A couple of nights ago the pork roast I made was taking too long to cook, and by the time it would have been done cooking, it would have been way past Little Z's bedtime. It is difficult to make quick healthy meals, especially if they have to be allergy friendly (it is not like I can whip up a batch of scrambled eggs for the little guy or give him store-bought chicken nuggets). This is a meal that I made in less than 20 minutes, it is healthy, and fantastically delicious and flavorful. Little Z loved it, and my husband and I ate it as a side dish with dinner. My husband RAVED about how good it was (he usually hates rice pasta).

1 frozen chicken breast
½ large onion diced
1 carrot (peeled and diced)
1 rib of celery diced
canola oil (or safe oil of choice)
spices to taste
(I used garlic, Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and fresh basil)
4 oz Rice pasta (I used penne because it is an easy-to-pick-up toddler food)
½ cup peas
2 cups homemade chicken stock (see below)or allergy friendly stock

Boil the frozen chicken breast with a dash of salt. While the chicken is boiling, saute the onion, celery, carrots and spices until caramelized. When chicken is no longer pink in the center remove from water and cube it (save the water the chicken was boiled in! You'll use this homemade chicken stock for the rice pasta and the vegetable saute).

Add ¼ cup of the homemade chicken stock to your veggies, along with your chicken pieces. Let it reduce down until your vegetables are soft and the chicken is golden. As you are cooking your veggies and chicken, bring the homemade chicken stock back to a boil and add your rice pasta. When the rice pasta is halfway done (usually about 3 ½ minutes) add the peas. When the pasta is soft, rinse in cold water (if you adapt this using wheat pasta, don't rinse) and add to your vegetables and stir
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Before and After Eating an Offending Food

These were taken on Father's Day Morning (hence the cute Onesy I made). Just a few short hours later (after lunch) my son's stomach was distended and he had his customary sulfur-tuna smelling diarrhea full of undigested food. He also developed the usual red, shiny, pimply diaper rash. I still can't figure out what bothered him that day.
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I may be a Cornhusker, but I don't think he'll be

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So I am starting to suspect Little Z can't handle corn or any corn derivative. He has been fussy lately, has a distended belly, and has diarrhea with undigested food 3-4 times a day. And I have been hypervigilant about him not ingesting any gluten, soy, etc. He also has been getting his customary painful diaper rash. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I kept thinking perhaps the jar of garlic was contaminated with gluten, but I can't think of a time that we have used it on any wheat, and I never double dip the spoon... and then I realized, that I have been feeding him canned kidney beans and homemade spaghetti sauce (made from canned tomatoes). Corn syrup is in all of those! I also have started making him baked goods with baking powder (it has cornstarch!).

And now that I think of it... I swear I remember wondering if the cornstarch-based baby powder I used when he was a newborn made his diaper rash worse.

So I am on a mission to rid the boy of all corn to see if that is the problem. We shall see, and hope this solves the problem.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

coupons - Rice Dream

Rice Dream is offering $.75 coupons on their Web site. You can print two.
go to their Web site at:

Rice Dream is the only milk substitute I have found for my son. You can buy it in boxes that don't need refrigeration or in half-gallon boxes in the dairy section. It is the only rice milk that I have found that is soy free.

In my area, it is is cheapest at Wal-Mart in the dairy section, and runs about $2.98 per half gallon. It is around $4 everywhere else.

If anyone has a cheaper alternative rice drink (that is soy free), please let me know!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Coupons Enjoy Life's - allergy and Celiac friendly foods

You can print two! Get them before they're gone.

Cookies for Everyone

My husband got me the cookbook, "Cookies for Everyone" for our 8-year wedding anniversary. Although I have only tried one of the recipes (I just got it folks!) I am VERY impressed. It is called "Cookies for Everyone" and it is put out by the company that makes Enjoy Life's TM Cookies and bread (authors: Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso). The cookbook avoids the top 8 most common allergens (US) and the top 10 allergens (Canada).

It has breakfast bars, pancakes, tons of cookies and bar recipes (150 total). It also has great recipes to make your own egg replacer and has ways around using corn ingredients (like cornstarch).

I tried the Cinnabar Swirl Cookies and they are amazing. If I hadn't made them myself, I would not believe they are dairy, gluten and egg free.

As I test recipes, I will give you my opinions.