Friday, February 26, 2010

Just Sleuthering About

I was wandering around the Living Without website today and found a page containing a nice list of Substitution Solutions. Handy dandy! I am on the magazine's mailing list and they sometimes send out cover options to be voted on; this time the foods on the covers look am wonderful. The cheesecakes are gluten and dairy free, but I am wondering if they will have eggs. I think it would be tricky getting the texture without them.

Play-Doh the Dilemma - continued from this post.
I have started teaching a preschool Sunday school class, and I am trying to come up with things to do with those little kiddos. It has been a huge challenge for me and though each week I have managed to fill the time, I find the need for some ready-at-hand activities for them. There is a little girl in the class who is a celiac, so I have been trying to come up with gluten free fun. Yesterday I did some intense searching and discovered that Prang has no gluten in any of their products! They have a modeling clay, which can take care of the Play-Doh issue and they also have a nice variety of finger paints. Those are two activities that little kids love to do and I am very pleased.
Note: The photo is of my daughter when she was a preschooler. Neither she nor my son have gluten problems so far and I pray this continues to be the case.

I also contacted Bonnie Bell, as I had seen on a list somewhere that they have some gluten free products. Interesting that they included some non-gluten-containing grains in their list, but I would rather they were overly cautious and any one of those grains could be cross-contaminated, depending on their source. I am quoting parts of their response here:

"The following Aspire Brands/The Bonnie Bell Company, products can be used by people afflicted with Celiac disease. They do not contain any gluten containing grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats, amaranth, teff, millet, spelt, and quinoa."

This is their GLUTEN FREE LIST:
10-0-6 Lotions
All Colognes
Lip Lites Sponge On
Sponge-On Sparklers
Shower 2000
Eye Shades
Nail Lacquers
Cosmic Cheeks
Lash Tints
Glimmer Gels
Glitz N Go
Liquid Lines
Pressed Powders
Lip Burst
Lip Frosting
Lip Shake
All Mascara
Gel Bronze
Glimmer Bronze
Lip Glam
Face and Body Sparkle
Liquid Lip Smackers
Skittles Liquid Lip Smackers
Eye Pencils and Definers
Sponge on Glitter Gloss
Lip D'Votions
All Click It Colors
Glimmer Lights
Liquid Star Shine
Lip Definer
All Vita Gloss Balms and Sponge On
Blushing Gels
All Loose Powders
Cream Concealer
Jello Lip Balms
Kiss This Gloss
All Squeezy Lip Smackers (Clears and Shimmers
All Rolly Smackers
F'Lip Juicees
Get GLowin' Eye and Face
Ice Creamies Sponge On
Dazzle Dust
Kiss of Color
S'Whirly Shimmer Gloss
All Vitamin Water Lip Balms and Rolly's

They also sent an list CONTAINING GLUTEN - DON'T USE THESE!!!

Original Lip Smackers
Sun Smackers (Including Clip N Go
Megastar Lip Smackers
Kool Aid Lip Smackers
F'lip Styles
F'lip Glosses
Lip Lites Glossy Tint Balms
M&M Lip Smacker Balms (New Formula with Castor Oil)
Dasani Balms
Pinky Lip Smackers Balms
Skittles Lip Balms (New Formula with Castor Oil)
DPSU Lip Smackers
All Starburst Lip Balms
Color Kiss Lip Balms
Lip Smackers w/SPF

Candy, Candy, Can't-dy
My friend Sarah (of my Sarah Bakes Again label, as well as the mother of the preschooler in question in the Play-Doh discussion above) and I were directed by circumstances to a discussion on a really important bit of information that all who are seeking to avoid gluten for themselves or their loved ones. Just because a candy bar is safe in its normal size, it does not follow that it is safe in all forms. Miniatures usually have gluten, so check with the company before you chew! Also, candies that are usually safe can contain gluten in their holiday form; check, check, check!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Four Recipes and a Seuss Allusion

I have been scrambling to come up with recipes that taste good and don't hurt when I eat them; a tall order when so many foods must be avoided (okay, I know there are others out there who have it worse than I do, but it is my kitchen I am cooking in). Each of these four are very easy to make, which is always a plus.

My normal guacamole recipe has dreaded sour cream in it, so I needed to come up with something tasty AND! I finally have one that is easy to put together and really good.

The Aunt Lorena Method was used developing all of these recipes, so feel free to play with quantities until it is most pleasing to your taste buds.

Red and Green Guacamole
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup Chachies medium salsa
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons canned, sliced, chili peppers
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
Mash the avocado with a fork, stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Eat it. P.S. I often leave out the green chilies. They are yummy, but I don't always have them on hand. It is good without them too!

The dish underneath the guacamole is even easier. It is a dumbed down version of a recipe which I linked to here. In my post, I used burger instead of the pork chops you see here. Just place your pork chops in a casserole dish, add the beans and salsa and bake until the chops are well cooked.

Chicken and Rice Skillet
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

This is a skillet dish I did one evening which turned out nice.

I precooked the chicken in olive oil and cooking sherry, then added chopped celery, green, yellow and orange peppers, and onions. Then I added about three or four cups of Pacific chicken broth and a cup of basmati rice (I really like that rice), then I seasoned it with garlic powder, salt and pepper and cooked it until the rice was done. This simple dish allows for a lot of variety.

You could go Mexican with tomatoes, hot peppers, and add cumin, oregano along with the seasonings I used in this recipe. You could go Chinese by cooking the chicken in sesame oil. Add such vegetables as celery, cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, ginger, sesame seeds or almonds, even soy sauce if you can tolerate it, whatever you like.

Speaking of red and green. It was suggested that I might be able to tolerate organic eggs if I put them in a blender with some fresh spinach leaves and then cook them. I did that and I did not get sick like I usually do. I will try it again another day, just to be sure. Did you know that slices of fresh tomatoes go well with scrambled eggs? They do. I must confess, however, I forgot the ham, Sam.

These are amazingly delish. I will start off giving you my mostest easiest oven potato recipe, then move to this slightly lesstest easiest oven potato recipe.

My Mostest Easiest Oven Potatoes
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

Peel potatoes. Slice ATAP (as thin as possible). Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet (if you use a Pampered Chef bar pan or line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, you won't need any kind of oil on the pan to keep it from sticking. I use no oil for this recipe). Bake about 20 minutes or so, watch them, until the potatoes are browned as much as you want them to be. The cooking time is going to vary according to how thick your slices are. How many spuds you use will also vary for the same reason. I usually use two or three large potatoes on the largest bar pan. Once these are done, I dip mine in my Buttery-Yellow Mustard Sauce: a mixture of Vegenaise and mustard, for which I mix enough mustard (French's Classic Yellow is gluten free) in to make it a lovely buttery yellow color. I used to mix Best Foods and mustard, but those days are gone.

My Lesstest Easiest Oven Potatoes
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding

Follow the directions for preparing the potatoes above.

Put a couple of tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of a mixing bowl that will hold the number of potatoes you prepared with plenty of tossing room.

Sprinkle in seasonings of your choice. For my most recent batch, I used (you may see a seasoning pattern here) oregano, garlic powder, cumin, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. I just use a little bit of each. Mix the olive oil and seasonings well and then add your potatoes and stir until they are well coated.

You can tell by the picture that I am not as picky about these overlapping. That is because the oil enhances browning. I watch them and bake until they are as dark as I like them to be. The ones in the picture were perfect. I use Buttery-Yellow Mustard Sauce with these as well.

There you go. Four very easy No Gluten, No Dairy, No Egg, No Soy, No Kidding recipes, with an eggish one thrown in as a bonus.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ice Cream, Thoughts, and Sleuthering

My friend Jennifer recently made a nice coconut ice cream and gave me some. It was tasty and I just finished the last of it this evening. I have been playing with a recipe of my own, which I will share here. It is another of those Aunt Lorena method concoctions, so adjust the ingredients to taste.

Chocolate Cinnamon Coconut Almond Freeze
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk
1 heaping teaspoon cocoa (to taste/SACO's is gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or Agave nectar
2 tablespoons of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Toasted almonds, slivered or smashed, however you like
1 tablespoon milled flax seeds (optional)

Put about 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk in the bottom of a small mixing bowl. Add the cocoa and cinnamon and mix well, adding a little more coconut milk if needed.

Mix in the rest of the coconut milk well and then the rest of the wet ingredients.

Next add any of the ups and extras you like, in this case, chocolate chips, almonds, milled flax seeds and mix it all up well.

Finally, scoop it into a container that can tolerate the freezer and cover it tightly. Put it in the freezer for about a half an hour, then remove it and stir it up. Put it back in for another 15-20 minutes and then stir it up again. Do this maybe another time or two and then just let it be until you are ready to have some. My freezer works very well, so I usually let it sit on the counter for about 15 to 20 minutes before I eat some. Obviously you can go a lot of different directions, flavor wise, so do experiment. Let me know if you come up with a winning combination.

Hmm..I am thinking of some new flavors even now. I will let you know.

Play-Doh: The Dilemma
My husband often needs to go into church at 8:00 on Sunday mornings (our service starts at 9:00) and I really like to be ready and go in with him at that time. Yesterday I did that and I went down to the Sunday school room where I teach the preschoolers. There is a storage cupboard in there with lots of supplies, but it hasn't been sorted for a while, so I decided to spend the hour cleaning it out. I was really surprised when I found a plastic grocery bag with a hand-written for homemade play dough stapled to it and assorted ingredients inside, including a bag of flour. I disposed of it and wiped down the cupboard.

The children are always asking to play with Playdoh, of which we have an abundance, but besides myself, one of the little girls who attends has celiac, so I will not get it out. I have been told that there is a commercial product that is gluten free, but that it tends to be dry and kids don't like to play with it. I am going to experiment with some homemade recipes and here are the ones I have found on the web:

Cel Kids Recipes, their White Goop recipe just above that one looks interesting, but I don't know if I could use that with several children at once...we will see.
Daharja from New Zealand at Cluttercut has a promising recipe with a great review to boot.
Daharja linked to another recipe on Nikki's blog, A Delight-Filled Life, which makes a smaller batch.
Both Daharja and Nikki say that the dough dries out fast. Keep that in mind. I anticipate that if I make it for my preschoolers, it will only be usable for one Sunday.

This article by Clara Ogren has links to gf playdough to buy and to make. I was pleased to see that the last of her homemade links was to A Year of Slow Cooking! Her recipe looks like it would work fine for my purposes.

The Gluten Free Life
When I first read this article on how to have a gluten free kitchen it made me cry, but at the same time, I was grateful for the information. When dealing with the dangers of gluten, the more we know the better.

I Was Wrong: In the past I have stated that Blue Diamond Almond Milk has dairy in it, but I was not correct in that statement. Here is the company's FAQ's concerning dairy, their FAQ's concerning gluten and their FAQ's concerning all things Almond Breeze.

General Mills not only has a number of gluten free products for sale, they have recipes as well.

I mentioned these barbecue sauces before, but I wanted to give more details. Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, currently available in a beasty-sized bottle two-pack from Costco, is gluten and dairy free. Go to this page and click on allergen; they do have some packaged meatballs of some sort that have gluten. We like this stuff a lot and it is a nice alternative to Cattlemen's (all flavors are gluten free except for their Golden Honey flavored barbecue sauce).

Sorry for such a short report this evening (the recipe just makes it look longer), but I have been really eating simple foods recently and have been sleuthing a lot less than I normally do.