Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carob Cashew Butter Brownies

I was in the mood for a warm, decadent treat after dinner, so I modified another recipe from and turned it into an indulgent, Mandie-safe treat.

Carob Cashew Butter Brownies
(free of gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy, corn, coconut, sunflower, etc.)

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened carob powder
6 Tbsp. water
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. Hain Featherweight Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup cashew butter, heated in microwave 30 seconds to soften

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray.  Dust with sweet rice flour.  Combine carob powder with water and oil.  Stir in sugar and vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder.  Stir dry ingredients into carob mixture. Spoon batter into baking pan.  Dollop cashew butter onto brownie batter.  Swirl cashew butter into batter with a spoon.  Smooth top of batter.  Bake 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the pan comes out clean.  If batter remains on knife, continue baking in 3 minute increments until done.  Let cool completely before slicing.  
       We did not wait until the brownies were cool.  They are WONDERFUL warm, especially with an iced coffee.

Gluten Free Fridays #8

Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad

Tonight I decided to try another recipe for mayonnaise, so that I could make my Chicken Pasta Salad.  Both turned out beautifully, and my family said that this was the best my salad has tasted.  Homemade mayo is a HIT!  :-)  
  Here is what the mayo looked like in my Ninja.
This is what the dinner looked like:
Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad

One recipe Homemade Mayonnaise
Meat from one whole, roasted chicken - chopped
10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
12 oz gluten free rice pasta, cooked and drained
salt, pepper, fennel seed, etc.

Cook pasta according to directions.  Rinse in cold water.  Combine cooked pasta, chicken, beans, mayo, avocado and tomatoes in bowl.  Add salt, pepper, ground fennel, or other spices to taste.  Combine and enjoy.  I like this best at room temp.  Store any leftovers in fridge.

Homemade Mayonnaise - modified from
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk - at room temperature
1 cup canola or grapeseed oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Put room temp egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar in blender or food processor.  Start blender and add oil VERY SLOWLY, until mayo is thick and creamy.     Adding the oil to fast will cause the mayo to separate.  If it does, remove mayo from blender, combine another egg and egg yolk, and add in separated mayo. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Allergy Notes: Food allergy - top articles for August 2012

Allergy Notes: Food allergy - top articles for August 2012: Here are my suggestions for some of the top articles about food allergy for August 2012: Sanofi Announces FDA Approval for Auvi-Q, First V...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Please DON'T feed me! I have many allergies

Tomorrow is the annual pig roast at my parents house.  We have done these since before Mandie was born.  Since she was old enough to be walking around on her own, I have made some type of small sign to pin to her clothing , warning people not to feed her because she has food allergies.  I have always felt safer with so many people who do not know her, since she is such a cute little girl and was too young to articulate what she could and could not eat.  This always worked very well, and her signs led many people to ask questions and learn more about food allergies.   Mandie is now 5 1/2, has been wearing her own epi pens since her birthday in March, and is very good at telling people why she wears them, how to use them, and is getting better about learning the symptoms of a severe reaction.   Mandie knows all of her allergies, and has no problems telling people exactly what she is allergic to and to please wash their hands before they touch her.  Because of this, I gave her the option this year of just wearing her epi pens if she wanted to.  She asked me to make a couple of signs to pin to her dress.  She said that she feels good now (with all of the recent eliminations) and wants to make sure that no one will touch her before they wash, or try to offer her food (we will have safe food in a separate location from everyone else's).  She seemed very nervous, and told me several times that she wants to make sure she stays safe this year.  She even told me exactly what she wanted the sign for her front to say, and the one on her back.    This one is for the front of her dress, so people see it when they look at her
This one she wants on her back. (I would normally use a solid white for her signs, but most of my fabric is in storage, awaiting construction of our new living room and my sewing room.)  
  She made sure that we will have wipes available, and told me that she does not want to get sick.     I am proud of her, and feel a bit more confident that she will handle school just fine this year.    Of course, in addition to safe food in a separate location, and wearing her epi pens, we will have her bottle of benadryl on hand, she will be wearing her MedicAlert bracelet (which she never takes off), and Steve and I will be keeping a close eye on her. 

Here are a couple of pictures of Mandie three years ago.

Tomorrow I will post new pictures of her.
Also coming tomorrow, photos and recipes of my Old Fashioned Baked Beans, Grain-Free Pumpkin Bread, and Banana Bread.

Friday, August 10, 2012

(Free of corn, gluten, palm/coconut, sunflower; can be top 8 free)
¾ cup pumpkin
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened carob powder
2 eggs OR 2 Tbsp. flax gel dissolved in 6 Tbsp. hot water
1 cup sorghum flour
¼ cup hazelnut flour
¼ cup garfava flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Hain Featherweight Baking Powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
2 tsp. espresso powder (optional)

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees and (if using), combine flax with hot water.  Grease a 15x10x1inch baking pan with cooking spray or oil; set aside. Combine oil, pumpkin, sugar, and carob powder until just combined.  Add eggs or flax gel and vanilla.  Combine well.  In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder & baking soda.  Add flour mixture and water to carob mixture, combining well.  Pour batter into greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and brownies spring back at a light touch.  Cool on a wire rack.  These are wonderful and very fudgy served warm.

Since Amanda is now allergic to chocolate - and she misses it and lives in a family of choco-holics, we decided to experiment with carob powder to make brownies.  These are amazing!!!  I should have gotten a picture at the delight on her face when she took her first bite.  She totally lit up!  I LOVE IT when I can make something to make my girl happy.  She has such a wonderful attitude about everything she has had to give up.  I really do admire her for it.  It makes me very happy to be able to create something safe for her that she loves so very much.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Introduction to My Family

   My family has been blessed with a vast number and variety of allergies.  Yes, I said blessed.  I believe that we have been blessed as opposed to cursed with our allergies because through them we are learning how to be the healthiest selves we can possibly be, though food, cleaning products, lifestyle choices, etc. We are constantly evolving as we add allergens and learn more about the best ways to stay healthy and happy.    
    Truman is my oldest, at 9 1/2.  He has recently been diagnosed with asthma, which is no surprise since he got pneumonia at 19 months and has had to use albuterol in the nebulizer machine at various times since then.  He is sensitive to dairy (he has to use his neb if he has too much) and gluten, and we think sulfites cause his eczema to flare.  He also has lovely seasonal allergies - though zyrtec seems to keep the eczema, runny nose, etc at bay.   He is my book worm, an remembers most of what he reads - especially about animals.  He has very educated conversations with the zoo keepers whenever we visit a zoo.  He also loves animals, outdoors, shooting bb guns and bow and arrow with his grandpa, and being in the water.  He showed his dog and his grandma's chickens in 4 H this year, and hopes to add goats next year.  Truman is very protective of his siblings and their allergies, and is learning how to look at recipes and make safe substitutions. He helps me read food labels for all of his and his siblings allergens.  Truman thankfully outgrew his allergies to mosquito and spider bites.
     Hunter is 7 and my wild man.  He is all boy, loving sports, outdoors, shooting, swimming, playing in the dirt, figuring out how things work, riding bikes and scooters and doing every single thing at full capacity. He absolutely loves anything related to airplanes, and spends hours making and flying paper airplanes throughout the house and at VBS each summer.   Hunter has allergic eczema, is allergic to dairy (bad stomach aches and behavior issues), is celiac, and is anaphylactic to bees and wasps.  He carries his epi pens in a carrier that I made him after the one I bought wore out too quickly (like I said, he is always outside, climbing).  Hunter only has a problem with food dyes when he is not gluten and dairy free - though we eat very little that has artificial color and are trying to phase out the rest. He also has environmental allergies, which we usually keep under control with liquid Zyrtec. He is an amazing advocate for himself and his sister, and has no problems having his own safe foods at school.
        Amanda is 5 1/2 and my "allergy baby", and how we got started on this journey.  After her 4 week early birth, she was in the NICU of Comer Children's Hospital for a week, where we first saw signs of her dairy allergy as she projectile vomited every NG feed over the side of her basinette.  At a few weeks old she had blood an mucous in her stools, as well as continued projectile vomiting and severe reflux. My wonderful family doc an IBCLC said classic dairy allergy, so I eliminated all dairy from my diet, and she began to improve.  Over the course of her life, Mandie has developed 20 food allergies of varying severity, the most recent being corn, chocolate, mustard, oats, and olive.  She was diagnosed with reactive airway disease at 18 months, celiac disease at age 3, and is anaphylactic allergic to dairy, shellfish, mollusks, palm, coconut, sunflower, safflower, chamomile, and almond (all contact, ingestion, and airborne).  She is allergic to peanut, honey (from the pollens), soy, wheat, sesame and bananas (we think just OAS for now).  She is allergic to latex (contact and airborne), wool, lanolin, down, molds, ragweed (entire Aster/Daisy family except lettuces and lavender), most midwest trees, dustmites, grass, grain dust (we are surrounded by fields), adhesives (most likely because they are corn based), and lidocaine.  Mandie outgrew her allergies to cats, dogs, cottonwood trees, and strawberries.  Mandie loves to be outside, especially in the pool or with any and all animals.  She has a real way with chickens and cats.  Mandie is very much a princess, though she keeps up with her brothers very well.  She is an AMAZING advocate for herself, telling people about her allergies, why she wears her epi pens, and how to use them.  She knows ALL of her allergens, and is somehow aware of what everyone else is eating - asking them to please wash when they are done eating one of her allergens.  She asks us to double check all labels, and remembers what is in most things better than we do. She won't eat anything unless her dad or Steve or I have verified is safe for her, and is trying to learn the written names of her allergens. Mandie takes Singulair each day for her RAD and allergies, and from March through November, she takes Cyproheptadine. This helps with the pollen and mold allergies, gives her an appetite, and helps keep her allergic eczema under control.
       All three of my kids have Malignant Hyperthermia , which is an allergy to anesthetics.  All four of us wear MedicAlert bracelets.
       I have a lifetime of pollen allergies, and through nursing Amanda figured out my lifelong dairy allergy, which has become anaphylactic in the past two years. I am also EXTREMELY sensitive to gluten (docs think celiac though I have not been tested) and to soy. I am allergic to wool, lanolin, down, sulfa drugs, adhesives, and have asthma. I have found relief using Advair HFA and Claritin D 24 hour, and add Flonase during spring and fall pollen season.