May 30, 2012
avocado, corn-free salsa, mango, tomato-free salsa
Back when we were avoiding tomatoes, I stumbled on this gem of a recipe for corn-free and tomato-free salsa. It’s seriously awesome. I brought it to a church baby shower and people asked me for the recipe kind of good. Regular people – people without food allergies!
Use a really ripe mango (here’s how to cut it: http://startcooking.com/blog/217/How-to-Peel-a-Mango) and a fairly ripe avocado. Change up the acid – use lemon juice, lime juice, rice vinegar or whatever else you like. Use a yellow onion if red ones aren’t handy, it really doesn’t matter. I happen to like the flavor of yellow onions better, but red ones are more colorful and attractive in the mix.
Mango Avocado Salsa
1 mango – peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon white sugar(you could use your corn-free xylitol here)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
Toss together mango, bell pepper, onion, sugar, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl. Gently fold in diced avocado, and season with sea salt.
Let me know when you try it!
May 28, 2012
corn-free pasta sauce, corn-free tomato paste, pasta sauce, red sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato allergy, tomato sauce
Few images of childhood are as iconic as seeing a toddler’s face smeared with spaghetti sauce. For some time, I thought DS1 was allergic to tomatoes because he seemed to react to them. Then we tried making pasta sauce with corn-free tomato paste (Contadina is generally considered safe for those allergic to corn), and he didn’t react. It turns out that tomatoes (among other fruits and vegetables including bananas) are shipped unripe, and then gassed with ethylene to ripen them. Ethylene gas, naturally, is derived from corn, and so my son was reacting to the corn in the fresh tomatoes I was buying.
Yeah. He had a CORN reaction from eating TOMATOES. Needless to say, I only buy locally-grown, un-gassed tomatoes now. But I digress.
Once I realized that he could safely eat tomato products, we started trying to figure out how to make our own pasta sauce from tomato paste. The hubby has a gift for tweaking seasonings, so this has really been his mission. Here is the result of all his hard work:
Corn-Free Pasta Sauce (aka Red Sauce)
3 (6 oz.) cans of tomato paste
18 oz. water (see notes below)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. basil
Pepper to taste
1 cup frozen spinach packed (optional)
Empty tomato paste into a medium sized sauce pan. Fill each can with water and pour into sauce pan, rinsing as much paste into the pan as possible. (*Becki’s note: This means one can of water for each can of paste. Not 3 cans of water for each can of paste. That makes tomato soup, not pasta sauce. Ask me how I know…)
Turn the heat on to low as you add all the remaining ingredients except spinach. Heat through until sauce starts bubbling, add spinach, and heat through until spinach is cooked.
If you’re dealing with picky eaters, go ahead and blend the mix until smooth. If not, just enjoy the spinach in the sauce. Adjust seasonings as needed.
This freezes really well, so go ahead and double (or triple!) the recipe.
It was such a heartwarming moment the first time I saw my one-year-old with a face covered in pasta sauce. I felt like a good mom, doing such awesome things for my little boy. Yup, heartwarming. Right up until I had to start cleaning the red stains off the white kitchen walls.
May 25, 2012
Fab or Fail, snacks
candy, corn-free xylitol, mint
With trepidation, I added peppermint flavor to my first batch of xylitol candy. It was the only flavoring I had on hand, and having “mints” is already an established treat in our home. Why the trepidation, then? My middle child – the one who needs the most dental help – dislikes mint.
So I offered the home-made xylitol candy to my oldest first. If you ever need a cheerleader, someone to lead the charge, a party in a petite package perhaps, then my oldest child is the one you need. She raved and raved over the xylitol candy and begged for more. It took my two boys a couple of days to work up the courage to give the candies a try. Once they did, however, it was clear that corn-free xylitol candy is a resounding success in this home!
My next batch I added orange flavoring to. And that batch is going even faster! I must say it is a bit strange to happily give out candy – with no concern over teeth or ruining dinner (xylitol is lower-carb as well).
May 18, 2012
Fab or Fail, healing diets, Health and Beauty products, snacks
candy, Sugar substitute, Xylitol
It is no secret that I have a sweet tooth.
Giant Chewy Nerds, made by the Willy Wonka Candy Company. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Give me Chewy Runts and I’m a happy girl! Give me peanut butter cups and I am in heaven. I am certain my graphics business runs, in part, on sugar. Yet, it is exceedingly difficult to find corn-free candy. Corn syrup is the basis of most candies, and even when it’s not, there’s dextrose, corn starch, citric acid and fructose to be concerned with (yes! All these things DO come from corn). Even more difficult is finding corn-free candy that actually tastes good. There’s no feeling quite like setting yourself up for disappointment.
Now, pair that up with my goal to Be A Good Mom. You know: don’t rot the kids’ teeth but let them enjoy some sweets in life; don’t poison them but realize their peers get treats and they’ll feel left out. A tricky line to walk, no doubt about it. In addition, my middle child has very soft enamel on his teeth and I have to be so, so careful as we’re in a season of life that leaves us with no dental insurance.
Corn-Free Candy Inspiration
As I was researching dental health care on Dr. Ellie’s site, I was reminded of the anti-cavity properties Xylitol has. Encouraged by Dr. Ellies use of Xylitol mints and gum, I casually wondered (aka googled) if I could make xylitol mints on my own. As it turns out, Mom’s Frugal blog says I can! Not only that, but I have oodles of corn-free xylitol on hand, languishing in my pantry – so this will be a no-cost experiment. Win!
So today, I put together the ingredients, and made a small batch of xylitol mints. They are cooling right now. They taste fine to me, and will totally work in my efforts to help the kids’ teeth. But… will the kids eat them?