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Homemade Gluten-Free Eggos

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We here at Food Allergies on Ice have a disagreement.  Yes, it’s true.  That conundrum that sweeps the nation has not overlooked even small-time bloggers.  In my professional development venues, I’ve heard rumblings about the divisive nature of this very serious issue.

Waffles

Waffles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pancakes or Waffles?

Belle loves her pancakes.  She has learned how to appease the Pancake Gods, she has written about the glories of stocking your freezer with pancakes, and she has even graciously given to us her treasured Pancake Recipe.  She swears by pancakes.

I like waffles.  They are easy to mix up, give me a chance to multitask and freeze well.  I make my waffles 4 at a time. Infinitely practical! I can turn them into ice cream cones, make them into “faffles” (waffle sandwich), cook the sweetness into them cut into sticks and have snacks for my toddler. Cooks up easier than pancakes on a busy morning. 4 cups of batter has me working on waffles for maybe 20 minutes. 4 cups of pancake batter has me tied to the stove-top for an hour.

My recipe for waffles is simple.  Unfortunately, it is not egg free.  In fact, I put extra eggs in for extra protein staying power for my kids.  Perhaps this is the dividing line between my sister and I…

Gluten-Free Waffles

  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water, milk, or juice (be sure to reduce sugar, if you use juice)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (or use my Happy Accident Discovery
    )
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  1. Preheat waffle iron – cold irons are messy and don’t cook waffles!
  2. In small mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients
  3. Add dry ingredients and stir until fully mixed
  4. Pour batter on to a hot waffle iron.  I use about 1/2 cup of batter for a 4-waffle iron.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes.
    (Know your iron!  Some irons don’t get as hot as others.  This recipe is pretty forgiving and it takes walking away and actually forgetting about the waffles entirely to burn them. Not that I’ve done that or anything…)
  6. Serve with your favorite toppings!

Which do you prefer? Pancakes or waffles?  Do you have a favorite topping or a unique way to use waffles?  Let us know!

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Squash-Tastic

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This lovely blossom will be a yummy squash in a couple weeks!

It’s that time of year again when the garden is yielding up more squash than you can shake a stick at. Squash is pretty easy to grow, and produces a lot of food, so it’s a good crop for the novice gardener.  Last year, I was given nearly 50 yellow squash starts for my garden, and as a result, I had an abundance of yellow squash for much of last summer. By the end of summer, I had mastered the art of hiding squash in a number of creative recipes.

  • Sliced thin, lightly salted, and dehydrated into squash chips (a tasty low-carb snack!)
  • Dredged in a mixture of flour, salt and herbs and fried
  • Sautéed in oil with tomatoes, white beans, caramelized onions, garlic, bell pepper, etc.
  • Steamed with broccoli and lightly seasoned with herbs for a side dish with grilled chicken
  • Boiled with potatoes and cauliflower and mashed into “mashed potatoes”
  • Roasted with potatoes, carrots and bell pepper
  • Lightly brushed with olive oil and grilled
  • Julienned into a squash/carrot/radish coleslaw-like salad
  • Chopped into lettuce salad
  • Shredded and in baked into muffins and pancakes
  • Added to soup
  • Mashed and added to spaghetti sauce
  • Lacto-fermented (aka pickled) in brine
  • Peeled into thin strips as a low-carb, grain-free pasta substitute
  • Shredded and mixed into meatloaf and chicken patties

I think the only thing I didn’t do is stuff them, and that was only because I didn’t let them get that big. I also sliced and shredded a bunch for the freezer so we could enjoy squash all year long.

This year’s garden has less squash, but overflows with broccoli instead. I’m sad to say that it is not proving to be nearly as versatile.  I’d be happy to hear your suggestions for using up broccoli or squash in the comments!

Summer Vacation

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Food Allergies on Ice is taking a brief summer vacation while Becki’s family is traveling. Traveling while accommodating complicated food allergies is always a challenge, but I’ve figured out a few things that make life easier. Zippie bags take up far less room in a cooler than plastic containers, for example. Don’t forget to bring a sharp knife with your picnic supplies – there’s always something that needs cutting. Oh, and keep baby wipes on hand at all times. Even if you don’t have a baby in diapers – it’s still a good idea.

Here is the menu for while we’re away:

Breakfasts: *Pancakes and maple syrup or sunbutter, crispy cereal with hemp milk, *muffins, *yogurt with jelly, *sausage

Lunches: Sunbutter and jelly *sandwiches with carrots and celery, turkey *lunchmeat roll-ups and avocado, tuna salad with pickle, turkey *hot dogs and potato chips

Dinners: *pizza with salad, *baked chicken with *mashed potatoes, *chicken nuggets with broccoli

Snacks: Homemade trail mix, potato chips and salsa, *orange-cinnamon bread, *muffins, rice cakes, hummus and crackers, “squeezy” applesauce, whole fruit

* Items marked with an asterisk were packed frozen

Yes, I’m traveling with small children, as you can see by my menu choices. Yes, we’re eating far too many potato chips instead of all those nice fruits and veggies I mentioned. But here’s the point: Most of this food I was able to make ahead of time and freeze. Everything got flash frozen and packed into resealable bags so I could layer the food into a cooler. This way I was able to pack enough food in our undersized cooler for 4 to 5 days. We tend to stay in the sort of hotel where we can get a refrigerator and microwave in the room, and reheating the food isn’t difficult.

Here are some other meal ideas we’ve used in the past:

Pasta with *Red Sauce (rice and pasta can be cooked in a microwave just fine)

*Soups (freezes well as long as there is no rice, pasta or potato in the soup)

*Curried Lentils/Dahl

*Chicken Stir-fry

*Meatballs

*Chicken Patties

Your turn – what are your favorite meals for on the road?

Fab or Flop Friday – Making Vegan Yogurt, Part 3

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Part 1  Part 2

It turns out that the package of yogurt starter had a troubleshooting guide in it that I missed the first time around. Apparently overheating the culture does cause the whey-like separation I got when trying to make the hemp milk yogurt. Well. Now I know. Operator error. Got it.

So, armed with this knowledge, I made another attempt at vegan yogurt. I used rice milk this time, kept the batch small, and used my typical incubation method. I carefully went through the process of heating the rice milk, adding the starter culture, and incubating the mixture. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I put the rice milk on the stove and measured its temperature carefully for about 5 minutes before my boys had so-called “needs” and distracted me. *Sigh* At least it didn’t boil over this time.

After 24 hours of incubation, the result was another mediocre batch of yogurt. The tart yogurt-y taste was more fully developed this time, probably because I didn’t kill the culture so quick. However, there was still that funny sweetish taste, too. (Sweet-ish, not to be confused with Swedish.) The consistency of the finished product was pretty much the same as rice milk, perhaps slightly thicker.

Here’s my theory. It’s pure speculation, but it sounds real good. I think that the bacteria ate all the sugars they could, but I’m not sure that all the sugars in the rice milk are digestible to these bacteria, so that leaves the strange sweet taste – the undigested sugars. Also, I don’t think there’s enough protein and fat in rice milk to cause the mixture to thicken up any. You’d need to add gelatin or agar agar or something to thicken things up to something resembling commercial yogurt.Pear, carrot, and spinach juice with rice milk yogurt

There is some good news, though. I now have a cultured (fermented) rice beverage, kind of like kefir. I’m not a fan of drinking it straight, but I mixed it with some freshly pressed juice, and it was a super-refreshing beverage. The combo was actually quite a bit better than either beverage alone. Not quite “Calgon, take me away!” good, but probably the best beverage I’ve had in the last several years. Seriously yum-tastic.

I’m getting a regular supply of goat’s milk again, so I think my adventures in making vegan yogurt are over for now. I’m going to give Jaye the rest of the starter culture, as her family uses almond milk, and I’m curious to see if it makes a difference. Stay tuned for the continuing saga!

Tuesday Tips – Homemade Sausage Patties

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We have started making our own homemade chicken sausage patties, since the ones in the store are so stinkin’ expensive, and likely to be contaminated with one of our many allergens. It turns out that it’s really easy to make allergen-free sausage – just mix ground meat with seasonings, and voila! Bulk sausage.

There are a bunch of homemade sausage recipes on the web. We don’t really have a favorite to recommend. Sometimes we make Italian sausage for pizza, sometimes spicy sausage (for Hubby), or sometimes a sweet breakfast-y maple sausage for, well, breakfast.

Maybe someday I’ll get ambitious and figure out how to stuff casings and all that. In the meantime, I figured out an easy way to make easy sausage patties. After mixing the raw meat and seasonings together, I just form it into a log, roll it up in freezer paper, and freeze it solid. Then, I unwrap it and simply slice off little patties – much like those slice-and-bake cookies I used to make as a teenager. You’ll need a really super sharp chef’s knife for this. I found that a serrated knife left little sausage sawdust bits everywhere, so I use a flat blade instead.

I pop the frozen patties straight into the frying pan to cook. They hold their shape that way while they cook. Extra patties go back into the freezer, safely sealed in a labeled baggie for another meal. Simple as that!

Fab or Flop Friday – Vegan Yogurt, Part 1

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My friend has a nanny goat that she feeds a corn-free grain mix, and It’s been wonderful to have a source for non-bovine dairy products! However, the goat is having a baby, so no more goat milk for us for a little while. Since I’ve been really enjoying making yogurt lately, I started looking for a way to make non-dairy yogurt. I found a company that had a vegan yogurt starter, so naturally, I jumped on it.

We use hemp milk on our cereal and to make non-dairy ice cream, so it seemed only natural to try using that for our yogurt, despite the fact that the vegan yogurt starter said it was designed for rice milk or soy milk. I’d found online reviews where people were trying it with almond milk, so why not try hemp milk? To give the vegan yogurt starter a fair chance, I decided to do side-by-side batches of yogurt with both the vegan starter and the last of my goat’s milk yogurt.

I accidentally over-heated the hemp milk. It probably got to 140 degrees or so. I must have gotten interrupted while the milk was heating. Not that that sort of thing ever happens around here with a one-year-old and a four-year-old underfoot. Oh, well. I normally heat the goat milk to 180 and let it cool from there, so I figured it was no big deal. It looked fine, it smelled fine, so I boldly carried on.

Once the hemp milk cooled to 110, I split the milk into two bowls, adding my homemade goat’s yogurt to one and the powdered vegan yogurt starter to the other. I stirred them up, poured the mixtures into pint-size jelly jars, keeping each batch carefully separated, and put them in the oven to incubate. Now, I’ve never tried incubating yogurt in the oven before. Usually, I put the jars of yogurt with a heating pad into a little insulated bag that I have. But, alas, my batch this time was too large for my regular method, so I stuck them in the oven. It was substantially more challenging than I thought it would be to keep the yogurt at a consistent temperature. They got too hot, too cold, and the oven just pretty much wasn’t my friend that day. Oops.

I let it incubate for a long time – 6 hours or so, just like I normally would. The liquid inside the jars had separated and looked a bit less than yogurt. I kept checking on them, hoping something miraculous would happen. I eventually conceded that nothing amazing was going to happen, and put the “yogurt” in the fridge overnight.

Watch for Part 2 next week to find out if this was Fab or a Flop!

Tuesday Tips – Making a Plan

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My family has recently moved.  A pack-all-your-things-and-move-across-the-country type of move.  There are several things that happen when you move: You lose all your good hunting grounds for allergen-free foods, your kitchen gadgets end up in boxes marked “office supplies – storage room”, and your routine is lost.  It’s like discovering food allergies all over again!

One thing I have neglected on working on is The Meal Plan.

I have a love-hate relationship with plans in general, but I grudgingly admit that The Meal Plan has helped simplify dinner for me.  When I don’t work on The Meal Plan, my days are filled with unpacking, trying to start up a business, juggling appointments of all kinds, playing with my toddler, getting the bigger kids to and from school and suddenly … the witching hour hits where everyone is hungry and cranky and I’m looking at my kitchen in amazement because there is nothing ready to eat.

The Meal Plan.   The Forgetful Professor

There are many great things about having one. You know in advance what ingredients you need.  You can buy in bulk to cook (or freeze) ahead which can save you money.  You can start your dinner in the crockpot in the morning and let it simmer all day and be ready when you are.  You can post it prominently so complainers can get it over with, and all others can eagerly anticipate the glorious mouthwatering food that you can create.

But seriously.  The Meal Plan helps me because I am more like an absent-minded professor working on the big ideas of life, and having The Meal Plan charted out and in place is like having someone follow me around reminding me to pick up my socks.

Now I have many grand ideas about how to meal plan.  Right now I’m working for a 2 week rotation.  I’d love to expand it a little further, and possibly rotate seasonal meals through as well (potato salad in the summer time, for instance.)

I would love to hear what works for other people though.  Especially in attempting to tame food allergy cooking.  What works for bulk and batch cooking?  Do you have a month’s worth of meals you can work with?  Have you tried once-a-month cooking?  Do tell!

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep looking for my crockpot.  Maybe it’s in that box labeled “shed – tools”…

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