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Posts tagged ‘gluten-free’

Lately, my son has gotten tired of the same-ol’ beans and cereal day in and day out. I don’t blame him. That’s nearly all he has eaten for 2 solid years. Add to that the fact that he seems moderately allergic to beans, as well as the facts that we are a vegetarian family, and that he is allergic to eggs and dairy and nuts, and, well, you have a problem.

That is, a protein problem. Granted, grains like quinoa and amaranth are complete proteins, as is hemp, which he drinks every day (but not a lot, because it’s expensive). But he doesn’t get quinoa and amaranth every day. And I don’t want to give him the same foods every day, because that will just make him more susceptible to sensitivities to them.

So I’ve been working on new ways to fix his food. Of course, cooking a batch of cream of rice or amaranth or millet cereal in the morning and adding several cubes of pre-cooked and frozen beans is very simple and easy, but I always knew I would eventually have to start actually cooking and baking for him. Well, the time has come.

The first grain to get changed into something other than cereal was Teff. I invented a recipe for teff pancakes. I’m sharing that recipe on my eczema blog.

We also decided, after much deliberation, to add a little meat to his diet. Right now, that looks like chicken once a week added to shredded yuca (cassava). I am also sharing that recipe on my eczema blog.

However, there are several recipes that I have found that he likes. I love the simplicity of some of  them!

This Baked Amaranth Cracker/Flatbread is made from the grain, not amaranth flour, and is very simple to make. I mean, very simple. I added a little basil to the mix, since he can’t have the topping (I’ve never tried pumpkin seeds, but I’m really afraid to). I still need to come up with some kind of topping for them. That is hard, since nuts and avocado are all out, and those make the best creamy vegan sauces. But he will eat these, and he likes them. I served it with some slices of cucumber, and he enjoyed the meal very much.

This GF Biscuit recipe was a real hit. Since he can’t have eggs or egg replacer, I used quarter mashed banana, because I only made a half a recipe. You can use 1/2 a banana plus 1/8 tsp of extra baking powder for egg in baking, but I didn’t think 1/16 of baking powder was really necessary! I wanted to use a little less starch, so I replaced 1/4 of the starch with sorghum flour (doubling the sorghum called for). They turned out better than the last batch did (where I put in too much banana and otherwise followed the recipe, and now have more whole grains in them. I also threw in a scant tablespoon each of chia seeds and hemp protein for extra protein, and he didn’t even notice. Chia seeds are a complete protein and really a powerhouse. Research them sometime. I am very excited to discover that my local WinCo carries them! Manny will eat chia seeds by the spoonful (2 or 3 baby spoonfuls), and they have very little flavor. I think they actually improved the texture as well (since they tend to gel, kind of like flax seeds).

When you can’t have wheat or corn, tortillas become almost impossible. Rice tortillas leave much to be desired, as do most GF tortillas you can buy. But these millet tortillas are so easy, especially if you have a tortilla press. I do, but it’s in storage, so I improvised with a flat-bottomed skillet. It worked almost as well. Unfortunately, Manny only liked the first two, and then he didn’t want more. If there was something I could dip them in or roll inside of them… maybe beans? I’ll have to experiment. But he’s not very good at eating stuff with toppings… he just licks off the topping! We might make them once in a while for ourselves, though, and they are perfect for those who can’t have gluten or corn!

And for dessert, well, this Blueberry Crumb Cake was the bomb! My husband said he couldn’t tell it was gluten free! I used the banana/baking powder trick in place of eggs, and it rose beautifully. I made two batches: one as a cake, and one as muffins (which of course cooked in about half the time as the cake). It’s good with and without the topping. This site also has many GF cooking and baking tips (it’s where I learned about the banana-instead-of-egg idea). I highly recommend browsing it if you are on a GF diet. Many of the recipes are vegan (because the author cannot tolerate casein), though some do include meat (usually with vegetarian variations). She makes GF look so easy! Indeed, this cake was my first attempt at GF baking without a boxed recipe (Betty Crocker has about 3 GF mixes that you can buy at most grocery stores, and I made a couple at a friend’s house once), and I really expected it to flop. Instead, it turned out lovely, and my son had a delicious cake for his birthday, and muffins for dessert once a week since!

Lastly, there are these delicious GF Molasses Cookies. Manny wasn’t terribly fond of them, and I think it was mostly because of the ginger (which he can’t seem to tolerate in the quantity that is in the cookies). They turned out perfectly, though, and I took a dozen to a friend whose son has a lot of allergies. The whole family tried them, and she informed me they are better than store-bought cookies. I totally agree. Granted, they aren’t super healthy. I mean, 3/4 cup of shortening (palm oil, not hydrogenated oils) is quite a bit of fat. Maybe I could cut it down by increasing the applesauce. But I usually like to do a recipe the way it says the first time–especially baked goods. Then experiment later. I think Manny would like them better without the ginger. He loves molasses, after all.

I tried split pea soup on him, but he seemed to react to the peas. I had suspected that he would, being legume and all. But he enjoyed it a lot. I think I could make a veggie soup with quinoa using the same seasonings I used in the pea soup (garlic, sweet basil, marjoram, bay leaf, salt). I’ve been avoiding onions, because touching them and then rubbing his face made him break out. Whether that was an allergic reaction, or simply sensitive skin, I don’t know. But for now, I don’t feed them to him directly. Though he did eat some carrots I had cooked in a stock made of scraps of veggies used to make dinner (I put 3 baby carrots in the stock for variety), and he loved them, as well as the bits of zucchini my husband didn’t eat from his salad. They were cooked with onion, and he seems fine with it. So maybe he is okay. I’m going to play it by ear at this point!

What simple GF recipes do you use? I’d love for you to share them!

I can almost hear you saying, “What is yuca?” (pronounced YOU-kuh). It is a very interesting root found in many tropical countries, from Africa to the Carribbean, Central and South America, many South Pacific islands, and parts of Asia. I learned to like it when my husband introduced me to it while we were living in Texas.

It is a very starchy, fibrous root with a kind of bark-like skin and white flesh. It cooks similar to a potato, but it is a bit drier and has a rather bland flavor. You may have heard of its other name, cassava, as it is called in many English speaking countries, such as Jamaca. It is also the root from which tapioca is made.

The other night, my husband found this site that talks about many of the properties of yuca, and we were surprised to find that it is a good source of calcium, as well as anti-inflammatory.

My son is allergic to potatoes, which makes buying gluten-free mixes and products virtually impossible. However, tapioca flour and starch can substitute very well for potato flour and starch in GF recipes, and he is not allergic to it at all.

In Texas, we used to buy it for about $1 a pound. Not terribly cheap, but still affordable. We had to remove the skin and the ends, and I learned the hard way to chop it open in the store to check for pure white flesh (instead of flesh with gray lines in it). Sometimes I would find a lot that was good, and then I would skin it all and freeze whatever we didn’t plan on using in the next few days. It could be taken from the freezer and put directly into hot water to cook, and it tasted almost the same as fresh.

Then we moved to Oregon, and the yuca here is almost $3 a pound. So we never buy it. Not to mention that I doubt it will be good quality up here. But my husband found frozen shredded yuca at a Philippino market for about $1.25 per 1 lb bag. He used about two pounds to make a yuca casserole for Christmas dinner (yuca on top and bottom with seasoned veggie burger filling), but it’s a bit expensive to use for the family on a regular basis, and takes a bit of work. However, we discovered that if we took some of the yuca (which is so finely shredded that it is more like a thick batter than anything else), added some salt, and pan fried it in small patties, Manny would devour them. He’s been known to eat more than half a pound of it at one sitting!

Lately poor Manny, who is definitely allergic to eggs, milk, and all nuts and seeds except flax and hemp, has become more and more sensitive to beans. I can’t just feed him grains–most of them aren’t a complete protein, and even if they were, the quality of protein isn’t enough for a growing child. He won’t eat greens (and with the limited amount of food he can eat, it’s next to impossible to hide greens in anything), so using greens to supplement his protein isn’t really a viable option. So we decided to try a little turkey. Daddy bought some at the health food store today. He chopped it fine, mixed it with the yuca, made the patties, and cooked them with a little palm oil (which oxidizes slower than olive oil, is flavorless, and healthier than canola oil). We started with about 2 ounces of turkey and half a pound of yuca. I’m not sure how many patties he ate, but there were only 2 two-inch patties left when he was full.

Turkey isn’t something we’ll give him every day. What we bought today cost over $2, and I’m not positive it was organic  or free range (it didn’t say it was; he bought it pre-cooked and sliced in the deli, not raw). I can buy similar turkey from Azure Standard, only it IS organic and free-range, and costs over $6 for each 6-oz package (just under $6 each if I buy a 10-pack). I figure buying it pre-cooked is better, so I don’t have to deal with raw meat in my kitchen (a friend made that suggestion, and I totally agree with her!).

As a third-generation vegetarian, feeding meat to one of my kids is something I really hesitate to do. But we don’t seem to have a lot of options right now. I really hope that he will outgrow many of his allergies eventually, and in the mean time he really needs to avoid anything that makes him more itchy. If giving him a little turkey now and again will make that easier, then so be it.

Now if we could just move to a tropical country where yuca and other non-potato roots are staples in the diet… Hey, there’s no law that says I can’t wish, is there? :)

As I mentioned last week, my husband got tired of the plain tofu with chicken seasoning that I grew up with. So he got creative. This recipe is pretty much his creation. And you will have to forgive my estimates… I never measure for things like tofu–I just taste a bit to see if it has enough seasonings or not. This recipe is also gluten free!

My Favorite Tofu

1 lb tofu, diced
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cumin
mild chili powder to taste
2-3 tsp chicken seasoning
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
several squirts of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce will give a different flavor, but would probably work)
salt to taste (if needed)
squirt of lime or lemon juice (optional)

Mix together in a bowl and set aside to marinate. I usually test a piece to see if it has enough salt and seasonings, adding whatever I feel it needs. In the mean time, chop or dice the following:

1-2 tsp coconut oil
2 roma tomatoes or more
1/2 yellow onion
bell pepper (as much as you wish of any color you need)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped onion and tomato. Saute until tender, then add the bell pepper and tofu. Add water as needed to make it “juicy,” as my husband calls it–I use the rinse water from the bowl the tofu marinated in. Simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to blend well, then turn off and add the cilantro. Serve hot.

This goes well in place of scrambled eggs… we eat it over sweet potatoes, diced potatoes, baked cornmeal, whatever we feel like. Last time we had it, we added sunflower seed sour cream. Was that ever tasty!

We like to eat our Curried Tofu with baked cornmeal. It is very simple to make, but does take a little forethought and preparation the day before. This recipe is gluten free and great for anyone trying to find alternatives to wheat and gluten. Here is the method I use:

1:3 ratio of cornmeal to water and salt to taste (about 1 tsp per 3 cups of water). I like to use medium grind cornmeal, but anything coarser than flour would work. Bring most of the water to a boil. Mix the cornmeal with the remaining cold water. Stir well into boiling water. Return to boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for a while. If you were going to eat this as mush, you would want to cook it longer, but because it’s getting baked, 10 minutes is probably plenty.

Fresh out of the oven! Mmmmm!

Turn it out into an ungreased bread pan. (I have found that 2 cups cornmeal to 6 cups of water is maximum capacity for the normal bread pan, and will also fill a large cookie sheet). I prefer glass. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes uncovered, then cover and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450°F while you turn out the “loaf” of cornmeal onto a cutting board and carefully cut 3/8″ to 1/2″ slices. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet (I spray with Pam). Bake for 25-30 minutes, turn, and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot with whatever topping you enjoy best. Most people like butter and maple syrup. We prefer more savory toppings.

Soy Not Meat

This month I’m starting a new series of recipes. The theme is veggie meat. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like paying through the nose for the stuff they sell at the grocery store or the ABC. But finding recipes that taste as good as the commercial stuff isn’t easy.

I have, however, found a few that our whole family likes. I hope you will enjoy them too. Knowing that many people have problems with or allergies to certain foods, I’m including a couple without soy, and this one is gluten free.

1 cup soaked soy beans, ground (may use rather moist soy fiber leftover from making soy milk)
1 cup tomatoes
4 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup bread crumbs or dry oatmeal
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt or less (I find a scant teaspoon is best)

Blend tomatoes, peanut butter, oil, soysauce, and seasonings. Add to ground soybeans. (When using soaked soybeans, I ground them in the blender, though I had to stop and stir them a lot. A meat grinder might work.) Add bread crumbs, mix well. Fill 2 greased tin cans. Cover (I use aluminum foil with a rubber band to hold it on), place on a rack in a tall kettle, and steam for 2 ½ hours.

These freeze well. I usually freeze one in the can and take it out later. The meat doesn’t set very firmly, so it usually ends up being more of a thick spread, which is fine with me—I can make it fit the bread.

My husband doesn’t like spreads based on peanut butter, but this one has enough seasonings and other things in it that he does like it, though he’d rather have my veggie patties. Unfortunately, I won’t have room this month to share the recipe for them, but I’ll hopefully get it posted sometime. If you are my personal friend on Facebook (not just following my blog), you can find an older version of the recipe in my notes.

Because of how long it takes to cook this recipe, I plan on making a double batch next time. One can’s worth seems to be enough for my husband, daughter, and me for a meal, so that would give us almost a month’s worth. Then I’ll probably freeze most of it and use it as something to break the monotony of veggie patties for sandwiches.

Next week I’ll be sharing my recipe for Gluten Garbanzo Roast. In spite of my husband’s strong dislike for garbanzos, this is one of our favorite recipes! I made it for last Sabbath, so I’ll be posting a picture or two. In the mean time, why not share your favorite sandwich spread? Post it in a comment or in your blog with a link here.

This recipe is my variation of the recipe in the Ten Talents cookbook. You can buy it from Amazon using the link below:

Bring to almost boiling, then reduce to low and cook for 20-30 minutes (stirring occasionally):
2 c amaranth
3 ½ c water
1 tsp salt (or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp Bragg’s Aminos)

Stir and allow to cool a little before continuing. It should be nice and thick.

Mix together:
1 shredded parsnip
1 shredded carrot
1-2 c nut fiber, soy fiber, or other fiber*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c onion, minced (opt)
1 tsp sage
salt or Braggs Aminos to taste
½ c minced bell pepper
Add cooked amaranth, stir well.
Add gluten-free flour, such as garbanzo or rice flour, as needed to form a thick paste. You should be able to sort of kneed it, but it should be much wetter and stickier than bread dough. Alternately, you could soak garbanzos or split peas (yellow is better) and then blend them smooth with as little water as possible. This will make the mix more moist, but it will firm up as it bakes.

With wet hands, make balls slightly bigger than golf balls, shape into patties, and place on greased cookie sheet. They should be about 3/8” to 1/2″ thick. You will need to wet your hands again every 3-4 patties.

Bake for 30 minutes each side, or until they are how you want them. Great in sandwiches, or even by themselves.

* This is a great way to use up the fiber left over after juicing veggies.