Thursday, November 18, 2010

Egg Substitutes

When it comes to baking, there is one thing that is very hard to leave out of a recipe. Eggs. Neither of my boys can have eggs, after hearing that I need to store powdered eggs to bake with I was a bit clueless on what I was going to store. Here are some tried and true egg substitutes made from things most allergy friendly families have on hand. I also included on of my favorite baking secrets when baking eggless.
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg.
  • 1 banana = 1 egg in cakes and pancakes!
  • 1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3 tbsp water = 1 egg. Light, fluffy cakes!

Now for my favorite baking ingredient….Salvia Hispanica, or more commonly known from the name brand as Salba. (It's actually the Chia pet, lol!) They harvest the seed and it is sold as a supplement, similar to flax. But what I use it for, is to make a gel out of it. By taking the seeds, adding water to them and letting them sit over night or at least a couple of hours, it creates a gel around the seeds that is just like the egg whites! I use it for baking and it really holds up! I was able to make a moist bread that didn't just crumble when you touch it (which commonly happens when you have to cook without eggs, yeast and gluten as a binder). If the labels doesn't have the directions it’s:
1 part Salba + 8 parts water = 1 egg Combine in a glass jar and let sit overnight or at least an hour.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Milk Alternatives

Before I started food storage, I bought Almond milk or Coconut milk in the carton once a week. But as I realized (when reaching for an extra carton that was gone already) I needed to have some for storage, I ran into a serious problem. I could only find powdered Soy and Cow milk. With my youngest son having a soy intolerance, I was very worried that I would never be able to find a powdered milk to store. For about a year I searched high and low for a powdered milk alternative. I found some great alternative to dairy and hopefully you can enjoy some of these as well. If you don’t have an issue with milk or dairy, you are one lucky dog!
Here are some of the powdered milk alternatives that I have found:
  • Powdered and Evaporated goat milk. The powdered is something that you can usually find at any Wal-Mart or Meijer’s. They come in 12oz. cans that make about 3 quarts. Usually running about $12 a can or from the maker 12 cans (case) for $117.00. The evaporated (which is ideal when baking!) comes in 12 0z. cans and from the maker come in cases of 12 for about $30.

  • DariFree is our personal favorite. It comes in a 19.5 oz can and makes about 6 quarts of milk. Available in vanilla or chocolate (yum) &  believe it or not it’s potato based of all things! Gluten-Free Casein-Free Fat-Free Soy-Free Rice-Free MSG-Free Protein-Free Cholesterol-Free

  • Soy based powdered milks are not hard to find. Just type in “Powdered Soy Milk” in your search box and you’ll instantly have at least four to choose from. Beings that they are so easy to find, I won’t run through the different brands out there. *Know ,though, that most soy products are coming under fire for not being as nutritious as thought. Since most of our soy in the US is genetically modified and cooked at such a high heat,  they lose most benefits. Also, in recent studies among men who consume a large amount of soy, there are some undesired side effects in the “man region” and health. Just saying….

  • Coconut milk is another alternative that is great for baking and cooking. You can find it canned, which should be reserved for use in baking/cooking and not drinking. Also, you can buy it dry or powdered. With a  quick search I found a pound of it on Amazon for $9.00. We have only used the liquid before, but if it’s similar in taste, it should be very good! I would like to get my hands on some.

Cooking Essentials

I titled this section Cooking Essential, because lets face it, when you have sensitivities or allergies to foods, that will inevitably effect how you cook and bake. With our restrictions so many staple ingredients, I’ve had to really become creative when cooking and storing foods. It’s easy when you can have eggs, dairy, yeast and cheeses. They sell 10 pound cans of dehydrated or freeze dried cooking essentials. But when you can’t have those things, you have to either look for an alternative or figure out how to store the substitutions you use everyday. I’ve tried to think of all the staples from cooking and baking that I substitute with and comply them in sections. If you see anything missing, please let me know!
  • Milk Alternatives
  • Egg Alternatives
  • Cheese Alternatives
  • Baking Powder/Soda,  Vinegar and Yeast Sensitivity (*note: under advisement of our Dr. we were able to introduce sourdough spelt bread to our boys. Since they have only a yeast sensitivity, be it a high one, naturally occurring yeast is tolerable. If you have a yeast ALLERGY please don’t ever experiment with it unless advised by your Dr.)
  • Misc. For example broth, bouillon, chocolate chips…You know random cooking goodies ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


There is more to storing sugars than just storing sugar when you think about it! We have a sugar sensitivity, and so have explored many options when it comes to replacing “sugar” in many recipes. Here are some of the things we store and therefore use in our house, instead of sugar.
Maple Sugar and Syrup. I think these two sugars get overlooked way too much. I use them a lot in baking, they really add that rich flavor that we enjoy.
Agave Nectar has grown widely popular in cooking lately. It’s got a syrup consistency with a mild honey flavor. Very tasty in my humble opinion. We use this and maple syrup in our pancakes.
Honey is something you can either have or you can’t. Luckily, in our household, we can have it. And if you can, there are lots of health benefits from eating it. I could go into a whole section on just honey, but I think I’ll just say that ripe or “raw” honey (honey that has been removed from the hive by a beekeeper) has a very long shelf life and will not ferment if properly sealed. Also, it’s said to be a lot healthier for you, since it hasn’t been heated.
Xylitol. Aside from honey, this sweetener has probably the most benefits out of all popular sugar substitutes. There are a lot of myths about it out there, so I’ll give a basic outline of what it is, and what it’s been proven to do. Xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol. Basically, they take any fibrous plant like corn, birch, plums and extract the naturally occurring sugars. They have done many studies and found that it helps in dental care, osteoporosis, infection, safe for those with diabetes and hyperglycemia too. Now, the main drawback for most people is the taste. And of course the wonderful laxative affect. When trying it out, be sure to mix it with your current sugars gradually.
Stevia is just one of those cool foods. It’s actually a plant that you can grow yourself. With 300 times the sweetness as sugar, and it’s health benefits for hypertension and obesity, you may want to try it. You’ve probably already seen adds for Truvia, the name brand. I’ve tried it in my coffee, but haven’t baked with it yet.
Brown Sugar is of course one of those things that make oatmeal and certain baked goods so tasty. It’s always a good idea to have some of it on hand. Especially if you like to eat hot oatmeal or in our case quinoa, on chilly mornings.
Sugar: Raw, Beet, Cane Long story short, they say that raw sugar is much better for you. But for some reason, at least where I shop, it seems to be  more expensive. Go figure. If you can have refined sugar, be it cane or beet, make sure that you always have some on hand. It’s inexpensive and you can always just cut back on it as long as you don’t have an allergy to it.
Rice Syrup is in just about every gluten free bar I’ve ever run across. Since we have a rice allergy in our house, I have never used it. But, a lot of people who bake with rice syrup swear by it! You can find it all over anymore and it will store for a long time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fats and Oils

What an exciting subject, lol! For most of you who already cook with allergy friendly alternatives, this section you may already have a handle on. For those of you who are new to food allergies, these are the things I use, or friends use. Hopefully you find something new! As I find new things, I’ll update this post as well.

Cooking and Baking Oils.
I’ve read that an oil allergy is one of the most uncommon allergies of them all. However, I do know some people who don’t use certain oils, either because they aren’t that healthy or they contain a food allergen. For example, we don’t use vegetable oil or soybean oil because we have a soy allergy in our house. When storing foods for either short or long term storage, it’s never a bad idea to keep in mind nutrition. If you cruise the internet, there are a multitude of conflicting stories on what to and not to use, so. Here are my personal favorites and those of others I know.

Olive Oil is probably the best oil to cook with. And at least for us, it’s the most used oil in our cabinet. Also, I read in a survival manual a long time ago, that you could survive on like a tablespoon of olive oil, until you could find food. And on top of that, it is great (I know from experience) for making oil lamps out of in a lights out situation!
Canola Oil is probably number two. Now, I have heard from some of my friends that they are highly sensitive to canola oil. So, it’s not right for everyone, but if you can have it it available everywhere and more affordable than other alternatives. 
Coconut Oil for some reason seems to have come under fire recently as unhealthy. It’s true that most of time when it’s been refined, it loses most of it’s health benefits, but why should we write off something that, in my humble opinion, is a life saver! Coconut oil can add a a wonderful flavor to all kinds of dishes and I use it to replace butter in many of my baking recipes. And now, I’ve seen it on the shelves of my local Meijer and Wal-Mart. Spectrum offers a wonderful range of coconut oil products.
Shortening is something I’ve had to learn to bake without (no soy in this house! UNTIL, I found this wonderful product from Spectrum, it’s made with palm oil and works wonderfully!

When I was making my own list of foods to store, I thought that this section was kind of interesting. I had never really thought of these as “fats”. I considered most of these either condiments or like peanut or any kind of nut butter as a protein. But, since these usually fall in a category titled fats, I will include these here.
Mayonnaise, if you have a dairy or egg allergy, is usually something you just don’t have anymore. And, since we couldn’t eat bread, I really hadn’t pursued any recipes or alternatives. But, I have since found some great recipes for making your own. And, as long as you keep these things on hand, you can make it fresh anytime you need to! Also, there is product made from grape seed oil called Vegenaise. I have read some good reviews on it, but have never personally tasted it. You can find it in the refrigerated section of your local whole foods store or ask for it at a health food store near you. Since it is refrigerated though, it’s not exactly the best option for storing large quantities.

Here is one recipe for making your own mayonnaise :
Mock Mayonnaise
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Dash paprika
Dash cayenne
1 tablespoon apple- cider vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoons arrowroot
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dash onion powder
Dash of other spices, if you wish
Blend together until mayonnaise consistency. Store in refrigerator. Looks, smells and tastes like the real thing! Use for pasta and bean salads and lots more.
Salad dressing. I usually make our own salad dressing for the boys from extra virgin olive oil and spices I have on hand. But, keeping a couple of brands you know are safe, aren’t a bad idea either!
Peanut Butter. Now, if you have a peanut allergy, you obviously know of alternatives and what not. But, if you can have either peanuts or another nut or sunflower butter, these are great in a pinch! When there is a storm or you need to have a quick snack, a scoop of “peanut butter” will usually hold you over until you can either make a meal or power is restored. Just make sure you rotate them so that they don’t go rancid. And make sure, as with all of your food storage, that you store them properly!
If there is anything that you don’t see here, that you or you’re family uses, please feel free to share!

Friday, September 3, 2010

What is “The List”?

If you are completely new to food storage, you may be wondering what “list” I refer to so much.
When you begin to research and really look into food storage, you’ll find a general list of foods that are the basics. Food that you can use for a multitude of cooking and have a good shelf life, when stored properly. These usually consist of wheat, powdered milk and eggs, rice, sugar, salt. Just about anything you would need to make the basic food to get you through 3 months to a year, depending on the list. However, if your family is like mine, one or many of these are off limit foods. What to do then? Well, I’m glad you are here!

Here are a couple of links to some sites that have general lists of food that you should have in your food storage. There are more out there, but these are what I looked at when started out.

Food Storage Made Easy is a site that offers a step by step guide with list to help you with your storage. They start of with getting a 3 month amount of supplies at a time, I have a link on the side of my blog.
Another great place to start is the Food Storage Calculator. Here you enter in the number of family members within a certain age range and they will calculate approximately how much food you need to store for a one year supply of food.
 Top 10 items to stock up in your pantry by Selina Dixon, manager and creator of Self-Reliant moms. Here, she has links to the FEMA and LDS list of foods to have on hand, and also outlines the top ten items that are recommended.

Depending on what your families needs are, you may be  able to use most of the items. But, if you run into things you can’t have, that’s where we come in! I have tried to break things down into categories to make finding these replacements easier.

No matter what list you choose to follow for amounts and  whatnot, just make sure that you are storing the foods properly and that you know how to use it :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Depending on your allergies, you may have to look for alternatives to grains such as wheat, gluten grains and rice. Here are a couple alternatives to those, some of which you may be familiar with and possibly some new ones. 
Amaranth is a very mild grain that is quite similar to wheat when it’s prepared (we really like it).
Buckwheat is a very dark grain that has a heavy flavor, although it is a very good source of fiber, I have to mix it with another grain (like amaranth) to get my kids to eat it.
Cassava (better known as arrowroot) is found in almost every gluten free snack. It’s just like cornstarch, and really helps your baking stick together and thicken.
Chickpea (garbanzo) can be ground into chickpea flour which is used a lot in Indian cuisine and also made into a tofu (great for those who can’t have soy).
Corn can be corn starch, corn meal, or maize which is just finely ground corn suitable for things like tortilla shells.  This is great if you can have it, but remember it’s not a good source of nutrients.
Millet is one of the cereal crops, it is commonly used to make a “porridge cereal” of sorts and is a very good option if you can’t have cream of wheat or oatmeal. It’s also used in third world countries often made into a flat bread.
Montina is a type of flour created from milled Indian rice grass, which is native to the western states. Its not related to rice, but has a growing following in the gluten free world.
Oats (note:  oats in the United States can be contaminated with wheat and other grains, so be sure they are gluten/wheat free) Oats are not something we can use, but are a great source of grain for those who can.
Potato flour and starch is another “staple” in most GF diets and recipes.  While full of starch and pretty low in nutrients, this is still a great thing to store, because you can always make potato soups (yum!)
Quinoa (keen-wa) is growing by leaps and bounds in popularity. And it has good reason, this is a super grain jam packed full of protein, minerals and amino acids! When rinsed and left whole, we use it in place of rice for my son (who can’t have rice).  Ground into a flour, its a great way to sneak in some nutrients to your cooking ;) And more importantly, is found at Wal-Mart next to the Rice-a-Roni :)
Rice is widely found on lists for food storage. While my youngest son can’t have it, the rest of the family can so I usually have this one hand. Brown rice is the only whole grain rice, so this is the best option if you are going to use rice.
Sorghum isn’t something I have ever used, except in syrup form. But, it’s the fifth most important cereal grain in the world. It was ground into flour and was the main alternative to wheat in north China for a long time and I have seen it on many gluten free recipes.
Spelt, I almost left it off this list because it is wheat. But…..Both of my boys are allergic to wheat, but for some reason that neither my doctor nor I can explain, they seem to handle Spelt with flying colors. Even though I use it, I would not suggest using this grain if you have severe reactions to wheat or gluten, since it is from the wheat family.
These are the most easily found and affordable grain alternative’s to wheat. There are other grains out there,  for example…Coconut, Almond or any nut flours. These are a delicious in baking things like muffins, etc. but are a little more on the pricey side, so “stocking up”, at least for us,  isn’t an option unless I find a crazy good deal.  Hopefully this will help some of you come up with options for your grains.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Water, it’s something everyone needs and can’t live without. No matter what the situation, having clean water on hand is a must. According to FEMA, you should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.
There are many different ways to store water, you can get cases of water, that are easy to rotate (just drink them, lol). There are water storage containers that require less rotation, but take up more room and when time does come to rotate, can call for some imagination. And of course, there are barrels to store water in.
Because Water takes up so much space, if you are starting out, go small and work up. Buy an extra case of water at the store next time, or if they are on sale, buy three. Whatever you choose, water is a must.  Here is a link that is helpful with storage and amount ideas.

Breaking down the list.

Now, depending on how much and what you are planning on storing, you can adjust a list to fit your needs. For most who want to dive into the food storage world, there is a basic 3 month supply that is kind of a general rule of thumb. Once you have this 3 month supply you can go after another 3 months, and so on.
These magical lists are usually filled with many nutritious and filling foods...that is for most people. When you have an allergy to food, it can change everything. It took me a long time and a lot of searching to find things to replace on my list.
I’m going to try and break these lists down into the categories and share what we have chosen to use instead, obviously according to our needs.  Since we have such a wide range of foods to stay away from, there should be something here for just about everyone. If there is a favorite product that you use as opposed to what I use, please feel free to share it :)
There are approximately 7 general categories that you’ll need to look at. Aside from all of the other items you want to have on hand, I’m focusing on those most commonly found on a food storage list.
  1. Water
  2. Grains
  3. Fats and Oils
  4. Legumes
  5. Sugars
  6. Cooking Essentials
  7. Other Proteins
Because there are so many options and so much to each of these categories, I’ve decided to break them down into their own entries. Hopefully, it will be easier to reference these too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of the first things you should do.

When an emergency hits you, who's going to wait while you pack a bag and copy a list of you or your child's allergies?  Nothing is going to help you more than an B.O.B. (better known as a Bug Out Bag).there are countless list available on line for adult or family packs, but one that most people don't address is a child's BOB. Depending on the age and size of your child, their BOB should still be as light as possible.

Here's a list of what I put in my kids bags. These are always packed and hanging on a hook in their room. (And trust me, if you ever have a house fire at 2 a.m., it's ideal to have it by their room and ready to grab!) If your children get into things like this, keep them in your room or in an easily accessible place.

  • A list of their food allergies and medical history/needs. It's not a bad idea to laminate this to keep dry and legible. There are even sites that offer personalized cards with a picture of your child like this one.
  • WATER There are a couple of options for this. They make a "juice box" style of water that is a great option for kids. Whatever container you choose, water is one of the most important items in your pack. An empty water container isn't a bad idea either. You can store the next items in the list inside of it.
  • MRE's or power bars that are allergy friendly. These are invaluable to those with allergies for a multitude of reasons. Rotate these every couple of months.
  • Gum or hard candy, if your kids can have it, it will keep them busy in an emergency. 
  • Change of clothes. This should be changed seasonally and just as light as possible (they are going to be carrying their own pack)
Extra Epipen, books,  poncho, gloves, hat, etc., you can tailor your BOB to whatever needs you have. Think about what season it is and change out the contents ever so often. This could be a literal life saver some day.