Saturday, December 31, 2011

Week Three

Entering into week three, I’m really excited to get to use some new grains. We have a local bulk food store that carries a lot of gluten free grains and almost the entire Bob’s Red Mill grain line. It’s pretty neat. I was able to pick up some Sweet Sorghum Flour, which I haven’t ever baked with before. I’ve heard good reviews for cooking with it, and I think I’ll go back and pick up The coconut flour that I saw. I’ve heard it is HEAVEN :)

Day 15

  • Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal (whole grain brown rice, corn, sweet white sorghum, buckwheat )
  • Roasted Chicken with roasted carrots and onions
  • Pear

Day 16

  • Kix (corn) cereal
  • Cod with olive oil and salt & pepper
  • Strawberries
  • Roasted cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil and parmesan cheese

Day 17

  • Peach juice
  • GF oatmeal
  • Shrimp with rice noodles

Day 18

  • Cinnamon Rice Chex
  • Northern white beans
  • Strawberry Jell-O
  • Celery/peanut butter (snack)

Day 19 (Christmas Eve)

  • Eggs and bacon
  • Ham
  • Bacon wrapped asparagus
  • Peach Jell-O made with peach nectar

Day 20 (Christmas Day – dinner at relatives house) * Because this was a special day, we had a couple of things that I didn’t put on this list, and instead of a normal “breakfast”, we mostly ate  snacks all through until lunch. Mostly fruit, some bacon, and coconut milk/hot chocolate.*

  • Prime Rib (beef)
  • Green beans
  • Raspberry Jell-O
  • Strawberries with marshmallow dip
  • Coconut milk

Day 21

  • Corn Chex
  • Almond milk
  • Roasted Chicken stuffed with onions
  • Corn
  • Pears

This week was definitely a challenge for me. Because we had so many things going on (and weren’t always at home to eat) that sometimes I had to quickly decide what to feed hungry boy from what I had to choose from. And more often than not, it was a repeat of something they had already eaten in the past couple of days. Usually corn.

I have to be honest, I didn’t keep very good track of our meals and I definitely  am late blogging this!

But, I enjoyed the time with the boys and celebrating my favorite time of year :)

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Week Two

Day 8

  • Turkey sausage
  • Roasted broccoli ( beings that hungry boy HATES broccoli, this sworn “win-over-broccoli-haters” recipe from Ina of Barefoot Contessa, should be interesting.)
  • Buckwheat Muffin
  • Almond milk to drink
  • Parmesan cheese

Day 9

  • Coconut milk
  • Corn (Kix)
  • Venison
  • Pecan, date & cranberry sugar plums! (made sugar plumswith honey, pecan, date, and cranberry rolled in powdered sugar..YUM!)
  • Corn noodles with olive oil, salt and pepper

Day 10

  • Pineapple juice
  • Eggs
  • Rice
  • Fish
  • Almond milk

Day 11

  • Beef Smoked sausage
  • Corn Chex (I’m still trying to locate some more grain cereals in our area. I know they are out there, I just have to remember where! lol)
  • Cubed steak
  • Coconut milk

Day 12

  • Pork meatballs
  • Green beans
  • Bacon
  • Almond milk hot chocolate

Day 13

  • Venison backstraps
  • Eggs/bacon (lunch)
  • GF oatmeal (breakfast)
  • Peanutbutter/celery sticks (snack)

Day 14

  • Rice chex
  • Coconut milk
  • Turkey
  • Rice noodles (Mrs. Leeper’s has great gluten free noodles! I have found them at Walmart and some of our local stores.)
  • Rice crackers (snack)

Looking back on this week, I think I’ve gotten more in the swing of the rotation diet. I didn’t have as much trouble coming up with meal ideas, but I am still running into the problem of having corn too often, because I haven’t found/shopped for an alternate replacement.

But, on a good note, we are able to use more rice, because we were able to reintroduce it into our youngests’  diet.

Oh, and the broccoli didn’t go over as well as hoped. I LOVED IT, but hungry boy still would rather get a shot than eat the green stuff.

Wish  me luck with week three! I have to include Christmas festivities in the rotation!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sugar Plums!

We’ve all heard the famous poem,  The Night Before Christmas. And I’m sure that you remember the famous, “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads…” part. For some reason this part always fascinated me. What were these things called sugar plums? Why were these children dreaming about them? Were they really that good? That the night before Christmas, they were dreaming about a food I never heard of before????

I had a lot of questions as a young child.

Anyways, I used to have this recipe I got from health food magazine years ago. It had these neat “energy balls”. Interesting name. Basically, they were a grain free alternative to a granola type snack. This particular recipe called for walnuts and figs pureed into a sticky mess that you formed into balls and froze. They suggested putting them in kids lunches.

So, what does this have to do with sugar plums, you may ask? Because, they are pretty much the same thing!Traditionally, they are made with a selection of nuts and dried fruits, held together with a splash of Grand Marnier or orange juice.

On the Joy of Baking site, I found a recipe for Fruit and Nut Balls (aka sugar Plums!) Here’s the original recipe I went off of and the rest of the article.

Because we can’t have citrus right now, I left out the o.j. and opted for my original “glue” of honey. Here’s my basic recipe:

Sugar Plums (aka a healthy treat in disguise!)sugar plums

1 cup nuts (we used pecans, but walnuts and other nuts work well too)

1 cup dates (dried)

1/2 cup cranberries (dried. * all I had on hand was a tiny box, like the kind you get raisins in, of cranberries, so I just dumped a couple of those in)

a squirt of honey

and a pinch of brown sugar

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it starts to stick together. Then, having a baking sheet ready, roll them into balls (smooching when needed) and the roll them in powdered sugar. Place them on the baking sheet and let sit for about an hour. Or 45 minutes. Or however long you can withstand eating them. If you have better will power than I apparently do, they keep in the refrigerator for about a month. Pretty good for no preservatives.

A super simple Muffin recipe

Since I needed to integrate another grain in our diet, I decided to make some some muffins. This helps me out not only in getting a new grain mixed in, but for me muffins are a morning lifesaver! I have about 40 minutes from the time I crawl out of bed to the coffee pot, to the time I put hungry boy on the bus.  And these muffins are great to make the night before, heat up and serve with some protein for breakfast. (I’m a meat kinda girl, and really like to have it for breakfast!)


Very Simple Fruit Muffins


1 1/2 cups flour ( I used buckwheat, but any nut flours, coconut flour or amaranth would be equally great! NOTE* Here' is a great equivalent chart for substituting grain for wheat in recipes!

1/2 cup sugar ( I like to mix brown and white equally)

2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk (or a non- dairy like almond, rice (I don’t like to bake with rice), coconut, etc.)

1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I really like to use coconut oil in this!)

1 cup frozen berries (we used raspberries)

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place baking cups in a muffin pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in (nondairy) milk and oil.

3. Fold in berries. Pour into baking cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes: about 8 muffins, Preparation time: 5 minutes, Cooking time: 30 minutes

Video for week one

Week One

This is probably the toughest for me, only because I’m having find new recipes and ingredients aside from the ones I have here at home. Also, there is a pallet curve, as I  call it, for those who are eating. When dealing with kids, presentation is key! Taste is second ;) Third is convincing yourself to try recipes and ingredients that you don’t normally lean to. Like hummus (that I love, but the boys have to learn) and this beet/carrot mock tomato sauce I’m going to brave next week….maybe.

Day One

  • Smoked Sausage  which I know contains beef and pork, but being day one I though tit was ok. (Jon Morrell’s is a great breakfast meat! Theyporkchopsandcarrots are are gluten and MSG Free! Plus they got a food allergy recognition  for no milk, no egg, no fish, no soy and no wheat!)
  • Kix (corn) cereal with almond milk
  • peaches
  • Pork chops cooked in bacon drippings with salt and pepper
  • roasted carrots
  • peaches
  • popcorn for snack

Day Twobreakfast

  • Turkey Links
  • Quinoa flakes with maple syrup and cinnamon
  • pear juice
  • Ground Turkey
  • Curried Quinoa
  • Pears

Day Three

  • Bacon ( I KNOW! pork on day three? Again? Well, I have two sick kiddos and couldn’t make it to the store. So I’m minimeatloafrotating what I have until hungry boy goes back to school tomorrow)
  • fresh strawberries and pecans for snack
  • Mini Venison Meatloaf in muffin tin ( with onion, salt and pepper, pulverized pecans to thicken instead of a grain). Hungry boy had brown mustard in it instead of traditional ketchup or bbq sauce, so we’ll see if he likes it! Also, topped with tiny strips of bacon, because venison is so lean.
  • Pineapple Juice

Day Four

  • Buckwheat muffins with raspberries and pecan (*since I will only use the pecan in thebuckwheat muffin , I decided it was ok to eat again)
  • Coconut hot cocoa
  • venison sausage
  • leaf lettuce salad with olive oil and mustard dressing
  • tilapia fillets dredged in corn starch with olive oil, salt & pepper
  • Coconut milk

(I just notice that I used mustard two days in a row. This is the whole reason that food journaling and meal planning is so important! Now that I’ve noticed where I tend to overlap, I can make/find alternatives instead of leaning on repeats! Lesson one, learn from your mistakes!)

Day Five

  • Cinnamon Rice Chex with almond milk photo-3
  • Chicken and roasted root vegetables (parsnips, turnips and carrots) roasted in canola oil
  • Almond milk
  • Gluten Free Brownies (made with rice flour)

Day Six 

  • beef smoked sausage
  • Flat Iron Steak
  • green beans
  • corn chips and pinto bean dip for snack

Day Seven

  • We are *trying* eggs for the first time in 3 years!eggs (Note* in my video I said that I was going to try GF oatmeal, but I got some free GMO, organic eggs from my brother and sister in law! They were soooo good too!)
  • Pork (bacon with breakfast and pork cutlets for dinner)
  • Northern white beans
  • quinoa

 Wow, what a challenging week! With the start and execution of this rotation diet, plus all of the usual hustle and bustle….it’s almost Christmas. So, that adds the stress just a little bit. Just a little, ha ha.

Anyways I’ve noticed a couple of things after this week.

The first is that I seem to worry about the protein part of the meals first and the grains second. That’s no good.  I really need to change the way I think about a meal. I seem to really rely on corn and milks. Especially in the morning chaos. My goal for next week is to get some more grains in the mix,  come up with some better breakfast options and worry about the protein second. That’s going to be hard for me, but I think if I continue the way I am, we’re really going to have a problem possibly with corn soon. And we can’t have that!

The second is that I need to get more fruit and vegetables in the boys diets. Which is hard when it’s the middle of winter and I’m really pushing for non GMO and organic foods. We are on a very tight budget right now, and it seems like the better quality the food is, the more expensive it is. Which is fine, but I need to buy multiple things, so it’s just adding up. Figuring out how to budget better is a must! And I’m on the hunt for some places to get better produce close by. The food co-op that I belong to has some good selection, but I can walk out with three things and have almost $100 spent. For me that’s just not an option right now. Meijer has a good organic selection, so I’ll be doing some price checking like I used to do. (it’s amazing how lazy I seem to have gotten! wow…..)

Well, now I’m off to work on week two! Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The plan

Years ago, when I first learned about the boys food problems, my world changed forever. The first thing that you do, other than eliminating the foods, is to follow a rotation diet. If you are lazy like me, this is a nightmare. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to make until I make it. I have all kinds of ingredients on hand so that I can do just that.

Well, you can’t do that when you are on a rotation diet. You have to plan EVERYTHING  that enters your mouth for at least 4 days. And to tame the mild madness that involves, I came up with a simple and rough idea to get note cards, cut into label size, with one food item listed on it. That way, I would sit down at the table, select an item (say pork) and add it to a day. That way when I went to select a meat for day 2, pork wasn’t there to choose from, and I would choose what was left. It worked well, but it wasn’t real pretty. Which is odd for me since that’s my thing. I think I was so engrossed with the task at hand, I just wanted to eat! It was sooooo overwhelming back then.

Long story short, when I learned that we had to go on another rotation diet (with new foods!), I was thrilled (did I just use that word ?!) when I saw this:


I printed off the free labels and am going to purchase some magnet tape to use them on my fridge! Right there in front of my face! 

I have to admit, I had fallen into using the same ingredients in different recipes for a while now. So, I’m going to have do some looking for some good, diet approved recipe ideas. I’ve got a whole board on pinterest devoted to these recipes, so that I can have a little “fun” with this adventure.

I just want hungry boy to be healthy. So, this is going to happen!

Starting our 6 week Rotation Diet

In the previous post, I gave the list of foods that we have to eliminate from my 8 year old son’s diet for the next 6 weeks.

Because this is such a long list and a rotation diet (especially for kids) is kind of a tricky thing to do at first, I thought I would try and document our adventure! So, over the next 6 weeks, I will post recipes and meal plans that we use. Plus the tools and tricks I pick up along the way.

Wish us luck! and as always, I appreciate any and all advice and encouragement!


Alicia and hungry boy

Monday, December 5, 2011

The new list of no’s.

  • Alfalfa
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Barley
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Cherry
  • Garlic
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Goat Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Orange
  • Sweet Potato
  • White Potato
  • Soybean
  • Spinach
  • Tangerine
  • Tomato
  • Wheat
  • Yam
  • Baker’s Yeast
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fluffy Vanilla Homemade Marshmallows!

I found this recipe care of Gluten Free Mom and I was so excited that I knew I just had to share it with you!


When you have strict allergy rules to follow, making your own, is sometimes your only option. And these blogs have some great substitutions and recipes! If you get a chance, check out all their yummy and genius recipes.  The Kitchn (where the original recipe and photo above are from) and Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, who re-posted it and added her substitutions along with an amazing dairy-free hot cocoa recipe.

Here is the original recipe and instructions, along with some insightful tips.

Via The Kitchn by Emma Christensen  :

Once you know this basic recipe, it’s easy to adapting it to whatever ingredients or flavors you’re in the mood for. You can add cocoa powder for chocolate marshmallows or use different extracts to change up the flavor. You can press chocolate chips or other candy pieces into the finished marshmallows and coat then them with anything from pumpkin pie spices to toasted coconut.

Marshmallows really aren’t that hard to make at home, but they do require planning and patience. Once you add the sugar base to the gelatin, the clock is ticking because the gelatin starts to set immediately. Make sure that you have all your equipment and ingredients ready to go before you start so that you can easily go from one step to the next.

This is also one of those recipes that gets easier with practice - so go forth and make marshmallows!

2010-10-27-VanillaMarshmallow3.jpgFluffy Vanilla Marshmallows
Gratefully adapted from Marshmallows by Eileen Talanian
Makes roughly 100 marshmallows, depending on size

9x13 baking pan or other flat container
4-quart sauce pan (slightly larger or smaller is ok)
candy thermometer - one that can clip to the side of the sauce pan
standing mixer with a wire whisk attachment - hand mixers just aren’t strong enough, unfortunately
stiff spatula or spoon (as opposed to a rubbery, flexible one)
Optional: Pastry brush

3 tablespoons (usually 3 packets) unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar cane syrup or corn syrup
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Spray your baking pan with cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe the pan and make sure there’s a thin film on every surface, corner, and side. Make sure the rest of your equipment ready to go.

To bloom the gelatin, measure the gelatin powder into your mixer bowl. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup and pour this over the gelatin while whisking gently with a fork. Continuing stirring until the gelatin reaches the consistency of apple sauce and there are no more large lumps. Set the bowl back in your standing mixer.

Combine the water, corn syrup, salt, and sugar in a 4-quart sauce pan. Place this over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. As it’s coming to a bowl, occasionally dip your pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of the pot. This prevents sugar crystals from falling into the liquid, which can cause the syrup to crystallize. If you don’t have a pastry brush, cover the pan for 2 minutes once the mixture is at a boil so the steam can wash the sides.

Do not stir the sugar once it has come to a boil or it may crystallize.

Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the sauce pan and continue boiling until the sugar mixture reaches 250°F. Take the pan off the heat and remove the thermometer.

With the mixer on medium speed, gently and carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin. The mixture may foam up - just go slowly and carefully. When all the syrup has been added, cover the bowl with a cloth and increase the speed to high (the cloth protects from splatters). Whip for 10-12 minutes, until it looks like glossy meringue.

When you’re finished mixing, lower the speed to medium and lift the whisk partway out of the bowl so it spins off as much marshmallow mix as possible. Using your stiff spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into the pan. This stuff is very thick and sticky, so don’t worry about getting every last bit out of the bowl. Just get as much as you can.

Wet your fingers and smooth the top so it’s even. Let the mixture sit out uncovered for 12-15 hours to set and cure.

Marshmallow Coating
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch

Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl.

Sprinkle the top of the cured marshmallows with powdered sugar mix and turn them out onto your work surface. Use a spatula to pry them out of the pan if necessary. Sprinkle more powdered sugar mixture over the top.

Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the marshmallows into squares. It helps to dip your knife in water every few cuts. Toss each square in the powdered sugar mix so all the sides are evenly coated.

Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. Leftover marshmallow coating can be stored in a sealed container indefinitely.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

pumkin cookies

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups packed natural brown sugar
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
4 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened to room temperature (OR, we substituted coconut oil)
2 bananas, thawed and pureed

1 cup chopped walnuts (* this is optional, but really makes it!)

Measure the flours and spices into a bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.

Cream the butter (or softened coconut oil) with the sugar. Add pumpkin, bananas and vanilla, combine with the creamed butter and sugar. Stir in toasted walnut pieces.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and place on lined sheet pan (parchment paper), leaving a couple inches between dough. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies spring back when lightly touched. Let cool on sheet pan for 5 minutes, then move cookies to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, Refined Sugar Free)

Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, Refined Sugar Free)

2 Cans Pure Coconut Milk (Approximately 13.66 oz each)

½ c Agave Nectar

In sauce pan, combine coconut milk and agave. Warm mixture over medium-low heat until mix begins to bubble. Continue to cook over low heat, mixing continuously until sauce is reduced to ½ , is slightly golden and is the consistency of a light syrup. Cool to room temperature. Store refrigerated in glass jelly jar until ready to use.

Makes approximately 1 ½-2 c

th_andlovelogofinalI found this recipe on And Love it too! Gluten and Dairy Free Living. check out the rest of their site for more….

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zucchini Candy (Tastes like gummy worms or gumdrops)

10 cups peeled diced zucchini cut into 1/2 inch cubes, or strips for "worms"
3 cups water
2 pkgs. unsweetened Kool-aid
2 1/2 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain. Put on dehydrator trays and dry 14 hours at 125 degrees. Turn pieces over and dry another 4 hours. They will feel dry and not sticky when done. Store in jars or other tightly sealed containers. If you dip in sugar when you turn them, they will be more like gumdrops on the outside.

This video is a friend of mine who added lemonade to the outside to make them sour! Great how-to, super easy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wheat, dairy and egg free pancakes that will rock your socks!

Picture courtesy Vegan Mouse. Recipe is all me though!
Spelt (dairy, wheat and egg free) Pancakes!

1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
1 Tbsp oil
1 pureed banana ( I like to thaw a frozen banana and then puree it)
1 cup water

Combine the first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and add dry mixture. Stir until well blended and then set aside. On a hot griddle or non-stick pan, cook cakes until bubbly, then flip. Assure that both sides are nicely tanned and serve with butter, GHEE, goat butter or whatever topping you like!

I guarantee these will fool anyone who eats it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Food Allergies & Food Sensitivities: What You Need to Know

I saw this article and it  is great at explaining the difference between Allergies and Sensitivities! Something that a lot of people get wrong.  Being the mom of children with NUMEROUS food sensitivities, I’m glad that this was written.

Written by Robyn O’Brien, founder of the AllergyKids Foundation, author of The Unhealthy Truth

Today, one in eleven children struggle with asthma, and one in four are affected by allergies.  The incidence of allergy has increased significantly over the past two decades, and allergy to peanuts has more than doubled from 1997 to 2002.  Approximately 30 million children – more than 1/3 of our kids – are affected by one of these four new childhood epidemics.  This is not something we can just accept.

The official statistic holds that allergies affect some 7 million Americans, including about 6 percent of children below the age of three. That information comes courtesy of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Lester M. Crawford, J., D.V.M., Ph.D., speaking before the Consumer Federation of America on April 22, 2002.  But that data is now almost ten years old.

Since then, the only update we’ve had is from the Centers for Disease Control and a report issued in 2008 that said that there has been a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions.

This begs explanation. 

An allergy is basically an overreaction by your immune system to a protein that it perceives as a threat—for example, the proteins in particular types of food, the dust mite protein, or pollen.  For people without allergies, these proteins are harmless. But if you’ve got an allergy, your immune system sees these proteins as dangerous invaders.

To drive the invader out, your immune system mobilizes all its resources:  mucous, to flush out the intruder; vomiting, to force it out; diarrhea, to expel it quickly.  Such conditions may make you feel sick, but they’re actually evidence of your body’s attempts to get well.

A key aspect of the immune response is known as inflammation, characterized by one or more of four classic symptoms:  redness, heat, swelling, and pain.  Inflammation doesn’t occur only in allergic reactions; it flares up whenever your body feels threatened, in response to a bruise, cut, bacteria, or virus as well as to otherwise harmless pollen, dust, or food.  Scientists now believe that much of our immune system is found in our digestive tracts, where many of these inflammatory reactions occur in the form of stomachaches, cramping, nausea, bloating, and vomiting.

Ironically, the immune system’s inflammatory reaction—meant to heal and protect the body—often causes more problems than the initial “invader” in the cases when allergic reactions become life-threatening.

Common Symptoms of Food Allergy:  Immediate Reactions

* rash or hives

* nausea

* stomach pain

* diarrhea

* itchy skin

* eczema

* shortness of breath

* chest pain

* swelling of the airways to the lungs

* anaphylaxis

Food Allergies and Food Sensitivity: Our Immune System Overreacts Again

At first glance, the distinction between “allergies” and “sensitivity” may seem like a meaningless word game.  But understanding the relationship between these two conditions is crucial to grasping the true nature of the allergy epidemic—and to seeing how even the supposedly healthy foods in our kitchens may be harmful to our health.

As we’ve seen, allergies are an overreaction of our immune system, a kind of exaggerated response to a perceived danger.  When a child comes in contact with these proteins (peanut, egg, wheat, etc.) her immune system “recognizes” the protein as dangerous, just as it would have seen the danger in the bacterium that causes pneumonia or the virus that causes mumps.  In response, her immune system creates special “fighter” proteins called antibodies designed to identify and neutralize the “invader.”

These fighter proteins are known as immunoglobulin E, or IgE for short.  When they’re released into the bloodstream, their purpose is to “seek and destroy” the invader, which they do by creating one or more of the classic food allergy symptoms, such as the hives, or the diarrhea with which other children respond, or, in more extreme cases, the anaphylactic shock that can kill a child within minutes.

The classic IgE response occurs within minutes or even seconds, because IgE proteins are some of the most aggressive antibodies we know.  That immediate IgE response is the defining characteristic of an allergic reaction.

Food sensitivities start out in a similar way.  If a “sensitive” child is exposed to a protein that his system perceives as a threat, he’ll manufacture another type of fighter protein, known as Immunglobulin G, or IgG.  Although IgE and IgG antibodies play similar roles, they produce somewhat different—though often overlapping—symptoms.

A crucial difference between the two, though, is their reaction time.  The less aggressive IgG antibodies typically produce a delayed response that might not appear for hours or even days after the child has consumed the offending food.

So even though food sensitivities and food allergies both produce painful, inflammatory, and potentially dangerous responses, this delayed reaction time has led many doctors to give food sensitivities second-class status.  Partly that’s because they don’t present an immediate and obvious threat to children’s lives:  only the IgE proteins trigger anaphylactic shock, for example, and in that sense, only the IgE proteins can kill (though the IgG reaction can have serious long-term consequences).  I also think that traditional doctors tend to downplay the importance of nutrition, frequently dismissing the idea that such symptoms as earache, eczema, crankiness, brain fog, and sleep problems might be related to a child’s diet.

However, an article in The Lancet, Britain’s most respected medical journal, casts another light on the subject.  The article referred to doctors who use elimination diets—diets that begin with a very limited, “safe” array of food choices and then add potentially problematic foods back into the diet, one by one.

The reason to do an elimination diet is to identify which foods in your diet might be triggering symptoms like skin rashes, fatigue, or stomach ache.  Often, some foods affect us without our realizing it and we live with the symptoms, taking medicine to alleviate the suffering.  But if you eliminate these foods from your diet, you may find that your symptoms disappear.  What becomes even more interesting is that when you reintroduce the offending food, you may suddenly suffer drastic symptoms which make it clear that the food was indeed triggering one or more problems.  An elimination diet can sometimes reveal with dramatic speed that a particular food you’ve always believed was harmless is actually causing such chronic symptoms as headache, digestive problems, and even more serious complaints.  Masked by your daily diet and by the slowness of the food-sensitivity reaction, the offending food does its dirty work without ever realizing that it is the culprit behind your—or your child’s—disorders.

When you take a break from eating that problem food, however, and then add it back into your diet, you see how powerful its effects are and how responsible it may be for a seemingly unrelated problem.  Foods that you thought were safe for you turn out to be highly problematic, indicating the presence of a previous undiagnosed food sensitivity.  As a result, the authors of the Lancet article conclude that the prevalence of food sensitivity (referred to in the article as “food intolerance”) has been seriously underestimated. 

Certainly, food allergies are far more dramatic.  Whenever you read about a kid who died within minutes of eating at a fast-food joint or after breathing in the peanut dust from a friend’s candy wrapper, that’s an “IgE-mediated” food allergy.  They’re fast, they can be deadly, and I’m glad doctors want to give them the attention they deserve.

But I also think doctors should be looking at delayed reactions, too, the “IgG-mediated” responses to food sensitivities.  And some doctors do look seriously at both.  Most conventional doctors, though, tend to focus on IgE immediate reactions. I think there are lots of reasons why they should view the two types of reactions as part of a larger, single problem.

First, both reactions have the same ultimate cause:  the immune system’s overreaction to apparently harmless food.  According to internationally acclaimed author and physician Kenneth Bock, M.D., there’s also quite a bit of overlap between IgE and IgG symptoms.  Both can contribute to inflammatory responses in multiple body systems.

True, the delayed IgG reactions are less likely to cause hives and are more likely to produce a host of apparently vague symptoms, such as headache, brain fog, sleep problems, joint pain, fatigue, and muscle aches.  But both the immediate and the delayed responses are immune system problems triggered by a supposedly “harmless” food.

Conventional doctors’ tendency to separate “IgE-mediated” food allergies and “IgG-mediated” food sensitivities into two separate problems has the effect of minimizing the allergy epidemic.  Remember, IgE allergies, IgG sensitivities, and asthma—three similar ways that our immune systems can overreact—are all on the rise.  It makes sense to find a doctor who is willing to address all three as symptoms of a greater underlying issue.

Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivity:  Delayed Reactions

* fatigue

* gastrointestinal problems, including bloating and gas

* itchy skin and skin rashes like eczema

* brain fog

* muscle or joint aches

* headache

* sleeplessness and sleep disorders

* chronic rhinitis (runny nose), congestion, and post-nasal drip

Four Take-Aways:

1. Even if your kids can’t talk, their skin speaks volumes!  Did you know that the skin is a person’s largest organ?  Even when your kid is too young to tell you how he feels or too used to her symptoms to identify them (when kids hurt all the time, they don’t know they hurt!), you can often read your child’s condition in his or her skin.

Does your kid have eczema?  Does he get rashes around the mouth, especially after he eats a certain food or swallows a certain beverage?  Rashes around the knees, elbows, or armpits?  Does he have “allergic shiners”—that is, dark circles under the eyes?

These are all inflammatory reactions, signs that the body is trying to rid itself of what it perceives as “toxic invader.”  In your child’s case, that “toxic invader” might be an apparently harmless food, to which your kid is either allergic or “sensitive.”  Keeping that invader away from your kid may bring relief from symptoms—and it may clear up other problems, such as brain fog, crankiness, sleep problems, inattention, acne, and mood swings.

2. The toilet bowl has a lot to tell you. Your kids’ bowel movements, not to be too delicate here, also speak volumes.  Runny poops are a sign that a person isn’t properly digesting his food.  And indeed, as we got the allergens out of some children’s diets, poops tend to firm up.

3. Chronic ear infections are often a sign of dairy allergies.  In some cases, milk may have ill effects like eczema, upset stomachs or chronic ear infections for children who are allergic or sensitive to it.

4. Find a doctor who is willing to work with you, test for both IgE and IgG allergies and sensitivities and to address the important role that elimination diets can play in managing allergic symptoms like eczema, ear infections and chronic mucous.

Disclaimer: Always discuss individual health inquiries and medical issues with a qualified personal physician and/or specialist.  Robyn O’Brien/AllergyKids is not responsible for medical decisions made by any one person.  The professionals who share their knowledge, discussions, minutes, handouts, agendas, and other products do not constitute medical and/or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always discuss individual health inquiries and medical issues with a qualified personal physician and/or specialist.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Simple Pie Crust

No eggs, no wheat, no problem! This crust is great for pot pies, tarts, pies and just about anything you can think up!

Pie Crust (gluten and dairy free!)

1-1 1/2 cup Almond, Amaranth OR Spelt flour

3 Tbsp. coconut oil, goat butter, or DF margarine

2 Tbsp. Honey or Agave Nectar

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


Mix all the ingredients together, adding a small amount of water  until the desired consistency is met. Flatten dough into a round disc between two floured waxed paper (or a plastic bag works too!) Gently roll out the dough to 11 inch round disc. Or split dough in half and make two small discs for tarts or turnovers.

Put dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm. Invert it into a pie pan and press in place, Bake for 10 mins. @ 300 degrees until light brown. Cool and fill.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Scalloped/Au Gratin Potatoes

This was particularly a challenge for me, because I had to leave out milk and flour…but I was FLOORED at how great they turned out!

Scalloped / Au Gratin Potatoes

3 Tbsp Corn Starch

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cold (unsweetened!) Almond milk

4-5 cups sliced potatoes

1 sliced onion (optional)

*3 Tbsp. DF margarine, butter, goat butter or GHEE

Ham, bacon, or sausage diced (optional)


Place the corn starch, onion powder, salt & pepper into a quart jar. Close and shake.  Add cold Almond milk. Close and shake the heck outta it! In a 3-quart casserole dish, layer potatoes, onions (if using), and meat (if using), dotting each layer with butter (or whatever you substitute). Add the corn starch-milk mixture. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serves 4.

For Au Gratin (which is what I made) Add 1 1/2 cups shredded, crumbled, or sliced goat cheese in the last 15 minutes or so. This is sooooo goood!

The BEST Cookie recipe…ever!

Sometimes, you just need something to eat that is sweet, chewy and conjures warm memories. Like cookies. But when you start dabbling around with baking recipes in general, they usually fall flat (literally) when you take out certain allergens. Like eggs…and milk…and of course butter.

So, after a couple of years I came up with a recipe very similar to this one. And when I stumbled upon this recipe, I was delighted that someone had refined what I hadn’t yet. It’s at Cookie Madness, which also has tons of other helpful recipes!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(aka Vegan Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies, something I don’t tell my husband who is the definition of a carnivore, lol.)

1 1/4 cups spelt flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup toasted pecans
2/3 cup vegan chocolate chips or some cut-up vegan chocolate bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, Release foil or just use a non-stick cookie sheet.

In one bowl, thoroughly stir together spelt flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.

In a second bowl, stir together maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract.

Add the oil mixture to the spelt mixture and stir until combined. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 11 minutes. (btw, 11 minutes is perfect!)

*I’ve also made these with Amaranth/Quinoa flour, and they turned out great!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mac & Goat Cheese Recipe

  • 188558_1814626641003_1100167284_32114367_1010041_n  1/2 lb macaroni (we used the corn macaroni noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (you can use GHEE or DF margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I used spelt, but I’m sure you could use any sort of flour or even corn starch)
  • 2 cups milk ( I used Almond Milk)
  • ground pepper and salt
  • 1 cup goat cheese ( make sure to have something that melts nicely!)



  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.
  2. Add the macaroni and cook about 8 to 10 minutes, or until just tender, depending on the size of the pasta. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter is melted and sizzling, stir in the flour to create a paste and cook 1 minute.
  4. Slowly add the milk, whisking to create a smooth sauce. Let cook about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. ( I ended up adding more butter at this point, lol!)
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the goat cheese, whisking to create a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir noodles and cheese sauce together and enjoy!

NOTE: Since most allergies vary, I had to alter this recipe according to out needs. The possibilities are endless!

This was surprisingly delicious! I would suggest using a mozzarella and cheddar blend for the goat cheese!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I received a question the other day that I thought I should take the time to explore and share with you.

So many times in gluten-free baking, the recipes call for a variety of flours to substitute wheat flour. And usually, it’s never and equal ratio. And it really bothers most people. Who want to use three different grains just to substitute on cup of wheat flour anyways???

Back to my question of, is there a grain out there that can be used 1:1 instead of wheat flour in a recipe? Well, yes, there is!

The first grain that came to mind was Amaranth. As long as you aren’t baking a yeast  bread, you can use it equal to wheat flour! It is great for cereal, pasta and baking. And not just the grain, the seeds and leaves are good as well!

If you aren’t familiar with Amaranth, it’s a wonderful grain with very dramatic past. You can read all about it in this article by Karen Railey, which I have since bookmarked it was so chalk full of information!

Not only does she share it’s rich history, but she gives some fantastic cooking tips and how to GROW your own! (which I plan on doing this summer!!!) The young leaves can be eaten like spinach! Which is great for my son who has some sensitivity to spinach.

Try some Amaranth today!!! I’m sure you’ll love it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How to dehydrate your own cheese!

In my search for a powdered cheese alternative, I kept thinking how much easier it would be if I could just make my own powdered cheese. That, and my son really prefers goat cheese, and honestly I do too. I mean, it real cheese for one thing!

So, finally, I decided that I’m going to try it! I’ll update with pictures when its done. For now, here are the instructions!

For hard cheese:

  • Cut cheese into small pieces. The exact size of the pieces does not matter. They can be as wide or long as you choose. The smaller the pieces, the faster and evener they will dry. The thickness of the slices are important. The cheese slices should be no more than 1/4 inch thick. Thicker slices take too long to dry.

  • Lay the cheese pieces directly on the rack in the food dehydrator. Leave space around each piece of cheese, so that they are not touching each other.

  • Turn the dehydrator on. If the dehydrator has a temperature setting control, choose the lowest setting.

  • Flip the cheese pieces over every three hours. If the food dehydrator doesn’t have a fan, rearrange the trays every few hours. This provides more air flow for more even drying of the cheese pieces. To rearrange the trays, move the top tray to the bottom tray spot and move the other trays one spot up from where they previously were.

  • Remove the cheese pieces from the dehydrator when the cheese is fully dry. Dry cheese appears even-toned in color and is a shade or two darker than fresh cheese. Store the dry cheese in an airtight package.

  • For soft cheeses:

  • Cover the food dehydrator trays with plastic wrap. You will have to cut a hole in the center of the plastic wrap to allow air flow through the center of the food dehydrator.

  • Spread a thin layer of soft cheese over the plastic wrap covered tray. The layer should be no thicker than a 1/4 inch.

  • Turn the dehydrator on. If the dehydrator has a temperature setting control, choose the lowest setting.

  • Rearrange the trays every three hours if the food dehydrator does not have a fan. To rearrange the trays, move the top tray to the bottom tray spot and move the other trays one spot up from where they previously were. If the food dehydrator is equipped with a fan, it is not necessary to rearrange the trays.

  • Check the cheese every three hours. The cheese is done dehydrating when it is dry to the touch. Remove the cheese from the dehydrator and store in an airtight package.