Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Body Butter

This is great to use on dry, chapped hands. It's also great for feet - put some on at night before bed and cover your feet with socks - your feet will be nice and soft the next morning.

1/2 pound beeswax
generous 1/2 cup almond oil
generous 1/2 cup hazelnut oil
3 drops peppermint essential oil*
6 drops lavender essential oil*

Heat the beeswax in a double boiler until melted. Heat the almond oil through the lavender oil in a separate double boiler until warm.

Place the warmed oils in a large bowl. Slowly add the melted beeswax, whisking constantly until blended (this is easiest with a hand-held or stand alone mixer). Continue whisking as the mixture cools. The end result should be soft, something like mayo, and be able to spread easily. If while cooling it looks like it will be too hard, add a little more oil a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

*For a different scent, play around with different essential oils.

Cuticle Oil

This is good to use all year round. In the winter I'll rub a little bit into my hands as well as my cuticles. The almond oil is light and fragrance free. If you are allergic to nuts and can't use almond oil, canola oil would be a good substitute.

1/4 cup almond oil
2 - 3 drops ecalyptus or lavender essential oil

Whisk ingredients to blend and massage into cuticles. Store at room temperature.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cumin and Coriander Crusted Pork Chops

My husband gives these pork chops a big thumbs-up. The original recipe can be found here.

2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless pork loin chops

Combine the cumin, coriander and salt. Add the garlic and olive oil and stir until combined. Coat both sides of pork chops with the cumin mixture. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork chops and cook about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Sweet Potato Falafel with Tahini Sauce

I miss falafel. I used to get fresh falafel pitas at a great Mediterranean cafe. The owner was half Syrian and half Italian and he made the most amazing food. When you broke open his falafel they were green on the inside, which was slightly alarming at first because I was used to the boxed stuff. But it tasted so good - not dry, and the tahini sauce that was served over top was terrific. Boxed falafel didn't hold a candle to what Omar made. As far as I knew, falafel was made with bulgar wheat and so I wrote it off on a gluten free diet. But then I stumbled upon a sweet potato falafel recipe here a couple of weeks ago - it looked so pretty and there was no gluten in sight. I've been drooling for falafel ever since.

So I started searching for other falafel recipes (sweet potato and otherwise) and decided sweet potato falafel might be good with quinoa instead of bulgar and served with tahini sauce. I took cues from several different recipes and came up with this (and then I deviated from my own recipe, but hey, it happens). And I must say, these falafel are pretty good! Not exactly like the falafel Omar makes, but still amazing in its own right. I served these with Cumin and Coriander Crusted Pork Chops and sauteed summer squash tonight for dinner. Tomorrow I am looking forward to making sandwich wraps and tucking these babies inside, nestled in baby greens and drizzled with tahini sauce. Yum.


Sweet Potato Falafel
1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup hummus*
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup cooked quinoa**
1 tbsp. parsely
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
potato flour for thickening, as needed

Preheat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat .

Combine the sweet potato through the cayenne. Adjust seasonings to taste. If needed, thicken the mixture with a little potato flour. Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls into the skillet and flatten slightly. Leave plenty of room between the falafel so you can flip them easily. Cook a few minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Serve warm with tahini sauce. Makes about 12 falafel.

*You can also use 1 can mashed chickpeas. This will make the falafel thicker and easier to form into patties (make sure you flatten them so they won't be mushy in the middle - and you want a nice crisp crust on the outside). Add 1 small clove minced garlic and an extra tablespoon of lemon juice to the mixture if using chickpeas.

**Quinoa keeps the falafel from being too mushy and gives it a pleasing texture. If you don't have quinoa handy, thicken mixture with potato flour or chickpea flour (or maybe even gluten free breadcrumbs) instead.

Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 minced clove garlic
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. water

Stir together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Add the olive oil and stir to blend. Add the water and stir until creamy.

Buckwheat Granola

This is my favorite granola recipe. I've substituted buckwheat for oats, not only because I can't seem to find gluten free oats in local stores, but also because Megan is sensitive to oats. Buckwheat is not a grain and NOT related to wheat. It's a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is high in fiber, protein, magnesium and lysine. It's also thought to be a prebiotic, which means that it supports the growth of good bacteria in the gut. (For more information about buckwheat, go here.) I personally don't like buckwheat as a hot cereal - I prefer it crunchy. I think it's great in streusel toppings and it makes a pretty good granola, too!


2 cups whole grain buckwheat hot cereal*
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup rice bran
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds
1/2 cup raisins, currants, dried cranberries, snipped apricots or chopped dried apple, or a combination of dried fruits

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure there is no overhang. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the buckwheat through cinnamon. In a small bowl combine the canola oil through the vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the buckwheat mixture* and stir thoroughly to coat. Add the nuts and toss. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake granola for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and spread evenly over the baking sheet. Return to oven for 15 minutes. Repeat twice, until the granola has baked 45 minutes and is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven. Let cool in the baking sheet. After the granola has cooled, break it up into bite-sized pieces and place it in a bowl. Add the dried fruit and toss. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Serve as a cereal or as a topping for dairy free yogurt, pudding or ice cream.

*Note: Consider adding a couple of tablespoons of whole flax seed to the buckwheat mixture before baking.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fennel Body Scrub

I used to make Buttermilk Fennel Facial Scrub. It worked well and smelled great, but it was a hassle to remember to take it out of the refrigerator to use it in the morning (I'm always running out the door late in the morning no matter how early I get up). Besides, it's not like I keep milk around in the refrigerator anymore (I've kind of soured on dairy - ha!). So tonight I made a fennel scrub using olive oil and honey in place of the buttermilk. The fennel acts as an exfoliant, the olive oil acts as a moisturizer. I think it works better and smells better than store bought scrubs. This really takes no time at all to throw together. Make sure to coarsely grind the fennel seeds in a coffee grinder, otherwise they'll just spin around endlessly in a larger food processor. A plus - you don't have to store it in the refrigerator!

1/2 cup whole fennel seeds
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. honey, warmed slightly

Coarsely grind the fennel seeds in a coffee grinder. This only takes a few seconds - don't over grind or the fennel will turn to dust. Place the fennel in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and honey and stir to combine. It should be thick, but not paste-y. When using, remember that a little bit goes a long way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

GFCF Vanilla Pudding

This is a simple recipe that is fast and easy to make. I used coconut milk, but any soy and dairy free milk with heft would work such as almond, hazelnut or hemp. This recipe can be easily doubled and is very versatile...try serving it warm over a bowl of fresh fruit, put it in a trifle, make it into a custard pie by pouring it into a graham cracker crust, or spread a thin layer on top of a sugar cookie and top it with thinly sliced fresh fruit for a personal cookie pizza...the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!*


6 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot starch
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (lite or regular)
1 beaten egg
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. casein free ghee, if desired

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch or arrowroot starch in a medium saucepan. Add the coconut milk and whisk to combine. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Cook two minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg, then add the egg mixture to the rest of the milk mixture in the saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook until almost bubbly but do not boil. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the vanilla extract and the ghee, if desired. Pour into serving cups, cover with plastic wrap to keep a film from forming on the top of the pudding, and refrigerate until set.

*Looking for chocolate pudding? Go here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gluten Free, Vegan Apple Spice Cupcakes

Yes, these cupcakes are free of gluten, casein, soy, egg and nuts! I love them because they are a great subversive dessert food for kids (as are the banana cupcakes here). I modified Applesauce Spice Cake to be specifically egg free/vegan. You can frost them with vanilla Mock Buttercream Frosting or eat them straight up plain - either way, they taste great.

1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup rice flour (or millet flour)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
6 tbsp. boiling water
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup rice milk or apple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with disposable muffin cups, set aside.

Sift together the sorghum flour through the ginger, set aside.

Combine the applesauce and rice milk or apple juice, set aside.

Combine the flax seed meal and boiling water. Stir until thickened, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and canola oil. Add the vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flax seed mixture and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until the centers are set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, and the edges of the cupcakes are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Gluten Free, Vegan Banana Cupcakes

Yes, these cupcakes are free of gluten, casein, soy and egg. Oh and nuts too. I modified Banana Cake to be specifically egg free/vegan. I love them because they are a great subversive dessert food for kids (as are the apple spice cupcakes here). These cupcakes are good plain (like for breakfast!), frosted with chocolate Mock Buttercream Frosting, or vanilla mock buttercream frosting rolled in mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life).

1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (or rice flour)
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
scant 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
6 tbsp. boiling water
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup rice milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with disposable muffin cups, set aside.

Sift together the sorghum flour through the salt, set aside.

Combine the bananas and rice milk, set aside.

Combine the flax seed meal and boiling water. Stir until thickened, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and canola oil. Add the vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flax seed mixture and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture alternately with the banana mixture, beating well after each addition.
Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until the centers are set, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, and the edges of the cupcakes are lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Casein Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free Cheese (Galaxy Rice Vegan)

(Look, it melts! Grilled Cheese and Tuna!)

Update: Check out ANOTHER (Daiya's!) casein free, soy free, gluten free cheese here and here!

This morning at Whole Foods I picked up a package of Galaxy Vegan Rice Cheese, American flavor. Galaxy is the only brand I can find that makes a cheese alternative without casein, soy or gluten. It's expensive, but after a year of no cheese I thought it'd be worth it to try finding a tolerable cheese treat for the girls. We tried the Cheddar flavor about a year ago and it was terrible - nobody would eat it. But I asked Megan today if she would like to try a "safe" cheese, figuring if she was desperate enough she'd go for it. She practically fell over herself with excitement and said "yes"!We got home and I gave Megan half a piece of cheese. I tried a bit of it before giving it to her and I have to say, it's really not that bad. The texture is a little different, but the taste is pretty okay. She tasted the cheese and then without further ado, she stuffed that half piece in her mouth, grabbed the other half piece and stuffed that in her mouth, and then implored me for more. (Think of Beavis saying "fire, fire, fire!", and then imagine Megan with a mouthful of cheese saying "Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!".) I guess it's a hit! Since this cheese even melts, I promised to make her some grilled cheese for lunch - she was so happy she was even in the mood to share with her stuffed cat.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dried Fruit Coffeecake

This is another recipe adapted from Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices. Anna can't get enough of this coffeecake. She approves of the buckwheat I used in the topping and demanded that I give her the most streusel-y, most crunchy piece out of the entire coffeecake. And then she asked for more!

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose GF flour blend
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. palm shortening
1/4 cup chopped nuts or nut meal
1/2 cup gluten free oats or 1/4 cup buckwheat hot cereal

Coffeecake
2 cups all purpose GF flour blend
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. flax seed meal
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup rice milk
1 egg
1/2 cup raisins, dried currants, dried cranberries, snipped dried apricots/cherries/figs, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Prepare the streusel - combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening until well blended, then add the oats or buckwheat and walnut meal, tossing to combine. Set aside.

Prepare the coffeecake - sift together the flour through the nutmeg. Make a well in the center, set aside. Combine the canola oil through the egg, blending well. Pour into the dry mixture all at once. Beat until well combined. Fold in the dried fruit. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with streusel. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool a bit on a wire rack and serve warm.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cocoa and Fresh Fruit Coffeecake

We got treated to an ice storm of sorts yesterday. It rained all day, and it was cold enough that icicles formed on tree branches and such, but not on the roads.

I didn't think much of this. But the trees here must not be used to the weight of even a weensy bit of ice, and they all began to droop, hang into the streets and drop their branches. So we stayed inside and since it was cold enough to actually enjoy hot cocoa, we had hot cocoa and coffeecake for a snack.

About an hour later, we heard two big booms, the sky lit up a bright orange and the power went out. Apparently the lines can't take a little bit of ice down here either. I called the electric company. The woman who took my call was very polite. She said she'd call it in but these sorts of calls were the only ones they were taking and to basically "get in line" behind all the other people who had already called about blown out transformers across the rest of the city.

By now our hot cocoa was cold and Anna was flipping out that there was no power (talk about high anxiety!) so I packed the kids and a few overnight things into the car and we camped at a friend's house for the night (lucky they had power, or Anna would have been in hysterics all night). It warmed up enough overnight that by this morning the ice was gone and the trees are back to looking perky. Thankfully the power is also back on and there is leftover coffeecake to enjoy.


Homemade Hot Cocoa
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch)
1/4 cup sugar
dash vanilla extract
mini marshmallows

Combine the cocoa and the sugar. Heat a mug of rice milk and stir in a tablespoon or two of cocoa mixture. Add a dash of vanilla and top with marshmallows.

Fresh Fruit Coffeecake
(adapted from Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices cookbook)

2 cups all-purpose GF flour blend
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flax seed meal
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup rice milk
1 beaten egg
2 cups fruit (blueberries, sliced banana, chopped apples, chopped peaches, chopped pears, etc.)*

Streusel for Coffeecake
1/4 cup all purpose GF flour blend
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. palm shortening
1 cup gluten free oats or 1/2 cup buckwheat hot cereal
1/4 cup walnut meal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coata 9x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. Prepare the streusel - combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or the tines of a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Add the oats or buckwheat and walnut meal, toss to combine. Set aside.

Sift together the flour through the allspice in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside.

Combine the canola oil, rice milk and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients all at once. Stir until well blended. Fold in the fruit. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Top with half of the streusel. Pour remaining batter over the streusel, then top with the remaining streusel. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

*Sometimes I'll use a can of apple pie filling (chop up the apples but toss the wet stuff) - this makes the coffeecake very moist.