Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dairy Free mashed potatoes

This is the simplest recipe for mashed potatoes and is shockingly good. Three ingredients, make it all yourself, if you like.

Monday, October 13, 2014

What I eat

I am trying to put this up periodically, in large part as a reminder to myself, for when I'm feeling down about my diet, or to remind me how far I've come. Because folks with MCAD so often have very, very limited diets that I am doing REALLY well, and I want to hold on to that for the days when I'm feeling down...like right now when I need to lose a bit of weight and have to diet, ouch.

So, reminder to self!
Two weeks after going gluten free, I was reacting to so much that my diet of 'what I can eat without reacting' dropped down to:
Bison meat, carrots, sweet potatoes, quinoa, avocado, and salt.

Within a few months, I tried and discarded a few more items and was able to add amaranth, too. I don't think it was really any improvement, considering how little I liked the texture of amaranth.

And what I can eat now (without an unpleasant reaction):

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gluten free is definitely not always gluten free

New study just came out, and it's saying what a lot of celiacs have been saying for years: gluten free products are not always as gluten free as they claim.

In the study, out of 158 products labeled gluten free, 5% of those with the gluten free label with not gluten free. 4% of the products labeled as certified gluten free were not gluten free, and these are the ones that are supposed to certify as having half the allowed gluten contamination as the regular gluten free label.


Personally, I think this is the canary in the coal mine of contamination.  Gluten currently is one of the only allergens to have actual ppm contamination standards on the books. The other allergens do not.  You would expect that having to meet actual standards would increase compliance, to avoid prosecution if nothing else.

So if gluten free foods are only gluten free about 95% of the time, what's the level of 'free' for other allergens that list themselves as soy free, egg free, and so on?

Obviously, it's something we have to figure out for ourselves. But for those of us with serious allergies, or who have very serious reactions to allergens, I think this may be a factor to consider for our food. Yet another potential reason to start looking at whole foods rather than processed foods when making dietary choices.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 7 - Butternut Squash and Beef Skillet Meal

Pinterest Day 7
The Pinterest recipe I looked at today was Super Easy Butternut Squash with Ground Beef and Onions by Tom Denham.

Mine was more like Easier Butternut Squash with Ground Beef and chiles.

Beef and Butternut Squash

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 6 - Homemade Lemon Jello

Pinterest Day 6
The Pinterest recipe I looked at today was Citrus and Pineapple Gummies by Arsy Vartanian

This is the ugliest jello ever made. But quite tasty.

Ugly lemon jello, already melting in the heat

DIY gelatin

I found a link for DIY GELATIN at maantistaaste.com.  Yes, that's the gelatin you could use to make jello.

Originally it was for pork bones, but I used it for ox tail and it worked GREAT.  I'd check out the link above to see what they have to say about gelatin, as it's interesting, but let me tell you the basics here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ingredient of the Day - Citric Acid

The Ingredient:

"Citric acid occurs naturally in such fruits as limes, pineapples and gooseberries. The dry, powdered citric acid used as an industrial food additive since the early 19th century... has a less appetizing source; it is manufactured using a mould that feeds on corn syrup glucose."
source: The Globe and Mail.com

This is almost without fail GMO corn syrup glucose, for those who care about this.  There are enough corn protein molecules remaining to make some sensitive corn allergic folks react to citric acid.

What foods you may find it in:
This is being used more and more by today's chefs to 'heighten flavors and bring balance to a dish,' so you'll likely come across it in restaurants. Also often used as an ingredient in many processed foods, like sauces, salad dressings, popsicles, frozen vegetables, chips, medications (like children's liquid tylenol). Even some of our unprocessed foods are now utilizing citric acid because it can help inhibit microbial growth, so it's used on things like those little white packets that come in the styrofoam trays holding raw meat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day 5 - Guacamole Stuffed Burger

Pinterest Day 5
The Pinterest recipe I looked at today is Stuffed Bacon Guacamole Burger by Meatified

Thankfully, the burger wasn't as pink as it looks

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 4 - Crockpot Cornish Game Hen

Pinterest Day 4 - Crockpot Cornish Game Hen

The Pinterest recipe I looked at today is Paleo Cornish Game Hen by Kelly Greco

Cauliflower, carrots, and game hen. Why yes, I am neither a chef nor a photographer. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recipe Review - Awesome Avocado chocolate pudding

Sounds like it'd be gross, but it's really not.

I tried out this recipe today, from the website Hold the Sulfites.

It has avocados, chocolate powder, honey, and vanilla extract. I thought I could use enough ingredients to make this plausible.

Looks pretty good, yeah?

Pinterest Day 2 - Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Pie

The Pinterest recipe I looked at today is Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Pie by Healthy Foodie

The Reasons:
My freezer went off for 4 days and I've got a pile of food to cook or eat now.  Baked sweet potatoes are some of them. I was hoping to use this recipe for some idea of flavors I could use.

Citrus Mashed Sweet Potato

I do not like sweet potato.

There, I said it. I don't like the earthier taste, and the sweetness of it is always a little off, to me. So you can guess how excited I was to come up with a way to make it palatable. And it's super, super easy, and not too expensive, either.

Citrus Mashed Sweet Potato

Mashed sweet potato used in a Shepherd's pie 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pinterest Day 1 - Rosemary liver and bison burgers

In trying to add more iron to my diet, I've been experimenting with liver recipes. This is the most promising one I found on Pinterest, so I'm using it for my first day of 'cooking from Pinterest.'

365 days of Pinterest

Here's what's going on in my life right now.

I'm having problems sticking as completely to my diet as I need to. There are some ingredients I never, ever take a chance on, because the reaction is so severe. But there are a few ingredients that cause lesser reactions, and what often happens is that I will react to something, it affects my brain so I feel kind of spaced out and high, and I make the decision at that point to eat something that's not good for me, rationalizing that I already feel bad and hungry, so it won't make things that much worse.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lamb meatballs with dairy free mint sauce

My chest freezer lost power and I didn't find out for 4 days. Thankfully, the food was still cold, but it had all thawed, so I've been frantically cooking like a madwoman.  I had one pound of lamb, which I never eat but know goes well with mint, and after seeing that some recipes also include ginger, I came up with the following lamb meatball recipe.

It turned out rather nice, honestly. Better than I thought it was. However, my amounts are very slap dash in this one - I was just using what I had, and making estimates about how much I used, after the fact. I ate them so fast I forgot to take a picture, LOL.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sweet potato chip nachos

I came across this recipe on pinterest, for 'Loaded sweet potato nachos.' I had never thought of nachos using sweet potato chips before, so I figured I'd give it a try!

Sweet Potato Nachos.

There's those tiny chips, waaaay underneath the toppings

Monday, August 4, 2014

Soy Sauce Substitute

This recipe was shared with me recently, for a soy sauce substitute, and has the fewest ingredients I've found in one to date.

It's not sulfite free or low histamine compliant, but otherwise, it's good for a lot of allergic folks.

Faux Soy Sauce

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The best cheesecake ever

This recipe was made by a person who obviously LOVES their cheesecake. And after making it a few years back, I can see why. It is quite literally the best cheesecake I ever had in my life, and it's one I made myself, which makes it even better. I can't eat it anymore, of course, but that doesn't matter.

I'm sharing this because frankly, it needs to be shared for everyone who can eat it. Seriously - so amazingly good. I'm not even talking about it more than this, just sharing.

Cooking Debauchery's cheesecake
EDIT: Sadly, this website is no longer with us. But thankfully, I copied the recipe itself because it was so awesome, so I'll share this genius' awesome cheesecake with others so it will not be lost.

"Best cheesecake ever
By kitarra

THE Cheesecake
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 pounds cream cheese (4 8 oz packages), softened
4 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup Kifir Cheese [2]
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
Zest of one small lemon, finely chopped
Butter and additional sugar for the pan

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.

Set oven to middle rack and slide into it a large roasting pan.  Fill the bottom of the pan with boiling water and allow to heat with the oven to create a little steam.  Bring another pot of water to a boil.

Removed the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.  Line it with a large piece of tin foil, folding the edges under so that they do not interfere.  Replace the bottom of the spring form pan into the hoop and lock into place.  Carefully uncurl the tin foil from the bottom and bring it up around the edges of ring, crumpling at the top to create a water tight seal.

Brush the insides of the pan with melted butter making sure to coat every nook and cranny.  Once the pan is coated, pour in 3 tablespoons sugar, shaking it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides.  This will prevent the cheesecake from sticking.

Evenly distribute the cream cheese in the food processor.  Turn to on and slowly add the sugar through the feed tube until the cream cheese loosens and becomes smooth.  You might have to scrape down the sides a couple of times.  Add eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides between each addition if necessary.

Stop the processor.  While it is stopped add the zest, vanilla and kifir cheese.  Pulse until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared crust [3], resisting the urge to lick the mixer bowl.  Shake the pan, taping it against the kitchen counter to get out any errant air bubbles.

Place into the middle of the roasting pan and add enough water to come up a little more than half way up the sides.

Bake at 500 degrees for 12 minutes.

Open the oven door and reduce the temperature to 200 degrees.  Keep the oven door open for a few minutes until it cools slightly.  Close the oven door and bake without opening for 1 hour.

The cheesecake will look done at this point and be jiggly in the center.  It will want to come out.  Don’t you believe it!  To prevent cracks, run a thin knife between the edge of the cheesecake and the pan.  It should retract readily.  Close the door and bake for another hour to 75 minutes or until the whole cheesecake move in a slightly rubbery way when gently shaken.

Bring the temperature up to 350 and bake until the top is golden and puffed.

Remove to a wire rack and cool, tearing away the tinfoil to allow heat to escape.

Chill in the refrigerator over night.  DO NOT be tempted to cut into it right away.  This is very hard, I know, but the texture will not right until it has chilled thoroughly.

[1]  Cheesecake Nirvana is currently located in my freezer where it will sit and await my birthday on the 16th.
[2]  Kifir Cheese is sometimes called Lebnan and can be found in Persian or Arabic markets.  If kifir cheese is not available, substitute with Greek Yogurt, preferably drained for a few hours in a coffee filter.
[3]  The first hint I had that I was on the right track is that this cheesecake was nearly half an inch shorter than the cheesecake mousse horror!  The pan should be about half full, maybe a little more.

Originally from http://www.cookingdebauchery.com/cooking_debauchery/2007/02/the_cheesecake.html"

As for allergens - It's gluten free, can be grain free (depends on some brand names), peanut and tree nut free, but it contains dairy, eggs, sugar, and lemon or vanilla.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Herbal Remedies

Unsurprisingly, when you react to chemicals and man-made ingredients (like artificial preservatives) a lot, it doesn't matter where they are. In our food, our clothing, our beauty products, or very importantly, our medications.

This has proved to impact me quite a bit in the last few years. I grew up with chicken soup and taking extra vitamin C, sure, but otherwise, there was cold medicine, Tylenol, neosporin, and all those good, everyday kinds of drugs that make getting sick or injured a little more bearable.

Old drug ampoules look like the aftermath of a frat party, eh? (source)

They're all gone now. It's been 4 years now since I had an over-the-counter med, and the last one was benadryl that I was taking to try and stop an allergic reaction, which instead made it even worse.

So what the heck do you do when you have grown up in a culture that primarily uses over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Homemade electrolyte solution

An electrolyte solution, yeaaa!  I have never been able to find an electrolyte solution free from my allergens, so this is the result of a little research on nutrients needed in electrolyte solutions and some taste testing.

As this is an electrolyte solution of my own design, I would be wary of using this in an emergency situation where you need a more precise and verified balance of electrolytes, but I'll put in the specifics of what I've found, so you can see if it works for you, eh? If I'm really dehydrated, I have it as is, but more often, I dilute it more and have it instead of water. It seems to help me a little better than plain water does.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Making Tea

More information on brewing your own tea, both regular tea and herbal tea (herbal infusion).


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dairy Substitutions

When my family can't eat a certain ingredient, my tendency now is to simply drop it, pick different recipes than I had before, and move on. But sometimes, you have a nostalgic moment and you want a substitution for an ingredient you had before. Or you have a recipe idea and you need to figure out what ingredients can serve the same purpose as the ingredient you can no long eat.

When that happens, it's nice to know substitutions.

Dairy Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thursday, May 1, 2014

For safer food: apples

At this point, I would be very careful about eating apples that you don't grow yourself.

1. Once again, apples are the #1 produce item on the 'dirty dozen' list of produce containing pesticide residue. In other words, they have the most pesticide residue of everything tested. Good to at least go organic. The dirty dozen list.

2. Some of them may have antibiotics used on them, including organic varieties:
Antibiotic use on apples and pears.

Considering the state of antibiotic resistance that the World Health Organization has just weighed in on after an international study, this is NOT something we want to encourage.

3. And in the USA, on average, apples are stored for 14 months before you ever get to see them. Which is likely why Europe may not allow them to be imported from the USA - too much residue used to keep them looking okay from such long storage.

I'm looking into getting my own apple tree, and if I DO buy apples, I get ones from local farmers now that I can interview, and only in season. :-/

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sweet Potato Cakes

I finally got these suckers to work!  I saw that the gluten free girl used yogurt to make an egg-free sweet potato latke, and that finally pinged a connection with the cashew cream I've been using, and this is the result. Inspired by her recipe.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Socca part II

I have found a much easier way to make Socca (original recipe here), or at least something that resembles it. Good enough for Gov't work and all that.

This is a VERY cheap and easy way to make this, for those who are gluten free but don't want to break the bank by buying lots of chickpea flour, and don't have a grinder to make it themselves.
Socca with hummus, cucumbers, and dill

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cauliflower Rice

This stuff was AWESOME! Pictures coming when I can get the camera and computer talking to each other again.

Cauliflower Rice

Cooking in someone else's shoes

Fried kinda-green tomatoes...which I can no longer have. Waah.
I go through phases in my cooking. I get stuck in a rut - a huge rut where we have the same items for lunch and dinner, in different forms, for a week because I can't make my brain think of anything else. And then I get sick of that and start trying out some new foods, some of which actually work. After that, what else can I do but go look at other people's recipes and food blogs in a quest for more delicious new foods? I'm inspired and excited for a few days to a couple weeks.

And then?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sudsy Soapcakes

I have a product recommendation: Sudsy Soapcakes soaps.

Organic olive oil or coconut oil soaps

I don't often do this, but I really like this company, and I wouldn't mind sending them more business.

I was very happy with these when I was using them (unfortunately, I'm reacting to olive oil lately so haven't been able to for a while). The soap worked well, it smelled nice, and they are...honest, is I guess the word I'd use.

When you react allergically to chemicals, within minutes of exposure, you get to know very quickly what products are not practicing truth in advertising. These guys? I did great with their soap. No reactions (well, until olive oil became an issue).

I also really like that while they have some scented varieties, they also have a couple of very plain, unscented soaps. That can be hard to find for people who react even to some essential oils.

Their most basic soap has this as the only ingredient: Saponified premium organic first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Back when I could still use olive oil, I'd tried olive oil soaps before with no luck. This is the only one where I didn't have a reaction to something in the soap that was clearly not olive oil.

If you are looking for a soap and haven't been able to find a good one, you might want to check these guys out.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Green Smoothies can be problematic

I know many people who drink a lot of green smoothies for their health.

If you have any healthy issues, or drink a LOT of green smoothies, you may want to check out this article about some of the problems that can occur with too much of a good thing.

Green Smoothies

Dairy Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

I found some safe cashews to eat!  So excited, because now I get to mess around with a lot of the vegan and raw recipes using cashew cream!

Using this recipe from vegansparkles.com, I made our version of their cream of mushroom soup that uses cashew cream for the creaminess.  

Dairy-free Cream of Mushroom Soup

This? This is amazing. It was so good. It made me react some, of course, because it has mushrooms which are higher in histamines, but I was having a low reactive day and it was SO GOOD. So...I suffered for my food. Can't do it again for the whole week without a more serious reaction, but I only regret it a little.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My daughter

I just realized that I never wrote about my daughter and her diagnosis.

It's been a bit of a trip, with my misunderstanding what the diagnosis actually WAS when we talked over the phone and only last week getting the right information.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Onion and Garlic Substitutes

I can't have onion and garlic, but I used to be able to. Which means that my tastes and recipes were set down at a time when onion and garlic were possible, so I miss them.

And that pining for my lost aromatics has resulted in this collection of various onion and garlic substitutions that I've come across or used. These are substitutions where the goal is more to help a dish 'not suck' as opposed to mimicking the exact flavor of onions or garlic.

By Zak Greant from Vancouver, Canada (Spices, seasoning, herbs and vegetables) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Aromatics and spices, yeaaa!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Spicy Roasted bell pepper and tomato soup

Quick and easy.

Combine 1 part roasted red bell pepper sauce with 2-3 parts tomato sauce (without herbs is how I had it), add 1-2 parts broth (veggie, beef, chicken, whatever), and heat.

That's all it takes. Very nice, good soup by itself or a nice base for more. :-)