Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I wish you a year full of happiness and gluten free goodies! Please jkeep checking back as I'll have more great updates for you.
Health and happiness to you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Treasured Tuesday

Little Low Allergy Kitchen is now offering individual recipes for sale! I am so excited about this as I have had problems shipping the actual baked goods to people. Now you can have these delectable baked goods fresh from your own kitchen, in record time, without shipping charges!! I currently only have a few recipes for sale, but keep checking back as I'll add more recipes often. If you have any suggestions, please let me know and I'll do my best to satisfy your craving :)
My Little Studio Photography and Jewellery Etsy Store is still having its 50% off sale so keep checking up on that as I add more items to the sale frequently. I am also awaiting a HUGE jewellery supply order to make lots more goodies to tempt you!
That's all for now,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!
Arwen says she is thankful Christmas only comes once a year (though turkey is her favorite) because that means I can only dress her up once per year!
Here are the shortbread pictures as promised from yesterday's post. I hope you love them!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Shortbread Cookies!

Happy Christmas to all! I love these cookies, as they are very similar to ones I had as a child. My mom calls them her "Cameron Christmas Cookies", but these are a little different - most notably the fact that they are free from gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and animal products!

Happy Christmas Shortbread Cookies!

4 Cups GF Flour Mix
1-3/4 Cups Olive Oil
2 Cups Superfine Sugar
1 Rounded tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
300ml Organic Jam (your favorite flavor)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Mix the flour, sugar and vanilla and slowly add the olive oil until the dough is thick. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and gently form them into long logs, placing 3 on each cookie sheet. form a small trough in each log so that you can spoon the jam in afterwards without it spilling over. Bake the shortbread logs for about 20 minutes, or until mostly solid. Remove from the oven and spoon a small amount of jam in each trough. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. When still warm, slice into 1 inch thick pieces. For a super luxurious treat, drizzle melted chocolate over them once the cookies have cooled.
I'll have some pictures shortly - if the cookies haven't been devoured!

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Sale On My Jewellery Site!

WOO! I have decided to increase my gifts to you, my friends, by upping the ante on this phenomenal sale in my Little Studio Photography and Jewellery Etsy Store!
Starting right now, buy one item, get a second item of equal or lesser value for 50%off!!!

This cannot be combined with another offer (previous specials, sale items or custom items). If you have any questions, please let me know!
Enjoy ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2008


Just in time for the gift-giving season (and perfect for those trying to save a bit of money in these tighter financial times), I am trying to make room for my new creations, which means......

A HUGE SALE!!! Buy anything from my Little Studio Photography and Jewellery Etsy store and get a second item for 25% off!

Hurry - once these beautiful pieces are gone, that is it!

The nitty-gritty:
Second item must be of equal or lesser value. This is not available on custom orders at this time, and cannot be combined with another offer. The discount does not apply to shipping or taxes (if applicable). I will refund the difference after payment has been received. Shipping times may be slightly delayed due to higher sales volumes.

Don't forget to enter the contest of the month here on the jewellery blog.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gluten Alert! Watch Out for These Sneaky Foods!

I've known this for a while now, but a friend of my husband who is new to the whole Celiac/allergic to glutens found this out the hard way and I thought I'd try and warn the rest of the world before someone else gets sick!
Reading labels is now not the only way to avoid gluten in your packaged foods - and by this I mean that not all products will list if the amount is small enough to not 'count' as an ingredient, such as being used in the finishing process of a food product.
Ketchups, mustards, and relishes (among others) are guilty of this. I know that Heinz ketchup is safe, but some condiment companies (especially the nameless brands) use wheat gluten/starch as a finishing agent in the condiments, but, as the levels are 'very low' they don't have to list it as an ingredient. Some of them may have started to put 'may have come in contact with' labels on them, but not all of them have. The way to avoid this?? Call the company and be very assertive (not rude, just explain how sick you will get if they aren't absolutely 100% positive on their answer) about asking them if they use any sort of suspicious ingredients in the manufacture of their products. French's mustard is usually safe, but always call to be sure!
I hope this helps - if you are getting symptoms but can't figure out where they are coming from, you might just have your culprit!
Take care, eat well!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mock Oat Cakes Are the Way to Go!

~I Honestly Think These Are Better Than the Real Thing!~

Since I am allergic to oats, I may be partial - but I really think these are better than the traditional oat cake. Now, all of you from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, hear me out: these are far higher in protein, lower in sugar and have healthy olive oil in them. They still keep for several weeks in an airtight container, but you are pretty much guaranteed they won't last that long - you'll eat them far faster than they'll ever go bad. Although they are a bit finicky to make, they are really, really, REALLY good. Try them and I know you will agree: Mock Oat Cakes are Incredible! They are also free from oats, gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and are vegetarian and vegan!
For those that do not want to make these themselves, I will have these for sale on my Etsy Store shortly!

Mock Oat Cakes

4 cups Instant Quinoa Flakes
1 Scant cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Sugar (Cane sugar is great, but you may need to whiz it in a blender to make it a bit finer)
1 Cup All-Purpose GF Flour Mix
Dash of Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4-1 Cup Boiling Water

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Have on hand 2 non stick baking sheets.
Mix all ingredients except the boiling water until well combined. SLOWLY add the boiling water, a little at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of cookie dough, and will form a ball with your hands.
Taking a small handful at a time, roll into a ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, place on the cookie sheet and press it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick and 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 1/4 inch between each cake.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container.
Sooooo Delicious!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Loving Memory of a Wonderful, Furry Friend

~Gandalf March 30, 1995 - November 3, 2008~

Well after taking Gandalf to the vet for an exam on Saturday for a problem I had noticed with his hips, they asked us to bring him in today for x-rays of his pelvis and legs - they thought there might be something wrong with his knee as it crunches a bit when he walks. We brought him in this morning and the vet called a few hours later with their prognosis: his knees were OK, but his hips were the worst they had ever seen. He had arthritis and possibly a genetic disorder in both his hips, causing the hips joints to basically disintegrate. He hasn't really shown any sign of it as cats are quite adept at hidingpain and illness until it is too late and they are in absolute agony. Although we could put him on medication, with the possibility of having surgery to remove his hip joints, there would always be problems, even to the extent of destroying his kidneys. In the end, there was really only decision to make.
At 3:40PM today, Gandalf went to Kitty Heaven. He was a wonderful cat, full of love and purrs. Always happy to sit on a lap, sleep on my tummy, and eat any bit of fluff or bug he could find on the floor, he is survived by his canine friend,Arwen, his mom, dad, and Grand-monna and Grand-papa.
He was 13.
He will be greatly missed.
Many tears have been shed, and many more are still to come, but ultimately he is free of pain, free to chase any bird, bug and squirrel and free to visit his first canine companion, Willy. He will always get his girl, and will always be able to sleep in, on and around any and every shoe he wants. He will always have as much food as he can eat, without having to worry about someone saying he is a little on the heavy side.
Goodbye my fuzzy little buddy, my handsome little man. May you give head-butts to other friendly faces, may you impress everyone with your giant thumbs. We love you, miss you, and wish you well on this, your final journey to the litter box.
Thank you for being my bestest furry little guy. Mom will always love and remember you.
My heart is broken, but I know it was for your best happiness.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tip of the Day!

Here's today's tip:
When mixing gluten free goodies, mix the wet ingredients first, then evenly sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top. Mix until just combined. We do this instead of the traditional 'mix the wet in one bowl, mix the dry in another, and then gradually mix the two together' because in the traditional recipes, we are using flours with gluten. Mixing in this way releases the gluten and makes it harder to over mix the recipe. When we are baking gluten free goods, there is no gluten to be released when mixing, making all the extra mixing a recipe for hard, dense, crumbly baked goods. Using the first method mentioned, we avoid over mixing and create lighter, less crumbly baked goods. Obviously, if a gluten free recipe calls for mixing the traditional way we should do it, but if you are converting a conventional recipe, try the new way - you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well it works (plus it saves you an extra bowl to clean)!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


~Fudge To Die For~

I love this fudge - and so does my neighbor! This is very easy to make and sooooo good. It's very rich so only a little piece will do, making it last for a while. It also freezes well (not that it ever lasts that long in my house). You can also add different types of liquid sweetener for different flavors - try light or dark agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or honey if you aren't vegan. I like to mix them - using agave nectar and a bit of maple syrup. Try it and find you r favorites! This has no flour, and is free from gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and animal products. It is vegetarian and vegan also! Try it and you'll agree - it's fudge to die for! For those not interested in making it themselves, this is for sale on my Etsy store.

Fudge to Die For!

1 Cup Organic Agave Nectar
1 Cup Organic Peanut butter
1/2 Cup Organic Cocoa Powder
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

In a pot over medium heat, warm up the agave nectar, salt and peanut butter, mixing until hot and smooth. Immediately remove from heat and mix in the cocoa powder and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Press into a non-stick 8 or 9 inch square cake pan and allow to cool - I put mine in the fridge to speed up the process ;-)
Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into quarters, then cut each piece in half. (you'll get 32 pieces).

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Mother of All Peanut Butter Cookies!

~The Classic Cookie~

~The Chocoholic's Dream~

So while these delectable cookies are for sale in my Etsy Food Store, I thought I would be extra nice and post the recipe for them also. These are so great. Made with organic peanut butter (only organic freshly roasted and ground peanuts - nothing else!), they are peanutty and melty and delicious. Made in a convenient 2-bite size, great for hands big and small. These are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, corn free and free from animal products (vegetarian and vegan friendly!). For an extra indulgence, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips and sigh with delight as these cookies make your troubles disappear (okay maybe they won't take away troubles, but you might forget them while you eat these!).

Meghann's Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Organic Unbleached Cane Sugar
1 Cup Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (use a peanut butter that only uses peanuts, no additives for best flavor)
dash salt
1-1/2 Cups G.F. Flour Mix
1 tbsp Ground Flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp Hot water, whisked and allowed to sit until thick, about 3 minutes
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp G.F. Baking Soda
1/3-1/2 Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the oil and sugar, then add the vanilla and flax seed/water mixture and mix. Add peanut butter and mix well. Evenly sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top (not chocolate chips if using) and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips if using.
Using a measuring tablespoon, form into 1 inch balls and then press down with a fork dipped in sugar for that classic peanut butter cookie look.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen.
My favorite: make half the batch without chocolate chips, and then mix 1/3 cup chocolate chips in the remainder. That way you get the best of both worlds!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Talerine Lentil Casserole

~Delicious, Filling and Simple!~

I saw a recipe for a meat version of this and I just knew that I had to make my own version. Instead of beef, I used lentils for protein, fiber and nutrients. I also added vegetables, used low fat mozzarella and gluten free rotini for an amazing dish that is worth the little effort it requires.
Filling, and amazing for the next day, serve it with a salad for a complete, delicious meal. This is gluten free, egg free, dairy free (if using a cheese substitute), corn free, soy free, meat free and vegetarian and vegan (use a vegan cheese substitute). Try this dish today and you will be so glad you did!

Talerine Lentil Casserole

1-1/2 Cups Mixed Red and Green Lentils, rinsed and drained
3 Cups Vegan Beef Stock
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10 ounces Gluten Free Rotini
1 Medium Onion, Diced
1/2 Red Pepper, Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
4 Large Stuffer Mushrooms, Diced
1-2 Carrots, Diced
1 Stalk Celery, Diced
1 Can of Tomatoes
1-14 ounce Can of Black Olives, Drained and Chopped
Pinch of Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste
3 Cups Low Fat Mozzarella (or Substitute) Grated

Bring the Stock to a boil and add the lentils. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 1-2 hours, until plump and softened. Turn off the heat and allow the lentils to sit in the remaining stock while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery, sauteing for 3-4 minutes Add the red pepper and mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, breaking into smaller pieces if they weren't diced to begin with. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Drain the lentils and add to the tomato-vegetable mixture. Using the same pot that you did for the lentils, fill it with water and cook the gluten free rotini until just tender-firm (al dente).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large casserole dish (a lasagna dish works perfectly), pour in the tomato mixture, add the olives, pasta, 1/2 of the cheese, and mix well. Top with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.
Serve with salad, and if you want to be really full, serve with toasted garlic bread also.
Makes about 8 servings - Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tip of The Day!

~Yes, You Can So Make These!~

Here's a quick tip to help your baking go that much easier. When you are baking, have all your ingredients at room temperature - butter/oils, eggs/substitues, everything (unless otherwise stated in the recipe). That way, when you mix, and bake, it all starts at the proper temperature and is able to rise and bake evenly, producing moist, springy, delicious baked goods every time.
Happy baking!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Store!

In an effort to help those of you who have food allergies like myself, but who may not have time to bake themselves, I have opened a Low Allergy Kitchen Store on Etsy! I will be adding items to increase the number of items for sale, but each item will be fresh baked when you order, ensuring that every order is as fresh as possible.
Hope you like it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tip of the Day!

Here is a little tip for those of you who love to roast turkeys, chickens, or any kind of roast: When the meat comes out of the oven, let it sit for 20-30 minutes to let the roast 'rest'. This will allow the meat to absorb all of those wonderful juices inside it and keep those precious juices from running all over the cutting board, making a nasty mess, and making your meat dry. Steaks and chops would be the obvious exception, as they would be cold after 20 minutes, but try letting them rest for even 10 minutes and you'll be amazed at how juicy they can be.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Perfect Picnic Pesto Pasta!

~Perfect Picnic Pesto Pasta!~

Tuesday was a wonderful day - one of the last warm, sunny days of fall and Brennan and I were determined to make the most of it. After doing our groceries, I suggested a pesto pasta (one of his favorites) and he suggested a better idea: a pesto pasta picnic in our favorite spot near us. I made this in minutes, packed it up, and we were off on the 4-wheeler for a great dinner and wonderful views. I didn't include a photo of our spot (it is, after all, a secret!), but the dinner, along with a delicious salad, was a photo-op all on its own! The basil pesto base really brings out the flavor of the sun dried tomatoes, while the creamy goats cheese brings the chicken out at its moist, tender best. This is one meal you won't want to wait to make - make it tonight!
This is gluten free, egg free, corn free and soy free. You can make it dairy free by using a cheese substitute, and make it meat free by using firm grilled tofu, or omitting the chicken entirely.
Serves 4 with a side salad and bread (french bread or focaccia is incredible).

Chicken, Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Pesto on Pasta

Gluten Free Fettuccine for 4
2 oz Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 Chicken breast, cubed
1/2 Vegan Bouillon Cube
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1 Cup Water
1 tbsp Extra virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 Recipe "Best Pesto Ever" - See Below

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute in the oil until cooked. Add the water, bouillon cube, basil and sun dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then turn it off and let it sit while you make the pesto. When pesto is ready, drain the chicken/sun dried tomatoes and mix with the pesto. Serve over cooked pasta immediately with a salad and crusty bread. Top pasta with more goats cheese or Parmesan if desired.

Best Pesto Ever!

2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts (make sure they are still slightly warm)
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Crumbled Goat Cheese/substitute

In a food processor, whirl the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the oil and blend until combined. Spoon into a bowl and fold in the goat cheese, making sure it melts and combines evenly. Yum!

Hope you love this as much as we do!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Bran Muffins!

~Simple, Wholesome Food!~

I wanted bran muffins....Badly. I needed them. The comforting taste and feel, high fiber, slightly nutty-sweet and delicious. I didn't have raisins though, but apples. Why not? It's fall, time to get out the apple recipes, so let's try it! I tried it. It's delicious! These are free from gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, and animal products. They are easy to make, quick to bake, and oh so tasty. They only make 6-8 muffins, which in a way is good, because you'll want to devour them all after one taste. I really changed this recipe from an old one from Bette Hagman. I like mine better ;-)

Apple Cinnamon Bran Muffins

1/4 cup Packed Golden Sugar
2 Scant Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed whisked with 6 tbsp Hot Water and left to thicken, about 3 minutes
2/3 Garfava Flour
1 tbsp Tapioca Flour
2 tbsp Arrowroot Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2-1 tsp Cinnamon (depending on your tastes)
1/8-1/4 tsp Nutmeg (depending on your tastes)
1/2 tsp (rounded) xanthan gum
dash Salt
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Rice drink
1/2 cup (rounded) Rice Bran
1 Medium Apple, chopped (I love Gala apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your muffin cups if they aren't non-stick.
Whisk the sugar, oil and flax seed/water mixture, adding the vanilla towards the end. Evenly sprinkle the dry ingredients (not the bran) over the top, and slowly combine, adding the rice drink as you stir. Mix in the rice bran until just combined, then add the apple pieces and mix.
Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool slightly in the muffin pan before removing to a plate.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Amazing Veggie Wrap

~Simple, Quick, Versatile, Delicious!~

I thought this was sort of a cheat - it's not complex, in fact it is ridiculously fast, and easy, but I thought that I just had to share with you one of my favorite lunch ideas. It is free from gluten, dairy, egg, corn, soy and animal products. It is versatile: add or subtract veggies to get exactly what you want. It's really healthy: gluten free wraps average only 130 calories each, compared to 'regular' wraps at almost 200 each, plus you are getting at least 2 servings of veggies (I always try to stuff mine as full as possible, with the result that I need a fork to pick up the overflow)! Add cheese (or a substitute) for extra protein, add sprouts, toasted sesame seeds, taziki sauce, sliced meat/substitute or tuna, you name it, the options are endless! Here are my favourite ingredients:

The Amazing Veggie Wrap(s)

2 Gluten Free Tortillas
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
Mustard, to taste
1 Stalk Celery, cut in half
1 Carrot, Peeled and cut in half
2 slices of Tomato, cut in half
1 Mushroom, sliced
2-3 slices of Onion
2-4 Slices of Cheese/Substitute
2 Romaine Lettuce Leaves
Pickles, as garnish

With wraps at room temperature, arrange ingredients evenly in center of the wraps, topping with pepper and mustard. Roll up, and serve with pickles on the side. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Day to Save 20%!!

~Don't Miss Out On The Savings!~

I know this isn't food, but bear with me!
Well, I can't believe we are on the last day of September, but there it is- and along with it is the last day of the sale for Etsy for Animals Birthday Bash! This is the LAST DAY to get 20% off everything in my Etsy store. All you have to do is use the coupon code "LITT" in the 'Notes to Seller' when you check out.
It's that simple so don't miss out!
I've got lots of goodies for you at all price ranges - how about getting your holiday shopping done early??
Go to my store here:
PLUS - Check back soon for a contest to win free goodies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The "Now I Can Die Happy" Banana Walnut Bread

~The Best Banana Bread I've Ever Had. Period!~

I had a bunch of bananas that were about halfway ripe - you know, yellow, with a few brown spots, but nothing scary. Brennan won't eat them if they have even a tiny spot, and I had a good 6 of them on my counter so I knew I needed to do something quickly before I had an army of fruit flies in my kitchen. Enter Banana Bread 101. I LOVE banana bread, muffins, cupcakes, you name it, but I hadn't made banana bread in a long time so I thought I'd give that a try. No dice - I couldn't find my recipe. So I went through my stack of cookbooks and found a recipe I thought I could easily modify to my particular tastes and allergies. I found a recipe from Bette Hagman in her "The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread" and changed it to my liking. This is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, corn free, soy free and vegan. I'm going to work on getting a lower fat version soon, but this is truly an amazing bread - the addition of walnuts and a secret ingredient (vanilla - shhhh don't tell!) make it to die for!

Banana Walnut Bread

2 cups Regular GF Flour Mix
1/4 cup Garfava Flour
1 slightly rounded tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
3 Large, Ripe Bananas
3/4 cups Brown Sugar
Dash Salt
1/2 - 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed Whisked with 6 tbsp Hot Water and left to stand until thick, about 3 minutes
1/4 cup (scant) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tbsp Hot Water

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour an 8-1/2"x 4-1/2" loaf pan. Set aside.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, salt and flax seed/water mix and mix well. Add the oil and mix. Mix the baking soda in the 2 tbsp of water and let dissolve. Evenly distribute the dry ingredients over top and mix, adding the baking soda/water mix towards the end. Add the Walnuts and mix until just combined. Pour into pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shepherd's Pie So Good, You Can't Tell It's Vegan!

~Ok, So We Ate Most of It Before I Got to Taking Pictures, So It's a Bit of a Mess!~

Shepherd's pie is one of those meals that I always loooove. As a kid, my parents would make it and even if they made enough for double the people, there was never enough. Thick, wonderful mashed potatoes with melted cheese on top, put under the broiler for just long enough to make it crispy, then the corn, and finally, ground beef, seasoned with taco mix, maybe with a few mushrooms mixed in for fun. That was our version, but there are almost as many versions of Shepherd's Pie as there are of apple pie, pumpkin pie - you get the idea. When I found out I was allergic to corn, and also didn't want to have meat, it seemed this all-time favorite was out of my life for good. Then came a wonderful book called "125 Best Slow Cooker Recipes" by Judith Finlayson. I have to say that everyone should get this book, as it is filled with great ideas for lots of wonderful recipes - even desserts and breads! Although I can't have a lot of them due to being allergic to many of the ingredients, this one stood out - a Lentil Shepherd's pie. I changed it a bit to my tastes and allergies and what I got was nothing short of amazing! Cooked in a slow cooker, it is a two pot dish - one frying pan for preparation work, then the slow cooker ceramic. Easy as, well, pie! It's so good, you'll forget it's vegan! It's also gluten free, corn free, dairy free (use a cheese substitute), egg free, soy free, meatless, high in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.
Note: try to chop the veggies into approximately the same size. It helps with texture, and flavor.

Shepherd's Pie with Lentils (Modified from a Recipe by Judith Finlayson)

2-3 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 cup Grated Cheese/Substitute
1/4 cup Vegetable Bouillon Water (Optional, if potatoes are dry when mashed)

1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Stalks Celery, chopped
4-6 Stuffer Mushrooms, coarsely chopped
Pinch of Sea Salt (up to 1/2 tsp)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp dried Thyme (double if fresh)
1/2 tsp dried Oregano (double if fresh)
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 cup Vegetable Bouillon Water
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Green Lentils, Rinsed
1/4 Cup Red Lentils, Rinsed
1/2 cup Ketchup - this is the secret ingredient!!

Poke holes in the potatoes and microwave until cooked. Mash in a bowl, adding bouillon water if necessary, and set aside - be careful, they are hot!!
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and celery and saute for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the herbs, spices, salt and pepper and saute for another 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add the lentils, tomatoes, stock and ketchup and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and CAREFULLY pour into slow cooker ceramic, being careful not to splash it - it's very hot! Top with potatoes, sprinkle cheese/substitute over the potatoes. Cover with lid and cook on low for3-4 hours, or high for 1-1/2 -3 hours, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the cheese (if using) is melted and bubbly. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 3-4 as a large main dish, or 6-8 as an accompaniment to a larger meal. Add a salad for a great dinner.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, The Apple Pie of My Eye

~Apple Pie Never Tasted So Good!~

Fall is officially here: it got cold, and I immediately craved my two favorite things - apple pie and pumpkin pie. I am SO kicking myself for not growing pumpkins this year, which is why my first pie of fall was an apple pie. Well, that and I had a bunch of apples that were about to go bad if I didn't use them up pronto ;-) I made this in the blink of an eye - the crust is super easy, the filling is so basic, yet they combine to make such a wonderful pie, people can't believe you didn't spend all day making it! One note: this pie crust works best if you use a metal pie plate - glass just doesn't heat it as well and may cause a mushy pie crust center (trust me, I know!).
This is gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan!

Meghann's Apple Pie of My Eye

Crust (Altered from a Recipe by Bette Hagman)
1-1/2 cups Bean Flour Mix (see flour posts)
1 tsp (rounded) Baking Powder
2 tbsp Sugar (I used granulated white, but experiment to find your favorite)
Dash of Salt (up to 1/4 tsp)
Scant 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Rice Drink

Mix the dry ingredients, add the oil and rice drink and mix until combined. Press into a pie plate (no rolling pin required!).


6-8 Apples, Peeled (Royal Gala are my favorite ,or a mix of Gala and Macintosh)
1-3 tbsp Ground Cinnamon (to your taste)
Dash of Nutmeg (up to 1/4 tsp, maybe more - add to your taste)
1/4-1/2 cup Sugar (This will depend on the sweetness of the apples - the sweeter the apple, the less sugar required)

Slice apples into 1/2 inch slices. Toss in a large bowl with the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Pour into pie crust, making sure not to get the juice in the crust or it will be soggy. There will be a lot of apples, so make sure to pile them high! When baked, they will settle a bit. Bake on a cookie sheet (to catch any wayward drips) in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Let cool and devour!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zucchini, Tomato and Mushroom Saute

~The Incomparable Saute in All its Glory!~

The other night my fiance called and said he was going over to a friend's house for a 'night with the boys' which meant that I'd be alone for dinner. I really don't mind actually, because it means I can experiment without wrinkled noses or funny (actually hilarious) comments about how healthy food will be my undoing. You see, when I looked into my fridge, I saw that I had some wonderful cherry tomatoes just picked from my gardens, and two lovely small zucchini (which he is not a fan of, lol) that just begged to be eaten right then! I would have just sauteed the zucchini lightly in some olive oil, but I was hungry. Really hungry. So I grabbed a bunch of other healthy ingredients and had a blast! I t was delicious, and you can bet I'll make it again - with or without the comments from my peanut gallery :)
This is gluten free, dairy free (use a cheese substitute), corn free, soy free, egg free, vegan and vegetarian.

Meghann's Zucchini, Tomato and Mushroom Saute

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed and finely diced
2 small Zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
6 Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
2 Medium Stuffer Mushrooms, sliced thinly
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Grated Cheese (or Substitute) for Garnish

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the garlic. Saute for 2 minutes and add the mushrooms and zucchini. Saute for another 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is starting to get soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and add some freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt, if desired, to taste. When zucchini is at desired tenderness, remove to a plate, top with grated cheese (or substitute) and enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Best Birthday Cupcakes Ever!!

~The Prettiest Low Allergy Cupcakes in the World!~

It was my birthday yesterday, but as my mom, sister and I all have birthdays within 12 days of each other, we celebrate them on the same day, this year being the 7Th (a mutually agreeable Sunday). I, of course, offered to bring dessert, thinking I would like to recreate the strawberry shortcake of my youth that I had loved so much. I thought I would do it in a cupcake style to make it easier for everyone involved to have a little piece of heaven. You can imagine my horror when I realized that strawberry shortcake has very little strawberry in it, and no chocolate at all! (Purists know it as a yellow cake topped with a smidgen of whipped cream and a strawberry perched atop the whole thing). This simply could not do. So I came up with this version, modified from a traditional vegan white cupcake recipe from Krystina Castella's "Crazy About Cupcakes". I did, of course, have to modify it for my numerous allergies and taste preferences, so it looks almost nothing like her version.
This version is delectable with chocolate chips and chopped strawberries inside the moist white cake, topped with my own version of strawberry icing and (of course) a strawberry. Try it and you will agree, it certainly does not taste at all what it most certainly is: gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, and vegan. It is simply superb!

Meghann's Best Birthday Cupcakes Ever!

1/2 cup (scant) Light Olive Oil
1-1/3 cups Granulated Sugar (or use unbleached cane sugar)
2-2/3 cups G.F. Flour Mix
1/3 cup Bean Flour Mix
3/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 cups Rice Milk
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life are great)
1/2 cup Strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350degrees Fahrenheit. Line 22-24 cupcake/muffin pans with cupcake/muffin liners. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer for this but you can do it by hand with a hand mixer with no difficulties), beat the olive oil, and sugar until crumbly. Evenly sprinkle the dry ingredients over the top (not the chocolate chips or strawberries) and begin beating, adding the milk in a steady stream. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for about 2 minutes on medium. Fold in the chocolate chips and strawberries gently. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full, making sure that there are strawberry bits in each one, and poking them down in the mix so they don't burn. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool them in the pan and then remove to a plate to ice once completely cool. Top with my icing (below) and a fresh strawberry. Enjoy!

For the Icing:
I wasn't super conscious of the exact measurements, but the gist is this: use 1 cup granulated sugar to 1/3 cup tapioca starch and grind in batches in a coffee grinder until finely ground. Add this to a few tablespoons of organic vegan strawberry jam, add a few tablespoons of water and heat over low-medium heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool (I refrigerated it) before icing.

I hope you love these as much as my family did!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meghann's Gluten Free Apple Crisp

~Apple Crisp - It Doesn't Look Like Much, But the Taste Can't Be Beaten!~

As a kid, nothing said Sunday evening like a warm bowl of apple crisp. Sometimes with whipped cream or ice cream if we were really lucky, other times plain, it always made us less sad that the weekend was over and school was just a sleep away. Even in summer this dish is the perfect end to almost any meal as it isn't too heavy, and though it has a caloric value, it counts as a serving (or two) or fruit, and a serving of grain. I modified my mom's 'sacred' crisp recipe to make it friendly to my innards, and came up with this delicious version. Made with quinoa flakes instead of oatmeal, and gluten free flours, this is perfect for those with gluten sensitivities. Since we use olive oil instead of animal fat, this can even be vegan! Try it and you won't be disappointed!

Meghann's Gluten Free Apple Crisp

2/3 Cup GF Flour Mix
2/3 Cup Quinoa Flakes
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
4 Medium Apples (I like a combination of Royal Gala or Crispin and Jersey Mac)
1/3-1/2 cup Organic Sultana Raisins
1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips (Optional)
1/4 cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)
Whipped topping or Ice Cream for Garnish (Optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and slice the apples. Mix all the dry ingredients (not the raisins) with the olive oil until crumbly. Put a thin layer of the flour mix on the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish (6-8 inches square is nice). Top evenly with sliced apples. Sprinkle the raisins over the apples. Top with the remainder of the dry mix. Pat slightly to make a firm top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and firm. Let cool for ten minutes and serve topped with ice cream or whipped topping. Enjoy!
Makes about 4-6 servings.
Hope you like this as much as I do!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Oh man is this one of my favorite soups or what! No pics of it - partially because it goes pretty quickly, partially because it doesn't look so great in photos - kind of brown lumpy stuff, lol. However, this is HEALTHY, HEARTY and oh-so good (and really filling!). Lentils are full of fiber, protein, and tons of vitamins and minerals - perfect for you vegans out there! This is great because it is gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, vegan/vegetarian and freezes incredibly well to boot. Makes a big pot so you have a great dinner, lunch tomorrow and freeze the rest for nights when you don't want to cook. It's great on its own or with a side salad - and mouth-wateringly delicious with some fresh baked bread. Hope you love it as much as I do!

Note: if you don't like broccoli or cauliflower, use whatever vegetables you wish. You can even use frozen vegetables, but add them in the broth-adding stage. If lentils leave you feeling gassy, rinse the lentils well and soak them for 2-4 hours, changing the water every hour before making the soup.

Meghann's Lentil-Vegetable Soup

1 Cup Organic Green/Brown Lentils
1 Cup Organic Red/Turkish Lentils
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
7 Cups Water
2 Vegetable/Beef Bouillon Cubes (Low Sodium, Vegan if possible)
1-2 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
4 Stuffer Mushrooms, Coarsely Chopped
1 Cup Carrots, Chopped
1 Cup Broccoli, Chopped
1 Cup Cauliflower, Chopped
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
1 good Squeeze of Ketchup (low sodium if available)
Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1-19 oz Can Diced Tomatoes (No Salt)
Pinch of Sea Salt (or to Taste)
1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion, carrot, garlic, and celery. Saute for 2-4 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and saute for another 2 minutes.
Add the water, bouillon cubes and lentils (add veggies if frozen now). Stir and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat to low (simmer) and add the ketchup and spices. Cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add fresh veggies and cook for an additional 1/2 to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy with fresh bread, a side of green salad. Top with low fat/soy cheese if desired.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Healthier Veggie Tortilla Pizza

~The Amazing Pizza Fresh Out of the Oven~

So, I love healthy eating. I don't eat junk very often, and if I do, it is in moderation, and I make it myself from scratch so I know what's in it. That being said, I loooove pizza. I can make a pretty darn good homemade pizza crust, but it's a lot of work, and a lot of calories. What to do when I am ravenous and want pizza, but want it fast and healthy? This version, whipped up in minutes and baked up quickly, is delicious and pretty darn healthy. It's made with low fat or soy cheese, and vegetables, as well as a gluten free tortilla as a thin crust. With your own favourite toppings, this can be free of any allergen you desire, even vegan! Try it tonight, and it'll be your favourite in a pinch!
Healthier Veggie Tortilla Pizza
1 gluten free soft tortilla
2-3 tbsp of your favorite pasta sauce (I love mushroom garlic)
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tomato, finely chopped
1 medium mushroom, finely sliced
2 tbsp green pepper, finely chopped
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small florets
1/2 cup grated low fat or soy cheese
Preheat oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortilla on lightly greased baking sheet. Cover evenly with pasta sauce, and place the sliced garlic evenly around the edge of the crust. Evenly sprinkle the rest of the toppings over the top, finishing with the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly on top.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flour Mixes for Gluten Free Baking

Here are a few mixes for your gluten free baking. It may seem like a bit of work to mix these, but they make all the difference in taste. I keep these mixed up in resealable containers (labeled of course!) and keep them on my counters for easy use. These will stay fresh for about 6 months, thought the bean and brown rice mixes may need to be refrigerated or frozen to stay their freshest. So what are you waiting for - Get baking!

All Purpose Flour Mix

1 cup Brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called flour)
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. If you won't use this in 3 months, refrigerate or freeze it to keep it fresh.
Use this as an all-purpose flour mix, in breads, heavier cookies, and dense pie crusts.

Light Flour Mix

2 cups white rice flour
2/3 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called flour)
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
Use this in lighter breads, light cookies and flaky pie crusts.

Bean Flour Mix

1 cup Garfava flour - this is a mix of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and fava beans
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. If you won't use this in 3 months, refrigerate or freeze it to keep it fresh.
Use this in pastas, breads, nutty cookies and heavier pie crusts. If you are going to be taste testing your recipes, keep in mind that bean flours need to be cooked/baked to taste like regular flours. When raw, it will taste pretty nutty.

4 Flour Gluten Free Mix

1 cup Garfava flour - this is a mix of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and fava beans
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. If you won't use this in 3 months, refrigerate or freeze it to keep it fresh.
Use this in pastas, breads, nutty cookies and heavier pie crusts. If you are going to be taste testing your recipes, keep in mind that bean flours need to be cooked/baked to taste like regular flours. When raw, it will taste pretty nutty.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Here's a recipe for a great muffin that is free from gluten, egg, corn, soy, dairy, and is vegan! It is simple to make, and soooo delicious! The more ripe the bananas are, the better the recipe, but even green bananas have worked for me (it just means more work to mush them). The secret: olive oil. The olive oil makes the outside slightly crispy, while keeping the inside moist and soft. Try this one bowl recipe and you'll be glad you did.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed whisked with 3 tbsp Hot Water, left to sit for three minutes, until thick
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 cup White Sugar
3 Large Bananas
1-1/2 cups G.F. Bread Flour Mix
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Salt
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (Vegan if possible)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Mix oil and sugar, then add flaxseed/water mixture. Add bananas and mush with a fork, leaving some small lumps for flavour and texture. Evenly sprinkle dry ingredients over the top of the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add Chocolate chips and mix until well combined. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing (if you can wait that long!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Awesome Summertime Salad and Vinaigrette

Here is a great summer salad recipe. Feel free to add or omit any ingredients you'd like. I make this and then refrigerate it for my lunches for several days so I don't have to think about what I'll have for lunch (or a quick dinner: just add cheese or grilled fish or chicken for a really filling meal). I just reach into the fridge and presto! I already have lunch. It's also great to have it ready-to-go so I don't fall victim to waist-ruining fatty foods - as we all do now and then.

Summertime Salad:
8 Cups Baby Spinach/1 Head Romaine (Cos) Lettuce, Rinsed and Patted Dry
1-14-oz Can Organic Chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed
1/2 English Cucumber, Sliced
4 Large Stuffer Mushrooms, sliced
2 Ribs Celery, Sliced
2 Medium Carrots, Peeled and Chopped into Coins
1/2 Sweet Onion, Chopped
1 Tomato, Chopped
1/2 Red/Orange/Yellow/Green Pepper, Chopped
Optional ingredients:
Crumbled Soy/Low Fat/Goat Cheese
Grilled Chicken/Fish/Firm Tofu or Canned Tuna, Drained
Toasted Seeds or Nuts
Chopped, Pitted Olives
Hard Boiled Eggs, Sliced
Homemade Croutons

Put all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and serve! Also great as a starter course to more calorie-intense foods as you'll fill up on the fiber and water-rich veggies and only eat what you should of the higher calorie main course

Great Vinaigrette:
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp EACH Fresh Chopped Basil, Parsley and Oregano (For Dried Herbs, add 1/2 this amount)
1/2 tsp EACH Onion Powder, Garlic Powder (not Salt)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pinch of Sea Salt (Optional)

Combine all ingredients in a resealable container, shake well and serve over salads. Also good as a mild meat rub.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Make-You-Melt Ginger Cookies

I found a recipe online for Giant Ginger Cookies from and knew I had to modify it to my tastes, allergies, and batch size preferences. The first batch was incredible! I can't wait to make them for my friends - this batch is going down pretty quickly between Brennan and I! Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they are incredible - not to mention Gluten free, Dairy free, egg free, corn free, soy free and, um, oh yeah! vegan!! They'll make you melt.
Here it is:

Ginger Cookies
3/4 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup White Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Ground Flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp hot water, whisked and left to thicken for 3 minutes
1/4 cup Unsulphured Molasses
2 1/4 Cups G.F. Flour Mix (see flour mix post)
2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp (scant) Baking Soda
1 Rounded tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
Dash of Salt
1/2 cup White Granulated Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350C
In a large bowl mix olive oil and 1 cup of sugar, then add flax seed/water mixture and molasses and mix well.
Evenly sprinkle dry ingredients over top and then mix until combined.
Put 1/2 cup of white sugar in a bowl.
Form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and then roll in the sugar until well covered.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart and bake for about 16 minutes, until puffy. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.
These make about 2 dozen nice, little mounded cookies good for any time of year.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gluten Free Allergy Information and New Recipe

Gluten Allergies - You Don't "Knead" the Stuff!

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease is becoming more and more common. It is incurable, and the only treatment known is to avoid all sources of gluten. This includes wheat, rye, oats (some people can tolerate pure oats in small amounts), barley, spelt, kamut, durum, semolina, and other forms of wheat such as bulgar and couscous. Other hidden forms of gluten can be hydrolyzed proteins, modified starches, malts, and some alcohols. As with other food allergies, gluten intolerance can get worse with prolonged exposure, so strict avoidance to foods containing gluten is very important. Gluten can be found in trace amounts in many foods. Even if foods do not state that they have gluten, any foods stating they “may have some in contact with wheat/glutens” should be treated with caution, and avoided if possible.There are many alternatives to wheat and “traditional” flours for your baking: rice, corn, soy, tapioca, potato, arrowroot, sorghum – all are great gluten free alternatives that taste great in foods.Gluten free baking and cooking presents a real challenge both in taste and texture. The secret lies in the combination of various flours for best success. The recipes given here all give the combination of flours to use, but feel free to alter the combinations to your tastes and allergies. It is never a waste to try something new!There are more companies catering to gluten free eaters every day, and many of their products are very palatable. Still, I am convinced that there truly is no comparison to that of fresh, homemade goods, like anything else!

Gluten, Egg, and Dairy-Free Mayonnaise It's Vegan and Delicious!
It's a bit thinner than regular mayo, but it tastes great and is an awesome addition to salad dressings, sandwiches and much, much more!

½ tsp Sugar
1 Cup Water
½ tsp Salt
¼ Cup Light Flour Mix
¼ tsp Paprika, or To Taste
1 tbsp Ground Flax seed
3 tbsp Hot Water
½ tsp Ground Mustard
¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Vinegar
Whisk together the flax seed and hot water. Let sit for 3 minutes, or until thick, whisking occasionally.
In a small pot over medium heat, whisk flour and 1 cup water. Add the flax seed-water mixture, and simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly to keep the mayonnaise from separating. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and shiny, almost translucent.
Remove from the heat and add the spices and vinegar, again whisking constantly. Add the oil slowly while beating with a whisk or electric beater. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.


Monday, June 16, 2008

AMAZING Cajun-Style Rice and Refried Bean Burritos!

My fiancee and I loooove spicy food. Not the 'burn your tongue until it's painful and you can't eat for three days' spicy, but moderately spicy. I found a recipe in a magazine for refried beans and cajun-style rice burritos, and had to try it - MY way! With the right substitutions, this is vegan, gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free and dairy free, just use a dairy free substitute for cheese and sour cream. The results were delicious and this is what I did:

6 Gluten-free tortillas
Shredded Lettuce
1 Medium Tomato, diced
Grated low fat Cheese, or substitute
1 Cajun-Style Rice Recipe (below)
1 Refried Beans Recipe (below)
Guagamole (optional)
Sour Cream or Substitute (optional)

Cajun-Style Rice
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Onion, Chopped
2 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
1/2 to 1 Cup Red Pepper, chopped
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Chili Flakes
1 tbsp Dried Parsley
1 tbsp Dried Cilantro
3/4 Cup Brown Basmati Rice

Heat oil over medium heat in a medium pot. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add stock, red pepper and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add Rice and stir occasionally until water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Refried Beans
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Onion, Chopped
3 Medium Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1 Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
2/3 Cup Vegetable or Chicken Stock, plus more (possibly)
1 tbsp Dried Parsley
1 tbsp Dried Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium pot. Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until tender. Add garlic, chili powder, parsley and cilantro and cook for about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of stock and beans and cook until heated through and starting to boil, usually 4 or 5 minutes. With a potato masher, coarsley mash the beans, adding more stock to get the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

To your tortilla add a little of the cajun-style rice, a little of the refried beans, top with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes and your favourite salsa and guacamole, maybe even some sour cream and you are ready to go!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Great Marinated Chicken!

Even though this isn't a recipe made to be strictly gluten free, it is in fact gluten free, corn free, soy free, egg free, and can be dairy free if you use a dairy free yogurt or dairy free creamer. It is delicious, and you can even use it to marinate vegetables if chicken isn't your thing. I put this on skewers with veggies and then grill it - delicious!

Malai Murgh Tikka (Marinated Indian Chicken)

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts, Cubed
6 Tbsp Yogurt/Substitute

2 tsp Water
1 Tsp Ground Ginger

3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1/4 Cup Cilantro

Sea Salt to taste
3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Wooden skewers, soaked for minimum 1 hour

Blend all the marinade ingredients and whisk.
Marinate the chicken for 2 hours, or at least 20 minutes.

Skewer the chicken on wooden skewers, and grill for 20-25 minutes, basting with oil in between.
Note: If you do not want to grill, bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20-25minutes in the marinade.

Serve hot.



Monday, May 26, 2008

Egg and Corn Allergy Information

Here is some information on egg allergies and corn allergies. These allergic reactions can be quite sneaky - some people don't even get stomach or intestinal disturbances at all. Quite often, egg allergies are the cause of otherwise undiagnosed headaches or migranes, chronic sore throats, and other sympotms that can be easily overlooked as a food allergy. I hope this helps!

Egg Allergies: “Egg”-cellent Alternatives

Egg allergies can be hard to manage, especially when you want to enjoy baked goods.
There are many egg substitutes that can be used with great results, but for those with other food allergies, store-bought substitutes may contain additional allergens like corn.
A great homemade egg substitute may be made with ground flax seed. For one egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of hot water. Whisk and let sit for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Use as you would the egg in your recipe. You can double this for two eggs, triple for three, etc., and you will be getting your omega fatty acids and fiber to boot! I recommend everyone try this even if you don’t have egg allergies, as it is tasty and healthy.
There are also commercial egg substitutes that can be used for omelettes. Check to make sure you can have all of the ingredients, and see which brands you like best.

Corn Allergies – Difficult to Go Against the “Grain”

Studies have shown that nearly 75% of the items in our grocery stores contain some kind of corn. For those of us with corn allergies, this can cause serious problems: even if processed items do not list corn as an ingredient, they may have come into contact with corn at some point in their manufacture. Even this small amount may make you sick.
There are many ways to avoid corn, and preparing your own foods is the best way. Instead of using corn flour or starch, you can use other flours and starches with excellent results. Try using garfava flour (a flour mix made of fava beans and garbanzo, or chickpeas) instead of corn flour, and tapioca or arrowroot starch instead of cornstarch.

Take care, happy eating!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Soy and Peanut Allergies, plus Split Pea Soup Recipe

Here's some info on peanut and soy allergies as well as an incredible split pea soup that is so incredibly easy and delicious, you'll wonder how those canned soups stay in business.

Soy Allergies – You’re Not Off Your “Nut”

With the recent increase in media attention extolling the virtues of soy, the number of people discovering they have soy allergies is increasing also. Soy allergies can range from mild digestive disturbances, to near anaphylactic reactions. If you have an allergy to soy, avoid it at all costs, as your allergies may get worse as you are exposed to it.
There are ways to avoid soy: don’t eat tamari or soy sauces, avoid hydrolyzed proteins, and stay away from soy beverages and flours.
Here are a few tips: you can use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth instead of soy sauces; use rice beverages instead of soy drinks; and use flours made from brown rice, or other beans (make sure you know you aren’t allergic to them also!) to get similar flavours and textures.

Peanut Allergies: No Nuts are Good Nuts

Peanut allergies are something that should never be taken lightly. Reactions can get more and more severe with increased exposure. Care must always be taken to read packaged food labels carefully, and ensure that all sources of flours and baking ingredients are nut free. Even if you have purchased the item before, you must always check the label, as companies may change ingredients without notice.
Some people with peanut allergies are able to have other nuts, but extreme caution must always be taken when trying new foods. Always have an epi-pen with you, and if possible, always have food allergy testing done to determine if you have additional allergies before experimenting with your health.
There are many brands that specialize in nut-free foods. Try them and see which you like best, or try some of our recipes and make great nut-free foods yourself!

Once you’ve had this soup, you’ll NEVER buy those cans again! This soup is quick, easy, and freezes well too! This is gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian and vegan. Tip - make sure you are able to eat split peas if you have a soy or peanut allergy, and make sure that your bouillon cubes are nut free also.

Split Pea Soup

7½ Cups Water

2 Vegetable/Beef Bouillon Cubes
3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped

1-2 Carrots, Chopped
1 Large Onion, Chopped

½ tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
2 ½ Cups Dried Organic Yellow Split Peas

½ tsp Olive Oil

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil, and add the garlic, onions and carrots. Saute for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the water and bouillon cubes, stir and bring to the boil.
Add the split peas and reduce heat to a low simmer.
Stirring occasionally, simmer for about an hour over low heat, or until it becomes thick and reaches your desired consistency.
Serve by itself for a lunch or with salad and a roll for a filling dinner.

Fast Method:
Pour water into a large pot over medium heat and add all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low heat and simmer for about an hour.
Stir every 10 minutes or so to keep the texture even.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do - it's my fiance's favorite soup.

Chicken, Vegetable and Broccoli Divan

Here's a great recipe that's easy to prepare. This is a bit lighter than the traditional divan, using low fat cheese and fat free milk powder in the soup base. For vegetarian/vegan alternatives, omit the chicken and add any other veggies you'd like, using soy or rice cheese instead of the low-fat mozzarella, and the dairy-free version of the creamed soup base (previous post). This is gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free and can be dairy free, vegetarian and vegan (using the above suggestions).

Chicken and Broccoli Divan

3 cups Broccoli spears

2 cups cubed, cooked Chicken
3 Heaping tbsp Cream Soup Base in 1 cup Hot Water

1/3 cup milk or rice drink or water
½ cup grated cheese or soy cheese
3 tbsp dry bread crumbs or Crushed rice cake
1 tbsp butter or mararine, melted

1/2 onion, sliced
1 carrot, in matchsticks

garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste

pepper and salt to taste
Chili powder and paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine soup, water and milk, whisk well. Arrange broccoli, chicken and vegetables in a 2 quart baking dish. Pour soup mix over vegetables, and sprinkle with cheese. Mix bread crumbs and butter and spread over cheese. Sprinkle with spices to taste.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Awesome Gluten-Free Creamed Soup Recipe!

Here's a great way to enjoy creamed soups - even if you can't have milk or gluten!
My fiancee especially loves the mushroom soup version.

Best Darned Gluten Free Creamed Soup Base
(Adapted from Bette Hagman)

1 Cup Skim Milk Powder, or a gluten-free powdered corn-based baby formula
1-2 Chicken or Vegetable Bouillion Cubes, Crushed
½ tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Cup White Rice Flour
2 tbsp Dried Minced Onions

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
For 1 can of cream soup, blend 3-4 heaping tbsp of the mix with 1-1 ½ cups hot water/chicken stock. Cook over low-med heat until hot and thick.

For Cream of Chicken: use chicken stock instead of water, adding cooked
chicken if desired, cooking according to directions.
For Cream of Mushroom: use a can of mushroom pieces. Use the water from
the can and top up with hot water/chicken stock.
Add the pieces and cook according to directions.
For Creamy Broccoli: use chicken stock instead of water, and add cooked
broccoli, cooking soup according to directions.
For Creamy Tomato: add a small can of V-8 juice or crushed tomatoes,
making up the rest with chicken stock.
Try your own variations – you are only limited by your imagination!

This is great soup and you can make it as thick as you'd like. By using skim milk powder, you eliminate some of the fat, but still get the flavour. If you can't have milk, try experimenting with powdered soy "milk", or dry corn-based baby formulas to get the taste and texture you desire.
This is gluten free, egg free, has no added sugar, and depending on the milk substitute you use, can be vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, corn free and soy free.
Happy eating!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dairy Free, Sugar Free and AWESOME French Bread

Here are a few tips on eating dairy and sugar free, and a recipe to go with them!

Dairy Free: “Moo”-re Choices than Ever!

If you are cooking foods needing milk, usually you can substitute plain (unflavoured) soy, almond or rice beverages in the same amounts as the milk required to give you similar results. In addition, there are many rice and soy “creamers” available to give your dishes (and coffee!) the similar taste and texture of dairy cream. There are also soy and rice “yogurts” available, as well as soy and rice "cheeses" - just be careful and read the ingredients to ensure they don't contain hidden dairy in the form of casein. Try experimenting with these to see which you prefer.
When baking, use dairy-free margarine, vegetable shortening or even light olive oil instead of butter to give you the taste and texture you are looking for. Again, experiment to see what you like best. A note: if using olive oil instead of hard fats (shortening or margarine), you may need to reduce the amount of dry ingredients slightly to ensure everything sticks together. You will also need to monitor the baking time to ensure nothing is over cooked. The taste of goods baked with quality olive oil, however, is worth the extra effort - just be sure you always use the best quality extra virgin or light olive oil that you can afford.

Sugar-Free: Still as Sweet as Ever

Those with diabetes or sugar sensitivities need not fear – you can still have sweet treats, you simply need to use different sweeteners. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian to get the recommended daily amounts of sugar for your diet, and use items like Xylitol, Stevia, rice syrup, agave nectar, or other sweeteners in your cooking, baking and drinks. A warning: too much use of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, etc.) has been shown to have negative side effects, so always try to stick with natural sweeteners. Again, ask your doctor or registered dietitian for current recommendations tailored to your individual needs.

Gluten Free French Bread
(Modified from Bette Hagman)
No milk and low sugar are no problem in this delicious bread. I have served it without telling people it’s gluten and dairy free, and they all asked for the recipe! Makes 2 medium loaves.

This is delicious and gluten free, dairy free, egg free, corn free, soy free, vegetarian and vegan!

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp Bread Flour Mix

2 tsp Instant Yeast
3 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Vinegar
1 ½ tsp Sugar

1 tsp Salt
1 ½ Cups Warm Water

2 tbsp Ground Flax seed whisked in 6 tbsp HOT water

Preheat oven to 400°.
Spray 2 French bread pans (NOT the perforated ones, you want your pans to be solid or your dough may leak through!) with olive oil spray, or fold aluminum foil in half, and curve to make 2 long, thin bread molds the length of a cookie sheet. Spray foil with olive oil spray and then place both lengthwise on a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer (use the whisk attachment, not the dough attachment), combine flour, Xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast. Whisk to blend.
Add the flax seed/water mix, vinegar, yeast and water and beat at medium speed with a hand mixer or your stand mixer for 3 minutes, or whisk by hand for three minutes for a good workout!
Spoon dough into the molds, cover them, and let sit to rise in a warm environment for 15 minutes.
Bake for 1 hour. Turn oven down to 350°, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Eat it hot, you’ll have to tear it. It is great cool the next day, but the crust will get softer over time.
This is great sliced and used for garlic bread, or bruschetta, or diced and toasted for homemade croutons. It also makes great panini if you scoop out most of the inside.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Best Darn Gluten Free Tea Biscuits EVER!!

Oh baby! When I found this recipe I had to try it, but the original recipe called for a few ingredients I couldn't have, so I altered it and this is the incredible result. They bake up quickly and are light, fluffy and moist. These taste even better than I remember the wheat ones I used to make as a kid, and with less sugar and only about 130 calories each. The best part: for those looking to control their portions, this recipe makes a small batch of 6 very well, or a large batch of 12 if you are feeding more people. These should be eaten within a day or two, but, once you try them, they probably won't last more than a few minutes!
My fiancee, who has more experience than he'd probably like to admit in trying my Low Allergy concoctions, actually says they are the best tea biscuits he's ever had - including wheat ones!
These are gluten free, egg free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, vegetarian and, unless I'm mistaken, vegan too!
This recipe is now for sale on my Low Allergy Kitchen Etsy Store!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gluten Free - Info and Flour Mixes

Here's some info on eating gluten free, as well as some handy flour mixes to make sure your baking turns out just right!

Gluten Allergies: You Don’t “Knead” the Stuff

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease is becoming more and more common. It is incurable, and the only treatment known is to avoid all sources of gluten. This includes wheat, rye, oats (some people can tolerate pure oats in small amounts), barley, spelt, kamut, durum, semolina, and other forms of wheat such as Bulgar and couscous. Other hidden forms of gluten can be hydrolyzed proteins, modified starches, malts, and some alcohols. As with other food allergies, gluten intolerance can get worse with prolonged exposure, so strict avoidance to foods containing gluten is very important. Gluten can be found in trace amounts in many foods. Even if foods do not state that they have gluten, any foods stating they “may have some in contact with wheat/glutens” should be treated with caution, and avoided if possible.

There are many alternatives to wheat and “traditional” flours for your baking: rice, corn, soy, tapioca, potato, arrowroot, sorghum – all are great gluten free alternatives that taste great in foods.

Gluten free baking and cooking presents a real challenge both in taste and texture. The secret lies in the combination of various flours for best success. The recipes given here all give the combination of flours to use, but feel free to alter the combinations to your tastes and allergies. It is never a waste to try something new!

There are more companies catering to gluten free eaters every day, and many of their products are very palatable. Still, I am convinced that there truly is no comparison to that of fresh, homemade goods, like anything else!

Here are the flour mixes that I will be using in the recipes to come, along with storing ideas and ideas for usage if you are going to try and modify one of your own, gluten-containing recipes. I keep these in 4-cup, resealable plastic containers in my cupboard, ready for any baking occasion that my arise. All I do is toss the ingredients in, snap on the lid, shake well to combine, and I'm ready to get baking!

Flour Mixes for Gluten Free Baking

(Modified to My Allergies from Bette Hagman and Others)

All-Purpose Flour Mix

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1 Cup White Rice Flour
2/3 Cup Arrowroot Starch
1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
Combine all and store in an airtight container. If you won’t use it all in 3 months or so, refrigerate or freeze to keep fresh. Use this as an all-purpose flour mix, in breads, heavier cookies, and dense pie crusts.

Light Flour Mix

2Cups White Rice Flour
1/3Cup Tapioca Starch
2/3Cup Arrowroot Starch
Combine all and store in an airtight container. Use this in lighter breads, light cookies and flaky pie crusts.

Bean Flour Mix

1 Cup Garfava Flour
1 Cup Arrowroot Starch
1 Cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
Combine all and store in an airtight container.
If you can’t use this in 3 months, refrigerate or freeze it to keep it fresh. Use this in pastas, breads, nutty cookies and heavier pie crusts.

4 Flour Gluten Free Mix

1 Cup Garfava Flour
1 Cup Arrowroot Starch
1 Cup Tapioca Starch
½ Cup White Rice Flour
Combine all and store in an airtight container. If you can’t use this in 3 months, refrigerate or freeze it to keep it fresh. Use in pastas, breads, nutty cookies and pie crusts.

Hope this helps, I'll be back soon with more recipes!
Happy Cooking,

Link Within

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
This is now a copy of my main blog, Little Studio Photography and Jewellery If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will gladly try to answer it :)