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,

The Start of Something Beautiful...And Delicious!

Welcome to Low Allergy Kitchen, a place where I will post some of my favorite, low-allergy recipes.
What is Low Allergy Kitchen? It is a place where people with food allergies can come and find hope! As someone with a TON of food allergies and sensitivities, as well as moral objections to certain other foods, finding healthy, tasty food used to be a problem - good thing I loooove to cook and bake!
Here I will post some great recipes, and hopefully I'll be able to get to recording some cooking demos so you can see some of the techniques I use to get low-allergy food to taste as close to the "real thing" as possible.
  1. Some things to keep in mind:The recipes I post are taken from some of my favorite chefs, but I have altered the ingredients and techniques for my own allergies and tastes. If a recipe is close to the original, I will give credit to the original author (of course I don't want any copyright infringement here!!)
  2. When changing or eliminating things from your diet, always seek the advice of a knowledgeable health care professional first - eliminating the wrong foods may cause vitamin or mineral deficiencies or other problems you haven't even heard of until they happen to you. This blog is in no way meant to treat, diagnose or cure any illness or replace professional advice in any way, shape or form. If possible, seek out a registered dietitian to help you plan your new meals to keep you as healthy as possible, in addition to talking with your doctor.
  3. Start with small changes, and keep in mind it takes about 3 weeks for you to grow new taste buds and actually like the new foods you are eating. It's true. If you have to eliminate a food and you have to substitute it with something you aren't too fond of, stick with it and you will come to like it - maybe even love it.
  4. Be patient! Gluten free, egg free, sugar free - they all require certain substitutions and may take some adjustments to get the required result. Don't give up! Keep trying and the results will be more than worth it!
I hope you enjoy the recipes, I sure do! Remember to experiment, keep an open mind to new tastes. And don't forget - you are worth the effort of good food!
Happy Cooking!

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