Monday, July 23, 2012

How To Kill Your Bakeware

Food allergy moms cook...A LOT! So when we find a great cooking or baking brand and we ruin it, it's as if we have lost a dear friend of the family. Cooking foods is made just a smidge easier when our bake ware helps to keep the foods coming out as they should (or as close to what they should look like as possible). Nothing is worse than being in a panic the night before a birthday party and finding out that your best cake pan has recently bit the dust and is teaming with rust. Yay! So then we have food allergies and Tetanus to worry about.

I know my oven has decided to have a mind of it's own lately and not even all of the time, just when it feels like it. I chalked it up to uneven temperature changes. But then I started noticing that more and more, my beloved bake ware was just throwing in the towel. I tried the next option- forking out a little more money and purchasing a better brand. That was fine until my new favorite baking sheet also decided to harbor stuck on food particles that would not come off no matter what I did. Another baking sheet gone, unusable. Can I cry now?

I decided to do some research. After all, this couldn't possibly just be happening to me. What I found made me realize that I was taking my bake ware for granted. I was abusing them, unknowingly and I needed to take steps to improve my behavior to correct the problem going forward.

The number 1 thing that I do is put my bake ware into the dishwasher. This is apparently a huge no-no. The mixture of the harsh dish washing detergents and the possibility of some of the water not evaporating causes a rusty, unusable item. Hand washing only going forward.

The number 2 problem I am also guilty of- using metal utensils to remove items. This also includes when you are cutting to serve directly from the pan. This will scratch and nick your pans, thus leading to other problems. The suggested utensils are plastic and wooden only. Got it, onward.

The number 3 issue that was mentioned is cooking on high heat.....this one stumps me a little. So, if I buy bake ware to use for baking and the temperature that is required is higher heat, it will destroy my bake ware? Is anyone else thinking this is slightly ironic? I don't know about you but I have never made muffins using a 500 degree temperature. Oh well, next.

The number 4 thing to avoid is improper storage. Meaning, do not stack them on top of other pans...guilty! I have many frying pans that are piled up high due to lack of storage space. I guess I need to consider what is more important in the budget- continuously buying new bake ware or investing in an inexpensive storage organizer.

The number 5 factor is drastic temperature changes. Picture this- you have finished baking and you have some cool water in your sink. You empty the muffin tin and place it right into the sink...WRONG! Try again. You empty the muffin tin and place it aside to cool, then clean it out...DING, DING, DING! You get a prize.

The final thing I found was using your bake ware for storing foods in them. This is something that I do not do. I had a past event of trying to refrigerate some leftover lasagna in a metal pan and things got very unsightly! Who knew the metal would be effected from the tomato's acidity? Lesson learned.

In the end, this is just part of being a mom (food allergic or not). You learn as you go, you pick up tidbits and you try not to agonize over the money you may have wasted here and there. There is no instruction manual - it's just life. Be kind to your bake ware and it will love you back.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Second Sneak Peak Recipe

I have been working furiously to get my ebook ready to publish! My kitchen is a disaster, I have food pictures everywhere (some good, some not) and my family is being bombarded with food. My mother has been yelling at me "Just finish the book!" but I feel that it's important to have pictures..even if some of them are not perfect.

Here is another sneak peek recipe. A fast and delicious snack or lunch!

Avocado Chicken Salad BLT
2 Cups Chopped, leftover chicken
4 Tablespoons (or more) of guacamole
Large lettuce leaves
Sliced Tomato
Cooked Bacon Pieces

In a medium bowl, combine cut up chicken with the guacamole. Mix well to evenly coat.

Arrange large lettuce leaves on a plate for rolling as a wrap. Fill with chicken, sliced tomato and bacon pieces. Roll and serve. Also great with gluten free crackers or chips.

Makes approximately 3 servings


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Great Cheese Experiment

My son has had food allergies for 10 years now. He is allergic to raw cheese, milk and yogurt but is fine having cooked cheese (grilled cheese, pizza). My daughter is a cheese-monster and will eat every piece put in front of her.

Recently, over the past several months, I have noticed that my daughter has complained of her stomach hurting. At first, I thought it was because she was trying to stay home from school. Then, I realized that it was more often during the school week than at home. This lead me to wonder if it was something she was eating at snack time at school. We went to the family's for a get together and behold- the cheese tray. My daughter was in Heaven...until later and the next day when she was going back and forth between running to the bathroom with near misses to saying her stomach hurt again.

This summer, I have restricted her diet and we have been trying to keep her both cheese and gluten free. It hasn't been too difficult considering both my husband and myself have Candida allergies so we no longer use dairy milk, yogurt or cheese. My daughter has adjusted to the non-dairy milk that we use and because there is no cheese in the house, there is no problem. But, she is not taking well to having her tuna with very crunchy, gluten free crackers.

This all being said, I decided to open up my never-ending folder of "Recipes to try". There is a Vegan Cheese Sauce that has been staring at me for months. Tonight, we made open-face gluten free burritos and I secretly made the Vegan Cheese Sauce to see what would happen.

The sniff test does not pass for cheese but the chip test went well. The recipe was easy to follow, easy to prepare and the consistency was very similar to a nacho cheese sauce. While the kids were in the other room, I filled up their dishes and placed them at the table. My son was excited and said "Is this cheese?" I just said "Yep" from the kitchen and waited.

I decided to pretend to be taking pictures of my guacamole for my blog and I snapped a few of the kids while they were wolfing down dinner and saying how awesome it was. By the time I went in, my son was almost done with his plate!

I sat with my plate, watched them devour dinner and saw how excited they were to be eating cheese! My daughter paused and I knew she was wondering if it would catch up with her later on. I assured her she would be ok with this cheese. She finished and my son made a second plateful. When he left, he said he was full (which never happens) and again said how awesome it was. I thanked them both.

Then, after they were done, I asked them to come and sit at the table with me to talk about something. I turned the camera on and told them both "There was not one ounce of cheese in that sauce."

<-------------   (These were their reactions)

Now I know this might not have been the nicest thing to do but as a mom, you know that there are only so many times during your child's life when you can silently torture them and sit back to enjoy it. You know that your mom did it to you when you were a child and someday, hopefully, your children will pass it onto their children as well. The circle of life continues as it should. All are happy and there is peace in the world once more.

As for the recipe for the Vegan Cheese Sauce, I do have to be honest and say that this was not my recipe. This was a recipe that I found at Food Allergies on Ice at . (We used the SunButter option rather than the yeast option)

Thank you Food Allergies on Ice! You made our family's night!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sneek Peak Recipe From My Book

If you a re a follower of my Facebook page, you already know that I am working on an ebook. To celebrate, I am sharing one of the breakfast recipes with all of you. I will admit, my recipes are never very fancy. I do this for a specific reason- in the world of food allergies, simplicity can be your best friend. I remember how I felt when my son was first diagnosed with his food allergies and when I started to prepare his meals. It can be very frustrating and time consuming. One of the focuses of my book is to include simple recipes that are very easy to follow, especially in the beginning stages. I include different ideas on how to start rethinking the items that you are able to use for recipes rather than what you have to avoid.

This warm cereal is something that is easy and nutritious. It's gluten free, contains fiber and this recipe can be modified with any add-ins that you like (fruits, seeds, proteins). We chose to add in some fresh banana, raisins and raspberries.


Warm Amaranth Cereal
1/3 Cup Amaranth
1 Cup Cold Water
2 Teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup (or) Stevia to taste
1 Sprinkle Ground Ginger
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 - 1 Banana
*optional- Fresh Fruits, Dried Fruits, Seeds, Sunbutter (or nut butter, if not allergic), honey

In a medium pot, add the amaranth and cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and keep covered, cooking about 20-25 minutes.

Add in maple syrup, ginger, sugar and cinnamon. Gently stir in fruits or other add-ins of your choice.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Winner of My Summer Giveaway!

Whitney Haught

You will be receiving a box of goodies with some great allergy-friendly products which will include Sunbutter, Enjoy Life Foods, HomeFree Treats and many more.

Please email me at with your shipping information and I will get this to you.

Thanks to all that participated and who are a part of my page. I appreciate each and every one of you!

Have a safe and happy July 4th