Pizza!!

DSC_0636Yes You CAN Pizza! Yes, yes, yes! Delicious pizza that is completely free of wheat, gluten and dairy.

So, remember when I talked about the mixes in the earlier post about brownies? Well, yet again, Bob’s Red Mill people have a made a little boy a happy thing. Here is what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pkg Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free pizza crust mix
  • 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4-oz can of tomato paste
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and 1 tsp sugar (for flavoring sauce)
  • 1 cup daiya dairy-free cheese substitute
  • ground beef (optional)
  • veggies (optional)
  • a few shakes of nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Brown ground beef (add salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning to taste).

In a large bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and add the 1 tsp sugar, and then some garlic powder and italian seasoning (about 1 tsp each).

There is a packet of yeast in the flour mix. Take it out and rinse it off. You will need to proof the yeast. It’s not that hard to do. You need 1 and 3/4 cup warm tap water (it should feel warmer than the skin on your wrist but not too warm, use a thermometer if you want, the water should be about 110 degrees Farenheit). Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water evenly. Shake it a little if you need to to make sure it all gets wet.

Meanwhile, scoop 3/4 cup of sauce into individual bags to freeze for future pizza-making. (You can warm these up in hot water on a busier night). Save 3/4 cup for your current pizza. Your yeast should be proofed now.

In a larger bowl, blend two eggs with the olive oil. Save about 1/2 cup of the flour out of the bag and set it aside. Then add the rest of the flour and yeasty water to the egg and oil mixture. Stir it all together using a wooden spoon. Note that your BRM package calls for a rising of the dough and then splitting it into two pizzas. You can do that if you want – and I have – but I don’t have time for all of that. This is involved enough, don’t you agree? Additionally, I like the results better with one flour mix dough for just one pizza and I think you will too. It makes a nicer “hand-tossed” new york style crust, in my opinion.

Oil your round pizza pan.

Add the 1/2 cup of flour that you set aside and knead it in a little bit. Adding it at this stage seems to make this somewhat sticky dough easier to handle. Then push it into pizza form on your pizza pan.

Top with sauce, meat, daiya, nutritional yeast and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is a nice medium golden brown.

Daiya cheese is supposed to “melt.” And I suppose it does a little bit. It’s not anything like the real thing, so don’t expect it to be a great cheese experience. But if you can never have cheese again, it’s really not a bad substitute at all. And the nutritional yeast is something I constantly use to add more cheesy flavor to things. I can tell you that the end result is a pizza that has a great flavor, great crust texture, and a great combination of sauce and meat and cheesy topping that is immensely enjoyed.

So…. ENJOY! ūüôā

Yummy Brownies!

BRM Gluten-Free Brownies

I wish I could say that I invented these brownies all on my own, but I’m not a fan of re-inventing gluten-free brownies if I don’t have to. I thought you might like to see how great the brownies turn out from the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Brownie Mix.

I hope you will not feel stigmatized by using a mix. If you were to follow a from-scratch recipe using a mix of flours and cocoa and baking powder, you will find that it ends up being the same ingredients as in something like a Bob’s Red Mill Mix. Also, gluten-free mixes are¬†typically¬†NOT the chemical concoctions that you might associate with a conventional brownie or cake mix from the supermarket.¬†If you can use something like a Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix, it turns out to be a great time-saver. In some situations, it is also a money-saver if all you want to do is make brownies and you don’t want to spend $40 on 4 different kinds of flours. You will, no doubt, come to this conclusion yourself.

So, live your life and use a mix from time to time. They’re wonderful. The instructions on the bag say to use butter and dairy. ¬†Obviously, we can’t use those, so I used Earth Balance and melted it in a bowl in the oven for about 3-5 minutes during the oven preheat stage, and it worked beautifully. The only other ingredients you need are eggs, vanilla and water.

I used a 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish as I like thicker, chewier brownies. I had to increase the baking time by 5-7 minutes. But I do like this result better. Use a canola spray on the dish before you bake to keep it from sticking.

I will try to remember to say this in all of my blog posts about baking mixes: do not use Pamela’s mixes if you are allergic to dairy. Many of Pamela’s gluten-free mixes contain dairy and/or were made in a facility that uses dairy powders.

That said, enjoy your life and enjoy dessert!

Thai Chicken and Rice (Tom Kha Style)

thai chicken tom kha style

If you have ever had Tom Kha soup at a Thai restaurant and wish you could recreate those flavors in a hearty meal that is gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free then I think you will enjoy this. Thai cuisine typically uses the lemongrass herb for the spring green flavor, but I found that a standard fresh parsley (that is found in almost every supermarket everywhere and sold for a mere buck) worked quite well as a substitute. The secret combination to unlock the tom kha flavor is coconut, chili powder, curry and sunbutter.

If you have a nut allergy and are not sure how you will react to coconut, replace the coconut milk with hemp milk.

If you have an allergy to dairy, check the coconut milk to make sure that is absolutely *always* dairy free. Cream of Coconut has diary, so be careful.

If you do not have coconut milk, you could use coconut oil as it stores at room temp for a very long time and a little goes a long way.

Because I can never be sure of whether coconut milk or cream of coconut is used to prepare thai dishes at restaurants, I just opt to stay home and cook. My son has a better time eating this flavorful dish rather than having to order bland foods at a restaurant because so many things on the menu are prepared in advance with ingredients he can’t have. And this is not hard to make, nor is it expensive. Here is how you do it.

If you don’t have any leftover rice, start making some as a matter of being the first thing you do when you start any meal where you want rice in it.

In a large deep skillet add:

2 pkg chicken tenders (about 1.5 pounds)

1 small yellow onions (or 1 large), cut in half and then sliced

Salt & pepper

Add water about halfway up and bring to boil, simmer, covered, while you prepare the flavor mix

To a small food processor, add the following:

1/2 bunch each of cilantro and parsley
1/2 tsp curry
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp Sunbutter
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sugar

enough water to blend

Remove lid from skillet and add the flavor mix, let simmer about 15 more minutes until liquid evaporates. Mix in some rice or serve the chicken on top of plain rice.

Top with cilantro, lime and salt to taste.

I think I will add red peppers next time.

Chicken Piccata

So, I didn’t do the tamale pie or bean burgers as I had planned. I think i will tomorrow but I wasn’t in the mood for beans. I wanted something buttery, lemony and garlicky. And I had some capers from when i made the mediterranean things a week or so ago. So… Drumstick Piccata! Gluten-free and Dairy-free. Of course.

6-8 chicken drumsticks

Put in deep skillet with water about 2 inches deep. Top with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cover and cook.

Make some rice in another saucepan. 4 cups of it.

Add 1 chopped yellow onion and 3-4 chopped mushrooms. Add a little more water if needed. Add 2-3 Tbsp jarred minced garlic. Cover and cook until chicken is done.

Wash and cut up a lemon into 4 wedges. Squeeze one wedge into dish. Chop up the rest of wedges into little triangles and stir in. Add 1-2 tsp capers. 2-4 tsp Earth balance spread or olive oil. And spoon in some rice and stir. Enough rice so that it absorbs 3/4 of liquid. You still want it a bit saucy. Freeze the rest of your rice (if you have any) for a future recipe.

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Savory Pinto Beans and Chicken

One bag dried beans, 2 lbs. rinsed and soaked in the morning to be cooked at night. 6-8 hours.

When ready, drain and rinse beans. Transfer to stock pot and cover with water 3-4 inches above beans.

Add salt, pepper, 3 bay leaves, 1 chopped up yellow onion, 1 chopped up green pepper, 2 chicken legs, 1 tsp ground thyme.

Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour or more until beans are tender. If bland, add a little more salt.

Eat as is or with rice, DFGF cornbread and your favorite condiments such as a squeeze of lime, taco sauce, chopped cilantro, crushed tortilla chips or whatever else you like. Or, if your son hates beans like mine does, give him the cooked chicken legs, eat some beans and use leftovers to make bean burgers or bean tamale pie that *maybe* he’ll eat. (The recipes for those will be added soon because that is exactly what I’ll be doing).

This recipe has benefits. In addition to being safe on GFDF diet, it is very inexpensive, highly nutritious, and makes a prolific amount of leftovers.

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Homemade Italian Meat Sauce

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef. Add one diced white or yellow onion and one diced green bell pepper. Saute until onion starts getting a little softer. Then add 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes and an 8 oz can of tomato paste. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic. 1 bay leaf. A good dusting of onion powder and garlic powder. 1 heaping Tbsp of Italian seasoning. About a 1/2 tsp (I think) of freshly cracked coarse black pepper. Salt – taste and make sure salt level is right. Cover and let simmer to develop the flavors while you cook the pasta.

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“Cheesy” Salmon and Eggs

salmon and eggsThis is easy, filling and allergy kid loves it. You will need:

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 can of salmon (14 oz), drained

5 eggs, whisked

1/4 cup daiya cheese or 1 slice of rice vegan cheese

1 tsp Italian seasoning, garlic powder and paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Heat about 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onions until soft but not browned. Add the salmon and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Pour the eggs over the salmon and onion mixture and let cook until it firms up on the bottom a little bit. Sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the top and start flipping and cooking until eggs are done.

Turn on the broiler and position oven rack to top level. Serve portions of the salmon eggs on oven proof plates and sprinkle with cheese. Put the plates on top rack under the broiler heat for 1-2 minutes (WATCH and don’t do anything else, broiling is QUICK!). Your goal is to melt the cheese a little. Keep the plate under the broiler a little longer if you want the cheese browned.

The broiling step is not necessary. You can add the cheese to the egg mixture in the skillet if you prefer to skip the broiling. I use the broiling method so I can put real cheese on my eggs and the daiya dairy-free cheese on my son’s plate.

Serve with veggies of your choice.

Add-in ideas:

Saute mushrooms with the onions

Use spring or green onions in place of yellow (often a better flavor for eggs)

More ideas: rehydrated or oil-cured Sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, roasted red peppers, salsa, taco sauce, green chilis, nutritional yeast, chopped parsley, or cilantro. (Always check ingredients on product jars but these I generally use to add flavor to gluten-free and dairy-free entrees.)

I’m a tremendous fan of recipes that incorporate unprocessed natural food. This is one also wins for my ever present dairy-free and gluten-free dietary requirements. I look forward to trying this very soon!

FrugalFeeding

frugal living, healthy meals, vegan, dairy free

Potatoes are and always will rank amongst my favourite vegetables. The humble spud¬†is flavoursome, versatile and about as frugal as it is possible to be. However, in some ways sweet potatoes are superior to traditional tatties. Indeed, one of their most endearing qualities, if a vegetable can be endearing, is that their texture is naturally more buttery and pleasant than that of one‚Äôs average tater, whatever the variety. The benefit of this is that sweet potatoes mash incredibly well, without the need of a plethora of dairy products. Even without butter or milk, this mash manages to delicately caress one‚Äôs tongue ‚Äď to me it seems like pure madness that some similar recipes insist on incorporating double cream! Then again, this is a place for the frugal, so that would have to be my reaction!

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Letter to Family and Friends

Dear Friends and Family,

Please read this letter of explanation about my son’s diet as your understanding will help me ensure that he stays feeling good, growing and thriving. I will be as short and sweet as possible.

One year ago today, I finally had the evidence to conclude that my son’s intense stomach pain, and sometimes vomiting, occurred when he would try to digest wheat/gluten AND dairy. The difficulty was presented with the symptoms continuing at certain times, but not at others. An allergist confirmed that he also developed a severe allergy to dairy. A specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirmed that wheat and diary proteins are very¬†similar¬†in molecular structure, which is why when gluten is not tolerated, often diary is also not tolerated.

What I would most want your help with, is understanding that diary allergy is nothing like lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance means that dairy can still be digested but that there is not as much enzyme in the stomach to digest lactose as there used to be. Lactose intolerance can range in severity. I happen to have mild lactose intolerance, meaning I can eat cheese, yogurt, sour cream and other fermented dairy products including a little bit of real milk in my coffee. Ice cream and milk bother me enough to where it’s just not worth having it, or, I pop two lactaid for a rare ice cream treat.

As for my son, he has a total allergy to the following: milk, casein, whey, gluten and wheat. This means that his body will entirely reject the substance. 1/64th of an ounce of any food item that falls into the gluten, wheat, diary, casein, or whey category means that he will have intense nausea that lasts 24 hours or more, where vomiting doesn’t relieve the nauseated feeling. It also causes damage in his intestines that will last for months.

Please, I beg of you,¬†please¬†don’t experiment with my son. Please¬†trust¬†me. I’ve had a few people say “oh, he should be fine with just a little.” Let me tell you that, absolutely, unequivocally, NO he will NOT be okay with just a little, or if the substance is on the outside of a thing you want to serve him. An allergy is the body’s entire rejection of a substance. And believe me, during the phase that I was trying to figure out why my poor kid was so sick, I have already done enough damage. We’ve already visited specialists and it has cost over $1000 in ¬†medical bills to figure it out. Diagnosis: Celiac Disease.

When my son eats wheat, gluten or dairy, the villi in the small intestines get damaged. The villi are needed to draw vitamins and minerals from the food he eats. Once the villi are damaged, it takes 6 months or longer for the body to repair the villi. During that time, the diet has to be free of wheat , gluten and dairy. Any accidental ingestion of said ingredients resets the damage back to square one – plus more villi damaged. This situation can lead to a boy that eats food but becomes severely malnourished. If you don’t believe me, please feel free to speak to doctors you know and/or read information provided in the links on this blog.

The last thing that I would appreciate your understanding on, is that it is not fun for either me or my son to have to live this way and be so diligent about ingredients. It is not fun for me to ask people what ingredients they used. I really hate it. But, I do it for his survival. Any time we go out to eat, about 3/4 to almost all of the menu is unavailable for his consumption. We have to special order and I have to have a dialog with the server about the seriousness of making sure they don’t use butter when grilling his burger, among other things. The kid probably eats way more french fries than he should because that is all they have for him. And I still have to inspect french fries for breading! Luckily, all of the servers we’ve spoken to have been very kind and just as diligent with speaking to their cook and manager about it. But, again, I hate this. It’s kind of embarrassing. It makes me seem like one of those overprotective pain-in-the ass mothers. I am polite as I can be but still, I wish I didn’t have to do this. (Don’t even get me started on the extra cost of special foods. I’m saving that for the article on how to live gluten free and dairy free on a budget).

This is definitely no picnic for my son, either. When my son is invited to a birthday party, he can’t have pizza or cake or ice cream or corn dogs or hot dogs or chocolate or whatever with his friends. So, he feels left out. I pack things for him that he can eat, but still, it’s not the same. Co-workers want to give him candy when he comes by the office, but often, he can’t have any of it. So, my point is this: please don’t take our scrutiny of your food as a personal rejection. I hate being the bad guy, and my son hates both being left out of the fun food and/or suffering a full 24 hours of nausea/vomiting plus malnutrition for 6+ months from as little as 1/64th of an ounce of dairy or gluten protein.

When we visit other homes, I always offer to buy the groceries and cook or go out to eat. Because we know so many generous, loving friends and family, the conversation tends toward the “what can he have?” I hate asking another cook to make concessions for him. That makes cooking for him more of a challenge and less of an enjoyable thing to do. But, if you insist, I want to say “thank you.” ¬†And thank you for reading this. And thank you for keeping his intestines intact and his body feeling good and growing. It really means a lot to us that you want to understand and help.

I decided to create this website to make it easier for you to learn what to purchase and how I normally prepare food for him. It would also be for any other person that wants information, recipes, product lists, product reviews, frugal substitutes for the expensive products and advice on going out to eat. I have learned a lot and I have not seen a website that categorizes both dairy free and gluten free information in the way I would like. We can have soy, eggs, and nuts. I apologize, in advance, but this website will have recipes and tips that include eggs, soy and nuts.

In addition, I do not believe in using non-natural ingredients such as artificial sweetener or MSG. In some products, like sausage, things like nitrates can’t always be avoided. But, as my own personal rule, I will not recommend a recipe that has unnatural ingredients nor will I add them to my own.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for understanding. And my very heartfelt, most appreciative THANK YOU for helping us with this diet.

With Much Love,

Michelle