Chicken Nuggets

Again, all allergens avoided. And this is very simple and easy to make on a busy weeknight. I just made these for my son and his friend that I’m watching. She doesn’t have food allergies and absolutely loved these and wanted more. How cool is that? They kept eating these nuggets until I distracted them with the banana bread that I had just pulled out of the oven (see previous post). Lol. Enjoy!

Chicken Nuggets

In a bowl, stir together:

1/2 cup gluten free flour mix (see banana bread post for the gf mix I use but it doesn’t have to be exact like it has to be for baking because the gritty of whatever you choose will add to the overall crispy effect of these nuggets).

Then add 1 teaspoon each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika and stir well.

Add 1/4 tsp of back pepper if you like.

Then cut up 2 – 2.5 pounds of chicken tenders into 1 inch pieces. Toss into the flour mixture. No egg coating is needed.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil gets up to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit,  carefully add the chicken pieces. Cook in two batches if needed and do not crowd the pan. Cook the nuggets about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Before cooking the second batch, lower the heat a bit before adding the second batch as the second batch will not cool down the oil as much and may burn.

Totally Allergen-Free Banana Bread

Banana BreadThis tastes sooooo good. And I’m so excited about this accomplishment because I’ve been working on this for almost a week. This has zero allergenic foods, meaning it is gluten free, diary-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free and nut-free. No coconut, either. I promise you that I test my recipes before I post and the picture of this bread was just taken after we devoured a couple of pieces. My son’s friends are over and they begged for another. I will have to guard the rest for sweetheart since he’s been wanting me to make another banana bread for him and I need him to taste this. I think it actually came out better than the egg version I made last weekend. So far, the biggest challenge has been baking things without eggs. A friend suggested applesauce and upon reading more about it, the pectin in the applesauce helps act as a binding agent the way eggs do. Flaxseed meal mixed with water is suggested in some recipes as an egg replacer but if you are trying to avoid treenuts or soy, you may have to be extra careful with flaxseed meal. I have also used Ener-G egg replacer but that is just one more expensive special product to buy, and as you can relate, it is expensive enough to buy different kinds of flours. So, if I can use oil and applesauce instead of Earth Balance and Ener-G egg replacer, all the better.

Enough chat. Here is the  the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8 inch loaf pan with a little bit of canola or safflower oil (do not use the spray if you are avoiding soy because most oil sprays use soy lecithin). If your applesauce is cold, warm the 1/2 cup of applesauce in a saucepan on low heat while you prepare the ingredients. (Warm ingredients help fats coat the flour and improve performance of leavening ingredients).

In a large bowl, mix together the following:

  • 2 cups of gluten free flour mix (either use your favorite one for quick breads or you can use mine as follows: 6 cups superfine brown rice flour + 2 2/3 cup potato starch + 2/3 cup tapioca flour or starch + 2/3 cup sweet rice flour OR an addition of 2/3 cup tapioca starch if you do not have sweet rice flour).
  • 11/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

In the saucepan of warm applesauce, mix the following wet ingredients together:

  • 1/2 cup applesauce (warmed up if cold)
  • 1 cup of mashed bananas (about two very large ripe bananas or 3 small ones)
  • 1/3 cup of oil

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy warm with some soy free Earth Balance or cooled down – however you like, right?

I Have an All-American Food Dream

ImageI am not working twenty thousand hours a day now, thanks to the support of my sweetest and most wonderful love of my life. He is my partner in life, the one who encourages me and celebrates and supports who I am. I hope he feels equally supported and loved for who he is. I am so lucky and thankful. Together, we decided that I should quit my job and focus on building a better future for my son and his generation.

To start, we’ll begin the actions necessary to eventually build a restaurant that serves him and his friends where, according to a recent interview on NPR of a doctor in the depths of studying food allergies says, 1 in 13 of the kids, in the here and now, suffer from 1 or more of the 8 common food allergens. That is at least 1-3 kids per classroom across the entire nation that can’t enjoy a meal with their friends. I don’t know about the globe, but the numbers for the US are pretty stark. Here is the article/radio interview if you’re interested:

Reading that, coupled with my experience in trying to live with my kid’s diet as a working adult (and failing miserably because I had a choice to stop eating gluten free and dairy free – see the previous article A Walk in My Kid’s Shoes) made me realize that the need for a restaurant for people with food allergies is very VERY high. Especially restaurants that treat the elimination of gluten and other allergens as a serious thing and not a food fad where cross-contamination is not a concern. And I want the food to taste damn good so that people who can eat anything, go because it’s good. It’s just that they no longer have to exclude people with food allergies.

What I want: good food – safe for everyone. Period. Where kids can gather together and have a birthday party and no parent has to have a special long talk with the wait staff and worry about cross-contamination in the kitchen (and embarrass their kid in the process). And where, after a nice meal, no child has to then suffer 6-8 hours of vomiting in the middle of the night (like my son recently did when we bought bacon from a butcher that also uses the same surfaces to prepare sausage with milk and wheat powders).

My dream is to build a place that has brand new kitchen equipment that never ever comes in contact with wheat, diary, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, peanuts, fish or shellfish. Where a whole class of kids can order a hamburger WITH a bun, french fries, a homemade soda and apple pie with ice cream. Or a milkshake if they want. Or maybe they want cookies or a banana split or a strawberry sundae or chicken fingers with fun dipping sauces. It’s my All American Food Dream. Imagine, families going out on the town and their allergy kid can have a hot dog and some ice cream. Simple as that.

And yes, I’m talking about this restaurant dream. I don’t care how many people know my dream or steal my idea because the more restaurants that are out there serving my son and his friends, the happier this world will be. It would be like trying to hide the idea of putting wheelchair access in my own building and not wanting wheelchair access in other buildings. I want my son to go out to eat everywhere, to try different foods, to try different chefs’ take on favorite cuisines. Why wouldn’t I want everyone I know to make a restaurant that is safe? Whether the bandwagon has started or not. I’ll be the one of the first ones on it.

Already, I’ve been questioned by people as to whether or not this is actually a good idea. But that’s normal. And understandably, allergy foods are not known for being good and tasty, which is pretty sad. All good ideas need some scrutiny and I welcome that. It is also a challenge and a warning to me: the food better be damn good from first sale to last. I also see it as a teaching opportunity to help others’ understand that food allergies are a really horrible horrible thing to live with and that I’m up to this challenge. Food allergies are exclusionary in so many ways, not just in not being able to partake but also in having to offer low-quality food. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to the outsider, but when you’re inside the food allergy circle, a whole world of living gets cut off and you’re stuck with sucky food or nothing. You can go places, but eating places you can’t go. Your class can have cupcakes but your teacher has to pat you on your back and feel sorry for you while you stand and watch your friends eat cupcakes, trying to hold in your 7 year old tears because you’re trying to be a big boy and not cry about not getting a cupcake in front of all of your friends. (Btw, I had no idea that cupcakes were being served so often until my son told me earlier today). So, yeah, I’m up to this challenge. My son’s cupcakes will be safe and better then theirs! And then all his friends will be going “Dude!! When are you going to bring those cupcakes that are way better than the crappy cupcakes from Kroger?”

I mean.. because…Right ON! Right?

I’m not even the one suffering and I’m tired of living with food allergies. I’m tired of packing a bag of the same ol’ things my son can eat. He’s tired of eating the same ol’ things. I’m tired of worrying about cross-contamination and deciding against taking him out to eat when I’d love for him to sit in an Italian restaurant and dip into a basket of breadsticks and appetizers and relish new foods with us. I’m tired of driving by Krispy Kremes and Dunkin Doughnuts and Pizzerias and Cafes and Bakeries and all sorts of fun restaurants because it’s just not worth it to try to find a safe thing off the menu or to get a foreign worker to understand the importance of disclosing whether the rice is made with butter. I’m tired of cutting off our weekend outings to go home to eat. I’m tired of saying no to him when I’d rather say yes.

So, to start… serving the kids who want to have an ice cream float with wait staff that sings happy birthday to them? It’s going to be priceless. And then when they start dating (it’s not that far off!)…Image…those same kids who will eventually become high-school/college aged and will want to start dating without having to drop off their date early to go spend the night throwing up (because, you know how teens suffer themselves to impress a date). And then those kids will then grow up to have lunch with colleagues and co-workers and not want to call attention to their digestive disability. Giving them the world we non-food-sufferers now enjoy is going to be priceless for them. Not to mention the many, other, various situations that call for socializing over food.

As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I am a mother. That’s my son! It’s invention time.

Will there be challenges? Oh heck yes! How the hell am I going to come up with a hamburger bun that has no eggs, almond milk, corn leavener or soy flour that is way better than Udi’s? It’s not going to be easy. No offense to Udi’s, I’m glad they exist, but their give shit level, as with so many other gluten-free companies, is pretty low. Because 1. the hamburger buns are too small and 2. Six damn dollars?!  for 4 tiny ass rolls? C’mon. Throw us a bone, Udi’s and help us feel a “little” normal. Like, give me 8 rolls for the money. Seriously!

Ugh, I hate the allergy food companies treat allergy sufferers like crap with the smaller portions and sizes and charge two or three times the price as conventional… with a quality that is “ok” at best.

But I digress. This is all so unfair. The solutions is needed RIGHT. THE HELL. NOW. Food companies, environmental dumpings, bad air… I don’t know… whatever it is that has effed up our food supply so bad…all these kids’ bodies see them as toxins…it is a problem that isn’t going to go away or be solved anytime in the near future.

Our kids need us. They need our help and they need to be empowered to change the Imageworld, one menu at a time. Though it would be a long shot, it would be a great social lesson: that screwing with a global food supply (GMO, pesticides, etc.) does not increase profits but eventually decreases it to nothingness by rendering a whole society unable to digest the effed-with food items. How about those future profits now, Monsanto assholes?

Yeah, so screw them. I don’t want a single speck of their effed-up wheat dust to even enter the air vents of my future restaurant.

I don’t know if GMO foods can be linked (with any certainty) to my son and his generation’s food allergies but I think it’s safe to say that experimenting with GMO foods and using a whole population as guinea pigs is a really asshole fucked up thing to do. It is unethical and the results might be disastrous. The only power we have is to adjust our diet. The scary part of this is that if all of our food gets messed with, at what point will the entire human species see all food as toxic? It’s a scary thought and my son’s generation is bearing the first brunt of it. I’m mad as hell about it. And even though I can tolerate wheat, diary, etc., I’ll eat alongside my son and not give one red cent to the ones screwing with our food.

To my kid I say, “C’mon kiddo, to HECK with those freak foods – let’s make those hamburgers and milkshakes happen – OUR way! And BETTER, too!”

I’m mad. And it’s only going to get worse. Who’s with me?

A walk in my kid’s shoes and the reality of food allergies.

So, since the last time I posted here, I had been doing a lot of reading about celiac disease and about how it is walkinhisshoesinherited. I also discovered some information about how people are finding themselves suffering from health problems when ingesting wheat and gluten whereas they never have before. I even spoke to a new friend I met recently, who is in her thirties who said that she had been suffering from minor symptoms for years and suddenly, her symptoms became severe enough that she lost 20 pounds almost overnight and when they did a scope of her intestines, it showed almost no villi left in her intestines. To say that eating gluten can have life-threatening implications on some is not an overstatement in the least.

So, the more I read, the more I’m learning that there is something going on in the wheat/gluten world that is creating all this health damage. Nobody knows how or why. And I am certainly no doctor or nutrition expert. But my son’s pediatrician indicated that my son probably inherited his milk allergy from me and potentially the wheat allergy as well, from both me and his father.

I have suffered from some of the mild symptoms of gluten intolerance that have been listed on various sites (namely the dizzy spells, hormone imbalances, inflammation, borderline anemia and low energy) and with the support of the love of my life, decided to live like my son. And let me say that it is one thing to make sure your kid doesn’t eat things that will make him sick, but it certainly an eye-opener to try to live as a working/busy adult and follow the same lifestyle.

The first few days (even weeks) didn’t seem like a big deal to me. “I got this,” I said to myself. And I did. I was at least knowledgeable to know my GFDF world to know what I could or couldn’t order or eat. All I had to do was do what I do for my son: pack my lunch, be careful of ingredients, eat the safe stuff. Except, I’m not in the habit of it. And many mornings I’d rush off without grabbing anything. At that point, it kinda hit me how hard this is. I was hungry but I couldn’t just stop anywhere and get a hot biscuit and sausage sandwich, or a breakfast burrito, or an english muffin with egg, or anything, really. I had to get to work on time, so a stop at big grocery store was out of the question. Oh how I miss Wawa. At least they have veggie and fruit cups and a deli counter meats and gas station foodeven packages of boiled eggs. Not the TN Maapcos or the Thorntons or the Exxons or really, anything around here. It’s all southern food (hot dogs, hot sausages and other msg-laced horribleness). Right now, there just isn’t a market for boiled eggs and fruit cups at the stop n’ go stations. So, I was screwed.

I had a bag of tortilla chips at work that I snacked on. And some boxes of raisins that I brought with me. But, it’s not filling like a bagel is. Then, when my lunch hour finally came, I could run to a nearby Kroger to get things I could eat. Unfortunately, I discovered that the Lara bars and anything pre-packaged and allergy friendly was expired. I even ended up wasting $5 on a package of wholly guacamole that was one month past the expiration date. I ate some expired brown rice cakes one day (which I didn’t discover until after I ate them and didn’t feel so good). So, expiredunless I wanted to eat just fresh produce and tortilla chips, my options were extremely limited. And it wasn’t just the Kroger here that had expired stuff, so did the walmart market. In both places, I had to bring this to the attention of management. They were kind and addressed it, but still, if there isn’t a high turnover for this stuff, it makes me weary of freshness. If only I could get the 15 million other items in the store… nope, not me, the oddball out there, trying to shop for food in places filled with allergenic foods and normal people.

So, I started looking at raw options because there was a bounty of fresh mustard greens and kale and broccoli and other popular southern produce. But… how easy is it to prepare a salad in a limited break room at work? Not at all. I got creative anyway and felt pretty okay with myself. I was having pre-washed, pre-cut broccoli with hummus a lot. And the frozen Amy’s meals have been a decent go to for something more substantial.

Still, after a couple of weeks of this, I got pretty tired of it. And with baseball season practice and games, I haven’t been home and cooking… so, not much in the way of leftovers to bring to work.

So, I tried getting delivery from a local restaurant where my boss has me order his food from all the time. They’ve gotten to know me a little but this time, I ordered for myself. And this is where I thought about what life is going to be like for my son when he gets older. I had to spend about 15 minutes on the phone with them explaining myifudontwanttoeatlunch food allergies and because I have a serious problem with the use of styrofoam, I added the request that they wrap my plain cooked burger in foil and put the lettuce, tomato and pickled beets in a plastic container. They were wonderfully nice to me but I know I was a serious pain in the ass. They had almost nothing on their menu of side items to go with my burger. I couldn’t get fries because they use the oil to fry breaded things. I couldn’t get the apples because they were sauteed in sugar and butter. Pretty much everything they had had either butter or breading in it. So, I ended up paying $8 plus tip for a plain patty that was way too small to satisfy me, a leaf of iceburg, a slice of tomato and a disappointingly small side of canned pickled beets. I ordered this for breakfast (instead of lunch) because I was so hungry. It was enough to get me through until lunch but gawd, was that a dismal moment. The craving for a full-bunned burger with the works was really starting to set in. Then I realized that my son hasn’t had that in well over a year and a half. Poor kid!

Boring foodThe challenges, of course, didn’t stop there. My love and I both work in downtown Nashville and while my lunch hour is so limited, we still try to meet for lunch. He had to return a book to the library and I agreed to meet him there so we could have lunch at the library cafe. When I got there, not only was the parking absolutely confusing (the garage is split in two sides) but the cafe was a french bakery style place. There was nothing for me to eat there. Nothing but a small cup of roasted veggies. I couldn’t tell if it had been prepared with butter or not. Looked like an olive oil marinade though. But, if I were my son all grown up and having to do this, I’d have to ask one of the jaded hipster employees about the ingredients. I was in a crap mood and decided to just eat it. My now-very-limited diet was testing my love’s patience as well. But, he is a good sport, and patient. I watched him eat a delicious herb roll. I then thought about all the times that I ordered something not-so-fun for my kid, like the time we went to a pizzeria and they gave him some hamburger topping with a bit of tomato sauce and we sat there and ate the delicious pizza in front of him. My kid has been such a good sport about dealing with the limitations but … have I been kinda rude to him? Taking him along with me to out-to-eat places where he can order maybe one somewhat unappetizing side off of the menu while the whole menu was available to us to enjoy? What a sad thought. It made me cry a little bit. It made me realize that this life really makes you feel left out. Everyone is having fun and you can’t. Everyone can eat what is cooked, but you have to offend the cook to stay healthy. Your diet becomes a topic of sympathy, where it makes other people feel uncomfortable to deal with you when it comes to food.

I quickly learned that social and public dining was more miserable than dining at home. Dining at home has become our place of freedom and respite, where we can melt dairy-free chocolate chips (that I found FRESH at a nicer Kroger) and stir in some gluten-free rice krispies or nuts or dried cherries or marshmallows. Our home is where I make asian, thai, indian, italian and american cuisine that is SAFE. Safe from us being buttheads to other cooks and safe from feeling like outsiders to the world around us. Here is a picture of our wonderful Easter Supper of Roasted Pork , Sweet Potatoes, Spring Rolls, Pinapple Salsa, and Chocolate Marshmallow Bark: my cooking

Still, we still have to eat out there in the world. I started getting a bit better about making sure I made extra rice and chicken and yummy things to take to work. But again, I got busier and I stopped planning and making food. Work days became more and more stressful, commute was getting longer, and I would come home and not want to cook. So, this is another CON to having food allergies. I have a lot of cooking ingredients and just about every GF flour that can be purchased in my pantry. But at 7 pm and not a single desire to dirty a pan or wait more than 15 minutes to eat, I was envious of all the families in the world eating sandwiches or heating up a frozen pizza in the oven. So, not only do we have to plan and prepare more lunches, we have to plan and prepare for nights that I just don’t have it in me to cook. I think I ended up drinking wine and eating tortilla chips and sardines that night. My love graciously ate it with me. My kid was fine with a bowl of his chocolate GF krispie cereal and almond milk. So, we managed, but… a nice sandwich would have been great.

One night, we attempted to order chinese food. I thought that would be safe. Even though they put soy sauce and butter in almost all of their stir fries and sauces (soy sauce = gluten), I could still get steamed plain food. I tried getting steamed chicken and  cashews and thechinese food order very confused staff delivered breaded chicken instead. I ended up eating it because my love paid for it and he was exercising extreme patience with our lack of food options. I didn’t want to not eat perfectly good food, either. I was frustrated though, because this meal was essentially going to turn back the clock and all the weeks I worked on avoiding gluten to help heal my gut. Again, I thought about my son and how he might feel in the same situation – having only rice to eat because they brought breaded chicken and not steamed. He wouldn’t have had a choice to just eat what was brought. “Man,” I thought, “this sucks way worse for him still because I won’t get sick from this. He will.” It was clear that home-cooking was still better, by far, in both flavor and options. I mean, is ordering steamed chicken and rice even worth it? With the time we waited for it, I could have just made scrambled eggs that tasted better.

The last, and most note-worthy challenge was having recently attended a company seminar at a hotel conference where the lunch was provided by the employer. The only thing I could eat on that buffet line was some iceburg lettuce and canned black olives. EVERYTHING on that line was prepared with flour, breading or butter. Even the roasted potatoes were soaked in butter.

So, because I had to be back by a certain time, I rushed out to my car and drove to the nearest place that might have safe food, or where they could accomodate me quickly. I tried a Buffalo Wild Wings thinking it was more of a fast food place and discovered that it was a sit down slow restaurant. While they seemed willing to  nobody knowsaccomodate my dietary needs, they weren’t interested in helping me get back to the seminar on time. Luckily, there was a sushi place around the corner. Oh, the slow drivers tested my patience beyond my imagining but I got there. For Bowling Green, KY, it wasn’t a bad sushi place at all and they QUICKLY prepared two cucumber rolls for me. I got them, ran out to my car and devoured them as I drove back to the seminar. It was no hearty roasted chicken and potatoes meal (which I would have loved after picking on tortilla chips, raisins and a banana for the morning), but at least I wasn’t hungry anymore.

Again, wondering how my son is going to manage his work life, he’s going to have to be prepared for moments like this. And not do what I just did. I missed out on networking with fellow colleagues. I missed out on an opportunity to build professional relationships to chase down allergy friendly food. And did I hurt others’ opinions of me by disappearing for lunch? Did I seem like a really picky diva because I wouldn’t eat what they served and they don’t know why? Maybe.

And this is the life my son faces… unless the world becomes a more food allergy friendly place for him.

And where does all of this lead us? To a place of wanting to give up and be a part of the world. Two days ago, I was standing in line at Wendy’s because (yet again), I did not pack a lunch for myself in my quest to be on time for work. As I stood there and thought about how many times I have ordered the chili in the past few and didn’t want another damn chili, my mouth watered as I watched burger after burger being ordered and eaten by other patrons. Big cartons of delicious french fries. And again.. the burger… with the juicy pickles and lettuce and tomatoes and ketchup and mayo on a soft roll…

I caved. failed

It was like the words that came out of my mouth magically switched from chili to burger. I sat down, I ate it, and I felt happy and good and satisfied.

Except, I also felt like the world’s worst example of a mother trying to understand the world from her son’s perspective. I failed. I gave up. If I had done this right, I would have ordered another chili and would have tried not to think about all those delicious burgers on soft rolls. And maybe, when feeling like that, I just would have left Wendy’s. But, nothing around Wendy’s sounded appetizing either. I was getting tired of the Raw Bar and Soy Latte from Starbucks. I was weary of the three varieties of Amy’s meals from Kroger. I was tired of having the sardines and chips that I had on hand from ALDI. I was tired of not being able to just go out to eat and enjoy life.

I know that, right now, my child knows that he has me and my love as his personal food preparation specialists. He knows I can turn anything he might get outside the home and make a version of it that is safe to eat inside the home. (I really need to post the cheesy mac n’ beef recipe that he loved). But I needed to live life like he does so that I can prepare him for his future. And the word “prepared” is going to have to be a real big thing for him to focus on. What I’ve learned is that living this lifestyle is VERY hard when unprepared. Sitting in an office, waiting two more hours for lunch and nothing is available to eat or to order in. It sucks. He can’t do to himself what I just did. He is going to have to spend $7 on gluten free bread and another $10 on casein free lunch meat and get a few cool-looking lunch bags to have with him at all times. This sucks, but he doesn’t have a choice. He doesn’t have the option to give in and have a burger. He can’t just eat something and risk his health to keep from feeling like a major burden to anyone else. He can’t fail.

this sucks

What I’ve learned: Living like this really sucks more than I thought it did. And the sooner he can find way to make it suck less, the better. I think getting a cake ball maker is in order today. Thanks to this blog I discovered today and this Mom who talks about why it is so important to do some extra wonderful things for those living with food allerges: THANK YOU AMAZING AND ATOPIC for this inspiration! And…


baseball cake pops

Beets Kale Quinoa Citrus

quinoa kale beets

This is more of a grown-up dish. The boy was in bed by the time this was finished so I’m not sure if he would like it. The other person in the house raved over it. He said “They won’t understand until they taste it.” I assure you that I made this, took the picture and we devoured it. I wasn’t allowed to clean the kitchen as I had to hurry up and write down the recipe before I forgot it (which has happened a lot). So, here is what I did:

Wash and peel 3 large beets, cut into 1/2 inch strips, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, a very little bit of ground thyme and roast in a 400 degree oven until fork tender (about an hour, or longer if needed). The beets shrink. Make sure you put them in a large baking dish so they are not in a pile. You want them to roast evenly.

Meanwhile, prepare 1 cup quinoa (either red or white) – you will have about 2 cups of quinoa after it’s cooked.

While the beets and quinoa are cooking, prepare your citrus sesame vinaigrette:

  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted in a hot skillet (use  large deep skillet so you can use also for the kale – see below)
  • 4 scallions (green or spring onions), thinly sliced – you could substitute red onion for this
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • the juice of 1 large orange (or 2 lemons or limes)
  • 1 Tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar (you can substitute red wine vinegar if you like)
  • 1/4 cup of some berry flavored juice or 2 Tbsp of berry preserves (I used currant juice because I got it on sale).

Stir together all of the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Set aside the beets and quinoa when they are done. (Add some dried cranberries or dried cherries on top of the quinoa and put the lid back on so they plump a little from the steam)

IWhile the beets and quinoa are cooling, get  the deep skillet you used to toast the sesame seeds and heat to medium high and warm up about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Then add enough cleaned and chopped up kale to fill the skillet. Saute until kale is warm, a little tender and a rich green color like in the picture (about 5-7 minutes).

Turn off heat.

Add the quinoa to the skillet and stir in  with the kale. Then pour the vinaigrette all over the quinoa and kale and stir to coat.

Serve on plates and top with some roasted beats and top with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

That’s it.

It’s not super quick but it’s fun.

I was paid handsomely with compliments on this. So, try it and let me know if you agree. Here’s the thing, trust your own taste buds more than anyone else’s. I taste my sauces and cooked beets and things I am seasoning – while I’m cooking – to make sure they have been seasoned with balance. Please do the same. Don’t wait until everything is assembled before you ever take one bite of it. Make sure the vinaigrette tastes good to you before you add it to your salad. You may prefer a more tart or more sweet one. Or suddenly feel the urge to add bacon. I don’t know. But it’s  habit of every good chef to keep tasting. So, do it. You’ll thank yourself.

Oh, and never put your tasting spoon back into the food. That’s just wrong.

Last thing: this is also great cold for lunch the next day.


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! 🙂

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.


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.



Chicken Tamale Casserole

If you love tamales, you will love this casserole. Same ingredients for tamales but no up-wrapping with corn husks. Feel free to wrap in husks in the traditional manner. This is a weekend recipe as it takes 45 minutes to bake once assembled.



For the topping:

2-3 lbs. chicken breast, cooked, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis, 8-10oz

For the tamale crust:

2 cups gluten-free masa
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a saucepan of water on stove (about 3 cups) and bring to boil. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook chicken in in deep skillet, use water to keep it from sticking to pan. Cover until cooked through and no longer pink. When cooked, chop up and return to skillet and add remaining ingredients. Stir and cook. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients. Then, add oil and 2 cups of hot water.

Coat a baking dish or pan with non-stick spray or oil. Spread tamale mixture in bottom and top with chicken.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tamale crust is set.

Optionally, add shredded daiya on top, or rice vegan cheese, and let it melt a little before serving.


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.


Banana Cornmeal Pancakes


So, if you look up flour-less recipes on the Internet, you’ll come across a really cool one that calls for two mashes bananas, two eggs all mixed up and cooked in a skillet like pancakes. Surprisingly, despite the very runny liquid egg mixture, they “pancake up” pretty well and with syrup, tastes almost like bananas foster.

However, if you want to add a bit of nutrition and density, add 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or regular rice flour) and 1/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal. Top with chopped walnuts or peanut butter or whatever makes you happier about your breakfast. Kid ate these as is and was very happy. I think I’ll add a tsp of gluten-free vanilla extract next time.

Mediterranean meets a Mexican Rice Dish


large can of crushed tomatoes (24 oz)
2 cans tuna
2-3 tsp capers
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp ground thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat this mixture in a skillet over med heat and cover while you make some rice.

There, dish is good as is. Or if you are crazy like me, add some scrambled eggs, pickled jalapeños and sliced black olives to this.

I don’t even know what to call this but it was yummy. We all loved it, including the kid.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions and Thyme

I made this up, but someone else probably did too and I haven’t had time to see if that is true. Anyway, this is simple:

4-5 yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch disks
1 red onion, large dice
Coat in olive oil, pepper and salt to taste.

Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Toss with a few dashes of ground thyme and ground curry.



“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!


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’s 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’s tongue – 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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Rice Krispie Treats



Kellogg’s Gluten Free Rice Krispies are a great addition to the gluten-free and dairy-free diet. You just have to make sure that you get gluten-free marshmallows. Remember that even a little bit of hidden gluten is not good for anyone with Celiac Disease. Please make the effort to stop by your health food store and get the gluten-free marshmallows.

To make it non-dairy as well, use Earth Balance non-dairy spread and coat pan and spatula with non-stick canola oil spray instead of butter.

The results are delicious and just like the original.

With the recommended substitutes, follow the recommended recipe on the Rice Krispies website: Rice Krispie Treat Recipe

Note: they say that margarine and diet spreads are not recommended for this recipe. However, the Earth Balance is made of palm, safflower, canola and olive oil and the heat is low for this recipe. I have had zero problems with taste or texture when using Earth Balance in place of butter.

Cornbread Dressing (aka Cornbread Stuffing)

If you live in the North United States, this is called Cornbread Stuffing. In the South United States, this is called Cornbread Dressing. Whether it is called dressing or stuffing, it is delicious. It is a savory bread pudding where half of the bread is replaced with cornbread. It adds a nice texture and depth of flavor that most find very comforting, especially in the South United States where cornbread is served more often and associated with childhood memories.

Some people prefer to actually stuff their holiday turkey with this and cook it that way, while many others prefer a safer method of baking it in a pan in the oven. I have not yet practiced safely cooking stuffing inside a turkey, so I use the pan method. In my opinion, this is the most delicious savory dish on the holiday menu. Ladle with turkey gravy and it is exquisite.

A word of advice: make the cornbread and the rolls the day or night before if you can. Although, if you have a late evening holiday dinner, you could very well start this process in the morning, but it could still set you back significantly with timing. Because you are on a GFDF diet, you have to bake everything from scratch. While some of your counterparts are whipping up a box of Stovetop prepacked stuffing within minutes before serving dinner, or have ready made breads available to put this together, this will cost you extra time. The stuffing itself doesn’t take a lot of time and is pretty easy. But you need to make the bread and cornbread. So, here goes:

You will need a package of Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix (or prepare your favorite GFDF dinner rolls). Prepare the rolls using the recipe on the back that says Cinnamon Rolls Recipe but omit the Filling part of the recipe. As such, here is what it looks like:

When proofing the yeast, I recommend pouring the warm water in the bowl first (water should be very warm to the touch but not hot, about 110 degreed Farenheit), then sprinkle the yeast on top. Preheat the oven as suggested, you’ll need the warmth from the oven when you set the rolls on the stovetop to rise before putting inside the oven to bake. Also, you will notice that the recipe calls for 3 1/4 cups of the mix. I measured thinking I would need additional flour from another package. Nope, the entire package fits the recipe.

During rising time, bring a small oven-safe saucepan of water to a boil. When you are ready to bake, put the pan of hot water in the oven with the rolls. The steam will help keep these moist as GF products have a tendency to come out dry.

This is what the finished rolls will look like. They are soft, tender and as one who can eat bread, I seriously cannot tell the difference between these rolls and regular rolls except for a slightly more dense texture. But still, if I had not known I just baked with a GF mix, I would not have known they were GF. When you pull them out of the oven, spread a bit of earth balance buttery spread on top for the golden appearance. Because…

little boy needs a delicious roll treat! Just look at this. And I didn’t intend for the spread to melt into a heart shape but the camera captured it. What a delightful treat for a kid that walks by the bakery section of the grocery store and must ignore it. Okay… the rest of the rolls need to be broken up and spread out on a cookie tray. Depending on when you make them, you can leave them out overnight to go stale or toast them for about 10-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

When you are finished, make the cornbread. Now, if I were consistently using Bob’s Red Mill mixes, I would probably start recommending a cornbread one here. However, I have found that the following recipe for cornbread is excellent. Sugar is the optional ingredient. For northern style sweet and softer cornbread (remember, sugar conditions some doughs), add the sugar. For southern style cornbread, omit the sugar. I have made this both with and without sugar – with success and with good reviews that one cannot tell that it is a GFDF cornbread.


1 cup brown rice flour (superfine if you have it, if not regular brown rice flour is fine)

1/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)

2 Tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup yellow cornmeal (Quaker or generic brand is quite fine)

1 Tbsp double-acting baking powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

1 eggs

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening, melted

1 cup rice, almond or soy milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Grease an 8″ cake pan with some shortening. (You can use muffin or other types of pans if you prefer).

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated, then add the wet ingredients. (I like to whisk the egg in a little bowl before adding it).

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden around the edges, top feels dry and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the cornbread.

When you’ve enjoyed a slice, etc. Crumble the rest into a pan and let stale or toast.


4 stalks celery, coarsely diced

1 med-large yellow onion, diced

32 oz chicken broth (or broth from your turkey cooking in the oven)

2 tsp ground sage

1 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Hopefully, you are already cooking your turkey at about 375 degrees Farenheit. If not, preheat the oven. In the meantime, saute the celery in a little oil until soft. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add seasonings. In a large bowl, add the toasted bread crumbs, cornbread crumbs, the sauteed celery/onion mixture and pour broth into it. Stir until crumbs are thoroughly moistened. (Since eggs were already used to make the cornbread and yeast bread, I do not add additional eggs. This comes out with a firm cut-able texture on its own. However, you may want to add more eggs if you prefer a more dense custard-like texture.)

Bake for about 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown, stuffing is firm and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


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,