At the suggestion of my dear friend and sister in law, this post will be pertaining to baking and cooking. M* is wonderfully healthy, and has recently decided that he does indeed like the rice flour bread that I have been purchasing frozen and thawing one or two slices at a time. Because of the limitations up to this point, he hasn’t really had sandwiches, but now that he has chosen a bread he likes, that is in our near future.
Let’s talk basic baking ingredients:
Things that are safe as is:
Things to watch for, omit or substitute
Eggs - any form of actual egg is flat out. The only substitution that works for us has been Ener-G Egg Replacer. It can not be used as a whole ingredient (like scrambled eggs), but is priceless in its function as egg substitute in baking. In fruit breads, an extra banana has proven a workable but flawed sub.
Flour – no wheat flour whatsoever. Read carefully. Some flours are blended with wheat, even if labeled otherwise. M* is fortunate to not have a gluten intolerance, meaning that other grains which contain gluten are not off limits. Only wheat. So this means we are experimenting with all different kinds of flours. Rice, Brown Rice, Tapioca, Potato (which is purely potato powder…wonderful for substitute white sauce/rue), chickpea flour, oat bran. There are unique qualities to these flours, and I am still discovering what works best for which item.
Milk – No animal milk of any kind. No soy. No almond. This leaves hemp, sunflower and rice milks, and in our case I have used some of his formula in a sweeter dough. It adds a vanilla/sweet flavor, but is not unpleasant. I have used this when a higher fat content is desirable.
Vegetable Oil – Be very cautious. Much of the vegetable oil produced is pure soy oil. This is a problem. Instead, use corn oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil. NEVER use walnut oil. Coconut oil is great, but some recipes require the liquid form of the other two I listed. An extra portion of applesauce can be used to add moisture in sweeter recipes/breads as well.
Chocolate Chips – most, unless pure dark chocolate, contain milk and soy lecithin. This rules them out. There are a few brands I have used that produce a very tasty dairy free, soy free chocolate. My favorite at this point is the Enjoy Life brand, mini chips. M* loves them!
Peanut Butter – no. Sunflower butter is the best sub for him. Soy butter is out, as are all of the other common butters, such as walnut, cashew and almond.
Nuts – no.
Seeds – most seeds are okay, but stay far away from sesame seeds. Sunflower is the most common one for us, and pumpkin seeds.
Butter – NO. Really, really no. There are two that we love and use constantly. One is Dairy free, soy free, everything free buttery spread from Earth Balance. I also really love the Coconut Oil butter spread from Olivio. Both are very good on other foods as well, such as potatoes and rice.
Other dairy products - Sour Cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, anything like that, is not good. BUT never fear, the good people at SoDelicious have come up with wonderful yogurts to use instead. They make plain coconut yogurt, flavored, and Greek versions. Fabulous!
As far as cooking in general, it’s pretty simple to cook for someone with allergies. You just have to get in the habit of clean eating. The opportunities that come from eating only vegetables, fruits and meats from whole ingredients are amazing! Flavors are pure and clean, and it is easy enough to make tasty meals that everyone can enjoy together. Granted, now and then I would like to chow through an entire loaf of Texas Toast, but honestly it’s not that good for the tummy – it’s a helpful aid to be tethered to a strict diet.
A few meals that we have come to love eating together are :
Spaghetti and Meatballs:
Gluten Free Italian Sausage Meatballs
Spaghetti noodles with Rice Flour
Any one of a number of big brand sauces OR home spiced tomato sauce. Just watch the labels for added cheeses or soy ingredients.
Beef, seasoned as desired, served in a lettuce wrap
oven fries, just sliced and tossed in olive oil
Taco seasoning, scanned for dairy and soy, or seasoned at home
meat of choice
toppings, other than sour cream
Corn tortillas or corn taco shells (crunchy tacos are already corn!)
Bacon, steamed broccoli, greek yogurt or butter as toppings
served with salad or chicken
Next up, we will tackle ready-made desserts!