Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gluten Free Dairy Free School Lunches

Lively Lunchboxes - That kids will eat!

As a mother of young children, I know how it is to be on the go and in need of some quick foods from time to time. In addition, we want a healthy diet to be a positive experience for our children so that they are encouraged to stick to it as they grow older.

Sending school children off with gluten and dairy free lunches may sound like a challenge, but here is a great link to help you get started. Click here to see more of Bean's Gluten Free, Dairy Free lunches. In addition, you'll notice her lunches are free of artificial dyes or coloring agents. Furthermore, many if not all of the lunches can be made without soy and egg, if needed. Enjoy!

Pictured: This lunch includes a fresh fajita salad, utilizing leftovers from the night prior. Bean likes cabbage and cilantro in place of lettuce, but you can use whatever you like! Sides include carrots, Pirate Booty, all natural fruit roll up and Honest Kids juice.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Japanese Noodle Soup - gluten free dairy free vegetarian option

 These kids love soup! It's summer, and the house is full so this seemed a perfect time to push along some veggies in a fun vehicle. My kids love Ponyo and we referred to this as our Ponyo supper (minus the ham that she gets so excited over in the movie).
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sheets Nori or Lavar, sliced
  • 4oz spinach, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 pack organic firm tofu, chopped into small cubes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and sliced in half
  • 2 packages rice stick noodles (3 wedges of dried noodles per pack)
  • 8 cups veggie broth (I used Edward and Sons gluten free veggie broth cubes)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
  • 2 tsp tamari gluten free soy sauce
  • additional tamari or salt to taste
Eggs: Have your eggs cooked first. Consider cooking more for egg salad the next day. You can bring to boil  for 1 minute, rolling boil, then turn off heat. Leave eggs covered for 15 minutes. Cool in ice bath and peel.

Soup: With all veggies chopped and ready, the rest goes quickly. 
In a large pot, bring water to near boil and turn off heat. Add rice stick noodles and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. You can use any other noodle of choice, and follow package cooking instruction.
While noodles sit, heat veggie stock in separate large pot and add all veggies and tofu as well as tamari and fish sauce. Heat stock and veggies for the 10 minutes, covered, over medium heat.

Dish one serving of noodles into each bowl, then top with veggie and broth.  Add egg and enjoy!
The kids all enjoyed eating this dish, and some tried using chopsticks for the noodles. A fun soup that would be a great addition to a lunch thermos.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Better Tuna Salad - gluten free dairy free with variations for vegetarians

Tuna salad. It's a mush that goes on bread, mayo and canned fish, right? Well, not around here. This method adds a burst of flavor that will please any palate. First, if you're using tuna, I recommend looking for chunk light tuna in water (no broth added). Wild caught, dolphin friendly is best. 3 small cans can easily feed 4-6 people when added to this recipe.

If tuna is not your favorite option, consider using sardines for a great boost of Omega 3 and protein (chill this to cut the strong scent of sardine). You can also use chicken, turkey, eggs, or even a vegetarian option through the use of ground up steamed tempeh. All of these work great. Concerned about mercury levels in fish? Check the ever changing FDA guidelines here, and be sure you are purchasing wild caught sources from reputable companies.

  • 3 small cans chunk light tuna in water - no added broth (or other protein of choice)
  • 5 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 small dill pickles, diced
  • 1 green onion stalk, cleaned and chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayo of choice (homemade is fantastic, but you can use any type you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • dash of salt
Stir ingredients together and serve over celery, lettuce leaves or bread of choice. We often top a bed of greens with this tuna, or we wrap it in small butter or Romain lettuce, taco style.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baked Scotch Eggs - gluten free dairy free

Well, here is a food I never thought I would eat, let alone bake, but my mind has been changed. My husband baked these for us one Sunday morning, and they were such a treat. I loved the crunchy coating, and I especially loved that they were not fried. I always assumed this was a friend food, which put it on my "no thanks" list. So, what you see in the photo is the before baking photo followed by the end product.
To make Scotch eggs gluten free, start by hard boiling your eggs.  My process is bring to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat, yet keep covered for 15 minutes. Drain, chill, and peel.
He did this step the day prior.

  • 7 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
  • 1 raw egg for egg wash
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour based coating such as the Hodgson Mill gluten free seasoned coating (or other of choice)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free corn flake crumbs such as pictured above (or other of choice)
  • 1lb raw sausage (gluten free of choice)
Method: Wrap each egg in raw sausage, by hand. This is a little messy, but a required step. We used full fat pork sausage, but I would prefer a turkey sausage to cut back on how rich the end product was. Dip hard boiled egg in gluten free flour coating. Dip that in the raw egg wash, then roll to coat once. Next, roll in corn flake coating. Place eggs on parchment paper on baking dish and bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

One of these is very filling and I think it would be a fantastic father's day item for breakfast in bed, with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sludge Smoothie - No, really, it's GOOD! Gluten free dairy free

 Don't be scared of the end look of this smoothie because the taste will win you over! Here is a great way to combine raw greens with your fruits and delight in a near pudding treat. I could see putting this in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, and eating it with a spoon, or thinning it by adding ice to create a different texture all together. Don't confuse my love for this insanely thick and creamy texture as is, though.  Here is how you make it. First, get your VitaMix ready (or high powder blender).
  • 1 fresh mango, 
  • 1 small fresh banana, 
  • 1 Cup frozen strawberries, 
  • juice from 1/2 small lemon
  • Spinach to fill (not packed, just dropped in)
as pictured.
 Next, pour
  • orange juice to cover banana layer.
  • Vanilla Almond Milk to cover the strawberry layer
Ready? Blend! You can see the final color is reminiscent of swamp green, which may not create a favorable visual response, but give it a taste and you'll see why this is so fantastic. I had a little extra, so I froze them into Popsicle for the kids. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May is Ehlers Danlos and Arthritis Awareness Month - food?

It's Awareness Time! Truth be told, we are always aware of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as it plagues the life of our child with a long list of symptoms. The worst symptom she is dealing with is recurring shoulder dislocations. We have a wonderful medical team of specialists to help us through these trying times, but there is no cure for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. My hope is that there will be more permanent solutions and earlier identification to help people with this condition.

Now, this food related blog may seem an odd place to post about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Arthritis, but there is an important connection. As the EDNF shares with us, there are many gastrointestinal tract complications that can accompany EDS such as:
  • hernia
  • diverticula
  • delayed gastric emptying
  • GERD
  • adominal pain
  • IBS and more
In our family, we discovered that our own bodies had strong negative response to certain foods and we find a combination of other foods can also cause upset.  We are a touchy tummy group. My daughter is diagnosed with Celiac, whereas I discovered my offending foods through trial and error as a teenager with an ulcer and chronic relfux. I can't help but to wonder, now, if EDS was the chicken, or the egg, in our quest to understand our tummies.

As for arthritis, it has been reported that a diet based on low inflammation protocol has been helpful for those suffering with this condition. Dr. Terry Wahls, known well for her work in defeating Multiple Sclerosis through dietary intervention, has a  wonderful low inflammation protocol. Is it a coincidence that low inflammation diets typically avoid gluten and dairy? Not at all. These difficult to digest proteins can be swapped out for a wider variety of alternatives. Just like with fruits and veggies, it is important to get variety in our grains and protein sources in order to attain a balance of minerals and nutrients.

So, while we are educating ourselves on new topics, and health in general, it's worth spending a bit of time boosting up those colorful fruits, veggies, and easy to digest grain alternatives such as buckwheat. We can look to reduce sugars and refined grains and look for lean pasture raised meats and omega 3 rich fish. This approach can be very helpful for a variety of health concerns, not unlike the ones mentioned above. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

3 minute mango sorbet - dairy free, gluten free

This is a simple and healthy Ice Cream alternative. The main catch is that you need a very powerful blender, such as a VitaMix. With the Vita Mix, I just add frozen mango cubes and a small amount of vanilla almond milk. I use the tamper to push the fruit down and blend it, quickly. In less than 3 minutes, we have sorbet. This is even tastier with a little honey or sugar added in, but we had no trouble enjoying ours without added sweeteners. Next time, I am thinking some banana would be a great touch! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chicken, Rice, Cucumber salad- gluten free dairy free

What we set out to make, and what we ended up with were two different things, entirely, but the result was great. Grilled chicken tenders seasoned with a basic Chicken Shawarma recipe, (just the first part, not the sauce) but using a Masala Curry powder. This created a fabulous Indian spiced grilled chicken. The cucumber salad was lightly tossed in oil and parsley. The rice is dressed with  a lemon olive oil and white wine sauce. To make the dressing, mix 6 tablespoons olive oil with juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon of white wine. Mix in salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Wisk well. We enjoyed this meal so much, that we did a repeat the next day. Click here for my hummus recipe (which accompanies this meal very nicely). Enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Frosting - gluten free dairy free

Well, I guess no one is going to feel too sorry for me as the Easter candy invades. Though I can't eat most of it, my husband just whipped up a batch of treats that will surpass any basket confection. Starting with the King Arthur gluten free chocolate cake mix (my favorite), he stuffed these cupcakes with a peanut butter filling that consists of peanut butter, Earth Balance butter spread, and confectioners sugar (just like the filling used here). For filling, he followed the Wilton instructions here, and used the recommended tip. He topped them with a traditional white meringue frosting (just like this one, but he omitted the lemon).
End result? Delicious. These can easily compete with the boutique gluten free pastries we have tried in downtown Chicago as well as from BabyCakes in Orlando.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baked Breaded Chicken Tenders Gluten Free Dairy Free

Last night, my husband made dinner. He saw these Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs with a "gluten free" label at the store and he noticed they were dairy free. He bought a can and then he proceeded to made us a batch of chicken tenders. The result? The kids loved it. We are not a "chicken nugget" or "chicken tender" eating crew, normally, so I wasn't sure what the kids would think of this, but they both enjoyed it. I was pleased to know that this was a healthier version of a very American favorite food, as it's baked (not fried) and my husband altered it by omitting added fat. Where the original recipe would call for 2 tablespoons of butter (or oil), we did not use it, nor was it needed for a good end product.
The method:
  • He sliced the chicken breasts and dredged them in a hand beaten egg
  • He then rolled them in 1 cup of Corn Flake Crumbs
  • Next, he laid them into a ceramic baking dish and seasoned them with salt and pepper
  • Baked at 350 until chicken registered done with meat thermometer (this took approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour)
We dipped these in gluten free dairy free barbeque sauce and honey mustard and we enjoyed our American meal. My husband and I both agreed this is a must try on fish, served with fresh lemon. That will be our next use of the Corn Flake Crumbs. Also, I can't help but to imagine that you could create your own cornflake crumble pretty easily, if you have the ingredients on hand, but this is a bit of a corn meal texture, so there may be more to it than just crumbling up the flakes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bob Red Mill gluten free Cornbread mix dairy free

This mix is generous and delightful. I used almond milk, earth balance, and an optional 1/2 cup honey. I find this works best in muffins, and took Aprox 20 minutes to cook.