Cookies for Everyone by: Enjoy Life.. A cookbook that EVERYONE should own!

Why Hello again... It's so nice to be able to write regularly on here again! I have great news... There is a "treat" cookbook made for cooks like us. You know, the ones who don't have any ingredients to cook with, but still need to manage to be able to make a yummy treat to eat. One of my absolute favorite companies out there,  Enjoy Life!, makes some of the yummiest "food free" treats you can find.  I LOVE their snicker-doodle cookies!  I stumbled upon their COOKBOOK! Yes, you read that right, their cookbook!!!! :) Of course I purchased one immediately, and eagerly await it's arrival. How I didn't know about it sooner is beyond me, but I am so excited about it, I can hardly sit still. The reviews for it are FABULOUS, with many parents of youngsters with picky appetites and several allergies exuberantly commenting on how great so many of the recipes are. Even if you don't have to cook this "diet" regularly, everyone know someone who can't have one or more of these ingredients, and being prepared is always better than scrambling to figure out what to feed a guest who can't have what everyone else is eating. So many of the recipes you I find online are filled with hard to find and incredibly expensive ingredients, only to taste plain and sometimes down right bad. This book boasts a collection of recipes meant for the everyday food allergy sufferer, who doesn't need or want to spend 30.00 making a batch of cookies. I'll write more once I've tested some of the recipes, but I'm telling ya, GET IT! It's not a pricey cookbook, and will be a great addition to anyone's collection!

Ice Cream!

A lovely and dear friend of mine and I have been talking a lot recently about food and how much we've been missing particular foods. When talking to my hubby yesterday I asked him what topic I should write on next. While eating his delicious bowl of creamy rich ice cream from a local creamery he, smiling, looked up and said "Icecream!". What a GREAT idea! So, here I am. haha. Now, there aren't many "ice creams" out there that are free of everything we need them to be free of. Most of them contain soy lecithin, which is such a bummer. But, we have managed to find something that is yummy, frozen (not creamy unfortunately), and that you scoop! haha.
Haagen-daz brand has an entire line of sorbets that is super yummy, and somewhat affordable. There are several brands out there, especially at the health food stores like whole foods/trader Joes/Nugget market/sprouts/sunflower market etc, but these are the easiest to find. Every grocery store, including walmart and the like, carries these, and most of the flavors to boot!
One of our favorite brands, which is a tough one to find is New Zealand Natural. They carry a WIDE range of sorbets that are the yummiest I've found. We used to always buy their Mango sorbet, and it was better than any other mango sorbet I've ever had. They also carry a bunch of others, but mango is the only one we've been able to try, as it isn't where we live now. I'm crossing my fingers I can get one of the local health food stores to have some on hand, but we'll see.
Another great brand to try is Turtle Mountain's "So Delicious". They have a wide variety of both ice cream and sorbets made from coconut milk. Beware though, some of their stuff does contain soy lecithin... depressing, I know. Mint chip is one that contains it, just a heads up. We also heard that the hibiscus sorbet it not good, so I wouldn't spend the 5-6.00 on that either .Great things about So Delicious is that they have great customer service, and coupons available as well! :D So, to sum it up, they are worth a try. If you do decide to get some, you've GOT to try the cherry amaretto, AMAZING! :)
Trader joes has a great variety of sorbets to try, our fav is the mango... If you have a TJs nearby they have a whole allergy list if you go to the customer service counter, and are very helpful with anything you need. While you're there, pick up a bag of almond meal for 3.99/16oz and pat yourself on the back for getting two great things on the "food free" list.
My dear friend, whom I mentioned earlier, has a couple recipes for some home-made ice creams that I have really been wanting to try and make, one of which is an Avocado, YUM!! When I finally get my act together, and actually make any, I'll post recipes, and tips. So, come back for more soon. We've have a busy holiday season filled with friends, family, illness, tests, experiments, and burns... Thankfully we are beginning to slow down a bit now, so I'll be blogging more regularly. Thanks for your patience, and as always, let me know if there is something that you would like me to blog about.
The Allergy Momma!

Allergy free Blueberry Muffins!

Ok, world of what we like to call "food free" food can be lonesome, bland, and at times a little disheartening. Well, after MUCH trial and error, I have been able to make a recipe for blueberry muffins that is actually good. One that my husband even thinks if good! haha! It's pretty easy, just some standard "food free" ingredients. Also, if you are new to the world of allergies, and you're seeing Xanthan gum in every recipe, it's because traditional wheat flour has "Gluten" in it, which is pretty much it's name Glue. :) Other flours do not have this property, and need something to help it stick together, which is where Xanthan gum comes in. If you've looked at it already, you'll know that it doesn't come cheap, but trust me, it's worth the cost for the results that it gives. Ok, now that we have that out of the way... Blueberry Muffins! First, pre-heat oven to 375 or there abouts.

2 cups Brown rice flour (bobs red mill is best, we think)
1/2-3/4 cup of sugar depending on how sweet you like your baked goods
1 teaspoon of baking Soda
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of Xanthan gum
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer without the water mixed
1/2 cup of either vanilla coconut milk or vanilla almond milk
1/2 of oil (we used pure canola, but you can use any oil you want except olive because of taste)
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract (don't use imitation, just doesn't taste right)
1- 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (use frozen un-defrosted, so they stay whole)

mix all the ingredients together, but leave out the blueberries till you are ready to scoop the mix in to the muffin cups. Before the blueberries are put in we are going to make streusel topping!

For the streusel we are going to mix 3/4 cup un-packed brown sugar (you can use dark or regular), 1/2 cup of brown rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 3-4 melted tablespoons of earth balance soy free buttery spread (this is what we use for butter). Mix together till it's crumbly.

Now, mix in your blueberries and fill up your muffin cups (make sure you use the paper muffin/cupcake cups), and scoop them in to the pan. :)  Top  with the streusel, and put in the oven, middle rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes. toothpick them to check they are baked fully. Since there are no raw ingredients, you can take them out earlier (or later). This is just a general guide for time. We are a higher elevation, so things bake a little differently at sea level, or not much over. If you are at a lower elevation, add 3-4 tablespoons of water to your mix (the liquid that we left out from the ener-g egg replacer).

*This mix is VERY thick. About the consistency of a soft playdough. So, THICK! Don't think you did something wrong, it is supposed to be like this. They also don't rise a ton, so this recipe should make about 12 muffins, filling the cups 3/4 full.

Enjoy! and feel free to post on any variations you made, and how they turned out! :)

Our favorite Gluten-free flours!

Ok, so those of us who are familiar with, or even those who are new to this diet, know that every recipe seems to call for several different flours, and they are ALWAYS different. Brown rice flour, white rice flour, sweet white rice flour, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, coconut meal, coconut flour, almond meal, almond flour, potato starch, potato flour, and the list goes on and on and on... This is just a list we've thought about, that are our favorites... You know.. the ones we use the most often and the brands we like! When it comes down to it, you can almost always just use your favorite flour mix, and it will turn out about the same. So, when it comes down to it, find your favs and stick to the! Hope it helps.
We'll start off with a standard needs...We use Bobs red mill Brown Rice flour, and Bobs red mill sorghum flour. We have always been really pleased with Bobs red mill products, and though they tend to be a little more expensive, if you are planning on stocking up, is the best place to get stuff, as they have competitive prices and they ship free after 49.00. We did stumble on a great deal through for Bobs red mill brown rice flour. (4) 48oz bags for 18.43 (if you do the subscribe and save)... Click HERE if you want to take advantage of that, but make sure you check the price as it does change from time to time on there.
Brown rice flour is our go to flour. It's much healthier for you than white rice or sweet white rice, and tends to be less grainy than either of those as well. It doesn't leave an odd taste in your mouth, and tends to no affect the flavor of baked goods! In several recipes that I have for bakes goods like muffins, I tend to just use straight brown rice flour, instead of the flour mix they recommend, as it is the least expensive of the gluten free flours (aside from corn flour/masa-harina), and turns out great still!
Sorghum Flour is another great go-to for us. It's sweet, and tastes great in bakes goods. We really enjoy the added flavor that sorghum flour brings, but it also brings added price as well. Again, we use Bobs red mill for sorghum.
Masa-Harina/Corn flour is wonderful. It's very inexpensive, and can be found at nearly ANY supermarket, including the bulk section at winco for about .70/lb!  It's great for in breads that you're making that need to be more like a regular sandwich bread. Though sandwich breads that are allergy free tend to have a different texture than regular wheat bread (not as dry and fluffy), we manage to get a bread that tastes yummy for sandwiches that are meat based (turkey, chicken, tuna, salami etc). If you are more of a fan of PB&J's than you will want a recipe that uses fruit juice instead of water, and that doesn't have a lot of yeast.
Coconut Flour & Coconut meal are such a treat. It is very expensive comparatively to the previous flours, and doesn't work in all recipes. Because coconut flour has a hint of coconut, I wouldn't use it in anything but cakes/muffins or things that are sweet. It is WONDERFUL in a cake, especially when coupled with coconut milk, and is a real crowd pleaser for me! Coconut meal /shavings/flakes are GREAT for making homemade chicken nuggets, coconut fried shrimp, or teriyaki meatballs, especially the sweetened ones.
Millet Flour is a great filler flour. We have found several flour mixes that have called for it, and we've never been disappointed.  It doesn't add any flavor, so it is great for things like dinner rolls,sandwich breads, or anything that isn't going to be sweet. You can find it online quite easily, and it costs about the same as brown rice flour, sometimes a little less or a little more, but in the same ballpark. We buy the arrowhead mills millet flour, and have been very happy with it. You can find it HERE on amazon in slight bulk (4, 32oz. bags).
Almond Meal is a go to for us for meatballs, meatloaf, and the like. Anytime you need to do something that calls for bread crumbs this is what to use. We make homemade chicken meatballs and they taste great with almond meal. This can tend to be a little pricey if you don't know where to get them. With some flours, online is best, but it is not the case with almond meal. Trader Joes is, hands down, the best place to get it. 16 oz. for 3.99! :) Anywhere online is about 7.00/lb or more. In any event, get some. You won't regret it!

Though this isn't a complete list of all the flours available out there, it's a start. If there are any flours you want to know more about, let me know, and I'll do my best! Thanks for reading, and come back soon! :)

Understanding the basics of MFPI (multiple food Protein Intolerance) in babies toddlers & children

I would love to say that I knew nothing about MFPI, and have to be educated by some other loving Mom out there, and then never have to think about it again. But it's not, and I have 2 sweet, darling little girls that both live with MFPI. So, I'm just going to do a breakdown for those mommies out there that are new to this food world, and hope it helps someone, even if it's just some one single person. :)
MFPI, commonly misunderstood, is not an "Allergy", and is your bodies inability to deal with several particular proteins. And, typically it is the absence of particular digestive enzymes that is the problem. It most often has the largest affect on the digestive system, with mild reactions in other areas of the body (seldom). A few of the typical signs are excessive gas, excessive diarrhea, fresh blood in the stools, abdominal cramping, general fussiness.  These signs, depending on how long the culprit is eaten for, will typically clear up within about 6-8 weeks. If your little one has had digestive issues for quite some time, it may take several months to clear up after they have been removed from your or their diet, as the foods their body is intolerant to agitate both the small and large intestines when present, and cause cause a lot of swelling in tissues for a while.  Think of it like any reaction, say, a rash. It just starts out with your skin not liking something. Then your skin gets itchy. You scratch, then you scratch some more... The more you scratch, the more it itches, and the worse it gets, and in turn, the longer it takes to heal. Make sense. Well, our insides are the same way. The longer it's the there, the more it "itches" and the worse it gets, and... the longer it takes to heal.
From what the GI specialists and pediatricians have said MFPI normally isn't all that there is. Normally this is just a chip off the O'l iceberg. Like my girls, and myself, proteins are not the only thing we have to avoid, but it opens the door to understanding what is going on, and how to make it better. With MFPI, the typical things to avoid are as follows (These are normally the first things to be removed from the diet of the mother who is nursing or the child who is eating solid foods, or both):

Cows milk and products containing milk/dairy
Soy (in all it's tons of forms)
Eggs (both the yolk and the whites)

Avoiding these foods is crucial in aiding the digestive tract of you, the baby, or the child. I know that even the slightest amount of any one of these, can be torture for my little one, so we read the label of EVERYTHING. This is a must, and not to be sharp, but if you're not good at it.... Get good at it, now! No excuses! Food companies are required to print EVERY ingredient on the box/package for you, so they have made it as easy as it could get to make sure you aren't having something in the diet that shouldn't be there.  If you want to make it easier, learn to start making things from scratch. I have a wonderful recipe for muffins avoiding all of these "types" of foods, as well as a bread recipe. We make taco seasoning and chili seasoning from scratch... So, hopefully you get the point here. A good rule of thumb is, if it's packaged, and not from a health food store (but even these tend to have stuff you can't have), you probably can't have it.  I'll be doing a post on soy soon, and I urge you to read it. Not only will it help you learn how to avoid it, if it is a MFPI, but some great info on why it's not good for anyone! I'll also be doing another post on "favorite snacks" that are actually packaged, that avoid all 4 of the things listed above. I hope this helped open the door of understanding Multiple food protein intolerance, for you or your child, and as always... If you have questions, or would like me to touch on a subject feel free to email me or make a comment, and I'll get it out there asap!

*Just a side note to answer some of the emails I've received... When a label says "vegetable oil", this is 99% of the time going to include soybean oil. If you're avvoiding soy, avoid it unless it specifically states what oils it's using. :)