Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fun GF Pasta for Kids

I found this pasta for the kids last night at the store.  Quick, easy lunch today with some prepared pasta sauce.  They loved it!  They had lots of fun finding letters, spelling some words, and eating all of their food.

Monday, August 26, 2013

GF Bread that Kids Will Actually Like

Udi's gluten free bread varieties score big points for convenience, but the taste is definitely far from fresh baked bread.  If you're looking for a bread that might please some of your pickiest eaters this one may just work:  GF White Bread for Bread Machines.  Not only does my family love this bread, but it receives rave reviews from my gluten eating guests.  I have made a couple of adaptions to the recipe since my family does not eat dairy or soy.  I use Silk Coconut Milk instead of buttermilk and substitute sorghum flour for the soy flour.  We love sorghum flour!  It tastes great in baked goods and adds a nutritional boost with an abundance of fiber, protein, and minerals.  Check out the health benefits of sorghum.  Just like most gluten free baked goods, this bread has a short shelf life.  With a family of 5, a loaf is typically gone within 24 hours.  If you want to keep it longer, then I would suggest slicing it and freezing it until ready to eat.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes - Hold the Dairy Please

The results are in... Dairy is out! Through our trial elimination with dairy, we did discover that the kids appear to do better without dairy. I have to admit that I feel better as well. My son wanted meatloaf and mashed potatoes for his birthday dinner last week, so I made a trial batch of dairy-free meatloaf and mashed potatoes. My dad and his wife also came over for dinner, so I had a good set of taste testers. Let's just say that my dad is not exactly adventurous with food. I didn't tell him that the dinner was both gluten and dairy free until after the fact. He admitted that he didn't notice any difference. Success! I made my Quinoa Meatloaf with Silk Original Coconut Milk instead of milk.  For the mashed potatoes, I simply substituted Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread with Flaxseed Oil for the butter and coconut milk for the milk.  While coconut milk does a slight coconut favor, it was not noticeable in either dish.

So why coconut milk?  There are several milk substitutes available including soy, rice, almond, and coconut.  We chose to primarily use coconut milk because of it's antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that can boost the immune system.  Check out the Health Benefits of Coconut Milk.  This is definitely a plus when you have a family with sensitive tummies and a host of other allergies that weaken their immune systems.  I cook with the original flavor and the kid's drink the vanilla flavor.  While soy milk does provide more protein along with the calcium, it also has many adverse health affects so I try to avoid it.  Almond milk may be an OK option too, but my kids wouldn't drink it.  I try to use rice milk in moderation because of it's high sugar content.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pizza Sticks

Pizza party anyone? Sounds great unless you're a teen on a gluten and dairy free diet. Eating pizza is an important social aspect of the teen years, so I had to come up with a safe alternative for my son. Cheese substitutes could be a possibility, but he frankly isn't too excited about that particular option. I've gotten fairly skilled at making gluten free bread, so I figured breadsticks could be a good alternative especially if I added some pepperoni to morph them into pizza sticks. I used a double batch of these Gluten Free Bread Sticks as my base and added one package of Hormel Turkey Pepperoni.
I used kitchen shears to cutup the pepperoni into small pieces, and then mixed it into the dough before squeezing out the breadsticks.  I did have to make a slightly larger hole in the ziploc bag to accommodate the  pepperoni pieces resulting in thicker breadsticks that needed an additional five minutes of baking time. I was actually only able to make 8 large breadsticks out of a double batch of dough.  The little kids each ate one breadstick, but my teenager ate three to give you an idea of portion size.  I served these with Prego Veggie Smart Pizza Sauce for dipping which is gluten free according to the Campbell foods website.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dairy Free Icecream

What's summertime without ice cream? Now that my family is both gluten and dairy free this suddenly became a bit more difficult.  My kids love the SoDelicious brand Coconut frozen dessert varieties, but at $6+ a pint that can be a bit too pricey for a family of five. I decided to pull out the ice cream maker attachment from the bottom of the deep freezer in the garage and try to make my own.  All of the recipes that I found online called for the full fat, canned coconut milk, and I didn't have any on hand so I thought that I'd give it a try with the lighter coconut milk that I already had in the refrigerator.  The result was more of an ice milk type treat, but still delicious and satisfying without the extra fat.  I simply
mixed together 6 cups of Coconut Milk (such as Silk brand - not the full fat kind), 1/2 cup of sugar (This is a slightly sweet treat, but you can add more sugar if desired), and 2 tsp vanilla to make the ice cream mixture.  Then froze the mixture in an ice cream machine and served immediately as a soft-serve treat.  I have the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment that I use to make it, but a traditional ice cream maker should work fine as well.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Banana Flax Pancakes (Gluten and Dairy Free)

These are definitely not traditional pancakes, but very delicious nonetheless.  I've made these a couple of times, and each time my kids devoured them served with almond butter.  I will admit that they are a bit difficult to flip, and some of mine looked pretty messy.  You definitely need to keep them small, use lower heat than traditional pancakes, and cook them a bit longer after they start to bubble before trying to flip them over.  Otherwise, they fall apart.  Very simple recipe though with only five ingredients:  eggs, bananas, ground flax, cinnamon, and coconut oil.

Since my family is now dairy free as well as gluten free, I've been working to include alternative sources of calcium in their diet.  Almonds and thus almond butter contain a surprising amount of calcium which makes it a great topping for these gluten and dairy free pancakes.

Check out a list of nondairy calcium sources: