Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Allergy Menu Specialists

I'd like to introduce you all to a brand-new business that I feel will become a valuable asset in the gluten free community. They are committed to training and certifying restaurant management and staff to cook for those with food allergies/sensitivities. I am very excited to see where this takes them. I for one could benefit from one website/phone app that tells me all the local places that are safe for me to eat with my gluten/dairy/soy/corn intolerance. As it is, finding a new place to eat is a chore, and my dinner dates with my husband have to be well planned in advance.

Allergy Menu Specialists can be found at

One of the many services that this business offers is recipe conversion. I think this could be an extremely valuable asset to a parent of a child who is a biochemical intervention candidate. Children with autism often insist on "sameness," and going GF/CF is such a huge change. Being able to convert some of their favorite recipes to ones that have very similar taste and texture and fits their new diet could be a sanity saver. Plus, both the owner and the main culinary consultant of this business are very familiar with the dietary requirements of some of our children with autism. They are aware of our challenges, and are striving to fill our needs.
Click here to view the company's video about this new service.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Doing Laundry

I am always looking for a more sustainable way to run my home that is affordable for us. Here is one idea that I got from a friend- making your own laundry soap. While many commercial soaps have amazing cleaning powers in any type and temperature of water- think of all the chemicals that must be crammed in those bottles. My friend gave me a recipe to start with, and I tweaked until I came up with something that I felt meets our needs for our type of water. I believe it to be at least more environmentally friendly than your typical commercial laundry soap.

Here is the ingredient line-up:

I found all of those ingredients at Winco for very reasonable prices.

Powder Laundry Soap

1 Fels Naptha Laundry Bar

2/3 Cup Borax

1/2 Cup Washing Soda

Using a food processor, shred the laundry bar. Add borax and washing soda (NOT baking soda,)process to mix. Store in repurposed food jar. Use 2-3 tablespoons per load.

One reason I like to make this soap is that I love having all that cleaning power in such a small, easy to manage jar. It can be changed and adapted to meet your laundry needs. This recipe works well for our hard water. Also, there is less waste.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Birthday Boy

My sweet little boy turned six this week! He was proud to put his own decoration and candle on his little cake.

He lost one of his front teeth the day before his birthday, which was also picture day at school as well. It was perfect! We have truly spoiled him this week with a dinner out, party with cake, and a trip to the nickle arcade, on top of all his gifts. :)

Although I always make him a gluten free cake, this one I took extra care to not only eliminate allergens, but to make it with real icing and piped borders. I still have kinks to work out. The icing was a delicious flavorful lemon. It was a different consistency than I was used to working with, so I felt that the icing job suffered. The cake tasted good, and was a mild lemon flavor. However, it was dense and had a different texture. This was my first gluten free cake that I actually tried to decorate though, so I am proud of my cake, but much more proud of my big birthday boy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

BBQ Dinner, The Slow Food Way

This recipe I developed by combining a homemade ketchup recipe and a BBQ recipe to make this not-too-sweet, natural, yummy sauce. Here is a picture of part of our dinner we had one night using this recipe:

Baked BBQ Pork

BBQ Sauce

2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons yellow mustard (we use French's)
Add honey to taste
pinch crushed bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

To make the delectable treat in the picture, combine all these ingredients and simmer on low and reduce, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Place in a baking dish with 2" pieces of top sirloin pork steak, and bake at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. We had mashed potatoes and green beans with it. Great meal. The leftover sauce in the dish is great to top the potatoes with.

Other ways we have used this recipe:

Combine all ingredients and place in bottom of a crockpot with 4 bone-in chicken thighs, cooking on high for about 2 hours. Again, we had the mashed potatoes and beans.

Last night we made BBQ chicken deep dish pizza. After fully preparing sauce recipe, chop up one large boneless, skinless chicken breast and simmer it on the stove top to cook, using 2/3 of the sauce. Add chopped onions when chicken is almost done, allowing them to simmer. After preparing GF deep dish crust in my 12" cast iron skillet and putting it through it's first bake, we filled it with regular pizza sauce, along with remaining BBQ sauce, chicken mixture, chopped tomatoes, and alittle grated soy cheese. Put the pizza through it's second bake with the toppings. Delicious!!