Saturday, May 28, 2011

Allergy Elimination Diet Week 5 Meals

Homemade turkey sausage patties
Buckwheat-almond Pancakes with maple syrup (re-introduced this week)
Fruit and nuts
Half avocado and apple
Random leftovers

Chicken, lettuce wrappers
Broccoli salad with cashew-prune dressing
Red lentil daal

Cod and salad
Rice pasta, chicken sausage, steamed vegetables (2 nights)
Lamb pot roast, potatoes, carrots, streamed broccoli (2 nights)
Poached salmon, sugar snap peas, and salad
Lettuce leaf chicken-vegetable tacos

Apples, pears, bananas, mango
Granola and rice milk
Coconut macaroons
Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds
Rice cake with almond butter

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Granola, updated

Even Easier Granola

6 c rolled oats, old-fashioned or thick cut
1 T cinnamon
1 c unsweetened applesauce

Mix cinnamon and oats, then add applesauce and mix thoroughly.  Spread on 2 lightly oiled baking sheets and bake at 300F for 20 minutes.  Shake pans lightly and switch locations in oven; bake for another 20 minutes.  Allow to cool on pans and then store in refrigerator.   Add dried fruit, coconut, and/or nuts/seeds when you eat it - this allows for endless variety of flavors and uses.

This recipe uses applesauce in place of the oil and honey in my other recipe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer Reading Programs for Kids

Borders Books
Barnes and Noble
Half Price Books

Rhubarb-fig Compote with Cinnamon Rice (and thoughts on sugar)

I was slightly dismayed when I realized that we would be on the full elimination during the peak of rhubarb season, but then I thought about my successes in sweetening muffins and cookies with only dried fruit.  Now that I've been off sugar for 5 weeks, I'm not sure that I even want to test it after the elimination period is completed.   There are so many flavors available in fresh, whole foods - why go back to wheat flour and sugar?  Not that they won't tempt me, as they've always done.  But now I know that neither of those is necessary for a satisfying day of food - including dessert.

The only sweetener here is the figs.  The cinnamon rice has a sweet flavor of its own from the rice - it's amazing how sweet foods begin to taste on their own once sugar is off the table.

Rhubarb-fig Compote with Cinnamon Rice

6-8 stalks rhubarb (more if you like it tart)
8 oz dried figs, quartered *

Cook rhubarb and figs together over low heat until the figs have mostly dissolved.  Test for sweetness and add more figs if needed.

* If you don't have, and don't wish to buy, dried figs, you could substitute about 5 oz dates or a larger amount of fresh fruit such as apples or strawberries.

Cinnamon Rice
2 c leftover rice, white or brown
3 c unsweetened almond milk
2 t cinnamon
1 t cardamom
1 t vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a pot, stir well, and heat slowly until the rice has expanded and thickened the almond milk to a pudding-like texture - about an hour or two on low heat.  This can also be done in a crockpot for about 4 hours on low.

Serve the rhubarb compote in a bowl topped with the cinnamon rice, warm or cold.   Chill leftovers in separate containers; both will thicken in the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Allergy elimination week 4

This is the last week before we begin slowly testing foods.  It will be about 2 months before we test gluten and dairy.

Buckwheat-almond pancakes with applesauce
Half avocado with banana (this might have triggered a migraine)
Granola with unsweetened rice milk
Gingered black-eyed pea soup from the freezer

Chicken with lettuce or spinach leaves for wrapping
Broccoli salad with cashew-prune dressing
Mixed vegetable salads
Leftover red lentil soup

Mango, Apple, Kiwi, Banana
Coconut macaroons
Date-sweetened banana muffins (amazingly, free of gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar and nuts!)
Raw veggies: cucumber, carrot, red bell pepper, sugar snap peas
Banana-blueberry smoothie
Almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts

Salmon cakes, fried potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Turkey/veggie burritos on rice tortillas (2 nights).  The rice tortillas are ok.  DD loved them, but I thought lettuce was probably better.  I haven't tried making my own tortillas yet.
Lamb Rogan Josh, Indian-spiced spinach, and rice with salad (very good!)
Baked cod with roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots
Roasted chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots, steamed green beans

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Buckwheat-almond pancakes with blueberry sauce

My daughter hated the red lentil soup we had two nights ago (she loves regular lentils - I wasn't expecting this).  However, I completely redeemed myself in her eyes with this breakfast today.  She ate hers with both applesauce and the blueberry sauce.

Adapted from
1.5 c buckwheat flour
0.5 c almond meal
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
1 t cinnamon
2 c unsweetened almond milk (could use half water)
1/3 c applesauce (unsweetened)

Combine dry ingredients, then add almond milk/water and applesauce.  Let sit while the skillet heats.  These cook more quickly than wheat flour-based pancakes.  For 3" pancakes, flip after about 3 minutes.

Blueberry sauce
1.5 c frozen blueberries
4 finely chopped dates
1 t arrowroot powder

In a small pot, heat blueberries, dates, and a splash of water until dates are soft.  Mash blueberries with spoon if desired.  Place arrowroot powder in a small dish and add 1 t water; mix and then add to blueberries, stirring until sauce thickens, just a minute or two.  Remove from heat.

Allergy Elimination Diet Week 3

We're halfway there! --- almost (Not counting the many weeks it will take to slowly reintroduce foods.).

This week's foods:
Avocado-mango salad
Fruit & nuts
Homemade granola with almond milk
Homemade turkey "sausage" with fruit
Buckwheat-almond pancakes with blueberry sauce

Lunches (home & packed):
Broccoli salad (the dressing works really well with a couple of soaked dried apricots in place of the sweet potato)
Dinner leftovers
Sliced chicken with cucumber slices to make mini-sandwiches

Rice pasta with tomato sauce and chicken sausage (hurrah! we didn't get to this really obvious meal until the end of 3 weeks!)
Red lentil soup
Baked salmon, quinoa, and steamed vegetables
Chicken soup with carrots, brussels sprouts, and chickpea socca
Chicken-spinach salad, leftover socca, and  steamed broccoli
Daal saag
Baked tilapia and steamed vegetables over rice with a faux teriyaki sauce

Coconut macaroons
Watermelon and other fruit
Almonds & walnuts
Sliced raw vegetables
Coconut milk-based ice cream, amazingly made without refined sugar

Faux teriyaki sauce
5 prunes, finely diced, cooked in 1 c water and pureed
1 T coconut aminos
1/4 to 1/2 t prepared mustard, to taste
1 t toasted sesame oil
Mix together and taste - season as needed.  Can add some fresh ginger to cook with the prunes if available - I had run out.

Monday, May 9, 2011

No BPA? Great. What else is in that (bottle, paper, can lining)?

Hitting the Bottle

"our regulatory system allows manufacturers to introduce or continue to use chemicals that have not been adequately tested for safety. A manufacturer can replace BPA with another untested compound and get a few years’ use out of it before it, too, becomes the subject of health alerts or news media attention. By the time we know what those new chemicals do to us, entire generations are affected. We are the guinea pigs. The system is broken. We must reverse the process: test first."

To read more about the lack of regulations for chemicals in the U.S., and what other countries do, see Mark Schapiro's Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power (2009).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Allergy Elimination Week 2

Roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon and chopped pecans
Gingered Black-eyed Pea Soup
Homemade granola with almond milk
Avocado half and sliced apple with cinnamon

Lunches: (home & packed)
Broccoli salad with Cashew-Sweet Potato Dressing
Lentil soup with chickpea crackers
Salad of mixed greens, vegetables, pepitas, and strawberries
Dinner leftovers

Coconut macaroons
Fresh organic strawberries
Sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon
Fresh pineapple
Raw sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, carrot
Leftover broccoli salad
Almonds and walnuts

Baked tilapia with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes
Summer rolls with steamed broccoli and green beans (2 nights)
Carrot-potato-buffalo stew (2 nights)
Mixed green salad topped with chicken and vegetables with olive oil-rice vinegar dressing

Roasted sweet potatoes have been a favorite of mine - and my daughter's - since I first learned how to make them - so simple, and so much better than the usual boiled or casseroled sweet potatoes!  Just wash them off and put them on a baking sheet - either an old one that already has burned spots on it, or one with a parchment layer, because they are messy.  Bake at about 400 for an hour or so, until soft and oozing.  If you're baking something else, a range of temperatures will work, just vary the time accordingly.  Bake some extras - they're great for breakfast, in soups, in muffins, etc.

I am enjoying savory breakfasts.  My long-time standard breakfasts have been homemade yogurt and granola or oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts, but this week I've eaten all sorts of dinner leftovers for breakfast, in addition to that wonderfully gingery soup.   When I was planning foods for this allergy elimination diet, I realized quickly that dinners would be easiest, and that breakfast would change for me - I've gone off oats as well, since I normally eat them every day.  I haven't really missed anything, surprisingly enough, after 2 weeks of this - our refrigerator is full of fabulous produce, and we have many good flavors every day that far surpass anything made out of wheat, dairy, or soy.

Crackers, Muffins, Cookies for the Allergy Elimination Diet

Chickpea Crackers
Modified from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

1/2 c chickpea flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t paprika or other seasoning of choice (I've also used a mixed, salt-free seasoning, oregano, and turmeric+cumin)
1.5 t olive oil
2-3 T water

Mix dry ingredients together.  Add oil and 2 T water.  Mix well and try to form a ball from the dough.  If it is still quite crumbly, add 1/2 T water at a time and mix until it will clump together.  Roll out on floured surface or towel, to 1/8 inch or less, and cut into approximately 1" squares, or use a small cookie cutter.  Bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.  They should be crisp after cooling; if not, return to oven for just a few minutes.  This makes about 40 1" square crackers.

GF, Vegan Banana Muffins
Modified from
3/4 c brown rice flour
1/2 c chickpea flour
1/2 c tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2.5 T flaxmeal mixed with 3T hot water
2 T melted coconut oil
2 T canola oil
1 t vanilla
6 dates, finely chopped
2 T brown rice syrup (or a few more dates - I've made it both ways)
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin pan.  Mash bananas thoroughly and combine with oils, brown rice syrup, flaxmeal mixture, and vanilla.  Mix well. Add the dry ingredients on top of this and when they're all there, gently stir them together before combining with the banana mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Makes 12 regular muffins.  These freeze well.

Vegan Coconut Macaroons 
Modified from Recipes Reinvented

2 c unsweetened shredded coconut (available in bulk at most health food stores)
1 c coconut or almond milk, unsweetened
1-2 T brown rice syrup or 6 dates, chopped
1 T arrowroot flour
1 t vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking sheet with oil or parchment.  In small pot, whisk together milk, syrup, and salt.  If using dates to sweeten, add them now and cook until soft, then puree.  Add arrowroot and whisk until lump-free.  Continue to heat until the mixture is very thick.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and coconut.  Drop onto baking sheet - about 2 tsp size cookies will result in 2 dozen.   Bake for about 18 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on cookie sheet until firm, and then cool completely on a rack.   These store well in the freezer, and thaw in a few minutes.

Almond Shortbread Cookies
2.5 c almond meal (I used Trader Joe's, and whirled it in the food processor to grind it a little finer)
1/2 c arrowroot flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c brown rice syrup or about 9-12 dates, pureed
5 T canola oil
1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking sheet with oil or parchment.  Combine dry ingredients and then stir in oil, syrup, and vanilla.  Drop from a spoon on to baking sheet - about 1T size cookies makes between 24-30 cookies.  Flatten cookies lightly with a spoon.  Bake about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  These keep at room temperature for several days and freeze well.

Air quality matters - for more than respiratory conditions

Air Pollution Near Michigan Schools Linked to Poorer Student Health, Academic Performance

"Half of all states, including Michigan, do not require any evaluation of the environmental quality of areas under consideration as sites for new schools, nor do they prohibit building new industrial facilities and highways near existing schools.

Children are known to be more vulnerable than adults to the effects of pollution. Exposure to environmental pollutants during important times of physiological development can lead to long-lasting health problems, dysfunction and disease, the experts said...
Ninety-five percent of the estimated industrial air pollution around schools comes from 12 chemicals: diisocyanates, manganese, sulfuric acid, nickel, chlorine, chromium, trimethylbenzene, hydrochloric acid, molybdenum trioxide, lead, cobalt and glycol ethers...
The 12 chemicals are suspected of producing a wide variety of health effects, including increased risk of respiratory, cardiovascular, developmental and neurological disorders, as well as cancer."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Gingered Black-eyed Pea Soup

8 oz black-eyed peas
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small sweet potato, roasted
Ginger, about 1 cubic inch, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 c fresh spinach, washed and packed

Add black-eyed peas, pepper, carrot, and ginger to slow cooker.  Add water to cover by about 1".  Cook on high for 2 hours or until black-eyed peas are beginning to soften.   Add sweet potato and spices (not salt) and cook on low until about 2 hours before meal time.  Check peas and if they are done, leave on low - otherwise, switch to high. 30 minutes before serving, add spinach and salt.  Stir in spinach as it wilts.

Broccoli salad with cashew-sweet potato dressing

Right before dinner, my daughter told me she didn't like broccoli anymore.  Then she ate about 2c of this salad and told me it was the best dinner ever. 

About 3 c finely chopped broccoli, including tender stems
3 prunes, minced
3 dried apricots, minced (sulfite-free)
1/4 c cashews
1/4 c boiling water
1 T roasted sweet potato
1 T rice vinegar

Soak cashews in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.  Puree in blender, add sweet potato and vinegar, and blend again.  Mix broccoli and dried fruit, add dressing.  Better if served after a couple hours of refrigeration to allow the broccoli to marinate a bit.

Vietnamese-style summer rolls with apricot-sesame sauce

Add fresh herbs to the rolls if you have any.  We just had what I hope will be our last snow of the year here and fresh herbs are only a fond memory.  This sauce is also tasty on steamed vegetables.

6 dried apricots, minced
3 prunes, minced
3/4 c boiling water
1 T almond butter
1 t coconut aminos
1 T rice vinegar
1 t toasted sesame oil
Pour boiling water over the dried fruit and allow to soak for about 10 minutes.  Pour into the blender and puree.  Pour into serving bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using to allow flavors to blend.

Rice wrappers, or use Romaine leaves
Chicken if desired - I used poached chicken, then cut it into small pieces and seasoned with coconut aminos
Julienned vegetables as available - I used radish, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, spinach, red bell pepper, and green onion
Bean thread noodles if desired - 1 bunch is enough for about 8 rolls

Pour boiling water over bean thread noodles and allow to soak for about 10 minutes.  Soak one rice wrapper for about 10 seconds in hot water, or until pliable and smooth.  Smooth out on a place, fill like a burrito, and roll up the sides.  Put on serving plate and repeat.  Plan for 2 rolls per serving with medium-sized rice wrappers.

If you're not soy-free, you can use tamari instead of coconut aminos, and baked tofu in place of chicken.