Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Energy Muffins (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

My kids love the Namaste Spice Cake Muffins, but I was looking for a way to make them a little more nutritious so I could put them in my kids' lunches without feeling like I was just giving them "cake" for lunch.  With a few tweaks to the instructions on the package, we have a new favorite in our house.


1 pkg Namaste Spice Cake Mix
2 eggs equivalent (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
1 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c water
1/3 c oil
1/4 c apple butter
1 scoop protein powder (about 2 Tbsp)
1 c shredded carrots

I used 1/4 c apple butter because that's all I had left.  If you want a stronger flavor, you could easily add 1/2 c instead.

I also used store-bought shredded carrots, but you could shred your own if you like a finer consistency.

Mix all the ingredients together and bake for 21 minutes at 350º.


I put two in each kid's lunch and froze the rest for another time.   These were an absolute hit!  They were begging to have them for dinner the same day I sent them for lunch.  I guess I'll be making these again soon!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Cinnamon Bread (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

We love to have a delicious breakfast on special mornings like Christmas or Easter, but I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen on those mornings whipping up all the fixins.  So I try to find something that can be made ahead of time that still tastes delicious when it comes time to eat.

In that past I have made Monkey Bread which has been a big hit.  This year I adapted a recipe I had for cinnamon bread to make it safe for my kiddos with food allergies.

Cinnamon Bread

1 1/2 c gluten free flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 envelopes of Rapid Rise yeast
2/3 c warm rice milk (I microwave it for 1 min)
2 Tbsp milk-free butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
2 Tbsp oil
1 egg replacer (I used Ener-G)

Cinnamon Mixture

3/4 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp milk-free butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp rice milk
1 Tbsp milk-free butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with oil.  Mix batter ingredients together and pour into baking dish.  Let sit for 10 minutes while you make the cinnamon mixture.  Combine cinnamon mixture ingredients using a fork.  Top batter evenly with cinnamon mixture.  Using your finger or a utensil, poke the topping into the batter.  Place the dish into a COLD oven.  Set oven for 350º and bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over warm bread.

I made the bread the night before and just warmed it up on Christmas morning.  I made the icing fresh in the morning to drizzle over the warm bread.   It was ah-maz-ing!  And so simple!

Christmas morning breakfast includes OJ as a treat!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

SunButter Cookies (Top 8 and Gluten Free)

Rollout sugar cookies have never been my favorite thing to make.  There is a lot of prep time involved, but they are so yummy to eat!  So I usually suck it up and make a batch or two of allergy-filled cookies each year to share with co-workers and neighbors.

I want to make safe cookies that my kids can help make and eat, but finding the right combination of ingredients to make top 8 and gluten free rollout cookies has been a challenge.  When I got this recipe card from SunButter for rollout cookies, I thought I'd give it a try.

I had to make some modifications to meet our family's dietary needs.  The ingredient list is as follows.

1 c shortening (I used Spectrum)
1 c SunButter
1 c sugar
1 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour (I used gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda

When I made this dough, and it was pretty dry.  My guess was that I was lacking the liquid from the eggs due to using egg replacer.  So I added a small container of applesauce (about 1/3 c).  This did the trick.  

I usually chill my sugar cookie dough before rolling it out, but this recipe didn't call for that.  Even thought the dough was soft, I gave it a try without chilling (which significantly shortens the prep time).  It was a little difficult to handle, and my kids couldn't manage it.  But with careful rolling of dough and transferring of cookies, they turned out pretty good.  The kids got to press the cookie cutter into the dough to make the shapes, and they seemed happy with that this year.  But maybe next year I will chill the dough for a bit first to see if that makes the rolling and transferring easier.  


My food almost never turns out like the picture shown in a cookbook, and even less often when I've had to make modifications to the original recipe.  This recipe is no exception.  The edges are not as pretty and the cookie is not as full as the the picture shown on the recipe card, but the cookies still taste delicious.  (Also, the frosting job is not as meticulous as shown, but it is a thousand times more beautiful since it was done by the hands of children)  


All in all, these cookies were a success.  Easy to mix, somewhat difficult to rollout/cut, easy to bake and frost.  The frosting is a simple mixture of powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and rice milk.  Since we are avoiding artificial colors, we used natural food coloring and sprinkles from India Tree Nature's Colors.    

I can't keep these little hands away!

Fudge (Top 8 Free)

Fudge is one of my all-time favorite Christmas goodies.  I only make it at Christmas time, but I make at least 3 batches each year.  

Of course, regular fudge is filled with all kinds of allergens, so my allergy kiddos have never had the opportunity to try it.  I have made an attempt or two over the years at making safe fudge for them, but each trial has been a complete failure.

When I found a container of safe marshmallow creme at Whole Foods this fall, I snatched it up thinking ahead to another attempt at fudge. 

I also recently found a container of powdered rice milk.  Another rare find!  I have often seen the powdered soy milk, but this was the first time I had seen the rice milk variety.  

Getting ready to make some Christmas fudge

With these key items in my pantry, I was well armed for another attempt at safe fudge making.  And the results were ah-maz-ing!  It turned out perfectly!  I used the recipe I have been using for years that I got from my stepmom.  With a few substitutions, it was an easy modification.

This time around I used vanilla for flavoring, but the add-ins are endless.  Mint will be the next flavor I make.  Maybe also a Sunbutter variety, or the brandy/cacao fudge I had growing up.  How about some crushed peppermints on top?  I'd love to hear your favorite flavor! 

Fudge can be tricky to make, and I've tried and failed on many occasions.  But now that I have all the tricks down pat, this safe fudge came together quite nicely.

Chocolate Fudge

1/2 c milk-free butter (I used a stick of Earth Balance Soy-Free)
2 1/2 c sugar
5 oz milk-free evaporated milk*
7 oz container marshmallow creme**
2 tsp vanilla
2 c safe chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips - you'll need more than one bag)

Line an 8" square dish with foil and spray with oil.  In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and evaporated milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, and stir in marshmallow creme until smooth.  Mix in vanilla.  Add chocolate chips, and stir well until melted.  Pour into greased dish and allow to cool to room temperature.  Score fudge into bite sized pieces.  Refrigerate until firm.  Remove foil and cut through scored lines with a large knife.  For best results, store in refrigerator. 

*Evaporated milk is milk with 60% of the water removed.  To make milk-free evaporated milk, I simply used powdered rice milk and added only 40% of the water that the instructions called for.  With the brand I had, I used 3 Tbsp powdered rice milk and 5 oz water.  Whisk until smooth.

**I used Ricemellow creme which is free of eggs and artificial colors.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Pie (Gluten and Top 8 Free)

I'm not a big fan of pie, but I do like chocolate pudding pie. Not to mention it's the easiest kind of pie to make. In years past I would buy a pre-made graham cracker crust and make instant pudding mixed with Cool Whip for a little piece of heaven in my mouth. Unfortunately, that won't work for my little ones with food allergies.

Last year I made a chocolate cream pie, but it didn't go over as well as I had hoped. But thanks to a little help from my SIL at Making it Milk Free, Enjoy Life Foods, and So Delicious I was able to successfully recreate my favorite pie recipe.

Pie Crust

1 package Enjoy Life Sugar Cookies, crushed
3 Tbsp milk-free butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free)

Combine crushed cookies and melted butter and press into pie dish.  Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to completely cool before adding pudding.

Chocolate Pudding

Click here for the full recipe.  I used rice milk instead of almond milk.  My pudding turned out a bit runny, but perhaps I should have cooked it a bit longer.  Also, using almond or coconut milk may help make it thicker. 

I made a double batch of pudding for this pie.  Once it is thickened, cool at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before refrigerating.  Let completely cool in refrigerator, about 4 hours or overnight. 

Spoon half of the pudding mixture into the pie crust.  Mix other half of pudding with half a container of So Delicious CocoWhip.  Spoon on top of pie.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Just prior to serving, top with remaining CocoWhip and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spaghetti Sauce (Top 8 Free)

My family LOVES spaghetti!  And actually anything that has red sauce in or on it.  But buying healthy sauce that is safe for my kids can really add up (sometimes it's over $5 a jar!).  I decided to try my hand at making my homemade sauce tonight.  It turned out to be quite flavorful, easy to make, and cheaper than the store bought variety.  

Spaghetti Sauce

3 cans (14 oz) tomato sauce 
1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
1/3 c oil
1/3 c dried minced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

If desired add some top 8 free meatballs and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes before pouring over some gluten free noodles.  Serve it up with your favorite safe bread, and voila, a delicious, safe meal that can be enjoyed by all.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meatballs (Egg, Dairy, and Gluten Free)

As I walk through the grocery store each week, I always pass the bags of frozen meatballs.  But guess what!  They all have either milk, eggs, or wheat.  And we are avoiding all three!  But it would be nice to have meatballs once in a while.

Tonight I finally decided to make some meatballs for dinner.  I actually made a double batch so I could freeze some for a later meal.  But, of course, my little monkeys devoured the entire double batch in one sitting.  Luckily they are really simple to make, so making another batch will be a piece of cake.


1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
2 Tbsp bread crumbs (I used Ener-G brown rice bread)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 c dairy-free milk
1 "egg" (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Mix all ingredients together and form into balls (about 1" in diameter).  Place in a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

I simmered the cooked meatballs in some store-bought spaghetti sauce for about 10 minutes then served it on a bun to make a meatball sandwich.  Next time I'm planning to make some homemade sauce and let the meatballs simmer for a bit longer to really absorb the tomato flavor.  Stay tuned for that recipe.

One piece of gluten-free bread made more than enough bread crumbs

Ready to bake

Meatball sandwich on a hot dog bun

Meatball sandwich on gluten-free bread (with dairy-free provolone)