Category: Recipes

Healthy Recipes Free of the following allergens:
Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Milk & Eggs.

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving meal without pumpkin pie for dessert.  I have had several requests for my pumpkin pie recipe which I have borrowed.  My go-to for the last several years is from Kelly Rudnicki’s  The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book.  Her pie is easy to make and definitely a crowd pleaser!  I however, cut corners a bit and use the store bought Pillsbury pie crust or Spartan brand.  If you want to make everything from scratch I have also included her pie dough recipe below.

Oh and do not forget to top each individual sliced piece of pumpkin pie off with a dollop of So Delicious Coco Whip!  You can read my review of the product here:  http://smalltownallergymom.com/2015/06/18/vegan-whipped-cream-finally-a-1st-for-our-boys-boy-is-it-so-delicious/

Enjoy!

pumpkin pie

 

Classic Pumpkin Pie

½ recipe Best Pie Dough for 9 inch pie

1 ½ c. silken tofu, whipped in blender until creamy

¾ c. packed light brown sugar

½ tsp. good quality vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)- I use organic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fit chilled pie dough into 9 inch pie plate and trim dough to form a rim. Crimp with fingertips. Line dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until crust is very light brown, about 15 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. In the large bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine ½ c. whipped tofu, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, spices and canned pumpkin  Add remaining 1 c. whipped tofu and beat well. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate and bake 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 50-60 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature on wire rack, then refrigerate.

BEST PIE DOUGH

¾ c. cold dairy free shortening (buy in stick form, and cut into small pieces)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. all purpose flour

4-5 T. ice cold water

 Combine flour and salt in a food processor. Add chunks of shortening and pulse a few times until mixture is crumbly. Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until dough just comes together. Transfer mixture onto floured board, and divide into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or frozen up until one month.

 

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Is a Pasture Raised Turkey Worth the Price?

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YES!  YES! and YES!  If you have never tasted a free range turkey this year is the time to try one!  I have been ordering turkeys from our local Duerksen Turkey Farm in Mancelona, Michigan for the last 6 years and the difference is not only in the humane practices they use to raise the turkeys but the taste is AMAZING!

Pasture raised is best according to Duerksen Turkey Farm because, “Omega-3 is one of the two essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by our bodies but are required for good health. Omega-3 fatty acid is found in green leaf vegetables and grass. ..Omega-6 fatty acid is found in grains such as soy beans and corn. Both are essential for our health.”

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At Duerksen Turkey Farm, “Our turkeys spend their lives in wide open spaces. They dine on tender green grass and breathe fresh country air, while chasing after a delicious meal of a variety of insects and grasshoppers. They are not subject to crowding, toxic ammonia fumes, or inhumane practices.”

The above accounts from my local turkey farm are similar to the hundreds of other free range turkey farms across the country.

Some people may be afraid to buy a pasture raised bird because they have grown up accustomed to eating their Butterball and Purdue turkeys since they were a child.  Others may complain that $3.99 a pound for an organic turkey is too much.  I would argue isn’t your health worth a couple dollars more a pound?  Plus, you know where your food is coming from.

Conventional turkeys sold by giant supermarket chains all across the nation are often raised in crowded CAFO (confined animal farming operations) conditions. These conventional turkeys are often caged with limited range of movement and kept indoors. They are fed hormones and antibiotics, which makes them retain water and artificially increases their weight. Antibiotics in the poultry business are given to guard against the many illnesses confined birds are susceptible to during their lives in crowded, unsanitary conditions, but also serve the purpose of water retention, raising the weight of the bird by as much as 15 percent and cutting a week or more off of the growing (and feeding) time. Finally, the finished, packaged turkeys are also often injected with water, salt and preservatives.

Yuck!  I don’t want my family eating a conventional bird!  DO YOU?

The boys and I are driving to the turkey farm this weekend to pick up our 22-24 lb turkey and I’m excited for the boys to see where the turkeys were pasture raised.  Typically we meet the owners at a drop off location in our town every year to pick up our turkey.  This year we decided it would be fun to take a field trip to the turkey farm instead.

Finally, free range turkeys are just as simple to prepare as conventional birds with the “pop-up” timers.  LOL!

This is straight from the Cooking Tips on Duerksen Turkey Farm’s website, “Put away your timer and get a good meat thermometer. Be prepared to use it! Turn down the heat; our experience and advice is LOW and SLOW. Keep covered to preserve the moisture. Ease up on seasonings and sauces. Grass fed turkeys should be seasoned delicately so as not to mask or compromise the true flavor. Allow turkey to rest 30 minutes before serving.” 

Estimated Cooking Times:
(based on 325 oven)

12-14 lbs – 2 ¼ to 3 hours
15-17 lbs – 3 to 3 ½ hours
18-20 lbs – 3 ½ to 4 hours
21-22 lbs – 4 to 4 ½ hours
23-24 lbs – 4 ½ to 5 hours
25-27 lbs – 5 ½ to 6 hours

If stuffed, add 30 minutes to cooking time. Suggested meat thermometer temperature should reach 160-165 degrees internally.

Now please don’t be intimidated by pasture raised turkeys and do yourself and your family a favor this year and try a free range turkey!  The taste is truly worth it!  I promise!

Enjoy!

~Erika

 

 

Vegan Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving

 

With Thanksgiving just one week away I thought it would be appropriate to post one of my favorite holiday recipes.  I have been preparing a dairy, nut and egg free Thanksgiving dinner for the last 7 1/2 years.  It is not only healthy, but most importantly SAFE for our two boys.  Not to mention DELICIOUS!

One of my father’s all time favorites is the standard American “Green Bean Casserole” dish.  This is an iconic American Thanksgiving staple and to be honest with you, my father didn’t think I could make a vegan version of it seven years ago that would even come close to his unhealthy “Cream of Mushroom Soup Green Bean Casserole.”  Well, I have proven him wrong year after year and he begs me to make it every Thanksgiving!  I have added my own delicious and healthy twist to an American Thanksgiving classic.

Bon appetite!

green beans

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

Sauce:

12 oz. fresh button or baby portabella mushrooms, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly

1 tsp good quality olive oil

4 cloves freshly minced garlic

1 shallot minced

2 Tbsp flour

3/4 cup soy creamer (I use Silk)

Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1 Tbsp dry cooking sherry

Beans:

1 1/2 lbs fresh Haricots Verts or Fresh Green Beans (I like to use Haricots Verts because they are not only more tender but have a more complex flavor, do not worry if you cannot find them)

2 quarts of water

1 Tbsp salt

Casserole Topping:

1 -7 oz bag French Fried Crispy Onions (I use the Meijer Brand, make sure to check ingredients as many brands include allergens)

3 slices bread (I use All Natural Koepplingers 100% Wheat Bread)

1 pinch of salt to taste

1 pinch of freshly ground pepper

1 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter Spread

3/4 cup organic vegetable stock

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Bring the water to a rolling boil in a large pot.  While it is heating trim the beans into 1 inch pieces.  Add the salt and beans to the boiling water.  Cover and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes.  Do not over cook the beans.  Drain the beans in a colander, and plunge into an ice/water bath to stop the cooking process for a few minutes.  Then let them continue to drain in the colander.  Set aside.

For the sauce, heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper.  Cook until mushrooms are soft.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and vegetable stock.  Then, add to the mushroom mixture and gently combine and reduce the heat.  Next add the sherry to the sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.  Once the sauce starts to thicken add the soy creamer and continue to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until the sauce thickens more. 

While the sauce is simmering, add the bread, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Pour into a separate bowl and gently fold in the French Fried Onions with a spatula.

Then gently add the green beans to the sauce mixture and remove from the heat.   Add to an oiled casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumb/onion mixture and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the bread topping is cooked through.  Turn on your oven broiler to medium and broil the casserole for about 1-2 minutes watching constantly until the topping is golden brown.  Remove from the oven.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Heart Healthy Panko Crusted Chicken Tenderloins

What child does not LOVE chicken fingers?  What adult doesn’t love them for that matter?  I have developed a heart-healthy/allergy-friendly recipe I guarantee everyone will love and they will beg for seconds, I promise!  I usually serve my Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders with steamed organic brown rice and steamed broccoli.   It’s fun to serve with a few different vegan dipping sauces like honey mustard, my ginger dipping sauce or even ketchup. Place them in cute ramekins for serving and enjoy!

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders

 Prep Time: 20 minutes                                                                                   Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6-8 servings (leftovers are good!)

Ingredients:

2 pounds organic chicken tenderloins

2 cups organic soy milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

3 cups Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumbs

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon olive oil or olive oil spray for greasing the pan

Preparation:

Preheat a conventional oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the soymilk and the vinegar in a glass bowl and set aside to form a buttermilk consistency. Then set up a “dredging” and “bread crumbing” assembly line.

Mix together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper with a spoon. Set aside. Grease your baking sheet or place a piece of parchment paper on it. Set the baking sheet at the end of your assembly line station. Once your station is set up, take each piece of chicken separately and (1) dredge into the buttermilk mixture (2) then coat the chicken with the panko mixture on both sides (3) place neatly on the baking sheet. Repeat these steps until you have coated all of the chicken.

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Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken has clear colored juices and is cooked through. Once the chicken is cooked, turn the broiler on high heat and broil until the chicken is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be sure to watch it so it does not burn.  Look at the beautiful golden brown crust below.

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Serve with my garlic ginger dipping sauce and enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                                               Serves: 4-6

Cook Time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger minced

1 teaspoon shallot minced (if you have on hand)

¼ cup scallions (roughly 2)

¾ cup Low Sodium San-J Tamari soy sauce

¼ cup water

Preparation:

Add the water and soy sauce to a sauce pan and gently bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling whisk in the garlic, ginger and shallots. Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Once the ingredients are nicely softened add the scallions and turn off the heat. Pour into separate dipping ramekins and serve warm with Panko Crusted Chicken for Dipping.  Note:  If you would like to add a little kick to your dipping sauce add a pinch of chili peppers.

The Upside to Food Allergies

Although it’s not ideal to have to cope with two children that each have multiple anaphylactic food allergies there are actually lots of positives that come out of this challenging medical situation.

For one, my boys are both amazing eaters with a huge palate. They enjoy many foods that most kids won’t touch with a ten foot pole.  We experienced this to the fullest when we traveled to New York City for Thanksgiving 2 years ago and dined in wonderful accommodating restaurants with our boys!

Although both my husband and I joke that we each enjoyed ordering escargot when out for dinner with our parents only at the tender age of 6! I kid you not! I’m sure there is a genetic component to our boys eating foods like kale, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes right out of the garden, squash, mules and frites- muscles for those not in tune with the delicacies of shellfish. They love clams, Alaskan King crab legs, shrimp prepared every which way, even cold shrimp cocktail, salmon, whitefish, steak, venison which we have a freezer full of since we are sustainable hunters, duck, rack of lamb, trout, pork, veal, perch, sole, and my oldest’s favorite all time fish is grouper! This list probably goes on and on.

You may be asking yourself yeah so what is her point? My point is that my children’s food allergies HAVE NOT kept them from enjoying the delicacies and diverse food options available to them! Thankfully they don’t just eat hot dogs and Mac and Cheese. And not meaning to toot my own horn thankfully they have a mom who  loves to cook!

From  day #1 when my boys could eat solid foods they ate what my husband and I were eating for dinner.  No separate meals for the kids in our family! I don’t have the time, nor the energy to prepare two separate meals daily.  As a mother and passionate cook it gives me great pleasure to try new things in the kitchen knowing that my children will most likely enjoy what I have prepared…even if it’s a little “off the wall.”

All we can do as parents is protect our children from harm and teach our children to grow up as outstanding citizens. And hopefully to enjoy their veggies along the way!

~Erika

Below is a picture of the Fruti de Mari with fresh organic garden heirloom tomatoes and mules I made last night for dinner. My boys devoured dinner and each asked for second helpings.

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Delicious Vegan & Nut Free Protein Powder

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I have been meaning to post this product review for awhile now and after an exhausting weekend with my family filled with lots of fun outdoor activities what better way to start off a Monday than with a delicious smoothie made with —  Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder in Vanilla Bean.  My husband, boys and I were on a mission last winter to find the most delicious “non-chalky” tasting vegan/nut-free protein powder.  Thankfully, our local organic co-operative grocery store the Grain Train, carries several 1-serving sample packages of protein powder.  I think they were about $3.00-$4.00 per sample package.  A bit pricey, but definitely worth it and a good way to narrow down your choices.

After we tried roughly 6 different brands and flavors by mixing the protein powders with frozen fruit and blending them into a smoothie, this product we determined was definitely the WINNER, hands down!  It is smooth tasting, delicious, non-chalky and does not have a gritty taste that many of the other brands we sampled had.  Each serving size, which is 2 Rounded Soups of the powder, includes 21 grams of Organic Protein derived from Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Chia Seed, Organic Hemp Protein and Organic Pea Protein!  I said 21g of protein, can you believe it?  Additionally, each serving of protein powder has only 3g net carbs, 5g organic fiber and NO ADDED SUGAR – music to my ears!!!  It packs quite a punch and I will typically make a delicious smoothie for my boys at least 4 mornings a week to give them the protein they need in the morning to energize them for an entire day of school!

Here is the recipe I usually use for my children’s Protein Smoothie Shakes:

  • 2 Rounded Scoops of Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder – Vanilla Bean
  • 1 cup Frozen Organic Mixed Berries
  • 1 medium banana or 1 container (5.3oz) Silk Soy Yogurt
  • 1 handful (about 1 cup) fresh organic spinach
  • 8-10 oz water or organic soymilk
  • Blend well together in a blender or Vitamix
  • Serve Immediately and enjoy!

My husband and I are avoiding carbohydrates right now so in lieu of the banana and soy yogurt above I usually add a little extra spinach and then add a total of either 8-10oz water or 8-10oz organic soy milk and a squeeze a lemon wedge into the blender.  If I really want an extra kick to jump start my day I will add some freshly grated ginger into my smoothie…mmmmm… delicious!

I should also mention Orgain Organic Protein Powder is also free of the following: dairy, lactose, eggs, nuts, gluten, soy, and GMO’s.

Enjoy!

~Erika

Ingredients 1

Delicious Vegan & Nut Free Protein Powder

Protein Powder 3

I have been meaning to post this product review for awhile now and after an exhausting weekend with my family filled with lots of fun outdoor activities what better way to start off a Monday than with a delicious smoothie made with —  Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder in Vanilla Bean.  My husband, boys and I were on a mission last winter to find the most delicious “non-chalky” tasting vegan/nut-free protein powder.  Thankfully, our local organic co-operative grocery store the Grain Train, carries several 1-serving sample packages of protein powder.  I think they were about $3.00-$4.00 per sample package.  A bit pricey, but definitely worth it and a good way to narrow down your choices.

After we tried roughly 6 different brands and flavors by mixing the protein powders with frozen fruit and blending them into a smoothie, this product we determined was definitely the WINNER, hands down!  It is smooth tasting, delicious, non-chalky and does not have a gritty taste that many of the other brands we sampled had.  Each serving size, which is 2 Rounded Soups of the powder, includes 21 grams of Organic Protein derived from Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Chia Seed, Organic Hemp Protein and Organic Pea Protein!  I said 21g of protein, can you believe it?  Additionally, each serving of protein powder has only 3g net carbs, 5g organic fiber and NO ADDED SUGAR – music to my ears!!!  It packs quite a punch and I will typically make a delicious smoothie for my boys at least 4 mornings a week to give them the protein they need in the morning to energize them for an entire day of school!

Here is the recipe I usually use for my children’s Protein Smoothie Shakes:

  • 2 Rounded Scoops of Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder – Vanilla Bean
  • 1 cup Frozen Organic Mixed Berries
  • 1 medium banana or 1 container (5.3oz) Silk Soy Yogurt
  • 1 handful (about 1 cup) fresh organic spinach
  • 8-10 oz water or organic soymilk
  • Blend well together in a blender or Vitamix
  • Serve Immediately and enjoy!

My husband and I are avoiding carbohydrates right now so in lieu of the banana and soy yogurt above I usually add a little extra spinach and then add a total of either 8-10oz water or 8-10oz organic soy milk and a squeeze a lemon wedge into the blender.  If I really want an extra kick to jump start my day I will add some freshly grated ginger into my smoothie…mmmmm… delicious!

I should also mention Orgain Organic Protein Powder is also free of the following: dairy, lactose, eggs, nuts, gluten, soy, and GMO’s.

Enjoy!

~Erika

Ingredients 1

Low Carb Zucchini Boats

This summer we had an amazing organic vegetable garden which was so much fun for the entire family.  The kids definitely enjoyed watching the veggies grow this summer and they were excellent helpers when it came to weeding and harvesting the vegetables.  We have had such an abundance of fresh zucchini that I have had to get very creative with my recipes.  Also, my husband has cut carbohydrates out of his diet which has made meal prep for me a bit more challenging but exciting for me to share my new creations with the family.   We eat pretty clean and mean with LOTS of flavor!  Enjoy!

~Erika

zucchini 2

Prep Time: 30 minutes                  Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized organic zucchini
  • 1 lb organic lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves, chopped (1 tsp dried if you do no have fresh on hand)
  • 1/2 C to 3/4 C Daiya dairy-free mozzarella shreds
  • 1 jar good quality organic marina or pasta sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees & lightly grease a glass baking dish.
  2. Cut off the stem end of the zucchini and slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the soft center flesh with a melon spoon if you have one.  Be careful not to remove too much flesh. Place the zucchini halves on the baking dish.
  3. Finely chop the scooped zucchini flesh and reserve.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the zucchini flesh, onion, and garlic until soft, tender and translucent. Add the marinara sauce and simmer.  Stir in the fresh basil.
  5. While the tomato sauce is cooking brown the ground beef in a separate pan.  Once browned you can add the ground beef to the tomato sauce.
  6. Spoon the mixture evenly into each zucchini boat.
  7. Top with Daiya mozzarella shreds.
  8. Bake for 15-20 min until cheese is melted and zucchini is tender.

Chef’s note: In the essence of saving time with my busy schedule I choose to use store bought marina sauce.  If you prefer to make your own simply add 2-3 chopped tomatoes and diced red bell peppers to step #4 in lieu of the marinara.

zucchini

Marshmallow Olaf Party Snacks

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My boys and I recently visited my sister, brother-in-law and their two small daughters.  We celebrated my niece’s 2nd Birthday and of course the theme of her part was the movie “Frozen.”  I helped my sister make these adorable “Olaf” marshmallow snacks and they were so cute I have decided to share them with my viewers.  They are completely allergen friendly and I chose to use Glutino pretzels (GFree Pretzels fron Aldi’s also work) which are not only gluten-free, but dairy, nut and egg free too.  I have found over the years that many of the mainstream pretzel brands are manufactured on either “shared equipment” with peanuts and tree nuts or processed “in the same facility” as peanuts and tree nuts. Additionally, I used the Enjoy Life Chocolate chips as the eyes and buttons.  Kraft marshmallows and most generic brands are safe as well.

You could also modify these to look like ghosts for a Halloween party treat!

Ingredients:                                                                                                         Prep Time: 45 min

1 bag of Glutino Mini Pretzel Rods (or another allergy-friendly brand)

1 bag of marshmallows

Carrots cut into tiny wedges to be used as the “nose”

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Plastic sticks used to assemble the snowmen

I recommend adding each ingredient above to a separate bowl in order to make the assembly on the Olaf’s easier. 

  • The first step is to add the marshmallows to the plastic sticks;
  • Stick 2 pretzels into the middle marshmallow for arms;
  • Add the chocolate chips to the top marshmallow for eyes and then a few for buttons;
  • Finish off your Olaf by adding the carrot wedge for his nose.

Kids love this party snack and enjoy!

~Erika

Delicious Watermelon Popcicles

It has been a rainy chilly morning here in Northern Michigan and after picking my son up from soccer camp we listed a few ideas to occupy our time indoors today. My boys & I decided to use the new BPA Free Popcicle molds I just purchased last week from Whole Foods. This was a fun & easy project for both of my sons & I. Not to mention inexpensive & healthy too!

 Here is the recipe we used which can be modified & eye-balled:

4-6 cups chopped & very ripe watermelon

1/2 cup cranberry juice or in this case I had pomegranate wild berry on hand

Juice of 1 lime

Agave nectar to taste

Purée all ingredients together in a food processor & pour into molds. Freeze molds 4-6 hours & enjoy! This entire process took less than 15 minutes & it was fun to have my boys helping me in the kitchen.