Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meatball Mayhem...

Don't you just love Meatballs?  I mean, seriously, how creative are they....  Asian, Southwestern, name it!  Not too mention the variety of meats you can use for your meatballs; ground turkey, chicken, pork, beef, venison, lamb, and even salmon.  I have been in a meatball making mood (say that 3 times fast, Lol) in our kitchen.  They freeze so well and are so flexible as being anything from appetizers, lunch, or dinner.  I love making up a large batch of meatballs and storing them in the freezer for a rainy or super busy day.  I can serve them on an Udi's hot dog bun for a sandwich, toss into a fresh salad, serve over rice, or the quintessential pasta..  The other day, I surprised my daughter by making an asian-style sandwich for her lunch box, topped with a quick asian salad.  It looked so good that my son wanted one as well.

Asian-Style Meatballs
I used 1 lb of organic ground turkey
1 healthy tbs of my garlic-ginger paste (recipe idea I got from Aarti's Party on Food Network)
3 dashes or to taste of Try Me Tiger Sauce (available at WalMart)
1 egg
1/4 cup Glutino Bread Crumbs
2 dashes or to taste of Coconut Secret Soy-Free Soy Sauce
1 green onion minced
Millet flour - as needed to make mixture dry enough to handle...

Place all ingredients in a large bowl, remove rings, push up sleeves, and get to mixing with those hands!  When mixture is just combined, add Millet flour as needed to allow mixture to be dry enough to roll into the ball size of your choice.  I place all on a platter and put in refrigerator at least 20 minutes to firm-up.  To my large skillet I drizzle my roasted garlic oil and turn to medium heat.  When skillet is hot, I add my meatballs.  Brown on both sides, turn skillet to low heat (almost off), and cover with lid.  Let the meatballs finish their cooking process by steaming to maintain their tenderness.  They steam for 10-15 minutes or so, and then you're ready to serve however you would like.  I used my Udi's hot dog buns for a sandwich, topped with a quick asian slaw of daikon, carrots, cilantro, a touch of sesame oil, fresh sesame seeds, and a little rice wine vinegar.  Toss really well and serve on top.

I also love experimenting with different sausages to make meatballs.  There are a lot of allergy-friendly options out there, you just gotta search for them!  How about a jalapeno cheddar chicken sausage for southwestern style meatballs served with rice and black beans?  Or a greek-style lamb meatball tossed into your favorite greek salad; the family really enjoys this.  I'm getting them to eat salad for dinner and the meatballs add a bit of fun and fullness to their meal.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Farm to Lunch Table... Lunch Options

I'm always getting asked about what our daughter takes to school for lunch, so I thought I would share some of our favorites..

What she ALWAYS has in her Lunchbox...
yogurt (always a healthy option, especially for sensitive tummies)
fruit (bananas, cuties, blueberries, apples...she always has 1 or 2 of these..)
fresh veggies (cherry/grape tomatoes, celery, bell pepper slices..these are great with a dip or hummus.)

What she SOMETIMES has in her Lunchbox...
hummus (there are a lot of premade allergy-friendly varieties or it's just as simple to make your own..)
suntella (my recipe to come....  a homemade version using sunflower seed butter)
chicken ( I change it up by making a batch of nuggets and also grill chicken legs, this way she's getting options.)
pizza (either udi's crust or homemade... I'll make a buffalo chix or veggie pizza every couple of weeks or so..)
baba ganoush (it's a roasted eggplant dip... I buy premade at Whole Foods and also make. Lots of FLAVOR
go picnic (an allergy-friendly lunchable..LOVE these, just wish there were more to choose from...)
LEFTOVERS...(if we have taco night, I automatically set aside 2 shells for her to make for school.  Leftover fried rice is a winner as well!)

Our elementary school is WONDERFUL about allowing us to have a microwave for her use only.  They understand that she can't just bring a ham sandwich and a bag of chips to school (as if I'd let her...)!  My son is 2 years older and in Middle School, I love his responses when I ask him what he had for lunch.  He often says he didn't eat any vegetables because they looked as if they came out of a can.  He cracks me up!  It's amazing at what kids get used to....   I am so lucky to have kiddos that look forward to what we're bringing to the table, literally.  They have grown up working in gardens, milking our goats (yes, really), and gathering eggs in the evening.  I am blessed to be able to provide them with a true farm to table lifestyle....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's a Contest....

Come on over to Facebook and "Like" my FB Page..Kentucky Mom Cooking Allergy Free.

I want to see just how many followers I can get...  The person who sends me the most followers will receive a free batch of allergy-friendly goodies...AND I SHIP!  Come on over and check it out....

I can't wait to see how this turns out...Deadline is this Friday the 16th!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Feeling Lucky....

It's almost St. Patrick's Day!  This day was always celebrated on my Father's side of the family as our name is O'Donnell.  My grandfather was a "Southie" growing up in Boston where his parents immigrated from Ireland to.  He joined the Air Force out of school and ended up meeting my Grandmother when he was transferred to a base in her hometown.  He brought all of his traditions into the family as well.  My Grandmother always prepares her infamous corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, so yummy!  I am carrying on a bit of that tradition in my own household, but with my spin on it in the form of cabbage rolls...

St. Patty's Day Cabbage Rolls with Beer Cheese Sauce

1 Head of Cabbage
Corned Beef from the Deli cut thick (1 lb)
Shredded Red Potatoes (4-5)
Shredded Carrots (2 medium)
1 small onion
1 small green pepper
1 good size stalk of celery
salt and pepper to taste
Gluten Free Beer (1 bottle)
Favorite Irish Cheddar
Corn Starch (4-5 tbs)
Butter (4 tbs)

To a food processor combine onion, green pepper, and celery.  Place in skillet on medium and saute until transparent.  When mixture is cooled; add shredded potatoes, carrots, and chop corned beef to desired size. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Clean head of cabbage and carefully remove leaves to allow for maximum usage.  When leaves are seperated, add desired amount of filling and wrap.  You can wrap burrito style easiest; folding long side first, closing ends next, and continue until wrapped tight.  Place seam-side down in large casserole dish.  In saucepan-melt butter and corn starch one tablespoon at a time and whisking until a roux is made.  Pour in 1/2 bottle of your favorite gluten free ale continuing to stir.  Shred your favorite Irish Cheddar into sauce (about 2 cups) continuing to mix until cheese is melted.  You may have to use the rest of the gluten free ale to thin out sauce as needed.  Don't forget the salt and pepper to taste!  Pour Sauce over cabbage rolls in casserole dish, place in pre-heated oven at 325-350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Been Awhile....

Hello friends!  It has truly been awhile since you have heard from me.  I have been under the weather for quite some time and am currently recovering from a super strong sinus infection that went to my teeth.  yes, really.  Unfortunately, Kentucky decided to skip winter altogether and move ahead through a quick spring and starting into summer.  Ahhh, Kentucky weather! Note the sarcasm.  Anyway, I have been working on my book and quite a few new recipes.  If you don't already, I encourage you to like my Facebook page "Kentucky Mom Cooking Allergy Free".  It has a lot of great info on it!  I am leaving you now with an excerpt from my upcoming book...  Feedback appreciated!  Thanks so much!

“Mrs. Hill?  This is the pediatrician’s office.  Your daughters’ blood work came back with results of multiple food allergies.  We need you to come in right away for us to test her for Celiac’s Disease, and we need to make an appointment with an allergist.  Mrs. Hill, are you still there?”
That telephone call changed our lives.  I remember hanging up and calling my husband to tell him the news.  We sat together on the phone and cried; in part because we finally had an answer and also because of the answer.  It was mid-July 2010 and we knew our lives would never be the same.  The lab results for the Celiac’s Disease were negative, and she tested positive for allergies to wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.  We had no idea what to feed her.  For days and days we went to the store each day to provide food in small quantities.  We ate grilled chicken and steak with rice and fresh vegetables.  The dinners were healthy and good, but they were also becoming boring.  After three days of being away from her food allergies, we saw a dramatic change in our daughter.  That change motivated us to realize the positive outcomes of the restricted diet.  Two weeks after that initial phone call; I purged our kitchen.  I gave away what I could and threw away the rest.  We had decided, as a family, to make this change together.  There would not be any segregated meals in our home.  The chance for contamination was too great.  We had agreed the only food that would be staying was the pizza rolls our son and his friends enjoyed.  Our first trip grocery shopping was daunting yet liberating.  Our journey to reach this place in our lives had been long and frustrating.  Finally having an answer was a blessing, but to the unprepared also felt like a curse.  That first trip lasted hours and I remember becoming teary only once.  We kept those first trips pretty simple with lots of rice, rice pastas, and beans.  Anything we could find ready-made was great; especially for lunch.  We were able to provide her classroom with a microwave for her use only.  She took lots of allergy-friendly frozen dinners in the beginning as I was not confident in my cooking skills.  I explained to people that it felt as if I had had a stroke and was having to learn how to re-do everything.  I had prided myself on being able to prepare organic, home-cooked meals with fresh pastas and desserts.  All of a sudden everything I had learned was obsolete.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Healthy and Comforting Meals...

When I think of comfort food I think of Macaroni and Cheese, Meatloaf, or Giant Stuffed Green Peppers.  I'm also reminded of the calorie and fat content, and how it's not exactly of any health benefit to my family; or is it?  Has anyone else noticed all of the recipes and/or pictures of food shown on people's Facebook updates?  It's always..this is what I'm cooking, this is what our dinner looks like, and wouldn't this be a treat?  I've been guilty of it myself in the past.  What really made them stick out to me was when they are also listing how they're going to go exercise or how they need to start.  Seriously?  Props to you for getting off your booties and doing some exercise; just realize that going home and eating homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac 'n cheese, and cheesecake isn't going to benefit your exercise regimen.  I have started the new year with a commitment to yoga three times a week and I love it.  I haven't really seen a "change" in my body, but I have certainly noticed how much stronger I feel.  I sleep better and just generally feel better minus the sinus infection I am currently fighting.  There are some great yoga instructors who have made me feel super comfortable and are ready to assist with the "correct" way of the poses.  Hey, I'm trying.  I realized that there was no way I could be all about exercising and feeling great with my family and go home and cook a humongous calorie-loaded meal.  Yes, I'm a proud southern woman who loves her homestyle meals; but I have three other people looking to me to also set an example for a healthy lifestyle.  I decided that I could still make those down-home meals, but I could also make them healthier.  Here's the first recipe with more to come....

Crock-Pot Stuffed Green Peppers

4 large bell peppers with top and insides removed.
2 1/2 lbs of ground turkey
1 medium carrot or parsnip
1 small onion
2 small pieces of bread slightly stale (I used 2 slices of Udi's)
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
1 tbs tarragon
1 can crushed tomatoes

The night before...  to food processor I combined the parsnip or carrot, onion, and bread; processed together to form binding ingredients.  Combined with ground turkey, salt, pepper, and tarragon.  Load inside the green peppers and place in fridge till morning.  The next morning; place peppers inside crock pot and pour can of crushed tomatoes over top.  Turn crock pot on warm or low setting and you'll come home to that great homemade comforting meal without all the work and fat.
Unless it's a holiday or I'm entertaining I don't make super large dinners and I've discovered that if the only sweets/desserts that we have are the ones I make... no one is consistently eating sweets.  There's nothing better than coming home to a comforting homemade meal without a ton of fuss; just fix a great side salad!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do You Waffle?

Isn't it great when you find that one recipe that you know by heart and can manipulate to suit your needs no matter how sweet or savory you want to go?  That recipe for me is in the form of waffles.  Maybe it's because I have two active kiddos, but waffles are great vessel for me.  I can make them sweet or savory; they can be served breakfast, lunch, or dinner; and they can be eaten by themselves or as a sandwich.  They are also a great way to get plenty of protein, energy carbs, fiber, fruit, veggies, and whatever else your body may be needing.  I have been known to add  1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice to my waffle batter to use as sandwiches.  Last night I added lemon zest and juice from half a lemon along with 1/4 cup poppyseeds for a version of waffles; top with yogurt and a drizzle of honey this morning for an energy packed breakfast.  Do you remember my post-Thanksgiving post?  I added left-over smoked turkey and dressing and made a cranberry maple syrup; I get hungry just thinking about it.  Sure, everyone knows to add your favorite fruits or nuts (if non-allergic); but have you ever tried adding a little cardamom along with those blueberries?  They won't disappoint.  For a sweet treat try adding 1 cup melted chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Brand at my house) and top with your favorite berries; it's make a great happy birthday treat in the morning!  You'd be amazed at what your imagination will come up with by thinking outside the box a little bit.  We top our morning waffles with some yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, and I always add fresh berries when available.  Lemon Poppyseed waffles with fresh blueberries or mulberries can't be beat!  Go ahead and try one or all of these recipes and let your imagination take off from there.  Don't let plain old blueberry waffles or Fried chicken and waffles rule your recipes....

Here's my basic waffle recipe:

2 cups of your favorite A.P. allergy-friendly flour
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
*Mix dry ingredients well to make sure xantham gum is distributed well.
Add 4 tbs melted butter
3 eggs
2 cups plain yogurt
1 tbs honey.

Follow directions on your waffle maker; This recipe makes 12-14 waffles for my cheapie WM.  I place in freezer bag and heat-up as needed for those busy school and/or soccer mornings!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Change It Up!!

Hello Readers!  I have to admit that I have gotten into a cooking rut; you know how it is when you feel like you're making the same thing over and over.  It is destined to happen to those with allergy/intolerance diets.  I found myself doing what was easiest with pastas and sandwiches.  Easy? yes, Healthy? no.  I knew I could do better, so I cleaned out the fridge and took to the stores.  Two and a half hours later I returned with a much healthier take on our meals.  Although I appreciate Gluten free Rice Krispies, it is not what I want my kiddos eating on a daily basis.  I also put to use a Christmas gift I received.  A family member gave me a clay pot roaster that she bought at an auction.  I had never used one before so I got online to to check out my new gift and learn how to take care of it.  After cleaning it up, we decided to put it to use.  I decided to make braised rabbit for our introduction to it.  The rabbits (2) had already been cut up into sections; I drizzled light olive oil, chopped 4 cloves of garlic, and added salt and pepper.  Placed in pre-heated 250 degree oven on roasting convection setting and left alone for 2 1/2 hours.  I have to say that I was very impressed.  I'm hoping to play around with a chicken enchilada-type dish for dinner tonight.  I'll let you know how it plays out.  Changing it up helps so much with a food allergy diet.  It's easy to fall into a routine using the same things over and over.  That's also an easy way to gain weight.  Don't believe the stereotypical gluten-free fad.  Most gluten free items are made with rice flour that turn into sugar in your body.  It's easy to fall in love with all of the gluten free bakery items out there, but make sure you're balancing it out.  As you know, our entire family made the change to an allergy-friendly diet when my daughter was diagnosed.  I try to make it a point to serve at least one vegetarian dish a week.  It's usually a super simple dish such as roasted veggies over wild rice; veggies depend on the season.  In the summer it's much easier for us to eat healthy as we have veggie and herb gardens and a fruit orchard.  The difficulty is not eating those warm, comfort foods like macaroni and cheese every night.  In order to maintain enough fat and protein for an active family; don't forget the beans!  I cook a pot of beans every week and use them as much as possible.  Boil them simply with water or vegetable stock until done.  When cooled; place in freezer container or baggie and take out as much as you need on any given night.  You can add spices and/or veggies to make a great side or main dish.  You can mash them just enough to mix with eggs, flour, and spices to make bean patties to cook on your griddle; my family likes these with a dipping sauce.  You can even place in food processor to make your favorite hummus.  A lot of these recipes are already on my blog; so check them out.  Just remember that doing something as simple as changing your cooking method can open your eyes to entirely new recipes.  Get cooking!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bring On 2012!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and I wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year!  Have you started your New Year's Resolutions yet?  I have already started on mine!  My New Year's Resolutions are to make more time for myself; no really.  I've already started that in the way of Yoga.....and I am thoroughly enjoying it and look forward to every class.  I'm also making a commitment to my writing.  I've been doing a lot of interviews lately and getting a lot of encouragement for the book; it's great to here and I am really going to try to commit to it.  Even if I have to wait and do my writing after the kids are in bed or change my schedule to allow more "me" time in the morning.  Probably not going to be the latter, but you never know.  Make sure you all check out the upcoming issue of Kiwi Magazine..growing families the natural way.  The next issue has an article featuring food allergies, and even includes a little about our family.  I even have a New Year's Resolution regarding food allergies; to make more time for baking.  I love to bake and have felt disconnected from it for long enough!  Our family has been food allergy friendly for over a year now and there really is not an excuse to be had.  When people ask me how I do it; How do I not?  You just make the time, and it's time I make the time for all that bread making!  This is where I plan to start.....

Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tb. instant yeast
  • 1/4 c. sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c. millet flour
  • 3/4 c. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 – 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 pieces bacon cooked & crumbled (optional)
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • about 2 Tb. maple syrup
Warm milk and add yeast; leave to activate.  Combine dry ingredients; make sure to sift well.  Stir in wet ingredients and yeast mixture; do not over mix.   Place dough mixture between two pieces of buttered wax paper and roll into rectangle, remove top piece of wax paper and sprinkle filling evenly throughout.  Using bottom piece of wax paper to assist; begin initiating "the roll".  It should roll pretty easily.  Cut into slices and place in baking dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Pour glaze over top when cinnamon rolls are done.  

You should end up with at least 8 cinnamon rolls.  Try to go ahead and make the time to make multiple batches, It's worth it.