Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Maple and Cider Turkey

Last but not least, the turkey!

We usually do a turkey brined and roasted with green chile, something my family has always done, but I decided to do something different this year that might be more to Cody's liking, assuming I can get him to try it!
To brine or not to brine? I say brine! I really think it makes all the difference in flavor, but be careful. Many brines have way too much salt and you also have to make sure you don't get a turkey that has already been brined. No one wants a salty turkey! I often cut the salt in brine recipes in half at least.

Here's a tasty and allergy friendly recipe for cider and maple brined and glaze turkey.

Enjoy! Good luck with your meal preparation and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah! 

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free).

Maple and Cider Turkey
4 cups apple cider
4 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 large onion, cut in large chunks
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 orange, sliced
1 tablespoon peppercorns 
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
1 star anise

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup veggie broth
Salt and black pepper 

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. 
Stir while simmering until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Rinse turkey, place it in a large stockpot and pour in the brine. Add water and cider, if necessary, to cover the turkey.
Let the turkey brine overnight.
Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. 
Rub olive oil over the turkey and, since I am not a turkey cooking expert, click here for cooking directions.

Combine the maple syrup, cider and broth in a sauce pan. 
Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Baste turkey periodically during the last hour of cooking.

Allergy Friendly Stuffing

I love that Thanksgiving is full of traditions. We use recipes that have been in my family and my husband's family for years and ones that are becoming our own new traditions.

This is another recipe from my husband's family, adjusted to make it allergy friendly.

I used three types of bread in this. My homemade oat and potato bread, millet bread and oatmeal bread. This is much better if the bread is hard. Leave it out for a day, or toast the diced bread in the oven for a few minutes.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan (if you omit the ground beef).


1 loaf of bread (use bread that works for your allergy set), diced or torn into small pieces.
1/2 lb. ground beef (omit to make this vegan)
One onion, diced
Two stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups vegetable broth (click here for recipe)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the bread pieces in a baking dish.
In a large skillet cook the ground beef until cooked through.
Add the onions and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat  is browned.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the meat and vegetable mixture, cranberries/raisins, chopped herbs and broth to the bread in the baking dish.
Add some more salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
Bake, covered, for 45 min.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees, uncover and cook for about 5-10 minutes more until the top is browned.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Allergy Friendly Green Bean Casserole

It's a Thanksgiving staple. Some love it and some hate it. If you didn't like it before, give this one a try. It tastes so much better made from scratch and without those canned, fried onions I always thought tasted weird.

My husband doesn't like mushrooms (sad for me because I love them!), so I left those out and I added a cup of peas and shredded carrots. Peas and carrots are Cody's favorite foods and I think he's more likely to try it with those in it. I can't believe I use peas to try to get him to eat things. I'm sure one day he will hate peas, so I'll enjoy it while I can!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Green bean casserole

Fried shallots
Vegetable oil for frying (be sure to use a high heat oil like sunflower oil)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Green beans and sauce
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 large shallots, diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oat flour 
1 cup oat milk (or other dairy free milk you like)
Salt and black pepper

Fried shallots
Combine the flour, salt, paprika and pepper in a bowl.
Toss the the shallots in the flour mixture until well coated.
In a heavy pan suitable for frying, heat a few inches of oil over medium high heat to 350 degrees.
Add the shallots, but be sure not to crowd them. You may have to do more than one batch.
Fry until golden brown, about a minute.
Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Green beans and sauce
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the green beans and cook to desired tenderness, about 5-7 minutes.
Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water to stop cooking and retain the color. 
Drain and set aside.

In a Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook until just softened about 4-5 minutes. 
Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes or until they start to release some of their liquid.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 8 - 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and stir in the green beans.
Top with the fried shallots and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, until bubbly.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Allergy Friendly Basil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yes, it is possible to make creamy and delicious mashed potatoes without butter!

I love mashed potatoes and I love the added flavor these get from the basil.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Basil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and halved (quartered if the potatoes are large)
1/4 cup vegetable broth (click here for homemade broth recipe)
1/4 cup oat milk (or other dairy-free milk you like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Fill a small bowl with ice cold water
Add the basil to the boiling water and boil for about 10 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately place it into the cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the green color.
Drain the basil and put it in a food processor. Add the milk and broth and mix until basil is very well chopped.
Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Boil for about 15 – 20 minutes, until very soft and drain.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the basil mixture, bring to a gentle simmer then remove from heat.
Use a mixer, potato masher, or potato ricer to mash the potatoes. I use a ricer because it makes really fluffy potatoes.
Pour in the basil and garlic mixture and fluff with a fork until well mixed.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Allergy Friendly Vegetable Broth

I will be posting some more allergy friendly Thanksgiving recipes shortly. Many Thanksgiving recipes require broth, so I thought this would be a perfect time to post this recipe.

It's really easy to make your own and also a great money saver. Store bought broths can be very high in sodium. When you make your own you control what's in it.

I make big batches and freeze it to use whenever I need broth.

Below is the basic recipe. Feel free to add other vegetables and herbs.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Homemade vegetable broth

1 large onion
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
4 large garlic cloves crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 stems fresh parsley
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10 cups water

Chop the vegetables into 1 inch chunks.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute.
Add water and herbs.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Strain and discard the vegetables and herbs.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Helping Families in Need

Looking for a way to help out families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday?

Below is a link to how you can help by sending allergy friendly food to distribute to families with food allergies who are in need because of the severe storms and tornadoes in Illinois:

Also, consider giving allergy friendly food to a local food bank, or domestic abuse shelter. You never know who might need help and have special dietary needs/restrictions.

Here's the link to one of my favorites here in Tampa and they always need items for children and babies who come into the center:

Thank you!

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

For as long as I can remember my mom made pumpkin dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. For me, these are a must have. It's less about having them with them with the Thanksgiving dinner and more about the awesome leftover turkey sandwiches they make!

I made some changes to my mom's recipe to make them allergy friendly for us. It took several tries to get them right. Actually I got it right the first time, but that was only because I made a mistake in measuring. Then I couldn't remember what I did, so I had to keep trying to re-create my mistake. Trial and error, right? Sometimes I think I should re-name this blog "My Misadventures In Cooking!"

They're not fluffy like my mom's, but they still taste really good and I can't wait for the leftover turkey sandwiches!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Pumpkin Rolls

4 cups oat flour
1 cup potato flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup warm (105-115 degrees) oat milk or other dairy-free milk you like
1 to 1 1-2 cups sparkling water (helps with rising)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon yeast
Olive oil for brushing on the rolls

In a small, oven proof bowl combine the milk and maple syrup.
To warm, I put it in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes until a thermometer inserted in the liquid reads 105-115 degrees. You can also use the microwave to do this.
Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast should be bubbly and frothy by that time. If it's not, start over.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the flours and salt.
When the yeast mixture is ready add it to the flour mixture along with the water, oil and pumpkin. Stir to combine until it forms a ball. The dough should be just slightly sticky.
Form the dough into rolls and place on a prepared baking sheet.
Brush olive oil onto the rolls.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to let rise for about an hour and a half.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie

I decided to try to make several of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes allergy friendly. I wanted to try them out before the big day and it's going much slower than I thought.

One of the reasons is because I really wanted to make a good, allergy friendly pumpkin pie. I thought it would be a breeze until I looked at the recipe from my mother-in-law that we always use. I saw the number of eggs and the other ingredients and thought, "uh oh!" I never before realized that pumpkin pie is basically a custard pie and custard is made from eggs. Great! The crust, which I originally thought would be more challenging was the easy part.

But I really wanted a good pumpkin pie that Cody could eat also, so I started experimenting. I made mini pies because I was worried about having too much leftover pumpkin pie. Ha! Most of it went in the trash.
So here's what I tried using as egg replacement:
Daiya vegan cream cheese- a runny, oozy mess and the flavor took over the pumpkin. 
Tapioca flour - gummy and gluey, not good. Also looked strange and shiny. 
That was day one. On day two I decided to make the custard without the crust so as to not waste more crust and time. I have a job and a small, energetic child to take care of during the day, so I have limited time to devote to my crazy kitchen (lab) experiments!

On day two I tried:
Arrowroot flour - not as bad as the tapioca, but still too gummy, gluey and shiny.
Chickpea/garbanzo bean flour - my new best baking buddy! It looked like pumpkin pie and when my husband tasted it he said, "mmm, that's pumpkin pie." Hurray! Or as Cody likes to say, "Puh, puh, hey!"

I should have known. I have used chickpea flour to make delicious egg-free omelets and frittatas, so it makes sense that it would work.

And I'm thrilled with how the crust came out! I am going to try a graham cracker crust next since that's what I usually make with pumpkin pie.

Below is the recipe for the crust and pie. Enjoy!

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree-nut free, soy free, fish-free and shellfish free) and vegan.

Have any of  you had any luck using other ingredients to make an allergy friendly pumpkin pie?

Pie Crust

1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup well chilled vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum Organic shortening)
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

In a food processor, combine the flours and salt until well blended.
Chop the chilled shortening into pieces, add to the food processor and blend until you have small clumps (like breadcrumbs).
Slowly add the cold water 1 tablespoons n at a time until a ball starts to form.
Test by pinching some of the dough between you fingers. Is it stays together it's ready.
Place the dough in the pie pan and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk you like)
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chickpea or garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Mix the pie filling ingredients in a food processor until well combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 40 - 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool completely before serving.

The first picture is the tapioca filling with the crust. The second picture is the chickpea flour filling without crust.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FARE Walk Tampa

The FAREwell to Food Allergies walk was last Saturday and I'm so grateful to our family and friends who supported us and so happy we participated!
It felt great to participate and raise money for FARE an organization that has been an invaluable resource for us since we found out about Cody's food allergies.

They also do great research and government advocacy work. Just yesterday President Obama signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act into law. The hard work of FARE and others made this happen.

For me, it was nice to be around people like us who understand food allergies. It was so much fun to watch Cody run around and play around other kids. It was one of the only times I felt like I did not have to worry about him coming back to me with hives on his hands from touching something that another kid touched, or another kid running around with a peanut butter sandwich which always seems to happen at playgrounds these days.

Cody was happy because he got to see a fire truck up close! We all had a great time and look forward to next year's walk.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun Halloween Dinner, Skin Tests and FARE Walk

I hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!

Below is a picture of the Halloween dinner we had last night. I used my meatloaf recipe and made meatloaf mummies by melting white, vegan rice cheese over them. I used olives for the eyes and red pepper for the mouth. I got the great idea for the veggie skeleton from My Journey to Health and I used hummus for the dip.

Cody had fun making a jack-o-lantern, walking around in his costume, looking at decorations and other kids in costume. Later we handed out candy (allergy friendly gummy bears and lollipops of course!) to trick-or-treaters.

November is already off to a big start!

Cody had his food allergy skin test re-done since it's been more than a year. They test the top eight allergens and I asked to also test chicken and corn since Cody had some reactions to eating those in the past.

He still had strong skin  reactions to egg, peanut, dairy, wheat and now chicken, so we still have to stay away from those.

The good news is that some of the ones that were positive before were negative! Soy and corn were negative, which is huge since those are in so many things and corn doesn't have to be listed in the ingredients. Also negative were fish, shellfish and tree nut!

We are getting ready for the Tampa FARE Walk for Food Allergy next weekend. I'm really excited to participate, help raise money for this great organization and meet other parents of kids with food allergies. I have met some already and they have been a great source of support and information.

Before you know it it'll be Thanksgiving! I'm already thinking about some allergy friendly things to make.

I'll keep you posted!