How to Make Soft and Chewy Rice Crispy Treats Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

Posted on April 17th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Food Ideas, Holidays/Special Events, Products, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 5 Comments - Add Your Own »

The first time I made Rice Crispy Treats, they turned out hard as a rock. After many attempts, I have a yummy and soft Rice Crispy Treat recipe, and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free too!

gluten-free-rice-crispy-tre

The key to making good Rice Crispy Treats is in both the ingredients and the technique. The ingredients in my recipe are different from the traditional Rice Krispies version. First of all, I  don’t use Rice Krispies because they are not gluten-free (they contain barley malt). This is changing in June 2011 — if you haven’t heard yet, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies is going gluten-free. This is wonderful news for so many families, and evidence of the growing and powerful gluten-free market.

I personally will continue to buy Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal Gluten FreeErewhon Crispy Brown Rice Gluten Free Cereal because I like the ingredients better: Organic brown rice, Organic brown rice syrup, Sea salt. (The new Rice Krispies will contain whole grain brown rice, sugar, salt and BHT.) Erewhon compares in taste and crispiness to Rice Krispies, and it has been a staple in my house for years.

The next change I made to the traditional recipe was to use dairy-free butter. I used Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread, and the result was soft and chewy. You can also use coconut oil, which will result in a chewy but not as soft treat with a hint of coconut taste.

Another difference in my recipe is a higher marshmallow to cereal ratio. I have always felt that rice crispy treats never had enough marshmallow, so I fixed that problem!

I discovered after trial and error that technique is important. You must slowly heat the marshmallows or you will get a rock-hard treat.

I hope you enjoy!

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Soft and Chewy Rice Crispy Marshmallow Treats

Ingredients:
Easy to remember! 4-4-4 (or 2-2-2 if you want just a small batch)

  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance dairy-free butter or coconut oil (coconut oil will result in crunchier treat with a hint of coconut flavor)
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 4 cups crispy rice cereal (I prefer Erewhon Gluten-Free)

Directions:

  1. Heat dairy-free butter or coconut oil on low heat until almost melted.
  2. Add marshmallow and heat S-L-O-W-L-Y in a large saucepan, with little to no stirring, until the marshmallows are almost melded together. Be patient.
  3. marshmallows melting

  4. Stir gently until the marshmallows resemble marshmallow cream. The marshmallow cream should be light and fluffy. If you heat too quickly, it will become tough and sticky, making for a tough treat. If using coconut oil, it will seem like the oil is not stirring in at first, but gently continue to incorporate it in until you don’t see any more in the edges of the pan.

    marshmallow melted

  5. When it is creamy and the butter or oil is blended in, turn off the heat, and pour the rice cereal into the pan, gently blending the marshmallow with the cereal until evenly distributed.

    marshmallow and cereal

  6. Pour into any kind of greased pan.
  7. Cut the treats with cookie cutters while warm or cool. If using coconut oil, it is better to cut the treats while warm, as they will harden. To cut, flip the treats out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut with a knife or use cookie cutters. If using cookie cutters, you may have to run a knife along the edge to break the marshmallow strands. If the edges of the shapes turn out a bit rough, simply mold the edges with your hands to make smooth.

    Rice Crispy Treats

  8. When cool, store in an airtight container or plastic bag.
  9. Shapes can be frosted too!

Gluten-free roasted chicken noodle soup recipe

Posted on March 27th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Giving up gluten doesn’t mean giving up chicken noodle soup! Here is my recipe for gluten-free roasted chicken noodle soup. I prefer roasting the chicken and vegetables first to give the soup a hearty flavor.

chicken-noodle-soup gluten free

I get two meals out of this recipe because I roast the chicken and vegetables the night before and we eat it for dinner. Then I used the leftovers for the soup. This works for my family, but whether it would work for yours depends on the size of your family and the size of the chicken. Otherwise, you can simply roast the chicken and make the soup in the same day.

ROASTED CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Veggies for RoastingIngredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (mine was 4.3 lbs)
  • About 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2-3 carrots, cut in chunks
  • 5-6 small red potatoes, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 red onion, cut in chucks

Roasting the chicken and vegetables:

  1. chicken-for-roastingRinse chicken inside and out and pat dry (remove packet of innards from the cavity of chicken – I discard, but others may want to use in the soup. The neck has so many little bones that I don’t put it in mine.)
  2. Sprinkle and rub almost a tablespoon of salt on the outside and inside of the chicken.
  3. You should truss the chicken. I didn’t do it properly in this picture because I forgot exactly how, so I just made it up on the spot. But if you would like to do it right, here is a good (and humorous) video to help you: How to Truss a Chicken.
  4. Place cut up vegetables around the chicken in the roasting pan. Sprinkle rest of salt on the veggies. Use more salt if desired.
  5. roasted-chickenPlace roasting pan in a 450° oven for 50-60 minutes until juices of chicken run clear. You may want to turn the vegetables with a spoon part way through the cooking time.
  6. Eat some for dinner, or follow directions for soup below.

Making the soup:

  1. Take the remainder of the chicken, including the bones and leftover meat and place in a pot or dutch oven.
  2. chicken-soup-prepCut up the vegetables into smaller pieces if preferred and add to pot. If you like celery you can add it here.
  3. Cover the chicken half with water and half with chicken broth. (I use Pacific organic free-range chicken broth)
  4. Bring liquid to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cover for about an hour.
  5. In a separate pot, make the spaghetti noodles, making sure not to overcook, and set aside. (I recommend Tinkyada or Jovial gluten-free spaghetti noodles.)
  6. After an hour, the chicken should be tender and easy to pick with forks off the bones. Discard the bones.
  7. gluten free chicken noodle soupWhen ready to serve, put cooked noodles in a bowl and spoon soup over the noodles. This is a better method than putting the noodles into the pot of soup because they will eventually soak up a lot of the broth. This way, too, people can opt for how much of the noodles they want in their bowl.
  8. Enjoy!

Gluten-free corn-free tortilla recipe

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Gluten Intolerance, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

laurie-gauguinI am excited to bring you a tortilla recipe from Laurie Gauguin, a personal chef and food writer in the San Francisco Bay Area who specializes in gluten-free cooking. I love that this recipe uses yellow split peas, a great source of fiber and protein. To learn more about Laurie and her services, visit her website: www.lauriegauguin.com.

ALLERGEN-FREE TORTILLAS

This recipe works with a variety of legumes, such as black-eyed peas and split chickpeas. I like using the split peas because they cook up a lovely golden color, and their flavor is sweet and nutty.
gluten-free-tortilla

Like corn tortillas, these become pliable when heated. Pop them in the microwave or warm them in a dry skillet before using. If you like crispy edges, add a little oil to the pan when reheating.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas
  • 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • oil for the pan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cover the split peas and rice with 2 inches of water. Cover and set aside on the counter overnight.
  2. Drain the peas and rice, then put them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the salt, then process until the mixture is finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. With the motor running, gradually pour in ½ cup water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then continue to process for 3 minutes. The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter (but grainy). If it’s too thick, stir in a spoonful or more of water.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a thin layer of oil. Pour in 1/3 cup of the batter, then spread it around with a rubber spatula until you have a 7-inch tortilla. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the tortilla is golden around the edges. Flip and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more, until bottom side is lightly freckled. Remove from the pan, then repeat the process for the remaining batter.

Yield: 7 tortillas


Spectrum shortening – new butter flavor, still dairy-free

Posted on January 3rd, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Dairy Allergy, Products, Recipes & Cooking Tips, Soy Allergy | Read 13 Comments - Add Your Own »

spectrum-shortening-butter1Looking for a dairy-free substitute for baking? Instead of butter or margarine, I have used Spectrum Organic Shortening made from palm oil. It works well, although it has such a neutral flavor that it doesn’t give baked goods the same buttery taste as those made with butter or margarine. Problem solved: Spectrum’s new Organic Butter Flavor Shortening!

I have only seen this product in one store so far, Mother’s Market in Orange County, California (I LOVE this market — incredible selection of gluten-free and other allergen-free foods). It isn’t even shown on the website yet, but I called the company and they gave me the ingredients: Organic palm oil, natural butter flavor (non-dairy), annatto and turmeric for color.

I love that more companies are accommodating dairy allergies with products like these.


Gluten-Free Egg-Free Latke recipe

Posted on December 9th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Egg Allergy, Holidays/Special Events, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 5 Comments - Add Your Own »

gluten-free-egg-free-latkes2

It’s the last day of Hanukkah and this morning I found out that my daughter’s class would be making latkes. Ugh — eggs. So what does an allergy mom do but rush to the store, rush home and come up with a recipe for gluten-free egg-free latkes of course! I grew up eating latkes, so I was excited by the prospect of making them allergy-free. Searching the web, I came across a recipe called Maxine’s Latkes and at that moment I knew that I would be able to create the perfect latkes for my daughter Maxine! And I did. I hope you enjoy them too!

Maxine’s Allergy-Free Latkes

Makes about 20 latkes. CONTINUE READING »


Hail to the Kale — How to Make Kale Chips

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Food Ideas, Healthy Living, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Tonight my girls chowed down a plate of kale and fought over the last bite, which I then had to split in half. No, I’m not magic! The kale tasted good. Take it from my 4 year old who looked at it and said “Yuck” and then tasted it and said “Yum!” It feels good to watch your kids eat such a powerhouse veggie, packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin B6, and magnesium! Plus, it’s in season now (winter).

anniekale1

kalechips1

maxinekale

I was first introduced to the idea of kale chips by Michelle of What’s Cooking With Kids many months ago when she shared with me her simple recipe as we walked through the Marin farmer’s market. Combining her instructions, a few tips from Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, and my own advice, I am sharing how I made the kale chips that my daughters loved so much.

KALE CHIPS

Ingredients:

  • One bunch of organic kale (try to get Lacinato kale, otherwise known as Dinosaur or Tuscan kale — the hearty leaves are dark blue-green) UPDATE: I’ve decided I like regular old green kale better for chips and it is easy to break the leaves off the stem.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I prefer fine grain sea salt for these chips)

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale leaves and spin dry in a salad spinner, or dry with a towel or paper towels. CONTINUE READING »

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips 2010

Posted on November 16th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Holidays/Special Events, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

fallleaves1Are you celebrating Thanksgiving gluten-free? This will be my 7th Thanksgiving since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. The first year was hard, but each year got easier and yummier as family members and I adapted traditional dishes and created new ones.

I am thankful for many things in my life, but here I would like to express my thanks for the people who have visited this blog and have shared their life stories, their insights and their advice. I have learned so much from you all and have been so moved by your comments and emails, so THANK YOU to my readers!

If you are relatively new to the gluten-free diet or need a reminder, you will find my Thanksgiving gluten-free and food allergy tips helpful. If you’ve been at it for a while, you might like to try a new gluten-free stuffing recipe, the one I have made many times to rave reviews.

Or, check out these other wonderful resources to make your gluten-free Thanksgiving a success:

If you have other resources, links or gluten-free Thanksgiving ideas you would like to share, feel free to add them in the comments. There is a wealth of help out there today — what a difference from 7 years ago!


Make any cookie festive!

Posted on October 30th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Food Ideas, Holidays/Special Events, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

img_59091

Okay, if you are like me, you don’t always (never?) have time to make roll out sugar cookies, cut them into shapes and decorate. Though they are fun, they really are time-consuming. And I still haven’t experimented enough to find a reliable gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free roll out sugar cookie recipe.

What I have been doing lately is make whatever cookie is good (in this case it was oatmeal cookies) and pipe decorations onto them. The kids love them! If you don’t own a piping set, you really must get one. It’s so easy and fun to make your treats look fancy!

Don’t miss the 2010 Halloween Candy lists:


Cooking with your kids really works!

Posted on July 7th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Healthy Living, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 4 Comments - Add Your Own »

cuttingolives2

Last night my daughter ate a dinner of pasta (gluten-free) with a sauce of olive oil-sauteed red onions, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and chicken apple sausage. There was nothing left in her bowl… not because she is an amazing kid who eats anything, but because tonight she cooked it with me.

Let me back up a bit and introduce you to Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking. I was introduced to Michelle on Twitter by Stephanie O’Dea, the Crockpot Lady — this is the virtual blogger world that I live in, but we all live in the Bay Area and I now know them as real people. Michelle teaches cooking to kids. She has built a business around it, not because she is a businesswoman as much as she is a teacher, which is where she and I really connected. It turns out that she was a student teacher for a science class at the same high school where I was teaching history. Our paths didn’t cross at that time, but here we are now!

Michelle’s work inspires me to get my kids more involved in cooking and understanding where their food comes from. Her blog is full of great advice… recently she gave two tips for cooking with kids:

  1. “Let go of perfection.” – I don’t know about you, but this is a hard one for me!
  2. “Let kids DO.” – seems obvious, but this is easy to forget.
  3. And I would like to add: “Have patience.” Give them time to learn.

Michelle and I met up for the first time at the farmer’s market where she encouraged me to buy kale to make kale chips (they were yummy!) Her passion has stuck with me since that day, although I really do forget to involve my kids enough in food preparation.

But not last night! Last night my daughter cut cherry tomatoes in half with a serrated knife for the first time. I taught her how to hold the knife, how to hold the tomato and how to cut with a forward and back motion. She was so proud of herself. (If your child isn’t ready to use a sharp knife, you can let him/her use a butter knife to cut olives, as shown in the picture.) She also stood at the stove on a step stool and stirred, as I added each ingredient. The result was that she felt that she cooked the dinner, and so of course she thought it was delicious! (Bonus: little sis also ate most of it, even the yellow peppers, because big sis was eating it!)

Involving your children in the preparation and cooking of healthy food helps them to appreciate it, understand it, and best of all — eat it!


30 Days to a Food Revolution

Posted on April 27th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Blog Events, Giveaways, Healthy Living, Recipes & Cooking Tips | ADD A COMMENT »

icookrealfoodI hope that many of you got a chance to watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I found the T.V. series so inspiring, and like Jamie (otherwise known as the Naked Chef for his use of honest, real food) said: “Yes, this is a T.V. show, but it’s real life.”

He succeeded in making change in the school lunch program in a town chosen for its high rate of obesity. His mission — OUR mission — is so important: feed our kids well so that they can live healthy lives. Of course, there needs to be change not only in our lunch programs, but throughout our society. This change won’t come about easily, as we need education, dedication, motivation and of course, money. But it CAN be done and we need to try.

Many bloggers (including me!) are hoping to make a small difference by sharing tips and recipes for cooking real food in 30 Days to a Food Revolution, an online event dreamed up and organized by Diane of The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

For 30 days, there will be 30 different food bloggers sharing 30 different ways to eat real food.

Less processed food, more real food is the goal! Most of us are living gluten-free or with other special diets, so hopefully you will find a wealth of good stuff to use in your own kitchens, and discover new blogs too.

I will be contributing my tip and recipe on May 4. In the meantime, you can follow these  participating blogs:

There are also prizes to win! Go to the 30 Days to a Food Revolution page to see the details about how to enter.