Beanitos – a corn-free chip!

Posted on February 9th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Healthy Living, Products, Uncategorized | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

Corn sensitivity seems to be on the rise. I know many gluten-free people who also can’t have corn. I must admit that I have no willpower when it comes to chips and salsa — thankfully, I don’t have a problem with corn, but for those that do, or for those that just want to have less corn in their diets, there’s a chip for you!

beanitos-corn-free-chipsI came across Beanitos at The Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last month. These chips are like tortilla chips without the corn! So if you miss that crunch with your guacamole, look no further. Beanitos are 100% corn, wheat, potato and soy free. They are also low glycemic, high protein and high fiber.

The chips come in four flavors: Black Bean, Pinto Bean & Flax, Black Bean with Chipotle BBQ, and Pinto Bean with Cheddar Cheese. If you don’t see this product in your local grocery store, print the Beanitos product sheet and bring it in to show them.


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


Back to school cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free!) – and a GF Flour giveaway

Posted on September 8th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Dairy Allergy, Egg Allergy, Giveaways, Products, Recipes & Cooking Tips, Soy Allergy | Read 38 Comments - Add Your Own »

My daughter is in her second week of Kindergarten and already there have been four birthdays in her class, which means four days of treats that she can’t eat! I’m realizing that elementary school is a whole different world than preschool when it comes to food. It seems to be everywhere. Part of me feels nervous. Can I trust everyone to remember not to give her the birthday treat? Can I trust her to always say no? Part of me feels sad for her that she feels left out.

“I wish I didn’t have food allergies,” she told me last night.
“I wish I didn’t have any either,” I said.

I can’t grant her wish, but I can offer her alternatives that are delicious and safe for her. I have supplied a “snack box” in her classroom — a plastic storage container with her name written on it filled with packaged allergy-free cookies and fruit bars — in case of a treat emergency. But we also have a deal: if other kids got something special in class that day that she couldn’t have, then she gets to have something special when she gets home. Homemade cookies always do the trick! And a good old chocolate chip cookie can also turn into an ice cream sandwich or a frosted delight!

Making gluten-free cookies from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you have other food allergies too, like we do. Using a pre-made GF flour blend makes it especially easy. There are many on the market, but I recently tried Namaste Foods’ Perfect Flour Blend to make gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and they were perfect! Now you can make them too, using the recipes below.

namasteperfectflourblend1 Namaste Foods is going to give away a package of Perfect Flour Blend to three lucky winners! All you have to do to enter is make a comment on this post saying what you would like to make using the Perfect Flour Blend. Three winners will be chosen at random (one comment per person please). Contest will end on Monday, September 14 at noon PST.

According to the package, “Namaste’s Perfect Flour Blend has been designed with ease, efficiency and all your favorite recipes in mind. Simply replace the wheat flour in your everyday recipe with the same amount of our flour blend then follow the directions in the recipe. Namaste’s Perfect Flour Blend will work with almost any recipe in your everyday cookbook. (Obviously, results may vary with more sophisticated recipes.)”

Ingredients: Sweet brown rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour and xanthan gum. (Namaste Foods uses xanthan gum that is not derived from corn or corn sources.)

Here is the recipe for the cookies I made using the recipe from the Perfect Flour Blend bag with some substitutions and additions:

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Egg-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Earth Balance Dairy-Free Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread, softened (you can also use oil, butter or margarine)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg (or use 1 egg if you have no egg allergies)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (I use Cream Hill Estates Lara’s Rolled Oats)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips, or 1/2 cup of each

Directions:
1. Cream together “butter” and sugars until smooth. Add egg replacer (or egg) and vanilla and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
2. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet. If the batter seems a little crumbly, just press it together to hold its shape. It will hold together when it cooks.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then move to wire rack and continue cooling. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

The recipe below was sent to me by Michele, the creator of Namaste Foods.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter or non-dairy butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely
browned.


Allergen-Free Summer Treats Guide 2009

Posted on June 9th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Celiac Disease, Corn Allergy, Dairy Allergy, Food Ideas, Products, Soy Allergy | Read 7 Comments - Add Your Own »

ice_cream_truckDo you love or hate the tinny tune of that ice cream truck cruising through your neighborhood or past the local park? At some point you are going to give in to your crying, begging children. It is best to learn which treats are okay for those everybody-else-gets-to-have-one-so-why-can’t-we-have-one-too ice cream truck moments. After all, you don’t want to be the Mean Mom — at least not in public!

Every ice cream truck is going to pack different treats, but fortunately there are always some that are just basically sugar, color and water. Not that I am a big fan of corn syrup or Red Dye #40, but once in a while I let my kids have a snow cone or frozen pop. If your child has an allergy to either of these ingredients, steer clear of commercial popsicles. Hopefully in that case, they can opt for an ice cream bar (be careful of nuts!)

In my fantasy world, an ice cream truck stocks real fruit juice popsicles, organic non-dairy ice cream bars and shaved ice with natural flavorings and colorings. Don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, but at least you can buy some healthier options at the store, or make your own.

TREATS YOU CAN BUY

TREATS YOU CAN MAKE

  • Frozen juice pops
    Put any kind of fruit juice into fun pop molds – use white grape juice or apple juice if you don’t want to stain their shirts! Mix juices to create a new flavor. This is a great option for kids who can’t have corn syrup or food dyes.
  • Frozen fruit pops
    If you want a chunkier, thicker pop, put frozen fruit in your blender, add liquid and freeze. The liquid could be juice, milk, coconut or other non-dairy milk.
  • Smoothie pops
    Make a fruit and spinach smoothie and put it into the pop molds. Yes, your kids will eat frozen spinach!
  • Snowcones and slushes
    Make your own snow cones with snow cone supplies! Otherwise, you can make a “slush” or “slushie” in your blender by blending ice with juice. Serve it in a fun cup with a straw or spoon.
  • Dairy-free ice cream treats

Any more summer treat ideas or products? Let me know!


Mercury in high fructose corn syrup!

Posted on January 29th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Healthy Living, News & Research | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Is high fructose corn syrup bad?

The high fructose debate

There has been much ado the past few years about the negative impact of high fructose corn syrup. It has been linked to the development of diabetes. It has been blamed for the rise in obesity in our country. It has even been blamed for being bad for the planet.

Is the ado about nothing?  The Corn Refiners Association thinks so. According to their website, HFCSFacts.com, they claim that “high fructose corn syrup is safe and nutritionally the same as table sugar.” They even put out a series of corny (ha ha) and sickeningly sweet (ha ha again) advertisements telling the public that it’s okay in moderation. If you haven’t seen this one yet, get your barf bag ready…

Now perhaps they should add this line to the end of the commercial:

“I’ve got another sweet surprise for you honey… there’s mercury in my popsicle! You can have three bites because I love you so much!” (girl throws head back and laughs)*

Mercury found in common foods

According to new research, 17 out of 55 samples of common foods that had high fructose corn syrup as a leading ingredient were found to have detectable mercury. The products were:

  • Quaker Oatmeal to Go bars
  • Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
  • Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars
  • Manwich Gold Sloppy Joe
  • Market Pantry Grape Jelly
  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jelly
  • Pop-Tarts Frosted Blueberry
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup
  • Wish-Bone Western Sweet & Smooth Dressing
  • Coca-Cola Classic: no mercury found on a second test
  • Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt
  • Minute Maid Berry Punch
  • Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink
  • Nesquik Chocolate Milk
  • Kemps Fat Free Chocolate Milk

You can read the whole fascinating (seriously!) report here: Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s written for you, the consumer, and gives a great background on high fructose corn syrup, who’s eating it, how it’s made and what it’s used for.

Okay, there’s mercury in my food — is that so bad?

There is a lot of debate about these findings and whether high fructose corn syrup is safe or not. The researchers who conducted the study argue that the fact that food manufacturers use mercury in the processing of high fructose corn syrup “is a totally avoidable, unnecessary exposure to mercury” and that any amount of mercury can be potentially dangerous, especially for children and babies.

Critics of the study and its findings say that they don’t specify the form of mercury found and that this matters with regards to its safety. They also argue that the amounts of mercury found are not enough to be dangerous to the consumer.

Want to know my opinion?

I haven’t eaten high fructose corn syrup in years, except in an occasional candy. My kids don’t eat it. One of the reasons it is in so many processed foods is because it is cheap, which is a bigger priority to most food manufacturers than the public’s health. The way high fructose corn syrup is manufactured compared to how cane sugar is made just doesn’t seem right.

Products that contain high fructose corn syrup are highly processed, which means you shouldn’t be eating it anyway. So dump your soda for one of the delicious natural sodas that are out there, spread your toast with real fruit jelly, and stop giving your kids pop-tarts! Why take a chance with diabetes, obesity or mercury?

*For extra high fructose fun, watch all the commercial spoofs of the corn syrup ad on YouTube!


Free-from-Everything Bread

Posted on June 21st, 2007 by Alison | Posted in Corn Allergy, Dairy Allergy, Egg Allergy, Food Ideas, Gluten Intolerance, Products, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

glutenfreedairyfreeeggfreebread.jpgbreadsfromannaglutenfree.jpgWould you believe a bread with a delicious taste and wheat-like texture could be made without gluten, corn, dairy, soy, rice or eggs? Believe it, because I made some yesterday!

I have been a fan of Breads from Anna bread mixes since I first tried them in 2004. They make a great loaf that rivals a wheat bread. I had been using the “Gluten, Soy and Rice Free Bread Mix”, but stopped making it when I stopped eating corn, and when my daughter was diagnosed with egg and dairy allergies.

Anna makes another bread mix called “Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Soy and Rice Free Bread Mix”, which solves most of our problems, except the eggs. Yesterday I decided to try an experiment. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer for the eggs called for in the bread mix. The mix calls for 2 eggs + 1 egg white to equal 2/3 to 3/4 cup liquid. I mixed the equivalent of 4 eggs with the egg replacer to equal 2/3 cup liquid. And voilá! A perfect egg-free (and everything-else-free) loaf!

On the lunch menu today: turkey sandwiches – almost makes me forget about all the stuff we can’t eat.

If you are not feeling confident in your bread-making abilities, read How to Make Gluten-Free Bread. A gluten-free loaf is better than none!


Corn and my baby

Posted on May 7th, 2007 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Corn Allergy | Read 20 Comments - Add Your Own »

cornonthecob21.jpg

WARNING: graphic baby poop talk ahead. Proceed with caution.

When my second daughter was born, I expected the normal newborn poop of a breastfed baby – mustard yellow, curd-like and sweet-smelling. This never happened for her. Her poop was, shall we say, a bit on the foul side: brown, sometimes with black streaks, mucus-y, and smelly. I knew something was not right and kept hoping it would change, but it only got worse. Clearly there was something going on with her digestive system. She sometimes had a lot of gas, which I know people think is normal for babies, but my first baby had no gas, so I wasn’t going to accept it in this one. I had to figure out what was causing her tummy distress. She also had little hives/rash on her neck and behind her ears. During night feedings, she would sometimes take 45 minutes to go back to sleep. She just didn’t calm down quickly. At times I wondered if I had a “colicky” baby.

I decided to investigate my diet. I was already gluten-free. I then went off dairy as that is a common allergen, but no significant change happened. What was I eating a lot of that could be a potential allergen? I ate a lot of corn – could that be it? I ate tortilla chips every day and a lot of them. I also ate corn tamales and corn tortillas. I did a search on the web to see if other people had any experience with corn and newborns but found nothing. I decided to do my own test and stop eating corn. Lo and behold, within days, my 2 month old baby stopped having gas. She stopped having bowel movements as frequently and the poop? Not dark and smelly anymore! Her skin cleared up, and the best part of all was that she calmed down at night and went right back to sleep after her feedings.

There is still no corn in my diet or hers. I did test my theory and ate corn one time – her stool changed and her rash came back. I am hoping that she will not be sensitive to corn as she gets older, but I will proceed with caution. I hope that this little anecdote helps a mom out there searching for an answer.