Tips

Egg Replacer

People have been asking me about how to use an egg replacer, specifically a commercial egg replacer like Ener G. Most of you probably have found that gluten free baking turns out really dense and without eggs it’s worse.

One of the best tips I have learned over the years is to double the amount called for. So if you need 1 egg for the recipe, use 2 eggs worth of the egg replacer. This is especially true if you are making lighter things like pancakes, cupcakes, and other desserts. You could even triple the egg replacer.

Each recipe may take a little experimenting to find the right ratio. I have tripled the replacer in some recipes and they were really a bit too light and fluffy. Which personally, I would rather have baked goods on the lighter side than too dense as most gluten free baked goods are.

But over all a good rule of thumb is to double the amount of egg replacer and you should find that your baked goods are less dense.

Hope this helps.

Until next time,

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Thanksgiving Tips 2

Well, after the 3rd try I hope that this post will come through. I saved it and it somehow ended up lost. I tried posting it and it wouldn’t post.

Here are a few things we do as a family when substituting for allergies.

  • Turkey: one of my commenters said that they use butter on top of the turkey. I have never done this, I usually baste a turkey in it’s own juices. Maybe this is a practice in different parts of the country?
  • Gravy: if you are headed out somewhere, WATCH out! Most gravies use flour to thicken. If you are making your own it is easy to substitute with rice flour or corn starch.
  • Stuffing: this is one of the hardest substitutions. I have not found a gluten free stuffing available on the market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We either go without or I have taken gluten free bread and made croutons ahead and carefully cook them with water and spices to make a type of stuffing. It’s not the same, but still works well.
  • Mashed potatoes: (one of the easiest things to make allergy free unless you are allergic to potatoes) use rice milk, less than normal to keep the potatoes from feeling “watery”. Dairy-free butter of choice. Or baked red potatoes with herbs, spices and olive oil are a nice change.
  • Sweet potatoes: watch the marshmallows (check ingredients) or leave them off. Substitute dairy for dairy free depending on what your recipe calls for. One thing we like to do is eat sweet potatoes plain or I chop them into pieces and add brown sugar with melted dairy free butter over top with pecans mixed in. YUM!
  • Green Bean Casserole: I mentioned this one in the previous post. Again, it is possible to substitute just know it won’t be exact, but it still will taste fabulous.
  • Bread: you can either bake or buy some gluten free bread or even better how about some cornbread instead? There’s a great recipe I have changed to make allergy free over here.
  • Pumpkin pie: this one gets a little harder, but you can replace the crust with gluten free crust and then for the pie filling instead of starting with a pie filling, you can start with pureed pumpkin adding in dairy free milk and spices.
  • Apple pie: use a gluten free pie crust or an easier and quicker idea is to make an apple crisp instead. Using rice flour or a combination of gluten free flours you can make the crumble quite easily. This is one thing we like to make all the time for dessert and even our guests that don’t have food allergies really enjoy it.

Reality is you can have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal without “traditional” foods. Years past I have tried out all kinds of different recipes that are not considered traditional and each one has gone over well. If we hadn’t had the flu this year I had planned on sharing those recipes here, which I still will do, even if it won’t help for tomorrow’s meal.

I hope that you have a great day tomorrow whatever you are eating. Enjoy the gathering.

Until next time,

Thanksgiving Tips

Ah…can’t wait for the big day! Lots of yummy foods, friends and family gathered round enjoying a day of fellowship and giving thanks for the many blessings we have.Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, famous green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie a la mode, sweet potato casserole…can you picture it all laid out on a buffet or in the center of the table?

Wonderful food and other than the cranberry sauce and turkey, each one of those “traditional” Thanksgiving treats has at least one major allergen in it’s recipe. What is a person to do?

You could host the meal yourself. That is a lot of work, but can be done.

There are a lot of recipes out there that can help you maneuver through some of those tough ones.  Or you can see the substitution list for some ideas of how to take the traditional recipes and make them allergy free.  For example, green bean casserole, while you can’t put the gluten laden fried onions on top, you could toss some of your own in a rice flour and quick fry them on the stove. They won’t be exact, but still will be quite tasty and that’s the point. The recipe could be made without the cream soup versions if you can’t have dairy.

If your family is like ours, and does potluck style, you can create some special sides for the allergy needs and let the rest bring what they will. Another option is to ask them to be sensitive to your family’s needs and help them with ideas of what to bring that everyone can eat.

What do you do if you are headed out to another home for the day, as our family will be doing this year? It is difficult to ask a hostess to cater to your allergy needs, but at the same time hostesses usually feel bad that they didn’t make anything you can eat. Making a hostess aware that you don’t expect her to cater to your needs is important, but making the need known gives her the ability to decide how she wants to handle it. You might be surprised at how sensitive she may be.

If it is not possible for her to make something for you then by all means bring some of your own special food, making sure to have several small dishes to fill in where needed. Also, it is best to ask ahead, what she will be serving, so that you can provide substitutions as necessary. Can you bring something? If that’s the case, you know you can make an allergy free dish that will please everyone and you can pile that on your plate during the day.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, so these tips may be a little late, but I hope they help. For the Christmas holidays, I will be compiling a list of great cookie, cakes, and dessert recipes. Drop a note in the box if you have one you’d like to share with us. We’d love to hear what you are doing.

Until next time,

Allergy Food Restaurant Cards

Having mentioned restaurant food cards more than once, I thought it was time to show you an example or two. There are other websites that sell these or request that give then your e-mail address first before offering them to you for free. While I understand the reasons why they do that they are not very hard to make yourself and I think you should have the information for free with no strings attached.

Write up something that included all of your food allergy needs, print it on cardstock and to make it last longer laminate it and carry it with you always. In the future I might create some “pretty” ones for you do download, so keep an eye out for those.

We have even found these helpful when going through airport security with all the extra medicines and food  we need to carry with us.

Here are examples of a restaurant cards:

It can be as simple as this one: (our pediatrician even printed this information on her letterhead for airport security)

Warning: FOOD ALLERGY ALERT
I have a serious food allergy to Gluten – Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, Soy Sauce and Malt.

All flour, breads, grains, pastas, cereals, wheat germs, cake, bread crumbs, cookies, spelt, kamut, triticale including

Sauces, creams, gravy thickeners, salad dressings, baked goods, toppings, and seasonings.

No Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, Soy Sauce, Malt!
If I eat any meal that has been prepared with, cooked with or processed with these foods I will need immediate medical attention.

Or more detailed like this example:

I have an allergy to gluten. Gluten is in wheat (and wheat flour), oats, rye, and barley (malt). It can also be hidden in additives, spices and condiments. Please make sure that my meal does not contain any of the ingredients listed, as well as the following additives:

Modified food starch (corn and rice are fine)
[and any other things that are forbidden on your list…]

It is also important that my food doesn’t touch other foods with gluten during the preparation process. Please do not cook my food in the same oil or use the same utensils you used for foods with gluten in them.

THANK YOU!

Here is yet another option:

Attention Chef or Restaurant Manager:

My name is Little Miss and I have severe, life-threatening allergies to:

Milk, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish, Peanuts, Tree Nuts (walnuts, cashews, etc.), Soy, Wheat (or whatever is on your list of allergens)

Please help me avoid all of these foods so that I may stay safe and healthy by making certain that any food that I eat does not contain any of these foods as ingredients.

Also, please make certain that none of these foods touched the food that I ordered (prepared in the same frying oil; cut with the same knife, etc.).

Thank you for helping.

Since we have multiple food allergies ours is similar to the one first above. We have the food allergies listed on two different cards that are laminated together front to back.

I hope this helps.

Until next time,

Dealing with School

While our family homeschools and does not deal with school, many of you out there need do some suggestions and help with your children’s allergies at school or daycare. These are things that I  have learned because of dealing with preschool programs or church programs, but they are tips that will help you when you navigate through school as well.

In General

  • The first and most important thing you need to do is to call for a meeting before school starts. Ask for a meeting with any teachers your child will have, the principal, school nurse and cafeteria manager. If you have materials written out including a clearly written summary regarding your child’s allergies and a more in depth look at the particular food allergy this will help tremendously. It will give you something to share from as well as information for them to look at later.
  • Be sure to talk with all the teachers again when school first starts. Give them a stash of allergy-free safe foods for any surprises that might come up.
  • Birthdays and holidays always bring parties and with parties, food. There are two suggestions here. One is to get a list of all the birthdays and holidays when school first starts so that you can make cupcakes or snacks for your child to bring with you that day or you can keep cupcakes in freezer. The second option is for the teacher to use the stash for each party.
  • For lunches or snack time (daycares and pre-schools) either be sure that the cafeteria can offer allergy free food or plan on your child always bringing their own. Some cafeterias are willing to create some allergy-free foods a couple of days a week, according to a source of mine, and therefore your child can feel like they don’t always have to bring their own food. This is one of the areas that you will need to be upfront about and ask lots of questions.
  • As for brown-bagging it, it is the easiest thing you can do, but you will need to talk with the cafeteria staff and your child about swapping food. It happens and your child really needs to be discouraged from doing it.

For Daycare and Preschool Children

  • Ask for snack list so that you can provide similar snacks to have there.
  • If your child does not speak yet, one really good suggestion that I received was to make a button that says “Don’t Feed Me….(whatever is on your list)“. This serves as a reminder to caretakers. It would be a good idea for an older child that has speech delays too.
  • For your young preschoolers, now is a good time to begin to teach children to ask about ingredients, as well as, to know what they can not have. When you tell them they can not have gluten, also tell them that gluten is in wheat, barley, oats and rye. Say it every time you talk about their allergies and they will learn it. Little Miss knew this inside and out at age 2. She also knew to ask if something had gluten in it. Everyone thought it was cute that she’d ask about everything,wanting to know if it was gluten-free, even potatoes or vegetables.
  • You will probably need to check that the daycare or preschool has clean facilities where food is prepared and teach the caretakers about cross-contamination.
  • Young children will need supervision at snack time or if bottles are out and about all the time. We had to stop attending a group program because this was a problem. Little Miss ended up in the hospital after drinking a bottle and eating food she took from another child. The teachers and caretakers do their best and accidents can happen, but if it is not working out for your child, change the daycare or pre-school.
  • Young children will often eat play-dough and other craft items; you will most-likely need to provide your own since most of these are made with gluten.

Don’t feel bad about having to inform any staff of issues and needs that you have.

Hope this helps.

Until next time,

MamaT