Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Namaste

As you may know, "Namaste" is a greeting that means "I bow to the god within you that is also in me." Well, I bow to Namaste's gluten-free goodness that is in my tummy. Scott has said that he could (almost) be a vegetarian if that meant eating Indian food all the time. We are not gluten free, but I (almost) could be thanks to Namaste. At dessert time, anyway.

We just tried five of Namaste's new products, and we liked four of the five.

First, we used their Chocolate Cake Mix, which makes a two-layer cake or a sheet cake. We frosted it with their new Chocolate Fudge Frosting Mix. It was "make-your-face sweat" good. So rich, so fudgy, so moist. Excellent.

Ingredients: Cake mix: Evaporated cane juice, sweet brown rice flour, tapioca flour, Dutch cocoa, arrowroot flour, rice milk powder, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and xanthan gum.
Frosting mix: Brown sugar, Dutch cocoa, rice milk powder, and salt.

We also tried Namaste's new Toffee Vanilla Frosting Mix on top of Alisa's white cake. The frosting's flavor was great--like penuche--but there was a bit of grittyness from the brown sugar. Genius that I am, I decided to solve this problem by spreading the frosting on a still-warm cake. It tasted great, but it looked like the face melt from Indiana Jones. [I realize this is my fault, not theirs.] And you gotta love how short the ingredient list is, especially compared to other store-bought frostings.

Ingredients: Brown sugar, rice milk powder, salt, and pure ground vanilla bean.

I used their Perfect Flour Blend to make Molasses Cake (the recipe is on the back of the bag), and it worked really well. The cake tastes like gingerbread without the ginger, and the texture and moistness was similar to their cake mixes. I'm guessing this flour mixture is similar to what's used in the cake mixes.

Ingredients: Sweet brown rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour, and xanthan gum.

And... we tried the Biscuits, Piecrust & More! mix. We really tried. We made biscuits. We made piecrust. No one liked the biscuits: the texture was too firm and the taste was too baking powder-y. The piecrust was similar to other GF piecrusts we've tried. It was better than the biscuits, but still a bit sandy in texture for my taste. This is where it's hard for me to fairly judge GF products, as I am easily able to whip up a batch of biscuits with gluten. But if I weren't, would I like the ease and taste of these? I don't know. The package also has directions for coffee cake, but I think I'd use the Perfect Flour Blend instead.

Rhubarb Pie. Kind of.

Ingredients: Sweet brown rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour, rice milk powder, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.

Overall, we are Namaste fans, especially when it comes to their cake mixes and frostings.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival #46

It's my turn to host the Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival again! That's right, I said the "living with food allergies" carnival, not the "health and wellness" carnival or the "dietary supplement" carnival, and certainly not the "timeshare" carnival. Back off, Spammers.

Today's entries are divided into three main groups: living with food allergies, allergen-free foods, and giveaway.

Living With Food Allergies

Stella R. presents Rising from the dead posted at Stellargy.

Allergicmom presents Kindergarten Field Trip to the Dairy Farm...Seriously posted at my kids' allergies.

Christine presents Cowgirl up posted at Corn Allergic: What I Reacted To Today.

Karen Blue presents Stages of Acceptance posted at Avoiding Milk Blog.

Allergen-Free Food

Tanya presents Tips for Baking Without- Milk Substitutes posted at Allergy friendly, family friendly FOOD.

Alison presents Allergen-Free Summer Treats Guide 2009 posted at Sure Foods Living - for celiac disease, gluten intolerance, food allergies, peanut allergy, nut allergy, gluten-free diet, gfcf diet, dairy-free, egg-free, soy free or other allergen-free living.

Kishari presents FAQ Chewy chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)! Yay! posted at The Food Allergy Queen.

Kim, The Food Allergy Coach presents Allergy friendly products on a budget - Is it possible???? posted at The Food Allergy Coach.

Alisa presents Vegan Pizza Cheese Face-off: Teese, Sheese, Follow Your Heart, and Cheezly posted at Go Dairy Free.

Alisa presents Easy Mexican Meals: Part 1 ? Taco Seasoning posted at One Frugal Foodie.

Nowheymama presents Spring Summer Soup posted at No Whey, Mama.


Giveaway? There's no giveaway here. *sigh* Oh all right. FINE.

Alisa presents Giveaway: Snacks and Cookies for Everyone! posted at One Frugal Foodie.

But it's mine I tell ya! All miiinnne....

The next Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival will be hosted by Alisa at One Frugal Foodie. Join us, won't you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pardon Me, Do You Have Any Fake Mustard?

What? EpiPen reaction story? What? I'm sorry, I can't hear you. We are having company every day this week but one and there are cherries to pick and reviews to write and children to hug and blogs to read and broken faucets to fix and storytime to attend and a Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival to host. La la la la.

What am I cooking for all this company? Oh, I can hear you now. Tonight we're having this. Except mine is bone-in, not boneless. And I had to fake my own Dijon with dry mustard and (red) wine. And I used fresh rosemary and sage instead of dried. And I'm cooking it on high instead of low. Otherwise, exactly the same.

I use the slow cooker a lot in the summer. I can start dinner in the morning, and it doesn't heat up the kitchen. The other night I made an Italian Beef Stew that was a combination of several recipes.

Italian Beef Stew

chuck roast
1 cup red wine
1 T. fresh rosemary
1 t. fresh sage
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic scapes)
1 envelope dairy-free onion soup mix
1 onion, sliced into wedges
fresh ground pepper
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 t. tomato paste

Dump it all in the slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until tender.

We served it with carrots sauteed in dairy-free margarine and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Last night, I made dairy-free manicotti. The filling was 1 lb. ground turkey, browned, and mixed with 1/4 c. dairy-free cream cheese, @ 2/3 c. dairy-free sour cream, 2 t. Italian seasoning, 1 t. sugar, salt and pepper, 1 T. chopped fresh parsley, and 1 egg, beaten. I cooked it the easy way, where you put the filling in raw noodles and then pour 1 jar of dairy-free sauce mixed with 1 c. water, boiling, over the filled pasta. I cooked it, covered, at 4oo degrees for 55 minutes.

That's just peachy keen, Nowheymama, but I came here hoping to hear more about Saturday.

Uh, gotta go to storytime! More soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spring Summer Soup

Because our children will eat only so many salads.

Summer Soup, adapted from Edward Harris Heth's Spring Soup

2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 T. margarine
1 quart chicken stock or broth made from dairy-free bouillon
2 cups fresh, young greens (I use the baby salad mix that comes in our CSA box.), cut into ribbons
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or chervil or basil), chopped
rind and juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper

Fry the potatoes and carrots in margarine just until golden. Add the chicken stock/broth and boil until the vegetables are tender. Puree with a stick blender. Add the greens, herbs, and lemon juice and rind and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with BLTs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Random (Possibly Lame) Updates

Smooze ice pops can be found in stores.

My neighbor's roofers are still. Working. On. Her. Roof. I love the sound of nail guns in the morning. And all freaking day long. *pching pching pching* Pause. *pching pching pching* Pause. Shoot me.

We have reduced our landfill diaper contribution by half. Yay, potty training!

Our favorite farm stand lady has retired. We miss her so much and are trying to find new sources of rhubarb and strawberries and eggs and raspberries, among other things. The kids keep asking for "Apple" because she always gave them an apple or other fruit when we stopped by. She is responsible for their willingness to try many different vegetables. OK, must stop before I get choked up.

But, our CSA box has started arriving! Greens! Fresh herbs! And, one of our neighbors works with a woman whose chickens are laying so many eggs she's giving them away. She won't accept payment, just...food scraps to feed the chickens. DONE. Thank you, lady I've never met, for all of the FREE fresh eggs!

Scott and I have declared war on the birds that have taken over our yard. I'd love to be all lovey dovey about them, but every piece of play equipment, furniture, and decking is covered with huge splats of birdy poopy. It's not their fault. They are drawn to my neighbor's jumbo-size bird feeders, just as the squirrels and rabbits are drawn to the corn and peanuts she puts out. Yeah. Obviously, we're talking about a fence, but what else can we do that's safe for kids and animals? We don't want to kill them, just keep them OUT.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Image courtesy of alternativestores.com

Nicole asked me about dairy-free frozen treats yesterday, and one I didn't mention was Smooze Fruit Ice. We have been enjoying these push-up pops in the recent hot weather.

Although they are called "fruit ice," they are more of an ice milk consistency, probably because they are made with coconut milk. The Smoozes? Smoozi? are packaged in little triangular push-pop containers and come in four flavors: Mango and Coconut, Pink Guava and Coconut, Pineapple and Coconut, and Passion Fruit and Coconut. The kids like all four flavors, but I find the mango and pineapple ones to be a little too sweet. The Pink Guava and Passion Fruit ices have a tangy flavor that I think goes well with the sweet coconut milk.

The packages we received were not frozen, which I like for portability. We could take some on vacation, for example, and just throw them in the freezer when we get there. I also like the ice creamy consistency of the ices. You could easily squeeze one into a bowl and serve it as an ice cream substitute for an allergic child.

Ingredients: Passion Fruit, Guava, Pineapple, or Mango juice, coconut milk, sugar, stabilizer: pectin, citric acid (all except Passion Fruit flavor), natural fruit flavors, ascorbic acid.

Smooze ice pops can be ordered for $60/case (plus $12/shipping) from Smoozeusa.com. There are 12 boxes of 10 pops in a case. I believe they are new to the US, so I don't know when they will be available elsewhere for less of a financial and freezer space commitment.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Pamela's Cornbread

We recently tried Pamela's Products wheat-free and gluten-free Cornbread and Muffin Mix. The packages contain directions for many different variations, and we tried two of them.

We usually make unsweetened 'Southern' cornbread in a cast iron skillet. Pamela's provides directions for Southern Skillet Cornbread, so we followed those, using three eggs and sour soymilk instead of buttermilk. The skillet cornbread was fine, but it had a strong baking powder taste and was a bit dry, even for Southern cornbread. This is where I would choose cornbread with gluten over gluten free, but I realize that isn't an option for everyone.

Here's the Southern cornbread. I can't find the muffin pic. Someone probably ate it.

However, we also tried the recipe for Sweet Old Fashioned Cornbread (muffin variation), and that was a hit! I'm guessing the addition of 1/2 cup of sugar and 8 tablespoons of margarine had something to do with it. You also add two eggs and 1 cup water. The muffins were really rich and dense, in the best possible way. They were still moist the next day, and we split the leftover muffins in half, topped them with (more!) margarine, and broiled them for a minute.

I don't know how this mix would do with egg substitutes, as the recipes call for two or three eggs.

Ingredients: Organic Degermed Corn Meal; Brown Rice Flour; White Rice Flour; Tapioca Starch; Sweet Rice Flour; Potato Starch; Organic Degermed Corn Flour; Grainless & Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch); Sea Salt; Xanthan Gum.

A six-pack of mix is available at Amazon for $21.54. Pamela's Products are also available at these stores.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.

Monday, June 01, 2009

May Smackdown

Way to leave up a product review for a week. Sorry about that. (But look for several more in the near future. It's review season at No Whey, Mama and Go Dairy Free, apparently.)

I tried to keep blogging through May, which I think rivals December as our busiest month. But May took me down. And since the first week of June is the last week of school, I probably won't do much better. School carnival! School picnic! School summer birthdays party! What other food events can we cram into one week?

To her credit, Principal did call and specifically invite me to the carnival because she is worried about all of the food items that will be present. Of course I was planning to go anyway, but I appreciated the thought.

Since Principal is retiring and the school is urging parents to send in small or no gifts for teachers, I'm going to write a letter addressed to the current and new principals praising Teacher for all of her great work this year in regards to allergies and just in general. I'm going to give teacher a copy of it along with a note from Katherine.

I can hear the roofers starting on my neighbor's house. She's already put up a chain link fence, pulled out three trees, and redone her landscaping. Again. Ah, Spring.