food not fear

Allergy Friendly Food– recipes and restaurants


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Cutting your Costs– time and money!

Allergy friendly eating can be expensive or time consuming– often both! If we want prepared foods, we often have to turn to expensive specialty brands. But cooking from scratch can eat up a huge chunk of your day, and by the time you buy all of the ingredients you need, you may end up paying nearly as much!

I have a bad habit of buying foods that look appealing in the grocery store, but not being in the mood to make the meals when supper rolls around. My fresh foods go to waste and we end up eating processed convenience foods. I have vowed to myself over and over to stop eating this junk, but I always go back to it because it’s so much easier.

My son started Kindergarten last month, and his school schedule has forced me to get more organized. Also, with only one kid at home during the day, I have time to get a little more done. On Wednesdays, I go to Bible study across the street from Trader Joes (If you’ve never heard of it– it’s an affordable grocery store with lots of great produce, organic, and allergy friendly foods). After the study, my daughter and I grab our shopping bags from the car (Seattle has gone bagless!) and do our shopping for the week. I go in with three specific meals in mind to shop for, then on Thursday, I spend the day baking and cooking. I make a double batch of each meal, put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.

Last week, I made:

– “My Favourite Veggies” Soup (My very first food creation– a tomato based turkey vegetable soup)
– Chili
– Creamy chicken broccoli casserole.

Today I bought the ingredients for a sweet potato casserole, chicken pot pie, and spaghetti sauce. We will eat those meals this week, and pull others from the freezer as needed.

I’m not sure if this is actually saving me time in cooking, but having to wash pots and pans once a week instead of seven times? Well, that makes it worth it right there! I love to cook, but I dread the clean up so much that I often forgo the whole process. Instead of ending up with dishes everywhere, I am forced to do my dishes as I go, because I don’t have enough pots to do that much cooking all at once.

I know I am saving money, because I buy what I need, and I use it the next day. My food waste bin is much emptier this week than it has been in the past. Nothing feels worse than throwing out healthy food while you eat junk!

This is only my second week of bulk cooking this time around. I am sure that with practice, my technique will improve. Last week I cut up all of the onions I needed for all three recipes and cooked them together. My eyes were pretty watery by the end of four onions, but I saved some cooking time and only had to wash the pan once. I know I could save more time by making similar foods all on the same day, but I want some variety since I’ll be eating all three meals in a row.

Have you tried bulk cooking? How did it work for you? What’s your favourite meal to make and freeze?


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Dairy Free Spinach and Bacon Pinwheels

Fluffy puff pastry, savoury bacon, and sweet hints of apricot. And not a drop of milk in sight!

Mmm… is your mouth watering yet? I came up with these savoury little pastries when I needed a fancy hors d’oeuvres to bring to a wedding. There among all of the catered dishes, my little pinwheels stood their ground. Everyone was surprised to discover they were dairy free too! I need to bring a snack to our Women’s Midweek Bible Study tomorrow, so it seemed like the perfect time to post my first recipe.

In every recipe I post, I will be careful to note which major allergens are avoided in the food. Each and every one will be dairy and tree-nut free because these are my allergies. When applicable, I will let you know if it can be made wheat, egg, peanut, or soy free as well. This recipe contains wheat and soy, and though it lists egg, you can easily leave the egg out and seal the dough with water.

So, let’s get started. First, gather your ingredients.


1 package of 2 puff pastry sheets. I like Pepperidge Farm.
2 cups cooked and finely diced chicken. (about 6 tenderloins or two breasts)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
5-6 slices of crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (I used thick cut, but regular is preferable)
8 dried apricots, finely diced.
1 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
4 TBSP Tofutti Better than Sour Cream (packaging may be blue or white with green text– available in most grocery stores in dairy aisle)
1 egg, beaten and divided in two equal amounts.

1. Remove your puff pastry sheets from the freezer. They need to defrost 45 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.


2. Dice your chicken and cook, adding pepper, seasoned salt, garlic, and onion powder toward the end of cooking time.


3. Cook your bacon until crisp, let cool, then crumble into small pieces.
4. Chop your spinach and apricots.

(Note: the smaller you chop your ingredients, the better. It’s time consuming, but the roll will be easier and neater to cut if everything inside is tiny)


5. Combine chicken, bacon, spinach, apricot, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, and one half of the beaten egg. Stir to combine well. Set aside.


6. Flour the surface of a clean countertop or table. Unfold your first pastry sheet. Mix 1/2 tsp of water with your remaining beaten egg and brush over the surface of the dough with a pastry brush (your fingers will work in a pinch).


7. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the surface of the dough, leaving 1″ clear at the bottom edge.


8. Carefully roll the dough, starting at the top edge. Pat the ends of the roll as you go to keep any filling from falling out.


9. Gently pat the seam with your fingers to seal the edge of the roll.


10. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap.
11. Repeat steps 6-10 with the second piece of dough.
12. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance of baking.

13. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


14. Remove plastic wrap and, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch disks.


15. Place the pinwheels on a lightly greased baking pan. Lightly brush the tops with the egg and water mixture. I forgot– oops! But it makes the tops glossy and the filling less likely to fall out after they’re baked.


16. Bake for 15 minutes @ 400 degrees until lightly golden. Peek in around 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes.


Serve them up! They’re best at room temperature. You can refrigerate them for a day or so, but the texture is best when they’re fresh. I actually only baked one of my rolls tonight so I could take pictures (and snack on them– sooo good!!). The second roll is in the fridge waiting to be baked fresh tomorrow morning. So I get to look like I got up at 5am to make these fancy little pinwheels, when they will only add 10 minutes to my morning routine– how awesome is that?

Give them a try and let me know what you think!


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My life changed forever when…

I can’t name just one event that changed the way I eat, so I’ll start with the first.  In college, I worked at Dairy Queen.  After a few months, I started feeling awful every time I worked.  I felt sick in general, but always the worst when I was at work, specifically after my break.  When my boss found me curled up under the cash register, holding my stomach and crying for the third time in a week, she let me off of my shift early, but demanded I go across the street to a walk-in clinic.

This was the fastest doctor’s appointment I have ever had.  I described my symptoms, and after a few seconds, the doctor asked what I had eaten.  A hamburger and an ice cream sundae.  Had I eaten this each day I experienced the symptoms?  Yes, of course– what else will I eat when I work at Dairy Queen?  So I had my answer, easy as that.  I was lactose intolerant.  Buy some Lactaid pills and switch to Lactaid milk.  And ease up on the ice cream.

At the time, it felt like a big change, but I look back now and think how easy my food issues were to manage.  If only I had known what more was in store, I would have appreciated my food so much more!

 

Do you have more than one allergy or intolerance?  What was the first food you cut from your diet?  What changed your food life forever?