Resources for the Allergic Kid

I really don’t want this blog to be all gluten-free talk, all the time, but I did want to mention a few resources that have been really helpful to us these past few weeks. I don’t know how we would have survived without the internet, which always manages to reassure you that there are others out there just like you, except when it is scaring the pants off you with dire warnings that everything could be so much worse. Which I guess is also helpful, in its own way.

Anyway, if you happen to find yourself needing to create a gluten-free, egg-free, milk-free, nut-free, peanut-free, legume-free, coconut-free diet (surely that day is just waiting for you right around the corner, have you HEARD what they are saying on the internet?), here’s some things you need to get. (Disclosure: no one paid me to say any of this, or gave me free stuff, or even batted an eyelash in my direction. Would it have killed them to do a little eyelash batting? WOULD IT? Links to Amazon and whatnot do not benefit me in any way.)

The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread, by Laurie Sadowski

This little gem of a book contains recipes for all kinds of breads, crackers, and muffins that are gluten-free, egg-free, milk-free, and nut-free. She rarely uses bean flours (AWESOME) and when she does, she recommends an alternative. She also usually uses agave nectar or brown sugar as sweeteners, if you’re worried about white sugar. Her recipes are seriously dazzling – light and fluffy and actually bread-like. This is where I got the recipe for the donuts and I also made these beauties this week:

Those are double-chocolate muffins. SO GOOD. I…ate the whole batch. The Captain only got like, two of the dozen. I could not stay away. A definite keeper and could even pass as a cupcake for birthday party purposes. This book is a must-have. One word of warning – she does rely on xanthum gum as a binder, I’ve been reading online that some GF people have trouble with that. But for us, so far, so good.

Allergy-Proof Recipes for Kids by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger

I think these are the people who make Enjoy Life products, which means they have lots of experience making yummy foods out of air, water, and a little sugar. They amaze me. This book is a good transition book if you’ve just discovered that your kid has a boatload of allergies, and everyone is having trouble giving up macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. These recipes are look-alike recipes for the usual kid fare, and although they are probably less healthy than, say, a nice brown rice and vegetable stir-fry, they are pretty popular around here. They’re also easy to make – mostly they just use rice flour and other stuff you can get at your local supermarket, so if you’re between trips to the health food store, you can use this book to get by. If your kid has a friend with multiple food allergies, and you’d love to have them over for dinner or a sleepover but don’t know what the heck to cook, this is a good book to get – you’re sure to find something that is not intimidating to make that all your kids (and guests) can enjoy.

The Gluten Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien

gluten-free vegan

This book isn’t a perfect overlap for our allergies, as it does use several legumes and soy-based products that are off-limits to us. However, I’ve found plenty of really, really good stuff in here – the main courses and salads are SO delicious, and the few baked goods – mostly biscuits and scones – turned out great. Going gluten-free really requires a whole new approach to cooking – you can’t last forever just trying to make lesser versions of “the real thing” using substitutes. This book is your next step – filling, tasty dishes that just happen to be gluten free.

My next stop on the cookbook train is a paleo book – since we actually do eat chicken and turkey, I’d like some meat-based recipes that will work for us. Unfortunately many paleo books I’ve seen rely heavily on eggs and nuts, both of which are no-nos, but I’m sure I can find something. Anyone with any recommendations?

Lastly, here are a few blogs that I’ve just started reading that look amazing:
My Real Food Life – Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, just about everything else free except tree nuts – and she’s right here in Ottawa! I may stalk her. Also, her Resources page has dozens more recommendations that I’m working my way through.
The Gluten Free Vegan – Megan is super sweet, and happens to cook gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free. Plus, she’s Canadian too – so the ingredients she uses are available here. yay! She does use nuts and soy but there’s still a ton of original and unique recipes here.
The Allergic Kid – Recipes for kids with no nuts, eggs, or dairy. They aren’t gluten-free, but still some good ideas here, and also I’ve learned a lot about having an allergic kid in general.

I’m sure there are more – many more. But that’ll keep you busy for a while.

Just Call Me Lynn Horton

On New Year’s Day, I made gluten-free, milk-free, egg-free, nut-free donuts. DONUTS. I felt like a culinary genius. I wanted to stand in the middle of the kitchen, much like Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away when he makes fire for the first time, and yell, “I…HAVE…CREATED…DONUTS!”

Gluten Free Egg Free Milk Free Donuts

Aren’t they just so cute? I amaze myself.

So the new diet thing is going okay, we are still sometimes (often!) running out of things to eat, like how many different ways can you prepare chicken breasts and potatoes? But there have been some successes. The donuts were made for the annual New Year’s Day feast at my friend LuckySevens’ house. I wanted there to be a dessert that was safe for the Captain (and Mr. LuckySevens, who is celiac). They turned out really well, although they do have that quinoa-flour taste that makes them kind of beany in flavour. It’s subtle, but you can tell that they aren’t your usual donuts, so I figured no one else would want to eat them.

At the party, after the desserts were laid out, I went down to the basement to notify the Captain. There were around 10 kids down there engaged in either trying to kill each other with pillows, or threatening to run and tell on those involved in the pillow war. I said to the Captain, in a normal tone of voice, that the donuts were out if he would like to come and get one.

Actually, I only got as far as, “Captain, the donuts are out –” before I was bowled over by a mad rush of kids screaming, “DONUTS!!” at the top of their lungs. It was just like a cartoon when a big crowd rushes by, then the smoke clears and you see the heroine lying dazed in the road. Those kids were ON IT.

Luckily Sir Monkeypants saw the crowd coming and nabbed a donut for the Captain. The rest were gone in SECONDS. Seriously. Every kid grabbed one and gobbled it right up.

So I would have to say that that’s the ultimate seal of approval right there – just as snarfable as real donuts! Seriously, I do take it as a huge compliment and a sign of success.

This morning Mrs. Carl Sagan and crew are coming by so I have made Timbit-style mini-donuts:

Mini donuts