Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real ~ Living a Grain-Free Life

For those who are new here ~ My son is allergic to ALL grains.  He is also allergic to most nuts, soy and a few other individual things.  In my opinion, the hardest thing to avoid is corn.  It is in everything from Pledge Dusting Spray to 80% of food you can buy in the store (according to our doctors).  Even processed food that has no corn in it likely was put on a conveyor belt sprinkled with cornstarch to keep it from sticking to the belt. Tomorrow I will be talking about going to the dentist with a corn allergy.  However, today I am celebrating food and learning how to eat grain free.

Pretty ~
I made Chicken Fingers recently.  They came out so pretty.  I took chicken breasts and dipped them in tapioca flour, then egg, then smashed potato chips.  Then I browned them in oil and baked them in the oven.  Yummy!

My son really missed bread of some kind.  I did find a bagel in our health food store that he loves made out of tapioca flour.  However, it is almost $8 for 6 bagels!  That is a bit steep for me to buy on a weekly basis.  Thus, I was happy when I found this recipe.  I have trouble leaving recipes alone so I use tapioca flour instead of the potato starch and only a 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.  My son loves this and I can use it for pancakes or sandwich bread.

Funny ~
As I said before, I tend to do my own thing with recipes.  Funnily enough, my husband often says he will never get the same dish twice, since his wife won't remember what she put in it last time.  Due to my son's allergies, I have been forced to follow recipes more closely in recent months.  It is so easy to ruin dishes when you are using all of these strange, unforgiving, grain-free flours.  Most people say you throw away a ton while learning grain-free cooking.  I simply can not afford to do that.  Unfortunately, I did have to throw away a batch of homemade jelly beans the other day.  I don't know if my kids will have jelly beans for Easter this year (even the organic, corn-free ones are shook in confectionery sugar, which has cornstarch in it, to keep them from sticking).  It must be possible since they sell the molds.  There was a time when I thought marshmallows were impossible, but now I can whip them up without any trouble.

Real ~
Almost everything has to be made from scratch, and I mean EVERYTHING.  We make our own fruit roll- ups, marshmallows, bread products, whip cream, ice cream and Feingold simple syrup (to replace corn syrup).  Now I need to learn how to make vanilla extract, since even organic is made with corn whiskey, as all extracts are!  I just made raspberry syrup for pancakes and ice cream.  It came out a bit thin but tastes great.

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  1. Avoiding corn would be really, really hard. I know you have learned a lot on this journey.

    Have you tried coconut flour? I have a friend who uses it for quite a lot of her baking. I've also seen a cauliflower crust pizza that I might even give a try. There are so many creative cooks out there and the internet is such a wealth of info. in that regard.

    Your chicken fingers look and sound delish.

  2. Sounds like your dealing with this well. The chicken fingers look delicious. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Amazing creativity! We love making chicken bites ( thats what we call them) Your recipe looks fabulous. I plan on giving it a try this week.
    I got my vanilla from Mexico. Its pure extract. A missionary friend of mine gets it for me. Its amazing stuff.
    We make our own syrups also. So easy. They are thin but the taste is amazing.

  4. I'm just beginning my grain free journey. Wheat is the first to go. I can't imagine(yet)totally eliminating grains. You are managing beautifully. I've been gathering information from Paleo food blogs.

  5. Dawn, I don't know if any of this will help you or not, as I eat grain free for health reasons, not due to allergy, so I don't have to be as careful, but I'll share a few resources. You said your son is allergic to most nuts. Does that include almonds? Lots of great recipes using almond flour, if he can tolerate that (see Elana's Pantry website). I second the coconut flour option mentioned above. Also, I have a grain free/sugar free Pinterest board. There may be a few things on there that are helpful to you. Wow, I had no idea corn was in so many things. You are an amazing Momma, looking out for your son this way. Best to you and thank you so much for all of your sweet comments on my blog. I really appreciate it. ~Julie