cauliflower pizza crust

Yes, it’s possible to be gluten-free and paleo and still love your pizza!

Last year I ran across a cauliflower pizza recipe which we tried while my mom in law was in town, and it was a BIG hit! We all loved it, though my only complaint was that it wasn’t sturdy enough to pick up and eat since I chose to leave out the cheese from the crust. But we all dug in with forks and knives, and while it wasn’t the same as the slices of heaven I used to love in NY, it was still a tasty version of pizza. Yay for options!

So here’s the original recipe; you can choose to eliminate the cheese from the crust as we did, but just be warned that it won’t be sturdy enough to pick up.

Note that I substituted goat cheese for mozzarella and instead of hawaiian style I added spinach and prosciutto. Delish!

Oh, and for those of you (like my husband) who don’t love cauliflower, no worries – the cauliflower flavor is undetectable :)

Enjoy!


cauliflower pizza crust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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eatdino_feat

I used to go through life without thinking much about things. I wasn’t much of a planner at all; in fact, I was both irked by, and in awe of, people who were. How could they so confidently know what they were going to want in a few days, a week or even months? I had the hardest time picking a major in college because I couldn’t imagine that I knew at 19 years old what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

My reality today?  Having food allergies means I have now become the biggest planner.

I can’t count on the ease of quick grab-n-go type foods since they typically contain ingredients I can’t eat, so I end up bringing snacks with me everywhere. I’ve become one of those people who eats dinner for breakfast (avoiding grains, dairy and eggs make breakfast foods near impossible), and I find myself reheating leftovers while my husband and son indulge in my old favorites, including breakfast tacos. Sadly,  I live in Austin and can’t eat breakfast tacos! Speaking of my son, I’m raising a gluten, & dairy free kid which means I have to be prepared much more so than if I could simply rely on a quick drive thru or convenience store for a cure of the hunger pangs.

 

So, when a friend sent along a link to a book written by a set of Paleo parents trying to help others learn how to live a Paleo life with their children, I quickly bought a copy.  To be honest, raising a child is complicated enough, but when you throw in food allergies or sensitivities  it takes it to a different level.  I want to make sure he doesn’t feel left out, or like the oddball of his friends. So while I now carry the ‘mom bag’ packed with healthy snacks, and Yelp restaurants for allergy-free reviews often, it was nice to read from another set of parents who are living the allergy-free life and making it work!

I agree with the parents behind the book, Eat Like a Dinosaur.  They’ve found a way to make special diets fun for their kids, and they help parents understand how to keep our children safe and healthy. By following a modified Paleo diet, they have helped heal their children from various auto-immune conditions, which is so important in preventing a series of much scarier health concerns down the line.

What I love about the book?

It focus not just on a Paleo diet, but rather on food allergies in general, and includes old favorites such as cereal, chicken nuggets and waffles, which are all grain-free. Their intent is not on excluding foods, but rather, on eating healthy and delicious ones which mimic the same foods we are accustomed to, but in a healthier version. 

All recipes are free of dairy, wheat, peanuts and soy.

All recipes are labeled so you know if they contain shellfish, tree nuts, fish or eggs.

Many of the recipes are set up to show your kiddos what parts they can help with, so they can help in the process of making these foods that are designed to help them live healthy lives. Plus they get to play a part in making some delish dishes!

It’s so important to help kids feel normal when they’re dealing with something that society has a bit of a stigma about, and I love that these foodie parents went all out to write a cookbook that helps their kids feel completely normal about their special diets.

Here’s a description of the book below and a video clip you can watch as well. I hope this helps you navigate the complexities of a ‘different’ lifestyle choice for you and your family too!

 

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Mary’s Gone Crackers!

And cookies, pretzels and crumbs too :) So it seems 

Not only do we love their name, but these are some darn good crackers, cookies, pretzels and crumbs too!  Mary’s lines are embedded in what she calls “Conscious Eating”. And I have to admit, I wish I would have thought of that perfectly clear and catchy little phrase first! It eloquently describes why we embrace allergy-free and kind eating habits, and Mary’s Gone Crackers offers several products to help you along that path. From crackers to cookies, pretzels and baking crumbs, Mary’s Gone Crackers believes in Conscious Eating. Eating consciously means being aware of how food impacts our minds, bodies and the planet, which is why Mary’s Gone Crackers uses organic, gluten free and non-GMO whole food ingredients. Yay!!

My son loves the crackers and cookies, though we have yet to try to the pretzels or crumbs but fully intend to do so. Sadly, I can’t eat quinoa, bot for those of you who can, these delish little crackers get 2 thumbs up from an 8 year old’s discerning palette.
We also love how Mary’s invites you to join their community and submit recipes online, with any lucky winners’ recipes who are chosen to be featured on their site receiving a free box of Mary’s Gone Crackers cookies. YUMMY rewards!
Using their postal code locator on their site here, you can browse the stores that carry Mary’s in your area. If you’re not among the lucky who have Mary’s nearby, we are hoping to offer them on our online store soon enough. Until then, you can always contact the supportive and friendly staff at Mary’s who will surely be happy to help you.

Thunderbird Energetica Bars

 Why we love Thunderbird – well, first, we haven’t tasted one we didn’t love! Not only are they handy and allergy-free friendly, they’ve literally saved us from a low-sugar driven faint spell. Well, it wasn’t quite that drastic, but they certainly helped stave off a cranky fit due to hunger pangs. Grab any of their 6+ delish bars and rest assured you will love any of their healthy, allergy-free friendly bars wrapped in eco-friendly wrappers.

I find them super handy to keep in my bags in case I find myself hungry at a sporting event, conference, travels, etc. and that inconvenient hunger pang hits when there are little (if any) allergy-free options around. My fave is the cashew fig because it’s not too sweet, and with the dates as a base, its moist, soft and totally satisfies! But with flavors ranging from Cashew Fig Carrot, Sweet Lemon Rain Dance, Cocao Hemp Walnut to name a few, these bars are sure to please every palette.

Good food, that is good for you and our pretty little planet. How can you go wrong?

In their words: Thunderbird Energetica specializes in creating epic tasting whole food energy bars. Containing uniquely pure and highly powerful ingredients, Thunderbird bars provide consumers with conveniently packaged, nutrient dense, plant-based goodness. Each bar is meticulously handmade using the finest and freshest available whole foods that Mother Earth has to offer.

Thunderbird Bars are 100% soy free, dairy free, gluten free, contain no added sugar energy  and give you the same clean burning fuel humans have enjoyed over the last 10,000 years.

Check out their site and buy some of these amazing bars today!

Gluten free, vegan Banana chai waffles

I just discovered a new vegan foodie blog today and found this delish looking recipe for gluten free, vegan waffles. When you get a chance, hop over to visit An Unrefined Vegan, described as Unprocessed, unbleached and cruelty-free:  low-fat, low-sugar, whole food and plant-based recipes to nurture body, brain and conscience. Her food choices are creative, sound incredible and I love her photos! Great blog to bookmark :)

I’m sure it would taste just as good with traditional eggs and buttermilk for the non vegans here, so go ahead and experiment a bit and tell me how it turns out!

Gluten free, vegan: Banana-Chai Buttermilk Waffles with Cocoa-Coconut Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3+ 8" waffles

Serving Size: 1 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt flour (use gluten-free flour or flour substitute such as almond flour for gluten free version)
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (use certified gluten free oats and process them in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (I used the meal left over from making almond milk, dried and processed in food processor)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered stevia
  • 1/4 tsp. anise seeds (ground in coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered cardamom
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp. egg replacer + 6 tbsp. water (whisk together until frothy, then let sit for a minute)
  • 1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Combine the flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, stevia and spices in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, banana, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes. (Turn the oven on to 200F so you can warm the plates and keep the cooked waffles crispy – and heat up the waffle iron, too.)
  3. Lightly spray waffle iron with cooking oil and ladle on the batter. Cook for about 4-5 minutes and gently remove waffle and place on oven rack to keep warm while you prepare the rest of the waffles.
  4. Top with a dab, slab or slice of Cocoa-Coconut Butter and your other favorite waffle toppings!
http://inspiredeats.net/gluten-free-vegan-banana-chai-buttermilk-waffles-with-cocoa-coconut-butter/

 

 

Cocoa-Coconut Butter

Ingredients

  • Cocoa-Coconut Butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tsp. soy milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp. soy lecithin granules
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. refined coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a small measuring cup, whisk together the soy milk and cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the salt and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small measuring cup. It’s not necessary to completely melt it down – some small solid bits are okay. In the bowl of a food processor, add the melted coconut oil, canola oil, soy milk mixture, soy lecithin granules, xanthan gum, agave nectar and vanilla extract.
  3. Process for 1 minute, then scrap down the sides and bottom – sometimes the soy lecithin granules get stuck near the blade. Process for an additional minute, then carefully pour the mixture into the molds.
  4. Chill in the freezer for at least one hour before removing from molds. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
http://inspiredeats.net/gluten-free-vegan-banana-chai-buttermilk-waffles-with-cocoa-coconut-butter/

 

 

 

 

 

 


to_inspire_

My son is almost 8; hard to believe that my little man is growing so fast and forming his own identity at such as a sweet, tender young age. But he is, and part of that identity is being gluten-free. It’s a life I know as an adult, but certainly not one I can relate to from a child’s eye, and yet, I’m always so impressed with how resilient and determined he is to be healthy. I’m so grateful for the support of friends, family, teachers and the community in Austin as a whole which help me to help him lead a ‘normal’ life.

As I write that, I can’t help but question what that means. What is ‘normal’ anyway?  I suppose it’s a kid being able to eat a hot lunch at school. Or a PBJ sandwich. Perhaps it’s to eat birthday cake at a party, rather than the gluten-free piece your mom brings in special for you?

Well, if I’m honest, I would take our present life over that other normal version any day. Ok, you’re probably thinking I’m some crazy gluten-free fanatic for saying that, but I’m honestly not. If you’re able to eat gluten and not have any reactions and feel like you lead a happy, healthy life, then by all means keep on your path!

So why am I happy with our gluten-free life then? I guess my first reason would be that we lead a much healthier and aware life than we did before-hand.  No, I don’t love having to read every label, but I do love that we are healthier, more active and generally happier than at any other time in my life. I guess that makes sense – cure the illness and life improves, right? True, but it turns out it’s more than that for us. It’s watching a 7 year old boy make a choice to pass on a corn tortilla because mommy has learned some stuff about how we grow our corn that scares her.  It’s having your child ask you if he eats enough fruits and veggies to be healthy. Helping his friend, who’s newly diagnosed gluten sensitive, by offering his snacks to him. Watching him tell his friend what snacks he likes and doesn’t like since his friend’s mom is still struggling, as many are, with what to feed their now gluten-free child. I’m not suggesting my son wouldn’t be helpful if he didn’t have food allergies, but I don’t think he would have as much of a focus on health as he does.

So what is a day like for a gluten-free kid?

If your child attends a school (rather than home-schooling), they will be faced with many distractions and temptations, and its important that you help them stay on track and keep them stocked with plenty of food so they don’t stray and eat something that can end up making them sick. I send my son with a cold lunch everyday, plus some extra snacks to make sure he doesn’t worry about getting the munchies at after-care and has nothing to turn to. It takes a bit more prepping on our part, but we know that he won’t be tempted by a gluten-ful goodie and have nothing to turn to instead, so it’s well worth the extra 10 minutes it takes to get him off to school each day.

School lunches: those are a thing of the past.  I do believe that one day schools will catch up and offer allergy-free friendly foods, but with budget cuts front and center, and so little done to help the schools  stretch their food budgets now, there just isn’t much hope in the near future for the more expensive whole (non processed) gluten-free foods to be offered. 

School snacks:  you’ll be sending those in yourself –  suggestions are fruit, homemade or gluten-free trail mixes, popcorn, etc.

Birthday parties:  these can be tricky as they are usually in a public place that doesn’t offer allergy-free friendly foods.  So what you will face is a flood of kiddos eating pizza and cake that your little one can’t touch. ‘Sucks’ is an understatement!  So we plan ahead and bring a frozen gluten-free pizza and ask them to heat it up for us (we’ve never had anyone refuse, though they do warn us that they can’t guarantee it won’t touch flour, which we understand).  And we bring a slice of gluten-free cake, cookie or brownie which we’ve made ahead of time.  To be honest, the kids are usually more focused on playing than eating, so it never seems to be a big issue. I was concerned at first that the kids would tease him, but to be honest, they usually envy his extra special snack that he gets instead. Funny, right?

School birthday parties: hopefully your teacher will be understanding and offer to let your child store some snacks at school; we send gluten-free cookies which his teacher stores for us.  This has worked out great for us and it turns out that most of his classmates typically want his snack instead. Again, kids are funny!

I know it’s a daunting prospect to help your child live a life free of a food allergen, but there are truly so many great resources and allergy-free friendly foods today!  Try to focus on items that are naturally gluten-free such as fruits and veggies and trust me, your kids taste buds will adjust fast! You can browse our many gluten-free recipes here for inspiration, and remember, kids are resilient and learn a lot from our behavior. Be determined to help your children live healthy, allergy-free lives and they’ll take their cue from you. Speaking first-hand, the frustrated moments of what they can’t have will fade, and the pride in their health will prevail so long as you believe this is the best approach for them. Our children inherently want to please us, so share with them why they are gluten-free, how their health relies upon it, and how important it is to preventing a lifetime of sickness. When they’re older, you can explain that not only is this about their gut, but about their brain as well. And let’s face it, if they hope to live a long, successful and happy life, they need to know the foundation to build upon. 

To raising happy, healthy kids,

Jen

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Today I stumbled upon a new site and found some delish looking baked zucchini chips which are a perfect solution for a no-grain diet. The site isn’t focused on allergy-free eating, but if you find yourself wanting some inspiration for yummy looking baked goods, it seems like Maggie of Vittles an Bits will be a good source I’ve copied her comments about the recipe below for reference and note that she’s very responsive if you have any questions so feel free to post them on her site.

For reference here is her link

Baked Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • Cooking spray
  • Seasoned salt, or other seasoning(s) of your choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil, and spray with canola oil. Set aside.
  2. Slice zucchini into thin medallions, about the thickness of a quarter. (You can either use a knife & a very steady hand, or a mandoline slicer.)
  3. Lay out slices on prepared baking sheet, and spray tops lightly with additional cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. (A note on seasoning, however – use LESS than what seems appropriate. These shrink considerably in the oven, and if you use too much it gets very concentrated. It’s better to end up underseasoning and add more later.)
  4. Place in preheated oven and bake 45 minutes. Rotate baking sheet (don’t flip the chips though), and bake an additional 30-50 minutes, until chips are browned and crisped to your liking. These are best eaten within a couple hours of removing from the oven, as they start to get chewy if left out. One zucchini makes one serving (1/4 C. – 1/3 C. of chips depending on the size of your squash).
http://inspiredeats.net/baked-zucchini-chips/
 

From Maggie: 

To me, these chips taste kinda like thin & crispy pumpkin seeds.  (I guess that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise since they are relatives in the squash family).  Much lighter, but the taste is similar.

And the seasoning possibilities are endless – you can tailor them to your liking.  Garlic, paprika, chili powder… use your imagination!  I went with a basic Seasoned Salt and they came out great.  But whatever you choose, just make sure you go easy on the seasonings, and only use a little bit – these do shrink a lot in the oven, so what looks like a reasonable amount on the raw veggies could turn out to be way too much!

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One of the biggest challenges today when talking about why the rates of food sensitivities and allergies, immune disorders, chronic illnesses and more have all dramatically increased over the last 20 or so years, is that people have little idea of what they’re consuming, and hows it’s affecting them. From hormones, chemically created oils, genetically modified/engineered foods, etc., the list of what we eat, and how its altered goes on and on. And sadly, most people have little idea of what they’re putting into their mouths and the effects it has on them. Why have the rates of allergies, ADD, ADHD and Autism increased so dramatically in conjunction with the onset of GMOs? Can I claim a correlation? Not definitively but there are plenty of resources that support the correlation belief, from allergies to auto-immune disorders, imbalanced hormones, thyroid disorders and more, chemicals used in our food supplies are slowly destroying us. Here’s a quote from Allergykids.com, founded by Robin O’Brien that speaks to the danger of chemical exposure in our children:

 

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While working on the recipe section tonight I was compiling some kid-friendly, gluten free lunch ideas and I ran across this one I had saved from the Washington Post some time ago. It’s a great option for a cold lunch and the plantains make for a delish and healthy addition with the black beans. Plantains have a heart healthy combo of nutrients, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They also contain resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic, selectively nourishing the “good gut” bacteria that line the intestinal tract and protect against food borne illness. Yummy and good for us- yay! :)

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home made gluten free roll ups

Ahh, the juicy, sticky, chewy goodness of fruit rollups brings back memories of  childhood –  twisting and pulling it from my teeth after making all sorts of weird shapes with it. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how it got that pliable quality, and its probably best I dont know!

But, since I’m living Paleo, and trying to keep my son on the Paleo track too, they aren’t something I let him enjoy. So, when I found this recipe I was excited to give it a shot for him, and excited at how simple and clever the idea is!  They take a bit of time to bake, so you’ll have to plan ahead for a time when you’ll be around for a couple hours to let them bake, but they stay good for a couple weeks so go ahead and make a big batch and keep slipping them in your kids lunch boxes and feel good about it!

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eatdino_feat

Recently while chatting with some friends about the subject of food allergies and kids, I was surprised when one of them mentioned that his son’s school has started sectioning off the kids with food allergies into a separate classroom. Sadly, yes, you read that right – the food-allergic kids have their own classroom. He said the logic was that this prevented the other non-alergic (read “normal”) kids from having to limit which foods they take to school, so they can bring whatever they wanted. No one has to worry about peanut allergies, and can go back to PBJ sandwiches for example. Apparently the school felt this would help prevent kids from making fun of the allergic – kids (who made food an issue for the non-allergy kids).

REALLY? Do we really think that by separating our kids we’re preventing them from being made fun of?  Quite simply,  it goes to show how important it is to help understand how we can make our allergic kiddos feel ‘normal’, regardless of their differences.

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spicycocoaalmonds

A friend sent me this recipe from Kitchen Addiction as a great idea for a sweet/salty treat, and suggested they would make nice home-made gifts too, and I have to admit that home-made gifts have that special touch store-bought gifts can lack and I personally love a home-made gift.  You can wrap them in some cellophane and use a simple ribbon to tie them, or give them in decorative tins, but whatever you do, be sure to share these and you’ll win big points as these are DELISH! 

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