Saturday, December 1, 2018

Make Your Own Non-toxic All Purpose Cleaning Spray

Ok, maybe this is a little random on an allergy-friendly food blog, but I couldn't resist sharing.  Considering how much time an allergy-friendly person can spend in one's kitchen, I figure this is still relevant! I discovered this recipe for all-purpose cleaning spray at Lexie'sKitchen here. I have been using it for awhile and think it is fantastic. Especially since it saves me a fortune compared to buying cleaners at the store.  So without further ado. . .

Mix the following in a (recycled) 32-ounce spray bottle:
2 cups WATER
1⁄2 cup distilled WHITE VINEGAR
1 teaspoon pure liquid CASTILLE SOAP
3⁄4 cup HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (large bottles at Costco or Sam's Club)
20 drops TEA TREE OIL
20 drops of lavender or lemongrass ESSENTIAL OIL (or your own blend)

Monday, November 26, 2018

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Ham and Rice Soup

Do you love your crockpot, but hate rushing in the morning to put the meal together? Sometimes, I do! How about putting the ingredients in a bowl the night before. Refrigerate it over night. In the morning transfer it to your crockpot and turn it on. Another idea is to freeze the ingredients in a large ziploc bag. If you lie it flat you can fit a lot of meals on top of each other in the freezer.  You can either thaw it and put it in the morning or you can put it in frozen and turn it on high while you get ready in the morning. Before you leave, turn it to low and you should be set! Even better make two of them in the evening. Freeze on and throw the other in the crockpot the next morning.

Here is the recipe I like to do it with. I made it last night and am throwing it in the crockpot on a marathon day like today.

I know this dish may sound funny, but as soon as I made it, it became a family favorite at our house. My kids cheer when I say it is in the crock pot. I love it because there are a lot of veggies in there, too. You can sub beans instead of rice (white beans).  The rice gets a bit mushy so if that bothers you, you can add the rice at the last minute. Sometimes I put a 1/2 cup rice in a bowl and then pour soup over it.

1 cup rice, uncooked
1 container of Hillshire farms smoked ham, coarsely chopped or 1 pkg farmland ham cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
7 oz canned tomatoes with juice (I use safeway brand)
6 oz V-8 juice
2 TBS pure pomegranate juice (or you could use lemon juice)
1/2 TBS chili powder
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS dried thyme

Other good additives: a handful of chopped spinach, kale or sweet peppers.


Put all ingredients in a crock pot. Add water until it is about an inch from the top of a medium size crock pot. Turn on low for 8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. We put frozen peas on top to cool it down, and eat it with toasted Food For Life English muffins that are dripping with Earth's Balance spread, or grapeseed oil.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Vegan Sugar Cookies and Vanilla Frosting

This is the perfect time of year for sugar cookies!  This is our favorite way to make them. :)

Shortbread Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 Minutes
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 and 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not flour!)
1 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup  Earth's Balance (softened)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
*Chia eggs (2 TBS ground chia and  6 TBS water mixed together. see note below*!) or 2 regular eggs or 2 eggs worth of Ener-G egg replacer or 6 TBS applesauce 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl,  mix the Earth's Balance and the sugar together.
Stir the vanilla and eggs (or chia eggs) into the wet mixture.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. It may look dry initially, but keep stirring until it is a dough consistency. If necessary use your hands and knead it together.
Wrap the dough in saran wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. You can do it at room temperature, but will make the dough a little more firm (depending on your preference).
Sprinkle brown rice flour on parchment paper. Roll the dough out on the parchment paper to about a 1/4" thickness.  Cut into shapes. Place the cookie shapes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle with dyed sugar, chocolate chips, or wait to frost them later.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until firm to the touch (will not be golden, but firm when done)
Let cookies completely cool before removing them from the baking sheet.
Frost and decorate as desired. 

Vanilla frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup palm shortening or Earth's Balance (softened)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons milk or milk substitute

Put the above ingredients in a bowl. Whip with a mixer until well blended. If it's too runny for your taste add a little powdered sugar. If it's too thick for your taste, add a little more milk substitute. 

*Note: With the chia eggs it's important to mix it and then wait a little bit, mix it again and then wait a little bit until it is a gel like mixture. 

Tips for an Easy Gluten Free (Allergen/Intolerance Free) Thanksgiving!

photo from Betty Crocker
I love this compilation of ideas from Gluten Free Living on how to simplify a gluten free Thanksgiving (they are great tips for other allergens as well). I think number 3 and 6 just might be my favorites.  It is definitely worth a read! Here is a recipe to make gluten free onion toppings for a green bean casserole. However, I also saw somewhere that they are coming out with gluten free store bought ones, so keep your eyes peeled at the store!  I'm not sure if they contain dairy or not, unfortunately.  I make my own cream of mushroom soup like this:

Finely chop 1 cup of finely mushrooms. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a little milk sub and salt and pepper to taste. Puree in the blender until well blended. Add milk sub or olive oil to make it creamier.  Add more mushrooms to thicken it. Walla! A splash of worcestershire sauce is great in here, too! For Betty Crocker's version go here!

Here are some of their Gluten Free Living's other helpful tips. . .

Holiday meal help

Here are a few items that will make your holiday meal easier:

• Xanthan gum is the key to successful gluten-free baking. Add about 1 teaspoon to every cup of gluten-free flour. Available in stores nationwide.
• Pillsbury gluten-free pie crust is a new product hitting the refrigerator section of your local store just in time for the holidays. It makes a surprisingly flaky crust for dough that comes out of a tub.
• Aleia’s stuffing mix, found online and in some supermarkets and natural food stores, can be used to make stuffing all your guests will enjoy. We’ve been at dinners where it was preferred to the regular stuffing, most likely helped by the addition of cranberries and
• Cream of mushroom soup is essential to the traditional green bean casserole that so many people associate with their holiday dinner. The easiest brand to use is Pacific Natural Foods because it’s concentrated, just like the recipe calls for. Thee condensed soup comes in aseptic cartons instead of a can.
• The breaded onion rings mixed in the casserole and used to top it are still a challenge. Some people skip them and top the beans with crushed potato chips or gluten-free corn flakes or crackers. Others make homemade onion rings.

How to Find and Cook Gluten Free Turkeys

This will begin a series on Thanksgiving Delights.  I will go through different main dishes/desserts for Thanksgiving and recipes to get you there. The first question is the Turkey:

How do you know if a turkey is gluten-free? Unfortunately many companies add gluten to meat that is cured. Here is a list of gluten-free turkeys for your eating pleasure.

Want an easy step-by-step fool proof way to cook a turkey? If this is your first time or you want ideas on how to do it in a new way, go to  to find out. Also, there is a video tutorial on the bottom that tells you how to carve a turkey.
photo from

My Favorite{Gluten, Dairy, and Egg Free} Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I could eat this pie all day! I love this time of year! 

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour for a large pie 
or 35-37 minutes for a 4inch pie
Makes 7 small pies or 1 large one


For the filling:
1-14 or 15-oz can organic pumpkin
1 and 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk 
2 teaspoons GF vanilla
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For the crust:

1 ¾ cups brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
⅔ cup plus 
¼ cup potato starch (not flour!)
⅓ cup tapioca starch
 1 teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ⅓ cups chilled palm shortening or Earth Balance spread
⅔ cup ice water
Grape seed oil, for brushing
1 ½ tablespoons sugar

Instructions for the crust:
Preheat oven to 400F. In a food processor, pulse together the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum and salt. Add the shortening and pulse off and on until coarse crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse until the dough comes together and the water is thoroughly mixed in, about 30 seconds.Divide the dough into 2 pieces for a large pie or 10 pieces for mini pies. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours, until firm. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a pie pan or mini pie pans. Sprinkle brown rice flour onto a sheet of parchment paper. For a whole pie, roll out half of the dough on the parchment paper into a flat thin circle (less than ¼-inch-thick).  After it is fully rolled out, flip it over onto the greased pie pan. Take a fork and prick the bottom of the crust. Warning: it will fall apart more easily than regular crust. Break off the excess dough that is hanging over the sides and use a fork to flute the edges. Put small pies on a baking sheet before baking. Poke shell with a fork and bake the empty shell for 15 minutes at 400F. 

You can save the excess dough for another pie in the freezer or cut it into shapes, sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and bake in the oven until firm. 

For the filling:
Put ingredients in the blender. Cover and blend until smooth and creamy. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl, if necessary to incorporate all of the dry ingredients.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Pour into the prepared pie pan(s) and smooth the surface. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about an hour for a large pie or about 35-37 minutes for a 4inch pie,  until done. The pie should be firm- but gives a tiny bit when lightly touched. The center should not be wet. When you shake them they shouldn't jiggle very much. 

Cool the pie on a wire rack completely. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving. I am posting this at Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Easy {Gluten and Dairy Free} Mediterranean Chicken Shawarma

My friend Lori gave me this amazing recipe years ago that I have tweaked just a little bit. I just rediscovered it and am fantasizing about dinner all day. I love this dish! The sauce really does make it. My husband hates curry, but enjoys this dish! When we lived on the Mercy Ships we had curried EVERYTHING to the point where he can't usually stomach it. But he likes this so much it used to be a staple in our diets. Just to warn you, tahini is sesame for those that have a problem with sesame. I bought a bottle of lemon juice and a jar of pre-chopped garlic. That with the curry from the bulk section of herbs makes this dish easy, and very affordable, too. I am posting this at Allergy-free Wednesdays.

10 cloves chopped garlic
2 juiced lemons (6 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp curry
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1 TBS lemon juice

For Sauce:
Blend sauce ingredients in the food processor until foamy.

Marinade 2 pounds of chopped chicken overnight. (I do it just all day)
Pan fry chicken and marinade, I add chopped spinach for additional nutritional value.
When cooked chop on tomato.
Serve over rice. Top with Tahini Sauce.