Archive for October, 2014

FOOD ALLERGY DAY AT THE LOS ANGELES ZOO

October 22, 2014

I am so excited to tell you about UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital upcoming Food Allergy Day at the LA Zoo.
This is a FREE event that will include educational sessions, exhibits, kids’ activities and allergy-free snacks.

The topics will include testing strategies, going to school with a food allergy, food allergy nutrition, oral immunotherapy, conquering food allergies and the future of food allergies.

The kids’ activities range from a zoo tour to a magic show, face painting, coloring drawing and games.

To RSVP, please email uclafoodallergy@mednet.ucla.edu or call 310-825-6481.

If you have a child with food allergies you will not want to miss this.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Animal Crackers from Colette Martin

October 20, 2014

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I had the unique and exciting pleasure of sitting on a panel at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference this year, with Colette Martin, the author of newly released cookbook The Allergy-Free Pantry. This book is an allergy-free mama’s dream come true. It includes recipes for staple items that one desperately needs but cannot necessarily buy if one’s child is allergic to eggs, nuts, dairy and other top eight food allergens. Colette brilliantly comes up with simple recipes to make things like mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce and marinara, among many others.

Of course, there are other winning recipes for breakfast items, sides, freezer meals, pastas, snacks and desserts.

Since my son is a chocoholic, I don’t know WHERE he gets this from, I made him Colette’s animal crackers and added 1/4 cup of cacao powder in place of the same amount of the flour in the recipe. And then sprinkled in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, because the more chocolate, the merrier.

As you can see from the picture here, my son reveled in helping me roll out the dough and then cutting out the shapes of the cookies. This is what makes baking at home even more special and fun. When your child can do most of the grunt work.

The shapes we had cookie cut outs for were ducks, bears, butterflies, stars, hearts, planes, cars and trains. So sorry, Colette, I hope you don’t mind our choice of “animals”. The cookies were a hit with my husband, oh,and of course my with son who delights in choosing which shape to eat each time.

My love to Colette, who is not only the most talented cookbook author, but also a gem of a person whom I am honored to know. Here is her recipe.

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Animal Crackers
Makes about 50 cookies

98 grams (about ¾ cup) Pastry Flour Blend (see below)
28 grams (about . cup) gluten-free oat flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ cup (42 g) Sucanat
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening, cold
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Up to 2 tablespoons cold water

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut the shortening into tablespoon-sized pieces and lay them on top of the flour. Use a pastry cutter, a pastry fork, or your hands to work the shortening into the flour. Continue working for 3 to 4 minutes, until a crumbly mixture forms.
4. Add the vinegar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water. Work the liquids into the dough. Add up to 1 tablespoon more cold water as needed, ½ tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms.
5. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, about 3/8 inch (10 mm) thick. Remove the top layer of parchment and use cookie cutters to create desired shapes.
6. Remove the excess dough, roll it out again, and create additional cookies, until all of the dough is used. Arrange the cookies on the lined baking sheet. If you are using animal cookie cutters, a plastic toothpick can be used to poke holes for the eyes.
7. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until the tops are golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

To freeze
Baked cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months; thaw them at room temperature. Cookie dough (prepared through step 4) can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for up to 6 months; thaw the dough in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before forming cookies and baking.

Pastry Flour Blend
Makes 780 grams (about 6 cups); 130 grams per cup, 60 percent flour, 40 percent starch

288 grams brown rice flour
180 grams superfine sweet rice flour
192 grams tapioca starch
120 grams potato starch

1. Measure each flour and starch by weight in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix the ingredients together extremely well. Store the blend in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Recipe from The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts, copyright © Colette Martin, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Dill-ectable Vegan, Gluten-free Mac & Cheeze (It’s National Pasta Day!)

October 17, 2014

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There are so many incarnations and variations of mac & cheeze, it’s hard to know where to start. So when I decided to create my own mac & cheeze recipe, I had to look deep within the recesses of my hungry soul and ask “What kind of mac & cheeze woman am I”? Now, in and of itself this might seem like an innocent and deceptively simple question. But what I realized was, it was a litmus test of my true inner being and moral fiber. And believe me, I know how important fiber is, especially when it’s moral, and it’s easy to want to be a people palate pleaser, but it’s also important to please yourself. And when you make a dish with your own special touches, even if it’s in an empty kitchen, you really hope the crowd will come. (Hopefully by invitation only, of course) And so it is with this recipe, I created what to me is the ULTIMATE mac & cheeze recipe with a kick, that is flavorful, comforting and my own personal baseball field. (A reference to the movie “Field of Dreams” if you’re too young to remember). Oh yeah, and you’re all invited to my kitchen to taste it!

Dill-ectable Macaroni & Cheese with a Kick
Serves 4 – 6

Must Have
12 oz. gluten-free elbow macaroni
1 medium carrot
1 small russet potato
½ cup chopped cauliflower
¾ cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
¾ cup rice, coconut or hemp milk
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons chopped dried onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
6 tablespoons fresh dill

Must Do
1.Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain the macaroni in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2. Place the carrot, potato and cauliflower in 2 cups of boiling water. Steam until fork tender. Drain the water from the pot.
3.Place the sunflower seeds in a food processor and process until finely ground.
4.Add the steamed vegetables and potato, milk, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, turmeric, hot sauce and salt and process until well combined and smooth.
5.Pour the sauce over the macaroni and serve.

Double Fudge Espresso Brownies w/Vanilla Bean Frosting and Dark Chocolate Sauce

October 14, 2014

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It’s National Dessert Day, so I thought I’d share a recipe inspired by a picture taken by my brilliant food photographer, Carl Kravats. Since we all feel
STRESSED in these troubled times, I think we should dial back, look at this word backward and eat DESSERT! You can find similar recipes in my cookbook Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats.


DOUBLE FUDGE ESPRESSO BROWNIES w/VANILLA BEAN FROSTING and DARK CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Makes 9 brownies

Must Have
Brownies
Grapeseed oil, for greasing the pan
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
½ cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons espresso powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
5 tablespoons coconut nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅜ teaspoon stevia powder
½ cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chip chunks


Vanilla Frosting

2½ cups powdered erythritol
6 tablespoons warm vanilla rice milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out and reserved

Chocolate Sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon coconut nectar
2 tablespoons cacao powder
⅛ teaspoon stevia powder
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt


Must Do

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with grapeseed oil.
Whisk together the flour, cacao powder, espresso powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia and stir to combine. Next add the water and chocolate chip chunks andstir until it is absorbed and the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth down with a wet baking spatula or the back of a wet spoon.
Bake the brownies for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the batter starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Rotate the pan from front to back after 7 minutes of baking.
Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting the brownies into 16 squares.
To make the frosting, mix together the erythritol, rice milk, coconut oil, salt and vanilla beans in a medium bowl and stir until smooth and well combined.
For the chocolate sauce, mix together the coconut oil, coconut nectar, cacao powder, stevia and sea salt in a small gown and stir until smooth and well combined
Frost the brownies when they are completely cool. Top with the chocolate sauce.
Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Double Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

October 13, 2014

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There’s nothing better than delivering cupcakes to my customers and seeing the smile on their faces when I hand over the box. I’ve owned my company for almost 10 years and I’m still the head schlepper. I wouldn’t haven’t it any other way, because there’s nothing more contagious than getting an extra big grin from someone when there’s double chocolate chip cupcakes in the delivery box. There’s something about chocolate chips that makes people happy. What makes me even happier is when the chips don’t have sugar in them. These kind are hard to come by. There is a recipe for sugar-free chocolate chips in my cookbook, and I just discovered a brand called Lily’s that makes them, in case you don’t want to make your own. And they’re delicious! They use stevia and erythritol as sweeteners, both of which we use at my bakery, so I can vouch for their safety and taste. There is no dairy either, so my son can eat them as well. Nothing makes me happier than that!

Must Have
Cupcakes
12 standard-size paper baking cups
1 cup unsweetened plain rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
⅓ cup cacao powder
1¼ teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup coconut nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅜ teaspoon stevia powder
⅓ cup vegan, soy-free plain yogurt (I use So Delicious coconut milk yogurt)
1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips ( I make my own from the recipe in my cookbook, or I use Lily’s brand)

Vanilla Frosting
2½ cups powdered erythritol
6 tablespoons warm vanilla rice milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out and reserved

Topping
1 cup chocolate chips

Must Do
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper baking cups.
Mix together the rice milk and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup.
Whisk together the flour, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Next add the rice milk mixture and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the batter is smooth. Stir in the yogurt and chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the measuring cup, as the spout will make it easier to pour the batter into the cupcake tin without spillage.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 16 to 17 minutes, or until they bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the cupcake tin from front to back after 10 minutes of baking.
Transfer the cupcake tin from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes to cool completely.
To make the vanilla frosting, mix together the erythritol, rice milk, coconut oil, salt and vanilla beans and stir until smooth and well combined.
Frost the completely cooled cupcakes and top each with a handful of the chocolate chips.
Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. Leftover frosting keeps in the fridge for about 4 weeks if stored in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 cupcake): 180 calories, 9 g total fat, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrates, 135 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 12 g sugars

Stoned Fruit Muffins

October 10, 2014

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Even though I don’t have one yet, I remember being one, and I truly believe that teenagers are the reason Moms become premature antiques. If I remember correctly, it is at this age that children grow an appendage called “attitude,” because they know way, way more than you. So just save your breath and tell your kid what you’ve made them for breakfast, because I’m sure their ears will perk up when you tell them you’ve made them muffins with stoned fruit.

*Sweet Truth:
Stoned in this context means “stones have been removed.” Just as pitted means “pits have been removed” and gutted means . . . oh, never mind.

Must Have
12 standard-size paper baking cups
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup coconut nectar
¼ teaspoon stevia powder
⅓ cup apricot, peach, nectarine or plum puree
1 cup unsweetened plain rice milk
1 cup diced apricots, peaches, nectarines, or plums

Must Do
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, guar gum, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar and stevia and stir to combine. Add the fruit puree and rice milk, and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the batter is smooth.
Add ½ cup of the diced fruit and stir to distribute evenly.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about two-thirds full. Top each with the remaining ½ cup of diced fruit.
Bake the muffins for 17 to 18 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown and bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking.
Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the muffins to cool completely.
Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 muffin): 150 calories, 5 g total fat, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 160 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 5 g sugars

*Sweet Truth:
The apricots, peaches, nectarines or plums used for the puree should be peeled, but should not be cooked.

Super Seedy Chocolate Drizzled Energy Bars with Chocolate Chips

October 8, 2014

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I’m usually craving something sweet every hour of the day, so it’s important that I have something healthy on hand so that I’m not tempted otherwise. So I whipped up this no-bake granola bar that takes seconds to prepare, and the life-enhancing and crunchy seeds and sweetness of the dates and chocolate make it very satisfying.

Super Seedy Energy Bars With Chocolate Chips

Makes 12 bars

Must Have
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup chia seeds
¼ cup cacao nibs
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
¼ cup sugar-free chocolate chips ( I use Lily’s brand)

Topping
½ cup sugar-free chocolate chips, melted
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted

Must Do
Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.
Add the dates, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cacao nibs, cacao powder and sea salt to the food processor. Leave a little of each ingredient out.
Process until a dough starts to form and drizzle in the coconut oil.
Add in the remaining ingredients and the chocolate chips and incorporate by hand.
Press the dough into the pan.
Mix the melted chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl.
Drizzle the chocolate on top of the bars.
Set in the freezer for about 2 hours.
Cut into 16 bars.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

October 6, 2014

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Yesterday I took my son to the makeshift neighborhood pumpkin patch which is situated under a large tent, in the middle of a deserted parking lot, in the 105°F heat. If that’s not love, what is?

So my son wanted to choose two small pumpkins. Why two, I don’t know. Maybe one would stand in as the little sister he’s been asking me for, but I cannot deliver. And I don’t mince words.

But, of course, before he even took a gander at the pumpkin selection, he got swept away in the distraction of the various dilapidated wagon rides, toy assortments, games, pony rides, bouncy houses, petting zoos, slides and your run-of-the-mill scary stuffed stuff. It’s like a vortex he and I get sucked into every October and can’t get out of for at least half a day.

By the time he was ready to pick a pumpkin and a sibling, I was ready to faint. So we quickly grabbed two odd shaped pumpkins, paid and ran. I then swung by Whole Foods to get canned pumpkin. After all the commotion, all I wanted to do was meditate and bake. So I baked up a batch of these gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free Pumpkin Pie Muffins. And as I was finally ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and meditate while I ate, my son came into the kitchen and asked “Well, if I can’t have a little sister can I have a dog and a guinea pig”?

Must Have
Muffins
12 standard-size paper baking cups
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup coconut nectar
⅜ teaspoon stevia powder
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
¾ cup unsweetened plain rice milk

Topping
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder

Must Do
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.
Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar and stevia and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin puree and rice milk, and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about three-quarters full. Dust the top of each with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Bake the muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden orange and bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking.
Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack and let sit for about 10 minutes before removing the muffins to cool completely.
Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 muffin): 150 calories, 5 g total fat, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 24 g carbohydrates, 160 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein, 4 g sugars