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What do you get the person who’s allergic to everything?

What do you get the person who’s allergic to everything?

stocking-stuffersGluten and dairy and sugar, oh my! The holidays are an allergen nightmare for those of us who deal with everything from Celiac disease to Candida, but they can be an even bigger nightmare for their loved ones who want to make them feel special and included. Overjoyed cries of “I can eat THAT?!” are music to my ears, and they can be to you too. Here’s a list of a bunch of gift ideas you probably haven’t thought of for the Temperamental Tummies in your life.

Stocking Stuffers

Made On: – This company is primarily run by just one gal, who is passionate about and fantastic at what she does. She makes hard lotions, bug block, baby rash lotion, hair butter (a favorite!), soaps, lip balms and tinted lip balms that are 100% natural, hand made, and fragrance, allergen, and preservative free! Around the holidays, she has a lip balm called Vanilla Dust that is a favorite in my family! It’s got a slight sparkle and a delicious sugar cookie smell. Her customer service is top notch, and every repeat customer gets to choose a free product with their order! It’s called Made On: because every product comes hand-labeled with who made it and on what date, so you know it’s always fresh. She even has mechanic soap for guys with fresh pine needles to get those hard-working hands clean, and shaving soap too! Check out her website here!

Red Apple Lipstick– A lot of people don’t know that makeup can contain gluten and all kinds of toxins! That’s not a gift, that’s a curse! This Red Apple isn’t poisoned, however. It’s just the opposite, and it’s completely gluten free, so it’s safe for the Celiac in your life! Their product line specializes in fantastic lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows, and they released a mascara that has rocked my world. They’re all high grade, and made by my friend Jay and his lovely wife Andrea especially for Celiacs! Check out my review of their products here! Check out their website here!

Surf Sweets– Christmas candy is notorious for containing allergens like corn, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy. For your little kids, or even your big kids, they have some of the best tasting gummy bears and jelly beans on the market! You’ll have to hide them from everyone else! Check out my review here! 

Lovely Candy Co–  They have the most incredible caramels, licorice, and fruit chews I’ve ever tasted, and they’re gluten free, kosher, NON-GMO(!), no HFCS, and no artificial anything! Gotta love the care that comes with buying from a small family business! They’re available at Target, and a few other stores.

Other great stocking stuffers include: hypoallergenic earrings (check Etsy for great options!), fuzzy socks, a new day planner (TJ Maxx has them for $5!) and fun pencils/stickers/etc, tea (The Republic of Tea is certified gluten free!), a candle (try finding a local candle company!), or a great scarf (just check to make sure they don’t have any textile allergies, like I do!).

Gifts

A pound of coffee (here’s a list of gluten free ones!) and a great new travel mug! (I just received this as a present and it’s awesome)

Skincare! (shameless plug for L’BRI- it’s a local company here in Wisconsin. Aloe vera based, truly natural skincare that’s incredibly affordable!)- Here’s the website, and here‘s a link to see which products contain things like soy or honey if you’re vegan. But really, if you’re getting them skin stuff, check ingredients!

A monthly subscription box! I’m a fan of ones for tea, personally, but here‘s a link with 12 different gluten free food subscription boxes!

Gift cards to places like health food stores, whole foods, etc so that we can buy ourselves gluten free treats we normally wouldn’t spring for!

Look for a local gluten free cafe and buy them a gift card to that place! Try using www.findmeglutenfree.com to search your area!

Gluten free treat mixes, like brownies and cookies- they’re not cheap, but really nice to have around.

A nice lunchbag set, because us allergic people ALWAYS have to bring our own food, but why shouldn’t it be cute?!

Bath salts…baths are great when you’re hurting from a reaction.

 

 
 

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Homemade Vanilla

This is probably my chief kitchen pet peeve- artificial vanilla. WHY?! I know it’s cheap but is putting 1) chemicals and 2) nasty tasting baked goods in your mouth EVER a good idea? No. If it’s not delicious, don’t put it in your mouth. It’s a waste of time, money, and calories. If you can’t bring yourself to pay a bit more for good quality vanilla, this post is for you.

The pictures below are days 1, 7, 14 and 30

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I’m about to tell you the secret to great, cheap, REAL vanilla, so get yourself a list and go pick these things up: 3 sealable tall glass bottles, preferably clear so you can tell when your vanilla is ready to use; a bottle of cheaper vodka. Make sure it’s between 70 and 90 proof. You can even get fancy and buy organic potato vodka like I managed to find on sale. Full price? You may as well just buy the good vanilla and skip the work, but honestly, this is more fun.

The beans you’ll want to find on Amazon (or just get THIS one, because it’s awesome and gives you a few different kinds of beans to try so you can smell the difference between a Madagascar, Tahitian, and Indonesian vanilla…it’s huge. You want Grade B beans. I know you’ll be tempted to get Grade A, but don’t. Those are for actually scraping out and cooking with. Grade B gives you better vanilla.

Plan on 1/4 lb of beans for every quart of extract, or 7 beans for every cup and a half of vodka.

Split the beans in half lengthwise to expose the inside, stuff into the jar and pour the vodka in until the beans are just covered.

Seal, label, and stick in a dark pantry. If you have extra beans left over, you can do an experiment like I did: I stuck them all (mixing flavors) in a bigger jar and filled it with vodka to see how the combination of flavors turns out in comparison.

Shake every day for at LEAST a month, probably more like 2 or 3 months until it’s nice and dark. Then, as you use, it, refill it with the extra vodka so the beans stay covered. How easy is that?! Never have to buy vanilla again.

 

Here’s the lowdown on bean flavor profiles:

Mexican vanilla beans– smoky, spicy tones

Indonesian bourbon vanilla beans– smoky, woody

Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans– sweet, creamy

Tahitian vanilla beans– what you think about when you think “vanilla”- very typical, not complex

Indian vanilla beans– dark, rum notes with a cherry undertone

Papua New Guinea– chocolatey, very mild

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in How To, Reference

 

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Homemade Larabars

My food processor got a workout the other day! This weekend I’m participating in a craft fair to get out the word about this blog, and selling some gluten and dairy free goodies so people can get a taste of what I make! One product I used to buy and never will again? Larabars. They’re wonderful, but I love being able to make them whatever flavor I’m craving and not having to wonder where all the ingredients came from. This is one of the easiest things you’ll ever try; trust me. There are a million different combinations out there, but these are a few of my favorite. The nuts can be raw or roasted, but definitely unsalted. You can even substitute seeds if you’ve got nut allergies. If there’s a bar that you particularly enjoy, look at the ingredients! Chances are, you can make it at home.

The basic formula is 1 cup pitted dates, figs, raisins, or prunes, 1 cup nuts, and 1 cup “filling” of choice, such as dried fruits (cherries, blueberries, apricots, coconut, chocolate chips, coffee beans, flax seeds, hemp hearts, etc). You can also up the flavor with things like citrus zest and juice, vanilla extract, mint, ginger, cocoa, coconut oil, etc. Be creative! I mix the nuts and figs first until it’s a gooey “dough”. If it’s a little dry, mix in 1-2 Tbsp water a little at a time until it balls up a bit, unless you’re using flavorings; then add those first and then water if it needs more. Then add the fillings. Scrape out onto plastic wrap and flatten into a long, 1/2-3/4 inch thick plank, then cut into 6 or 7 bars.

**UPDATE! THREE NEW FLAVORS CREATED BY YOURS TRULY!**

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**Ginger Apricot**

1 c. dates

1 c. cashews

3/4 c. unsulphured dried, diced apricots

1/4 c. candied ginger

**Chocolate Covered Cranberries**

1 c. dates

1 c. cashews

2/3 c. cacao nibs

1/3 c. dried, apple juice sweetened cranberries

1/8 c. dried goji berries

**Almond Joy (new favorite!)**

1 c. dates

1 c. almonds

1 c. finely shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 c. cocoa

1/4 c. raw honey

1 Tbsp vanilla

Chocolate Berry Chip

1 c. dates or figs

1 c. mixed almonds and cashews

1 c. mixed chocolate chips and dried berries

(eliminate berries for a “chocolate chip cookie dough” flavor)

Coconut Cream Pie

1 c. dates

1 c. mixed almonds and cashews

1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Key Lime Pie

1 c. dates

1 c. mixed almonds and cashews

1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut

1 lime: zest and juice

PB&J

1 c. peanuts

1 c. dates or figs

1 c. dried strawberries or mixed berries

You could add a bit of actual peanut butter to up the ante as well.

Gingersnap

1 c. dates

1 c. mixed pecans and almonds

2 Tbsp fresh ginger (or less powdered ginger)

1 Tbsp mixed cinnamon and cloves

You could even drizzle in just a touch of molasses, but be careful, because it can be bitter.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Breakfast, Dessert, How To

 

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Vegan Meltable Muenster Cheese

Remember a couple of weeks ago we had a guest blogger who dazzled us with an amazing vegan yogurt recipe? She’s back, and with a recipe that uses the vegan yogurt you’ve already made to create something even more delectable…cheese. Visions of grilled cheese sandwiches are dancing in my head, so I’ll turn it over, once again, to Mandy Aureli.
Cheese…it can be one of the things you miss the most when you give up dairy. It seems no matter the reason you give it up, memories of cheese come knocking at your door. It could be memories of a gooey grilled cheese or thoughts of a bowl of creamy mac and cheese. For me that doesn’t happen too often, but when it does it can be hard to ignore. So instead of giving in and regretting it later I buy the dairy free cheese substitutes you can find in the supermarkets. Most of them are pretty good and I have my personal favorites. But I am a woman who likes to experiment and not only try new things but try and make new things! So naturally after my purchase of the book, Artisan Vegan Cheese I need to try and make my very own vegan cheese. There are many great recipes in the book, the one that really jumped out at me was the Meltable Muenster.

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Homemade Vegan Meltable Muenster

Put all of the following ingredients in a blender and process till smooth

1 cup plain homemade nondairy yogurt (can be soy, almond or almond coconut)

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup canola, sunflower or safflower oil

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1Tbsp agar agar powder or carrageenan powder

1tsp fine salt

Pour the blended mixture into a heavy bottom sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes whisking the whole time until very smooth, thick, gooey and glossy. Make sure the cheese mixture has a gloss to it or once it is formed it will not melt well when cooked with.

Pour the thick gooey glossy cheese mixture into a glass or nonreactive bowl or mold and smooth the top.

Let cool completely at room temp. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours before using.

Note: I like to let mine age in the fridge for about a week before using. It can be used as soon as it is cold, I just like to let it age a bit. It makes a great grilled cheese, mac and cheese, addition to a creamy sauce or even spread on crackers.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2014 in How To

 

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“Cream Of …” Soup Substitute

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“Cream of” Soup Substitute

Melt 2 Tbsp trans-fat free margarine over medium low heat

Stir in 3 Tbsp all purpose gluten free flour

Keep stirring until smooth and bubbly (Mine just balled up a bunch..must be a gluten free thing)

Remove from heat and add 1/2 c. vegetable broth and 1/2 c. almond milk a little at a time, stirring (with a whisk) to keep it smooth. Return to heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. It’ll thicken up nicely.

Salt and pepper to taste.

This is equivalent to one can of “cream of”.

You can vary it by changing the broth, using sauteed celery or celery seed, or sauteed chopped mushrooms and herbs or seasonings.

This is the link to the original recipe (included gluten and dairy) that I messed with.

 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in How To, Soup

 

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Homemade Vegan Yogurt

Hooray! Our first ever guest post by the lovely Mandy Aureli! We met on the So Delicious dairy free group on Facebook (now called Deliciously Dairy Free) and she had the most wonderful recipes and ideas, so I asked if she’d share a few recipes for vegan cheese. The base for it is homemade dairy free yogurt. It is made with soy milk, which I avoid, but I’m sure it’d work well using an almond and coconut milk blend as well, though it makes for a less firm yogurt. Mandy hasn’t used it for cheese, but it’s worth a shot. Keep your eyes peeled for a cheese recipe using this yogurt and let me know how it goes! Now I’ll turn it over to Mandy.

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I absolutely LOVE yogurt!! It has so many possibilities, from just eating with some fruit or granola all the way to baking and cooking with it or even making sauces and dips! I know what you’re thinking…you can buy dairy free yogurt in the store. Yes, you can. But one day on my search for a good vegan cheese book I found the book Artisan Vegan Cheese, and not only does it have tons of cheese recipes, it also had a yogurt recipe. That sealed the deal, this book was for me and I had to go home and make yogurt!

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Homemade Dairy Free Yogurt

The night before soak 2/3 cup raw cashews in water.

In your blender put the following and blend till smooth:

1 cup soy milk

2/3 cup soaked and rinsed cashews

In a medium sauce pan put the following and whisk well. Heat to 110 degrees using a food thermometer to check the temperature and whisking occasionally:

3 cups soy milk

Cashew & soy milk mixture from blender

Once soy milk cashew mixture reaches 110 degrees, take off the heat and whisk in:

3 Tbsp of PLAIN non dairy yogurt ( I used So Delicious Plain Cultured Coconut Milk )

Take heated yogurt and put in clean glass containers or jars ( I used old jars I save ). Then cover with plastic wrap and a rubber band. Place in a warm draft free area for over night ( about 12 hours ). I like to put the jars in my microwave; it keep any drafts out and they are out of my way. The next morning you should see cloudy liquid on top of your yogurt, that is a good thing!  You will have a nice batch of plain dairy free yogurt. Take the jars and place in your refrigerator and use as you would like.

Note: This is not a sweet yogurt it will be slightly tart. But you can easily add sweetener as you take a portion out to use it. Adding fruit is a great way not only to eat it but to sweeten it.

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in How To, Reference

 

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RS Free Strawberry Freezer Jam

What do you do when you find three large containers of overripe organic strawberries on clearance for $1.99? You make jam! I picked up a box of Sure Jell fruit pectin for less or no sugar recipes and followed their recipe to a T! It’s slightly different if you’re using…say…honey or coconut palm sugar than if you’re using Stevia like I did, so pay attention to the ingredients on the directions that come with the box, and follow them EXACTLY. I have a friend who can’t have refined sugar, so I used Stevia because I wanted to share. The strawberries taste like summer in the middle of Wisconsin winter…aka Antarctica while depressed. 

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Refined Sugar Free Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 c. strawberries, trimmed, hulled (de-stemmed), and crushed with a potato masher

1/2 c. Stevia

1 pkg Sure Jell fruit pectin for less or no sugar recipes

Place fruit in 6-8 qt pot. Stir in 3/4 c. water and the box of Sure Jell. 

Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop when stirred) on high heat, stirring CONSTANTLY. Boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in Stevia. Skim off any foam and ladle into freshly washed containers, leaving room for freezing expansion. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to set. Keeps 3 weeks in the fridge or the freezer for up to a year. Thaw in the fridge. 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in How To

 

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