My first post in a very long while. I'm still not upbeat enough about food to write/journal, but I want to get this recipe out anyway. So, without commentary, here's the latest family "made from air" scone recipe!
2/3 cup rice flour (I use a 50/50 mix of white/brown)
2/3 cup oat flour
1/3 cup cornstarch (you can replace with tapioca starch or arrowroot for corn allergy)
1/3 cup potato starch
1-1/2 tsp psyllium (I use this instead of gums)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup white sugar (I forgot this once and it was not as tasty but still baked well)
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (I use this as a gluten-free alcohol-free equivalent to 1 tsp extract)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp orange peel
3/4 cup dried berries
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal in 2 Tbsp hot water
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil (I use canola oil)
1 ounce (2 Tbsp) water, as needed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare a quarter-sheet baking pan or round pizza pan with silpat or parchment (or you can spray with oil).
In a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, combine all dry ingredients and berries until well mixed.
In a small bowl, combine the flax and water to replace 1 egg. Let sit to thicken.
Measure the two wet ingredients separately.
Add all three wet products to the bowl and mix well to combine. Switch to light hand-kneading after a few good stirs.
As needed at the end, add the extra water (especially if the mix appears crumbly, such as when it's a very dry day). You'll know that you need this because the dough will not pull together well with your hands to be shaped.
Place the ball of dough on the pan and flatten; shape the sides to form a circle or rectangle.
Lightly pre-slice (you don't need to go all the way through) the dough.
Bake for 15-17 minutes. Rest on the pan for another 5-10 or until completely cool.
No nutrition details yet, but I'll update when I get back to those calculations later on.
Two more months again.
As school has ended and spring has rolled into summer, I've been delighted to meet new people in person and online who are working through food allergies, EoE, or other immune-related nutrition issues. And I wish that I could be even more engaged than ever!
But. I'm officially deciding to take a break from the blog, at least for the summer.
I've put off the decision for awhile now, but a few things are quite apparent:
I plan to continue on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as I'm able, though, and to gather ideas from all of the wonderful online groups and families. And I hope to come back strong with ideas for thriving with EoE!
Meanwhile, I'll spend the summer teaching my girls how to cook on their own, especially letting them use ingredients that I can't anymore, and enjoying as many simple recipes as I can.
I'm still not organized or business-like enough with the blog to have an e-mail sign-up, or a newsletter, or another way to keep in touch. But, if you're interested in hearing from me directly when I return, please do comment below or find me at my work site (nicolevanhoey.weebly.com) to stay in touch.
If you're finding me here anew because of a recent EoE group I joined, please explore what is here already, and do come back in the fall to find more news and posts! I'm on a steep learning curve (again), but I'm certain that I'll make it to another decent-or-better plateau and have recipes to share.
Oh my. It's been nearly 2 months since I've posted here, and just as long since I've felt capable of engaging else where in food world, too.
When I started this blog, it wasn't for emotional support or outreach; it was because I felt like we had enough of a grasp on vegan+meat allergy eating that we could collect and share our successes. Mostly I wanted a record of what we tried and what worked for my girls, and blogging was (and is) a convenient platform for that.
Now, though, we're starting over and I don't have successes in my pocket, or even logical places to start recipes yet. I don't want this space to turn into a sad, venting place, but I definitely don't have the spare time to blog on non-recipe topics yet, either (all of that "extra" time after work goes straight into finding, and I hope soon making, safe food again!).
I suspect this rock-and-a-hard-place situation will ease up eventually. For now, though, this is just another placeholder post while I brainstorm ways to get back to kitchen happy again soon. On that note, here's a collage of my successes just since the holiday: proof that I am not starving and that I am making things in the oven that are mostly edible! One day, when these recipes are tested and stick with me, they'll end up here.
Until then, happy baking with whatever your safe ingredients are. :-)
After 15 years of marriage, I'm still not used to people who ask me if I'm Dutch...or people who are astounded (shocked! disbelieving!) when I say that I'm Italian. My heritage is something that shaped me enormously: I grew up in an Italian American community where every Friday was homemade pizza night and every Sunday had red sauce on something. Cheese was everywhere, and the two most important dinners I learned to make before heading off into the world were gnocchi for holidays and lasagna...just because it's hard to get right. Being Italian is just BEING. There is no other way.
But, fast forward into parenthood and a child who ends up hospitalized after simply inhaling cheese. That was quite a change for us, but it did open up our culinary world so very much. With things like baked ziti literally off the table, I turned to my mom's other recipes: mostly Eastern European or plain old American classics. Also, naturally, pasta very often without the cheese on top. It worked.
Dairy-free Italian was surprisingly doable (though a little bit sad), but wheat-free Italian has been tricky. So, back to the drawing board. For me, that means historical research, lots of recipe explorations, and some epic kitchen fails. I don't have free-from Italian completely figured out, but I have made enough strides to see the possibilities ahead.
This post won't give you any allergy-safe Italian recipes, but I hope that it gets you started thinking about ways to "eat Italian" without cheese or wheat...or to get you started exploring your own favorite type of food. Maybe there's something in that culinary history that can bring new favorites for you to love.
Eating Italian, not Italian American
First consider Italian American meals against the traditional Italian versions. You might be surprised to see that Italians rely much less on cheese and gravy dishes than we do in the states.
Eating by Region, Historically or Today
Also consider that we what think of as Italian really reflects only a tiny portion of actual Italian regions and foods. Italy was not well-collected as a country until the mid-1800s, and each region can seem like a country unto itself: northeastern areas mirroring Eastern European influences; northwestern, French and Swiss. And of course the regions of the "south" (really, most of the bottom two thirds of the country!) with a bigger emphasis on farming, fishing, and shepherding.
So, here's just a tiny sampling of Italian standards that don't rely on milk/cheese, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, or seeds:
And another sampling that also excludes wheat for breads and pastas:
These dairy-free, wheat-free Italian options don't necessarily take me back to fond childhood memories, but they certainly satisfy as an adult with a passion to reclaim a heritage despite allergy challenges!
Having these options doesn't mean I've given up on pasta entirely, though. After giving lentil, rice, and bean pastas a few tries, I've settled on Le Veneziane corn pasta made in Italy. It cooks as close to durum wheat pasta as I can find, and it takes up sauces and broth well, too. It's available on Amazon, ItalianHarvest, and Vitacost websites, and the easy access is a nice bonus. For now, though, the cost of these small packages will keep pasta in the once-in-awhile dinner category.... Which leaves me plenty of room to explore new ideas.
I’ve grouched a lot lately, in person and on media, about not eating. Of course, I’m not starving. And I’m not at risk of anaphylaxis if I goof up and eat something I shouldn’t. In fact, I’m amazingly fortunate in that I can whip up dinner for everyone while I’m working from home with a lovely variety of fresh foods available every day.
I guess what I’m really grouching about is the loss of so many recipes we’d built over a decade and the relative normalcy that they brought us. Now I’m asea in the kitchen again, with recipe gains in bits and spurts… And a distinct lack of fun, for now.
But dinners and lunches still have to happen and that’s still on me. In the spirit of just getting things done then, here are five 5-minute (seriously) meals to feed your family on your busiest days. All are free from the traditional top 8, most are free from seeds and soy, and some are completely vegan /meat free.
Masarepa (right) is precooked corn flour. Sort of like premade dried pasta.
My deli wraps (left) come with a side of upside-down Eeyore and pepperjack.
Truly, lunch on the go at its most basic. Inspired in part by the bologna-ketchup rolls of my youth (don’t judge). Layer one piece of deli-style meat (kudos if you made it at home), one piece of cheese/cheese-type product, one pile of greens (I’m a fan of spinach leaves here). Repeat for thicker or neater wraps (I add another piece of meat on top for the protein and to rein in the leaves). Roll as if it had a tortilla around it. Slice it, or just start eating. Bonus points if you actually rolled this out on a board or plate, too.
Arepas to slice and stuff or scoop
Not a bun, not a tortilla. Technically requiring a specific (but very low cost!) ingredient. Mix 1 cup masarepa flour (order it here, for example) with 1 cup water. Let it sit while you turn on the broiler or toaster oven. Pull off chunks of the thickened dough, roll into balls, smoosh flat. Bake as many as you want to make under the broiler for a few minutes on both sides. If you have more than 5 minutes, go ahead and turn off the broiler and keep the patties in the oven with the door closed to make sure the insides get fully cooked and sliceable. Possibilities here are endless: slice and toast and slather; pile salsa or leftovers on top and use it like a taco shell (or slice it genteelly, if you prefer); just walk away from the kitchen with it in your hand on the go.
Quickest tomato broth gravy
I love days when the house smells like long-simmering tomato gravy. It takes me right back to happy childhood memories. Sometimes that just won’t happen, but the meal I can pull off for everyone still requires some kind of sauce. This is my latest answer. Mix 1 can/box/whatever of tomatoes with a really good splash or two of vegetable broth (maybe 1/2 cup? hard to say….). Add a spoonful (really, a dinner-size spoonful, so maybe a Tablespoon) of cornstarch (or tapioca or arrowroot if you can’t use corn). Whisk is together in a pan over medium-high heat until it gets bubbling. Simmer it for as many minutes as you have available. Add whatever flavors you like (we vary between traditional Italian and a Tex-Mex version). Toss the cooked meat or beans or other protein in if it’s available. Toss in veggies if you want. Really, just throw anything you want to have flavored into the pot, then eat it. Maybe pour it over the arepas if you’ve really got your timing down!
Stir-fried veggies mix
This one is a much less sarcastic approach to fast homecooked meals. We’ve been enjoying our Washington Green Grocer deliveries so much. It’s a small source of joy in another otherwise-crazy food year. All of the fresh veggies means that we rarely rely on frozen steamed options, which are healthy and easy, but sometimes not as flavorful. If you have fresh veggies, greens, and roots on hand, try this quick stir-fry. Add some protein and you have yourself a (possibly vegan) meal. Coarsely chop (in the interest of time, go ahead, tear it instead if you have to) greens---we like baby bok choy, green onions, leeks, Also some carrots, maybe celery if we have it. I’ve shaved in turnips, tossed in teeny dices of eggplant (so the kids won’t notice). Anything goes. My favorite seasoning right now is a mix of Green Goddess, ginger, orange peel, and basil at the end. But chili powder and cumin with a bit of cocoa and paprika would be nice, too, perhaps. Gotta try a lot of flavors to make the same food every day taste different, right?
One-bowl salmon saute
An indulgent but easy lunch/dinner meal that I miss a lot is chicken salad made from leftover rotisserie shreds. Mix in a little mustard, mayo (if you can), dill, thyme, etc, and you have a *great* sandwich started. I never understood tuna salad, frankly, when you could have this instead. Now that I’ve found pouch salmon, though (check the no-metal box and the healthy-fats box), I’m gradually missing my chicken salad a bit less. Because the pouch salmon is already cooked, you really don’t even have to do this in a saute pan, if you’re that short on time. I like to mix in a small skillet some olive oil, the salmon, something crunchy like onions or celery, some carrots and/or peppers, and maybe a few dark greens to wilt. Sometimes I just toss in leftover veggies from stir fry night, actually. Mix it all together to warm, and add in whatever seasonings you like. Since this can’t be a sandwich in my world, but I often require something crunchy to make a meal worthwhile, I like to crush rice crackers or even rice cereal into the salmon mixture. You can eat it with a spoon as is, or you can add it to something else that’s safe for you, like leftover rice, or corn pasta, or a gluten-free tortilla. Either way, it checks off the protein/carb/veggie boxes for at least one meal. And it’s pretty tasty.
And a bonus (like a baker's dozen, but not-quite-halved):
Rice paper rolls
This is my youngest daughter’s new favorite recipe. She’s become my sous chef of sorts, which I love. We saw a Craftsy video that showed viewers how to roll lettuce and stuffing into round rice paper. Egg rolls without the egg?! Spring rolls without the wheat?! I’m in. I ordered these papers, which are unbelievably affordable, and which store well. With some of the WGG Bibb lettuce, some leftover salmon one day and pork another, and a bunch of veggies on hand, we got started. I used my tea kettle to heat water, poured the water into a bowl, and ran the rice paper through the water until it was pliable and see through. On a dinner-sized plate, we layered the rice paper, some lettuce leaves, and a pile of veggies and meat/fish in the middle of it all. Then we rolled, tucked, and rolled some more. Remarkably easy. And delicious. And surprisingly filling. We ate them at room temp one day dipped in a vinaigrette, after refrigeration another day dipped in BBQ sauce. New favorite, indeed. They’re packable, portable, not too messy, all around great. And if you have leftovers in your fridge, they only take as long as it takes you to boil water and spoon in the filling. Enjoy! 😊
This year is shaping up to be a high-alert year for our family. Every time we think a return to "normal" is around the corner, another crisis or emotional shocker hits us. Everyone has times like that, for sure...those days or weeks that keep you from your usual (even if hectic) life. When life just becomes getting through the moments instead of enjoying most of them.
So. Another post not directly about food today, with my apologies. In fact, this is a post (with that paragraph above saved in the archives) from my draft folder that dates back to almost this time of year in 2016! At that point, both sides of our family had gone through some traumatic events, and I was just scheduled for open heart surgery. Not necessarily an upbeat spring.
Unfortunately, it looks like I'm facing another open heart surgery much sooner than anyone hoped. That means I've had a fair share of "garden of Gethsemane" moments this Lent. And I'm still walking around the house eating things (like almonds and cherries and broccoli)---not meals---for lunch or even dinner some days. So, apparently I still have some physical challenges, and (I hope) mental growth, ahead.
In 2016, I treated surgery and other people's trauma as problems that I could help solve. Problems are like puzzles, and I love solving those; finding answers and solutions when people are in need is one way I help. And sometimes, it works beautifully. For example, treating my daughters' allergies as puzzles in the kitchen led to an entirely new approach in the kitchen and a new hobby for me, not to mention fun family time with my kids.
In 2018, I've already learned this Lent that some problems are not for me to solve. Or are not solve-able. Instead I'm finding that standing by someone through a problem or trauma, and letting people stand with me in mine, is also a gift. A challenging one for me, for sure---to not fix things, and to let others in when I'm not 100%. But I have started finding joy in connections, and sometimes in the simplicity of accepting imperfect solutions. At the beginning of the year, I had grand plans: to work nearly full time, to put pen to paper with my recipes so the kids would have a safe cookbook, to be that great role model, to be normal (in my world that means "not a patient"). Now, I'm facing another health upheaval that reminds me: I'm not perfect or "fixed"; the trick isn't to find joy by having no problems but to find and share the joy in the problems. If I'm going all religious here, I'd say it's to be transfigured by our problems into a source of joy despite them.
Also in 2018, and related to that no-problems goal, I felt like I had a happy balance in my life: work, fun, family...peace, creativity, activity. I like calm, and home. But I've had a few weeks of crazy unscheduled stuff. And it's been terrifically fun, experiences I would never have wanted to miss. I'm not a risk taker; I seem to be passing that trait or habit on to at least one of my kids, too. Risks in my world are simple things, like travel and lifting, and it's hard to see the point of taking them when the prep work is so great. But shaking up my calm balance can be so rewarding. Lent lesson #2, I suppose---those connections with others are what it's all about, even when they're scary or outside my comfort zone.
Plane travel, preschooler wrestling, baby carrying. Simple things that stress my brain more than they should.
Building Meals Back Up From Basics
I had the chance to metro into the city (instead of drive in) and visit an old friend this week. He happens to have been dealing with food-related problems (including but not only celiac) for more than a decade...much longer than trendy foods have been available. We met at a cafe, both got drinks, and both pulled out our own meals. He's the first person who didn't start off asking me whether X food is okay for 20 minutes. And it was refreshing to just sit and catch up with a friend who didn't mind my beef jerky while we swapped stories and pictures of kids. Riding a metro train back home gave me plenty of time to pore over not just his advice but also his experiences, going through this seemingly alone years ago. We're not alone, though it's hard to remember to put ourselves out there to share and connect.
I also started keeping a notebook in my kitchen this year. At first, the goal was to write out the recipes I make so that I can get them posted here, printed into books, sold online, and on and on. I think I'm again being reminded of how small I am and how large and unneeded those goals are right now, though. At this point, I need to simply put what works each day in that book. From there, eventually, I'll get to build up new creations. Right now I just need to stay nourished without losing the joy. This week, that book has things like "snacks: dried cherries, slivered almonds, roasted edamame mix" but also more elaborate entries like "dinner success: halved poblanos stuffed with meatball mix of 93/7, sprinkles of potato starch, garlic, parsley, seasoned salt, sage; drizzled in olive oil and vegetable broth. combined with parboiled brown rice." Because we have to start somewhere, right?
So, here's to another week of making it work, of hoping that each day I can do something to help someone, and myself, find joy. Even through troubles, not after they're gone.
And maybe I'll actually have recipes and research, from that little kitchen notebook, by April. ;-)
Hi, I'm Nicole.
ABOUT THE BLOG
An apothecary is a person or a place. Either one implies healing and relates to pharmacy in its truest sense, as a source of treatment and advice.
This blog is my way of uniting my pharmacy training with my efforts to provide a healthy and safe lifestyle for my family. In true apothecary form, I research and prescribe alternative ingredients that work just right in each specific recipe, and I would like to share the results with anyone who needs help making their own family’s kitchen allergy safe and heart healthy.
I made the 2017 Top-40 Food Allergy blogs!
Nicole Van Hoey's books on Goodreads
Bakery Bites: Breads and Treats Without Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, or Soy
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)
Kitchen Adventures With Multiple Food Allergies: A Recipe Collection for Celebrations Without Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seeds, or Soy