Sort of Chicken Seasoning

With all of the food allergies in our house, it’s hard to find a chicken seasoning or soup base mix we can use. When I do happen to find them, they are super expensive. I finally decided to make my own. After reading the ingredients on some of our favorite (but expensive) options, and noting the relative quantities, I busted out our kitchen scale and had some fun. This recipe was the result and we use it for soups, to flavor beans, mashed potatoes, patties – you name it! Basically any time a recipe calls for chicken seasoning or soup base, this is our go to.

You will need a kitchen scale for this recipe. I usually make a double batch each time. To create a soup base or mock chicken broth, add approx 2 tsp of the finished mix per cup of water. You can adjust based on your tastes.

  • 0.075 kg Salt
  • 0.03 kg Nutritional Yeast
  • 0.003 kg Basil (dried)
  • 0.002 kg Parsley (dried)
  • 0.012 kg Onion Powder
  • 0.011 kg Garlic Powder
  • 0.005 kg Tumeric Powder
  • 0.003 kg Celery Seed (ground or powder)
  • 0.001 kg Dill Seed (ground or powder)
  • 0.001 kg Sage Powder

I add all these ingredients to a jar and shake, but you can use a bowl and spoon too.

Have fun with this recipe. Feel free to adjust the amounts according to your tastes. You can use¬†less salt, but I like to keep it in and rarely add additional salt to my recipes. If you like some spice, add pepper or chili powder. I’d love to hear the ways you use this fun seasoning. ūüôā

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Allergy Free Drop Biscuits

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I’m so happy to finally be sharing some recipes with you! I thought this drop biscuit recipe would be a great place to start because it is so versatile and super easy to make. We use it for biscuits and gravy, pizza crust, pot pie crust and more. With some slight modifications it even makes great shortcake for strawberry shortcake – yummy!!

Ingredients
2 cups rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 TB sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup rice milk
1/3 cup oil
1/8 cup apple sauce

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees f.
2. Mix dry ingredients in medium size mixing bowl.
3. Emulsify wet ingredients together using a fork.
4. Mix wet ingredients into dry. You will have a very sticky dough.
5. Using a spoon or ice cream scooper, spoon biscuits onto ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Cooking Tip
Check your oven temperature. We bought an oven thermometer and discovered our oven averages about 20 degrees lower than it reads! Yikes! Fortunately, it’s easy to adjust for and our food comes out like it should.

Substitutes and Modifications
This particular recipe can have a lot of adaptations and modifications, so here we go!

Flour:
Originally this recipe called for whole wheat flour. I have found that you can substitute pretty much any flour in this recipe – white rice, brown rice, mung bean, garbanzo etc. It lends a great opportunity to experiment. I have found that it’s better to split really flavorful flours with something more mild like 1 cup rice flour and 1 cup garbanzo flour.

Sugar
As per usual with sugar, you can substitute honey, stevia, agave nectar or even dates (although I would only use maybe 1/3 to 1/2 pitted date for this recipe). By adding 3-4 TB sugar instead of 1/2 TB, you can make an excellent sweet biscuit for all sorts of yummy desserts.

Rice Milk
Milks are generally pretty interchangeable. Rice milk does tend to be sweeter, so if you use rice milk make sure it is unsweetened with no sugar added. You could also use regular cow’s milk. I really think almond milk would be best for this recipe, but we are a nut-free family.

Oil
The oil is in place of any butter or margarine. If you want to avoid oils, you could try one of those. Try using a fork or pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry mixture before adding wet ingredients or add melted butter in with the wet.

If you want to avoid fat all together, you could try using 1/3 cup applesauce and using another method listed below as an egg replacer. In that case, your wet ingredients would be 2/3 C milk, 1/3 C applesauce and egg replacer equivalent for one egg. If you use the applesauce, I would leave out the sugar.

Apple Sauce
In this recipe, the apple sauce serves as an egg replacer. You could just use one egg. There are also other options for egg replacers. There are egg replacer mixes like EnerG egg replacer. I haven’t used them much because they are so expensive. Another option would be mixing 1 TB of ground flax seed with 3 TB water per egg. Let it sit for five minutes before adding to your wet ingredients.

Storage and Prep Simplification
These are already really easy to make, but if you are super short on time, you can make several single-batch ziplock bags ahead with all of the dry ingredients measured out (do at least 5 at a time while you have all your ingredients out anyway). Then, when you are ready to go, just dump the bag into the bowl, add your wet ingredients, pop ’em in the oven and you are done. If you’re feeling particularly thrifty or green, you can save the bags and do it over again. ūüôā

These biscuits are best eaten fresh and do not store well. You can store them for two days in a sealed container in a cool place or longer in the fridge, but their texture becomes less desirable with time.

What is your favorite biscuit recipe? Have you tried this one? Did you modify it? How did it turn out? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Book Review: The Inside Tract: Your Good Guide to Great Gut Health

by Gerard E Mullin and Kathie Madonna Swift

This won’t be an extensive review, but can I just say now that I LOVE this book? ¬†After going through multiple medical procedures and tests with Samuel to try to get to the root of his tummy and allergy woes, I have finally come to the conclusion that we have reached the end of what conventional medicane can do for us. ¬†I have always been¬†interested in diet and health. ¬†I strongly believe that the foods we eat can sometimes be used as a tool to heal and can often cause damage to our bodies as well. ¬†As a result, I felt it was time look at less conventional ways (like diet) to work towards healing for our little boy.

All of this was kickstarted when a friend shared about the GAPS diet.  This led me on a search for various gut friendly diet/lifestyle programs, and I ended up parking at this book. Boy am I glad.

The author’s writing style is so easy to follow. It seems odd, but I actually couldn’t put this book down. ¬†In fact, his chapter explaining the whole digestive system and how it works left me giddy and excited and inspired great ideas for a digestive theme park (I even drew out a map ;). I want to read it again for a refresher, but I feel like I understand more how the digestive system works, and what fules it. ¬†I was able to easily pick up on some things to start with Samuel (and our whole family) right away to help heal our guts. ¬†It’s even possible that this kind of diet can heal Samuel’s leaky gut and reduce the amount of food allergies he has – Wooo Hooo!

I was¬†disappointed¬†that we won’t be able to use the diet recommended in the back straight out due to the fact that we are vegetarian (not at all discouraged in the book), and due to Samuel’s huge amount of food sensitivities. ¬†I was however able to glean a lot.. ¬†Here are some of the biggest things I am excited to put into practice or learn more about (look for book reviews on some of these topics).

  • A lot of things are symptoms of gut problems – even my fertility issues could be related.
  • The gut flora of the mother when giving birth and nursing greatly affects the gut flora of the baby. ¬†This means I will be taking probiotics regularly here soon (I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy), as well as during the time I’m nursing little Timothy to give him a head start.
  • The importance of chewing well. ¬†I understand the biology of chewing and the digestive importance of the¬†salivary¬†enzymes gained with proper chewing. I’m working on this, but I’m so used to scarfing my food, it will take time. ¬†I’m still trying to figure out how to encourage a toddler to chew better. ¬†Any suggestions?
  • Probiotics are crucial to good gut health. I will be increasing these in our diets. ¬†One of the main way to add them is through lacto-fermented food. ¬†This was a foreign concept, and one that was challenging for me to grasp, but I hope to learn more about how to do this and to begin adding some of these fermented foods (like¬†sauerkraut)¬† to our diet.
  • Drink more water. ¬†This should be a no-brainer, but is a good reminder for me.
  • Plenty of exercise. Just like most things, you can have too much of a good thing, but regular exercise is super important to gut health.
  • Soaking grains. The book doesn’t talk much about this, but through it, I have been lead to a lot of information about grain soaking. By soaking grains, you begin the¬†germination¬†process, which releases TONS of¬†nutrients¬†and break down the enzymes that prohibit digestion.
  • There are tons of other charts and nuggets in the book that will give us a spring board for foods to add to our diet or to try to avoid.

Overall, I’m super excited about this book. ¬†I ordered it for my Kindle, but I hope to get a bound copy as it will be a GREAT¬†reference¬†on our bookshelf for years to come.

Allergy Free Summer Menu

Our menu has had to change a little bit due to Samuel’s food allergies, but even so, the summer menu is always my favorite! ¬†I like it because so much of what we eat comes straight from our garden! YUM!!

We will rotate through these meals, so we will likely get each meal about once a month (except for suppers), give or take a few.¬†(Lunches are always leftovers except for Saturday ‚Äď we have big taco salads then.)

Weekly Suppers

Sunday ‚ÄstMuesli
Monday ‚Äď Dry Cereal with fresh fruit
Tuesday ‚ÄstMuesli
Wednesday ‚ÄstBreakfast Smoothie¬†with bean cakes
Thursday ‚Äď Dry Cereal with fresh fruit
Friday ‚ÄstBiscuits and Gravy w/ fruit and¬†Burger Crumble
Sabbath ‚Äď Waffles

Sunday ‚Äď Leftovers

Monday ‚Äď Potato

  1. Potato Primavera (w/pumpkin seeds) with fresh salad
  2. Mashed potatoes, baked or fried tofu, peas and corn
  3. Mexican Baked Potatoes with Bean-And-Corn Salsa and fresh salad
  4. Pintos and Sweet Potatoes, squash, broccoli

Tuesday ‚ÄstFamily night

Wednesday ‚Äď Pasta

  1. Pasta with pesto and sauteed veggies – eggplant? (one dish meal)
  2. Pasta with Red Sauce, Brussels sprouts, green beans and garlic bread
  3. Macaroni Casserole with cabbage salad and carrots
  4. Pasta with pesto corn on the cob, green beans

Thursday ‚ÄstSANDWICHES/Salads

  1. Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with oven-baked seasoned fries and carrot and cucumber sticks
  2. Messy Janes with rice, squash and green beans
  3. Pizza pockets or pizza zucchini rolls
  4. Mega salad with beans, peas, pasta, etc.

Friday ‚Äď Misc.

  1. Vegetable Lasagna w/ Zucchini noodles and pumpkin seed cheese or sunflower seed cheese (minus the soy sauce)
  2. Grilled Veggie Wraps (With lettuce or Cabbage Wraps)
  3. Vegetable Lasagna w/ Zucchini noodles and pumpkin seed cheese or sunflower seed cheese (minus the soy sauce)
  4. Grilled Veggie Wraps (With lettuce or Cabbage Wraps)

Yearly Menu Planning

I am so happy to finally be getting back to a yearly/seasonal menu play.  Menu planning this way not only saves me a lot of time and money, but it simplifies my shopping as well.

I had been working with a menu plan for a little over a year and was familiar with the routines and¬†recipes. ¬†Then, we discovered Samuel’s food allergies, which caused quite a challenge as we both had to change our diets, I had to learn to cook in all new ways,¬†and my yearly menu was¬†completely¬†thrown out the window.

Now that I’m¬†familiar¬†with allergy-free cooking and have a collection of Samuel-safe meals (making them mommy-safe too), I’m back at the seasonal menus again. ¬†Here is our spring menu. (Lunches are always leftovers except for Saturday – we have big taco salads then.)

Suppers
Sunday – Muffins with applesauce and fruit
Monday – Cornmeal mush with Lentil Patties and steamed greens
Tuesday – Family Night
Wednesday – Soaked Oatmeal with apples
Thursday – Crepes or pancakes with fresh fruit salad
Friday – Biscuits and Gravy with fruit salad
Saturday – Popcorn, veggies and apples (plus any leftovers)

Breakfasts (I rotate through these throughout the month)
Monday

  1. Potatoes w/ chili and green beans
  2. Mashed potatoes, peas, corn and white bean “nuggets”
  3. Pintos and sweet potatoes, squash and broccoli
  4. Boiled potatoes, gravy, brussels sprouts and cabbage salad

Tuesday

  1. Potato Stew and biscuits, green beans
  2. 15 bean soup and biscuits, green beans
  3. split pea soup, cornbread, brussels sprouts
  4. Vegetable pasta tomato soup with biscuits

Wednesday

  1. Pasta with Tomato Sauce, brussels sprouts and salad
  2. Pasta with pesto or salt and oil, salad
  3. Pasta with sauteed veggies, spinach and pomodoro sauce and salad
  4. Creamy pasta with Salad

Thursday

  1. Mazidra
  2. Grilled Veggie wraps with corn, rice, beans, pepper, mushrooms, onion, lettuce, tomato, etc.
  3. Tacos (w/black bean crumble)
  4. Messy Janes

Friday

  1. Black beans and quinoa with corn, and another veggie
  2. Chili and cornbread w/ brussels sprouts and squash
  3. Zucchini lasagna ‘noodles’, veggies, quinoa, sauce and nutritional yeast
  4. Messy Janes

Saturday: Waffles or Pancakes

Sunday: Leftovers

Allergy Free Vegan Burger Patties or “Ground Beef”

This is a newly developed recipe that has gone through many iterations.  It turns out the recipe works great to make basic burger type patties or as a substitute for ground beef or turkey.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

1 C Lentils cooked (drain as much as you can, but save the water)
1 C Oats (gluten-free)
Water (juste enough to blend)

1 T Vegetarian Chicken Seasoning (This is the brand I use.  You could also try the beef flavoring)
1/2 T Onion Powder
1/2 t Italian Herbs
1 t Garlic Powde
1/8 t sage

Breading:
1/4 C Fine cornmeal
1/4 C Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 T McCormick Fried Chicken Seasoning 

*Update* I have found that adding one or all of these ingredients before blending makes the burgers extra yummy:

Pesto, sautéed onion, sautéed pepper, sautéed mushroom,cooked greens (spinach, collard greens or kale).

Add all ingredients (except breading ingredients) into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Be patient and add as little water as you can.

Mix breading ingredients together.

Form patties from patty mixture.  Cover one side with breading and place breading side on well oiled, hot frying pan.  Cook for a few minutes.

Add breading to the other side of the patty and flip.  Cook until done.
Alterations:

  • Ground meat To make more of a ground beef style veggie meat, spread a layer of patty mix to cover the whole bottom of the frying pan. ¬†Flip every few minutes. ¬†As the patties start to cook and become tougher, start breaking the “meat” up with your spatula. ¬†Keep cooking and breaking up the mix until you get the size/texture you like. ¬†Takes about 7-10 minutes to get good crumbles.
  • To make the oats more digestible, you can soak them overnight. Use one cup of water to one cup of oats and add one tablespoon of lemon juice. ¬†Drain the oats as much as possible before adding them to the mix. ¬†You will likely not need any extra water.

Menu Monday Feb 20-26

I’m beginning to feel as though I’m getting into a rut with my menu plans. ¬†With such a limited diet, and it continuing to get more limited as time goes on, it’s hard to find the ¬†motivation or time to experiment with other options.

Monday – Pasta w/ Sauce and veggies
Tacos with refried beans, lentil patties, lettuce, guacamole, etc

Tuesday – Messy Janes with Quinoa and veggies
Family Night

Wednesday – Stew with rice and veggies
Fruit toast with rice

Thursday – Split peas and cornbread (made with rice flour) and veggies
Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

Friday – Veggie pot pie with rice or quiona topping
Fried potatoes with mushroom and onion, gravy, cornmeal mash, patties

Saturday – Waffles
Hay Stacks
Popcorn, apples, carrots, etc.

Sunday  РWaffles
Black beans and rice with salad on top