Allergy-Friendly Products

What’s good and what’s not (in our humble and honest opinion).

2014 Chicago GFAF Expo in Review

by Allergy Free Kitchens on April 14, 2014

This past weekend marked my second annual trip to the Chicago Gluten & Allergen Free Expo. Once again, the seven hour drive to Schaumburg, IL (and the seven hour trip home) was worth it.  Fourteen hours in a car was a small price to pay to spend time with people who inspire, educate, and help our family live the free life.

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you my favorite finds and moments from the GFAF Expo, but I wanted to give you a sneak preview of five allergy-friendly products/companies I’m thrilled to have found there.

  • Smart Flour Foods (Gluten-Free, Vegan Pizza Crust) – If you have been looking for a gluten-free, vegan pizza crust, be sure to visit Smart Flour.  Their plain pizza crust, brushed with a little olive oil and served warm right out of the oven, was fabulous.  Serve it up like pita bread.  Dress it up with your favorite pizza toppings.  Oh, the possibilities.  More on that to come.
  • BFree (Gluten-Free, Vegan Wrap) – Hoping for a gluten-free, vegan wrap that doesn’t crumble when you roll it?  BFree did it!  They are new to the US, so distribution isn’t widespread, but I’m trusting as people try their products, that will soon change.  They also offer tasty gluten-free breads.  The breads contain eggs, the wrap does not.
  • Amore di Mona Couverture Chocolat Speciale (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan Chocolate) – What’s an event without chocolate? Thankfully, I didn’t have to find out.  Amore di Mona Couverture Chocolat Speciale sampled some of the most beautiful chocolates I’ve found in the world of allergy-friendly chocolate.  Their creations are vegan, low-glycemic, non-gmo, nut free, soy free, gluten-free and extraordinary.
  • Ginny Bakes (Organic, Gluten-Free, Vegan Cookies) – Want an organic, gluten-free and vegan cookie that tastes like “buttah”?  Check out Ginny Bakes.  Their Organic Vegan Dreamy Delight Cookies live up to their name – dreamy!
  • Red Apple Lipstick (Gluten-Free, Paraben-Free Makeup) – The Red Apple Lipstick booth was THE place to be. What a fun group and what great products. Beautiful colors. No gluten. Paraben free. Made in the USA.  I’m so happy with my purchase – so are my lips.  😉

If you don’t want to miss future posts about these products (and more), you can subscribe to allergyfreekitchens.com in the right sidebar.  To see pics from the GFAF Expo follow me on Instagram or Twitter!

Important:  Before trying any of the above products, please be sure they are safe for you.  Contact the manufacturers for potential cross contamination with your allergen(s), view the information on their websites, and always read labels.  Some of these products are not Top 8 Free.

Were you at the Chicago GFAF Expo?  What were your favorite finds?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Here’s to livin’ the free life,

Wendy

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Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Pancakes – As Easy as 1-2-3!

by Allergy Free Kitchens on November 9, 2013

Gluten-Free-Vegan-Pancakes-Allergy-Free-Kitchens

Please tell me someone else out there grew up on pancakes made from good ol’ Jiffy Mix and slathered with Country Crock and Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Yes, that was my childhood. Today things are quite different. We’re much more careful about what we eat and with dietary restrictions that limit our baked goods to gluten-free and vegan choices, traditional off-the-shelf pancake mixes are out. Or so I thought…

At FABlogCon this past weekend, I discovered 1-2-3 Gluten Free. They offer a variety of baking mixes, all of which are gluten-free, allergen-free and produced in a dedicated facility. Pancakes made with their Allie’s Awesome Buckwheat Pancakes Mix were served for breakfast. They were delicious topped with fresh blueberries. When I got home, I was excited to give the mix a whirl myself – following their recipe for an egg-free version, of course. I’m happy to say they were equally delightful (and the recipe makes a bunch)!  I managed to steal a few away from my husband in order to snap the photo above.

Below is the recipe I used.  Reprinted with permission from 1-2-3 Gluten Free.  My notes are included.  As with any recipe, please be sure you use ingredients deemed safe for your dietary restrictions and always read labels, even if you’ve used the products before.

Banana Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

2 Cups 1-2-3 Gluten Free Allie’s Awesome Buckwheat Pancake Mix

1 large banana, mashed

1 cup milk, milk substitute or water (I used unsweetened almond milk.)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil.)

Heat griddle over medium heat.

Place 2 cups Mix in bowl.  Add mashed banana, milk/water and oil and mix until thoroughly blended.  Add more or less Mix or milk/water until you reach consistency of your personal preference (I added about 1/4 cup more almond milk).

Spray griddle with non-stick spray (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread instead).  Ladle batter onto griddle (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup). Cook until bubbles form and then flip pancake to cook other side.  Pancakes should be golden brown on each side.

Note:  On the first batch, I just waited for the bubbles to appear before flipping and the pancakes stuck to the pan.  On the second batch, I waited until the edges began to appear dry and a bit golden, then flipped the pancakes.  Worked like a charm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins from Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats

by Allergy Free Kitchens on October 29, 2013

Pumpkin-pie-muffins-Allergy-Free-Kitchens

Imagine my delight when Debbie Adler of Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes asked if I’d like to share with you her pumpkin pie muffin recipe from her new cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats:  Allergy Free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery.  Of course I said, “Yes!”   All of her recipes are allergy-free and vegan; just what the doctor ordered for many of us livin’ the free life.

I couldn’t wait to give the recipe a try and headed off to my local health food store to get some of the ingredients I didn’t have.  Despite being a novice in baking with stevia powder and coconut nectar, I’m pleased to say I nailed the recipe on the first attempt.  I’m not saying that to give myself a pat on the back.  It is a compliment to Debbie and the work she’s put into creating successful recipes with ingredients that are new to many of us.  Her recipe was straightforward and successful right out of the gate, but don’t just take my word for it.  The photos say it all.  The photo at the beginning of this post is one I took of the muffins I made.  The photo below is from her cookbook.

Pumpkin-Pie-Muffins-Debbie-Adler

So, without further ado, here’s your sneak peek into Debbie Adler’s new cookbook, available now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins by Debbie Adler

Reprinted from SWEET DEBBIE’S ORGANIC TREATS by Debbie Adler. Published by Harlequin. Copyright Debbie Adler 2013.

Makes 12 standard-size muffins                                                                                                                                          

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.

 

Notes from Allergy Free Kitchens:

As with any recipe, please be sure you use ingredients deemed safe for your dietary restrictions and always read labels, even if you’ve used the products before.

 

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Allergy-Friendly Cookbook Love – Babycakes by Erin McKenna

by Allergy Free Kitchens on October 10, 2013

Babycakes_Allergy_Free_Kitchens

As a little tike, I remember my dad helping me with my spelling. “You always want more dessert,” he said.  “That’s why it has an extra ‘s’ in it.”  That little bit of wisdom has stuck with me all these years.

And who has cornered the market on fabulous and flavorful allergy-friendly desserts?  Erin McKenna of Babycakes NYC.  I received her beloved Babycakes cookbook as a birthday gift and it brought cookies back, baby!

Sure, I can’t use all the ingredients some of the recipes call for, but the success of the recipes that do work for me, makes that tiny little detail irrelevant.  I now hold in my possession a ca-razy chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe that will knock the socks right off an elf.  And her gingersnap cookies – the flavor is off the hook.  I’m also a huge fan of her gingerbread as well as the apple cinnamon toastie.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I haven’t tried anything from her book that I haven’t liked!

For those who can’t use coconut oil, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I’ve successfully substituted canola oil in Erin’s recipes, when needed.  It takes a bit of trickery.  For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of coconut oil, I found substituting 2/3 cup of canola oil and adding an extra 1/4 cup of gluten free all purpose flour does the trick.  That is what I did for the cookies posted in the pic at the bottom of this post.  The texture and flavor do not disappoint.

If you’ve not encountered Erin’s lovely little book, you must.  Not only will it earn a coveted spot on your kitchen counter, you’ll find it equally entertaining.  The girl is hilarious.  The photos are amazing.  And you’ll love the fun, funky atmosphere of her New York shop.  Open a book and be transported to NYC.  Not a bad deal, huh!

If I haven’t convinced you to run out and buy your own copy of Babycakes, try some of Erin’s recipes yourself.  She’s posted a few on her blog http://babycakesnyc.tumblr.com/search/recipe.

Enjoy!

Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-Allergy-Free-Kitchens

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Whole Foods, Whole Lotta Fun!

by Allergy Free Kitchens on September 26, 2013

Road trip!  Without a Whole Foods within a distance that makes weekly shopping trips practical, we pack up the cooler and make the pilgrimage when we can.  It is always a treat.

Selecting her faves from fresh produce is big fun for our lovey bun.  As we make our way through the aisles, her little eyes are peeled for Enjoy Life chocolate chips, Froose Juice, and her Yummi Bears Vitamins.  Me, on the other hand, I’m shopping for some of our basics, that are just better priced at Whole Foods than elsewhere ‘round these parts.  Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, Vegan Buttery Sticks, Daiya Cheese, Applegate meats, Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (contains soy), Go Veggie! Vegan Parmesan Cheese (contains soy), and the list goes on.

I look forward to the day when we make our turn past the amazing galley of prepared foods and park our cart in front of the bakery case so our little one can choose a delectable delight of her own, but until then she is as pleased as punch with her little finds.  And so am I.

Thanks, Whole Foods!  Oh…and please bring a store to the Akron/Canton, Ohio area.  And all my northeast Ohio friends said? Amen!

What are your favorite allergy-friendly finds and sweet deals at Whole Foods?  Do tell.

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