Tuesday, June 30, 2009

*Healthier* Yellow Squash Muffins

I'm still working toward converting my recipes to healthier ingredients (ie more whole wheat flour, less refined sugar, less trans-fat margarine, etc.) I'm sure this recipe would taste just fine with all whole wheat flour, but for now I'm happy with the progress to half WW and half AP. For my original version with "normal" ingredients, click here.

2 lbs. yellow squash (about 8)
1/2 c applesauce (unsweetened)
3/4 c coconut oil
1 c sucanat
1 1/2 c AP unbleached flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 Tbs + 2 tsp baking powder (non-aluminum)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Boil squash until tender. Drain well. Return to pot and mash.

Measure 2 cups mashed squash into a large bowl. Add applesauce and coconut oil. Mix. (Much of the coconut oil will melt from the heat of the squash.)

Mix remaining ingredients in another bowl. Then mix both the dry ingredients and the squash mixture together.

Fill non-greased muffin cups 3/4 c full. Bake 350 until lightly golden brown, about 18-23 minutes.

Note: The coconut flavor will increase as the muffins sit, so if they happen to last a few days, you may begin to notice more hints of coconut.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fried Zucchini

I love this recipe because the batter doesn't require egg or milk. Allowing the dry ingredients to settle into the sliced zucchini is the key to a good "batter". The lard not only adds flavor, but some vitamin D, too!

2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
3/4 - 1 cup lard for frying (of course you could also use vegetable oil if you prefer)

Place zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Mix all dry ingredients together in another bowl and then pour over the zucchini. Toss zucchini to cover well with dry ingredients. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the dry mixture to "cling" to the zucchini slices.

In a large skillet, heat lard over medium heat. When hot, add slices in a single layer. Cook 3 - 5 minutes on each side to brown evenly.

Sorry... no picture. They were gone too quickly. {big grin}

Fried Zucchini on Foodista

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vegan Rella - Natural Cheese Alternative

I cannot for the life of me find a website about Vegan Rella, but I've read about it on some of the various food allergy blogs. Some reviews were good and some not so good, but as usual, I wanted to formulate my own decision. :)

I found it at a Whole Foods Market (either in Birmingham or Nashville... can't remember which... it might have even been both). The picture below is high resolution, so you should be able to click on it to enlarge if you can't read the ingredients well enough.

Please note that Vegan Rella is made in a facility that uses milk and soy products. If you can only use products that are made in dedicated facilities, I wanted to make this statement clear. Although Witt is anaphylactic to dairy, we have fortunatly had no reactions to parts per million/billion.

Anyway, I wanted to share my review.

We tried the Mozzarella brand on pizza. No good. The taste was as good as any other cheese alternative, but the texture was not right for pizza. When this brand melts, it MELTS! It stays creamy and it slid right off the pizza dough taking the toppings with it. The kids had a really hard time eating it and my picky eater wouldn't touch it.

I still had a block of cheddar flavor left and decided to try mac-n-cheese because of the creamy texture. I made some elbow noodles according to the package directions. Drained them and added the shredded Vegan Rella, some milk alternative, and a lot of salt.

The verdict? My middle son gobbled it up and asked for more. My youngest son ate what was on his plate and was done. Me? Well, I ate some, but it certainly isn't like the "real" mac-n-cheese I grew up with. I will probably make it again on rare occasions as my middle son really did like it.

Another option would be grilled cheese sandwiches. Go Dairy Free has a review of that here:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Allergy Labeling

Find Safe Foods is putting together a detailed description of what people with food allergies really need to safely eat manufactured and restaurant food. Please head over and read her draft. She's looking for input from allergy folks and so far I think she's really done a spectacular job!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Follow Your Heart - Vegan Gourmet Cheese

Since I have tried so many dairy free products, I thought I'd start offering a review of them. "Cheese" is a good place to start, don't you think? :)

This brand of cheese is available in Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterrey jack, and Nacho.

I use this cheese to top our pizzas as it really does melt and have a good mozzarella taste. However, after the cheese begins to cool, it starts to return to its more solid state, but I like that quality for a pizza because it "holds" the toppings in place instead of sliding them off.

I would not recommend this brand of cheese alternative for a creamy dish like macaroni and cheese. Although the cheddar has a good taste and the texture is good when served and eaten immediately, after it starts cooling the texture is just really off. My boys wouldn't touch it. :(

Price: $4.50 - $5.50 for a 10 oz. block

This brand of cheese freezes well. After opening, I shred the entire package immediately and freeze in a bag.

On a side note, I have one son that will eat this brand of cheese alternative straight from the package. It's not something I would do, but, hey... it's got protien, iron, calcium, and fiber! :)