Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 c oatmeal
1/2 c rice milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp MSPI safe worcestershire sauce
1/2 c finely chopped onion (or 1 tsp onion powder)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 2" meatballs (makes about 15 meatballs). Place in a sprayed baking pan/casserole dish. Top with sauce.

1/2 c vinegar
1 c brown sugar
1 c MSPI safe barbeque sauce
1/4 to 1/3 c water
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp MSPI safe worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt

Combine sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Serve over rice.

Breakfast Casserole

My favorite (very dairy-filled) breakfast casserole starts with croutons, cream of mushroom soup, milk & heavy cream. Not exactly MSPI friendly, eh? Well, I've revamped it and it's fabulous! I'd caution against using any packaged croutons. All croutons I've looked at have either whey and/or some type of cheese (usually parm). Instead of using croutons, I buy a loaf of artisan garlic clove bread (as in studded inside with whole garlic's df/sf!), cube it and let it dry on the counter (uncovered) overnight. The cream of mushroom soup is the most work intensive part of this, and it's not that bad. The end result is worth it!

2-3 cups dried, day-old bread cubes
1 3/4 c rice milk, divided
1 1/2 c plain coffee creamer, divided
8 oz mushrooms (finely chop about 3 mushrooms, slice the rest)
4 Tbsp oil or MSPI safe margarine
4 Tbsp flour
6 eggs
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 lb MSPI friendly breakfast sausage, cooked & crumbled
1 to 2 c Daiya cheese shreds
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt & pepper
Celery seed
Cumin (just a little!)
Ground mustard
MSPI safe worcestershire sauce
any other herb or spice that floats your boat

Before beginning, spray a 9x13 with cooking spray, then put the bread cubes in it. Sprinkle the cubes with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, a little celery seed, a little cumin (just a touch!), a little paprika (just a touch!), some basil, oregano, parsley, chives, marjarom, and any other herb you like. The more variety of herbs you use, the better it seems to turn out. Don't be shy! Now set that aside and let's make the mushroom sauce...

In a large skillet, heat the oil or margarine. Add the finely diced mushrooms only (reserve the sliced ones for later) and cook until they darken and soften. Sprinkle mushrooms with the flour and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add 3/4 cup rice milk and 1/2 cup coffee creamer, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it thickens. Season to taste with salt, pepper, a little onion and garlic powder, a pinch of mustard powder and a dash of MSPI safe worcestershire. Allow to cool. While it's cooling, top bread cubes with spinach, sliced mushrooms & sausage.

Now, in a large bowl, combine the cooled mushroom sauce, remaining rice milk, coffee creamer and eggs until smooth. Pour over everything in the pan. Cover with foil and let sit in the fridge several hours or overnight. When you're ready to cook it, remove foil, top with Daiya cheese shreds, recover and bake at 375 for an hour, removing foil during last 10-15 minutes of cooking.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn't love a rich, steaming pan of creamy, lovely, chicken pot pie? My family has always loved it, and I had a darn good (and darn easy) recipe for one. Only one problem: It was full of DAIRY!!!

I set about to making my own dairy-free version, and came up with a great one! Even my husband doesn't realize it's dairy-free. The sauce takes a few minutes, but it's the most time consuming part of this whole process. Amounts are relative. I never measure, so it's all just approximation.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups diced or shredded chicken (cooked)
2 cups frozen peas and carrots vegetable blend
1 cup diced potato (small dice)
1 double crust MSPI-safe pie crust

Line pie pan with pie crust. Add chicken, veggies and potato. Pour sauce over everything, coating evenly. Top with remaining crust and flute edge. Cut vents in top of pie crust. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.


2 (ish) cups chicken broth
1 (ish) cup rice milk
1 (ish) cup non-dairy coffee creamer (plain)
1/4 cup MSPI safe margarine
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup flour
Salt & pepper
Garlic powder
Worcestershire sauce (check that it's MSPI safe)
Ground mustard

In a pot, melt margarine. Add onion and cook over medium heat until onion softens and turns translucent. Sprinkle flour over onion/margarine mixture. Cook, stirring constantly for a minute or two. You don't want to brown the flour, just cook the raw taste off it. Whisk in rice milk and coffee creamer. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly to thicken. Stir in chicken broth. Add a few shakes of salt and pepper, a few shakes of garlic powder, a slosh of MSPI safe Worcestershire, and a pinch or two of ground mustard. Taste. Adjust seasonings until it's how you like it. Add a little more liquid if it's too thick (either broth or creamer). If it's not 'chicken' flavored enough for you and the texture is spot on, then add a little MSPI safe chicken bouillion to pump up the chicken flavor without thinning the sauce out.

Pizza, Part III

I meant to follow the pizza cheese post with a post for homemade pizza sauce and some other info, and I got side-tracked (easy to do in this house!).

I originally got this from my brother. I've fiddled with it a little, and he's fiddled with it a little, so now our recipes look different! Making your own pizza sauce is so incredibly easy, assuming you have a blender (and honestly, is there anyone who doesn't have a blender???) and a few simple ingredients.

Pizza Sauce

2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes, DRAINED (reserve a little juice)
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper (or red pepper flakes if you want it a little spicy)
Garlic powder
Onion Powder
Anything else you like in your sauce....

The above mentioned herbs are only suggestions. Experiement with your favorites and come up with something you like!

In a blender, combine the diced tomatoes (NO juice), tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, and a health dose of onion powder, garlic powder, and any herbs you like. I pretty much stick to oregano, basil, thyme, and a little marjarom. Put the lid on the blender and blend on the highest setting for 2 or 3 minutes. You want to make sure it's completely pureed. Pause to scrape down sides occasionally, if needed. If it's too thick for you, add a couple tablespoons of the reserved juice off the canned tomatoes until it's the consistency you like. I like my pizza sauce thick. My brother likes it a bit thinner. Taste it and adjust any seasonings until it's how you like it. Yield: Approximately 2-3 cups sauce (I've never measured!)...enough for 5 or 6 pizzas.

Now...about pizza toppings.

All the veggie and fruit toppings should be completely fine. They're definitely fine assuming you use the fresh fruit or the fresh vegetable. Double check any processed fruit or veggie to make sure it's MSPI safe. Where you have to be concerned with pizza toppings is the MEAT. You got it... the meat!!! I didn't know until I started reading labels that many manufacturer's use either whey or fermented whey, or a derivative of whey or lactose. This can make or break your pizza. Read ALL meat ingredients (sausage, pepperoni, ham, canadian bacon, etc.) carefully to ensure you're choosing one that's MSPI safe. Pile on the toppings, pile on the Daiya cheese, and you're set!

Friday, August 19, 2011

To Ghee or Not to Ghee...

In my last post I talked about soybean oil, and soy lecithin. Since they are both fats, they don't transport the protein, and many who are sensitive can handle them (my son being one). So that got me thinking about BUTTER.

Butter, is not a pure fat. It has some milk solids (which contain protein), which makes it forbidden. But is there a way to remove those solids, leaving only the fat behind??? YES! Clarified butter is often referred to as ghee, and is common in Indian cooking. Clarified butter carries no casein, whey, or lactose. Since my son is able to handle soy-based fats, I was hopeful ghee would work as well. Luckily, he has been able to tolerate it well, and I have been very pleased with it, as it allows me to give that lovely buttery flavor to things I cook. I've been able to find ghee at my local natural foods market, however it's possible to make it yourself. I haven't yet made any myself, but just yesterday bought some dairy butter so I can try my hand at it!

The Dreaded Soybean Oil and Soy Lecithin

When I first took my son off dairy and soy, I was amazed at how many products contain soybean oil and soy lecithin. It's in practically everything processed! Until I knew exactly how sensitive my son was, I wanted to pull everything out of his diet, including soybean oil and soy lecithin. It was hard, but very much possible! For many people with sensitivities, soybean oil and soy lecithin ARE OK. They are fats, and do not carry the protein. However, for some highly sensitive people, both ingredients are still a problem and need to be avoided. Luckily my son is able to handle both soybean oil and soy lecithin, which opened up a lot of packaged/processed foods for us (thus making my life easier). The only way to know if you or your child can tolerate soybean oil and soy lecithin is to completely avoid them, making sure there is no reaction, then add them back in, watching for any reaction. Good luck!

Milk Options

There are a lot of "milk" options out there, and it can be very confusing! Oat milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, almond milk, cashew many possibilities!

The first thing to keep in mind when choosing a milk alternative is nothing tastes like dairy milk except dairy milk! None of the options taste like "milk". They each have a different flavor, and some are suited to some things more than others. I personally haven't tried hemp milk or oat milk, so I can't comment on them. When we eliminated dairy milk from my son's diet, we switched to chocolate almond milk for drinking and for using on cereal. His preference before the switch was always chocolate milk, so I thought starting with a chocolate version of the non-dairy milk would be the easiest, and I chose almond milk because almond milk naturally has a higher fat content that rice milk, and therefore would hopefully have a better 'mouth feel' than the others. My son loves chocolate almond milk, and I think it's pretty good too (reminds me of rocky road ice cream).

Once I started cooking, I realized the need for keeping different milk alternatives in the house. I found that almond milk has a fairly strong taste, and it changes the taste of baked goods (yup...found that out the hard way!). For most baking and cooking, I use rice milk. If I'm looking for a slightly sweet flavor and a richer, creamier, buttery texture, I use coconut milk (which is an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids). For sauces (white sauce, gravies, etc.) I typically use a combination of rice milk and non-dairy creamer, either with or without broth.

Don't be afraid to buy small bottles of different types of milk and experiment with each of them in different ways, for different uses. Find out what works for you!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What About Pizza Cheese?

The big question when making pizza for those with MSPI is what to do about the cheese. Some prefer to leave the cheese off completely and just do tomato sauce with various classic pizza toppings. Others use cheese substitutes with varying degrees of success (not all dairy free cheese is created equal). My family uses a fabulous dairy- and soy-free cheese substitute. You must read labels carefully, as many dairy-free cheeses have a soy base, and a popular rice cheese (which appears dairy-free) has casein, a milk protein. Another issue is the melt. Many dairy-free cheeses are a bit 'plastic' and don't melt very well. Luckily, I knew about Daiya Vegan Cheese Shreds, and we love them! Daiya cheese melts and strings like dairy cheese, without the dairy. It doesn't taste exactly like dairy cheese, but it tastes similar, and is one of the best on the market that we've found. Daiya isn't available everywhere yet, but they are constantly expanding. Check out their website to see if a store near you carries their product!

Pizza Crust

Pizza is one thing our family missed at first, but I quickly learned how to make! Many of the commercially available ready-to-bake crusts contain dairy (typically cheese, as well as milk), making them off-limits. I have a great crust recipe I got from my brother, which is quick to mix up and tastes fabulous!

Pizza Crust

4 c. King Arthur's 00 flour (use bread flour if you can't find 00 flour)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp yeast proofed in 1/4 c. warm water
1/3 c. good quality olive oil
Warm water
Cornmeal for dusting

In mixer fitted with dough hook, combine 2 c. flour, sugar, gluten and garlic salt, mixing briefly to combine. Add 1 1/4 cups water, mixing until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix for at least 5 minutes. Add olive oil and continue to let machine knead the bread. Add remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time until a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed. You may use all the flour, less than all the flour, or slightly more than four cups of flour. Cover dough and allow to rise until doubled (either for an hour or so in a warm place, or up to overnight in the refrigerator). Punch dough down and divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out on slightly floured surface to desired size and thickness. Dust pizza peel with cornmeal and lay crust on peel. Brush with olive oil. Top as desired and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until edges of crust are golden brown. Yield: 4 pizza crusts

Buttermilk-less Buttermilk Pancakes

2 c. flour
2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. rice milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. melted MSPI safe margarine or oil

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, whisking to blend. In separate bowl, combine rice milk/lemon juice mixture, eggs, and melted margarine or oil, whisking to thoroughly combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing lightly and just enough to combine. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not overmix! Pour by 1/2 cupfuls onto hot griddle, turning when bubbles begin to pop on the surface and the edges look dry. Serves 4 (2 pancakes each).

Variations: Toss 1/2 c fresh or frozen berries with a Tbsp of flour and add to batter, or add 1/4 c MSPI safe chocolate chips for a chocolate chip pancake.

Our Story

When my son was a baby, the pediatrician recommended I use soy formula since I was both nursing and supplementing with formula, since soy formula is supposedly easier to digest. There was a distinct change in his digestion starting at 2.5 weeks of age. Instead of newborn pasty poo, he passed hard poo, and was in a lot of pain. It wasn't long until we realized he couldn't tolerate soy. We were prepared for that reaction though, as the Husband's family has a long history of soy intolerance. Switching to a milk-based formula was better, but still a bit problematic. I didn't think much of it, though, since he seemed to do better than before.

At the age of 2, he continued to have severe constipation issues, and he was put on Miralax by the pediatrician. We avoided overt forms of soy (but never cut out 'hidden' soy), and continued with the Miralax regimine. Fast forward 5 years... at the age of 7.5 years, his digestive issues became much more pronounced and things were going downhill. I finally gave up with the pediatrician and began researching things on my own, and thanks to a friend, I learned about Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). The more I read, the more I wanted to learn. It fit my son to a 'T'. As of April 1, 2011, he has gone dairy and soy free, and he's a much happier kid when he's not had anything with dairy or soy. The pedi was confident that after a time, when I began re-introducing dairy and soy into his diet again, that he would be able to handle things on not only a derivative level, but to have milk products cooked or baked into food items. I've discovered over the summer that's not the case. The true derivative level is OK for us... but even small amounts of foods with casein, whey, soy protein isolate or anything that resembles milk or soy sends us back to square one with digestive issues.

I was very overwhelmed at the beginning of this journey and had NO IDEA what to do and what we were going to eat! My son has never been a huge meat eater, relying more on dairy then meat for his protein needs (milk, chocolate milk, cheese, etc.). Once I cut these out of his diet, he had normal bowels for the first time in his life! He's healthier and happier, and that, combined with the absence of pain, is motivation for me to continue! So, I thought I'd put all my MSPI friendly recipes in one spot...not only as a reference for myself, but hopefully it will help someone who is scratching their head and saying, "Now what???"

I make as many things as MSPI friendly as possible so I don't have to make two different meals each time I cook. My husband has not been terribly excited about some of the dairy/soy-free foods, but I've gotten things to a point where he rarely realizes I've made something MSPI safe! I know if it passes the Husband's test, it should pass most people's test! Let me know what you think!