Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Fun, Fast and Easy Dessert

"Oh, by the way, did you know that there is a party for insert name of child or special event here tomorrow at Sunday School, Awana, school...."

That is probably one of the more difficult situations I encounter with Samuel's diet restrictions.  Sometimes, it is difficult to come up with a substitution for him but, most of the time it isn't.  The real problem comes when I am not given advance notice.   This doesn't happen very often because most of the people in Samuel's life are very aware of and sensitive to his food restrictions.  I admit that I don't really love baking and I especially don't like making cupcakes and icing from scratch at 10:00 when I am supposed to be in bed.  

Recently, I had to get very creative for a school party and ended up with a really yummy treat that I can make in only 10 minutes.  His class was celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday.  The food list was a nightmare!  Green eggs, green ham and green milk.  Of course, they were all died with food coloring.  I was able to send in some ham and rice milk for Samuel.  They also made Cat in the Hat treats using an ice cream cone, ice cream, fruit by the foot and candy.  Sending in ice cream wasn't a problem and I was able to make him some fruit rolls but, I didn't know what to do about the ice cream cone.  I decided to try and form one out of rice krispies treats.  There are marshmallows that Samuel can eat but, I couldn't find them anywhere.  My first batch was made with gluten free rice chex.  It came out super yummy.  I made more over the weekend, using gluten free rice krispies.  Both of those cereals contain a preservative called BHT.  It is not the worst one out there but, I realized that if I intended to make these on a regular basis, I should find another option.   I have made the last two batches using EnviroKids Organic Koala Crisp Cereal.   Koala Crisp is a chocolate cereal.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Koala Crispy Treats

3 TBSP Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
2 tsps corn starch
1 TBSP vanilla
1 TBSP molasses
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup liquid sweetener (agave syrup, maple syrup or honey - I used 1/4 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of agave)
1/3 cup peanut butter
8-9 cups Koala Crisp Cereal

Melt Earth Balance (you may substitute with butter, another spread or coconut oil) over low heat.
Whisk in the corn starch.
Add vanilla, molasses, sugar and sweetener.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Allow the mixture to boil until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and add peanut butter.  Stir until the peanut butter melts into the mixture.
Add the Koala Crisp a few cups at a time.  For more goo add less cereal.  For more crispy add more cereal.
Put into a greased 9x13 pan and wait until it cools completely (if you can stand it) before cutting.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our first baking day in Pekin

Would you look at that!  I don't mean the adorable 6 year old holding up Boba Fett.  Look at that counter space.  I was able to do all of my prep work, mixing and cooling right there, on ONE counter!  Oh, and with room to spare.  I just love the kitchen in our rental home.  Lots of easy to access cabinet space and plenty of counter space.  Samuel and I took advantage of President's Day and spent the day baking.  Ok, so I baked and Samuel played and asked every ten minutes when the cornbread would be finished.

I was able to get the bread ready and leave it to rise while I started on the cornbread.  On the same page I got this bread recipe there was a great idea for a proofing box which reduces the amount of time needed to let the bread rise.  You put a glass of water in the microwave and heat it for about 5 minutes and then put the bread in the microwave with the water.  This bread is amazing warm and right out of the oven but, if you need sandwich bread, make sure that you let it cool completely before slicing it.  If you plan to eat it the same day you can leave it on the counter.  It is Samuel's sandwich bread so I put it directly into the freezer once it is sliced.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used to make this bread.

I doubled the recipe for the vanilla cornbread and split it between two pans.  The recipe instructions called for a 9x9 pan.  I put half in the 9x9 and poured the rest into this mini muffin pan.  I thought that would be fun for Samuel.  Even though they turned out a little bit dryer, they were still super yum!!  If by some miracle, you have leftovers, make sure to put them in the freezer so they do not start to crumble. You can find the recipe at the Gluten Free Goddess blog here.
Samuel, loving the mini loaves of cornbread with peanut butter

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hot Chocolate and Ice Skating

Once a year our new church hosts an ice skating night at the local arena.  This was Samuel's first time ice skating.  With how difficult he found it, I was surprised that he loved it.  It was the first time I had been on skates since 1988 and my feet found it painful but, we still had a good time.

There was no food served at this event but, they did provide hot chocolate.  Even though Samuel isn't one to complain about the foods that he cannot have, I do try to make him substitutes.  I did a quick search on the internet for homemade dairy free hot chocolate.  I gathered together some of the ingredients I found on the net and made my first batch.  Samuel loved it but, Chris and I both thought it could use a little more work.  My first batch was made with 4 cups of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and 1/8 tsp of vanilla. It was a little bit chalky tasting and had too much cinnamon.  My second batch turned out much better.  Unfortunately, as usual in my cooking, I didn't measure much of anything.   Here is my best estimation:

2 cups of So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 handful of of Enjoy Life Allergy Free Chocolate Chips
Some Agave Nectar - I think about 1/4 cup
A few shakes of cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt
After tasting it I added about 1 TBSP of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 TBSP of sugar

Warm it on the stove, stirring frequently, until the chocolate chips fully melt.
Turn it up so that it almost boils.  This helps it thicken to a more creamy consistency.