cooking

Cooking for Those with Dietary Restrictions

Image from pixabay

Do you enjoy cooking? I most definitely do. However, I know a few people with dietary restrictions. One has a peanut allergy. The other has a dairy allergy.

Although I’ve never had to cook for the person with the dairy allergy, the person with the peanut allergy has come to my parties in recent years. So I had to be very, very careful with what food I served and their ingredients. I ended up doing a lot of cooking from scratch as many commercial-made products are not safe for those with peanut allergies.

Sometimes, I’ve contacted companies for a definitive answer on, whether or not, the products were safe for those with peanut allergies. The one with dairy allergies ended up not being able to come to any of my parties. But I did go to one of his. His mom had baked him a special, dairy-free cake from scratch. I ended up not having it since I wasn’t feeling well. I left early.

Although it may seem like a bummer that you can’t serve something you enjoy because a guest has a certain food allergy, you can still figure out other ways and be creative. It worked out very well that I learned to cook from scratch when I was twelve. Otherwise, I would’ve had to travel far for a peanut-free cake (the bakeries near me are not safe for those with peanut allergies) or would’ve had to have my mom bake the cake. That would’ve meant giving up control.

Aside from cake, I’ve also learned to make ice cream from scratch as well as whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and much more. I, myself, have a mild tomato allergy. So my mom has come up with alternatives for certain recipes traditionally made with tomatoes. For example, she replaced tomato sauce with canned pumpkin. It still came out delicious.

Whether you have to accommodate for those with dietary restrictions or not, there is always room for creativity, like for health reasons. It can work.

cooking

Pasta and Pepper Vodka Sauce… Pretty Delicious?

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Once again, there is no tomato in this sauce due to my tomato allergy. It’s with bell peppers. Other times, this sauce tasted good. However, today, not so much.

I don’t know what it was. Perhaps, it was because I couldn’t find the heavy cream until after I used a little bit of whole milk and coconut milk. Maybe that was a mistake. Luckily the cream didn’t expire. Still. The texture was too creamy like heavy cream, not like vodka or alfredo sauce.

The pasta is brown rice pasta. No gluten, wheat, or anything else but water and brown rice. It’s actually pretty good–at least if you love brown rice. The pasta was no issue for me.

The taste ended up okay. I had to add more salt, but I may have ended up with too much. Perhaps, next time, I will follow a built-in recipe. I have been cooking for half my life and some dishes I can prepare easily without a recipe. But lately, for some reason, everything I cooked, not counting simple dishes like scrambled eggs, went wrong.

I used two peppers for this. I decided not to make too much, otherwise it sits around and no one consumes it after a while. Everyone else is my family can eat tomatoes. I used to be able to have tomatoes until last year, when I suddenly developed the allergy.

My word of advice: be careful experimenting with other ingredients if you can’t find something. Had I not possessed any heavy cream or had it expired, I would have just gone to the grocery store. If you are able to leave your home and either drive, walk, or use public transportation, it’s best to go to the supermarket and turn your stove or oven off.

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Healthy and “Happy” Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If only my cookies ended up as good as the ones above, taken from Pixabay, a public-domain image website. Obviously, I don’t know how these taste. However, I wanted to share my experience on a recipe where I substituted for healthier ingredients, but, unfortunately, failed.

Although substituting works most of the time, sometimes it sadly doesn’t. I found some chocolate-chip cookie recipes that claimed they would be gooey and chewy. I tried experimenting with using oat flour instead of all-purpose and coconut sugar and monk fruit sweetener instead of brown and white sugar. I used one recipe and failed. I tried another recipe and the same experience ended up a bummer.

I learned that for some recipes, substituting may not necessarily work. I had to throw away not only the cookies but also some muffins I baked, where I swapped out certain ingredients for healthier alternatives. The flavors were banana and maple pecan.

I haven’t tossed baked creations since I was 14 or 15. I started cooking and baking at age 12 and am now 24. Rarely did I have to throw anything out since 15.

Regardless of what I’ve said in previous posts, sometimes, if you want a healthier version of a food you enjoy, you just need to find a recipe designated for it. For instance, if you want to use whole wheat flour instead of white, search for a recipe that deliberately calls for whole wheat flour.

Learning the hard way occasionally happens if life, no matter the situation. However, you can learn from that. We all learn from our mistakes. That is how we grow, change, and mature.

 

 

 

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Can You Believe… Dairy-Free Scones are Delicious?

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Although the picture above does not feature scones I’ve made (they’re from a public-domain image site called Pixabay), they look similar enough to the last scones I’ve baked… which had no dairy—at all.

While having some issues with dairy a few months ago, I experimented with dairy-free recipes. I substituted vegan butter for the regular kind and almond milk for the regular one. They came out great. You wouldn’t have been able to tell that they had no dairy.

Even though I’ve said this a lot in my other posts, substituting is always an option if you have dietary restrictions, want to make something healthier, or anything.

I’ve spread jam and vegan butter on the dairy-free scones. And you know? It tasted delicious, just like a scone with dairy.

You can go online and search for dairy-free scones. Try a recipe and see what you think. I hope you enjoy whatever you bake.

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Good Times with Gluten-Free Cooking

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After discovering something about what white flour was doing to my body, I decided to try some gluten-free cooking. I’m not allergic or intolerant to gluten. I still cook with whole wheat and oat flour.

However, I found the gluten-free meals to be easier on my body. I cooked a gluten-free mac and cheese from scratch, as well as almond-meal blueberry muffins and meat and vegetables. It actually spiked my creativity.

Some things didn’t come out the way I wanted, though. For example, I made some gluten-free dinner rolls with almond meal. Unfortunately, they tasted bitter. Maybe the recipe wasn’t that good or something.

That is why I was told to check recipe websites and see if there are reviews. Sometimes, recipes are not tested. This is where you have to show care and caution.

When I started cooking at 12, for the next few years or so, I would constantly have to throw my cooked creations away. Many of us probably had to do that.

Anyway, regardless of what you are cooking, it’s a good idea to see the recipe’s reviews. I usually try out recipes that are at least 4 stars.

I am still looking out for more gluten-free recipes, as well as those with whole wheat, oat, or any other kind of non-white flour.

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Tomato-Free Marinara Sauce? Yes, it’s Possible

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Bell peppers, carrots, spices, herbs. These are the ingredients to make the (not quite) perfect tomato-free marinara sauce.

Why not quite, you may ask? Unfortunately, the taste can only go up to similar. It’s not even almost alike with tomato sauce.

Ever since I developed my tomato allergy last year, my pasta consumption went down. Even now, I barely eat pasta. I can still have pesto, alfredo, garlic and oil, and other tomato-free sauces. But not being able to eat tomato makes pasta-eating less enjoyable.

In fact, this is hard to enjoy on pasta of any kind. Spaghetti, tortellini, penne—you name it. It is good to enjoy on pizza. But that’s a different post.

Anyway, the ingredients for the recipe are as followed:

 

2-3 Bell peppers

½ – 3/4 Pureed cooked carrots

A T of Olive oil

1 T Sugar

A dash of Salt

Grated Pepper

A dash of Minced garlic or garlic powder

A dash of Minced onions or onion powder

About a T of Basil

About a T of Oregano

A pinch of Thyme

About a T of Parsley

A pinch of Rosemary

A ½ t of Red wine vinegar

 

You cut up and broil the red peppers for about ten minutes. The outside should blacken. Then you secure the peppers in brown paper bags for about ten minutes as well. After that, you peel and puree them in the blender.

In the meantime, you can steam, boil, or microwave the carrots. You want them to be as soft as possible. I would recommend using frozen ones as those soften more quickly. Once they are as soft as you like, blend them in with the bell pepper puree.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the pepper and carrot puree. Then add the spices and herbs as needed, as well as the tiny amount of vinegar. You don’t want to overdo it, otherwise, the vinegar gets strong and the taste is practically impossible to remove.

Taste as you add your spices. If you need to adjust, do so. To add flavor, increase the spice or herb. To remove flavor, add a little bit (not too much) olive oil or blend more peppers and carrots.

Pour over pasta, pizza, whatever you’d like. The texture will be close to a tomato. That’s something good about this.

Regardless of why you are not eating tomatoes, this recipe can benefit you. Those who like tomatoes or can eat them with no problem can also try this recipe.

Tomatoes might not be a common food allergy, like nuts, gluten, or dairy. But people can be allergic or intolerant to any kind of food. It’s good to vary your ingredients. You may make someone’s day amazing.

 

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A Pepper Pizza Post

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Believe it or not, this pizza’s sauce has no tomato. That’s because I’m allergic to tomatoes. It’s got pureed bell peppers and carrots as well as all the spices and herbs for traditional marinara sauce.

The sauce tastes similar, but not alike. It was never that good on pasta. However, it tastes pretty good on pizza, like this one.

I miss being able to enjoy regular pizza (my tomato allergy developed last year). The only pizza I can enjoy from public is white pizza. I used to enjoy pizza from Costco, Red Baron, and other places. I always preferred the ones with more sauce and thicker crust than the traditional NY pizza.

Sadly those days are gone. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat classic pizza ever again. It really sticks.

I went to a social event where the host ordered pizza, and I couldn’t have it. So I brought my own dinner.

I’m glad I tried this. Now I can enjoy homemade pizza either on premade crust or dough I make from scratch.

There’s always something you can figure out if you can’t enjoy a certain food. Substituting can be fun. It may not be the same, but similar is good enough.

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Dairy-Free Doughnuts… A Mild Disaster

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Although I have cooked beignets before (usually from a mix), Saturday, May 19th, was my first time making doughnuts from scratch. Thanks to my dairy intolerance, I can no longer enjoy commercial-made baked goods unless they are specifically labeled as dairy-free or come from somewhere that never uses dairy. I am hoping to remove this intolerance. It’s not that severe, anyway.

But back to the doughnuts. I wanted to make cinnamon sugar doughnuts and have them come out the same way as commercial-made ones. However, the recipe called for a lot of flour and very little sugar. I also didn’t have enough yeast and I didn’t let the dough rise long enough. I made these late at night. Perhaps, that was a mistake.

The doughnuts were too tough and not sweet enough, even with the cinnamon sugar coating. I guess next, I will use another recipe, follow it correctly, and not cook something late at night.

Have you ever tried cooking doughnuts from scratch? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Food, Wonderful Food, & Great Dietary Accommodations

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Nearly one year ago, about a month after graduating from college, I had developed an “allergy” toward tomatoes. Now why do I put the word, allergy, into quotation marks, you might ask? Well, although anything with tomatoes would cause my face to break out or my lips to tingle, I got tested for that, and it turned out to be an intolerance. So if somebody else consumes tomatoes around me, I’m fine. However, if I ate tomato products, it would lead to a problem.

For the next few months, I was let down on how I couldn’t have all those goodies I used to be able to enjoy, like marinara sauce, ketchup, salsa, barbecue sauce, and more. I would only be able to eat pasta with pesto, alfredo, or garlic and oil.  I would also have to ask about dish ingredients in restaurants.

However, in September, I found a new solution to my tomato intolerance. That was red bell peppers, which my body could still tolerate. I would make nearly everything I’d listed above (except barbecue sauce) with peppers. I would broil them, let them sit in brown paper bags, peel them, and prepare them like tomatoes. They taste a little similar, but not really close to alike.

Bu a few months ago, or so, I mixed carrots with peppers to make marinara sauce. And guess what? It really made a difference. The carrots made the sauce taste more like tomatoes than ever. And I didn’t receive an allergic reaction.

So if you ever develop an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, you can experiment with substitutions. I actually have a couple friends with dietary restrictions. One has come to my past parties in recent years. She is allergic to peanuts, which are in so many different products. I had to make a lot of my party food from scratch. Not only that, I would have to check ingredients and research them. I have even contacted companies to confirm, whether or not, the products had nuts.

You can always substitute ingredients for cooking, whether it’s for you or someone else. You would be surprised how easy it is and how much you can learn.