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Feb 18, 2013

Grilled Balsamic Steak {Dairy & Gluten Free}

It was a cold and blustery day today. The boys have been especially good this weekend, and since we all had the day off, we decided to go see a movie as a family. Escape from Planet Earth is a super cute, family friendly movie. I highly recommend it!

Since we were gone most of the afternoon, I wanted to prepare dinner ahead and not have to spend much time cooking when we got home. I was able to prep everything during nap time and not have to think about it again for a few hours.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #steak #grilling #recipes

Grilled Balsamic Steak {Dairy & Gluten Free}

Serves 6-8                                                             Printable Recipe

1-2 lb steak (I've used both flank steak and skirt steak with great results)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (flavored or plain)
2 Tbsp Tamari gluten-free soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper

Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large container or gallon zipper bag, combine balsamic vinegar, Tamari, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Add steak and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 4-8 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade. Place on the grill and cook to desired internal temperature. I usually like medium which takes about 7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your meat.

Remove from the grill, cover with foil and allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Slice the meat thinly with a sharp knife just before serving. Serve as a stir-fry with vegetables and rice, or with some mashed cauliflower or potatoes and a salad.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #steak #grilling #recipes

Feb 16, 2013

Chocolate Brownie Cookies {Dairy, Egg, Soy & Gluten Free}

This is a recipe I've been wanting to share for awhile. Boy, am I glad I did.  I'm not much of a chocolate lover, but these are really good anyway.

Here is a fun idea: bake these cookies to serve to your friends. After they've enjoyed the cookies, ask them if they can guess the secret ingredient. Chances are they'll have no idea!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #eggfree #cookies

Chocolate Brownie Cookies {Dairy, Egg, Soy & Gluten Free}

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed really well (no salt added if you can find them)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp almond butter (or other nut butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup Enjoy Life Foods mini chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine black beans, oil, almond milk and almond butter. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients (except for chocolate chips) and blend until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips last. 

Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into 1 1/2 inch round balls. (If desired, roll dough balls in powdered sugar for a crinkle coating.) Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for two minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.  

#glutenfree #eggfree #dairyfree #cookies

Feb 15, 2013

Raspberry Chipotle Shredded Pork (dairy & gluten-free)

#glutenfree #dairyfree #dinner #pork

Some time ago I bought a bottle of Raspberry Chipotle sauce in the condiment section of the grocery store, not really knowing what I was going to use it for. So I began experimenting. I usually don't measure when I'm making dinner, unless I'm creating a specific new recipe. I just throw in a little of this, a little of that, and then adjust as I go along. I'm going to do my best to give you some actual measurements here, but trust me when I say it doesn't matter. This is one of those recipes that you cannot screw up!

Feb 7, 2013

Food Allergies, Bullying and a Ray of Hope

I am saddened by the number of stories I have read lately about children with food allergies who have been bullied by a peer due to their allergy. The statistics are staggering and speak for themselves:

According to the Kids with Food Allergy Foundation, "A recent survey conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), showed that 79% of food-allergic children and teens reported bullying, teasing, or harassment related to their food allergies. Of those bullied, 57% described events in which someone touched them with their allergen, waved it in front of them, or threw it at them."

I know that bullying is a big, controversial topic in our world. None of it - absolutely none - is right or okay. I am sure I will never understand why people feel the need to treat others in a negative way. I am extremely a little biased and have a greater understanding of food allergy than I do of other situations that could entice one child to bully another, so this hits close to home. But seriously, throwing a food item at a child whom you know is allergic to it?!? I imagine these children don't truly understand the repercussions of their actions and the severity of food allergy and anaphylactic reactions.

Definition: A rapidly progressing, life-threatening allergic reaction.  
Description: Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction, in which the immune system responds to otherwise harmless substances from the environment.  Unlike other reactions, however, anaphylaxis can kill.  Reaction may begin within minutes or even seconds of exposure, and rapidly progress to cause airway constriction, skin and intestinal irritation, and altered heart rhythms.  In severe cases, it can result in complete airway obstruction, shock, and death.

I don't mean to be a Debbie-downer, and my true intentions for this post are as follows: For every child who is cruel to others and is a bully, there is another who is thoughtful, selfless, and considerate of their peers. The example I'm going to use makes my heart swell with pride and love.

Mason has an older sister named Ciara. She is a beautiful, funny, loving 12-year old. Just the other day, her mother told me a story about Ciara. One of her classmates is a boy with a peanut allergy. When Ciara brings food to school for their class, she brings the box in order for the boy to read the labels himself. If she knows he can't eat that item, she will pick up something that is safe for him so that he will be included. None of her other classmates do this for him. Her reason behind doing this: Mason. She knows how important avoiding allergens is because of her little brother.

Hearing this story brought me to tears. Not only because I understand what a big deal it is, but because I am incredibly happy to hear a positive story about a child doing something out of the kindness of her heart. Because she is including him when no one else does. Because she thinks of someone and puts their needs first. Because she thinks of her little brother and has learned something from him. The list of reasons why I am SO proud of her goes on and on.

I get discouraged at times, thinking of all of the preparation we, as parents of food-allergic kiddos, go through to protect our children, teach them and others to be cognizant of their needs, hope and pray that every day has a safe outcome.... only to know that we can never be fully prepared for that possible reaction. Bullying scares me. I don't ever want my child, or any other, to be bullied for any reason, especially not something so completely out of their control. I cringe to think that we as parents wouldn't teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and teach them how to treat others.

But I am encouraged by stories like Ciara's. She gives me a ray of hope in an otherwise dim and twisted world.

To learn more about food allergy awareness and education in a format your children will understand, click here.

Feb 2, 2013

Pizza Casserole {Dairy & Gluten Free}

I never know until about five minutes after serving dinner whether these boys of mine enjoy it or not. The way I can tell? Silence... I love the quiet peacefulness when they are gobbling up their dinner without complaints. No "what's this green stuff?" or "I don't like this" complaints. Just peace and quiet. That's when I know the item will have a permanent place on our menu and will get rave reviews. This pizza casserole is one of those items.

This began as a Crockpot recipe and was just as delicious. After making it a few times, I decided I preferred the idea of a casserole instead. All of the ingredients are cooked in advance, then layered before cooking. With the casserole option, I can make it ahead of time, cover with foil and freeze it until it comes up on our menu. It freezes and thaws well in the refrigerator, making it a cinch to throw in the oven when I get home from work until it is hot and bubbly.

Since we are dairy-free, I refrain from using actual cheese here. You could definitely add cheese if you prefer, but we love Go Veggie Foods Dairy-free Parmesan Style Topping so much that we aren't missing cheese one bit. The "cream of something soup mix" also adds to the creaminess and makes it so delicious!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #casserole #pizza

Pizza Casserole {Dairy &Gluten Free}

                                                                                                 Printable Recipe
1 lb ground beef
16 oz jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup dairy-free Cream of Celery soup recipe
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 package pepperoni
2 cups gluten-free pasta noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
Go Veggie Foods Dairy-free Parmesan Style Topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain off any excess grease. Add onion, garlic, seasonings and spaghetti sauce. Turn heat to low and allow it to simmer.

Place the cream soup mix into a small saucepan. Over medium heat, gradually whisk in the water until all lumps are dissolved. Allow mixture to heat while stirring frequently until it begins to thicken. Once thickened, turn off the heat and set the soup aside to cool slightly.

In the baking dish, layer one-third of the meat sauce, a thin layer of fresh spinach, an even layer of pepperoni, one-half of the noodles. Repeat one time. Top with the cooled soup mixture, then add a final layer of meat sauce, spinach, and pepperoni. Sprinkle dairy-free parmesan or other dairy-free cheese over the top. (If you're not dairy-free, feel free to add whatever cheese you prefer here.)

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. We love our Pizza Casserole with garlic bread. Udi's Gluten-free French Bread is perfect for this (and dairy-free too!).

#glutenfree #dairyfree #casserole #pizza

*Because everything is fully cooked ahead, the time in the oven is just to let the flavors meld together and heat it up. I find this dish to be a great use for leftover spaghetti sauce and any shape pasta. I never seem to make the right amount of either so there are usually disproportionate leftovers, which I like to freeze and use later. I like to use Barilla Gluten-free pastas and find that the penne and elbow noodles freeze and thaw/reheat wonderfully! 

This casserole can also be put together, topped with foil and frozen for later use. In the morning, place the casserole in the refrigerator to thaw and it will be ready to bake in the evening!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #casserole #pizza
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