Friday, July 29, 2011

Blueberry Freezer Jam

The recipe I used was from the Pumona's Universal Pectin, which I bought at my local health food store.

For those who have not made jam or jelly before, freezer jam is different from shelf-stable varieties in that you do NOT cook the fruit. Which also means you retain the fruit flavor better.

Pumona's contains 1 packet of low Methoxyl citrus pectin and 1 packet monocalcium phosphate.

I bought 5 - 2 lb containers of blueberries. So 10 lbs of blueberries.

This made approximately 16 cups of smashed fruit.

The recipe from Pumona's called for these measurements:
4c mashed fruit
1/4c lemon or lime (optional)
1/2-1c honey or 3/4-2c sugar
3/4 water
3t Pectin powder
4-12t calcium water

Here is how my attempt measured out:

16 cups smashed blueberries
1c lime or lemon juice (optional)
6c sugar
3c water
12t Pectin powder
24-36t calcium water

1) Make calcium water (directions in box of pectin)
2) Wash and rinse the jars and lids. I sterilize my jars in boiling water for 10 minutes, and then place them in a hot oven to keep them hot and dry until ready to use. The lids remain in boiling water until use.
3) Wash fruit, pick out the bad fruit, and mash the good fruit. Depending on the fruit, you may or may not need to use a food processor.
4) Mix in lemon or lime juice (optional).
5) Measure the fruit and lime/lemon juice.
6) Measure sugar or other sweetener (many alternatives to sugar mentioned in packet) and stir into fruit.
7) Boil the water. A food processor is needed. Place water and Pectin powder in the blender and blend so that all the powder dissolves, around 1-2 minutes.
8) Add this mixture, while still hot, to the fruit and sugar. Mix in very well.
9) For original recipe size (not my large batch), add 4t calcium water to fruit/pectin mixture. Stir well, and if you don't start to see jell form, add more calcium water, 1t at a time.
10)Pull jars out of the oven and fill them, leaving 1/2" head space. Put on lids and store in freezer right away. Keep in the refrigerator only when you are going to be using the jam. It lasts about a week in the refrigerator.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Garlic chicken

This is a recipe my mom passed along to me.  If you have a sickly person in the house, you can go even heavier on the garlic.  I like a ton of garlic.  My mom even made this with four HEADS of garlic instead of four cloves, and it turned out okay. It is a great comfort food. 

Garlic Chicken

1 Tbsp. Oil/butter/palm oil shortening

2 lbs of chicken breasts
1 C. chopped onion
4 whole garlic cloves or elephant garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 tsp worchestershire sauce or worchestershire sauce substitute (for my son, I left off this ingredient)
1 1/2 C chicken broth (I use Kitchen Basics)
1 1/2 C plain milk substitute (this is in place of evap milk) - almond milk or plain non-coconut-tasting milk works great.

Optional ingredient - cashews.  Yummy, and they give it a good crunch.

There are two methods for cooking this: 

Longer Method 

Chop up chicken, onions, and garlic.   Throw everything in a slow cooker or roaster for several hours.

Shorter Method, though more work  

Melt shortening in a large skillet.  Add chicken breasts.  Brown. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and worchestershire sauce.  Add broth and milk. Serve over cooked rice.

Put in a casserole dish (a deep one).  Cook covered, for 1 - 1 1/2 hours in a 300 degree oven. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes.  Serve over cooked rice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gelato! Best icecream EVER for allergies!

I saw a blog another mom posted on

Here is the original blog posting by Lindsay Weiss:

And here is my adaptation from that recipe:

Easy Summer Strawberry Gelato
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
3/4 cup French Vanilla Coconut Milk creamer
2 1/4 cups ripe sliced, hulled strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice (we used lime because Trenton is allergic to lemon)

Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and creamer and place over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl; place bowl over ice to cool. Stir mixture occasionally.
Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor. Fold pureed mixture into cooled gelato base and stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate 3 hours (up to overnight). Freeze in an electric ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (about 20 minutes for mine). Transfer to a covered container and freeze until desired firmness.

This tastes JUST like regular gelato.  It is very important to use the French Vanilla Coconut creamer - it really adds that creamy flavor and does NOT taste like coconut.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dairy Free Ranch Dressing
Dairy free ranch!

This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups and keeps for several weeks depending on the expiration date of the coconut milk used.


1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
7 1/2 tablespoons soy milk (we use So Delicious Plain Coconut milk)
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Mix lemon juice and soy milk and let sit for 10 minutes. (An easier way to think about the measurement is to pour 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice into a measuring cup and add soy milk until it reaches 1/2 cup.)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and soy milk mixture, chives, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Leave your drugs in the chemist's pot if you can heal the patient with food.
- Hippocrates
I saw this on Facebook, and thought it rang so true.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Another member of the was so kind as to post instructions on making soap:

It is very informative and can help you discover how to make soaps that you know are free of the allergens you don't want around your child or yourself.

The following is the text from the directions that she posted there:

Hey all,
Some of you expressed interest in learning how to make your own soap (or at least in how I manage to do it, LOL), so here's the bare-bones run-down.  I promise you it's actually very easy; there are a lot of steps, but they aren't hard and they're mostly quick little things you can sneak into your existing routine.
First things first: a bit of chemistry.  Soap is a salt of a fatty acid, which, in layman's terms, means it's the result of a chemical reaction between a strong base (lye) and a triglyceride (oil, lard, whatever).  The lye breaks down the fatty acids into their constituent chains, which have both a polar and a nonpolar end.  The nonpolar end resembles grease or fat, and therefore can bond with it.  The polar end of the molecule bonds with water, which enables you to use soap to wash grease off of dishes or body soil out of clothes.
Now, there are several options for the lye: some people use sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution, which is the most convenient because it has the most consistent effectiveness.  You can also use ash, but that's a pain because you have to distill your own lye solution from it and add lime (the white mineral, not the fruit) and whatnot.  More on how to do that in a comment later.  Personally, I use solid NaOH, because it's more convenient than making my own lye, especially as we don't burn wood, but it's significantly cheaper than buying NaOH solution.  How much lye you use depends on how much of what oils you use.  Generally, your soap should have 5-8% excess (unreacted) fat; less if you're making a laundry detergent or other deep cleaning/clean rinsing soap and more if you're making a body or baby soap.  I use this calculator to help me:
There are scores of different fat sources and thousands if not millions of ways of combining them.  Each different fat has slightly different qualities as a soap.  Go here to see different oil qualities:
Choosing and balancing your fats is the tricky part of soapmaking, so I'll break this part down as clearly as possible:
1.  Decide what kinds of soap you need.  You can make any bar soap into a powder or liquid, so don't bother thinking about that yet.  What do you use soap or detergent for?  Who uses the soap?  What qualities are important in various soaps in your household (gentleness, deep cleansing, antimicrobial action, luxurious lather)?  In my house, we need a well-balanced high-lather hand/body soap, a deep cleansing antimicrobial dish/laundry soap, and a gentle baby soap.
2.  For any basic hand or body soap, start with a simple and well-balanced recipe.  You can adjust it from there.  A good basic soap for washing the hands and body is 30% tallow, 25% coconut oil, and 45% olive oil.  A vegan equivalent would be equal parts of palm, coconut, and olive oil.
3.  For specialty soaps, address the most important quality first.  For example, if you need a laundry soap that can be used with cloth diapers, you need an oil that with rinse clean, like coconut oil.  Next, consider how important it is to balance the soap: in the cloth diaper detergent case, we don't need to balance the soap for rich lather or moisturizing qualities, so we can use a single-oil soap if we want to.  Finally, think about other qualities it might be nice to add to the soap; I make my laundry soap slightly antimicrobial and insect repellent by using a small amount of neem oil.
My basic hand/body soap is 5% cocoa butter, 20% olive oil, 20% coconut oil, 55% vegetable shortening.  This is a moisture-rich soap with a thick lather.  My laundry/dish soap (which is cloth diaper safe) is 98% coconut oil and 2% neem oil.  I would never use it to wash my hands because it dries out my skin in large exposures, but it doesn't leave any oil on my diapers and that's the important part.  It's also very low-foaming.  My baby soap is 30% olive oil, 30% coconut oil, 25% palm kernel oil, 10% castor oil, 5% pumpkin seed oil.  This is a very gentle soap with excess fat and some premium moisturizers (N has dry skin and cradle cap).
Now, once you have a recipe, there's the question of how you make soap.  I use cold process because hot process is annoying and not as useful for small stovetop batches.
This is REALLY EASY, I promise.
1.  Heat your fats to 100F, stirring to mix.
2.  Heat your lye to 100F (or, if making your own lye solution from solid NaOH, let reacted solution cool to 100F).
3.  Slowly and carefully add the lye to the fats.
4.  Mix with a handheld blender (easiest), strong metal whisk, glass rod, or wooden spoon (hardest) until you reach "trace".  Trace simply means that when you let soap drip back onto the surface of the mixture, you can see the outline of where the drop fell.  At trace, you can add any colorants, fragrances, or other extras.
5.  Pour mixture into molds or glass baking dishes.
6.  Insulate molds by wrapping in towels, placing in empty coolers, etc.  Leave completely alone for 48 hours to set.
7.  Remove soap from molds (if hardened--- if still soft, let sit an additional 24 hours).  Cut into bars, set on a wire rack and leave to cure for 4-6 weeks.
And that's it.  The end.
Unless you want a powder or a liquid, that is.  If you do, grate your soap very fine, use your fingers to break up any chunks, and leave to dry out for at least 4 hours.
To make powder laundry detergent, combine 2 parts grated soap with 1 part baking soda and 1 part borax.  Mix well and store in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per full machine load.
To make liquid dish soap, combine 2 parts grated soap 2 parts hot water and let sit overnight.  Thin as necessary by adding water, then add 1 part lemon juice or distilled vinegar (a grease-cutting agent).  Shake before using because separation will occur.
To make liquid hand soap, pour 2 parts near-boiling water over 1 part grated soap.  Mix until all soap is melted.  After completely cooled, remix if necessary to dissolve clumps.
Questions?  Post and I'll try to answer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shelf by Shelf Analysis

I am sitting in my pantry right now, preparing to make a list of foods that are at least gf/cf/sf. 

Okay, finally hitting the pantry to list what I have here for cooking:

Santa Cruz organic lemonade (Mango, Strawberry, plain lemonade, and limeade)
Kroger Rice Bitz cereal
Chex Corn and Rice cereal
Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats
Nature's Path WholeO's gluten free cereal
Manischewitz Potato Pancake Mix
DeBoles Multi Grain Penne
Deboles corn  spaghetti style pasta
deboles multigrain spaghetti style pasta
bahn trang mekong rice paper (for spring rolls/egg rolls)
Orville Redenbacher popcorn (some of them don't contain dairy)
Pacific Natural Foods soup bases and stocks
Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Cherrybrook Kitchen cake icing
Vita Coco coconut water (good for adding electrolytes)
Orgnaic sweet potato puree
Organic squash puree
Organic pumpkin puree
Canned coconut milk
Now Health Foods Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Grown Right organic cranberry sauce
MaraNatha No Stir Almond Butter
Spectrum brand Cod Liver Oil
SeedsofChange Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce (curry sauce)
Sunflower Seed kernels
loose popcorn
EnerG Wylde Pretzels
Bob's Red Mill Cornbread mix
BRM ALl purpose Baking FLour
Namaste Chocolate Fudge Frosting Mix
Namaste Spice Cake Mix
Namaste Pizza Crust Mix
EnerG Egg Replacer
BRM cornstarch
BRM White Rice Flour
BRM Brownie Mix
MASECA corn flour
Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix
Udi's bread

I must stop for now, as I need to do some other things around here.  That finishes off the pantry, but not the cabinets and fridge/freezer.