Allergy-Free, But Not Flavor-Free

Recipes for kids with allergies
pumpkin bars, one of several allergy-free recipes from this article

Pumpkin bars, one of several allergy-free recipes you’ll find below!

We may not agree on the reason for the rise in childhood food allergies, but as parents, there’s no doubting its existence.

Dairy, nuts, soy, eggs, wheat – many parents spend their days reading labels and cross-checking ingredients to avoid an allergen. My heart goes out to the parents dealing with multiple food allergies.

Several years ago, I went to a friend’s house for lunch with low expectations of what we might be eating. Her children have food allergies, and she keeps her kitchen strictly free of wheat, dairy and nuts. This is someone who I had known as a great cook – that is before food allergies had taken over her life.

But, I found she was just as great of a cook with these new restrictions. She had found creative ways to make food her children would love, even without the wheat and dairy.

It’s so easy to become disheartened when we can’t feed our kids the foods we love. It’s normal to be frustrated when the grocery store is out of the one type of rice milk the baby can actually tolerate. It’s OK to throw a small temper tantrum when the gluten-free cupcakes you worked on all morning turn out to be a flop.

But the more you cook in limitations that show a real benefit for your child, the more you come to accept, and maybe even appreciate your new normal.

Here are some fall comfort foods welcome at any home – allergy-free or not.

The Food Allergy Awareness group tailored this kids’ favorite for all kids.

Classic Mac and Cheese

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 1/2 cups soy or rice milk, slightly warmed
  • 4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour or gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 cup dairy-free cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In a medium saucepan, melt dairy-free margarine over moderately low heat. Add flour, and whisk for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the warmed soy milk, and whisk constantly for 3 minutes until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon.

Add the dairy-free cheese, and stir with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ½ cup warmed milk, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Stir until the dairy-free cheese is nearly melted, about 5 minutes.

Once the cheese sauce is smooth and melted, add the drained, cooked macaroni. Stir and serve.

You won’t miss the flour in this yummy fall-inspired dessert from “Eating with Food Allergies.”

Pumpkin Bars

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil (vegetable, soy, grapeseed, etc.)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups wheat-free all-purpose flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • “Safe” cream cheese or vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a jelly roll pan or cake pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and warm water. Set aside for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the pumpkin puree, oil, flaxseed and water mixture and sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to pumpkin puree mixture. Beat with electric mixer until well blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan. If using a cake pan, bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. If using a jelly roll pan, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

When cooled, frost with your favorite “safe” frosting.

If dairy is on your safe list, these baked apples are especially delicious topped with fresh whipped cream. This recipe from Whole Foods can be made with gluten-free granola.

Baked Apples with Maple Syrup and Granola

  • 4 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup crunchy granola
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apples, cut-side-up, in a baking dish. Dot apples with butter, drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Pour 1/4 cup water into bottom of the dish, and cover it with foil. Bake until apples are soft, about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

Transfer apples to a serving dish, and pour the cooking liquid over the top. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. Top with granola and whipped cream, if desired.

These substitutions may seem obvious. But, if you’re new to allergy-free cooking, you’ll appreciate this recipe for basic mashed potatoes.

Classic Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy free margarine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, broth, rice milk, oil or margarine and salt and pepper. Mash until light and fluffy.

Categories: Food