Everyone is welcome here! Whether you have allergies, sensitivities, hypersensitivities, or intolerances, this blog is for you. While the primary focus is for allergies, I have all of the above and welcome anyone to my blog.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Overnight Tennessee Twitch BBQ Sauce

There were a few things I learned to make in Tennessee that everyone loves. Biscuits, Macaroni and cheese, and BBQ sauce! 

This week, since I am on a recipe kick, I thought I'd share my Tennessee Twitch BBQ sauce recipe. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!  It's got a kick to it, so you may want to back off the spices if you can't handle spicy sauces.

I had to alter my original recipe for allergy purposes but this is the closest recipe I can get to our original Tennessee BBQ sauce. We call it the Tennessee Twitch because when I start making it, our fingers are twitching in delightful anticipation! 

Tennessee Twitch BBQ Sauce Ingredients
Cooking your Tennessee Twitch BBQ sauce
  • In a crock-pot, mix Ketchup and Coca Cola.
  • Add molasses and stir well. Then add sugar and stir well. It may feel a little grainy on the bottom. That's okay.
  • Add all your spices (add some extras if you want) and stir well.
  • Cover and let cook on high for 5-6 hours. 
  • Cool and place in fridge overnight so the flavors marry.
  • The next day, bring it out and warm it when you are ready to use it. 

To rush it... You can actually eat it after it's done cooking for the 5-6 hours. If you are in a huge rush, you can cook it on the stove top. Heat it on med-high to a nice bubbling boil, then turn it down and let it simmer on lo-med for about 45 minutes to an hour. 

BUT... I personally like the flavor after it has cooked in a crock-pot and sat overnight in the fridge.

This is the best BBQ sauce we've had and I love making it. It tastes so good. It has a touch of a kick to it that I like in BBQ sauces. 

It's great for dipping or marinading or just smothering some pulled beef. 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Milk Powder Substitute for Bread Maker

This is a repost, but I had a requests for this since Thanksgiving is coming near.

I got this request: 

“I am looking for a substitution for dried milk so I can make breads in my bread maker. I cannot have cow's milk.

I’ve heard this question a lot, not just for bread making and bread machines but for other recipes also. I did a little research and this is what I found.

Milk Powder Substitute for Bread Machines

Leave it out. A lot people just leave the powder out of the bread machine recipes and like the results just fine.

Milk Powder Substitute for Other Recipes

Others add  Soy Milk Powder as a substitute. I also saw a few people state they have tried Potato Starch and like the flavor.

If you can handle goat’s milk, Meyenberg sells Goat Milk Powder. It has an excellent review on Amazon.com.

Milk Powder Substitute for Reconstituting

If you need your milk powder to reconstitute it into a liquid for a recipe (for example, hot chocolate or carob), then any powdered milk will work.

A word of caution!
Not all cow free milk powders are safe. Some milk powder contains casein, which is a milk derivative. Make sure you read your ingredients carefully. It might say “great dairy alternative” and be anything but that when it comes to allergies. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Corn-Free Baking Powder Recipe

If you are allergic to corn, you know how hard it is to find baking powder without corn in it. I searched around and found a recipe I have been using for months now and I really love it. It works just as well as the baking powder you can buy in the store and it's pretty easy to make.

Mix 1 part for each together. No, really. It's that easy!

If you are using 1 TBSP, you mix 1 TBSP of each ingredient. If you want to make a huge batch and use 1 cup, then you mix 1 cup of each ingredient.

I like to make a 1 cup batch so I add 1/3 cup of each ingredient.

Homemade, corn-free baking powder

Mix one part of each ingredient:

Mix it well and store in a sealed container. This is one of the few things I store in a locking container in my kitchen because for some reason, it gets knocked over a lot LOL.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

ALLERGY ALERT: Marina's German Bakery pastry products may contain ALMONDS, WALNUTS, or HAZELNUTS

From Perishable News:
Marina's German Bakery of El Paso, Texas is recalling two-count packages of pastry products, because they may contain undeclared AlmondsWalnuts, or Hazelnuts
Click this link to read more

Marina's German Bakery Issues Allergy Alert

To read more Allergy Alerts for this and other months, visit our ALLERGY ALERT page.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Color-Coding Dishes for Allergies

With Thanksgiving coming up, I started thinking about color-coding dishes, especially when guests show up!

Living in a house with three people, all with different food allergies, can make life very interesting at meal times. One of the problems we had for some time was cross contamination. I can’t have wheat, pork, turkey or soy touch my plate. My sons have a different list of foods they have high reactions to.

To solve this problem, I went to Wal-Mart and found dish sets by mainstay that are solid colors. They also sell them as separate items. I bought each us our own set of dishes in different colors. 

I was searching for a picture to post but I couldn't find one. But here is a link to the Wal-mart page for the dish set. I have green dishes, Miles has yellow dishes and Mendek has red dishes. I also have two other sets for guests that are orange and blue. No more trying to figure out what was put on a plate or if coffee or tea was in a cup last. We use our own dishes and until we got a dishwasher, we all washed our own dishes as well.

Since wheat is a big one for me and one son... but I still make biscuits and pizza dough for my youngest son, I also have a separate mixing bowl specifically for wheat foods. Any dish that is red or has dots is now a wheat dish. I don't make my foods in it and the boys know that if they want to prepare a food that contains wheat, they use a red or polka dot dish.

They get washed and sanitized separately from all the other dishes to keep it safe for me. 

Keeping everything separate this way takes a little getting used to but it makes keeping us safe from allergens a lot easier!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving FAQ: What are you doing for vegetables?

I received this question from Marie today and it sparked an idea for this post
Hi purple hair lady! I like how your blog is going. I am curious. With all your allergies, what are you doing for veggies for Thanksgiving? We can't have green bean casserole anymore because my son is allergic to them and I am trying to think of something other than corn.
 Thanks for the compliment on the blog! You made my day.

Thanksgiving has taken a different turn for our family. We have multiple allergies and we aren't all allergic to the same things. One can eat green beans, two can't. One can have wheat, two can't. Two can have cabbage, one can't. 

Instead of trying to find one veggie everyone can eat, we eat pick a vegetable we like and make them. I know how hard it is to think of other vegetables when you get into a food rut. Here is a list of vegetables that we like, listed in categories, to pick from and a few ways to prepare them.

Green and Leafy Vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Beet Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo)
Roots and Tubers
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams
  • White/ Red Potatoes
Other Veggies
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
Ideas for Preparing your Veggies on Thanksgiving
  • Serve carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery raw on a platter, with a dip.
  • Steamed veggies are our favorite.
  • For sweet potatoes, sprinkle with a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • We love our okra not breaded, pan fried with a little oil or butter until crispy.
  • Mashed potatoes are great! We add a little Uncle Dan's Ranch Mix and sour cream.
  • Spinach can be eaten raw or steamed.
Add a little bit of seasonings that you like to make them more flavorful.

What veggies do you like to eat on Thanksgiving? Let's help Marie out by sharing what you like to eat.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gluten-Free Biscuits Recipe.

One of the things I really missed for a long time was southern style biscuits. I worked hard to find something that would substitute them when I created this recipe. I substituted a regular biscuit recipe with all the allergy-friendly foods and I have to say, they are quite delicious! Even my son who can eat wheat loves them!

Not sure why the top one looks "wet". These are the prettiest of the batch.

Here is the recipe. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Gluten-Free Biscuits

You will need:

  • 2 cups Namaste All-Purpose Flour (I am sure any gluten-free flour will work)
  • 1 TBSP Corn-Free Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, soft (I haven't tried different oils yet. That is next on my list.)
  • 1 Cup Milk (I use So Delicious Coconut Milk, Unsweetened)
Preheat oven to 425.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Mix in the butter and blend it with the flour mix until it is crumbly.

Add your milk substitute and mix until just blended together. Don't over mix it though. It should be pretty wet looking.

Flour a counter top and flop the dough onto the flour. Sprinkle lightly with more flour and roll out with a rolling pin until about 3/4" to 1" thick. Cut out biscuits with a cup or cookie cutter. Before putting them on a sheet, tap the biscuits gently on the side to get the excess flour off. 

When I lived in Tennessee, I would cut my biscuits with tin cans that I saved and cleaned from soup. We don't use cans anymore so I just use a cup.

Place the biscuits on a greased/buttered cookie sheet. 

Take the dough and shmoosh it back together but don't try to work it very much. They'll come out stiff if you do. Roll the dough out again and cut more biscuits. Continue until there is too little dough left to roll out.

I can usually get 10-12 biscuits out of a batch. 

The last biscuit I always just clump together and put on the pan. That's the "testing" biscuit for making sure the gravy or jelly is good. Uh-huh!

Bake biscuits for 15 or minutes until they are brownish. Brush with butter and bake 1-2 more minutes.

Serve hot with jelly or gravy. Or save them for a "sandwich" later on.

The whole batch! Tester biscuit is on the right in front.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Allergy vs Sensitivity vs Intolerance

How do you know if you have an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance to something? What's the difference or are they all the same?

While they are not the same, I like to think of them as cousins. They are in the same larger family, but when you get down to each smaller family unit, they are different.

At the end of this is an analogy to help you understand the difference better.

Let's go over each one starting with allergies.

What is an Allergy?

An allergy is a reaction to something (food, grass, pollen, smoke, perfume, etc.) where the body thinks the allergen is something bad and responds with an immune system response. While some people will react within minutes, you may not react until up to an hour or so later as noted herehereherehere, and here

What are symptoms of an Allergy?

Symptoms include:
  • Swelling of the nasal passages
  • Allergic sinusitis 
  • Redness and itching of the eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Swelling of the airway
  • Ear pain
  • Impaired hearing
  • Rashes (eczema and hives)
  • Burning skin sensation
  • Hot feeling skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Angioedema
You can read more from our friends at Wikipedia.

What is a sensitivity?

A sensitivity is an unpleasant reaction to something but it doesn't include the immune system response.

What are the symptoms of a sensitivity?

Symptoms include:
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Acid Reflux
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
Here is an article about Gluten Sensitivity and one on photophobia

What is an Intolerance?

An intolerance is when the body lacks an enzyme to break down a food. The ones that come to mind with this is lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. 

What are the symptoms of an intolerance?

Symptoms of food intolerance include:
  • Nervousness
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Headache/ Migraine
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Tightness across the face and chest
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Allergy-like reactions
  • Angioedema
  • Cough
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Gas
  • Intermittent diarrhea
  • Indigestion
You can read more here and here.

An Analogy to help you understand

In a normal situation with nothing wrong...
Let's say you are in a cabin. The cabin is your body and you are hanging out. Hanging out with you are a group of men and a group of women. 

Not trying to be sexist... However, the guys are your immune system. They protect your cabin (your body) from bad things happening to it. They keep the colds out by weather proofing everything and keep robbers (viruses) out by beating them up and kicking them out.

Your women friends hanging out with you are your group of enzymes. When food (friends) comes over to visit, they help you digest everything. They explain things to you by breaking it down and helping it make sense to the cabin.

And all is peaceful.

If you have intolerances...
Okay, so you are in your cabin and your friend, we'll call him Hank, comes over to visit.

Your guy group greets him with high fives. They go back to weather proofing the windows and beating up robbers.

However, your women group isn't there. At all. They just don't exist. Hank talks (that's you eating) and nothing makes sense because your women (enzymes) aren't there to help break it down for you. 

You get nervous and start shaking, you heart palpitates, you start feeling like you're having an asthma attack, your gut hurts, and you run to the bathroom with Hank in tow (Hank is weird). You get diarrhea while Hank is still babbling on and on about how great milk and sandwiches are.

This is an intolerance to Hank.

If you have sensitivities...
So, you are still in your cabin. Your guy group (immune system) is weatherproofing the doors and the women group (enzymes) are having a lovely conversation.

Hank walks in and the guys say "HEY!" and go back to weatherproofing your house. The women say "HEY!" too. This time they are there. 

Hank starts talking to you (that's you eating again) and the girls jump right in to break everything down for you. They are doing a good job at it too.

However, everything Hank says makes you cry, makes you irritable, makes you dizzy, or makes you want to take a nap. So you go to take a nap and Hank gives you a lovely dose of heartburn, and then describes it to you. The women break it down for you. You get nauseous from the description. Great job, Ladies!

This is a sensitivity to Hank.

If you have an allergy...
You're in your cabin with the men group (immune system) and the women group (enzymes) and Hank comes over.

Only this time, the women go to say hi only to be trampled by the men group. WTF?

The men group (your immune system) doesn't see Hank as a harmless friend this time. And no matter how much you like Hank, the men group doesn't see him like that. 

They attack him and beat the crap out of Hank. You stand back in a little bit of a daze because it makes you feel off. Your skin starts to burn, you break out in a rash, you have trouble breathing, and you make a mad dash to the bathroom and don't make it because you have diarrhea, then you start vomiting and swelling in your face... It's bad!

In comes your other friend, we'll call him Ben (short for Benadryl). Ben comes in, starts calming down the men group, and keeps them at bay while Hank flops around on the floor for a while. Once Hank recovers, Ben will keep the men group back while Hank sneaks out the back door (usually as diarrhea). Once Hank is completely out of the house, Ben leaves and all goes back to normal. Sort of. 

You're still sore because the men inadvertently beat you too. Oops. In addition, you'll feel like death warmed over for a couple of days to a week.

THAT is an allergy. 

Sometimes the men group (immune system) attacks not only Hank, but also the entire house in an effort to get rid of Hank. They tear down walls, beat you to a bloody pulp, destroy the furniture, break all your knick-knacks, and set the house on fire. This would be anaphylaxis. 

You can read what anaphylaxis feels like on my earlier post.

Does it matter what we call it?
It does matter for medical purposes and for the purposes of what is happening to our body. It also helps you in that you will know how to treat your reaction. Do you avoid the food like the plague? Make sure you have lactaid before you drink a cup of milk? Or do you save it for a special occasion and only eat it once a month, or once a year, or only when Grandma brings over your favorite pickled beets?

Does it matter to this blog writer? Not really. While this blog is written mostly about allergies, any of these can (and will) make your life miserable. 

That is why this blog is for anyone experiencing the nasty side effects of allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances. This blog is for all of you.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dairy-free Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate or Carob (with pictures!)

What do you think of when you hear the word winter? I think of snow and hot cocoa or hot carob (for my chocolate allergic son)! but being allergic to milk puts a bit of a damper on that. We played around with recipes and found a hot cocoa/ carob drink that we really enjoy! 

This recipe is for a single serving.

You will need:

  1. Pour one cup of So Delicious Coconut Milk in a mug and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. You can also heat this on a stove eye if you don't have a microwave. Usually I do medium heat (so I don't burn the milk) stirring constantly until nice and hot! Then just set it aside while you prep the cocoa/ carob mix.
  2. Put the extract (if you are using it), the sugar (or sweetener) and the cocoa or carob into another mug. Mix it together. The extract will clump a bit in the mix. That's okay! It's normal. 
  3. Add 1 to 2 TBSP of hot tap water into the mug with the cocoa/ carob and sugar. Mix until it is smooth. This step keeps the powder from clumping up and floating to the top of your cup when you add the milk.
  4. Take the hot milk out of the microwave (or off the stove eye) and pour into your cocoa mug. Stir well. 
  5. Try not to drink all of it before you take photos :) I almost forgot!

Friday, November 15, 2013

ALLERGY ALERT! 3 Fellers Chocolate Cream Pies may contain ALMONDS.

This just came through my inbox

From this website...
RICHMOND, Virginia - 3 Fellers LLC is voluntarily initiating a product recall of 3 Fellers Chocolate Cream Pies with the UPC# 891796002732 as a precautionary measure. The recall was initiated after it was discovered by the company that the product may contain undeclared ALMONDS. People who are allergic to almonds could have a serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume this product. For consumers who are not allergic to almonds, there is no safety issue with the product. The company has received no reports of illnesses associated with this product.
This recall affects products with BEST BY DATES prior to 5/7/2014 on the bottom of the container. Products that have BEST BY DATES prior to 5/7/2014, but declare the allergen (almonds) on the label, are not included in this recall.

 To see a list of more allergy alerts for this month and other months, click here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I will update the blog later today

I am in a lot of pain tonight. The weather is changing and I am feeling it full force tonight. I have been trying to get a blog post done but I can barely type without my whole upper body hurting. So, I am calling it a night... er, morning... and will update the blog after I have had some sleep and I am not hurting so bad.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Namaste Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

I have been searching for flour I can use for baking biscuits since I found out I was allergic to wheat and gluten. My biggest problem for finding flour is that many products that are gluten-free either have soy flour or potato flour in them. This last week, I found a brand that doesn't have either! Moreover, it acts like wheat flour. 

What is this wonderful flour I speak of?

I found Namaste Foods, Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blendhttp://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=thbasac-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001SAXNE6 at Costco in Couer d'Alane, Idaho for a decent price. It was $9 for a five-pound bag. For Gluten-free products, that is AWESOME! 

Amazon sells it also in a pack of six, 48-ounce bags for $53.68 (as of this posting). That's $8.94 for 48 ounces if you have Amazon Prime. If you don't have prime, then you will pay shipping.

Namaste Flour in Biscuits and Gravy

I made a few batches of biscuits with it and they taste pretty close to what I remember wheat biscuits tasting like. Some batches came out fluffier than others did. I am still working out the consistency part of it. I'll have a recipe on here by the end of the week. (Pssst, its dairy free!)

I also made gravy to pour over my biscuits. The gravy was very delicious! I really liked how the flour didn't clump up and the gravy thickened beautifully. I will have a recipe up this week for that too. 

Tomorrow I will be making a loaf of bread with it to see how that turns out.

Overall? What do I think?

Overall, I am very happy with this flour. It seems to work like wheat flour. If you have used it, let me know what you make with it. I really like this one!

What are the ingredients to Namaste All-purpose flour?

The ingredients are Sweet Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Arrowroot Flour, Sorghum Flour and Xanthan Gum.

Coming Soon! I have a recipe to try for all-purpose flour. Now I have something good to compare it to!