Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dairy free cheesecake

It's been awhile since I've had time to sit down and write about what I've been making. We are just finding out where we'll be moving this summer and there is a ton of stuff to figure out and learn and that has been consuming most of my time, but more on that later. There is always time for dessert, right? Of course, so last night we made a cheesecake.

Cheesecake is an all time favorite in our family so I've been looking for a good substitute for awhile. I recently bought The Happy Herbivore, by Lindsay S. Nixon and she has a great recipe for cheesecake, and many other things too! You can find the recipe here on Lindsay Nixon's website. Ours turned out pretty good.

The texture is spot on. The taste is very good but not really "cheesecakey." More of an almond custard flavor. Next time around I think we might flavor it differently, and I think it would be delicious. It is a great substitute and a good starting point to make something really tasty. Even if it wasn't exactly as we expected, everyone cleaned their plates except Patrick who, when he heard cake, was expecting something with frosting and candles so he was pretty disappointed. Not so disappointed that he didn't eat most of it though.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day

Holidays are hard when you're dealing with food allergies. There is a lot of emphasis put on, and tradition based on, food and not much of it is soy based analogs. With every holiday comes the class party where food is served, presents are given (many food related), and of course there is candy, usually chocolate (of the milk variety since most 3 year olds aren't into the dark stuff.) As everyone knows the best defense is a good offense so I always find out what is being served at the party and bring him something similar he can eat. I also make him some sort of sweet so he does not feel deprived of the fun. I can not control at all  what people give him as a present though. Valentines Day is a holiday, like Halloween where well meaning people hand my child a figurative loaded gun. I try my hardest to give things that almost anyone can have. This year I have discovered Pintrest and so I had an endless supply of ideas for non-candy valentines.  For the kids in his playgroup and his class I made these:

I found these on Pintrest, of course, but they came from a great blog called Zakka Life . The thing that is supposed to look like a planet is a glow in the dark bouncy ball. I hope that's just as exciting as a piece of candy.

For his teachers we made these:

I got the idea for these from the blog E is for Explore! . They turned the flowers into a wreath, but I didn't have that kind of time or patience so I thought the flowers would be flowers and we went on a walk and picked up sticks that we painted green and I hot glued to the flowers Pat (and I) painted. Then I just used one of those jars that I hoard and glued some ribbon to it and used a printable manila tag I got from Creature Comforts blog .

I feel good about the fact that I'm not giving out candy. I wanted to do it for Halloween but my husband vetoed that plan. He did not want to be THAT house. Don't get me wrong, I am the first to admit that I show love/gratitude/joy with food. It's ingrained in us, but I'm trying everyday, to show people in some other way, that I care for them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Rocky Road Soy Ice Cream

I have been wanting an ice cream maker for awhile. I wouldn't break down and buy one because I didn't want to spend $40 on another small appliance that I have to store. Well, the other day I was strolling through Goodwill and how excited was I too see an ice cream maker, still in the box, for $3.99. That's right $4 for an ice cream maker. Needless to say I bought it. It had no manual but not a problem. I easily found it on the internet and was able to download it. I put the canister in the freezer that day and looked up recipes I thought I could easily adapt to dairy free. In the manual was a recipe for Rocky Road ice cream. I had everything I needed for this, perfect. Here is the recipe that I found in the manual with the substitutions I used in parentheses:

1⁄4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder

3⁄4 cup (175 ml) sugar

1 cup (250 ml) milk (regular soy milk)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

Dash of salt

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (soy coffee creamer)

1 ounce (25 g) semisweet chocolate square, chopped (most semisweet chocolate is milk free but read the label to be sure)

1⁄2 cup (125 ml) miniature marshmallows

1⁄4 cup (60 ml) pecans

In heavy saucepan, combine cocoa powder and sugar. Gradually stir in milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted. Remove from

heat and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
This is what mine looked like at this point:

When ready to freeze, mix whipping cream, salt, and vanilla extract into the chilled

mixture. Start ice cream maker and pour mixture through hole in lid.

After 15 minutes, add coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate and pecans.

Continue to freeze until desired consistency or the unit stops. Stir in marshmallows.
This is what it turned out like:

It was more the consistency of frozen yogurt but that could have been because I didn't let it churn long enough. Who could wait? No worries it was still delicious. We all enjoyed it but as normal Charlie enjoyed it the most. The boys were a little hyped up and it was hard to get a good picture, but I think you can tell they liked it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mini Zucchini Muffins, pre-school snack

I just got back from dropping Patrick off at preschool. One of the reasons I picked this school was the fact that snack is provided by parents. Every week a different parent has snack responsibility for the class. This ensured there would be no problem with me bringing Patrick his own snack and also that at least every few weeks he would have the same snack as everyone else.

As a mom of a child with allergies you would think I would be hyper aware of allergies that other children may have. Unfortunately I am not. I don't know if I'm just busy worrying about Patrick or self centered but I forget other people have lots of different allergies as well. In Pat's class there is another child with a milk allergy, a gluten allergy, and a child that is vegan (not an allergy but a lifestyle choice that should be respected).

Today I was in the classroom as the mother that had snack this week dropped it off. Her son does not have food allergies so I expected Pat would probably have to eat his snack I packed for him. Much to my surprise the teacher pulled out chocolate soy milk as the drink. Unless you have a child who isn't able to eat the same things as other kids it's hard to explain the happiness you feel when your child can sit down with other children and safely enjoy a meal, especially a fun snack. I am so grateful to the moms that do this when they don't have to. I know it makes bringing snack a little more difficult and no mom needs more difficulty in there life.

I wish I could say that when I bring snack I make sure everyone in the class will be able to eat it. I try but something always seems to slip my mind, or the day gets away from me and things don't get done as planned. My best attempt was gluten and dairy free Mini Zucchini Muffins. They have eggs in them so they aren't vegan. I didn't think of that until I was cooking and there was no time to go get egg replacer. I will try harder next time to include everyone. If a mom, who by the way has three children, can think about my child, I can make it a priority to think about other peoples children. Here's my best attempt so far:

Gluten and Dairy free, Mini Zucchini Muffins

1 3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grnd nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 vegetable oil
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup water
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients; fold into dry. Bake in mini muffin pans  for 15-20 minutes. Makes 3 dozen mini muffins.