Kiwi Magazine (amazon affiliate link) has gathered together recipes from its editors in a book I received a review copy of, “Allergy-Friendly Food for Families” (amazon affiliate link). Now, the cover touts that the book has “120 gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes everyone will love” but that is not entirely the case because the recipes are not all free of these allergens. Instead, they have varying combinations of non-allergic and allergic ingredients if you are avoiding the stated allergens. At first this bothered me but I recently connected with a fellow food allergy mom whose daughter could safely have wheat so it makes sense to offer a variety of recipes to reach the most families. Some can be taken as recipe ideas since most of us are used to making substitutions and adjustments as needed.
The book is bright and colorful, it even has calorie information for each recipe which I used to scoff at until I started counting calories. Each page has color coded markings to indicate what it is “free” from to make flipping through a little easier and I really enjoyed some of the tips for cooking with kids peppered throughout. I marked the recipes that were interesting to me and will mention them to give you an idea of the range the book covers: banana bread waffles, breakfast on-the-go tacos, chickpea soldier dippers, fresh rice milk, no-cream of broccoli soup, veggie sushi bites (cauliflower instead of rice!), cool zucchini noodles, lentil burgers (bought the ingredients for this one), cherry chocolate sorbet, gluten-free pie crust, chewy strawberry fruit leather, savory roasted chickpeas (though I have my own recipe variant here), spiced carrot fries, chocolate cinnamon crisps (though it is looking like R is allergic to cinnamon), giant cookie cake, wholesome vanilla ice cream, and green monster dip with carrot coins.
As you can see from my list of things either safe for us or that I think I can adapt with ease, the book had a lot of options for our family even though I skimmed past the recipes featuring meat, nuts, and the like. I still think the inclusion of nuts in the book at all is rather strange, why not suggest sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead from the get go? My only other minor gripe is that the two recipes we tried, though delicious, needed tweaking so I will follow my instincts a little more when I bring out this book as opposed to others that I trust completely. My kids adored the plentiful pictures so though I have favorite cookbooks that are all text, the Kiwi editors know kids and what they like!
Case in point: the second E saw the chocolate pops on the front of the book she wanted, nay, needed, to make them. She would not be dissuaded. Luckily she thought ours were awesome and we had fun even though ours looked nothing like the picture. Speaking of pictures, I recently started using Instagr.am (a photo editing and sharing application for iPhone and Android) on my friend Josh’s suggestion – it came in handy for the “Sunny Candy Pop” (page 203 of the book) photos as it was dark and the filters made for some fun pictures. Above you see R stirring powdered sugar and sunflower seed butter together while grandma holds the chair and bowl. E and R took turns stirring but I think a hand mixer would have been useful at this stage.
I had told E that we had to read the entire recipe before we started, it was so cute because she said “Ok. First thing’s first, we have to read the recipe.” We settled onto the floor and started reading:
“Canola oil,” I began.
“Am I allergic to canola oil?” she asked.
“Nope…why are you getting up?”
“You stay right there, I’m going to get started and find the ingredients.”
“We need to read the whole recipe first!”
She sighed with exasperation (side note: isn’t 3 going on 4 too young to be exasperated with your mom?!) and settled back in next to me.
“Ok, here it says sunflower seed butter,” I began again only to have her pop back up.
“You read the recipe and I’ll go get started.”
“Sit down! Here’s where it says we need to microwave the chocolate chips…”
“We don’t have a microwave!”
“Well, what do you think we should do?”
“We should put it in a bowl on the stove!”
It made me laugh, but I do love teaching her how to be proficient in the kitchen. We use the double boiler method to melt chocolate so I’m surprised more books don’t set that as the norm and then suggest the microwave method as an afterthought. At any rate, I took care of the chocolate melting while the kids stirred with grandma.
The lollipop sticks wouldn’t stay in the sunflower seed butter and the sunflower seed butter and powdered sugar mixture wouldn’t hold together but R and E loved their creation* and that is what is important. I mention my qualms with the recipe and instructions just because it may have a bearing on the other recipes in the book so I will see how they play out. I really want to try the lentil burger recipe and compare it to the other veggie burgers but I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it. Things are crazy (when are they not?) right now so I’ve been opting for simple meals of quinoa and roasted veggies most nights. *Here’s a link to the safe sprinkles we used.
In fact, the day I received the book I launched into making the “Chickpea Herb Crackers” from page 151. I mixed my dry ingredients and then had to make dinner so I covered the mixture with plastic wrap and set it aside. It took over a month to get back to it and add the lemon zest!
I really love zesting citrus, there’s even a little section in the book with suggestions on teaching your kids how to do it but I was in a hurry and did it myself.
Instead of rosemary (I do have a fresh rosemary plant outside my house, but no dried rosemary as suggested by the recipe) I used chives and the combination of garbanzo bean flour, lemon zest, and chives resulted in a really yummy (though lacking a little saltiness) cracker. My score lines did not break very well (much like my graham cracker foray) and the suggested baking time of 14-16 minutes at 425 degrees was much too long and resulted in some over-browned edges but the recipe is still a keeper. E and R liked them a lot, I thought they were yummy and elegant at the same time. We just ate them plain but I think some cucumber slices would be delicious to include.
Food Allergy Awareness Week 2012 is coming to a close and it has been a week for sadness with food allergy related deaths such as a 15 year old boy in Georgia and a (likely criminal) hazing incident in Utah where a young peanut allergic girl required an epi-pen injection after being covered in peanut butter. I try to stay positive, as I wrote in my post on Circle of Moms called “On the Bright Side,” and especially since Tuesday’s Twitter Party in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week was so fun, friendly, and informative, but we have to remember to stay safe, keep our medicine close, and, to quote one of our favorite books, The Bugabees: “avoid foods we’re allergic to.”