01 June 2007

To Prove a Point ...

Here are some additional creations from my kitchen to show that you can, in fact, eat fresh and delicious food that is both gluten- and dairy-free!

Craving something with a bit of Thai flavor but unable to use a prepared peanut sauce, I improvised the following dish.

In a skillet, I heated olive oil and stir-fried fresh garlic, chopped carrots, and cubed extra-firm tofu. To this mixture, I added a few good splashes of rice vinegar and cooked until the carrots were tender.

In a separate sauce pan, I put a few good dollops of all-natural peanut butter (I was raised on and love Adam’s; my choosy mom did not choose Jif!), and to this I added water (approx. 2 parts water to 1 part peanut butter), lemon juice, rice vinegar, and a bit of crushed rosemary. It starts out as a really thin mixture, which you can stir and heat on low-med heat until it reaches the desired thickness.

I served the tofu/carrot mixture on top of oven-roasted green beans (rice noodles would also be a good accompaniment, but I like to eat as many veggies as possible) and put a few good spoonfuls of my peanut sauce on top of this. It was delicious! I still haven’t purchased any chili sauce (some prepared sauces have forbidden ingredients, so I need to keep looking), but a bit of this would be good to add to the peanut sauce to give it an added kick. Meat-lovers of course, could try this with chicken.

I also had some great recent supermarket finds that make my life with food just a bit richer ...

Non-Dairy Butter Alternative
Earth Balance Buttery Spread is a blend of soybean, palm fruit, canola, and olive oils that are expeller-pressed (cold-pressed) to create this delicious alternative to real butter. This vegan spread is not quite as spreadable as real butter, but tastes and bakes like butter, and it doesn’t have any of those harmful hydrogenated oils found in margarines (and consequently no trans fats), nor are there any genetically modified ingredients. Hallelujah!

Ice Cream Alternative
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Rice Dream! This stuff is great because it tastes like the real thing, but with all-natural ingredients and no added sugar. Sound too good to be true? Give it a taste and decide for yourself.

One night, I added a mixture of apple and pear baked with brown rice syrup and a few dashes of cinnamon. I served it with Vanilla Rice Dream for a delicious gluten- and dairy-free dessert!

Sweet Nothings …
How about a chocolaty treat? Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips don’t boast being dairy-free, but according to one site are "clean" of dairy ingredients. I melted down some of those bad boys, stirred in some walnuts and organic raisins and allowed them to cool on a cookie sheet (I put them in the freezer because I was just that impatient). A very tasty bite-sized treat!


  1. I admit it -- I am completely stunned, floored, in awe of the lengths to which you have changed your life to accommodate this change! It's amazing. I'm encouraged by your enthusiasm and tenacity to ensure the food you cook and keep in your house is conducive to this new eating lifestyle. And I love your creativity with these meals! You also make the recipes sound like something even I could create (I do not cook in the slightest), so I may just give one a try.

    By the way, speaking of ice cream snacks, have you ever heard of Tofutti Cuties? They are ice cream sandwich bars made of -- you guessed it -- tofu instead of whatever the other ice cream ingredient usually is. I'm not sure if the chocolate cookie part of the bar is safe from the other harmful things you cannot eat, but you might check into it at the ice cream section of your grocery store next time. Kirk and I enjoy them (though they melt faster and stick to your fingers more easily than regular ice cream sandwiches), and we're not even restricted from the dairy and gluten stuff you are -- we eat them just because (we think) they're a healthy alternative and they're good! (Of course, I'll trust you to check them out and let me know if they really ARE a healthy alternative!) :)

  2. Ah, necessity is the mother invention, as they say. I have become tenacious in my pursuit of good "allowed" food. It is out there, just beyond those prepared and convenience foods I had gotten so accustomed to. I have always been a bit of a so-so cook, but being in the kitchen is starting to feel more natural now, and I am slowly learning what does and does not work. The first time I made the peanut sauce, I used so much rice vinegar that I nearly burned my tastebuds off, making my pinot grigio taste bland. Not good! So it is trial and error and I am most definitely learning as I go.

    I have heard of Toffuti Cuties - I know I couldn't have them with all the restrictions on my diet, but I may be able to now. I will have to check the label. Someone else made the recommendation to me as well, so I am going to have to check them out. Soy is so amazingly versatile!!

  3. Kirsten, do you remember when you came home with me over Easter break many moons ago while we were still in College? Two things stand out to me about that trip. 1) we tried our hand at some gourmet vegetable dish with herbs I had never even heard of, and 2) our lop-sided rolled fondant cake that we made.

    I think God made you an excellent cook so that you could more easily cope with your restricted diet. Most people in your situation wouldn't have the creativity (or patience) to come up with the delicious looking dishes you posted!

    I must admit, those chocolate almond creations are looking mighty tempting!

  4. Rebecca -- Thank you for your kind comments.

    How funny you should mention that! My mind was drawn to that memory not too long ago of our dinner and our cake -- I can't remember what inspired the memory, but I think of our lopsided fondant cake often! (And let's not forget the search for -- what ingredient was it? -- glycerin??)

    I'm so glad that this gift has been awakened -- I really would be lost without it and am unable to account for where it came from. OK, so that's not entirely true. It's obviously a gracious gift of God.

    I still marvel that while a few prominent sources of food are cut off for me, there is still an abundance to work with.

    Thanks again!!