Food Tips, Snacks

Glorious Peanut Butter

When I started avoiding wheat as often as possible, I substituted various nut flours for making things like pancakes and crackers.  This worked well for about a year, then I began getting that tell-tale itch in my throat, first with almonds, quickly followed by hazelnuts.  Oh goody.  I was facing the beginning of an allergic reaction.

Luckily, I have no problems with peanuts, as long as they are organic.  Peanuts are not true nuts, but are classified as ground nuts, so they don’t bother me, but for some, coming in contact with even the tiniest bit of peanut dust can be fatal.

I do not cook with peanut oil or eat a lot of peanuts, but I do love peanut butter.  I like it on rice cakes, on apples and sometimes, right out of the jar.

Because organic peanut butter is so expensive, I try to always buy it on sale.  Then when I finally get around to opening a new jar, it has totally separated and is almost impossible to re-mix.

Recently, I decided to experiment with peanut butter and my Cuisinart stick blender.  I emptied the peanut butter into a glass bowl, no mean feat.  Then I mixed it for several minutes until the oil was completely incorporated again.  I spooned the now soft peanut butter into a glass Mason jar and put it in the fridge.

Several days later, here I am, having some with breakfast and it is still perfectly soft and completely blended .  It looks like the blender emulsified it to the point that it isn’t going to separate again. Yum!

Ramblings

Another Hello!

I wanted to say “Hi” and “Thanks” to everyone who has followed Deadly Nightshade since it started up. Your interest and support is much appreciated.

I’ve been on the road this past week, helping my aunt and uncle get ready to move into a brand new home they will be sharing with other family members. They are in their 80s now, so it was quite a process, packing to move from a two bedroom house into a spacious granny flat.  But we did it!

I’m on my way home today, so I’ll have the weekend to get get back to work on the blog. I’m planning to tackle wheat next and I can see it turning into more than one post.

I’ll definitely be looking forward to your comments!

Beth

Bread and Baking, Recipes

Vegan Banana Coconut Muffins

I’ve been making this recipe for years. Originally this was a recipe for Banana Bread, gotten from my mum, but I switched to simply putting the batter in muffin tins because the oven I was working with cooked them more evenly. Now, I’m just lazy, because I’ve found the loaves are a bit too hard to get right. They’re either over or under done, but which ever way you choose to make them, is up to you.

Over the last couple years I’ve made some new friends who are vegan, and my sister developed lactose intolerance, so I’ve had to modify. I also moved to the UK, where it’s very hard to find Crisco (an American shortening) and it’s quite expensive if you do find it. To that end, I have listed my modified recipe below:

¾ cup sugar
½ cup coconut oil
½ tsp salt
2-4 mashed banana
¼ cup sour milk*
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

*To make sour milk, mix ¼ cup milk of your choice, I use oat typically, with ¾ tsp of cider vinegar and let sit for a few minutes.

Start by mixing sugar and oil together, add bananas and mix until you have a smooth batter, this can be done by hand or with a mixer, then add salt, baking soda, sour milk, and flour and mix. You’ll want to look for a fluffy and airy consistency. I’ve never had an issue with over mixing but it is possible, just like with pancakes. You’ll end up with heavy muffins/bread.

This recipe originally called for 2 eggs but I’ve found it doesn’t really make much difference as the bananas act as their own binding agent. If your batter seems a bit too dry, simply add an extra tablespoon or two of your non-dairy milk.

Preheat your oven to 325F, 180C

For bread bake 1 hour or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.

For muffins bake approximately 20-25 minutes, checking often after 20 minutes. For me I go by smell. As soon as I smell it wafting out of the oven, I check the muffins and 9/10 they’re done.

Enjoy!

Caitlin

Meals

How We Prevented Food Sensitivities

When I was pregnant with our daughter in 1990, it was the heyday of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  No more Dr. Spock, thank heavens.  While I had had a big hand in raising my younger siblings, I had no idea about having a baby and only my mother’s horror stories to listen to.

Organic food was just starting to make a wider appearance in the markets where we lived and I jumped on the bandwagon.  I went through the whole time with no caffeine, which meant giving up my beloved black tea. I went without bacon, because there wasn’t any available at that time which was nitrate free and, because there was a salmonella scare where I lived, I ate only scrambled eggs. I avoided onions, garlic and chili.  Incredibly boring.

What I did know is that I intended to breast feed, no matter what it took and I joined La Leche League long before she was born.  I did, indeed. have the same problems as my mother, but with the members’ help, we managed.

Due to the food sensitivities that ran rampant in my family, I was determined to breastfeed solely for the first year. And although I had to fight my in-laws and I did end up supplementing with the occasional bottle of formula (my daughter weighed over ten pounds and was 20.5 inches long at birth), we pulled it off.  In case she had the same metabolic disorder that plagued my family, I wanted to give her the best and easiest start in life possible.

She thrived.

When we began to introduce solid foods, we at first followed traditional suggestions.  Hot cereals first, but no wheat.  We started with oats, because oats are a huge part of both of our ancestral heritages.  We followed up with rice cereal and then moved to fruits.

Traditional methods of introducing solids follow this pattern:

  • Cereals
  • Fruit
  • Orange Vegetables
  • Green Vegetables

Except for the cereals, we totally reversed this pattern.  The initial introduction of fruit led to immediate diaper rash.  So we tried yellow vegetables, carrots first.  Same thing. We went on to green vegetables and, lo and behold, no rash.

We gave it several weeks before we re-introduced yellow vegetables and even longer before we tried fruits again.  With fruits, we started with blueberries, which again are an ancestral fruit for our family.  All went well with this plan, until we hit strawberries and tomatoes.

When I was little, strawberries gave me hives.  This was one thing I passed on to my daughter.  Eventually, we grow out of it.

Every time she ate anything with tomato sauce, she broke out in a rash wherever it touched her skin.  Babies are messy, so you can imagine. All I could think about was, if it’s doing this to her skin, what is it doing internally? So no tomatoes until she was quite a bit older.

For the first few months, I made my own baby food, then Earth’s Best Organic Baby Foods came on the market and we had a wider choice available to us.  Easier to travel too.

Our daughter weaned herself at eighteen months and moved right on to forty ounces of organic whole milk a day from a bottle.  I really tried to get her to use a cup, but she threw it across the room after the first taste and I just didn’t have the energy for that.

She later told me it was because it tasted different coming from the cup than from the bottle.  Given that she can name different types of pasta solely by taste today, I believe it.

In the long term, she has had very little difficulty with food sensitivities as an adult and I believe it was our approach to feeding which accomplished that.

As a nurse in the teaching hospital we were stuck in for several days after she was born said to a group of her students, “Listen to and respect the mother. She knows her child best.”

Don’t hesitate to switch things up, if it suits your child better.  As long as they are eating nutritious food, they will be fine.  Track nutrition over the period of a week, not day by day and you’ll find yourself more relaxed about their food intake.

The best lesson I learned from the women of La Leche League was that you will have enough battles with your children. Don’t make one of them about food.

Meals, Recipes

Simple Italian Sauce

2 jars Mediterranean Organic fire roasted red peppers

2 cloves garlic

1 tlbs. minced onion

Basil

Oregano

Olive oil

Drain, rinse and de-seed the fire roasted red peppers.  Puree in a food processor to the texture of your choice.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or saucepan just until you can smell the fragrance of the oil.  Add the onion and stir for 2 minutes.  Peel the garlic, put it through a garlic press and add, along with basil, oregano and other herbs of your choice. Stir briefly before adding pepper puree.

Let the sauce simmer until the flavors have blended to your taste. Use as you would a tomato based sauce. We love it on homemade pizza and lasagna.

 

 

 

 

Chemical Sensitivities, Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Polysorbates

Warning:  Most baked goods in America now contain Polysorbates.  You will find this listed as Polysorbate 80, 60 or 40 most often.  You will also find it in many commercially available ice creams.

Most often, it seems to cause a gastric reaction.  However, in my case, it causes my heart to race out of control.  When I finally put two and two together, I headed to the local cardiologist, verified that there was nothing the matter with my heart and started cutting more things out of my diet.

Warning:  Polysorbate use is rampant in the cosmetic industry as well.  There went my lotions, because even absorbing it through the skin was enough to bring on the problem.

Fortunately, with a switch of medications, I’m no longer at risk for an attack, if I accidentally ingest something containing Polysorbates.

Polysorbate is an emulsifier.  So where in the past it was necessary to beat batters and lotions for some time to make the ingredients stay together, now they just throw in a “harmless” chemical compound and Voila!, time is saved.

The consumer falls ever farther down the rabbit hole into poor health.

Since I can’t tolerate scents, the hunt was on to find a lotion I could use. I finally settled on Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Hand and Body Lotion.

If I decide I want baked goods, I make my own and luckily most premium ice cream brands do not contain Polysorbates.

Food Sensitivities, Meals, Recipes

Chili Con Carne

Due to their high sulfur and acid content, I’m extremely sensitive to tomatoes.  But I still love my late mother’s recipe for Chili Con Carne, so I developed a work around.

While red peppers, garlic and onions all contain sulfur, I find that this works for me on occasion, since the load is less than if I used tomatoes as the recipe calls for.

Some chili aficionados will blanch, because yes, I do thicken this dish.  Traditionally, it is thickened with flour, but I often use potato starch to avoid the wheat.  I also use as many organic ingredients as I can, but I still haven’t found organic spiced chili beans.

I cook this dish and other soups and stews in my Le Creuset cookware, but any type of heavy pan will do.

Serve it up with your favorite grated cheese, chopped onions, sour cream or condiments of your choice.

In our house this dish  is usually accompanied by saltines.  When I was a child, I would slather them with butter and marmelade.  Today, I just skip them.

Chili Con Carne

1 lb. ground beef

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1 16 oz. jar Mediterranean Organic Fire Roasted Red Peppers, drained

2 15 oz. cans Chili Beans

20 oz. water

Salt and Pepper

1/4 c. organic  white flour or Bob’s Red Mill potato starch

5 tsps. ground chili powder

Saute the ground beef in a large heavy saucepan, dutch oven or enameled cast iron pan. When it is brown, add the chopped onions and saute until soft.  Add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute.

While the meat is browning, drain and rinse the peppers and process in a food processor until liquid.

Add the peppers, water, beans, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Combine the flour or potato starch with 5 tsps. powered chili and add to the dish, stirring well until combined.  Simmer for a further 15 minutes and serve.