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Archive for December 20th, 2010

World-Changing Dessert Recipes

Monday, December 20th, 2010

A Day when Everything Changed

In May of 2002, I found myself at a doctor’s office with a list of foods I was not to eat. I did not know for sure what I *could* eat. I felt pretty lonely.

For several years, I’d found myself weak enough to ration my trips up and down stairs. I was 44 years old, a dancer, a non-smoker/non-drinker, not overweight, in generally good health. In spite of that, my energy levels let me down. I somehow handled my work routine, but nothing extra.

A chance meeting with an artist acquaintance gave me hope. She gave me the name of a doctor who had turned her life around, and recommended I go. I was willing to do whatever it took, go to any lengths to get better.

The list of forbidden foods that day? Corn, Yeast, Milk, Egg, Potato, and any ingredients derived from those foods. Corn related foods can include the obvious corn syrup and cornstarch, but also baking powder, powdered sugar, maltodextrin, xanthan gum (in many salad dressings and frozen foods), and countless others. Yeast is grouped with fermented/aged foods such as soy sauce, vinegar, yogurt, and dried fruits such as raisins.

Giving up all of those foods? All at once? I had no other choice. Desperation made it so.

There I was, with a new way of eating in front of  me. I was willing. The possibility I could regain energy was all I needed.

It was worth it! Four days after giving up those foods, I found myself taking two steps at a time up the stairs. This, after a few years of avoiding stair climbing whenever possible! It was a miracle, worth any effort it might take. Eating right gave me my life back!

The Learning Curve

Thank goodness that my brother and I did the grocery shopping in our teens. Mother had high blood pressure. We learned to read labels for salt in those years.

In my 30’s, 1991, I’d realized that I felt much better if I eliminated mold/yeast/fermented foods. I had already learned to adjust my own food on behalf of my health. I read ingredients again.

I learned to bake with substitutions. If it called for sour cream, I sometimes could substitute applesauce (for moisture/binding). I learned the properties different ingredients contained.

The Challenge

When I got the news on May 30, 2002, I first turned to simple, plain foods: rice, beans, vegetables, stir fry, baked sweet potatoes. I like “real” food but I did not get enough variety at first.

Sometimes I craved baked goods, puddings, other treats. Sugar was not a problem for me, but most commercial baked goods (even at health food stores) contained items I could not tolerate. I was on my own.

First Priority

The first challenge was pumpkin pie. I am a “Thanksgiving Baby” and I do not want birthday cake. I want birthday pumpkin pie!

I read whatever I could find on substitutions. I made some VERY bad pies. At first, I was able to buy frozen crusts that worked for me, but the filling was challenge enough.

It took six months of bad-to-mediocre experiments. Finally I created a delicious pumpkin pie with no eggs or dairy. It used flaxseed meal and soy milk to substitute for eggs and dairy milk.

I Was on a Roll!

Since I nailed pumpkin pie, I have tackled other old favorites. I created a Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding, and this year a chewy brownie that is wonderful. Chewy textures are a challenge to create without wheat, egg and milk!

Over the years I have shared many recipes with you, here on the blog. I have a recipe category with more than two dozen recipes offered for free, and I have received very positive feedback on this. In fact, though I discuss many artforms here, my recipes seem to get the most attention.

Holiday Challenges for Those Like Me

As the holidays approached this year, I realized that I have numerous friends and family who also do not tolerate one or more foods well. I have more celiacs (gluten-intolerant) in my life than I can count. There are many more in my world who are lactose-intolerant or who have sensitivities to any number of foods. It seems I run into one more every day!

I also have a growing number of friends who choose to eat vegan (no animal products at all, not even dairy or egg). Some favorite baked treats can be a challenge to a vegan who wants to keep additives (like xanthan gum) to a minimum.

Say Yes, not No!

Some of my food-sensitive friends have a hard time resisting temptation, even knowing they will feel crummy later if they give in. It seemed to me that holidays would really make things worse for those folks.

Some of these friends have  been willing sample testers while I have experimented in my kitchen. I wondered how I could make it easier for them to have healthy choices during challenging days.

As I thought of these friends, I also remembered myself in that doctor’s office. If I had a quality collection of recipes for special treats that day, it could have eased the transition dramatically.

Could I share what I knew, and rock someone else’s world? Could I change the personal world of someone facing a scary assignment such as the one I received? Yes.

My recipes can be world-changing to someone feeling lost and alone. I can’t change the entire world, but if I can change one person’s life? I’m enough of an optimist to think it could make a real difference.

My World-Changing Solution:
The
” I Can Eat These!” Dessert Collection

The result of that concern? I rounded up ten dessert recipes, and formatted them as a book.

Included are are tips on how to cook with alternative flours (buckwheat, teff, brown rice, sweet white rice, tapioca flour and more). There are tips on measuring. I included information on brands of flours which work best, and where to get the ingredients if you can not find them in your area. (In Lansing, MI, Foods for Living has everything I specify.)

Is This for You?

Are you the one I imagined, needing this book? Do you know someone who is? Do you know a mother trying to help their child adjust to new foods? Are you expecting company with a variety of food restrictions? Let me make life easier for you.

I experimented. I tested. I made this with you in mind.

I made Habibi brownies for the Sunday School Christmas program. I used carob because chocolate gives my youngest hives. I marked them as allergy friendly and assumed that would make people avoid them. We only brought 1 home and had a request for the recipe.
– Sally, mother of two

My standard guidelines:

  • Celiac-friendly
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Gluten-free
  • No Corn
  • No Dairy
  • No Egg
  • No Peanuts
  • No Potato
  • No Soy
  • No Tree Nuts
  • No Wheat
  • No Xanthan Gum
  • No Yeast

Recipes included:

Eudora’s Spiced Pumpkin-Orange Sauce or Butter
Brown Sugar Tapioca Pudding
Easy Cocoa Mix
Habibi Brownies
Victory Crust
LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie
Crusty Pumpkin Loaf
Light & Airy Cranberry Muffins
LynnH’s Teff Spice Muffins
Applesauce-Buckwheat Muffins

Which Serves You Best?

I offer the book in two formats.

  1. Many of us love a physical “Tree book” (paper) to hold in our hands. I offer a spiral-bound full-color print version. It includes a thick vinyl back and clear cover, on sturdy paper. The spiral binding keeps it open as you work.- This version is $11 plus $1 shipping. I send to the US and Canada via US Postal service. Priority mail to the is $3.90 extra, write me a note in your checkout process and I’ll make arrangements.
    Click this button to order:
  2. I also offer an e-book version, in Adobe PDF format.  You can save this on your computer and then print out just the page you need when it’s time to bake. Nine of the recipes fit on one printed sheet of paper. The page gets some oil on it while you bake? Print another for yourself. It’s formatted to work well on a home printer. You do need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the book, which is free.– This version is $9 as a download (from my shopping cart system, no wait for me to email it, no attachment)
    Click this button to order:

Even if this is not for you, I would really appreciate it if you could pass the word. Someone you know surely could use this collection, even if you can’t.
Thanks!