Besides the garlic bread that I’ve been making with the Trader Joe’s flatbread, I’ve also been making pizzas which my sons have declared better than delivered pizza, so that says it all. For the cheese I’ve been combining two goat cheeses together, one is that hard goat gouda from Trader Joe’s and the other is a mozzarella style that I found at Whole Foods. I combine the two b/c while the mozzarella one does indeed taste like regular mozzarella, it almost tastes too much, like mozz on steroids. The gouda has a much milder flavor and tames the other quite a bit to make a very yummy, kid friendly, cheese pizza. Here’s the empty package:
Today I used Namaste Foods’ pizza crust for the first time and the kids really love that too. I use that same brand for waffles in the mornings (almost every morning for my youngest) and it is wonderfully clean of ingredients that people commonly cannot tolerate. Here’s the package:
I needed to spread the crust a bit thinner, but this is how it came out:
The boys loved it and commented on the pizza crust specifically. I won’t rely on pizza and garlic bread for too long, but for now, during this transition period, it’s so nice to have easy to prepare foods that the kids enjoy. My youngest son has been open to trying more new foods too, just like the naturopath predicted! She said when kids stop eating foods they don’t tolerate well, their taste buds change. So far my son is eating rice again, like he used to when he was younger but stopped some time around 4 years old. He also has been eating granola which he used to turn his nose up at. Not that these additions are kale and quinoa, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. (Actually two steps!) I’ll take it.
I know that food intolerances can be cured and granted, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. We haven’t gotten our test results back yet but I’m already trying to get dairy out of our diets, and I’m leery of eggs and soy because they are common problem-makers too. This is not easy for a primarily vegetarian family, but if we can do it, anyone can, and honestly it hasn’t been all that difficult yet. My youngest who used to live on Annie’s boxes of shells and cheese now has a new love~ garlic bread sticks. I make the Trader Joe’s gluten-free, dairy free flat bread pizza crusts into garlic bread sticks by preheating the oven to 425, mix 1T of olive oil (per sheet of crust), with one clove of garlic and a dash of Mediterranean salt. I pour that on the flat bread and rub it until it is all evenly distributed. It says to cook for 6-10 minutes and I am finding 9 minutes works best for our oven. Once I take out the bread I cut it into 3 long strips, like bread sticks he recognizes from restaurants. He loves them, and I love the olive oil and garlic getting into his body. This is what it looks like and it is in the refrigerated section.
Also from Trader Joe’s we’ve been getting goat cheeses of all kinds. I found this goat cream cheese which is perfect on Udi’s bagels.
If you are watching fat/calories the above goat cheese is more in line with Neuchâtel cheese than cream cheese. Other cheeses I’ve talked about before, also from Trader Joe’s are these goat cheeses: The triangle is a hard cheese which is good for shredding and snacking, the others are a soft, spreadable cheese that go well with sweeter foods. I am looking forward to making gluten-free crepes with those cute little medallions and fresh strawberries.
Another substitution I’ve made lately is cooking up Lundberg’s Tuscan Risotto instead of their parmesan one that we used to eat all the time (with broccoli and sometimes smoked salmon on the side.) I was very afraid my oldest would revolt against this change because he adores parmesan risotto, but he actually loved the dairy free Tuscan kind. He said it tasted just the same~ works for me!
These are just quick fixes so far, but it helps to make the task seem less daunting to have easy to prepare meals on hand that the kids really like. Once they are used to their intolerances, we will work on adding in more variety. Watch, they won’t even be dairy intolerant! That’d be fantastic, but less dairy in their lives can’t be a bad thing. My son’s sinuses confirm that. It’s nice we are entering summer too for all the fruits that are available. They add color and variety to every meal in a happy way.
While we are still awaiting the actual results from the naturopath on exactly how intolerant we all are, I’ve already been cutting way down on dairy for the kids and myself and I’m happy to report that a. it’s been easy and b. I see good results. My oldest is less clogged in his sinuses, my youngest’s cheeks are looking smoother (he has that pinkish-slightly bumpy stuff on his cheeks that adults get on the back of their arms. No doctor has ever been able to say why, just that it’s something a lot of people have. The naturopath though says it’s a food intolerance and we’ll fix it~ yay for getting to the root of the issue!) and I’m less bloated without dairy in my life. For my oldest, I have switched to almond milk, the vanilla kind (Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla) that is in the refrigerated section and he likes it just as well as regular milk. For cheese, I’ve switched to goat cheese for quesadillas and cinnamon toast. The goat cheeses were recommended by my friend who is already dealing with a house of four with food intolerances. She gave me two to try from Trader Joe’s, both carrying the Trader Joe’s name: one is a hard cheese called Goat’s milk Gouda cheese. It comes in a fairly big triangular cut and is surprisingly inexpensive. This is what I’ve been shredding for quesadillas lately and my oldest loves it, plus I’ve been slicing it for crackers and it is delightful. The other cheese is a spreadable goat cheese medallion, which comes in small individually wrapped circles. Both cheeses are mild, but the spreadable one is somewhat more like butter than cheese when spread on toast, which is how I ate is yesterday with my salad at lunch. My friend recommended I top the cheese on toast with some cinnamon sugar, so I tried that for my boys and it was a huge hit with my oldest. I’m still working on my youngest on trying new things, but I’m sure it won’t be long before his palate is less picky. For yogurt I’ve been eating Redwood Hill’s goat yogurt or So Delicious’ coconut yogurt. I like the goat kind better because it has a healthier protein to sugar ratio and the taste is more like regular yogurt that I’m used to. The coconut yogurt is good, but less protein and sweeter. I have a feeling that might be what my kids like better though and it would be good to have as many diverse foods as possible in their diet so I’ll have them try it. I asked a couple of employees at Whole Foods what they saw people buying the most of, and they said the almond yogurt, but it has different texture that you have to get used to. I tried it and did not like it at all. The texture is indeed very odd~ not smooth and creamy at all, but to each his/her own. So, that’s how the dairy experiments are going right now.
Here’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe I modified from the Flying Apron cookbook. It’s gluten-free and vegan and so incredibly delicious you’ll never notice the difference. By the way, neither of my kids really like the taste of coconut, but the amount of oil I used in this recipe leaves such a mild coconut taste it’s hard to even figure out what that extra little something is unless you know. And the boys adore these cookies. With that said, use whatever ingredients you have. I don’t believe in that whole “baking must be precise” myth. Experiment!
Gluten Free, Vegan, Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups brown rice flour
1.25 cups + 1T gf oat flour
1 cup garbanzo bean/fava bean flour (it’s a Bob’s Red Mill blend)
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
3/4 sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1t vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond milk
1 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips (I like the smaller ones found in bulk sections)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all dry ingredients up to and including the cinnamon in a bowl and mix with a spoon. Blend the sugar and oils together in a (bigger) bowl with a mixer. Slowly add the almond milk and dry ingredients to the sugar and oil bowl, alternating the ingredients until well blended. Then add the chocolate chips and mix until well-distributed. Scoop dough onto lined cooked sheets and bake for 17-20 minutes. Enjoy!