Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Cobblers and Crumbles

Cobbler and crumble recipes are great to experiment with now that the summer fruits are in season at the local farmers markets. They are very versatile and can be altered to meet the needs of many types of food allergies. Any fruit can be used. Margarine can be used instead of butter. Water or milk substitute can be used instead of milk.  Because they do not require egg as a binder, it is an easy recipe to cook with a gluten free flour. They can be eaten on their own, or with ice cream.

Blueberry Crumble

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 t. salt

Combine 1 pint blueberries washed and dried, 1/3 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in an 8X8 pan. Cut together 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl until crumbly, about pea size, and sprinkle on top of the blueberry mixture. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 30 minutes. Mix with fork before serving. It goes great with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Cobbler

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir). Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Categories: Blog Posts, Recipes

High Protein Charoset

For those allergic to nuts, quinoa is an excellent substitute to keep the high protein content of charoset so it is not just a sweet dish. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any quinoa charoset recipes on the Internet, so I created my own. I created this recipe by altering a Turkish charoset recipe. Unlike the traditional Ashkenazi charoset recipes, the Turkish and Syrian recipes are cooked and processed so it is more spreadable than the chunky, uncooked Ashkenazi version. Some Turkish and Syrian recipes are only made with dates. So by making it with apples, dates and quinoa, the recipe is a global fusion of ingredients.

1/2 c. Tricolor quinoa (a single color is fine if you can’t find tricolor)

3 c. Chopped apples

2 c. Chopped dates (or a combination of dates and apricots)

1/4 c. Sweet red wine or grape juice

Juice of one orange

1 t. Cinnamon

1/4 t. Nutmeg

1/4 t. Allspice

Cook the quinoa and set it aside. Add the other ingredients to a pan. Bring the liquid to a boil, then let it simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the apples become a bit softer. Stir frequently. Let the fruit mixture cool. Transfer it to a food processor and process it until it is spreadable.

Note: I recommend the tricolor quinoa, because I found that it is the best price for quinoa at Cost Plus World Market. The red and black quinoa taste more like wild rice than the bitter white quinoa, so it is a much better flavor.

Categories: Blog Posts, Passover, Recipes

How to Safely Celebrate Mardi Gras With Food Allergies or While on a Gluten Free Diet

I moved to Alabama recently, so I felt that my next several articles should be related to billboard-mardigras-1jpg-d00838f69df2cfb4.jpgthe South. Since Mardi Gras is tomorrow, it seemed that the first article should be on the subject. Mobile, AL claims to be the first city that celebrated it in the US, but New Orleans certainly has out shined the competition. Not being Christian, I hadn’t celebrated it before or paid any attention to the holiday. Mardi Gras is much more important to the Gulf Coast region than other parts of the United States. Given that it is a festive celebration before Lent, it seems like a Christian holiday. However, many of the parade and Ball themes seem far from Christian. Some of the parades in Louisiana honor the cultural heritage of its residents. However, the parade Krewes also honor the local neighborhoods, social and philanthropic clubs, myths, legends, a Yoruban God, Ancient Greek Gods, and Ancient Egyptian Gods. The parades of New Orleans happen for a whole month. Check out: Some people in Louisiana actually get two to three days off of work and school just for Mardi Gras, which makes this holiday seem just as important as Christmas.

DuIMG_0060ring that month before Mardi Gras, King Cakes are sold in stores. Employees bring them to work to share with the other employees and people bring them to parties. A plastic baby is supposed to be placed in the cake. Whoever finds it has to bring the King Cake next year. However, like many grocery store baked goods King Cakes are made with nuts, dairy, soy flour, soy oil and margarine. Pecans and cream cheese are common flavors to find. So those who have all types of food allergies need to be cautious around this cake.  The most food allergy friendly cake that I found at the grocery store was at The Fresh Market. It was made with canola oil  and only had soy lecithin and eggs in it. Soy lecithin does not bother me, even though I am allergic to soy.

Making a King Cake from scratch is the safest for most people. Traditionally, a King Cake was made as a yeast bread with frosting and purple, yellow, and green colored sugar on top. It also can be made with a variety of flavorings inside. It is also common to find King Cake’s made as monkey pull apart bread, made from biscuits or cinnamon rolls. The quickest and easiest way to make a King Cake is by using the Immaculate Cinnamon Rolls or Biscuits to make a pull apart bread. This brand uses palm oil and sunflower oil. The cake is usually frosted with a cream cheese frosting. If you can’t find the right sugar colors at your grocery, try Walmart. The “Celebrations” section of Walmart also sells packages of babies, to stick in the cake.

Here are some easy recipes:

King Cake Pull-Apart Bread

Quick and Easy Mardi Gras King Cake

If you’d like to make it from scratch or need to make a gluten free cake, I recommend using the sweet potato cinnamon roll recipeIMG_2084.jpg that I previously posted. This can be altered by substituting a gluten flour for the all purpose flour. Since rice flour breads crumble easily, it works better to bake a gluten free King Cake in a 9 x 9 square pan. The cake falls apart easily when a Bundt pan is turned over to remove the cake. In a cake pan it needs to cook at 400 degrees for about 45 min., more or less depending on the oven.



Categories: Blog Posts, Mardi Gras, Recipes

Za’atar: the Herbal Mix Missing from Grocery Stores

I first encountered za’atar, a Middle Eastern herb and sesame seed mix, in Israel while visiting a Kibbutz 12 years. The herbal mix was sprinkled into olive oil, or yogurt (labneh) to dip bread in. I had never seen some of the herbs in it in grocery stores, like sumac and hyssop. I just thought of sumac as poison sumac and didn’t know of the non-poisonous variety until then. Hyssop is nearly impossible to find, because it is labeled as an endangered plant. So I nearly forgot about Za’atar until I encountered it again at a food allergy friendly, Syrian cafe, Aissa Sweets, in Concord, NH. They sold za’atar rolls and za’atar cheese wraps, that were absolutely delicious.

The sumac gives the mix a of herbs and sesame seeds a tangy flavor different than the traditional herbs found in American supermarkets. Recipes to make za’atar are available on the internet. There are a lot of variations on the herbs that can be included in the mix. Since hyssop is not available, thyme is a common ingredient. Some recipes include cumin, and many have oregano. Sumac and sesame seeds really make the za’atar more authentic.

If you don’t want to make it from scratch, za’atar can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, Cost Plus World Market, Penzey’s Spices, and in online stores like However, some versions look like they may not be as authentic tasting as others, because sumac is not listed in the ingredients. There were two versions sold at Cost Plus World Market. One said it had thyme and other spices in it. The one in the ziploc bag had the sumac listed in the ingredients.

In addition to dipping bread in za’atar and olive oil or labneh. The herbal mix is great to cook with. It is easy to make a za’atar bread by substituting za’atar for other herbs. I like using the Rosemary bread recipe for my bread machine. Instead of Rosemary, I substitute the same amount of Za’atar.

Because sumac is tangy, it goes well with other sour flavors like lemon and feta cheese. You can easily make something similar to Aissa Sweets’ wrap at home by mixing mozzarella cheese and feta cheese with za’atar and placing the mix on top of a pizza crust, or inside a wrap. Pizza crust without soy can be found at Target, Walmart, and other grocery stores. I have even found an uncooked pizza dough in the biscuit section that I was able to use to make an appetizer like cheese stuffed triangles. Phyllo dough frequently is made without soy, too. You can try making a dish with za’atar like lasagna, a calzone, bureka, Tiropita, or other cheese pies. If you can’t eat cheese, you can also sprinkle it on top of a pizza crust to make a Foccacia bread.

Za’atar is commonly used in a roasted chicken recipe with lemon. Here’s a great recipe for grilled za’atar chicken that works well for baking or roasting the chicken, too.


Categories: Blog Posts, Recipes

Sun Butter Corn Bread

Here’s my latest Sun Butter experiment, in which I altered an existed eggless Almond Butter Bread recipe. This is an eggless corn bread recipe. Feel free to substitute any nut butter or pea butter for the Sun Butter.

Sun Butter Corn Bread

2 c. Corn meal

1 t. Baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1/3 c. Sugar

1 1/2 c. Milk or Milk alternative

1/2 c. Sun Butter


1 t. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Combine all of the ingredients. Mix it thoroughly. Greasing the pan isn’t necessary, but you can do so if you’d like. Spread the dough out evenly into an 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 square pan. Cook it for 40 minutes. Let it cool before cutting. (My oven cooks a bit hotter, so the temperature may vary depending on the oven.)

Categories: Blog Posts, Recipes

Matzah Sun Butter Bars

In a previous blog post, I wrote about experimenting with the alteration of recipes to suit your allergies or turn a boring cake recipe into an interesting one. Passover is a great time for experimenting with recipes. Restricting yourself to baking with matzah meal, while having food allergies, does not have to be a dreaded occasion. One of the most difficult allergies to bake for during Passover is an egg allergy. Except for the fruit slices and jelly rings, most baked goods are mixed with egg to hold the matzah or coconut together. Flourless cakes, made only with egg are common at the seder table. However, substituting matzah cake meal (or matzah meal if they don’t sell the cake meal at your grocery store) for the flour in eggless recipes that use Sun Butter or Nut Butter can produce a suitable desert or breakfast bar. This recipe was based on an eggless almond bread recipe. This recipe can be altered to your taste by changing the extract, adding nuts, quinoa, chocolate chips, raisins, or even spreading a date or fig spread between two layers. This dough would be great as a Fig Newton substitute with a fruit spread between the two layers.

Matzah Sun Butter Bars

2 c. Matzah Cake Meal or Matzah Meal

1 t. Salt

1/3 c. Sugar

1 1/2 c. Milk or Milk alternative

1/2 c. Sun Butter

3/4 t. Cinnamon

1/2 t. Allspice

1/2 t. Nutmeg

1/2 t. Orange extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine all of the ingredients. Mix it thoroughly. Greasing the pan isn’t necessary, but you can do so if you’d like. Spread the dough out evenly into an 8 X 8 pan. Cook it for 30 minutes. Let it cool before cutting it into bars.

Customizing Your Cake

Using extracts to customize your cake flavor is an excellent way to have fun and improve the basic food allergy friendly cake, scone, or quick bread recipes. Just 1/2 t. of an extract will go along way to turn a boring chocolate cake recipe into a mint, orange, or raspberry cake. Adding orange extract to a pumpkin bread recipe makes an excellent bread even more interesting. Here are two vegan and food allergy friendly cake recipes that I found on the Internet and altered. I have them turned into tropical drink flavored cakes by adding orange extract.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Orange Cake


2 c. All purpose flour

½ c. Cocoa powder

1 ¾ t. Baking powder

1 t. Baking Soda

1 c. Coconut milk

6 T Canola oil

1 ½ c. Maple syrup or generic syrup

1 t. Orange extract

1 t. Vanilla extract

½ t. Salt


The recipe can fit in two 8” or 9” pans for a layer cake, or one 9” x 13” pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pans. Into a large bowl, sift the flour and add the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together until there are no lumps left. Pour the ingredients into the pans. Cook for 30 min. or until done. Frost the cake with your favorite frosting recipe, or serve it without frosting.


Vegan Chocolate Banana Orange Cake


2 c. All purpose flour

1 1/3 c. Sugar

2/3 c. Cocoa powder

1 ½ t. Baking soda

¼ c. Canola oil

1 ½ c. water

1 t. Vanilla extract

1 t. Orange extract

1 c. Mashed banana


The recipe can fit in two 8” or 9” pans for a layer cake, or one 9” x 13” pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pans. Into a large bowl, sift the flour and add in the dry ingredients. Mash the banana and add it to the bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together until there are no lumps left. Pour the ingredients into the pans. Cook for 30 min. or until done. Frost the cake with your favorite frosting recipe, or serve it without frosting.


Categories: Blog Posts, Recipes
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