Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Healthy, Allergy-Friendly Cooking - you CAN do it!

I made this for Easter - the Raw Cashew Raspberry Dreamcake from My New Roots (although I used strawberries) - it was my first non-dairy cheesecake-making experience and it turned out pretty good!
There has been so much going on in my life lately, I hardly know where to begin. There has been much cooking and very little picture-taking of said cooking. There have been many trials (and a few failed attempts) as I attempt to master healthy, allergen-free baking. There have been new recipes tried...and enjoyed (though some more than others)...and new recipes created. But I don't have photos for you yet or anything written down, mostly because I've been  experiencing a weird phenomena recently that is new to me: people have actually been making my recipes.

I'll stop for a moment to let that sink in. Oh, we're not talking LOTS of people...but a few people have ventured outside their comfort zone and taken a chance on one of MY recipes. This both encourages me and scares me. It encourages me to keep on cooking, experimenting, photographing, writing. It scares the heck outta me because I don't want to put just any ol' recipe on this blog...I only want the GOOD ones. Nay, even the GREAT ones. So I can't tell you how many recipes I've created in the last few weeks that still need tweaking before they are good enough for you.

I made these Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies as a treat for the kids a couple of weeks ago - they were flour-less, full of protein, free of refined sugar, and delicious!
The thing I would say to anyone who is new to any kind of cooking, but particularly of the newly-healthy variety, is: DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES. So you don't know exactly how to cook that crazy-looking vegetable you bought on a whim or that came from your CSA. Just TRY. (Roasting almost always works!) Be prepared to make mistakes, because that's how you learn. I am trying to believe this as I write it, because it's not easy stuff for a perfectionist. But this whole world of healthy cooking...and especially gluten-free, vegan, corn-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free so new to me that it would just be weird if I knew how to do everything perfectly, right out of the gate. And there's a big learning curve.

But there's also a big payoff: health. I had to remind myself of the payoff just the other day as I spent a Really Long Time making homemade gluten-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free cinnamon rolls for our Easter breakfast. I found myself remembering fondly the days that on a special holiday I would just pop open a can of those pre-made, refridgerated cinnamon rolls, plop them into a pan, bake them and then pretend I had slaved for hours over them. I shared out loud my happy memory of those days with my husband, who thankfully offered a different perspective: "Yes, but it turns out, those were KILLING us!" Perhaps a little melodramatic, but still a lot of truth to it. Our diet before six months ago was full of that garbage that was at the very least making us sick, chunky, and miserable, if not also slowly killing us.

We had these Yeast-Free, Vegan Cinnamon Rolls for our Easter breakfast - seriously yummy! (and easy on my tummy!)

So this Easter weekend, things were a little different. Here's an example of what our Easter meals used to look like:

- Ham (full of nitrates and nitrites, which are nasty preservatives, and who knows what else)
- egg/bread/sausage/cheese casserole
- cinnamon rolls (from a can)
- cheesy hash brown casserole
- perhaps that green bean casserole (gotta have a veggie, right?)
- coconut cake/cupcakes
- bottled sparkling cider

And this year's menu:

- Fresh, organic Herb Turkey
- Huge organic green salad with home made balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- Roasted organic asparagus
- Mashed sweet potatoes (mashed with coconut milk)
- Raw Lemon Tart (to die for)
- Raw Strawberry Dreamcake
- Sparkling strawberry punch (made with pureed strawberries, agave, and sparkling water)

And ya know what? Other than that moment of weakness where I really missed the convenience of the refridgerated, canned variety of cinnamon rolls...I didn't miss a thing from last year's menu. Really, truly. It's totally possible to re-train your taste buds (and that of your family.) to fall in love with green, healthy, and fresh. And this meal didn't make me feel made me feel great. That is really rewarding and makes all the extra effort worth it!

This Raw Lemon Tart was a BIG hit at our Easter dinner!


  1. Hi Courtney. It is really fun to find you and your blog through Dawnette. (Long time now see.) We have dealt with allergies for a long time. Both my girls love the cookbook Baby Cakes. (gluten, sugar and dairy free.) You might enjoy it, too.


    1. Hi Glenda! Thanks for your comment! I've heard of Baby fact it's on my "wishlist" at Amazon. :-) It's great to hear from you! I have such fond memories of you, Dave, and Jenny. Thanks for reading about our allergy/food "adventures".

  2. I really admire your efforts & hard work to make your family healthy. We have a lot of ADHD/OCD/allergy issues in my family as well. I am so appreciative of you sharing your story. We are starting the same path but have been quite overwhelmed with what to do. I would love to have your recipes. I am a true believer in trusting God, not meds, & trying to use the things He has given us to keep us healthy. Unfortunately, that is not always the affordable path financially (organics). I would love to learn the best way to do this. I plan to follow your story & share it with others. Thank you again & congratulations on the positive outcome for your little angel!


Thank you SO much for your comment! Have a fabulous day! :-)