Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yummy but no a recipe

A week or so ago, I bought two large fresh beets at the store intending to roast them for dinner one night. I didn't get around to it until I saw this recipe from the Weelicious site for a hummus dip. I thought it would be perfect. Bright pink!! What more could these 3 girls want? Pink food would fit right in. Boy, was I wrong about the girls.

But let me put this all in order. I made the beets Monday night for dinner. If you are going to make this, let me give you a tip...beets do not microwave cleanly! I thought that since it was 105 yesterday evening, I would do them in the microwave instead of roasting the beets in the oven. Big mistake, kind of.

Here's the recipe and what I did: I cut each one (I did two so we could eat one for dinner) into about 8 pieces and put them in a microwave safe dish. I added a couple of tablespoons of water, some diced garlic, and a few dashes of dried rosemary. I popped that into the microwave for 10 minutes, planning to check it but expecting it to need about 10 more minutes (for a total of about 20). Well, when I checked it, the water was a beautiful pink and boiling out all over the microwave. I decided that since it was already messy, I might was well finish. So I did. When I took them out, the pink water was everywhere but wiped up nicely and I now have a very clean microwave.

Anyway, at that point, I let the beets cool a bit and then peeled them with a knife and fork. I cut them into bite-sized pieces and reserved half for the hummus recipe (it ended up being right at a cup). I thought these were super yummy but the girls would not eat them.

Tueday for lunch I figured we would have a Pinkalicious lunch, since they love those books, the beet hummus being the pink part.  I followed the recipe from Weelicious, except that I had done the beets the night before. The food was a beautiful dark pink.

And it was so yummy! But, alas, they would not like it.

You know what that means... I had to eat it. I did not eat it all in one sitting, though that was VERY tempting. I will probably finish it up in two, though. I had bite-sized wheat crackers and bell pepper strips to dip with. So good!

I think this one will have to come back a few times and if they don't ever like it, more for me!!

 Oh well... on to the next attempt.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Pop Tarts

Who doesn't love a pop tart? But have you looked at that label!? Name an allergen and it is probably in there, not to mention all those non-healthy things.

My kids love pop tarts but we have hardly ever bought them. Add that to the food allergy diagnosis. Result: all of us cannot eat them so we will not buy them. Somewhere along the line, a friend had shared this recipe with me for making our own pop tarts. (If I knew where it came from, I would link to it. That cook deserves credit! I did have to change it for allergy purposes, though.) It is so good! It ranks right up there with homemade donuts. Make these ahead of time and they are better, though right out of the oven is good, too.

2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening
5-7 T ice cold water
jams or jellies of your choice
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1-2 T water
food coloring of your choice
sprinkles of your choice

Mix the flour, salt, and shortening in a bowl. Add the water and mix until well blended but don't over mix. This will make the dough tough. (Up to this point, this is just your standard pie crust recipe for a double crust pie. So, it is conceivable that you could just buy frozen or refrigerated pie crusts to use. I have not tried this.)

Roll the dough out thin and cut into rectangles that are about 3" x 5". Place about 1 tsp of jam or jelly on one end of each rectangle. Fold it over and seal the edges. (You can either wet the edge with water and press closed or use a fork to crimp the edges closed.) The directions said to place on a cookie sheet covered in foil and sprayed with non-stick spray; I put them on a baking stone. Whatever you have... Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes or until browned. If the edges aren't sealed well, the jelly will drip out so be prepared.

After they are cooled, mix up the powdered sugar, vanilla, food coloring, and water until you have a slightly liquid icing. Lay the pop tarts on a cooling rack and drizzle the icing over them. Add the sprinkles and you are ready to eat.

My only other bit of advice: be prepared to either make them again for the next day or be prepared to say no. These are yummy and addictive. Everyone will love them and want more.

Have a great breakfast, treat, or dessert!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"I like brownies." That is what I heard all through dinner tonight. The problem? It was most definitely not brownies. DD3, age 2, was referring to the turkey sausage crumbles in the spaghetti we had. I have no idea where brownies came from but she was not giving up that name.

Normally, when 2 out of 3 kids like what is for dinner, I am thrilled. Now, however, when the one who doesn't like it is DD2 with all the food allergies, it is not something I am happy with. I loved the dinner, though. And the other two girls ate like crazy! I guess we will just have to give this one another try because it was a hit with everyone else. So, here's the recipe that I used for spaghetti.

Spaghetti (for those with food allergies):

  • 1 box spaghetti noodles (I used whole-wheat and it was a 13.5 ounce box)
  • lots of veggies: use whatever you have; I had 1 yellow summer squash, 2 carrots, 1/2 onion, and 5 decent sized mushrooms
  • 6 - 8 ounces precooked turkey sausage crumbles (you can use whatever you prefer but we have a pork allergy in our house and so we use turkey)
  • 1-2 T oil (I used canola)
  • 1-2 T margarine
  • 2 large ladles of the cooking water from the pasta
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese, optional
Cook your noodles according the package directions.
In a separate skillet, heat the oil and margarine. I like the flavor you get when combining the two. Put in the veggies that take the longest to cook and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the rest of the veggies, depending on how long they take, and the sausage crumbles. My order was onions, saute for a few minutes; carrots, saute for a minute or two; squash, saute for a couple of minutes; mushrooms, only leaving in for a minute or two so they don't get mushy.
After getting all the veggies in, add the cooking water from the pasta and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the top of all this and then stir it in good to let it thicken a bit.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Place a serving of noodles on a plate and top with the veggie and sausage mixture. If you want you can sprinkle a tad of parmesan cheese over the top.

I really enjoyed this. I felt like the flavor ended up very rich and full without too much stuff in it.  My 2 year old couldn't get enough of this. She ate until she found the bottom of her plate and I gave her too much. She was cleaning up everything around her to get more of this dish. I hope your family likes it just as much.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yummy and Cool: Jello Blocks

With the heat like it is, we have to do something cool. Water play in the backyard only goes so far. To help cool us off, I went for something from my childhood. Jello blocks. Only now, they are officially called jello jigglers or some other name like that. I will call them jello blocks since that is what they have always been to me.

In my memory, my mom made these a lot. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. But I remember them often being in the fridge and they were always yummy. And even better, they are allergen free as far as I can tell. So, here we go...

  • 2 small packages or 1 large package any flavor jello (I used sugar-free for this but any would work.)
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 1 1/2 C cold water or fruit juice (I like the fruit juice. It really adds flavor and makes use of the leftovers from canned fruit.)

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan. In a large heat-proof bowl, mix the jello and the boiling water. Whisk until the jello is dissolved. Add the cold water or juice. Pour into the  pan. Refrigerate over night or until well set. Using your choice of cookie cutters, cut shapes out of the jello. I always put the in-between parts in a bowl and serve like regular jello. If you don't want to do cookie cutters, you could always just use a knife and cut them into, get this, blocks!

FYI - Don't leave these out in the heat; they will melt.

I hope you enjoy this cool treat for this ridiculously hot summer!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's hot! No baking!

I don't know about you all but we are baking. In the heat outside! With our high temps over 100 every day, I just cannot stand to think about turning on the oven. So, out comes the slow cooker.

Now, whatever you want to call it, a slow cooker or a crockpot, they work the same. I have a slow cooker. One benefit of that is it can be used on the burner to jump start the cooking or to thicken juices at the end or any number of other things.

I like to make Sunday lunch in the slow cooker since it will be mostly finished when we get home from church. I made a yummy chicken this time. Super easy!! And, with no allergy foods involved.

Slow Cooker Chicken:
  • chicken - I used 8 pieces of chicken tenders but you can use however much of whatever kind you want for your family
  • 1 large onion - peeled and sliced into rings
  • 6-8 large carrots - washed and scrubbed and cut into pieces about 4 inches long (if you use small carrots or cut them small, they will fall apart while cooking)
  • 1/2 cup of water
In the bottom of the slow cooker, give it a light coating of spray (some have soy so watch for that if you have a soy allergy) or shortening. Place the onions on the bottom of the slow cooker and then layer the carrot pieces on top. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides and place on top of the carrots. Add the water on the sides; don't pour it on the chicken or you will wash off the salt and pepper. Put the top on and turn it on.

Cook at high for about 2 hours, medium for 3-4 hours, or slow for 6-8 hours, depending on your day and when you can turn it on. Enjoy!

We have always loved a good roast at our house. That was one of DD2's favorite meals and one of the things she will list when talking about what she misses now that she has identified allergies. Being allergic to beef and pork took both of the roasts we like off of the table. DD2 mentioned that it was like having a roast.

All in all, a great replacement. Happy slow cooking!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Veggie Pie recipe

Now that everything is quieting down for the night, I am able to have cohesive thought. You know what came to mind? "I haven't written anything for Food In The World of YES! For 2 days! I'd better do something." So here it comes...

I have been reading like crazy and coming across some strange things. Just how strange is for another time perhaps but one thing that is fairly common is how much food allergies can affect every part of life. I thought I might be jumping to conclusions when I was saying that DD2's allergies were affecting how she acted and her emotional control. To be clear: she is always responsible for her choices and decisions. I do think her allergies affect how she feels and that always makes it harder to be nice. We all feel that at times in our lives; I just think she is dealing with it every day and that must be unbelievably exhausting! (Oops, got off on a tangent.)

As I intended to be saying, due to the reading I have been doing, I am beginning to think we are on the right track by working towards a basically vegetarian diet. We are pointed that way, whether we like it or not, so we will embrace this and work with it. So, I thought I would share the dinner I made a few nights ago that was another hit. I called it Veggie Pie. Anything pie is likely to be more positive for a kid, right?

Veggie Pie - makes 1 8" or 9" pie

Crust - this is a basic pie crust that can be used for a savory dish, like here, or a sweet dish, like cherry pie
2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening

5 - 7 T ice cold water (That it be ice cold is very important when working in humidity, heat, or with granite counters.)
Bottom crust before filling.

Mix the flour and salt together. Cut in the shortening until it is blended well. Add a few tablespoons of the cold water and mix well. Add enough of the water to get the dough to ball up well and not be dry but don't make it sticky. Separate into 2 halves for a regular pie pan or 2/3, 1/3 for a deep dish pie pan. Roll out the bottom crust and put it in the pan. Add the filling. Roll out the second crust and cover the pie or cut out pieces to place on the top. Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
DD#3 helping roll out the top crust for the shapes.

2 T margarine
2 - 5 T flour
1 C almond milk
salt, pepper, and garlic powder - to taste
sliced up veggies to fill your pie pan : Use whatever you have and in whatever amounts you have it. This is what I had on hand and was able to slice up. All of the veggies were sliced thin and sauteed in a skillet with about 2 T oil until they were cooked but still had a crunch.
  • 1 onion
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 3 carrots
  • 5 or so mushrooms
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • 1/2 C frozen peas
In a separate pan, I made a rue. I melted 2 T of margarine (can't use butter since it is dairy). After it was melted, I added enough flour to get a dry mix (but not flaky). Cook that for a couple of minutes. You don't want it to burn so keep stirring. Then whisk in about 1 C of almond milk (regular milk would be fine but again it is dairy). Add a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder at this point. Let it get close to a boil but don't go too long without stirring. It will thicken a little. When it does, add it to the veggies. Mix well and then fill your pie pan. This is the point that you add your top crust and throw it in the oven to bake.

All the girls thought it was yummy and asked for seconds. One even asked for thirds. Wish they liked the food this much every night. I know, too much to ask for. I'll take it this night though. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sometimes things just don't work...

but sometimes they do.

Now that regular ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbert, and most frozen treats are not in our diet, we are needing to come up with ideas and recipes for something sweet at the end of dinner.

We tried to make apple pie "ice cream" for dessert the other night. While the taste was really good, the texture just didn't cut it. All of the girls liked it and we even had a guest that night who said she liked it. The texture was not up to par and the next evening, it was just not edible because it had become so icy.

Since this didn't work well, we have researched options and will be trying it again. When it works, I will definitely share apple pie "ice cream" with you all.

We have had something good work and it was super easy! Watermelon. It works so many different ways. We have cut it up and just served it like that. The kids like it but popsicles or snow cones are just so much more fun when it is 105 degrees outside. So, we have done two different things with it that worked well.

First, when I was cutting up the watermelon, I saved the juice and froze it. I used the cute little containers that go with the ice shaver from Pampered Chef. Then after the juice is frozen, we shaved it into snow cones/cups using the Pampered Chef ice shaver. A hit!

Second, we took some of the watermelon and its juice and blended it all up really well. Then we just poured it into popsicle molds and froze it. All done!

Now these won't take the place of ice cream so we'll continue working on that but all in all, success!! I hope you are able to find you own ways to stay cool.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baked Beans Recipe

I learned to cook from my mother. She was, and is, a wonderful teacher. She taught me well. By the time I was a teenager, I could cook (and clean up) an entire meal. When I was able to drive, I could go do the shopping by myself, too. So, why in the world am I finding it so difficult to cook for my family now? One word: staples.

No, not the metal kind. The keep-the-pantry-full, go-to-meal kind of staples. Hamburger meat, potatoes, tomatoes, rice, tomato sauce, pasta, frozen veggies, etc. I have always stocked my pantry with those things and many more and relied on them for cooking. Due to the food allergy diagnosis, much of that has flown out the window so I have to reconfigure this. One day at a time.

Today, that looks like baked beans. We need a good source of protein. Our go-tos were milk, cheese or peanut butter. Now, I don't know what it will be but beans are pretty good. Baked beans, though, was a new one for me. It was a hit. Most recipes call for canned pork and beans as the basis of the recipe or included bacon. Due to a pork allergy, those were not great for us. So I created my own. Here is what I did instead.


1 lb bag of dry pinto beans
2 T mustard*
3-5 T Worchestershire sauce*
1/2 - 3/4 C brown sugar*
Prepare your beans according to the package directions, omitting any salt. (I did the quick soak method - boil for 5 minutes, turn off heat and soak for 2 hours, simmer until tender.)

Place your beans in a large pot and add the mustard, W sauce, and brown sugar. Start with just a little of the brown sugar, mix it up really good, and taste. You may want more, you may not. I was probably a bit shy of the 1/2 C mark but I know some folks like their baked beans nice and sweet. Bake them next. Put them in the oven at 375 for about 25 or 30 minutes, just to let the flavors blend. I skipped baking them because I didn't want to heat up the house and wasn't going to use them for almost another 24 hours. I decided the flavors would blend well enough and they did. Serve these hot or cold. This makes a ton! We have a couple of containers in the freezer but all 3 of my children loved these beans.

*I just guessed at these amounts but like the results that I came up with. Feel free to adjust them to whatever suits your tastes.

If you try this, please let me know how it turns out. I welcome feedback. Things that I put down are trials that worked out (or maybe not) for me. Every recipe is open to interpretation and substitution. That is how something good becomes better. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

YES from no

Ever been on a roller coaster ride? Well, that is why I am here. No, I haven't ridden a roller coaster recently but we are on a daily roller coaster with food allergies.

My DD #2 was recently diagnosed with a ton of food allergies. We are very blessed - none of them are considered life threatening. (Just so you know, the food allergies are milk, soy, beef, pork, potato, tomato, egg, and peanut.) She also has lots of allergies to grasses and trees, things we can't control. In response, we are going to work on controlling food as best we can.

In my search for information, I have come across many, many things that I am unable to use. "No, can't do this" or "Nope, that has _____ (fill in the allergenic food)." I was quickly becoming someone who was saying "No" way too often.

The title of this blog came from my overwhelming desire to become one who can answer "YES" when it comes to food. I want to focus on the positive aspects of this for my daughter so she won't feel deprived or left out and so that the whole family is excited about the new items being offered.

So, Food In The World of YES is born.

What I am going to attempt to do is to post often. There are no promises about how often. I am in the middle of summer with 3 little girls, after all. But I will do my best to not leave you hanging. I am going to attempt to share with you all the wonderful foods we can eat and how I have figured out to prepare them so that our whole family enjoys them.

Thank you for visiting me at Food In The World of YES and I hope you visit again soon.

Tomorrow: my first recipe!!