Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kitchen equipment and gadgets

Don't run out and buy new kitchen equipment and gadgets unless they have been contaminated with years of cooking foods you are now allergic to. Visit my Pinterest and click on "my fav kitchen gadgets" to see the pictures of products I have used and luv in my kitchen. Remember, I'm not promoting these products, and I'm not getting paid in any way (would be nice though).

1. Food processor
Cuisinart 11 cups is a must have for shredding potatoes, cheeses, and cabbages. I sometimes use it to make dough. I have two of these. One of them is dedicated to raw meat since I cannot find a good meat grinder. I also have hand grater for a smaller job.

2. Hand mixer
Save your money on stand alone mixer... unless you wanna make marshmallow. I bought Cuisinart HM-70 Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer at Amazon. This one comes with chef's whisk... perfect for whisking one egg white. The free spatula is a bonus, and it's a perfect gadget for bread making.

3. Green pan
I found them at Target. I have three: a grill pan, an open fry pan, and open wok. You can read more about their products at the Green Pan website. I bought a universal cover for the wok at local Asian grocery store.

4. Kitchen scale
Have you ever baked something that turned out soooo good... then tried baking it again and you wondered "what happened"? Well, every time you measure the all purpose flour by a measuring cup, the flour in that cup is never the same. So enter, a kitchen scale. After I read many products' reviews at Amazon, I bought Kitrics Stainless Steel Scale. I've used this scale to measure everything from flour to sugar to eggs.

5. Bakeware and gadgets
I'm sucker for bakeware, especially gadgets. The best and most often used are Wilton large cookie sheet (great as a pizza stone), airbake cookie sheets (also great as a pizza peel), 12 cups muffin pan, 24 cups mini muffin pan, USA Pans 15 x 6 x 1.5 Inch New England Hot Dog Pan, Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick Perforated French Bread Pan and Baguette Pan.

I have a lot of measuring spoons, and I am still looking for more. The best one is Farberware 7pc Measuring Spoon Set, sold at Walmart. I have different sizes of ice cream or cookie scoops. OK, I have 5 sizes: XS, S, M, L, and XL. I've used them all at one point.

Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Maker is great for making breakfast waffles from scratch. Yes, they are much healthier and yummier than the frozen waffles. Chef's Choice 835 Pizzelle Pro Express Bake is great for making very thin waffles... a fun factor purchase. I also bought Danish Ebleskiver Iron... again for fun factor. Remember, I have two boys, and I luv making them fun food. You can see more products at my fav kitchen gadgets.

Can you tell by this list that I need a bigger kitchen... or at least more storage? Yes, I do. When I find new products I really luv, I'll let you know.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Life is like a box of chocolates

Forrest Gump said "My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." If I knew his momma, I'd tell her that she would find some sort of food allergen in that box of chocolates. Seriously, I thought I was a pretty smart shopper, reading ingredients and doing all the jazzy research. I thought I was a smart mom who bought the finest products for her son Brek. Nope, not even closed. When I gave birth to Camden, he gave me and my family the biggest lesson in life... learning how to eat the right food.

I knew Camden would have issue with dairy. Since I was breastfeeding him, I started the food elimination. First, it was no dairy. When he wasn't feeling better, chicken eggs were eliminated. After 4 months, he was the same but inconstant. Some days were great, napping and nursing well. Some days weren't so great, screaming for hours. Then one night, I scanned a cookbook's glossary. There it was... caramel color is a product derived from corn. Light bulb moment. Long story short, I started to eliminate corn from my diet.

I was determine to cook and bake dairy, chicken eggs and corn free food for myself. After all, I was breastfeeding Camden, so I'd be the only one who needed this diet, right? Wrong! Corn is in everything! It was a challenge. Then all of the sudden, Nicole Jurain, founder of Corn Freedom, found me on Facebook support group and reached out to help me eliminate corn from my diet... well, pretty much from my life. With her help, it took another 4 months to eliminate corn and to see how happy Camden was.

Anybody can do this, right? Of course. Just take time and practice. I make it a mission!

Mission #1: learn to bake bread
I really missed eating bread as there wasn't a loaf of corn free bread in the supermarket. This mission became my 2011 New Year's Resolution. Mission was accomplished before the year ended. But I'm still perfecting a few recipes.

Camden's Elmo Birthday Cake
Mission #2: learn to make or bake something sweeter
I thought Brek only had dairy intolerance. After I witnessed Camden's reactions to corn, it brought back a lot of bad memories of night waking and similar reactions, including hiccups. Brek luvs sweet, and he always asks me for "something sweeter". I can't buy sweets because there is always the possibility of cross contamination. So why not learn to make them! This mission is on going. But I can tell you this much. Since I've baked nearly every day, I was able to bake Camden's 2nd birthday cake... his first birthday cake... which was free from dairy, chicken eggs, and corn. (He had a pumpkin muffin for his 1st birthday. Yes, I was still learning to bake back then).

Mission #3: learn to read labels and about the makeup of the raw or packaged food
This mission is on going. Com'on! Seriously! Do you know that lemons are coated with wax? Corn! Oh, you knew that? How about this one... pineapples were gassed to make them ripen faster? Yeah, that one was new to me too.

Mission #4: share my recipes and help others with similar food allergy/intolerance
Ta-da! I'm learning how to blog. I called my blog "Something Sweeter" as a dedication to my boys because life should include something sweeter... before, between, and after a good meal. I want to share recipes that I adapted from others and maybe able to help you learn how to make adjustments from your own favorite recipes. Of course, I'll add other savoury recipes too.

Let's get started.