Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

Continuing with my coconut milk successes, I decided to try my hand again at making a dairy free ice cream.  It has been a while since I had a milk substitute I could use, so I was really excited to get back into the ice cream making.  I found a recipe at Whole Foods for coconut ice cream and decided to give it a go.

This recipe uses eggs and for a custard-like ice cream, I thought it was very simple to make.  The eggs and sugar get whipped by hand, the coconut milk gets poured in, all of that gets heated and vanilla goes in.  Not too tricky.  I had vanilla beans on hand so I decided to add some vanilla bean to the recipe for both the flavor and the little vanilla bean specks.  You could definitely just use real vanilla extract if you don’t have access to vanilla beans.  I also used a bit more sugar than the original recipe.  I tasted the original ice cream batter and decided I wanted something a little sweeter.

The ice cream that resulted was just as good as the coconut ice creams from the store.  Really I thought it was even better since the eggs make for a smooth ice cream and no weird textures.  The vanilla extract and bean create great flavor so you don’t taste just coconut.  That was important to me since I get tired of plain old coconut flavor in everything.   I actually put this ice cream out at a party I had, warning everyone that it was my dairy free ice cream, and I got really positive reviews.  Several people asked for seconds!

I can’t wait to make it again and to try adding fruit to create new flavors.

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1  (13.5 oz) can regular coconut milk

1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons if omitting the vanilla bean)

1 vanilla bean

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to whip the egg yolks and sugar quickly  for 2 minutes.  The yolks should turn a pale yellow color. Pour in both the regular and light coconut milks.  Whisk again to combine thoroughly.   Pour the mixture into a medium pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the thickened mixture coats the back of a spoon or the temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.  Slit the vanilla bean down the middle with a sharp knife.  Scrape out all the vanilla seeds from both sides of the bean and add them to the ice cream mix.  Whisk lightly to break up any vanilla seed clumps.   Let the ice cream mix cool slightly and then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before processing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.  (Mine takes about 25 minutes in our Cuisinart ice cream maker.)

Solid Food Success!

Just wanted to share that we found Colin’s first successful solid food- carrots!   We did a full 7 days, slowly increasing the amount of carrots he ate and we didn’t see any signs of tummy issues, sleeping problems or skin reactions.  It feels so great to find something that Colin can eat.  I felt a huge sense of relief as the days of the carrot food trial went on and we saw that he was doing fine.   It makes me feel a lot more hopeful that there will be many other solid food successes to come.   Here’s to solid success and lots of orange diapers ahead!

The current food standings:

Solid Food Success- Carrots!

Solid Food Fails- Oats, Pears, Banana, Apple, Squash

(Writing this made me laugh.  It reminded me of the show Deadliest Catch.   Can we get a sponsor like the “Verizon Wireless Crab Count” on Deadliest Catch?   How about the Brawny Paper Towel Solids Standings?)

Coconut Whipped Cream

Recently I started using coconut milk as a milk replacer in some of my cooking and baking.  I buy the real stuff in cans, not the cartons you can now find in the dairy aisle as those unfortunately all have carrageenan in them.  Finding the cans can be tricky at times but usually I can find them in the international section of a grocery store.  Although I primarily use light coconut milk, sometimes I buy the regular full fat version when I want to make ice cream or whipped cream!

Yes – dairy free whipped cream! Could it be true?  I’ve seen recipes floating around the internet for coconut whipped cream and after months of dairy deprivation it sounded so yummy.  I gave it a go and was very surprised.  The texture was much better than I expected, just like whipped cream and it is delicious.  It definitely tastes like coconut but as I added more powdered sugar, I thought it tasted closer to real whipped cream.   I made a half batch to try it out and ended up eating all of it spooned over raspberries.  I made a dessert with angel food cake, strawberries and this whipped cream two days later just so I could eat more.  It’s a super easy recipe and definitely a great addition to the Milk and Soy Free dessert list.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk- (light coconut milk will not work for this)

2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (or to taste)

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge for several hours or overnight until well chilled.

Remove the top of the can and scoop out all of the solids that have accumulated at the top and place them in a mixing bowl.   Save the liquids for other baking uses.

Use a hand mixer or stand mixer and whip the coconut solids on high for three minutes, scraping down the sides a few times.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, if using, and beat for another minute.

You can see here that does get to a great whipped texture like homemade whipped cream.

 

Use/eat the whipped cream immediately.  You can store it in the refrigerator for several days but it will lose some of its volume.

It is great on lots of desserts but I also enjoy putting it on hot coffee and sprinkling with cinnamon.  Turns my morning decaf coffee into something special.

Zucchini Pasta

Back to recipes today!

For years my husband and I have made our “Zucchini Pasta” because it is a quick and light meal.  Now that we have a three-year old who doesn’t always love veggies, I like this recipe even more because the zucchini is shredded and soft and Hannah gobbles it up with the pasta she loves so much.   This recipe, originally from a Rachael Ray show,  called for only 2 zucchini but I like  to use 3 or 4. I use a food processor and the shredding is done in 2 minutes.  The original recipe also called for parmesan cheese but my family rarely used it and we don’t miss it these days.   I tend to use a little more salt when I’m seasoning the pasta to make up for the saltiness that the cheese would have added.  You could serve some cheese alongside if you have dairy eating folks at the table but it definitely is great without it.   We use whatever types of noodles we have in the pantry when we make this, which makes it even more versatile.  Note though that the soft zucchini can be difficult to incorporate into the pasta sometimes, especially with angel hair pasta.  When that happens I serve it by piling noodles on the plate and spooning the zucchini mixture on top. Lastly, make sure you don’t skimp on the olive oil that starts the dish. The garlic infused olive oil is what flavors this mild dish.

Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients

3-4 small to medium zucchini

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb spaghetti, linguine or other pasta

salt and pepper

Directions

Heat a large pot of water for the pasta.  While the water is heating, shred the zucchini using the shredding disc on a food processor or you can shred it by hand using a box grater.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 1/4 cup olive oil.  Add the garlic to the oil and cook for 1 minute, stirring a few times.   Add all of the zucchini to the pan.  It may look like a lot but will cook down considerably.  Season the zucchini with a good pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.  Cook the zucchini for 7-10 minutes.  While the zucchini cooks, lightly salt the water for the pasta and cook your pasta in the boiling water according to the package’s directions.  Add the cooked pasta to the zucchini/garlic mixture.  Toss the pasta for a minute or two to combine.  Taste the pasta and add any salt and pepper if needed.

Overwhelmed

I have so many recipes that I want to blog but it has been so hard to get a computer, well to sit down at one and not have the keyboard slobbered by the little peanut while the other repeatedly begs to see Sesame Street games.  Although I try not to come across too negative on this blog, I need to vent a bit.  My stress is bubbling over and I find myself telling people more than they really want to hear when the topic of Colin’s eating casually comes up in conversations. This is probably a better place for it than the supermarket checkout lane.

To be honest I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed.  The main stress right now is what to feed Colin.  Colin’s need for calories has jumped way up since he started crawling.  He wants to nurse day and night and he seems generally hungry and interested in food.  I want him to eat.  He wants to eat.  So why is this so hard?  Well we’ve yet to find a food that doesn’t cause some type of reaction and recently we had a big reaction.

At the beginning of last week we decided to try oatmeal again since Colin never really ate any before we started trying other things.  I thought maybe since he’d had some other food textures in his mouth he might be more receptive to it now.  The good news is that he was interested.  He ate quite a bit of it on Monday.  Two hours later though he started vomiting.  He vomited until he was just heaving.  He then laid his head against my chest, looking pale and tired, and just laid there.  This kind of vomiting scared me and his demeanor scared me too.   I watched him and after a while he perked up and indicated an hour later that he wanted to breastfeed.  He only kept that down about five minutes before we had a repeat of vomiting and dry heaving.  After that he was slow to perk up again but then was fine.

Now I have to wonder what is really going on with Colin.  Is there something else we are missing?  When Colin gagged and turned his head every time we offered oats was he trying to tell me he shouldn’t eat them?  I never thought solids would be so difficult.  Is this a different phase of the food protein enteropathy or something else?  We will head to our pediatrician soon but are dragging our feet since he already told us he doesn’t know a lot about it.  I also worry they will brush the vomiting off as a possible stomach bug.  I guess that is a possibility but no one else was sick and he was fine before and after all of it.  I’m trying to get names of good pediatric GI’s in the area, maybe even ones who have experience with these type of food intolerances.   I keep thinking about taking him to an allergist but his food protein issues wouldn’t show up on an allergy test.  I’m not sure what help they could provide.  After being totally mental about all of this for a few days I’ve calmed down and trying again to take things one day at a time.  As of today we’ve decided to wait and see if the vomiting happens again with other foods.  With Colin’s history with food already, two episodes would seem more than a coincidence.  We will probably need help soon though as we try to find other safe things for Colin to eat.

All of this food drama just happened to come the same week I was really considering giving up breastfeeding.  I talked with some other moms who use specialized formula with great success and I felt pangs of jealousy.  I know formula is not the best option for Colin nor is it wise for our wallets, but I am so ready to be done with this crazy diet.  I want to eat outside of my own house again.  I don’t want to worry about food so much.  Focusing on Colin’s issues is enough.   But this week showed me that breastmilk is Colin’s safe food right now and so I am thankful we have that.  We really don’t want to fight two battles:  the battle of solids and finding a formula that would sit well with him.

Another part of feeling overwhelmed is due to my lack of sleep.  I almost have to laugh when someone asks if Colin is sleeping well.  Sleep? Ha!  Not really on my radar these days.   I’m not happy about Colin’s sleep habits but I don’t think there is a lot I can do about it right now.  Colin did really well for a while between the colic phase and getting sick in the winter,  but since the asthma that started this spring, which occurs when he is lying down, and his tummy troubles due to solids, a good night sleep has taken on new meaning.   We go for decent sleep.  Being able to crawl out of bed and reach for my decaf (Doh!) coffee on good days, my husband taking the kids out to the living room to play so I can sleep in a bit on bad days.  Goal: Try not to be a zombie at 3pm, eat another snickerdoodle.   I can’t expect Colin to sleep when he can’t breathe.  I can’t let him cry it out when he is having stomach cramps. Sometimes he is really really hungry and sometimes he just wants to be picked up and comforted.  Only Colin and God know what is really going on so I feed or pat him and rock Colin and try to remember to appreciate these quiet little moments in the night.  He will sleep someday.  Until then, I just have to keep on going.

How is Hannah doing with all this happening in our house?  Amazing.  She is such an incredible big sister.  She loves to kiss and tickle Colin and play on the floor with him.  She hardly ever gets jealous and she still gets so excited when we try to feed Colin.  We give her the reins (well, spoon) from time to time. Her giggles help to distract Colin and make the high chair a more fun experience.  Sometimes I do think she is affected by the stress, crying more often and pretending to be a baby, but for the most part she seems to take it all in stride. I try really hard to remain patient with her when I’m totally frazzled and exhausted and repair things when I can’t.   I have been doing more “home school” with her lately and she loves that time and attention.   “Ocean” is our theme right now and we do about a half an hour of activities together each day.  We try to do our work during Colin’s nap time so she gets dedicated “Mom Time.”

If you are still reading this, thanks for hanging in there.  Maybe you too have had the “low days” when dealing with food allergies.  I know things will get better.  We will solve the Colin puzzle.   I just have to remember to be patient, focus on the positives and keep looking at the wonderful smiles my children have each day that keep me going.

June Food Finds

Two quick food finds this week:

1.  Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels- several varieties.  This safe food find is actually thanks to my dad who brought them to our house the weekend of Colin’s baptism.  He brought a giant box of Snyder’s Sourdough Hard Pretzels.  These super crunchy pretzels satisfy the salty munchy craving that rears its head every now and then. The ingredients are enriched wheat flour, water, salt, yeast and soda.  It does say that they are produced in a facility that handles peanut butter.  (We do okay with things produced in the same facility as nuts but I would probably pass up anything made on the same equipment.)  On the Snyder’s of Hanover website you can see the ingredients for other products they make.  I saw several more that are dairy and soy free.

2.  Penzey’s Chicken Soup Base and Seasoning – This is a dairy and soy free alternative to chicken bouillon, the first that I’ve found.  Sometimes I really just need a little chicken stock, like when I make milk free mashed potatoes. I used to keep little chicken stock hockey pucks in my freezer (1/4 cup of chicken stock each- freeze in a muffin pan) but lately I just can’t find the time to make stock and freeze it with all the rest of the cooking I’m doing.   Don’t look Martha Stewart- I’m cutting corners.  Finding little time savers like this Chicken Soup Base is great.   I can boil water and make just the amount of stock I need.  Unfortunately this was the only soup base flavor at Penzey’s Spices  that I could find that was safe. The rest contained soy. The ingredient list reads: cooked chicken meat, salt, sugar, food starch-modified (corn), maltodextrin, chicken fat, yeast extract, natural flavor, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, spice and coloring.

Ginger Chicken with Soy Free “Soy” Sauce

I was so excited to try out the soy sauce substitute I found called Coconut Aminos.   It is a bit sweeter than soy sauce so I thought it would be great in a marinade.  Browsing around Food Network.com I found a recipe by Ina Garten called Indonesian Ginger Chicken.  I liked this recipe because it didn’t require a lot of ingredients, didn’t need a lot of prep work done by hand and once the chicken marinades overnight, it would be easy to pop in the oven and have dinner ready on a busy night.

Another reason I picked this recipe was that I didn’t have to change much to make it safe.  I used the Coconut Aminos in place of the soy sauce, in the same amount called for in the recipe.  To compensate for the sweetness of the Coconut Aminos, I decided to use 3/4 cup of honey instead of 1 cup.  The recipe also calls for 2 quartered chickens, 3.5lbs each, with backs removed but I used one large (5lb) chicken cut into 8 pieces.  You can marinade your chicken in the baking dish you plan to use, but to save space in my refrigerator I always marinade meat in gallon size zip top freezer bags.  I let the marinade cool a bit before pouring it in so I didn’t melt the bag.  If you use a bag it is also good to place your bag inside another bag or put a small dish under the bag in case of a leak.  The last thing you want is to open your fridge in the morning to a chicken-y mess.

The results of this recipe were phenomenal. It was so good I completely forgot to take a picture of it.  The chicken was tender and very flavorful.  The Coconut Aminos worked perfect, creating a sauce that tasted just like a soy based marinade.  We loved the flavors so much we poured the sauce that had formed in the bottom of the baking dish into a gravy boat and spooned it over the chicken as we served it.

The Coconut Aminos are expensive, around $6 for an 8oz bottle, but this dish is definitely worth it.  Ginger Chicken will be part of our weekly menu again soon!

Ginger Chicken

Adapted from Ina Garten-Food Network

Ingredients

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup Coconut Aminos

1/4 cup minced garlic (8-10 cloves)

1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root

1 chicken (5lb) cut into 8 pieces

Directions

Place the honey, Coconut Aminos, minced garlic and grated ginger into a small sauce pot.  Heat over medium-low heat until honey is melted, stirring frequently.  Let sauce cool slightly.  Place the chicken pieces in a gallon zip top bag and pour the sauce over the chicken.  Seal the bag and place in refridgerator with a small bowl underneath to catch any leaks and refrigerate it overnight.  To cook the following day, preheat oven to 350 F and place the chicken skin side down in a 9×13 pan and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and raise the temperature to 375 degrees F.  Continue baking until the juices run clear and a probe thermometer reads 160 F.   Serve chicken with any sauce accumulated in bottom of pan.

Squash Fail but Busy Moving

Looks like we are still looking for a safe food for Colin.  We gave bananas another go and they definitely caused eczema.  We keep trying oatmeal, varying the consistency, trying with my milk or water and mixing it with other foods, but Colin is just not a fan.  We decided to move on to squash but didn’t have great luck there either.

Normally I would make my own baby food,  but I didn’t want to make a whole batch of something that Colin could end up being allergic to.  I purchased the Sprout Organics squash since it was just squash, absolutely no additives. Straight out of the pouch it was definitely too thick for my little guy so I thinned it out with some of my milk.  Colin ate it with gusto!  He even leaned into the spoon and opened his mouth for more. Yay!  I’m glad to see he can eat off a spoon and swallow food without gagging.  Unfortunately he had diarrhea several times after eating so no more squash.

Recently I came across this link which is a guide for starting solids with a baby who is Milk Soy Protein Intolerant (MSPI).  This is the first guide of this type that I’ve seen.  It recommends starting with certain vegetables, meats and fruits last.  So I’ll give this guide a go and maybe try carrot, potato or broccoli next.

In non-food news Colin is happily motoring around.  He can turn all around, flip over and back and get himself from his tummy to sitting.  He has only figured out how to crawl backwards which often leads to him ending up in funny places.  He backs himself into corners and a few times has almost crawled under a bed.  What a nut.  He definitely keeps us entertained.