Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My corn-free kid series (recipe included!)

My beautiful 4-year-old Elligirl has a corn allergy. It hasn't been an easy road by any means-- first discovering it and now managing it. However, it has been totally worth the effort to get all corn out of her diet getting her back to her playful preschooler self again.

PB&J face!
The more research I do the more I realize how common corn allergies are becoming. I've decided to start My corn-free kid, a series of posts to hopefully help others manage their allergy as well.

For those of you who don't know much about corn, I'll start by telling you that it is in everything. I was surprised to find out that corn can be in: baking powder, powdered sugar, vinegar, iodized salt (go ahead & check the ingredients on your canister! you'll likely find dextrose), yeast, applesauce and so much more (and not always in the form of the infamous high fructose corn syrup or HFCS either). For a comprehensive list of potential corn-derived ingredients, I refer to this list.

So to start out the series I just want to give a sample menu of what my daughter eats on a daily basis. You may also notice some other unusual ingredients. They are not necessarily part of her diet because of her corn allergy, but because our family finds them to be a healthier option or because of other food sensitivities my daughter has (cashews, peanuts, pinto beans, oranges, eggs, yeast).

The day usually begins with a bowl of warm oatmeal. Elligirl likes hers mixed with homemade strawberry jelly that we've made using Pomona's Pectin. Oatmeal toppings are some mixture of the following: almonds, walnuts, bananas, berries, raisins, maple syrup, Once Again Sunflower Butter or Once Again No Salt Almond Butter. Her bowl of oatmeal is made with water and she drinks Simpli Naked Oat Drink (a combination the plain & vanilla flavors). We do not give her any dairy products because, even though it didn't show up on her allergy test, we noticed she developed a rash when she consumed them.

For snacktime, the kids like to snack on homemade egg-free muffins, a piece of fruit, Annie's Homegrown Pretzel Bunnies, Barbara's Bakery Original Shredded Oats cereal, cherry or apple pie Larabars, a handful of nuts or select varieties of  "squeeze" drinks (Gogo Squeez & Ella's Kitchen are corn-free based on ingredient label). We also like to make smoothies using Vitacoco Coconut water.

For lunch the kids almost always request PB&J! Elligirl's is made with "her kind of peanut butter", which is really sunflower seed butter or almond butter, and the homemade jelly mentioned above. Sometimes we mash banana on top instead. Hers is eaten open-face on a rice cake or crackers. Baby carrots make an appearance regularly as do sliced apples or homemade applesauce.

Drinks made without corn can be just as difficult to find so generally we stick to water. We do occasionally make our own fresh squeezed lemonade or drink local apple cider when it's in season (yum!). We've also purchased black cherry juice concentrate-- it's 1 ingredient is black cherry juice-- to mix with water to make our own "safe" juice.

Dinner is whatever I am cooking but Elligirl's favorite, both to help make and eat, is [cheeseless] pizza! We've created our own version using a yeast-free pizza dough (recipe below), either a homemade red sauce or homemade pesto sauce and roasted vegetables. Delicious!

Recipe: Yeast-Free Pizza Dough 
enough for 2 round pizzas

3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into ball and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a circle & place on round, greased pizza pan. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. Let cool a bit before adding desired prepared sauce and roasted vegetables.

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