Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Peach Crumble {Allergen-free}

I have become a person who loves a good food challenge! When I see a particular recipe I want to adjust to make healthier, gluten-free, allergen-free etc. I will mess with it until I get it right. Well, a pretty big challenge was thrown out to me by a friend and I accepted enthusiastically!

Andrea with her Hubby, Tim
Allow me to introduce you to my friend. Her name is Andrea and she has Coeliac Disease. She is the lovely daughter-in-law of my pastor, but she resides in the UK so I don't get to see her very often. However, when she does come for a visit, I make sure to have some gluten-free treats ready for her to sample! She, along with my husband and boys, was one of my original inspirations and guinea pigs for this blog and she has one of her own which I invite you to check out here. It's entitled, "My Gluten Free Journey" and it's a great read for some insight into the life of someone newly diagnosed with Coeliac and navigating the path of living gluten-free and the road to healing.

This is the e-mail I received from Andrea about her friend, Joanne the other day:
"Hey, so here's a dietary challenge for you! My friend is now not eating the following after various tests: Gluten, Dairy, Sucrose, Chocolate, Berries, grapes, small seeded fruits, nuts, onions, peppers, olive oil and minimal salt, also trying to avoid additives and preservatives!! Any tasty dessert options you can think of??!  Desserts are the hardest for her to find, as well as lunches. So any helping hand is gratefully received. Xx"

Wow! Most people looking at this would think, "What CAN she eat?" Well, actually, Joanne can still eat a great variety of foods! Upon further investigation, we determined that she CAN have eggs (Eggs are not dairy even though most of us have been led to lump them in with milk products), she can have natural sugars such as raw honey, real maple syrup, stevia, xylitol and palm sugar. She can also have other oils, just not olive. So, even though she can't have butter due to the dairy intolerance, she can have coconut oil and coconut products. She has to steer clear of almond flour due to the nut allergy, but she has no problem with wheat-free oats, brown rice flour and bean & lentil flours. The possibilities are really quite endless once we get creative! I'm going to focus on several dessert options first and then move on to some lunch ideas that should help her out.

Right away, I was able to direct Andrea to some recipes I have already shared and if she put them all together she would have a tasty and safe treat to bring to Joanne. Firstly, the Banana Pudding is great on it's own as pudding cups or frozen pudding pops. However, to make it a pie dessert for sharing all that needs to be done is the following: make the Easy, Peasy Pie Crust, but instead of almond flour just use all oat flour or some brown rice flour instead. And, to finish it off, all she needs to do is make the dairy-free Coconut Milk Whipped Topping that I've included in my Berry Custard Trifle post. Walah! A complete and delicious treat fit for those with or without food restrictions!

Now, even though I was able to give her some ready-made options, I felt compelled to come up with a special dessert just for her, utilizing the wheat-free oats, some coconut oil, natural sweeteners and the fruit that she is still able to consume. So, the following recipe was born. I made this for our connect group from church and it was devoured pretty quickly! I am a die-hard chocolate fan, but so many of my friends and family enjoy a good fruity pie or crumble dessert. So, they didn't know they were my guinea-pigs, but they gave rave reviews so it is making the cut!

Allergen-free Peach Crumble


Ingredients:
Topping:
1/2 c Brown Rice Flour
2 Tbs Arrowroot Starch (corn starch can be used, but arrowroot is nutritionally better for you & definitely better to have on hand if you have a corn intolerance/allergy)
1/3 c Coconut Palm Sugar (or Xylitol for a sugar-free option)*
3/4 - 1 c Wheat-free Rolled Oats
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 c Coconut Oil (or unsalted Butter if you can have dairy or have a coconut oil intolerance...the results will be the same!) I have been using Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil and it's wonderful! Stay tuned for a give-away contest and you could win your own jar of this amazing and versatile ingredient!

Filling:
6 c Peaches (or other fruit/berry of choice...just make sure it adds up to about 6 cups)
2 Tbs Arrowroot Starch
1/4 - 1/3 c Coconut Palm Sugar (or xylitol)



Directions:
-Pre-heat oven to 400°
-In medium bowl, combine the topping dry ingredients.
-Add the coconut oil/butter and mix well until it is combined, but crumbly. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.


- In another medium-sized bowl combine fresh sliced peaches, remaining arrowroot starch and palm sugar to taste. (I like to use my Tupperware Mix-n-Stor Pitcher for this. I've had it for years and it's great for measuring and mixing large quantities in one place!)



- Transfer filling to a 9x9 inch casserole dish (no need to grease it) and spread topping evenly on top.


- Place in oven and bake for about 50 minutes until topping is golden brown and filling is starting to bubble.


- Let cool slightly and serve it up! Tastes delicious on it's own (I personally like all the crusty edges) or even better, add some vanilla ice cream on top. For a dairy-free ice cream alternative, check out Chocolate Covered Katie's 4 Ingredient Ice Cream and use Coconut milk as your base. She also has a great trick for making thicker ice cream by blending and freezing in ice cube trays and then blending again so you're blending with cubes of your mixture instead of a bunch of watery ice cubes...I have done this and it results in a very rich and creamy dairy-free alternative!


*One more option if you want to go 100% sugar-free and you are intolerant to xylitol: replace the sugar in the topping with one VERY ripe banana and make sure the fruit you use for the filling is ripe and sweet. I made a batch using the banana and a small sprinkling of xylitol in the filling and it turned out really well. It wouldn't be my first choice, but honestly it was pretty good! If you go with this option, taste it as you mix and add sea salt accordingly to enhance the sweetness. 
Joanne is actually finding herself doing well with lunches right now...it's fairly easy for her to obtain a salad wherever she happens to be throughout her day and she's finding restaurants to be quite accommodating and that is nice to hear. However, finding good healthy snacks to keep in her purse are where she is getting a little stumped. Not only does she have that long list of ingredients to avoid, but she also realizes that ingesting lots of artificial colors and preservatives isn't going to do her healing body any favors. And yet, she doesn't want to have to make a new snack EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week! That would get old really fast for anyone, no matter how enjoyable cooking can be.

So again, I reiterate the planning and preparation, but not every day. Prepping for the entire week can take a few hours on the weekend, but it is well worth it when you can just grab and go out of your prepared stash. One of the snacks I used to have on hand quite often was trail mix that I would make myself with raw nuts and sweet berries and chocolates of my choice, but that is out of the question because Jo can't have any nuts, berries or chocolate. So, we need to think outside the box a little for some still sweet and salty snacks that are portable. Sunflower seeds could be one easy snack to pack that will keep well and is loaded with nutrients. Another option with sunflower seeds is to make a butter in the same way one would make peanut butter or my Almond Butter. It can then be stored in a jar in the fridge and spread on gluten-free bread or in the Oat Crepes/Pancakes and transported in a container for the day. Finding a jam to go with it would be problematic due to the sugar content, but a substitute can be made simply by mashing up a ripe banana or peach that has the sweetness built right in.

Another go-to snack that I tend to always have on hand (and my boys have come to expect it) are my famous Chewy Granola Bars! I recommend these to Jo for several reasons:
1. They are easy to transport in a container.
2. They can be prepared in large batches and keep well in the fridge or freezer.
3. They can be adjusted according to preference
and last, but not least,
4. THEY ARE VERY NUTRITIOUS!
Not only have we removed the refined sugars and replaced them with natural raw honey, unsweetened applesauce and palm sugar, but we have also added the good fats from the avocado and all the aforementioned sweeteners have great nutritious value as well. My most recent batches have included 2 cups of oats, 2 cups of brown rice cereal and 1 cup of quinoa puffs which adds more fiber and lots of needed protein to get through the afternoon. This snack will keep her blood sugar from spiking and plummeting and will also give her the calories she needs to fuel her workday.


Thank you, Andrea for placing this challenge in front of me and I welcome any more! I really hope that the new & older recipes along with the tips and hints will help make Joanne's life a little less stressful and way more fun and delicious. If you have any suggestions or encouragement for her, please leave a comment below. And don't forget to subscribe to Andrea's blog so you can follow her on her wellness journey!

I will continue to share more recipes and Healthy Hints so please subscribe to this blog to receive email updates and be sure to head over to NotDeprived on YouTube to subscribe there for my newest videos. Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to keep up with what's going on in the not deprived life of my family! Our newest adventure is Homeschooling our 2 young boys! We are 3 weeks in and are loving it. It's a lot of work, but so rewarding. Stay tuned for some posts focusing on that part of our lives and how it fits into our already busy lives.

Treat Yourself Well!







Do you have a combination of intolerances/allergies or just one?
I have been "unofficially" diagnosed for Celiac by a trusted Rheumatologist that I have been seeing for my Raynaud's Disease and I have had enough nights in the bathroom to keep my away from gluten for good! I have found through trial and error that I can have dairy and wheat-free oats in moderation and I know that xylitol affects me in large quantities.

Are you still trying to find your footing with a new dietary lifestyle? Is it getting easier or tougher?
I feel very confident, of course, in my daily cooking and baking abilities and you can be sure that if you come to my house, you will have a very allergy/intolerance safe haven. It's still a little tough when eating out...We don't like to be a bother and ask for certain things and I try to just order things that I know are safe, but sometimes I have to suck it up and ask a few more questions to avoid the results of "being glutened" which can last for several days or a week after ingesting something questionable!

Is your family embarking on any new adventures this year? A big move to another city or country, new school, kids leaving the nest, babies being born...?
For various reasons, we decided to school at home beginning this year and we are using the A Beka Academy Accredited streaming video program and we highly recommend it! It allows Kirk and I to oversee their studies rather than come up with everything on our own which allows us to continue with our other jobs and responsibilities. It allows for a flexible schedule while also giving the boys "classes" with which to participate. I invite you, if you are considering homeschooling your kids, to check it out! We are also expecting a new nephew in less than a month and are looking forward to meeting this new little K-man!