Welcome to Allergy Free & Cheap Like Me!

gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My trip to BabyCakes NYC™

Last December my husband and I had the wonderful chance to travel to New York City for the holidays.  It was my first trip to NYC and of course BabyCakes NYC ™was at the top of my list of must-go-to places.  BabyCakes NYC™ is a blissful bakery founded by Erin McKenna. Most baked goodies at BabyCakes NYC™ are wheat, gluten, dairy and casein, egg free as well as refined-sugar free!  The people there were wonderful and very helpful. I told them my allergies and they showed me all of the yummy options I could choose from. There were so many things that looked so good it was hard just to pick a few! I sampled a few goodies while there and packed the rest to go with me, a vanilla cupcake, chocolate chip with vanilla filling cookie sandwich, brownie bites and cinnamon and sugar toasties, and they all tasted so very YUMMY! 

If you live in the New York City area or are going to be visiting I highly recommend stopping by BabyCakes NYC™.  Everything there is so good and you wont have to worry if what you are getting is really allergen free. BabyCakes NYC™ also recently opened up a bakery in Los Angeles for everyone in the LA area!
If you are not in either the NYC or Los Angeles area like myself, there is also a BabyCakes NYC™ cookbook available. It has many of the recipes for the same yummy goodies you find at the bakeries with easy to follow directions.  It was one of the first allergen free dessert cookbooks that I bought and I have used it time after time.  My favorite recipe is the brownies but all of them are blissful!

BabyCakes NYC™ Locations
New York City, NY
248 Broome Street (between Orchard & Ludlow)
 New York City, NY 10002
Downtown Los Angeles, CA
130 East 6th Street (between S. Main Street and S. Los Angeles Street)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Super Yummy Cinnamon Rolls!

These yummy homemade cinnamon rolls are of course gluten, dairy, egg & soy free and are just like you remember them – warm, bursting with cinnamon and topped with a sugar glaze!  I’ve adapted this recipe from a couple of different ones I’ve found to get my own perfect combination of ingredients. 

Makes 8 generous rolls

Yeast Mixture
7 tablespoons warm rice milk (110 degrees)
1-tablespoon dry yeast granules
1-tablespoon sweet sorghum flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1-tablespoon granulated sugar (you could substitute agave nectar if you prefer)

“Egg” Mixture
Egg substitute for 2 eggs (I used ground flax seed – 2-tablespoons ground flaxseed combined with 6-tablespoons warm water with a pinch of baking powder)
2-tablespoons olive oil

Flour Mixture
1-cup + 3-tablespoons sweet sorghum flour
3-tablespoons granulated sugar
¾-cup tapioca flour
1 ¼-teaspoons xanthan gum
½-teaspoon salt

1/3-cup packed dark brown sugar
¾-teaspoon cinnamon
¼-teaspoon nutmeg
1-tablespoon melted Earth Balance soy free, dairy free spread (it’s the red one)

¾-cup confectioners’ sugar
1-tablespoon rice milk
½-teaspoon pure vanilla extract

How to Make It:
{    Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
{    Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg of the filling mixture in a small bowl and set aside.
{    To combine the yeast mixture: In a measuring cup combine warm rice milk, yeast, 1-tablespoon sweet sorghum flour and 1-tablespoon sugar and stir until blended. Cover and set aside until it becomes foamy.
{    Combine egg mixture as follows: If using an egg substitute follow directions for 2 eggs. If using flaxseed combine 2-tablespoons flaxseed, 6-tablespoons water and a pinch of baking powder in a small bowl or cup. Add the 2-tablespoons olive oil and stir until blended, set aside to thicken.
{    For the dough. In a large electric mixer bowl add 1-cup + 3-tablespoons sweet sorghum flour, ¾-cup tapioca flour, xanthan gum, salt and 3-tablespoons sugar. Stir on low briefly then add the warm yeast mixture and egg mixture to the bowl. Mix until just blended. Scrape the bowl and beaters with a spatula and then beat on high for 3 minutes.
NOTE: 3 minutes is a long time when you are standing there waiting, make sure you let the dough beat the entire 3 minutes! The dough should be smooth and stick to the sides of the bowl, not bounce around in a big clump; if it does you haven’t let it beat long enough.
{    Sprinkle some sweet sorghum flour over a flat surface and lightly flour your hands. I find it best to use a SilPat Mat; it keeps the dough from sticking to your surface and makes it much easier to roll!
{    Use a spatula to plop the dough out onto the floured surface in a ball shape.  The dough will be sticky, roll it around in the flour to lightly coat it.
{    Gently press the dough into about a 12X8-inch rectangle with your hands. This isn’t rocket science it doesn’t have to be perfect, just pat it out until it looks about the right shape!
{    Brush the melted Earth Balance spread evenly onto the rolled out dough and sprinkle the filling mixture over top.
{    Starting with the small end, carefully roll dough jellyroll fashion. It doesn’t have to be tight, if it starts to stick to the surface gently pry it away with a little extra sorghum flour.
{    Using a sharp knife cut the roll into eight sections about 1 inch thick. If the dough is sticking to the knife coat with a little sorghum flour or even a dab of olive oil.
{    Arrange the slices into the greased cake pan so they do not touch. (Put six around the outside of the pan and two in the middle).
{    Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place until rolls have doubled or more in size. (This can take 1 to 1 ½ hours at about 80 degrees since the dough is heavy.)
{    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rolls in center of oven and bake about 20 minutes until light golden brown.
{    Combine confectioners’ sugar, rice milk and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon over the top of the warm rolls. Serve warm.  Re-heating (slightly in the oven or microwave) leftovers before eating, as with all gluten-free dough, makes them much tastier the second time around.
{    Enjoy!

*In the picture above, after I took the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and flipped them over onto a plate to allow all the yummy filling that had bubbled out to drip over the rolls. And yes I ate one before I even had a chance to take a picture! :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Story

My allergy story starts in May 2009 when I found out I was allergic to a number of different foods. I had gone to see my ND (naturopathic doctor) about my seasonal allergies I have suffered from for years.  My doctor suggested we test for food allergies that could be affecting my body’s response to outside allergies. When the test results came back we found out I have a TON of food allergies!  The big ones are gluten, dairy, eggs & soy… and a few in between! :)  I was shocked! I had absolutely no idea!

After recovering from my initial shock I decided to do some research.  I found it to be very daunting and overwhelming looking from site to site, book to book, for tips, tricks and recipes for things I actually wanted to eat - normal things!  Or what about a safe place to eat out when I didn’t feel like cooking? I found some information and help about my allergies separately but when I took into consideration all of them it seemed there was very little to nothing out there to help me. 

This struggle is what inspired me to create Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me. I not only wanted to be able to share things I have learned but also wanted a place for others who may be in the same situation to share what they have learned.  I hope you find Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me useful and please feel free to share your experiences. I also hope to incorporate into Allergy Free and Cheap Like Me the cost of eating on a special diet. If you have recently looked at some of the allergy free products out there you know it can become very expensive very fast.  I hope to share with you some of the cost saving tips my husband and I use to stay within our food budget. 

The newest hurdle in my allergy world has been my husband and my recent move to Fairbanks, Alaska!  Fairbanks has limited places to buy groceries and places to eat out and it’s expensive! It has been a new challenge to figure out how to eat the way I need to and have it fit into our budget.  

***Disclaimer: I am in no means an expert on allergies or any other topic for that matter. :)  Recipes I share although I have found them safe for me may not be safe for another person with the same allergies. All of our bodies react differently to different levels of allergens, so please take caution. None of my allergies cause me an anaphylactic reaction, a trace amount of an allergen found in one product or another may not affect me the way it would affect someone who has a higher sensitivity.  Having said this I really do try very hard to find products that are guaranteed completely safe. But given the current regulations on labeling, labels are not always complete and companies do not have to list trace amounts of allergens, it is not always possible.  Also, although a product may not list an allergen in their ingredients list it may come into contact with an allergen during the production process. So please keep this in mind! 
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