Gluten Free and Inspiration in Rachael Ray

By Heather Legg

I have been noticing, and maybe writing, about how more allergy friendly recipes are becoming more and more mainstream. They are not only found in allergy free cookbooks and on sites, but also on places like the Food Network site and today as I was reading my Everyday with Rachael Ray, I was impressed to see not only gluten free advertisements, but also a page or two on gluten free cooking and some good basic advice on cooking for and with allergies.

I love this advice in the magazine, “Making food for someone with special dietary needs doesn’t have to be complicated. Have fun with it. Think of it as a chance to reinvent a favorite recipe…Improvising just might make you a ore confident cook – and your guests will appreciate the effort!”

A few examples are site, like changing a family recipe of lasagna into a gluten free meal. Sure you could use gluten free lasagna noodles, but what about thinly sliced squash “pasta?”

I think, as with many things in life, food allergies have to be taken with a fun and positive note. Yes, food allergies are a very serious thing, sometimes as serious as it gets, but to look at it in a positive way of being creative, opening up new tastes and expanding cooking horizons, it can be done is much happier way. A piece is done on a mom cooking for a family with food allergies, and she does it with a great attitude, and instead of downplaying food and its dangers, she understands the importance of great food.

For instance, like the above lasagna trick, there are always substitutions and sometimes it can put a playful twist on something. Instead of using bread on a sandwich, put a few slices of ham or turkey between two fresh, crunchy lettuce leaves. We often substitute things like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in place of nuts in pesto or in granola and muffins. They still add nutrients and crunch. I love all the different “butters” on the peanut butter and jelly section of the store, and you can even further and do a hummus and cucumber sandwich instead of peanut butter and jelly. I used to love nutella, but haven’t touched it in years due to my daughter’s allergy. When I saw the peanut butter/chocolate blend on the shelf, I was excited and even thought of mixing in some chocolate to the other butters (sunflower would be completely nut free!).

Not all of these suggestions came from the Rachael Ray, but it did inspire me to get creative when it comes to substitutions, and not just for allergy free cooking, but who doesn’t need a little change up now and then. Thanks, Rachael!

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