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Adapts to allergies

By Staff | Jul 12, 2013

RACHEL FARNHAM has spent hours researching and experimenting to find ways to provide an allergy-free, whole foods diet for her family, especially her son Bretton who suffers from food allergies. She said she tries to be sure he doesn’t miss out on sweet treats.



GOWRIE – After discovering her son was suffering from food allergies, Rachel Farnham, of Gowrie, decided it was time to alter her family’s eating lifestyle.

Farnham strives to provide her husband, Tyler Farnham, and their children Aydan, Bretton and Ella, with an allergy-friendly, whole foods diet.

She said she had always been interested in nutrition, even taking some nutrition classes in college, but after discovering Bretton’s food allergies, took that interest to a whole new level.

EGG REPLACER, pure maple syrup, pure vanilla and coconut oil are just some of the ingredients Rachel Farnham uses to help her family stick to their allergy-friendly, whole foods diet.

“I have always been intrigued by how our body uses our food,” said Farnham.

Before becoming a stay-at-home mother, Farnham said she used to cook for convenience, using a lot of processed, refined and frozen foods. A typical “American diet,” she said.

Although food preparation for an allergy-free, whole foods diet takes more time, she said, so she’s thankful to have the extra time to put towards food preperation.

Farnham said more of those types of foods including dairy-, egg- and gluten-free products are becoming more readily available for cooking with convenience.

To make recipes healthy for her family, Farnham said she will make specific substitutions for the allergy and intolerance purposes as well as reducing refined and processed foods.

To help substitute dairy products, Farnham will use almond, rice or occasionally soy milk.

To replace eggs, she suggests using chia seed and flax seed mixed with water; applesauce, mashed banana, or an egg replacer.

She said she avoids all-purpose bleached flour and uses almond flour, coconut flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, teff flour, amaranth flour, millet flour, quinoa, potato starch, tapioca starch and arrowroot starch.

Although there are plenty of gluten-free all-purpose flours available, Farnham chooses to use her own mixes in order to help lower expenses.

For their family’s sweet tooth, Farnham said she likes to substitute sugar for honey, pure grade maple syrup, date sugar and sucanat, which is evaporated cane juice.

Many of the products Farnham uses aren’t available at the local grocery store, but to help with convenience of driving out of town to shop at larger health-food stores, she buys a lot of her products online.

She suggests trying Amazon.com’s “subscribe and save.” This feature, she said, allows one to get items on a regular basis and get between 5 percent and 15 percent off and free shipping. She uses this specifically for gluten-free flours and maple syrup.

Using almond flour can be expensive, but Farnham said there are a lot of benefits that come along with the ingredient.

“It is nutrient dense and full of healthy fats and protein,” Farnham said, “so you won’t eat as much of what you make with it.

“I buy blanched almond flour from Honeyville Grains and stock up when they have a sale.”

However, a cheaper alternative to almond flour would be making your own nut flour by grinding nuts, Farnham said.

Some other favorite products Farnham likes to use include gluten-free chocolate chips, quinoa and corn pasta; organic brown rice pasta and daiya cheese.

Farnham has found that not only is she providing her family with healthier foods, but with just some alternations to a recipe, her son doesn’t miss out on special treats other children enjoy.

Farnham said she enjoys challenges and finding new ways to “healthify” standard American diet food items and on her “to try soon” recipe list are alternatives to fast-food-type potato fries; marshmallows and various candy and cookies.

Fruit-filled scones

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour (or other nut flour)

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup teff flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy alternative)

1 jar no sugar added fruit spread

In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, blend oil and sugar. Add vanilla.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until both are used. Mix on high until well blended, about 1 minute. Dough will be very thick.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into balls and place on baking sheets.

Dough balls should be about 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

With a spoon dipped in cold water, press in the center of each dough ball, making a deep well.

Fill each well with 1 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 25 minutes, until tops are just becoming golden and dough springs back to the touch.

Cool completely on wire racks and enjoy. Freeze any leftovers in airtight containers for about 2 months.

To thaw, leave covered scones on the counter to thaw at room temperature.

Almond flour dough nuts

1 1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs or 1 egg and egg replacer equivalent of two eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a blender

Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl. Add to the blender. Blend until batter is very smooth.

Pour into greased dough nut molds, filling them 2/3 the way.

Bake for 10 minutes. Do not over bake or they will be dry. Or make in a mini donut maker.

Dough nut muffins

or gluten-free mini dough nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or warm up mini muffin maker. Grease the muffin tin rather than using a liner.

Mix together in a small bowl until frothy and set aside to use later:

1 1/2 teaspoon eggeplacer

1 tablespoon warm water

Combine in a medium bowl:

1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a separate large bowl stir together:

1/3 cup light olive oil or coconut oil

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

Egg replacer (made earlier)

3/4 cup almond (or other) milk

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir by hand only to combine. Farnham said the batter is a little lumpy, but it worked just fine.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or in mini donut maker until done

While muffins are baking, melt and place in a small bowl:

1/4 to 1/2 cup organic butter

In another small bowl, combine:

1/3 cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Shake muffins out of the muffin tin while they’re still hot.

Dip the hot muffins in the melted butter and then into the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.

Note: FArnham said the organic butter can be brushed over the top half of the muffins, which are then dredged in the cinnamon sugar mix.

Either way these will be delicious.

Also, if you can use eggs and butter go ahead and do it. Use the same measurements-1 egg and 1/4 to 1/2 cup butter.

Easy mild barbecue sauce

1 cup natural/organic ketchup

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

2-3 tablespoons Wor-cestershire sauce

Combine in saucepan and heat to just boiling.

“This is the kids’ favorite because there isn’t much “spice, Farnham said. “They are also good over bacon-wrapped chicken bites.”

Western dressing

1/2 cup grade B maple syrup

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup organic catsup

2 teaspoons dry onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon real salt


Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Note: The original recipe calls for honey to sweeten and cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar

Homemade summer


2 tablespoons salt

1 to 2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 pounds lean ground beef

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Divide into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 2-inch diameter log.

Wrap each log tightly with heavy-duty foil. Chill for 24 hours.

Using a fork, poke holes in foil along the top and bottom of each log.

Place on a wire rack set in a baking sheet with edges or use a broiler pan if you have one. Bake at 300 degrees for two hours. Let stand in foil until cooled.

Chill before slicing. This is important as it dramatically changes the texture.

Hyman potato salad

(A good substitute for traditional, high-calorie potato salad, Farnham said.)

1 package new or red potatoes

2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic

1 cup of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Boil whole potatoes with skins until soft, but not mushy, on medium heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, drain and cut in half.

In large bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and crushed garlic and parsley and whisk with a fork until evenly mixed.

Put hot potatoes in the dressing and mix well.

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