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Allergen-Free Pre-Made Foods: Ian’s Alphatots

I found a brand for us to pay attention to at Whole Foods Market (and elsewhere): Ian’s. Ian’s foods are clearly and boldly marked “Allergen Free” and “no wheat or gluten, no milk or casein, no eggs, no nuts, no soy”. You can imagine my excitement when I found a whole case of products with this claim. My iPhone was handy so I snapped a shot:

Ian’s products, found at Whole Foods Market

In the photo are chicken tenders, chicken patties, chicken nuggets, space nuggets, mac and no cheese, fish sticks, popcorn turkey corn dogs, alphatots, and chicken nuggets kids meals. I piled a stack of these into my cart (and then put a few back when I realized I wouldn’t have room in my freezer for all of them).

Tonight my son and I ate Alphatots, with chicken left over from last night, as well as steamed broccoli and carrots.

Ian’s Alphatots, fried in safflower oil and salt

The Alphatots were so easy to make. I’d never fried any potatoes before, so I was having my own little adventure in the kitchen. I fried them in safflower oil and salt for about 4 minutes. Then I dabbed them in some paper towels to remove the excess oil. They were moist and crispy at the same time. And they tasted soooo good.

My son’s plate

My 3-year old and I took turns stealing the letters off of each other’s plate. Seriously…we did! I was hoping he’d get full so I could eat whatever he didn’t eat. Meanwhile, he got a chance to show off that he knew his letters. Well…not quite…but it provided me with a valuable teaching moment at the dinner table. Win-win.

My plate

In case you’re wondering, the Alphatots contained the following ingredients: potatoes, modified palm oil, rice flour, salt, modified cellulose. I’m certain those ingredients are better than those in the fries at McDonald’s. Ha! This makes me happy.

In Wellness.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies Made With Unexpected Substitutions

Cookies With Sprinkles

Sugar Cookies With Sprinkles

These cookies gave me a huge lesson in baking substitutions. They are really good. I think they shouldn’t taste this good, given all my substitutions, but I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, I only need my food to be soy and milk-free. But this recipe also happens to be vegan as well as egg-free, nut-free, and gluten-free too. I used the recipe on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour bag to make them. I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post, for those interested.

This recipe called for interesting ingredients. I have never baked with ingredients such as coconut flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch.

Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch, Coconut Flour, and Brown Rice Flour

Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch, Coconut Flour, and Brown Rice Flour

Instead of butter, I used Spectrum Butter Flavor Shortening (Palm Oil).

Spectrum Butter Flavor Shortening (Palm Oil)

Spectrum Butter Flavor Shortening (Palm Oil)

My son and I used the electric beater on the sugar and palm oil shortening.

Fun With the Electric Mixer

Fun With the Electric Mixer

It didn’t produce a creamy mixture that butter would have.

I used Vanilla Coconut Milk instead of the Soy Milk ingredient. Coconut milk is something my toddler and I only discovered this week, and it is has been a huge hit. My son likes it in his cereal. I like it with my protein drinks.

So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk

So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk

I found some sprinkles that looked interesting (gluten-free Sprinkelz). The sprinkles are not as colorful in actuality as they are on the picture of the box (see the first cookie picture at the top of this post).

Sprinkelz

Sprinkelz

By the way, I added Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips (dairy, nut, & soy free!) to the top of some of the cookies when they came out of the oven. Of course, my son just picked them off instead of eating the cookie.

We Added Mini Chocolate Chips to The Top of Some of the Warming Cookies

We Added Mini Chocolate Chips to The Top of Some of the Warming Cookies

Enjoy Life Mini Chips - Dairy, Nut, & Soy Free

Enjoy Life Mini Chips - Dairy, Nut, & Soy Free

We also experimented with adding strawberry jelly on some of the cookies. Again, he couldn’t help himself. I let him dip his finger into the cookie…that was HIS cookie now.

All-in-all, I like the substitutions. My only complaint is the palm oil leaves a slight aftertaste — I didn’t notice it with yesterday’s batch but I especially noticed it when eating the cookies with the jelly on it. I might try using coconut spread next time.
So, what’s my conclusion about all these substitutions? I’m going to keep making them in other recipes. It’s my fun new journey in the kitchen!

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Butter (I used Palm Oil Shortening instead)

1/3 cup Soymilk (I used Coconut Milk instead)

2 tsp. Vanilla

3/4 cup White Rice Flour (I used Brown Rice Flour)

1/3 cup Coconut Flour

2 Tbsp. Potato Starch

1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together shortening and sugar with an electric mixer and beat two minutes. Add vanilla and milk (coconut milk) and beat for an additional minute. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry mix to wet ingredients and briefly mix, then add the almonds. Continue mixing until just blended. The batter should have a moist and fluffy consistency. Place by rounded tablespoon on greased cookie sheet (actually, I didn’t need to grease the sheet when using the palm oil shortening) and bake 10-12 minutes (I needed close to 13 minutes). Makes 24 cookies.