Archive for April, 2012

What Its All About

“Can’t Believe Its Allergy Free!”  is the result of years of research and experimentation to create tasty, healthy, allergy free food, in which every single recipe excludes at least seven of the eight known allergenic foods The day my little grandson said to me that he could never have a birthday party (no cake, no pizzas, no party) I vowed to produce all of that and much more for him. I soon realized that there are many others similarly afflicted. With over 12 million allergy diagnosed people in the US alone, my blog fulfills a crucial need..

My aim is to offer solutions to the busy mom/caregiver of the child with multiple food allergies. The many gluten free cookbooks in the market exclude only gluten, and most allergy related recipes exclude no more than two to three allergenic foods at a time. All my recipes are exclusive of wheat and gluten, soy, eggs, fish and shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and in most cases, dairy. Wherever I have used dairy, I suggest alternatives. The focus is on what children can eat, and on ways of providing variety, nutrition and taste, within limited parameters.

I also use easy to find, safe, hypoallergenic ingredients, and stay away from all controversial foods such as chickpeas, spelt, mushrooms, corn, as well as sesame, which has recently been added to the list of allergenic foods by the Ministry of Health, Govt. of Canada.

I have spent years researching food and allergy facts, in order to provide nutritional balance despite food restrictions. I have compiled invaluable data from the works of eminent nutritionists and doctors, and from publications and websites of established organizations as it is absolutely necessary to arm yourself with allergy information in order to deal with it. It is useful to know, for example, that certain fruits can cause allergy like reactions because they contain histamines, while certain vegetables may contain significant levels of MSG and are best eaten cooked, not raw. It helps to know that a serving of baked spinach and cheese makes more nutritional sense than a bowlful of raw spinach leaves with crumbled cheese. It is essential to know what food labels are all about—what for instance, is carrageenan, maltodextrin, or locust bean gum? How many moms actually have the time to find out, or to experiment? As a grandmother, I am in a unique position to do both. My blog is the result of my own journey towards understanding both food and allergy, which I wish to share with others. Along with recipes, I will put up allergy relevant information which is essential for anyone coping with allergies.

My recipes are kid tested and are family friendly. It makes practical sense to prepare most meals in common with all the family, as common meals serve to erase the sense of exclusion and deprivation which a child with allergies can so easily develop.. Moreover, all recipes are made healthy by limiting salt, sugar and fat and by including plenty of fruits and vegetables, so that those interested in healthy, wholesome eating will appreciate my approach to cooking.

All the work that goes into “Can’t Believe Its Allergy Free!”, is a grandmother’s labor of love.

Tell me your stories as I have told you mine, let us share our ideas and achievements, learn from one another as we carry on with our journey towards understanding and dealing with food allergy

Please read the “Read This First” page on the blog
For Disclaimers

Note:  For quick access, click on the category of your choice and go to the recipe you want so you can avoid scrolling on and on.

My heartfelt thanks to:

Mr. Arvind Kelkar without whose help and encouragement this blog would never have taken shape

My grand daughter, Sujal, for her fantastic artwork on the home page,

My grandson, Ishaan who is my greatest inspiration


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When You Begin

  • Make sure that kitchen counters are clean and clear of all allergy producing foods.
  • Create allergen free areas by designating separate shelves in larders, and keeping specific counter spaces.
  • If possible use a separate set of cooking implements such as knives, cutting boards, griddles, pans, woks, containers etc.
  • Place all allergy free foods in containers with lids, and set them aside before handling other food.
  • Label all allergy free food containers, and write dates, especially before freezing.
  • When using any store bought ingredient, read label very carefully ( eg. dried fruits may be treated with sulphur dioxide, sausages / meats could contain nitrates and nitrites, seasonings and starches may contain wheat)
  • Make sure that ‘wheat free is also gluten free’.
  • Remember that it is best to prepare allergy free dishes earlier, so that they can be covered, set aside and protected from cross contamination.  Cook extra portions of allergen free meals, so some portions can be frozen for later use.
  • It is important to use utmost caution before introducing a new food.  Some doctors suggest smearing the child’s cheek with the new preparation and leaving it on the skin for a while to check if it creates any redness, rash, itchiness or any other irritation.  This is a good preliminary test.  In any case, a new food item should be given in a very, very small quantity to begin with.  A few hours observation is necessary before serving a larger portion.

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When its time for a Chinese’ Take-out’ dinner, there has to be a yummy alternative for anyone with allergies.  The oriental sauce in this recipe is delicious, easy to make and can be combined with chicken, beef, pork lamb,, veggies—whatever you have in your freezer.  Before the dinner order reaches your doorstep, you can have this tasty dish ready for the child who cannot have Chinese restaurant food.

Note  Wheat is usually used in the fermentation of soy sauce.  Gluten free soy sauce is available in some specialty stores, and can be used safely.  If soy itself is an issue, skip using it.  The sauce in this recipe tastes just as yummy without it.


oriental chicken


  • 1/2 pound boneless chicken, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 large green pepper roughly cut into large pieces
  • 2/3 cup diced, canned pineapple.
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste.

For the Oriental Sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (red chilly powder), or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Gluten Free soy sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root (optional)


To prepare chicken

  1. Rub salt and garlic onto chicken pieces, and set aside
  2. Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet on low heat and stir in sugar till it caramelizes.
  3. Add chicken pieces and saute till coated.
  4. Drizzle a little water, cover and cook on medium heat, for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, add cut green pepper, and ground black pepper.
  6. Drizzle a little more water if chicken is too dry
  7. Cover and cook for 3 – 5 minutes or till chicken is cooked.
  8. Uncover, add diced pineapple and remove from heat

To prepare sauce.

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except chopped cilantro leaves and grated ginger.
  2. Place saucepan on stovetop, and using medium heat, keep stirring ingredients until sauce comes to a boil and thickens,
  3. Lower heat, and stir in chopped cilantro.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Place prepared chicken in serving bowl, and pour sauce over it.
  6. Garnish with grated fresh ginger root if desired.

Chef’s tip:  

Freeze leftovers to pull out when time is short.  Double the recipe and prepare for the whole family, as they will love it too!

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Serve this soup with a salad of your choice, and you have a great meal!


  • 3 large red potatoes
  • 3 cups milk / soy milk / chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter / olive oil
  • 2 level Tablespoons corn-starch
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese / soy cheese
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Drain and reserve liquid.
  4. Set potatoes aside
  5. Melt butter / heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Add onion and cook stirring frequently till onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
  7. Gently add in potatoes and reserved cooking liquid
  8. Add two and a half cups of milk/ soy milk / chicken or vegetable broth
  9. To remaining 1/2 cup milk / soy milk / broth, add corn-starch and mix well
  10. Add corn-starch mixture as soon as the potato-onion-liquid in saucepan comes to a boil, stirring all the time till soup thickens.
  11. Add sugar, cheese / soy cheese and ham.
  12. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.


Vegetarian variation– if soy cannot be used 

When soup is simmering, stir in 1/2 cup cooked quinoa for added nutrition, texture and taste.

Chef’s tip:

Use chicken / vegetable broth instead of soy milk, and add tofu cubes to soup

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