Gluten Free Perogies

I have a Mennonite heritage and with that comes a childhood growing up with delicious homemade food. One of those was wareneki (vah-ren-eh-chea), which is essentially homemade cottage cheese perogies. We use to request it for our birthdays and any other time my mom asked what we would like to have for supper. It was time consuming, but oh so delicious, especially with that delicious white sauce on top, which is essentially a creamy milk sauce that was to die for.

Since my house has so many allergies, I had to adapt. I started making potato filled perogies a few years ago as I don’t know a dairy alternative to cottage cheese or cottage cheese made from goat’s milk. I have made this recipe so many times and I usually make it triple the size and freeze the extras. It tastes great and is a huge staple in our house, especially with farmer sausage!

Gluten Free Perogies

  • Servings: 18 perogies
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For the dough:
1/2 C sour cream or yogurt (I use coconut yogurt)
1 1/2 C Gluten Free flour (I use my Gluten Free Pastry Flour mix)
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
2 large potatoes
1/2 of an onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp butter/coconut oil
1/4 C milk/milk alternative
1 C shredded cheese/dairy free cheese alternative (I have been omitting this and it still tastes great) (optional)
Bacon bits (as desired, optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl combine sour cream/yogurt, flour and salt until a smooth dough forms. If needed add 1 Tbsp sour cream/yogurt or flour to make it the right consistency.
2. Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 30 min.
3. Peel, cut and boil the potatoes. Strain, mash and add milk and butter.
4. Fry onion and garlic and add onions, cheese and bacon bits to the potatoes. Stir well, add salt & pepper to taste.
5. Roll out 1/2 of the dough at a time on a floured surface. Using a round cookie cutter cut out circles. This dough is malleable enough to press back together with your fingers if cracks develop.
6. Place 1 tsp of the potato mixture onto each of the dough circles (change this amount depending on size of your pieces of dough). Fold the circle in half and press the edges closed, ensuring the sides are sealed. You can also use a pierogi press.
7. Place the perogies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 min.
8. Place a few perogies one at a time in a pot half full with boiling water. Cook until they start to float off the bottom, around 5 min. Sometimes I find they need to cook a few minutes after they are floating.
9. If desired, place in a frying pan and fry in butter or oil until browned.

NOTE: These can be made ahead of time and frozen, just lay them flat and uncooked on a cookie sheet with parchment paper before freezing. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc bag or container. Drop into boiling water just as with fresh perogies when you want to eat them.

Italian Pasta Sauce

Ok, I know how incredibly simple it is to buy pasta sauce from the grocery store, but how easy is it to make it yourself? Depends on how much time you want to put in. I use all three of these recipes, all work really well. I prefer the 2 hr cooking one or the canning recipe, however the 10 minute one is great if I am in a jam.

I recommend you check it out and try out at least one of these. I even use this for my pizza sauce, it is seriously so delicious.

10 Minute Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 4 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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2 Med onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C olive oil
2 28 oz cans of tomatoes (I use my 750ml home canned tomatoes)
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp basil (or 1/4 C fresh)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in medium size pot on medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 min.
2. Add garlic, saute 1 min.
3. Add tomatoes, paste & remaining ingredients, bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve
4. If desired, blend to make smooth with food processor or immersion blender (I like to do this as I use my sauce for pizza sauce on my pizza)

Homemade Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 4 cups
  • Difficulty: Medium
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5 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see notes 1)
3 medium onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp honey (optional)

1. Peel & seed tomatoes, dice and allow to drain over colander for 10 min.
2. Chop the onion, mince the garlic and grate half of the carrot
3. Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat. When hot add the diced onions and saute for 5 min.
4. Add the garlic and grated carrot and saute for 2-3 min longer or until onions are translucent and tender.
5. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, parsley and sea salt. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
6. Add carrot piece for the last 30 min to absorb acidity.
7. Remove sprigs of herbs, bay leaves and piece of carrot.
8. Optional: use an immersion blender or food processor to puree sauce until smooth.
9. Use fresh or store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. I usually place in jars and freeze it until needed.

(1) To peel fresh tomatoes place in boiling water for 10-30 seconds, then drop in an ice bath. The skin will peel off. Scoop out the seeds and dice as desired.

Italian Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 3 pint jars/1500 Liters
  • Difficulty: Medium
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5 lbs fresh tomatoes (8 C puree)
2/3 C finely chopped onion
2/3 C finely chopped celery
1/2 C finely chopped carrot
1 green pepper, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 T lemon juice
4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 C fresh chopped parsley (preferable Italian parsley) (optional)

1. Peel, core, seed and chop tomatoes. Drain well in colander. Puree pulp in food processor, measure. (1)
2. Finely chop onions, celery, carrots, peppers and garlic.
3. Place in large pot, add tomatoes & bring to a boil. Boil covered for 5 minutes. until vegetables are tender.
4. Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper & herbs. Boil hard, stirring, until desired consistency. (I then puree as I like my pasta sauce smooth rather than chunky)
5. Place Snap Lids in boiling water, boil 5 min to soften sealing compound.
6. Ladle into sterile jars (2) with 1/2″ head space. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Center Snap Lid on jar, apply screw band until finger tight.
7. Process in boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pints, 45 minutes for 1L.
8. Remove jars, cool 24 hours, check jar seals (sealed lids curve downwards). Remove screw bands, store separately. Wipe & label jars and store in cool, dark place.

IMPORTANT: do not alter ingredients or quantities as it is important to maintain the same acidity per jar for safe canning.
(1) To peel fresh tomatoes place in boiling water for 10-30 seconds, then drop in an ice bath. The skin will peel off. Scoop out the seeds and dice as desired.
(2) I put clean jars on a cookie sheet in oven at 175 degrees for 20 min to sterilize. I usually leave jars in until ready to fill, ensuring I do not touch the inside of jar when removing from oven.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

A staple in our house is pizza. I LOVE IT, and it used to be such a simple meal, pick up the phone and order it from Panago. We still ordered from them when I just had a gluten and dairy allergy, however, since V’s allergies, we have switched to making it at home. We have Thursday night pizza night every week, and although it is a bunch of work upfront, it isn’t too bad as I make the crust every other week, freezing the extra crusts for the next night!

I hope you enjoy this pizza crust as we have hosted many people who are pleasantly surprised at this gluten free thin crust pizza.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

  • Servings: 12
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2 Tbsp active dry yeast (1)
1 1/3 C warm water (110º -115º)
1 C tapioca flour
2 to 2 2/3 C brown rice flour, separated
4 tsp xanthan gum / 2 Tbsp psyllium husk fibre (2)
2 tsp unflavoured gelatin (3)
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil/other safe oil (coconut, grapeseed etc.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Pizza toppings of your choice (pizza sauce, meat, cheese, veggies etc.)

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the tapioca flour, 1 1/3 C brown rice flour, xanthan gum, gelatin, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and sugar. Beat until smooth (I use the spiral dough hook on my kitchen aid). Stir in enough remaining brown rice flour to form a soft dough (dough will still be sticky). Don’t add too much or it will be tough.
2. Separate dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each dough ball into 13″ circles. Transfer to a 12″ prepared pizza pan, build up edges slightly. Cover and let rest for 10 min. (I always forget to do this part and it still turns out great).
3. Bake at 425º for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Add the toppings of your choice. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and toppings are lightly browned and heated through.
4. If you want to freeze your crust, I completely prep my pizza with toppings, wrap in saran and freeze as is in the freezer. I wouldn’t leave it more than a couple weeks to prevent freezer burn. I normally make 4 crusts and freeze 2.

(1) Corn allergy – avoid all yeast that contains any additives, most contain ascorbic acid, which is derived from corn. Red Star Active Dry Yeast is the only one I believe that is free of any additives, it has to be the individual single dose packages.
(2) Corn allergy – xanthan gum is iffy with corn allergies due to how they make it. We are making the switch to psyllium husk fibres, I’ll let you know how it goes
(3) Corn allergy – gelatin needs to be unflavoured and not made from vegetables to truly be corn free. I use a beef gelatin.

You may be wondering what I use as my standard toppings. I will break it down for you:

For those with dairy issues, I use Black Sheep Vegan Cheese which is a local product to the Okanagan, British Columbia, where we live. There are a few products out there but for those with corn allergies it isn’t easy finding safe cheese. This one has worked for us so far and tastes delicious.

For the sauce I use my Italian pasta sauce. It is delicious and super easy to make. I will post about it soon. I use as our pizza sauce as normal pasta sauce uses citric acid when canning it. I have three options to make it, the 10 minute method, the 2 hr method and the canning method, all relatively easy.

For meat I use either shredded, grass fed free range chicken or chicken deli meat from Sterling Springs Chickens, a local farmer.

For vegetable toppings I usually use chopped peppers, onion, minced garlic, shredded spinach etc. all sourced from our local farmers market.

Let me know if you made this crust and what you think! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Coconut Fruit Ice Cream

There is one thing I miss more than anything some days is a blizzard from DQ. Since V got her corn allergy we haven’t been able to even eat any store bought dairy free ice creams as they all have “gum” ingredients of some sort, all are usually derived from corn.

I bought an ice cream maker with the bowl that goes in the freezer, definitely a must for making your own ice cream. We use the Kitchenaid mixer attachment style but really, any will work.

Hope you enjoy! I have been enjoying my fresh fruit ice creams and sorbets this summer that’s for sure!

Coconut Fruit Ice Cream

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 Ingredient Coconut Fruit Ice Cream that is paleo, dairy free, vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, corn free

3 cups fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, mangoes, peaches etc.)
1 can Full Fat Coconut Milk, room temperature (I use Natural Value Coconut Milk) (1)
1 – 3 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional) (2)

1. Add fruit to a blender or a food processor. Blend smooth.
2. Add coconut milk and remaining ingredients (if using), blend until smooth.
3. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions for your machine.
4. Place in freezer-friendly, airtight container. This will freeze very firm, so allow to thaw for 20-60 min before scooping. If in microwave-safe container you can microwave in 15 second increments until slightly soft and scoop-able.

(1) Corn allergy – ensure coconut milk is gum free
(2) Corn allergy – Vanilla is made with alcohol, often corn, if necessary, you may need to make your own

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

I used to try to find recipes online by searching for recipes with gluten free, dairy free etc. in the heading. My husband had a great idea, why not just find a regular recipe because we know that it works, and adapt it with my gluten free flour mixes.

I placated him only to discover that most of the time it actually works really well and tastes delicious!

This is a recipe I found online and thought sounded delicious and had to make. I have had people begging me for them since I made them in March for my birthday. I also made them for my brother’s wedding reception and had several people exclaim that it was the best cupcake they have ever had.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (used my GF all purpose flour mix)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (1)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (2)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil) (3)
  • 3/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 large egg (I use Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer or a flaxseed egg to make it egg free) (4)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (to make dairy free use per 1 cup milk alternative, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Salted Caramel Sauce

Caramel Frosting

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (6)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I use Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar) (8)
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (see above)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cream, as needed (I have never needed any additional cream, if you do and need dairy free, you could use coconut cream)

Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with muffin papers. (I like to use silicone cups as who knows what is in the paper)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract (about 1 minute). Carefully beat in buttermilk.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture about 1/2 at a time, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, carefully beat in the boiling water.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full (It is super sticky, I find using an ice cream scoop with trigger release the best due to how sticky it is)
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until the tops feel slightly firm to the touch, toothpick comes out clean.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat the sugar while whisking constantly.
  3. Eventually, after whisking gently, the mixture will become smooth and dark amber in colour. Be careful and whisk constantly or else your caramel can burn.
  4. Carefully whisk in the chopped butter until it is fully melted (it will bubble up).
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract & salt. Set aside to cool (I store it in jars in the fridge)

Caramel Frosting

  1. In a large bowl beat the butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  2. Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar, starting with mixer on low, increased to medium to incorporated.
  3. Mix in 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (you will not need all that you made). It must be 100% cooled before adding it to the frosting.
  4. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with 1 Tbsp of cream until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  5. Frost the cupcakes using a knife or a piping bag (I used a 1M tip). Optionally, drizzle each cupcake with more salted caramel sauce. (If you are using the MELT butter your icing will be SUPER soft. Ice and put immediately into a fridge and only remove right before serving)

Recipe Notes
(1) Baking powder is not corn free. Find corn-free if need be.
(2) Many that are allergic to corn are sensitive to iodized salt as corn is used in the processing. Sea salt is better, but some are still quite sensitive.
(3) Don’t use “vegetable oil” as it can be corn or soy oil. Canola oil is one of the worst oils for cross contamination with corn. I usually use grapeseed oil. Olive oil isn’t always 100% olive oil either, so if you are sensitive, be careful.
(4) Some egg replacers contain corn, Bob’s Red Mill Vegan Egg Replacer is a good option, but you can also use flaxseed meal and make an egg if you need to be egg free as we do.
(5) Vanilla is made with alcohol, usually corn based, so many make their own safe vanilla. I haven’t done this yet as I need to get some vanilla beans. I’ll post how to make it when I do, just know, without homemade vanilla, this likely isn’t truly corn free.
(6) Depending on allergies use whatever butter you need. There are several options: MELT, Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, coconut oil, goat butter).
(7) When looking at canned coconut milk or cream be sure to check for gums. The one I buy is gum free as corn is used to make all the “gum” ingredients such as guar gum.
(8) Powdered sugar/icing sugar contains cornstarch to prevent clumping. I buy Wholesome Organic Icing Sugar as they use tapioca starch instead. It is possible to make your own.
(9) Store your cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge (if you use any dairy alternative butters the icing tends to be softer so needs to be stored in the fridge). Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen and thawed as desired and leftover frosting can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

One thing you always need to make sure is that all ingredients you are using are safe for everyone you want to eat it. Check for “may contain” ingredients or “processed in safe facility as”. Best bet, if you are making for someone else, check with them what brands they recommend that they know are safe for them to eat.

I hope that you can enjoy these as much as we do. I definitely find that these are better the second day when made gluten free.

Let me know if you made these and how they turned out!

Gluten Free Flour

For anyone that has been in my kitchen, you will know that I have more dry goods than most. This is because I need so many different flours to make any baked goods.

I actually used to use more of a variety and try out different types of gluten free flour like quinoa, sorghum, millet, teff, almond, coconut flours etc. I have pretty much completely switched to two flour mixes that work so well many don’t usually realize what I have made is gluten free.

I found these on a blog called glutenfreeonashoestring. The author has several flour mixes, but I have found that I mainly prefer 2 of them. Mock Better Batter and Mock Cup4Cup.

I have of course remained these to “Gluten Free All Purpose Flour” and “Gluten Free Pastry Flour”

Several notes about these mixes. They are measured by weight. The recipe makes 10 cups of flour. You can use these as a 1:1 substitute in regular recipes.

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

  • Servings: 10 Cups
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Great all purpose flour mix. Use with cookies, cupcakes, muffins, cakes, chocolate chip cookies etc. Substitute 1:1 in any recipe.

420 grams White Rice Flour
420 grams Brown Rice Flour
210 grams Tapioca Starch
210 grams Potato Starch
42 grams Xanthan Gum* or 40 grams Psyllium Husk Fibre
70 grams Potato Flour
28 grams Pectin** or 28 grams gelatin

Use a scale and whisk well together. Store in sealed container

* Xanthan gum is often not tolerated by those with Corn Allergies. This is something that you will have to play by ear. Another option is psyllium husk fibre, which is what we use.
** Pectin should be safe for those that are Corn lite

Gluten Free Pastry Flour

  • Servings: 10 Cups
  • Print

Light & airy. Great for biscuits, scones, pie crusts, pierogies etc. Substitute 1:1 in any recipe.

434 grams White Rice Flour
350 grams Arrowroot Powder***
196 grams Brown Rice Flour
210 grams Tapioca Starch
140 grams Coconut Milk Powder****
42 grams Potato Starch
28 grams Xanthan gum* / or 20 grams Psyllium Husk Fibre

Use a scale and whisk well together. Store in sealed container.

* Xanthan gum is often not tolerated by those with Corn Allergies. This is something that you will have to play by ear. Another option is psyllium husk fibre which is what we use.
*** Original recipe calls for Cornstarch. You can use this if you desire.
**** We use Native Forest Coconut Milk Powder. Beware of corn maltodextrin added. If you aren’t dairy free, you can just use dry milk powder or goat milk powder, which is what we previously used.

Use a scale and whisk well together. Store in sealed container.

** Pectin should be safe for those that are Corn Lite (refer to THIS site if you are unsure), however, I am also looking for a safer pectin as we aren’t sure if this is the case for V.
**** We use Native Forest Coconut Milk Powder. You have to be careful as many coconut milk powders have corn maltodextrin in it. The one we buy has gum acacia which some with corn allergies are sensitive to. Do what works best for you. If you aren’t dairy free, you can just use dry milk powder or goat milk powder, which is what we previously used.

Let me know if you have any new suggestions or if you have tried it in a recipe!

Weddings & Maple Baked Beans

The best part of weddings is the free food. Except for families with allergies.

My brother had his wedding reception this past weekend and they ended up having a potluck dinner, which made it easier to ensure there was food we could eat as we just brought our own, but there are always risks with food around others when you have allergies.

It has become second nature to always bring food to events that we can eat, because if I can’t eat, I will get hangry, which is not what anyone wants.

We made my family’s maple baked beans recipe which we almost ran out of (we made 70 servings). It is so good, and easy to make allergy friendly, especially if you have made my ketchup recipe.

Maple Baked Beans

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 lb dry navy beans *
4 quarts water, divided
6 slices bacon, cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbeque sauce (I used my ketchup)
5 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp prepared mustard**
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper


  1. Rinse beans and put in large pot with 2 quarts of water
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 2 min. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour
  3. Drain and rinse, put back in pot and cover with remaining water.
  4. Boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 min or until almost tender.
  5. Drain and reserve water.
  6. For oven: Place beans in casserole dish and add all remaining ingredients. Bake, covered, at 300 degrees F for 2.5 hrs or until tender, stirring occasionally and adding reserved bean liquid as needed. For Crock-Pot: Place beans in Crock-Pot, add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8 hrs

*I use a mix of black eyed peas, navy beans, black beans, and kidney beans

**If corn free, make sure your mustard doesn’t use white vinegar. The one I use has apple cider vinegar

So what makes weddings difficult for this with allergies? What’s the big deal?

First, who is making the food?

a) Is it a potluck, where everyone brings their own food; usually people have no concept of cross contamination or even fully understanding what is in their dish. Never ever trust someone’s word that it is free of certain ingredients. Do you know how many times I have had kitchen staff in restaurants try to convince me that butter isn’t dairy? Too many to count. No one knows your allergies like you do.

b) Is it a catered meal? If so, don’t just ask for what is (dairy, soy gluten etc.) free, because they don’t always make everything nor do they take additional training in understanding allergies. I always have to ask about each individual dish and it’s ingredients. Too many times do they forget that they put butter in the vegetables or milk in the mash potatoes until specifically asked about it.

Second, are your allergies anaphylactic?

What many people, even those with allergies, don’t understand is that any allergy can become anaphylactic at any time. Previous reactions are not indicative of what future allergic reactions will look like.

So if you are very concerned, or know for sure you have a serious allergy, check how they are preparing everything. Do they have your allergens anywhere near the food you are eating during prep in the back? Do they have a designated area they can prep your meals. Is there a way that they notify staff that your plate is separate or different (a coloured toothpick for example).

Third, how is the meal served?

a) Is it family style so you will serve your own food at your individual table? If that’s the case, make sure everyone at your table understands your allergies, that they can’t use anything other than the serving spoon in that specific dish, also ensure that said spoon doesn’t touch anything on their plate when they are serving yourself. Or maybe you need to go first and not have any seconds.

b) Is it buffet? Maybe you could check with staff and go through first, as everything will be cross contaminated by the time you go through the line. Or you could check with the servers about if they can dish you up a separate plate so you know that it is safe.

Lastly, do you trust people to wash their hands after they have eaten? Usually this isn’t a big deal for adults as those with allergies know to always wash their own hands prior to eating. This is a big deal if you have a toddler or newborn that still sucks on their hands. I have to watch to make sure people don’t touch my daughter V if they haven’t washed their hands, and kissing, even if it isn’t on the face, is forbidden unless you have washed your mouth.

Many may think this is ridiculous but we have had V break out in hives locally where J has kissed her after eating an allergen of hers.

Have you or any of your loved ones ever had difficulties at weddings or eating out? Please share! And if you have any new ideas or tips on what to look out for with food allergies, please comment.

All of this to say, we had such a great time at the wedding, but as an allergy mom I never truly relax.

Homemade Ketchup and Why We Make Our Own

When I told others that I found a way to easily make my own ketchup, everyone was begging for the recipe.

This recipe is simple, however it also takes all day. I cooked mine overnight, so I didn’t stir it as much as I probably should have, but it still turned out fabulously.

In addition, I will strive to put the recipe at the top of a post, because I hate scrolling through someones thoughts if all I want is the recipe. Enjoy!


  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is a simple, easy ketchup that tastes quite similar to store bought ketchup. My husband James has even agreed to use this ketchup instead of Heinz ketchup (which is huge as he is very particular about what he eats).


2 (28 oz) cans peeled ground tomatoes*
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup vinegar**
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 dash cayenne pepper (more if prefer it to be spicy)
1 whole clove


  1. Pour ground tomatoes into slow cooker. Add water, sugar, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and whole clove; whisk to combine
  2. Cook on high, uncovered, until mixture is reduced by half and very thick (10-12 hr). Stir every hour or so.
  3. Smooth the texture of the ketchup using an immersion blender for about 20 seconds. (I just used my food processor, immersion blender will make it smoother)
  4. Ladle the ketchup into a fine strainer and press mixture with the back of a ladle or spoon to strain out any skin and seeds.
  5. Transfer the strained ketchup to a bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper.

*Ensure that the cans of tomatoes that you are buying are free of citric acid if you are corn free. I have only found one brand that “may contain citric acid”, so for now we are using that, but are transitioning to just using fresh tomatoes, peeled and cooking those down.

**For those that have a corn allergy it is important to avoid white vinegar; any safe vinegar will work including rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or coconut vinegar.

This should keep for one year in the fridge.

When we first found out about V’s corn allergy, which was through trial and error, I had no idea about how vast of an allergy it is. At first we thought she was only reacting directly to the corn itself; if something said “corn” specifically.

For those who don’t know, V not only reacts if she eats an item, but she also reacts if I eat that item and breastfeed her. I had no idea this was possible for the allergen to pass through breast milk, but it can, and it’s scary how sensitive V is to allergens that I have eaten (reacts after eating a tsp of something that says “may contain” of an allergen she is allergic to).

Not long after we “got it under control” we noticed she seemed to be getting worse after I had ketchup several days in a row. I researched, and all ketchup in Canada is free of corn syrup, so I was confused, until I discovered that white vinegar is made from corn. It was only after removing almost all corn derivatives that V has been doing much better (follow the link for the list, and try not to feel overwhelmed).

I can’t tell you enough how important it is to read the ingredients on anything that you buy in the store. Depending on how serious of an allergy, you may also be required to contact the company to discover if it is truly safe for you to eat.

Pro Tip:
If you are cooking for a friend or family with allergies, don’t get frustrated if they refuse to eat something after you spent all this time ensuring it was safe for them. Instead, before you make food, inquire to them if there is specific brands that are safe for ingredients you are cooking with.
If you are removing something from its packaging or using it in something that will stay in your kitchen for a while to come, don’t throw out said packaging until you have documented somewhere the brand and the ingredients. I have made this mistake several times and have had to donate to family or throw out the food as I don’t remember if it is safe or not, especially if new allergies or sensitivities arise.

This has been such a difficult journey, and I will continue to share more about what we have gone through and where we are going. It has gotten easier as time has moved on and we have created a new normal for our family. We don’t eat out anymore. If we do, I need to call ahead and talk to the chef directly about absolutely everything, not really sure if it is worth it. I am trying to switch to a whole foods diet. I am no where near there yet, but in time, I’m sure we will be making almost everything ourselves.

For those that are just starting on this journey, it is ok to cry, it is ok to grieve.
I have bawled over the fact I can’t just grab something to eat while I’m out.
Meals take work, everything is made from scratch or close to it.
Trial and error with allergies is so exhausting and the unknown is terrifying.

I felt like I was failing my daughter. Every time I made a mistake V would scream in pain for days, how is that fair? Am I a terrible mother? Should I just give up and switch to formula? Is the formula actually safe? What if it makes it worse?

There are days I just feel drained, exhausted, wondering what normal life looks like.

It’s not easy, but we are getting there. I now have many safe foods I can buy, I have found local farmers I can buy meats and produce from. I have my own flour mixes, homemade condiments, etc that I make.

So let me just say this. You aren’t a terrible parent for making mistakes. I have to keep telling myself this. You learn, you document, and you move forwards, knowing that you are making the life of you and/or your child better.

I invite you all to join me on this journey of learning. What should we be eating, why are allergies more prevalent, what does it mean to make something from “scratch”?