Monday, July 25, 2011

Operation Grassroots Alaska: MAID in Alaska

Gluten Free Bread Never Looked SO good!
This edition of  "Operation:  Grassroots Alaska" hits sort of close to home for me as we've switched to a gluten free diet to try and help my son with developmental delays.  And yes, it does seem to be helping having him on the diet, so unless our doctor tells me to stop, I'm figuring we're sticking with this for a while.  Since I started researching gluten free diets, I've become more familiar with food allergies that seem to go hand and hand with a lot of people who are on gluten free diets and am just amazed at the stories I'm hearing from complete strangers standing in line at the grocery store as they are examining my gluten free purchases and giving me their stories of food related woes.

And so, this edition of "Operation:  Grassroots Alaska" is for all of you whose culinary lives are just at the least challenging to work with and at the most deadly to step outside of the boundaries of.

MAID in Alaska is a site run by a woman named Megan, who between herself and her children's needs creates gluten, dairy, corn, soy, potato, tomato, peanut, and (mostly) refined sugar free recipes.  

I really like this site.  For one the recipe index is so darn easy to navigate that even I, who am TERRIBLY afraid of trying my hand at gluten free baking since the first loaf of gluten free bread killed my bread maker (who knew even a gluten free mix would need a bread maker with a gluten free setting...oops on my part), find it easy to look through the recipes, figure out what seems manageable and go from there.  Each recipe is marked beforehand on what things the recipe is free of, so it's easy to figure out what would be friendly to your needs.  And the few recipes I've tried on the site have turned out well, which honestly I can't say that for a few other disasters I've had from other sites.

Everyone who I have heard that has used this site and/or I have recommended the site to, has said how much they loved the recipes from it and how great it is to be able to make the recipes and start to enjoy food again.  I've personally tried a few of the recipes myself and have found that they are indeed yummy recipes, even with all of the "stuff" missing and/or substituted in them.  I would never have thought that I could create Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins with no egg, gluten, dairy or cane sugar and still come out with really GOOD tasting muffins (and I'm so darn proud of myself for making them *laugh*).  They are in my freezer right now ready to get defrosted and buttered tomorrow morning.  Oh yeah!

I would recommend, if you have any allergies to any of the foods listed above, to definitely check out her site, or heck if you are just trying to eat healthier.  I know how hard it is to find some gluten free foods that your kids will eat, I can imagine how hard it is for those of you with multiple allergies in the family.  Allergies seem to be so much more common place anymore, that I feel sites like this are not only cool, but also important as a resource for those of us who can bake from a recipe but don't do "experimental baking".  I can cook without a recipe no problem...baking...not good at improv really and honestly.

The site is entirely free (and hopefully one day we might see a cookbook out of it :), so I wanted to help to "push" a local source for allergy friendly recipes and hopefully help some of you out who might have allergies in the family, but didn't know this site (which happens to be run by an Alaskan ;) existed or was available to you.

Living with allergies doesn't mean that food can't taste good.  It just means that you have to get more creative with your options.  And MAID In AK is here to help you exercise those options.  Enjoy!  Your bread that is ;).

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