Cooking with Alternative Ingredients

Cooking with Alternative Ingredients

Cooking with Alternative Ingredients

I remember the first time I got the blood test back showing the results of all the things Little Miss Sparkle reacted to.  I literally sat on the floor and cried.  How IN THE WORLD was I going to feed my child?! ( I try to keep the following fact under wraps, but the truth is,  I am not the smartest nor the most creative crayon in the box and I am definitely no gourmet!)  And suppose I did figure out what to fix for her, was she even going to eat it?!

It is now 7 years later.  I have learned a lot and my family has not died of starvation, contrary to my fears.  I started Sparkle out on a rotation diet (I will write a post about that another time).  No longer were convenience foods an option and our days of Happy Meals were over.  No dairy was allowed in my little girl’s diet, so bye-bye yogurt, cheese sticks, mac and cheese and ice cream.  She reacted to all fruits and veggies that were orange (I know!  Bizzaro, right!?).  No white potatoes, so no more fries or mashed potatoes. She couldn’t have beef or pork (No bacon!?  Kill me now!!) and limited amounts of chicken.  Seafood was off limits.  She couldn’t have seeds or nuts or beans or peas (or anything from any of their families).  Peanuts were the biggest, baddest no-no.  Sparkle couldn’t have wheat, rice, oats, rye, sesame or corn.  Ah, corn.  The one food on this planet destined to drive me bonkers.  Why, you ask?  Because corn is in EVERYTHING.  Everything, from being between paper plates to being in EVERY children’s medicine on planet Earth. Lastly, she couldn’t have soy.  Soy is another insidious little demon found in about 80% of the food you buy at the grocery.

So what was left?

Since we were putting Sparkle on a rotation diet, I had to pray lots and start thinking outside the box.  I Googled food lists, made lists of her safe foods and tried to figure out what to do with our new finds, which included foods like parsnips, amaranth, cassava, rutabagas, tigernut (not a real nut), barley, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff, boar, antelope, lamb, elk, grapeseed oil, seaweed, agave syrup, plantain flour, arrowroot and tapioca starch.

We have come so far and God has been my help along the way.  We even figured out how to make a birthday cake, Christmas cookies and Easter candy.  We make chicken nuggets, tortillas and the best darned marshmallows!

I hope this post is encouraging to someone who is trying to cook with alternative ingredients.  Maybe you have determined that you need to take dairy out of your diet and you are wondering what to eat now.  Maybe your child is allergic to eggs and wheat and you feel at a loss when you try to think up a menu for the week.  Maybe your husband tells you he thinks corn syrup is giving him migraines.  Relax.  Breathe.  There is hope, I promise.  There are other choices, and in time, you will get used to new and different foods.  If I can help in this transition, please let me know.  Comment or send me a message, and remember, we can get through this TOGETHER!


The following is Little Miss Sparkle’s favorite marshmallow recipe.  She is so excited that I am going to let her type it.  LOL.  Enjoy!!!OLD-FASHIONED ‘MALLOWS:

HEY EVERYBODY! It is little miss sparkle and SHINE! This is my favorite marshmallow recipe, also the only marshmallow I have ever had! LOL.  I believe my uncle found this recipe for me years ago and I am so thankful.


2 Tbsp gelatin ( 2 packets of knox) (We use special grass feed gelatin)

1 Cup of cold water, divided

2 Cups granulated sugar

1/2 Cup powdered sugar ( Optional )

1/4 Tsp of salt

2 Tsp of vanilla extract  ( You can also add different flavors of extracts, like mint, maple, what ever floats your marshmallow boat 🙂 )

  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and half of the water. This part is pretty disgusting. The powdered gelatin gels up rather quickly, and you are left with this weird looking substance.  It does not  even move.
  2. Take a cookie sheet or cutting board cover it with a thin layer of powdered sugar, or cane sugar.
  3. In a medium sauce pan combine the granulated sugar and the remainder of the water and cook it over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Add in gelatin ( as I said this stuff is majorly gross!) and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then removing it from the burner.
  5. Add in salt and vanilla.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and whisk for a minute or two on low.  This is to cool the mixture, so you should see a lot of steam rising.
  7. When the amount of steam leaving the bowl has subsided a bit, turn the speed up to full throttle.  Do this for about 10 minutes or until the mixture has doubled in size.  You will know it is done when it is thick and creamy, not so stiff you can’t work with it.
  8. Pour the mixture onto the sugar-covered flat surface and let it cool.  When it has cooled it will be tacky but not fully stick to your finger.  At this point, dust with the remaining powered sugar.
  9. Now cut the marshmallows into whatever shape you want.  We like squares best, since nothing gets wasted.

A thank you for this recipe goes to Jerry James at Cooking Stoned. (He doesn’t mean the drug. LOL).

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  • Kelly says:

    Loved this! It was fun to see her personality come out as she typed the recipe!

    • says:

      Thanks, Kelly. She was so excited to be able to have a part in this as well, although she was sad I took out several of her bad jokes:)

  • Rhonda Marsh says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing as an encouragement to other moms/families! It’s been a journey!

    • says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Rhonda. It has been a tough road but hopefully I can be an encouragement to some other people who are ready to throw in the towel. I appreciate you!

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