Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cooking Allergy Free--An App for That

A couple of years ago I joined a group of women who play Mahjong. We meet every week, and someone cooks dinner. We eat and laugh, and then we play. We decided to cook dinner because everyone was eating too many snacks during the course of the night, and we wanted to be healthy.

However, after two years, cooking dinner is a bit of a challenge. Some members of our group don't like certain food items like soup or even Brussel sprouts. Everyone is on a diet at one time or another and can't have carbs, fat, sugar, or something else! And others have food allergies. I think that food allergies, sensitivities, and auto-immune diseases like Celiac, have become more prominent in our Boomer generation. They are more easily diagnosed, so more people know they have them.

A recent entry to the iPhone App family called "Cook it, Allergy Free" was developed by Kim Maes, who is getting her masters degree in nutrition. Kim wanted to help people who want to cook taking allergies into consideration.  I like this app. The recipes look good and easy to follow and the amount of information given is amazing. Unlike many of the apps I've reviewed here, this one isn't free. It costs $4.99. If I make a number of the recipes and it helps me deal with the food allergy problems of my friends, then it will definitely be worth it.

When you first open the app you are greeted by a list of food types: Appetizers, Breads, Breakfast, Vegetables, Main dishes etc.

I decided to tap the Main Dishes tab, and I found that further broken down to Chicken, Beef, Pork and Seafood. Since chicken is a dish everyone will eat, I took a look at the chicken dishes.

The first one was Apricot Chicken with Almonds, which looked like a good prospect.

But what was I going to do about those pesky Almonds? One of my group can't eat them. Should I leave them out?  Well, this app provides a great list of items that can be substituted for almonds in this recipe. I'll pick one of those.

The app also has a way to create a grocery list for the ingredients, and can place the list by grocery isle, making picking up the ingredients easy. I don't know about you, but after all these years of grocery shopping for my family, I'm getting tired of it. Anything that makes it easier is appreciated.

If I were to have one criticism of this app is that I wish the nutritional information had been included. I'd like to know how many calories are in a serving, how much fat etc. Someone in my group is always on a diet and would like to know. However, in general, I'd say this is a good way to find new recipes and still accommodate dietary difficulties. I'm glad to have it and I thank the developers. For more information and additional recipes, check out the blog and website at Cook It Allergy Free.

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