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Recipes on January 20, 2014 by

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Cheese Sauce + Feeding a Toddler

Over the last few months, I have been on a journey to figure out what was causing my 15 month old’s seemingly endless bout of eczema. The itchy, dry, red rash covered his whole body and nothing was helping. After multiple visits with his pediatrician, a dermatologist, and an allergist, we were doing a heavy regimen of steroids, lotions and antihistamines. Nothing was working very well and the idea of keeping my little one on steroids and antihistamines indefinitely was NOT on my agenda for his childhood. Finally, I decided to visit a naturopath. I knew that there had to be a deeper reason for this skin issue than “kids just have it.” With her help, we tried a few remedies, starting by removing dairy from his diet, then adding on a probiotic, vitamin D, and a healthy dose of omega-3’s daily.

Within a few weeks, his skin had completely cleared up. We do not know which of the remedies was the most helpful, but, we are not changing a thing. It worked. That’s all that matters. In this line of work, I am not surprised that food interventions coupled with a probiotic and omega-3’s changed his chemistry for the better. I talk to people every day who have seen huge improvements in their health by adding omega-3’s in the form of flax and chia or by removing dairy or gluten. Food is medicine.

macaroni and cheese

All of this is to say that we had a heck of a time figuring out how to feed a toddler when milk is out of the question. Not that he ate a ton of milk-based foods, but string cheese was his favorite snack and macaroni and cheese was a special, much beloved, meal. After buying a box of non dairy mac and cheese (at $4 a pop!), I realized that the “cheese” powder was pretty darn similar to this recipe for “Cheese” Sauce. I thought I’d give it a whirl. It was a big hit over whole wheat macaroni, and worked well for enticing my son to eat broccoli and other veggies. Plus, I like that I can control what is in it. He gets some bonus B-vitamins and (in my house) we replace the margarine with coconut oil to increase the good fats my son is missing out on from not drinking whole milk at this age. While I still haven’t mastered feeding the picky toddler, at least I have some mac and “cheese” to fall back on. 

Nutritional Yeast “Cheese” Sauce

This sauce is great for nachos, vegetables, potatoes, sandwich spread (just a dab), well, just about anywhere you might like some cheesy, saucy goodness. 

Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Margarine, Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Cold Water
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Unbleached White Flour
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast

Whisk together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan:

  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Unbleached White Flour
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

Place pan over medium-high heat and whisk in:

  • 2 cups cold Water

Continue whisking as sauce thickens, bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, cook 1 minute, remove from heat.

Whisk in:

  • 1/4 cup Margarine or Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard

Sauce will thicken as it cools, but thins down when heated.

Makes 8 servings.

Comments

Greg Louis says:

Can this be made with a GF flour in place of the white flour?

Yes, I would recommend your favorite gluten free flour blend. The starch is what will help it thicken, gluten doesn’t really play a critical role here.

I am so glad you found a remedy for the little man. I know it is so frustrating when you have to keep searching while our little ones suffer. This looks amazing! I’m definitely giving it a try!

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