Omit-- Take dairy or other allergens out of a recipe. If a recipe calls for cream soup, just omit it. I did this with a creamy rice with broccoli and chicken recipe. I just made broccoli, ricc and chicken and mixed it together our daughter.
Adjust your thinking - Don't think how am I going to do this. Instead think this is what we have to do and people all over the country deal with this too. Finding resources can be very helpful so you as a parent don't feel so alone. Try to stay positive and optomistic.
Substitute-- Somwtimes it's very simple to substitute a soy or rice milk in place of regular milk. Sometimes it's not that easy. Here are some good resources for substituting for food allergies. Plus any blogs on my sidebar give great ideas, too.
- Go Dairy Free Substitution list
- E-Cookbook Substitution list (many more than just food allergies)
- About.com Substitution article
Invest - No doubt about it, trying to figure out how cook allergy-free takes a lot of time and energy. Be willing to invest your wholeself. If you do it half-hearted it will be much harder overall. Educate yourself with blogs, cookbooks and other great resources out there. Many listed on my blog.
Deconstruct -- Instead of following a recipe exactly, I now look at it as separate pieces. First I find the allergens we can't eat in the recipe. Then I look at every other ingredient. I decide then if I can just omit the allergen (usually dairy, such as cheese or milk-based sauce) or if I can substitute a soy or rice based product. I can now take just about any recipe and make it work for us and taste pretty good, too.
Experiment -- try new ways of cooking, it's okay if it fails(and many attempts will). You must try new ingredients and see how they work in different recipes before you really understand how to cook and bake with these substituting ingredients. Sometimes it feels like waste but some of my experiments have turned out to be absolute favorites.
Embrace -- realize this is just what it is and it's okay. Your purpose is to keep your child safe and healthy. We just get a little extra practice at it. And guess what you're child will embrace you and be very thankful.
Anyone have any other tips?