Friday, December 20, 2013

Letter from Santa

This is such a cute idea from FARE, I had to share! It's a letter from Santa to a child with food allergies that you can personalize.  I'm printing one for Cody now.

Allergy Friendly Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint Icing

I saved my favorite holiday cookies for last. I can't think of many things that go better together than chocolate and peppermint! I started making these before Cody came along and adapted them to make them allergy friendly.
You'll need crushed candy cane for this recipe. TruJoy Sweets makes a good one that is allergy friendly.

This will probably be my last post for the year. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

See you back here in 2014!

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Chocolate cookies with peppermint icing

1 1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla

I use this recipe: "Best White Icing Ever"
Use peppermint extract instead of vanilla, and I used pomegranate juice instead of water to make the icing a little pink.
Crushed allergy friendly candy canes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt.
In another bowl combine the shortening, applesauce and vanilla.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
Roll dough into one inch balls, place on a prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly.
Bake 8 -10 minutes.
Let cool completely and use a knife to spread the icing on each cookie.
Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Allergy Friendly Ginger Cookies

As promised here's another recipe for holiday treats. We all love these and Cody asks for them all the time!

The first time I made these, I had another one of my baking misadventures. I love using parchment paper. It makes baking so much easier. I use it to line baking sheets and to roll out dough, but this time I accidentally used wax paper instead of parchment paper on the baking sheet. Not good! I knew something was wrong when it smelled like the kitchen was on fire. I opened the oven and it was full of smoke. Luckily nothing was on fire, but it made for a smelly kitchen and most sad of all is that the cookies had to be tossed. The moral of the story is, don't confuse wax paper with parchment paper!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Ginger cookies

2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh, grated ginger
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In another bowl mix the remaining ingredients.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. 
Place the dough on a surface with parchment or wax paper and roll out using a rolling pin.
Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes.
Place on a prepared baking sheet.
Bake 8-10 min only. Don't overcook. These cookies will harden as they cool.
Let cool and decorate with the icing.

Here's the link to the recipe I use for "Best White Icing Ever".

To make drop cookies using maple syrup instead of sugar:
Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups
Replace sugar with maple syrup
Don't add water.
Combine ingredients and place spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet. 
Cook as directed above.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Allergy Friendly Caramel Apple Pie

Hi, I'm back!

I wore myself out with all of the Thanksgiving recipes, so I took a little break. Below is a picture of Cody at the table with our top 8 allergen free Thanksgiving meal. We had a great day and it made me feel good to know Cody could try everything I made, even if he didn't like it. :) 

I am just going to post a few recipes for holiday treats I wanted to try.

The first is apple pie. Apple pie is my husband 's favorite, so I wanted to come up with a good one. Plus I really wanted to use some of that great caramel I made and posted about earlier. He thinks this came out delicious and so do I. So far Cody will only try the topping. He didn't spit it out, so that's a good sign!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Caramel Apple Pie

Pie Crust
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum Organic shortening)
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

10 apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons oat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup shortening 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a food processor, combine the flours and salt until well blended.
Chop the chilled shortening into pieces, add to the food processor and blend until you have small clumps (like breadcrumbs).
Slowly add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until a ball starts to form.
Test by pinching some of the dough between you fingers. If it stays together it's ready.
Place the dough in the pie pan and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

In a large pot combine the apples and other filling ingredients (except caramel). Stir until apples are coated.
Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Melt the caramel (if not already melted) in a small saucepan.
Stir caramel into the apple mixture.

Put all of the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined.

Pour apple filling into the pie crust and sprinkle topping over the apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 30 - 40 minutes until topping and crust are golden brown.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Maple and Cider Turkey

Last but not least, the turkey!

We usually do a turkey brined and roasted with green chile, something my family has always done, but I decided to do something different this year that might be more to Cody's liking, assuming I can get him to try it!
To brine or not to brine? I say brine! I really think it makes all the difference in flavor, but be careful. Many brines have way too much salt and you also have to make sure you don't get a turkey that has already been brined. No one wants a salty turkey! I often cut the salt in brine recipes in half at least.

Here's a tasty and allergy friendly recipe for cider and maple brined and glaze turkey.

Enjoy! Good luck with your meal preparation and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah! 

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free).

Maple and Cider Turkey
4 cups apple cider
4 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 large onion, cut in large chunks
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 orange, sliced
1 tablespoon peppercorns 
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
1 star anise

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup veggie broth
Salt and black pepper 

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. 
Stir while simmering until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Rinse turkey, place it in a large stockpot and pour in the brine. Add water and cider, if necessary, to cover the turkey.
Let the turkey brine overnight.
Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry. 
Rub olive oil over the turkey and, since I am not a turkey cooking expert, click here for cooking directions.

Combine the maple syrup, cider and broth in a sauce pan. 
Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Baste turkey periodically during the last hour of cooking.

Allergy Friendly Stuffing

I love that Thanksgiving is full of traditions. We use recipes that have been in my family and my husband's family for years and ones that are becoming our own new traditions.

This is another recipe from my husband's family, adjusted to make it allergy friendly.

I used three types of bread in this. My homemade oat and potato bread, millet bread and oatmeal bread. This is much better if the bread is hard. Leave it out for a day, or toast the diced bread in the oven for a few minutes.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan (if you omit the ground beef).


1 loaf of bread (use bread that works for your allergy set), diced or torn into small pieces.
1/2 lb. ground beef (omit to make this vegan)
One onion, diced
Two stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups vegetable broth (click here for recipe)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the bread pieces in a baking dish.
In a large skillet cook the ground beef until cooked through.
Add the onions and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft and the meat  is browned.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the meat and vegetable mixture, cranberries/raisins, chopped herbs and broth to the bread in the baking dish.
Add some more salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
Bake, covered, for 45 min.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees, uncover and cook for about 5-10 minutes more until the top is browned.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Allergy Friendly Green Bean Casserole

It's a Thanksgiving staple. Some love it and some hate it. If you didn't like it before, give this one a try. It tastes so much better made from scratch and without those canned, fried onions I always thought tasted weird.

My husband doesn't like mushrooms (sad for me because I love them!), so I left those out and I added a cup of peas and shredded carrots. Peas and carrots are Cody's favorite foods and I think he's more likely to try it with those in it. I can't believe I use peas to try to get him to eat things. I'm sure one day he will hate peas, so I'll enjoy it while I can!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Green bean casserole

Fried shallots
Vegetable oil for frying (be sure to use a high heat oil like sunflower oil)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Green beans and sauce
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 large shallots, diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oat flour 
1 cup oat milk (or other dairy free milk you like)
Salt and black pepper

Fried shallots
Combine the flour, salt, paprika and pepper in a bowl.
Toss the the shallots in the flour mixture until well coated.
In a heavy pan suitable for frying, heat a few inches of oil over medium high heat to 350 degrees.
Add the shallots, but be sure not to crowd them. You may have to do more than one batch.
Fry until golden brown, about a minute.
Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Green beans and sauce
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the green beans and cook to desired tenderness, about 5-7 minutes.
Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water to stop cooking and retain the color. 
Drain and set aside.

In a Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook until just softened about 4-5 minutes. 
Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes or until they start to release some of their liquid.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 8 - 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and stir in the green beans.
Top with the fried shallots and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, until bubbly.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Allergy Friendly Basil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Yes, it is possible to make creamy and delicious mashed potatoes without butter!

I love mashed potatoes and I love the added flavor these get from the basil.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Basil and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and halved (quartered if the potatoes are large)
1/4 cup vegetable broth (click here for homemade broth recipe)
1/4 cup oat milk (or other dairy-free milk you like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Fill a small bowl with ice cold water
Add the basil to the boiling water and boil for about 10 seconds. Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and immediately place it into the cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the green color.
Drain the basil and put it in a food processor. Add the milk and broth and mix until basil is very well chopped.
Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Boil for about 15 – 20 minutes, until very soft and drain.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the basil mixture, bring to a gentle simmer then remove from heat.
Use a mixer, potato masher, or potato ricer to mash the potatoes. I use a ricer because it makes really fluffy potatoes.
Pour in the basil and garlic mixture and fluff with a fork until well mixed.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Allergy Friendly Vegetable Broth

I will be posting some more allergy friendly Thanksgiving recipes shortly. Many Thanksgiving recipes require broth, so I thought this would be a perfect time to post this recipe.

It's really easy to make your own and also a great money saver. Store bought broths can be very high in sodium. When you make your own you control what's in it.

I make big batches and freeze it to use whenever I need broth.

Below is the basic recipe. Feel free to add other vegetables and herbs.


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Homemade vegetable broth

1 large onion
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
4 large garlic cloves crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 stems fresh parsley
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
10 cups water

Chop the vegetables into 1 inch chunks.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute.
Add water and herbs.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Strain and discard the vegetables and herbs.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Helping Families in Need

Looking for a way to help out families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday?

Below is a link to how you can help by sending allergy friendly food to distribute to families with food allergies who are in need because of the severe storms and tornadoes in Illinois:

Also, consider giving allergy friendly food to a local food bank, or domestic abuse shelter. You never know who might need help and have special dietary needs/restrictions.

Here's the link to one of my favorites here in Tampa and they always need items for children and babies who come into the center:

Thank you!

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

For as long as I can remember my mom made pumpkin dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. For me, these are a must have. It's less about having them with them with the Thanksgiving dinner and more about the awesome leftover turkey sandwiches they make!

I made some changes to my mom's recipe to make them allergy friendly for us. It took several tries to get them right. Actually I got it right the first time, but that was only because I made a mistake in measuring. Then I couldn't remember what I did, so I had to keep trying to re-create my mistake. Trial and error, right? Sometimes I think I should re-name this blog "My Misadventures In Cooking!"

They're not fluffy like my mom's, but they still taste really good and I can't wait for the leftover turkey sandwiches!


This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Pumpkin Rolls

4 cups oat flour
1 cup potato flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup warm (105-115 degrees) oat milk or other dairy-free milk you like
1 to 1 1-2 cups sparkling water (helps with rising)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon yeast
Olive oil for brushing on the rolls

In a small, oven proof bowl combine the milk and maple syrup.
To warm, I put it in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes until a thermometer inserted in the liquid reads 105-115 degrees. You can also use the microwave to do this.
Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes. The yeast should be bubbly and frothy by that time. If it's not, start over.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine the flours and salt.
When the yeast mixture is ready add it to the flour mixture along with the water, oil and pumpkin. Stir to combine until it forms a ball. The dough should be just slightly sticky.
Form the dough into rolls and place on a prepared baking sheet.
Brush olive oil onto the rolls.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to let rise for about an hour and a half.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie

I decided to try to make several of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes allergy friendly. I wanted to try them out before the big day and it's going much slower than I thought.

One of the reasons is because I really wanted to make a good, allergy friendly pumpkin pie. I thought it would be a breeze until I looked at the recipe from my mother-in-law that we always use. I saw the number of eggs and the other ingredients and thought, "uh oh!" I never before realized that pumpkin pie is basically a custard pie and custard is made from eggs. Great! The crust, which I originally thought would be more challenging was the easy part.

But I really wanted a good pumpkin pie that Cody could eat also, so I started experimenting. I made mini pies because I was worried about having too much leftover pumpkin pie. Ha! Most of it went in the trash.
So here's what I tried using as egg replacement:
Daiya vegan cream cheese- a runny, oozy mess and the flavor took over the pumpkin. 
Tapioca flour - gummy and gluey, not good. Also looked strange and shiny. 
That was day one. On day two I decided to make the custard without the crust so as to not waste more crust and time. I have a job and a small, energetic child to take care of during the day, so I have limited time to devote to my crazy kitchen (lab) experiments!

On day two I tried:
Arrowroot flour - not as bad as the tapioca, but still too gummy, gluey and shiny.
Chickpea/garbanzo bean flour - my new best baking buddy! It looked like pumpkin pie and when my husband tasted it he said, "mmm, that's pumpkin pie." Hurray! Or as Cody likes to say, "Puh, puh, hey!"

I should have known. I have used chickpea flour to make delicious egg-free omelets and frittatas, so it makes sense that it would work.

And I'm thrilled with how the crust came out! I am going to try a graham cracker crust next since that's what I usually make with pumpkin pie.

Below is the recipe for the crust and pie. Enjoy!

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree-nut free, soy free, fish-free and shellfish free) and vegan.

Have any of  you had any luck using other ingredients to make an allergy friendly pumpkin pie?

Pie Crust

1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup well chilled vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum Organic shortening)
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water

In a food processor, combine the flours and salt until well blended.
Chop the chilled shortening into pieces, add to the food processor and blend until you have small clumps (like breadcrumbs).
Slowly add the cold water 1 tablespoons n at a time until a ball starts to form.
Test by pinching some of the dough between you fingers. Is it stays together it's ready.
Place the dough in the pie pan and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk you like)
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chickpea or garbanzo bean flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Mix the pie filling ingredients in a food processor until well combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 40 - 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool completely before serving.

The first picture is the tapioca filling with the crust. The second picture is the chickpea flour filling without crust.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

FARE Walk Tampa

The FAREwell to Food Allergies walk was last Saturday and I'm so grateful to our family and friends who supported us and so happy we participated!
It felt great to participate and raise money for FARE an organization that has been an invaluable resource for us since we found out about Cody's food allergies.

They also do great research and government advocacy work. Just yesterday President Obama signed the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act into law. The hard work of FARE and others made this happen.

For me, it was nice to be around people like us who understand food allergies. It was so much fun to watch Cody run around and play around other kids. It was one of the only times I felt like I did not have to worry about him coming back to me with hives on his hands from touching something that another kid touched, or another kid running around with a peanut butter sandwich which always seems to happen at playgrounds these days.

Cody was happy because he got to see a fire truck up close! We all had a great time and look forward to next year's walk.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun Halloween Dinner, Skin Tests and FARE Walk

I hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!

Below is a picture of the Halloween dinner we had last night. I used my meatloaf recipe and made meatloaf mummies by melting white, vegan rice cheese over them. I used olives for the eyes and red pepper for the mouth. I got the great idea for the veggie skeleton from My Journey to Health and I used hummus for the dip.

Cody had fun making a jack-o-lantern, walking around in his costume, looking at decorations and other kids in costume. Later we handed out candy (allergy friendly gummy bears and lollipops of course!) to trick-or-treaters.

November is already off to a big start!

Cody had his food allergy skin test re-done since it's been more than a year. They test the top eight allergens and I asked to also test chicken and corn since Cody had some reactions to eating those in the past.

He still had strong skin  reactions to egg, peanut, dairy, wheat and now chicken, so we still have to stay away from those.

The good news is that some of the ones that were positive before were negative! Soy and corn were negative, which is huge since those are in so many things and corn doesn't have to be listed in the ingredients. Also negative were fish, shellfish and tree nut!

We are getting ready for the Tampa FARE Walk for Food Allergy next weekend. I'm really excited to participate, help raise money for this great organization and meet other parents of kids with food allergies. I have met some already and they have been a great source of support and information.

Before you know it it'll be Thanksgiving! I'm already thinking about some allergy friendly things to make.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Treats: Allergy Friendly Caramel Apples

Last but not least, my favorite Halloween treat, caramel apples! I remember when I was about 13 and had to get braces, I was most sad that I would not be able to eat caramel apples. That was the first thing I ate when I got my braces off!

Since Cody is allergic to dairy, I went searching for a good dairy free caramel recipe. I found one and it's really good. These might be some of the best caramels I've ever had!

Here's the link to the recipe for vegan caramel apples.

I had to make some substitutions for Cody's allergies. With the substitutions below, this recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

-For margarine I substituted vegetable shortening and added some salt.
-For soy milk I substituted oat milk.
-For corn syrup I substituted rice syrup.
-I used half regular sugar and half brown sugar (only because I didn't have enough regular sugar, but I like the result).

And now an important tip. As I mentioned previously, I had a caramel disaster. I didn't realize just how much the caramel would bubble up, so I ended up with an overflowing caramel volcano. This is not a fun mess to clean up, soooo use a very big pot and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Treats: Allergy Friendly Rice Crispy Treats

When I was little my grandma made popcorn balls for all of the kids in her neighborhood for Halloween and I used to help her. I wanted to make something similar for Cody, but we can't do popcorn. I decided to make rice crispy treats instead.

I couldn't find marshmallows that worked with Cody's allergies. One I looked at used fish gelatin! Not only are we both allergic to fish, but that just doesn't sound like something I want in my rice crispy treats - yuck! I tried to use brown rice syrup and butter. This wasn't bad, but just not quite as good as the marshmallow-y treats I remember.

I wanted this to be easy and I have no desire at this point to attempt making my own marshmallows. I already had a caramel disaster, but more on that in the next post. I went online and found that AllerEnergy sells marshmallows that are free of all top 8 allergens and also corn-free. Perfect!

Cody's cousin, Olivia, sent him a Halloween treat box. In it were some very cute cupcake decorations, so I decided to make rice crispy "cupcakes."  Thanks Olivia!

I used India Tree natural food coloring to try to make them purple, but I didn't use enough, so they're just kind of tinted!

These are delicious, easy and just like the rice crispy treats I remember. Enjoy!

This recipe is peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, dairy free, wheat free, soy free, fish free (had to throw that one in because of the marshmallows I saw), and corn free.

Rice Crispy Treats

6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 package AllerEnergy marshmallows
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the shortening and salt in a large saucepan over low heat.
Slowly stir in the marshmallows until completely melted.
Remove from heat, add the rice cereal and stir until cereal is completely coated with marshmallow.
Press into a greased baking pan, let cool completely and cut.
To make rice crispy "cupcakes" spoon into decorated baking cups immediately after combining the cereal and marshmallow. Let cool completely.

FARE's Tips for Safe and Fun Trick-or-Treating

In a previous post I said that Halloween has always been about so much more than 
food and candy for me. As you can see in the pictures below, Cody is having lots of fun 
getting ready for Halloween.

I remember trick-or-treating as a kid and how much I loved it. I really want
Cody to be able to enjoy it also.

Your child doesn't have to miss out on the fun of trick or-treating because of his or her food allergies. Click on the link below for some great tips from FARE on trick-or-treating safely while still making it a fun experience for your child.

I have a couple more posts about safe Halloween treats that will be up soon!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Treats: Allergy Friendly Oatmeal Cookie Spiders

As previously mentioned, I'm trying out some fun Halloween treats for Cody.

I thought these cookie ball spiders came out tasting and looking pretty good. I can't get Cody to try one yet, but he thinks the "spiders" are very fun to look at and that makes me happy!

These are pretty low sugar, so you might want to add a little more if you want them sweeter. A great thing about cooking with no eggs is that you can sample the dough before you bake it and make adjustments!

To make the eyes and legs I cut pieces from gummy worms. We like Surf Sweets and YumEarth gummies and candies. They're allergy friendly, organic, free of artificial dyes and flavors and delicious!

Pictured below are three variations of the cookies: regular, cinnamon and chocolate. And yes, I know spiders have eight legs, but I didn't have enough gummy worms because I might have eaten too many. Oops. I think they look better with six legs anyway!

This recipe is peanut free, tree nut free, wheat free, egg free, dairy free, soy free and vegan (if you use vegan gummy worms).


Oatmeal cookie balls

1 1/2 cups oats
2 tablespoons oat flour
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white grape juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries or raisins
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For finer oats, I give them a few pulses in a food processor before mixing.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Roll into one inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Chocolate - add 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Cinnamon - add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Muffins

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday! Cody may have some limitations when it comes to the candy and food, but there is so much more to Halloween than the food and I hope to share the fun of Halloween with him. There are costumes, decorations, parties, beautiful fall nights and spooky stories!

I still want him to enjoy some special Halloween treats, so I'm going to try out some ideas I have this year.

Below is a recipe for pumpkin muffins that I have been working on for a while. I thought it would be a great recipe to share now for fall and Halloween. And October seems to be the month for pumpkin everything!

I added some chopped, dried cranberries because Cody loves them.

These muffins are dairy free, egg free, wheat free, peanut and tree nut free and vegan.


Mini pumpkin muffin recipe

2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup rice or oat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown sugar for sprinkling on top.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease mini muffin pans.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice and salt.
In another large bowl combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, applesauce, oil, oat milk and vanilla.
Gradually stir in the flour mixture.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for about 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Allergy Friendly Green Chile & "Cream" Pasta

I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In New Mexico we put chile on everything and I do mean everything! You can even find chile chocolates, muffins and jam. And our chile is spelled "chile," not "chili." Our official state question is, "red or green?" This means red or green chile. Often the answer is, "Christmas" which is both. We are serious about our chile. And once you've caught the chile bug, you're hooked. Any of my NM friends, or anyone who has spent time in NM can back me up on this. My husband, who is from Indiana, lived in New Mexico for a few years and he also discovered the wonderful, addictive properties of  green chile. And besides being delicious, chile is also very good for you and very high in vitamin C.

I recently asked my mom when I started eating chile. She thinks I was about two. I would guess that might be late in comparison (we moved to NM when I was about one, so we got a late start). Would love to hear from my NM friends about this. Cody hasn't tried it yet, but soon maybe.

Anyway, we always have Hatch, NM green chile in our freezer even though we live in Florida now. Must. Always. Have. Chile!

September is prime chile roasting season in New Mexico, so no matter where I live I always have a hankering for lots of chile in September and October.

When my husband and I were living in New Mexico we went to a restaurant that had an amazing green chile, cream pasta. I decided to try an allergy friendly version.

If you order chile from NM and have not tried it, beware of the hot. Seriously, even if you like spicy food, it can be intense! If you don't have roasted green chile in your freezer you can usually find canned Hatch green chile at Whole Foods and some other grocery stores. It's not the same, but it will do in a pinch!

I might want to eat this pasta every night!

This recipe is dairy free, wheat free, egg free, soy free, peanut and tree nut free and vegan.

Green chile pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion chopped (I use red onion)
1 clove Garlic minced
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped, roasted green chile (depending on how spicy you want it).
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Daiya dairy free cream cheese
3 tablespoons plain Hummus
1 package rice or other gluten free fettuccine
Salt and pepper

Prepare fettuccine as directed on the package.
Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté until soft, about 7-8 minutes.
Add garlic and green chile and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add the broth.
Reduce heat to medium low and add hummus and dairy free cream cheese.
Stir until completely combined.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta when it is done, reserving some of the pasta water.
Remove the sauce from the heat, add the pasta and toss with the sauce.
Add a little bit of pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Traveling with a food allergic toddler

A couple of weeks ago we traveled to see my family for an early birthday celebration for Cody. 

The thought of traveling with a toddler can make even the most calm parents want to shudder in terror. So many questions, so much planning, and SO MUCH STUFF! Why so much stuff?

What if our usually very good little boy suddenly decides he's going to be a screaming maniac on the airplane? What if our iphones with the apps that keep him occupied and calm after he's bored with all the other books and toys we bring lose battery power? Why do we have 20 more bags to bring for someone so tiny? Would he sleep during his naptime on the plane as planned? The answer to that question in our case was that Cody had a nice, leisurely five minute nap. Yay. 

Traveling with a food allergic toddler? Well I just had to try not to think too much about it and throw myself into the planning and preparation for transporting a small child across the country and back.

I had a shopping list of foods for my parents to buy and have ready for when we arrived, we ordered and shipped some other items to them and went shopping for remaining items when we got there. Luckily there's a Whole Foods where they live, so we could easily find what we needed. And we packed 
our own cooking pan, utensils and blender to avoid cross contamination. 

We also had to make sure we had enough for Cody to eat during the long trip because we can't just pick something up for him to eat along the way. And our little guy likes to eat.

I have to say I was really happy with the security process and with Southwest Airlines and their policies for peanut allergic travelers. 

I was really worried about getting Cody's food and oat milk through security, but it was surprisingly easy. They just had us open his bottles to test the contents (they don't have to put anything in them to test) and everyone was very nice and helpful. 

We received a special boarding pass from Southwest that allowed us to board early so we could wipe down the area around where Cody was sitting and get his car seat in place which, for me, was his peanut barrier from stray peanuts/crumbs that may have been on or between the seats. We gave the boarding pass, which noted Cody's peanut allergy, to the flight attendants and they didn't serve any peanuts on the flight. One announced that there was a peanut allergy passenger, so no peanuts would be served.

I am surprised that airlines still serve peanuts at all given the increase in people with severe peanut allergies and the confined space, but I was very happy with how Southwest handled the situation.

It was much easier than I thought it would be and we had a great vacation and visit with my family. The preparation was well worth it! Oh yeah, and Cody did not turn into a screaming maniac on the plane. Whew!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Allergy-Friendly Icing On The Birthday Cupcake

Ha, ha, ha! Sorry, but I couldn't resist that silly title. It just got stuck in my head!

I found the perfect recipe for icing for Cody's birthday cupcakes. It tastes right, has the right texture, and it's allergy friendly and vegan.

Here is the link to the recipe for "Best White Icing Ever".

I used organic vegetable shortening made from palm oil and added some puréed cherries and blueberries for color and flavor.

In a previous post I posted the recipe for tasty allergy-friendly and vegan chocolate cake.

Cody really did not like the chocolate cupcakes, so I also made some vanilla cupcakes. I just substituted the cocoa with more oat flour and added another 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Voila! I had birthday cupcakes after some trial and error. One important note: do not overfill the cups otherwise you will have a gooey, fun mess at the bottom of your oven. I'm sure experienced bakers know this, but I learned that one the hard way!

What did Cody think of the cupcakes? Well my little Mr. Picky was not a fan. Too sweet and sticky for him I think. Oh well, more for me!

The cupcakes are wheat free, dairy free, egg free, peanut/treenut free, corn free and vegan.

Yummy Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Cake

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying out birthday cake and frosting recipes for Cody's upcoming birthday.

I found many recipes for vegan chocolate cake and they were all pretty much the same. I usually try to give credit when I use someone else's recipe, but slight variations of this one seem to be so widely used that I don't know where credit should go.

This cake came out really good and I was very happy with the way it looked and tasted.

My little food critic; however, wasn't impressed. This was his first taste of something chocolate. After a couple of tiny nibbles and licks he finally took a big bite. He made his "pfffft" noise, shook his head and spit it out.

So I'll try a few more times, but I guess I'll try another flavor.
and see if he likes it better.

The frosting proved to be more difficult. My plan was to make a cherry frosting. I tried sunflower oil based recipe and it tasted funny. I tried coconut oil and that was much better, but the coconut flavor overwhelmed the cherries and my husband doesn't like coconut. Also, the oil based frostings seeped into the cake after a while.

I did some research and I think the answer is vegetable shortening. I bought an organic, palm oil shortening, but I haven't tried it out yet. If you need frosting before I can try mine out, there are many recipes for shortening frosting out there. Let me know if you try it.

Below is the recipe for chocolate cake. It's wheat, dairy, egg, soy, corn, peanut and tree nut free and vegan.


Moms and Dads, what allergy friendly cakes have you made for your kids?

This recipe is free of the top 8 allergens (egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, fish-free and shellfish-free) and vegan.

Chocolate cake

1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup oat or rice milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cake pan or muffin pan.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In another large bowl combine the milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla.
Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Be sure to mix well.
Spoon the batter into the cake or muffin pan. Bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Colorado flood disaster relief

I went to school at CU Boulder, so Boulder and Colorado hold a special place in my heart. I was saddened to see the damage caused by the devastating floods. Many people were evacuated and their homes were damaged or destroyed.

There are families in need of assistance including families of children with food allergies who often face unique challenges in emergency situations.

Kids with Food Allergies Foundation is always great about finding places that will accept and distribute allergy friendly foods to families in need.

Below are two addresses where allergy-friendly foods may be sent. And here's a link to the KFA website with more information:


10700 E 45TH AVE
DENVER, CO 80239

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to Cody!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, happy boy! He's the the best thing that has happened to us and the inspiration for this blog. I love him more every day!

This post is a few days late. We've had a whirlwind couple of weeks. I have some catching up to do, but I didn't want to miss posting about Cody's birthday on a blog about him!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Allergy Friendly Pasta Salad

I can't believe the summer is almost over! Where did it go?

For those of you celebrating the last days of summer with a barbeque, or a back to school party here's an allergy friendly pasta salad recipe loaded with vegetables.

I sometimes add other vegetables I have around. I added some sautéed spinach to the one pictured below. Feel free to add other vegetables you like.

This recipe is wheat free, soy free, corn free, egg free, dairy free, peanut/tree nut free and vegan.

For some other weekend party ideas check out my allergy friendly recipes for Buffalo Hummus Burgers and Potato Salad. And for the adults only, try Summertime Sparkling Sangria.

Enjoy you Labor Day weekend!

Pasta salad

1 cup peas
1 cup finely diced, or shredded carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup finely diced zucchini or summer squash
1 lb. rice pasta spirals
1 tablespoon olive oil
Red wine vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Cook pasta according to package directions and let cool.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, broccoli, squash and peas and cook until softened about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
In a large bowl combine the pasta and sautéed vegetables.
Pour vinaigrette over the pasta and vegetables and toss.
Adjust seasoning.
Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Red wine vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients except the oil in a blender or with a whisk. Slowly blend in the oil.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Allergy friendly SeaWorld

We visited SeaWorld last weekend and it was an incredible experience! Cody loved seeing the animals, most importantly the sharks, which we had to see first to get him to stop saying, "where's shark" over and over. And I was very pleasantly surprised by how food allergy friendly SeaWorld is.

All over the park are allergy friendly snacks for purchase in stands labeled as "allergy friendly."

Also, every eating spot had allergy information cards that had advice and instructions. The other side of the card had a place to write down your food allergies to give to the staff at your chosen restaurant.

I was very impressed and encouraged. After we came home I looke into it more and found out that the SeaWorld parks, which also include Busch Gardens and Sesame Place, partnered with FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) to implement staff training and guidelines for handling of food allergies. Here is the link with more information: SeaWorld Parks allergy friendly dining and allergen information.

Not only did we have a wonderful time at SeaWorld  this weekend, but also found it to be a good allergy friendly getaway. We'll definitely be back and have plans to visit Busch Gardens soon also.

Anyone have any other great recommendations for good allergy friendly family vacations?