Our Allergy Friendly Picnic To Stratford To See The Three Musketeers

Sunday, the boys, Nana, my nephews and I piled into my mom’s friend’s Bill’s van for a day trip to Stratford, Ontario…an allergy friendly picnic. (Note the Festival Theatre where we saw the show in the background)

The boys enjoying an allergy friendly picnic at Stratford

And a show…The Three Musketeers.

The boys at the Three Musketeers at Stratford

“All for one, and one for all!”

This was the third Stratford play for my boys…their first was Oliver and then Peter Pan…they were fabulous!

For my nephews, this was their very first ‘taste’ of the theatre…a great introduction to the theatre for the boys.

Everyone made their own sandwiches…which were wrapped up individually. Michael chose to fill his Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Bun with ham and romaine lettuce. (Note: the still wrapped cheese string was not his)

Michael's Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Bun with ham and lettuce for his picnic lunch at Stratford

On the side were fresh veggies (carrot sticks, red pepper and cherry tomatoes) and fruit (cherries, grapes and cubed watermelon).

Containers of grapes, cherries and cubed watermelon for our picnic at Stratford

Slices of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread were a hit.

Sliced Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Chocolate Chunk Loaf for our picnic at Stratford

I saved the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dairy, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares for the ride home with any leftover fruit.

I think the highlight of the day could have been the ducks and swans down by the Avon River where we picnicked.

The boys checking out the ducks and swans on the Avon River in Stratford

The boys were enamoured…I think Michael took about 150 pictures and cut it down to 70!

Picnics are perfect for solving where to eat when you have food allergies…and busy boys that like to get up and run around to expend some energy and explore.

Do you try to incorporate a picnic lunch into your travels?

P.S.  The table was covered with a table cloth to avoid any food contamination from previous picnickers.  A fork was used to take pieces of cubed watermelon, the grapes were cut into small bunches and the cherries were carefully pulled out one by one in order to reduce any cross-contamination.

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Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

My neighbour and friend, Leslie, is one busy mom…with two of her children in competitive swimming, one of them in rep soccer and a third child in karate….her schedule is all over the place.

Leslie was happy to share with me a recipe that her children enjoy as a snack to tide them over between meals when they are on the run. She hoped it might be something my boys would enjoy too.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

Oats, whole-wheat, wheat-germ, topped with a rich chocolate coating…one hardly notices these are full of fibre! Matthew loved them!

This recipe was passed on to Leslie from a long-time friend whose children love them. Surprisingly, her friend named these Brownies…an odd choice as they are nothing like Brownies.

I hand delivered samples of my version of Leslie’s Oatmeal BarsDairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Oatmeal Bars…to Leslie’s house. Her children were very excited to try them…their expert opinion…“Just like yours mom.”

A trip up the street to my other friend, Linda’s house where more samples of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars were delivered. I am happy to report they were deemed…‘delicious’.

I am always pleased when I can adapt a recipe to be allergy friendly for my boys and at the same time be enjoyed by both adults and children without food allergies.

In my eyes…that is what I call a success!

This recipe was easy to adapt…I switched the butter/margarine to Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or for a soy-free version use Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread, the egg to 1/2 tsp baking soda and 2 tbsp. water and I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ or natural bran (I used wheat germ)
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup demerera sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp pure vanilla

Topping

1/2-3/4 cups Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Chunks

In a large bowl, cream the sugar and Earth Balance of your choice.
Add the water and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
Combine the dry with the creamed ingredient mixture.
Pat into a 9 by 13 greased pan.
Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.
Spread the melted chocolate to cover the top of the oatmeal bars.
Let cool completely…will crumble if you cut it while still warm.

Enjoy!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

Tip 1:  Leslie’s daughter enjoys her Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bar warmed up in the microwave…her son Alex offers it up for dessert with a scoop of ice cream…while Evan, I believe he eats it anyway he can!

Tip 2:  I like to ‘tweak’ recipes…Here is my updated even healthier version of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars…Oatmeal and Chocolate with a touch of cinnamon…yummy!

1)  Use an equal amount of canola oil for the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.
2)  Use a flax egg (1 tbsp. flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp. water and let rest in the refrigerator while you put together the rest of the ingredients) and add to the oil and sugar mixture.
3) Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
4) Reduce baking soda to 1/2 tsp and omit the 2 tbsp. water.

I dropped off samples at Leslie’s house…what would her children make of the change?  They loved them both!

If you are looking for an Oatmeal Barbake the original version. For more of an Oatmeal Cookiebake the updated version.

I happen to prefer the cookie version better…which would you prefer?

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘British Flapjacks’

My interest in Flapjacks stemmed from this great article that I read in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine titled, “bar none When is a flapjack not a pancake? When it is a delicious, buttery British cookie”, by Molly Wizenberg.

A pan of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Flapjacks

I have to say, Molly’s article made me laugh. It made me recall my own memories of my trip to Europe with my best friend, at the age of 19.  Michelle and I visited my Scottish relatives and over-indulged in all their tasty delicacies. Thank goodness for Pepto Bismol! More importantly, it reminded me of an oatmeal cookie.

My Aunt Mary, in Scotland, is famous for her Oatmeal Cookies…could this have been a Flapjack? I quickly emailed my cousin who contacted his mother…I had the recipe the very same day.

My Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe turned out to be more of a cookie than a ‘flapjack square’. I tried it all the same and fell in love with the memory. Click here for my post on my adapted recipe for my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe.

I had to adapt a batch of Molly’s British Flapjack recipe to compare…I replaced the butter with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or for a soy free version use Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread.

A selection of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Flapjacks

I love Molly’s description of her experience eating her first British Flapjack

“You take a bite, and it tastes good, if a little wholesome. But you keep chewing, and in a second or two, the flavor opens up threefold, big and toasty and rich, and your salivary glands start going, and you think, This is delicious. I don’t know what this thing is, but I’m going to need another.”

Molly is ‘bang on’! Both my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie and Molly’s British Flapjack have that rich, toasty oat flavour that makes your mouth water. Whereas, the cookie is, well, more like a cookie…the flapjack has a slightly sweeter, candy like chew to it.

A Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Flapjack and Oatmeal 'Flapjack' Cookie

Frankly, both are yummy and terribly addictive!

Enjoy!

Click here for the Molly’s original article and here for her original recipe.

Tip 1:  Molly’s British Flapjacks were a bit difficult to remove from the pan…might want to remove them soon after they have cooled and store in another container. Although, I did enjoy nibbling on all the bits stuck to the pan!

Tip 2: I would love to try both my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie and Molly’s British Flapjack using canola oil instead of Earth Balance.

Tip 3:  Oat flour would make for an even ‘oatier’ taste and texture in my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie.

Tip 4: Both my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookie and Molly’s British Flapjack could be gluten-free using gluten-free oats, flour or oat flour.

Tip 5:  Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a British staple…many would say it is irreplaceable in both my Aunt Mary’s Oatmeal Cookies and in Molly’s British Flapjacks.

Enjoying the March Break 2013…With Food Allergies

This March Break 2013, our family is staying close to home…no big trips like our first trip away as a family in years to Stowe, Vermont last year. Click here to read all about skiing trip and our ‘little cabin in the woods’.

So far the boys have enjoyed late nights, sleeping in, playing road hockey with their neighbourhood friends and just hanging out with some of their friends…but the highlight so far has been the opportunity to play some stick and puck with their father...arranged by my husband’s hockey team.

Michael and Matthew playing some stick and puck witht their father

All the hockey league players could bring their kids and skate around with a stick and puck.

Michael even played with the ‘big guys’…full equipment required.

Michael and his father after playing a game of pick up hockey with the guys

A game of pick-up hockey was arranged afterwards…short a few players, Michael subbed in. He was ecstatic to say the least!

Never knowing if food will be around…I made sure to bring some juice boxes, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares and Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Matthew made the suggestion, “Can we make Waffles for lunch?”

Matthew enjoyed helping to make a batch of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Waffles and bacon for lunch the other day…the notion of ‘waffles for lunch’ quickly aroused Michael from his sleep.

Hoping to get to see the movie, ‘Oz’…Matthew really wants to see it.

Our family avoids food issue sat movies by just not having any at all. I figure going to the movies is all about experiencing the movie up on a big screen…not about the food. I know others would make the claim that the ‘whole experience’ of going to the movies includes the food…that may be so, but unfortunately, such is not the case in ‘our world of food allergies’.

My other hope is to take the entire family out for dinner…not as easy as one thinks. I have my eldest son’s food allergies to consider…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry.

I am not having much luck…feeling very down-hearted.

If anyone in Ontario has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate hearing about your experiences…good or bad.

P.S.  I am also enjoying the sleeping in…hence, the later posting of my blogs. 🙂

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been perusing through the piles of magazines that have been collecting in various corners of my house…tearing out recipes that I hope to adapt.

One such recipe that caught my eye was in the July/August 2012 issue of Eating Well Magazine.

A plate of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was the winner of Best Cookies…after reading over the recipe…I just had to adapt them. Click here for the original recipe.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

A plate of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yum is all I can say about these crunchy little gems!

Their taste reminds me of a chocolate covered digestive…one of my favourite store-bought cookies my mom would purchase for special occasions.

Matthew was very taken with them…he polished off three of them in one sitting.

Adaptions:

I substituted 1/4 cup of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (for a soy free version use Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread) for the butter.
I substituted 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of water for the egg. Just increase the baking soda in the original recipe to 1 tsp and add the water when the egg is added in the original recipe.
 I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

P.S. I am thinking… Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Whole-Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies will be the perfect cookies to send to my Secret Sister. Lovely with a cup of tea to warm up after a brisk walk with her dog. I have signed up for Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily’s Spring Secret Sister Swap.

I will be posting my package to my Secret Sister in the coming month…watch out for it!

Happy Valentine’s Day With Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Heart Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day from The Food Allergy Chronicles!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Heart Cookies for Valentine's Day

Surprised my boys with Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Heart Cookies for after school.

Click here for the recipe.

More surprises in store for them for dessert tonight. Posting tomorrow.

Any surprises for your loved ones today?

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Haystacks

I stumbled upon this handwritten recipe (written by me as a teenager) for my favourite childhood bake sale treat…Chocolate Haystacks.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Haystacks with a recipe written when I was a teenager

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner…I thought this chocolatey treat, filled with whole oats, coconut and rich cocoa, would be the perfect sweet indulgence to adapt for the boys.

I was right…they loved them!

I have no idea where the original version of this recipe came from…more than likely, I asked the mother of the child who brought in the Chocolate Haystacks for the bake sale.

Yes, even at such a young age I was drawn to recipes…I was and still do, ask anyone for a recipe if the dish is deemed to be delish!

Simple to make with no baking required…just measure, boil, mix and stir!

Adaptions for this recipe included:

1)  Butter…Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks (for a soy free version substitute Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread.
2)  Milk…Natur-a Soy Beverage or for a soy free version, Natur-a Rice Beverage
3)  Cocoa…just make sure that the cocoa powder you use is dairy/peanut/tree nut free if you have these food allergies.

Always check all ingredient lists and allergy alert warnings no matter how familiar a product seems to you.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Haystacks

A plate of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Haystacks

2 cups Demerara sugar
1/2 cup Natur-a Soy or Rice Beverage
4 cups whole oats
1/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks or Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread
6 tbsp cocoa (dairy free/peanut/tree nut free)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

In a medium saucepan, melt sugar and choice of Earth Balance.
Let it come to the boil.
Take off heat and quickly stir in oatmeal, coconut and cocoa. (I had them all pre-measured in a bowl)
Drop from spoon onto wax paper.
Let stand to firm.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Haystack

Mmmmm…just how I remembered them to be…delish!

Do you have a childhood favourite recipe you have adapted for your children to enjoy?
Will you be baking any allergy friendly treats for Valentine’s Day?

P.S. Hope you are all weathering the storm that has hit Southern Ontario…as I sit here looking out my front window, it is a ‘white out’! How bad is it where you are?

‘Twas The Day Before An Allergy Friendly Christmas’

‘Twas the day before an allergy friendly Christmas and all through the house, my boys have been itching for todays great excitement…the imminent arrival of my brother, sister-in-law and nephews arrive! My boys are ‘over the moon’ excited!

‘The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care…in the hopes that their cousins would soon be here!’

Estimated time of arrival…before lunch! I better get busy…there is still the prepping of the Dairy, Egg, Beef and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Stuffing for our grand farm fresh turkey, baking Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake and the ‘piece de resistance’ for our Chrismas Day dessertDairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log.

The boys have had ‘visions of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Men and Sugar Cookies dancing in their heads.’

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread, Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies on a plate

Good thing all my allergen friendly christmas cookie baking is complete.

‘When out from Michael’s room I hear a faint hoarse whisper…I sprang to his room to see what was the matter.’

‘Away to the walk-in doctor’s we flew in a flash (7 more patients and they were closing)…Sat there for 3 hours, a chest infection the cause.’

‘Now Nana, now Matthew, now Andy and me…to the grocery store, empty the recycling, pick up the turkey, get the house cleaned and start a batch of  Homemade Chicken Soup.’

‘Now dash away…dash away…dash away all!’

“As I spring to the kitchen, to set the timer to whistle!…I exclaim…as I start with my next recipe…’A Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.'”

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours this holiday season!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies Are A Hit!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies represented Matthew’s Scottish heritage…my father’s side of the family…for his contribution to his geography class’s Cultural.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies dipped in Chocolate

Packaged in an old St. Michael’s Scottish Shortbread tin…they were a huge hit!

Matthew and I spent an evening ‘painting’ melted Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips on half of the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies. Click here for the recipe.

While we waited for the chocolate to dry…Matthew helped me bake the other half of the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookie dough into his favourite Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowballs!

Drying and cooling Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

Rolling them in icing sugar while they are still warm…they cooled alongside the drying chocolate.

Tomorrow is all about Gingerbread MenDairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread dough is all made and resting in the fridge ready to be rolled, cut out and baked into various holiday treats! Click here for the recipe.

How is your allergy free holiday baking coming along?

Busy Baking For An Allergy Friendly 2012 Christmas

As much as I am enjoying adapting and baking along with The Toronto Star’s 2012 Cookie Calendar Countdownit is time I started baking and stocking up on some of my family’s most requested allergy friendly baking for Christmas.

Michael has long finished his favourite…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Men and just the other week, Matthew put in his two cents worth of hinting, “I think it is time for Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies.”…he is right.

Today I will be busy baking up some Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookies for Matthew’s Geography class…each student is to bring in a food representing a part of their culture…a shortbread cookie represents Matthew’s Scottish heritage on my father’s side. (The teacher has requested that all food be peanut/tree nut free…however, due to cross-contamination issues, Matthew does not feel comfortable eating any of the treats his friends will be bringing in for the lunch. He will be bringing his own lunch.)

I will use half the batter to bake the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sugar Cookie cut outs dipped in chocolate (melted Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)…while the other half will have Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips added to the batter to be baked into Matthew’s favourite cookie…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowballs.

Next on my list of baking…the over ripened bananas. Perfect for everyone’s favourite Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake and Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bran Muffins . Both will satisfy all the hungry eaters I will have over the Christmas holidays. (Muffins can be frozen and then reheated in the microwave for a quick snack or addition to breakfast.)

I am hosting our family’s Allergy Friendly Christmas Dinner this year…although it is a lot of prep and work…I relish the thought of doing it all in my own kitchen, with my own kitchen supplies, and minus the travelling.

I hope to bake my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log for our Christmas dessert…if time runs out, I can always pick up a frozen Guardian Angel Chocolate Yule Log at my local Metro which is free of peanut/tree nuts, dairy and eggs.

I hope to post photos along the way…stay tuned!

How are your plans for an allergy free holidays going this season?

2012 Christmas Santa on tree

Merry Christmas!