Allergy Friendly Baking For The Summer

Summer’s Here…this week I decided to get started on some of my Allergy Friendly Pies to freeze for easy summer desserts.

I started with Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie (click here for the recipe) and a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Pie. (click here for the recipe)

A Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple and Blueberry Pie ready to freeze for a summer dessert

One of each of the boys favourites.

Blueberries are all in the stores so I made 2 more with fresh berries.

Two Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Pies ready to freeze

The family favourite.

I happened to have 3 apples left…not really enough to fill a double crusted pie…but just enough to make a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crumble Pie.

A freshly baked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crumble Pie

Much to Michael’s delight!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crumble Pie

Crust

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/6 cup water (40 mL)

Measure dry ingredients into a bowl.
In a measuring cup, measure the wet ingredients.
Stir together the wet ingredients and swiftly combine them with the dry…do not over mix. I usually finish mixing the last bits of the dry in as I gather the dough together.
Roll dough out between two pieces of floured wax paper to the size of your pie plate.
Carefully pull back the top piece of wax paper keeping the dough attached.
Place dough carefully over the pie plate…remember, do not fret if the dough breaks or tears…pastry dough is very easy to just put back together.
Trim the edges and make a nice edge.

Crumble

1/2 cup Demerara Sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil

In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together.
Pour in the canola oil and combine until it is crumbly.

Assembly

Fill the pie with the sliced apples…I had three.
Sprinkle the crumble over top.
Bake 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden.
Let cool on cooling rack until ready to devour.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crumble Pie

What will be on your list of allergy friendly baking this summer?

Tip:  Freezing the pies in the extra-large freezer bags makes them perfect for travelling in the summer…they act as freezer packs, do not thaw out and can be placed right in the freezer or in the oven for an easy summer dessert with friends or family.

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Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple and Blueberry Crostata’s

Are you as happy as I am that apple season is here!

Despite the late frost in spring…I was delighted to see local apples for sale!

A basket of Cortland apples from MacMillans

I picked up these local Cortland beauties at MacMillan’s.

This past weekend, our family celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday. Since I had not baked a fruit pie/crostata all summer and I know how much my father/mother in-law love them…it seemed like the perfect opportunity!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple and Blueberry Crostatas

Dairy, Egg,Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple and Blueberry Crostata

The beauty with making a fruit crostata is it only requires half the dough required for a pie. Thus, with a couple extra family members, two crostata’s from one pie crust recipe was perfect. This pleased both my boys as they each prefer different fruit pies…apple and blueberry.

As a full meal was planned…Rotisserie Pork Roast, Roasted Mini Potatoes with Onion and Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Carrots, steamed Yellow and Green Beans and Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick (a must at all occasions)…I decided to start my baking in the morning.

While waiting for the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick dough in the bread machine, I started on the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple and Blueberry Crostata’s. By the time I had finished baking the two Crostata’s, the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick dough had finished in the bread machine, I had rolled out the two french sticks and let them rise.  I was ready to just pop them in to the oven. When the bread was finished, the oven was free for the roasting of the potatoes and veggies later in the day…Andy was in charge of the rotisserie pork on the barbecue.

With all the gorgeous smells emanating from the oven…the boys could hardly wait for dinner!

As we knew we would not be able to celebrate a Thanksgiving dinner with Andy’s parents the following weekend, it was really lovely to have them over this past weekend.

Stay tuned to the end of this post to discover the secret surprise I had waiting for Michael’s slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crostata!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crostata

Click here for the recipe for my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pastry and the ingredients for the apple filling.

Once you have made the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pastry and the apple filling, divide the dough in half.
Spread wax paper on a surface. Sprinkle generously with flour.
Place ball of dough on wax paper and cover with another piece of wax paper.
Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough to fit a pie plate.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pastry rolled out for Apple Crostata

Carefully peel the top layer of wax paper off allowing the dough to stay on the top sheet.
Use fingers to help ease up rolled dough from bottom sheet of wax paper. (this can be a bit finicky) More detailed photos on the above link to the pastry.

Carefully transfer the dough to a pie plate or parchment lined baking sheet as in the version baked for the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Crostata described below.

Remember:Pastry dough is very easy to piece back together. Patch work the bottom layer of pastry dough to cover the pie plate if needed. Neatness is not required as it will still taste delicious.

Fill pastry lined pie plate with apple filling.

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup demerrera sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or with your fingers until it is all crumbly.
Sprinkle half of the crumble topping over the middle of the apple filling.
Bring up the overhang of pastry, pressing the pastry together as you go along and sealing the edges.

Uncooked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crostata with crumble toppingSprinkle a little more of the crumble topping over the top of the pastry. (I forgot this step, so part way through baking, I sprinkled some on top)
Bake 450F for 25-30 minutes or until apple filling is bubbly and edges of pastry are browned.
Cool on cooling racks.

Enjoy!

Baked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crostata ready for serving

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Crostata

Blueberry Filling

4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Measure all the above ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. If blueberries are frozen, let stand 15-30 minutes before moving on with the directions.
Follow the same directions with the second all of pastry as described above, except have the bottom layer a piece of parchment paper or silicone pad.
Once pastry has been rolled out, it is easy to transfer the pastry on the parchment paper to a baking sheet and simply peel off the top layer of wax paper.
Pile the blueberry filling in the middle of the circle of pastry.
Sprinkle with the rest of the crumble topping reserving a bit for the top of the folded over pastry.
Fold over the pastry edges, pressing the cracks together and sealing the edges.

Uncooked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Crostata with crumble topping

Top with the reserved crumble topping. (I remembered this time)
Bake 450 for 25-30 minutes or until the blueberry filling is bubbly and the pastry is browned. Do not fret is the filling escapes a bit…it’s bound to happen.
Let cool on cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Baked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Blueberry Crostata ready to serve

Secret Surprise:  The little surprise I had tucked up my sleeve for Michael…a dairy free topping…Soyatoo Rice Whip Topping!  Check this out!

Michael's slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crostata with Soyatoo Rice Whip Topping Michael was so surprised! 

As was I…imagine my surprise when I was at my local Foodland and spied containers of Soyatoo Rice Whip Topping! I made a point to mention how happy I was to the gentleman that does all the ordering. He has been ever so helpful in the past at bringing many gluten and allergy friendly products in to the store. (I also discovered he and his son have a fish/shellfish allergy) 

Everyone got in on the action and tried some on their slice of Crostata. The verdict….Michael, “It’s good“…Matthew “It’s awesome” It does not taste exactly like real whipped cream…however, Matthew, who loves whipped cream, has been squirting it on all his leftover slices.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving…enjoy your weekend! I will be spending most of mine in hockey arenas…how about you?

Has anyone tried Soyatoo Rice Whip Topping? What are your thoughts? Have you discovered a new product to introduce to your child/children with food allergies?

Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie

My successful strawberry picking adventure at Watson’s Farms yielded enough strawberries for Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Bread, Strawberry Bundt Cake, Strawberry PieStrawberry Banana Bran Muffins, and Strawberry Freezer Jam!

Strawberries picked at Watson's Farms

Washing, drying and freezing my surplus of freshly picked strawberries from Watson’s Farms…

Frozen Strawberries on a cookie sheet…stretches the ‘strawberry season’ a little further.

Yesterday, I was in the mood for something quick to nourish me, when I remembered the frozen strawberries.

Frozen strawberries are perfect for a nutritious Dairy Free Smoothie!

Frozen strawberries for a Dairy Free Smoothie

My very own unique Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie was created!

Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Now that hit the spot!

The beauty of Dairy Free Smoothies are there are no rules, exact measurements or limits to one’s creative imagination…anything goes!

For my Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie, I filled my Magic Bullet Single Shot with 4 frozen strawberries, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 cup Ryza Rice Beverage, 2 tbsp of whole oats, 2 tbsp of flaxmeal, 1 tbsp of wheat germ, and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

I ‘whirred’ them all together…

Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie blended in a Magic Bullet Single Shot

…poured it into a tall glass, stirred in 1 tbsp of hemp seeds and chia seeds, sprinkled a few on top and garnished it with half a strawberry and mint leaf.

Dairy Free Strawberry Banana Smoothie garnished with hemp seeds, chia seeds, strawberry and mint leaf

Yummy! Cool, refreshing and bursting with strawberry banana flavour! I love the crunch the hemp seeds and chia seeds added to the smoothie!

My boys would not necessarily love all the ‘extra ingredients’ I added to my Dairy Free Smoothie…perhaps if I sneaked them in gradually, they might not notice!

Michael’s favourite Dairy Free Smoothie is a Dairy Free Strawberry Smoothie. It consists of frozen strawberries, Ryza Rice Beverage, and Natura’s Vanilla or Strawberry Frozen Dessert. Another favourite is a Dairy Free Chocolate Banana Smoothie…banana, Natura’s Chocolate Frozen Dessert and Ryza Rice Beverage.

Do you have a favourite Dairy Free Smoothie! Please share!

Tip:To add some much needed protein to Michael’s Dairy Free Smoothies, I add  Heartland Gold Sprouted Non-GMO Brown Rice Protein Powder. (I could not find a website for them but here is a review by Angela at Oh She Glows…click here.)

P.S. My husband, Andy, loves to make Blueberry Smoothies for his ‘go-to take out’ breakfast. He does not have a dairy allergy, so he adds yogurt to his smoothies along with frozen blueberries, strawaberries, and some skim milk.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie…a tasty flop!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie is one of the best tasting ‘flops’ I have ever tasted!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie

Absolutely delish!

The crust was light and crispy, the filling was bursting with the taste of freshly picked strawberries and biting in to plump whole strawberries…oh my…was an added bonus!

A slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie

The slicing and presentation, however,  was a bit of a ‘goopy mess’…not sure if the filling set properly or long enough.

Having never tasted nor made a Strawberry Pie in my life, I am still not sure if this pie turned out the way a Strawberry Pie is meant to…any thoughts…tips?

To me…this Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie was the ‘bomb’! 

I couldn’t stop raving about how ‘yummy’ it was…and according to my boys…”That’s all that matters, mom!”

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie was a ‘labour of love’…presented to my husband for his Father’s Day dessert.

The recipe was adapted from Canadian Living’s Country Cooking Cookbook…another recipe I have been longing to make from this cookbook.

This recipe requires a few steps, some patience with time to prepare and set.

Well worth the effort!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie

Pastry:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil
40 ml water

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
In a liquid measure, mix the wet ingredients.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until just mixed.
Pat dough into a ball and place on a floured piece of wax paper.
Place another piece of wax paper on top and proceed to roll out the dough to fit a 10-inch (25 cm) pie plate.
Tip: Dough should be rolled out very thinly.
Carefully peel back the top piece of wax paper keeping with the dough attached and scraping up any dough that sticks to the bottom piece of wax paper.
Tip: This sounds finicky…it can be, however, do not fret…pastry is very forgiving and can be patched up once in the pie plate.
Place circle of dough in pie plate, flute edges and patch where necessary with excess dough.
Press dough into the pie plate and prick all over with a fork.
Bake at 450 F for 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned.
Press out any bubbles that may have occurred during baking and let cool completely.

Baked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pastry Shell

Strawberry Filling:

8 cups of strawberries divided (4 pints)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

In a food processor or blender, puree 4 cups of strawberries until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, measure the sugar, stir in the cornstarch then blend in the water and pureed strawberries.
On med-high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly,  or until translucent and slightly thickened.
Press mixture through a sieve and let cool.

Assembling Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie:

Arrange washed and de-stemmed whole strawberries, tips up, in the cooled pastry shell.
Pour strawberry filling over top and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.
Tip: I highly recommend to make this in the morning in order that the filling has ample time to set before dessert time!

A slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Pie

Enjoy!

Tip: I omitted 1 tbsp of butter (which I would have substituted for Earth Balance or Soy Free Earth Balance) to the strawberry filling just before the mixture is pressed through a sieve…not sure if this would have helped with the setting of the filling or not.

P.S. The next day, the pastry remained crispy and the filling firmed up a ‘wee bit more’…I am ‘in love’ with this recipe!

Question: Do you have a favourite Allergen Friendly Strawberry Pie your family loves!

Have you been out strawberry picking yet this season? What will you be creating with all your sweet berries?

Cross-Contamination Series: Travelling with Food Allergies to Stowe, Vermont: An Overview

Destination: Allergen Friendly Skiing Vacation to Stowe, Vermont.

at Stowe Mountain in Vermont

Travelling with food allergies takes some forethought, prepping and organizing…but then again, most trips do require some planning.

However, I don’t recall thinking too much about where my food was going to come from on a vacation before food allergies entered our lives.

Now…it’s all about the food!

pre-made and food products to take on trip to Stowe, Vermont

Above is a picture of the assortment of food I pre-made and purchased for our trip. Plus extras: slow cooker, popcorn maker, cutting boards, paring knife, dish cloths and towels. It all fit between the cooler and the blue plastic bin.

Departure was at 7 a.m….my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Lemon Blueberry and Banana Bran Blueberry Muffins were the perfect breakfast to eat on the road…with a pit stop for coffee!

I packed a lunch for us to eat en route: Maple Leaf Natural Selections Black Forest Ham sandwich for Michael on my allergy friendly homemade bread, a Blueberry jam sandwich for Matthew with a cheese string, a ham and cheese sandwich for Andy and a NoNuts Golden Peabutter and Banana sandwich for me. Carrots, bananas, apples, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rice Krispie Treats were also packed to snack on.

For our family ski trip to Stowe, Vermont we booked 4 nights at the Golden Eagle Resort in their ‘cabin in the woods’. A comfortable two bedroom cabin with kitchenette, full bathroom and living area.

Our 'little cabin in the woods' at the Golden Eagle Resort, Stowe, Vermont

This turned out to be perfect!

After dropping off our luggage at our ‘little cabin in the woods’, we headed to the local grocery store…Shaw’s.

I easily found packages of chicken tenders for the Chicken Fajitas, packages of ground turkey for the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and a boneless Rib End Pork Roast for the Pork Bourguignon.

We managed to find packaged sliced ham by Hillshire Farm that did not contain caramel or dairy products for Michael’s ham sandwiches for lunch.

The most exciting discovery was in the bread section!

There we found Hot Dog Buns by Freihofer’s which did not contain any dairy,egg or sesame ingredients.

Checking the U.S Food and Drug Administration website, I learned that the top 8 allergens that are required by law to be on the labelling are: milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. (Note sesame is left out)Manufacturers are not required by law to label anything about cross contamination with allergens. However,  the FDA is ” developing a long-term strategy that will help manufacturers use voluntary allergen advisory labeling…”

Checking Freihofer’s website, they state that they “adhere to Good Housekeeping Practices as established by the FDA.” They take “abundant precaution to prevent cross contact of allergenic ingredients between batches…” They go on to “disclose that the following allergen ingredients are used in some of our manufacturing facilities and that inadvertent cross contact is remotely possible: milk, eggs, soy, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts (filberts).” To read the entire statement, click on Freihofer’s link above.

Do to the fact, that the Freihofer’s company seems to make an effort to avoid cross-contamination of the top 8 allergen ingredients, I felt comfortable letting Michael try one of their hot dog buns.

Of course he loved it!

I also found Lender’s New York Style Bagels, Weight Watchers English Muffins and Shaw’s Whole Wheat bread that did not contain dairy, eggs or sesame. Unfortunately, their sites do not indicate any allergy information or how their companies deals with cross-contamination of the top 8 food allergens. I was not as comfortable with Michael trying these products. (although he did try the bagel and english muffin without any problems)

I feel, further research, involving contacting the companies to enquire about the safety of their products for those with food allergies, would need to be undertaken, before I made a habit of letting Michael eat their products.

Question: How do you decide if you let your child try a product that does not disclose information about cross-contamination issues?

Upon our arrival, I filled up the kitchen sink with soapy water and proceeded to wash all the utensils, plates, bowls, glasses and pots and pans that we would be using in the kitchen. I used my kitchen spray, to clean the counters and table.

By this time, it was on to making the Chicken Fajitas. (recipe will be posted on Wednesday) They were quick and easy to prep, cook and serve. Not to mention yummy!

allergen friendly chicken fajitas

Michael enjoyed his with some President’s Choice Medium Salsa on a President’s Choice large size tortilla. (I brought these from home)

Breakfasts consisted of Cheerios for both Andy and Michael. Michael enjoyed his with Natura Rice beverage. While, Matthew and I enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal…his with milk and pure maple syrup and mine with Natura Soy beverage and sliced banana.

breakfast in our 'little cabin in the woods' Stowe, Vermont

Lunches were made and packed in a small cooler with an ice pack. Michael made his ham sandwich for the first few days and then moved into the Pita Chips with ham slices on the side. Andy made himself a ham sandwich, Matthew a grape jelly sandwich, (wish we had brought his Blueberry jam from home), and both had a cheese string. I had my NoNuts Peabutter sandwich with banana with some carrot sticks and an apple. Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert. Other days, I brought a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Blueberry muffin with cheese string.

eating our packed lunch at the base of Stowe mountain

Once at the base of the mountain, we left the cooler in the car until lunch. On a sunny day, there are tables outside to eat. We ate our lunches inside on one of the many tables available. I even noticed a girl going around cleaning the tables with a cleaner. Never the less, we ate our lunches off the napkins the sandwiches were wrapped in.

We left our cooler in the cubbies (seen in the background) and picked it up after our day of skiing. Very much the honour system here…on the last day we forgot it and it was there the next day at guest services!

I have to say, bringing the slow cooker to cook our dinners slowly throughout the day was perfect!

Spaghetti with Ground Turkey Meat Sauce

I served the Spaghetti dinner with a salad, warmed up French stick made and brought from home and we had the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie for dessert. I served this the night Andy’s sister and kids stayed for dinner.

Spaghetti with Ground Turkey Meat Sauce

Pork Bourguignon with Salad and a glass of red wine.

Pork Bourguignon with Salad and a glass of red wine

Bringing along the marinade for the Chicken Fajitas, and the sauce for the spaghetti dinner allowed me to have more quality time with my family.

A little prep in the evening (sautéing the ground turkey, onion and garlic), in the morning (putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker for the spaghetti and cutting up the roast pork and mushrooms and mixing them with the other ingredients) and after a day skiing, (adding the potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots to the Pork Bourguignon, making a salad and baking the frozen Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie I brought from home)…et voila…dinner was served!

The last two nights were super easy…we just reheated leftovers!

I had been planning on going out for dinner on our last night but with all the leftovers it seemed too much of a waste…this way, we saved some money!

Besides, the boys were happy enough to stay in, watch Lord of the Rings and relax!

boys relaxing on the couch in Stowe, Vermont

On the day of departure, we packed up our lunches and snacks…stopped for coffee and washroom breaks and were home in 7.5 hours…around 5 p.m.

the boys on the ride home

The boys kept busy on their Ipods!

Once home and unpacked, (being Friday night) I whipped up a batch of quick pizza dough and thawed the pizza sauce…while Andy headed out for some mushrooms and onions.

Enjoying our pizza dinner we decided…this was a trip to remember!

Our family ski trip made me think back to the ski vacations I had with my family. My dad and I learned to ski together…he was in his early 50’s and I in my early 20’s. I never saw him so happy as when we were all together skiing on a mountain.

Skiing in Stowe with my boys…I now totally get how my father was feeling on those family ski vacations.

The memories we created will last a lifetime!

P.S. Michael experienced his very first hot dog the day after we got back.

Michael bbqing his Schneider's all natural hot dog and toasting his Freihofer's hot dog bunA Schneider’s Country Naturals hot dog nestled in a Freihofer’s hot dog bun with a touch of Heinz Ketchup.

Michael's Schneider's all natural hot dog in a Freihofer's hot dog bun

Michael’s verdict…”It tastes good!”

P.P.S. Lately, Michael has been talking the talk about starting to run. I believe, witnessing first hand ,his parents out skiing him…endurance wise…and the fact he had built up his endurance over the course of 4 days skiing, was the turning point.

Saturday he donned a pair of running shoes, took a puff of his Ventolin and set out for his first run. I followed closely on my bike to make sure he set a good pace for himself and his asthma was in check.

He had a hockey game later that evening…he actually felt a difference in his endurance and ability to breathe…he was pumped!

He was back out the next day…a little sore but not deterred in the least.

Michael’s goal: to sign up for the 2 km EpiPen Take Action Event on May 12, 2012 in Brooklin, Ontario.

Overall Vacation Verdict: Trip of a lifetime! Would do it all again in a pinch!

P.P.P.S. Click here to see the first post in the series of our trip.

Cross-Contamination Series: Day 4 in Stowe, Vermont

Well, today’s family ski day was all about the fog and sun…and the best day skiing of our four days!

skiing in sunny skies at Stowe Vermont

This is the before picture with the fog…yes, we had to ski down to the left…that was our view!

skiing in the fog

This is after the fog cleared…which was not until after lunch!

skiing after the fog lifted in Stowe, Vermont

Despite the fog…the snow was great and we all enjoyed the skiing.

The boys got in some jumps…here is Matthew.

Matthew on his ski jump

Wow…look at Michael!

Michael on his ski jump at Stowe Vermont

Amazing how much the boys skiing improved over the course of a few days!

We ended the day with our apres ski cocktail…on the sunny deck!

Our apres ski cockatails on the deck at Stowe, Vermont

With the sun out…how could we resist!

We stayed a little later at the ski hill and then took in some apres shopping.

We have decided to take advantage of the fact we still have enough tasty leftovers for dinner tonight. We will attempt our dinner out another time.

I had forgotten there were Chicken Fajita leftovers…so I enjoyed that last night while the others had Spaghetti. Tonight is a mixture of Pork Bourguignon and Spaghetti…we will have to fight over the last two pieces of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie.

Boys watched Lord of the Rings last night and have picked up the next one for tonight.

Off to an early start tomorrow as we head home. Hope to stop and do some bargain shopping before we hit the border!

As Matthew stated many times…”This is the most awesome trip ever!”

When you have food allergies…it’s not about the food…it’s all about the experience!

This has definitely been an adventure to remember!

P.S. Click here for an overview of our trip.

Cross-Contamination Series: Day 2 in Stowe, Vermont

The gang is all here!

the boys with their american cousins

So great that Andy’s sister and her family could join in on all the fun!

Day 1 in Stowe, Vermont was all about the sun…Day 2 was a little bit of everything!

Andy ready for our first run of the day

We started the day with overcast skies…which moved into dense fog and low clouds…with a dash of freezing rain! After our packed lunch, the skies cleared and the sun came out, the chill subsided and it was like a completely different day!

The hills were literally abandoned…it was like we owned the hills!

My nephews are all about the tricks! Check out the set up!

view of the a ski park at Stowe, Vermont

I have never seen this done before!

nephew going off a rail on skis at Stowe, Vermont

Look carefully…he is doing a back flip!

nephew doing a back flip at Stowe Vermont

I know! And he does it so effortlessly!

Chilling on the hill!

boys chilling on the hill at Stowe Vermont

Another perfect day spent with the family…Matthew rates this day a 9 out of 10 ski day!

A little ‘apres ski cocktail’ while waiting for the kids to finish up on the slopes.

a little apres ski cocktail at Stowe Vermont

Our ‘little cabin in the woods’ smelled amazing upon our arrival home again today…Spaghetti and Meat sauce simmering away in the slow cooker!

I cooked up the ground turkey, onion and garlic last night and combined it with the defrosted sauce I made and brought from home. Put them all in the slow cooker this morning so dinner is super easy tonight…especially since we will be entertaining ‘guests’ !

A tossed salad, my Dairy, Egg and Soy Free French Stick and for dessert…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie are all ready to be fixed and/or heated up in the oven.

Boys are all off having a swim, sauna and whirlpool…winding down and relaxing before our yummy dinner!

Heading back to our ‘little cabin in the woods’ to do the final preparations.

Tomorrow is all about ‘leftovers’!

P.S. Click here for my next post on our trip.

Cross-Contamination Series: Our Ski Vacation To Stowe, Vermont

Our first real family vacation in years…a ski vacation to beautiful Stowe, Vermont!

stowe vermont

Stowe Vermont

(Ignore the mess I have created above…not sure how to fix…sorry)

The boys were pretty ‘stoked’ to go…Andy and I too, come to think of it!

I felt the excitement hit as soon as we pulled out of the driveway…before that I was up to my ears in the preparations needed for us to have an allergy friendly vacation.

With Michael’s multiple food allergies to dairy, egg, beef, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberries and Matthew’s food allergy to peanut/tree nuts…some thought needed to go into snacks, meals and food prep.

Here is what I did:

1)  I figured out our evening dinners: Sunday (day of arrival), Chicken Fajitas, Monday, Pork Bourguignon, Tuesday, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Wednesday, leftovers and Thursday (our last night), fingers crossed, we find a place for a night out for all of us!

2)   I prepped for the meals: I made a double batch of Pasta Sauce and froze it to bring with us. I made a meatless sauce as you can’t bring meat into the States. (The day I made it I saved some sauce and cooked up some ground turkey for a Spaghetti with Meat Sauce meal.)

I made the sauce for the Chicken Fajitas and froze it also.

Luckily, I still have a frozen Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie frozen in the freezer ready to bake! It will be perfect for Tuesday’s dessert after our Spaghetti dinner.

3) Friday and Saturday I divided up the baking: Friday I made a few batches of Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares and 2 batches of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. I also made Giada’s Pita Chips with 2 bags of pita.

Saturday I made Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Blueberry Muffins, two loaves of Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick and two loaves of Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free loaves of bread.

4) I put together the flour and spices for the Pork Bourguignon in a ziplock bag to bring and some granulated sugar in a mason jar for hot chocolate.  Hoping to buy some Hershey’s cocoa. Packed my cinnamon for morning oatmeal and a ziplock bag of air popped popcorn.

5) Extra purchases I am bringing: Decaffeinated Green Tea, Natura Soy and Rice milk, tetra packs of Chocolate Soy Milk, Tortillas, a can of crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, popcorn, salsa, Catelli Smart Spaghettini pasta, and mini pitas. I am bringing these products because I know they are safe and I don’t want to try different brands.

6) Extras: Tea towels, dish cloths, a few cutting boards, a paring knife with protective covering, parchment paper sheets in case we need to use cookie sheets, a slow cooker for the Spaghetti and Pork Bourguignon dinners and a hot air popcorn maker. Missing from the photo is a kitchen counter cleaner I like to bring to keep things sanitized.

7) The boys are also bringing their own pillows and I am packing a bottom and top sheet to exchange on the bed that Michael will be sleeping in. One never knows what they wash the bedding in and I would like to prevent any eczema outbreaks.

I packaged up all the above in one large cooler and a large plastic container. Nice and easy to pack in the truck. There is, of course, our suitcases…the boys share and Andy and I have our own, our ski boot bags, skiis and poles and a packed lunch for the road.

Whew! I think I covered it all!

We did a pit stop in Burlington, Vermont…Michael was lacking in the clothes department! We managed to purchase him 3 pairs of jeans (he currently fits into one pair). We lucked out…they were all on sale! Boys each found ski goggles also on sale!

Our 'little cabin in the woods' in Stowe, Vermont

After signing in and dropping off our luggage at our ‘little cabin in the woods’. We headed out for the main for the main grocery shop:  fruit and veggies, salading, chicken, pork and ground turkey, cereal, oatmeal, pure maple syrup, bread, olive oil, milk, cheese, mustard, and ham slices. The boys had fun checking out all the different packaging and products available here.

Of course we cannot forget the fun foods…after all,  we are on vacation!  Chips, pop, wine and beer.

Our first dinner, Chicken Fajitas was a hit. Quick and easy to put together… just let the chicken tenders marinade while I cut up the onions and peppers. Sautéed everything up and served them rolled up in warmed up tortillas.

allergen friendly chicken fajitas

They were delish!  Click here for the recipe.

Our first day on the slopes was awesome! The warmest skiing I have ever experienced. After a couple runs we had to de-layer…check out the boys ski look!

boys in their canadian attire skiing at Stowe Vermont

Do you think we looked Canadian?

Packed lunches were brought to the hills. I prepped our dinner for tonight in the slow cooker with the ingredients for our Pork Bourguignon before we left in the morning.  Set on low it braised throughout the day. The smell was incredible upon our return from our day on the slopes! I just cut up some carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes and added them for another couple of hours.

Allergen friendly Pork Bourguignon in slow cooker

With the warmed up Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick to dip into the rich broth…we will be eating like kings!

I had hoped to post this morning but our ‘little cabin in the woods’ was a bit too far into the woods to receive the free internet service…so here I am sitting in the main lobby by a warm fire.

I am hoping to finish in time for their complimentary wine and cheese event in the lobby at 5:30!

After dinner, we will be waiting the arrival of Andy’s sister, Shelley and her kids. They have booked at a local hotel and will join us for the next couple of days skiing.

I will be up early, prepping our Spaghetti with Meat Sauce for another days use of the slow cooker.

Well, I better finish up…people are milling about and I do believe it is time for ‘cocktail hour’  to begin!

P.S. Click here for the next post.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie

One of my favourite things about Fall is the start of apple season.

Whether freshly picked, cooked for applesauce, baked in pies, cakes, muffins and even pressed for cider…apples are the bomb!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. I have plenty of Cortland apples picked from Watson’s Farm to bake and freeze some apple pies.

dairy and egg free apple pie with canola oil crustMichael was ever so happy. Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie is one of his most requested favourite desserts. I made 3 pies: froze 2 and baked one to sample.

The key to a great pie: Cortland apples and a great flaky pastry.

For years, a great allergy friendly pastry recipe eluded me. Due to Michael’s dairy, egg and both the boys’ peanut/tree nut allergies…using butter, an egg or even purchasing the pastry was out of the question. I was not keen on the pastry being made with shortening.(at the time it was the best I could do with what was out there)

In 2008, my friend/neighbour, passed along her mother’s pastry recipe using canola oil. This is truly a winning recipe…my Mother-in-law approved. 

The recipe for the apple filling is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Dairy, Egg, and Soy Free Apple Pie

Apple Filling

7-8 cups apples (I like Cortland, Spy is another good pie apple)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Peel and thinly slice apples into a large bowl.
Add sugar, flour and cinnamon and stir to cover.

sliced cortland apples with cinnamon, sugar and flour for apple pie with canola crust

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pastry

2 cups plus 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt.
In a liquid measure, mix together the oil and water.
Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in hole.
Stir until just combined with a wooden spoon. (Do not overmix)

canola oil pastry dough just mixedForm two balls with dough.

2 balls of canola oil pastry doughSpread wax paper on a surface. Sprinkle generously with flour.
Place ball of dough on wax paper and cover with another piece of wax paper.
Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough to fit glass pie plate.

canola oil pastry dough rolled out for bottom of dairy, egg and soy free apple pie

Carefully peel the top layer of wax paper off allowing the dough to stay on the top sheet.
Use fingers to help ease up rolled dough from bottom sheet of wax paper. (this can be a bit finicky)

peeling back canola oil pastry dough with wax paperCarefully transfer the dough to the glass pie plate.

canola oil pastry dough in pie plate for bottom pie crustRemember: Pastry dough is very easy to piece back together.  Patch work the bottom layer of pastry dough to cover the pie plate if needed. Neatness is not required as it will still taste delicious.

Fill pastry lined pie plate with apple filling.

cortland apples with cinnamon, sugar and flour in bottom canola oil pastry doughSprinkle more flour over the bottom piece of wax paper and repeat rolling out the second ball of dough.
Peel back top piece of wax paper, using fingers to help ease pastry dough along.
Carefully transfer pastry dough to top the apple filling.
Patchwork the pastry dough to cover the apple filling and pinch edges closed.
Make a few slits in top of the dough.

apple pie with canola oil pastry ready for the ovenBake at 375F for 50-60 minutes.
If edges start to brown too quickly, cover with bits of foil.
Let pie cool on cooling rack.

baked cortland apple pie with canola oil crust cooling on rackEnjoy!

Michael’s Tip:  “I love my slice of apple pie with a scoop of Natura’s Vanilla Frozen Dessert!

slice of dairy and egg free cortland apple with canola oil crust pie with Natura vanilla frozen dessert

Tip: Freeze uncooked pies in an extra-large freezer bag. Bake from frozen the same as above.

Always CHECK INGREDIENTS each time you purchase products.

Have you adapted similar recipes for your own food allergy needs? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments!