Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Strawberry season is almost upon us here in Southern Ontario…I am sooo looking forward to picking some local strawberries for my annual Strawberry Freezer Jam.

I have a few jars left from last year…the perfect complement for my neighbour and friend Leslie’s Cornmeal Muffin recipe…which I have adapted to be dairy and egg free.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

A basket full of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Oh my gosh…these were sooooo good! I popped on over…basket in hand…to share them with Leslie and a few of my neighbours. 

In my opinion, the hint of lemon with the strawberry jam…the best!

Adaptions:

1.  Replaced the 1 cup of milk with 1 cup Natur-a Rice Beverage mixed with 1 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice…let sit a few minutes.
2.  Replaced the 2 eggs with a one egg substitute: 1/2 tsp baking soda added to dry ingredients and 2 tbsp. water added to the wet ingredients.
3.  Added 1 tbsp. lemon zest to add a ‘hint of sunshine‘…plus I love the combination of lemon and strawberry.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 cup Natur-a Rice Beverage mixed with 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and oil.
Stir in the water and lemon zest.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
Alternately, stir in the dry ingredients and then the rice beverage mixture…ending with the dry ingredients.
Fill paper/silicone muffin cups with batter.
Bake 400 F for 20 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin to finish cooling on cooling rack.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Lemon Cornmeal Muffins are delish as is, however…

A Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Homemade Strawberry Jam Filled Lemon Cornmeal Muffin

…filling them with homemade Strawberry Jam brings them to the next level!

Or split them open and enjoy with a dollop on top!

Enjoying a Eairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Lemon Cornmeal Muffins with a dollop of homemade strawberry jam

Enjoy!

Tip 1:  For a savory cornmeal muffin…add some crumbled cooked bacon and fresh herbs like thyme, parsley or sage.

Tip 2:  Try baking the batter in a 9 inch square pan at 400 F for 30 minutes to slice and serve at your next picnic.

P.S. Click here to view my post on Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Mini Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins.

P.P.S. Click here for the post on last year’s strawberry picking at Watson’s Farms, my homemade freezer jam and a couple of recipes for all those strawberries you couldn’t help picking this year…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Strawberry Bread and Strawberry Bundt Cake.

Are you a Cornmeal Muffin fan?

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Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wild Blueberry Muffins

Todays Allergy Friendly Muffin Monday is an attempt to entice my boys to try one of my healthier muffins, scaled down…whole-wheat/bran muffins filled with fibre do not tempt them.

Hence, this weeks muffin is a reconfiguration of last Monday’s Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Lemon Raspberry  Mini Muffins. Click here for the link.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wild Blueberry Muffins

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wildblueberry Muffins

Andy loved them…Matthew liked them…I preferred the heartier version of the whole-wheat flour and oatmeal combo…MIchael has yet to try them…it’s the oats that is putting him off.

It can be such a hard balance…trying to please each of their individual palates, yet, at the same time, creating a healthy snack.

I kept the ingredients simple…unbleached all-purpose flour, quick oats, brown sugar, rice milk, egg replacement…to highlight the star of these muffins…frozen wild blueberries.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wild Blueberry Muffins

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wild Blueberry Muffins

Dry Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
1 cup demerrera sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Wet Ingredients

1 1/4 cups Natur-a Rice Beverage or Natur-a Soy Beverage mixed with 1 tbsp. white vinegar…let rest while measuring ingredients.
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/3 cup canola oil

Add In
1 cup frozen wild blueberries

Topping
whole oats and frozen wild blueberries

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
Gently stir in the frozen blueberries into the dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to dry and continue to gently stir until just combined.
Spoon into 12 paper-lined muffin cups.
Top with a sprinkling of whole oats and 3 frozen blueberries on top of each muffin.
Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden on the edges.
Let cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning out to continue to cool.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Wild Blueberry Muffin with a cup of tea

Just look at all those yummy wild blueberries!

Variations:
For a lemon blueberry version…add 1 tbsp. of lemon zest to the dry ingredients.
For a cinnamon blueberry version…add 1 tsp of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.
For a gluten-free version…replace all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend and use gluten-free oats.

How do you manage to create healthy allergen friendly options to please your individual family members?

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?

The Food Allergy Chronicles Visits Lone Star Texas Grill

Dairy-Egg-Nut has inspired our family to ‘step outside the box’ this March Break. After much deliberation over restaurant ‘Allergy Guides’…one restaurant was chosen…The Lone Star Texas Grill.

Our family's trip to Lone Star Texas Grill

Quite surprisingly, Lone Star Texa Grill does not officially have a breakdown of food allergens for their menu listed in their ‘Allergen Guide’. However, what they do have is a very inviting message to those with food allergies who would like to eat at the Lone Star Texas Grill.

The Lone Star Texas Grill ‘s ‘Allergy Guide’ states, “At Lone Star, Guest food safety is number one. If you have any special food allergies, sensitivities or dietary needs, please speak to your server before you order. All our servers are well versed in the ingredients of our menu items.”

“While we cannot guarantee the absence of any allergen, due to the potential for cross-contaminationand potential traces of allergens in sauces, marinades, cooking processes and menu adaptations we will do our best to accomodate your requests.”

Click here to view Lone Star Texas Grill’s Allergy Guide.

Right away, after reading the above ‘Allergy Guide’, I felt inclined to call the restaurant to speak with the manager about Michael’s food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry…and Matthew’s food allergies…peanut/tree nuts.

The manager was very helpful and understanding of my boys’ combined food allergies…he assured us that the Lone Star Texas Grill would be able to meet our food allergy requirements. Adding, that many of their food allergy customers are repeat customers…very reassuring indeed!

Questions for Michael’s meal:

Is there a separate fryer for the french fries? Apparantly, there is a separate fryer that just fries the corn chips that are served complimentary. Michael’s fries would be fried in that oil. (corn chips were free of his allergens)

Is there mustard in their Original Texas Barbecue Sauce?   Yes…ribs are not allergen free.

Is there mustard in the seasoning of their chicken fingers? No, they would toss real chicken in a flour, salt and pepper mixture and would fry them in the same oil as his french fries.

Perfect…just what Micheal was hoping for…Chicken Fingers with fries…done.

Questions for Matthew’s meal:

Are the buns free of peanut/tree nuts?  Yes.

Perfect…Matthew would order “Bubba’s” Smoked Brisket.

Overall questions:

The manager reassured me that the manager would oversee the cooking of the boys’s meals, the hostess and waitress would be made aware of the boys’ food allergies, all cutting boards and utensils used in the making of the meals would be separate from the other food…I was sold!

Overall evening:

From the moment we stepped in to the Lone Star Texas Grill, our family was made to feel very welcome indeed.

Our hostess greeted us at the entrance…after a quick introduction, she smiled and reassured us the restaurant was ready for us and seated us near the back of the restaurant, by the kitchen.

The manager then greeted us at the table…he was very patient as I re-relayed the conversation I had had with the manager on duty at the time I had called. I had forgotten to ask about the salsa that is served with the corn chips and the plum sauce for the chicken fingers while on the phone with the other manager…the salsa and plum sauce were free of his food allergens.

The manager then re-reassured me that the kitchen was well experienced in cooking for anyone with food allergies. Relaying that our waitress was also aware of our food allergies.

Next, our smiling waitress arrived…she was equally patient as I re-relayed the specifics of our food allergy requirements. Drinks and our meal were ordered.

The first to arrive were the still warm from the fryer, corn chips and salsa.

Complimentary corn chips and salsa at Lone Star Texas Grill

Michael tried one, smiled and happily dug in to the pile…soon a second order arrived…where were the drinks?

Finely, the drinks arrived to quench the thirst of the ‘corn chip munchers’…soon to be followed by our dinner.

Michael’s Chicken Fingers and Fries with a side order of carrot and celery sticks…which, I might add, he did actually eat!

http://www.michaelpenneystyle.com/2013/03/15/join-us-for-a-floral-class-at-penney-company/

Michael inhaled his meal…happy to report it was delish…although he could have done with a few more of the french fries. (Note: Michael’s fries just had salt on them, whereas, Matthew noted that his fries had a sort of spice on them)

Over the course of the meal…Michael ‘absorbed’ his fair share of Iced Tea!

Michael's trail of Iced Tea drinks at the Lone Star Texas Grill

I imagine the sodium content of his entire meal was the culprit!

Overall…I would rate this meal a huge success!

At the end of the meal…the manager recommended that Michael try the Chicken Fajitas on his next visit. The tortillas, which they bake in house, were safe…the chicken would not be brushed with a garlic butter and would be grilled on a separate grill…the Saddle Beans and Mexican Rice would be safe as would the Salsa.

If Matthew had had room for dessert…he would have been able to have had the ice cream…

For anyone that does not live with multiple food allergies…the notion of going our for dinner may not seem like such a ‘big deal’. But for our family…it will be a moment we will remember for always because it was a ‘big deal’!

The fear is real…the consequences of eating something that one is allergic to is real…the need to be specific and careful about ingredient lists and how food is prepared, cooked and served is real.

Not everyone ‘gets it’…all I know is I’m sure glad the managers, hostess, waitress and cooks at Lone Star Texas Grill did!

Know, that on our next visit to Lone Star Texas Grill…I would still be calling ahead to go through the same food allergen questions to assure myself that the restaurant is prepared for our every visit…never assume!

I would love to hear about your experiences eating out at restaurants with food allergies.

P.S. At ‘The Allergy Eats! Blog Your Allergy Friendly Restaurant Blog“, they have specifically written a post titled, ‘The Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in America’. Click here to check out their top 5 restaurant chains in the categories of large, medium and small chains.

P.P.S. I was very saddened by an article in Sunday’s edition of the Toronto Star.

Twelve year old Maia Santarelli-Gallo, died a ‘mysterious death’ this March Break while out shopping at Mapleview Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Her parents believe she died from an unknown food allergy…her body may have gone into anaphylactic shock. Maia had some food intolerances…but was never prescribed an Epipen by a doctor.

A sad reminder of how dangerous food allergies can be if not fully investigated.

My thoughts and prayers are with Maia’s family. Click here for the full story.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails

It nearly broke my heart when my boys were not able to partake in the engorging of Ottawa’s ‘sweet trademark treat’ after skating the Rideau Canal on the last day of WinterludeThe BeaverTail.

BeaverTail treat midway on the Rideau Canal Family Day 2013 (possibility of cross-contamination with peanut/tree nuts)

Although there are no peanut/tree nuts in the actual BeaverTail…the environment that they are made in is not peanut/tree nut free…nor am I sure if they contain any dairy or eggs…therefore, a no-go for my boys.

On the way back to the car, Michael enquired, “Do you think you could make them?”

Such was my quest upon my return home…an adapted dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free version of ‘The BeaverTail.’

A BeaverTail is basically just fried dough tossed in cinnamon sugar, or squeezed with lemon and sprinkled with sugar or topped with your own inventive favourite. Turns out, it was much easier to adapt than I thought.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTail

I found the perfect recipe to adapt at Canadian Free Stuff. Click here for the original recipe.

Adaptions:

Substituted 1 cup warm Natur-a Soy Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage for milk.
Substituted 3 tbsp water mixed with 3 tbsp canola oil with 2 tsp baking powder added just before you stir into the liquid ingredients.

The boys invited their friends, Victoria and William over to give them a try as they have actually experienced the ‘real deal’.

They loved them!

Michael liked them but did find them a bit too sweet to enjoy more than one. Matthew, on the other hand, loved all the sugar and cinnamon…so much so, he was licking it off his plate in between helpings!

Victoria and William were quizzed as to whether or not my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails tasted like the ‘Real BeaverTails’ they remembered from their trips to Ottawa. Unfortunately, their recollection was marred by the fact that they have not tasted one in years. 

Both did agree that mine were pretty darn tasty!

Imagine how awesome it would be on a cold and snowy day when the boys and their friends are outside playing in the snow to call and surprise them all with a basket of hot and tasty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails to munch on outside…just like on the Rideau Canal!

A basket of freshly made Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails

Matthew ran down the street with this freshly made basket of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails for our friends down the street to enjoy…and enjoy them they did!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTail in the great Canadian outdoors

Enjoy!

Tip 1:  I added the 4 cups of unbleached flour to the liquid ingredients and used the remaining 1/4 cup to dust the area I kneaded the dough.

Tip 2:  I let it rise more than the 30-40 minutes…it was over an hour and everything worked out fine.

Tip 3: I used a ratio of 1 cup of granulated sugar to 3/4 tsp of cinnamon…gear it to your tastes. The second time around, I used a ratio of 1/4 cup of Demerara Sugar with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

Tip 4: There was plenty of dough leftover…I refrigerated the rest of the dough in a plastic container. I let the dough sit at room temperature for about an hour before starting to make the BeaverTails.

Tip 5:  The boys experimented with drizzling the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BeaverTails with pure maple syrup…a very decadent Canadian treat!

Have you ever experienced ‘The BeaverTail’ on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal or have food allergies kept you from trying one like my boys?

Dairy, Egg, Soy, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

I have another allergy friendly ‘bread like’ recipe to share…perfect for the weekend…perhaps, something to munch on during SuperBowl Sunday 2013!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

A basket of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns

Hot and fresh…right out of the oven!

I discovered the recipe in the March 2009 Bon Appetit Magazine awhile ago…it was in their readers’ favourite restaurant recipe section.

This recipe comes from the restaurant Cut in Las Vegas. The reader stated, “…when we sat down, we were served delicious pretzel rolls straight from the oven. Can we get the recipe?” Click here for the original recipe.

I have been waiting for just the right time to bake them…like the bagels, they take a bit of time management. Monday morning with the boys off due to exam week seemed like the perfect time to surprise them with fresh from the oven Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns.

I only needed to adapt the buttermilk…replace the buttermilk with 1/4 cup Natur-a Soy Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage mixed with 3/4 tsp white vinegar and let sit to thicken.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns.

A Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun ready to eat

The following are some pictures of the pretzel knot process:

Forming the dough into 8 balls, rolling into a log and tieing into a knot.

Forming a pretzel knot

I found it easier to roll without any flour on my marble slab.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns ready to be slipped into the simmering water.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns ready to be slipped into the simmering water

I found I just carefully picked them up and placed them in the simmering water…much easier.

Removing a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun from the simmering water to place on a greased baking sheet.

Removing Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun from the simmering water

Poaching for 10 seconds a side goes by fast!

Brushed with canola oil and sprinkled with some coarse sea salt…they are ready for the oven.

Sprinkled with some coarse salt, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knots ready for the oven

My boys were not keen on all the salt…I would either replace with a less coarse salt or omit altogether…depends on one’s taste for salt.

Hot from the oven…ready to eat!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Buns cooling

Check out the golden brown colour…”How did you get it that colour?’, mused Michael.

The boys were eager to get their hands on one…Michael takes a bite…

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pretzel Knot Bun

Yummy!

Enjoy!

P.S. My boys found, the next day, the salt had seeped into the dough…the added salt flavour was not to their liking…tasted better when warmed up a bit in the microwave. 

Victoria and William, on the other hand, loved them…salt and all!

P.P.S. Overall, William and my boys much preferred the Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BagelsVictoria was not around to try them. Click here for the post.

Will you be one of the many watching the SuperBowl this Sunday? What is your favourite ‘munchy’ for the SuperBowl?

Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins For The Lovely Ladies At My Knitting Class

My Saturday morning knitting class gave me the opportunity to try revamping one of my adapted muffin recipes. The result… 

Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

A Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peannut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffin

Topped with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds on the outside, tender and moist on the inside with the added sweetness of plump raisins…yum!

The lovely ladies of my knitting class loved them!

I had been meaning to sign up for a knitting class for a while. My two BFF’s have been encouraging me for quite some time now…they are both avid knitters.  On a recent visit of my one BFF, Anne, we stopped on in at The Kniterary.

A beginner knitting class just so happened to be offered in January…which I just happened to mention to my mother…next thing I know, I am signing up for a beginner knitting class using my Kniterary Christmas Gift Certificate!

It was time for me to try my hands at a new creative outlet…pottery destroyed my hands and sewing…well, let’s just say the sewing machine and myself did not get along very well!

Getting out and meeting new people, stepping away from the constant pressure and stress of food allergies and the calming effects that I have heard knitting can provide…were all encouraging. surrounding  myself

Well, it didn’t take long before I discovered that my knitting teacher is allergic to bananas, soy, latex, Angora wool, and fruits and vegetables depending on the season.  This, of course, started a whole conversation about food, lifestyle and the environment…so much for getting away from food allergy topics…it seems to be everywhere!

It was with great pleasure to bake a batch of allergy friendly muffins to share with my teacher and classmates on our last knitting class this past Saturday.

As we celebrated all that we had accomplished…check out the beautiful scarves the lovely ladies and I have been knitting…

The beginings of knitted scarves by the lovely ladies in my knitting class

we were excited to hear all that we have to learn in the subsequent classes…I think we will all be signing up…I need a hat to match my scarf! 

Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

A basket of Hearty Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins for the lovely ladies in my knitting class

Replacing all the flour with wholewheat flour and the rice beverage with Good Karma Flax Delight Fortified Flax Beverage did not compromise texture, moistness or flavour…the muffins were delish!

Adapted ingredient list:

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds for the topping (Sprinkle on before baking)
1/2 cup Good Karma Flax Delight Fortified Flax Beverage
2 tbsp water
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling) Click here for directions to follow to make your own pumpkin puree with a pie pumpkin.
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup whole oats (not instant)
1/2 cup Demerara Sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

The original recipe comes from Chatelaine Magazine’s September 2002 issue. Click here to follow the original recipe direction.

Enjoy!

Tip: Next time I would like to replace the egg with a flax egg…mix 1 tbsp of flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator or overnight.

P.S. Anyone that knows me would think that I was knitting the red and yellow scarf. As I have enough red hats and scarfs…I am knitting the cream scarf just behind the red one…I am stitching it in the moss/seed stitch. I hope to knit it long enough to combine the ends to create a cowl to wrap around my head a couple of times. I am very excited!

What types of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you participate in for pleasure/stress relief?

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

By the middle of the week and still without a bread machine (it died on the weekend)…I decided I needed to try something new…

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

A quick and easy bread…crispy on the outside…soft and tender on the inside.

I found a nice simple recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread at Canadian Living…click here for the original recipe.

The only adaption needed was for the buttermilk…I replaced it with an equal amount of Natur-a Soy Beverage mixed with 2 tbsp of white vinegar. (for a soy free version use Natur-a Rice Beverage)

Now I have to say, Michael was a bit sceptical of the bread…”Is it going to taste like bread?”, he inquired.

Well, let’s be honest…Irish Soda Bread is not known for being ‘light’. It is a dense, chewy, hearty bread…suited well, paired with a hearty stew.  

But just as nice with a drizzle of honey.

A slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread drizzled with honey

First bite in…”Mmmm, this is good!”, Micheal announced with a note of relief in his voice.

He ate the first piece so fast this is all that was left of it by the time I got the camera.

Michael's almost finished slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread

Matthew tasted a slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread when he arrived back from his first exam.

Matthew's slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Irish Soda Bread spread with Vegan Becel Margarine

“It’s really good with the ‘butter’ (Vegan Becel Margarine)”, Matthew mumbled, while chewing on a mouthful.

Enjoy!

Tip:  This dough is very sticky…I mean very sticky. Make sure you really flour your surface and the top of the dough before kneading it approximately 10 times. Keep adding flour to create a smooth, round dough.

P.S. Luck was with me when I took a gander at the flyers yesterday…I noticed it was the last day for 50% off a Black & Decker All-in-One Automatic Breadmaker at Canadian Tire .

Phew…just in time for Friday Night Pizza Night!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffins

I love a freshly baked muffin for breakfast with my cup of green tea…crunchy on the top, moist and warm in the middle.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffins

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffins

My idea of a perfect any day morning breakfast!

While perusing through the recipes in my Canadian Living Step By Step Cookbook, a muffin recipe caught my attention…Honey Oat Muffins. Click here for the original recipe by Canadian Living.

I was curious to taste the difference between honey vs. sugar in a muffin.

I also knew I could easily adapt the recipe:

Egg replacement: 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of water (add baking soda to the dry ingredients and water to the wet ingredients). 
Buttermilk replacement:  Equal amount of Natur-a Soy or Natur-a Rice Beverage mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp of vinegar (let sit for 5 minutes to thicken).
Increased fibre content: Equal amount of whole wheat flour instead of unbleached all-purpose flour.

When I crave freshly baked muffins for breakfast…I make sure I do all my prepping the night before.

Prepped ingredients ready the night before for Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffins

I measured and mixed together all my dry ingredients, all my wet ingredients and placed the paper muffin cups in the muffin tin ready to fill. I only prepped those ingredients that did not need refrigeration, therefore, the liquid measure with the tablespoon was empty. I waited until the morning to prepare my ‘buttermilk’ replacement.

Come the next morning…all that needed doing was turning the oven on and preparing my ‘buttermilk’ replacement. When the oven reached the desired temperature, I added the ‘buttermilk’ replacement to the wet ingredients, then added the wet to the dry and mixed until just combined.

Filled my muffin tin…popped it in the oven…and waited patiently for the timer to ring…

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffins cooling

and my muffins to cool for 10 minutes.

I baked two batches of this recipe…one with the baking soda/water egg replacement (measurements given above) and the other with a flaxmeal egg replacement (see below). Both recipes were prepped the night before.

For the flaxmeal egg replacement recipe: mix 1 tbsp flaxmeal with 3 tbsp water, stir to combine and then refrigerate overnight. Follow the original recipe, adding the flaxmeal mixture when the egg is called for in the recipe.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oat Muffin

I was pleasantly surprised how the flavour of the honey permeated the muffins… I really enjoyed the change in sweetness. With all that fibre content…they were delightfully light!

Tip 1:  For the second batch with the flaxmeal egg replacement…I also increased the cinnamon to 2 tsp and sprinkled whole oats rather than the quick oats on the tops of the muffins prior to baking. I must say, they were equally delicious. Nutrition wise, I think I would use the flaxmeal egg in future.

Tip 2: Prepping the muffin ingredients the night before works really well when you have overnight guests…with a fresh fruit salad or some fresh fruit…your guests will think they are staying at a B & B!

P.S. I dropped a couple of my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Honey Oatmeal Muffins at Michael Penney’s yesterday. Click here for his post on my dropping by.

A little something to say thank you for letting my husband and I borrow a blanket to keep my new antique desk, I had just purchased, from getting bumped en route to it’s new home. Plus, I wanted to show him how beautifully his antique desk fit into my home.

My new antique desk from Michael Penney Style in my front window

It fits like a glove…love it! 🙂

Would you prep the night before for that freshly baked muffin experience first thing in the morning?

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels

Staying with the breakfast theme for a bit longer…

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels

Crispy on the outside…chewy on the inside!

Bagels are another one of those packaged items found in the grocery store that tantalize my son Michael. (food allergies include: dairy, egg, sesame, peanut/tree nut, beef, fish, shellfish, mustard, lamb and raspberry.) Due to the allergy warning label, bagels are not a convenient breakfast or snack for our family to purchase.

It has been a few years since I last made Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels…September 15, 2007 to be exact. So you can imagine the excitement in our house this past weekend when I announced that bagels were on the menu for Sunday.

I discovered a bagel recipe to adapt in Canadian Living Cooks Step By Step Cookbook by Daphna Rabinovitch. I could not find the original recipe online. Below is my adapted version.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels

A Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sliced Bagel ready to be toasted or spread with some honey or jam

1 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
1 pkg or 1 tbsp of active dry yeast

Replacement for 2 eggs: 3 tbsp water
                                         3 tbsp canola oil
                                         2 tsp baking powder
Mix the above three ingredients together just before adding to the yeast mixture.

1 tbsp canola oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp kosher salt

Poaching Liquid
16 cups water
2 tbsp granulated sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve the 1 tsp of sugar in the warm water.
Sprinkle with the yeast and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Whisk in the above mentioned egg replacement with the canola oil.
Using a wooden spoon, beat in 2 cups of the flour with the sugar and salt until smooth.
Gradually stir in the remaining flour until the dough is soft not sticky.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. (adding in more of the remaining flour to keep the dough from sticking.)
Roll the ball of dough in a bowl greased with canola oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until it has doubled…approximately 1-1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface.
Divide the dough into 12 balls. Roll each ball into 12-inch ropes…cover with a tea towel when each has been made.

The stages of forming a bagelOverlap the ends of the rope by an inch…pinch to seal.

Bagels ready to rise Place on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

Poaching Bagels
In a wide saucepan, when the water has come to a boil, add the sugar.

Boiling the Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free BagelsCarefully slip in 3-4 bagels at a time and cook at medium heat for a minute before turning and cooking a further minute on the other side.
With a slotted spoon, transfer bagels to a baking pan that has been covered in canola oil.

Baking the Bagels
Spritz the tops of the bagels with canola oil and bake at 400 F fir 20-25 minutes until the tops are a golden brown.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels ready for the ovenLet cool on cooling racks.

Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagels cooling on cooling rack

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Dairy, Egg, Soy, Sesame and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Bagel hot from the oven

The boys loved them, Andy included…I think I will be needing to bake up another batch today…my bread machine ‘died’ yesterday!

Tip 1: Rolling out the dough into ropes is easier on the marble slab/counter without any extra dusting of flour…the stickiness of the dough also helps to seal the bagel together.

Tip 2:  When rolling the dough into ropes…start in the middle and work your hands outwards…let the rope become thinner at the ends than in the middle…when you cross the thinner ends over and seal together they will make up a thicker portion of the bagel to match the thicker middle side. Hope that made sense! 🙂

Tip 3:  Make sure when poaching the bagels, the water is not at a rolling boil as the bagels are more inclined to come apart. If they do…do not fret…place them on the oiled baking sheet and let them dry a bit, they will feel sticky and can be pressed back together/leaned up against one another to keep them in place.

Tip 4: Although this recipe may seem daunting…the ingredients are few, the steps are simple and the outcome is well worth the time and effort spent! 🙂

P.S. Do not worry if in your haste to make the bagels, you forget to knead the dough after punching it down…I did and the bagels still turned out delish

P.P.S. Also, do not worry if you add the sugar before the water comes to the boil…I did and all was well.

P.P.P.S. Making them again today…correcting all my ‘mess ups’. Today I let the dough rise closer to 2 hours as I had more time…yesterday, I probably only let the dough rise 1 hr 15 minutes.

The boys will be thrilled there are more bagels…Michael toasted a bagel for breakfast and packed the last two for his lunch for today.