Gluten, Dairy, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Fall is here…

An Empire Apple at Watson's Farm perfect for picking

Perfect time to go apple picking!

It is all about apples at our house…the boys (including my husband, Andy) are super excited because ‘apple picking season’ means one thing…lots of baking with apples.

Andy jumped at the chance to go apple picking with me…so we made it a ‘date’. We headed off to Watson Farm after work…it is a little bit of country nestled amongst the city of Bowmanville. Together we picked a bushel!

I have already made 3 batches of applesauce, two Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Kuchen Cakes , two Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crisps and I made a froze a Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Piealways good to have something in the freezer, just in case.

I decided to make my Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Crisp with a twist…I made it with gluten-free oatmeal and oatmeal flour!

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Absolutely delish!

No one was the wiser…in fact, Michael, Matthew and Andy all commented that the crisp was “really good”. In fact, Matthew went on to add, “Mmmmm…the apples melted down into a tasty mush”. Well, okay?…I am taking that as a compliment!

If oatmeal is in your diet and you are as big a fan of oatmeal as I am…the Canadian Company, Chateau Cream Hill Estates Gluten, Wheat, Barley, Rye, Triticale, Spelt and Kamut Free Lara’s Rolled Oats and Lara’s Whole Grain Oat Flour are the ticket.

I just loved the combination of the toasted oatmeal flour and rolled oats a top the sweet baked apples. So comforting…the perfect fall dessert!

The following recipe is an adaptation from Canadian Living’s Country Cooking.

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmeal Apple Crisp

6-8 apples peeled and thinly sliced (I used my freshly picked Empires)
2/3 cup Demerara Sugar
2/3 cup oatmeal flour
2/3 cup rolled whole oats (not instant or quick)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup canola oil

In a 8 inch baking dish add the sliced apples.
Tip 1: Use more or less apples to fill the dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Drizzle in the canola oil and mix to combine and form a crumble.
Tip 2:  I like to use my hands to really massage the oil in with the dry ingredients then I crumble it over top of the apples. Make sure all the apples are covered.
Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes or until the apples are have softened.
Tip 3: After 20 minutes, cover the dish with foil so as the top does not over cook.
Let cool on cooling rack.

Just in time for Thanksgiving Weekend!

Enjoying a bowl of Gluten, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Oatmal Apple Crisp

Enjoy…still warm with its crunchy top!

Of course now my poor bananas are being left to the wayside. No worries, I can always bake up a Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bread or Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake.

What are your favourite apple desserts?

Happy Thanksgiving!


Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Orange Drizzle

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Orange Drizzle is my latest favourite Bundt Cake recipe.

dariy, egg, soy,peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cake with orange drizzle

This allergy friendly Bundt Cake is moist, dense, not too sweet, a perfect combo of cinnamon and ginger, healthy-ish, and the orange drizzle on the top…marries all the flavours together beautifully.

At the end of the day…with a cup of tea…pure heaven.

I have to admit…this cake had me overindulging!

I had just the right amount of cooked pumpkin left over (1 3/4 cup) to finally make this recipe. I have been hanging on to this recipe, cut out from Chatelaine Magazine, since October, 2003. I know, what took me so long?

I just knew I would love this adapted version of their recipe. I am so glad to have finally baked it, sampled it and now have shared it with you.

Just the mere mention of pumpkin in baked goods makes my boys’ noses turn up.(perhaps that is the reason I waited) They both passed on sampling the pumpkin muffins…however…I managed to entice my boys to try a piece of bundt cake. (I think the orange drizzle tempted them)

Michael was pleasantly surprised…Matthew loved the orange drizzle…baby steps!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Orange Drizzle

a slice of dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cake with orange drizzle

1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup Demerara sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon applesauce
2 tbsp water
2/3 cup rice milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin/398 mL can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Spray a 9 cup (2.25 L) bundt pan with canola oil.
In a large bowl, mix together all the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, raisins,cinnamon and ginger.
In another bowl, mix together the water, rice milk, canola oil, vanilla, and cooked pumpkin until very well combined.

bowl of dry ingredients and wet ingredients for dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cakeMix the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (mixture will be very thick, make sure to incorporate all the dry ingredients)

wet and dry ingredients mixed together for dairy, egg, soy, and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cakeScrape mixture into prepared bundt pan and smooth top.

dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin cake batter in bundt panBake for 55-60 minutes. Cake tester should come out clean.

dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cake out of the ovenCool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out on cooling rack.

dairy, egg,soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cake cooling on rackPrepare Orange Drizzle (recipe below) to top off the cooled bundt cake.

Orange Drizzle

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp orange zest

I like to use a reamer to ‘squeeze’ the juice out of my oranges and lemons.

juice squeezed from half an orange with a reamer

I love my rasp for zesting oranges and lemons. Look at all that zest!

an orange zested with a rasp for orange drizzle

Pour juice and zest in a medium-sized bowl.
Using a fork, slowly add icing sugar until consistency for drizzle is reached.

orange drizzle for dairy,egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free pumpkin bundt cake

Spoon over cooled cake, scooping up pooled drizzle and re-spooning over cake.


P.S. My neighbours gave my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Pumpkin Bundt Cake a rave review. They are awaiting the arrival of their next bundt cake…Dairy, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Bundt Cake anyone?

Always CHECK INGREDIENTS each time you purchase products.

Have you recently discovered and ‘fallen in love’ with an allergy friendly recipe. I’d love to hear about it. Please share in the comments!

P.P.S.  As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!

Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Michael’s Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Dinner was a success!

sliced roast turkey, dairy free stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy

What a busy weekend it was getting everything ready. Having a well laid out plan really helped. 

Thursday: roast peppers for hostess gift of Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Bruschetta topping
Friday: Bake the bread in Black and Decker  All-In-One Automatic Breadmaker for the stuffing. (Substitute the butter with canola oil, omit dry milk powder and substitute water with rice/soy milk)
Saturday: Pick up turkey from Buckingham’s with Michael.

9 lb turkey picked up at Buckinham's

Prepare the stuffing. (Michael chopped the celery, measured the oil and herbs, sautéed  the ingredients and combined them with the cubed bread) Bake and frost Dairy and Egg Free Chocolate Birthday Cake.
Sunday: Make the french stick dough in the bread maker and bake, roast turkey with stuffing, make gravy (Michael chopped the celery and carrots) and garlic mashed potatoes.(Michael peeled and cut the potatoes in half. He adjusted the garlic mashed potatoes with garlic water, salt and pepper to his liking)

The first time I roasted a turkey for my family, was the Christmas of 1995. Andy and I announced I was pregnant (with Michael) and my brother announced his engagement at New Years.

The recipe I adapted for roast turkey and stuffing was from Canadian Living’s Country Cooking Cookbook. It resembled my mother’s recipe so much, I have been using it ever since.

Dairy Free Stuffing

dairy free turkey stuffing in a bowl

3/8 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp each of salt, dried savory, marjoram and pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
7-8 cups cubed white bread (made in bread maker)
1/4 cup chopped  fresh parsley

In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat.
Cook onions, celery, sage, salt savory, marjoram, pepper and thyme.
Stir often for 10-15 minutes until tender.

sauteeing celery, onion, herbs in canola oil for stuffingTransfer to a large bowl and toss with bread and parsley.

dairy free stuffing for turkeyCover and refrigerate. (Do this the day before)

Roast Turkey

sliced roast turkey on a platter

9 lb turkey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Remove any giblets and neck from turkey. Set aside for gravy.
Rinse turkey inside and out and dry well.
Stuff body of turkey with stuffing and any extra in the neck opening.
Skewer neck together. Twist wings under.
Tuck legs under band of skin or tie together with string.
Place turkey on rack in roasting pan.
Rub olive oil, salt and pepper over turkey.

9 lb stuffed turkey ready for the oven

Insert pop up timer 1 – 1 1/4 inches from the front tip of breast bone, up from wing socket and angled slightly toward the breast bone.
Cover with lid and roast at 325 F for 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 hours, removing lid for the last hour to brown the turkey, until the pop up timer pops up.

cooked roast turkey in roasting pan with pop up timer popped upA thermometer inserted at thigh should reach 185 F (85 C) and stuffing 165 F(75 C).
Let rest on cutting board, lightly covered for 20 minutes before carving.

Stock for Gravy

vegetable broth, white wine, chopped onion, carrots and celery and neck and giblets from turkey for stock for gravy

giblets and neck from turkey
900 ml carton of vegetable stock add enough water to make 4 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup each sliced carrot and celery

Put all above ingredients in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours.
Strain into a measuring cup.
Add enough wine to make 3 cups if needed. (I didn’t need any)
Set aside until ready to make gravy.

Dairy Free Gravy

dairy free turkey gravy in gravy boat

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

Skim fat in roasting pan.
Add flour and cook over medium heat.
Whisk in stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Tip: If the gravy has not thickened enough, in a separate bowl, mix a bit of the gravy with more flour and gradually whisk into the simmering gravy until desired thickness is reached.

Dairy Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes

dairy free garlic mashed potatoes in a bowl

4 Yukon Gold potatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, cover potatoes and garlic with water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.
Cook until tender.
Drain potatoes, reserving liquid.
Mash potatoes with garlic, drizzle with olive oil, add enough of the liquid to moisten, salt and pepper to taste.

Michael put together his Thanksgiving Feast of turkey, stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes in an oven proof container.(Sampling bits of turkey and a turkey wing in the process)

Michael's thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, dairy free garlic mashed potatoes, and dairy free stuffing in a oven proof container

Upon arrival at my sister-in-law’s house, I covered his dinner with foil and placed it in the oven to reheat. I reheated his gravy in the microwave.

Along with Michael’s thanksgiving dinner, I brought the loaf of homemade french stick, a cutting board and bread knife for Michael to cut it and Dairy and Egg Free Chocolate Birthday Cake. (I used the bread knife to cut the cake)

Our Thanksgiving Day Culinary Adventure was a lot of work and a lot of fun! An event we will most likely share in again.

Michael discovered he liked chopping celery, he learned how to handle a vegetable peeler, insert a measuring spoon into a box of dried sage, and patiently watched over and stirred vegetables sauteing and gravy thickening. Most of all, he enjoyed taste testing the results of his labour!

I discovered that I should invite Michael into the kitchen more often!

The day after the extended family’s thanksgiving dinner, our family was thankful for the leftovers of our Thanksgiving Day Culinary Adventure.

Have you experienced a Culinary Adventure in your kitchen? Would you like to? I would love to know? Please leave a comment.

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!

PS: As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!

Living with Multiple Food Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma: What Could I Be Thankful For?

pumpkins, leaves and corn for a fall setting

One may ponder the question, living with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatits and asthma: what could I be thankful for? Over the years, I have asked myself this very question. (that is when I have had the chance to catch my breath to reflect on my life!)

As I sit here in a moment of reflection, I shall share my thoughts………

I am thankful for my health…for without it I would be rendered utterly useless. Experience has taught me to keep my health close to the top of the list of things to do.

I am thankful for my boys…I have always told them that having children was the best decision I have every made. Reinforcing how special they are to me, how much they have enriched my life…I am truly thankful.

I am thankful for my family… as difficult as it has been, it has been even harder for family members to step into ‘our world’.  The world around us is constantly changing. So too must ideas, traditions and routines. Wrapping ones head around them takes time and patience. Despite times of awkward tension, the bond of love between our families has  stayed strong. For that, I am thankful.

I am thankful for my friends…my anchor, my safety net, my reality check point, my support network, my cheerleaders, and my escape destination. Since childhood, two of my bestest friends are still apart of my life. They have journeyed with me through the good and the bad. How lucky am I?

I am thankful for my husband…my partner. His easy go lucky sense of life calms my overcontrolling nature. A definite case of opposites attracting!

I am thankful for all the doctor’s and specialists… my boys’ pediatrician from the start: his patience with my need for answers and the paths I took to find them. Michael’s  dermatologist: for introducing light therapy, clearing his skin and proving that he could outgrow his eczema. My boys’ allergist:  for reassuring me that the methods I use to keep my boys’ safe are ‘normal’.

I am thankful for my boys’ teachers…as food allergy awareness grows so does it’s acceptance.(there have been many changes from when Michael first started in JK) I am thankful for the opportunities my boys’ schools’ have given me to broaden food allergy awareness.

I am thankful for the students and friends of my boys’…I truly believe raising Michael’s classmates’ awareness of food allergies, back in SK, ‘normalized’ his situation. The students seemed to embrace Michael and their compassion made way for acceptance. I owe it all to the innocence of a child’s concern for Michael. She spied a book about a boy with food allergies at the dollar store and insisted her mother buy it so that the teacher could read it in class. The mother contacted me. I read the book to Michael, prepped him for questions and sent the book to school for the teacher to read. When the teacher finished reading the book to the class, she moved on to the next lesson. I am so proud to say, that Michael raised his hand and said, “My mom said you would have some questions for me.” I believe that was the moment  the door opened and his friends welcomed the opportunity to step into his world and they have never looked back since.

It is easy to think the grass is greener on the other side…..I admit, I have been led astray with these thoughts.

Treasure that which you have.

To all that have touched our lives or been touched by reading our stories, know in my heart, I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sit back and think about it……………what are you truly thankful for? Please share in my comments.

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!


Invitation to the Family Thanksgiving Dinner with Multiple Food Allergies

Thanksgiving weekend is almost here. A time to give thanks. As I sit here, reflecting back on my life (chaos and all), I am truly thankful for family, friends and my health.

Getting together with family to enjoy the best of fall’s harvest reinforces that feeling of thankfulness.

To simplify celebrating holidays between families, we celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband’s family (his birthday falls in and around Thanksgiving) and Easter with my family. (my birthday falls in and around Easter)

The job of hosting Thanksgiving is rotated between Andy’s mom, sister and myself. As I hosted last year, his sister has volunteered to host this year.

Thanksgiving dinner typically includes: Roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, fresh bread or buns, and of course pumpkin and apple pie. (possibly a birthday cake)

Introducing multiple food allergies into the equation of celebrating with food, can be a challenge. Clear, open communication between all parties involved is necessary to help ease the tension that can arise.

Michael has multiple food allergies to dairy, eggs, beef, peanuts/tree nuts,sesame, fish, shellfish and raspberries and Matthew to peanuts/tree nuts.

After receiving our invitation to my sister-in-laws Thanksgiving Dinner, I emailed our acceptance. I sent a reminder of both the boys’ food allergies. I inquired as to what, on the dinner menu, would be safe for the boys’ to eat.

I offered to bring the fresh bread and dessert (apple pie and/or chocolate birthday cake) to help out with the festivities.(bakery bread and baked goods are not safe as they may contain trace amounts of peanut/tree nuts, dairy, egg and sesame)

My sister-in-law sent a break down of the menu. The roasted turkey’s stuffing will include beef. (a separate turkey breast will be cooked) The mashed potatoes will be made with butter and milk (some of the boiled potatoes will be set aside), and the gravy will be cross-contaminated with the beef from the stuffing. My sister-in-law will be baking a pumpkin pie which will include dairy products. The carrots will be safe.

In the past, Michael has eaten the separate turkey breast, boiled potatoes and the safe vegetables along with the safe bread and pie that I bring. This year will be different.

Like everyone else, Michael anticipates the mouth-watering feast that emanates from the oven. Tantalizing aromas fill the air as the Thanksgiving dinner is lovingly put together.

Slices of roasted turkey with safe gravy is the one meal Michael looks forward to every year. He is acquiring a taste for safe stuffing and loves garlic mashed potatoes. Not to mention leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

In order to make this happen, I have ordered the smallest fresh turkey from Buckingham’s Meat Market. (8-9 lbs) I will roast the turkey with safe stuffing, make a gravy and whip up safe garlic mashed potatoes to bring along for his Thanksgiving dinner.

Why am I doing this?

I am thankful for all the times my sister-in-law (and mother-in-law) have graciously offered and made safe food substitutions for Michael. Without seeming ungrateful, a side order of turkey breast and boiled potatoes just isn’t the same. I want Michael to enjoy a full Thanksgiving meal like the rest of the family.

In the past, Michael has observed and helped me make his safe stuffing and gravy.This experience will give him the opportunity to learn to roast a turkey and cook garlic mashed potatoes with me at home.

Enquiring about and making safe food options will always follow Michael throughout his life. Better to learn how to navigate within these boundaries when he is young. It will aid him on his journey in life. A  journey that will soon enough be his alone.

P.S. How do you manage family celebrations with food allergies? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment.