Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Maple Syrup Muffins To Celebrate Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Maple Syrup Muffins for Canada Day

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Maple Syrup Muffins are perfect to celebrate Canada’s 146th birthday!

What better way to celebrate Canada Day than with some maple syrup laced muffins!

These were the perfect treat to bring over to my neighbour/friend Leslie’s where my boys were having a fun afternoon swimming with their friends in their pool.

Natasha exclaimed, “They taste like pancakes!”

Not quite sure where I acquired and wrote this recipe down from…I have had it since before I was married…enjoy!

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Maple Syrup Muffins

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Maple Syrup Muffins for Canada Day

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Natura Rice Beverage
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (make sure it is the real thing)

Maple Glaze

1 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 – 1/2 tsp of water to thin the glaze to your liking

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
Add the wet to the dry and stir just to combine.
Fill 12 paper lined muffin tin with batter.
Bake at 350 F for 20- 25 minutes or until golden.
Let cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin before removing them to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Spread with Maple Glaze.

Enjoy!

How will you be spending Canada Day? Baking anything special to celebrate? Do share!

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Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Carrot Raisin Muffins

Happy Spring!

With spring officially here…is ‘Mother Nature’ aware?..I thought I would start the weekend off with some freshly baked allergy friendly muffins for the lovely ladies in my last knitting class at the Kniterary. Our last knitting session for our baby sweater…or so I thought.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Carrot Raisin Muffins

A basket of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Carrot Raisin Muffins

This fibre-rich muffin made with whole-wheat flour, wheat germ and a flax egg was incredibly moist…not to mention…delish!

Clipped from an old Canadian Living Magazine…I adapted the recipe to be made without dairy and eggs…replacing the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. Click here for the original recipe.

Adaptions:

Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 cup whole-wheat flour (increasing the total of whole-wheat flour to 1 1/2 cups)
Substitute Natur-a Rice Beverage or Natur-a Soy Beverage for milk.
Substitute 1 tbsp of flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp of water, refrigerated over night for the egg.
Substitute canola oil for the melted butter.

The knitted baby sweater has taken our class more than the 3 scheduled classes…our group met last week for an extra class… will be meeting again for an extra class this week too.

Despite the challenges that we have faced with the baby sweater…we all admit we are addicted. All of us that can…are signing up for the next knitting project…socks!

Each of the lovely ladies in my knitting class are at various stages of the sweater…I just have the I-cord (trim), sewing in the loose bits of yarn, knitting something special as the ‘button’ and the ‘blocking’ of the baby sweater left to do.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Carrot Raisin Muffins surrounded by partially finished knitted baby sweaters

Total of 4 sweaters…mine is the violet and cream on the far right.

The knitting instructors and the lovely ladies in my knitting class were pleasantly surprised that such an adapted recipe tasted so yummy!

Ready to enjoy a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Wholewheat Carrot Raisin Muffin

Enjoy!

P.S. One batch of muffins yielded only 9 muffins so I needed to quickly whip up another batch…couldn’t leave the house smelling of delicious muffins without leaving any for Andy to try!

Food Allergy Chronicles Thanks ‘Seize The Veggies’ For The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I am honoured to have received ‘The Inspiring Blogger Award’awarded to me by Julie @ ‘Seize The Veggies’. Julie is a vegetarian blogging about delicious tips for healthy eating. Julie also has a son with a tree nut allergy.

wpid-photo-may-5-2012-215-pm

Here are the rules:

  • Copy and paste the Award graphic in a post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, and tell them by posting a comment on their blog.

7 Things About Me:

1.  My hair is naturally curly and I have yet to colour it.
2.  I love dogs…especially big cuddly ones…unfortuately, our dog allergies have prevented us from adopting another into our family.  If we were to adopt another, I would love to own a Portuguese Water Dog.  It was our second choice…our first dog was a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Click here to read all about our experience having a dog with our boys.
3. I love peanut butter…not just any peanut butter but all-natural crunchy peanut butter...President’s Choice Organic Crunchy. I know it seems sacrilige to be even mentioning and providing a link to this contraband in our house…but it is my ‘girls getaway’ indulgence when I visit my mother. It is one of the many sacrifices our family with multiple food allergies has made in order to provide a safe environment for both our boys with peanut/tree nut allergies.
4.  Green Tea is my favourite tea to enjoy throughout the day.
5. A Soy Latte at Starbucks is a special treat…best enjoyed in cold hockey arenas.
6.  I am thrilled to be running again…physio therapists, a chiropractor/acupunturist and physiotrist have all been a big help in my recovery.
7.  I really enjoy writing my blog, The Food Allergy Chroniclesa big thank you to all that follow me!

I urge you to please take the time to acquaint yourselves with the following bloggers living with food allergies. Living with food allergies can be very isolating…it should not be a lonely experience…we need to support each other.

Read through and be prepared to be inspired!

My list of 15 ‘Very Inspiring Bloggers’ Living With Allergy/Eczema/Asthma:

1.  A Tale of Anaphylaxis Tips & Tricks On Living With Anaphylaxis! by the Epipen Princess: Sydney, a student, with food allergiesstrawberry, pineapple, cashew and coconut…with tips and tricks to surviving day to day life tasks with anaphylaxis. Sydney is inspiring as she tackles anaphylaxis through the eyes of a student….giving students with food allergies a voice and mentor. I love her ending sentence on a post she wrote on ‘How To Emotionaly Heal After Anaphylaxis’…”Don’t cry because it happened, SMILE because you are alive!” Click here for that post.

2. The Allergista How to Manage Your Skin & Food Allergies Without Losing Sanity OR Style Points: The Allergista has a skin condition called Allergic Contact Dermatitis ( a form of eczema) is lactose intolerant, deficient in Vitamin D, wears only cotton and must avoid touching anything with nickel. She also has multiple allergies…chocolate, cashews, green, brown and white beans, spinach, canned food wheat, shellfish, ground meat, vitamins, figs, pineapple, prunes, raspberries, mussels, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and licorice. There is more…click here for more about The Allergista. The Allergista inspires me with her enthusiasm for life…she will be an Official Expo Blogger at the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo in Chicago 2013. Click here to read more about it from The Allergista.

3. Celiac And Allergy Adventures Living a Full And Fun Life With Food Allergies And Celiac Disease:  A 30 year old who has lived with food allergies, asthma and eczema all her life and is now living gluten free. Celiac and Allergy Adventures inspires me because as she states,  ” I’m viewing this all as a positive learning experience and refuse to let these conditions take control over my  life.” It is a blog filled with personal experiences.

4.  lucys friendly foods:  A Cordon Bleu trained mom of two children with food allergies…dairy, egg, nut and sesame seed. She inspires me with all her delicious recipes…Rosemary Foccacia, Welsh Cakes and Ginger Flapjacks…I especially like all the British specialties.

5. Dairy Egg Nut: Dining out…with allergies:  as titled, the blogger writes about dining out with allergies…where they go and what they order. Dairy Egg Nut’s restaurant experiences inspires me to start ‘stepping out of our box’ and try some of their tips at our local restaurants.

6.  Intrepid Allergy Mum adventures with allergies: a mum living in Western Australia with her 5 year old son with food allergies…dairy, egg, fish, nuts, lentils and sesame. She inspires me with all her allergen friendly recipes that she creates for her son.

7.  My Eczema SkinCare Blog My Trials and Tribulations for Clearer Skin!:  The blogger hopes her experiences with her eczema, from the past 5 years, helps others find a solution to their eczema. This blogger is inspiring with her passion and candid exposure of her experiences with eczema.

8.  It’s An Itchy Little World / Eczema, allergies and asthma…oh my!: Jennifer is a mompreneur and founder of The Eczema Company. Jennifer shares her stories with her family’s battles with eczema, allergies and asthma using natural methods. Jennifer inspires me with her indepth approach to researching the best products for those suffering from eczema and inspires me with her stories of strength related to her son’s food allergies.

9.  Frugal Food Allergies:  Lindsey is a mother who believes it should not cost a fortune to cook with food allergies. Lindsey’s blog focuses on her daughter’s EoE (Eosiniphilic Esophagitus) as well as her daughter’s limited diet due to her mulitple food allergies. Click here to read about her lengthy journey. Lindsey inspires me with her positive energy, strength and determination to be there for her family.

10.  Dairy Free Diner: A blog about living with a dairy allergy in your family:  Jennifer’s son has a dairy allergy and febrile seizures and a daughter with alopecia areata…with both inheriting their father’s amblyopia. Click here to read all about the details of her journey. Jennifer blogs about her family’s trials and tribulations. Jennifer is another mother who inspires me with her strength and determination living with all the medical conditions her family faces on a daily basis.

11. Young Allergies: Magdalena has a son with eczema and food allergies…milk, soy, egg, peanuts/tree nuts. Magdalena blogs about her life with her two young boys and posts allergy friendly recipes. Magdalena inspires me as a mother of a child with food allergies that goes above and beyond to create a safe environment for her son to thrive within. Her candid honesty with her daily struggles with two young boys tugs at your ‘heart strings’. Click here for her post on ‘Struggles’.

12. Allergy Foodiethrive with top 8 food allergens: Anu blogs about her son with food allergies…eggs, wheat , soy , dairy, nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.  Anu’s ‘passion for the field of nutrition’ and improving the quality of life of her son…leads her to researching issues such as ingredient lists, new recipes, new products and substitute foods. Anu inspires me with her creative allergy friendly dishes and her determination to educate others on food allergies in general.

13. My 1/2 Dozen Daily: As Carla simply states, ‘Join me through the ups & downs of motherhood as I try to balance a husband, 4 kids, a cat, a handful of hobbies, my faith, homeschooling, living green & frugally in Canada all while keeping a smile on my face!’ She forgot to add…while living with eczema and food allergies (OAS)…most raw fruits, some raw vegetables, sugar, dairy, soy, cocount, peanuts/tree nuts, corn, oats and quinoa, gluten/wheat, hormones/antibiotics/pesticides, chemicals and preservatives, fish, sulphites and processed foods of any kind. Carla inspires me with all that she does for her family…her management of money, care for her children and her sewing and photography on the side to help ends meet…all the while living with the ‘puzzle’ of excema and her OAS and food allergies.

14. The Allergy Mom Life With A Child With Allergies: Melissa is the mother to two children with eczema and allergies…environmental, dairy, eggs peanuts/tree nuts. Melissa’s site is host to allergy related articles, allergy friendly recipes, an allergy forum, an allergy directory and her blog. Melissa is inspiring in all that she does to raise the awareness of food allergies with the public, as well as, navigating the world of food allergies in her daily life.

15. Jazzy Allergy Recipes Simple and delicious egg free, dairy free, and nut free recipes that everyone will love: Lori creates recipes especially for her daughter, Jazzy, with food allergies…dairy, egg and nuts. Lori inspires me with her dedication to her daughter to keep her promise…‘That I would do my very best to find a way for her to eat any food she wants to try.’ …A theme I have noticed that resonates between all the mother’s on my list of ‘Inspiring Bloggers’.

Thank you all for inspiring me…our experiences in life give us meaning…thank you all for sharing yours!

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.

Cross-Contamination Series: Romantic Get Away For Two…Biking In Niagara-On-The-Lake

Living day-in and day-out with eczema, multiple food allergies and asthma issues with your children can add up to ‘a heck of a lot of stress.’

The kind of stress that can ‘suck the life out of you’…’put a strain on one’s relationship with their partner’…’put a marriage to the test.’

I seriously got to the point of not knowing who I was anymore…I had so many roles to play…wife, mother, nurse, doctor, teacher, caregiver, special education intervenor, friend, daughter, sister, aunt…I burnt out.

A trip to Scotland with my then 7 month old second son gave me the break I needed to refocus my mind, recharge my batteries…find myself!

It would become my ‘aha’ moment!

Over the years, my husband, Andy and I have made an effort to plan a weekend get- away…just for the two of us…to rekindle our relationship.

A weekend in Toronto for a dinner and show or taking a boating license course together, passing the test and celebrating in Toronto with a dinner and show are a couple of get-aways we have enjoyed.

Our most favourite weekend get-away to date…venturing back to the Niagara region…the setting for our wedding…20 years ago this July.

For the past 3 years, Niagara-On-The-Lake has been our destination of choice. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the town, bringing our bicycles to follow the bicycle paths out to Brock Monument, Niagara Falls and the many Wineries, enjoying an evening at the local pub…heaven!

Victoria Day Weekend is our weekend of choice…Friday and Monday are both holidays for my husband…the perfect opportunity to get-away!

I know what you are thinking…”What about the boys? Who is looking after them? How could you leave them with all their food allergies? Who can you trust?”

Yikes! My anxiety levels are up again!

Leaving my boys with food allergies is not ‘a walk in the park’ for me. First and foremost, I need to feel that I have left my boys in ‘safe hands’.  Trusting your children with someone takes on a whole new meaning when food allergies are involved…anaphylaxis is at stake.

For the past 3 trips to Niagara, my mother has stayed with the boys.

My mother has been as good as my ‘right hand man’ when it comes to looking after my boys with their eczema, food allergies and asthma issues…she has experienced the lifestyle of living with eczema, food allergies and asthma hands on…witnessed allergic reactions…she understands the reality of the situation…I believe she ‘gets it’…I trust her.

When my boys were younger, I would leave explicit instructions covering Michael’s bathing and creaming, their medications, ‘safe’ snacks and meal options. Now that the boys are older, going on 16 and 14 years of age, they are much more independent with their basic hygiene, puffers and understanding of ‘safe’ food choices.

I still make sure there is enough ‘safe’ food in the house…I make Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick and Sub Buns.

I prep the meals ahead of time…I have the dough all ready to go in the Bread Machine for the boys pizza for Friday Night, the Pork Back Ribs and Pork Tenderloin are defrosting in the refrigerator for Saturday and Sunday night dinners. There are veggies, rice or potatoes for them to choose to accompany their main dishes.

Last minute instructions, extra Epi Pens and the boys’ health cards are all at the ready…just in case.

Back in the day of no cell phones, a quick phone call upon our arrival at our destination was our protocol of communication. I know that may seem ‘odd/selfish’ to some, but if I had to deal with the every day stresses of our ‘home life’ on my time away…I would be stressing the entire time…defeating the purpose of our little ‘get away’.

Times have changed and my boys have grown.Technology these days has me texting our arrival to my eldest son, Michael. He likes to keep me updated with their activities…often we share photos of our trip…any questions can be easily answered…we are just a text away.

The benefits of the ‘get aways’ goes both ways…the boys get to put to good use the skills they have learned living with food allergies, exercise their independence, learn to trust their abilities as well as others and share some quality time with their Nana.

Believe me, even though I have ‘prepped’ as much as I possibly can and I ‘know’ that my boys are in ‘good hands’…I will still be totally ‘stressing out’ right up until the time that Andy and I pull out of our driveway.

My mind will be racing through a check list as we drive to grab a coffee for the road…heading out on the highway my body will start to relax…with the tunes playing, my hubbie by my side and an adventure waiting on the horizon…I will finally feel the tension lessening in my shoulders and back…ahhhh…we are on our way!

Tip: I must thank two great friends/neighbours…Leslie and Linda…with whom I am most appreciative. I know they are both a phone call/walk away…knowing they are both there as ‘back up’ should my mother ever need them…having great friends who would be there for you at the ‘drop of a hat’…priceless!

Question: Does the stress of living with food allergies take a toll on your marriage? How do you keep your relationship with your spouse/partner together? What are some strategies that you find help keep your relationship strong? 

P.S. I am hoping to have a post of our weekend away ready for Monday…it just might be Tuesday! 

Update: Actually….more like Wednesday!

Decluttered Personal Space Revealed: Week 2: Decluttering Family Space Challenge

Week 1: Personal Space Challenge Revealed

Click here to view the before pictures.

It brings a smile to my face each time I look at my tidy bedside table. I know, it’s such a little thing but it’s amazing the personal pleasure I feel from my accomplishment.

decluttered bedroom side table

It has encouraged me to tidy up other mini areas of the house that need that little bit of attention…my bathroom counter, my laundry room counter, kitchen counter and my umbrella stand.

Umbrella stand? Yes, umbrella stand…jam packed with plastic bags and elastic bands that my Toronto Star newspaper is delivered in on inclement weather days.

umbrella stand filled with plastic newspaper bags and elastics

That’s better!

a decluttered umbrella stand

I have compiled them all and will leave them for my newspaper delivery carrier to recycle.

Ta dah! The dining room table, a.k.a. my desk, has been transformed!

my decluttered dining room table a.k.a. my desk

A trip to the Dollar Store was all I needed to organize my various ‘bits and bats’ that I like to have at hand.

Bin to the left holds my notebooks, recipe journal for writing out my new recipes, book review books, and my Little Oxford Dictionary/Thesaurus.

dollar store bin holding notebooks, dictionary and book review books on my 'desk'

Bin to the right holds my scissors for cutting out articles and recipes, recipe cards, sticky notes, tape and my camera when not in use.

right hand bin on my desk

Perfect to pick up and tuck away when I need to use the dining room table for entertaining.

I love my space! I even have room on the table for photographing…the dark table makes for a nice change and gives contrast to my white dishes.

Michael spent a good afternoon purging his drawers and tidying up his desk. Great job!

michael's decluttered bedroom

The boys and I went through the books in Michael’s closet selecting those to donate and those to keep. The boys often reread many of their favourites.

The closet is a much better site!

Michael's decluttered closet

Matthew’s side table was pretty easy to sort out…he mostly just needed to put his things away and toss out the garbage.

matthew's decluttered side tableDecluttering has the effect of revealing the dust bunnies!

Now things are tidy and clean…perfect!

I have accumulated all my belongings to be donated on the couch.

things to donate on couch

There are 8 piles to cover the 8 days so far. From left to right: plastic bags and elastics to be given to the newspaper carrier, books in front to be returned to lender, pile of clothes, bag of material, children’s books and magazines to The Women’s Shelter and men’s clothing and trophies in front of books to go to the Salvation Army.

Week 2: The Family Space Challenge: I have focused my attention on the Family Room…the magnet for all the magazines.  This is where the magazines seem to congregate.

There is a tower of magazines on the side table, an apple basket filled with magazines and clippings, piles of magazines under a skirted chair, and a back load of them hidden inside two ottomans. Yikes! (Will post before and after pictures together next week.)

Clearing, sorting, purging and cleaning will be first on the agenda. Followed up with compiling the magazines into their respective piles and reviewing the clippings for useful articles and recipes. Creating a filing system for my clippings will help to organize my recipes for easy access.

Oh my, this could take awhile! There are still the drawers in the Guest Bedroom to consider for the Dreaded Challenge. It truly is dreaded!

Tip 1: I found words of wisdom for decluttering from the master of decluttering himself…Peter Walsh. Click here to listen to some of his ideas about decluttering your home and the benefits of living clutter free.

Some of my favourites of Peter’s decluttering advice are:

1) Finding a place for your things removes stress: So true…I feel less tension at my ‘desk’ and bedside table. Clearing the clutter makes my working environment more condusive to productivity. I love having a place for everything!

2) Decide what you want from your space…peace, harmony, focus and motivation: Yes, yes, yes and yes!

3) His ratio rule: for every 4 items you keep…throw one out: I will use this when working through my magazines and clippings. Wish me luck!

4) In your closet, hang all your clothes back to front and only turn them around after you have worn them. After 6 months, remove all the clothes that are still back to front: Sounds easy enough.

5) Empty a cluttered kitchen drawer into a bin. Only return an item to the drawer when it has been used. Donate what is left in the bin after 1 month: Again, sounds simple enough.

Tip 2: Peter Walsh’s 10 ways to declutter can be found here.

Tip 3: More of Peter Walsh’s decluttering ideas can be found here.

P.S. As overwhelming as my Decluttering Challenges are…I am happy with my progress thus far!

Good luck to all that are working through February’s Decluttering Challenge that Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily has organized.

Questions: Did you set a Personal Space Challenge for yourself? How did you fare? Will you be trying the Family Space Challenge?

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses and Men

The Christmas Tree is up…the decorations have been strategically placed throughout the house…and the Christmas tunes are cranked.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread men on christmas tree I took over the kitchen this weekend for some holiday baking…Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread to be exact!

I am so excited to be baking and building our first Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses with the boys.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

I have been eyeing this Gingerbread House mold from Lee Valley for some years now.

Gingerbread mold from Lee Valley

I am unsure where my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread recipe originates. I went through a few recipes before Michael claimed this one the winner. The baking instructions for the Gingerbread House came with the Gingerbread House mold.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Gingerbread Dough

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup fancy molasses

In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy.

creamed Earth Balance and sugar for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut gingerbreadMix in the water, vinegar, and molasses.

molasses, water and vinegar added to creamed mixture for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbreadIn another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.

dry ingredients for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbreadSlowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until completely combined.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread doughDivide dough in half and roll into 2 balls.
Wrap each ball in wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2 balls of dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread dough wrapped in wax paperSpray mold with canola spray.
I rolled out the dough to the thickness of the mold and then cut pieces to press into the mold.

rolled out dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread dough for gingerbread mold from Lee Valley

Press Gingerbread dough into mold.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut gingerbread dough pressed into gingerbread house mold from Lee Valley

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.
Let gingerbread cool in mold for 10 minutes.

baked dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread in gingerbread house mold from Lee Valley

Carefully remove the pieces to a cooling rack.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house cooling on rackRepeat. Two batches are necessary for a complete house.

Tip 1: One ball of dough made one side of the mold. I made 2 batches of my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Dough for two houses. I used the leftover dough to make mini and large Gingerbread Men. I poked holes at the top with a straw (before baking) to thread ribbon or string through for decorating the tree.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread men to decorate treeThe third house was made using the Gingerbread Dough recipe that came with the mold. It was actually dairy and egg free already! It was very crumbly so I just pressed the dough in the mold. Not as impressed with their recipe…not as tasty and couldn’t roll out the leftover dough to make Gingerbread Men.

Tip 2: I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses in both the recipes. Michael noticed right away that the dough was different. “The dough is darker…what did you do differently?” he questioned me. Then he tried them…”I know you did something to these cookies?”  “I’ll eat them, but I like the other ones you make better.”

I didn’t think changing the molasses would make such a difference…apparantly, I was wrong. I know how much he loves and looks forward to me making these cookies each year…I should have known better than to mess with them.

For Michael’s favourite Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Cookies one must use Crosby’s Fancy Molasses.

Building the Dairy,Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread House

Constructing the Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses is a story in and of itself…let’s just say…one needs a lot of patience!  

The Royal Icing recipe recommended in the instruction booklet to ‘glue’ the house together, required egg whites. For our egg free version, I mixed together 2 cups icing sugar with 7 tsp of water.

A ziplock sandwich bag with a corner snipped off was filled with the icing sugar mixture. The boys and I squeezed out the icing to ‘glue’ our houses together.

constructing dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

Eventually, the bag broke and icing was everywhere! Matthew and I  then tried using a plastic icing bag with a metal tip. This ended up to be futile…we resorted to using our fingers to spread the icing while trying to hold the houses together.

We left them to dry before attempting to add anything else for fear of them collapsing…once again! A little more finicky than I had anticipated.

constructed dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

The boys found the whole enterprise quite amusing!

Note to self: Next time, make the gingerbread pieces thinner, especially the roof!

Of course everyone knows that decorating the Gingerbread Houses is the best part!

Decorations included: Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans, Surf Sweets Jelly Beans, Gummy Bears and Worms, mini marshmallows, Mentos mints, Enjoy Life chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.

allergen free candies to decorate dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

I called the boys in from playing road hockey to decorate their houses.  A neighbourhood friend joined in on the fun.

decorating dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses with allergen free candies

All in all, we were all very pleased with the end results.

decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread housesMatthew’s Masterpiece:.. ‘architectural perfection!’

matthew's decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

My Masterpiece… ‘a jelly bean and gummy delight!”

my decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

Michael’s Masterpiece…‘a disguised security device…middle, top chocolate chip has a hidden camera!” lol

Michael's decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

“I can’t wait to eat it…we can eat them, right?”, exclaims Matthew upon finishing applying his last candy.

Enjoy!

Have you a favourite allergen friendly Gingerbread recipe for Gingerbread Men? Does your family construct and decorate an allergen friendly Gingerbread House each year? What are your holiday baking traditions?

Allergy Friendly Homemade Chicken Soup

Seasonal allergies and cold season are upon us. It’s the time of year our immune systems need a boost.

Nothing like a hearty bowl of Homemade Chicken Soup to bring the sick and weary back to health!

allergy friendly homemade chicken soup

Making Homemade Chicken Soup is a tradition I started when Michael was very young. I was leary of buying soup off a shelf. I felt my sick son deserved to regain and refuel his body with goodness, not artificial this and that. Of course, there were his food allergies to consider. (The noodles in Chicken Noodle soup contained eggs.) And so, our much-loved Homemade Chicken Soup was created!

Over the years the recipe has evolved: the plain potato was switched to sweet potato, there must be lots of carrots, apparently, I never put enough in, and a garlic clove is added towards the end…to give it that little… ‘Je ne sais quoi’. ( I snuck that in a while back with no complaints)

Everyone likes to finish off their Homemade Chicken Soup a little differently: Michael likes to add rice, Matthew prefers the teeny tiny balls of pasta, I like quinoa and Andy adds it all!

Homemade Chicken Soup is one of the boys most requested recipe. Even in the heat of the summer they were asking for it. (I passed up Mother of the Year and forgo making it.)

The first ailment of the year has arrived. I thought Michael was just suffering through seasonal allergies and his asthma.  I was wrong.

I received a call from the school describing Michael as “not looking so well……pale”.  When I arrived, he looked paler than pale and was shaking uncontrollably. Off to the doctors. The doctor saw him right away and diagnosed him with ……pneumonia!  Off to get a chest x-ray. Stopped on the way to drop off prescription, purchase Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen for fever control and water for his incredible thirst. Picked up prescription…..home to bed.

In all of the chaos, one thing is for sure……… Homemade Chicken Soup for dinner?”    Michael smiles and nods…………all will be well!

Matthew’s first words as he sniffed the air upon arriving home from school, “Is that soup?”

Homemade Chicken Soup is good for everyone’s soul.

This recipe is not written in stone…..adjust to your own tastes.

Homemade Chicken Soup

pot, whole chicken, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, parsely, celery and whole black peppercorns for homemade chicken soup

The Broth

parsely, whole black peppercorns, chopped carrots and celery for homemade chicken broth

1 whole chicken, legs and wings removed and as much skin off as possible
1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
fresh parsley, a good handful, stems included

In a large pot, place chicken pieces.

deskinned chicken pieces in pot for homemade chicken brothCover with cold water.
As the water is coming to a boil, skim off foam.

skimming foam off homemade chicken brothAdd the vegetables with peppercorns, cover and let simmer for 2 hours.

parsely, celery, carrots, onion and black peppercorns added to homemade chicken brothRemove chicken pieces, let cool, pull off meat and store in a covered container until ready to use.
Strain chicken broth.

Vegetable Add-Ins

chopped carrots, sweet potatoe and celery, garlic clove to add to finished homemade chicken broth

3 sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced and quartered
3-4 cups of chopped carrots
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp kosher salt

Bring chicken stock back up to a boil. 
Add in chopped vegetables, garlic and salt.
Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

Great reheated the next day!

bowl of allergy friendly homemade chicken soup with crackers

Spoon rice, pasta and/or quinoa into a bowl, top with some of the chicken and ladle in soup with vegetables over top.  
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

Michael’s Tip:  A little bit of celery makes a nice addition.

P.S. Barley, wild rice, beans, fresh corn, peas also make nice additions.  The possibilities are endless…………

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!