Our Allergen Friendly Easter Dinner

Easter weekend was particularly festive! It was a double celebration…

my birthday 2012

it was also my birthday!

The day started out with Easter Sunday Mass followed by a quick change for my long run…17 km!

Longest run of my life to date!

The boys had fun diving into their Easter bags that the Allergen Friendly Easter Bunny left for them.

Boys Easter bags 2012

A cupcake container filled with Guardian Angel Solid Chocolate Eggs free of dairy, egg, and peanut/tree nuts (I divided a package of  eggs between them), gum, Yummy Earth candy drops in Pomegranate Pucker…their favourite, a package of Surf Sweets Jelly Beans for Michael and Gummy Bears for Matthew, a can of Sparkling SanPellegrino Limonata or Aranciata (Orange) and to top it off…a Maple Sugar Easter Bunny!

Boys allergen friendly candy for Easter 2012

The Easter Bunny even had them hunting for an extra special ‘Easter Treat’ for the boys to share.

Guardian Angel Tasting Box of Chocolates of the boys special Easter Treat

A box of Guardian Angel Chocolates Tasting Box free of dairy, eggs and peanut/tree nuts.

Caramel and Honey…yummy!

Guardian Angel Caramel and Honey chocolate

A truly decadent treat the boys have never indulged in due to their food allergies. Chocolate Ganache is their favourite so far…still Maple Jelly, Salt Flower Caramel and Coffee left to sample.

All my favourites were at hand for our Allergy Friendly Easter Dinner:

To start, we noshed on Spicy Edamame Dip from Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook, Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood:Stories & Recipes To Share With Family & Friends. I love this dip with raw veggies such as sugar snap peas, carrots and peppers, where as, Michael loves the dip with Rosemary crackers by La Panzanella.

Allergy friendly appetizers of fresh veggies and Spicy Edamame Dip with rosemary crackers

Taking a break to toast my birthday with a glass of Prosecco!

Toasting my birthday with a glass of Prosecco

I roasted a Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary for the boys.

Roasted Chicken with Lemon, garlic and thyme

While Andy barbecued a New Zealand Mediterranean Seasoned Boneless Leg of Lamb.

Barbecued Seasoned New Zealand Boneless Leg of Lamb


Our main dishes were accompanied with Roasted Asparagus and Roasted Mini Potatoes with fresh thyme…

Roasted asparagus and mini potatoes

and of coarse…freshly baked homemade French Stick.

Dessert was my favourite cake…Carrot Cake…now…Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake with Tofutti Cream Cheese Icing decorated with grated carrot and Surf Sweets Jelly Beans.

Dairy, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake

I was afraid that after a week of trying three adaptions of Carrot Cake…we would all be Carrot Caked out! Thank goodness for hungry neighbours!

Before we indulged in Carrot Cake…the boys had fun outside with the sparklers!

Boys outside with sparklers

My Aunt Frances’ adapted Carrot Cake was the winner!

A slice of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake


Happy Easter!

P.S. I will be posting my Aunt Frances’ adapted Carrot Cake recipe on Wednesday.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

Oh my goodness… I am in chocolate heaven!

dairy,egg,soy and peanut/tree nut free chocolate lava cake on a plate

Rich, warm, gooey chocolatey bliss!

Can you tell…I am a chocoholic!

If you love chocolate…rich chocolate…purely decadent chocolate…then this is the indulgence for you!

I first made these unbelievably delicious Chocolate Lava Cakes 5 years ago as a special Valentine’s Day dessert for my husband and I.

Chocolate is the essence of romance!

romantic dessert of dairy,egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free chocolate lava cakes for two

Ever since, I have thought about adapting the recipe to be dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free so my son Michael could also savour pure chocolate perfection…but how?

Enter flax-seed meal!

Flax seed meal is full of nutritional goodness: soluble and insoluble fibre, lignans, omega-3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Health benefits include: lowering the risk of heart disease, prevention of some types of cancer and as a treatment for some immune disorders.

Flax seed meal has many uses: in cooking, baking, as a fresh food additive, and even as an egg and fat replacer!

I love sprinkling my Gold Top Organics Flax Seed Meal on my morning oatmeal or as an addition to my homemade applesauce.

For the benefit of this recipe, I am using the flax-seed meal as the egg replacer one egg is equal to: 1 tbsp of flax-seed meal mixed with 3 tbsp of water left to sit for 3-5 minutes then stir. The mixture will have thickened to a ‘gummy like’ consistency…perfect!

Despite the addition of flax-seed meal to this scrumptious dessert…I would still consider it a once in a while indulgence. lol

The timing is perfect for the unveiling of this recipe…Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine January 2007, Molten Mocha Cakes.

Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

dairy,egg,soy and peanut/tree nut free chocolate lava cake on a plate

2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Sticks or Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Buttery Spread
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
1 tbsp Gold Top Organics Flax Seed Meal
3 tbsp water
1 tsp instant coffee
pinch of kosher salt
3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
Earth Balance Vegan Sticks and dairy free Guardian Angel Cocoa for greasing and dusting two ramekins.

Grease two ramekins with Earth Balance and dust with dairy free cocoa.

ramekin greased with earth balance and dusted with guardian angel cocoaPlace Earth Balance and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 20 seconds. Stir until melted. (may need to do a little more depending on your microwave)
Let chocolate mixture cool slightly.
In a small dish, combine the flax-seed meal and the water. Stir and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Stir again. Mixture should have thickened and have a ‘gummy’ consistency.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flax-seed meal mixture, sugar and instant coffee.

flax seed meal mixure, instant coffee and icing sugar

Whisk in the chocolate and then the flour until just combined.

batter all mixed together and ready for the ramekinsPour batter into two prepared ramekins.

batter in ramekins ready for the ovenBake at 400 F until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from the edge of the ramekins comes out clean and is wet in the centre.
Timing will be varied depending on your oven. Start testing at the 12 minute marker. Mine took approximately 15-16 minutes.

baked dairy,egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free chocolate lava cakesLet cool for 10 minutes.
Invert onto plates and dust with icing sugar and decorate with a fresh strawberry…yummy!

enjoying a bite of dairy,egg,soy and peanut/tree nut free chocolate lava cake

Enjoy immediately…best still warm and gooey!

Tip 1: Keep an eye on them in the oven, as you want them slightly undercooked in the middle for the gooey lava effect!

Tip 2: I love that you can make the cakes ahead of time and then pop them in the oven while you are having your dinner…ready just in time for dessert!

Tip 3: Can also be enjoyed right out of the ramekins!

P.S. My cakes stuck a little in the middle…not to worry. Just scrape it off and dab it on the cake and cover with icing sugar and a strawberry or berries of choice…perfect!

Question: Do you have a favourite allergen free chocolate dessert you like to bake for your sweetheart(s) on Valentine’s Day?

Christmas Tradition: The Dill Pickle Ornament Prize: Dairy, Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Fondue

The first year of our marriage, I pulled out Christmas ornaments that my cousin had given my husband and I for our wedding…one of which was a pickle…a pickle?

dill pickle ornament on christmas tree

Back in the box it went.

Little did I know there was a story to go with the pickle.  I didn’t discover the story until a few years ago when I stumbled upon pickle ornaments for sale.

These pickles had a story…as legend had it, the tradition started in Germany. German families would hide a pickle ornament in their trees…the first child to find the pickle received an extra gift from St Nick and enjoyed a year of good fortune.

Another legend has it that a Bavarian (John Lower) came to America to fight in the Civil War…in jail and near starvation, he asked for a pickle…the pickle gave him the strength to survive…he began the tradition of hanging a pickle ornament on his tree and the finder received a year of good luck

Knowing the story behind the pickle…I quickly picked one up for my nephews…it became the prize for their first pickle hunt at our house one Christmas…and so the legend continues.

This year, Matthew was the finder of the pickle ornament…a chocolate fondue pot with dairy and peanut/tree nut free fondue chocolate from Guardian Angel was his gift for finding the pickle.

chocolate fondue pot and chocolate fondue chocolate from Guardian Angel

Matthew was super excited!

The Christmas Holiday’s were very busy…we just recently enjoyed our family chocolate fondue dessert. Thus, this late entry of our Christmas tradition.

It was a winner!

Chocolate Fondue for Dessert

guardian angel chocolate fondue night

1 bar of Guardian Angel fondue chocolate
1 clementine peeled
1 sliced banana
fresh strawberries
slice of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake cut in cubes

Melt the bar of chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water until melted.

guardian angel chocolate melting in a heat proof bowl over simmering waterPour into fondue pot with a lid tea light underneath.


Chocolate covered strawberry.

strawberry dipped in  guardian angel chocolate fondue

Chocolate covered banana.

banana slice covered in guardian angel chocolate fondue

Chocolate covered clementine.

clementine slice covered in guardian angel chocolate fondue

Chocolate covered Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Banana Bundt Cake.

dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free banana bundt cake covered in guardian angel chocolate fondue

Pictures of the chocolate covered fruit and cake are a bit blurry because the kids could not stop laughing when they were holding them…they just wanted to eat it!

Kids got the photography bug with the chocolate covered strawberry.

boys taking photos of the chocolate covered strawberry

Favourites were the chocolate covered strawberries and bananas. Frankly, it all tasted awesome…anything covered in chocolate taste yummy!

I was impressed that all the fruit was polished off! I should offer chocolate covered fruit more often!

Finger lickin good!

dipping fingers into the chocolate fondue pot

The pickle ornament has been packed away for another year…the fondue set will definitely be used again…I have a second bar of fondue chocolate hidden away for a special day!

Do you have a pickle ornament tradition at your house?

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘Oreo’ Style Cookies

I couldn’t resist adapting the Toronto Star’s Cookie Calendar, Day 18 cookie: The all-time, go-to favourite store bought cookie of everyone’s childhood…The Oreo!

Now…Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘Oreo’ Style Cookies.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free oreo style cookies

I thought these would be the perfect cookie to bring on our visit to my brother’s to share with his two boys.

There will be a lot of energy exerted over the next few days…it’s all about hockey when we visit.

My eldest nephew is in the Bell Capital Cup…we will be spending a lot of time in hockey arenas cheering his team on…Go Silver Seven Go!  My brother has built his annual backyard hockey rink for the boys to practice their shots in between games…and if that is not enough…there is always hockey in the basement!

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘Oreo’ Style Cookies

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut oreo style cookies

For the recipe click here.

For a dairy free version: I replaced the butter with Earth Balance.
For an egg free version: I used 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of water.
For a soy free version: use Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Spread

I didn’t follow the recipe’s instructions…I actually creamed the Earth Balance with the sugar. Added the water and mixed until combined. I combined all the dry ingredients separately and then added it to the creamed mixture. I followed the recipe for forming the cookies and baking them.

For the cream filling: I halved the recipe and used Earth Balance to replace the butter. I used the leftover Dairy Free Chocolate Icing from my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log to fill the cookies and created…

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free ‘Fudgeo’ Style Cookies.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free fudgeo style cookies

Matthew opted to try the’ Fudgeo’ Style Cookie and Michael choose the ‘Oreo’ Style cookie…both declared them ‘yummy’.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free oreo and fudgeo style cookies

Planning ahead is key for a successful trip away from home when you have multiple food allergies.

Along with the ‘Oreo’ cookies, I am bringing a batch of Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies and of course…Dairy Free Rice Krispie Squares. Don’t leave home without them!

To help out with the meals, I am bringing a batch of our Spaghetti with Meat Balls that my hubbie whipped up and a Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick. Both will be for the dinner the day we arrive.

I will also be bringing a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Apple Pie I made in the Fall and froze along with a second Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick. They will be perfect for our rescheduled Christmas Dinner.

Packages of homemade Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Pancake mixes, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Buns, Natural Selections Smoked Uncured Black Forest Ham, Crackers, Natura Soy Milk, Ryza Rice Milk, Guardian Angel chocolate and Surf Sweet Candies will all be brought for Michael to meet his food allergen needs.

Spending time with my brother’s family is a highlight during the holiday season for my boys. Taking the time to prepare and plan for this trip is top priority to me. Where there is a will…there is a way!

I hope everyone is enjoying time with their families this holiday season.

P.S. How do you manage the holidays and travelling to family functions with multiple food allergies?

P.P.S. Can’t forget the World Junior Hockey Championship Tournament that is playing in Edmonton and Calgary!      Go Team Canada Go!

Dairy, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log with Chocolate Bark

A Christmas tradition, I am so happy to be able to recreate, is serving a Yule Log for dessert on Christmas Day.

Dairy, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log with Chocolate Bark

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log

Last year, was my first year attempting to put one together. The idea was sparked by Guardian Angel’s Allergen Free Yule Logs.

I believe, it was in my Allergic Living magazine, that I first spied Guardian Angel’s advertisement for their Allergen Free Chocolate Christmas Log.

I was so excited…even more excited when I was able to purchase one for our Christmas dinner. Located in the freezer section at Metro.

Our first store-bought cake…I kept it as a surprise…I came out with it on a platter still in the protective wrapping.

Oh, the look on my boys’ faces when they realized what was being presented for dessert.

It was a very exciting moment…in the boys’ words…”Cool!”

As much as they loved the idea of a cake from outside of our kitchen and the fact it tasted good…they informed me that they liked my cakes better…in particular, my icing.

In Matthew’s word: “I like yours better…I’m not just saying that…”

I was determined to create our own Allergen Free Christmas Yule Log.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log with Chocolate Bark

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log

Half the recipe for Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Birthday Cake.
Line a 1″ deep jelly roll pan (approximately 9 by 13″) with parchment paper and spray with canola oil.
Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake batter in pan for yule log

Bake 350 F for  12-15 minutes.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Turn cake out on an icing sugar lined tea towel.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake on icing sugar lined tea towel

Sprinkle with icing sugar and roll cake up carefully from the long end.
Let cool on  rack.

rolled up dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake in tea towel

Make half the recipe of Dairy Free Vanilla Icing and Chocolate Icing. I added a bit more water to each of the icings so it was easier to spread on the cake.

Unroll cake when cooled. (Do not fret if the cake cracks.)

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake unrolledSpread the cake with Dairy Free Vanilla Icing…pushing together the cracked edges and spreading icing to cover. See…no problem!

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate cake iced with vanilla icingCarefully roll up cake and wrap snuggly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Unwrap plastic wrap from cake and spread with Dairy Free Chocolate Icing.

Last year, I spread the cake with the Dairy Free Chocolate Icing to look rough like bark, sprinkled it with icing sugar and decorated it with a Santa and Christmas tree.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log without chocolate bark

This year, I couldn’t resist trying something different…chocolate bark!

Chocolate Bark

The idea for covering the Yule Log with chocolate bark came from a recipe from the Canadian Living Special Cookbook Edition, Fall 2011. When I saw the picture with the log covered in chocolate bark…I had to try it. So glad I did! Easy to do and it looks terrific!

In a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, melt 1 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
Spread the melted chocolate to a thickness of 3 mm on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

enjoy life chocolate chips melted and spread on parchment paper for chocolate bark

Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Break the chocolate into 3 by 1″ pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

 melted enjoy life chocolate chips broken into pieces

Press the broken pieces of chocolate on to the iced cake and dust with icing sugar.

                                                              Ta Da!

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log with chocolate bark

Not quite sure how well the cake will cut with all the broken chocolate on it. Will update after Christmas.

Update: Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log was scrumpdillicious! Is that a word? It is now!

slice of dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log

Slicing the Yule Log wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined…just make sure the cake is kept cool for slicing…I used a bread knife.

slicing the dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate yule log with bread knife

Everyone loved the chocolate bark! A very tasty addition.

Inviting the neighbourhood kids in this afternoon, to share what’s left of the Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log, after the boys have a game of road hockey.

Tip: For a Soy Free Icing use Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Spread.

P.S. I am putting together an Allergen Friendly Christmas Dinner for Michael to take to my in-laws: Roast Turkey with Dairy Free Gravy and Stuffing and Dairy Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I made the Dairy Free Stuffing the day before so it was ready to stuff the turkey early in the morning.

Can you believe, I was able to pick fresh parsley from my garden for the stuffing!

I will also be bringing a Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick for everyone to enjoy. Will be bringing a cutting board and bread knife.

P.P.S. Do you have a favourite recipe you have adapted for your Christmas dessert or dessert in general? Have you tried the Guardian Angel Christmas Logs?

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Past and Present: Adapting to an Allergen Free Christmas

Childhood memories at this time of year are priceless!

For me, it’s the smell of pine trees (we had a real tree until my mom figured out my dad and I were allergic to it),a turkey roasting and cookies baking in the oven while in the background, Johnny Matthis sings, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” on the record player.

2011 Christmas tree As a parent, one hopes to fill their children’s memory jar chock full of them.

I often worry what kind of childhood memories my boys will have as they get older. Holidays are often centered on the food, which, when you have mulitiple food allergies…can pose some challenges.

Advent Calendars with little chocolate treats for each day, chocolate Santas in stockings Christmas morning, Christmas baking by friends and relatives, school parties with baked treats…all obstacles for my children with food allergies.

As a mother, it pained me to have them feel excluded from many of the traditional Christmas treats…therefore,  we came up with our own traditions:

An Advent Calendar with velcro Christmas decorations to adorn the tree.

first advent calender with velcro decorations for the tree

Maple Sugar Santas for their stockings.(from MacMillan’s Orchards)

maple sugar santa for the boys' stocking

Thank goodness for Guardian Angel…three years ago my boys enjoyed their first Chocolate Advent Calendar.

guardian angel advent calenders for the boys

I have perfected the Roasted Turkey dinner with Dairy Free Stuffing, Gravy and fresh Dairy Free and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick on the side.

It gives me great pleasure to recreate my childhood favourite holiday cookies for my boys memory bank: Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies, Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Orange Shortbread, and especially…Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log.

I hope you have been enjoying them too!

Creating new traditions in a society that holds on to their traditions with a firm grip has not been easy. I like to think our new traditions will help pave the way for generations to come!

P.S. Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Yule Log will be posted Christmas Day.